Welcome back. Thus far, we have gathered critical Intel, and stockpiled some great weapons.
So, Let’s Put Boots On The Ground
The real estate industry rewards hard work and experience, and the average salary reflects this dynamic. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2016 Member Profile, agents that have been in the industry for more than 16 years earned a median gross income of $73,400 in 2015, and those who work 60 or more hours per week – regardless of experience, pull in $93,400.
We all have likely heard our parents say, “there is no such thing as a free lunch”. This holds true in science, as well as in your real estate business. Very rarely, if ever, does anyone just happen to fall face first into wealth. Normally, they or a family member has worked very hard for the opportunities.
So, let’s get down to the brass tacks and finalize your strategic plan of action.
The average homebuyer purchases just 3 homes in their lifetime, and the interval between purchases may be a decade or longer. However, according the U.S. census, 69.3% of movers stay within the same county and theoretically could use the same agent over and over again.
Developing a real estate business means more than simply hanging out your shingle – this means constructing a pipeline of customers.
Nearly all successful agents receive the bulk of their income from referrals. According to the NAR, of all low wage earning agents, 20% received their leads from referrals, while 60% of all sales for high wage earners came from referrals. This is largely because earning money in the real estate business starts out small, but grows over time. The more and more deals that you close with satisfied customers, the more and more referrals and repeat customers you will receive. Good sales begets more sales.
This also means that as your real estate career matures the less and less you will find yourself worrying about where these sales leads will come from. Again, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and do not be distracted by the many shiny objects that will be offered as the magic bullet. Generally speaking, the more experience you gain the more easily it will become to accumulate leads and repeat customers.
So, relax and expect that just as in any business start-up costs, to include marketing, will be higher in the beginning and then level off – and, that your revenues will grow.
Boot Camp Tip #7: Exhibiting your knowledge of the VA Home Loan and VA Specially Adapted Housing Grant benefit programs will translate into goodwill that can lead to referrals. Take the time to explain the increased purchasing power you can provide by guiding Veterans through the VA Home Loan program. It’s good for the Veteran, and good for you!
Veterans are one of America’s most loyal consumer demographics, your energy in this arena should payoff richly as word gets out.
II. Advertising & Exposure
The first thing that comes to mind is internet exposure, and if you are reading this then it is likely that you have subscribed to a web listing on Heroes News Network’s (HNN) comprehensive web directory, that includes a backlink to your business website and/or Facebook page, your own unique URL, the ability to upload photos of your property listings, and personalized VA Benefit handbooks to educate you, your staff, and also make great gifts to your Veteran clients.
With HNN you have artistic control over the finished advertisement. This is the opportunity to develop your personality. Be sure to take an active role in this process. Remember the target audience of the proposed Ad, and focus the personality to talking relevantly to that audience.
So, how do you grow your business? Start by selling not just homes, but your expertise as a Veteran Real Estate Specialist. How many agents have a working knowledge of both the VA Home loan and VA Home Grant programs, and advertise themselves in this manner?
For example, an Ad on HNN should state your expertise in VA Loans, VA Specially Adapted Housing Grants, and how you can ensure that Veterans receive the greatest purchasing power available.
III. Advertising Is An Expense – Yet Remains Your Asset
For all of you familiar with accounting, you may think I’m suggesting that you to keep two sets of books. Any good bookkeeper will tell you that assets are depreciated over time, and advertising is immediately expensed.
However, what I am suggesting is that any advertisement that you own can remain part of your marketing portfolio and can be used again and again saving you precious dollars on repeat production costs.
Boot Camp Tip #8: Unlike many other platforms, any advertising production purchased through HNN is your legal property to use in any marketing of your choice!
Because marketing expenses are generally higher in the beginning of your real estate career, these strategic tips can potentially reduce your long term expenses and should not be overlooked in your overall strategy.
Boot Camp Extra: Ask about a 30 Second Video for your business, and use it anywhere to save money for years to come!
Why are backlinks important? Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing are in the business of giving customers what they want, and one way they interpret your popularity is by how many legitimate backlinks you have to your website. For example, Facebook has over 32,ooo,ooo,ooo backlinks to their site. Pretty darn legit!
So, if you are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, Yellowpages, Google+, or any other web platform, make sure that your business webpage is backlinked – just as it is with your HNN listing. Search engines will rank you higher the more quality connections your website has.
V. Open Houses & Direct Marketing
Open houses account for over 12% of leads, and 7% of listings. Hold as many open houses as you can, shake hands, and hand out mementos to those who attend. There is no better way to advertise yourself than personal contact.
Handouts and mementos continue to work for you long after you have gone, and thus have a multiplier effect. Handouts sitting on a coffee table, in a waiting room, or simply shared amongst friends keep your message and branding alive. In this digital age, many are rediscovering the power of print media.
Boot Camp Tip #9: Do not underestimate the power and the multiplier effect of handouts, nor the emotional response of meeting with someone with a smile on their face. Ask about visiting a local Veteran Club!
VI. Signage & Branding
You may not believe this, but yard signage is a major source of contacts. Nowadays more than ever, folks see a property they are interested in and simply call the agent listed on the yard sign. Thus, it is critical to brand yourself as the Veteran Real Estate Specialist.
As a HNN client, we can help your signage pop with custom made sign riders/toppers.
Besides the abundance of patriotism in the U.S., there are over 25 million Veterans. Do not underestimate the power of the Veteran Real Estate Specialist branding.
For example, in making their decision, a nationwide company was moved to advertise on the HNN platform, in part, by the powerful branding that they gain. Now, ResCare HomeCare can proudly proclaim:
ResCare HomeCare proudly sponsors Veteran programming at over 140 locations nationwide!
Imagine a similar tagline for your business. As a Veteran Real Estate Specialist, your Ad is directly sponsoring local Veteran programming. Programming that includes: educational & employment opportunities, PTSD, VA Benefits and homelessness prevention programs for local Veterans.
VII. Follow Up
The psychology of sales tells us that three non-personal telephone contacts with a potential client will result in an emotional connection. Sounds simple, but you would be surprised how many sales agents don’t put this easy strategy into practice.
Think of any time you have sat and performed cold calls. The first call is generally an introduction. The second, a bit warmer “Mr. Jones, it’s Bob Sellers with Veteran Realty, if you recall we spoke the other day”. By the third call you easily make the leap to a jovial and friendly tone, “Hey Jim, it’s Bob with Veteran Realty, how’s the family, I think I may have sighted a winner in your house hunting”.
Also, ensure that the initial contact makes a good professional impression, and then make regular follow-up salutations that do not come off as patronizing. For example, just a note to say Happy Veterans Day, welcome the new baby, or simply to say hello. Consider calling leads that you have not spoken to in quite some time.
Remember – everyone is lead. Develop a database of all your contacts, whether you purchase one or design it yourself, and make those positive connections on holidays, Veterans Day, or simply as a matter of routine.
VIII. Hustle – The Intangible
“Genius Is 1% Inspiration and 99% Perspiration” Thomas Edison
Let’s use a baseball analogy. Some say Pete Rose was the most talented baseball player ever. His personal statistics would make a sound argument for such an accolade. But, ask any of his peers and they will without hesitation tell you that what put Mr. Rose above the rest was not his innate talent, but his hustle – hence his nickname “Charlie Hustle”.
What we often lack in talent, can be made up for in tenacity and hustle. For the real estate agent, this means beating the bushes, pounding the pavement, and going the extra yard.
IX. Leads & Listings
As we already have discussed and know – the sales business is not a walk in the park. Especially in the real estate industry because unlike all other commodities, folks only purchase a few homes in their lives with long intervals in between. Also, according to the U.S. census only 12.5% of the population changed residence in 2010, and the trend is shrinking rather than increasing. But, renting is on the rise.
Ask just about any real estate agent, and they will swear that leads and listings are like trying to catch the wind. The point is, as a sales agent you must fill your database (or rolodex if you’re an old codger like yours truly) with present and potential clients. Again, everyone is a potential lead.
There are many promises of gold over them there hills, nirvana just around that bend, and tons of cheap inexpensive leads falling like manna from the sky. But, in reality you must grind them out, and we suggest you work both sides of the fence – listing as many homes for sellers as possible, and acquiring potential buyer leads. Work buyers and renters.
Today, most successful agents work with both the buyer, the seller, and the rental market. Listings provide an opportunity to earn you money while you are out doing other tasks, and leads provide the opportunity to not only sell your own listings but someone else’s too. You are the matchmaker, and your expertise will make the difference.
Being a real estate agent is your independent business – not hobby, that can only be conquered with tenacity and hard work.
X. Invest In Your Community To Generate Strong, Top-of-Mind Referrals
Our favorite marketing advice is to embrace community engagement. For example, throughout the entire year there are events being held at Veteran Service Organizations (VFW, American Legion, DAV, etc.) as well as other community events sponsored by various organizations. To help spread the word, many agents farm various neighborhoods with flyers and door hangers. What better way to garner goodwill and meet clients.
Thank you for joining our greater mission.
The Heroes News Network provides you more than exposure to millions of Veterans and their families:
- Providing branding and awareness opportunities that instill emotional connections with all Americans
- Resources to help launch your commissions
- The freedom and peace of mind to purchase advertising productions – that you continue to own, thus reducing your long term expenses
- Providing tools to connect with your community and build lasting relationships
- Your sponsorship helps to ensure that the free programming we provide to Veterans across our nation continues
How better a way to spend your hard earned advertising dollars – Helping Veterans, Helping Our Country, and Helping Your Business!
Your boot camp has ended. But, as a Veteran Real Estate Specialist the work never ends. Before shipping out, don your dress blues and report to the final Module: Be Proud Of What You Have Done.
Heroes News Network encourages agents to adhere to Fair Housing guidelines in your location as limited areas may interpret military status as a protected class. Agents in Massachusetts should not inquire about military status, instead should allow clients to self-identify. We may share customer information with our trusted partners. Heroes News Network is not affiliated with any government agencies, including the VA. We may share customer information with our trusted affiliates to assist you with your home search. Heroes News Network fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act | 7400 N. Oracle Road, Suite 310, Tucson, Arizona 85704