The New Way To Get Real Estate Clients

There are a gazillion real estate agents out there.  Well, not quite.  But you get the picture.  There’s no shortage of competition trying to take the bread off of your table.

To compete, win, and get real estate clients before our competitors do, we must stand out.  And be great at what we do.  And evolve with changing strategies and tactics that work in the modern world.

The one constant is that real estate is a relationship business.  There must be a significant level of trust between you and your client before they’ll fully hire you to represent them.

The thing that changes though is how we develop that trust.  If you’re lucky enough to meet with your client/prospect in person a few times, you’re in a pretty good position for someone to get to know, like, and trust you.  And then hire you.

But meeting someone in person isn’t the typical situation.  More often, we’re getting leads online or getting a referral somehow.  It’s these situations where we really need to prove ourselves just to get to that step where we can hopefully meet in person.

So how do we real estate agents “sell” in a world where no one seems to want to buy us?

new way to get real estate clients

Know This First

The first thing to consider is that our modern culture has changed in the way that we buy things.  So, we cannot continue to try and sell in an out-dated way.

We must change how we sell so that we can change how prospects see us (actually, I don’t like the word “prospect” so I’m just going to use the word “people” from here on out).  We must change their understanding of what we do.

In my experience, both buyers and sellers have done a ton of research by the time I get to them (at least the serious ones do, anyway).  That’s partially because data is EVERYWHERE and partially because the general consumer is smart enough to at least make an effort to find the stats and data that they believe is relevant to their cause.

Because of this, data is no longer what we have to offer a home buyer or seller.

Data is now a commodity.  Having it does not separate us from anyone.  It doesn’t even separate us from a dumb computer algorithm any longer (think: Zestimate).

However, what we do have to offer – and what separates us from our various forms of competition – is information.  Data is the coal and what we as agents can do is squeeze it in just the right manner so that it becomes diamond.

And diamonds are worth lots more than coal.

It’s information that people want, yet they generally don’t know how to get it from the raw data.  It’s these insights that we agents have that make us special.

Build Authority

I mentioned earlier that we don’t buy in the same way we used to just a few years ago.  You’d agree that, as compared to 3 or 5 or certainly 10 years ago, you research major purchases much more than you used to, right?  Don’t you know a lot more about the car you want to buy?  Heck, don’t you now even research that $30 knick-knack on Amazon before you take out your credit card?

Home buyers and sellers do the same.  They want to know more about buying and selling a home so that they don’t get screwed some way or another.

This leaves us a great opportunity to be there for them before they even know they need help.  We do this by building authority in our local market.

There’s lots of ways to do this.  Some are as simple as building up your reviews on Yelp or any of the major home search portals.

Or maybe you’ve got a blog where you write about local market stats in your town/area.

Maybe you promote free ebooks on buying/selling or other types of checklists or toolkits to help educate and empower your future customers.

I like to use Facebook Ads to build my pipeline.

However you do it, your goal is to be in front of people and show them that you know what you’re talking about.  Be the expert in your area.  Build authority and people will feel easier about asking you for help.

Be Useful

Authority helps show you know what you’re talking about.

But being useful is when this authoritative knowledge can be applied to someone’s specific situation to help them.

Usefulness is really what we’re after here.  This is what our clients really want from us.  Actually, this is what they need from us.

If we’re not useful, then there’s no need for us to exist.  There is no need for someone to hire us.  They might as well just go back to trying to figure things out on the internet by themselves.  Or, worse, hire someone else who’s proved that they can be useful.

Being useful to someone may or may not include real estate-related items.  Maybe usefulness is simply giving someone a phone number for a vendor that they would have had to find on their own.  Or maybe it’s a 30-page CMA for someone who thinks they already have all the info they need.

Whatever the task at hand is, help someone out.  Be there with a purpose and provide the information that makes you worth someone’s time.

100% Transparency

“Hurry, time is running out!”

“But wait, if you order now…”

I’m not sure about you, but I really don’t like fake urgency.  I understand the concept of pressure to get a person to decide on something, but I think most people can see through the thinly-veiled methods to get them to sign on the dotted line.

That’s why I believe in total transparency.  I want people to know that I’m genuine in what I say and what I do.  I could have made more money in this business by now, but some deals I let go because they weren’t the right choice for that particular client.

I think if you demonstrate an intention to save someone from a bad decision in the short term, you’ll gain more in the long-term by the trust you’ve built.

The New Way

People buy differently.

So, we must sell differently.

If you can combine authority, usefulness, and transparency with a marketing plan that works for you, you won’t have to worry about not having enough clients.

 

 

29: How I’ll Triple My Real Estate Production In 2015

January, 2015 will mark the beginning of my 3rd year as an agent in residential real estate.  And I plan to triple my real estate production from what I did in 2014.  Here’s how.

Prior to being an agent, I ran (and still own but have delegated the management of) a pet services company where we get 90% of all our new business from the internet.  And the majority of this new business comes to us for free without paid advertising.

In fact, one of the reasons I got into real estate was because I felt I could leverage what I learned in this other business to produce real estate leads.

Well, as it turns out, some of my internet magic works for real estate, but I learned that a lot of it doesn’t produce results in quite the same way.  So I had to look for new solutions to get buyer and seller leads.

how to increase real estate production
Over the last 2 years I’ve experimented in all types of ways with internet-based lead generation techniques.  As I start year 3, here’s what I’m going to focus on.

Note that none of what I’m doing is related to traditional techniques of cold calling, door knocking, farming with direct mail, open houses, or other typical activities.  Further, I’m also not using any pay-per-click systems related to getting buyer leads with IDX or anything like that.

I truly feel that there is a NEW way to do things in real estate.  And I’m doubling-down on my bet by forgetting about every traditional technique I’ve been taught.

This is all I’m doing for the next year.  And I think that this 4-part approach is going to work:

1.  Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are not at all related to what we’ve traditionally learned about Facebook and social media.  To me, the social media component of posting stuff to my Facebook timeline and getting “likes” is a bottomless pit of effort with no real tangible return.

Facebook Ads, on the other hand, give very specific results.  I know that if I spend X dollars, I will get Y number of leads.  If I don’t get as many leads as I want, then I know I need to change some component of the advertisement or lead capture process.

I’ll be using the ads for 3 main types of campaigns:

  1. Ads to bring cold traffic to sign up for a webinar
  2. “Retargeting-Loop” Ads for warm traffic
  3. “Custom Audience” Ads for those very familiar with me

See below for more info on the Webinars.

If you’re not sure what “retargeting” is, it’s a way for you to target ads only to people who have already come to your website.  So, for example, I’m going to be running ads to drive cold traffic to my website for local market updates.  Once they’ve been to my site and have some familiarity with me, I’ll be running retargeting ads directly to those people to have them sign up for a webinar or get other valuable content from me that’s specific to their interest (location, seller, buyer, etc.)

If you’re not familiar with “custom audiences,” it’s a way for you to target people you already have on some type of list.  So, for example, I’ll be uploading my list of clients and then running ads to those people every so often to remind them of my services and to think of me for referrals.

2.  Webinars

Webinars are online presentations.  I conduct these at my computer in my office and webinar attendees can watch and listen from where ever they are via phone, tablet, or computer.  It’s very convenient and cost effective.

Why webinars?  Well, the short answer is that they’re a great way for prospects (who are typically complete strangers) to get to know me and understand that I know what I’m talking about.

With webinars, people can see me live on video, hear my voice, get a sense of my personality, and learn something – all at the same time.

Plus, if a prospect is wiling to spend 45 minutes online with me, don’t you think they’re probably more serious than someone who spends 5 seconds clicking a PPC ad to sign up to get emails of new homes?  You bet they are.  Webinar attendees are A-level prospects for sure!

My webinars will revolve around seller and buyer-related topics.

3. My Email List

My list of real estate prospects is a crucial component to my plan.  Since you need to constantly be in contact with people, an automated email campaign is a must-have system to have in place.  Often referred to as a “drip campaign,” my email list will receive short messages from me generally related to buyer and seller tips and tricks.

4.  Video Testimonials and Referrals

You can’t go wrong with referrals, of course.  I’m definitely going to be more conscious of asking people for referrals and staying in contact with past clients.

Further, I’m taking the typical testimonial and cranking it up a few notches by getting video testimonials.  I’ve been able to get about 9 so far this past year.  Not everyone is wiling to be on camera, but I’ve noticed that those who are will typically be very excited to talk about me and my services.

These videos get uploaded to my youtube channel and put on my website.

 

Would you like to see how my plan turns out?

Get regular updates from me.  Copy my ideas and learn from me regarding things that go right and what went wrong by getting on my email list right now.

My list gets regular updates on what I’m doing and exactly how I’m doing it.  Plus, I often interview top agents to learn their story of what they’ve done to make it big in real estate.

All this is free, so make sure to get on my email list by clicking here.

What about you?  I’d love to learn how you’re going to make 2015 the best year ever. Leave a comment below.  Thanks!

28: Why Providing Showing Feedback Is So Important

I timed myself as to how long it took to write feedback after a showing.  It took 14 seconds.

14 total seconds of my day.  That’s all.

Why is it then that only about a third of agents take the time to provide any type of feedback?  I don’t care if it’s a brief reply such as “interested” or “not interested”.  That at least gives me what I need to know.  Those simple words allow me to give my client some type of update.

Is it really that hard?  Does 10-30 seconds of time really cost that much?  Or is the effort just too great to reply to my email (or text or actually call me back after my 3rd inquiry about what the buyer thought).

real estate showing feedback
 

I think it’s reasonable that if a seller leaves their home for an hour on a Sunday morning to enable a buyer to visit, that the buyer’s agent will take 15 seconds to give an update afterwards.  Or am I totally out of line thinking this is logical?

Providing that feedback, as brief or in-depth as it may be, is so important because:

It Helps Show Our Clients That We Are Watching Out For Them – To sellers, getting feedback is common sense.  If we can’t get it, it makes us look like we’re not paying attention.  Or, worse, that we don’t know what we’re doing.

It Provides Direction – How do we know what to fix if we don’t know what’s broken?  Feedback gives an unbiased opinion of the property from an outsider.  Sellers are often way too attached to their home to see the faults.  When an outsider can point them out, it can help give credibility to needing to fix things that maybe the seller didn’t think were problems.

Pricing & Value – Although you have to expect that a serious buyer is probably going to provide feedback that the “price is too high,” other non-interested buyers will likely be giving you their honest opinion on if the price is at market value or not.  We all know that sellers think their house is more special than every other one on the block so, if 10 people are saying it’s priced too high, then maybe the seller will finally get the hint that their over-priced property needs to come down.

What Goes Around, Comes Around – As agents, we have an informal brother/sisterhood, right?  We have to watch out for each other.  I’m a believer that what goes around, comes around.  So, providing feedback to others is the best way for you to get feedback of your own when you need it.

The next time you visit a home as a buyer’s agent, make sure to provide feedback within 24 hours.  We all help each other, don’t we?

 

 

27: When Should You Ask For Time From A Real Estate Prospect?

I’m not sure what it was about these past 2 weeks, but I’ve received an abnormal number of calls and emails from complete stranger salespeople asking me for my time.

The last email was especially egregious and began like this…

“Hey John – I know you’re crazy busy, but I’m looking to grab 20-30 minutes of your time for a quick call/screen share sometime in the next few weeks to show you our software system…”

On a side note, this person also emailed me 3 more times to follow up.  Each email was sent at exactly the same time of day, which is clearly a sign that I was on an auto-emailing system and not even being contacted by a real person.

real estate prospect time
Anyway, back to his initial email.  The first note this guy sends me is nothing but a request for my time.  I’ve never heard from him before and there was zero attempt to understand what I might need (which, by the way, is definitely not related to what he’s selling).

He’s just asking for something from me and offering zero value in return.  And, by the way, he’s not asking for something tiny.  He wants up to 30 minutes of time (or more).  This got me thinking about when it’s reasonable to ask for my real estate prospects’ time.

I considered that it might be after “x” number of contacts or “y” number of days.  However, what I think it really comes down to is that:

It’s acceptable and reasonable to ask for a prospect’s time after you’ve already provided them with some type of value first.

I don’t think there’ necessarily a specific timeline attached to value.  If I conduct a webinar with a solid 45 minutes of solid educational material, I think it’s reasonable to ask for someone’s time after that even if it’s the first day of my relationship with this person.

I believe that the response you get to asking someone for their time is more related to the strength of the value you’ve provided to them rather than the length of time you may have been in contact with them.

There are a lot of people that are in my database that I’ve “checked in” with for over a year.  That’s a pretty long time.  But, if I haven’t really provided them with any type of value over that period, I shouldn’t expect them to want to suddenly do business with me just because they’ve been on my list for a while.

As a real estate agent, I’m going to think a lot more about the value I can provide to people over the course of the coming year.  If I provide something that’s tangible and educational to them that helps them achieve their goals, I think that is completely deserving of them giving me 15 or 30 or 60 minutes of time when it makes sense to meet up.

Thank you, Mr. Email Guy who rudely asked me for my most precious asset, my time, without offering something in return.  It was a great reminder as to how I should attempt to be in contact with my own prospects.

No matter how long or short of a time I’ve known someone who’s looking to buy or sell, it’s my goal to consistently provide amazing value along the way.  Do that and I think you can ask for as much time as you want of someone.

How about you?  When do you think it’s reasonable to ask for someone’s time?  I know some great sales people who are very direct and cut right to the chase and successfully contradict my entire article.  Are you more of a “value mindset” like me or do you charge right in?  Let me know in the comments.