Thursday, July 27, 2017

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. 

Three Strategies for a Constantly Changing Market

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 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 MerchandisingReviewTHUMBin 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.

Second: Get non-selling inventory back on track. Go through your inventory and red flag problem listings. Walk through the problems using the Merchandising Review. 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 6:00 pm be good or would 8:30 pm be better?”real estate fsbo marketing postcards

Third: Capturing the attention of EXPIREDS! While expired listings have been remote in recent years, they are back and can be difficult to maneuver. The Merchandising Review offers you a great foot in the door for these sometimes soured-on-salespeople sellers. We’ve found the following dialogue captures their attention and helps you better negotiate both appointment and listing.

Sample Dialogue: “Hello, Mr./Mrs./Miss ____________. My name is ________and I’m with _________. The reason for my call is to see if you are still interested in selling your home. I’m sure you must be disappointed that it didn’t sell the first time, but I think I have something that will help keep that situation from happening to you again. It’s called a Merchandising Review, have you heard of it before? It is a special tool I use to make a comprehensive analysis of why your home didn’t sell and what needs to be done differently to guarantee it will sell should you decide to put it back on the market. What I’d like to do is to set a time when we could sit down to go over the Merchandising Review. It only takes about 20-25 minutes, and there will be absolutely no cost for this service. Would Wednesday at 6:15 pm be good or Thursday at 8:30 pm be better for you?”

Now, simply walk them through each item, correct the problem areas and review your marketing plan!

2. Price It Right Pyramid! Take advantage of this guerrilla-style objection handling tool when explaining to PricePyramidTHUMBsellers that the key to selling their property faster in a difficult market is to price it right from the beginning. Use this strategy in conjunction with the Merchandising Review and you have a great foundation for a successful sale.

The 5 most common mistakes sellers make when choosing a price:
1. Not choosing the right price when a property is first listed. In other words, thinking “we can always come down.”
2. Putting the property on the market at an unrealistic price. A property must be priced on a comparative basis to the other similar properties.
3. Not relating marketing time to price. Generally, the quicker you want to sell, the less you should be willing to take.
4. Calculating brokerage fees on top of the sales price. A home is worth what it’s worth, with or without a commission.
5. Thinking that buyers aren’t comparing your home, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, with every other home on the market.

3. Data Mine for Marketing Gold! To compete in today’s arena it helps to have a few high-tech tools in your arsenal. Data mining is a simple, highly effective tool which allows you to be very specific in your search for lifestyle interstnew prospects.  You can use our list services to find niche market clients such as boat owners looking for waterfront properties, golf enthusiasts searching for golf communities based on Lifestyle Interest Data. It’s perfect for customizing a targeted new potential customer mailing list so you easily match your message to your ideal market.

What kind of information can you access with our Demographic Search Option?

  • Tax assessor data supplied by Acxiom
  • Over 128 million deliverable addresses
  • 97.3% of US counties available
  • Radial, polygon or pinpoint search function
  • Identify and mail to owner/occupants or absentee owners

Whatever you do, 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 weather the market changes with both ease and profit!

Need help? Visit www.prospectsplus.com, or contact our team at 866.405.3638 today. They’ve got the answers you’re looking for! 

Getting in the door…and staying there to create “customers for life”

By Julie Escobar

We all know that you only get the chance to make a first impression once – right?  So, now is as good a time as any – or better even – to ask yourself, “What impression are you leaving with your customers or potential customers?”

While I believe strongly in the first impression – I am far more impressed with the second, third and twenty-seventh!  As Dan Kennedy would say, “Everyone shows up once!”  The business, referrals and loyalty are won by those sales professionals willing to show up time after time after time.

How?  That seems to be the big question.  Times are tougher, no doubt, and everyone seems to want to more hit the send button on their email than create, stamp and send direct mail.  It’s easier – right?  Well – yes and no.  Faster?  Again, yes and no.  More effective?  The subject of grand debates!

Email vs. Direct Mail.  While, I’ll grant you that email marketing is cheaper – in fact, in many cases:  free – and a viable, necessary part of your overall marketing strategy, it should not be the ONLY component.  Direct mail still is, according to the Direct Marketing Association, the best method of driving web traffic and target-specific response rates.  With short-run capabilities you’ll find with www.postcardsplus.com and other web-to-print solutions, you can send as little as 100 targeted marketing pieces for just $50 for full-color, fully laminated postcards that make an extraordinary first impression.  Now – couple that with the ability to schedule mailings and send them out EVERY month – to your sphere of influence or geographic farm area and you start to deploy the magic of the 3-7-27 Rule of Prospecting. 

Statistics tell us it takes at LEAST three impressions for a consumer to recognize your name, seven to associate your name with your business, and twenty seven for them to like you, know you, trust you enough to do business with them.  So email vs. direct mail?  Truthfully, it’s not – or at least it shouldn’t be an either or proposition.  Take your targeted message, stagger your direct mail with your email and here’s an idea – CALL your prospects or stop and see them every 3-6 months as well and you are well on your way to branding yourself as THEIR real estate or mortgage professional.  Use the Send-Call-See method described in our free, downloadable BusinessBASETM found at www.prospectsplus.com.

Scale back or push forward?  With talk of economic woes and market twists and turns running rampant – many sales agents find themselves fighting or giving in to the urge to completely scale back.  While it makes sense to look at your business as a whole and carefully measure your return and the necessity of each line item on your budget, what doesn’t make sense is to slip into anonymity by eliminating your marketing dollars.  In fact, Billionaire Bill Bartmann, the 27th Richest Man in the United States and author of Eight Ways to Recession Proof Your Business recommends quite the opposite.  Slash expenses, indeed.  Take the waste and the “fat” out of your monthly and annual expenditures wherever and however possible.  With one exception:  Marketing.  Bill’s advice is to dramatically expand your marketing plan.  Why?  Simple – the time is now to swiftly capture the market share being left on the table by every other industry salesperson that has gone into conservation mode to the point where they no longer have a viable, VISIBLE presence in your market area.  Keeping expenses lean in every other area of your business will allow you to SURVIVE the storms.  Expanding your budget and actions in the arena of marketing will ensure you THRIVE not just today, but be the front-runner when the market does indeed take the turn for the better.

We all know it’s harder and MUCH more expensive to attract NEW customers than it is to keep and nurture our current book of business.  In fact, according to Gary Keller’s books, Millionaire Real Estate Agent, you can expect to do business with one out of ever twelve customers in your sphere of influence per year if you stay in touch with them consistently!  So, what are you waiting for?  Start making a great impression today, then do it again next week, next month, all year around!  Your business – and your bottom line – will thank you for it.

Want to learn more about how to generate the right leads for your business, thrive in ANY economy and make a wonderful first, second and twenty-seventh impression?  Visit www.prospectsplus.com today and sign up for our FREE Master Marketing NewsletterTM.  It’s filled with new, innovative and outside the box ideas each and every month!  You may also wish to explore our wide range of web-to-print postcard solutions at www.postcardsplus.com.  It’s a fast, simple, cost effective way to make a good impression without having to spend a lot of time – or money!  Call me today at 800-287-5710 if I can help in any way!

With news of a $7,500 First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit spreading quickly across the industry, agents are turning to ProspectsPLUS! for a marketing solution. And they’re finding it in the company’s new Tax Credit postcard series.

“The window of opportunity to take advantage of this incentive is relatively small—from April 9, 2008, to July 1, 2009,” shared Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing. “We’re excited to help agents nationwide reach out to potential first-time homebuyers in their market areas quickly and effectively.”

The new series is available first on the simple web-to-print platform, www.postcardsplus.com/taxcredit. It also is in the September SupportPLUS! update for ProspectsPLUS! customers and in the next scheduled “impression” for 3-7-27 Agent Branding customers. A free report titled Everything You Need to Know About the $7,500 Tax Credit But Were Afraid to Ask!, along with tips and strategies for effectively utilizing the series, also are included for the more than 60,000 customers of ProspectsPLUS!The initial six postcards are: $7,500 Tax Credit, Build Wealth Now, Credit You Deserve, Do You Qualify?, Paying You! and Tax Credit Refund. Each is designed to capture the interest and garner a response from today’s bargain-seeking consumers. Six additional postcards will follow as the July 1 deadline nears.

The PostcardsPLUS! system allows agents to choose a postcard, upload a mailing list and place an order in minutes. At just $80 per hundred for jumbo and $50 per hundred for standard, full-color postcards are printed, addressed, laminated and mailed first class within 48 hours—making being first in the door with this timely information simple, fast and cost effective. As added incentive to put this or any campaign in motion quickly, orders of 250+ postcards will receive the radial mailing list FREE through September 30, with no limit to the number of leads an agent can receive.

“Agents have such a limited time to capitalize on this unique incentive, we wanted to make it as simple and cost-friendly as possible,” said Director of Operations Jim Studebaker. “By offering lead generation with direct mail, we’re helping agents increase their prospecting pipelines while improving their results.”

“Many agents shut down their marketing and promotion when the economy tightens,” Escobar adds. “Industry experts and business icons such as Bill Bartmann, author of Eight Ways to Recession Proof Your Business, share the opposite advice. Now is the time, they say, to step up and expand your presence in the marketplace—capturing the market share abandoned by inactive or retiring associates.”

Agents can find a variety of postcard series at www.postcardsplus.com. Customized postcards are available for every major real estate franchise and larger independent organizations across North America.

Want to learn more about the inside strategies, upcoming automated product lines and how leveraging the power of direct mail can generate more than $100,000 per client throughout your career? Call Julie Escobar at 866.405.3641 to schedule a FREE Webinar for your office.

Need more marketing ideas? Sign up for our FREE Master Marketing Newsletter™ to have fresh ideas, innovative tools and smart solutions delivered to your “in box” every month! Visit www.prospectsplus.com today, and click on Master Marketing Newsletter™.

dataleaderDataLeader.com, the premier resource for both business and consumer data powered by industry leader ProspectsPLUS,! has become the “go-to” site for real estate agents nationwide looking to capture high-quality, targeted lists when developing new niche markets.

The system is fast, simple and cost effective at just eight cents per record. Add to that no sign-up fee, user-friendly functionality, easy online ordering platforms and a base of more than 120 million consumer records and over 17 million businesses, and entrepreneurs have a powerful tool for pulling the highly specified data they need to find their niche.

“Today’s savvy real estate professional is keeping a keen eye on their marketing dollars. It’s no longer an option to take that old ‘shotgun’ approach to prospecting. If they are going to send out a marketing piece, they understand that they need to match the right message to the right prospect to create relevance, and better still, a higher response rate,” shared Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing. “Niche marketing has never been more popular or necessary. We help agents every day successfully marry marketing material to marketing segment for a real ‘perfect storm’ approach to building momentum. It’s tough to be number one in an entire market but it’s realistic to brand yourself as the ‘agent to ask’ for a targeted niche such as First Time Home Buyers, FSBOs, Investors or prospective Move-Up Consumers. We are also seeing a real trend with our customers breaking into Corporate Marketing using our unique ProspectsPLUS! system, and data mining for corporations that have 25 or more employees. It’s a great way to differentiate yourself, quickly build your sphere of influence, and tap into a terrific solution for turning the National Do Not Call Registry situation around!”

“It’s wonderful to be able to walk agents through the process of searching for area renters for those interested in the First Time Home Buyer market, or search by age and income for the Senior and Luxury Home demographics,” added Ramona Williams, Director of Business Development. “We’re also seeing a lot of REALTORS® searching our business records and building strong, successful referral networks with area builders, CPAs, attorneys and doctors. With DataLeader.com, the process is streamlined for them, making it manageable. When you see that light bulb go off for an agent and they really start to see their business grow from this type of targeted marketing, it truly makes us proud to be the resource that helped to get them there.”

Three search options are available: Residential Radial, Residential Neighborhood, and Business search. Residential radial uses a starting address to search for homeowners closest to that location. Residential Neighborhood allows searches by homeowner or dwelling type, age, income level and more. The Business search enables agents to find businesses by type, size, industry type, SIC Code and more.

Ready to bring new data mining and corporate marketing strategies to your team of agents? Call Julie Escobar at 866.405.3641 or visit www.prospectsplus.com and click on Master Marketing Meeting™ to schedule your FREE workshop today!