Ok People. I would like to do a little experiment…. I would like to test every single lead generation idea out there. Once a week, I will post a video after I have tested one and let you know how its working. I would love to hear your ideas…old schoool…new school…everything. Let me know your best and most creative ideas!
One of the issues with out jobs is that sometimes we have no control over what another party does in any transaction we have. While we still continue to do everything we can for our clients, there are just some things “acts of god” that we can never predict happening.
However over the years, one important thing that I have learned is to get to know agents, loan officers and closers in the communities which I serve. I do a ton of networking. I can honestly say that I have developed some great connections and made some new friends. It’s an awesome thing.
What this ultimately does for me is this… I have a relationship with another agent. We have respect for each other. Deals happen with these agents and I know that there is a trust factor involved. We are then able to have open communication with each other about transactions we are involved in together. Its my own “circle of trust” with colleagues.
So get to know others in the industry and take the time to communicate with them. Be genuine and authentic. Share stories and ideas. We all have the same goals in mind so why not help each other!
So when you get into this business many things are thrown at you, especially being at a young age. It is ten different social networking sites you must be on, a webpage, a Facebook fan page plus running an ad, blogging and the list goes on. Then add to that you need a slogan, a mission statement and of course a business plan (which is hard to do when you have nothing to really go on.) And did I mention all the non-social media marketing you need to do-farming, FSBO’s (I have not had any luck with that), expired listings (haven’t had much luck with that either), post cards, expos, networking events, committees you must join, floor duty and this list goes on as well. As you can tell there is a lot thrown at you that you are told you must do in order to succeed. However there is one other marketing and lead tool that I have realized stirs up much debate-Open Houses. Do they or do they not work? I have done many open houses in this past year and a half, and while I still want to stay positive and say that they will work I have not had much luck with them. People do come by and take a look at the listing, but when I follow-up with them it is like they have no idea who I am and what I am talking about or I just never hear from them again. I have yet to gain a lead that actually goes anywhere from an open house. But many people reading this will completely disagree with me and say that they have gotten a lot of business from open houses. And some reading this will say that open houses are just a waste of time. However, there was one open house I did where this nice, sweet old woman accidentally brought me pot brownies and got me higher than a kite. But of course I did not get any business from her either. Brownies where good though. Some days I think I should go and get her recipe and serve them to my clients who are sticks in the mud and the people who stop by at my open houses. But back to my point-do open houses really work or not? And if they do work for some-how do you make them work? I would love to know other people’s opinion on this, because I myself am not at the point where I can answer this question.
When this blog says Adventures in Rookie Real Estate, for me that is completely true-I am a real rookie. I have only been in the business for a little over a year and a half. My background is in Engineering sales and business development and life insurance. I went into this thinking how hard can this be. Well a year and a half later I can answer that question-VERY HARD. I have never been in a business where you end up working so much for little return. Yes people, even my husband, see us working from home, having a flexible schedule and think we have it so easy. I swear I really think my husband thinks when I am working from home I am really sitting on the couch eating bon bons and watching Ellen and Dr Phil. Well here is some news, from morning until night I am always working on something. This has to be the hardest job I have had with little payoff. May be after I have in this business for a while it will get easier, but right now it is not. My anxiety level over this job can sometimes be through the roof. It is not just getting clients that can be a problem-it is getting them to buy that can be the problem. I have lost many deals simply because no matter how much urgency I put into the situation, for one reason or another they want to wait and then it is too late. You can bring a horse to water, know and convince them that they are thirsty, but you still cannot make them drink. It can be quite frustrating. I have some clients I would like to hit them over the head to get the deal done. So the question is with all this work for the past year and a half with little pay-off really worth it? Do you walk away or do you keep working hoping that change is right around the corner. It is a gamble. And being so new I cannot answer that question. I just know that I feel like I have put so much into this job to make it work that I want to see a pay off and somewhere inside me I really believe I will. But if you are new like I am or even thinking about going into this business-make no mistake, it is a hard business. When you are new, there is nothing that is easy about it. I was asked recently if I regretted getting into real estate. To be honest, I am not. I have a strong belief in myself and know that all I am doing will pay off at some point. I honestly never in a million years this would end up being the hardest job I have ever had. And the most expensive. So that is my reflection being a rookie in real estate
In the early stages of my career, I never took the time to see what was really working for me. However at the end of 2011, I made the decision to hold myself completely accountable and frankly….kick ass in 2012.
I spent the last couple of weeks of the year self evaluating every detail of what I did in my business. Obviously, 2011 was a little different due to my little hiatus I took over the year. But nonetheless, there were some victories and some failures. I took a step back and learned from them all. This helped my create my plan for 2012.
This is what I decided I have to do in 2012:
1. Blog every day starting today. Blogging has always been my thing. I was blogging before blogging was cool. I slacked of within the last year and I had to deal with the consequences. My many blogs have brought me a lot of successes and I am committed to making it a priority.
2. Continue to be active within the local and national associations. I have found that by being apart of association committee’s has helped me be able to serve my clients better.
3. Get back to the basics. Yes, social media has worked for me. But it’s not everything. In November and December I really focused on calling my sphere. It has helped my land a new listing coming on the market and 2 pending sales in the last week or so. I guess it really does work. I have also been sending weekly emails to my investor clients. There are so many amazing deals and my emails include the best of the best deals. From the responses I have received from them, I can tell its sparking their interest.
4. Learn something new. I am so over the whole social media stuff. I get it. I need to focus on finding new ways to grow my business that doesn’t involve updating my Facebook status.
5. Be Thankful. I’m still here and kicking. I have a lot of cool people on my side
I can honestly say 2011 ended well and its flowing thru into 2012. This is going to be a great year! I am going to push myself as hard as I can to make all my goals this year come true. Cheers to 2012!
Ok…So I seriously wanted to use “Breaking News” just once in my life and well…here’s my excuse.
As many of you know, I have been taking a deep look at my career path. I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not I should stay in the business. It weighed on me deeply.
However, a couple of months ago, I ran into Brian Bolier at Rebarcamp. I had known him since my title days but honestly never knew what he was all about. We had the opportunity to chat a bit. We seemed to have the same ideals as far as our business goes.
After many conversations with Brian, I felt that Coldwell Banker Burnet-Woodbury would be the perfect fit for me. I feel that Brian will be a great mentor for me and can help me improve my business. In return, I hope to share my knowledge with him as well.
I look at this as a fresh start. I feel it’s a good, positive change.
I do want to thank everyone who contacted me recently and offered to help. It was truly humbling and I can’t even begin to express my appreciation. I am so lucky to have such a great group of friends and colleagues.
I also want to thank Edina Realty for all the support over the years.
I am looking forward to my new adventure. I have a feeling that there are great things to come!
It’s very weird to me to even discuss what I am about to in a blog. I am a very private person. This is something that is extremely personal. However after talking to someone at NAR about this, they recommended I blog about it as it is a real life issue of why the dues increase will affect me and so many other agents.
Most of you probably have no idea because I have not made some social media press release but I am currently going through a divorce. What does this have to do with the increase? Well, my average sale price is $90,000. I could close many of these within a year and still not pull in a significant enough income to support my family.
A lot of things have weighed on me. I really took a deep look at the costs I incur as an agent. I looked at many of them and thought “these are just stupid”. Then I got to thinking about the dues increase. While you could say 40 bucks is 40 bucks, when you are someone like me, its enough to make me concerned. In order for me to stay in the business, I not only have to increase my sales, but I have to pinch every penny.
While talking to a friend within NAR, I was told to tell this story as this is the kind of story that NAR should have heard prior to the passing of the dues increase. While I am glad that I didn’t have this story to tell prior to now, I wish I had heard stories similar to mine. There is no way that I am the only person who feels this way.
I guess you could say the dues increase affects me more now as I wonder if I’ll be able to stay in the business. While its extremely hard for me to imagine not being an agent, I have my children to think about. Letting my license go is something that is not out of the question. I will do anything for my children. At the same time, I’m a deeply saddened by the though of giving up my career and everything I have worked so hard for.
So my dear friends a NAR, this is my story. While the issue no longer matters now, I wanted you to hear my story. I wanted you to understand what I, as well as many other agents feel about it.
Ever have those clients who are either all over the board on what they are looking for or so specific you just want to sell them land and let them build a house? Well I have two clients who fall into this category. One has no clue what he wants. He says he knows what he wants, but he doesn’t. He wants a house between 200k-500k, somewhere in our market (which is huge) but doesn’t matter what city, doesn’t matter how many bedrooms or bathrooms or whether it has a garage or not, or even the square footage of the house. Really has no specifics at all. In our market we have over 2,000 homes that are in his price range. And on the other hand I have a client who wants a condo on a golf course, with one bedroom facing the golf course, a patio or deck, three bedrooms, at least 2 ½ baths, a pool in the complex near the condo, a good size kitchen with breakfast bar, hard wood floors and if all possible a wet bar. And can come with a golf package. Both say they are motivated to buy now, but their actions do not say so. So they have me running around searching places and calling places to see if they offer golf packages to owners, and I know in the back of my head that they are not really motivated buyers. But they keep wanting me to search here and there, all while wasting my time when I could be spending even more time with clients I know are going to buy. So what exactly do you do with clients like these? You want to just dump them on the door of another agency, but you can’t do that. Yet you cannot waste all your time on people like this. Especially when one is so up in the air that he can’t make a decision on anything you show him from the MLS or even come close to narrowing down his search. All he says is he will know the house when he sees it. The other is so specific it is impossible to find him something that meets all his needs. Did I mention he even wants the kitchen cabinets a certain color and the master bathroom to have a jetted tub and stand up shower? That is the impossible find. Especially when he wants it to come with a golf package. I would love to strangle both. And of course both call or email me at least once a day to check on progress. I am very good with follow up and keeping my clients informed on what I am doing for them. But I normally do not check in every day when I have nothing to report. So on one hand they seem like eager buyers, but truly eager buyers are not this up in the air or this narrow in specifics. I have noticed that the more eager ones have an idea of what they want, but they are willing to not get exactly everything they want and realize that if they want hardwood floors, then they will install them if their dream house does not come with them. This gentleman doesn’t want to do any work on the condo. He wants it to come exactly as he has stated. Impossible clients, nightmare clients-you can’t really afford to kick them to the curb, but you can’t also work too hard for them since you have a stack of better clients you need to be working with. Somehow I always get the nightmare clients or situations. Beginners lack of luck. All I can do is try my best, not work too hard on them but n0t forget about them either. They may buy at some point, just not anytime soon. I have better clients to deal with who will be buying soon, so I can’t waste all my time with people won’t be buying anytime soon. Even if they seem eager, they are not. Unfortunately I have been down this road before, so I have learned the hard way who is really eager and who just says they are eager and have you running around in circles for them.
So I have these clients who loved this one neighborhood. It is near highways and get you anywhere in the Grand Strand in minutes, but off a road that keeps you away from the traffic. A real kid friendly neighborhood-even has a basketball goal at the end of a cul-de-sac for people to use. It is a little too perfectly creepy for me. It is a new development and all the homes seem to be the same and there are no trees. But my clients loved everything about it. So we found them a house they loved. The pictures of the outside and inside were perfect. They just knew it was going to fit all their needs and could really see themselves having a family here and living here for a long time. So I set up a showing appointment and even call the listing agent the day before just to remind her we are coming. No problem she said, her clients knew all about it. Great I thought-this was going to be an easy sell. So off we go the next evening to see my clients’ dream home. Perfect on the outside, the wife is almost giddy with excitement. Then we walk in… The house was a disaster. Looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in weeks, dirty dishes in the sink, closets were a disaster and dirty clothes coming out of the hamper; clothes on the floor. The look on their faces went from excitement to disgust. So I calmly, since I am about to scream, try to do some damage control and suggest may be something happened and we can come back another time to look at the inside, but let’s go look at the backyard and see the rest of the outside. I know the inside can always be cleaned up, but I want them to like the rest of the house. Of course, I am not even buying what I am saying to them. But out to the deck we go. And in the backyard, straddling what has to be the property line is the largest wooden playhouse-fort-swing set I have ever seen. It goes into half of both houses’ backyards. My clients hate it. I am no idiot but this kind of monstrosity can kill a deal and a closing. And it is heavily anchored into the ground, so it will not be easy to just move. This showing was a nightmare. I knew of no way to recover from this. I just kept apologizing and saying I would call the listing agent and get to the bottom of this. They, not surprisingly, kept telling me not to bother. At this point I am ready to kill this listing agent. So they go tearing out of the driveway, and I get on the phone. Well, the agent is barely shocked over the state of the house and is asking me what the big deal is over the play set. Well she must have gone over to the house today, because she is now singing a different tune. She was very apologetic over the state of the house, and it seems that the play set had been moved from one backyard to both since she was last there a month ago. Last night she probably thought I was just with overly picky buyers and that I didn’t know a thing about property lines or encroachments and was just being a witch with a capital “B”. Glad she now knows I wasn’t lying or over-reacting and that yes this deal is blown. Do these sellers know that they are selling their house? I know they knew we were coming; did they really think leaving the house in such a fashion was going to get it sold? I would really like to know what they were thinking. I have done some open houses and known the house was never going to sell because there was too much personality in it and a buyer was never going to be able to overlook it all to be able to put themselves in the picture. Same problem here. With all the clutter and dirt, my clients could not look past it and see what they thought was their dream home. So my easy sell just went from easy to a hard to keep them as clients’ situation. They don’t blame me and of course there are other homes in the neighborhood for sale that I am going to show them, but this was their dream home and the image of what it looked like on the inside and in the backyard is never going to leave their minds. I am really going to have to find something 100x better to get them to buy any time soon. Notice to all listing agents-NEVER let this happen and staging a home does go a long way in getting a home sold. If that place had been great condition, staged and the monstrosity had not been in the backyard, instead of writing this post I could be writing a contract. A perfect and easy deal blown by nightmare sellers. But who is at fault here-the sellers or the listing agent? I may be new at this, but in my opinion-both.
So what do you do when your leads dry up? Interesting question, small problem here-I have no answer to it. My leads are dragging their feet or aren’t calling me back (which having been in sales before is nothing new to me). And of course no new leads are coming in. So how do you bring in more leads? How do you fill up the funnel? In life insurance it was who you knew and who they knew. Your base came from referrals, and I did really well with that. I went out and networked and made things happen. But it is just not the same system in real estate. You can explain and convince someone of the benefits of life insurance, especially whole life, and how essential it is and how it can be part of your overall portfolio. But you can’t convince everyone you know or meet to buy or sell their home. And most of the people I know are a) in North Carolina and do not know anyone who have real estate needs in South Carolina or b) like where they are and do not want to move nor do they know anyone who does. So what now? I am the type of person who wants to get out there and make things happen, but exactly how do you do that in real estate? I wish someone would explain that to me. My trying to work FSBO’s is getting me nowhere, holding open houses isn’t working, running ads isn’t working and it takes time working a target market. So what do I do? I spent all this time in school learning the terms and math for real estate but what about practicing real estate? I do plenty of floor duty, but people are not calling in. So where do I get more leads? I have mentioned in other posts about all the networking I do, but as it stands today no new activity is coming in. Which for me is extremely frustrating. I try everything, I do everything, but my leads are dead or dying, and I am not sure how to revive them. I like where I work, I like the people and it is a good agency, however I am not finding a lot of help when it comes to this question. I know other agents have had leads dry up. It happens in sales, so it must have happened to them before. But they are just not helpful on helping me figuring out how to get the leads I have moving and gain new ones. I have asked the question on a LinkedIn group I am with and most say to work with my sphere of influence. That is not going to work in my case, so what else can I do? No matter how hard I stare at the phone wanting it to ring, it is not going to just magically ring. I would love it if I could make it. I guess this is just part of the down part of real estate. I guess I just have to keep doing what I am doing and hope that things turn around. That is really all I can do. I wish I could go out there and make things happen faster, but I am not sure where to begin on doing that. I am new, so I am still learning. May be in 6 more months I will have an answer to this question, but right now I don’t.