In 2021, and most likely going into 2022, you need to be very intentional and have a strategic approach to getting new listings. In some of my previous articles, I've focused on more passive methods in getting new listings. The passive methods I described in those articles are still good methods for an ongoing strategic approach, but with the current state of the industry, you need to be more aggressive in getting new listings.
If you are in management at your real estate firm or you are a team lead, I am a firm believer that you need to take a proactive approach when it comes to attracting new listings right now. Because, unfortunately, if you wait for your sales associates to do something on their own, you will find that the majority of your sales associates will do very little. That's in the best of situations. And, if you are a sales associate reading this article, do not take offense to my perspective on this as it is purely data-driven. Instead, pause and think about why I am saying this and what you can do, or should do, to be more enterprising when it comes to attracting new listings.
One of the best methods that I have seen real estate firms take in the past year in getting new listings is by proactively reaching out to past clients. At Delta Media Group®, we have helped multiple real estate firms load their "old database" of past customers into the DeltaNET® CRM for the sole purpose of farming those past customers via email marketing and phone marketing.
An excellent first step that you can take in getting new listings is email marketing to customers that you have done transactions with in the past 10 to 15 years.
A simple approach to doing this is generating an export of your customers from whatever databases you have, such as transaction management platforms, or your financial software, etc. Pull from all sources that you have and upload those customers into one specific customer group within your CRM. If you are uploading from multiple databases, make sure your CRM can "merge contacts" as you upload them so you have one master database that you can use. This will take some time, but it is well worth the effort it takes to create this master list.
One thing I should mention is that most firms that I have seen do this typically don't add the customers that have done transactions in the past two to three years or so. In most cases, you shouldn't be marketing to customers that have transacted with you recently, prompting them to sell their property.
Next, you need to create an email campaign that fits your brand and your brand's messaging with specific verbiage and calls-to-action that also accurately reflects what is happening in your marketplace right now. Keep in mind that a campaign can be as complicated or as simple as you want. Here are two quick examples of how you can strategically approach your campaign:
First, you could build out an entire campaign that spans multiple months and load that campaign into your CRM. The downside to this approach is that it takes some time to build out because you have to think through everything up-front and build the entire campaign for the coming weeks and months. The upside to this approach is that once the campaign is created, it's finished; since all the work is done upfront!
Second, you could take the approach of doing a manual campaign that is assigned to a person with pre-set dates of when you will be sending out your emails. Then, on those dates, that person can send out an email blast to that group of past customers. The upside to this approach is that you can be more flexible in your process by watching how effective each email is and then making strategic changes in messaging on subsequent emails. Another upside to this approach is that markets are changing quickly, and we really don't know what the real estate industry will look like in the next three to six months, so building each email just prior to sending them may be significantly easier. The downside to this approach is that you have ongoing work to do, and this approach is dependent on a person.
Regardless of which approach you choose to take, you are going to have to work on the content of each email.
To best catch your recipient's attention, I recommend having a particular, short and precise subject, or title, to your email. The title could be as simple as "We Need Your Listing," or "Now is the Perfect Time to Sell," or "Thank You for Being a Past Client," or "Should You Sell Now?" I think you get the idea. You need to be creative, not misleading, and to the point.
As far as the content of the email itself, I recommend using one image or graphic that fits with the content of the email. Try and think through your brand's image as you use imagery. I also recommend being very precise in the choice of the words you use in your emails. This is where you can really stand out. As you write your emails, always remember that fewer words are better. Always strive to convey your message in the fewest words possible. I have seen some emails where there were only two or three sentences that were very effective where you thank the person for being a past client and tell them you would love to talk with them if they are thinking of selling.
Finally, every email needs to have calls to action and contact information. Make sure someone is monitoring the email address that these messages are being sent from. Also, make sure that the email signature has a phone number and that there is a link back to the contact form on your website. In some cases, you may also choose to build landing pages that you want to link back to.
I'll close out my article with one last observation, challenge, and action. I see very few real estate firms being intentionally active in farming their past clients, and those that do are having good success in generating listing activity. My challenge to you is that you start doing this and make it an ongoing part of your marketing plan. And, what I ask, is that you share your success stories with us, with me, so we can hear the good things that you are doing with your email marketing!
While 2020 was a year of tough changes that were mostly forced upon us individually and as an industry, I see 2021 as the year the real estate industry embraces those same changes. A new chapter in the real estate story is about to begin, and I see our industry rising to the challenge.
It seems that nearly all the real estate firms we speak with are working on acquisitions and mergers, while also working on streamlining their business with office, technology provider, and marketing platform consolidations, and more workflow automation.
The change that excites me most is the workflow automation.
All the other changes have been very common in the real estate industry for the past twenty years, but, workflow automation, true workflow automation, has not been common to the real estate industry as a whole. In fact, it was only the "disrupters" in our industry that focused on workflow automation like Zillow, Redfin, Movoto, and other "digital" firms.
However, I would strongly argue, that true workflow automation is upon us in 2021 for traditional, brick and mortar real estate firms. And I think this is a very good thing!
While you could argue that the industry, as a whole, had access to utilize automations in the past, you would also have to admit that only a few really did it. As we change the calendar, and turn our attention to the new year, that's all about to change.
Before I go any further, I should probably discuss what automations I am talking about. So, let me go over just a few.
What is marketing automation?
If you search for a definition of marketing automation, you'll find options such as this one from Wikipedia: Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online and automate repetitive tasks.
All of that can get a bit confusing, though. So, let me try and define, in one sentence, how I see marketing automation for the real estate industry. Marketing automation is the integration of all business systems so that targeted marketing is automatically performed across multiple channels for the entire life cycle of a customer.
For years the real estate industry has had siloed marketing and, right now, you probably do as well. You would use a specific system to run ads to market your new listings. Then, you'll use yet another system to incubate active buyers and sellers, while you would use a different system to manage your transactions, and, you hope, that your sales associates do some sort of marketing to their past clients with another system.
This traditional approach to marketing is so disconnected and complicated, and it doesn't have to be.
The good news is that this is all changing now.
With DeltaNET™ 6, my primary goal was to connect all the pieces together so they could work cohesively in an automated fashion, all of it being centered around automation.
I will give you one example of this with the integration we just launched with transaction management platforms in DeltaNET 6. (As of the time of this writing, we have SkySlope® ready to go and we are working on DotLoop, as well as others.)
The paramount reason I wanted to integrate transaction management into DeltaNET 6 is because I could seamlessly connect client data, including history, with the marketing platforms in DeltaNET 6. By making this integration available, I can seamlessly leverage the marketing automations.
For years I have seen real estate firms and sales associates struggle with executing effective marketing with their past clients. In nearly all cases, the largest struggle was having an insufficient historical database of past transactions that could be utilized.
Transaction management platform integration is just one piece of the puzzle for marketing automation, but if you can seamlessly have your clients automatically fed into effective marketing platforms it will clearly have a positive impact on current and future business.
This may not be a phrase you have heard before, and if you have congratulations because not many business people think about follow-up automation.
We all know the importance of follow-up in sales. We use CRM to follow-up with prospects. We also use transaction management to follow-up with customers, and all parties involved, in a transaction.
If we stop and look at successful businesses outside the real estate industry, we can see that, often, those businesses that thrive pay close attention to, and control, every step in the customer process. The key components include knowing what behavior is being performed by business operations and where the customer stands with the business relationship.
The real estate industry knows it also needs this, but has not yet really adopted a follow-up mentality throughout the client business cycle, let alone started to automate it.
Just a couple of years ago, you might have been one of the firms that licensed follow-up products to ensure your leads were followed-up on. You might have been a franchise that was promised a platform from your franchisor that could do this for you, but those promises never materialized. You might have even licensed a third-party to do follow-up for you and to incubate your leads for you all while giving up valuable commission splits.
Something that we had long toyed with and discussed as part of the DeltaNET is automated client and sales associate follow-up. We launched bits and pieces of this over the years, but with DeltaNET 6 we now have an automated follow-up platform that is beginning to expand rapidly.
This is one aspect of DeltaNET 6 that I am really excited about because this is something that successful real estate firms and teams pay close attention to. Unfortunately, until now, the follow-up automation tools were mostly disconnected from the other systems.
In 2021 DeltaNET 6 brings a new era of follow-up automation that will only continue to grow in flexibility and functionality.
Before I get into this, I need to define all-in-one and best-in-breed.
An all-in-one platform is a platform that provides everything you need to run your business. Historically speaking the all-in-one platform usually didn't have as much functionality in specific areas as a standalone product would have. For example, a few years ago if you said that Contactually CRM is better than the CRM tools available in DeltaNET 5 you would be correct. However, the CRM in DeltaNET 6 is now on-par, or better than, stand-alone CRM programs.
A best-in-breed platform, or product, is a product that focuses on one specific piece of technology. In theory, since a best-in-breed product company focuses on that specific product, it should be better in functionality and features than anyone else. I've already cited my previous example of a CRM, but let me give you another example. Since 2009 we have been working on an AVM feature within the DeltaNET platform. Up until the end of 2020 you could have argued, and would have been correct, that a "best-in-breed"
AVM providers in the space did a better job with their AVM tool than the DeltaNET AVM. Again, you would have been correct but in 2021 this is no longer the case.
There are two factors that have driven this change.
The first reason is that real estate firms and sales associates are tired of being "nickel and dime'd" with technology. You either expect to pay less and get more or get the same technology for less. An all-in-one provider can spread those development costs of upgraded features across a larger base than a best-in-breed provider can with their limited client base. The second reason is that a true all-in-one provider is driven to develop new or upgraded tools continuously. Don't confuse technology firms that call themselves all-in-one providers when they do so by acquiring technology pieces and cobbling them together. That is not an all-in-one provider. An all-in-one provider is driven to develop new things. DeltaNET 6 is a 27-year effort of building technology for the real estate industry. We are constantly developing and will not stop. The DeltaNET will continue to get better and better. The maturity of an all-in-one platform like DeltaNET 6 is going to have a profound impact on the real estate industry in 2021, which is why I believe we are in a new era, and an exciting new chapter, in the real estate industry.
I must admit that I am hesitant to write this article and share my thoughts because this concept has been abused far too long in the real estate industry. With that said and out in the open, I truly believe that we are entering into a new real estate technology era.
Before you completely discount what I am saying as marketing gobbledygook, I ask that you consider my thinking.
As I continually look to the future and plan the technology vision of the Delta Media Group platforms, such as the DeltaNET, I know that, from a technology standpoint, we are on the verge of monumental changes and advancements. These changes are happening right now because of the maturity of some platforms (for example, the DeltaNET is 26 years old), the maturity of computing platforms in general, coupled with a future-looking vision, and the ability to execute on that vision and bring products to market.
Putting myself outside of my technology mind for a moment, let's consider what I see coming immediately for real estate professionals. What does this mean for the everyday user of the technology?
With the coronavirus pandemic hitting its stride this spring selling year, it comes as no surprise the real estate industry has seen an enormous spike in demand for virtual home showings—some in the triple digits.
Sales associates with a mindset of adapting to change and adopting new technologies—like virtual open houses and showings—are paving their ways to future success.
Shelter-in-place orders and social distancing haven't necessarily lessened the interest of would-be buyers to shop for a home or sellers wanting to keep the ball rolling toward the sale of their homes.
Consequently, sales associates embracing today's real estate market are incorporating virtual open houses to keep their businesses growing and provide more modern service to their clients.
On Monday I talked about trending data as we are seeing it now. You can find that article by clicking here, and you may want to read it before reading this article.
Additionally, I did a follow-up article to the one I did on Monday where I discussed Rate of Change analysis methodology that I use from ITR Economics. That article can be found here and I also recommend reviewing that article first before you read this one.
For this article, I want to discuss analyzing the lead flow into your business from your web site. I will caution that you need to consider multiple factors when tracking and analyzing your lead flow. I'll mention some of these below.
Five weeks ago, I was meeting with fifteen business owners, and we were talking about how good business is and how we should be planning for a black swan event. We all agreed that we should as we continued talking about watching our business metrics as all of our businesses were growing at phenomenal rates. Times would be good, and I would have never thought that I would be writing an article just five weeks later in the middle of a black swan event.
But here we are today dealing with the impact of Coronavirus on our lives and businesses.
All of us, while waiting to see what our government will ultimately do in the form of bailouts, are working and planning in our businesses. What I want to draw all of us towards is our business metrics.
Two weeks ago, at the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (LeadingRE) Conference in Las Vegas, Aaron Geh and I pivoted our speaking session to partially discuss business metrics to pay attention to. In this article, I will attempt to outline what metrics you can pay attention to and how to interpret trending data that you can produce now if you aren't already tracking such data.
The Delta Media Group just started rolling out an absolutely amazing Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) email platform that's so much more!
Let me explain...
18 months ago we had a crazy idea for a new system. After a few months of programming and coordination between the operations team, design team, and digital marketing team at Delta a new A.I. platform was born. Today we are announcing the new platform, called My Customer For Life, to all customers!
Hey, did you know that for the past few months that the awesome team at Delta Media Group has been adding at least one new print flyer or e-card every week?
You might be asking why are so many being added? It's simple. Marketing is important to your business and your image is important to your business! What better way to keep things fresh and new by adding something new every week?