Sunday, October 22, 2017

Get Your Game On! Man drawing a game strategy

By Julie Escobar

Hitting the fall market with all you have and playing to win for the long game means starting early for savvy real estate professionals.  While much of your competition will work hard this month and some of October, many will then fall into cruise control, as the holidays begin to approach. Not you! You’re in it to win it – and here are six strategies you can implement to stay top-of-mind and ahead of the curve through the end of the year — without burnout or breaking the budget.

1. Prospect, Promote and Prosper.  In changing markets, many agents stop advertising, re-direct their marketing dollars to the year ahead and put their prospecting in park until after the holidays.  Stay forward of the competition by continuing to market yourself with creative, consistent, targeted marketing.

2. Spread the Holiday Cheer.  Start now planning out the rest of your year.  Take your top 50+ clients and make it a point to not only send holiday cards each month from now through January, but also calendar time to reach out to your client base with face-to-face visits.  What may seem like a lot of time, can really be broken down into 10 or so contacts per week.  Would that be worth a sale or two?  Sure it would.  Make the calls.  Shake hands, bring a card and thank these very important people for their contribution to your career.  For those really special clients, bring along a treat for their family table and you’ll find yourself more than their REALTOR® you become a friend.   

3. Clean Out Your Client Base.  Most agents wait until January to truly wade through their client base.  Getting an early start means momentum as you head into the New Year when most are still putting away party hats and streamers.  If you don’t currently have a means of tracking your clients, click here to check out our free BusinessBASE™ client management system.  Getting to know your prospects, their families, their needs and their personalities will help you build long term, solid relationships that bring you current listings and sales as well as referrals that will build your book of business throughout your career.  Ditch the people that you DON’T want to work with, clean out old addresses (both email and snail mail), and update phone records now so that you’ve got a clean start for the first of the year. 

4. Live and Learn.  What a tremendous time to be a professional salesperson.  Never before in history has education, skill-building and growth as an agent or as a person been more simple or accessible.  How fortunate we are to have internet, 24/7 that allows us to tap in, download, read, discuss and explore ways to improve our life skills personally and professionally.  Maybe gift YOURSELF (and in turn your career and financial security) with some skill building courses, great business books and valuable audio downloads this season to help you fine tune your mad skills before the new year rolls in. 

5. Implement Systems for Success.  New agents run on adrenaline, nerve and sheer exhaustive energy.  Experience gives us the insight to set systems in place to plan now for a successful year ahead.  Calendar your direct marketing for the months to come, implement your BusinessBASE™ to insure ongoing, automated contact with your clients, and employ creative campaigns throughout the year that will differentiate you from your competition.  In a shifting market, systems simplify your life, keep you on track and maximize your market share through consistent, results producing planning. They allow you to focus on the revenue based activities that are your strength, prospecting, presenting and closing without expending energy on deciding each day, each week what your course of action should be.

When you are putting your business plan in place for the new year – choose to focus on your core – the customers and clients that know you, like you and trust you – and expand on that core as you move through the year.  Social media not your thing?  Delegate it.  Direct mail too hard to create?  Use ready-to-go and done-for-you solutions to consistently reach your sphere every month such as postcard campaigns and monthly newsletters.   Just Listed & Just Sold marketing too much to task yourself with?  Automate it with MLSmailings and not have to worry about it!  Paperwork getting the best of you?  Hire a Virtual Assistant.  There are some amazing ones out there that are affordable and talented and allow you to focus on what you do best! Next – make it a point to ADD to your core each month.  Can you add 10 new prospects per week to your list?  Absolutely.  Might it be worth an extra deal or three (or more) throughout the year?  DEFINITELY.  

6. Fall in Love With What You Do.  The secret of success is historically based in finding your niche and enjoying every minute of it.  Whatever your passion, whatever demographic of the industry lights your fire, run with it, own it and allow it to empower your prospecting with determination and enthusiasm.  This season, take stock in the incredible opportunity you have to set your own pace, create your own calendar and charter your own course for financial freedom.

Inevitably, there will be down time as the holidays roll in. You’ll have days strung together to re-charge, re-connect and realize your strength as you approach the fourth quarter and the year ahead.  Make it magical.  Take this time to set your sights on new goals, family dreams and incredible new opportunities.  Whether it is a much needed vacation, new family car or boat, include your family’s goals when creating your budget and marketing plan, so they not only know why you are negotiating into the evening and weekends, they support you.  Your goals are their goals.  Their goals are yours.

Balancing success, life and market twists and turns takes practice to be sure.  With the right systems, tools and training, you can and will find your stride.  We’re here if you need us!

For more ideas on how you can continuously impact your market area, visit our website at www.prospectsplus.com and our Master Marketing Schedule page which allows you to drop our action item tips right into your Google, Apple, or Outlook calendars!  If you have questions or need help putting together some systems for your plan – call us at 866.405.3638.  Our marketing team is awesome about helping you find the right solutions for you. 

And while you’re online…please take a moment to like our page on Facebook.  We’re always sharing new ideas, strategies and dialogues with industry experts and terrific real estate professionals just like you!  Click here to see our page!

A Sneak Peek from Video Guru and That Interview Guy Michael Krisatabletvideo

By Julie Escobar

Well if you’re ever interested in cutting edge and out-in-front marketing tools – you can’t miss by connecting with my video savvy friend and real estate insider Michael Krisa.  Loved our sit-down today to talk about his all new video training product Tablet Video for Agents.  If you’re not using video to put your marketing for both your listings and your business? You’re going to miss out.

The good news is that Michael brings it down to the step-by-step simple stuff that agents need to incorporate these tools into their plan sooner rather than later! Here’s a snapshot of our interview:

Q:  All right, my friend – what are you up to these days and how is it a cool thing for today’s agents?

A:  Well, you know I’ve been bringing video solutions to agents for the last seven years and one thing has always stood out as the biggest challenge:  Video can be HARD. The technology and tools have always been just outside of a lot of agent’s comfort zones.  It really hit home for me when I was recently attending a CE course and the instructor kept referring to me as the ‘video guy.’  He asked me to spend a few minutes talking to the agents in the room about using video in their marketing.  I looked around and saw almost every agent had an iPad, but when asked – none of them were using it for video.  I asked, “Don’t you know what you have?  It’s like driving a Porsche for the stereo!” Really – now EVERYTHING you need is on the iPad.

Q: Love that analogy Michael.  Tell us more about the course and how it came to be. 

A:  I connected with Mike Stewart who got me started in video way back when and we put our heads together to create something real estate specific to make it unbelievably easy for agents to use their iPads to create powerful, results-producing video.

The cool thing about the training is that it is filled with not just how-to’s but also white papers and great examples of what other agents are doing successfully and what is working in markets all over North America.  And we continue to keep adding new content so there is always something new for agents to learn.

Q:  Michael, tell us why video is SO important now – and how it will be even more so in the near future.

A:  Sure Julie.  70% of current how to searches conducted by people now are for video, and stats show that by 2015, 80% will be video on tablets and smartphones.  If you aren’t tapping into video now – catching up in years to come will be not just tough, but almost impossible.  Right now – video is a wide open frontier for Realtors.  Early adopters will really find it to be a differentiator in their market.

Q:  For the last few years it’s been all about the flip video – and low quality, fast videos – but that seems to be changing a little right?

A:  Yes.  The need for a stronger professionalism in video continues to grow.  And fortunately, the iPad with the iMovie app offers everything you need to produce professional, studio quality video like a pro easily and affordably!  The National Association of Realtors tells us that 75% of homeowners prefer to work with an agent that uses video – but only 8% of agents do. What does that tell us?  That the agents who jump in NOW and start making an impact will be the competitor to be chase in the market.

Q:  As someone who has been in and around this business forever in so many different capacities Michael – you have a unique perspective that I think is important for agents to know about video – can you share that? 

A:  Yes, what agents need to know is that it is not just about marketing.  It’s about becoming the ‘celebrity authority’ in your niche.  From tours of your town, points of interest, consumer tips, virtual tours, and home buying and selling advice – video gives you the ability to spotlight yourself as the go-to authority in your area like never before.  The truth is video is here and it’s not going away – in fact, quite the opposite.  We’re just making it goof-proof and super simple for agents to incorporate it into their business and marketing plan.

Michael – thanks so much – as always – you are a wealth of information!  Agents, you can learn more about this terrific new tool and training at  http://TabletVideoForAgents.com and use the promo code prospectsplus to save $25!  Then head over to our Facebook page and let us know how it is working for you!  We can’t wait to hear!

Need help driving people to your videos and your website?  Give us a call today at 866.405.3638.  We’ve been helping agents drive offline traffic to their online marketing for years and we can help you do the same! 

Making the Most of the New Year…Resolutions

By Julie Escobar

You know there comes an age (and that’s different for everyone) when you just know what works and what doesn’t and all the ‘I’m gonna try’s’ in the world aren’t going to make the difference.  These days we can resolve to change, to be different, to do better – but unless really give that resolve some muscle by way of mindset, habit and system CHANGES – well find ourselves, like so many others, pitching them two weeks into the year.

Instead, let’s do this.  Let’s take ACTION.  Positive, powerful, forward-momentum gaining ACTION every day.  Keep track of it.  Celebrate it.  Go for it.  Here are some ideas for the new year that CAN increase your business, decrease your stress, help you find balance and honestly, make a world of difference.  Ready?

  1. Don’t try to do it all yourself.  It’s 2013-the age of technology, super apps, virtual assistants, and systems that automate your marketing, your connectivity and your database.  Take a day in the next two weeks if you haven’t already and tap into those tools that will make your life and job easier.  (And remember our marketing team is here to help you too.  With experience and tools – they can help you choose what systems best meet your needs.  Call them at 866.405.3638 today and let’s get this year kicked off!)
  2. Commit to consistency.  The best possible thing you can do to develop your sphere or farm is to connect CONSISTENTLY month in and month out.  It doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult – but it does need to be done if you expect to lead in today’s increasingly competitive market.  Shake it up.  Mix your marketing means.  Direct mail every month or  every other month.  Every Door Direct Mail newsletter once a quarter.  Just Listed Postcards for each new listing.  eMail.  Face-to-face.  Community events.  Don’t be afraid to get out there.  Get visible.  Stay visible.  It really is a powerful secret to success.
  3. Keep learning.  Boy, things are changing at the blink of an eye these days aren’t they?  Social media mixes it up almost weekly, consumers are more savvy than ever and your competitors are building skills like sales warriors.  The cool thing?  Learning doesn’t have to be boring or old hat.  Find a group of agents you like, respect and have similar integrity levels and meet once a month for an idea exchange.  It’s a great chance to learn, share referrals and sharpen your skills.  (And it can be FUN!)
  4. Fuel your mindset.  Listen, no one wants to work with a Grumpy Gus, Debbie Downer or any of their negative relatives.  Find the joy in what you do by working with the people you really want to work with.  Find a niche that you’re passionate about and guess what?  You’ll be excited to go to work every day to service those folks.  You’ll make new contacts, new customers and even new friends – and isn’t that a terrific way to face the new year?  From daily affirmations to a smart system of time management that keeps you on track and moving forward – give yourself the best chance for success.

So, my challenge to you is to go beyond the RESOLUTION and move more into the ACTIONS that it takes to thrive in our changing market.  Things are looking up for our industry.  Markets are coming back.  Some are even on fire.  You can make the most of the new year too – and we want you to know that we’re here every step of the way!    Call us today at 866.405.3638 to get your year in high gear!  

How to Use a Successful Mix of Marketing Tools to Drive OFFLINE Traffic to Your ONLINE Presence

By Julie Escobar

It’s been a busy week of interviews and interesting to hear what people are asking in terms of “how do I market my listings and myself more effectively?” Good question! Let’s see if I can share a little of what we’ve found that works when you’re ready to mix and match your marketing mediums so that you can really make the most of your time, energy and dollars. Sound good?

First let’s start with the obvious—we KNOW that 87% of home buyers and sellers START their search for their new home or REALTOR online, which is great news for you if you’re busily building an online presence…right? There’s just a little hitch — according to a study of Broker Website Effectiveness conducted by the WAV Group 69% of visitors to broker websites type the address directly into the browser, 20% use search engine – but with keywords such as agent or brokerage name, which means that more than 85% of all traffic to the brokers’ websites were coming from people who ALREADY knew them. This is good in terms of retention of customers – but not so good news in terms of driving NEW eyes to your website, blog or social media channels.

So if NEW traffic’s your goal, then you’ve got to find some ways to get consumers in YOUR MARKET who are looking for information about buying or selling a house and they start to type something into that search bar…They know YOUR NAME & Company name!

1. Make direct mail your friend. Don’t start yelling at me and saying direct mail is dead – before you consider a few facts. According to a survey conducted by the Direct Marketing Association nearly 70% of consumers prefer to receive announcements and information from companies they are familiar with via conventional mail, versus less than 20% who prefer e-mail pitches.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of email marketing, but I have agents asking me week after week – “How do I get email addresses?” And that’s where I believe direct mail postcards can really compliment an agent’s marketing plan. They’re affordable, fast, don’t have to be opened first, quick to make an impression and done right – a great way to brand yourself, get your name TOP OF MIND for area consumers and drive people looking for real estate answers or information – Straight to your website!

We’ve even developed a new line of postcards to help you develop a social media following! Check them out: On the Web Templates!

Need help finding addresses to mail to?  Click here to watch a video on building your mailing list:  Mailing List Management

2. Next, add QR codes to all of your printed materials. Postcards, business cards, flyers – even sign riders! Point those QR (Quick Response) codes to your Facebook Fanpage, your lead capture forms on your website, your single property websites or just about anywhere on the web you want to drive new customer attention.

Here are a couple of QR Code Generators for you to try:
http://delivr.com/qr-code-generator
http://www.beqrious.com/generator (love the name of that one!)

If you don’t like either of those just Google “QR Code Generator” and you’ll find a bunch! I’d look for ones that have analytics attached so that you can track your results.

3. Add your social media addresses to everything just like your QR codes! Your business cards, email signatures, printed materials, websites, blogs, the works. Make sure everything has got all the myriad of ways people can find you (and create some great backlinks for your different sites at the same time!) And please don’t make the mistake that I see many businesses make where they simply say “follow us on Facebook” – you have to go the extra step. Tell them HOW! For example – Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/prospectsplus. (A shameless plug – but a good example!) I see business signs, cards, brochures etc. that just have the icons for social media and blogs but not the actual address. Make it EASY for folks to find you!

4. Join the online conversation. Don’t expect immediate results, but also don’t discount the power of the internet to help establish and fuel new relationships. Talk about what’s going on in your market, but don’t make your social media posts all about you or all about real estate. If you’ve got a niche your passionate about-talk, post or tweet about that! Ask questions. Invite the neighbors in your farm area to join a neighborhood fan page where you’ll help to keep them posted on all things that pertain to their area. Like to work with seniors? Blog or post about the things that interest them. First time home buyers your gig? Make sure you include information on how to save for a down payment, how to protect their interests, etc.

Another great strategy is to interview area business owners. If you’re tweeting or facebooking about them, there’s a good chance they’ll do the same for you! Ask an area roofer how what are the signs of a roof that needs to be replaced. Ask a plumber about winter pipe maintenance. Ask a local restaurateur about new menu items and promotions they might be having. Start conversing and connecting!

5. Offer items of value on your website or blog. A great way to capture email addresses is to offer free reports and value items to your website in exchange for email addresses. People are information hungry these days and if you can satisfy that hunger with the right collateral pieces- they’ll share their contact information and their loyalty! We’ve got lots of free reports and handy tools that you can download for free – find them here: ProspectsPLUS.com Resource Page

So start mixing and matching and building both your email database as well as your book of business database so that you can whether whatever market storm comes your way. Good luck and remember we’re here when you need us!  Call our inside account management team at 866.405.3638 to learn how they can help you boost your business, drive more traffic to your site and get your phone ringing! 

Back to School Strategies for Real Estate Professionals

By Julie Escobar

You can almost feel it — that anxiousness, excitement and uncertainty that envelopes us around this time year after year. Tens of millions of children headed back to classes,and even those without little ones can get caught up in the thirst for knowledge, need for more certain schedules and the never-too-old-for allure of new notebooks and supplies. All right, maybe that last one is just me, but you’ll have to admit there is something exciting about creating a clean slate, learning to the best of our abilities and growing as a sales professional as well as a person.

To tackle this topic, I turned to keynote speaker and friend Roberta Ross and asked her to put on her “Professor Hat” for the day and share with us what she believes to be the top three topics agents need to master in their market and best practices for continuous growth in this industry.

Ready to get started? You’ve had a healthy breakfast, donned your uniform (name badges everyone!) put on your thinking caps and you’re ready to learn – right? Here are the “classes” you must master in this market:

1.    Niche Marketing:  New or experienced, the most important thing you can do to grow your business is to establish a niche,” shared Roberta Ross. Niche players fare better, earn more, usually are better at time management and can more quickly define themselves as an expert in their market area. Why? First, it gives you clarity of purpose, so you’re more efficient in the way you conduct your business, in the manner you build your skill sets and your knowledge base and in how you grow your customer base. You don’t need to be all things to all people. You just need to be the best at reaching out to, teaching and building relationships with that core group or niche. That not only builds your business faster, but it gives you a sense of certainty and confidence that you wouldn’t have if you were trying to work with any and all customer types.

I’ll give you an example. I recently talked to an agent that was a FSBO expert who told me she didn’t need to work any other prospecting base. She has been working with FSBOs so long and so well, that she knew, almost even before she walked in the door for the listing appointment what they would ask, what they would need and what it would take to get the listing. Now if YOU had that kind of confidence for every appointment, how many MORE doors would you walk through?”

FSBOs not your thing? Consider becoming a “condo king” or specializing in working with people who are going through a divorce. So often those people need a trusted resource they can turn to, and you can start by networking with area divorce attorneys. Put them on your sphere of influence mailings and your Just Listed/Just Sold postcard system. You’ll demonstrate that you’re the expert to get things done in today’s market.

Another of Roberta’s students in Annapolis had a former career in the medical profession and focuses all of her efforts and energies building her niche in the medical communities. Remember our friend Karin Hill, manager at Watson Realty Corporation in Florida who makes the motorcycle community her niche of choice or her agent that specializes in working with the hearing impaired? Now that’s thinking outside the box!
Whatever niche you choose, make it your own, speak the language, reach out to everyone and anyone in that sphere and you’ll find yourself building a business that’s more fun, more interesting and believe it or not, less work!

2.    Leveraging Technology Tools: Leveraging technology and available networking to maximize your potential for lead generation, prospecting and keeping your pipeline of customers filled is crucial to your success,” says Mrs. Ross. “That means learning how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and the social networking tools that are available today. It can also mean hosting weekly or monthly conference calls, webinars and workshops for those in your niche, community or sphere of influence. These are great ways to inexpensively and effectively establish and reinforce your niche. Technology allows you to be in many places and in front of many people at one time, which helps you build relationships by using these tools to share information on a regular, consistent basis.

Technology also allows you to put systems in place such as automating the marketing of your listings using systems such as MLSmailings.com, www.GettingListingsSold.com  or your ProspectsPLUS.com postcard gallery which can take some of the daily, weekly and monthly marketing chores off your to-do list, freeing you up to spend more time at what you do best – getting face-to-face with customers and prospects. Also, you’ll want to use RSS feeds from your blog to auto-update your social networks and websites as well without costing you precious time.

3.    Work High Priority Activities First. “Real estate agents get paid to build relationships and provide exceptional service. There are, of course, a million and one ways to be busy but making no money – critical to your success for both new and experienced is to make sure those priorities are worked first. If you put them off until later, too often, later never comes. You need to have absolute focus on scheduling the time to prospect, present, close and build relationships before anything else. That means making and KEEPING that appointment with yourself every day.

The last thing we wanted to cover in our time together is how, as sales professionals, we can create good study habits that will also contribute to our success. A technique shared by both Roberta and myself is to first of all, appreciate the time you already have. Think about the down time you have commuting to the office, running errands or driving back from an appointment. You could easily use that time to nourish your mind and build your skill set by listening to audio books, podcasts or powerful motivational or technique-filled CDs. Roberta pointed out that often, these little “bites” of education along the way can be even more conducive to learning as we can absorb information better in snippets than we can if we were to try to sit down and try to digest a one-two hour audio course at once.

Another great idea is to begin and end your day with a chance to learn. Keep a book or two beside your bed and spend that first fifteen minutes or so when you rise and before your head hits the pillow at night to drink in new information. It’s a great way to fuel our minds and a powerful way to bookend your day.

Thank you much Roberta for your time and wisdom. We both hope you’ve picked up a few good lessons here today. We challenge you to make the most of your time, this market and the clean slate that this “back to school” season offers all of us!

Need help? We’re here for you! To learn more about Roberta, visit her online at www.SixFigureRealEstateCoach.com.  To learn more about how we can help you fuel your business, streamline your systems and take your career to the next level, call our marketing team today at 866.405.3638 or visit our website www.prospectsplus.com.