Top 10 (not so serious) suggestions that will increase real estate sales during a slow market.

Top 10 Suggestions to guarantee success in today’s market:

  1. Prior to cold call nights all agents must stand outside searching for the first star to make a wish upon.
  2. Increase the amount of money tossed into a wishing well from a penny to a buck fifty.
  3. Bulk ordering of St. Joseph statues.
  4. Weekly agent meetings where we sit around singing the Sun will come out tomorrow.
  5. Nightly covert trips to competitors’ dumpster looking for leads.
  6. Sheep and lambs to be sacrificed prior to every business meeting.
  7. Instructions should be provided to each agent on how to cross fingers and toes at the same time.
  8. Direct mail to be replaced with direct begging.
  9. Rub top producer’s head prior to floor time for good luck.
  10. All agents to receive a rabbit’s foot.

If none of these tips are help, then try going back to basics.

  • Open Houses (EVERY WEEK)
  • Walking neighborhoods
  • Calling past and present customers and asking for the business
  • Get involved in a local club or organization
  • Attend office training , business meetings AND caravans to learn the inventory
  • Cold calling
  • Warm calling
  • Hot calling
  • Blog
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Maintain a good attitude

This can still be a great market for those who work it. Be positive. This is a people business. Get out and talk to and meet people. It works in any market!

Photo credit byspratmackrel Paul Walker

The best marketing efforts require skill

The best real estate marketing keeps an agent or company name in the minds of customers long before they are even aware they need you. Too often agents marketing consist only of the company paid bulk mail that agent’s confuse as farming. What most consumers know from real estate agent marketing is that we just listed or just sold another home, we are million dollar producers or that we are having an open house.

Marketing efforts rarely touch on the many concerns and interests of the customer and especially the customer who is not even close to being a customer.

The best marketing keeps your image, your brand, your success in the mind of the person you are attempting to reach and at the same time provided a message that the customer can use even want to receive. There is the skill to the best marketing efforts.

It is time to take your real estate career seriously

One of the most common expressions I hear when an agent’s business falls off or fails to start is “I guess I need to go find a real job”.

That attitude is the main reason their real estate career is faltering or never took off to begin with. Forget for a moment that a career is much better to have than a job and if they simply viewed what they are doing as a real estate career, the positive impacts would be noticeable. What I like to remind those agents that say the “get a real job” line to me is if you just treated your real estate career like a job, you would realize success and an income that exceeds any job you might find.

If only you felt obligated to work a set number of hours like a job, taking 10 minutes for a break in the morning and afternoon and an hour for lunch and with the rest of the time you devoted yourself to your job of finding buyers and sellers you would earn an income and reach a level of success that no job would ever offer.

If only you listed to the instruction of your Broker, trainer or coach as you would a boss and then followed through with the instruction you would find that this “job” would be so much easier and profitable.

The facts are that being a successful, professional real estate agent and enjoying your real estate career has nothing to do with working a job and there lies the problem for most. A real estate career takes strong discipline, dedication, a desire to succeed no matter what and a belief in yourself that, come what may, this is your career choice and failure is not an option!

Learning to prospect early on leads to continued success

Realtors who learn how to prospect correctly at the start of their career usually will enjoy success at a level that the majority who enter this business never achieve.

What most agents are never told or never learn on their own is prospecting is not simply holding an open house or sending out a post card. Many agents confuse prospecting with marketing and build their business around their marketing efforts alone.

Prospecting is getting your hands dirty, doing the things that you might not enjoy, want to do or think you should have to do. In most any real estate office you will be able to find an agent in the kitchen or break room who will tell you that picking up the phone, knocking on doors, interviewing local investors, emailing your COI is a complete waste of time. When looking at their sales volume you will be able to determine if what they are dispensing is sound advice or not.

You need to make sure the home is priced right at the start

Proper pricing of a home to sell is critical if you hope to have success as a listing agent. The following is a candid look at why the obligation falls upon you to obtain the reduction.

You should check your active listings at a minimum of every thirty days and identify those that have had a reduction in price. Work with your sellers and give them the dialog and strategies to help them understand why they need a price adjustment. It is your responsibility to help your Sellers understand why they need to reduce their prices. If their homes are not selling, then the market is telling us and them that there are better values elsewhere. That’s the simple truth.

When you are preparing for the listing presentation you need to focus on pricing AT OR BELOW what has actually sold, not what is active. Active prices mean nothing in a market with limited buyers and an over supply of available homes. Your success and/or failure are pretty much determined during the listing presentation itself. Either you are in control of the pricing process and have structured the listing agreement so that the odds of selling are favorable, or the Seller has taken control and dictated to you what the price of the property will be. You need to be prepared to WALK AWAY from overpriced listings where the Seller wants to dictate terms and conditions. 

Sellers who did not listen to you at the listing presentation regarding price, who will not reduce their asking prices nor invest in upgrading their properties to make them show room ready, are the listings I would encourage you to withdraw because they aren’t going to sell. No amount of internet exposure, no amount of bulk mail, no amount of advertisement, no amount of open houses and no amount of wishful thinking is going to sell an overpriced home in today’s market. As the true professionals your continued success regardless of market conditions will be determined by your ability to get the appointment and provide the customer with a sound pricing and marketing strategy that increases their chances of selling of the home.

Presenting the offer to the home seller

You receive a call from your office or another agent letting you know that they have an offer for you on one of your listings. What you do next may help you when presenting the offer to the seller.

You need to present the offer in person to your seller. Either have them meet you at your office or arrange to meet them at the home. Presenting an offer over the phone leaves limited choices for you and your seller. Yes or No. When you present an offer on the phone the seller will rarely hear more than the offering price. If the offered price is less than the asking price, the seller may not hear another word you say.

When presenting face to face you will have a better opportunity to highlight the pros and the cons of the offer. You have a better chance of getting your seller to at the very least counter the offer in writing, keeping the deal alive.

So resist the urge to present offers to your sellers until you are face to face with them. You will find more success by doing so.

Open houses offer many prospecting opportunities

You may wish to take advantage of the additional prospecting opportunities an open house provides.

Many real estate agents are trained, early in their careers, on different ways to maximize their prospecting effort when holding an open house. One suggestion is the 10-10-10 method, which refers to contacting 10 neighbors on each side of the home and 10 neighbors across the street prior to the open house. This is a great way to increase your chances of having visitors at your open house, add to your contact list and possibly pick up a new customer. 

Here is a tip you may wish to us that takes the method one step further. Why not make plans to revisit those 10-10-10 neighbors immediately after your open house with feedback on how the open house went? While your first meeting was centered on asking them to do something for you, attend your open house, the second step is about you doing something for them. The feedback you have from the potential buyers who visited your open house is important to the entire neighborhood and community. What the potential home buyers thought of the price of the home, the community and the neighborhood is valuable information to each and every neighboring homeowner. Your taking the time to update the neighboring homeowners after an open house will be appreciated, presents you as an expert in the neighborhood and may result in future business.

Give it a try.

Ask for the price reduction immediately if the home is not selling

If you have a listing that is not selling and you have already spent more time on the market than the average days on the market for your area indicate, you need to contact your seller immediately about lowering the price.

Why real estate agents wait so long to begin discussions with their sellers about lowering the price is a mystery. At the beginning of the listing an agent should have already discussed the plan B if an offer is not forthcoming, plan B being the price reduction.

Agents who fail to address pricing with their sellers early and often will no doubt be missing out on a sale. Once the listing expires, you can bet that the next Realtor is calling the seller explaining that the market has changed and if the seller really wants to sell, they will need to lower their price.

I will often ask my agents to research the MLS to find out what happen to that unsalable listing they previously held that expired. Often they find that the listing in fact were salable, it just took a lower price that the second or third Realtor was able to obtain to get the job done.

Stop missing out on an opportunity to earn more commissions, LOWER THAT PRICE.

When a seller objects to an open house

Here is a suggestion to objection handling. In this case the seller does not want to have an open house.

Seller: We are not having any more Open Houses; it is non-productive, as was the case on the last one. These people are not pre-qualified; they just want to see what is there or how the place is decorated; it is just like people who go to a used car lot and kick tires for fun. These people would not even tell you their names, sign the book or even talk to you at all.

Agent: I hear you about open houses, and am sorry that you feel this way as selling your home is a numbers game, and we need to get you as much exposure as possible. Of course we have walk ins, ‘nosey Nellies’ who just want to see how you decorate, but also qualified people who see the ad and signs and come by as well. I wish that you would reconsider so that we can let as many people as possible see your lovely home. This will increase the chances of you receiving an offer on your home. I hope that you trust me and my experience in selling homes. My ultimate goal is to help you sell your home as soon as possible and at a good price. But to do that requires that you trust me and work with me to make this happen.

Providing the best customer experience when on floor

How can you increase your productivity while handling floor shifts?

Our goal is to provide our customers with the very best customer experience possible. As floor agents we are often the first impression the customer will have of our real estate firm. A customer that calls or walks in to visit us should rightfully expect to be treated and viewed as the number one priority to us at that moment in time. We would expect no less when seeking professional services for ourselves.

Imagine how we might feel if our lawyer of physician decided to visit with us in the waiting room or at the front desk instead of taking us back to the privacy of their office or examination room where we could discuss our personal situation with them, enjoying the privacy and one on one attention we expect. 

The same holds true for us when a customer walks in on our floor shift. As professionals, we should invite them to join us in one of our conference rooms before qualifying and providing them with listing information. I understand there might be times when you are alone on floor and this simply will not be possible, however when we have staff available to attend to the front desk a floor agent should never be at the front desk with a customer standing/sitting for any length of time.

Orlando & Kissimmee