How To Thrive In Your First Year in Real Estate
How To Not Just Survive But THRIVE In Your First Year in Real Estate and Set Yourself Up For A Brilliant Career.
So you’re in real estate? Awesome. Let me ask you why real estate… was it the money? Awesome! It was for me too. I mean, if I’m going to work most weekends to build my brand and grow my business I want to be paid handsomely and you know what’s wrong with that? Nothing!
Okay time is money (literally) so let’s get started!
Congratulations and welcome. I am deeply honored you have chosen me as your success coach and I’m going to make sure you get everything you need to take your real estate career to the next level. The opportunity we now have to work together will forge the added weight of our combined professional and life experiences and lessons plus my knowledge and ‘success’ observations with your effort and implementation.
The human ability to learn knowledge is virtually unlimited and the methods by which knowledge can be learned are many and varied. I have designed KickStart as a written coaching course. Part 1 is full of important and detailed information for you to know and understand. Part 2. Rolls out the Action Steps where you put your knowledge to work and start to make things happen. This is the exciting bit but if you skip straight to it, it’s not going to work.
Whether you are brand new to real estate or an experienced professional looking to gain that extra edge, I guarantee KickStart will work for you if you follow my guidelines and read each page in order.
I believe it has the power to create major movements in your income and enhance your lifestyle.
Before releasing KickStart I tested it with ten different people with varying amounts of real estate experience.
The response and results from that trial have been fantastic so I urge you to go forward with the knowledge that it’s been done by others and it works.
During the trial we established that it is better to dedicate at least half a day to reading and understanding the entire process and then revisit the action steps as you set specific actions in motion to begin working for you.
And finally, I have written KickStart as if you and I were sitting at a table and working through the entire process together. Please feel free to email with any questions but please cover the full document first as you will probably find your question is answered.
Okay, Let’s get to work!
Cheers, Ray Wood
Part One Preparation
If you were taking a road trip to a place you hadn’t driven to before, would you want to know in advance where you might be going and how you’re going to get there? Can you refuel enroute? Will you need a passport? How long is the journey. Are your tyres okay?
Then maybe a ‘Career Journey’ is just as important if not more so because it is going to have a major impact on your life.
I love my work. I get to meet real estate professionals at different stages of their careers. Everyone has something to offer. An observation, an idea, a thought. I especially like working with those new to real estate because there is such a fresh enthusiasm and optimism that shines through.
On day one of their new career they’re literally bouncing with nervous energy. They are normally early to get to work and greet every opportunity with hope and courage. What really interests me is what happens next.
I’m going to give you many success principles and strategies in this document and show you how to implement them to get results, but perhaps more importantly is the fact that your success will be determined by you actually doing the things that will make you money and not put them off.
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | Make notes and keep ideas
There is something brilliant about creating our own interpretation of things. It reminds me of being in a schoolroom class with a great teacher who inspires you to think for yourself and come up with great ideas. Grab yourself a hard cover ruled notebook or Journal. This serves to remind you that your notes and ideas get the respect they deserve. That one seemingly insignificant idea may someday make you millions!
A Career In Real Estate
Train on the job. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY. Great team environment. Set yourself up for an amazing career. For an interview and more information, why not call Amanda at ABC REALTY today during office hours on (number)
Every day, people read and then respond to adverts such as this. A ‘blazing’ opportunity full of promise and new hope for a successful and lucrative career. Let me tell you an inside truth about the real estate industry. After finding new properties to sell, hiring capable and competent real estate sales people is the number one challenge for EVERY real estate business owner.
You’d probably have to agree that of all the professional career choices, real estate is a little different. If you want to become a commercial pilot you need to study, train, work then log solo hours then pass tests and goodness know what else before they let you loose in the cockpit of a 747.
A doctor must complete years of training and pass any number of medical exams involving many thousands of dollars spent in education before they can practice.
Look at a lawyer, an accountant, an engineer or a dentist. Training. Years of training, before they can legally put up their shingle.
A successful real estate agent can make much more than the average salary of any of these professions and how much training and preparation do they actually do?
Sure there is normally (thankfully) a qualification requirement to let you legally operate but it’s hardly a masters degree! And it doesn’t teach you how to compete in a ‘sea’ of real estate professionals all offering the same thing?
But sadly there is a price to pay.
I don’t know any actual facts to support this claim but I would estimate that the churn and burn rate in the real estate is as high if not higher than any other industry. To back this up, I’m yet to meet an experienced real estate business owner who disagrees.
This happens for four main reasons:
- New people to real estate are poorly selected. There is little consideration to actual suitability. There is little or no specific instruction and information about what is expected. The wrong people are placed into the wrong careers.
- There is no practical guidance, training, coaching and mentoring once they start. Business owners are placed in a very difficult situation. They need to keep the wheels turning with their regular income generating activities (this is programmed onto their Hard Drive). They need to run their office and pay the bills and they also need to spend time guiding and mentoring new team members.
- Non-productive habits form early and are lasting. If a person doesn’t know what to do, they do what they think they need to do which is usually the wrong thing to do.
- There is a distinct lack of basic tools to help the new recruit. They have just landed from ‘outer space’ where they are just the same as every other real estate person in their area except they are low on the two essentials they will need to survive and prosper; Confidence and Experience. They have no point of difference to set them apart from the rest. They have no unique tools to help them stand out.
Surely if these four essential points are covered before a new recruit begins, the chances of survival and indeed success must be far greater.
This manual is a specific and direct summary of what MUST be done to achieve success. Knowledge, enthusiasm, courage, passion and a plan can overcome almost any challenge.
Let’s discover how you can fast track your success by Kickstarting Your Real Estate Career. The more you know about what lies ahead, they better prepared you will be to succeed.
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | Knowing the Difference
Real Estate success is knowing more about marketing your services than anything else. You may know all there is to know about property but your success will come from selling the service that sells the property. Knowing the difference is everything.
The following quotes are real and came from people before they started their real estate careers.
- “Well it sounds really interesting and I like people”
- “I really love houses so a real estate career will suit me perfectly”
- “Everyone knows a house sells itself so a career in real estate is money for jam because all I have to do is show up”
- “I’ve been in retail for many years so I understand selling and it’s easy”
- “If I raised three kids by myself, real estate will be a walk in the park”
- “I’m a real people person so I can’t really fail”
- “It can’t be that hard. All you have to do is show people through a house and if they like it they’ll buy it”
- “The agents in my area don’t provide much of a service. My friends all tell me I could do a much better job”
The following quotes are real and came from people after they started their real estate careers.
- “I’m just not getting any support”
- “The business owner won’t spend any money on advertising”
- “We’re not the biggest agent in town so why would people come to us”
- “All buyers are liars”
- “We don’t have any good properties to sell”
- “I just don’t get any leads”
- “I’m not really comfortable calling a stranger and asking them questions”
- “Sometimes people look at me like I’m dishonest. How can I expect anyone to trust me”?
- “This was NOTHING like I expected”
- “I guess I’m really just afraid of being rejected”
- “I’m not enjoying myself”
- “This is making my old job look much better than I thought”
The following quotes are real and come from people after they resigned or were ‘let go’ from their real estate careers.
- “I was just too honest to be in real estate”
- “I was promised training and support but after the first week, I was left for dead to fend for myself”
- “I really didn’t know what it was going to be like. Real Estate was a total shock”
- “I can see why some people are good at it, but I’m not like that”
- “I just want a regular job where I can turn up and then go home again”
- “I just want my life back”
$500 buys you 1 Hour!
When I first started in real estate, I was keen to learn as much as I could as fast as I could
I wasn’t really interested in waiting for years to go by while I slowly gained more experience, I wanted to get going immediately. I was impatient for success. It gave me a real sense of urgency that helped me discover new ways to be more productive in less time.
That’s not to say I didn’t learn a lot along the way, but I’m convinced the actions I took at the start helped me to kick-start my career.
I have always enjoyed learning from others so my pursuit and questioning of successful real estate people was relentless.
I remember one particular learning experience very clearly. I had heard about another real estate business owner who was said to be very successful. He sometimes spoke at industry training days and had quite a good following. I did a bit of homework and worked out that if he was half as good as everyone was saying, I had to meet with him and pick his brain.
So I called his office and was told that I could indeed meet with the great man but it was $500 for a one-hour session. I said “Sure, that’s fine (gulp) When would be good for him?”
Because this guy was in another city, it meant booking a same day return flight plus $500 for 60 minutes of ‘revelation’. So overall, it was turning into an expensive exercise.
I remember being led into his very impressive looking office and thinking that I was about to meet with someone who charges at the rate of more than $8 a minute! I had better listen good.
As it turned out the guy was fantastic. We actually talked for more than two hours, and then he bought me lunch. It was a very memorable experience and I made copious notes, which seemed to impress him. I can’t recall every point he made but I remember most of it. His mantra was creating an Experience around what you do so that the process is fun and memorable. Your clients and your team get caught up in the excitement and it changes everything.
He told me his views on hiring the right people into his business and how the real estate industry was not too good at hiring and training. He convinced me that too much GOOD training was not enough and he confirmed something I had always thought was true.
He told me that our approach to life is the key to success. I think it was the first time I heard the glass half full analogy. He told me how a positive and active attitude could give anyone the edge in business and in life.
Years later I remember that sunny morning like it was yesterday. Flying home, I thought what a bargain I had made in spending time with this successful real estate professional. Money couldn’t buy what I had just learned. I found out that only a year or so later he was charging $5000 to have the same ‘chat’. Was it worth it? Totally!
In all reality I probably have that man to thank for what I do today. Helping newcomers to real estate and working with established teams and individuals to get even better is a constant source of career satisfaction to me. Giving someone the basic success tools and actions and seeing them brings everything together is my reward.
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | Learn from those who have gone before you
Never be afraid to ask a question. In my experience, the best people in real estate are always happy to lend a hand and help out. If there is someone in your area who is doing well, call them up and ask if you can buy them coffee and pick their brain. What have you got to lose?
The 10 Essential Real Estate Success Secrets
A little while back, I was asked to identify the most profitable success actions a new recruit should focus on. The question came from a leader who had fallen for the two fatal traps in hiring. He chose people too quickly then didn’t train them.
I thought about his question and realised it was a combination of a number of things. There was no one particular ‘thing’ that made a new recruit an instant success and no one particular thing that could drive an experienced sales team member to new heights.
I started to research the question and consulted far and wide. I was thinking that once I had my list, I could share it with Bestagents members. On the pinboard in my office I was starting to gather a collection of the ‘things’.
My pinboard collection ultimately became The 10 Essential Real Estate Success Secrets and once I had my final draft, I sent it out to a number of my high achieving contacts in real estate for their opinions. As it happened, two ideas were’ bumped’ and three were re- hashed. What I had was the list of The 10 Essential Secrets. It was time to test demand.
I don’t remember ever having such a huge response to any message I have sent and the feedback was awesome. You may or may not have The 10 Secrets, but I think it’s relevant to summarize them again at the start of this program as they play a critical role in Part 2.
Essential Real Estate Success Secret Number 1 Get Your Head Right
Elite athletes talk about getting in the zone or getting into the right state to perform. It’s not hard to think of memorable sporting moments where mental skill has won over physical ability.
Success secret number one is making sure you’re head is right. We’re all motivated by different things. We respond to different stimuli. To perform at your best in real estate, we need to make sure our attitude is helping not hindering. If you are in real estate now, you’ll remember how the first year was something of a challenge. It was fresh and new. The learning curve was steep.
If you’re beginning in your new career, your best weapon will be a positive mental approach and outlook. There are challenges and setbacks ahead but I promise you they can all be overcome with the right approach. I don’t know of anyone who is always totally ‘up’.
We all have our own fears and doubts. But to take on a change and succeed or to take on something new we need to ‘back ourselves’. The really good news however is that acquiring the personal state of a ‘success’ attitude and a positive mental approach can be learned and practiced.
There are many examples. Personally, my inspiration comes from seeing and contributing to the success of others. In fact, after my children, it’s probably the biggest personal motivating factor in my life. Whenever I don’t feel that I’m performing as well as I should, I look at what others have achieved and how they’ve prospered. I love to look at and revel in the success of my marketing partners who go out every day and ‘kick goals/score trys’ by doing what we agreed they would do. That is inspirational.
Overseeing the sale of something that has no recommended retail price calls for skill, care and attention to detail. I honestly believe that the best real estate people are positive in their outlook and believe in the ‘abundance’ principle. They recover quickly from setbacks, which are seen as little obstacles or lessons along the way.
They understand their clients might be stressed during the selling period. They understand they need to establish trust with buyers and guide them through the process. If real estate were so easy, everyone would be doing it.
In order to get your head right, what are you going to draw on to inspire you? It’s essential, in fact, critical that your head is right and you’re mentally prepared to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.
You can’t fight a war with your bare hands. You can’t grow wheat in the desert and you can’t send a duck to eagle school!
Essential Real Estate Success Secret Number 2. Understanding the process!
Okay Enough! Let’s put an end to unproductive activity and under-performance by understanding how the process of success in real estate actually works. I’m totally shocked and amazed at the number of people who come into real estate with no understanding of the critical things on which their success rides. Secret number 2 is understanding the process so you can work it to your advantage.
So in the words of Author Stephen Covey (The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People) lets begin with the end in mind.
Okay, the end (our end) is the sale. That’s where we get to earn our fee. Real Estate is one of the few professions where we don’t get to charge for our time. Our income is based on success. No sale, despite how much work we’ve put in, means no fee.
Here is the process; we show a buyer through a property. Buyer likes property. Buyer negotiates with agent (your good self) and buys property. Agent receives fee for service. Agent becomes happy and confidence levels are boosted, feel good endorphins kick in etc…
But for you to have a buyer, you needed a property for sale (a listing) priced correctly that attracted your buyer in the first place right?
So where did the house for sale come from? Well actually, you listed it yourself. You continually farm your rather large bunch of contacts and this is what is produced. You’re brilliant!
And because you’ve done it once, you will do it again. And the more you do it, the better you get. The better you get, the more sellers (listings) you attract. Are we having any fun yet?
So that, my friend, is the process we need to understand. Your success begins with building a contact base that continually produces an abundance of listings.
Just in case you’re nodding off, let me say that again; your success begins with building a contact base that continually produces an abundance of LISTINGS
You quickly become a harvester, not a hunter.
I have just had 20 minutes on the phone with a new guy I coach. I asked him how he was doing and he told me how busy he was. Here’s the conversation give or take:
Ray: How’s it going Dean? Tell me what’s happening.
Dean: I’m as busy as a one-armed paperhanger.
Ray. That’s great news Dean. How many new listings since we spoke last?
Ray: Awesome. All exclusive?
Dean: Not exactly…
Ray: Any exclusive?
Ray: Okay, how motivated are the sellers?
It turns out none of Dean’s open listings were motivated sellers. So he was spending his time taking buyers through over priced listings with unmotivated sellers. This is a fatal combination and is the tragic trademark of the real estate rookie.
So you can guess how many sales Dean had made. None! But he was soooo busy.
Sorry, but this is rubbish. Why would an intelligent energetic and motivated guy like Dean spend his time in the thick of thin things? It makes no sense whatsoever!
He might feel like he’s busy but it’s totally unproductive.
It’s simply because Dean did not understand the process. I don’t know any good real estate operator who considers open listings as listings. It’s false hope and fake security.
Essential Real Estate Success Secret Number 3. Take names.
Let’s get out of the real estate business just for a moment and get into the name taking business. In fact, not just a name but we need two other things as a minimum. We need a phone number and an email address.
I want to prove to you how valuable taking names can be. By the way, this is Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) in its purest form. You’ll be hearing a lot about CRM in KickStart because it’s going to make you rich!
(By the way… Check out www.topagentsplaybook.com/resources for a very cool deal on what real estate agents are calling the industry’s best CRM!!)
Essential Real Estate Success Secret Number 4. Building your CRM System.
No point taking names if you have nowhere to put them. Invest a little time to find the right Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) System. Establish first what you want your system to do, and then find the one that can do it for you. Advances in technology mean that we can cheaply and very effectively use a software based program that allows us to store a virtually limitless number of contacts.
Let’s first look at what we want our CRM System to do. Let’s say we want to personally visit, phone, email and regular mail our contacts as our preferred methods of communication. So this means your CRM System will need these details. You might also want to record your communications and be prompted as to when the next scheduled communication will occur.
You will need a cloud based CRM with mobile features and applications. This will become the hub to your wheel and the central focus (and cause) of your success.
It stuns me that most real estate people collect names but do nothing with them. The ten percent that do something with them get results. The 5% that do lots with them are the industry elite and that, my good friend, is going to be you!
So it’s not a secret any more. No sir, that cat is out of the bag and the dog’s off the chain and barking up a storm! I have just given you the key to your success. Keep it in a safe place.
And here’s one more thing to convince you of the wisdom to invest in a good cloud based CRM. The average time from when a property owner calls an agent/s to get more information or an appraisal and when they actually sell is 11.4 months.
In that window of time, most agents drop the ball and cease all or most communication with their contact. If you maintain awesome contact during this time with ALL your contacts, you will enjoy more business and more success than you could possible imagine!!
✎ Can I share a quick story?
A lady I know from WA was just starting her 3rd year in real estate. She had enjoyed some early success but market conditions were changing and the great boom of the 2000s was coming to a fast and serious halt.
In fact, turnover in her area went from 750 sales a year to less than 100. Agents were leaving the industry in droves. Big franchise names were closing their doors and expensive German cars were being returned to the companies that leased them. Blood on the streets in other words.
My friend worked in a nice office with great people but they were reaching the end of their active real estate years and had no interest in updating systems and generally getting on board with the things that would help her uncover more success.
She yearned for better systems and prospecting tools and had been told they were ‘coming’ for the last 18 months.
She kept her contacts in an excel spreadsheet while she waited and dreamed of the day the new system would finally arrive.
But she was frustrated. I remember her asking me “why should I wait (and wait and wait) for something that may not only be not to my liking, it may never arrive? Why am I putting my career and income earning on hold waiting for someone else to make a decision?”
“Good points” I said. “What are you going to do about it?”
We talked, I did a little networking with my WA contacts and she was offered a position in another office.
The team were not all ‘young’ but they were dynamic. They used technology well. Really well.
The business owner was a dynamic forty something woman who understood the industry and perhaps more importantly, where it was going.
The team used a real estate CRM called LockedOn.
My friend set up her account and in minutes she was emailing buyers and contacts, making appointments, setting up her iPad listing presentation (with a super cool power point slide show), sending out SMS texts from her system and setting her targets for results.
At opens she would quickly enter buyer data into her ipad and it would be there on ‘the cloud’ in her system when she got back to the office.
New listings were blasted out from LockedOn in one hit (no multiple portal entries required like her last place of employ!!)
She noticed something rather interesting about this business. They were not struggling; in fact they were actually GAINING market share.
It is now six months later and my friend is super busy and happy. Yes, she gets great support from the business owner and leadership team, but her Customer Relationship Management System is winning her business in numbers she had only ever dreamed of.
You can find out more here now: www.topagentsplaybook.com/resources
Essential Real Estate Success Secret Number 5. Developing your USP.
Show me a great marketing product, business concept or idea and I’ll show you their Unique Selling Proposition or USP. A dynamic USP is the ‘Glue’ that holds every great successful business together. Finding and developing your USP in real estate is another key to your success. Do it and prosper. Don’t do it and struggle.
So what will it be? What can you ‘own’ in the market place that gives you the edge? What will make sellers turn to you to help them sell for more? What is going to make you stand out? It might be any number of things. You could do things a certain way. You might offer your property for sale in a certain way. It could be something as simple yet as powerful as being the agent in the area that can help property sellers sell for a better price.
Your USP is your mission statement. But rather than words on a wall, it illustrates your Unique position in the market. It’s what you stand for.
When I started my business I had no USP. I was just like all the other agents. What on earth would make a seller want to list with me?
I tried a few ideas that were little mare than slogans then, long story short, I came up with the idea of a book that would show people exactly what they needed to do to increase their sale price.
And books are great because people don’t throw books away. Business cards, letters and glossy brochures with lovely designs and colors all get tossed, but my book stays around and worked brilliantly as my USP. The title (How To Sell Your Home For More) said it all!
Suddenly, I ‘owned’ a valuable point of difference in the market and it turned everything around. The uses and applications of that first little book were endless. Even today, Bestagents members continue to come up with new and exciting (not to mention highly profitable) ways to use the book. They inspire me!
This is NOT a pitch for my book. Well okay it’s a little pitch but only because it’s so effective. I urge you to find something that gives you the edge. Think differently and make a statement. Have fun!
Your USP or point of difference is what draws contacts to your CRM. You need to do it ASAP.
Essential Real Estate Success Secret Number 6. How to deliver value contact.
Value contact means we offer something of value when we make contact. It may be information, a special rate, a special deal or an ‘add on’. It’s relevant and gets noticed. Instead of calling your contact to say hello, call with information about a sale in their area or news about something in their neighborhood.
The reality here quite simply is that if you don’t offer something of value when you make contact, the party you’re calling will quickly grow tired of your communication.
It’s really a combination of how we communicate and how we package our value offer. If part of your communication and follow up is telephone, (as it should be) your contact is going to quickly tire of being asked the same question; “Are you selling yet?”
However, if you call to let them know about a recent sale in the area (even if it’s not your sale), or a special offer you have for the month or something of interest to THEM, it’s totally different thing. Most agents call and offer very little. They might ask the contact if they’re selling or know anyone who is and that’s about it! The agent is more reluctant to pick up the phone in two months time and ask the same question.
Offering and delivering value contact is what will set you apart. If you are going to make Customer Relationships part of your success strategy (and why on earth wouldn’t you?) then delivering value contact is what ENHANCES and MAINTAINS and STRENGTHENS it.
Essential Real Estate Success Secret Number 7. Building your Profile and creating your Personal Marketing Plan.
So let’s stop and re-group for a moment and look at what we’ve covered so far.
- You have your head right and are mentally prepared to meet any challenge and deal with it effectively.
- You have a full understanding of the real estate process so you don’t waste time in the wrong, non-productive areas.
- You grasp the lucrative concept of collecting names and details from potential clients.
- You are going to set up a CRM System to keep your contacts so you can access them as often as you want.
- You know how important it is to ‘own’ a dynamic point-of-difference or USP in your market place as this is going to be the WOW factor that draws new clients to you like seagulls to fish and chips!
- Your communication with your contacts will be innovative, interesting and all about THEM.
So now it’s time to bring it all together.
Your profile needs to be established and maintained. You need to accept full responsibility for launching and maintaining YOU as THE ‘go to’ real estate person in your area. You know about values, marketing and have a ready stock of buyers so any seller in your area would have to be crazy to even consider using any other agent.
Your Personal Marketing Plan (PMP) needs to position you as your area’s agent of choice. So just how are you going to do this?
Let’s look at what we want your PMP to do. Firstly and most importantly it needs to be a new contact collecting machine. Secondly it needs to constantly and consistently put YOU out there and remind everyone in your area that if they looked up ‘real estate’ in their dictionary, there would be a photo of your smiling face.
Marketing is my passion. This is where I shine and I’m going to speak very plainly about what I believe works and what doesn’t. I’m really disappointed about the quality of marketing from the real estate industry. There is no way most of it communicates a difference because it fails to stick to the very basics of good effective marketing.
The amount of money wasted each year must be in the tens of millions. I notice Radio, Television, Billboard, Newspaper and Internet ads that must cost a fortune but generate little or no response and this is before we consider the dismal quality and effectiveness of most letter drops and marketing cards.
Advertising experts all agree that the power of re-stating a message is a whole lot more effective than introducing a new message at every opportunity.
Notice how a new commercial on TV gets played and replayed until the advertiser is sure we get the message? It’s not ten different ads in ten different spots. Corporations spend millions testing their marketing messages to make sure they work. Why don’t we just save our money and copy the giants by using a consistent response driven message?
Here are the 7 Mistakes of Real Estate Marketing
- They confuse the target market (I don’t know what they stand for. They just want me to list with them)
- They fail (dismally) to create any connection between each message. Each ad carries a different message and the time lapse between messages is too great.
- They are mostly without any design element or layout and look dreadful. Too much copy no image.
- They have no definable point-of- difference or Unique Selling Proposition that sets them apart from other real estate agents.
- They are too ‘busy’ and have obviously never heard of the power of white space and cram not one but two sides of the flyer. White space is our friend not our enemy.
- The communication is all about the agent not the target (fatal) Remember our favourite radio station; WIIFM? (What’s In It For ME)
- There is no call-to-action. They give me no reason to want to call them so they can ‘capture’ my details and begin a relationship. Saying call now for a FREE APPRAISAL is not a call-to-action and is about as limp and desperate is it gets.
Let’s consider what MUST happen to boost the effectiveness of communication and get a serious return on our marketing investment.
Here are The 7 Keys to Real Estate Marketing Success (They must be secrets because so few people actually do them!)
- Establish a dynamic point of difference. This is what you stand for and what you believe in. If you were a country it would be your national anthem.
- Repeat your message consistently at every opportunity. (Don’t chop and change) From your office, in your emails, your on-hold message, at your opens, on your webpage. It needs to be compelling and interesting. Create a can’t-say-no offer!
- Develop your personal marketing plan for 6 or 12 months (Printing and all advertising is cheaper if you do it bulk)
- Use a call to action at every opportunity so you can…
- Take names. A contact base is currency in real estate. Used correctly, every name on you database is worth hundreds of dollars. This will allow you to…
- Initiate ‘value contact’ with your database so when they think of real estate, they will think of you. This is top-of-mind marketing. We need to give them enough reasons to call us when they’re thinking of selling or know whom to recommend when someone asks. (Referral business is the best business)
- Develop your professional contacts as well and include them in your marketing. (Your local mortgage broker or finance professional probably has hundreds of clients who would benefit from your expertise. Why don’t you look at doing a joint venture promotion?)
These 7 ‘Keys’ actually define relationship marketing. People do business with people they know and like. We need to build a relationship with potential clients before we can expect them to call us.
One final word of warning; Putting your logo on everything is not going to help. In fact, I’m convinced it will work against you. It’s not about you. It’s about them! There will be plenty of opportunity to ‘logo up’ with For Sale signs and local paper ads once you have a heap of fresh listings as a result of your dynamic lead generating campaigns. In any case, your face is more important than any logo. It gets noticed and remembered!
So now you know what you need to do, how are you going to do it?
Most agents work in short bursts of mainly ineffective marketing. They only do it when they’re desperately short of listings.
The best agents use a PMP to continually collect new contact information. Instead of ordering 2500 flyers they order 30,000 and hit the same area with the same powerful message 6 times a year.
Take some time to work out a 6 or 12 Month PMP. It’s the best way to showcase your success in your area and it’s guaranteed to BOOST your profile.
Advertisers love to tell us how we need to constantly promote our brand. They call it ‘brand awareness’ and commit us to expensive advertising by convincing us that it’s the only way to go. (Sound familiar?)
Relationship marketing is a whole lot more effective and a fraction of the price which allows individual real estate salespeople as well as real estate companies to build personal marketing profiles with a very affordable investment.
As you read these words, there is someone in your target market ready to list their property for sale. Have you given them enough reasons to call you?
Essential Real Estate Success Secret Number 8. How to create your Business Referral Network
Building and maintaining your Business Referral Network is money in the bank! In fact, if done properly, it cannot fail.
I would encourage you to get involved and start making professional contacts because, if you do, pretty soon the flood gates will open and you will become an elite operator.
The best way to show you how to go about building a referral network is to share this story.
I used to work in an office with a guy called Andy. Andy was unlike any other real estate professional I had ever met. He worked from about 10.30am until 3.15pm at which time he would do the school run picking up kids, dropping them to football or swimming training or Karate class.
He drove a van that he called the school bus which was always dirty with fast food wrappers and ten week old half-eaten sandwiches on the floor.
Andy’s work ethic was interesting too. He would amble into the sales meeting always 10 minutes late. We all knew he hated sales meetings but he would show up to tow the company line.
You mightn’t think from what you know about Andy so far that he was very successful at his real estate career but I can never remember anyone in the office ever listing and selling as much as him.
Every month he took out first prize and he seemed to hardly work at all.
He kept a shoe box in his bottom drawer which he would lock when he left. The shoebox contained the name and contact details of every contact he ever made. Andy called it his ‘business’.
When he hauled out the shoebox and dumped it on his desk he called it ‘minding his business’. Most of his contacts were other business people he either new from prior contact or people he did business with.
To Andy, everyone was a business contact but by far his best results came from mortgage brokers, bankers, accountants, financial planners and any kind of investor. Basically, his contacts were financially oriented business people and did he ever do business with them!
I need to put this next be delicately because I don’t want you to get the wrong idea: The way Andy saw it, if he gave someone business, they owed him. I didn’t understand it at first but it was a way of doing business that Andy mastered.
He believed everyone that he gave business to owed him business back. He said he was making a deposit in their emotional bank account and sooner or later he would be calling them about making a withdrawal.
His ‘withdrawals’ came in the form of real estate referrals. Andy had his own marketing partners working for him 24 hours a day. His business contacts were always on the lookout for new business for Andy. Simple as that.
“Watch this” he would say as his fingers expertly flicked through the cards in his shoebox. “Who is the lucky person giving Andy a listing today?” Our big open office was his stage and he loved to show off.
He would simply go through his contacts and call someone and say the same thing. “Hi Pete it’s Andy, how are you? (then a bit of small talk about the fortunes of Pete’s always losing football team then he would say)
“Okay now Pete, who do we know that needs to sell a property this month?”
I recall those as the exact words he used. I can close my eyes and hear his voice saying those words. Very matter-of-factly and full of confidence with the emphasis on ‘know’ and ‘needs’. His delivery was always the same. As he said it he would look over at me and smile and wink as if to say “see how cool I am son?”
He worked every name in that shoebox and did more deals than all of us put together. He was a legend and a really great guy. “Gotta ask for the order boys” he would say to us as if it was that easy. But now, as I look back all these years later, it probably was. No computers or distractions just dial and smile until he found a seller.
It took a little bit of practice but I followed Andy’s lead and established my own professional referral network of people who would send business my way.
All I had to do was get on the phone and say ‘Hi’ every month or so. 2 contacts grew quickly to 20 then in no time at all I had 200 or more and this became a very lucrative part of my business. After I wrote How To Sell Your Home For More, I gave copies (with my contact details stamped on the inside front cover) to all of my contacts who in turn gave them to their contacts and I received even more business.
Referrals came from virtually all directions. It was one of the main reasons why I was able to avoid the dreaded good month-bad month scenario.
Essential Real Estate Success Secret Number 9. How to Find a Mentor
If you decided to climb Mount Everest, would you consider it an advantage to meet with someone who has done it and could help you plan the ascent?
If you were studying to become a heart surgeon, would it help to learn from someone with a successful record of heart surgery?
Can I ask you something? Why is your real estate career any less important?
You might not be testing the limits of human endurance or saving lives but I believe that in the greater scale of things, your role is of equal importance. As a residential real estate expert, you are enhancing lives. You help people discover the joys a home can bring by negotiating their purchase. It’s an emotionally charged area as our homes are so important to us all.
Sometimes we have mentors who show us the way in life and we don’t realise it until years later. This 9th Essential Secret of Real Estate Success is the one thing that has the power to really boost your chances of success in real estate.
A mentor can be anyone who can help you with your career. Sometimes your employer can fill this role but not always. Your boss has a vested interest in making sure you succeed but lots of real estate business owners simply don’t have the time to do so. Not everyone is good at mentoring.
A good mentor or coach will hold you accountable to your goals and plans. It may be someone in business but not real estate that is happy to help you succeed. Having an experienced and successful business person ‘in your corner’ may lead to other advantages like business referrals and leads along the way.
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | Join us on facebook at facebook.com/bestagentsgroup We announce a lot of cool stuff here and it’s a great way to interact with other success minded real estate people just like you.
Find Your Passion!
It’s easy to let real estate swallow us up. Once we get into it, we get a taste and we think about it 24 hours a day. But doing something totally unrelated to finding extra business is in fact, the 10th Essential Real Estate Success Secret. I bet you already have another interest that you’re passionate about. It needs to be something you can do regularly that takes your mind away from your work and keeps you fresh and sharp.
We’re lucky in real estate because we can usually work our own hours. My old work mate Andy worked the hours he wanted because he was able to focus and be extremely productive in a short space of time. Instead of hanging around the office waiting for the phone to ring, Andy would make his own luck and that gave him time to do other things. He showed buyers through homes when it suited him not the other way around.
If you don’t make the time to spend time pursuing another interest then you will quickly look back and be out of time. Let’s begin by allocating some time to the most important person in your life: YOU! Shrug off that programmed guilt and 500-year-old work ethic that says we have to ‘be there’ from 9 to 5. Real Estate has never been nine to five anyway.
The lifestyle gurus preach a theory of ‘Balanced Lives’. Do you honestly know anyone who does this? I believe the Balanced Life philosophy is a myth and totally at odds with human behavior and because we can never find ‘balance’ we feel the guilt. Instead, I believe we work (and play) in bursts or ‘sessions’.
We go hard and focus and get results in one area over a certain period of time. Then we take a break or have a vacation. When I’m writing a book, I have to go for it so I can keep my theme and train of thought. If I did it week on- week off, I would lose so much time working out where I was. I also find that working in sessions to achieve specific outcomes and results make leisure far more rewarding and enjoyable.
Time away and time to play makes for a more productive day! I consider my time away from work as like a little bit of relaxation therapy. I’ve trained myself to NOT FEEL GUILTY that I’m not ‘working’. Try it, it’s liberating!
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | It’s nice to have a goal
There is enormous benefit in working towards a ‘personal event’. It might be your wedding, your 30th birthday, your hiking trip to New Zealand’s South Island or a week in Paris. Notice how your working hour, week, and month all ‘blur’ into the past? What’s it all for? Celebrating your efforts with an event is your pay off! Make sure you set something up so it is there at the back of your mind all the time.
Essential Real Estate Success Secret Number 11. Begin Today
Call this my bonus secret but I couldn’t leave it out. I want you to have as much as I can give you to get you started. So why not start today? If you’re already in real estate, did you note something from what you’ve just read you can do today that will get you on your way and fast track your success?
Procrastination is nothing more than a sickly wasteful condition and the arch-enemy of success.
Doing nothing is the easy way out and stands between you and your goals. Can I urge you to take this one thing away from The 10 Secrets and that is blissful, heavenly, rewarding, extremely lucrative ACTION. Yes, you might make a mistake but you will have learned. The content of These Secrets has showed you how creating results is about getting in and DOING the RIGHT things.
If you are working in real estate right now but your results are not where they need to be then it’s a direct result of what you’ve been doing in the last day, week and month. There is no other way to say it and there can’t possibly be any other reason.
Continuing to do what you’ve been doing will produce more of the same. Luck and good fortune play no part in it. You are at the wheel. Speed and Direction are totally under your control. If you are new to real estate or about to begin your career, then I hope you have just experienced some enlightenment as you’ve learned what coming. The one consistent feedback message I get from those who have read and put the 10 Essential secrets into action is that they wish they had discovered them sooner. It’s never too late or too early to learn the right and most productive way to drive your career.
Every Journey Begins With A Single Step. Let’s go!
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | Don’t put it off!
I’ll Just I’ll Just I’ll Just I’ll Just I’ll Just I’ll Just I’ll Just I’ll Just I’ll Just… Please believe me that nothing will happen until you begin. It might sound really strange but so many of us put stuff off permanently. I’ll start that diet next month. I’m going to start saving in the New Year. I’m going to double my salary soon. Get yourself a copy of Richard Branson’s book called SCREW IT, LET’S DO IT! and be inspired by someone who is allergic to procrastination!
The nuts and bolts of real estate
Let’s take a look inside a real estate business and see what makes it tick. I’m going to be sharing some things with you that most new recruits don’t find out for months or years after they’ve started.
Understanding how a real estate business remains profitable will help you understand your place in the ‘machine’ and how you can best contribute.
Making money. In simple terms, a real estate company earns a fee when it completes the service of selling a property for a seller. Real estate companies and their personnel do not charge for their time. Any income is purely success based. If there is no success, there is no income.
Imagine a real estate company as an empty shop with lots of shelves. When it begins in business, it has nothing to sell. The shelves are empty. The company and team then work to place properties for sale on the shelves. This way, they have something to show buyers who will find a home they like, then negotiate a purchase price. The company is then entitled to a fee. Sounds simple enough right? But if it were that simple, everyone would be doing it.
Can you see that the money generating part is actually the getting-property-to-sell-to-put- on-the-shelves-part? This is highly relevant and super important so let me say it another way: A real estate business (and it’s employees) is only successful if it can consistently find properties for sale.
So with this in mind, it stands to reason that the best and most successful real estate people are very good at finding new sellers.
The order of things and why confusion reigns
When I get to speak to someone new in real estate, I ask them what they’re doing. I get back a collection of interesting looks and answers. I rarely get anyone working to any kind of a plan. They ask me what I think I should do and I think to myself; “Where do I start?”
Lets get back to the money thing for a moment and work backwards to begin with the end in mind.
- If we generate income from making the sale it means we have found A BUYER
- If we have found A BUYER it means we must have had A LISTING
- If we have A LISTING it means we must have had A CONTACT
So where do contacts come from? Knowing, Understanding and Consistently using the answer to this question will make you rich. Please take some time to get this next bit because it’s the very heart and soul of this manual
Dating, Marriage, Life and Relationship Marketing
Let’s look for a moment at something we can all understand; A Personal Relationship.
A relationship begins between a couple with the first contact. Then there is a second contact and so on. Suddenly these two lovebirds are dating or ‘going out’ as we say. They become ‘a couple’. This might go on for some time and regardless of whether the couple become engaged or even married, there is a strong bond in place. A Solid Relationship exists. A Good Relationship has respect and trust along with a mutual appreciation.
The commercial application of a Solid Business Relationship has many of the same features. There is mutual appreciation for what the other is doing. There is respect and trust but this can only exist and endure in the right environment.
People like to do business with people they know. In real estate, we need to give people a reason to do business with us and continue to creatively remind them why.
The most common criticism of real estate agents is that they sold a property for a client and the client never heard from them again. Believers in relationship marketing are fanatical about contact because they know how powerful and effective it is and they understand why.
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | Consequences
Your Personal and Career success in the next 12 months is a direct consequence of the action you take in the next 30 days.
The Value of a Single Contact
I really like the power of numbers. More than any other time in the history of the planet we now have the power to reach millions of people at almost zero cost. The amazing thing is that most real estate people don’t realise this and when they do decide to do something, it’s done only once or twice and not too well.
Their loss is our opportunity.
Whenever I speak with a group of real estate people about marketing, I always get a good response to what I’m about to share with you now. It’s the moment that brings everything together and those that understand this next bit become highly motivated to follow the System and ‘Take Names’. Let me explain:
I like the analogy of filling a bucket (your CRM System) with contacts. Let’s stop being real estate agents for just a moment and become marketers. Good marketers selling anything understand the value of contacts. The more the merrier. A full ‘Bucket’ of names, addresses (mail and email) plus phone numbers for each contact is an absolute goldmine. I guarantee it. Let me take you through the following steps to illustrate:
- Let’s say you have been in real estate for a year or two and you have created 500 contacts in your CRM System.
- We know from experience that by making and maintaining quality communication with our contacts, we can expect a minimum 5% of our 500 Contacts each year (500 X 5% = 25) to List a property for sale with us (or refer a client) that we will sell.
- Let’s say each sale generates an average gross fee of $5000.
- Now we multiply our 25 EXTRA Contact List Sales each year by our gross average fee (25 X $5000 = $125,000)
- Okay now let’s multiply our $125,000 in extra revenue per year X 5 years (stay with me here) So $125,000 X 5 years = $625,000.
- So it’s fair to say our 500 contacts will produce $625,000 in EXTRA fees to us over 5 years!!!
- If we divide our total EXTRA FEES ($625,000) by our 500 Contacts it means that each contact is worth $1250!
Okay. I’m excited! You must be bouncing off the ceiling! I think it’s worth repeating:
Each contact, Each Single Name With Contact Details You Make and Retain Is Worth $1250!
The thing is we don’t know is which of our 500 contacts is going to yield fruit so we need to look after them all. Knowing each one is worth $1250 over a five-year period helps us understand how valuable they are.
So let me ask you this? If each contact is worth $1250 what would you invest to look after them to ensure the relationship is permanent?
Your answer to this question will help you build your annual marketing plan. And the beautiful thing is your plan takes care of existing contacts while adding new ones to your list.
Part Two The Action Steps
Action Step 1. Setting up your CRM System
I didn’t coin the phrase Customer Relationship Marketing or CRM, but whoever did was right on the money. The real estate professionals who develop, build and maintain their CRM database are the elite performers. I’m going to show you how they do it and why.
No less than once a week, I field an enquiry from someone wanting to know which CRM System they should use. My answer is always the same. Find the cheapest but most effective system you can that has the features in the following checklist. I believe the best system is the one that gets used and produces results.
CRM System Checklist
Your database needs to be able to record and store the following
- First and Last Names
- Honorific (Mr,Dr.Prof.etc)
- Mailing address
- Email address
- Home, Work, Facsimile and Mobile phone numbers
- Anniversary of when Contact bought their property (notnecessarily through you)
- Anniversary of when Contact sold their property (notnecessarily through you)
- Space for additional details like birthdays, family details, football team, hobbiese tc (these are very useful when maintaining phone contact)
- Chronological contact history and notes (response to mailings, phone discussions etc)
- Chronological history of communication. What did you send, how did you send it? (email, card, special offer, reminder, phone, fax etc)
Chances are you’re not going to get all of this info in one hit. Rather you will gather it over time as your relationship builds.
There is another maybe’ I would like to add to the checklist. If you use a website that’s fresh and interesting then you might want to have the ability to direct your contacts to ‘click through’ to the site from your email. This is called a link and is becoming increasingly important in CRM.
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | Getting the right CRM System
Too many bells and whistles will distract you. If your company already has one then great. If it’s up and running, you may as well use it. But if you’re shopping for something to use yourself them it doesn’t really need to manage the sale process, log advertising and send invoices. Keep to the mission: Good effective response driven communication.
Imagine for a moment if you had one contact on your CRM System. Keeping in touch would be easy. You could call the contact once a week, email them each month and write to them 6 times each year.
You would use the ‘notes’ area in your CRM System to record your conversations, as this would prompt you about what to say during your next discussion. You have a living breathing ‘record’ of someone with the very real potential to either sell a property with you, refer a client to your business, or both.
You can find out more here now: www.topagentsplaybook.com/resources
Action Step 2. Who’s in charge?
‘Outsourcing’ the day to day operations of your CRM System is going to limit your ability to make it work for you. Ultimately with time, you will need to find someone to help you but initially, the best person to take charge of such an important resource is you. Besides, you really need to know how it works.
Here are the tasks you will need to perform. There is always a ‘big rush’ to get the CRM System in place no matter what and this is important, but working out what you want it to actually do is vital as well.
- Setting up the right CRM System (software) in the first place
- How is new contact information recorded and how does it get onto the CRM System?
- Once new data is entered, which communication methods are used? (Email, postal Direct Mail Letters, Telephone, Fax, Personal Meeting)
- Who is doing it?
- What offers are being made to contacts on a regular basis?
- How is the CRM System being updated after contact?
- What triggers the next contact?
Action Step 3. Zero to 100
If you’ve been in business for a while, the fastest and most productive way to build your CRM System is with your former buyers and sellers. To look at your prior contacts in total is a massive job. But when you break it down it suddenly becomes very doable.
Reaching 100 contacts on your CRM System is your first target. In the not-too-distant- future you will attract, record and communicate with far more than 100 but if you don’t have a ‘quality’ list just yet then 100 is the first goal.
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | Scaling Up!
Handling one contact is a ‘snap’ but we have greater ambitions than that. As 10 contacts become 100 then 500 and 1000 we need to look at how the data will be managed and who is going to take responsibility for entering new contacts into the CRM System and initiating communication.
Letters and emails are fine but with the exception of a face-to-face meeting, nothing is as powerful and productive as a phone call.
You may already have a client list but if they haven’t heard from you in a while, you need to start again and initiate new contact with your list.
Starting from Scratch
If you’re new to real estate or in your first year, you need to get an urgent focus on building your CRM. So where do you get your fresh contacts from?
So often I have seen real estate people start with a burst of enthusiasm and their contact list quickly grows. In a month or two they might have 50 or 60 names with details to match. But after twelve months, they still have only 50 or 60 names!
This happens mostly because their CRM System starts to work really well and the new (and now very busy) real estate pro has no time to continue building. It might also happen because so many of us are great at starting new projects but not so good at continuing them.
I urge you to keep in mind that each contact is worth hundreds of dollars to you over a five- year period. Chances are your CRM System won’t yield fruit on day one. But I promise you that the more you add to it and maintain value contact, the more productive and valuable it will become.
So where are you going to ‘Harvest’ the data you need to begin filling your bucket? Your day, week and month will bring you into contact with different people from all walks of life. Naturally, your preference is for people who own property within your service area but never overlook someone else who may refer you business in the future. Any experienced and successful real estate professional will tell you that referral business is the best business and it can come from virtually any source.
It’s really quite simple. The more people you are in touch with, the more business you will have. Instead of hunting for work, you will be harvesting business as you please.
Your contacts will come from FOUR different groups. Some people like to divide the groups up so they can send different more relevant messages. This can be problematic, as it all gets too hard. I prefer to group my contacts as one with the option to select different groups through the in formation I’ve gathered.
For example, I might chose to send a special offer message to Absentee Owners/Investors. Keep this in mind when you’re shopping for a CRM system.
The four main groups are Buyers, Sellers, Professional Network and General.
This is the most overlooked of the three because most real estate people think day-to-day not year to year. In other words; if the buyer has nothing to sell and I can’t sell them anything then why maintain contact?
For starters, buyers become sellers sooner or later and they can be found in abundance. Secondly, buyers who don’t have anything to sell will still be in a position to refer business your way because you have maintained quality or value contact over time.
I love adding buyers to my CRM because it lets me add many names and details in a short space of time. We are speaking with buyers all the time. I’m planting a crop that I will get to harvest sooner or later if I follow the rules.
The single biggest criticism of real estate agents comes from their former clients, the sellers. “The agent was all over me like a $40 suit when I was selling. That was three years ago and I’ve never heard from them since”
It totally amazes me how the real estate industry spends millions of dollars advertising for new business while turning its back on their established list of former clients. It’s madness!
Have you taken a holiday recently or bought a car or computer or TV? Have you had any follow up from the retailer? If so, was it good? Chances are you haven’t heard from anyone since your big purchase. They are too busy looking for ‘new business’
Mortgage brokers, finance professionals, bankers, business consultants and financial planners are valuable contacts because they all have the professional ability to refer business to you and vice versa.
Mortgage professionals in particular are a truly valuable contact because you both have something the other could use. You have buyers who need mortgage finance sooner or later and the mortgage broker has existing clients who will need the services of a real estate agency sooner or later.
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | Your Virtual Bank Account
When you think about, contacts can come from virtually anywhere. One of my favourite contacts was an elderly woman who always called by our office every two weeks to pay her rent. Because she didn’t own property, everyone at the agency where I worked looked down their nose at her. Somehow we struck up a friendship and overtime she referred me so much business including at least 6 listings and sales for members of her bridge club!
Action Step 4. Getting Your Message Out To Your Market
Why do productive fisherman multi-angle with as many fishing rods as they can bait and monitor? Because there chances of success are dramatically increased!
Keeping you profile in front of potential clients is critical to your success. You will be judged by how you are perceived by potential clients. This is where your USP comes into play. Good communication means you’re remembered but there is something far more important than that. Your Marketing MUST have a value offer and call to action.
Remember how each contact is worth many hundreds of dollars if not more? Then what are you going to give away to get this valuable information.
Perhaps you could generate a free report of sales history in your area. Creating something of value that targets potential sellers in your area is money in the bank! The more compelling the offer, the better your response rate will be.
If you check out the marketing Gallery and catalogue download on my site (raywood.net) you will quickly pick up some ideas. These are products and concepts designed, tested and proven to deliver results.
Action Step 5.
Establishing your Annual Marketing Budget.
If you’re running a real estate business, your total annual marketing expenses are made up of two very different parts;
- Your Marketing Costs.
These are things you can’t avoid (things like newspaper ads, website portal costs, window display, sponsorship, charity signs, your office signage etc)
- Your Marketing Investment
These tend to be marketing costs you can avoid so many real estate companies do. A Marketing Investment would include any proactive effort on the company’s part to stand for something and offer a point of difference in the market. Something that positions the agency as a clear choice and encourages contact and response for potential clients.
For example: A person dedicated to building and maintaining the CRM System is an investment.
Earlier in this guide we talked about each contact having a value of $1250.00 over a five- year period. Items in number 1 (Your Marketing Costs) don’t really do anything to preserve this investment whereby items in 2 (Your Marketing Investment) are all about building more contacts and showing client care to maintain and preserve the ones you already have.
Establishing your Annual Marketing Plan Budget is the starting point to developing you plan. In my experience from visiting many successful real estate companies, a minimum 8-10% of sales revenue is directed toward an Annual Marketing Plan.
This investment drives future clients to the business. Once you’ve identified your marketing spend, it’s time to workout how to direct it to maximum effect.
Both individual team members and companies need to set up an Annual Marketing Plan.
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | Marketing You
Nobody else can market you the way YOU can! You are your own walking talking promotional machine. Be brave and be proud. Your sellers are lucky to have you in their corner! Wear it on your sleeve and make every communication count.
Action Step 6. Building your Annual Marketing Plan.
The very mention of the word Plan gets me excited! It’s a vision of what is going to happen. Any company or individual can do a plan.
I have seen plans inspire teams over long periods of time and create brilliant results, yet most agencies and team members don’t have one. Here are the most common answers I get when I ask why;
- We couldn’t agree on what to promote
- We’ve tried it in the past and nothing really seemed to work
- The team are no good at follow up and refuse to pass on new contact details so we can enter it into our contact system.
- We can’t really justify a Marketing Plan
- I don’t have time to make any phone calls
- We have a contact database but it’s not very up to date!
- I can’t seem to find any reliable letter droppers
Sometimes when I meet with a team to do a Marketing Plan I can tell we’re getting into deep water. They are making commitments to certain actions that will (if done correctly and consistently) produce results. They realise the size of the commitment well in advance.
If you’re an individual this is where discipline comes in (the pain of regret is far greater than the pain of discipline).
If you’re a company then this is where Leadership comes in.
Building a plan shows you have ‘a plan’ and gives any number of advantages like discounts for bulk ordering and being able to combine marketing actions where appropriate.
Working out your Annual Marketing Plan will take time. Sometimes a series of meetings will be needed to get everything together including what you will be using and what costs are involved.
(Please refer to the separate Marketing Plan document included) Okay, take a look at the sample Marketing Plan.
Notice the marketing methods or actions in the left side column. The columns on the right indicate quantities, and printing and distribution costs. The Plan has been stripped down to include the essentials for your annual program. Once you complete your plan from the template included, you’ll be able to budget your total marketing costs and plan distribution etc…
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | Can you do it?
Start small. You can always add to it but DO IT! Don’t take on too much as it will all get too hard. As your contact list grows, more and more of your Marketing Plan will be about communicating with your list. This is when you really know it’s all coming together. The essential thing is to start.
Action Step 7. Identify your Unique Selling Proposition or USP
Make your USP your mission statement?
Domino’s Pizza was just another pizza company competing with all the other pizza companies. No USP, no market dominance, no growth and no profit. The guys that owned Domino’s wanted to grow the business through franchising.
They were smart enough to realise they needed a USP.
What could they say?
Fresh Pizza? Good Pizza? Hot Pizza? Fast Pizza? Genuine Pizza? They could, but how would this set them apart from their competitors?
So someone at Domino’s came up with this; Fresh, Hot Pizza Delivered To Your Door In 30 Minutes Or Less, Guaranteed!
This is now a famous marketing story. Domino’s dominance of the Take Away Pizza Market is a classic tale of choosing a great USP and then running it up the flagpole for all to see.
There is a valuable marketing lesson here. There is nothing about taste or pizza styles in their offer. It’s all about pizza NOW!
If you go to www.bigassfans.com you’ll see another USP story. Big Ass Fans manufacture huge Industrial, Slow Moving Fans for factories, hangers and large spaces where air needs to be moved around. The Big Ass Fan factory in Lexington Kentucky can’t keep up with orders. In a struggling economy where the big industrial manufacturers are having their worst stretch in decades, Big Ass Fans is rising like a rocket. I’m told that growth is in the triple digits!
Bill Buell and his company have created a product with broad appeal and an incredibly unique identity in the market place. But the product is dead boring. (How exciting can a fan be?) Bill has created a personality around his product that is so powerful it grabs people’s attention and catapults his advertising into outer space!
Before you race out and register Big Ass Real Estate, we need to keep in mind that our industry is a little different. Firstly we sell a service, not a product, but that doesn’t mean we can’t give it a personality.
Here are some questions to focus on when identifying your real estate USP.
- What reasons are you giving property sellers in your area to chose you?
- What is your promise?
- If they are not calling you then why?
- What could you do today that would give them a more compelling reason to call you when they decide to sell.
Allow me, if you will to save you some time here. I have tossed and turned with this question for many years until I found something that worked. It was so simple and yet dynamic that I had to wonder why I didn’t think of it sooner.
The Elevator Question:
Imagine yourself in a lift and you’re going to the 8th floor. There is one other person in the lift with you who is thinking of selling a property. They recognize you as a real estate agent and ask you what you do that is different to any other real estate agent. How would you answer?
- You’re honest?
- You’re good?
- You’re reliable?
- You’re a great marketer?
- You’re clients Love YOU?
- You’re experienced?
- You have a great team?
- You’ve been ‘in town’ longest?
These are all nice responses but most of them could be made by any of your competition right? Are you really ‘wowing’ the guy in the lift? (you only have seconds) Is he going to walk out of the lift thinking “I really have to speak with that guy when I go to sell?”
I’m not getting the same feeling I get when I hear “Fresh, Hot Pizza Delivered To Your Door In 30 Minutes Or Less, Guaranteed!”
My USP worked so well I decided to give my book the same theme. It became my personal mission statement and reinforced my DIFFERENCE.
“I can help you sell for more”
The Back Up.
You can’t make a claim unless you can back it up. Domino’s had to deliver hot pizza in half an hour or they were paying for it.
So how did I back up my ‘Help You Sell For More’ Claim?
I quickly discovered that by saying to a potential seller I could “help them sell for more”, I had their attention.
But naturally, saying it wasn’t enough. So here is my back up and what I said next:
“Mrs Seller, the wonderful thing about real estate is that there is no Recommended Retail Price. The eventual sale price will be determined by the obvious forces of market supply and demand and the ability of your agent to marketing the property effectively and negotiate a contract.
I use a marketing system that makes sure the best possible result is produced. Can I explain how it works?”
At this point my prospect is ‘all ears’ and I have the perfect launch to make my listing presentation. If you are the licensed Bestagents member in your area, I’m suggesting you consider using the Sell For More System that I and so many others have found so successful.
I probably spend more time improving and adding to the Sell For More System than any other marketing product I offer so it’s constantly changing and improving.
I also make sure agents who use my system have a stunning USP because the are the only agents in their postcode to use it. Discover more at bestagents.com.au
Action Step 8. Creating no BS communication that delivers real results
I was recently told this story by a friend who works in the creative department of a major advertising agency. It summarises the rather tragic advertising industry so well and serves as a lesson for anyone who doesn’t want to be tricked into losing a fortune with bad marketing.
My friend’s Ad firm was hired to come up with a major advertising campaign for a pharmaceutical company. The marketing department of the company briefed the creative department of the agency and told them how they thought the campaign should look.
They said the CEO of the drug company wanted to convey a certain message to the market that, in his opinion, would generate orders for their new product and ‘build’ his brand.
The Ad Company did two campaigns. The first campaign was made for print media, billboards and television and followed the drug companies brief to the letter which showcased the company in large letters, with an image of the company CEO and in tiny writing at the bottom was the company’s website and ‘luke warm’ offer.
The second campaign focussed on Direct Mail, email and Capital City Newspapers. The offer was the ‘hero’ and all ads were well written taking care to follow the rules of direct response marketing. The cost of the second campaign was 25% of the first one.
Both campaigns were tabled inside the agency before the meeting with the drug company. There was no doubt which campaign was going to be more successful and this was discussed at length.
My friend learned later that week that only the first campaign had been presented to the drug company marketing department and CEO. While being far less expensive but far more (potentially) productive, the second ad campaign did not follow the brief of the drug company marketing department and was therefore dismissed.
Pitching the cheaper direct response campaign would have been suicide he was told. He was also aware that the more expensive a campaign is, the more commission an ad agency gets from the advertisers.
So what happened? The Drug Company went with the ad they loved and it produced mild reaction. The cheaper campaign with much more potential is probably still sitting on the ad agency’s ‘ideas’ shelf.
I have a theory about real estate marketing I’d like to share. You may or may not agree and that’s okay but before you decide, let me tell that I have rarely seen an example where it is not correct.
My theory goes like this; The best (and only) way to promote a real estate brand (logo and colors) is when it’s marketing property for sale. (Newspaper ads, magazines, signs, www, office window etc..) This showcases the agency and what they do. The quality and style of this marketing is, in fact, an ad for the agency. The problem is that when the agency wants more listings, their ads say ‘blurb’ FREE ASPPRAISAL ‘blurb’ and their logo and face/s are all over the flyer or ad. It’s the WRONG MARKETING APPROACH. When an agency is looking to generate new listing leads, a very different approach is called for.
Most agencies (and their teams) expect a flyer drop in their area will produce INSTANT results and every now and again it can. But as a rule, traditional marketing doesn’t work because there is no point of difference.
Create a good Direct Mail Letter with the essential direct mail components and let it do what it’s designed to; generate a response (in the form of contact details) so you can begin a quality relationship that will bear fruit!
The marketing ideas I offer my partners are tested and tinkered with and tested again so they are just right. However, sometimes some team members get hold of a letter or flyer design and change everything. Personally, I really don’t care. I’m not precious about someone ‘messing’ with my ideas. I honestly couldn’t care less about that.
But what does send me into ‘orbit’ is when a letter is mangled and produces a zero or minimal response. This means the company (my client) loses money. My mission is to make money for our members NOT LOSE IT.
Please try it my way as it’s tested to work ANYWHERE. If it doesn’t work then by all means try it your way.
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | Don’t re-invent the wheel!
As you read these action steps, you’re going to come up with all kinds of great ideas. Can I urge you to test a new idea before you start doing a mass mail out or letter-drop. So much has been tested when it comes to real estate marketing and so much money has been wasted. There are tried, tested and proven ways to get results like this next letter….
Letter drop flyer
“We have just sold a property for 1.6 Million Dollars. The advice and suggested guidelines in ‘How To Sell Your Home For More’
worked perfectly for us. I’m sure no other selling method would have achieved such a great result” Ken and Mark Morris
Dear Property Owner,
If you’re selling real estate soon in (area), this might be the most important letter you’ve ever read.
Every property seller has the right to sell for a top market price. However, many homes are undersold which means sellers are losing thousands of dollars.
The good news is that a great selling solution is much closer than you think.
In my latest book, you’ll discover the inside knowledge to make sure your sale is a stunning success.
Because real estate has no regulated or recommended retail price, the final sale result can be influenced by any seller who has the right information.
I’m passionate about real estate and committed to helping every property seller sell for more. I’m delighted to know thousands of property sellers have used my book to achieve a better real estate result and have selected (bestagents member in city/suburb) to offer complimentary copies to property sellers in their local area.
To register and receive your Free copy of How To Sell Your Home For More, call (bestagents member in city/suburb) on (phone number) and be sure to mention you received this letter.
Cheers and Best Wishes,
PS: My book is selling in bookstores for $24.95 but Free if you register now with (name) on (phone number).
PPS: If you would prefer, (name) can email you an electronic (eBook) version. You can email Nikki at (email address)
Direct Response Marketing
Take a look at the letter on the page before. It says certain things in certain ways that generates response.
- It’s written in a serif font or face. Serif fonts have the little ‘feet’ and ‘wings’ on letters the same as in newspapers. The font you are reading now is a sans (without) serif font. Direct Marketers use serif fonts because they have been proven in tests to work better.
- Notice how the letter is all about the reader not the author. So many direct mail letters waffle on about how long the company has been established and blah blah blah. All-important stuff I’m sure but the reader honestly doesn’t car
- The essential components of any good direct mail letter include the following features;
- Attention Grabbing Headline
- Aggravate and re-state problem
- Solve Problem with your solution
- Prove your solution
- Great Call to Action
- Restate theme in PS
See how the above bullet points in that order are made in the sample letter?
How To Master Effective Communication.
Have you received any kind of marketing letter from your bank lately? Maybe an email? Did you read it? Unless it’s a statement from my bank or account from my Credit Card Company, it needs to be good for me to actually look at it. I’m tipping you are much the same.
Imagine if I called my book ‘Residential Real Estate Marketing Recommendations For Property Vendors in Australia and New Zealand’.
It sounds like some kind of boring Government report.
It doesn’t really target anyone and it doesn’t create any kind of promise or offer. It lacks excitement, life and passion.
On the other hand, How To Sell Your Home For More stirs all kinds of emotions while targeting the exact people we want to target.
There is a tendency in the real estate industry to make sure everything leaving our business is safe and conservative and doesn’t ruffle any feathers or upset anyone. I believe we place too many restrictions on ourselves when it comes to marketing our own services.
Email plays an important marketing role and is a perfect opportunity to generate very cheap messages. It has a few super cool advantages that I like. Firstly it’s very cost effective, and secondly it’s immediate.
I could stop writing this starters guide and send you an email at virtually zero cost which you would probably get within the next few hours, or I could type up a letter. Print it. Do an envelope. Insert letter. Fix 50 cent stamp. Toddle off to the Post Office or letterbox and post it. This message will reach you sometime in the next three or four days at which point you may or may not read it.
If you are going to email your contact list (and why wouldn’t you) let’s keep your messages short and to the point.
To the point
Let’s write as we speak and say it like we mean it.
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | Your email signature says a lot about you.
Your email signature (the contact details at the end of your email message) is important because people see it. Keep it really simple, sharp and to the point. I always promote my book at the end as a call to action because people see it and it targets property sellers.
My favourite radio station is WII FM
Okay, a word about value or quality contact. Most marketing messages are impotent, soft sell waffle that are a complete waste and nothing more than pointless attempts at communication. The letters are too long and poorly written with company logos all over them. If you were the recipient of your communication, would you find it interesting? In other words, What’s In It For Me? The WIIFM factor needs to be central in your thinking with all communication. Your contacts will be snowed under with communication from everywhere. It’s like wallpaper; We see it but we don’t.
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | Jay Abraham
Jay is one of the best communicators of our time. Corporations pay him tens of thousands to consult and right their marketing wrongs. Jay has written brilliant books and courses about what works and what doesn’t. So why be a marketing pioneer when someone else has already blazed the trail?
If we’ve made the decision to position ourselves away from other real estate agents as the value alternative, then why would we do what all the other agents do and put our company logo over everything that goes out?
There is plenty of time to promote your company once you have the listing and marketing commences. But until then, keep it fresh. If you want a letter opened, DON’T put a logo on the envelope.
Part Three Let’s Get To Work!
How to identify the key success actions and create a shortcut to a successful real estate career.
Long story short, let’s work out the best and most effective way for you to KickStart your success. You are really trading your working day for money. The amount you are able to earn each hour will be the result of you DO each hour.
You can do what 80% of real estate salespeople do and squander your time or you can identify what needs to be done and do it!
Let’s look at what typically happens so you know what to avoid: The majority of real estate people make two basic fatal errors in their working day. Firstly they fail to prioritise what is important (big mistake) and secondly, they put off actions they don’t like and do less productive things they do like. It’s essentially that simple.
The quickest way to KickStart your success is to firstly, work out what needs to be done and secondly don’t put it off. Sounds easy enough? Let’s look at what your essential success actions are.
Here is a list of what are the most important success actions of your working day in order of importance. If you are not doing these things today, you need to work out why and make it happen.
- Negotiating a sale. (Obviously this comes after a buyer has made an offer on a property you have for sale)
- Making a Listing Presentation. (With a seller looking to sell now)
- Speaking with a listed exclusive seller (face to face wherever possible) to reduce an asking price into a realistic selling range.
- Speaking with potential sellers in your CRM System
Everything else is not working towards you generating $ and therefore not worthy of your priority attention. Get it?
Real Estate’s most successful operators, do more of those four points than their less successful colleagues. If your career were a camera lens it would not be wide angle. It would be a telephoto lens that allows you to focus on something very closely for long periods of time. One common success habit practiced by real estate’s elite is their ability to make a lot of phone calls in a short space of time. The best do more and earn more.
✎ Survive & Thrive Tip | Focus on your victories.
For some reason, many people focus on their failures. The pain of failure is only a lesson along the path of life. Put it behind you and move on. Record your victories in your Success Journal so if things ever get a little tough, you can get back on track and inspire yourself!
How to manage your time to maximum effect
There is one thing you can do for an hour each day that will KickStart your real estate career. In fact, I’m sure I can safely say that unless you do this one thing there will be no career.
You need to make 25 phone calls each day. This is not cold calling. I consider cold calling to be one of the more unsavory and pointless new business methods on the planet. It belongs in the 1950’s cold war era, from where I bet it got its name.
You call contacts that are either on our list or going on your list. If you don’t have any contacts, you need to create them from the ground up. Here are some ideas as to where you might find potential contacts to build your list.
- Buyers at open houses
- Professionals in related fields like Mortgage Brokers, Bankers, Lawyers, and Accountants.
- Your own network like former work mates, friends and relatives
- People that bought or sold property with your company that have probably been ignored since the transaction
- People who respond to your marketing.
How many contacts can you keep in touch with?
If you don’t count Saturdays and Sundays and take off four weeks for annual leave, you have 240 working days in the year.
Making only 10 calls each day means you could speak with 400 contacts 6 times each year or 800 contacts 3 times.
How long will it take you to make 10 phone calls? Response to this question varies, but my personal schedule was about 45 minutes.
If you allow an hour, it should be plenty of time and it’s also the most important and lucrative hour of your day.
What to say to a new contact.
What you say is up to you and it will depend on the circumstances and where you met the contact. For example, buyers through open homes is a great way to get lots of names quickly onto your list. Here is my script for such a follow up call.
“Hello John, it’s Ray Wood calling, it’s just a courtesy call. We met at the home in Anderson Street. Is it the kind of home that suits?”
I always have success with the term Courtesy Call because it implies I’m doing them a favour.
Part Four More Ideas!
You will find there is more than enough material in this document to get you off to a flying start so you begin to see real measurable results.
If you are up and running and looking for creative and innovative ways to boost your profile and collect more names then this next idea is a ‘bruiser’ as long as it’s done correctly.
Your personal website
Your own website can work to collect contacts even while you’re sleeping. Your options to build a website on a shoe string and enhance your point of difference are changing so rapidly that by the time these words reach you, there will probably be a better and cheaper model on the market.
Working out what you want your site to do is key to design. It also needs to be something you can alter when you want as you introduce fresh offers and new information.
For example, you may want to feature community or local school events and circulate this new information in your area.
Your site needs to have one specific purpose. It needs to capture information and generate leads. You need to offer a strong and compelling call-to-action.
How to stop losing listings to other agents
There is nothing worse, than working to earn a listing then losing it to another agent. Every now and then you are better to let them go but I notice the vast majority of listings picked up by other agents seem to sell very quickly.
The key to keeping every listing is forming and maintaining trust control. It’s almost impossible to over communicate so take the time to make sure they’re on your side. If there is a problem, sort it out quickly before it swells into something bigger than it really is.
How to get out of a listing or sales slump
If you’re in a slump, it means you were once much better. So what happened? We need to get your ‘mojo’ back. Here’s what I do: I Call every buyer and seller from my diary for the last six months. This creates plenty of activity and gets me back on track. It’s also a great way to create new contacts and you’ll find most people will be pleased to hear from you and remember you. They will also be surprised to get a follow up call.
How to turn your open house into an event
This is where potential sellers get to see what you do and how you do it. Get some music going and have some fun. Take Names, Take Names, Take Names and then follow up.
The best in real estate ‘perform’ in the right way and create a memorable open ‘experience’. I know of one fellow in a family area who always has balloons for the kids! Great Idea!!!
Your local paper or radio station is always looking for newsworthy items. Many of my Bestagents members have used the book to get free marketing, but there are plenty of things you can do. Sponsor an event, produce a media release, release a study.
I’m genuinely thrilled to know I’m playing a role in your success. As I look back at these pages and see lessons I have learned from experience and ideas and strategies I’ve picked up from brilliant real estate sales people along the way, I believe there is more than enough in this document to set yourself up for life.
A Real Estate Career can give you so much. You have the information and documented knowledge in front of you to show you EXACTLY what you need to do. There is only one thing left….ACTION.
You need to take things from here and drive your own success. I’m handing you the torch! No one else will do it for you as they are all following their own paths and dreams. This is your moment to shine and achieve. Please know that you will face challenges and obstacles along the way. But these things happen for a reason.
The very fact that you have read KickStart and taken notes along the way tells me you are up for the challenge and because you know what lies ahead, you go armed with the knowledge and tools to ensure your success so don’t forget to let me know how you go. I hear brilliant success stories every day and know you’re going to be one of them. Please keep me posted.
Dream Big and Take Names! (Lots of names!)
Cheers, good luck and warm regards,
Host & Presenter, Top Agents Playbook
PS: I know you will succeed if you follow the Action Steps in KickStart. But if you’re seeking some EXTRA help, my book and other tools, strategies, concepts and ideas have been designed to fast track your real estate success and are used by many real estate professionals looking to take their real estate career to the next level.
As you have invested in the KickStart program, you are entitled to special discounts and FREE TIME if you wish to become a Bestagents members.
Agent quotes for Ray’s books
“Since I started using your book and marketing direct mail letters, business has tripled and my ‘call in’ rate has gone through the roof. In the last two weeks, the book has generated 11 Appraisals and 7 exclusive listings including two auctions. (This is business I would not have had without the book and letters) From my listings I now have 2 under contract and another one is close. I am now the top lister in our office of 11 sales people. I used to list 2 or 3 but so far this month I have listed 7!”
Ils Townley (Ray White Calamvale, Queensland
“Dear Ray, this November will mark my first year in real estate. It has been an interesting learning curve and totally worthwhile. I will have earned over $100,000 in commission and have kept very accurate records as to where each dollar came from. I have established that your book and marketing ideas make me (on average) $7,000 each month. These are listings and sales I would not have had without using your tools. Thanks so much for helping me kick start my career. I’m looking forward to working with you on my goals for my second year!”
Daniel Mendes (Harcourts Forest Lake, Queensland)
“Ray’s Real Estate Marketing tools make me an extra $100,000 each year.” Steven Stretch (First National Plympton, South Australia)
“Using Ray’s book and letters has been a highly profitable experience. So far Paul and I have achieved at least one extra listing and made one extra sale each month” Nikki Knight and Paul Johnston (First National, South Australia
“I measured my success right from the start and can attribute the book to $40,000 in additional fees in the first three months.”
Scott Hay (RE/MAX Coorparoo Queensland)
“In less than two weeks, I have listed three homes exclusively from using the book. At the moment, one listing is close to selling.” Paul Theo (Noosa Realty, Noosa Heads, Queensland)
Media & Seller quotes
“A ‘How To’ Gem” The Age
“….a must read for intending property vendors” The Australian Financial Review
“….offers readers very simple strategies for buying and selling property that can save significant amounts of money…. invaluable in today’s erratic real estate market.” Wealth Creator Magazine
“We saved $100,000 by learning real estate’s trade secrets. How To Sell Your Home For More was a guaranteed shortcut to success. Well done and many thanks.” Paul and Jo Hickman
“We have just sold a property for 1.6 million dollars. The advice and suggested guidelines in How To Sell Your Home For More worked perfectly for us. I’m sure no other selling method would have achieved such a great result.” Ken Morris
“I followed the steps set out in How To Sell Your Home For More and it seemed to have all the answers. I’m sure I achieved a result that was at least ten percent higher than I would have otherwise achieved. The book covered everything from presentation of my home to agent selection. My property sold in less than a month for a great price.” Jodie Blight
“Getting the best price for my property was extremely important to me. I only had one chance to get it right. The How To Sell real estate book broke everything down into simple steps. I just followed the steps to a great result.” Fraser Martin
“Thanks for getting me a copy of your amazing book (How To Sell Your Home For More) I can see how it has truly added dollars to my sale price. The presentation suggestions are so effective. I’ve read dozens of how to property books but yours is by far the best. Thanks for everything!” Pamela Darling