We are in the middle of an inventory crisis, and the shortage of listings is an obstacle for both consumers and agents.
As agents, we know that when you list, you last. Taking listings gives you leverage. In real estate, leverage is critical. It allows you to generate more business and turn one listing into two or three more sales when properly utilized.
Listings bring in more calls, they generate more inquiries, and they give you the opportunity to keep prospects updated about the status of the home sale. If you aren’t focused on listings in your own business, you are making a mistake.
Online resources like realtor.com and Zillow did not exist when I started in this industry, so I traced most of my existing business to determine where it was coming from, and I found two key areas: my sphere and circle dialing.
Circle dialing involves calling into neighborhoods where you take listings or where you are selling homes — and it’s hard work. It demands sweat equity, and most agents will never do it because they have convinced themselves that it is not worth the effort.
They believe that people do not answer the phone anymore and that the odds of someone actually agreeing to sell their home is small. But the truth is that circle dialing works because no one else is doing it.
I’ve got four reasons you can use to reach out to potential sellers who are in these neighborhoods where you want to be doing more business.
1. Just listed/Just sold
“Hi! It’s Tom Toole with RE/MAX Main Line and the Tom Toole Sales Group and I just sold your neighbor’s home at 123 Main Street. We had 10 offers on the house, but only one buyer got the house, so I wonder who else you know that is looking to sell in the neighborhood?”
It’s a really easy phone call because you’re the most recent expert in the neighborhood, and you know the buyers who are interested in buying there. If you’re not doing these right now, you’re missing an opportunity.
The just-listed phone call isn’t as easy because you don’t have tangible results yet, but it’s a possibility as well.
2. You have a buyer looking in a specific neighborhood
When you have buyers who are looking for something very specific, it’s a great reason to call.
“Hi! It’s Tom Toole with RE/MAX Main Line and the Tom Toole Sales Group. I’m calling because I have a buyer looking in your neighborhood, and we haven’t been able to find anything since there are very few homes available. Who do you know in the neighborhood who might be thinking about making a move?”
Leverage the client you have as a reason to reach out to other people. In doing so, you are also doing proactive work for your clients by calling into the neighborhood to try to find them a home.
3. You are hosting an open house in the neighborhood
Given the current pandemic situation, you may not be comfortable with open houses, which is totally understandable. What I have found is that motivated buyers and sellers are attending them, and we are seeing excellent traffic with the right safety measures in place.
Try making this phone call:
“Hi! It’s Tom Toole with RE/MAX Main Line and the Tom Toole Sales Group. I’m calling to personally invite you to your neighbor’s open house. Please stop by for our neighbors-only open house so you can see the home before the public gets a chance to see the place.”
Open houses historically convert at 10 percent. Think about it: You get to meet people face-to-face and build rapport. The call is much easier because you’re inviting them somewhere instead of asking them to give you the name of someone who wants to sell.
You also have the chance to ask all the qualifying questions while they tour the home, and the prospect is signing in and giving you their contact information so that you can follow up in the future.
When you aggressively market an open house instead of putting a sign out front 10 minutes before, the potential customer will remember that and see the effort being put into the marketing approach.
Roughly 62 percent of people decide if they will hire you when they first meet you. By making the right first impression and doing all the proper preparation, you are improving the odds of getting an appointment with potential customers and of getting hired to list and sell the home.
4. Talk about sales activity in the neighborhood
Everyone can make these phone calls, even if you didn’t sell the home. Here’s how it might sound:
“Hi! It’s Tom Toole with RE/MAX Main Line and the Tom Toole Sales Group. I’m calling to let you know that your neighbor’s home just sold for the highest price ever recorded in the neighborhood, and there are a lot of people who are interested in moving to this neighborhood. Who do you know that’s interested in selling, because there are a lot of buyers looking to buy in your specific neighborhood?”
Give them something of value. Know the market statistics. Share how much prices have appreciated or maybe depreciated. Get the right information out there by knowing the market statistics cold and being the knowledge broker.
Remember, people are coming to you to be the expert. If you cannot explain inventory, pricing and days on market trends to consumers, they may just move onto somebody else. It is the job of an agent to be so well informed that you are the expert and guide for your client.
Finding the reason to make the calls is the biggest challenge, and the biggest goal is to ask: “Who do you know?”
There will be people who dominate the listing side of the transaction because they overcome their fear of the phone and do the work of calling into neighborhoods.
Right now, our team is going back to the basics to overcome the current inventory shortage and the other challenges in the industry. Old school sales techniques and basics always work because many people do not want to do them and they have a predictable result.
Tom Toole is the founder and team leader at Tom Toole Sales Group. Connect with him on Facebook or LinkedIn.