After a fast and frantic 18 to 24 months hustling properties, many of you have communicated that you have hit your own personal seasonal slowdown.
That’s totally understandable, because you were so busy working in your business while the market was smoking hot that you might not have taken the time out to work on your business.
If you are worried about your fourth quarter, here are 10 little things that you can do today to build your business tomorrow.
If all 10 don’t strike your fancy, that’s fine, but choose a handful that speak to you and give them your all … your future business will thank you for it!
1. Give your database a little love.
If you don’t already have a database uploaded to a good platform, then you are missing out on some automated marketing, as well as the opportunity to target your different audiences through custom marketing pieces designed to reach people where they spend the most time: their email inbox. Turn up some tunes and dig in! Use that CRM, that Happy Grasshopper or Rezora account, or even a simple spreadsheet, for goodness’ sake … and if you don’t have one, it’s time.
Start with a free version of Contactually, Top Producer or just use Google Contacts. I’m not pushing any particular product here (there are so many to choose from, certainly one for every workstyle), but after almost a decade in the business as an agent, and now observing the 60 agents in my office, I can tell you that agents who have a database and manage it with intention and consistency succeed. And those who don’t often do not.
If you already have a database, I challenge you to add 10 names to it today. People you exchanged business cards with at the bar last night. The guys you met at last week’s poker game. The moms you met at the playground yesterday. Building your database is an ongoing process that is vital to your success.
2. Spend some time in your database or email system.
Take a look at the people who opened the e-newsletter you sent out last week. Is there anyone who clicked on a link? Which link was it? And was there anyone who opened the newsletter several times? These are signs that they need something. Reach out and have a conversation with these people. Pick up the phone and say “hi!” They already are thinking about you, but have you thought about them lately?
Take a minute to create an original email containing useful content. Browse your local news sites; is there something in the list that even one person in your database would find useful? Send it to them! It takes two seconds.
3. Pull three quick CMAs for people you know and email them.
Look through your client history. Did you sell someone a home five years ago that has drastically increased in value? Send them a CMA and a quick note letting them know!
Did you list a house three years ago that never sold? Send them a new CMA and a quick note letting them know their equity position has changed, and ask them if they might still be interested in selling. You never know … and, at the very least, you are providing value and some interesting information. No one dislikes that!
4. Get rid of some of that schwag.
Admit it: Those coffee mugs, phone wallets and water bottles you ordered from your brokerage are sitting under your desk gathering dust.
Take a few minutes and pop them into the mail along with a personal note just saying, “Hi, I thought you would like this … enjoy!” Or better yet, drop by, knock on the door, and leave a little package and note hanging on the doorknob or sitting on the porch as a fun, thoughtful and totally random surprise!
5. Invite some neighbors to your ‘hood’s Nextdoor group … or, if your area doesn’t have a group, start one!
Nextdoor has become a really easy way to connect with the people who live nearby. From lost (and found) dog alerts to contractor needs and block party notifications, it’s a fantastic way to build your community and get to know the people around you!
Go to nextdoor.com to find out if someone has already started a group in your area, and join it — if you haven’t already. Then you can easily invite other neighbors by sending free postcards. It’s as simple as clicking on those addresses that haven’t yet been invited.
6. Plan a holiday client appreciation get-together.
Invite your “MIPs” (what I call my “Most Important People”) over for an ornament or cookie exchange. Plan a happy hour meetup at your favorite restaurant. Organize an Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl. Host a Kid’s Night Out so that parents can go holiday shopping. The possibilities are endless, and bringing your favorite people together is an easy way to say “thank you” for their business and referrals!
7. Work on your 2015 business plan, budget and financial goals.
It’s really important that you take some time to plan your 2015 and beyond. Taking some time to evaluate your 2013-2014 business, analyzing what is working for you and figuring out where you might be able to increase your production or cut some costs going forward is a key part of your future success.
I have found the Breakthrough Broker Business Plan to be a useful resource:
8. Get social.
Spend some time on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and/or Google Plus. But instead of just clicking on hilarious cat videos and getting distracted by yummy-looking recipes and DIY projects, get social with intention and motivation.
Like and comment on your MIP list’s posts. You might call them your “A-list” or your “close sphere.” These are the people who use me over and over again to handle their real estate transactions. They refer me business. They trusted me with Grandma’s estate, and they know they can reach out to me whether they are going bankrupt or just want advice on paint colors.
If you haven’t already done so, create a Facebook list of your MIPs and make sure to check their updates regularly. Tell them how cute their grandkids look in their school photos; compliment them on the photo of their holiday decorations or sunset shot. Let them know that you’ve seen their post and that you appreciate it. This only takes a few minutes, but it goes a long way toward nurturing a relationship!
Look for change. Is someone in your Facebook feed complaining about traffic or a long commute due to a recent job change, or are they announcing a pregnancy? Is one of your Pinterest buddies suddenly pinning nursery ideas or wedding inspiration photos? Did anyone recently get engaged, divorced, widowed or become an empty nester? These are the people who might need you. Be there for them. Reach out with an earnest congratulations or condolences and let them know that you are there to serve their needs, whatever they might be. Even if it’s just their complaint about a broken water heater or rant about how their house is suddenly “too small,” can you offer a vendor referral or other resource? You can do this as a comment, or as a private message … or even a phone call, in the right situation.
9. Get out and meet some new people.
Go somewhere new, by yourself, for happy hour, lunch or dinner. Sit at the bar. Chat up the bartender. Introduce yourself to the people who sit down next to you, and ask questions about them. Be open, and don’t be afraid to talk about what you do.
Seek out a new book club, mastermind group, volunteer opportunity or meetup group. Help with a political effort you believe in, pitch in at a local animal shelter, offer to sponsor a booth at a local event or join a new networking group. Expanding your sphere will build your business. Do good and connect; it works every time.
10. Get back to basics.
Think inside the box. Yes, you read that right!
Knock on some doors.
Call on expired listings.
Work your database.
Ask for the business.
Sometimes it’s difficult to be in sales. Even with all of the tools and the bright and shiny new stuff, you really have to work! Use these tips, finish the year strong and set yourself up for success in the new year!
Stacie Staub is a broker associate and the director of marketing for Live Urban Real Estate in Denver.