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Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky famously said, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck will be.” 

The business of selling real estate is evolving at an ever-escalating pace. If you can identify some of the emerging trends and begin to act on those trends — proverbially skating to where the puck will be — you’ll be able to separate yourself from your competition like never before.

Here are seven up-and-coming trends that you can utilize to grow your business in 2024.

1️. The power of building a personal brand

A personal brand is a culmination of sharing your experiences, skills, and what you stand for in a way that attracts your ideal clients. Personal brands take time to develop and the most successful agent in your market is usually the agent with the strongest personal brand. 

Forbes published an article on Feb. 6, 2024, titled, “Why 2024 is the Year to Build Your Personal Brand.” In the article they state the following:

In today’s marketplace, entrepreneurs face a daunting challenge: standing out. With thousands of voices clamoring for attention, being just another face in the crowd is not an option. The statistics are clear: A staggering 77 percent of consumers prefer to purchase from a brand they recognize.

Yet, many entrepreneurs struggle to establish this recognition. They grapple with an overcrowded market, ever-changing algorithms and a landscape in which consumer loyalty is hard-won. Their brilliant ideas and hard work often go unnoticed, not because they lack value but because they lack visibility.

This struggle isn’t just frustrating; it’s also costly. Without a distinct personal brand, entrepreneurs risk being overlooked, losing potential clients to more visible competitors and missing out on crucial growth opportunities.

The time is now to double down on your efforts to build a personal brand that is recognized and trusted in your local market.

2. Increasing number of referral transactions

The number of referral fees paid in transactions is increasing and the data hints that this will continue into the future. The addition of online programs like Zillow Flex and websites that provide leads for a referral fee at the time of closing continues to gain steam.

The NAR 2023 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends survey adds interesting data that indicates this trend will continue to escalate as people between the ages of 24 and 42 years old become more active in the market as they age.

This survey from the 2023 NAR Home Buyers and Sellers Generation Trends shows that the overall average percentage of homebuyers surveyed who were referred to an agent by a friend, neighbor or relative was 38 percent. The average percentage rate of homebuyers surveyed who were referred by an agent to another agent was 6 percent and the average percentage of buyers referred by their employer or relocation company was 1 percent.

This means on average for the people surveyed, not including any referral websites or programs like Zillow Flex, 45 percent of buyer side transactions were the result of a referral. 

But if you notice, for buyers between the ages of 24 and 32, the percentage of buyers that were the product of the three referral sources mentioned in the previous paragraph combined was 58 percent. The percentages for the same three referral sources for people between the ages of 33 and 42 was 53 percent — again, well above the average for buyers of all ages in the survey.

The numbers on the homeseller side confirm this trend with younger homesellers as well (see chart below).

The average percentage of homesellers surveyed who were referred to an agent by a friend, neighbor or relative was 36 percent. The average percentage rate of homebuyers surveyed who were referred by an agent to another agent was 5 percent and the average percentage of buyers referred by their employer or relocation company was 1 percent.

This means, on average, before any referral websites or programs like Zillow Flex, 42 percent of all seller-side transactions were the result of a referral. 

Just as with buyers, the percentage of homesellers referred by these three referral sources combined was 50 percent for sellers between the age of 24 and 32. The percentages for the same three referral sources for people between the ages of 33 and 42 was 46 percent, again above the average for homesellers of all ages.

This trend should remind you to focus on your sphere of influence, past clients and agents in feeder markets who can develop into consistent referral partners.

3️. Decline in the value of online leads

There are online lead generation sources that are still producing at a high level. But the number of leads sold on an annual basis continues to far exceed the number of closed transactions, leading to a decline in the value of online leads.

With conversion rates less than 1 percent on the low end and 4 percent on the high end, the expense of the leads can be cost-prohibitive. However, the amount of time needed to devote to proper follow-up to get a conversion is increasing as automated drip campaigns and automated AI bot follow-up becomes the norm. It continues to be harder and harder to stand out from the crowd when it comes to leads generated online.

If you decide to purchase online leads, make sure you have a systematized follow-up program in place before purchasing the leads, and go into it knowing the challenges the average agent faces converting these leads.

4️. Emergence of the review economy

According to Testimonial Tree, 79 percent of people trust a review they read online as much as a personal recommendation. They also state that consumers trust peer recommendations like online reviews 6.5 times more than traditional advertising.

The value of online reviews compounds over time. They continue to work for you in the future and the trust potential buyers and sellers have in you grows with every review you receive. Invest the time and effort in gathering more reviews and you will be rewarded. 

5️. Artificial intelligence (AI) is creating efficiencies

The emergence of AI and the unlimited ways it can create efficiencies for agents continues to shape our changing industry. From content creation to building systems that save time and effort, AI will only become more valuable to agents as it evolves.

I believe with all my heart that AI will not replace professional, relationship-driven real estate agents. But I also believe the agents who embrace the technology and apply it in their businesses will outperform those who do not in the future.

6️. Listing agents continue to control the market

In the aftermath of the NAR settlement, the need to build a listing-based business has never been clearer. If you are going to invest in training, technology or tools for your business in 2024, make sure they are focused on helping you generate more listings.

7️. Video content is now cornerstone marketing

I know you’re thinking, “Here we go again, talking about video.” But here are a few statistics from Sprout Social to hopefully help you grasp the value of video content in your business.

  • Viewers will retain 95 percent of a message watched on video as opposed to only 10 percent read in text
  • 81 percent of consumers polled said they would like to see more short-form video content from brands in 2024
  • Users watched an average of 17 hours of video content per week in 2023
  • Short-form video delivers the highest ROI compared to other marketing trends and will secure more investment in 2024 than any other format.

Video, video, video. It is a marketing trend that will continue to shape the success model now and in the future for the best agents.

The trends are your friends. Lean into the opportunities the future holds, and you will see results.

Jimmy Burgess is the CEO for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida. Connect with him on Instagram and LinkedIn.

This post was originally published on this site