Generating Business in 2009

This past week I had the opportunity to interview four top real estate agents from around the country on how they are generating business in 2009. I interviewed Roby Levy of Prudential Northwest Properties, Alan Shafran of Prudential California Realty, Linda Domis of Prudential California Realty, and James Nellis II of RE/Max in Alexandria, Virginia. My post this week is a summary of that conversation along with some of the lessons I learned from these very successful agents. I know that many of you who read this blog will have also listened to the webinar, Generating Business in 2009. If you have insights from the conversation that you would like to share please use the comment section of this blog to do so. I look forward to reading your comments. Prospecting For Business

One of the first questions I asked my panel was how much time they spend on prospecting for business each day and/or throughout the week. The majority of the panel said they spent anywhere from one and half hours a day to two hours per day focused on building and creating new relationships with people. The methods they used produced outstanding results. Their best practices were:

  • 3 calls, 3 emails, 3 personal notes written first thing every morning.
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour per day on Facebook and LinkedIn chatting with friends, inviting new people to be friends, and sharing market updates with friends.
  • 1 hour per day calling past clients, leads, and referral partners with a focus on connecting with them personally.

Adding New Contacts to Your Sphere of Influence

The past 18 months have been "dry months" in terms of repeat and referral business from your sphere of influence (SOI). This has magnified the need to continually add new people to your database and eventually your sphere of influence each day. We spoke briefly about how these three top agents were adding new people to their SOI each day.

  • Holding 2-3 open houses per month. Taking this activity back rather than delegating it to newer agents and working diligently on capture the buyers that walk through the door.
  • Networking at social and charity events throughout the community.
  • Increasing website search engine optimization (SEO).
  • Using company tools like Property Investment Profile and Market Tracker in neighborhood mailers and door knocking campaigns. Rob Levy attributed a few listings and sales to this activity alone.
  • Holding house warming parties for clients, inviting all of their friends and family, and then using the party as a networking opportunity for business.

Staying-in-Touch with Your Sphere of Influence

Our past clients and Sphere of Influence are, in the long run, your best source of business. Maintaining strong relationships with them is vital to receiving referrals and repeat business. The panel discussed various ways they were staying-in-touch with this group of people.

  • Weekly lunches and coffee appointments to connect face to face.
  • Phone calls ranging from once a month to once a quarter. Check out the new iPhone, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile Application Slydial. Rob Levy uses this application to leave quick messages for his SOI. He is able to get through 20-30 calls an hour instead of 3-5 by dialing right to voicemail and leaving a quick referral message.
  • Emailing Prudential Tools Property Investment Profile, Market Tracker, and eNewsletters monthly.
  • Status Updates on Facebook and LinkedIn

Most Important Thing for Sellers to Know in this Market

Working with sellers in this market is one of the challenging aspects of our job as brokers. I asked our panel what they believed was the most important bit of information sellers need to know before listing their home. The entire panel agreed that a seller must understand pricing and where the market is going. The best way for you to help a seller understand the market is to ask them questions to find out their existing perception and knowledge of the market and be prepared to discuss with them the facts and local trends of your market. When working with sellers in this market it is vital to continually demonstrating your leadership in the areas of pricing and market knowledge.

Most Important Piece of Advice

I ended my discussion with this panel of agents by asking them to give the audience one or two pieces of advice to help them generate more business. Here were their responses:

  • Develop a vision for your business and systems (business plan) to support your vision.
  • Be the best at what you do. Don't try to be everything to everyone. Know your strengths and weaknesses and focus on your strengths.
  • Know your market facts and trends.
  • Get face to face with people each week and talk to them about their personal lives – go deep with them and learn about their dreams and goals.
  • Constantly be learning more and improving your skills. Never stop learning or training.
  • Focus special attention on your top past clients and referral partners; let them know they are vital to your success.
  • Systems, Systems, Systems. Develop simple-low cost systems for lead follow-up, listing presentations, transaction management, prospecting, etc.

You can listen and watch the entire interview by clicking here.

Make it a great day!

Coach Dan