Archive for the ‘Getting Listings’ Category

How To Get The Listing Every Time!

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008



With this post, I am introducing the new iRuss.  Here is another email from Raymond:

Hi Russell,

I’m trying to get some realistic perspective on the fall out rate of listings as experienced by successful listing specialists.  It’s not my intention to invade your privacy so I will understand should you ignore my request.  Anyway here is what I’d like to know:

How many listing appointments/presentations did your team make in the past year?

How many listings did your team take in the past year?

Of those how many sold?

And, how many expired or were canceled or withdrawn?

Of those that did cancel or withdrawn, what was the most common reason?

Thanks for your help.  And thanks for answering my previous question to you on AG.

It was extremely helpful

Take care and be well.

There are several ways to be able to say, “I take a listing for almost every appointment I go on”.  They are pretty much all stupid.

In 2006 we took 612 listings.  In 2007 we took 524 listings.  This year, Jan – May we’ve taken 187.  I don’t have stats for the past twelve months handy but believe I can answer your questions.

In 2006 our percentage of appointments to listings taken was about 56%.  We went on just under 1,100 face to face appointments.  We closed 405 escrows in 2006, about 60 of them buyer deals.  In 2007 my number of escrows dropped to 369.  312 of them were seller deals.  The percentage of listings taken to appointments for 2007 was 49.90%.  Just under half.

So far this year (through the end of May) we have gone on 406 appointments, Jan – May we’ve closed 106 escrows.  Our percentage of listings taken to appointments this year is about 46%.  This number has always changed with the market.  At the highest (for the year – not a particular month) it was years back nearly 60%.  Over the years, it has usually been around 55% listings taken to appointments.  Right now we are intentionally going on more appointments (therefore a lower percentage) as our “problem” isn’t the Listers are too busy.  Even though some days lately we physically have (with 3 Listers) 9 face to face, in the home interviews – in a single day.  Why yes, my new TV ad has caused the phone to ring more. 

What is interesting (besides the utterly horrible long term downward trend of my major stats) is how “good and bad” we are doing compared to the market.  For the past twelve months my percentage of of listings taken to those listings sold is 60.9%  That is just awful, in the past 12 months we aren’t selling almost 40% of the listings taken.  It is just awful and at the same time, a hell of lot better than almost everybody else here.  Most agents in my market area are selling about 20% in that same time period.  Not selling 80% of what was listed.  Most of the better agents are running around 41 – 43% sold.

Why did they cancel?  Or why did we cancel?  Oh, there are lots and lots of “reasons” given.  But there is really just one.  We didn’t sell the house.  With the exception of their transfer fell through or they can’t move to the new city after all, all of other “reasons” are crap.  We didn’t sell the house.  My advertised average time to sell is 44 days.  That is going back one year and compares to a market average for the same time of 121 days.  That was true as of May 1st.  As of June 1st, my average dropped (going back 365 days) to 42 days and the market average increased to 126 days.  Because they are calling me for results, if I don’t perform in the time they expect, they fire me.

So…. anyone going on more than a few appointments (their friends, relatives, etc.) is not listing them all.  If they think they are, they are keeping really crappy records.  Some agents only count an appointment if they took the listing – which is a great way to bat 1000 all the time.  Or they only had 1 or 2 listings in a year and sold them both.  Well done.  But if going on lots of appointments and taking lots of listings plan on them not all selling.  That way, your plans will match the reality of the business.

The 100 Days Trick

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

100 Days Trick 

I have seen the future and it is a lot like the past, only longer.  There is a "trick" that time plays on people.  For most working Realtors the trick that time plays is about 100 days.

In this business, it takes about 100 days from the time you do the things that matter until you get paid.  What you did or didn’t do (Dollar Productive Activities) in March will determine how much income you receive in June.  This lag in time contributes to many agents failure to realize that they personally control their income.  But there is a time lag.  This isn’t to suggest that if you were hit by some natural disaster that you won’t be effected – you will.  I have a Realtor friend in Biloxi, Mississippi whose entire office was physically under water after Katrina hit.  That can kind of wreck your day.  Another friend of mine, a top ERA agent, who woke up to find that every open escrow and every listing she had was just gone or under water.  No surprise, those escrows didn’t close.  I am not suggesting that these things don’t matter or can’t cause quite an effect, at least a temporary one.  But those agents – both winners – bounced back.

Over the years, sometimes you catch a buyer at just the right time or happen across a seller who wants to list immediately and as luck would have it, you wind up with an escrow in just a few weeks from the time you first made contact.  Because it is so easy to to remember when you connected with them it is common for an agent to wind up with a very false picture regarding how long it takes to get business and get paid.  It is very seldom just a few weeks.  Very rare, indeed.  It is usually about 80 to 110 days – about 100 days.  Don’t depend on luck.  If you were to actually do the things this month that really matter (not the pointless, silly and non-productive actions that are so "important") like working directly on Lead Generation, Lead Conversion and Listing Appointments – your income this next September could be your highest ever.

I swear this isn’t some trick I’m trying to play on you.

Thrive – Survive – Thrive

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Pushing the River

It is sometimes amazing how it lightens one’s load to find out that you weren’t alone in having a particular problem.  The downside of course is if one is seeking agreement on having that problem the people they find in agreement with the problem can become a support group for the problem.  And that can equal agreement with being a victim.  Not really where I am wanting to go with this thought.  I’ve written before that from the time the Phoenix market crashed at the end of August last year until March of this year I had to feed my business a bit over $500,000.  I didn’t like it but wasn’t really concerned.  My wife and I had dinner Friday night with one of the other most successful agents in Arizona (also a couple) and she confided that they were out of pocket just over $300,000 for the same time period.  They work a higher price range than we do (their average sale is 550k, mine is 250k) and they didn’t have to start feeding their business until November.  We got hit earlier as our price range was instantly effected by the sub-prime meltdown.  Well, we went into the black in April and so did they.  Not for the year but for the month of April.  Home sales in Phoenix were up April 2008 over April 2007.  That is the first time that kind of stat has been true for over a year.  When you have a really big operation (read: marketing based) you can get a nice rise from a rising market.  You can also get a brutally big bump from a falling market.  None of this is to suggest that one’s stats are not caused by themselves.  But none of us personally pushes the river.

Memorize This

When one’s business is based on prospecting they can turn it around much much faster than if marketing based.  Surveys are the key to stats.  That is such an important concept that if you were to memorize it and learn to teach it to others it would be a good thing.  Surveys are the key to stats.  When you are marketing or selling anything – if successful – you are delivering a message or making an offer that the public you are trying to reach will respond to.  If you are offering the "wrong" thing (they don’t think it is valuable) your efforts won’t be successful.  If what you are offering is what they want – success.  For example, I am currently promoting "we can sell your home even when others are giving up".  In today’s market that is an acceptable message.  If I were to have run an ad like that three years ago it would have been absurd.  Most cab drivers could have sold a home in the market we had three years ago.  So when the phone stops ringing it isn’t that "marketing no longer works", it is the "button" or offer being made isn’t current any longer.  When you are talking to someone it is almost instantly obvious if what you are saying "doesn’t survey well with them".  You can change your message on the spot.  All agents successfully listing and selling homes are quite skilled at doing these "surveys".  They just have never thought of what they were doing as gathering survey data.  It is faster and easier to change your message if your communication is mostly live.  Finding the correct buttons for a marketing campaign takes much longer, not to mention the ad production time.

The Truth Is…

Agents all across the country have taken a beating this last year.  And many of them have felt like they were in the wilderness all alone.  Most agents don’t have accurate data on what other agents and companies are doing.  As most real estate agents tend to present themselves as "I’m really really really successful"  – even when they are not – there can sometimes be a very false picture.  The agent knows they aren’t doing very well (compared to how they were doing) but doesn’t have that same subjective reality on how the other fellow is doing.  I am surprised when I answer someone about my stats and they experience relief that "I was honest".  They had been talking to agents who were telling them, "I’m doing great".  We all like to think of ourselves as buzzing along like the green line on the graph up top.  Truth is almost all of us – when highly successful – have stat graphs that look much more like the red line.  Periods of survive, followed by periods of thrive.  We make the bulk of our money during the thrive periods, when the stats are moving up.  The goal isn’t to have a great year.  The goal is to have a great career.

Imagine the Discount Brokerages

If you think traditional Realtors have had it rough imagine what it is like for the discount real estate companies.  In my area, with my stats way down (a little over 75 million production in the past 12 months) my group outsells all of the Help U Sell offices here combined.  They have 14 offices (that someone is paying rent on) showing in our MLS and my group does more business than all 14 of them combined – and this is a national company.  The small discount companies aren’t even doing that well.

Thrive – Survive – Thrive

Lower commissions aren’t the "thing" now.  Results.  Can you sell my house?  Do what you have to do, learn what you need to learn to be able to convince a seller to price their house correctly, so you can answer that question, "YES", and you too will see that your very best years are yet ahead of you, not behind you.  Survive until you can thrive.

I Need a System

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

I received the following email from Justin.system is the parts


I have read The Millionaire Real Estate Agent it is fantastic.  I also have the Billionaire Real Estate Agent.

My problem is in the building of systems.  I want to develop:

1. A system to get buyer leads.  (I get a lot of buyers leads but do not have a system to handle them)

2. A system that once we get the leads, how they are handled.

3. A system to get listing leads.  ( Same as above)

4. A system to sell our own listings.

5. A system to get Referrals

We are currently getting 50 to 75 buyer leads each month but once the lead comes in the difficulty is in tracking the lead and making sure that our buyer specialist are doing everything they are supposed to do.

We are also getting ready to do a huge marketing campaign to get seller leads but I don’t want the same problem to happen that is currently happening with the buyer leads.

99.9% of Realtors have a Real Estate job, you my friend have a Real Estate Business.  The proof is that while you were away from your business taking care of health issues your business grew.  Not a small feat.  The other 99.9% of Realtors would have gone Bankrupt. 

That is what I desire.

My goal is to pretend that I am going to Franchise my business and design it so anyone could come in and run it.

I am reminded of a mandatory Monday morning sales meeting I attended when I was a failing life Act Now Justin! insurance salesman in 1969.  I was with New York Life and a successful veteran agent from Flagstaff had driven down to Phoenix to talk to us.  He was there to inspire us and to help us do better.  He was a nice and honest man.  After hearing him speak I determined he was also a stupid man.  Nice, honest, successful and stupid.  Every single person sitting in that room was someone who had no idea where their next sale was going to come from – if indeed there would even be a next sale.

He was really happy when he told us that all he did to get business was call his past clients.  He had been with New York Life for just under 20 years (all of us were less than 6 months in the business) and he had many past clients.  He would have his assistant lay 5 cards on his desk each morning before he came in – each card contained the names and contact information for one of his past clients.  He would call each of them and just chat with them for a while.  As he was about to hang up he would ask them which of their friends or family might benefit from talking with him.  He had enough clients that calling 5 of them 5 days a week for all the weeks he worked that he would wind up calling each of them about once a year.  This was his system, and it worked beautifully.  Naturally, I was relieved to know that in a short twenty years I wouldn’t have to worry about money anymore, I could just call my past clients.  At the time I could have called all of my past clients at the burn rate of 5 a day in less than a week.  I didn’t have an assistant, nor could I even afford an office for one to sit in but I could sure see the beauty of his system.  Only it had nothing to do with me.  Or anyone else in that room.  At the time none of us could use it.


In my business now we have lots of systems.  I am totally willing to share any or all of them with anybody who wants them.  You can have any of my checklists (you can download some of them here), you can copy them, modify them – in short, use them any way you like.  The first thing you will be aware of is my checklists are my checklists.  You will need to make some changes in order for them to be useful for you.

All of your checklists – if they are truly going to matter – will need to be composed by you.  You can find lots of stuff lots of places but for it to matter, you and what you are doing need to be a part of it.  Why bother with a checklist?  Can a checklist be a system?  Sure.  All of our checklists are lists (usually in the correct sequence) of those things that must be done to get the exact product that particular action is supposed to produce.  In most cases the checklist represents what I used to do and now someone else does it for me.  It is a hat I wore and now someone else is going to "wear that hat" and take care of it for me.

I have a "hat" for how a listing presentation is to be done.  (you can see all of that here)  All of my listers wear the hat the same way.   Always giving their communication, always them injected into the cycle – it’s theirs now.  But how that "hat is worn" makes all the difference in the world.  There is a proper sequence and attitude for a listing presentation.  It does not vary.  My newest lister has been with me about 3 years.  My most senior lister has been with me over 12 years.  I still check with each of them – having them recite the proper sequence at least every six months.  How did I arrive at that exact sequence?  Did I discover it at Starpower?  Yes and no.  I got a lot of ideas a lot of places.  I tried a lot of things.  Most of them did not work.  A few did.  Out of the thousands of things I tried a few worked.  I remembered those.  I remembered how I did them.  What I said.  How I said it.  What order I said them in.  What order I did them in.  I would vary them to see if it made a difference.  It did.  I then reverted to the "way that worked".  Please understand that there is no statement here that what I do is the "best" way.  The "only" way or any other thought that would suggest that there are not other methods or approaches that are valid.  What I know – from very long experience is that the "hat write up" I have for how to do a listing presentation does work. 


So you would note your successful actions on all of the things you do.  What were the steps?  This isn’t just to train others, it is so you can do it again and get the result you intended.  What is the correct technology that you used?

In order for any of this to matter you have to personally have a subjective reality on it.  It has to be real to you.  Not a bunch of words on a page but something you can see and know is true.

Lets start with "leads".  I don’t believe that you are getting 50 – 75 leads a month.  I don’t mean to imply that you are trying to con me but if you were getting 50 – 75 leads a month you would be selling 5 – 10 houses a month from those "leads".  People in the lead selling business have redefined the word "lead".  What most of them sell is an inquiry.  Big difference.  A lead is someone you are going to call back.  You have spoken to them and assessed the quality of the prospect and decided that this is someone who is interested in what you have to offer and is capable of buying a house.  You aren’t tracking them because most of them don’t really matter.  You are most likely pretty damn good at lead conversion and identifying who is and who isn’t a prospect now.  All of the now prospects you sell to or list.  The rest of the inquiries sort of get lost.  Should you have a system for following up on those?  Sure.  Outlook, ACT, Agent Office, REST, there are loads of potential systems around.  But for keeping track of names, etc., you don’t need to "develop a system", you would need to decide on one and use it.

You take anything you do – that you will want to do again (and again) – and systematize it.  What were the steps?  What was the sequence.  When you start doing this you will tend to leave out important steps.  Easy to see if you type them up and have someone else attempt to do it without any explanation that isn’t on the checklist.  In my office we have every significant (we will want or need to do it again) action "written up".  We have a checklist for that action.

The first actions to write up are the ones you do screamingly well.  Best to write them up when you are in the zone.  When you are just flying on that particular subject – write it all down.  Write it all down.  Write it all down.  You will be amazed at how handy that write up will be when you alter your own successful action and, changing something, watch the stat crash.  The fix?  Simple when you have written up your hat when you were in "Power".  Just go back to doing it the way you were doing it when the stat was soaring.  Doing this also tends to involve realizing what crashes stats.  This collection of what works and what doesn’t work becomes the "policy" of a successful organization.  It makes no difference if that organization consists of several thousand people or a person just getting started at something.  When something crashes the stat, note it.  Make a record of it.  When something makes a stat go up, note it.  Before long you know with certainty what works and what doesn’t.  For example, have you made a record of what you do – that is already working – on lead conversion? 

This business is simple.  Leads.  Listings.  Leverage.  Inquiries are not leads.  Some of them can become leads.  Some leads can be converted into buyers and sellers.  Once you have discovered with certainty what your successful actions are you have your "systems".

The discovery process can be a lot of fun.

What do you feel are the best 2 or 3 systems to get listings?

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

An email I received last week:


Hi Russell,

Good to hear about your new association with AgentGenius. We all need your stuff.

We can’t afford a Radio or TV marketing campaign, so I would appreciate your thoughts on…

Other than Radio/TV, what do you feel are the best 2 or 3 systems to get listings?

Other than marketing my listings, what is the next most effective method of attracting buyers?

Thanks for your help.


Good news, it is a short list.  There are precisely two ways to get business: marketing or prospecting.  All methods of getting business fall into one of those two categories.  If the question on how to get business includes, "We can’t afford….." then for now skip the marketing part.  Prospecting is your answer.

Prospect for listings.  Buyers are almost never "looking for an agent", they are looking for a house.  So, prospect for Success - Failure listings.  Emulate top agents.  Almost all long-term top agents are listers.  To get a closed escrow you must first have an open escrow.  To get an open escrow you’ll need a listing.  To get a salable listing you will have to have gone on several listing appointments.  To get a listing appointment you will have to have leads.

Therefore, you are in the lead generation business.  Full time.  If you are going to succeed that is the business you are in all the time.  You are not in any other business.  Just getting leads.  Get enough leads and you don’t really have "unsolvable problems" in your business.  Don’t get enough leads and all you have are "unsolvable problems".  Your main dollar productive activity is getting leads.  Time spent working on getting leads is time well spent.  Invested, if you will.  Time spent on most other stuff is quite possibly wasted time. 

There can be a real charm to deliberate nonsense.  It can raise a person’s tone and get them out of a bad mood – it can do a lot of good things, it can change lives for the better.  Laughing, joking, having fun, creating and spreading a "spirit of play" can be one of the most joyous experiences in life.  Do it often.  But if not knowingly and causatively "playing" please don’t pretend that the mindless time wasting activities that most real estate agents spend their days working on are productive.  Are you causatively playing?  Cool.  Otherwise, if you don’t physically have a buyer to show a house to or are in the process of physically writing a contract, or on your way to see someone to do just that or to take a listing – prospect.  Get leads.  Get more leads.  The number of leads that you actually need is far far more than you even think it is – you need more than that.  Lots more.  Work on that. 

I found the following hereYou don’t need a life plan. You don’t need motivation, self-confidence, peer support or even luck. All you need is the willingness to take the next most obvious step—then repeat the process again and again, regardless of how you feel. Try it. Happiness comes from seeing the results of your efforts. You don’t need it before you start.

In response to your question, "Other than marketing my listings, what is the next most effective method of attracting buyers?"  My answer?  Market someone else’s listings.  This is what is done with an IDX search.  If you want more to market via the various listing propagation sites, borrow them.  Ask other agents if you can advertise their listings.  Buyers are looking for houses.  Get lots of houses on those various sites.  Hundreds is the correct order of magnitude. 

____Success Series - smaller

Something I am just delighted to be able to announce is that the Realtor Success Series is finally compiled and there for anyone to see and use.  Even I personally had no idea I already had that much content available.  I hope you like it.  More to come.

The Realtor Success Series Page is finally UP!

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

This is something I have wanted to have for a couple of years.  Finally it is something that is "done".  Done is a Success Series - smaller relative word, as I will continue to add news posts to that page.  But at long last, all of the relevant posts and relevant audio and video (relevant to getting and getting rid of listings) is all accessible on ONE page.

It took me several hours of pecking around to find them all (as I knew it would) but now anybody landing here can have full access to that material.  I won’t be surprised if I wind up sending more traffic to Bloodhound having left than I did while I was an active contributor there.

This is my first "official" post on this blog.  Welcome!