Thursday, March 30, 2017

Then Putting the Who, What, and When Together

By Julie Escobar

As we head into the final months of the year, a lot of agents are already wisely getting into planning mode. One sticking point that stumps a lot of real estate professionals is building the right marketing lists to fuel their pipeline of business.  Let’s take a look at some simple strategies to put into place:

Sphere, Farm, Niche – it’s the real estate agent’s version of lather, rinse, and repeat.  Success in this business stems from staying in touch, staying positioned, and top of mind for the folks in all three.  I’m often asked by agents, “Where do I start?” The obvious is ‘the sphere’, aka – your sphere of influence or book of business.

Now, if I had a dollar for every agent that said ‘no” when asked if they had ever taken the time to actually put their sphere (those people that already know you, like you, trust you, and would do business with you) into a database, I could buy a very large piece of property – like an island or something! So don’t let yourself fall into THAT category! Savvy agents understand that their best customers, are the ones they’ve built and nurtured relationships with consistently.  Who should be in in your sphere?  Family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, past clients – and all those folks whose lives you touch and touch yours back. businessbase

Sphere:  For a list of 250 people that SHOULD be in your book of business, download a pdf of our BusinessBASETM at no cost today.  Then make THIS the week you make putting YOUR sphere into a working, viable, referral-generating database.  Need help inputting all the data?  There are lots of college students home for the summer already that would be perfect for that kind of task.  Or hire a Virtual Assistant for the project.  Your highest and best use of time is prospecting, presenting, and closing – so gather up the data – and delegate it to someone to make it happen.

Four great marketing pieces for your sphere:

  1. Holiday postcards – there’s something every month that can be sent as a friendly hello.
  2. Recipe cards – many agents swear by these as customer ‘keepers’.
  3. Newsletters – these powerful tools are perfect for connecting with your sphere.
  4. Content cards – these are content-rich, consumer-friendly postcards filled to the brim with valuable information that people love.

Farm:  Pick an area – but not just ANY area.  I asked Coach Todd Robertson for a little how-to advice for map my mail dataagents on choosing the right farm area for them.  He shared, “I work with a lot of agents to help them really fine tune what area they want to market.  Even if you find a geographic farm that you think works for you location wise with commission-friendly price ranges, you still need to be mindful of two other factors:  The turn-over rate, and the competition.  Ideally, we want to help position you to receive a 20% market share in a geo farm. If you start in a farm where another agent already has that or higher, you’re going to work much harder and have to be at it longer to see the results you’re seeking.  Finding an area where any one agent has less than 10% market share is preferable, or if you see an area where a previously aggressive agent has slowed or stopped their marketing.  In terms of turnover rate, ideally you want a one that is at least 10-15%.  You can easily determine the turnover rate by dividing the number of homes in the farm by the number of homes which have sold.”  That’s a great starting point.  So take a snapshot of your market area – look at the neighborhoods that may fit that criteria close to you, then use our MapMyMailSM system to easily capture mailings lists from those areas.  You can choose a radial search by address, or choose to search by zip code or counties. Talk to your broker, look at your options – then map out your marketing list! Once you have that – then remember to stay CONSISTENTLY in touch with these folks – month after month.    For a great read and more tips from Todd – read The Smart Scoop on Geographic Farming.

Three great tools for connecting with your farm:

  1. Neighborhood Update/Free Offer series: People want two things: to know the agent they work with can get results – and that they have the resources they need.  These cards present you as the agent with both!
  2. Listing Inventory Series: These postcards speak to the mindset of potential sellers with the right questions and direct response offers.
  3. The Market Dominator: For agents serious about dominating a geographic farm and earning a 20% market share.  This powerful, direct-response piece is 12×15 and attention grabbing.  It also takes advantage of Every Door Direct Mail, so the cost is even more affordable.

Niche:  Top agents don’t stop at just marketing to a sphere and farm. They specialize in a demographic that resonates with them.

Here are some ideas for working a niche:pp demographic search data

  • Investors: Use our MapMyMailSM – choose the demographic search option, then custom, then choose records with a household income of $150,000 or higher.  You can also look for REI or REIA websites to learn more about real estate investors.   Use our Investor Series postcards to reach out to these lists each month.
  • FSBOS & Expireds: There are great services such as LandVoice that offer data for FSBOs & Expireds in market areas all across North America.  Use our 7 Series for FSBOs or Expireds – send 3-7 postcards in rapid succession (every 3-5 days) as soon as you see a new prospect for these demographics, offer a free report such as 5 Factors That Cause a Property Not to Sell, and follow up after you’ve sent the postcards with a direct response offer.  Offer to perform a Merchandising Review to ensure that the home gets sold for the best possible price in the fastest possible time.
  • First Time Home Buyers: Use the MapMyMailSM system to find local renters.  Offer a variety of free reports such as How to Save for a Down Payment, or Top Ten Checklist for Choosing an Agent. Send our First time home buyer/renter series of postcards monthly with a fair trade offer to connect.
  • Seniors: You can use that same MapMyMailSM technology to find Baby Boomers and older.  Send our Senior series of postcards to these fine folks!
  • Get creative: From motorcycle enthusiasts, to local sports team members, to boaters, to farmers, and everything in between.  Finding the group of people that you really connect with and would love to serve and work with is a great way to get continuously better as an agent and build a powerful referral network.  You can edit our holiday, inspiration, recipe, content cards, or even image series to alter your message for each and every demographic.

We also have powerful Specialty Data Selects Using Nielsen’s PRIZM Codes available on the site to help you tap into incredibly detailed data segments to help make their marketing easier – and more effective. What is PRIZM segmentation? According to Nielsen, “Segmentation links your customer data with household-level and neighborhood-level demographics, syndicated survey and primary research data to reveal exactly what types of consumers are currently using your products or services. Any customer files, lists or survey data with complete addresses or at least a ZIP code can be coded with Nielsen’s segmentation systems. This allows you to identify your best prospect segments with the greatest efficiency for effective marketing strategies that align with marketplace demands.”

Smart, right? So what does that mean to YOU as a real estate professional? It means that marketing just got more interesting. See our Nielsen PRIZM options here.

For all three marketing avenues – your sphere, farm, and niche – be sure to connect every 28-45 days consistently to ensure that you maintain that top-of-mind awareness.  Armed with your database and marketing materials, and a reminder system to FOLLOW up with the folks in each will give you the competitive edge in your market that will allow you to develop and maintain a long and prosperous career.  Ready, set – GO!

Need help getting started? Contact our marketing professionals today at 866.405.3638.  They are an amazing resource – and they truly care about your success.  Happy Listing!

 

Relationship Marketing Insights with REALTOR Maggie Dokic

By Julie Escobar

Through every conceivable type of market, one thing has always held true in our industry:  it’s a people business.  Call it what you will, mdokicsq-1sphere of influence or book of business, it is the process of staying connected and nurturing those relationships that will garner agents the highest potential for new business and referrals year after year and allow them to stay out of the “where is my next commission coming from” cycle.

To talk about why this is so important, I sat down with long-time ProspectsPLUS! Customer Maggie Dokic to find out what she’s learned through the years.

This is an excerpt from our interview:

Q:  Maggie, can you first tell our readers a little about yourself?

A: I’m a broker owner of a small real estate brokerage in Miami. I am technically a “competing” broker but only because I do sell to my own clients, not because I compete with my agents for business. We all lead generate and create our own business.

Q:  You’ve grown your team and your business considerably through the years, what do you think are the key components to building a solid book of business?

A: Fostering relationships with those who know you and staying in touch with past clients. It’s a known fact that it costs considerably more to get one new client than it does to stay in touch with one you already have. It makes financial sense to do so, plus it’s a natural extension of my personality to stay in touch with past clients!

Q: How important is marketing for you in terms of staying competitive and driving new leads?

A: Whether you’re marketing yourself or your brand, it’s important to ALWAYS be marketing. If you’re not?  Someone else is.

Q:  What ProspectsPLUS! marketing tools are you a big fan of and why?

A: I love the Just Listed postcards and how quickly they can be ordered. I’ve also really been wanting to try the new Market Dominator mailing. It looks amazing. I’ve had a challenging year this year due to personal responsibilities which have prevented me from expanding my real estate business. But it’s on my radar and as soon as my schedule settles down a bit, I’ll be looking into it further.md-nov

Q:  How often do you stay in touch with your sphere of influence?

A: On average it’s at least once a month with a scheduled email, but in reality probably more than that because much of my sphere I see in person either at church or personal events. And a large portion of my sphere is also connected on social media such as Facebook so I connect there as well.

Q:  What activities in your marketplace do you do consistently to support your marketing efforts?

A: Facebook ads for our new listings, open houses, and just listed/just sold postcards.  They all work to drive extra traffic to our site and phone calls.

Q:  Do you have a niche that you specialize in?

A: I’m a firm believer that it’s best to be a specialist and not a generalist. It dilutes your efforts if you try to be all things to all people. That said, my only niche is probably geographical in that I won’t go all over the county for business. I prefer to refer it to one of my agents or a colleague if it’s “too far” for me. Also I do not do commercial real estate, although I have agents who do. I personally prefer to concentrate on residential real estate only.

Q:  What advice do you have for fellow agents eager to create a strong foundation and career longevity?luxury cards

A: Real estate is about lead generation. If you don’t generate new business, you can’t expect to make it through the long haul. Pick at least three lead generating systems and stick to them. For example: Just Listed/Just Sold postcards are a great way to market you, your brand, and your listings.  Staying in touch with your sphere should definitely be another must-do.  ProspectsPLUS.com provides a whole spectrum of marketing tools to stay top of mind with your sphere, without breaking the budget.  And once you’ve sent those mailers?  Pick up the PHONE. It’s the least expensive, and most effective thing you can do. It’s a lot easier calling someone you know rather than a FSBO who doesn’t know you and is likely annoyed at all the agents calling her! Not to say FSBOs aren’t a good source of new business – they are!   

I would also say to focus on one thing at a time and don’t be a secret agent. This is Real Estate 101. Reach out to those who know you and like you, and let them know you’re in the business (or remind them you’re still in the business). People prefer to work with someone they know, like and trust and that’s where you gain the upper hand. Make sure your contacts know you are there for them. And be genuine in your approach. My monthly mailings remind them I’m in real estate. My phone calls, texts, Facebook posts and note cards are short, sweet, about building the relationship – and NOT about real estate are always appreciated. When you do all of these things – when they are ready to list or sell or know someone who is, I know they will remember I’m the real estate professional for them.

Q: You’ve also used a lot of Every Door Direct Mail™ while growing your business – what made you make communitynewsnovthumbsfront4that decision?

A: The cost of EDDM made me realize it was a smart business decision. Knowing that I could reach about three times the number of people for the same cost was a no-brainer. We once mailed to 1,002 homes and the day after the mailers were delivered I received my first call from a homeowner considering selling.

Q:  How can readers reach you if they’d like to send a referral your way?

A: We’re available at www.SpecialMiamiHomes.com and info@SpecialMiamiHomes.com.

Thank you so much Maggie.  We appreciation your generosity in sharing your experience!  You’re terrific and we wish you all the very best.

Want to learn more about driving your business forward, staying top of mind, and growing your referral base? Head over to our Master Marketing Schedule for a steady stream of tools, tips, techniques and ideas.

Need help getting started? Contact our team at 866-405-3638.  

 

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. 

Give Them What They Want

By Julie Escobar

“Content is king.” You may have heard that throughout the years, but it’s relevance has never been more important than today’s fast-paced world of business marketing. More often than not, today’s savvy consumer takes to the internet to learn everything they can about a product, service or even destination before making a decision.

So how do you jump to the top of their attention span? Be the competitor who consistently gives them what they want—valuable information that can help them:

  • make a more informed decision
  • solve a problem
  • become more educated

The real differentiator here is to do all of these things WITHOUT the consumer feeling like they’re being
dom-octlined up for a sales pitch. So whether you are delivering your content via video, conference call, email, ezines, newsletters, Market Dominator, — or a combination of all of the above, put your best foot forward, your thinking cap on and deliver what your customers need most.

Let’s take a look at three smart strategies to consider when implementing “Education Based Marketing.”

ONEMake it about them. Put yourself in the shoes of your best customer and think about the things that they want/need/expect/are interested in. Make it personal, intriguing, factual, relevant and —here’s a big one—HONEST. This type of marketing puts you in the position of teacher, and that denotes a level of trust. Create the right level of trust and you have comfortable, well informed customers—clearly better customers. Create the wrong level of trust, and you have consumers who are wary of your products or services because you haven’t eliminated the fear.

TWO:   Give a high value. This can be a tough thing for some business owners. The idea of giving something6 move up market away for free can be bothersome or make them feel as if they are de-valuing their product or service. In reality, these loss leaders are an effective, value-boosting investment in your long term customer relationship. When you consider the average of acquiring a new customer is considered 4-6 times higher than keeping your current customers engaged, happy, informed and ultimately loyal, giving value on the front end just makes sense. Take a tip from this week’s Master Marketing Schedule, which is to re-purpose the content from our Free Reports to share valuable information with those in your sphere and farm. You can share bits and pieces from these on your social media platforms – and offer the entire report for free on your website as an opt in piece.  You’ll want to put many of them in your listing or pre-listing packages as well. They are also perfect hand-outs at your Open Houses.  Get them all here. Our
Content Cards are another great way to offer educational information, present yourself as the resource people can count on, while earning their trust and their business. What’s great is there are new cards every content 1month for this series!  You can find them all here.  

THREE:  Make it ongoing. Before launching into this form of marketing, consider your long term goals and draw up a creative plan to consistently reach out to your clients month after month. Choose your topics in advance if you possibly can which will allow you to “tease” the participants each month with “coming attractions.” This also gives you time to do your homework and add in as much extra value as possible as well as drive traffic to your next event. The bottom line is you want your customers, both new and old, to get to the point where they would miss the information if it weren’t there. If they come to count on you for the answers and resources they need, it stands to reason you’ll outshine your competition every time.  For example, if your SaveDownPayment_thumbgoal is to work with first time home buyers – you may want to consider hosting a webinar or teleconference once a month or once a quarter where you can share ideas for new home ownership. You can base a lot of content on the free reports and even have a loan officer on hand to answer additional questions.  You can then use the free reports as reference material that will help you get additional contact information or as terrific reasons to meet with you for an appointment to learn more.

Whatever strategy you deploy this season, make sure your message is clear and marketing consistent. Call, see or send something to everyone in your base of business at least every 30 days and you will find that your productivity, profitability, referrals and commissions will be on track all year round.

Need help?  Call our marketing team today at 866.405.3638 to put the best systems in place to build your business easily, and cost-effectively.

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.