Monday, December 20, 2010

The next year of lead conversion

Well it's been another interesting year this year at my Brokerage. We have a couple of weeks left and will end up with 330 sales for the year. Not bad, but not where I wanted to be this year. One thing that is good is I have got rid of all my dead weight. I let a lot of Agents go and right now we stand at 14 full time Agents and 6 part timers. Part timers are Realtors that I really like as people, but are not converting leads high enough for me to give them more leads. These Agents have stayed with the brokerage and I let them use the leads already in their system. Basically though, they are non producers with around 4-8 sales per year each. Our 14 full time Agents averaged 18 sales this year. Not bad, but still way below my desired numbers.

With all that said, I did some research through our system and found some very interesting stats. You all know how I like my stats! Over the past year, we have had 817 people that we showed property to that did not buy. Approximately 75% of those who did not buy have a home to sell and can't buy until that home sells. I tracked this number this year to see how much the economy is affecting my business and to really get a glimpse into the future when the market comes back just a little.

If the market was better, how many of those 817 would have bought a home? My guess is close to 75% or more, but even it was just 200 more sales this year. That would have brought us up to over 500 sales this year. What if 50% bought, which is the closing percentage for most of my better Agents right now (35% as a brokerage). Is it possible for us to get 700+ sales next year if the market comes alive a little? I believe so.

Until I tracked this number, I didn't realize how many people have homes to sell and how my numbers are affected by this. It was a great revelation and it has really helped me with my Agents and keeping their spirits high. Even though we do a lot of transactions, our average price this year is $144k with lots of sales under $100k. They work very hard for their money! The optimism comes from tracking the numbers above.

I'll give you an example. One of my Agents, Debbie, has had 21 sales this year with a couple more due to close before the end of the year. However, she showed 81 different people that did not buy with most of those not buying because they had a home to sell. How would Debbie's business look if just 20 of those 80 bought this year? She would have doubled her income. What if 40 bought? I think you can get the picture.

One thing I have always preached to my Agents and my children is to not worry about what you can't control. We can't control the economy. We can only get ourselves set up with our systems to take charge when the market does come back. My goal has always been to have 20 Agents selling 50+ homes per year. The more refined we get in our systems, the more I believe this goal is very attainable

So what's next to convert our current 40,000 leads to sales? Well obviously our LCA program is a major part of our new year. We are still working out kinks, but it's pretty amazing. Over the first 30 days of using the new phone calling sytem we are using (pm me if you would like info on this company) we have been on fire with our calls. Where our LCA's could only talk to 15 people per day, they are now talking to 45-60 people per day. An average day is 250 dials with 48 contacts. My LCA's believe that this is just the beginning. We managed to convert a lot of our leads we have never talked to into active leads.

What else? Refinement. As I get more and more into the system, I am getting closer to doing what my goal was all along. I had always wanted to set up a system where the Agent is pretty much only doing one thing...showing property and writing contracts. Ok, that's two things, but that has always been my goal. Most Agents are terrible at follow up. All of you team leaders and brokers know that your number one problem with your Internet program is that your Agents won't follow up. They won't actually work the leads! As I refine the system, I am trying to look at all the weaknesses within the system and tweak them as best I can. In the end, it's still going to be up to the Agents, but little by little I'm getting closer!

My theory is if you are not growing, you are dying. Ok, it wasn't really my theory, I've heard it from tons of people my whole life! But, it's great words to live by. I don't think I'll ever rest and just have a year where I don't try to build. I don't know what the rest of my system will end up looking like when I'm done as I'm always surprised by what I don't know. I think that makes sense.

Well that's a small glimpse into what I'm looking for in the coming year. I'm assuming it will still be challenging, but I know with the right systems, the right attitude and the right amount of guts, there is so much more to gain!

Good luck in 2011!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Landing Pages - Keep it Simple

You have all heard me talk about landing pages. It's probably one of the most important if not most important aspect of lead capture. Sure you can have a great ad, but when a potential customer comes to your site, do they have to search hard just to find out where to give you their info?

Even if you have the right page, are you asking for too much information. Ask for the minimum of name, email and phone number. The less you ask for, the more you get!

Try this. Go to Google and type in any area real estate (melbourne real estate) and click on some of the sponsored listings. It's amazing how many sites you will find that just send people to the home page. There is little to no thought on the mind of the consumer. Consumers don't want to search for things on your site, they want the content delivered. This means they want to start where most Realtors want them to end up.

For all our pay per click accounts, they all have specific landing pages that are relative to the search the consumer was doing. For instance, if they searched Melbourne Real Estate, you can be sure that the page they landed on in our ppc program is going to give them access to the melbourne listings through our IDX and the page will be reflective of that search.

Let's face it, the more you give your customer at the beginning, the better chance you have of collecting more customer leads and eventually more customers for life! Develop a great landing page for every marketing campaign you do. This will not only give you a better return with lead capture, but you will also be able to track all your marketing in a better more consistent manner.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I read and interesting article - It confirms my thoughts

Over the past year or so the interest rates have been incredible. So why are consumers not buying homes? It's real simple, they are scared. They think the prices and the interest rates are still going to go down. One of the things we have done to educate our buyers is our buyers presentation. If you haven't read it yet, that and our sellers presentation are both online. I'm a big believer in education marketing. Anyways....

So let's think of what is going to happen over the next year. Interest rates, in my opinion and many economists, have bottomed and are on the rise. Last month Interest rates were as low as 4.25%. It doesn't get much lower than that. Today they were at 4.75%. My belief is the buyers will start coming out once we go over 5%. Unfortunately, because of the media and other negative reports flying around, most consumers are going to lose out. It's important that you educate your buyers on how this is going to affect their future purchase. We all know that 1% in interest rate can be hundreds of dollars per month in less buying power.

My fear for all our consumers is that they are going to miss the boat. This is an amazing opportunity for people that want to buy a home. It's our job, as Realtors, to do as much as we can to get our buyers to understand this. Today we sent out an article written by Florida Realtors that described what is going on. You can check it out by going to:

Take the time to educate your buyer. I know they think we are all car salesmen or saleswomen trying to get them to buy a home so we can earn commission. I know most of us are honest, ethical hard working people trying to help people buy a home. Send them this article. Tell them not to miss the boat. 1% in their mortgage rate will cost your customers hundreds of dollars.

I have always believed that when the interest rates starting going up, the buyers will come out. The time is now. Good luck!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Working Internet Leads - It's all about mindset

As most of you know, working Internet leads is pretty much my life these days. Ok, it has been for the past 9 years. Almost daily, I read posts throughout the Internet on the subject. I read different views on so many aspects of lead conversion and most of the times it is from people who don't have any success converting Internet leads, but they are quick to tell you how to do it.

One thing I always say is, I don't know if my system is the best system on the market. I don't know if someone out there is doing a better job than I am or that my brokerage is at closing deals from the Internet. I do know however, that my system works great for myself and my brokerage.

I think the most important aspect of lead conversion is mindset. How do you handle your Internet leads? Do you send them an email asking them if they need anything and letting them know you are there for them? Do you get many if any responses? Is your mindset that if they were really serious about buying a home they will call me? How is that working for you so far?

It's about mindset. Working any sales job is about numbers. The more people you contact and build relationships with, the more sales you get. I don't really care if you are selling vacuum cleaners, cars, medical equipment or houses. It doesn't matter. The more relationships you have, the more sales.

There is one belief that I have and I believe most of my Agents have that changes the game. When most Agents are telling leads who are buying in a year to call them if they need them, we are looking at that lead as an opportunity to create a great relationship over the next 12 months. Do they all buy? Of course not. But, we know that if we build a great relationship, we will be their Realtor if they do buy.

There is so much more that goes into lead conversion than a great mindset, however, it is by far the most important aspect of converting leads. If you don't have the proper mindset, you will never do a great job using the Internet to build your business. Don't be one of those Agents that throw a ton of marketing dollars at the Internet and yet don't have the right mindset. If you look at each lead and each contact as a potential new customer for life and spend your follow up developing this relationship, you will win. It's that simple.

To learn more about the proper follow up systems, go to the Lead Conversion Simplified webinar within the site. This webinar is the easiest to follow and understand the importance of having an easy to follow seminar to grow your business.

If you have questions about your lead conversion programs, don't hesitate to let me know. I'm always available to enjoy a great discussion about helping you become a strong Internet Real Estate Agent!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Finishing Strong

Every year I wonder how bad December and January will be for my brokerage. It's probably my most stressful time of running my brokerage. It seems that most years, Agents decide that from the second week of November through the first of the new year, it's time to take off. I have seen this over and over again since getting into the business almost 10 years ago.

Why does this happen? I have many thoughts, but one in particular that stands out for me. Mindset. Yes, the mindset is that business is always slow this time of year so why work hard. Unfortunately for so many Agents, that is so wrong. I remember I started in Real Estate on Sept. 10, 2001. Of course we all know what happened the 2nd day I was on the job. However, people still bought homes and in January of 2002, I had 9 closings. The only reason I believe is that I worked the entire holiday season, I didn't take the last 6 weeks of the year off, I worked hard.

So how do you want to start 2011? If you want to start where you have no closings in January, then do nothing. Do what you may have done each year and take off the rest of the year doing as little as possible to get by. Or, work while most Realtors are sitting around doing nothing and thrive. Wouldn't it be great to start your year off with 2, 3, 4 or 5 closings instead of your first closings of the year coming the end of February or the beginning of March?

Make a six week plan. Figure out what you can do between now and the end of the year to generate customers and contracts. What are you doing tomorrow, Monday? Get yourself out of your chair and continue to run your business with as much energy and enthusiasm as possible. Remember, while most Agents are asleep at the wheel, you can claim your stake and start 2011 off with a bang!

Good luck!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Have you thought about 2011 yet?

I know, it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but it's time to start thinking about next year. But, before you can look at your future, you need to look at what you did this year that worked, and didn't work. I often like to reflect on both my wins and my losses. In business, at least for me, I have always learned more from my losses.

So what worked this year and what didn't?

1. Print - I spent a bunch of money this year testing different print programs and concepts through postcards and print ads - Results - Loss!

2. Radio - I spent a couple thousand dollars per month for 3 or 4 months - Results - Loss!

3. Internet Marketing and Lead Conversion - As I have for the past 9 years, I spent the majority of my marketing budget on Internet Marketing and Lead Conversion - Results - It's a winner!

I'm sure that if I continued both the post card program as well as our radio campaign I would have started to see some results. However, when I look at the dollars spent verse how those dollars would perform through our Internet program, it's a no brainer. Let's take a look.

I spent about $8,000 on Radio ads. I received around 5 or 6 calls and no business. $8,000 in Internet Marketing equals 800 leads. 800 leads, even at 1 out of 50 leads being a sale, would have been 16 sales. Of course we are closer to 1 out of 24 leads being a sale which would have equaled around 32 sales. And why do I test these other options?

I don't have my print numbers handy, but I can tell you that either myself or one of my Agents spent $1500 per month over 6 months which resulted in 1 listing. $1500 per month equals $9,000. I'm not going into the math again, as you can figure it out from here.

So let's look at next year. What am I thinking?

1. Increasing sales and closing ratios - We have been stuck around 4% for a few years now. My goal is always to increase our sales conversion rates. This year we plan on working to develop our LCA program. I talked about it in a recent post, but it's just a matter of time before our office breaks out! One interesting note, over the last 18 months we had 703 customers come to the area who didn't buy because they have a home to sell. This is approximately 500 customers this year that couldn't buy but would have if their home had sold. Even if half those 500 we showed homes to bought, our conversion rates increase dramatically and instead of having 325 sales or so this year, we have 575 sales this year.

2. Increase Agents - I have been wrong in my count of Agents this year. For some reason I had thought I had 18 full time Agents. I don't, I have 14 full time Agents. My goal for the first quarter is to find 4-6 new Agents to get up to my 20 Agents hopefully selling 40-50 homes per year.

3. Expenses - One of the problems with being the person who always invents the wheel, my expenses usually run high. This year I'm going to work on lowering my expenses 20%.

So that's what I'm thinking of at the moment. Of course this is just for my brokerage. I have other plans for 100MPH Marketing Software and The Real Estate Success Network. Running multiple businesses has always been fun to me. It's a little challenging in this market, but I'm very excited about the future and I know that we are geared up and ready for when the market starts to make its comeback!

So have you started thinking about 2011 yet? It's time to start putting your goals and action plans together. Don't wait until the year is over already because you will start too late. I'll be doing our goal setting and action plans with my staff the second week or so in December. If you need any help with your goals and plans, don't hesitate to contact me. I'm always here to help!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Real Estate and Work Ethic

I'm sitting here going through my emails before I go out and tackle that little golf ball shortly and I'm just thinking. I was recently talking to a lead generation and software company about how to convert leads. They had contacted me about using their system. I'm always trying to figure out better ways of working leads, but this one had me curious. The system itself is basic and easy to use. It doesn't have a ton of functionality, but it's not bad. However, when I was going through the demo, the person on the other end of the line told me that the best part of the system is you don't have to chase leads. You simply put the system up and they will come to you. They don't believe you should prospect or work your database, just wait until they contact you to buy a home.

With that said, it made me realize why they were marketing the system like this. This company doesn't exist because Internet Lead Generation is important and a great way of doing business, they exist because many if not most Realtors do not want to work to get business. Everyone is looking for the easy button. There is no easy button.

Yes, you can set up your Internet Program where you get leads and you don't ask for phone numbers and you never call a lead until they give you their number and you have a conversation. My question is always; how many sales are you leaving on the table. If you are able to get 4-6 sales a year without doing anything, how many sales would you have if you actually prospected your database of leads.

In the end it comes down to work ethic. Most Realtors are looking for the easy button and the Internet seems like the closest thing we have to the easy button. You can market online and capture leads and never call them. You will, with an appropriate backend marketing campaign, get sales. No question. But since when are we satisfied with mediocrity? So many Agents, and not just Agents but people, are willing to never reach their potential because of their lack of work ethic. This business is one of the easiest sales jobs I have ever had. There is basically very little if any "sales" that go into selling Real Estate. Of course getting business is all about sales and prospecting. If you don't prospect your database, you are leaving thousands of dollars on the table...very simple.

So as you move on with your day today, just think of how much your life would change if you had just 1 more transaction per month, how about 2 extra transactions per month. If you are lucky, you know thousands of people and they send you business every month. However, if you are like most of us, you need to do something than just sit by the phone waiting for someone to call you. Be proactive, work hard, and success is there. It's not rocket science. It's just about having a solid system and plan and moving forward!

As always, if you need anything at all, I'm always here!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lead Conversion Administator

So as most of you know, I've been testing a Lead Conversion Admin (LCA) position for almost 3 years. It wasn't until last December that we figured out what we were doing wrong with the position. At the time, it wasn't really working and I was close to giving up on it. What we figured out was the LCA wasn't really doing the LCA job. It became more of an assistants job and she was doing all sorts of duties for the Agents. It was a huge revelation to me, finally realizing that I was missing the boat with the program. I guess I should have monitored it better.

Once we realized my mistakes, we defined the role to be very specific and simple. From then on, the LCA's only job was to make phone calls. All admin duties were given back to the Agents which allowed the LCA's to make more phone calls.

Since January 2010, we have been running the LCA program with the LCA's contacting at least 15 people per day and usually leaving another 35-40 messages each day. It's been hard to really quantify, but while most brokerages I know have been declining in business, we have still managed to grow again in 2010. It isn't our usual 20% in transactions, but it looks like we will be about 15%-20% growth in profits. Think about it, with the LCA's contacting over 900 leads per month and leaving around 1700 messages or so, it would be almost impossible for our stats go up.

Fast forward to November 15, 2010. The LCA program is working fine, but it's just not accomplishing my goals that I had anticipated. I couldn't figure out how we could get the agents to make more's like pulling teeth sometimes. All I want is for them to be successful for themselves, and they don't want to do the work. It's very frustrating. During a seminar two weeks prior, I had talked about a phone call system as my Lead Conversion seminar in Orlando called MOJO. Two of the Agents attending had told me they loved the program. After hearing that, I quickly put back into my mind to take another look at the program. The year before I decided it wouldn't work well for us because of the way we were able to search leads. That's all changed now.

Since 11/15 we have implemented the MOJO phone call system to our 100MPH Markeitng system. It's been simply amazing. I don't have exact numbers in front of me as of today, but I can tell you that the two LCA's I have calling have used the system a total of around 20 hours since last Friday, the 15th and have called over 2000 leads and talked to approximately 200 people. We are averaging around 6-10 contacts per average. Prior to installing the system, we are contacting 2 people per hour.

I can't tell you exactly what the impact of this addition to our program is going to be, but I can tell you that based on just one week of calling, we are on to something very big. If all works out well, I won't have to get upset at Agents for not making their calls. There won't be any calls for Agents to make except the leads that are scheduled to come in to meet them. Is it possible to have this much control over marketing? Time will tell, but we are certainly getting close.

If you have been thinking about adding an LCA, give me a shout to talk about specifics. Have a great weekend!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Internet Marketing

It's amazing to me how many Realtors I see trying to market online and doing a terrible job or more importantly how many are using these $100 a month company's who are going to place you on Google and you will get tons of leads. How much marketing do you really think you would get for $100 per month?

Internet Marketing isn't difficult. The key to all of this is the ability to generate leads. That's my only goal of my Internet Marketing. I'm not trying to brand myself, I'm trying to get as many people as possible to register on my site so they can be sent to my lead conversion program. But how do you get people to your site. There are many ways, but these are the easiest to start generating leads today!

1. Pay Per Click Marketing - This is by far the easiest and most predictable form of marketing I have been able to find. I know if I spend x amount I'm going to get x amount of leads which will give me x amount of sales. It's very simple and very easy to track. You only pay when someone actually clicks on the link to your site.

2. SEO - Search Engine Optimization - SEO is important for your long term strategy. If you are going to do SEO, be aware it could take a year or more before you start seeing strong results. Six months at a minimum. However, once you get there, you can expect a good return on your investment as the more you do SEO, the less it expensive it becomes.

Since Pay Per Click is so effective, I wanted to talk for a minute about Homegain's BuyerLink program. This program is the most effective online marketing I have found for Real Estate Agents. In fact, I believe so much in it that I have dropped all my other online marketing and just use their program. My costs are about 50% of what I was paying on Google and I capture twice as many's a no brainer to me. To see if traffic is available in your area, go to

If you have questions or need help. Let me know. I'm always here to help!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Blog - What's it all about?

I had started one of these a while ago, but spend so much time blogging on other sites, I just haven't spent any time developing my own blog. I did have one at one point, but I'm not sure exactly what I with it! Losing things is a way of life for me! My dad used to say that if my head wasn't attached, I would lose it. He was right!

So what is this blog about? Those of you who know me, know this is going to be mostly about Internet Marketing and Lead Conversion. However, it's also going to be different tips in all aspects of our business. Members of The Real Estate Success Network know that our site has so much more content than just our Internet stuff. In the future I will be talking about things such as Internet Marketing, Lead Conversion, Basic Sales, Floor Calls, FSBO's, and so much more.

I really don't know where this blog will take me. My goal is to post something useful once a week or more. Who knows, maybe I'll even do some video blogs! That could be fun!

As you read this, if there is any subject you would like me to cover, drop me a note or an email. My goal is to help you succeed. It's that simple. I know you can do it, and I know my systems work. It's a win win situation.

Well that's it for now. I'll be back soon!