By Denise Lones M.I.R.M., CSP
For the real estate industry, the last three months have been one of the strangest periods I’ve witnessed in the last ten years. Real estate agents have whipped themselves into a frenzy based entirely on media baloney.
True, the media deli has been serving up large portions of this baloney. Barely a week goes by without a new report about a crashing market or an expose of another ruthless lending predator. As of this writing, I’ve never seen real estate portrayed in such a nasty light as it is right now.
All this negativity is breeding insecurity among many agents. I can’t tell you how many panicked e-mails I get from new agents, experienced agents, and agents who should know better. As I’ve reported before, the market is NOT crashing. There has been some bad news this year, but it’s not a full market crash. Not even close.
Not only are agents e-mailing me about the news stories, but also about their lack of leads. The news reports haven’t scared just agents, but also people who would have listed by now if not for fear of what’s going on out there. It’s turning into a vicious circle, a “Catch-22” of sorts. The markets have slowed down in many areas of the country for the simple reason that people are afraid that the markets are slowing down. What utter nonsense!
It’s not that the leads aren’t out there, but real estate agents are faced with a particular challenge-a challenge that is unique in modern times. The challenge is to EDUCATE the unknowing masses about what’s really going on. The sky is not falling, and it’s your job to shout it from the rooftops-backed up with solid numbers to prove your point.
There is so much real estate business out there right now and it’s time for a little “Tough Love” from Denise Lones. Are you ready? Brace yourself because this isn’t going to be pretty. Here goes:
“Stop whining and start taking action!”
Look, I’m sorry you have half the leads you had a year ago. I’m sorry your phone doesn’t ring off the hook like it used to. I’m sorry your offers aren’t being accepted in twelve hours.
Newsflash-This is life! One minute you’re swimming along without a care in the world, the next minute a sunken ship crashes on your head. This is life. This is reality.
Instead of whining about it and feeling sorry for yourself and your profession, why not take action? How about MASSIVE ACTION?
I can guarantee you that the agents who are going to be rolling in money one or two years from now are the ones who are proactively taking MASSIVE ACTION toward lead generation today.
It’s not that the leads aren’t out there, it’s just that it’s going to take a little more hard work and determination than it used to.
So what can you do starting today?
1. Find investors.
Investors are savvy people. They don’t fall victim to the nightly news stories. They understand up markets and down markets. They plan ahead (at least the professional ones do), and move their money as needed.
These are great people to be doing business with right now. They’re buying up real estate like mad because they know that in two to five years, all the property they buy right now will be worth at least 20% more.
What about putting together a monthly luncheon for investors? Simple invitations sent out that read, “I specialize in working with investors. I’m doing a special luncheon to present my Top Ten Investment Properties This Month”. At the luncheon, talk about examples of great investments and tips about the neighborhoods in which you are the expert. Make it short and sweet, but informative.
2. Condensed Open Houses.
Condensed Open Houses allow you the opportunity to do more than one Open House at a time. Take two houses you want to show this weekend and show the first one 9-10, then the second one 11-12. Then go back to the first one from 1-2 and the second one from 3-4.
This is an effective strategy because you can get “morning” people and “afternoon” people to visit the same properties. You’ve also infused the Open House with a sense of urgency, which eliminates time-wasters who will never buy but want to talk your ear off.
3. Send a “Market Is NOT Crashing” Report to your database-immediately!
If you’re not 100% conversant with the facts that clearly show the market is fine, then get yourself educated by doing the proper research. When you crunch the numbers, you’ll be amazed at how much evidence you’ll have to show people. Get excited about it. Get into an attitude of “I can’t wait to tell people about this!”
This accomplishes two things: 1) It EDUCATES people so that we can begin to take the edge off the media scare and 2) It solidifies you as the “Go-To” expert for real estate information in your community.
It always amazes me how afraid real estate agents are of people with “For Sale By Owner” signs on their lawns. They are a GOLD MINE of potential leads. 82% of all FSBO’s eventually list with a real estate agent. Talk about conversion rates!
But the secret is not to call them up and tell them what you can do for them. Instead, show them with action. Every single week, send them a report that details homes that have sold in their neighborhood, pending sales, sold prices vs. listing prices, and examples of FSBO’s who eventually listed with agents and made more money by doing so.
Information is power. Send them power.
5. Send Annual Client Reviews.
I can’t tell you enough how powerful this lead generation tool is. You’re going to have to experience its amazing results for yourself.
An Annual Client Review is an analysis you create for each of your past clients. Show them that you are watching their assets. Just like a fund manager for a brokerage firm sends annual reports to investors, you send annual reports to people who have bought from you. This cements you as a trusted advisor and proves to them the value of their home purchase. It also keeps them talking about you and by turn becomes an automated referral machine. Trust me, your competition is NOT sending out Annual Client Reviews. Put it all in a glossy binder with a photograph of their home and send it to them. You will most definitely STAND OUT.
(Note: Don’t be afraid to send depreciation information. The facts are the facts. People appreciate the truth, and when you have the guts to tell it to them, they respect you for it.)
6. Find Absentee Owners.
There isn’t an Absentee Owner out there who doesn’t want to know how their property is faring. They don’t often see their property and usually don’t keep up with neighborhood values. Make sure you send them quarterly reports on what’s going on in the market and do an Annual Client Review for them as well.
7. Find Rental Owners.
There are only two kinds of rental owners I know-thrilled ones and miserable ones. Thrilled because all their units are rented to respectable tenants who enjoy living there. Or sad because not all their units are rented and the occupied ones are filled with tenants who give them a hard time.
If you were to position yourself as a rental property owner expert, you’ll find that thrilled owners will buy more rental properties and miserable owners will sell more rental properties.
Make sure you’re sending out to both your “Top Ten New Rental Properties To Buy” hotlist. The thrilled ones will use it to shop and the miserable ones will want to be in it.
8. Throw an event.
If you’re absolutely dead quiet right now, bank on the people you already know and who like you. Get some contacts from what you already have going for you.
A good example is a Client Appreciation Event such as a “Breakfast with Santa” (hint hint-December is only weeks away). Or maybe a Holiday Open House. For October, do pumpkins and candy. For November, do turkey and stuffing.
9. Give a “State of the Market” Seminar.
What better way to EDUCATE your community about the pitfalls of listening to the news media? Advertise, promote, and invite business owners from your community to let them know what’s really going on in real estate.
10. Expired Listings.
This is another GOLD MINE opportunity for agents. Be smart, though. Don’t hound listings that have expired in the last week.
Once a listing expires, the owner’s phone rings off the hook immediately, making some pull their home off the market entirely.
Remember, always be a contrarian! Do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.
Since everyone else is contacting listings that expired last week, you’ll be the only one calling listings that expired six months ago, nine months ago, twelve months ago.
Often what didn’t work out last year works out this year.
To sum up, there is no excuse for you not to be getting more leads than you can handle right now. Start implementing these 10 ideas today. MASSIVE ACTION will produce results that will prove to you once and for all that real estate is alive and well. No baloney.