Saturday, May 27, 2017

In Step with VIP Broker Cindee Cullingford

We often interview agents with success stories, but this week we had the awesome opportunity to share an interview with one of our power brokers who uses smart marketing tools to help her agents succeed at a high level and brand her business throughout her market.

Here’s what we learned…

Q:  Thank you for agreeing to our interview. Can you first tell our readers a little about yourself?

A:  I am a small-town girl with a big appetite to succeed!  I am the youngest and only girl with three older brothers, and I adore each one for different reasons.  I lost my middle brother in Vietnam when I was 14, so I believe that shaped a part of me for the rest of my life.  I flew off to one of the biggest cities when I was 18 years old.  I moved to Los Angeles, California with the blessings of my family.  I never looked back. Real Estate is actually my third career.  I was excited to join the Real Estate industry back in 2004, and continue to learn every day.

Q:  As a Broker/Owner, you’ve probably waded through many different marketing options, can you tell us what attracted you to ProspectsPLUS!?

A: Boy, have I!  I actually used ProspectsPLUS! many years ago, but stopped mailing postcards as so many agents tend to do.  When I opened my Brokerage, Coral C’s Realty & Property Management, LLC. just 4 years ago, I started receiving emails from your team?  The Just Sold postcard was completed for me and all I had to do was approve it and click “OK”.  So, it was Ramona and the ease of use of the postcards.

Q:  I know you offer Just Listed and Just Sold postcards to all your associates, which is awesome. What has that meant for you in terms of company branding, agent retention and recruiting?

A: It is in my best interest to make sure each of my Sales Associates mail out those important Just Listed and Just Sold postcards to keep my branding (and their business) alive.  So, I made the decision to include 100 postcards, complete and mailed out for each Sales Associate every time a home is sold or listed.  This is a great incentive to offer new Sales Associate for a small amount of money.  Even the seasoned agents find it a great tool and stay loyal because of it.

Q:  What advice do you have for agents eager to compete in this busy market?

A: Take every advantage offered to you in the way of marketing, but STAY consistent when you start farming.  ProspectsPLUS! offers a variety of inexpensive ways to keep your name in front of everyone that needs real estate assistance.

Q:  Can you share what’s working for your associates in terms of staying top of mind with their sphere and farm?

A: I can honestly say that all of my Sales Associates at one time or another have said “Thank you” for including the postcards in our Sales Package.  But more importantly, they have each had responses back from owners wanting us to list their home because they received our postcards.  The other awesome way to stay in touch with clients is to pick up the phone and prospect at least 5-10 people a day, five times a week.

Q:  Any fun ideas you’d like to add for agents or brokers for staying ahead of their competition?

A: Keep your sales associates happy because they are your bread and butter.  We spend considerable time inside and outside of the office together.  We love getting the agents and their spouses together for comedy night.  I know we have all heard of the “team environment”, but we actually have one.  If an agent can’t show for any reason, another agent will step in and assist.

Q: How can our readers connect with you if they have referrals they’d like to send your way?

A: We are always available for referrals! Coral C’s Realty office number is 321-613-5605.  We are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thank you so much Cindee! Your advice has been awesome. If you’d like to learn more about sending postcards for your team as a broker, or how to stay consistent and out front of your competition as an agent visit www.prospectsplus.com today or call our team at 866.405.3638.

 

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!

Was YOUR Name Drawn?

Wow! A big thanks to all our amazing contestants this past month! We had fun changing it up with a prize of Google Home Assistant.  We had some terrific entries – and we thank you all so much for sharing your ProspectPLUS.com experiences! If your name wasn’t drawn – no worries!  We’ll choose three MORE winners May 2nd. Congratulations everyone!

Jennifer Ingiald who shared, “I have been using ProspectsPLUS! for all my direct mail
campaigns for about two years now, and have yielded awesome results! The last jumbo postcard I sent was for a Just Sold campaign, and I received two new listings just from that postcard. I love how they are always adding new design templates too so I can choose a new one each time. Phenomenal customer service too!”

 

Carmen Wieck who shared, “A few months ago, when I started working with ProspectsPLUS!  I
had some hiccups. HOWEVER, when I called to talk about my issue, Hayley was beyond helpful and made everything smooth for me. I got a listing from that mailing and then a referral from that listing – BOOM, two in one shot! Now I am ‘addicted’ to ProspectsPLUS! I do all my marketing with them. Love the quality, customer service, the professional copywriting on their marketing pieces. I am a customer for life.”

 

Steve Turner who shared, “I love how easy and fast ProspectsPLUS! is. Whenever I need postcards or mailings sent, their online ordering is so easy to use and creates amazing results in just minutes! Great prices, easy to use and full of helpful ideas.”

 

Kathleen Carhart who shared, “I have used ProspectsPLUS! to market my farm area with great success. They have a terrific selection of marketing materials to choose from and the quality is excellent!”

Thank you to everyone who entered! Join us for our April contest where we will be giving away $500 worth of Gift Cards! It’s easy!  Leave your review of your ProspectsPLUS.com product or service on our Google+ Page  or our Facebook Page today!  

We’d also like to invite you to join us in our goal to raise $50,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®! We are matching every donation this year, dollar-for-dollar! Learn more at: blog.prospectsplus.com/st-jude.

Making Connections in Unexpected Ways

by Julie Escobar

While a firm believer in the power of consistent top-of-mind marketing using series such as our neighborhood update postcards or content postcards, I always like to remind agents to also include an element of surprise in their marketing efforts as well.  It’s terrific to keep people informed — that brands you as an expert and resource people can trust and call on for their real estate questions or needs.  When combined, however, with a genuine thank you and note of appreciation, you now also brand yourself as someone who cares about your customers — and about details!

This week’s Master Marketing Schedule tip is to send the Out of the Blue postcard from Customer Appreciation Series to 200 of your past clients.  What if you did that at least four times per year?  Or took a few moments to send these kind messages to a block of your sphere of influence VIPs per month?  Do you think it might be worth a few transactions or referrals?  You bet it would!

For the reverse side of the card, I would recommend choosing the “standard back with message” – it has a little more room for a message.  Here are some ideas for customizing your message:

  1. Invite to a customer appreciation event.  Spring is a great time to host a party!
  2. Offer something of value.  We have some terrific Free Reports that are easily customized and downloadable that you can offer.  Nine Strategies to Get 17% More For Your Home or 10 Renovations That Reap Return on Investments are two great ones you can offer.
  3. Offer a service. Let them know that the market, and mortgage rates are changing — and that has a lot of people asking questions about what that potential means for their home value.  Offer to meet with them to share a home price evaluation and answer any questions they might have.
  4. Let them know when you’ll be in the area!  Schedule a time for you and your team, if you have one, to walk your geographic farm or be available for a meet and greet at a local coffee shop or community center. Then share that information with your fans and offer to answer any questions they might have and even tell them to invite a friend!

Then follow up.  Block time to connect with at least 25 past clients per week with a kind word, a thank you and an offer to assist.  We’re in the business of people, and when you reach out on a regular basis and let people know you genuinely care — you’ll be rewarded with new business and customers for life!

Need help with your marketing? Contact our team today at 866.405.3638.

Finding the Diamonds in Your Database

By Julie Escobar

As my old friend Floyd Wickman used to say, there are acres of diamonds in your book of business or “sphere” – but the trouble is, most agents are willing to do what it takes to mine for those diamonds.

Many agents don’t even have a ‘book of business’ or a true database.  They’re either new to the business or ‘never got around to it’ or for some – they’re so busy working ‘in the business’ to ever work ‘on the business.’  But there’s acres of diamonds in building a sphere of influence client list of people who know you, like you and trust you. Because frankly – those are the people that are going to list and sell their homes with you – buy from you –and refer friends and family to you.  First – you’ve got to reach them.  Consistently.  Effectively.  With purpose.

First, look at should be in your book of business. Read last week’s post:  The Year of the Sphere.

Secondly, get a handle on your business plan.  This is the one-page easy plan shared by Floyd Wickman. 

2017-biz

Download a copy for yourself or your team here. Then USE it. Make sure you are reviewing every month so you know when you are are on track — and off!

Next, Invest in these ten strategies for building a powerful base. 

  1. Get it all on ‘record.’  Whatever database management system you choose, be sure that you have entered at the very least the basic information such as name, address, phone number, email address, social media addresses if you have them for every past customer, friend, family member and acquaintance that you can think of.  Sound like a lot of work?  It is – but SO worth it.  And I’m not saying you have to do it yourself.  Delegate it – that way you can stick to what you do best – getting face to face with the folks in your market.
  2. Fill in the blanks.  The more RELEVANT you are – the more REFERRALS you’ll receive. So once you’ve customer-appgot the basics down – take note of more personal information about the people in your database.  What do they do?  Where do they live?  What makes them unique?  What else do you know about them that you can reference?  Who’s in their family?  You know the old saying – the ‘devil is in the details!’ The more you know the easier it will be for you to connect with them on topics that are relevant and important to them.
  3. Clean up old records.  At least twice a year go through your database and cull old contacts, and clean up missed or incorrect information. Connect with your database and let them know that their business is important to you and that you’re just doing a little ‘housekeeping’ so that you can be sure they are always kept in the loop and double check their information.  You can even make them a fair trade offer of a free report or certificate of some kind.
  4. Data mine for ‘like’ minded people.  One of the best things an agent can do is to really take a good fsbolong look at what their ‘best customer’ looks like.  Who do you like to work with?  Seniors?  Singles?  First time homebuyers?  Expireds? FSBO’s?  Once you know that – and can determine who you both like to work with and the type of people you have the most successful relationships with – you can data mine to find more of the same.   Find list options for data mining here. 
  5. Add new personal contacts.  As sales professionals we come into contact with new people every day that are potentially great future clients or customers.  Make it a point to add at least one new person per day or five per week to your book of business – more depending on how fast you want your business to grow.  Many agents I know make this database building a positive habit by dedicating one hour a week to the health and maintenance of their list.  Every time they meet a new person at the local Starbucks, networking meeting, business event, PTA, restaurant – even the grocery store and have an opportunity to collect a business card or information – that person goes into the ‘book’ and the nurturing begins!  Some of the best agents spend an hour a week sending a personal note or firing off an email just to say what a pleasure it was to meet and if they need anything – just call.  (Making notes on the back of those business cards or in your phone after meeting a new person will help jog your memory for details when you are entering them into your database at a later time.)  Think about 10 people THIS WEEK you could add if you tried:  Teachers, Bankers, Restaurant Owner/Staff, Accountant, Attorney, Landscaper, Gas Station Owner, Grocery Store Manager…the possibilities are endless!  (If you did that EVERY week you’d be adding more than 500 people to your book of business each year!)
  6. Add past lists:  If you’ve sent out Just Listed or Just Sold postcards and have purchased a list of just sold cardhomeowners contact information who received those postcards – be sure not to forget those folks.  You can add them in and start the process of taking them from ‘prospect’ to ‘member’ of your sphere by building those relationships over time.  Think about this – every time you send a Just Listed postcard with a purchased list – you are adding to your database. But most agents only send that one card, the Just Listed to that list.  Think one list = unlimited opportunities.  Contract Pending. Price Reduced. Just Sold. Listing Inventory.  Check out our new ThreeClickPostcards.com – where you can order your Just Listed/Sold/Contract Pending cards — right from your phone!
  7. SHARE with them.  Direct mail is a great way to ‘touch’ your book of business at least once a month.  From powerful postcards with relevant offers to a monthly newsletter packed with valuable content – staying in TOUCH is the key to staying TOP of mind.  We’ll even help you automate the process with a set-and-forget system that allows you to put your marketing plan in motion and then focus on those personal contacts and the three tasks that are most important in your business:  prospecting, presenting and CLOSING.  Visit www.prospectsplus.com/specials today to learn more about these options or call our team at 866.405.3638 for help deciding what might work best for you, your list and your budget!
  8. Invite them into the conversation.  Savvy agents are firing up their social media strategies on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest and inviting their community of followers to join in the conversation.  Create a Facebook page for your neighborhood farm and post community information that’s relevant to your buyers and sellers such as school information, local business information, fun facts and more.  Agents are breaking out their iPhones and creating video walking tours of area hotspots, news for the week, reviews of local businesses, types of homes to look for in their area and all kinds of fun and interesting information.  Pinterest has people pinning and posting all about staging ideas, inspirational quotes, homes in the area, community events, blog posts and more.
  9. Follow up.  Break your list up into manageable numbers and commit to follow up calls every week.  Most experts recommend scheduling a daily appointment with yourself to prospect.  Don’t underestimate the value of face-to-face connecting as well.  Community events, school functions, networking opportunities and just being active in the community that you service will help keep you visible, allow you a chance to arrange follow up conversations and ask questions, be the resource people need and you will generate referrals in the process! It can be as simple as letting them know that you are there to help anytime.
  10. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  Well you get the idea.  Treating your database as the saleable, valuable resource that it is means not putting it away for 11 months out of the year.  Commit to these ten strategies monthly and your career will thrive – and you won’t have to always be wondering where your next commission will come from.

Need help?  Call us at 866.405.3638.  Our team of marketing professionals can help you put your plan in place for success.