Selling homes is not easy. Keeping on top of the never-ending stream of telephone calls and emails, sorting out legal issues with sales, working late into the evening while remaining enthusiastic and convincing people to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars is challenging.
Let’s take a look at how you can look to increase the number of leads and sales you receive and record each year, and also how you might be able to streamline your workflow a little better - reducing stress and increasing efficiency.
Get more leads with better photography
If you work for a large real estate organization, you may well have someone who takes all the photographs and uploads them to the likes of zillow.com for you. For agents who run their own agency however, photography can be a painstaking, sometimes annoying, yet crucial part of the job. But look into the art and science behind great photography and you may soon begin to fall in love with it as your skills improve. Read this piece to find out a little more about the science of photography and doorways: https://www.schneiderhomeequipment.com/entry-doors-cincinnati
A great property listing starts with great photography. Most people will only read property descriptions and click for more information if they like the look of the photos that accompany a listing. Ensuring you have a good enough camera is obviously a good starting point, however modern cell phones are so powerful that they can often do a good job.
Some other tips include:
Investing in a tripod (even if you are taking photos with a cell phone)
Choose a sunny day for photography if possible to make the most of natural light
Take exterior photos at dusk AKA ‘magic hour’
Completely declutter the rooms and remove personal items like pictures
Declutter children’s bedrooms but leave 2 or 3 toys visible
Rearrange furniture to create as much space as possible in each room
Be consistent - try and keep style and orientation the same across all photos
Add subtle decor with flowers and fruit bowls in rooms like the kitchen
Edit images but only depth, sharpness and lighting
Although it can help to be an expert with software such as Photoshop, you would normally only want to edit the lighting and sharpness of photos, which is normally quite a simple thing to do. This can be done with several free online tools such as befunky.com’s photo editor that allows you to edit the exposure and sharpness.
2. Create an in-depth description of the property
Descriptions can often seem like a waste of time - will anyone actually read each description that you add to a listing? People might filter houses by price, location and then with a subjective scan over the photographs; but once they narrow down the houses that they are interested in, they will almost always go on to read the description.
What’s more, Google will ‘read’ your description too. When Google crawls the internet, it looks at dozens of factors to decide where a given page will be listed and at what position it can be found on its results pages. The length, detail and quality of the copy on a webpage is thought to be a significant factor in Google’s algorithm.
If time allows, it may be worth adding a detailed description of each room of the property. In addition to this, make the copy scannable and easy to digest with a bullet-pointed summary of the property and a subheading for each section of the home.
There is one time-limiting issue that may throw a spanner in the works when it comes to writing long, descriptive copy, you should have a unique description for each website the property is listed on. This can be a nightmare if you list the property on your own website as well as other real estate websites.
If you are self-employed it might be worth considering hiring a freelance copywriter for this task - briefed with the photography and key selling points of the listing.
3. Optimize your website for Google and for users
If you have your own real estate website, how will potential buyers find you? You use social media and paid Google adverts to send people to your website, but ideally, you should have a foundation of steady ‘free’ traffic from Google and Bing.
There are dozens of factors that Google use in their algorithm but some of the most important ones include:
The speed of a site - how quickly it loads
If a website works well on all devices including cell phones
If the website uses a secure server (https rather than http)
The number of other websites which link to it
The number of brand mentions on the internet
The quality of content on a website - typically on the blog
Addressing the factors which contribute to your site’s rankings on search engines is often called Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short.
Using the WordPress platform, from a hosting provider such as GoDaddy or Bluehost, is a good starting point for creating your own website. The Yoast SEO plugin is the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress and simplifies a lot of the technical SEO that resides within the website’s code.
Content refers to articles, graphics, data visualizations and tutorials that might be found on a website. The ideal way to generate links back to your website (another important ranking factor) is to create great content that generates links naturally.
You can use a tool such as Buzzsumo to see which articles in a given niche have been shared the most on social media. This might give you an idea of what to write about.
Again all of this is very time consuming; this is why so many real estate companies hire SEO agencies. One thing you should certainly do is register your business with ‘ Google My Business ’. This is a free tool and means you should appear on Google Maps and local searches.
4. Don’t miss any inquiries!
Marketing and generating leads can be very time consuming and very costly. As mentioned previously, many real estate companies will hire SEO agencies as they don’t have the time and/or manpower to invest hours into creating an online presence.
So it may be surprising that recent data from Moneypenny.com has shown that one in three calls to businesses are missed. What’s more, the majority of people who call won’t leave a voicemail message either.
Emails and contact form inquiries can be reviewed and responded to at a later time but when a call inquiry is missed, many potential clients will go on to contact a direct competitor. Calls also remain the gold-standard of inquiries, with people who take the time and effort to call in often ready to sign up to a company’s service.
In order to overcome this issue, many businesses are now beginning to invest in a call answering service as a cost-effective alternative to a full time receptionist.
5. Interpersonal skills are everything
Your ability to build a rapport with clients/sellers as well as potential buyers is one of the main differentiators between successful and unsuccessful real estate agents. No matter how many leads you generate online, you will find it difficult to close a sale if the potential buyer does not like or trust you.
The theories behind building communication and interpersonal skills are quite complex. However, some quick ways of improving your skills may include:
Smiling more and looking pleased to see people
Using open body language, for example, don’t cross your arms
Asking open questions and listening to responses
Making eye contact and not wearing sunglasses
You should also ask potential buyers about their preferred contact method after an inquiry. Some people prefer emails while others prefer calls.
People also tend to gravitate to and prefer to be around people with similar communication styles and body language. If someone does not make eye contact very much, try not to stare them down. If they smile a lot and put one hand on their hip when they talk, try to subtly mimic this. You should also consider the speed and pace that the individual speaks at and, to a certain extent, copy this too.
Selling a property in 2020 involves a range of skills including patience and perseverance
Buying a home is a huge investment - usually the biggest investment a person will make in their lifetime. The process can be long and there are several potential pitfalls along the way for both the buyer and the seller.
Staying well organized and enthusiastic is the foundation of a good real estate agent. Obviously being knowledgeable about the local industry is key too.
What skills do you think are important when selling real estate? Is there a difference between those who are self-employed vs. those real estate agents who are employed? Please comment below with your thoughts.