Saturday, August 1, 2015

Five Groups To Contact For New Leads

Many sales professionals fail to realize the importance of staying in touch with new leads. Patience is required; practitioners must remind themselves that most buyers will not buy within a week or two of your first meeting.

Learning to stay in touch with new leads through e-mail, U.S. Mail, or by phone is important if you want them to remain loyal to you. Provide information that will be valuable as they prepare for their next transaction. For example, set up a search through your local MLS and e-mail them listings that match their criteria.

Some other communication ideas: Mail notes on your stationery just to check in and let them know you’re ready to help; mail ideas or clipped articles on buying/selling a home in your market; e-mail tips on how to secure a home mortgage and check their credit score; distribute newsletters; and e-mail information related to their personal interests, such as playing piano or traveling. Also consider setting up a drip marketing program (see article in left hand column).

Sphere of Influence: Stay Top of Mind

When asked how they found the real estate practitioner they used, 44 percent of all buyers and 43 percent of all sellers say they were referred by a friend, neighbor, or relative, according to the 2005 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers.

It’s of the utmost importance to maintain a consistent form of communication with friends, friends of your friends, family, and coworkers. Provide information about what’s going on in the real estate market, offer free reports for buying or selling a home, give tips on when to refinance and how to build home equity. Whether you make these contacts through mail, e-mail, or a quick phone call is up to you.

If you do choose to use e-mail to contact your sphere, make sure your contacts have “opted-in” to be a part of your e-mail marketing campaign. Same goes for phone calls; make sure that you don’t violate any Do-Not-Call rules.

Farm Area: Become the Familiar Name

Repeat business and referrals are essential, but don't forget to cultivate your new leads, too. One good way to develop new business is to set up what a farm area in your marketplace. It can consist of 100, 200, 300 or more properties in a local geographical area such as a subdivision.

Contact residents within that area once a month to become the name they know in local real estate. When they’re ready to make a move, you want to be the first person that pops into their head.

Marketing ideas for your farm area could include mailing tips on selling or remodeling a home; articles about when to refinance; news on local community events; and statistical updates about what properties are selling for in your particular farm area. You can create a neighborhood Web site, with local news, garage sale listings, and your real estate information; and prepare an end-of-the-year report on average days on market, average sales price and list to sales price ratio.

Make sure that if you set up a farm area, you try to develop a personal relationship with many these contacts by making a visit periodically so your names match the correct occupancy. If you are using the tax records as your source of information for names and addresses in your farm area and one particular piece of property is rented by someone the mailing piece may not carry as much clout. Remember, rental tenants may be future buyers.

Local Business Owners: Great Source of Referrals

One often-neglected communication group is local business owners. Incorporating a good communication channel between you and local businesses, and keeping them informed of local real estate conditions, can win big points for you — especially for future referrals.

Most local entrepreneurs are eager to know the status of the local real estate economy, as it often has an indirect impact on their current and future business. Many of the business leaders are the first contact with new families moving to the area, as well as with new employees going to work for their company.

Ideas for contacting this group include providing updates on the average sales prices, days on market to sell a home, and other important real estate data, residential and commercial. Send a monthly or quarterly newsletter to this group, and make a point to visit your local business contacts in person to ask for future leads, references or testimonial letters. As fellow business people, they’ll appreciate the follow-up.

Steady Communication = Good Business

Remember, contacting any of the above groups in person or by phone is a key to the success of getting referrals; don’t just rely on mailings. A personal visit can go a long way for building relationships with these groups.

Staying in touch with these five groups correctly and consistently can keep your sales pipeline full of referrals and future business transactions for many years to come.