Which ones are you making? Industry leading real estate coach Craig Proctor takes us through some business-killing habits.
In real estate, what you do incorrectly can be just as important as the things you do properly. The problem for most agents is that, while they may be good at the technical aspects of buying and selling a home, they don’t have the skills or knowledge to run a successful real estate business.
Craig Proctor, founder of Craig Proctor Coaching and former number one worldwide agent for RE/MAX, has spent the last 22 years improving the practices of North American real estate agents. According to Proctor, there are six areas where realtors looking to increase business commonly come up short.
1. Not having enough qualified, motivated prospects to choose from
“Real estate agents have always had the ability to generate more leads,” Proctor says. “They just don’t know how to do it. If you don’t figure out how to get motivated and qualified prospects to choose you, it doesn’t matter how good you are. You could be the world’s best salesperson, but if you don’t have anyone to sell to, you will starve to death. Unfortunately, a lot of agents who could have been good at this never get the chance to because they don’t have enough leads.”
Proctor, a proponent of direct response marketing, says most agents hurt their own business by relying on outdated lead generation activities like cold-calling and door-knocking.
“You’re never going to have an abundance of leads if you’re copying what everyone else is doing,” he says. “The bottom line is that people don’t want to be sold, and with my kind of direct response marketing, agents do not chase clients. That’s why we call it ‘reverse prospecting.’”
2. Not testing your marketing initiatives
Now more than ever, agents have a wealth of marketing strategies at their disposal. But Proctor says most agents will choose a particular avenue – an ad, just listed/just sold notices, open houses – and stick with it without knowing why they’re doing so, while other agents stop doing things that work when they don’t need to.
“They just throw a dart at the wall and think, ‘That’s what I’m going to do,’” he says. “The crazy thing is, when you ask real estate agents, ‘When you run these self-promotional ads, do you sell any houses from them?’ they’ll say no. They admit that this stuff doesn’t work, but they keep doing it anyway.”
Proctor encourages agents to run ads with unique tracking codes so their effectiveness can be tested and compared.
“If you can’t track, you can’t test. If you can’t test, how do you know what’s working?”
3. Not having a unique selling proposition
“The biggest question you get asked when you’re a real estate agent is, ‘Why should I do business with you above all other options, including doing nothing?’ Most agents do not have a spectacular answer to that question. They talk about their integrity or negotiating skills – in other words, the same boasts every one of their competitors makes – but they don’t guarantee their clients’ success,” Proctor says.
(The next installment of our Craig Proctor In Focus will further explore how agents can differentiate themselves in a brutally competitive market.)
4. Selecting the incorrect target market
Proctor relates the story of a Florida-based agent who, during a session with him, said she was interested in targeting luxury waterfront condos in her home city solely because that was what she lived in.
“We did a bit of research and only 11 of those condos were sold in the last year. Her goal was 20 transactions, so despite what she was thinking, that would have been a terrible choice for a target market.”
Proctor, who, in his early days as an agent chose his target market based on the first listing he ever received, says too many agents choose their markets based on what’s close to their offices or neighborhoods.
“That’s not scientific,” he says. “You have the ability to find the highest turnover streets, any price range you want, the list-to-sales ratio, days on market – anything. This is how smart people do business.”
Proctor says a small amount of research can lead to some agents selling three or four times as many homes as they are now.
5. Failing to make doing business with you easy or enjoyable
Proctor advises agents to use ads that direct prospects to the information they want in a non-threatening and convenient way – website downloads, pre-recorded hotline messages – rather than insisting they call an agent directly at any time of day.
“Not only is that a very bad lifestyle for the realtor,” Proctor says, “it’s not what buyers and sellers want. They want to get the information immediately without having to speak to anybody. The reason you go by a car dealership on a Sunday, when you know it’s closed, is because you don’t want to be bugged. People don’t like talking to salespeople.”
6. No systems in place
“Effective systems will save you time and money and help you achieve consistent, predictable results,” Proctor says. “If your business is not duplicable, you don’t have a business. You have a job.”
During his years as a top producer, Proctor developed multiple systems that are designed to help agents attract prospects, convert them into appointments, and convert those appointments into satisfied, lifetime clients. He will be sharing his insights at a number of free half-day seminars in January, including:
- January 9 – Vancouver, BC
- January 10 –Calgary, AB
- January 22 – Toronto, ON
- January 25 – Montreal, QC
For more details, visit www.ProctorRealEstateSystem.com