The 7 Basics You Should Master for a Strong Real Estate Career
The concept of “shift-proofing” your business is not unique to real estate – I think anyone who is a small business owner looks to diversify in a market where the ground beneath you isn’t as solid as you once remember. Agents across the country are gathering in early morning masterminds, trying to pinpoint and share the best tools and ideas for safeguarding their businesses as the near year approaches – I myself was lucky enough to be invited to sit in a room with a cadre of intelligent and thoughtful real estate minds – people whom I respect…and we posed the million dollar question for the winter: WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO SHIFT-PROOF YOUR BUSINESS FOR THE SPRING MARKET?
Here are some ideas that emerged. Hand delivering gift baskets to our special clients, fancy logo branded gifts, donations to the charity of their choice as closing gifts, delivering yearly CMA reports so that our clients can keep an eye on their house values – these are all amazing ways to continue staying in touch and FOLLOW-UP up with our SPHERES. Look, I will be the first to admit that we had delivered 300+ boxes of chocolates to our past clients this year, and I will be darned if a lot of folks I haven’t talked to in ages didn’t reach out to thank me and tell me how their lives were going. I was almost proud of myself until my VERY pragmatic husband looked me in the eye and reminded me that it was my own darn fault that I hadn’t done consistent follow-up with my past client base prior to this – it wouldn’t be a “catch up” conversation if they knew we had never left their sides…(oh, the shame…)
Ok, so I take it that by now you already know which of the 7 basic tenants of real estate this post is about – remember last week I postulated this list as “everything you need to master for a strong real estate career.”
- Lead Generation
- Knowing the Inventory
- Follow Up (Today’s Post)
- Development of Best Practices
- Transaction Skills Mastery
- Marketing my Brand
- Time Blocking for All of the Above (Week 1 Post)
Follow Up – Communicate with Consistency
You know that every time you take BOLD or do a business planning clinic, you time block space for a follow-up in your schedule, but are you acknowledging what different kinds of follow-up there are?
I have thus far focused on Past Client Follow-Up, but I think there are 2 other significant forms that need to be incorporated in your business practice: Transactional Follow-Up and Lead Capture Follow Up. Let’s break these down a little and see what it is about these practices that breed lack of consistency in our daily actions.
Past Client Follow-Up has always been my achilles heel, and it all stems from 3 major factors:
- Out of sight, out of mind – I get it, you get busy with other transactions and daily business and before you know it, you have gone half a year without calling. That bottle of Moet is gathering dust in the back of your car and now you are too embarrassed to go by. WELL, GET OVER IT – it is never too late to drop off that gift and say hello. No one HATES being thought of.
- But cards are so pricey–12 cards a year every year, yep, it can add up as your client base grows, but these sphere touches are the bread and butter of your referral business, which for someone like me, is about 50% of our business.
- Our transaction COULD have gone better – there it is, the fear that your client just HATED working with you and doesn’t want to talk to you again. The creeping insecurity, the drunk monkey pointing out your shortfalls. Honestly, in my 13 years of business despite all the times I beat myself up about a transaction, the clients were always happy to hear from me, and yours will be glad to hear from you, too (ok, except for that one guy last September, but who cares, it’s only 1 guy – you can’t please everyone…)
Transactional Follow-Up is the ultimate in basic skill, even when your deal isn’t going well:
- I can’t sell this listing – sellers want to hear buyer’s feedback, even when it isn’t all positive – I know it is hurtful sometimes, but a compilation of feedback consistently delivered will give you a basis on which to suggest price reductions or improvements to the home in increasing its appeal.
- This deal is rough – clients want your advice when the seas are choppy – working in close conjunction with them, even when the going is tough ensures that they know you are in it for the long haul and that you CARE about them and their sale.
Lead Capture Follow-Up is the weakest link in my own real estate repertoire – please know that I HATE admitting my shortfalls but none of us will improve unless we can look honestly at the aspects of our business that needs attention:
- Well, I called them and left a message, what more can I do if they don’t call me back? – I have heard pediatricians say that you need to feed a baby a new food up to 13 times before they may be willing to accept it – how is this different from real estate? Call, text, message. The next day do it again. Sometimes I feel like I am throwing a signal into space, but experience has taught me that if I keep it up, sometimes, they eventually call me back and there is a business to be had.
- Drip campaigns and Listing Alerts – this year I sold a house to client who had been bumming around on and off my website for 7 years. Yes. I said 7 years. They had bought a condo in Springfield and quickly realized that they wished they had bought a house instead (missing that outdoor private space) and stumbled upon my website. I spoke with them but knew they were several years away from making the next move. I set them up for listing alerts, so they could track the market, invited them to client appreciation events and sent them holidays greetings diligently. This spring, after 7 years, they reached out and said, “we are ready to buy a house and we want you because you never forgot about us.” $1M worth of real estate later, I don’t regret the 7 years of touches.
Are these situations the norm? Not always, but real estate is a numbers game, and every touch increases the client’s memory of their experience with you, and you’d be surprised how often; you just need to be the first one they happen to remember.