Saturday, May 27, 2017

To Increase Market Share

By Julie Escobar

Capturing the top market share in a geographic area can be challenging in today’s competitive real estate climate.  It is completely doable however with the right tools and strategies in place.  To learn how top agents around the country are making their mark, I spoke with Market Dominator Director Todd Robertson to get his take on the topic.

Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q:  Hey Todd – you deal with agents every day who are eager to dominate in their market — what would you
say is the number one question you are asked, and how do you answer?

A:   The number one question agents ask is, “How much will it cost me?”   And I reply, “If you commit to dominate your market or if you talk yourself out of it?”   In all seriousness, however, the main question they ask outside of that “Hey, I’m overwhelmed with all of these options, in terms of marketing, how can I really dominate in my market?”   My answer is that in our current state of “Technology Overload” — direct mail has become more effective than ever before.   Basically I steer them to use the tools that will help them garner the best return on investment.

Q:  That said, I know you’re a big fan of Every Door Direct Mail®, because of its affordability and saturation element for a geo farm.  It can be a little complicated to wrap your head around for some agents though.  What do you tell agents who are interested in using EDDM for their marketing?

A:  In terms of Every Door Direct Mail, if an agent is not familiar, I can spend literally just five minutes with them to make sure they fully understand how it works.  I then help them pick an area, or geo farm, they want to really become the “Neighborhood Specialist”.   Additionally, once they have an area picked out, we spend an additional few minutes on the phone to see if the Market Dominator program is the right fit for them.

Q:  We challenge agents all the time to leave ‘nothing to chance’ when it comes to staying top of mind in their market area.  What are some additional ways they can support their direct response marketing efforts in their geographic farms – and their market?

A:  I’m glad you asked.  To remain “Top of Mind” the agents getting the best results in their geographic farm areas are doing the following every month – not just SOMETIMES – but EVERY MONTH:

1)   Send direct response mail – (people today are hungry for valuable information – be the resource that delivers that every month.)

2)  Just Listed / Just Sold postcards – (shares that you are the agent making things HAPPEN.)

3)  Very aggressive, very well marketed “Open Houses” – (Gets you out front of people in a very hands-on way, be sure to have great collateral material at your open houses that distinguishes you as a resource/information source – not just an agent sitting in a house.)

4)   Door Knocking – (NOT an old fashioned idea.)  Some of today’s top mega-producers are out in force with their teams in the geographic areas they want to dominate meeting the people, passing out door hangers, brochures, and business cards.  They are asking and answering all the right questions – and NOT in stealth mode like those agents back at the office still waiting for the phone to ring.  Want to INCREASE up your exposure and your results?  Remember this:  STP – See The People. If they don’t know who you are – they’re not going to call you first.  Make sure they KNOW who you are!

Q:  Todd, follow up is often the most neglected piece of the marketing puzzle for agents — how do you encourage agents to get off the fence and make that a priority?

A:  The truth is, follow-up is typically the downfall of 90% of agents in the country.  Because most of the time Fear and Uncertainty take over in the Real Estate agent’s mind.  Here’s what they forget however:  According to the National Association of REALTORS, if an agents commits to a campaign in a geographic area, most agents quit BEFORE the 5th contact.  They’ll market once, twice, maybe even three times in an area – but that’s it. They throw in the towel and say, “well this isn’t working”.  Most marketing campaigns don’t start even seeing a response until after that fifth contact. So, if when you think about it, this actually works in the favor of the agent who is COMMITTED to being the dominant player.  If you know that 90 % of agents bail before that 5th contact, we simply put agents on a two-year direct response mail campaign in that area to insure they brand themselves as that go to agent.  We encourage them and coach them to put those three powerful pieces in place we talked about in the last question, (Just Listed/Just Sold, aggressive open houses, and door knocking) so they can layer their marketing for best results.  And we remind them that NO marketing is thorough without follow up. If they truly want to dominate – to get the bulk of the listings, to get a lion’s share of the referrals, to brand themselves so well that they are the first agent consumers think of in their geo farm area – they have to fire on all cylinders, meaning – direct response marketing, results marketing (Just listed/just sold), face-to-face contact (door knocking, open houses, events), and FOLLOW up calls and visits.  When an agent commits to THAT for two years?  They go from “Uncertain to Unstoppable”.

Q:  Great advice Todd.  Any additional advice for agents who want to capture a 10-20% market share?

A:  I would say that Patience and Persistence win the game.   There is an interesting phenomena that occurs when an agent commits to an area, really commits.  Two interesting things happen:

1)   It makes them more assertive in that area in terms of other marketing.

2)  If another agent’s sign goes up in their neighborhood it bothers them.  They then begin to take ownership of that area, meaning they shift their thinking to – “Any sign that goes up in this area should be MY sign, MY listing.” And that?  Is a winning mindset.

Thanks so much Todd for sharing your insights.  If you have a question for Todd, you can email him here, or give him a call at 855-383-6646.  If you want to learn more about the Market Dominator System, join us for our next webinar here. 

Good luck!  If you have any additional marketing needs or questions, our team is always ready to assist!  Give them a call at 866.405.3638. 

A Guest Blog About Every Door Direct Mail 

by Brian Fox. VP Business Development, Benutech

Okay, so you probably know about the value and benefit of mailing postcards via Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) by the United State Postal Service (USPS)… They are plentiful.  The postage rate for delivery is attractive (17 cents a door).  The residences are all in a close, neat geographical location.  This allows you acquire the best postage rates for your mail marketing and when it’s time to walk your farm to meet homeowners – the residences are all in a neat geographical location for easy walking and knocking.

The challenge is… How do you find the “right” EDDM Group to deliver to?  Well, that’s a bit tricky – but not only is there hope, there are real data solutions to solve this tricky challenge.

Let’s break the moves down step by step for you.   There are 4 very important steps in choosing the correct EDDM location(s) to farm and here they are:

  1. Locate EDDM Groups within a zip code or city by finding the EDDM Groups with the highest turnover rates available. In other words, the higher the ratio of homeowners that move annually, the higher the chance of finding more sellers within those areas in the future. Why?  Every real estate coach in the U.S. teaches their paying clients to find areas of “high turnover” defined as 7% turnover rate or higher.  Statistically, they have shown that finding areas where homes are selling provides agents with areas that will continue to sell at high rates.  This will help make your marketing more efficient.
  2. Once you have the EDDM Groups ranked from highest to lowest turnover rate – Locate the EDDM groups that have “Sales Price Points” that interest you. In other words, if two EDDM groups have similar turnover rates, but different home price selling points – it’s much better to sell a home that sells for $600K vs. $350K, right?
  3. Now, this is important: Compare the number of “owned homes” in the EDDM Group against what the USPS will deliver to in the same EDDM group.  Keep in mind – EDDM via USPS delivers to every resident (homeowners, apartment renters) within the EDDM group. Most agents don’t want to mail to renters – Agents mail market to find potential sellers.  So, you wouldn’t want to mail to 500 residences via EDDM if only 300 of them are “owned” properties.  If you did, you would be employing the USPS to deliver to 200 apartment renters in that EDDM Group that can’t be sellers because they are renting.   Look for EDDM Groups on the USPS Website that have a similar number of “delivery” vs. “properties owned within the EDDM group” – See the examples provided for zip code 98006 in Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle, WA.  Two EDDM Groups with similar turnover rates 7.95% and 7.84% – but the 7.84% group (Carrier Route C037) has 536 owned properties within the EDDM Group of 543 units that the USPS will deliver to. Therefore, Carrier Route C037 has a much higher “ownership deliver rate” than Carrier Route C028 – providing a better value for you as a paying customer.
  4. As a last step – look to see what the “average years owned” is for the EDDM group you select. Average home ownership rates in the 7-10 year range seem to indicate areas that folks purchase into and then sell rather quickly – possibly to upgrade to a larger home or to a home in a more desirable location – which results in higher sales rates annually.  Also, look to see what the Non-Owner occupancy rate is for the EDDM group.  Much of the time, Non-Owners will sell property more frequently than Owner Occupants, so high Non-Owner Occupancy rates could help facilitate more sales, more often.

In the example provided for Zip Code 98006 in Bellevue, WA – the perfect EDDM Group was found utilizing Benutech’s “Title Toolbox” data.  Carrier Route C037 had a high turnover rate (7.84%), it had 536 owned units within a 543 unit EDDM Group, it had one of the highest sales price points in Bellevue at $1.3M, and had an average years owned of 8.6% – indicating that this area could be an area where folks purchase and sell rather frequently. If you are farming in Bellevue, this would be the place to farm!

Okay, yes… This may seem like a lot… and it is… so just do this:  Contact ProspectsPLUS! and have them help you with this process.  They are mail marketing experts, and by utilizing Benutech data and their technology – they can complete these steps for you and place you in the perfect EDDM group to start your successful farming campaigns. 

Oh, but please realize, you are not done once you find that perfect EDDM Group to market to! Now it’s time to make you known to the homeowners within the EDDM Group.  Let’s go back to those Real Estate Coaches… Their expensive advice is to market monthly.  You have just located the perfect farming location – so FARM it!

Step One:  Get the mail marketing pieces out to this EDDM Group once per month.  ProspectsPLUS! will help you select the perfect mail pieces.

Step two: Once the mail is out… You need to get out.  Homeowners are not going to hire you to sell their
home unless they get to KNOW YOU. It’s that simple.  Having homes in EDDM Groups allow you to easily walk and talk to the homeowners within the EDDM groups.  Don’t rely just on the mail… You are way more powerful than a postcard… Meet the folks in the EDDM Group so that they can hire you when it comes time to sell.  Seize the day, meet some folks – and take new listings!

About: Brian Fox, VP Business Development, Benutech, Inc. Benutech, Inc. is a real estate data company out of Costa Mesa, CA and is the creator of “ReboGateway” (for Real Estate Agents and Investors) and “Title Toolbox” (for Title Companies and other property related business). To contact Brian Fox:  Brian@benutech.com or 714-580-8099.

Need help choosing the right EDDM piece for you? Contact our customer care team at 866.405.3638 today! 

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:MD Jan

  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.

Spring is right around the corner. 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.

Finding the Diamonds in Your Database

By Julie Escobar

As my old friend Floyd Wickman used to say, there are acres of diamonds in your book of business or “sphere” – but the trouble is, most agents are willing to do what it takes to mine for those diamonds.

Many agents don’t even have a ‘book of business’ or a true database.  They’re either new to the business or ‘never got around to it’ or for some – they’re so busy working ‘in the business’ to ever work ‘on the business.’  But there’s acres of diamonds in building a sphere of influence client list of people who know you, like you and trust you. Because frankly – those are the people that are going to list and sell their homes with you – buy from you –and refer friends and family to you.  First – you’ve got to reach them.  Consistently.  Effectively.  With purpose.

First, look at should be in your book of business. Read last week’s post:  The Year of the Sphere.

Secondly, get a handle on your business plan.  This is the one-page easy plan shared by Floyd Wickman. 

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Download a copy for yourself or your team here. Then USE it. Make sure you are reviewing every month so you know when you are are on track — and off!

Next, Invest in these ten strategies for building a powerful base. 

  1. Get it all on ‘record.’  Whatever database management system you choose, be sure that you have entered at the very least the basic information such as name, address, phone number, email address, social media addresses if you have them for every past customer, friend, family member and acquaintance that you can think of.  Sound like a lot of work?  It is – but SO worth it.  And I’m not saying you have to do it yourself.  Delegate it – that way you can stick to what you do best – getting face to face with the folks in your market.
  2. Fill in the blanks.  The more RELEVANT you are – the more REFERRALS you’ll receive. So once you’ve customer-appgot the basics down – take note of more personal information about the people in your database.  What do they do?  Where do they live?  What makes them unique?  What else do you know about them that you can reference?  Who’s in their family?  You know the old saying – the ‘devil is in the details!’ The more you know the easier it will be for you to connect with them on topics that are relevant and important to them.
  3. Clean up old records.  At least twice a year go through your database and cull old contacts, and clean up missed or incorrect information. Connect with your database and let them know that their business is important to you and that you’re just doing a little ‘housekeeping’ so that you can be sure they are always kept in the loop and double check their information.  You can even make them a fair trade offer of a free report or certificate of some kind.
  4. Data mine for ‘like’ minded people.  One of the best things an agent can do is to really take a good fsbolong look at what their ‘best customer’ looks like.  Who do you like to work with?  Seniors?  Singles?  First time homebuyers?  Expireds? FSBO’s?  Once you know that – and can determine who you both like to work with and the type of people you have the most successful relationships with – you can data mine to find more of the same.   Find list options for data mining here. 
  5. Add new personal contacts.  As sales professionals we come into contact with new people every day that are potentially great future clients or customers.  Make it a point to add at least one new person per day or five per week to your book of business – more depending on how fast you want your business to grow.  Many agents I know make this database building a positive habit by dedicating one hour a week to the health and maintenance of their list.  Every time they meet a new person at the local Starbucks, networking meeting, business event, PTA, restaurant – even the grocery store and have an opportunity to collect a business card or information – that person goes into the ‘book’ and the nurturing begins!  Some of the best agents spend an hour a week sending a personal note or firing off an email just to say what a pleasure it was to meet and if they need anything – just call.  (Making notes on the back of those business cards or in your phone after meeting a new person will help jog your memory for details when you are entering them into your database at a later time.)  Think about 10 people THIS WEEK you could add if you tried:  Teachers, Bankers, Restaurant Owner/Staff, Accountant, Attorney, Landscaper, Gas Station Owner, Grocery Store Manager…the possibilities are endless!  (If you did that EVERY week you’d be adding more than 500 people to your book of business each year!)
  6. Add past lists:  If you’ve sent out Just Listed or Just Sold postcards and have purchased a list of just sold cardhomeowners contact information who received those postcards – be sure not to forget those folks.  You can add them in and start the process of taking them from ‘prospect’ to ‘member’ of your sphere by building those relationships over time.  Think about this – every time you send a Just Listed postcard with a purchased list – you are adding to your database. But most agents only send that one card, the Just Listed to that list.  Think one list = unlimited opportunities.  Contract Pending. Price Reduced. Just Sold. Listing Inventory.  Check out our new ThreeClickPostcards.com – where you can order your Just Listed/Sold/Contract Pending cards — right from your phone!
  7. SHARE with them.  Direct mail is a great way to ‘touch’ your book of business at least once a month.  From powerful postcards with relevant offers to a monthly newsletter packed with valuable content – staying in TOUCH is the key to staying TOP of mind.  We’ll even help you automate the process with a set-and-forget system that allows you to put your marketing plan in motion and then focus on those personal contacts and the three tasks that are most important in your business:  prospecting, presenting and CLOSING.  Visit www.prospectsplus.com/specials today to learn more about these options or call our team at 866.405.3638 for help deciding what might work best for you, your list and your budget!
  8. Invite them into the conversation.  Savvy agents are firing up their social media strategies on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest and inviting their community of followers to join in the conversation.  Create a Facebook page for your neighborhood farm and post community information that’s relevant to your buyers and sellers such as school information, local business information, fun facts and more.  Agents are breaking out their iPhones and creating video walking tours of area hotspots, news for the week, reviews of local businesses, types of homes to look for in their area and all kinds of fun and interesting information.  Pinterest has people pinning and posting all about staging ideas, inspirational quotes, homes in the area, community events, blog posts and more.
  9. Follow up.  Break your list up into manageable numbers and commit to follow up calls every week.  Most experts recommend scheduling a daily appointment with yourself to prospect.  Don’t underestimate the value of face-to-face connecting as well.  Community events, school functions, networking opportunities and just being active in the community that you service will help keep you visible, allow you a chance to arrange follow up conversations and ask questions, be the resource people need and you will generate referrals in the process! It can be as simple as letting them know that you are there to help anytime.
  10. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  Well you get the idea.  Treating your database as the saleable, valuable resource that it is means not putting it away for 11 months out of the year.  Commit to these ten strategies monthly and your career will thrive – and you won’t have to always be wondering where your next commission will come from.

Need help?  Call us at 866.405.3638.  Our team of marketing professionals can help you put your plan in place for success. 

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?feb dom front

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 world-wide 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-man, 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 then 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 cap 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.