Friday, December 15, 2017

In Your Geographic Farm Area

By Todd Robertson

There’s something I say at the end of every speech I give when presenting to sales professionals – “If the game is scheduled and you’ve decided to play, you might as well win.”

What I mean by that is that if you’re going to do the work, be in the game, and put in the time – you might as well give yourself the absolute best chance to knock it out of the park.  That’s exactly what I wanted to talk about in this week’s quick post.   There are three powerful ingredients to putting yourself at the top of the game in your market. They are…

  1. Make it easy for people to find you. If you’re playing to win in today’s market you have to have an internet presence. That said, what you DON’T want to do is to put ALL of your eggs in that basket.  Make sure you have a presence, are ranking, driving traffic, and showcasing not only your listings, but your credentials as the specialist in your area and can back that up.  Opt-ins that keep your listing growing are a great add in as well.  Make it easy for people to find you when they are searching and you’re one up on your competition.
  2. Skills. There are SO many great trainers, speakers, courses, and connections these days, many even on demand so you can learn at your leisure. There’s no reason and frankly no excuse for an agent who is eager to succeed to not be playing at an extraordinary level.  Tony Robbins calls it CANI – for Constant And Never Ending I  What do your skill levels look like in terms of presentation, negotiation, pricing, prospecting – or all of the above?  Never stop learning and fine tuning.  You can have all the internet leads in the world or all the referrals in the world – if you don’t have the skills to close – then you are leaving money on the table.
  3. Good ground game. What I mean by this is modern day farming.  It’s easier than ever and so important.  To pull it off though you have to deliver Ritz Carlton quality and service. That means picking the right area – then creating a dominating presence.  To do that I suggest you…
  • Pick the absolute right area. Don’t just choose your carrier routes or neighborhood without doing your homework.  Not long ago, we invited our friends from Benutech and ReboGateway to join us for a webinar in which they taught our customers how to use turnover rate, sales price, homeowner to renter ratios and additional data to find the right farm. You can watch it on demand here:
  • Send out the largest legal size mailing possible (12×15). That sends a message to local homeowners that you are in the game to win. Show up BIG, and let them know you mean business. That’s where the Market Dominator becomes your differentiator. Done for you content. Consistent delivery. Directly to your farm.
  • Make it a campaign. In other words, if you’re going to be like 90+% of agents and drop one or two marketing strategies then call it a day, farming is not going to work. If you do however decide that you are going to commit for the duration and consistently show up month after month after month with a strong message and direct response offers – you’ll be positioning yourself to win.

Now if you’re ready to knock it out of the park and learn how the Market Dominator can give you the competitive edge, give me a call today at 702-683-1967. I know we’ve got the systems and tools to help you do just that. Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com or give us a call today 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.

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.

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.  

 

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!