Sunday, August 20, 2017

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. 

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.

 

(It’s More Than Just Money!)what you lose by not staying in touch

By Julie Escobar

We frequently share the BENEFITS of building and maintaining a salable book of business or sphere-of-influence such as knowing where your next commission is going to come from, developing long-term friendships and relationships, solid referrals you can count on, etc.  What we don’t usually talk about is the flip side of that coin.  What is it COSTING you when you DON’T stay in touch and follow up with your sphere or farm?

What if ONE prospective seller or buyer fails to call you when they are ready to sell or buy because they ‘forgot’ you were in real estate since you didn’t stay top of mind?  Because you didn’t follow up when you said you would?  Because you stayed in stealth mode, waiting for the phone to ring?  Because you didn’t create a database to manage your lists, so they simply slipped through the lack of system?

We know that on average, top agents get more 66% of their business (or more) from their sphere.  (People who know you, like you, trust you, and you’re top of mind with.)  We also know that 1 in 12 will deliver a transaction or referral per year on average.  So let’s run SIMPLE numbers using our SOI calculator

If I wanted to make $200,000 per year in real estate and my average commission was $6,000 that would mean I would need AT LEAST 33 transactions in a year (plus whatever your fall-through rate is) to reach that goal.  If 66% of that is coming from my sphere – that means I can count on 22 of those transactions coming from the people I am staying in touch with. If 1 in 12 are sending me that business, then I’ll need at least 264 in my sphere to hit the numbers.

The reverse of that is this…22 commissions LOST. That’s $132,000.  But it’s even more than that-right?  Because let’s face it, if good news travels fast, bad news travels faster-doesn’t it? So, for every broken promise, lack of follow up, or poor customer experience you provide, that can mean a loss of not just a customer, but every referral they might send your way.  Add social media in the mix, “don’t use Agent X because they don’t follow through” – and you’ve got a slippery slope that’s tough to recover from.

  1. Commission loss per seller or buyer? _____________ (Average commission)
  2. Loss of referral?  ______________ (Average commission x let’s just say 2 referrals)
  3. Loss of re-list and future sale? _____________ (Average commission x average homeowner moves – lists, sells, and buys new – every 9 years)
  4. Loss of marketing dollars spent on those sellers and buyers not recaptured? ________________

Lastly, loss of reputation as a turn-to, stand-up, get-the-job-done agent.  That’s really too much to calculate, isn’t it? And that’s not YOU anyway!  You’re the stand-up agent-right?  Besides, staying top-of-mind is an easy, and affordable investment.  Remember that SEND-CALL-SEE + NETWORK approach I’ve shared in the past.

Start with how many you need in your sphere by heading over to our Sphere of Influence Calculator.  

SEND – let’s take our example from above – if I needed to stay in touch with my sphere of 264 customers listing-inventoryevery 30 days to stay visible, (and help earn that $132,000) – and I wanted to send a standard sized postcard first class, that would be 62¢ per card  or $163.68 per month.  Or you could choose jumbo cards, or newsletters, our Dominator, or even handwritten cards – or better still a combination of all of the above. See what your budget allows and start somewhere, but be consistent every 30-45 days.

CALL – you should call your customers every three months.  If you break down that 264 number over 12 weeks — that means you just have to call 22 per week to reach everyone.  Easy FEB-Dominator-FRONT-Largepeasy!

SEE – you should see your customers at least two times a year.  Many agents host open houses, holiday events, or even neighborhood block parties (with sponsors for each) which gives them a chance to see many customers at once.  Take that top 20% of your list – the ones who consistently send you business – and be sure to spend some one on one time with them.  Take them to lunch.  Drop by a gift. Deliver tickets to the movies for their family.  Our Master Marketing Schedule has some terrific ways to creatively connect each month.

NETWORK – In today’s hyper-connected world, networking has to be part of the equation. From social media to joining local groups, to developing a mastermind of like-minded people to share with — networking is a key source of knowledge AND referral business.

Don’t lose any more dollars, branding, or reputation to lack of connectivity.  You are your business.  The connection you have with each and every one in your sphere will determine whether they stay a client (and a referral source) or whether you take a loss.

Need help? Contact our team at 866.405.3638 today.

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.