Are YOU Staying Top of Mind?
By Julie Escobar
Put yourself in the shoes of the folks in your sphere and farm. When they ask themselves, “Who is my neighborhood specialist?” Or, “What agent should I call to find out about listing my home?” Or, “My sister/neighbor/best friend/cousin is moving into town and needs an agent, who should I recommend?” — Are all of the answers YOUR name? If not, then you’ve got some work to do to solidify your position as the go-to agent in their minds starting now. This week our Master Marketing Schedule tip is to send out the Home Equity Analysis postcards from Neighborhood Specialist/Free Offer series to at least 100 new prospects in an area you want more listings. It prompted me to look at a few different strategies agents can use to always be top-of-mind in their markets with buyers and sellers as THE neighborhood specialist.
First up – where to start?
Size of sphere or farm: How big of a farm or neighborhood should you market? Denise, a friend of mine from New York kept tabs on a farm of about 5,000 throughout most of her career but then pared that down to 2,500 which includes her sphere of influence when she took over as managing broker. She had this to share, “I usually recommend new agents start building their farm area to about 250, and experienced, full-time agents should consider working towards maintaining a farm of
at least 1,000.”
Karen of Keller Williams in Pittsburgh and her team successfully navigate a database of more than 10,000, and uses a system of referral name recognition to effectively communicate with 500-1,000 regularly. What’s her secret to success? “Never stop marketing!”
Keep in mind you don’t have to start with a 500, 1,000, 2,000 or more – you just have to start! After all, as in wise words of Zig Ziglar, “If we don’t start, it’s certain we can’t arrive!”
How to find the right neighborhood or farm area: If you’re new, pick an area that REALLY interests you, dig in and learn about the community, the people, the surrounding businesses and the culture. Then make it your own and then start expanding. If you’ve been in the business for a while now and have NOT yet begun to build and maintain a working database/customer base – let today be the day you start. Too many in our industry leave with nothing to show for it – don’t let that be you!
Denise shared, “A good starting point is to target a town or part of a town they want to establish themselves in. Get passionate about it – and your connection and commitment to that community. Designate 75% of your efforts to the top 10% of that market share, and then blanket the rest for the lower tiered homes. Once you’ve established yourself in that top 10%, then everyone knows your name.” As with any effective branding effort, becoming the neighborhood specialist means you have to jump in with both feet and commit to being the resource for those consumers who make up your target market. Not just to gain their business, but because you believe you are the best person for the job and able to provide a level of service like no other. You have to be genuine. If you’re not authentic in your purpose, it shows and especially in today’s market, people don’t want, nor do they have to work with people who are less than the real deal.
To easily create mailing lists for the geographic farm areas you are interested in, take a look at our MapMyMail tool which allows you to search over 128 million records easily and download a list cost-effectively at just 8 cents per record.
Secondly – what to send?
What you send is up to you, but it too should be consistently branded and consistently sent. Let’s take a look at what is currently trending with top agents across North America:
- Neighborhood Update/Free Offer postcards: They give stats that people love, plus add a direct response component.
- Listing Inventory Series: Agents love these because they are a great way to shake out the sellers who may be interested in listing NOW or in the near future. By sharing that you have qualified buyers who are ready, willing, and able to offer a great price for homes sooner rather than later, you can capture the attention of potential sellers.
- Content cards: These are powerful, in that they contain tons of content on timely topics and are likely to be kept – and shared by consumers.
- The Market Dominator: This 12 x 15 piece is cost effective, leverages the Every Door Direct Mail system, and has 100% impression because of its size and direct response content.
Next, how often?
Be Consistent: “Staying top of mind doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it does have to be consistent,” shared Real Estate Coach Judy LaDeur. “Sending something in the mail each month is a great way to stay positioned in your market. It’s funny how many times you see agents who are frustrated because their friend or neighbor has listed with someone else, when the truth is, that it is up to the AGENT to ensure that those friends, neighbors, acquaintances — and the folks in their geographic farm are thinking of them as the real estate specialist. To do that takes consistent contact.” Coach Dirk Zeller backs up the idea of consistency: “The key word to success…CONSISTENT. Whether you are trying to lose weight, increase your business, or create wealth, the secret sauce is consistency. Most people are not consistent enough to let the law of averages create the win for them. They need help in being consistent and that is true in all areas of their business and life. The law of averages connects with the compounding effect of consistency to create a greater return and a compounded return over time. Let me illustrate in money terms. If you put $3.83 a day away from the time you turned 20 until age 65 and received high single digit interest rate return by age 65 you would be a millionaire. The only hard part is doing it every day for 45 years…the rest is easy. Would you trade a vanilla latte a day for a million bucks? To be consistent in marketing you need a system in place that can create and send the pieces of marketing that have value to your client base or focus base. You can’t do it alone because, as an agent, it’s too easy to get busy and it doesn’t get done.”
Have Some Fun With Your Marketing!
Get Creative: I am always thrilled to see agents putting best practices into play, showing true tenacity and taking a walk on the creative side! When it comes to building trust, increasing your image, and really getting to know the community members in your farm, little things really do mean a lot. In addition to our monthly mailings, many savvy agents actually ‘walk the farm’ about four times a year with a gift, a giveaway, or door hangers, and use this time as a chance to meet and talk to people one-on-one. One agent even shared with me that she tucks the Neighborhood Update Postcards into those neon colored plastic sand shovels she gets from the novelty store with a note saying, ‘here’s the scoop from your 110% Realtor!’ How fun is that? It’s important to just get out there, have fun, be creative and meet the people!”
Event marketing is another great idea. Holding buyer’s and seller’s workshops is another great way to offer valuable information to your farm area and get tremendous results in return. Some agents even host them monthly on different real estate topics. We have invites that make getting people there easier!
Ask for leads: Another friend and longtime agents Tony from Tampa shared this tip: “Work with those people other agents are unwilling or unable to work with. How many agents do you know that DON’T follow up on open house leads? Offer them $100 for every lead that turns into something. It’s a great way to build your business, and make sure that the customer is getting the service they want and deserve!”
Community events: Consider helping out at community block parties, firework celebrations and more. Send out newsletters that offer ideas and solutions people can use as well as present yourself as the expert they can turn to with current, relevant and timely information each and every month.
Now get out there and start branding yourself as the turn-to agent in your neighborhood of choice so that next time someone is asked, “Who’s your neighborhood specialist?” They’ll know EXACTLY who to name!
Need more help building your business or making a name for yourself in your niche of choice? Visit www.prospectsplus.com today and tap into a wide spectrum of solutions, resources and training that can help you thrive in today’s market.