How To Do It: Step 1 – Listing Market Share

(This is an elaboration of here ‘)

You’re starting out from scratch (or starting over from scratch . . . or barely scratching by and wanting to start over) and you want to take that first step:  build listing market share.  What do you do?  You don’t have much money and you may not see much on the horizon among your slim and tenuous pendings. Here’s the formula:

Learning:  The Elevator Speech and the Listing Consultation.  In today’s market you also want to check your knowledge of how to help a homeowner who is upside down or in distress.  Don’t worry about fancy schmancy objections and all the shiny things you can hang on these basic bits of information right now. There will time for that later.  You want to work the Elevator Speech until it flows off your tongue without any hesitation whenever anybody asks ‘What do you do?’  There are thoughts here and Step 2!as well as in the Operations Manual, posted in the Download Library.  You’ll also find the Listing Consultation in the DL Library along with video of John Powell working with a seller.  The whole consultation is important BUT there are two key pieces on which to focus:  The Service Comparison Chart and the Seller Savings Comparison.  They are the heart of the whole conversation.

Prospecting:  Start with people who are begging for your help:  FSBOs and Expireds.  Become obsessed with them and obsessive about contacting and maintaining contact with them.  Select powerful handouts to leave with them that differentiate you from the pack.  The old Help-U-Sell DVD, though a little dated, still works very well and, last time I checked was a bargain at about 40 cents apiece via NBS Printing, but a simple flyer that says who you are, and how you’re different is fine, too.

At the same time, mix in the folks who already know who you are and appreciate what you do:  past customers and clients.  Every day, call a few.  You’re catching up, giving them some market information (an item of value) and keeping your business in the top of their minds.

Marketing:  Choose your handouts for use with FSBOs, Expireds and anyone else you’ll be contacting.  You should have several so that you can go back to people with something new.  Also, doorhangers are important at this stage:  since you’re economizing you’ll want things you can leave on a door knob rather than mailing.  Doorhangers can be good for arounds and have the added benefit of giving you an opportunity to actually meet a neighbor face-to-face (if you deliver them yourself).  Speaking of arounds and brags — this is where to spend your marketing dollars in this first phase.  Your efforts are all about getting listings, so when you get one, pull out all the stops in exploiting the opportunities to market around it.

If you’re starting from scratch (or starting over from scratch), becoming visible is very important.  Make sure you present the benefits of seller involvement in the Listing Consultation.  Seller involvement frees you to do more high payoff activities and, if coached properly, means more directional and open house signs in the neighborhood that you don’t have to manage.  Supplement this growing number of signs with inexpensive Blitz Signs.  Even if you have to put them out on Friday and Pick them up Sunday evening, these little gems instantly make the statement that you are here and can save sellers thousands.  Consider investing in a car wrap.  You’ll spend $1,200 – $2,000 (I’m sure you could spend more) but you’ll have a mobile billboard you can park anywhere you want to make a statement.  If your budget is too tight at the moment, opt for magnetic car signs with the Help-U-Sell logo and use them! (drive nice).

Staffing:  If you’re starting from scratch you probably can’t afford help yet.  However, if you have the ability (rather, when you have the ability, which should be soon if you do what’s outlined here), the first person to hire is a good solid administrator who can take over most of the office activities and free you to be out meeting people.  Yes, a real estate license is a big plus and in today’s economy they are plentiful and available.

Time Management:  If the sun is up, the highest and best use of your time is meeting potential customers and at this point that usually means sellers.  Save learning (which is very important) for after 8 in the evening and before 8 in the morning.  When the sun is up become a people meeting machine.  Create opportunities to tell your story.  If you need some down time, schedule it for 2pm Eastern time on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Use that hour to attend the Help-U-Sell webinars to get fresh ideas and connect with other Help-U-Sell members.  Unless you have very thick skin, one of the things that will wear you down is the feeling of being all alone out there.  You’re not, and the Tuesday and Wednesday calls are an opportunity to tap in and re-energize.

Here is a Great Truth:  there’s no reason you can’t get 20 or more listings this month all by yourself.  Really.  A listing is something you can DO as Floyd Wickman used to say.  You can get out of bed this morning and say, ‘Today I’m going to get at least one new listing,’ and there are things you can DO to make that happen.  You can’t DO a sale — there are too many variables, too many other people involved.  But you really can go out and get a listing today and most every day if you make that your purpose.  I’m not much for fear motivation but really:  if someone held a gun to your head and commanded you to go out and get a listing, you could do it, right? So, if you are on the ‘Build Listing Market Share’ step, why not just decide you’re going to get one every day this month?   There will be days that something will block you, of course, but I bet if you are single-minded in the pursuit you can get 20 in 30 days.

OK?  On to Step 2!

Gurus

Ours is an industry that loves experts.  We also love motivational speakers (even if they’re not experts).  We love to combine the expert and the motivational speaker and put them in front of a room full of brokers and agents to do their thing, strut their stuff, and present, present, present.  Having been in the biz since the eviction of Adam and Eve from the Garden, I’ve seen and met quite a few.  Here are some of my favorites:

Tom Hopkins.  Almost single handedly turned my new career around.  I failed miserably as a salesperson for six months.  Then I borrowed a set of his real estate tapes (it was 1976 and he hadn’t yet expanded to other industries) and listened to them until his words became mine.  As soon as the dialogs became automatic I started to fire on all cylinders, so to speak and the rest is history.  I had the honor of having breakfast with him one morning in the early ’80s as I prepared to introduce him to a big group.  It was like meeting a rock star.

Danielle Kennedy.  I saw her speak many times, but what I really remember is her book:  ‘How to List and Sell Real Estate’.  It’s been awhile since I scanned through it, but for years I swore it was the best book ever written about how to have a successful real estate career.  Like Tom, Danni was above all practical.  She gave you things to DO, today, that would make a difference.

Floyd Wickman.  Floyd was fantastic.  A great mix of solid strategy and humor.  I think his answer to any question a prospective seller might ask on the phone – ‘I don’t know, I gotta see the house first’ — should be carved into his headstone when he gets called to that great listing appointment in the sky.  My favorite Floyd moment came in the early ’90s when I was head of training at Century 21.  We had taken a philosophical right turn from the rest of the industry by jumping feet first into Consultative Selling.  We were abandoning the slick scripts and the heavy techniques that were popular at the time in favor of just knowing your stuff and doing a good job for people.  We had an unspoken moratorium for awhile on speakers as we tried to establish the new culture, and many were pretty hostile to our new direction (‘What?? You’re going to give out the address on the phone??? Are you crazy?!?).  Floyd was the first to step up and say he thought we were on the right track and he’d support what we were doing.  I met him at Caesars in Vegas and cemented the relationship over a few too many glasses of bourbon.  Mrs. Woodjakowski, indeed!

Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones.  Most real estate people don’t know Charlie because he was big mostly in Insurance circles.  I saw him several times though and once was manhandled by him on stage.  He was a big guy, probably 6’5″ tall and a little heavy.  He was on stage ranting on about people who didn’t make it because they lacked COMMITTMENT!! (he’d growl that word).  Next thing I knew, he was down in the audience, grabbed me by the arm and led me to the stage where he essentially put me in a headlock and dragged me around from one side to the other, addressing the top of my head with:  ‘Do you know what separates the greats from the not so greats?  COMMITTMENT!!  Do you know what makes the do-ers DO and the don’t-ers DON”T?  COMMITTMENT!!’  and on and on.  My friends in the audience told me afterward I looked like a rag doll being mauled by a pit bull.

Steven Covey.  I saw him once and loved how he related to the audience.  There were probably 2,000 people in the room and he took the stage with just an idea about what he wanted to communicate and what he’d like to accomplish. It was clear he was not speaking from a rehearsed script.  But he had an assistant backstage at a computer who had all of his slides and knew exactly where they were.  Covey would talk a bit and he seemed to make personal contact with everyone in the room (including me and I was at the back of the balcony) and then he’d say ‘Put up that pie chart slide’ and a moment later there it’d be. He bounced around like that for an hour and a half, letting the audience dictate the direction.  I swear:  it was the most beautifully organized, spontaneous, un-canned and involving talk I’ve ever seen.

Rick O’ Neil.  How could I not include our own former leader?  Rick was remarkable.  He didn’t do much visible prep work before he’d talk to a group — I think all the prep was going on in his head — but he always had the perfect message in the perfect order to move his audience.  I never saw anybody take a room full of people and literally change their collective minds and get a commitment from them  the way he could.  And he did it over and over.  I remember him showing up early the first day of one of our Help-U-Sell Universities.  I asked him if he’d like to say a few words.  ‘Oh, I don’t know,’ he replied, ‘I can, if you want.’  So I introduced him and what came out of his mouth was an elegant, eloquent and moving speech about honor, courage and commitment.  It got a standing O and should have been recorded for all posterity.

There are so many others and some I’m going to kick myself for not remembering (like Wayne Dyer) but that’s my short list for this Thursday.  Who are your gurus?

National Help-U-Sell Get A Listing Day!

Floyd Wickman used to say, ‘You can’t DO a sale . . . but you can DO a listing.’  What he meant is that it’s difficult to get up in the morning, decide you’re going to make a sale and then DO it before the sun goes down.  There are just too many factors that are beyond your control.  However, you can get up in the morning and DO a listing.  You really can.  What?  You doubt?  If someone told you they’d give you $1 million if you were able to get a new listing by the end of the day, you’d be able to do it, right?  Sure you could.  You’d start calling all your past clients, looking for leads.  You’d call FSBOs and Expireds. You’d probably start making some cold calls. 

Truth is:  any one of us could get a new listing by close of business if we approached the task as a priority.

So . . . Tomorrow, January 20, 2010 (what a great number!  1-20-10) let us all resolve to get at least one new listing by  close of business.  Really:  think about it tonight before you turn out the light.  How will you attack this challenge?  What will your strategy be?  And then, tomorrow, when your feet hit the floor, you’ll be in gear. 

Some ideas to get your REALTOR juices flowing:

Call FSBOS and ask, ‘If I could show you a way to triple your marketing exposure at a fraction of the cost of an ordinary REALTOR, would you give me 15 minutes of your time? ‘

Call Expireds and say, ‘I know you must be frustrated trying to sell in this market.  I have a completley different approach that gets results and costs a whole lot less.  Can I drop by in an hour to show it to you?’

Call your past clients and CIs and ask for their help:  ‘I have all of these buyers and, truth is, I’m having trouble finding houses for them!  Really, the inventory is way down.  Do you know anybody who’s thinking of selling?’ 

Make up a flyer and go door to door in a good first time buyer neighborhood:  ‘I’m in the neighborhood today alerting homeowners to the tremendous tax benefits available right now for people buying and selling real estate.  Who do you know that’s thinking of selling?’ 

Tomorrow night, when you get home, take a minute to hit the ‘Comment’ button at the bottom of this post and share your war story.  We all want to hear how it went!