A strong finish to the current year will equal a strong beginning to the new one.
We’re less than 2 months from 2019. What you do in those 2 months will determine whether you’ll flourish or flop, both now and in the new year.
Perhaps you’ve had a great year in real estate and have already surpassed your 2018 sales goals.
Perhaps your pipeline is full, and you have real estate closings scheduled for the rest of the year.
That doesn’t mean you can sit back and forget about marketing, because you’ll also want income in January and February.
I can’t tell you how many real estate agents I’ve known who essentially quit in mid-November and didn’t start thinking about work until some time in the first week of January. Naturally, their income didn’t re-start until two or three months later. Then they spent the year trying to catch up with the bills they couldn’t pay in January.
What can you do to ensure a prosperous close to this year and a strong beginning to next year?
Quite a few things:
To get current leads moving:
- Keep sending those follow-up letters or emails.
- Pick up the phone and check in with them.
- Go back through all the listings to see if you missed something or if there is something new that will interest one of your buyer leads.
- Send your listing leads my “Holiday Listing Letters” (or write and send some of your own.)
To ensure new real estate listings now and in the new year:
- Start prospecting! Choose a geographic area or a niche and get busy mailing. You’ll find the letters you need right here.
- Add a seller’s “bait piece” and capture box to your website. This bait piece can offer information on everything from activities in your geographic area, to market reports for the area, to specific information for niche sellers.
When someone opts in, be sure your autoresponder replies to them immediately with a note and the promised information.
- Personally follow up on every lead just as soon as possible.
- Remember to send those “Just Listed,” “Under Contract,” and “Just sold” letters or cards. These are reputation-builders, so don’t ignore their value and impact.
- Write some blog posts that demonstrate your skill, knowledge, and dedication to your clients.
Write tips for home sellers and home owners, write market reports, create ads for your current listings, and share news above events or upcoming events in your territory. Also share a little of yourself, so potential clients will know you’re not only a professional, you’re also an interesting person.
- Share those posts on social media.
- If it’s something you do – go door-knocking or cold calling.
To gather new buyers for now and the new year:
- Add a buyer’s bait piece and capture box to your website. Make sure your autoresponder replies immediately with a note from you and information that will be useful to them.
My Nurturing Buyer Leads set would be a good choice for all buyers, but I also offer letters for specific buyers, such as those who are interested in buying new construction.
- As with sellers, follow up personally with a call or at least a personal email just as quickly as possible.
- Write some blog posts to share on social media – tell why now is a perfect time to look for a home; remind people that mortgage interest rates are still low; offer to be the real estate information resource for all of your acquaintances; talk about why buyers do need their own agents; post market reports; advertise your own listings; or offer smart home buying tips.
Make those posts so interesting that your friends will share them with others.
- Be enthusiastic about real estate when you visit with friends and even casual acquaintances like your hairdresser, your dog groomer, and the checker who takes your money at the grocery store.
To encourage new referrals:
- Make contact with everyone in your sphere of influence.
- Call your past clients – or take them a small gift.
- Invite a few “influencers” out for lunch.
And in your “spare time,” get ready for 2019.
- Clean up your database. Add anyone who is missing. Remove anyone who has passed on. (This really is important. People who keep receiving mail for their deceased spouse do get a bit out-of-sorts.)
- Update your agent bio – or get one written if you don’t have one.
It’s amazing to see how many agent bios make reference to the year, and that year is far in the past. Check for that.
If you’ve earned a new designation, began focusing on a new niche, or won an award, add that to your bio. And of course, if you’ve changed brokerages and your old bio tells why you chose your last brokerage, you need to do a re-write!
- Check to see that your agent bio is up to date on all of your social media accounts.
- Check and upgrade the SEO on your website. Remember to think about voice searches.
- Add missing pages. (Do you need community pages or information specific to your real estate niche?)
- Set your goals for 2019, then break them down into quarters and months. Be realistic.
- Create a marketing plan for 2019 – and break it down into quarters, months, and weeks.
- Spend a few minutes each day feeling grateful for what you have and what you’ve accomplished.
- Thank the people who have helped you along the way.
The Most Important Thing: Don’t Stop Marketing
Yes, it’s the holiday season, and yes, you’ve got more than your share of things to do, but when you stop marketing, you start putting yourself out of business.
Many of the top agents on Active Rain say you MUST market for one hour every day, without fail. That might mean doing anything from writing a blog post, calling a past client, uploading letters to your autoresponder, or any other activity that increases your visibility.
Note that some of these activities can be done early in the morning or late at night. You might need to get up earlier, stay up later, or skip a favorite TV show, but keeping your business on track will be worth it. (Nobody ever said that real estate was a 40 hour per week job.)
Consistency is key in marketing
Just one letter might get you a response – if you send that one letter to enough people – but don’t count on it. Those in direct marketing who track and test mailings say it’s lucky to get a 1% response from a first mailing to a cold list.
In fact, they say 5 “touches” should be the minimum, and if you want the full effect, go for twelve. (Note that a “touch” can be a letter, a postcard, an email, a phone call, or an in-person visit.)
The bottom line – if you’re going to prospect, plan on mailing (or emailing) a minimum of 5 times to the same people. And… don’t wait so long between mailings that they’ve forgotten you. Plan to make contact at least once a month, and more often if the circumstances call for fast action. Sellers needing a short sale, for instance, don’t have that much time to make a decision.
FSBO’s and sellers whose listings have expired might also be apt to make a faster decision, so should hear from you weekly.
Going back to the 5 touches – if you’re using email, I can’t think of any reason why you should drop anyone from your list unless they ask you to stop mailing to them. Some people who contact you might not be ready to take action for months – even years. So move them to a list that gets your market reports, newsletters, or staying in touch messages like my event-themed letters.
Once they become clients they’ll need to be taken off the prospecting list and moved to your client / past client list. It looks really silly to keep asking someone to contact you when they’re ready after they’ve already done so.
Prospecting Can be Automated
Begin by writing or purchasing an entire set of prospecting letters. You can add more later, but get the core messages written (or personalized) and ready to go. If you write one letter and wait, it’s far too easy to put off writing the next one.
If you’re emailing, all you have to do is load the messages into your autoresponder, set the send order and timing, choose the list that will receive the messages, and you’re done.
If you’re using postal mail, begin by printing the entire set of letters and envelopes to each of your recipients. Yes, it takes a while, but it takes less time than it would to start over for each mailing, and it will be done.
Sign all the letters, fold them, and put them in the envelopes. Then bundle them into groups to be mailed on specific days. Write that date on the corner of the envelope where the stamp will go. (Or – if you want to stamp them all ahead of time, use a sticky note.)
Put them in an easily accessible spot – one where you’ll see them and remember to mail them on the assigned days.
While you’re at it, put a note on your calendar to remind yourself to drop those envelopes in the mail.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“You are where you are and what you are because of yourself, nothing else. Nature is neutral. Nature doesn’t care. If you do what other successful people do, you will enjoy the same results and rewards that they do. And if you don’t, you won’t.”
“Sometimes the biggest gain in productive energy will come from cleaning the cobwebs, dealing with old business, and clearing the desks—cutting loose debris that’s impeding forward motion.”
What if another agent is moving in on your geographic territory?
Don’t panic. Just keep on marketing. The first impulse might be to “go political” and tear down the competition – but that might not be wise.
Years ago, market researchers learned that naming your competition in an ad brought an unwanted result. It made people remember the competition instead of the advertiser!
Instead, focus on what you do well. Toot your own horn.
Keep sending your just listed, under contract, and just sold cards, and keep inviting near neighbors to your open house events.
Meanwhile, stay in front of those homeowners with market updates, news about the area, or interesting trivia that they’ll enjoy sharing with friends. Don’t let them forget you – and don’t let them forget that you’re very willing to give them a market analysis. And of course, always invite them to visit your website and your blog.
When you blog or send a letter, mention your personal service or your extensive marketing techniques. If you’ve got good statistics to brag about, give your days on the market or your list-to-sell ratios as compared to the average. If you actually live in the neighborhood, or if you’ve been selling homes there for a good number of years, mention the fact.
Then get in front of them in person by visiting their stores and coffee shops, attending their yard sales, and cheering for their kids at high school sports events. Take a walk through the neighborhoods on a nice day and talk with the people you meet.
If it’s in your nature, knock on doors, just to say hello and perhaps drop off a small branded gift.
Don’t let an intruder in your territory scare you off – simply promote yourself better than they promote themselves.
Success or failure and emailing on laptop courtesy of Stuart Miles @ freedigitalphotos.net
Magnet Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Business woman on phone Image courtesy of podpad at FreeDigitalPhotos.net