In their session at Inman Connect virtual, these 3 brokerage leaders discussed how they’ve worked to carve out a central place in the communities they serve.

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Agents who take a genuine interest in their community and pursue a strategy that engages local business leaders, clients and even other agents will have a chance to build a stronger long-term business, according to three successful brokerage owners who have deep ties to their markets.

Their comments came as part of an Inman Connect discussion featuring participants including Emily Corning, principal broker of Hustle & Heart Homes in Portland, Oregon, and Adedoyin and Amanda Adedapo, the husband-and-wife co-founders behind the Dapo Group in the Washington, D.C., area.

“You want to have a great career, not a great year,” Adedoyin Adedapo said. “A lot of people are just focusing on, ‘I want to do X number this year.’ And I really look at it as the hunting mentality: You’re just going out [and asking], ‘What client can I get today?’ And really what you want to look at is the long run: a farming mentality.”

All three of these real estate leaders have homed in on engaging with a critical bloc of their communities: Local business owners.

When Corning holds her annual client appreciation event, she makes a point of hosting it on a nearby farm. She said she’s “very strategic” about which businesses she partners with, and always makes a point of highlighting the local farm’s work, whether it’s pumpkin season or other crops.

Since launching their brokerage in the Washington, D.C., area, the Adedapos have tried a host of ways to reach out to the community. Near the beginning, when they had next to no budget for outreach, they would call up local school principals and get permission to bring pizzas to the teachers’ workrooms, where they could visit with local educators. They’ve also worked with nearby churches to hold financial education events focused on credit and homebuying.

After roughly a decade of trying different forms of community outreach, they’ve had a lot of success recently with putting out video content that helps residents navigate the restaurant and local business scene in the D.C. area. One of their goals is to bring attention to small businesses that may not be as well known, Amanda Adedapo said.

“As a real estate professional, if you stop caring about the commission and start caring about the people and their stories, it’s organic,” she said. “I don’t know what happens. It’s leading with contribution.”

Beyond events that cater to potential clients and community leaders, Corning said she has also tried to make inroads with the local community of real estate agents. Each year she invites more than 1,000 agents from the Portland area to connect and form relationships.

“I think bringing people together in an industry that usually isn’t very collaborative, unfortunately, because there’s a lot of competition, has been really important to me,” Corning said. “And it’s not so much for me a recruiting tactic, but more like, I want to make this industry better.”

Email Daniel Houston

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