Build relationships and bring value with every outreach

By Maria Malin

When we look back at the experience of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ll have learned many valuable lessons from it, including how life and relationships were reprioritized and strengthened. Though physically and socially distanced, we forged new and creative pathways to check in, keep in touch, share our lives and, yes, do business. Technology will be remembered as the conduit for our connectivity, teaching us that virtual, though not reality, worked as not only an effective, but sometimes more efficient, use of our time. As we now emerge from the constraints of the pandemic, will we continue to simply click to connect our relationships? More specifically, will the return of our ability to be “in person” give technology a new place in how we reach out and stay top of mind?

From a coaching perspective, I encourage you to envision how you’d build your business if you couldn’t text or post or like or comment or stream or otherwise digitally find your way into someone’s life. What if your business wasn’t referral-based? What if you were building a business for the first time or in a completely new market or had no established sphere of influence? What would outreach look like? What would stand out? What would make you stand out? Would it be tech-savvy or grassroots?
The first, last and only thing that counts — in my personal and professional opinion, and no matter how you deliver it — is value. True and genuine value. Value to the relationship and valuable real estate — in that order.

Whether you deliver that value via digital routes or grassroots is secondary. Bringing value to those you know and those you want to know better can and should be an everyday thing. Building relationships and making others feel important doesn’t take genius, but it does take consistent effort and authenticity.

Think about the unique aspects of the relationships you want to touch, and deliver custom, relevant, personal outreach at every opportunity. Be present; be a go-to; be who you genuinely are, not some curated persona on social or a once-a-year check-in or someone only seeking out their next referral.

Remember, the world today is not only digging out of a year-plus of pandemic-weary living; it has reprioritized what’s important and has a keener sense of what’s untrue. Be other-centric in how you deepen, enrich, share and stay top of mind to the relationships in your life, and via direct or digital outreach, you’ll bring value.

Delivering valuable real estate is more straightforward. If you’re newer to real estate, build credibility by sharing quantified, data-focused market knowledge at every opportunity. If you’ve been in the business for a while, yes, you’re busy and the market’s been like no other. Still, always be other-centric in sharing what’s valuable to those asking you about the market and relying on your expertise. Simply stating that your business has been busier than ever may be perceived as “too busy.” Keep answers specific to those asking you the questions, and create value with what and how you share.

A few simple questions will help you stay in tune to whether or not your outreach is effective. Do you get response or engagement, or never hear back? Remember, half of a relationship is not a relationship. Is your sphere of influence organized? Do you then customize your outreach based on that? Make sure you’re sending what is top of mind and relevant to your recipients, and go beyond the usual, like geographic farming.

Again, always be authentic. Curating a brand or image that’s not true to who you are is not only ineffective, it’s extremely difficult to sustain or find long-term success with. Think genuine rather than simply strategic, and you’ll win in life and real estate.
Indeed, hearing a voice or seeing a face will never become obsolete. And of course, we’ll continue to deliver valuable outreach at scale via technology. Enhance and enrich your relationships at every opportunity, and strengthen your credibility by sharing your specific real estate knowledge and experience with those you know and those they know. Spend your time wisely and consistently on all fronts, and you’ll create a template for long-term, sustainable growth in any market.

Since 2011, Maria Malin has worked exclusively in real estate coaching and training for @properties and Compass in Chicago, writing, developing and teaching content to assist Illinois real estate brokers with building and growing their business. Brokers who regularly coached with her in 2020 grew their business an average of 76%. Maria recently launched her own real estate coaching business, works with all brokerages and can be found at mariamalincoaching.com.

6 ways an assistant should market listings

Attracting qualified buyers to purchase properties is one of the most important skills that sellers expect their agents to have. As an assistant, you can be very useful in helping your agent reach the right customers. In this blog you’ll learn more about how to help marketing listings to sell a home.

#1. Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

The first place your agent will want to put a listing is in the MLS, or multiple listing service, a task that is often the responsibility of the assistant. This database of listings offers agents a centralized location to post details on the properties they have for sale and is an industry standard.

Accuracy in preparing a listing cannot be overstated. Not only is the MLS the central location for your listing, but websites that are accessible to any potential home buyer, such as Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com, use the data directly from the MLS. So remember to check and double-check that the specifications and descriptions for the site are exactly as you want them.

Besides the standard form data, which includes details on the home such as square footage and the number of rooms, you’ll have an opportunity to provide a description. This description will appear on the listing sheet and on any websites that pick up MLS data. It’s important that this copy is focused on selling the home, and should be treated like any other marketing material.

#2. Uploading and Optimizing Photography

Photography is one of the most important parts of your marketing plan and should be handled with care. You may consider outsourcing listing photos to a professional company. Along with ensuring that your photographs are of the best quality, there are a number of other concerns when preparing your photos to upload. 

Photos should be beautifully lit, color-corrected, cropped properly and show off your property’s best qualities. In addition, your MLS may have limits on the size and dimensions of the individual images you upload, so familiarize yourself with its requirements before you begin.

Most MLS allow a maximum of 25 photos, but don’t confuse quantity with quality. A photo of the exterior of the home is standard, and it’s a good strategy to have at least one photo per each feature mentioned in your description. For example, a description that mentions an attached garage, a bay window and high ceilings should have photographs that show each of these features.

#3. Social Media

The most popular social media platforms used in real estate are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Your agent might use one, some or all of these. Each platform comes with its own set of analytics, so you can easily see if your posts are effective in driving engagement and, ultimately, sales.

Facebook and Twitter allow you to schedule posts, but if you’re using more than one platform, a dashboard like Hootsuite allows you to generate all your posts from a central location. Depending on your subscription level, you can easily replicate posts across platforms and receive great analytics to help you determine how well your posts are performing.

#4. Traditional Advertising

In many cases, traditional media is still very effective for the real estate business. Your agent may be getting great results from direct mail postcards and advertising in print and online.

Using postcards to let neighbors know what was just listed or just sold works because it offers market information, as well as exposure for listings and the agent. Make sure the photos look great, the message and the call to action are clear, and that the brand is properly reflected. Advertising in print is effective in certain markets, not in others.

Online advertising allows potential clients to click through the ad to the agent’s website or email. And don’t forget to look into marketing opportunities on syndication sites like Zillow. These can help with lead generation. Ultimately, advertising works best when you know who your target market is and how to best reach them.

#5. Surveys, Testimonials and Reviews

And there is much more marketing that you can help with as an assistant. A completed transaction is not the end of the relationship. There is still marketing work to do! It’s a good idea to send a survey to clients after a transaction is finished to let them share the pros and cons of their experience with the agent. This information is useful to agents so they can make improvements to their systems and services.

And getting testimonials and reviews on sites like Yelp can really help an agent get new clients and stand out from the competition.

There are third party survey services that are simple and inexpensive to put into practice. This should be part of your operating procedure at the close of every sale. 

#6. Participate in the Neighborhood

Lastly, one of the best ways to market the business is by simply being top of mind when it comes to real estate in a given neighborhood. The simplest and most effective way to do this is by actually spending time participating in the community. Suggest that your agent sponsor neighborhood events, have a presence at festivals and town meetings, and consider volunteering at the local school. You may want to keep track of event opportunities for your agent and maybe even attend yourself. Seek out opportunities to put your agent in front of the right target market.

No one likes someone who only talks business, but there’s nothing wrong with being helpful and relevant. If you keep your ears open and engage with people, you will find organic ways to help market the company and make it truly feel like part of the neighborhood.

It’s important to remember that selling homes is just one part of an agent’s business. It’s just as imperative to ensure that agents have a future flow of potential customers and that the brand and reputation is being managed in the best way. To learn more about an assistant’s role working with an agent, sign up for AgentEDU’s Assistant Certification Course, an 8-part course designed to teach assistants everything they’ll need to set their agent up for success.