How easily can a real estate agent waste time on marketing? Well, it’s really easy, actually. There are so many things that can pull at your attention and keep you from doing the work that moves the needle. This is especially true in an increasingly digital world where distractions like social media and YouTube can easily suck the hours out of your day. Without realizing it, real estate agents can waste countless hours on things that don’t work well, and those who are struggling often don’t have a real plan of action in place to run their business.
So, let’s avoid those things that waste the most time. Here are four places real estate agents waste time and what to do about it.
Scrolling through social media sites can easily become a black hole of inefficiency. While sites like Facebook can be valuable for marketing your business, you need to understand what really works and what doesn’t. Scouting out your potential clients to gain info into their lives can work to a degree, but don’t spend too much time on it. Another time waster is what all real estate agents do: post all their listings on their personal pages. Sure, you may get a bite or two from your Facebook friends and connections, but in the long run, not much comes of it.
Instead, create a Facebook group specifically for showing houses. What this does is build a community of active home shoppers who will be notified every time you post a listing, as apposed to posting on your timeline, which gets little exposure. You’ll also have some buy in from people joining your group and are much more likely to start a conversation toward buying a house. Facebook ads and Instagram ads also work really well if done right. You can target specific people in your target demographic and are much more likely to strike up a deal.
Traditionally, real estate agents get a listing, stage it for potential buyers, then host an open house. While you may get some traffic through the house and plenty of people expressing their interest, you may have noticed that it doesn’t have a high rate of conversion. Then you may have potential home buyers who want to look at some houses. So, you let the current home owners know so they can prepare, you schedule showings at each house they want to look at, and hope they decide to put an offer on one. As you know by now, this can be a long (and costly) process, especially if the home shoppers are picky.
Luckily, there is a better, more innovative way to trim most of your time in showing houses. 3D virtual tours are the answer. By adding a virtual tour to your online listing, home shoppers can be “shown” a house at their own convenience. They can “walk through” houses and get a great feel for them. They can make most of their home buying decisions before they actually speak to you. When they do contact you, they are much more primed to buy and you’ll have to show much fewer homes in person and less often.
Part of what makes showing homes so time consuming is the amount of people who aren’t actually ready to buy a home. Many people may show up to an open house just to look around. Even fewer people want your card, and even fewer will contact you. You may also get many inquiries for listings online, but with very few of those people getting past the general interest phase. This holds true for marketing online as well. You may get emails and social media comments/messages asking about a listing, but often it doesn’t turn into much. It may seem enticing to try to go after these people, and you may get a few clients doing that, but you’ll be using your time unwisely in the long run.
Instead, feel out your potential clients with some discovery questions. Ask them if they are already preapproved. Learn about their current living situation and get on their level. Ask if they have a budget. See if they’ve already done some homework on their end. Casual shoppers won’t really have answers to most of these questions, but serious home shoppers will.
This is perhaps the biggest time waster for real estate agents. Many agents know several marketing techniques, but use them sporadically. Some days they are focusing on email, some days social media, and other days they spend all day on the phone. More than anything they do all those things without any real plan or strategy in place. What tends to happen is that real estate agents find it far too easy to procrastinate. Procrastination will kill your business. To beat it, you need real tactics and strategies to apply and practice daily.
Start by creating a daily routine. When you start out each morning, make a plan for checking email, social media, phone messages, etc. Set an exact time frame to do them and stay in that time frame. Set a goal to set at least one appointment before lunch, every day. (Sooner is better – some people set a goal to do this before 9:00 am, and they see incredible results.) Do not vary from your plan. If something unexpected pops up, determine if it is really a high priority. Otherwise, put in on your schedule for another day. Create checklists for each aspect of your marketing and check off those items each day. You’ll feel much more productive and your business will reflect it.