By Marylyn B. Schwartz, CSP
RISMEDIA, June 2, 2009-Have you ever caught yourself saying that you should go back to doing this or that because it was successful or beneficial when you did so? Perhaps you were vigilant about following up with past clients. You had a well-entrenched mail campaign, and people heard from you on birthdays, holidays or for no particular reason at all.
Or maybe you were very consistent at honing your skills, educating yourself on current market conditions and adding techniques to your cadre of prospecting and closing skills. At one time, were you firmer in your standards and knew when to hang on and when to let go of the rope? Do you remember being the late, great you? If so, then you are off the wagon and it is definitely time to get back in the game. Or, perhaps you joined the business at the height, and now that we are at the bottom, you realize that you lack organization and methodology to allow you to continue real estate as a full-time career.
The current environment, being gingerly navigated by anyone involved in the real estate industry, caused a common misconception. That is, new and improved skills and actions are necessary to manage the heightened challenges. In reality, applying the most tried and true fixes makes the most sense. And, if you have never initiated an action, regardless of how long others may have, it is new to you.
We have all forgotten more than we know. The fact that we may have effective answers to seemingly insurmountable obstacles within our reach, is comforting at these times of great stress and fear. Together, let’s dust off (or learn first hand) some at-our-fingertips ideas for improving business, today. Go for the low-hanging fruit (read $$) or the opportunity to grow staring you in the eye.
If there is even one past client or customer with whom you have not had a personal conversation in the last 6 months, call him/her. It is people with whom we have past relationships that are most likely to refer us to others. Ask them to think about whom they might know who could use the help of a talented sales professional in these tough times. Newbees, tell every friend, family member and anyone with whom you may interact on a daily basis that you are a real estate sales professional.
Make a list of all of the sellers whose listings have expired in a particular geographic area in the past two months. Plot them out on a grid, for ease of navigation, and go visit with them. Chances are many of them are now in a must-sell position and will be more amenable to a skilled counselor. Offer to tell them why their home did not sell so that in the event they try it again, they will not have to experience that same disappointing outcome.
Run an open house for a FSBO, or three or four… Offer to do so in exchange for a signed listing agreement for that day and covering any buyer who sees it and may make an offer within 180 days. While you are there, display copies of your marketing materials and a continuous-loop video of your company’s advantages for visitors to view. You may just find a neighbor impressed enough with you that he/she may request a marketing presentation. And, you may even find a motivated purchaser in the mix. Be sure you door-to-door prospect letting neighbors know of the upcoming open house. Ask them if they are interested in selling while you are at it.
Update your website by daily uploading and linking of interesting articles that provide value to consumers. Send a daily e-mail to your base showing that you are a resource for important market data. Stay in touch in a meaningful way. While you are educating others, you’re automatically sharpening your own skills and knowledge.
Get busy and social network. Are you using Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. to let folks know that you are there and working smart? Study what some others are doing to use these sites as marketing tools and do the same.
Volunteer several hours a week. We are experiencing a chapter in history when volunteers are needed more than ever. While you are doing good for others, it will come back to you ten-fold.
Venture outside of “your” marketplace and learn about a tangential community, town or city. Start expanding your service areas.
Broaden your areas of competency. What do you know about commercial real estate? Do you speak REO? Can you navigate the sale process for a parcel of land? If not, what an amazing time to devote several hours a week to your expansion. It is just impossible to allow a single opportunity to slip by because you were “specialized.” Diversify or die…
Partner with another agent and work as a team. Two heads are definitely better than one, especially if the other head comes to the table with skills and talents you lack. When you team up and the result is an immediate 200% greater chance for success, why wait?
Hand out no fewer than 20 business cards a day. Make it your mission to connect with that many “strangers” in order to increase opportunity. Remember that your best friend was once a total stranger till you met for the first time…. Do not let excuses stop you from finding a real prospect before they find someone else.
And, change your thinking. It is not a buyer’s market! The agent who controls the saleable inventory controls the market, especially as a result of the way the Internet consumer shops. They find properties they find interesting, and then call the listing agent to look/see.
While there is nothing earth shaking here, your earth just might shake with joy and success if you adopt these oldies but goodies. It is quite simple: something works; nothing doesn’t!
Marylyn B. Schwartz, CSP, is an expert in real estate and corporate sales training/management and team development. She is president of Teamweavers and a trainer for Leader’s Choice. To contact her, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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