Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Real Estate Marketing Success

3 Strategies for Success

by Julie Escobar

What separates top producers from their less-successful counterparts in this and every market is their ability to work on their business while working in their business. 

What’s the difference? For most, it begins with the right mindset. Real estate sales is not just a job; it is a career and a business that requires planning, careful thought, organization and systems that create and maintain balance, accountability and forward momentum.  As we head into the new year – be sure that you are putting ALL the systems in place that you can to ensure a great year from start to finish and keep you from feeling like you’re on that dreaded commission roller coaster.

Step 1: Have a plan. Part of working ON your business is to create a written plan. You likely fall into one of three categories:

  1. You’re brand new and more than a little overwhelmed at where to start.
  2. You’re an early adapter to the concept of effective planning and are enjoying a stable, productive career despite market peaks and valleys.
  3. You’ve been at this for a while now and, while still in business, you do not have a formal plan to create sustainable, repeatable success and stability. You find yourself working 12-hour days with high stress and little certainty as to where your next deal will come from.

Planning is critical to realizing your goals, generating consistent income and creating an exit plan that ensures you have a valuable “book of business” that you can sell when you are ready to retire. Your plan should:

  • be written out and clearly defined
  • have a realistic and comprehensive budget
  • be based not only on your goals, but also on your family’s goals (very important to maintaining the support system necessary during long days or tough weeks!)
  • outline the number of transactions you will need to reach those goals based on commission dollars, list-to-close ratio and fall-through rate
  • outline the number of contacts, appointments scheduled and appointments attended you will need to realize your transaction goal
  • break your numbers down into daily, weekly and monthly activities so that you ALWAYS know where you are in relation to your goal

Be sure to share your plan with a manager, mentor, coach and/or partner so that you can set up a system of accountability.

Step 2: Employ smart marketing. In today’s competitive arena, effectively marketing yourself, your listings and your business requires both consistency and laser focus.

Consistency. Countless agents send single marketing pieces to blanket areas of several thousand consumers, with no intention of following up. Many others take the “holiday” approach to staying in touch by sending an annual holiday card in the hopes that they are remembered. Both of these approaches are a waste of time, energy and valuable marketing dollars.

Truth is, you should be in contact with your sphere of influence at least every 30-45 days. Using the popular listing-inventorysend-call-see approach (part of our free BusinessBASETM), you can easily set up a system for contacting your VIPs each month. Send a postcard, letter, newsletter, flyer, novelty or note one month.  Many of our customers find the Listing Inventory Series, Content Cards, and Market Dominator among their favorites. You can find out what the latest tools are and get budget saving promo codes for your marketing on our Specials Page.

Next, call with a friendly event reminder, helpful hint, or just to say hello the following month. During the third month, arrange to see them via a networking event, social
gathering or quick in-person visit (with notice, of course) where you drop off a small token, informational item or card. Then start the “rotation” over again. Such consistency creates vital ‘top-of-mind’ awareness that often becomes “the key to the kingdom” when growing your referral base and creating a md-decreliable income.

If you’re not sure where to start, our popular Master Marketing Schedule shares monthly Action Items that agents tell us help them stay consistently on track.

Laser focus. I’ve written before about the power of target marketing in today’s sales arena. Gone are the days when agents could afford to take a “shotgun” approach-casting a wide net in the hopes of “catching a few” wastes precious resources on prospects that couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t do business with you for any number of reasons.

Response rates increase dramatically when you speak directly to the needs and interests of a particular group. Wise agents seek out demographics and/or geographics that they relate to or have a history of success with. The more comfortable you become speaking to a particular group or segment, the more you become recognized or thought of as a specialist in that field.

mailing list

So discover the wonderful world of data mining; your watch and your wallet will thank you for it! Here are just a few examples:

  • First-time homeowners. Try MapMyMail to quickly data mine for local renters. Send a postcard or letter that explains the advantages of home ownership as well as the possible monthly savings and ability to build equity!
  • Builders. Offer to help builders eliminate their #1 worry: standing inventory. Create a list of every builder in your area, then send a flyer or brochure explaining how you can data mine for the perfect customers to purchase their homes!lifestyle
  • Find a new niche.  With our Lifestyle Interest data, you can reach consumers who are just the demographic you want to work with. Think Golfers, Boaters, Fitness Lovers and more.
  • FSBOs. There are many effective search products for this demographic. Fear leads many agents to steer clear of FSBOs, which eliminates at least a portion of your competition. Because you know that they are (or at least were) motivated to sell, you can pull out the stops, give them the tools they need to sell, and use your best skills to price it right for your particular market.
  • Investors.  Find high income earners that would be great potential investors.real estate fsbo marketing postcards
  • A New Geographic Farm.  Find an area in your market that is beginning to see turnover, but doesn’t currently have another agent with more than a 10% market share.  Start connecting month after month using the Neighborhood Update/Free Offer series to present yourself effectively as the turn-to agent in your market.

Step 3: Put systems in place. Without systems, you’re like a hamster on the wheel-spinning without really getting anywhere. Systems are the only way to establish and maintain the delegation, automation and streamlining necessary to continuously work ON your business. Systems allow you to:

  • manage your time effectively
  • create a consistent standard of service
  • assure clients that their needs are being met by a “team”
  • provide checks and balances for fine tuning your business
  • promote efficiency and accuracy
  •  reduce training time when bringing on new team members

What systems should you have in place?

SEND-CALL-SEE.  Be the resource they need and want in a time where consumers have LOTS of questions regarding the value of their property, their buying power, investment opportunities, and what’s happening in their market.  You’re not bothering people – you’re providing a SERVICE.

What can you SEND?

What can you SAY when you CALL?

  • Hi.  I have buyers, the Smiths (insert real names!), that are looking for a home in the _____________ neighborhood, and I wanted to know if you’ve ever thought about selling your home or know someone who is so I can help this nice family find what they are looking for?
  • Hi!  Just checking in on you! We’ve got a lot of activity in our market, and I thought you might have some questions—do you?
  • Is there anything I can do to help you?
  • I’m expanding my business and I could use your help…
  • Have you thought about selling your house now or in the near future?
  • Have you been receiving my information?  Any questions?

What do you do when you SEE them? 

  • Create opportunities for appointments
  • Take someone to lunch
  • Attend a neighborhood block party
  • Organize a charity drive in the community
  • Sponsor a free workshop and invite everyone to attend
  • Get out there and be visible in the community you’re servicing
  • Walk your farm and start making friends

Working ON your business requires dedication and a commitment to the activities that earn you top dollar and allow you to “feed” the career you’re building. Never lose sight of the fact that prospecting, presenting and closing should always be at the top of your list.

Visit http://www.prospectsplus.com/ to get your FREE copy of our BusinessBASETM (Plus learn the 250 people who should be in your SOI), and be sure to bookmark our Master Marketing ScheduleTM .

Need help?  Contact our team today at 866.405.3638. 

How to Build a Smarter Book of Business

By Julie Escobar

This year, we’ve talked a LOT about data. Big Data. Smart analytic data. Specialty Nielsen Prizm data. Geographic data based on radial search technology.  Demographic data selects such as age, gender, income, and property data.  We’re working hard to ensure that we can be your trusted resource for all of these data sources and then some.

On thing that has to start with you, the agent, however, is your sphere of influence database.  It’s truly the foundation for your business – and it is the difference between always chasing new commissions, or having a reliable, consistent referral base you can count on.  Want to build a business that is strong, sustainable, and competitive and that you can sell when you’re ready to retire?  Start here.  Now.  Long before the end of the year – and you’ll help yourself to get on track to average more transactions per year, every year.

Think about this –if you had 250 people in a database that you consistently stay in touch with and who you develop a RELATIONSHIP with, then who will they call when they have a real estate question, need or referral?  YOU.  If just 10% of those folks listed, sold or referred you per year, what would that mean for your income?

“But building a database is HARD!” (Ever hear that one?)  It doesn’t have to be and it doesn’t have to be done all at once, but what it does need to be is a consistent part of your weekly business habits. NOT having a sphere of influence list is hands-down, the single biggest obstacle to agent success.  Not having a database you can market to will keep you in the not-so-fun cycle of always chasing new business, without the benefit of ever gaining any traction.  And think about this – if data inputting is an issue — there are lots of college kids still home for the summer that would love an opportunity to make a few dollars just for a few days work of inputting your data.

If you knew that statistics show that one in every twelve people in your SOI will either do business with you or refer business to you each year… would you take the time? Would you find out how many people you need in your sphere to hit your goals in the new year? soi-calculator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you know YOUR number?  You can calculate your sphere of influence here.

Now, where to start?  Pick a date to work on it and commit.  Open a spreadsheet on your computer or tablet. Or choose an online database management system.  Then ask yourself (and answer) these 30 Questions:

1. What are the names of the members of your family?

2. What are the names of your spouse’s family?

3. What are the names of your “extended” family?

4. What is the name of your best friend?

5. What is the name of your spouse’s best friend?

6. What are the names of your very close friends?

7. What are the names of your spouse’s very close friends?

8. What are the names of your children’s friends’ parents?

9. What are your children’s teachers’ names?

10. What are your children’s coaches’ names?

11. What are your children’s principals’ names?

12. What are your children’s dentists’ names?

13. What are your children’s doctors’ names?

14. What are your children’s optometrists’ names?

15. Who cuts your children’s hair?

16. Who sells you your children’s clothes?

17. Who is on the PTA Board at your children’s school?

18. Who is your children’s Sunday school teacher?

19. Who cuts your hair?

20. Who does your dry cleaning?

21. Who does your pedicures, manicures, facials?

22. Who do you purchase gasoline from?

23. Who services your car(s)?businessbase

24. Who do you buy tires from?

25. Who sold you your current car(s)?

26. Who have you purchased cars from in the past?

27. Who cleans your car(s)?

28. Who is your mailman?

29. Who do you know at your church?

30. Who do you see at the convenience store you most often go to?

Next, add every customer you’ve ever had.  Add the neighbors. Add old business colleagues.  In fact, click here to get a copy of our BusinessBASE™, download it at no cost and read it thoroughly.  On page six you’ll find 150 questions like the ones above that you need to ask yourself to build a sphere of influence list of at least 250 people.   It will also tell you all the fields you will want to set up for each contact such as name, community-newsaddress, email, occupation, etc.

Then take ACTION.  Start a touch marketing campaign to these folks every 21-35 days. A great way to start?  Send our done-for-you newsletters every month. They’re designed to be eye-catching, informational, and are filled with direct response offers that get results.  Or consider a series of postcards such as holidayrecipe postcards, customer appreciation cards, or listing inventory cards that will keep you top of mind, take just minutes to order and send and helps you incubate each person on our new list until you have the opportunity to see or speak to them.customer-app

And DON’T wait until you have all 250 or more in your list to start.  Remember that old saying by Arthur Ashe?   “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Momentum doesn’t just happen. You have to get started somewhere.  If you only get 25-50 people put into your book of business this month. Start sending to them.  Or Make it a goal to just put 100 in this weekend.

Follow up!  The BusinessBASE™  will also share with you a powerful SEND-CALL-SEE approach to following up with your list.  The 20 year value of a client is roughly $49,647.  With that number in mind – how many people do YOU want to put in YOUR book of business?

Get started today!  Click here to download your copy of the BusinessBASE™  and start building your list this month.  Then head over to our Master Marketing Schedule to see how you can stay top of mind with these VIPs all year around. Need help? Call us at 866.405.3638 today or click here to see what other agents are using successfully right now and take advantage of special savings offers.  

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Perfect for Today’s Busy and Competitive Real Estate Professional.

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  1. There’s no need to store a credit card number
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Visit us today to get yours!  For higher denominations, or assistance, please phone our marketing team at 866.405.3638!

ProspectsPLUS! Holiday Savings

This year we wanted to go all out to help agents across North America celebrate the season — and the savings!  That’s why we have a very special offer to share.

Now, through December 13, 2016, you can save 25% off any Holiday Postcard or Holiday Photocard order, excluding postage, tax and shipping costs.  (For timely holiday card delivery, please order your postcards, first class postage by December 13th.)

PLUS, we will donate 10% of every holiday card order to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital to help make a difference for children and their families.holiday-cards-16

To take advantage of this special offer, please use the promo codes below:

  • 25offS: 25% OFF Standard Size Holiday Postcards + PhotoCards Mailed First-Class
  • 25offJ: 25% OFF Jumbo Size Holiday Postcards + PhotoCards Mailed First-Class
  • 25offP: 25% OFF Panoramic Size PhotoCards Mailed First-Class
  • 25offJSC: 25% OFF Jumbo Size Holiday Postcards + PhotoCards Mailed Standard-Classphoto-cards-16
  • 25offPSC: 25% OFF Panoramic PhotoCards Mailed Standard-Class
  • 25offSH: 25% OFF Holiday Postcards + PhotoCards Postcards Shipped to You
  • 25offM: 25% OFF Holiday Postcards + PhotoCards on Magnetic

*excluding postage, tax and shipping charges

Your business, your budget and your success are a top priority for the team here at ProspectsPLUS! It’s an exciting time to be in real estate and helping agents build their brands and their businesses is exciting as well.

We wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

If you need us, call our team at 866.405.3638 or visit our site today at www.prospectsplus.com. 

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.