Thursday, July 27, 2017

Your Bottom Line Depends On It

by Julie Escobar

An agent’s ability to earn consistently and continuously earn referrals is in direct proportion to their willingness and ability to stay top of mind with their sphere and farm.

Consistency. Since the beginning of real estate there have been agents that send one or two massive mailings and when they unsurprisingly get no results, stop marketing.  Many others take the “holiday” approach to staying in touch by sending an annual holiday card in the hopes that they are remembered. Both of these approaches are a waste of time, energy and valuable marketing dollars.

To stay ahead of the curve, you should be in contact with your sphere of influence at least every 30-45 days. Using the popularlisting-inventory send-call-see approach (part of our free BusinessBASETM), you can easily set up a system for contacting your VIPs each month. Send a postcard, letter, newsletter, flyer, novelty or note one month.  Many of our customers find the Listing Inventory Series, Content Cards, and Market Dominator among their favorites.

One other series that is growing in popularity is one of this month’s Master Marketing Schedule tip which are our Call to Action Postcards which include powerful direct response offers call to actionthat help make your phone ring!

Once you’ve gotten in the habit of “touching” your sphere and farm once a month, be sure to deploy the call part of send-call-see.

Call with a friendly event reminder, helpful hint, or just to say hello the following month. During the third month, arrange to see them via a networking event, social gathering or quick in-person visit (with notice, of course) where you drop off a small token, informational item or card. Then start the “rotation” over again. Such consistency creates vital ‘top-of-mind’ awareness that often becomes “the key to the kingdom” when growing your referral base and creating a reliable income.

If you’re not sure where to start, our popular Master Marketing Schedule shares monthly Action Items that agents tell us help them stay consistently on track.

SEND-CALL-SEE.  Be the resource they need and want in a time where consumers have LOTS of questions regarding the value of their property, their buying power, investment opportunities, and what’s happening in their market.  You’re not bothering people – you’re providing a SERVICE.

What can you SEND?

What can you SAY when you CALL?

  • Hi.  I have buyers, the Smiths (insert real names!), that are looking for a home in the _____________ neighborhood, and I wanted to know if you’ve ever thought about selling your home or know someone who is so I can help this nice family find what they are looking for?
  • Hi!  Just checking in on you! We’ve got a lot of activity in our market, and I thought you might have some questions—do you?
  • Is there anything I can do to help you?
  • I’m expanding my business and I could use your help…
  • Have you thought about selling your house now or in the near future?
  • Have you been receiving my information?  Any questions?

What do you do when you SEE them? 

  • Create opportunities for appointments
  • Take someone to lunch
  • Attend a neighborhood block party
  • Organize a charity drive in the community
  • Sponsor a free workshop and invite everyone to attend
  • Get out there and be visible in the community you’re servicing
  • Walk your farm and start making friends

Working ON your business requires dedication and a commitment to the activities that earn you top dollar and allow you to “feed” the career you’re building. Never lose sight of the fact that prospecting, presenting and closing should always be at the top of your list.

Visit http://www.prospectsplus.com/ to get your FREE copy of our BusinessBASETM (Plus learn the 250 people who should be in your SOI), and be sure to bookmark our Master Marketing ScheduleTM .

Go for it. Remember that we’re here if you need anything. Contact our team today at 866.405.3638. 

With Top Agent Carmen Wieck

By Julie Escobar

It’s so powerful to learn from our customers, hear their stories and be able to share their insights and ideas
with others. Every time we do, it’s wonderful. We often get a behind-the-scenes glance into what brought them to our great industry – and what they do that allows them to flourish.

What a treat it was to learn more about our VIP customer Carmen Wieck. Her story inspired us, and I know it will inspire you too. Here’s what we learned:

Q: Carmen, can you first tell our readers a little about yourself?

A: I was born and grew up in communist Romania, and 1989 was a big turning point in my destiny. I always felt I was missing something big, but I never knew what it was. After graduating from the Academy of Economic Studies, I had a very short period of “trial and error” in finding the right career path for myself. I was a lieutenant in the Romanian Police, dreaming of “bringing justice for all.” I also worked for the government, dreaming of “making a difference” until I finally found that working in marketing for private multinational companies was where I fit best. I was so fortunate to work with exceptional managers in several blue chip companies such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Frito-Lay and Ipsos Research.

While I was living in Croatia working for Coca-Cola, I met my husband, who’s from Wisconsin. Life took a big turn for both of us, as we started a family and moved around the world with new job assignments. A few years ago, we decided that the best thing for our two daughters was to benefit from the educational system in the United States, so we moved to Florida. One of the best decisions for our family!

I know from several hands-on experiences that navigating the real estate environment can become overwhelming and emotionally wrecking. Moving so many times from country to country gave me enough personal exposure as a customer… and not always very pleasant. After more than 18 years in the corporate environment and one too many traumatic experiences in real estate, I decided to become a REALTOR® and bring my contribution to restoring the belief that this profession can be conducted with high ethics and, more important, with genuine care about the needs of customers.

Q: What is your go-to marketing tool for branding yourself in your market and driving new business?

A: I’ve “toyed around” with several marketing tools when it comes to marketing in real estate and had my fair share of no’s and wows! One thing I would say is that driving new business starts with exceeding expectations on your existing business. That will always secure your “organic” growth, which should be the foundation for your long-term business.

For tapping into new business opportunities, I’ve learned that a combination of passive and active
prospecting works best for me. For example, a combination of three touchpoints direct mail campaign for Expireds (which I adapted to fit my brand and personality from existing marketing materials/postcards from prospectsplus.com library in such a way that fits my branding and personality) followed by direct contact (calls or door knocking) can prove really productive.

I consider Just Listed/Just Sold postcards a must. However, don’t just sell it or list, put a spin on it and have an unexpected approach or added value. Give your target a reason that matters TO THEM, not to you. I absolutely dread the postcards I receive in my mail from agents stating, “Thank you for making me the #1 agent in your neighborhood.” To me, that is such a turnoff. As a customer, I don’t care that you are #1; I care about my motivation for selling and buying and how you as a real estate agent fit in my motivation! Again, the prospectsplus.com library is such a great source of inspiration. My first Just Sold postcards using a template from ProspectsPLUS! generated two listings!

Q: How do you believe agents can differentiate themselves from other agents in today’s competitive market?

A: Exceeding expectations, going the extra mile. Anybody can put a listing on the MLS now, even FSBOs (with the flat fee companies that offer this service to FSBOs for a nominal fee), everybody offers free CMAs, everybody has a marketing plan that includes internet, maybe open houses, maybe Just Listed postcards, maybe flyers, etc. All seen and done by all REALTORS® to a certain extent.

In a market that’s becoming more and more of a commodity, where everybody knows at least one REALTOR®, true differentiation in added value on trending aspects of real estate is what sets you apart. For example, offering a complimentary Staging Analysis and Assistance, complimentary home protection plan during listing, complementary inspection or appraisal before listing, complimentary full cleaning of the house before listing, etc., depending on the property, owners, their motivation, etc.

Q: Any outside-the-box ideas you’d like to share for building your book of business?

A: Yes. Use an introductory video for your pre-listing package. Tell your short story, show who you are, instill confidence and energy. It helps homeowners get more comfortable and relaxed about meeting you before you show up at the door.

Find something that’s your “thing,” and embed it into your touchpoints with your customers to show genuine care. For example, I LOVE baking, and my whole family loves my signature apple-raspberry pie I make from scratch. So I bring my signature pie for my clients at closing and drop by at their one-, two- and three-year home anniversaries and bring them the pie. One time I had the extended family of one of my past clients waiting for me at the house, just to make sure they got to taste the pie while it was still warm.

Q: How often do you connect with your sphere and farm, and what kind of results do you get from that?

A: I recently started the Market Dominator for my farming area. I find this approach indeed standing out from the crowd – the content, the quality of the printing, everything spells out professionalism, exceeding the “norm” standing out from the crowd. I recently started this; it’s basically a monthly touchpoint approach with my farm, and I do expect to see results in the next few months.

With my sphere, I make sure I stay in touch and call, drop by or send a card for special holidays or birthdays, usually three to four times a year.

Q: Any fun advice to help agents master this business?

A: How one becomes a successful real estate agent? Same as one becomes a butterfly: You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.

Q: Last, where can our readers send a referral if they have someone in your area?

A: My focus is in Broward County, and I can be reached at carmen.realtorflorida@gmail.com or 786-449-9882.

Wonderful, Carmen! Thank you so much for sharing your inspired story with our readers. You’re amazing!

If you’d like to stand out in your market and soar past your competition the way Carmen does, please don’t hesitate to contact us today at 866.405.3638. We can put you on the path to success.

With inventory in high demand, and buyers eager for deals, sometimes it takes a little objection handling skill and myth-busting to turn these sellers into happy clients.  

So, let’s put on our “Myth-busters” hat for a moment and take a look at some common misconceptions:

1.  All FSBOs are hard to work with. Really – all of them?  In truth, most sellers who are trying to fly solo to get their homes sold are eager to save money, not well-informed as to what it takes to price right in today’s market and usually fairly motivated.  Are they distrustful of agents?  Sure, many are — but that doesn’t make them difficult – it makes them human beings.  It’s YOUR job to earn their trust, treat them with respect, develop a relationship and make them raving fans.

How do you help develop that relationship? Consistent communication, professional real estate fsbo marketing postcardspresentation tools and a can-do attitude.  Try the “7 touch” series of our real estate FSBO marketing postcards – they’re perfect for getting your foot in the door and raising those questions (and answering them) in the minds of the sellers that get them to then call you for help.

Or our FSBO door hangers are very popular (and perfect for keeping a stash in the car for a quick leave-behind every time you see a For Sale By fsbo door hangers Owner! Many of our direct response tools, and any time you are reaching out to get in the door of a potential listing, especially a FSBO, be sure to offer something of value.  A fair trade item.  A reason to contact you. (And a reason for you to contact them!)  Great ideas for this are free reports, market information, list of resources, our Pricing Pyramid.  You can find lots of fair trade items in our RESOURCE section of our site!

Click here or on the video box below to see how easy it is to order these door hangers!

2.  All FSBOs Are Overpriced. Don’t you just love sweeping generalities?  In truth, (again) – many probably are.  But surprisingly, with all of the internet information out there, and the fact that it is a buyer’s market — many for sale by owner sellers DO get pricing a property right. But more often than not, they don’t get that they can get MORE for their home, statistically, using a real estate professional so it’s your job to help them understand that!  

 

Many time sellers think, “how hard can it be?” Especially when they want to tack your commission onto the top of what you’ve already determined to be Fair Market Value so they can get every penny possible from their investment. When you say no to the higher price point, you’ll often get hit with the “I can just sell it myself and not have to pay anyone” response.

Here’s a technique to try:
“Mr. and Mrs. Seller, I can appreciate your thought. Many homeowners weigh out that option when they decide to sell their home.  The top priority for most home sellers is getting the highest amount possible from their home. Is that your top priority as well?  What I can share with you with you is a study conducted by the National Association of Realtors every year called the annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.
It shows that in the last year, the average FSBO home sold for *$185,000 compared to $240,000 for agent-assisted home sales. So, you can see that even with paying a commission, I can still get you a higher dollar amount for your home than you could selling it on your own.

Would you like to know why? The biggest reason is the exposure I can create for your property as opposed to what you can do on your own. With an agent, the property is entered into the MLS where it is broadcast marketed to not only consumers via the paper, home guides, and a wide range of internet sites, but to the ______ agents in our area as well. By creating greater exposure for your property we create greater buyer competition which leads to a higher selling price.

That, and as a real estate professional with ___ years of experience and because I’m a third party, I’m better able to negotiate on your behalf, getting you the best deal for your home. You have to remember that a buyer working with a For Sale By Owner knows that you aren’t paying a commission, and more often than not, they’re well versed in the price of the comparables in your market, so they are already in “bargain hunting” mode.

When you take all of that into consideration, as well as how much of your own valuable time will be taken up with trying to do your regular job plus take on showing the property, trying to negotiate, searching for the necessary legal documentation and trying to qualify buyers, can you see how you could be saving more by using a licensed agent?”

This may be a good time too to introduce the Merchandising Review.  If you’ve never used it, give it a whirl – you’ll make it a part of your listing tool chest from now on!  It’s a great way to strategically walk sellers through ALL the components of salable listing and even helps to answer some questions (price at the top!) before they’re even raised.  Download your copy for free and start using it today.   By the way – here’s a little Merchandising Review dialogue you can use when contacting FSBOs.

As soon as you see that FSBO pop onto the market, you should contact them by telephone and attempt to use the Merchandising Review as a reason for them to set an appointment to talk with you.

“Hello, Mr./Mrs./Ms/Miss ____________, my name is _______, and I’m with ______.  The reason I’m calling is that I see you have put your home on the market and I’m sure you’re eager to get the best price for it – right? (Wait for their answer!)

Wonderful!  I wanted to offer you a very special tool that we use called a Merchandising Review Form…have you heard of it before?  It is what I use to make a comprehensive analysis of whether a home is salable in TODAY’S market and what you can do to guarantee that it will sell for a great price and terms.

What I’d like to do is set a time when we could sit down together and go over the Merchandising Review.  No cost or obligation – just something that can help you get your home sold.  It takes about 20 minutes. (Set a time.)

Walk them through each item and negotiate the issues that were might keep the property from selling.  Correct these issues, and ask if they would allow you to show them your marketing plan.

3.  FSBOS can just do this on their own. I love this one.  Truth is, statistically, most FSBOs do end up using an agent.  In recent statistics only 8% of the homes sold according to NAR were FSBOs. And of those – 31% don’t even market their properties. So, they NEED someone like you to lend them the expertise to not just get a great price, but to make the process as headache free as possible.

Most Difficult Tasks for FSBO Sellers:

  • Getting the right price . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18%
  • Preparing/fixing up home for sale: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13%
  • Understanding and performing paperwork  . . . . . . . . .  12%
  • Helping buyer obtain financing: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6%
  • Selling within the planned length of time: 3%
  • Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale: 3%

FSBOs really are the “low hanging fruit” for many agents – why?  Because they’re usually still motivated to sell!  But the keys to success are that  you have to consistent (can’t show up just ONCE – remember MOST deals are sealed after the FIFTH contact), timely (most successful FSBO experts make reaching out to FSBOs a DAILY business practice – no half-stepping it!) Know your business and your market (practice, drill and rehearse your presentation and you’ll create a presence as the turn-to agent in your market for FSBOs.

So go ahead – time to CRUSH IT and start listing those FSBOs and start maneuvering, out-selling and out-smarting the competition in your market place!  And remember -we’re here if you need us.  Call our team today at 866.405.3638 to help choose the marketing materials you need to capture this market!

Success Spotlight Q & A with Power Agent Jennifer Ingiald

By Julie Escobar

When you really want to know what’s working for your customers, you reach out and ask them.  We are so fortunate to have extraordinary customers who are willing and happy to share their experiences of what works, and sometimes what doesn’t with our readers.  Agents love to learn from one another and we love sharing their stories.  This week?  We caught up with power agent Jennifer Ingiald to see what she’s doing to knock it out of the park in her market.

Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q:  Can you please tell our readers a little about you?

A:  I’m a Realtor in the central Wisconsin area. I focus mostly on waterfront homes and condos in the Castle Rock Lake area and Wisconsin Dells. Being originally from Schaumburg, IL, my family always vacationed in the Wisconsin Dells area and Castle Rock Lake is the fourth largest lake in Wisconsin, so it’s a lot of fun to work with buyers and sellers purchasing or building their dream vacation home.

Q:  How long have you been using ProspectsPLUS! and what made you choose us as your resource?

A: I’ve been using ProspectsPLUS! for about a year and a half now. My broker had recommended the site as she had great success with it as well. She was absolutely right! The website is very user-friendly, and so easy to navigate and create awesome postcards.

Q:  Can you tell us what you believe is the most important part of your marketing plan?

A: Listing photos and direct mail campaigns.  I like to utilize a professional real estate photographer for listing photos which I can then import into ProspectsPLUS.com postcard templates for a “Just Listed” or “Just Sold” campaign.  The end result is a completely professional postcard that always yields amazing results.

Q: I know you wisely use Just Listed and Just Sold cards in your market – can you tell us what kind of results you are getting and why you are so passionate about using these time-tested tools?  

A: This is by far my most important marketing tool.  Every single time I send out a Just Listed or Just Sold card, I get at least one new listing.  With the last Just Sold card I sent, I received two new listings.  I prefer to use the Jumbo postcards as opposed to the standard size, as I think they catch the eye better and help me to stand out amongst my competition.

Q:  Any advice for agents eager to get more results from their sphere and farm? 

A: I would absolutely recommend a ProspectsPLUS.com direct mail campaign, especially for farming.  It may seem like more money than you’d like to spend at first, but if you get one listing, and thus one sale out of it, it is worth it!  I like to use the postcard templates with a lot of photos as I think photos grab a reader’s attention. I also think it’s important to consistently send out either a Just Listed or Just Sold once you have a new listing or sale in a particular area you are farming, as you will start to become viewed as the market expert in your area.

Q:  Awesome – thank you so much Jennifer! How can readers connect with you if they have referrals in your market?

A:  If anyone has any referrals in the Wisconsin Dells or Castle Rock Lake areas, please feel free to call me at 608-548-3307 or www.CastleRockLakeAreaHomes.com.

If you’d like to learn more about consistently marketing your listings and yourself in your market, call our marketing team at 866.405.3638 or visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com. We’re happy to help you develop the plan that can help you take your business to the next level.

If you are a ProspectsPLUS.com customer and would be interested in potentially being featured on our blog or in our next Master Marketing Magazine, please email me today and set up a time to connect!

Making Connections in Unexpected Ways

by Julie Escobar

While a firm believer in the power of consistent top-of-mind marketing using series such as our neighborhood update postcards or content postcards, I always like to remind agents to also include an element of surprise in their marketing efforts as well.  It’s terrific to keep people informed — that brands you as an expert and resource people can trust and call on for their real estate questions or needs.  When combined, however, with a genuine thank you and note of appreciation, you now also brand yourself as someone who cares about your customers — and about details!

This week’s Master Marketing Schedule tip is to send the Out of the Blue postcard from Customer Appreciation Series to 200 of your past clients.  What if you did that at least four times per year?  Or took a few moments to send these kind messages to a block of your sphere of influence VIPs per month?  Do you think it might be worth a few transactions or referrals?  You bet it would!

For the reverse side of the card, I would recommend choosing the “standard back with message” – it has a little more room for a message.  Here are some ideas for customizing your message:

  1. Invite to a customer appreciation event.  Spring is a great time to host a party!
  2. Offer something of value.  We have some terrific Free Reports that are easily customized and downloadable that you can offer.  Nine Strategies to Get 17% More For Your Home or 10 Renovations That Reap Return on Investments are two great ones you can offer.
  3. Offer a service. Let them know that the market, and mortgage rates are changing — and that has a lot of people asking questions about what that potential means for their home value.  Offer to meet with them to share a home price evaluation and answer any questions they might have.
  4. Let them know when you’ll be in the area!  Schedule a time for you and your team, if you have one, to walk your geographic farm or be available for a meet and greet at a local coffee shop or community center. Then share that information with your fans and offer to answer any questions they might have and even tell them to invite a friend!

Then follow up.  Block time to connect with at least 25 past clients per week with a kind word, a thank you and an offer to assist.  We’re in the business of people, and when you reach out on a regular basis and let people know you genuinely care — you’ll be rewarded with new business and customers for life!

Need help with your marketing? Contact our team today at 866.405.3638.