By Frederick Herot
RISMEDIA, December 3, 2009—Are you ready for the potential of the market resurging in 2010? If you have been in real estate long enough, you will remember what happened in the last two big turnarounds in the ’80s and ’90s; those who were positioned had multiple closings all at once. So what is a strategy that would position you for winning if the market surges back?
Consider these 10 things to prepare for a real estate resurgence:
1. Keep some momentum going. You should have marketing in place so that you are not scrambling to get leads after the market has taken off. Even if your marketing and advertising is running on a lean schedule, keep lead generation in place so it is a matter of speeding up, not starting up when the market turns. Otherwise, you could miss the wave of transactions that occur when the demand re-emerges.
2. Don’t throw away any leads. With the exception of those who filled out a lead form with a name like “Mickey Mouse,” keep an active database going of every single ad response, open house attendee, report request and Internet lead. If you have a system to categorize them and send specific content based on the customer type that is even better.
3. Be the information source. Some homeowners will not want to know what their home is worth—they might be more interested in knowing when their home will be worth what they actually have it mortgaged for. Send out regular updates so they know you are watching the market for them. When they sense it is time to “jump in,” you will be there.
4. Don’t eschew the listing side of the business. Advertising week after week can erode whatever profit you would have had when the home sold. Advertise in vehicles that do not require more cash if the home does not sell right away and keep as many listings as you can.
5. Don’t disappear. If some of your prospects are not discussing real estate with urgency, don’t let them forget who you are. Keep up with your community/volunteer work and social networks. NAR surveys indicate approximately half of all home sales are made through someone the buyer knew, used previously or had referred through a friend. Use social networking sites to be sociable and to be seen.
6. Don’t let your tools get rusty. Attend a technology webinar and brush up on the latest handheld devices that consumers are starting to use in their home search. Get the latest listing presentations showing the just-released NAR statistics on how buyers found their home. Go to a training session and learn what other Realtors are doing to market themselves and adopt some of the newer social networking strategies. These are available through http://www.realtor.com/freetraining/.
7. Change your ads. Old messaging is just not going to work. Take a look at the ad reports on “which ads got the most calls” and make sure your messaging reflects the winning ads—not the losers. Do this today because you need to build that customer database sooner rather than later.
8. Prepare a marketing plan. Test your marketing and technology strengths. What kind of marketer are you? Find out by taking a short quiz on www.freetrainingatrealtor.com and you can receive a booklet with specific advice on what needs to change if you want to win in this market.
9. Start monitoring your marketing. Answer every customer call about a listing with this question: “I am glad to tell you about that property. But how was it that you happened to call me? Was it my ad? My website? My listing on another website?” REALTOR.com® recently worked with a group of agents who let us put a tracking 800 number in their listings. We found that for every e-mail you receive, there can be four to 12 times as many phone calls. But if you don’t ask, they won’t tell you how they found you.
10. Keep up to date. These are just a few ideas to get you off to a great 2010. Become a fan of our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/realestatemarketer) and receive immediate updates as we encounter new trends.
Frederick Herot is vice president of marketing for REALTOR.com® and Top Producer Systems, Inc.
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