Thursday, March 23, 2017

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.  

 

How You Can Beat the Odds

By Real Estate Speaker and Trainer Todd Robertson

There are many factors that lead to success in this business, and of course, many that can stop an agent in their tracks. This week, we wanted to share some of the biggest factors agents face when trying to dominate in a geographic farm, and what they can do differently than their competitors to come out on top.

1. Fear and Uncertainty. In today’s world, fear is unfortunately an all too common and powerful headline that garners attention thanks to mass media. HOWEVER, in the real world of listing and selling real estate, consumers don’t want fear and they don’t want uncertainty. They want and need an agent who comes from a place of 100% clarity and certainty. They want an agent who is respectful, responsible, competent and CONFIDENT. They need to know that the person handling this big transaction in their life has everything it takes to ensure their best interests are cared for. Be that agent for them by ensuring that you have the right tools, systems, training and marketing plan in place.

2. Money. The old adage is true, it takes money to make money and marketing effectively costs money.nov-dom
Consistently. And that’s not something everyone is ready, willing, or able to sign on for. However, to brand yourself as the turn to agent in your geographic farm, there’s really no way to get around spending marketing dollars. Fortunately, you can spend smarter by using systems that are designed to capture market share while utilizing budget-saving tools such as Every Door Direct Mail. Our Market Dominator System does just that – and it allows you to send the very largest possible marketing piece acceptable for EDDM – 12×15, and puts you literally in every door in the geo farm of your choice for just $1 each. That’s smart marketing.

3. Impatience. One thing that seems to stop many agents from developing a successful farm is their inability to hang in there for the duration. When they don’t get instant results from their marketing, they give up. I get it. I walked in those shoes as an agent as well. But one and done mailings or marketing is never ever going to result in establishing a dominant position as a competitor. What does that? Consistency. Repetition. Showing up month after month after month. That’s the winning formula.nov-dom-2

4. Becoming a “Victim”. You know the drill. The ones who get sucked into the market doom and gloom around the office coffee pot and buy into other agents’ ideas of why your marketing or theirs just “doesn’t work”. Stop. Stay in your own lane in terms of mindset. There will always, always, always be people who want to drag you down, tell you that you can’t accomplish something, or root you in negativity. It’s up to YOU to stay focused on your WINNING formula of skill building, market-savvy tools and systems, and consistent, repetitive follow up and let others worry about their own track to success.

5. Not Having a Campaign. What’s the old Ben Franklin saying? “Fail to plan and you’re planning to fail?” It’s true. Without a viable marketing campaign plan in place, you have no way to gain traction in a market area. That’s why our Dominator Members commit to sending their 12×15 Market Dominators every month for two years – because they know that’s what it takes to truly own a market. To become THE brand in a geographic farm. They also know that if left to their own devices, most agents would have a tough time consistently researching, creating, and producing a powerful, direct-response marketing piece all on their own every single month. So they work smarter, not harder, and tap into a system like the Market Dominator where it’s all done for them.

6. Bogged Down in Busywork. Top agents know the highest and best use of their time is prospecting, presenting, and closing – not all the minutiae of busy work that can easily, and effectively be delegated to a virtual assistant or admin. It’s easy to be super busy being busy and not making any money. I know, it’s less intimidating to spend a day trying to design your own postcard than it is to pick up the phone and call until you get a listing appointment – but which one will get closer to those goals you just set faster? Delegate. Use systems. Use pre-designed, time-tested tools that are done for you. And yes – pick up the phone!

Give yourself your best shot at developing a geographic farm. Lean into a powerful mindset of certainty and confidence and put a strong campaign that works in place so that you can effectively brand yourself in that farm as the agent to call. If you need help with that, I’m happy to share some additional strategies. Email me, and let’s talk.

Need help? Contact our marketing team at 866.405.3638. They’re super knowledgeable, and ready to help get your geo farming and all your marketing on track to help make this your best year ever!   

3 Steps to Showing Up & Creating a Connection

By Julie Escobar

Raise your hand if you’ve ever sent a marketing mailing to a list of folks that don’t know you yet and got discouraged when you didn’t get a call.  It’s frustrating for sure, but it is also one of the biggest marketing mistakes an agent can make. One and done has never been a recipe for success and in today’s world of over media saturation, it is certainly not the time to re-test that theory.  Bottom line? Branding takes TIME. Repetition. Consistency. And follow up.

That’s the heart of farming, and just like traditional farming, the success goes to those who systematically oct-16-dominatorplant the seeds, cultivate the crops and later reap what they have sown. Then repeat the process for as long as they want to continue to effectively farm.  For agents the process is much the same.

Step One:  Stake your claim. Start with a plot or a geographic neighborhood area that is…

  • Starting to see turnover
  • Has a high homeowner vs renter ratio
  • Does not have another agent already dominating market share
  • Has a price point that makes sense for your area

Step Two: Plant the seeds. For effective geo-farming, your monthly marketing should…

  • Capture people’s interest
  • Offers valuable content and fair trade itemsNeighborhood update postcards
  • Present you as the neighborhood specialist and real estate expert
  • Showcase your consistency and professionalism

Three of the most popular tools that many customers use to do this effectively are our:

Step Three:  Follow up. The best agents aren’t leaving anything to chance. They know that just as their marketing tools are the ‘seeds’ for market share success, they must also cultivate that farm with personalized attention.  Here are some great examples of cultivation activities:

  • Walk your farm area with powerful collateral material. Our Market Dominator customers use their extra 20 Dominators. You can also use Free Reports or offer to do a Free Comparative Market Analysis.
  • Set up a meet-and-greet either at the local community center, library or even coffee shop to let neighbors in that area know you are there with answers to their questions.
  • Use a gentle approach. Instead of the “have you thought about selling your house” as your opening line, just introduce yourself. Let people know you’re in the area. Explain that during this changing time, a lot of people have questions and you just wanted to let folks know how they can find the answer when they need them.
  • Invite to an open house. Once you get a listing, be aggressive about hosting open houses in that neighborhood and inviting all the neighbors in.
  • Have some fun connecting! Bookmark our Master Marketing Schedule today and see all the fun and creative ways you can make a GREAT impression on the folks in your marketplace and have a great time doing it.

Once you’ve done all three, start over again.  Branding and earning market share is much more of a long game – a marathon rather than a spring.  But in the end, you’ll reap what you sow.  Keep consistent.  Talk to people. Make your face and name they think of when the idea of real estate pops into their head. That way? You are positioned perfectly as the one to call when they are ready to buy or sell or know of someone who is.

When should you start?  The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll start seeing results.  Plant those seeds.  We can help.   Call our team at 866.405.3638 today or head over to www.prospectsplus.com and get started!