I've been on a bit of a mission these past two weeks. Debra has a great handle on the loans and keeps our office running smoothly so I decided to stay out of the office and in front of real estate agents. I met with over 20 agents in June and asked each one of them "What's working for you today?". Here are some of the responses:
- Door Knocking- one agent said that his most effective tactic was to solicit listings by introducing himself, in person, to homeowners. He is committed to doing this twice a week.
- Just Listed/Just Sold Post Cards: the agent described this perfect "investment" to me. She mentioned that she'll spend $2500 on post cards to generate 2-3 listings, which will produce $30,000 in gross fees
- Absentee Owners Post Cards: two agents picked a town, found 500 investment property owners, who live more than 90 miles away, and mail a postcard to them every six weeks. It's the exact same postcard and directs the recipient to a blog site which publishes just listed/just sold stats. They have over 100 people who have "opted-in" to their investment newsletter and have closed 8 transactions from this strategy in the past 12 months.
- Geographic Farming: I met an agent and a coffee shop (for the first time) and the barista asked if he was a REALTOR as soon as we walked in. The barista remarked that he has "known him since he was a little kid". The remarkable thing about that comment is that the agents has only been in business for ten years (he started when the barista was in junior high school). This agent told me that he still "farmed", via direct mail and local newspaper advertising, and that the "farm" was located about a mile from the coffee shop.
- Referral Prospecting: One newer agent told me that she has closed about 25 transactions in the past four years; mostly buyers. She made an effort to try to take each homeowner to lunch, beginning in January. At the end of the lunch, she thanked them for their business and asked if they know anyone they should be speaking to about buying a home. She just took her 20th past client to lunch last week and has closed 9 transactions, year-to-date with three more in escrow. She's on target to close 18-20 this year. She has literally tripled her business from this strategy. The cost ? About $500.
- Telemarketing Expired Listings: A newer agent focuses strictly on calling recently expired listings. She starts at 7AM, each morning, and has an appointment by 9:30AM each day. She literally drives directly to the house when the home owner agrees to meet her and wins 25% of the engagements. She lists 4-6 properties monthly, carries a dozen listings at any given time, and is on track to close 40 transactions this year.
You'll notice that none of these strategies has anything to do with online marketing or social media. Each one is very "old school". When I directed the conversation to social media, each agent remarked that their weblog was the most effective source of business. When I talked about Facebook as a business generator we found the results to be much more effective. Agents who successfully initiated and participated in online conversations found that Facebook was the most effective medium online to generate appointments.
PS: An agent emailed me, after reading this article, to ask what MY best business development practice is. That's simple; getting in front of agents and asking this very question. Don't be surprised if you get a call from me asking you to have a cup of coffee :)