For decades, agents have been happy to take on unexpected sellers who called from out of nowhere. The common wisdom was that agents had two main options when it came to winning listings: they could target one-on-one sellers by looking at FSBOs and Expireds or the whole neighborhood by farming with direct mail efforts. The third option — the holy grail — was to land referrals and repeat clients — but as the NAR reports*, fewer than ¼ of sellers call the agent they used last time.
“Fewer than ¼ of sellers call the agent they used last time”
The result? A series of semi-surprising listings. Perhaps they were a friend of a friend, who’d been referred your way. Or a past client who was ready to downsize. The neighbor of a former client who got your Just Sold flyer.
And let’s be clear: there’s nothing wrong with getting these pop-up listings. A commission check is a commission check. But we also know that it can be hard to build a stable business when you don’t know where your next client is coming from.
By leveraging deliberate, proactive marketing and outreach tactics, you can take more control of your listings business — and be ready to take the call (and the client) when they reach out.
Here are three ways you can power up your marketing to appeal to new, repeat and referral seller clients.
*NAR 2017 Profile of Buyers and Sellers
1. Identify and target sellers in your area
Yesterday’s farming meant sending months of direct mail flyers to every home and homeowner in a neighborhood. And it also meant sending out so many flyers and postcards that you never really knew the home or the seller until they called you.
Traditional farming is impersonal, time-consuming and expensive. The end result — a listing that pops up from within your farm — can be worth the cost and time. But it doesn’t always lead to deep, client-for-life relationships.
Today’s proactive farming puts predictive analytics into action. By leveraging seller predictions, agents can cull out the homeowners most likely to sell, then target them with automated marketing efforts and one-on-one outreach like unique door drops.
Agents benefit by working from a smaller list of prospects and spending their time and money on the contacts who are most likely to transact. When those homeowners call, it’s never a surprise. It’s a reinforcement that your smart farming efforts are paying off.
2. Get back in touch (naturally) with sphere contacts
If you’re anything like most agents, you have a list of “whoopsy” contacts that you’ve lost touch with.
Perhaps it’s the former first-time buyer who you know is now living in a 2-bedroom house with three kids.
Your mom’s empty nester friend who just retired and is living in a 4-bed, 2,500 square foot home.
You know who these people are, you know that they may be getting ready to sell… and you know they’re not likely to call you.
Provided they haven’t hired someone else, it’s not too late to try to win their business!
Here’s how to get back in close contact:
Write out (or label in your CRM) a list of “maybe” sellers you already know.
Find them on Facebook and add them to a list so you never miss a post or photo. Like their posts and comment on their content so they remember you’re in their corner.
Send a casual email or text asking if they want to catch up. Consider their preferences — invite early risers to coffee, fellow parents to a play date, craft beer enthusiasts to the newest brewery in town.
Target them on Facebook, email and direct mail with ads or mailers showing off your listing expertise.
By combining easy personal outreach with automated marketing tactics, you can save yourself time while reinforcing that you’re a real person who really understands their needs.
3. Build up a solid referral or review system
Agents have a hard time asking for referrals and reviews directly. It’s hard to get the timing right, the wording right… and when you don’t hear back, you may wonder if it’s an accident or if they were unhappy with your services.
It’s time to take the emotion and uncertainty out of these requests. Develop a step-by-step system so that your clients and contacts aren’t surprised to hear from you, then use their feedback to win new or referred business.
Your process may vary but be sure to:
Tell your client at closing that you’ll be sending them a survey and also asking them to share any contacts they think may want to use your services.
Send the survey within two weeks of closing.
Within the survey, ask them to write a testimonial you can use in your marketing.
At the close of the survey, ask them to give the names and contact info of anyone they know who could use their services.
From there, work to market the testimonial they’ve written and follow up with the contacts they’ve provided.
Know you can’t do this on your own?
Reach150 is an automated system that gathers reviews and referrals on your behalf, then helps you to market the positive testimonials via SEO-rich landing pages and online ads. When a past client offers up a potential referral contact, Reach150 sends you alerts so you can follow up with them right away. See how it works.
Know who’s next?
Whether it’s incorporating predictive analytics or going after the referrals you deserve, it’s time to future-proof your business. If you want help minimizing surprises and winning intentional clients, reach out today. We’re happy to share the tools we have to help agents get ahead.