Saturday, June 24, 2017

Six Answers You Need to Know

By Julie Escobar

With markets and competition heating up this summer, geographic farming is more relevant, and results-producing than ever. It’s what is differentiating top agents from lower producers, and what is setting some apart as leaders in both their marketplace – and in market share.

To learn more, we asked Todd Robertson about what he is seeing trend across North America right now. Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q:  Todd – there was a time when agents got away from geographic farming but now it’s back stronger than ever – can you shed some light on that?

A:  Here’s what we’ve found:  With all the ‘noise’ out there now, social media, Zillow, Trulia, email, spam filters, online ads – a lot of home buyers and sellers aren’t responding to the noise. Yet, a LOT of agents are still hiding behind their computers. We know that 95% of people check their mail every day – and direct mail is standing out from the ‘online’ noise.  It used to be that farming was expensive. Mailings were expensive. Now with technology and new USPS tools, it’s much less so, and with most agents still not in that space – those who do jump in – WIN.

Q:  We’ve all seen agents who get frustrated because they want instant results – and farming just isn’t that kind of marketing.  What do you say to agents who want instant gratification?

A:  The truth is we are in an instant gratification mode. We’re looking to the lottery for a quick million, fast food for an instant meal, and whatever ‘golden ticket’ it might take to unlock the key to right-now success.  But what I like to share with agents is the hunter vs. farmer mindsets.  The hunter is great at getting on the phone, shaking the trees, finding those expireds, FSBOs, SOI leads, anything that will generate business today or this week.  Where the farmer isn’t crazy about all that possible rejection, so they slowly and surely cultivate an area with direct mail and email marketing.  After 25 years in this business we do know two things though:  Patience and persistence will always win and combining the two skills of hunting and farming are your best means of generating long term success at a whole other level. You do have to be “all-in” – but it is so worth it.

Q:  In your talks and webinars you speak about putting ALL the pieces in place – can you share more about what you mean by that?

A:  Well this kind of goes back to my last answer.  You really CAN dominate a market area and out-pace any competition if you are willing to streamline your practices – and do it all.  Not one thing. Not the easy things. But all of it.  Direct mail. Just Listed. Just Sold. Door knocking. Aggressive open houses. All of it – and not just once but really adhere to that 3-7-27 rule of marketing I’ve shared in the past where you’re continuously making impressions and staying top of mind because the competition, for the most part, is not going to be as committed to doing it all. If you are? You win.

Q:  Follow up is a critical part of marketing, but so many agents are reluctant to walk their farm or pick up the phone.  What’s your best advice to get over that hurdle?  

A:  Well, the tough advice is that if your mindset is ‘I’m afraid or unwilling to prospect’ then perhaps this is not the profession for you.  If we look at the old 80/20 rule which says that 20% of the agents do 80% of the business, we know that those numbers are now outdated. In today’s world it’s 93/7.  7% of the agents are doing 93% of the business.  The reason lies right here – prospecting. Following up.  I like to tell my audiences, “If the game is scheduled, and you’ve chosen to play – you might as well win.”  So if you are in this business to help people – then remember, you are paid in direct proportion to how many people you help, and how good you are at that help. So don’t just put your toe in the pool – jump in.  Don’t be that agent who tried something once, or twice, or three times and throws up their hands and says, ‘this doesn’t work’.  Stick with it. The year is half over.  Don’t fall into that – it is what it is mindset where it is all right to be average, or less than your goals.  You get paid in proportion to how many you help. Get out there and play hard.  If you get a no, pick up the phone again, and again.  It’s a numbers game, but more than that, it’s a people game. Find the next person to help.

Q:  This is a busy time for agents – and many are so busy working IN the business, they don’t stop to work ON their business.  What can you share with our readers regarding blocking time so that nothing falls through the cracks?

A:  It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae, I know. The feel-good work. The paper shuffling. The non-confrontational. Top agents though know that the highest and best use of their time is doing three things: prospecting, presenting, and closing.  The rest they find solutions for. Automated marketing. Virtual Assistants. Database management systems. Marketing systems.  They are effective time managers – that’s the level you need to strive for.

Q:  The Market Dominator is hard to ignore when homeowners get it in their mailbox – can you tell us a little about the science of its size, content, and calls to action?

A:  Well it’s the largest piece allowed legally through the USPS system.  It’s got 100% impression rate. It’s coated on one side, full color and on great paper.  Most importantly, it’s filled with the kind of content people want to read.  Not salesy – hyped commercial stuff. But real world content. And real world calls to action.  It’s relevant and fun and ‘share-able’ for people.  And it gets the job done.  I just heard from one of our customers who has done 16 transactions this year so far, three directly as a result of the Dominator.  Take a look and let me know if you have questions. It’s a powerful tool for agents who are really interested in dominating their own geographic farm.

Thanks so much for your time Todd.  For those interested in learning more about the Market Dominator, you can watch Todd’s informative video here.  For questions, give Todd a call at 866-405-3638.  Now, go out there and dominate in YOUR favorite geographic farm!  

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.

 

 

To Increase Market Share

By Julie Escobar

Capturing the top market share in a geographic area can be challenging in today’s competitive real estate climate.  It is completely doable however with the right tools and strategies in place.  To learn how top agents around the country are making their mark, I spoke with Market Dominator Director Todd Robertson to get his take on the topic.

Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q:  Hey Todd – you deal with agents every day who are eager to dominate in their market — what would you
say is the number one question you are asked, and how do you answer?

A:   The number one question agents ask is, “How much will it cost me?”   And I reply, “If you commit to dominate your market or if you talk yourself out of it?”   In all seriousness, however, the main question they ask outside of that “Hey, I’m overwhelmed with all of these options, in terms of marketing, how can I really dominate in my market?”   My answer is that in our current state of “Technology Overload” — direct mail has become more effective than ever before.   Basically I steer them to use the tools that will help them garner the best return on investment.

Q:  That said, I know you’re a big fan of Every Door Direct Mail®, because of its affordability and saturation element for a geo farm.  It can be a little complicated to wrap your head around for some agents though.  What do you tell agents who are interested in using EDDM for their marketing?

A:  In terms of Every Door Direct Mail, if an agent is not familiar, I can spend literally just five minutes with them to make sure they fully understand how it works.  I then help them pick an area, or geo farm, they want to really become the “Neighborhood Specialist”.   Additionally, once they have an area picked out, we spend an additional few minutes on the phone to see if the Market Dominator program is the right fit for them.

Q:  We challenge agents all the time to leave ‘nothing to chance’ when it comes to staying top of mind in their market area.  What are some additional ways they can support their direct response marketing efforts in their geographic farms – and their market?

A:  I’m glad you asked.  To remain “Top of Mind” the agents getting the best results in their geographic farm areas are doing the following every month – not just SOMETIMES – but EVERY MONTH:

1)   Send direct response mail – (people today are hungry for valuable information – be the resource that delivers that every month.)

2)  Just Listed / Just Sold postcards – (shares that you are the agent making things HAPPEN.)

3)  Very aggressive, very well marketed “Open Houses” – (Gets you out front of people in a very hands-on way, be sure to have great collateral material at your open houses that distinguishes you as a resource/information source – not just an agent sitting in a house.)

4)   Door Knocking – (NOT an old fashioned idea.)  Some of today’s top mega-producers are out in force with their teams in the geographic areas they want to dominate meeting the people, passing out door hangers, brochures, and business cards.  They are asking and answering all the right questions – and NOT in stealth mode like those agents back at the office still waiting for the phone to ring.  Want to INCREASE up your exposure and your results?  Remember this:  STP – See The People. If they don’t know who you are – they’re not going to call you first.  Make sure they KNOW who you are!

Q:  Todd, follow up is often the most neglected piece of the marketing puzzle for agents — how do you encourage agents to get off the fence and make that a priority?

A:  The truth is, follow-up is typically the downfall of 90% of agents in the country.  Because most of the time Fear and Uncertainty take over in the Real Estate agent’s mind.  Here’s what they forget however:  According to the National Association of REALTORS, if an agents commits to a campaign in a geographic area, most agents quit BEFORE the 5th contact.  They’ll market once, twice, maybe even three times in an area – but that’s it. They throw in the towel and say, “well this isn’t working”.  Most marketing campaigns don’t start even seeing a response until after that fifth contact. So, if when you think about it, this actually works in the favor of the agent who is COMMITTED to being the dominant player.  If you know that 90 % of agents bail before that 5th contact, we simply put agents on a two-year direct response mail campaign in that area to insure they brand themselves as that go to agent.  We encourage them and coach them to put those three powerful pieces in place we talked about in the last question, (Just Listed/Just Sold, aggressive open houses, and door knocking) so they can layer their marketing for best results.  And we remind them that NO marketing is thorough without follow up. If they truly want to dominate – to get the bulk of the listings, to get a lion’s share of the referrals, to brand themselves so well that they are the first agent consumers think of in their geo farm area – they have to fire on all cylinders, meaning – direct response marketing, results marketing (Just listed/just sold), face-to-face contact (door knocking, open houses, events), and FOLLOW up calls and visits.  When an agent commits to THAT for two years?  They go from “Uncertain to Unstoppable”.

Q:  Great advice Todd.  Any additional advice for agents who want to capture a 10-20% market share?

A:  I would say that Patience and Persistence win the game.   There is an interesting phenomena that occurs when an agent commits to an area, really commits.  Two interesting things happen:

1)   It makes them more assertive in that area in terms of other marketing.

2)  If another agent’s sign goes up in their neighborhood it bothers them.  They then begin to take ownership of that area, meaning they shift their thinking to – “Any sign that goes up in this area should be MY sign, MY listing.” And that?  Is a winning mindset.

Thanks so much Todd for sharing your insights.  If you have a question for Todd, you can email him here, or give him a call at 855-383-6646.  If you want to learn more about the Market Dominator System, join us for our next webinar here. 

Good luck!  If you have any additional marketing needs or questions, our team is always ready to assist!  Give them a call at 866.405.3638. 

Your Bottom Line Depends On It

by Julie Escobar

An agent’s ability to earn consistently and continuously earn referrals is in direct proportion to their willingness and ability to stay top of mind with their sphere and farm.

Consistency. Since the beginning of real estate there have been agents that send one or two massive mailings and when they unsurprisingly get no results, stop marketing.  Many others take the “holiday” approach to staying in touch by sending an annual holiday card in the hopes that they are remembered. Both of these approaches are a waste of time, energy and valuable marketing dollars.

To stay ahead of the curve, you should be in contact with your sphere of influence at least every 30-45 days. Using the popularlisting-inventory send-call-see approach (part of our free BusinessBASETM), you can easily set up a system for contacting your VIPs each month. Send a postcard, letter, newsletter, flyer, novelty or note one month.  Many of our customers find the Listing Inventory Series, Content Cards, and Market Dominator among their favorites.

One other series that is growing in popularity is one of this month’s Master Marketing Schedule tip which are our Call to Action Postcards which include powerful direct response offers call to actionthat help make your phone ring!

Once you’ve gotten in the habit of “touching” your sphere and farm once a month, be sure to deploy the call part of send-call-see.

Call with a friendly event reminder, helpful hint, or just to say hello the following month. During the third month, arrange to see them via a networking event, social gathering or quick in-person visit (with notice, of course) where you drop off a small token, informational item or card. Then start the “rotation” over again. Such consistency creates vital ‘top-of-mind’ awareness that often becomes “the key to the kingdom” when growing your referral base and creating a reliable income.

If you’re not sure where to start, our popular Master Marketing Schedule shares monthly Action Items that agents tell us help them stay consistently on track.

SEND-CALL-SEE.  Be the resource they need and want in a time where consumers have LOTS of questions regarding the value of their property, their buying power, investment opportunities, and what’s happening in their market.  You’re not bothering people – you’re providing a SERVICE.

What can you SEND?

What can you SAY when you CALL?

  • Hi.  I have buyers, the Smiths (insert real names!), that are looking for a home in the _____________ neighborhood, and I wanted to know if you’ve ever thought about selling your home or know someone who is so I can help this nice family find what they are looking for?
  • Hi!  Just checking in on you! We’ve got a lot of activity in our market, and I thought you might have some questions—do you?
  • Is there anything I can do to help you?
  • I’m expanding my business and I could use your help…
  • Have you thought about selling your house now or in the near future?
  • Have you been receiving my information?  Any questions?

What do you do when you SEE them? 

  • Create opportunities for appointments
  • Take someone to lunch
  • Attend a neighborhood block party
  • Organize a charity drive in the community
  • Sponsor a free workshop and invite everyone to attend
  • Get out there and be visible in the community you’re servicing
  • Walk your farm and start making friends

Working ON your business requires dedication and a commitment to the activities that earn you top dollar and allow you to “feed” the career you’re building. Never lose sight of the fact that prospecting, presenting and closing should always be at the top of your list.

Visit http://www.prospectsplus.com/ to get your FREE copy of our BusinessBASETM (Plus learn the 250 people who should be in your SOI), and be sure to bookmark our Master Marketing ScheduleTM .

Go for it. Remember that we’re here if you need anything. Contact our team today at 866.405.3638.