I’ve noticed many of my real estate coaching clients view the winter slow season as a crisis. Sales grow stagnant, inquiries slow down, and yes, it can be hard not to panic a little. My clients always ask how they can overcome slow winter sales. What I tell them is they’re looking at the slow season the wrong way.
The slow season is a brokerage owner’s chance to prepare for an amazing season of sales to come. You can grow your real estate business in the slow season by laying the foundation for the busy season. The winter months are the perfect time to refresh your marketing campaigns, build a referral list, and review your business procedures. Make use of your unwanted free time to create a strong start for the busy season.
So don’t think of the slow season as a crisis, but a huge opportunity for your business. Let’s take a look at what you can do to help your brokerage grow in the slow season. Put these tips to use, and you’ll find your slow season isn’t so slow after all.
Keep in mind why winter is the slow season in the first place. People are waiting for the warm weather before they put their house on the market. Other people are waiting for winter to end before they start house hunting.
That means there’s a wealth of potential clients just waiting for the right time. Why not make them yours?
Tap into your list of contacts and seek out referrals. Most of your past and current clients likely know someone who’s waiting for summer to buy or sell. If they haven’t started looking for a brokerage already, they will be soon.
Keep in mind what I said about “laying the foundation”. When your team makes their referral calls, the slow season is the time to be focused on building rapport. Remember, your referrals may not have decided 100% that they’ll be making a move after winter is done. You want your potential clients to feel at ease once you reach out.
Once you have built a strong referral list, your team will have plenty to keep them busy during winter. Keep building rapport, and you should have a full roster of new clients once springtime arrives.
Consider a new specialty for your brokerage
If you’ve ever wanted to expand your brokerage’s specialties, the slow season is the time. Take advantage of your open winter calendar space, and use it to explore opportunities you might not have had time for before.
So many brokerage owners, for example, tell me they’d like to expand into the vacation homes market. Most people wait for the warm weather to buy or sell a vacation property. This makes the slow season the best time to plan for breaking into the market.
Spend the slow season creating your action plan for entering into the vacation homes market. It will dovetail nicely with your new list of referrals you’ve been building. By the time spring rolls around, your brokerage should have a wedge into the vacation homes specialty.
Revitalize your marketing campaigns
The slow season is about foundation building, remember. A huge part of your foundation is how you market your brokerage. The slow season is the perfect time to revisit your marketing campaigns…or, if necessary, revitalize them.
Take time in the slow season to review how effective your marketing has been. You’ll have your year-end numbers ready to review by then. You’ll also have time to see if you’ve been hitting your targets or missing them. You’ll even have time to look at newer, better ways to market your brokerage.
Your goal should be to have your marketing campaign ready for rollout as soon as the busy season arrives. All your efforts during the winter will pay off when your business grows in summertime.
Again, once you look at the opportunities the winter months offer, you’ll see all the chances to grow your business.
Expand (or enter) into new social media platforms
If you (or any of your agents) have been skittish about expanding social media outreach, the slow season is the best time to do it.
Most of us have the standard Facebook and Twitter pages at this point. However, a lot of agents (and brokerages!) aren’t using them effectively. If your agents are just slapping their latest listings up and calling it a day, then they aren’t taking advantage of what either platform can do for them.
Sit down with your team in the slow season, and focus on creating social media content that encourages engagement, interaction and, of course, referrals.
Don’t overlook other forms of social media, either. Instagram and its heavy focus on imagery might be the most realtor-friendly social media platform out there. Even TikTok shows great potential for real estate marketing. Don’t write it off as something just for teenagers.
Spend the slow season perfecting your social media interactions, and watch them grow your business later on.
Review and renew your operational procedures
Every tactic I’ve suggested above gives you a great start. None of them, though, will do you much good unless they’re properly integrated into your operational procedures.
If you truly want to hit the ground running when your busy season arrives, then take an honest look at how you’ve been running your brokerage. Even if you’re satisfied with the way things are going, a closer look might change your mind.
Use the winter slow season to take a deep dive into your daily operational procedures. Make sure you get feedback from your agents and office staff. You may discover that the way some things have been done are having a negative impact. That’s something you’ll want to fix before things get busy again!
If necessary, take the time to give your procedures an overhaul. You’ll want any major changes in place well before the busy season arrives. Then once it does, your new procedures will be second nature to everyone, including yourself.
That means you and your team can stay focused on what you do best. It also means your business will grow, now that operational issues have been addressed.
Now that we’ve taken a look at what you can do to grow your business in the slow season, let’s talk about how to put the tactics I’ve suggested into play.
Give me, Bill Foss, a call, and we’ll talk about how real estate coaching can help you. Just reach out and we’ll get you started on the best busy season of your life.