Monday, December 18, 2017

The Difference Between Calm & Commission Chasing

By Julie Escobar

One of the biggest challenges for people getting into the business of real estate is the fear of NOT knowing when they will get paid.  Commission only? Are you kidding me?  While that’s a genuine concern when you’re brand new and haven’t learned the ropes yet, what’s interesting is how many people are STILL unclear about when and where their next commission will come from though they’ve been in the business for years.  The common denominator for that dilemma lies in whether they take a proactive or reactive approach to their business.

First and foremost?  You are an independent contractor, and as such you are running a business entity, so treating it as such is more than common sense – it’s a must.  Proactive agents know where their leads are coming from because they are putting systems in place to ensure that they are marketing themselves in the areas that matter most such as:

  • Their sphere of influence: Those folks that already know them, like them, trust them and would do business with them. They know that if they stay in touch monthly, contact regularly, and make these VIPs a priority, they can expect a referral, listing or sale from one in twelve each year. (Marketing methods of choice: Newsletter, Holiday Postcards, Recipe Cards, Content Cards, Annual Customer Appreciation events, and a phone call or visit at LEAST twice per year.)
  • Their geo farm: The market area they most want to dominate. Smart agents choose a neighborhood that already has some turnover, does NOT have another agent with the substantial presence or market share, and has a price point that makes sense for them to invest in marketing. (Marketing methods of choice:  Market Dominator, Just Listed/Just Sold postcards, Open Houses, Neighborhood luxury cardsUpdate/Free Offer Series and farm canvassing at least three times per year.)
  • A niche: That tribe of people or customers you most like to work with.  Maybe it’s first time home buyers, or seniors, or medical professionals, or boaters. Whatever group you feel connected with – make yourself known as the go-to agent.  (Marketing Methods of choice, Newsletters, Lifestyle Interest Postcards and attending or sponsoring events specifically targeted to that niche.)
  • Lead generation: Continuously casting new nets for new business as well as constant prospecting the three segments above. (Marketing Methods of choice: Reaching out to local businesses for networking and referrals, partnering with local PTAs and sporting teams, using Every Door Direct Mail to market to blanket a new carrier route, Listing Inventory postcards.)

These agents aren’t shy about sharing their success rates either.  They use social media wisely, are active and visible in the communities they service and they broadcast their results via Just Listed/Just Sold postcards and online announcements.  Examples: Sold in TWO days!  Was on the market with another agent for six months. Now sold in just one week!

Reactive agents? Pretty much none of the above. They spend the bulk of their time working with buyers and usually only actively seek a new listing once the one or two they have in inventory sell.  I love what Darryl Davis shared in his last article with us.  “It’s no longer listings are the name of the game – it’s listing INVENTORY is the name of the game.”  He compares it to owning a shoe store and having no shoes left to sell.

Bottom line: When you are reactionary, as in, “I have no income coming in – let me go take a listing now,” your life is stressful. You worry about providing for yourself and your family.  You aren’t sure if you need to go “get a real job”.

When you are proactive, you make marketing and prospecting part of your daily routine.  You KNOW your numbers.  “I need to speak with X number of people each day to get X amount of appointments, to do X number of listings, X amount of sales, and X number of closings.”  You use time blocking to prioritize your time and activity. You use systems to automate your marketing or simplify the processes.

If you’re a brand new agent or are an agent that needs less stress, more business and are ready to get to the next level in your career – kick that reactive stuff to the curb and jump in with a proactive plan to build your business.

Need help working with your sphere, farm or niche? We’ve got everything you need to succeed at www.prospectsplus.com or call our team at 866.405.3638.

 

Six Answers You Need to Know

By Julie Escobar

With markets and competition heating up this summer, geographic farming is more relevant, and results-producing than ever. It’s what is differentiating top agents from lower producers, and what is setting some apart as leaders in both their marketplace – and in market share.

To learn more, we asked Todd Robertson about what he is seeing trend across North America right now. Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q:  Todd – there was a time when agents got away from geographic farming but now it’s back stronger than ever – can you shed some light on that?

A:  Here’s what we’ve found:  With all the ‘noise’ out there now, social media, Zillow, Trulia, email, spam filters, online ads – a lot of home buyers and sellers aren’t responding to the noise. Yet, a LOT of agents are still hiding behind their computers. We know that 95% of people check their mail every day – and direct mail is standing out from the ‘online’ noise.  It used to be that farming was expensive. Mailings were expensive. Now with technology and new USPS tools, it’s much less so, and with most agents still not in that space – those who do jump in – WIN.

Q:  We’ve all seen agents who get frustrated because they want instant results – and farming just isn’t that kind of marketing.  What do you say to agents who want instant gratification?

A:  The truth is we are in an instant gratification mode. We’re looking to the lottery for a quick million, fast food for an instant meal, and whatever ‘golden ticket’ it might take to unlock the key to right-now success.  But what I like to share with agents is the hunter vs. farmer mindsets.  The hunter is great at getting on the phone, shaking the trees, finding those expireds, FSBOs, SOI leads, anything that will generate business today or this week.  Where the farmer isn’t crazy about all that possible rejection, so they slowly and surely cultivate an area with direct mail and email marketing.  After 25 years in this business we do know two things though:  Patience and persistence will always win and combining the two skills of hunting and farming are your best means of generating long term success at a whole other level. You do have to be “all-in” – but it is so worth it.

Q:  In your talks and webinars you speak about putting ALL the pieces in place – can you share more about what you mean by that?

A:  Well this kind of goes back to my last answer.  You really CAN dominate a market area and out-pace any competition if you are willing to streamline your practices – and do it all.  Not one thing. Not the easy things. But all of it.  Direct mail. Just Listed. Just Sold. Door knocking. Aggressive open houses. All of it – and not just once but really adhere to that 3-7-27 rule of marketing I’ve shared in the past where you’re continuously making impressions and staying top of mind because the competition, for the most part, is not going to be as committed to doing it all. If you are? You win.

Q:  Follow up is a critical part of marketing, but so many agents are reluctant to walk their farm or pick up the phone.  What’s your best advice to get over that hurdle?  

A:  Well, the tough advice is that if your mindset is ‘I’m afraid or unwilling to prospect’ then perhaps this is not the profession for you.  If we look at the old 80/20 rule which says that 20% of the agents do 80% of the business, we know that those numbers are now outdated. In today’s world it’s 93/7.  7% of the agents are doing 93% of the business.  The reason lies right here – prospecting. Following up.  I like to tell my audiences, “If the game is scheduled, and you’ve chosen to play – you might as well win.”  So if you are in this business to help people – then remember, you are paid in direct proportion to how many people you help, and how good you are at that help. So don’t just put your toe in the pool – jump in.  Don’t be that agent who tried something once, or twice, or three times and throws up their hands and says, ‘this doesn’t work’.  Stick with it. The year is half over.  Don’t fall into that – it is what it is mindset where it is all right to be average, or less than your goals.  You get paid in proportion to how many you help. Get out there and play hard.  If you get a no, pick up the phone again, and again.  It’s a numbers game, but more than that, it’s a people game. Find the next person to help.

Q:  This is a busy time for agents – and many are so busy working IN the business, they don’t stop to work ON their business.  What can you share with our readers regarding blocking time so that nothing falls through the cracks?

A:  It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae, I know. The feel-good work. The paper shuffling. The non-confrontational. Top agents though know that the highest and best use of their time is doing three things: prospecting, presenting, and closing.  The rest they find solutions for. Automated marketing. Virtual Assistants. Database management systems. Marketing systems.  They are effective time managers – that’s the level you need to strive for.

Q:  The Market Dominator is hard to ignore when homeowners get it in their mailbox – can you tell us a little about the science of its size, content, and calls to action?

A:  Well it’s the largest piece allowed legally through the USPS system.  It’s got 100% impression rate. It’s coated on one side, full color and on great paper.  Most importantly, it’s filled with the kind of content people want to read.  Not salesy – hyped commercial stuff. But real world content. And real world calls to action.  It’s relevant and fun and ‘share-able’ for people.  And it gets the job done.  I just heard from one of our customers who has done 16 transactions this year so far, three directly as a result of the Dominator.  Take a look and let me know if you have questions. It’s a powerful tool for agents who are really interested in dominating their own geographic farm.

Thanks so much for your time Todd.  For those interested in learning more about the Market Dominator, you can watch Todd’s informative video here.  For questions, give Todd a call at 866-405-3638.  Now, go out there and dominate in YOUR favorite geographic farm!  

How to Add Ten Extra Transactions Per Year

By Todd Robertson

We know that for a lot of agents, prospecting is PAINFUL.  It’s also the one factor that will keep so many from succeeding.  Why?  They fear it rather than embracing that prospecting is just part of the process.  Every “no” brings you that much closer to a yes.  Every conversation brings you that much more involved in building a relationship with the people in your sphere and farm.

That brings us to the point of today’s article.  Hunting and farming.  There are really three ways you can drive business in real estate:

  1. Wait for it. How many agents do you know who are waiting for the phone to ring? Someone to walk through the door? Or a call from a sign or ad?  Certainly the least pro-active means of getting business and one that will never take you far in this business.
  2. Buy it. Some agents choose to buy the business, using internet leads, ads, and billboards – then WAITING for them to generate interest.
  3. Put a system in place and actively prospecting. In a competitive market such as we have now, this is the only sure way to generate consistent results and income.

The best agents in the world want to get to the point where they do three things extraordinarily well and delegate most of the rest to others. Those two things are prospecting, going on appointments or presenting, and closing.  They also know to get to the top in their markets and stay there they have to be BOTH hunter and farmer.

Hunters aggressively, consistently seek new business and generate leads. They know how many contacts they have to make each and every day to hit the numbers that will take them closer to their goal. For some it might be five live connects with people per day. For others the number may be closer to ten or twenty.  That’s actively reaching out to people such as:

  • FSBOs
  • Expireds
  • Sphere of Influence
  • Business network

Farmers, by contrast, let a system do the work and consistently “touch” the folks in their geographic farm, as well as their sphere with timely, direct response marketing tools every 21-45 days.  When that happens month after month after month, you create the kind of top-of-mind awareness that keeps your name at the forefront with people so that when someone IS ready to buy or sell or knows someone who is, it’s YOUR name they know to call.

What happens when you put a campaign in place, a system in place and never waiver from it, you create opportunities for additional business. You also have a better life, because you know you’ll have business and referrals coming in.

I know agents who are strictly hunters. They are always chasing new business and have never taken the time to cultivate a farm area. I can tell you for a fact that they lead more stressful lives.  They have no idea where the next deal is coming from, or when the next closing will be.  That’s a hard way to go and a tough way to earn a living.  Farmers can count on business coming in. And top agents? They know that their marketing engine, coupled with their hunting skills will generate the number of transactions they need to hit their goals.

The truth is less than 5% of agents own a 20% market share in their areas.  LESS than 5%! What that should mean to you is that there is a lot of opportunity in some geographic areas, or neighborhoods in your market that you should absolutely systematically reach out to starting now if you want to be the agent in your area to defy that statistic.

They key is to have a consistent system in place. That’s why agents love the Market Dominator system.  They don’t have to think about it, worry about it, or do anything. It’s all done for them.  They know every month a 12×15 marketing piece is sent out using Every Door Direct Mail, so that it literally gets in every single door in the geographic area they want to saturate and earn that 20% market share.  Knowing that their marketing is working on their behalf, generating that top of mind awareness, branding them in the market place, and creating opportunities for new business takes the stress off of them.  They put that piece of their business equation in our capable hands so they can then focus on doing those three things we talked about earlier – prospecting, presenting, and closing.

I’ll give you an example.  I got a call last week from a young lady who called and said, “Todd, I get it, I get it!”  I wasn’t sure what she was talking about until she explained that three months ago she got a Market Dominator in the mail and said she thought at the time – WOW, this agent is stepping up the game.  She didn’t think much of it though she shared, because most agents are “one and done” marketers.  Then she got another one. Then this month she got a third. She said, “That’s it – where do I sign up? This guy is taking my market share!”

The thing is that the Market Dominator is exclusive to the agent based on carrier routes.  So that agent will continue to take market share as long as they stay in the system.  She of course, chose another route and is on her way now to dominate a geo farm of her own.  We had another agent call as well who was farming an area, then stopped.  Another agent swept in, claimed that same farm area and started a consistent campaign and started, of course, generating the listings in that area.  The agent that quit was upset to lose ground, but realized that if he had stayed with it – those listings would have been his.  The truth is that results don’t usually ever come from the first “touch”. They happen when you consistently stay in the game, and usually well after the 5th, 6th, or even 10th contact. That’s why it’s important to have a campaign and system that you can count on to not lose momentum.  Left to our own devices sometimes, we get busy right?  We shift our focus. And the ball gets dropped.  Market Dominator customers don’t have to worry about that.  We do the heavy lifting. They focus on prospecting, presenting and closing.

If you’re ready to have a better life – I challenge you to be BOTH hunter and farmer.  As a hunter, make those weekly phone calls, reaching out to the folks in your market that can help you generate quick leads and listing opportunities.

As a farmer, I encourage you to put a system in place like the Market Dominator so that you are cultivating a geographic farm that will, in time, allow you to own a 20% or more market share that will indeed be worth five, ten, or more additional transactions to you per year.

If you want to learn more, give me a call at 702-683-1967 or email us today.

Need help building your collateral materials, sending Just Listed/Just Sold postcards, finding the right free reports for your buyers and sellers, or building a better brand for yourself?  

Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com or give us a call today at 866.405.3638.

 

 

To Increase Market Share

By Julie Escobar

Capturing the top market share in a geographic area can be challenging in today’s competitive real estate climate.  It is completely doable however with the right tools and strategies in place.  To learn how top agents around the country are making their mark, I spoke with Market Dominator Director Todd Robertson to get his take on the topic.

Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q:  Hey Todd – you deal with agents every day who are eager to dominate in their market — what would you
say is the number one question you are asked, and how do you answer?

A:   The number one question agents ask is, “How much will it cost me?”   And I reply, “If you commit to dominate your market or if you talk yourself out of it?”   In all seriousness, however, the main question they ask outside of that “Hey, I’m overwhelmed with all of these options, in terms of marketing, how can I really dominate in my market?”   My answer is that in our current state of “Technology Overload” — direct mail has become more effective than ever before.   Basically I steer them to use the tools that will help them garner the best return on investment.

Q:  That said, I know you’re a big fan of Every Door Direct Mail®, because of its affordability and saturation element for a geo farm.  It can be a little complicated to wrap your head around for some agents though.  What do you tell agents who are interested in using EDDM for their marketing?

A:  In terms of Every Door Direct Mail, if an agent is not familiar, I can spend literally just five minutes with them to make sure they fully understand how it works.  I then help them pick an area, or geo farm, they want to really become the “Neighborhood Specialist”.   Additionally, once they have an area picked out, we spend an additional few minutes on the phone to see if the Market Dominator program is the right fit for them.

Q:  We challenge agents all the time to leave ‘nothing to chance’ when it comes to staying top of mind in their market area.  What are some additional ways they can support their direct response marketing efforts in their geographic farms – and their market?

A:  I’m glad you asked.  To remain “Top of Mind” the agents getting the best results in their geographic farm areas are doing the following every month – not just SOMETIMES – but EVERY MONTH:

1)   Send direct response mail – (people today are hungry for valuable information – be the resource that delivers that every month.)

2)  Just Listed / Just Sold postcards – (shares that you are the agent making things HAPPEN.)

3)  Very aggressive, very well marketed “Open Houses” – (Gets you out front of people in a very hands-on way, be sure to have great collateral material at your open houses that distinguishes you as a resource/information source – not just an agent sitting in a house.)

4)   Door Knocking – (NOT an old fashioned idea.)  Some of today’s top mega-producers are out in force with their teams in the geographic areas they want to dominate meeting the people, passing out door hangers, brochures, and business cards.  They are asking and answering all the right questions – and NOT in stealth mode like those agents back at the office still waiting for the phone to ring.  Want to INCREASE up your exposure and your results?  Remember this:  STP – See The People. If they don’t know who you are – they’re not going to call you first.  Make sure they KNOW who you are!

Q:  Todd, follow up is often the most neglected piece of the marketing puzzle for agents — how do you encourage agents to get off the fence and make that a priority?

A:  The truth is, follow-up is typically the downfall of 90% of agents in the country.  Because most of the time Fear and Uncertainty take over in the Real Estate agent’s mind.  Here’s what they forget however:  According to the National Association of REALTORS, if an agents commits to a campaign in a geographic area, most agents quit BEFORE the 5th contact.  They’ll market once, twice, maybe even three times in an area – but that’s it. They throw in the towel and say, “well this isn’t working”.  Most marketing campaigns don’t start even seeing a response until after that fifth contact. So, if when you think about it, this actually works in the favor of the agent who is COMMITTED to being the dominant player.  If you know that 90 % of agents bail before that 5th contact, we simply put agents on a two-year direct response mail campaign in that area to insure they brand themselves as that go to agent.  We encourage them and coach them to put those three powerful pieces in place we talked about in the last question, (Just Listed/Just Sold, aggressive open houses, and door knocking) so they can layer their marketing for best results.  And we remind them that NO marketing is thorough without follow up. If they truly want to dominate – to get the bulk of the listings, to get a lion’s share of the referrals, to brand themselves so well that they are the first agent consumers think of in their geo farm area – they have to fire on all cylinders, meaning – direct response marketing, results marketing (Just listed/just sold), face-to-face contact (door knocking, open houses, events), and FOLLOW up calls and visits.  When an agent commits to THAT for two years?  They go from “Uncertain to Unstoppable”.

Q:  Great advice Todd.  Any additional advice for agents who want to capture a 10-20% market share?

A:  I would say that Patience and Persistence win the game.   There is an interesting phenomena that occurs when an agent commits to an area, really commits.  Two interesting things happen:

1)   It makes them more assertive in that area in terms of other marketing.

2)  If another agent’s sign goes up in their neighborhood it bothers them.  They then begin to take ownership of that area, meaning they shift their thinking to – “Any sign that goes up in this area should be MY sign, MY listing.” And that?  Is a winning mindset.

Thanks so much Todd for sharing your insights.  If you have a question for Todd, you can email him here, or give him a call at 855-383-6646.  If you want to learn more about the Market Dominator System, join us for our next webinar here. 

Good luck!  If you have any additional marketing needs or questions, our team is always ready to assist!  Give them a call at 866.405.3638. 

3 Powerful Steps to Engage Customers

By Julie Escobar

You’ve probably heard it said a time or two (or more) that the business will go to those who show up not just once, but again and again.  To succeed in sales today, professionals have to dig in, refuse to cut corners, commit to consistency and the big key?  FOLLOW UP.  Engagement of your customers, your sphere, and your farm – isn’t something you can take a ‘stand-back’ approach to.  You can ‘warm’ the call, set up the stage for prospecting, and share the information that people need to see to consider you the expert they should turn to when they are ready to list or sell their home – but you have to go the EXTRA step – and follow up.  Voice to voice.  Face to face.  Belly to belly.

Is that always easy?  No, for many–not at first.  But for those who dive in and get it?  That their real job, true passion is to help people?  And they practice getting outside their comfort zones?  That’s when the game-changing happens.

So here are a few ways to engage, follow up and make the difference between what could be and what will be a rest of the year. 

  1. SEND! For most agents – from the brand new to experienced – warming that prospecting call is more buyers cardsomething that puts them at ease.  One direct mail series that is getting a lot of attention and results is our Listing Inventory cards.  They speak to what is happening in today’s market and get people’s attention.  Or you may want to go with a classic direct mail piece such as a holiday card (and don’t wait for the winter holidays – go ahead and send something every month and be different than your competitors.) Even recipe cards that feature great appetizers or dishes that people can share are great. You may also want to take a tip from top producers and send handwritten notecards to five VIPs on your SOI list each week.
  2. CALL! I can’t tell you how many agents I talk to that just have a hard time getting past this one.   Don’t worry so much!  Make the call.  ENGAGE.  Talk to people.  Be yourself.  Be helpful .  Ask questions.  It doesn’t have to be scary and it doesn’t have to be “salesy.”  It can be as simple as this:  “Hi!  It’s Julie from ABC Realty – just wanted to let you know we have a lot of things changing in our market — and to see if you have any questions about that or anything real estate related?” Then LISTEN and respond to what they say.  Some won’t need anything but odds are in your favor that some will.  Be sure to let people know that you’re expanding your business and that not only is every referral APPRECIATED, but you realize what an honor everyone is – and you can promise that each will be treated like royalty. Finish with the question,  “Is there anyone you know that might be looking to buy or sell now or in themerchandising review near future?”  You may also want to choose to offer a great free report or fair trade item to FSBO’s such as the Merchandising Review, who might be more than anxious about getting their homes sold. Many of our reports are a great conversation starter when you’re on the phone and a perfect reason to email or even stop by! Check them all out here.  Be the resource that goes the extra step for them and it will be appreciated.  Get something in front of your prospects and sphere that gives you a great ‘reason’ to follow up.  Break your calls down into manageable numbers so you don’t get overwhelmed – 15-25 calls per day is a good goal for agents who are in high-productivity mode.  Time block this prospecting into your schedule then commit to making it happen.
  3. SEE!  Get out there and SEE people.  As a professional real estate agent – meeting new people and adding to your sphere is a MUST DO not a SHOULD DO.  Walk your neighborhood farm, attend your community garage sales and meet the folks in the neighborhoods you service.  Go to the fall festivals at the schools.  Attend the neighborhood and community events. Wear your name badge, bring your business cards, and shake some hands.  Stop in a the local restaurants, delis, shops and businesses in the community you represent and get to know the people there and let them know you work on referrals – and you’d love to refer your clients back to them as well.  Share your stories about a great meal, terrific new shop, amazing customer experience, incredible health care providers and more in your area on your social media, blog or newsletter.  You’ll not only make new friends, you’ll gain new customers (and respect for being pro-active and a resource people can trust).  Be sure to SEE those in your sphere at least twice a year as well.  Take your top referral customers to coffee or lunch or stop by with a special treat.

The truth is, to stand out as someone who presents themselves as someone who will go the extra miles for their customers and clients – you have to SHOW that characteristic in everything you do – INCLUDING marketing your OWN business.  It’s that simple.  Ultimately it’s not the business of HOMES that we’re in – it’s the business of PEOPLE.  So show up again and again – and follow up over and over.   The results will take care of themselves!

Need help?  Call our marketing team to help get you started, restarted or fired up this fall at 866.405.3638.  They’ve got the experience, knowledge and solutions you need to succeed.  And they’re FUN!  Can’t beat that!  Have a good one and happy follow up!