Saturday, May 27, 2017

With Top Agent Carmen Wieck

By Julie Escobar

It’s so powerful to learn from our customers, hear their stories and be able to share their insights and ideas
with others. Every time we do, it’s wonderful. We often get a behind-the-scenes glance into what brought them to our great industry – and what they do that allows them to flourish.

What a treat it was to learn more about our VIP customer Carmen Wieck. Her story inspired us, and I know it will inspire you too. Here’s what we learned:

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

A: I was born and grew up in communist Romania, and 1989 was a big turning point in my destiny. I always felt I was missing something big, but I never knew what it was. After graduating from the Academy of Economic Studies, I had a very short period of “trial and error” in finding the right career path for myself. I was a lieutenant in the Romanian Police, dreaming of “bringing justice for all.” I also worked for the government, dreaming of “making a difference” until I finally found that working in marketing for private multinational companies was where I fit best. I was so fortunate to work with exceptional managers in several blue chip companies such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Frito-Lay and Ipsos Research.

While I was living in Croatia working for Coca-Cola, I met my husband, who’s from Wisconsin. Life took a big turn for both of us, as we started a family and moved around the world with new job assignments. A few years ago, we decided that the best thing for our two daughters was to benefit from the educational system in the United States, so we moved to Florida. One of the best decisions for our family!

I know from several hands-on experiences that navigating the real estate environment can become overwhelming and emotionally wrecking. Moving so many times from country to country gave me enough personal exposure as a customer… and not always very pleasant. After more than 18 years in the corporate environment and one too many traumatic experiences in real estate, I decided to become a REALTOR® and bring my contribution to restoring the belief that this profession can be conducted with high ethics and, more important, with genuine care about the needs of customers.

Q: What is your go-to marketing tool for branding yourself in your market and driving new business?

A: I’ve “toyed around” with several marketing tools when it comes to marketing in real estate and had my fair share of no’s and wows! One thing I would say is that driving new business starts with exceeding expectations on your existing business. That will always secure your “organic” growth, which should be the foundation for your long-term business.

For tapping into new business opportunities, I’ve learned that a combination of passive and active
prospecting works best for me. For example, a combination of three touchpoints direct mail campaign for Expireds (which I adapted to fit my brand and personality from existing marketing materials/postcards from prospectsplus.com library in such a way that fits my branding and personality) followed by direct contact (calls or door knocking) can prove really productive.

I consider Just Listed/Just Sold postcards a must. However, don’t just sell it or list, put a spin on it and have an unexpected approach or added value. Give your target a reason that matters TO THEM, not to you. I absolutely dread the postcards I receive in my mail from agents stating, “Thank you for making me the #1 agent in your neighborhood.” To me, that is such a turnoff. As a customer, I don’t care that you are #1; I care about my motivation for selling and buying and how you as a real estate agent fit in my motivation! Again, the prospectsplus.com library is such a great source of inspiration. My first Just Sold postcards using a template from ProspectsPLUS! generated two listings!

Q: How do you believe agents can differentiate themselves from other agents in today’s competitive market?

A: Exceeding expectations, going the extra mile. Anybody can put a listing on the MLS now, even FSBOs (with the flat fee companies that offer this service to FSBOs for a nominal fee), everybody offers free CMAs, everybody has a marketing plan that includes internet, maybe open houses, maybe Just Listed postcards, maybe flyers, etc. All seen and done by all REALTORS® to a certain extent.

In a market that’s becoming more and more of a commodity, where everybody knows at least one REALTOR®, true differentiation in added value on trending aspects of real estate is what sets you apart. For example, offering a complimentary Staging Analysis and Assistance, complimentary home protection plan during listing, complementary inspection or appraisal before listing, complimentary full cleaning of the house before listing, etc., depending on the property, owners, their motivation, etc.

Q: Any outside-the-box ideas you’d like to share for building your book of business?

A: Yes. Use an introductory video for your pre-listing package. Tell your short story, show who you are, instill confidence and energy. It helps homeowners get more comfortable and relaxed about meeting you before you show up at the door.

Find something that’s your “thing,” and embed it into your touchpoints with your customers to show genuine care. For example, I LOVE baking, and my whole family loves my signature apple-raspberry pie I make from scratch. So I bring my signature pie for my clients at closing and drop by at their one-, two- and three-year home anniversaries and bring them the pie. One time I had the extended family of one of my past clients waiting for me at the house, just to make sure they got to taste the pie while it was still warm.

Q: How often do you connect with your sphere and farm, and what kind of results do you get from that?

A: I recently started the Market Dominator for my farming area. I find this approach indeed standing out from the crowd – the content, the quality of the printing, everything spells out professionalism, exceeding the “norm” standing out from the crowd. I recently started this; it’s basically a monthly touchpoint approach with my farm, and I do expect to see results in the next few months.

With my sphere, I make sure I stay in touch and call, drop by or send a card for special holidays or birthdays, usually three to four times a year.

Q: Any fun advice to help agents master this business?

A: How one becomes a successful real estate agent? Same as one becomes a butterfly: You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.

Q: Last, where can our readers send a referral if they have someone in your area?

A: My focus is in Broward County, and I can be reached at carmen.realtorflorida@gmail.com or 786-449-9882.

Wonderful, Carmen! Thank you so much for sharing your inspired story with our readers. You’re amazing!

If you’d like to stand out in your market and soar past your competition the way Carmen does, please don’t hesitate to contact us today at 866.405.3638. We can put you on the path to success.

Technique (And Practice) Can Make All the Difference!

By Julie Escobar

As the market continues to heat up, there’s no better time to sharpen your negotiating skills and polish your
pricing techniques.  You know that old Floyd Wickman saying, “Worse than no listing is a listing that won’t sell.”  Make sure yours are priced to move and you’ll not only be a hero to your sellers, you’ll set yourself up as the agent to call in your marketplace.

Here are three of my favorites:

#1:  Helping the Competition:  Overpricing your home in today’s market can actually help sell other listings.

Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer.  They’ve got an agent and they’re looking at listings that are priced at market value, show well and have motivated sellers.

If they look at your home and a comparable home and all things being relatively equal, in other words, both are 4 bedroom, 3 bath, 2600 sq. ft. homes and both show well but yours is $50,000+ above market value, which home is going to look more attractive to them when it comes to a bottom line decision for their family?

In fact, when it comes to choosing their property, if your home is overpriced, you’ve just made the lesser priced home look perfect by comparison.  They can feel good about their decision of getting the same sized home for less!

You can also pull comparables from your MLS to show real world applications of this. 

Another point to make here with the sellers is to share with them the absolute fact that most people start their search for homes online and we’re a web-savvy nation of consumers.

That means that if they overprice their home today and it goes online via the MLS and your multiple w21Wayseb listing portals, their home won’t even have the benefit of SHOWING up when consumers are searching by price in your market area. 

They’ve just priced themselves right off the internet search – eliminating the possibility of that 85+% of consumers who start their search there.  Definitely food for thought!

#2:  The Four Sales:  A great Floyd Wickman strategy – they don’t call him the “Duke of Dialogues” for nothing! Here’s the dialogue:

You know we’ve covered the comparables – the research that I showed you with the prices of the other homes like yours that have sold recently in this area.

And I know you want to list it at the higher price.

I’ve put a lot of thought into it, and you know if we went ahead and put it on the market at your price – and I was the only one that had to be sold on that price – well I guess that would be fine.

But in reality, there are actually four sales that have to be made in order to sell your home at that price.

First…I have to be sold and I’ve gotta tell you – all I can go by is the CMA facts and figures that I showed you.

Secondly…the other agents have to be sold on showing your property at that price – otherwise they’re simply not going to show it to their buyers.  Unfortunately, they get their numbers the same way I do – from what’s recently sold in the area and those same CMA numbers.

Thirdly…and this is a big one – the buyers.  Let’s just pretend we sold the agents on it.  Now we’ve got to convince the buyers to pay a higher price for a property when there are other homes like it that are selling
for less.

Unfortunately in today’s world and with the internet, buyers have access to the same information that we have here.  They know what homes are going for in this area.  So that’s going to be a tough sale, don’t you think?

Now let’s just say everything lines up and somehow we even sell a buyer on paying more for your property than we know its worth in this market.

We still have one more sale.

Fourth…there’s the lender.  Lenders use exactly the same formulas we do to determine Fair Market Value for a property before they’ll write a loan.

Are you familiar with Fall-Throughs? 

Yeah, fall-throughs are what happens when people who were thinking just the way you were thinking and the sale can’t go through because the property won’t appraise for what you’re asking for it.

And that’s not what you want right?21 ways tools

#3:  Empathy vs. Reality Close:  This one comes from our friend, Coach Gord Gerrie:

I understand how you feel Mr. and Mrs. Seller and there is no doubt, many others have felt exactly the same way you do right now.

However, what they found was that once they had sold their house and focused their attention on their new home, they understood that the reality of accepting the offered price really only amounted to a few dollars more per month on their next home.

Again in reality, by accepting this offer today, you will know that your house is sold and that the difference between what you had hoped for and what you will receive will amount to less than $X per day in your new home.

Would you let $X per day stand between you and the home of your dreams?

These are just three powerful closes to help you get the right price for your listings the first time around.  Find 18 more in our eBook 21 Ways to Get Your Listings Priced Right (Despite the Sellers Best Objections! Want to learn more ways to grow your business?  Join us on our Facebook page or Google+ page today – we’d love to hear from you.  

 

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.

With inventory in high demand, and buyers eager for deals, sometimes it takes a little objection handling skill and myth-busting to turn these sellers into happy clients.  

So, let’s put on our “Myth-busters” hat for a moment and take a look at some common misconceptions:

1.  All FSBOs are hard to work with. Really – all of them?  In truth, most sellers who are trying to fly solo to get their homes sold are eager to save money, not well-informed as to what it takes to price right in today’s market and usually fairly motivated.  Are they distrustful of agents?  Sure, many are — but that doesn’t make them difficult – it makes them human beings.  It’s YOUR job to earn their trust, treat them with respect, develop a relationship and make them raving fans.

How do you help develop that relationship? Consistent communication, professional real estate fsbo marketing postcardspresentation tools and a can-do attitude.  Try the “7 touch” series of our real estate FSBO marketing postcards – they’re perfect for getting your foot in the door and raising those questions (and answering them) in the minds of the sellers that get them to then call you for help.

Or our FSBO door hangers are very popular (and perfect for keeping a stash in the car for a quick leave-behind every time you see a For Sale By fsbo door hangers Owner! Many of our direct response tools, and any time you are reaching out to get in the door of a potential listing, especially a FSBO, be sure to offer something of value.  A fair trade item.  A reason to contact you. (And a reason for you to contact them!)  Great ideas for this are free reports, market information, list of resources, our Pricing Pyramid.  You can find lots of fair trade items in our RESOURCE section of our site!

Click here or on the video box below to see how easy it is to order these door hangers!

2.  All FSBOs Are Overpriced. Don’t you just love sweeping generalities?  In truth, (again) – many probably are.  But surprisingly, with all of the internet information out there, and the fact that it is a buyer’s market — many for sale by owner sellers DO get pricing a property right. But more often than not, they don’t get that they can get MORE for their home, statistically, using a real estate professional so it’s your job to help them understand that!  

 

Many time sellers think, “how hard can it be?” Especially when they want to tack your commission onto the top of what you’ve already determined to be Fair Market Value so they can get every penny possible from their investment. When you say no to the higher price point, you’ll often get hit with the “I can just sell it myself and not have to pay anyone” response.

Here’s a technique to try:
“Mr. and Mrs. Seller, I can appreciate your thought. Many homeowners weigh out that option when they decide to sell their home.  The top priority for most home sellers is getting the highest amount possible from their home. Is that your top priority as well?  What I can share with you with you is a study conducted by the National Association of Realtors every year called the annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.
It shows that in the last year, the average FSBO home sold for *$185,000 compared to $240,000 for agent-assisted home sales. So, you can see that even with paying a commission, I can still get you a higher dollar amount for your home than you could selling it on your own.

Would you like to know why? The biggest reason is the exposure I can create for your property as opposed to what you can do on your own. With an agent, the property is entered into the MLS where it is broadcast marketed to not only consumers via the paper, home guides, and a wide range of internet sites, but to the ______ agents in our area as well. By creating greater exposure for your property we create greater buyer competition which leads to a higher selling price.

That, and as a real estate professional with ___ years of experience and because I’m a third party, I’m better able to negotiate on your behalf, getting you the best deal for your home. You have to remember that a buyer working with a For Sale By Owner knows that you aren’t paying a commission, and more often than not, they’re well versed in the price of the comparables in your market, so they are already in “bargain hunting” mode.

When you take all of that into consideration, as well as how much of your own valuable time will be taken up with trying to do your regular job plus take on showing the property, trying to negotiate, searching for the necessary legal documentation and trying to qualify buyers, can you see how you could be saving more by using a licensed agent?”

This may be a good time too to introduce the Merchandising Review.  If you’ve never used it, give it a whirl – you’ll make it a part of your listing tool chest from now on!  It’s a great way to strategically walk sellers through ALL the components of salable listing and even helps to answer some questions (price at the top!) before they’re even raised.  Download your copy for free and start using it today.   By the way – here’s a little Merchandising Review dialogue you can use when contacting FSBOs.

As soon as you see that FSBO pop onto the market, you should contact them by telephone and attempt to use the Merchandising Review as a reason for them to set an appointment to talk with you.

“Hello, Mr./Mrs./Ms/Miss ____________, my name is _______, and I’m with ______.  The reason I’m calling is that I see you have put your home on the market and I’m sure you’re eager to get the best price for it – right? (Wait for their answer!)

Wonderful!  I wanted to offer you a very special tool that we use called a Merchandising Review Form…have you heard of it before?  It is what I use to make a comprehensive analysis of whether a home is salable in TODAY’S market and what you can do to guarantee that it will sell for a great price and terms.

What I’d like to do is set a time when we could sit down together and go over the Merchandising Review.  No cost or obligation – just something that can help you get your home sold.  It takes about 20 minutes. (Set a time.)

Walk them through each item and negotiate the issues that were might keep the property from selling.  Correct these issues, and ask if they would allow you to show them your marketing plan.

3.  FSBOS can just do this on their own. I love this one.  Truth is, statistically, most FSBOs do end up using an agent.  In recent statistics only 8% of the homes sold according to NAR were FSBOs. And of those – 31% don’t even market their properties. So, they NEED someone like you to lend them the expertise to not just get a great price, but to make the process as headache free as possible.

Most Difficult Tasks for FSBO Sellers:

  • Getting the right price . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18%
  • Preparing/fixing up home for sale: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13%
  • Understanding and performing paperwork  . . . . . . . . .  12%
  • Helping buyer obtain financing: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6%
  • Selling within the planned length of time: 3%
  • Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale: 3%

FSBOs really are the “low hanging fruit” for many agents – why?  Because they’re usually still motivated to sell!  But the keys to success are that  you have to consistent (can’t show up just ONCE – remember MOST deals are sealed after the FIFTH contact), timely (most successful FSBO experts make reaching out to FSBOs a DAILY business practice – no half-stepping it!) Know your business and your market (practice, drill and rehearse your presentation and you’ll create a presence as the turn-to agent in your market for FSBOs.

So go ahead – time to CRUSH IT and start listing those FSBOs and start maneuvering, out-selling and out-smarting the competition in your market place!  And remember -we’re here if you need us.  Call our team today at 866.405.3638 to help choose the marketing materials you need to capture this market!

The Sum of Small Things

by Julie Escobar

The market is hot and competition is hotter.  One big secret to success is to stay top-of-mind with your book of business.  And while that doesn’t have to be a HARD process – it does need to be CONSISTENT.  That got me thinking about one of Floyd Wickman’s quotes, “Great results are the sum of small things, done well, repeatedly.”  Boy isn’t that the truth?  I once asked Floyd to expand on that a little for us – and here’s what he had to offer:  “That’s one of my favorite sayings too, and it’s so true.  In fact, nothing defines that more than a commissioned salesperson picking up the phone and making a simple call to folks in their book of business—even if for no other reason than to say hello.  There is no higher thing they can do to shift their results in this business than to create those conversations.  In fact, in our courses we teach agents that for every 12 conversations they have, they can expect a referral.  To me, that’s the number one way to stay top of mind AND build your business.”

Great advice.  Floyd also shared that you can’t ‘nurture’ everyone.  So every agent should have two lists – one which is their book of business – those folks you are building a relationship with over time.  Your second list should be your database. That’s a list of everyone who’s ever inquired, been on your mailings lists, or internet leads that you can send drip campaigns to until they are ready to make a move. Your database is your least expensive list to market to – but it also yields much lower results than your book of business.

So number one?  Take Floyd’s advice.  Pick up the phone to everyone in your book of business.  Decide how you want to break that up – 10 a day, 20 a day or as Floyd used to say, “Call until you get one.”  Block off that time just as critically as you would a listing appointment – because it IS that critical.

Number two?  Get out of stealth mode. I can’t tell you how many agents rarely leave the office or their homes but call us to say – how can I get more business?  Get OUT there in your community and get noticed!  Take part in charity drives, school events, and host Q & A sessions at the local library or coffee shop.  The more contentVISIBLE you are – the more likely people are going to say YOUR NAME when asked if they know anyone in real estate!

Number three?  SEND them something tangible.  For all the obvious reasons, we’re fond of direct response mail postcards– because they are easy to order, quick to send and don’t take up a lot of your valuable face-to-face or voice-to-voice time with prospects and those in your book of business or sphere.  Monthly holiday cards, recipe cards, newsletters, or our content cards are a great ‘touch’ each month that are budget-friendly, can be ordered in minutes, and allow you to stay top of mind.  Keep things mixed up as well. Check out our Master Marketing Schedule if you haven’t already for some creative and way outside the box ways to get in front of your clients in ways that are sure to have you REMEMBERED!

Number four?  Be HYPER-LOCAL.  There’s a reason this term is all the buzz right now – it’s because it is
EXACTLY what consumers are looking for in their resources. Home buyers and sellers need to know what is happening right there in YOUR market – rather than just get sucked into the national news of what’s happening nationwide or even globally.  What are prices doing in their neighborhoods?  What’s happening in the schools in your area?  What new businesses are coming in or closing?  Who are the trusted resources, business or service professionals in YOUR area that they can call.  Start being the one to consistently deliver THAT kind of information – and your name, brand, reputation and referrals will skyrocket.

Number five?  Expand your reach.  If you’re not saturating the neighborhood or market area you want to dominate, then turn to Every Door Direct Mail (which gets you literally into every mailbox).  Our Market Dominator System is becoming quite the differentiator for agents across the nation.  In fact, one agent just shared this experience with us, The monthly ordering process is easy. Some months I simply upload my photo and company logo and submit the already created newsletter. Other times I customize it. Either way, the newsletters are distributed to 527 of my neighbors. Over the 11 months since I started, the EDDM marketing pieces have resulted in 5 listing appointments. This month, I have a seller preparing their home to list with me and received a buyer referral from a neighbor who receives my newsletters. It’s great to see some fruit from the seeds I planted.” Our advice? Follow his lead and plant those seeds! 

Now, what are you waiting for?  Get out there and start getting your name, business and face recognized as the incredible real estate resource you are!  And if you need help – give our team a shout at 866.405.3638 for systems that can help you do all of that and more!