With Gary Keller as moderator, Christi Cannon kicked off a Mega Camp panel by declaring that her business strategy is to have a constant focus on gaining referrals.
Prior to working with many of her clients, Cannon had already begun building a relationship with the assistance of her database management program. This database enables her team to become a systematic referral machine capable of generating a high volume of leads.
The importance that Cannon places on referrals has led her to create more than two dozen different action plans, each tailored to a specific type of client and need. Cannon personalizes each of her messages to convey her team’s focus on providing exceptional “5-star” customer service.
Although these systems are a tool for providing great customer service, Cannon stresses the importance of always acknowledging the individual on the receiving end of her communications. “They can’t just be an address, or a number in your system," she said. "They see right through it.” Agents must create their touches with this very important fact in mind and aim to provide points of value. Those who do will find that their contacts respect them and refer them.
How to Initiate a System
- Find a database management program that meets your needs and stick with it.
- Enter everyone you can possibly imagine into the database.
- Put these contacts on a tailored action plan. Do not underestimate the power of a “personal touch” or a unique spin in order to be memorable.
- Keep the touch campaign continually active and offer points of value.
How to Grow a Drip Campaign
- Put your clients in a specific, highly-tailored campaign.
- Create customized messages and actions.
- Have a personal touch.
- Be consistent.
Klaus describes farming (i.e., cultivating a territory) as a consistent, systematic touch tool that is authentic and adds value to a network. Whereas Cannon’s database is people-driven in context, Klaus' database is location-centric.
Farming is an approach that is hyper-local in focus and requires “giving in order to receive.” It is a long-term mentality. “Over the next 2, 3, 10 years, I’ll know every house, every business, every community leader,” Klaus explained. By connecting with his community and leading with a servant’s heart, he knows that he will eventually be rewarded.
A prime example of this approach was when the local market shifted and Klaus' team used their expert knowledge to offer classes on the topic of how to avoid foreclosure. Klaus built trust and goodwill among his neighbors and this brought the team business once market conditions became more favorable.
Building a large audience (in Klaus' case, a reach of 20,000 individuals monthly) is something that is built over time. Klaus sees this as an investment. While referencing National Association of REALTORS® statistics, Klaus stated that consumers want to hire local people with local market knowledge. With this fact in mind, Klaus has built his reputation and branded himself as a go-to agent in his community.
Before closing the conversation, Klaus noted that by following the basic principles outlined above he went from simply having a job in real estate to owning a real estate business. To which Keller replied, “You build a big business one step at a time. That’s never where you start.”
Moving on to the third and final panelist, Keller asked Michael Perna of the Perna Team, “How do you pick a farm?”
Perna replied with the practical advice to look for neighborhoods with 300+ homes. Do your due diligence and be certain that no other agent has 30 percent or more of the market share in the neighborhood already. If this is the case, Perna advises you to move on in order to avoid the costs associated with trying to push another agent out. Keller concurred: “Go to a place that you can own. Don’t go to battle!”
Perna provided 4 tips for being successful in building your farm:
- Know the farm inside and out including the builders, floor plans, local schools, parks, points of interest, etc.
- Set up a web page for each specific neighborhood that includes hyper local information.
- Door knock and hold open houses.
- Write thank you notes.
Keller was especially interested in tip number 3. “Real estate is a contact sport,” Perna explained. “People do not buy or sell without real estate agents. Most important, they want to know and trust the person they are buying or selling through.”
Keller agreed wholeheartedly. “Not only is ¾ of the world’s wealth tied up in it, but it is the most expensive asset that over 90 percent of the people in the U.S. and Canada own.” Where a person lives “determines their lifestyle more than anything else. It drives everything from where the kids go to school, to where the family shops, to who your neighbors are”.
Perna and his team go to great effort to perform door knocks 2-3 days prior to their open houses. They invite neighbors to attend the open house for refreshments and to meet the team. Next, Perna’s inside sales agent calls the neighborhood and those nearby to ask what drew them to the neighborhood where they purchased. This is quickly followed by a question about their intention to buy or sell within the next 24 months. Any favorable responses are added to the database and the potential client is immediately placed on a touch campaign.
How do you get to the success level Perna has achieved?
- Start small and lead with revenue.
- Commit to a plan for a minimum of 12 months.
- Reinvest back in to the farm.
- Despite changing market conditions, remain committed to your systems.
To learn more about Perna and his team, check out this Q&A on the KW Blog.