Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Do you still use doorhangers?

I came across this very creative marketing piece for front door peep-holes yesterday, from Papa John's, and it made me think of the doorhangers we used to use to generate business in the real estate industry.

Do you still use doorhangers, or other marketing tools that must be delivered door-to-door? Do they still work?

If done extremely well, like Papa John's example, these might still get people's attention. Otherwise, my fear is that campaigns like this just blend into everything else on people's minds when they get home from work, and it far too easy to just dump into the recycling bin with the rest of the junk mail.

Whether your marketing is online or offline, in person or via email, make sure it connects with your customers. Make sure what you're offering is remarkable, and stands out. Make sure it's relevant, and appreciated.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Strategies for a Changing Market, Part V

Real estate markets may be changing, but smart Agent CEOs know that there are still many strategies that can keep them on top. Here's the fourth and final success tip:

Build a pipeline of prospects

Of all of the strategies you can choose to implement, this is the most important. If you build a pipeline (database) of prospects, you will flourish in any market.

We are in one of the essential industries: food, medicine and shelter. There will always be people who need to buy and/or sell. Your job is to cultivate a large database of prospects, so that when they are ready to make a move, you are the agent of choice.

That allows you to have a steady stream of business no matter what happens in the market. In a changing market many agents just give up. It reminds me of what happens over the holidays. Many agents don’t stay in the game. They feel that business is slow because everyone is out shopping or preparing for the holidays. The top agents know otherwise. They make more money during the holidays than the average agent makes the entire year.

While "the shift" has not occurred in all markets, it is important to remember that the market does fluctuate. “Your Mission, should you choose to accept it,” is to be aware of the changing market conditions and adjust your strategies so you can flourish in any market.

Good luck, and please share with me your success stories!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Strategies for a Changing Market, Part IV

Real estate markets may be changing, but smart Agent CEOs know that there are still many strategies that can keep them on top. Here's the third of four success tips:

Working with Sellers

While in a steaming seller’s market, real marketing was not really necessary; there were quick sales with multiple offers, few contingencies, and very little negotiating. Remember, it was also very frustrating working with buyers in that market. We often wrote up several offers before one was accepted.

In this more normal or buyer’s market (depending on your area), top agents are:

Marketing listings once again: The smart place is on the Internet, with 79% of consumers going online to research information. Smart Agent CEO's make sure their listings are featured with multiple photos and/or a virtual tour, or video.

Price it right: It must be priced to sell, and in good condition. If it is not competitive, it will not sell in many markets.

Obtain concessions: Make it easy for the buyer to buy.

Educated the sellers to the marketplace: Make sure they can be flexible and open to offers.

Practice your objection handling skills:
• Our home is worth more
• We don’t want to pay full commission
• I want to try it myself for a few weeks
• We want an ad in the Sunday paper and an open house every weekend

Tomorow, the vital role of building pipelines...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Strategies for a Changing Market, Part III

Real estate markets may be changing, but smart Agent CEOs know that there are still many strategies that can keep them on top. Here's the second of several success tips:

Working with Buyers

When working with buyers, in many markets we now face a surplus of inventory, which means many more choices for the buyers which can lead to a lack of urgency. Homes are taking longer to sell, so the listings must be competitively priced and many sellers (especially builders) are making non-price concessions, like closings costs, home warranties, etc.

So, what can Agent CEOs do?

1. Have them come into the office for a counseling session to let them know how they work
2. Have buyers sign a buyer-broker agreement
3 Make sure the buyers are pre-approved
4. Practice your objection handling skills. Typical questions to be best prepared for include:
* I want to think it over
* The price is too high
* The kitchen needs upgrading
* The yard is too small/too large
5. Hone your negotiating skills because in this market, many buyers may want to low-ball, want too many concessions, or want too many contingencies

Tomorrow, we'll address seller strategies in a changing market...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Strategies for a Changing Market, Part II

Real estate markets may be changing, but smart Agent CEOs know that there are still many strategies that can keep them on top. Here's the first of several success tips:

Sharpen the Saw

Stephen Covey tells a great story about woodcutters who are competing for the national championship. On the count, two finalists begin cutting the trees. One of the finalists notices that his competitor stops every hour to take a break. At the end of the day, who do you think wins? The competitor who cut all day without breaks was sure he would win. He did not. He went over to the winner, congratulated him and asked how he could win, when he took so many breaks. The winner said, “I was sharpening my saw!”

We too have to take the time to sharpen our saw, especially when the market changes and we have to do things we haven’t done in awhile like, market our listings, fine tune pricing, and negotiate, rather than just receive offers. We should therefore sharpen our:

· Listing presentations
· Buyer presentations
· Handling Objections
· Pricing
· Marketing
· Negotiating

Tomorrow, a new strategy...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Strategies for a Changing Market, Part I

As the marketplace adjusts, agents are struggling with a new reality. In many cities the marketplace is changing from a “hot” seller’s market to a more normal market. In some areas of the country, it has shifter further into a buyer’s market.

We’ve experienced the strong seller’s market in so many parts of the country for at least the last 3-4 years, so for many agents that’s all they know. They haven’t been in the business long enough to experience the natural cycles of the marketplace.

Real Estate has always been a cyclical business. Changes in the market are due to economic factors like: job growth, inflation, supply and demand, the cost of land due to zoning regulations or environmental factors, the trade deficit and the budget deficit which affect the interest rates.

The interest rates have been climbing for the last 1 1/ 2 years. We are no longer at the record lows which made housing so affordable. However, the interest rates are still very attractive. These changes have taken place and many agents are bemoaning or actually resisting the changes.

As Agent CEOs, we need to look clearly at the market, embrace the changes, and adjust our strategies to take advantage of those changes. If we don’t we will be like some sellers who are now ready to sell and want the prices their neighbors got 8 months ago.

Over the next few days, I'll offer four strategies that Agent CEOs can apply directly in their businesses to keep their business humming along, and growing, even in a changing market.