Archive for March, 2010

Tom Caraccio

Just for the Record…The Real Estate Marketing Blueprint!

It’s time to set the record straight! Just this week gone by I was chatting with a client about marketing, and how a successful campaign has several steps that must be followed for success. These steps are lead generate, lead qualify, lead follow up and lead conversion. This is the basic structure of what a marketing system for real estate agents should have at a minimum.

Once I finished drawing this out for them and really giving them the winning formula to be successful in real estate sales, (In fact, thinking about it now this advice could be worth thousands dollars to the right agent), this particular agent responded with, “Wow there’s a lot of steps involved. Wouldn’t it be easier to just advertise for the people who are ready to sell right now?”

And the short answer is, yes. But in this imperfect world we live in, it doesn’t work to advertise for people who want to sell their home now. Real estate marketing just doesn’t work that way.

Real-Estate-Marketing-Blueprint

You see real estate sales success requires a human factor and that factor is a level of trust that prospective vendors feel about the agent they choose. So the chance of you being chosen to sell someone’s home from an advertisement saying, “We are the best” is very slim and some professionals would say as slim as 0.1%.

And that is pretty poor results. In some demographic areas that wouldn’t even amount to one sale, so it would be fair to say that that particular strategy doesn’t work.
So how do we boost our marketing? How do we guarantee that our marketing will pull motivated, qualified prospects that will eventually convert into clients?

It’s a simple strategy but one still not understood by many agents. If you took this strategy and got a little creative with it, it will bring you, like it brings my clients, unchallenged, results month in month out.

First you create advertising and marketing pieces that attract prospects to you; it’s all in the headline and the offer here. The headline needs to stop them and get their attention, and then the offer needs to evoke curiosity with some fear attached, so mentally and emotionally your ad or marketing will get people of their butts to take some action.  The offer should be constructed with the prospect in mind. What would they like to know about selling their home?

Why do we do this?

This way every lead that comes to the agent has already qualified themselves by requesting information about selling a home. “Wowing” the potential customer works well here. My clients also use Reports, CD’s, Books and DVD’s that have been carefully created by us, to deliver their information and this adds a level of “wow” and “authority” to their relationship they have with their prospects.

Next step is to qualify the prospects that respond to your marketing by placing a phone call to them, asking why they requested the information. They will give you feedback as to whether they just wanted the information for education or whether they have been thinking of moving. This step when done correctly will give you other valuable information such as time frames and reasons. This helps the agent determine motivation and sets the time frame for the next step, which is…

Leads follow up and this is done until the prospect dies or buys. As you can see this step varies in time from prospect to prospect. So try to keep this step as easy as possible and mix it up with personal contact, emails, newsletter and any other ways that trust can be built to a rock solid level.

During your follow ups you should be engaging the prospect with offers of useful information that they may want if they were moving into decision making mode about selling. For example you could offer a property report which helps them estimate a sale price by comparisons (CMA) and they can order this from the agent.  By the prospect requesting the information it would show the agent that they may be getting ready to make a decision and the agent can call them for a chat to convert the prospect.

So there you have it, a million dollar blue print to reliably get in front of motivated, qualified, sellers month in month out.  It’s up to you the value you put on this information, it’s either worth nothing to you or worth everything to you. Some of you reading this immediately identify why your marketing hasn’t been working up until now. Were you trying to get clients from your marketing, were you asking for business in your ads? Or were you trying to develop a long term relationship with potential vendors?

Steve Koerber

The Best Ever Open Home Callback Question

People who visit your open homes come for a variety of different reasons.

If you analyse what percentage of visitors are genuinely interested in the homes you open, you might be surprised.  If the percentage is not 0%, the chances are the highest you’ll ever get is around 2%.

When average salespeople do their open home callbacks they ask questions like this:  “What did you think of the home?  How much would you pay for it?  Help me give feedback to my sellers!”  It’s all gimme, gimme, gimme.

The problem with this approach is that it actually has the potential to annoy 98% of the people you call.  Asking questions that people might struggle to answer can be a real turn off.

Luckily there is a better way to approach these calls.  Change your thinking and realise that the best approach is not to ask for something, but to offer to help.  You need to give first, then you will receive.  The giving bit comes first!

Try this approach with every callback:

Hello Mrs Smith, it’s Julie from xyz realty.  I wanted to thank you for visiting 39 Smith St on Saturday and I was wondering if I might be able to help you find a home.

That’s it, there’s no need to ask or say anything else!  All will soon be revealed.

Your customer will immediately realise that you don’t want anything from them.  Subconsciously they will instantly have a higher level of respect for you.  They’ll appreciate your offer to help, especially if they are a serious buyer.  If they’re not a serious buyer and they were just checking you out as a potential listing agent, they’ll probably tell you that as well.  If they were a nosey neighbour they’ll probably fess up to that too.  And if they are interested in the home (remember only a maximum of 2% usually will be) they will steer the conversation back to the home  – what a great way to qualify them!!

Turn potentially intrusive sales calls into positive experiences for you and your customers.  A simple offer to help will open up so many opportunities for you.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you.

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Keith Barrot

Prospecting for Lifetime Real Estate Success

Success in selling real estate and a regular income depends on effective prospecting. (The first in a series.)

We have all experienced the up and down nature of our business where as a result of some of our marketing activity the listings come and then we are flat out handling the sales. When these circumstances occur we find that suddenly all our efforts need to lurch back into finding new listings to ensure continuity of income.

For the true Real Estate Sales Professional this situation is not a problem as they have mastered the techniques, disciplines and attitude to understand they need to operate like a business. They don’t rely on hope and luck for sales.

“I hope the phone will ring and if I am lucky I will get the listing”. This is no way to ensure a reliable income for you and your family.

If we take the example of a large business like Wesfarmers, who, when considering opening a new Bunnings warehouse worth many millions of dollars, don’t just decide on a location without spending money on a study of the areas demographics to see if the store will make a profit.

The approach in real estate is the same; you need to think like a business towards your prospecting.  You need to decide where and how you are going to operate to generate the profits you need to be the success you want to be. How effective you prospect will be in direct proportion to your prosperity and your long term viability in the business.

With regard to your prospecting I feel a good test is for you to be able to answer these three questions comprehensively.

1. Where do you operate?

2. Why do you operate there?

3. How do you operate there?

These questions need to be able to be answered if you are to have a long term career in the industry as it is only with an understanding of the importance of good effective prospecting will you build your career and guarantee your future.

In the next post I will cover what you need to consider in deciding where you will operate. In the meantime reflect on how you would answer these questions with regard to your business.

“We don’t have to be smarter than the rest. We have to be more disciplined than the rest” ~ Warren Buffett.

I can be contacted through my web site www.sales-selling.com.

Kent Lardner

Map Based Prospecting

Lower affordability is not the only problem created by our housing shortage. Many agents tell me finding listings is becoming increasingly harder, creating a stronger emphasis on skilled prospecting.

The challenges of prospecting for listings have much in common with prospecting for gold. I found an article on this subject written by Les Lowe in 2009, which highlights the benefits of being flexible, using maps and technology and pursuing every target.

“It should be remembered that almost all of today’s major gold mines originated as a result of a prospector’s discovery. Prospectors are flexible… and are open-minded. They’ve led where mining companies have followed”.

When working a specific suburb or geographical region you can use demographic trends, ownership data and freely available information on the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) website to enhance your prospecting efforts.

In terms of being flexible, you may find the way you prospect for listings varies between each market segment. The classic fridge magnet may continue to generate some leads, but trying new techniques could yield better results.

“Geological maps and the writings of past gold explorers are two valuable sources of information on where to find gold”.

Ownership reports at a suburb level are generally too large to manage and street level reports too small. Using mapping technology to define a region in terms of demographics or years since purchased can be valuable.

The ABS offers 2006 Census information on maps for free. MapStats – A series of thematic maps showing the distribution of Census data for a chosen location can help an agent analyse a market in terms of average age, income, occupation or one of near 30 data variable options.

Steps:

  • Go to www.abs.gov.au and follow the links to MapStats
  • Select the location (suburb) you wish to review
  • Select the topic (for example age)
  • View MapStats by Census Collection District (click here to view sample)

The MAP tab is also a great tool. Go to 2006 Census Data by Location and select the map tab, then select Census Collection District. Each CCD is numbered, allowing you to label each prospecting zone.

Example:

map-search-1

“Today’s prospectors also have many advantages over his predecessors …. advanced technologythe internet and government departments”.

Australian agents do have it pretty good when it comes to creating prospect reports. In the US, a list of 1200 prospects would sell for more than $100 (example). Subscribers to data products (like PriceFinder) can generate effectively the same report combing ABS information with our ownership reports, without spending anything more than your subscription fee.

Creating an ownership report at a suburb level is generally too large. Breaking the market down into smaller districts like a Census Collection District (CCD) helps. For the 2006 Census, there is an average of about 225 dwellings in each CCD.

Example:

map-search-2

Searching using the CCD number 1241208 then presents all of the relevant census data for the location.

map-search-3

Here we can see that 18% of the area are aged 65 or over, which is our target market segment for this example.

Ownership reports can be created that follow the CCD boundary, or any other zone specific by you.

map-search-4

Within this CCD I can then locate nearly 40 owners who have purchased before the year 2000 using the Owner Report (address, DoNotCall washed phone number and names) for a targeted campaign. Creating this map and report took all of 20 seconds using PriceFinder, allowing me to build a list of up to 1000 well profiled prospects in my market within 1 or 2 hours. Once you export the Excel version of the report you may even save it with the CCD number for future reference in your Customer Relationship Management Database (CRM).

“When using a metal detector, always dig every target. What sounds like a tin can has often been a decent nugget.”

Keep building on your CRM database and your brand through this work. Maybe none of those 40 owners we target today may list this year, but you can establish strong long-term relationships and referrals through these prospecting efforts.

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Jason Rose

Stay On Target… Stay On Target…Rocket Propelled Property Management Growth

Sorry to use a line out of the movie Star Wars, but this line when Luke Skywalker & the Rebellion are trying to destroy the Death Star is so true.

One of the most important things to have if you want to grow your rent roll is to have a target.

Firstly, a yearly target based on financial year and,

Secondly, this yearly target broken down into a monthly target based on historical data, ie you will not have a consistent number of new managements month after month. There will be certain times of the year that will naturally bring on more managements.

At Rental Express, we are a growth company and we do not want to be a company just in maintenance mode.

When we mention our goals for new managements to come on in the 2009-2010 financial year, most property management departments are blown away.

The goal for the financial year 2009-2010 for Rental Express is 1000 new managements. Yes that is right ONE THOUSAND new managements.

The only way that any business can have consistent growth, is to have a ‘ Stay on Target’ focus & a strategy to achieve this goal.

At Rental Express, we are not afraid to put our goals out into the public forum, after all it makes us even more accountable.

We are not afraid to share our ideas and mix with some of the top businesses in the Property Management industry (early in 2009 Rental Express & 12 other property management business from throughout Australia & New Zealand came together to compare businesses & compare notes.  There were a total of 17,000 properties under management between all the businesses represented)

This is one of the reasons that Grow Your Rent Roll was put together. We constantly get asked what we do & how do we do it.

Every month from this post on, we will update you with how many new managements we have added to out rent roll. This is no to boast, but to let you know what is possible, and not be afraid to have big goals.

From 1st July 2009 to 31st December 2009, Rental Express has already bought on 496 new properties under management. We are over the moon with this figure, because historically we have a stronger 2nd half of the financial year. We are well on target to achieve our goal of 1000 new managements for the financial year.

If you would like to learn the inside secrets on how Rental Express has been able to build these numbers of new Managements, please check out this link Grow Your Rent Roll – Order Form

Don’t be afraid to ask any questions, because we are happy to answer them.

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