In the real estate business, time is much too valuable to spend it doing things the hard way. By implementing specific systems that make your business run more efficiently, you are giving yourself confidence and reassurance that nothing in your work life will slip through the cracks.
You will also find that you save a considerable amount of time and money by condensing the real estate process into a series of strategies and methods that really work. There are four main areas of the real estate business that beg for the implementation of a specific system for getting things done efficiently and effectively. If you do not have a system in place for these key areas, here are a few ideas on how to get started.
The Buyer Process
Utilizing specific systems will help you to establish instant rapport and credibility with your buyers and will streamline the entire buying process for both of you.
Develop a buyer questionnaire: Help your clients clearly explain their needs and desires by using a thorough questionnaire. This should cover home preferences, community preferences and readiness and ability to buy.
Set an appointment for an initial counseling session: When you have found prospective new buyers, it is important to sit down and have a brief informative interview with them before you start showing homes. During the interview, use the “buyer questionnaire” to find out as much information as possible from your clients regarding their wants, needs and overall preferences in buying a home.
Use the “Three Deep” questioning method: Suppose a couple tells you that the most important factor in a new home is a big backyard. You might tend to jump to the conclusion that this means a half-acre lot, but when you ask them, “What is a big yard to you?” their answer surprises you–the couple has always lived in apartments and anything with a 10-by-10-foot backyard would be fine. “Three Deep” questioning allows potential buyers to describe their overall vision to you more clearly.
The Listing Process
There are thousands of ideas out there for great advertising and marketing. But the secret to a successful marketing campaign is dependent more upon following a specific calendar-based system for completing your marketing tasks. This will provide you with a more effective program with lower stress and less wasted time and money.
Decide your total marketing budget for the year: A good rule of thumb is committing 2 percent of last year’s income to marketing activities. This will provide you with a specific guideline to manage your spending.
Schedule tasks for the entire year: After finalizing your list of marketing tasks for the year, schedule each of them in advance on a yearlong calendar. This will help you avoid the pitfalls of not getting around to specific marketing activities because of lack of time or proper organization.
Commit to regular ads in publications that work: Rather than buying random, one-time ads from quick-talking salespeople, plan ahead and develop a consistent campaign in targeted publications that have proven to be effective in the past.
Keep sellers updated on marketing and progress during the listing period: Send periodic letters to your sellers to let them know the steps you have taken to market their home. This simple tactic will show your clients your overall commitment to professionalism and help make them feel they are well informed throughout the process.
The Post-Sale Process
It is important to follow up after a sale to create repeat business. Today’s buyer is tomorrow’s seller. If all you do after the sale is deposit your check, it is time to put a system into place for your post-sale follow-up. Here are a few ideas:
Congratulations letter or card: Shortly after the close, mail a letter that thanks the clients for their business and congratulates them on their recent sale of purchase. If you have team members, have them sign the card.
“Just Sold” postcard: Send out a “Just Sold” postcard or a “Welcome Your New Neighbors” postcard to the neighbors of the property.
“Quality of service satisfaction” survey: You can then use the information you receive as a source for client testimonials on future marketing materials. Be sure to thank your client for completing the survey and address any areas they listed that were unfavorable.
Develop a task list: As with any system, you will need a way of ensuring that all of your follow-up tasks are completed after each and every sale. Develop a task list that you can check each item off as it is completed.
The Administrative Process
Work on your business, not in your business, by developing specific systems that streamline the process of completing the administrative functions of your job. Whether you sell 40 homes a year or 400, you will automatically see an increase in your sales volume because your team members will be well-trained and empowered with knowledge, accountability and good support systems that will make your business profitable.
Develop a Review System: It is important to have a specific system in place for the job review process. Develop a formal review process after 90 days, six months and annually. Use a form that lists the job duties and the still set needed to perform them.
Create a procedure manual: This will be very effective in smoothing out the office function and defining clear roles for each member of your team. This could be a simple, 3-ring binder with a page about each task from opening the office, to inputting a new listing into the database to processing a closing.
Develop a hiring system that helps you find the right person for the job: Get started by making a detailed list of every task necessary to run an efficient business and a tactical profiling system that supplements your interviewing process to help you determine the best candidates.
Howard Brinton is a real estate sales motivational speaker and the founder and CEO of Star Power Systems, a sales training organization that offers tapes, books, videos, conferences and a club that distributes selling techniques from the nation’s top producers.
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