Do you have a question for Walter? Walter will personally answer your question. We’ll then share your question and Walter’s answer to help others, too!
Ask Wally a Question Below:
Current Q & A
Q: Good morning, my name is Dina (omitted). I’m a 23 year old real estate agent in Seattle, WA who has been in the business for a year in a half. I sold 17 homes within the first 6 months in the business and a total of 32 homes within the year and a half. I know I can do much better and take advantage of the current hot market here. I did take 4 months of personal time off in 2016 due to a broken engagement. I have been writing my business plan to focus on targeting divorce attorneys in the Seattle market. I found your letter very useful but was wondering if you have scripts and more content on focusing on divorce attorneys. I do look slightly older for my age — in the way I handle myself and dress, but I feel like I need help in providing attorneys an item of value when I schedule a quick meeting. Did you, Mr. Sanford, meet the attorneys or only mail with a follow-up call? I plan to mail the letter, follow-up call, and schedule a face-to-face. I would really like to know what to say when I call and what to say when I meet. I would really appreciate your help!
A: It might be better to approach the divorcing couple first with a CC to the attorney. After they are convinced you offer value, then they would want you to talk to their attorney. Remember, most attorneys just have the divorcing couple sign a grant deed or quit claim deed, which does nothing to get the vacating spouse off the underlying loan. You can fix all of that with a sale.
If you are approaching attorneys directly, the following value items will get their attention. Then you can follow up with a call and a face-to-face meeting where you can also “butter up” the gatekeeper with a cookies, Starbucks, etc. Here is the value you can offer:
- Availability as an expert witness
- Free 48-hour phone value analysis on local real estate
- Free 15-minute consolation arranged with your CPA on the tax ramifications of selling decisions
- Expert in 1031 tax deferred exchanges
- Seller education service where your system sends the seller all activity that would affect the value of their home
- Self-directed real estate IRAs
Also, another very hot area in Seattle is probate as directed by attorneys and executors. The best system for that is www.alltheleads.com. Tell them that I sent you and they will give you a discount.
Yes, you always meet face-to-face, if they are going to be a great referral source, if they need help, of if they want to meet you. However, make sure it is not a time-wasting exercise. All you have to do is follow-up on the value propositions that you have already sent them.
Q: Hello Walter,
I first want to say thanks for all the information you have shared over the years. I have to say you are the best trainer that I have come across in all these years of doing real estate – your ideas, your systems are the best! I have bought all of your books and training material. I have to be honest I am one of those who has the books, but has not ALWAYS used all of them. Picking and choosing what I felt was needed at the time. On any account, that is on me not you. Thanks again. You’re like a mentor and you do not know it.
Here is where I am right now and I wanted to get your opinion. I am 45, and I am kind of starring over. My dad who was 66 passed in April and I just know that I am in a point where I need to super pad my retirement. I am a broker/owner. I have a niche in my community where I live. For the first time, I have decided to get an outside office from my home. All these 25 years, I have worked from home office. I am now going to work in an office space.
I have seen ALL of how you ran your business back in the day. You were the ONLY one – running it as the ONLY Broker with your system and staff I am really thinking of taking the next 10 years and doing that. I have 6 agents that are with me; 3 REALLY work. We are a smaller local company, but I do about $$65,000 to $80K a year without working the system hard. I just feel I can work your system like you did back then without all the extra agents.
Do you think this would be a good thing to do or grow a smaller office with about 20 agents?
My office will be done by end of November – 6 offices and 2 baths and a conference room and in the community I work in.
I appreciate your advice.
Emory Whittington, III
A: Hi, Emory. Thanks for the nice words!
- Just pay attention to seller lead generation systems/letters in the books. Getting up 30% of the signs up in your area is your goal. It will be an attraction for new agents also. Everything else comes naturally; consistent seller leads is the hard part.
- At some point, you get tired of selling real estate. It will be nice to fall back on managing and being a broker ten years from now. It will also be nice to start having some tenants pay off the mortgages on some rental real estate.
- I never thought you could be truly effective in your home. Your assistant does not know what is going on, and you cannot manage by walking around.
- Keep your agents. Give them goals and have them commit to one source of seller lead generation. Hold them accountable. Give them many months and 6 warnings to get moving. If they don’t, let them go. I suspect the three that don’t work won’t be there 6 months from now. This will attract top agents to your office. You will need agents to support the overhead and supplement your income when you get tired of selling full-time. If you decide against agents and growing the company, you will really like having a few buyer’s agents for showings.
- I like multiple sources of income. Grow your office, buy rental property, and keep up your personal production for a few more years.
Go get ‘em!
Q: What are some end of the year expired tips and marketing bullet points that I can use? Chad
A: You can use any marketing piece in my books. Call, drop off flyers, call again, and send snail mail.
Don’t miss the major point — the biggest expired day is the first of the year. There is no competition until the agents get back into the office, and even then, they are overwhelmed by the volume of expireds and decide not to go backward on old leads.
Here’s a hit list:
• Call the expired for a fast and to-the-point meeting offering customized marketing plans for their goals
• Explain that sometimes great property does not sell and you can show them why
• Point out that they can take advantage of your innovative marketing, the market’s low rates, and the fact that you’ve started the year off and running
• Share five items that their previous agent didn’t use in trying to sell their home
• Offer to give them $100 should they interview you and choose another agent to sell their home
Good luck in capturing those December 31st expireds!
Q: Hello, Wally. I am a new agent and need to know how to generate leads for buyers. Jacqueline
A: Well, you just cut your lead generation budget in half. The least expensive way to find buyers is to have sellers. Making money means you devise ways of finding, presenting, and obtaining sellers to represent.
Q: I need your advice. I’m thinking about open house signs that say something to draw the traffic: Buy A Property 3.5% Down, $1,100 in Closing Costs, Credit Score as Low as 580 to Buy This Property, etc.
Please give me some ideas. I would like the signs to be larger than all the other run of the mill signs and signs that make people stop. We have many high-end renters in San Diego paying over $2,000 a month in rent who can buy a house but don’t think they can. My goal is to get a couple of buyer agents holding open houses all week long in high traffic areas and getting leads since I can’t pay thousands for Internet leads. Please advise.
A: Be careful. A lot of cities are banning open house signs. Here are some sign ideas:
- Cut out expensive coffee and buy this house
- Build a future with a new home
- Here is the home your wife wants
- Pay less owning than to a landlord
- Build something for the future
- I have sold homes to people with less money than you
- Credit mistakes, I can still sell you this house
Having a coach can provide the right answers when you need it. Below is an exchange with one of our coaching clients and it provided a little “911” for his current situation:
Coaching Client: I went on what I thought was a great listing presentation yesterday. However, the couple would not sign at our meeting. They said they needed to talk. I then felt like something was up.
Walter: On the phone while making the appointment, one of the questions needs to be – “If everything meets with your approval, are you wanting to start the marketing plan tomorrow night when I meet with you?”
Coaching Client: The guy just left me a voicemail saying they loved everything I had to offer; however, they were listing with some schmo that doesn’t do any FRICKIN business.
Walter: Always make it your goal to get the signature! Fake that you are leaving then do the “Columbo” and say, “So, I can email all answers at the office – what are you thinking about so I can do more research for you?”
Coaching Client: They said they had a personal connection that really suggested that they use this guy. I know them as well and I can hear the conversation: the (name) Team are doing just fine and (name) really needs the business. How in the heck do I fight that?
Walter: Let’s not try to fight until you are sure that’s what happened. Call them back. “(Wife’s name) and I are always trying to improve our services. Could you help me by letting me know what I could have done differently to earn your business? Was there anything I could have improved on for you?”
Coaching Client: This other guy doesn’t even know how to spell marketing much less apply it! I am as mad as I have been since getting into real estate. Thanks for any suggestions.
Walter: If that was the REAL reason, you needed to find it out while you were there then counter it by letting them know that more than anything else…an agent makes the difference on the amount a seller nets at the closing. Experience makes a difference in –
- A large buyer database
- More trust from buyers
- More money to spend on marketing
- The ability to convert leads into showings by uncovering needs of buyers and demonstrating how your property fulfills them having experience in negotiating
- Understanding in how to write contracts to prevent post-closing seller litigation
- Having a team who monitors every aspect of the closing successfully
- Overcoming objections and challenges in the most cost-effective manner
Q: Hi, Walter! I’m just trying to get some kind of direction. I am in the Midwest part of country (Ohio), and in our area, a house can sell for $7,000 and up to 1 million. However, there are many $20,000 houses being sold (REO, foreclosures, short sales, D in L). We have prospects wanting us to list their homes so they can do a deed in lieu, and we make NO Money. We have prospects and clients who want to do short sales. These can be even worse because the banks will try and pay LESS and LESS and it is MORE paperwork.
What is your suggestion when you are dealing with the sale of a short sale property on the list side AND do you suggest doing deed in lieus? We are in business to make money and some of these things are just NOT money makers at all.
A: You just don’t know the genius of your question! I was sitting here, a little saddened by the type of “training” offered by some real estate companies. Let me further explain:
We are in a contingency fee business. People are not clients until you let them be clients. At the time you accept them as clients, you will have to work at a loss until close. The loss comes from you having to absorb your overhead. No top real estate agents work transactions of $7,000 or short sales with an uncounseled seller.
Choosing a short sale listing to work means the seller is motivated to do a short sale, has a reason to do a short sale, the lender does short sales, and all the other ingredients of a successful short sale are present. None of my coaching clients work low-priced listing prospects or short sales that have a low opportunity to come to fruition. We work better demographics.
Therefore, my advice to you is to work better demographics and do better seller lead generation so that you can help the people on the phone for a few minutes then send them on their way to one of the agents that work at “some other” real estate company.
When my REALTOR® clients experience a very low priced listing or a short sale that does not meet the pre-determined standards for success, they try to help the client with referrals and advice. They don’t take them as clients. For those of you who are horrified, let me say there are extenuating circumstances. I took very low-priced listings and even a long shot short sale here and there when the client was a long-term referral or repeat business asset.
Now to my real problem with your needing help after 23 years in the business…. You know what you are doing, but I will bet that your training coming from your franchise, board, or other training resource which probably specializes in social media. Nothing wrong with that but it tends to attract people outside the demographic you really want. You need to consistently go after your sphere with value and consistency. You have to go after the expireds with value, consistency, and a filter that will eliminate the type of listings that you do not want. These types of listings might be those that are too far away, types of property you don’t want, and prices that are too low, etc. The same applies to FSBOs, attorneys, CPAs, assisted living centers, and about 40 other demographic groups. You choose your clients rather than only having systems where the clients choose you.
Here is what will happen when you use my system of seller lead generation. Your saleable listing inventory will grow. Buyers will be calling. You will be very busy. When the email or call comes in to list a $7,000 lot or someone needs help on a low closing percentage short sale, you might just advise and refer rather than calling them a client.
With what you know after these twenty-three years, I could make you rich if you concentrate on the profitable business.
Q. I wanted to touch bases with you over agent recruitment….
I have your Super Emails, Letters, and Web Content book and CD, along with your Insider Trading – all of which are working great. I have an average 30 to 50 letters a week going out, along with direct contact and best of all new listings.
As I mentioned about I need help or direction in agent recruitment. After now being my own firm for over 3 years now – I have one agent in Illinois and now I just had one agent join my office here in Charlotte. My goal is to have 4 to 8 in Illinois and I would like at least 20 here in Charlotte. The Charlotte market place is a hot market, over 7000 agents now, and at the peak of the market, they had 11,000 agents. Overall do you have any material or training on the following:
New agent recruitment?
Existing agent recruitment from other offices?
On my website is a career page that does get hits but with no request for information.
I thank you in advance for your direction or advice.
P.S. The weekly kick in the butt video – GREAT!
A. Hello, Brad. Great question! I have been around great recruitment efforts for 30 years and know what works based upon the resources that you have. Whole franchises have formed based upon their own unique offerings. Century 21 used their size, RE/MAX paid out more, Keller Williams gave a piece of the profit, and now Exit offers 10% of the action on the agent you recruit during your career and a spiff continuing after you retire and beyond.
They’re each great ideas and each is working well. What could your unique offering be on a small operation? Here is a plan that top agent would love:
1. Hire agents who bring back an acceptable business plan outlining how they will generate more listings
2. Hold weekly “accountability” meetings to make sure the steps to success are being met. If the goals are not being met, redefine your agent’s goals
3. Keep repeating #2 until your agent has a time-blocked rhythm for consistently generating new listings
4. Give him or her numerous chances prior to warning them that they are not living up to the business plan on which their hiring was dependent
5. Fire the worst in your office after many warnings
6. Do multi-media promotions on your agent’s successes
7. Start interviewing agents with a presentation on how your mentorship program works
8. Your agents will start talking about how the mentorship from you and your managers has helped him or her. The agents in town will find you are different and find that you care.
The income that is produced by you holding them accountable to the most profitable action in real estate (the solicitation and listing of sellers) will not go unnoticed by the industry. After a bunch of success stories, it will be time to hire me, have a seminar, and invite all the top producers in town. You can show them all what a caring broker does to educate and change lives of their agents! You will become a magnet for recruitment as your signs go up all over town.
Q. My Scenario: 20 years’ experience – I am good. Moved to new city – don’t know anyone. What is the best method to get tons of leads quickly these days? I’m in Canada, and expireds are very hard to do.
A. Hi, Rick. Here is what will work meeting my goals of listings only to start and raising your price point:
- Put together a “mover and shaker” database and send them secret property alerts early on your new listings along with mailings regarding unique things you are doing.
- Put together an upper priced farm and break into it quickly with other broker sold cards and numerous URL’s that support a very helpful site where the receivers will visit.
- Put together a consistent FSBO plan that will allow you to dominate this demographic.
This should take you 3-4 months then we will start the second round. You will be fine!
Q. Hi, Walter. (Name Removed) wanted to reconnect with you. Also, she and I wanted to touch base with you regarding some clever promotional ideas that she remembered you mentioned in soliciting high-end property owners.
How do you get them to not immediately toss away a listing letter announcing that we have a buyer for their property and would they consider selling?
A: Make it look special and specialized. Personalize the letter with the inside date, inside address, and salutation line of “Dear Mr./Mrs.” State in the letter if they are considering a sale in the next 6 months that you have a buyer who has been pre-approved by (name the bank). Tell them the features of the area that the clients like. Then send a similar letter to the whole neighborhood. Hand sign each letter. Use window envelopes with a regular stamp. This will appear as a professional package that will not be thrown away, unless they don’t want to sell.
I have a unique problem. I know that’s what everyone says. I have seen you present twice, and I purchased everything you offered. Okay, I haven’t implemented everything, but I never had to!
My challenge is that I live in one of the best real estate markets in North America – Ottawa, Ontario in Canada. Homes sell in an average of 30 days.
I am returning to the industry, after being mentally out of it for the last 5 years though physically working through divorce stuff. I have not been good at keeping in touch with past clients. My bread and butter, FSBOs, is non-existent thanks to (a local website), which is a home marketing system owned by a local REALTOR®.
He puts the listing online or the MLS for $500, a small fee as a mere posting. Meaning, he lists your home and then you are on your own. In certain pockets of the city, (the local website) may have 30% of the listing inventory. People list and wait for buyer’s agents at 2.5% or less to sell their homes. It’s impossible to find out who is a FSBO prior to them going to (the local website), then it’s too late.
RE/MAX Affiliates Realty Ltd.
A: Hello, Jeff. Yeah, the divorce thing is rough. Life is like the real estate business – it’s all about balance. Why are you so worried about FSBOs when you have sphere, assisted living, OBS cards, and about 60 other ways to generate a listing better than the competition? You are going to have to overcome the “(local website)” objection. You are going to hear it at listing presentations, too. In getting ready to answer it, we come up with the value to beat it.
• They are paying 2.5% plus $500 for a sale. Figure out how much less that is compared to what you charge.
• Now, for the little extra money — here is what they get:
- Hours of follow-up: everyone knows that a FSBO cannot follow up on a lead. It makes them look disparate and evokes a lower offer.
- Marketing: if you follow my listing presentation, then you have about 90 additional roads to market the property. The more marketing, the more showings; the more showings, the higher the price.
- Smelling a rat: a FSBO just doesn’t have the nose to smell a bad deal. How many problems have you kept your sellers from making or causing?
- I bet your list to sell ratio beats “(the local website)”
- I bet your days on market beats “(the local website)”
- I bet dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s will save money for the client.
- I know your team approach to closing will save them money.
- I know you will lessen any post-closing litigation.
- I know you will be able to discuss the market and it’s acceptance of the property.
- I know you will be able to email all agents known to have an interest in that type of property for the last 3 years.
- I know you could sell your buyer VIP program that produces more buyers than anyone else.
I could go on for an hour! You get the idea. Any one of the above could save them the money that I mentioned in point #1. Go get them with the above value. Mention it in all of your delivery methods: phone, social media, postcard, blog, your website, direct mail, flyers, door hangers, and go directly after them. I could list 20% of (the local website’s) inventory, if I had access.
However, I wonder why you are so despondent? There are a bunch of other ways that my coaching clients generate listings. I currently have coaching clients in Calgary and Edmonton. We are getting rich. Join the team!
It’s a great business to get rich in!
I know it is very important to try and be the last agent in when booking a listing appointment. What do I do when my assistant is confirming the listing appointment and finds out the seller has booked an appointment with an agent after my scheduled appointment? Is there a script for trying to get it re-booked so we continue to have the last appointment to see the seller?
A: Hey, buddy. Most assistants cannot successfully navigate the last appointment without being clumsy. I assume that you did not make the appointment, so let’s start there.
For every appointment, you should request that you be the last agent to be interviewed. Then reinforce this request, even if there is no concern, with the client. The assistant can say the following:
“I would like to explain why we ask to be the last interviewed. The reason we ask to be the last appointment is so John will better understand your goal of moving to Edmonton. When John is the last agent you interview, you will already have a good idea from the other agents of what’s available in the real estate community to achieve your goal then you’ll also discover the additional and unique tools that John provides beyond other agents. Also, your feedback will be better because you understand the process better. John has found that clients can make better decisions about options when they have more knowledge obtained from earlier appointments. Please call us if another agent makes an appointment after us. We are flexible and can remake this appointment, if necessary.”
If your explanation has been given when the appointment is set and if they later violate that pact, then your assistant can say, “Let’s do this — I have an opening for the same time on Thursday. That actually helps us because John is waiting for another comparable that did not show in the MLS, too. He has some great ideas and is looking forward to meeting you and helping you move to Edmonton.” If there any further problems, your assistant needs to get you involved.
Of course, lesser agents don’t care this much about being the last agent. If you build the value by phone and follow-up with a killer, pre-listing consultation package, your chance of them listing before you get there is low. If you are not the last one in, the chances of them listing with someone else is greater.
You are probably going to be one of the lower priced presentations with one of the higher commissions. You have to sell yourself after they have considered all other offers so you can handle the objections effectively.
The priorities of the pre-listing sales program are the following:
1. Consider the motivation.
2. Evaluate the ability.
3. Make the appointment.
4. Determine competition.
5. Arrange to be the last presenter.
It is funny how agents spend so much time working media but don’t invest the time to understand the real way this business works!
Q: Hello, Walter. I hope you are doing great.
I have a meeting with a builder tomorrow that is looking for a new REALTOR® to sell his new high end homes. The builder is using a REALTOR® from my office named Rick. Rick has a big team and has been in the business for a long time.
Although, the builder says Rick is not doing enough, and he is looking for another REALTOR®. I have set up a meeting with this builder tomorrow, and I was hoping to get some tips from you to land this gig. He is looking for a REALTOR® with aggressive marketing.
A: Here you go, Chuck:
1. You have the time to put into the project.
2. You intentionally hold listings down to manageable levels so that you can devote better marketing.
3. Your marketing is the best.
4. Should someone buy a home from your builder using you, you will sell their home and devote 35% of your commission on the sale of the buyers home to upgrades of their new home.
5. You will set up a webcam so people can watch their homes being built.
6. You will set up a complete website for the project.
7. You will do a REALTOR® barbeque at the project.
8. You will do direct mail to the neighborhoods from where residents are most likely to move up.
9. You will add flyers on the project to the brochure boxes on all your listings.
10. You will have a social media plan.
11. Include the other items already part of your regular marketing plan.
Go get ‘em!
Q: Please give me your thoughts on these. I am putting together the script to overcome these objections.
1. Buyer calls in inquiring about a property or emails in. When we talk to them and ask if they are working with an agent. They say, “I am already working with an agent.” I want us to challenge/question this since obviously their agent isn’t doing their job.
2. Buyer calls in and says “I am calling on behalf or to get information for _____________.” Could be friend, relative, business associate, etc.
Thanks for your input.
A: “Thank you for calling. With all due respect and I hope not to offend you – but you are working FOR an agent. When we work for our clients, we do the calling, we do the research, we show you items not in the MLS, and we get you some listings before the other agents even get them! Add to those items about ten other exclusive services that we offer our clients. Have I earned the right to try to obtain your business and start with the business of finding you a home?”
Use the same script on the second one but ask them to relay it to their friend, relative, associate, etc.
Q: I was wondering if you have a job description for a buyer’s agent. I am planning on bringing on two of them to my team. One will also double as an assistant. I’m wondering how to work the compensation, etc. for each as well. Any suggestions? Thank you.
Peggi from Bend, OR
A: Huge discussion. Do you have any of my buyer materials?
Q: I guess that would cover a lot! I have several books but haven’t seen anything like that. What specific materials should I get?
A: Here is what my coaching clients implement –
- A business based on listings and listing generation, and
- A natural outcome from that activity results in buyers.
Incoming buyer leads are asked 25 questions to determine motivation, asked to obtain pre-approval, and will meet to sign a loyalty agreement before they see property. This eliminates 60% of low-end buyer leads.
We are able to do the above because we offer services that no one else offers. We show them inventory beyond MLS including pocket listings, advertise their needs on our site and in the media, mail to the area they want, contact old matching expireds and FSBOs, contact owners of matching property in our database, guarantee they will be first into any matching property that we list, etc. All this means they will see property through us that other brokers will not show them.
This forces your BAs to generate listing leads by designing ads that sellers call on, talk to expireds and FSBO, do postcard mailings to target neighborhoods, etc.
So, if we can get a BA to handle buyers this way, they will eliminate the junk leads, have a higher closing ratio on the ones that do follow the above steps, and generate listing leads for you want.
They get paid 50/50 on buyers and a 20% referral fee on all listings that you take and sell.
I basically just boiled down 400 pages of forms and systems in the above. The products that most agents start with are Super Emails, Letters, and Web Content, Grow Your Leads: Just Add Walter, Time-Saving Checklists, and Fast Lane Buyer Systems. Call Cyndi at 800.792.5837 and she will take your order for the four above books and media for $500 plus shipping. Good luck!
Q: Hey, Walter! I purchased all your systems and am currently putting them in place. I practice real estate in Edmonton, Alberta. I need to have a great expired program in place but am dealing with this board regulation:
No Use of MLS® System Information for Solicitation
c) Real estate database information may not be used by any Member to target clients of any other Member with offers to provide services. A Member shall not use information from the database for any contact or communication by or on behalf of a Member with a Seller who the Member knows or ought to know has or has had a written Listing Agreement with another Member for a property that has not yet been sold and whose status in the database is either active (A), expired (X), terminated (T), or conditionally terminated ( C).
Any suggestions to get around and still effectively work with expireds. Thanks for any help, I know your time is valuable.
Century 21 A.L.L. Stars Realty
A: Hi, Joel! Just say “NO” to expireds. Nobody takes more chances than I do, but the penalties are just too stiff. If you are doing my stuff, there are people watching you because they are jealous. There are just too many other things to do. I coach the top agent in Calgary so I’m familiar with the region. There is just no way, except to increase all marketing around the expired (not cost effective) and have an expired destination on your website where you invite people to go to by way of your just sold or listed post cards.