The content of this article is based on our webinar of 28 September 2021, hosted by Patrick Grobéty, entrepreneur and real estate marketing expert, and Aldo Barroso, Key Account Manager at PriceHubble. Please contact us if you would like to view the recording of this webinar.
To start up and sustain a real estate business, you need to be fully committed and constantly question your sales methods. The changing face of prospecting and digital marketing methods is leading experts in this sector to reconsider how they communicate and how they position themselves on their market. They are doing this by adapting their strategies, and in some cases changing their perspectives.
Door-to-door prospecting, telephone canvassing and conversationally “boxing” prospects in no longer deliver the results expected. Indeed, according to Patrick Grobéty, the 1% to 3% success rate of these approaches is extremely low compared to the time invested. Nevertheless, prospecting continues to be the lifeblood of a real estate agent’s business. And, as such, we must approach it in a more structured way. For instance, sales tunnels – similar to the “IKEA maze” – encourage prospecting and can make the difference.
Do you want to structure your business and improve your prospecting strategy? If so, Patrick Grobéty recommends his PML™ method. The PML™ method was devised based upon the many years’ experience of Gary Keller, an entrepreneur and the founder of the largest network of real estate agencies in the world. This method consists of the following three pillars:
- Prospects: generating a high volume of leads
- Listings: converting your leads into exclusive listings
- Leveraging: using leverage to minimise the time and money that you put in
The PML™ method plays out over these three linear phases, which correspond to the life cycle of your business.
Solid foundations for a sustainable business
“As with any construction project, you must have solid foundations to start up a strong and sustainable business.”
Building strong foundations for your business begins with having the right mindset. Ask yourself what the real reasons are for starting or improving your own real estate business. This will allow you to set short-, medium- and long-term objectives. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to set a financial goal. Instead, you want to establish an objective for your quality of life.
Next, you will need to adopt the right legal structure, depending on the objectives you have set for yourself and the business that you wish to develop. The Swiss government provides many platforms to help you choose the most appropriate type of business. It could also be important to have your standard contracts checked to make sure that they comply with current Swiss regulations.
Lastly, it is vital to establish a positioning consistent with your business. This will be the core piece of your strategy and the most important aspect that you will define. To do this, you must take time to assess your competitors and to understand what sets you apart from them. Then you will be able to offer the right service at the right price.
Communicate to launch your business better
“If you don’t set yourself apart from the competition using a clear positioning, it will all come down to price, and you will lose out from the outset.”
Once you have thought through the foundations stage, it is time to focus on launching your business. In particular, this means focussing on the image that you will associate with your brand. Adopting a strong brand image is also an opportunity to set yourself apart from your competitors. This will make you stand out from the crowd.
Next comes the key task of comparing tools. You will investigate this according to your own business. You must choose each tool according to your objectives. For example:
Once these elements are in place, move on to marketing your business. As Patrick Grobéty notes, “before you dive head-first into marketing, you first need to position yourself”. There is no magic formula when it comes to marketing. Instead, it is a long-term process. In six months to a year, you will begin to see the results.
Therefore, a marketing strategy that is best suited to your positioning will be the most effective one. For example, you wouldn’t adopt the same approach for working in an urban real estate market, such as Geneva, compared to somewhere more rural, like the canton of Valais. Similarly, LinkedIn will be a prime source of leads if you are targeting architects or real estate developers.
The prospecting channels that you use will therefore depend on your strategy. Each of the social networks will also have different roles to play. Patrick Grobéty points out that Facebook is mainly used for advertising, whereas Instagram, via its stories function, is used more to “show the other side of the story”. YouTube is employed for making videos over time and creating “localised” content, while LinkedIn is predominantly used to develop business contact and partner networks.
Breaking through your glass ceiling to keep on growing
Naturally, once the foundation and launch phases have been completed, it is time for the growth phase. It is normal to hit a glass ceiling when you get to a certain point with your business. Patrick Grobéty has two suggestions to break through this barrier:
- Establish processes for productivity gains: If you don’t have time to seek out new listings or make sales, then make time now to optimise your processes. The moment has also come to optimise your outgoings. This will enable you to improve your profitability, if not increase your turnover.
- Human resources as a development factor: According to Patrick Grobéty, the top salespeople make between 20 and 24 sales per year. If you wish to go above that, it is time to recruit and/or delegate to qualified real estate professionals, so that you can find new areas of development.
Human relationships as a source of motivation
To sum up, developing a real estate business depends on a clear, strong positioning. One which responds not only to your market, but also to what you want. Position yourself in a sector or with targets adapted to what drives you, and you will be in the best conditions to carry out your real estate projects. If tools allow you to become a more efficient real estate agent, then, above all, as Patrick Grobéty reminds us, it is your personality and know-how that will set you apart from your competitors.