Building relationships with local vendors is one of the most powerful ways to grow and maintain a successful real estate business. When done successfully, you become a household brand locally, which enables you to centralize your listings and sales close to home.
This close-to-home business model not only leads to a more balanced lifestyle but a more niche focus on your neighborhood. In turn, cultivating relationships with local vendors leads to higher profits from referral-based business.
Establishing your business in one geographic area will make you a community expert — not just the local real estate market. Over time, you’ll know the local residents and local businesses better than your competition. And, as the saying goes, “Your network is your net worth”.
In this article, we’ll explore a few of the most important reasons WHY you need to build relationships with local businesses and professionals in your farm area.
Why Local Vendors Are Valuable To Agents
They are quite often homeowners. Therefore, building relationships with them is literally building a relationship with a future buyer and seller.
Local vendors are influential. They interact with your potential customers every day. Many business owners and professionals work with homeowners before, during, and after the buying and selling process (think contractors of all types). Some business owners and professionals frequently engage in personal discussions with their clients (personal trainers and hair stylists).
Business owners in your farm are easy to network with; after all, they want to build their own sphere of influence to become a recommendation engine to their clients.
For certain businesses (eg: finance and luxury), if someone can afford the products and services offered, then they can probably afford to buy and sell (nicer) houses.
James Olsen from Reality Sales Training explains why it’s important for salespeople to hustle and build relationships in his helpful Youtube video:
Now for the all-important HOW you do it. Here are 6 strategies to build local vendor relationships in your farm:
6 Ways To Build Local Vendor Relationships
#1) CO-SPONSOR LOCAL EVENTS TO IMPROVE LOCAL RELATIONSHIPS
Local businesses are always tapped into everything that’s happening in the community. Simply dropping off your business card, however, isn’t going to get you any referrals if the business owner doesn’t actually have a relationship with you.
Instead, find a way to team up and do something with that business in the community, which is a great way to build a relationship with local vendors, while immersing yourself in the community at large.
#2) GIVE A GIFT, GET A REFERRAL
You could also start a ballot box at the local business. Buy something from that store to give away by way of a ballot. Local vendors will love the idea because you’re buying something from their store to give away to their customers, which is essentially a sale, with more promotion behind it.
To maximize return for your brand, include your business branding on the box.
#3) VISIBILITY THROUGH CONVERSATIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Just because your business is local, it doesn’t mean your online presence requires less attention. In fact, the majority of local consumers will search for a local business review online before arriving in-store. To connect with local businesses and grow your farm area, you should strive to continue the conversation online.
Re-tweet local businesses and engage in conversation with them. This will not only establish rapport with local business owners but will boost engagement and attract more impressions from local residents.
By regularly engaging in thoughtful online conversations with local business leaders, you will become recognized as a community expert.
#4) INTERVIEW LOCAL VENDORS AND PROFESSIONALS
Help local businesses gain free exposure online by featuring them on the Parkbench neighborhood marketing platform. Local vendors can claim their free business listing on Parkbench, and promote their business to local residents searching online for deals close to home.
Real estate agents who become Parkbench neighborhood sponsors can interview local vendors and feature them on their neighborhood site. This initiates the opportunity for cross-promotional marketing as you gain insight into the business, their needs, their goals, and their personality.
In addition, local vendors will appreciate the exposure, making them much more likely to refer their customers to you. And what’s an interview? 20 minutes of your day? If giving 20 minutes of your day isn’t worth a referral, then you shouldn’t be in business in the first place.
#5) CONNECT NEW RESIDENTS TO LOCAL BUSINESSES
Top real estate agents know they should also be neighborhood experts. Anyone who purchases their home in your neighborhood should see you as a wealth of neighborhood information. Your expert local knowledge will alleviate buying anxiety because you bring homebuyers an overarching neighborhood experience. In order to do this, however, you’ll need to be passionate about your local businesses, schools, and community groups.
For example, you sell a home to someone who also asks if there are any local places that bake delicious cinnamon buns. You just so happen to have an ongoing relationship with a local coffee shop that makes the most delicious cinnamon buns in-house. This adds to your client’s experience, drives local business, and creates an ongoing business relationship with an important local business.
With this in mind, aim to have 2-3 recommendations in every single category of product and service.
#6) GIVE TO YOUR COMMUNITY AND IT WILL GIVE TO YOU
If you’ve ever watched Simon Sinek’s famous Ted Talk, you’ll learn that people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. Top performers know that geographic farming is not a get rich quick strategy. It’s a long-term decision to give value to an area.
What is your reason for farming your area? If your story has nothing to do with the prosperity of the neighborhood, then maybe you should re-think why you’ve chosen that area and perhaps what geographic area to choose.
Because when you can genuinely show you care about the local economy, the quality of life in the community, and the social cohesion of the members within it, your WHY will inspire people to choose you as their realtor.
So Real Estate Professionals, choose your farm wisely.
What’s your strategy for building relationships with local vendors in your farm? We’d love to hear your strategy in the comments below!