Operating an independent team can be one of the most challenging experiences in real estate, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be even more rewarding. You have to leverage the flexibility that comes with running your own business without the strings attached to a larger firm. Just because your team didn’t sign the “rock star” agent across town or isn’t in the news for a major acquisition doesn’t mean you can’t compete and win in the market.
From having more time to experiment and to take more chances creatively, and more, here’s how independent teams can compete with larger companies.
1. There are not as many of you. This doesn’t have to sound like a bad thing. Use the numbers to your advantage. A lot of times consumers will only interview one person from a company. They often think, “what is the difference between one broker from another in the same company?” This is your opportunity to get your foot in the door. There are a lot of agents at some teams and consumers may have a hard time differentiating one agent from another. An indie team may have a better opportunity to stand out and give clients the attention and one-on-one experience that most prefer.
2. Innovate. Have an idea? Try it out. It is easy to innovate with less red tape. You do not have to run it past as many channels, marketing teams and management to get it approved. You are able to perfect and implement an idea before big companies can even get it off the ground. If it doesn’t work, you can adjust on the fly and try something else. Take chances and see what you and your team can do.
3. Exposure. Some sellers will be nervous that without a big brand behind you, you may lack the exposure. However, as an independent company, you can still leverage the reach of the big brands by utilizing the internet and their own platforms. You can put their property on most of the same sites the major companies use. And guess what, all those big-names will likely put your property on their websites, too. You can make a seller’s place virtually impossible to miss anywhere. With the right SEO and social media plan, you can level the playing field.
4. Own your brand. You get to tell your own story. There are no corporate boxes with a strict line you must adhere to. You can create the brand you want and showcase it the way you want to do. People connect with authenticity today. Show them who you are, not what a slick marketing team and content strategist created for you. Real estate is a personal business where connections matter, let who you are speak for itself. Consumers will gravitate toward that.
5. You are your own boss. A lot of people get in the business to “be their own boss.” It’s hard to say you are your own boss because, in reality, the client is the boss. But if you are an indie, you really the one in charge. You make all the decisions. You build the company. You write the rules. You do it the way you want to do it. The keys to making it all work is being organized, having a schedule and knowing what you want to get out of it.
Running an independent team, like other small businesses, requires passion. If you’re to compete against the “big boys,” you have to be agile, creative and work harder than anyone else. People forget that it’s not about the money or the name of your company, it’s about the amount of sacrifice you are willing to give to succeed. This is the beauty of real estate.
Matt Laricy, a third-generation realtor, is the managing broker for Americorp Real Estate, a company his father started. Matt also heads his own team, The Matt Laricy Group. Some of Matt’s accomplishments are being in the top 1% for sales in Chicago; Top 10 Agent in Chicago, labeled one of Chicago’s “Who’s Who” Realtors by Chicago Agent Magazine, & is the winner Chicago Agent’s Choice Award for Industry MVP. His most coveted honor was being recognized as one of the Top 30 Agents Under 30 by the National Association of Realtors.