Tomorrow's Forecast: Back to Basics with a Focus on ACTION!
Savvy brokers don’t sit still for very long. They know that inaction and worrying about one’s business can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But when a market that was already challenging due to the inventory crisis became even more-challenging due to rising interest rates, business for many became downright scarce.
Brokers who had been barely keeping their heads above water in terms of business-building tasks last spring are now finding themselves with extra time on their hands and are not sure where to start. In fact, many brokers got off-track with their systems and processes when COVID started and they have not gotten back on track.
If this sounds like you, then this is a great time to get refocused, reinvent your business, take action and get back on track. Take action to fill your pipeline, to dust off those processes for working with buyers and sellers, and get ready to find some fun!
Take Action To Fill Your Pipeline — Start with Past Clients
Your past clients are your adoring fans who would love to hear from you! An added bonus? You will likely feel great after talking with them, remembering that you do a great job. Plus, even if your past clients aren’t ready to move just yet, it can be a great way to get referrals.
My advice is to reach out to a past client with more than just a touch-base phone call. Instead, touch base with information that showcases your expertise: A report, a market consultation, an equity report are all good examples of these, but I am sure you can think of others that would be of value.
Once you have made a plan and determined what you want to offer, break your past client list up into manageable chunks, such as 5–10 past clients a week. Then reach out and offer the report or consultation. Although you can indeed call the past client first, you can also reach out by text or email and follow up with a phone call if they don’t respond to your initial outreach.
If you determine that a report is what you want to offer, try to make it a live drop-off. Meet your past clients somewhere or knock on their door at a designated time to drop off the report. Instead of just handing the report over, point out one or two facts or pages they should pay special attention to and offer to follow up if they have questions.
If you provide a consultation instead, bring stats, graphs, or some takeaways that visually explain what is happening in the current market.
Dust Off Buyer and Seller Processes
When the market changes, this is a good time to review any content used to explain processes for buyers and sellers, specifically on your website, in your buyer and seller presentation materials, and in your bio.
For example, if your bio refers to selling $x above list price or a very low days on market average with no date context, update with current information.
Likewise, if your buyer presentation package refers to escalation clauses and how offers were handled this time last year, get that updated for the realities of today’s market.
Better yet, provide more neutral market content in the package itself and provide supplementary market information that addresses what they can expect in their buying category — price point, type of home, neighborhood, etc. Even if competition is strong, a middle market buyer isn’t going to face the same conditions as a luxury buyer. Same goes for sellers — just because the rest of the market is hot, if a seller has a very unique property with a very shallow buyer pool, they may be lucky if they get one offer. There are many sub-markets within the larger market and it is critical that your client understands which they are in.
My fail-safe market supplement included the following data for my client’s approximate price point, area, or type of home. Strike a balance between providing very specific data and being able to show a trend (for this reason, I recommend broadening your search until your sample size represents at least 12 solds per month):
- A graph of active listings and pendings for at least the last two years. This would show just how many houses are available, how many buyers are in the market, and how quickly inventory is consumed.
- A graph showing sales prices in relation to list prices for the last two years.
- A graph of days on market for the last two years.
- Current active listings (to show competition to sellers and to help buyers see what is available in their price range).
- Current pending listings (although you won’t likely know the contracted sales price, there are plenty of clues to be had by looking at the number of days on market before contract).
- Solds in the last 30 days. Although solds tend to tell the story of what happened in the past, appraisers will look at these and therefore, it is important to include these as part of the discussion.
Those six items will help you tell the story of the market and set expectations.
Having trouble creating the first three items on the list? Washington State is served by MLSs that have this data and it is yours as an MLS subscriber. Contact your MLS and see if there is a class or set of instructions for downloading the data or graphs.
Find The Fun!
What did you like about your business prior to COVID? Did you enjoy getting together with your clients once a year for a big party? Helping first-time homebuyers successfully buy a home? Did you love doing open houses and meeting people? Maybe you hosted big brokers opens with a catered lunch or made a big production out of giving buyers the keys.
If you are having a hard time getting re-energized about your business, start with what you previously loved about your business.
However, if none of those options sound appealing, consider signing up to mentor a new broker. By mentoring someone else, this can help you look at your systems and processes with fresh eyes and enthusiasm.
Alternatively, consider volunteering with your local REALTOR® Association and rub shoulders with brokers who are passionate about making our industry better, helping promote homeownership, and who usually employ some out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to their own business. In my experience, REALTORS® are usually generous with ideas and supportive of their peers. Being around that kind of positivity can really make a difference in your outlook and can inspire you to take action.
If you are a savvy broker needing to take action to fill your pipeline and attract positive energy to your business, these three steps are a great place to start. If you find yourself with some extra time at the moment, use it to your advantage and get your business in a great position for what the rest of 2023 will bring.
About Denise Lones
Denise Lones is President and Founder of The Lones Group. Information on The Lones Group’s brand and system development or coaching and strategy services can be found at www.TheLonesGroup.com. Receive Denise’s weekly Zebra Report in your inbox for free: www.TheLonesGroup.com/ZebraReport.asp