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.

 

 

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.

 

26: Is Being A Real Estate Agent Fun?

As a former recruiter helping people find jobs, I met with people every single day and listened to their story of why they wanted to change jobs and what they were looking for in a new one.  There were always the necessities of what people had to have, such as a certain salary or job location.

But, when it came down to it, what I found most people really wanted in their job was simply to be interested in it.  They wanted to like their jobs and not dread the 8-10 hours a day they were putting in.

In other words, most people just wanted to have a little fun in their jobs.

If you’re thinking of becoming a real estate agent, you’re probably wondering how you might like this type of role and if you’d have any fun doing it.  So here are some things you should consider regarding what being a real estate agent entails.  If you don’t think these types of activities are fun, then you probably won’t think being an agent is very fun, either.

real estate agent fun
 

1.  Love Helping People

Being a real estate agent is WAY TOO HARD if you don’t enjoy the aspect of helping people.  If you’re in it strictly for the money, you’re probably not going to put in the amount of time and effort that is required when things get tough.

For example, when a deal is headed south, when negotiations seemingly come to a stand-still, when your client unpredictably changes his mind, or when you get an “urgent” call at 10:30pm on a Saturday night, it’s often hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  But knowing that your actions will help your clients is often the motivation that will keep you going.

2.  Thrive On Pressure

When you’re dealing with customers who are spending all the money they can afford (no matter if that’s tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions), they expect you to make things happen the way that they want them to.  There’s a ton of pressure when your client expects you to sell for way more than the market will bear, when your client wants that 600K home for 500K, and when the inevitable unexpected wrench in the works pops up in the middle of the deal.

If you don’t love pressure and people relying on you, real estate is not going to be fun.

3.  Work Independently

Some people can work independently without supervision and some can’t.  There’s no right or wrong if you’re one or the other.  But you need to recognize which you are.

If you’re not fully able to get out of bed in the morning and do what you need to do with the proper priority without someone watching over you and making you do it, each day is going to be tough for you.

4.  Run A Business

Yes, you’re a real estate agent.  But, you’re also more than that.  You’re also a full-fledged business and you need to think about operations, marketing, accounting, client relations, customer follow up, goal-setting, prospecting, and a ton more.

If you are looking for a 9-5 job where you can clock in and then clock out and forget about the day, then being a real estate agent may not be very fun.

5.  Prospect For New Business

If an agent is going to fail, it’s probably because of a lack of prospecting.  The bottom line in being a real estate agent is that you need to always be hunting for your next deal.  It’s how you put food on the table.

If you’re afraid of reaching out to new people or, worse, you found this type of activity to be downright dreadful, then being a real estate agent surely is not going to be fun.

Remember that different agents to all types of different kinds of prospecting and you don’t have to love every type.  For example, I hate cold-calling people primarily because I did that for about a decade in my recruiting job.  I just don’t love that type of outreach.  However, I am all about digital and online farming and prospecting.  That’s what interests me and that’s what I’m good at.

You couldn’t pay me to pick up the phone and dial for dollars, but I love putting together facebook ads and doing webinars.  That’s the type of prospecting I do and how I get a lot of my business.  To me, that’s fun.  If you have some type of prospecting that you consider fun, then you’ll have a much better chance to succeed in this business.

How about you?  If you’re thinking of becoming a real estate agent, which of these 5 topics do you think you’d have the most fun with?  If you’re a current agent, what else do you think you need to consider for real estate to be a fun job?

 

20: What Separates The Top 5% of Real Estate Agents From Everyone Else – Brian Icenhower

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Summary

Brian Icenhower is an amazing real estate trainer, manager, agent, and more.  He shares what separates the top 5% of real estate agents from everyone else.

brian icenhower real estate coachProfile

Guest:  Brian Icenhower

Market: Kansas City

Steal His Ideas:

  • Top agents consistently lead generate every day
  • Timeblock your day and don’t let yourself be disturbed
  • If you want buyers, get listings
  • An administrative assistant is a great first person to hire in your business

Strategies

It’s the very rare agent that consistently and proactively lead generates for even 1 or 2 hours a day.  But it’s these agents that make up the vast majority of all real estate sales.

Avoid the real estate roller coaster by generating leads each day.  Don’t just transact the business you have and then start all over with the lead generating once you’re through.  Instead, block time to do something each day that gets you closer to having a new client.

There are two ways to work in real estate:

  1. live in the same place for years and years where everyone knows you
  2. for everyone else, you need to timeblock your day to get new leads (usually, do this in the mornings)

If you’re working more than 65+ hours a week and you’re not closing 45+ transactions, you probably either have a time management problem or you’re working with a ton of buyers and few sellers.  You can handle 4X as many listing sides than buyer sides at the same time.  So, top producers are always on the listing side.

So as to not “bother” the general public when you’re prospecting, always tie the reason you’re contacting them into providing them some type of value.

When marketing a listing, try and tie your activities in with opportunities for you to get business at the same time.  For example, when calling neighbors of a listing, make part of your conversation about if they are looking to buy or sell anytime soon.

If you’re looking for business right now, the easiest and first thing you can do is gather everyone you know and put them in one place where you can easily access their info to contact them regularly.  Constantly be building this referral base of people.

The best use of an agent’s time to get the quickest conversions is by calling for-sale-by-owners and expired listings.  That’s because you know they want to sell their home right now.

Scripts are important.  Top agents know that, whether you use someone else’s scripts or your own, you’ll eventually start saying the same things that you know will work.

Every agent can benefit from having a website and other online marketing materials.  When potential customers come to check you out online before they hire you, they want to see a reputable and professional online presence.  However, the core to all your activities starts with proactively contacting people.

When you consistently do not have time to prospect for new business, that’s about the time to hire someone to help you out.  Typically, this will happen when you reach about $6 million a year.  The person you hire should be an administrative assistant, not a buyer’s agent.  This person can actually help you make more money than when you’re by yourself because you have more time to do more important revenue-generating activities.

brian icenhower real estate interview

Lightning Round

What’s the worst marketing you’ve done that others should avoid:  Broker open houses

What keeps you motivated:  Be of service to people

You’ve got 30 days and $1000, what do you do:  Preview properties, knock doors around listings, buy a subscription to a database of FSBO and expireds and start calling people

How You Can Do What He’s Done

Here are the only things a top-producing agent should be doing:

  • generating leads
  • negotiating contracts
  • going on listing appointments
  • showing property
  • (everything else should be done by an administrative assistant)

Resources

Find additional commentary on this topic at Brian’s site, The Real Estate Trainer.

Cole Realty Resource

Real Estate Scripts

CallFire

Mojo Call Dialer

Vulcan 7

 

11: [TOOLBOX] How Many Just Listed/Sold Postcards Should I Send Out?

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If you’re going to try direct mail postcards to broadcast your new “just listed” or “just sold” listings, you may be wondering how many postcards to send out.

The general consensus is roughly 300.

Here are some things to consider to see if maybe you should be sending the same, more, or fewer.

just sold just listed postcards

Consistency

Sending out your just sold / just listed postcards one time isn’t going to do you any good.  Consistency is key if you’re trying to target a farm with direct mail.  So, one of your first considerations should be how many cards you can send out on a regular basis.

Budget

How much can you afford to regularly spend on postage and printing?  Again, consistency is key so you may want to consider your budget in terms of a monthly spend or, if you have a consistent flow of deals and listings, how much you’re going to invest for each new listing or sale.

Split Testing

Are you sending out one card or are you doing any type of split testing to see which version of a card works better?  If you’re doing a split test, you’re better off sending more cards than fewer.  That’s because you’ll start to see more statistically accurate results if you can send out at least a few hundred with each version.

Your List vs. New Clients

Is your goal with your postcards to gain brand new clients or to reinforce your top-of-mind awareness with your current clients?  If you’re going for new blood, then you’ll want to consider a larger list so you’re more likely to reach people who are ready (or nearly ready) to buy/sell right now.  If you’re advertising to current clients, then just stick to that list.  If it’s a huge list of current clients, then try segmenting or prioritizing that list to target just those who are most likely to refer you or use you directly again.

Value of Homes

If your farm is homes that have an average value that is very high or low, this should be a major consideration for you.  Your fixed costs (postage, printing, etc.) will be exactly the same either way.  So, if your average home value is $700,000 and the commissions are going to be pretty good, that may be incentive to send out more just listed postcards than if the average value is $95,000.

Do You Enjoy It?

Any prospecting must be fun (or at least tolerable) to ensure you’ll keep doing it.  How many just sold postcards will you have the time and interest to do?

You Can Always Do More

Once you start, you can always send out more cards as you find that they’re working for you.  There’s no point in doing 1000 and then cutting back to 400 three months later.  You’re much better off starting smaller and then growing as needed.

Frequency Level

We talked about your consistency over the long-term.  But what about frequency – how many can you send out each month or quarter?  Sending out 2 cards a year for 10 years might be consistent, but that frequency probably isn’t enough.  How many cards can you send out each week, month, or quarter and keep the consistency up?

How Are You Mailing?

What is the method you’ll be using to mail your cards?  If you’re doing everything by hand like writing addresses by hand or manually sticking stamps and address stickers, that’s going to be a big investment of time.  Or, do you have some type of mailing service like Every Door Direct Mail from the US Post office?  The effort involved in mailing will have an impact on how likely you are to consistently do this well.

Turnover

What is the turnover of the homes you’re mailing to?  If it’s pretty active and people are moving in and out of the area regularly, this could be good news for you because there are going to be more ready and willing clients.  If turnover is low, you’re going to have to be especially patient before this type of advertising starts working for you.

Summary

When you start your just listed/sold campaign, make an effort to send roughly 300 on a frequent and consistent basis.  As you see how the program is working, you can alter your advertising message as well as the number of homes you’re targeting so you can reap the biggest bang for the buck.

Do you do direct mail like this?  Leave us a message and let us know how many you send and how it works for you.

4: This Is How You Sell $1.5 Billion In Real Estate – Michael Edlen

Summary

michael edlen, real estate agentWhat does it take to sell $1.5 Billion in real estate?  Well, Michael Edlen spills the beans on how he’s done it.

Profile

Agent:  Michael Edlen

Market: Western Los Angeles, California

Steal His Ideas:

  • Open houses
  • Continual follow up and prospecting
  • Hiring a team of specialists
  • Complete 5 important tasks a day
  • Advertising of your listings and your business
  • Offering amazing service
  • Energetically look for and claim opportunities
  • Assume to have abundance in all areas of your life

Strategies

Sure, it helps a bunch to get to $1.5 billion in real estate sales if you live in a higher-end market.  But, no matter the price point, you don’t get there without dedication, focus, a business-owner mentality, and loving your job and looking at it as “play” instead of “work.”

Before Michael was selling gazillions worth of homes, he started out simple…and continues a lot of that simplicity in his business today.  One of his favorite strategies he started with back in 1986 (and still does today) is open houses.

His focus was and is on providing amazing service and being truly interested in the client and not the potential outcome of the deal.

Although he doesn’t time-block parts of his day, he does plan the prior evening to complete 5 essential tasks the following day.  He feels that being extremely focused is a key to getting a lot done in a little time.

Another key area where he accomplished a lot is simply by having a team of 6 people that help him.  Each person has a designated job to do.  Michael treats his business as a company with employees that each have specific roles.  So, he doesn’t do paperwork or marketing activities. He focuses on the high-value activities of prospecting, listings, and negotiations.

On the seller side, they put a lot of time into marketing listings not only for the benefit of selling the house, but also for brand exposure for his services.

On the buyer side of the business, Michael has online lead generation sources like Zillow and Tigerleads to bring in various levels of quality leads.  One thing he says he’d do differently if he had it to do over would be to make more systems and processes to create more accountability in how those leads are followed up on.

Lightning Round

What’s the worst marketing you’ve done that others should avoid:  Committing to a new type of advertising without much proof of its success.  He encourages a free trial or limited paid trial before committing too many dollars to something that may not work.

What keeps you motivated:  Enthusiasm to be of service to people.

You’ve got 30 days and $1000, what do you do:  Get 10 personalized open house signs and work open houses like crazy.  He feels that this is least costly way to effectively meet people and start building a database.

How You Can Do What He’s Done

Start with open houses.  Build your database person by person.  Extend your team by hiring people with specific duties.  Branch into paid advertising for your listings as well as buyer leads, but always be cautious about how much you’re spending and evaluate the return.

Resources

Michael Edlen Real Estate

TigerLead