Appointments

3 minutes
Collaboration with tablet and laptop

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Conversations Into Appointments

Joshua Smith Apr 3rd, 2020
Real Estate Advice
Joshua Smith
Real Estate Success

Consumers love to consume (in this case, buying and/or selling real estate), but they HATE being sold to.

To find success in real estate, your mindset must be to come from a place of adding value by leading with contribution. And know that once your contacts are ready to buy and/or sell, they will think of and reach out to you.

So, yes, more frequency than ever is required to convert leads into appointments; however, you do not need to resort to using high-pressure tactics. In fact, when delivering high-pressure scripts, you will end up turning off far more people than you are allowed to help.

The goal is to follow up frequently, lead from a place of contribution, and develop a relationship over time.

Let me give you an example:

My team generates a ton of leads and business by running Facebook Ads. These leads register on my website to unlock the ability to search for homes. Let’s say I just received a new lead who saved a property as a favorite on my website.

I would call this lead ASAP and say “Hi (lead's name), this is Joshua Smith with REVISITO Real Estate. I wanted to reach out, as I noticed you saved (the property address) as a favorite on my home search website, and I wanted to see if you had any further questions on that property, as well as see if there is other info/data on that home and area I can send you. (Pause to let them answer, answer any questions they may have, then try to set an appointment). I have some time this evening between 5pm and 7pm if you would like to meet at that home on your way home from work and spend a few minutes checking it out. Is that something you would like me to set up?”

IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember from Creating Real Estate Success: Lead Follow-Up, that the same lead will reject you for an appointment five times before saying yes. So, I am expecting a no and will then say, “No worries at all. If you have any further questions, or ever need anything, please feel free to reach out anytime! Have a great day!”

The goal is to follow up, lead from a place of contribution, try to set an appointment, and if unable, repeat the process.

As you can see, my lead follow-up is far from pushy, but I do follow up frequently with courtesy check-ins.

As the famous sales saying goes, “The fortune is in the follow up”. And I have seen time and time again that it really is.

To make your life easier and your business manageable, a lead follow up plan/system is essential. But the plan or system is not enough. You also have to execute. Please know that generating leads is not the main issue. Converting leads into appointments is a much more crucial step, and one that most realtors struggle with, as they do not have a dedicated lead follow-up system 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
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

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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