When you’re selling real estate (or providing any other service), you naturally want to do a little better each year. After all, your living expenses do rise each year.
Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn’t happen. Sometimes you get stuck.
Your income might not go down, but it doesn’t go up, either. You’re in a rut, and that rut seems to get deeper and harder to climb out of. You're like a hamster running on a wheel, never going anywhere.
Whether you’re a seasoned agent who has gotten stuck, or a new agent wondering how to build a business, the solution is to take one step toward your goal every day.
Everywhere you turn there is a little more advice on how to super-charge your career, but when you think about trying to take some of that advice, it can seem overwhelming. After all, there are only so many hours in a day.
Start at the beginning …
First, look at what you’ve done in the past to create more business.
Have you stopped doing any of those things that worked? Perhaps you should revisit them.
If you’re still doing them, but they’re not working as well as they used to, maybe you could add a twist. If you’ve been prospecting by mail, perhaps you should switch from postcards to letters – or from letters to postcards. If you’ve been emailing, perhaps you should do it on a different day of the week – or add something new and fresh to your emails. Maybe you should experiment with different subject lines.
If you’re prospecting to a niche market, maybe you should think about whether you’ve saturated that market for the moment. It might be time to expand your territory or add another niche.
Maybe it’s time to add something new.
If you haven’t been prospecting, start there – with one step at a time.
Take one day to choose a territory or a niche. The next day, get the addresses. On day 3, transfer that information to your contact management program. On day 4, upload your letters and set up your system to personalize and print them. The next day, begin mailing. If funds are low, start with a small list and build it as the closings come in.
I'm assuming that you're already sending "just listed," "under contract," and "Just sold" cards. If I'm wrong about that - now is the time to begin.
When prospecting by postal mail, experiment with ways to get your message opened. (Then keep track of the results.) Some agents use bright colored envelopes. Some hand-write all of their envelopes. Some eliminate the return address. Some use company letterhead for both the envelope and the message. Some write a “teaser” on the envelope.
Something I used to do when I had a real estate agency was use greeting card sized envelopes, with the message folded to fit. When I opened my own real estate agency, the first mailing that went out was a greeting card we printed at the office. The front read “What’s the Difference?” Inside we explained that Cliff Realty was the difference – and why. “The Difference” became our tag line.
When some other business in town billed themselves as “the difference” one of our customers came to the office in an outrage – the nerve of anyone to steal our line!
Since email costs almost nothing to send, add a capture box to your website and begin collecting names. Set an auto responder to respond immediately and again at pre-set intervals. Be sure to use a different capture box for buyers and for sellers, then set the system to add them to separate mailing lists. Persuade your visitors to sign up by offering good information in exchange for their name and email address.
Use some action words in that invitation. Phrases like “get your free report," "claim your free report," or "discover six ways to…” are more effective than “sign up here.” You can also add the word “now” or “today” to create a feeling of urgency.
Again, instead of becoming overwhelmed and putting the whole project on hold until you have a whole day to devote to it, break it down and do one step each day.
Be sure you DO follow up after capturing those addresses!
If you don’t have the time or desire to write your own letters, use one or more of the 40+ letter sets I offer at Copy by Marte.
If you haven’t been doing videos or using social networks for marketing, it might be time to start.
If you’re anything like me, the idea is terrifying, but… it might be time to face the fear and do it anyway.
But how? It looks overwhelming. There is SO much to learn.
By taking baby steps. Choose what you’re going to do, then take just one small step toward it each day. Many Active Rain bloggers are experts in one or both of these subjects and they generously share their knowledge in posts. The Active Rain University has more good advice.
So go – read – and take one step toward the goal each day, even if it’s a small one. (Reading and digesting one article each day would be a good start.)
To draw more visitors to your website, so they can opt in to hear from you, write a comprehensive community page, or have one written for you. Here are examples of pages I’ve written.
These pages will draw visitors that Zillow, Realtor.com, etc. won’t draw, simply because they don’t offer that information. (Do be sure to include keywords that will help visitors find you.)
Then start blogging, or increase your blogging efforts.
Add even more value to the community information by blogging about life in the community. Share news about good restaurants, art galleries, museums, wine tasting venues, health clubs, your favorite veterinarian or dog groomer, neighborhood festivals, non-profit benefits, dog parks, concerts, movie theaters, golf courses, swimming pools, tennis courts, and ??
In other words, blog about anything and everything that might interest someone who is thinking about moving into the community.
Again, be sure to use keywords that will help those potential clients find you.
Don’t stop there…
If you have a specific niche, write blog posts that reveal your expertise. For instance, if you sell waterfront homes, you could write about the regulations for building on the waterfront. If you sell historic homes write about how to preserve their unique features or how the National Historic Register might affect those home buyers. If you serve first time buyers, write about financing programs, seminars, etc.
Whatever your niche, there are things you know that your prospects want or need to know.
What if it takes you a week to write that blog post? That’s fine. As long as you’re working on it steadily, you’re moving forward.
If you haven’t been getting out and making yours a familiar face among the people you want to serve, start.
Become a regular at the neighborhood coffee shop, and chat with the staff and others there. Stop by the yard sales in your target neighborhood. Volunteer with a group that serves your niche. Join the adult booster club for your neighborhood’s schools - and go cheer your teams on to victory.
If you can find time and there’s a group whose activities interest you, join a club centered on that activity. (Reviewing books, gardening, sewing, dog training, trail riding, wine tasting, cooking, or ??)
When I wrote this post about defending your territory, Mary Jo Quay offered a beautiful suggestion. Get a puppy and go walking in your target neighborhood. (An older dog will work too, as long as he or she is tail-wagging friendly.) Most people can’t resist a puppy or a dog who wants to be friends, so they’ll stop to chat. Her second suggestion: Let the dog wear a coat that says something like “I know every tree in this neighborhood. I’m an expert. My Mom (or Dad) sells homes.”
Self-promotion – it’s not evil. It’s necessary.
As you might know, I like quotes and try to find appropriate ones to include in my weekly newsletters. While looking for quotes on self-promotion, I found dozens saying that self-promotion is evil.
I think that’s nonsense. Of course it’s obnoxious for someone to loudly proclaim their expertise and superiority. But that’s not really self-promotion. That’s just misguided ego-stroking.
Real self-promotion comes through showing your expertise, not talking about it. It comes through giving real value to your clients, whether in written words, spoken words, or deeds.
If you plan to succeed in real estate, you can’t afford not to promote yourself. No one is going to come looking for you if you’re hiding!
The most important thing: Choose an activity and take one step forward each day.
Even if you can only spend 20 minutes on it, you’ll make progress. In six days, you’ll be two hours closer to your goal.
Man on wheel Image courtesy of cuteimage at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Cartoon dog Image courtesy of debspoons at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Mailboxes Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Steps to success Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net