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Real Estate Professional

License to Sell! The Art of Turning a Conversation into a Listing!

KaizenlicenseOver the years, we’ve preached the importance of changing from a “sales mentality” to a “marketing mentality.” A sales mindset is basically chasing prospects who are ready to sell now, while a marketing mindset is all about setting up a system where you brand yourself and work that brand to create a steady flow of business coming your way. A marketing mindset puts you in the minds of consumers long BEFORE they need to sell. (I can’t tell you how many times clients have told me that they go to take a listing and the home owner says, “we always knew we were going to use you when we were ready to sell, and now we are!” That is the type of result you’ll see by moving to a marketing mentality.)

However, like many things in life, it’s not an easy process. A common question and quandary that I hear when consulting with clients is, “Selling real estate and handling transactions is a full time job, when do I have time for implementing my branding and marketing?”

Think Big Picture and Long Range
In the 26 years I have been working with agents and helping them with their marketing and branding, that has been a common question and dilemma. The advice I always give is to look at it from a big picture and long range perspective. A strategic branding campaign and marketing plan that is correctly implemented is designed to be a semi-automated way to create a steady flow of clients coming your way. It allows you to create a flow of leads so that you are not spending so much energy chasing and prospecting for leads, they are coming to you. Yes, you are spending money to have the branding created and implemented, but you are not spending precious time and energy on CHASING leads, and the results more than pay for your expenses.

It takes some time to get an effective brand created and established. So in the beginning, yes, it can be a lot of work, but your diligence and focus will pay off.

Marketing & Prospecting
A perfect example of that diligence and focus paying off is Dayton, OH agent, Phil Herman.  He has spent over 20 years working with our agency to build a brand and create optimum name recognition. Many years ago, he went through that “sweat equity” phase of building the branding and marketing, just like many agents have to. Over time, he was able to take his earnings and leverage it into building the brand and turning it into a lead generating machine. He now spends more money in his marketing and advertising budget than the vast majority of agents earn in commissions North America (remember the old adage, it takes money to make money!). That being said, one of the things that strikes me about Phil is that even though he has this big machine working for him bringing him leads, he is still hungry and looks for every opportunity to prospect. He is not afraid to make 100 calls a day. This week, he shared with me that he had 15 listing appointments on his calendar for Monday and Tuesday!

A Superstar at Both
Phil completes on average about 300 transactions a year, and has been doing that production for several years. What has made Phil’s rise so remarkable is that he is both a consummate marketer and a consummate salesperson. It’s a powerful combination.

One Great Example
An example of this “consummate salesman” is his lack of fear of making 100 calls a day. Another example is Phil’s ability to turn ordinary daily encounters with people into a sales pitch. Here is an example: Phil has a life and business philosophy built around the Japanese mindset of “Kaizen.” That is the philosophy of “constant improvement” through constant learning. He actually got a personalized license plate with this word. Phil shares with me that people constantly see his plates and then ask him “what does that mean?” He quickly explains the philosophy, then masterfully turns the conversation into properties and real estate, and on several occasions, he was able to get listings from those conversations.

For instance, Phil was filling his car at a gas station. A man approached him and asked about his license plate. Phil explained the philosophy and told the man that it’s an important part of how he approaches daily life. Phil also explained that the philosophy is exactly what Phil and his business team embrace. The man “bit the bait” and asked Phil what he did for a living. That’s how Phil turned the conversation around to real estate. It turned out that the man was getting ready to sell his home and Phil got the listing — from a casual conversation!

In fact, that is one of the top ways to do this, ask the person you are talking with what they do for a living. It opens the door to introduce yourself as a Realtor®. The other way to do this is to find a comfortable way to find out where they live, then you have multiple ways to bring the conversation around (“I just took a listing there”; “the housing market there is doing well”; “one of my favorite developments to take buyers to.” etc.).

MARKETING TIP: When you do have a face-to face encounter, (whether or not you were able to turn the conversation to real estate) be sure to pass out your personal brochure as you disengage from the conversation. If you made a favorable impression, the brochure will solidify you in the mind of this prospect! In fact, we have always coached our clients to carry a stack of personal brochures and hand them out instead of business cards. It’s an essential and effective part of a successful marketing campaign. In fact, it’s an integral factor in Greg’s powerful E-Book, “How To Generate 10 Transactions in 90 Days with Your Personal Prospecting Brochure.” Please send me a link to download 10 Transactions in 90 Days ebook

The point of this blog is that it is important to switch from a sales mentality to a marketing mentality to grow your business and take control of your time. It helps you get off the “hamster wheel” of chasing deals and looking for the next hot prospect. However, as Phil has shown, even though you have established a successful marketing campaign and system, you should never stop your daily prospecting, always be ready for the face to face encounter that can be turned into potential business. (The fact that you have a brand and name recognition makes it even more effective.)

As you go about your day to day routine, look for ways to engage with people and if the conversation lends itself to it, move it to a discussion of real estate. Don’t force it. It takes practice. You may want to explore several scenarios you might encounter, and craft some ideas how to turn the conversation gently and naturally. Good luck and happy marketing and prospecting!

Dennis LeBlanc
VP/Creative Director