Five Prospecting Tips for the New Consumer Economy
By Shawna Suckow
Welcome to the era of Slow Prospecting. REALTORS® are well-versed in the art of building relationships over time. Your customers’ buying cycle is one of the longest out there. It can take years for them to be ready to buy that first – or next – home. The rest of the business world is finally understanding what you already know: that it takes time, and prospects can’t be rushed. That’s never been truer than it is today, with the major shift taking place in consumer behavior.
You’re ahead of the curve, but there’s more you can do to capitalize on the shifts in how consumers buy. Here are some tips for you:
- Leverage LinkedIn the right way. LinkedIn is a great way to make new connections, if done correctly (and that’s a big IF). Prospects hate what I call “hit and run prospecting.” That’s when someone reaches out to you with an immediate sales pitch. Buy my stuff. Hire me. Now. Does that work for anyone?? LinkedIn is the perfect place to meet qualified buyers in your area, but it takes a more personal approach. Do your research. Don’t pitch anything in the first communication, or even the second one. Just mention something you have in common, or something that piqued your interest about their profile, and simply ask to join their network. Start a conversation about something unrelated to your job.
- Try a video email. Did you know it’s over 70% more effective than regular email? People are curious about it, so they’re opening it and watching it. Tips: 1) Get a small dry-erase board and write their first name on it. Hold it up at the beginning of the video. That way, they know it was made just for them (not a massive generic effort). 2) Don’t be salesy. Being overly professional or sales-oriented can be a real turnoff in the era of authenticity. Just start a conversation.
- Referrals are incredibly important in real estate. How do you reward and acknowledge referrals? Are you asking for them regularly, and nurturing your existing customers, long after the sale? We relocated a lot before we had kids, and after the sale there were tumbleweeds. Nothing from the REALTOR®. Next, please! Today, there are some great subscription services that deliver monthly gifts for a year. Yes, they can be expensive, but it’s much easier to cultivate a referral than a new customer.
- Text marketing is the new black. It has a 99% open rate, so your messages get viewed. Tread lightly, though, and don’t send too many texts too frequently, unless your prospect is actively looking for homes. Look into one of the many services popping up to help you keep in touch with clients and prospects, but be sure the service has segmenting capabilities. That way, subscribers can indicate exactly what type of information they want, and how often. Younger buyers prefer texts over any other outreach method.
- Regardless of how you connect with a prospect, humanize yourself early. There’s a crisis of trust in our culture today, and it’s harder than ever to build it. If you’re too professional in how to speak or write, you’re actually creating a barrier to trust. We don’t trust salespeople or businesses anymore, so don’t sound like one. We trust regular people who are like us. Go for the Friend Zone instead of the Advisor Zone.
Home buying is so personal. We, of course, want someone knowledgeable, but more than ever, we also crave a level of comfort and trust with the person guiding us through one of the largest and most complex purchases of our lives.
In today’s buyer mindset, trust is everything. Become a master of establishing a level of comfort and trust quickly, and you’ll be successful in any economy.
About the Contributor
Hi, I’m Shawna Suckow, and here’s some inside info on me. I’m a speaker and emcee with some serious knowledge of consumer behavior. My style has been described as relatable, authentic, insightful and a fun delivery of serious facts.
I was a million-dollar B2B buyer in the hospitality industry for over 20 years. In 2008 I founded an association of B2B buyers, which now has over 2,500 members across North America. I began studying B2B and B2C consumer behavior in earnest in 2009, and speaking to audiences of salespeople, marketers and retailers who were frustrated with the shifting marketplace and the influences of technology. I have written three books, two of which have become best-sellers (can’t win ‘em all, I guess).
I live with my husband (a weekend Elvis Impersonator), my two teenagers, and my goofy golden retriever named Henry Jones, Jr.
Here’s my new speaker reel: https://youtu.be/9cGtmYeGLEc