Price vs. Value

You are not the lowest price in the market! Nor should you be!

Your Low Set Fee consumer offer is designed to create a ‘tell-me-more’ inquiry only.  It is not what will cause sellers to list with you. That takes something more substantial.

People contact you because they think you might be able to save them some money.  They list with you because they perceive you are the best Value.

Value is the place where price and service intersect. A low price coupled with slashed service, i.e. Purple Bricks, is not a good Value. Great Service at a big price, i.e. many ordinary Realtors, is not a good Value. Great Service at a really good price, i.e. Help-U-Sell,  is a good Value. All of which leads us to this:

What is the Value you bring to a home seller? What do you have – beyond your Low Set Fee and savings – that will cause a seller to say, ‘Yes!’

Right now your biggest competitors are in two basic camps.  There are the new entries – Purple Bricks, Redfin and the like. And there are the old establishment – the ordinary Realtors.

They old guys have a business model that runs on high fees and big splits to agents.  But current realities dictate that they cut commissions to be competitive.  So when they cut commissions they are cutting the fuel it takes to run the business model. Their cut really is a CUT. The commissions are lower, yes; but what had to be cut on the service side to accomplish that?  Less marketing?  Less competent agents?

The new entries have a sleek model that emphasizes technology and minimizes the importance of agents.  They take the listing, plug it into the technology and wait for something to happen.  The agents are paid less and are really just clerking the listings leads created by the corporate marketing machine.  Yes, they charge less. But the service they offer is also reduced.  It is the service of a clerk and a computer, hardly a good Value.

Your Value is so much more than either of these!  When a seller deals with you, they’re dealing with the owner of the company.  You have years, even decades of experience.  You have a track record and can document your success. You have systems that enable continuing contact during the listing period and beyond.  You are their skilled consultant, guiding them through the largest financial transaction they will ever have.  Yes, you charge less; because your business model is designed to run more efficiently (you are not dependent on high-split agents to grow your business). But the service you provide is the best available today.  That’s the very definition of Value.

So, market your Low Set Fee and the savings it produces.  That creates inquiries.  But, once you have the inquiry, sell your level of service and the Value you bring to the transaction.  That’s what creates signed listing agreements.

The 10 Most Important Things I Know About Running A Successful Real Estate Company

I’ve been doing this for 34 years: helping real estate brokers be more successful. I’ve worked with ordinary brokers whose lives revolved around recruiting and I’ve worked with extraordinary brokers who put the consumer first and built real businesses.  Over time, I’ve learned a few things that are powerful and true for any real estate company.  Here are my top 10:

No leads means No listings.  Really, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a real estate broker kavetch that s/he is not getting any leads.  In time I discovered that there was a direct correlation between lead production and listing activity.  Think about it:  why would you have leads if you have nothing to sell?  So, got no leads?  Go get a listing.

The inquiry is where the rubber meets the road.  Dramatic improvement in the bottom line is possible if you focus on the intake process.  A 3% to 10% increase can usually be achieved in a matter of weeks if you just tighten up how you respond to inquiries, how effectively you procure contact information and permission (real or implied) to continue the conversation.

Incubation is essential.  Going hand-in-glove with the previous point, you must have a way to maintain, track and interact with your leads going forward.  Our business is very different from what it was ten years ago.  Rarely does anyone contact you, needing to get their home on the market by the weekend.  Now, most leads take 3 – 12 weeks to mature, sometimes more.  Without a lead database that you massage regularly, you will not be competitive. It’s critical.

Face-to-Face always wins. We may have leapt into the digital information age, may have transitioned to online and less personal marketing, but this has only made face-to-face contact more powerful.  Never email or text when you can call or see the prospect in-person . . . and in-person is probably 40% more effective than calling. This is most important when working around one of your listings.  A mailed Just Listed or Just Sold card is not nearly as effective as one that is hand delivered with an attempt at a brief conversation.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are . . . KEY.  In our business, the most important KPI are: Days on Market, Sale Price as a Percent of List Price, % in-house sales, and Seller Savings.  If you will gather this data on your company and then gather the same data on your MLS – you will always come out way ahead! If you don’t, there’s a problem and we ought to talk about it! Using this kind of information in listing consultations and marketing can make the difference between getting the listing and not.

The most important thing you can do with online marketing is to become findable.  That means:  Claiming your business on Google and Yelp, building out your listing with photos and information and getting some five-star reviews on each site.  It means creating a Facebook Business page, posting relevant and important information and occasionally boosting your posts to expand your reach. It means updating your Zillow and profiles and building out your ‘Meet the Team’ page on your Help-U-Sell website with photos and bios on all staff.  And, a little icing on the cake:  it means dropping a few bucks each month into Google AdWords.

Differentiation is essential.  It’s why you became a Help-U-Sell broker. And differentiation doesn’t end with low set fee pricing; it should radiate into all areas of your consumer offering.  People contact you because they think you might save them some money; but they will do business with you because you have a better marketing plan, a more savvy approach to the business, and the skill and experience to get them to and through closing.  Build your difference in all areas, and then brag about it!

The function of a listing is to create another and another.  Yes, we market to get listings.  But when we get one, that’s when we pull out all the stops.  If you plan your outreach in the neighborhood to go into high gear the moment a sign goes in a yard, you will often find another listing or two.  Marketing around a competitor’s listing is also powerful (Arounds), but nothing works better than marketing hard around your own.

Every Help-U-Sell Marketing Plan should include:  FSBOs, Expireds, Arounds, Just Listed and Sold, and Cis.  There is no flexibility here.  This is essential.  Beyond this you can pick and choose from things like EDDMs, newspaper ads, radio, online campaigns and fake tatoo logos.

There is a direct relationship between your marketing budget and your revenue.  In other words:  you have to spend money to make money.  If your marketing plan is designed correctly and faithfully executed, you should generate about $10 of revenue for each dollar you spend.  So if your revenue goal for the year is $250,000, you probably need to be spending $25,000 a year on marketing:  about $2,000 a month.

Thinking of Selling? Christmas Might Be the BEST Time to Start!

Christmas houseNobody puts their home on the market during the Holidays, right?  Who needs the disruption?  And, beside that, what potential homebuyers are out looking at this time of the year?  Lots of people think about selling in December, but they usually delay putting the house on the market until the new year.

And, that may not be the best strategy!

Zillow reports that the week between Christmas Day and New Years Eve is the busiest time for home searches on their site. More consumers look at real estate on Zillow between Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 than at any other time of the year!

These are people who have a little time off from work to spend with family.  They consider their housing situation and make plans for the coming year. They start looking at what’s available, at what they  might be able to do.  That’s why home searches spike on Zillow during this important week.

You could do what most sellers do, which is to stay off the market (and miss this prime search season) until the middle of January.  Or, you could do the bold thing that might produce the best result for you:

Put your home on the market on December 26! 

Now all of those people searching will find your home.  That, coupled with a powerful Help-U-Sell Marketing program could produce lots of showings.  Co-ordinate with your Broker to hold a special Open House over New Year’s weekend  . . . and you may be looking at multiple offers on New Year’s Day.

Sometimes the best strategy is to discover what everyone else is doing and do the exact opposite.  If your competition is waiting to sell, now could be your best opportunity.  Contact your local Help-U-Sell office today and let us show you how we can deliver maximum exposure during this important marketing period.  And then, plan a big celebration for the New Year!

For Help-U-Sell Brokers: Listing Consultation Clarification

In my conversations with you, I’ve noticed an occasional quirk in the way you present the Help-U-Sell program to sellers.  I call it a quirk – but it’s really a misunderstanding, one that can create problems for you.

You don’t have three programs for the seller to choose from.*  You have one; and it is FULL SERVICE, including MLS.

We acknowledge that, even with FULL SERVICE, there are three ways your home could sell and each one comes with a different cost.  We charge the seller at closing based on how the home actually sells.

Your Set Fee is the same no matter how the home sells, so you don’t really care which way it goes (although we love it when there is no outside broker/agent involved because then the seller saves more and leaves the transaction very happy.  Happy sellers are the most powerful part of our marketing).

If a seller is willing to partipate aggressively in the marketing of the property (open houses, outreach to neighbors and co-workers, sharing on social media, etc) they may CHOOSE to stay out of the MLS, thus increasing their chances of saving the most.  But it is a choice they make within your Full Service program.

The message is:  don’t over-complicate your listing consultation by forcing the seller to choose this program over that program over the other program.  Present your program for what it is: Full Service with savings. Show the seller how s/he can save and how they can save the most.  Then be what you are, a consultant, and help them make a good decision (choice).

This is very important because it is one of the things that separates us from most of the new compeitiors who are emerging.  These high tech/low touch offers are not designed for choice, not designed for consultation.  It’s one size fits all and take-it-or- leave- it approach.  The expertise that sellers seek is not there or not available to aid them in decision making.  That’s your edge.  You are HIGH TOUCH with technology.  You bring human interaction to the process, helping home sellers understand what’s going on, and functioning as a trusted consultant.

Today’s sellers have been trained to believe they have only one choice:  go with a percentage based dinosaur who may or may not do the mechanical part of the process and advise them through it – OR – go with one of the new machines that only does the mechanical.  YOU are the logical choice in the middle.  You are the new way to sell your home and save, making ample use of existing technologies to get the job done while maintaining the personal, consulting posture that sellers need and want. Your task is the same as it has always been: Educate home owners in your Target Market that you are HERE, people use you, it works and they save thousands.

*It’s ok to end a sentence with a preposition today.  Look it up.  It’s not my favorite form of syntax but if it aids in clear communication, I’m all for it.

Involvement: Part of being a Help-U-Sell Broker

I’ve been looking at the numbers lately.  The one that keeps coming up is 30.  We have 30 offices in coaching right now.  We usually draw about 30 offices to the Wednesday Power Hour calls.  Our annual Success Summits have drawn about 30 offices each of the last few years. That begs the question:

Where are the other 70?

When you join a franchised organization, you have a choice about how you will interact.  You don’t have to do much more than correctly use the brand and operating system, pay your royalties and don’t break the law. The opportunity to become involved, to learn and grow, is just that: an opportunity.

But, we’ve found that those who take advantage of the opportunity to interact are the ones who grow and thrive in the Help-U-Sell family.  The 30 above – and there are variations in each of those lists – are the offices that show the greatest percentage growth in production year over year.

I’m not going to preach too much here.  Truth is:  there are about 30 regular readers of this blog and they tend to be in the lists above, too.  In other words:  I’m probably preaching to the choir! Still, let me remind you of the opportunities you have to engage with the Help-U-Sell Family, opportunities that have proven to have a positive effect on your bottom line.

Power Hour:  Second and Fourth Wednesday each month at Noon Eastern time (9am Pacific). One hour of strategies, best practices, and what’s new. Really:  not to be missed.  Here is a registration link:
Webinar ID: 685-513-379

Help-U-Sell Facebook Family page: our own private conversation.  Only Help-U-Sell people can get access, so we speak freely about our challenges and successes. If you need something or want to share something that’s working, this is the place for you! But you must be a member: request that on this page:

Success Summit 2017: December 5 – 7 at the Golden Nugget hotel in downtown Las Vegas. Half Day – Full Day – Half Day.  Get the scoop on new programs and initiatives, automated and predictive marketing as well as best practices, networking, social time and overall excitement! This is always a GREAT MEETING! Register here:

Help-U-Sell Connect: Our internal newsletter.  Meet top producers, get reminded of deadlines and marketing intiatives.  All the news you want to read in a quick and easy format.

Coaching Groups: Currently we have 7 groups running. Members meet once a week for an hour and help brokers stay focued on what’s most important as they juggle the many commitments that drive their businesses.  These are real, gritty, how-to meetings with lots of interaction between members. We match new members to the appropriate group based on production, stage of growth and goals.  Don’t operate in a vacuum! Join a Coaching Group by contacting James Dingman or John Powell.

There’s more: things like this Blog, for quick help with tech issues (or anything else), formal online training classes, one-on-one help and consultation on operational and tech issues, and so on. But I think the most powerful opportunities are above.  You owe it to yourself and your business to PLUG IN. Make the commitment today by clicking on any or all of the links above.

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