The 500 Client Strategy
I once had an agent ask me if I knew just one marketing strategy that was so powerful you could get 500 clients from it. My answer was, “I don’t know one strategy that will get you 500 clients, but I know 500 strategies to get one client.” There really isn’t “one” way to succeed in real estate – not for everyone in every area.
There’s no one miracle strategy that’ll do it all. But from nearly every top agent I’ve ever met, I’ve found that ultimately they generate most of their clients through some type of credible relationship – whether the client already knew them (or knew of them) or was referred to them from a trusted friend or source. Established agents generate as much as 90% of their business this way. But what about the rest of agents who don’t have massive lists of past clients and huge market awareness?
The Hungry Agent
Is there help for the new or hungry agent wanting to get to the next level? Yes, there is. The process of building a real estate business is no different than any other business. It’s ultimately about building market share. There are 2 ways to establish market share: 1) work your way into the market, or 2) buy your way into the market. If you have no money, you’re forced into manual labor to get clients. There are really 4 basic areas to think about when building your business. They include:
- A unique and beneficial product or service for which there is a definable, proven market…
- A sales generation system to market and sell that product and retain your clients for as long as humanly possible to generate a) more sales, and b) referrals, word of mouth and repeat business…
- A unique product or service delivery system (remember I said “unique”)…
- Measurement systems (to know how you’re doing).
For most agents, the biggest stumbling block is generating enough client flow to make real estate a lasting business – it’s all about marketing and sales generation. So here are 6 important tips to consider in creating a stellar marketing and sales generation system…
#1. Nothing Worthwhile Was Ever Achieved without a PLAN.
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. Smart agents think through their marketing strategies, examine where their current business comes from, and plan the future strategically. You can do the same thing too. Just number out 3 or 4 major marketing efforts, set a goal for them, and focus like a laser beam. Here’s an example of a super-simple 30-transaction annual plan:
- Goal: 12 transactions. Build my “house list” to 500 names in the first year and create monthly contact.
- Goal: 6 Listings. Select the highest probable farm areas (# of listings, short market times, high turnover, fewer agents, etc.) where I’ll send Service For Life!® and walk the area weekly to become a neighborhood specialist.
- Goal: 6 Listings. Generate 1 buyer from every listing I take by employing buyer magnet strategies with my listings (800 sign tags, info tube flyers, classifieds, etc.).
- Goal: 6 Buyers. Create a classified ad buyer generation system (see your Classified Ad Secrets bonus you received when you joined Agent Inner Circle™).
#2. Prioritize Your Marketing Time, Money and Effort According To the QUALITY of the Prospect or Market.
“Quality” is defined as how well the prospect already knows you and is most predisposed to use or refer you over any other agent. You’ve only got a limited amount of time and money to spend, so you need to spend it on the highest potential prospects. Don’t go chasing cold prospects at the expense of higher potential prospects. Without a doubt, your highest priority market is going to be past clients or friends who have already sent you a referral.
The second highest priority will be the rest of your “house list” (friends, family, etc.) who already know you and have the ability to do business with you or send you referrals.
The third highest priority would be inbound transactional leads. These are people who have called you from signs, info tube flyers, ads, and other “pull” marketing – most agents fail to follow-up properly and convert these people to clients.
Your fourth highest priority would be leads or clients generated from cold outbound sources: phone calls, farming, expireds, FSBOs, etc.
And the lowest priority would be the general population who neither know you, nor care to know you – yet remember (before the “no call” lists) how many “gurus” told agents to open the phone book and start calling? There’s a reason why they outlawed that method!
#3. When Starting Out (or starting over), Spend 80% of Your Time on Prospecting and Client Acquisition Strategies.
Whether it’s cold prospecting or establishing marketing systems, ads, sales letters, press releases, walking neighborhoods, etc., focus your resources on getting business. Don’t allow distractions (self imposed or otherwise) to interfere with this task. Too many agents are busy doing the wrong things. They spend their time previewing, running documents or anything except nose-to-the-grindstone prospecting. If it ain’t going to bring in more business, it can wait. At the same time, don’t neglect establishing marketing “pull” systems so you can quickly stop manual outbound prospecting. You only make money when you work with clients and close deals, so anything you can do to automate your ability to generate leads and clients is going to naturally increase your income.
#4. Create a “House List” and Market To Them as Your Primary Marketing.
You already know that 75% of all real estate transactions occur from a relationship – they know the agent or are referred. Here’s something you don’t know: If you built a “house list” (database of personal contacts) with 300 people (homeowners) on it, and the average home ownership period is, for example 7 years, then 42 of those people will buy or sell every year – not including the referrals they could send you. 600 people and it’s 84 transactions every year, etc.
You won’t get all 42 deals, but who do you think would be the odds-on favorite: the stranger who cold-calls them over dinner or sends a recipe card, or the person who’s been in their life each month, brought welcomed and valuable assistance, demonstrated their professionalism and follow-up each month, and also confirmed they’re committed to the relationship for the long haul? That’s what I call “market share”. Get your house list going, and start bringing them welcomed, value-oriented contact. If you need ideas, browse our archives here on this blog – or start asking questions of your fellow agents over at our Facebook page and group.
#5: Use Direct Response in ALL Your Marketing.
There are many elements to direct response, but remember this:
No one will reply to any of your marketing without a specific, self-serving REASON to respond.
95% of the agent community is hopelessly ignorant of this fact and they keep using “image” advertising with the same lousy results. I’m talking about making an OFFER to prompt response from prospects: a special report, an area analysis, your “Maximum Home Value Audit,” a “Free Home Package” of a listed home, etc. All of your marketing should include an irresistible offer and call to action to prompt response. Check out Service For Life! for a direct-response system that already has offers like these plugged in to your monthly personalized contact – it’s ready to go with little to no editing!
#6. Market Off Your Listings to Generate Buyers and Other Listings.
I’ve had dozens of agents who used this system and consistently add $100,000 to $250,000 per year in extra business. So listen up. Do you know the purpose of taking a listing? Did you say, “Sell the home?”
If so, you’re like most “average” agents, and only partially correct. The purpose of taking a listing is to attract buyers and other listings to your services. Think about this: buyers drive by the neighborhood, view your classifieds, open your info tubes, read your listing display ads, read your signs, and yet most agents give them no meaningful reason to contact them – to respond and get a hot lead.
Imagine how your business would grow if you implemented buyer and listing attraction systems with every listing you take? That’s what I mean by “leveraging” your efforts for more business.
In closing, you need to think of your marketing as building “systems.” Systems act like spokes on a wheel, with each spoke being one system. The more spokes you have working for you, the stronger, more powerful the wheel. Most agents have only 1 or 2 systems working for them, so if they lose a system, the whole wheel collapses. Plan your business around these 6 simple strategies, and you’ll see an immediate and lasting improvement in your production and your life.