With more than 1,000 Inman posts, Bernice Ross is a long-time contributor whose weekly column on real estate trends, luxury, marketing and other best practices publishes every Monday.
Fall selling season has arrived, and it’s time for the final sprint toward your 2019 goals. If your transactions normally take 60 days to close, you only have 10 weeks to put properties under contract and get them closed before 2020.
To maximize your fall production, here are the steps to take.
1. Amp up your business with an updated business plan
Approximately 90 percent of all agents lack a written business plan. If you don’t have a business plan or if you need to update your current plan, follow these steps:
- List all your closed transactions for the past 12 months.
- Next to each property address note the following:
- Where each transaction originated (referral, web, paid lead, open house, etc.)
- The price and the area/subdivision where the property was located.
- Approximate age of your clients.
- Marital status including kids or no kids.
- Job or profession.
- Lifestyle and recreational activities.
- Did you represent the buyer, the seller, or both?
- For buyers, where their current residence is located.
- 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? If so, how?
- What do your clients have in common with each other?
- More importantly, what do they have in common with you? While you might not find commonalities in each category, pay special attention to those areas where you share similar characteristics.
- 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.
- Make staying in contact with past clients a top priority.
- Get back in contact script: Agents often feel uncomfortable reaching out to a past client or someone in their sphere that they haven’t reached out to recently. Here’s a simple script you can use:
- Agent: John — way too long since we’ve talked. Would love to buy you a cup of coffee and get caught up. Does Friday at 3 p.m. work or would Saturday at 10 a.m. be better?
2. Capitalize on the ‘3-season punch’ for evergreen marketing materials
There are thousands of things you can do to depict what’s great about the local lifestyle.
The great thing about the late summer/early fall is that you can capture three seasons in less than 90 days.
Especially if you live in a cold climate, now is the time to capture the warm weather lifestyle and the changing of the leaves.
You can shoot videos of people boating on the ocean or lake, enjoying a local outdoor concert, or running, biking, and playing with their dogs at the local hike and bike trail.
You could also do a “gelato crawl” where you visit all the great places to get ice cream and gelato in your area. These late summertime/early fall videos are a great counterpoint to winter’s gray skies, bare trees and freezing temperatures.
Here’s another great tip: One savvy agent photographed the front of every home in her farm area during the late 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.
3. Take advantage of the holidays
If you include Labor Day, there are five holidays over the next 90 days.
Labor Day and Veteran’s Day are often opportunities to capture parade photos, do historical posts of previous events from 25-50 years ago or conduct an open house with a holiday theme.
At Halloween, 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? Halloween is a great time to host a client appreciation event with pumpkin carving, a costume contest, face painting, pumpkin lattes and pumpkin pie. Be sure to get lots of pictures and post them on Facebook and Instagram.
During Thanksgiving and Christmas, you can also shoot videos and photos of the best holiday decorations in your farm or market area.
If you are holding open house, create a holiday theme and serve eggnog or peppermint hot chocolate. Your theme for your open house could be, “Give the gift of a lifetime — a new home!”
4. Ask for spring photos
Along the same line, if you are taking a listing now or in the fall, see if your sellers took any springtime pictures that show the local trees blooming or the beautiful garden they planted.
Although the landscaping in most areas still looks great in the summertime, it’s not quite as impressive as during the springtime when the trees and plants are covered in blossoms.
5. Two simple strategies for obtaining more client leads this fall
Do you cringe at the thought of door-knocking or cold calling?
Real estate agent Sherry McCormack recommends a simple way to expand your database using LinkedIn.
At least once a week, take a LinkedIn friend out for a coffee or beer. At that meeting, you share five contacts with each other that could help the other person. At the end of 10 weeks, that’s 50 great leads and at least five of them will be selling in 2020.
Another way to meet new people for agents who live in metropolitan areas is through Meetup. Meetup lists upcoming meetings in your area. Here are some examples of the types of people you might meet here in Austin, Texas.
- 7,814 food and wine lovers, who are part of food and wine Meetup groups.
- If you prefer beer and are a woman, there are 2,166 members of the “Beer Necessities” Meetup group.
- If you’re a dog lover, there are 1,282 Chinatics (Chihuahua lovers) and 1,318 Great Dane owners.
- There are 10,000 members in a wide variety of real estate investor groups plus 253 “geeks and nerds in real estate.”
- If you love music, there are 7,814 performing arts lovers, 2,398 ravers or 1,185 rockabilly and honky-tonkers.
- If you’re into co-ed soccer, there are 3,767 members of the “Soccer Hooligans” Meetup group.
There were also various types of exercise groups, food groups (including 1,581 raw food enthusiasts), political groups, networking groups and many more. Depending on your interests, there’s something for almost everyone.
In terms of meeting people, go to the event to enjoy the group and its activities. Avoid marketing yourself. People will learn what you do. If they like you and learn to trust you, they’re much more likely to hire you when they are ready to sell their house.
Most importantly, even if you don’t meet anyone who will do business with you, you’re still going to be more attractive to potential clients because you’re taking time to care for you. This usually means that you are more relaxed, which in turn makes you more attractive to a wider variety of clients.
If you want to end 2019 on a high note, take advantage of these suggestions. When your 1099 arrives in 2020, you’ll be glad that you did.
Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUp and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.