Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Sum of Small Things

by Julie Escobar

The market is hot and competition is hotter.  One big secret to success is to stay top-of-mind with your book of business.  And while that doesn’t have to be a HARD process – it does need to be CONSISTENT.  That got me thinking about one of Floyd Wickman’s quotes, “Great results are the sum of small things, done well, repeatedly.”  Boy isn’t that the truth?  I once asked Floyd to expand on that a little for us – and here’s what he had to offer:  “That’s one of my favorite sayings too, and it’s so true.  In fact, nothing defines that more than a commissioned salesperson picking up the phone and making a simple call to folks in their book of business—even if for no other reason than to say hello.  There is no higher thing they can do to shift their results in this business than to create those conversations.  In fact, in our courses we teach agents that for every 12 conversations they have, they can expect a referral.  To me, that’s the number one way to stay top of mind AND build your business.”

Great advice.  Floyd also shared that you can’t ‘nurture’ everyone.  So every agent should have two lists – one which is their book of business – those folks you are building a relationship with over time.  Your second list should be your database. That’s a list of everyone who’s ever inquired, been on your mailings lists, or internet leads that you can send drip campaigns to until they are ready to make a move. Your database is your least expensive list to market to – but it also yields much lower results than your book of business.

So number one?  Take Floyd’s advice.  Pick up the phone to everyone in your book of business.  Decide how you want to break that up – 10 a day, 20 a day or as Floyd used to say, “Call until you get one.”  Block off that time just as critically as you would a listing appointment – because it IS that critical.

Number two?  Get out of stealth mode. I can’t tell you how many agents rarely leave the office or their homes but call us to say – how can I get more business?  Get OUT there in your community and get noticed!  Take part in charity drives, school events, and host Q & A sessions at the local library or coffee shop.  The more contentVISIBLE you are – the more likely people are going to say YOUR NAME when asked if they know anyone in real estate!

Number three?  SEND them something tangible.  For all the obvious reasons, we’re fond of direct response mail postcards– because they are easy to order, quick to send and don’t take up a lot of your valuable face-to-face or voice-to-voice time with prospects and those in your book of business or sphere.  Monthly holiday cards, recipe cards, newsletters, or our content cards are a great ‘touch’ each month that are budget-friendly, can be ordered in minutes, and allow you to stay top of mind.  Keep things mixed up as well. Check out our Master Marketing Schedule if you haven’t already for some creative and way outside the box ways to get in front of your clients in ways that are sure to have you REMEMBERED!

Number four?  Be HYPER-LOCAL.  There’s a reason this term is all the buzz right now – it’s because it is
EXACTLY what consumers are looking for in their resources. Home buyers and sellers need to know what is happening right there in YOUR market – rather than just get sucked into the national news of what’s happening nationwide or even globally.  What are prices doing in their neighborhoods?  What’s happening in the schools in your area?  What new businesses are coming in or closing?  Who are the trusted resources, business or service professionals in YOUR area that they can call.  Start being the one to consistently deliver THAT kind of information – and your name, brand, reputation and referrals will skyrocket.

Number five?  Expand your reach.  If you’re not saturating the neighborhood or market area you want to dominate, then turn to Every Door Direct Mail (which gets you literally into every mailbox).  Our Market Dominator System is becoming quite the differentiator for agents across the nation.  In fact, one agent just shared this experience with us, The monthly ordering process is easy. Some months I simply upload my photo and company logo and submit the already created newsletter. Other times I customize it. Either way, the newsletters are distributed to 527 of my neighbors. Over the 11 months since I started, the EDDM marketing pieces have resulted in 5 listing appointments. This month, I have a seller preparing their home to list with me and received a buyer referral from a neighbor who receives my newsletters. It’s great to see some fruit from the seeds I planted.” Our advice? Follow his lead and plant those seeds! 

Now, what are you waiting for?  Get out there and start getting your name, business and face recognized as the incredible real estate resource you are!  And if you need help – give our team a shout at 866.405.3638 for systems that can help you do all of that and more! 

(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.

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.  

Then Putting the Who, What, and When Together

By Julie Escobar

As we head into the final months of the year, a lot of agents are already wisely getting into planning mode. One sticking point that stumps a lot of real estate professionals is building the right marketing lists to fuel their pipeline of business.  Let’s take a look at some simple strategies to put into place:

Sphere, Farm, Niche – it’s the real estate agent’s version of lather, rinse, and repeat.  Success in this business stems from staying in touch, staying positioned, and top of mind for the folks in all three.  I’m often asked by agents, “Where do I start?” The obvious is ‘the sphere’, aka – your sphere of influence or book of business.

Now, if I had a dollar for every agent that said ‘no” when asked if they had ever taken the time to actually put their sphere (those people that already know you, like you, trust you, and would do business with you) into a database, I could buy a very large piece of property – like an island or something! So don’t let yourself fall into THAT category! Savvy agents understand that their best customers, are the ones they’ve built and nurtured relationships with consistently.  Who should be in in your sphere?  Family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, past clients – and all those folks whose lives you touch and touch yours back. businessbase

Sphere:  For a list of 250 people that SHOULD be in your book of business, download a pdf of our BusinessBASETM at no cost today.  Then make THIS the week you make putting YOUR sphere into a working, viable, referral-generating database.  Need help inputting all the data?  There are lots of college students home for the summer already that would be perfect for that kind of task.  Or hire a Virtual Assistant for the project.  Your highest and best use of time is prospecting, presenting, and closing – so gather up the data – and delegate it to someone to make it happen.

Four great marketing pieces for your sphere:

  1. Holiday postcards – there’s something every month that can be sent as a friendly hello.
  2. Recipe cards – many agents swear by these as customer ‘keepers’.
  3. Newsletters – these powerful tools are perfect for connecting with your sphere.
  4. Content cards – these are content-rich, consumer-friendly postcards filled to the brim with valuable information that people love.

Farm:  Pick an area – but not just ANY area.  I asked Coach Todd Robertson for a little how-to advice for map my mail dataagents on choosing the right farm area for them.  He shared, “I work with a lot of agents to help them really fine tune what area they want to market.  Even if you find a geographic farm that you think works for you location wise with commission-friendly price ranges, you still need to be mindful of two other factors:  The turn-over rate, and the competition.  Ideally, we want to help position you to receive a 20% market share in a geo farm. If you start in a farm where another agent already has that or higher, you’re going to work much harder and have to be at it longer to see the results you’re seeking.  Finding an area where any one agent has less than 10% market share is preferable, or if you see an area where a previously aggressive agent has slowed or stopped their marketing.  In terms of turnover rate, ideally you want a one that is at least 10-15%.  You can easily determine the turnover rate by dividing the number of homes in the farm by the number of homes which have sold.”  That’s a great starting point.  So take a snapshot of your market area – look at the neighborhoods that may fit that criteria close to you, then use our MapMyMailSM system to easily capture mailings lists from those areas.  You can choose a radial search by address, or choose to search by zip code or counties. Talk to your broker, look at your options – then map out your marketing list! Once you have that – then remember to stay CONSISTENTLY in touch with these folks – month after month.    For a great read and more tips from Todd – read The Smart Scoop on Geographic Farming.

Three great tools for connecting with your farm:

  1. Neighborhood Update/Free Offer series: People want two things: to know the agent they work with can get results – and that they have the resources they need.  These cards present you as the agent with both!
  2. Listing Inventory Series: These postcards speak to the mindset of potential sellers with the right questions and direct response offers.
  3. The Market Dominator: For agents serious about dominating a geographic farm and earning a 20% market share.  This powerful, direct-response piece is 12×15 and attention grabbing.  It also takes advantage of Every Door Direct Mail, so the cost is even more affordable.

Niche:  Top agents don’t stop at just marketing to a sphere and farm. They specialize in a demographic that resonates with them.

Here are some ideas for working a niche:pp demographic search data

  • Investors: Use our MapMyMailSM – choose the demographic search option, then custom, then choose records with a household income of $150,000 or higher.  You can also look for REI or REIA websites to learn more about real estate investors.   Use our Investor Series postcards to reach out to these lists each month.
  • FSBOS & Expireds: There are great services such as LandVoice that offer data for FSBOs & Expireds in market areas all across North America.  Use our 7 Series for FSBOs or Expireds – send 3-7 postcards in rapid succession (every 3-5 days) as soon as you see a new prospect for these demographics, offer a free report such as 5 Factors That Cause a Property Not to Sell, and follow up after you’ve sent the postcards with a direct response offer.  Offer to perform a Merchandising Review to ensure that the home gets sold for the best possible price in the fastest possible time.
  • First Time Home Buyers: Use the MapMyMailSM system to find local renters.  Offer a variety of free reports such as How to Save for a Down Payment, or Top Ten Checklist for Choosing an Agent. Send our First time home buyer/renter series of postcards monthly with a fair trade offer to connect.
  • Seniors: You can use that same MapMyMailSM technology to find Baby Boomers and older.  Send our Senior series of postcards to these fine folks!
  • Get creative: From motorcycle enthusiasts, to local sports team members, to boaters, to farmers, and everything in between.  Finding the group of people that you really connect with and would love to serve and work with is a great way to get continuously better as an agent and build a powerful referral network.  You can edit our holiday, inspiration, recipe, content cards, or even image series to alter your message for each and every demographic.

We also have powerful Specialty Data Selects Using Nielsen’s PRIZM Codes available on the site to help you tap into incredibly detailed data segments to help make their marketing easier – and more effective. What is PRIZM segmentation? According to Nielsen, “Segmentation links your customer data with household-level and neighborhood-level demographics, syndicated survey and primary research data to reveal exactly what types of consumers are currently using your products or services. Any customer files, lists or survey data with complete addresses or at least a ZIP code can be coded with Nielsen’s segmentation systems. This allows you to identify your best prospect segments with the greatest efficiency for effective marketing strategies that align with marketplace demands.”

Smart, right? So what does that mean to YOU as a real estate professional? It means that marketing just got more interesting. See our Nielsen PRIZM options here.

For all three marketing avenues – your sphere, farm, and niche – be sure to connect every 28-45 days consistently to ensure that you maintain that top-of-mind awareness.  Armed with your database and marketing materials, and a reminder system to FOLLOW up with the folks in each will give you the competitive edge in your market that will allow you to develop and maintain a long and prosperous career.  Ready, set – GO!

Need help getting started? Contact our marketing professionals today at 866.405.3638.  They are an amazing resource – and they truly care about your success.  Happy Listing!

 

An Interview with REALTOR Eric Hardy

by Julie Escobar

As we head into holidays and turn our eyes towards the new year ahead, I was eager to get back to some basics by sharing agents stories of best practices for building solid businesses.  Customer care and attention to detail are two factors that are critical keys to success for top performers.  To tackle that topic, I touched base with my old friend and awesome agent Eric Hardy who put customer care on the top of his priority list. Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q: Hey Eric – thanks for sharing with us today.  Before we jump in, can you tell the readers a little about yourself?

A:  Yes, I am 45 years old, married, and a father of two. I have been in the wedding business for over twenty years, and recently decided to go back into real estate after a 15 year break. I currently work for Dennis Eric HardyRealty in Lutz, Florida.

Q: You’ve recently re-entered the real estate game. What do you feel is the most important strategy for fast-tracking a successful first year ahead?

A: A positive attitude, a genuine love for what we do. You have to enjoy your wok because it shows to people when you do, and when you don’t. We get to help people with a major event in their life.

Q: How are you building your sphere of influence and staying top of mind with them?

A:  Nowadays social media is key, and understanding the power of it. Along with keeping in touch with people with even just a simple phone call to see how they are. I always tell everyone what I do for a living. When they think real estate, I want them to think of me.

Q: What advice would you give other new agents for hitting the ground running?

A:  Get as much training and education as you can, knowledge is power. Be humble and listen to advice from jl-cards-2people older and younger. And most importantly put the time in, and try new things till you learn what works best for you. Don’t skip on the traditional marketing tools that work either.  Just Listed and Just Sold postcards always have been a staple in our industry for a reason — they work. They help market you as an agent, your listings, and your business.

Q: Do you belong to a mentor or networking group in which you can share ideas?

A:  I work for a great company. We all sit at a round table once a week and discuss marketing plans, odd questions and different scenario’s agents come across. This way when we see a new situation or issue we are prepared.

Q: You were in the wedding business, are you transitioning those clients and customers into your sphere and do you see a niche market there for yourself as an agent?

A:  Yes, absolutely. Most of my couples once they are married their next major life event is usually buying a home. After working with me on their wedding they see that I am competent, intelligent and easy to work with. I want their home buying experience to be a stress free and fun, the same as planning their wedding. There are bumps in the road you may run into, but we are here to help you through that. And thank you for thanksgiving2016v6thumbsstndletting me be part of your big day, and part of a major event in your life.

Q: How important is servicing and staying connected with your customer base to you?

A: It is crucial. One thing I really liked about the REALTOR that helped me buy my home, is he still keeps in touch. I get an email at least once a month and every holiday, and occasionally see him around town and he is genuinely happy we love our home. I strive to give that level of customer service everyday.  Monthly postcards, phone calls, and social media make it easy to stay in touch in today’s world. Your customer base is going to be your strongest line of referrals. Always take good care of them even when the transaction is completed, stay in touch!

Q: Are you working a geographic farm? If so – what are you doing that’s working?free offer door hanger

A:  For me I work best face to face with people. I love to knock on doors, talk to people in my area. I get into conversations with them, and have even made friends and have gotten to know some really great people. The person in front of you may not be buying or selling, but if they like you they will put you in touch with anyone they know who is. Treat every person with kindness, people always do business with people they like. We are not just trying to find the next “sale” but building a career helping good people.

Q: How can people reach out to you with referrals?

A:  I am always available by phone or email, seven days a week. You can reach me anytime at 813-770-2150 or at Hardysline@verizon.net, if you just have a question I can help you with.

Thanks Eric for your time and your advice for what’s working in your corner of the world! Agents love to learn from other agents. I so appreciate your sharing your experience.

Need help marketing YOUR real estate business?  Contact our team at 866.405.3638 today or visit www.prospectsplus.com.