Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Difference Between Calm & Commission Chasing

By Julie Escobar

One of the biggest challenges for people getting into the business of real estate is the fear of NOT knowing when they will get paid.  Commission only? Are you kidding me?  While that’s a genuine concern when you’re brand new and haven’t learned the ropes yet, what’s interesting is how many people are STILL unclear about when and where their next commission will come from though they’ve been in the business for years.  The common denominator for that dilemma lies in whether they take a proactive or reactive approach to their business.

First and foremost?  You are an independent contractor, and as such you are running a business entity, so treating it as such is more than common sense – it’s a must.  Proactive agents know where their leads are coming from because they are putting systems in place to ensure that they are marketing themselves in the areas that matter most such as:

  • Their sphere of influence: Those folks that already know them, like them, trust them and would do business with them. They know that if they stay in touch monthly, contact regularly, and make these VIPs a priority, they can expect a referral, listing or sale from one in twelve each year. (Marketing methods of choice: Newsletter, Holiday Postcards, Recipe Cards, Content Cards, Annual Customer Appreciation events, and a phone call or visit at LEAST twice per year.)
  • Their geo farm: The market area they most want to dominate. Smart agents choose a neighborhood that already has some turnover, does NOT have another agent with the substantial presence or market share, and has a price point that makes sense for them to invest in marketing. (Marketing methods of choice:  Market Dominator, Just Listed/Just Sold postcards, Open Houses, Neighborhood luxury cardsUpdate/Free Offer Series and farm canvassing at least three times per year.)
  • A niche: That tribe of people or customers you most like to work with.  Maybe it’s first time home buyers, or seniors, or medical professionals, or boaters. Whatever group you feel connected with – make yourself known as the go-to agent.  (Marketing Methods of choice, Newsletters, Lifestyle Interest Postcards and attending or sponsoring events specifically targeted to that niche.)
  • Lead generation: Continuously casting new nets for new business as well as constant prospecting the three segments above. (Marketing Methods of choice: Reaching out to local businesses for networking and referrals, partnering with local PTAs and sporting teams, using Every Door Direct Mail to market to blanket a new carrier route, Listing Inventory postcards.)

These agents aren’t shy about sharing their success rates either.  They use social media wisely, are active and visible in the communities they service and they broadcast their results via Just Listed/Just Sold postcards and online announcements.  Examples: Sold in TWO days!  Was on the market with another agent for six months. Now sold in just one week!

Reactive agents? Pretty much none of the above. They spend the bulk of their time working with buyers and usually only actively seek a new listing once the one or two they have in inventory sell.  I love what Darryl Davis shared in his last article with us.  “It’s no longer listings are the name of the game – it’s listing INVENTORY is the name of the game.”  He compares it to owning a shoe store and having no shoes left to sell.

Bottom line: When you are reactionary, as in, “I have no income coming in – let me go take a listing now,” your life is stressful. You worry about providing for yourself and your family.  You aren’t sure if you need to go “get a real job”.

When you are proactive, you make marketing and prospecting part of your daily routine.  You KNOW your numbers.  “I need to speak with X number of people each day to get X amount of appointments, to do X number of listings, X amount of sales, and X number of closings.”  You use time blocking to prioritize your time and activity. You use systems to automate your marketing or simplify the processes.

If you’re a brand new agent or are an agent that needs less stress, more business and are ready to get to the next level in your career – kick that reactive stuff to the curb and jump in with a proactive plan to build your business.

Need help working with your sphere, farm or niche? We’ve got everything you need to succeed at www.prospectsplus.com or call our team at 866.405.3638.

 

And Make a Difference for You Bothraf gift card

By Julie Escobar

Referrals as real estate professionals are a lifeblood of your business, we know.  They can make all the difference in expanding your sphere, increasing your productivity, and of course, turn into valuable commissions throughout the year.  In that, we are very much alike.  Your business is not just about real estate (buying and selling of homes) – it’s about PEOPLE.  Our business not just about real estate marketing tools – it’s about PEOPLE as well.  So it seems, we’ve got some common ground.  That’s why we recently implemented a new Refer-a-Friend system so that our valued customers can benefit from those referrals, as well as share the kind of tools that you know will make your friends’ lives a little easier in the process.

Let’s take a look of eight reasons to refer a friend today!

  1. You get $25! Each time you refer a friend to our ProspectsPLUS.com site and they register and make a purchase of any kind, we’ll send you a $25 gift card code use towards your own real estate marketing.
  2. Your friend gets $25! We know trying new things isn’t always easy so we will give your referral friend a $25 gift card code so they can try the site without trying their budget!
  3. No limits! You can refer as many friends as you like, and they can do the same!
  4. 100% satisfaction guarantee. Here’s our promise:  We’re so committed to continuously raising the bar and delivering the very best products and service possible for our customers. With that – should you (or your friend) have a problem with any order, please simply let us know within 30 days of placing that order. We will then work with you to the best of our ability to ensure that the problem is solved quickly and efficiently. If necessary, we will refund your order up to 100% or resend your order without any hassles or headaches for you.
  5. The right marketing tools for the right people at the right time. When you refer a friend to ProspectsPLUS.com – you can rest assured that you are sharing a site that is focused on delivering the tools that are specifically designed and written for real estate professionals, by real estate professionals.  The bulk of our creative team, like you, have been out there in the trenches listing and selling.  So we get you and your business in a way that many companies can’t.  And our customers tell us that is the differentiator they appreciate.
  6. New tools, strategies, and training opportunities each and every month. Our industry is constantly changing, and the marketing needs of our customers and the way they need to speak to their customers is in a constant state of change as well.  That’s why you’ll find new done-for-you tools available on our site each month.  From postcards, to flyers, to brochures and blog posts – all are designed to help you continuously move your business forward without having to ever reinvent any wheel.  We know that creating is hard – so we make it our business to do all the homework for you.  We keep tabs on what is trending in the market so you always have what you need to connect with your customers.  Check out our Specials page each month to see what’s new.
  7. Savings doesn’t end with your gift card. Our specials page always has the latest promo codes posted so that you can save additional marketing dollars on any order, and you can use these in conjunction with your gift cards.  Click here to see what this month’s codes are now.
  8. Customer service is at your fingertips. You never have to go it alone when choosing or ordering the marketing materials that are right for you. Simply call our team at 866.405.3638 or use our chat option to connect with our support team.

We hope you’ll take advantage of our new Refer-a-Friend program, earning gift card dollars for both you and your friends and enjoying marketing materials that are designed to help you grow your business with fewer headaches and greater success.  Click here to get started!  

Need help? Call us today at 866.405.3638.

How to Stay Top of Mind All Season Long

By Julie Escobar

It’s that time of year again where legions of fans from coast to coast get their game on and answer to the battle cry – “Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?”  Even if you’re not a fan, you have to appreciate their enthusiasm-right?  You also should appreciate the excellent opportunity to get your name, contact information and offer into the hands (and on the refrigerators) of local fans in your market ALL SEASON LONG with fun, game-changing football schedule cards!

These handy handouts are an agent favorite this time of year. Why?  Because they are TIMELY and results producing – and most importantly, consumers keep them, share them and sometimes even ask for more!  They are a great way to be remembered and considered a resource.  And that is a winning combination in today’s competitive market.

AWESOME AGENT IDEA:  Love this idea from one of our customers, Michael Fraga, who shared the strategy he used: “I ordered 200 of the football magnets to place in the community, and boy was the response overwhelmingly positive. I was reached out to by phone, text, and email, thanking me for the magnet, which I’m positive went on their fridge, and needless to say, this is going to be an annual mailer! Plus, I downloaded the PDF and put it on my Real Estate Facebook page, offering to mail one to anyone who didn’t receive one and would like to be added to my mailing list. I receive 8 requests in two days, 5 of which I don’t even know, and I also had two customers ask for cards and marketing material to send me referrals from their client base!”  Awesome idea Michael!

Here are three ways agents are using these terrific football schedule postcard tools:

  1. They’re mailing them to their sphere and geographic farm area.  That keeps them top of mind with the clients and prospects that they are most focused on gaining business and referrals from.
  2. They’re ordering MAGNETIC versions of them.  Then either hand-delivering them to their sphere and farm areas or placing in envelopes with a note to their top customers.
  3. They’re using them as give-aways.  The magnetic versions of these are best – but a printed shell postcard does the trick as well for great give-aways at open houses, local coffee shops, community events and even local businesses that you’re networked in.  It’s a win-win! If you are ordering the magnet postcards use promo code SUN10M to save 10% off your order (excluding postage). 

Affordable, timely and simple-to-order, you’re certain to score big with those in your market area with these football-friendly tools!  So if you’re ready for some football – and some referrals – click here to see the wide spectrum of game-day team schedules!

PLUS — From now until September 7th (the first day of football season), we will donate 10% of EVERY football series postcard order to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital!  Help us help the kids — and stay top of mind all season long! Click the banner below to get started!

And if you need help with these or any of our marketing products – just call our terrific customer care team at 866.405.3638.  They’re happy to help! 

by Julie Escobar

Do you know the biggest difference between the agents who not only survived but thrived during the market downturn? They had a book of business. A solid one. A database of people that they consistently connected with month-after-month. Year-after-year.  Why does that make such a difference? Because we know that statistically one in twelve of those people — the ones who already know you, trust you, and like you — will send business your way each year.  So, it SHOULD be on the top of every agent’s to do list – but it is not.

First, build it! If you’ve not yet put your sphere of influence database together, there’s no time like the present to start.

  • 20 Year Value of a Real Estate CustomerInclude every one of your past buyers or sellers. (Unless there are people you would truly never want to work with again, and we’ve all had those!) This is a top tier in your book of business.
  • Add friends, family and colleagues.
  • Get creative!  Start adding all the people that you connect with on a regular basis such as your children’s coaches, doctors, dentists, optometrist, car salesman, insurance salesman, hairdresser, mechanic, electrician, plumber, etc. Anyone you do business with, is a great candidate for referrals. You can find a list of the 250 people who should be in your sphere here. 

Next, grow it! As we head into a new month, remember to make an appointment with yourself every month to review for at least one hour where you are in terms of your book of business.  Ask yourself these four questions:

  1. How many past clients will I contact this month? 
  2. What is my focus? 
  3. Who can I add to my database?
  4. What’s working and what’s not? 

Lastly, nurture it!  Some of the best ways to nurture your list are…

  • Send: monthly postcards or newsletters.  Our Community News is very popular and agents love the done-for-you content. The Content Cards and Listing Inventory Series are also top performers.
  • Call: Connect with everyone in your book of business twice a year. Most agents break their lists down into weekly and daily increments, then hit the phones as part of their daily to-do list.
  • See: Host a customer appreciation event once a year. An end-of-summer picnic might be perfect for getting face-to-face with past customers and thanking them for their business (and referrals).

Building your book of business, for some, isn’t the exciting part of the business. But when your get the 20-year value of everyone on that list, you can start to see it as a priority! Look to our Master Marketing Calendar for some fun reasons to stay connected with your sphere and keep your conversations interesting!

You may also want to check out our Specials page which changes monthly as we add new content, tools and budget-saving promo codes! 

Need help? Contact our team today at 866.405.3638! 

 

 

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!