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How To Get The Listing Every Time!

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With this post, I am introducing the new iRuss.  Here is another email from Raymond:

Hi Russell,

I’m trying to get some realistic perspective on the fall out rate of listings as experienced by successful listing specialists.  It’s not my intention to invade your privacy so I will understand should you ignore my request.  Anyway here is what I’d like to know:

How many listing appointments/presentations did your team make in the past year?

How many listings did your team take in the past year?

Of those how many sold?

And, how many expired or were canceled or withdrawn?

Of those that did cancel or withdrawn, what was the most common reason?

Thanks for your help.  And thanks for answering my previous question to you on AG.

It was extremely helpful

Take care and be well.

There are several ways to be able to say, “I take a listing for almost every appointment I go on”.  They are pretty much all stupid.

In 2006 we took 612 listings.  In 2007 we took 524 listings.  This year, Jan – May we’ve taken 187.  I don’t have stats for the past twelve months handy but believe I can answer your questions.

In 2006 our percentage of appointments to listings taken was about 56%.  We went on just under 1,100 face to face appointments.  We closed 405 escrows in 2006, about 60 of them buyer deals.  In 2007 my number of escrows dropped to 369.  312 of them were seller deals.  The percentage of listings taken to appointments for 2007 was 49.90%.  Just under half.

So far this year (through the end of May) we have gone on 406 appointments, Jan – May we’ve closed 106 escrows.  Our percentage of listings taken to appointments this year is about 46%.  This number has always changed with the market.  At the highest (for the year – not a particular month) it was years back nearly 60%.  Over the years, it has usually been around 55% listings taken to appointments.  Right now we are intentionally going on more appointments (therefore a lower percentage) as our “problem” isn’t the Listers are too busy.  Even though some days lately we physically have (with 3 Listers) 9 face to face, in the home interviews – in a single day.  Why yes, my new TV ad has caused the phone to ring more.  

What is interesting (besides the utterly horrible long term downward trend of my major stats) is how “good and bad” we are doing compared to the market.  For the past twelve months my percentage of of listings taken to those listings sold is 60.9%  That is just awful, in the past 12 months we aren’t selling almost 40% of the listings taken.  It is just awful and at the same time, a hell of lot better than almost everybody else here.  Most agents in my market area are selling about 20% in that same time period.  Not selling 80% of what was listed.  Most of the better agents are running around 41 – 43% sold.

Why did they cancel?  Or why did we cancel?  Oh, there are lots and lots of “reasons” given.  But there is really just one.  We didn’t sell the house.  With the exception of their transfer fell through or they can’t move to the new city after all, all of other “reasons” are crap.  We didn’t sell the house.  My advertised average time to sell is 44 days.  That is going back one year and compares to a market average for the same time of 121 days.  That was true as of May 1st.  As of June 1st, my average dropped (going back 365 days) to 42 days and the market average increased to 126 days.  Because they are calling me for results, if I don’t perform in the time they expect, they fire me.

So…. anyone going on more than a few appointments (their friends, relatives, etc.) is not listing them all.  If they think they are, they are keeping really crappy records.  Some agents only count an appointment if they took the listing – which is a great way to bat 1000 all the time.  Or they only had 1 or 2 listings in a year and sold them both.  Well done.  But if going on lots of appointments and taking lots of listings plan on them not all selling.  That way, your plans will match the reality of the business.

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at nohasslelisting.com and number1homeagent.com.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Matthew Rathbun

    June 11, 2008 at 5:36 am

    “There are several ways to be able to say, “I take a listing for almost every appointment I go on”. They are pretty much all stupid.” LOL – ROFLMAO

    All I can say is that I simply enjoy reading your stuff. Thanks for contributing and giving insight into a winner’s mind!

  2. Charles Woodall

    June 11, 2008 at 6:44 am

    Russell, you take transparency to a whole new level. There certainly aren’t many agents who are willing to share their numbers, good or bad, like you have here. Personal growth in this business is contingent on being able to compare ones own numbers with those of successful agents.

    Thank you laying it all out there! This post is just another of example of why you da man!

  3. Bill Lublin

    June 11, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Russell;
    I love reading your posts because its like hanging out with a great agent with a good work ethic. Oh that’s right its because you ARE a great agent with a good work ethic,

    I remember going to a CRS class long ago. The Instructor surveyed the room asking,” How Many People lose 20 listings a year?” A number of hands went up. I thought ,”Wow, they must be really bad listing agents”. He kept counting down until he asked “How many people in the room didn’t lose any listings?” I held my hand up proudly until he said,”Then you aren’t listing enough”
    Ooops – Pride does goeth before the fall don’t it?

  4. ines

    June 11, 2008 at 8:33 am

    ooooh! ooooh! I want an iRuss!!

    Your numbers are impressive even in a slow market – gives us (the little people), something to look up to – I always have your commercials in the back of my mind…..I’ll have to invite you to Miami to consult and have some Stonecrabs.

  5. Mariana Wagner

    June 11, 2008 at 8:43 am

    I want an iRuss also! A mini iPod crammed full of Russell Shaw podcasts and videos… You know, there could be some $$ that idea…

    I would HATE to take every listing appointment that we go on. We usually do A LOT of foot work ahead of the appointment – which definitely helps us avoid some disasterous non-appointments. But even then, sometimes as we are at the appointment, we learn about things that cause us to NOT take the listing. Honestly, it is more us not TAKING it than us not GETTING it. My business plan does not allow me to take a listing that is overpriced or in a condition (physically/financially/emotionally … ) where I do not think that I can do the BEST by my seller clients.

    I agree. Anyone who says they get EVERY listing is not keeping good records.

  6. BawldGuy Talking

    June 11, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Russell — You’ve strewn the ground with gold nuggets for all, as is your habit.

    I’m wondering how incredibly valuable it would be if you and your team did a postmortem on the listings not selling in the last 12 months.

    1. Did you discover new reasons to turn down a new listing?

    2. Was there an area harboring more than their share of unsold listings?

    3. Was there a pattern showing numbers of bedrooms/bathrooms (or other physical attributes or lack thereof) being shunned by buyers?

    4. Was there a particular (and discernible) seller mindset hindering the sales process?

    5. Was there an area/neighborhood which was, for some reason, consistently listed over market value?

    In other words, I wonder if aside from being overpriced, which isn’t your style, there are factors waiting to be uncovered.

    Would this ‘autopsy’ be worth the time spent, Russell?

    Thanks for the peek behind the curtain.

  7. Eric Blackwell

    June 11, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Russ;

    Thanks for the solid info and insight. I’d also (like Bawld Guy) be curious about what the post mortems might look like. A little data mining might either say to be more stringent in taking listings or otherwise help guide your training efforts.

    Well done!

    Eric

  8. Dru Bloomfield

    June 11, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Well, Russell, that inspired me to go back and look at my numbers more closely. Thanks for the education and inspiration!

  9. Jay Thompson

    June 11, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    I’m just stopping by, hoping a little of Russ’ mojo rubs off on me. The man is genius.

  10. Erion Shehaj

    June 11, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    “So…. anyone going on more than a few appointments (their friends, relatives, etc.) is not listing them all. If they think they are, they are keeping really crappy records.”

    Speaking of keeping records, what does a Millionaire Real Estate Agent use to do just that?

    (I feel an “It doesn’t matter what you use as long as you do it” type of answer coming… But I had to ask. At least until the iRuss hits the sto’ 🙂

  11. mike simonsen

    June 11, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Outstanding info Russell! I love learning how people measure their businesses. It takes real cojones to share so openly. gracias

  12. Andy Kaufman

    June 11, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    I’m waiting for the 3G iRuss 2.0 to come out.

    Seriously though… Great advice and really timely info for me personally.

    We do a lot of REO’s and after learning the hard way, we started passing on listings in locations where we felt our safety might be in question. We’ve had a few crazy run-ins over the past year and it’s just not worth risking it over.

    Pricing is a crap shoot and we don’t get the list price until it hits the market and that’s well into the process. Sometimes they’re priced well right off the bat, sometimes they’re not. If they don’t sell, the bank keeps lowering the prices until they do, so that’s not such a big deal.

  13. Holly White

    June 12, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    When I first got into this business I thought if I didn’t sell every listing I took, there was someting wrong with me, no matter what price the seller set the listing at (even if it was against my better judgement). When I finally got wise and realized that it wasn’t me (and that they shoudl have listed closer to my recommendation), I took listings a little more light-heartedly or didn’t take them at all. If a home is priced right for the market conditions, it’s physical condition and geographic location it will sell. But it’s still a numbers game. Now I need to go back and do some research on what my percentages are. Thanks Russ! I’m in for one of those iRuss’s!

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Business Marketing

Coworkers are not your ‘family’ [unpopular opinion]

(MARKETING) “I just want you to think of us as family,” they say. If this were true, I could fire my uncle for always bringing up “that” topic on Thanksgiving…

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family coworkers

The well-known season 10 opener of “Undercover Boss” featured Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar. Brandon Landry, owner, went to the Lafayette location where he worked undercover with Jessica Comeaux, an assistant manager. Comeaux came across as a dedicated employee of the company, and she was given a well-deserved reward for her work. But I rolled my eyes as the show described the team as a “family.” I take offense at combining business and family, unless you’re really family. Why shouldn’t this work dynamic be used?

Employers don’t have loyalty to employees.

One of the biggest reasons work isn’t family is that loyalty doesn’t go both ways. Employers who act as though employees are family wouldn’t hesitate to fire someone if it came down to it. In most families, you support each other during tough times, but that wouldn’t be the case in a business. If you’ve ever thought that you can’t ask for a raise or vacation, you’ve probably bought into the theory that “work is a family.” No, work is a contract.

Would the roles be okay if the genders were reversed?

At Walks-Ons, Comeaux is referred to as “Mama Jess,” by “some of the girls.” I have to wonder how that would come across if Comeaux were a man being called “Daddy Jess” by younger team members? See any problem with that? What happens when the boss is a 30-year-old and the employee is senior? Using family terminology to describe work relationships is just wrong.

Families’ roles are complex.

You’ll spend over 2,000 hours with your co-workers every year. It’s human nature to want to belong. But when you think of your job like a family, you may bring dysfunction into the workplace.

What if you never had a mom, or if your dad was abusive? Professional relationships don’t need the added complexity of “family” norms. Seeing your boss as “mom” or “dad” completely skews the roles of boss/employee. When your mom asks you to do more, it’s hard to say no. If your “work mom or dad” wants you to stay late, it’s going to be hard to set boundaries when you buy into the bogus theory that work is family. Stop thinking of work this way.

Check your business culture to make sure that your team has healthy boundaries and teamwork. Having a great work culture doesn’t have to mean you think of your team as family. It means that you appreciate your team, let them have good work-life balance and understand professionalism.

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Business Marketing

These tools customize your Zoom calls with your company’s branding

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Zoom appears to be here to stay. Here are the tools you need to add or update your Zoom background to a more professional – or even branded – background.

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Zoom call on computer, but there's more options to customize.

If you haven’t had to deal with Zoom in 2021, you may be an essential worker or retired altogether. For the rest of us, Zoom became the go-to online chat platform around mid-March. For several reasons, and despite several security concerns, Zoom quickly pushed past all online video chat competitors in the early COVID-19 lockdown days.

Whether for boozy virtual happy hours, online classes for school or enrichment, business meetings, trivia nights, book clubs, or professional conferences, odds are if you are working or in school, you have been on a Zoom call recently. Many of us have been on weekly, if not daily, Zoom calls.

If you are the techy type, you’ve likely set up a cool Zoom background of a local landmark or a popular spot, a library, or a tropical beach. Comic-con types and movie buffs created appropriate backgrounds to flex their awesome nerdiness and technical smarts.

Many people have held off creating such an individualized background for our virtual meetings for one of any number of reasons. Perhaps it never occurred to them, or maybe they aren’t super comfortable with all things techy. Many people have been holding out hope of returning to their offices, thus seeing no need to rock the boat. I’m here to tell you, though, it’s time. While I, too, hope that we get the pandemic under control, I am realistic enough to see that working or studying from home will continue to be a reality for many people for some time.

Two cool, free tools we’ve found that can help you make your personal Zoom screen look super professional and even branded for business or personal affairs are Canva and HiHello. While each platform has a paid component, creating a Zoom background screen for either application is fairly simple and free.

Here’s how:

Canva is the online design website that made would-be graphic designers out of so many people, especially social media types. It’s fairly user-friendly with lots of tutorials and templates, and the extremely useful capabilities of uploading your own logo and saving your brand colors.

Using Canva, first create your free account with your email. It functions better if you create an account, although you can play around with some of the tools without signing up. The fastest way from Point A to Point B here is to use the search box and search for “Zoom backgrounds.” You now can choose any one of their Zoom background templates, from galaxy to rainbows and unicorn to library books or conference rooms. Choose an inspirational quote if you’d like (but really, please don’t). Download the .jpg or .png, save it, and you can upload it to Zoom.

To create a branded Zoom background in Canva, it will take slightly more work. It was a pain in the butt for me, because I had this vision of a backdrop with my logo repeated, like you see as a backdrop at, you know, SXSW or the Grammys or something. Reach for the stars, right?

OK, the issue with this was that I had to individually add, resize, and place each of the 9 logos I ended up with. I figured out the best way to size them uniformly (I resized one and copied/pasted, instead of adding the original size each time (maybe you’re thinking “Duh,” but it took me a few failed experiments to figure out that was the fastest way to do it).

Once you have your 9 loaded in the middle of the page, start moving them around to place them. I chose 9, because the guiding lines in Canva allow me to ensure I have placed them correctly, in the top left corner, middle left against the margin that pops up, and bottom left. Same scenario for the center row.

Magical guide lines pop up when you have the logo centered perfectly, so I did top, middle, and bottom like that, and repeated for the right hand margin. Then I flipped them, because they were showing up in my view on Zoom as backward. That may mean they are now backward to people on my call; I will need to test that out! Basically, Canva is easy to use, but perhaps my design aspirations made it tricky to figure out.

Good luck and God bless if you choose more than 9 logos to organize. Oh, and if you are REALLY smart, you will add one logo to a solid color or an austere, professionally appropriate photo background and call it a day, for the love of Mary. That would look cool and be easy.

HiHello is an app you can download to scan and keep business cards and create your own, free, handy dandy digital business card. It comes in the form of a scannable QR code you can share with anyone. Plus, you can make a Zoom background with it, which is super cool! It takes about five minutes to set up, truly! It works great!

The Zoom background has your name, the company name, and your position on one side and the QR code on the other. The QR code pulls up a photo, your name, title, phone number, and email address. It’s so nifty! And the process was super easy and intuitive. Now, If I took my logo page from Canva and made that the background for my HiHello virtual Zoom screen, I would be branded out the wazoo.

Remember there are technical requirements if you want to use HiHello on a Mac. For example, if you have a mac with a dual core processor, it requires a QUAD. However, on a PC, it was really simple.

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Business Marketing

Finally: A smart card that manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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