Saturday, October 21, 2017

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!

Are YOU Staying Top of Mind?

By Julie Escobar

Put yourself in the shoes of the folks in your sphere and farm.  When they ask themselves, “Who is my neighborhood specialist?”  Or, “What agent should I call to find out about listing my home?” Or, “My sister/neighbor/best friend/cousin is moving into town and needs an agent, who should I recommend?” — Are all of the answers YOUR name?  If not, then you’ve got some work to do to solidify your position as the go-to agent in their minds starting now.  This week our Master Marketing Schedule tip is to send out the Home Equity Analysis postcards from Neighborhood Specialist/Free Offer series to at least 100 new prospects in an area you want more listings.  It prompted me to look at a few different strategies agents can use to always be top-of-mind in their markets with buyers and sellers as THE neighborhood specialist.

First up – where to start? 

Size of sphere or farm: How big of a farm or neighborhood should you market? Denise, a friend of mine from New York kept tabs on a farm of about 5,000 throughout most of her career but then pared that down to 2,500 which includes her sphere of influence when she took over as managing broker. She had this to share, “I usually recommend new agents start building their farm area to about 250, and experienced, full-time agents should consider working towards maintaining a farm of
at least 1,000.”

Karen of Keller Williams in Pittsburgh and her team successfully navigate a database of more than 10,000, and uses a system of referral name recognition to effectively communicate with 500-1,000 regularly. What’s her secret to success? “Never stop marketing!”

Keep in mind you don’t have to start with a 500, 1,000, 2,000 or more – you just have to start! After all, as in wise words of Zig Ziglar, “If we don’t start, it’s certain we can’t arrive!”

How to find the right neighborhood or farm area: If you’re new, pick an area that REALLY interests you, dig in and learn about the community, the people, the surrounding businesses and the culture. Then make it your own and then start expanding. If you’ve been in the business for a while now and have NOT yet begun to build and maintain a working database/customer base – let today be the day you start. Too many in our industry leave with nothing to show for it – don’t let that be you!

Denise shared, “A good starting point is to target a town or part of a town they want to establish themselves in. Get passionate about it – and your connection and commitment to that community. Designate 75% of your efforts to the top 10% of that market share, and then blanket the rest for the lower tiered homes. Once you’ve established yourself in that top 10%, then everyone knows your name.” As with any effective branding effort, becoming the neighborhood specialist means you have to jump in with both feet and commit to being the resource for those consumers who make up your target market. Not just to gain their business, but because you believe you are the best person for the job and able to provide a level of service like no other. You have to be genuine. If you’re not authentic in your purpose, it shows and especially in today’s market, people don’t want, nor do they have to work with people who are less than the real deal.

To easily create mailing lists for the geographic farm areas you are interested in, take a look at our MapMyMail tool which allows you to search over 128 million records easily and download a list cost-effectively at just 8 cents per record.

Secondly – what to send?  free offer hea

What you send is up to you, but it too should be consistently branded and consistently sent.  Let’s take a look at what is currently trending with top agents across North America:

  • Neighborhood Update/Free Offer postcards:  They give stats that people love, plus add a direct response component.content cards 2
  • Listing Inventory Series:  Agents love these because they are a great way to shake out the sellers who may be interested in listing NOW or in the near future.  By sharing that you have qualified buyers who are ready, willing, and able to offer a great price for homes sooner rather than later, you can capture the attention of potential sellers.
  • Content cards:  These are powerful, in that dominator 3they contain tons of content on timely topics and are likely to be kept – and shared by consumers.
  • The Market Dominator: This 12 x 15 piece is cost effective, leverages the Every Door Direct Mail system, and has 100% impression because of its size and direct response content.

Next, how often?

Be Consistent:  “Staying top of mind doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it does have to be consistent,” shared Real Estate Coach Judy LaDeur.  “Sending something in the mail each month is a great way to stay positioned in your market.  It’s funny how many times you see agents who are frustrated because their friend or neighbor has listed with someone else, when the truth is, that it is up to the AGENT to ensure that those friends, neighbors, acquaintances — and the folks in their geographic farm are thinking of them as the real estate specialist.  To do that takes consistent contact.”  Coach Dirk Zeller backs up the idea of consistency: “The key word to success…CONSISTENT.  Whether you are trying to lose weight, increase your business, or create wealth, the secret sauce is consistency.  Most people are not consistent enough to let the law of averages create the win for them.  They need help in being consistent and that is true in all areas of their business and life.  The law of averages connects with the compounding effect of consistency to create a greater return and a compounded return over time.  Let me illustrate in money terms.  If you put $3.83 a day away from the time you turned 20 until age 65 and received high single digit interest rate return by age 65 you would be a millionaire.  The only hard part is doing it every day for 45 years…the rest is easy.  Would you trade a vanilla latte a day for a million bucks?  To be consistent in marketing you need a system in place that can create and send the pieces of marketing that have value to your client base or focus base.  You can’t do it alone because, as an agent, it’s too easy to get busy and it doesn’t get done.”

Have Some Fun With Your Marketing!

Get Creative:  I am always thrilled to see agents putting best practices into play, showing true tenacity and taking a walk on the creative side! When it comes to building trust, increasing your image, and really getting to know the community members in your farm, little things really do mean a lot. In addition to our monthly mailings, many savvy agents actually ‘walk the farm’ about four times a year with a gift, a giveaway, or door hangers, and use this time as a chance to meet and talk to people one-on-one. One agent even shared with me that she tucks the Neighborhood Update Postcards into those neon colored plastic sand shovels she gets from the novelty store with a note saying, ‘here’s the scoop from your 110% Realtor!’ How fun is that?  It’s important to just get out there, have fun, be creative and meet the people!”

Event marketing is another great idea.  Holding buyer’s and seller’s workshops is another great way to offer valuable information to your farm area and get tremendous results in return. Some agents even host them monthly on different real estate topics. We have invites that make getting people there easier!

Ask for leads: Another friend and longtime agents Tony from Tampa shared this tip:  “Work with those people other agents are unwilling or unable to work with. How many agents do you know that DON’T follow up on open house leads? Offer them $100 for every lead that turns into something. It’s a great way to build your business, and make sure that the customer is getting the service they want and deserve!”

Community events: Consider helping out at community block parties, firework celebrations and more. Send out newsletters that offer ideas and solutions people can use as well as present yourself as the expert they can turn to with current, relevant and timely information each and every month.

Now get out there and start branding yourself as the turn-to agent in your neighborhood of choice so that next time someone is asked, “Who’s your neighborhood specialist?” They’ll know EXACTLY who to name!

Need more help building your business or making a name for yourself in your niche of choice? Visit www.prospectsplus.com today and tap into a wide spectrum of solutions, resources and training that can help you thrive in today’s market.

 

A Picture is Worth a Thousand….

by Julie Escobar

Why do some listings command their list price or higher when others don’t?  How did Airbnb go from struggling start-up to a billion dollar business? Why do some homes sell without a buyer ever setting foot on the property?  Why do some agents shine as high-end professionals in a market filled with tough competitors?  Two words:  Photography and Marketing.

Did you know that according to Redfin, Inc., listings with professional, high-end photographs can sell between $934 and $116,076 higher, (measuring the difference between asking and final price) over listings with amateur photography or cell phone photos?  Or that according to researchers at the Institute of Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate at Old Dominion University, more than 95% of online listing viewers viewed the first photo, showing the exterior of the home—for a total of 20 seconds. After which their eyes flit all over the screen, followed by 76% landing on the property description.

Photography and marketing, what a powerful combination – right?  So how are YOU capitalizing on BOTH? Top agents do what they do best — prospect, present, and close.  They delegate the rest so they can stay focused on the activities that are closest to their revenue line AND have a life.  In terms of presenting their listings in the best possible light, they turn to professional photographers with the mad skills to capture the home’s best features that can then be used in their print and online marketing.

We know that 92% of home buyer and sellers start their search online.  We also know that 79% of consumers open their mail daily.  So using an online property tour with a simple url with amazing professional photography is a priority.  As is telling consumers in the neighborhoods that YOU specialize in how to find exactly what they are looking for without the search by delivering new listing information (complete with top-quality photos) to their mailboxes.

We’ve developed a powerful new Image Series of postcards to help you spotlight those new listings — and Image serieshelp you get NEW listings that are quick to order, affordable, and make your listings look like the feature properties they are!

Take these seven quick steps to spotlight your next listing:

  1. Choose from one of 16 image series postcard templates showcasing one-four property photos in a variety of colors
  2. Add a great headline and description
  3. Add a custom property url if you have one and get them out to the consumers in the neighborhoods you are marketing sooner (directly after the listing) rather than later
  4. Consider adding a direct response offer such as a Free List of Homes, Free Comparative Market Analysis, or any of the many downloadable free reports we have available on our site at no cost
  5. Send to your list or use our MapMyMail option to choose a list that’s right for you
  6. Follow up by sending Just Sold cards when your listings sell
  7. Be sure to check out our Specials page for budget-saving promo codes before you order

Looking for high-end luxury property portfolios to showcase your new listings and top-notch property photos?  You’ll find just what you need here.

Helping agents just like you become the resource to call in your marketplace is our passion. If you need assistance, know that our marketing team is a call away.  You can reach them at 866.405.3638