70% of buyers and sellers will work with the first agent they meet with face to face
Meeting you in person builds immediate trust and loyalty. Don’t just call clients, propose a time and place to meet. Whether it’s a home buyer or seller, setting up a face-to-face, belly-to-belly, eyeball-to-eyeball appointment could be what sets you apart from other agents vying for the same lead.
So, whenever you receive a new referral, focus your effort almost entirely on setting up an in-person meeting. After all, it’s a lot easier to ignore someone you haven’t met in real life.
Here are some simple rules to help guide agents in the right direction for getting the meeting and closing the deal:
→ Be Easy to Reach: Include the same one phone number & one email address on all your marketing material.
→ Be Responsive: Needless to say, you won’t get the listing if you don’t return missed calls QUICK.
→ Have a good handshake: quick and firm – no “dead fish” or “bone crusher”
→ Dress professional, yet approachable: Your outfit should be one notch nicer than the person you’re meet with
→ BE ON TIME: Actually, no. Be 10 minutes early. Always.
→ Clean Your Car: It just shows that extra attention to detail and also that you’re not a total slob.
If you’re not going above and beyond, you’re also not going further with that client’s circle. Buyers and Sellers love to refer agents that they worked with when they have an outstanding experience. Anything less than extraordinary though, and it ain’t going anywhere else. Unlocking that extra level of service and attention to your clients is what generated referral and repeat business. Some of the most successful agents these days don’t spend a dollar on advertising because they have build up such a large trust base and they struggle just to keep up with the buyers and sellers that are being referred to them. The key to all this lies in a few simple practices:
#1 Always answer your phone. Clients are putting huge trust in you, and they need an agent they feel is on top of everything so they need exta hand holding. it’s an emotional and stressful transaction and involved a lot or most of someone’s savings to invest in, so clients are naturally more sensitive. you need to be the calm voice in the room, educated, and always, always, always ready for their call if they have any concerns.
#2 Ongoing follow ups. If you’ve listed a seller’s home, you should be updating them weekly on # scheduled showings, # offers, # interested buyers, etc, or if they are in escrow, they should be updated every few days. If you’re working with buyers that are more long term, you should calling them at least once per month to see if they’re seeing any properties online they are interested in, or if they want to be set up on another search, maybe in a new neighborhood you could recommend.
#3 Post Closing Relationship. Most agents cease most of their contact with a client as soon as that escrow closes and they get their commission check. It’s sad but true. Agents think, “well, when they are ready to buy again or sell in many years, hopefully they think of me, i’ll touch base one day again”, but they don’t. Creating a strong Post Closing Relationship (PCR):
- a. Thank You – You don’t have to buy your clients something physical, although it’s a nice gesture to consider doing so, but showing a large degree of GRATITUDE is what counts. After the closing, your clients will be so thankful for you, because they are happy in their new home, etc. So when you thank THEM, they are in awe and feel even more grateful, and you should be thankful, you just made a lot of money! Showing gratitude is the most important thing, and it can’t be in an email. You should go by the home when they are settled in, or send flowers with a Thank You card at the very least.
- b. Ask and you shall receive – After you show your gratitude, you should follow up once again and let them know how the market is doing in their neighborhood, and ask them if they have any friends they could introduce over so that you can keep them updated on the market, send them new listings, or schedule home tours with. People who have been pleased by your service will be more than happy to recommend you. You’d be amazed how many, and how much new referral business you get from it. When you advertise online, you advertise for that day. When you build a strong PCR with a client, you build a career-long stream of recurring business.
- c. Follow up Quarterly – Never lose that contact with your past client. If you just do the first 2 steps above and then lose contact, you will have missed the point. Stay in touch ongoing but not overtly-sales or nosey, just a quick hi and let them know there are some cool new restaurants opening up near them and ask them how they’re liking the changes to the neighborhood. Staying on their mind long term will create multitudes of new business for you. They may only know 2-3 people right now looking to buy a home, but they will know dozens throughout a year’s time alone.
Let’s start by defining what “performance based” means: Basically, the amount you pay for a service is proportionate to the value you get from it. It’s time this came to real estate, and there’s no better way than Referrals. Most companies today sell “leads” which are cold, un-vetted, un-screened, unqualified, un-everything “name and emails” that you’re supposed to call and hope for the best.
Stop buying leads right now. You should start partnering for referrals.
A referral is different because it’s a warm introduction by a human being, not an auto-email. Referrals are screened, vetted and motivated buyers and sellers that are introduced by phone or in person and have a far higher conversion rate. With referrals, you never have to worry about fake contact info, or clients already working with an agent, or wondering who you are and why you just called them. Referrals are ready to start working with you right away, and are loyal.
In a referral partnership, you also pay a standard 25-35% referral fee, so the compensation is tied to the success of the referral. Agents would much rather pay a % of their commission at closing than to pay up front for a bunch of unscreened leads.
Referral performance based business models are the future of real estate marketing.
More people search Google for real estate information than any other site, hands down. It’s way larger than Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com combined for real estate related searches (need to check that, but pretty sure). So you can’t ignore advertising here, but let’s face it; you’re good at selling homes, and you don’t know much about internet marketing and adwords optimization. Here are some reasons why you can’t manage this yourself.
#1 You will lose thousands of dollars realizing quickly that you’re in over your head. Companies specialize in these services and are far better at it than you, from keyword management and optimization, to PPC bidding for the right stuff and at the right times, to testing and creating the most optimal landing pages to send interested buyers and sellers to.
#2 You aren’t responding to the leads fast enough. You are generating leads throughout the day (and night), but you aren’t always available to respond and if you don’t get back to internet leads asap, they forget all about you and they are gone. Real Statistic from somewhere: Calling a lead within 5 minutes of their inquiry vs 30 min increases the chances of you working with them 300%. After 30 minutes, the chances of reaching the lead go way down. You need to make sure you can handle the leads coming in. You need an ISA (Inside Sales Associate) or partner that can field calls and respond to online inquiries within minutes. Real Stat from NAR (National Assoc of Realtors): 45% of online leads never receive a response from an agent. They are literally never contacted.
#3 You don’t have the budget a larger company has. By merging your budget into a larger Google AdWords manager, they can drive the costs down overall, just like buying in bulk. So you’ll always pay way more for that Click than just having a big company manage the same keywords for you.
Facebook is a powerful lead generation and marketing tool for all Real Estate Agents. However, when you’re an Agent, your Facebook account is also your business so it directly reflects who you are in a very public way. It’s a delicate balance; You want to be social, but you must be aware that many of your clients will come from your existing FB contacts or will become new FB contacts. Here are a couple of things we have seen and found are complete turn-offs for potential clients:
#1 Promoting your business too often or too overtly. Chances are the people who are already in your network know you’re a real estate agent, and are exciting to have someone like available as a resource… but telling them every single day (or worse… multiple times per day) is not something that’s interesting or helpful to them. This is sure-fire way to quickly become another “hidden” post in their feed.
#2 Posting inappropriate or unprofessional comments or photos. Don’t be political either. We all have “that” friend who’s convinced they’re going to change their friends’ (or worse, acquaintances or strangers) opinions on politics, or think it’s a great idea to post a picture of them taking a shot at 3AM on a Monday – it’s not. Don’t do it.
#3 Your content and updates are too generic. Needs to be more specific and niche down to a neighborhood or market area that’s more relatable to people. Don’t just send a broad monthly update about how many homes sold in your county. Focus on new and exciting developments and trends in specific neighborhoods, etc. It’ll show you are more of an expert and know your stuff.