How Thought-leaders Maintain Relationships to Improve Long-term Portfolio Strength
On average, any property will be bought and sold every ten years. ActivePipe SmartFeeds helps agents become thought-leaders to stay front-of-mind until contacts are re-active in the market. Find out how it works and how we’re making it better!
Imagine you’ve just sold someone a house.
We know that a property will exchange hands every ten years on average, but your customers might sell more frequently. This makes it difficult to know exactly when contact interest in the market will peak.
One solution is thought-leadership, which many agents use to engage active and inactive contacts.
That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to show you how you can save time building your thought-leadership platform, and make customers for life.
How to Stay Front of Mind, Long Term
A property owner never stops caring about their property, so you can always guarantee they will have a level of interest in the market.
Most people aren’t real estate experts (as you know, all too well) and can often feel intimidated or inundated without access to reliable information channels.
For this reason, people look to thought-leaders.
Thought-leaders can remain front of mind with contacts even when those contacts aren’t actively looking at property.
It comes down to a value exchange.
Make it easy for people to get the information they want, so they don’t have to look for it. People who aren’t interested in your weekly listings can be engaged with broader updates and information that is relevant to real estate.
Content Ideas for New Thought-leaders
Becoming a thought-leader isn’t as simple as it looks. The most successful thought-leaders in any industry can sometimes spend years trying to develop a following.
The first thing you need is an idea. New technology is great for sharing, but old technology (pen and paper) is sometimes best for coming up with ideas.
In the brainstorming process, think about your target audience (property owners), and what they need or want to know.
For agents, good topics to cover are:
- Local community news and events
- General commentary on the property market
- Trends in interior design and renovation
These are just some basic ideas to get you started. Use these to inspire your own creativity. In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to start your own blog.
If blogging isn’t for you, there are heaps of websites online with sharable content that you can tap into. Even if you aren’t necessarily creating all your own content, people will still come to you as a source of information if you’re sharing the best content from around the web.
Again, developing a following takes time. Don’t let yourself get discouraged if you don’t immediately see the results you dream of.
Now that you’ve got the content, only one question remains:
How do you share it?
The Easiest Way to Reach Your Audience
SmartFeeds is the digital tool that makes thought-leadership easy.
Email marketing has high engagement in all industries, so it makes sense to use a tool that taps into email and is the reason we’ve developed the ActivePipe SmartFeeds feature.
When you use SmartFeeds in an email, the ActivePipe Feed Engine:
- Goes to a website of your choice, such as a blog
- Fetches information about that content
- Automatically loads that information into an email
From there, it’s easy to send emails to your database that help to improve contact engagement with your emails.
Follow these steps and you become the obvious first point of contact for any client when they re-enter the market, whether that’s in 2 years time, or twenty.
Be the thought-leader that people follow.
5 Ways You Can Leverage Your Competition to Get Ahead
If you feel that life out in the field is comparable to a sunset feeding frenzy on the Serengeti, you’re not alone.
Real estate is notoriously competitive and if you don’t stay on your toes, maintaining enough momentum to get in front of the pack is about as likely as a crew of feasting hyenas spitting out their prey to go buy a four-bedroom, double garage in the suburbs off you.
It’s just not going to happen.
What is interesting about competition, is that it needn’t be looked at as an annoying obstacle to success. Smart agents know that to get ahead they need to look to the competition around them.
Understand, learn and leverage it. Not only will you build on your personal strengths to improve your business but you’ll position yourself as an agent that others look up to.
Survey the Scene
Take time to understand your competitors and the marketplace. What audiences are being overlooked in your area? What strengths do power agents in your locale exemplify that set them apart from the rest?
Be vigilant. If you’re constantly boundary scanning, you’ll be amazed at the little tips and tricks you pick up that others won’t notice. Get out there, get networking and let your competition train you in what works and what doesn’t.
It’s Not Just Your Properties that Have a USP
Every single one of us has a unique selling point. Perhaps it’s your time-management super powers, knowledge of great property design or plain old selling prowess. We’ve all got something that makes us stand out from the crowd.
To determine your USP ask yourself questions like:
- Why would a potential client choose me over another agent?
- What can I add to my service to help me stand out?
- Are there weaknesses in my local market that I can take advantage of?
Make sure that your USP aligns with the client pain points you uncovered whilst boundary scanning and you’ll have a leg up on your competition.
Be the One to Stay in Touch
Your competitors are always on the hunt for new prospects. Do you think they care whether or not you’ve worked with these clients before? Don’t be the fool who loses repeat business because you didn’t bother keeping in touch. Use the ease of social media to reach out and engage with past customers, even if they’ve left you for another agent.
Show them some love and you’ll be front of mind when it comes time to make their next transaction.
Don’t Let Trends Pass You By
Don’t be the last to know what’s hot or not in real estate.
Utilise your network of competitors by following them on social media. You’ll see which conferences, expos and events they are attending, as well as trending topics, tips and tricks.
Have a bit of fun with this.
Create your own content and share it with your network. This could be a video reviewing a conference, an anecdote from a recent transaction or a blog about dressing houses for optimal impact. The options are endless and a great way to position yourself as a leader in the field.
Do Unto Others..
Yes, real estate is the highly competitive feeding frenzy that our opening metaphor described. This does not warrant losing sight of your moral compass. Playing dirty will always come back to bite you in the end. Make highly ethical business practice part of your USP and never, ever bad mouth a competitor. If you believe that you’re not the right agent for a job, recommend someone you think will serve them better.
At the end of the day, your reputation as a trustworthy and reliable professional is going to be your greatest asset and no competition, no matter how strong, can take that away from you.
ActivePipe gives you an edge on your competition by nurturing your database with emails that send the right message, to the right people, at the right time. Want to know more? Get in touch here to organise a chat
The Case for the Coach: Should You Consider a Real Estate Mentor?
Even if you’re a workaholic power agent with natural selling abilities and a multi-million dollar portfolio, you’re just as susceptible to flatlining business as the newbie trying to make a name for themselves in an overcrowded market.
Sometimes, we can all do with a little help. Whether that be motivation, guidance in crafting business objectives or even just an accountability measure; having a highly experienced mentor watching your back can be a saving grace for agents in need of a hard refresh.
Unless you’re one of the lucky few with a ready-made Coach Carter, happy to help through the pure goodness of their heart, hiring a mentor can be a costly and confonting exercise.
So, is it the right option for you?
Here’s what you should consider before taking the plunge.
Do you have clearly outlined goals and objectives in place?
One of the main purposes of taking on a coach is to help you set and achieve SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based) goals. If you have trouble knowing where to start or haven’t had much luck seeing them through in the past, then having a mentor to bounce around ideas with might be just the thing you need.
Before you splash out on professional help, try sitting down with a favourite colleague and mind mapping your goals together. Make a pledge to keep each other accountable and touch base every few months to check that you’re on track. Brutal honesty is key here.
Is your usual support network busy with their own needs?
With life growing busier by the day, it’s natural to feel bad asking for help when we’re in need. We don’t want to bother others with our problems or take up any of their precious time. This is where hiring a coach can be really beneficial. You are paying for their expertise, so there’s no need to feel guilty for using it. Just like a therapist is cathartic to those going through personal hardships, a coach will listen to your innermost professional concerns and build tangible solutions to them.
Be Honest: Are You Prepared to Put in the Hard Yards?
A good coach is going to push you out of your comfort zone. Are you ready for that? The usual excuses, “I’m too busy,” “I’m too tired,” and “It’s been a bad week” aren’t going to cut it and really, the only person you’ll be letting down is yourself, as you watch the hard earned dollars you forked out for their personally designed kick-in-the-butt fly out the window. If you’re not ready to make this sort of commitment, don’t bother.
Hiring a coach might just be the thing you need to get you out of a slump, over a sales hurdle or to the next level in your career, but it’s not for everyone.
If you can find the support you need within your network and your business is cruising by with no hiccups, great! You go, you!
If, on the other hand, you’re feeling overwhelmed or lacking clear direction; there’s no shame in getting help from someone who’s been there, done that and whose sole business objective is to see you get ahead.
ActivePipe supports you by sending emails that deliver qualified leads – and more of them. Click here to organise a chat.
Connecting with Upsizers and Downsizers in your Database
Everytime I do a dashboard review on ActivePipe, I immediately go looking for the upsizer and downsizer profile updates.
The reason for this is simple. In most Australian metropolitan markets, if someone indicates they are upsizing or downsizing, it means there’s a house they are trying to move on from that I have an opportunity to sell.
Statistics show that as many as 45% of buyers are also sellers but in my opinion the true statistic is a lot higher. So how can you use this information to enhance your chances of landing a seller?
Think of it this way.
A large proportion of your sellers are going to appear like buyers when you first come across them. Most portal enquiries for example, are sellers that are researching the market and potential agents before they dip their toe in the water and decide to bring their property to market.
Therefore, it’s super important to be diligent and intelligent in identifying these prospective upsizers and downsizers early in their research so that you can be the first one to reach out and connect with well structured and meaningful communications.
This is where ActivePipe really shines. The software uncovers a contact’s intentions and lays it out in a neat little display so that all you have to do is login and check it out. Next, it takes over to create a specially curated nurture campaign that works autonomously for you in the background.
So, whilst you are doing what you do best by getting on the phone and creating human connections that lead to lasting relationships, ActivePipe is working hard to build your brand, reach and reputation.
Not only will you be identifying new upsizers and downsizers at a glance but you’ll be nurturing those contacts into sellers who want to work with you, for life.
Want to connect with the upsizers and downsizers in your database? Get in touch with Ben here.
How to Connect with Investors
Dealing with investors will be a win-win for agents, as long as they’re prepared to understand that it doesn’t always result in an immediate outcome.
It’s all about how you communicate and if you build the right relationship to begin with, investors can play a key part in building your pipeline for future business.
A question I always like to ask when I’m first meeting with an investor is whether this is their first or if they’re expanding their existing portfolio. This enables you to define how you’re going to nurture these clients through to the point of transaction, whether that’s today, tomorrow or in a few months time.
If it is someone’s first, this is going to involve a fair bit of Q&A between you to identify how you can help them as they move towards their first investment purchase. Of course, this isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight, so it’s going to take some patience on your part to make this a great experience for the purchaser.
If someone’s expanding their existing portfolio it means that there’s not only an opportunity for one property but potentially several to manage. As you nurture and develop that relationship, it could grow into something that’s very unique and rewarding over the coming years, in both property management return, as well as future listing and sales opportunities.
The key outcome for both new investors and portfolio owners is building the relationship so that even if they are dealing with another property management or sales office, you will win them over with your ability to be responsive and give genuine information based on their needs.
This is where ActivePipe can really help you. It’s designed to accelerate these relationships through meaningful content that is based on the individual needs of the contact. What does this mean? More business with investors.
It starts by identifying whether you have an investment opportunity by profiling your new enquiries and existing database. Then the nurture campaign takes over and works continuously in the background so you have time to focus on building the relationships that count.
So there it is! There’s no great secret or skill involved in connecting with your investors. Communication is key. Create an open, honest relationship with your prospective investors and they’ll always remember you when the time comes to take the leap.
Want to connect with the investors in your database? Get in touch with Ben here.
How Every Agent Can Squeeze the Most Out of the Christmas Period
Love it or hate it, there’s no escaping the mad rush of Christmas each year. One minute it’s October and you’re waist deep in the property selling frenzy, the next you’re at the supermarket wondering why on earth Deck the Halls is playing on the radio and everything’s covered in tinsel.
It’s easy to write the holidays off as “sales slump season” but smart agents know to use this time wisely. Yuletide is the perfect opportunity to get all those life admin jobs you haven’t had time for during the busy months sorted and prepare yourself to step into the new year with your best foot forward.
Not sure where to start? Here’s the ActivePipe list of naughty and nice ways to squeeze the most out of this Christmas season.
Prepare your content for the year ahead
When the year is in full swing, your calendar’s overflowing with appointments and your phone feels like it’s been duct-taped to the side of your face, finding time to create or even curate content can feel like the last priority on your to-do list.
In this day and age you’d be a fool to leave content out of your overall marketing mix, so why not make the most of the downtime by planning out your social calendar for the year ahead? Snap any great photos of properties or happy sellers lately? Get them off your phone and onto your social media pages. Why not share some of your valuable expertise with the world and write some blogs? Don’t fancy yourself a creative? Look up some inspirational quotes or images that you can share.
The beauty of Facebook is that you can set-and-forget content so that your campaigns are scheduled and you have plenty of great stuff going out as the year ticks along, minus the headache!
Send Out an Xmas Email from ActivePipe
Let your contacts know you’re thinking of them with a fun holiday email. Take a photo of your office wearing Santa hats or include a group shot from your end of year party. Your contacts will love seeing your personality shine through and will be more likely to open your emails in the future.
At ActivePipe, we decided to make a Year in Review video, in which we showcase some of our big achievements of 2018. You could do the same with some of your more impressive listings and any events or awards you’ve been involved in over the year.
Get active in the community
As corny as it sounds, Christmas is about giving back. Show how involved you are by getting out and involved in your community. Fundraisers, Christmas concerts, school fetes, they’re all great ways to get out there, make new connections and even find fresh content for your social channels.
Clean up your database
This is another one of those “I don’t have time” jobs that can make a world of difference to your business if you bite the bullet and get it done. Make sure all your contacts are assigned, duplicates are deleted and all the names you’ve got saved in your phone are entered into your database. ActivePipe works best when you’ve got squeaky clean data to work with, so it’ll be worth your while. Who knows what hidden listings are waiting to be discovered?
Take a Break
Working in real estate is stressful, there’s no two ways about it. The energy that it takes to be “on” for your boss, your clients and your income is relentless and taxing, so whilst you might feel frustrated that the market slows down for Christmas, really it’s a blessing in disguise. Take the chance to recharge and nurture your mental and physical wellbeing, so that you can go into the new year fresh-faced and excited to kick some goals.
Have a happy and safe holiday period everyone, I look forward to seeing the amazing results you achieve with ActivePipe in 2019.
Want to have the right programs in place in time for the new year? Get in touch with the ActivePipe team here.
It’s Time for … ActivePipe Arithmetics!
I could harp on all day about the benefits of ActivePipe and everything it does to help agents, offices and brands to reach their full potential. There’s just so much to say, but as the saying goes; talk is cheap. Why use superfluous words to tell you how incredible this platform is when I can use numbers, which speak so well for themselves?
So without further ado, channel your inner maths master, dust off your abacus and protract your protractor… It’s time for ActivePipe Arithmetics!
Sixteen Million Website Visitors
ActivePipe has driven an astonishing 16,371,173 visitors to websites this year. Let that sink in for a second. That’s the population of Cambodia, summoned to head online and actively view and interact with our agents’ listings. That’s more than 16 million hits directly attributed to the square power of ActivePipe.
Twelve Thousand Appraisal Requests
In 2018, our agents landed 12,308 appraisal requests (and counting)!
If we’re conservative and estimate that 50% of those requests turned into listings and use the average Australian house price ($809,201) as our measure, we’re looking at a whopping $4,979,822,954 worth of sales facilitated by ActivePipe. It’s enough to make your calculator crack.
Twenty-Nine Thousand New Customers for Life
Agents using ActivePipe have been alerted to 29,129 first home buyers. That’s a small city’s worth of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed new customers, ready to begin their real estate journey with you. Just by logging onto the platform and reaching out to these new kids on the block, you’re soliciting their undivided attention and setting yourself up for future earnings.
Equal to the Power of…
Whilst it’s fun to take a step back and look at the big picture numbers that ActivePipe has achieved for our agents, what we really care about are the results that you can achieve. With our help, you can quantify your business, work smarter not harder and bring home the Pi(e) once your stock sells at market.
If only all arithmetics was that easy.
Seventeen Appraisal Requests in 24 Hours: The Story of Ray White Sandringham
Implementing new technology in an office, group or brand level is never an easy feat for the poor tech officer in charge of facilitating its rollout. Once they’ve convinced those up top that the product will return a solid ROI, they then face the mammoth task of persuading a bunch of notoriously time-poor agents to not only spend precious hours learning the system but to maintain momentum once the initial push has subsided.
Sammie Johnson, the Systems & Technology Trainer for City Realty in New Zealand, is all too aware of the difficulties.
“Being in the Tech Team, we sometimes find it hard to push technology that I know will improve their business. You have to pitch it to them in dollar format, and generally most won’t get onboard…until they see someone else making money or progress from it.”
After seeing the results ActivePipe was generating for other Ray White agents, Sammie insisted that her group of offices sign up too. Expecting inevitable pushback, she couldn’t believe what happened next.
When her Sandringham office tentatively switched on the platform one Wednesday afternoon, something magical occurred. By the next day, they’d secured a whopping 17 appraisal requests and excitement was in the air as the team realised that this was just the beginning.
“It’s just a huge game changer for us. These are crazy numbers! Plus, it’s really simple and user friendly,” says Sammie.
No one in the office was more excited than Susan Woods-Markwick. In the first 30 minutes of ActivePipe she’d landed 7 appraisal requests. The multi award-winning agent is already known as a powerhouse in Auckland but now she had access to a system that was only going to skyrocket her business further.
“It’s exciting and liberating! Keep it coming!” she says.
Susan’s principal, Phil Horrobin, knew that it was going to change the way he ran and trained the staff in his office.
“It’s going to be a significant part of our business, you know. I mean data is so readily available now that we see agents growing their databases like it’s a kind of obsession. Actually being able to manage and communicate with them though is a whole other level. So, now with ActivePipe you could have an agent with a database of 10,000 people but they’ll actually be speaking to the right people, at the right time, as opposed to sitting down and making ten cold calls from that 10,000. So it’s going to be a big change for us”.
Do you remember Sammie’s initial concern about getting agents onboard with the platform? Well, after seeing the results in Sandringham, the other offices under her technological gaze couldn’t be more eager to follow suit.
“It’s a big step forward and a big game changer for our growth. It’s great, we’re very happy about it. We love ActivePipe!”
So, success all round for Sammie Johnson and the team at Ray White Sandringham.
Let’s Talk About Genuine Automation
Not very many agents or administrators, if any, are aware of the full potential in marketing automation available to them in the real estate space.
When the term “email automation” is mentioned in conversation, most administrators point out that they have access to software that enables them to send out an email next week that will repeat the week after.
“…We create the one email and that goes out week after week. It’s set and forget.”
That isn’t really automation though, is it? That’s repetition at best, and the sole cause of all the spam that we see in our industry. Whose clients are yearning to see the same email spammed to them week after week? Certainly not our clients.
Worldwide, email is still considered to be one of the best means of connection — if it’s done right. If though, you are sending the same benign list of “fresh stock” each week, do so at your own risk — and pay the price. You’ll end up with a diminishing email database full of buyers, sellers and investors who are disconnected from you and uninterested in your content.
Let’s Talk About Genuine Automation
Did you know that ActivePipe listens to your clients preferences and can subsequently refine the information being sent to them, based on their needs?
Each week, we are sending millions of emails that are completely tailored to the individual receiving them, based on price, configuration, location and property type: For Sale or Sold, based on the client’s intentions. This means the relevance score is up, and the likelihood of unsubscription is down.
We can also tag and re-tag clients based on their behaviours and needs, which can, in fact, pivot and continue to tailor the content and journey those clients are on. This means that they are getting the right information, based entirely on their genuine needs.
Genuine automation means intuitive, thoughtful and targeted communications. The polar opposite of spam.
When working with some of the worlds biggest brands and boutique agencies we have taken notes on what is available and what is missing and we developed ActivePipe ENTERPRISE as the solution.
Enterprise enables you to set and forget certain journeys, based on your client’s behaviours that align them with the journey that suits their needs. For instance, an investor could quite comfortably and happily be contacted ten or twelve times a year, as long as the information is relevant to their investment needs.
Likewise, first home buyers are absolutely busting for the right information that enables them to buy the property they’re looking for, as well as guidance around finance and the real estate market. All of which can be catered for automatically, as long as that’s the journey they’re on.
Many agents address the investor in this scenario with the first home buyer, in the same email. As this continues, week after week, it’s no wonder that the industry has ended up where it is. Week after week of repetition. Inboxes full of spam.
If you want to learn how genuine automation can transform the way you communicate with your customers, book in for a chat here.
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Why Every Agent Needs to Leverage PR
As ActivePipe’s Public Relations Coordinator I have the pleasure of speaking with a cross-section of agents from across our global network each week. I love learning what makes an agent tick and through these countless discussions have cultivated some pretty incredible insights into the universal pain points and aspirations of real estate professionals across the board.
Every agent I speak to knows the importance of leveraging their profile but where they can sometimes come unstuck is in knowing which methods are worth investing their precious time into. Being time-poor can lead to a lack of creativity, resulting in lacklustre exposure and a dreary publicity program.
Sometimes it’s best to leave these things in the hands of a professional, which is why I’ve enlisted the help of Diane Falzon, the PR extraordinaire behind FalzonPR, who’s a mentor and expert in helping agents position themselves as leaders in their field.
Here’s why she believes traditional public relations should not be ignored by the modern agent.
Why Every Agent Needs to Leverage PR
As the news cycles change in the blink of an eye, storytelling and creating digestible pieces of information to readers, viewers and listeners has become the necessary fuel for all.
You may say that the onslaught of social media has diminished the need and value for traditional public relations and media exposure.
The truth is that public relations continues to play an intrinsic role in working with clients to craft and disseminate news and angles for journalists to consider and pursue.
For the real estate space, and in particular, agents, leveraging from PR can be a valuable tool in not only maintaining a presence with your relevant demographic but also celebrating and showcasing your street cred in the industry.
Creating a connection to your clients and potential clients through the media will help personalise your business and connect-ability with your intended audience. You are more than the person who creates listings online. You are more than the bricks and mortar you are trying to sell. As an agent, you are a wealth of industry knowledge and through an effective PR campaign, you can outshine and outdo your competition.
Let Your Success Do the Talking
Through effective and strategic PR initiatives, you can showcase your successes and milestones, as well as provide advice to your customers. As a learned voice in this space, you can tap into information hungry clients and share your expertise. It is through your tenacity and intriguing storytelling that customers will want to know more about the PR savvy agent in their local area. Some possible PR ideas for you to pursue may include creating a narrative around, “Tips on how to present your property for sale”, “When is the right time sell”, “How do I choose the ideal real estate agent” or “Top five mistakes when selling your home.”
There is no room for humble in the real estate game. Create a space and narrative where you can be heard or read about so that you shine amongst your competition. Whether it is your local print, radio or online, shine a spotlight on what you want to share with your customers. Believe me, they want to hear from you, not just when you want them to sign on the dotted line.
Call in the Experts
If DIY PR is not your thing, don’t despair. Hiring a PR professional to help you is also a great option. Look out for a PR consultant who can get ensconced in your world and can articulate what you want to share to the media. Their job is to showcase you, your business and your story in a way that will enhance your brand, expertise and sales success story.
There is a saying that “all publicity is good publicity.” Call me old fashioned and conservative, I tend to shy away from negative publicity and prefer to create sound and robust stories which generate positive outcomes. A story about an agent found guilty of underquoting does not sound like the sort of publicity you would be after. Be selective in what you disseminate so journalists know that quality content is heading their way.
It is the business which boasts its uniqueness that will be seen the most. Think about it. There is a suite of restaurants in Australia – but it is the ones that showcase their unique cuisine or chef to the media are the ones that get the good word of mouth going. Be that shining star in your suburb.
Be involved in your community, show your altruistic side within that community and then share it with the media. Being a part of your community does wonders in enhancing your authenticity. Also, don’t be shy in celebrating your real estate wins. From achieving a record sale price in a plateau market or winning an industry accolade, share your story far and wide.
Go on, switch that PR light bulb on, NOW!
0430 596 699
Public Speaking Tips To Have You Sounding Like an Auctioneer in No Time
I was recently in London attending one of the biggest estate agency conference and awards event in the UK.
I was thrilled to attend the event and scheduled to present as part of a panel on the second day.
As I happily chatted side of the stage with two prominent CEOs and a celebrity in the UK real estate industry, the organisers positioned us at the front of the hall. We were mic’d up and ready to go when I noticed that one of my panel mates was looking progressively nervous.
As the other speakers comforted him, one of them stepped towards me and said, ‘I can’t help him, that feeling is infectious…..I’m sweating so hard I’m blurring my notepad!’
They looked at me in surprise when they noticed that I didn’t have any notes on me. I told them that I had been paying attention to the speakers and taking notes would have distracted me from really focusing on the content.
“How on earth do you calm your nerves? I’m shitting my strides, and I’ve been writing all morning to distract myself!’’
Even though I empathised, I couldn’t help but laugh a little at the situation. I took a deep breath as our buddy with the nerves sat wiping his brow. We settled into a Q&A that ended up going really well.
So what’s my point?
I’ve been on and off stage or auctioning for the better part of 20 years. I’m not the perfect public speaker, but I’ve learnt to be comfortable. I know how much nerves can be a pain point – even for some of the most confident agents that I know, so I thought I’d share with you the tricks I’ve picked up along the way, to help you get up in front of a crowd and wow them with your cool, calm, collectedness.
I Still Get Nervous
Nervousness is normal. It’s natural and if you’re not feeling it, you are not really in the game. However, to turn yourself from a sweating lump of jelly into someone who can string words together on stage, you need to get your head out of the fear and into the calm.
Zone Out to Tune In
To get into the zone, I think of three things:
- Silence (yep, black space)
- I smile (*not* my creepy smile)
- I imagine what everyone in the ActivePipe team would be doing at that moment.
I picture my team at their desks or in the meeting room, making a coffee, on the phone or even driving home late, home or abroad. I think of the challenges that we have faced and conquered as a team and that brings me down to earth and confident to step onto the stage to represent with the right kind of energy.
This is something that any agent can channel when they need to get up and speak in front of a crowd of strangers, or even at a sales meeting. Channel all the hard work that you put into your work. You are an expert in your field and have plenty to offer those who are around you.
Practice a Mantra
My sales team has adopted the mantra ‘Serve the Team First’. We live this mantra and I repeat it to myself when butterflies start flapping before a speaking event.
What is your mantra?
It might sound a little hippy-dippy but practising a daily mantra will not only improve your focus at work but is an excellent way to calm nerves when you’re feeling a little shaky.
There were around 1200 people in the audience at this event. When we wrapped up, my panel mates and I shook hands and some of the palms were still damp with sweat.
We all get nervous but if you accept that it’s not a bad thing, remember to breathe and visualise all the goals you’ve kicked in your career and will kick in the future, you’ll be fine. Practice your mantra, don’t try to be perfect and you’ll be speaking with the confidence of an auctioneer in no time.
Reece Prewett: Recruitment, Retention and the Power of the Database
Reece Prewett is the proud business owner and principal of Ray White Papakura, New Zealand. A master of the corporate world, Reece’s career has seen him in senior executive positions spanning four continents and nearly twenty exceptional years. His ability to drive global teams through significant growth and transformation makes his insights into the benefits of ActivePipe incredibly valuable.
We were lucky to catch up with Reece to chat about the improvements he’s seen in his business and in his agents since joining the ActivePipe family.
AP: Hi Reece, thank you for taking the time to chat today. Even though your office is pretty new to ActivePipe you’re already seeing some fantastic results. Can you tell me a little bit about how are you using the platform and how you are finding it so far?
RP: We’ve had the immediate benefits of appraisal requests and loan market requests coming through, which is fantastic! But the real juice is coming from those who mine the data in the ‘Hot Leads’ category. It’s the people who are clicking on properties multiple times, revealing their intentions about buying and selling and putting their details in through the website. We are loving that.
AP: Do you find that the information that is coming through is allowing your agents to have better conversations with these leads?
RP: It’s giving direction. You may have 1000 people in your database but when it comes to 10am Monday morning, who are you going to call? You want to start your day by making ten calls and what ActivePipe does is make those ten ‘hot calls’ as opposed to ten ‘hit-or-miss’ calls.
You’re making the right calls, at the right time, to the right people.
AP: How does AP help you train and manage the agents in your office?
RP: We have 25 agents in our office and ActivePipe helps us to work out which of those need some support. In my experience, agents can be highly effective at their jobs but not run a good database. The truth is, they could make twice as much money and have twice as much leisure time if they utilise the platform to maximise their database. They might even get their weekends back for themselves.
I’ll give you an example.
Our Number Two salesperson has 500 people in his database but it’s not well constructed. ActivePipe has allowed us to see that this is a problem and we’re now able to use it as an opportunity for him to improve his business. The guy’s already getting really good numbers so we wouldn’t necessarily have noticed his mismanaged database but he could be doing so much more and in half the time!
AP: How do your agents feel about using this new platform?
RP: I’m now using ActivePipe as my recruitment tool! This is because agents want leadership, support and something to help them deal with being so time poor. A lot of agents are time poor, so if you told them you’d organised a PA for them, they’d literally grab you with five arms, give you a hug and say, “Where do I start”?
That’s not a particularly cost-effective thing to do. With ActivePipe, I’m effectively giving them half a PA for free and it does all that work for them in the background.
For example, I’ve just recruited one prospect who was sold by the platform. At first he was going to wait until next year to join us but he ended up saying, ‘‘Yep – I’m done”, and he literally joined us the next week.
AP: Let’s talk about the technology side of things. Has there been any resistance to learning the new system?
RP: Absolutely. People just don’t like change, right? People who say that they like change are bullshitting you.
I think the young, smart agents coming through know that they don’t need to be tech-savvy but they do need to be using technology wisely and properly. The good thing about ActivePipe is that you don’t need to be an IT savvy individual, you literally just have to walk up to it, turn it on and make the phone calls.
Once you’re in and swimming around it’s like ‘Wow’.
AP: So you obviously think that technology is important for the future of the industry but do you think it is, specifically for your business?
RP: I think it’s important for every business. I think other small to mid-sized businesses out there won’t embrace it and that’s good for me because I know those people will drop off over time.
You don’t have to be that far ahead of your competition. It’s just like running away from a cheetah – you just need to be that little bit faster. So whilst ActivePipe is a great recruitment tool, it’s just as much a retention tool. Once they’re in and setting up their stuff each week and checking their database it’s almost like they can’t leave. How could they?
AP: So it becomes a very sticky product?
RP: Yeah, but in a good way, right! If you can have steak at home why would you leave and have hamburgers next door.
AP: You’ve had some really good appraisal request numbers coming through your account. Has that helped in terms of numbers of listings?
RP: Has it improved our business? Yes, absolutely. For example, since we’ve started my Top Agent has received two listings through the platform which equates to $30-40,000 NZD that’s coming in the front door. It’s probably paid for ten years worth of ActivePipe!
AP: So, it’s actually giving you as a business owner the chance to not only help your agents but to improve your business as well?
RP: It’s a total win-win. With ActivePipe, you’ve got recruitment, you’ve got retention and then you’ve got the ability to squeeze the juice out of a lemon. You’re presented with another money spinner by being able to generate leads that are not being managed and because they’ve been presented the way ActivePipe does, it’s very easy for the company to pick that up.
AP: Thanks Reece. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
RP: I’d just like to say that we were a bit timid about turning it on but you’ve just got to jump in the cold water and have a swim. ActivePipe has made a real impact and it’s a really positive one. I can’t think of any downside.
How to Turn Your Online Leads into Contacts, Quickly!
We all know the first place a buyer goes to check out real estate is the internet. On many levels, this is a win-win situation for you and your prospects, as you both enjoy the ease and affordability of showcasing listings online.
The downside to our tech-led world and the source of many an agent’s frustrations is the curse of the dreaded ‘missed lead’. You know the one. A prospective buyer or seller has browsed your website, clicked on a few of your properties and if you’re in luck they might have even sent you a quick email. No phone number and certainly no essay on their intentions to purchase or sell. You’ve been busy the last few days but finally, you’ve got a spare moment and are ready to reach out out with a return email but ‘Bam!’, they’ve disappeared faster than a toupee in a hurricane. No reply, no first date.
There’s nothing you can do to eradicate lost leads forever but there are steps you can take to minimise churn and turn your online leads into customers for life.
The secret? Think quick.
86% of potential buyers use online as their main tool to search for property. If you can reach out to them on the same day they visit your website, you’re in good stead to capture their attention and garner a response. If you can get in quick with an email, over 30% of those inquirers will get back to you on the same day. Considering the real estate industry has an average email open rate of 27% these are damn good numbers.
I Don’t Have Time For That, Do I?
Well, it’s time to get organised. Yeah, the stats sound impressive but how can a time-poor agent honestly spare the man hours to contact every single online lead immediately? It doesn’t sound like a realistic expectation. The hard truth is that speed to lead is a huge indicator of whether a successful conversion will take place, so you have no choice but to put the time aside every day to follow them up. Make it your new rule. I’d recommend making it a ‘first thing in the morning’ habit as most people scroll real estate sites at night. This way you’ll give yourself the best chance of being the first agent in their ear.
Make Tech Your Mate
Implementing smart technology like intelligent CRMs or software like ActivePipe will take the hard work out of nurturing your online leads. Once you’ve captured a lead in your database, you can start sending out content tailored to their preferences. Not only does this give buyers and sellers the personal touch they crave but you’re far more likely to stop them in their search for an agent (or dream property). ActivePipe kicks things off by sending any new contact in your database a ‘Welcome’ email. Too easy!
Stopping the Search
Your primary goal in all this is to stop your leads in their search for… well, you! You want leads to stop in their tracks, send you an inquiry and bang down your door, insisting that you’re the one for the job! You don’t want them window shopping then disappearing into thin air. Attract, capture – convert.
Sounds good, how do I do that?
Keep driving traffic back to your website. Consumers today are looking for a personalised online experience – which means you need to consider their trigger behaviours. Look at what properties they have interacted with, how often they are visiting your site and where they’re located. If you can send them content that matches these behaviours, they’re going to keep coming back for more. You’ll have them in the bag.
Summary: The 3 Step Plan
To improve the ROI on your lead generation strategy and start turning those online inquiries into customers for life, you just need to follow these 3 simple steps.
- Make Online Lead Nurturing Your New Morning Ritual
- Be Proactive in Getting into Contact
- Use ActivePipe to Send Tailored Emails That Send Traffic to Your Website
Get in quick and the conversation will be flowing in no time.
The Art of Staying Front of Mind
Staying front of mind is one of the most important issues an agent must address in their quest to grow market share and nurture leads. It’s also one of the most difficult things to keep on top of.
There is a lot of white noise coming from other agents in the marketplace and prospective sellers often have to go through letterboxes full of rubbish before they’ll see any of your material. This is where being relevant comes into play. If you’re delivering value; the right information, to the right people, at the right time, they’re going to be more inclined to choose you to list their property.
LBDs, cold calls, door knocks – they are all useful for the average agent but unless your value proposition is relevant and cuts through the clutter, you risk getting lost.
Relevance is the currency of 2020.
To help you win the battle of delivering personable and meaningful communications, I’ve put together some simple tips on how to rise above the clutter and be the agent they can’t wait to call.
Get the Conversation Flowing
If a contact is thinking about buying or selling, knowing what is happening in the market will always be relevant. Never shy away from sharing news on forthcoming auctions and recent record sales, they are fail safe topics that never go out of fashion. Bonus points if you’re the first agent in your farm area to deliver that information – well done, you’ve just made yourself the ‘go to guy’ for market insights!
Once you’ve identified which of your contacts are sellers, it’s over to you to nurture them with the right content as they move towards putting their house on the market.
A great way to find out the intentions of your prospective clients is to survey them when they first make an enquiry. This is easier said than done, so leveraging the right technology to help you will go a long way in helping you serve your clients’ needs (more on this later).
Time to Streamline
Now you know what your clients’ intentions are, the challenge is in delivering them the right messages. The upsizers and downsizers will likely want to know everything they can about preparing to sell and getting the best price. The investors will be impressed by tips on sustainable and low effort investment information and of course, first home buyers will need to know absolutely everything.
How Do I Manage All These Messages?
How can an agent stay relevant in each one of their relationships and transaction opportunities when at the end of the day, they’re only human and can’t be everything, to everyone, at all times?
I’ve come up with a simple trick.
It’s the art of the ‘two main personas’ and it’s the easiest way to address the needs of your contacts and keep you front of mind.
Persona One: The Friendly Professional
The first persona is that of the personable and approachable professional that is always on hand to help.
Social media is your greatest asset here. It’s the perfect tool for positioning your fun and friendly personality. Use it to organise an event such as a get-together where people from the community can join you in an informal setting and ask you all their questions on the market. This is a great way to build rapport and get to know people without pressure.
Persona Two: The Market Analyst
The second persona is that of the market analyst. Someone who is dependable and knows the facts and figures that will guide the selling experience. It’s someone who can address the seller’s needs specifically and who can provide intuitive market intelligence.
This is where ActivePipe can really play a role in remaining front of mind. Because it’s monitoring your clients real-time intentions it will activate the right emails, at the right time, to give them the right information to make a decision. All of this can be done automatically on your behalf, building your brand image as the professional your clients need to know.
At the end of the day, staying front of mind is a ‘forever battle’ for agents but it doesn’t have to be the thorn in your side. So long that you always focus on being relevant and you keep the art of the ‘two main personas’ in mind, you’ll always have something important to say, to the people who want to hear it. (more…)
Why Quality Relationships are More Valuable than Contact Quantity
The lessons real estate taught me about how prospecting for “rich info” builds quality relationships and leads to real results!
At the age of 18, I was a fresh faced young agent who was trying to make a name for myself. I had stepped into a world filled with people who were sometimes twice my age and mostly a million times more experienced than me.
In those days, I spent a lot of time prospecting, and prospecting meant going from door to door, trying to build my database. By the time I was 20, after two years in the game, I had 70 contacts in my list.
I know what you’re thinking: Only 70 contacts?
Even though some would consider that number low, there is one thing my database had which made it a highly valuable asset.
It all has something to do with what we call rich info.
How to Prospect for Quality Relationships
I was lucky to have a mentor who valued quality relationships over contact quantity, and who drilled that message into me.
In our office, you weren’t allowed to put a contact into your database unless:
- You had an address for that contact
- That contact was the homeowner
- That person had agreed to be on the office mailing list
Furthermore, you couldn’t claim a contact if anyone else in the office already had that contact in their database.
This might seem a bit extreme (it certainly seemed extreme to me at the time) but these restrictions were in place for a very good reason and ended up teaching me a very important lesson about the value of good relationships.
What is “Rich Info”?
Rich info is a small piece of information that tells you a big story.
Before I could understand why my boss was so particular about keeping data clean, he got me to start thinking about why I wanted contacts in the first place.
Contacts are called contacts for a reason (it’s because you stay in contact with them).
While it might look good on paper to have a large database, large databases are cumbersome and difficult to manage. If a database gets messy and out of control, it’s a very big job getting it back in to shape.
How do you avoid this problem?
Don’t add a contact to your list unless you have rich info!
A name and a phone number only tells you how to get in touch with someone and what to call them. One piece of data, no story.
On the other hand, a contact’s address lets you find out how long someone’s been in a place, how large their family is and gives you a rough idea of their budget. This is all information you can find out before you have a full conversation.
Your mailing list becomes pure gold if, in addition to having a lot of data on each contact, all of your contacts have agreed to be on your mailing list. When you are upfront about inviting people to join your mailing list you give an impression of trustworthiness.
This leads to quality relationships.
Then How do I Get the Data?
There’s a lot of merit to farming your area the old-fashioned way and it will always be super important for agents to be in the field and among the community.
In addition, proptech is giving modern agents more tools to automate the farming process. This doesn’t mean list buying, it’s more about value exchange.
Most people are chasing suburb specific news and listings. Instead of just using an email to ask for someone’s details, use marketing automation tools to offer specific information suited to your contacts’ needs.
More and more people are starting to use tools which let you do this, which is why we are starting to see a sharp decline in outdated practices like list buying.
Seems like a Lot of Effort?
But the bonus is, when you put in the leg work, your customers will be loyal to you.
Part of the reason I had such a tough time as a young agent was that the more experienced agents in the office had lifelong relationships with so many people from the neighbourhood.
It is hard to build those quality relationships at first, but the flipside is that, once you do, it’s very hard for anyone to come between you and your high-value contacts.
Nurture Your Database
My old boss taught me that it’s important to get over the excitement of having a large database, and to realise that it’s much better to have quality relationships with the contacts who know you.
Getting started was hard at first but building a solid database meant that I built momentum. Eventually I was making one to three appraisal requests per week.
It’s this philosophy that spills over into all areas of my life.
Quality not quantity.
It’s the relationships for life that count.
Gearing Up for the Busy Season
Agents, are you ready?!
Right about now, prospective vendors’ letterboxes will be filled to the brim with “Spring Has Sprung” LBDs from agents desperate to catch up on the prospectives they should have got to months ago.
In the next few weeks, there will be a rush of houses that come to market with optimistic (read: ‘unrealistic’) prices and reserves that have been pumped up by the same agents in a bid to beat the competition to the listing agreement.
OFIs will undoubtedly be filled by fast moving, educated buyers and a lot of the new stock will quickly become old hat if the prices and marketing programs don’t keep pace.
Spring is the season that makes or breaks agents. Put simply, if you don’t get ahead, you’re going to fall behind.
So, how do you avoid the mess and make sure that you get the best listing, at the best price to attract ferocious bidding from the best buyers?
The answer is to leverage your database.
This is where ActivePipe comes in. Log into your dash and have the phone handy. It’s time to let your fingers do the walking.
Skip the LBDs and get in front of the right sellers, now
We know there’s a bunch of potential incredible sellers you have not met yet, so you need to find the ‘highly active buyers list’ and show them some service.
We already know that these people are fixated on the property market, so you need to log into your ‘highly active buyer’ list and check out each of their favourite properties (that’s easy, we have them listed right there on their profile). When you pick up the phone don’t mince words, get straight to the point.
“We have sent you loads of properties over the past few month and I was wondering which ones might have caught your interest? Maybe the three bedder on Jones Circuit is something you would like to see this weekend before the rush?”
By drilling into the properties that they have been clicking on, you are jumping all the ice breakers and getting relevant, fast. This puts you at the top of their ‘agents who know exactly what they need’ list. In 2018 relevance is king.
Put them in front of the right homes that suit their preferences even if they are not your listings. Help them out with market info and put in the extra hours. This will bode well for you when it comes time to choose who will be listing their home.
Who you gonna call?
In 2018 we learnt that over 50% of your buyers are also sellers, so you need to get face-to-face and put your professionalism on display. The best way is by enticing as many of them as you can to visit your offices’ listings.
Pick up the phone with your list of highly active clients and profile updates.
Target the different profiles, one at a time. Start with upsizers and downsizers. You already know exactly what their intentions are, so be the agent that cuts through the bull**** and asks the right questions. Remember, getting to the point fast saves them time and gives you greater capacity to spend more time with the right buyers.
“Hi James, it’s Ben calling from Action Estate Agents. I’m just calling to say thanks for letting me know about your intentions to find a bigger/smaller home. We have a few available that are going to suit your needs. We also have a few off market opportunities – let’s discuss some addresses you should see this weekend before the crowds beat you to the best homes on the market.”
Take aim, then fire. Don’t let the market opportunities pass you by as you chase “would-be deals”, go for the best targets first.
GOING ONCE, TWICE……THREE TIMES….. SOLD.
Let’s talk about getting the right buyers and registered bidders to your next auction. 10/10 buyers say they would buy the right house, at the right price and most of them would consider even the slightly right house, at the right price. So how do you drum up buyers?
There is no time to waste. As soon as your new listing is blasted out to the best buyers, you need to pick the most engaged. Get on the phone and start generating actual foot traffic for this weekends OFI.
Sally for example, is in the top ten most engaged list for your auction listing in Summerset Place.
You could try this script:
“Hi Sally – glad I caught you before the weekend. Did you have a chance to check out my new listing on Summerset Place? It’s 100% the style of property that should catch your attention. Would you like to have an early viewing before the crowds? The vendor is really keen to move this along and has asked me to invite all interested parties to an inspection. How about Saturday, 9am?”
This is of course, just an example. Every agent has a unique personality, so it’s important to create a script that feels natural and authentic to you.
What matters is that you are ready to show some clout and spring into the busy season.
Best of luck!
How ActivePipe Drives Traffic to Your OFIs and Auctions
We all know that the market fluctuates, as do people’s buying intentions.
If you have a database of 4,000 people, how can you possibly know where they are all at in their real estate journey unless you are using intuitive software like ActivePipe? Here are some simple tips to help you get the right people to your opens and auctions, please your vendors and turn impressed buyers into future sellers.
Refresh Your Skills
Brush up quickly by watching the new ‘Dashboard Tips and Tricks’ webinar. The best part is you can view it whenever and wherever you want and it will only take up ten minutes of your time. We tell you where the gold is, all you have to do is dig! It covers hot properties, profile updates, interactions, self appraisers and more. It’s all based on customer intent and our insightful algorithms. You would be crazy not to use this information!
Are there properties that you, other agents or other offices in your brand are selling with similar features? Why not reach out to them and start working together? Use the information sitting in your ActivePipe dash and CRM to find and call people that have visited properties similar to the one you are currently marketing, or have the same buying criteria. Don’t forget to ask for permission though, or you might receive some phone calls yourself.
It’s not just the property you need to promote. Let your customers know about the great results you’ve been achieving by sending them an email through ActivePipe. As in the tip above, you can collaborate with your co-workers to find the perfect candidates to reach out to as well. For most agencies, buyers are buyers and not ‘owned’ by a single agent, so why not share the love around?
Has the market changed? Is there relevant information you could be sharing with your contacts? Put yourself in the mindset of a potential buyer or seller and send them a monthly newsletter with ActivePipe. We now have RSS feed, so you can include blogs and other multimedia. It’s so easy to use and could include topics like, ‘how to prepare your home for an OFI’, ‘selling in winter’ or ‘community news’.
Handy hint: Emails detailing the latest market trends will always receive a high interaction rate.
Watch Your Attendance Soar
Using ActivePipe to attract the perfect candidates to your OFI’s and auctions is quick and easy. Follow the tips above and your attendees will not only be serious customers, but the conversations you have with them are meaningful and relevant.
You may never have to make a cold call again.
4 Ways You Are Killing Your Business (without realising it)
Like many aspects of life, if you want to get clarity on something the best view will always be retrospective. Nothing beats 20/20 hindsight.
The seventeen years I spent selling and auctioning homes wasn’t always perfect. Since then I have had many nights to contemplate how I might have approached some situations differently based on these practical years of experience and learning.
I now travel the world talking with thousands of agents a year, meaning I am privy to the operations of brands big and small. This allows me to get out the magnifying glass and have a good look into what makes an agent successful and also identify their challenges at an office or enterprise level.
The similarities across the globe are endless. Agents in the UK face the same struggles as they do in Australia and the US. While some details vary, there really isn’t a great difference between a Monday here and a Monday there.
Here are four things I’ve learnt about what separates a good agent from a great one. Wherever you are in the world, the same rules apply.
You are overlooking your clients concerns for your own
If your motivation when you wake up is to line your pockets, you will only ever get so far. People, more specifically prospects will see you coming a mile away.
‘Commission breath’ is a thing and it’s obvious. While you might make some progress in your career, greedy won’t get you all the way and eventually you will turn away more clients than you attract.
If you want to make big money, you are going to need to flex your empathy muscle and head into every situation thinking “how can I help” or “what is the best outcome for my client”. This will speak volumes and establish confidence in your professionalism.
You are holding onto the process and hampering the progress
The old saying “you have to let go, to grow” is the hottest tip of 2018. With all the new agency models creeping in and taking the market share up inch by inch, the best agents know it’s time to focus on the important tasks.
You can’t grow in this market as a jack of all trades and a master of none. You need to let go of all the distractions and complications, and distill your process to focus on very specific activities that leverage your time effectively.
You are not building a pipeline or worse, ignoring the pipeline
Fortune 500 companies consider a well organised pipeline to be fundamental to their success. Meanwhile, all I hear from agents and brokers around the world is “30 day sellers”. At best they might consider them “60 day sellers” but even the latter only gives them leeway of a month or two.
I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but you can’t build trust in 30 or 60 days. I’ll bet all these “VIP” contacts have no idea who you are or what list you have them in. I’ll also put money on the fact that every one of them is in another three agent’s 30 day sellers lists.
A genuine pipeline sees years into the future and those sales are the basis of your growing income. If you already know four families that will be downsizing after their kids leave the nest in two years from now, thats 40k of commission coming to you in the near future.
The most brilliant agents around the world are thinking far more than 30 days forward and they are using that time advantage to build trust. Trust will be the currency of 2020.
You are holding onto to much junk data
If you are in the 30% of agents worldwide that take their database seriously, there is still a problem. There’s too much crap in there. Striving for success with an uncategorised and incomplete database is like swimming in jeans, you think you’re making progress but really you are just weighing yourself down.
I met an agent last week who boasted that he has 13,000 contacts in his database and then told me how he needed two dedicated workers to keep on-top of it.
“It’s endless, like painting the harbour bridge. Once you have gone through and called everyone on it and updated the details as you can, it’s time to go back and start from the other side. Even then a tonne of opportunities fall through the cracks.”
A smaller, faster, fitter database with complete contact and property data is the way of the future. ActivePipe has tools that will enable you to build, clean, nurture and identify your prospects intentions before your competition ever sees them coming.
It’s all about quality over quantity.
Put your clients first, leverage your time wisely, nurture your pipeline and clear out the junk. Follow these simple rules and you’ll avoid these common mistakes and the loss of opportunities that come with them.
Programs like ActivePipe help you to organise and clean your database and automate your customer touch points. Click here to organise a demo.
Introducing, ActivePipe Webinars!
As an agent, it often feels like there aren’t enough hours in your day to chase listings, so how on earth are you going to find time to do training; an exercise that doesn’t provide any immediate returns?
Many ActivePipe employees were once agents themselves, so we know what it’s like to be strapped for time. We want you to be in the field as much as possible whilst still getting training that will put money in your pocket and make you more efficient in the long run. As a result, we have developed the ActivePipe Webinar Series, a training program that’s convenient for busy agents just like you.
All our webinars run between 10 and 30 minutes, so you can watch them when you have a spare moment later in the week!
Here’s what you’ll gain just by tuning in.
There are a number of different people in your office and each of them is at a very different stage in their career. As a result, their skillsets are as varied as their personalities, so you can’t expect them to have the same level of knowledge and provide the same service across the business. Through our webinars, new agents will not only learn about the ActivePipe system, but will gain valuable real estate tips and tricks as well. They’ll learn to use call lists to land their first listing, while your more experienced agents can scrub up on their prior training and find opportunities in their existing database.
Discussing what everyone got out of the ActivePipe webinar at your morning sales meeting will motivate your team to be more innovative, proactive and creative in how they approach the day. Sure, they’ve been making sales in the past, but how can they start making more? Our webinars have lots of industry tips that show you how to target the right people, at the right time to generate more sales. It’s a great morale booster.
Where else can you find personal development training from an award-winning company that doesn’t cost a cent? You don’t even have to leave the office, so what do you have to lose?
Many of your staff won’t have a communications background so they won’t fully understand the concept of marketing and brand consistency. If they watch a 10 minute webinar and complete their training, you’ll find that touch points with your customers are more professional and better received.
Once your agents learn how to read their email reports, they will get a picture of what their contacts really want. We’ll show them how to focus on people who are active in the market, which will help them turn buyers into life-long customers. You’ll learn where the gold is, so all you have to do is dig.
At the end of the day, continuous learning is essential for real estate agents to thrive in their career. ActivePipe webinars are a free training tool that will help your staff find new ways to identify leads in their existing database making them far more efficient in the long term.
Check out our webinars today, so that your agents have the best opportunity to succeed.
Mastering the Skill of Client Expectations
When you are vying for a new client’s business and you are aware that there are several other agents whispering in their ear, it’s hard not to make big statements about what you can achieve to get them over the line and secure their listing.
In a competitive market, it’s human nature to assert your superiority with sweeping sales statements that you know may be a little far-fetched. Unfortunately, this is why there is a low level of trust towards real estate agents and why many clients walk away from a transaction feeling misguided.
After speaking to thousands of agents and clients around the world, we’ve learnt that honesty is the best policy and those who promote complete transparency are those who triumph. Being honest with your prospective clients and managing their expectations will not only cement a positive relationship with them, but they will be the first to recommend you to their network.
Being known as the agent in town everyone trusts, will always work to your benefit, so here are some tricks for managing client expectations. Your business will thank you for it!
Be transparent about what you can deliver
No-one knows the market better than you do. Your finger is constantly on the pulse so you know exactly how a suburb is performing and what the demand is like. If you know a potential listing’s value falls between $550,000 and $600,000, tell the sellers that. Don’t say you are going to get them $600,000 + and hope for the best, because it will come back on you at the end. The vendor will think that you haven’t put in the hard yards, which will lead to a poor review. Being honest about timelines is just as important. As the market slows down, remind sellers that their property might be sitting on the market for longer than expected because there is less demand out there. The key learning here is under promise, over deliver.
Every real estate agent operates in a slightly different way. This means that vendors can come to you with service and deliverable expectations that deviate from what you provide. For example, they may expect you to answer the phone at every hour of the day whether it’s 10am or 10pm. Perhaps they’ve seen those ads for agents who work for a set free rather than commission and are questioning why you don’t do the same. To avoid complications, the best thing you can do is establish your outcomes from the get go. This can include a timeline, advertising budget and commission rate.
Write it down
Once you establish your outcomes, write them down, have your client look over them and once you are both happy, get the contract signed off. Having physical proof of the terms and conditions keeps you both accountable and is a great reference if either of you think you are going off track. If things go wrong, as they inevitably do sometimes, you know you have something to fall back on. Be specific. The clearer you are, the better.
One of the biggest problems in the real estate industry is a perceived lack of communication. We understand that agents are busy, but at the end of the day, they are managing the sale of their client’s largest financial investment. This is a big step for many vendors, who are often emotionally invested because they’ve spent years under that roof and may have even raised a family there.
Some of the little details in the selling process that you wouldn’t think much about mean a lot to them, so keep your clients in the loop as much as possible. No-one who’s in the process of selling their home is going to be bothered by an additional email or phone update. They’ll more than appreciate your thorough service, proactivity and enthusiasm.
Stay in touch
Just because the sale is complete, doesn’t mean you should stop communicating. In five years time, your vendor might sell again and when they do, you want to be the first person that comes to mind. Staying in touch doesn’t have to be laborious as systems such as ActivePipe exist. These automate your customer touch points, so that emails are being sent out on your behalf with minimal effort. If your contacts are seeing your face over these years, you’ll be the first person they call when they come to market.
If you’re honest from the get-go, establish the conditions of sale and communicate with your contacts throughout their entire journey, they’ll be happy with the outcome no matter what. Doing these things show that you’ve tried your best.
Don’t underestimate the value of managing your clients expectations. For their happiness and yours.
Why Every Agent Needs to Understand ROI
If you’ve been playing in the real estate game for awhile, there’s no doubt you’ve dropped the term ROI from time to time.
Let’s face it… It’s a great way to nudge Mr-and-Mrs-Investor over the line when they’re sitting on the fence over that great two-bedder you know is perfect for their portfolio.
But did you know that ROI is as integral to your business as an agent as it is to the investors you are dealing with on a weekly basis? The type of ROI I speak of has nothing to do with bricks and mortar and everything to do with getting the best bang for your buck and turning your business into a profit machine.
It all comes down to marketing.
What is ROI in marketing?
Just as investors weigh up the probability of a profitable return on an apartment, you can use the same calculations to judge the investments you make in your marketing strategies. Whether it’s the money you spend printing brochures or the cost of designing banners to display out the front of your open home, every effort you make should result in dollars. There’s a number of strategies that can work for you, you’ve just got to decide which one is going to generate the most profit with the least amount of effort.
How do I maximise profits?
Email marketing is an absolute must. According to recent studies, the median email marketing ROI is 122%, which is four times higher than any other digital marketing channel. If you’re not making the most of the opportunities it presents, your competitors will be and you’ll be missing out on potential listings. It’s that simple.
Let’s take a look at this real world example. Agent Sam recently invested $500 a month on an email marketing software program for his office. He’s had a pretty good start and the software has landed him 5 appraisal requests that he wouldn’t have received without its help. As we know, approximately 25% of appraisal requests result in listings and Agent Sam has easily hit that mark. He’s now got two listings under his belt. Both properties are set to sell for around $600,000, which means Agent Sam is about to make a profit of $24,000! He’s over the moon but how did his ROI fair? Let’s crunch the numbers.
Agent Sam invested $500 into his software resulting in $24,000 commission. To work out his ROI you simply divide the profit he made by the investment he put in. Agent Sam scored a ROI of 480%.
The lesson here is don’t fall into the trap of thinking of software as an overhead or an ‘expense’.
At the end of the day, good ROI practice comes down to smart spending. Allocate your budget correctly to ensure that you squeeze the most out of each dollar.
Your Customer is Numero Uno
What you want and what your customers wants aren’t always going to line up. Design your email communications around content that adds value. This means staying relevant and keeping things as personalised as possible. Software like ActivePipe tailors your emails automatically so that your customers never feel like they’re part of a spray campaign. As top ranking agent Glen Coutinho puts it:
“ActivePipe puts my face in front of 5000 people and most of them think that I’ve written the emails individually, so it really works in my favour.”
Know Your Metrics
Data is everything. Use it to dig deep and discover what is and isn’t working for your digital marketing campaigns. The beauty of digital is that you can track your leads from origin to sale, which means you can directly see how your campaigns have translated into listings. Once again, investing in software that does the hard work for you is the simplest and most effective way of documenting these metrics. ActivePipe will not only tell you who’s interacting with your emails but will foster every stage of your relationship with these prospects.
The likelihood that you’ll stumble across the perfect marketing strategy straight off the bat is slim. Perfection takes practice and this means engaging AB testing and always being on the lookout for something new that will excite your contacts. They’re probably getting emails from a few different agents, so it’s worth trying to do something that stands out such as a competition or a personalised OFI invitation that makes them feel special.
Automation is key
To keep the labour costs low and save yourself from a mountain of screen time, it’s time to think about email automation. ActivePipe makes the process simple by allowing you to build emails that deploy regularly at a predetermined time or with a trigger such as a clicked link. Companies that use marketing automation technologies report a 53% increase in their lead generation and sales conversions. Why wouldn’t you want to give that a go?
The marketing software you choose can have a colossal impact on your operational efficiency and ability to reach your contacts in a meaningful way. ActivePipe not only nurtures your database but also generates leads by identifying your high value contacts, so you can get the ultimate return on your investment.
It’s a no-brainer really.
Daniel Oliver’s Secret to Success
Earlier this week, we had a chat to Daniel Oliver, Ray White SA/NT #1 Agent January 2018. We were so impressed with the results he’s generating with ActivePipe that we had to know more about how he implements it in the office and his everyday routine. So far, Daniel has received 17 appraisal requests and 142 profile updates, a truly staggering effort.
Here’s what he has to say about ActivePipe and how it’s helped him reach out and truly engage with the homebuyers of Adelaide.
AP: First of all congratulations on being named Ray White SA/NT #1 Agent January 2018. We’ve been looking at your ActivePipe data and can see you’ve received 17 appraisals through the platform! Great work.
DO: Thank you! Its nice to have received them, hopefully many more to come.
AP: How long have you been on ActivePipe for?
DO: We were one of the first offices to get on board when Ray White took on ActivePipe. Our training was back in April 2016.
AP: How do you incorporate ActivePipe into your everyday routine?
DO: My assistant or myself will log into it everyday. We’ll look through and see which properties have open for inspections coming up and we’ll call anyone that’s clicked on that property and say, “we have this amazing property on offer that is similar to what you are looking for, have you seen it? Would you like to come to the next open home?”
That drags traffic to the property and it’s all through ActivePipe. It saves us a whole lot of time because we know exactly who’s clicking on what properties. They have no idea that we’re calling them because of that click, we just say “I keep in touch with all my current buyers, would you like to come by?”
This really helps us with our attendance numbers and sells the property.
AP: What are your favourite features of the product?
DO: Getting people to the OFIs is the first big help but we also love ‘Potential Sellers’ and ‘New Geo- Conversions’.
Our favourite is ‘Profile Updates’. We know for instance, that if someone is an ‘Investor’ we can hand it straight over to our BDM, who’s our investment specialist. He can take care of them straight away and hopefully turn it into a property management referral, which means more business coming in.
AP: In terms of efficiency and time management, how has AP changed how you operate in your daily business?
DO: It saves us hours. Literally, a lot of hours of calling everyone back. My aim at OFIs is to collect a minimum of 90% of emails from attendees but before ActivePipe, I didn’t really care to be honest. Now that I’m aiming for that 90%, it’s probably why I’ve received 17 appraisals. It’s because I’m building my ActivePipe database.
AP: How Important Do You Think Embracing Technology Like ActivePipe is for the Future of Real Estate?
DO: 100%. We are at the forefront of doing that and I think it’s been one of the biggest changes to my business. I can’t imagine life without it.
AP: How would you describe ActivePipe to other agents who aren’t with the system but who are considering giving it a go?
DO: I wouldn’t tell them about it. It’s a secret. (more…)
Half Your Buyers Are Also Sellers
Each week, most agents across Australasia, the UK and US come into contact with twenty or more buyers – even in a quiet market.
Our stats show that across these markets, 36% of those buyers are also sellers who are researching the market and agents operating in their neighbourhood. This means that on average, agents are quietly ignoring the fact that they’re running into 5-7 prospective sellers each week. It’s no wonder that so many agents struggle to keep new listings coming in consistently!
When it comes to great service, buyers in the residential market are getting the short end of the stick and it’s this area of service that’s giving most agents a bad name.
The moment a prospective seller is identified in the marketplace agents are crawling all over them trying to get pen to paper. On the other hand, would-be buyers calls are ignored, their emails go unanswered and in general, if they are followed up it’s done so in a less than perfect manner.
A couple looking to sell and relocate to a larger home recall their experience:
“When we called an office asking about a house that had come to market, we were told that the agent would call us back. We waited two days and called again… still no luck. It was really frustrating”.
The couple had a house to sell in the same area and the sale would be necessary for them to bridge the gap financially.
“We spent the whole time chasing agents and trying to inspect properties that we were interested in purchasing. We felt like we were ignored or had to scream out for attention”.
Eventually they made an offer on a property and decided not to sell through the same agency they were buying through.
“By the time we were ready to put our house on the market, we were so frustrated by the experience that we chose someone completely different to sell through. They’d actually returned our calls. We didn’t want the future buyer of our house to struggle the same way we did, just to get a hold of the agent selling”.
Sound like a common scenario? It absolutely does because it happens every day.
Six star client relations and service are a must for growing your income and market share and it starts from the first impression. If you are feeling too stretched to return a call and email enquiry, it’s time to take a good look at automation to leverage your service output. Given that almost 50% of your future business will come knocking on your door, you can’t afford to overlook the basics.
How to Prepare for a Soft Market
Real estate agents are at the whim of a constantly fluctuating market. Seasons change, interest rates rise and fall and house prices respond to wider economic conditions. This means that as an agent, you need to take the good times with the bad and embrace the success a tough market can bring to those who are not afraid of a challenge.
Australia is a great example of a country where house prices have been steadily rising for the past ten years and have suddenly flatlined. Economists are predicting the same trend worldwide, which puts increasing pressure on agents who will now have to revert to survival mode to get by. They are no longer in the position to ask for higher prices and vendors may have to settle for less than they hoped for. At first, this can mean lower commissions, and harsh agent ratings which is a difficult situation for an industry which relies on referrals to build pipelines.
The good news is that a tough market poses opportunities for those who know how to find them and with a little perseverance you can thrive. This is because soft markets whittle out the weak. Agents who’ve only ridden the wave of a strong market are not used to having to fight it out and have not developed the skills to hustle when times are tight. In these situations, those with grit and determination will succeed.
Here are four things you can do while you’re waiting out the storm.
Re-evaluate Your Marketing Budget
A tough market means you have to justify every dollar you spend. To do this you must evaluate the results of your current advertising campaigns and work out where your best leads are coming from. This will help you decide on how to get the best bang for buck so you aren’t withdrawing funds from your most prosperous channels. Whether it’s an ad in the local newspaper or the properties featured in your EDMs, each strategy is an investment that should result in hot leads.
Work on Your Service
It can be hard to find the time to check-in with your clients when the phone won’t stop ringing. See the downtime as an opportunity to be proactive and work on improving your service offering. This might mean creating a listing presentation dec for your new clients or preparing a guide for budding investors with the key terms they need to know. While this may not seem immediately fruitful, these documents are great to have in your arsenal and will help you attract business in the long term.
Most importantly, YOU need to get on the phone.
Aim to double the number of outbound calls you would normally make in the busy season. Remind your community that you are active in the market and the best agent for the job.
Spend More Time with Sellers – They Need Extra Love & Attention
The people who need you most during a tough market are your sellers. They’re just as impacted by the conditions as you and need reassurance that selling is the right decision. You’ve got more time on your hands, so really work on building that relationship and creating a customer for life. Go the extra mile to help them and that investment will pay off in the future. They will understand that you are doing everything in your power to help them, meaning they’ll be more likely to settle on a price that isn’t up to their original expectations. Remember trust is key and having an open dialogue backed by facts and statistics will get you far.
Nurture the Leads You Have
Now that your sellers are firmly front-of-mind and you’re pumping out the phone calls each day, it’s time to work on your email communications. Make sure you are using ActivePipe to send out beautiful weekly listings to your contacts. It not only keeps them up-to-date with the local market but it will cement your position as a local expert with plenty of business coming through the door.
Work on You
If all else fails and you’re feeling a little disheartened, use this time to hone your skills through online training courses and personal development initiatives. Why not prepare yourself for upcoming real estate trends by cultivating your skill-set in a specialised niche such as eco homes, luxury living or off-the-plan developments. Having a specialty will ensure your value to your employer and you can potentially charge higher fees for your expertise in the future.
While many of your competitors take their foot off the peddle and accept defeat, this is the time for you to step on the accelerator and focus on your lane to get ahead of the pack. This is the perfect time to develop your long-game. Do this and you’ll be full throttle when the market picks up.
Rising To The Top With Glen Coutinho
When it comes time for REB to announce their ‘Top 100 Agents in Australia’ each year, the ActivePipe office is always abuzz. Our agents consistently place in top positions, so as you can imagine, we can’t wait to get our little mitts on the prestigious list and congratulate these real estate superstars for their outstanding achievements.
2018 did not disappoint.
Of Australia’s top five agents, three are ActivePipe users and we couldn’t be more proud of them. Taking out the number five spot this year is our friend Glen Coutinho, the Director and Senior Auctioneer at RT Edgar, Boroondara. With 33 years experience and a whopping $340, 529, 700 worth of sales under his belt in the last twelve months alone, he’s an undeniable powerhouse of the industry. ActivePipe was lucky to catch him for a quick chat and to pick his brain for the secrets to his success.
AP: Hi Glen, thank you so much for speaking to us today and a huge congratulations for being named the number five agent in Australia. You’ve had an incredible year, what’s been the highlight for you?
GC: The highlight for me is that I’ve been able to achieve all this whilst still having three and a half to four months off for the year. I was able to travel to America with my family and manage my customers whilst I was away, which means that the system works well for me.
AP: So you managed to achieve that elusive work/life balance?
AP: What are the qualities that got you to the top of the real estate game?
GC: I believe my greatest quality is loving people. My biggest strength is spoiling my customers. From birthdays to wedding anniversaries, I just always make the effort to acknowledge the success of all my clients. I spend most of my time with people and I just want to spoil them.
AP: Tell us about your everyday routine. What are the little things you do that sets you up for success?
GC: I start my morning between 7:30am and 8am on social media. I wish all my clients happy birthday, acknowledge special dates and all those types of things. I do this by 8am and then send out some gifts to my clients and get on the phone. I make 30-40 calls a day to past clients and I’ve done that consistently for 33 years.
AP: How do you incorporate ActivePipe into your everyday routine?
GC: It’s an important part of my routine because ActivePipe is the touchpoint for all my customers that are on email. I’ve got almost 30,000 customers and a lot of them get sent an ActivePipe email every week. It’s especially important for the local and overseas contacts that I can’t keep in touch with. It means they can get an email with my face on it and an update on the market.
AP: Do you think this has helped you in your pursuit to be one of the top agents in the country?
GC: It certainly has helped! I meet so many people that the sheer volume can be hard to keep up with. If I forget to ring someone, ActivePipe is like my backup. Say I’ve been chasing someone for twenty years and I forget to ring them for six months, they’re still getting my face in front of them every week. Each Thursday, ActivePipe puts my face in front of 5000 people and most them think that I’ve written the emails individually, so it really works in my favour.
AP: How important is embracing technology like ActivePipe for the future of real estate?
GC: Look I think it’s critical, especially if you’ve been in real estate for a long time. The younger guys are doing it but people in their 40s to 60s think they don’t need to. Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that you do. It’s a critical part of business in the 2000s and will continue to be moving into the future.
AP: What advice would you give to agents who are just starting out in the business?
If you’re just starting out, you need to be in the office and at your desk by 8am. You need to consistently make 40 to 50 calls a day and you need to make ActivePipe a critical part of your business. If you want to make the best of ActivePipe, you need to get it in front of 1000 people very fast. If you’ve got 1000 people getting one of these emails every week, you’re in the game. By the time you get to 10,000 contacts, it comes down to sheer numbers. You can’t lose.