Sunday, August 20, 2017

To Drive Credibility and Customers

By Julie Escobar

Now with 65 different card choices, agents can’t seem to get enough of our powerful Content Card series. There are so many versatile ways of using them.  And in a world where ‘content is king’ – sometimes it’s just really nice to NOT have to come up with your own-right?

Here are five ways you can use the content cards to drive more customer leads, increase your credibility, and present yourself as the turn-to agent to call:

  1. Send one per month to your sphere or farm (or both) to easily stay in touch and brand yourself as an information specialist.
  2. Choose several of your favorites and have them printed and shipped to you to use as leave-behinds in local businesses, as open house collateral, or as fair trade offers when prospecting.
  3. Purchase as a PDF and use as a downloadable item of value on your website.  This allows you to build your email database.
  4. Each one of these is popular subject matter for consumers. Why not channel your inner Toast Master and create some local real estate workshops that you can present to area consumers?  Print and ship the card with the topic of your choice to hand out at your event.
  5. Share on social media.  For many agents figuring out WHAT to say on social media leaves them stumped.  These tools are perfect – with titles like ‘4 keys”, “5 ways”, “5 factors” – you can share one a day during the work week and invite followers to email you for the whole list (and you can send them the pdf you’ve downloaded!

Get started today and kick your fall marketing into high gear!  See our Content Cards, choose your favorites and start driving credibility and new customers!  Oh, and click here to get our latest promo codes and save 10% on your order!

As always, if you need help, contact us at 866.405.3638 – that’s what we’re here for!

Happy listing!

The Secret is in How Many Times You Show UP

By Julie Escobar

If you’re like MOST agents?  You want it NOW.  Right now.  Success in a “just add water” -instant gratification in a cup kind of time frame right?  And I can appreciate that.  If I could just win the lottery I’d be that way too – one ticket – lifetime of riches.  Unfortunately – that’s not a very realistic (or practical) plan is it?

You’ve got to put the time in and PERSEVERE.  You’ve got to show up not just ONCE, but again and again and again.  You know that old saying out of sight – out of mind?  It’s especially true of customer relationships in today’s market.  In fact, Statistics tell us it takes at LEAST three impressions for a consumer to recognize your name, seven to associate your name with your business, and twenty seven for them to like you, know you, trust you enough to do business with them.  I know – it’s not instant gratification – but it is the smart business practice if you want to be in real estate for the long haul.

So, let’s take a look at three smart strategies that can make succeeding faster (YES!), easier (Phew!) and more effective (Sounds good!).

1. Make it easy on yourself.  Delegate.  You get paid to get face-to-face and voice–to-voice with customers.  Your job is to wow them with what you can do for them – how you can make that easier, more profitable & fewer headaches.  Hard to do that when you’re still printing, cutting & stuffing envelopes.  Put a system in place to reach your customers and potential customers (sphere of influence and geographic farm area) at the very least every 4-6 weeks.  The Direct Marketing Association and top agents lean more towards every 21-30 days.  It doesn’t have to be a lot – but it does have to be consistent.   We’ve worked hard to make that easy for you with hundreds and hundreds of ready-to-go campaigns that you can choose, calendar and then have peace of mind that this part of the puzzle is done – find out more here: Postcard Campaign Specials.

2. Use social media wisely.  The wonderful thing about social media is that it gives you the ability to communicate one-to-many.  Creating a blog or Facebook page to keep your sphere or neighborhood farm updated and informed is not only effective – it’s POWERFUL. Here’s a little inside advice from a friend and Social Media Expert Stacy Stateham:

“I’d like to say to start with Facebook, but don’t.  Start by spending a few hours figuring out who you are likely to be most successful with.  What kind of people do you want to connect with?
Forget your real estate business for a minute and think about them.  What do they like?  What are they interested in?  What will keep them coming back?  Now, bring your real estate business back into the equation.  How can you match their interests with your business?  Laser focus on that core audience and build all of your marketing around them, both online and off.Say you want to attract successful 50-60 something’s.  The might be interested in food and wine, they might like to travel, they’re concerned about their nest egg, they may have adult children and possibly grandchildren.  Oh yeah, and they buy real estate.

Next -start with Facebook.   Use the friend finder to search your email addresses, connect to the people that make sense, and start a business page.  When the business page is complete and has a full page of content, invite your contacts.  It just takes a few minutes a day to log into Facebook, comment on what people are saying, and post something relevant to your target audience on your business page.  What’s relevant?  Keep your posts to 2/3’s non-real estate related, and 1/3 about your business. They like food and wine, so post things about local restaurants and gourmet food shops, great kitchen upgrade ideas, and feature a home with an awesome kitchen.  They like to travel so talk about places to visit within driving distance, events in nearby cities, then how to buy a vacation home, explain reverse mortgages.  They have kids and maybe grandkids so talk about how to help kids start adult life with healthy credit habits, college saving funds, and about how to gift a down payment on their kids first home.  And so on…

You’re not limiting yourself to seniors, you’ll get first time home buyers because young people ask their parents for advice, you’ll attract other foodies who like to travel, and other people with similar interests.  You’re just focusing on where you are most likely to be successful.  If you’re a younger hipper type, target people like you – post about all the other things that interest you, plus a 1/3 about real estate topics that related to your core audience.”  — All great advice thank you Stacy!

3. Network.  With the shifts in the economy & market – now is the perfect time to connect with smart, like-minded area business professionals and share ideas, strategies and – SPHERES.  Area CPAs can send you clients who are looking for good investments.  Attorneys handling divorce, estates and real estate holdings can send you buyers, sellers and leads.  Human Resource managers can use your expertise to help their employees  find homes and put down roots in a community.  In return – you have the ability to send your clients their way as well.  Great for you – great for your networking partners and great for the customers.  In times like these – people NEED referrals they can trust.  It makes them feel safe, cared for and re-affirms that they are making sound decisions for themselves and their families.  THAT is the kind of thing that cements relationships and creates a client for life.

Some things to think about for this week. Put the 3-7-27 rule of marketing to work in your business.  And know that if you need some help showing up – OVER and OVER – cost-effectively, easily and without stress, our team is there for you.  Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com, or call us at 866.405.3638 today.  We’ve got you covered!

From 21 Ways to Get Your Listing Priced Right in Any Market

By Julie Escobar

Ever have a seller who wants to WAIT to price the listing right?

Here’s a strategy that I call ‘The Waiting Game’ – see if it will work for you… 

Try this dialogue when a seller wants to wait to lower the price:  “Let me ask you, what do you think happens to an overpriced home that doesn’t sell right away? Do you think it eventually sells?  I’m afraid, more often than not, the answer to that is no.   Listings get the most traction in terms of buyer traffic, agent attention and offers in the first 2-4 weeks after coming on the market. If you wait, you’ll lose that traction. 

Worse than that, the longer it sits on the market, the more buyers will begin to wonder if there are more serious problems than price in terms of why it hasn’t sold yet.  Think about it…what’s the first question you would ask when you look at a new house? How long has it been on the market – right?  Long time on market = problem in the eyes of a buyer. In this market, or any market – that’s not a position that can give you any kind of leverage. Let’s price it right and get it sold.”

Agents and managers both –– One of the best ways to really fine tune your negotiation and objection handling skills is to get together once a month with respected colleagues and role play.  (I have the old Sweathog mantra in my head – “practice, drill, rehearse…”) Have everyone bring their best objection to the table. Then collectively come up with some dynamite dialogues, strategies and visuals for overcoming and handling those objections together.

If you’d like to learn more price objection handlers – check out 21 Ways to Price Your Listing Right in Any Market (Despite the Seller’s Best Objections!) at www.prospectsplus.com/21Ways.

Got questions?  Call us today!  Need help building your sphere or consistently marketing to your customer base?  Call our inside account management team at 866.405.3638 today!  They’re WONDERFUL!  Tell them I said hi!

For more great ideas and fun tips  – be sure to follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/prospectsplus — we’d love to have you in on the conversation!

With inventory in high demand, and buyers eager for deals, sometimes it takes a little objection handling skill and myth-busting to turn these sellers into happy clients.  

So, let’s put on our “Myth-busters” hat for a moment and take a look at some common misconceptions:

1.  All FSBOs are hard to work with. Really – all of them?  In truth, most sellers who are trying to fly solo to get their homes sold are eager to save money, not well-informed as to what it takes to price right in today’s market and usually fairly motivated.  Are they distrustful of agents?  Sure, many are — but that doesn’t make them difficult – it makes them human beings.  It’s YOUR job to earn their trust, treat them with respect, develop a relationship and make them raving fans.

How do you help develop that relationship? Consistent communication, professional real estate fsbo marketing postcardspresentation tools and a can-do attitude.  Try the “7 touch” series of our real estate FSBO marketing postcards – they’re perfect for getting your foot in the door and raising those questions (and answering them) in the minds of the sellers that get them to then call you for help.

Or our FSBO door hangers are very popular (and perfect for keeping a stash in the car for a quick leave-behind every time you see a For Sale By fsbo door hangers Owner! Many of our direct response tools, and any time you are reaching out to get in the door of a potential listing, especially a FSBO, be sure to offer something of value.  A fair trade item.  A reason to contact you. (And a reason for you to contact them!)  Great ideas for this are free reports, market information, list of resources, our Pricing Pyramid.  You can find lots of fair trade items in our RESOURCE section of our site!

Click here or on the video box below to see how easy it is to order these door hangers!

2.  All FSBOs Are Overpriced. Don’t you just love sweeping generalities?  In truth, (again) – many probably are.  But surprisingly, with all of the internet information out there, and the fact that it is a buyer’s market — many for sale by owner sellers DO get pricing a property right. But more often than not, they don’t get that they can get MORE for their home, statistically, using a real estate professional so it’s your job to help them understand that!  

 

Many time sellers think, “how hard can it be?” Especially when they want to tack your commission onto the top of what you’ve already determined to be Fair Market Value so they can get every penny possible from their investment. When you say no to the higher price point, you’ll often get hit with the “I can just sell it myself and not have to pay anyone” response.

Here’s a technique to try:
“Mr. and Mrs. Seller, I can appreciate your thought. Many homeowners weigh out that option when they decide to sell their home.  The top priority for most home sellers is getting the highest amount possible from their home. Is that your top priority as well?  What I can share with you with you is a study conducted by the National Association of Realtors every year called the annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.
It shows that in the last year, the average FSBO home sold for *$185,000 compared to $240,000 for agent-assisted home sales. So, you can see that even with paying a commission, I can still get you a higher dollar amount for your home than you could selling it on your own.

Would you like to know why? The biggest reason is the exposure I can create for your property as opposed to what you can do on your own. With an agent, the property is entered into the MLS where it is broadcast marketed to not only consumers via the paper, home guides, and a wide range of internet sites, but to the ______ agents in our area as well. By creating greater exposure for your property we create greater buyer competition which leads to a higher selling price.

That, and as a real estate professional with ___ years of experience and because I’m a third party, I’m better able to negotiate on your behalf, getting you the best deal for your home. You have to remember that a buyer working with a For Sale By Owner knows that you aren’t paying a commission, and more often than not, they’re well versed in the price of the comparables in your market, so they are already in “bargain hunting” mode.

When you take all of that into consideration, as well as how much of your own valuable time will be taken up with trying to do your regular job plus take on showing the property, trying to negotiate, searching for the necessary legal documentation and trying to qualify buyers, can you see how you could be saving more by using a licensed agent?”

This may be a good time too to introduce the Merchandising Review.  If you’ve never used it, give it a whirl – you’ll make it a part of your listing tool chest from now on!  It’s a great way to strategically walk sellers through ALL the components of salable listing and even helps to answer some questions (price at the top!) before they’re even raised.  Download your copy for free and start using it today.   By the way – here’s a little Merchandising Review dialogue you can use when contacting FSBOs.

As soon as you see that FSBO pop onto the market, you should contact them by telephone and attempt to use the Merchandising Review as a reason for them to set an appointment to talk with you.

“Hello, Mr./Mrs./Ms/Miss ____________, my name is _______, and I’m with ______.  The reason I’m calling is that I see you have put your home on the market and I’m sure you’re eager to get the best price for it – right? (Wait for their answer!)

Wonderful!  I wanted to offer you a very special tool that we use called a Merchandising Review Form…have you heard of it before?  It is what I use to make a comprehensive analysis of whether a home is salable in TODAY’S market and what you can do to guarantee that it will sell for a great price and terms.

What I’d like to do is set a time when we could sit down together and go over the Merchandising Review.  No cost or obligation – just something that can help you get your home sold.  It takes about 20 minutes. (Set a time.)

Walk them through each item and negotiate the issues that were might keep the property from selling.  Correct these issues, and ask if they would allow you to show them your marketing plan.

3.  FSBOS can just do this on their own. I love this one.  Truth is, statistically, most FSBOs do end up using an agent.  In recent statistics only 8% of the homes sold according to NAR were FSBOs. And of those – 31% don’t even market their properties. So, they NEED someone like you to lend them the expertise to not just get a great price, but to make the process as headache free as possible.

Most Difficult Tasks for FSBO Sellers:

  • Getting the right price . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18%
  • Preparing/fixing up home for sale: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13%
  • Understanding and performing paperwork  . . . . . . . . .  12%
  • Helping buyer obtain financing: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6%
  • Selling within the planned length of time: 3%
  • Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale: 3%

FSBOs really are the “low hanging fruit” for many agents – why?  Because they’re usually still motivated to sell!  But the keys to success are that  you have to consistent (can’t show up just ONCE – remember MOST deals are sealed after the FIFTH contact), timely (most successful FSBO experts make reaching out to FSBOs a DAILY business practice – no half-stepping it!) Know your business and your market (practice, drill and rehearse your presentation and you’ll create a presence as the turn-to agent in your market for FSBOs.

So go ahead – time to CRUSH IT and start listing those FSBOs and start maneuvering, out-selling and out-smarting the competition in your market place!  And remember -we’re here if you need us.  Call our team today at 866.405.3638 to help choose the marketing materials you need to capture this market!

Real Estate Marketing Success

3 Strategies for Success

by Julie Escobar

What separates top producers from their less-successful counterparts in this and every market is their ability to work on their business while working in their business. 

What’s the difference? For most, it begins with the right mindset. Real estate sales is not just a job; it is a career and a business that requires planning, careful thought, organization and systems that create and maintain balance, accountability and forward momentum.  To achieve success and keep it, be sure that you are putting ALL the systems in place that you can to ensure a great year from start to finish and keep you from feeling like you’re on that dreaded commission roller coaster. Remember, the 3-7-27 law of branding — consistency is key. It takes 3 contacts for someone to remember your name, 7 to put your name with your business and 27 to become a brand name. Where to start?

Step 1: Have a plan. Part of working ON your business is to create a written plan. You likely fall into one of three categories:

  1. You’re brand new and more than a little overwhelmed at where to start.
  2. You’re an early adapter to the concept of effective planning and are enjoying a stable, productive career despite market peaks and valleys.
  3. You’ve been at this for a while now and, while still in business, you do not have a formal plan to create sustainable, repeatable success and stability. You find yourself working 12-hour days with high stress and little certainty as to where your next deal will come from.

Planning is critical to realizing your goals, generating consistent income and creating an exit plan that ensures you have a valuable “book of business” that you can sell when you are ready to retire. Your plan should:

  • be written out and clearly defined
  • have a realistic and comprehensive budget
  • be based not only on your goals, but also on your family’s goals (very important to maintaining the support system necessary during long days or tough weeks!)
  • outline the number of transactions you will need to reach those goals based on commission dollars, list-to-close ratio and fall-through rate
  • outline the number of contacts, appointments scheduled and appointments attended you will need to realize your transaction goal
  • break your numbers down into daily, weekly and monthly activities so that you ALWAYS know where you are in relation to your goal

Be sure to share your plan with a manager, mentor, coach and/or partner so that you can set up a system of accountability.

Step 2: Employ smart marketing. In today’s competitive arena, effectively marketing yourself, your listings and your business requires both consistency and laser focus.

Consistency. Countless agents send single marketing pieces to blanket areas of several thousand consumers, with no intention of following up. Many others take the “holiday” approach to staying in touch by sending an annual holiday card in the hopes that they are remembered. Both of these approaches are a waste of time, energy and valuable marketing dollars.

Truth is, you should be in contact with your sphere of influence at least every 30-45 days. Using the popular listing-inventorysend-call-see approach (part of our free BusinessBASETM), you can easily set up a system for contacting your VIPs each month. Send a postcard, letter, newsletter, flyer, novelty or note one month.  Many of our customers find the Listing Inventory Series, Content Cards, and Market Dominator among their favorites. You can find out what the latest tools are and get budget saving promo codes for your marketing on our Specials Page.

Next, call with a friendly event reminder, helpful hint, or just to say hello the following month. During the third month, arrange to see them via a networking event, social
gathering or quick in-person visit (with notice, of course) where you drop off a small token, informational item or card. Then start the “rotation” over again. Such consistency creates vital ‘top-of-mind’ awareness that often becomes “the key to the kingdom” when growing your referral base and creating a md-decreliable income.

If you’re not sure where to start, our popular Master Marketing Schedule shares monthly Action Items that agents tell us help them stay consistently on track.

Laser focus. I’ve written before about the power of target marketing in today’s sales arena. Gone are the days when agents could afford to take a “shotgun” approach-casting a wide net in the hopes of “catching a few” wastes precious resources on prospects that couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t do business with you for any number of reasons.

Response rates increase dramatically when you speak directly to the needs and interests of a particular group. Wise agents seek out demographics and/or geographics that they relate to or have a history of success with. The more comfortable you become speaking to a particular group or segment, the more you become recognized or thought of as a specialist in that field.

mailing list

So discover the wonderful world of data mining; your watch and your wallet will thank you for it! Here are just a few examples:

  • First-time homeowners. Try MapMyMail to quickly data mine for local renters. Send a postcard or letter that explains the advantages of home ownership as well as the possible monthly savings and ability to build equity!
  • Builders. Offer to help builders eliminate their #1 worry: standing inventory. Create a list of every builder in your area, then send a flyer or brochure explaining how you can data mine for the perfect customers to purchase their homes!lifestyle
  • Find a new niche.  With our Lifestyle Interest data, you can reach consumers who are just the demographic you want to work with. Think Golfers, Boaters, Fitness Lovers and more.
  • FSBOs. There are many effective search products for this demographic. Fear leads many agents to steer clear of FSBOs, which eliminates at least a portion of your competition. Because you know that they are (or at least were) motivated to sell, you can pull out the stops, give them the tools they need to sell, and use your best skills to price it right for your particular market.
  • Investors.  Find high income earners that would be great potential investors.real estate fsbo marketing postcards
  • A New Geographic Farm.  Find an area in your market that is beginning to see turnover, but doesn’t currently have another agent with more than a 10% market share.  Start connecting month after month using the Neighborhood Update/Free Offer series to present yourself effectively as the turn-to agent in your market.

Step 3: Put systems in place. Without systems, you’re like a hamster on the wheel-spinning without really getting anywhere. Systems are the only way to establish and maintain the delegation, automation and streamlining necessary to continuously work ON your business. Systems allow you to:

  • manage your time effectively
  • create a consistent standard of service
  • assure clients that their needs are being met by a “team”
  • provide checks and balances for fine tuning your business
  • promote efficiency and accuracy
  •  reduce training time when bringing on new team members

What systems should you have in place?

SEND-CALL-SEE.  Be the resource they need and want in a time where consumers have LOTS of questions regarding the value of their property, their buying power, investment opportunities, and what’s happening in their market.  You’re not bothering people – you’re providing a SERVICE.

What can you SEND?

What can you SAY when you CALL?

  • Hi.  I have buyers, the Smiths (insert real names!), that are looking for a home in the _____________ neighborhood, and I wanted to know if you’ve ever thought about selling your home or know someone who is so I can help this nice family find what they are looking for?
  • Hi!  Just checking in on you! We’ve got a lot of activity in our market, and I thought you might have some questions—do you?
  • Is there anything I can do to help you?
  • I’m expanding my business and I could use your help…
  • Have you thought about selling your house now or in the near future?
  • Have you been receiving my information?  Any questions?

What do you do when you SEE them? 

  • Create opportunities for appointments
  • Take someone to lunch
  • Attend a neighborhood block party
  • Organize a charity drive in the community
  • Sponsor a free workshop and invite everyone to attend
  • Get out there and be visible in the community you’re servicing
  • Walk your farm and start making friends

Working ON your business requires dedication and a commitment to the activities that earn you top dollar and allow you to “feed” the career you’re building. Never lose sight of the fact that prospecting, presenting and closing should always be at the top of your list.

Visit http://www.prospectsplus.com/ to get your FREE copy of our BusinessBASETM (Plus learn the 250 people who should be in your SOI), and be sure to bookmark our Master Marketing ScheduleTM .

Need help?  Contact our team today at 866.405.3638.