When your real estate income gets stuck, take one step forward

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

When you’re selling real estate (or providing any other service), you naturally want to do a little better each year. After all, your living expenses do rise each year.

Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn’t happen. Sometimes you get stuck. agent with income stuck

Your income might not go down, but it doesn’t go up, either. You’re in a rut, and that rut seems to get deeper and harder to climb out of. You're like a hamster running on a wheel, never going anywhere.

Whether you’re a seasoned agent who has gotten stuck, or a new agent wondering how to build a business, the solution is to take one step toward your goal every day.

Everywhere you turn there is a little more advice on how to super-charge your career, but when you think about trying to take some of that advice, it can seem overwhelming. After all, there are only so many hours in a day.

Start at the beginning …

First, look at what you’ve done in the past to create more business.

Have you stopped doing any of those things that worked? Perhaps you should revisit them. 

If you’re still doing them, but they’re not working as well as they used to, maybe you could add a twist. If you’ve been prospecting by mail, perhaps you should switch from postcards to letters – or from letters to postcards. If you’ve been emailing, perhaps you should do it on a different day of the week – or add something new and fresh to your emails. Maybe you should experiment with different subject lines.

If you’re prospecting to a niche market, maybe you should think about whether you’ve saturated that market for the moment. It might be time to expand your territory or add another niche.

Maybe it’s time to add something new.

If you haven’t been prospecting, start there – with one step at a time.

Take one day to choose a territory or a niche. The next day, get the addresses. On day 3, transfer that information to your contact management program. On day 4, upload your letters and set up your system to personalize and print them. The next day, begin mailing. If funds are low, start with a small list and build it as the closings come in.

I'm assuming that you're already sending "just listed," "under contract," and "Just sold" cards. If I'm wrong about that - now is the time to begin.

You may be able to get lists from your Title company or some other local source. If not, do check out Cole Realty Resources.  

mailboxesWhen prospecting by postal mail, experiment with ways to get your message opened. (Then keep track of the results.) Some agents use bright colored envelopes. Some hand-write all of their envelopes. Some eliminate the return address. Some use company letterhead for both the envelope and the message. Some write a “teaser” on the envelope.

Something I used to do when I had a real estate agency was use greeting card sized envelopes, with the message folded to fit. When I opened my own real estate agency, the first mailing that went out was a greeting card we printed at the office. The front read “What’s the Difference?” Inside we explained that Cliff Realty was the difference – and why. “The Difference” became our tag line.

When some other business in town billed themselves as “the difference” one of our customers came to the office in an outrage – the nerve of anyone to steal our line!

Since email costs almost nothing to send, add a capture box to your website and begin email marketingcollecting names. Set an auto responder to respond immediately and again at pre-set intervals. Be sure to use a different capture box for buyers and for sellers, then set the system to add them to separate mailing lists. Persuade your visitors to sign up by offering good information in exchange for their name and email address.

Use some action words in that invitation. Phrases like “get your free report," "claim your free report," or "discover six ways to…” are more effective than “sign up here.” You can also add the word “now” or “today” to create a feeling of urgency.

Again, instead of becoming overwhelmed and putting the whole project on hold until you have a whole day to devote to it, break it down and do one step each day.

Be sure you DO follow up after capturing those addresses!

If you don’t have the time or desire to write your own letters, use one or more of the 40+ letter sets I offer at Copy by Marte.

If you haven’t been doing videos or using social networks for marketing, it might be time to start.

If you’re anything like me, the idea is terrifying, but… it might be time to face the fear and do it anyway.

But how? It looks overwhelming. There is SO much to learn.

small steps to successBy taking baby steps. Choose what you’re going to do, then take just one small step toward it each day. Many Active Rain bloggers are experts in one or both of these subjects and they generously share their knowledge in posts. The Active Rain University has more good advice.

So go – read – and take one step toward the goal each day, even if it’s a small one. (Reading and digesting one article each day would be a good start.)

To draw more visitors to your website, so they can opt in to hear from you, write a comprehensive community page, or have one written for you. Here are examples of pages I’ve written.

These pages will draw visitors that Zillow, Realtor.com, etc. won’t draw, simply because they don’t offer that information. (Do be sure to include keywords that will help visitors find you.)

Then start blogging, or increase your blogging efforts.

Add even more value to the community information by blogging about life in the community. Share news about good restaurants, art galleries, museums, wine tasting venues, health clubs, your favorite veterinarian or dog groomer, neighborhood festivals, non-profit benefits, dog parks, concerts, movie theaters, golf courses, swimming pools, tennis courts, and ??

In other words, blog about anything and everything that might interest someone who is thinking about moving into the community.

Again, be sure to use keywords that will help those potential clients find you.

Don’t stop there…

If you have a specific niche, write blog posts that reveal your expertise. For instance, if you sell waterfront homes, you could write about the regulations for building on the waterfront. If you sell historic homes write about how to preserve their unique features or how the National Historic Register might affect those home buyers. If you serve first time buyers, write about financing programs, seminars, etc.

Whatever your niche, there are things you know that your prospects want or need to know.

What if it takes you a week to write that blog post? That’s fine. As long as you’re working on it steadily, you’re moving forward.

If you haven’t been getting out and making yours a familiar face among the people you want to serve, start.

Become a regular at the neighborhood coffee shop, and chat with the staff and others there. Stop by the yard sales in your target neighborhood. Volunteer with a group that serves your niche. Join the adult booster club for your neighborhood’s schools - and go cheer your teams on to victory.

If you can find time and there’s a group whose activities interest you, join a club centered on that activity. (Reviewing books, gardening, sewing, dog training, trail riding, wine tasting, cooking, or ??)

When I dog going for a walkwrote this post about defending your territory, Mary Jo Quay  offered a beautiful suggestion. Get a puppy and go walking in your target neighborhood. (An older dog will work too, as long as he or she is tail-wagging friendly.) Most people can’t resist a puppy or a dog who wants to be friends, so they’ll stop to chat. Her second suggestion: Let the dog wear a coat that says something like “I know every tree in this neighborhood. I’m an expert. My Mom (or Dad) sells homes.”

Self-promotion – it’s not evil. It’s necessary.

As you might know, I like quotes and try to find appropriate ones to include in my weekly newsletters. While looking for quotes on self-promotion, I found dozens saying that self-promotion is evil.

I think that’s nonsense. Of course it’s obnoxious for someone to loudly proclaim their expertise and superiority. But that’s not really self-promotion. That’s just misguided ego-stroking.

Real self-promotion comes through showing your expertise, not talking about it. It comes through giving real value to your clients, whether in written words, spoken words, or deeds.

If you plan to succeed in real estate, you can’t afford not to promote yourself. No one is going to come looking for you if you’re hiding!

The most important thing: Choose an activity and take one step forward each day.

Even if you can only spend 20 minutes on it, you’ll make progress. In six days, you’ll be two hours closer to your goal.




Man on wheel Image courtesy of cuteimage at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cartoon dog Image courtesy of debspoons at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mailboxes Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Steps to success Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Debbie Reynolds 03/19/2018 01:00 PM
  2. Stephen Turner 03/18/2018 10:18 AM
  3. Kim Crayton 03/21/2018 01:47 PM
  4. Joan Cox 03/24/2018 06:36 AM
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BethAnn Long
RE/MAX Inland Empire - Spokane, WA
Realtor, CRS, e-PRO, Spokane Wa Real Estate

Marte, this is an excellent post , thank you for the great ideas! We really should meet sometime when you come to Spokane !


Mar 18, 2018 08:53 PM #20
Solly Assa
Assa Properties Inc - New York, NY
sourcing property investment opportunities

So true! Keep moving forward!

Mar 19, 2018 03:50 AM #21
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Hi Marte Cliff Thanks for the refresher.  I will share it with others as well. I see a few (or more) pointers I can pick up on or re-pickup on!! It is because of agents and Brokers like you that share their knowledge that keeps me coming back to AR!!    Have a great day!!

Mar 19, 2018 09:12 AM #22
Greg Mona
RE/MAX Platinum Living - Scottsdale, AZ
YOUR Local Real Estate and Design Resource in AZ!

Hi Marte Cliff! What a fantastic post! And while we continue to do many of the things you mentioned, there were some good ideas to try out as well.

Mar 19, 2018 05:38 PM #23
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Wow, this is jammed with advice to help anyone get back on track. Well done Marte - so happy to see the star and hope many see this...

Mar 19, 2018 05:52 PM #24
Rose King
UTR, Texas Realtors - Friendswood, TX
Friendswood / Pearland / Houston Bay Area

Wow, this is wonderful advice, Marte! Just make progress every day, even if it's something small. I think I need to get busy!

Mar 19, 2018 06:10 PM #25
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
PK Real Estate Utah South - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Have changed directions many times Marte to continue moving forward in business. Your post is a very detailed, comprehensive guideline for all professionals to read and learn from. Thank you for that and congrats on the gold star!

Mar 19, 2018 06:45 PM #26
Robert Hicks
United Country River City Realty - Savannah, TN

I always learn when I hear from you. Also, I have found your "Prospecting Letters" very helpful. Thanks for sharing. 

Mar 20, 2018 03:16 AM #27
Anna Hatridge
Goodson Realty - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with Goodson Realty

What a wonderful list!  I have bookmarked so I can come back and check up on myself. 

Mar 20, 2018 04:29 AM #28
Donna Quinlan
Keller Williams Realty - Newburyport, MA
Keller Williams Real Estate Agent Career Consultan

Marte- Great post! It is easy to get complacent. Doing at least one lead generation action a day can keep a business from falling behind. 

Mar 20, 2018 06:03 AM #29
Mark Neighbor
A O Home Solutions - Sell House Georgia - Buy House Georgia - McDonough, GA
Sell House Fast In Georgia

Good review, good advice in stepping toward the goals everyday. It is sometimes too easy to just wait and hope for things to improve. Nothing improves without action. Dteailed planned out action.

Mar 20, 2018 06:55 AM #30
Katie B. Cullum
Castle Pines North, CO

What a great post, Marte, with wonderful ideas to bring a fresh step into our business. Thank you!!!!

Mar 20, 2018 07:01 AM #31
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Thank you Marte.    Bookmarked!    I've been joking about writing off part of the expenses of a puppy to help with marketing

Mar 20, 2018 07:54 AM #32
Ann Nguyen
eXp Realty - Truckee, CA
Lake Tahoe Truckee Homes For Sale

Marte...so many great ideas...thank you! Can someone show me how to bookmark this post? I used to see a bookmark button but it disappears lately.

Mar 20, 2018 11:55 AM #33
John Dotson
Preferred Properties of Highlands, Inc. - Highlands, NC - Highlands, NC
The experience to get you to the other side!

Marte, taking that first step is something we all have to do - and sometimes we need to do it more than once!

Great suggestions and advice!

Mar 20, 2018 12:32 PM #34
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Specializing in Brookside, Waldo, Prairie Village

Another useful blog from you Marte!  Agree with the one step at a time philosophy, esp regarding new media techniques

Mar 20, 2018 01:23 PM #42
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Excellent as always Marte! I like how you break down an activity, a step by step, not to over-power someone.  Sometimes procrastination is best conquered by doing just that! A long list of things to do can seem overwhelming, but breaking down the list a few a day helps.  Great post!

Mar 20, 2018 03:36 PM #43
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Marte, there is so much valuable information in your post. A well-deserved feature, congratulations! Taking one step forward each day is excellent advice.

Mar 21, 2018 07:48 AM #44
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale

Doing something new and keeping up with the technology of the day is a must..often doesn't happen overnight...but staying in a rut can be dangerous !

Mar 25, 2018 02:26 AM #45
Eva B. Liland with Century 21 Doug Anderson
Century 21 Doug Anderson - Lancaster, CA
Glad to be of Service

Thank you Marte for an excellent post. Bookmarked for future reference! I spent the time in my favorite park today (and yesterday too, lol), got praised from a client telling me my dedication shows.

Apr 16, 2018 01:08 AM #46
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