5 Ways to Grow Your Real Estate Listing Business
Go-to listing agents are not made overnight.
No matter how strongly you desire to be the listing agent of choice in your area, there is a process that you need to follow to grow your listing business with some sustainability.
Success isn’t just handed out.
Mastering strategies that get you in front of more listing business and then doing a better job converting the opportunities that you do secure can have a compound effect on your results.
It’s important to note that while you do need to make an investment leads, talent and technology to get optimal results, you don’t need to break the bank to grow your listing business effectively.
Do things properly and in the right order and your real estate enterprise will reward you accordingly.
5 ways to grow your listing business
- Make sure you have enough quality leads
It sounds so simple, but it’s an area in which many agents are lacking.
Though you don’t need all of these leads sources to grow your listing business, your goal should be to have quality leads in all of the following areas:
- Neighborhood Data (Circle Prospecting)
- Home Value Leads
- A clean database for Sphere/Circle prospecting
Now, when I say quality leads, I mean leads that have good contact information.
Ideally, you’d like a phone number and an email address. At the very least, you’d like a phone number, with having only an email address being your last choice.
As well, you’d like to have access to a program like Market Maker Leads (www.marketmakerleads.com) that augments the data you receive so that you can increase your incidence of contact and convert more leads.
Spending money on lead sources that give you little to no contact information or that don’t augment the data properly to give you the best chance at contacting the lead itself are a waste of time and money.
It sounds silly, but so many agents throw good money after bad in hope that somehow their fortunes will change as more leads come in.
All of this said, the number of leads you need is 100% predicated on your conversion ratios based on dials,speed of contact, contacts made, appointments set, appointments met and listings taken.
As a frame of reference:
- You’ll likely talk to 23% of the leads that you attempt to contact.
- You’ll need to talk to about 43 seller leads to take a listing and about 68 to get a sale.
- You’ll meet with approximately 65% of the sellers with whom you set an appointment.
- You’ll convert roughly 55% of the sellers with whom you meet to listings.
- You’ll sell about 80% of the listings you take.
- You’ll convert 8% of the nurtures you generate (leads that are selling within the next year that are open to working with you) into sales.
Your numbers may be better or they may be worse.
No matter what they are, you need to know them so you can reverse engineer back from the number of sales you want to the total number of leads you need to make those sales happen.
Once you have good leads and know how to put them to good use, you’re well on your way to growing your listing business.
- Get better (and faster) on the phone
Every year, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) publishes its profile on buyers and sellers. And annually, two statistics really stand out for me: number of agents a real estate consumer meets with prior to making a selling/buying decision and the number of sellers that use an agent.
In 2017’s report, here’s what was reported for those two stats:
- 7 out of 10 real estate consumers only interviewed one agent as part of the sales process.
- 89% of sellers used a real estate agent to sell their home (only 8% sold as a FSBO)
What this tells me is that if you can be the first agent to get in contact with - and then stay in contact with - a seller, you have a legitimate opportunity to be the agent of choice to list and sell the home.
These two numbers fall in the same range every year, so I just can’t understand why more agents don’t spend time sharpening their skills in converting over the phone.
If a home seller isn’t likely going to talk to other agents about getting his/her home sold, then you have a golden opportunity to secure a listing appointment or nurture for yourself by doing a bang up job of building rapport, identifying timing and motivation and leading the seller prospect to the right conclusion: interviewing you for the job of selling their home.
I also don’t get why agents aren’t calling prospects as soon as the lead comes across their desk.
I’ve talked a lot in the past about the huge impact speed of response has on your results and the data proves that it makes complete sense to jump on a lead immediately upon receiving it.
Again, knowing that a seller is likely going to work with only agent, doesn’t it make sense to be the first one to contact him/her.
If you want to grow your listing business, you need to make sure you get to your leads as fast as possible and then be amazing on the phone so that you can convert your leads into either listing appointments or listing nurtures for the future.
- Hire an Inside Sales Agent ( ISA )
If you don’t have the time to get to calls quickly or don’t want to get better on the phone, then hire someone who can do the job for you.
A good ISA can provide you with a 5X to 7X return on investment (ROI) and help you create a pipeline of predictable seller leads, listing appointments and sales faster, easier and for less money than you could yourself.
Plus, with such a large portion of your selling opportunities coming from prospects that are 90 days or further away from selling, having an ISA in place allows you to stay in touch with them until they’re ready to pull the trigger.
There are a number of solutions you could employ in getting an ISA in place and working for you based upon your budget and all of them make sense if you choose the right organization with which to work:
- Speed of Response ISA: With this program, you have ISA’s who call your leads within 5 minutes of them coming in to you. Speedy response rates lead to more contacts and more contacts lead to more appointments and sales. If you’re willing to stay in touch with opportunities after the ISA unearths them, it’s a good approach for you.
- Virtual ISA: While virtual ISA companies are doing a better job these days, they’re still not ideal in all cases. Having a US-based virtual ISA is a better way to go if you can secure that kind of opportunity for yourself. Same thing applies here, you’ll likely need to take over the nurturing activities after the seller opportunity is discovered.
- In-house ISA: This is likely the best solution if you have it in your budget to execute. A full-time, in-house ISA can identify seller opportunities in all lead verticals within your business and move the ball down the field with sellers who aren’t quite ready to sell so you can be front and center when they are. Plus, you’ll always have someone to follow up on seller leads when they come in so you can get the best chance of doing business with them.
No matter what strategy you employ, getting an ISA in place can have a dramatic impact on your listing lead generation and conversion and help you grow your business faster than you might think possible.
- Build relationships with local attorneys
There are attorneys in your marketplace who work with people who either want to or have to sell their home as part of a life event they are experiencing.
The three best attorneys with whom to align yourself to get access to these opportunities are:
- Divorce Attorney: Incredibly, 61 percent of couples who get divorced end up putting their home up for sale. Like selling a home, getting divorced is an extremely emotional process. Divorcees need a good agent that can make the process as stress free as possible and divorce attorneys need an agent they can trust to do the job correctly. Start with your client database to get referrals and work your way through the local area for divorce attorneys to start working with.
- Bankruptcy Attorney: When things are bad like they were in 2010, there were 1.6 million bankruptcies filed in the United States. In years where the economy is doing well, things are better...but not that great.
By the numbers, here’s how bankruptcy filings broke down in 2016:
- 794,960 total bankruptcy filings
- 490,365 of those were Chapter 7
- 296,655 were Chapter 13
- 7,292 were Chapter 11
- and 461 were Chapter 12
Now, I’m no bankruptcy expert, but that means there are a lot of people who might have to sell their homes to satisfy their bankruptcy debt with the government and their debtors. Creating a good relationship with bankruptcy attorneys and the trustees who administer bankruptcies in your area would be a good place to start to get more listings.
- Estate Attorney: When people pass away, their estate is left to be handled by an attorney for the purposes of disposing of, and distributing, assets. Historically, the attorney will recommend a real estate agent to clients for the purposes of selling a home. Establishing great relationships with estate attorneys could be a great way to get more listings this year and beyond.
While none of these strategies is an “overnight success” solution to sell more listings, they are a way to get solid referral business that is almost always a listing sale. It’s a great way to build a pipeline of listing sales that you can add to the listing lead vertical within your business.
- Don’t forget your clients
The same NAR report I discussed earlier in this post also stated that 85% of real estate consumers would refer their friends and family members to the agent who did a good job for them.
Shockingly, roughly 11% of all salespeople - real estate agents or otherwise - ask for referral business.
My suggestion here is not that you run out and start asking all your past clients and sphere for referrals out of the gate (though it’s not a terrible idea).
Rather, I’m suggesting that you take the time to put a strategy together that gets you in contact and keeps you in contact with the people that know you best.
Your ongoing contact strategy should include a combination of monthly market updates/newsletters, quarterly phone calls, handwritten notes, birthday cards, Christmas cards, Thanksgiving pies and an annual event or two.
The goal here is to be in front of your clients on a consistent basis so you can establish a strong relationship with them that is more rooted in care and friendship than it is in salesperson and client.
When you’re able to do that and get people to know, like and trust you...referrals should come to you with consistency and ease.
Growing your listings business is possible not matter what the market conditions are, how long you’ve been in the business or you’ve done to get listings prior to today.
The important thing to remember is that if you employ the strategies I’ve listed above with some “elbow grease” and consistency, you can grow your listing business this year and well into the future.