Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Formula for Success

By Julie Escobar

In today’s market (or any market for that matter) – if you’re not out there networking, making calls, reaching out to your sphere and farm, being PRESENT in your marketplace and even knocking on doors – then you are leaving your success as a real estate agent to chance.  The truth is?  It’s not LUCK — it’s LISTINGS.  And listings are STILL the name of the game.

So what are three things you can do to drive listing inventory in your market? 

Listing Inventory Cards

STEP ONE – SEND:  Use a direct response postcard or flyer to the folks in the hot-turnover neighborhoods or even those that are right on the cusp of turnover.  Let them know that the buying market is HOT and the time to sell is NOW.  Be sure to send any marketing you choose in increments of at least three.  (Remember that 3-7-27 rule – it takes 3 contacts for someone to recognize your name, 7 to put your name with what you do and 27 to become a brand or household name in the minds of the consumer.  Most transactions happen after FIVE contacts.) We’ve got a terrific series that speaks directly the mindset of sellers in this market called our Listing Inventory Series.

STEP TWO – CALL: Here’s where a lot of agents either fall down on the job or lose their muster.  Call people?  Talk to them?  Yikes!  Can it be nerve wracking for some?  Sure.  Will you get ‘No’s”? Absolutely.  But the numbers are in your favor.  If you call enough people, make enough contacts, you’ll get a yes. And that yes can turn into a listing and a listing into a sale and a sale into a commission – so no leaving it to chance.  Make a contact! (Or twenty, or more…)

Here is a sample dialogue  to help you get started:

  • Agent: Hi, my name is _____, and as you may know, our market is on the move and we’ve got more buyers than we have listings.  Have you thought about selling your home now or in the near future? 
  • Seller Question:  How much do you think I could get for my house?
  • Agent Answer (a la Floyd Wickman):  I don’t know, I haven’t seen your house yet, let’s get together!

STEP THREE – SEE:  Don’t knock the idea of old-fashioned door knocking!  Getting out there and visible in the neighborhoods and communities you are eager to service and become a brand name in is just good business.  Why?  It’s personal.  People can put the face with the name.  They can see that you are committed to making an impact and you get a chance to get the real lay of the land.  Door hangers or even shell-printed postcards are a great leave-behind for those who aren’t home – and a nice collateral piece for those who are.

I challenge you to take these three steps to grow your listing inventory, your market share – and your confidence!  Be consistent with it at least once a quarter and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.

Want to learn more about how to drive listing inventory and build a stronger market share?  Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com or call our marketing team today at 866.405.3638!  They’re terrific at helping agents figure out exactly what they need to market themselves in a budget-friendly way! 

Strategic Marketing Ideas for Strong Agents

by Julie Escobar

As competition grows more fierce, you may find yourself like many agents asking, “What’s my next move?” Savvy sales professionals are negotiating the turn by investing in smart systems and tools that will help them compete long-term in today’s real estate arena. Who will take the lead in both listing and selling homes as we navigate this constantly shifting market? Those who stay strategically focused on one-to-one marketing, negotiating effectively up front, and committing to consistent business development through monthly prospecting.

1. Set Your Standards High: In any market, taking listings that just won’t sell is far worse than having no listings at all. While you may be tempted to take at any price, terms or commission to secure the listing, this is a recipe for failure. Consider instead, raising your standards using a strong, effective tool which spotlights the homeowner’s commitment to getting the home sold in the quickest possible time, with the best price and terms. We call it our Merchandising Review and there are three very successful ways to implement this valuable tool.

First: Make the right mutual decisions at the listing appointment. In all likelihood, throughout your MerchandisingReviewTHUMB
presentation your sellers will have an objection or two regarding terms such as price, commission, etc. Our suggestion is to agreeably shelve objection handling until AFTER you have obtained the signatures for the listing. Then close your appointment by going over the Merchandising Review to make certain everything is in order.

Sample dialogue: “I want to thank you for listing your home with me. Please know that I will do everything in my power to get it sold. To help me do just that, let me take a few minutes to go over our Merchandising Review. I use this the same way pilots use a pre-flight checklist. This list of 18 different seller-controlled factors actually will help generate a quicker sale for the best possible price and terms. What I need from you is a commitment to check off at least eight of these items. Let’s review.” Then simply walk them through the list and negotiate where necessary. If you struggle to get listings priced right or are looking for additional tools to help you handle objections you might hear, you may wish to consider reading 21 Ways to Get Your Listings Priced Right the First Time. 

2.  Get non-selling inventory back on track. Go through your inventory and red flag problem listings. Walk PricePyramidTHUMBthrough the problems using the Merchandising Review and the Five Most Common Mistakes tools. Contact your sellers by phone or visit in person to help them understand those review items that are hindering the sale of their home.

Sample Dialogue: “Mr. and Mrs. Seller, we’ve had your property on the market for ____ days now and we are not getting the results that either of us had hoped for. We have a new tool called the Merchandising Review that helps us identify problem areas, and I’d like to sit down with you to discuss those issues. I believe if we walk through these items we can get your listing back on track and help exact a faster sale for your home. Would tomorrow at 6:00pm be good or would 8:30pm be better?”

3. Data mine for the niche that’s right for you.  By targeting niche markets that are near and dear to your own interests, you’ll be better able to “speak their language” and let your passion for that market segment build the momentum you are looking for.  For example, do you love listing and selling waterfront properties?  Is boating the way you unwind?  Now, it’s easy to find and market to like-minded people and work not only with your sphere — but consumer interest groups that most resonate with you.  That way you are growing your book of business with the kind of folks you are most interested in working with. (And that just makes work, and life, a whole lot more interesting, don’t you think?)

It’s never been easier to do.  

Use Option 2 on our Mailing List page to search for the customer segments you most want to market to:

mailing

  1. Choose High Income Consumers for luxury or investment property.investor
  2. Choose the Lifestyle Interest option for a treasure trove of niche markets such as golfers (golf community property), Tennis enthusiasts (high end home with tennis courts, or communities with tennis centers), Boat owners (waterfront properties), etc.
  3. Look to High Income Renters for high quality first time home ownership options and communities that are high in amenities, low in upkeep.  lifestyle
  4. Choose baby boomers and elderly if working with seniors is your passion.  Very often this will lead to developing powerful, referral relationships with the seniors and their children.
  5.  Choose move up market for those who have been in their homes over nine years and statistically are a good candidate for a move.  Help them list their current home and find their new dream property!
  6. Empty-nesters are a great segment to market for downsizing move upopportunities.  With the right marketing twist, you could end up listing their current home, and helping them purchase their new home.

These market segments are just the tip of the iceberg.  Find the niche that most works for you.  Watch all three videos regarding the mailing options  that are available to help agents find the perfect customers.  From radial searches, to demographic searches to all new Nielsen Prizm Code data, the possibilities are endless.

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. 

To Up Your Game This Year

By Julie Escobar

If ever there was a time to up the ante on your marketing presence, it’s right now. Stakes are high, competition is fierce and anyone eager to be THE resource for consumers in their markets need to bring their A-game and then some.

Here are a few musts to consider:

  1. Get a professional headshot. I know. This one seems like an obvious choice. But take it from a company who produces hundreds of thousands of real estate marketing postcards per week, we see agent photos that just aren’t print quality and reach out to customers to send high resolution shots that show them in their best light.  Oh, and when you’re taking those pictures – SMILE! Studies from photofeeler.com show that people who smiled in their head-shots were considered far more likable and influential than those that didn’t, and slightly more competent. It’s a marketing expense that makes a lot of sense. Your job is to help consumers think of your name and your face first when they think real estate – so put your best FACE forward!
  2. Craft a great bio. On many of our marketing tools, agents have an opportunity to share some “about me” information. You should have a long and short version.  Long for your website, but short and sweet for real estate brochures, flyers and postcards.  Choose your words wisely. For the best balance? Present yourself, your brand, why you do what you do, and what differentiates you – without being too salesy. Then have both versions proof-read before beginning to use them.  This makes it easier when you’re creating your marketing pieces as well as you aren’t trying to come up with something on the fly, which often leads to typos or inconsistent copy.
  3. Pick a brand style that works for you. Too often you see agents who are all over the map in terms of listing inventory snapshottheir marketing. Different styles, colors, messages. While it’s good to test a little, you’ll find better results when sticking to a campaign that has some uniformity.  That’s one of the reasons agents love our series of postcards, which have the same look and feel throughout the series. For example, our popular Listing Inventory Series has the same branding style, with a series of messages that lets potential sellers know that this is a great time to list.  They can send one a month and keep their branding with their sphere or farm consistent to get better results.
  4. Be consistent. We kind of just covered this, but one and done is dead. In fact, it never was a marketing strategy that worked. The key to becoming a brand name is 27 impressions.  Keep showing up, and the Nov-DOM-Free-Reportnext time someone is asked if they know anyone who sells homes, your name will be top of mind!
  5. Don’t forget your contact information. Would you be surprised to learn how many times people do not put their phone number or contact information on their marketing materials, then send thousands of them out and wonder why they don’t get a response? Make sure people know how to reach you. And if you are inviting people to your social media platforms via your marketing, don’t just use the blanket, “Find me on Facebook”.  Actually, give them a unique URL they can go to such as Facebook.com/yourrealestatepage.
  6. Offer items of value. Many of our customers use our Free Reports as Lead Capture offerings on their websites. There are lots to choose from, easily customizable, and they serve multiple purposes.  Use them on your site, at your open houses, in your listing presentations, or as collateral for the popular consumer meet and greets that so many agents are doing today.
  7. Build on what you already have. All those lists you’ve purchased? The ones from your Just Listed postcard orders?  Reuse them! Put those folks on a drip campaign of postcards so they know you’re always in the game.  I recommend a combination of our Neighborhood Update Free Offer Series and updates on your listings such as Neighborhood update postcardsContract Pending and Just Sold. Every list = unlimited opportunities.  Contract Pending. Price Reduced. Just Sold. Listing Inventory.  Check out our new ThreeClickPostcards.com – where you can order your Just Listed/Sold/Contract Pending cards — right from your phone!
  8. Have some FUN. Real estate is serious business for certain, but you can certainly have some fun with it too. Our Master Marketing Schedule is filled with fun ways to reach out to your sphere and farm and make a noticeable difference! See what’s coming up for the next month.

It’s a great time to be a real estate professional and it’s a great time to tap into ready-made resources that can make your life easier.  To that end, we’re here to answer your questions and get your marketing on-track within a budget that works for you! Call our team today at 866.405.3638.

Putting the Pieces in Place to Out-Brand, Out-Market, and Stand Out in a Geographic Farm

by Julie Escobar

The savvy agents? Are out there in their neighborhoods, and in their communities and in this powerful age of information. Top agents are presenting themselves as the resource they know can and will make a difference in terms of how they make decisions for their families.

So, how do you brand yourself as that resource?feb dom front

1. Consistency & Content.  Farming a geographical area is a time-tested, proven method for garnering new listings and referrals.  Yet for many agents, the what (what to send, say, create), the when (how often) and the cost (that one speaks for itself) has stopped them from farming consistently.  Maybe a mailing here or there, but nothing that will truly help them become a brand name in a market area.

That’s why we created the Market DominatorSM. We’ve got the ‘what’ and ‘when’ buttoned up for you.  Each month we have two powerful, consumer-centric articles on the front, bright, eye-catching info-graphics, engaging direct response offers, free reports that can be used as fair trade items, fun conversation starters, and a timely agent message.  On the back we have content-rich articles and ideas that consumers love to share.  All of this in an attention-grabbing 12 x 15 poster that is delivered to EVERY home in the farm area, EVERY month, via the cost-saving Every Door Direct service from the USPS.

2.  Get out of stealth mode.  We recently viewed a video from a powerhouse agent and coach who challenged her coaching members and agents world-wide to get out from behind their computers and out – front and center in the communities they are services.  Social media is an amazing place to speak one-to-man, and develop powerful agent-to-agent referrals and connect with your sphere — but nothing — NOTHING will ever take place of meeting and greeting the folks in the neighborhoods you serve.

Our Dominator customers know that owning a market is like peeling an onion – there are many, many layers to it. Door knocking, canvassing,  Q&A sessions at your local market, coffee shop, or library, open houses, charity drives, school sponsorship participation — all of it helps consumers put your face with your name, your name with your business, and helps brand you as THE community resource they can turn to get information.

3.  Beef up your collateral (and sell yourself).  What do consumers also want to know about the agents they five tipswill choose to help them with one of the biggest financial transactions of their lives?  Your RESULTS.  Fire up those Just Listed and Just Sold postcards – share statistics and testimonials, showcase what makes you unique and how that benefits THEM.  Use door hangers, and free reports to extend your reach, and the extra Dominators that are sent to you to show potential sellers how you are going the extra mile to ensure that every home you list is sold as quickly as possible and for the highest price available.

In the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) Channel that folks are tuned into every day – they want to see these two things:  RESOURCES & RESULTS.

National speaker and coach Todd Robertson shared this thought, “As the market heats up the great agents in the country and those on their way to becoming great are very focused on three things:

  1. Qualifying people stronger then ever before
  2. Separating themselves from competition
  3. Having a consistent campaign in place to farm and create passive income for years to come. This is simple. Yet not always easy. Simple because most of your competition will not commit to an area for any real length of time. Simple because we have seen the results of at least 10 percent market share first year. 20 plus percent the second year.

The truth is that it’s not always easy because you have to believe in yourself. Believe in your selling skills and most importantly believe that you deserve to be wildly successful. It all starts there.”

Most agents?  Won’t commit to geographic farming.  “It takes too long.” “It costs too much.”  The two biggest ‘reasons’ for not jumping in.  That’s good news for the agents that do.  It means that they fall into that 93/7 rule.  They will be the 7% of agents ruling their markets while the other 93% continue ‘one-and-done’ marketing or worse, no marketing, just chasing the next deal.  Chasing the next commission is not a fun way to earn a living or live.  Our industry is a treasure trove of opportunity.

It’s one of the few where you have zero cap on how much you can earn or how far you can go regardless of gender, race, religion, geography, history – anything.  It does take a little planning, a little courage, a little consistency, a little skill building, a little stick-to-it attitude, and the right tools.

This month commit to being part of that 7%.  Fire your business up on all cylinders.  Work your sphere, your farm, and your niche – each month — EVERY month.  The results? A career and life that IS fun, exciting, rewarding, and anything you want it to be.

Questions about how to DOMINATE in your market?  Call Todd Robertson at 702-683-1967 or email us today.

Need help building your collateral materials, sending Just Listed/Just Sold postcards, finding the right free reports for your buyers and sellers, or building a better brand for yourself?  

Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com or give us a call today at 866.405.3638.

 

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.  To achieve success and keep it, 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. Remember, the 3-7-27 law of branding — consistency is key. It takes 3 contacts for someone to remember your name, 7 to put your name with your business and 27 to become a brand name. Where to start?

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.