We’re half-way through November and have entered what is often referred to as “the slow season,” but for smart agents the season isn’t slow – it’s about a different set of activities.
“The market is definitely seasonal but agents shouldn’t have an off-season,” Says Jennifer Klaussen, Agent Trainer with Keller Williams Realty and Principal at LevelUp Strategies.
“The reason most agents’ income looks like a mountain range (high peaks and low valleys) is because they get distracted… with spring markets, holidays, kids home from school, market seasonality or other such shiny objects.”
So what can an agent do when the market slows? Here are five answers from experienced agents who’ve seen a few real estate seasons:
1) Lead Generation
“Lead Generation should happen every day, every week, every month of the year.” Says Klaussen. “When an agent focuses on their goals and makes time for lead generation on a consistent basis, they will thrive when others are blaming the winter.”
One simple proverb says, “You make time for the things that are important.” Klaussen’s advice is spot on. In a season of seemingly slow movement, there is someone contemplating a move. Getting and nurturing those leads now are the key to closings in the months to come.
Research shows the average home search takes 12 weeks, that means now is a good time to explore opportunities on Trulia and social media sites while potential contacts are inside web-surfing and trying to stay warm (in most places).
2) Learn a New Technology
30 plus year real estate veteran, Diana Rugh says when she started in real estate, “Nothing was instantaneous.” She’s seen the development and incorporation of personal computers, smart phones, and many technologies into the industry, and knows that as consumers and the environment changes, so must agents. A slow sales season is a great opportunity for agents to get up to speed on the tech that will put them ahead on the next rush.
Diana recommends agents stay open minded, “Many people resist technology but your clients are all using technology. It’s hard to change but you have customers who are in different generations and you have to adapt to their different styles to stay in this business.”
3) Get in the Buyer’s Seat
In a presentation at NAR’s Annual Convention, Broker and Head of Trulia Training Ginger Wilcox says, “For the first time in a long time, I am a home buyer and things are different.”
“You need to have all of the home search apps your consumers are using,” she advised the audience of agents and managers, and that good advice extends beyond apps. For both listing and buyers’ agents, participating in a faux home search using consumer only resources can be a helpful experience to help understand how consumers are experiencing your ads and listings.
4) Talk Up Some Business
Erik Baier, an agent with BCK Real Estate in Rochester, VT, says during the slow season “I mention to at least one new person every day that I sell real estate.” And, we think he’s got the right idea. Word of mouth advertising is still king and now-a-days agents have more opportunity than ever to talk themselves up.
Jill Ann Perry-Zarborowski, Salesperson with Keller Williams Oceanside in Margate City, NJ, says conversation starter resources that should be on agents’ slow season list are, “Expired calls, mailers, open houses, facebook, blogs, [and attending] chamber meetings, socials…”
In addition, consider talking yourself up online. Tools like Trulia Voices and Trulia’s Social Search are great for taking advantage of the giving spirit of the holiday season. Perhaps you should ask your past clients for the gift of a good recommendation this season? Or maybe, you can give the gift of some good advice?
5) Sharpen Your Skills
The slow sales season is a great opportunity for agents to sharpen their skills. Mary Winnett Giroux, Realtor with RE/Max Encore in Wilmington, MA, says agents should, “Take classes [and] get better at what [they] do.”
Take advantage of free webinars on Trulia or check out what your broker or local association has to offer.
At the end of the day there is no off season, just time to practice different business building skills. What skills or other business building efforts are you working on this “slow season?” That is, if you’re having one.