Saturday, November 18, 2017

In Step with Awesome Agent Ariana Gillette

By Julie Escobar

How do top producers stay at the top and continue to grow their businesses? We got the answers to that and more when we caught up with top producing agent Ariana Gillette who shared her thoughts on what it takes to make it – and KEEP making it in this competitive business.

Here’s what she shared…

Q:  Thanks for sharing your ideas with us! Can you first tell our readers a little about yourself?

A:  Hi Readers! I am a Northern Virginia native. My Husband, two kids, two German Shepherds & I currently live in Loudoun County. Real Estate is my passion and I have handled a Gazillion issues as a Realtor in this fast-paced, yet rewarding business. I have been licensed since 2003 and do $10 million in production per year, yet I am always looking for fun and creative ways to expand my business. I have a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and am a Licensed Real Estate Broker.  I bring a depth of knowledge into every transaction as well as a solid sense of humor. My goal is to educate & empower my clients to make the best decisions they can while buying and selling. I want them to have the best experience possible.

Q:  You entered the Master Marketing Schedule contest – can you share what you like about using this agent tool and what your favorite strategy was?    

A:  Let’s be honest … the everyday practice of Real Estate is tedious. Yet, that is exactly what makes us successful running our businesses. If we don’t prioritize meaningful engagement with our clients it’s just NOT going to happen. The Master Marketing Schedule makes it easy to time block your calendar to do mailings, pop-by gifts, and farming pieces.

Q:  Are you working a geographic farm as well as your sphere – and can you tell our readers any tips you might have for staying top of mind?

A: My sphere is the life of my business. I door knock with door hangers, I do print for my Coming Soon, Just Listed, Just Sold marketing, and of course everyone’s favorite the Neighborhood Update. I mail the update one time per quarter, which reminds me, I’m due for Q3 mailing to my Farm! My advice? Get involved with your community and give back. That is how to make your Farm thrive with referrals.

Q: What are some of your favorite ways to stay in touch with the VIPs in your sphere of influence?

A: Coffee, lunch, pop-by gifts, invites to events and free stuff when I get tickets or passes, etc. Facebook shout-outs to customers on the anniversary of their home purchases.

Q: A lot of agents struggle with follow-up – do you have any words of wisdom for them?  

A: Order Thank You cards that are blank inside and start shooting them out, and have stationary made from ProspectsPLUS! to write handwritten notes. ANYONE who gives you their email, add to your database right away — not a month from now.  I am bad about this, but it does make a huge difference.

Q:  One of the reasons we created the Master Marketing Schedule was to put some fun into marketing for agents, and give them outside the box ideas for connecting with clients. Do you have any fun things you do to stay motivated and on track?

A: Accountability groups, a life coach, webinars, and conferences. I’m a busy mom – but I make time for all of these when I can.

Q:  If you had one piece of advice for a brand-new agent in today’s market, what would it be?

A: Use systems. Run your Real Estate business like any other business. Show up. Follow systems that every office provides or connect with one of the bigger named coaches. Create and maintain meaningful relationships with every client you work with. Go above and beyond to provide value. AND don’t TEXT all the time. Make phone calls, and meet with clients in person to develop those relationships that will be your referral business for years to come.

Q:  If agents have a referral for you, how can they reach you?

A:  Sure. I am available via email at Ariana@Dwellus.com, on Zillow at www.zillow.com/profile/Ariana-Gillette or Facebook — search Ariana Gillette Real Estate.

Awesome information — thank you SO much, Ariana!

Be like Ariana! Jump into the contest!  

CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW YOU CAN WIN $10,000.

Need help with your marketing? Visit www.prospectsplus.com or call our marketing team at 866.405.3638 today! 

And Have Some Fun With Your Marketing

by Julie Escobar

Consistency is a powerful element in successful marketing. That’s why so many of our clients wisely choose to pick a postcard series to stick with for three to six months at a time. It’s also why you’ll see this strategy play out in our Master Marketing Schedule. We pick a series and make the postcards from it a monthly tip for reaching out to the consumers in your marketplace to build your book of business.

This week’s schedule strategy is to send the Waiting Could Cost You postcard from the Market Quote Series to at least 100 new prospects in an area where you want more listings. I love this series. It’s simple and effective and gives potential buyers and sellers insights into what is happening right now in the real estate market.

If you’ve thought about using it, here are some suggestions for the copy on the backside of the card. 

  1. Invite people to a real estate question and answer event. Have some fun with it.
  2. Offer something of value such as a Comparative Market Analysis, Home Price Analysis, or a Free Report.
  3. Share some hyper-local information such as listing and sale metrics, or even local event information such as school schedules, neighborhood event calendars, etc.
  4. Share your personal insights on what people need to know about real estate on a local level.
  5. Drive people to a blog post or social media page to learn more information.

Make sure you are writing your copy in a conversational and engaging way and don’t be afraid to let your personality show through! Be sure to spell-check before you finalize your postcard, then place your order. (It’s sometimes helpful to write out what you want in a Word document first and paste it into the system for less frustration and spell-checking.) Many of our top agent clients choose the first week of every month to spend 30-60 minutes to make sure their marketing is done and checked off the list for the month for each category of customers they want to reach or they break it down by week, based on the Master Marketing Schedule.  Be sure you are connecting with:

Need help putting your marketing in motion? Contact our team today at 866.405.3638! They are terrific at helping agents grow their businesses. 

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!