Sunday, November 19, 2017

Mastering the Merchandising Review

By Julie Escobar

Using visuals when giving presentations helps you effectively Merchandising Reviewcommunicate with your client or customers.  They lend an extra layer of authority to the conversation, appeal to the both the “listener” in the room and the “visual” person in the room (and if there are a husband and wife or more than one person who is a decision maker – there’s usually one of each!), and it help you and your ‘audience’ to stay ON TRACK.

Working with Expireds is almost always a great listing-generating activity. Granted, some are disillusioned, some worried and some flat out angry that they didn’t get the results they wanted the first time around.  But most of the time – they’re still motivated to sell.  One of the first things you have to do is to help them figure out the “WHY” for their dilemma.  Was it price?  (Many times!)  Was it condition?  (You can sell anything for the right PRICE.)  Was it the terms?

Whatever it was – the key to keeping that from happening again is to make sure your sellers are just as vested as you are in creating a successful end result – the sale of their home, preferably sooner rather than later.

Enter the Merchandising Review.  This handy dandy little form is great for walking sellers through the potential pitfalls that can happen if you don’t follow a success track when listing a property.  It helps put some of the “monkey” if you will on their backs – not just that of the sales agent.  And truly – it should be – right?

The Merchandising Review is a great way to sit across from the seller and say, “Listen, selling a home in today’s market is challenging at times, there’s no doubt.  But I like a good challenge and when you have the right tools, the right price, the right plan and the right agent – we can get you to your goal of getting this home sold.  Let’s do this – let’s walk through what I call a Merchandising Review and take a look at some of the top reasons that a home will sell (or won’t) in our market – OK?  That way we can make whatever adjustments we need to get you and your family to the next chapter of your life.  Sound good?  Here, I brought two copies – let’s go through it…”

It’s easy to use and easy (and free) to get!  Click here to go to our Resource Page – scroll about half way down the page until you see “Merchandising Review” – then just click download!  Easy, breezy!  Then if you really start wanting to drive up your production and attract Expireds in your market – use our ‘7-Series for Expireds’ – the messages are perfect for entering the conversation that’s already going on in the minds of these disappointed sellers. (While you are there, download the 6 Pitfalls of Overpricing free report – it’s a must-have for today’s listing presentation!)

At least twice a week, pull the Expireds in your market and send them a series of 3-5 postcards, mailing one every 5-7 days. Use the alternative back on the postcard to write a little more – and share that you have a very special tool that can help them first, determine what went wrong in the sale of their home and two, ensure that it doesn’t happen again and invite them to call you for a copy of their own.

It’s a great way in the door for these potential sellers.  Go for it!

Need help choosing the cards that are right for you?  Simply call our marketing specialists at 866-405-3638 today.  They’re smart, knowledgeable, friendly and just the folks you need on your side to ensure that your marketing is TIMELY and DONE!   Good luck and go get those Expireds!

Strategic Marketing Ideas for Strong Agents

by Julie Escobar

As competition grows more fierce, you may find yourself like many agents asking, “What’s my next move?” Savvy sales professionals are negotiating the turn by investing in smart systems and tools that will help them compete long-term in today’s real estate arena. Who will take the lead in both listing and selling homes as we navigate this constantly shifting market? Those who stay strategically focused on one-to-one marketing, negotiating effectively up front, and committing to consistent business development through monthly prospecting.

1. Set Your Standards High: In any market, taking listings that just won’t sell is far worse than having no listings at all. While you may be tempted to take at any price, terms or commission to secure the listing, this is a recipe for failure. Consider instead, raising your standards using a strong, effective tool which spotlights the homeowner’s commitment to getting the home sold in the quickest possible time, with the best price and terms. We call it our Merchandising Review and there are three very successful ways to implement this valuable tool.

First: Make the right mutual decisions at the listing appointment. In all likelihood, throughout your MerchandisingReviewTHUMB
presentation your sellers will have an objection or two regarding terms such as price, commission, etc. Our suggestion is to agreeably shelve objection handling until AFTER you have obtained the signatures for the listing. Then close your appointment by going over the Merchandising Review to make certain everything is in order.

Sample dialogue: “I want to thank you for listing your home with me. Please know that I will do everything in my power to get it sold. To help me do just that, let me take a few minutes to go over our Merchandising Review. I use this the same way pilots use a pre-flight checklist. This list of 18 different seller-controlled factors actually will help generate a quicker sale for the best possible price and terms. What I need from you is a commitment to check off at least eight of these items. Let’s review.” Then simply walk them through the list and negotiate where necessary. If you struggle to get listings priced right or are looking for additional tools to help you handle objections you might hear, you may wish to consider reading 21 Ways to Get Your Listings Priced Right the First Time. 

2.  Get non-selling inventory back on track. Go through your inventory and red flag problem listings. Walk PricePyramidTHUMBthrough the problems using the Merchandising Review and the Five Most Common Mistakes tools. Contact your sellers by phone or visit in person to help them understand those review items that are hindering the sale of their home.

Sample Dialogue: “Mr. and Mrs. Seller, we’ve had your property on the market for ____ days now and we are not getting the results that either of us had hoped for. We have a new tool called the Merchandising Review that helps us identify problem areas, and I’d like to sit down with you to discuss those issues. I believe if we walk through these items we can get your listing back on track and help exact a faster sale for your home. Would tomorrow at 6:00pm be good or would 8:30pm be better?”

3. Data mine for the niche that’s right for you.  By targeting niche markets that are near and dear to your own interests, you’ll be better able to “speak their language” and let your passion for that market segment build the momentum you are looking for.  For example, do you love listing and selling waterfront properties?  Is boating the way you unwind?  Now, it’s easy to find and market to like-minded people and work not only with your sphere — but consumer interest groups that most resonate with you.  That way you are growing your book of business with the kind of folks you are most interested in working with. (And that just makes work, and life, a whole lot more interesting, don’t you think?)

It’s never been easier to do.  

Use Option 2 on our Mailing List page to search for the customer segments you most want to market to:

mailing

  1. Choose High Income Consumers for luxury or investment property.investor
  2. Choose the Lifestyle Interest option for a treasure trove of niche markets such as golfers (golf community property), Tennis enthusiasts (high end home with tennis courts, or communities with tennis centers), Boat owners (waterfront properties), etc.
  3. Look to High Income Renters for high quality first time home ownership options and communities that are high in amenities, low in upkeep.  lifestyle
  4. Choose baby boomers and elderly if working with seniors is your passion.  Very often this will lead to developing powerful, referral relationships with the seniors and their children.
  5.  Choose move up market for those who have been in their homes over nine years and statistically are a good candidate for a move.  Help them list their current home and find their new dream property!
  6. Empty-nesters are a great segment to market for downsizing move upopportunities.  With the right marketing twist, you could end up listing their current home, and helping them purchase their new home.

These market segments are just the tip of the iceberg.  Find the niche that most works for you.  Watch all three videos regarding the mailing options  that are available to help agents find the perfect customers.  From radial searches, to demographic searches to all new Nielsen Prizm Code data, the possibilities are endless.

Whatever strategy you deploy this season, make sure your message is clear and marketing consistent. Call, see or send something to everyone in your base of business at least every 30 days and you will find that your productivity, profitability, referrals and commissions will be on track all year round.

Need help?  Call our marketing team today at 866.405.3638 to put the best systems in place to build your business easily, and cost-effectively. 

It’s Not Too Soon to Create Your Plan

by Julie Escobar

Hard to believe it’s almost September isn’t it? Taking a cue from this week’s Master Marketing Schedule tip which is to send the Hello Autumn postcard from the Holiday series, I thought it was a great time to share some tips for getting a jump on staying connected with your sphere and farm in this fun way, because staying in touch and top of mind never goes out of season.  Before you buy a card, stick a stamp of figure out where your mailing list is — consider these eight great holiday tips!

  1. Be clear about your message.  Even when you’re sending holiday postcards, you can use the reverse side to send a great message to your customer base.  If you are sending to both your sphere and farm, you may want to consider altering the message slightly for each. Make it personal and heartfelt, with a note of thanks for allowing you the opportunity to serve them as customers — or in the case of your farm – the community.
  2. Serve two purposes.  Are you having a holiday open house? Customer event?  Charity drive? Looking for a good time to stop by with a small gift? You can include that information on the cards as well.
  3. Don’t be salesy.  Holiday greetings are not about the sale – they are about the connection.  Keep it warm and personable.
  4. Don’t wait for just Christmas.  Many top agents send a holiday message once a month to their sphere. Back to School, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, etc.  There’s something to celebrate all year round, and it’s a fun way to stay connected and stand out as someone who is “there” more than just in the month of December.
  5. Have some fun with it.  Got a great team? Or just a great personality?  Take some fun pictures and opt for a photo-card rather than a more traditional card and don’t be afraid to get a little creative with your photos.
  6. Don’t leave anyone out! You know all those mailing lists you’ve been collecting throughout the year? For Just Listed postcards, or the stack of business cards that have been sitting on the corner of your desk collecting dust?
  7. Order early.  We suggest sending your holiday cards out at LEAST two weeks in advance of the holiday every month — and sending first class as opposed to standard-class to ensure timely delivery.
  8. Follow up.  Sending cards is a great way to easily stay in touch.  Pick a postcard, edit your message, add a list – and you’re done!  In a matter of minutes, you’ve created a connection.  However to really get the full impact of ANY mailing (holiday and otherwise) — be sure to follow-up – at least with the top 25% of your list.  There is no substitution for this step.  Imagine if you made it a point each year, every year, to speak with every single person in your sphere at least twice a year?  Touch base, see if they have questions, thank them for being great customers, and say hello.  Here’s what happens when you do:  they remember you.  They don’t list with another agent because your name wasn’t on the radar.  They are grateful that you take the time to call.  And one out of 12? Statistically, will do business with you or refer business to you.

Here’s to a great holiday season ahead – and to staying in touch with your sphere and farm!

Need help?  We’re here for you!  Call our team at 866.405.3638 today.  We’ll help get your holidays started and save you money at the same time! Have a great one!  

And Have Some Fun With Your Marketing

by Julie Escobar

Consistency is a powerful element in successful marketing. That’s why so many of our clients wisely choose to pick a postcard series to stick with for three to six months at a time. It’s also why you’ll see this strategy play out in our Master Marketing Schedule. We pick a series and make the postcards from it a monthly tip for reaching out to the consumers in your marketplace to build your book of business.

This week’s schedule strategy is to send the Waiting Could Cost You postcard from the Market Quote Series to at least 100 new prospects in an area where you want more listings. I love this series. It’s simple and effective and gives potential buyers and sellers insights into what is happening right now in the real estate market.

If you’ve thought about using it, here are some suggestions for the copy on the backside of the card. 

  1. Invite people to a real estate question and answer event. Have some fun with it.
  2. Offer something of value such as a Comparative Market Analysis, Home Price Analysis, or a Free Report.
  3. Share some hyper-local information such as listing and sale metrics, or even local event information such as school schedules, neighborhood event calendars, etc.
  4. Share your personal insights on what people need to know about real estate on a local level.
  5. Drive people to a blog post or social media page to learn more information.

Make sure you are writing your copy in a conversational and engaging way and don’t be afraid to let your personality show through! Be sure to spell-check before you finalize your postcard, then place your order. (It’s sometimes helpful to write out what you want in a Word document first and paste it into the system for less frustration and spell-checking.) Many of our top agent clients choose the first week of every month to spend 30-60 minutes to make sure their marketing is done and checked off the list for the month for each category of customers they want to reach or they break it down by week, based on the Master Marketing Schedule.  Be sure you are connecting with:

Need help putting your marketing in motion? Contact our team today at 866.405.3638! They are terrific at helping agents grow their businesses. 

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.