Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Formula for Success

By Julie Escobar

In today’s market (or any market for that matter) – if you’re not out there networking, making calls, reaching out to your sphere and farm, being PRESENT in your marketplace and even knocking on doors – then you are leaving your success as a real estate agent to chance.  The truth is?  It’s not LUCK — it’s LISTINGS.  And listings are STILL the name of the game.

So what are three things you can do to drive listing inventory in your market? 

Listing Inventory Cards

STEP ONE – SEND:  Use a direct response postcard or flyer to the folks in the hot-turnover neighborhoods or even those that are right on the cusp of turnover.  Let them know that the buying market is HOT and the time to sell is NOW.  Be sure to send any marketing you choose in increments of at least three.  (Remember that 3-7-27 rule – it takes 3 contacts for someone to recognize your name, 7 to put your name with what you do and 27 to become a brand or household name in the minds of the consumer.  Most transactions happen after FIVE contacts.) We’ve got a terrific series that speaks directly the mindset of sellers in this market called our Listing Inventory Series.

STEP TWO – CALL: Here’s where a lot of agents either fall down on the job or lose their muster.  Call people?  Talk to them?  Yikes!  Can it be nerve wracking for some?  Sure.  Will you get ‘No’s”? Absolutely.  But the numbers are in your favor.  If you call enough people, make enough contacts, you’ll get a yes. And that yes can turn into a listing and a listing into a sale and a sale into a commission – so no leaving it to chance.  Make a contact! (Or twenty, or more…)

Here is a sample dialogue  to help you get started:

  • Agent: Hi, my name is _____, and as you may know, our market is on the move and we’ve got more buyers than we have listings.  Have you thought about selling your home now or in the near future? 
  • Seller Question:  How much do you think I could get for my house?
  • Agent Answer (a la Floyd Wickman):  I don’t know, I haven’t seen your house yet, let’s get together!

STEP THREE – SEE:  Don’t knock the idea of old-fashioned door knocking!  Getting out there and visible in the neighborhoods and communities you are eager to service and become a brand name in is just good business.  Why?  It’s personal.  People can put the face with the name.  They can see that you are committed to making an impact and you get a chance to get the real lay of the land.  Door hangers or even shell-printed postcards are a great leave-behind for those who aren’t home – and a nice collateral piece for those who are.

I challenge you to take these three steps to grow your listing inventory, your market share – and your confidence!  Be consistent with it at least once a quarter and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.

Want to learn more about how to drive listing inventory and build a stronger market share?  Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com or call our marketing team today at 866.405.3638!  They’re terrific at helping agents figure out exactly what they need to market themselves in a budget-friendly way! 

Strategic Marketing Ideas for Strong Agents

by Julie Escobar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s never been easier to do.  

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

mailing

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

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

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

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

Finding the Diamonds in Your Database

By Julie Escobar

As my old friend Floyd Wickman used to say, there are acres of diamonds in your book of business or “sphere” – but the trouble is, most agents are willing to do what it takes to mine for those diamonds.

Many agents don’t even have a ‘book of business’ or a true database.  They’re either new to the business or ‘never got around to it’ or for some – they’re so busy working ‘in the business’ to ever work ‘on the business.’  But there’s acres of diamonds in building a sphere of influence client list of people who know you, like you and trust you. Because frankly – those are the people that are going to list and sell their homes with you – buy from you –and refer friends and family to you.  First – you’ve got to reach them.  Consistently.  Effectively.  With purpose.

First, look at should be in your book of business. Read last week’s post:  The Year of the Sphere.

Secondly, get a handle on your business plan.  This is the one-page easy plan shared by Floyd Wickman. 

2017-biz

Download a copy for yourself or your team here. Then USE it. Make sure you are reviewing every month so you know when you are are on track — and off!

Next, Invest in these ten strategies for building a powerful base. 

  1. Get it all on ‘record.’  Whatever database management system you choose, be sure that you have entered at the very least the basic information such as name, address, phone number, email address, social media addresses if you have them for every past customer, friend, family member and acquaintance that you can think of.  Sound like a lot of work?  It is – but SO worth it.  And I’m not saying you have to do it yourself.  Delegate it – that way you can stick to what you do best – getting face to face with the folks in your market.
  2. Fill in the blanks.  The more RELEVANT you are – the more REFERRALS you’ll receive. So once you’ve customer-appgot the basics down – take note of more personal information about the people in your database.  What do they do?  Where do they live?  What makes them unique?  What else do you know about them that you can reference?  Who’s in their family?  You know the old saying – the ‘devil is in the details!’ The more you know the easier it will be for you to connect with them on topics that are relevant and important to them.
  3. Clean up old records.  At least twice a year go through your database and cull old contacts, and clean up missed or incorrect information. Connect with your database and let them know that their business is important to you and that you’re just doing a little ‘housekeeping’ so that you can be sure they are always kept in the loop and double check their information.  You can even make them a fair trade offer of a free report or certificate of some kind.
  4. Data mine for ‘like’ minded people.  One of the best things an agent can do is to really take a good fsbolong look at what their ‘best customer’ looks like.  Who do you like to work with?  Seniors?  Singles?  First time homebuyers?  Expireds? FSBO’s?  Once you know that – and can determine who you both like to work with and the type of people you have the most successful relationships with – you can data mine to find more of the same.   Find list options for data mining here. 
  5. Add new personal contacts.  As sales professionals we come into contact with new people every day that are potentially great future clients or customers.  Make it a point to add at least one new person per day or five per week to your book of business – more depending on how fast you want your business to grow.  Many agents I know make this database building a positive habit by dedicating one hour a week to the health and maintenance of their list.  Every time they meet a new person at the local Starbucks, networking meeting, business event, PTA, restaurant – even the grocery store and have an opportunity to collect a business card or information – that person goes into the ‘book’ and the nurturing begins!  Some of the best agents spend an hour a week sending a personal note or firing off an email just to say what a pleasure it was to meet and if they need anything – just call.  (Making notes on the back of those business cards or in your phone after meeting a new person will help jog your memory for details when you are entering them into your database at a later time.)  Think about 10 people THIS WEEK you could add if you tried:  Teachers, Bankers, Restaurant Owner/Staff, Accountant, Attorney, Landscaper, Gas Station Owner, Grocery Store Manager…the possibilities are endless!  (If you did that EVERY week you’d be adding more than 500 people to your book of business each year!)
  6. Add past lists:  If you’ve sent out Just Listed or Just Sold postcards and have purchased a list of just sold cardhomeowners contact information who received those postcards – be sure not to forget those folks.  You can add them in and start the process of taking them from ‘prospect’ to ‘member’ of your sphere by building those relationships over time.  Think about this – every time you send a Just Listed postcard with a purchased list – you are adding to your database. But most agents only send that one card, the Just Listed to that list.  Think one 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!
  7. SHARE with them.  Direct mail is a great way to ‘touch’ your book of business at least once a month.  From powerful postcards with relevant offers to a monthly newsletter packed with valuable content – staying in TOUCH is the key to staying TOP of mind.  We’ll even help you automate the process with a set-and-forget system that allows you to put your marketing plan in motion and then focus on those personal contacts and the three tasks that are most important in your business:  prospecting, presenting and CLOSING.  Visit www.prospectsplus.com/specials today to learn more about these options or call our team at 866.405.3638 for help deciding what might work best for you, your list and your budget!
  8. Invite them into the conversation.  Savvy agents are firing up their social media strategies on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest and inviting their community of followers to join in the conversation.  Create a Facebook page for your neighborhood farm and post community information that’s relevant to your buyers and sellers such as school information, local business information, fun facts and more.  Agents are breaking out their iPhones and creating video walking tours of area hotspots, news for the week, reviews of local businesses, types of homes to look for in their area and all kinds of fun and interesting information.  Pinterest has people pinning and posting all about staging ideas, inspirational quotes, homes in the area, community events, blog posts and more.
  9. Follow up.  Break your list up into manageable numbers and commit to follow up calls every week.  Most experts recommend scheduling a daily appointment with yourself to prospect.  Don’t underestimate the value of face-to-face connecting as well.  Community events, school functions, networking opportunities and just being active in the community that you service will help keep you visible, allow you a chance to arrange follow up conversations and ask questions, be the resource people need and you will generate referrals in the process! It can be as simple as letting them know that you are there to help anytime.
  10. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  Well you get the idea.  Treating your database as the saleable, valuable resource that it is means not putting it away for 11 months out of the year.  Commit to these ten strategies monthly and your career will thrive – and you won’t have to always be wondering where your next commission will come from.

Need help?  Call us at 866.405.3638.  Our team of marketing professionals can help you put your plan in place for success. 

How to Build a Smarter Book of Business

By Julie Escobar

This year, we’ve talked a LOT about data. Big Data. Smart analytic data. Specialty Nielsen Prizm data. Geographic data based on radial search technology.  Demographic data selects such as age, gender, income, and property data.  We’re working hard to ensure that we can be your trusted resource for all of these data sources and then some.

On thing that has to start with you, the agent, however, is your sphere of influence database.  It’s truly the foundation for your business – and it is the difference between always chasing new commissions, or having a reliable, consistent referral base you can count on.  Want to build a business that is strong, sustainable, and competitive and that you can sell when you’re ready to retire?  Start here.  Now.  Long before the end of the year – and you’ll help yourself to get on track to average more transactions per year, every year.

Think about this –if you had 250 people in a database that you consistently stay in touch with and who you develop a RELATIONSHIP with, then who will they call when they have a real estate question, need or referral?  YOU.  If just 10% of those folks listed, sold or referred you per year, what would that mean for your income?

“But building a database is HARD!” (Ever hear that one?)  It doesn’t have to be and it doesn’t have to be done all at once, but what it does need to be is a consistent part of your weekly business habits. NOT having a sphere of influence list is hands-down, the single biggest obstacle to agent success.  Not having a database you can market to will keep you in the not-so-fun cycle of always chasing new business, without the benefit of ever gaining any traction.  And think about this – if data inputting is an issue — there are lots of college kids still home for the summer that would love an opportunity to make a few dollars just for a few days work of inputting your data.

If you knew that statistics show that one in every twelve people in your SOI will either do business with you or refer business to you each year… would you take the time? Would you find out how many people you need in your sphere to hit your goals in the new year? soi-calculator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you know YOUR number?  You can calculate your sphere of influence here.

Now, where to start?  Pick a date to work on it and commit.  Open a spreadsheet on your computer or tablet. Or choose an online database management system.  Then ask yourself (and answer) these 30 Questions:

1. What are the names of the members of your family?

2. What are the names of your spouse’s family?

3. What are the names of your “extended” family?

4. What is the name of your best friend?

5. What is the name of your spouse’s best friend?

6. What are the names of your very close friends?

7. What are the names of your spouse’s very close friends?

8. What are the names of your children’s friends’ parents?

9. What are your children’s teachers’ names?

10. What are your children’s coaches’ names?

11. What are your children’s principals’ names?

12. What are your children’s dentists’ names?

13. What are your children’s doctors’ names?

14. What are your children’s optometrists’ names?

15. Who cuts your children’s hair?

16. Who sells you your children’s clothes?

17. Who is on the PTA Board at your children’s school?

18. Who is your children’s Sunday school teacher?

19. Who cuts your hair?

20. Who does your dry cleaning?

21. Who does your pedicures, manicures, facials?

22. Who do you purchase gasoline from?

23. Who services your car(s)?businessbase

24. Who do you buy tires from?

25. Who sold you your current car(s)?

26. Who have you purchased cars from in the past?

27. Who cleans your car(s)?

28. Who is your mailman?

29. Who do you know at your church?

30. Who do you see at the convenience store you most often go to?

Next, add every customer you’ve ever had.  Add the neighbors. Add old business colleagues.  In fact, click here to get a copy of our BusinessBASE™, download it at no cost and read it thoroughly.  On page six you’ll find 150 questions like the ones above that you need to ask yourself to build a sphere of influence list of at least 250 people.   It will also tell you all the fields you will want to set up for each contact such as name, community-newsaddress, email, occupation, etc.

Then take ACTION.  Start a touch marketing campaign to these folks every 21-35 days. A great way to start?  Send our done-for-you newsletters every month. They’re designed to be eye-catching, informational, and are filled with direct response offers that get results.  Or consider a series of postcards such as holidayrecipe postcards, customer appreciation cards, or listing inventory cards that will keep you top of mind, take just minutes to order and send and helps you incubate each person on our new list until you have the opportunity to see or speak to them.customer-app

And DON’T wait until you have all 250 or more in your list to start.  Remember that old saying by Arthur Ashe?   “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Momentum doesn’t just happen. You have to get started somewhere.  If you only get 25-50 people put into your book of business this month. Start sending to them.  Or Make it a goal to just put 100 in this weekend.

Follow up!  The BusinessBASE™  will also share with you a powerful SEND-CALL-SEE approach to following up with your list.  The 20 year value of a client is roughly $49,647.  With that number in mind – how many people do YOU want to put in YOUR book of business?

Get started today!  Click here to download your copy of the BusinessBASE™  and start building your list this month.  Then head over to our Master Marketing Schedule to see how you can stay top of mind with these VIPs all year around. Need help? Call us at 866.405.3638 today or click here to see what other agents are using successfully right now and take advantage of special savings offers.  

With Geographic Farming Done Right

By Julie Escobar

Geographic farming has roared back to the marketing forefront for agents in our industry in ways we haven’t seen in years. Why? Because – when done right – it works.

And what exactly is “done right”? It’s when agents who are committed to consistency step up to make themselves known in a neighborhood in real and meaningful ways – getting out into communities, shaking hands, meeting people, making introductions and making a difference.

To talk about one creative tool for geographic farming, the Market Dominator, I sat down with Dominator Director Todd Robertson to learn a little more about the system, the agents who are using it and what it takes to really make an impact on a market area.

Q: Todd, you work with agents across the country who are growing their market share by doing smart geographic farming. Can you tell us a little about the Market Dominator?

A: Sure! This product evolved out of necessity. Agents around the country were asking for a consistency final-ops-proof-december-dominator-frontprogram that would allow them to truly dominate a neighborhood or piece of geography. After six months of research with our team, we came up with the product for our agents called the Market Dominator, which utilizes Every Door Direct Mail with the USPS. At 12” x 15”, it’s the largest legal size that can be sent through the mail, so it doesn’t get overlooked in the mailbox. The content is created every month by our team of writers, who do an outstanding job of weaving in the eight best practices of direct mail. And agents love it because it’s either 100% done for them or 90%, meaning they can make some changes to the back. And with our national sponsors on board now, we can literally send it for the price of a first-class postcard. The other great thing about it is that it’s a two-year campaign… kind of like joining the gym, your personal trainer makes you go.

Q: We both have been in this industry for a long time, and we both know that marketing alone is not what takes agents to the top of their game. It’s follow up and relationship building. Can you tell us some of the powerful ways Market Dominator members are going above and beyond to support their marketing mailing efforts by connecting with the folks in their farm final-ops-proof-december-dominator-backneighborhoods?

A: In terms of what our best agents are doing supplementing the Market Dominator to increase their success rate in their numbers, we’re seeing them do things like canvassing their farms with door hangers,  introducing themselves to everybody in the neighborhood, being consistent in sending out new on the market or Just Listed postcards when they get a listing and holding open houses in their carrier routes and making a splash in the area with signs and balloons on every street, every artery when they do. That way, when the Market Dominator shows up in that mailbox, the homeowners will see it and say, “Oh yeah, that’s Susie. I see her all over the place; she’s the neighborhood specialist.”

Q: We’ve talked about the tremendous opportunity agents have to reach out to the businesses that surround or are in their farm area to build reciprocal referral relationships. Can you share your thoughts on that?

A: Some of our Market Dominator members have given us ideas that we never thought about before that we try to share with our new members. One of them is to go after the local businesses in and/or around that carrier route. It’s really an outstanding strategy, because they can utilize the extra 20 Dominators that we give them each month in a clever way.

One of our great agents up in the Northeast simply takes her 20 and goes to every business where people have to wait, such as a hair salon, oil change shop and restaurants. She said the best was actually auto dealerships. What she would do in auto dealerships is first go in and make an introduction to the general sales manager that goes something like, “Hi, I’m Susie with XYZ Realty. I’m the neighborhood real estate specialist in this area. Would you mind if I leave a couple of these in the lobby of your service department?”

What’s great about that strategy is, number one, she’s prospecting the service manager, who becomes a mover and shaker on her SOI list – meaning she visits every month and has offered to let him or her know if a great listing comes on the market. Think about how most cities have what they call “auto dealership row,” where several dealerships are all on the same street. If you’re like Susie, you go right down that strip and pass out two or three Dominators in each dealership, meet some incredible new people and start establishing relationships in a pretty short period of time.

Number two, she’s leaving valuable content, with her name, face, contact information and calls to action in a place where a lot of people congregate. Think about when you have to have your car serviced, and you’ve had to wait anywhere from an hour to a full day in the guest services lounge. What are most people doing when they’re waiting? They’re looking at their phones or whatever magazines are sitting there, right? Imagine if two or three Market Dominators were sitting there with Ritz Carlton quality, filled with great information for people to peruse. Agents who are utilizing this tiny local business strategy with consistency, who have mastered their presentation skills and aren’t afraid to follow up, could find themselves with anywhere from two to 20 extra closings per year.

Q: What about agents who are afraid to follow up, either in person (door knocking) or on the phone? Any advice for them?

A: Some agents just want to send their marketing out, then sit back and see what happens. In my mind, to be great in real estate you have to be obsessed, or you end up being average. By “obsessed,” I mean you’ve already made a commitment to your neighborhood farm, so why not stretch yourself a little and go make an introduction? One way or another, knowing that you’re simply providing a great service to help these people buy or sell real estate is powerful motivation to meet people.

I also would say if somebody is still afraid or hesitant to follow up, spend a couple days and get so good at your listing presentation, get so great at overcoming objections, so great at your value proposition that you can’t help but have a relaxed sense of confidence. This will do a couple of things for you: It will get you excited to go out and meet people and prospect, which is the one thing most people hate doing (usually because they aren’t as confident in their presentation), and it will force you to fine-tune your skills, which will help you enjoy a long-term career.

Q: Consistency and sticking to a plan is a powerful combination for success in our business. Will you share why making the Dominator part of a consistent marketing plan is a smart strategy?

A: In terms of doing any marketing, consistency has to be part of the plan – whether it’s in real estate marketing, building wealth or getting in shape. The Market Dominator gives agents what they told us for many years they wanted: a two-year campaign. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, if your competition is going to do any marketing, history says they quit after the third contact. Yet we know that most activity doesn’t happen until after the fifth contact. So staying in the game for the duration is vital.  

Q: Any last words of advice for our readers?

A: First, I would say that if you’re reading this article or reading our magazines or blogs and looking for real estate strategies and insights, you’ve already separated yourself from the competition. Because for you and me to get great at anything, we must remain a student of life. So I congratulate you on taking that step. Whether it’s the Market Dominator, one of our other great products or you just want to call our home office and brainstorm, our team is always willing to help you find the real estate marketing product that best fits your needs, your market and your area.

Thanks for the information and insight, Todd!

If you’d like to learn more about the Market Dominator System, visit www.prospectsplus.com/dominator, or call Todd directly at 855-383-6646.