Realtors spend about $9 billion every year on advertising. Furthermore, from that data, 56% of that sum (a little more than $5 billion) is spent on purchasing leads. It’s reasonable to assume that there’s an immense amount of value associated with purchasing leads. However, there’s a massive difference between leads of a buyer and leads of a discernible buyer.
Top performing agents aim their sites on the discernible buyer over just the broadly stroked “buyer.” They understand the emphasis that needs to be put on qualifying and scrubbing their leads rather than just purchasing a plethora of generic leads.
Below are 6 ways top performing agents are enhancing their lead strategy to outperform the rest. The industry average lead response time is 3 hours and 8 minutes. Top performing agents who utilize lead response and scrubbing tools available to anyone (but only few choose to adopt) respond to leads within a whopping 5 minute window.
According to Inside Sales, the odds of a lead being converted are 21X more likely when responded within 5 minutes as opposed to a response within a half hour. Just because a lead isn’t ready to convert now doesn’t mean that it won’t ever be ready. Inman suggests that the number one mistake real estate agents make with leads is they give up on what they think are “dead-end” leads. Inman notes,
“[…] That’s why it’s imperative that you nurture your leads. You spent time, energy and money generating the lead, now nurture it. Stop treating the ones that don’t buy or sell immediately (most of them, by the way) like they are lepers. Start treating them like the absolute gold that they are. It takes thought, time, energy and, yes, even some money, to set up a beautiful lead nurturing process. But that time, energy and money will pay off. Huge. In massive returns.”
Now you might be thinking you don’t have time to nurture leads that might only be actualized 6 months or perhaps a year from now. Top performing agents don’t actively pursue these leads day in and day out. They use passive technology in order to keep these leads nurtured over the long haul. Not all lead generation is searching and purchasing leads. Sometimes, you need the leads to come to you.
Top performing agents utilize an effective marketing strategy to get their name and reputation out to the public and have the potential customers come to them. The National Association of Realtors® reports that 44% of all buyers research online before reaching out to a Realtor®.
If you’ve been having trouble building and advertising your brand, check out our guide to building your brand.Did you know that the millennial market makes up 33% of the present day real estate housing market? Not that many realtors know that.
Furthermore, since millennials have delayed home buying longer than any previous generation, the demand to enter into the home buying market is set to explode. There are deliberate and effective strategies top performing agents use in communicating and doing business with the largest generation in United States History.
As it pertains to their lead strategy, these agents know what form of communication is preferred. Studies indicate that 86% of millennials would prefer to communicate via text message over a phone call. If you are an agent who is focusing on this niche market, there are tools that you can employ to exploit this opportunity.
For being such a competitive industry, you aren’t working in a vacuum. Many top performing agents utilize referral networks.
For many agents, referrals from former clients, family, and friends often have the highest closing ratio of any other lead source.
Bruce Ailion, a 37 year veteran realtor who earned $450K GCI last year, has a unique source for leads: other realtors. “My favorite lead source is a referral from another agent. Most Realtors come upon several people a year relocating out of the area.”
In short, referrals allow you to make money off of leads without lifting a finger. Just because the deal is done doesn’t mean you send your customer off into the “rising sunset.” Your past customers are going to be your most valued lead going into the future.
A great experience is likely to reward an agent with repeat business.
25% of real estate agents generate more than 50% of their business from repeat clients; across all real estate transactions, which accounts for 12% of all residential real estate volume, or $56 billion. These figures are staggering.
Furthermore, the National Association of REALTORS® conducted a survey concluded that 89% of buyers would prefer to use their agent again in future purchasing.
Top agents know that going through the rigmarole of capturing new business (a task 7X more costly) than capturing a repeat customer. Old leads with a great experience associated to the purchase are converted into future qualified leads.
If you’ve been struggling with your lead strategy, perhaps it was due to ignorance of knowing what was out there. Maybe you have been going down the wrong road for quite some time. Either way, with the strategies listed above, you are set to dominate your local area with what leads may come your way. If in any way you are having trouble trying to find the time to enact any of the listed strategies above, Verse is here to help. While generating buzz and brand awareness is crucial, as mentioned earlier, saavy agents know that success demands the use of every trick up your sleeve.
Essentially, you should be drumming up clients by any means necessary.
In that vein, our friends over at Follow Up Boss have some fantastic resources at their disposal. Namely, they discuss some timeless tips to generate leads for any business. Many of these will no doubt be ingrained into your real estate psyche already, but there are some gems that are often overlooked and worth implementing into your business strategy.
Furthermore, for those less interested in broad strokes and want more of a cheatsheet , there’s a great list of easy to use (and FREE) lead gen ideas that is certainly worth checking out.
Closing is the make-or-break moment in real estate. Unfortunately, the job doesn’t just entail helping a seller sell and a buyer buy. Far from it. In fact, in 2007, Pat Vredevoogd-Combs, past president of the National Association of REALTORS®, testified before the House Financial Services Committee on Housing. As part of her testimony, she submitted a list of 184 things that listing agents do in every real estate transaction.
“By all accounts […] the general public is not aware of all the services that agents provide to sellers and buyers during the course of the transaction, probably because most of the important services are performed behind the scenes.”
Everything you’ve built up until this point would be squandered if you are unable to close the deal on any opportunity that comes your way. As a real estate agent, you have the potential to be a negotiation master. Everything that you do in this profession leads up to helping individuals buy and sell the most important assets that they will exchange over the course of their lives. Here are some tactics, strategies and techniques that will help build you into an expert closer.
We’ve all had that moment whether it be via a phone call, a knock on the door, or being approached on the street where we’re confronted by someone looking to make a sale with a script. If we don’t have the wherewithal to kindly stop them and move on, we’ll end up seeing their whole scripted presentation from start to finish.
A buyer or seller can tell when they are being sold and not being helped. According to Oren Klaff, Author of Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal, “A frame is the instrument you use to package your power, authority, strength, information, and status.” When dealing in negotiation and working towards the close, you always need to remain in control of the frame being represented.
You customer, more often than not, is going to look at controlling the frame of the deal. Maybe they will come up with excuses like, “Let’s make this meeting quick, I only have 15 minutes” to which you would respond with, in order to control the frame, “Great, I only have 14 minutes. Let’s get started.” It may seem silly, but controlling the flow of conversation and leading the customer to sign the deal to their new house is your responsibility as an agent and closer. In most cases, the buyer appears to be in control of the negotiation of the sale. With this technique, you give the seller options he/she can present to the buyer. The buyer may still be in control and have negotiation advantages, however there are too many options that are too enticing to overlook. You play into what is advantageous for both the buyer and the seller and drastically reduce any objections or uncertainties with the menu of options. What at first glance might seem like an avoidance of the actual close, when examined more closely, it is a supreme technique when dealing with the “haggler” during the sale. This technique is to be used when it appears there are still a few concerns that are in the way of closing the deal. The concerns, however, are to be addressed after signing on the dotted line. An example is as follows:
“If we sign the contract today, we can start work on these concerns first thing tomorrow morning. Is that something you would be willing to commit to?”
Make sure you are the last agent to be met with. If a seller has made six listing presentation appointments with competing real estate agents, number six on the list is in the best position.
When a seller is going through the available agents to list their property, they are information gathering. They are betting on the last agent they meet with to have some unique, valuable nugget of insider information that they prior agents maybe didn’t provide. Furthermore, the last agent is going to be fresh in the mind of the client. In conjunction with strategy 1 (listed above), try prompting your client with the following question, “Could I please be your last appointment? I’m a bit different from most agents and I want to be able to address any questions or concerns you have after you’ve talked to others.”
Everything you’ve worked for in building your business and brand, gathering clients and securing listing will be for naught if you are unable to capitalize on the close and get your client to sign their “John Hancock” on the dotted line. You’re currently juggling everything from fostering a referral program to building your optimal real estate team (link to real estate team blog). Expediting your closing rates and becoming a real estate rainmaker is within reach.
Contrary to what you might believe, direct mail marketing is anything but extinct in this day and age. In fact, $46 billion dollars is still being invested in direct mail marketing by major corporations. Even with the advent of modern technologies that spread awareness of company promotions like email and social media; direct mail isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Direct mail has too many marketing benefits that the new kids on the block just cannot compete with.
For starters, think about the hassle a consumer has to deal with when being flooded with spam email. There are:
- Newsletters that you used to read 7 years ago.
- Promotions from companies that you never intended to see or receive.
- Status updates from what your once-upon-a-time high school friends are doing during their trip to the Ozarks.
- The tenth “forgot password” request that pushes you oh so closer to throwing your laptop out the window.
All of these emails are the same: they are an Arial-font request asking you to buy or do something you have little interest in doing.
Compare that with this year’s birthday card from Grandma. Outside of the intimate family connection you have with this individual, what does the direct mail card look like? What does it feel like? What meaningful message is in there? What’s the psychological connection that is made knowing they went out of their time to pick a card, write in it, seal it and send it with postage?
It’s more than striking a few keys and pressing “send”– it means something.
Even within all the physical mail you receive, this sticks out. It seems in 2018 the only letters you receive in the mail are the various bills you’re obligated to pay (unless of course you opted for “paperless”).
All of this plays into a hefty advantage in your favor as a real estate agent. Here’s how. Consumers like direct mail more. A recent study indicates that 73% of your customers actually prefer to receive direct mail over other marketing mediums. This is even more pronounced with millennials where 90% of them reported to responding favorably to direct mail when making their purchasing decisions.
Direct mail allows for easily tracking ROI. At first glance, it might seem like tracking ROI would be in depth and time-consuming.
On the contrary.
The ROI of direct mail is measured simply by choosing your sample size of the direct mail campaign, calculating costs for sending the campaign out, providing direct responses in your campaign, and tracking the rates of people sending back the responses. It’s that simple.
People love tangible, physical objects. We can see this prevalence for “the physical” in both the book industries (physical book sales consistently outselling kindle and digital) and music with vinyl albums hitting record highs in 2017. Even with being in the digital age, people love to hold, touch and experience “real things.” With direct mail marketing, you are able to set yourself apart from the competition with uniqueness.
- You can choose a striking color for your envelope.
- You can choose an interesting shape for your card.
- You can include personal graphics of your team.
- You can include a physical call to action within the content of your mail.
Any variable you choose to implement into your strategy further bolsters your uniqueness in reaching your customers and keeps you at the forefront of their mind–something of dire importance in the real estate industry. One study, “The neuroscience behind the response-driving power of direct mail” found that,
“Brand recall was 70 percent higher among participants who were exposed to direct mail ads rather than to digital ones.”
Direct mail also builds trust, maybe the most important facet of this job. Studies indicate that 56% of customers find print marketing to be the most trustworthy type of marketing.
As an agent, you are overseeing and working with a specific geographic location. You are the real estate arbiter of a neighborhood. An effective method you can use in optimizing your direct mail marketing strategy is to implement it in conjunction with Nextdoor, the social media platform that allows you to touch and impact a given neighborhood without physically knocking on their doors. You might be thinking that with all these benefits direct mail marketing can bring you, the upstart would be labor intensive and take a decent chunk out of your marketing budget.
Wrong and wrong.
In 2018, there are plenty of companies that specialize in equipping you with everything you need to develop and implement the best direct mail marketing campaign to fit your business.
- Postcardmania is a great business to employ if you are looking to spread brand awareness. They are low cost and offer a bunch of customizable looks to help get your brand into the hands people are looking for.
- Mail Shark is a company that is specific for the real estate industry. They offer three different products that are solving three specific needs: Targeted Mail to specific types of people, Saturation Mail to people in a specific area, and EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) for people who want to hit a specific area and prefer to do the mailing themselves.
Open Letter Marketing is again another company geared specifically for real estate that offers a menu of different options from handwritten letters to professional letters that help generate exposure and also offer a call to action and lead generator tools for your given market.
While technology is always innovating and changing, there are some tools that remain constant.
These tools pass the test of time and remain in the marketplace because they work. If you aren’t using them, you are missing out on effective ways to grow your business and enterprise. Direct mail marketing tops this list of “old dog“ tools. The tools that have remained viable even though many people have forgotten their effectiveness. What many people forget, you can use to your advantage. Be where others aren’t and see the success of your business rise.
You’ll be surprised by how much of an impact personality can have in closing deals; in fact, certain traits can play a part in making or breaking your business. When someone is said to have a “winning personality”, what kind of person comes to mind? (And no, I’m not referring to when you ironically describe the crotchety cat lady next door.)
So take a second, close your eyes, and think – who genuinely fits the bill? Without a doubt, you’ll imagine someone who has all the traits that translates into success – in their business, in their relationships, and pretty much life in general. Self-assured. Ambitious. Even charming. So here are some traits synonymous with success, but first – here’s one surprising characteristic.
The Customer is Not Always Right!
Yes. You heard me. And if you disagree, then good – because that means you’re a winner with a backbone, since being too much of a people pleaser could be a dealbreaker in your business. Studies show that “Agreeableness has a negative relationship with sales”. Don’t get me wrong – customer service/experience is vital within the real estate space. It plays a large part in building your brand with word of mouth promotion. Yet it doesn’t entail having to roll over for them. Such as when you need to push back and assert your expertise when a client challenges you with hearsay and conflicting information.
Now, agreeable in this context doesn’t mean having a crummy personality or even being likable. Instead, it means that “People who are high in agreeableness tend to be more cooperative while those low in this trait tend to be more competitive and even manipulative.” (Very Well Minded) Clearly, you have to strike a balance in this regard – you don’t want to be excessively cooperative to the point that your client assumes you’ll just roll over during negotiations. Yet you don’t want to come off as ‘manipulative’, like some sleazy salesman with a comb over toupee in a pit-stained 3 piece suit. (Speaking of which, make sure you’re style is not killing your business either)
Vigilance is key
Now that you know what not to do, it’s worth exploring the characteristics which have proven to generate more success- which of the Big 5 will help you close more deals? Surprisingly, it’s much more than a winning smile or some cheesy catch-line. Have you noticed that your top earners are ones that keep a steady calendar and constantly updated task list? Or have you observed that your top performing contemporaries (aka, your rivals) all are creatively stylish with a pension for outside-the-box marketing strategies? These scenarios all qualify as examples of Conscientiousness and Openness – the 2 big traits which translate to more success.
“Conscientiousness and Openness did show a positive relationship [with Sales]”.
Conscientiousness is described as the “key ingredient for success” and describes “people set and keep long-range goals, deliberate over choice… and take seriously obligations to others.” Highlighting the benefits of this trait, a study by a Yale professor showcases that an increase in conscientiousness results in a 3-6% in annual revenue. More importantly, for agents this translates to more closed deals. So basically, set goals, make strategic decisions, and stay accountable/keep your word. It will pay off (literally).
Openness, as its name implies, can “lead a person to be more open to novel or unconventional ideas and viewpoints.” These are the type of people who are willing to try out-of-the-box solutions and usually arrive at the kind of strategies that no one else would have thought of (or open to subordinates who do so). In a business where you’re constantly fielding objections, this kind of flexibility is crucial.
I discuss at length the many different ways to boost your business, but at the crux of all of this is an openness to new and innovative ideas. Settling for outdated, hackneyed, or garden-variety marketing strategies will earn you a one way ticket to mediocrity (or worse). If you have any hopes of rising above the pack, then you have to be open to new and different things.
There’s very little doubt that these traits are dealmakers. Lucky for any remaining skeptics, there’s further research supporting this notion that proves the obvious – clients want to work with someone they can trust in every sense of the word.
Up to 94% of consumers are loyal to brands that are transparent. 73% will pay more for a product that offers complete transparency.
So basically, as long as you’re a straight-shooter, your clients will throw money at you and keep coming back.
Lastly, there’s good news for the more patient but passive agent: Personality Changes for the Better with Age! “Conscientiousness, a trait marked by organization and discipline, and linked to success at work and in relationships, was found to increase through the age ranges studied, with the most change occurring in a person’s 20s.”
For the rest of you: the impatient but meticulous trailblazers with aspirations for more success – be mindful of your personality as it can play a large part in achieving your goals. Remember: less of a pushover + more of an organized innovator = more closed deals.