I’ve been away from Help-U-Sell for three months now. I am starting to see the forest, not so much the trees. It’s an interesting, uncluttered perspective. I found myself this morning thinking about some of the common mistakes Help-U-Sell Brokers make in their quest to dominate the (real estate) world. Here are a few that jump out at me:
Not adding help when it’s needed. Help-U-Sell brokers are very passionate about what they do. The mission of saving consumers money and changing the way real estate is sold is sometimes so precious that they have difficulty delegating parts of the job to others. But, without that delegation, there is a limit on how many consumers you can actually help. Staffing in a Help-U-Sell office is driven by one metric: overwhelm. That’s the trigger that it’s time for help, and it’s true regardless of whether we’re looking for admin help or sales help. If administrative tasks are keeping you from doing the marketing you need to do or from getting that new listing in a timely fashion, it’s time to hire an admin assistant. If you’re spending all of you time in the office because you’re bogged down processing transactions, it’s time to hire a transaction coordinator. If you’re losing buyer leads, not getting back to inquiries in time and so on, it’s time to look for buyers agents. We never recruit to build our businesses. We recruit to take care of the business we’ve already created. If you are overwhelmed, if you are dropping plates, try to identify the area that’s sapping your current resources and hire someone to free you up to do what you do best: meet the people.
Not doing a thorough market analysis before spending money on marketing. Our approach to marketing is very different than the one employed by ordinary brokers. We never spend a dime unless there is a reasonable chance for a return, and we never spend unless we can track the results. Predicting a reasonable return by gut or by listening to the salesperson is the way ordinary brokers do this. At Help-U-Sell we massage our neighborhood numbers until they are granular as the sand at the shore. We look at turnover rates, ratios of equity sellers to REOs/Short Sales, date of purchase and so on, and we look at it by Zip, by neighborhood and by carrier route. We target our marketing to the segments that are performing best in those key areas. But before we pull the trigger on marketing, we install a powerful inquiry/intake process that will result in lead capture when the marketing produces. I worked in ordinary real estate for decades before I came to Help-U-Sell, and I can tell you I never saw an ordinary broker approach marketing in this logical manner.
Cutting back on marketing or not marketing at all when cash is tight. Help-U-Sell is a powerful brand with powerful consumer recognition and acceptance. Many people know we sell real estate and save people money. Owning that identity in the minds of consumers is very powerful. It’s an enhancer, and makes every bit of marketing you do more effective. Unfortunately, if you don’t do something to keep your logo in front of consumers in the local marketplace every day, all of that power will evaporate. They’ll want to sell, they’ll want to save, but they won’t know you’re there! Visibility is job one in marketing, and it must be managed even in the leanest of markets.
Not plugging into the network. We are a dispersed group. We’re all over the country, and it’s rare that we have two offices within easy driving distance of one another. Most of our offices are like little islands of sanity in an ocean of real estate lunatics. It’s unfortunate, but sometimes, in moments of weakness, sane Help-U-Sell brokers become overwhelmed by the the babble of their ordinary competitors and (YIKES!) start to question their own program. Sometimes they even begin to tweak or flat out change what they’re doing because some six percenter did a good bashing job on them. There is one great remedy for this and it’s tapping into the network. We meet every Tuesday for tech issues and every Wednesday for general broker issues. The meetings are lively and crisp. I can think of no better way to plug in, stay focused and motivated than to attend theses meetings whenever you can. Hearing Richard Cricchio or Mark Dosik talk about what they are doing is golden. And how cool is it that YOU get to participate in the design of the next great website enhancement just by showing up to an occasional teleconference?
Looking at agents like an ordinary broker. Let me remind you of some differences . . . . The ordinary broker recruits agents to build his/her business. The Help-U-Sell broker builds his/her business through careful marketing and adds agents to help take care of the business that has been created. The ordinary broker expects his/her agents to do a journeyman’s job on every aspect of residential real estate: listing, selling, prospecting, processing, marketing and so on. The Help-U-Sell broker expects his agents to take the buyer leads the marketing program has created and convert them into happy customers. One of the reasons you can charge consumers LESS than ordinary brokers and still make MORE on your transactions than they do is that you don’t have a listing agent to pay. The broker (or his assistant) takes all listings. Listings belong to the office, not to an individual agent. Abundant listings produced by the low set fee offer produce a strong stream of buyer leads – leads created by the office and owned by the office and assigned to agents. It’s a very different perspective!
Back to basics:
1. We go into the market with a superior offer for home sellers: Sell fast, save thousands with our Low Set Fee pricing.
2. We carefully target where we spend resources establishing our message based on where we are most likely to get a return.
3. We are absolutely deadly on buyer inquiries. We practice, practice, perfect, and fine tune how we respond, how we communicate value and competence quickly, and we convert more of our hard earned leads than anyone else.
4. We hire agents to take care of the business we’ve created. It’s a great, focused, fun job, that’s not for most agents. That’s why we monitor our agent’s performance and sometime de-hire or replace those who don’t seem able to convert the leads they are given.
(If you want to know how to go back to basics in greater detail, HERE is a series of 10 posts that will show you how to rule the real estate world)