Thursday, July 27, 2017

Left in the Year — How Will You Spend Them?

by Julie Escobar

We are more than halfway through the year. Just better than two hundred days left. What you do now will determine what kind of holidays you’ll have. Whether you’ll hit those goals you set in January. Whether you’ll finish strong and kick off the new year with ease. So, what’s it going to be? Let’s take a look at some ways you can get back on track or keep on track:

  1. Review your SMART goals weekly. Create a means to measure where you are in relation to your goal. Use a chart, a checklist, or an integrity partnership to review your progress. When you wait months or an entire year to review – it’s impossible to know whether you are on track or off. Top agents always know their numbers, always have a visual of the goals that they are passionate about and are always re-calibrating their time, tools, training and activities to ensure they achieve the goals they set.
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Relevant 
    • Time bound
  2. Get out of stealth mode. The idea that the business will just come to you in today’s market is false. There is considerable competition so get out from behind the desk or computer and get out into the markets in which you want to build market share. Knock on doors. Meet the neighbors. Leave branded collateral pieces at local professional offices and waiting rooms where possible. (Think doctor’s offices, car dealerships, etc.)  Host events. Ask questions. Sponsor sports teams. Donate the bounce house at the neighborhood event. Show that you are the face of real estate in your area.
  3. Reach out to your sphere. If you’re not touching base with everyone in your sphere at least twice a year, then you are leaving money on the table. We know statistically that one in twelve will result in business or referral every year. But NOT if you don’t stay in touch. Many agents use holiday cards every month with a message on the back to keep connected. Others choose newsletters or content cards as a monthly “touch”. Whatever you choose, be sure you are consistent. It’s one of the best things you can do to build and grow your referral base.
  4. Never neglect your neighborhood farm.  Your competition won’t be and they’ll take market share wherever they can find it.  If you’ve got an area that you want to dominate in, consider our Market Dominator system, or using the Listing Inventory Series to stay in touch every month. Top of mind awareness is crucial in today’s market. Attend every neighborhood function and be sure you are walking your farm with content-rich collateral at least twice per year.
  5. Add at least five people to your marketing list per week.  Always be in networking mode and always look for ways to grow your database and sphere. Committing to adding five people per week means you’ll add 260 to your sphere. To help you put that in context, I used our SOI calculator to show you what that looks like. I entered $200,000 as an annual goal, and an average commission of $6,000 – which told me that to realize that goal I’d need 33 transactions. Using the national stats that 66% of business comes from an agent’s SOI, I calculated that I needed 264 people in my SOI to realize my goal.  You can calculate how many you need here. 
  6. Be consistent. I can’t stress this one enough. One and done marketing has never, ever earned anyone a good living. If you’re not touching base monthly or at least quarterly, you are leaving the door open for your competition to create the top of mind awareness that you could be earning. That’s like handing away future commissions to other agents. To succeed at high levels, you’ve got to stay on top of your marketing game and stay present in your market place. Using smart time management and done-for-you marketing tools can help.

Remember we are here to help. Our company is steeped in real estate experience and we train our marketing team to know exactly what agents just like you need to succeed and excel. We want to help you make the most of the last 200 days of the year — and every day after that as well. Visit www.prospectsplus.com today or call our team at 866.405.3638 to learn more. 

Three Easy Steps to Success

By Jim Schimpf

Ease of doing business is the name of the game in 2017. For those looking to buy a house, for example, the most information needs to get to them in the fastest way possible.

Millennials are starting to buy houses, and that generation has become accustomed to instant information. They expect that any information they receive is complete and worth their time. When they find their dream home, they don’t want to wait several days to find out whether they can afford it or how much they can afford to offer on the house. You don’t want to lose a hard-earned new client because they don’t have the right mortgage broker.

REALTORS® are constantly marketing to find leads on new homes. Whether it’s sending postcards, updating websites or posting on social media, the need to get your word out is constant. Your success is based on three major areas – sourcing actionable leads, developing strong branding and following up to close prospects.

Mortgage brokers go through the same process, so why not combine your efforts to land the client and then follow that client through the whole process? The process will be seamless, and you’ll have a complete picture come closing day.

Follow these three simple steps to work more closely with mortgage brokers and close on more properties:

  1. Develop relationships with mortgage brokers. You may have one or several brokers whom you work with. Having a broker you trust and who has a large variety of products available gives you confidence when referring clients. You know that if any issues arise, the broker will let you know so you can work it out together.  The client knows and trusts you so, by extension, he or she feels comfortable with the broker you recommend and doesn’t have to waste time searching for a lender. Additionally, by having just a few lenders in mind, you know what types of loans they offer. No matter the buyer’s situation, you should have a broker to refer them to.
  2.  Combine your marketing efforts, and co-brand. Develop a marketing plan together, and make sure your marketing materials have a cohesive look so buyers will immediately associate the two of you. Every dollar that either of you spends on marketing will magically go twice as far. Buyers will trust that your communication will be intact through the whole process.  Share your ad space and your leads. Communication is your top priority in this relationship. If you choose to use postcards for your marketing, social media, word of mouth or even radio advertising, be sure to mention your access to the broker, and make sure the broker is referring new leads back to you. You each have different sources for new leads so, by combining your efforts, you each double your actionable leads.
  3.  Communicate through the whole process. From the time you start working with a new lead until closing, you and the mortgage broker should keep in touch so everyone knows the status of the loan. Surprises at closing are the worst-case-scenario. You want good, clear communication from beginning to end so you never have to wonder about the status of the project. This communication can lead to faster closings, and who doesn’t want that?

Co-marketing is the wave of the future. More and more buyers are looking for “one-stop” shopping and referrals. Everyone’s time is valuable, so help speed up the process. Combine your efforts for ease of doing business, and everyone wins.

NOTE:  Co-branding is NOT allowable in every market. Please check with your broker or attorney before starting this strategy to ensure that it is an acceptable form of marketing for your area.

Learn more by visiting www.prospectsplus.com/mortgage or by calling our team at 866.405.3638.

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! 

Relationship Marketing Insights with REALTOR Maggie Dokic

By Julie Escobar

Through every conceivable type of market, one thing has always held true in our industry:  it’s a people business.  Call it what you will, mdokicsq-1sphere of influence or book of business, it is the process of staying connected and nurturing those relationships that will garner agents the highest potential for new business and referrals year after year and allow them to stay out of the “where is my next commission coming from” cycle.

To talk about why this is so important, I sat down with long-time ProspectsPLUS! Customer Maggie Dokic to find out what she’s learned through the years.

This is an excerpt from our interview:

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

A: I’m a broker owner of a small real estate brokerage in Miami. I am technically a “competing” broker but only because I do sell to my own clients, not because I compete with my agents for business. We all lead generate and create our own business.

Q:  You’ve grown your team and your business considerably through the years, what do you think are the key components to building a solid book of business?

A: Fostering relationships with those who know you and staying in touch with past clients. It’s a known fact that it costs considerably more to get one new client than it does to stay in touch with one you already have. It makes financial sense to do so, plus it’s a natural extension of my personality to stay in touch with past clients!

Q: How important is marketing for you in terms of staying competitive and driving new leads?

A: Whether you’re marketing yourself or your brand, it’s important to ALWAYS be marketing. If you’re not?  Someone else is.

Q:  What ProspectsPLUS! marketing tools are you a big fan of and why?

A: I love the Just Listed postcards and how quickly they can be ordered. I’ve also really been wanting to try the new Market Dominator mailing. It looks amazing. I’ve had a challenging year this year due to personal responsibilities which have prevented me from expanding my real estate business. But it’s on my radar and as soon as my schedule settles down a bit, I’ll be looking into it further.md-nov

Q:  How often do you stay in touch with your sphere of influence?

A: On average it’s at least once a month with a scheduled email, but in reality probably more than that because much of my sphere I see in person either at church or personal events. And a large portion of my sphere is also connected on social media such as Facebook so I connect there as well.

Q:  What activities in your marketplace do you do consistently to support your marketing efforts?

A: Facebook ads for our new listings, open houses, and just listed/just sold postcards.  They all work to drive extra traffic to our site and phone calls.

Q:  Do you have a niche that you specialize in?

A: I’m a firm believer that it’s best to be a specialist and not a generalist. It dilutes your efforts if you try to be all things to all people. That said, my only niche is probably geographical in that I won’t go all over the county for business. I prefer to refer it to one of my agents or a colleague if it’s “too far” for me. Also I do not do commercial real estate, although I have agents who do. I personally prefer to concentrate on residential real estate only.

Q:  What advice do you have for fellow agents eager to create a strong foundation and career longevity?luxury cards

A: Real estate is about lead generation. If you don’t generate new business, you can’t expect to make it through the long haul. Pick at least three lead generating systems and stick to them. For example: Just Listed/Just Sold postcards are a great way to market you, your brand, and your listings.  Staying in touch with your sphere should definitely be another must-do.  ProspectsPLUS.com provides a whole spectrum of marketing tools to stay top of mind with your sphere, without breaking the budget.  And once you’ve sent those mailers?  Pick up the PHONE. It’s the least expensive, and most effective thing you can do. It’s a lot easier calling someone you know rather than a FSBO who doesn’t know you and is likely annoyed at all the agents calling her! Not to say FSBOs aren’t a good source of new business – they are!   

I would also say to focus on one thing at a time and don’t be a secret agent. This is Real Estate 101. Reach out to those who know you and like you, and let them know you’re in the business (or remind them you’re still in the business). People prefer to work with someone they know, like and trust and that’s where you gain the upper hand. Make sure your contacts know you are there for them. And be genuine in your approach. My monthly mailings remind them I’m in real estate. My phone calls, texts, Facebook posts and note cards are short, sweet, about building the relationship – and NOT about real estate are always appreciated. When you do all of these things – when they are ready to list or sell or know someone who is, I know they will remember I’m the real estate professional for them.

Q: You’ve also used a lot of Every Door Direct Mail™ while growing your business – what made you make communitynewsnovthumbsfront4that decision?

A: The cost of EDDM made me realize it was a smart business decision. Knowing that I could reach about three times the number of people for the same cost was a no-brainer. We once mailed to 1,002 homes and the day after the mailers were delivered I received my first call from a homeowner considering selling.

Q:  How can readers reach you if they’d like to send a referral your way?

A: We’re available at www.SpecialMiamiHomes.com and info@SpecialMiamiHomes.com.

Thank you so much Maggie.  We appreciation your generosity in sharing your experience!  You’re terrific and we wish you all the very best.

Want to learn more about driving your business forward, staying top of mind, and growing your referral base? Head over to our Master Marketing Schedule for a steady stream of tools, tips, techniques and ideas.

Need help getting started? Contact our team at 866-405-3638.  

 

Tools You Can Use…

By Julie Escobar

Back in the DAY…(ever notice how people always say that about what they did ions ago?) I used to love working with First Time Home Buyers.  They were excited, eager,  a little nervous and usually very appreciative of an agent’s experience and help.  Today’s consumers (even the newbies) are a lot more savvy than they used to be but I still find this niche a great source of prospects (and referrals) for agents today!

One great way to attract First Time Home Buyers is by hosting Home Buying Workshops in your market.  freeworkshopseriesMany agents find that holding them at the local libraries, schools (many PTAs or PTSAs would be happy to include a segment in one of their meetings for valuable information!)  In many areas, you’ll find clusters of higher end apartment complexes that you could easily target for first time home buyers.

You can even use our mailing list options to specifically search for high-end renters and create a marketing database to connect with this demographic.

Couple up with a mortgage lender and real estate attorney to help spread the word and bring more value to the table.  I’ve even known agents who invite local restaurants (especially start ups that are trying to market themselves as well) to bring in sample appetizers or refreshments in return for letting them share their contact information or coupons as well!  In today’s world, this kind of smart, intuitive shared networking is making a big difference for a lot of agents.

We’ve got a terrific free report just for agents that’s filled with lots of ‘goof-proof’ tips on how to host a
successful workshop!  We’ve even got ready made postcard invitations that you can send out in a matter of kissyourlandlordgoodbyestdthumminutes!

It’s easy to use and easy (and free) to get!  Click here to go to our Resource Page – scroll about half way down the page until you see “Free Consumer Workshops” – then just click download!  Easy, breezy!  While you’re there – also download “How to Save for a Down Payment” which is a great piece to share with those folks who WANT to buy but aren’t quite ready to just yet.  Having your mortgage lender there will be very beneficial as you can help folks sort out where they are NOW in relation to what they need to purchase a home.

Be sure to get everyone’s contact information – then put them on a drip direct mail campaign every 30-45 days so stillrentingstdthumbthat when they are ready to purchase – they’ll know JUST who to call.  Our First Time Buyers Series is perfect for that.

They really speak to the questions that these folks already have in their heads and keep you top of mind.  I always like to use the alternative back on the postcard to write a little more information and create some calls and response by offering a free list of homes, list of foreclosures, additional home buying tips, local school information, etc.  All great reasons for them to stay connected with YOU!

If you are hosting an event in your market – be sure to share that information on your social media networks, and in the rental communities you are targeting.  And if this is the demographic you want to OWN in your market, consider setting up  a Facebook page so that you can really continuously share news people can use relating to buying a home and your market.  Don’t JUST talk business though!  Share information about your local economy, schools, community garage sales, tips about new restaurants or businesses in the area.  You can spotlight standout community leaders, kids who are making a difference, teachers, local heroes, specials you run across, testimonials from happy customers and more!

Need help getting started? Simply call our marketing specialists at 866-405-3638 today.  They’re smart, knowledgeable, friendly and just the folks you need on your side to ensure that your marketing is TIMELY and DONE!