Sell 20% of your stock before it even hits the market
If agents ran their databases properly, portals might find themselves redundant.
Controversial opening statement aside, the reality is that estate agents were around long before the big three portals and their challengers. Agents used to match people they already knew with property they already had in a way that was far more intimate than the online lead driven world we live (and sell) in today.
Filofaxes and rolodexes were the first wave of PropTech and agents used them perfectly.
An agent would know their buyers so well, they’d be a call away for a deal the moment the right property came along. Better yet, they went looking for that stock, rather than waiting for it to pop up.
Here’s the interesting thing, those kind of deals are making a comeback.
In the last three months we’ve had conversations with three agents, all in separate markets across the country, who are moving around 20% of their new instructions within two weeks using an off-market or pre-market campaign.
Deals are done between the right parties (and the right agent) long before they ever hit the portals or broader market. Why look for more buyers when the best one is in your back pocket?
If you’re looking after our database then running successful off-market campaigns isn’t hard and can provide the base for a deeper relationship with your clients on both sides of the transaction.
Getting started usually just involves a little grunt work with current (or past and unsuccessful) buyers and getting disciplined with the way you contact these people and cultivate and maintain your relationship with them.
If you’re not doing this or want to improve — here’s why you might want to give it a shot.
I pay for the portals, I may as well just throw it on there straight away. Why bother?
Do something different
All agents are the same right? We know that’s not true, but your clients still think the opposite when they’re gearing up to engage you.
Prove to them that you do indeed “have the biggest database of buyers” and do in fact “work with buyers better than Jimmy down the road”.
In an instruction appointment, every agent says they’re different. Do the work with your buyers early, know you can deliver a unique opportunity and provide something truly different in your service to sellers.
We all know that the earlier a property sells, (usually) the higher the sale price.
Pre-market campaigns create a sense of exclusivity, competition and urgency. “Buy it before it hits the market” is a big reason to view and make competitive offers.
Do more for your buyers
The market has moved.
You need to get to know your buyers better and build strong relationships with all of your clients over the longer term.
A service that tells people about new deals before they hit the market will do that.
We’ll give you three guesses as to who’ll get the first call in to sell their home when the time comes too?
So how do I run an off-market campaign?
Capture the data
Database or die. The key lesson of estate agency. Get good data into your CRM.
Even though this is everything to a successful (and sustainable) business, it’s often not done properly. Enquiries, walk ins, viewings, referrals, friends and family, social media groups - constantly call and qualify your buyers.
Ask really (really!) good questions
Ask what these people are looking for — no, actually ask. Then write it down. Then put it into your CRM. Then ask more questions, and follow up questions to those questions.
They say they need four bedrooms? Ask why. They say it has to be within an hour of London? Ask why. The more you know the better you can serve.
Talk to everyone!
Pick up the phone
Get to know your clients! We’ve become so used to listing a property on a portal and getting enquiry that many in the industry have forgotten how to build long term relationships with people that aren’t necessarily in the market right now, but will move when you have something that’s right.
Act like an estate agent. Bridge the gap for your clients.
Building relationships is especially important for higher end buyers or investors.
So I know my buyers like the back of my hand, now what?
Start with a match campaign
All good CRMs will have a function to automatically send buyers new listings that match the profile you set up for them. The better your questions, the better their profile and the better your matching.
Off-market campaigns work exceptionally well when you can match specific properties with buyers with matching specific criteria.
Please don’t match outside certain requirements. That’s spam - spam sucks (read that again).
Secret property alerts
Ask your buyers if they want onto your secret property list (think of a cooler name for it than this).
Explain to them it’s for properties that you’ve literally just got the paperwork signed for, and it’s a maximum of five buyers per home. You’ll get the details of the home to them right away and without imagery or an address. Book the inspections when you’re taking the photos. The property will look at its best, the sellers won’t be home and you can have more than one party there at once.
Everyone will love this service — and having the photos taken adds to the sense of urgency.
Pre-market social media campaigns
This technique in particular is hugely effective.
Some especially forward-thinking agencies are using Facebook to market “preview listings” before they hit the portals.
Here’s how it works: Create a Facebook video of you sitting in a local cafe, talking about the property around the corner (find somewhere nearby). Describe the home, highlight the seller's motivation and let your followers know it’s only for the people watching the video, but they have to view within the next week.
Spend £20 and boost this ad to your local area.
For active buyers, this creates a sense of unique opportunity and exclusive deals — they are shown properties they literally will not see anywhere else.
And for everyone else, who do you think they’re going to see as the local market expert and the go-to agent in their town? (Hint: It’s you).
Bringing it all together
Off and pre-market sales. Give them a go before you throw your next instruction straight on the portals. With a bit of planning, some old and new strategies and a bit of hard work, you can create some seriously amazing outcomes for your buyers and sellers that will have your phone ringing and your market talking.