By Brian Hilliard
One of the biggest challenges I see facing agents is not having a clear idea as to who their prospects are. Ask any agent what their typical prospect looks like and most will give an answer ranging from “everyone,” to a vague elevator speech that might sound good while networking, but has little in the way of specifics. This is a real problem, because if you don’t know who your prospects are and what specific challenges they face, how can you effectively build your business in the shortest time possible?
The answer is, you can’t, especially in a market as tough as the one we’re in right now.
So rather than floundering around and printing up a bunch of flyers that may or may not work, let’s take the first step in developing an action plan for generating more business.
One of the first things I advise my clients to do is develop a sphere of influence, or target market, for whom their service is best suited. By this I mean take into account your strengths and the specific characteristics you as a Realtor bring to the table. Ask questions like:
• How long have you lived in the area?
• What did you do before you got into real estate?
• How do you like to spend your free time?
• Have you raised a family in this particular city?
What we’re doing is figuring out which audiences are more likely to work with you based on the specific attributes you bring to the table. Example: If you’ve recently finished raising a family in that area, but don’t have much experience in the “business world,” then a natural sphere of influence would be relocation homebuyers. These families are new to the area, and ideally new to the state, and would certainly value your years of experience in the city, especially when it comes to raising a family.
Conversely, if you’ve been in corporate America for the past 20 years and then decided to move to real estate, then residential investors might be a good sphere for you. These folks would probably value your previous business experience and potential investment savvy.
Either way, we’ve matched your experience with their needs and developed a target market that’s an ideal match for you.
So now instead of scrambling around trying to be everything to everyone, you’re able to leverage your inherent strengths into a skill set that’s important to your potential clients.
And believe me, once you discover a prospect’s hot buttons and talk in a language he/she understands, your business will literally take off, even in a market as tough as this.
But all of this must start with developing a sphere of influence. Putting a face to your prospects, so you know who they are, and ultimately what’s important to them.
And in the meantime, remember this: Building your business is all about leveraging your strengths in the context of your prospects’ needs, and then finding as many of those folks as you can.
It might mean networking with some of your friends and family. No harm in asking: “Hey, I’m working with first-time homebuyers, do you know of someone who’s getting ready to buy their first home?” It might mean canvassing every apartment complex within a 10-mile radius of your office. Or it could just mean buying a list.
But what it doesn’t mean is scattering your valuable time and energy trying to “catch as catch can.” That, my friend, is an exhausting way to build your business.
A colleague of mine said it best: “Every successful business I know is an inch wide and a mile deep.”
I just love that. So do yourself a favor, and develop a sphere of influence that has you focusing on success today.
Brian Hilliard is a popular speaker and author of the resource “How to Get More Business in Today’s Tough Market.” Hilliard specializes in helping busy agents get more leads and close more deals. For a free report on “2 Easy Ways to Get More Business in Today’s Tough Market,” e-mail Hilliard at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “More Business in Today’s Tough Market.”
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