Sunday, October 22, 2017

And When Should You Put it Into Overdrive

By Julie Escobar

We are asked weekly by agents all over North America to offer sound real estate advice, and the one that often surprises us is, “When should I stop marketing?”  The answer?  When you leave the business.  Up until then, if you want to do do what’s right for your sellers, business, and bottom line — you’ve got to stay in the game.  Perhaps at different levels during spells of your career – but staying in consistent touch with your sphere and farm is right up there with prospecting, presenting, and closing in terms of generating income and referrals.

“But I’ve sent two mailings and haven’t gotten a call.”  We get it. We’ve even been there.  There are a lot of us on the team that have walked in your shoes listing and selling homes.  Here’s what we know, and what statistics and history tell us –it takes more than that.  One mailing. One phone call. One email — won’t ever get you the results you are looking for. What will?   Staying the course.  With mailings, and phone calls, and emails, and door knocking, and community involvement.  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.  But you know? Most agents stop after three tries, and most transactions or calls happen after five-seven.

So here’s a plan – this month, every month:  Take your targeted message, use direct response offers, stagger your direct mail with your email and CALL your prospects to follow up.  Check out our Master Marketing Schedule for fun “reasons” to call, or stop by every 3-6 months as well and you are well on your way to branding yourself as THEIR real estate professional.

What to send? Here are four ideas to get you started:

Holiday Cards: Every month you can add a seasonal touch to your marketing. Add a greatmessage to the back with free offers for consumer reports, lists of homes, comparative market analysis – or invitation to an event.  Be sure you are following up every few months with a friendly, “anything I can do for you” call.

Call to Action Cards:  These are a great direct response piece to send with free offers and the ability to share timely market-specific content.

Content Cards:  These powerful, content-rich cards have timely topics with the kind of consumer-friendly information that both gives people what they want and sets you up to be a knowledgeable resource in your market.call to action

Scale back or push forward?  As we head into holidays many agents will slow their marketing way down as social obligations gear up.  When that happens, it’s always a good idea to be the agent who takes the opposite approach.  That way, you’ll stay top of mind without any lag in exposure and hit the ground running come January when other agents are just getting restarted.

While it makes sense to look at your business as a whole and carefully measure your return and the necessity of each line item on your budget, what doesn’t 4 ways contentmake sense is to slip into anonymity by eliminating your marketing dollars.  In fact, Billionaire Bill Bartmann, and author of Eight Ways to Recession Proof Your Business recommends quite the opposite.  Slash expenses, indeed.  Take the waste and the “fat” out of your monthly and annual expenditures wherever and however possible.  With one exception:  Marketing.  Bill’s advice is to dramatically expand your marketing plan.  Why?  Simple – the time is now to swiftly capture the market share being left on the table by every other industry salesperson that has gone into conservation mode to the point where they no longer have a viable, VISIBLE presence in your market area.  Keeping expenses lean in every other area of your business will allow you to SURVIVE the storms.  Expanding your budget and actions in the arena of marketing will ensure you THRIVE not just today, but be the front-runner when the market does indeed take the turn for the better.

We all know it’s harder and MUCH more expensive to attract NEW customers than it is to keep and nurture our current book of business.  In fact, according to Gary Keller’s books, Millionaire Real Estate Agent, you can expect to do business with one out of ever twelve customers in your sphere of influence per year if you stay in touch with them consistently!  So, what are you waiting for?  Start making a great impression today, then do it again next week, next month, all year around!  Your business – and your bottom line – will thank you for it.

Want to learn more about how to generate the right leads for your business, thrive in ANY economy and make a wonderful first, second and twenty-seventh impression?  Visit Master Marketing Schedule today. It’s filled with new, innovative and outside the box ideas each and every month!  Need help?  Our marketing team is top of the line at 866.405.3638 and ready to answer your questions or help you create the marketing piece that’s perfect for your market.  

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. 

3 Powerful Steps to Engage Customers

By Julie Escobar

You’ve probably heard it said a time or two (or more) that the business will go to those who show up not just once, but again and again.  To succeed in sales today, professionals have to dig in, refuse to cut corners, commit to consistency and the big key?  FOLLOW UP.  Engagement of your customers, your sphere, and your farm – isn’t something you can take a ‘stand-back’ approach to.  You can ‘warm’ the call, set up the stage for prospecting, and share the information that people need to see to consider you the expert they should turn to when they are ready to list or sell their home – but you have to go the EXTRA step – and follow up.  Voice to voice.  Face to face.  Belly to belly.

Is that always easy?  No, for many–not at first.  But for those who dive in and get it?  That their real job, true passion is to help people?  And they practice getting outside their comfort zones?  That’s when the game-changing happens.

So here are a few ways to engage, follow up and make the difference between what could be and what will be a rest of the year. 

  1. SEND! For most agents – from the brand new to experienced – warming that prospecting call is more buyers cardsomething that puts them at ease.  One direct mail series that is getting a lot of attention and results is our Listing Inventory cards.  They speak to what is happening in today’s market and get people’s attention.  Or you may want to go with a classic direct mail piece such as a holiday card (and don’t wait for the winter holidays – go ahead and send something every month and be different than your competitors.) Even recipe cards that feature great appetizers or dishes that people can share are great. You may also want to take a tip from top producers and send handwritten notecards to five VIPs on your SOI list each week.
  2. CALL! I can’t tell you how many agents I talk to that just have a hard time getting past this one.   Don’t worry so much!  Make the call.  ENGAGE.  Talk to people.  Be yourself.  Be helpful .  Ask questions.  It doesn’t have to be scary and it doesn’t have to be “salesy.”  It can be as simple as this:  “Hi!  It’s Julie from ABC Realty – just wanted to let you know we have a lot of things changing in our market — and to see if you have any questions about that or anything real estate related?” Then LISTEN and respond to what they say.  Some won’t need anything but odds are in your favor that some will.  Be sure to let people know that you’re expanding your business and that not only is every referral APPRECIATED, but you realize what an honor everyone is – and you can promise that each will be treated like royalty. Finish with the question,  “Is there anyone you know that might be looking to buy or sell now or in themerchandising review near future?”  You may also want to choose to offer a great free report or fair trade item to FSBO’s such as the Merchandising Review, who might be more than anxious about getting their homes sold. Many of our reports are a great conversation starter when you’re on the phone and a perfect reason to email or even stop by! Check them all out here.  Be the resource that goes the extra step for them and it will be appreciated.  Get something in front of your prospects and sphere that gives you a great ‘reason’ to follow up.  Break your calls down into manageable numbers so you don’t get overwhelmed – 15-25 calls per day is a good goal for agents who are in high-productivity mode.  Time block this prospecting into your schedule then commit to making it happen.
  3. SEE!  Get out there and SEE people.  As a professional real estate agent – meeting new people and adding to your sphere is a MUST DO not a SHOULD DO.  Walk your neighborhood farm, attend your community garage sales and meet the folks in the neighborhoods you service.  Go to the fall festivals at the schools.  Attend the neighborhood and community events. Wear your name badge, bring your business cards, and shake some hands.  Stop in a the local restaurants, delis, shops and businesses in the community you represent and get to know the people there and let them know you work on referrals – and you’d love to refer your clients back to them as well.  Share your stories about a great meal, terrific new shop, amazing customer experience, incredible health care providers and more in your area on your social media, blog or newsletter.  You’ll not only make new friends, you’ll gain new customers (and respect for being pro-active and a resource people can trust).  Be sure to SEE those in your sphere at least twice a year as well.  Take your top referral customers to coffee or lunch or stop by with a special treat.

The truth is, to stand out as someone who presents themselves as someone who will go the extra miles for their customers and clients – you have to SHOW that characteristic in everything you do – INCLUDING marketing your OWN business.  It’s that simple.  Ultimately it’s not the business of HOMES that we’re in – it’s the business of PEOPLE.  So show up again and again – and follow up over and over.   The results will take care of themselves!

Need help?  Call our marketing team to help get you started, restarted or fired up this fall at 866.405.3638.  They’ve got the experience, knowledge and solutions you need to succeed.  And they’re FUN!  Can’t beat that!  Have a good one and happy follow up!

To Reach More People In Your Sphere and Farm

by Julie Escobar

Agents often ask us for ideas on what to send and when. We’re happy to help so they can get back to what they do best:  Prospecting, Presenting and Closing.  We know there are LOTS of option to choose from, and no real one-size-fits-all. That’s why we put new marketing tools on the site each and every month.  It’s also why we have over 1,000 postcards in the standard-size alone, and thousands more in Jumbo and Panoramic.

What we’ve found is that postcard marketing makes it easy for agents to “pull the trigger”, get their marketing ordered and move on to the next task. Expediency and ease are two factors that agents tell us are important to them.  The fact that the content is done, customization is easy and data is readily available to create marketing lists all help make the process quick and easy.

One series that’s really popular right now is the Listing Inventory Series, because it highlights the need for more listings!  Agents love having a series that has a wide selection because they can send month after month to your sphere and farm with consistent branding and similar messaging.

Here are some suggestions for the next three months using this series with a little bit of a twist! Pairing a
postcard with a Free Report Offer is a great way to offer something of value, brand yourself as a resource, and get people to pick up the phone or text you for the offer.  

March:  Send the Buyers are Waiting postcard from the Listing Inventory Series. When choosing a back, choose the “Standard Back with Message” option so you have a little more room.

Change up the front if you like, and on the back, change the copy to say something like:

There’s never been a more important time to have resources you can count on when it comes to buying and selling a home.  We currently have more buyers than listings, which makes them motivated to pay top dollar while interest rates are low and demand is high. If you are interested in selling, or know someone who is, please call or text me today at (your cell number) to get a copy of my Free Report: 5 Tips for a Smooth Quick Home Sale.  

April:  Send the Take Advantage of the Market postcard. Again, choose “Standard Back with Message” option so you have a little more room.

Change up the front if you like, and on the back, change the copy to say something like:

Timing is everything in the real estate market, and the time to get more for your home is right now.  We currently have more buyers than listings, which makes them motivated to pay top dollar while interest rates are low and demand is high. If you are interested in selling, or know someone who is, please call or text me today at (your cell number) to get a copy of my Free Report: 9 Strategies for Getting Up to 17% More for Your Home.

May:  Send The Big Question postcard, and change up the back message to:

Selling your home is a big decision. One of the biggest for most people.  You’ll want to make sure you have every question answered before diving into this competitive market. I can help. If you are interested in selling, or know someone who is, please call or text me today at (your cell number) to get a copy of my Free Report: 5 On the Money Reasons to Use a REALTOR. 

Get the full impact from your marketing tools.  

  • Add the report PDFs to your blog.
  • Or as an opt-in on your site.
  • Print them out to share at Open houses.
  • Share the jpg’s on your social media with a link driving people to your site to download.
  • Or use when you are walking your farm to follow up on your mailings.
  • Add additional marketing “touches” by sending Just Listed/Just Sold or Open House postcards.

Be sure to block time to speak with at least 100 people per week from your sphere list as part of our March challenge.  The market is competitive. That means it will take bold ACTION to gain market share. We challenge you to do just that.  

Need help?  Contact our team at 866.405.3638. They are there for you! 

 

 

Staying Top of Mind With Your Sphere

by Julie Escobar

Consistency is key when marketing, but agents call us every week to ask, “What should I send?” So, we put together three suggestions to get you started.

  1. Holiday Postcards:  This week’s Master Marketing Schedule tip is to send your St. Patrick’s Day postcards to your sphere of influence.  Agents love Holiday cards because they are timely, can be easily customized with a fun message, and the consistency (sending one per month) is just what the doctor ordered for staying top of mind.  Just be sure to order the first class option for speedier delivery. Our St. Patrick’s Day postcard and Daylight Savings postcards are perfect for reaching out to that top tier of customers on your list in March. 
  2. Animal II Series:  There’s a reason the internet is filled with puppies and kittens.  They make people smile. As our friend Darryl Davis talks about – that’s one BIG key to building rapport and making connections with people – giving them reasons to SMIILE! We’ve recently added this new series option to our offerings because of agent demand.  You can look for many additional cards to be added to this series over the next few months.
  3. Market Quote Series:  This series is growing as well and is an easy way to communicate some of what’s going on in the market right now, and have a little fun!

To get the most from your postcard campaign follow these steps: 

  • Pick a postcard.
  • Choose a size.
  • Choose first-class delivery for holiday postcards, and your choice of delivery options for non-time sensitive postcards.
  • Choose the pre-written copy – or better yet, customize the back of the card with a message of your own. You can offer an item of value, invite customers to an event such as a home buying or selling workshop, or just send them well wishes.
  • Upload your sphere of influence list:  those who know you, like you and trust you. This list is usually compiled from your friends, family, acquaintances and past customers.  Statistically, if you stay in touch with these folks every month, one in twelve should produce a listing, sale or referral to you per year! If you need a list of the 250 people who should be in your sphere, head over to our resources page and dowload our BusinessBASE.
  • Use a promo code to save 10%! Here are the top postcard promo codes for the current month:
    • VAL10S – standard size, mailed First-Class
    • VAL10J – jumbo size, mailed First-Class
    • VAL10P – panoramic size, mailed First-Class
    • VAL10JSC – jumbo size, mailed Standard-Class
    • VAL10PSC – panoramic size, mailed Standard-Class

Next, a fun tip to help you have more fun with your sphere and farm:  Be sure to check in weekly to our Master Marketing Schedule. In the next few weeks you’ll see Pistachio Day, Dentist Day, Salesperson Day, Doctor Day, Pi Day and more. What do these all have in common?  Each includes interesting and fun ways to connect with the folks in your market and differentiate yourself from your competitors! Find out how! 

Need more help? Call our team at 866.405.3638! They’re happy to assist!