Every time you close a deal, you should be taking a certain percentage of your profits and investing them back into growing your business. What percentage is up to you, and a lot depends on your local business environment. What image are you putting out in the marketplace? Here are a number of low-cost ideas that can pay big dividends in enhancing your image and growing your business.
- Polish your brand. Review what you’re currently doing to make sure everything is consistent with your brand. This means that all your materials—from business cards to your web site, Facebook page and newspaper ads present a single theme and image. If your photo is out of date, get a new professional head shot. Make sure you are using quality materials and design for everything you do, whether it’s print or electronic.
- Say thank you. Sending small gifts is a great way to keep your name in front of people. Whether you are welcoming someone to their new home after a deal closes, remembering a past client, or thanking someone for a referral, choose a gift that makes you memorable. Be known as the person who always sends the most colorful bouquet, the exotic orchid, or the gourmet chocolates. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It does have to be creative.
- Join up. If you don’t already belong to at least one local service or community organization, invest some of your marketing dollars and your time in becoming a member. Find out where your community’s power players hang out and go there. This could be the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, or the symphony board. You don’t have to overtly solicit business—as a matter of fact, most service organizations ask you NOT to do this—but the bottom line is that people do business with people they know and trust. Once you get known, your fellow members will feel comfortable recommending you or using your services themselves.
- Upgrade your social media presence. We’ve written numerous articles on the importance of social media in real estate marketing. Whatever you’re doing now, invest some of your money in taking it to the next level. If your blog is languishing, hire a professional blogger to produce consistent, relevant blog posts for you. If your website looks stale, get a new, professional design or use one that we recommend especially for Realtors.
- Improve your skills. Successful people in any profession are lifelong learners, but continuing education is especially important for Realtors. Perhaps you should attend a seminar on changes in lending and refinance guidelines. Or maybe you’ve been thinking of specializing in a particular market niche, such as seniors downsizing or short sales. Whatever you need to do to enhance your skills, it will be worth investing some of your profits to do it.
- Invest in the best equipment. You can’t run a high-performance car on cheap gas, and you can’t run a professional business on inferior or outdated equipment. This doesn’t mean you need all the latest toys or that you have to upgrade your phone every three weeks (although your provider would probably love that). It does mean you need a smart phone, a notebook, and/or a laptop you can carry with you. You need to be easy to reach and rapid to respond. Only good equipment will do the job for you.
- Hire an assistant. In a tough market, we all have a tendency to cut corners, to try to do more with less. And there’s nothing wrong with being frugal. Just take a moment to evaluate whether you are spending valuable selling time on lower level tasks and see how you can change that. You could do anything from hiring your high school-aged child to open your mail and clean out your email inbox to adding a professional stager to your team to help homes sell faster.
Succeeding in today’s market environment requires constant re-evaluation and adjusting your tactics to meet changing conditions. Investing in yourself will pay off in a better brand, increased name recognition, and more sales.