As a real estate professional, no one has to tell you that for-sale housing inventory is down. Across the country inventory is down 40% and in the Chicagoland area it is down 33.5%. While the lack of inventory is spurring demand and increasing home prices higher than we have seen in years, it is also squeezing the income potential of real estate brokers. If you get a listing, it is likely to sell. But getting a listing has rarely been more difficult. The question is, what can you do about it?
Let’s go back to basics. Real estate is a relationship business. Building relationships is the key to any successful real estate business. When one of your clients decides to sell, they should be calling you. Over 80% of home buyers and sellers say they would work with their previous broker again, but only 6% actually do. That is because as an industry, we do a bad job of staying top of mind with our past clients. Here are some ways to work your contacts and build them up:
- Door Knocking—Face to face, personal encounters are the best way to create new contacts. Now that COVID is on the wane, getting out into the neighborhoods you want to prospect is acceptable. The key is to offer something of value and keep it short. The item of value could be a local market report printed on a postcard or a coupon from a local business with your photo and contact information on it. Negotiate with a local business for the coupon. Choose at least 200 homes and break it up into several days. Repeat at the same homes every 90 days.
- Volunteer—Giving back to your community establishes you as a person who cares about people and allows you to make contacts in a credible and indirect way. Instead of just asking for business you are proving yourself as someone desirable to do business with. You can meet some of the most active community members by volunteering and word gets out quick this way.
- Annual Real Estate Evaluation—Everyone wants to know if their home is appreciating. Offer to send your existing clients an annual market analysis of their home. Call them and offer to do it in person. If they demur, you can mail it to them.
- Stay in Touch—Your existing clients are more likely to be the source of new business so make sure you are keeping yourself top-of-mind through face-to face networking, phone calls, personal notes, postcards, and social media. Work your base! Don’t let them forget you are still helping buyers and sellers. Call them once a month. Use a CRM to keep important dates like anniversaries and birthdays and make sure you reach out on those days. Find a reason to call, even if it is unrelated to real estate. Handwritten notes are very effective. Show them you care about them and they will remember you.
Generating activity is important, but so is your message. In his book, The Go-Giver, Bob Burg defined his law of value as “Your true worth is determined by how much more in value you give than you take in payment.” Successful people think about how they can help their clients. Build your contact list and strengthen existing relationships using this principle and your business will improve.