Somehow, Q4 is here. And while the “high season” for home sales may be winding down, it is by no means time for agents to take their foot off the gas pedal. In fact, what they do now will likely determine their success in 2024.
Thinking about the whirlwind real estate market we’ve experienced over the last few years, here are five things every agent can start doing today to ensure their business will thrive next year.
1. Be a tortoise
2023 has been a year of shifting market dynamics. Interest rates and inflation have certainly shaped the real estate market, with varying regional impacts across the country. Markets will fluctuate, but methodical, strategic, and yes, sometimes slow growth is the only way to ensure your business will continue to thrive regardless of these external variables. Or as I like to think of it, being a tortoise.
With this approach, I was able to expand our business with two new locations in the Atlanta market this year, which on paper, wouldn’t seem like an ideal time to be investing in new office space and expansion.
However, because I have taken a slow, methodical approach to growing my business over the past five years, I was able to move in a market of opportunity, when other agents and brokers were perhaps pulling back on spending and being conservative with growth investments.
2. Plan ahead
Be it snail mail, digital campaigns, or outreach to old clients, marketing initiatives won’t yield results overnight. As agents, we must plant these seeds over time and continue to nurture relationships with current and potential clients all the time, especially during “down” markets. If you wait until an “ideal” market to start your marketing initiatives, you’re already behind.
As an agent, slower markets signal to me that it’s time to double down on nurturing relationships, a strategy that has served me well when the market rebounds and people are ready to move real estate. I’ve put in the work, so I can hit the ground running.
3. Stay the course
The real challenge for the tortoise is when things are going great. It can be tempting to table some of the best practices that have gotten you through slower markets and just sell, sell, sell as fast as you can. However, even during the best of times, and the market is optimistic for 2024, it’s all the more important to focus on doing the work methodically.
This means executing the fast-paced art of closing the best deals for clients, finding the most exclusive listings and honing your sales expertise, but it also means investing in marketing, creating regular touchpoints with clients and prospects, investing in your own professional development and being diligent throughout.
Don’t abandon the foundational elements that have served you well to this point. By staying the course, you will be prepared when the market inevitably turns again, whether that’s five months or five years down the road.
4. Build a strong support team
In order to maintain a laser focus on current, former and potential clients, agents need to have a strong support team around them.
While you’re out there nurturing relationships, working your network, holding and attending brokers’ opens, and helping clients through the process of buying or selling their home, a team of experts and the right technology can and should automate and support different parts of your business.
For example, digital drip campaigns, mailings, social media presence, documentation, filings and beyond. Remember, “The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”
5. Connect with people, and the clients will come
In my experience, I’ve found that there comes a moment for every agent when it feels like nothing is happening. They’re putting in the work, investing in marketing, and diligently following through on every potential lead, and yet, nothing is popping for them.
When this happens, I say keep going. Don’t stop putting forth the effort no matter how pointless it can feel at times. Keep doing what you are doing and don’t quit because it’s not working fast enough.
Sure enough, I will eventually get the call that all of that work and effort is finally paying off. These agents are so glad they continued to push through even when the results weren’t immediate. While connecting with people takes time and multiple touch points, it results in lifelong clients and amazing word of mouth.
Taking a “people first, clients second” approach to cultivating your business means creating memorable touchpoints that stick with someone long after the interaction. For example, one of our agents handed out branded corkscrews and mini bottles of wine to parents taking their kids trick-or-treating. We’ve also had agents hold events at pumpkin patches during the fall season for pumpkin picking and photo opportunities for children and pets.
Another of our agents leaves behind one of her pens at every restaurant she visits. Connecting with members of your community on the topics that matter most to them is a slow but sure way to build a roster of lasting relationships.
Get started today
As the real estate industry weathers the last few months of 2023, remember that slow and methodical planning will allow your business to thrive in a changing market. In moments of constriction, most agents will pull back. But, with the proper diligence and planning, the most successful agents will lean in and double down on business during these times, taking advantage of market opportunities that others aren’t able to.
A successful real estate career is most certainly a long game, but worth it. Start putting in the work today to see results in 2024 and beyond.
Christa Huffstickler is the founder and CEO of the top-performing Engel & Völkers Atlanta. Christa is the winner of the Atlanta Homebuilders Association’s Obie Award and is regularly recognized among Atlanta’s most powerful business leaders. Christa ranks in the top ten Engel & Völkers license partners and advisors worldwide. Connect with her at Instagram or LinkedIn.