Superstar Lead Conversion Playbook & The 3 S’s of Lead Conversion

In the real estate industry, one of the most common topics of discussion and debate is lead conversion, particularly when dealing with leads generated online. Agents may vehemently defend this method or that piece of software. But many forget to return to the fundamentals of real estate lead conversion and to reexamine the systems they have in place for capturing and nurturing leads.

In Episode 30 of #OfficeHours, we examine the Superstar Lead Conversion Playbook and the 3 S’s of Lead Conversion. Catch what you missed from the episode below.

Now let’s take a look at the fundamentals of real estate lead conversion, including the 3 S’s. Once we have those basics covered, then it’s time to invest money into lead conversion tools and strategies.

Back to the Basics: The 3 S’s of Lead Conversion

Breaking down real estate lead conversion into three S’s is a simple way to remember a critical component of your sales funnel.

These are the 3 S’s of lead conversion:

  • Sources – Where buyers are coming from. To maximize sourcing, you need to know where your leads are coming from and establish a strong, authoritative presence in those places.
  • Speed – The importance of responding quickly to communications with leads. It’s not always about having the perfect script or even being the best real estate agent for the job.  Being first and fast is more important than being best.
  • System – The tools and processes that convert leads to sales, from initial contact through follow-up communications to the sale itself.

When it comes to real estate lead conversion, it’s critical to nail down these fundamentals first before investing money into other technology, software, or personnel to your business. Let’s break down each S and how they work together to generate and convert leads for your real estate business.

Sources

Lead Conversion
Source: Virgo Group via Wikimedia Commons

Understanding where your leads are coming from is critical to maximizing lead sourcing in general. It’s only detrimental to you—and helpful to your competition—if you are not established, or at least present, on the main platforms where leads are first able to connect with you.

Whether you’re a top agent in your area or a newly licensed realtor just starting out, about 50% of your leads on average will come from your friends, family, and sphere of influence. Always focus on the people who know you best. These are often some of the easiest leads to capture and nurture due to your proximity to or shared connection with the lead.

But where do the other 50% of leads come from? Picture for a moment what happens first when someone decides they want to buy or sell their home. More often than not, they pull out their smartphone or hop on their computer and start searching for listings and other information relevant to the homebuying or selling process.

So where are your leads going when they first embark on this real estate journey? And is your sales pipeline configured to effectively and efficiently siphon leads from those sources?

When it comes to real estate, agents tend to pull leads from four main sources. These include more general search and social platforms like Facebook and Google as well as real estate-specific sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia.

4 Key Sources for Real Estate Leads

  • Facebook
  • Google
  • com
  • Zillow/Trulia

If you’re generating leads from these sources, the next step is to determine whether they are good leads and how you should follow up with them. Marketing analytics can help you determine which platforms work best for your particular business and community, and you can adjust your efforts to have a more established presence on whichever platforms generate you the most and strongest leads.

Speed

Mobile Phone Lead Conversion
Source: carinakrammer via Pixabay

Once you know where your leads are coming from, the next step is to ensure that you are responding to them with whiplash-inducing speed. As a general rule, if you get a lead, your goal should be to respond to almost any communication within 5 minutes. If not, you may miss your opening to jump on this lead before your competition does first.

Imagine the mindset of a potential homebuyer when they first enter the buying cycle. They may go to Realtor.com and click a listing, but when do they want to set an appointment to see that house? In many cases, right then and there, while they’re thinking about it. So if you don’t respond to that lead within 5 minutes, you could be missing a promising opportunity, and that customer may move on and funnel into the next (Read: faster) agent’s sales pipeline.

Consider this stat: If you respond to a lead in 30 minutes versus 5 minutes, you have a 100 times (100x) worse of a chance to convert that lead. Usually, you’ll lose the lead because another agent followed up with the lead first, or because the lead stopped the search or lost interest for whatever reason.

In short, if you respond within 5 mins, regardless of what exactly you say, you will have a significantly better chance of capturing that lead. Speed is one of the most important pieces of this lead conversion formula.

But with that speed must also come a sense of patience and understanding about where your lead is in the buying cycle. That lead could be several months from actually being ready to pull the trigger on what is a massive, life-changing decision. That doesn’t mean the lead isn’t of high quality—you just need to nurture that lead until they are ready to move forward.

That’s where the last S comes in.

System

Real Estate
Source: fernandozhiminaicela via Pixabay

Once you know where your sources are coming from and have addressed the speed with which you respond to them, it’s time to develop an internal system for collecting, organizing, nurturing, and eventually converting leads.

Without an effective system in place, your leads might be good, but you may not be responding fast enough. Or they might be a great lead, but they’re not ready just yet, and you lose track of the lead over time without a system for following up.

The main goal of this system is that when your lead is ready to pull the trigger—whether that’s in 5 minutes, 5 days, or 5 months—you need to be there. Your job is to be present and to be the authority and expert when that time comes. Your system shouldn’t push the natural progression of that timeline and should always nurture rather than force or pressure your leads too hard. But it should also have enough follow-up built into it that those leads don’t run cold.

The first step in building your system is to create a database that you can feed leads into so you can later follow up and convert those leads into sales. Rather than investing in complicated tools or software, you can much more quickly, easily, and inexpensively create a simple database using a Google spreadsheet or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, should you already have it or similar software. This allows you to funnel the leads from your key sources into one organized, searchable, and sortable database.

The database is a critical component of your lead conversion system, and without it, you’ll be left without a reliable system to follow up and nurture leads.

Computer
Source: Vojtech Okenka via Pexels

This system will also help with speed. As real estate agents, it’s easy to get in the habit of telling clients, “I’m available 24/7.” Well, unless you’re a robot or the Terminator, that’s actually impossible. But, with the right system in place, you can determine when leads are shopping and browsing online.

If you know the most common times of the day and week when current and potential leads are most likely looking at houses, your system will enable you to respond within that critical 5-minute window. Bottom line: Unless you are bombarded with leads, you have time to respond within 5 minutes, whether through text, email, or any other channel.

Now, you may be considering investing in certain technology, software, or even personnel as you develop this system. But before spending any money, I encourage you to invest time and effort instead. Then you become the system of follow-up. Build a personalized, user-friendly database. Keep up with tracking and nurturing your leads. Analyze your marketing metrics, and continue to always optimize your system. Then, you can become a lead generation monster.

Eventually, this lead conversion system will work so smoothly that you are overwhelmed by the number of leads coming in. And that’s a good problem to have. Only then should you consider investing money into technology, software, or personnel that can increase in your lead conversion rate. Then, you can also become a lead conversion monster.

Marketing Funnel
Source: Jared Sexton via Flickr

But the fact is, most of us don’t have that problem—yet. We have a systematic problem. Where are the leads coming from, and how are we nurturing them over time? Until we can answer those questions and build an effective system in response, lead generation and lead conversation rates will stagnate.

The ultimate goal of this lead conversion system is to capture leads online and take them offline. After generating leads through search engines or an email, the next step is to schedule a viewing, grab a coffee, or otherwise meet face-to-face.

Your sources and speed, as governed by your internal lead conversion system, will ensure you get to the point where you can create that personal touch and actual relationship with leads. Because it ultimately is that personal touch and sense of relationship or partnership that contribute to a higher, healthier real estate lead conversion rate.

Your First 30 Days in Real Estate – Think Like a Business

think like a business

Think Like a Business:

Part 3 of the series “Your First 30 Days in Real Estate”

In your first 30 days as a real estate agent, you need to begin every day and operate like a startup business. In other words, acquire the business mindset.  Now that you believe in yourself (part 1) and now you’ve got a goal in how much money you want to make or how many houses you want to sell (part 2), the third step is to say “I’m a business.” Let’s say that again. “I’m a business.” Don’t most of you get into real estate for a lot of different reasons, but some of them are “I don’t want to work for anybody anymore. I don’t want to clock in and clock out. I want to have the freedom to operate the way I want.” Well, that sounds like a business owner or entrepreneur. Step number three is you need to begin to understand what it means to run a

Most of you get into real estate for a lot of different reasons, but some of them typically sound like this:  “I don’t want to work for anybody anymore. I don’t want to clock in and clock out. I want to have the freedom to operate the way I want.” Well, that sounds an awful lot like a business owner or entrepreneur. Step number three is you need to begin to understand what it means to run a business because you’re a business. It’s time to think like a business and act like a business owner.

“I’m a business.”

The Awesome Thing About Real Estate

What’s awesome about real estate is there’s no ceiling to how much money you can make in any given year. There’s no cap. You can make as much money as you’ll go out there and earn, but technically there is a basement, isn’t there? If I don’t do anything, it’s going to be hard for me to make money. If you’ve ever run a business before, you already know the mindset. This is what it takes to think like a business.

As a business owner, I get paid last. All the bills get paid. All of our employees get paid. All of our vendors get paid. Every single bit of that gets paid before I do. If and only if there’s money left over, then I get paid. That’s the business mindset. I know I get paid last. I’ve got to produce, to make sure there’s money left over after paying expenses.

You’re a real estate agent. You need to establish the idea that every single day you have a routine, a schedule, and you need to get into the routine of what a business owner that owns a real estate business is going to do every single day. Now, don’t say, “Oh, good, I got into real estate, so I don’t have to work anymore.” No, work like crazy your first 30 days! Set up a schedule where you’re working five days a week. Then, the important thing is what is my routine going to look like?

as a business owner is that you need to learn the difference between being busy for the sake of being busy and being productive

 

So What Should You Be Doing?

You might say, “Work? What do I do?” What you want to understand as a business owner is that you need to learn the difference between being busy for the sake of being busy and being productive. Think like a business. At some point, you may reach the point in your career where you’re almost on autopilot to a degree, where you’re not going to have to work crazy hours because you’ve got a system in place and productivity at an all-time high to where you won’t have to work like that. But you’re a startup business. Your first 30 days, work as hard as you possibly can. Every waking hour that you have available for real estate, wo

You might say, “Work? What do I do?” What you want to understand as a business owner is that you need to learn the difference between being busy for the sake of being busy and being productive. Think like a business. At some point, you may reach the point in your career where you’re almost on autopilot to a degree, where you’re not going to have to work crazy hours because you’ve got a system in place and productivity at an all-time high to where you won’t have to work like that. But you’re a startup business. Your first 30 days, work as hard as you possibly can. Every waking hour that you have available for real estate, work on it. Then, when you’re working, do things that are productive, not things that are keeping you busy.

Do These Three Things in Real Estate – All The Time

 

real estate sales

If you want to understand the business of real estate, it’s three things. Real estate is all about prospecting, presenting, and closing. It’s really that simple. If you want to be productive, you better be prospecting, you better be presenting, or you better be closing, or else, you’re just being busy. Prospecting is the hard part. That’s the part you’ve got to really work on as a new agent, but if you’re not prospecting for new business, you’re presenting. You’re showing houses to somebody that may by or you’re sitting at a listing presentation with a seller that may hire you. Then, closing is getting transactions signed, getting your listing agreements signed, getting purchase agreements signed. Those are the three things you should be doing. If you’re not doing something related to prospecting, presenting, or closing, you’re just being busy. You’re not being productive.

Business owners understand the importance of making sure they’re productive. Do you have any idea how many emails and phone calls and messages we get in this office every day? What I want you guys to know is if I did just sit there, I could just answer emails all day long, but at some point, we’re going to have no more customers to answer, because I’m not doing the things that are productive to bring in new business. You’ve got to have the business owner’s mindset, to think like a business means to think about moving the company forward every day.

I would wake up in the morning and go, “Man, I just started a new business.” All the pressure and the fear that comes with that is good. It’s natural. Pretend you have investors. If you don’t get this business going, you’re going to have investors knocking on your door wondering when am I getting my money back. You’re a startup business. Operate that way every single day.

Hopefully, you like what we’ve got so far in this series. Look, I’ve been a full-time real estate agent. I’ve sold millions in real estate. I loved the business, and I still have clients that I work with, but what really gets me up in the morning, my why is helping share with you how you can build your real estate business.

If you saw something here you can use, please make sure to reach out and let me know. Hit me up on Twitter, I love seeing you there @christalksdaily. Hit us up on Facebook, @chrisdonaldsonHQ.

If you’ve got questions or curiosities, reach out. A specific question that you’d like to ask? –  that’s the fun! Email your question, chris@christalks.com. I’d love to hear from you. There’s nothing like being able to give you the value you deserve by answering questions, burning questions that you have. Also, let me know you’re finding these articles helpful by liking them and sharing them on social media! Also, if you are looking to get started in the real estate business click here for information on Donaldson Real Estate School and all of our courses and exam prep programs.

Your First 30 Days in Real Estate (Part 2) – Defined Goals

defined goals

The Importance of Setting Defined Goals

The following blog was taken from episode 03 of #OfficeHours.

 

defined goalsStep #2: Set Defined Goals

In the first blog in this series, I shared my thoughts on the importance of mindset. Once you have the space between your ears working in your favor, the next thing you need to do is set defined goals. Because if you don’t set defined goals, what exactly is it that you’re chasing every day? If am training to run in the Olympics I should have a very defined goal. “I want to win the 100-meter dash”, not, “eh, I just want to go run.” Who’s more likely to be successful, the guy that says, “I’m going to win, and I’m going to run this time,” or the guy that says, “Eh, I’m just going to go run.” Understand that you’ve got to have a defined objective. This is all about discovering your “Why.” Everybody here got into real estate for a reason. Remember that every day. “It’s because you need to make more money.” That’s okay. The one thing that people don’t seem to openly admit is that “I’m getting into this business because I want more earning potential.” You can say it. That’s okay. This is a safe space. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Is it a Dream or a Goal?

If you set a defined objective that says I’m going to sell 12 houses this year, just one a month. A very modest goal to some, but now, it’s staring you in the face. Everything that you do this year is going to be building towards 12 houses. You’ll be amazed how much that matters relative to, “Eh, I just want to sell some houses.” It’s really hard to, “eh, sell some houses.” You’ve got to have a defined goal. Talk to a top agent. They’ll tell you, “My goal is to do this.” It’s either to become a top agent, or is it to gross this much in commission, “I want to beat Susie across the hall because she beat me for a top award last year.” As a top agent, they’ve got a goal. A goal is a dream with a time limit. You’re saying, “I’ve always wanted to make $100,000 a year. Now I’m saying I have to do it this year. I better put a business plan into action.”

A goal is a dream with a time limit

If you don’t have goals, it’s really just a dream. It’s very difficult, as somebody that’s running your own business in real estate, to just get up every day and say, “Well, I hope my phone rings today,” or, “Man, it’d be really cool if I just sold a house.” It’s going to be hard for you to reach the success that you may want, and the reason is that you’ve got to have a defined goal. So take pen to paper and write down how much money you want to make this year or how many houses you want to sell. Nobody has to know what you write. You look at that. I cannot help you succeed unless you have a defined

So take pen to paper and write down how much money you want to make this year or how many houses you want to sell. Nobody has to know what you write. You look at that. I cannot help you succeed unless you have a defined target because without a target, it’s very difficult to make it in sales. You know why? Because people need to be driven by a goal. What is it? So you need to decide what is the why. Why did I get into real estate? How much money do I want or need to make? That’s the ultimate end game here.

Monetary Goals are O.K.

It’s okay for that defined goal to be monetary. You’ve got bills to pay. If you’re going to be a full-time real estate agent and you’re leaving a job where you made a defined salary, well, at least you’ve got to replace that, right? Write it down. Then, you can start to build your plan. How many houses do I have to sell to at least make that amount? Step number two in your first 30 days is you have got to establish clear goals. One, get your mind right. Get the attitude of a successful real estate agent. We’re talking about your professional goals because that’s going to drive you day after day. Why did I get into real estate? That’s incredibly important.

So let me say it again, it is o.k. to have defined goals based on money. It doesn’t, and shouldn’t, be your only motivation necessarily but it is just fine to be part of the formula. Remember, at the end of the day this is your career. You want and need to make money to survive, support your family, enjoy your life. Therefore stop being shy about your money and start getting real. And there’s nothing that makes it more real than defining that number and putting it down on paper.

Watch the Full Episode on YouTube

What to Do in Your First 30 Days in Real Estate (Part 1)

first 30 days in real estate

Your First 30 Days in Real Estate: Part 1

This series of articles is for those that really want to succeed in the crazy business of real estate. Because I’m here to tell you, there’s not necessarily going to be that fast, easy money like some people think comes in real estate. It’s going to take some work. It’s going to take some time. It’s going to take some patience.

What I do have here for you go-getters is a five-step plan, just five things you need to do in your first 30 days in real estate if you want to make it. Please take out pen and paper, pull out your laptop and work a little split-screen action, or however the heck you choose to take notes –  because I’m giving you real stuff that you can put into place right away. This is actionable advice on what to do as a new real estate agent or somebody that wants to restart their career, in your first 30 days in real estate.

Step 1: Check Your Mindsetmindset real estate success

The first thing that you’re going to want to do, literally as soon as you get your real estate license, is you need to work on your mindset. You need to get your mind right! What I mean by that is you’ve got to understand that it’s a certain set of skills, but also personality traits, that most successful real estate agents share. You want to learn what those traits are and start to cultivate them right away. Because I’m going to tell you: your attitude, your mindset, your drive is going to matter as much, if not more, than if I gave you some magic three steps. You know, just do this, this, and this, and you’re going to make a million dollars. Well, obviously, we would all be very successful millionaires if it was that simple. So, you’ve got to understand that when you first start in the business, you have got to get your mindset right to tackle the real thing.

It’s all about your attitude. What you need to understand is attitude and how you approach the business, how you treat yourself, how you are ultimately entering your new career in real estate matters more than anything. Let’s say, for instance, is that if you’re a new agent let’s say right out of real estate school. What we’re talking about is your business plan for your first 30 days after passing the real estate exam. It’s your first 30 days, let’s make it count!

You’re New – So What?!

You’re new, and I’m going to tell you, it doesn’t matter. One of the things I want you to understand is getting the type of phrasing out of your system now, “I don’t know what I’m doing because I’m new.” “I’m too new.” “This other agent knows more than me.” “I don’t deserve this listing because I’m really just too new.” At what point are you going to decide, okay, I’m not new anymore? Because if you keep telling yourself, “I’m new. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m new, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m new, I don’t know what I’m doing,” the problem is, at some point, that’s going to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What I want you guys to understand is part of getting your mind right is having the confidence and believing, from day one, that you can succeed and that you are 100% capable of serving your client as their real estate agent. What I want you guys to understand is don’t assume that these other agents in the marketplace know more than you. Don’t assume that you don’t have enough information to be able to serve your client. You can kind of fake it till you make it at first, but your mindset is key. You’ve got to have the confidence to understand that you can do this.

At what point are you going to decide, okay, I’m not new anymore?

 

I’m Going to Fail…Wait Am I?

Think about your license exam. If you’re reading this, it’s likely you just passed your exam or you might be enrolled in a real estate class. What happens if you go into the testing center and you’re going, “I’m going to fail. I’m going to fail. I’m going to fail. I’m going to fail. I’m going to fail.” What are you going to do? You’re going to fail miserably because you’ve convinced yourself that you were going to fail!  It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You are going to literally make yourself fail that exam. It’s the type of thing that I want you guys to understand, that what you believe about yourself is what you become.

You Have to Believewear your real estate dreams

You have got to get your mind right because you work for yourself now. You’re in sales now. You just started a real estate business. If you don’t believe in you, how is anybody else going to believe in you?! Sure it’s your first 30 days in real estate but that should not be stopping you from having the confidence to get out there and do it.

How am I going to hire you to represent me if you don’t even believe that you can do it? Therefore, it is critical that you start from day one, “I can do this.” You’ve got to have the mindset that “I deserve success, I belong in this industry, and that I can do this.” What I want you to understand is if you’re new, this is your first 30 days, it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to not know what to do. It’s okay if you mess up. The idea of trying to avoid messing up or making mistakes by just hiding from it, what you guys need to understand is you’ll never get anywhere. Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody screws up. Don’t have this mindset like “I’m new, so I’m going to make mistakes and I’m going to screw up.” It’s okay if you do (legal and ethical matters aside). What you do is you learn. You either win in a particular situation, like you get that listing, or you learn from it. You never lose. You either win or you learn.

Please say it with me –  it’s okay to be new. Everybody must have their first listing appointment. You’ve got to have your first contract negotiation. You’ve got to have the first client that tells you to get lost! You’ve got to have the first deal that you thought you had clear to close –  only as it falls apart at the last minute. Your first commission check. Your first million dollars. Whatever it is, everybody’s got to have their first one, so don’t worry about it. You’ve got to start somewhere, so make sure you get your mindset right and you are confident and prepared for what’s coming.

You either win or you learn

I’ll say it one more time –  it’s okay to be new. Ask your broker, ask your trainer, ask your coach if you don’t know what to do. Let them help you out. It’s also important that you start to remember that you are a real estate professional, you have a real estate license. Respect yourself as a professional and others will respect you, too.

Tell Yourself the Right Things

An important piece of your mental mindset is that you’ve really got to start working on your daily self-talk. How you talk to yourself is going to really matter in how you’re going to work in this business. I strongly suggest that you begin the practice of daily affirmations. Write down on a piece of paper, pen, and a pad, write down, “I am an awesome real estate agent. I can do this. I’m going to make money in real estate.” You write it down and you sell it to yourself. You repeat it. “I can do this.” Every morning, first thing in the morning. Go in the mirror. Lock the door, nobody can hear you no matter how strange you think it sounds. Read your affirmation out loud, because you are going to believe it the more you say it. Your self-talk is big. I mean, how many times do you see somebody make a mistake and they say something like, “I’m an idiot.” No, you’re not an idiot. You made a mistake. You’re a human being.

Start monitoring your attitude and your self-talk. It’s really going to matter, because real estate is sales. You’re going to get told no more than you’re going to get told yes. You can’t let that kind of stuff bother you. If I send out a marketing piece to 1,000 people and only five people call me, but it’s five lock-solid clients, that’s not necessarily a failure.  I wouldn’t focus on the 995 people that didn’t respond to my mail. I’m thinking about the five that did. Really concentrate on how you talk to yourself.

You write it down and you sell it to yourself. You repeat it. “I can do this.”

Remember: Being New is O.K.

It’s okay to be new. Remember, we are talking about your first 30 days in real estate here! Get your mind right. Understand that this business is not supposed to be easy, but the first 30, 60, 90 days are the hardest part. It gets better. It gets easier in some ways. Once you start swimming in clients, you’ll have a whole mess of new problems that come along with success. Good problems, bad problems, really just different problems. More importantly, you’ll experience more success and more of the good stuff if you take the advice here and apply it to your life. You’ve got to remember this real estate thing is new to you. Don’t expect to be an overnight success. It might take a little bit of time. Be patient, be confident, and be prepared to work hard.

By the way, if you would like to watch the full video where Chris explains all of this just click right here!

Building Your Real Estate Brand with Realtor.com

Are you getting the most out of Realtor.com? Or how about a better question, are you even aware of all of the absolutely FREE and amazing features the site offers that can help you grow your real estate business? On last week’s episode of my weekly real estate talk show #OfficeHours, we welcomed Rhett Damon of Realtor.com onto the show and we got down in the dirt and really unmasked some of the features that every Realtor should not only understand but should be taking full advantage of right now!

If you subscribe to your local MLS, then you need to know that you have a profile ready to go for you on Realtor.com. Think about it, when you list a property for sale and place it in the MLS – it is automatically syndicated to Realtor.com. This is one of the many advantages to your client wisely choosing to list their home with a Realtor. However, it is amazing to me how many Realtors have not even claimed their profile where their very own properties are being marketed all over the world! In this post, we are going to break down some of the important – and free – features of Realtor.com that you should be using right now in your real estate business.

(Full disclosure – for all features included in this blog post you must be a member of your local, state, or national Realtor Association to have them free)

Watch the Full #OfficeHours on Realtor.com with Rhett Damon Here

Claim Your Realtor.com Profile

First and foremost, let’s make sure you have claimed your Realtor.com profile! If you are a member of the Realtor Association, then it is important to know that you already have a profile setup (or saved) on Realtor.com as a member. However, it is just a shell that sits there blank and empty unless you decide to do something with it!

Remember, you don’t want possible clients or customers to Google your name and find an empty profile on Realtor.com. It just plain looks bad, and a potential lead or potential client might think you went out of business or are not really in the real estate business in the first place!

Claiming your Realtor.com profile is quick and easy, and will instantly add huge credibility and visibility to your real estate brand. If you have already done so, make sure you have the profile completely filled out with a professional picture, backdrop, contact information, and other essentials so that your profile looks as serious about real estate as you are.

Click here to see how to claim your Realtor.com profile on #OfficeHours.

Build Your Brand with Client Testimonials on
Realtor.com

According to a recent study, about 88% of people admit that they trust online reviews as much as they trust reviews of any other source. 88%! Which means potential clients and customers client testimonials feature on Realtor.comare definitely considering what others say about you before they decide if you are the right real estate agent for them.

Think about yourself as a consumer, think about the last time you were about to make a big purchase or possibly hire a professional like a contractor or a doctor – I’ll bet reviews and testimonials played into the equation. Whether you saw them on Yelp, Facebook, Amazon, or even the Better Business Bureau’s website – if you see reviews from others (good or bad) it absolutely factors into the consumer’s decision. Therefore, another great feature included within your Realtor.com profile is a testimonials feature built right in that you can use immediately to add instant “internet cred” to yourself and your real estate business.

Make sure that you follow our advice and get clients and customers to submit reviews about their experience with you! If you treated a client well, and they are happy and satisfied, you might need to prompt them to leave a review for you in order for that to get done. We all know how easy it is for someone to find the time and energy to post a BAD review, but let’s make sure the good ones are making their way onto your profile.

Click here to learn about the testimonials feature on Realtor.com

Your Secret Weapon – The Content Sharing Hub

If you have a website, blog, Facebook page, or any other web presence already then you probably already know the importance of producing and presenting content to the world as a way of generating leads and building brand presence. (If you don’t have a website, please watch this episode of #OfficeHours). This is what we call “content marketing,” and it really is king in this day and age of the mobile device and social media. Heck, what you are reading right now is a type of content marketing! It is key, and it should be employed by any real estate agent looking to build their brand and become a presence in their local marketplace.

But what about content? I have heard it all before. “I am not a writer Chris!” “I can’t shoot professional videos and make my own commercials Chris!” “How in the world do you expect little old me, the local real estate agent, to compete with these content giants?” Exactly. That is why you need to check out a really cool feature from Realtor.com which is called the Content Sharing Hub. Again, it is FREE and could be employed by you right away.

What is the Content Sharing Hub? Well, to give you an idea there are a series of videos and commercials featuring Elizabeth Banks which aired on television or were produced specifically for social media. And the Content Sharing Hub is built and designed so that you, the Realtor member, can take this content absolutely free and employ it on your personal sites. You can literally copy and paste from the site and have a professionally shot video about new home buyers and it will show up on your Facebook page. How easy is that?! Want videos that you can include in a listing presentation or possibly include in an interview with new home buyers? Done! Again, there is no additional membership fee it is included with your membership to your local Association of Realtors.

How’d I Do That? See Below

Click here to see us discuss the sharing hub on #OfficeHours

Integrating the .REALTOR Domain with Your Profile on Realtor.com

Another fantastic way that the National Association of Realtors is working to help its members is by the creation of the .realtor domain. Just as it looks, rather than having a .com or a .net – if you are a real estate professional you can establish a unique presence on the web as a real estate professional by using a .realtor as your domain. Pretty cool, huh? Now the .realtor domain does come at a cost, as all domain names do, and you can find out more information about this topic specifically here.

So with one last shameless plug for #OfficeHours here, one of the reasons I enjoy the show is that we do live Q&A to finish off each show. In this episode discussing Realtor.com, we had a question from the live internet audience about integrating your Realtor.com profile with a .realtor domain. Of course, Rhett had a great answer for this and obviously the two are designed to work beautifully together. Without saying too much on the topic, I think it is best if you just watch this short clip on how it all works.

Market Reports and Research for Realtors

If you have ever been in a training session with me, you know one of the big questions I like to pose to you as a real estate audience is “what makes YOU an expert?” It’s a fun discussion because if you have never been in a session with me before, the simple proposition makes some people uncomfortable. However, most real estate agents get it and what I am trying to remind us all is that we must become actual experts in the field of real estate if we intend to continue having clients pay us for our service!

market reports on Realtor.comOne great way to display your expertise is by knowing your market. Think about it, if you sit down with a seller to discuss the possibility of listing their home what do they want to know most from you? They want to know how much their home is worth, they want to know about the market, and they will probably want to know if the Zestimate they pulled down from Zillow is right! So we already understand the importance of the CMA, and knowing our market, is one of the important displays of expertise that our seller is depending on.

Therefore, as a company which caters to real estate professionals Realtor.com has a unique page built just for you which is run by their team of Economists and Researchers. This fantastic site provides data, research reports, trends, graphs – you name it all in the name of providing YOU the real estate professional with free information that you can use to help build your expertise or stay on top of the market. Heck, you can even pull local market data and graphs and use that as a part of your listing presentation! See what I mean? The possibilities are endless. Make sure to take advantage of this research and data, and make sure that the next time you are discussing the market with a potential client that you actually have the data to back up what you are telling them.

Here is the section of #OfficeHours where we talked about the research page

As you can see, without payment of your hard earned dime to your local Association or the MLS you have a ton of features that you can take advantage of to help build your real estate brand. Your web presence can get an instant shot of juice simply by ensuring you do the basics that we discuss here in this post. If you are a Realtor, make sure you claim your page and fill it with testimonials! Use the Content Sharing Hub to help produce content for your personal website, and of course don’t forget about the research reports page which was built for you to keep up on the marketplace and display your real estate expertise.

My goal is to see you all succeed, and I will help you in any way that I can. Please share, like, and engage with me and this post and let me know that you are reading! You can also email me anytime at chris@christalks.com and I would love to here from you. Until next time, go get em!!

I do not work for any Realtor Association nor am I officially endorsing any product or service with this post. Any information here is simply for informational purposes in our mission to help real estate agents succeed. There are absolutely no paid product advertisements in this post whatsoever. 

Time Management – It Takes Goals and It Takes Guts

Time management, something we all sincerely crave to do better. As I sit here and think about the success formula another big piece that comes in to the overall picture for me is not just the concept of having goals, but also how you’re going to need the guts to get them accomplished. I’ve said before that the idea of goal setting is something that every business person, every entrepreneur, every real estate agent – you hear that constantly – like you gotta set some goals you gotta set some goals you gotta set some goals – however having the guts to follow through I think is what really differentiates those that make it and those that don’t.

Time Management Starts with Goals

It starts with the simple idea of controlling your time. Most importantly what I mean by that is setting goals on a timeline and knowing what you want and need to accomplish on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis is absolutely critical. It’s essential. It’s the only thing that matters.  In other words, if you don’t know where you’re trying to go it’s going to be really difficult to get there. As your business grows and your time becomes more in demand, you’ve then got to have the guts to do things like saying no and put things off including the pleasurable things you really want to do. The difference between you and everybody else is that you know what needs to get done first because you know what’s most important. I call it guts because a lot of people can sit down and set goals, but having the guts to follow through is what’s really going to make it happen.Goals

Let’s use this as an opportunity to dive a little bit deeper into time management, or at least the idea of managing your time. Let’s first understand that there’s actually no such thing as time management, it really is a myth, in fact when it comes to time if you understand how precious it is as a resource you will respect it more and then you would use it better. So when it comes to “time” all you can really do is use it more effectively or less effectively – but it is absolutely a finite resource as we only have so many hours in the day and so many years on this earth. Therefore, when it comes to using your time better as an entrepreneur or as a real estate agent, you have to know what’s most important and then you have to do those things first and put off everything else.

Goals Come in Order of Priority

Personally my list of goals is in a prioritized order, in other words if I don’t get my most important thing done today nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter if I set up a task list and it’s got 50 things on it, just doing that alone is a productive habit for sure. However, the old task list concept is also where a lot of people fall short because a “to do list” is usually written in the order the items pop into your head and not necessarily in the relative order of their importance. time management priorityIn order to be most effective you need to take your goals and you’ve always got to make a matrix and connect your goals to your task list. Then you’ve got to decide which items on your to do list are most important in terms of what the goals are that you’re trying to accomplish. You’ve really got to prioritize every single day – every single minute – what is the most important thing I should be doing right this second? In other words, it’s having the guts to follow through even when there are many other things vying for your attention. That’s the true art of time management, sticking to your guns and knowing what you should be doing in order to grow your business.

Handling Email – A True Example of Guts in Action

Let me give you one specific example that I use all the time that I think for some comes as a little bit of a shock. In my life as a CEO and entrepreneur I operate several different companies and what I want you to understand about running multiple companies is its fun, it’s a challenge and it’s what I want to do. However, what it also means is that I better be damn sure that I am prioritizing my time and doing what’s most important on a regular basis. As a specific example, I do not check my email all day long. I don’t sit there and stare at my Outlook or my Gmail or have a loud sound every time that an email comes in on my cell phone!handling email (time management) The reason is what I want you to understand – just like you as a business person or really just a citizen of the modern world I get hundreds or even thousands of emails, text messages, and social requests on any given day and that’s not an exaggeration. Most of that email is not even spam because I have a pretty good spam filter, it’s just the reality of how many people email and ask questions or need things or clarification or operational matters. Believe me, hundreds of those emails are things that are important that I need to get to t on a daily basis. However, I would drive myself nuts if I sat there and stared at my email box all day long. I would go absolutely insane trying to answer emails as they come in.  It’s not that the emails aren’t important, but typically they aren’t the most important thing that I need to do at that time.

Take this blog post as an example, personally I would set this as a priority over email first thing in the morning. In other words, I would complete this post before checking email not the other way around! Usually when I’m writing a blog post like this let’s say 7 a.m. – that comes as a priority. I have to get this finished then I will check email because as a principle I make sure that all of my emails get answered every single day. That means that unless it’s an absolute emergency, where someone would likely have my cell phone number and then be able to call and let me know it’s an emergency, every email gets answered that needs to be answered every single day. That’s a pretty darn reasonable solution! However, I also want you to understand I set my companies up this way to where the critical things are not coming through email because they might get lost in the wash or be saved for later. For instance, my office manager at Donaldson Educational Services obviously will text me or she will come into my office personally if there’s an actual emergency which is extremely rare. She’s not going to email it to me, because she knows that I’m not sitting there staring at my email all day. If she or the company needs something right now, that is time sensitive, she’s not going to email it to me that’s not the way I have it set up and it’s not how we’re going to get things done. My goals are set, and I wouldn’t get those accomplished if I’m didn’t have the guts to not give in to the temptation of staring at my email all day long.time management headaches

Here’s why I do it that way…. the reason I handle emails that way is because what’s in my email box is actually everybody else’s problems or a list of things that others need based on their timeline. Everybody else’s priorities! What everybody else needs from me! So what is very important to understand about having goals and guts is that it takes real guts to stick to my guns and to chase those goals that are most important and put everything in its prioritized place. That means if I have a student that has sent me an e-mail and is totally confused about a concept in one of our courses, it’s not that that isn’t important, but if I don’t do the important things to keep our company growing and running smoothly, spending time to answer that email before I get into the things that the company needs is not an effective use of my time. However, if you or someone you know has come through one of our programs, you know if you email me you are getting an answer in thoughtful detail every single day. I love student email, actually! It’s a part of my day, it’s on the schedule every day, but I can’t do them as they come in because truthfully they come in all day long. I don’t even think people realize the hundreds of emails I get from students on a daily basis and so it’s not that it isn’t important, but it’s not growing the business. I can sit there and do that all day long and the business will eventually shrink to where we will have no customers! I will have no more emails to answer!! Therefore, I have to remember my goals and what we’re trying to accomplish as an organization, and have the guts to put those first then I will get to everything else.

Be Productive Not Just Busyproductive and successful

What I really want everybody to understand is that especially if you the leader of your business; if you are a real estate agent you are the leader of your real estate business, if you’re an entrepreneur and you started that company you are the leader of that company – what I want to tell you is it’s ok put certain things first which includes yourself. This is the very essence of time management! What I mean by that is not the money, not the selfish personal satisfaction, not the selfish nature of some people in this game – you have to put the most important priorities for the business first and know what those are by setting goals and then have the guts to follow those on a daily basis! It takes goals and it takes guts, that’s how you’re going to get where you want to go!

In essence a task list on a daily basis is a great move – but a prioritized task list is really the way to go. There are plenty of people who make lists but they’re not in a prioritized order. For instance, in preparing a list the first three things that may come to my mind are things like dry cleaning and the grocery store and calling the movers – okay all of that might be important –  but it’s not more important than growing my business! If our companies don’t grow and produce income, I won’t be able to afford those groceries and I will be moving that darn furniture all by myself!

Specifically to you real estate agents, because I always want to make time to talk to you, what I want you to understand is you need to know the difference between being busy and being productive. Any one of us in the real estate industry, if you’ve been in the business for any length of time and have multiple customers and clients, you know you can be busy all day long. Those clients they are going to call – they’re going to text – they’re going to email – they’re going to just drive you up the wall trying to set up appointments and in need of instant gratification 24/7! But specifically in real estate that’s part of the fun, and it is part of the game we play.

However, in running your real estate company you need to prevent the types of days where you work and work for 12 hours straight and feel like you went backwards. Ever had a day like that? Of course you have! You just work and work and work and work and work and you feel like you went backwards instead of forwards. Usually that’s because you’re being busy and not necessarily productive. When it comes to the real estate business my goals have to be I’m going to reach out to 15 past clients today and ask them for business, or I am going reach out to all the expired listings in my farm because it’s Monday –  and I’m going to offer my services to those expired listings! You see, that is what’s being productive. I’m thinking about the next client then the next one after that, growing my business has to be the priority! OF COURSE servicing my current business is extremely important, and I’ll set up systems and manners where that’s going to happen in the most efficient way possible. BUT I’m not going to let other people take over my day, I am not going to let other people take over my business, and I am not going to spend my time being busy and not being productive! That’s the quickest way to ending up out of business and I have to have the guts to tell myself that that is not an option. Not today, because I have goals and I have guts.

I have so much more to say about this topic, so stay tuned. And please, let me know your thoughts. If you want to test me and see if I will respond to your email – please email me your thoughts on this article at chris@christalks.com. Have an awesome day!

Working with (Serious) Buyers ONLY

Working with Buyers

Whew, it is exhausting just to think about working with all those buyers sometimes! But in reality, helping a buyer through the homebuying process can be one of the most rewarding parts of your work in the real estate business.

However, especially as a new real estate agent, you really need to understand the difference between serious buyers and what I call “shoppers.” Check out this clip from Superstars 2.0 to see what I really think about this subject:

Mindset: Adopting the Attitude of a Winner

 

mindset success formulaMindset. One thing that comes up all of the time, especially with the questions I get about success and what it takes to be successful, is the idea of having the right mindset. Unfortunately as is too often the case the big mistake that I see people make is to go out and search for the right mindset instantly – in other words I want to know the right mindset and I want it right now! The problem with this idea of instant gratification is the concept of adopting the right mindset is a collection, it’s even a lifetime of strategies and practice and the way that you look at the world that is going to take time and practice to get right. It’s an unfortunate reality that as human beings we are predisposed to be negative. In other words – we are so good at focusing on what’s wrong rather than what’s right that it becomes a poison that affects people in all aspects of all businesses. Therefore, if you want to learn the idea of having the right mindset let’s talk about the first thing which is probably the most important piece: adopting a winner’s mindset.

Winner’s Mindset

winner's mindset

The idea of having a winner’s mindset is not simply the idea of winning and losing, or I have to win and you have to lose. Having a winner’s mindset involves the concept of looking at the world and things that happen and how you will typically react to those things differently than everyone else. In other words, it’s understanding how to view situations and how they affect you and actually steer you going forward. Therefore, rather than looking at things as wins and losses you need to start looking at things as victories or learning opportunities.

Wherever you are today if you are looking for the right mindset to become more successful it means that the place that you’re sitting in right here at this moment is not where you want to go. In order to get you there guess what? You’re going to have to leave your comfort zone and try things at a different level. You’re going to have to do things that are uncomfortable; that are new, that might be completely different than anything you’ve ever tried before! If you are getting results now that you’re unhappy with, if you keep doing what you’re doing you’re never going to get there. So the idea of the winner’s mindset is to first of all make sure you remind yourself regularly that you’re going to have to try new things and really put yourself out there – far far out of your comfort zone – to reach this true success that you’re seeking.

You Need to Retrain Your Mind

mindset-retrain your mind

When you put yourself out there not everything is going to work out. You’re going to experience failure. If you have a winner’s mindset you won’t look at things as wins and losses. Every single thing that happens is not necessarily a scoreboard moment. You don’t have to believe that as an entrepreneur you are looking at a win and loss record. You’re either going to win and succeed – or you’re going to learn and move on. You either win or you learn – that’s the art of having the winner’s mindset. It’s not that either I win and I lose and become a failure; it’s either I win when I succeed or I’m going to learn from it and move on to what’s next!

You either win – or you learn

You’ve probably heard that they say the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and trying to get different results. Well, I am here to tell you that’s definitely true. So in order to get different results it means you need a new strategy and new techniques. This usually means trying something new, and well, what if it doesn’t work? Well if you are afraid to fail and you are afraid that it’s not going to work and all you’re ever going to do is stay in your comfort zone and not going to try something new because you’re worried it’s not going to work you’re never going to reach the success that you’re looking for!

Winners Look at Failures in a Different Light

Let’s use an obnoxious example to prove this point. If I came out with the iPhone in 1995 – I want you to understand that it would be a huge failure. Huge! The reason is because the world would not have been ready for the $700 cell phone that can browse the internet and make social media access very easy. I mean think about it, in 1995 there was not a whole lot of broadband internet out there and there really wasn’t any social media that you just had to check 50 times a day on your phone. People weren’t text messaging constantly, they were actually still calling each other. Imagine that! So if I invented the iPhone 1995 I could have been the greatest inventor in the history of mankind. It would have changed the world (so I thought), but the world would not have been ready for it yet. People would have laughed at me for coming out with a cell phone that cost $700. Consumers would be asking – like how do I sign into my AOL account using this phone?

What I want you to understand is even in business sometimes you’ll do things that are great, they might be great product, but the marketplace just isn’t ready for it yet. Or you might try a new style of marketing campaign, something that you’re putting out there providing value in the marketplace, and the marketplace just may not understand the value you thought you created. What you need understand is you’re going to have to try things, and sometimes they’re going to work and you’re going to win and sometimes they’re going to fail. But you – the person with the winner’s mindset – you’re not going to lose you’re going to learn! The adoption of this winner’s mindset is that you look for these opportunities to learn from the things that you did and didn’t work so that your business can grow in the future.

The Success Formula Includes Looking at the Failures as Learning Opportunities

The successful mindset, a winner’s mindset is all about looking at the world differently than everyone else. It is understanding that I’m going to have to try new things. I’m going to put myself out there. I’m going to have to really stretch out of my comfort zone in order to become the success that I so desire. I’m going to be happy about my wins and I will revel in my success, but then I also need to understand that if things don’t work I’m not a loser. I didn’t lose. I didn’t necessarily fail. I learned. And the next time I try something similar, or launch a new product, or think that I’m doing something innovative; the trick there is I’m going to make sure that I don’t repeat the same mistakes again. Adopting the winner’s mindset is all about looking at my business efforts and judging them on the results. It’s about making sure that I either win or that I learn, and so when I win I’m going to keep that in mind going forward and I’m not going to repeat the same mistakes; if they are mistakes at all. Likely they are learning opportunities, to get me from where I am now to where I want to go.

Are You Focusing on Lead Conversion?

Lead Conversion is Really The King

For years the conversation in real estate sales has been centered on lead generation. It comes from good old fashioned sales theory, which is that you need leads in order to generate sales. This is still as true today as it was then, however it is the method by which we gain new leads that now determines the manner of approach.

When it comes to real estate sales, lead conversion is actually king.
When it comes to real estate sales, lead conversion is actually king.

Since lead generation is largely targeted towards the internet, it is important to understand that while generating leads is important – converting them to clients and sales is more important. So important, in fact, I call it “king.” All leads should be treated as internet leads, as there is a distinct difference between how an internet lead should be handled and a referral from a friend, for instance.

The Sheer Numbers of Internet Leads

According to Move, Inc.  there were 2.9 million internet leads generated for real estate sales in 2011. In just a few short years, that number had increased to 40.6 million leads in 2014. To put that into perspective, there were only 5.1 million real estate sales in 2014! Which means there were about 8 leads generated for every 1 closed sale. Since the internet space is noisy, and there are tons of leads available and being generated daily, what top real estate agents need to understand is that converting those leads and closing sales is the real key to success in real estate. If you are not at the point in your career where you can simply live off referrals and reputation, you better have a lead conversion strategy in your arsenal that works!

According to Move, Inc. there were 40.6 million internet leads generated in 2014 as opposed to only 5.1 million real estate sales

The Importance of a System

If you are a real estate broker, then having a defined system in place on how internet leads are not only generated – but converted – is going to determine important metrics that measure success. All anyone talks about anymore is how to generate more leads, but if the leads are not converting into clients and into transactions what does it matter? Quality leads, converted into transactions, that’s what really matters in real estate.

For instance, how fast will someone in your organization respond to an internet lead? By what manner will that lead be contacted? Is there a follow-up plan in place in order to nurture those leads over time? How will agents be delivered these leads, and how will their success be tracked? There are so many questions a broker needs to ask herself, and generating more leads may not simply be the answer. A few options that brokers may wish to consider in order to convert more of those precious internet leads could be the following:

  • An inside sales agent or conversion specialist
  • Utilization of an outside sales agent service
  • Assigning leads directly to real estate salespeople in the firm

Speed Kills on the Highway and in Lead Conversion

Speed kills on the highway, and also converts more leads
Speed kills on the highway, and also converts more leads

Nick Saban, who is one of the most decorated college football coaches of all time, has a phrase where he says “speed kills on the highway and on the football field.” I have heard him say this many times, all the way back to his days with my Alma Mater LSU. Of course, he is referring to the types of players he wants to recruit for his program and how speed is as important in football as any particular trait.

This mantra plays very well into lead conversion too. Speed, above all else, is the most important metric which should be tracked. Consider the internet lead, and think in terms of where they may have come from and how they became a lead in the first place. Many times this lead was generated by their searching for a particular property on a search portal (such as REALTOR.com, Zillow.com, Yahoohomes.com, etc.) and you receive information about a potential buyer. This buyer is likely driving through the neighborhood right at that moment, is on their cell phone, and has never heard of you or your brokerage. So what really matters here? First one in usually wins. I will say that again, first one in usually wins! Speed trumps all else when it comes to online lead conversion.

In fact, the more time that goes by (the older that lead becomes) the less likely you are to convert that lead. Consider the following:

http://www.payonperformance.com.au/customer-response-time-matters/
http://www.payonperformance.com.au/customer-response-time-matters/

So how do you respond to leads faster? It all goes back to what I mentioned earlier in this post, which is that having a system becomes paramount in this ever increasing competitive landscape. For instance, do you use a real estate CRM in your business? If so make sure that you are using the right CRM for your real estate business. For instance, if converting internet leads is crucial to your business model then it would be crazy to have a CRM without automatic responders as a part of the system.

As you look at the statistics above and you consider how speed trumps all else in lead conversion, it also bears considering that none of us can be available 24/7. It is literally impossible – you have to sleep! Therefore, having a CRM to be on top of things for you and respond to leads effectively and quickly can make all the difference in the world. If a buyer lead is generated online at 3am, your CRM can send an automatic message letting that lead know that you received their request and cannot wait to speak with them. That way, even if you are not actually awake at the time of the generated lead at least you responded quickly. And if you are managing your time effectively, then first thing the next business day you would be right on top of converting that lead.

I plan to post much more on this topic very soon, as with the emphasis on lead generation in the marketplace I want to also make sure that those leads you worked hard to generate are actually converting – which is where the real staying power is in real estate.