I can’t overstate the need for specialization in real estate in today’s shifting market. Every lead, prospect, and client you work with really just wants to know the same thing: Why should they hire you? The barrier to entry for real estate is relatively low compared to other industries, which means that there’s new blood all the time. The good news is also the bad news: most agents won’t hang around past a year. What are most agents missing that’s kept others in real estate for decades?
According to a national study on teams recently commissioned by Workman Success Systems, 62% of real estate professionals say they wish they had more specific specialty training. With agents coming and going in droves, this suggests that one of the big reasons agents aren’t hanging around is that they aren’t becoming specialized experts that can inspire confidence in the people they work with.
Every lead, prospect, and client you work with really just wants to know the same thing: Why should they hire you?
Agents who don’t specialize won’t survive in the modern real estate world — and the reason why is simple: you can’t learn enough about everything in real estate to satisfy a client’s need for you to be an expert for their specific situation. With enough time, you may be able to learn enough about the industry to satisfy most clients, but how many lean years are you willing to go through to get there? There’s an easier way: choose a specialization, dig deep into it, and leverage your knowledge of that specific piece of the industry to become a trusted advisor to everyone you help.
Types of Specialization in Real Estate
So, what’s your thing? What are you going to bring to the table for your clients that other agents can’t or won’t? Specialization in real estate is really just about adding that extra value so your clients decide to use you over the next agent. Here are a few areas in which you can specialize:
- Specific types of clients (investors, first-time buyers, seniors, etc.)
- Locations (being the expert in a specific neighborhood can pay huge dividends in the right area)
- Property type (maybe you only sell business properties — or condos, or anything else)
- Transaction (maybe you’re an incredible seller’s agent but lacking when it comes to buyers)
There are dozens more options beyond those I’ve listed above. What you choose isn’t as important as the choosing itself. Specialization means you can offer things to your client that other agents don’t even know about. Sure, your overall client pool may shrink a bit, but you’ll draw the kinds of clients who want to work with you. If your quantity dips, your quality is likely to skyrocket.
Risks of Specializing Instead of Staying General
None of this is to say that there are no risks to specialization in real estate — just like any other business move, this decision must be made carefully and with the proper education on the topic. You may not wish to specialize in seniors buying homes in an area with a low retirement population. Do your research on your market and mitigate your risks.
It’s absolutely essential that you recognize the changes you’ll encounter once you begin specializing, so you don’t panic and go back to your general ways out of instinct. Specialization might mean fewer overall leads or even fewer overall appointments with clients. Let me allay that fear: if you’re closing the same amount of deals in half the meetings, what are you really getting? The answer, of course, is time. Being more efficient in your real estate business nets you more time — which can, in turn, net you more business or give you back some of your personal life.
Specialization will mean changes to the way you do business. It might mean that you have to adjust and adapt to your new career. While this may feel risky (change frequently does), recognize the power of leveraging your specialized knowledge to help your clients get the results they want. It directly translates into more qualified clients, more client satisfaction, and higher profits for you.
Real Estate Teams and Specialization
A great way to make your real estate specialization work for you is to join or create a team of specialists. When done with intent, a team of agents all working together where each has specific industry knowledge is a force to be reckoned with. Workman’s national team study found that 4 of 5 agents felt that a team helped keep them in a real estate career, with nearly the same number stating that their team made them more money than being on their own.
A real estate team full of specialists helps mitigate the concerns of lead generation and client pool: if you meet a prospect who doesn’t fit your specialty or niche, you can easily refer them to someone on your team who is the right fit. As the team works together, you’ll find more leads and prospects coming your way than you’d ever generate on your own.
A quick note: the overwhelming majority of real estate teams say that communication is their biggest pain point. My recommendation is that you seek to solve communication early and implement a system whereby your team stays looped in. Even with this consideration, the best thing about real estate teams is their individual nature: you can build whatever team culture you want. Build one that serves the needs of the specialists you gather, and the compounded effort of your group will mean more money for everyone.
Specialization for Individual Real Estate Agents
Maybe it’s not time for a team. Even as an individual real estate agent, you’re more likely to become indispensable and turn your real estate job into a career by specializing. As technology rises and threatens so many other industries, recognize that it’s not a threat to the agent who knows the nuances of their niche — it’s an asset. Specialization is essential for your success precisely because it allows you to be on the cutting edge of a niche and know how to best implement technology, shifting markets, and economic issues.
Specialization allows you to navigate any changes with skill instead of floundering for months — or years — after agents who know better have already figured them out. Specialization as an individual agent means sticking on the cutting edge because you’re the expert who deals with your niche every day. Do yourself the favor of becoming the real expert in your real estate specialization.
Whether you’re ready to build a team of specialists or just looking for your real estate specialization so you can find better clients, increase your close rate, and make your time more worthwhile, the research and time you put into exploring a real estate specialty will pay dividends if you dig deep and learn the things other agents around you just don’t know yet. The future of real estate — and your success in it — is tied to specialization.
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