Sunday, July 23, 2017

Your Bottom Line Depends On It

by Julie Escobar

An agent’s ability to earn consistently and continuously earn referrals is in direct proportion to their willingness and ability to stay top of mind with their sphere and farm.

Consistency. Since the beginning of real estate there have been agents that send one or two massive mailings and when they unsurprisingly get no results, stop marketing.  Many others take the “holiday” approach to staying in touch by sending an annual holiday card in the hopes that they are remembered. Both of these approaches are a waste of time, energy and valuable marketing dollars.

To stay ahead of the curve, you should be in contact with your sphere of influence at least every 30-45 days. Using the popularlisting-inventory send-call-see approach (part of our free BusinessBASETM), you can easily set up a system for contacting your VIPs each month. Send a postcard, letter, newsletter, flyer, novelty or note one month.  Many of our customers find the Listing Inventory Series, Content Cards, and Market Dominator among their favorites.

One other series that is growing in popularity is one of this month’s Master Marketing Schedule tip which are our Call to Action Postcards which include powerful direct response offers call to actionthat help make your phone ring!

Once you’ve gotten in the habit of “touching” your sphere and farm once a month, be sure to deploy the call part of send-call-see.

Call with a friendly event reminder, helpful hint, or just to say hello the following month. During the third month, arrange to see them via a networking event, social gathering or quick in-person visit (with notice, of course) where you drop off a small token, informational item or card. Then start the “rotation” over again. Such consistency creates vital ‘top-of-mind’ awareness that often becomes “the key to the kingdom” when growing your referral base and creating a reliable income.

If you’re not sure where to start, our popular Master Marketing Schedule shares monthly Action Items that agents tell us help them stay consistently on track.

SEND-CALL-SEE.  Be the resource they need and want in a time where consumers have LOTS of questions regarding the value of their property, their buying power, investment opportunities, and what’s happening in their market.  You’re not bothering people – you’re providing a SERVICE.

What can you SEND?

What can you SAY when you CALL?

  • Hi.  I have buyers, the Smiths (insert real names!), that are looking for a home in the _____________ neighborhood, and I wanted to know if you’ve ever thought about selling your home or know someone who is so I can help this nice family find what they are looking for?
  • Hi!  Just checking in on you! We’ve got a lot of activity in our market, and I thought you might have some questions—do you?
  • Is there anything I can do to help you?
  • I’m expanding my business and I could use your help…
  • Have you thought about selling your house now or in the near future?
  • Have you been receiving my information?  Any questions?

What do you do when you SEE them? 

  • Create opportunities for appointments
  • Take someone to lunch
  • Attend a neighborhood block party
  • Organize a charity drive in the community
  • Sponsor a free workshop and invite everyone to attend
  • Get out there and be visible in the community you’re servicing
  • Walk your farm and start making friends

Working ON your business requires dedication and a commitment to the activities that earn you top dollar and allow you to “feed” the career you’re building. Never lose sight of the fact that prospecting, presenting and closing should always be at the top of your list.

Visit http://www.prospectsplus.com/ to get your FREE copy of our BusinessBASETM (Plus learn the 250 people who should be in your SOI), and be sure to bookmark our Master Marketing ScheduleTM .

Go for it. Remember that we’re here if you need anything. Contact our team today at 866.405.3638. 

With Top Agent Carmen Wieck

By Julie Escobar

It’s so powerful to learn from our customers, hear their stories and be able to share their insights and ideas
with others. Every time we do, it’s wonderful. We often get a behind-the-scenes glance into what brought them to our great industry – and what they do that allows them to flourish.

What a treat it was to learn more about our VIP customer Carmen Wieck. Her story inspired us, and I know it will inspire you too. Here’s what we learned:

Q: Carmen, can you first tell our readers a little about yourself?

A: I was born and grew up in communist Romania, and 1989 was a big turning point in my destiny. I always felt I was missing something big, but I never knew what it was. After graduating from the Academy of Economic Studies, I had a very short period of “trial and error” in finding the right career path for myself. I was a lieutenant in the Romanian Police, dreaming of “bringing justice for all.” I also worked for the government, dreaming of “making a difference” until I finally found that working in marketing for private multinational companies was where I fit best. I was so fortunate to work with exceptional managers in several blue chip companies such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Frito-Lay and Ipsos Research.

While I was living in Croatia working for Coca-Cola, I met my husband, who’s from Wisconsin. Life took a big turn for both of us, as we started a family and moved around the world with new job assignments. A few years ago, we decided that the best thing for our two daughters was to benefit from the educational system in the United States, so we moved to Florida. One of the best decisions for our family!

I know from several hands-on experiences that navigating the real estate environment can become overwhelming and emotionally wrecking. Moving so many times from country to country gave me enough personal exposure as a customer… and not always very pleasant. After more than 18 years in the corporate environment and one too many traumatic experiences in real estate, I decided to become a REALTOR® and bring my contribution to restoring the belief that this profession can be conducted with high ethics and, more important, with genuine care about the needs of customers.

Q: What is your go-to marketing tool for branding yourself in your market and driving new business?

A: I’ve “toyed around” with several marketing tools when it comes to marketing in real estate and had my fair share of no’s and wows! One thing I would say is that driving new business starts with exceeding expectations on your existing business. That will always secure your “organic” growth, which should be the foundation for your long-term business.

For tapping into new business opportunities, I’ve learned that a combination of passive and active
prospecting works best for me. For example, a combination of three touchpoints direct mail campaign for Expireds (which I adapted to fit my brand and personality from existing marketing materials/postcards from prospectsplus.com library in such a way that fits my branding and personality) followed by direct contact (calls or door knocking) can prove really productive.

I consider Just Listed/Just Sold postcards a must. However, don’t just sell it or list, put a spin on it and have an unexpected approach or added value. Give your target a reason that matters TO THEM, not to you. I absolutely dread the postcards I receive in my mail from agents stating, “Thank you for making me the #1 agent in your neighborhood.” To me, that is such a turnoff. As a customer, I don’t care that you are #1; I care about my motivation for selling and buying and how you as a real estate agent fit in my motivation! Again, the prospectsplus.com library is such a great source of inspiration. My first Just Sold postcards using a template from ProspectsPLUS! generated two listings!

Q: How do you believe agents can differentiate themselves from other agents in today’s competitive market?

A: Exceeding expectations, going the extra mile. Anybody can put a listing on the MLS now, even FSBOs (with the flat fee companies that offer this service to FSBOs for a nominal fee), everybody offers free CMAs, everybody has a marketing plan that includes internet, maybe open houses, maybe Just Listed postcards, maybe flyers, etc. All seen and done by all REALTORS® to a certain extent.

In a market that’s becoming more and more of a commodity, where everybody knows at least one REALTOR®, true differentiation in added value on trending aspects of real estate is what sets you apart. For example, offering a complimentary Staging Analysis and Assistance, complimentary home protection plan during listing, complementary inspection or appraisal before listing, complimentary full cleaning of the house before listing, etc., depending on the property, owners, their motivation, etc.

Q: Any outside-the-box ideas you’d like to share for building your book of business?

A: Yes. Use an introductory video for your pre-listing package. Tell your short story, show who you are, instill confidence and energy. It helps homeowners get more comfortable and relaxed about meeting you before you show up at the door.

Find something that’s your “thing,” and embed it into your touchpoints with your customers to show genuine care. For example, I LOVE baking, and my whole family loves my signature apple-raspberry pie I make from scratch. So I bring my signature pie for my clients at closing and drop by at their one-, two- and three-year home anniversaries and bring them the pie. One time I had the extended family of one of my past clients waiting for me at the house, just to make sure they got to taste the pie while it was still warm.

Q: How often do you connect with your sphere and farm, and what kind of results do you get from that?

A: I recently started the Market Dominator for my farming area. I find this approach indeed standing out from the crowd – the content, the quality of the printing, everything spells out professionalism, exceeding the “norm” standing out from the crowd. I recently started this; it’s basically a monthly touchpoint approach with my farm, and I do expect to see results in the next few months.

With my sphere, I make sure I stay in touch and call, drop by or send a card for special holidays or birthdays, usually three to four times a year.

Q: Any fun advice to help agents master this business?

A: How one becomes a successful real estate agent? Same as one becomes a butterfly: You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.

Q: Last, where can our readers send a referral if they have someone in your area?

A: My focus is in Broward County, and I can be reached at carmen.realtorflorida@gmail.com or 786-449-9882.

Wonderful, Carmen! Thank you so much for sharing your inspired story with our readers. You’re amazing!

If you’d like to stand out in your market and soar past your competition the way Carmen does, please don’t hesitate to contact us today at 866.405.3638. We can put you on the path to success.

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.