Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Overcome your call reluctance

It’s irrational.

After all, “call reluctance” is a malady reserved for cold callers, isn’t it?

Then why does the warm-call-lead-follow-up produce the same symptoms?

The dread at the thought of picking up the phone and trying to win the trust and business of a complete stranger isn’t all that irrational when you think about it.

You’ve cleared the first hurdle by generating a response to your marketing. Now, it’s completely up to how you handle this call that will result in you winning the business.

That’s intimidating for many of us.

Intimidation gets us stuck. So, back away from the phone and take a deep breath. Then, learn the tried-and-true techniques successful agents use when following up on real estate leads.

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Change your perspective

Remember, this first follow-up call isn’t a cold one. You’re returning a call (or email, etc.). This person reached out to you and expects a response. You’ve actually been given permission to contact her.

She may not be ready to pull the trigger on a real estate transaction right now, and you should be prepared for that, but she was motivated enough to take the first step and that’s a cause to celebrate, not back away.

Besides, who has too many leads in their pipeline? There’s always room for one more.

It’s all in the timing 

While our industry is known for its “location, location, location” mantra, what outsiders don’t know is that “time is of the essence” is more than just a contract term to real estate agents.

When faced with an initial contact from a real estate lead, time can either be your enemy or your best friend.

It is critical that you place that follow-up call within minutes of receiving the lead. 

If you don’t, another agent most certainly will.

Whether it’s call reluctance or that you’re insanely busy, we get it. But studies show that the chances of reaching the lead are the highest if you return the call within five minutes.

Years ago, two guys from InsideSales.com teamed up with James B. Oldroyd, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to conduct a survey of more than 600 businesses.

Their aim was to study “lead response rates, timing and effort, and their influence on the outcome of a lead,” they told Steve Olenski at Forbes.com.

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What they found should be etched into the minds of every real estate agent:
  • Call back within five minutes and you’re most likely to connect with the lead.
  • If you wait a half hour and you are 100 times less likely to reach the lead.
  • Wait five hours and your odds of ever connecting with that lead drop by 3,000 times.

An immediate call-back is not only most likely to result in a conversation with your lead, but it’s impressive as well.

“We call it the ‘wow effect’ as in wow, that was fast! You are impressive,” InsideSales.com’s CEO Dave Elkington tells Olenski.

And, how could they not be impressed, especially if they’ve placed calls to other agents? The odds are pretty low that they got a return call this quickly from anyone else.

But this isn’t all we can take away from the survey; conversion rates – “the rate at which the lead contact is willing to set an appointment and enter the sales cycle,” according to Olenski — increases with a quicker return call.

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Obviously, getting an appointment is the goal with real estate lead gen follow-up, so ignore time being of the essence at your peril.

What not to say after “hello”

Before making the call-back, take a minute to familiarize yourself with everything you learned from his or her message. If it was a call about a specific property, get the MLS listing in front of you. Then look it over to determine the neighborhood, size, and anything of interest that may not be included in the public-facing listing information.

Focus solely on the lead and his or reasons for reaching out to you, no matter how tempted you are to toot your own horn. Naturally, if you’re asked, you’ll want to answer questions about yourself, but unsolicited remarks about your sales stats, designations, etc. make you appear overly “salesy.”

Don’t push for an appointment until you understand where in the pipeline this lead falls. At this point, you’re a counselor, not a real estate salesperson.

Identify yourself and the name of your brokerage, and quickly add that you’re returning his or her call.

At this point, the lead may launch into the reason for the original call. Listen carefully to what’s being said and answer all questions.

When the call is for information about a particular listing, describe it and then, again, listen.

If you feel that the lead is open to remaining on the phone with you, begin a gentle probe, asking if he has spoken with a lender, if he has a home to sell before buying another and, naturally, if he’s interested in touring the home he called about.

Before disengaging the caller, let him know that you have no intention of hounding him like some of the other agents he’s spoken with but that you’re available if he has additional questions.

Ask for permission to email alerts about new listings similar to the one he called about.

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The wrap-up 

If you offer free reports or an e-book, offer it toward the end of the call. “I just created a market report for the Pleasant Skies neighborhood that will give you an idea of what the different models are selling for, can I email you a copy?”

Great free reports to offer that are popular with consumers include, “Chop Years Off Your Mortgage“, “5 Reasons Your House Didn’t Sell” “Sure-Fire Tips For a Quick Sale“, “6 Dangers of Overpricing“, all of which are available here.

Be sure to include your free report offer with your emails direct mail, social media and website to drive those inbound phone calls.

No freebies? Hey, a list of new listings matching his criteria is a freebie, so offer that. “I’ll tell you what, Joe, give me your email address and I’ll be happy to email you alerts of new listings that match what you’re looking for.”

End the call with something along the lines of: “Terrific. Now, if you see any other listings you’re interested in touring, don’t hesitate to give me a call, or text me. I’m happy to set appointments for you and show you around the neighborhood,”

The key to success with a lead who leaves you a message is lightning-quick response time. Then, remember not to come on too strong. Counsel the lead, don’t sell to her.

Now that you have a plan of attack, order some Free Reports and keep them on hand.
And don’t forget to add a Free Report Offer to ALL of your marketing (emails, direct mail, website, and social media).

Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

PLUS: When you have time…here are 4 free ways we can help you have an INVINCIBLE 2019!

1. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here 

 

2. The Free One-Page Real Estate Business Plan

Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan  – Click Here

 

3. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here

 

4. The Free Online ROI Calculator

 Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

Also…check out these game-changing tools!

 Three Click Postcards – Just snap a home photo & create a postcard all from your mobile phone

MLSmailings.com – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand & achieve 20% market share

Want to Refer a friend or colleague? Refer them, Here. THEY get a Free $25 Gift Card and YOU become their hero. BTW, you also get a $25 Gift Card too (now that’s what I’m talking about)!

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In Step with Awesome Agent Ariana Gillette

By Julie Escobar

How do top producers stay at the top and continue to grow their businesses? We got the answers to that and more when we caught up with top producing agent Ariana Gillette who shared her thoughts on what it takes to make it – and KEEP making it in this competitive business.

Here’s what she shared…

Q:  Thanks for sharing your ideas with us! Can you first tell our readers a little about yourself?

A:  Hi Readers! I am a Northern Virginia native. My Husband, two kids, two German Shepherds & I currently live in Loudoun County. Real Estate is my passion and I have handled a Gazillion issues as a Realtor in this fast-paced, yet rewarding business. I have been licensed since 2003 and do $10 million in production per year, yet I am always looking for fun and creative ways to expand my business. I have a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and am a Licensed Real Estate Broker.  I bring a depth of knowledge into every transaction as well as a solid sense of humor. My goal is to educate & empower my clients to make the best decisions they can while buying and selling. I want them to have the best experience possible.

Q:  You entered the Master Marketing Schedule contest – can you share what you like about using this agent tool and what your favorite strategy was?    

A:  Let’s be honest … the everyday practice of Real Estate is tedious. Yet, that is exactly what makes us successful running our businesses. If we don’t prioritize meaningful engagement with our clients it’s just NOT going to happen. The Master Marketing Schedule makes it easy to time block your calendar to do mailings, pop-by gifts, and farming pieces.

Q:  Are you working a geographic farm as well as your sphere – and can you tell our readers any tips you might have for staying top of mind?

A: My sphere is the life of my business. I door knock with door hangers, I do print for my Coming Soon, Just Listed, Just Sold marketing, and of course everyone’s favorite the Neighborhood Update. I mail the update one time per quarter, which reminds me, I’m due for Q3 mailing to my Farm! My advice? Get involved with your community and give back. That is how to make your Farm thrive with referrals.

Q: What are some of your favorite ways to stay in touch with the VIPs in your sphere of influence?

A: Coffee, lunch, pop-by gifts, invites to events and free stuff when I get tickets or passes, etc. Facebook shout-outs to customers on the anniversary of their home purchases.

Q: A lot of agents struggle with follow-up – do you have any words of wisdom for them?  

A: Order Thank You cards that are blank inside and start shooting them out, and have stationary made from ProspectsPLUS! to write handwritten notes. ANYONE who gives you their email, add to your database right away — not a month from now.  I am bad about this, but it does make a huge difference.

Q:  One of the reasons we created the Master Marketing Schedule was to put some fun into marketing for agents, and give them outside the box ideas for connecting with clients. Do you have any fun things you do to stay motivated and on track?

A: Accountability groups, a life coach, webinars, and conferences. I’m a busy mom – but I make time for all of these when I can.

Q:  If you had one piece of advice for a brand-new agent in today’s market, what would it be?

A: Use systems. Run your Real Estate business like any other business. Show up. Follow systems that every office provides or connect with one of the bigger named coaches. Create and maintain meaningful relationships with every client you work with. Go above and beyond to provide value. AND don’t TEXT all the time. Make phone calls, and meet with clients in person to develop those relationships that will be your referral business for years to come.

Q:  If agents have a referral for you, how can they reach you?

A:  Sure. I am available via email at Ariana@Dwellus.com, on Zillow at www.zillow.com/profile/Ariana-Gillette or Facebook — search Ariana Gillette Real Estate.

Awesome information — thank you SO much, Ariana!

Be like Ariana! Jump into the contest!  

CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW YOU CAN WIN $10,000.

Need help with your marketing? Visit www.prospectsplus.com or call our marketing team at 866.405.3638 today! 

A Formula for Success

By Julie Escobar

In today’s market (or any market for that matter) – if you’re not out there networking, making calls, reaching out to your sphere and farm, being PRESENT in your marketplace and even knocking on doors – then you are leaving your success as a real estate agent to chance.  The truth is?  It’s not LUCK — it’s LISTINGS.  And listings are STILL the name of the game.

So what are three things you can do to drive listing inventory in your market? 

Listing Inventory Cards

STEP ONE – SEND:  Use a direct response postcard or flyer to the folks in the hot-turnover neighborhoods or even those that are right on the cusp of turnover.  Let them know that the buying market is HOT and the time to sell is NOW.  Be sure to send any marketing you choose in increments of at least three.  (Remember that 3-7-27 rule – it takes 3 contacts for someone to recognize your name, 7 to put your name with what you do and 27 to become a brand or household name in the minds of the consumer.  Most transactions happen after FIVE contacts.) We’ve got a terrific series that speaks directly the mindset of sellers in this market called our Listing Inventory Series.

STEP TWO – CALL: Here’s where a lot of agents either fall down on the job or lose their muster.  Call people?  Talk to them?  Yikes!  Can it be nerve wracking for some?  Sure.  Will you get ‘No’s”? Absolutely.  But the numbers are in your favor.  If you call enough people, make enough contacts, you’ll get a yes. And that yes can turn into a listing and a listing into a sale and a sale into a commission – so no leaving it to chance.  Make a contact! (Or twenty, or more…)

Here is a sample dialogue  to help you get started:

  • Agent: Hi, my name is _____, and as you may know, our market is on the move and we’ve got more buyers than we have listings.  Have you thought about selling your home now or in the near future? 
  • Seller Question:  How much do you think I could get for my house?
  • Agent Answer (a la Floyd Wickman):  I don’t know, I haven’t seen your house yet, let’s get together!

STEP THREE – SEE:  Don’t knock the idea of old-fashioned door knocking!  Getting out there and visible in the neighborhoods and communities you are eager to service and become a brand name in is just good business.  Why?  It’s personal.  People can put the face with the name.  They can see that you are committed to making an impact and you get a chance to get the real lay of the land.  Door hangers or even shell-printed postcards are a great leave-behind for those who aren’t home – and a nice collateral piece for those who are.

I challenge you to take these three steps to grow your listing inventory, your market share – and your confidence!  Be consistent with it at least once a quarter and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.

Want to learn more about how to drive listing inventory and build a stronger market share?  Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com or call our marketing team today at 866.405.3638!  They’re terrific at helping agents figure out exactly what they need to market themselves in a budget-friendly way! 

Finding the Diamonds in Your Database

By Julie Escobar

As my old friend Floyd Wickman used to say, there are acres of diamonds in your book of business or “sphere” – but the trouble is, most agents are willing to do what it takes to mine for those diamonds.

Many agents don’t even have a ‘book of business’ or a true database.  They’re either new to the business or ‘never got around to it’ or for some – they’re so busy working ‘in the business’ to ever work ‘on the business.’  But there’s acres of diamonds in building a sphere of influence client list of people who know you, like you and trust you. Because frankly – those are the people that are going to list and sell their homes with you – buy from you –and refer friends and family to you.  First – you’ve got to reach them.  Consistently.  Effectively.  With purpose.

First, look at should be in your book of business. Read last week’s post:  The Year of the Sphere.

Secondly, get a handle on your business plan.  This is the one-page easy plan shared by Floyd Wickman. 

2017-biz

Download a copy for yourself or your team here. Then USE it. Make sure you are reviewing every month so you know when you are are on track — and off!

Next, Invest in these ten strategies for building a powerful base. 

  1. Get it all on ‘record.’  Whatever database management system you choose, be sure that you have entered at the very least the basic information such as name, address, phone number, email address, social media addresses if you have them for every past customer, friend, family member and acquaintance that you can think of.  Sound like a lot of work?  It is – but SO worth it.  And I’m not saying you have to do it yourself.  Delegate it – that way you can stick to what you do best – getting face to face with the folks in your market.
  2. Fill in the blanks.  The more RELEVANT you are – the more REFERRALS you’ll receive. So once you’ve customer-appgot the basics down – take note of more personal information about the people in your database.  What do they do?  Where do they live?  What makes them unique?  What else do you know about them that you can reference?  Who’s in their family?  You know the old saying – the ‘devil is in the details!’ The more you know the easier it will be for you to connect with them on topics that are relevant and important to them.
  3. Clean up old records.  At least twice a year go through your database and cull old contacts, and clean up missed or incorrect information. Connect with your database and let them know that their business is important to you and that you’re just doing a little ‘housekeeping’ so that you can be sure they are always kept in the loop and double check their information.  You can even make them a fair trade offer of a free report or certificate of some kind.
  4. Data mine for ‘like’ minded people.  One of the best things an agent can do is to really take a good fsbolong look at what their ‘best customer’ looks like.  Who do you like to work with?  Seniors?  Singles?  First time homebuyers?  Expireds? FSBO’s?  Once you know that – and can determine who you both like to work with and the type of people you have the most successful relationships with – you can data mine to find more of the same.   Find list options for data mining here. 
  5. Add new personal contacts.  As sales professionals we come into contact with new people every day that are potentially great future clients or customers.  Make it a point to add at least one new person per day or five per week to your book of business – more depending on how fast you want your business to grow.  Many agents I know make this database building a positive habit by dedicating one hour a week to the health and maintenance of their list.  Every time they meet a new person at the local Starbucks, networking meeting, business event, PTA, restaurant – even the grocery store and have an opportunity to collect a business card or information – that person goes into the ‘book’ and the nurturing begins!  Some of the best agents spend an hour a week sending a personal note or firing off an email just to say what a pleasure it was to meet and if they need anything – just call.  (Making notes on the back of those business cards or in your phone after meeting a new person will help jog your memory for details when you are entering them into your database at a later time.)  Think about 10 people THIS WEEK you could add if you tried:  Teachers, Bankers, Restaurant Owner/Staff, Accountant, Attorney, Landscaper, Gas Station Owner, Grocery Store Manager…the possibilities are endless!  (If you did that EVERY week you’d be adding more than 500 people to your book of business each year!)
  6. Add past lists:  If you’ve sent out Just Listed or Just Sold postcards and have purchased a list of just sold cardhomeowners contact information who received those postcards – be sure not to forget those folks.  You can add them in and start the process of taking them from ‘prospect’ to ‘member’ of your sphere by building those relationships over time.  Think about this – every time you send a Just Listed postcard with a purchased list – you are adding to your database. But most agents only send that one card, the Just Listed to that list.  Think one list = unlimited opportunities.  Contract Pending. Price Reduced. Just Sold. Listing Inventory.  Check out our new ThreeClickPostcards.com – where you can order your Just Listed/Sold/Contract Pending cards — right from your phone!
  7. SHARE with them.  Direct mail is a great way to ‘touch’ your book of business at least once a month.  From powerful postcards with relevant offers to a monthly newsletter packed with valuable content – staying in TOUCH is the key to staying TOP of mind.  We’ll even help you automate the process with a set-and-forget system that allows you to put your marketing plan in motion and then focus on those personal contacts and the three tasks that are most important in your business:  prospecting, presenting and CLOSING.  Visit www.prospectsplus.com/specials today to learn more about these options or call our team at 866.405.3638 for help deciding what might work best for you, your list and your budget!
  8. Invite them into the conversation.  Savvy agents are firing up their social media strategies on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest and inviting their community of followers to join in the conversation.  Create a Facebook page for your neighborhood farm and post community information that’s relevant to your buyers and sellers such as school information, local business information, fun facts and more.  Agents are breaking out their iPhones and creating video walking tours of area hotspots, news for the week, reviews of local businesses, types of homes to look for in their area and all kinds of fun and interesting information.  Pinterest has people pinning and posting all about staging ideas, inspirational quotes, homes in the area, community events, blog posts and more.
  9. Follow up.  Break your list up into manageable numbers and commit to follow up calls every week.  Most experts recommend scheduling a daily appointment with yourself to prospect.  Don’t underestimate the value of face-to-face connecting as well.  Community events, school functions, networking opportunities and just being active in the community that you service will help keep you visible, allow you a chance to arrange follow up conversations and ask questions, be the resource people need and you will generate referrals in the process! It can be as simple as letting them know that you are there to help anytime.
  10. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  Well you get the idea.  Treating your database as the saleable, valuable resource that it is means not putting it away for 11 months out of the year.  Commit to these ten strategies monthly and your career will thrive – and you won’t have to always be wondering where your next commission will come from.

Need help?  Call us at 866.405.3638.  Our team of marketing professionals can help you put your plan in place for success.