When Kimberly Sethavanish and James Colucci moved 500 miles from Orange County to Northern California, they knew building a real estate network would be tough.
They were new both to the area and real estate in general. Both had worked in other industries before real estate, and they moved to a place where they knew almost nobody.
“Doing real estate breeds more real estate,” Sethavanish said at an Inman Connect Las Vegas panel Tuesday entitled “Starting Out When You Don’t Have a Sphere.” She advised attendees gathered inside the Aria Resort on the Las Vegas Strip to dive right into the new milieu and talk to insiders. The Team Modern Agent co-founders and husband-and-wife duo shared some tips on finding your sphere as a new real estate agent:
1. Do your research
Carving out a spot in a new area always starts with research. Google around for successful local agents, see what they’re doing right and lay out your own plan for the type of real estate business you’d like to have.
2. Build a strong online presence, ASAP
When you don’t have a support network, your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Yelp pages are even more important in helping clients find you — you don’t have the fallback of easing in through friend and colleague referrals. Consequently, you should be working double time to establish a strong online presence in the neighborhood. The vast majority of clients will be looking for you online.
“Your online presence is your modern resume,” Colucci said. “Make sure it’s good.”
3. Start talking to people in real life, too
Particularly in smaller towns, nothing beats the trust of the community. Along with being online, you should also chat people up in everyday settings like the grocery store line or the bank. Almost everybody knows somebody else who needs an agent, advises Sethavanish — you can often learn about these people just by being friendly.
“Real estate is such an easy ice breaker,” Sethavanish said. “Start talking and see where it leads you.”
4. Look among people you already know
Before you do anything, ask around among people you already know in the area. Helping a friend or family member sell a house will not only help you get your feet wet but expand your circle of real estate connections for the future.
“If you can mix your business and personal circles, people are going to want to work with you,” Colucci said.
5. Like, comment and share other agents’ stuff
Nobody likes the agent who talks but never listens, Colucci noted. Commenting and sharing other agents’ social media posts will let you introduce you to new followers. (But it is also simply a nice thing to do!)
“You should be commenting on other people’s pages 10 times as much as you’re posting on your own,” he said.
6. Ask clients to review you (and tell their friends!)
Do not shy away from asking clients to review or refer you to their friends. As a newbie, this can be a vital part of earning a that coveted reputation.
While it can be awkward to ask for reviews outright, Sethavanish advises just getting over any uneasiness. Most clients will still be overjoyed by a sale and happy to help.
“Once we close, we send a thank you email and send them a link to all the places where they can review us,” she said. “Make it as easy as possible for them.”