Thursday, July 27, 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.

 

Start by Answering the Questions Already in the Minds of Consumers

By Julie Escobar

A new month – and a new marketing season are straight ahead — and both buyers and sellers in our markets have been inundated with information regarding the economy and the housing industry on television, in print and on the internet.  Some good information – some misinterpreted, and some just flat out wrong.

What consumers need more than ever is a RELIABLE, TRUSTWORTHY resource to help them best understand how market changes affect them most. What’s my home worth today?  What if I wait a year to sell?  What are interest rates going to do?   Should they sell?  Should they buy?  Should they move up to the next size home or is that a risk?

The questions are many – and the answers are yours for the giving – IF you can capture (and keep) the top-of-mind attention of the folks in your area.

One direct response series that is getting great response for agents 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.

Consider kicking off this campaign free home market analysis starting with the Market Analysis postcard.   This allows you to spotlight your ability to deliver the information sellers are looking for in a professional way and tap into today’s consumers’ natural desire to search out ‘free’ offers and trusted resources.

Step one:  Login to your free ProspectsPLUS.com account. (Or easily create an account and profile in a matter of minutes. Once your profile is ready – the system will automatically populate your information into all of the 680+ marketing tools on the site.)

Step two:  Select the Market Analysis Postcard.  You can leave as is or customize to suit your marketing style. Click here to watch a video on how to select a postcard series.

Step three:  Add your mailing list or use our mapping tools to create a mailing list. If you need help with mailing lists – call our support team at 866.405.3638 or click here to see all of our comprehensive mailing list solutions.

Step four:  Place your order then track it. It’s that easy! Click here to watch a video on tracking your postcard order.

Making your job easier is our goal.  That’s why we’ve re-engineered the Master Marketing Schedule to offer free offer door hangerstrategic and creative solutions for building your business faster, easier, more affordable and with way less headaches. In fact, if you’re following the Schedule – this week is a great time to get out in those geo farms and start making real connections.  Our Free Offer Door hangers are a great compliment to the Free Offer postcards and the perfect leave behind when you’re door knocking in the market area you most want to dominate.

Putting systems for staying in touch in place don’t have to be tough – or time consuming.  Most of our top customers schedule 15-30 minutes at the beginning or end of every month to focus on what marketing tools they want to go out.  When they choose a campaign, it’s easy — they simply pick the next one in the series, order and get back to their high priority tasks. Some even delegate a member of their team to make it their priority that something is always being sent to their sphere and farm so top of mind awareness is always there.

Kudos to the agents that are working their systems and are willing to share their experiences with others. We so appreciate you all. For example, Cozett shared with us on ResellerRatings, “I like how ProspectsPLUS! puts marketing at my fingertips and then handles the time consuming work of mailing and distributing materials if I need them too.”  Or Jeremy who wrote on our Google+ page, “ProspectPLUS! is a real lifesaver for me. I have been looking around on how to keep in contact with my sellers. I needed more than just a phone call. The postcards are a highlight to my business now. This has also allowed me to start farming a few neighborhoods that I drive through with a more personal touch.”  Or Bradley who wrote on our Facebook Page, “ProspectsPLUS makes it so easy for me to market to not only my sphere but also to my farming areas. In less than 5 minutes I can have all of my postcards ordered and off my plate so I can work on what I do best…selling homes!”

We’d love to hear from you too! In fact, give us a shout out with a review now on our Google+ Page and you’ll be entered to win one of our monthly prizes! Wait until you see what’s in store for July!

Have questions or need help developing the marketing plan that’s right for you?  Call us today at 866.405.3638 or email us at pmc@prospectsplus.com.  We’re here to assist!

 

And When Should You Put it Into Overdrive

By Julie Escobar

We are asked weekly by agents all over North America to offer sound real estate advice, and the one that often surprises us is, “When should I stop marketing?”  The answer?  When you leave the business.  Up until then, if you want to do do what’s right for your sellers, business, and bottom line — you’ve got to stay in the game.  Perhaps at different levels during spells of your career – but staying in consistent touch with your sphere and farm is right up there with prospecting, presenting, and closing in terms of generating income and referrals.

“But I’ve sent two mailings and haven’t gotten a call.”  We get it. We’ve even been there.  There are a lot of us on the team that have walked in your shoes listing and selling homes.  Here’s what we know, and what statistics and history tell us –it takes more than that.  One mailing. One phone call. One email — won’t ever get you the results you are looking for. What will?   Staying the course.  With mailings, and phone calls, and emails, and door knocking, and community involvement.  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.  But you know? Most agents stop after three tries, and most transactions or calls happen after five-seven.

So here’s a plan – this month, every month:  Take your targeted message, use direct response offers, stagger your direct mail with your email and CALL your prospects to follow up.  Check out our Master Marketing Schedule for fun “reasons” to call, or stop by every 3-6 months as well and you are well on your way to branding yourself as THEIR real estate professional.

What to send? Here are four ideas to get you started:

Holiday Cards: Every month you can add a seasonal touch to your marketing. Add a greatmessage to the back with free offers for consumer reports, lists of homes, comparative market analysis – or invitation to an event.  Be sure you are following up every few months with a friendly, “anything I can do for you” call.

Call to Action Cards:  These are a great direct response piece to send with free offers and the ability to share timely market-specific content.

Content Cards:  These powerful, content-rich cards have timely topics with the kind of consumer-friendly information that both gives people what they want and sets you up to be a knowledgeable resource in your market.call to action

Scale back or push forward?  As we head into holidays many agents will slow their marketing way down as social obligations gear up.  When that happens, it’s always a good idea to be the agent who takes the opposite approach.  That way, you’ll stay top of mind without any lag in exposure and hit the ground running come January when other agents are just getting restarted.

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 4 ways contentmake sense is to slip into anonymity by eliminating your marketing dollars.  In fact, Billionaire Bill Bartmann, 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 Master Marketing Schedule today. It’s filled with new, innovative and outside the box ideas each and every month!  Need help?  Our marketing team is top of the line at 866.405.3638 and ready to answer your questions or help you create the marketing piece that’s perfect for your market.  

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!

Three Easy Steps to Success

By Jim Schimpf

Ease of doing business is the name of the game in 2017. For those looking to buy a house, for example, the most information needs to get to them in the fastest way possible.

Millennials are starting to buy houses, and that generation has become accustomed to instant information. They expect that any information they receive is complete and worth their time. When they find their dream home, they don’t want to wait several days to find out whether they can afford it or how much they can afford to offer on the house. You don’t want to lose a hard-earned new client because they don’t have the right mortgage broker.

REALTORS® are constantly marketing to find leads on new homes. Whether it’s sending postcards, updating websites or posting on social media, the need to get your word out is constant. Your success is based on three major areas – sourcing actionable leads, developing strong branding and following up to close prospects.

Mortgage brokers go through the same process, so why not combine your efforts to land the client and then follow that client through the whole process? The process will be seamless, and you’ll have a complete picture come closing day.

Follow these three simple steps to work more closely with mortgage brokers and close on more properties:

  1. Develop relationships with mortgage brokers. You may have one or several brokers whom you work with. Having a broker you trust and who has a large variety of products available gives you confidence when referring clients. You know that if any issues arise, the broker will let you know so you can work it out together.  The client knows and trusts you so, by extension, he or she feels comfortable with the broker you recommend and doesn’t have to waste time searching for a lender. Additionally, by having just a few lenders in mind, you know what types of loans they offer. No matter the buyer’s situation, you should have a broker to refer them to.
  2.  Combine your marketing efforts, and co-brand. Develop a marketing plan together, and make sure your marketing materials have a cohesive look so buyers will immediately associate the two of you. Every dollar that either of you spends on marketing will magically go twice as far. Buyers will trust that your communication will be intact through the whole process.  Share your ad space and your leads. Communication is your top priority in this relationship. If you choose to use postcards for your marketing, social media, word of mouth or even radio advertising, be sure to mention your access to the broker, and make sure the broker is referring new leads back to you. You each have different sources for new leads so, by combining your efforts, you each double your actionable leads.
  3.  Communicate through the whole process. From the time you start working with a new lead until closing, you and the mortgage broker should keep in touch so everyone knows the status of the loan. Surprises at closing are the worst-case-scenario. You want good, clear communication from beginning to end so you never have to wonder about the status of the project. This communication can lead to faster closings, and who doesn’t want that?

Co-marketing is the wave of the future. More and more buyers are looking for “one-stop” shopping and referrals. Everyone’s time is valuable, so help speed up the process. Combine your efforts for ease of doing business, and everyone wins.

NOTE:  Co-branding is NOT allowable in every market. Please check with your broker or attorney before starting this strategy to ensure that it is an acceptable form of marketing for your area.

Learn more by visiting www.prospectsplus.com/mortgage or by calling our team at 866.405.3638.