Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Real Estate Agent Success

Insights from the Front Line with Ramona Williams

By Julie Escobar

When it comes to knowing EXACTLY what real estate professionals, and specifically our ProspectsPLUS!
customers want and need to grow their businesses in today’s market, I knew that there was one person who would be perfect to interview. My closest friend and always one of the smartest people in the room, our Director of Business Development, Ramona Williams.  With both an MBA and more thirty years of experience working with real estate agents and brokers, she’s the go-to resource for insights and ideas.

Here’s what we learned:

Q:  You are on the phones with customers every day, where do you think agents are needing the most help in terms of marketing their businesses and their listings?

A:  Consistency – hands down. That’s honestly where most agent’s marketing breaks down.  One and done listing inventory snapshotmarketing doesn’t work, never has and never will.  Secondly, what hurts agents is having no strategy at all.  That’s not a new problem of course. That’s historically where agents fail to grow their businesses, and why so many don’t make it.  Unfortunately, the majority of agents try lots of little things, including whatever the “shiny new idea” is in the office at the moment and never commit to anything consistently.  The result is they end up all over the place in terms of the message they are sending out into their market, and they’ll actually spend considerably more money trying every new thing that comes along than they would if they just put a solid, strategic plan of tested direct marketing that works in place and stuck to it.  Consistently sending branded, direct response marketing every 21-45 days to a sphere and farm is still the best means of driving results in our industry.

Q:  We’re seeing a huge rise in agents using EDDM® as a means to strategically market for less – what is your take on that and what advice do you have for others eager to do the same?

A:  I think Every Door Direct Mail® is a terrific way for agents to cover a large geographic area because of the Dominator April 16lower postage costs.  It makes it really affordable for agents to get back to those basics like working a geographic farm.  What I really like about seeing agents return to geo-farming is that it helps them focus their marketing efforts. For a long while we saw agents just chasing the next deal. They’d follow internet leads wherever they took them – sometimes driving hours to take a listing.  EDDM helps them to find a geographic market area that makes sense for them and literally get in every door. When used consistently, it creates a much more predictive business and income model than constantly chasing new business.  Here’s what else I can tell you – the great agents get that. They know that it’s not only OK to be in control of their marketing and business, it’s a must if you want to create a consistently growing business with commissions and referrals you can count on.  I think so much of the time you see agents who look at the business of real estate as risky to start with or unpredictable because it’s commission based.  So their mindset is that their business is supposed to be all over the place, or unpredictable as well.  Savvy agents know that real estate is a business and can be a very lucrative one if they treat is like it is and work a plan.

Q:  What product do you see the most demand for in today’s market?

A:  I’d say in most areas of the country inventory is still historically low, so agents are looking for any vehicle that can help them get listings.  So we’re seeing a lot of EDDM, Just Listed postcards and Just Sold postcardsjl js cards (which are great for pulling double duty – marketing the listing and the agent), our Market Dominator, Listing Inventory cards, FSBO and Expired tools, and our Neighborhood Update/Free Offer cards. The last take a little more work to input the listing data, but it’s what consumers want to see, and they make direct response offers, so they work.  Again, it’s getting back to taking control of your marketing.

We are also seeing an uptick in agents struggling with pricing listings correctly and that’s where your eBook 21 Ways to Get Your Listing Priced Right the First Time (Despite the Seller’s Objections) is a terrific tool that’s really affordable and filled with the kind of objection handlers agents need today.

Q:  You and I go way back in this business – we won’t say how far!  How do you think the market has changed and what do you think agents can do to best get in front of those changes and be competitive?

A:  You know, surprisingly, it really hasn’t changed all that much.  Our business is and always be cyclical.  What is different, of course, are the amount of technology options agents have and how many different organizations are selling to them.  Many of which are amazing and game-changing solutions for agents, no doubt. It does, however, make it really easy for agents to take their eye off the ball and look for that “magic pill” that will skyrocket them to success.  While that’s understandably tempting, the keys to being the top in your field is the stay focused, build inventory, price listing right, have a strategic plan, and find areas you really enjoy working and stay the course.

Q:  Excellent advice! You work with top producers and high volume teams quite a bit as our Director of Business Development.  What are some factors from a marketing perspective do you think they deploy that allow them to continuously rise to the top?

A:  Much like we just talked about, top teams and top agents don’t roll the dice with their results. They build their businesses exponentially by putting systems in place so things don’t fall through the cracks and understand and implement the power of consistent marketing.  In other words, they don’t wait and they don’t shy away from marketing at high levels.  They prioritize immediate lead generation, but they also have systems that allow them to build their brand and their businesses long term.  They are also typically service-minded professionals.  They take excellent care of their customer base, and communicate effectively and often with their sphere and farm.  That’s smart business.

Q:  Awesome. Any last words of wisdom for the readers?

A:  Well I guess I would say that this is truly a great industry where people can make an excellent, lucrative living that is relatively affordable to get into with a strong return on investment.  I would tell them to be strategic, consistent and be mindful of who you model yourself after.  You and I have both seen, countless times, agents who have been in this business 3, 4, 5 – even 10 years or more in this industry and have never put a sphere of influence database together.  While some may do all right at that, it makes you really wonder where COULD their business be if they had put that basic but so important piece in place? That’s a lot of missed opportunity and money left on the table.  I’d challenge agents to not do the same.  Get back to the basics.  Have a plan. Use strategic, consistent marketing (both in terms of timing and branding) to build your inventory, price them right, follow up, and take care of your book of business and your farm.

As always, you’re a tremendous source of advice for today’s professionals. What’s great for our customers to know is that you’ve done such an amazing job of both training and managing our support and marketing teams that they have incredible skills and insights as well and are wonderfully adept at helping agents and brokers figure out the best plans for them, and helping them strategically implement those plans every day.  Kudos to you for that!  Thanks for sharing!

If you’d like to connect with a member of Ramona’s team, you can call them at 866-405-3638 or email us at pmc@prospectsplus.com.  They are eager to help make your job – and your life a whole lot easier!

Getting the Inside Scoop to See If EDDM is Right for YOU and Your Business

By Julie Escobar

Wow.  We’ve had a lot of calls recently about this powerful (and affordable) service now provided by the U.S. Postal Service.  It allows you to literally get in EVERY DOOR in a geographic area for as low as 18.3 cents in postage per piece.  But there are a LOT of questions out there – and a lot of folks unsure about which way to go in terms of getting their message in the right hands to help brand themselves in a market.  So I put on my fact-finding hat so that I could give you guys the inside skinny on some things you need to know about this service to determine if it is really right for you.

Fact #1:  According to direct marketing statistics, businesses which get the majority of their clients from within a 3 mile radius of their office are:  REALTORS®, mortgage brokers, insurance agents, dentists, chiropractors…(the list goes on – but did you catch that first one?) Love that!

Fact #2:   This is the most cost-effective means to deliver your message to an ENTIRE market area.  As a SATURATION mailing tool – you can literally send up to 5,000 pieces each day (to be delivered to EVERY SINGLE mailbox on your chosen carrier route) still pay no more than 18.3 cents in postage per piece.

Fact #3:  There is no postage permit necessary – only the required indicia which is fairly small needs to be placed on your mailing piece.  (We’ve got that for you- no worries!)

Fact #4 – You don’t need a mailing list.  This is a biggie!  One of the toughest components that agents find in building their book of business is developing their LIST.  While it IS one of the best practices you can ever do to build long-term referrals and keep your customers and clients calling YOU back for the duration of your career – it is a stumbling block for many.  So while you’re waiting to get your list together (go ahead and hire a broke college kid to start data entry today – they need the money and you need a database!) – the EDDM™ system is the perfect way to start branding yourself and discover NEW PROSPECTS to put into your sphere!

Fact #5:  You can send standard mail flats, irregular parcels, periodicals, and bound printed flats.  But – your
Dominator April 16mailing piece cannot be more than 15′ long, 12′ high and .75′ thick.

Fact #6:  The common mailing pieces for EDDM™ used by REALTORS® are newsletters, open house postcards, just listed postcards, just sold postcards, introduction/neighborhood specialist announcements or workshop invitations (first time home buying seminars, short sale seminars, workshops for seniors, renters. buy workshops, etc.)

Fact #7:  You can select whether or not you want your mailing delivered to P.O. Boxes and Farm mail routes!

Fact #8:  Your mailing will saturate every consumer within your carrier route AND  it can also include delivery to businesses.  However – you CANNOT just send to businesses.

Fact #9:  When choosing your carrier routes – remember to choose WISELY.  With this system – you must mail to EVERY home on the carrier route.  So it’s important to look at the market you want to saturate and budget accordingly.  If your route has 1,000 homes in it – then you’ll need to provide mailings for every home.  The average carrier route has about 250-500 homes in it.  When using the carrier route selection tool from USPS – we always recommend ‘de-selecting all’ first – when you get to that screen so it doesn’t pull up every route in your zip code (that can be a little intimidating!)  Then, based on YOUR budget, you can choose the carrier routes in your market with the number of homes you can comfortably afford to send to repeatedly.

Fact #10:  To piggyback on #9, while this is a much more affordable mailing option for most agents, contentremember this is still direct marketing.  So if you can only afford to (or care to) send a mailing ONCE to an area – then it will more than likely not glean you the results you are looking for.  Keep that 3-7-27 rule in mind.  It takes 3 impressions for someone to recognize your name, 7 impressions to put your name with your business and 27 to become a ‘top of mind’ brand name in someone’s head.  So better to mail to 300 people ten times for example than to send one mailing of 3,000 if you want to build that awareness and trust.

Fact #11:  You’ll need to include a form (PS Form 3587) with your mailing that identifies the carrier routes, number of homes in the route, etc.  It’s a government form so – while it’s a little mind-boggling – it’s not too bad!  (And with our service we’ll even fill it out for you so no worries!)

Fact #12:  Your mailers have to be bundled and banded in groups of 100 and include a “facing slip” on each bundle.  So that’s not a lot of fun – but again – we do that for you if you like.  Besides – you’ve got to think about those delivery folks!  Can you image if you gave them one giant stack?  Yikes!

Fact #13:  If your best target market is actually in other cities or states, you can use Priority Mail® to ship your Every Door Direct Mail mailings to the Post Office in that area.  How cool is that?  This is especially helpful if you are working with vacation properties or investors.

Fact #14:  You have OPTIONS.  Whether you’re an all-hands-on-deck kind of person and want to do everything yourself or whether you just want to choose your mailing piece, pick your routes and have the rest all done for you – we’ve got a solution that works for you, your market and your budget.  Learn more about how Every Door Direct Mail – just click here!

Fact #15:  You don’t have to do it BY YOURSELF.  The truth is, this is an exciting and affordable opportunity to saturate a market with your message but there are variables, budgets and geographic areas to consider.  Sometimes (all right – most of the time) it’s good to have another person to help walk you through the process.  Our EDDM specialists have the experience and knowledge to do just that – just give them a call at 866.405.3638.  They’re happy to help. 

Hope that helps!  Happy marketing!

What You Do Defines Your Course of Success

by Todd Robertson

There’s a saying that sticks in my head from my days training for Floyd Wickman. He used to say, “there’s dominator march
nothing special about special people – it’s what they DO that makes them special.”  How true. So many people go through the motions of working in and on their business – but stop short of taking the massive, pro-active action that it takes to get extraordinary results.  I just recently had a conversation with one of our Market Dominator customers who believes in taking action in big ways, and in turn, is getting big results.

First, a disclaimer. Of course we recognize that there are different markets out there, and different results for different agents depending on those markets as well as agent experience and skill level.  What we also recognize after more than 25 years in this industry is that two factors really stand out when agents are firing on all levels:  skills and motivation.  This week, I challenge your to rate yourself in both categories and see if there is room in either to raise the bar so that you can raise your results.

Our Dominator Member, Patrick, dug in and took massive action. He not only signed on for the two year campaign, but he’s sending 5,000 of the 12 x 15 Market Dominator pieces per month.  Most folks take one or two carrier routes, which average anywhere from 500-1000 homes.  Patrick is sending to 5,000 each and every month.  He recently shared that after just the first couple mailings he’s taken three listing calls and recently took one listing that he listed and sold before the sign went up, getting both sides of the transaction.  That’s extraordinary, but it also showcases how he’s working and raising the bar in those two areas — skill and motivation. To generate listings and sales the way he does he has to not only market effectively, but be able to execute on that marketing.  He has to be on the top of his game in three additional areas:  presentation, qualifying people, and pricing property right the first time.  And given his results, I’d say he’s crushing all three.

Analyze yourself, your skills and motivation from 1-10.  What’s your energy level?  Your enthusiasm?  Your willingness to prospect? (Most agents least favorite thing to do.) Your listing presentation?  Your ability to price it RIGHT not just tell the seller what they want to hear? How are your negotiation skills? What’s your follow up look like? Ask yourself if you are at a 1-4 on any of those levels — how do you get to a 10?

Here’s why:  action supersedes everything.  If you’re willing to take your game from a 1 or a 3 to a 10 in every area of your business – do you think it might bee worth 5, 10 or even 20 additional listings per year?  I can tell you from experience — it absolutely can.  We’re only in month two of the year.  Are YOU ready to take ACTION?

Need help? Contact our marketing team at 866.405.3638. They’re ready to help with all your marketing needs.  Interested in learning more about the Market Dominator?  Contact Todd Robertson today via call or text at 702-683-1967 

Close-up of fire and flames on a black background

And Take Your Results to the Next Level

By Julie Escobar

Busy week for interviews!  This time I sat down with speaker and trainer Todd Robertson to learn what he sees top producers and Market Dominator Members doing to skyrocket their results this fall.

Here’s what he shared:

Q:  We are seeing some of the Dominator members gain some traction in their geo farms lately because theyNov-DOM-Front are working smarter, not necessarily harder. Can you tell us what agents are doing that’s making an impact?

A:  I think there are two factors that are working in agents’ favor are first that the market is continuously improving all over the country. Inventory is low and for those agents that have been at it 3-6 months or more, the branding is kicking in and helping them create momentum.  Secondly, for those prospects who’ve been receiving that branded marketing month after month – especially the Dominator because of its sheer 12 x 15 size, if there’s even a chance that they are interested in selling or know someone who is, they know exactly who to call.  They can look at that level marketing and say, “Hey – if they market themselves this way – imagine what they can do for my home and my listing.”

Q:  Pricing properties right is STILL a big priority for agents.  Can you give a little dialogue that agents canNov-DOM-Backuse to ensure they get it right the first time?

A:  Yes, unfortunately too many agents are still eager to take an overpriced listing. The truth is that great agents show up with the truth and aren’t afraid to tell a seller, “I SELL homes, not just LIST them.  And I’m here to get you the best possible price and terms for your listing.  However 90% of the marketing we’re going to do to get your home sold starts right now by choosing the right price for your home.”  You have some great dialogues and strategies and even visuals in your eBook, 21 Ways to Get Your Listings Priced Right the First Time, I recommend it for any agent struggling with list price objections.

Q:  Well thanks so much for the testimonial!  It’s actually helped a lot of agents.  Todd, a lot of agents go into cruise control asNov-DOM-Free-Report the holidays approach – what is your advice for agents to stay positioned — and still have some balance?

A:  You know, it’s super easy for agent to kind of hide behind their computers and not prospect, and when the holidays approach it gives them even more reason and excuses to shut down. “I don’t want to bother people during the holidays.”  “I’m too busy with holiday stuff.”  “It’s the wrong time of year to prospect.”  The truth is none of those are really true, and great agents know it.  In fact, they make the most of this time by ramping up their marketing times ten to capture that lost market share left by agents who go into holiday hibernation.  If buyers are out during the holidays they are usually great to work with because they are serious, usually straight forward, and are more often than not super motivated to move quickly. When I’m talking to Dominator members I ask them to future pace themselves.  To see themselves 4-5 months from now as the agents holding all the listings because all those dormant agents will just be coming back to the game in January.  Their recourse is to do what?  Sell THEIR listings.  If you want that to be the same for YOU, do what the Dominator customers are doing – ramp up your marketing ten-fold.

Q:  Any quick advice for agents to earn an extra or two this month?

A:  Yes, see the last answer.  Pour on the marketing.  Go into overdrive. Make a plan to touch every person in your sphere of influence.  Go all out for your geographic farming. Knock on some doors. Be present in your community.  Seize every opportunity to connect with people.  Our Dominator customers are automatically sent 20 extra Dominators every month to use in their marketing. They also have a cache of free reports that they can use in their social media marketing, as resources at open houses, and as fair trade items to get new prospects to opt into their sites.  I suggest you do all that and take those extra Dominators to the local businesses in your market and share it with them.  Let them know who you are and what you’re doing there in those communities and then ask the magic question, “Who do you know who might be interested in buying or selling a home this month?”  It’s worth the ask!  Good luck!

Thanks so much Todd – we appreciate the insights!  If you want to learn more about what our Market Dominator customers are doing to stand out in their markets and ramp up their results, contact Todd today at 702-683-1967 or visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com!  

The Power of a Plan in Place

By Julie Escobar

There’s a lot to be said for having a plan in place and sticking to it.  Primarily, the peace of mind you have when you DON’T leave your marketing and business to chance.  Chasing the next commission and worrying about where the next check is coming from is stressful for you – and your family and one of the top reasons agents burn out and leave the business.  Instead re-visit that business plan, or build a new one if you have to so that you greet each new day, week – and year with that same focus we have at the year’s start with a brand new plan in place.

To help reconnect with what agents should be doing right now to make the most of the fall market and beyond, I got in step with real estate coach and Market Dominator Director Todd Robertson.  Here’s an sept dominatorexcerpt from our conversation:

Q:  Todd, what can agents do to ensure a successful fall season? 

A:  You know the top agents I’m talking to are telling me how grateful they are that they’ve had a consistent plan in place to reach their geographic farm and sphere for a while.  It makes a world of difference when you hit the hot markets.  It puts the pressure on the competition to play catch up and puts them in the lead.  That’s the power of positioning and planning.  We talk a lot with agents about putting the 3-7-27 law of branding to work for you. That is three contacts for someone to know your name, seven to put your name with your business, and twenty-seven to become a top-of-mind brand in their minds.  That top of mind awareness coupled with confident follow up is what will take agents to the top of their market. That’s what we know is working for our Dominator customers.  They are showing up month after month with a 12×15 marketing piece in the mailboxes of their farm area.  That’s five times larger than most competitors – and 100 times more effective obviously than the agents who are just dabbling at their business and not showing up at all.  When you show up at that level month after month two things happen:  your competition goes away, and the sellers and buyers in that area see you as a serious agent with marketing savvy.  The message you’re sending is, “I’m here.  I’m a resource. And I can market YOUR home effectively.”  That’s a message that gets noticed.

Q:  Awesome.  Todd – do you have some dialogue for those agents who are planning a door-knocking campaign this fall?

A:  Sure.  The first thing I’d say is be yourself.  There are a lot of speaker/trainers who will give you ‘dialogue’ – but if it’s not comfortable for you – then it won’t feel genuine to them, so first and foremost, be yourself.  Secondly, know why you are there – which is to plant the seeds for listings and sales.  Introduce yourself, tell them who you are and what company you represent.  Our Dominator customers even have a little fun with it and say things like, “I’m the guy that’s been sending that obnoxious 12×15 poster each month!”  Ask if they have any questions you can answer and plant the question of your own – “who do you know who might be interested in listing or selling in the next 90 days?”  Will you get them all?  No, will you make a great first impression? That’s up to you. Bring you’re A-game and be your best self.  That’s the best approach you can take.

Q:   Thanks Todd.  As a student of some of the best motivators in the business, you certainly speak a great deal about the power of mindset. What do you believe should be agents’ mindset going into the last four months of the year?

A:  Yes, one thing is certain – mindset really does equal market share.  Here’s what we know.  For those agents who are confident, competent, and ready for anything in terms of knowing their presentation perfectly, being prepared for any objection that comes their way, and have rock solid skills – keeping their mindset strong and positive is a whole lot easier. Why? Because they’ve already prepared.  You can wake them from their sleep at 2am and they could deliver their presentation flawlessly.  There’s not a situation or objection that can rattle them.  They are tuned in, tapped into their market in such a way that there aren’t a whole lot of surprises. And they have a marketing and business plan in place that is the track their business runs on.  Those things are fuel for the mind because when you have that all together, getting up and hitting it hard each day aren’t as challenging.  Plus they fuel their mindset with even more fire for success by reading great words from great minds in great business books. They tap into YouTube and watch empowering and skill-mastering videos.  They are a student of their industry and continuously learn and fine-tune their business practices.  That’s what it takes in this market, and there’s never been a better or easier time to build your momentum.

Q:  Awesome.  What are your Dominator customers finding works right now?

A:  Great question. Those that have had their system in place for a while are now in full-scale follow up mode.  They are walking their geographic farms, hosting aggressive open houses, and keeping their sphere in the loop by contact them with a call, or visit every 3-4 months. They are pulling out the stops – and will continue to as they advance their momentum and their market share. What I also find is that they are service minded.  One of the reasons they chose to use the Dominator is of course, the presentation – 12×15 is hard to overlook, right?  But they also tell me that they chose it because of the content it provides.  Real resource-based material that helps to answer the questions in the minds of today’s consumers.  People are hungry for information these days.  By providing that information and consistently delivering answers for the people in the communities they serve, these agents are effectively building the rapport and trust that it takes to earn the business of those folks in those communities. I am reminded of a Zig Ziglar quote, “Stop selling, start helping.”  Taking the role of consultant and resource is a powerful way to position yourself as the turn-to agent.

Great stuff Todd. Thanks for your insights this week.  If you’re interested in learning more about Market Dominator, watch this video, and feel free to contact Todd via email today.  The system is a powerful one for agents eager to earn a 20% market share in a geographic farm area.  It taps into the cost-effective Every Door Direct Mail system provided by USPS, and when coupled with a marketing partner, is by far one of the timeliest and most affordable marketing tools you can use to farm. 

Got questions? Contact the marketing team at ProspecstsPLUS.com today at 866.405.3638.  They are happy to assist!