Community, Connection, and the Hyper-Local
You’ve all heard those words spoken over and over again. I’m not going to break any new ground today. They’re usually preceded by the words “it’s all about…” These are the words that will be drilled into your head both from an online and an offline perspective. These are the tools you will use daily, sometimes without even knowing it. Live in your own little bubble without these and you will probably struggle through real estate. Knock, knock. Your neighbors need to come calling. If they’re not knocking, you’re not rocking.
So what do these three words really mean?
It’s all about your community. Whether you choose to work strictly high-end luxury homes or a wide area of your city, whether it’s farm and land or downtown condos; once you define your community, it will take over and define you. You should be your community as much as your community should be a part of you. Call it neighborhoods, areas, zip codes, types of buildings…the wording matters less than the concept.
With your community in place, you can begin to listen to it and let it shape you. What do the neighbors in your community care about? When they look at you, what do they see? Do they see a neighbor or just an outsider with a real estate license? If you’re the guy blaring the stereo in a quiet neighborhood, you’re not going to be well-liked or accepted. Being a part of the community requires a certain flexibility. This is no way means you should compromise your beliefs, morals, or ideas, but you should learn to meld them together with that of your community. You’re not just selling houses…you’re selling houses to your friends and neighbors, whether you know them at that level or not.
You have a community, it has residents. Connect the dots between those residents. Not just from Point A (you) to Point B (them), but from Point A to Points B, C, D, E, F…etc. Connection between you, your clients, business owners, friends, families brings your community back to center focus. Everyone likes to belong to something. We as humans have it in our nature. Give them something they want to be a part of. Give them the avenues to connect with others in the community and to connect with you. Connections come in many forms; from a kind word to a client to a blog post that answers the questions on everyone’s mind, from a quick meet-up at a Starbucks to a late-night email about the status of a contract. No matter what form it takes, it must be genuine, true, and sincere. Phony connections result in horrible results.
There’s a million and one ways to go about building connections (and community) and once again, this can be done online and off. Build it both ways. Don’t settle for just one or the other. Cross pollinate those two worlds and bring people across the real life/virtual borders.
Now that you have a connected community, destroy it. Cut it up into a million little pieces. Hone in on the hyper-local aspect of smaller groups. Make them feel like they belong to an exclusive club. Go against everything you know about amassing numbers. Sharply focus on the community’s tiny details. Make it about “them” instead of “all of them.” Once you have mini-communities centered around your hyper-local activities, rebuild your connected community. Show them that they are actually a string in a series of hyper-local communities and that each one, though independent of each other, function as one part of a larger whole.
Think of each hyper-local community as a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. Alone, they are interesting pieces, but when connected to their neighbor, they begin to form a picture. As each little piece comes together with the others, you begin to piece together the community at large – the finished puzzle. No two pieces are alike, no matter how similar they look. Each piece has a specific connection that needs to be need, you just need to find it. Bringing them all together will give you a sense of accomplishment.
Your community connected through a series of hyper-local communities – each autonomous and independent, but all part of the greater whole. And you, with an understanding of how all those pieces fit together, will always be remembered as the one who did it all. Guess who’s door they’ll knock on when they need help? It certainly won’t be the neighbor that never took the time to introduce themselves.
photo courtesy of visualdensity