The past five years have been all about the buyer. In response to that demand, both new and veteran agents made the most of the moment, setting up thriving buyer teams as well as processes and systems.
Today agents face a new opportunity: another overnight shift; this time in favor of sellers. For agents like Craig Reger and Josh Anderson moving from a busy buyer-based business to capitalize on the hot seller market meant letting go, restructuring their team and adapting to new market conditions.
Lesson 1: If you start with buyers, the first step toward successfully launching into listings is to hire talent to run the show for you.
In the early days of his business, Reger, who is an associate with the Sunset Corridor (Ore.) market center, faced an all-too-common challenge: the business had gotten too big for one person. He was spending six to eight hours on the road with buyers each day and then returning to the office to handle paperwork and prospecting. “I love when my buyers find the property they want, but I knew there was a better way to spend my time than showing 19, 20, even 50 homes day in a day out.”
When he announced that he would be hiring a showing assistant, his administrative assistant willingly stepped up. Over the next year, the business exploded and the duo went from servicing 25 buyers to an average of 50 to 60 buyers. Two years later, Reger promoted his showing assistant to lead buyer agent, which immediately opened him up to launch the seller side of his real estate business.
Lesson 2: Get comfortable prospecting, get creative with your marketing and most of all, work your database.
Anderson – an associate with the Nashville/Green Hills (Tenn.) market center – hired his first buyer agent in February 2011 (after an AHA moment at Mega Camp in Austin, Texas); to help him maintain the 100 buyer transactions he was averaging each year. He later rounded out the team with a showing assistant so that he could focus on his listing strategy: work the database, get on the phone and leverage successful marketing.
“We communicated with our database in a consistent and systematic way, making sure to take good notes on each person’s unique situation to determine where they are in the buying or selling cycle and who they know who might need our help,” Anderson explains.
Anderson’s second method for generating leads is less complicated, though it’s possibly the most powerful tool in his tool belt. “You probably won’t be surprised to know that I’m on the phone from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. making cold calls. It’s making a huge difference. “Calling and saying ‘Do you know anybody who wants to buy or sell?’ is the biggest thing that agents don’t do. You have to get on the phone and ask for the business.”
Of all the methods Anderson and his team are employing to generate listing leads, the most unique is how he is using his buyer side as a marketing tool. Within a couple of weeks of a buyer’s closing, his team holds a housewarming party in honor of their new home. This does two things. First, it allows the buyers to show off the home to friends, while Anderson and his team meet prospective clients and learn about the buyer’s immediate circle of contacts. Secondly, each person who RSVPs to attend the closing is put into their database to receive a follow-up contact from the team. Throughout the year, Anderson also hosts parties and sports outings, which are usually sponsored by vendors. So far, the listing side of Anderson’s team is doing well. In fact, he’s even hired a listing specialist to meet the team’s goal of 300 transactions and $75 million in revenue.