Tips for Thriving in Midsize Markets
The key to growing a real estate business in midsize markets is to have a solid strategic plan and a team of talented professionals who are energized, motivated, and 100 percent focused on executing this plan. A tenet of the strategic plan is identifying new prospects through a multitude of networking and business-building strategies. The following strategies can help professionals in midsize markets build new business and reaffirm their relationships with existing clients.
Face-to-Face Communications. Industry professionals cannot expect to strengthen relationships without giving customers and potential customers their undivided attention. Maintaining frequent face-to-face communication leads to greater retention and, through word-of-mouth promotion, may attract new customers looking for that same level of service.
Networking. Networking yields greater results in midsize markets because it allows businesses direct access to key prospects in a relatively cost-effective manner. Holding a leadership position in various groups and organizations can be very effective in building your customer base.Types of networking opportunities include:
•professional industry associations;
•governmental task forces/community issues (transportation, utilities, taxes); and
•social groups (schools, sports, clubs).
Often it is not what you know but who you know that makes the difference.
Governmental Agencies. Present your company as a resource to local governmental and regulatory agencies. Governmental advisory boards are prevalent in midsize markets. Establishing these relationships can be helpful as permitting and entitlement issues often arise on the operational side.
Promote Your Competitive Advantage. In a down market, you need to stress your company's solid financial footing to brokers, customers, and business partners. Educating this group on your company’s ability to meet their current and future needs will set you apart from the competition and help in their decision-making processes.
Accommodate Market Needs. Provide product and inventory that mitigates a midsize market’s challenges or shortcomings. For example, in markets that lack good public transportation, provide proposals that include comfortable parking ratios and close proximity to employee housing, shopping, lodging, and food services.
Serve as a Mentor. It is never too early to start building relationships with future customers. Develop a mentoring program for students from local or regional universities and young professionals in the real estate industry. These students and young professionals one day could be corporate decision makers, so nurturing relationships with these groups could pay big dividends in the future.