Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Building Blocks for a Hitting Your Goals

By Julie Escobar

Top agents know that the key to longevity in this business is to build a better book of business.  Referrals are their stock and trade, but to keep them coming IN– they know they need to constantly be reaching OUT. Let’s take a look at some powerful and productive ways to do that WITHOUT a lot of stress or hassle.

Strategy #1:  Commit to the list.  Whatever database system you’re using, inputting your customer information is step one.  Even if you don’t have EVERYTHING you need , or all the information you want, start somewhere.  I’ve talked to agents who never get around to marketing at all because they feel like they have to do everything at once.  If it seems overwhelming – start SOMEWHERE.  Pick 50 or 100 people to add and knock it out in a couple hours – even if you’re simply using excel to add name, address, phone, email.  Start SOMEWHERE.  Then pick another day and do the same thing so you can get your list to the 200 mark. (Virtual assistants these days are very affordable as well – so that may be an option for some of you.  College students are always looking for some extra money too, especially this time of year – so ask around!  Not sure who to add, refer back to the BusinessBASE we talked about last week that shared the 150 people who should be in your sphere.)

Strategy #2:  Opt-ins & social media.  We’ve got some powerful tools in our resource section.  Terrific free reports that are a perfect addition to your website as an opt-in piece.  Here’s a creative multi-use way to useSaveDownPayment_thumb (1) these tools to help you build your list, feed your social media stream and entice your customers and prospects to continually return to your site for more resources!  You’ll become the go-to agent for information!  Simply click here to go to our resource section and download the free reports that will work best for you and your market.  Go ahead and download as many as you like and bookmark this page because we add new ones all the time.  These are going to now become part of the campaign you’re about to kick off!  Now, take one per week or one per month and break the contents down into bite sized pieces to share on your social media and on the backs of your postcards.

I’ll give you an example:  Take the How to Save for a Down Payment free report.  It has seven tips for saving for a down payment.  A fun strategy would be to kick off your Facebook posts on a Monday with a post something along these lines:

As a professional Realtor, it’s a privilege to help people invest in their future and find the home of their dreams.  Often times, it is the down payment that can be a sticking point.  This week I’ll share with you seven powerful ways you can save!  Tip #1:  1. Get in the know. Like any good budget or savings plan, the first place to start is to determine where you are NOW in relation to your credit score, your monthly bills and assets. Contact me or a trusted mortgage professional to see how much home you qualify for and how much you’ll need to save to purchase your home. We can help you take a look at things like credit scores, loan requirements and interest rates now so you can be simultaneously doing ALL the things right during this savings period to ensure the most favorable rate and terms.

Say you made this your “Free report for August” in your business plan.  When setting up your postcard timing is everything cardcampaign on Prospectsplus.com – choose the alternate back and add a little verbiage to that fact.  Here is an example:

As a professional Realtor who specializes in helping people find the home of their dreams, I’m always eager to share resources that can help consumers just like you make the best financial decisions for their family!  Please visit my site today at www.yoursitehere.com and download a copy of my new free report:  How to Save for a Down Payment.  No cost or obligation and please share with friends!  Call me if you have questions at xxx-xxx-xxxx!

Then do the same for month two and three of your campaign.  This way your social media and your postcard marketing are all working in tandem.  Keep copies of each report on hand so you can mail or email them out easily.  (I would make a file on your desktop specifically to house all these reports to make finding them easier!)time is now card

Strategy #3:  Commit to a campaign.  Even if you’re not sure which campaign is right for you – choose one to use for at least three months.  Breaking projects down into bite-size pieces makes the process less stressful and more manageable for most people.  I love the idea of a three month campaign because you can add your list, choose your card campaign and let that run for three months.  Then make whatever revisions are necessary to your list once a quarter such change an address, add a new customer or referral, change an email, etc.  This makes your database management less time-consuming as well.  By breaking your campaigns down into quarterly increments – you also have the flexibility to try a new campaign on for size.

Some sphere of influence favorites are:customer-appreciation-direct-mail-real-estate-postcards (1)

  • Listing Inventory Series
  • Holiday Series
  • Recipe Series
  • Call to Action Series
  • Neighborhood Update Series
  • Customer Appreciation Series

Strategy #4:  Add a niche.  One of the fastest ways to grow your sphere is to take what you’re passionate about, the people you like working with the MOST and create a niche for yourself.  I’ve always said it’s tough to be #1 in a geographic market – but not in a smaller niche that you are excited about.  From traditional (first time home buyers, fsbo’s, expireds) to out of the box (Harley riders, health and wellness seekers, boaters, fishermen) – find something you love, then get out there and meet THOSE people and start putting them into your list.  The secret ingredient in a sphere of lifestyle interstinfluence is INFLUENCE.  Taking people from being “on a list” to knowing, trusting and liking you enough to want to do business with you.  That process happens fastest when you’re working with a group of people that you like and know about in return! Not sure where to start? Take a look at our Lifestyle Interest Series which helps agent match their messages to their favorite marketing segments such as boaters and golfers.

Now you’re ready to get STARTED!  Make this spring your best!  And don’t forget – our inside account management team is here to help you make some of these decisions and walk you through the processes.   You can reach them at  866.405.3638.

Oh – and don’t forget to join in on this month’s contest!  Share your favorite ProspectsPLUS! strategy or experience by  heading over to our Google+ page and leaving a comment.  Each month we choose three different agents to share in winning $400 in gift cards!  It could be you!  Click here to get started!  

Expanding Your Marketing Options and Opportunity

By Julie Escobar

it’s good to have options–right?  Especially when you are building a brand, and growing your business. That’s what our customers tell us every week — and it’s why we continuously work to deliver exceptional options to agents all across North America. One of the features of our site that our customers tell us they love having is the Upload Your Own option.  Why?  It gives those of you who’ve already had branded materials created and just need print resource and those of you who are pretty handy, creative and tech-savvy to create the exact pieces you want for your marketing and STILL have a means to get them printed, shipped and sent to your book of business or to yourself quickly, easily and best of all – AFFORDABLY.

Let’s face it.  Printing up all your materials yourself and getting them the way you want them on your home printer isn’t always a walk in the park.  And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit crunch time only to find my printer is (NATURALLY) out of INK.  And for agents who like to have their marketing materials on-hand presentation foldersand professionally printed and looking sharp – this really is the best of both worlds.

What are agents printing using the UPLOAD YOUR OWN option on our new site?

  • Pre-listing packages:  (This is a great one because all that collated and matching everything up is a pain for most agents!  And now we have really cool, branded presentation folders as well that they can just tuck each one into!)
  • Feature Property or Open House flyers:  This is especially handy if you’re using an InfoBox and need to print a lot of them at a low cost so you can keep replenishing your supply.
  • Pre-designed and branded marketing pieces:  Many of you have spent considerable time, effort and flyersenergy to create branded personal brochures, notecards and stationery – but just need a reasonable source to get them printed that you can rely on for short-run ability, good pricing and reliability.
  • Large files:  No burning up your ink jet with large files that need printing – we’ve got it! (For Less!)
  • Brochures:  Having the right brochures on hand for open houses, presentations, leave-behinds at local businesses and more is vital to your business.
  • Invitations:  Invites to community events, fundraisers, client appreciation parties or real estate workshops are easy and fast to reproduce.
  • Posters, Postcards and Print Outs – Oh my! Anything you need printing – we can find a way to
    Spaccommodate.  From the postcards or printouts that you design yourself to the event pieces you might need for your sphere, farm or community.
  • Magnets: Many agents like to print out sports event calendars, regular calendars, recipes, top marketing tips with a magnetic back (way to STICK around for your sphere.) By the way – our Football Schedule Series is a super popular marketing tool. See them here. It’s easy!

There are so many options you can now choose and we’re thrilled to bring them to you.  Whether you would like ready-made marketing tools such as our free reports, postcards, stationery, niche kits, presentation folders or if you prefer to create your own and just choose to print it offsite – we hope you’ll discover how simple, affordable and service-focused we are to work with.

Make sure your artwork is sized to fit our printing requirements by visiting our Artwork Specifications Link here.

And if you are NOT a do-it-yourself kind of guy or gal — head over to our Specials Page and see what agents across the nation are sending this month!

Got questions?  Call us today at 866.405.3638 to get the help you need printing the marketing pieces you want to help you grow your business and get those phones ringing!

Six Powerful Reasons Direct Mail Should Be Part of Your Spring & Summer Marketing Plan

By Julie Escobar

One thing for sure is that our world has become more connected than ever because of ever-evolving technology, and that’s terrific.  We do live in a digital world certainly, but we also live in a world where people still appreciate personal touches, tangible visibility and human interaction. Done right, direct mail helps connect you to the customers and future customers in your market in much different way (and without any spam filters to fret about!)

In fact, according to a study done by the Direct Marketing Association,  56% of consumers think print marketing is the most trustworthy of all marketing channels. And here’s a stat that surprised me in the age of smartphones:  56% of consumers think print marketing is the most trustworthy of all marketing channels.

In an article put out by Sappi Fine Papers, “Print has more emotional pull for consumers than digital, according to scientists. A neuroscience study commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and conducted by Millward Brown discovered that paper-based marketing—i.e., direct mail—leaves a ‘deeper footprint’ in the brain than digital—and that difference can even be pinpointed on functional MRI brain scans. The physical act of handling tangible material feels more “real” to the brain, the study claims. It produces brain responses that trigger emotional reactions, which get internalized in your memory. In other words, the printed piece itself becomes part of the subliminal messaging.”

Here are six reasons direct mail is both relevant AND results-producing!

  1. It’s targeted.  Advertising is one means of reaching out to consumers in your market, but it’s expensive Do it Yourself Real Estate postcardsand casts a wide, but not specific net. With direct mail you can match your marketing pieces specifically to your market or niche dramatically increasing your response rates. You can even now find the mailing lists for those you most want to market to by taking advantage of the specialty data selects from our friends over at Nielsen or look for our Lifestyle Interest data like the one suggested in this week’s Master Marketing Schedule for Do-It-Yourself fans. Head over to our Mailing List page to learn more about all the affordable list options available to you.
  2. It’s personal.  Direct mail is your canvas.  You can address your customer by name, share specific offers, communicate information that’s specific to your area, and begin to create a top-of-mind awareness and trust. All of our marketing tools are editable, from postcards, to newsletters, to SaveDownPayment_thumb (1)brochures — and you can be as creative as you like.  Offer fair trade offers such as Free Reports, lists of homes, a CMA and more – and lend your personality and voice to each piece.  Note:  review your edits carefully for spelling errors before moving to the next option!
  3. It’s flexible.  From postcards to flyers to letters to brochures, your direct mail options are extensive.  Add direct response offers and timely information and you again increase your response rates.  Some agents wisely choose a campaign with similar branding to send month after month or quarter after quarter that helps consumers develop a recognition of their brand more easily.  Others mix and match their marketing messages – preferring to keep consumers alert and eager to see “what they’ll send next!”
  4. It’s tangible. The truth is, as human beings we’re tactile people. Engaging different senses is just smart business.   If I get a message from a professional I touch via email for example, it registers in the moment – but not necessarily long term.  If I get a message that’s directed to me and offers something of importance to me and my family and I can feel it, touch it, put it on the refrigerator or tack it to my bulletin board, etc. – then that message has a much longer shelf life-right?  And a better chance of getting a response – not just once but again and again. 
  5. It’s measurable.  Direct mail is one of the few media channels that give you the ability to track your success.  Use a unique URL or make a specific offer on a direct response piece and keep tabs on how many people click or call on that offer.  Adjust future mailings based on that response rate.  I always recommend making a direct response offer on every piece of direct mail as opposed to just a generic, ‘here I am’ type mailing.  Give people valuable reasons to reach out to you and they will!
  6. It’s easy and cost-effective.  Direct mail doesn’t have to mean big bucks.   Now with Every Door Direct Mail costs are low and market saturation is high.  One of the things our customers appreciate most about our services in fact is that we do have the ability to provide short-run orders at extremely affordable rates unlike big mail houses which require you to order thousands at a time.  Not sure what pieces will work best with your budget?  Give us a call-our team is terrific about helping agents match their marketing to their market as well as their budgets!

Hope that gives you some insights into why direct mail is on so many agents to-do list this season! If you need help finding the right pieces for you at the right prices-we’ve got you covered.  Call our marketing team at 866.405.3638 or email us at pmc@prospectsplus.com to learn how we can get your production hopping this next quarter in a very budget friendly way! 

And Generating New Listings

By Julie Escobar

You know, a very long time ago, Floyd Wickman founded his company on a concept that “We Get by Giving.”  He was on the mark then, and that concept is still on the mark today.  Times have changed, markets have changed, and certainly how we communicate and do business has changed.  But one thing that will always be a constant, I believe, is that people will ALWAYS be hungry for information.

And that’s an amazing opportunity for real estate professionals to jump in and feed that need!  We’re asked all the time by agents – what can I do to get people to CALL me, CONTACT me, turn to ME for information, raise their ‘hands’ so to speak so I can tell who’s a prospect and who’s not  – and we try to make that as simple as possible.  Especially for agents who are eager to get more listings in their market areas.

One series that is very popular with our customers because it features powerful ‘fair trade offers’ that sellers are looking for is our Free Offer Series.  Sending three over the course of 2-3 months can certainly help you create the top-of-mind awareness and show potential sellers that you are the agent to ask when they have questions.

Here’s the order we would recommend…free home market

First –send the Market Analysis postcard.   The big question for lots of folks in a changing economy is “How much is my home worth?”  Between news headlines and short sale horror stories spanning the internet, people are curious and whether they are about to sell or not, they want to know where they stack up in terms of property value.

Second – send the Home Equity postcard.  This gives folks a free home equitysecond opportunity to learn how much they can count on when it comes to the value of their home and where they stand in terms of equity versus potential sales price.  Being a resource that can help consumers really have the big picture covered makes you a valuable resource in your community.

Third – send the Real Estate Consultation postcard.  This is a great opportunity to follow up free consultationon your campaign and provide a full-blown consultation so people can determine if selling is right for them.  Studies show it takes at LEAST three contacts for people to perk up and recognize a marketing campaign.  So, stay with it and FOLLOW up!

This is just one series that works for this purpose.  Our all new Content Cards are powerful article-based tools that answer many of the questions in buyer and seller minds today.  And our Neighborhood Specialist/Free Offer series allows you to not only offer a fair trade, but give folks the hyper-local stats that they are looking for as well.

And you don’t have to stop at these – we’ve got an entire spectrum of free reports, handy tools and additional fair trade offers available on our resources page for download!  Get yours today.

And if you want to try this campaign on for size, be sure to visit our Specials page for the latest in budget-saving promo codes!  Still need help sorting all of it out?  Just call us at 866.405.3638.  Our team is happy to assist you!  Google

Advice & Insights From Industry Leader Floyd Wickman

By Julie Escobar

Got a call from an old friend Floyd Wickman last week, and of course, had to ask, “While I have you on the phone, can I interview you for next week’s column?”  He graciously agreed and shared some terrific insights for agents eager to take themselves to the top of their game—and stay there!  Thanks Floyd!

Here’s an excerpt from our interview:floyd

Q:  Floyd, it’s great to see our industry come surging back.  Some agents are jetting all the way to the top in this market.   What do you think are the top common denominators of top producers? 

A:  It is terrific to see the resurgence isn’t it?  I guess if I had to say what I see as some of the top traits of the superstars are I’d say I think it first starts with a healthy respect for establishing balance between business and personal.  So many transactions these day come with lots of drama and stress, and the agents that have found the ways to stay focused and balanced are the ones who will successfully navigate their career path long term and avoid burnout.

Next, I’d say they are always in skill-building mode.  That hasn’t changed in all these years.  The goal is always to get voice to voice and face to face with people.  Top producers understand that selling involves as much emotion as facts and are always fine-tuning their skills and ability to turn inquiries into a voice to voice or face to face transaction.

Third, I’d say that most have a mentor or coach that they turn to when they want to take themselves to the top of their game – or when they are at the end of their rope and they need someone to help them “tie the knot” and hang on.

Q:  I agree.  You’ve always been a champion for mentoring and integrity partnerships.  Can you expand on that a little more?

A: Sure. Many years ago I wrote a book, MENTORING with Terri Sjodin.  In it we shared our firm believe that having a person in your life that is objective, knowledgeable and understands pain and gain – that you can reach out to is a vital component to taking your career and life to the next level.  As you know Zig Ziglar and others were that for me.  I know for a fact that I would not have had the successes I had or accomplished the things I have if it weren’t for them.  I’m living proof of the value in mentor/protégé relationships.  You know it’s not always your best friend of spouse that will tell you what you need to hear.  A mentor or coach is someone who will be that person to tell it like it is – even when that’s not the easiest thing to hear.

Q:  As we had into the last part of the year, a lot of wise agents are starting to put their plans in place to finish this year strong and hit the next running.  Do you have any wise words to share as they start that process?

A:  You know Julie, every business has a common denominator element of success.  In real estate it’s listings. I would say whatever plan you are putting in place you need to start by answering the question, “How many listing do I need to earn the dollar volume I need to realize my goals?” From there, you can break it down further. To get that many listings, how many appointments to you need?  To get those how many contacts do you need to make? How many people in your sphere?  How many in your farm?  How will you go about reaching those numbers?  Next, I always ask my coaching partners when they set a goal to find their WHY.  Why is that their goal? What’s behind that? What is their real purpose?  Because that underlying purpose is what drives them even more than the goal. Keep digging until you get to your real WHY and that will help fuel your plan – and your success.

Q:  One thing that hasn’t changed in our business is that, to succeed, agents have to be willing to put in the time and overcome the fear of prospecting.  What’s your best advice for that?

A:  I’ve found that joining or creating prospecting groups have been a great way for many agents to successfully commit to prospecting.  When we are left to our own devices sometimes, it’s easy to find the thousand reasons why now is not a good time to prospect right?  But when you have someone to answer to – a group, an integrity partner, or a coach, you’ll do it.  I know for me, with Zig as my coach, there is no way in the world I could live with myself NOT doing what I said I was going to do.  That’s where that coaching relationship can be vital.  You are held accountable for the commitment you make.  And the good coaches will ALWAYS ask for that commitment.  For my coaching members, and every member of my team for every organization I’ve ever been part of a core value has been to “Always do what you say you’re going to do, sometimes more – but NEVER any less.”  That’s powerful.  Integrity counts. So I’d say if prospecting is a problem for you – get an integrity partner or coach to hold you to your commitment to your career — one that can help keep you on track.

Secondly, I’d say have good tools and processes in place.  You guys sure make that easy for agents. Marketing is a vital component for agents.  It’s a whole lot easier to pick up that phone or knock on that door when you’ve got a marketing plan in place to “touch” those prospects on a consistent basis.  It’s often the difference between a warm call and a frigid one.  So thanks for what you guys do for agents all over North America. I know it makes a difference.

Q:  Awesome.  In your one-on-one coaching what do you think is the number one reason agents hire a coach? 

A:  First, as we just spoke of – they want or need that accountability.  That’s the first kind of coaching.  An accountability partnership.  Someone that can hold them to the things they need to do to realize the goals they’ve set.  Someone who will help them crunch the numbers to know exactly at any given time where they are in relationship to those numbers.  They also are looking for answers and strategies to be more skillful, more purpose-driven, and help them craft and keep the mindsets that will help them stay on track.  The second kind of coaching is what I like to call entrepreneurial. In other words, they just want someone they can bounce ideas off of, turn to with questions or problems – almost like a sounding board.  For example, I have a broker who I’ve worked with for two years who has both years doubled the production in his office.  He appreciates the ability to pick up the phone and say “Hey Floyd….” and strategize about the next idea or means to take his team to the next level.

Q:  Thanks so much Floyd for your time.  I understand you recently launched a new site where agents can learn more about your coaching, can you share that?

A:  Sure. One-on-one coaching is one of the most gratifying parts of what I do.  I carefully limit the number of coaching partners that I take on so that I can commit the time necessary to helping those individuals truly build their careers in the ways that make sense for them.  In my coaching partnerships we both have the same goal – theirs.  I am currently taking on just six new coaching members. If that’s something one of your readers are interested in have them head over to my site www.floydwickmanlive.com and contact me today. Before we ever get started, we’ll get on the phone and spend 45 minutes to an hour just discussing what is important to them, what they want from coaching and whether we are a good fit. If that sounds like something you’d like to do, let’s talk!  Thanks Julie.

Thank you right back Floyd.  We appreciate your time this week!  If you’d like to learn more, head over to Floyd’s site www.floydwickmanlive.com.  Floyd is a National Hall of Fame Speaker, CSP, CPAE and NAR Magazine named him one of the top 25 most influential people in real estate. 

If we can help you with the tools you need to take YOURSELF to the TOP, visit us today at www.prospectsplus.com or call our marketing team at 866-405-3638 today.  Our leadership team has more than 25 years’ experience in this industry and it shows.  We know what agents need to succeed and we’re happily providing it month after month, year after year.  We can do the same for you!