The impression you make with potential listing clients has always been important - and in this market, it is vital.
When you mail a prospecting letter it may be the only impression your prospect has of you before making a decision. So...Your letters need to convey the message that you are the top agent in your niche and you will make things happen for them.
One way to show them how you can market their homes well is by proving your marketing expertise via marketing yourself well. Think about that for a minute.
Why should a seller trust you to market his or her house if all you can do for yourself is send an "I'm here, hire me" letter?
The letter you send is worth your time and attention. Probably more time and attention than you expect. But it's worth it to write a good, concise letter that shows your prospects exactly what benefits they'll enjoy when they list with you.
The first step, as in ANY business letter, is to focus on your reader. If you're tempted to begin that first sentence with an "I" or a "we" then immediately put down your pen or take your hands from the keyboard and slap them silly!
Once you have your focus straight, you can go on...
One important detail is to switch to gender-neutral pronouns, so that you don't offend anyone by assuming your reader is male or female. Today with so many names that could be either, guessing is not a good idea. People don't think "Oh, they just didn't know." They think "This person has no idea who I am." And then they toss the letter. I speak from experience on that one, because my name is often mistaken for a man's name, and I have a son named Chris - who gets letters addressed to Ms. So avoid saying something like "An informed woman like you knows..." And of course, don't address a letter to Mr., Mrs. or Ms unless you know you're correct.
Next, tighten your message. Use your software's "find" function to ferret out all words you tend to over-use - such as there or just. Most of the time you can delete them with no change in your meaning. So do it.Then re-read and take out any sentences or phrases that are redundant. And for heaven's sake - don't ramble!
As you write, do away with generalities and get specific. If you're a top agent, show them why. If you're a new agent, show them why your attention and enthusiasm will get the job done. Instead of "I sold more homes in October than any other agent," say "During the month of October I closed transactions on 6 homes, while the average number of closings for agents in our MLS was 2.5."
You can do that to emphasize any part of your service. For instance, you can tell them how many photos of their home you'll put on your website or how many various websites will show their ads. These desperate sellers are looking for some concrete indication that you can pull off the miracle that their last agent (or 4 agents) could not. Generalities won't convey that message.
Avoid industry jargon - especially the "designation alphabet." Clients don't know or care about GRI or ABR or any of the others. If you want to mention your designations, talk about why you took the trouble to get them and what that extra education means to them.
Now... you've written a message that conveys why you're the agent to choose. You've tightened it up by getting rid of overused words, The next step is to proofread in search of typos, misspellings, misused words, and sentences that don't flow.
If you can, get a new set of eyes to read your letter. If that won't work, read it aloud to yourself. Then read it backwards. This is important, because when you "know" what a sentence says it's easy to miss errors such as missing or doubled words - or missing letters. (There's a big difference in meaning between know and now.)
Watch for incomplete changes...
Be on the lookout for places where you made incomplete changes. It's easy to delete most, but not all, of a sentence - and end up with a word combination that makes no sense at all.For instance, had I been changing the previous sentence and "missed something" it could read "- and end wind up with a word... "
And check for misused words...
Misused words can also trip you up. Even when you know that you intended to say meet - not meat - sometimes your mind wanders while your fingers are working. And errors like that tell your prospects that you don't pay attention to details. Be sure to watch for errors in usage of words like there, their, and they're; here and hear; your and you're; and our and are.
If you aren't sure which to use (and many brilliant sales people do not), look it up or ask someone who loves words.This is one of those times when not knowing that you don't know can come back and bite you.
Read aloud to check the flow...
Next, check the flow. Flow is important if you want your prospect to read and understand your whole message. Any spot that makes him or her stumble can send your letter to the round file. So read it, and read it again. Read it aloud and read it to someone. If there's a "stumbling spot," re-write it.
Since you know what you mean, your message may make sense to you even if it doesn't make sense to anyone else - so do try to get another person or two to read the letter. Ask them to tell you if anything is unclear. Then watch their faces as they read - if you see a frown or a puzzled look, find out what caused it. Then correct it.
Include a call to action in your letter. Ask for a phone call, an e-mail, or a visit to your website to get a complimentary report. And make it easy for your prospect to take that action. Rather than expecting readers to search for your phone number, say "Call me at 123-4567 today." Direct them to your website or email in a similar fashion.
Finally, once they respond and you have that phone number or email address, follow-up regularly. These folks may have been with an agent who ignored them during the listing period, so show them that you won't ignore them!
You most definitely can prosper in a down market - but it does require more effort!
I love helping Real estate professionals prosper, and guess I also love nagging them about it just a little bit. If you'd benefit from a little nagging, just subscribe to this blog!