Sunday, January 21, 2018

Putting the Pieces in Place to Out-Brand, Out-Market, and Stand Out in a Geographic Farm

by Julie Escobar

The savvy agents? Are out there in their neighborhoods, and in their communities and in this powerful age of information. Top agents are presenting themselves as the resource they know can and will make a difference in terms of how they make decisions for their families.

So, how do you brand yourself as that resource?

1. Consistency & Content.  Farming a geographical area is a time-tested, proven method for garnering new listings and referrals.  Yet for many agents, the what (what to send, say, create), the when (how often) and the cost (that one speaks for itself) has stopped them from farming consistently.  Maybe a mailing here or there, but nothing that will truly help them become a brand name in a market area.

That’s why we created the Market DominatorSM. We’ve got the ‘what’ and ‘when’ buttoned up for you.  Each month we have two powerful, consumer-centric articles on the front, bright, eye-catching info-graphics, engaging direct response offers, free reports that can be used as fair trade items, fun conversation starters, and a timely agent message.  On the back, we have content-rich articles and ideas that consumers love to share.  All of this in an attention-grabbing 12 x 15 poster that is delivered to EVERY home in the farm area, EVERY month, via the cost-saving Every Door Direct service from the USPS.

2.  Get out of stealth mode.  We recently viewed a video from a powerhouse agent and coach who challenged her coaching members and agents worldwide to get out from behind their computers and out – front and center in the communities they are services.  Social media is an amazing place to speak one-to-many, and develop powerful agent-to-agent referrals and connect with your sphere — but nothing — NOTHING will ever take place of meeting and greeting the folks in the neighborhoods you serve.

Our Dominator customers know that owning a market is like peeling an onion – there are many, many layers to it. Door knocking, canvassing,  Q&A sessions at your local market, coffee shop, or library, open houses, charity drives, school sponsorship participation — all of it helps consumers put your face with your name, your name with your business, and helps brand you as THE community resource they can turn to get information.

3.  Beef up your collateral (and sell yourself).  What do consumers also want to know about the agents they five tipswill choose to help them with one of the biggest financial transactions of their lives?  Your RESULTS.  Fire up those Just Listed and Just Sold postcards – share statistics and testimonials, showcase what makes you unique and how that benefits THEM. Use door hangers, and free reports to extend your reach, and the extra Dominators that are sent to you to show potential sellers how you are going the extra mile to ensure that every home you list is sold as quickly as possible and for the highest price available.

In the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) Channel that folks are tuned into every day – they want to see these two things:  RESOURCES & RESULTS.

National speaker and coach Todd Robertson shared this thought, “As the market heats up the great agents in the country and those on their way to becoming great are very focused on three things:

  1. Qualifying people stronger than ever before
  2. Separating themselves from competition
  3. Having a consistent campaign in place to farm and create passive income for years to come. This is simple. Yet not always easy. Simple because most of your competition will not commit to an area for any real length of time. Simple because we have seen the results of at least 10 percent market share first year. 20 plus percent the second year.

The truth is that it’s not always easy because you have to believe in yourself. Believe in your selling skills and most importantly believe that you deserve to be wildly successful. It all starts there.”

Most agents?  Won’t commit to geographic farming.  “It takes too long.” “It costs too much.”  The two biggest ‘reasons’ for not jumping in.  That’s good news for the agents that do.  It means that they fall into that 93/7 rule.  They will be the 7% of agents ruling their markets while the other 93% continue ‘one-and-done’ marketing or worse, no marketing, just chasing the next deal.  Chasing the next commission is not a fun way to earn a living or live.  Our industry is a treasure trove of opportunity.

It’s one of the few where you have zero caps on how much you can earn or how far you can go regardless of gender, race, religion, geography, history – anything.  It does take a little planning, a little courage, a little consistency, a little skill building, a little stick-to-it attitude, and the right tools.

This month commit to being part of that 7%.  Fire your business up on all cylinders.  Work your sphere, your farm, and your niche – each month — EVERY month.  The results? A career and life that IS fun, exciting, rewarding, and anything you want it to be.

Questions about how to DOMINATE in your market?  Call Todd Robertson at 702-683-1967 or email us today.

Need help building your collateral materials, sending Just Listed/Just Sold postcards, finding the right free reports for your buyers and sellers, or building a better brand for yourself?  

Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com or give us a call today at 866.405.3638.

 

Leaving Nothing Left to Chance

By Julie Escobar

Competition hasn’t been this fierce in years so savvy agents are using every tool at their disposal to generate new listings, stay top of mind, and brand themselves as the neighborhood expert to call.  Staying in touch with the VIPs in your sphere of influence makes sense. Those folks know you, trust you, and are already willing to do business with you. But how do you cultivate new relationships in markets that you really want to make an impact?  You use smart tools that connect you with consumers in communities. You offer items of value. And you get out there and meet the people.

Todd Robertson recently shared five tips for making the most of your geographic farm and sphere:

  1. Ask for referrals. Never be afraid to ask for new business. When you get comfortable with the level of service you provide, asking for the business gets easier. Get to the point where you KNOW that you have a marketing plan that helps sellers get the most from their house. Know that you can assist buyers in finding the perfect home for their family. Know that you are an advocate for consumers, and know that you are the best person for the job – then you have an obligation to let people KNOW that you are a real estate professional who can help.
  2. Mail consistently (3-7-27 law). We’ve shared before the 3-7-27 law of branding, which is that it takes three contacts for someone to recognize your name, seven to put your name with your business and twenty-seven to become a brand in someone’s mind. If you are losing business to other agents in your market area, is it because they are consistently md jan backmaking more contacts and staying more top of mind than you are?  It’s a tough question to ask, but if you can show up, and show value consistently, then sellers and buyers are going to consider you the brand to trust with their real estate investment questions and needs. Mind-share equals market share.  Our Market Dominator members know that they are showing up month after month with the 12×15 Market Dominator to ensure this kind of consistency and value are creating that mind-share and market share.
  3. Let people know what areas and price points that you service. Through your marketing and prospecting, let people know where you do business. If you’ve ever lost a listing because a friend or acquaintance said, “Oh, I didn’t know you worked that area,” you’ll get the message behind this step.
  4. Train on how you take referrals. Let folks know that their referrals are important to you and how they can best deliver that information to you. “Shoot me a text, an email – or give me a call if you know someone who is looking to buy or sell a home.”
  5. Thank your VIPs. Thank everyone for their referrals. Go the extra mile. Send a card or letter to them after the fact. Say, “Thank you for your kind referral. It’s the lifeblood of my business and no small thing, I know, so I appreciate it. Know that I’ll treat them with the highest possible level of care and you can rest assured they, and their interests, will be well taken care of. I’ll also keep you posted on how that referral is going so that you know your friends or relatives are in good hands.”   Stand out in every way. People want to do business with those who they know can get the job done with the least number of headaches and the highest return on investment. They also want to work with people who are service-minded and extraordinary in their client care.  That old adage, “they don’t care what you know until they know that you care” has never been more true.

Showing up in every way possible in your market place is critical to owning that market share.

  • Take the time THIS month to put your plan in place to ask for referrals. Can you make ten extra calls this week towards that goal?
  • Be consistent. The 12×15 Market Dominator is a powerful way to show up each month with value-added content and calls to action. Follow those mailings up with phone calls and door knocking in that geographic farm to help folks put your face with your name and know you are a resource they can count on.
  • Review your marketing tools, your website and social media. Are you letting people know the areas you serve?
  • Remember to let people know how to reach you if they have referrals. Review your business cards, email signature line, and marketing tools.
  • Send thank you messages weekly. We’ve got some easy-to-order Thank-You postcards that can streamline that process.

Make geo-farming a top priority this season and you’ll start to see returns on that investment. Stay strong, and let us know if we can help you. If you’d like to learn more about the Market Dominator, call Todd Robertson at 702-683-1967.

Need additional marketing help? Contact our team at 866-405-3638.

The Difference Between Calm & Commission Chasing

By Julie Escobar

One of the biggest challenges for people getting into the business of real estate is the fear of NOT knowing when they will get paid.  Commission only? Are you kidding me?  While that’s a genuine concern when you’re brand new and haven’t learned the ropes yet, what’s interesting is how many people are STILL unclear about when and where their next commission will come from though they’ve been in the business for years.  The common denominator for that dilemma lies in whether they take a proactive or reactive approach to their business.

First and foremost?  You are an independent contractor, and as such you are running a business entity, so treating it as such is more than common sense – it’s a must.  Proactive agents know where their leads are coming from because they are putting systems in place to ensure that they are marketing themselves in the areas that matter most such as:

  • Their sphere of influence: Those folks that already know them, like them, trust them and would do business with them. They know that if they stay in touch monthly, contact regularly, and make these VIPs a priority, they can expect a referral, listing or sale from one in twelve each year. (Marketing methods of choice: Newsletter, Holiday Postcards, Recipe Cards, Content Cards, Annual Customer Appreciation events, and a phone call or visit at LEAST twice per year.)
  • Their geo farm: The market area they most want to dominate. Smart agents choose a neighborhood that already has some turnover, does NOT have another agent with the substantial presence or market share, and has a price point that makes sense for them to invest in marketing. (Marketing methods of choice:  Market Dominator, Just Listed/Just Sold postcards, Open Houses, Neighborhood luxury cardsUpdate/Free Offer Series and farm canvassing at least three times per year.)
  • A niche: That tribe of people or customers you most like to work with.  Maybe it’s first time home buyers, or seniors, or medical professionals, or boaters. Whatever group you feel connected with – make yourself known as the go-to agent.  (Marketing Methods of choice, Newsletters, Lifestyle Interest Postcards and attending or sponsoring events specifically targeted to that niche.)
  • Lead generation: Continuously casting new nets for new business as well as constant prospecting the three segments above. (Marketing Methods of choice: Reaching out to local businesses for networking and referrals, partnering with local PTAs and sporting teams, using Every Door Direct Mail to market to blanket a new carrier route, Listing Inventory postcards.)

These agents aren’t shy about sharing their success rates either.  They use social media wisely, are active and visible in the communities they service and they broadcast their results via Just Listed/Just Sold postcards and online announcements.  Examples: Sold in TWO days!  Was on the market with another agent for six months. Now sold in just one week!

Reactive agents? Pretty much none of the above. They spend the bulk of their time working with buyers and usually only actively seek a new listing once the one or two they have in inventory sell.  I love what Darryl Davis shared in his last article with us.  “It’s no longer listings are the name of the game – it’s listing INVENTORY is the name of the game.”  He compares it to owning a shoe store and having no shoes left to sell.

Bottom line: When you are reactionary, as in, “I have no income coming in – let me go take a listing now,” your life is stressful. You worry about providing for yourself and your family.  You aren’t sure if you need to go “get a real job”.

When you are proactive, you make marketing and prospecting part of your daily routine.  You KNOW your numbers.  “I need to speak with X number of people each day to get X amount of appointments, to do X number of listings, X amount of sales, and X number of closings.”  You use time blocking to prioritize your time and activity. You use systems to automate your marketing or simplify the processes.

If you’re a brand new agent or are an agent that needs less stress, more business and are ready to get to the next level in your career – kick that reactive stuff to the curb and jump in with a proactive plan to build your business.

Need help working with your sphere, farm or niche? We’ve got everything you need to succeed at www.prospectsplus.com or call our team at 866.405.3638.

 

by Julie Escobar

Real Estate Door Hanger are a hot ticket for our customers right now, and rightfully so. They are a trusted tool of the trade for agents eager to brand themselves as the neighborhood specialist to call in a specific geo farm. Why?  They work.  They catch attention. They a great reason to canvas.  And they  are an easy-to-use leave-behind for potential clients. And between now and July 1st, 2017, we’re giving 10% of every order to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  How’s that for a win-win?

Before you hit the streets in your neighborhood farm, here are seven things you should consider:

1.  Content is key.  One series of door hanger that’s really popular with agents right now is the real-estate-door-hangers-expiredListing Inventory Series, designed specifically to help agents find more sellers.  But we also have hangers for FSBO’s and Expireds, which are handy to have in the car when you come across a FSBO that just popped up, or see an expired come off the market that’s close by.  You can use them to brand yourself, spotlight a new listing, advertise an open house.  The possibilities are endless!  Get creative!

2.  Include a call to action.  Many times, agents will put a lot of time and energy into getting their message just right, and forget to direct their prospects as to what they want them to do.  With ANY marketing piece, always be sure to have a call to action that’s simple and direct!

3.  Keep them readily available.  Many savvy agents keep a ‘rolling tool chest’ in their trunk.  Filled with the forms they need on the fly, objection handling brochures, extra business cards, listing agreements, presentation folders, and door hangers.  That way they, just like the scouts, are ‘always prepared’.

4.  Going door to door?  Know how many homes are in the neighborhood you are canvassing, real-estate-door-hangers-get-your-home-soldbut don’t try to do it all at one time if you are flying solo.  You can visit our EDDM page here and look for the link on the right to choose your carrier route.  Even if you’re planning to use the door hangers and not Every Door Direct Mail – this is a handy tool to find out how many homes are in a given area so you’re sure to order enough door hangers! Wear your name badge, some comfortable shoes and your best smile and get out and meet some people!

5.  Timing is everything.  If you want to just get the hangers on the door without ACTUALLY talking to very many people, mornings (right after people leave for work) are good.  If shaking hands and making connections with potential sellers and buyers than early evening is good after people have made their way home.

6.  Make a block party of it!  Get a group together!  Take your team along for the day and break the canvassing up in a grid to lighten the load. Start at your local Starbucks for a caffeine fuel first and share your door hangers with the customers there!

7.  A little PRE-canvas legwork.  If you are planning deliver door hangers to a neighborhood or neighborhoods, it’s a good call to warm things up a little by sending postcards with your name, picture and information first.  That way when you are meeting face-to-face, consumers will be more likely to recognize you and realize you’re there as the ‘neighborhood expert.’  If you’re using the listing inventory door hangers, we have Listing Inventory Postcards that compliment them nicely. Find them here!

These are just a few great ways agents are making door hangers part of their marketing plan. They are a great addition to your spring or fall marketing – because of their low cost and high impact.

From Your Desktop Computer You Can Browse All Our Door Hanger Templates by Visiting: Prospectsplus.com/DoorHangers 

To help us help kids — learn more about our commitment to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, visit blog.prospectsplus.com/st-jude.

Need help?  Give our team a call at 800.287.5710 or click through to see the variety of terrific options for Real Estate Door Hangers that we have to offer!  

Six Answers You Need to Know

By Julie Escobar

With markets and competition heating up this summer, geographic farming is more relevant, and results-producing than ever. It’s what is differentiating top agents from lower producers, and what is setting some apart as leaders in both their marketplace – and in market share.

To learn more, we asked Todd Robertson about what he is seeing trend across North America right now. Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q:  Todd – there was a time when agents got away from geographic farming but now it’s back stronger than ever – can you shed some light on that?

A:  Here’s what we’ve found:  With all the ‘noise’ out there now, social media, Zillow, Trulia, email, spam filters, online ads – a lot of home buyers and sellers aren’t responding to the noise. Yet, a LOT of agents are still hiding behind their computers. We know that 95% of people check their mail every day – and direct mail is standing out from the ‘online’ noise.  It used to be that farming was expensive. Mailings were expensive. Now with technology and new USPS tools, it’s much less so, and with most agents still not in that space – those who do jump in – WIN.

Q:  We’ve all seen agents who get frustrated because they want instant results – and farming just isn’t that kind of marketing.  What do you say to agents who want instant gratification?

A:  The truth is we are in an instant gratification mode. We’re looking to the lottery for a quick million, fast food for an instant meal, and whatever ‘golden ticket’ it might take to unlock the key to right-now success.  But what I like to share with agents is the hunter vs. farmer mindsets.  The hunter is great at getting on the phone, shaking the trees, finding those expireds, FSBOs, SOI leads, anything that will generate business today or this week.  Where the farmer isn’t crazy about all that possible rejection, so they slowly and surely cultivate an area with direct mail and email marketing.  After 25 years in this business we do know two things though:  Patience and persistence will always win and combining the two skills of hunting and farming are your best means of generating long term success at a whole other level. You do have to be “all-in” – but it is so worth it.

Q:  In your talks and webinars you speak about putting ALL the pieces in place – can you share more about what you mean by that?

A:  Well this kind of goes back to my last answer.  You really CAN dominate a market area and out-pace any competition if you are willing to streamline your practices – and do it all.  Not one thing. Not the easy things. But all of it.  Direct mail. Just Listed. Just Sold. Door knocking. Aggressive open houses. All of it – and not just once but really adhere to that 3-7-27 rule of marketing I’ve shared in the past where you’re continuously making impressions and staying top of mind because the competition, for the most part, is not going to be as committed to doing it all. If you are? You win.

Q:  Follow up is a critical part of marketing, but so many agents are reluctant to walk their farm or pick up the phone.  What’s your best advice to get over that hurdle?  

A:  Well, the tough advice is that if your mindset is ‘I’m afraid or unwilling to prospect’ then perhaps this is not the profession for you.  If we look at the old 80/20 rule which says that 20% of the agents do 80% of the business, we know that those numbers are now outdated. In today’s world it’s 93/7.  7% of the agents are doing 93% of the business.  The reason lies right here – prospecting. Following up.  I like to tell my audiences, “If the game is scheduled, and you’ve chosen to play – you might as well win.”  So if you are in this business to help people – then remember, you are paid in direct proportion to how many people you help, and how good you are at that help. So don’t just put your toe in the pool – jump in.  Don’t be that agent who tried something once, or twice, or three times and throws up their hands and says, ‘this doesn’t work’.  Stick with it. The year is half over.  Don’t fall into that – it is what it is mindset where it is all right to be average, or less than your goals.  You get paid in proportion to how many you help. Get out there and play hard.  If you get a no, pick up the phone again, and again.  It’s a numbers game, but more than that, it’s a people game. Find the next person to help.

Q:  This is a busy time for agents – and many are so busy working IN the business, they don’t stop to work ON their business.  What can you share with our readers regarding blocking time so that nothing falls through the cracks?

A:  It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae, I know. The feel-good work. The paper shuffling. The non-confrontational. Top agents though know that the highest and best use of their time is doing three things: prospecting, presenting, and closing.  The rest they find solutions for. Automated marketing. Virtual Assistants. Database management systems. Marketing systems.  They are effective time managers – that’s the level you need to strive for.

Q:  The Market Dominator is hard to ignore when homeowners get it in their mailbox – can you tell us a little about the science of its size, content, and calls to action?

A:  Well it’s the largest piece allowed legally through the USPS system.  It’s got 100% impression rate. It’s coated on one side, full color and on great paper.  Most importantly, it’s filled with the kind of content people want to read.  Not salesy – hyped commercial stuff. But real world content. And real world calls to action.  It’s relevant and fun and ‘share-able’ for people.  And it gets the job done.  I just heard from one of our customers who has done 16 transactions this year so far, three directly as a result of the Dominator.  Take a look and let me know if you have questions. It’s a powerful tool for agents who are really interested in dominating their own geographic farm.

Thanks so much for your time Todd.  For those interested in learning more about the Market Dominator, you can watch Todd’s informative video here.  For questions, give Todd a call at 866-405-3638.  Now, go out there and dominate in YOUR favorite geographic farm!