What’s the one thing that single agents, medium-sized teams and massive teams have in common? They’re always looking to grow their listings business. In thisActiveRain webinar hosted by Bob Stewart, three very different panelists shared their strategies and tactics for generating listing success.
Note: For the sake of brevity, we have paraphrased the panelists in the below recap.
Webinar speaker and title
Team name or company name
Jennifer Holloway, VP ofMarketing
Large Keller Williams team
40 - 50 team members in separate divisions. Divisions include inside sales team, listing coordinators, marketing team and more
Volume: 1,300 sides in 2016
Boutique brokerage owner
Total of 15 people -- majority agents, 2 support staff
Volume: 250 sides in 2016
“Those Kunkels,” Keller Williams team
Two-person team with one full-time assistant
Volume: 48 sides in 2016
Bob Stewart, ActiveRain:How is your business structured?
Jennifer Holloway Everyone on the team is a specialist, as the team recognizes that not everyone is good at lead conversion or filing paperwork. Many deals begin with the marketing department running ads in order to find local leads. Every lead is sent to the inside sales division, rather than to an agent; the inside sales team works to qualify the leads. Once a lead has been qualified, an appointment is scheduled with a listing agent. Once they sign on, the client will begin working with a listing coordinator who does behind-the-scenes work: scheduling photography and showings, puts the listing on the MLS. Once the listing is under contract, the client goes to another listing coordinator who brings them to close.
Scott Newman Our staff is also here to do the smaller things — like writing a handwritten note or helping with the paperwork — so agents can be out meeting more people. We think that in an agent’s day, only 5% of what they have to work on has to be done by the agent themselves; the rest can be delegated. And we believe that touches equals sales.
I want the agent who will work with the client to be intimately involved from the first minute, so we want agents to be the first person to respond to a new lead, in even seconds. From there, we can automate the outreach process — from dropping off packages to offering Starbucks cards — so agents don’t drop the ball.
Steve Kunkel I work in a two-person team alongside my wife, Leslie. Last year, we had a part-time virtual assistant; this year we will be hiring a full-time assistant. Our business model isn’t to buy leads because we aren’t after a lot of buyer leads. Because we have been working together for more than 20 years, the majority of our business comes from our sphere of influence.
Bob Stewart, ActiveRain:Ben Kinney, the owner of ActiveRain believes that real estate is a “contact sport.” What’s one thing you do that puts you in touch with potential sellers in your community?
Scott Newman It’s a 24/7 commitment. I walk my dog around my neighborhood. I know every person and every dog in my neighborhood. We’ve picked up dozens of listings just from being active in the community by being present. As I teach my agents, I tell them to go about their daily lives in a way that makes them get in front of more people who look them in the face, see that they’re honest and deserve to be hired.
I don’t believe in scripts. But how many times have you been sitting in a restaurant and heard someone saying they’re unhappy with their agent or that their mortgage rate is too high? And people do nothing. I have no problem getting up and walking across the restaurant and saying, “I couldn’t help but overhear you. I’m one of the top agents in Chicago and I would love to help you. I’m sorry to eavesdrop but I’d be kicking myself if I didn’t say something…”
Jennifer Holloway We recommend to our agents that they get involved in things they’re passionate about. For example, owners Lance and Katrina Loken are big tennis players and we’ve gotten a lot of business from their tennis contacts over the years. Another agent’s daughter is in her school band and any time the agent lands business from another band parent, she donates some of the proceeds back to the band.
On an inside sales basis, we believe in circle prospecting — which is door knocking and cold-calling. We’ll do that if you have a buyer who needs a home in a specific neighborhood, when an open house is coming up or if we’re farming either in our SmartZip farm or one of our agent’s grassroots farms.
Steve Kunkel Our children are grown but while they were in school, we were highly involved in their activities. Currently, we are heavily involved with our church community and lead small groups and a marriage ministry. We don’t go to church to prospect but eventually, people know what you do and they ask you about your business.
Bob Stewart, ActiveRain:How do you use SmartTargeting and seller predictions within your business?
Jennifer Holloway Every month, we get a numbered list of the top 20% of people who are likely to sell next, from our farm. So the idea is that we can market to them, send mailers, reach out to that 20%. We started SmartZip three years ago and we didn’t have a seller landing page. The Loken Group has only been around six years and I’ve been there for five years and I didn’t come from a real estate background. So we were learning a lot of things on the fly and this was one of those things. The original farm we chose didn’t work as well, so we called some teams who successfully farmed and asked for their advice. What I learned is that we needed to do a lot of advertising, so we added a digital ad package, we upped our mailers. And we also use our SmartTargeting landing pages to advertise outside of our farm. So we spend about $20,000 a year on our own advertising, via pay-per-click and Facebook, sending people to the SmartTargeting landing pages. SmartZip is our #1 online lead source.
Another cool feature SmartTargeting has is that you can look at your top 20% and export a list in driving order. So you’re not knocking on 100% of doors, which is helpful.
Steve Kunkel We had never implemented a geographic farm, so SmartZip was a no-brainer for us. We started out small but have increased it over the years; we’ve been using SmartTargeting for four years. Our farm is now 2,700 houses and SmartZip mails to 500 of those.
When we first started out, I just started calling. After two weeks, we got our first listing from calling our targets. And that’s how it’s been for us. Year to date, we’ve had 12 closed deals and deals from our SmartTargeting farm. And those SmartTargeting deals are, on average, twice our average price at closing. We selected our area and have refined it to include subdivisions that have a higher price.
Bob Stewart, ActiveRain:How do you, specifically, become the market expert?
Scott Newman I think we all know how to get good statistics from our associations and other sources, but it goes beyond that. So it’s about a commitment. Don’t get up at 9:00 just because you can, get up at 6:00. Read the paper, learn who the big experts in your area, talk to local agents, even the biggest agents. Ask them to go to coffee with you so you can pick their brain. I talk to lenders, I talk to inspectors, I talk to politicians who know what’s going on at a local level. It’s as important to me as it is to meet someone at the grocery store. If you’re not a good representation of the marketplace you work in, people won’t want to hire you to represent them in the biggest financial transaction of their lives. Live it everyday, and very quickly it’ll amaze you what comes out of your mouth.
Bob Stewart, ActiveRain:How are you using seller evaluation pages?
Scott Newman Every day! We need some way to contact them, some kind of identifier so we can get in touch with them. Sometimes we only get an address but even then, an agent can be in his car, driving over a Starbucks gift card or a package.
It’s our home base. You only have one time to make a first impression. People don’t want to hear about you, they want free information about their market. So it’s a great deal for somebody. They’ve identified themselves as someone who wants to learn more.
Jennifer Holloway Like I said, I drive as much traffic to it as I can. On our home page, above the fold, we have a widget that directs you to that seller page. Anything we print, the URL goes on there. I try to link to the seller valuation pages as much as possible.
To me, it’s the most important tool in your online lead toolbox. So whether or not you use SmartZip, I recommend you go research and set one up immediately.
Bob Stewart, ActiveRain:What are you using as your CRM?
Scott Newman We use Salesforce. I’ve always been comfortable with it and I’ve found there’s a lot of add-on software you can put on top of it.
Jennifer Holloway We use InfusionSoft. It’s a small business CRM so I liked that we could totally customize it. Plus, we can have our leads funnel directly to our inside sales team, with a contact already created as the lead is generated.
Steve Kunkel We use Keller Williams-provided eEdge.
Bob Stewart, ActiveRain: How do you track down information about new leads or people you think are likely to move?
Scott Newman In River North, we use doormen. They know everything about every resident — from who’s getting married to divorced. I could probably tell you the preferred liquor of every doorman in our targeted area.
Outside of that, old MLS information or we call agents who had a listing five years ago. Many of them have moved on or haven’t spoken to the client since, they don’t mind giving the information. Tax records can give a lot of information. If you take the time to do it, you can build a pretty complete picture.
Bob Stewart, ActiveRain Pipl.com is another site we’ve used on Ben Kinney’s team to track down information on specific people.
Steve Kunkel We also use PeopleSmart to cross-reference names, phone numbers and addresses.
Real estate is a contact sport. Get in the game!
From their business philosophies and personalities to their market areas, these webinar panelists couldn’t be more different. Yet they share one thing in common — they use SmartTargeting's predictive marketing platform to identify and win more sellers.