Thursday, September 21, 2017

Left in the Year — How Will You Spend Them?

by Julie Escobar

We are more than halfway through the year. Just better than two hundred days left. What you do now will determine what kind of holidays you’ll have. Whether you’ll hit those goals you set in January. Whether you’ll finish strong and kick off the new year with ease. So, what’s it going to be? Let’s take a look at some ways you can get back on track or keep on track:

  1. Review your SMART goals weekly. Create a means to measure where you are in relation to your goal. Use a chart, a checklist, or an integrity partnership to review your progress. When you wait months or an entire year to review – it’s impossible to know whether you are on track or off. Top agents always know their numbers, always have a visual of the goals that they are passionate about and are always re-calibrating their time, tools, training and activities to ensure they achieve the goals they set.
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Relevant 
    • Time bound
  2. Get out of stealth mode. The idea that the business will just come to you in today’s market is false. There is considerable competition so get out from behind the desk or computer and get out into the markets in which you want to build market share. Knock on doors. Meet the neighbors. Leave branded collateral pieces at local professional offices and waiting rooms where possible. (Think doctor’s offices, car dealerships, etc.)  Host events. Ask questions. Sponsor sports teams. Donate the bounce house at the neighborhood event. Show that you are the face of real estate in your area.
  3. Reach out to your sphere. If you’re not touching base with everyone in your sphere at least twice a year, then you are leaving money on the table. We know statistically that one in twelve will result in business or referral every year. But NOT if you don’t stay in touch. Many agents use holiday cards every month with a message on the back to keep connected. Others choose newsletters or content cards as a monthly “touch”. Whatever you choose, be sure you are consistent. It’s one of the best things you can do to build and grow your referral base.
  4. Never neglect your neighborhood farm.  Your competition won’t be and they’ll take market share wherever they can find it.  If you’ve got an area that you want to dominate in, consider our Market Dominator system, or using the Listing Inventory Series to stay in touch every month. Top of mind awareness is crucial in today’s market. Attend every neighborhood function and be sure you are walking your farm with content-rich collateral at least twice per year.
  5. Add at least five people to your marketing list per week.  Always be in networking mode and always look for ways to grow your database and sphere. Committing to adding five people per week means you’ll add 260 to your sphere. To help you put that in context, I used our SOI calculator to show you what that looks like. I entered $200,000 as an annual goal, and an average commission of $6,000 – which told me that to realize that goal I’d need 33 transactions. Using the national stats that 66% of business comes from an agent’s SOI, I calculated that I needed 264 people in my SOI to realize my goal.  You can calculate how many you need here. 
  6. Be consistent. I can’t stress this one enough. One and done marketing has never, ever earned anyone a good living. If you’re not touching base monthly or at least quarterly, you are leaving the door open for your competition to create the top of mind awareness that you could be earning. That’s like handing away future commissions to other agents. To succeed at high levels, you’ve got to stay on top of your marketing game and stay present in your market place. Using smart time management and done-for-you marketing tools can help.

Remember we are here to help. Our company is steeped in real estate experience and we train our marketing team to know exactly what agents just like you need to succeed and excel. We want to help you make the most of the last 200 days of the year — and every day after that as well. Visit www.prospectsplus.com today or call our team at 866.405.3638 to learn more. 

Take the March Challenge! 

By Julie Escobar

Why leave all the “March Madness” stuff for the basketball fans?  This month, we’re looking at ways to inspire agents to take the ACTION they need to drive their numbers and build momentum.  That means being pro-active, and working ON your business as well as in it.  There’s no doubt agents are increasingly busy, but when they fail to time-block for business-driving activities like prospecting and database building, they often fall into the commission-chasing category as opposed to having a steady business and referral stream they can count on.

Statistics tell us for every twelve people in your sphere of influence that you regularly connect with, you can expect a deal or referral per year.  That’s valuable information to know. Yet, how come so many agents lose business because they failed to stay top of mind and connected with their sphere?  And when you find a farm that has the a healthy turnover and you’re NOT actively marketing to that area? You’re leaving money on the table.

Here are three pieces of great advice for getting ahead in this business:

International Speaker and Coach Darryl Davis: “I tell my students and coaching members to focus on the activity rather than the results. Why do people fail? Because they don’t see immediate results. So, they do what? They QUIT. When you switch your thinking to focus on the ACTIVITY, not the results, it helps you get past the fear. Think of it like baseball averages. Ballplayers know the more times they get up to bat and take a swing, the more likely they are to get a hit. After a while of playing, they know their numbers… their average. The same is true in prospecting – you’ll get to know your numbers. So maybe out of 10 calls, you get five connects and two appointments. I tell my students that their goal should NOT be to get the appointment; it should be about building relationships. Why? Because it takes the pressure off.  Focusing on getting an appointment is a win/lose scenario. If you don’t get it, your reaction is, “I lost. I’m bad.” When you focus on building a relationship, every call is a win. The truth is, you’re not going to get an appointment unless there’s trust. By building relationships, you build trust – and the appointments will happen by themselves.”

Power Agent Denise Buscemi, Florida:  “My advice? Several things. First, remember when you are meeting customers and clients, make everything you do be about that person and only that person–the rewards will naturally follow. Next, read more – be a lifelong learner. It makes you more competitive.  Be a great listener – not only does it make you a better communicator, buyers and sellers will tell you everything you need to know to help you close the deal.  Send the postcards that keep your name in front of them. Do your homework and always go the extra mile.”

Power Agent Kathy Casarin, Pennsylvania: “I would say first, there are no timeouts for replays!  Engage your client get back to them fast whether it is on Facebook, email, in person or a phone call.  Don’t wait or you’ll find they’ve already called upon someone else. Next, assure your client you are the professional. You are experienced, successful and know what works and what doesn’t. Earn your clients trust upfront. Become your absolute best at communication. Keep your client in the loop every step of the way, whether it is periodic emails as to how their listing is doing vs competitors.  Make that phone call to discuss price, home improvements, showings, open houses etc.  Regular contact reassures the client you haven’t forgotten about them or their listing or the homes they want to buy… so when you have to advise them on say a market adjustment on home price they agree and know it is in their best interest because you are always with them to get this SOLD. Stay current and do what works.  The truth is it all works–but only if you do it — so don’t forget to post on your social networks, answer real estate questions on Trulia, use ProsectsPLUS! to send out postcards, attend social gatherings to see and be seen and be that constant reminder to say, ‘Hi! I’m in Real Estate!’”

Our challenge to you this month? 

  1. Calculate your SOI. See how many people you need in your sphere to hit your goals this year by
    heading over to our SOI Calculator.
  2. Thank people. Send Thank You Postcards from our Customer Appreciation Series to at least 100 people on your sphere of influence list this month.
  3. Pick up the phone. Make at 20 calls per day to your sphere of influence. (100 per week is a big goal!) There are some really fun connectivity ideas on our Master Marketing Schedule if you’re looking for interesting reasons to connect! Consider Darryl’s advice above if you’re nervous about talking to people.
  4. Knock on at least 100 doors. Use door hangers so that even if folks aren’t home they’ll know you were there. According to the Master Marketing Schedule, March 12th is National Flower Day, it might be the perfect time to attached a packet of flower seeds to your door hangers and walk your farm! Have some fun with it!
  5. Add 100 people to your database. Now, this one may sound hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Some agents are on top of their game, adding new people all the time. But a LOT of agents that we talk to don’t really have a handle on their lists.  Hire a college kid or virtual assistant for a short-term project to get this done. It’s one of the most important things you can do as an agent. Here are some sources that you can pull from:
    1. Past purchased lists. (Think of all those Just Listed and Just Sold postcards you’ve sent out. Have you done anything with those saved lists you’ve purchased? Put them all in a database and use it to send Listing Inventory postcards or Neighborhood Update/Free Offer Postcards)
    2. Past buyers and sellers. Hand over those files to someone who can pull all those contacts and put them into a database for you. These people already have trusted you enough to do business with them.
    3. Get creative. Download our BusinessBASE, to see the 250 people who should be in your sphere and start adding.

It’s a good month to go above and beyond. To stretch yourself, your goals, and your reach in your community.  Take some time this week to plan your calendar then go for it. We’d love to hear how you’re doing.  Connect with us on Facebook (and be entered into our March Contest), or leave a comment below.

Need help? Our marketing team is amazing! Call them today at 866.405.3638. They’ll walk through any questions you might have and help you get your marketing on track! Have a great month ahead!

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.

Why Consumer Information Can Be Key in Direct Response Marketing

By Julie Escobar

Do you know one of the biggest reasons why so many real estate agents LEFT the business when
the going got tough?  And what was a key component in helping those that stayed in succeed, even thrive?  A database.  A strong, reliable, well-nurtured, up-to-date database.

The best ones start with a solid sphere of influence, and grow exponentially over years in the soi calculatorbusiness.  Adding niche markets, new geographic farms and new customers.  And what do the agents get in return?  A referral base they can count on without having to constantly chase new business.

Start with your sphere.  (Those people who know you, like you, and would trust you to do business with them.) And build from there.  If you don’t already have your sphere of influence or book of business in a solid database – don’t waste another month putting that together.  (There are plenty of college kids who could use the extra money inputting data for you this summer!)  Top agents tell us that 66% of their business comes from their sphere.  And that one in every twelve result in a transaction per year.

We can help you calculate how many people should be in your sphere to realize your goals – and help you identify top 150 people who should be in your sphere right now.  Click here to calculate your SOI.

Next add a geographic farm and a niche.  We can help you with that data as well.  Continue marketing to those folks until you connect and build a relationship with them as well.  Click here to see data options.

Then continue to grow your book of business – and your bottom line by taking care of the 20 Year Value of a Real Estate Customerfoundation of your business – your database of clients and customers.  Create touch points every 28-45 days using a multi-media method.  Send postcards or powerful newsletters for an easy touch once a month. Add email, face-to-face events, phone calls, and neighborhood canvassing.  And stick with it! Remember – most agents quit after the SECOND try, most transactions happen after the FIFTH.

As an organization that has developed top-of-the-line marketing tools for real estate agents for more than 20 years, we know the true value of a customer for all of our customers.  That’s why in terms of products, services and data—we leave nothing to chance.

And that’s why we’ve done the research – and we deliver the very best data resources — Experian® — for those agents eager to market to:

Renters – including high-income renters who are candidates for home ownership. On our site, we use Experian® data to make it possible for agents to search by data selects such as renter, and income level.

Move-Up Market:  Not only can you select confirmed home owners, but you also can define your target market more specifically by considering a real estate lead’s estimated available equity or property characteristics such as year built and presence of a swimming pool.

• Potential Downsizing or Second Home Market:  One real estate trend is Baby boomers who are downsizing or investing in second homes right now. To target baby boomers, you can use the year of birth demographic selection available in our consumer database to narrow your pool of real estate leads to those born between 1946 and 1964.

• Potential Investors:  Targeting high-income earners as investors.

• Generational Niche Markets:  Target specific generational niches such as:generations

  • Silent Generation (1925-1945)
  • Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
  • Generation  X (1964-1976)
  • Generation Y (1976-2000)

How does Experian® get their data?  They are an original source compiler, which means they collect data directly from more than 3,500 original public and proprietary sources, including:

  • White pages
  • Census data
  • State and local public records
  • Product registrations and surveys (self-reported)
  • Property/Realty records such as property deeds
  • Mail-order transactions
  • Other proprietary sources

The data we receive is then tested and validated. It is cleansed and combined using Experian’s proprietary logic to create the most accurate and comprehensive repository of consumer marketing information available. This process sets them apart from other data suppliers who typically rely on secondary data sources. Since they acquire data directly from the original source, they have in-depth knowledge of the data.

So every time you choose to use our list service, whether you are choosing from data selects such as income and age, or even geographic – to market around current listings, know that you are getting the very best data on the market.  And those lists are yours to keep.  We tell our customers to add them to their marketing list and stay in touch, at least once every 28-45 days (a Direct Marketing Association recommendation).  Before long you’ll have taken those contacts from being a potential lead – to a contact that has come to know you as the brand name to call in real estate.

Need help understanding data and lists?  Call our marketing team today at 866.405.3638.  Good luck and happy listing!

 Google