As your business grows and you need additional talent to ease your growing pains, you need to identify what your areas of specialization will be. Many top producers have honed their listing presentation skills and hired a buyer’s agent so they can focus their time on acquiring listings. Others have migrated to luxury where they can focus on fewer clients and higher margins.
“4 Hour Work Week” Author Tim Ferriss on Specializing
Inman News published a piece with a statistical analysis of top performers which found: “They aren’t great at every aspect of their job; rather, they are specialists whose natural talents were well-aligned with a select set of specialized activities, tasks and duties.”
To be successful, your decision to specialize needs to be grounded in knowing yourself, your market, and your competition. You need to decide where the split will be – location, side, or niche – and whether you can hire to support the other clients that want your services.
Assessment – Self
Any assessment needs to start with you. You need to identify what potential specialties will resonate for you. Start by analyzing what you have achieved so far in your career:
- What parts of the process were you most excited about?
- What parts did you dread or stress eat through?
- Are there any similarities between your successes – location, type of home, type of client?
- How about similarities between your failures?
- Are there any niches that you are naturally curious about?
- Have you made enough of a name for yourself that you can get through the next year without going into the red if you refer out certain clients?
Assessment – Market
Not every market can support your preferred specialization. If you’re a rural agent, you’re probably not going to be able to go into luxury. It’s time to get up close and personal with market research – start crunching the numbers.
For example – if you were thinking of becoming the area expert on condos – you need to assess the number of condos in the market, how many sell on average per year, what is the average time on market, what are the most common barriers to closing, and what builders/HOAs/property management companies you should develop a relationship with.
Assessment – Competition
Part of your market research is reviewing the competition. If you’ve identified a hotly contested market – what expertise can you establish to differentiate yourself? Research your competition on sites like Yelp to find out where they have failed to deliver the exemplary customer service you are promising.
Is your competition certified in their specialty field? Many specializations have specific programs like Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist, Certified Residential Specialist, and many more. Taking the relevant classes and gaining the certification can provide the credibility you need at listing appointments.
Once you’ve done your research, you need to start looking at how you can invest your time between listings to build your credibility. Whether that’s taking classes, volunteering in neighborhoods, writing/freelancing a blog on your area of specialization, or finding co-branding opportunities with the companies you identified as needing to develop a relationship with, treat this as building the foundation for your new direction.