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P.815.929.9258 P.815.929.9200

walter@waltersanford.com

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The Agent Turnover System January 16th, 2009 | Posted in General Real Estate

Agents are always leaving the business no matter if the market is great or rotten.  In great markets, they leave because they move or retire.  In rotten markets, they leave because they were never trained or they do not have the motivation to find the systems necessary for a tough market.  Great markets make mediocre agents look great; in fact, great markets can even make mediocre agents profitable.  It is only about eighteen months into a tough market that we find some of the mediocre agents do not have the necessary tools to create the needed activity to run a real estate business, whether as an individual agent or a whole office.  These mediocre agents, of course, blame it on the market and fail to look around at other agents who are actively creating income by solving client’s needs no matter how bad the market gets.  This phenomenon is natural and realistic. It should be expected and a plan should be created to handle it.

In this chapter, we will review two systems for agent turnover.  These systems were responsible for increasing my net worth as a real estate agent.  Both systems took advantage of the opportunities left after a good agent leaves the market place. 

1. “The Orphaned Client” system. 
The orphaned client system is a fairly simple system.  Simply talk with your broker (at any point in your career).  Let him or her know that you are available to absorb the unsolicited clients that were left behind by a parting associate.  The broker’s job is always to grow and gain market share, therefore he or she should be willing to see one of their current agents spend the money and time to make sure the company client is kept happy and continues to do business with the firm. 

I must warn you that sometimes giving your broker this idea will allow him or her to implement the system! I have found this rarely happens as most brokers do not compete against their own real estate agents.  Please ask your broker to allow you access to all of the closed files to any of the agents who have left the firm.  Ask permission to transfer into your database the buyer and seller information from that agent.  Add these people to a separate database and start the solicitation process. 

The first solicitation should be by direct mail since you will find E-mail addresses are rare and sometimes phone numbers are frustrating.  Though the letter will be prepared by you, please ask your broker to sign it.  On the following page is the letter that I used:
 

Date

Name
Address
City, ST  ZIP

Name:

My name is (insert broker’s name), and I am the broker/owner of (company name).  I have noticed in a past file that you were the (buyer/seller) of the property at (address).  The agent who handled this transaction no longer works for our firm, but we wanted to maintain the same high service standards that we are known for by our existing clientele.  I have taken the liberty of assigning one of our top agents to your account.  This agent, Walter Sanford, will be contacting you soon to make sure that your file is updated and all your needs are known to our office. 

We offer many services that you may not be aware including helping you with advice on when it is time to refinance a mortgage or offering you unique inventories of investment property that possibly no one else will show you.  We also have many services that clients utilize like our property tax reassessment service, free 48-hour phone value service, and introductions to team members and vendors you might find valuable in your ownership of real estate.

It is our goal to become a continued asset to your real estate making decisions and to develop a client for life.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact Walter Sanford with (company name).  I have given him access to your file.  Once again, he will soon be calling to make sure your needs are updated.

Thank you for being a past client of (company name).

Sincerely,

Broker Name
Company Name
As you can see, we are trying to use the clout of the real estate broker to get your foot in the door to find out a client’s needs.  Once the phone call is made, the script is simple.  All you will be doing is reintroducing yourself, reminding them of the letter, and asking them if they have any needs in the next 24 months.  Furthermore, you will have an additional goal of updating their contact information and confirming that it will be okay for you to contact them on a regular basis, as per our database solicitation chapter outlines.  This orphaned client concept was extremely valuable for the start of my original business.

2. The “Vacant Real Estate Building” System

This system is a lot of fun, and it can also be quite lucrative.  As you hear about real estate firms closing for reasons unknown, please try to buy their phone number from the phone company.  Once you hear of a closing or closed real estate firm, know that one of the first things they let go is a phone number. 

Sometimes this phone number has been aggressively promoted for years.  I was successful in calling the phone company every week until that phone number became available.  At that time, I would buy it and add it to a back line on a phone that was answered in my office.  The phone was always answered “Real estate services.  How may I help you?”  We would then do our best to help the client. 

The reason why this system is so successful so many times is that clients are left with bushels of paperwork with the old phone number on it.  When they have questions or are in need of additional services, they use that file as a source for that phone number.  I would like for you to be the one who takes advantage of that incoming phone call. 

3. The “Agent Has Left the Building” System

This system is similar to the others, but this one is triggered by your knowledge of an agent leaving the business or going to leave the business.  The offer is simple: why should they leave all of their hard work behind without earning any additional fees?  Many outgoing agents think about this, prior to leaving and offer their database to an agent who is not as experienced as someone like you.  It is in your best interest to offer a pre-emptive strike by contacting these agents.  Let them know that you have the best database program in the area therefore you will consistently solicit their already happy, past client list.  You will contact them with help for their family, friends, and co-workers’ transactions and their own investment on future transactions. 

You are one-step ahead because you are making the suggestion with a ready-to-go system in place to maintain a seamless contact system with their client base that is soon to be abandoned.  Please contact these outgoing agents with an offer to pay them something upon the successful solicitation and closing of a client in their past client database. 

There are many formulas of payment for these leads.  I have seen them successfully negotiated at a 25% referral fee for four years.  You can get more complicated and more expensive, based upon the size and quality of the previous agent.  Remember, the acquisition of an already solicited and happy database is a huge asset! 

Once I had lunch with this agent, offered the idea, agreed upon a compensation program, their part of the deal was to actually sign a series of three letters that were sent within a six-week period after the agent signed off from the business.  These letters were at my own cost, but they would look like they came from the client’s original real estate agent.  If the agent used personal stationery or letterhead, you will need to acquire it.

Here are the three letters that were signed by the outgoing agent as I signed the agreement to pay the referral fees once the database was turned over to me.

 
Date

Name
Address
City, ST  ZIP

Name:

I wanted to let you know that I have been thinking much about my eventual completion of my real estate career in this area.  My past clients have always been very good to me with client referrals.  One of the things that is important to me before I (insert whatever the agent is going to do; i.e. retire, move, etc.) is make sure that my client base is well-represented. 

I have been in discussions with Walter Sanford, who I believe may be one of the top agents in the area.  Walter specializes in a very personal but systematic completion of a client’s goals.  I was surprised to find that Walter spends so much time in pre-counseling buyers and sellers to find their true needs before customizing a marketing plan or system to achieve those needs.  If you have any problem with me bringing Walter up to speed on our past transactions, your needs, and/or how you like your real estate transactions to be completed, please let me know in the next thirty days. 

It will be my goal to make sure that you do not feel any distress from this transition and that, in fact, hopefully you will find that Walter can exceed your expectations just like I always tried to do.

If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to give me a call at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

Agent’s Name
Company Name

 
The second letter should be sent four weeks after the first letter. 

Date

Name
Address
City, ST  ZIP

Name:

At this point, I am getting ready to close down my real estate practice and move on to (whatever the future endeavor might be). 

This week, I will be talking with Walter Sanford.  I feel that he is the best person suited to meet your future real estate needs.  At this meeting, I will be bringing Walter up-to-date on some of the notes that I have taken about your past real estate needs.  I will make sure that he understands any special situations regarding your account.  I will also ask Walter to add you to his E-mail newsletter and offer other services that he has available on his site at www.waltersanford.com in the next sixty days.  Furthermore, I have asked Walter to speak directly with you about any real estate needs that are imminent.

Once again, it is my goal to make sure that any anxiety about the transition or inconvenience that you might have would be completely eliminated by Walter’s intervention.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to call Walter at 815.929.9258 or E-mail him at walter@waltersanford.com.  Please mention that you are one of my past clients and he will guarantee to get back with you in a 24-hour period. 

Once again, I want to tell you how much I enjoyed my career and working with you.

Sincerely,

Agent’s Name
Company Name
Two weeks after letter number two, this last letter in the series was mailed:

Date

Name
Address
City, ST  ZIP

Name:

I hope you have seen some information from Walter Sanford, such as a newsletter, an E-mail, an offer to subscribe to his blog, or an offer to sign up for some free web-based services.  Possibly, Walter may have already spoken with you.  Because my client base is extensive, it might take some for him to call you, if he has not done so already. 

I wanted to address any anxieties or concerns that you might have at this point.  I would be happy to have a conference call with Walter and you regarding any activities with which you would like to be involved.  I am available for a conference call between now and the next thirty days

As it was true in my career, it is important for you to feel comfortable during any real estate transaction and to make sure Walter understands the nuances that you prefer in completing a real estate transaction.

Once again, thank you for being my client.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at (insert number) or E-mail me at (E-mail address).

Sincerely,

Agent’s Name
Company Name

 

As you can see, the solicitation of vacating real estate agent’s database can be quite lucrative especially if that real estate agent was one of the top agents in the area.  I hope that you can take advantage of the opportunities that are left in the wake of an agent leaving your community.  Let them know that you have a pro-active plan to maintain a steady stream of service to their clientele.

3 Responses to “The Agent Turnover System”

  1. Thanks, great idea…when are you going to be in so.csl. San Fernando Valley? Happy new year.

  2. Roopa Syed says:

    A new, creative way of generating business leads. thanks

  3. tom duffy says:

    I like these blogs. They are all applicable to both commercial and residential practice.

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