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!