8 Steps from Buyer Lead to Contract

December 6, 2009

IN GO F.A.R. Session 17, we discussed the 8 Steps in your Critical Path for Working With Buyers.  If  a possible Buyer lead asked you “what’s next?” . . . would you have a quick, concise answer for them?

Writing The Offer

  1. Set the appointment for Needs Anlysis
  2.  Set appointment with your preferred Mortgage partner
  3. Send Pre-Buyer Package
  4. Consultation Appointment – Needs Analysis
  5. Set up “Auto-Search” online
  6. Discuss currrent market dynamics for their preferred property types
  7. Tour homes – only homes that meet their Needs Anlysis
  8. Write an offer

Some clients will require extra steps, such as neighborhood review for out-of-area buyers, or costs of home-ownership for first-time buyers, etcetera.

Are there any critical steps you would add to this??


Master The Buyer Process

December 6, 2009

Through the years, I have heard the unfortunate phrase, “buyers are liars.”  It makes me cringe, for several reasons.  Besides the obvious (if you don’t like people, perhaps another career would be a better fit for you?), this phrase often only serves as an advertisement that the Agent didn’t do a good job uncovering the Buyer’s needs and motivation.

Understanding Buyers

Understanding Buyers

Buyer Systems

Guiding and serving the Buyer starts with the first contact and requires systems and scripts to work toward a successful conclusion.  An overview of the process can be found HERE.   As with the Listing System, the Buyer System begins with an information sheet  – view a sample HERE.

Finding Great Lender Partners

Once you have captured the Buyer’s information, the next step is to ensure that they are pre-qualified by a Lender that you can trust.  Any person you refer your customers to should be scrutinized carefully, because their services directly reflect on your own – and they may cost you business, relationships and your reputation.  I recommend that you carefully interview your potential mortgage partners, making sure your businesses are compatible.  Set clear expectations and understand their expectations of you.  Visit their office, if clients may be meeting them there.  Check out their website, loan application packet and get to know their processors.  Don’t hand over your business to “a nice guy” just because he (or she) is willing to pay for your marketing costs or buy lunch once in a while.

Lead (Information) Sheet, Pre-Qualification . . . then Buyer Agency!  If you get the Agency paperwork signed earlier, that’s okay – just not any later than this point!  Any more work you do should have some guarantees attached to it that you will get paid for your services if they result in a purchase.

Needs Analysis

All of this leads up to the key action step – the needs analysis.  My favorite version, created by Keller Williams University, is found HERE.

This process is the most important piece of a successful Buyer’s Agent.  One of my favorite sayings is, “You can spend the time on the front end, or you can spend the time on the back end; either way, you’re going to spend the time.”

The simple question is: would you rather spend two hours up front, really digging into the Buyer’s needs and how they will live in the home, what is their lifestyle, what are their family needs, what are their hobbies and activities . . . or would you rather spend umpteen weekend driving around,visiting homes that they will never buy?

Dig deep, keep asking questions and you will be amazed at how they lead you right to their perfect home.

What methods do YOU use to help shorten the buying cycle??


Active Listing Systems

November 17, 2009

Coming soon!

Guest instructor, Associate Leadership Council Member – George Belleville, led our Active Listings Systems class last week.  George is an expert at creating and implementing systematized processes to maximize efficiency and get results.  The class was extremely informative and a lot of fun . . . all of the systems will be uploaded and posted within one week, along with a course outline and more information.  Stay tuned . . .

Listings

Listing Systems


A Purposeful Approach to Social Networking

October 15, 2009

Been successful, but not as successful as you could be?  Do you have a huge list of ideas just waiting to be implemented?  Do you know what to do . . . you just need to do it?  You have probably been operating on your natural abilities, meeting fair success – and never stretching yourself by adopting new systems that are outside of your natural comfort zone.  Sound familiar? 

We’ve all been there . . . in fact, it’s so common that there have been several book written about it (Good to Great, by Jim Collins; Good is Not Enough, by Keith R. Wyche, etc).  Gary Keller calls it “E to P”, or, “Entrepreneurial to Purposeful.”

Purposeful

Many Realtors utilize their Entrepreneurial abilities – their enthusiasm, their “name badge as conversation starter”, and the tried and true traditional methods of marketing that they have seen other Realtors practice for years.  It’s what they know.

I have seen reasonably few Agents truly focused, in a purposeful and meaningful way, on communicating consistently and effectively with their Sphere of Influence.  Let’s break down a typical Sphere into target groups, using two complimentary methods.

SOI Bulls Eye

The SOI Bulls Eye

Your Sphere of Influence is made up of three groups:

  • Have Mets
  • Inner Circle
  • Advocates

Your Have Mets are comprised of anyone you know, by face or by name, but don’t have relationship with.  Their number’s probably not in your cell phone.  This is likely to be approximately 40% of your SOI.

Your Inner Circle contains Family, Friends, Past Clients, Allied Resources, Co-workers and others that you know more closely than the Have Mets.  It has a wide range of relationship types and is likely 55% of your SOI.

The Advocate group is typically 5% or less of your SOI, but it will generate more than 50% of the referrals you receive every year (when they are treated right).  Advocates have some unique characteristics:

  • an Advocate likes or respects you
  • an Advocate believes in the services you provide
  • an Advocate likes to be “in the know”
  • an Advocate is well placed to provide referrals

In your communication with these 3 groups, the language, approach and style should vary with the audience.

SOI Pie Chart

Break It Down

Within your Inner Circle, you can break the audience down further into the following major groups, as seen in the pie chart:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Past Clients
  • Past Co-workers
  • Neighbors
  • Industry (Allied Resources) & Local Businesses
  • Other Agents

The most balanced and effective Lead Receiving strategy will consider each of these audiences and reach out to them in a way that speaks their language.  If your friend receives a form letter that was also sent to local business owners, they may question your intent.  Conversely, sending a casual note to both family and also neighbors you hardly know may seem a bit forward to the neighbors.

If you have decided to begin a blog, you will need to first consider which of these audiences you are speaking to.  Often you can include several audiences with certain subject matter.  Blogs are meant to be virtual “communities” and can’t be all things to all people.

 “Viral” is a Good Thing?

In the world of Social Networking, “viral” describes the virtual word of mouth that occurs when something is passed from one person to another through social media applications.  If your content is relevant, interesting, funny or wild . . . it will likely find its way in front of thousands of people.  Think about the NAR studies which reveal that the average person will know at least 5 people who will either buy or sell (or both) real estate in the next year.  See below . . .

Friend Leverage

Simple math tells us that a relatively small SOI of 100 people will contain a direct link to an average of 500 Buyers and Sellers each year!  The million-dollar-question has always been “how do I get my SOI to refer me to their 5?”

Social Media just might be your connection to those 500.  Not only can you add many of them directly to your own SOI; your sharable, relevant content will likely get passed along from your friend to their friends . . . making the connection for you.

New Commandments

  1. Thou shalt use Social Media to connect with your SOI
  2. Thou shalt divide your SOI into audiences
  3. Thou shalt create content that is relevant to your target audience
  4. Thou shalt make your content easy to share

What else??  What are YOUR absolute rules to follow in connecting with your SOI??


Creating Your “Lead Receiving” Plan

October 15, 2009

We spend a lot of time talking about our Lead Generating plans.  For any new business, it is critical to generate leads (new clients); but we often forget to build a systematic Lead Receiving plan that will continuously fill our pipeline with future business.  Without this system, you are doomed to live out the up and down, typical business cycle of: generate new business, serve the customer, close the deal, generate new business.  It’s the “feast or famine” cycle, and it’s stressful and draining.  Gary Keller describes this cycle in his book, SHIFT (see image below).  Today’s powerpoint is HERE.

The Lead Generation Cycle (SHIFT at www.millionairesystems.com)

The Lead Generation Cycle (SHIFT at http://www.millionairesystems.com)

Using Systems To Beat The Cycle

Two systems that have been time-tested by today’s most highly successful Realtors are the 12 Direct and 33 Touch.  These were discussed in our last class and we dug into best practices today.

 

Below are some of the Brainstorming ideas we came up with for your 12 Direct Plan:

Don’t forget the myriad of Social Networking tools available to expand your network/database which could also be included.  Well written Tweets, blog posts and Facebook posts will attract “Have Not Mets” to you as well as get shared by your current network to others you may not already know.

For the 33 Touch, the class came up with:

Don’t forget your out of town family and friends, Allied Resources (industry connections) and other Realtors as sources for referrals.  You should use these tools as a touch system for them as well!

 Utilizing Social Media, and Getting Results!

You know the old saying about a tree falling in the woods with no one around to hear it?  The same concept applies for your Social Media attempts in a community of one. 

 Are you on Twitter because someone told you you should be?  What’s your strategy to increase your Buyer and Seller leads by tweeting?  Have you been strategic about who you are following?

 Did you get on Facebook as a networking and business tool . . . only to trade silly comments with the same people you talk with on a regular basis already?

 Are you spending any time writing a blog on real estate?  Who is reading your posts, do you have an audience?  Is there a community there, where the participants are plugged in and getting involved?

 The reason I’m asking is that I frequently talk to Realtors who are “doing” these things, or “have an account” but aren’t sure how it could lead to more business.  Part of that comes from not knowing your target audience, and using a “shotgun” approach to spewing information out into the black hole of cyberspace.

 Experts far beyond my Social Media knowledge and experience constantly tell us that “Content is King.”  Having something to say that is important to your audience is critical.  To know what that is, you have to understand your audience.  If you are blogging to your BMW Fan Club buddies, you have no way of knowing if they are interested in real estate . . . but you know they like Bimmers!  So blog on BMW – build the relationship and attract others who share a common passion.  When it comes time to buy or sell real estate, they will want to work with their knowledgeable friend who happens to also be a Realtor.  The point is:  stick with what you know and aim your content towards the audience you are looking to connect with.

 Last thing . . . I highly recommend reaching out to some key friends in the target group to help you spread the word of your new blog, tweets or fan page.  That third-party endorsement is priceless and it helps you get plugged into a broader audience.

 Unleash the Power of the Mastermind

Okay, let’s hear it . . . what do YOU use to stay connected with your network???  If everybody leaves a comment, we’ll have hundreds of new ideas to choose from!  Information on specific companies helps too!  What’s your best tool?