Sunday, August 20, 2017

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.

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. 

Insight and Experience from Agent Debbie Figueroa

by Julie Escobar

We have the best customers. They’re insightful, fun, professional and willing to share what’s working for them. That’s gracious in today’s competitive market, and we truly appreciate their candor.

I was eager to learn what’s working for top agent Debbie Figueroa, so I reached out to get her thoughts on growing a real estate business. Here’s an excerpt from what she shared:

Q: Thank you so much for sharing your insight, Debbie. Can you start by telling our readers a little about yourself?

A: Sure. My name is Debbie Figueroa of the Real Estate Power Houses. I’ve worked in the real estate industry for more than 25 years – as a full-time REALTOR® for almost five years. I primarily work with residential homebuyers and sellers in the El Paso, Texas, area.

Q: It’s a competitive market. What’s your go-to tool for staying branded in your market and getting results?  

A: The Just Listed/Just Sold postcards are a huge tool for my business. They not only help promote my listed or sold properties, but they also help get my name out in the marketplace. I obtain at least one solid buyer or seller lead from each mailing. It’s a huge tool to utilize during listing presentations as well.

Q: How are you staying consistently in touch with your sphere and farm, and what advice do you have for agents eager to boost their listings and referrals?

A: I reach out to my sphere of influence every other month by mail, at least three times a year by text message, twice a year by phone and once a year with a personal marketing “pop by.” I also email a monthly newsletter and send an electronic postcard for each of my listings to my sphere of influence. Some of my contacts in my sphere of influence have not directly done business with me, but they’re fabulous at passing my name along to their friends and family.

Q: What are your thoughts on differentiating yourself from your competitors in your market?

A: It amazes me when I meet clients who have either purchased or sold a home in the past, and they don’t remember the name of the agent who helped them. Staying in constant contact with past clients and your sphere of influence is key to helping your business grow and continue in the future.

Q: What brought you to ProspectsPLUS!, and what’s your favorite marketing tool?

A: The broker I was with when I made the transition back to selling real estate full time recommended the site. The Just Listed/Just Sold postcards are such a helpful tool in growing your business. Obtaining at least one lead from each mailing pays for itself multiple times over.

Q: Any last fun advice for agents?

A: Enjoy it! No one is perfect. Mistakes will happen, and you need to learn from them.  Make sure to take time during the week for yourself to relax and enjoy life and laugh.  Humor is needed to get through those tough times.

Q: If agents would like to connect with you for referrals, how can they reach you?

A: They can reach me directly at 915.261.8077 or via email at debbie@debbiefigueroa.com.

Awesome advice, Debbie! Thank you so much!

If you’re ready to get the kind of terrific results Debbie is getting and take your business to the next level, visit our site today at www.prospectsplus.com, or contact our team to get started at 866.405.3638.