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Today I’m sharing an article originally posted on REM written by Joanna Dermenjian. This article explains the reality for new Realtors just starting out and the demands for any agent who wants to be successful in their new career. Enjoy!
You’ve passed your exam, signed on with a brokerage and received your license. Now, where is the instruction manual on how to be a real estate professional? There isn’t one! It’s Day 1 in your new career and you have no idea what to do, what to expect and how to get started. Here is what we have learned that you need to know:
Your first year will be very hard. If you make it through the first year and do 10 transactions, you have a chance to gain enough momentum to build a career in real estate. In the first 100 days, you need to gain traction. The clock is ticking, and the first 100 days are counting down. Get yourself one firm transaction and at least two more buyers you have already started working with in that first 100 days. There needs to be urgency in everything you do.
1. You are now a brand.
You are being watched – when you are out with friends, when you are eating in a restaurant, when you are shopping at a retailer or are receiving a service. Everywhere you go, people will start to know who are. They will watch you and listen to what you say and how you say it, even if you aren’t talking to them. Think about that.
2. You are a professional.
You want to be a very successful professional. Dress for the job. Arrive on time. Clean your car. Be organized. Be well groomed and presentable all the time, even in your leisure time. Behave.
3. You are a salesperson.
The public perception is that we sell houses, but truly we are selling ourselves. Our knowledge, our expertise, our competence. You don’t have those yet, so you have to work very hard to get them quickly. Until then, sell yourself as enthusiastic, hardworking, ethical and available, with support from a great brokerage and colleagues when you need assistance.
4. You are now a business.
Project your expenses for the year and your net if you do five sales in the first year, at the average residential selling price in your board area. Do a budget. Don’t spend money you have not made. Set up files, keep receipts. Remit taxes at source, HST and personal income tax. It is not your money and never will be. You do not want to be hounded by the CRA.
5. You are your own administrator.
Create an excellent calendar and keep a log. Write down everything you are doing in your business. Track where your time is going and what is bringing you success. Where are your leads coming from? What isn’t working for you?
6. You are your own PR department.
Write down the names and contact information of everyone you know and create a database. Grow your sphere of influence. Let everyone you meet know you are in real estate and ask them if they have a trusted real estate advisor, or if they would they consider working with you. Email or snail mail some information of value to your database at least once every quarter.
7. Project that you need to talk to 100 people about real estate before you get one firm transaction.
This doesn’t include friends and family, who may or may not want to do business with you. If you want to do 10 transactions this year, you need to talk to 1,000 people about what you do. If you don’t believe this, start counting.
8. Do 100 open houses this year.
Yes, 100. That is your magic number. It could be one or two or four a weekend. It could be some weeknights or non-traditional times. Try various times and see what works for you. If you don’t like open houses, go door-knocking. You need to talk to people face to face about real estate.
Don’t just do 100 open houses, do 100 great open houses. Quantity isn’t enough. Learn which agents have properties where you can host an open house and introduce yourself. Develop an open house plan for yourself, a system, to make sure you are well informed about the house, the neighbourhood amenities, recent neighbourhood sales and new listings. Preview the property. Spend two hours of prep time for each hour of every open house. Show the listing agent you are organized and committed. Arrive at least 15 minutes before you open – be there before the buyers! Treat each open house like a job interview. You are looking to find a buyer or a seller who will “hire” you.
9. Do floor time, duty.
Yes, it is boring to sit in the office waiting for someone to call, but many agents don’t show up so there is real opportunity here. It might not amount to a lot, but it gives you a chance to talk to more people about real estate. Study pricing or neighbourhoods while you are waiting for the phone to ring, not YouTube videos of cat capers. But don’t only do duty and don’t do it on weekend afternoons when you should be doing open houses.
10. Go to your weekly sales meeting and agent tour, if your brokerage offers it.
See as many houses as you can. Study the pricing, listen to what other agents are saying about the listing, research how the agent might have come up with the list price. Watch how much it sells for. You need to see a lot of houses before you can become good at pricing. Research neighbourhoods. Every week, study a new neighbourhood. Drive around, walk around. Learn amenities, schools, parks and places of worship. Study typical home styles. Study pricing history of that neighbourhood for the last 12 months. Next week, do the same for another neighbourhood. Next week, do it again, until you know the whole city this way.
And show up. The first few weeks can be very discouraging. Keep on with the basics. After awhile of doing the core things over and over again, something will take hold. You will find your niche, your best way of engaging with clients, and you can build on that. But it won’t happen if you don’t show up. You are a million times more likely to pick up a duty call if you are at the office than if you are sitting at home or hanging out around town.
A key tool for successful realtors is a real estate CRM. A CRM can be a game-changer when it comes to contact management, as it contains all your client contact profiles, can be setup with automated email and e-newsletter campaigns, and has reminders for your clients special events so that you’re always in-the-know! Try IXACT Contact real estate CRM. IXACT Contact offers Rookie Realtors a 6 month FREE trial! Sign up today and kick-start your new business!
Getting prospects to convert is a challenge that all businesses face. Consumers have a lot of options, and they know it.
Persuading “fence-sitters” to pull out their credit card and pay for your product or service is a skill–and it’s a skill that will largely determine the growth of your business.
Some consumers are very well informed but still hesitate when it comes to buying. They have an abundance of information available at their fingertips about all the products and services they could ever need and yet they remain reluctant to buy.
Others are ready to make a purchase, but aren’t being wowed by your sales process.
How do you handle a prospective customer who continues to sit on the fence? Is it possible to nudge your lead towards making a buying decision without being too pushy?
The answer is a resounding yes. You can gently and successfully steer prospects towards making a purchase. Implement a few of the suggestions below and you will improve your lead conversion rate.
1. Keep Feeding Them (Valuable) Content
Content is the best way to make sure that leads have all the information they need about your products and services. In the past, direct mailers or newspaper ads may have done the trick but things are vastly different in today’s world.
The most basic way to showcase your business to potential customers is through your company website and email list. Having well-designed and informative content that’s published regularly is an absolute necessity. According to HubSpot, companies that publish 16+ blog posts in a month get 4.5x more leads than the companies that publish between 0-4 posts in a month.
And this isn’t just for B2B lead generation. If you’re looking to convert visitors into leads and customers in a B2C niche, you can look forward to even better results as you add more conversion-focused content.
When consumers want to find out more information about your products/services, it should be delivered to them on a silver platter right to their inbox.
Vary it up too. The right piece of content for some may be different than others. Here are a few examples:
- Case Studies
- Demo Videos
- FAQ Posts
- Audiobooks /Podcasts
You can also publish all of this sweet content on your company website. Not only will this provide visitors with additional information about your products and services, it will also increase traffic to your site and grow your list.
2. Rally Around a Killer Media Personality
The primary problem with websites, blogs, and poorly handled email lists is that they’re somewhat impersonal. By using targeted and consistent (not to mention valuable) interaction, you can present a more personalized message to potential customers that may just give them what they need to buy.
People long for connection – it’s a basic human need. Consumers want to know that there are actual human beings behind the company logo and you have to nurture that need.
A person who feels connected to a company is more likely to buy and will often develop a sense of loyalty towards that brand. While it can be difficult to develop a relationship with consumers online, it’s not impossible.
There are a couple of ways to do it.
One way to establish a sense of relationship with potential clients is by maintaining active accounts on multiple social media platforms. Being active on social media actually humanizes your company to consumers; people feel like they have a connection to your company because they are updated regularly on your progress and they can engage with you easily online.
Giving social a personal feel is hard to scale, but there are a few easy ways to make an impact:
- Highlight your fans that have gone through the trouble to reach out.
- When you interact, go over the top. Shoot a response video or make it public on your other social channels.
- Post regularly. Consistency is one of the best ways to build rapport.
Bonus Tip: Bestselling author and startup advisor Tim Ferriss gets over 1 million unique blog visitors per month. According to Ferriss, one of the main content strategy mistakes businesses make is leading with a boring trademark, instead of a magnetic personality.
People prefer to trust other people, not brands (e.g. Steve Jobs versus Apple), so I have the advantage of being a single-person-based media provider. Brands can do this by singling out killer personalities to drive their brands (e.g. Bobby Flay for Food Network in the early days).
People want to follow humans, not trademarks. Plan accordingly.
Whether it’s you doing the talking or someone on your team, think about how you can showcase more (authentic) personality in your videos, emails, and webinars. Putting anyone on your team front-and-center–an expert, teacher, or podcast host-–will help prospects connect with your business, and as a result, improve your conversion rate.
Since emails are more exclusive than social media, customers feel as if you’re speaking to them directly. It’s also easier to scale. You can even set up a series of automatic emails to continue to engage clients over a long period of time, which contributes to the feeling of having an on-going relationship with your company.
All of that content can be delivered in the proper order (over time). One key to closing sales is demonstrating to the customer that your product/service fulfils an unmet need. Sending a personalized e-mail directly to the consumer right when they need it allows you to explain clearly how they will benefit from your services.
Building rapport in this way also ensures that the customer doesn’t forget about you. Social media and emails consistently remind potential clients of the products and services that you offer.
For a great example of rapport-based email copywriting, check out Perry Marshall. His emails sell digital marketing products and services, but they also connect with readers using storytelling, humor, and insights into the bigger “why” of business, including Perry’s philanthropic efforts. All of this adds up to deeper trust–and more conversions when it’s time to make an offer.
3. Use Social Proof
Social proof is when people take cues from others around them and make decisions based on what they observe.
Example: How many times have you bought something off of Amazon without taking a look at online reviews?
Customers want to be reassured that your company will reliably provide the products and services that you have described. Luckily, there are multiple ways you can provide social proof:
Testimonials: One of the most common means of social proof is the testimonial. The best testimonials are those that talk about the issues clients were facing in the past and how your company resolved those issues. Testimonials can be featured on your website or included in those emails sent directly to the consumer.
Endorsements: You can see this type of social proof on virtually every book cover in existence. Publishers include quotes from well-known authors, journalists, critics, etc. praising the work in order to encourage browsers to become buyers.
Press Mentions: If your product is the subject of an article, whether it be in a trade magazine, local newspaper, or a major media outlet, it’s sure to boost your company’s social profile. Guest posts you’ve published are a common way to get those logos. An endorsement could easily sway those leads that are still wavering.
4. If Prospects are Lukewarm, Revisit Your Lead Conversion “Hook”
Copywriter Kevin Rogers advocates creating a “60-second sales hook.” If you struggle to convert visitors into buyers on your website, this can be a life-changing exercise.
It’s possible that your leads are unwilling to make a purchase because they aren’t sure how your product solves their biggest problem(s). Maybe they’ve checked your stuff out and read up, but they’re paralyzed with indecision and aren’t seeing how your product or service is unique.
Here are a few suggestions:
Keep Your Offer Simple
We’re being inundated by so much information that we’ve started scanning and skimming content to see if it’s worth reading it in its entirety. This can present a problem when you’re attempting to make a sale, but the problem can be remedied easily through simplification.
Make your content easy on the eyes by breaking is up. Using different sized fonts to make sections stand out. Readers will be able to find what they need much faster.
Get Rid of Unnecessary Content
To simplify your message, you need to whittle it down to the essentials. The very basic requirements are acknowledging the client’s problem or need, explaining how your services address the problem or need, and asking them to take action. Be sure that all the communications you direct towards your customer are clear and concise. Their purchasing options should be laid out in an easy-to-understand format that allows little chance of misinterpretation.
5. Remove Their Risk & Create FOMO
These two items are lumped together because they deal with both sides of a basic human emotion, fear. If they fear the risk, comfort them into buying. If they aren’t taking your offer seriously, give them something to lose.
Taking Away Doubts
Moving leads over that final bump may come by eliminating any perceived risk of purchasing. The most straight-forward way to accomplish this is to offer them a guarantee. If customers are wavering and unsure about which company to hire, they will feel more secure giving their business to a company that provides them with an assurance of quality.
You can also answer those fears directly through a well-timed email (big surprise).
Putting in Some FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
Creating a sense of urgency can have a direct and tangible impact on the amount of sales you make. There are several ways to accomplish this. One option is offering a limited quantity of product. If customers think that there’s a chance the product will “sell out” or end soon, they’re more likely to buy.
If your product is evergreen, don’t worry. You can offer a time-sensitive discount, free trial, or give a bonus to buyers in order to encourage purchases. Creating urgency brings your product to the top of your customer’s priority list and can convince otherwise indecisive clients to make a sales decision quickly.
A Reminder to Follow Up
So you’ve done all of the above and your lead still isn’t committing to buy. Well, don’t give up. Being persistent can most definitely pay off. You should continue to follow-up with your lead.
Depending on the price and use of your product(s), the buying cycle can naturally be over a year.
There are a lot of ways to keep your company in the forefront of the consumer’s mind without inundating them with the same dry sales pitches. Try sending out e-mails to mark special occasions, such as the customer’s birthday. You can also send messages that reflect the current season or up-coming events like Christmas or the beginning of the school year.
Take a look at your buyer personas and figure out the things that are important to your leads (hint: it doesn’t have to be related to your product or industry).
It can be frustrating when leads don’t convert directly into sales. Nudging a potential client over the line from indecision to satisfied customer may be difficult, but it can be accomplished with thought, care, and (most importantly) consistency.
This may take time, commitment and effort on your part, but the returns are well worth the investment.
And if you prefer to put your lead conversion on autopilot, check out Drip’s Visual Workflows. When you request a free demo of Drip, we’ll help you design campaigns visually for your business on a 1-on-1 call, so you can start converting leads into customers, 24/7.
Question for the comments: What are you testing right now to improve your lead conversion? What’s working well for you?
Web Sites For Selling Your Properties
8.Craigslist.org (Use all cities within 150 miles of your property.You’d be surprised how far people will travel to buy retail and wholesale).
11.Creonline.com (check out their real estate clubs section which will give you a list of all the real estate clubs within your given city).