Recently, I have been deluged with Emails and calls from concerned owners, managers, and brokers about huge inventories, cement-head sellers, and buyers still waiting for the bottom of the market. There is a business plan that I used in tough markets. This business plan worked unbelievably well, and now, my coaching clients across the nation are using it to move production to pre-2006 levels. Yes, it will take a leap of faith for some, but I promise, if you can make these adjustments to your current activities, you will see the pot of gold at the end.
Here is the plan:
1. There are fewer reasons for buyers to buy and for sellers to sell. We have to increase our sample size so we are meeting the needs for those who are truly motivated. Even though inventory is up, I want you to have MORE! By having more inventory, your chances of meeting motivated sellers increases. Motivated sellers are the only ones that will compete against short sales, REOs, and other “must sell” sellers. Spend about 25% of your time coming up with fun, pro-active ways to generate seller leads. These lead generation methods must be inexpensive and easy-to-implement. If these methods are effective, you will want to make them a permanent part of your schedule with time-blocking. Identify the groups most likely to list, develop a list of values that will excite that group, and then deliver those values by phone, mail, Email, and your website. You will find that when you give true value to a motivated demographic, and it is easier to talk to them.
2. “But Walter, we really need motivated buyers.” Yes, you do. Have you really researched the least expensive way that produces buyers? Answer — having you own listings! Not an IDX system that allows you to piggy back off everyone else’s listings, but your own listings generated by the above methods. The leverage of real estate is the reason I have been passionate about this business for 32 years! It is also the reason why I could do more in less time than the other agents in town. I achieved multiple outcomes with one exertion of energy. The more seller leads that I received, the more listing presentations I was able to give, then the more listings that I could produce. Between the signs and numerous websites showing my listing, I created buyer leads! At the same time, if I was good at the listing presentation and had a saleable listing, the cooperative agents would try to sell it for me while it was producing buyers. I would implement my systems to increase my chances for a double-ended system. Now, that is leverage!
3. Just showing up to take a listing is old school. You need to counsel the potential sellers before you leave your office. Ask them questions to make sure you are spending your time profitably with a motivated seller. You have two jobs in this market — determine motivation and make the appointment. All other discussions get put off until the listing presentation. Since you know more about the seller because of the counseling questions, you will be able to focus on the seller’s needs at the listing presentation. Your listing presentation will be shorter with a motivated seller.
In our seminars, we show the agents how to close on the objections that are stopping them dead in their tracks. “Think on it.” “No equity and need to go ‘FSBO.’” “Wait for better times.” “Lower your commission.” “We’ll see it in the spring.” You’ve probably heard almost all of the objections. If you are meeting more sellers and choosing the motivated ones, our seminars can show you how to close on the right listing, at the right price, for the correct period of time, with your full commission. As more of your signs go up, the buyer calls grow, the cooperative agent showings grow, the double-ended transactions grow, and all your activity gets kicked into high gear. What if there is other agent competition for your “plum” listing? Our seminars teach you how to beat them every time. Also, we can show you how to demonstrate to a seller that the market has changed, while still being positive and upbeat.
4. “But, what about the buyers, Walter?” Here is another promise — my stuff above works so well that you will have too many buyers. I will show you how to eliminate 60% of all the buyers that call or Email you. “Eliminate” is probably too strong of a word. They will go to a referred agent, go into your database for follow up, or be qualified into your new “BUYER’S ASSISTANCE CLUB.”
Under-motivated buyers will not perform the activities necessary to achieve their success. We ask them thirty questions to help us find their target property, get them a formal pre-approval letter, show them properties that no other agent will ever show them, and ask them to sign a loyalty agreement. The ones who fall out of the system go to a new agent in the office for a referral fee. You are then left with the buyers who are motivated and real. You like them because they showed enough motivation to participate in systems that would help them.
Remember the leverage that I spoke about earlier? In our seminars, I can show your attendees how to advertise buyers instead of sellers. Is that not what the public needs to see — that you are the busiest in town and the most upbeat?
5. How deeply is the lender involved in your business? What about title rep, home warranty company, termite guy, or inspection company? Our seminars also show agents how to team up for more business for everyone. This market requires a team effort.
6. “Agents get out of the business faster than the business goes down.” Sanford Systems seminars show attendees how to grow during difficult times. I will show you how to outlive the agents who do not support my systems. I will show you how to usurp their databases, and in some cases get their office phone numbers to add to your back lines. There will be less competition, and I know how to help you get the business they leave behind.
7. Is your personal promotion upbeat? Do you have the reasons for sellers to sell and for buyers to buy? Make sure everything that leaves your office shows your beliefs in real estate.
8. Let’s talk about how to get leaner. What does not work as well as other activities? What are you going to cut from your checklists? What more profitable activities can be added? Can you delegate some activities to clients and affiliates? You can make small tweaks to cut expenses, allowing you to be more productive. My systems have always been about trying to get your week done in 40 hours and not to be disturbed by the “siren’s song of the business” while family, faith, fun, fitness, and personal finances are to be the priority. How to get more done in less time in a tougher environment is what I have personally lived and now aggressively pursue with my coaching clients and those who attend my seminars.
9. I know that agents in “overwhelm” mode will get nothing done. My systems are to be done in a chronological order. There is a first thing to do and then a next. I don’t train zombies, but I know that direction will increase effectiveness and provide the motivation every morning to get out of bed. There will be fewer complainers in your office, firm, or city after my seminars. Our seminars provide many more solutions and much more excitement about real estate brokerage in the face of difficult news.
10. The bright spots will be obvious, numerous, and exciting. If I show you how to increase your net, pay off some of the stupid dept, open a little savings account, and then teach the agents how to buy investment property that makes sense – your attendees will be empowered by the increases in their net worth. Increase activity in a tough market for less money, save a little, and obtain some opportunities in the world’s greatest investment opportunity at the bottom of the market (or close to the bottom of the market!).