Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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, 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 

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.  


All Year Around
business strategies for realtors

By Julie Escobar

The truth is?  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.

Before you can do that – you should know these 10 things:

  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. Click here to get a copy of our BusinessBASE™. In it you’ll find a list of everyone who should be in your sphere of influence.
  2. Fill in the blanks.  The more RELEVANT you are – the more REFERRALS you’ll receive. So once you’ve got 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 long 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.
  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 5 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 homeowners 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.
  7. SHARE with them.  Direct mail is a great way to ‘touch’ your book of business at least once a month.  From powerful sphere of influence 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 put the right pieces in place to allow 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 our SPECIALS page 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!

  1. 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 flip cameras 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.  Use our On the Web Series of postcards to drive your offline traffic to these valuable and engaging sites.
  2. 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.
  3. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  Well you get the idea.  Treating your database as the salable, 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. 

What You Do NOW Has Everything to Do With How You’ll Finish the Yearreal estate Beat the Clock

By Julie Escobar

As we hit the mid-month mark this month – many agents are staring down the barrel of just five and a half months left to hit their goals this year. What’s interesting to note that many entrepreneurs usually fall into three categories: those who created a comprehensive business plan and are on track, those who made a plan but just haven’t kept tabs on it, and those who are still taking the “hope for the best” approach to their business.

Where you land in that set of three will determine whether you are feeling confident and competent (and without a lot of stress) as we take on the rest of the year, or whether you will find yourself playing beat the clock (or worse yet, behind the eight-ball!)

In today’s competitive marketplace, savvy business men and women know that having a viable business plan and tracking it not just annually, but weekly and monthly as well is critical to success. Why? Consider how quickly you can find yourself not one month off track, but one quarter or one half of the year and then what? Once you lose your footing, getting back on track and staying focused becomes a slippery slope.

Step One:  Determine WHERE YOU ARE NOW.  Are you on track or off?  What will it take to hit your goals?  What will it mean to you and your family if you don’t?

If you’re on track – terrific.  You’ve got time to fine tune skills and keep the marketing and prospecting engines going to meet and probably exceed your goals by year’s end.

If you’re not on track, determine a viable plan of action.  Get with your coach, mentor, or manager and create a plan based on these factors:

  • what are your must-accomplish goals for the rest of the year?
  • how many listings you need to hit your goals?
  • how many people do you need to contact hit those goals?
  • what are your success ratios?  (calls to appointments, appointments to listings, listings to closings)
  • what will you have to do DAILY/WEEKLY/MONTHLY to realize those goals

Goal setting and goal reviewing aren’t just for New Year’s resolutions.  They are an integral part to success EVERY month.  If you’re off track, don’t despair – there’s still time (and the fall market) to help you get where you want to go.

It all starts with the PEOPLE.  Consumers are more apt than ever to “take their business elsewhere” if they don’t feel like they are a priority for you and your organization.

As a consumer yourself, who are you more likely to do business with? The professional who month-after-month and year-after-year reminded you that they appreciated your business and are there during good times and bad or the company that only calls when they are trying to sell you something? Now turn the tables. How many of YOUR customers have you failed to send something to, call or see in person over the last twelve months?

They say it costs 5-10 times more to sell to new customers than it does to sell more to current customers, and yet what percent of our effort is spent looking for new customers vs. pleasing and staying in touch with our current customers? Sometimes it’s not geographically possible to meet in person or invite a client to lunch, but it is possible to call them and connect.

It can be as simple as saying…

  • How are things going for you and your business?  I’d love to send some referrals your way…
  • Our market is changing quite a bit, and many people have questions about how that affects them — do you have any?
  • We’ve got more buyers than sellers right now, and I’m just calling to see if you’ve thought about selling – or if there’s any questions you might have?

Letting people know you care, and that you are interested not only in your success but theirs as well is the foundation for building long term referral success. Sending them something every month is equally as simple by putting systems in place to creatively:

Finding new customers is tough and expensive. Once you’ve got a customer, hold on to them by staying in touch. I can guarantee you if you don’t, somebody else will.

As we head out of summer soon and into the fall— take the time NOW to determine if you are on track or off. Ensure that your customers know that you are there and that you care not just once or twice a year, but consistently month after month. Remember to use the SEND-CALL-SEE approach to your marketing.  Continuously SEND something to your sphere, CALL them at least once a quarter and SEE them at least every six months for the best success.  You’ll keep their business and ensure that your name and number are handy the next time they are asked by a family member or friend, “who would you call for real estate…?”

Need help deciding what to send, when to call and see your customers?  Call our office today at 866.405.3638!  We’re always here to help!  

How to Appeal to Resource-Hungry Consumersreal estate newsletters

by Julie Escobar

Newsletters have long-since been a turn-to marketing tool for real estate agents — and they still are worth their weight in RESULTS.  Why?  Because of technology, the internet, and just the data-culture we live in now, today’s savvy consumers are eager to get their hands on all the information they can get. That way they can make smart decisions for their families, be well versed in their social and family circles and feel like they have the resources they need when they need them.

As we head into fall and you’re looking at what to add, keep or toss in your marketing plan, I wanted to share with you a few top reasons why these timeless tools are a power-packed addition to helping YOU stay top of mind in your market and drive those referrals through the roof.

  1. New templates every month to choose from.
  2. Timely content and infographics pulled from current market trends and headlines.
  3. 100% editable – you can customize and make your own or use as is.
  4. Filled with direct response offers and reasons to call YOU.
  5. Creative content that can be re-purposed for your blog and social media.
  6. Order as a pdf and includ in all your email marketing, or as an opt-in download on your site to drive an increase in your email database — or both!
  7. Terrific for showcasing you as the turn-to agent in your sphere and farm.
  8. Wonderful addition to feature flyer sheets at your open house — consumers will see you as more than just a listing agent- but a wealth of information.
  9. Great leave-behinds at business partners such as salons and doctor’s offices.
  10. You have the ability to make them hyper-local. In the agent message section, add upcoming events, school information, community changes, ALL of your social media credentials – the works!  Or give them a link to a page on your site or social media where they can find everything at a glance!

Want to give them a try?  Click here to see all of our newsletter templates, pick a newsletter, choose the Shipped to You option, customize however you like and use PROMO CODE NEWS10 at checkout to save 10% on your order!

Here’s to an incredible fall season for all of you!  Need help?  Give us a call at 866.405.3638 today! We’re happy to help you find just what you’re looking for to create YOUR competitive edge!