The last two years have witnessed a very active housing sector. It is no secret that price appreciation and mortgage rates have had a large impact on the direction of the entire industry. Prices have nearly returned to their previous highs. Investors, in particular, have altered exit strategies to meet the changing demands of the market. However, as 2015 draws closer, there may be time to take a breather, as the winter months are typically slower. Take a moment to reevaluate your current position. Is your investing business where you want it to be? Are there things you would want to do differently next year? Regardless of what you are looking to accomplish with your real estate business, chances are you want to improve in 2015. If that is the case, do not take the winter months lightly. Use this time to gain the edge over your competition. Having said that, the following list acknowledges 5 ways to build your 2015 business right now:
1. Revisit Your Database:
In the event that you do not already have a database in place, chances are you are missing out on potentially lucrative, automated marketing. Perhaps even more importantly, neglecting to implement a proper database will prevent you from being able to target different audiences through custom marketing criteria. Missing out on the opportunities provided by a well kept database can prevent you from reaching people where they spend most of their time: their email inbox. Essentially, your database is too valuable of a tool not to use it. Having said that, you need to have a database and know how to use it.
If you do not have a database management system, there are several places you can get one for free: Contactually, Top Producer and Google Contacts are just a few. Each of these operating systems will help you keep track and manage your contacts. I can tell you that agents who have a database and manage it with intention and consistency succeed.
If you already work from an organized database, you undoubtedly know the benefits it offers. However, just because you have a database does not mean you are in the clear. You can always improve your current standings. If you already have a database, I challenge you to add 10 names to it today. In fact, make a habit out of adding people to your database. Building a dependable database is an ongoing process that is vital to the success of any company.
2. Follow Up With Your Previous Clients:
Yes – I will admit that first bit of advice was, or at least should have been, common sense. Managing contacts is absolutely critical in the world of real estate investing. It is worth mentioning, regardless of how trivial it may seem. With that out of the way, however, it is time to move on to the good stuff. Take that database and use it to your advantage!
Look through your client history. Did you sell someone a home five years ago that has drastically increased in value? Send them a comparative market analysis (CMA) and a quick note letting them know! Better yet, send them a letter informing them of their equity position, and ask them if they might be interested in selling. At the very least, you are providing value and some interesting information.
3. Take Advantage of the Holidays:
While many consider the holidays to be a slow time for the investment industry, there is little to convince me otherwise. In fact, there is perhaps no other time that provides a better opportunity to get ahead. Taking the right steps over the holidays can help you get started off on the right foot in 2015. Accordingly, this time of the year permits savvy investors the opportunity to use the season to their advantage. People are getting together at this time of the year for any number of reasons.
Take a moment to invite over those that are most important to you, and your business. Plan a happy hour meet-up at your favorite restaurant. Organize an Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl. Host a Kid’s Night Out so that parents can go holiday shopping. The possibilities are endless, and bringing your favorite people together is an easy way to say “thank you” for their business and referrals! Even if all this get-together does is remind clients of doing business with you, it will be a success. Remember, real estate is a people business. Cultivating relationships is one of the most important things you can do with your time.
4. Start Planning For Next Year:
With 2014 ready to be placed in the rearview mirror, investors should reevaluate their current standings. How did things transpire in 2014? Really take the time to analyze what worked for you and what didn’t. Figuring out where you might be able to increase your production or cut some costs going forward is a key part of your future success.
However, it is not enough to just look at where you are coming from. You need to be able to translate what you have learned into a business plan for next year. At the very least, you will know where your priorities stand and what should be left alone.
5. Strengthen Your Social Media Presence:
If you are currently entering the investing world, you have no idea how much things have changed in the last ten years alone. It wasn’t long ago that items like rental space and newspaper marketing where two of the first things you thought about if you were just starting out. In today’s market, you focus more on website content and forming a social media presence. The misconception is that if you flood the market with constant posts it is enough to drive people to you. The reality is that when it comes to social media activity quality is more important than quantity.
Every business is interesting to somebody. It doesn’t matter what business you are in, there will be people that need your service. The scope of those people will differ greatly, but when considering what to post think about whom you are trying to attract. As a real estate investor, you are trying to gain the interest of realtors, fellow investors, contractors, buyers and possibly sellers. Instead of posting short, general posts a few times a day, think about finding or creating content that is specific to those areas. You are not trying to appeal to a national audience. You are trying to appeal to people who may actually work with you.