Does Your Pipeline Need a Lifeline?

I’m always searching for great “Grow Your Business” tips and strategies from some of the best coaches and writers on the topic. My hope is that you will be able to take this information and implement it into your real estate business to help you grow!

Does Your Pipeline Need a Lifeline?
Denise Lones

Every agent should strive to build a referral-only business. The lion’s share of income should come from past clients, a strong database and the subsequent referrals.

However, if you – like many agents I know – are not generating the income that you need to generate, it is a sure sign that your referral business is not yet where it needs to be. This means you are going to have to add a lead generation program to your business to make up for what your referrals are not providing you.

A great referral business comes about – and continues to build – after an agent provides really great service. Clients come back for more, and are willing to refer friends and family, when they have a great experience. Referral business means you’re doing something right.

The problem is that oftentimes your referral business cannot sustain the now business that you may need to keep transactions in your pipeline and income coming in. The timing of your referral business rarely matches the timing you need to meet your financial obligations.

To be really successful, your goal should be to have business in your pipeline every single month. Too many agents live a peak & valley existence – scrambling for business when they have none, and hoping that they will somehow, magically, get that all-important referral phone call to save them.

Here’s something to think about: What happens if your current database isn’t keeping you financially able to meet your commitments? What if you’re not meeting your goals – or far worse, your obligations – because you simply don’t have enough business?

In that case, you absolutely must have a lead generation system to bridge the gap.You have to find a way to increase the reach of your business, in order to generate business.
The key is to create a lead generation system that fits your individual work style, and that you know in your heart you will focus on. Too many agents just grab any system that sounds like the easiest, then fail in frustration when it doesn’t match their style or their needs. Lead generation takes work, folks. It takes time and patience.

There are two types of lead generation: Active and Passive.
Active lead generation is where you are generating leads (i.e. potential business) in person or on the phone. It includes things like joining networking groups, teaching first-time-buyer classes, holding open houses, and contacting expired listing sellers and for-sale-by-owner sellers. You are the catalyst for this type of lead generation.

Passive lead generation means you don’t have to show up. People are hearing from you, but it’s through mail, email and print marketing. Passive lead generation includes things like geographical farming. It also can include cancelled and expired listings. Your ability to articulate your expertise is the catalyst for this type of lead generation.

The reality is you need to be doing something. You need to keep your pipeline full and get out of the peak & valley existence that you may be experiencing.

An agent in one of my coaching groups recently said, “I really dislike having to go out and look for business. It’s so time consuming, and it never works for me.” Yes, it’s hard work! Yes, it takes time! Yes, you have to plan for it, and then be patient enough to let your system take hold and work for you.

If you know your referral business isn’t matching your financial goals, take the first step. Find a lead generation system that meets your style and comfort level. Decide if you want to have an active system, or a passive system. Or a combination of both. Decide what group, or groups, you want to target. Is it buyers? Is it sellers who had a bad experience, but you know they want or need to sell? Build a system that keeps you in front of those folks on a very regular basis. And stick with it. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Here’s another question I get asked all the time. “How do I know when I can stop doing lead generation?” It is really quite simple. You can stop when you’re getting all of the income you need from your referral business.

Here’s how you know when you’re at that point:
First and most importantly, track the source of every transaction. Each year, you have to know how many transactions came from referrals, and how much income that business generated.

Determine your annual income goal and how much of that income needs to (or will likely) come from your referral business. As an example: If you need $100,000 of referral income, and in your market the average price home is $300,000, then you can assume that – based on a 3% commission rate per side – each referral-based transaction will bring you $9,000. That means you need 11 transactions each year that come from your referral business.
But let’s say last year you only had 6 transactions from referrals, and you had 5 transactions that came from open houses, sign calls or internet leads. You were short 5 referrals. You needed to somehow make up that lost referral income. The way to do that is by having a strong lead generation program.

Until you can safely say that your referral business is consistently providing you with the level of income you need, you will need to continue with a lead generation program.

Don’t get me wrong. I want you to build an awesome referral-based business. I want you to enjoy the benefits of your hard work. But a strong referral business takes years to cultivate! What if you’re a brand new agent? What if your current database isn’t as fruitful as you need it to be?

There are two things I want you to focus right now. Choose a lead generation system that is based on your needs, on your work style, and on your personality. Then just get it done.
Without a lead generation system you won’t survive. And you certainly won’t thrive.

Does Your Pipeline Need a Lifeline?

I’m always searching for great “Grow Your Business” tips and strategies from some of the best coaches and writers on the topic. My hope is that you will be able to take this information and implement it into your real estate business to help you grow!

Does Your Pipeline Need a Lifeline?
Denise Lones

Every agent should strive to build a referral-only business. The lion’s share of income should come from past clients, a strong database and the subsequent referrals.

However, if you – like many agents I know – are not generating the income that you need to generate, it is a sure sign that your referral business is not yet where it needs to be. This means you are going to have to add a lead generation program to your business to make up for what your referrals are not providing you.

A great referral business comes about – and continues to build – after an agent provides really great service. Clients come back for more, and are willing to refer friends and family, when they have a great experience. Referral business means you’re doing something right.

The problem is that oftentimes your referral business cannot sustain the now business that you may need to keep transactions in your pipeline and income coming in. The timing of your referral business rarely matches the timing you need to meet your financial obligations.

To be really successful, your goal should be to have business in your pipeline every single month. Too many agents live a peak & valley existence – scrambling for business when they have none, and hoping that they will somehow, magically, get that all-important referral phone call to save them.

Here’s something to think about: What happens if your current database isn’t keeping you financially able to meet your commitments? What if you’re not meeting your goals – or far worse, your obligations – because you simply don’t have enough business?

In that case, you absolutely must have a lead generation system to bridge the gap.You have to find a way to increase the reach of your business, in order to generate business.
The key is to create a lead generation system that fits your individual work style, and that you know in your heart you will focus on. Too many agents just grab any system that sounds like the easiest, then fail in frustration when it doesn’t match their style or their needs. Lead generation takes work, folks. It takes time and patience.

There are two types of lead generation: Active and Passive.
Active lead generation is where you are generating leads (i.e. potential business) in person or on the phone. It includes things like joining networking groups, teaching first-time-buyer classes, holding open houses, and contacting expired listing sellers and for-sale-by-owner sellers. You are the catalyst for this type of lead generation.

Passive lead generation means you don’t have to show up. People are hearing from you, but it’s through mail, email and print marketing. Passive lead generation includes things like geographical farming. It also can include cancelled and expired listings. Your ability to articulate your expertise is the catalyst for this type of lead generation.

The reality is you need to be doing something. You need to keep your pipeline full and get out of the peak & valley existence that you may be experiencing.

An agent in one of my coaching groups recently said, “I really dislike having to go out and look for business. It’s so time consuming, and it never works for me.” Yes, it’s hard work! Yes, it takes time! Yes, you have to plan for it, and then be patient enough to let your system take hold and work for you.

If you know your referral business isn’t matching your financial goals, take the first step. Find a lead generation system that meets your style and comfort level. Decide if you want to have an active system, or a passive system. Or a combination of both. Decide what group, or groups, you want to target. Is it buyers? Is it sellers who had a bad experience, but you know they want or need to sell? Build a system that keeps you in front of those folks on a very regular basis. And stick with it. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Here’s another question I get asked all the time. “How do I know when I can stop doing lead generation?” It is really quite simple. You can stop when you’re getting all of the income you need from your referral business.

Here’s how you know when you’re at that point:
First and most importantly, track the source of every transaction. Each year, you have to know how many transactions came from referrals, and how much income that business generated.

Determine your annual income goal and how much of that income needs to (or will likely) come from your referral business. As an example: If you need $100,000 of referral income, and in your market the average price home is $300,000, then you can assume that – based on a 3% commission rate per side – each referral-based transaction will bring you $9,000. That means you need 11 transactions each year that come from your referral business.
But let’s say last year you only had 6 transactions from referrals, and you had 5 transactions that came from open houses, sign calls or internet leads. You were short 5 referrals. You needed to somehow make up that lost referral income. The way to do that is by having a strong lead generation program.

Until you can safely say that your referral business is consistently providing you with the level of income you need, you will need to continue with a lead generation program.

Don’t get me wrong. I want you to build an awesome referral-based business. I want you to enjoy the benefits of your hard work. But a strong referral business takes years to cultivate! What if you’re a brand new agent? What if your current database isn’t as fruitful as you need it to be?

There are two things I want you to focus right now. Choose a lead generation system that is based on your needs, on your work style, and on your personality. Then just get it done.
Without a lead generation system you won’t survive. And you certainly won’t thrive.

The Best Way To Keep In Touch With Your Past Clients

GROW YOUR REAL ESTATE BUSINESS

The Best Way To Keep In Touch With Your Past Clients
By Denise Lones

I love technology. I really do. I love the way it has simplified my life and my business. There’s no doubt we’re lucky to live in a time when technology has played a dominant role in our lives.

But many agents seem to be so caught up in technology that they have forgotten some ideas from the good old days–ideas that still work brilliantly. Most agents don’t think they need to do these things anymore, but they’re absolutely wrong!

For example, let’s talk about that ancient device that allows you to talk to somebody even if you’re not in the same room with them. Remember it? It’s called the telephone.

Sure, we all use telephones. We use them to take pictures, to send email or text messages, and to download music. But we seem to have forgotten that we can actually still talk to people on them.

Particularly when it comes to past clients, the telephone is your best friend. Many agents rely on email to be their complete follow-up system, reporting system, and contact system.

Yet email is not the most effective form of communication when re-connecting with past clients. I know this because I’ve actually tested the power of email as compared to the power of the good old-fashioned personal telephone call.

Recently, I asked some of the agents I coach to look at their database and make a list of thirty past clients they would like to reconnect with. Thirty is a manageable number, right? After all, that’s only one call per day for a month.

Initially, the agents were reluctant to make the calls. I could see it in every fiber of their body language. When I pressed them to explain their reluctance, the agents told me that the number one reason they don’t pick up the phone to call past clients is this: they simply don’t know what to talk about! So, I told them to put together a really good report about what’s going on in the market right now.

Once the report is complete, I asked them to call their past clients and say:

“Hi Barbara, this is Jen from Highland Realty. How are you? I’m glad to hear that! I’m just calling to let you know that I put a report in the mail for you that I know you will find helpful. The report talks about what is really going on in the real estate market right now.

There is so much competing news about the industry that I wanted you to have the real facts at your fingertips. The report focuses on our area and how it relates to a number of real estate issues, on both the state and national levels I hope you find it helpful.”

Now, isn’t that a fantastic icebreaker? It’s a perfect reason for the call–much better than “How are the kids? How is the dog? How are things going?”

Calling up just to ask ordinary questions raises a red flag. It makes them wonder: Why is this agent calling me? It can’t be just to find out about my kids and my dog.

But when you have something to offer–something that is helpful, informative, and reaffirms the value of their investment–your call makes much more sense and is no longer greeted with suspicion. When you offer service first, you create trust and connection with people.

So, my test team made the calls and I was pleasantly surprised at the results. One agent told me, “Denise, I have two listings that came directly from those thirty calls!”

That’s pretty substantial. Two out of thirty is a great ratio. Most of the time, agents send out hundreds of emails and may not even get one response back.

Another agent told me that one of her clients said, “I’m so glad that you called me. I always worry that you’re busy and that I might be bothering you. My husband said we would actually probably be doing you a favor by using a neighbor across the street who is a real estate agent. We do want to sell our starter home and move up to something nicer. But we figured you wouldn’t want to work on an inexpensive home like ours. You want better stuff to work with.”

Of course, the agent was shocked to hear this. The client wasn’t unhappy with the agent’s past performance–they just didn’t want to bother her.

Another agent told me, “Denise, I have four people who told me they want to list in the next three months.”

Performing this exercise really opened up the group’s eyes to the power of a personal call via the good old-fashioned telephone. While email is a great communication tool for dealing with day-to-day transaction details–your “now” business–it truly isn’t the best tool for keeping in touch with your past clients and building (or rebuilding!) your business.

Just the sound of your voice on the telephone can re-establish a past connection. That connection is only made stronger when the client realizes you are calling to offer something to them, not ask something of them! At the end of the day, a call is so much more personal than just a series of pixels that form an electronic message on a computer screen.

I challenge you to put this concept to the test. Call thirty of your past clients and see what happens!

GROW YOUR REAL ESTATE BUSINESS