I’ve asked you to analyze your career from several perspectives. Now, let’s put it all together in an easy-to-follow weekly activity plan that ensures your greater success. There are two parts to each weekly plan.
- Your business development activities (sales activities)
- Your business support activities (organizing, skills development, etc.)
You’ll have plenty of helpful tools from the office – but remember to take the time to customize items to match your personality.
Develop Your Business by Prospecting
We’ve heard the experts say, that the best way to increase your business is to increase your prospecting. Your best sources of business are people you already sold or people you already know. Each week, you’ll be contacting at least 10 of them to find out if they, or someone they know, need your services. In addition, you’ll be getting “leads” from other sources of business.
What are some other “sources”? Open Houses, other agents, farming and advertising – just to name a few. But, in the beginning the most economical approach is obviously calling for new business. Whatever you do, don’t think for a second that a “Top Producer” does not make any calls. Guaranteed they call – perhaps they are calling their existing clients for referrals or they have a licensed assistant making calls to homeowners in their farm area. But, the bigger the agent the more likely the higher the number of calls they are making. Success if waiting for you if you “make the call”.
Which Prospecting Plan Is the Magic Bullet?
New agents want to know guarantees of sales success. They want endorsement of a certain method of prospecting – before they’ll start. They ask questions like, “Ms.Teacher, you just said that knocking on doors in a neighborhood is a good method to find buyers and sellers. If I knock on doors in the neighborhood, will you, Ms.Teacher, guarantee I’ll make $50,000 a year?” It’s not quite that simple (we experienced agents know that). First, you and I know that, if we do enough of it, any prospecting method will work! After all, it’s first a numbers game. That’s why it’s so important to do the large numbers of prospecting calls AND to keep track of where your leads are coming from
Second, we know that some methods work better than others for a certain neighborhood, time of year, etc. For instance, if lots of agents in our area are cold-calling and being abrupt with homeowners, our cold-calling efforts are diminished. (You used to think, when your phone rang at night: “Must be my best friend.” Now, you think, “Must be a telephone company wanting me to switch.”)
Third, we know that some of us are better at some methods than others. Some of us like face-to-face contact. Some of us like telephone contact. I’m not going to be a sales dictator and tell you how you must prospect. (I know agents love to prove someone else’s prospecting plan doesn’t work!) I’m not going to tell you the exact words to use. If you’re talented and determined, you’ll keep working at the skill of prospecting until you find out what works for you. Remember, sales skill is a lifelong practice. You’ll keep finding new methods. The most important concept here to accept is that practice makes perfect.
Instead of worrying about which method is best and what exact script to use, just do it. After you do it, evaluate yourself. Ask a friend or family member to evaluate you. This is “very difficult” to do – but it has to be done – someone has to give you feedback. Do you sound relaxed, are you saying too much. If you just can’t bring yourself to calling in someone else get a tape recorder and record your side of the conversations. Still not convinced this is important … think again PLEASE. Consider this your multi-million dollar business and to succeed you need all the help you can get.
Keep practicing. Keep getting better. No great salesperson gets good by reading books about it. No great pianist gets good by listening to records. We practice, evaluate, add new technique, and do it again. That’s how we all learn skills. If you don’t accept this truism, you’re looking for the magic sales bullet. Quit wasting your time. There isn’t one. Yes, there is, in a different sense. It’s you, experiencing sales.
Keeping track of your activity numbers and ratios.
The way to recognize your learning curve in sales is to keep track of your numbers. The most successful companies keep track of everything! Why wouldn’t you? If you’re making calls you need to see how many leads you are actually generating. If each week you make 50 - 150 calls and receive only 2 leads you may wish to sit down with your Broker and analyze your “scripts” and improve upon them. If you receive 3 leads and nothing pans out you again need to see your Broker to get feedback and analyze what you can improve upon.
You can’t be a success without some track record to compare with. Keep records, even if they are simple notes in the back of your day timer. After you’ve spent a month setting short-term activity goals and results, you’ll have enough statistical evidence to review your.
Best sources of business,
Conversion ratios of prospecting calls to “leads,”
Conversion ratios of “leads” to qualified “leads,”
Conversion ratios of showings to sales
Conversion ratios of listing presentations to listings, and
Conversion ratios of listings to sold listings
Compare your sales success ratios monthly.
If you want to attain greater numbers of results than you are getting, simply “up” your numbers. The comforting part of knowing your own sales success ratios is that, when you need another sale, you know exactly what you must do to start the sales cycle (who, when, where, how much to prospect). Sales are not only a numbers game. It’s an individual’s game. All great performers take what strengths they have and maximize them. If you’re good on the phone keep at it, if you’re better getting leads at Open Houses work on that.
In the Beginning - Don’t concentrate on the results - just do the activities. It takes, according to the National Association of Realtors, about 13 weeks for buyers to find and buy a home. In our area, it takes about four weeks, on average, for a listing to sell. So, let’s say you find a buyer at the beginning of your four-week plan, and start working with that buyer in week one. If your buyer takes as long as the average, you won’t sell that buyer a home within four weeks. Don’t be disappointed. This is a long-term business for results.
But, to make sure we’re on the right track to results, we must focus and keep track of the sales-producing activities. If we’re doing few activities, it would be just “dumb luck” that we’d sell something to someone. My observations are that some agents rely on “dumb luck” to make money in real estate. They must think it’s an easy business, where people just show up with checkbooks. You and I know that’s not true! Keeping track of your activities and doing self-analysis of them will teach you the invaluable self-management skills that great performers all have developed.
How to Get the Prospecting Plan Started
Write down your goals and stick to it!
Select a farm area. Ensure you select an area with higher turnover … Traditionally the lower the price range the higher the turnover. If you’re a new agent, try a town house complex where it is easy to deliver your flyers yourself.
Select 500 to 1000 homes. Just remember an experienced agent usually has a farm area or mailing list of over 2,000.
Print out all the activity in the area so when you make the calls you know what you are talking about.
View any available listings so that you can gain your product knowledge today!
Print out a telephone list to call from either Pro Cd or www.411.ca … and keep a printout of at least one street with you at all times. It’s funny how you have spare time during the day or at an Open House to sneak in just 5 – 10 calls to help accomplish your goal of at least 50 - 150 a week.
Never leave home without your list!
And, keep track of the number of calls you make for a weekly review.
We have a wealth of information available to make working with Private for Sale Owners fun. You can’t say you’re a well seasoned agent unless you’ve tried to contact FSBO’S. And because most agents “dislike” this part of the job – it means there is less competition for you!
Approach a FSBO with this attitude “I don’t want your Listing!”… That’s right … and when you drive by a Private Sign without doing anything, that’s exactly what you are saying … I don’t want that guys listing!
At least take the attitude that while you don’t want his listing, you want to help. By helping a Private you’re actually helping yourself. How? You are getting to see houses you normally won’t see. You are broadening your scope of prospects. Perhaps he won’t list with you, but I can bet he has neighbours and friends that could use your assistance. Did you ever consider all the potential buyers the private is just throwing away? Consider a plan on how to approach Privates with the right attitude – and guess what – you’ll probably get the listing! Watch for our “pre-typed letters” that can assist you (14 Things You Need to know Before You List Your House, Dress Your House for Success, What to Expect for a Home Inspector, Mortgage Fact Sheets)
Cold calling works best after you’ve delivered 2 – 3 flyers in an area. That’s right. Select your area and remember it can take up to 6 months for the consumers to start recognizing your name and become more responsive when you call. Start planting your seeds today if you want to reap the benefits tomorrow. Don’t get discouraged – flyers and calling together work – it’s a numbers game!
Watch our e-mail tips on what some of the best methods of delivering flyers are. Keep track of which flyers bring in the most response and encourage consumers to e-mail you.
Building an e-mail list is critical today! Build an e-mail list from your farm area, from open houses and ad callers. Try get into the habit of collecting e-mail addresses. Don’t underestimate the power of the Net!
Establish Your Weekly Prospecting Schedule
Before you start each week, put your goals in writing!
Writing your weekly schedule before you start your week is an extremely important step toward greater success. In consulting with hundreds of agents who want to increase their business, one thing they have in common is that they don’t create a weekly schedule – prior to the week starting. With no schedule, they come to work on Monday and wait for someone to schedule them! Well, that’s not going to happen.. You, have get into the habit of scheduling you, make out your schedule and pretend that some tough, hard-nosed boss is handing the schedule to you each day, threatening to fire you if you don’t complete the schedule. That tough, hard-nosed boss is you!
What do you include in your schedule:
1. Quality time for Calling
2. Time for setting up Support Activities (organizing presentations, paperwork)
3. Time to view homes
4. Time to contact agents in other offices outside of your trading area
5. Calling Private for Sales
6. Preparing Your Ads
7. Preparing Your Flyer distribution
Congratulate Yourself Each Week for Your Success
There are three things you’ll want to accomplish each week:
- Set your weekly goals; keep track of the results.
- Create a weekly schedule and follow it.
- Complete all the business development and business support activities.
Having accomplished each of these activities, reward yourself. Set up some system of congratulation and appreciation for yourself, just like an “outside” boss would congratulate you. Remember, you’ve got a tough, hard-nosed boss – but a fair one. Fair bosses recognize and reward desired behavior. Because you’re the boss and the employee, you get to reward yourself in whatever way is meaningful to you. Be sure to do this each week, so you’re motivated to keep doing the plan to greater success. Tell your manager your successes, so he or she can share in them with you. We managers are thrilled when agents take themselves by the collar of the jacket, shake themselves up, and create success. After all, we can’t make anyone do this plan. However, we can assist, support, and congratulate someone who’s changing his or her sales habits for the better.
WEEK ONE: SUCCESS PLAN
Make your daily plan for the week. Follow these guidelines:
First, put in a schedule to see a few homes (agent open houses)
2nd, log in prospecting activities (calls, fsbo’s, flyers, ads)
3rd, log public open house (don’t overdo these).
4th, log in meeting with manager to share successes.
5th, log in business support activities. Continuously find ways or organizing! Start with a binder of all your favourite sample letters so they are at your finger tips when you need them.
6th, organize your computer and your trunk. Yes, your trunk. One of every form should always be available to you so that you are never caught short!
7th, Organize your Agents Tool Box. Have a flashlight, measuring tape, mortgage calculator and sample brochures available with you at all times.
Make your daily schedule for the week the same way for four weeks, until you develop this success habit.
Increase your sales skill. Read two sales books. Listen to sales audiotapes 20 minutes per day, five days per week. Apply two new sales skills this week when you work with buyers and sellers.
Increase your skills with buyers. Complete a visual Buyers’ Presentation. Practice it. Practice asking for loyalty. Analyze your success ratios with buyers. Do you need to qualify better? If so, put better qualifying methods into your Buyers’ Presentation. Review the details of working with buyers in the earlier chapters. Incorporate two ideas from these chapters into your “buyer repertoire.”
Increase your skills with sellers. Review your whole listing process. Begin your plan to tighten your process for more effectiveness. Prepare a prelist packet for sellers. Be sure the sellers’ packet has at least five messages that anticipate objections you think you may get later. Be sure to include at least three differentiations about you.
Keeping your spirits up: Read one motivation book. Write one motivational thought in your motivational notebook each day of this week. Give yourself positive self-talk each day.
Keep track of your results. Are you hitting your mark? What numbers do you need to adjust?
Business Support: Week 2:
Increase your sales skills. Read one sales book this week. Listen to two audiotapes. Incorporate two sales skills in your working with buyers and sellers. Teach a new agent one of the sales skills you’re using now (the best way to learn is to teach!)
Increase your skills with buyers. Put together a pre-meeting buyer information packet. Practice dialogue to introduce this packet to potentialbuyers. Differentiate yourself while you introduce this packet. Be sure the themes of the packet are carried through in your Buyer Presentation package. Are you discovering the dominant buying motive in your buyer counseling session? This week, while you work with buyers, bring back their “dominant buying motives” as you show each home. You’re preparing to help them “light the fires of desire” as they find the home of their dreams (so you can close them).
Increase your skills with sellers. Put together a marketing presentation. Include at least ten visuals that anticipate sellers’ most common objections. Practice your sales dialogue for this presentation. Review the last three listings you didn’t get. Analyze the objections you couldn’t anticipate or answer. Using this information, create your marketing presentation.
Keep your sprits up. Read another motivational book this week. Listen to a motivational tape. Talk to someone who’s always “up”. Write one motivational message to yourself each day in your notebook. Give yourself at least five positive self-messages each day this week.
Business Development: Week Three
Increase your skills with buyers. Create a professional Portfolio to use with buyers and sellers. Follow the procedure in Chapter 8 for assembling a Portfolio that reflects your strengths, values, and skills. Use the Portfolio with buyers and sellers in week three and week four.
Increase your skills with sellers. Create visuals and dialogue for the pricing part of your presentation. Start with market trends and work to the specific homes in the area. Reflect back to your prelist materials and marketing presentation to make sure that you have enough information to anticipate pricing objections. Practice the dialogue.
Keep your spirits up. Continue reading your motivational books. Subscribe to one sales/motivational magazine and read it this week. Write in your notebook. Give yourself positive self-talk. Ask your manager for three “positive strokes,” compliments. You deserve them! The best agents I know are able to ask for a compliment with grace and confidence. After all, if we want appreciation, what’s a better way to make sure we get it?
Business Development: Week Four
By now, you should be finding out that you have an overabundance of “leads.” So, you have an enviable problem: To assure you don’t run yourself ragged, you must be tougher in qualifying buyers and sellers. Throughout this program, I’ve provided you with methods of being kind but tough. This week, concentrate on qualifying. This week, draw conclusions from your numbers in this four-week success plan. What are your best sources of leads? How can you optimize them throughout the rest of your career?
Keep track of your activities this week. Analyze your results. What adjustments do you need to make to your prospecting plan to assure you get the results you want?
Increase your skills with buyer. You’ve created a process to educate buyers (prelist package). You’ve create a process with visuals to educate and qualify buyers (buyer presentation). You’ve created differentiators about yourself through your Professional Portfolio. You’ve developed interview techniques to attach benefits and discover dominant buying motives. How’s your ability to help buyers make a decision? Are you lighting the fires of desire and helping buyers make a choice? If your skills here are not as good as you’d like, review the chapters in the sales books you’ve been reading on “closing.”
A note: In this day and age, closing techniques aren’t nearly as important as the questioning techniques employed in the getting-to-know-you phase of the buyer sales cycle. Review your method of working with buyers from start to end, using the analytical tool. Where are your strengths? Your weaknesses? Set up a long-term program to become a skilled salesperson working with buyers. In the future, with Buyer Agency, you can’t afford not to be as skilled with buyers as you are with sellers.
Increase your skills with sellers. By now, you should have more seller appointments for listings than you can handle. How are you qualifying these appointments? Are you tough enough? Do you want to be known as a listing agent or as an agent who get listings sold? Only the latter will allow you to build a promoteable success record. Build a long-term plan now, based on your professional guidelines for listing properties. Hit the highest mark for yourself in professionalism. List only marketable properties. You’ll create a more delightful, rewarding career.
Congratulation! You’ve really retooled your career. You’ve had the intestinal fortitude (well, okay, guts) to look at your work habits realistically. You’ve been brave enough to compare these work habits to those of more successful agents. You’ve made the necessary adjustments in your short-term business plan. You’ve created the support materials and dialogue that very successful agents use to project confidence and professionalism. Throughout the process, you’ve kept yourself “up” by congratulating yourself and adding outside sources of inspiration. You’re on your way to a much more rewarding career – rewarding not only in a monetary way, but in a life-inspiring way: With your new dedication to excellence, you’re creating long-term professional relationships that help develop all lives affected by your approach (yours, too).
To close, let me bring back my panel of experts. They have some overall advice and encouragement for you:
“Put your plan in writing – NOW- and commit to doing it. You have to be proactive. Be out there meeting new prospects and follow a system for contacting them consistently.”
“Treat your business like the professional career it is. Develop good work habits that you can sustain over the long haul. This requires superior time-management/self-management skills that are appropriately balanced with family, social, and personal time.”
“Know what it is you want and how you plan to get it. Believe and buy into your goals, review them daily, and persist in never giving up until you’ve gotten where you want to go. Surround yourself with people who are only positive influences along the way.”
“Yesterday is over. Give yourself 20 minutes to rail and scream and whine about lost opportunities, rejection, disappointments; then, put it behind you and move on. Do proactive, result-oriented activities. Act cheerful. Smile. Don’t keep doing activities that don’t work. Connect with someone to whom you can be accountable. Plan your time and do the activities you plan.”
“Have fun and laugh every day. Decide to like your work and focus on what it does for you, not to you. Dream a lot! Write down your perfect day in great detail, events that would happen in your perfect life. Learn to write good affirmations and then use them. Each of every morning review your affirmations. Remember that it’s your life. You have to take control of the wheel or you will just keep on spinning.”
Take control of the wheel. Get on track to greater success! You can do it!
Review the Office Listing Presentation Binder. There are 3 sections. Know each section by heart. Review the sample scripts that accompany our Binder.
Build your own favourite Letters Library.
Build a Buyers Help Kit.
Build a Sellers Help Kit.
Build a Farm Area.
Advertise! Review your ads daily. If you’re not getting calls within the first 3 days consider making some changes.
Post Your Goals on Your Desk Each Month and review your Accomplishments the following Monday and revise as needed.