Thursday, March 30, 2017

To Up Your Game This Year

By Julie Escobar

If ever there was a time to up the ante on your marketing presence, it’s right now. Stakes are high, competition is fierce and anyone eager to be THE resource for consumers in their markets need to bring their A-game and then some.

Here are a few musts to consider:

  1. Get a professional headshot. I know. This one seems like an obvious choice. But take it from a company who produces hundreds of thousands of real estate marketing postcards per week, we see agent photos that just aren’t print quality and reach out to customers to send high resolution shots that show them in their best light.  Oh, and when you’re taking those pictures – SMILE! Studies from photofeeler.com show that people who smiled in their head-shots were considered far more likable and influential than those that didn’t, and slightly more competent. It’s a marketing expense that makes a lot of sense. Your job is to help consumers think of your name and your face first when they think real estate – so put your best FACE forward!
  2. Craft a great bio. On many of our marketing tools, agents have an opportunity to share some “about me” information. You should have a long and short version.  Long for your website, but short and sweet for real estate brochures, flyers and postcards.  Choose your words wisely. For the best balance? Present yourself, your brand, why you do what you do, and what differentiates you – without being too salesy. Then have both versions proof-read before beginning to use them.  This makes it easier when you’re creating your marketing pieces as well as you aren’t trying to come up with something on the fly, which often leads to typos or inconsistent copy.
  3. Pick a brand style that works for you. Too often you see agents who are all over the map in terms of listing inventory snapshottheir marketing. Different styles, colors, messages. While it’s good to test a little, you’ll find better results when sticking to a campaign that has some uniformity.  That’s one of the reasons agents love our series of postcards, which have the same look and feel throughout the series. For example, our popular Listing Inventory Series has the same branding style, with a series of messages that lets potential sellers know that this is a great time to list.  They can send one a month and keep their branding with their sphere or farm consistent to get better results.
  4. Be consistent. We kind of just covered this, but one and done is dead. In fact, it never was a marketing strategy that worked. The key to becoming a brand name is 27 impressions.  Keep showing up, and the Nov-DOM-Free-Reportnext time someone is asked if they know anyone who sells homes, your name will be top of mind!
  5. Don’t forget your contact information. Would you be surprised to learn how many times people do not put their phone number or contact information on their marketing materials, then send thousands of them out and wonder why they don’t get a response? Make sure people know how to reach you. And if you are inviting people to your social media platforms via your marketing, don’t just use the blanket, “Find me on Facebook”.  Actually, give them a unique URL they can go to such as Facebook.com/yourrealestatepage.
  6. Offer items of value. Many of our customers use our Free Reports as Lead Capture offerings on their websites. There are lots to choose from, easily customizable, and they serve multiple purposes.  Use them on your site, at your open houses, in your listing presentations, or as collateral for the popular consumer meet and greets that so many agents are doing today.
  7. Build on what you already have. All those lists you’ve purchased? The ones from your Just Listed postcard orders?  Reuse them! Put those folks on a drip campaign of postcards so they know you’re always in the game.  I recommend a combination of our Neighborhood Update Free Offer Series and updates on your listings such as Neighborhood update postcardsContract Pending and Just Sold. Every list = unlimited opportunities.  Contract Pending. Price Reduced. Just Sold. Listing Inventory.  Check out our new ThreeClickPostcards.com – where you can order your Just Listed/Sold/Contract Pending cards — right from your phone!
  8. Have some FUN. Real estate is serious business for certain, but you can certainly have some fun with it too. Our Master Marketing Schedule is filled with fun ways to reach out to your sphere and farm and make a noticeable difference! See what’s coming up for the next month.

It’s a great time to be a real estate professional and it’s a great time to tap into ready-made resources that can make your life easier.  To that end, we’re here to answer your questions and get your marketing on-track within a budget that works for you! Call our team today at 866.405.3638.

Making Your Book of Business a Priority

By Julie Escobar

We’re excited about the launch of the fifth edition of the Master Marketing Magazine this month.  The printed copies should be hitting mailboxes soon, but you can sneak a peek inside the pages here and read the digital version today!  It all starts with a powerful but simple business plan shared with us by our old friend Floyd masket-marketing-magazine-5-3d
Wickman.  Find it here. 

Every edition of the magazine has centered around different themes such as Big Data, Experts & Insights, and Geographic Farming.  Our latest edition focuses on the heart of what should be every agent’s business foundation – their sphere of influence.  Why?  Statistics show that top producers consistently share that 66% of their business comes from their sphere.  That one in every twelve people in your sphere will either do business with you or refer business your way every year IF (and only IF) you consistently make reaching out to them a priority.

For every agent who sits scratching their head wondering why “Aunt Helen” listed with another agent or is stymied by the fact that the people they most closely do business with (lawyers, doctors, dentists, accountants, colleagues) aren’t choosing to make them their real estate go-to professional, there are the top agents who get it.  It costs less to KEEP and create a customer FOR LIFE than it does to cultivate new ones.  Plus, it is WAY less stressful than riding the commission roller coaster your whole career.

Step One: Know your numbers. How many people do you need in YOUR SPHERE to help you hit your goals this year?  We’ve created a sphere of influence calculator to help you figure out if you’re on track.

Find it here.

Step Two:  Stay in touch. The Direct Marketing Association recommends reaching out to your book of business every 21-45 days.  Savvy agents use a variety of methods to make sure that they are top of mind.  We recommend the Send-Call-See approach to staying connected.  That is to SEND something monthly to your sphere as a tangible reminder that you are a resource they can turn to. Then CALL everyone in your sphere at two-four times per year.  And SEE everyone at least twice per year.

For the SEND we can recommend:community-news

For the CALL, we recommend:

  • Take a look at our Master Marketing Schedule, for some fun, creative reasons to connect
  • If sending the content cards or newsletters, follow up on a topic and ask if they have any questions
  • Let people know that the market is in a constant state of change, and that change can raise a lot of important questions for folks. Ask them if they’ve got any questions, or know anyone who may be in need of real estate assistance.
  • If you’re following them on social media, and see that there has been a change in their lives (new job, new baby or grandchild, award or accomplishment), tell them you saw the news and you just wanted to check in and congratulate them, or the appropriate sentiment for the event.

For the SEE, we recommend:

  • Choosing at least five top clients a month to reach out to with an invite for coffee or lunch, or a drop by with something fun using the suggestions found in the Master Marketing Schedule.
  • Hosting an annual customer appreciation party. Suggestions:  rent out a movie theatre or do an outdoor movie in the park in the spring, a picnic, or an open house wine and cheese.

Taking care of the people in your sphere will help you grow your business faster and easier. Not sure where to start? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Download our BusinessBASE™ – includes suggestions for the 150 people who SHOULD be in your sphere plus the how/when and why for contacting them20-year
  • Harvest from past and present transactions – client contacts from both sides
  • Networking – Local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, etc.
  • Connectivity – If you just added two people per day each business day of the year, you could effectively grow your book of business to more than 500 within 12 months
  • Acquire the client bases of agents leaving the industry

Why should you grow your sphere of influence SOONER rather than Later? It’s simple when you consider the average Lifetime Value of a Customer is more than $49,000!

We wish you every success this year and know that we are here to help!  Contact our support team if you have any questions at 866-405-3638. Good luck out there making it your Year of the Sphere!

(It’s More Than Just Money!)what you lose by not staying in touch

By Julie Escobar

We frequently share the BENEFITS of building and maintaining a salable book of business or sphere-of-influence such as knowing where your next commission is going to come from, developing long-term friendships and relationships, solid referrals you can count on, etc.  What we don’t usually talk about is the flip side of that coin.  What is it COSTING you when you DON’T stay in touch and follow up with your sphere or farm?

What if ONE prospective seller or buyer fails to call you when they are ready to sell or buy because they ‘forgot’ you were in real estate since you didn’t stay top of mind?  Because you didn’t follow up when you said you would?  Because you stayed in stealth mode, waiting for the phone to ring?  Because you didn’t create a database to manage your lists, so they simply slipped through the lack of system?

We know that on average, top agents get more 66% of their business (or more) from their sphere.  (People who know you, like you, trust you, and you’re top of mind with.)  We also know that 1 in 12 will deliver a transaction or referral per year on average.  So let’s run SIMPLE numbers using our SOI calculator

If I wanted to make $200,000 per year in real estate and my average commission was $6,000 that would mean I would need AT LEAST 33 transactions in a year (plus whatever your fall-through rate is) to reach that goal.  If 66% of that is coming from my sphere – that means I can count on 22 of those transactions coming from the people I am staying in touch with. If 1 in 12 are sending me that business, then I’ll need at least 264 in my sphere to hit the numbers.

The reverse of that is this…22 commissions LOST. That’s $132,000.  But it’s even more than that-right?  Because let’s face it, if good news travels fast, bad news travels faster-doesn’t it? So, for every broken promise, lack of follow up, or poor customer experience you provide, that can mean a loss of not just a customer, but every referral they might send your way.  Add social media in the mix, “don’t use Agent X because they don’t follow through” – and you’ve got a slippery slope that’s tough to recover from.

  1. Commission loss per seller or buyer? _____________ (Average commission)
  2. Loss of referral?  ______________ (Average commission x let’s just say 2 referrals)
  3. Loss of re-list and future sale? _____________ (Average commission x average homeowner moves – lists, sells, and buys new – every 9 years)
  4. Loss of marketing dollars spent on those sellers and buyers not recaptured? ________________

Lastly, loss of reputation as a turn-to, stand-up, get-the-job-done agent.  That’s really too much to calculate, isn’t it? And that’s not YOU anyway!  You’re the stand-up agent-right?  Besides, staying top-of-mind is an easy, and affordable investment.  Remember that SEND-CALL-SEE + NETWORK approach I’ve shared in the past.

Start with how many you need in your sphere by heading over to our Sphere of Influence Calculator.  

SEND – let’s take our example from above – if I needed to stay in touch with my sphere of 264 customers listing-inventoryevery 30 days to stay visible, (and help earn that $132,000) – and I wanted to send a standard sized postcard first class, that would be 62¢ per card  or $163.68 per month.  Or you could choose jumbo cards, or newsletters, our Dominator, or even handwritten cards – or better still a combination of all of the above. See what your budget allows and start somewhere, but be consistent every 30-45 days.

CALL – you should call your customers every three months.  If you break down that 264 number over 12 weeks — that means you just have to call 22 per week to reach everyone.  Easy FEB-Dominator-FRONT-Largepeasy!

SEE – you should see your customers at least two times a year.  Many agents host open houses, holiday events, or even neighborhood block parties (with sponsors for each) which gives them a chance to see many customers at once.  Take that top 20% of your list – the ones who consistently send you business – and be sure to spend some one on one time with them.  Take them to lunch.  Drop by a gift. Deliver tickets to the movies for their family.  Our Master Marketing Schedule has some terrific ways to creatively connect each month.

NETWORK – In today’s hyper-connected world, networking has to be part of the equation. From social media to joining local groups, to developing a mastermind of like-minded people to share with — networking is a key source of knowledge AND referral business.

Don’t lose any more dollars, branding, or reputation to lack of connectivity.  You are your business.  The connection you have with each and every one in your sphere will determine whether they stay a client (and a referral source) or whether you take a loss.

Need help? Contact our team at 866.405.3638 today.

Creating Your Own New Normal for 2017

By Todd Robertson

If you’re like a lot of top agents, right about now you’re analyzing everything you did in past twelve months to get you to this point and asking yourself a few questions:

  • What worked and what didn’t?
  • Did my actions support my goals?
  • Did I earn what I’m worth?
  • Did I take personal responsibility for my success or failures?

By carefully analyzing the past you can discover the elements that you can take into the new year and create
your own new “normal”.  In other words – you can advance your game, play at a higher level, and avoid the pitfalls and hurdles you’ve already cleared to excel faster and with hopefully a few less headaches!

As you approach the new year, many of you are in the process of goal setting.  Let me share a four step system for goals that is used by some of the top performing entrepreneurs in the world.  It’s called the DOME strategy.  Here’s what that stands for:

  • D – Stands for Decide. If you look up one of the definitions of the word decision, you’ll find that it means to “cut off from”.  That’s step one for creating your new normal. What things should you cut yourself off from that aren’t working or haven’t
    dominator janworked for you this year?  Whether that be a mindset, a skill, or a system, what can you unplug, cut off, or change up that will increase your success in the new year.
  • O – Stands for Outstanding. There’s never been a more important time to play at an outstanding level.  That means to surround yourself with the best people, strategies, solutions and systems in our industry.  Model your choices on those of top producers.  Duplicate excellence.
  • M – Stands for Momentum. Now’s the time to take the stance that what gets scheduled – gets DONE.  That’s how you build momentum.  By cutting out the things that don’t work. By plugging in new systems and solutions that drive your business in smarter ways.  By blocking your time so that you can streamline your processes – as well as schedule those
    things that help you create balance.
  • E – Stands for Tell Everyone. Once you’ve set your goals for the next twelve months, it’s time to tell everyone. If you’re goal is 10 salable listings in your pipeline at all times or to own a geographic farm – tell everyone you know. Put public pressure on yourself to hit those goals. People will help you when you do. They’ll support you. Remind you. Work with you to make them happen. Then commit to doing whatever it takes to make those goals happen.

Next, remember to be BOTH a Hunter and a Farmer.  Top agents realize they have to both aggressively prospect as well as create opportunities for lead generation by branding themselves in a geographic farm.  In fact, I just spoke with a great new Market Dominator customer, who will finish this year with 100 closings.  I asked him why he decided to use the Dominator to brand himself in the markets he’s going after for the new year.  He told me it was because he needed to raise the bar.  Because he was capable of helping more people than he was currently helping and he was committed to doing that.  That’s why he chose to use the 12 x 15 Dominator as his marketing tool.  It’s a statement that tells potential sellers in his farm area that he’s serious about marketing.  Serious about getting results. Here’s what’s interesting:  90% or more of the agents in your market won’t be willing to make that commitment. Most will continue to do what has always been done and get the results that they’ve always gotten.  But some of you?  Will step outside the norm to create a new normal.  Some of you will raise your standards, raise your skill levels, and raise your commitment. And in the process – you’ll go beyond what’s always been done to develop a career that others will emulate.

Ready to create your new normal and put a plan in place to take 2017 by storm?  Go for it. Remember that we’re here if you need anything.  Call our team at 866-405.3638! That’s what we do best! 

Steadily Getting Ready for a New Year Ahead

by Julie Escobar

I love the Seneca quote, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Or Floyd Wickman’s quote, “There’s nothing special about special people it’s what they DO that makes them special.”  What a great time of year for agents.  So many of our friends and clients are deep in preparation for the year ahead. Building marketing strategies, laying out budgets, meeting with mentors, and sharing ideas.  These are the folks that will not only finish out this year strong, but hit the ground running with a passion as we enter a new year and keep right on going to make 2017 their best year ever — long before it even starts.  How cool is that?

For our part, at ProspectsPLUS!, we are doing the same.  From our Master Marketing Schedule, (which you can download directly to your Google, Apple or Outlook calendars), to a line up of great new series, products and services for the year ahead.  We know that agents today need every tool they can get to compete in challenging markets, and we’re passionate about delivering those tools.

Now when you’re making your marketing list and business plan for 2017 (and checking it twice), please let us know how we can help you maximize your goals for the new year.  Here are just some of the things we can deliver:5 ways to build equity

  1. Fresh ideas  – Our Master Marketing Schedule is a strategic marketing plan specifically for real estate professionals which delivers powerful strategies and solutions every month to connect with your sphere, find cash buyers, work with investors, saturate your geographic farm, automate your just listed or just sold postcards, and even gives you some fun ways to stand out and be noticed in your market area.
  2. Brochures, Flyers and Free Reports — We know how important having the right collateral at the right
    time is when you’re prospecting, presenting and closing.  These tools lend authority, put stats at your fingertips, spotlight you as the resource, and give additional credibility.
  3. Postcards — We literally have hundreds and hundreds of postcard templates on our site that cover the gamut with over 22 niche marketing categories to choose from.holiday-cards-16
  4. Newsletters — Done for you newsletters which make a perfect ‘touch’ point for your sphere of influence.  You can
    customize however you want, or just run with as is.  All the copy is ready, timely and perfect for delivering relevant content to your customers.
  5. Market Dominator — Our powerful new system for capturing a 20% market share in a geographic area within a two-year time frame.  There’s nothing like it on the market!
  6. Business Cards — From cool new QR Code cards to branded cards — we have a wide selection at a great price to make sure you have what you need.
  7. Door Hangers — These are perfect for your geographic farm or for area FSBOs and Expireds. Easy to
    order and use and priced for any budget!fsbodoor hangers
  8. Data — Our MapMyMail system is amazing for finding the right list of prospects for what you need.  Investors, first time home buyers, move up market candidates — you name it.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg!  Visit our SPECIALS page today (and bookmark it!) — so you can always keep tabs on the latest promo codes, new marketing tools and fresh insights!  We add anywhere from 5-8 new pieces to our site each and every month!

We offer gift cards as well! Thinking about giving the gift of marketing this year or putting it your wish list? See the holiday specials now!

As always, we’re here to help.  Our marketing team is experienced and well versed in what today’s real estate professionals NEED, WANT and will make their lives and jobs EASIER.  If you’re creating your marketing budget for next year and would like some guidance on which tools might work best for you and what that cost would be, call our team today at 866.405.3638 or email us at pmc@prospectsplus.com!