The kids are back to school and the fall selling season is upon us. What can you do to take advantage of this great time of year before winter sends seasonal chills through the real estate market?
The old adage, “Make hay while the sun shines,” may have special significance if our upcoming winter is anything like the one we had this year. Here are five useful strategies that will keep your business humming throughout the fall and well into 2015.
1. Mark Oct. 23 on your calendar
On Oct. 23, the National Association of Realtors will be taking sign-ups that will allow you to use a .Realtor extension as opposed to a .com or .net extension for your personal website. While you will definitely want to grab “your name.Realtor,” the NAR video indicates that you can purchase more than one domain.
This is a HUGE opportunity to tie up additional domains that incorporate a ZIP code (see the rules for choosing domain names). The ZIP code domains have extraordinary potential since many Web visitors search by street, city and ZIP code. This is one time where being an early adopter can really pay off.
2. Get a jump on your business plan
Approximately 90 percent of all agents lack a business plan. If you don’t have a business plan, here’s an easy way to make one.
First, obtain a printout of all of your 2014 closed transactions. Next to each address, note as much information about each closed transaction as possible, preferably on an Excel spreadsheet. (You can use columns on a sheet of paper if you prefer.)
The columns should address where each transaction originated (referral, Web, paid lead, open house, etc.); the price; area/subdivision; approximate age of your clients; marital status; kids or no kids; your clients’ job or profession; listing or buyer, as well as any data you have about their lifestyle and recreational activities.
Next, look for patterns. In what price range and in what two locations are you selling the most property? How did each of your clients find you? Do most of your clients come from one or two specific professions? Are their ages, family status and lifestyles similar? What do your clients have in common with each other? More important, what do they have in common with you? While you may not find commonalities in each category, pay special attention to those areas where you do.
Now here’s your simple business plan: Devote 90 percent of your time to prospecting for more clients like the ones you have already attracted, paying special attention to the activities that generated those leads. Also, make staying in contact with past clients a top priority.
3. Capitalize on the “three season punch” for evergreen marketing materials
Whether it’s a single flaming sycamore tree in the local park or a beautiful mountain panorama, these types of photos and videos are “evergreen” in that they can be used for many years in your print, online and social media marketing campaigns.
The great thing about the late summer/early fall is that you can capture three seasons in less than 90 days. With the leaves already turning in certain parts of the country, you have only a few weeks to catch the beautiful green summer foliage. Take pictures and videos of the unique summer fun activities of your local lifestyle. This can include water skiing, cookouts, sitting poolside, hiking, biking, etc. In the fall and early winter, capture the best of each season in your area. The great shots you take now can form the foundation for your marketing throughout the year.
Here’s a great example: One innovative agent decided that she would photograph the front of every home in her farm area during the summer. That winter her summer photos helped her to capture and sell more listings. The reason? Her photos stood out from the snow-covered competition.
4. Five holidays in eight weeks — take advantage of them
Does your local area have a pumpkin patch, Halloween carnival or haunted house? Do the owners in your market area decorate their yards with ghosts, goblins and pumpkins? Does your local area have a Veterans Day parade? Do the homeowners in your market area have a competition for the homes or blocks with the best holiday decorations? If so, be sure to take as many photos and videos as possible. If you are holding open house, use these holidays as a theme for your open houses. You can also use the pictures and videos in both your online and offline marketing campaigns.
5. Make time to give back
Anytime is a good time to give back to others. To illustrate how this can help grow your business, an agent wasn’t getting the results he wanted from his SEO marketing campaign. He decided to take that money and contribute it to a local food bank. He also took his daughter to volunteer at the food bank every Saturday afternoon. During this time, his business increased by 15 percent.
In Steve Kantor’s book, “Billion Dollar Agent: Lessons Learned,” two-thirds of the billion-dollar selling agents Kantor profiled attributed their service to their community as primary source of leads for their businesses.
There’s no better time than right now to gear up for fall selling season. Select the new domain names you will register on Oct. 23, evaluate your business year to date to determine where to generate the best results from your prospecting, and capture as many “evergreen” pictures and videos during this great time of year.
Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Discover why leading Realtor associations and companies have chosen Bernice’s new and experienced real estate sales training for their agents at www.RealEstateCoach.com/AgentTraining and www.RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.