In a conversation yesterday with a large brokerage firm, we discussed a $250,000 online ad campaign that was directed at generating buyer leads. If the vendor had not quoted a $100k price increase over the previous year, the client would have simply stroked the check for $150k without a meeting, as they had done over the past 13 years. The massive price increase caused them to rethink.
What came out of the conversation was a brainstorm for innovation around developing seller leads. The brokerage supports and coaches agents around the common stuff – door knocking, farming, telemarketing, etc. What can they do differently?
It’s a Seller’s Market
The United States is in a sellers market. Inventory per population is at an all time low. Interest rates are extremely low. If were not for rapid price inflation, days on market would also be at an all time low. Agents do not really need to do all of the marketing they are doing today to find buyers. Simply put them in the MLS – the very best place to market a property to home-buyers.
Developing Your Seller Lead Strategy
The cornerstone of developing a seller lead strategy is broker CRM. When more than 80% of an agent’s business comes from repeat and referral business – staying in touch with the people you know and past clients is vital. Buying a CRM is the easy part, but it is an empty vessel.
Agents need to enter their contacts. If a broker expects agents to hand enter contacts, I have bad news for you. It will not happen. The number one requirement of any CRM is connectivity to the broker’s email and address book solution. Agents have their contacts in the address book of either GMAIL or Outlook. A CRM that connects to those systems will use the APIs to pull over the contacts automatically.
As a sidebar to this – don’t forget to harvest past clients from your transaction history that have been orphaned by agents that are no longer with your firm. Assign the contacts to your relocation department, lead management department, or office managers. If you don’t have any of that, load those contacts into the CRM of the broker. Somebody needs to stay connected to them.
Once you have the contact records in the CRM, the next step is the direct marketing. Your marketing department needs to support developing great content to stay connected to these past clients on a monthly basis. Effective marketing requires two discrete skills – messaging and design. This is the responsibility of the broker. Do the heavy lifting and leave the distribution of the marketing to the agent. All they should need to do is open the CRM and hit send. It creates a buzz or butterfly effect when hundreds of agents are singing the same tune. Create an editorial calendar of what the brokerage message will be and share that message with the agents.
At the very minimum, brokers should offer solutions like ePropertyWatch that produces a homeowner property report each month that is delivered from the agent. It shows the public record information about their property, the bank quality AVM from CoreLogic, 30 days of listing and sales activity, and long range market graphs. The goal of this report is to keep the agent connected to the homeowner for life so they remember their Realtor when it comes time to ask questions, sell, or buy.
Leverage Off Market Data Online
WAV Group has been preaching this to brokers for years now. Your broker website needs to become parcel centric. This means that a consumer can find information about any parcel in your area on your website regardless of listing status. You know that you can go to Zillow.com, Realtor.com, Homes.com or any other national portal and look up property information on any address. If a consumer cannot do this on your website, why should they go to your website?
To accomplish this goal, you will need an off market listing solution that can be paired with the data feed of active and recently sold parcel data you get from the MLS. In a raw format, you can license this data from CoreLogic’s Trestle solution whereby you purchase the raw data for the zip codes that define your market area. Your website vendor will need to develop off market property pages that provide a rich amount of information. If you need ideas, look at the off market property listing on the popular portals. Its not rocket science.
If you want to find a solution that is plug and play, many brokers are having success with Buyside. Here is a list of articles.
You can see it live on foxandroach.com, crye-leike.com, danielgale.com and a host of others. They put three valuations on the page – which I love. At Zillow.com you can only see the Zestimate®, but on these broker sites you see the Zestimate, Realtor Valuation (RVM from Realtors Property Resource), Collateral Analtyics, Corelogic, or others. Lets face it, no AVM is “accurate,” they are all data modeled estimations. Demonstrating that to the consumer provides them with a range. It sets up the call to action Speak with A Realtor to get a professional valuation of your home value. And it works.
Sales Funnel and Reporting
Buyside does provide clients with a seller lead funnel in their dashboard, and I am pretty sure that it is available via an API as well. Much in the same way you track your buyer lead funnel, you can track your seller lead funnel. Interestingly enough, the 1% conversion rate that you get from online leads is about the same that you should expect from seller leads. But the story is bigger than that. Buying and selling homes are journeys that take consumers a year or many years of travel. I told my wife last night that we should downsize our home when our daughter graduates from high school…..IN THREE YEARS!
WAV Group has been watching the development of the Buyside sales funnel. We are recognizing that it takes more than a year for the funnel to be fully hydrated. A firm that has had the solution for a year developed 3700 leads, 482 listings and has converted 187 sales in that time frame. Another that has had the solution for 9 months developed 154 listings and 48 conversions. The top of the sales funnel in both cases has over 100,000 off market listing searches. It works!
If you need help on your seller lead funnel, WAV Group can help. Give us a call for a consult. WAV Group will be attending the Swanepoel T3 Summit this week if you would like to meet in person.