Tips for growing your real estate brokerage

Home key with metal house keychain in keyhole

As someone who’s worked in the financial services industry, you know how important it is to cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’. If you’re venturing into your own real estate brokerage, you’re going to have to do the same. Here are some tips for growing your budding brokerage from the very start.

Setting yourself up

That means getting your ABN, registering yourself for GST, and setting up your PAYG and ACL – so many acronyms to keep track of! This means your Australian Business Number, Goods and Services Tax, Pay As You Go withholding (essential for payroll – also known as Single Touch Payroll) and your Australian Credit Licence. You should also register a domain name and set up your website and social media at this point as well.

From entrepreneur to manager

There are three sides to someone who owns and operates a business – the administrator, the entrepreneur, and the technician. The administrator handles the day to day running of the business, accounts, and compliance; the entrepreneur looks for business opportunities and growth; the technician is the one actually using their skills to bring in revenue. In many cases – and this isn’t just limited to broking – we may be ace technicians and entrepreneurs but have little patience or skills for administration.

That means you need to implement good systems and streamlined processes to keep on top of mounting compliance and administrative demands. This may mean hiring virtual assistants or in-house administrative staff to handle this side of the business. This could also mean outsourcing specialist skills to achieve your goals, such as HR consultants, bookkeepers, marketing professionals, and/or business development managers.

At the beginning of your journey, when you’re starting up, you need to write up a business plan that accounts for an influx of leads and growth – which also flows on to an expansion of operations, staff, and scale. You can’t do everything by yourself – and it could cost you more long-term if you try!

Remember to ask important questions and define your goals. They should be measurable, time-bound, specific, actionable, and realistic. This may be as modest as acquiring ten new customers in the first six months of operation or increasing revenue by 25% year on year.

Marketing and customer acquisition

Though you might have a few numbers in your phone book and some regular contacts you are warming up on LinkedIn, you need to have qualified leads coming in – more than you can handle, if possible.

That means having a search engine optimised website (SEO), allowances for Pay Per Click advertising, social media marketing, and data capture for business intelligence using machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Social media is free; but takes time to gain any real traction and engagement. Outsourcing your social media and digital marketing may be an investment to get runs on the board quickly. Putting effort and money into SEO also helps you win the long game. Organic (i.e., non-paid) traffic increases which means your reliance on paid advertising decreases, maximising the return on each lead captured and qualified into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.  

Oh – and always take any opportunity to network, either in person or remotely!

Shortcuts to lending panels – aggregation

One of the major innovations for solo or startup mortgage brokers is aggregation. Using a credit aggregator service has the potential to immediately place your brokerage on an equal footing with big banks and other major competitors, therefore optimising the value that is provided to both your clients and your organisation.

Aggregation services can help grow your brokerage as they often include professional development and compliance training in order to provide you and your clients with an even higher level of professional service. It is also possible that it will build consumer credit compliance-ready document acceptance and linkages to credit reporting organisations in order to pre-screen individuals who are applying for student loans. Not only does it save you time, but it also makes every dollar that you get that much more productive.

Aggregation as a customer experience

Do you have a large number of triggers and conditional automations for emails that are set up to remind clients to submit documents? By leveraging a set of services that would ordinarily be out of reach for smaller brokers, aggregation is able to eliminate the need for costly marketing automations and undertake compliance or credit checks. Your clients simply experience a smooth and trouble-free process, which results in increased levels of satisfaction, improved ratings, and an increase in the number of referrals. Remember – the happiest customers make the best brand ambassadors.

Continuous improvement

The most successful businesses in the world are known as turn-key businesses – businesses with processes so predictable and profitable they can experience growth as easy as one turns a key to unlock a door. You should automate and refine your sales and marketing processes as much as possible, adapting to new technologies such as AI chatbots, machine learning for business intelligence, and data analytics packages as they emerge. Constant training and learning from your top performers – while nurturing them – can lead to massive and sustained growth.

Value added services

To set yourself apart from competitors, you may want to add value to your company with ancillary but related services in your niche.

The addition of value enhancements to your website or service offering is simple to accomplish if you are in the business of providing loans to homeowners.

Loan calculators are examples of value-added services that can be uploaded to your website in a matter of minutes. These calculators allow customers to create rough estimates of how much money they will have to pay back over the course of their loan. One more option is to make use of white-label energy comparison in order to assist them in locating a reasonably priced energy package prior to their move in. You might also consider forming a partnership with a removalist firm in order to provide moving services at a reduced rate. If you’re servicing the commercial sector, you can offer insurance packages (which may require an Australian Financial Services Licence) or offer a white-label solution.

With all these tips in mind, you too can begin to lay the foundations for a growing real estate brokerage!

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