By Mark Leck, CEO

I want to challenge agents to think differently about their business strategy in 2015. I want you to acknowledge that in each of your markets, there is a relatively fixed number of people that are going to list and eventually sell their home at any given time. Yes, there are ebs and flows. Yes, this number varies year over year, especially given certain macro economic factors — but ultimately, there is a measurable and predictable number in each of your markets.

For example, let’s say in January 1000 people are going to list their home. What % of that market opportunity do you expect to get? How do you expect to get it?

Most agents approach their business with the naive goal of being the first and only agent a seller should list with: a First to List, First to Sell™ strategy. Only to be disappointed and frustrated when their friends and family fail to call them to list. Or to realize they simply don’t have enough friends and family to sustain their business.

We propose a Second to List, First to Sell™ business strategy that acknowledges the fixed market opportunity, and refocuses to the greatest potential within that market.

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Define “Fixed Market Opportunity”

What we mean by “Fixed Market Opportunity” is that ultimately there is a set number of homes that will list and sell each month. Because there is a sufficient number of agents in each market, as well as the opportunity to list as For-Sale-By-Owner, most people who intend to sell are identifiable because they are either listed with an agent, or have decided to list their home on their own as a FSBO. The importance of this concept is to make clear that in each market, there may only be 1000 properties that list (even if there are 4000 agents in that market), and out of those, let’s say that 50% of them will sell in a given month.

The question is, how large of that market opportunity can you as an individual agent expect to get? Is it 1% (10 listings per month)? Is it 0.5% (5 listings per month)? The answer is this depends on the size of your sphere of influence/past client database.

For some agents, that answer is 0-1 listings, because they have no Sphere of Influence/Past Client database. But if you can only list less than 1% of the market from your SOI, what about all the other properties that are listed for sale, but don’t actually sell? This is a huge market opportunity, and one that should be apart of every agents business strategy.

If you can’t be the first to list the property, you should be the second to list it — and make sure you are the first to sell it! Hence, a Second to List, First to Sell™ strategy.

What is a First to List, First to Sell™ real estate business strategy?

The goal of this strategy is to be the first and only agent a seller chooses to list and sell their home. This strategy is dependant upon having a large sphere of influence (friends and family), and more importantly, a large database of past clients. This strategy is most often successful after an agent has been in the business for several years and has developed a large SOI and past client database through prospecting with a Second to List, First to Sell™ strategy to Expireds and For-Sale-By-Owners.

Unfortunately, many new agents begin their career in real estate attempting this strategy, which often leads to low production and disappointment, because their SOI is not sufficiently large enough to sustain them.

What is a Second to List, First to Sell™ real estate strategy?

A Second to List, First to Sell™ real estate business strategy is the fastest strategy for growing your sphere of influence and can ultimately lead to a long-term First to List, First to Sell™ strategy. This strategy acknowledges the Fixed Market Opportunity, and identifies the largest opportunity available for agents is targeting homeowners who have an intent to sell, and have previously listed with another agent (expired listings) or are listing their home on their own (For-Sale-By-Owner listings).

An ideal agent for this business strategy is someone who doesn’t have any past clients, or someone who’s past client database isn’t sufficiently large enough to generate enough repeat/referral business to achieve their business goals. We believe this is the best strategy for real estate agents to create a sustainable real estate business.

Again, our challenge to you in 2015 is if you haven’t reached a level of production within the industry that you are happy with, change you strategy! My father use to always say: “If you do the same thing as everyone else, expect the same results.” So let’s not do that. Having a First to List, First to Sell™ strategy is fine, but if it can’t sustain your business or doesn’t succeed in helping you to achieve your goals, then make the focus of 2015 to have a Second to List, First to Sell™ prospecting strategy.

 

winterhouseAs the cold begins to creep in, the real estate market inevitably starts to slow. At this time of year you will most likely have fewer appointments and showings than you enjoyed in the summer months. Use this time to brush up on one of your most important real estate tools: prospecting.

Here are five ways for both new and experienced Realtors to beef up their prospecting and keep business flowing.

1. Get Organized
Keep track of your leads in an organized way. Whether you use a simple spreadsheet or a more sophisticated lead management platform, make sure you have a way to track and categorize any and all leads. Losing track of leads is one of the greatest missed opportunities in real estate.

2. Practice Your Pitch
Using a script is one of the best ways to overcome a fear of talking to people. Having a good idea of what you will say before you say it keeps you on track and helps you focus on your goal rather than your nerves. Have an outline of the points you want to hit and have that outline memorized. Then practice, practice, practice. This will keep you from sounding canned but will also keep you focused.

3. Don’t Rely Completely on Technology
Real prospecting is becoming a lost art. Basic sales skills are still a very important part of real estate. And as more people sit in front of a computer screen all day with little human interaction, your ability to connect one on one with possible leads will be even more powerful.

4. Ask for Business
Ask this question to anyone and everyone: “Do you know anyone who may be thinking of buying or selling a home?” They might say no because they are caught off guard or haven’t had time to think about it. If so, follow up with, “That’s fine. If you think of anyone I would appreciate it,” and give them your card. Be friendly. Thank them just for taking the time to think about it for a few minutes.

5. Track Your Results
Track the results of any and all prospecting. For X number of phone calls, how many appointments did you get? Of those appointments, how many actually resulted in a meeting? Of those meetings, how many turned into a signed contract? When you know the results of your efforts, you can then tailor those efforts to reach the goals you have set for yourself.

Conclusion
Prospecting is the part of real estate that many Realtors dread the most, but it is arguably one of the most important business building activities. If you make it a goal to prospect daily, your business will survive even the coldest of real estate seasons.

Business Card CupReferrals are a powerful way to build your business. They deliver more high quality leads than possibly any other type of lead generation.

Why? Because referrals are typically beyond the “thinking about it” stage of buying or selling a home and are ready to sign a contract. And because you have been recommended by someone they trust, they are more likely to sign that contract with you.

The following tips will help you develop a strategy that will produce a crowd of real estate “groupies” who will rave about your services to anyone who will listen. [click to continue…]

Happy Elderly CoupleThis holiday season, families across the country will gather for Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. If they live far away from each other, these events may be the only time throughout the year when everyone can sit down and talk face to face about family issues.

One of the biggest family issues facing baby boomers today is what to do about their rapidly aging parents. They may have noticed recently that Mom or Dad is starting to forget important things, can’t function as well as before, or is having trouble getting around safely.

While moving an aging parent (or parents) out of their home might be necessary, it is still a difficult decision for adult children to make. And even if they can convince their parents to move, there is the overwhelming issue of what to do with all of their stuff – particularly their home.

As a Realtor, you can make the process much easier by stepping in and offering to help with the sale of the home. Explain that rather than trying to do it themselves, using your services can save them time and hassle while they are making all of the other arrangements – financial management, health care, transportation, etc. – for their parents.

In addition to your real estate services, offer advice and resources on housing solutions, de-cluttering, cleaning services, and storage units. Suggest the names of repairmen or other contractors if the home needs some fix-ups. Establish relationships with local assisted living centers in your area so that you can recommend those that will best meet your client’ needs.

Being more than just a Realtor in this situation will go a long way toward building relationships that will garner future referrals. Approach it as an expert who can help with every aspect of their situation, not just the sale of their home.

This extra work will pay off. These grateful clients will rave about you to their friends, neighbors, and extended family, who at some point will also need the services of a Realtor as their own parents begin to age and need alternative living situations.

In the bestselling book Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service, great service is defined as “creating a positive, memorable experience for every customer. It means exceeding expectations and satisfying needs – and in such a way that you’re seen as easy to do business with. It means looking for opportunities to wow and delight your customer in unique and unexpected ways.”

If you do this consistently, especially with clients facing a stressful and uncertain situation such as aging parents, you can build a business that runs itself completely on referrals. Over time, happy, satisfied clients will bring in more – and better quality – business than all other prospecting efforts combined.

For more information and resources on lead generation and prospecting, contact REDX today.

Call iPhoneProspecting. Love it or hate it, it is a vital part of any realtor’s tool chest. And while there isn’t necessarily only one “correct” way to prospect, there are some misconceptions floating around that can make your job more difficult.

Here are 5 prospecting myths that may be holding you back:

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