Friday, December 15, 2017

Left in the Year — How Will You Spend Them?

by Julie Escobar

We are more than halfway through the year. Just better than two hundred days left. What you do now will determine what kind of holidays you’ll have. Whether you’ll hit those goals you set in January. Whether you’ll finish strong and kick off the new year with ease. So, what’s it going to be? Let’s take a look at some ways you can get back on track or keep on track:

  1. Review your SMART goals weekly. Create a means to measure where you are in relation to your goal. Use a chart, a checklist, or an integrity partnership to review your progress. When you wait months or an entire year to review – it’s impossible to know whether you are on track or off. Top agents always know their numbers, always have a visual of the goals that they are passionate about and are always re-calibrating their time, tools, training and activities to ensure they achieve the goals they set.
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Relevant 
    • Time bound
  2. Get out of stealth mode. The idea that the business will just come to you in today’s market is false. There is considerable competition so get out from behind the desk or computer and get out into the markets in which you want to build market share. Knock on doors. Meet the neighbors. Leave branded collateral pieces at local professional offices and waiting rooms where possible. (Think doctor’s offices, car dealerships, etc.)  Host events. Ask questions. Sponsor sports teams. Donate the bounce house at the neighborhood event. Show that you are the face of real estate in your area.
  3. Reach out to your sphere. If you’re not touching base with everyone in your sphere at least twice a year, then you are leaving money on the table. We know statistically that one in twelve will result in business or referral every year. But NOT if you don’t stay in touch. Many agents use holiday cards every month with a message on the back to keep connected. Others choose newsletters or content cards as a monthly “touch”. Whatever you choose, be sure you are consistent. It’s one of the best things you can do to build and grow your referral base.
  4. Never neglect your neighborhood farm.  Your competition won’t be and they’ll take market share wherever they can find it.  If you’ve got an area that you want to dominate in, consider our Market Dominator system, or using the Listing Inventory Series to stay in touch every month. Top of mind awareness is crucial in today’s market. Attend every neighborhood function and be sure you are walking your farm with content-rich collateral at least twice per year.
  5. Add at least five people to your marketing list per week.  Always be in networking mode and always look for ways to grow your database and sphere. Committing to adding five people per week means you’ll add 260 to your sphere. To help you put that in context, I used our SOI calculator to show you what that looks like. I entered $200,000 as an annual goal, and an average commission of $6,000 – which told me that to realize that goal I’d need 33 transactions. Using the national stats that 66% of business comes from an agent’s SOI, I calculated that I needed 264 people in my SOI to realize my goal.  You can calculate how many you need here. 
  6. Be consistent. I can’t stress this one enough. One and done marketing has never, ever earned anyone a good living. If you’re not touching base monthly or at least quarterly, you are leaving the door open for your competition to create the top of mind awareness that you could be earning. That’s like handing away future commissions to other agents. To succeed at high levels, you’ve got to stay on top of your marketing game and stay present in your market place. Using smart time management and done-for-you marketing tools can help.

Remember we are here to help. Our company is steeped in real estate experience and we train our marketing team to know exactly what agents just like you need to succeed and excel. We want to help you make the most of the last 200 days of the year — and every day after that as well. Visit www.prospectsplus.com today or call our team at 866.405.3638 to learn more. 

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.

 

 

The Secret is in How Many Times You Show UP

By Julie Escobar

If you’re like MOST agents?  You want it NOW.  Right now.  Success in a “just add water” -instant gratification in a cup kind of time frame right?  And I can appreciate that.  If I could just win the lottery I’d be that way too – one ticket – lifetime of riches.  Unfortunately – that’s not a very realistic (or practical) plan is it?

You’ve got to put the time in and PERSEVERE.  You’ve got to show up not just ONCE, but again and again and again.  You know that old saying out of sight – out of mind?  It’s especially true of customer relationships in today’s market.  In fact, Statistics tell us it takes at LEAST three impressions for a consumer to recognize your name, seven to associate your name with your business, and twenty seven for them to like you, know you, trust you enough to do business with them.  I know – it’s not instant gratification – but it is the smart business practice if you want to be in real estate for the long haul.

So, let’s take a look at three smart strategies that can make succeeding faster (YES!), easier (Phew!) and more effective (Sounds good!).

1. Make it easy on yourself.  Delegate.  You get paid to get face-to-face and voice–to-voice with customers.  Your job is to wow them with what you can do for them – how you can make that easier, more profitable & fewer headaches.  Hard to do that when you’re still printing, cutting & stuffing envelopes.  Put a system in place to reach your customers and potential customers (sphere of influence and geographic farm area) at the very least every 4-6 weeks.  The Direct Marketing Association and top agents lean more towards every 21-30 days.  It doesn’t have to be a lot – but it does have to be consistent.   We’ve worked hard to make that easy for you with hundreds and hundreds of ready-to-go campaigns that you can choose, calendar and then have peace of mind that this part of the puzzle is done – find out more here: Postcard Campaign Specials.

2. Use social media wisely.  The wonderful thing about social media is that it gives you the ability to communicate one-to-many.  Creating a blog or Facebook page to keep your sphere or neighborhood farm updated and informed is not only effective – it’s POWERFUL. Here’s a little inside advice from a friend and Social Media Expert Stacy Stateham:

“I’d like to say to start with Facebook, but don’t.  Start by spending a few hours figuring out who you are likely to be most successful with.  What kind of people do you want to connect with?
Forget your real estate business for a minute and think about them.  What do they like?  What are they interested in?  What will keep them coming back?  Now, bring your real estate business back into the equation.  How can you match their interests with your business?  Laser focus on that core audience and build all of your marketing around them, both online and off.Say you want to attract successful 50-60 something’s.  The might be interested in food and wine, they might like to travel, they’re concerned about their nest egg, they may have adult children and possibly grandchildren.  Oh yeah, and they buy real estate.

Next -start with Facebook.   Use the friend finder to search your email addresses, connect to the people that make sense, and start a business page.  When the business page is complete and has a full page of content, invite your contacts.  It just takes a few minutes a day to log into Facebook, comment on what people are saying, and post something relevant to your target audience on your business page.  What’s relevant?  Keep your posts to 2/3’s non-real estate related, and 1/3 about your business. They like food and wine, so post things about local restaurants and gourmet food shops, great kitchen upgrade ideas, and feature a home with an awesome kitchen.  They like to travel so talk about places to visit within driving distance, events in nearby cities, then how to buy a vacation home, explain reverse mortgages.  They have kids and maybe grandkids so talk about how to help kids start adult life with healthy credit habits, college saving funds, and about how to gift a down payment on their kids first home.  And so on…

You’re not limiting yourself to seniors, you’ll get first time home buyers because young people ask their parents for advice, you’ll attract other foodies who like to travel, and other people with similar interests.  You’re just focusing on where you are most likely to be successful.  If you’re a younger hipper type, target people like you – post about all the other things that interest you, plus a 1/3 about real estate topics that related to your core audience.”  — All great advice thank you Stacy!

3. Network.  With the shifts in the economy & market – now is the perfect time to connect with smart, like-minded area business professionals and share ideas, strategies and – SPHERES.  Area CPAs can send you clients who are looking for good investments.  Attorneys handling divorce, estates and real estate holdings can send you buyers, sellers and leads.  Human Resource managers can use your expertise to help their employees  find homes and put down roots in a community.  In return – you have the ability to send your clients their way as well.  Great for you – great for your networking partners and great for the customers.  In times like these – people NEED referrals they can trust.  It makes them feel safe, cared for and re-affirms that they are making sound decisions for themselves and their families.  THAT is the kind of thing that cements relationships and creates a client for life.

Some things to think about for this week. Put the 3-7-27 rule of marketing to work in your business.  And know that if you need some help showing up – OVER and OVER – cost-effectively, easily and without stress, our team is there for you.  Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com, or call us at 866.405.3638 today.  We’ve got you covered!

With Top Agent Carmen Wieck

By Julie Escobar

It’s so powerful to learn from our customers, hear their stories and be able to share their insights and ideas
with others. Every time we do, it’s wonderful. We often get a behind-the-scenes glance into what brought them to our great industry – and what they do that allows them to flourish.

What a treat it was to learn more about our VIP customer Carmen Wieck. Her story inspired us, and I know it will inspire you too. Here’s what we learned:

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

A: I was born and grew up in communist Romania, and 1989 was a big turning point in my destiny. I always felt I was missing something big, but I never knew what it was. After graduating from the Academy of Economic Studies, I had a very short period of “trial and error” in finding the right career path for myself. I was a lieutenant in the Romanian Police, dreaming of “bringing justice for all.” I also worked for the government, dreaming of “making a difference” until I finally found that working in marketing for private multinational companies was where I fit best. I was so fortunate to work with exceptional managers in several blue chip companies such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Frito-Lay and Ipsos Research.

While I was living in Croatia working for Coca-Cola, I met my husband, who’s from Wisconsin. Life took a big turn for both of us, as we started a family and moved around the world with new job assignments. A few years ago, we decided that the best thing for our two daughters was to benefit from the educational system in the United States, so we moved to Florida. One of the best decisions for our family!

I know from several hands-on experiences that navigating the real estate environment can become overwhelming and emotionally wrecking. Moving so many times from country to country gave me enough personal exposure as a customer… and not always very pleasant. After more than 18 years in the corporate environment and one too many traumatic experiences in real estate, I decided to become a REALTOR® and bring my contribution to restoring the belief that this profession can be conducted with high ethics and, more important, with genuine care about the needs of customers.

Q: What is your go-to marketing tool for branding yourself in your market and driving new business?

A: I’ve “toyed around” with several marketing tools when it comes to marketing in real estate and had my fair share of no’s and wows! One thing I would say is that driving new business starts with exceeding expectations on your existing business. That will always secure your “organic” growth, which should be the foundation for your long-term business.

For tapping into new business opportunities, I’ve learned that a combination of passive and active
prospecting works best for me. For example, a combination of three touchpoints direct mail campaign for Expireds (which I adapted to fit my brand and personality from existing marketing materials/postcards from prospectsplus.com library in such a way that fits my branding and personality) followed by direct contact (calls or door knocking) can prove really productive.

I consider Just Listed/Just Sold postcards a must. However, don’t just sell it or list, put a spin on it and have an unexpected approach or added value. Give your target a reason that matters TO THEM, not to you. I absolutely dread the postcards I receive in my mail from agents stating, “Thank you for making me the #1 agent in your neighborhood.” To me, that is such a turnoff. As a customer, I don’t care that you are #1; I care about my motivation for selling and buying and how you as a real estate agent fit in my motivation! Again, the prospectsplus.com library is such a great source of inspiration. My first Just Sold postcards using a template from ProspectsPLUS! generated two listings!

Q: How do you believe agents can differentiate themselves from other agents in today’s competitive market?

A: Exceeding expectations, going the extra mile. Anybody can put a listing on the MLS now, even FSBOs (with the flat fee companies that offer this service to FSBOs for a nominal fee), everybody offers free CMAs, everybody has a marketing plan that includes internet, maybe open houses, maybe Just Listed postcards, maybe flyers, etc. All seen and done by all REALTORS® to a certain extent.

In a market that’s becoming more and more of a commodity, where everybody knows at least one REALTOR®, true differentiation in added value on trending aspects of real estate is what sets you apart. For example, offering a complimentary Staging Analysis and Assistance, complimentary home protection plan during listing, complementary inspection or appraisal before listing, complimentary full cleaning of the house before listing, etc., depending on the property, owners, their motivation, etc.

Q: Any outside-the-box ideas you’d like to share for building your book of business?

A: Yes. Use an introductory video for your pre-listing package. Tell your short story, show who you are, instill confidence and energy. It helps homeowners get more comfortable and relaxed about meeting you before you show up at the door.

Find something that’s your “thing,” and embed it into your touchpoints with your customers to show genuine care. For example, I LOVE baking, and my whole family loves my signature apple-raspberry pie I make from scratch. So I bring my signature pie for my clients at closing and drop by at their one-, two- and three-year home anniversaries and bring them the pie. One time I had the extended family of one of my past clients waiting for me at the house, just to make sure they got to taste the pie while it was still warm.

Q: How often do you connect with your sphere and farm, and what kind of results do you get from that?

A: I recently started the Market Dominator for my farming area. I find this approach indeed standing out from the crowd – the content, the quality of the printing, everything spells out professionalism, exceeding the “norm” standing out from the crowd. I recently started this; it’s basically a monthly touchpoint approach with my farm, and I do expect to see results in the next few months.

With my sphere, I make sure I stay in touch and call, drop by or send a card for special holidays or birthdays, usually three to four times a year.

Q: Any fun advice to help agents master this business?

A: How one becomes a successful real estate agent? Same as one becomes a butterfly: You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.

Q: Last, where can our readers send a referral if they have someone in your area?

A: My focus is in Broward County, and I can be reached at carmen.realtorflorida@gmail.com or 786-449-9882.

Wonderful, Carmen! Thank you so much for sharing your inspired story with our readers. You’re amazing!

If you’d like to stand out in your market and soar past your competition the way Carmen does, please don’t hesitate to contact us today at 866.405.3638. We can put you on the path to success.

Sage (and Funny) Advice from Top Agent Steve Turner

By Julie Escobar

I love agents who take a walk on the funnier side of life. They’re fun to interview and amazingly good at sharing perspective and insights. Catching up with our VIP customer Steve Turner was a perfect example of
that. He has a great approach to business, life and staying on track. Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q: Hey, Steve! Can you please start by telling our readers a little about yourself?

A: I consider myself the rookie with 19 years of experience – and the Big Guy of New Homes Sales! Since 1997, I’ve been an employee of various homebuilding companies, leading their sales teams. About two years ago, I figured I could make it even bigger by being an independent agent, as I was sure I knew everything I needed to succeed. Little did I realize, I had A LOT to learn (or unlearn) about being a REALTOR®.

Q: It’s crazy competitive in most markets. What advice would you share with agents for staying top of mind and edging out other agents for branding and business?

A: Planning your work and working your plan is timeless advice that I continue to utilize. I make sure I have a plan such as what I am going to do this month, next month and even six months from now. Working the phone, sending emails, mailings and pop-bys are all in my plan. I’m also guilty of using the plan you publish in your magazine for my mailings. Then all I have to do is figure out when I think my postcards or mailers will arrive in their mailbox so I can plan my calls and follow-up emails around those dates.

Q: What is your go-to marketing tool for generating new business?

A: I have several that always seem to work for me. With first-time buyers, I love using door hangers to canvas certain areas to pull from. Also, memorable postcards to targeted homes help me get listings. Another one that helps me is postcards to just keep in touch with my settled buyers for referrals. Don’t forget your past clients; they truly are some of the best sources for your next clients.

Q: I know you’re a fan of the Master Marketing Schedule. It’s fun, right? What can you tell readers about how that works for you and what you like about it?

A: The Master Marketing Schedule is great because I don’t have to put much thought or effort into what message or theme I focus on during the different months. I can just pull from the monthly suggestions and then build my monthly marketing and follow-up plan around that. My energy is best focused on helping clients instead of trying to figure out my own marketing ideas, and the Master Marketing Schedule from ProspectsPLUS! gives me ideas for success without taking time from my income-generating activities.

Q: How often do you stay connected with your sphere and farm, and why, in your opinion, is that so important?

A: Working for builders over the years, I relied too much on their marketing and didn’t focus on building my
own sphere. That truly was my biggest mistake of the past. Imagine how amazing it would be to know every single owner in a community because you sold every home there with the builder? However, making calls years later saying, “Remember me? I’m the guy who sold you your home 10 years ago and haven’t spoken to you since! Are you looking for a professional to sell it now?” That conversation doesn’t go over well.

Really, I now try to stay in touch with my sphere on a monthly basis and more frequently, if possible. Social media helps make it easy to stay in front of them, but it can’t be your only way of staying in touch. I want to be on their Facebook feed, at their charity event, in their mailbox and a voice on the other end of the phone with them.

Q: Any fun, out-of-the-box ideas you care to share with readers?

A: I’ve been told that I have a good sense of humor, and I love having fun. As such, I tend to use a lot of humor in my follow up. I’ve designed a few memes on Facebook so that every time my friends and clients share it, my website address is watermarked across it. To get a good long life out of it, I’ve used the same meme as postcards too. These tend to get stuck to their fridge or posted to their pin board at their work cubicle.  

Q: I love that! What keeps you motivated and on track for your goals?

A: Nothing is more motivating than helping someone buy or sell their own home. Seeing their joy helps lift me up and keeps me wanting to go do it again, for someone else. There’s an amazing high that comes with getting my clients the offer or home of their dreams. I always say that sales is a job for a manic depressive – if you’re not one when you start, you will be!

Q: Last, how can our readers send referrals your way?

A: Brand-new homes and custom homes are still my specialty. I’ve built a network that has become the best team in new construction in Central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland. My contact info can be easily found on my site: www.TheSteveTurner.com, or follow along on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TopAGENTinCentralPA.

Wonderful, Steve! Thank you so much for sharing. We hope everyone takes a little time to implement some of your terrific strategies and ideas.

If you need help getting started or implementing part of your marketing plan, call our team at 866.405.3638 today, or visit us at www.prospectsplus.com.