The familiar saying, “knowledge is power” is absolutely true when it comes to real estate marketing and investing. Lael Sturm gives us a perfect example.
Lael owes much of his professional success to his wealth of knowledge: how he gathers it and how he uses it.
Based in San Francisco, Lael is a real estate marketing professional as well as an investor. Over the past 25 years, he’s worked with companies of all sizes, including Microsoft, MTV, and Nokia.
LPSS Digital Marketing, the company Lael founded, helps real estate investors and other professionals grow their businesses.
Here are a few key lessons that Lael’s fascinating career can teach us all.
1. Learn Something New Every Day
In his work, Lael has always had to learn new things. During the mid-1990s, as an MBA student at Columbia, he began teaching himself all about a new technological and cultural phenomenon: the internet.
Soon, other Columbia students came to Lael for digital investing advice. Thus, he decided to become an online strategy consultant. Today, he helps businesses maximize their social media strategies, internet advertising, and digital content.
Given the rapid pace of technological change, Lael has had to constantly master new tools and methods. To that end, he’s developed a learning philosophy to stay ahead of the competitive curve. That is, Lael keeps two facts in mind: There’s always more to learn, and he doesn’t know everything. Consequently, he soaks up lessons from everyone he encounters: coworkers, bloggers, authors, podcasters, and so on.
If you keep seeking out new knowledge, it’s astounding how much you can learn. And some of that information should lead to business growth.
2. Learn from Customers
It’s worth noting one special group of people here: customers. So many businesspeople fail to obtain new knowledge from their clients. But customers are often founts of useful information.
Many entrepreneurs believe it’s their job to provide clients with all the answers. And to them, it’s a one-way street. They may also think it looks bad to ask customers business questions. They never want to appear ill-informed.
In truth, it’s healthy to ask customers questions to see how they view different issues. Many clients will then provide valuable ideas and pointers.
Similarly, it’s more than acceptable to tell clients you don’t know the answer to one of their questions. Just let them know that you will find out the answer. In such a case, a customer would probably trust you more. After all, no one knows all the answers, and honest people admit when they’re stumped.
By researching customers’ questions — and by discussing various business topics with them — you won’t just increase your general knowledge. You’ll increase your knowledge of specific topics that are important to investors and clients. As a result, your business will be better prepared to meet its needs going forward.
3. Thought Leadership Matters
Here’s another reason why knowledge is important: You’ll probably want to establish yourself as a thought leader.
A thought leader is someone who continually shares useful information and strategies. If you’re one of these influential people, it’s easier to attract investors.
To become a thought leader, you could routinely make high-quality content for an online channel. For instance, you could create podcasts, YouTube videos, or Medium blogs. Indeed, many leading internet platforms let you post content for free. If you keep showing your depth of knowledge, providing value to your followers, and finding creative ways to speak in your own voice, you could gain a loyal audience.
Providing value, by the way, doesn’t mean repeating platitudes or common industry knowledge. Instead, offer unique insights, actionable tips, personal stories, and precise business growth ideas. On top of that, never advertise your business within your thought leadership content. People will trust your messages less if they seem like commercials.
In all of this, pay particular attention to Instagram. Some businesspeople might see Instagram as unserious. In truth, it’s an outstanding platform for engagement, and its algorithm is sophisticated and powerful. You may have great success using this network to promote your thought leadership.
However, maybe you’d find it hard to keep producing beautiful Instagram images. Perhaps you’d feel more comfortable posting text. In that case, LinkedIn is probably the right network to focus on. It’s ideal for the written word, and LinkedIn also makes it easy to connect with the right people.
On the other hand, you don’t have to worry much about a website. These days, pouring time, effort, and money into a full website is unnecessary, maybe even wasteful. You may just need a landing page. And you might not need a business site at all, just your social media accounts.
4. Buy and Hold
In addition to his sharp advice about thought leadership and knowledge growth, Lael Sturm has many valuable business tips to share.
One helpful suggestion involves buying and holding real estate. Lael uses his San Francisco home as a case in point. After investing in it, he turned down many offers to sell it at a high price. As a result, this property has appreciated considerably.
With appreciation, you can build up equity. Thus, although it’s often tempting to sell residential and commercial real estate, try to hang onto your properties for as long as you can.
Lael’s buy-and-hold strategy is a terrific example of turning acquired knowledge into profitable action. It confirms the principle that’s guided his entire real estate marketing career: The more he knows, the better he can serve his clients.