No matter how many years you’ve been at it, as a real estate agent, you always need to be building your business. The market changes, neighborhoods get hot and cool down, and prices rise and fall, which all demand that you adjust to the fluctuations and trends while still making a living.

Avoid wasting your time – and money – on efforts that don’t pan out by using time-tested strategies to build more business.

Amplify Your Networking Efforts

If you feel like your attempts at networking aren’t getting you anywhere, you may be doing it wrong. Make sure to arrive early at events with a stack of business cards. Talk with the people who arranged the event and get to know them. Perhaps they’ll need speakers and presenters at future events and will ask you to share your knowledge. Another tactic is to practice telling what you do succinctly. “I’m a real estate agent” doesn’t cut it. Weave in your personal story and why you love what you do, but keep it short. Practicing your “commercial” is essential to sounding natural and making it work for you.

Maximize the Power of Email

Reach out to people you’ve dealt with previously who, for whatever reason, didn’t end up purchasing a home at that time. Share an article that is helpful, a blog you wrote, or a list of homes for sale in the area where they said they wanted to live. Include your number, email, and links to your social media accounts. Doing this consistently keeps your name at the top of their mind. When they get ready to finally buy a home, chances are good they’ll use you to find it.

Ask for Referrals

One of the fastest ways to grow your business is to ask for referrals before closing. Most buyers who are satisfied with your work will share the names of friends, coworkers, or family who are planning to search for a new home. If you’re comfortable, you can even ask for an introduction. Mastering this is key to building your business as a real estate agent. Over time, as your client base grows, referrals may well be your biggest source of business.

Stay in Touch with Previous Clients

The average American moves every six to eight years, so working with a buyer or seller is not a one-time deal. Keeping in touch with previous clients is a great way to secure future, long-term business. Send out happy house anniversary cards every year they’re in a house you found for them. Shoot them emails periodically with articles talking about renovating, increasing curb appeal, or other topics homeowners would enjoy. Staying in front of your previous happy customers helps secure them as future buyers and sellers who will choose to work with you.

All this administrative work can eat up lots of time you could be spending working with clients. You may choose to…

Hire an Assistant

Don’t miss networking events or the chance for face time with your buyers and sellers. If your office duties are too much for you to handle, find someone to assist you. Even a person working part-time can lighten the load so you can focus on building your brand. He or she can send emails on your behalf, write notes, and make sure your marketing material is fully stocked. Yes, it’s an expense. But used well, an assistant may be one of the best tools to stay organized and at the top of your game.

Set Yourself Apart as a Guru

Make a name for yourself by sharing what you know with others. An easy way to do this is by writing a blog. Start with questions you hear frequently, then branch into important topics to educate home buyers and sellers. Use these blogs as content for your emails to previous clients, current prospects and networking contacts. Building your brand this way sets you apart from your competition and makes you memorable.

Consistently Use Social Media Marketing

One of the newest real estate business ideas involves the popular social media channels. A little effort in the beginning can have a big payoff. Connect with your clients and prospects on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and share helpful tips they can use as a home buyer and seller. Post photos of recent houses you sold as well. Building up a social media following costs almost nothing but time and is one of the easiest ways to make sure you stay in contact with your customers.

Real estate agents who consistently work on building their business are more shielded against economic downturns and increased competition. By taking action with these business-building strategies, you can increase your customer base, widen your prospect list, and increase the power of your brand.