Houston, we have a problem.
In 2004 our company surveyed more than 481,000 REALTORS® with an average of 12.1 years in the business. You know what their number-one need was? To get more customers. Then in 2008 we surveyed nearly a million agents and asked them what their number one concern was, going forward. Again, overwhelmingly, it was finding enough business.
Even earlier this year (2010), I ran an unofficial poll on my blog. We have thousands of agent visitors every week. Guess what the number one concern was this year? You got it… finding enough business. It’s so bad that agents are leaving the business today like never before.
Of course, the National Association of Realtors® won’t give us an official number, but I have a very reliable source that tells me we’ve lost over 30% of the agents this last year alone, from a high of around 1.3 million, now down to about 900,000! If that’s true, that’s a drop of over 30% in a little over a year!
But the real question is why is it so bad? I’ll tell you what I think: I believe that real estate has lost its “middle class”. There are just no average producers any more. Today, agents are either doing 10 plus deals a month or they’re struggling just to do a deal a quarter. They’re either killing it, or getting killed… one or the other. There’s just no middle ground. That’s how bad it is.
Now let’s think about that a minute. Even with the recent mortgage meltdown and the economic downturn, the actual number of home sales is only off by about 10%. But… the number of agents is down by 30%! So every agent really ought to be busier than he was a year ago.
But if you spend any time around agents, you’ll realize pretty quickly that most of them are really struggling just to make it. So what’s the deal? Well, I’ll tell you what the deal is: the REALTOR “middle class” is gone. Listen, I’m still a broker, and I personally manage a company of local agents.
I also personally coach and mentor hundreds more from all over the world. In other words, I’m involved in real estate, at ground zero, every single day. I’m not locked away in some corporate ivory tower. So I get to see it first hand even in my own brokerage.
I personally write and sign the commission checks, so I can tell you that I have some agents that make more in a month than others do in a year. I have new agents actually making more money than 20 year veterans. Here’s why: Because real estate’s changed, and those who change with it are making tons of money, and those that don’t are barely scraping by or they’re quitting the business altogether. It’s really that simple.
I didn’t tell you all that to depress you. In fact, if you’re wondering about your career in real estate, or if you’re wondering about getting into real estate, there’s never been a better time to be an agent than right now! I have agents around the world that are having their best years ever. Because they’ve adapted.
Sure real estate’s changed, but they just changed with it. Now many of them are dominating their local markets because they don’t have the number one problem facing most agents today: not enough customers. And if you are a listing agent, that means sellers.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Just ask anyone who’s been in real estate for any length of time, and they’ll tell you that this business is becoming a business of extremes. Either you have more business than you can handle, or you struggle to pay the bills. There is no middle ground. And it’s getting worse every year.
At the rate we are trending, before long you’ll either have a large real estate team, or you’ll work for one. It’s called consolidation, and it’s happening in every industry, and it’s certainly happening in real estate. All the traditional ways of getting business are becoming less and less effective, and many veteran agents are getting frustrated to the point of wanting to leave the business.
But what if I told you that you could easily get 2 or 3 new inbound listing leads every single day? What if you were able to generate 10-15 new seller leads every week, week in and week out? Leads who were not only interested in selling their homes, but also, in many cases, had begun looking for a replacement home?
Would that make it easier to become a top listing agent? Would that make it easier to list two homes every week? Well, I solved my lead problem, and that’s exactly why I listed so many houses. It was actually very simple as soon as I had lots of opportunities.
Let me ask you another question: when you’re “desperate” for that listing, don’t you think the seller can tell? Of course he can. And if you very seldom get any seller leads, you can’t help communicating that sense of need. Whether you do it consciously or not, the message comes across loud and clear.
Often your desperation is obvious, so you feel you have to drop your commission just so you can get that listing. Then once you actually do get the listing, it’s hardly worth the trouble. Once you deduct the cost of all the advertising you’ve promised and all the other listing expenses, the resulting commission doesn’t begin to make you any real money.
But what if you really did get 10-15 listing leads every week? Do you think you’d appear much less frantic? Would you convey a totally different message of “I really don’t care if I get this listing or not”? Absolutely! And when you combine that relaxed attitude with an incredibly innovative listing presentation (you’ll see what I mean), you’ll find yourself swamped with new listings.
I know from experience. You’ll become irresistible! But if the listing leads aren’t there, you’ll not be able to convey that same “take-it-or-leave-it” subliminal message to your sellers. So you absolutely have to solve the listing-lead problem first. That’s the bottom line — it all begins with solving the lead problem. And no, I’m not talking about buying leads.
Many agents believe that lead vendors have ruined our industry. I disagree. Don’t get me wrong: they’ve made it very tough to survive, but they’ve really done us a favor. Without them, most agents would’ve never realized that our customers had moved to the Internet. And for those who are unwilling to learn how to capture new business effectively from the Internet, those lead vendors serve as a valuable, albeit expensive, safety net and source of business.
It’s not only possible; it’s probable that you can get the majority of your business from the Internet today. Using LCM Gateway technology, our average agent generates 40-50 seller leads every single month. And each of them generates nearly 100 buyer leads as well! They don’t have to depend on lead vendors for their business.
Instead, they make their own leads as they need them, and they do it at a much lower cost and a much higher quality than if they bought leads from a lead vendor. They’ve taken their success into their own hands.
View all articles in this series:
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 1)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 2)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 3)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 4)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 5)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 6)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 7)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 8)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 9)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 10)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 11)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 12)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 13)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 14)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 15)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 16)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 17)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 18)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 19)
- The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 20)
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Matt Jones is the founder and CEO of FavoriteAgent.com, nationally syndicated columnist, broker, and best selling author of LCM: The Secret to Success in the New Age of Real Estate, The Ultimate Listing Presentation, Traffic: How to Sell Fast and Net More, Becoming a Mega-Producer, The Science of Online Marketing, 10 Steps to Real Estate Success, 20 Questions: Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Real Estate but Were Afraid to Ask, The Virtual Office Model, Max-Bang!, and The NEW Ultimate Listing Presentation. Jones' North Carolina-based company has been profiled by major media outlets as an innovator and a pioneer in the industry, and CNN's Pulse on America claimed FavoriteAgent.com is "changing the way real estate is being done in America." This article is syndicated in the following locations: iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, BlogMattBlog.com, RealBlogging.com, NewsGeni.us, TheCommissionCheck.com, RevampedAgent.com, and now Amazon Kindle.