Wednesday, April 26, 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! 

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!

Row of new residential houses in suburban neighborhood

It Happened on My Street

A Guest Blog by Brian Fox, Benutech, Inc.

It happened on my street… and I would not be surprised if you have seen it occur on yours. A for sale sign goes in the ground… and presto –  soon after, more for sale signs start popping up. It’s an interesting phenomenon, but it seems to hold true in markets from coast to coast. For those reasons, you hear top real estate coaches in the industry advise their students to, “Find areas where homes are selling and market into those areas!” It works. It’s a big informational edge that increases agents marketing success rates.

So let’s take a moment and look at this turnover rate idea a bit closer. Here’s what happened on my street: no properties had been listed on my street for more than a year. Then a property went on the MLS market in June of 2015. By October, two more homes on my street went on to MLS priced similarly. All of them closed by January 2016, so in back to back months (March and April of 2016) two more homeowners on my street decided to list their properties for sale. Coincidence?

Maybe… But that’s five homes for sale on my street in the past year, when there were none listed the previous 12 months.  Not only that, but within my subdivision, there is not another street that has had more than two homes listed or sold within the same time period of time. Heck, I have even entertained the thought of selling my home at the prices homes are selling at on my street! The sign posts have even got me thinking.

So in my opinion, along with the opinions of those high profile real estate coaches, it’s true… when folks seedominator June3 sign posts in the ground it gets them thinking… “If I could get that much for my home, I would sell”. Or, “If that home can sell for that price, and it’s smaller than mine, then mine could sell for much more…”  So the bottom line:  Home sales in a community seem to get the selling ball rolling!  For a real estate agent, that’s a very good thing.

The only problem with turnover rate though is tracking it. There has not been an easy way to locate high rates of turnover in communities. Even if your title company or an assistant that you employ was willing to help you crunch the numbers to find the higher turnover rate areas… it’s time consuming.

That’s the reason we added the Tract Utility tool to Benutech, Inc.’s ReboGateway product.This tool instantly groups homes together by FIVE different property groupings, and displays the groups from highest turnover or sales rate to lowest rate in seconds. That’s SECONDS, not days!  Not only is Tract Utility providing quick, targeted results, but it’s also grouping homes in groups small enough for agents to easily identify and utilize.  Tract Utility breaks geographic areas down from Census Tracts to all the way to the housing tracts that homes are built into.  What’s the most popular grouping? It’s been the “Postal Carrier Route” grouping, which is the same group of homes that the US Postal Service uses when delivering ‘Every Door Direct Mailings’ (EDDM).  EDDM is the least expensive way to deliver mail, which cuts the price of mailing down to 1/3 the price of a postage stamp per door.

So as a real estate agent, where should you start? Right here:  Successful farming is created by repetitive listing inventory 2actions in the farm area. You can’t plant a seed (Mailer #1) and expect to reap large results in farming. It’s not enough care, not enough action to create a successful farm.  Successful farms are created with regular, repetitive contact at properties in your farm.  In crop farming the repetitive actions would be water and nutrients.  In real estate, its repetitive actions of mailers, door knocks, phone calls and the delivery of valuable useful information to homeowners that creates large crops of buyers and sellers. That’s why we love working with and partnering up with our friends from ProspectsPLUS.com. We provide the data and they provide the branding tools such as the impressive Market Dominator. It’s the perfect way to brand yourself in a farm area, and make yourself a known entity and celebrity to the homeowners, by showing you care about them and the community.

But now let’s talk about technology and farming. Farms can be created in any geographic area… but farming in all geographic areas are NOT the same. Not even close. You could choose to farm in the dry, rocky soil of the desert… and if you use tons of water, shade, and constant care, you may be able to create a successful farm.  But if you are smart, and chose an area of soft, fertile soil, a mild climate, in an area with lots of available water… wouldn’t you have a much better chance of creating a highly successful farm? Of course!  The place you choose to begin your farming is a very important decision. The correctly chosen area will result in more successful farms that are much easier to create. So select the area that is right for you and your farming.

So don’t just choose an area to farm that is closest to where you live or work – it may be dry, rocky soil in the desert… (and so 1990’s style of real estate farming).  Instead, you’ll want to crunch the numbers to find the community that has a perfect combination of…

  • Lack of solid presence of any one agent
  • high turnover rate
  • Solid sales prices
  • High homeowner saturation (as opposed to a large renter population)

This way, when you are ready to start investing in your geo farm, you know that you’ve got a market segment that has the highest potential for success.  You can do this on your own with the help of your title company and spreadsheets or acquire access to www.rebogateway.com and use the Tract Utility to find fertile farming areas in your neighborhood. Use that valuable information to identify the top postal carrier routes, or top housing tracts with the highest turnover rates nearest you.  Then begin your farming in these hand-picked farm areas using direct response tools such as the Market Dominator, Listing Inventory Series, or Neighborhood Update postcards from ProspectsPLUS.com, and a smart strategy of follow up via canvassing, door hangers, and phone calls, and you’ll be on track to build a successful farm that will continue to reward you with listings and referrals for years to come.

Join us for this week’s webinar “How to Pick the Perfect Geo Farm”, Thursday at 1pm Eastern. Register here.  

register now 5

Interested in finding out of if the Tract Utility tools and ReboGateway is right for you? Call the ReboGateway support team today at 866-887-0206 or email them today to set up a one on one demonstration at sales@benutech.com.

Interested in learning more about the ProspectsPLUS.com tools such as the Market Dominator to earn a 20% market share in the geo farm of your choice? Contact our team today at 866-405-3638 or visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com.

Getting the Inside Scoop to See If EDDM is Right for YOU and Your Business

By Julie Escobar

Wow.  We’ve had a lot of calls recently about this powerful (and affordable) service now provided by the U.S. Postal Service.  It allows you to literally get in EVERY DOOR in a geographic area for as low as 18.3 cents in postage per piece.  But there are a LOT of questions out there – and a lot of folks unsure about which way to go in terms of getting their message in the right hands to help brand themselves in a market.  So I put on my fact-finding hat so that I could give you guys the inside skinny on some things you need to know about this service to determine if it is really right for you.

Fact #1:  According to direct marketing statistics, businesses which get the majority of their clients from within a 3 mile radius of their office are:  REALTORS®, mortgage brokers, insurance agents, dentists, chiropractors…(the list goes on – but did you catch that first one?) Love that!

Fact #2:   This is the most cost-effective means to deliver your message to an ENTIRE market area.  As a SATURATION mailing tool – you can literally send up to 5,000 pieces each day (to be delivered to EVERY SINGLE mailbox on your chosen carrier route) still pay no more than 18.3 cents in postage per piece.

Fact #3:  There is no postage permit necessary – only the required indicia which is fairly small needs to be placed on your mailing piece.  (We’ve got that for you- no worries!)

Fact #4 – You don’t need a mailing list.  This is a biggie!  One of the toughest components that agents find in building their book of business is developing their LIST.  While it IS one of the best practices you can ever do to build long-term referrals and keep your customers and clients calling YOU back for the duration of your career – it is a stumbling block for many.  So while you’re waiting to get your list together (go ahead and hire a broke college kid to start data entry today – they need the money and you need a database!) – the EDDM™ system is the perfect way to start branding yourself and discover NEW PROSPECTS to put into your sphere!

Fact #5:  You can send standard mail flats, irregular parcels, periodicals, and bound printed flats.  But – your
Dominator April 16mailing piece cannot be more than 15′ long, 12′ high and .75′ thick.

Fact #6:  The common mailing pieces for EDDM™ used by REALTORS® are newsletters, open house postcards, just listed postcards, just sold postcards, introduction/neighborhood specialist announcements or workshop invitations (first time home buying seminars, short sale seminars, workshops for seniors, renters. buy workshops, etc.)

Fact #7:  You can select whether or not you want your mailing delivered to P.O. Boxes and Farm mail routes!

Fact #8:  Your mailing will saturate every consumer within your carrier route AND  it can also include delivery to businesses.  However – you CANNOT just send to businesses.

Fact #9:  When choosing your carrier routes – remember to choose WISELY.  With this system – you must mail to EVERY home on the carrier route.  So it’s important to look at the market you want to saturate and budget accordingly.  If your route has 1,000 homes in it – then you’ll need to provide mailings for every home.  The average carrier route has about 250-500 homes in it.  When using the carrier route selection tool from USPS – we always recommend ‘de-selecting all’ first – when you get to that screen so it doesn’t pull up every route in your zip code (that can be a little intimidating!)  Then, based on YOUR budget, you can choose the carrier routes in your market with the number of homes you can comfortably afford to send to repeatedly.

Fact #10:  To piggyback on #9, while this is a much more affordable mailing option for most agents, contentremember this is still direct marketing.  So if you can only afford to (or care to) send a mailing ONCE to an area – then it will more than likely not glean you the results you are looking for.  Keep that 3-7-27 rule in mind.  It takes 3 impressions for someone to recognize your name, 7 impressions to put your name with your business and 27 to become a ‘top of mind’ brand name in someone’s head.  So better to mail to 300 people ten times for example than to send one mailing of 3,000 if you want to build that awareness and trust.

Fact #11:  You’ll need to include a form (PS Form 3587) with your mailing that identifies the carrier routes, number of homes in the route, etc.  It’s a government form so – while it’s a little mind-boggling – it’s not too bad!  (And with our service we’ll even fill it out for you so no worries!)

Fact #12:  Your mailers have to be bundled and banded in groups of 100 and include a “facing slip” on each bundle.  So that’s not a lot of fun – but again – we do that for you if you like.  Besides – you’ve got to think about those delivery folks!  Can you image if you gave them one giant stack?  Yikes!

Fact #13:  If your best target market is actually in other cities or states, you can use Priority Mail® to ship your Every Door Direct Mail mailings to the Post Office in that area.  How cool is that?  This is especially helpful if you are working with vacation properties or investors.

Fact #14:  You have OPTIONS.  Whether you’re an all-hands-on-deck kind of person and want to do everything yourself or whether you just want to choose your mailing piece, pick your routes and have the rest all done for you – we’ve got a solution that works for you, your market and your budget.  Learn more about how Every Door Direct Mail – just click here!

Fact #15:  You don’t have to do it BY YOURSELF.  The truth is, this is an exciting and affordable opportunity to saturate a market with your message but there are variables, budgets and geographic areas to consider.  Sometimes (all right – most of the time) it’s good to have another person to help walk you through the process.  Our EDDM specialists have the experience and knowledge to do just that – just give them a call at 866.405.3638.  They’re happy to help. 

Hope that helps!  Happy marketing!