The Path Toward Real Estate Success: The Importance of Vendor Partners

6 minutes
A gaggle of young professionals glad-handing near a window in an all-white interior. Perhaps it’s heaven. Jessica doesn’t think so. The only thought running through her mind is the hope that no one notices the sweat on her palms. Well, that and she’s glad she’s not the only one who showed up in glasses this time. She doesn’t want her eyes, the windows to her soul, of course, to allow a look in at the inferiority she feels in such a successful group. Is she a fraud? Right now she feels that way. She would never be able to use a word like glad-handing in everyday conversation, as Andre just did. Just keep smiling, Jessica. Your Taurus is waiting in the parking lot. There’s a Caramello in the glove box, I think. Yeah, pretty sure. Lie down and let that flowing caramel river carry you away from your inadequacies and toward salvation.
Joshua Smith Nov 13th, 2020
Joshua Smith
Mastery

I know we realtors get tired of hearing pitches such as: “All I ask is for you to give me one loan. Just give me a shot, and I can show you what I can do.”

Getting hit up constantly by vendors can get annoying, but they are just doing their job. I am sure we oftentimes come off the same way to the leads we are trying to turn into clients.

I am a HUGE believer in having strong vendor partner relationships, which are among the most important key relationships for realtors. Those relationships are as follows:

#1: Your relationship with your clients. This one is pretty obvious, but you want a great relationship with your clients so you can provide an amazing experience, which can lead to repeat and referral business.

#2: Your relationship with other realtors. This one gets overlooked by many realtors, but your relationship with other realtors is critical! You don’t want to get the reputation as a realtor who is difficult to work with. When other realtors see your for sale signs, you want them excited to have an opportunity to work with you again. If you are submitting an offer on a property with multiple offers, and you have had great experiences with the listing realtor, you may be told exactly where your offer needs to be in order to get accepted. All critical things which benefit your career and your clients, as well.

#3: Your relationship with your vendors. Your vendor partners get paid in either the same way or similarly to how you get paid. They need your business to grow their business, and they get paid when you get paid. So, they have a HUGE vested interest into your success. Let’s break down some other benefits.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The needs and best interests of our clients always comes first. I will never align myself with a vendor who does not provide superior service to my clients. I don’t care how many tools or supports they provide to me. Also, I recommend you know the compliance laws to make sure you are always abiding by them. At the end of the day, our clients choose which companies they want to use, and they need to know they have many options.

Okay, so how do you use your vendor partners to help you grow your business?

Let’s start with the more obvious one, then we will get into more strategic things you can do. Will utilizing your vendors make an amazing experience for your clients? If not, you will have trouble with future repeat and referral business. You may be going above and beyond, but maybe your client is having a horrible experience with the lender. If any aspect of your clients’ experience is not up to par, the overall experience will be seen as horrible, regardless of your role.

Now, let's discuss some more strategic things you can do to grow your business in other ways.

Lender Partnership:

-Having a great Lender is CRITICAL, and I don’t just mean someone who does a good job on loans. I want to utilize lenders who will jump on leads who want to get pre-qualified. I want a lender with the same speed to lead mentality that I have. The longer the wait, the less likelihood of getting the potential client on the phone.

-Having a lender partner hold open houses with you is HUGE! Lenders can assist with getting everyone to sign in, discuss rates/payments/options, and run loan applications from their laptop at the open houses, etc. Having a lender at your open houses with you is a huge advantage.

-You can meet with your lender once weekly or multiple times weekly and do call sessions together. You can both call all the leads in your CRM, and, with two of you calling with the same goal in mind, you can get through twice as much follow up, as well as have someone who is holding you accountable.

-You can co-market together. Again, check with your broker and compliance laws, but there are legal ways in which you can market together and split the advertising costs.

-Ask for all their old loan app leads which couldn’t qualify in the past. Ask if you can get names, numbers, and emails so you can follow up to see if there is still an interest, if their situation has changed, and if they would like to re-attempt the process.

Title Partner:

-A lot of title companies have marketing title reps whose job is to build a relationship with you and help you grow your business in hopes you are willing to recommend their services to your clients. Sit down with them, and see what they have to offer. They may have some great resources like: buyer guides, seller guides, script books, open house materials, effective marketing ideas, effective apps you can use, etc. Some even offer services where they can get you contact info for homeowners, for circle prospecting, notice of defaults leads for potential short sales, etc.

-They can assist in running estimated seller net sheets for your listing appointments. 

Again, just reach out, and see what services and tools they have available.

Home Inspectors:

-To minimize your time, see if your home inspector will take on the task of scheduling the inspection. Instead of your spending an hour trying to get in touch with everyone, re-confirming with everyone, etc. see if a home inspector parter will handle all of that. So, instead of an hour, you are only out the two minutes it takes you to communicate that to the home inspector.

-If your clients can’t be at the inspection, see if the home inspector will do a conference call to discuss the report in depth and be available for questions. Little things like this go a long way!

Again, there are so many things that can be done, but I wanted to discuss some to give you an idea, so that you know your vendor partners can do much more than just provide great service to your clients. Remember, they have a HUGE vested interest in your continued success. So make sure you ask and find out what ways you can work together in creating win-win relationships so your business can grow, and their business can grow. And all the while, your clients are receiving a world class experience!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

3 minutes
Real estate agent speaking on the phone while on her laptop. On the table with her, an iced coffee slowly sweats. She loves talking to her clients. But she came to this coffee shop on this day for an iced coffee and some laptop time. As each droplet darkens the wooden table, she considers claiming another call is coming in. But she doesn't do it. She powers through as she glances confidently at the camera. She can always order another iced coffee.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Speed To Lead

Joshua Smith Nov 6th, 2020
CRM
Follow-up
Joshua Smith

We live in an instant gratification world. Press one button, rent a movie. Purchase anything you want in minutes and receive it at your doorstep in less than two days. Pop a K-Cup in your Keurig, and within seconds your coffee is ready to go. Everything is fast, so people have been conditioned to expect speed!

So people are not going to wait, and why should they? There's no shortage of realtors, just a shortage of realtors who do not respond promptly.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: From a TON of personal experience, I can assure you that every lead in your CRM is in the CRM of six other realtors. Start calling everyone in your CRM, and you will get a ton of leads who inform you they just bought or sold their home with someone else.

Per realtor.com’s research, if you respond to a lead within five minutes, you are 100x more likely to get a response than if you waited only thirty minutes, and if contacted within five minutes, you are 30x more likely to set an appointment. And that’s just the difference from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. Can you imagine if you waited 3 hours? Any time I can increase my likelihood of success by 100x and 30x, I am going to do everything in my power to make that happen!

I know what you might be thinking, “I can’t always respond that quickly, as I am on appointments, in meetings, etc.”. I 100% get it, and understand. Here is the AWESOME part about it, with all the amazing technology which exists today, you can automate so much.

But, as much as I love technology and systems, I have yet to find anything which can beat just picking up the phone, which is not always an option. Today, any good CRM will have auto responders, and the really good ones will have text video auto responders, in addition to email. 

Let’s say you are on a listing appointment. You set your auto responders on. A new lead comes in while you are gone, and within seconds gets a video text which is a video of you saying, “Hi, this is (your name), with (your company). Thank you so much for your inquiry. I wanted to send you this quick video text message to let you know I received your inquiry. I am with a client at the moment but will get back to you the second I am done meeting with my client, which will be in less than two hours. Thanks again, and have a great day!”. Then, at the same time, the lead receives an email with the same message.

People don’t always need an answer to their specific question right that second, but they do want a response when to expect an answer. You can’t keep everyone from hopping on another realtor’s website, but and auto response will greatly lower the chances.

Moral of the story: When you can, pick up your phone and respond in under five minutes.  When you can’t, get effective auto responders in place!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

5 minutes
Aerial shot of a neighborhood. A few of the houses have solar panels. Our photovoltaic neighbors, they are probably called. But with a hint of condescension. It appears altruism is merely an intention and not a public certainty. L'enfer, c'est les autres.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Does Geographical Farming Really Work?

Joshua Smith Oct 30th, 2020
Joshua Smith
Funnel
Making Money in Real Estate

Many realtors think geographical farming is sending direct mail to homeowners, which is geographical farming, of course, but only one variation.

Geographical farming is fully practiced when a realtor focuses on and creates market share in one specific area. Which is what real estate is all about.

Some of the many was this concept can be practiced are direct mail, door hangers, circle prospecting, door knocking, open houses, Facebook ads, expireds, FSBO’s, etc. The most power strategy, of course, is when a combination of these strategies is employed. For example:

Example #1:

#1: Call expireds and FSBO’s inside your geographical farm area to get a listing.

#2: Once you have a listing, send out a “Just Listed” post card to the closest 500 neighbors.

#3: Three days after the postcard hits the mailboxes, circle prospect, aka call those same 500 neighbors.

#4: Hold open houses at your listing.

#5: Repeat #2 and #3 once your listing is sold but as a “Just Sold.”

Example #2:

#1: Hold open houses in your geographical farm area. If you do not have a listing inside your area, ask other realtors to hold theirs open, for example.

#2: Four days before the open house, deliver 500 neighborhood open house flyers to the closest 500 neighbors.

#3: Three Days leading up to the open house, run a paid targeted Facebook ad to your geographical farm area.

So, as you can see, direct mail is one way to farm, but it’s not the only way!

But why is focusing on a geographical farm area so important? Think of it this way: you are identifying an area which you want to work and gain market share in. Let’s say you are doing open houses. I will outline two options to show the power of geographical farming. 

Option 1: Identify an area (a geographical farm) which is within a one square mile and contains 15,000 homes. Every weekend that you are doing open houses, everyone in that area is seeing your signs, your name, your face, and your website. They are also getting the invite flyers you put out before the open house, and also your weekly Facebook ads are showing up in their newsfeed. On top of that, they are seeing your for sale signs in the front yards of homes in that area. You very quickly build brand recognition. The more frequently people see your name, the more confidence they have in your services.

Option 2: You do open houses all over your county. Anywhere you can get an open house will do. Different areas of the county see your signs, flyers, ads, etc. You are not building the hyperlocal branding that you are building in Option 1.

Also, think of your time investment. You might be able to work with four Clients in a day in a focused area, but if you are having to drive from one side of the city to the other, you might only be able to work with two. Not only is geographical faming effective, it also can be extremely efficient.

Now, let’s discuss the critical element of how to pick a geographical farm area. I have a few requirements I follow, which have proven to be very successful.

Recommended Requirements/Research To Perform In Picking a Geographical Farm Area

#1: Identify your ideal client. Who do you like working with? Who do you connect with the most? Of all your past clients, who sends you the most referrals, and what are the commonalities? As an example, maybe you find out that your ideal client is 30-45 years old, second and third time move up buyers, who are married, and with a young family.

#2: Identify to where your ideal client is moving. What cities in your county? What zip codes? What subdivisions?

#3: Once you identify where, then determine the house turnover rate in that area. Most successful geographical farmers like to see 8-10%+ yearly. To identify the turnover rate, take the total number of homes in the area and divide by the total amount of sold homes in the past twelve months. Example: 1,000 total homes, divided by 100 home sales equals a 10% yearly turnover rate.

#4: Research how many dominant realtors are in the area. I define dominant as a realtor who has sold more than 20% of the listings in that given area. A good rule of thumb is to pick an area with no more than one dominant realtor. I don’t want to plant a limiting belief in your mind that you can’t succeed in an area with more than one, but gaining market share is much easier and quicker in an area with one, or ideally zero, dominant realtors.

Once you have identified your geographical farm area, go to work and start implementing your marketing and prospecting strategy! 

Thanks for reading!  

Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

7 minutes
Business man perplexed at his desk. Or a desk. We don't know it's his, but we can assume.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Avoid These Top Three Mistakes

Joshua Smith Oct 23rd, 2020
Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate
Mastery

The average realtor makes less money than if he/she were working full time at McDonalds.

This fact is largely due to the fact that the average realtor also makes a TON of mistakes. We could spend days talking about all the mistakes, so I figured I would break it down to the top three.

Top 3 Mistakes Realtors Make That Hinder Their Success

1: They do not run their business as a business.

2: They do not take enough intentional planned action.

3: They do not constantly work on mastering new skills.

Let’s break them down:

1: They do not run their business as a business. Most realtors see themselves only as a realtor. Now, take real estate out of the equation. 80% of all businesses fail between 1-5 years of being in business, and then, 80% of those which made it through the first 5 years end up failing and closing their business in years 6-10. So, when I talk about the failure rate of realtors, that holds true for all entrepreneurs not just realtors. 

As stated in the amazing business book by Michael E. Gerber “The E-Myth Revisited,” which I highly recommend, most businesses owners fail because they never operate from a space of being an entrepreneur. For example, the baker who bakes world class muffins but does not know how to run a business. Or the personal trainer who knows the human body and everything about nutrition, but, again, does not know how to run a business, And the realtor who knows the real estate contract inside and out, knows how to negotiate contracts, always looks out for his/her clients’ best needs, but does not, and is not, running his/her business as a business.

As a realtor, you must know how to be a great realtor! You should know the contracts, how to negotiate for your clients, put client needs before your commission check, and deliver world class services to your clients, etc. All those things are essential, and by no means do I want to downplay the importance of those essential key roles. HOWEVER, those alone are not enough! A lot of amazing realtors are broke. Just as there are a lot of world class bakers, and world class personal trainers who struggle, and eventually go out of business.

My personal opinion is that being a great realtor is the “anti” to being in the industry. That is to say it’s the given, the minimum requirement to succeed. If a realtor is not committed to being a great realtor, then he/she should not get into the industry. BUT, again, that is not enough to succeed, only one part of it.

To succeed, you MUST also become a great entrepreneur, aka business owner. You MUST treat your business as a business and run it as a business! 

So, what is the difference? Think of each role as a hat you are going to wear and at different times you are wearing different hats. You wear your “realtor hat” when you are on a listing or buyer presentation, when you are writing up a purchase contract, when negotiating terms, when doing a final walk through, when prospecting, and  when following up with your leads. Think of this as the hat for anything that you are doing “in your business.”

When you put on your “entrepreneur hat,” you’re working “on your business.” When wearing this hat, you are working on activities like: goal setting/business planning, tracking and breaking down your numbers, creating systems which allow you to work “in your business” more effectively and efficiently, planning, reflecting, etc. Put it on when you are taking a view from the 30,000 ft. level on your overall business. 

Most get so busy working “in the business” that they never take the time to work “on the business” to build a systematic, predictable, duplicatable and eventually scaleable business. Don’t be most people. Working “in your business” is every bit, if not more important, than working “on your business.”

2: They do not take enough intentional planned action. Now that you are working “on your business” as well as working “in your business,” you are able to take the correct action on the correct items. You will be tracking all of your numbers and will know the exact amount of leads, action, monetary investment, etc. which you MUST take yearly, monthly, weekly and daily to ensure your goals become a reality. You are taking the time daily to reflect and plan, as well as constantly working on new systems to operate more effectively and efficiently inside your business.

Here’s a common conversation I have with many realtors: “My goal is to make $300,000 in gross commissions this year.” I reply with, “Great, I love big goals! What is your exact game plan to make that happen? What must you be doing daily to make that a reality?” The typical response is, “I am not sure. All I know is I am going to be more focused and work much harder.”

I am all about being more focused and working harder, but the reality is that hard work alone is a plan for failure. Even if a realtor should succeed with just hard work, if he/she is not tracking and working “on the business” as discussed above, then the success will be very difficult to duplicate.

You MUST take intentional planned action to create true and sustainable success. Have a specific plan in place, and then take massive action executing the plan.

3: They do not constantly work on mastering new skills. In life we are either growing or we are decaying. The average high school and college graduate only reads one book after graduation. On the other hand, the average Fortune 500 CEO reads sixty books per year. Successful people are lifelong students and put their self-development as a top priority. You must always be improving your skills to succeed.

If a realtor is currently making $50,000 per year and has an eventual goal of making $500,000 per year, well, he/she won’t get there by doing the same things which made $50,000. If you want more, you MUST become more.

The world we live in today makes growing and changing easier than ever. With all the great podcasts that exist, all the great books, audio books, YouTube videos, inexpensive online training sites like Udemy, where you can learn how to “Code Write Your Own Apps” for $38, you have no excuse to not improve. Only 5% of realtors ever invest in a coach or any type of coaching program. There is a reason every top realtor has a coach and takes his/her self-development very seriously.

If you start working hard, right now, on making sure you never make these “Top 3 Mistakes,” you will absolutely succeed. I am not saying it will be easy; you will still have to put in a lot of hours and a ton of action. But, eventually, it will all pay off and you will create the life you know you want and deserve!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

5 minutes
Real estate agent showing a property to a couple.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Become The Information Portal

Joshua Smith Oct 16th, 2020
Appointments
CRM
Follow-up

We are living in the “Information Age,” and to stand out from our competition, you must learn to win the game of delivering great information to the marketplace.

For realtors, the name of the game is: Get people to know you, like you, trust you, and become aware of what you do for a living. Then, as long as you stay in touch frequently, your business will grow.

The internet and technology continue to change how this mission is accomplished, so you must always be adapting to the changes to continue to thrive.

Today’s consumer can search homes, get information, see photos, and much more without our help. No longer is the realtor essential in the home search process; well, at least that perception can be the consumer’s sentiment. So we must ask about which things can be really difficult to find information. What are things important to the consumer that can’t be found on Zillow or other major online search sites? Spend some time on those sites, and you will quickly find out.

If you can deliver the hard-to-find information consumers are looking for, you become valuable. And if consumers continue reading/watching your content, they will get to know you, like you, trust you, and become aware of what you do for a living. And when they are ready to buy or sell real estate, the chances of their choosing you greatly increase.

The cool part is that this strategy is essentially free. Let’s break down a few things to give you some ideas.

What and How To Create Content To Become The Information Portal In Your Market:

First, let’s break down the “How.”

#1: Get a camera that shoots good video (an iPhone or any new cell phone will work). I am sure you already have a cell phone, so this should not cost you any additional money.

#2: Have a website with a blog feature, and which is connected to a CRM/database. I am sure you already have one, as it is essential to have in the time that we are in, so again, should not cost you any additional money.

#3: Set up a YouTube channel. YouTube is 100% FREE.

#4: Have a Facebook account. Facebook is 100% FREE.

Now let’s break down the “What.”

#1: Create a weekly video in which you interview a local business owner. Make the interview about the business owner and not your business. Discuss what the business does, how long they have been open, do a tour of the facility, etc. Keep it under five minutes.

#2: Create videos of local parks, amenities, schools. Anything nice about your area and would attract people to want to live there.

#3: Create videos of local subdivisions/communities.

#4: Create videos of all new build developments.

#5: Create videos of all your listings and any nice homes that you see/preview.

#6: Create a monthly video market update about your local real estate market.

Now that you have all this great content, what do you do with it?

#1: Upload the videos to YouTube and make them public. Make your channel in your name, with your photo, and make sure to put in a great description. 

#2: Embed the YouTube video into your website blog, so now you have a video blog, AKA “Vlog”, then do a written blog about the video you created.

#3: Mass email your blog link to your database as soon as you release your blog (weekly is a good timeframe).

#4: Share your blog on your Facebook page, as well as any other pages or social media accounts you have.

#5: Create a local area Facebook group: Example “Living In XYZ City, State”... Make it a group, not a page, and allow anyone to join. Post each blog in there (again weekly is good).

Yes, this is a lot of work, but work which is well worth it. Think about it this way: As a realtor, you are applying for a job to work for buyers and sellers. When you apply for a job today, what is the first thing the potential employer does after reading your resume? They search for you online and on social media. YouTube is the number two search engine on the planet. And YouTube is owned by Google, which happens to be the number one search site on the planet. Google will drive consumers to your YouTube channel to watch your content, and embedding a YouTube video on your blog is one of the quickest ways to build up SEO (Search Engine Optimization = getting your website to pull up organically on searches without having to buy ads on Google).

In addition to the points in the above paragraph, at minimum you are delivering great content to your database (valuable on its own merit), which then drives your leads back to your website. With Facebook, you are building a local community of people who live in your area and are building connections and allowing potential clients to get to know you, like you, trust you, and become aware of what you do for a living.

As with anything new you take on, this shift in action does come with a bit of a learning curve, but eventually you can can accomplish all of the above in about five hours out of your week. You will meet all the local business owners, builders, school principals, etc. Not bad people to have good relationships with, and you will become “The Information Portal In Your Market”.

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

4 minutes
Young professional demonstrating strategy via post it notes.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Less Is More

Joshua Smith Oct 9th, 2020
Joshua Smith
Lead Generation
Making Money in Real Estate

I talk to realtors almost daily, and I regularly hear this type of sentiment: “I am calling FSBO’s, expireds, doing circle prospecting, doing open houses, running Facebook Ads, and just started investing in Zillow, but I can’t seem to get anything to work.” 

You’ve heard the saying jack of all trades, master of none. To become great at anything, you must put in massive amounts of practice through repetition. When you are taking on too much, you will never have the time to get proficient at any one thing, and you will end up doing everything with mediocre focus, attention, and effort. Which is the recipe for mediocre results.

What if, instead of taking on everything all at once, you just started with one method of lead generation? You focused on that one thing, became amazing at it, and once your system was fully mastered and dialed in, if time permits, you then added something else and followed the same approach? 

Let's take an optimal open house strategy as an example:

1.) You take the time to do your research and find the right property inside the right area for your open house.

2.) Four days before, you door knock and deliver 500 neighborhood invitation flyers to the open house.

3.) The three days leading up to the open house you run a targeted Facebook Ad promoting the open house. 

4.) At 6:00 on the morning of the open house, you set up all your signs and take the time to make sure you have the right amount of signs to get attain and that the signs are placed where drivers will notice them.

5.) You show up one hour before the open house to make sure the house looks great, set up your welcome table, sign-in sheets, flyers, promotional materials, etc.

6.) You take the time to ensure everyone is registering with their information, or as many as you can get, and then take the time to give an amazing tour while focusing on the human connection.

7.) Then, with every person to whom you are able to give a tour, you strategically ask for an appointment.

8.) Before you pack up the open house, you create a quick thank you video and text it to everyone who attended.

9.) Right after the open house, you go immediately back to the office and input everyone into your CRM, set everyone up on a strategic email drip, set everyone up on a home property alert search, and send everyone another thank you email.

10.) Then, on Monday, you call everyone who attended the open house, and then call them every seven days, for three attempts, and then every twenty one days after that.  

The above ten steps are just an example, but you can see that if you take intentional and strategic action, combined with extreme focus and massive action, you quickly will master that activity and quickly get amazing results.

I am, by no means, saying to not have multiple lead sources, but before you add a new lead source, reflect and analyze what you are already doing and make sure you are mastering your activities. 

By doing less, you are actually able to do more. Do not approach anything you do with only an average amount of action. Instead, take massive action, which will absolutely produce massive results.

Massive Action = Massive Results!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

4 minutes
Number crunchin'.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: The Path Is In The Math

Joshua Smith Oct 2nd, 2020
Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate
Funnel

Realtors who never track their numbers will never know…

What it will truly take to hit their goals.

What created success in the past.

How to track their real expenses.

What their true ROI is.

Every single successful entrepreneur knows his/her numbers.

Tracking does not need to be difficult, and you do not need some elaborate system. Google Drive Sheets, Word documents, or whiteboards will all do the job, and are FREE!

I recommend you track three different parts of your business. In the end, it all ties together and will tell you the exact story you need to know to grow your business and make smart, strategic decisions.

The 3 Parts Of Your Business To Track:

#1: Activities and Actions

#2: Closing Data

#3: Income and Expenses

#1: Activities and Actions: I recommend you track these per lead source. Track the number of leads received. Track the number of reach outs (calls, text messages, etc.). Track the number of conversations. Track the number of appointments set. And track the number of closings.

You can always track more items, of course, but the more basic you make your system, the higher the likelihood is that you will execute on it. Eventually, the above tracking information will tell you: how many leads = one closing for that lead source, as well as how many reach outs, conversations, and appointments set = one closing. 

#2: Closing Data: I recommend that you track the lead source tied to each closing, buyer/seller, commission earned, and final sales price. This data, combined with the above data in item one, tells you so much information about your business. What lead sources are best, where your time is best spent, etc.

#3: Income and Expenses: I recommend you track all your gross income received (commissions earned) per lead source, and break it up between buyer and seller. Then track all your expenses. NOT just your overall total expenses, but break it down by each individual expense, each individual lead source, etc. You should know how much of your expenses are from your systems, lead generation, rent, open house signs, professional listing photos, and so on. Do this every single month as you will be forced to know where your money is going and also given the opportunity to evaluate your expenses each month and determine if all are necessary.

Again, this data allows you to grow your business and make smart, strategic decisions. Maybe you discover one lead source is bringing you a 700% return and the other is bringing you a 400% return. 400% ROI is a good return, but it may make more sense, if you are able to do so, to take that money, and invest into the lead source giving you a 700% return.

Watching the numbers will help you tremendously in your yearly goal setting and business planning as well. Maybe you want to increase your income by 30% this year from last. This data shows you exactly what you must increase to do so. Just imagine if you had concrete information like this: 10% of your Leads turn into appointments set, 76% of your appointments set get conduction, 26% of your appointment conductions turn into a closing. You discover you close one out of 47 of your leads, and your average lead cost is $6. That breaks down to one closing per $282 per closed home. Then, you discover it takes 500 Dials to get 100 conversations and 100 Conversations equals 1 Closing. You then know EXACTLY how many leads you need daily, how much you must spend, how many dials and conversations you must have daily, etc. to ensure your yearly goal becomes a reality. Powerful stuff!

I know tracking numbers is not fun and is something most of us dread doing, but there is not much that is more important inside your business!

Remember, your tracking system does not need to be fancy, it just needs to be in place. So start tracking and start EXPLODING your real estate business!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

4 minutes
Crunching the numbers.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: The Income Roller Coaster

Joshua Smith Sep 25th, 2020
Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate
Delegation

A roller coaster goes up and then goes down.

Roller coasters can be both fun and scary, but the constant fluctuation (up and down) of the income realtors earn is only scary. But this pattern of income is extremely common in this industry.

First, you must understand that the income roller coaster most experience is 100% avoidable! Most realtors experience this unpredictability their entire careers, but just because they do, that does not mean you have to.

The reason this fluctuation occurs for many realtors is simple. Realtors start off not having any business, so they spend their days lead generating and other activities which lead to connecting with clients. Then they get some clients and stop doing the things that produced the clients in the first place. This process is repeated over and over.

To avoid taking a ride on the income roller coaster, you must do these three things:

#1: Manage Your Schedule

#2: Know Your Money Making Activities

#3: Delegate

Let's break each down. 

#1: Manage Your Schedule As discussed here, so much of your success will boil down to planning and managing your schedule. If you learn to make it a habit to plan your day out the evening before, you will most likely avoid the income roller coaster altogether. Have your appointments blocked off on your calendar along with your lead generation, lead follow-up, paperwork, and anything else essential to creating a successful day. 

We will go deep into tracking your numbers in the next real estate success tip blog entry, but the great thing about tracking is that you will be able to identify the exact amount of action that must happen daily to ensure you are hitting your goals. Each day you should know how many leads you need to generate, how many reach outs, how many conversations you need to have, and how many appointments you need to be setting to hit your yearly goal. Everyone’s goal is different, so your personal goals will determine how much time you need to allocate for each activity. 

Once you have your schedule planned and time blocked, stick to it. Create a plan, and then execute on the plan! If you allow yourself to get into a reactive state, having an effective day will become very difficult.

#2: Know Your Money Making Activities As a realtor, you will make money in this business in three ways (read more here). The first is your activities leading to setting appointments (lead generation and lead follow-up). The second is the actual appointment conductions that allow you to convert the lead into an actual signed/committed client. The third is contract negotiation. You need to negotiate contracts to get your buyer and seller clients into under contract status.

Everything else you do inside your business, even though it may be essential, must be classified as a non-money making activity. These are things which are essential but are not actually adding more deals in the under contract status. Examples include: Turning in paperwork to your broker, ordering inspections, inputting your listing into the MLS, etc.

As stated in point #1 above, you MUST manage your schedule to ensure that the essential non-money making activities do not take over and prevent you from doing your daily must money making activities. Daily planning will massively assist in ensuring this will not happen to you!

#3: Delegate Delegation becomes critical in a growing real estate business (more on delegation here). No matter how well you plan, how well you manage your calendar, or how good you get at your money making activities, you will hit a capacity. There is only so much time in a day, and only so much you can do. Eventually you will need to employ some help. I recommend you hire out the essential non-money making activities first.

Of course this plan easy to lay out in a blog post, and the process itself is not that tough. The hard part is staying disciplined daily to follow this plan. But, if you choose to create the necessary discipline to do so, you can avoid the real estate income roller coaster, and your future self will be extremely grateful you did. It is not easy, but well worth it!

And now it is time to take action on this information! Remember, information is no longer power, it is taking action on the information we learn which creates power in our lives… So, go take MASSIVE action, and keep up the amazing work!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

9 minutes
Buyer clients agreeing to work with an agent.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Getting Buyers to Commit to You

Joshua Smith Sep 18th, 2020
Buyers
Appointments
Converting Leads

Many realtors are afraid to ask for their buyer clients to sign commitments, but your time and services are valuable and must be treated as such or risk leaving your business in a vulnerable position.

But I have good news: getting buyers to commit with a signed agreement, if you have an effective process in place, is pretty easy!

As realtors we understand the importance of getting a seller/listing agreement signed. I know those agreements are required to list a property, but why not make it a requirement for your buyer clients, as well? Yes, you have more money invested into a listing/seller client, but you typically have much more time into your buyer clients. And time is money!

So, how do you do it? You must treat the process just like you do with your seller/listing clients. You need to perform an official “Buyer's Consultation”. At the end of the day, it does not matter where the consultation happens, as long as it happens, it may be at your office, a property, at their house, or at a local coffee shop.

To get this buyer consultation appointment scheduled, you MUST sell the value in the appointment. Most realtors try to sell themselves to potential clients, but the reality is we need to sell them on the appointment first. Then, during the consultation, we can sell our services.

Buyer Consultation/Appointment Setting Script: 

“The next best step in the process is to set up a time for us to meet so I can fully understand your goals, your needs, what is important to you, as well as educate you on the buying process here in (your area). There are some costs which you will incur during the process. For example, inspection fees, appraisal fee, loan down payment, lender and title closing costs, etc. There are also areas you are protected by in the contract, and areas in which you are at risk. With that being said, I like to meet with all my clients and thoroughly explain the entire process, answer all of your questions, and give you all the information you need to make the best decision for yourself and for your family. You may decide now is the time to buy a new home, or you may decide now is not the time to buy a home. Whichever route you decide is 100% okay, of course. Just so you know, there is no hassle, no obligation, and everything I do is 100% zero pressure. Again, the sole purpose of us meeting is to provide you with all the information you need to make the best decision for yourself and for your family. Also, I like to make everything as convenient for my clients as I can. We can meet at my office, your current residence, at a local coffee shop, or whatever works best for you. I have X time and X time available tomorrow (just as an example), which one of those times works best for you?”

IMPORTANT NOTE: If a buyer says “No”, they are not rejecting you; they are essentially saying “Not right now.” So, in that case, you can say something like, “No worries at all, I know you may not be ready to meet at this time. I will continue sending you homes which meet your criteria and will check in from time to time to see if there is anything you need or any questions I can answer. Thanks again, and have an amazing day!”

Then continue to check in frequently.

OK. So let’s say you have the appointment set. Now what do you do during that appointment? First, and this is really important, you must ask great questions and listen deeply to the buyer’s needs and wants.

Things To Cover During The Appointment Process:

#1: All the features they would like in their new home. Remember, it is not just about the home itself but understanding everything that is important. For example, in addition to the home features, maybe their kids are involved in certain activities, and they want to be close by to those, etc. The deeper you go, the better!

#2: Identify their time frames. A great question to ask is, “In a perfect world, if we could time this out perfectly, when would you be sticking the key into the front door of your new home?” This question can tell you a lot, and can help prevent you from becoming a chauffeur for the next six months. 

#3: Educate them on the step by step buying process. What each step is, timeframes, contract contingencies, how they are protected by the contract, potential ways they can be at risk, and what those consequences are, monetary investments, etc. A mistake I see a lot of realtors make is to skip this process with buyer clients who have purchased multiple homes in the past. The average person moves every five years, which is a long time to remember everything that is involved in the process. Even if it is a reminder, it is always better to over educate than the alternative. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: In addition to educating your clients, this process is important as it shows the value you bring. As an example, while educating, you can use scripts like this: “Per the contract, we have X days to perform our inspections. We can always request more time, if needed, but in most cases this timeframe provides enough time to do the necessary inspections. During the inspection period, we have the option to cancel the contract, accept the property as is, or ask the seller to do the repairs which you would like to see performed. Again, we have X days to do our inspections. Let's say you want to request some repairs. We must get that request in writing, signed by you, and delivered to the listing realtor by 11:59pm on X day. If we miss that time, even by a minute, you have now accepted the property AS-IS. So, it is absolutely critical we pay close attention to all the timeframes inside the purchase contract. Now, I don’t want you to stress about it, as this is what I am here for. I will make sure all the timeframes are met, and I will always look out for your best interests.“ In the above example script, you are educating and showing your value as their realtor.

#4: Educate them on everything you are doing for them as well as how you get paid. Make a list of everything you do. Don’t be afraid to make it a full page of items. This list demonstrates the value of utilizing your services and is critical to educate them on what you do and how you get paid. Instruct them on what must happen if they attend an open house without you, or want to see a FSBO, or want to go look at new build developments in your area, etc. In the majority of cases I have ever seen where a realtor get’s “burned” by a buyer client (home purchase with a different buyer agent), it was the realtor’s fault for not educating the client properly.

#5: Ask for their commitment via a signed “Buyer Employment Agreement”, or whatever your area and/or Brokerage calls the document.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I have found it is critical to do the “Buyer Consultation” in the exact steps outlined above, as doing so allows you to build a relationship, trust, and value to utilize you as their realtor!

Simple Script To Getting The Signed “Buyer Employment Agreement”

Have the agreement ready to go right after you get done explaining all the services you provide. You can then transition into a script just like this: “There are other things that I do in the process, but that was a list of the main items I am doing to ensure your real estate goals are accomplished. As I stated, I only get paid upon the successful closing of your home. I want you to know that I am fully committed to helping you accomplish your real estate goals. I will always put your needs first and always lookout for your best interests. I am 100% committed to my career and my clients, and all I ask in return is your commitment to me. Here is our “Buyer Employment Agreement,” which states that if you choose to buy a home in the next X Days or Months (however much time you are asking them to commit for), that you are committed to using me as your Realtor. You are in no way obligated by any means to purchase a home, and I would never push you into doing anything that you don’t want to do. Again, I am 100% committed to my clients, and ask that they commit to utilizing my services in return.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: I recommend you role play this script over many times. The more natural you make the transition, the more success you are going to have. Also, don’t make it seem like you are asking them if they are going to commit. Instead, lead with the approach that you are assuming they are. As you deliver the above script, have the agreement and a pen ready, start filling it out, and then ask them to sign and date it.

You may get some push back, of course, but you will be amazed at how many clients agree to committing to you right away. If you hear something like, “I refuse to sign that. I am going to go with whichever realtor finds me the right home,” in my opinion, don’t walk but run from them. Those are clients you do not want. However, if the buyer says something like, “I see the value in your services, and I do want to use you, but I feel uncomfortable signing anything as I have had a bad experience in the past.” Well, then you can make your best judgement call on how to handle it from there.

Alright, I know this was a long one today, but hopefully you found MASSIVE value in it! Now, it is time to get your “Buyer Consultation Process” dialed in so you can get more committed clients, which will 100% result in more closings!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

5 minutes
Closing a deal at the table. Handshakes and applause. And here come the keys.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Leading Buyers To Closing

Joshua Smith Sep 11th, 2020
Appointments
Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate

You just met a buyer. Your buyer consultation went perfectly. The buyer has agreed to commit to working with you as his/her real estate agent.

Now how do you get this buyer under contract?

First off, remember you were hired as the real estate professional to help find a new home, the buyer’s ultimate goal. You now have the buyer’s trust. How can you lead this buyer down the path of accomplishing his/her goal with the right blend of advice and motivation?

It all starts with your buyer consultation. A lot of realtors do not treat a buyer consultation the same way they do a listing consultation, which is a mistake. You must treat both your buyer consultation and listing consultation as a serious and professional process! 

During your buyer consultation, you want to dial in a buyer’s wants, needs, goals, timeframes, expectations, and more. Once those items are identified, you go to work finding homes which meet your new client’s needs.

I am not a fan of showing 50+ homes. Of course I will do it if necessary, but I will always try to avoid it. At this part of the process you have hopefully pre-qualified your buyer with a lender or have verified “Proof of Funds.” Once those things are taken care of, inform your client that you are going to spend some time together in front of the computer identifying homes that meet any criteria. I always recommend narrowing the list down to the top eight homes. Less is fine but more than eight typically gets overwhelming.

Now it’s time to go check out those eight homes. I always tell buyers that as we see each home, we will compare the home to the needs list, and before we move onto the next showing, I am going to ask the buyer to grade the home with a 1, 2 or 3.

1 = You really like the home, and it is a great possibility.

2 = You don’t hate it, but you don’t love it. You are just unsure.

3 = Not for you, and toss into the elimination pile.

My goal here is to narrow the initial homes list down to the top one or two homes. If needed, we can go check out the top picks again, of course, but I am working to help identify the #1 choice based off the needs list we identified in the buyer consultation.

Once we have picked the top home, I then say the following: “I 100% agree with you that this home meets your goals and needs the best out of all the homes we saw on the computer and in person. Out of everything available on the market, this home is the one. In my experience, nice homes in nice areas, regardless of the market, tend to sell fast. To ensure this home does not get sold to another buyer, I recommend that we go back to the office and write up an offer. What are your thoughts on that?”

Now, some of you reading this may think this is too aggressive, but remember, you have been hired to find a home and essentially close on a home. You are not pushing this client into doing anything he/she doesn’t want to do. This is a home that was identified as the top pick. All you are doing is asking if they would like to move forward with the next step.

Some will say they want to think about it, but you will be shocked at how many say, “Yes let's do it.” A good chunk of people are instant decision makers, and they don’t want or need the time to think about it. Of course, you have others who do need to think about it, and you can give them the time they need; however, by being aggressive, you are able to identify those who are ready by just asking one simple question and leading the process.

As you have heard before, “Ask and you shall receive.” If the buyer does not want to write an offer on the sport, just say, “No worries at all, I 100% understand your wanting to think about it. Buying a home is a big decision. How about I follow up with you tomorrow morning, which will give you the night to think about and sleep on it, and then I can see if you have any questions or if you would like to take another look at the property or even go look at some new properties. Whichever route you decide. Would 9am tomorrow morning be a good time for me to call?”

As a realtor, your clients are hiring you as the professional to “Lead The Process.” To truly lead, you must ask questions to identify your client's expectations, timeframes, etc.

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

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