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November 16, 2018

What do You do to Generate Business?

"Hmm, money-making ideas. I've been wracking my brains for the past 24 hours and I really couldn't come up with anything different from what my buddy Al Napier had to say. -Chris Newell

The Two Big Things

However, one thing I've learned is there are two things that anyone can do to make more money:

1) Follow-up &

2) More Follow-up

As I've heard from someone, "I've not lost business by following up too much, but I've lost plenty by not following up enough." The thing with follow-up is that it has to be offering something of value to the prospect, not self-serving for the REALTOR®."

It's pretty easy to find good ideas for how to generate leads, whether you go for the emotional direct-response style of Craig Proctor, or the Mark McKee stuff, or the Robert Fore stuff (which seems to be Proctor's stuff). Or, you can go the sweat hogs route, or the by referral route. All of these methods have two things in common:

1) They are a SYSTEM

2) Without follow-up, they are nothing but a waste of time.

What Works for Follow-Up?

I have a couple of things that are working well for me, one of which is Dave Beson's 7-year follow-up program of letters. Others here have said that they are kind of hokey letters, and I feel the same, but guess what - who cares what I think if they work! And they work because I have past clients phoning me thanking me for the tips like 'newspapers clean windows really well. Then it is quite easy to turn the conversation around to asking for referrals.

For people who are buying, then a program such as SOAR is critical. But, you still have to follow-up by phone with those people, or you'll lose them to someone else. Someone has to call them once a week, even if it's during the day and you have to leave a message, just to keep your name and voice in their face. Of course, ideally, you won't be sending listings to people for more than one or two goes if they haven't signed a buyer contract with you.

Also critical is a newsletter - not recipes and pet stories, but good market information. I really like the Realty Times email newsletter - I send out 500 or so each month and get a response from each one. My print newsletter offers specific sales data, as well as lots of free report offers, a testimonial, and some blatant plea's for business, see here and click on, "On The House."

For sellers, we are using a follow-up plan that consists of 12 mailings of information and free report offers. If they are 6 months from moving, we send bi-weekly, and if they're 3 months away, we send weekly. FSBO's get the same thing, mailed every 3 days. How do we find these seller prospects? They call in on free report offers, or call into our toll-free information line about one of our listings, or, best yet, they are referrals.

We follow-up with the folks who receive our print newsletter by phone at least once a month, by Voice Broadcast. We call the day after the newsletter goes in the mail, to tell them we just mailed it, give them a few hints on the topics covered, and remind them to check their mailbox for it. No idea how this is going to work as we've just started it, but a voice broadcast of 300 calls costs about $75 Cdn, so it's a good vehicle.

Past-client follow-up is handled by the Beson letters, and phone calls that are scheduled for once every 3 months; we don't worry if we can only find time to call during the day, we still call and leave a message for them saying that we were thinking of them and wonder if they have any friends or neighbors who have talked about moving.

Here's the GEM

Got this from Jim Casey, who is some kind of guru on A2K:

"When you sell someone a house, you enter the details of their house in your contact manager. In Online Agent, it is under the buy/sell tab, and I know the same thing exists in TP, but don't remember what it is called. Then, a prospective buyer contacts you, and you get the criteria of what they're looking for. You enter that under the prospective buyer's contact record, and do a database search for properties of that type.

Remember, every other agent will likely only think to check the MLS - you should check your own private MLS; your past clients. So, you do a search, and you have 5 past clients whose homes match what your new buyer prospect is looking for. Pick up the phone and call those 5 past clients, explain that you have a buyer looking for a beautiful home just like you remember theirs being, and have they been thinking of moving?"

This does a couple of things:
 
  • Every now and then, one of them will say "Yes, we've just been talking about it this past weekend!" So, you can get a listing for your new buyer prospect.
 
  • They aren't thinking of selling, but when they start thinking of it in 6 months, they're going to remember that you remembered their lovely home.

Another Prime Time to Ask for Referrals.

This is one of the best uses for a contact management program like A2K - keeping a record of all the homes you have sold. We even enter all the data on expiries (maybe only 15 a month) into a contact record, so we can call them if we find someone for a house like theirs. Also, enter the records of an FSBO (from the last MLS activity), and you can use that info as part of your own private MLS.

"If there are a lot of expiries in your market, maybe only enter the vendor name, phone number, and the barest of details on the house - you can look-up the whole listing if you ever need to; or, copy & paste the whole listing into the notes section of that contact record." -Chris Newell
 

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