Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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.

It’s Not Too Soon to Create Your Plan

by Julie Escobar

Planning on sending season’s greetings out to your sphere and farm over the next few months?  Great idea! thanksgiving2016v6thumbsstndStaying in touch and top of mind never goes out of season.  Before you buy a card, stick a stamp of figure out where your mailing list is — consider these eight holiday tips!

  1. Be clear about your message.  Even when you’re sending holiday postcards, you can use the reverse side to send a great message to your customer base.  If you are sending to both your sphere and farm, you may want to consider altering the message slightly for each. Make it personal and heart-felt, with a note of thanks for allowing you the opportunity to serve them as customers — or in the case of your farm – the community.
  2. Serve two purposes.  Are you having a holiday open house? Customer event?  Charity drive?  Looking for a good time to stop by with a small gift? You can include that information on the cards as well.
  3. Don’t be salesy.  Holiday greetings are not about the sale – they are about the connection.  Keep it warm and personable.
  4. Don’t wait for just Christmas.  Many top agents send a holiday message once a month to their sphere.
    Thanksgiving, New Year’s, Valentine’s, Easter and beyond. There’s something to celebrate all
    year round, and it’s a fun way to stay connected and stand out as someone who is “there” more than just in the month of December.
  5. Have some fun with it.  Got a great team? Or just a great personality?  Take some fun pictures and opt for a photocard rather than a more traditional card and don’t be afraid to get a little creative with your photos.
  6. Don’t leave anyone out! You know all those mailing photo-cards-16lists you’ve been collecting throughout the year? For Just Listed postcards, or the stack of business cards that have been sitting on the corner of your desk collecting dust?
  7. Order early.  We suggest sending your holiday cards out at LEAST two weeks in advance of the holiday every month — and sending first class as opposed to standard-class to ensure timely delivery.holiday-cards-16
  8. Follow up.  Sending cards is a great way to easily stay in touch.  Pick a postcard, edit your message, add a list – and you’re done!  In a matter of minutes you’ve created a connection.  However to really get the full impact of ANY mailing (holiday and otherwise) — be sure to follow up – at least with the top 25% of your list.  There is no substitution for this step.  Imagine if you made it a point each year, every year, to speak with every single person in your sphere at least twice a year?  Touch base, see if they have questions, thank them for being great customers, and say hello.  Here’s what happens when you do:  they remember you.  They don’t list with another agent because your name wasn’t on the radar.  They are grateful that you take the time to call.  And one out of 12? Statistically will do business with you or refer business to you.

Here’s to a great holiday season ahead – and to staying in touch with your sphere and farm!  We’re even going to make that a little easier on your budget! From now until January 5th, we’re donating 10% of our holiday postcard orders, (excluding postage, tax and shipping) to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

st-jude-holiday

 

Need help?  We’re here for you!  Call our team at 866.405.3638 today.  We’ll help get your holidays started and save you money at the same time! Have a great one!  

Then Putting the Who, What, and When Together

By Julie Escobar

As we head into the final months of the year, a lot of agents are already wisely getting into planning mode. One sticking point that stumps a lot of real estate professionals is building the right marketing lists to fuel their pipeline of business.  Let’s take a look at some simple strategies to put into place:

Sphere, Farm, Niche – it’s the real estate agent’s version of lather, rinse, and repeat.  Success in this business stems from staying in touch, staying positioned, and top of mind for the folks in all three.  I’m often asked by agents, “Where do I start?” The obvious is ‘the sphere’, aka – your sphere of influence or book of business.

Now, if I had a dollar for every agent that said ‘no” when asked if they had ever taken the time to actually put their sphere (those people that already know you, like you, trust you, and would do business with you) into a database, I could buy a very large piece of property – like an island or something! So don’t let yourself fall into THAT category! Savvy agents understand that their best customers, are the ones they’ve built and nurtured relationships with consistently.  Who should be in in your sphere?  Family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, past clients – and all those folks whose lives you touch and touch yours back. businessbase

Sphere:  For a list of 250 people that SHOULD be in your book of business, download a pdf of our BusinessBASETM at no cost today.  Then make THIS the week you make putting YOUR sphere into a working, viable, referral-generating database.  Need help inputting all the data?  There are lots of college students home for the summer already that would be perfect for that kind of task.  Or hire a Virtual Assistant for the project.  Your highest and best use of time is prospecting, presenting, and closing – so gather up the data – and delegate it to someone to make it happen.

Four great marketing pieces for your sphere:

  1. Holiday postcards – there’s something every month that can be sent as a friendly hello.
  2. Recipe cards – many agents swear by these as customer ‘keepers’.
  3. Newsletters – these powerful tools are perfect for connecting with your sphere.
  4. Content cards – these are content-rich, consumer-friendly postcards filled to the brim with valuable information that people love.

Farm:  Pick an area – but not just ANY area.  I asked Coach Todd Robertson for a little how-to advice for map my mail dataagents on choosing the right farm area for them.  He shared, “I work with a lot of agents to help them really fine tune what area they want to market.  Even if you find a geographic farm that you think works for you location wise with commission-friendly price ranges, you still need to be mindful of two other factors:  The turn-over rate, and the competition.  Ideally, we want to help position you to receive a 20% market share in a geo farm. If you start in a farm where another agent already has that or higher, you’re going to work much harder and have to be at it longer to see the results you’re seeking.  Finding an area where any one agent has less than 10% market share is preferable, or if you see an area where a previously aggressive agent has slowed or stopped their marketing.  In terms of turnover rate, ideally you want a one that is at least 10-15%.  You can easily determine the turnover rate by dividing the number of homes in the farm by the number of homes which have sold.”  That’s a great starting point.  So take a snapshot of your market area – look at the neighborhoods that may fit that criteria close to you, then use our MapMyMailSM system to easily capture mailings lists from those areas.  You can choose a radial search by address, or choose to search by zip code or counties. Talk to your broker, look at your options – then map out your marketing list! Once you have that – then remember to stay CONSISTENTLY in touch with these folks – month after month.    For a great read and more tips from Todd – read The Smart Scoop on Geographic Farming.

Three great tools for connecting with your farm:

  1. Neighborhood Update/Free Offer series: People want two things: to know the agent they work with can get results – and that they have the resources they need.  These cards present you as the agent with both!
  2. Listing Inventory Series: These postcards speak to the mindset of potential sellers with the right questions and direct response offers.
  3. The Market Dominator: For agents serious about dominating a geographic farm and earning a 20% market share.  This powerful, direct-response piece is 12×15 and attention grabbing.  It also takes advantage of Every Door Direct Mail, so the cost is even more affordable.

Niche:  Top agents don’t stop at just marketing to a sphere and farm. They specialize in a demographic that resonates with them.

Here are some ideas for working a niche:pp demographic search data

  • Investors: Use our MapMyMailSM – choose the demographic search option, then custom, then choose records with a household income of $150,000 or higher.  You can also look for REI or REIA websites to learn more about real estate investors.   Use our Investor Series postcards to reach out to these lists each month.
  • FSBOS & Expireds: There are great services such as LandVoice that offer data for FSBOs & Expireds in market areas all across North America.  Use our 7 Series for FSBOs or Expireds – send 3-7 postcards in rapid succession (every 3-5 days) as soon as you see a new prospect for these demographics, offer a free report such as 5 Factors That Cause a Property Not to Sell, and follow up after you’ve sent the postcards with a direct response offer.  Offer to perform a Merchandising Review to ensure that the home gets sold for the best possible price in the fastest possible time.
  • First Time Home Buyers: Use the MapMyMailSM system to find local renters.  Offer a variety of free reports such as How to Save for a Down Payment, or Top Ten Checklist for Choosing an Agent. Send our First time home buyer/renter series of postcards monthly with a fair trade offer to connect.
  • Seniors: You can use that same MapMyMailSM technology to find Baby Boomers and older.  Send our Senior series of postcards to these fine folks!
  • Get creative: From motorcycle enthusiasts, to local sports team members, to boaters, to farmers, and everything in between.  Finding the group of people that you really connect with and would love to serve and work with is a great way to get continuously better as an agent and build a powerful referral network.  You can edit our holiday, inspiration, recipe, content cards, or even image series to alter your message for each and every demographic.

We also have powerful Specialty Data Selects Using Nielsen’s PRIZM Codes available on the site to help you tap into incredibly detailed data segments to help make their marketing easier – and more effective. What is PRIZM segmentation? According to Nielsen, “Segmentation links your customer data with household-level and neighborhood-level demographics, syndicated survey and primary research data to reveal exactly what types of consumers are currently using your products or services. Any customer files, lists or survey data with complete addresses or at least a ZIP code can be coded with Nielsen’s segmentation systems. This allows you to identify your best prospect segments with the greatest efficiency for effective marketing strategies that align with marketplace demands.”

Smart, right? So what does that mean to YOU as a real estate professional? It means that marketing just got more interesting. See our Nielsen PRIZM options here.

For all three marketing avenues – your sphere, farm, and niche – be sure to connect every 28-45 days consistently to ensure that you maintain that top-of-mind awareness.  Armed with your database and marketing materials, and a reminder system to FOLLOW up with the folks in each will give you the competitive edge in your market that will allow you to develop and maintain a long and prosperous career.  Ready, set – GO!

Need help getting started? Contact our marketing professionals today at 866.405.3638.  They are an amazing resource – and they truly care about your success.  Happy Listing!

 

It’s an exciting time to be an agent!  Did you know? Each month we add powerful new tools to help sales professionals stay top of mind in their markets.

Here’s what’s new for October!  oct-toolsHoliday postcards are a great way to reach out to your sphere each month. Savvy agent DON’T just wait for Christmas and Easter to stay in touch.  When choosing holiday postcards, please allow two weeks for timely delivery.

Rules of thumb for postcard mailing timeliness:

Need it fast? Choose First Class Mail Option:  Delivered by the Post Office in 3 – 5 days. Best for time-sensitive mailings, such as “Just Listed”, “Just Sold” or “Open House postcards.

Got a little more time? Choose Standard Class: Delivered by the Post Office in 14 – 21 days. Best for recurring mailings, such as Recipe or Inspiration postcards.4-reasons

Our Content postcards are perfect for agents who like to use education-based marketing tools. An alternative to full newsletters, these gems are filled with insightful, timely information that consumers love to read (and share), they are a simple way to stay top-of-mind with both your sphere and farm — and present yourself as an expert in your field.  You’ll find over 20 varieties in this series.oct-com-news

And our all new Community News newsletter series is a great way to stay connected with your sphere as well. Filled with timely information and done-for-you content! A new issue is released each month and perfect for staying time of mind with potential buyers and sellers.

Head over to our Specials page to get all your budget-saving promo codes which will save you 10% on your next orders.

Don’t forget! For every Holiday Postcard order placed through the end of the year, we’re donating 10% to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Get started today.

Need help? Call our team at 866.405.3638.

Give Them What They Want

By Julie Escobar

“Content is king.” You may have heard that throughout the years, but it’s relevance has never been more important than today’s fast-paced world of business marketing. More often than not, today’s savvy consumer takes to the internet to learn everything they can about a product, service or even destination before making a decision.

So how do you jump to the top of their attention span? Be the competitor who consistently gives them what they want—valuable information that can help them:

  • make a more informed decision
  • solve a problem
  • become more educated

The real differentiator here is to do all of these things WITHOUT the consumer feeling like they’re being
dom-octlined up for a sales pitch. So whether you are delivering your content via video, conference call, email, ezines, newsletters, Market Dominator, — or a combination of all of the above, put your best foot forward, your thinking cap on and deliver what your customers need most.

Let’s take a look at three smart strategies to consider when implementing “Education Based Marketing.”

ONEMake it about them. Put yourself in the shoes of your best customer and think about the things that they want/need/expect/are interested in. Make it personal, intriguing, factual, relevant and —here’s a big one—HONEST. This type of marketing puts you in the position of teacher, and that denotes a level of trust. Create the right level of trust and you have comfortable, well informed customers—clearly better customers. Create the wrong level of trust, and you have consumers who are wary of your products or services because you haven’t eliminated the fear.

TWO:   Give a high value. This can be a tough thing for some business owners. The idea of giving something6 move up market away for free can be bothersome or make them feel as if they are de-valuing their product or service. In reality, these loss leaders are an effective, value-boosting investment in your long term customer relationship. When you consider the average of acquiring a new customer is considered 4-6 times higher than keeping your current customers engaged, happy, informed and ultimately loyal, giving value on the front end just makes sense. Take a tip from this week’s Master Marketing Schedule, which is to re-purpose the content from our Free Reports to share valuable information with those in your sphere and farm. You can share bits and pieces from these on your social media platforms – and offer the entire report for free on your website as an opt in piece.  You’ll want to put many of them in your listing or pre-listing packages as well. They are also perfect hand-outs at your Open Houses.  Get them all here. Our
Content Cards are another great way to offer educational information, present yourself as the resource people can count on, while earning their trust and their business. What’s great is there are new cards every content 1month for this series!  You can find them all here.  

THREE:  Make it ongoing. Before launching into this form of marketing, consider your long term goals and draw up a creative plan to consistently reach out to your clients month after month. Choose your topics in advance if you possibly can which will allow you to “tease” the participants each month with “coming attractions.” This also gives you time to do your homework and add in as much extra value as possible as well as drive traffic to your next event. The bottom line is you want your customers, both new and old, to get to the point where they would miss the information if it weren’t there. If they come to count on you for the answers and resources they need, it stands to reason you’ll outshine your competition every time.  For example, if your SaveDownPayment_thumbgoal is to work with first time home buyers – you may want to consider hosting a webinar or teleconference once a month or once a quarter where you can share ideas for new home ownership. You can base a lot of content on the free reports and even have a loan officer on hand to answer additional questions.  You can then use the free reports as reference material that will help you get additional contact information or as terrific reasons to meet with you for an appointment to learn more.

Whatever strategy you deploy this season, make sure your message is clear and marketing consistent. Call, see or send something to everyone in your base of business at least every 30 days and you will find that your productivity, profitability, referrals and commissions will be on track all year round.

Need help?  Call our marketing team today at 866.405.3638 to put the best systems in place to build your business easily, and cost-effectively.