Thursday, March 23, 2017

An Interview with REALTOR Eric Hardy

by Julie Escobar

As we head into holidays and turn our eyes towards the new year ahead, I was eager to get back to some basics by sharing agents stories of best practices for building solid businesses.  Customer care and attention to detail are two factors that are critical keys to success for top performers.  To tackle that topic, I touched base with my old friend and awesome agent Eric Hardy who put customer care on the top of his priority list. Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q: Hey Eric – thanks for sharing with us today.  Before we jump in, can you tell the readers a little about yourself?

A:  Yes, I am 45 years old, married, and a father of two. I have been in the wedding business for over twenty years, and recently decided to go back into real estate after a 15 year break. I currently work for Dennis Eric HardyRealty in Lutz, Florida.

Q: You’ve recently re-entered the real estate game. What do you feel is the most important strategy for fast-tracking a successful first year ahead?

A: A positive attitude, a genuine love for what we do. You have to enjoy your wok because it shows to people when you do, and when you don’t. We get to help people with a major event in their life.

Q: How are you building your sphere of influence and staying top of mind with them?

A:  Nowadays social media is key, and understanding the power of it. Along with keeping in touch with people with even just a simple phone call to see how they are. I always tell everyone what I do for a living. When they think real estate, I want them to think of me.

Q: What advice would you give other new agents for hitting the ground running?

A:  Get as much training and education as you can, knowledge is power. Be humble and listen to advice from jl-cards-2people older and younger. And most importantly put the time in, and try new things till you learn what works best for you. Don’t skip on the traditional marketing tools that work either.  Just Listed and Just Sold postcards always have been a staple in our industry for a reason — they work. They help market you as an agent, your listings, and your business.

Q: Do you belong to a mentor or networking group in which you can share ideas?

A:  I work for a great company. We all sit at a round table once a week and discuss marketing plans, odd questions and different scenario’s agents come across. This way when we see a new situation or issue we are prepared.

Q: You were in the wedding business, are you transitioning those clients and customers into your sphere and do you see a niche market there for yourself as an agent?

A:  Yes, absolutely. Most of my couples once they are married their next major life event is usually buying a home. After working with me on their wedding they see that I am competent, intelligent and easy to work with. I want their home buying experience to be a stress free and fun, the same as planning their wedding. There are bumps in the road you may run into, but we are here to help you through that. And thank you for thanksgiving2016v6thumbsstndletting me be part of your big day, and part of a major event in your life.

Q: How important is servicing and staying connected with your customer base to you?

A: It is crucial. One thing I really liked about the REALTOR that helped me buy my home, is he still keeps in touch. I get an email at least once a month and every holiday, and occasionally see him around town and he is genuinely happy we love our home. I strive to give that level of customer service everyday.  Monthly postcards, phone calls, and social media make it easy to stay in touch in today’s world. Your customer base is going to be your strongest line of referrals. Always take good care of them even when the transaction is completed, stay in touch!

Q: Are you working a geographic farm? If so – what are you doing that’s working?free offer door hanger

A:  For me I work best face to face with people. I love to knock on doors, talk to people in my area. I get into conversations with them, and have even made friends and have gotten to know some really great people. The person in front of you may not be buying or selling, but if they like you they will put you in touch with anyone they know who is. Treat every person with kindness, people always do business with people they like. We are not just trying to find the next “sale” but building a career helping good people.

Q: How can people reach out to you with referrals?

A:  I am always available by phone or email, seven days a week. You can reach me anytime at 813-770-2150 or at Hardysline@verizon.net, if you just have a question I can help you with.

Thanks Eric for your time and your advice for what’s working in your corner of the world! Agents love to learn from other agents. I so appreciate your sharing your experience.

Need help marketing YOUR real estate business?  Contact our team at 866.405.3638 today or visit www.prospectsplus.com. 

Tools You Can Use…

By Julie Escobar

Back in the DAY…(ever notice how people always say that about what they did ions ago?) I used to love working with First Time Home Buyers.  They were excited, eager,  a little nervous and usually very appreciative of an agent’s experience and help.  Today’s consumers (even the newbies) are a lot more savvy than they used to be but I still find this niche a great source of prospects (and referrals) for agents today!

One great way to attract First Time Home Buyers is by hosting Home Buying Workshops in your market.  freeworkshopseriesMany agents find that holding them at the local libraries, schools (many PTAs or PTSAs would be happy to include a segment in one of their meetings for valuable information!)  In many areas, you’ll find clusters of higher end apartment complexes that you could easily target for first time home buyers.

You can even use our mailing list options to specifically search for high-end renters and create a marketing database to connect with this demographic.

Couple up with a mortgage lender and real estate attorney to help spread the word and bring more value to the table.  I’ve even known agents who invite local restaurants (especially start ups that are trying to market themselves as well) to bring in sample appetizers or refreshments in return for letting them share their contact information or coupons as well!  In today’s world, this kind of smart, intuitive shared networking is making a big difference for a lot of agents.

We’ve got a terrific free report just for agents that’s filled with lots of ‘goof-proof’ tips on how to host a
successful workshop!  We’ve even got ready made postcard invitations that you can send out in a matter of kissyourlandlordgoodbyestdthumminutes!

It’s easy to use and easy (and free) to get!  Click here to go to our Resource Page – scroll about half way down the page until you see “Free Consumer Workshops” – then just click download!  Easy, breezy!  While you’re there – also download “How to Save for a Down Payment” which is a great piece to share with those folks who WANT to buy but aren’t quite ready to just yet.  Having your mortgage lender there will be very beneficial as you can help folks sort out where they are NOW in relation to what they need to purchase a home.

Be sure to get everyone’s contact information – then put them on a drip direct mail campaign every 30-45 days so stillrentingstdthumbthat when they are ready to purchase – they’ll know JUST who to call.  Our First Time Buyers Series is perfect for that.

They really speak to the questions that these folks already have in their heads and keep you top of mind.  I always like to use the alternative back on the postcard to write a little more information and create some calls and response by offering a free list of homes, list of foreclosures, additional home buying tips, local school information, etc.  All great reasons for them to stay connected with YOU!

If you are hosting an event in your market – be sure to share that information on your social media networks, and in the rental communities you are targeting.  And if this is the demographic you want to OWN in your market, consider setting up  a Facebook page so that you can really continuously share news people can use relating to buying a home and your market.  Don’t JUST talk business though!  Share information about your local economy, schools, community garage sales, tips about new restaurants or businesses in the area.  You can spotlight standout community leaders, kids who are making a difference, teachers, local heroes, specials you run across, testimonials from happy customers and more!

Need help getting started? Simply call our marketing specialists at 866-405-3638 today.  They’re smart, knowledgeable, friendly and just the folks you need on your side to ensure that your marketing is TIMELY and DONE!

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 thumbhalloweenv7stndbusiness 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, 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 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.  Theydom-oct 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 with 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.

 

3 Steps to Showing Up & Creating a Connection

By Julie Escobar

Raise your hand if you’ve ever sent a marketing mailing to a list of folks that don’t know you yet and got discouraged when you didn’t get a call.  It’s frustrating for sure, but it is also one of the biggest marketing mistakes an agent can make. One and done has never been a recipe for success and in today’s world of over media saturation, it is certainly not the time to re-test that theory.  Bottom line? Branding takes TIME. Repetition. Consistency. And follow up.

That’s the heart of farming, and just like traditional farming, the success goes to those who systematically oct-16-dominatorplant the seeds, cultivate the crops and later reap what they have sown. Then repeat the process for as long as they want to continue to effectively farm.  For agents the process is much the same.

Step One:  Stake your claim. Start with a plot or a geographic neighborhood area that is…

  • Starting to see turnover
  • Has a high homeowner vs renter ratio
  • Does not have another agent already dominating market share
  • Has a price point that makes sense for your area

Step Two: Plant the seeds. For effective geo-farming, your monthly marketing should…

  • Capture people’s interest
  • Offers valuable content and fair trade itemsNeighborhood update postcards
  • Present you as the neighborhood specialist and real estate expert
  • Showcase your consistency and professionalism

Three of the most popular tools that many customers use to do this effectively are our:

Step Three:  Follow up. The best agents aren’t leaving anything to chance. They know that just as their marketing tools are the ‘seeds’ for market share success, they must also cultivate that farm with personalized attention.  Here are some great examples of cultivation activities:

  • Walk your farm area with powerful collateral material. Our Market Dominator customers use their extra 20 Dominators. You can also use Free Reports or offer to do a Free Comparative Market Analysis.
  • Set up a meet-and-greet either at the local community center, library or even coffee shop to let neighbors in that area know you are there with answers to their questions.
  • Use a gentle approach. Instead of the “have you thought about selling your house” as your opening line, just introduce yourself. Let people know you’re in the area. Explain that during this changing time, a lot of people have questions and you just wanted to let folks know how they can find the answer when they need them.
  • Invite to an open house. Once you get a listing, be aggressive about hosting open houses in that neighborhood and inviting all the neighbors in.
  • Have some fun connecting! Bookmark our Master Marketing Schedule today and see all the fun and creative ways you can make a GREAT impression on the folks in your marketplace and have a great time doing it.

Once you’ve done all three, start over again.  Branding and earning market share is much more of a long game – a marathon rather than a spring.  But in the end, you’ll reap what you sow.  Keep consistent.  Talk to people. Make your face and name they think of when the idea of real estate pops into their head. That way? You are positioned perfectly as the one to call when they are ready to buy or sell or know of someone who is.

When should you start?  The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll start seeing results.  Plant those seeds.  We can help.   Call our team at 866.405.3638 today or head over to www.prospectsplus.com and get started!

Row of new residential houses in suburban neighborhood

It Happened on My Street

A Guest Blog by Brian Fox, Benutech, Inc.

It happened on my street… and I would not be surprised if you have seen it occur on yours. A for sale sign goes in the ground… and presto –  soon after, more for sale signs start popping up. It’s an interesting phenomenon, but it seems to hold true in markets from coast to coast. For those reasons, you hear top real estate coaches in the industry advise their students to, “Find areas where homes are selling and market into those areas!” It works. It’s a big informational edge that increases agents marketing success rates.

So let’s take a moment and look at this turnover rate idea a bit closer. Here’s what happened on my street: no properties had been listed on my street for more than a year. Then a property went on the MLS market in June of 2015. By October, two more homes on my street went on to MLS priced similarly. All of them closed by January 2016, so in back to back months (March and April of 2016) two more homeowners on my street decided to list their properties for sale. Coincidence?

Maybe… But that’s five homes for sale on my street in the past year, when there were none listed the previous 12 months.  Not only that, but within my subdivision, there is not another street that has had more than two homes listed or sold within the same time period of time. Heck, I have even entertained the thought of selling my home at the prices homes are selling at on my street! The sign posts have even got me thinking.

So in my opinion, along with the opinions of those high profile real estate coaches, it’s true… when folks seedominator June3 sign posts in the ground it gets them thinking… “If I could get that much for my home, I would sell”. Or, “If that home can sell for that price, and it’s smaller than mine, then mine could sell for much more…”  So the bottom line:  Home sales in a community seem to get the selling ball rolling!  For a real estate agent, that’s a very good thing.

The only problem with turnover rate though is tracking it. There has not been an easy way to locate high rates of turnover in communities. Even if your title company or an assistant that you employ was willing to help you crunch the numbers to find the higher turnover rate areas… it’s time consuming.

That’s the reason we added the Tract Utility tool to Benutech, Inc.’s ReboGateway product.This tool instantly groups homes together by FIVE different property groupings, and displays the groups from highest turnover or sales rate to lowest rate in seconds. That’s SECONDS, not days!  Not only is Tract Utility providing quick, targeted results, but it’s also grouping homes in groups small enough for agents to easily identify and utilize.  Tract Utility breaks geographic areas down from Census Tracts to all the way to the housing tracts that homes are built into.  What’s the most popular grouping? It’s been the “Postal Carrier Route” grouping, which is the same group of homes that the US Postal Service uses when delivering ‘Every Door Direct Mailings’ (EDDM).  EDDM is the least expensive way to deliver mail, which cuts the price of mailing down to 1/3 the price of a postage stamp per door.

So as a real estate agent, where should you start? Right here:  Successful farming is created by repetitive listing inventory 2actions in the farm area. You can’t plant a seed (Mailer #1) and expect to reap large results in farming. It’s not enough care, not enough action to create a successful farm.  Successful farms are created with regular, repetitive contact at properties in your farm.  In crop farming the repetitive actions would be water and nutrients.  In real estate, its repetitive actions of mailers, door knocks, phone calls and the delivery of valuable useful information to homeowners that creates large crops of buyers and sellers. That’s why we love working with and partnering up with our friends from ProspectsPLUS.com. We provide the data and they provide the branding tools such as the impressive Market Dominator. It’s the perfect way to brand yourself in a farm area, and make yourself a known entity and celebrity to the homeowners, by showing you care about them and the community.

But now let’s talk about technology and farming. Farms can be created in any geographic area… but farming in all geographic areas are NOT the same. Not even close. You could choose to farm in the dry, rocky soil of the desert… and if you use tons of water, shade, and constant care, you may be able to create a successful farm.  But if you are smart, and chose an area of soft, fertile soil, a mild climate, in an area with lots of available water… wouldn’t you have a much better chance of creating a highly successful farm? Of course!  The place you choose to begin your farming is a very important decision. The correctly chosen area will result in more successful farms that are much easier to create. So select the area that is right for you and your farming.

So don’t just choose an area to farm that is closest to where you live or work – it may be dry, rocky soil in the desert… (and so 1990’s style of real estate farming).  Instead, you’ll want to crunch the numbers to find the community that has a perfect combination of…

  • Lack of solid presence of any one agent
  • high turnover rate
  • Solid sales prices
  • High homeowner saturation (as opposed to a large renter population)

This way, when you are ready to start investing in your geo farm, you know that you’ve got a market segment that has the highest potential for success.  You can do this on your own with the help of your title company and spreadsheets or acquire access to www.rebogateway.com and use the Tract Utility to find fertile farming areas in your neighborhood. Use that valuable information to identify the top postal carrier routes, or top housing tracts with the highest turnover rates nearest you.  Then begin your farming in these hand-picked farm areas using direct response tools such as the Market Dominator, Listing Inventory Series, or Neighborhood Update postcards from ProspectsPLUS.com, and a smart strategy of follow up via canvassing, door hangers, and phone calls, and you’ll be on track to build a successful farm that will continue to reward you with listings and referrals for years to come.

Join us for this week’s webinar “How to Pick the Perfect Geo Farm”, Thursday at 1pm Eastern. Register here.  

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Interested in finding out of if the Tract Utility tools and ReboGateway is right for you? Call the ReboGateway support team today at 866-887-0206 or email them today to set up a one on one demonstration at sales@benutech.com.

Interested in learning more about the ProspectsPLUS.com tools such as the Market Dominator to earn a 20% market share in the geo farm of your choice? Contact our team today at 866-405-3638 or visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com.