Here’s a very cool system for reactivating old clients, generating referrals, and building your Power List.
Many agents I know have a drawer full of old clients they simply forgot. Life gets busy and before you know it, it’s been months (even years) since you last contacted some of your clients.
That’s why I created the “Re-Acquaint Letter System”…
This is an easy way to get back in touch and harvest referrals and repeat business from your network, and this letter has worked for hundreds of agents all over the world.
I’ll give you the letter to use and also give you an example of a Referral Coupon. This coupon is designed to work much like a “bounce-back” type of coupon that restaurants and retail stores use. The very same strategy will work for you if you just give it a try.
How To Use The “Re-Acquaint” Letter System…
STEP 1: Create a LIST of your past clients and friends, friends, family, and acquaintances
Narrow your list down to the people you’ve not contacted in the last 6 months.
STEP 2: Send them a personal LETTER
Here’s a pre-written letter for you to use and make your own.
STEP 3: Give your Power List a meaningful REASON to get back in contact with you
Use a “Referral Coupon” that goes with this letter, like this…
They may or may not use it, but it’s a stand-out way to remind them that you work by referral.
(IMPORTANT: This coupon is designed to give a discount to the END-USER only. In most, if not all states, it is illegal to directly compensate any unlicensed person for sending you business. This coupon only makes a discount offer to the end user, NOT to a person sending you a referral.)
STEP 4: FOLLOW-UP with regular contact (at least monthly)
Agents tell me they start getting calls within a few days after this letter goes out. But you can also follow up by phone 7 days after sending the letter.
Going forward, you’ll want to keep in contact in a meaningful way. I’m not talking about pumpkin seeds or calendars here.
You can use my Service For Life!® real estate newsletter system or your own monthly contact, just make sure it’s something your Power List sees as a “welcomed guest” rather than an annoying pest. And make sure it gets out every month…
This is very important. For every 100 people on your database, 14 of them will buy or sell a home in the next 12 months. And that doesn’t include the Referrals they could be sending you.
Don’t continue to leave this gigantic hole of lost revenue in your business by not following up at least once a month. This “Re-Acquaint Letter System” will help you get back in touch with your clients. Then you have make a commitment to not lose touch again by following up with your network each month with welcomed and valued contact.
[Ed note: Would you like to use a marketing system that costs nearly $0.00 and can bring you a steady flow of quality, motivated buyers — even during this slow economy? Then click here to learn about one of the highest-return, lowest-cost marketing strategies you’ll ever use in your real estate practice.]
If you’d like to learn a 3-step process that doubles your chance of selling homes… then take 5 minutes to read my article. It’s about the real reason why Apple continues to launch successful products, and how you can use the same strategy to sell more homes, in less time.
But first, some background on the company…
Apple is on a long winning streak that started with the iPod, then the iPhone and now the iPad. Apple’s stock is so richly valued the small company is now worth more than Dell and Hewlett-Packard combined.
When the company is praised for its marketing, it is usually for offering innovative, cutting-edge products. Apple is often tagged with the desirable label of “first mover” status, meaning it gets new technologies on the market before the competition does.
But closer examination proves otherwise…
For example, iPod was not the first MP3 player on the market — not by a long shot. Audio Highway sold the first MP3 player called Listen Up which won a national award at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1997. Apple’s iPod hit the market in October, 2001. Nokia was selling smart phones for years before anyone ever heard of an iPhone. Tablet-sized PCs hit the market a few years ago with lackluster sales, but it wasn’t until Apple’s iPad that millions were sold.
My point is, Apple’s reputation for being on the cutting-edge is not actually supported by the facts.
But what is more overlooked is…
Apple’s Ability To Create Effective Advertising
Granted, the company’s engineers come up with beautifully-designed and easy-to-use products — which is a marketing function in its own right — but, pay attention to what takes place in their television commercials. What unfolds in their TV ads is simple and “old school”.
The strategy for the iPhone and iPad are the same — just a straightforward DEMONSTRATION of what the product does for the consumer. Do they use exotic locations, celebrities or sexy models? Not at all. Watch some of the current iPad commercials. They are filmed as if you are holding the device, and you see books…movies you can select…and another sequence shows a typing keypad, etc.
For the iPhone, Apple used the same technique, and you simply saw a person holding the iPhone in his hand while he did things like bring up a compass or get a restaurant review. Another ad showed two users bumping their phones together to exchange contact information.
Advertising agencies typically don’t like this kind of work because it is not creative, but in many cases a simple communication of benefits results in more effective selling.
The iPhone killer was supposed to be the new Droid — a joint venture between Google and Verizon. I have seen the TV spot for the Droid that rates much higher for the “cool” factor with impressive special effects, but will it overtake the iPhone in sales? I wouldn’t count on it.
Brush Up On Marketing Basics To
Understand Apple’s Advertising Strategy
Before you create any advertising, you should ask yourself if you offer a product or service. Products are the easiest of those two because they are tangible. Selling a service in an intangible. Just as the Apple examples prove that demonstrating benefits is highly effective, there is an similar method for selling a service that as powerful… you demonstrate the benefit of the service by way of telling an interesting story.
One sterling example comes to mind — the “give-you-goose-bumps” radio commercials for OnStar. The best in this series begins with what sounds like a 9-1-1 call. A little girl — with trembling voice — says the car has crashed. Next you hear the calming, voice of the female OnStar Operator. The little girl says her mom is hurt and not awake. The Operator says she is sending help and, she tells the little girl she will stay on the line with her until help arrives. As that conversation fades out, the announcers come on to make a pitch for OnStar.
What do Apple and OnStar have in common? Nothing. One is a product, the other a service. Good advertising is not about products or services…it means you understand human behavior. Good advertising is also NOT about manipulating consumers. It’s about tapping into our human desires and motivating action through a compelling demonstration of benefits.
How Does This Apply To Selling Homes?
So why not use these professional strategies on the ultimate consumer purchase — a house? Unfortunately, what most sellers get is a typical flyer that lists the number of bedrooms, baths and living areas along with the agent’s photo. But where is the demonstration or storytelling in that? Providing “dry” statistics about a house makes it seem similar to others on the market, and good advertising should make the productstand out, not blend in.
Note the first listing promotion (on the LEFT)— a classic story ad. The headline makes you wonder who is getting a dream job in this economy? The ad generated urgency because it suggested a good price was offered as a result of the owner’s buyout and promotion.
You can click the image to see it in a larger format, but you only have to read the headline to get the point — use a story ad that engages the reader and motivates them to respond.
RESULT: This ad satisfied the main litmus test — it produced multiple offers in less than three weeks in a neighborhood in which every other “for sale” house is still sitting on the market — some for over a year.
The next listing promotion (on the RIGHT) shows the same process Apple uses — a simple, clear communication of a unique benefit. Can you spot the key element? You would imagine that to sell a house, the ad must be about the house, right? Not at all — this house was very similar to all the others on the market.
What made it different was the yard and view (no other competing house offered this kind of lot). The photo of the yard, and headline, forcefully demonstrated what other “for sale” listings could not match. The seller received four offers — unusual in this area.
How Do You Improve Your Advertising To
Attract Ready-To-Act Buyers?
Serious, ready-to-act homebuyers do not want to talk to a salesman — which is one reason I don’t stick my personal photo on my advertising — it has nothing to do with what is being sold. Here’s a simple process you can use to create an effective ad… one that sells your listings in half the time:
STEP 1: Identify a unique benefit that no other listing in the area can match…
STEP 2: Think of the best way to demonstrate what this benefit will DO for the buyer…
STEP 3: Dramatize this strongest benefit through an interesting story in your listing promotions…
Using this process, you’ll create better advertising (no matter the home or where you advertise), you’ll get more attention, and attract the right target audience — a buyer who’s motivated to sign a contract.
Remember: Selling a home is not a real estate function — it is a marketing function. If ten people find out about your home that is fine, but if twenty people discover it because you have better marketing than your competition, you have just doubled your chances for success.
If you want to learn more about my unique methods for selling listings faster then click here to watch a free video presentation.
One of the most important (yet less talked-about) skills for success in real estate is knowing how to communicate and read clients when you’re face-to-face.
How many times have you worked hard to generate a listing appointment, researched the market, toured the home, created a stellar pre-listing package…only to learn the clients hired another agent?
Some agents have a natural knack for reading other people and knowing what to do in a pivotal sales situation. For others it’s a mystery. The good news is, bonding with clients and creating skills for closing deals can all be learned once you understand a few basics.
Today I want to give you some very important tips for making a great first impression, reading your clients and understanding their motivation, handling questions and objections, and recognizing buy signals.
The First Meeting…
According to Patti Wood, author of “Success Signals – Body Language in Business” most face-to-face buying decisions are made within the first three to five minutes of the call. That means 85% of the buying decision is based on not what you say, but what you do non-verbally.
So how to you create non-verbal signals that quickly bond clients to you?
The first step sounds obvious, but many agents blow it: SMILE! No, not some fake, wishy-washy smile, but a sincere gesture projecting your openness. Make sure you’re looking your prospects or clients squarely in the eye.
The second step is to use open body language. Open body language happens when you reveal the palms of your hands, keep your arms unfolded, hands away from the face, and project an open way of receiving your clients.
Another way of showing openness is in your speech tone. You don’t want to seem too excited (a give away for an inexperienced or hype-driven salesperson), and you don’t want to sound like a dud either.
You want to greet your clients the same way you greet your spouse (on a good day, that is!). Be happy to see them, but be sincere and keep your bearings.
The third step is to use the right kind of handshake. The secret of a great handshake is not just in the firmness of your shake (a must!), but in the percentage of palm-to-palm contact. Opening your palm to someone is akin to opening yourself to them.
Finally, a great way to bond with clients is to match your body language with that of your prospect or client. Matching body language is a non-verbal way of telling your clients that you like them.
The idea is that people prefer to do business with those similar to themselves. Watch the body language of people who disagree and you’ll see what I mean (they “mismatch” their body language).
Once you start mimicking your client’s body language, you’ll notice that they start to subconsciously mimic yours. That’s when you have the opportunity to open up – uncross legs and arms, lean forward, and speak directly – and they’ll open themselves to you.
This is a prime signal that you’ve built trust and rapport, and you can guide the direction of the relationship.
Handling Questions and Objections…
Every client presents us with tough questions and objections. That’s the nature of our business. While giving an accurate answer is important, don’t forget about non-verbal ways you communicate to advance the sale.
So how do you handle questions and objections effectively? Here’s a 3-Step process I learned more than 30 years ago, and works nearly every time.
The first step in handling questions or objections is to use “silence” as your ally – and this applies to the phone as much as in person. Before you jump to an answer, allow your prospects to completely finish their point – then pause.
This alone shows that you are in control of the situation and desire to hear-out your client. Plus, it gives you ample time to think through your answer.
The second step is to harmonize with your client. They’re obviously concerned about their issue, otherwise they wouldn’t be asking the question. I want you to indelibly mark your mind with these words: “I understand.”
Always answer objections with “I understand,” then, paraphrase the question or concern the client just asked you back to them.
Why are you doing this?
Because, 1) It helps you uncover the “real” issue from an emotional as well as rational standpoint, 2) It validates the concern of the client – a bonding tool, and 3) It allows you to compartmentalize objections or questions so you can handle them easier without causing confusion.
The third step is to answer their question, then follow-up your answer with a question back. Walt Disney used to say “there’s a real question behind every question.” Frequently clients will ask a question that highlights only a symptom or example of their objection, and you need to sort out the real issue from the symptom.
As an overly simple example, let’s say your client begins to ask about the details of a home’s alarm system. A novice would explain just the features, while a pro would realize that the wife wants to feel safe when she’s home alone with her children – and match “security” benefits to features in her answer.
By asking a question back, you are ensuring that the issue they raised has been handled, and you are maintaining control of the situation.
Recognizing Buy Signals…
Nothing happens if you don’t close deals, and knowing when to ask is just as important as knowing how to ask.
You probably know that when a clients starts contemplating furniture placement in a home they’re viewing, they’re getting pretty hot for the home. But there other non-verbal buy signals you should watch for…
The most important non-verbal buy signals come from three areas: Head Gestures, Facial Gestures and Body posture.
When a client tilts their head to one side, it can mean that they’re very interested in what you’re saying. When you see this behavior, make sure you’re making an important point advancing a sale.
A head titled down means they’re being negative and judgmental. Head titled back means they’re exhibiting a superior attitude. A client who is open and accepting will generally keep their head neutral. Look for head gestures the next time you’re in a listing presentation or showing a home.
When a client strokes their chin, it means they are considering making a decision. It’s an important time where you can help the process. Rolling eyes, looking over the top of their glasses, rubbing their nose, or even placing their thumb under their nose with their index finger pointing upward are ALL negative, dismissive or critical actions.
When a client leans their body forward and leaves their arms open, it indicates interest and agreement. This is the very best time to ask for a sale. If they lean back with arms crossed, it shows a lack of interest. Leaning forward with arms crossed can indicate potential aggressive behavior. When a client leans back and opens their arms, they’re showing cautious interest.
You’ll also notice that, when a client mirrors your body language, it’s a tell-tale sign they’re in agreement with you. That’s your prime opportunity to advance the sale.
How do you get better with detecting buy signals and body language?
The same way you get to Carnegie Hall: Practice, practice, practice.
In The Art of the Sale, author Phillip Delves Broughton conveys the primary role that sales plays in business and in life. As a graduate student at Harvard Business School, though, he discovered that sales courses did not exist in the curriculum. Broughton understood that this gap in schools’ curriculum means that many businesspeople may be unequipped to promote revenue growth in their companies, as sales is the driving force of any business (please visit the University Sales Center Alliance (USCA) website to see those universities who are committed to a professional selling curriculum).
For this reason, Broughton decided to create his own real-life sales course, culminating in The Art of the Sale. By journeying across the US and around the world, he sought to learn from the masters of sales, discovering who sells best and how to sell most effectively. He pursued master salespeople “in their element” to determine if sales skills are teachable or innate. Most of all, Broughton desired to understand the mind (more than the character) of a successful salesperson.
Four key sales strategies emerge from Broughton’s international journey. Embracing these strategies will help you master the art of the sale, and can help take your real estate sales abilities to the next level.
THINK POINT #1:
Learn to Read Your Customer and Adapt… Quickly
Broughton visited a shop owner in a Moroccan port city souk (open air marketplace) named Abel Majid Rais El Fenni. Majid has sold his wares to such famous customers as Yves Saint Laurent and Jacques Chirac. An expert at classifying individuals entering his shop and adjusting his sales strategy accordingly, Majid maintains his reputation as master salesperson. Through innovative product displays, finding ways to connect with his customers, and uncovering his customers’ true desires, Majid creates value for his clients and is able to charge more than other shop owners in the souk.
Specifically, Majid understands that sales opportunities develop quickly and that sales strategies must be readily tailored to meet the needs of the customer. This skill is difficult to teach because it involves perceptibility. Real estate agents also require a great deal of sensitivity and adaptability to be successful salespeople. As new sales opportunities arise, whether planned or unplanned, in a formal business setting or a casual social setting, agents must learn to read their customers and adapt their sales strategies to most effectively meet their greatest needs.
Broughton also visited with Norman Levine, an award-winning life insurance salesman and author, living in Palm Springs, California, who expounded on the idea of reading your customer. Levine explained, “To sell, you have to have an effective means for people to achieve what they want. To know what they want, however, you must get inside their heads, have empathy.” To really get to know potential customers, Levine advises salespeople to get involved in the community, church, PTA, school boards, clubs, and community organizations.
How are you getting involved in your community to better understand your current and prospective customers? What organizations in your community might provide fruitful business opportunities in a social setting? Remember, friends can become clients and clients can become friends.
THINK POINT #2:
Serve Your Client’s Best Interest, Not Your Own Ego
Broughton was impressed by the master salespeople he met who, after identifying the needs and motivations of their customers, responded not by selling, but by serving. Instead of crafting their identity as successful salespeople, they would let go of their egos and instead focus on their customer’s best interest.
Levine told Broughton that a successful salesperson sells himself as a credible, trustworthy person and is able to create value for his customer. Once credibility and trust are established, the successful salesperson abandons “self” to serve the other person. Ashok Vemuri, head of an Indian company’s operations in America, echoed this sentiment. When Vemuri hired and trained salespeople, he explicitly looked for selfless people who made customer service a priority.
Martin Shanker, an expert sales trainer in New York, reminded Broughton that successful salespeople actually care about their customers. Unfortunately, many salespeople value clients only based on the size of their bank accounts. Emphasis, though, should be placed on serving the client, not in calculating potential financial gain. Remember, successful real estate agents do not profile customers – they genuinely care about them.
For another perspective, Broughton traveled to the other side of the world to visit Chie Shibata, a top Japanese life insurance salesperson at Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company in Tokyo. Shibata built a strong customer base in her early days in sales simply by acting in her clients’ best interests. In the insurance industry, this meant focusing on her clients’ current peace of mind and future well-being. Shibata learned that sales is not only about earning what she needed for herself, but providing the goods and services that her clients needed.
Similarly, people need homes. Real estate agents have an important opportunity to serve their clients’ interests by helping them find the right home – the home that ensures current peace of mind and future well-being. The right home does not necessarily mean the home that translates into the greatest agent commission, which means setting aside ego for the benefit of the customer.
How are you working to understand and serve your client’s best interest? Are you focused on your client’s needs versus the potential for financial gain? What ways can you work to set aside your ego for your customers this week?
THINK POINT #3:
Be Resilient – Have “Loose Robes”
Majid, the Moroccan souk shop owner, has developed a very unemotional approach to selling. Majid’s father taught him to have “loose robes,” which means he does not let customers upset him and does not take customers’ opinions or expressions personally. He does confess that sometimes customers can be unreasonable and irrational; however, his “loose robes” allow Majid not to let a perceived snub or insult interfere with a sale.
Resilience, a necessary trait for every real estate agent, is the ability to maintain emotional stability in the midst of unpredictable and unpleasant events. Resilience is particularly useful for anyone who regularly hears no more than yes each day. Great salespeople can take the occasional rejection or failure and use them as building blocks for future success. Great salespeople refuse to shy away from rejection, and choose to see it as a “vaccine” that can improve their resistance to personal criticism. Great salespeople embrace both success and failure as part of the process.
Shibata would advise real estate agents to be genuine, knowing that clients value your intelligence, talent, and service, no matter the package. She divulges that when beginning a sales career (and particularly a career in real estate), most people resign because facing so much rejection and “financial uncertainty” is “brutal on the ego and the wallet.” Shibata would also encourage agents to maintain an objective view of their performance, enjoy difficult situations and maintain passion. Even difficult situations can ultimately lead to a promising future.
THINK POINT #4:
Establish Long-Term Relationships with Your Clients
All of Broughton’s insight culminates in a fourth and final point: a successful real estate agent’s goal should be to foster long-term relationships with his/her clients.
To describe the value of a long-term relationship, Broughton shared one of his most positive sales experiences – buying a suit for his wedding. After determining the general specifications Broughton required for the suit, the salesperson had him try on a variety of styles, asking what he liked and disliked about each suit he tried. After walking through this questioning for a couple hours, Broughton selected the suit – the one he would wear on his wedding day.
Broughton insisted the salesperson did not sell him the suit, but rather let the suit sell itself. What enabled the entire transaction, though, was the trust the salesperson build at the outset of the transaction, not any slick moves in the close. The trust Broughton established with the salesperson supported him as he selected the attire for his wedding. The relationship they built in that one transaction, though, translated into many future sales opportunities.
Majid echoes a similar philosophy, encouraging salespeople to establish long-term relationships with customers by building trust, rather than pushing or forcing sales. Majid suggests that in his store, he may back away from the easy sale and offer advice to the customer instead. He advises salespeople to be patient and thoughtful which fosters trust and credibility, and leads to future, greater sales.
Real estate agents have an opportunity to develop strong relationships with their clients. Home sales/purchases are important, personal transactions and often represent a significant transition or experience in the life of the client. Therefore, a positive interaction built upon trust and credibility can lead to a long-term relationship with the client. A strong relationship will translate into additional sales opportunities and potential for future referrals.
Broughton’s international journey taught him a lot about the global face of sales. Packaged with hard work and patience, these four strategies have the potential to transform an agent from meeting the sales status quo to experiencing significant sales success. Incorporate these strategies into your daily sales practices and you, too, can master The Art of the Sale.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Recommended Reading
Broughton, Phillip Delves (2012), The Art of the Sale,
New York: The Penguin Press.
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Article used with permission, first published in the Keller Center Report Report
If you’re looking for a proven system that automatically builds such a close relationship people will think of you (and only you) for referrals, word of mouth and repeat business… then become a member of the best direct-response prospecting and referral producing system on earth: www.ServiceForLife.com
It’ll be the easiest way to harvest more business from your Power List you’ve ever seen.