Most of us have seen the demonstration where someone fills a jar with rocks, pebbles, sand and water. In order to successfully get all the ingredients into the jar, they first start with the big rocks and then they add the pebbles followed by the sand and finish with the water. If filled in the opposite order, the ingredients just won’t fit.
The development of your seniors real estate niche is no different. Starting with the big rocks first is the key.
Big Rock #1: Become the expert in your market
As simple as this sounds at first blush, there are multiple pieces that make up this big rock. Naturally, as a fiduciary agent, you will want (and need) to know the basics: market trends, pricing, lay of the land, and the processes for transacting real estate.
Beyond the basics, however, you will layer on the expertise of being an expert senior housing professional including: knowledge of all the local 55+ active adult communities, senior living communities, aging services, downsizing resources, and demographic specific needs and desires.
In order to be the best in your field and differentiating yourself as an expert seniors real estate and housing professional, this big rock is critical.
Key word: Differentiating
There are plenty of sales associates, brokers, and even brokerages saying they “specialize” in seniors real estate. To be successful, you must truly BE different. Having a value proposition that sets you apart begins with being knowledgeable about your market and your target audience.
Big Rock #2: Build a platform for marketing your services
You can be the smartest and most educated real estate agent in town, but without a platform to market your services, you will eventually go broke. No leads, no listings, no business.
Key word: Pipeline
Building a successful platform as an expert seniors housing professional means development of three basic lead sources. We call these your Personal, Professional, and Public platforms. By focusing on all three you will have the business you need now and the leads to achieve future goals too.
Big Rock #3: Deliver impeccable value added service
Sales people are generally pretty decent at getting up to the plate, but few are effective at getting on base - much less hitting a home run. When given an opportunity to serve senior clients, top agents hit it out of the park every time.
Successful senior real estate and housing professionals know their market, know their client, and have established systems, processes, and resources to cater to their specific and unique needs. We call this a Unique Value Proposition (UVP).
This third big rock requires time, patience, and focused attention to details. Senior adult clients, especially those downsizing late in life, may need more assistance than a typical client and often there are multiple parties involved such as family members, resource team members, advisors, and caregivers.
Anyone who has actively sold real estate or worked in the senior housing industry knows that senior moves are often complex and emotions can run high. Both the physical and the emotional aspects of the moves require an expertise few posses.
Highly successful seniors real estate professionals have two things working for them: Character and Competence. Character comes from within, but competence takes specific intention and effort.
|Nikki Buckelew is the Founder and CEO of the Seniors Real Estate Institute and administrator for the Certified Senior Housing Professional® (CSHP) designation. A veteran REALTOR® of over two decades, she holds a bachelor’s degree in gerontology and a master’s degree in counseling psychology. As a professional speaker, coach, and trainer, Nikki is committed to empowering, equipping, and educating real estate sales and senior housing professionals seeking to better serve the mature market segment.