WE DON'T KNOW WHAT WE DON'T KNOW
This is a lesson that I learned from the one-and-only Michael Gerber years ago: We don't know what we don't know. Here's an example from Gerber. An entrepreneur will decide one day that because he knows how to bake pies, he knows everything he needs to know about the pie business. That's just not true. What we often don't know as small business owners is, "How does the business really work?" This is why you have to seek out a plan and why I give away the framework of what to do when you're planning.
YOU NEED A MANAGER'S PERSPECTIVE
If you want to run this as a true business (real estate), you need to decide who you have to become to run the business. You can be a technician or an entrepreneur (we tend to run to those two roles), but you cannot abandon the requirement to be a MANAGER. Once you begin to know certain things, such as marketing, you have to look at those things from the manager's perspective. Thinking like the manager helps to prevent you from making reactionary, rushed decisions like the technician might.
THE MANAGER REFERS TO THE PLAN
Every time there is a decision or a desire to do something to move your business forward, the manager refers to the plan. You need an overall plan with all three personalities mixed: Technician, Entrepreneur and Manager. Listen to this section for my tips on how to break the process up into modules for your real estate business! This allows you to make a plan and stay on track as a Manager.
THE MANAGER MAKES ADJUSTMENTS BASED ON FEEDBACK
When you go through the managed process when it comes to marketing -- from crafting a message, deciding who to send it to, and how to send it to them and so on -- pay attention to results like a manager. Adjust the media and the message, based on whether it resonates with the audience. The Manager will follow a plan, test it and adjust.
YOU MUST HAVE A PLAN!
How about if you stop and go get a plan (if you don't have one)? I understand that's not easy, so that's why I provide a framework that covers universal basics, no matter what type of real estate business you're trying to build. I wish that someone would have knocked me over the head with this when I was first starting: YOU MUST HAVE A PLAN! If you don't have a plan, go get one and stick to it. That's how you succeed in real estate.
THE ONE-TWO PUNCH: MARKETING & CONVERSION
A lot of people in real estate make the same mistake. We start out as an independent contractor an entrepreneur and we jump right into the technical work, but never take a beat to think, "I wonder how this highly technical real estate business actually works?" Henry Ford, for example, figured out how the assembly line process worked in other fields and applied the lessons to make cars more efficiently than anyone else. The real estate "assembly line" is in flux because of the digital age right now, but some things have not changed. Marketing and conversion are still the one-two punch of managing a real estate business! Listen for advice on how to PLAN and manage the marketing and conversion processes
WHAT BROKERAGE WILL YOU "JUMP" TO NEXT?
Before you make a quick and emotional macro decision like jumping to a new brokerage, stop and ask what it is that you don't have that's preventing you from growing. Is that brokerage that's luring you in with "sizzle on the steak" really going to help your business grow? A new brokerage may offer so much sizzle and crackle that no one challenges themselves with important questions like, "How will this help my independent business grow?" Impetuous business decisions are based on emotion, whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not. Get a contrarian opinion.
WHAT TEAM WILL YOU "JUMP" ONTO NEXT?
I've heard this a lot lately. Jumping to a new team without thinking it through can lead to all sorts of bad situations: cannibalism of business, split revenues, an inability to keep up with top producers which leads to grumbling and so on. Take the time to make a rational decision: Write down the pros and cons of being independent versus joining a team or brokerage, both of which may or may not really offer the help you need. Again: Get a contrarian opinion.
WHAT WEBSITE WILL BE YOUR SAVIOR?
I've seen a lot of top producers fall into this trap. Some new website platform may offer a ton of lead generation, but is there a real conversion process? What happens a lot of times is a ton of brokers jump to a new web platform and therefore, curious consumers follow -- but they're not real leads and there's no conversion process. I offer a ton of helpful advice for your website in this section of the podcast -- trust me, you need to listen to this!
THE REAL QUESTION: WHAT STRATEGY ARE YOU FOLLOWING?
Before you make any of these decisions (brokerage, team website), did you ever really ask yourself, "What strategy am I following?" You may join a new brokerage, followed by a new team, which is followed by a new website -- but is there any money left at the end of that? For anybody? That's a pretty good strategic question! The bottom line is that you shouldn't be in a hurry to make so many impetuous decisions.
THE PROCESS FOR IMPROVEMENT: WHAT SMALL ADJUSTMENTS ARE YOU MAKING?
It's now ten times harder to grow an independent business than ever before. The small business failure rate is way higher than the experts state. That's because most people don't have the discipline to sit still, think, and make small strategic adjustments.
HOW'S THE MARKET?
The most important question that you'll have to answer is: "How's the market?" It is the most common knee-jerk question that people will ask when they first learn you're a realtor. Since that's the most common reaction, you must have an answer ready.
STICK TO THE SIMPLE AND INTERESTING STATISTICS
How do you do that? Stick to the simple and interesting statistics. You don't need to go too far or make up random opinions in your answer. You're a professional in a market where most people are making the largest financial transaction of their lifetime. You should know some specifics about the geographical market where you're trying to help people buy or sell. Don't go off on some long dissertation in these early conversations. Keep it simple and interesting! People want to know current price-per-square-foot, average sales price and other simple statistics. Don't do a deep dive -- stick to the cocktail party talk stuff!
PRODUCE AN INFOGRAPHIC DEPICTING THE FACTS
My recommendation is that you pull some of these statistics on a monthly basis, so you always have this information. Take that info and produce a simple infographic. Make it pictorial and easy to digest. You don't want something will force people to do any heavy lifting just to read it.
ADD YOUR INSIGHTS
When you have that infographic in a handy print-out form, you're ready to discuss it and ADD YOUR INSIGHTS. I've said it many times: The most important thing to market is YOU. Nobody else can do "you." Even if you're a rookie and you don't really have an opinion on it yet, you can deliver the facts from your infographic with your insightful voice. State some facts, add in an anecdote and voila! You look and sound like a seasoned pro with just a little bit of information.
MAKE YOUR OFFER IF THEIR TIMING IS RIGHT!
Understand that this is a core piece of "global" content that can be used everywhere. The answer to, "How's the market?" is relevant no matter what context you're in as a realtor. If you have that core piece of content, it's a springboard to then offer to sign someone up for your newsletter, look at properties in MLS or whatever tactic you're using to reel them in.
WHERE IS YOUR MARKET?
If you're going to figure out the ideal message for the ideal client, that's great -- but where IS your market? It often surprises me how undefined agents' markets are when they come to me for marketing advice. You are making marketing decisions nebulously if you don't know where your market is. My market today is in some very small, dense areas with plenty of real estate transactions happening. But when I started out, my market was all over the map! Defining your market gives you a sense of geography for your business.
TO WHOM AM I SPEAKING?
Who is your ideal client? You may have the type of personality where you're willing to work with anyone, but this is about marketing. You must know your ideal client so that you can market to them. Speak to that ideal person in your marketing, so that the whole crowd is getting the ideal of your message. I know it sounds simple, but have you ever really sat down and thought it out? It's important to know the "who" so that you have a message that matches them.
WHAT DO THEY WANT?
How do you craft the message that matches your ideal client? Ask that simple question: What do they want? Forget about your own resume, credentials and dazzling abilities. What do THEY want? See them as the hero and position yourself, in your mind, as the guide. This is so much easier to use as a starting point.
GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT!
The internet has forced all of us to give. For many years when the MLS was proprietary, people had to come to you as the gatekeeper of the information they wanted. Hint, hint: That's what they want! Even if this makes you cringe, you must give something that they want away in order to magnetically
PROSPECTS PURSUED RUN AWAY
Think about this from the perspective of you as the consumer and not the real estate agent. If you are a prospect who is just browsing in any sales context, and you're being bombarded by a salesman, there's a good chance you'll leave that store without making a purchase. If your whole marketing plan starts with aggressive pursuit, you'll chase them away more often than not. When most people start to dip their toe in the water on real estate, they have a ton of information to consume about a large and emotional transaction; they don't want you to pursue them at this point. Whenever you can avoid aggressively pursuing them -- don't do it!
BALANCE MAGNETIC MARKETING WITH HELPFUL PURSUIT
Helpful pursuit and magnetic marketing work hand in hand. It's a creative challenge. Can you market something at the right time and to the right person that magnetically attracts them (as opposed to repelling them)? This is where helpful pursuit comes into play. As an example, if a person sees your video on social media and signs up through an opt-in page, they've taken that step and said they want to know more. NOW the helpful pursuit is what helps move them from the prospect column to the lead or even client column.
Your marketing needs to match THE MARKET that you're trying to reach. Are you talking about yourself a lot in your marketing efforts? (Please say "No.") Instead, you should be sharing cocktail party-level knowledge about what the market is doing, because that's what people need up front. What's selling? Why is it selling? What are the real trends for comparable properties? You can deliver a very particular message about your very strategic help to a particular listing. That's what they want and need - not a dissertation on who you are. That's pursuing them in a helpful way.
CHOOSE YOUR MEDIA LAST IF POSSIBLE
Define your geographic area first: I'd like to find listings in this location. That allows you to next figure out how to get your message to those people and how to "tweak" it based on their context. Ultimately, you want to be giving them property information that will highlight your insight. Only then do you figure out the best way to get the information to them.
POSITION YOURSELF AS THE GUIDE, NOT THE HERO
How about a check-up plan to start off the New Year? If I could start my entire real estate career over again from scratch, I would position myself as 'The Guide' and not 'The Hero,' so I'm asking you to do the same. I firmly believe this is the best way to do business -- to look at everybody else as 'The Hero.' This orientation changes everything in your business. If you become a transactional agent, it's easy to fall into the mindset that you are the most important part of the story. That's not true! If you want to master the service industry, it needs to be about the person you're serving!
PRODUCE SIMPLE GUIDES FOR SELLERS & BUYERS
If you're going to guide someone, you need a plan to do it. Don't try to do your guidance on muscle. Your brain only has the capacity to handle just so much, so without the support of a system for you, it can become especially frustrating when things don't go your way. "Cornerstones" are the solution. We're in real estate, so you have to have a solid foundational plan. Produce simple guides for sellers and buyers, and make that your new business card.
HAVE CONVERSATIONS ABOUT REAL ESTATE
Have conversations with people about real estate and be ready with an answer for that universal question, "How's the market?" Learn to use MLS to figure out how the market is doing in a neighborhood where you want to do business (start small). What's selling and for how much? That's the answer to how that local market is doing.
HAVE YOUR SERVICE UPGRADE OFFER READY
Once you test the water temperature and determine that someone is motivated to buy or sell, be ready to upgrade them. Offer them access to the MLS portal, so they can see exactly what you were just explaining to them about the market. Make the offer. If they're motivated to buy or sell in the next 12 months, they'll take you up on it.
INVEST IN THE RELATIONSHIPS WITH WORLD CLASS FOLLOW UP
Once they move from your "lead" column to your "prospect" column, offer world-class follow-up. Give on the right time frame. Show them that you care with meaningful follow-up and they will reward you for it. Listen to them, adjust and help them in that relationship.
THE HOLIDAYS ARE BASED ON THANKFULNESS AND GIVING
When we start with the Thanksgiving holiday in November and the rest which are all based on GIVING, we see these tremendous principles that bring out the best in us: Thankfulness and giving. I've been talking about the business concept of how you should give while expecting nothing in return and at no time of year is that easier than during the holidays.
BEING THANKFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO HELP
Isn't it awesome that you can still give even when it may feel like you don't have much to give? You have the ability to give of your time, love or insight. Everybody's worried about money, but you have other gifts that you can give to others. Help somebody and be thankful for that opportunity. Shovel their snow.
GIVING YOUR HELP & EXPECTING NO BUSINESS IN RETURN
You have to become a true giver to understand the foundational aspects of gratitude. You have to really learn to give while expecting NOTHING in return. You'll go emotionally bankrupt if you expect something in return all the time. Try giving anonymously and just watch the reaction of someone else as they receive your gift -- and expect nothing in return. Their reaction is enough to show you how powerful this concept is. If you see a young couple in a restaurant that looks like they might be struggling, pick up their tab -- and make sure the waitress doesn't tell them it was you. The holidays are a great time to practice giving, because we are already in that mindset.
CARRYING HOLIDAY VALUES THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
Chasing a trophy can be fulfilling to a certain point (speaking from experience), but then you'll realize at the end that it just wasn't very fulfilling. You're not helping others when you're chasing a trophy for yourself. What imprint did your business leave in the world when you're doing something for yourself? Not much! When others are grateful for the HELP that you've given them in the process, and thankful, that's leaving an imprint. And that's good business.
WHY WE DON'T LIKE COMPLAINERS
Why don't we like complainers to begin with? Because they're complaining about us! "You said it would happen this way, and it didn't!" It's a really simple reason: What they're complaining about is us -- and that hurts. Our natural instinct then is to attack them or complain right back at them. It's no wonder relationships then blow up between agents, buyers and sellers. Complaining is like an attack and everyone tends to get defensive.
COMPLAINERS ARE ACTUALLY CHALLENGING YOUR VALUE
I've been taking a different approach to this for the past couple of years. If someone is complaining, aren't they really just challenging my value? Isn't that fair for people to do? I may assume that I explained something well during the marketing process, but then all of a sudden, something is not going well. If someone ends up complaining, stop and ask whether you are the problem. Are you actually explaining the difficulties of the real estate business coherently? No matter how good your plan to move a property is, it's still all theoretical. Maybe you're not explaining it well enough!
YOUR VALUE IS THE BENEFIT YOU BRING TO COMPLAINERS
Complainers can actually be valuable to your business. They are checking it and they're the ones who are bold enough to speak up if you're not performing at a high level of excellence. You have to keep refining your value based on legitimate complaints. When I really listen to a complainer and take action on their complaints, they really appreciate it! They feel like they're part of a two-way conversation now. If you listen, assess and then adjust based on their complaint, they are sharpening your value for them and subsequently for all your other clients.
THE ADJUSTMENTS TO VALUE SHOULD BE SIMPLE & PRACTICAL
Unless you're a rookie or making wild mistakes for some reason, the adjustments you need to make based on complaints should really be simple and practical. Here are some of the fabulous complaints I've heard over the years about open houses, marketing and other topics -- and why they made my business better in the long run! Making a simple adjustment can help you avoid ever hearing that same complaint again.
VALUE FIRST - GOALS SECOND
It is our inefficiencies in our business that really "kill" us. You don't want to waste enormous amounts of time on inefficiencies as you grow your business. Don't start your planning process with goals. Start with VALUE - then proceed to goals! Many top producers will stumble when you ask them, "What's the value in doing business with you?" To get people to react to your marketing efforts, you have to be able to express value.
WHAT BENEFITS DO YOUR ACTIVITIES PRODUCE, REALLY?
The person on the receiving end of your marketing efforts should receive some benefit - some value from it. Giving away information for free is starting with value. People should glean some value from interacting with you, even if it just provokes thought. There is value in helping the consumer to think properly about the process. You should be geared toward integrating value to others into your efforts BEFORE trying to figure out upcoming goals.
ARE YOU WILLING TO BE VALUABLE WITHOUT WINNING?
Before you go out to express your value to prospects or leads, ask yourself this question: Are you willing to be valuable even when you don't win? Are you willing to be valuable to that other human being, when you go to a listing presentation, for example, without getting what you want? This is a very difficult and high standard to follow, but trust me -- it works. I know it works because I have lived it for the past 6 years. If you're willing to be valuable even without winning, you'll be shocked by how much more business comes your way.
VALUE IS NOT GENERIC & EASILY COPIED
The one thing that cannot be copied is YOU. There's no way to go out there and do a presentation exactly like the next person. When you approach your business from the standpoint of offering value in every situation, no one can do it like you. The value that you provide to others won't be generic because there's no one else like you -- you are the unique element in every interaction.
FOCUS ON ONE METRIC: PROSPECTS!
A lot of people are not successful in real estate, despite being willing. This is because most people don't know how to go to work like a professional. Start by focusing on one metric, or one thing to measure. Prospects are the singular, most-important metric for an agent. Those are the people that eventually become your clients. When prospects are the metric, pros go to work every day asking, "How many prospects do I have?"
CHOOSE THE FASTEST PATH TO PROSPECTS
Take a management beat and think about the fastest path to a prospect. The professional "prospector" is ready to make their core offer when they have conversations about real estate. Be ready when people ask you that global question, "How's the market?" Be a pro in the context of being able to talk about the market. Every neighbor, every acquaintance, every stranger that you visit with in the course of a day should be dazzled with your insights -- because you're ready. Offer to set them up in MLS and get them hooked! Note: The fast path is not easy. Pros know nothing is easy!
BE TRUTHFUL ABOUT THE QUALITY OF YOUR PROSPECTS
You don't need a "gajillion" leads to make it in real estate. The pro knows that you need is a good, quality list of prospects. Remember that prospects can come from anywhere and not just online lead generation. Stop thinking that that is the only lane. It's dangerous! Put your list of quality prospects in the back end of MLS.
GIVE TO YOUR PROSPECTS EACH DAY - STICK TO THE PLAN!
Remember that what you do for your prospects is vital. The worst thing you can do is turn a lead into a prospect, enter them your database or MLS, and then fall asleep on them. "I was snoring and they went dark!" The pro understands that he has to give his prospects some love each and every day. Pros follow up and GIVE three times more than they ask for. The professional agent understands that prospects are real people. Give-Give-Give then Ask!
WHAT IS EMPATHY?
Empathy is more than just sympathizing with someone. It means you can feel what someone else feels. Empathy is easy if you share a similar experience with someone, but what if that's not the case -- especially in the context of business? Realtors are dealing with home buyers and sellers who are often REALLY emotional about the process. People sometimes move because of divorce, a death in the family and a variety of other very emotional experiences. It's important to try to be empathetic with these clients.
HOW EMPATHY CHANGES YOUR POSITIONING
Why not start from a position of empathy? Because when you take a position of empathy, it becomes easier for YOU as well. Take a beat before you call a lead and think, "I'm going to feel for this person." It's so simple to be empathetic with a lead or prospect's thinking, what's the harm in doing it? You might get beat up during a cold call, but the chances are less likely if you have empathy for their situation. In fact, you can even turn a call that's going poorly around, simply by being understanding of what that person is going through. It doesn't cost you anything to be empathetic.
EMPATHETIC CARING LINES UP WITH GIVE-GIVE-GIVE ASK
Empathetic caring lines up perfectly with what we talked about on the previous episode, the Give-Give-Give Ask formula. Start with empathy, give them what they want, provide them with a lot free information that they need and don't expect anything in return. Instead of being confrontational and working to overcome objections, be empathetic. Give-Give-Give Ask, and expect nothing in return. That is really effective.
TRUSTING THAT EMPATHY IS A VALID BUSINESS MODEL
My systematic approach is to always and constantly be giving. It works. You can trust that empathy is a valid business model. When you 'feel' the pain of a buyer or seller, you position yourself to be tuned into their needs instead of your own.
GIVE, GIVE, GIVE, ASK!
We all tend to fall into a "taker's mentality" and forget to ask what the buyers and sellers really want. It makes sense to be a self-preservationist in business, but we forget to give them (buyers and sellers) what they want to make our business more successful. "Give, give, give, ask." The concept is to be a giver. It's difficult to succeed in real estate if you don't wake up thinking, "What can I give to others?" A mentality of scarcity is a dangerous place to live. It fuels anxiety until those negative feelings become your boss -- you suddenly find that you work for them instead of for your buyers and sellers. Giving is the way out. Trust the concept of giving. Make giving your overall strategy.
WHAT DO THEY ACTUALLY WANT?
What should you give them? Well, what do they actually want? The buyer or seller has a problem that they often can't articulate. Your job is to be the guide, so that they can be the "hero" in their own story. Zillow puts out a mathematical "guesstimate" of what someone's home is worth. Genius! That's information given away, that sellers actually want. On the buyer's side, they want pictures of properties for sale. Let that sink in. Give people MLS access, which you already have, to go above and beyond.
ADD YOUR INSIGHTS TO BUILD TRUST
You're not Goliath, but you can still compete with these major real estate companies by adding MLS access PLUS your individual insights. All of a sudden, when you have buyers and sellers in your portal, your insights are what will really start to build trust. You can give insightful information with that give, give, give attitude.
CREATE A COMPETITION-LESS VACUUM
What's really going on with this process? Your ability to follow this process -- give, add insights, build trust, share your strategies -- you are creating a competition-less vacuum. You are the realtor that builds trust and pushes the competition away. By giving, giving and more giving, you build a protected funnel where buyers and sellers won't even want to think about talking to any of your competitors. Give, give and give some more!
WHY "NAMING" THE MARKET IS DANGEROUS
Don't pigeonhole yourself into a mindset where "the tail wags the dog." Don't fall into the trap where people outside the industry claim that "It's a buyer's market!" or "It's a seller's market!" It's dangerous to think this way, because as a real estate agent -- you are a businessperson. In order to grow your business, you'll need buyers and sellers. Don't convince yourself that one is missing! You must focus on both to responsibly grow your business. Don't neglect buyers OR sellers just because of what someone else is saying. As long as there's a sale, a buyer AND a seller showed up, right?
IS THERE REALLY A SHIFT IN POWER?
You need to think intelligently about what it means if there is a change in the marketplace (from "seller's market" to "buyer's market" or vice versa). Right now -- October of 2018 if you're reading this -- there's definitely a shift in power going on. The marketplace is cooling and there's been a big jump in inventory. Markets bring prices up and then they bring them down. It's Capitalism 101. Telling a seller that it's a "buyer's market" makes them feel like they've lost power. Don't do this! Show them the metric to price their property correctly, so that they can regain that power.
HOW ANY SELLER PROPERLY PREPARED HAS LEVERAGE
Focus on sellers first. You need an inventory to sell in order to have a business. Your job is simply to be the guide to the seller, so their property is priced correctly to sell -- no matter what the market is doing! Show them that people who are successfully selling their properties are being strategic. They're getting good guidance from good agents like you.
FOR AGENTS, IT'S ALWAYS A BUYER'S AND SELLER'S MARKET
You are a market-maker. You are a business owner. Like it or not, you are an independent contractor who owns a business. There are two major lanes in our business: Buyer and Seller. If you can be healthily invested in both of those lanes, you won't allow the buyer's-vs.-seller's market conversation to wag you around. You need to give proper guidance to both buyers and sellers -- period!
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING - IT'S A SUPPLEMENT TO YOUR FACE-TO-FACE EFFORTS
Real estate is ultimately a face-to-face type of business. Only in rare exceptions will someone list their property with you if they haven't met you in person. With that in mind, all of your social media marketing should be designed to SUPPLEMENT your face-to-face efforts, or bring you one step closer to that first face-to-face meeting with someone. Instead of running to social media and "drowning" in it, remember why you're doing it: To get face-to-face with sellers and buyers.
WHICH PLATFORM GIVES YOU THE BEST TRACTION FOR LISTINGS?
Social media platforms are fabulous for talking about listings. The purpose of this is to get more face-to-face meetings with potential sellers, tell them what your strategy is and hopefully, help them list and sell their house. Choose a platform and then STUDY it to figure out how it really works. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are all great areas to market your listings. Get on Facebook and give property information away, give insider tips, then give some more. Be social until your ability to reach people accelerates. (And don't forget it's about LISTINGS!)
DIGITIZING JUST LISTED, JUST SOLD, OPEN HOUSE, MARKET UPDATES & TIPS
The strategic approach now is to digitize the correct things - Just Listed, Just Sold and so on. Get something up about listings and use video. The platforms love video and the consumers love video. Cut yourself a nice 59-second video, upload it and you're done. Even turning still pictures into a short video is incredibly easy; upload them to social and then get them up on your website.
BECOME THE LOCAL REAL ESTATE EXPERT IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD!
When you know an area that you really want to do business in, become the local real estate expert in that digital neighborhood. Become a "local celebrity" by sharing your knowledge with people. If you have friends or VIPs in that neighborhood who you can interview about the market, the neighborhood and what's happening, people love that. Your social media strategy will start to skyrocket if you follow the steps in order and give people what they want.
THIS IS A 'LISTINGS FIRST' BUSINESS
If I have no inventory for my buyers to buy, where does that put me? This is a "Listings First" business! If you're going to have any kind of business in real estate, you must have listings. Inventory is always abundant, but unless there's zero inventory (which I've never seen), there are listings out there if you're paying attention.
HOW TO FEATURE YOUR LISTINGS
Most people who ask you to list their property are going to ask you, "How are you going to market my listing?" A lot of people undersell the importance of the MLS. So, you'll do that at a minimum -- but if you want to be unique, you need to know how to feature that person's listing. Most businesses are first vetted online these days, so how does your business look online? What does a potential listing client see when they visit your site? You need a good website to feature your listings and to show potential clients that you have a place for their listing.
LISTINGS MARKETING CHECKLIST: JUST LISTED, JUST SOLD, OPEN HOUSE
Market your listings. Don't just put them on your website to please the seller, because you want to move this property! Start with a listings marketing checklist that's two-dimensional. Take pictures of the property, put them on a "Just Listed" postcard and send them around the area -- and drive people to your listings-based website with the postcards. Use the "Just Listed" on your social media channels. Then, roll into open houses, and so on. Produce video content and get it uploaded to Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
TRUSTING THE POWER OF CONTENT CONSUMPTION VIA SOCIAL CHANNELS
How many videos did you watch this week? How long were you on your phone watching videos that interested you? You're not unique in that -- everybody's doing it. Get on those social media channels with your content and your listings, and you will be shocked. You must trust in the power of content consumption via social channels. It's stunning how many people will eventually say, "I saw you all over social media!"
FIND PROSPECTS BY TARGETING SMART LISTS
If you run an intentional real estate business, you need to be taking clear action steps to go get contact information for new leads. There are many choices! Is social media marketing the place to start? It can be if your strategy is to target smart lists. Your marketing strategy might encompass your sphere of influence (immediate acquaintances, past clients, etc.), community and real estate agents (if you're marketing to agents). That makes up three "smart" lists to target your marketing strategies to. Clean up your lists before taking them to social media to create lookalike audiences or other lists.
MATCH YOUR MESSAGE
You don't have the same messaging for everyone if the context is a little different. You have a professional approach to real estate that makes you unique. You have to give away your best "What To Do" guidance to the people you're targeting. "Here I am, I have a plan and I want to give it away to you." Target your smart lists with something that empowers them.
CHOOSE THE MEDIUM
Ask the question, "Is this the ideal medium upon which I can reach my ideal client or my avatar?" Your underlying message has to be about giving a plan away, but then you really have to consider the medium. Observe, for example, how you would use YouTube. If you want market properties there, is it easy to consume, is it interesting, does it work best on that medium? Messaging is different on Facebook, Instagram, iTunes and other platforms where you may be marketing. What about direct mail? Choose the medium wisely so you don't have to spend crazy amounts of money.
MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM TO TAKE ACTION
If someone is on Instagram and wants to find out more about you, at least put a link in your bio! No matter what medium you choose for marketing to those smart lists, make it as easy as possible for the viewers or listeners to take the next step -- whether that's clicking a link, sending you an email, or picking up the phone and calling you.
GREAT, YOU HAVE A PROSPECT - NOW WHAT?
You're out at an event of some sort and you meet someone new. Lo and behold, you start talking about real estate. You started to get lost in the conversation but did manage to ask the big question, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how motivated are you to sell?" and they said, "10!" Congratulations! You have a prospect! Now what? How do you give that person the white-glove treatment that they deserve? After all, the prospect is the lifeblood of your future business. A list of prospects in your exclusive database is the one thing that provides consistency and stability in this business. So, what do you do with a prospect?
THE MLS CLUB IS STILL VALUABLE
What about the MLS? You pay for backdoor access to the MLS club -- the realtors' private club where we have access to all of the listings. We pay for that. And because of the way technologies have evolved, MLS's now have the ability to automatically send properties to people. Even though the MLS is now available to the public via the web, we are still the insiders of the MLS club. If a prospect comes along, put that information in their hands with the MLS access that comes with your membership.
UPGRADE YOUR PROSPECT TO ACCESS WITH INSIGHT
Tell your prospect you can give them access to the properties they want to know about. Your prospects' club is very much related to your MLS club. When you create a prospect, you're actually telling them that you'll upgrade their access. You can put more data in there that is in alignment with what the prospect wants -- whether they're a buyer or a seller. If they decide to go with you as the realtor, not only do they get the MLS access, but they get it with your insight.
FOLLOW UP IN AN INDIVIDUALIZED WAY
Knowing a prospect's timeline and their motivation to sell allows you to strategically follow up with them. Here's where your "7 Steps to Sell" or "6 Steps to Buying" information becomes important again as you move them from the prospect club to the client club.
“Always push to determine truly whether or not a contact should be consider a prospect worthy of follow up by asking the right question."
WHAT IS A PROSPECT?
We spend a lot of time in our mastermind class figuring how all the aspects of the real estate business work. A few years ago, everyone was excited because consumers were all going online -- so going online worked effectively to drive business. That worked for a while, but then the market was all over the place as the biggest companies were building apps, the market was flooded with new technologies and so forth. Now we need something else. So, as we explore the question of prospecting, we have to ask, "What is a prospect?" A prospect is a contact who is going to buy or sell property in the next 12 months or so.
THERE IS A CRITICAL MOMENT WHEN PROSPECTING
Real estate scripts are a huge aspect of this business. When you're going through your script (or flying by the seat of your pants, whichever method you use), the goal is to figure out whether they can become a prospect of yours. That critical moment when prospecting is when you say to a lead, "I'm so-and-so from this company and I'm calling because..." That "because" is critical. It tells the lead that there is something in this for them.
THE ULTIMATE PROSPECTING QUESTION
If they get past the "because" and start talking, the conversation can really wander off into the poppy fields, figuratively. There needs to be an ultimate, cut to the chase question so that we will know whether or not there's an opportunity. We can't tell you where to fit the question into the conversation, but you must ask them, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to sell or buy in the next year?" If you don't know the answer to that question, you don't whether the person is even a prospect. An 8 to 10 is worth following up with.
3 LAYERS OF PROSPECT TO FOLLOW UP
The three layers to follow-up: 1) Upgrade them using MLS access. 2) Give them what they need -- your strategies. 3) And lastly, call or visit a prospect based on a rate of frequency that makes sense.
THE THREE AVATARS
If you could have Henry Ford in your mastermind group and you could ask him how to build your business, he'd probably recommend an assembly line. There are three assembly lines in the real estate business. Sellers are the first and most important assembly line, because they control the inventory in this business. Buyers and agents are the other two. (Hint: Your "assembly line" is really a marketing module.)
NEW PROSPECTS VERSUS YOUR CURRENT AUDIENCES
Once you get used to sharing your information products ("7 Steps to Selling Your Home" or whatever your product is) with your current audiences -- people you know -- you can start thinking about where to obtain new prospects. Not just referrals, but NEW new prospects. What would go after the most prospects with the least amount of resources available? Most would agree that getting on the phone and calling folks, or to put it another way, the most immediate direct contact method. The answer is not to jump on the internet first. Speed to their face! Get to them as fast as possible as you build your funnel system.
FOCUS ON FEWER DISPOSITIONS
Reduce the number of dispositions that you're dealing with in order to hone your funnel. Don't try to be a master of everything. Just do a couple of things and do them well. You know there is business there, so choose the most direct contact method for one or two dispositions. The shotgun approach or "jack of all trades" approach -- whatever you want to call it -- will only reduce the effectiveness of your real estate funnel.
CHOOSE THE MOST DIRECT CONTACT METHODS FIRST
Door knocking and open houses should be your first methods of getting directly to customers. If you bristle at the thought of that, go to the next shortest method which can allow you to contact a lot more people in a short amount of time: Call people! Tell them you have some information to share -- for free -- if they decide to buy or sell. Teach them the steps to buying or selling to round out your funnel.
THEY ARE THE HEROES OF THE STORY
If you share the same vision as me (helping others), this is a really important point to realize: You are not the hero of the story in the context of real estate. The buyer or seller you're helping is the hero. If you're going to help the hero, then you have to know what your role is.
YOU ARE THE GUIDE
We have the backdrop to the story. There's a setting -- a home is for sale. Someone is selling, someone is buying. There's tension, as in every good "story." The hero needs to sell his or her house, and doesn't know where to start. Then you enter the picture as the humble guide. What does the guide have in this story? A plan! Do you have a plan? Do you know it, own it, breathe it and live it in every real estate transaction? Be extremely intentional about "chunking up" the steps, breaking them down into their individual parts and mapping them out, so you "own" your real estate plan.
YOUR PLAN IS WHAT THEY NEED
You don't need to go into extreme detail to let the hero know every step in the process. But you should have enough ready off the top of your head to let them know, "I am a good guide with a good plan." Whether we move forward from that moment, I leave a positive footprint and give the hero guidance in the form of a plan. This what to do. If the hero is going to take the journey without me, at least they have the productized (printed) plan in hand.
STICKING WITH YOUR PLAN EMPOWERS THEM & EMPOWERED PEOPLE BECOME RAVING FANS!
The ones who really appreciate the plan will immediately start to "lean in." Now you can start to make your asks and build trust with the client/hero. Here's the big reveal, though. Sticking to your plan is empowering and it makes people feel really good about themselves. You empower them to make the decision with confidence. It's incredibly empowering to people when they feel like they helped create the plan to sell or purchase their home. If you follow it through and stick with them -- right through the closing -- those empowered people will become raving fans of yours and will drive more business to you.
RECOGNIZE YOUR FEAR AS A REAL THREAT!
Even for the best in the real estate business, fear can still creep up as you're trying to grow, learn and do better. It happens to everyone. Fear casts doubt on what you're doing or on your ability to do so. What if I try to expand and it doesn't work? What if I try to move into luxury and it doesn't work?
MASTER THE NOT SO OBVIOUS BASICS
Our fears are not really that complicated. Fear largely comes from worrying about being embarrassed. That's what it comes down to for most people: Not being properly prepared for a big moment and being embarrassed in front of others. That's it! If you master the basics and also the "not so obvious" basics, you'll eliminate a lot of those opportunities to feel embarrassment as a real estate agent. Mastering the basics is a way to eliminate a lot of your fears.
PRODUCTIZE YOUR CORE STRATEGIES & OWN THEM
You have to own the discussion about a core strategy. Why? Because there is so much information that if you start getting worried about being embarrassed, you can flood people with information. If you really want to demonstrate professionalism and magnetize the business towards you, you can empower the person you're talking to with that core discussion. Give someone a condensed version of your core strategy and you'll be amazed at the response. Your excitement at delivering a productized outline will encourage prospects to follow up with a bigger presentation. Owning your strategies also helps you to calm down whenever someone shows interest, so you won't confuse them.
LET THE CORE MATERIALS PERMEATE YOUR ENTIRE BUSINESS
Is the help you're offering strategic, professional and clear? Whether you make a sale or not, did you empower that person to better understand the order of things? That's what a core strategy is all about. Productize your core strategies and print them out - that helps you own it and physically deliver it to someone. Once they're productized, you can let them permeate your entire business. You've mastered the basics, productized your strategy -- and then it's time to expand to Facebook, video and other platforms.
YOUR PERSONAL PRIMARY AIM
You have to be very clear in life as to what your personal primary aim is. Napoleon Hill dedicated 20 years of his life to studying the most successful people and made some tremendous distinctions. One of the things he gets into is the chief primary aim. My personal aim from many years ago was that I wanted to be a person for others. What does that mean? Any time I can help someone in any context I see clearly how it benefits them and as a result, I've evolved into a better person. Living for your personal primary aim is a great feeling.
YOUR VISION FOR A BUSINESS THAT SERVES YOUR PRIMARY AIM
If you go into your business every day, there are all sorts of mechanical things you must learn how to do. Is that the right script? Is this the best-looking business card? Even if you master all of the mechanical processes, something can still feel "off" or unfulfilled at the end of every day if your business is not serving your primary aim.
CHOOSING THE PLATFORM OF REAL ESTATE
I arrived in the career of real estate via a roundabout way, unexpectedly. My previous career wasn't fulfilling because I couldn't directly see how I was being a person for others. When I chose real estate, I could see the human beings I was serving. As I was helping people through the process of buying a home, which is often one of the largest financial commitments of their life, I could really see how I was serving their needs. Real estate became incredibly fulfilling to me as a result.
THE THREE TYPES OF AVATARS TO SERVE
There are three types of people (avatars) that I want to serve and they are: People who need help selling their property; buyers; and other agents. This business is driven by sellers who have inventory. The amount of buyers is growing in the internet age due to lead generation companies pulling them off the web. And other agents are naturally the people you can help, network with, mastermind with and more.
TOO MUCH OBSESSION OVER METRICS
Metrics, or measurements, are important. However, most metrics that we look at are lagging indicators -- meaning they're looking back in history and showing us what happened. There are not so many leading metrics in our business that can forecast or show us trends. There's too much discussion over metrics anyway. Why? Where are you in your business right now, in terms of seeing it as a conversion process that is predicated at the core of it? Let's just talk about measuring conversations.
WHAT'S AT THE CORE OF SUCCESS?
Conversations are at the core of your success, whether they occur by text, email, phone or face-to-face. The conversations that you and every member of your team have each week are the most important part of this! This may sound obvious, but you really have to be conscious of when you're having conversations about buying or selling real estate with someone who is interested in... drumroll, please... buying or selling real estate. In a conversion module context, look at the disposition of a contact changing. You'll have conversations with leads; you don't know anything about their timing, so the purpose of the conversation is to determine, "Is there real interest?" The next part of conversion is when they become a prospect. Next is clients. You have to go through all those dispositions with conversations.
HOW MANY CONVERSATIONS LEAD TO PROSPECTS?
When you ask yourself, "How many conversations did I have?" you also want to give it context. Did you really have conversations that led to the act of prospecting? Did you create a contact who is going to continue talking about buying or selling with you? This is foundational. You must be leading prospects right up to the bleeding edge of where they're going to become your client.
DID YOU UPGRADE THE INFORMATION & BOOK LONG-TERM FOLLOW-UP?
As someone moves along the process to becoming your prospect, you want to be able to upgrade them with information. The conversation will generally be going from 'What to Do' to 'How to Do It.' So, did you upgrade the information AND book long-term follow-up? Remember that people desperately need conversation with you! The real estate business is complex and people need to talk to you as the expert who can guide them through it. How long were you with each prospect from inception to the closing of the conversation?