Sunday, June 25, 2017

Julie Escobar

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Julie brings more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the real estate and speaking industries. From copy writing to convention management, you will find her consistently seeking out innovative solutions, fresh ideas, as well as creative products and tools for the real estate industry.

Internet HappyGood day friends!

As you may or may not know, one of the exciting parts of my job at ProspectsPLUS! is to create with my team of graphics gurus new marketing campaigns and pieces that drop seamlessly into our software program each month for our over 60,000 customers across North America!  While that might not sound exciting to you — it does give me an opportunity to put new timely, relevant, USEFUL tools in the hands of real estate and mortgage professionals every 30 days.  Call me a maniac – but to me – that really is a great gig! 

So I had a thought last night as I was prepping my list of things to do this week…(does anyone else’s list seem to get longer rather than shorter on a regular basis?)  What kind of marketing materials can we create to help our blogger friends spread the word about their blogs?  So, since one of my favorite things to do is ASK THE EXPERTS – I turn to you!  Having only been at this blogging thing a brief while, I must say how incredibly impressed I am with this community.  I have found it warm, welcoming and full of insight and ideas!  THANKS!

Our software currently contains over 600 marketing pieces including postcards, flyers, brochures, ads, presentation tools and lead generation systems, so any successes you may have found in one of those categories would be a huge help!!!

So tell me, oh wise ones, if you will…what’s worked best for you? 

Inquiring minds want to know!

It’s ALL in the preparation!Holiday Gift
By Julia Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing

From marketing and meal making to everything in-between, surviving the mad holiday dash while maintaining your momentum (and sanity) requires the same common sense and careful planning needed before a big feast, a houseful of company or the exam of a lifetime. It’s ALL in the preparation!

1. Find your center. That might sound like a lot of new-age hot air to some, but there is real power in finding and keeping your focus when your world is spinning at lightning speed. Knowing who you are and where you are going gives you the energy you need to succeed and keeps you grounded as you put one foot in front of the other each day. A good way to start is to begin each morning with positive affirmations of your goals and life and an open journal page on which to write your daily to-do list. No time, you say? Turn that clock back an extra 15 to 20 minutes, and make the time. Success in this industry and in this market requires balance, dedication and fearless focus. Find your center, and you might just be pleasantly surprised to feel your energy increase, your momentum build and your quality of life improve beyond your dreams.

2. Have a plan. Ready, set, go! Grab your calendar, your kids and your significant other, and plot your course before the holidays arrive so that you can carve out a healthy balance of fun and work–and even capture a few precious moments for yourself! Take a look at your travel schedule, school calendars, office events and customer needs, and carefully block out your time in advance–including some well-deserved “you” time so that you can regroup and reenergize each week in an effort to be your personal best.

Holiday_TableSix Strategies for Maximizing Your Market
By Julie Escobar, Corporate Marketing Director

Setting the table for a successful new year means starting early for savvy real estate professionals.  While much of the competition falls into cruise control, plan holiday parties or simply wait for the economic shift to suit their style, top producers turn up the heat to sweep the market share in their absence. 

1. Prospect, Promote and Prosper.  In changing markets, many agents stop advertising, re-direct their marketing dollars to the year ahead and put their prospecting in park until after the holidays.  Stay forward of the competition by continuing to market yourself with creative, consistent, targeted marketing.
 

2. Spread the Holiday Cheer.  Make the most of this opportunity to reach out to your client base with face-to-face visits.  Choose fifty or so of your top prospects and make plans to visit them.  What may seem like a lot of time, can really be broken down into 10 or so contacts per week.  Would that be worth a sale or two?  Sure it would.  Make the calls.  Shake hands, bring a card and thank these very important people for their contribution to your career.  For those really special clients, bring along a treat for their family table and you’ll find yourself more than their REALTOR® you become a friend.   

3. Clean Out Your Client Base.  Most agents wait until January to truly wade through their client base.  Getting an early start means momentum as you head into the New Year when most are still putting away party hats and streamers.  If you don’t currently have a means of tracking your clients, visit our site, www.prospectsplus.com for a free BusinessBASE™ client management system.  Getting to know your prospects, their families, their needs and their personalities will help you build long term, solid relationships that bring you current listings and sales as well as referrals that will build your book of business throughout your career.
 

4. Live and Learn.  What a tremendous time to be a professional salesperson.  Never before in history has education, skill-building and growth as an agent or as a person been more simple or accessible.  How fortunate we are to have internet, 24/7 that allows us to tap in, download, read, discuss and explore ways to improve our life skills personally and professionally.  Make it a goal this quarter and coming year to consistently fine tune who you are and what you do. 
 

A Quick Q&A with industry leader Floyd Wickman and Short Sale Specialist Will Weaver

By Julie Escobar, Floyd Wickman and Will Weaver

In this time of constant economic change, understanding how to service your clients and your market area to the best of your ability with expansive knowledge, real solutions and true compassion for homeowners facing overwhelming decisions can make you the ‘go-to’ agent in your marketplace – and more importantly – give you the quiet peace of mind of knowing that you have helped customers help themselves.  I had the opportunity to expound on this topic with both Floyd Wickman and his protégé, Will Weaver for a look at the questions asked by agents across the nation as they seek the timely tools necessary to solve the financial dilemmas facing consumers in today’s market.

Q:  First off Floyd, what made you decide to get into the business of Short Sale Seminars?
FW:  Well, I’ve been hearing about Short Sales for several years and never really learned much about them until now.  When I saw a real need in the industry, I put together a team of gentlemen: Sham Reddy, Bob Daniels and Will Weaver who collectively have experienced more than 600 Short Sales in the last five years.  In my opinion, that makes them industry experts on the do’s and don’ts of Short Sales.  With them, I fine-tuned a seminar to teach some fundamental principals and skill sets to the real estate industry.  Unlike some Short Sale seminars you’ll find out there in today’s market, ours is designed to be both Seller and Lender-friendly.  What I mean by that is that it is designed to help sellers possibly save their credit and perhaps even stay in their homes and helps the lender settle for a fair sum.  Most of the other seminars on this topic that we have experienced are basically designed to show investors how to “steal” houses and that’s not what we are about.  We’ve always been in the business of helping people.

Q:  All right guys, I guess we need to start at the beginning, and Will, I will address most of these questions to you, OK?  Now, what exactly IS a Short Sale?
WW:  The best answer I can give you Julie is that by definition, the “short” in the title of Short Sale refers to the fact that the payoff amount agreed to in the transaction is indeed, shorter than the mortgage balances on the property.  In other words, there is more owed on the home than what it will sell for.

Q:  Why should a seller do a Short Sale?
WW:   Well the reason a distressed seller would consider a short sale is that they are really faced with a big decision and only a few real options:
1. They could let the lender foreclose, ruining their credit.
2. They can use an agent to help them negotiate a Short Sale, which would be a charge off on their credit –- so a “bruise” if you will– rather than a foreclosure, which gives them the option to buy again within two years.
3. They can choose a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure, which means they sign the house back to the bank.  This is only an option however, if the bank wants the house back.  In a declining market, lenders are more apt to suggest sellers find an agent and consider a short sale.
4. They can reinstate their mortgage by coming up with all of the past due monies, interests, penalties and fines.  Obviously, that is not an option for most consumers in this position.
5. They can try what is called a Forbearance Agreement.  In other words, they then take what is owed and move it to the back of the loan and start all over.  This would depend largely on their credit, their payment history, how long the lender has carried the loan and if they feel comfortable enough with that particular homeowner to take the risk.

Clearly, if a homeowner is truly in tough financial turmoil, a Short Sale can be a viable option to get themselves out from under a bad situation and back to rebuilding their lives and credit.

Industry expert Bill Barrett shares valuable trend-watching advice for today’s agents.
Second in a series of Q&A articles focusing on current tough-market challenges.
By Julie Escobar

The ability to keep a close eye on the horizon and a finger on the pulse of market and economic trends is no longer a “sometimes” skill needed by industry professionals; rather, it is now a necessary tool of the trade.

Our team of trainers and I have been fielding hundreds of questions from sales associates seeking to circumvent the tough market syndrome that seems to overwhelm so many agents. They’re tapping into the knowledge and resources all around them in an effort to uncover the NOW strategies needed to stay inspired, motivated and ahead of the competition.

When it comes to trend-watching and overcoming challenges, our friend and industry leader Bill Barrett is the man in charge. I recently turned to him to get his insight and ideas on maximizing momentum in a changing market. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

Q: I have always admired your ability to accurately read and communicate market trends to your audiences. What do you feel is the most significant trend in our market today?

A: Like you and your team, I hear that question a lot. I would say the single biggest item that agents need to focus on today is getting their listings priced correctly. And the single biggest challenge is that the market is still going down.

This is a very unusual time in our economy. Real estate is a leading industry today, instead of a following. In other words, in the past, interest rates have gone up, unemployment goes up and corporate rates go down. Now, interest rates are good, unemployment is down and corporate rates are fine—but the real estate market in many pockets of the country has plummeted. Why? I think what we are finding is that prices went very high—too high, in fact—and now we are seeing a dramatic “normalizing” of the market.

Q: What does all of that mean to agents on the street?

A: Well, I think there is a real problem right now in the industry, psychologically. There are so many articles out there talking about how the market is down, bubbles bursting, etc., and I believe it may continue to decrease and may be that way for a year or so. That is why it is more important than ever for agents to stress to their sellers the importance of pricing their homes correctly. Otherwise, they run the risk of missing target buyers altogether.

Q: I remember a charting tool you suggest your Superstars use to help communicate this point effectively with sellers. Can you share that?

A: Sure! I tell my students and audience participants to develop a 5-Year Chart for their market area. Down the left side, I suggest writing:
• 5 Years
• 4 Years
• 3 Years
• 2 Years
• 1 Year
• 6 Months
• Today

Then I have them make the following column headings across the top and write in the statistics for each time period above:
• Average sales price
• Average days on the market
• Amount of inventory
• List-to-sell ratio

Now, instead of “selling and telling,” agents are better able to “educate and inform.” Then the real estate agent becomes the messenger.

We need to educate sellers on the fact that real estate is still a local event and that not all “national trends” are applicable to their particular area. For example, look at the Portland and Seattle areas, which are currently seeing 8% to 12% increases. Develop your local stats chart, and become both an advocate and an educator for consumers in your area.