Ten Things a Real Estate Professional Can Do in a “Down” Economy #6

July 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Robin's Ruminations

#6 Implement One New Technique, Every Month (sixth in a series)

blogicon1Earlier in this series, I recommended using any period of low business activity to undertake professional development activities, such as training. Often, during such activities, one learns about more new tools and techniques than one can possibly implement at one time. If you are participating in social media, such as Twitter, then you probably also learn about useful new tools and websites from your virtual connections, on a regular basis.

How can you efficiently implement so many new tools and techniques? Simply, by making a plan. (Yes, another one!) Planning will ensure that you implement the tools and techniques that you like in an orderly way and that you don’t forget to use them.

  1. Start by creating a list of new tools and techniques you have encountered, that you think will add value to your real estate business.  Consider this to be a “running list,” because you should add items to it, as you learn about them.  Because you will be sorting this list, I suggest that you create it in a spreadsheet program, such as MS Excel.
  2. Next, categorize the tools and techniques.  (Insert a special column for this.)  Some categories that you might find helpful are
    • Prospecting (including sphere of influence, market niches, FSBOs, expired listings)
    • Marketing Listings (including digital photography, virtual tours, listings websites, mobile technology)
    • Customer Management (including follow-up, frequent-touch programs)
    • Communications (including blogging, presentations, objection-handling).
    • Sort the list, so that items in the same category are together.
  3. Then, prioritize the categories.  (Insert a priority column, and assign the same letter or number to every item in any given category.)  The area in which your business requires the greatest improvement, such as Marketing Listings, should be your top priority.  Be brutally honest with yourself, here.
  4. Prioritize the tools and techniques within each category.  (Insert another priority column, and assign a unique number or letter to each item in any given category.)  This will give you a “nested” list, with the tools prioritized within prioritized categories.  For example, you may decide to improve the quality of your digital photographs of interiors before you add virtual tours to your listings.
  5. Finally, assign a month – or week – during which you will first implement each of the tools or techniques, in order.  (Yes, that’s another column.)  I suggest that you transfer these assignments to your calendar, so that you don’t forget to do them!

This is what your plan might look like:

Tools & Techniques

         

Target Date

Cat.Prior.

Category

Tool Prior.

Tool/Technique

7-Feb

A

Marketing Listings

1

Wide-angle photos

14-Feb

A

Marketing Listings

2

Real Estate Shows

21-Feb

A

Marketing Listings

3

Postlets

28-Feb

B

Communications

1

Blogger

7-Mar

B

Communications

2

Listing presentation facelift

14-Mar

C

Customer Mgt

1

Frequent-touch program

21-Mar

C

Customer Mgt

2

Post-closing gift program

28-Mar

C

Customer Mgt

3

Referral requests

4-Apr

C

Customer Mgt

4

Quality survey

11-Apr

D

Prospecting

1

Generation-X focus

18-Apr

D

Prospecting

2

Expired listing campaign

Important:  Do have fun using the new tools and techniques that are available to you.  Enjoy both learning how to use them and seeing your business take on new life because you have implemented them.

Previous post:  #5  Build Local Vendor Partnerships
Forthcoming post#7  Work with a Partner 

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Ten Things a Real Estate Professional Can Do in a “Down” Economy: #1

March 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Robin's Ruminations

#1 Become Reacquainted with Former Clients and Customers (first in a series)

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You know that it is important to keep in touch with former clients and customers.  You worked hard to get them; you don’t want to lose them. You’ve also seen the NAR statistics about consumers who liked their real estate agent, but can’t remember the agent’s name.  (Definitely don’t want to be part of that group!)

So, what else, besides your usual continual-contact system, might you be doing?

Now is the time to get out and “socialize” with those people who have brought you business in the past!  Call them on the phone (you’ve got an established business relationship with them, so that’s fair), and set up an appointment for a chat.  The reason you’re suggesting an in-person visit?  Because, given what has happened to their other investments, and what they’re reading in the newspapers and hearing on TV and radio, people are likely concerned about the value of their current home.  You will provide them with an update on what’s really going on in your marketplace—and help them sleep better.

On the day of the meeting, take along some information that you can leave behind.  I would suggest including your business card, the latest market “snapshot,” and a printed copy of your latest newsletter and/or blog post.  You may have other items that would also be of value.

While you are there, do update all of the customer’s information, including e-mail addresses.  (You may not have collected that information, when you closed the last deal with them.)  Reaffirm your plan to continue to provide them with relevant information about the real estate market, and the community at large.

Also, find out what’s been happening with their family (you’re an old friend, now, so that’s a natural question), and make a note of what you learn.  They may impart news about life events that could lead to a near-future real estate need—empty nest, parent moving in, another child expected, retirement, and so on.  If so, then you’ll want to include this contact in the appropriate Prospects list.

Don’t overstay your welcome!  Plan to stay no more than 20-30 minutes.  Leave them wishing for more conversation with you.

Finally, be sure to follow up, right away.  Send a hand-written thank you note, confirming your intention to keep in touch.

Subsequent post: #2  Enhance Your Online Presence

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