If you’re only talking about homes for sale or asking for referrals or business in your marketing, you may be turning some clients off.
In the quest to be “professional,” some real estate agents want to keep their marketing and communications all business. But this tactic can actually backfire if your marketing only focuses on hard-selling advertising and business, business, business. Leads, prospects and your current sphere of influence may view you as pushy—or worse, start ignoring your posts, unsubscribing from your emails, and turning a blind eye to your ads. So, what’s the alternative to the hard sell? The soft sell.
What’s the soft-sell approach?
Soft-sell marketing tactics help you engage with your audience without directly selling a specific product. In real estate, that translates to building long-term, personal relationships with your clients and prospects instead of constantly promoting your listings, directly asking former clients for referrals out of the blue, or running digital ads to the same audience over and over. There’s nothing wrong with promoting listings, running ads and asking for referrals, but it can become a turn-off if that’s ALL you’re serving up to your sphere.
Unlike hard selling, soft selling means you are willing to take the time to learn about your customer, recognize their needs and concerns and offer them resources and insights to help. A strong relationship develops over time without any in-your-face sales tactics. Hard selling is more transactional and forceful, which might work in the short term with some buyers, but rarely results in repeat business or referrals.
So here are 4 reasons why the soft sell is the best sell for real estate agents:
- It builds strong long-term connections
The real estate business is all about relationships and real people are at the heart of every transaction. Even in this tech-driven digital age, people want to do business with people they know, like and trust. And getting to know someone and getting them to like and trust you is a long game. Soft selling requires persistence and consistency throughout the years. Touching base regularly using a variety of communication tactics to foster real, authentic interactions is the secret to building a relationship that lasts the test of time and encourages referrals.
- It wins you repeat business
Recent NAR research reports that 13% of buyers used an agent that they had worked with before. And in addition, the typical seller has recommended their agent twice since selling, and 27% have recommended their agent 4 or more times! Not right away, usually, but 5, 10 or 20 years down the line, they will work with you again – and it’s likely that they will recommend you in the meantime. So if you don’t actively work to maintain a relationship with those clients, you could miss out on valuable repeat business. Successful real estate agents are in it for the long haul, and they prioritize relationship building in their marketing efforts to create lifelong customers.
- It encourages referrals
If you’re engaging in soft-selling practices, you are inherently employing top-of-mind marketing tactics. When someone in your sphere has a conversation with someone in their sphere who is looking to buy or sell, who will they think of first? The agent who sent them an Instagram DM when their kid got into college? Or the agent who they met at a party once and has been sending them mailers with no context ever since? Who would you rather work with?
Staying top of mind is paramount for encouraging referrals from your sphere. Soft selling is all about creating authentic, personal interactions and subtly reminding your connections that you are an active, successful real estate agent that knows your city inside and out.
- It demonstrates your value
Instead of telling people about how knowledgeable you are about the market, use soft-sell strategies to demonstrate your expertise. This allows you to position yourself as a leader in your industry by offering valuable insights, information and resources that could be beneficial to buyers and sellers at every point in their real estate journey. By doing this, you’ll increase the likelihood that people in your sphere will share your content with their circles.
Soft Selling Tips for Real Estate Agents
Soft-selling as a real estate agent has 2 main objectives – one is to stay in touch with clients that you’ve worked with previously and stay top of mind so that they recommend you to people in their network who are looking to buy/sell. The other main objective is to nurture your prospects – those people in your circle who you haven’t worked with professionally – yet! – but may pass along your name to their circle and choose you to represent them when they are ready to buy/sell.
- Prioritize relationship-building efforts – Relationships are built slowly through multiple touchpoints – in-person, phone calls, print mailers, emails and newsletters, and social media. Think about how you can leverage each of these to connect with your prospects and former clients.
- Listen to and engage often with your sphere – All of your communications should not center around business. Be sure to have real conversations and engage with the real-time events in their lives. Social media makes this so much easier!
- Be relatable, authentic, and personable – Don’t be afraid to talk about your business but be sure to share a bit of your personal life too so that people connect with you on an emotional level and continue to build trust.
- Be willing to answer questions – You know your market inside and out, but people who are thinking of buying or selling always have questions. You can truly set yourself apart from other agents by being readily available when they have questions or need guidance.
- Provide valuable information, insights and resources – Think about what your leads, clients, and prospects would love to know and create a resource to help them. This can be a checklist, a blog post, a video, a tip on social media or more. If you provide value your sphere will recognize your expertise and will seek you out when they are ready to take on a real estate transaction.
- Stay top of mind – Send monthly newsletters and follow up with a phone call to those that respond to you, clicks through, or opens it. Be active on social media, host client appreciation events, send home purchase anniversary postcards and more. Find ways to touch base with your sphere and keep that connection warm for years to come.
How CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty helps our agents with their soft-sell strategy
At Redwood, we know how important soft-selling and continued communication is to the success of our agents. So we include a number of resources to make it easier to stay in touch and stay top of mind with your sphere of influence. Here’s a few of them:
Chirp™ 41-point annual client communication plan
Chirp™ for C21 Redwood Realty helps you generate opportunity from people who already know you. Simply load your contacts and choose your messages. Easy! Your annual communication plan includes 41 amazing messages per contact per year! We’ve negotiated a 50% discount for our agents too! Learn more here.
Life at Home monthly e-newsletter template
Redwood provides a free customizable email newsletter template for our agents every month. It’s an easy-to-use template; you can add or delete articles and add a personal message. Download your customized version and simply schedule a send date! Your information and your clients’ will be included automatically. If you’re a Redwood agent, go to accessRedwood and click on Redwood CRM to get started.
This valuable marketing tool is a great lead-generator because it keeps our agents top-of-mind with their sphere of influence. It’s a subtle reminder that the agent is readily available for all of their real estate needs.
This particular soft sell has become a staple among Redwood agents.
Pre-made social media graphics and postcard designs
Redwood’s team provides social media graphics/postcards centered around holidays, seasons, and other themes. Agents can use them on their own social channels and/or send to their sphere of influence. These graphics ideally ignite conversation and keep the agents top of mind with their SOI!
Dedicated Agent Support Managers (ASMs)
Our ASMs are always there if agents need help executing/planning a soft sell strategy. Read more here.
“Real Estate Conversation Starters” Facebook Live Series
At Redwood, we believe that conversations are key to conversions! Our Real Estate Conversation Starters show airs daily, Monday through Friday, on Facebook Live. Each episode talks about pairing a marketing strategy with a conversation starter. Watch all the videos in this series here.
Contact us to learn more about Redwood.