Thursday, September 21, 2017

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.

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 direct 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 the ProspectsPLUS! customer care team at 866.405.3638 today! 

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!  

How to Add Ten Extra Transactions Per Year

By Todd Robertson

We know that for a lot of agents, prospecting is PAINFUL.  It’s also the one factor that will keep so many from succeeding.  Why?  They fear it rather than embracing that prospecting is just part of the process.  Every “no” brings you that much closer to a yes.  Every conversation brings you that much more involved in building a relationship with the people in your sphere and farm.

That brings us to the point of today’s article.  Hunting and farming.  There are really three ways you can drive business in real estate:

  1. Wait for it. How many agents do you know who are waiting for the phone to ring? Someone to walk through the door? Or a call from a sign or ad?  Certainly the least pro-active means of getting business and one that will never take you far in this business.
  2. Buy it. Some agents choose to buy the business, using internet leads, ads, and billboards – then WAITING for them to generate interest.
  3. Put a system in place and actively prospecting. In a competitive market such as we have now, this is the only sure way to generate consistent results and income.

The best agents in the world want to get to the point where they do three things extraordinarily well and delegate most of the rest to others. Those two things are prospecting, going on appointments or presenting, and closing.  They also know to get to the top in their markets and stay there they have to be BOTH hunter and farmer.

Hunters aggressively, consistently seek new business and generate leads. They know how many contacts they have to make each and every day to hit the numbers that will take them closer to their goal. For some it might be five live connects with people per day. For others the number may be closer to ten or twenty.  That’s actively reaching out to people such as:

  • FSBOs
  • Expireds
  • Sphere of Influence
  • Business network

Farmers, by contrast, let a system do the work and consistently “touch” the folks in their geographic farm, as well as their sphere with timely, direct response marketing tools every 21-45 days.  When that happens month after month after month, you create the kind of top-of-mind awareness that keeps your name at the forefront with people so that when someone IS ready to buy or sell or knows someone who is, it’s YOUR name they know to call.

What happens when you put a campaign in place, a system in place and never waiver from it, you create opportunities for additional business. You also have a better life, because you know you’ll have business and referrals coming in.

I know agents who are strictly hunters. They are always chasing new business and have never taken the time to cultivate a farm area. I can tell you for a fact that they lead more stressful lives.  They have no idea where the next deal is coming from, or when the next closing will be.  That’s a hard way to go and a tough way to earn a living.  Farmers can count on business coming in. And top agents? They know that their marketing engine, coupled with their hunting skills will generate the number of transactions they need to hit their goals.

The truth is less than 5% of agents own a 20% market share in their areas.  LESS than 5%! What that should mean to you is that there is a lot of opportunity in some geographic areas, or neighborhoods in your market that you should absolutely systematically reach out to starting now if you want to be the agent in your area to defy that statistic.

They key is to have a consistent system in place. That’s why agents love the Market Dominator system.  They don’t have to think about it, worry about it, or do anything. It’s all done for them.  They know every month a 12×15 marketing piece is sent out using Every Door Direct Mail, so that it literally gets in every single door in the geographic area they want to saturate and earn that 20% market share.  Knowing that their marketing is working on their behalf, generating that top of mind awareness, branding them in the market place, and creating opportunities for new business takes the stress off of them.  They put that piece of their business equation in our capable hands so they can then focus on doing those three things we talked about earlier – prospecting, presenting, and closing.

I’ll give you an example.  I got a call last week from a young lady who called and said, “Todd, I get it, I get it!”  I wasn’t sure what she was talking about until she explained that three months ago she got a Market Dominator in the mail and said she thought at the time – WOW, this agent is stepping up the game.  She didn’t think much of it though she shared, because most agents are “one and done” marketers.  Then she got another one. Then this month she got a third. She said, “That’s it – where do I sign up? This guy is taking my market share!”

The thing is that the Market Dominator is exclusive to the agent based on carrier routes.  So that agent will continue to take market share as long as they stay in the system.  She of course, chose another route and is on her way now to dominate a geo farm of her own.  We had another agent call as well who was farming an area, then stopped.  Another agent swept in, claimed that same farm area and started a consistent campaign and started, of course, generating the listings in that area.  The agent that quit was upset to lose ground, but realized that if he had stayed with it – those listings would have been his.  The truth is that results don’t usually ever come from the first “touch”. They happen when you consistently stay in the game, and usually well after the 5th, 6th, or even 10th contact. That’s why it’s important to have a campaign and system that you can count on to not lose momentum.  Left to our own devices sometimes, we get busy right?  We shift our focus. And the ball gets dropped.  Market Dominator customers don’t have to worry about that.  We do the heavy lifting. They focus on prospecting, presenting and closing.

If you’re ready to have a better life – I challenge you to be BOTH hunter and farmer.  As a hunter, make those weekly phone calls, reaching out to the folks in your market that can help you generate quick leads and listing opportunities.

As a farmer, I encourage you to put a system in place like the Market Dominator so that you are cultivating a geographic farm that will, in time, allow you to own a 20% or more market share that will indeed be worth five, ten, or more additional transactions to you per year.

If you want to learn more, give me a call 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.