Friday, April 28, 2017

Sage (and Funny) Advice from Top Agent Steve Turner

By Julie Escobar

I love agents who take a walk on the funnier side of life. They’re fun to interview and amazingly good at sharing perspective and insights. Catching up with our VIP customer Steve Turner was a perfect example of
that. He has a great approach to business, life and staying on track. Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q: Hey, Steve! Can you please start by telling our readers a little about yourself?

A: I consider myself the rookie with 19 years of experience – and the Big Guy of New Homes Sales! Since 1997, I’ve been an employee of various homebuilding companies, leading their sales teams. About two years ago, I figured I could make it even bigger by being an independent agent, as I was sure I knew everything I needed to succeed. Little did I realize, I had A LOT to learn (or unlearn) about being a REALTOR®.

Q: It’s crazy competitive in most markets. What advice would you share with agents for staying top of mind and edging out other agents for branding and business?

A: Planning your work and working your plan is timeless advice that I continue to utilize. I make sure I have a plan such as what I am going to do this month, next month and even six months from now. Working the phone, sending emails, mailings and pop-bys are all in my plan. I’m also guilty of using the plan you publish in your magazine for my mailings. Then all I have to do is figure out when I think my postcards or mailers will arrive in their mailbox so I can plan my calls and follow-up emails around those dates.

Q: What is your go-to marketing tool for generating new business?

A: I have several that always seem to work for me. With first-time buyers, I love using door hangers to canvas certain areas to pull from. Also, memorable postcards to targeted homes help me get listings. Another one that helps me is postcards to just keep in touch with my settled buyers for referrals. Don’t forget your past clients; they truly are some of the best sources for your next clients.

Q: I know you’re a fan of the Master Marketing Schedule. It’s fun, right? What can you tell readers about how that works for you and what you like about it?

A: The Master Marketing Schedule is great because I don’t have to put much thought or effort into what message or theme I focus on during the different months. I can just pull from the monthly suggestions and then build my monthly marketing and follow-up plan around that. My energy is best focused on helping clients instead of trying to figure out my own marketing ideas, and the Master Marketing Schedule from ProspectsPLUS! gives me ideas for success without taking time from my income-generating activities.

Q: How often do you stay connected with your sphere and farm, and why, in your opinion, is that so important?

A: Working for builders over the years, I relied too much on their marketing and didn’t focus on building my
own sphere. That truly was my biggest mistake of the past. Imagine how amazing it would be to know every single owner in a community because you sold every home there with the builder? However, making calls years later saying, “Remember me? I’m the guy who sold you your home 10 years ago and haven’t spoken to you since! Are you looking for a professional to sell it now?” That conversation doesn’t go over well.

Really, I now try to stay in touch with my sphere on a monthly basis and more frequently, if possible. Social media helps make it easy to stay in front of them, but it can’t be your only way of staying in touch. I want to be on their Facebook feed, at their charity event, in their mailbox and a voice on the other end of the phone with them.

Q: Any fun, out-of-the-box ideas you care to share with readers?

A: I’ve been told that I have a good sense of humor, and I love having fun. As such, I tend to use a lot of humor in my follow up. I’ve designed a few memes on Facebook so that every time my friends and clients share it, my website address is watermarked across it. To get a good long life out of it, I’ve used the same meme as postcards too. These tend to get stuck to their fridge or posted to their pin board at their work cubicle.  

Q: I love that! What keeps you motivated and on track for your goals?

A: Nothing is more motivating than helping someone buy or sell their own home. Seeing their joy helps lift me up and keeps me wanting to go do it again, for someone else. There’s an amazing high that comes with getting my clients the offer or home of their dreams. I always say that sales is a job for a manic depressive – if you’re not one when you start, you will be!

Q: Last, how can our readers send referrals your way?

A: Brand-new homes and custom homes are still my specialty. I’ve built a network that has become the best team in new construction in Central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland. My contact info can be easily found on my site: www.TheSteveTurner.com, or follow along on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TopAGENTinCentralPA.

Wonderful, Steve! Thank you so much for sharing. We hope everyone takes a little time to implement some of your terrific strategies and ideas.

If you need help getting started or implementing part of your marketing plan, call our team at 866.405.3638 today, or visit us at www.prospectsplus.com.

Technique (And Practice) Can Make All the Difference!

By Julie Escobar

As the market continues to heat up, there’s no better time to sharpen your negotiating skills and polish your
pricing techniques.  You know that old Floyd Wickman saying, “Worse than no listing is a listing that won’t sell.”  Make sure yours are priced to move and you’ll not only be a hero to your sellers, you’ll set yourself up as the agent to call in your marketplace.

Here are three of my favorites:

#1:  Helping the Competition:  Overpricing your home in today’s market can actually help sell other listings.

Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer.  They’ve got an agent and they’re looking at listings that are priced at market value, show well and have motivated sellers.

If they look at your home and a comparable home and all things being relatively equal, in other words, both are 4 bedroom, 3 bath, 2600 sq. ft. homes and both show well but yours is $50,000+ above market value, which home is going to look more attractive to them when it comes to a bottom line decision for their family?

In fact, when it comes to choosing their property, if your home is overpriced, you’ve just made the lesser priced home look perfect by comparison.  They can feel good about their decision of getting the same sized home for less!

You can also pull comparables from your MLS to show real world applications of this. 

Another point to make here with the sellers is to share with them the absolute fact that most people start their search for homes online and we’re a web-savvy nation of consumers.

That means that if they overprice their home today and it goes online via the MLS and your multiple w21Wayseb listing portals, their home won’t even have the benefit of SHOWING up when consumers are searching by price in your market area. 

They’ve just priced themselves right off the internet search – eliminating the possibility of that 85+% of consumers who start their search there.  Definitely food for thought!

#2:  The Four Sales:  A great Floyd Wickman strategy – they don’t call him the “Duke of Dialogues” for nothing! Here’s the dialogue:

You know we’ve covered the comparables – the research that I showed you with the prices of the other homes like yours that have sold recently in this area.

And I know you want to list it at the higher price.

I’ve put a lot of thought into it, and you know if we went ahead and put it on the market at your price – and I was the only one that had to be sold on that price – well I guess that would be fine.

But in reality, there are actually four sales that have to be made in order to sell your home at that price.

First…I have to be sold and I’ve gotta tell you – all I can go by is the CMA facts and figures that I showed you.

Secondly…the other agents have to be sold on showing your property at that price – otherwise they’re simply not going to show it to their buyers.  Unfortunately, they get their numbers the same way I do – from what’s recently sold in the area and those same CMA numbers.

Thirdly…and this is a big one – the buyers.  Let’s just pretend we sold the agents on it.  Now we’ve got to convince the buyers to pay a higher price for a property when there are other homes like it that are selling
for less.

Unfortunately in today’s world and with the internet, buyers have access to the same information that we have here.  They know what homes are going for in this area.  So that’s going to be a tough sale, don’t you think?

Now let’s just say everything lines up and somehow we even sell a buyer on paying more for your property than we know its worth in this market.

We still have one more sale.

Fourth…there’s the lender.  Lenders use exactly the same formulas we do to determine Fair Market Value for a property before they’ll write a loan.

Are you familiar with Fall-Throughs? 

Yeah, fall-throughs are what happens when people who were thinking just the way you were thinking and the sale can’t go through because the property won’t appraise for what you’re asking for it.

And that’s not what you want right?21 ways tools

#3:  Empathy vs. Reality Close:  This one comes from our friend, Coach Gord Gerrie:

I understand how you feel Mr. and Mrs. Seller and there is no doubt, many others have felt exactly the same way you do right now.

However, what they found was that once they had sold their house and focused their attention on their new home, they understood that the reality of accepting the offered price really only amounted to a few dollars more per month on their next home.

Again in reality, by accepting this offer today, you will know that your house is sold and that the difference between what you had hoped for and what you will receive will amount to less than $X per day in your new home.

Would you let $X per day stand between you and the home of your dreams?

These are just three powerful closes to help you get the right price for your listings the first time around.  Find 18 more in our eBook 21 Ways to Get Your Listings Priced Right (Despite the Sellers Best Objections! Want to learn more ways to grow your business?  Join us on our Facebook page or Google+ page today – we’d love to hear from you.  

 

In Your Geographic Farm Area

By Todd Robertson

There’s something I say at the end of every speech I give when presenting to sales professionals – “If the game is scheduled and you’ve decided to play, you might as well win.”

What I mean by that is that if you’re going to do the work, be in the game, and put in the time – you might as well give yourself the absolute best chance to knock it out of the park.  That’s exactly what I wanted to talk about in this week’s quick post.   There are three powerful ingredients to putting yourself at the top of the game in your market. They are…

  1. Make it easy for people to find you. If you’re playing to win in today’s market you have to have an internet presence. That said, what you DON’T want to do is to put ALL of your eggs in that basket.  Make sure you have a presence, are ranking, driving traffic, and showcasing not only your listings, but your credentials as the specialist in your area and can back that up.  Opt-ins that keep your listing growing are a great add in as well.  Make it easy for people to find you when they are searching and you’re one up on your competition.
  2. Skills. There are SO many great trainers, speakers, courses, and connections these days, many even on demand so you can learn at your leisure. There’s no reason and frankly no excuse for an agent who is eager to succeed to not be playing at an extraordinary level.  Tony Robbins calls it CANI – for Constant And Never Ending I  What do your skill levels look like in terms of presentation, negotiation, pricing, prospecting – or all of the above?  Never stop learning and fine tuning.  You can have all the internet leads in the world or all the referrals in the world – if you don’t have the skills to close – then you are leaving money on the table.
  3. Good ground game. What I mean by this is modern day farming.  It’s easier than ever and so important.  To pull it off though you have to deliver Ritz Carlton quality and service. That means picking the right area – then creating a dominating presence.  To do that I suggest you…
  • Pick the absolute right area. Don’t just choose your carrier routes or neighborhood without doing your homework.  Not long ago, we invited our friends from Benutech and ReboGateway to join us for a webinar in which they taught our customers how to use turnover rate, sales price, homeowner to renter ratios and additional data to find the right farm. You can watch it on demand here:
  • Send out the largest legal size mailing possible (12×15). That sends a message to local homeowners that you are in the game to win. Show up BIG, and let them know you mean business. That’s where the Market Dominator becomes your differentiator. Done for you content. Consistent delivery. Directly to your farm.
  • Make it a campaign. In other words, if you’re going to be like 90+% of agents and drop one or two marketing strategies then call it a day, farming is not going to work. If you do however decide that you are going to commit for the duration and consistently show up month after month after month with a strong message and direct response offers – you’ll be positioning yourself to win.

Now if you’re ready to knock it out of the park and learn how the Market Dominator can give you the competitive edge, give me a call today at 702-683-1967. I know we’ve got the systems and tools to help you do just that. Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com or give us a call today at 866.405.3638.

With inventory in high demand, and buyers eager for deals, sometimes it takes a little objection handling skill and myth-busting to turn these sellers into happy clients.  

So, let’s put on our “Myth-busters” hat for a moment and take a look at some common misconceptions:

1.  All FSBOs are hard to work with. Really – all of them?  In truth, most sellers who are trying to fly solo to get their homes sold are eager to save money, not well-informed as to what it takes to price right in today’s market and usually fairly motivated.  Are they distrustful of agents?  Sure, many are — but that doesn’t make them difficult – it makes them human beings.  It’s YOUR job to earn their trust, treat them with respect, develop a relationship and make them raving fans.

How do you help develop that relationship? Consistent communication, professional real estate fsbo marketing postcardspresentation tools and a can-do attitude.  Try the “7 touch” series of our real estate FSBO marketing postcards – they’re perfect for getting your foot in the door and raising those questions (and answering them) in the minds of the sellers that get them to then call you for help.

Or our FSBO door hangers are very popular (and perfect for keeping a stash in the car for a quick leave-behind every time you see a For Sale By fsbo door hangers Owner! Many of our direct response tools, and any time you are reaching out to get in the door of a potential listing, especially a FSBO, be sure to offer something of value.  A fair trade item.  A reason to contact you. (And a reason for you to contact them!)  Great ideas for this are free reports, market information, list of resources, our Pricing Pyramid.  You can find lots of fair trade items in our RESOURCE section of our site!

Click here or on the video box below to see how easy it is to order these door hangers!

2.  All FSBOs Are Overpriced. Don’t you just love sweeping generalities?  In truth, (again) – many probably are.  But surprisingly, with all of the internet information out there, and the fact that it is a buyer’s market — many for sale by owner sellers DO get pricing a property right. But more often than not, they don’t get that they can get MORE for their home, statistically, using a real estate professional so it’s your job to help them understand that!  

 

Many time sellers think, “how hard can it be?” Especially when they want to tack your commission onto the top of what you’ve already determined to be Fair Market Value so they can get every penny possible from their investment. When you say no to the higher price point, you’ll often get hit with the “I can just sell it myself and not have to pay anyone” response.

Here’s a technique to try:
“Mr. and Mrs. Seller, I can appreciate your thought. Many homeowners weigh out that option when they decide to sell their home.  The top priority for most home sellers is getting the highest amount possible from their home. Is that your top priority as well?  What I can share with you with you is a study conducted by the National Association of Realtors every year called the annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.
It shows that in the last year, the average FSBO home sold for *$185,000 compared to $240,000 for agent-assisted home sales. So, you can see that even with paying a commission, I can still get you a higher dollar amount for your home than you could selling it on your own.

Would you like to know why? The biggest reason is the exposure I can create for your property as opposed to what you can do on your own. With an agent, the property is entered into the MLS where it is broadcast marketed to not only consumers via the paper, home guides, and a wide range of internet sites, but to the ______ agents in our area as well. By creating greater exposure for your property we create greater buyer competition which leads to a higher selling price.

That, and as a real estate professional with ___ years of experience and because I’m a third party, I’m better able to negotiate on your behalf, getting you the best deal for your home. You have to remember that a buyer working with a For Sale By Owner knows that you aren’t paying a commission, and more often than not, they’re well versed in the price of the comparables in your market, so they are already in “bargain hunting” mode.

When you take all of that into consideration, as well as how much of your own valuable time will be taken up with trying to do your regular job plus take on showing the property, trying to negotiate, searching for the necessary legal documentation and trying to qualify buyers, can you see how you could be saving more by using a licensed agent?”

This may be a good time too to introduce the Merchandising Review.  If you’ve never used it, give it a whirl – you’ll make it a part of your listing tool chest from now on!  It’s a great way to strategically walk sellers through ALL the components of salable listing and even helps to answer some questions (price at the top!) before they’re even raised.  Download your copy for free and start using it today.   By the way – here’s a little Merchandising Review dialogue you can use when contacting FSBOs.

As soon as you see that FSBO pop onto the market, you should contact them by telephone and attempt to use the Merchandising Review as a reason for them to set an appointment to talk with you.

“Hello, Mr./Mrs./Ms/Miss ____________, my name is _______, and I’m with ______.  The reason I’m calling is that I see you have put your home on the market and I’m sure you’re eager to get the best price for it – right? (Wait for their answer!)

Wonderful!  I wanted to offer you a very special tool that we use called a Merchandising Review Form…have you heard of it before?  It is what I use to make a comprehensive analysis of whether a home is salable in TODAY’S market and what you can do to guarantee that it will sell for a great price and terms.

What I’d like to do is set a time when we could sit down together and go over the Merchandising Review.  No cost or obligation – just something that can help you get your home sold.  It takes about 20 minutes. (Set a time.)

Walk them through each item and negotiate the issues that were might keep the property from selling.  Correct these issues, and ask if they would allow you to show them your marketing plan.

3.  FSBOS can just do this on their own. I love this one.  Truth is, statistically, most FSBOs do end up using an agent.  In recent statistics only 8% of the homes sold according to NAR were FSBOs. And of those – 31% don’t even market their properties. So, they NEED someone like you to lend them the expertise to not just get a great price, but to make the process as headache free as possible.

Most Difficult Tasks for FSBO Sellers:

  • Getting the right price . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18%
  • Preparing/fixing up home for sale: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13%
  • Understanding and performing paperwork  . . . . . . . . .  12%
  • Helping buyer obtain financing: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6%
  • Selling within the planned length of time: 3%
  • Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale: 3%

FSBOs really are the “low hanging fruit” for many agents – why?  Because they’re usually still motivated to sell!  But the keys to success are that  you have to consistent (can’t show up just ONCE – remember MOST deals are sealed after the FIFTH contact), timely (most successful FSBO experts make reaching out to FSBOs a DAILY business practice – no half-stepping it!) Know your business and your market (practice, drill and rehearse your presentation and you’ll create a presence as the turn-to agent in your market for FSBOs.

So go ahead – time to CRUSH IT and start listing those FSBOs and start maneuvering, out-selling and out-smarting the competition in your market place!  And remember -we’re here if you need us.  Call our team today at 866.405.3638 to help choose the marketing materials you need to capture this market!

Success Advice from Power Agent Buddy Keene

by Julie Escobar

Tapping into what works for our customers is a great way to get a read on what agents need now and what is right around the corner as well. We caught up with one of our VIP customers Buddy Keene to learn what he’s doing to take his business to the next level.

Here’s what we learned:

Q:  Thanks for the interview! Can you start by telling our readers a little about yourself?

A:  Sure, I’m a Tampa native whose background as a business owner and executive brings a new and innovative approach to the sale of real estate. I take pride in providing personal and responsive service tailored to each client’s individual needs. I am a high-energy individual who delivers start-to-finish service with the sale or purchase of primary residences, vacation/secondary homes, and rental properties. My company, Great Blue’s mission is to become both the best respected and the most successful real estate brokerage in the state of Florida.

Q:  We know that staying consistent with your marketing is one powerful key to branding yourself and generating business. Can you tell us what you find most effective in terms of staying top of mind with your sphere and farm?

A:  I concentrate my marketing budget on direct mailings. I mail three communities every month. The total number of homes that I reach is just over 2,500. 90% of all of business comes from this mail campaign. If you want to be top of mind for the homeowners in your farm area, you have got to be consistent with your touches. If you intend to simply mail one time, or even on a quarterly basis, you’re wasting your money. I consider 12 touches per year to be the optimum exposure for my listing services.

Q:  We appreciate your trusting us to be the resource for your marketing tools – what drew you to our organization and what is your go-to tool for getting results?

A: I learned about ProspectsPLUS.com from a postcard that you mailed to me. So, I’m proof that direct mail produces results!

Q:  It’s a competitive market out there. What advice would you give fellow agents for creating an edge over their competitors?

A: For years, I produced my own Real Estate Reports for my farm area. I would gather the info from the MLS, analyze it, write a report, print it, and the envelopes, stuff them, and mail them. It was a massive effort to put the campaign together. My printing toner cost alone was $500 per month. At that time, I was only mailing on a quarterly basis. While I was surviving, the return on my investment just wasn’t where I felt it should be. After contacting prospects Plus, and learning about the Market Dominator product, I made the change, and hired your profession organization to produce my mailing pieces. This is by far the best marketing decision I have made to date. The mailings are always top notch quality, both the graphics, and the copy. My personal branded image has never been more professional. And I’m spending less time on my mailings than ever before.

The very first thing that homeowners tell me when we meet at the listing appointment, is that they love my mailers.

Q:  Many agents are reluctant to do any follow up activities with their book of business.  What words of wisdom can you share with them?

A: My farm areas consist of $400,000 properties. When you start charging people the amounts of money that I charge, you’d better bring some real value to the table. I have added services to my marketing plan, that most other Realtors simply don’t offer. For example, pay for a professional appraisal. The fact that we have a professional third party opinion of market value is very comforting to the sellers. It’s amazing how much stress this practice removes from the selling process for my clients. Another benefit to having this info, is that they sellers don’t go into the selling process with unrealistic expectations.

I bring in a professional photographer, and have him shoot High Dynamic Range photos, as well as aerial photos shot with a drone. I have a virtual tour software that I invested in, and it’s so much better than anything else that the sellers have ever seen. I also use an appointment center service, so that we never miss a call to show. I employ an internet service that syndicates my listings to over 50 websites, and delivers an email report to my sellers on the 1st, and the 15th of each month, showing how many view’s we have gotten, and from which of the website.

Q:  How valuable have you found it to be to stay in touch with your past clients?

A: Being mostly a listing agent, many of my past clients have actually moved out of my market area. So, the majority of my book of business is made up from buyers that I have worked with in the past. This is one of the areas where I have some serious room for improvement. While I have been fortunate enough to have very good relationships with my past buyer clients, I have not established a formal drip-mail campaign to keep myself top of mind with them.

My past clients have become a strong source of referrals. In fact, I have one family that has purchased, and or sold six properties with me. We’ve been working together for over 10 years. Many of my past buyers were first time buyers. Now that they are ready to move up, they are calling me to both sell their current property, and help them buy their new home.

Q:  Lastly, how can agents get hold of you if they have a referral they’d like to share in your area?

A: I can be reached at Buddy.keene@greatblue.us, or by phone at 813.727.7110.

Awesome information. Thanks Buddy!  

If you’d like to learn more about growing your book of business, earn more referrals and brand yourself in a geographic market, visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com or call our team today at 866.405.3638.