Back when I started my own brokerage in 2001, I had less than a year selling real estate. I had spent the previous 15 years in lending, working for a very large bank, to a mortgage bank to a boutique mortgage brokerage.
I decided to try and focus and specialize on the neighborhood I had just bought a house in. It was about 35 miles from where I lived (a town I was very familiar with) and I thought I knew a lot.
Eagle Ridge is a golf community, located in Silicon Valley in the relatively small town of Gilroy, CA. When I moved here, there were about 200 homes built, with about another 450 more that were scheduled to be built.
I built my website, and I was amazed at the number of calls I was getting. The web was rather new, and I was competing with the two developers here who were still selling their inventory. Some people, amazingly had started moving out for various reason, but it was mostly job relocation as these are executive homes and those in high tech tend to get bounced around quite a bit.
I was invited to hear a local agent speak about getting leads. While he is not a Guru by any means, I had known him to be quite successful in sales in another Silicon Valley golf community about 20 minutes away in San Jose, so I thought I'd give it a chance.
One of my main takeaways from his little spiel (he was one of about 4 speakers that day) was the key that unlocked the door for me. His one sentence was so profound, I share it with all my agent:
"You client expects you to be The Expert... So, be the expert!"
Ding! The light went on. I have worked hard to achieve that mantra. It has proven to be useful time and time again. I like to hold open houses, harvest buyers, and we have a large out of town population that are settling here. I know all about the community, the city, schools, shopping, shortcuts to San Jose, the ocean, Yosemite, and have studied up on the HOA documents.
That being said, it is amazing how the confidence is reflected in my responses to the myraid of questions, and appearing to be the expert, I can quickly instill confidence. I have gotten many buyer clients from my open houses. During the downturn, I offered my services to out of town brokers who had REOs of short sale and they were out of town agents. Told 'em I'd cruise by and keep the flier box full as well. It gave them a weekend off, and they really knew nothing of the area and were relieved. Strangely, to this day, I see agents misrepresent what the monthly HOA fee is-- about two months ago half the listings had it wrong...
Knowledge is power. Even in the tough downturn of 2008-2012, I was able to keep the lights on. Built a client base, which I hope I will cash in on in the future, and even collect the mail when my past clients go on vacation. As I tell them: I'll do anything except help you move...!