This article was originally posted on Active Rain in August 2007.
Ask any agent what her or his biggest business challenge is and you’ll hear a near universal chorus of “keeping my business pipeline consistently full with new business.” As agents are all too painfully aware, it is easy to get caught up in today’s closing or deal gone sideways and wake up tomorrow without the next deal ready to go. Wake up, that is, if he or she was able to sleep in the first place.
What’s a smart agent to do? First, start by understanding and embracing that life happens. And when it does, you have to react. It may be a seller who needs to close his double escrow with a buyer whose financing just hit a bump, or your buyer that you worked months with to help find the perfect million dollar luxury condo who learns that she just got a major promotion — on the other side of the country.
Any agent can attest to the multitude of variables that might tank a deal. Like I said above, life “happens.” These blips are not nearly so painful if you’ve got three more deals lined up behind.
Feeding The Pipeline Monster
How do you keep your transaction pipeline full and flowing? Automate! Put the front-end of your transaction lifecycle on auto-pilot and keep the hungry monster fed while you’re busy with today’s drama or, better yet, busy taking your kids or grandkids to the park.
I know, I know. You’re asking yourself “if it is really this simple, why haven’t I heard the “secret” before? And guess what, I have a real answer.
Not every business professional has the opportunities online that real estate professionals have to automate their upfront marketing efforts. A realtor’s stock in trade (active listings) is reducible to database format and is offered by their local trade association in web-ready format. Doctors, lawyers, CPA’s and other service providers don’t have web-ready databases of “saleable” items.
Why is this important? Because databases were born to be manipulated! This is a perfect match for interactive marketing to consumers hungry for information and research. And, as industry survey after industry survey demonstrates, online real estate consumers are exactly hungry for listings data.
Do you just give your visitors this information and hope that they’ll pick up the phone because you’re a “nice guy” or because your name and phone number are handy? Not!
Unless you live in Mayberry, it is just plain naive to believe that most people will call you just because they saw a listing on your website the first day they started looking for their high-ticket item. Consumer psychology didn’t work this way before the Internet, and the Internet has only served to further empower consumers away from needing agents in the early research stages. Even if you get an occasional hot lead because somebody picked up the phone, how many more are you leaving on the table because you don’t have better lead capturing tools built in to your displayed listings information?
Tomorrow, Make More & Work Less With Smart Lead Generation & Development — Part II: May I Have This Dance? Strategies for doing the branding dance with online consumers.