12 Creative Ways to be Your Client’s Local Expert
Buyers and sellers have more information at their fingertips than ever before. Agents that once were regarded as local experts now find themselves bending over backwards to offer an “insider’s perspective” on the area, knowing fully well that their clients and prospects can find all they need online. The result? Agents everywhere are looking for creative ways to reclaim their reputation as the local expert.
But, why does this matter? Clients and prospects still want to hear an insider’s perspective on their new neighborhood, and it’s up to you to share the inside scoop. Read on for a number of creative ways to establish yourself as a local expert – and stand apart from the pack.
Conduct a Q&A with a someone around town
Your blog readers will love this. Conduct a short Q&A with a few of the star players around town – a farmer from the local farmers market, the chef at the top-ranked sushi place, the owner of the local bookstore, or the director of the community center. Ask questions about their experience living and working in the area, and post a brief transcript (or even better, a video!) of your chat on your blog and/or social media. It’s a great way to give your prospects a feel for the characters around town.
Pro-tip: Name your Q&A series something memorable like “Meet Winchester (the name of the town you represent)” or “The Faces of Winchester.” If the series really takes root, it’s a great way for others to share (and remember) your name.
Scout out hangout areas for four-legged friends
Americans love their pets, so they’ll go above and beyond to make sure that Pooch is all set up in the new area. If you really want to demonstrate your local wizardry, write a blog post on something like “Your Ultimate Guide to Moving to Winchester (With Your Four Legged Friends).” In your post, review the availability of gated and non-gated park space, the location of pet friendly hiking trails, which months of the year beaches allow off-leash dog walking, and any other resource that’ll help pet owners who are moving into town.
Eat your way to expertise
Everyone loves a good read about the best local eats. Create a series on your blog or social media accounts about some of the best places to eat around town. The key here? Add some personality to it. For example, you could try out the burgers or margaritas at a few joints around town, post a review of each, and pick the winner.
Sign up for Google Alerts
Stay abreast of what’s going on around town by signing up for a Google Alert. Simply enter a target keyword, and you’ll get an alert every day with a listing of a few articles where your keyword has been mentioned. For example, if you want to keep on top of events in Winchester, set up an alert for “Winchester.” It’s a great way to stay in-the-know about local events, and then drop quick facts into casual conversation with your clients.
Test (and reward!) local knowledge
It’s true - people love taking quizzes. Once or twice a month, engage your social media followers by asking them to answer a question about your town or neighborhood. Then, reward the first person to respond with a $5 gift card to Starbucks or the Home Depot.
For example, you might post something like this on your Facebook: “What was the name of Jimmie’s Pizza before it was the pizza shop we all know and love? First to respond gets a FREE $5 gift card!”
Tour every listing on the market
This one should be a no-brainer, but make sure you’re touring homes the right way. Keep in mind that anyone can find photos and room dimensions online, so it’s even more important to keep track of all the small details. On your tour, look out for the condition of paint on the walls, whether it seems like the upstairs bathroom may have a mold issue, or the state of the dining room floors. Then, throw all the details into casual conversation with your clients (Think: “I remember when I visited that place last spring – the hardwood floors in the dining room are in great condition!”).
Be a utilities expert
Know which utility providers (water, gas, and electric) and home service providers (internet and cable) service your client’s new home by offering Updater. With your Updater account, you can look up which providers service your client’s address, and even drop your expert knowledge into conversation down the road.
A short note like this should work well: “Hi Jane – Did you set up your electric account with Midwestern Electric yet? Just wanted to send a reminder to make sure your lights are turned on for moving day!” It’s a great way to eliminate another moving to-do for your client and really position yourself as a local expert.
Capitalize on the holidays
Arm yourself with answers to all of your clients’ and prospects’ holiday-related questions by writing on your blog or even your Facebook page about where to find the best cup of hot chocolate in the winter or which Christmas tree farm has the best inventory.
Pro-tip: Interviews with local experts work great for this! For example, conduct an interview with a few kids around town to identify the best neighborhoods for trick-or-treating. Then, post something like this on your blog and/or social media: “The results are in! Head to Neighborhood XYZ to score the best Halloween candy haul!”
Bonus pro-tip: Get familiar with a few holiday vendors around town, and try to arrange a partnership with them – you’ll direct business their way in exchange for a small discount for your clients. Your clients will love it, and vendors will love the additional exposure.
Get involved in your local/state REALTOR® association
Networking with colleagues in the same industry is a sure-fire way to get the inside scoop on market trends and what other Realtors® in your area are experiencing. At the end of the day, Realtors® are a great source of local knowledge, and connecting with other industry professionals is yet another way to unlock local knowledge.
Attend local events
Don’t just tell your clients and prospects about events happenings in the area – attend them yourself! It’s a great conversation starter when you’re first getting to know a client, not to mention an invaluable way for you to knowledgeably recommend local entertainment options (Think: “I just went to see Charlotte’s Web at the community center last weekend with my grandkids – you should definitely check it out with the kids if you get a chance!”).
Get involved with your town’s newspaper
If writing is your forte, consider pitching an article or column to the editorial staff at your local newspaper. Position yourself as an area expert, and find your own niche. For example, you might have a column on something like “Rachel the Realtor’s® Top Picks Around Town,” in which you review different eateries around town and report back on the results
Grab a camera
Especially if your clients or prospects are out-of-towner’s, chances are that they’ll be poking around on the town website or social media pages for a feel of the area. Photo document your routine to give your clients and prospects a flavor of what it’s like to live in your town on a daily basis. Snap a few shots of the coffee shop you visit every morning, a picture of what movies are playing at the local theater, or even where you take your dog for a run.
Pro-tip: Are you social media savvy? Create a Snapchat account to post photos or videos of your daily routine, and encourage your clients and their friends to follow you. Even consider promoting it on social media, encouraging anyone who may be house hunting in your area to follow – hey, it’s a great way to generate a few inbound leads!
Just because your clients know how to look up the value of their home on Zillow doesn’t mean that they don’t need your help. You’re still your client’s best resource, but it’s up to you to find new and creative ways to prove that you’re a valuable resource to them. With these tips, you’ll be one step closer to flooring your clients with local expertise and truly convincing them that you’re worth the commission.
I'm a previous member of the Updater marketing team. A lover of all things coffee- and gardening-related, you can find me in pursuit of the best cup of coffee, or otherwise attempting to grow tomatoes off the fire escape in my tiny Brooklyn apartment.