By Toby Welch
Having a lengthy portfolio of listings is one key to real estate success. But how do you make it happen? Some agents have figured it out.
The team of Valerie Del Brocco (broker) and Gigi Van Weezel (sales rep) with Sutton City Realty in Toronto have experience getting a whack of listings. “With the popularity of online searching and social media, it’s far too easy to put ourselves in a bubble and forget the human factor,” says the team in an email to REM. “Remember, your prospect and/or client have neighbours…and they talk. So your service better be above par. Strive to give the best qualities of your skills and abilities. Also, in today’s day and age it is important to be active in social media – Facebook and YouTube are a must! (Always remember to comply with advertising rules.)”
Dan Torwalt is the owner and a salesperson at Century 21 Diamond Realty in Humboldt, Sask. The firm’s motto is “Honesty-Integrity-Professionalism-Results” and keeping that foremost is what Torwalt attributes to having a considerable number of listings.
“My wife, Cheryl, and I have been selling real estate for over 14 years and started our own brokerage company eight years ago,” he says. “We believe we have a good reputation along with experience and knowledge in the city and area. We also are very community minded and the general public appreciates that.”
Getting to know people in affiliate industries can be the ticket to more listings. Arrange meetings with the best divorce lawyers, financial planners, contractors, accountants, bankers and other professionals in your area. See if they are interested in a mutual referral program.
Reaching out to everyone you know can bring more listings, but some people need more than a quarterly newsletter in order to think of you when they are ready to sell. Pick up the phone and call everyone you’ve ever met. Send handwritten notes often. Host regular client appreciation events. Mine your database often. Keep yourself foremost in everyone’s mind.
A vital component of getting more listings is pulling off a successful listings presentation. Torwalt shares how to make it happen: “Always be professional with dress and punctuality. Never assume that it will be easy. Go in with the attitude that you are in a competing listing with other companies. Find out the house history and condition beforehand. Know the age demographics of sellers, each is approached differently.”
Torwalt says you must “be prepared for challenges and have plan A, and if needed plan B and maybe C, to secure listings. Don’t be scared to brag yourself up in a humble way. Explain the strengths and tools (at your disposal) to market the property. Probably the most important is to show the same respect to all sellers, the $11,000 listing to the $3 million listing. Make seller satisfaction and happiness your No. 1 one goal – everyone deserves that respect – and if you have that attitude, you will have success.”
Another sales rep sends prospective sellers what he calls a “value package” before listing presentations. The package includes information about himself, his marketing strategies, testimonials from past clients and whatever additional information he thinks will help convince the sellers to list with him.
An agent from Ontario shows up to listing presentations with a full marketing package for the home, including feature sheets and postcards that will be used to sell the property. He claims that when prospective clients see their home in professionally produced marketing materials, that’s usually the clincher to get the listing.
Saturating an area with mail outs, door hangers, signage and the like can hook you listings. Del Brocco and Van Weezel share their thoughts on blanketing a neighbourhood, “Saturating a neighbourhood with different marketing items can be a successful way to gain a listing or two…if you’re lucky. I think what’s more important is to design a marketing strategy to establish yourself in a neighbourhood. The plan should ideally consist of more than one way of contacting your area. Prepare yourself and your budget for a long-term commitment. Start as small as your budget permits and build from there.”
The team says there “should be a number of touches to the area that includes mail pieces but don’t forget about the personal touch. After all, you are not just selling a house, you are moving people and families.” And, the team says, you must get out and go door knocking.
Del Brocco and Van Weezel say, “Mail outs are important. Just listed / sold cards and keeping your face in front of people is a great way to stay top of mind. Just remember that your message on the card should be short and relevant for them to read on their way to putting your flyer in the recycling bin. Keep at it as after four to six months, they’re going to get familiar with your face and/or brand. Don’t just send one or two mailings, get discouraged and stop. Carve out, at a minimum, an 18-month mailer plan. Follow up with phone calls, be prepared to leave messages too (a message script is very helpful).”
Getting more listings may be as easy as throwing a party. One Quebec agent has a party at every listing the weekend before the house goes on the market. A week before the soiree, he invites the 100 closest neighbours and spends the party hours prospecting. Another option is to throw a party a month after your buyers move into a home. You do all the prep work and party organizing so your clients don’t feel like it’s a burden. Then highlight to the neighbours what a great job you did selling the home and stress that you can do the same with their place.
It all boils down to being pro-active. That and going that little bit beyond what other agents do is often enough to secure more sellers. Bring on the listings!