Several years ago while at the Atlanta Board of Realtors, curiosity got the best of me and I ducked into their book store to see what they offered. This little book with a subtitle – Painlessly Turning Strangers into Clients One Step at a Time was not only relevant to real estate agents, but certainly loan officers, closing attorneys and frankly anyone in business.
My personal opinion is that most real estate agents, lenders and closing attorneys that fail in business do so not because they are incompetent technically but because they do not have enough business (leads, prospects, clients, etc.) to remain profitable.
The Lead Ladder written (in 2005) prior to at least the take-off of social media and websites/companies like Zillow, realtor.com etc. is as relevant now as it was then. If you are struggling because you can’t build enough business to remain in it or if you are doing well but want to do better this book is for you! I always tell staff and attorneys that we need business to remain profitable so we can practice ( note law firms are referred to often as a practice) and get better. If you wait to have the perfect system to serve your relationships you will fail. Nothing is as important to your success as staying in business which you and I can’t do without clients.
Marcus Schaller, sums up his book this way on page ix of the foreword, “The Lead Ladder is about earning trust.” Trust takes strangers to prospects and prospects to clients and clients to relationships which become enduring (that’s my philosophy but in line with Marcus). The book itself is less than 130 pages and can be read and re-read (which I highly recommend) in less than 1 hour or so. It’s broken into 8 small chapters and a nice appendix providing the questions necessary to create and customize your own marketing plan.
One of the things I really like about this book is it starts with the premise that while referrals are fantastic, a real business is about lead generation and to foster leads requires more than just relying on “mining your database” for referrals. Marcus through his story discusses the woes of Ted, a sales rep who had been successful but was now failing because,
“He could no longer rely on referrals for new business. He would have to go out and actively seek new clients.”
How many reading this feel or have felt like Ted… my guess we all have been there.
The book can be summarized as follows – identify the problem, solve it, set goals, market to those willing to pay to solve the problem, create the offer that “grabs them,” find a broad audience (i.e. advertise) to broadcast the offer, get that database going, follow-up (the right way and effectively) and the natural results (i.e. success) of the system. All that in big font, small pages, large borders and few pages.
So it’s easy to read and retailed (when I purchased it) for $19.95 and I’ll bet you can get it cheaper on line. What do you have to lose? … and if you follow Ted’s journey, implement the ideas shared by Marcus you will see your business grow… I guarantee it (remember Sy Sims of the Sims Clothier commercials?).
Please read this little gem, let me know what you think and while you’re growing your business help us grow ours too!