Previously I spoke about connecting with your contacts (centre of influence) and the need for communication that is consistent and valuable.
Larry Kendall of Ninja Selling fame refers to this as “flow” and discusses setting up a system of auto-flow. While most Realtors will have signed up for one of many newsletter programs out there or are using their office or corporate e-newsletter program to send to their list, too many Realtors simply subscribe to these programs without consideration for the content and quality and personal contact.
Larry quotes a study that he commissioned to research this precise issue and the results indicated that consumers appreciate “valuable” information and are not at all troubled by the frequency of these items. The key here is “valuable”. At his brokerage in Ft. Collins, Colorado (The Group Real Estate Inc.), they have positioned themselves as the go to place for real estate research and information. Their monthly newsletter contains excellent reports on the market, new developments, economic data and other information pertinent to real estate. It is not a showpiece for who is #1 or the “recipe of the month.” The second form of flow or marketing that they produce is actually coordinated by an outside agency and is something their sales people can subscribe to. This is in the form of a post card and is usually an offering from a local business for a discount off a product or service. Reports from their sales people suggest that this regular monthly marketing piece is always well received and anticipated.
The real key to the program is regular personal contact that is centered around having a F.O.R.D.conversation as previously discussed. What seems to be missing is the establishment of a real relationship built around getting to know the family, occupation, recreation and dream aspirations of the clients. Realtors seem to suffer from a lack of patience and want to get right to the nitty gritty (diagnostic questions) before getting to know anything about who their prospective clients are. The key to a consistent, long-term successful business is “a consistent, long-term, successful relationship” with your database.
This is one of the answers I get when I ask a new Realtor how their calls are working out to their centre of influence (database). I have even been told they would prefer to door-knock or prospect total strangers rather than calling someone they know.
Yet, those same Realtors have no problem putting all those names in a database of some sort so they can send out monthly e-newsletters and other stuff without ever talking to the people to find out if they are even interested or what they might be interested in.
The apprehension or fear that a lot of Realtors feel is, to put it bluntly, their own. A big reason for this is also not having a plan or being confident about the overall process for how to engage (in some cases re-engage) with sphere of influence contacts. There are many training programs that offer scripts and tools for tracking your calls but quite frankly most of them reek of commission breath! One of the best all round real estate programs I have been to offers an excellent approach to ensuring you build the right relationship with your contacts based on providing service and value. The details on the program can be found at http://ninjaselling.com/
There are two main components to the process; 1) personal contact based on the F.O.R.D.method (Getting to know your contacts based on questions around Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams) and 2) marketing flow – this is the “stuff” which must incorporate valuable real estate information.
Tune in next week for more details on “Contact and Flow.”
Last week we talked about “The Plan.” Working from “why are we here” to how it will all come together. This week, I want to talk about who can help get you there.
The good and bad news is there are a multitude of self-help coaching “gurus” in the real estate industry. Most of them are truly excellent and will certainly get you on the right path to achieving success – whatever that might mean for you. Unfortunately a large part of the coaching community and for that matter the online training and business coaching industry look at Realtors as a monthly meal-ticket. Usually anywhere from $400 to $800 a month and often with a minimum term attached.
Realtors love to buy. It’s one reason so many suppliers want to attend sales meetings, conferences, provide lunch and learn sessions, sponsor Realtor events. Whether it is clients gifts, pens, signs, websites or coaching, we are often more than willing to whip out the credit card and sign up without asking some very important questions – especially when it comes to business coaching.
A business coach I had the pleasure of working with a few years ago had prospective clients fill out an online questionnaire. I will never forget the final question which was: “On a scale of 1 – 10 (most), how much are you focused on making a change?” I remember that she shared her thoughts on this question. If the prospective client answered with anything less than a “10”, she declined to take them on as a coaching client. Her reasoning was that without a 100% commitment to improvement/change the likelihood of achieving positive results would not be there.
In an article published in The Harvard Business Review titled “What Can Coaches Do for You?” Diane Coutu and Carol Kauffman offered a “Buyer’s Guide” for companies or individuals looking for a coach. From most important to least, these were some of the qualifications: 1) experience coaching in similar setting 2) clear methodology 3) quality of client list 4) ability to measure ROI 5) certification in a proven coaching method 6) experience working in a similar role as the coachee.
Obviously finding the right fit and being able to connect is important but getting some answers to the 6 items raised earlier should go a long way to ensuring that you get some real results from this sort of help!