Thursday, March 23, 2017

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. 

There are some powerful NEW ways to market yourself and your  business in this industry, but you have to hand it to the savvy agents who also don’t discount the tried and true tools.  Like Just Listed postcards, Just Sold postcards — and of course – the annual Magnetic Calendar Postcard.

Why use Calendar cards? First, People still love them.  It’s the perfect quick-reference for their refrigerator or office cubicle.  So you’re providing a resource people need – and that’s ALWAYS a good thing. And secondly? Your brand stays top-of-mind all year around.  There’s something to be said for having that kind of stick-with-it branding. Every time your customers reach for something in the refrigerator — your face and brand are right there reminding them who to call if they need anything real estate related.

 Here are seven great ways you can use them:

  1. Ask permission to leave a stack of magnetic calendars by registers of your favorite businesses such as area doctors, dentists, restaurants etc.,  for people to take
  2. Send them with a kind holiday note to current customers and the VIPs in your sphere as a simple thank you gift.
  3. Walk your neighborhood farm and offer one to every homeowner you meet and let them know you are available to answer any real estate questions they might have.
  4. Use a jpg of your calendar on your social media platforms and let folks know that you are sending them out and that if they’d like one of their own, to in-box you and you’re happy to send.
  5. These are perfect when you are attending local festivals, job fairs, and business expos.
  6. Lots of agents are hosting impromptu “Ask Me About Real Estate” events at their local coffee shops, simply by visiting the shop, and putting up a sign.  These are great give-aways that people can take with them.
  7. Use them as Open House gifts.

This month, save 10% off any magnetic calendar card with the promo code: ELF10M.

See all thirteen designs here.   

As always, we’re here to help.  Our marketing team is experienced and well versed in what today’s real estate professionals NEED, WANT and will make their lives and jobs EASIER.  If you’re creating your marketing budget for next year and would like some guidance on which tools might work best for you and what that cost would be, call our team today at 866.405.3638 or email us at pmc@prospectsplus.com!

3 Great Strategies for Creating PRESENCE This Season

By Julie Escobar

It’s that time of year.  The holidays are here and with them much of your competition is settling in – for shorter days, slimmer work calendars and that ‘wait ‘till the first of the year’ slump.  Not you.  You’ve got your eye on a new year filled with promise and kicked off with momentum-right?

Here are three things you can do to create vital PRESENCE now that will carry you through the holidays and long into the New Year with powerful, forward, full-steam-ahead strength.

Commit to Consistencythanksgiving cards

You know what you see a lot of?  Agents who ONLY send a postcard or greeting card once a year.  Start now and make it a point to ‘touch’ your sphere and farm at LEAST once every 21-30 days for the duration.  Consumers today are savvy – they’re not swayed, influenced or impressed by the ‘one-and-done’ marketing efforts.  From their perspective?  If you’re that lax in how you market YOURSELF – how will you be at marketing THEIR property?  Show the consumers in your market place that you’ve got the chops – and the commitment to be front and center not just once, but again and again and again.

Community Countsworkshop cards

Want to be known as the neighborhood resource or the market specialist?  Get out of the office, out from behind your desk and out in FRONT of the people in the community you serve.  Make it a point to calendar at least ONE community event in your market per quarter – or even per month.  It’s an edge that will set you apart, win favor and create a presence that you’re the top agent to talk to. Team up with your local schools, libraries, chamber of commerce, or even a network of like-minded business professionals to help create awareness, increase attendance and bring a wide spectrum of information to those who want it most.

Think AHEADlisting inventory1

The smartest agents in the business are never satisfied with doing things the ‘same old way’.  They’re keeping their ear to the ground, eyes open, and thinking ahead.  What can you do to make a splash?  How can you best keep the ‘buzz’ going?  I love Tony Robbins who has served up the motto ‘Constant And Never Ending Improvement’ for years.  In a 24/7, 365 world, you can’t let your skills, your top-of-mind awareness, or your passion to coast or slip to the back burner.

Need help?  Call us at 866.405.3638.  We’ve got answers you can count on.  From direct response postcard marketing that keeps you top-of-mind, to Holiday messages that make a difference, to real world resources that you can adopt and make part of that empowered new marketing and business plan for 2017 that we know you are ALREADY working on!  Have a great week!

 

 

With Geographic Farming Done Right

By Julie Escobar

Geographic farming has roared back to the marketing forefront for agents in our industry in ways we haven’t seen in years. Why? Because – when done right – it works.

And what exactly is “done right”? It’s when agents who are committed to consistency step up to make themselves known in a neighborhood in real and meaningful ways – getting out into communities, shaking hands, meeting people, making introductions and making a difference.

To talk about one creative tool for geographic farming, the Market Dominator, I sat down with Dominator Director Todd Robertson to learn a little more about the system, the agents who are using it and what it takes to really make an impact on a market area.

Q: Todd, you work with agents across the country who are growing their market share by doing smart geographic farming. Can you tell us a little about the Market Dominator?

A: Sure! This product evolved out of necessity. Agents around the country were asking for a consistency final-ops-proof-december-dominator-frontprogram that would allow them to truly dominate a neighborhood or piece of geography. After six months of research with our team, we came up with the product for our agents called the Market Dominator, which utilizes Every Door Direct Mail with the USPS. At 12” x 15”, it’s the largest legal size that can be sent through the mail, so it doesn’t get overlooked in the mailbox. The content is created every month by our team of writers, who do an outstanding job of weaving in the eight best practices of direct mail. And agents love it because it’s either 100% done for them or 90%, meaning they can make some changes to the back. And with our national sponsors on board now, we can literally send it for the price of a first-class postcard. The other great thing about it is that it’s a two-year campaign… kind of like joining the gym, your personal trainer makes you go.

Q: We both have been in this industry for a long time, and we both know that marketing alone is not what takes agents to the top of their game. It’s follow up and relationship building. Can you tell us some of the powerful ways Market Dominator members are going above and beyond to support their marketing mailing efforts by connecting with the folks in their farm final-ops-proof-december-dominator-backneighborhoods?

A: In terms of what our best agents are doing supplementing the Market Dominator to increase their success rate in their numbers, we’re seeing them do things like canvassing their farms with door hangers,  introducing themselves to everybody in the neighborhood, being consistent in sending out new on the market or Just Listed postcards when they get a listing and holding open houses in their carrier routes and making a splash in the area with signs and balloons on every street, every artery when they do. That way, when the Market Dominator shows up in that mailbox, the homeowners will see it and say, “Oh yeah, that’s Susie. I see her all over the place; she’s the neighborhood specialist.”

Q: We’ve talked about the tremendous opportunity agents have to reach out to the businesses that surround or are in their farm area to build reciprocal referral relationships. Can you share your thoughts on that?

A: Some of our Market Dominator members have given us ideas that we never thought about before that we try to share with our new members. One of them is to go after the local businesses in and/or around that carrier route. It’s really an outstanding strategy, because they can utilize the extra 20 Dominators that we give them each month in a clever way.

One of our great agents up in the Northeast simply takes her 20 and goes to every business where people have to wait, such as a hair salon, oil change shop and restaurants. She said the best was actually auto dealerships. What she would do in auto dealerships is first go in and make an introduction to the general sales manager that goes something like, “Hi, I’m Susie with XYZ Realty. I’m the neighborhood real estate specialist in this area. Would you mind if I leave a couple of these in the lobby of your service department?”

What’s great about that strategy is, number one, she’s prospecting the service manager, who becomes a mover and shaker on her SOI list – meaning she visits every month and has offered to let him or her know if a great listing comes on the market. Think about how most cities have what they call “auto dealership row,” where several dealerships are all on the same street. If you’re like Susie, you go right down that strip and pass out two or three Dominators in each dealership, meet some incredible new people and start establishing relationships in a pretty short period of time.

Number two, she’s leaving valuable content, with her name, face, contact information and calls to action in a place where a lot of people congregate. Think about when you have to have your car serviced, and you’ve had to wait anywhere from an hour to a full day in the guest services lounge. What are most people doing when they’re waiting? They’re looking at their phones or whatever magazines are sitting there, right? Imagine if two or three Market Dominators were sitting there with Ritz Carlton quality, filled with great information for people to peruse. Agents who are utilizing this tiny local business strategy with consistency, who have mastered their presentation skills and aren’t afraid to follow up, could find themselves with anywhere from two to 20 extra closings per year.

Q: What about agents who are afraid to follow up, either in person (door knocking) or on the phone? Any advice for them?

A: Some agents just want to send their marketing out, then sit back and see what happens. In my mind, to be great in real estate you have to be obsessed, or you end up being average. By “obsessed,” I mean you’ve already made a commitment to your neighborhood farm, so why not stretch yourself a little and go make an introduction? One way or another, knowing that you’re simply providing a great service to help these people buy or sell real estate is powerful motivation to meet people.

I also would say if somebody is still afraid or hesitant to follow up, spend a couple days and get so good at your listing presentation, get so great at overcoming objections, so great at your value proposition that you can’t help but have a relaxed sense of confidence. This will do a couple of things for you: It will get you excited to go out and meet people and prospect, which is the one thing most people hate doing (usually because they aren’t as confident in their presentation), and it will force you to fine-tune your skills, which will help you enjoy a long-term career.

Q: Consistency and sticking to a plan is a powerful combination for success in our business. Will you share why making the Dominator part of a consistent marketing plan is a smart strategy?

A: In terms of doing any marketing, consistency has to be part of the plan – whether it’s in real estate marketing, building wealth or getting in shape. The Market Dominator gives agents what they told us for many years they wanted: a two-year campaign. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, if your competition is going to do any marketing, history says they quit after the third contact. Yet we know that most activity doesn’t happen until after the fifth contact. So staying in the game for the duration is vital.  

Q: Any last words of advice for our readers?

A: First, I would say that if you’re reading this article or reading our magazines or blogs and looking for real estate strategies and insights, you’ve already separated yourself from the competition. Because for you and me to get great at anything, we must remain a student of life. So I congratulate you on taking that step. Whether it’s the Market Dominator, one of our other great products or you just want to call our home office and brainstorm, our team is always willing to help you find the real estate marketing product that best fits your needs, your market and your area.

Thanks for the information and insight, Todd!

If you’d like to learn more about the Market Dominator System, visit www.prospectsplus.com/dominator, or call Todd directly at 855-383-6646.

How Hyper-Local Information and Consistency Work to Your Advantage

By Julie Escobar

Real estate is not for the get-rich-quick, zero effort entrepreneur.  To succeed for the long haul?  You’ve got to take an ‘in it to win it’ approach. That means the kind of ‘one and done’ marketing that some folks want to ‘try on’ is not a viable, sustainable path to market share.

You’ve got to put the time in and PERSEVERE.  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.

Make it easy on yourself.  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 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 neighborhood update seriesconsistent.   We’ve worked hard to make that easy for you with hundreds of ready-to-go campaigns that you can choose from that’s as simple as pick a card, customize however you like, add your list or purchase one and you are done!

One that is especially popular right now and getting results is our Neighborhood Update Free Offer Series. Why is it such a hit?  It gives them the critical market information consumers want — and spotlights you as holiday-cards-16the authority in the neighborhood.  Grab your local stats (recent listings and sales), sign in to your account,  go to the neighborhood update free offer series, enter your data, get your list  (at least 100 homeowners in the neighborhood you want to brand yourself in) and go! What people LOVE about this series is that it offers up the hyper local market information they are craving. What are homes in THEIR neighborhoods selling for?  How much can they get for their home?  What’s happening in their own back yard? Send one of these a month and watch your market share grow!

Next, map out your marketing for the rest of the year. Will you be sending holiday photocards or holiday cards? Order them early and get them sent.  Calendar cards with magnetic backs are also very popular as means to stay top of mind (by being stuck to the refrigerator) all year around.  You’ll find budget saving promo codes on our Specials Pagecalendar-cards-16

Looking for more ideas for staying connected? Bookmark our Master Marketing Schedule.  It’s filled with actionable marketing tips as well as some really fun, out-of-the-box, memorable ways to reach out to the people in your sphere and farm.  That’s the key — helping to make sure your name is MEMORABLE — in a good way!

Some things to think about for this week.  Know that if you need some help showing up – OVER and OVER – affordably, easily and without stress, our team is there for you.  Call them at 866.405.3638 today or email pmc@prospectsplus.com.  We’ve got you covered!