A big struggle for real estate agents is the seasonality of the business. When things are busy, we work at a frenetic pace. But when listings sell, deals close and business slows, even the best real estate agents can panic.
Now is the time to up your game by prospecting, networking and doing whatever else you can to build your pipeline. If you put in the effort, it will come back to you. Here are some tips for working your business in the off-season.
Curate your contact list
The single most important tool a real estate agent has is a clean, updated contact list, ideally a spreadsheet with name, email and physical address. Every person you meet at an open house, every lead you receive online and everyone you meet offline can be a direct source of business themselves or, more importantly, a referral source.
Go through your email inbox and pull out new contacts you made during the busy season. Pull out your open house sign-in sheets and floor duty contact cards from the past few months. Add them to your contact list. A few times a year, when it’s slow, update the information on your spreadsheet. As a part of the exercise, check in with old clients or friends. Many times, making contact can turn into business.
Reconnect with leads
Remember that person you met at an open house last year? You later showed them two houses — they seemed so interested but never followed up. We all know that life happens and the home-buying process is organic. Potential buyers are looking, and then they’re not. The trick is to capture them when they return to the market — before they meet someone else.
Imagine that the buyer from last year just found out their landlord is selling and they need to move soon. It could be an opportune time to make contact. To find potential opportunities like this and re-engage clients, go through old leads, send them a personalized email, and reference a change in the market or a deal that’s pending or closed. Let them know the house where you met has finally sold.
Even if they don’t respond right away, most people will appreciate your staying in touch. It keeps you front and center in a numbers game. Send off 20 emails, and I bet you get at least one response.
Start writing your holiday cards
Before you know it, we’ll be talking about the holidays. Get started on your holiday cards now while you have the time. Printing labels, writing the cards and mail merging your contacts for the cards takes time, so do some of the busy work now.
Want to stand out from the rest? Consider sending a Thanksgiving card this year. Write a note to your past 10 sales telling them how thankful you are for their business. Nothing stands out more than a handwritten note.
Plan a holiday party
Some of the most social agents I know throw the best and most memorable holiday parties each year. If you want to throw one, now is the time to nail down the date and the venue. Do something fun and exciting.
Throwing a party is a smart way to reconnect, stay in touch and invest in your business. There’s nothing more powerful than a room full of friends and past clients talking about you and your work. Show them that you appreciate their business and use the party to give back and celebrate your success.
Your work will come back to you
I remember 10 years ago when the real estate market turned. I was in a panic because I had no business and it seemed the world was going to stop. The slowdown motivated me to take on additional prospecting activities and find new ways to build my pipeline.
As a result, 2009 was one of my best years in the business. To this day, I teach my agents to continually find ways to be and stay in touch with their spheres of influence.