Your ability to generate consistent, well-qualified real estate leads is key to your success as an agent.
But getting those leads can be challenging.
How do you stand out from the other agents who also want those leads?
Better yet, how do you stand out from the thousands of marketing messages the typical homeowner hears and sees every day?
If you’re like most agents, you have to make every dollar spent finding new real estate leads count.
You simply can’t afford to waste money on ineffective lead generation.
In this article, I’m going to share with you a simple tactic that can help you stand out from the competition, yet very few agents ever bother to use it.
It will make your marketing and lead generation more effective, your listing presentation more compelling and enable you to stand out from the competition in a meaningful way.
It’s the same approach used by every Fortune 100 company such as Coca-Cola, Ford and Proctor & Gamble.
The great thing is, you can get the same results without having a Fortune 100 budget.
Let’s get started.
Over the past few years I’ve taught thousands of agents and I always ask them the same question.
It has become known as “The Question” and it is;
“If I had a home in your area that I wanted to sell, why should I use you over any other agent?”
Sadly, no agent has ever been able to provide a good answer.
Sure, they try.
They talk about how hard they’ll work or how they’ll use the latest whiz-bang tech tools to market my home.
The problem is, everyone says those things.
And it’s not what homeowners want to hear.
Now think about something. . .
What if you had a compelling, powerful answer to “The Question”?
Imagine being able to communicate, very clearly, how you are able to help the homeowner and do it in a way so that your lead generation ads, your website and your listing presentation reflected what was most important to homeowners.
And what if the homeowners themselves told you what they wanted to hear?
You’d be in a position to generate more real estate leads because your ads speak directly to the most important issues your target audience faces.
It’s easy to assume that we already know what homeowners value most from an agent.
Yet, until you find out, you could be missing an opportunity to serve a particular need that your niche market has that no other agent is aware of.
“It has always made sense to me to build a business based on what people really wanted rather than guess what we thought they might want.”Michael Dell, CEO - Dell Computers
A real world example
When I got into the real estate business, the first step I took was to identify the niche markets where I wanted to focus my efforts. Secondly, I first wanted to see what homeowners in my chosen niche wanted from an agent.
What I found was that homeowners wanted one thing; results.
They said they’d seen every dog and pony show, heard every promise.
They simply wanted results.
A quick check of our local MLS confirmed their frustrations.
Only 30% of homes were selling in the initial listing period.
A full 70% had to be re-listed before selling.
And homes were routinely selling at an average discount of 20% from the original list price. Some took much deeper discounts to sell.
This told me everything I needed to know to structure my business.
I had to find a way to produce better results for homeowners in my niche. Then I had to be able to answer “the question”.
Once I figured out how to deliver superior results, my value proposition, or answer to “the question” became, “You’ll achieve market-beating results when selling your Northwest Buckhead home, or I’ll sell it for free.”
That also became the foundational message for all of my lead generation campaigns – achieving market-beating results.
When someone asked why they should use me over any other agent – and I competed with agents who had sold over a billion dollars in real estate – I had a solid answer for them; “You’ll achieve market-beating results or I’ll sell your home for free.”
That was a very difficult hurdle for other agents to overcome because their brokerage firms wouldn’t let them sell homes for free.
Over time, as I sold homes and developed a proven track record for delivering superior results, those results, and the testimonials I received from my clients, reinforced my value proposition.
Now it wasn’t just me saying I would produce superior results – my track record and clients spoke for me.
It became much easier to generate real estate leads because I had identified what was important to homeowners and tailored my business to providing not just the services sellers wanted – but the results they expected.
How to find out what your target audience wants from you
Identifying what homeowners in your market want from an agent is the first step towards answering “The Question” – and seeing big improvements in your ability to generate and convert leads.
And to get this inside information all you have to do is to ask.
Simply ask your target audience what they want from a real estate agent.
Ask about their wants and needs, their pain points and how you could help them achieve their goals and eliminate the pains they want to avoid.
The most effective way to identify what homeowners in your target niche want is to survey them.
Google Forms is free and Survey Monkey offers a free service so long as you limit your survey to 10 questions and 100 responses, which is adequate for your purposes.
Survey Monkey also offers lots of free guidance to help you create an effective survey.
You want to keep your survey brief and only ask the questions that are necessary to reveal what your target audience wants from an agent.
I would recommend asking questions such as;
- When did you last sell a home and how was the experience?
- What do you wish you had known more about when you sold your previous home?
- What of the following services would be most appealing to you?
- Which of the following results would be most appealing to you?
Follow the recommendations in the Survey Monkey help guide to structure your questions and responses so that the information you get is useful.
For example, asking the homeowner to rank their top three responses, as shown in the example below, will yield more useful information than simply asking them to check any service that they find appealing.
This requires the homeowner to think about those services that are most important to them and the answers will enable you to identify exactly what you should focus on providing.
Getting homeowners to complete your survey
Once you have completed your survey, the next step is to get it into the hands of homeowners in your niche market.
SurveyMonkey offers a variety of options, as shown below;
If you have an email list of homeowners you could send the survey to that would be the easiest, and most obvious, choice.
If this is a new niche market, or you don’t have an email subscriber list, you still have plenty of options.
You can create a web link and send the homeowner a postcard or letter that includes the url, or web address, of your survey.
Let them know that you are interested in their opinion and offer them a small incentive for completing the survey.
I have found that a $5 Starbucks card works well because it uses the proven psychological principle of reciprocity – you’ve given the homeowner something of value, the Starbucks card, and they feel compelled to return the favor and complete your survey.
You can also embed the survey on your website and create a pop-up window that encourages them to complete the survey.
If you have an active Facebook business page or LinkedIn profile, you can post the survey to your page and invite your fans or connections to complete the survey.
Analyzing your survey results
Depending on the size of your niche market, you will need anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred responses to get an accurate picture of what homeowners value most from an agent.
SurveyMonkey, and Google Forms, will tabulate the responses so that you can see which answers were selected most often.
These answers will provide the insight that will help you structure your business and your marketing messages.
Let’s suppose for the moment that the survey reveals that the three most highly-valued services are, in order;
- Assistance identifying and prioritizing what steps to take to get home ready to sell
- Assistance with establishing an accurate price for your home other than using a pre-listing appraisal
- Consistent communication from your agent regarding marketing efforts and market activity.
These are clearly the hot buttons that you should target with your messaging, offers and that will influence how you structure your business to deliver the services homeowners desire most.
Upgrading your lead generation
Once you have completed your survey you can incorporate the results into your lead generation efforts.
Continuing the example from above, you could create an e-book or .pdf guide that helps homeowners identify and prioritize the steps for getting their home ready to sell.
Another opportunity would be to create a guide to effective pricing.
These guides, or lead magnets, address a specific concern or desire that homeowners in your niche market have told you they have.
As such, they are much more likely to respond positively to an offer for information they value than a generic, ho-hum ad that doesn’t demonstrate an understanding of the homeowners’ wants and needs.
You would also want to promote these free guides, whether through a postcard campaign, Facebook ads, on your website or other promotional opportunities.
By directing the homeowner to a landing page where they can opt-in for your free guide, you can build an email list that enables you to nurture the relationship while you establish your credibility as an expert in the local market.
Knowing what is most important to the homeowners in your niche market also enables you to tailor your pre-listing presentation so it addresses their concerns.
By knowing exactly what homeowners in your chosen niche desire most from an agent, you are able to create a strong value proposition – one that answers “the question” – and does so in a way that clearly communicates how you are able to help homeowners.
Last, incorporate the clear messaging of your value proposition into the design of your web site. Your value proposition should be one of the first things a homeowner sees when they arrive at the home page of your web site.
Having your value proposition clearly displayed above the fold of your home page enables visitors to your site to see immediately how you are able to help them. Considering that you have less than 8 seconds to capture the attention of visitors to your site before they leave, I would make sure your home page hits the most important hot buttons of your target audience.
When you use this approach, your ads, offers for specific content in the way of free guides, your web site and pre-listing presentation all present a cohesive message that reflects what homeowners told you they are most concerned about and how you can help them.
It shows you are listening and that you take their wants and needs seriously.
If you can demonstrate this in your marketing messaging, you’ll see a serious improvement in your ability to generate and convert new real estate leads.
If you don’t, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.