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How to Build Local Expertise With the Help of Your Clients

Lets make the assumption you want your brokerage/franchise to be viewed as the local expert for the areas you serve. (let’s be honest: what agent DOESN’T want to be the local expert?)

Lets make the assumption you buy into the long term lead generation concept/strategy I outlined last week.

Let’s also assume you have the technology (either via StreetAdvisor, or the money and know-how to build it yourself) to execute the strategy.

wallingford reviewAssuming all of that is true — how, exactly, would you go about getting your clients help providing content to establish your brokerage/franchise as the local expert?

That’s the million dollar question.

There are two core parts of this (as well as transparency into actual transactions you’re doing within specific areas) — reviews/rating and questions/answers.

Reviews

Everyone wants to know what it’s actually like to live in a specific neighborhood. Of course, the only people that actually know that are the people who live there. Some of those current/former residents are your clients. Some are your agents.

As a broker or franchise, you have some control over your agents. The starting point to developing online expertise around cities and neighborhoods is to have your agents leave a review about every neighborhood they serve (& certainly the ones they’ve lived in). Yes, FHA is a thing — but the reviews can highlight favorite parks, attractions, hiking trails, restaurants, and businesses without steering buyers toward specific areas.

Reviews by clients are harder to source. The right approach is certainly not an email campaign to the tune of “please leave a review of the neighborhood you live in on our website so we can get more leads”.

That wouldn’t go over very well.

Follow Simon Sinek’s advice — start with “why”.

Some possible why’s:

  • Showcase all the amazing things to do nearby to attract new residents who share your passions/interests/values. Play to their pride of the neighborhood/city they live in.
  • Your home value will go up if we make the neighborhood more desirable to buyers. This will work for those who are certainly planning to move in the next few years.
  • We’re investing heavily into the neighborhood. For every client we place in the neighborhood, we’ll invest X back into the local neighborhood. Think parks, schools, local events. (Yes, you should be a socially conscious brokerage).

Take every one of your past clients to coffee, tell them about the community your building, and make the one ask of them to write a short review of the neighborhood they bought in.

Q&A

This part is a lot easier than getting reviews.

I’m willing to bet, an email campaign to your client base urging them to ask any question they want, and an experienced real estate agent is guaranteed to respond would get a good response. The guaranteed response is critical. If they don’t get insanely fast responses, your value proposition falls flat on its face incredibly quickly.

Over time, you’ll end up with a base of local residents as well who can add further insight to the questions asked so it’s not just responses by your agents.

A monthly email that says “Have a real estate question? Ask our community here” would be a good starting point (and ensure your direct click throughs to a very specific landing page where they can enter their question and submit it with one click).

In Conclusion

You must ASK your community of agents and clients for help.

Getting people to help each other is seldom the challenge when building communities. It’s always getting people to raise their hand and indicate they need help. Thus, you need to raise your hand, and let people know you need their help to build a strong community that stands for X (you need to decide what X is).

If you can’t get your clients to help you, I would quickly start to worry about your long term business prospects…. or just be okay buying your leads for eternity.

Yes, building community is hard. As I’ve said before, that’s why it’s worth doing. No one can yank a community from under you.

[Disclosure: I’m consulting for StreetAdvisor, which can solve the technology required to execute against this strategy if interested.]

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Product & Marketing for 360modern. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • Could we see an example of StreetAdvisor live on a Broker’s website. I am having trouble visualizing what they are offering.

    • I just sent you a couple examples, though they are focused on corporations and not brokerages.

      Bottom line — it’s everything you see on StreetAdvisor, but branded to you.

  • The whole concept makes sense. It just takes more than a brokerage wanting it to work and asking (can’t require it) that agents do these things to build this whole ecosystem. You need agents who believe in it and opt in to it.

    I see this as a great opportunity for a “boutique” with a really clear culture, but also one that must be big enough to collect the bulk of content necessary to make it fly. It could also be a boutique team within a larger brokerage, one that would be fed the leads exclusively for their commitment to the project. It would be difficult to do at a standard brokerage office.

    • “You need agents who believe in it and opt in to it.”

      Yup, the “why” is critical. Without it, it will fail. I agree with you on your thought about a “boutique”. I can see it working well within a brokerage like Hawaii Life, or 360 Modern in Seattle even (a sub brand of Windermere).

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