Help! (Part Two) by Mike Pallin, Floyd Wickman Master Trainer and President of the Floyd Wickman Team “Help, I need somebody. Help, not just anybody. Help, you know I need someone. Help!” – John Lennon
The very first thing we teach in every Floyd Wickman Program is his tried and true adage, “Listings are the name of the game.” This is what turned Floyd’s real estate career around after a full year of frustration and struggling, and it is the single most important awareness that has turned it around for hundreds of thousands of our graduates.
We also teach Floyd’s three part FORMULA for having a productive week – “Starting Monday, work on bringing in a saleable listing first. Separate lookers from buyers. Show and sell in-house inventory.” Work on bringing in a saleable listing first.
Our students who embrace Floyd’s philosophy and follow his FORMULA become consistent, volume listers just like Floyd did. Once he turned it around, he listed an average of 86 properties a year for 7 consecutive years.
Want more income? Increase your inventory. Our student surveys over the past five years show that you can reasonably expect two closings for every three listings you obtain.
The delightful dilemma of becoming a volume lister is that listings generate inquiries from prospective buyers. A lot of them. The more listings you promote, the more inquiries you get. That’s the delightful part. Inquiries become showings, and showings become offers, and most closings start with an offer.
Here’s the dilemma. If you are busy being a full time listing agent, obtaining, servicing, presenting offers, price reductions, feedback, coordinating closings – at a certain point you have precious little time for handling the inquiries, let alone time for driving buyers around showing houses. Sooner or later, push is going to come to shove with your time. The further dilemma is that if you neglect those inquiries, you leave a lot of business on the table.
The first place many producers look to free up their time is by hiring administrative help - to handle everything from errands to closing coordination. We wrote about how to do this last week.
The next logical place producers look for help is by hiring a buyer’s agent, and again this presents the same dilemma that admin help did. When you are busy enough to need help, you don’t usually have the time to find, train and manage help. Here are some suggestions about how to find, train and manage a buyer’s agent when you are too busy to find, train and manage a buyer’s agent.
Floyd’s Rules of Thumb for hiring assistants apply to hiring buyer’s agents as well.
- The person you are looking for is already known to you, or known to someone you know, so put the word out. “I’m looking to expand my business and I could use your help. Who do you know who . . . ?”
- Always hire on a trial basis, and you will always see their best effort first. And make sure you have regular reviews relatively quickly and relatively often.
- Look for someone you would be comfortable delegating to. If you feel at all subordinate to an assistant, you’ll end up walking on eggshells all the time.
- The right reason to hire someone to help you is to free you up to do more of what you do best. The wrong reason to hire someone is so that you can take more time off. The truth is if you hire someone for the right reason, you will end up getting more time off anyway.
There are plenty of agents in your company or association who love showing houses, and would love to get paid just to do that. Consider a limited services relationship to start. You continue to convert inquiries, interview and qualify, select, and then turn the buyers over to a showing agent. When they are ready to write an offer, the showing agent returns the buyers to you.
More likely, though, you want someone who can and will respond to inquiries as soon as they come in. This is the best place to begin if you want to develop a fully skilled buyer’s agent. Regardless of how much a buyer’s agent loves showing houses, if they don’t respond to inquiries quickly, they will always be dependent on you.
Once you find someone who responds to inquiries consistently, immediately and effectively, begin to develop their skill at converting the inquiry to a CITO. (If you’re asking, “What’s a CITO?” the answer is in The Floyd Wickman Program.)
Once a week have your buyer’s agent report to you. How many inquiries came in? How many did you respond to? How many have you had a conversation with? How many of those did you convert to an appointment to be qualified, select and look. How many of those actually showed up?
From there you build their skill by having them shadow you. Observation followed by Q&A is the best method of training. Remind your buyer’s agent in training that Observation is silent. Take notes. Ask questions later.
Finally, here’s a caveat that some producers have had to learn the hard way. Make it clear up front and in writing that ALL inquiries, all leads, all prospects and all clients belong to you. Enough said. It’s not about a lack of trust, it’s about clarity.
And by the way, if you know someone who has built a good, solid inventory and is now suffering from overwhelm - too many leads and not enough time in the day to get back to them – pass this article along to them. It might provide a little light at the end of the tunnel.