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Low inventory, low inventory, low inventory: It seems to have consumed agents’ minds for years now.
“I feel like we have all been talking about the inventory challenge — and that is all we have been talking about for a long time,” said Liz Gehringer, of Anywhere Franchise Brands, who moderated the panel “What Are You Doing to Drum up More Inventory?” at Inman Connect Las Vegas on Tuesday.
But seasoned, top-performing agents seem to have gotten the drill down by now.
“When it comes to top agents … they’re not reactive to the markets,” Brett Matsuura, of Coldwell Banker Realty, said. “They’re always proactive. They’re not waiting for things to change on a dime. They’re not spending as much time on those traditional sales activities … They are focused on being aligned with the consumer,” by doing things like improving their digital strategy and finding ways to interact with the consumer more before they actually meet in person.
But some top agents are actually tapping into more traditional methods for creating inventory now, and it’s actually working for them, Palo Alto agent Nneka Jenkins, of Onyx Wealth Realty, told the audience.
“I really feel like what’s been underutilized has been direct mail. It’s extremely important to tap into that,” she said. But Jenkins added that the key is keeping things short and sweet and making sure there’s a direct call to action.
Jenkins also said she likes to make sure she has a very physical, visible presence in the neighborhood she farms too, so that people get to know her and know what she does.
Maintaining consistency in direct mailers and focusing on individuals who have to move is also crucial to finding success in generating inventory, Matsuura said.
One of the key things a lot of agents need to focus on is the now business where people have to move, where their circumstances are driving them in their decision-making.
Jenkins has also found success in wielding social media to gain followers who become future clients.
“If I don’t feel like posting on social media, I just don’t,” she said. “But when I do feel like it, I really am just posting raw what my life is. The average consumer has no idea what it’s like to be a Realtor … so I find they’re extremely intrigued by it.
“All of that is important, to just show your authenticity online,” she added.
Jenkins has also noticed that many of the consumers who will eventually end up actually doing business with her might follow her for a long time but won’t actually engage with her until they’re ready to transact.
Once they ask for her opinion on their property or transaction timeline, it allows Jenkins to get into their home, share her advice and ultimately become a wealth adviser.
Matsuura and Jenkins agreed that establishing a relationship with a trusted mentor, coach or trainer can also help agents become established in their careers more quickly and find ways of generating more business.
“The key thing is, 1) if you have a long enough timeline, [you can] do things and fail, but 2) get that mentor or coach who has proved successes, because if it works for other people, it will work for you,” Matsuura advised.
Jenkins has had the same mentor within her brokerage for about six years, she said. Prior to starting off in real estate part-time, Jenkins worked in tech and was looking for someone to guide her and speed up her establishment within the industry.
“I basically said to [my mentor] what you’ve accomplished in your career, I want to do in three to five years,” Jenkins said. “In the beginning, it was important that I not focus on that big check, but focus on the experience.”
Above all, it’s important to establish trust with clients so that they will remember you when they are ready to transact, Jenkins added.
“I’ve told more of my clients, no they should not sell rather than they should. And I truly mean that when I say it,” she said.
So when Jenkins tells her clients the opposite of what most other agents would advise them, they believe it. And she’s the one they return to when they are ready to sell.