The word across the country is that there are too few listings. Buyers are once again getting into bidding wars, and prices are rising as a result.
What does that mean for you?
It means that listing agents who do a good job will have closings. Buyer agents will have to work harder and longer.
How do you win real estate listings in this market?
According to The Close, 75% of home sellers list their home with the first agent they interview. That’s obviously not the best way to choose a listing agent. But – as a good friend of mine is fond of saying, “It is what it is.”
What it means for you is if you want to win real estate listings more often, you need to be first more often.
The first wise move is to pay attention to your past clients and those in your sphere.
These are the people who will not only give you repeat business, but will refer others to you. Those others may well call you first, because they have it on good authority that you’re a fantastic agent.
Your friends and past clients won’t appreciate it if you bombard them with marketing messages, so instead send interesting information and what I refer to as “fun stuff.”
Information could include market reports, your newsletter, just listed/just sold cards, and news about new developments, businesses opening or closing, new restaurants, fundraising events, etc.
Fun stuff includes things like my Event-themed keeping in touch letters, quotes, carefully chosen jokes, or even recipes if you’re known to be a cook.
Personal notes, emails, and phone calls are also a good idea, if you’re merely keeping in touch and being interested in them, rather than pushing for business. Birthday cards are good – and if you see an article you know would interest someone, take the time to send it.
Back when I had a real estate agency I invested in a small laminating machine. When we saw good news in the local newspaper about one of our clients, past clients, friends, or their children, we’d cut it out, add a colored paper backing, and laminate it. Then we’d mail it to them with a nice note. People loved it.
Part two is prospecting.
Last week’s post was all about building up your website to pull in visitors and capture leads.
Now add active prospecting. Choose your area or your niche, put together a list of prospects, then put yourself in front of them on a regular basis.
Be careful what you say when you reach out. Remember that other agents may also be writing to the same prospects, so don’t say what they say!
What do other agents say? I can’t speak for all of them, but the letters that arrive at my house say something along the lines of “I know everything about every area in the county (or 5 counties). I’m wonderful and I want to list your house.” UGH.
Ask a couple of friends to save the prospecting letters they receive so you can read them. In many cases, you’ll learn what not to do.
Write reader-focused letters that demonstrate your understanding that they may or may not be interested in selling. But just in case they are, you’d love to show them the current value of their homes. Send information that homeowners need to know if they plan to sell and let them know they can call you with questions. Offer to send them your monthly market reports, even if they don’t want to sell right now.
In other words, focus on them and their concerns, not you and your desire for more listings. Work at saying “you” 3 or 4 times more often than you say “I” or “we.”
If you don’t want to write your own letters… I have plenty for you to choose from.
You’ll find a wide variety at https://copybymarte.com/prospecting-letters/.
Right now, many of my customers are using some or all of the COVID-19 letters – either alone or mixed with their niche prospecting letters. Since COVID has impacted all of our lives, it seems a little silly to try to ignore it. At the very least, potential listing clients need assurance that you’ll take precautions when entering their homes.
Whether you use my letters or write your own, make sure your signature includes a link to your own website. In fact, if you’ve made the effort to make your website a valuable resource, add an invitational paragraph either in the body of the letter or in a P.S. Let those people know that you have more good information for them.
Your business cards and all of your other marketing materials should similarly promote your website.
Part three is following up immediately with Internet leads.
I don’t mean the ones you buy. I mean the ones who opt in on your website. Set your autoresponder to respond immediately, then follow up with a phone call or personal email as soon as possible. Once you’ve made contact, stay in touch, so they realize YOU are the agent who will serve them best.
Part four is building your reputation, one client at a time.
Long-time agents who have built solid reputations win real estate listings easily, because the vast majority of their leads come as referrals.
These are the agents who have shown that they put customer service and protection first, regardless of the outcome. They love what they do and love being able to help others make their real estate dreams come true.
If you want to win real estate listings through referrals – do a spectacular job with each listing.
You may have noticed that at the beginning of this post I said “…listing agents who do a good job will have closings.”
The good job part is important, because even in a sizzling hot market, listing agents have to make an effort.
It starts with marketing. As you know, buyers are searching on line. Good photos pull them in while bad photos cause them to skip right over a listing. To a lesser extent, the same is true for agent remarks. Even now, it pays to do the best possible job with both photos and comments.
Follow-up is imperative.
The job you do with follow-up is next. In this market it is easy to find a buyer, and not overly difficult to come to terms and have a signed around agreement. What has always been difficult is getting from agreement to closing.
One agent I knew compiled a list of more than 150 different things that can happen to prevent a closing.
Some you cannot control. For instance, once many years ago I had two transactions fall apart mere days before closing because the buyers decided to buy a divorce instead of a house. You also can’t do anything about it if someone becomes ill or passes away.
Most of the rest can be handled as long as you’re on top of things and can take fast action when problems rear their ugly heads. You CAN chase down a missing signature, make sure paperwork is signed and delivered on time, and soothe ruffled feathers when someone is upset enough to bow out.
In my years as an agent and then as a broker, I listened to endless complaints from agents who could never seem to get their transactions to closing. Why? Because they left all the work to other people who simply weren’t interested enough to solve the problems. If you want success, you have to be ready to solve any problem that comes along.
Finally, if you want to win real estate listings through referrals, you must make the clients glad they chose you.
Part of that is doing the things I just mentioned. Another huge part is paying attention to them, returning their calls, emails, and texts promptly, and keeping them informed. When they feel like they’re important to you, you’ll become important to them. They’ll want to refer to you because they like you.
These practices will serve you well now and into the future. No matter what kind of market you’re in, doing the best possible job will assure your success.
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