The Chicago Association of REALTORS®, the “Voice for Real Estate” in Chicago since 1883, represents over 17,000 members from all real estate specialties including commercial sales, development, property management, appraisal, auctions and residential sales.
On July 31, 2019, we hosted our monthly YPN Breakfast. Here, we soaked up expertise from a pair of legendary prospecting REALTORS. Watch, listen and read below to learn about how you can upgrade your prospecting strategies and practices. You can check out photos from the event on the YPN Facebook page!
Whatever you’re going to do, do it on a massive scale.
Prospecting may feel like dishwashing on a chores list, but it’s more like brushing your teeth or drinking water! You need to do it for a healthy business! The good news is, successful, profitable prospecting isn’t limited to a handful of things.
Frank listed a wealth of prospecting strategies he and his team use, including signs in the ground, a close relationship with a credit repair person, open houses, a strong website, cold calling, door knocking and attending events.
When prompted about prospecting on a limited budget, Leigh supplied a nugget of advice we couldn’t help but make #1 on our takeaways list: “Whatever action you’re going to take, take it on a massive scale. Real estate is a contact sport, so you need to be making contact constantly.”
So, if you add cold calls, client parties or first-time homebuyer seminars to your list of prospecting strategies, make sure you’re not just calling one or two people per day. Set up a regimen and move through your database. Leigh contacts each person in his database four times a year! “That’s about 37 people per day,” he said.
“We can talk all day about ways to meet new clients, but if you’re not going to make the commitment to change or develop a sense of urgency and focus, then nothing is going to change,” Frank added.
Track your numbers honestly & consistently.
Speaking of prospecting on a massive scale, how do you know when you’ve done enough? Both Leigh, Frank and Rachel encouraged staying on top of your numbers.
“Find your goal, and work backward from there,” Leigh said. “If your goal is to sell about 200 homes in the year, then that may mean prospecting for about four hours a day to meet your goal.”
Frank keeps himself and his team accountable to their larger goals by hiring a productivity coach who meets with his agents once a week, and they’re expected to turn in their numbers daily. Frank then meets with the productivity coach in the middle of each month to review how the team is doing.
Real estate is cyclical by nature, so if you’re uncertain in the face of a changing market, as long as you’re tracking your numbers, you know where you’re at and what you need to do.
“If it’s a zero for the day, write zero!” Leigh said. “Then the next day, you may be able to write ‘one’ and that’s a one hundred percent improvement.”
What are these numbers that they’re tracking and measuring success with? It’s contact points with their database. Leigh tracks how many people he talks to, and he uses his CRM to do it. Frank also tracks his touchpoints via Google spreadsheets, including how many referrals he asks for.
“I use Top Producer, but let’s face it, whatever you use, it’s going to work for you,” Leigh said.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
“How many referrals have you asked for?” Frank asked. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get. I get it— asking for things is not natural. None of us ask! You have to make it a habit.”
Leigh agreed. When he first began his career in 2008, he picked up his phone and called every person in his contact list. “I asked them two questions. The first was, ‘Do you have a moment for a business call?’ The second was, ‘If you know someone buying or selling their house, do you have someone to refer them to?’ They would tell me ‘no,’ and I would ask if I could be their person.” His database has only grown from there.
Real estate is all about building relationships. When people are in need of help, they don’t necessarily turn to the person whose name they read on a sign one time. They turn to their relationships. If you’re maintaining one, then the odds are greater they’ll turn to you.
How do you make that referral ask? Frank reminds his database of their connection, and then he offers his services: “Is there anyone I can help?” Most times, there is.
Leigh agreed. He encouraged us to reach out, check in and show initiative. “Think about your accountant or your doctor. How many times do they call you, asking how you’re doing? Go above and beyond, affirm that relationship and check in with your clients.”
Prospecting for sellers vs. buyers vs. investors is all about perspective.
Your relationship with your clients is all about value exchange. When you’re prospecting for buyers or sellers, are you thinking about what value they’re seeking? What do sellers need from you? They are looking to sell their home quickly and for as much money as they can. Your value proposition should touch on these motivations!
Let’s dive into buyer motivations. What are they looking for in a REALTOR®? Maybe they’re looking for someone who not only understands their wishlist but also their financial wellness. Maybe they’re looking for someone who possesses a willingness to work as a team and makes them feel informed about every step of the buying process.
When you think of these value adds and these additional services sellers or buyers need from you, apply it to yourself.
“My biggest talking point is my history, what I’ve done,” Frank said. “In the beginning, when I didn’t have a lot under my belt, I talked about my effort and what I was going to put in when I’m working with them.”
When prospecting for investors, attend the same events they would! Take advantage of association resources like CommercialForum, or use the internet. While there, work on your relationships; if you’ve been tracking your numbers consistently, you already have your talking points at your disposal.
What makes you awesome? Know it & talk about it.
Now that we mention talking points, let’s dive into what points matter most to potential clients.
“What are your wins? You should be able to talk intelligently about them, and when you do have a win, tell everyone!” Leigh said. Maybe you picked up an FSBO who had been on the market for months, and you sold it in a matter of days. Maybe you connected a first-time homebuyer to your amazing credit repair person, and then you helped them buy the home of their dreams. What makes you awesome?
Leigh also encouraged being hyper-local. He doesn’t work where he personally lives, and he doesn’t think he’s the best person to sell or buy in his neighborhood. “I don’t know it like I would if that was my specialty! But I do know my areas, I know those restaurants, the public transportation, the housing opportunities, everything.” This level of expertise is essential to not only earning a client, but earning a client for life.
In a digital age of information, consumers have everything at their fingertips. You should be a dream-come-true guide! Dress the part, talk the part, be present and own your trade. Leigh is always visiting properties in his areas of specialty, that way when a client mentions when their neighbor listed, he can speak intelligently about it. “Oh, I was just in that property! Here’s the deal.”
When prospecting, if you have your numbers, your wins, an in-depth expertise of an area, a comprehensive blanket of strategies and a drive for more business, you can’t help but be prepared for success! “Prospecting is a mindset. It’s about finding clients, not selling houses,” Leigh said.
“You have to be willing to be all in every day,” Frank added. “We’re sitting up here because we put in the work, and we’re ready to attack it. You can do that too, but you’re going to have to work for it.”