Friday, December 15, 2017

In Step with VIP Broker Cindee Cullingford

We often interview agents with success stories, but this week we had the awesome opportunity to share an interview with one of our power brokers who uses smart marketing tools to help her agents succeed at a high level and brand her business throughout her market.

Here’s what we learned…

Q:  Thank you for agreeing to our interview. Can you first tell our readers a little about yourself?

A:  I am a small-town girl with a big appetite to succeed!  I am the youngest and only girl with three older brothers, and I adore each one for different reasons.  I lost my middle brother in Vietnam when I was 14, so I believe that shaped a part of me for the rest of my life.  I flew off to one of the biggest cities when I was 18 years old.  I moved to Los Angeles, California with the blessings of my family.  I never looked back. Real Estate is actually my third career.  I was excited to join the Real Estate industry back in 2004, and continue to learn every day.

Q:  As a Broker/Owner, you’ve probably waded through many different marketing options, can you tell us what attracted you to ProspectsPLUS!?

A: Boy, have I!  I actually used ProspectsPLUS! many years ago, but stopped mailing postcards as so many agents tend to do.  When I opened my Brokerage, Coral C’s Realty & Property Management, LLC. just 4 years ago, I started receiving emails from your team?  The Just Sold postcard was completed for me and all I had to do was approve it and click “OK”.  So, it was Ramona and the ease of use of the postcards.

Q:  I know you offer Just Listed and Just Sold postcards to all your associates, which is awesome. What has that meant for you in terms of company branding, agent retention and recruiting?

A: It is in my best interest to make sure each of my Sales Associates mail out those important Just Listed and Just Sold postcards to keep my branding (and their business) alive.  So, I made the decision to include 100 postcards, complete and mailed out for each Sales Associate every time a home is sold or listed.  This is a great incentive to offer new Sales Associate for a small amount of money.  Even the seasoned agents find it a great tool and stay loyal because of it.

Q:  What advice do you have for agents eager to compete in this busy market?

A: Take every advantage offered to you in the way of marketing, but STAY consistent when you start farming.  ProspectsPLUS! offers a variety of inexpensive ways to keep your name in front of everyone that needs real estate assistance.

Q:  Can you share what’s working for your associates in terms of staying top of mind with their sphere and farm?

A: I can honestly say that all of my Sales Associates at one time or another have said “Thank you” for including the postcards in our Sales Package.  But more importantly, they have each had responses back from owners wanting us to list their home because they received our postcards.  The other awesome way to stay in touch with clients is to pick up the phone and prospect at least 5-10 people a day, five times a week.

Q:  Any fun ideas you’d like to add for agents or brokers for staying ahead of their competition?

A: Keep your sales associates happy because they are your bread and butter.  We spend considerable time inside and outside of the office together.  We love getting the agents and their spouses together for comedy night.  I know we have all heard of the “team environment”, but we actually have one.  If an agent can’t show for any reason, another agent will step in and assist.

Q: How can our readers connect with you if they have referrals they’d like to send your way?

A: We are always available for referrals! Coral C’s Realty office number is 321-613-5605.  We are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thank you so much Cindee! Your advice has been awesome. If you’d like to learn more about sending postcards for your team as a broker, or how to stay consistent and out front of your competition as an agent visit www.prospectsplus.com today or call our team at 866.405.3638.

 

Back to School Real Estate Marketing

Six Lessons for Success 

By Julie Escobar

Back to School Real Estate Marketing

You can almost feel it — that anxiousness, excitement and uncertainty that envelopes us around this time year after year. Tens of millions of children headed back to classes, and even those without little ones can get caught up in the thirst for knowledge, need for more certain schedules and the never-too-old-for allure of new notebooks and supplies. All right, maybe that last one is just me, but you’ll have to admit there is something exciting about creating a clean slate, learning to the best of our abilities and growing as a sales professional as well as a person.

Ready to get started? You’ve had a healthy breakfast, donned your uniform (name badges everyone!) put on your thinking caps and you’re ready to learn – right? Here are the “classes” you must master in this market:

1.   Direct response.  Is your postcard  asking your prospects a question?  Are you raising their awareness?  Are you giving them a reason and means to contact you?  Are you just staying in touch or do you need them back 2to take action?  When you use your marketing to ask the questions that are already in the minds of your prospects, you create a connection that makes people want to reach back out to you.

Even holiday postcards can effectively raise awareness and include a message to not only have a great holiday but to call you should they need you or have questions.   A Just Listed card too – is not just a just listed card.  It’s an invitation to see a new listing, to get a list of other homes like it, answer questions or evaluate another potential seller’s ability to sell their home.  Content cards offer valuable information consumers are looking for and offer an invitation for buyers and sellers to learn more or get free reports. The Neighborhood Update/Free Offer Series, a popular one for agents, offers free reports, valuable consultation, and other items of value to the consumer — as well as neighborhood stats that appeal to buyers and sellers on a hyper-local level.

2.  Consistency.  Again and again and again.  That’s how often you need to “show up” in their mailbox, on autumn cardtheir radar and in the lives of your prospects and customer base.  Our market is too competitive and life is too short for one-shot wonders.  Plus – it’s just too expensive to waste time, effort and of course, marketing dollars on a one-hit mailing.  They don’t work.  Never have, never will.  And in today’s world – people want to see that you’ve got what it takes to stick with it and get results before they want to work with you.  If you give up easily on your marketing – what message does that send to your customer base?  Success comes to those who show up not once but over and over again. With the right message, the right attitude and the right promise of service.  Show them you’ve got what it takes.

3.  List care. Your mailing list is not just “a list.”  It’s not just a spreadsheet of names and addresses.  It represents the lifeblood of your business.  It hosts the people that, if cared for, if catered to, if serviced right, if stayed in touch with, if impacted – will take care of you for the entirety of your career.  In fact, studies show that one in twelve will result in a transaction per year of you consistently and effectively stay in touch.  That said- how many do you want on your list and how committed are you to taking care of them like the  VIPs that they are?

Find a database you’re comfortable with and don’t stop with names, addresses and phone numbers.  Fill in the gaps.  Who is their spouse? What are their kids’ names?  What do they do?  What do they like?  When did they purchase/sell with you last?  What referrals have they sent?  What common interests do you have?  It’s not easy at first – but once you’ve formed the good habit of contacting your list at least three times a year (not all at once, of course!) you’ll start to be able to feed the details into your database.

Don’t lose those lists you get when you purchase a just listed postcard either!  Every time you send a postcard out with us and choose to do a radial or neighborhood search, that list is yours to keep so that you can continue to build your book of business.  Add them to your list and start building a relationship with them as well.  For more ideas of who should be in your sphere of influence – download our free BusinessBASE – and check out the 150 Questions to Help You Build Your Business Relationships.  It’s a great ‘refresher’ course for remembering all the people you SHOULD be building relationships with!

4.  Niche Marketing:  Niche players fare better, earn more, usually are better at time management and can lifestyle selects cardsmore quickly define themselves as an expert in their market area. Why? First, it gives you clarity of purpose, so you’re more efficient in the way you conduct your business, in the manner you build your skill sets and your knowledge base and in how you grow your customer base. You don’t need to be all things to all people. You just need to be the best at reaching out to, teaching and building relationships with that core group or niche. That not only builds your business faster, but it gives you a sense of certainty and confidence that you wouldn’t have if you were trying to work with any and all customer types.

So who do YOU want to work with most?  Seniors?  First time home buyers?  FSBOs? Luxury Markets? Boaters? Golfers? Or maybe outside the box ideas like horse enthusiasts, Harley riders, yacht club members, golfers? Find the fit that’s right for you – then be the BEST for that niche! Now with new mailing list options that include specialty lifestyle interest data, or Nielsen Prizm codes you can easily find more the customers you most want to work with.

That’s not to say you ignore your sphere – just keep enhancing it by building niche markets that help it (and your business) to grow!

10 ways to prospect to schools

By the way – one really time-appropriate niche to start is working with your local school communities. The rewards are great – not just in your bottom line, but the experience you get and connections you create and the very real difference you can make in the lives of students and educators.  Download our Free Report:  10 Ways to Prospects To and Support Your Local PTAs. (You’ll find it close to the bottom of the free reports page.) While you’re there – download a few more great reports to use in your fall marketing!

5.    Leveraging Technology Tools: Leveraging technology and available networking to maximize your potential for lead generation, prospecting and keeping your pipeline of customers filled is crucial to your success.  That means learning how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and the social networking tools that are available today. It can also mean hosting weekly or monthly conference calls, webinars and workshops for those in your niche, community or sphere of influence. These are great ways to inexpensively and effectively establish and reinforce your niche. Technology allows you to be in many places and in front of many people at one time, which helps you build relationships by using these tools to share information on a regular, consistent basis.

Technology also allows you to put systems in place such as automating the marketing of your listings using systems such as MLSmailings.comwww.GettingListingsSold.com  which can take some of the daily, weekly and monthly marketing chores off your to-do list, freeing you up to spend more time at what you do best – getting face-to-face with customers and prospects.

6.    Work High Priority Activities First. Real estate agents get paid to build relationships and provide exceptional service. There are plenty of ways to be BUSY in this business- but the activities that matter most are the ones that are directly tied to your bottom line.  You need to have absolute focus on scheduling the time to prospect, present, close and build relationships before anything else. That means making and KEEPING that appointment with yourself every day.

The last thing we wanted to cover in our time together is how, as sales professionals, we can create good study habits that will also contribute to our success. Got down time?  In the car, on the treadmill, during your commute?  Make the most of it by ‘plugging in’ to top speakers, trainers and coaches that you can listen to on the go.

Need help? To learn more about how we can help you fuel your business, streamline your systems and take your career to the next level, call our marketing team today at 866.405.3638 or visit our website www.prospectsplus.com.
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With Just 100+ Days Left in the Year…Timing is Everything

By Julie Escobar

I know, I know, summer’s barely over – and it’s not 4th quarter yet. But it’s CLOSE.  I checked the countdown and there’s a little better than 100 days left to the year.   It’s funny to think that what you do today – this week – this month will affect whether you and your family will celebrate a stress-free holiday season and finish the year strong, or whether you’ll be worried and hurried and wind up with more year left than budget!   With just over 100 days left in the year – let’s take some ideas from the top producers and look at the five things they continuously put into place to guarantee a great fourth quarter.

  1. Know your numbers.  Savvy entrepreneurs already know how much business they need to  bring in before year’s end.  They also think ahead – and know what they need to do to head into the new year with momentum.  Don’t wait another day to get a handle these numbers if you haven’t already.  Figure out what you want and need to make and how many listings you want to have heading into the year then work the math to see how many contacts you need to make to get the number of appointments you need based on your closing ratio to achieve the number of listings you need to realize your goals.  Make yourself a daily chart to ensure that you stay on track.
  2. Leverage the opportunities to connect.  The fourth quarter is filled with holiday gatherings and neighborhood invites.  The holidays create an amazing reason to reach out and connect with your customer base.  Call every existing customer you have and wish them a happy holiday season ahead.  Let them know that with all the chatter in the national news and even local headlines, you’ve found that many people have questions about how this will affect their family, their investments and their future.  Be sure they know that you’re on top if it all and there to answer any questions they might have.
  3. Ask for referrals.  Before you hang up – be sure to ask your clients if they know of anyone who might need some help.  There’s plenty of people struggling – unsure of what their options are in today’s market – let them know you are a resource they can turn to – whatever their situation.  If you don’ t have the immediate answers –you’re your clients know that  you’ll be first in line to get them.
  4. Don’t leave your marketing to chance.  Automate the processes for your marketing – both for the short term and the long term.  Life gets in the way sometime – no doubt.  We get busy, over-scheduled and over-committed – especially as we make our way toward the winter holidays.  That’s when things like marketing and prospecting fall through the cracks or take a back seat.  Put a plan in place today to make sure that you have all systems “go” to make sure you are staying top-of-mind and that your listings are being showcased and syndicated in all the ways that matter for great exposure and results.  Take a few minutes to check out the Master Marketing Schedule, see if any of those action steps resonate with where you want your business to be, then get a campaign started to your sphere and farm.  You even have an option to drop the calendar right into your Outlook, Apple or Google calendars. And if you’re ready to kick your marketing up to the next level – head over the www.GettingListingsSold.com and take the tour of products and services offered there.  In under 15 minutes you can syndicate your listing to hundreds of websites, download your ready-to-print property flyers, lead generating business cards, send your sign rider pdf (complete with SMS service and QR code) to your local printer to be printed, post your Craigslist Ad and view your single property website.  When time is of the essence – it’s great to know where you can get everything in one place! Or our MLSmailing.com product which automates your Just Listed/Just Sold marketing – so you don’t even have to think about it! Knocking out your marketing in under half an hour gives you a lot more time to prospect, present and close – the three things closest to your bottom line.  It also helps you make up for larger than normal volume of downtime you’ll spend at holiday activities.  Spend guilt-free time with friends and family, attend winter recitals and holiday concerts without worrying so much about what’s not getting done in the office.  If you need help – call the terrific folks in our client care center at 866.405.3638 – they’ll help you get everything all lined up this month so you slide into the home stretch of this year without stress.
  5. Commit to the extra mile.  I love the Wayne Dyer quote, “It’s never crowded along the extra mile.”  Commit to 10 extra calls a day over the next 17 weeks.  Even if you are taking the Tim Ferriss approach and working a 4-day workweek, that’s 680 additional calls that will bring you closer to new customers, clients, contracts, and closings between now and the end of the year.  Do you think that could be worth a commission or three…or more?

The truth is that the bottom 80% of the salespeople in our industry won’t be doing these five things over the next quarter.  Many will look at how far behind they already are from their goal, throw their hands up and give up.  Many will do the basics – no more and no less and continue to live commission check to commission check.  It will be those of you who strike out, step up and stay laser-focused who will be out on top this year – and kick off 2015 by storm.

Where do you want to be in four months?  Top 20 or bottom 80?  What you do this month will make all the difference.

If you need help – call us.  Our team has been helping eager agents get to the next level and top producers stay on top for more than 20 years.  We can do the same for you – just shoot us an email or call 866.405.3638 today!
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Will YOU Cut Your Commission?commission objection handling brochure

By Julie Escobar and Jim Morton

Oh boy.  Things are heating up out there and competition is getting pretty intense.  What we know is that nothing lasts—not the good times or the bad times.  But one thing that ALWAYS seems to rear its nasty little head during the GOOD times is that the discount commission agents start coming out of the woodwork.  And that means it’s time for savvy agents to get down to business and know how to handle objections well before a seller even has the chance to utter the question, “Will you cut your commission?”

To help you head that objection off at the pass, I sat down with ProspectsPLUS.com Company President Jim Morton to get some 5 Star dialogue for handling that oh so common objection!

The truth is that listings are (and always have been) the name of the game.  So, what are you seeing RIGHT NOW?  Agents want LISTINGS.  Why?  Because they’re SELLING. What HAVEN’T you seen in recent years?  You haven’t seen a lot of discount brokerages, or sell-it-on-your-own type companies. But they’re back – and they’re back big. And FSBOs are getting a little cockier as well.  So be PREPARED.    You’re going to get hit with objections.

The best thing to do in this market?  Is to get prepared.  Know that there are really only a few common objections when you get down to it.  And you’ll probably be hit with quite a few in the next year or so.  See if any of these sound familiar?

  • “The other broker said they would list it for less commission.”
  • “I want to try to sell it myself to save the commission.”
  • “I have a friend in the business and they said they’d take less commission.”

When you are hit with one of these – or any objection, remember this.  The way to change another human being’s feelings is VISUALLY.  A few well-chosen words with a correct visual will always take you further than the words alone.  So having five or six commission handling brochures in your briefcase at all times.  That does a couple of things for you.  First, it lets the sellers know that you are prepared, and you’ve handled this before.  Secondly, it will give you a track to run on.  There’s six reasons why another agent might take less – and how that can be COSTING that seller money.  Your job as the professional is to visually show them these six reasons with a few well-chosen words and have the ability to handle that objection without stress.

How do we get started?  First go to the website, download a pdf of the commission handling brochure, fold them up and keep them in your briefcase as part of your presentation tools.  If you’re using an iPad or notebook for your presentation you can display the pdf on that as well.

Next, use the five-step objection handling process:

  1. Agree with them.
  2. Ask them open-ended questions.  (They usually start with:  Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How).
  3. Isolate the objection with a sharp-angle close.  “Well what if you knew ______________, would you _______?”
  4. Show them something.
  5. Use an assumptive close.

Here’s a little dialogue: 

Mr. and Mrs. Seller, you know if there is a way to save money — I don’t blame you.  I’m always looking for ways to save money as well.  In today’s world it just makes sense-right?  And you know if in fact you could save money going with that other broker, I’d recommend that – but I guess let me ask you this:  What’s more important to YOU?  Is it paying a lower commission or is putting the most money in your pocket?

Oh, OK, so it’s putting more money in your pocket?  Is there anything else?  Any other reason you would want to go with someone else other than the commission?  — Ok – so just the commission.

Well let me ask you this – what if you knew that by going with that other agent you wouldn’t be saving a dime?  As a matter of fact, you might be costing yourself five or six thousands of dollars out of pocket, would you still go with them?  I guess, here’s what I mean.  What if you knew that by paying a lower commission that you’d put less money in your pocket when it’s all said and done.  Would paying a lower commission still be important to you? What’s more important? Paying a lower commission or putting more money in your pocket?

What if I could show you beyond a shadow of a doubt, that sure, I may charge a little more, but if I could put more money in your pocket would you go ahead and put it on the market with me? If putting more money in your pocket is really what’s most important, you’d almost insist right?  Well let me show you some things that will save you a lot of time and aggravation – and even a lot of money.  Would that be OK?  There are six reasons that a broker or agent will charge less commission.  Let’s go through them – let’s start with what could be the most important one — reducing their commission…

The truth is — a 1% reduction of commission results in 20% of their income.  Let me ask you something – if your agent is so good at letting you negotiate a 20% reduction of their livelihood – how well will they do at protecting your interest with a buyer who wants to reduce the price of your house?”

The commission handling brochure has six great reasons why the OTHER agent is willing to reduce their commission – and frankly – why they SHOULD.  It’s a powerful tool to have in your toolbox when facing pricing objections in what is sure to be a busy and competitive market ahead.

Hope the dialogues helped!  Get your copy of the commission handling brochure today by clicking here.  Need help with your marketing needs as we speed into the new season?  Call us today at 866.405.3638!  That’s what we do best!  

An Interview with Coach Todd RobertsonHabits that make or break careers

By Julie Escobar

Ran into an old friend online this week, real estate Speaker and Coach Todd Robertson and we had a chance to catch up.  Loved what he’s doing with agents and brokers in terms of breaking down habits that DON’T work and helping professionals adopt habits, mindsets and best practices for what both WORKS and gets people where they want to be in terms of their goals. So I parlayed that quick catch-up into some words of wisdom for you all!

As we head into fall, let’s take a fresh look at habits and see what we can do about changing the game for YOUR career.

Q:  Hey Todd- great catching up.  You focus on delivering a 21 day challenge to your audiences and coaching members.  They say it takes 21 days to break (or make) a habit– why is that?  

A.    The best psychologists in the world tell us it takes 21 days.  In terms of our relationships, building great wealth, in sales and in life– habits shape us, define us and determine who we become.  An example I shared recently at a seminar was this:  Today, either during your lunch hour or this afternoon, go park in from of two different places and examine what type of people go in and out.  For ten minutes, park in front of a donut shop or fast food restaurant.  Next, take another 10 minutes and park in front of a health food store.  You’ll quickly see a pattern develop—and get some insights as to how habits shape us.

Q:  What are any absolute deal breaker habits that agents need to ditch sooner rather than later if they want a better life? 

A:  I really like this question, because if an agents simply eliminate habits that do not support them, they literally can make $10,000 – $50,000 more per year.  One really bad habit is waiting for the business.  In fact, 80% of the agents in the country fall into this mode. To succeed and compete in today’s industry, you have to be PRO-ACTIVE.  Waiting will not just mean a lower bottom line – it’ll mean you’re out of the business.

The second habit is getting caught up in feel-good work.  Activity that make an agents feel good, but ultimately leads to little production.  For example, blocking long hours for administrative tasks or developing your own marketing pieces. With the wide spectrum of point, click and order options out there in today’s world, an agent should never spend time designing, editing or laying out or printing a marketing piece.  

That’s what I love about the team at www.ProspectsPLUS.com.  You’re a terrific resource that saves agents both time and money – and most importantly – keeps agents on task to do what they do best (and what keeps them closer to their revenue producing activities, PROSPECTING, PRESENTING and CLOSING.  Your tools are professionally written, designed and just what agents need to stay top of mind AND get the phones ringing.

Q:  Thanks for the nod!  That’s certainly our goal!  Now, what are some GOOD habits to adopt for agents who want to create more success and wealth? 

A:  The first is time management.  If an agent can operate from a daily schedule they can separate themselves from their competition.  This one is not easy, but it’s a must.  Let’s say you commit to phone prospecting tomorrow from 9-11 am.  Then the challenge is to REALLY COMMIT.  That means no email, no text messaging, no shuffling papers, and no social media.   Not only will you feel amazing, because you’ve kept your word to yourself, but you will have done something 90% of the agents in this country are not doing.

Next, commit either to every day or every week to work on your listing presentation and objection handling skills.  This is more critical than ever now as the market heats up.

Now, put some fun back into your business.  Take some time to really enjoy your co-workers, and your clients.  Remember the smiles on the faces when help them find that amazing home, or when you sold their house for full price.   When we are having fun we make more money and have more fun we appreciate the journey a little more.  And that?  Is priceless!

Q: Great advice.  In your experience – what are the real game changers?  The habits that take good agents to extraordinary new levels? 

A:  Good question!  The biggest game changer is to work high priority activity.   Meaning prospecting and going on appointments.  Next, a true game changers are to stay healthy, in terms of your diet and exercise.  What good is all that success if you’re not well enough to enjoy it and your family? Next, be sure to maintain a great and positive attitude.  Many agents get defeated when a deal falls apart or money becomes tight.   Clients can sense this and those ruts can be hard to get out of. Top agents practice staying on track with a great outlook so they both FEEL and PROJECT that they are confident, fun and knowledgeable.

Q:  Good stuff!  Todd, what can brokers do to help their teams develop new GOOD habits and create a powerful environment in their offices? 

A:  There are so many managers and owners doing excellent things right now. I see it every day as I’m in offices all of the time. Doing things like team building exercises.  Weekly contests for the agents.  Bringing in outside speakers to keep things fresh and mix things up.  Creating and fine-tuning a strong, classy, fun and productive environment is so important to both KEEP your top agents on board and going strong – and to be the kind of office TOP agents would like to join.

All great ideas Todd for breaking old habits and developing the systems and habits of top agents in our business (or any business really!)  If you’d like to learn more about Todd’s 21 day challenge or to have him speak at your office, email him today at 21daycoach@gmail.com or give him a call at 702.683.1967. 

And if you’re eager to put some systems and tools in place that keep your phones ringing AND keep you on track to focus on those high priority activities, give our marketing team a call at 866.405.3638 or click here to check out the powerful tools savvy, top agents are using all across North America this month to compete with less time, money and headaches!