In times of uncertainty, anxieties are heightened and it’s natural to take a step back and say, “will my business weather the storm?” As in other aspects of your life, it’s important to focus on preparedness and not panic, when it comes to your business. Stay calm, stay aware, and take the necessary steps that you can now in order to put yourself in a better position 6 months down the road.
First, get organized. Schedule some time to step back and get a birds-eye, 1,000-foot view of your business. Look at your goals and take inventory of your processes. If you want to understand where you need to adjust or change course, you first have to have a clear finger on the pulse of your business.
Get Creative Finding Leads
Leads, leads, leads. Nothing new here, as agents have been searching for better lead strategies for years. What’s different now is that you may have to get more creative if there’s a dip in seller or buyer leads in your market.
Tips for strategic and creative lead generation
- Diversify your efforts. You never know if you’re missing out on a gold mine until you try a new tactic.
- Direct mail isn’t dead! Send just listed/sold post cards.
- Educate your lead base. It’s your job to connect the dots for your clients.
- Get involved in your community. Reputation and name recognition are the keys here. Sponsor events, volunteer, be a guest speaker… anything to have your name be a part of the conversation.
- Spruce up that social media. Social media is a low-cost, medium-time investment, but it can yield great results.
- Boost your investment in expert digital advertising.
- Prepare a better listing presentation. Download our guide.
- Convert buyer leads into seller leads.
Be a Trusted Expert
In tough times, the good are separated from the great. A perfect example of how to land in the latter category is to know everything you can possibly know about your market. Front and back, left and right. You need to have every data point on the tip of your tongue, ready to use in conversations with potential sellers and homebuyers.
Share your expertise via content marketing! Stick to your geographic farm, compile all of your knowledge and observations, and share them with your leads via blogs, Facebook, videos, and email newsletters.
Become a Data Scientist
Being strategic and numbers-driven is always good business practice. And it’s particularly critical during a shifting or uncertain market when transactions may slow a bit and budget becomes a top priority.
So what metrics should you be tracking? We like to break it into two groups: personal performance and return on investment (ROI).
The agents that thrive in any market are the agents that stay diligent and hold themselves accountable.
- Follow-Up & Response Time: Generating leads isn’t enough. It’s the follow-up and persistent communication that comes next that truly matters. Ask yourself, how is your follow-up? Track and measure your speed-to-lead as well as your response rates. If you’re using a CRM that tracks these things for you and schedules to-dos, be diligent with your system. Take advantage of accountability tools and dashboards that show you concrete numbers reflecting your follow-up habits.
- Lead Conversion & Close Rates: These numbers are critical to stay on top of because they directly tie to your transaction volume. When you’re crystal clear on how many leads you’re converting to opportunities and how many deals you’re closing, you can (A) pinpoint where you need to improve, and (B) estimate how many leads you need in order to reach your sales goals.
The Trick to Increasing Lead Conversion
Focus on Your Return on Investment
Times of uncertainty call for extra caution and precision with budget.
Take a look at your business plan and your goals for the remainder of the year, and then spend some extra time working on your budget. Look closely at your finances from the past few years, and set specific goals for your revenue and profit (while trying to lower your expenses.)
The reason tracking and measuring your expenditures is important, is so that you can understand which efforts have a positive ROI. You may be spending a relatively high amount of money on lead generation or marketing efforts — however if those outputs lead to enough closings, it’s worth the investment.
Track all of your expenses as diligently as possible, (with as much detail as you can), and you’ll be able to boost the right investments and cut corners in the right places.
If you’re a broker or team leader, you need to measure the ROI of your agents. Here are a few questions to ask:
- Do they bring in sales that are equal to, or above their costs?
- Does your employee encourage customer retention?
- How does your employee affect team morale and production? Are they distracting? Motivating?
- What does this employee’s future look like within your business? How do they contribute to your business growth?
Focus on Relationships & Communication
Know Your Leads
It’s all about conveying the trends that are to come. Accepting an offer is a major decision, and there is even more on the line when the offers are lower than they were hoping for. Work on your “counseling” skills, which will come in handy when counseling anxious sellers to get off the fence and accept an offer. Be prepared with projections to show them that if they wait, more than likely the offers will go down. Avoid preemptive and reluctant buyers and seek out the leads that are motivated to buy now.
Top Communication Tips:
- Share Facts – always have detailed and valuable market information at-the-ready
- Listen – learn your client’s needs and fears
- Avoid Pitfalls – be aware of common transaction pitfalls (inspections, appraisals, loan approval), and take extra precautions throughout the process to avoid them
- Be Honest – don’t manipulate data to push a seller or buyer in a particular direction if you don’t genuinely think it’s in their best interest. (Be encouraging without being pushy)
Streamline Your Business with a CRM
We all wish we could be the superhero that tackles all of the tough tasks on their own. But the truth is, achieving top-tier success in real estate is nearly impossible without technology in this day and age. By partnering with the right real estate technology, you can completely streamline your business, automate busywork, and develop a healthy pipeline of leads to drive your business even in the toughest of markets.
1. It’s Like an Assistant (But More Powerful)
Do you have time to follow-up with every new lead that registers on your site as quickly as possible? Probably not. Your time is better spent with hot leads, having conversations, meeting with clients, and showing houses. However, lead generation, qualification, and follow-up are critical for fueling a thriving pipeline. That’s why it’s essential to leverage technology. Be strategic about the tools that you’re using, by (A) choosing the right ones for your business, (B) utilizing them to their fullest potential, and (C) measuring ROI.
With Success Assurance, you can focus your energy on more dollar-productive activities. Leave the rest to us. When a new lead registers on your site, a lead concierge will reach out to them for you, in as little as 90 seconds. And then deliver them to you, transaction-ready. This process allows you to maximize your ROI and leverage real experts to nurture your pipeline. Better yet, it allows you to focus on the dollar-productive and fulfilling tasks that you got into this business to do — build relationships, stay in front of your sphere, and close more deals.
2. Prioritize Who to Call
Real estate agents generate leads everyday. If you’ve been in the business for a few years, you probably have several hundred, if not thousands, of leads sitting in a spreadsheet. How do you know which ones are still active? Still searching?
A real estate CRM can tell you who is actively looking for a home and how often. You can even filter and segment your leads by who is active. Think about the time saved right there. Hours of prospecting reduced to a fraction of a second. Coupling this with a phone dialer, you can turn lead generation into one of real estate’s easiest exercises. No more time blocking hours for routine grunt work. You can focus on tasks that have a higher ROI, like showing houses for clients.
3. Better Lead Communication (that Drives Conversions)
Which statement do you think will have a longer, lasting impact?
1. Hi Jack, I saw you were looking to buy a house. How can I help you today?
2. Hi Jack, I noticed you were looking at homes in Lawton Harbor. It’s a beautiful neighborhood! Would you like to see some homes there today?
Number two sticks out, right? The best real estate CRMs — working with your website — will tell you what properties leads are looking at (and how many times). This allows you to send personalized communication bound to convert. BoomTown clients, for example, have seen a 450% increase in lead responses (based on our CRM tools). It works particularly well for leads who are 6-8 months out. If you notice them looking at one specific property over and over (recorded by the CRM), then you can send them a quick text, saying, “Want me to schedule a showing for 1234 Bend Street this Saturday?”
Good real estate CRMs will expand on this behavior. They will match new (or updated) properties to your leads, using the data behind their home searches. It’s similar to how Google will offer better websites based on how you search. Then all you have to do is send out a group text or email, asking if anyone wants to see these “new” properties. Lead insights allow personalized communication. That communication creates better conversions. More conversions equal more money.
4. Improve Agent Performance
Well-performing teams have a business process. It’s a workflow for handling new leads and existing clients. Example: Brokers often tell agents to respond to new leads within the hour. But how do you know if agents are actually contacting new leads within the hour?
Holding agents (or yourself) accountable to a process isn’t easy. But a real estate CRM makes it effortless. By asking your team to contact leads through your CRM, it’ll leave a record of their actions. You can then pull up reports and see what they’re doing. It’s a good base for one-on-one discussions. You can drill into how often they try to contact leads, when they contact them, and if there was a response. It allows you to improve agent performance, which creates better ROI for your business. Ultimately, it’ll allow you to recruit and retain the best agents.
Without a crystal ball, we just have to wait and see how things shake out. In the meantime, do what you can to prepare for a shift. You’ve made it all the way through this article, so you already have a head start on the competition! Frontload on business planning and strategy-building for the year ahead, so that if and when you start to feel the effects of an uncertain market, you’re fully prepared and ready to pivot. Be smarter with money and budget than you ever have before. Now is the time to stretch your dollars, maximize your ROI, and save as much money as you can.