Posts Tagged ‘residential real estate’

Realtors Who Want to Increase Sales Are on LinkedIn

Over the years I am continually surprised by the realtors who fail to leverage LinkedIn to increase sales. This is especially true for those selling higher value residential real estate to professional executives.

Now many realtors will tout the marketing advantage of Facebook to increase sales. Yet when it comes to sending traffic to your home page, LinkedIn substantially outperforms Facebook and Twitter.

Marketing Fact: LinkedIn sends nearly 4 times more people than Facebook or Twitter to your home page (Source: iQ Investis)

Specific marketing demographics on LinkedIn provide additional insight (source: LinkedIn):

  • One out of every three executives are on LinkedIn
  • 56% of members are male
  • 44% of members are female
  • 13% of LinkedIn users don’t have a Facebook account
  • 59% of LinkedIn users don’t visit Twitter
  • 13% of millennials use LinkedIn
  • 41% of users visit LinkedIn via mobile
  • LinkedIn users spend 26% of their time on LinkedIn using the mobile app

Of course, these marketing demographics mean nothing if you lack an Ideal Customer Profile.  This profile is the result of a thorough and complete strategic plan.  Unfortunately, many realtors and other small business owners engage in the role of Captain Wing It by spraying their marketing messages all over the wall and then praying something will stick. This spray and pray approach will not increase sales, but rather drains limited resources of time, energy, money and emotions.

Industry insights is the most in demand content by six out of 10 LinkedIn users. (Source: LinkedIn)  What this means for realtors is executives who are buying higher value residential real estate want to know what is happening within the industry or industries of where they are seeking real estate to purchase.  Writing articles or just posting updates  (content marketing) about school performance, taxes, community activities, etc. all provide insight these potential high value buyers are seeking.

One Quick Tip to Improve Visits to Your LinkedIn Profile

Beyond having a headline that goes beyond “realtor” but provides some insight as to why you are different, having a photo secures 21 times more profile views.  Also those LinkedIn Profiles with photos get 36 times for LinkedIn messages.

If you are a realtor and want to increase sales for those higher value residential real estate, then it may make sense to invest some time on LinkedIn just by using the free account.

Want to speak with Leanne to learn more about how to increase sales? Just CLICK HERE to schedule a FREE 30 minute strategy session.

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Real Estate Agents, The Same Flyer 3 Times, Really?

Having put our home up For Sale By Owner, I continue to experience the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes the marketing by local residential real estate agents.  Beyond 95% stopping at three contacts, I have witnessed the same or nearly the same flyer by over 50% of real estate agents who made outreach.

real-estate-agents

Graphic designed by Popovich

This past weekend, I received the third flyer that was exactly the same as the first two flyers from a local residential real estate broker/owner. What was interesting on this flyer was the continued implication that homeowners are uneducated.

Today’s buyers are more educated than ever before.  Many, not necessarily all, understand technology and realize maybe even more so than residential real estate agents the market has changed.

What they deem important is not necessarily important to the buyer of their solutions.

Buyers want effective marketing and sending the exactly same flyer three times is not effective marketing.

Here are some of the “benefits” listed in the most recent flyer I received along with my immediate response:

  • Save thousands on your listing – One can purchase a MLS listing for under $500, actually $350
  • Internet marketing to over 70 websites – First it is not the quantity but the quality of the websites; second technology allows multiple posting through portal sites.
  • Serving Indiana for over 50 years – Good news your firm is established; not so good news you may be engaging in ineffective marketing.
  • Full service personal attention from start to finish – This is expected and should not be listed as a benefit.
  • Member of GNIAR and MLS – Not important to me.
  • We handle all paperwork, negotiation, scheduling, inspections, title work, deep (I think the real estate agent means deed) preparation) – The error in this marketing copy does not give me confidence about your ability to handle paperwork.

Here is what I am interested in if I was to select a residential real estate agent:

  • Sell 95% of the homes at full asking price; 99% sell at not more than a 2.5% price reduction
  • 99% of the homes we close are handled without any glitches
  • We expedite paperwork to ensure closing are scheduled within 3 weeks

Today’s buyers want results!

If your marketing does indicate how your real estate business delivers results, then you are another one of the gray suits of real estate agents instead of a Red Jacket.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Real Estate Agents Why Aren’t You Personalizing Your Direct Mail Marketing?

Believe it or not the residential real estate market has changed.  A study by Caslon & Co. revealed personalized marketing can generate three times the response rate.  Now is the time to accept the fact impersonalized direct mail marketing has gone the way of the Dodo Bird.

direct-mail-marketingPersonalized direct mail marketing has always known to be the better path. Yet excuses of its takes too much time to the inability to write effective marketing messages seem to still justify the use of impersonalized real estate marketing messages.

Given the majority of residential real estate agents do not have that many sales leads, personalization is quite easy, yet impersonalization continues.  Anyone can make a copy of a “canned” marketing flyer, hand write an envelope, put a first class stamp out and drop it in the mail. This is not take rocket science. Worse yet, some real estate agents make copies of a copy and believe that will attract positive attention.

What is forgotten are these 3 sales buying rules:

#1 – People buy from people they know and trust

#2 – People buy first on emotion; justified by logic

#3 – People buy on value unique to them

These 3 sales buying rules are why personalizing direct mail marketing is essential especially when these other two facts are thrown into the decision making process:

#1 – Today’s sellers and buyers are far better educated

#2 – Up to 60% of the buying decision has been made before you have connected with any sellers or buyers

As we are in the process of selling our home through For Sale By Owner, 100% of the direct mail marketing we have received has been:

  • Impersonal
  • Generic
  • No value to us
  • Poorly written or presented
  • Waste of our time to even open or read it

Some of the residential real estate agents’ direct mail messages have attempted the old tricks of:

  • Use fear
  • Sell on commission (money)
  • Use “top rated real estate agent”

Then there is the overriding factor of generally insulting the homeowner by mailing copies of a copy to not answering the phone even when we call the residential real estate agents all who assure us they want our business.  If you can’t answer the phone after the fourth ring, you truly aren’t that hungry for new sales leads.

Personalized direct mail marketing may require a little research regarding the seller of the residential real estate. With today’s Internet, that research can be conducted from any office or mobile device with Internet connections.

If you want to increase sales by securing more sales leads, then begin to invest the time to personalize your residential real estate direct mail marketing.  Stop with the impersonalized letters to what used to work.  Discover what is important to that seller of any home even if they have listed it as For Sale By Owner.  You just may discover selling real estate can become a lot easier and even a lot more fun.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

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Realtors – Leading with Price Is a Bad Sales Strategy

One of the first golden sales rules especially within the service industry is not to ever lead with price.  When salespeople lead with price they established themselves, their small businesses and their solutions as transactional or anyone can do this. Many realtors fail to understand leading with price is a  bad sales strategy.

sales-strategy

Credit www.gratisography.com

For example, after listening our home as For Sale By Owner (FSBO)  one of the first marketing direct mail pieces I received from a local realtor here in Northwest Indiana had the following headline:

How about 3%?

This direct mail piece came without personalization and from a complete stranger.  The realtor felt his time was not worth a phone call.

What this direct mail piece revealed to me he truly did not understand a good sales strategy from a bad sales strategy.

First Sales Buying Rule

People buy from people they know and trust. If you as a salesperson are not known by your intended prospect, then the battle is lost before it has ever begun.

By embracing this buying rule is a good sales strategy. This is why personalization of direct mail works far better than not personalizing it.

Presumptions in Sales Kills Deals

Top sales performers know that presumption (presuming anything about the sales lead) kills deals.  Until the salesperson knows the sales lead’s motivation for buying, then making any presumptions is truly foolhardy.

Returning to the presuming realtor who mailed the impersonal direct mail piece, he presumed I was engaging in FSBO because of commission. This was a false presumption.

My reason for FSBO was directly connected to paying a commission for not earning the commission.  Scheduling viewings is 100% about marketing not selling. I believe in pay for performance and I also have a problem in paying a realtor who is working with a buyer because I am the only one with “skin in the game” so to speak.

Reward Real Sales Performance

As a former commission paid salesperson, I believe sales performance should be rewarded.  However within the residential real estate industry, the compensation is truly backwards with the seller assuming all financial liability. Additionally with residential real estate sites such as Zillow, Craig’s List, to Realtor.com, the sales leads are the ones finding the properties to buy not the realtors. What happens in those instances is the realtor becomes more like an administrative assistant, a scheduler and not a top sales performer.

Returning back to” How about 3%?”, this realtor lead with price as a sales strategy and that was a fatal move because all additional mailing have only reaffirmed in me not ever to work with this person. By the way, since the first direct mail piece, I received two follow up mail pieces.  However, he never called.

Learn How to Convert FSBO into Increase Sales

Sales research shows that the majority of sales up to 80% to 90% are made after the third contact. Expecting poorly written direct mail marketing pieces to earn sales in today’s far better educated residential real estate marketplace is truly a bad sales strategy.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

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Time for the Residential Real Estate Industry to Leave the Stone Age – Part 02

As a seller of something, would you be upset that you have to pay both sides of the commission? In the real estate industry this is truly a Stone Age practice and has not kept up with the evolving marketplace.

real-estate-industry

Compensation – Listing

How realtors are paid only promotes the status quo of the Stone Age.  First, unless the buyer understands how the compensation works in the real estate industry, is good at negotiations, he or she can be tricked into paying far more than should be paid.

In real estate on average, there is a 6% commission.  If the seller lists the home with a realtor, the average commission of 3% is imposed.  Now this first 3% commission may be split between the real estate broker and the real estate agent if they are in fact two different people. The other 3% is for selling the home with the same 50/50 split.

As just shared, the first 3% fee is for marketing the home.  Now marketing the home may include the payment by the realtor into the Sunday classifieds, the local realtor magazines, or in any other paid advertising channels.  Additionally, this fee covers the multiple listing service number (MLS#) cost that ranges from $300 to $350. Finally, all efforts from open houses and any out of cash pocket expenditures by the realtor are recovered in this fee.

Now some realtors will complain or call attention to having to bear the marketing fees without compensation.  Most other industries all bear all marketing costs without compensation especially in the professional service industries.  Yes there are some business coaches, marketing consultants who charge for a first meeting.  However, they are few and far between.

With so many prospective buyers using sites such as Zillow, Trulia, FSBO and Realtor.com, the realtor can become complacent about marketing.  This complacency leads to the realtor becoming an appointment scheduler and truly does not market (attract attention and build relationships with new customers) the home outside of the traditional channels established back in the Stone Age.

Compensation – Selling

In most industries, the buyer pays the commission to the seller.  Unfortunately in real estate industry the seller pays both sides of the commission.  He or she pays for the listing and he or she pays for the selling of the home.

This compensation only reinforces the Stone Age behavior.  And it truly is not about what is best for the seller.

Once again the 3% commission rears its head with the 50/50 split between the broker and the real estate agent as noted previously.

The real problem with this compensation practice is the real estate agent who “sold” the home is not looking out for the seller of the home.  He or she is focused on the buyer unless of course he or she listed the house as well.

Even with the real estate industry having established solid business ethics, I am reminded of this statement:

 “No one can serve two masters.” 

In real estate the seller is being short changed as the real estate agent is serving the buyer. He or she is having to pay 3% for what someone else wants. There is no skin in the game for the buyer outside of property inspection fee.

A friend of mine recently sold her house and the real estate agent who was both the listing agent and the selling agent made this statement to her “These are nice people.”  The implication was “How about reducing the price?”

My friend called the realtor backed and asked “Who are you working for, me or the nice people? If you are working for me, I do not care if the buyers are nice people. What I care about is selling my home at the listed price.”

Another friend on Facebook shared that after agreeing to have her home listed with a realtor, two weeks had gone by and the home still did not have a MLS# and was not up on any sites such as Zillow or Realtor.com.  She was irate that she was paying for this “crappy” marketing and selling. I had to agree with her.

Paul Kennedy as the former co-owner of Riley Real Estate here in Northwest IN who had numerous real estate agents working for him and his late wife said that many involved in the real estate industry “are just plain lazy.” The laziness of real estate agents resulted in Paul and Jackie moving their real estate business from a brick and mortar building to their own home. They actually earned greater profits, made more revenue and sold about the same amount of homes  than having five or more real estate agents.

Paul went on to say “They (real estate agents) want the commission but do not want to work.” He the continued “as in any profession there are always the exceptions.”  Here the 20/80 rule once again surfaces. Twenty percent of those involved in the real estate industry earned 80% of the income or are responsible for 80% of the sales.

Yes the times are changing for the residential real estate industry.  For Sale By Owner listings continue to grow because there are more and more educated sellers and buyers out in the market place.  Possibly it may make sense to heed the words of Peter Drucker:

The purpose of business is marketing and innovation.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

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Time for the Residential Real Estate Industry to Leave the Stone Age – Part 01

The marketplace continues to evolve. Newspapers have gone digital.  Many retail commodities are now purchased online.  On demand buying such as Uber has taken hold. Even the banking industry has embraced technology to retain customers. Yet the “residential real estate industry is still in the stone age” as one of my colleagues Paul Kennedy who previously owned Riley Real Estate in Northwest Indiana along with his late wife Jackie noted.

real-estate-industry

Marketing a Square Wheel

Remember those Sunday or weekday BC or Flintstone comics about the square wheel?  Marketing for the real estate industry is very much like a square wheel. Yes a round wheel works better and has been around for a while, but many realtors are staying with the status quo of the square wheel.

How long must we be exposed to self portrait after self-portrait of the real estate agents?

Isn’t one direct mailing with a picture enough?

What does the continued publication of the picture suggests?

For me, it means the real estate agents are more focused on themselves and less about me as the seller of a home or a buyer of a new home. How many times must I see the same, smiling face that  after numerous exposures appears to be more phony than real?

Then there is the one or two direct mailing with no follow-up phone call.  Sales research suggests at least 4 contacts are required to make a sale. And technology makes finding phone numbers far easier.  Of course the do not call list may present a problem. However, an effective salesperson can overcome that obstacle.

Sales research has always been part of marketing specific to ideal customer, market place, etc.  In the real estate industry, the main research is around the listing price of comparable homes in the area. No other or very little research is conducted on the buyer or seller.

The Internet allows much more research specific to the seller or the buyer of the home.  Very few realtors go beyond the comparables and actually research buyers or the actual sellers of the property. Pre-qualification of a buyer is not sales research nor is it a benefit as some really bad real estate marketing attempted to tell me.  This falls into ideal customer profile demographics as to what is the budget?

Finally most savvy salespeople know that “telling ain’t selling.”  This is also true with marketing. Marketing ain’t selling and yet the real estate industry appears to be stuck in this rut of telling, telling and more telling with an emphasis on “look at me” through all the self-portraits.

Part Two will examine compensation as another reflection of how the real estate industry is stuck in the Stone Age.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

 

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