Civic engagement provides multiple platforms for you to display other facets of your power base – further boosting your industry presence and income. This article is part three in a series analyzing a real estate agent’s power base. For part two, see: Your power base enlarged by real estate education
Reach out to extend your power base
In part two of this series, we examined an agent’s use of continual education to enrich their real estate business by anchoring it to an expert’s power base. Here, we determine how an agent can augment their authority through civic engagement in their community.
Civic engagement is participation in activities that benefit a community as a whole. However, the community isn’t the only beneficiary of these activities.
Real estate agents and brokers increase their personal influence and thus their earning potential by positioning themselves as highly valued community members. An agent’s professional network is complemented by their civic involvement.
Public perception is fundamental to an agent’s ability to generate business with new clients, who may not learn about or favor the agent when they are not involved in local activities. A positive perception of the agent based on their contribution to the community also encourages past clients to return in the future for real estate services they need, or to refer family and friends to the agent.
Participation in the real estate community
Agents who get involved in local activities earn respect from others, which builds their reputation and, again, further improves their business relationships. Particularly, agents need to look for opportunities which relate well to others in the real estate industry, so colleagues as well as clients are aware of their community engagement.
Agents looking to increase their civic engagement can start small by volunteering to mentor new agents in their office. One-on-one mentorships foster beneficial relationships the agent can count on to generate professional references.
Additionally, employing brokers who apply a hands-on management approach with mentorships and personal training opportunities are likely to garner greater admiration and dedication from their agents. These agents share their mentorship experience with other agents, who then want to work for an office providing these benefits. Thus, with more competent agents, the broker’s income grows.
Agents also take the extra step to engage in local, real estate-related issues, and thoughtful brokers encourage them to do so. Participation in organizations dedicated to local real estate matters will garnish an agent’s perceived role as a leader in the community. Fundamentally, these affiliations enhance their knowledge of local issues which are of great interest to most clients.
Agents need to consider involvement in:
- rent control boards;
- planning committees;
- city council meetings; and
- other governmental agency activities open to the public.
An agent’s choice of an organization needs to play on their present strengths. For example, agents who specialize in rental accommodations may use their educated expertise and experience with the subject to participate in a local rent control board or related zoning decisions.
Expanding participation exposes new clientele
In addition to real estate organizations, agents need to consider engaging in local organizations unrelated to real estate. These include social clubs, civic groups, committees and other organizations which will likely broaden the agent’s reach to new groups of clientele.
For example, an agent seeking to expand or improve the level of their client base needs to consider:
- real estate-related trade organizations, such as a local builder’s association, escrow officer’s association or apartment owner’s association;
- local cultural arts committees;
- a Board of Trustees at a local educational institution, like a community college;
- the historic preservation review board;
- the Chamber of Commerce;
- local marketing groups;
- the county assessment appeals board; and
- other similar groups and associations.
Connecting with a group based on a common interest or activity exposes the agent to an entirely new community of people to mine for leads, referrals and networking opportunities. The agent’s membership or involvement signals to the community the agent is like-minded or “one of their own,” increasing the likelihood community members will trust the agent based solely on their affiliation.
However, agents beware: political clubs and organizations generally have a volatile, short-term and often polarizing impact on others. Instead of these organizations, an agent needs a universally respected activity which builds enduring ties to the agent, no matter the emotional shifts in their external politics.
An agent needs to allocate their time to these organizations wisely. While the agent’s participation is a critical factor in the public perception they establish, the agent needs to first dedicate adequate time to their real estate business if they are to keep it productive and profitable.
Leveraging civic engagement
Like education and net worth, an agent’s civic engagement is a tool used to leverage their business opportunities. The more an agent involves themselves in their community, the more their power base is enhanced – this time, by their local community.
Community members and clients who recognize an agent from their participation in local organizations and clubs are more likely to have a good opinion of the agent when they view the agent as a like-minded individual. Positive perception of the agent’s local involvement in public affairs leads to referrals, which of course leads to more transactions – and more income – for the agent.
In conclusion, agents need to continually seek opportunities to engage in local civic activities. As the agent’s clientele and income improve as a reflection of these activities, so will their capacity to further participate increase – a cycle which expands the agent’s clientele and their professional team.
Look for the next article in this series describing how an agent’s familial longevity in the community benefit their real estate business. To read part two of this series, see: Your power base enlarged by real estate education