moving photo

That has been my life for the last couple of weeks. We moved. Not far but it doesn’t matter how far it is, it matters how much stuff you have.  We have a lot of stuff and all the details consumed all my time and that’s the explanation for the recent silence. I promise to get back on the task of teaching, mentoring and helping starting now.

I had a thought as I was listening to some podcast during the move. There is a misconception about how I work and what I teach. I see 4 major ways to do this business (or any business really) and I thought a definition would be helpful.

First, I am defining ‘business’ as the task of finding more people to help. The helping part is how you get paid and I define that as your ‘job’. You don’t have to be a real estate agent to have a business and a job. We all have both if we’re self employed in any endeavor.

So here are the 4 ways I see to get more ‘business’.

  1. Prospecting – This is a direct connection to another human being in real time. It usually involves interrupting them to share your agenda and need. It is seldom about the person being contacted. It’s about you. There are exceptions to this of course but cold calling, calling expired listings, for sale by owners all fall into this category. The ROI on this is about 1%. You have to hear 99 ‘NO’ to get to 1 ‘YES’.
  2. Traditional Marketing – I see billboards, bus stop benches, bus ads, online ads, farming,  and those methods that push you and your brand in front of the market in general. This works on people who are looking for a real estate agent at the moment by cutting though their reticular activating system and can be effective if a call to action is included with a simple way to connect back to you. It’s still about you but they are interested in connecting because they have a need in the moment. The ROI here is hard to measure because as the saying goes; “Half the money you spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is you don’t know which half”. It’s easier to measure what works and what doesn’t today but it’s still true that much of the money spent is wasted because tracking it is time consuming and we tend to just throw money at advertising. Zillow ads are a good example of this as most agents see a 1.5% conversion rate on the leads they get from Zillow. Some have figured out a way to increase that with ISA staff and better scripts but it’s still a pretty low ROI and it tethers you to a phone because the response time is critical. Not a great way to live a life or spend your money.
  3. Database Marketing – This is how I started my business in 2003 and I pursued it (an still do) to develop my business. It starts to be more about them but much of the stuff out there is taught in a way that makes it look more like traditional marketing (think ‘drip campaigns’). It’s easy to focus  on your needs (mortgage payments, food with your meals, etc) instead of what they need. Done right this can be a source for word of mouth and it’s almost the end goal but not quite. I still do this in the form of lower intensity connections, mostly passive and informative communication on a consistent basis. Everyone in my database has given me permission to contact them on a regular basis but I don’t spend much time doing it. It’s mostly email and online stuff with some physical mail in the mix. There will be some face to face interaction too if I see these folks at church or in the community someplace.
  4. Relationship Marketing – Now this is all about them. It’s more about how you can help them and not about you at all. If they know you are an agent (it’s OK to tell them that) and that you work by referral (it’s OK to tell them that too) then you have to find ways to connect, communicate and help them with their needs and they will naturally help you with yours because  you’re top of mind when that referral opportunity comes along. These are the best relationships you have and it’s where you spend most time in your pursuit of business. If you have only 1 hour a day to spend then this is where  you get the most out of that hour. If you understand that everyone knows 2 people who will need a real estate agent in the next 12 months and you have 100 people in your relationship list, your potential business is 200 transactions or 400 sides. Keep in mind, need does not equal ability and most of the need will go unnoticed by your folks but if you can get 20-30 solid referrals out of this group, it’s a great year for most agents.

So that is a lot of info to digest and I want to stop here for now but we’ll come back to this and dig deeper into how and what to do. Stay tuned for that.

I’m still unpacking and my coach says it will take 6 months to get to a new normal but we’re moved in and working toward that goal. Thanks for your patience in the silence. Comment below or email me if you want to share a thought.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson