When David Parnes and James Harris started, they decided to focus on Bel Air. They didn’t have any contracts or leads, but by following these four steps — paired with a lot of hard work and dedication — they soon became the go-to leaders in the market.

In challenging times, it’s a smart idea to revisit the fundamentals of good business. This April, go Back to Basics with Inman.

One of the most important things an agent needs to have to be successful is focus. Unwavering focus on everything you do: client services, marketing, social media, team communication and structure, business planning — the list goes on.

Focus also needs to be applied to the area in which a team works. Focusing and becoming an expert on an area will help you build a name among local residents and help direct business your way via word-of-mouth and name recognition.

When we started out, we decided to focus on Bel Air. We didn’t have any contacts or leads, but we followed the four steps below — paired with a lot of hard work and dedication — and we soon became the go-to leaders in the market.

Choose your area

The first thing you need to do is to determine an area to focus your efforts on. When weighing your options, consider a locale that has a price point in which you feel comfortable operating and where you ultimately want to see your business grow.

It’s important to be genuinely interested in the area because you will be spending a lot of time there. You will become the go-to guide for your clients, and you’ll need to know everything it offers.

Another thing to consider is the number of agents already active in the area. Competition is great, but you could be wasting your time if there are many agents who are already well-established and have scooped up the market share.

That said, opportunity can be found everywhere if you look hard enough. Perhaps there is a building in that area where you can solely focus your efforts before branching out and making a name for yourself.

Do your homework

You want to establish yourself as the neighborhood expert, so you will need to do your homework.

The first step is to know the inventory in your area and always be apprised of pocket listings and new listings coming on the market in addition to sales.

Set up a hot sheet search in the MLS, and run it every day so you can see all of the activity happening in your area. Create spreadsheets with all this data to use as reference material, so you can easily pull facts and figures when you’re advising your clients and analyzing properties.

It’s also important to get to know the amenities the area offers in terms of schools, healthcare providers, veterinary services, restaurants, entertainment destinations and everything in between.

Hit the pavement

The best way to become an expert in an area and to get listings is to spend time there and see as many homes as possible.

When it’s safe again, make sure to go to all of the Sunday and broker open houses. When shelter orders end, if you don’t have any listings, offer to sit listings in your area for other agents so you can start to meet people who live in the neighborhood.

In the meantime, explore your ZIP code and all it has to offer online. Here are a few tips for getting to know your chosen area better using Facebook.

Also, be sure to follow agents who are currently active in the area on social media. You’ll be able to see how other agents are marketing their listings and see homes via virtual tours.

When shelter orders have been lifted, another great way to meet people in the area is to go door-knocking. We started out as young agents in Bel Air doing just that. For all the rejections and unanswered doorbells we got, we kept soldiering on until doors started to open. Sometimes you have to turn rejection into a good thing.

Be present

No matter what your budget, tailor a marketing campaign to your area only. Sending thousands of flyers across the city is wasted effort.

Instead, market directly in your farming locale on a regular basis so people come to recognize you.

Participate and, if possible, sponsor local events. Giving back to the community you serve will be a rewarding experience as well as an opportunity to make friends and clients for life.

Right now there are tons of opportunities to lend a helping hand to locals who need help. You just have to find some that you’re comfortable with and give without expectation.

David Parnes is a director at The Agency in Los Angeles. Connect with him on InstagramJames Harris is a director at The Agency in Los Angeles. Connect with him on Instagram.

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