In this post, we discuss a very specific way that you can stop being held to ransom by your agency, and give you 4 steps to building your own personal database of leads.
This is fantastic for anyone who is working as an independent contractor, but under the name of parent company, or anyone who works in an industry where it is common, and easy, to go out on your own and start your own business.
• Real estate agents
• Personal trainers
• Beauty industry
We take you through the 4 step process to make sure that when you decide to leave your employer and go out on your own, you’re able to keep a database of your clients. Below, we talk about real estate agents (realtors), but this same process is applicable to anyone, in any industry.
It is very important that you only follow these steps if you are legally allowed to do so. Some employers/agencies have included provisions in your contract with them specifically against this type of thing. Not because it’s unethical, but because they don’t want you taking clients away from them when you move on. Please read your contract before following these actions. This article is not permission to follow these steps, but a guide to help those who are legally allowed to create a private database of leads.
It’s an all too common story:
You’re a realtor (or real estate agent – depending on where you’re from), and you work under the banner of an agency. You love the work, and the money is good. You start to get noticed and are approached by other agencies in your area to see if you will “jump ship” and work for them.
It’s a great offer, and you would be financially better off, but there’s only one thing stopping you.
The thing is, you’ve worked hard for a number of years and have built up quite a database of leads. Even though you acquired these leads, and your current agency says they belong to you, there’s an understanding (sometimes even contractual) that if you ever leave the agency, they keep your database. All of those leads you worked hard to get would disappear and you would have to start again.
This wouldn’t be too bad, you think to yourself. The new agency will have their own database you can work through.
That’s when you remember. Home sellers don’t particularly care about what agency sells their home. Home sellers want specific agents to do the selling, and this means that by leaving the agency you’re not only losing access to the database you helped to build, but those past clients who want you to sell their home in the next 2 – 5 years will struggle to find where you’re working.
You miss out on the opportunity of selling their home and you’re constantly looking for new people to sell homes for.
In effect, you’re being held to ransom by your current agency.
If this story is at all familiar, or even if it simply opened your eyes to your current situation, then read on because I’m going to share 4 simple steps you can take to make sure you never have to be held to ransom by an agency ever again. It’s all about creating your own private database of clients that you “own”.
STEP ONE: Send Out a Mailer to Your Current Database
I’m not talking about your agency’s database. Just the people who already know, like, and trust you and/or the people you currently send out physical mailers to.
In this mailer, you do not try and sell any properties, but you simply advise that you will be discontinuing the physical mail to their letterbox, and ask them the question “Would you be interested in receiving property updates via email?”.
You make sure to mention that you will only send out the emails as frequently as you currently send out physical mail to their letterbox, and they are free to unsubscribe at any time.
On this mailer, you print a web address that they can go to sign up to receive regular real estate updates from you.
Important: It is VERY important that you send out this particular mailer on your own dollar, and not with your agency’s marketing budget.
Why go through this hassle?
There will be 2 responses to this mailer:
1. The individual usually throws your physical mailer in the trash, so won’t sign up
2. The individual takes an interest in your physical mailer and will sign up
Either way, the number of people who sign up to your email list will be a direct reflection of the number of people who currently find your mailer valuable – and it’s always better to have a small number of people who want to receive your information, than a large number of people who don’t care.
STEP TWO: Sign Up For Email Marketing Software
You need a database that can hold the responses that you receive and that will allow you automation capabilities for the future.
Something as simple as Mailchimp will work. Mailchimp allows you to have up to 2,000 subscribers, and send a combined total of 12,000 emails every month without having to pay a cent.
This will become where you go to create your future emails to your database, and even schedule these emails to be sent out at a later date – meaning you can create the email in your spare time and schedule it to go out when you need it to.
STEP THREE: Create A Landing Page to Collect the Emails
Remember the web address you printed on the mailer so people can go and register as a subscriber? This is why.
You need a simple, one-page, website (a “landing page”) that you direct all of your current (and future) contacts to. The landing page has a custom “sign up form”, and could even have an image of you there, welcoming people to your new mailing list.
Once your clients arrive at this landing page, they simply follow the instruction and complete the form (full name + email address). Once they hit the “submit” button, they’re officially part of your own personal database of leads.
STEP FOUR: Adding to This Email Database
Now that you’ve created your own personal database of leads, it doesn’t matter what agency you sell through, you have access to the list of emails, and can send them regular updates about homes for sale in your area.
But you don’t stop there.
Every time you sell a home, you collect their email address of both the buyer, and seller (with their permission), and add them to your list.
Every time a new potential client walks into your office, you add them to your list (with their permission).
The amazing this is that you can take this as far as you like. Why not run Facebook ads and direct targeted traffic to your landing page and collect leads this way?
Every single person who is on your email list has requested to be there. 100% of your emails that you send out will be delivered and reach your audience. Previous clients will never have to try and find you when they next sell a home (if they can remember your name). But most importantly, you can work for any agency you choose because you have taken control of your career by establishing your very own personal database of clients.
• It is important to make sure that creating your own database is not against company policy.
• You MUST gain individuals permission before adding them to your email database.
Leave a comment if you like this idea, or even if you hate it, any feedback is good feedback. Please feel free to ask any questions if there is something you’re unsure about.
If building your own database of clients sounds like something you would love to start doing, but still don’t know how to set everything up, contact us at [email protected] as this is something that we can absolutely help you with.