There’s so much noise out there on how to navigate a challenging market. This April, let Inman help you cut through the clutter to make smart business decisions in real time. All month long, we’re taking it Back to Basics and finding out how real estate pros are evolving their systems and investing personally and professionally to drive growth.
This post was last updated April 17, 2023.
Very few things are more powerful than momentum. You can’t see it, but you know when it is present. Your attitude is different, and that leads to your results being more positive. But sometimes when the market shifts, so does your business.
Has your business slowed? Does what seemed to come easy, now seem more difficult? When the real estate market cools, it’s natural to feel like you’ve lost the positive business momentum that you had just a few short months ago. To regain it, you must adjust, and the main adjustment needed is to get back to the basics of the business.
Momentum begins with one positive result that is then followed by another positive result. Understanding this leads us to realize that we build momentum with one satisfied client at a time.
I’ve found that what we focus on expands. If we want our momentum to expand and grow, we simply need to focus on meeting and exceeding our client’s needs one by one.
For the remainder of this article, I will use the acronym FOCUS to help you get back to the fundamentals and regain your momentum.
F: Find someone with the need to buy or sell a home
Momentum comes transaction by transaction. Relationship by relationship. Each transaction and relationship starts when you find someone with a need you can fill. Who do you have in your database that has a need — not a want — to sell or buy a house?
There is a big difference between someone who wants something and someone who needs something. Wants are affected by conditions, like interest rates, whether they feel positive or negative about the economy, or if they can get someone to overpay for their home.
Needs are driven by life events. Life events, like a job transfer, marriage, having children, divorce, death of a family member or changes in personal finances lead to a need to sell. Buyers who receive a job transfer into your area, need to be in a certain school district for their children, have 1031 exchange money they need to place, or need to be closer to an aging parent, are a few examples of buyers with needs rather than wants.
Start your process of building momentum by identifying the people in your database with needs by calling your past clients. After the small talk of catching up on their family and work, simply ask if they still love their house. These conversations lead to an understanding of when or under what circumstances they might consider selling their home.
In addition, reach out to the prospective buyers in your database. The process of asking about the ideal timing for them to buy leads to opportunities, or at a minimum, a schedule of potential sales opportunities for the future.
If you don’t have people with needs in your database, immediately begin the search for these prospects.
Generating these leads can come from identifying people with needs or from several different lead strategies. Here are a few to get your process started:
- Notice life events posted to social media, like births, weddings, job transfers or posts mentioning they are considering a move.
- Buy online leads that provide a group of people who are actively searching for a home to buy.
- Circle prospecting by calling owners of surrounding homes after a recent sale to update them on how the sale will affect their home’s value. Conversations and adding value always uncover opportunities to serve.
O: Optimize consistent communication
Once you’ve identified who you can help, the next step is to optimize consistent communication. Consistency is the cadence of conversion, and consistently adding value always leads to opportunity. There are certain parts of client/prospect communication that can be automated.
For buyers, this includes providing details of properties meeting their ideal criteria or for future sellers, details of properties on the market or properties that sell that affect the value of their home.
Every MLS and most CRMs offer automation that includes immediate emails to prospects when a property comes on the market, goes under contract or is sold that will affect your prospect. Having this in place is the first step and fundamental in meeting the prospect’s needs.
C: Create a plan of action
A prospect’s ability to see you providing a clear path to their needs being met is crucial in gaining their confidence and business.
Do you have a checklist for buyers to help them prepare to buy?
If not, now is the time to build the framework for these plans of action. Every buyer’s needs are different, but there are certain things that need to be done in every transaction.
- Buyers need to be pre-approved for a loan.
- They need to have a clear definition of their “must-haves” in their home and their “nice-to-haves.”
- They need to clearly understand the buying process from contract to closing. This should include as many details as possible, so the number of potential surprises for the buyer is limited.
Developing this checklist for buyers clearly shows them the path to owning their home, and it grows their confidence in your ability to help them through the process.
Do you have a listing plan of action that demonstrates your process to sell the seller’s home at the highest price possible and in the least amount of time? If not, now is the time to develop an easy-to-communicate plan of action that you can demonstrate or show to your prospective listing clients.
Sellers want to know a few things, and one of the most common questions is: “What are you going to do to sell my home?” This creates the opportunity for you to share with them your plan of action.
Personally, I discussed why we suggested launching the listing on a Thursday, due to it being the highest traffic day for our local website. I shared that this strategy gives us the ability to be one of the new listings, located at the top of the website, on the highest traffic day of the week, maximizing the exposure of the home to the highest number of website visitors.
I shared the checklist I used that outlines all the activities that go into preparing the listing to go on the market and the marketing outlets we would utilize to maximize the exposure of the home. By sharing a detailed plan of action for selling the home, sellers gain confidence that you can meet their needs.
The key is to tell the prospect the next step and to show them you have a plan of action to help them achieve their goal. These activities lead to listings and momentum.
U: Update them regularly in the way they desire to be communicated with
Earlier in this article, the value of automated communication was mentioned, but personal communication is even more important. Having a set schedule for personal communication is key to making sure opportunities aren’t missed. I set specific days and times aside to make sure all my clients and hottest prospects were reached out to each week.
I called all sellers as needed throughout the week, but I made sure Fridays were blocked from 9-11 a.m. to speak with all my current listing clients and the hottest listing prospects I had.
For hot buyers, I utilized Wednesday mornings from 9-11 a.m. for weekly follow-up. By setting a specific date and time to personally communicate each week, I purposely stayed on task.
I also noticed the way each person responded when I reached out to them. Some responded to phone calls, some to text messages, and others responded to emails. Once I identified the prospect or client’s preferred method of communication, I tried to utilize that method as often as possible with future communication.
By being purposeful and communicating with clients the way they desire to be communicated with, momentum in those relationships continues to grow.
S: Stay engaged
Staying engaged throughout the process turns opportunity into conversion. Most agents stop following up with their prospects right before they reach the point of buying or selling. Statistics show that 80 percent of sales require five follow-up calls, whereas 44 percent of salespeople give up after one follow-up call. Don’t let all the hard work you’ve done to this point be in vain.
A popular saying is: The fortune is in the follow-up. I’ve found this to be true. Your diligence to stay engaged is key to securing the sale and building momentum.
Never doubt, momentum can be produced. Develop your strategy, and start executing today. While others may fade, the momentum you generate will pay dividends for years to come.
Jimmy Burgess is the CEO for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida. Connect with him on Instagram and LinkedIn.