Making The Shift To A Seller-Focused Real Estate Business
This article was originally featured on the Ylopo blog.
Have you ever felt the need to make a big change in your business but were too afraid to take a risk and actually do it? Find out what this one team leader did to adapt to the current market and help his agents close more deals – even if that meant cutting his monthly incoming leads by over 80 percent.
WHAT FUELED THE DECISION TO MAKE A CHANGE
Barry Jenkins, long-time real estate agent, team leader, and now one of the top agents in Virginia Beach, knows the warning signs to look for that are sure indicators that it’s time to make a major change to how he runs his business. One such sign materialized recently during one of Barry’s weekly team meetings. He noticed that his agents seemed tired and there was a sudden lack of excitement for the leads they were working, the contracts they were writing, and the real estate business in general.
Upon further investigation, it turns out that his agents became discouraged working primarily with buyer clients. In this extremely challenging market for buyers, most of the clients his agents had were struggling to get their offers accepted due to the ongoing historically low inventory and high purchase demand. Not only was it disheartening to see clients go through the heartbreak of losing homes they couldn’t get accepted offers on but his agents were also putting in a lot of extra time and work having to repeat the process of showing the same clients multiple homes, submitting multiple offers, and still st getting outbid every time. Putting in all of this extra work and not having any commission checks to show for it was more than frustrating; being a buyer’s agent had suddenly become an unsustainable way of making a living. Understanding this pain, Barry knew that he needed to do something fast. He decided to take a leap of faith and immediately transitioned his usual buyer-focused business to cater primarily to sellers.
HOW DID BARRY MAKE THE CHANGE?
The first thing Barry did to transition his business away from buyers was making an adjustment to how he invested his lead generation budget, even if that meant getting less leads for his money.
Every month Barry was getting about 300 buyer leads through Google Pay Per Click (PPC) and was also using Google Local Services Ads (Google LSA) to source a few sporadic seller leads. Now, for the same cost, he would only get about 50 seller leads per month through Google PPC; it would be a big (but welcome) change for his agents.
The next step for facilitating a successful transition was to change the process for how each incoming lead is handled. With his agents only getting about an eighth of the leads that they had been before, Barry needed to find a way to make sure that every lead counted, so he asked himself, “What else can we offer these sellers that are different to make sure they list with us?” From this question, he developed a three-tiered approach for handling incoming seller leads.
Tier 1: The admin call.
This is an immediate call to ask an administrative-type question like “Did you get the email/report/text I just sent you?” The goal of this call is to get the person on the phone and ask them an easy question that you know the answer to is “yes”.
Tier 2: The value proposition.
Now, ask if they’d be interested in receiving a list of potential buyers from your database who have an interest in purchasing properties like theirs. If they say yes, ask them, “If one of these potential buyers offered the right price for your house would you be interested in discussing it further?” The key here is to never ask if they actually want to sell their house.
Tier 3: Set up a walk-through appointment.
It’s important to note that this walk-through isn’t a formal listing appointment, rather it’s an opportunity for you to check out the potential seller’s house as if you were a buyer and to meet the seller in person. Your goal is to get face-to-face, build rapport, and ease their mind about what things need to get done before they could potentially list. Sellers often think they need to do more repairs than actually necessary so you can show them in this 15-minute appointment that they have less to do and it’s easier to sell than they think.
WHAT WERE THE RESULTS?
After shifting to a seller-focused business and investing in only seller-specific leads through Google PPC and Google LSA, Barry’s team actually became MORE profitable than they were before.
In just 90 days, Barry’s agents won a total of 15 listings from Google PPC leads alone. Seven of those listings are already closed deals, three are pending, and five are in the pipeline. In addition to that, he has several seller clients that came in through Google LSA and he has a lot of other potential sellers engaging in his Homebot tool.
By listening to his agents, investing in powerful technology, and taking a leap of faith to adapt to the current market conditions, Barry helped his agents and business become more profitable, even with a lot less leads coming in.
With the ever-changing real estate market, an important key to success is to keep your business and your technology nimble enough to be able to adapt quickly.
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