BY BRIAN HILLIARD
Let’s face it: It’s tough out there. Gas prices are going up, the economy is going down, and it’s becoming harder and harder to find clients who are seriously thinking about buying a home.
But before you start thinking about packing it in on this whole “real estate thing”, let me give you a quick word of advice when it comes to getting more business in today’s tough market: Become unreasonable. As in, become unreasonably focused on generating more referrals. Become unreasonably focused on getting more business. Become unreasonably focused on becoming the hardest working, value-adding, customer-service-oriented agent in town.
Now if I had just said, “go out there and get more business” then that’s something that may or may not impact your business.
But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a fanatical interest, an unreasonable focus, a genuine desire and willingness to “walk the walk” and generate more business despite current market conditions. And keeping in mind that hard problems call for hard solutions, let’s take a look at what being “unreasonable” means in the world of getting more business.
Publish an electronic newsletter with a clear “call to action”. As readers of my articles already know, I’m a huge fan of electronic newsletters. They’re cheap, they’re easy and if done properly, they go a long ways toward keeping you top of mind with just about everyone you know. Now what do I mean by “done right?”. They need to be written with your specific target market in mind. In other words, a newsletter isn’t an e-mail blast of current listings you might have. If they aren’t in the market right now, or didn’t tell you exactly what kind of house they’re looking for, then all you’re doing is bottling up their Inbox with useless information.
On the other hand, if your market is first-time homeowners, and you’re providing a newsletter that talks about the benefits of home ownership, as well as some easy steps for improving their credit score, then that’s valuable information. See the difference? The first one is all about you, the second one is all about them. When it comes to publishing a newsletter, always choose door number two.
Now, the way that turns into business is simply with your “call to action” at the end of your article. In other words, what is it that you want your audience to do after reading? Give you a call? Provide a referral, or maybe just pass this article along to a friend? All are great examples of acceptable “call to actions” which can facilitate the growth of your business.
And by the way, I don’t want to hear about all the reasons why you may or may not have been able to publish a newsletter in the past, such as “I can’t write”, “I don’t have time,” etc, Part of becoming “unreasonably focused” on more business means putting those excuses on the back burner, and just getting it done. Make some calls to family and friends. I’m constantly amazed by how few people actually utilize this option. I think part of it has to do with the highly fragmented, individualistic society that we as Americans find ourselves in. No worries though, just get over it!
Pick up the phone and see what your family and friends have been up to, try reconnecting with some friends from a previous job or other “life” and see what’s been going on.
If you pay attention, you’ll realize I didn’t say ask for a referral right off the bat, as that would be a little uncouth regardless of market conditions. Instead, just see what’s going on. Ask them how they’ve been and see what you can do to help them. Maybe go with something like this: “Well you know John, I know we don’t talk about business much, but with the economy being the way that it is, maybe you can tell me a little bit about what you do. That way, I can help you out in anyway I can.” See what they say.
Create strategic alliances with others in the industry. I’m talking about mortgage brokers, closing attorneys, or even home inspectors. Anyone who’s still in business and is related to the housing industry.
As agents I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that relationships with those folks can only go one way, meaning you giving them business. And while I completely understand how you could come to that conclusion, I’m just saying that if you find the right person, it doesn’t always have to be that way.
Pick up the phone and call a couple of mortgage brokers and let them know you would like to establish a mutually beneficial referral relationship where you both pass business along to each other. Mention you’re talking with a few other folks about a similar arrangement, and see if he’d like to get together for coffee or something to talk about how this might work for you both. Again, what do you have to lose?
Sure it might take a little time to find the right people, but once you do, imagine how much of an impact even just one legitimate referral a month can make to your bottom line.
So there you have it, a few ways you can get more business in today’s tough market. Just remember, by becoming “unreasonably focused” on getting more business, you’re almost guaranteed to make it happen for you.
Brian Hilliard is a popular speaker and author of the resource “How to Get More Business in Today’s Tough Market.” Hilliard specializes in helping busy agents get more leads and close more deals. For a free report on “2 Easy Ways to Get More Business in Today’s Tough Market,” e-mail Hilliard at [email protected] with the subject “More Business in Today’s Tough Market.”