I have No Listings!

Agents often complain that they’re experiencing a listings drought, but a combination of proactive and reactive prospecting activities can lead to an oasis. Christopher Wilson gives his opinion.

There is an old adage in real estate that you must always be thinking of your future income, not today’s.
I have no listings! This is a common cry from agents at the moment. There seems to be a shortage of stock in most price ranges, yet even so we know of agents who have had their best listing month in January, while others in the same market have had their worst.

What makes the difference?
In our travels around the state delivering CPD workshops we have observed that the agents that are listing well are those that have a farming or prospecting plan in place – and stick to it. Those that are complaining about the shortage of stock, when asked what prospecting they had done in the last six months retorted, There was no time, I was too busy selling what I had.

There is an old adage in real estate that you must always be thinking of your future income, not today’s. Once you have listed a property, you know that it has a strong possibility of selling. Once sold if you don’t have the stock to replace it, then the future looks bleak. So what is the answer?

If you think about it, there are two types of prospecting: proactive prospecting, and reactive prospecting.
So what is the difference and how does it affect you?

1. Proactive prospecting is what you do when you first joined the industry and had no leads. It is when you set the pace. You are not waiting on another event to give you leads, you are finding the leads yourself. The activities you did included: letter box drops, permanent reminders, direct mail, personal contacts, door knocking, telemarketing, expired listings, private advertisements/garage sales. Each method of proactive prospecting has its benefits and its drawbacks, but if all are done over a period of time, results will follow, as your name becomes well known.

2. Reactive prospecting is when you have listings that you are actively marketing. In other words, it’s the work that you do to sell a home that gives you listing leads. Reactive prospecting includes: open houses, open house buyer lists, signboards, advertising, mini magazines, property flyers (including: just listed, invitation to open house, the property brochure, invitation to auction, just sold, passed in, higher offers sought).
So how do you set up a Prospecting Plan?

1. First define your prospecting area.
It can be a geographical area or a combination of areas that represent the makeup of your area, and reflects what is being sold. Keep one thing in mind. Do not make it too big. 1200 properties is ideal. If your market has a 10% turnover rate each year then in an area of 1200 properties, 120 will be sold in the next twelve months. The biggest mistake agents make when defining a prospecting area is to make it too large. Once defined then…

2. Draw up a prospecting plan.
What activities are you going to undertake? When are you going to undertake them? What resources do you need? The aim is to make at least one contact with every person in your area at least once every month, with a combination of all the proactive activities. In doing so, you will become their agent before they need an agent.
3. Put the plan into place and stick to it.
To be effective prospecting has to be something that is a daily activity. One hour of each day should be set aside to implement your plan.
4. Don’t stop your prospecting activity when you have the listings. Change the way you prospect.

The more reactive prospecting you do, the less proactive prospecting you will need to do, but if listings fall away then it is back to proactive activities. Once you are on the wheel, your prospecting activities will ensure you list and sell consistently, without interruption to your income.

Christopher Wilson B.A.(Econ.) is the Compliance and Training Manager of Think Real Estate www.thinkrealestate.net.au a specialist provider of training, compliance and support services to the real estate industry in the Eastern States. All trainers and assessors at Think Real Estate are qualified real estate agents with extensive practice experience and industry knowledge.

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