When the market shifts, so does the consumer’s mindset. In a rising market, abundance rules. Buyers are confident and sellers reap the benefits of that high consumer confidence. Everyone is happy. And then…they’re not. The abundant market mindset shifts to a scarcity market mindset and now the blissful days of multiple offers are gone. Heck, buyers and sellers don’t even trust each other any more! (Many won’t trust you, either! So gird your loins and see last month’s article on Shift Tactic One – Get Real, Get Right.) Fewer buyers can afford to or are willing to pay market value for a home. And, fewer sellers can afford to or are prepared to sell their home for market value. So what does that mean for you?
It means you need MORE LEADS! You need more leads than ever before! Because out of an increasing supply of leads you’ll find that you’ll have a much better chance of finding the motivated, those who truly need to move. As a real estate agent, you have two jobs: 1) helping people buy and/or sell real estate; and, 2) Lead Generation! Without the second, however, the first will never happen. Gary Keller says that dealing with the business you have should never take precedence over finding new business…NEVER! So, what’s an agent to do when the market shifts and the leads start to dwindle?
The first step is to fall as much in love with finding clients as you already are with helping them. Lead generation is quite simply a set of skills and tasks that you can learn. If you aren’t willing to learn (or recommit yourself to) these skills and tasks, and you’ve been riding the wave of a good market, you may find yourself waking up to a sad reality in a downward shift. If you don’t get over your fear (or dislike) of lead generation, you’ll likely find that you’ll have to get out of the business. There are three key steps to maximizing your lead generation efforts in a shift:
- Stop doing what doesn’t work – You have limited time and capital so stop wasting either on what doesn’t work. How do you know what doesn’t work? It’s all about tracking. You must become a master tracker of everything: expenses, activities, sources, results. Grab a notepad and jot down your top 10 lead sources. Next, write down how many leads you’ve received from each of those sources over the last few months. Now, drop the bottom five. Focus your efforts on the top five sources and track your results. Repeat this activity monthly until you have determined and mastered your top 3-5 lead generation strategies. (Note: if you find that your current lead generation strategies are not yielding strong results, you may indeed have to find new sources of leads. Work with you coach or team leader and play “red light, green light” until you have a consistently positive ROI.)
- Figure out what works – In addition to getting focused on the lead generation strategies and sources that yield a sufficient quality/quantity of leads, you must also craft a message that matches your market. Your market consists of your targeted audience and their issues and motivation as well as the issues and condition of the market itself. Your message must answer the questions “Why should I choose you as my agent?” and “What’s in it for me?” Each offer should elicit a response which results in your setting an appointment, receiving a referral, or building the relationship. Remembering to focus on being prospecting-based, marketing-enhanced, you may decide to create and share “Best Buy” lists at your open houses, free reports for FSBO’s, free CMA’s for expireds, home buying toolkits at home buyer seminars, market update newsletters to your database, neighborhood updates with circle prospecting, or small gifts for homeowners at client events. Again, remember it’s “red light, green light” with your precious resources of both time and money!
- Ramp it up – An inconsistent lead generation approach will undoubtedly generate inconsistent leads. You must build a fortress around your lead generation and defend it with all your might! Until lead generation is done every morning, everything else is simply a distraction. Time block daily and execute without fail. It’s the only way to ensure you have a sufficient number of leads in a shifted market. I teach my clients to do their “Hour of Power” on Sunday afternoon/evening. They spend one hour preparing for the week ahead so that Monday morning they are ready to lead generate with energy and confidence. Imagine if you will the following week:
- Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 8:30-11:30 you’re prospecting on the phone with your sphere of influence, past clients, pipeline prospects, allied resources, FSBO’s, expireds, open house visitors, etc. You’re making purposeful calls and asking for business.
- Thursday from 8:00-11:00 you’re prospecting in the field having coffee with your sphere, doing pop-by’s for past clients, having lunch with your advocates, knocking on doors in your farm, or stopping by the FSBO’s in your area.
- Friday from 8:00-11:00 you’re tackling all of the marketing for your business, working on flyers, web updates, database updates, newsletters, postcards, etc.
Add in another 1-2 hours one evening during the week to catch up with the people you couldn’t reach in the morning hours and you’ve got a lead generation schedule that’s sure to pay off! (Note: if you want to know how your three hours of lead generation time block breaks down, check out my blog post “3 HOURS?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME???!!!” to learn about the activities that will fill that critical time block.)
Now that you’ve got a plan to “find the motivated,” it’s time to share that plan with the people who can hold you accountable: your coach, your team leader, your team, and your family or friends, anyone whose support and encouragement is critical to your success. In real estate your environment must support your goals, so enlist as much support as you can and DECIDE to Shift with the market. After all, it’s How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times!
Tune in next month for “Shift Happens: Tactic Five – Get to the Table – Lead Conversion”! Preparing Real Estate Agents for the inevitable market shift!