Sunday, June 25, 2017

Six Answers You Need to Know

By Julie Escobar

With markets and competition heating up this summer, geographic farming is more relevant, and results-producing than ever. It’s what is differentiating top agents from lower producers, and what is setting some apart as leaders in both their marketplace – and in market share.

To learn more, we asked Todd Robertson about what he is seeing trend across North America right now. Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q:  Todd – there was a time when agents got away from geographic farming but now it’s back stronger than ever – can you shed some light on that?

A:  Here’s what we’ve found:  With all the ‘noise’ out there now, social media, Zillow, Trulia, email, spam filters, online ads – a lot of home buyers and sellers aren’t responding to the noise. Yet, a LOT of agents are still hiding behind their computers. We know that 95% of people check their mail every day – and direct mail is standing out from the ‘online’ noise.  It used to be that farming was expensive. Mailings were expensive. Now with technology and new USPS tools, it’s much less so, and with most agents still not in that space – those who do jump in – WIN.

Q:  We’ve all seen agents who get frustrated because they want instant results – and farming just isn’t that kind of marketing.  What do you say to agents who want instant gratification?

A:  The truth is we are in an instant gratification mode. We’re looking to the lottery for a quick million, fast food for an instant meal, and whatever ‘golden ticket’ it might take to unlock the key to right-now success.  But what I like to share with agents is the hunter vs. farmer mindsets.  The hunter is great at getting on the phone, shaking the trees, finding those expireds, FSBOs, SOI leads, anything that will generate business today or this week.  Where the farmer isn’t crazy about all that possible rejection, so they slowly and surely cultivate an area with direct mail and email marketing.  After 25 years in this business we do know two things though:  Patience and persistence will always win and combining the two skills of hunting and farming are your best means of generating long term success at a whole other level. You do have to be “all-in” – but it is so worth it.

Q:  In your talks and webinars you speak about putting ALL the pieces in place – can you share more about what you mean by that?

A:  Well this kind of goes back to my last answer.  You really CAN dominate a market area and out-pace any competition if you are willing to streamline your practices – and do it all.  Not one thing. Not the easy things. But all of it.  Direct mail. Just Listed. Just Sold. Door knocking. Aggressive open houses. All of it – and not just once but really adhere to that 3-7-27 rule of marketing I’ve shared in the past where you’re continuously making impressions and staying top of mind because the competition, for the most part, is not going to be as committed to doing it all. If you are? You win.

Q:  Follow up is a critical part of marketing, but so many agents are reluctant to walk their farm or pick up the phone.  What’s your best advice to get over that hurdle?  

A:  Well, the tough advice is that if your mindset is ‘I’m afraid or unwilling to prospect’ then perhaps this is not the profession for you.  If we look at the old 80/20 rule which says that 20% of the agents do 80% of the business, we know that those numbers are now outdated. In today’s world it’s 93/7.  7% of the agents are doing 93% of the business.  The reason lies right here – prospecting. Following up.  I like to tell my audiences, “If the game is scheduled, and you’ve chosen to play – you might as well win.”  So if you are in this business to help people – then remember, you are paid in direct proportion to how many people you help, and how good you are at that help. So don’t just put your toe in the pool – jump in.  Don’t be that agent who tried something once, or twice, or three times and throws up their hands and says, ‘this doesn’t work’.  Stick with it. The year is half over.  Don’t fall into that – it is what it is mindset where it is all right to be average, or less than your goals.  You get paid in proportion to how many you help. Get out there and play hard.  If you get a no, pick up the phone again, and again.  It’s a numbers game, but more than that, it’s a people game. Find the next person to help.

Q:  This is a busy time for agents – and many are so busy working IN the business, they don’t stop to work ON their business.  What can you share with our readers regarding blocking time so that nothing falls through the cracks?

A:  It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae, I know. The feel-good work. The paper shuffling. The non-confrontational. Top agents though know that the highest and best use of their time is doing three things: prospecting, presenting, and closing.  The rest they find solutions for. Automated marketing. Virtual Assistants. Database management systems. Marketing systems.  They are effective time managers – that’s the level you need to strive for.

Q:  The Market Dominator is hard to ignore when homeowners get it in their mailbox – can you tell us a little about the science of its size, content, and calls to action?

A:  Well it’s the largest piece allowed legally through the USPS system.  It’s got 100% impression rate. It’s coated on one side, full color and on great paper.  Most importantly, it’s filled with the kind of content people want to read.  Not salesy – hyped commercial stuff. But real world content. And real world calls to action.  It’s relevant and fun and ‘share-able’ for people.  And it gets the job done.  I just heard from one of our customers who has done 16 transactions this year so far, three directly as a result of the Dominator.  Take a look and let me know if you have questions. It’s a powerful tool for agents who are really interested in dominating their own geographic farm.

Thanks so much for your time Todd.  For those interested in learning more about the Market Dominator, you can watch Todd’s informative video here.  For questions, give Todd a call at 866-405-3638.  Now, go out there and dominate in YOUR favorite geographic farm!  

Left in the Year — How Will You Spend Them?

by Julie Escobar

We are more than halfway through the year. Just better than two hundred days left. What you do now will determine what kind of holidays you’ll have. Whether you’ll hit those goals you set in January. Whether you’ll finish strong and kick off the new year with ease. So, what’s it going to be? Let’s take a look at some ways you can get back on track or keep on track:

  1. Review your SMART goals weekly. Create a means to measure where you are in relation to your goal. Use a chart, a checklist, or an integrity partnership to review your progress. When you wait months or an entire year to review – it’s impossible to know whether you are on track or off. Top agents always know their numbers, always have a visual of the goals that they are passionate about and are always re-calibrating their time, tools, training and activities to ensure they achieve the goals they set.
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Relevant 
    • Time bound
  2. Get out of stealth mode. The idea that the business will just come to you in today’s market is false. There is considerable competition so get out from behind the desk or computer and get out into the markets in which you want to build market share. Knock on doors. Meet the neighbors. Leave branded collateral pieces at local professional offices and waiting rooms where possible. (Think doctor’s offices, car dealerships, etc.)  Host events. Ask questions. Sponsor sports teams. Donate the bounce house at the neighborhood event. Show that you are the face of real estate in your area.
  3. Reach out to your sphere. If you’re not touching base with everyone in your sphere at least twice a year, then you are leaving money on the table. We know statistically that one in twelve will result in business or referral every year. But NOT if you don’t stay in touch. Many agents use holiday cards every month with a message on the back to keep connected. Others choose newsletters or content cards as a monthly “touch”. Whatever you choose, be sure you are consistent. It’s one of the best things you can do to build and grow your referral base.
  4. Never neglect your neighborhood farm.  Your competition won’t be and they’ll take market share wherever they can find it.  If you’ve got an area that you want to dominate in, consider our Market Dominator system, or using the Listing Inventory Series to stay in touch every month. Top of mind awareness is crucial in today’s market. Attend every neighborhood function and be sure you are walking your farm with content-rich collateral at least twice per year.
  5. Add at least five people to your marketing list per week.  Always be in networking mode and always look for ways to grow your database and sphere. Committing to adding five people per week means you’ll add 260 to your sphere. To help you put that in context, I used our SOI calculator to show you what that looks like. I entered $200,000 as an annual goal, and an average commission of $6,000 – which told me that to realize that goal I’d need 33 transactions. Using the national stats that 66% of business comes from an agent’s SOI, I calculated that I needed 264 people in my SOI to realize my goal.  You can calculate how many you need here. 
  6. Be consistent. I can’t stress this one enough. One and done marketing has never, ever earned anyone a good living. If you’re not touching base monthly or at least quarterly, you are leaving the door open for your competition to create the top of mind awareness that you could be earning. That’s like handing away future commissions to other agents. To succeed at high levels, you’ve got to stay on top of your marketing game and stay present in your market place. Using smart time management and done-for-you marketing tools can help.

Remember we are here to help. Our company is steeped in real estate experience and we train our marketing team to know exactly what agents just like you need to succeed and excel. We want to help you make the most of the last 200 days of the year — and every day after that as well. Visit www.prospectsplus.com today or call our team at 866.405.3638 to learn more. 

To Drive Credibility and Customers

By Julie Escobar

Now with 65 different card choices, agents can’t seem to get enough of our powerful Content Card series. There are so many versatile ways of using them.  And in a world where ‘content is king’ – sometimes it’s just really nice to NOT have to come up with your own-right?

Here are five ways you can use the content cards to drive more customer leads, increase your credibility, and present yourself as the turn-to agent to call:

  1. Send one per month to your sphere or farm (or both) to easily stay in touch and brand yourself as an information specialist.
  2. Choose several of your favorites and have them printed and shipped to you to use as leave-behinds in local businesses, as open house collateral, or as fair trade offers when prospecting.
  3. Purchase as a PDF and use as a downloadable item of value on your website.  This allows you to build your email database.
  4. Each one of these is popular subject matter for consumers. Why not channel your inner Toast Master and create some local real estate workshops that you can present to area consumers?  Print and ship the card with the topic of your choice to hand out at your event.
  5. Share on social media.  For many agents figuring out WHAT to say on social media leaves them stumped.  These tools are perfect – with titles like ‘4 keys”, “5 ways”, “5 factors” – you can share one a day during the work week and invite followers to email you for the whole list (and you can send them the pdf you’ve downloaded!

Get started today and kick your fall marketing into high gear!  See our Content Cards, choose your favorites and start driving credibility and new customers!  Oh, and click here to get our latest promo codes and save 10% on your order!

As always, if you need help, contact us at 866.405.3638 – that’s what we’re here for!

Happy listing!

The Secret is in How Many Times You Show UP

By Julie Escobar

If you’re like MOST agents?  You want it NOW.  Right now.  Success in a “just add water” -instant gratification in a cup kind of time frame right?  And I can appreciate that.  If I could just win the lottery I’d be that way too – one ticket – lifetime of riches.  Unfortunately – that’s not a very realistic (or practical) plan is it?

You’ve got to put the time in and PERSEVERE.  You’ve got to show up not just ONCE, but again and again and again.  You know that old saying out of sight – out of mind?  It’s especially true of customer relationships in today’s market.  In fact, Statistics tell us it takes at LEAST three impressions for a consumer to recognize your name, seven to associate your name with your business, and twenty seven for them to like you, know you, trust you enough to do business with them.  I know – it’s not instant gratification – but it is the smart business practice if you want to be in real estate for the long haul.

So, let’s take a look at three smart strategies that can make succeeding faster (YES!), easier (Phew!) and more effective (Sounds good!).

1. Make it easy on yourself.  Delegate.  You get paid to get face-to-face and voice–to-voice with customers.  Your job is to wow them with what you can do for them – how you can make that easier, more profitable & fewer headaches.  Hard to do that when you’re still printing, cutting & stuffing envelopes.  Put a system in place to reach your customers and potential customers (sphere of influence and geographic farm area) at the very least every 4-6 weeks.  The Direct Marketing Association and top agents lean more towards every 21-30 days.  It doesn’t have to be a lot – but it does have to be consistent.   We’ve worked hard to make that easy for you with hundreds and hundreds of ready-to-go campaigns that you can choose, calendar and then have peace of mind that this part of the puzzle is done – find out more here: Postcard Campaign Specials.

2. Use social media wisely.  The wonderful thing about social media is that it gives you the ability to communicate one-to-many.  Creating a blog or Facebook page to keep your sphere or neighborhood farm updated and informed is not only effective – it’s POWERFUL. Here’s a little inside advice from a friend and Social Media Expert Stacy Stateham:

“I’d like to say to start with Facebook, but don’t.  Start by spending a few hours figuring out who you are likely to be most successful with.  What kind of people do you want to connect with?
Forget your real estate business for a minute and think about them.  What do they like?  What are they interested in?  What will keep them coming back?  Now, bring your real estate business back into the equation.  How can you match their interests with your business?  Laser focus on that core audience and build all of your marketing around them, both online and off.Say you want to attract successful 50-60 something’s.  The might be interested in food and wine, they might like to travel, they’re concerned about their nest egg, they may have adult children and possibly grandchildren.  Oh yeah, and they buy real estate.

Next -start with Facebook.   Use the friend finder to search your email addresses, connect to the people that make sense, and start a business page.  When the business page is complete and has a full page of content, invite your contacts.  It just takes a few minutes a day to log into Facebook, comment on what people are saying, and post something relevant to your target audience on your business page.  What’s relevant?  Keep your posts to 2/3’s non-real estate related, and 1/3 about your business. They like food and wine, so post things about local restaurants and gourmet food shops, great kitchen upgrade ideas, and feature a home with an awesome kitchen.  They like to travel so talk about places to visit within driving distance, events in nearby cities, then how to buy a vacation home, explain reverse mortgages.  They have kids and maybe grandkids so talk about how to help kids start adult life with healthy credit habits, college saving funds, and about how to gift a down payment on their kids first home.  And so on…

You’re not limiting yourself to seniors, you’ll get first time home buyers because young people ask their parents for advice, you’ll attract other foodies who like to travel, and other people with similar interests.  You’re just focusing on where you are most likely to be successful.  If you’re a younger hipper type, target people like you – post about all the other things that interest you, plus a 1/3 about real estate topics that related to your core audience.”  — All great advice thank you Stacy!

3. Network.  With the shifts in the economy & market – now is the perfect time to connect with smart, like-minded area business professionals and share ideas, strategies and – SPHERES.  Area CPAs can send you clients who are looking for good investments.  Attorneys handling divorce, estates and real estate holdings can send you buyers, sellers and leads.  Human Resource managers can use your expertise to help their employees  find homes and put down roots in a community.  In return – you have the ability to send your clients their way as well.  Great for you – great for your networking partners and great for the customers.  In times like these – people NEED referrals they can trust.  It makes them feel safe, cared for and re-affirms that they are making sound decisions for themselves and their families.  THAT is the kind of thing that cements relationships and creates a client for life.

Some things to think about for this week. Put the 3-7-27 rule of marketing to work in your business.  And know that if you need some help showing up – OVER and OVER – cost-effectively, easily and without stress, our team is there for you.  Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com, or call us at 866.405.3638 today.  We’ve got you covered!

From 21 Ways to Get Your Listing Priced Right in Any Market

By Julie Escobar

Ever have a seller who wants to WAIT to price the listing right?

Here’s a strategy that I call ‘The Waiting Game’ – see if it will work for you… 

Try this dialogue when a seller wants to wait to lower the price:  “Let me ask you, what do you think happens to an overpriced home that doesn’t sell right away? Do you think it eventually sells?  I’m afraid, more often than not, the answer to that is no.   Listings get the most traction in terms of buyer traffic, agent attention and offers in the first 2-4 weeks after coming on the market. If you wait, you’ll lose that traction. 

Worse than that, the longer it sits on the market, the more buyers will begin to wonder if there are more serious problems than price in terms of why it hasn’t sold yet.  Think about it…what’s the first question you would ask when you look at a new house? How long has it been on the market – right?  Long time on market = problem in the eyes of a buyer. In this market, or any market – that’s not a position that can give you any kind of leverage. Let’s price it right and get it sold.”

Agents and managers both –– One of the best ways to really fine tune your negotiation and objection handling skills is to get together once a month with respected colleagues and role play.  (I have the old Sweathog mantra in my head – “practice, drill, rehearse…”) Have everyone bring their best objection to the table. Then collectively come up with some dynamite dialogues, strategies and visuals for overcoming and handling those objections together.

If you’d like to learn more price objection handlers – check out 21 Ways to Price Your Listing Right in Any Market (Despite the Seller’s Best Objections!) at www.prospectsplus.com/21Ways.

Got questions?  Call us today!  Need help building your sphere or consistently marketing to your customer base?  Call our inside account management team at 866.405.3638 today!  They’re WONDERFUL!  Tell them I said hi!

For more great ideas and fun tips  – be sure to follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/prospectsplus — we’d love to have you in on the conversation!