Build Your Niche Through Untapped Relationships 

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When it comes our real estate businesses, focusing consistently on a niche can be a beneficial source of business if we dedicate the time into building the relationships and providing the customized value for it. Ask San Diego-based agent Bridget Potterton. In real estate for 20 years, Bridget is a solo agent who attributes a significant and growing amount of business to the niche she concentrates in – divorces.
No matter the niche you may be considering, the approach is similar. It comes down to setting yourself apart from the crowd by having a knowledge-based approach toward the niche that is above and beyond anyone else and building relationships within the niche based on the added value your expertise provides.
Bridget suggests doing the following key things:
1. Get educated on the niche
When you are trying to break into a particular niche, it’s incredibly important to take the time and make the effort to learn about the space. Find classes that can teach you about it. Training and the accompanying designations will not only help you to increase your knowledge, but it will also increase your confidence in the area you wish you pursue.
For example, for Bridget to specialize in the divorce niche, she first took training to become a designated Real Estate Divorce Specialist. Then, she got a second designation as a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert. As she explained to us, the divorce niche has two sets of rules to abide by – family law and real estate law – and they don’t always play well together. By getting educated on the ins and outs of the niche, she became the person who could bridge the gap between what happens in family law and court orders and what can actually play out in the real estate market.
2. Take time to recognize the needs of the players in the niche
While the people in the niche you’d like to target may be knowledgeable about their specific area of expertise, it’s likely that they don’t have the same knowledge as you. You can provide a great amount of value by sharing what you know.
Bridget, for example, often gets appointed by court order to represent the sale of a home for parties going through a divorce. After she gets the court order, she will reach out to the family law attorney about things that might not work in the current scenario given the local real estate laws and talk about ways they can work together to get the deal to happen. By doing so, she’s appointed herself as an invaluable reference for the attorneys she works with in helping them to satisfy their clients.
3. Build relationships via adding value to your referral sources
Niches often require specific value that differs from the ways you may interact with your past clients. To do so, you must learn to speak their language. Any niche – even real estate – has jargon that is specific to it. When you can understand the intricacies of their business you can speak to them in a way that makes sense and resonates with them. You become a true partner.
Bridget has found that one of the key ways she adds value within the divorce niche is to provide continuing education to the family law attorneys she interacts with. As lawyers need to get a specific amount of continuing education credits every year, she provides zoom classes ten times a year that help them to meet this requirement. In addition, she became the first realtor in her area to be approved through the state bar to give Continuing Legal Education (CLEs) in attorney’s offices. She does a lunch and learn where she provides lunch, the attorneys get a CLE credit, and they learn about her business and how she can help them. It’s a win-win.
4. Keep in touch with targeted content
Like the value you offer to a particular niche, the ways you communicate and connect with it may vary from the ways you keep in touch with other past clients.
For example, Bridget interacts with attorneys less frequently than other clients because each communication she sends falls under the attorney’s billable hours and costs the client money. When reaching out to her database, the content she sends attorneys also differs from what she sends other past clients. Whether it’s a monthly email with family law and real estate information or specific information relating to continuing education, they receive information that is targeted to their needs and the needs of their clients rather than a standard touch program.
5. Know your market value
Agents are used to doing a lot of upfront work for free. Depending on the niche you focus on, you may be expected to be compensated for the time you are working. For that reason, it’s important to be prepared and know your fair market hourly rate.
Bridget, for example, is trained as an expert witness and can testify if necessary. When the need for her expertise arises in this area, she’s paid for the time she spends helping the attorneys she works with.
Remember, you don’t have to focus on the divorce arena for this advice to be worthwhile. Bridget’s tactics can be applied to any niche. Prepare to play the long game. When you spend time focusing on a particular niche, getting educated about the niche’s intricacies, and consistently provide it with specialized value, you can grow any portion of your business. The key is to become the person in that arena that they know, like, and trust more than anyone else.
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