As we sail through the final quarter of 2022, it’s crucial to get your business plan in place for the New Year.
While Chicagoland is a highly unique market that’s not always subject to the same trends as the rest of the country, it’s best to be prepared for whatever comes your way by creating a flexible strategy for the coming year.
At the Baird & Warner Lincoln Park office, brokers receive a tailored template guiding every step of the process and invaluable mentorship on how to build a plan that truly works. While rising interest rates and other challenges facing prospective new homeowners signal a shifting real estate landscape — you can come out on top by building a strong foundation of proactive practices and healthy habits.
Let’s dive into some insider tips for your 2023 plan and how to set yourself up for success.
Find Your Niche
Many brokers try to generalize and do a little bit of everything, and of course, wearing many different hats is just part and parcel of working in this industry.
Marketing, social media management, business development, and concierge customer service are all areas where agents will develop some beneficial experience.
But your individual skills and expertise are what will make you stand out from the crowd. Even if you’ve hung your license with a vibrant brokerage like Baird & Warner Lincoln Park, one of the main elements of your individual business plan should be promoting yourself as a subject matter expert.
Your specialization should be something you’re truly passionate about. In Chicago, we have a vast variety of property types, from tiny urban flats and cutting-edge modern construction to Craftsman bungalows and sprawling historic mansions. There are 77 neighborhoods in the city, each with its own distinct flavor.
Whether you’re interested in revitalizing out-of-date homes or knowing exactly which communities have the best schools and amenities, you should learn your particular niche inside and out. Your clients will be energized by your depth of knowledge, which will encourage valuable word-of-mouth referrals.
Create Great Content
Another important aspect of a successful real estate business plan is regularly delivering cohesive and consistent messaging to current and potential clients.
This is vital for establishing and growing your reputation as a thought leader.
From a quick text check-in to a lengthier educational blog post or video, you should always strive to present content that is educational, entertaining, and relevant to your clients’ needs and the current real estate environment.
It’s not always easy to come up with ideas, so start with what you know. Let your subject matter expertise guide you to interesting topics you feel comfortable sharing.
Leverage social media and new technology to ensure you maintain a steady stream of content and make sure your website is eye-catching and always up-to-date (minimally, ensure your profile is up-to-date!) These massively effective tools for expanding your reach are also extremely affordable, and often entirely free.
Stay abreast of the latest trends in your target communities and share your views. Learn your audience’s motivations and challenges to help you develop a more personalized and effective approach.
Nurture Your Network
In uncertain times, it’s even more critical to devote time to expanding your ecosystem, especially within your local communities.
Real estate brokers have always loved to network, but now there are more options than ever before for growing your contact list through both virtual and in-person outlets.
Platforms like LinkedIn will help you connect with potential clients and build trust. A LinkedIn profile is like an enhanced online resume, and it gives you a great opportunity to showcase your knowledge, skills, and experience.
While Facebook and Instagram are perfect for targeted ads and sharing your listing pictures and walk-through videos, many consumers head directly to LinkedIn to do some research before they consider forming a working relationship.
Face-to-face interaction is also key to expanding your network, and there’s a variety of meaningful ways to engage with your peers, buyers, sellers, and potential partners in complementary industries like architecture, interior design, and home service providers.
Not sure where to start? Here are some creative ideas for meeting new people and growing your ecosystem:
- Volunteer! Food pantries, Habitat for Humanity, animal shelters, sustainability projects, and projects for underserved children are all excellent ways to give something back while having fun and forming long-lasting connections.
- Join civic organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, young professionals groups, or neighborhood-specific groups.
- Become a supporter of the arts and work with non-profits like Steppenwolf Theater, the Chicago History Museum, or the Southside Community Arts Center.
- Participate in local festivals. Chicago is known around the world for the sheer number of festivals and events that celebrate food, music, and our diverse culture.
Become known in your community for having an excellent work ethic and a generous heart.
Stay Focused and Keep Learning
2023 will be an interesting year and you’re sure to face some new challenges, especially in an unusual and exciting market like Chicago.
The best way to prepare for the unexpected is to find your North Star. This is your overarching long-term goal that shines through whatever life throws at you and helps you find your way.
Your plan should be a living document that evolves as you do. As you build your business, have a mentor and an accountability partner. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to learn, grow, and expand your network.
At Baird & Warner Lincoln Park, we offer our agents an unparalleled support system with a full-time management team who are there to offer guidance and assistance. If you’re ready to elevate your business and start the New Year off right, reach out today!