Think ahead and communicate effectively with your future business, broker Gavin Payne writes. It will pay dividends in the years to come and set you up for success.

The real estate market is ever-changing and never more so than today, thanks to low inventory, increasing mortgage rates and economic uncertainty. But mid-year forecasts are indicating that things will ramp up, unleashing a big wave of purchasing power in the near future.

So how are you communicating with your future business?

It’s an important question, not only now, but any time sales slow. Agents tend to focus solely on the business in front of them, without investing any time or resources into building a pipeline for the future.

When business slows, they pound the pavement looking for people to enter the market immediately. But we know it doesn’t always work that way. Buying, selling and moving, are all significant decisions that people generally work up to over time.  They are decisions that require a lot of thought, a lot of data and the support of a trusted professional.

That’s why agents should approach communicating with their sphere of influence as speaking to their clients of the future. With that in mind, what do these people in your network need to hear from you to convert them into clients sometime in the future? Here are a few things to focus on.

1. Be consistent

Keep in mind when, how and what you communicate. You should connect with your sphere on a regular basis. You should communicate clearly, confidently and concisely. And you should stick to a consistent message across all of your communication platforms, e.g. email, direct mail, social media and in person.

2. Lead the conversation

Too often, consumers are left to make sense of varying and sometimes even contradictory news reports. The goal in communicating with your sphere is for you to become the leading authority on the real estate market in your area. You then position yourself as the go-to person for leading someone through a confusing market landscape — whether it’s the person you are directly communicating with or someone to whom that person refers you.

3. Lean on data

There is literally a treasure trove of relevant statistics and data points in your local MLS. I just hosted a session for our agents on how to mine data from our MLS. We looked at things like Days on Market, the List to Sale Ratio, Average Sales Price as well as Median Sales Price. We then looked at these data points over time to determine the trend lines.

We also looked at data not captured in the MLS such as multiple offers. Based on our company’s market share, we are able to get a pretty solid picture of what’s happening in the entire market by looking at our company sales data.

Using data points as the basis of your messaging to your sphere is a powerful way to build credibility and manage the expectations of your future buyers and sellers. At the end of the day, data doesn’t lie, which makes you a trustworthy counselor.

4. Aim to serve

Think about what information people need to become future clients. This can be information they don’t even know they need. Adopting a service-based approach and providing something of value to your sphere is a powerful way to position yourself. It says, I care about you, even if you aren’t my client now.

People always love to know how much homes in their neighborhood are listed for and any special features of the home that aren’t easily accessible. They like to know about trends in remodeling that could increase the value of their home. They appreciate hearing about ways to make the most of their current home. They will also be very receptive to any advice on how to maximize the value of their home.

5. Perfect the personal and professional

Most real estate agents have a lot of personal relationships in their sphere. Successful agents have figured out how to cross over from personal acquaintance to professional advisor by building a relationship that focuses on the value they bring as a friend and real estate professional. In large part that is built by establishing your expertise, your command of the market data and trends, and by your willingness to serve. 

Whatever is currently happening in the market will change, eventually. We work in a cyclical business. But what never changes is the need to not only focus on the business in front of you but the business ahead of you.

Talking to your future business is like contributing to your savings account. Every time you connect, you put a little more in the “bank” of your future business — and your future success. Make the investment now and enjoy the dividends down the line

Gavin Payne is the broker-owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate HAVEN Properties in San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Paso Robles and Santa Maria, California. Connect with him on Facebook

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