Saturday, December 16, 2017

Retaining a past customer should be easy

You don’t need to “sell” them on your service.

Phone calls to them are warm and if you did your job right, they know, like and trust you.

So, why do so many agents fail so miserably at retaining past customers? And how are you going to ensure, as you head into the new year, that you keep your past customers present?

Beyond this being a smart question, it is also an important financial decision.

The following are some statistics that explain why you should strive to remain top-of-mind with former customers and some tips to help you do so.

The puzzling facts

Nearly 90 percent of real estate consumers surveyed by NAR say that they would use their agent again and that they would recommend their agent to others.

Yet the same statistics show that, sadly, only 12 percent of consumers actually used an agent that they had worked with in the past.

Dive deep into these numbers and you can easily see that real estate consumers want to use the agent they’ve worked with in the past,

Yet curiously, few do.

And, it’s a safe bet that they don’t because they forgot about the agent and went with one referred by a friend, family member or colleague.

A financial reality

“Depending on which study you read,

Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one,” claims Amy Gallo at Harvard Business Review.

In fact, there’s a formula you can use to determine just how much chasing after new business costs you each year.

Divide your total marketing and sales costs (what you spend on gas driving buyers around, listing expenses, etc.) by the number of new customers you acquired during the year.

Scary, isn’t it?

Those are some expensive customers.

Former customers, on the other hand, are gold mines.

“Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%,” according to Frederick F. Reichheld and Phil Schefter of Harvard Business School.

How’s your past customer list looking? If it appears dry and parched, it’s time to try nurturing it.

Customer retention strategies

Remaining top-of-mind with former customers doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor,

Although the larger and splashier the “touch,” the more memorable you’ll be.

Less expensive ways to keep in touch are the no-brainer methods that tend to fall through the cracks of the busy agent’s schedule.

  • Drip email campaigns
  • Monthly direct mail, of interest to your customer, such as newsletters and market updates
  • Cards, for birthdays and anniversaries
  • “Or offer home maintenance reminders (e.g., changing out smoke detector batteries once a year),” suggests Melissa Dittmann Tracey at realtormag.org.

Face-to-face

Some experts recommend a quarterly face-to-face visit with former customers.

Take them to coffee, happy hour or lunch.

Or to get the most bang for your customer-retention buck, throw some sort of annual customer appreciation event.

It can be as lavish as the black-tie event Buyer’s Edge agent Steve Israel holds (complete with orchestra and catered food), or as simple as a casual backyard summer barbecue.

You might even consider an event that not only brings your past customers back into your sphere but benefits your favorite non-profit as well.

Kathy Broock Ballard invites customers, past and present, to “The Annual Erin Go Bra(gh) Party” on St. Patrick’s Day.

She asks that they bring an item of clothing for the local women’s shelter.

In return, lunch and an open bar are theirs to enjoy.

An agent in San Francisco holds a crab feed every year during Dungeness season. He holds it in partnership with a lender and title company to keep expenses to a minimum.

Don’t forget to ask

Whether it’s one-on-one or as part of an event, don’t forget to ask former customers if they know anyone who may be thinking of buying or selling real estate.

Focusing your “ask” may bring better results, according to the late Jay Conrad Levinson, father of Guerilla Marketing.

Narrow “the universe of those you ask,” he suggests in the book “Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days.”

For instance,

instead of asking your weekend golf partner to thumb through his mental database of everyone she knows, ask her who else she plays golf with who may be thinking of buying or selling real estate.

The smaller you make the “universe,” the more likely your customer will be able to come up with a name.

Keeping in touch with the customers you already know and who know you is one of the easier parts of your business.

By not periodically reaching out to them,

you’re leaving easy money on the table for your competition to grab.

It’s time to make a customer retention program one of your important 2018 plans!

Always know that we are here to help you in any way we can.  Call our support team at 866.405.3638 if you would like help creating your new mailing lists or marketing materials. 

How long is long enough?

Heading into the new year with visions of grandeur floating in your head?

How this year is going to be the year that’s…

BIGGER, BETTER and BRIGHTER than ever.

If only you could figure out the answer that nagging question swirling around in your head, “I spent time and money on a bit of marketing last year and it went nowhere, how will this year be any different?”

Well, here’s what statistics tell us —

If you’ve sent out a few marketing pieces throughout the year in the past, it’s going to take much more than that, to get the results you are after.

But how much more?

A strategic ongoing focus

A strategic focus that includes mailings, phone calls, emails, door knocking and community involvement — to be specific.

Don’t forget the 3-7-27 marketing rule of success discussed in the last blog (3 contacts for name recognition, 7 to associate your name with your business, and 27 to be known and trusted enough to do business).

The bottom line,

Don’t be tempted to stop your marketing efforts after a few sporadic tries. Understand the science and psychology behind marketing.

Historically most transactions or calls happen after five to seven contacts or more.

An effective month by month plan

A successful marketing plan includes a combination of the following:

Ongoing monthly direct mail with periodic direct response offers, interspersed with email marketing, phone calls, and neighborhood visits.

Follow this strategy and you are well on your way to putting yourself on the map.

What to send for impact 

Holiday Postcards:

Every month you have the opportunity to add a seasonal timely touch to your marketing.

Be sure to include a personal message on the back and follow this card up with a friendly, “anything I can do for you?” phone call every few months.

 

Free Offer Postcards:

These are great direct response pieces to send that highlight compelling free offers such as, free market analysis, list of homes and list of resources. These offers encourage interest and low-risk hand raising.

Content Postcards:

These powerful, content-rich cards have timely topics with consumer-friendly information that sets you up as the expert resource in your market.

When to scale back?

How about never?

During the holidays many agents slow down their marketing as social obligations gear up and the industry appears to take a breather.

Be the agent who takes the opposite approach.

Stay top of mind without any lag in exposure so you can hit the ground running in January while other agents are just getting back in the game.

This coming year CAN be your BIGGEST and BRIGHTEST ever!

By expanding your ongoing marketing actions and touch points throughout the year, to ensure your business continues to thrive and grow.

Start making a great impression today, then do it again next week, next month, and so on.

Your business and your bottom line will thank you for it.

Interested in a strategic one year marketing plan that has already been done-for-you? Take a look at our Master Marketing Schedule. Need our assistance?  Our team at ProspectsPLUS! is available at 866.405.3638 and excited to answer your questions.

It’s that time of year…

When we take a moment to look back at our previous year’s successes and shortcomings,

and get our adrenaline running for the start of the new year.

If you had goals or a business plan for 2017, this is your opportunity to compare last year’s plan with what you actually achieved, and learn from the difference.

If you haven’t written a business plan before and find the thought of doing so overwhelming and off-putting, I’d like to change your mind.

You don’t need a degree in business to write an effective business plan.

But you do need a path to follow.

In fact, statistically people who follow a business plan or establish set goals are nearly twice as likely to successfully grow their business than those who do not.

So how do you put a plan together that’s easy and will have you excited about the coming year?

I’m going to tell you how, but first to stack the deck…

Statistics on the Power of Goal Setting:
  • Goals that are written down are 50% more likely to be achieved than unwritten goals.
  • Sharing your goals is proven to increase the success rate of achieving them.
  • The world’s most successful people agree that what you get by achieving your goals and plans is not as important as what you become in the process.
  • Our brains are wired to achieve goals.
  • The act of writing down a goal or business plan is a very powerful motivator.

Now that I’ve warmed you up to the idea…

It’s time to rock out a killer 2018 business plan!

Step One: Determine your income goal

What income goal gets you excited to dive in an attack the new year?

Pick your number, then pull together a few additional numbers from 2017. This is worth a few minutes of your time. The results will be powerful and create a breadcrumb trail right to 2018 goal success!

Numbers to gather include, average commission earned per closing, average percent of sales contracts written that close, average appointments needed to obtain a listing.

Step Two: Complete your one page plan

Use our simple, online “2018 Real Estate Business Plan” to complete a few easy calculations based on the numbers you have gathered above.

Step Three: Calculate your sphere of influence

Since statistically 66% of a Realtor’s business comes from your sphere of influence. It’s time to determine how many people you need in your sphere to achieve the goals you have outlined above.

Use our easy online Sphere of Influence Calculator (from a desktop computer) to get a quick answer to this question.

Step Four: Create a strategic marketing plan

Now that you have your numbers, it’s time to create a strategic marketing plan for 2018.

Remember the 3-7-27 Law of Prospecting? Well it’s the key to your marketing success.

The foundation of this law states it takes 3 contacts for someone to recognize your name, 7 to associate your name with your business, and 27 to become a brand name in your market.

An ideal marketing plan that assists you in adhering to the magic of 3-7-27 is our done-for-you Master Marketing Schedule.

It’s a strategic month-by-month plan for the entire year that covers marketing for, listing inventory, niche marketing, geographic farming and sphere of influence.

Using the Master Marketing Schedule, takes the task of planning a years worth of direct marketing, from overwhelming to easy.

The future is now

With the above tools, and your killer 2018 business plan in place, your path to conquering your goals in the new year is crystal clear!

Is your adrenaline pumping?

The ProspectsPLUS! Team are your biggest fans! We are here to help you succeed in 2018. Please reach out to us if there is anyway we can help you at  866.405.3638!

 

 

 

Game-Changing Advice

One area of marketing that can’t be ignored if you intend to enjoy a profitable career as a Realtor is working a Geographic Farm.

Why?

Because it alleviates the ongoing frustration of constantly chasing new commissions.

You’re working a system instead. And that ensures you don’t end up like 85% of agents who continue to struggle.

To reveal the secrets to choosing the right farm, we turned to expert Todd Robertson, Director of Market Dominator. He offered incredible insight into, not only how to choose the right farm, but what to do once you’ve found it.

Todd is a national real estate sales trainer who has, among other things, helped numerous agents choose their ideal farm.

He states, “Even if you find a geographic farm that you think works for you based on location and number of homes your research isn’t done yet.”

“There are two more crucial factors that can’t be missed.”

The Two Crucial Factors

Turn-Over Rate – Ideally you want a location with at least a 10-15% turnover rate. You can easily determine turnover rate by dividing the number of homes in the farm by the number of homes which have sold.

Competition – If you choose a farm that already has an agent who’s achieved 20% or more of that market, you will find yourself working much harder and longer to see any positive results. Finding an area where an agent has less than 10% market share is preferable. Or an area where a previously aggressive agent has slowed or stopped marketing.

Time to Take Action

“Once you’ve chosen the perfect farm” Todd points out, “it’s time to take action.”

He stresses the importance of getting out there and meeting the people in your new farm. It’s time to make your name, face and brand as visible as possible.

Your goal is to help people get to know you, like you, and trust you enough to do business with you.

You can’t do that sitting in your office. In fact, statistically it takes 27 contacts to create effective branding of who you are and what you do.

“Send people marketing pieces at least once a month, call them at least once a quarter, and see them at least once a quarter.”, states Todd.

A great piece to send this time of year is a holiday photocard. Sharing a photo of your family with your farm helps them get to know you better, fostering a relationship on a more familiar level.

Canvassing a neighborhood may be old school, but it also makes you highly competitive.

In a market where so many agents are relying on email and social media to spread the word, walking your farm gives you a definitive advantage.

Work Smart – Automate

How do you free-up the extra time your farm will need from you? By automating your marketing wherever you can.

“The perfect place to begin, says Todd, “is with your just listed/just sold postcard marketing.”

With automation in place, every time you list or sell a home, postcards announcing your success go out in that neighborhood.

More importantly, people choosing a Realtor, want to know they are choosing someone who:

  • Knows their neighborhood
  • And, Knows how to get results in their neighborhood
The Top 7% of Agents

“The top 7% of agents in the country have one thing in common – they have systems in place.” states Todd.

They aren’t leaving things to fall through the cracks or chasing the next commission. They’re following a solid, systematic plan to generate business utilizing a farm as one of their areas of focus.

Todd states he often talks about agents who are ‘one-dimensional’.

“In other words, they only have one prospecting system or tool in place.  That, unfortunately, can lead to dry months with zero commissions.”

He continues, “Instead, if you put multiple systems (dimensions) in place your marketing will be layered, and so will your results.”

Think about it…

If you have a farm in an area that has 600 homes with a 10% turnover and you could take 10-20% or better, you’re talking about an additional 6-12 deals.

This is all because you have positioned yourself with systems that result in repeated wins.

“That’s one of the reasons our Market Dominator system is so powerful” Todd adds

“especially for strong agents who are not afraid to compete.”

The Market Dominator is a one-of-a-kind piece that physically stands out in a the mailbox (due to sheer size).

And it is also a stand out due to its compelling content that brands you as the expert resource to work with in that neighborhood.

The Market Dominator packs a powerful punch.

If that weren’t enough, in addition, it is another brilliant done-for-you automated program.

Which means more time available to give to your farm through phone calls, neighborhood visits, and emails.

So Get Ready, Get Set, time to choose your geographic farm. Then get some automated systems in place and dominate your market!

Always know that we are here to help you in any way we can.  Call our support team at 866.405.3638 if you would like help creating your new mailing lists or marketing materials.