In the world where you and I live in, there’s a boom and bust that happens to every industry. You must have witnessed that almost every industry in the world has seen some great times and some bad spells too.
Pakistan’s real estate sector is no different. An upward moving trend that started in the early years of the last decade is more or less facing a stagnant position, if not declining.
The change of government, the imposing of tax, and the lawsuits against most major realtors are enough reasons to discourage the investor’s confidence.
But you have seen that the real estate sector overall is still progressing. Regardless of all the macro issues, the sector is still alive and kicking.
Well, the credit goes to the ever-increasing demand for houses, an increasing number of middle class and overseas Pakistanis investing in housing schemes and projects to claim their second home.
In short, if I ignore the macro factors and account for the micro ones, then it should have been easy for me to say it’s a great time to be a real estate agent because all of them are making huge sums of money, but the truth is that I just can’t.
There are many property dealers in the country who are barely surviving; they don’t have enough clients to call the shots, their commissions are fixed at a maximum of 2%, so no chance of a large cash cow deals, there are too many stakeholders (other property dealers) within the deal to split the commissions with, and there are loads of window shoppers who are less of serious buyers that are spoiling the broth.
To me, this is the perfect case of an industry where differentiation strategy works perfectly.
What do I mean by that?
Let’s discuss a few scenarios to understand and see what it is and how you can we fix it.
Business Problems that Real Estate Agents Face
There are certain factors at play that directly affect the workings of the real estate agent/property dealers. By the way, property dealer is the term more commonly used in Pakistan and India for the real estate agents.
I prefer calling them real estate agents, because to me, the property could be anything. It could be gold, foreign exchange, intellectual property and there are many other forms of it. But we’ll keep using them interchangeably.
So, let’s jot down these micro problems, so that they can help you understand the problems you face and their potential solutions.
Problems for Real Estate Agents in Pakistan
- Lack of Investors in Your Circle
- No Lead Generation Mechanism
- Poor Client Referral Mechanism
- No Fanbase
- Lack of Product Differentiation
- No Idea of Selling Process
- Lack of Business Expansion Plan
- Too Much Running Around
- Lack of Trust Among Co-Workers
- No Regular Income
1. Lack of Investors in Your Circle
Most property dealers rely on friends and family when the startup. Their friends and family are their full fledge marketing strategy, their leads, their constant flow of ideas, and even their customers.
This is a sheer plan of failure. I’d be sad if you do the same.
Let me tell you what’s sad about it.
If you are a real estate agent and you rely on your friends and family to be your clients and they buy or sell the property through you, that’s great.
But the question is how many of your friends and family are at the stage where they need a house to buy or want to sell a property.
I am not talking out the rentals here. Common! Don’t tell me that rentals are something that makes you rich. Neither, it is something you look forward to.
The money is in the buying and selling and that’s what you want to build upon. Right?
So, if within your circle, you are looking at people who can buy or sell, you are probably looking at the age 35 or above. Actually, it is 45 or above, but let’s assume it is 35 or above, so that some technology entrepreneurs aka tech freaks like me who are under 40 are added to the list.
When you look at all above 35 years of age, you realise that your database of friends and family is now shrinking. Next question, how many of this list will rely on you for their buying and selling needs.
In reality, some of them will definitely not like to work with you. No, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s just how people are.
See, when you have 500+ friends on Facebook and you upload a profile picture, you get 250 likes or so. That’s how people are. Not available, not interested, busy or engaged with other dealers, so to speak.
Now, you also have friends and family members who already have a real estate agent within their circle, who is much more trustworthy than you. Maybe a brother, a relative they have been doing business with. So, more chances of business for you are gone down the drain.
The point is you can’t just rely on your circle of influence alone.
2. No Lead Generation Mechanism
No leads, means no business. Property dealers are aware that in order to be successful, their mindset can’t be limited to selling a property.
In fact, the ability to generate leads through marketing campaigns is more critical to achieving success in the real estate industry, because you can’t sell a house if you have no buyer.
Property dealers having no leads can result in no business. Back in the day, you relied on moving around town, advertising in newspaper’s real estate section, relying on property portal, posting information on supermarket bulletin boards and even writing information on their property walls, to get a call from any potential buyer.
Nowadays, this strategy doesn’t quite cut it.
Without leads, no one will be in touch with you and all of your efforts to find buyer and seller will be a waste of time and energy. Lead generations play a major role in running a real estate business.
3. Poor client referral Mechanism
Real estate businesses can’t be run by agents for long-term if they have a poor client referral system. Basically, when someone refers a customer to you, they’re placing their own reputation on the line.
If you do a poor job serving a referred client, you make the person who made the referral look bad. Thus, this is an easy way to guarantee, that they will never send you a referral in the future.
Honestly, I don’t worry much how you are going to treat the referred client. It is your business and you will definitely do your best to retain the client.
What I am more worried about is that there are extremely low numbers of referred clients, it’s almost next to zero.
So, even if you claim to be the best, still you need to have referred clients to do some business. Right?
It’s important for every real estate agent to have a good sources of referral, in order to earn a good reputation of your own among people. Having a poor client referral leads to no reputation and no business.
4. No Fan Base
If you haven’t created a Facebook fan page, you are missing out a huge potential audience, high engagement levels, and targeted traffic. But even if you have one, there are no guarantees.
Due to the fact, most fan pages will remain unnoticed and won’t ever break the hundred like’s barrier. Getting people to click that “Like” button isn’t as easy as it sounds.
You need to create a generic passion group for the real estate business. On this page, you don’t have to run your property selling posts.
Rather you just create a group for people who are generically interested in the niche and then post items related to the niche.
5. Lack of Product differentiation
For every real estate agent, product differentiation is the most difficult task. A seller and a buyer always try to find, those property dealers that give them maximum profit in return.
There are many properties and a large number of property dealers out there. Well, just on Zameen.com, there is 7,284 number of real estate agents registered, and that’s still not all the sector.
The big question here is that what makes you different, what sets you apart and unique to any other real estate agents in your vicinity.
6. No Idea of Selling Process
Some property dealers do not have the required skill set to run the business. They are neither trained nor have sector specific knowledge.
Well, why would they be trained? Come to think of it, there is no set education required, no prerequisite of being a property dealer, so it’s not their fault at all. But what is terribly wrong is that such people with lack of training in the sector do not know how to sell.
Sales strategy and sales management is a magical process and when you are not trained in it, you are destined to fail. No sales management skills leads to no business.
7. Lack of Business Expansion Plan
When you live by the day, your focus is to close the very next deal you have in the pipeline. This forces you not to plan ahead for the next month, next quarter, or even next year.
If you are aiming to be the top real estate agent, you need to have a focus on the bigger plan. Where do you see your business in the next 3 months, 6 months or a year? What steps are you taking to reach there? How much revenue will you generate doing this?
This is what scaling up your business is all about. But you can’t do it at the moment since your current marketing system doesn’t allow you to do that.
That’s irony and that’s why the change is inevitable.
8. Too much running around
Tell me honestly, do you like all this running around you do in showing properties to the potential clients and then getting a “NO” as an answer.
All this running around, wastage of your time and fuel. What’s the point of applying so much effort and getting nothing in return?
“I haven’t seen a real estate agent whose shoes aren’t dirty”
In foreign countries, real estate agents charge people for ‘viewing of property’. But in Pakistan & India, people don’t pay agents because there is no concept of that.
9. Lack of trust among co-workers
I have seen many real estate agencies, where there are more than 15 staff members or so. All are making deals with their clients and earning money on the basis of commission, meaning no per month income.
Most of these staff member manage the deals on their own and are in desire of having all the commission. Since they have to share the commissions with the management, and who likes to share it. Common!
At the same time, the CEO is making his own deals and the staff members are making on their own.
There is no check and balance in real estate agencies. When the time comes for these staff members to share the percentage of commissions from their deals with the management, they sometimes share all, and sometimes, most of them keep their deals hidden.
Thus, this creates a trust deficit between the management and the staff.
What a dilemma!
10. No Regular income
Most of the real estate agents can’t have a regular income. They can’t make a career in this field because they lack knowledge and skill set.
They have no business plan strategies for the long run because there isn’t any institute that could teach them the art of being a real estate agent.
You need to have a sustainable income stream. The big boys in real estate launch back to back projects, but the small players need to have an endless supply of investors.
If you don’t have investors churning in then you need to watch out your marketing strategies again.
Solutions to the Real Estate Agents Business Problems
Sky has not fallen. If you are a real estate agent facing all the problems that I have mentioned above, then you need to read the solutions below.
These solutions will set you apart from other real estate agents and will help you generate enormous amounts of business for yourself and for your agency.
Let’s dive into it.
1. Get a Constant Feed of Investors from Facebook
You know Facebook is a perfect platform to advertise, and let’s you do a detailed targeting. You can configure the goal of your campaign, you can select various targeting options and ensure you’re ads are bringing you new leads every minute.
The most amazing thing about Facebook Ads is that it allows you to target prospective clients according to demographic, topics of interest, and so much more to make sure that your ad is seen by the right person.
To read more about it in detail, see my lectures, where I have explained the step by step process in detail. Your social media agency will never tell you these steps, as they are only good at engagements but not bringing business. So, check it out yourself.
2. Develop Fresh Daily Leads
You can develop leads by convincing a seller that you will do the best job of marketing for their property, and explaining the buyers, that you have clients who want to buy a similar property.
In order to meet both client requirements, you must spend some time establishing your online presence for yourself and your agency.
By Facebook ads, you can generate leads in order to have more business. You can target audience according to your needs by selecting location and age.
The prime difference between the newspaper advertising and Facebook advertising is the constant flow of leads that only Facebook can provide.
Now, let me ask you. How long is the life of a daily newspaper? Common. Think deep. It’s a million dollar question.
Well, you guessed it right. A daily newspaper’s life is just one day because it’s printed daily.
So, how long can you expect any leads from it? Only for a day, whereas, Facebook provides you continuous flow of leads for your business if you learn the art of marketing. Amazing. Isn’t it.
Setting up your Lead generation campaign
The campaign set up for lead ads require right bidding, determining the right amount of budget required for the campaign and implementing the Facebook Pixel on the website.
There are two options to set the bid: automatic or manual bidding. You can choose automatic bidding when you want Facebook ad auction system to adjust the bid to acquire the most leads as possible with the set budget. One can even choose manual bidding if marketers want to decide the value of each lead.
3. Rely on lookalike audience
This is one of the best marketing arsenal you should have.
Come to think of it. If you want new customers, you need customers who look like, talk like, and spend like your previous best customers. Where on earth can you find them? Impossible to ask anyone to show you the potential clients who act like your best clients.
With Facebook you can.
You can check out the Look Alike Audience.
A Lookalike Audience is a way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to your customers. You can use Facebook lookalike audience in order to make more leads and business.
There are certainly some complexities which I have solved and simplified for you in my lectures.
4. Develop raving fans on Facebook
Your real estate agency needs a push.
You must be out there, being vocal and start sharing on social media.
See, social media is where your clients hang out. Create a group where you share insights in a new and innovative manner. Your potential clients would love it. The real game is not to share your posts where you are selling properties, rather, the magic is to give away free content, guide them through videos, educate your market and people will love you like anything.
The point of making a fan page is to create a social media presence. Here is an example of a fan page, where you can perform all your activities to gain members and win their trust.
5. The Promotion That Stands Out
Promote your business the way it should be. Many real estate agents are actively marketing in newspapers, however, they are missing out on social media. It’s your chance to stand out and promote where your audience is. You must think out of the box to bring
In order to make an interesting Ad, you need to follow a new trend, my friend! Don’t be like everyone else, create your post unique and interesting. So, that readers could engage with you.
Post multiple creative designs of real estate images, create videos related to real estate trends etc. An example of promotion is to market your properties through video storytelling.
6. Develop Marketing Arsenal
People use newspaper to advertise their property for buying or selling. But this is an old fashioned way of advertising. You know nowadays, in order to run a successful business, you need to create your social media appearance.
To develop your real estate business, you must use the Facebook Ad Campaign.
In Facebook, you can use engagement ads, conversion ads or lookalike ads, which I have already talked about in my lectures. Try to use different creative ads and test them and see which one is more suitable for running you marketing campaign.
7. Expand & Scale up your business
Ever thought about expanding your real estate business? If so, then you have to plan out some new business strategies. Scaling up your business with new marketing trends, will surely be a benefit for you.
You need to play the bigger game, after having exposure in the market, you need to scale up your game. Set budget for your Facebook Ad campaign, you can use Facebook pixel to collect your audience data and then utilise it to target lookalike audience.
There are multiple options in Facebook marketing campaigns, which you can utilise according to your marketing needs.
8. Sit back, Relax & let Facebook do the Magic
No more running around, anymore!
Your life will be easier only, if you know how to use a Facebook Ad campaign and target the right audience.
The Facebook Ad campaign can be effective for your real estate business, if you know how to target the right audience.
For targeting the right audience, you need data, which can be collected through Facebook Pixel. All you need is to set right Facebook campaign according to your need and you are good to go.
Still, if you have any doubts then check out my lecture, as I have briefly explained every point in detail about Facebook marketing.
9. Develop a Brand. Stop depending on people
For every real estate agent, it’s better to manage each and every work on your own, instead of hiring a staff and relying on them to bring clients.
But you may ask “Imtinan! That’s a lot of manual work”. Well, not exactly.
Focus on automation. With Facebook, you leads are delivered to you in MS Excel or as a CSV files. You can fix appointments through auto teller systems. Your clients are messaged, emailed and called through systems and all of this technology is there to support your business.
If you keep on doing manual labour, you will end up being frustrated. If you depend upon people, then that will be another HR cost that you are adding to your budgets.
Focus and automate.
Develop your own brand of real estate business and promote it by Facebook ad campaigns, to create brand awareness.
I have mentioned step by step process in my lectures, how to create brand awareness. I have discussed in detail about brand awareness, so you can benefit from it.
Best strategy for every real estate agent is to step up his/her game on his own, without depending on any person. That’s how you can develop your business easily. Once you reach the stage of scale, then you may hire a few but first achieve the learning curve yourself.
10. Constant Flow of Revenue through Facebook
Ever imagined having a constant revenue coming from your real estate business? All you need to do is create a social appearance among those people who are interested in your niche.
Give people what they want, target your audience in order to promote your real estate lifestyle.
The more you engage with people, the more leads you will generate. You can have a constant flow of revenue through Facebook.
People are going to contact you to know more details about the property that you are selling, or the people who want to buy a property from you.
Leads can be generated by targeting the right audience depending upon location, age, interest etc.
Targeting the right audience will help you create brand awareness among people who are living overseas.
Imagine getting leads from overseas day & night and the constant revenue you can have.
Clients, who want to purchase some property will eventually contact you, and if you make a fair deal with them, they might refer their friends or family members to you.
Trust is the key to success to winning clients!
All of this is possible, if you know how to run “Facebook Advertisement Campaigns”.
Most people still face many issues related to Facebook marketing, which I have discussed in one of my blogs, do read them to avoid the mistakes and run a successful real estate business.
Best of luck!