Saturday, March 24, 2018

The importance of Agent reviews

In case you haven’t noticed, real estate is no longer your father’s industry. Every year, technology takes it, at warp speed, in directions Papa could only dream about.

In his day, driving the latest Cadillac was proof enough of his success.

Not today.

Your years of experience, impeccable customer service skills and even your über expensive website are no longer enough to convince potential clients that they should work with you.

They believe little of what you tell them and they demand proof.

So, who do they trust?

Your clients—present and former. So, make sure to appreciate and acknowledge your past clients and their referrals with our Customer Appreciation postcard series.customer referral appreciation postcard

This will be the year that, hopefully, agents finally understand how important reviews are to their bottom line and focus on not only getting more of them but how to present them as well.

What is social proof?

Apparently, the urge to follow the crowd, whether you’re a sheep or a human, is instinctual. It’s why we look skyward when others do. It’s why we stop to look at a car wreck.

“We often imitate others’ actions when making choices with limited information about what’s best,” claims David Stipp at “It’s almost a law of nature,” he concludes.

“To learn what is correct, we look at what other people are doing,” explains Rob Henderson, an Eli Whitney scholar at Yale University, at “Advertisers don’t have to persuade us that a product is good, they only need to say others think so.”

This, in a nutshell, is social proof. And, the cornerstone of social proof is your brand’s reviews. Or, “testimonials,” as the real estate industry insists on referring to them.Just Listed Just Sold Property Showcase Real Estate Postcards

While it’s a bit embarrassing that our tendencies are so uncomfortably close to those of animals, it’s also an opportunity to cash in when it comes to marketing your brand. A great way to market your brand and showcase the good you are doing for your clients is our Property Showcase Just Listed/Just Sold Postcards.

Need proof that social proof matters?

About five years ago, Jeremy Stoppelman, a former PayPal employee, needed to see a doctor. Understanding that he’d find the best doctor only through word-of-mouth, he became frustrated at how little information he could find online.

As a result, and with $1 million in investor money, Stoppelman and Russel Simmons, another former PayPal employee, gave birth to

“What we realized was word-of-mouth is the way we wanna find great local businesses,” Stoppelman tells’s, Daniel Wolfman.

“That’s what we all naturally do. And if we could create something online that could capture word-of-mouth, that would create an amazing resource to find only the best local businesses.”

That was nearly 15 years ago. Today, research shows that, in their efforts to avoid buyers’ remorse, more than 70 percent of Americans rely on reviews of products and services before making a purchase.

By the way, younger Americans, including Generation X and Millennials, rely on reviews far more than older folks. Social proof, therefore, is imperative for the real estate agent hoping to capture the attention of tomorrow’s real estate consumer. Our Millennials Postcard Series is a great start in that direction.

Like it or not, you may already have a rep

You can always hope that your negative reviews are hidden with the  “dead bodies” on page three of Google, but why not be certain? Be aware, though, that polishing an online image takes time and effort unless you have the means to hire a company that specializes in online reputation management.

DIY methods include searching for yourself on Google and Facebook and you’ll find a walkthrough of several ways to clean up your online reputation posted by Alan Henry at lifehacker.

Let’s get you some positive social proof

Most real estate consumers seeking to learn more about you will check online for information first. If you don’t have a “testimonials” section on your website, create one.

Keep in mind that consumers will scrutinize the testimonials’ authenticity. In fact, a 2017 BrightLocal survey found that the “authenticity of reviews is the most important factor for consumers to trust the reviews they read.”

Think about it—how likely are you to trust a review that doesn’t include the reviewer’s name? Or, contains only the reviewer’s initials or an obviously made-up name?

Consider adding your clients’ photos (ask for permission) to the testimonial to add veracity. A study conducted by Olapic, a global software company, found that more than 75 percent of consumers “believe the content that average people share is more honest than advertising from brands.”

Another study finds better conversion rates when the photo is positioned above the text of the testimonial.

BrightLocal’s study also reveals that consumers will seek you out on more than one site before making a decision and most of the time, they’ll check a review site, such as Yelp or the review section on Zillow and Google.

Since the latter is likely to show your review as a result of a search of your name, start there. You’ll find a walkthrough of how to create your free Google listing here.

Use them in your offline marketing

real estate community newsletterPick one or two of the most glowing testimonials and use them in all of your offline marketing efforts, from postcards to newsletters to listing presentations and everything else you use offline.

TIP: Use care when soliciting testimonials from clients. Yelp, for instance, has a strict policy against asking for reviews. Furthermore, while most review platforms explicitly prohibit offering incentives for reviews, it’s also against the law.

Chose at least 100 of your past clients and send out Thinking of You postcards from our Customer Appreciation Series. Keep your name top of mind for the next time they are asked for an agent referral.Thinking of you Real Estate Client Appreciation postcards

Need assistance taking your marketing to the next level?  Call our support team at 866.405.3638 today!  

PLUS: Whenever you have a moment…here are 3 things to check out that will help you CRUSH IT in 2018!

1. The Free 2018 Real Estate Business Plan

Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan – Click Here

2. The Online ROI Calculator

Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

3. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here

Also…check these out 🙂

3 Click Postcards – Just snap, tap, send all from your mobile phone

MLS Mailings – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

Building Blocks for a Great Spring

By Julie Escobar

As we head into the spring market and commit to helping agents more successfully and consistently build a better book of business, let’s take a look at some powerful and productive ways to do that WITHOUT a lot of stress or hassle.

Strategy #1:  Commit to the list.  Whatever database system you’re using, inputting your customer information is step one.  Even if you don’t have EVERYTHING you need , or all the information you want, start somewhere.  I’ve talked to agents who never get around to marketing at all because they feel like they have to do everything at once.  If it seems overwhelming – start SOMEWHERE.  Pick 50 or 100 people to add and knock it out in a couple hours – even if you’re simply using excel to add name, address, phone, email.  Start somewhere.  Then pick another day and do the same thing so you can get your list to the 200 mark.   (Virtual assistants these days are very affordable as well – so that may be an option for some of you.  College students are always looking for some extra money too – so ask around!  Not sure who to add, refer back to the BusinessBASE on our Resource page that shares the 150 people who should be in your real estate sphere of influence.)

Strategy #2:  Opt-ins & social media.  We’ve got some other powerful tools in our resource section.  Terrific free reports that are a perfect addition to your website as an opt-in piece.  Here’s a creative multi-use way to use these tools to help you build your list, feed your social media stream and entice your customers and prospects to continually return to your site for more resources!  You’ll become the go-to agent for information!  Simply click here to go to our resource section and download the free reports that will work best for you and your market.  Download as many as you like and bookmark this page because we add new ones all the time.  These are going to now become part of the campaign you’re about to kick off!  Now, take one per week or one per month and break the contents down into bite sized pieces to share on your social media and on the backs of your postcards.

I’ll give you an example:  Take the How to Save for a Down Payment free report.  It has seven tips for saving for a down payment.  A fun strategy would be to kick off your Facebook posts on a Monday with a post something along these lines:

As a professional Realtor, it’s a privilege to help people invest in their future and find the home of their dreams.  Often times, it is the down payment that can be a sticking point.  This week I’ll share with you seven powerful ways you can save!  Tip #1:  1. Get in the know. Like any good budget or savings plan, the first place to start is to determine where you are NOW in relation to your credit score, your monthly bills and assets. Contact me or a trusted mortgage professional to see how much home you qualify for and how much you’ll need to save to purchase your home. We can help you take a look at things like credit scores, loan requirements and interest rates now so you can be simultaneously doing ALL the things right during this savings period to ensure the most favorable rate and terms.

Say you made this your “Free report for March or April” in your business plan.  When setting up your postcard campaign on – choose the alternate back and add a little verbiage to that fact.  Here is an example:

Happy Spring! As a professional Realtor who specializes in helping people find the home of their dreams, I’m always eager to share resources that can help consumers just like you make the best financial decisions for their family!  Please visit my site today at and download a copy of my new free report:  How to Save for a Down Payment.  No cost or obligation and please share with friends!  Call me if you have questions at xxx-xxx-xxxx!

Then do the same for month two and three of your campaign.  This way your social media and your postcard marketing are all working in tandem.  Keep copies of each report on hand so you can mail or email them out easily.  (I would make a file on your desktop specifically to house all these reports to make finding them easier!)

Strategy #3:  Commit to a campaign.  Even if you’re not sure which campaign is right for you – choose one to use for the next three months.  Breaking projects down into bite-size pieces makes the process less stressful and more manageable for most people.  I love the idea of a three month campaign because you can add your list, choose your card campaign and let that run for three months.  Then make whatever revisions are necessary to your list once a quarter such change an address, add a new customer or referral, change an email, etc.  This makes your database management less time-consuming as well.  By breaking your campaigns down into quarterly increments – you also have the flexibility to try a new campaign on for size. We’ve got lots of results-producing Sphere of Influence postcard campaigns to choose from! See them all here or contact our marketing team at 866.405.3638 for help choosing the campaign that’s right for you!

Strategy #4:  Add a niche.  One of the fastest ways to grow your sphere is to take what you’re passionate about, the people you like working with the MOST and create a niche for yourself.  I’ve always said it’s tough to be #1 in a geographic market – but not in a smaller niche that you are excited about.  From traditional (first time home buyers, fsbo’s, expireds) to out of the box (Harley riders, health and wellness seekers, boaters, fishermen) – find something you love, then get out there and meet THOSE people and start putting them into your list.  The secret ingredient in a sphere of influence is INFLUENCE.  Taking people from being “on a list” to knowing, trusting and liking you enough to want to do business with you.  That process happens fastest when you’re working with a group of people that you like and know about in return!

Now you’re ready to get STARTED!  Head into the spring market excited, eager and ready to take on the CHALLENGE!  And don’t forget – our inside account management team is here to help you make some of these decisions and walk you through the processes.   You can reach them at 866.405.3638.

Have a great week!  Get started today!

The Inside Scoop From Real Estate Professional Linda Alexandroff

By Julie Escobar

With Pinterest taking off like wildfire, I wanted to dive in and do some homework about how top agents are using this tool to bolster their marketing efforts and help create connections and build relationships.  To get the inside scoop on what’s working and how this unique social media platform can be a powerful lead generator, I turned to talented agents and forward thinker Linda Alexandroff to share her experience with us!

Q:  Thanks so much Linda for joining in our conversation about Pinterest.  You’ve been using this platform for a while – can you tell us about your experience and why you decided to integrate Pinterest into your marketing and communication tools?

A: I am a social media junkie and love to incorporate all phases of social media in my marketing plans. Depending on the interest level of clients, I try to hit all of their favorite sites into any plan to market their homes. Pinterest holds a special place in my heart because of the reach it has across demographics. I use it to supplement listings but mainly to demonstrate my interests both in real estate and personally. Typically I will “link” it to my business Facebook page, blog entries, tweets, Google+ and sometimes a link to LinkedIn. By using Pinterest in a thoughtful, connected manner I am able to establish a sphere of influence with wide ranging likes.

Q:  How have you found it has helped your business?

A. New clients, especially younger 21-34 year olds, are very interested in what you think and like. They have no problem striking up an “on-line” conversation with you about what they see you have posted. I believe these posts are a great way to connect with them because it takes very little effort and has a broad impact. I know for sure I would not be able to have conversations with people living across the country but an online presence makes it simple. Nurturing a good on-line relationship has helped me develop trust and referrals.

Q:  What would your advice be to other agents or business professionals about this tool?

A. Embracing technology, especially emerging social media tools like Pinterest, will make you a stronger professional in the eyes of young consumers. We all know that developing a good relationship will pay off in the end. It might start as a referral for a rental, but with consistency and a little effort, eventually it turns into sales and purchases. The 21-34 years old have strong networks of families and friends; keeping up with that segment of the population will definitely increase your presence among them. It may take a few minutes of your time, but LINK everything to each other. If one person finds an interesting post from you on one site they will share it while other people may have different social media favorites and find you on another site. It may seem redundant but it is really the easiest way to stay in touch with the most people. Also make sure all posts appear on your website as a rolling feature.

Q:  How do you keep from letting it steal all your time?  

A. I dedicate an hour, twice a week, to update my social media outlets. Typically, I use my free time in the evening, when I am surfing the net, or checking emails, to update. I do find Pinterest to be especially easy to use. If I see something I like, whether it is a design element, a listing, an open house, a recipe, etc. I use the “Pin It” icon on my computer to easily post it. I also immediately click the Twitter icon on Pinterest to share it among my followers. Frankly, if you spend the initial time linking your sites, the computer does the rest for you.

Q:  Wow Linda – you’ve been terrific to lend your experience and advice on this topic for our readers.  Thank you so much!  Tell me, how can users follow you online so they can learn from an EXPERT?

A. People can connect with me in a number of ways!  Here are my links:, ,, My Blog: Simply Extraordinary

Terrific!  So here’s to all of you out there who are interested in creating even more diversity in your marketing and are open to new tools and ideas!  Start pinning!  Oh – and while you’re at it – look us up at – we’ll see you online! 

Success Comes to Those Who Are In for the Duration

By Julie Escobar

Now’s a good time to ask yourself…Are you an instant gratification kind of agent or one who’s in this business for the long haul?  Do you want ‘just now’ results or a career you can COUNT on and PLAN on to take you the distance and not just provide for yourself and your family – but provide well?

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 some smart strategies that can make succeeding faster (YES!), easier (Phew!) and more effective (Sounds good!).

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 and fewer headaches.  Hard to do that when you’re still printing, cutting & stuffing envelopes.  Put a system in place to reach your customers at the very least every 4-6 weeks. And unless you’re interested in total SATURATION marketing, using a system like Every Door Direct Mail, then don’t try to reach EVERYONE.  Find that sweet spot of 250-1000 people in your sphere or farm that you can AFFORD to effectively contact every month.   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.

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.  One of the people I know who are doing this best is Stacy Stateham.  She calls herself a “Corporate Life Escapee” and you can learn a lot from her.  Read more here…  (While you’re there check out the other articles in that series on social media!)

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.

Just some ideas and strategies to ponder this hot summer week.  If you’re one of our friends trying hard to stay cool in the blistering heat – be well and take care.  We’re thinking of you!

Know that if you need some help showing up – OVER and OVER – affordably, easily and without stress, our team is there for you.  Call us at 866.405.3638 today or email  We’ve got you covered!

An Interview with Six Figure Sales Coach Roberta RossRoberta Ross

By Julie Escobar

As we head into the New Year sharing tips on how to build your sphere of influence and grow your business, I turned to my good friend and amazing success coach Roberta Ross for her insights on the subject.  Fresh off her recent real estate ‘boot camp’ – she’s got a lot to share!

Here’s a little of what I learned…

Q:  Roberta, we’ve presented a challenge to agents in 2012 to consistently and effectively nurture their sphere of influence to help them really make a great year ahead. I know helping agents succeed and successfully build their books of business is one of the things you are passionate about in your seminars, and part of what you shared in your recent boot camp – Positioning Power.  Tell me a little more why you decided to teach boot camp style and the importance of agents positioning themselves the right way in a market?

A:  Thanks Julie – It was a great event and we had tremendous response and feedback from the agents that attended.  I’m thrilled to add my two cents – and you’re right – building that book of business is vital to succeeding in any market.  You know, when most agents enter this business, they get a heavy dose of information about licensing and fiduciary responsibility, about contracts and fair housing – all important topics, but they receive little training on how to develop a business.  Each agent represents a business all their own, and until they position themselves effectively–it is forever an uphill battle to attract the kind of business they want.

If an agent wants to attract more, they first have to change their thinking.  For the agent who is dissatisfied with where they are, or just wanting to take it to the next level, know that whatever got you to where you are is not the same set of behaviors or skills that are going to get you where you want to go.  To build a business that strengthens and grows over time, it is imperative to position oneself as the go-to agent in the minds of the prospects they want.  This is important (often more important) with the Sphere of Influence as well.  Show me an agent who has lost business from a friend or family member to another agent and I’ll show you an agent who has not positioned themselves in the minds of their sphere.  The boot camp format is so powerful because it symbolizes getting focused, in shape and in command of one’s business.

Q:  You’re right on target Roberta!  Let’s talk about social media for a minute.  It has made a tremendous shift in the way many agents do business today.  What’s your best advice for agents in terms of managing and leveraging change — not just in social media but in their careers and life?

A:  Great question Julie.  There’s probably not a person reading this who has not wasted a bunch of time on social media – the two of us included, right?  Social media can send you into a time warp.  Like every other opportunity to attract business, there will always be those that say it is a waste of time or that it doesn’t work.  I say that’s bunk.  Like every other form of prospecting, it doesn’t work for those who don’t use it properly, effectively, or consistently.  Social media offers an enormous opportunity for agents who are focused on what matters and who understand how to use it, which is why I invited an expert on this topic to speak at my boot camp.  You can’t expect play aimlessly at social media and make money.  You’ve got to learn what works – and what doesn’t and commit to using ALL the tools at your disposal, including social media in a way that makes sense for you and your business.

As for managing and leveraging change, it’s critical that agents stop trying to do everything themselves and start treating their business as the business that it is.  If every mundane detail of your business relies on you to get it done, there is no opportunity to understand and leverage change, such as in social media.  You must outsource and delegate the things you do not need to be doing, the non-revenue-producing activity, so that you have the opportunity to direct your business to succeed, which includes guiding it through and leveraging change.

Q:  Great points!  For many agents, staying in touch with their sphere is a challenge.  I was recently asked by an agent to describe some best practices for follow up.  What are your thoughts on this topic?

A:  My first recommendation is to put systems in place.  You do not need to be sophisticated to have a system.  I earned six figures with just a three-ring paper binder with my contacts in it and a basic cell phone.  I recently interviewed Kevin Eastman for my Success Series members.  Kevin is the assistant coach of the world-champion Boston Celtics.  He said shared a lot of great ideas on the making of a champion in business and life.  One idea that I’m reminded of here is “success lies in the simplicity, confusion lies in the sophistication.”

The bottom line is, if you are not picking up the phone or connecting in some way with your people in your sphere each day, you are not making money.  Most agents find staying in touch with their sphere challenging, simply because they do not make it the priority that it is.  If you peel back the layers on why most find it tough, you’ll find that the inner truth is that many are looking for a way around it.  As Brian Tracy says, eat that frog.  More often than not, you’ll find that it’s not the horror you make it out to be in your mind.  Hey, not bad! Ha!  It tastes like chicken!

Q:  Love it!  Roberta, you and I both saw lots of people leave this business in the last few years when the “going got tough.”  One of the biggest success tools an agent can have I think is building a solid database of customers and staying in touch with them.  It’s not easy for a lot of salespeople to put on that admin hat and make sure they’re putting customers in a follow up system — but it’s necessary.  What are you seeing out there and what advice do you have for people in terms of building that book of business?

A:  Well Julie, one of the most common short-comings of agents is that they don’t position themselves as experts; especially to the people they know.  Most of the people in an agent’s sphere don’t know them in their capacity as real estate agent.  They maybe went as far back as thinking of them as little Johnny or Suzie who played in a sandbox.  It’s the agent’s job to position themselves in the minds of their prospects as being the right agent.  Then, it’s a matter of staying in contact.  Keep taking steps to implement daily contact and it will add up over time.  The greatest successes are made from the smallest of steps that are actually taken.  You don’t need to make contact with everyone all of the sudden, rather incorporate systems and standards for doing some contacting daily.  Create a checklist.  How many people did you call today?  How many did you send a note?  How many did you message on Facebook?  Track these numbers and in a short while you’ll see at least a part of the reason of why you aren’t attracting the business you desire.

Q:  Good advice.  Any last thoughts?

A:  I’d say my final thought is this: get in the game and stay in the game.  Stay focused on what you can do in each moment to create or attract what you want.  No amount of worrying about the economy, your bills, what your competition is doing, who is in the white house, or whose house caught fire on the local news is going to produce one transaction for you.  Consistent, revenue-producing action will give you traction on generating business!  Engage in the process, and detach from the outcome — and enjoy it all along the way!

Thanks Roberta!  As always, it was a pleasure sharing ideas with you!  We’ve got some terrific systems for every budget to help you stain touch consistently – without headache or hassle.  Give our marketing team a call today at 866.405.3638 to learn more or see this month’s specials at

Roberta Ross is president of Six Figure Real Estate Coach, Inc.  She travels nationwide speaking to real estate professionals on business strategy, lead generation, and mindset for success.  Hire her to speak at your next event, visit or follow her on Facebook here: