Real Estate: Sales & Marketing
The high-stakes game of selling property attracts many people to the real estate profession each and every year. Despite the job's fair number of demands and challenges, the potential payout often lures sales-savvy folks into the business. At last check, the U.S. Department of Labor counted approximately 422,000 real estate brokers and sales agents nationwide. While the industry appears stocked with workers, only the best post "SOLD" signs on a regular basis. The latest data from the National Association of Realtors lists the median annual earnings of real estate sales agents at $54,900.
With an average of 40 hours worked per week the real estate professional is only limited by their determination and work ethic. Averaging 13 years of experience, real estate agents must constantly engage in sales and marketing opportunities in order to stay ahead in the game. While an agent may have a few listings and some deals in the hopper there is neither guarantee of anything closing, nor any new deals coming up in the pipeline. Therefore constant lead generation must be accomplished in order to ensure a consistent stream of business and deals being closed.
Because today’s consumer is much more informed (no thanks to the internet) the average homebuyer will spend over 6 months researching homes without even speaking with a real estate agent. Thus it is important to be extremely well educated on the market and be ready to act when a prospect calls.
Taking the Lead
Lead generation and lead conversion are a big business in the real estate industry and with today’s communication methods a lead can be as simple as receiving someone’s email address that may be potentially interested in buying or selling a home. As a realtor you must take into account that nearly every single lead is viable, what may not turn out into anything today may turn into a closed deal in the future.
While capturing a lead is pretty easy, it’s the conversion part that tends to take the time. Not everyone is ready to buy a home right now (or for that matter even know what it is that they are looking for). Real estate involves the largest financial transaction deal in ones life so it’s not a matter to be taken lightly nor something that is jumped into right away. Lead generation takes on a variety of forms- everything from contact management software, social media, advertising campaigns, paid lead generation services and the list goes on.
Must successful real estate agents use a few tried and true methods to maintain a steady stream of leads. Whether you are new to the business or been in it for a number of years everyone has an established sphere of influence. A sphere of influence (or SOI) is made up of immediate and extended family, friends, neighbors, past business colleagues, medical providers, etc. One National Association of Realtors report showed that top agents attributed 75% of their business to their sphere of influence. In addition you may have a farm area which is a designated geographic area that you prospect to on a consistent basis in order to get leads. This can be done in a variety of ways depending upon your budget and time. Some realtors specifically send out direct mailings, while others walk the neighborhood and go door to door or host a neighborhood get together.
Database management is a huge part of being in real estate as without a database you don’t have much to go off of. Because you are an independent contractor you are responsible for your daily activities therefore it is important to be vigil of where you spend your time each and every day. Since you only get paid by the deals that are closed your time prospecting, marketing, showing houses and negotiating contracts is all valuable. Make sure that your time is well spent in productive activities.
The National Association of Realtors has shown that 42 percent of a real estate agent’s business comes from repeat or referral business. Therefore it is of the utmost importance to create satisfied clients in order to obtain future deals. One Realtor.com poll stated that 50% of consumers that were surveyed reported that they were unhappy with a real estate agent due to the agent’s lack of communication and responsiveness.
So many agents today make the mistake of trying to appeal to everyone and not really having a true identity. One out of every 275 people in the United States is a licensed real estate agent- so what sets you apart? While you don’t have to come up with some off the wall marketing campaign it is important to have a clear vision in your mind of why you are different then any other agent in your area. Why should a client choose to work with you? Do you excel in communication? Or perhaps pride yourself in your market knowledge of luxury real estate. Regardless of what your specific attributes are try to convey them to prospects in order to set yourself apart.
Out of the Box Marketing Tactics
So many real estate agents make the mistake of thinking that they can just market with business cards and for sale signs in the yard, whereas nowadays there are so many opportunities to getting your name and brand recognized by potential clients. Be sure to utilize your full realtor toolkit of available resources which includes everything from your local MLS board to the national real estate affiliated organizations. Try to stay apprised on what’s happening in the real estate and mortgage industry on a local and national level.