Are you satisfied with your current share of the real estate market?
If not, now is a very good time to increase your share of the real estate market by examining what you’re doing to attract business. If you’re spending time and money without the results you want, it could be time to make adjustments.
Step one is to determine where your current business is coming from. A “best practice” is to keep track of this, so you always know. If you haven’t been doing so, now is a good time to start.
Unless the source is obvious (such as a direct referral or a positive response from someone whose door you knocked on), and unless they volunteer that information when they contact you, ASK people what led them to you.
If you’ve been buying leads, keep track of where they came from and what they cost.
If you’re prospecting, keep track of what you’ve been sending – and whether it was by email or postal mail.
If you have capture boxes on your website, keep track of how many people respond and how many of those who responded became clients.
After keeping good records for a couple of months, you should know one thing: What is NOT working.
If you’ve been paying for leads and have had no new business as a result, it might be wise to either discontinue that practice or sharpen your conversion skills.
If you’ve been placing ads in a magazine or newspaper and they haven’t brought you any new business, it might be time to reconsider. The fault could be in the ads themselves, or in the readership of the publication.
If you’ve been mailing prospecting letters or postcards and getting no response, it’s time to revamp the message in those mailings, re-evaluate the list you’re using, or both. Remember that consistency and reader-focus are the keys to successful prospecting. If you’ve only sent one or two messages, have patience. You haven’t given it enough time to test yet.
If your capture boxes aren’t bringing you new business, look at how you respond once they opt in. Are you calling or emailing as fast as possible? Are you following up regularly to stay top of mind with them until they’re ready to act?
If so, what are you sending? Is it all about you or all about them?
Keeping track will also tell you whether your past clients are referring others to you.
If that isn’t happening, ask yourself why. Could it be that you’ve been ignoring them? Unless you’re making the effort to stay top of mind with them, they will forget about you.
Knowing what IS working is a little more difficult.
Because marketing is cumulative, some of your clients won’t even know what led them to you. But do ask – just in case they know where they saw you first.
They may have read a blog post that led them to your website – or your website may have prompted them to read your blog posts. Your agent bio on LinkedIn, Active Rain, or Facebook might have led them to you. A prospecting letter might have directed them to your website. A capture form on your website may have caused them to begin receiving your prospecting emails. They may even have been attracted first by a comment you made on another agent’s blog post.
For these prospects, the more they see of you, the more they decide they like you – until they finally pick up the phone or send that email or text that says “Yes, I want to meet with you.” When you ask them where they found you the answer will probably be “Somewhere on line.” (When that happens, do check their names against your prospecting lists.)
Some of your off-line activities are also cumulative.
First would be your postal mailings and print advertising, but there’s more. Your networking activities, volunteer efforts, and presence at businesses and events in your farm area may well be leading people to you online and increasing your share of the real estate market.
Even small things such as handing out pens to clients who will lose them somewhere to be picked up by strangers could be leading people to you. When I owned a real estate agency I made it a habit to give each of the checkers at our local grocery store a handful of pens every couple of weeks because I knew other customers would take them home.
Now it’s time to play detective – spy on your competitors
Check the statistics in your MLS to find out who is getting the listings you want most. Then go spy on them.
First, visit their websites. Compare what they offer to what you’re offering. How do you measure up? Do they offer information that you don’t – like community pages, an interesting blog, or a more appealing bio?
Do they have a capture form for buyers or sellers, or both? If so, you might want to sign up and see what they’re sending to people who opt in. (I know, they might not want to mail to another agent – so use a family member’s email address.)
If you have friends or family members who are receiving prospecting letters from those agents, ask them to save them for you, so you can read them.
Now see if you can find them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Active Rain, and other social media sites. If they’re there, are their pages interesting? Are they interacting with people more than you do?
What do their Zillow and Realtor.com profiles look like?
If you want more business, you want more business and should go after it, but…
Before you get depressed because you’ve unfavorably compared your sales statistics with someone else’s, look to see if he or she is the figurehead for a team.
If you’re a sole practitioner and they’re the leader of a team with 3 listing agents, 4 buyer agents, a transaction coordinator and a marketing specialist, a comparison is silly. That’s like comparing sales at your neighborhood grocery store to that of a supermarket.
Once you have all the facts, decide whether or not you need to make adjustments.
When you see what is really working to bring you new clients, do more of that.
- Should you work to improve your on-line presence?
- Should you make your prospecting letters more reader focused?
- Should you learn new social media marketing skills?
- Should you get better at staying in touch with past clients?
- Should you work on your lead conversion skills?
- Should you eliminate some of the things you’re doing, like paying for leads, in order to leave more time and money for more effective pursuits?
Make choices that are right for YOU.
Every agent and every marketplace is unique, so while it’s good to consider ideas from other agents, it’s wise to proceed slowly, testing what works for YOU, in YOUR marketplace, with YOUR prospective clients. The marketing methods you use to increase your share of the real estate may be completely different from what works for another agent in another market.
Lastly – Take time to carefully consider before you buy into any expensive new marketing plan. It could be that the only ones who will profit are the people selling you that plan.
Bubble man with spyglass courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Too soon courtesy of stuart miles @ freedigitalphotos.net
Business graph courtesy of aoo3771 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net