Kristen Porter: three simple growth strategies (and the legal tips you need to implement them!)

There’s no mistaking the fact that digital marketing and the creation of sales and marketing funnels are all the rage when it comes to growing your business.

And don’t get me wrong, I love digital marketing and creating funnels, but it’s easy to get caught up in the buzz, and in turn, overlook the basics.

Going back to basics is all about remembering your core business. And when it comes to real estate, like law, it really is all about relationships.

It’s centred around people – at least it should be – and it’s so easy to forget that in this new digital world.

People are your most valuable resource, so how can you turn back to them to help grow your business?

There are three very simple strategies to use:

  1. referrals
  2. building a team
  3. bringing in business partners.

Referrals are an obvious place to start. Each state and territory has laws that govern the use of referrals in the real estate industry, but on the whole, provided that you disclose any referral relationship (the paid kind), then you are generally ok. It’s important to double-check your state laws though.  

Referrals can be paid or unpaid. Some people are dead against paying or accepting referral fees, while others see paid referral relationships, or providing ‘incentives’, as a powerful growth lever.

My top tip? Make sure you set the ground rules up front.

It’s common to operate under a ‘handshake’ arrangement, but a short referral agreement is best so you know exactly what you are signing up for, who pays for what, and most importantly, it should set out the disclosure obligations you have so you don’t get in trouble with your licensing body.

The creation of a team is another human element of your business.

As you grow, you may need extra bodies to help you cope with the increase in workload. This is how we usually think about growth – get extra work then add the people to help deliver it.

But what if we flip it? I think it’s better to ensure you have the capacity to deal with your growth before the growth spurt happens.

That way, you don’t risk a decline in your service levels and your client experience won’t take a hit while you’re going through your growing pains.

Better yet, if you recruit for particular skill sets, especially if you are looking to add a new service line, part of your marketing message can be to showcase your new hire, along with their skills, in turn, helping you achieve the growth you are after.

My top tip? Be clear in the skill set and job description that you are setting up for a newly created role.

That way, the position is meaningful, and the new team member can hit the ground running. Remember to ensure that’s fully documented in your employment agreements.

Business partners – I always say that the only reasons to bring in a new business partner should be strategic ones.

Growth is certainly one of those strategic reasons. If you are looking to add a new service line, for example a rent roll, then bringing in someone with a different focus will help with that growth.

Facilitating growth in your already successful service line is another valid reason. You might simply want to get more boots on the ground to have greater market share – or to diversify your income stream to capture all services (such as sales and PM).

There are many different considerations to make when looking to take on a business partner versus an employee.

My top tip? Before speaking in detail with a potential new business partner (such as telling them all your plans or handing over business or financial information), make sure you get them to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

If they don’t end up coming on board and they know all your secrets, competing with you will be a piece of cake!

If you want to dive deeper into these strategies and how to actually implement them, join our free webinar on 24 October where we’ll show you how to access the tools to implement your chosen strategies, increase your revenue and the value of your agency. 

Click here to register and if you can’t make it on the day, we’ll send you the recording. 

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Kristen Porter

Kristen Porter is a legal practitioner specialising in real estate, property management and privacy laws. She is the founding Director of O*NO Legal The Real Estate Agents' Lawyer.

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