Guest post by Roxanne Peterson.
Growing a real estate business in Spain is not for the faint-hearted. The market is fiercely competitive. In addition, the recession has left its mark, but there are simple steps you can take to realise your real estate goals.
It is essential for any growing business to spend a significant portion of its time marketing their product or service. This should be your first priority and if done well, you will generate the leads you require for growth. Marketing your business doesn’t have to be expensive. Get involved in local business groups and networking clubs, utilise free classifieds, sponsor a school sports team or offer a free informative seminar. If you do have a budget to hire a professional marketing company, choose one that has extensive experience working with real estate businesses and check references.
Return Calls Promptly
This seems like common sense, but on busy days returning phone calls can often get pushed to the side. It’s a competitive market out there and chances are the person on the other end of the phone will be calling more than one real estate company. If you know you won’t be able to answer calls for an extended period of time, do try to leave a voicemail message detailing when you will get back to the caller.
Chase Your Leads
When you have a motivated customer it is important that you act as quickly as possible. Don’t let too much time pass or they may change their mind. Deliver a call to action and try to move on to the next stage within a day or two as opposed to a week down the line. Do your research and be aware of what the customer is looking for, as you don’t want to leave them with any doubts over your product or professionalism.
Good quality images are essential in the real estate business. Customers trust you with high value transactions and poor quality images can leave you looking like an amateur. Images should be clear, bright and high resolution. When customers are searching for online estate agents they will spend less than five seconds deciding if the images they are presented with represent a company they want to do business with. This isn’t an area to skimp on, so if possible enlist the services of a professional photographer or graphic designer.
Do make an effort to learn Spanish and at the very least have someone on your team who is fluent. Knowing the language will make it easier for you to make local connections and sell your services, but it also shows that you value the Spanish people and country you are doing business in. If you are employing local contractors you will be in a much better position if you can be certain that everyone is on the same page and clear about the task in hand.
You may not like it or feel comfortable using it, but social networking is here to stay. Get your business online and utilise every social networking platform that is available. Use twitter, Facebook and Google + to build an audience by delivering consistent and useful tips that encourage readers to share your business details.
Ensure your online business persona and your physical business match. It can be tempting to over promise on what you can actually deliver or to pose as something you’re not. Transparency creates trust, which is key to forming successful business relationships.
Research the Spanish laws relating to real estate and enlist the services of a local lawyer who has real estate experience. Spain has a very unique set of property laws and the licensing process can be very bureaucratic. Don’t assume that if you’ve been through the process once it will be the same next time round. The key is to understand the potential pitfalls and to plan for every eventuality with cash flow in mind so you can avoid ploughing all your resources into one area.
You have a lot of competitors out there all trying to increase their market share. Ensure your potential customers want to engage with your business by offering an incentive such as a small freebie, discount or competition. Try to keep things interesting for your prospects and offer them something they will want to share with others.
The real estate market has experienced some turbulence lately and consumer confidence is low. Show commitment to your business through presentation, organisation and attitude to ease consumer worry. Displaying commitment is a great way to grow your brand and develop the reputation of your business.
Roxanne Peterson writes regularly on a variety of topics encompassing business development, finance and marketing. This includes giving advice on what to look for when searching for online estate agents for a range of specialist websites and blogs.