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Housegraph_BH&GLike most businesses in the real estate industry, brokerages must grow at a rate in sync with or even ahead of the communities they serve in order to prosper and profit.

In today’s market, it’s prudent to take advantage and expand now while real estate values are still on the rebound.

Here are 12 steps I’ve encountered in my real estate career that have helped keep brokerages alive and well:

1) Embrace Calculated Risks: If you want to grow your business, you must be prepared to take calculated risks. Growth is change, after all. Change always entails risk. If you have a brokerage, you’ve already accepted risk. If this makes you nervous, think about the larger risk of stagnation.

2) Study Up: Doing your homework will help you be confident in taking those calculated risks. Subscribe to top real estate social media channels, news feeds and email newsletters from groups such as the local Chamber of Commerce. Pay attention to the hyperlocal, local and national industry news and statistics, with an eye out for profitable business opportunities.

3) Incentivize Your People: I knew a broker who hung a wall-sized map in his office. In blue, he highlighted municipalities where he commonly sold homes. In green, he highlighted where he wanted to expand. In red, he circled neighborhoods where his agents rarely ventured. If someone sold a house in a red zone, he bought lunch for the office. It was sandwiches, nothing fancy. But his agents worked hard to be the one everyone thanked for lunch.

4) Conduct Routine SWOT Analysis: Periodically analyze your brokerage’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, or SWOT. Can you leverage your strengths to take advantage of opportunities? Are your weaknesses leaving you vulnerable to threats?

5) Strengthen Your Brand Presence: How recognizable is your brand in the markets in where it operates? Is your logo working or is it ripe for a refresh or total redesign? What is your target audience doing in their free time? If they are at their kids’ soccer game, why not consider sponsoring the team or even the whole league?

6) Drop the Hard Sell: We need to behave like advisors, not salespeople. It’s our job to represent our clients, not coerce them into spending money. They’ve come to you because they’ve likely decided it’s time to make a move. Help them reach a decision.

Discover the remaining steps of growing your real estate brokerage in our latest Clean Slate post, “12 Steps for Growing your Real Estate Brokerage.”

Plus, LIKE All Things Real Estate on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter, to network and engage with top real estate professionals.

Karlton Utter is the Director of Learning Technologies and Solutions at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.