The goal of every real estate agent or broker is to learn how to close more deals. The solution to this common problem in the real estate industry has two parts: 1) Getting more traffic, i.e., more leads, your way and 2) Closing the deals with them at a higher rate, i.e., enhancing your productivity. Here we offer you 8 absolutely practical and doable tips on how to tackle these two issues to give your career the boost it deserves in 2019.
1. Start Generating Qualified Leads Only
As a realtor, you already know that not all leads are created equal. Some have their finances figured out, have a mortgage pre-approval, know exactly what kind of house they want, and are ready to buy the moment you provide them with the right property. Meanwhile, others are just looking around, still exploring their financing options, and having no clue what home they want. The latter might need months or even years before they feel prepared to move forward with the purchase process.
If you want to increase your productivity as an agent, you have to focus on working with the former type of leads only, which means that you have to establish a lead generation and qualification system for your business. One option is to learn how to qualify the leads which come your way. You should put down a series of questions which you ask a client when they first approach you in order to understand how serious they are about the purchase. You need to be careful about the questions which you ask and the way you ask them because you don’t want to sound intimidating, condescending, or uninterested as that’s the fastest way to lose leads and clients. Some questions you can ask nicely and politely include:
• Have you previously bought or sold a home?
• What’s your budget and what are your financing options? Do you need help in this regard?
• What type of home are you looking for? What size? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? What other features are you interested in?
• What’s the exact location where you’d like the house to be?
• What’s your timeline?
Another approach you can take is to sign up for a lead generation program. While paying for leads has many opponents in the real estate industry, that’s one of the most efficient, fastest, and – ironically – cheapest (time is money after all, right?) way to grow your business, especially if you are still a new agent struggling with the tough competition for qualified leads. Of course, you should not just go for the first lead gen program which comes your way, as there are many of them out there. You should select one which allows you to evaluate and qualify the leads they send you and work only with those whom you consider fully qualified. This is the only way to guarantee satisfaction with the program.
2. Consider Working with Investors
Working with real estate investors is a frequently underestimated niche in terms of importance. However, if you are in search of qualified leads who will not only close deals faster but also close more deals, you should consider property investors.
A recent study by the National Association of Realtors Research Department shows that currently people buying homes plan to live in them for a median of 15 years before moving to a new home, while 18% of homebuyers plan to not change their home at all. This means that generally speaking once you close a deal with a homebuyer, you cannot expect to do business with them any time soon, if at all. Let’s you do the math. If you stay in real estate for 30 years, you can only sell two houses to an average homebuyer.
Meanwhile, investors aim to buy as many properties as they can. They use the rental income and the appreciation from the properties they already own to add new ones to their real estate investment portfolios. This means that if you opt to specialize in working with investors, you are much more likely to have repeat clients than if you work with homebuyers. Many investors buy a new property every 2-3 years, while others purchase multiple properties every single year.
Another benefit of selling to qualified investor leads is that investors tend to close deals faster than homebuyers. They have no emotional attachment to the property, regardless of whether they are buying or selling. For them it’s all business, so as long as you’ve found them a profitable investment property property, they are ready to move forward. Some of them would not even want to see the property, provided that the rental property investment analysis looks good. In addition, property investors have more access to finances (such as conventional mortgages, cash, equity, hard money lenders, private money lenders, syndication, crowdfunding, partnerships, etc.) than homebuyers. That’s another reason why you can close sales faster with investors.
3. Focus on Referrals
Another strategy with which you can secure more sales in 2019 is to actively seek more referrals. Look at this as another way to get better qualified leads. Referrals could be clients you get from other agents or from other people you know. The first step in this regard would be to agree on and formalize a referral program with some of your colleagues in the area and beyond. This should be an agreement which is of mutual benefit.
Another thing you can and should do is to start keeping in touch with your past clients, particularly those who were very satisfied with the services which you provided to them. Put efforts into sending your past clients messages and cards on holidays or even randomly. They will appreciate the fact that you are still thinking about and remembering them even though you are not working together anymore. And the moment they are ready to buy or sell again or hear of someone else who is about to engage in a real estate transaction, you will be the first agent who will come to their mind. Keep in mind that these referrals will be highly qualified. This small investment in terms of your time will be worth every minute.
In addition, anyone who wants to succeed as an agent or a broker needs to start working on building a strong network from their day one in the business. This network should include other real estate professionals as well as random people who know about your business. Once again, the members of your network with soon start sending qualified leads your way.
4. Ace Your Digital Marketing Strategy
We live in the 21st century, and that’s a fact. This means that most homebuyers or investor buyers will first check the internet before going to any other place when they need an agent to buy or sell with. What that means for you as an agent who wants to enhance the sales process in 2019 is that you need to build a strong online presence for yourself and your business. Start out by creating a specialized real estate website (hire a professional to do that for you) and publishing good content on it on regular basis, preferably daily. On your website you can not only promote your active listings but also showcase your successes, have testimonials from past clients, talk about the current state of the local housing market, and share local events and news. Don’t forget to make the best out of high-quality, professional-looking photos for any content which you publish.
However, having a good website will not be enough nowadays. You also have to have a strong presence on social media including all various channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Each one of those attracts a different audience and suits different types of content, so do good research on the topic and put together a social media strategy for your real estate business.
5. Become an Expert
No one can be the best real estate agent for every single type of property and all kinds of buyers and sellers across the entire state. Maybe early in your career it makes sense to try out a few different niches in order to find yours. But put efforts into selecting your own real estate niche relatively quickly and then work on becoming the best in it. Do everything possible and required to be the top performing agent in your local market for single family homes, or teacher sellers, or investor buyers, you name it. It doesn’t matter what your niche is as long as you are the expert in this. In this way, clients from this niche will soon start flocking to your agency.
6. Build a Real Estate Team
Once your business starts growing with more sales, you will need to build a strong team to support you in your day-to-day tasks. Building a team is not simply about hiring a few professionals and putting them to work together. It is about choosing the right individuals and helping them function as one. When you have different people taking care of different aspects of your business, this will push up your productivity and allow you to close deals faster and more efficiently.
7. Continue Learning All the Time
Don’t become one of those real estate agents or brokers who erroneously assume that the learning process ends the moment you get your license. To the contrary, being a successful agent is a never ending learning process. You should dedicate a special part of your budget to take classes on various aspects of the business such as marketing, management, sales, and others.
Another crucially important part of the learning process is to always stay on top of trends in the housing market. You have to be extremely knowledgeable not only of the local real estate market but also of the national one, and even the international one. There are so many free sources of information and data out there that you simply have no excuse to remain ignorant.
8. Utilize Technology
The final thing which you should do in order to boost your productivity is to use the technology available to real estate agents. This refers to communication, customer relations, listings, and anything else you can think of. If you decide to work with investors, remember to use investment property analysis software to find the most lucrative rental properties for clients. Technology will help you close more deals faster and more effortlessly.
If you feel ready to give your real estate career a boost this year, just follow the 8 tips above. In this way, you will soon start making sells faster and more efficiently and grow your business beyond your own targets.
Daniela Andreevska is Marketing Director at Mashvisor, a real estate analytics tool which helps real estate investors and agents quickly find lucrative traditional and Airbnb investment properties. A research process that’s usually 3 months now can take 15 minutes. Moreover, we connect investors ready to buy a property with top performing agents in the local housing market.