Thursday, September 21, 2017

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.

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!