Bull in a China Shoppe                      Remember Annette Bening’s portrayal of a real estate agent in American Beauty (1999)?  Bening’s over-the-top, Type A character Carolyn Burnham is mesmerized by the Real Estate King – Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher) and goes near berserk cleaning a home she is determined to sell.  Seemingly unbreakable in her quest to achieve Kane-level success, Burnham repeatedly chants “I-Will-Sell-This-House-Today.”  Later, we see a broken Burnham who is both unable to sell the home, and ashamed of her own loss of composure.  As entertaining as she was in this role, it was frighteningly true.

What is it that causes real estate salespeople to get locked in a frenzy of determination and fear?

Is it not knowing from where your next commission check will come?  When opportunity knocks do you open the door with a smile or are you searching frantically for your keys, juggling paperwork and on your cell when that moment arrives?  If you are spending more time balancing your daily activities, putting out fires or worrying about paying your bills than you are focused on accommodating your clients, you may be guilty of these…


YOU’RE NOT FEEDING YOUR PIPELINE.  Jim Droz, the former #1 Agent in the World with Century 21 once said, “Many real estate agents are like a bull in a china shop – chasing down business and not ever knowing from where their next commission check will come.  Real estate is simple.  In order to get more business, you need more customers.”  In other words it’s somewhat of a numbers game, but with a plan..   If every 100 customers you have in your database results in one closing then how many contacts would you need to close 10 transactions? Every year a real estate agent sets out to double their production over the last year and yet they don’t realize how that translates into feeding their pipeline with a specific number of prospects.  Are you daily tasks focused on that number?

YOUR DAILY ACTIVITIES ARE NOT INCOME PRODUCING.  Every day you wake up and schedule activities to help you achieve a profitable business.  When you plan it out the night before, is it to bring you a specific volume of new business? Often if you aren’t feeding your pipeline, you are only feeding your ego.  Direct mail, magazine ads and shopping cart ads, for example, produce little to no return for the majority of agents.  So ask yourself what is your goal with this postcard? Do you have a listing to promote?  A success to announce? Are you hoping to reach absentee owners? Benchmark your goals with everything you do and go back every quarter and adjust what isn’t working.

YOUR BUSINESS IS NOT RUN EFFICIENTLY.  Having an efficient business starts with a solid business plan.  An efficient business considers several factors from time management to converting your online leads.  HouseHunt’s Diamond Business Plan starts with an efficiency test you can take to see how your business scores.  You can review your answers to see what areas you are missing to find out whether or not your business is a well oiled machine or it needs a tune up.

YOU AREN’T PROVIDING EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE.    Let me tell you a quick story….I once gave a referral (if you can call it that)  to a good friend and real estate agent to someone who was certain she would be listing her mobile home.  The person I referred already had in mind who she would be listing it with although she had never spoken with this agent. She had only seen his other listings in the mobile home park and was happy to follow her neighbors lead.

My friend showed up at her door that same day – but no answer.  The very next day, she caught her at home; but, when she asked if it was a good time, the owner said she had prescriptions to pick up and was watching her grandchildren so maybe another time.  My friend politely asked, “If I drove you to pick up your prescriptions, could we chat on the way?  She agreed! The third time I checked in to see if she had gotten the listing yet, she was delivering pizza to the woman’s second home in a nearby city where workers were fixing it up to sell.

What was the result of that agent offering superior service to a prospective client?  One mobile home sold; one three-bedroom home sold; and, one new home purchase. Her commission checks totaled over $25,000 in the same year.  Would you give someone a ride or deliver a pizza if it resulted in $25,000?  You never know what going above and beyond will achieve but it is seldom a bad thing.

 

YOU ARE NOT  EFFECTIVELY SOURCING  REFERRALS.  According to NAR’s 2015 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and  Sellers, 88% of home buyers say they would definitely work with the same real estate agent  again or recommend them.    Only 23% actually do.  Why is that?  A lot  can happen in nine years, the average time someone  will own a home before selling again, but sourcing referrals are a part of your business you could be neglecting.   How do you maximize your efforts in this area?

Provide Excellent Customer Service.  It’s easier to focus your energy on servicing when you have an efficiently run business void of activities that don’t either don’t add value to your audience or do not help you in reaching your goals.  

Stay in front of the contacts in your database with an automated marketing system. This way you stay top of the mind not just for your own contacts, but for their contacts as well.

Ask your past clients if they know of anyone who plans to buy or sell their home.

Develop strong relationships with industry colleagues and vendor partnerships.    Mike Bearden, CEO of HouseHunt, Inc., formerly a top real estate agent in Orange County, found opportunity in places agents don’t often consider.  “I sought out partnerships with everyone – not just real estate agents.  You’d be surprised how many referrals I got from plumbers, flooring specialists, landscape artists,…anyone who I met while preparing a home to sell.  It occurred to me one day while meeting with a plumbing specialist at a client’s home, and I thought – he probably interacts with more homeowners than most real estate agents. So, I asked if he knew of anybody thinking about selling their home.  A few months later I got a call from someone looking to sell their home saying they were recommended by their plumber.  I thanked him by referring him business and we continued the partnership for many years.”

 

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