Operating out of the Detroit, Michigan-area market, the beginning of the pandemic found The Perna Team under strict shelter-in-place rules, as real estate workers were not considered essential. Where another agent might take that as an opportunity to slow down, The Perna Team CEO Michael Perna and his group switched gears, knowing that the work they put in was going to show itself in the next 90 days.
“We started immediately going from a once-per-week office meeting to a daily Zoom, which we’ve continued,” Perna says in a conversation on the Pivot: Shift Ahead Facebook group. “We do a 20- to 25-minute power-up.”
Take Your Unfair Share of Listings
Looking to lean into the latest technology and best practices to pump more listings into your pipeline? Register for Mega Camp: A Digital Experience.
“For over 20 years, Mega Camp has been a retreat where top-producing professionals go to focus, seize opportunity, and connect with the industry’s most esteemed leaders to discuss how to embrace the market of the moment,” says VP of Industry Jason Abrams. “This year, that has never been more important.”REGISTER TODAY
Reassess Your Goals
The Perna Team receives much of its business through its sphere of influence, so it does not identify as a big cold-calling powerhouse. Generally, the team would focus on a dial count of 10 to 15 per day. However, as they went into lockdown, that strategy shifted. “Once we went into lockdown, we started with the very basics – focusing on dial count. We raised it from 10 to 15 per day, to 20, then 30, 40, and 50,” says Perna. “Once we got to each dial count, we maintained for about a week before increasing. After that, we started getting appointments set and appointments held, which were done via Zoom.”
In addition to calls, the team had a goal to sign 80 contracts and agreements (this could be anything from buyer to listing contacts) per week. “It didn’t matter whether they were going on the market immediately or as soon as we became essential again,” Perna says. In fact, this was part of his value proposition – sellers could hold off on going on the market until business became essential again, but thinking through it early on still gave them the opportunity to beat other sellers to the market.
In early to mid-May, there was a period when sellers paused to see what would happen, and buyers jumped at the opportunity to see homes and buy. Because the team had done the work in early quarantine stages, their sellers had a competitive advantage – they had been preparing for the market since April.
Three Groups to Focus on for Listing Success
By focusing on three specific groups, The Perna Team was able to succeed with listings, taking 48 during the month of June. At the moment, Perna shares, the team has 120 pendings (the largest amount they have ever held at one time), and is on track to beat its 2020 goal by about 75 units.
Note: Do not call numbers on any Do Not Call list, and do not leave automated or prerecorded messages on consumers’ voicemails. For more information, review this page to ensure you are in compliance with the Do Not Call / Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Perna and his team use a third-party provider to get phone numbers for expireds and reach out by phone. (Again, it is of utmost importance to avoid calling any number on a Do Not Call list and not to leave automated or prerecorded messages on customers’ voicemails.) For customers that are receptive to the initial reach-out, Perna has an ‘expireds letter’ in his arsenal – a 13-page proof of performance that showcases the houses he’s sold in the area via testimonials and photos. Using the following script, the team is able to secure roughly 6 or 7 appointments per week.
Agent: Hey! It is _____ with The Perna Team, Keller Williams. How are you today?
Agent: I noticed that your home was taken off the MLS. Did you sell it or is it still available?
Client: It is still available.
Agent: I did not see a 3D tour on your listing. Did you have one done?
Agent: Do you feel that in this current market, it might be an important tool to help sell your home?
Client: Yes, I have actually been looking for that as I look at homes.
Agent: I’ve also noticed that you had around 20 photos of your property. Nowadays, buyers are expecting closer to 50. Do you think having more photos for the buyer to see your home would have helped?
Client: Yes, when I see a home, I am interested in that.
Agent: Where would you move to if the home was sold?
Agent: It is a great neighborhood. If you had the opportunity to move there, would you?
Client: Yes, but we are worried about buying.
Agent: I will be in the neighborhood tomorrow at *insert time.* Why don’t I pop by to go over my marketing plan? If it is a great fit, we can prepare the space for the market. In the meantime, I’ll start preparing a letter, which I’ve found extremely effective for my other buyers. That way we may be able to find you something that’s off market where you won’t have to compete with another buyer.
Client: What type of letter?
Agent: It will be a simple letter, saying: “Hey, I have some great people looking for a home in your neighborhood. If you are considering selling between now and the end of the year, please call me first.” There are no names or identifying information attached, and we email our sphere letting them know we have a buyer looking in the area.
“For me, it is coming from value and service. That’s it. That’s what I want to instill,” Perna says of targeting FSBOs. If after a phone conversation, the owner asks why Perna would offer his help, he has four clear-cut motivations to share:
- “At some point in time, you might decide you don’t want to be in the business of real estate. At that point, I want to be the person you call, the only person on your mind.”
- “Once you sell your home, where will you go? Somewhere else. When you are looking to buy, I want to be the first person that pops into your head.”
- “You might move somewhere out of state. I have great contacts across the country and I would be more than happy to pass your name along, or pass you a name of someone that will take care of you like family.”
- “At some point in time, someone might ask you who you used as your real estate agent. I would love it if you would say, ‘I sold it on my own, but this guy is amazing and if you’re thinking about a Realtor, I’d call him.”
Agent: Hi, is this _________? This is __________ with The Perna Team. How are you?
Agent: I’m great. I have a couple of questions about your home – but before we get started, know this. I am not calling you to try to get you to list with me, or to bait-and-switch you. I am not going to sit and argue with you about how you can’t sell your home on your own. I know that in this market, you could. Is that fair?
Agent: If it hasn’t happened yet, some agents might call and say that you can’t get the job done on your own. The reality is that homes ARE selling for sale by owner. What I will say is that myself and my team work with 25 – 35 buyers per month, so there is a high likelihood that I will have a buyer that will match your home. So, I want to make sure that I have all the facts on your home correct: you have X many bedrooms, X many bathrooms, X much square footage (Note: Here, adapt to your particular situation and incorrectly state one of the numbers to get the conversation moving further.)
Client: Oh, you got X wrong.
Agent: Perfect, that makes the call worthwhile. I would not want to put out the wrong information. Let me ask you – do you have fliers for your home, and if so, have you had a chance to print them yet?
Client: Yes, on our desktop printer.
Agent: Why don’t you email me a copy as a PDF? I’d be more than happy to print some on our printer and drop them at your door. And do you have a couple of blank purchase agreements should you be showing your home to a buyer and they love it and want to make an offer on it? I will get you some. We cannot give the Keller Williams ones as they are copyrighted and we worked with many attorneys to get them right, but it is important to have purchase agreements ready because if you are showing a home to a buyer and they love it, you want them to sign that offer at that moment. In the meantime, should I have a buyer in my database where your home matches, I will be sure to reach out to you directly.
From here, Perna provides the promised materials and follows up. While it is illegal to advise non-clients, his market allows for providing general advice. When preparing your script:
- Always check with your local market laws and guidelines
- Review this page to ensure you are in compliance with the Do Not Call / Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Buyers That Have Listings They Need to Sell
The team focuses top-down when it comes to the price range, targeting higher-end buyers through Facebook ads. “We are using Command for Facebook leads because it works and they are inexpensive,” he says. In addition, they use AI bot technology in order to send out text messages. When prioritizing buyers, they focus on the ones that are viewing the content and logging in most recently.