Loyal supporters are important for any business not only survive but to also thrive. Be it Coca-Cola or Pepsi, each brand has their loyal returning supporters. Ford vs. Chevy, for years parents all across the U.S. have raised their kids on one side or the other of the “truck fence”. Or do you support the Dallas Cowboys or the Washington Redskins? New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers? For my English football fans... is it Manchester United or Liverpool FC for you? These brands initially attracted our interest, then kept us by providing us with identity, entertainment, and valuable life moments. And at the end of the day – it doesn’t matter what brands or teams you support, the IMPORTANT part for whom you support, is that you SUPPORT. Dallas Cowboy fans purchase Cowboy gear, game tickets, and spend money at the Stadium which makes the Dallas Cowboys significant revenue.
So as real estate agents, how do we develop loyal followers and that highly desired significant revenue that comes from a loyal group of supporters? When looking at the root of loyal support, the brand or team being supported is delivering an image or something of value to their supporters. The more they deliver that value, the more supporters they receive. So what can we deliver that will create followers that support and build a large referral book of business?
Let’s assume the position of the typical homeowner...
- Access to MLS? No.
- Access to assessor, loan/transaction history, sales comparables? No.
- Understanding of what to consider before down-sizing? No.
- To build our Investor supporters... The location of distressed homes that may sell soon? No.
I think all too often, real estate agents take for granted all we know, and all we have access to in this industry. One of the most valuable assets you have as an Agent is your knowledge about real estate itself, real estate terminology, real estate transactions and the real estate market around you. All of which is super valuable to homeowners. Be their resource and they will support you and your business – no different than Coke, Starbucks, or DirecTv.
Think about it: Homeowners are constantly doing calculations on “What do I owe” vs. “What’s my home worth”. The difference represents “money in the bank”. Zillow and similar sites have developed a poor reputation for delivering those answers. Homeowners don’t like paying property taxes – can you provide them knowledge on what an assessment is, and how to possibly lower their taxable assessments? Can you offer homeowners insight on what steps go into purchasing a second home or investment property? You are the real estate expert, Mr. Homeowner is not, and so you can better answer questions like these. And best yet, these opportunities represent the chance to meet homeowners so that you can get to know them. On your next postcard mailing... think about using a message like... “What’s your home worth?” – “I know, and I would love to help answer that for you”. “Considering Purchasing a Second Home? “Let me help you with understanding costs and qualifications”. “Property Taxes Too High?” “Let’s evaluate your assessed value vs. market value and see if we can lower them.” Important questions for homeowners, and valuable answers that you are best qualified to provide.
To build a supporting group of Investor clients... What causes homeowners sell quickly with less desire to make top dollar in the sale of the home? For starters: Death, Divorce, Mortgage and tax defaults all lead to quick sales. And many times, they are distressed sales. When a homeowner passes away, the heirs tend to be more concerned with quick money from the sale of the home, more so than top dollar. Oh, and they don’t want to do home improvements prior to listing the home for sale – which add to the perfect opportunity for investor clients. Mortgage or tax defaults are similar... The default is an issue that creates a “quick sale” scenario that is way more important than receiving the highest price available in the sale. The result is the perfect opportunity for you and your investor supporters. These types of “life event” information (death, divorce, defaults) tied to property is not easy to locate – but for the agents that do, the opportunities are endless. Think about this in your next mailing... “Looking for off-market properties that have a high chance of selling quickly?” – I know where they are located. Next question: Who do you mail these types of postcards to? The mailing addresses of the investors that already own investment property in the immediate area. These folks already own investment property – so what better pool of folks to get to know with this valuable data that only you have?
Hopefully I am not the first to tell you.... when looking to deliver “items of value” to create a loyal group of supporters, it’s not a “hot cooking recipe” or “note pad” with your mug shot on it. Those are simply items that remind the homeowner you exist – but they don’t provide anything of significant value. I have never entertained making the “Spiced Rum Cake” that came in the mail from a Realtor – have you? But if you could help me locate an off-market property that I have a better chance of acquiring at a less than market price or if you could confidently tell me how much money I have in my “housing piggy bank” (equity) – I start to become your follower, your supporter, and I help you build your supporters via recommendations and referrals.
As your loyal group of supporters builds... regular valuable information will be the key to keeping their support. Offer them pricing updates on their home, information on market trends based upon recent sales and recent listings – all information they want to know. Offer them off-market opportunities (from new “life events”) as new ones pop-up. It’s interesting and it’s valuable, and if they are interested in finding a great deal on another home – they will support you as their agent.
As an Agent, you have access to some really great sets of information – use it.
Brian Fox is Vice President of Business Development for Benutech, Inc.. Benutech is the creator of the award-winning ReboGateway property data product that identifies which properties across the Nation have divorce, mortgage defaults, tax defaults, death affidavits, probate filings, bankruptcy filings, FSBO, estate sales, or empty nester scenarios present. This valuable information allows agents to quickly identify which properties have the best chance of listing/selling soon. Work smarter, not harder. (www.ReboGateway.com)