Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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!

It’s Not Too Soon to Create Your Plan

by Julie Escobar

Planning on sending season’s greetings out to your sphere and farm over the next few months?  Great idea! thanksgiving2016v6thumbsstndStaying in touch and top of mind never goes out of season.  Before you buy a card, stick a stamp of figure out where your mailing list is — consider these eight holiday tips!

  1. Be clear about your message.  Even when you’re sending holiday postcards, you can use the reverse side to send a great message to your customer base.  If you are sending to both your sphere and farm, you may want to consider altering the message slightly for each. Make it personal and heart-felt, with a note of thanks for allowing you the opportunity to serve them as customers — or in the case of your farm – the community.
  2. Serve two purposes.  Are you having a holiday open house? Customer event?  Charity drive?  Looking for a good time to stop by with a small gift? You can include that information on the cards as well.
  3. Don’t be salesy.  Holiday greetings are not about the sale – they are about the connection.  Keep it warm and personable.
  4. Don’t wait for just Christmas.  Many top agents send a holiday message once a month to their sphere.
    Thanksgiving, New Year’s, Valentine’s, Easter and beyond. There’s something to celebrate all
    year round, and it’s a fun way to stay connected and stand out as someone who is “there” more than just in the month of December.
  5. Have some fun with it.  Got a great team? Or just a great personality?  Take some fun pictures and opt for a photocard rather than a more traditional card and don’t be afraid to get a little creative with your photos.
  6. Don’t leave anyone out! You know all those mailing photo-cards-16lists you’ve been collecting throughout the year? For Just Listed postcards, or the stack of business cards that have been sitting on the corner of your desk collecting dust?
  7. Order early.  We suggest sending your holiday cards out at LEAST two weeks in advance of the holiday every month — and sending first class as opposed to standard-class to ensure timely delivery.holiday-cards-16
  8. Follow up.  Sending cards is a great way to easily stay in touch.  Pick a postcard, edit your message, add a list – and you’re done!  In a matter of minutes you’ve created a connection.  However to really get the full impact of ANY mailing (holiday and otherwise) — be sure to follow up – at least with the top 25% of your list.  There is no substitution for this step.  Imagine if you made it a point each year, every year, to speak with every single person in your sphere at least twice a year?  Touch base, see if they have questions, thank them for being great customers, and say hello.  Here’s what happens when you do:  they remember you.  They don’t list with another agent because your name wasn’t on the radar.  They are grateful that you take the time to call.  And one out of 12? Statistically will do business with you or refer business to you.

Here’s to a great holiday season ahead – and to staying in touch with your sphere and farm!  We’re even going to make that a little easier on your budget! From now until January 5th, we’re donating 10% of our holiday postcard orders, (excluding postage, tax and shipping) to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

st-jude-holiday

 

Need help?  We’re here for you!  Call our team at 866.405.3638 today.  We’ll help get your holidays started and save you money at the same time! Have a great one!  

Inspired Insights from World-Class Real Estate Speaker and Coach Darryl Davis

by Julie Escobar

When you are looking for straight-talk strategies for building not just a business — but a successful book of business, it’s always a good idea to go to someone who not only knows how to help agents succeed at exceptional levels — but one who just tells it like it is.  For that? I reached out to my old friend Darryl Davis. He’s an Darryl Davis 06author, speaker, trainer, coach — and one of the funniest guys you can talk to.  His analogies and ability to weave a story into a message are epic. It’s part of what makes him such an effective speaker – it’s also why I wanted to interview him for this topic!

Q: Hey Darryl, thanks for sharing your insights with us again for this edition.  Our focus this time around is really building a strong business base.  Can you share some thoughts on  that?

A:  Building a business?  You know I’m a FSBO/Expired guy – but when we are talking about building a business foundation?  Know that there are two types of contacts to focus on.

First there is your geographic farm.  These folks don’t know you yet, so it’s your job to help them with that.  For this group, you’ve got to stay in touch monthly.  Your nov-domname, your face, your brand, your results each and every month.  Of course, you guys make that easy for them with products like the…

You’re building trust and establishing yourself as the agent to call.

Secondly, there’s your sphere – or those folks that know your name, face, what you do, and trust you enough to do business with. This breaks into people you haven’t worked with before, (family, friends, acquaintances) and those you have (past sellers or buyers).  For these folks to remember you, remember that you’re in real estate and that well, you know, they should call YOU before the guy down the street when they have a real estate question or need or an amazing referral, you need to stay in touch. I usually recommend at least 4-6 times per year with this crowd with things like:thanksgiving2016v6thumbsstnd

I’ll give you a great tip:  Every single January I’d send a copy of the HUD statement to everyone who has every purchased a home through me in the last year with a note saying, “Congratulations on owning a home! I’ve taken the liberty of making a copy of your HUD statement so you have it handy to give to your
accountant.  Hope things are going great! I’d love to hear from you if you need anything.”  Wow – see you just saved them time and stress and made a contact that personal to them. Win-win-win.communitynewsnovthumbsfront4

For every other client/customer of mine? At the first of the year I would send an updated market analysis to with a note that said something like, “Just as you would check your stock portfolio, 401K, etc., it’s also a good idea to do a check in on the market analysis of your home investment.  As always, I’m here to help if you have any real estate questions or needs!”

Stay top of mind with these folks by sending them something to help them stay connected to you and recognize that you’re there as a resource. And don’t be shy about picking up the phone and saying hello and asking if people need anything a couple times per year.  Or creating opportunities to see them in person.

Q: Darryl, I loved your message in our last magazine where you talked about listing INVENTORY being the name of the game, not just listings. Can you share a little more about that?

A:  What I’ve been teaching is that agents need to look at their business as if they were running a store.  With a store, you’ve got a location, employees, and you’ve got to stock and manage your inventory. So, say you were selling candy?  You must have enough candy on the shelves when customers come in right?  Otherwise people are going to buy their candy somewhere else! So if you’re a real estate agent your inventory is real estate.  I tell agents to make a chart January-December on the bottom andneighborhood update series the numbers 0-20 on the left side.  Next, plot it out. Say your goal is to get four listings per month and build your inventory.  Now you have get four listings in January, but you sell two. You know you need to replace those two, plus get four more for February and so on.  Creating a visual to see whether your graph is going up (the right direction) or down (further from your goals) helps you think like a business person.  And that? Is a big key to success. Because there are a LOT of agents running around with a fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants approach to their real estate career – which is fine if you want to always wonder where your next commission is coming from or if burn out is your thing. But top agents who want to be at this a long time and have a lot to show for it, understand that applying true business practices and mindsets is the win-win they need.

Q: You hit the nail on the head.  One topic that seems to come up a lot with agents is the idea that they just don’t have the time to focus on databases and marketing and details!  What would your advice be in terms of time management?

A:  First, I would tell them to be crystal clear on their priorities.  In real estate, it’s easy to get distracted with things that don’t forward your business.  I’ll tell you a little story. There’s a woman named Rachel Lust who is a Hula Hooper.  If you look her up on YouTube, you’ll see she has hundreds of thousands of views and likes. She did the halftime show for the Chicago Bulls.  She is the most famous person in the world of hula hooping.  She’s got a line of videos, hoops, clothes, you name it.  Do you know what Rachel does for two hours a day, six days a week, no matter what?  Yep. She Hula Hoops.  Why? Because literally NOTHING else matters if she’s not good at her trade.  It’s the same with agents.  If you aren’t prospecting, looking for listing inventory, and taking new listings – the rest doesn’t matter.

I’ll give you another example.  I ran the NYC Marathon. Now here’s what you might not know about me:  I HATE exercise.  Hate it. Five days a week, I had to get up in the morning and run, and one day a week I had to cross train. For five months, I had to do this.  Didn’t want to do it. Didn’t feel like doing it. It was uncomfortable. For me to meet this commitment I made, and log in the two hours of running every day, I had to get up two hours earlier to make it work.  Here’s the thing: I couldn’t fit running into my life, I had to fit my life around the commitment to run.

That’s how you’ve got to look at what it takes to make it at high levels in this business.  You see the agents that say, “I’ll get to prospecting after I check my Facebook, and my emails, and my this or that.” Time management is not the problem there.  Commitment is the problem. Everything you need to do lines up behind the commitment.

Say you’re having a party.  That means there’s cooking, cleaning, preparing all that has to be done. But you’re running late–right? Now you say you’ve got two hours of work to do in just thirty minutes.  Do you do it? YES!  That?  Is a BREAKTHROUGH. Because when you REALLY have to get something done you do it.  Manage your activities, and what dictates those activities is your commitment. People who are passionate about commitment don’t have time management issues. They are focused, clear, and committed.  They don’t just do commitments – they are commitment.

Q:  What additional advice do you have for agents who want to really knock it out of the park this year in real estate?

A:  That one is easy. Systemize your business.  Run it like a business.  Think like Rachel Lust. She has moves that she has absolutely mastered with that Hula Hoop.  Then she masters another, and another. It’s like dancing. If you only know five dance steps – you don’t look so good out there on the floor-right? In real estate there are definitely some dance moves to master. Moves like…

  1. Prospecting
  2. Listing Appointments
  3. Customer Service
  4. Working (playing) with Buyers (I call this a break from real work)
  5. Negotiating offers
  6. Use of metaphors and analogies (these are what set you apart – give you distinction)

All of these moves take commitment, solid commitment. Figure out what you real commitment is. What you really want to accomplish, then let everything else line up behind that goal.  I just caution you to make it more about the people – the lives you help – rather than the money. When you do it right and your passion is for the people you can help, the money comes.

Awesome stuff Darryl. Thanks for sharing.  If you’d like to learn more about Darryl’s training courses and products, please visit www.DarrylSpeaks.com – and read his bio below.

About Darryl Davis

Darryl became a real estate agent at the age of 19 and quickly climbed the ladder to become a top producer, averaging six transactions a month. He became a licensed broker and manager of a new office that became the #1 listing and selling branch within its first 6 months of operation. He’s been named one of the highest-rated speakers at the National Association of REALTORS® convention for the past several years and is the ONLY real estate speaker who is a best-selling author with McGraw-Hill Publishing for his book, How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate. He is the founder of The POWER Program®, a yearlong real estate coaching program that has proven results of agents doubling their income over their previous year. He’s also the creator of the nationally acclaimed three-day program S.U.R.E. Results, where agents generate an average of $33,504.82 over their previous year. And as creator of the nationally recognized term “Next Level®,” Darryl strives to bring his students and attendees to their “Next Level®” of success by training them on how to have more fun and less stress in their business and personal lives. To learn more about Darryl and his training tools and services, visit www.DarrylSpeaks.com, or contact him at 1-800-395-3905.

To learn more about staying in consistent touch with your sphere and farm (as Darryl teaches), visit www.prospectsplus.com, or call our support team at 866.405.3638 today. 

 

Relationship Marketing Insights with REALTOR Maggie Dokic

By Julie Escobar

Through every conceivable type of market, one thing has always held true in our industry:  it’s a people business.  Call it what you will, mdokicsq-1sphere of influence or book of business, it is the process of staying connected and nurturing those relationships that will garner agents the highest potential for new business and referrals year after year and allow them to stay out of the “where is my next commission coming from” cycle.

To talk about why this is so important, I sat down with long-time ProspectsPLUS! Customer Maggie Dokic to find out what she’s learned through the years.

This is an excerpt from our interview:

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

A: I’m a broker owner of a small real estate brokerage in Miami. I am technically a “competing” broker but only because I do sell to my own clients, not because I compete with my agents for business. We all lead generate and create our own business.

Q:  You’ve grown your team and your business considerably through the years, what do you think are the key components to building a solid book of business?

A: Fostering relationships with those who know you and staying in touch with past clients. It’s a known fact that it costs considerably more to get one new client than it does to stay in touch with one you already have. It makes financial sense to do so, plus it’s a natural extension of my personality to stay in touch with past clients!

Q: How important is marketing for you in terms of staying competitive and driving new leads?

A: Whether you’re marketing yourself or your brand, it’s important to ALWAYS be marketing. If you’re not?  Someone else is.

Q:  What ProspectsPLUS! marketing tools are you a big fan of and why?

A: I love the Just Listed postcards and how quickly they can be ordered. I’ve also really been wanting to try the new Market Dominator mailing. It looks amazing. I’ve had a challenging year this year due to personal responsibilities which have prevented me from expanding my real estate business. But it’s on my radar and as soon as my schedule settles down a bit, I’ll be looking into it further.md-nov

Q:  How often do you stay in touch with your sphere of influence?

A: On average it’s at least once a month with a scheduled email, but in reality probably more than that because much of my sphere I see in person either at church or personal events. And a large portion of my sphere is also connected on social media such as Facebook so I connect there as well.

Q:  What activities in your marketplace do you do consistently to support your marketing efforts?

A: Facebook ads for our new listings, open houses, and just listed/just sold postcards.  They all work to drive extra traffic to our site and phone calls.

Q:  Do you have a niche that you specialize in?

A: I’m a firm believer that it’s best to be a specialist and not a generalist. It dilutes your efforts if you try to be all things to all people. That said, my only niche is probably geographical in that I won’t go all over the county for business. I prefer to refer it to one of my agents or a colleague if it’s “too far” for me. Also I do not do commercial real estate, although I have agents who do. I personally prefer to concentrate on residential real estate only.

Q:  What advice do you have for fellow agents eager to create a strong foundation and career longevity?luxury cards

A: Real estate is about lead generation. If you don’t generate new business, you can’t expect to make it through the long haul. Pick at least three lead generating systems and stick to them. For example: Just Listed/Just Sold postcards are a great way to market you, your brand, and your listings.  Staying in touch with your sphere should definitely be another must-do.  ProspectsPLUS.com provides a whole spectrum of marketing tools to stay top of mind with your sphere, without breaking the budget.  And once you’ve sent those mailers?  Pick up the PHONE. It’s the least expensive, and most effective thing you can do. It’s a lot easier calling someone you know rather than a FSBO who doesn’t know you and is likely annoyed at all the agents calling her! Not to say FSBOs aren’t a good source of new business – they are!   

I would also say to focus on one thing at a time and don’t be a secret agent. This is Real Estate 101. Reach out to those who know you and like you, and let them know you’re in the business (or remind them you’re still in the business). People prefer to work with someone they know, like and trust and that’s where you gain the upper hand. Make sure your contacts know you are there for them. And be genuine in your approach. My monthly mailings remind them I’m in real estate. My phone calls, texts, Facebook posts and note cards are short, sweet, about building the relationship – and NOT about real estate are always appreciated. When you do all of these things – when they are ready to list or sell or know someone who is, I know they will remember I’m the real estate professional for them.

Q: You’ve also used a lot of Every Door Direct Mail™ while growing your business – what made you make communitynewsnovthumbsfront4that decision?

A: The cost of EDDM made me realize it was a smart business decision. Knowing that I could reach about three times the number of people for the same cost was a no-brainer. We once mailed to 1,002 homes and the day after the mailers were delivered I received my first call from a homeowner considering selling.

Q:  How can readers reach you if they’d like to send a referral your way?

A: We’re available at www.SpecialMiamiHomes.com and info@SpecialMiamiHomes.com.

Thank you so much Maggie.  We appreciation your generosity in sharing your experience!  You’re terrific and we wish you all the very best.

Want to learn more about driving your business forward, staying top of mind, and growing your referral base? Head over to our Master Marketing Schedule for a steady stream of tools, tips, techniques and ideas.

Need help getting started? Contact our team at 866-405-3638.