Can’t Keep Up? 5 Ways to Make Real Estate Lead Generation Faster

Are you struggling to find leads for your real estate business? Are you spending too much time generating leads and not enough time acting on them?

Here are five simple ways to speed the process of lead generation and free up more of your time to make appointments, sign listing contracts, and close sales. (more…)

Important Aspects of an Agent’s Business Plan

Building a career as a real estate agent is an exciting path to take. You are beginning a journey of essentially having your own business and working as a self-employed salesperson. But in order to succeed, you should have a quality business plan in place. At REDX we provide real estate agents with the tools and instructions you need for success, so here are some tips for building a business plan that will help you stick to the goal of long term success on the road ahead.
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What to Say to Old Expireds

REDXBack in  February, we interviewed REDX power user Craig Reger for one of our Tele-Seminars. If you haven’t listened to the interview, I’d recommend giving it a listen. We also did a post highlighting some of the key points that you can peruse. But something that I think deserved a little more attention was (enough so for its own post) was the way he approaches old expireds.

Craig works in Portland, OR, a market that is through and through a seller’s market at this point in time. Since the downturn of 2008, the average house in Craig’s market has appreciated by $50,000. This appreciation is largely due to the overwhelming demand for homes in Craig’s market. There is hardly any inventory on the MLS and most sellers are getting multiple offers. In a market like this it’s hard to work new expireds because most everything is selling. However, these conditions are perfect for working old expireds.

Craig’s market is very similar to many markets around the country. Low inventory, improved equity, and appreciation is getting to be pretty common. The people who may benefit most from the climate of this market are homeowners who gave up trying to sell years ago. Using REDX, Craig has pulled data for expireds all the way back from 2007 in some cases. In our interview with him, our very own Michelle Holt roll played with Craig to help listeners get a taste of what he’d say to owners who haven’t had their home on the market for years:

Agent: Hi this is Craig Reger with Keller Williams Realty, how are you?

Owner: Good.

Agent: Great, I saw your house expired from our Multiple Listing Service way back in 2008, did you ever sell that home?

Owner: No

Agent: Yeah most people didn’t, NAME. The market was really bad back then. You know, here’s the good news, I saw your house came off at about $250k. That’s the number you failed to get for your house. This isn’t exact but houses in your neighborhood right now are selling on average for above 300k. So may I ask you, have you thought about selling your house in this hot real estate market?

Owner: Not really.

Agent: No problem, Would you be interested in knowing your home’s value in this market?

Owner: Sure

Agent: Let me get your email, because I already have your contact info, and all your pics from when you were on MLS 6 years ago. If I can get your email, I can some quick numbers and I’ll send you an email and then I’ll call you back tonight when you’re not as busy and we could talk about what your value is today. Would that be ok?

Owner: Yes

At the end of his roleplay, Craig said that he’d usually try to push for a face to face appointment but the email is pretty good especially since he could put that email into one of his drip campaigns.

Hopefully this messaging helps. How much success you have working old expireds will depend on your market. Portland maybe an unusually good market but are there many places where houses are worth less now than they were back in 2008?

Robbyn Battles: Expired Mailer Campaign

 

Robbyn BattlesBy Jefferson Snow

Today we’re hopping in the REDX time machine to talk about a Tele-Seminar call we hosted back in December of 2011. This call featured an interview with REDX All Star Robbyn Battles. You can listen to the call by clicking here and going to seminar 7, but continue reading if you want the Cliffsnotes version.

Although this call was recorded some time ago and the real estate market is constantly in flux, there are still some great takeaways from this call that are still useful and applicable. The biggest of these is Robbyn’s mailing approach.

Despite going against the majority REDX’s most established and orthodox doctrines, Robbyn kills it by never making a single cold call. And when I say kill it, I mean that at the time of this call she was tracking between $225k and $250 in yearly commissions. She’s playing in the big leagues. And rather than using the phone, Robbyn’s weapon of choice is the mail piece . . . Lots of mail pieces.

Like most successful real estate agents, Robbyn is very systematic in her approach. She doesn’t shoot from the hip, she doesn’t start and stop, pop and fizzle week to week, and she doesn’t improvise. Everything is finely tuned, a well oiled machine consistently churning out reliable and predictable business. In Robbyn’s words, “It’s like turning on a faucet.”

When a property expires on the MLS, that property is sent into Robbyn’s system as a lead. After 10 days of being expired, Robbyn sends her initial packet. I know many of you are saying, “10 days? But that’s already too late!” But according to Robbyn, by giving herself this extra time, she is actually distinguishing herself from her competition. By not joining the frenzy that ensues the day after a property expireds, she brands with a more laid back and non-aggressive approach.

But back to Robbyn’s packet. This mail piece is sent in first class mail in a nice, glossy, white envelope. Inside this this package are the following 4 items:

1. A printout of the property’s details from the MLS, including all the remarks from other agents.

2. A 5-question Questionnaire assessing why the house didn’t sell and what they would have done differently if they were the agent.

3. A handwritten (as in they bought a font that looks like handwriting) note card that offers her services.

4. A one-line CMA specific to the homes and neighborhood around the expired property.

All these items are in full-color and professionally printed save for the one-line CMA (though this is printed on a nice color printer at the office).

This first packet however is but one of 7 mailers that will be going out to the expired over the next 78 days. These are also professional-quality postcards encased in first-class envelopes. Robbyn wasn’t as specific on what sort of content these contain but she did make sure that they are all consistent with her brand as far as layout, color, and tone and that they are randomly spaced so people don’t tune them out if they come to regularly.

Once these 7 mailers have been sent, the lead is then put on a continuous 45-day cycle of receiving what she calls her “Monthly Market Activity” report. This report includes something along the lines of a CMA for that person’s specific neighborhood. These reports are sent out every 45 days until the property re-lists with either Robbyn or some other agent. So yes, she is still sending out mailers to expireds that happened from a long time ago. She even has some in her database that she’s been mailing to since 2004. “But isn’t that a waste of money?” Some might ask. Hardly. Robbyn says she loves working with old expireds and says that every now and again, a few will come out of the woodwork and and ask for appointments. Some even refer business to her that have never used her simply because she has established herself as an expert by sending out her mailers so reliably over the last decade.

At any point in time, Robbyn says she has anywhere from 1400 to 1500 expired leads in her data base that she is currently mailing to. This may sound like quite a feat to keep up with so much, but the results are there. Robbyn has it pretty well calculated that by sending out around 1400 Market Activity Reports every 45 days, she generates about 7 requests for appointments, 5 of which become signed contracts. Considering she does this on a budget of about $7.50 cents per new expired and $467 on the mass Market Activity Report, she’s seeing great ROI.

Obviously, a campaign as intricate as this has a lot of moving parts to keep track of. Especially when it comes to staying on top of which properties ares still expired and which have gone active. With the enormity of this list, Robbyn says the only tool that makes it possible to keep up is the REDX. To listen to call in it’s entirety, click here and go to seminar 7. To get into the meat of the content, skip the first 19 minutes.

 

Desperate Times

By Mark Leck

It’s been said, “Desperate times call for desperate measure.” For many agents, the idea of knocking a door seems like just that: desperate. And yet, for seasoned prospecting agents, this tried and true method is a secret weapon for capitalizing on an untapped source of new business.

Think about this:

1. Not every homeowner is identifiable by a reliable telephone number or email address, putting them out of reach of the majority of phone-only prospectors.

2. Since mailers are the lowest barrier to entry contact method, every expired should expect to get barraged with letters and postcards when their listing expires on the MLS.

So how will you cut through the clutter and differentiate yourself? KNOCK ON THEIR DOOR.

Here’s are 6 tips to help you succeed:

1. Check yourself, before you wreck yourself!
Your dress and appearance should be professional and impeccable. This is your opportunity to make a first impression. Make sure it’s a good one. Don’t let anything in your appearance detract from your message.

2. Use a Script.
Just like prospecting from the phone, knowing what you are going to say is the best way to feel confident at the door. Remember to be well practiced — so you don’t sound rehearsed. A good script is direct and too the point — but should adaptable enough to allow you to ask questions and build a relationship of trust with the prospective client.

3. Use Body Language
The ability to use body language in your presentation is one of the best part of door knocking. Studies have shown that only 7% of our communication are the actual words we use. 38% is tone of voice and a whopping 55% is body language. While phone prospectors have only tone and words to use, you on the other hand have the full breadth of human communication to help you connect with the homeowner in person.

4. Slow Down
Though body language should give you an advantage in prospecting, it can also be a liability if conveyed poorly. Here’s a key pointer: slow down. Talk at a calm, comfortable pace. Use smooth, non-jerky movements when explaining how you can help. For example, when you talk about other homes in the area that are for sale or have recently sold, use a slow smooth hand movement to motion to the homes around you.

5. Always leave them with something.
I’m not talking about a fruit basket, but a market snapshot is great. Remember, their listing expired. The main reason for this has got to be price. Give them a list of all the homes that have sold in their area in the last 3 months. This data will be useful in helping you handle price objections later.

6.  Smile.
Smiles are contagious. Don’t knock doors without one.

Remember, if your business needs a jolt, it’s time to be bold. Find yourself 20 homes to visit over the next week and knock their doors. You’ll be amazed at the result!

Mark-Headshot2.pngMark Leck is the Founder and CEO of REDX (Real Estate Data X-Change).

 

“What Can I Contribute?” REDX Tele-Seminar with Jennifer Pipin

JenniferpipinHere we are, back with another Tele-Seminar. We’re hope you’re enjoying them. Recently we interviewed Jennifer Pipin whose an agent using REDX in the Atlanta, Georgia area. For the whole call, feel free to click here, but below we’ll go over some of the calls highlights.

Jennifer has been an agent since 2005 and currently works in the Atlanta market. Last year she was involved in 26 transactions, 14 of which were sellers and 12 buyers. Before her real estate days, she’d held down customer service jobs and cut her teeth talking to customers while waiting tables. During these jobs she honed an attitude that good business focuses around the customer. Everytime Jennifer prospects, does an appointment, goes into a consultation, she has this mindset in her head: “What Can I Contribute?”

So what does that mean? It means she’s always asking herself what is the right thing to do for this client and how can I help them most. By adopting this mantra, she has found that when she contributes to her clients and potential clients, they always contribute back and sometimes 100 fold. At REDX, we would call this dedication of customer contribution a core value, a principle that guides her in all her business efforts. Whether you’re an agent or business, it’s important to have values such as these to not only help give direction but also as something that distinguishes you from others in your market.

Jennifer’s market is like many at this time. There are far less houses for sale than there are buyers. In this seller’s market she’s saying that it’s not uncommon for houses to have 8 offers on them. So again we see low inventory. Can you still work expireds in low inventory areas? Of course. Jennifer does it 5 days a week. 4 mornings a week she calls from 9am-11am and 1 day a week she calls during the afternoons. During these 2 hour blocks, she calls old and new expired leads. But these aren’t the only leads she works. Jennifer spends most of her time on the phone working with repeat business and referrals. She says that she can usually find 1 interested lead for every 50 expired cold calls she makes, but she’ll find 2 interested contacts for ever 12 people she talks to out of her sphere. With numbers like this, why spend time on expireds at all? Well, according to Darlene, it’s for the practice.

When Darlene first got into the industry she found herself hesitant to call her friends about her recent career change. Worried that she would mess up selling a house for someone she knew, she decided to get some transactions under her belt by prospecting people she didn’t know from Adam. She said this experience and the experience of continually calling expireds and FSBOs even today, helps her hone her skills and objection handling so she’s perfected her approach by the time she goes after her sphere of influence.

One last point she made in the call that I thought was worth noting was her ability to prospect to everyone. Using REDX, do to some mix up with the tax records, she once called someone who wasn’t actually the home owner. The person had been getting several calls about a property they no longer owned. Sensing that the prospect was at their wits end with the amount of phone calls, Jennifer went out of her way to contact REDX to make sure we took the number off our list. Jennifer called back later to let her know what she had done. Lightheartedly she said “Hey, I know this sounds crazy, but I’m an awesome agent, and I know you have awesome friends, do you know anyone looking to buying or sell?” At that point the person gave her the name and phone number of her best friend that was sitting down to plan her move that night. It just goes to show that you never know what can happen if you just ask.

Craig Reger and the Old Expired Goldmine: Highlights from our February 2014 Tele-Seminar

regerOn the REDX blog, we want to get back to the tradition of summarizing the Tele-seminars. If you’re not familiar with what that is, REDX regularly interviews its top users to get insight on how they are leveraging our services to achieve the goals in their business. In February (I know, we’re a little late), we interviewed Craig Reger from Portland Oregon. If you’d like to listen to the call in it’s entirety click here but below we’ll highlight some of what I think are it’s most valuable nuggets.

As I mentioned above, Craig is an agent in Portland who, with his team, did 155 transactions last year with (70% of those being sellers transactions) and aims to hit 225 this year. Like many other areas around the country, his area is experiencing low inventory. For his market it’s really low, like only 1.3 months of inventory on the whole MLS. As you probably know, low inventory usually means the market favors the seller. They can sell their homes closer to asking price, sometimes for more, and usually don’t require much negotiation or many repairs. As an agent it’s crucial to be the one listing these homes because they are going to sell and you can put buyers agents to work for you.

In his interview, Craig keeps talking about having a listing-based mindset. That means all your messaging (calls, letters, and even conversations) should be geared around trying to get homeowners to sell. To do this effectively, Craig makes sure he knows the data trends happening in his market and infuses his communication with these facts. This means that when people casually ask him how the market is doing when he’s at a dinner party or at his daughter’s soccer games, he will be able to tell them how great the market is for sellers right now. When done right, it piques people’s interest and gets them curious and sometimes excited to look into selling.

On top of sharing data about the hot market with his sphere of influence, Craig is spreading the word to expired leads as well. I already know what many of are saying, “Expireds? I thought his market was hot for sellers? Why would there be any expireds?” This is a good question. It is true that there are less expireds when the inventory is low, but Craig isn’t going after new expired leads. He’s going after the older ones.

Craig has made a killing on using REDX to research expired leads from 2008-2010 that never ended up getting sold. By calling these leads, Craig is targeting owners that failed to sell their home during the market’s downturn. With his market knowledge he’ll be able to tell these leads how much similar homes are selling for in the market (usually $50k more than they were asking in 2008) and asks if they would like to get an value estimate for their home during in current market conditions.

This part of Craig’s business has been a goldmine for him. If you would like to track down older expireds in your MLS with REDX, feel free to give our sales team a call at 800-731-7339×1 to find out more. If you already have REDX and want help learning how to target the older listings, give customer support a ring at 800-731-7339×2.

Breaking Down Some FSBO Statistics

FSBO StatsRecently, I stumbled onto some FSBOs statistics as published by National Association of REALTORS®. According to their research, the following is a breakdown of why sellers did NOT use an agent to get their house sold:

Did not want to pay commission fee: 46%

Sold it to a relative / friend / neighbor: 24%

Buyers contacted seller directly: 12%

Did not want to deal with an agent: 11%

Agent was unable to sell home: 4%

Could not find agent to handle transaction: 2%

Seller has a real estate license: 1%

Other: * less than 1%

If you’ve worked FSBOs, this list probably sounds familiar. At one point or another you’ve probably run into most of these as objections. But knowing the reasons why a seller might circumvent an agent, you can now strategize a way to get around them. Let’s go over some strategies you can employ to overcome three of these barriers separating you from taking on more FSBO listings.

Didn’t Want to Pay Commission
This of course is the most obvious reason owners sell themselves. They think they will save more money overall by not pay an agent. What most FSBOs don’t realize is that this is a complete fallacy. An interesting statistic from NAR® to back this up is “the typical FSBO home sold for $174,900 compared to $215,000 for agent-assisted home sales.” That means that FSBOs homes are selling for only 81% of their potential value. This is a point you have to cover when trying to convert FSBOs. You need to make them ask themselves this question: “Do I lose 6% by using an agent or 20% by selling it myself?”

Didn’t Want to Deal with an Agent
Apparently people think agents are a hassle to work with. What they don’t know is that there is way will far more “hassle” to deal with if you go into selling a house without an agent. In fact, the good folks at KCM recently posted a blog about all the reasons not to list by owner. One of the main points was that there are way too many people for the owner to deal and negotiate. In the process of selling a house you’re going to have to deal with buyers who want the best deal possible, buyer’s agents who want an even better deal not to mention attorneys, home inspectors, appraisers, and bank officers who’ll have to juggle relationships with. Remind owners of this and then let them know you are an experienced negotiator and that you already have a network of realty professionals who will make the process as smooth and hassle-free as possible.

Couldn’t Find an Agent to Handle Transaction
2% of FSBOs did not use an agent because they couldn’t find one to take them on. This is a very interesting figure. It’s not really an objection to overcome but it is informative and even encouraging. What it means is that means that one in every 50 FSBOs doesn’t know where to look to find an agent. Would you call 50 FSBOs if you knew one wanted to use an agent but didn’t know where to find one?

 

Sphere of Influence (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

Have a Plan for Contact
Now that you have sent out your initial hello, establish a way to organize how often you want to contact your potential clients. Some people in your sphere will require more frequent contact than others, but always be sure to follow up with everyone. Don’t leave too much time between interactions.

Don’t Forget About Social Media
As a real estate agent, you should be checking your social media accounts on a regular basis. No matter how many followers you have, there is always an opportunity to getting your marketing pieces out to those who aren’t getting them already. Just because you’re connected with them electronically on a daily basis doesn’t mean they are receiving your regular emails, which they should be.

Identify Your Biggest Fans
These are the people who will immediately tell their friends to call you for their real estate needs. Always make sure to know who these golden fans are, and take care of them!

Network, Network, Network!
Networking events are more than walking around to shake hands and collect business cards. Spend time visiting with people that you know would be beneficial to your business and referrals and get to know them. Talk with them, not at them, about your real estate business and goals to establish a connection. After the event, send them a follow-up note letting them know you’d like to add them to your sphere of influence if you have made an authentic connection with them.

Everyone Has Potential To Be In Your Sphere
Every single company or person you write a check to should be seen as someone with potential to be added to your sphere of influence. You are helping their business succeed through your payment, so why shouldn’t they be able to help yours? Let your business affiliates know that you are a real estate agent and they could become some of your best referral sources.

If your goal is to be a successful real estate agent, look to REDX. We are the leaders in Real Estate for Expireds, FSBOs, and Pre-Foreclosure leads with innovative data verification and unmatched data quality so you can make more money, work more productively, and help more homeowners list and sell in less time. Call us for the best real estate solutions today.