8 Tips About Business Development for Realtors
- Know Your Competition
- Add Value and Build Trust
- Use Testimonials Wisely
- Keep an Eye on Online Reviews
- Ask for the Business
- Pay Attention to Your Website
- Don’t Let Relationships Go Cold
- Beat Your Competitors to the Punch
Know Your Competition
You need to be aware of your competitors. Evaluate what they offer so you can set yourself apart. What makes your services different? Do you have a niche market? You should work very hard to make this differentiation. This may be your most powerful business development tool of all. Once you determine what makes you different or exceptional, you will use this for marketing and branding.
Add Value and Build Trust
Always add value, whether it is your local knowledge of the area in terms of recommending the best schools or restaurants. Business growth can come from adding value to every relationship, with prospective customers and existing customers. We can add value by providing information and knowledg.
This mindset and approach builds trust and goodwill which is excellent for business development. But building trust takes time. You need to As Seth Godin put it, “People don’t believe what you tell them. They rarely believe what you show them … They always believe what they tell themselves.” It’s your public persona and your actions over time that will likely influence what people tell themselves about you.Use Testimonials Wisely
Testimonials can be a crucial part of establishing credibility in the initial stages when you court a new prospect. It can help to know a few tips in this area. For example, it may not be effective to use “one-size-fits-all” testimonials. Rather, you should tailor your testimonials to your prospective target. If you’re dealing with a mid-sized company, for example, you should use testimonials from other mid-sized companies you’ve done business with, rather than from your largest customer. This taps into a fundamental principle of human behavior referred to as the Consensus Principle or Social Proof: We feel more comfortable in making a decision when the source of the information comes from people similar to us.
could look as though you’re protesting too much. Only use testimonials that are authentic and have the ring of truth. Sometimes, when asking for a testimonial, the person writing it does so reluctantly to please you, but their heart is not in it. You can end up with a perfunctory, factory-style testimonial that savvy clients will quickly see through.
Keep an Eye on Online Reviews
Increasingly, consumers may turn to online reviews to decide whether or not to do business with a local company. A 2015 survey by BrightLocal shows that 92 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses (up from 88 percent in 2014). And 80 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Set up a Google Alert for your company so you can monitor and respond to these reviews when necessary. It can help show that you care about your business and about the people who use your services or products. A caring attitude may engender goodwill and attract new business.
Ask for the Business
After you’ve met with your prospect, submitted the proposal, done all the due diligence and followed up, consider closing that phase by unabashedly asking for the business. Try a simple: “I would very much like to provide this service for your company. What will it take to get started?” This “let’s do business together” approach is direct and honest, and can signal your confidence in the value of your service or product. It’s refreshing. What’s more, it can give your prospective client the opportunity to decline. It may be better to know this so you can refocus your energy and attention on the next potential customer.
Pay Attention to Your Website
Have you let your website slip? Does it look like it was designed a decade ago? In this visual world, design matters. It’s fair to say that most of your customers may start with your website. Recent research shows 84 percent of business customers check business websites. A tired looking website will most certainly result in missed opportunities. At a minimum, you can add a video to showcase what you do.
As for your content, your website may not thrive if it just provides information about who you are and lists your products and services. Consider rewarding visitors who land on your site with ample free resources, information, knowledge and tools to help them succeed. Make it easy for them to share the resources with others without having to fill out forms, deal with constant pop up windows and other annoying interruptions. This is passive business development that will possibly pay dividends and doesn’t cost you anything.
Don’t Let Relationships Go Cold
A study by Manta and BIA/Kelsey reveals that a repeat customer spends 67 percent more than a new customer. More than 60 percent of small-business owners generate the majority (51 percent-plus) of their annual revenue from repeat customers rather than new customers. It may pay to focus the bulk of your business development efforts on strengthening relationships with existing customers. Value the relationships and keep your loyal customers engaged.
There are many ways to engage with customers periodically. Set up a Google Alert for your clients so you can know what’s happening in their world and react as you see fit. Share useful content on a regular basis. Send a note on special occasions such as birthdays or anniversaries. Connect with your clients on LinkedIn and keep in touch with them through the LinkedIn feature that allows you to “comment” or click “like” when they have a work anniversary or other change to their profile. There’s no exact science on how often you should connect with a client, but one rule of thumb for maintaining top of mind awareness with your clients is to show up on their radar once a quarter. You can also engage with clients peripherally by establishing an engaging social media presence.
Beat Your Competitors to the Punch
Research from Insidesales.com reveals that 50 percent of buyers choose the vendor that’s the first to respond to them. Inertia is not your ally. Share this information with everyone in your company. Make them aware that business development is everyone’s business so that a prospective client is quickly funneled through to the right person in the company. You should have implemented measures for rapid and efficient customer handling. Speed can make the difference between winning and losing.
Sharpen Your Business Development Skills
Hone your skills in business development. Today, there are many convenient options for busy leaders or business owners to develop their skills in this crucial area of business success. For example, you can join an online class offered by Udemy, download some business development apps or register with a business development association in your area.