3 Strategies for Success
by Julie Escobar
What separates top producers from their less-successful counterparts in this and every market is their ability to work on their business while working in their business.
What’s the difference? For most, it begins with the right mindset. Real estate sales is not just a job; it is a career and a business that requires planning, careful thought, organization and systems that create and maintain balance, accountability and forward momentum. As we head into the new year – be sure that you are putting ALL the systems in place that you can to ensure a great year from start to finish and keep you from feeling like you’re on that dreaded commission roller coaster.
Step 1: Have a plan. Part of working ON your business is to create a written plan. You likely fall into one of three categories:
- You’re brand new and more than a little overwhelmed at where to start.
- You’re an early adapter to the concept of effective planning and are enjoying a stable, productive career despite market peaks and valleys.
- You’ve been at this for a while now and, while still in business, you do not have a formal plan to create sustainable, repeatable success and stability. You find yourself working 12-hour days with high stress and little certainty as to where your next deal will come from.
Planning is critical to realizing your goals, generating consistent income and creating an exit plan that ensures you have a valuable “book of business” that you can sell when you are ready to retire. Your plan should:
- be written out and clearly defined
- have a realistic and comprehensive budget
- be based not only on your goals, but also on your family’s goals (very important to maintaining the support system necessary during long days or tough weeks!)
- outline the number of transactions you will need to reach those goals based on commission dollars, list-to-close ratio and fall-through rate
- outline the number of contacts, appointments scheduled and appointments attended you will need to realize your transaction goal
- break your numbers down into daily, weekly and monthly activities so that you ALWAYS know where you are in relation to your goal
Be sure to share your plan with a manager, mentor, coach and/or partner so that you can set up a system of accountability.
Step 2: Employ smart marketing. In today’s competitive arena, effectively marketing yourself, your listings and your business requires both consistency and laser focus.
Consistency. Countless agents send single marketing pieces to blanket areas of several thousand consumers, with no intention of following up. Many others take the “holiday” approach to staying in touch by sending an annual holiday card in the hopes that they are remembered. Both of these approaches are a waste of time, energy and valuable marketing dollars.
Truth is, you should be in contact with your sphere of influence at least every 30-45 days. Using the popular send-call-see approach (part of our free BusinessBASETM), you can easily set up a system for contacting your VIPs each month. Send a postcard, letter, newsletter, flyer, novelty or note one month. Many of our customers find the Listing Inventory Series, Content Cards, and Market Dominator among their favorites. You can find out what the latest tools are and get budget saving promo codes for your marketing on our Specials Page.
Next, call with a friendly event reminder, helpful hint, or just to say hello the following month. During the third month, arrange to see them via a networking event, social
gathering or quick in-person visit (with notice, of course) where you drop off a small token, informational item or card. Then start the “rotation” over again. Such consistency creates vital ‘top-of-mind’ awareness that often becomes “the key to the kingdom” when growing your referral base and creating a reliable income.
If you’re not sure where to start, our popular Master Marketing Schedule shares monthly Action Items that agents tell us help them stay consistently on track.
Laser focus. I’ve written before about the power of target marketing in today’s sales arena. Gone are the days when agents could afford to take a “shotgun” approach-casting a wide net in the hopes of “catching a few” wastes precious resources on prospects that couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t do business with you for any number of reasons.
Response rates increase dramatically when you speak directly to the needs and interests of a particular group. Wise agents seek out demographics and/or geographics that they relate to or have a history of success with. The more comfortable you become speaking to a particular group or segment, the more you become recognized or thought of as a specialist in that field.
So discover the wonderful world of data mining; your watch and your wallet will thank you for it! Here are just a few examples:
- First-time homeowners. Try MapMyMail to quickly data mine for local renters. Send a postcard or letter that explains the advantages of home ownership as well as the possible monthly savings and ability to build equity!
- Builders. Offer to help builders eliminate their #1 worry: standing inventory. Create a list of every builder in your area, then send a flyer or brochure explaining how you can data mine for the perfect customers to purchase their homes!
- Find a new niche. With our Lifestyle Interest data, you can reach consumers who are just the demographic you want to work with. Think Golfers, Boaters, Fitness Lovers and more.
- FSBOs. There are many effective search products for this demographic. Fear leads many agents to steer clear of FSBOs, which eliminates at least a portion of your competition. Because you know that they are (or at least were) motivated to sell, you can pull out the stops, give them the tools they need to sell, and use your best skills to price it right for your particular market.
- Investors. Find high income earners that would be great potential investors.
- A New Geographic Farm. Find an area in your market that is beginning to see turnover, but doesn’t currently have another agent with more than a 10% market share. Start connecting month after month using the Neighborhood Update/Free Offer series to present yourself effectively as the turn-to agent in your market.
Step 3: Put systems in place. Without systems, you’re like a hamster on the wheel-spinning without really getting anywhere. Systems are the only way to establish and maintain the delegation, automation and streamlining necessary to continuously work ON your business. Systems allow you to:
- manage your time effectively
- create a consistent standard of service
- assure clients that their needs are being met by a “team”
- provide checks and balances for fine tuning your business
- promote efficiency and accuracy
- reduce training time when bringing on new team members
What systems should you have in place?
- time management
- lead generation/prospecting
- pre-listing/listing presentations (download some of the free reports we have for these)
- end-to-end marketing
- price reductions
- automated Just Listed/Just Sold
- send-call-see system for connection with sphere and farm
- measurable return on investment tracking
SEND-CALL-SEE. Be the resource they need and want in a time where consumers have LOTS of questions regarding the value of their property, their buying power, investment opportunities, and what’s happening in their market. You’re not bothering people – you’re providing a SERVICE.
What can you SEND?
- Handwritten notes
- Something fun (Our Master Marketing Schedule has lots of fun ideas for this!)
- An email
- A message on social media (Our Master Marketing Schedule has lots of fun ideas for this as well!)
- An offer for an item of value
- A card
What can you SAY when you CALL?
- Hi. I have buyers, the Smiths (insert real names!), that are looking for a home in the _____________ neighborhood, and I wanted to know if you’ve ever thought about selling your home or know someone who is so I can help this nice family find what they are looking for?
- Hi! Just checking in on you! We’ve got a lot of activity in our market, and I thought you might have some questions—do you?
- Is there anything I can do to help you?
- I’m expanding my business and I could use your help…
- Have you thought about selling your house now or in the near future?
- Have you been receiving my information? Any questions?
What do you do when you SEE them?
- Create opportunities for appointments
- Take someone to lunch
- Attend a neighborhood block party
- Organize a charity drive in the community
- Sponsor a free workshop and invite everyone to attend
- Get out there and be visible in the community you’re servicing
- Walk your farm and start making friends
Working ON your business requires dedication and a commitment to the activities that earn you top dollar and allow you to “feed” the career you’re building. Never lose sight of the fact that prospecting, presenting and closing should always be at the top of your list.
Need help? Contact our team today at 866.405.3638.