Sunday, June 25, 2017

Insight and Experience from Agent Debbie Figueroa

by Julie Escobar

We have the best customers. They’re insightful, fun, professional and willing to share what’s working for them. That’s gracious in today’s competitive market, and we truly appreciate their candor.

I was eager to learn what’s working for top agent Debbie Figueroa, so I reached out to get her thoughts on growing a real estate business. Here’s an excerpt from what she shared:

Q: Thank you so much for sharing your insight, Debbie. Can you start by telling our readers a little about yourself?

A: Sure. My name is Debbie Figueroa of the Real Estate Power Houses. I’ve worked in the real estate industry for more than 25 years – as a full-time REALTOR® for almost five years. I primarily work with residential homebuyers and sellers in the El Paso, Texas, area.

Q: It’s a competitive market. What’s your go-to tool for staying branded in your market and getting results?  

A: The Just Listed/Just Sold postcards are a huge tool for my business. They not only help promote my listed or sold properties, but they also help get my name out in the marketplace. I obtain at least one solid buyer or seller lead from each mailing. It’s a huge tool to utilize during listing presentations as well.

Q: How are you staying consistently in touch with your sphere and farm, and what advice do you have for agents eager to boost their listings and referrals?

A: I reach out to my sphere of influence every other month by mail, at least three times a year by text message, twice a year by phone and once a year with a personal marketing “pop by.” I also email a monthly newsletter and send an electronic postcard for each of my listings to my sphere of influence. Some of my contacts in my sphere of influence have not directly done business with me, but they’re fabulous at passing my name along to their friends and family.

Q: What are your thoughts on differentiating yourself from your competitors in your market?

A: It amazes me when I meet clients who have either purchased or sold a home in the past, and they don’t remember the name of the agent who helped them. Staying in constant contact with past clients and your sphere of influence is key to helping your business grow and continue in the future.

Q: What brought you to ProspectsPLUS!, and what’s your favorite marketing tool?

A: The broker I was with when I made the transition back to selling real estate full time recommended the site. The Just Listed/Just Sold postcards are such a helpful tool in growing your business. Obtaining at least one lead from each mailing pays for itself multiple times over.

Q: Any last fun advice for agents?

A: Enjoy it! No one is perfect. Mistakes will happen, and you need to learn from them.  Make sure to take time during the week for yourself to relax and enjoy life and laugh.  Humor is needed to get through those tough times.

Q: If agents would like to connect with you for referrals, how can they reach you?

A: They can reach me directly at 915.261.8077 or via email at debbie@debbiefigueroa.com.

Awesome advice, Debbie! Thank you so much!

If you’re ready to get the kind of terrific results Debbie is getting and take your business to the next level, visit our site today at www.prospectsplus.com, or contact our team to get started at 866.405.3638.

Success Advice from Power Agent Buddy Keene

by Julie Escobar

Tapping into what works for our customers is a great way to get a read on what agents need now and what is right around the corner as well. We caught up with one of our VIP customers Buddy Keene to learn what he’s doing to take his business to the next level.

Here’s what we learned:

Q:  Thanks for the interview! Can you start by telling our readers a little about yourself?

A:  Sure, I’m a Tampa native whose background as a business owner and executive brings a new and innovative approach to the sale of real estate. I take pride in providing personal and responsive service tailored to each client’s individual needs. I am a high-energy individual who delivers start-to-finish service with the sale or purchase of primary residences, vacation/secondary homes, and rental properties. My company, Great Blue’s mission is to become both the best respected and the most successful real estate brokerage in the state of Florida.

Q:  We know that staying consistent with your marketing is one powerful key to branding yourself and generating business. Can you tell us what you find most effective in terms of staying top of mind with your sphere and farm?

A:  I concentrate my marketing budget on direct mailings. I mail three communities every month. The total number of homes that I reach is just over 2,500. 90% of all of business comes from this mail campaign. If you want to be top of mind for the homeowners in your farm area, you have got to be consistent with your touches. If you intend to simply mail one time, or even on a quarterly basis, you’re wasting your money. I consider 12 touches per year to be the optimum exposure for my listing services.

Q:  We appreciate your trusting us to be the resource for your marketing tools – what drew you to our organization and what is your go-to tool for getting results?

A: I learned about ProspectsPLUS.com from a postcard that you mailed to me. So, I’m proof that direct mail produces results!

Q:  It’s a competitive market out there. What advice would you give fellow agents for creating an edge over their competitors?

A: For years, I produced my own Real Estate Reports for my farm area. I would gather the info from the MLS, analyze it, write a report, print it, and the envelopes, stuff them, and mail them. It was a massive effort to put the campaign together. My printing toner cost alone was $500 per month. At that time, I was only mailing on a quarterly basis. While I was surviving, the return on my investment just wasn’t where I felt it should be. After contacting prospects Plus, and learning about the Market Dominator product, I made the change, and hired your profession organization to produce my mailing pieces. This is by far the best marketing decision I have made to date. The mailings are always top notch quality, both the graphics, and the copy. My personal branded image has never been more professional. And I’m spending less time on my mailings than ever before.

The very first thing that homeowners tell me when we meet at the listing appointment, is that they love my mailers.

Q:  Many agents are reluctant to do any follow up activities with their book of business.  What words of wisdom can you share with them?

A: My farm areas consist of $400,000 properties. When you start charging people the amounts of money that I charge, you’d better bring some real value to the table. I have added services to my marketing plan, that most other Realtors simply don’t offer. For example, pay for a professional appraisal. The fact that we have a professional third party opinion of market value is very comforting to the sellers. It’s amazing how much stress this practice removes from the selling process for my clients. Another benefit to having this info, is that they sellers don’t go into the selling process with unrealistic expectations.

I bring in a professional photographer, and have him shoot High Dynamic Range photos, as well as aerial photos shot with a drone. I have a virtual tour software that I invested in, and it’s so much better than anything else that the sellers have ever seen. I also use an appointment center service, so that we never miss a call to show. I employ an internet service that syndicates my listings to over 50 websites, and delivers an email report to my sellers on the 1st, and the 15th of each month, showing how many view’s we have gotten, and from which of the website.

Q:  How valuable have you found it to be to stay in touch with your past clients?

A: Being mostly a listing agent, many of my past clients have actually moved out of my market area. So, the majority of my book of business is made up from buyers that I have worked with in the past. This is one of the areas where I have some serious room for improvement. While I have been fortunate enough to have very good relationships with my past buyer clients, I have not established a formal drip-mail campaign to keep myself top of mind with them.

My past clients have become a strong source of referrals. In fact, I have one family that has purchased, and or sold six properties with me. We’ve been working together for over 10 years. Many of my past buyers were first time buyers. Now that they are ready to move up, they are calling me to both sell their current property, and help them buy their new home.

Q:  Lastly, how can agents get hold of you if they have a referral they’d like to share in your area?

A: I can be reached at Buddy.keene@greatblue.us, or by phone at 813.727.7110.

Awesome information. Thanks Buddy!  

If you’d like to learn more about growing your book of business, earn more referrals and brand yourself in a geographic market, visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com or call our team today at 866.405.3638.

Success Spotlight Q & A with Power Agent Jennifer Ingiald

By Julie Escobar

When you really want to know what’s working for your customers, you reach out and ask them.  We are so fortunate to have extraordinary customers who are willing and happy to share their experiences of what works, and sometimes what doesn’t with our readers.  Agents love to learn from one another and we love sharing their stories.  This week?  We caught up with power agent Jennifer Ingiald to see what she’s doing to knock it out of the park in her market.

Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q:  Can you please tell our readers a little about you?

A:  I’m a Realtor in the central Wisconsin area. I focus mostly on waterfront homes and condos in the Castle Rock Lake area and Wisconsin Dells. Being originally from Schaumburg, IL, my family always vacationed in the Wisconsin Dells area and Castle Rock Lake is the fourth largest lake in Wisconsin, so it’s a lot of fun to work with buyers and sellers purchasing or building their dream vacation home.

Q:  How long have you been using ProspectsPLUS! and what made you choose us as your resource?

A: I’ve been using ProspectsPLUS! for about a year and a half now. My broker had recommended the site as she had great success with it as well. She was absolutely right! The website is very user-friendly, and so easy to navigate and create awesome postcards.

Q:  Can you tell us what you believe is the most important part of your marketing plan?

A: Listing photos and direct mail campaigns.  I like to utilize a professional real estate photographer for listing photos which I can then import into ProspectsPLUS.com postcard templates for a “Just Listed” or “Just Sold” campaign.  The end result is a completely professional postcard that always yields amazing results.

Q: I know you wisely use Just Listed and Just Sold cards in your market – can you tell us what kind of results you are getting and why you are so passionate about using these time-tested tools?  

A: This is by far my most important marketing tool.  Every single time I send out a Just Listed or Just Sold card, I get at least one new listing.  With the last Just Sold card I sent, I received two new listings.  I prefer to use the Jumbo postcards as opposed to the standard size, as I think they catch the eye better and help me to stand out amongst my competition.

Q:  Any advice for agents eager to get more results from their sphere and farm? 

A: I would absolutely recommend a ProspectsPLUS.com direct mail campaign, especially for farming.  It may seem like more money than you’d like to spend at first, but if you get one listing, and thus one sale out of it, it is worth it!  I like to use the postcard templates with a lot of photos as I think photos grab a reader’s attention. I also think it’s important to consistently send out either a Just Listed or Just Sold once you have a new listing or sale in a particular area you are farming, as you will start to become viewed as the market expert in your area.

Q:  Awesome – thank you so much Jennifer! How can readers connect with you if they have referrals in your market?

A:  If anyone has any referrals in the Wisconsin Dells or Castle Rock Lake areas, please feel free to call me at 608-548-3307 or www.CastleRockLakeAreaHomes.com.

If you’d like to learn more about consistently marketing your listings and yourself in your market, call our marketing team at 866.405.3638 or visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com. We’re happy to help you develop the plan that can help you take your business to the next level.

If you are a ProspectsPLUS.com customer and would be interested in potentially being featured on our blog or in our next Master Marketing Magazine, please email me today and set up a time to connect!

An Interview with Marketing Guru Dean Jackson

By Julie Escobar

When you want big marketing ideas with smart research and strategies to back them up, you want to listen to Dean Jackson.  With humor and character, Dean not only takes agents OUTSIDE the box, he challenges dean-jackson-profilethem to leave the “box” in the dust and look to unconventional, creative strategies that make good solid business sense.  So when we heard about his Listing Multiplier – we knew we wanted to share it with all of you.

Q:  Dean, I read your awesome white paper on the Multiplier – can you give our readers a little nutshell of what this powerful concept is please?

A:  Sure, the big idea here is to have a sense of what you are missing.  To start, I ask agents to think of their last ten listings, and score them, one point each for the following opportunities:

  1. Get it sold
  2. Find the buyer
  3. Find the buyer that buys another house
  4. Get another listing from it
  5. Get a referral from the seller

Now you take your number out of 50 for these opportunities. They’ll range from say, 8 out of 50 to 15 out of jl js cards50.  In some cases, you’re hitting every opportunity, in others, such as a listing expiring, you get zero points. What you get once you’ve done this exercise is a sense of what your  current system yields.

Now take that number and divide it by ten – that’s your Listing Multiplier Index. So, say you have a 15 out of 50, divide that by 10 and you get 1.5. That means your current system yields 1.5 listings for every listing you take.  Now – the objective is to get that HIGHER.  Imagine if you could double that or more and turn every listing into three transactions!

Q:  Right? That would be awesome.  Can you share some ways readers can start to do that?

A:  Well yeah.  Start with Just Listed postcards.  Most of the time agents take the approach of, “I’ll just put itdo-you-know-postcard

in the MLS. Right now, listings go fast, so we don’t HAVE to market.”  That’s just short-sighted. Instead of looking at what has to be done to “get by”, agents should be looking at using marketing such as Just Listed/Just Sold postcards, InfoBox flyers, single property websites, and instant open house landing pages — all to extend that one commission into many commissionable activities.  Listing puts you in the ballgame, then it’s time to hit it out of the park.

Q:  Can you explain the Instant Open House Landing page please?

A:  Sure, you can learn more at www.gogoagent.com, but the idea is that you set up an instant landing page for the property address, people add their name and email address to download a pdf of all the property information.  Then you send a very simple, very conversational, expecting a reply email to those folks, and to buyers that might be interested in the home that says, “Got some people coming by the property at 23 Greystone tomorrow afternoon to see the house. Would you care to join them?”

That’s it. No time, no details – just expecting a yes or no answer.  We had one open house where eighteen people showed up at once! That’s letting your marketing do the work – generating buyers, new potential sellers and referrals. Now picture you have five listings, and you do the instant open house for all five – one at noon, one at 2, one at 3:30, 5 and 6:30. How great of a day would that be?wmipcissue38stationeryfrontthu

Q:  Pretty amazing, I’d say! One thing I know that you talk about with your GoGoAgent members is setting your marketing up in such a way that you’re not having to make those dreaded “cold calls”. Can you expand on that?

A:  Nothing I’d ever do would involve cold calls. No one likes to make them and no one likes to get them. I prefer to teach agents to use their email as a better communication tool. Short, conversational emails that make people feel like you are talking directly and specifically to them. That’s leverage-able.

Your postcard marketing as well – put some personality to it. Think of your postcards for what they are – an opportunity to share a message. Not long ago I was in Missouri and I went to the Pony Express Museum.  It makes you think, you know?  Those young people on the Pony Express risked their lives to deliver a message.  Letters and communication were so important that people hired a government employee to take great risks to deliver them. We are still hiring a government employee to deliver our words to someone else – the least we can do is make them interesting! Think about what you would say if you were face-to-face.  Differentiate yourself. Give people something that helps them engage.

Q:  Any last words for our readers?

A:  I would say to really just dive into learning about how to use your Listing Multiplier Index to take your business to incredible levels.  When you think about what it would mean to you to take your multiplier from say a 1.1 to a 3.3 for your next ten listings, that would mean 20 extra transactions. If your average commission is $10,000 – that means an additional $200,000 per year. That’s exciting!

Q:  I totally agree! I know agents would love to learn more about your creative, collaborative listing and sales ideas. How can they find out more?

A:  They can find everything they need at www.gogoagent.com.  Thanks!

Need help multiplying your listings? Call our team at 866.405.3638 or visit our site today at www.prospectsplus.com. 

 

 

 

 

 

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.