What do you believe is possible? It often takes hearing about incredible business growth to believe it is possible for you. Sometimes, we need to see it before we can actually do it.
Brad Dahler with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Santa Rosa Beach is in his second full year in general real estate sales. He currently has more than $100 million in closed sales and pending contracts generated for 2021.
The amazing growth Dahler is experiencing came through a systematic plan of action that he openly shares here: What he did before he started, what he did once he found some success, and what he is doing now to continue to see incredible growth in his business.
Before he started: Finding a focus
The process of preparing to go into general real estate sales can be daunting. Dahler decided to approach this business as he would if he were buying or starting a company in any other industry. His foundation was built on targeting luxury price points and investing immediately in marketing.
The decision to focus on luxury properties served two purposes. The first was the ability to narrow his focus to a smaller segment of the market.
The focused approach gave him the ability to quickly understand the market and the factors influencing these specific buyers and sellers. Focusing on the luxury market also gave him the ability to work smarter, rather than harder.
Secondly, the higher average sales price gave him the ability to do fewer transactions with higher income potential. It also afforded him the opportunity to build deeper relationships with a select group of clients, due to the potential for them to send referrals looking to buy higher price points.
His decision to invest in marketing — specifically digital and print advertising — was huge for his early successes. He researched the types of lead generation top producers in other markets utilized. He budgeted for the marketing upfront and saw the early investment in marketing as seed money into his business.
In the beginning: Becoming an expert
By focusing on the luxury market, Dahler became a student of these neighborhoods and properties along his newly narrowed market.
He toured homes and open houses, studied past sales, researched historic market trends and became a market expert who could communicate with any potential buyer or seller on a very high level. He understood he would only get one chance to make a first impression, so he prepared diligently for those opportunities.
He immediately began investing in as many lead generation platforms as he could find. He researched each platform and performed due diligence on their potential for his business.
If they showed promise, he tested them in his business. These included, but were not limited to, realtor.com, Zillow, Yelp, direct mail, farming and many others.
He decided early on that he would be quick to cancel any of the lead generation techniques he tried that were not producing at the levels he desired. Each month, he refined his process and the marketing techniques that fit his business best.
He also committed to investing between 15 percent and 30 percent of every commission check back into marketing. This gave him the ability to compound his early successes by using a portion of each check to fund marketing that led to more closings. The reinvestment of funds continued to propel his sales volume higher and higher each month.
Last, but certainly not least, he focused daily on having conversations with owners of luxury homes. This included calling owners to give them updates about sales in their neighborhood. Circle prospecting helped generate conversations and build his database very quickly.
The tight inventory actually played to his advantage as well. He had buyers who were ready, willing and able — but no homes for them to buy. This gave him the opportunity to call luxury homeowners to see if they might consider selling since he had a potential buyer.
These conversations led to some sales. They also gave him the ability to grow his luxury homeowner database very quickly. By building that database, he now had the opportunity to consistently add value to those homeowners. Eventually, many of them became clients or referral partners based on the level of service and communication he provided.
As his business grew: Using leverage
His understanding of the leverage others could bring to his business was key to his ability to see dramatic growth in a relatively short period of time.
The addition of a transaction coordinator and personal assistant gave him the ability to continue to focus on spending time with buyers and sellers. The addition of a buyer’s agent also gave him the ability to focus on the higher price points and not miss out on servicing those clients as well.
What he’s focused on now: Building deeper relationships
When asked what he focuses on now, Dahler said, “I want to build deeper and more meaningful relationships with my current clients. Through these deeper relationships, their business and referrals will naturally help my business grow.”
Although he continues to invest heavily in marketing and lead generation, a natural maturation of his business is happening. This includes more personal branding marketing and less investment in lead generation platforms.
He is deepening the relationships with his current and past clients by providing them with small, unexpected gratitude gestures.
This summer, he decided to surprise 60 of his past and current clients with a shipment including six pints of Graeter’s Ice Cream out of Memphis, Tennessee. The ice cream was delivered with dry ice and professional packaging. Inside, there was a note that said, “You’ve been soft served! I hope this helps you get through the dog days of summer.”
The total cost of the gesture was around $7,000, but Dahler says he can already track three referrals that came during conversations with people calling to thank him for thinking of them. This is a small example of the power of investing in your client relationships. Unexpected gestures always lead to unexpected referrals.
Although Dahler’s approach may sound simplistic, there is no shortcut to success. Hard work, smart work and an insatiable desire to serve his clients have been the traits that have led to his early success.
With the amount of growth he’s experienced in just two years, the evolution of his business in the coming years will be interesting to follow.