Friday, April 28, 2017

Putting the Pieces in Place to Out-Brand, Out-Market, and Stand Out in a Geographic Farm

by Julie Escobar

The savvy agents? Are out there in their neighborhoods, and in their communities and in this powerful age of information. Top agents are presenting themselves as the resource they know can and will make a difference in terms of how they make decisions for their families.

So, how do you brand yourself as that resource?feb dom front

1. Consistency & Content.  Farming a geographical area is a time-tested, proven method for garnering new listings and referrals.  Yet for many agents, the what (what to send, say, create), the when (how often) and the cost (that one speaks for itself) has stopped them from farming consistently.  Maybe a mailing here or there, but nothing that will truly help them become a brand name in a market area.

That’s why we created the Market DominatorSM. We’ve got the ‘what’ and ‘when’ buttoned up for you.  Each month we have two powerful, consumer-centric articles on the front, bright, eye-catching info-graphics, engaging direct response offers, free reports that can be used as fair trade items, fun conversation starters, and a timely agent message.  On the back we have content-rich articles and ideas that consumers love to share.  All of this in an attention-grabbing 12 x 15 poster that is delivered to EVERY home in the farm area, EVERY month, via the cost-saving Every Door Direct service from the USPS.

2.  Get out of stealth mode.  We recently viewed a video from a powerhouse agent and coach who challenged her coaching members and agents world-wide to get out from behind their computers and out – front and center in the communities they are services.  Social media is an amazing place to speak one-to-man, and develop powerful agent-to-agent referrals and connect with your sphere — but nothing — NOTHING will ever take place of meeting and greeting the folks in the neighborhoods you serve.

Our Dominator customers know that owning a market is like peeling an onion – there are many, many layers to it. Door knocking, canvassing,  Q&A sessions at your local market, coffee shop, or library, open houses, charity drives, school sponsorship participation — all of it helps consumers put your face with your name, your name with your business, and helps brand you as THE community resource they can turn to get information.

3.  Beef up your collateral (and sell yourself).  What do consumers also want to know about the agents they five tipswill choose to help them with one of the biggest financial transactions of their lives?  Your RESULTS.  Fire up those Just Listed and Just Sold postcards – share statistics and testimonials, showcase what makes you unique and how that benefits THEM.  Use door hangers, and free reports to extend your reach, and the extra Dominators that are sent to you to show potential sellers how you are going the extra mile to ensure that every home you list is sold as quickly as possible and for the highest price available.

In the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) Channel that folks are tuned into every day – they want to see these two things:  RESOURCES & RESULTS.

National speaker and coach Todd Robertson shared this thought, “As the market heats up the great agents in the country and those on their way to becoming great are very focused on three things:

  1. Qualifying people stronger then ever before
  2. Separating themselves from competition
  3. Having a consistent campaign in place to farm and create passive income for years to come. This is simple. Yet not always easy. Simple because most of your competition will not commit to an area for any real length of time. Simple because we have seen the results of at least 10 percent market share first year. 20 plus percent the second year.

The truth is that it’s not always easy because you have to believe in yourself. Believe in your selling skills and most importantly believe that you deserve to be wildly successful. It all starts there.”

Most agents?  Won’t commit to geographic farming.  “It takes too long.” “It costs too much.”  The two biggest ‘reasons’ for not jumping in.  That’s good news for the agents that do.  It means that they fall into that 93/7 rule.  They will be the 7% of agents ruling their markets while the other 93% continue ‘one-and-done’ marketing or worse, no marketing, just chasing the next deal.  Chasing the next commission is not a fun way to earn a living or live.  Our industry is a treasure trove of opportunity.

It’s one of the few where you have zero cap on how much you can earn or how far you can go regardless of gender, race, religion, geography, history – anything.  It does take a little planning, a little courage, a little consistency, a little skill building, a little stick-to-it attitude, and the right tools.

This month commit to being part of that 7%.  Fire your business up on all cylinders.  Work your sphere, your farm, and your niche – each month — EVERY month.  The results? A career and life that IS fun, exciting, rewarding, and anything you want it to be.

Questions about how to DOMINATE in your market?  Call Todd Robertson at 702-683-1967 or email us today.

Need help building your collateral materials, sending Just Listed/Just Sold postcards, finding the right free reports for your buyers and sellers, or building a better brand for yourself?  

Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com or give us a call today at 866.405.3638.

 

Then Putting the Who, What, and When Together

By Julie Escobar

As we head into the final months of the year, a lot of agents are already wisely getting into planning mode. One sticking point that stumps a lot of real estate professionals is building the right marketing lists to fuel their pipeline of business.  Let’s take a look at some simple strategies to put into place:

Sphere, Farm, Niche – it’s the real estate agent’s version of lather, rinse, and repeat.  Success in this business stems from staying in touch, staying positioned, and top of mind for the folks in all three.  I’m often asked by agents, “Where do I start?” The obvious is ‘the sphere’, aka – your sphere of influence or book of business.

Now, if I had a dollar for every agent that said ‘no” when asked if they had ever taken the time to actually put their sphere (those people that already know you, like you, trust you, and would do business with you) into a database, I could buy a very large piece of property – like an island or something! So don’t let yourself fall into THAT category! Savvy agents understand that their best customers, are the ones they’ve built and nurtured relationships with consistently.  Who should be in in your sphere?  Family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, past clients – and all those folks whose lives you touch and touch yours back. businessbase

Sphere:  For a list of 250 people that SHOULD be in your book of business, download a pdf of our BusinessBASETM at no cost today.  Then make THIS the week you make putting YOUR sphere into a working, viable, referral-generating database.  Need help inputting all the data?  There are lots of college students home for the summer already that would be perfect for that kind of task.  Or hire a Virtual Assistant for the project.  Your highest and best use of time is prospecting, presenting, and closing – so gather up the data – and delegate it to someone to make it happen.

Four great marketing pieces for your sphere:

  1. Holiday postcards – there’s something every month that can be sent as a friendly hello.
  2. Recipe cards – many agents swear by these as customer ‘keepers’.
  3. Newsletters – these powerful tools are perfect for connecting with your sphere.
  4. Content cards – these are content-rich, consumer-friendly postcards filled to the brim with valuable information that people love.

Farm:  Pick an area – but not just ANY area.  I asked Coach Todd Robertson for a little how-to advice for map my mail dataagents on choosing the right farm area for them.  He shared, “I work with a lot of agents to help them really fine tune what area they want to market.  Even if you find a geographic farm that you think works for you location wise with commission-friendly price ranges, you still need to be mindful of two other factors:  The turn-over rate, and the competition.  Ideally, we want to help position you to receive a 20% market share in a geo farm. If you start in a farm where another agent already has that or higher, you’re going to work much harder and have to be at it longer to see the results you’re seeking.  Finding an area where any one agent has less than 10% market share is preferable, or if you see an area where a previously aggressive agent has slowed or stopped their marketing.  In terms of turnover rate, ideally you want a one that is at least 10-15%.  You can easily determine the turnover rate by dividing the number of homes in the farm by the number of homes which have sold.”  That’s a great starting point.  So take a snapshot of your market area – look at the neighborhoods that may fit that criteria close to you, then use our MapMyMailSM system to easily capture mailings lists from those areas.  You can choose a radial search by address, or choose to search by zip code or counties. Talk to your broker, look at your options – then map out your marketing list! Once you have that – then remember to stay CONSISTENTLY in touch with these folks – month after month.    For a great read and more tips from Todd – read The Smart Scoop on Geographic Farming.

Three great tools for connecting with your farm:

  1. Neighborhood Update/Free Offer series: People want two things: to know the agent they work with can get results – and that they have the resources they need.  These cards present you as the agent with both!
  2. Listing Inventory Series: These postcards speak to the mindset of potential sellers with the right questions and direct response offers.
  3. The Market Dominator: For agents serious about dominating a geographic farm and earning a 20% market share.  This powerful, direct-response piece is 12×15 and attention grabbing.  It also takes advantage of Every Door Direct Mail, so the cost is even more affordable.

Niche:  Top agents don’t stop at just marketing to a sphere and farm. They specialize in a demographic that resonates with them.

Here are some ideas for working a niche:pp demographic search data

  • Investors: Use our MapMyMailSM – choose the demographic search option, then custom, then choose records with a household income of $150,000 or higher.  You can also look for REI or REIA websites to learn more about real estate investors.   Use our Investor Series postcards to reach out to these lists each month.
  • FSBOS & Expireds: There are great services such as LandVoice that offer data for FSBOs & Expireds in market areas all across North America.  Use our 7 Series for FSBOs or Expireds – send 3-7 postcards in rapid succession (every 3-5 days) as soon as you see a new prospect for these demographics, offer a free report such as 5 Factors That Cause a Property Not to Sell, and follow up after you’ve sent the postcards with a direct response offer.  Offer to perform a Merchandising Review to ensure that the home gets sold for the best possible price in the fastest possible time.
  • First Time Home Buyers: Use the MapMyMailSM system to find local renters.  Offer a variety of free reports such as How to Save for a Down Payment, or Top Ten Checklist for Choosing an Agent. Send our First time home buyer/renter series of postcards monthly with a fair trade offer to connect.
  • Seniors: You can use that same MapMyMailSM technology to find Baby Boomers and older.  Send our Senior series of postcards to these fine folks!
  • Get creative: From motorcycle enthusiasts, to local sports team members, to boaters, to farmers, and everything in between.  Finding the group of people that you really connect with and would love to serve and work with is a great way to get continuously better as an agent and build a powerful referral network.  You can edit our holiday, inspiration, recipe, content cards, or even image series to alter your message for each and every demographic.

We also have powerful Specialty Data Selects Using Nielsen’s PRIZM Codes available on the site to help you tap into incredibly detailed data segments to help make their marketing easier – and more effective. What is PRIZM segmentation? According to Nielsen, “Segmentation links your customer data with household-level and neighborhood-level demographics, syndicated survey and primary research data to reveal exactly what types of consumers are currently using your products or services. Any customer files, lists or survey data with complete addresses or at least a ZIP code can be coded with Nielsen’s segmentation systems. This allows you to identify your best prospect segments with the greatest efficiency for effective marketing strategies that align with marketplace demands.”

Smart, right? So what does that mean to YOU as a real estate professional? It means that marketing just got more interesting. See our Nielsen PRIZM options here.

For all three marketing avenues – your sphere, farm, and niche – be sure to connect every 28-45 days consistently to ensure that you maintain that top-of-mind awareness.  Armed with your database and marketing materials, and a reminder system to FOLLOW up with the folks in each will give you the competitive edge in your market that will allow you to develop and maintain a long and prosperous career.  Ready, set – GO!

Need help getting started? Contact our marketing professionals today at 866.405.3638.  They are an amazing resource – and they truly care about your success.  Happy Listing!

 

It’s an exciting time to be an agent!  Did you know? Each month we add powerful new tools to help sales professionals stay top of mind in their markets.

Here’s what’s new for October!  oct-toolsHoliday postcards are a great way to reach out to your sphere each month. Savvy agent DON’T just wait for Christmas and Easter to stay in touch.  When choosing holiday postcards, please allow two weeks for timely delivery.

Rules of thumb for postcard mailing timeliness:

Need it fast? Choose First Class Mail Option:  Delivered by the Post Office in 3 – 5 days. Best for time-sensitive mailings, such as “Just Listed”, “Just Sold” or “Open House postcards.

Got a little more time? Choose Standard Class: Delivered by the Post Office in 14 – 21 days. Best for recurring mailings, such as Recipe or Inspiration postcards.4-reasons

Our Content postcards are perfect for agents who like to use education-based marketing tools. An alternative to full newsletters, these gems are filled with insightful, timely information that consumers love to read (and share), they are a simple way to stay top-of-mind with both your sphere and farm — and present yourself as an expert in your field.  You’ll find over 20 varieties in this series.oct-com-news

And our all new Community News newsletter series is a great way to stay connected with your sphere as well. Filled with timely information and done-for-you content! A new issue is released each month and perfect for staying time of mind with potential buyers and sellers.

Head over to our Specials page to get all your budget-saving promo codes which will save you 10% on your next orders.

Don’t forget! For every Holiday Postcard order placed through the end of the year, we’re donating 10% to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Get started today.

Need help? Call our team at 866.405.3638.

Row of residential houses in suburban neighborhood

Insights From ReboGateway

By Julie Escobar

We just had an amazing and informative webinar with our friend Brian Fox from Benutech and ReboGatewaybest carrier routes that got a lot of agents buzzing about using a BETTER way to leverage EDDM.

For those of you who are new to the concept, EDDM is a system provided by USPS that allows you to literally get in EVERY door in a carrier route for a low postage cost of 18.3 cents per piece – and you have the ability to send out marketing pieces of all sizes, which is big plus when you choose a BIG size!

What we’ve found is that one of the toughest challenges is deciding where to start.  Almost daily we are asked by customers, “What’s the best way to pick a carrier route?” Fortunately, our friends over at Benutech figured that part out for us!

In this webinar you’ll learn how they can help you pinpoint not only which carrier routes have the highest NeighborhoodSpecialist_11x8.5_FullBleed_Workingturnover rate, but also those with the highest dollar homes, and largest percentage of homeowner to deliverables. That’s huge for agents, because up to now, most agents have chosen carrier routes more based on location to their office, or the neighborhood they live in, or just randomly – without really knowing which would have a higher probability of yielding the best results.  Now, they can be much more strategic in their approach to carrier routes.neighborhood update series

The great thing about EDDM is that you don’t need a list – it literally gets in every door.  However, the savvy agent knows that marketing should be layered. So they can also pull the list from their ReboGateway system to add additional marketing touches such as Just Listed postcards, Just Sold postcards, Open House cards and more.

To learn what our customers top picks for Every Door Direct Mail, we asked our Director of Business property showcaseDevelopment Ramona Williams who works with our customers every day.  She shared, “I’d say, by far, the most popular piece hands-down is the Panoramic Postcard featuring a new listing.  It’s sleek, beautiful, markets the new listing and is a great way to showcase the agent’s results as well.  Secondly, we’re seeing a lot of agents who are using a little bigger piece to spotlight multiple listings on one mailer.  It might be for a series of open houses or just to showcase that the agent is the turn-to person to call for listings in an area.  And third, we’re seeing agents use panoramic postcards featuring direct response offers such as a Free CMA, List of Homes, Consultation, etc.”

Some links to get you started:

Use promo code EDDM10 to save 10% on your www.prospectsplus.com EDDM order! 

To save on ReboGateway use promo code PROSTUA (make sure it’s all capitalized).

This promo code will provide ReboGateway annual for $399.95 with the Tract Utility (turnover tool) provided for FREE (saving $120) via the Promo Code.

If you are thinking of using this powerful tool, consider choosing just one or two routes to start.  With the average carrier route running anywhere from 300-500 homes, it just seems like a manageable area for most agents to not only connect with – but have the ability to follow up on.

And follow up is important, as is consistency.  If budget is an issue, then you may wish to choose a smaller route and be consistent in sending to that route often. One-shot mailings – even ones that saturate a market area are not normally very effective.  The agents that are seeing the best results from this system are sending every one to two months for at least six months.

Watch the video:

If you’re interested in learning more about the tracking data from Benutech and ReboGateway, call them today at 866-887-0206 for a free demonstration of the data that is available in YOUR area.

If you are a real estate pro and you’d like to learn more about what EDDM tools we can help you with, give us a call at 1.866.405.3638 today.   

A Guest Post from Our Friends at ReboGateway

Brian Fox, VP Business Development, Benutech, Inc.

We live in a world today where we know where we are going before we even get there – and life is easier and better because of it.  The best restaurants, stores, and shops can be located online, reviewed on various sites such as Yelp, viewed on a map, and if we want we can even see the front of the location using a street view before we arrive.  In other words, there are very few mysteries in area of direction in today’s world… we can very easily know before we go and for the most part, it’s how we roll.

Yet for some odd reason, this know before you go mentality has not been used in real estate as often as it should.  Most Realtors, seem to market into geographic areas or to family and friends… as in the people closest to where they live, or closest to where they work.   It’s random, it’s best known as the “shotgun approach” to marketing, and it’s like heading to a new spot in your city without reviews, maps, or direction. It was how it was done in the 1980’s but why so today?

Real estate coaches throughout the U.S. seem to be on board with the know before you go mentality.   Seems every coach I have ever read or heard, is focused on finding areas that are selling (areas of 7% turnover rate or higher per year), and then coach their students to market into those areas for better marketing results.  Turnover rates or other “reasons to sell” such as divorce, mortgage default, or empty-nester status are all available… and easily accessible.  So why in 2016 should we market from Front St., to Market St., between Main St. and South St. when we could be marketing to owners that have reasons to sell their property?

To illustrate this point, let’s take a quick look at the wonderful city of McKinney, TX.  It happens to be the city that CNN Money named in 2014 First Place for “Best Places to live in the U.S.”  The U.S. Census Bureau also named it the fastest growing city from 2000 – 2003 and again in 2006.  The Realtors in McKinney obviously have a lot of selling points for their fine city and the sellers in McKinney should be in a good position to profit from these accolades if they choose to sell.

But let’s use data to take a closer look at the city… There are 15,187 rooftops in McKinney, most of which are single family residences.  For most Realtors, it’s not possible to market to all 15,187 of those residences.  There are just too many rooftops in McKinney, not enough funds in the marketing budget, and not enough time to accomplish marketing to each of those residences once per month.  So rather than marketing to all residences, or just the residences nearest you… can we find the needles in the McKinney haystack?  In other words, can we find the folks that have a higher probability of selling their homes in McKinney this year or next?  The answer is: Yes.

Homes in McKinney traditionally sell at rate of about 3.3% per year.  In the most recent couple of years, homes have been selling at better than 10% per year with the added popularity of McKinney. But newly sold homes rarely go back on the market and sell in the upcoming few years… so today, how do we find the most probable sellers for 2016 & 2017 in McKinney? The same way you use your phone to find the best lunch spot in McKinney.  You leverage information to know, before you go.

All Realtors can think back to listings they have taken and sold in the past and why they were able to acquire them.   A homeowner filed for divorce, and then they listed and sold their home to make an equitable split.  A mortgage default occurred at a property, you got the listing.  An owner passed away, then you got the listing.  Preceding most sales is a “life event” of some sort… and the life event may simply be the increasing age of the homeowner that then leads to their property selling.

Most life events are available to the general public.  Divorce, eviction, probate, bankruptcy, and mortgage or Real-Estate-Life-Event-Postcardstax default filings are all made public by courts.  When matched to owned property, it creates a database of homeowners that are much more likely to sell in coming years than their neighbors.  When homeowners decide to go FSBO, or have an Estate Sale to sell personal belongings prior to a move – they post the information online to drive traffic to the event.  Again, knowing these addresses provides a timing advantage to the Realtors that find them and market to them.

Let’s now get back to McKinney.  We have already discussed that there are 15,187 rooftops in the McKinney haystack.  A closer look at available information on “life events” in McKinney reveals the following:  There are 87 homeowners that have filed for divorce in the past 12 months that have not yet sold their homes. These folks may be going from 2 incomes to 1, and may need to sell.  They may have more equity in their property than money in the bank.  Either of those reasons could lead to the equity being liquidated by property sale in order to facilitate a fair split between the owners.  Statistically, 22.1% of couples that file for divorce sell their homes in the first 12 months after filing.  A good Realtor is going to be an important piece of that puzzle.

Also in McKinney, there are 32 homes with mortgage default filings in the past 6 months. Better than 50% of these will result in property sale within 12 months. Eight homeowners have filed bankruptcy in the past 6 months. Fourteen homes are trying to “For Sale by Owner”, but have not yet sold. Seven homes are in Probate.  There are also 1,498 homes with approved “Senior (Property) Tax Exemptions”.  Of those, 570 of them also have 4 bedrooms or more (large homes). These are your classic “Empty-Nesters”, and they sell property for many reasons.  The home may be too big for them now, the stairs are no longer a good idea, they may soon need an elderly care facility, or their passing may facilitate the home sale.

In each of these situations, it has been statistically proven that when these types of events occur, the properties associated to them sell more frequently.  There is no way of knowing that these events are occurring by looking at the street address or by staring at the outside of the home.  Life event data has to be matched to owned property, and when that match occurs, the results are eye opening.

ReboGateway, a product by Benutech, Inc., identifies and matches these types of life events and more to owned property.  ReboGateway allows Realtors to quickly identify probable sellers by “life events” so that they can be smarter about whom they market to and when to market to them.

So the next time you are in McKinney, TX or in your hometown, don’t just stop at any lunch spot. Use select data to know before you go.   In case you were wondering, in a state known for its barbecue, the best BBQ in McKinney, TX is Hutchin’s BBQ and Grill. It is ranked the 2nd best restaurant in the city and 356 reviews say it’s a “must go” as the “Best BBQ in North Texas”.  Similarly, the next time you choose to make yourself known to homeowners with your focus on acquiring new listings… find the addresses that are more likely to sell, and market consistently to those addresses.  The correct select data matched to a consistent marketing plan is how it should be done today and in doing so; Once again, life is easier and better because of it.

To learn more about using Life Event trigger data from ReboGateway to market in your area, watch our webinar on demand at blog.prospectsplus.com/rebogateway-prospectsplus-webinar-on-demand/.

If you’d like to learn more about how Brian and his team are helping real estate pros across North America use technology and systems to grow their businesses more efficiently and effectively, join us April 7th  at 1pm Eastern for a powerful new webinar – Everything You Wanted to Know About Every Door Direct Mail!