Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Formula for Success

By Julie Escobar

In today’s market (or any market for that matter) – if you’re not out there networking, making calls, reaching out to your sphere and farm, being PRESENT in your marketplace and even knocking on doors – then you are leaving your success as a real estate agent to chance.  The truth is?  It’s not LUCK — it’s LISTINGS.  And listings are STILL the name of the game.

So what are three things you can do to drive listing inventory in your market? 

Listing Inventory Cards

STEP ONE – SEND:  Use a direct response postcard or flyer to the folks in the hot-turnover neighborhoods or even those that are right on the cusp of turnover.  Let them know that the buying market is HOT and the time to sell is NOW.  Be sure to send any marketing you choose in increments of at least three.  (Remember that 3-7-27 rule – it takes 3 contacts for someone to recognize your name, 7 to put your name with what you do and 27 to become a brand or household name in the minds of the consumer.  Most transactions happen after FIVE contacts.) We’ve got a terrific series that speaks directly the mindset of sellers in this market called our Listing Inventory Series.

STEP TWO – CALL: Here’s where a lot of agents either fall down on the job or lose their muster.  Call people?  Talk to them?  Yikes!  Can it be nerve wracking for some?  Sure.  Will you get ‘No’s”? Absolutely.  But the numbers are in your favor.  If you call enough people, make enough contacts, you’ll get a yes. And that yes can turn into a listing and a listing into a sale and a sale into a commission – so no leaving it to chance.  Make a contact! (Or twenty, or more…)

Here is a sample dialogue  to help you get started:

  • Agent: Hi, my name is _____, and as you may know, our market is on the move and we’ve got more buyers than we have listings.  Have you thought about selling your home now or in the near future? 
  • Seller Question:  How much do you think I could get for my house?
  • Agent Answer (a la Floyd Wickman):  I don’t know, I haven’t seen your house yet, let’s get together!

STEP THREE – SEE:  Don’t knock the idea of old-fashioned door knocking!  Getting out there and visible in the neighborhoods and communities you are eager to service and become a brand name in is just good business.  Why?  It’s personal.  People can put the face with the name.  They can see that you are committed to making an impact and you get a chance to get the real lay of the land.  Door hangers or even shell-printed postcards are a great leave-behind for those who aren’t home – and a nice collateral piece for those who are.

I challenge you to take these three steps to grow your listing inventory, your market share – and your confidence!  Be consistent with it at least once a quarter and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.

Want to learn more about how to drive listing inventory and build a stronger market share?  Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com or call our marketing team today at 866.405.3638!  They’re terrific at helping agents figure out exactly what they need to market themselves in a budget-friendly way! 

Finding the Diamonds in Your Database

By Julie Escobar

As my old friend Floyd Wickman used to say, there are acres of diamonds in your book of business or “sphere” – but the trouble is, most agents are willing to do what it takes to mine for those diamonds.

Many agents don’t even have a ‘book of business’ or a true database.  They’re either new to the business or ‘never got around to it’ or for some – they’re so busy working ‘in the business’ to ever work ‘on the business.’  But there’s acres of diamonds in building a sphere of influence client list of people who know you, like you and trust you. Because frankly – those are the people that are going to list and sell their homes with you – buy from you –and refer friends and family to you.  First – you’ve got to reach them.  Consistently.  Effectively.  With purpose.

First, look at should be in your book of business. Read last week’s post:  The Year of the Sphere.

Secondly, get a handle on your business plan.  This is the one-page easy plan shared by Floyd Wickman. 

2017-biz

Download a copy for yourself or your team here. Then USE it. Make sure you are reviewing every month so you know when you are are on track — and off!

Next, Invest in these ten strategies for building a powerful base. 

  1. Get it all on ‘record.’  Whatever database management system you choose, be sure that you have entered at the very least the basic information such as name, address, phone number, email address, social media addresses if you have them for every past customer, friend, family member and acquaintance that you can think of.  Sound like a lot of work?  It is – but SO worth it.  And I’m not saying you have to do it yourself.  Delegate it – that way you can stick to what you do best – getting face to face with the folks in your market.
  2. Fill in the blanks.  The more RELEVANT you are – the more REFERRALS you’ll receive. So once you’ve customer-appgot the basics down – take note of more personal information about the people in your database.  What do they do?  Where do they live?  What makes them unique?  What else do you know about them that you can reference?  Who’s in their family?  You know the old saying – the ‘devil is in the details!’ The more you know the easier it will be for you to connect with them on topics that are relevant and important to them.
  3. Clean up old records.  At least twice a year go through your database and cull old contacts, and clean up missed or incorrect information. Connect with your database and let them know that their business is important to you and that you’re just doing a little ‘housekeeping’ so that you can be sure they are always kept in the loop and double check their information.  You can even make them a fair trade offer of a free report or certificate of some kind.
  4. Data mine for ‘like’ minded people.  One of the best things an agent can do is to really take a good fsbolong look at what their ‘best customer’ looks like.  Who do you like to work with?  Seniors?  Singles?  First time homebuyers?  Expireds? FSBO’s?  Once you know that – and can determine who you both like to work with and the type of people you have the most successful relationships with – you can data mine to find more of the same.   Find list options for data mining here. 
  5. Add new personal contacts.  As sales professionals we come into contact with new people every day that are potentially great future clients or customers.  Make it a point to add at least one new person per day or five per week to your book of business – more depending on how fast you want your business to grow.  Many agents I know make this database building a positive habit by dedicating one hour a week to the health and maintenance of their list.  Every time they meet a new person at the local Starbucks, networking meeting, business event, PTA, restaurant – even the grocery store and have an opportunity to collect a business card or information – that person goes into the ‘book’ and the nurturing begins!  Some of the best agents spend an hour a week sending a personal note or firing off an email just to say what a pleasure it was to meet and if they need anything – just call.  (Making notes on the back of those business cards or in your phone after meeting a new person will help jog your memory for details when you are entering them into your database at a later time.)  Think about 10 people THIS WEEK you could add if you tried:  Teachers, Bankers, Restaurant Owner/Staff, Accountant, Attorney, Landscaper, Gas Station Owner, Grocery Store Manager…the possibilities are endless!  (If you did that EVERY week you’d be adding more than 500 people to your book of business each year!)
  6. Add past lists:  If you’ve sent out Just Listed or Just Sold postcards and have purchased a list of just sold cardhomeowners contact information who received those postcards – be sure not to forget those folks.  You can add them in and start the process of taking them from ‘prospect’ to ‘member’ of your sphere by building those relationships over time.  Think about this – every time you send a Just Listed postcard with a purchased list – you are adding to your database. But most agents only send that one card, the Just Listed to that list.  Think one list = unlimited opportunities.  Contract Pending. Price Reduced. Just Sold. Listing Inventory.  Check out our new ThreeClickPostcards.com – where you can order your Just Listed/Sold/Contract Pending cards — right from your phone!
  7. SHARE with them.  Direct mail is a great way to ‘touch’ your book of business at least once a month.  From powerful postcards with relevant offers to a monthly newsletter packed with valuable content – staying in TOUCH is the key to staying TOP of mind.  We’ll even help you automate the process with a set-and-forget system that allows you to put your marketing plan in motion and then focus on those personal contacts and the three tasks that are most important in your business:  prospecting, presenting and CLOSING.  Visit www.prospectsplus.com/specials today to learn more about these options or call our team at 866.405.3638 for help deciding what might work best for you, your list and your budget!
  8. Invite them into the conversation.  Savvy agents are firing up their social media strategies on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest and inviting their community of followers to join in the conversation.  Create a Facebook page for your neighborhood farm and post community information that’s relevant to your buyers and sellers such as school information, local business information, fun facts and more.  Agents are breaking out their iPhones and creating video walking tours of area hotspots, news for the week, reviews of local businesses, types of homes to look for in their area and all kinds of fun and interesting information.  Pinterest has people pinning and posting all about staging ideas, inspirational quotes, homes in the area, community events, blog posts and more.
  9. Follow up.  Break your list up into manageable numbers and commit to follow up calls every week.  Most experts recommend scheduling a daily appointment with yourself to prospect.  Don’t underestimate the value of face-to-face connecting as well.  Community events, school functions, networking opportunities and just being active in the community that you service will help keep you visible, allow you a chance to arrange follow up conversations and ask questions, be the resource people need and you will generate referrals in the process! It can be as simple as letting them know that you are there to help anytime.
  10. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  Well you get the idea.  Treating your database as the saleable, valuable resource that it is means not putting it away for 11 months out of the year.  Commit to these ten strategies monthly and your career will thrive – and you won’t have to always be wondering where your next commission will come from.

Need help?  Call us at 866.405.3638.  Our team of marketing professionals can help you put your plan in place for success. 

Making Your Book of Business a Priority

By Julie Escobar

We’re excited about the launch of the fifth edition of the Master Marketing Magazine this month.  The printed copies should be hitting mailboxes soon, but you can sneak a peek inside the pages here and read the digital version today!  It all starts with a powerful but simple business plan shared with us by our old friend Floyd masket-marketing-magazine-5-3d
Wickman.  Find it here. 

Every edition of the magazine has centered around different themes such as Big Data, Experts & Insights, and Geographic Farming.  Our latest edition focuses on the heart of what should be every agent’s business foundation – their sphere of influence.  Why?  Statistics show that top producers consistently share that 66% of their business comes from their sphere.  That one in every twelve people in your sphere will either do business with you or refer business your way every year IF (and only IF) you consistently make reaching out to them a priority.

For every agent who sits scratching their head wondering why “Aunt Helen” listed with another agent or is stymied by the fact that the people they most closely do business with (lawyers, doctors, dentists, accountants, colleagues) aren’t choosing to make them their real estate go-to professional, there are the top agents who get it.  It costs less to KEEP and create a customer FOR LIFE than it does to cultivate new ones.  Plus, it is WAY less stressful than riding the commission roller coaster your whole career.

Step One: Know your numbers. How many people do you need in YOUR SPHERE to help you hit your goals this year?  We’ve created a sphere of influence calculator to help you figure out if you’re on track.

Find it here.

Step Two:  Stay in touch. The Direct Marketing Association recommends reaching out to your book of business every 21-45 days.  Savvy agents use a variety of methods to make sure that they are top of mind.  We recommend the Send-Call-See approach to staying connected.  That is to SEND something monthly to your sphere as a tangible reminder that you are a resource they can turn to. Then CALL everyone in your sphere at two-four times per year.  And SEE everyone at least twice per year.

For the SEND we can recommend:community-news

For the CALL, we recommend:

  • Take a look at our Master Marketing Schedule, for some fun, creative reasons to connect
  • If sending the content cards or newsletters, follow up on a topic and ask if they have any questions
  • Let people know that the market is in a constant state of change, and that change can raise a lot of important questions for folks. Ask them if they’ve got any questions, or know anyone who may be in need of real estate assistance.
  • If you’re following them on social media, and see that there has been a change in their lives (new job, new baby or grandchild, award or accomplishment), tell them you saw the news and you just wanted to check in and congratulate them, or the appropriate sentiment for the event.

For the SEE, we recommend:

  • Choosing at least five top clients a month to reach out to with an invite for coffee or lunch, or a drop by with something fun using the suggestions found in the Master Marketing Schedule.
  • Hosting an annual customer appreciation party. Suggestions:  rent out a movie theatre or do an outdoor movie in the park in the spring, a picnic, or an open house wine and cheese.

Taking care of the people in your sphere will help you grow your business faster and easier. Not sure where to start? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Download our BusinessBASE™ – includes suggestions for the 150 people who SHOULD be in your sphere plus the how/when and why for contacting them20-year
  • Harvest from past and present transactions – client contacts from both sides
  • Networking – Local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, etc.
  • Connectivity – If you just added two people per day each business day of the year, you could effectively grow your book of business to more than 500 within 12 months
  • Acquire the client bases of agents leaving the industry

Why should you grow your sphere of influence SOONER rather than Later? It’s simple when you consider the average Lifetime Value of a Customer is more than $49,000!

We wish you every success this year and know that we are here to help!  Contact our support team if you have any questions at 866-405-3638. Good luck out there making it your Year of the Sphere!

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. 

Real estate agent or a home buyer selecting an energy efficient house from a row of paper houses in energy label colors.

You’ll Need a Few Tools of the Trade

By Julie Escobar

This month’s Master Marketing Schedule Tip is perfect for those of you who are looking for a new niche to jump into.  Our recommendation is to start planting the seeds for potential move up market clients.  With markets continuing to rebound and our economy getting stronger, many families are once again considering moving up to the next size home.  If you’re the agent staying top of mind with the right marketing materials, you could easily position yourself as the turn to agent. 6 move up mistakes

So how do you get started? 

  1. Locate a neighborhood with a large number of first-time or entry-level homeowners or choose the county in which you’d like to establish your niche.
  2. Gather data and listings for larger homes in neighborhoods with prices $50,000 to $100,000 higher than your targeted group.
  3. Do your homework. Know as much about those new neighborhoods as possible including school ratings, local business information, etc.
  4. Download our Free Report: 6 Move Up Mistakes Home Buyers Make to use as collateral, and a fair trade offer.move up market 1
  5. Start sending our series of three Move Up Market postcards once a month to homeowners in your targeted area.
  6. Mailing list options. If searching by a specific neighborhood, you can use our radial search by street address function. Or simply choose your state, county, and then the Move Up Market option tosearch your market.
  7. Start following up! Canvass the area with your free report and even Need more room carddoor hangers.
  8. You may also want to order a stack of our Need More Room postcards from our Life Event series and see if area pediatricians and obstetricians will let you put them in their waiting rooms. Baby superstores and boutiques are another great place to advertise. Growing families are often in the market for bigger homes.

We love when agents get creative about how they market themselves and aren’t afraid to go a little outside the box. Just remember, when working with move up market buyers, be prepared to help them best understand how to juggle financing and timing – especially if they have to sell their current home first.  Have fun with this niche!

Need more great marketing ideas? Visit our Master Marketing Schedule today. It’s filled with new, innovative and outside the box ideas each and every month!  Need help?  Our marketing team is top of the line at 866.405.3638 and ready to answer your questions or help you create the marketing piece that’s perfect for your market.