Wednesday, April 26, 2017

(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.

3 Great Strategies for Creating PRESENCE This Season

By Julie Escobar

It’s that time of year.  The holidays are here and with them much of your competition is settling in – for shorter days, slimmer work calendars and that ‘wait ‘till the first of the year’ slump.  Not you.  You’ve got your eye on a new year filled with promise and kicked off with momentum-right?

Here are three things you can do to create vital PRESENCE now that will carry you through the holidays and long into the New Year with powerful, forward, full-steam-ahead strength.

Commit to Consistencythanksgiving cards

You know what you see a lot of?  Agents who ONLY send a postcard or greeting card once a year.  Start now and make it a point to ‘touch’ your sphere and farm at LEAST once every 21-30 days for the duration.  Consumers today are savvy – they’re not swayed, influenced or impressed by the ‘one-and-done’ marketing efforts.  From their perspective?  If you’re that lax in how you market YOURSELF – how will you be at marketing THEIR property?  Show the consumers in your market place that you’ve got the chops – and the commitment to be front and center not just once, but again and again and again.

Community Countsworkshop cards

Want to be known as the neighborhood resource or the market specialist?  Get out of the office, out from behind your desk and out in FRONT of the people in the community you serve.  Make it a point to calendar at least ONE community event in your market per quarter – or even per month.  It’s an edge that will set you apart, win favor and create a presence that you’re the top agent to talk to. Team up with your local schools, libraries, chamber of commerce, or even a network of like-minded business professionals to help create awareness, increase attendance and bring a wide spectrum of information to those who want it most.

Think AHEADlisting inventory1

The smartest agents in the business are never satisfied with doing things the ‘same old way’.  They’re keeping their ear to the ground, eyes open, and thinking ahead.  What can you do to make a splash?  How can you best keep the ‘buzz’ going?  I love Tony Robbins who has served up the motto ‘Constant And Never Ending Improvement’ for years.  In a 24/7, 365 world, you can’t let your skills, your top-of-mind awareness, or your passion to coast or slip to the back burner.

Need help?  Call us at 866.405.3638.  We’ve got answers you can count on.  From direct response postcard marketing that keeps you top-of-mind, to Holiday messages that make a difference, to real world resources that you can adopt and make part of that empowered new marketing and business plan for 2017 that we know you are ALREADY working on!  Have a great week!

 

 

The Difference Between Calm & Commission Chasing

By Julie Escobar

One of the biggest challenges for people getting into the business of real estate is the fear of NOT knowing when they will get paid.  Commission only? Are you kidding me?  While that’s a genuine concern when you’re brand new and haven’t learned the ropes yet, what’s interesting is how many people are STILL unclear about when and where their next commission will come from though they’ve been in the business for years.  The common denominator for that dilemma lies in whether they take a proactive or reactive approach to their business.

First and foremost?  You are an independent contractor, and as such you are running a business entity, so treating it as such is more than common sense – it’s a must.  Proactive agents know where their leads are coming from because they are putting systems in place to ensure that they are marketing themselves in the areas that matter most such as:

  • Their sphere of influence: Those folks that already know them, like them, trust them and would do thumbhalloweenv7stndbusiness with them. They know that if they stay in touch monthly, contact regularly, and make these VIPs a priority, they can expect a referral, listing or sale from one in twelve each year. (Marketing methods of choice: Newsletter, Holiday Postcards, Recipe Cards, Annual Customer Appreciation events, and a phone call or visit at LEAST twice per year.)
  • Their geo farm: The market area they most want to dominate. Smart agents choose a neighborhood that already has some turnover, does NOT have another agent with substantial presence or market share, and has a price point that makes sense for them to invest in marketing. (Marketing methods of choice:  Market Dominator, Just Listed/Just Sold postcards, Open Houses, Neighborhood luxury cardsUpdate/Free Offer Series and farm canvassing at least three times per year.)
  • A niche: That tribe of people or customers you most like to work with.  Maybe it’s first time home buyers, or seniors, or medical professionals, or boaters. Whatever group you feel connected with – make yourself known as the go-to agent.  (Marketing Methods of choice, Newsletters, Lifestyle Interest Postcards and attending or sponsoring events specifically targeted to that niche.)
  • Lead generation: Continuously casting new nets for new business as well as constant prospecting the three segments above. (Marketing Methods of choice: Reaching out to local businesses for networking and referrals, partnering with local PTAs and sporting teams, using Every Door Direct Mail to market to blanket a new carrier route, Listing Inventory postcards.)

These agents aren’t shy about sharing their success rates either.  Theydom-oct use social media wisely, are active and visible in the communities they service and they broadcast their results via Just Listed/Just Sold postcards and online announcements.  Examples: Sold in TWO days!  Was on the market with another agent for six months. Now sold in just one week!

Reactive agents? Pretty much none of the above. They spend the bulk of their time working with buyers and usually only actively seek a new listing once the one or two they have in inventory sell.  I love what Darryl Davis shared in his last article with us.  “It’s no longer listings are the name of the game – it’s listing INVENTORY is the name of the game.”  He compares it with owning a shoe store and having no shoes left to sell.

Bottom line: When you are reactionary, as in, “I have no income coming in – let me go take a listing now,” your life is stressful. You worry about providing for yourself and your family.  You aren’t sure if you need to go “get a real job”.

When you are proactive, you make marketing and prospecting part of your daily routine.  You KNOW your numbers.  “I need to speak with X number of people each day to get X amount of appointments, to do X number of listings, X amount of sales, and X number of closings.”  You use time blocking to prioritize your time and activity. You use systems to automate your marketing, or simplify the processes.

If you’re a brand new agent, or are an agent that needs less stress, more business and are ready to get to the next level in your career – kick that reactive stuff to the curb and jump  in with a proactive plan to build your business.

Need help working with your sphere, farm or niche? We’ve got everything you need to succeed at www.prospectsplus.com or call our team at 866.405.3638.

 

Clock dial with 2016-2017 change represents the new 2017, three-dimensional rendering, 3D illustration

With Just 100+ Days Left in the Year…Timing is Everything

By Julie Escobar

It’s funny to think that what you do today – this week – this month will affect whether you and your family will celebrate a stress-free holiday season and finish the year strong, or whether you’ll be worried and hurried and wind up with more year left than budget!   With just over 100 days left in the year – let’s take some ideas from the top producers and look at the five things they continuously put into place to guarantee a great fourth quarter.

  1. Know your numbers.  Savvy entrepreneurs already know how much business they need to  bring in before year’s end.  They also think ahead – and know what they need to do to head into the new year with momentum.  Don’t wait another day to get a handle these numbers if you haven’t already.  Figure out what you want and need to make and how many listings you want to have heading into the year then work the math to see how many contacts you need to make to get the number of appointments you need based on your closing ratio to achieve the number of listings you need to realize your goals.Happy Halloween Card  Make yourself a daily chart to ensure that you stay on track.
  2. Leverage the opportunities to connect.  The fourth quarter is filled with holiday gatherings and neighborhood invites.  The holidays create an amazing reason to reach out and connect with your customer base.  Don’t wait for Christmas either! Be the agent that connects all season long with a postcard and a call.  Call every existing customer you have and wish them a happy holiday season ahead.  Let them know that with all the chatter in the national news and even local headlines, you’ve found that many people have questions about how this will affect their family, their investments and their future.  Be sure they know that you’re on top if it all and there to answer any questions they might have.Thanksgiving card
  3. Ask for referrals.  Before you hang up – be sure to ask your clients if they know of anyone who might need some help.  There’s plenty of people struggling and unsure of what their options are in today’s market. Let them know you are a resource they can turn to – whatever their situation.  If you don’ t have the immediate answers –you’re your clients know that  you’ll be first in line to get them.  On the reverse side of your holiday cards, make an offer for something of value. A free Comparative Market Analysis, or one of our great free reports such as 5 Ways to Build Equity in Your Home. 5 ways to build equity
  4. Don’t leave your marketing to chance.  Life gets in the way sometime – no doubt.  We get busy, over-scheduled and over-committed – especially as we make our way toward the fall and winter holidays.  That’s when things like marketing and prospecting fall through the cracks or take a back seat.  Put a plan in place today to make sure that you have all systems “go” to make sure you are staying top-of-mind and that your listings are being showcased and syndicated in all the ways that matter for great exposure and results. Set aside 20-30 minutes at the beginning of each month or each week to set your marketing in motion by ordering your holiday postcards, and your Just Listed/Just Sold or Open House postcards. Knocking out your marketing in under half an hour gives you a lot more time to prospect, present and close – the three things closest to your bottom line.  It also helps you make up for larger than normal volume of downtime you’ll spend at holiday activities.  Spend guilt-free time with friends and family, attend winter recitals and holiday concerts without worrying so much about what’s not getting done in the office.  If you need help – call the terrific folks in our client care center at 866.405.3638 – they’ll help you get everything all lined up this month so you slide into the home stretch of this year without stress.
  5. Commit to the extra mile.  I love the Wayne Dyer quote, “It’s never crowded along the extra mile.”  Commit to 10 extra calls a day over the next 17 weeks.  Commit to adding just ONE new person to your prospect list each day.  That’s 109 more folks that can and will bring you new business and referrals in the coming year if you stay top of mind.  Do you think that could be worth a commission or three…or more?

The truth is that the bottom 80% of the salespeople in our industry won’t be doing any of these five things over the next quarter.  Many will look at how far behind they already are from their goal, throw their hands up and give up.  Many will do the basics – no more and no less and continue to live commission check to commission check.  It will be those of you who strike out, step up and stay laser-focused who will be out on top this year, crushing their goals and kick starting 2017 with a fiery passion.

Where do you want to be in four months?  Top 20 or bottom 80?  What you do this month will make all the difference.10 percent

If you need help – call us.  Our team has been helping eager agents get to the next level and top producers stay on top for more than 20 years.  We can do the same for you, call 866.405.3638 today! Head over to our Specials Page to see what’s new and get the latest budget saving promo codes! 

 

Your Bottom Line Depends On It

by Julie Escobar

An agent’s ability to earn consistently and continuously earn referrals is in direct proportion to their willingness and ability to stay top of mind with their sphere and farm.

Consistency. Since the beginning of real estate there have been agents that send one or two massive mailings and when they unsurprisingly get no results, stop marketing.  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 popularlisting-inventory send-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.

One other series that is growing in popularity is one of this month’s Master Marketing Schedule tip which are our Call to Action Postcards which include powerful direct response offers call to actionthat help make your phone ring!

Once you’ve gotten in the habit of “touching” your sphere and farm once a month, be sure to deploy the call part of send-call-see.

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 reliable 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.

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 .

Go for it. Remember that we’re here if you need anything. Contact our team today at 866.405.3638.