Category Archives: Prospecting

Do open houses work?

Do open houses work?

Open houses continue to remain a tool that Realtors offer to sellers as part of their marketing efforts to sell homes. Do they get the job done?

Open houses, some real estate agents swear by them and some swear at the thought of having to hold a home open. The answer to the question, do they work depends largely on if the agent is doing the work to help make them a success.

Successful open houses, to some degree, are influenced by the homes location, the areas market conditions and the pricing of the home. To increase the chances of visitors stopping by and seeing the home and more importantly to increase the chances of a qualified buyer stopping by to view your home, will depend on how hard the Realtor works prior to the open house event. Agents who rely only on a Sunday advertisement and a sign in the yard have done little to increase the chances of success.

A marketing plan for open houses with the goal of attracting potential buyers and customer traffic should consist of:

  • Calling on homeowners in the neighborhood by phone or personal visits the week before the open house inviting them to stop by.
  • Direct mail announcing the open house to apartment complexes or other rental homes where the rental fee is in line with what the mortgage payment for the subject home would approximately be.
  • Invitations and flyers for the event delivered to the many different Realtors in the area keying in on those agents who have recorded past sales in the area.
  • Scheduling the open house with a garage or yard sale will increase the amount of traffic that will find the subject home.
  • Picking a day other than Saturday or Sunday to hold the home open. Often times holding a home open during the weekday produces great results.
  • Organizing with agents who have homes in the area for sale to have multiple homes open in the neighborhood at the same time to increase traffic.

These are just a few suggestions that if implemented by the real estate salesperson would increase the chances of holding a successful open house.

Don’t forget those open house balloons!

Unfortunately, holding open houses as a method of selling a home or prospecting for new buyers or sellers, has went the way of dinosaurs for many real estate agents. For those agents who still understand the power of using open houses to grow your business, here is a little tip that I was reminded of.open hose real estate

I had the opportunity to sit at an open house this past weekend. The listing agent explained to me that we would need to get an early start prepping for our open house because she wanted to place several directional signs. The fact that she used 10 directional signs was impressive enough but then she went a step further and attached helium filled balloons to these signs. It is my opinion that few agents use balloons to attract attention to their signs.

They should start.

We had at least 20 visitors during our 3 hour open house. Several new relationships were started and the seller ended up receiving an offer from buyers who visited the open house without their agent. The little extra step of using the balloons was noticed by the community builder rep who, stopped in and thanked us for putting out balloons!

Were we successful just because of the balloons? Of course not, but I do believe those little extra steps increase an agents overall success.

 

Are you ready to get on track to sell millions of dollars of real estate each year?

Are you ready to get on track to sell millions of dollars of real estate each year?  You can reach your production and income goals simply by following the example of top producing agents that have started before you.

First, let me be clear.  There are no secrets to success.  There are no systems or programs that require 0 effort on your part to succeed.  Just being positive without positive effort, won’t work.

Having a business plan, implementing the business plan, consistently working your business plan and adjusting or adding to your business plan as you go forward, is the path to success.

As a new agent or an agent with no production, your plan needs to include aggressive prospecting and marketing that put you in front of potential buyers and sellers daily.  It can be as simple as handing our 5 business cards a day to someone new.  You need to have conversations about real estate in your market area with as many people as possible.

Don’t spend hours a day thinking of ways to succeed, when the answer is in your daily routine.  Throughout the day you are crossing paths with people, it is what you do and say when your paths cross that will make all the difference in your career.

Remember, consistency is the key!

Start with people you do know

How to get listings; Start with people you do know

By now I hope that at least a couple of you have made your way through my post below and are eager to get started on a business plan to get more listings. You are probably ready to call people you know. Here is a brief script you might want to use as your own when calling people from your sphere of influence. Make the changes so it feels right to you. This is centered towards getting short sale listings. More scripts and suggestions to follow.

Hello John.

(First engage in genuine friendly conversation and then on to asking for a referral without saying the word referral.)

John as you are aware, these have been stressful times for many homeowners. My business over the past several years has been in helping people who are upside down on their mortgage but need to sell their home. I have helped them with a process called short selling. This is a detailed and lengthy process that allows the owner to sell their home without having to pay off the entire mortgage they owe. I know there are many people who are not aware of this process and my goal is to reach out to them as best I can, so let me ask you John, is there anyone that you know that could benefit from my services?

Benefit from my services. You want people, especially people that make up your sphere of influence, to view you as someone that provides a service. It is true that our job involves us taking on the role of sales people but the truly successful agents year after year understand that it is the legendary quality service they provide that is one of the secrets to ongoing success.

How do I get listings?

How do I get listings?

The push in this office is to increase our listing inventory.

Each of you understands or should start to see that having a large number of listings will result in sales. Multiple offers and listings that sell within days of hitting the market are clear indications that the market is changing right in front of us. This is a good thing. The other good thing about today’s market is we are not asking; “How do I get bank owned listings?” Our market consists of more traditional and short sale contingent listings than bank owned. This is another win for us! We are an office that historically excels in controlling the normal listing market.

Now is our time!

The way to get listings is the same now as it was 100 years ago. The simple answer is you get listings by meeting people in our area that want or need to sell their home. The part that freezes agents in their tracks is the how do you meet people in the area that want or need to sell their home? The answer may not be the same for each of you. As business owners we need to decide what it is that we are comfortable doing, what it is that we will consistently do, and what it is that helps us reach our goal of obtaining more listings. The answer will differ greatly from a seasoned agent who has invested time and money developing a farm area to a brand new agent who seemingly knows no one that wants to sell.

Here are some of the best tried and true ways to meet people who may want or need to sell their home.

Start with the people you do know.

I have been in the business long enough to know that the people that are most likely to help us willingly are some of the same people we reach out to the least. There is no better source for being introduced or learning about someone who might need or want to list their home than your family, friends, and/or past customers. We sometimes refer to this group as our sphere of influence. I want to commend those agents who already have systems in place to reach out to this group on a regular basis. While emailing is a great tool, it should not be a replacement from a good old fashioned phone call or visit with these folks that potentially are our number one source of business.

Even if you have not made contact with them in awhile, now is the time of year where that makes it easier to reestablish old or forgotten relationships. Happy Thanksgiving! How are the kids? Wasn’t that an interesting debate last week? There is a number of approaching holidays or current events that are great conversation material when reaching out to your sphere of influence. Carrying on a conversation with them and reminding them during the call that you are a successful agent in the area who is always looking for new business, is the easy part. Asking them if they know of anyone thinking of selling their home is also easy. The hard part is, after reading this email, you stop everything else you are doing and you make the call or stop over for a visit. What have you decided you will do?

Say, “Hello!” to your neighbors.

Would it surprise you to know that I have heard from a number of agents in the many offices I have worked in that they do not want their neighbors to know they sell real estate? Each time I hear this I am at a loss to understand why. I can’t think of any other profession where the professional would shy away from or wouldn’t be proud of what they do, but be afraid that their neighbors might find out. As REALTORS we should be proud of what we do and the services we provide for individuals, families, this country, and yes, even our neighbors. It is through our work that this country’s economy will improve. It is through our efforts that people who are upside down on their home loans or have lost their jobs can find relief from the stress they face. It is because of our chosen careers, newlyweds and those just starting off can realize the same dreams their parents had of home ownership.

Being comfortable with what we do, let’s go tell the neighbors. We have a  great example of agents in our office who have told their neighbors. They farm their neighborhood consistently. They are active in their neighborhood. They are known as two trustworthy, professional and successful agents in their neighborhood. What and how they did it I am sure involves a lot of time, money and effort. But I am confident the one thing they did not do is maintain a secret agent identity. 

So your first step is to introduce yourself to your neighbors. You hear a lot of talk about knocking on doors. If you do believe that door knocking works, what better area to start than your neighborhood! How about a neighborhood newsletter? Are there neighbors that have garage sales? Do you make it a point to visit them? Are you neighborly? Do you say hello and wave? Do you have a Watson sign on your car so that the neighbors will recognize you as an agent? I bet your neighbors would appreciate a mailing offering a free comparable market analysis that will let them know what their home and the community price points are.

Will you take advantage of this tried and true way of meeting people who may want or need to sell their home? When you drive through your community tonight, will you be thinking of ways to meet your neighbors?

Expired listings, Pre-foreclosures, FSBOs, Open Houses, Just Sold/Listed cards.

And then there are the old stand-bys. Every Realtor from the beginning of time has been instructed to contact expired listings, to call for sale by owners, to hold open houses and to make sure they announce their successful sale or listing by sending out just listed/just sold cards. Today’s market offers one more system you should consider and that is in prospecting for homes in pre-foreclosure.

Expired listings and for sale by owners have one thing in common that make this a no brainer for agents looking for new listings. They want to sell their home! I mean, how convenient for us! So how do you find these people? What do you say to them? How can you increase your chances of getting them to list with you and not the other thousand of REALTORS chasing after them? I am glad you asked. We have a number of scripts and training modules available that you and I can go over together. By practicing, role playing and understanding what other agents do that work; you will increase your success too. So, what are you waiting for? Drop by my office, email me or call to set up a closed door personalized training session.

Open houses don’t work. Ask any agent that does not hold them consistently. Open houses don’t work. Ask any agent that doesn’t knock on the neighbors of the open house doors introducing themselves and inviting them to attend. Open houses don’t work. Ask any agent that does not meet with me to discuss scripts, tips and role play the different scenarios for holding a successful open house. Do open houses work? Of course they do…if you work them. Open houses are not just about finding buyers. They are about finding buyers who have houses to sell. They are about having an easy way to meet the neighbors in case they decide they want to sell their house. Open houses are an easy way to…meet people.

In Summary

Wow, this was a long post!   I am sure when you opened it your eyes glazed over and you had to force yourself to scan or read it. I want to thank you for taking the time to read the entire post and I also want to thank you in advance for pondering the information and taking a suggestion or two and trying it out. For those agents expecting to find a “get listings quick and easy” new invention from reading this, well, I apologize. The fact is the most successful listing agents in this business work, and they work at those things that have always worked.

I want you to be successful. I hope you reach out to me to discuss your plan for getting more listings. We will discuss some of the suggestions in this post.

A strong listing inventory is the cornerstone for success!

During a normal real estate market, listings have always been the cornerstone for success for Realtors. Today’s market is a normal market so we should be concentrating on increasing our listing inventory. The way to obtain listings in a normal market has not changed over the years. Successful listing agents use a variety of methods. In order for any method or system to be successful, consistency is the key and crucial.

In your area listings can be obtained if you consistently;

call expired listings, call sellers in need of short selling; canvassing neighborhoods by foot, mail or phone; direct mail campaigns to absentee owners, just listed cards, just sold cards, offers of free CMA, calling your past customers, calling your COI for referrals, asking the sign or floor call if they have a house to sale, open houses and over the long term – develop farm areas.

You have to be consistent! You have to be consistent! You have to be consistent!

Watson Realty Corp. agents now have a phone app available for their customers!

Watson Realty Corp. agents now have their very own mobile home search apps that can be used by their customers to search for homes in Kissimmee and the Orlando area. The home buyer wants access at their fingertips and our agents now have a tool the customer can use on their phone. Watson Realty agent app

Are you concentrating on the right activities?

This is going to be a very good year for many of us that list and sell real estate in the Orlando and Kissimmee area.  I am excited about the activity I am seeing and hearing about daily!  It is obvious to me that many agents are concentrating on the right activities that will increase their market share and grow their business!  They are to be applauded for keeping focused on doing the right things to succeed over and over.

How about you?  Are you having the kind of success you were expecting?  Perhaps you are a newer agent or maybe a seasoned agent and your business has stalled.  Now is the time to regain focus and ask yourself if you are concentrating on the right activities that will help you succeed!  You have an open invitation to meet with me at your convenience to examine what you have been doing so far and to discuss what you might want to start doing in order to increase your business.

So what are theses “right activities”?  In order to get back on the fast track to success, those activities should include the following.

The first activity you should be working on is in creating a data base of people you know.  After you have your lists complete, you will need to decide how you will be contacting them on a regular basis.  Who will you call? Who will receive a letter?  Who will receive an email?  A postcard?  A text?  A personal visit?

Another of the “first” activities should be making sure you have a follow-up system in place where you can add your new contacts from floor, open houses, and neighborhood visits.  Scraps of paper with numbers and names in your car’s ashtray or scattered across your desk is not a good follow-up system.  It is important early on to invest in a contact management solution or use a system similar to what my office provides out agents.

Spend as much time as you can to learn the systems that will provide fast results.  Short range activities are encouraged.  Training that is geared towards prospecting for listings, sales and outgoing referrals should be considered before learning how to grow a farm area for example.

Meet people, meet people and then when you are not sure what do to do…meet people.  Sitting in the office waiting for people to meet you works only if you are on floor.  Network constantly, knock on doors, and hold open houses, visit builders, visit apartment communities and so on.

For focused dedicated real estate professionals the business is out there.  Area buying and selling customers’ need your skill and expertise to assist them with the often complicated real estate process today’s market involves.

Don’t forget to ask for the outgoing referral!

Every week I ask my agents to turn in at least 1 outgoing referral. Each time I see that an agent has placed one with our Relocation Department, I am happy. The process of locating and sending in an outgoing referral will ultimately make you, the agent, happy too! Just think of how many past customers and dear friends you will get to say hello to and catch up with?

I imagine the conversation starting something like this….

“Hi Mary, this is Sue. How have you been?

(At this point you will probably have a lengthy conversation about life, family, remember when stories, etc)

After 30 minute to an hour of chit-chatting and just before hanging up…you might say something along the lines of…..

“Oh before I forget, the owner of my Company has personally asked me to see if my friends or family know of anyone moving anywhere outside of my market area. Do you know of anyone moving within the next few months?”

BOOM!

There you have it.

A great conversation may end up with a pay check down the road, and your friend or family member helped, which would be another good reason to call them back again!

What are you waiting for? Make those calls!

Real estate agents need to have and use a contact management system.

Why is it that some real estate agents struggle year after year unsure where their next lead is coming from while others seems to have an endless supply of business? There are a variety of reasons of course but none more important that an agent’s ability to prospect and stay in touch with their customer base and center of influence. Don’t be the agent that is always trying to reinvent the wheel before learning how to use the wheel that is already in existence.

“The only way to predict the future is to create it.”

I do not recall who said this but that is exactly what your using a contact management system will help you do with your business. By keeping in regular contact with everyone you know or have come in contact with, you will be creating future business!

My company has provided an easy to use system that is designed to help our agents succeed. We ask that our agents take advantage of it! For those who have not been using the system nor are not sure how to start, we have a tech trainer that provides individual assistance to get them started.

I have ask all floor agents to set up their contact management accounts as soon as possible in order to qualify for floor duty. I feel that strongly about the power of this tool. At our last sales meeting I heard from 3 of our top agents about the power of using the system!

Real estate agents need to have and use a contact management system if they are determined to outlast and outsell the competition.