Making Money in Real Estate

3 minutes
Leading a meeting through glass

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Breaking Down Lead Generation

Joshua Smith May 22nd, 2020
Joshua Smith
Lead Generation
Making Money in Real Estate

It all starts with lead generation.

You can deliver amazing service to your clients, you can know the contract inside and out, you can know how to look out for your clients’ best interests, BUT if you can’t generate a constant stream of leads, you won’t have the chance to excel at the preceding tasks.

So, how do you generate a steady stream of new leads?

You have to start by acknowledging the importance of generating new leads. Every single day, you must make new people aware of you who were not aware of you yesterday, offer those people something of value in exchange for their contact information, and then follow up with them frequently. The essence of lead generation and lead follow-up.

Most realtors make two BIG mistakes make with lead generation: #1: They do not make lead generation a daily priority, and #2: They pursue too many lead sources.

A different approach:

#1: You must make lead generation a daily priority. You have to wake up each day with a plan in place to generate leads. Block off that time on your calendar. You must become intentional each day with your lead generation.

#2: Success is not found in doing 1000 things but in doing a few things brilliantly, thousands of times. Don’t try to focus on having twelve lead sources, but instead, focus on three or four. Do those three or four things constantly to become world class.

What is the best lead generation source? It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is your consistency and willingness to generate leads day after day. The best source is the source you enjoy, and the one you will continue to use over and over and over. 

Identify your personal strengths, and then identify the lead generation methods that align with your strengths. For example, if you love talking with and networking with people, then try joining local networking groups and working those groups for new leads. If you are more introverted, and don’t like networking, try Facebook lead generation.

If you study all the top producers on the planet, they have different lead sources, of course, but the one factor that runs through the most successful realtors in the industry is a willingness to be radically consistent.

A magic lead source has yet to be invented. You must plan to win with consistency.

Your lead generation task list:

#1. Break down your personal strengths.

#2. Identify three to four lead generation methods which align with your strengths.

#3. Block off daily time on your calendar to intentionally work those lead generation methods.

#4. Go build a constant stream of new leads to fuel your success in the real estate industry.

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

4 minutes
Delegation via notes.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Delegation

Joshua Smith Jul 10th, 2020
Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate

You can only do so much. And there are only so many hours in a day. So, as a realtor, you must delegate.

A quick reminder from the Making Money blog post, realtors earn money by: #1: lead gen/lead follow-up, #2: appointment conductions, and #3: negotiating contracts.

To begin delegating, make a list of everything you do regularly that is not part of these three money making activities. This list will give you the activities you need to delegate.

ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL NOTE: As you are growing your real estate business, you will need to do everything for some time, as you will not likely have the funds to pay for additional help. Also, you want to do everything initially so you can learn how things are done and how you like them done, so, when you do delegate out these tasks, you can train your staff properly.

Before you start spending money, make sure everything you are doing is necessary. If you are doing a lot of tasks that are not getting results, you may, of course, just want to eliminate those tasks. Also, see if you can delegate regular tasks to your vendor partners. For example, you may see if your lender has someone on staff who can do your flyer design for you. I only like to spend money when it is necessary, so see what you can eliminate and delegate out for free. 

IMPORTANT FINANCIAL TIP: Before hiring a person to help with tasks, you should have at least four consecutive months of consistent closings/commission income, which can pay your business expenses, your personal income, and have enough left over to comfortably pay for some help. I like to see at least four months, because you know it is a trend that can be duplicated and not just a fluky good month or two.

Who do you hire first? Everyone has a different philosophy on this topic, so there is no perfect answer. However, I will give you my opinion based on my own personal experience. 

First: I recommend hiring someone to do your house/personal tasks. For example: landscaper, house cleaner, etc. These tasks can take up a lot of time you could otherwise use for business needs and can be far cheaper than hiring a full-time employee for your business.

Second: Check to see if you can find a licensed realtor who you can pay a per transaction fee to input your listings for you into the MLS, turn in paperwork to your broker, order your listing photos, signpost, lockbox, etc. and also can do all contract to close tasks like ordering inspections, following up with the lender, etc. Fees always differ, but you may find someone who will do the listing input for $150, and the contract to close for $350, give or take.

Third: Eventually, hiring a full-time in-office assistant will make sense. For most realtors, this time comes once most realtor get to four to five closings monthly (again, make sure this progress is consistent). Once you have hired this assistant, take the list we discussed above of all the non-moneymaking activities you do in your business, and assign those to your new assistant.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: When hiring an employee, make sure you know your true costs, which can be more than just salary. For example: payroll fees, taxes, benefits, etc. By having all of this information, you will be fully prepared and can budget accordingly.

Once you have your assistant trained and dialed in, your business will continue to grow, and you can eventually add more assistants and even agents to work your overflow of leads, etc., but the above is a great place to start!

One last import piece of wisdom: “Your Trust Will Always Equal Your Capacity!” Or to continue growing your business, you eventually will need to delegate tasks and trust others to take these tasks on. If you don’t, you will find your business will hit a level where it can’t grow any further.

Delegation can be a scary process, but if you have your processes documented and your systems in place, success will be unavoidable.

Thanks for reading!  

Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

2 minutes
Meeting around a laptop and some coffee.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Double Your Business

Joshua Smith Jun 5th, 2020
Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate

Every day I speak to realtors who want to take their business to the next level and double, if not triple, their real estate businesses.

In most cases, they are looking to add more or new lead generation methods (more on effective lead generation here). While a great idea, that is not the place to start.

Success is not in addition but in elimination. That’s where you need to start.

Step # 1: Analyze all of your closings for the past twelve months. Make a note of the exact lead sources that led to those closings.

Step # 2: Make a list of everything you are currently doing that has not resulted in a closing.

Step # 3: Eliminate all lead generation activities that have not resulted in a closing in the past twelve months.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For lead generation sources you have been using for less than six months, you may not have closings yet, as it can take a full six months to test a new strategy. For such sources, you may not be able use closings as your metric, so instead use appointments set (more on setting appointments here). In most cases, five appointments set = one closing.

Step # 4: By eliminating activities that are not getting results, you may now free up time inside your schedule to double or triple down on the activities that have produced results.

The above steps are the true key to increasing revenue by eliminating what is not working and doing more of what has been proven to work. But keep in mind that if you do not track your results, you can never truly know what is working and what isn’t (more on tracking here).

Honestly, the only time I will add a new lead source is when I know that I can’t do any more of what is already proven to work, which is very rarely the case. I can almost always find ways to squeeze more out of the sources that have already proven themselves.

So spend some time over the next week breaking down all your closings and their sources, eliminating anything not getting results, and focusing on what has been proven.

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

5 minutes
A white house with a big tree with some sun peeking through.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Effective Open Houses

Joshua Smith May 29th, 2020
Joshua Smith
Lead Generation
Making Money in Real Estate

I am not sure why, but a lot of realtors believe in the myth that open houses are only for those just entering the business.

The fact is that open houses are one of the most effective ways to generate business in real estate.

But why are open houses so effective?

You have potential buyers and sellers coming to you.

Those buyers and sellers have already identified where they want to live, and/or the fact they want to sell.

You are instantly face to face, and have the ability to interview for the job right there.

But you can’t just put up a sign and hold an effective open house. Here’s what must be done to develop an effective open house strategy:

#1: Identify an area, and be consistent with it. Think of open houses as your “storefront” where you get to set up and meet potential buyer/seller clients in the area you want to work. Most realtors do open houses all over the place, which is a mistake. Instead, identify an area in which you want to build up market share, and then hold consistent open houses in that area. Current homeowners then begin to see your open house signs set up every weekend there, which increases consumer confidence as potential clients are seeing your name on a consistent basis. So pick an area and start to build your brand.

#2: Signage matters. Before you dive into this aspect or your open house strategy, make sure you check with your local government to see if there are any sign restrictions. If you do not have any sign restrictions, putting out 30+ signs will greatly help increase your brand awareness and drive more traffic to your open house. If you are located in an area with a sign restriction, do not get discouraged, as all your competition (other realtors) are held by the same restriction.

#3: Pre-market the open house. Run a targeted Facebook ad for the area for three days leading up to the open house. Create a neighborhood open house flyer, and hand deliver/door knock the closest 400 homes to your open house.

#4: Set up properly. On top of the 30+ signs placed around the neighborhood, also, purchase a couple tall, attention-grabbing open house flags to put in front of the property. You will get a lot of attention from people currently living in the area, but that is good. When they think of selling, you want to be the first person that pops up in their mind.

#5: Also, put a sign on the door that says, “Per Sellers Request Please Sign In,” and also place this sign on a table just inside the door and have your “Guest Registration Sign In Sheets” at the same table. And don’t forget to include a nice property flyer with all the property information, as well as the different mortgage payment options.

#6: The Tour. Once visitors have signed in, give a thorough tour. You can’t, of course, give a tour to everyone if the open house is really busy, but focus on giving a great tour to those you are able. Ask engaging questions where you can connect with them and identify their goals. Example questions: “What is it about the area you like so much?”, “Do you work near by?”, etc.

#7: Ask for an appointment at the end of the tour. Say something like: “So, what do you think about the property? Does it meet your needs, or are you looking for something different?” (Most will say they are looking for something different as ½ of 1% of homes sell from that open house). In that case follow up with something like: “Great, just so you know, I am not here to just sell you on this house. I am here to identify what your goals and needs are, and if this house meets those, then great, and if not, to identify what your goals and needs are, and then to find you exactly what you are looking for. Based on what you have told me what you are looking for, I know of several homes which I am confident will meet your criteria. I get out of here at 4pm today, and can meet you then to go show you those other homes. Is that something you would like to set up?” Most will not want to set an appointment right there, but if you ask enough people, you will absolutely get some that say yes. Read more about leading from a place of contribution to turn more conversations into appointments here.

#8: Put everyone into your database, and follow up. Read more on effective lead follow-up here.

If you plan, setup, and execute correctly on your open houses, you will absolutely get great results, so follow these steps, and go dominate your real estate business with open houses!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

6 minutes
One house is lit up.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Expired Listings

Joshua Smith Jun 26th, 2020
Expired Listings
Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate

Expired sellers are homeowners who had a goal of selling their home, but who, for whatever reason, did not accomplish that goal. So, they are homeowners that you know have a need and desire to sell their home. Sounds like a great lead source to me!

Unfortunately, the reality is that less than 10% are ready to re-list their home immediately. While they still have the same goal of selling their home, they just need a break from the whole process. They may be tired of cleaning their house and making their beds every day and just need a few months to breathe. So the majority of these sellers wait three to six months to re-list their home.

Keep in mind that, as with all leads, the goal is to connect and develop a relationship, stay in touch long term, and when they are ready to re-list their home, they think of you, we hope.

The first step in this process is getting the lead information. You can pay a monthly subscription to many services which will supply you with a daily list of expired and FSBO leads. 

Some popular companies that provide expired and FSBO data are: 

-Espresso Agent -Vulcan 7 -Landvoice -RedX

You can pull the daily expired lead list from your MLS as well, but getting phone numbers can be difficult through that method, and when it comes to expired leads, mailers can work, but phone calls are by far the most effective way to get results.

OK, so, now you are getting your daily list, and ready to make some calls. Remember, most are not ready to re-list, so, as always, the “Fortune Is In The Follow Up”.

You can go with a “Bottom Line Up Front” approach, where you straight up ask for their listing. This technique can be effective, but it rarely provides that connection for the ability to build a long term relationship.

Example “Bottom Line Up Front Script”:

“Hi, this is (your name) with (XYZ Real Estate AKA your company). I was looking on the MLS and noticed your home just expired on the market. I was looking through your photos and was shocked to see that your home expired. It looks like you have a beautiful home. Out of curiosity, are you still looking to sell your home?”

The odds are good that you will hear something like, “Not at this time. We have decided to take our home off the market for a while….”, so be prepared for this response, as most sellers need that break as we discussed above. You then want to ask permission to stay in contact.

“I 100% understand and know how hard the home selling process is, and it can be nice to have a break. Are you planning on taking a little break and re-listing, and if so, when do you think you may put your home back on the market? Would it be okay if I checked in from time to time to see how you are doing? When it gets closer to that time, I would love the opportunity to interview for the job!”

Based on their answer and timeframe, you will want to follow up with check-in calls to stay front of mind.

Another Expired Lead Script that gets great results is a survey approach, which allows you to connect and identify the seller’s expectations, and then allows you to stay in touch long-term. 

“Survey Script” Example:

“Hi, this is (your name) with (your company). I was looking on the MLS, and realized your home just expired. Just so you know, this is not a sales call. I know you are getting bombarded with realtors calling and begging you for your listing, and that is not what this call is about.

I have found the best way for me to grow my real estate business is to survey homeowners like yourself that had a home for sale, had a goal of selling, and for some reason that goal was not accomplished. I just have two quick questions for you, and if you would answer these two quick questions, it would mean the world to me. Is that something you are willing to do?

My first question is: I am sure your realtor did some things that you liked, that if you were to re-list your home again in the future you would like to see done again. What were some of those things? (get feedback).

Thank you so much for that feedback. My second question is: What are some of the things you felt your realtor could improve on? What do you feel they did not do? Ultimately, why do you feel your home did not sell? (get feedback).

Again, thank you so much for this feedback. I truly appreciate it. Your help means a lot to me! Just out of curiosity, do you still have the same need and goal of selling your home? When do you plan on re-listing your home? I know I said this was not a sales call, and that was not my intention, but based on the feedback that you gave me, I am extremely confident I can help you accomplish that goal. When the time comes, if and when you are ready to re-list your home, I would love the opportunity to interview for the job.  Would it be okay if I checked in every once in awhile to see how you are doing with everything?”  (Of course if they say they need to re-list immediately you would want to be a little more aggressive at setting an appointment ASAP. Read more on turning conversations into appointments here).

As you can see, the “Survey Script” gets the seller talking more, and, therefore, gives you the opportunity to develop a connection. Another huge bonus is that you get to hear from “The Consumer” what services they are looking for a realtor to provide and what their expectations are. So, even if you do not get the listing, you are still gaining great insight that can help you grow your business.

Then, make sure to add them to your CRM (read more on what to look for in a CRM here), and make sure to do your follow-up/check-in calls, so when they are ready to take action, they think of you!

Expired Leads can be a great source of business, and if worked consistently, can provide huge success!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

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