Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The One Thing You Can Start Doing Today with Marketing Guru Stacy Stateham

By Julie Escobar

I’ve been really fortunate to meet some extraordinary people in this industry – bright lights who are always willing to share some brilliance with like-minded people.

One person I’ve really enjoyed getting to know and learning from is BloomTree’s Stacy Stateham. She’s witty and smart and has a lock on what it takes to elevate your career to the next level in this business. She was also recently selected as an Inman Connect Select Ambassador for the work she is doing and her contribution to our industry. She was kind enough to share some of that with us. Here’s what we learned:

Q: Can you tell the readers a little about yourself?

A: I’m one of the founders of BloomTree Realty, and my function is VP of Marketing and Branding. In addition to working on building our name as a company, I spend a lot of time training and coaching agents, and I also work on our tech and systems.

When we started BloomTree, we set out to create a company built around providing the absolute best level of service possible to clients and, to do that, we knew that we needed to create an environment where the best agents can grow and thrive.

Everything we do is built around our culture of collaboration, sharing knowledge and support. Not just the company supporting our agents, but agents supporting each other.  It’s awesome to see how successful agents can be when they work together!

Q: You’ve been around this real estate game for a long time and, in your position, you’re helping agents get their careers started off on the right foot. As we’ve spoken of many times, one BIG component of developing a long-term real estate success story is really focusing on building a database that represents your book of business. Can you expand on that for us?

A: A database? I’d say it’s one of the biggest differentiators between agents who earn the national median income and those who earn three-plus times that. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the things agents are most likely to neglect – not just having one, but constantly building on it AND really leveraging it as a regular daily function of doing business. Agents should be constantly building their databases over time – whether the real estate market is good or not – from the start of their careers to the time they retire.

Think of it this way: We all know that when we invest money long term, we can weather the ups and downs of the stock market. Investing by a consistent trickle – whether the market is good or bad over time – lets us ride out the lows, leverage the highs and, in the long run, earns a higher rate of return. Just Google “dollar cost averaging.”

If we see our database as a “fund” of business for when the real estate market fluctuates, the effort that we invest in building it is not only a source of business when times are good, but it also is a safety net for when the market is down.

If you’re going to start doing just one thing today to set yourself up for a successful business in the long term, get started on building a strong database.

Q: If putting your database together is the first priority, helping agents understand the importance of CONNECTING with those folks in a consistent and effective way so they stay top of mind as the agent to call is definitely equally as important. How do you recommend agents stay in touch, and how often?

A: In any business, clients and potential clients are a salesperson’s most valuable asset, yet many agents keep their contacts on sticky notes, in their Gmail contact lists, try to manually update spreadsheets, etc. Working that way, it’s easy enough to see which contacts have turned into clients, but it’s nearly impossible to see which haven’t.

So the first step is to use a CRM. We have all of our agents on FiveStreet for lead routing and TopProducer for their CRM as part of our overall tech package, so that all of their leads feed to their databases without having to do manual entry. It helps us as a company to have our agents use one system, because we’re better able to offer support and training. But whichever CRM is best for an individual agent is the one that they’ll actually use. They all have benefits and downsides, so just choose the one that fits best.

How often to stay in contact? As often as possible, provided that it’s done the right way (don’t be creepy). With so many tools at an agent’s fingertips today, it’s easy to mix it up with methods and platforms – newsletters, social media, postcards, in person with a friendly call, holiday greetings and so on. The key to success is to be approachable, genuine and human. Be consistent with your style and content. Give information in an honest way, and be a resource. People don’t like being sold to, but they love someone who’s there to help and guide them.  

On average, people move every seven years. And even though NAR stats say that most would refer a friend to their agent when they’re asked immediately after closing, a dramatically lower percentage actually do. That tells me that many agents aren’t staying in touch as much as they could. Most people will use the agent that’s front of mind when their need arises, so being that agent whom they know and trust is crucial to being the one who gets the phone call.

Q: I know you’re a fan of making a strategic plan for marketing a real estate business rather than that whole “throw enough things against the wall” approach. Can you share what you believe to be some must-have elements to an effective marketing plan?

A: A balanced marketing strategy is like a balanced diet. We can’t stay healthy on just French fries (but wouldn’t that be awesome?). We need protein, fruit, veggies, etc. too.

I see so many agents focusing on just one or two marketing platforms because they like them and they’re comfortable with them, and not layering those with other points of contact. They’re great at calling, so that’s what they do, while they ignore print and online. Or they have a killer website, so they don’t take the time to reach out in person. Or they’re great in person, so they don’t think they need a strong website.

Agents absolutely should focus on what they’re best at, but they can offset their weaknesses on other platforms through training, learning over time or by finding a great solution provider who can help them.

Eating a balanced diet every day keeps you healthy, and maintaining a balanced marketing strategy can do the same for your business.

Q: You’re also a social media strategist. Can you share some of your top tips for using those resources to build a strong real estate business?

A: It wasn’t all that long ago that social media was considered optional in marketing. It’s not anymore!

If you’re only going to use one, use Facebook. Agents should have both a personal profile and a business page, keep both active and use them in the appropriate ways. It’s super easy to set up a list in “friends” to keep clients and prospects separate from school friends and Aunt Harriet, and it allows us to be more personally connected than ever before.

Business pages not only help keep business posts separate, but they also allow agents to use Facebook Ads (I looooove Facebook Ads!). They’re much less expensive than regular pay-per-click, and the targeting capabilities are downright awesome. Probably the two coolest things you can do with Facebook Ads are to target only people who have been on your website (low cost, and you know they’re interested because they’ve already checked you out online) and to aim ads only to people in your database. There we are with the database again… yes, you can upload your database to your Facebook Ads account and send ads specifically to those people.  

Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, etc. are all extremely powerful tools too.

Q: You’ve been a ProspectsPLUS! fan for a long time. Can you share which tools you most recommend to other agents?

A: Is all of it an option? If I had to choose, I’d say Just Listed/Just Sold campaigns and property brochures. The neighbors around your listings are a great source of business for the next one, and people always want to know what’s going on in their neighborhood. Just Listed and Just Sold campaigns are a solid way to let them know that you’re actively selling in their neighborhood.

Pro Tip: Getting back to Facebook Ads, did you know that you can layer over Just Listed/Just Sold mailings with a Facebook Ad that runs just to that neighborhood? In the geographic options in ad setup, you can drop a map pin to exactly where your listing is and limit the radius to as low as one mile. Doing both print and online together dramatically increases the likelihood that your marketing will get seen. Go ninja level, and tie that hyper-targeted Facebook Ad back to your listing on your website, collect a lead, and have that lead go to your CRM.  

Consumers today expect something better than an MLS printout on the kitchen counter at a listing. Aim for something modern and sharp and, for heaven’s sake, don’t go DIY unless you’re awesome at graphic design. Make sure your photos look amazing, then check out the Luxury Marketing section on ProspectsPLUS! (your listing doesn’t have to be high end to look high end!). How you market this listing not only helps get it sold, but also may very well be the tipping factor in whether or not you get the next one.

Q: Any last hot tips for agents eager to knock it out of the park this year in terms of their goals?

A: What I tell our agents? First, do a business plan. Second, stick to it. Third, set one hour aside every week to focus on long-term improvements to their business.

Let’s be real… our future selves can’t be trusted. Thinking to yourself that you’ll do it eventually doesn’t get the job done. Actually put it on your calendar as a critical meeting with yourself so you actually do it. One hour once a week spent on setting up systems, automating a process, learning something new, setting up a long-running ad, training an assistant, adding SEO to a website or whatever will pay back big time in the long term.

If your goal is to earn $100K a year, one hour is worth about $48 if you’re only working 40 hours a week. In our market, commission on one side of a deal averages about $5,000 for the agent in earnings. So if you spend an hour once a week building your business for the long term, the math works out to a time investment annually of about $2,500, or half of one of our average deals. But what we see with our agents is that those who actively work their plans do more deals and, with just one more closing, it’s a win. Some have as much as doubled their business by working smarter.

Q: Awesome! How can readers connect with you if they want to learn more or send referrals your way?

A: Hit me up on Facebook! I’m there more than I am anywhere else online. I don’t personally list and sell anymore, but if you need a great agent in Arizona, just let me know. We have three offices full of amazing agents who can take care of a referral client for you.

Terrific, Stacy! As always, thanks for your amazing insight. You’re a treat to talk to and learn from.

If you’d like to know more about building your book of business, staying in consistent touch with your sphere and farm, and generating more listings and leads, visit our site at www.prospectsplus.com, or call our marketing team today at 866.405.3638.

Insight and Experience from Agent Debbie Figueroa

by Julie Escobar

We have the best customers. They’re insightful, fun, professional and willing to share what’s working for them. That’s gracious in today’s competitive market, and we truly appreciate their candor.

I was eager to learn what’s working for top agent Debbie Figueroa, so I reached out to get her thoughts on growing a real estate business. Here’s an excerpt from what she shared:

Q: Thank you so much for sharing your insight, Debbie. Can you start by telling our readers a little about yourself?

A: Sure. My name is Debbie Figueroa of the Real Estate Power Houses. I’ve worked in the real estate industry for more than 25 years – as a full-time REALTOR® for almost five years. I primarily work with residential homebuyers and sellers in the El Paso, Texas, area.

Q: It’s a competitive market. What’s your go-to tool for staying branded in your market and getting results?  

A: The Just Listed/Just Sold postcards are a huge tool for my business. They not only help promote my listed or sold properties, but they also help get my name out in the marketplace. I obtain at least one solid buyer or seller lead from each mailing. It’s a huge tool to utilize during listing presentations as well.

Q: How are you staying consistently in touch with your sphere and farm, and what advice do you have for agents eager to boost their listings and referrals?

A: I reach out to my sphere of influence every other month by mail, at least three times a year by text message, twice a year by phone and once a year with a personal marketing “pop by.” I also email a monthly newsletter and send an electronic postcard for each of my listings to my sphere of influence. Some of my contacts in my sphere of influence have not directly done business with me, but they’re fabulous at passing my name along to their friends and family.

Q: What are your thoughts on differentiating yourself from your competitors in your market?

A: It amazes me when I meet clients who have either purchased or sold a home in the past, and they don’t remember the name of the agent who helped them. Staying in constant contact with past clients and your sphere of influence is key to helping your business grow and continue in the future.

Q: What brought you to ProspectsPLUS!, and what’s your favorite marketing tool?

A: The broker I was with when I made the transition back to selling real estate full time recommended the site. The Just Listed/Just Sold postcards are such a helpful tool in growing your business. Obtaining at least one lead from each mailing pays for itself multiple times over.

Q: Any last fun advice for agents?

A: Enjoy it! No one is perfect. Mistakes will happen, and you need to learn from them.  Make sure to take time during the week for yourself to relax and enjoy life and laugh.  Humor is needed to get through those tough times.

Q: If agents would like to connect with you for referrals, how can they reach you?

A: They can reach me directly at 915.261.8077 or via email at debbie@debbiefigueroa.com.

Awesome advice, Debbie! Thank you so much!

If you’re ready to get the kind of terrific results Debbie is getting and take your business to the next level, visit our site today at www.prospectsplus.com, or contact our team to get started at 866.405.3638.

The Answer? Only If You USE Them!

By Julie Escobar

Can we start with how cool our customers are? They are always there to share ideas and what’s working in today’s markets and we so appreciate it.  We know other agents do as well, because while most like hearing from industry coaches and experts, sometimes hearing what other agents just like you are doing is a just what you need most. just sold card

That’s why we wanted to showcase some of what our awesome customers have shared with us that could work for you too!

After sending out my monthly cards, I received 3 calls!!! – Marlene Shelton Giles

I received an email with Just Listed postcards on my new listing from Prospects PLUS!. I changed the copy a bit to announce my first open house sneak preview for the neighborhood. The turnout for the Open House was awesome, and I got an offer from one of the neighbor’s family members within a week later! Thanks! – Margie D’Anna BirchIluxury cards

The first time I used ProspectsPLUS! just listed post cards it was a winner. I received several calls within the first month for new listings and I’ve already ordered my second set. Thanks so much for making my job a little easier. I also donated to my favorite charity, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. – Kathy Christian Reynolds

Prospect PLUS! was a great way to send out my Just Closed Postcard. I was able to also add my lenders information so future clients will know that we work as a multi photo cardsteam to get the home and the loan that is right for them. – Sasanna Strozier‎

I have been very impressed with the service I get through ProspectsPLUS. I just started implementing Just Listed/Just Sold cards and have gotten two listings; what an amazing return on my investment. I also enjoy the engagement I get from you with your catalogs and Jumbo postcard discount card. Market Dominator is next for my farm! – Duane Wright Realty

ProspectsPLUS! is a great tool for Realtors® everywhere! Their variety of products and services is perfect for any of your real estate needs. I have ordered a number of different postcards and have never been disappointed. The content is effective and gets results! Also a huge fan of their Master Marketing Schedule and the fun ideas for social media sharing. Highly recommend. – Brittany Bairexpired door hanger

I decided to try something new so I ordered Expired Listing door hangers instead of making cold colds or sending out letters. I ordered them on a Thursday evening, and the package was at my office on Monday morning. That was standard delivery. That’s fast! I spent Monday morning putting out the door hangers. This is Thursday. I’ve had 5 listing appointments and 4 new listings as a result. WOW! Thank you ProspectsPLUS! for designing incredibly professional artwork and allowing me to edit/make content changes online. I’ve found my new go-to advertising source. You guys rock! Thank you so much! – Wanda Bond

I found ProspectsPLUS.com while searching online for prospecting material. I’m glad I did.  I placed my order and received it promptly. Love the door hangers. So professional looking and great price. I was so excited that I referred a friend who placed an order. Then, the next thing I just listed door hangerknow I’m being sent a $25 gift card because of my friend’s order! Thanks and I’m ready to place another order and spread the word about ProspectsPLUS.com! – Landa White

Wow! I ordered postcards to mail to a 55+ complex that included recent sales and existing sales. Within two weeks, I had two listings from my mailing and I couldn’t be happier! Because of ProspectsPLUS!, I had the opportunity to work with a client from another state to help him sell his mother’s condo. It was listed and sold within two weeks. I will use them on a regular basis! – Sandy Schafer Hayford

We love hearing from our customers and we are always thrilled to give away $400 or more each month in gift cards to those agents who join in the conversation and share their strategies on our Google+ Page and our Facebook Page.  If you haven’t joined in the fun yet, please head over to one or the other of those today and share your story!  You could be one of our next winners.

You may also want to head over to our Master Marketing Schedule and see what’s in store for the rest of this month and all the fun fall ideas we have for you as well.  This week’s tip is to send the Hello Autumn postcard from the Holiday Series to your Sphere-of- Influence.

Need help getting started? We’ve got you covered! Head over to www.prospectsplus.com or call our marketing team at 866.405.3638 today and they’ll put you on a path to marketing success!

 

 

Making Connections in Unexpected Ways

by Julie Escobar

While a firm believer in the power of consistent top-of-mind marketing using series such as our neighborhood update postcards or content postcards, I always like to remind agents to also include an element of surprise in their marketing efforts as well.  It’s terrific to keep people informed — that brands you as an expert and resource people can trust and call on for their real estate questions or needs.  When combined, however, with a genuine thank you and note of appreciation, you now also brand yourself as someone who cares about your customers — and about details!

This week’s Master Marketing Schedule tip is to send the Out of the Blue postcard from Customer Appreciation Series to 200 of your past clients.  What if you did that at least four times per year?  Or took a few moments to send these kind messages to a block of your sphere of influence VIPs per month?  Do you think it might be worth a few transactions or referrals?  You bet it would!

For the reverse side of the card, I would recommend choosing the “standard back with message” – it has a little more room for a message.  Here are some ideas for customizing your message:

  1. Invite to a customer appreciation event.  Spring is a great time to host a party!
  2. Offer something of value.  We have some terrific Free Reports that are easily customized and downloadable that you can offer.  Nine Strategies to Get 17% More For Your Home or 10 Renovations That Reap Return on Investments are two great ones you can offer.
  3. Offer a service. Let them know that the market, and mortgage rates are changing — and that has a lot of people asking questions about what that potential means for their home value.  Offer to meet with them to share a home price evaluation and answer any questions they might have.
  4. Let them know when you’ll be in the area!  Schedule a time for you and your team, if you have one, to walk your geographic farm or be available for a meet and greet at a local coffee shop or community center. Then share that information with your fans and offer to answer any questions they might have and even tell them to invite a friend!

Then follow up.  Block time to connect with at least 25 past clients per week with a kind word, a thank you and an offer to assist.  We’re in the business of people, and when you reach out on a regular basis and let people know you genuinely care — you’ll be rewarded with new business and customers for life!

Need help with your marketing? Contact our team today at 866.405.3638.

How Some Agents Are Using This Tool to Get More Listingsreal-estate-door-hangerswe-have-buyers

by Julie Escobar

If there’s a tool that’s literally been ‘around the block’ (probably millions of them to date!) it’s the Real Estate Door Hanger.  Why?  They work.  They catch attention. They a great reason to canvas.  And they  are an easy-to-use leave-behind for potential clients.

Many agents are eager to get back out and work their neighborhood farms this month so we thought we’d share a few strategic tips other agents are using to help garner more listings and increase their market share.

1.  Content is key.  One series of door hanger that’s really popular with agents right now is the real-estate-door-hangers-expiredListing Inventory Series, designed specifically to help agents find more sellers.  But we also have hangers for FSBO’s and Expireds, which are handy to have in the car when you come across a FSBO that just popped up, or see an expired come off the market that’s close by.  You can use them to brand yourself, spotlight a new listing, advertise an open house.  The possibilities are endless!  Get creative! 

2.  Include a call to action.  Many times, agents will put a lot of time and energy into getting their message just right, and forget to direct their prospects as to what they want them to do.  With ANY marketing piece, always be sure to have a call to action that’s simple and direct!

3.  Keep them readily available.  Many savvy agents keep a ‘rolling tool chest’ in their trunk.  Filled with the forms they need on the fly, objection handling brochures, extra business cards, listing agreements, presentation folders, and door hangers.  That way they, just like the scouts, are ‘always prepared’.

4.  Going door to door?  Know how many homes are in the neighborhood you are canvassing, real-estate-door-hangers-get-your-home-soldbut don’t try to do it all at one time if you are flying solo.  You can visit our EDDM page here and look for the link on the right to choose your carrier route.  Even if you’re planning to use the door hangers and not Every Door Direct Mail – this is a handy tool to find out how many homes are in a given area so you’re sure to order enough door hangers! Wear your name badge, some comfortable shoes and your best smile and get out and meet some people!

5.  Timing is everything.  If you want to just get the hangers on the door without ACTUALLY talking to very many people, mornings (right after people leave for work) are good.  If shaking hands and making connections with potential sellers and buyers than early evening is good after people have made their way home.

6.  Make a block party of it!  Get a group together!  Take your team along for the day and break the canvassing up in a grid to lighten the load. Start at your local Starbucks for a caffeine fuel first and share your door hangers with the customers there!

7.  A little PRE-canvas legwork.  If you are planning deliver door hangers to a neighborhood or neighborhoods, it’s a good call to warm things up a little by sending postcards with your name, picture and information first.  That way when you are meeting face-to-face, consumers will be more likely to recognize you and realize you’re there as the ‘neighborhood expert.’  If you’re using the listing inventory door hangers, we have Listing Inventory Postcards that compliment them nicely. Find them here!

These are just a few great ways agents are making door hangers part of their marketing plan. They are a great addition to your spring or fall marketing – because of their low cost and high impact.

From Your Desktop Computer You Can Browse All Our Door Hanger Templates by Visiting: Prospectsplus.com/DoorHangers 

Need help?  Give our team a call at 800.287.5710 or click through to see the variety of terrific options for Real Estate Door Hangers that we have to offer!