Saturday, November 18, 2017

Year End Strategies for Maximizing Your Market Setting the TableBy Julie Escobar, Corporate Marketing Director Setting the table for a successful new year means starting early for savvy real estate professionals.  While much of the competition falls into cruise control, plan holiday parties or simply wait for the economic shift to suit their style, top producers turn up the heat to sweep the market share in their absence.   

  1. Prospect, Promote and Prosper.  In changing markets, many agents stop advertising, re-direct their marketing dollars to the year ahead and put their prospecting in park until after the holidays.  Stay forward of the competition by continuing to market yourself with creative, consistent, targeted marketing.
  2. Spread the Holiday Cheer.  Make the most of this opportunity to reach out to your client base with face-to-face visits.  Choose fifty or so of your top prospects and make plans to visit them.  What may seem like a lot of time, can really be broken down into 10 or so contacts per week.  Would that be worth a sale or two?  Sure it would.  Make the calls.  Shake hands, bring a card and thank these very important people for their contribution to your career.  For those really special clients, bring along a treat for their family table and you’ll find yourself more than their REALTOR® you become a friend. 
  3. Clean Out Your Client Base.  Most agents wait until January to truly wade through their client base.  Getting an early start means momentum as you head into the New Year when most are still putting away party hats and streamers.  If you don’t currently have a means of tracking your clients, visit our site, www.prospectsplus.com for a free BusinessBASE™ client management system.  Getting to know your prospects, their families, their needs and their personalities will help you build long term, solid relationships that bring you current listings and sales as well as referrals that will build your book of business throughout your career.
  4. Live and Learn.  What a tremendous time to be a professional salesperson.  Never before in history has education, skill-building and growth as an agent or as a person been more simple or accessible.  How fortunate we are to have internet, 24/7 that allows us to tap in, download, read, discuss and explore ways to improve our life skills personally and professionally.  Make it a goal this quarter and coming year to consistently fine tune who you are and what you do. 
  5. Implement Systems for Success.  New agents run on adrenaline, nerve and sheer exhaustive energy.  Experience gives us the insight to set systems in place to plan now for a successful year ahead.  Calendar your direct marketing for the months to come, implement your BusinessBASE™ to insure ongoing, automated contact with your clients, and employ creative campaigns throughout the year that will differentiate you from your competition.  In a shifting market, systems simplify your life, keep you on track and maximize your market share through consistent, results producing planning. They allow you to focus on the revenue based activities that are your strength, prospecting, presenting and closing without expending energy on deciding each day, each week what your course of action should be.  Our Master Marketing Schedule™ makes this process easy with 24 months of innovative marketing campaigns.
  6. Fall in Love With What You Do.  The secret of success is historically based in finding your niche and enjoying every minute of it.  Whatever your passion, whatever demographic of the industry lights your fire, run with it, own it and allow it to empower your prospecting with determination and enthusiasm.  This season, as you give thanks for your many blessings, your family and your friends, take stock in the incredible opportunity you have to set your own pace, create your own calendar and charter your own course for financial freedom. 

Inevitably, there will be down time this holiday season.  You’ll have days strung together to re-charge, re-connect and realize your strength as you approach the fourth quarter and the year ahead.  Make it magical.  Take this time to set your sights on new goals, family dreams and incredible new opportunities.  Whether it is a much needed vacation, new family car or boat, include your family’s goals when creating your budget and marketing plan, so they not only know why you are negotiating into the evening and weekends, they support you.  Your goals are their goals.  Their goals are yours.   Set the table this month for a bountiful year end and a resolute momentum heading into January.  Balancing success, life and market twists and turns takes practice to be sure.  With the right systems, tools and training, you can and will find your stride.  We’re here if you need us! For more ideas on how you can continuously impact your market area, visit our website at www.prospectsplus.com.  Sign up for our monthly Master Marketing Newsletter™ which is filled with innovative and creative ways to ensure your prospecting is both fun and effective!  If you need  help building the success strategy that’s best for you, ask about our Personal Marketing Assistant Program – it’s just the extra hands you need to gear up for the new year.  Have questions or ideas you would like to share?  Call Julie at 866.405.3641.

Eleven industry experts share their insights on the “must-have” leadership skills in Leadershiptoday’s market

By Julie Escobar

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” This Eric Hoffer quote succinctly illustrates the importance of changing with and adapting to our ever-shifting industry.

To that end, we looked to some very learned industry experts who also happen to be some of our favorite “learners” (and teachers) to explore their best advice for brokers and managers in today’s challenging times.

Here is what our special guests—Floyd Wickman, Mr. Interview™-Michael Krisa, Bill Barrett, Darryl Davis, Carol Johnson, Mr. Internet®-Michael Russer, Matthew Ferry, Walter Sanford, Dave Beson, Claudia Wicks and Judy Ladeur—had to say about keeping agents motivated during these trying times:

1. Industry icon Floyd Wickman: My best advice for management today? Start with accountability. If there’s ever been a time to raise standards, it’s now. If there’s ever been a time when an owner should say, “In order to work on our team, in our family, we have basic requirements,” it’s now. I’m reminded of a broker who once said, “My people wouldn’t live up to my standards, so I lowered them.” That’s the opposite of what needs to be done.

Second, insist that your people do the basics. Any broker who does a quick analysis of his or her agents by asking, “How many prospective buyers, sellers or lookers have you been face-to-face with in the past two weeks?” will likely be shocked at the answer. Agents say they’re hungry, but are they doing what they need to do to move ahead? The solution is to get face-to-face with their customers. So many are face-to-face with the mirror, each other and their families right now—but the real answer is to see the people and get out there with customers.

Next, work as a team. “Teamwork makes the dream work,” as they say. It creates synergy, and if there was ever a time when we needed synergy, it’s now. I’m on a quest to show brokers how to convert their office of individuals into ONE TEAM. We’re seeing some pretty powerful results because of it, so we know that it works.

2. Mr. Interview™, Michael Krisa: Now is NOT the time to cut back on training and marketing. Seek out the gurus with proven track records who know how to make agents succeed in tough times, and bring them in for webinars, seminars, etc. In tough times, agents are looking for leadership. Brokers and managers have to step up and fill those shoes or risk losing their agents to brokers who can.

3. Real estate and trends expert Bill Barrett: Brokers need to motivate their salespeople now more than ever. Bring in speakers, offer training and give them the best techniques in the industry. Practical ideas and real-world solutions are critical. Help them discover the best ideas on the market to move their listings. The typical reaction to tough markets is to STOP–marketing, working, everything. The ones who are making the impact and capturing the market share are the ones still investing in their marketing.

4. Noted speaker Darryl Davis: You need to show confidence in the upswing of the market. There’s an old adage that says if you’re on the front lines and the enemy is shooting at you, don’t turn to the platoon and say, “What do we do?” Agents need four things right now: leadership, consistency, confidence and a plan! I recommend every 30, 60 or 90 days, have your agents focus on niche activity that forces them to be proactive rather than reactive. Next, create a family or team atmosphere, which minimizes the backstabbing and bickering.

5. Recruiting pioneer Carol Johnson: Communication and leadership are essential. Agents are desperate for guidance and leadership as to how to proceed in the market. Productivity is key–keep them focused on market potential and strengths in their area. Do the things that will give them immediate production so that they are set to come out ahead of competition when the market makes a turn.

Add extra classes, tools and meetings; your agents will win, the others will lose. Programs like Floyd Wickman’s that really put a target in front of people and help them move in the direction of that target are great. Tools like the ones from ProspectsPLUS! are essential, as well.

6. Mr. Internet®, Michael Russer: Well, I have a little different take. I suggest that brokers only work with certain agents, of which I believe there are three types:
• Cool Cats – Coachable agents who see challenges and opportunities – These are the ONLY agents to work with and represent about 5% to 10% of the market.
• Tom Cats – Agents who aren’t really in business. They go from transaction to transaction, which is much like a prison that happens to pay a commission.
• Fat Cats – These guys have been in the business forever and have that “don’t bother me” attitude. So you don’t and shouldn’t.

Find the Cool Cats who are making their successes visible, and you’ll see the Tom Cats who want to become one of them. Set your standards very high, and create an elite core group of agents that’s committed and poised to make it through tough times.

7. Industry coach Matthew Ferry: The dictionary defines motivation as “provided with an incentive for action.” This means that the person taking the action doesn’t really want to do it. That’s why they need to be motivated. I prefer to work with inspiration defined as “imbued with the spirit to do something.” The best thing a broker can do today is help each agent discover his or her purpose and insert it back into his or her real estate career. This will inspire them to take “right action” and get back in the game. When people are inspired, they don’t need encouragement, they just take powerful action. I call this inspired action.

8. Real estate expert Walter Sanford: Quit waiting for the market to change; have your agents change instead. They need to know how to walk away from under-motivated buyers and sellers. They need to write tighter contracts, close transactions faster and know which business to walk away from. In most cases, they also need to triple their listing inventory to generate the same activity that they had in 2006.

9. Industry icon Dave Beson: Tighten your belt, then tighten your belt again. Cut costs, and focus on profitable activities. Focus on the ones who want to work and who want to win. Get the “tigers” in the office, even if there are just two of them, to come in or to meet somewhere where you can share ideas. Bring treats, pour coffee, and have a fun hour. Then ask each of the tigers to nominate one person from the office who they think should be at the meeting. Make sure those people are invited next week. Go out of your way to get one or two people to join in. Have these meetings, say, at 2:30 on Thursday. Get noticed.

10. Speaker and trainer Claudia Wicks: Provide needed training: negotiating skills, prospecting skills, contracts, financing options and, most important, training on internet marketing and tech tools. According to NAR, 84% of consumers are going online to search for property. This is the time for agents to learn, while they unfortunately are not as busy as they would like to be. It is a chance for them to practice and prepare to handle the Gen X and Y consumers. John Tuccillo predicted at the NAR convention in Las Vegas last November that there will be a tsunami of Gen X and Y buyers beginning in 2010. We already see it happening; make sure your agents are ready!

11. Recruiting guru Judy LaDeur: It all starts at the top. Your agents will follow your example, so find something positive to feed them each week. Show the productive ones that they are in the top 10% of agents nationwide, or whatever the correct number would be for your staff. Right now, 80% of agents are doing very little or no business, which means that the productive ones are among the top percentile of agents in the nation. Create a great press release for agents to use in the local paper or in a letter to their sphere of influence. Bottom line: If your agents are discouraged and worried, take a look in the mirror, do a check-up from the neck up, and see if there is something that you could be doing to change the attitude and motivation in your office.

Thanks to all of our exceptional panelists for some great advice and insight on how leaders can take their companies and their agents’ careers to the next level, regardless of the market. Their willingness to help us reach out to the thousands of real estate professionals seeking solutions to today’s challenges is priceless on a number of levels.

Keep an eye out for the other three parts of this series: Just Two Things…; The Smartest Thing You Can do to Build Your Business; and Motivated—Me? Our generous experts shared more than 20 pages of insight, inspiration and information on these vital topics. Visit our blog, visit our site at www.prospectsplus.com, or email me directly to learn more about this timely series.

ProspectsPLUS! provides the tools and information you need to find and implement the strategies necessary to propel your production in any market. Visit our blog at blog.prospectsplus.com, or discover the many solutions offered online at www.prospectsplus.com. Julie can be reached at julie.escobar@prospectsplus.com or (866) 405-3641.

KnowledgeBy Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing, ProspectsPLUS!

In the midst of what often seems to be a media circus regarding the current housing market and economic crisis, I recently had an opportunity to talk with 11 leading real estate experts: Floyd Wickman, Mr. Interview™- Michael Krisa, Bill Barrett, Darryl Davis, Carol Johnson, Mr. Internet®- Michael Russer, Matthew Ferry, Walter Sanford, Dave Beson, Claudia Wicks and Judy Ladeur.

I asked them to share two good things about our industry today; their best advice for brokers and managers; the smartest thing agents can do sooner rather than later; and how they stay motivated during these challenging times. I came away with more than 20 pages of extraordinary real estate knowledge—so much great information that I decided to write an entire article on each of the four topics. This article focuses on the first one.

Here are the 11 answers from our panel of masters.  The topic?  Name the top two good things about our industry today:

1. Industry icon Floyd Wickman: I would have to say—if you look at it from everyone’s point of view—this is the perfect buyer’s market. If you ever wanted to buy, now is the time. Some day that will turn again, so it’s an opportunity just as much as it is an obstacle. I’d say even a pretty good one for a lot of people!

Next, I would have to say that this market is a major adjustment. A 2006 USA Today article was all about how real estate prices were out of whack and overinflated. That was a negative. Now things are coming back down to normal, and perhaps we are just bringing them to where they should be.

2. That Interview Guy™, Michael Krisa: I believe that a challenging market brings out the best in real estate professionals. It forces the good agents to adapt and get creative in their approach to business and marketing. More importantly, it weeds out the weak and part-time agents.

The same is true of real estate industry product and service providers; it puts the value and effectiveness of what they have to offer to the test. Agents will NOT spend precious capital on vaporware and empty promises in tough times. So, in essence, it forces us all to be sharper and deliver more.

3. Real estate and trends expert Bill Barrett: Interest rates are still incredibly low, so it’s a great time to buy—particularly in cities such as Orlando, Scottsdale, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sarasota and Miami—where prices went high but now have gone down. There’s tremendous value now for both new construction and inventory; builders will do ANYTHING to sell their homes. The good news is that builders and RELO companies are unemotional; they’ll do whatever it takes to get the properties sold—from improving the condition to lowering the price.

4. Noted speaker Darryl Davis: I’d have to say that we are already starting to see some bottoming out in some markets, which means fewer listings this year than last—same number of sales, but fewer agents. That means more money per agent. Also, FSBOs need us now more than ever, which equals an increase in commissions and more cooperative sellers.

5. Recruiting pioneer Carol Johnson: First-time homebuyers have some opportunities never afforded to them before, so it’s a great time to work with that segment of the market. The second good thing is that investors can pick up on some outstanding opportunities—if they have cash and PATIENCE.

6. Mr. Internet®, Michael Russer: Everyone is scared, which means that the people moving forward will gain market share and have a great advantage. It’s a tremendous opportunity to capture market share lost by those who are leaving and establish yourself in one or more specialties.

During any time of tribulation, there are major problems and major opportunities to solve those problems. Don’t be afraid of it; run toward it! And remember: No thumb sucking allowed!

7. Industry coach Matthew Ferry: Now more than ever, the public is listening to REALTORS® very intently. We are no longer plagued with arrogant sellers who spit in our faces and tell us that we are worthless. The general public is scared and now actually wants to know our thoughts.

Next, all of the “skimmers” are leaving the business. Never in real estate history has overall per-agent production been so low. We will now see a dramatic rise in per-agent production because everyone who got into the business to sell their friends one house is leaving. Serious businesspeople are going to be the only ones left standing. The agents who press on and make it happen in this market are going to have their best years during the economic downturn. At least that’s what my coaching clients are finding. 
 

8. Real estate expert Walter Sanford: I will give you four “good things:” Sellers produce listings, and listings produce buyers. Looking for unique inventory for buyers produces seller leads. Buyers and sellers pay you to look at the inventory that you should be buying. There are trainers that do the business better than you do, and you can copy them. These are all called the “leverage” of real estate sales. That gives you the ability to do the business of three agents by just doing the right activities.

9. Industry icon Dave Beson: People understand homes, and most know that they need us now. Unlike mortgages, or these crazy financial instruments that we don’t even understand the value of, they do know about homes. So a home is worth 15% less? Perhaps, but the flip side of this is the roller coaster of the stock market. With real estate, we’ve got shelter, dreams and tax deductible interest. People need and crave what we sell. While not everyone can get into a home today because of tougher underwriting and such, about 80% can sell or buy. They need us, and that’s good.

Secondly, we can’t be terminated. We can just fade out by not doing more of what we already know we should be doing. Now is the time to determine if you are ready to quit. If you aren’t, then get going! Almost anyone can improve their business if they go to work two hours earlier and plan their day the night before, with a focus on prospecting and lead generation. Stay in the present, and just do your assignment every day.

10. Speaker and trainer Claudia Wicks: Great opportunity for buyers; it’s the best combination of house prices and attractive interest rates we have seen in a long time. That’s a great opportunity for investors and the agents who work with them!
This also is the perfect time for agents to re-tool their business practices. During the downtime, take the opportunity to build a business. When the turnaround comes, you’ll be poised to take advantage of the market.

11. Recruiting guru Judy LaDeur: Consumers can buy homes today that they have never been able to buy—and have instant equity as the market starts to improve.

Next, know that there are two levels of agents in today’s market. One group is making “no money;” the other group is making more money than they ever have. So if you’re willing to work hard and learn how to be creative in this market, there are more opportunities now than ever before.

There you have it… from some of real estate’s top talent—the “real” opportunities are there for the professionals who are willing to tap into them. I strongly urge you to step back from the doomsday news reports and agents who dub themselves “realists” but aren’t doing anything proactive to expand their business—and focus on what you CAN do!

We are extremely fortunate to have these experts in our network of real estate friends. They offer priceless tips, techniques, ideas and insights that we use to create the marketing solutions you need, when you need them.

Stay tuned for the remaining three parts of this series: Leadership Lessons from the Top; The Smartest Thing You Can do to Build Your Business; and Motivated—Me? In the meantime, I’d love to know what YOUR two top things about this market are! Email me today!

ProspectsPLUS! provides the tools and information you need to find and implement the strategies necessary to propel your production in any market. Visit our blog at blog.prospectsplus.com, or discover the many solutions offered online at www.prospectsplus.com. Julie can be reached at julie.escobar@prospectsplus.com or (866) 405-3641.

With the November 7-10 NAR convention quickly approaching, ProspectsPLUS! is gearing up to bring its best and most innovative offerings to Orlando, including their new 3-7-27 Agent Branding System™. The Florida-based company is thrilled to be at the Orange County Convention Center for hands-on demonstrations and information resources designed to help REALTORS® excel in today’s quickly shifting industry.

Highlights at the ProspectsPLUS! booth #1858 include:

1.   3-7-27 Agent Branding System™.  Learn how to effectively become the brand name in your area for First Time Homebuyers!  NAR tells us more than 39% of all buyers in the last year came from this prospecting pool.   Learn how to “own” it today!

2.  MLSmailings.com. This innovative and automated, cutting-edge system with patent-pending technology gives agents fast-track results with little to no effort on their part.  “Just Listed” and “Just Sold” postcards are sent automatically – with no hassle!

3.  ProspectsPLUS! 6.0. This time-tested software gives agents more than 600 marketing pieces to choose from in a matter of minutes. With a guarantee of at least six new commissions in just 12 months, more than 60,000 agents across the United States and Canada utilize this time-saving, production-boosting program to ensure their success in ANY market.

4.  RecruitingPLUS! 6.0. Managers and brokers will find this upgraded program an exciting and viable method for rapidly recruiting both new and experienced agents in any market. With 12 full systems and 65 strategies to choose from, users can implement the ones that best fit their unique recruiting goals. The company is so confident in the program that it guarantees 24 recruiting interviews every 12 weeks.  Enjoy a full demonstration, and pick up a free copy of the Master Recruiting Guide™, which details “How to Recruit 10 Agents in 60 Days” and “Sure-Fire Strategies for Becoming a Top Recruiter.”

5. Data Leader™. Tap into the most extensive and cost-effective system in the industry for data mining for your perfect customer.  Whether you are looking for first time homebuyers, investor or move-up market candidates or wish to be the ‘go-to’ agent for a specific business such as CPAs, Attorneys or Builders, you can find the prospects you need for the niche that best works for you!  Stop by our booth and get your priority code for 100 FREE LEADS! 

Be sure to visit booth #1858 for winning solutions and your FREE Master Recruiting Guide™, 100 FREE LEADS, and hands-on demonstrations of the ProspectsPLUS! suite of products.

You can find more cost-effective ways to boost production while saving time and money at www.prospectsplus.com. While you’re there, remember to sign up for the FREE Master Marketing Newsletter™.

Call Julie Escobar at 866.405.3641 or visit www.prospectsplus.com and invite us in to share some strategies, jump start your production or share today’s best resource for cutting edge technology and marketing solutions!

Short sale specialists have a new marketing resource in www.postcardsplus.com. The simple web-to-print product of industry leader ProspectsPLUS! just debuted a series of eight Short Sale postcards that target distressed homeowners seeking an advocate and agent they can count on.

“We recently worked with Floyd Wickman team trainer Will Weaver to publish an article about how short sales affect our nation’s consumers,” shared Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing. “From that, we crafted marketing materials for agents looking to become the ‘go-to’ resource for homeowners who desperately need a reliable professional they can turn to. Two of the designs are invitations to free consumer workshops—a popular way to deliver information and find prospects at the same time.” 
The new series is available at www.postcardsplus.com/shortsales. Portions of the series also will be available starting this month in ProspectsPLUS! software customers’ SupportPLUS! updates.

The initial eight postcards are: Do You Know Anyone Who…?, Free Workshop, Tough Decisions, What Do You Do When…, Distressed Homeowner?, Short Sale vs. Foreclosure, When Mortgage Pressure is High and Resources are Low and Last Chance to Learn: Free Workshop. Each is designed to capture the interest and garner a response from consumers eager to learn how today’s economy affects THEIR economy.

The PostcardsPLUS! system allows agents to choose a postcard, upload a mailing list and place an order in minutes. At just $80 per hundred for jumbo and $50 per hundred for standard, full-color postcards are printed, addressed, laminated and mailed first class within 48 hours—making being first in the door with this timely information simple, fast and cost effective. As added incentive to put this or any campaign in motion quickly, orders of 250+ postcards will receive the radial mailing list FREE through October 31, with no limit to the number of leads an agent can receive.

“I teach agents to be advocates for today’s distressed homeowners,” shared Mr. Weaver. “They need real information, real resources and real help. These postcards are a great way to effectively market yourself as a true short sale specialist and let consumers know that you are there when they need you.”

“Finding your niche and fine tuning your marketing are key for today’s thriving agents,” added Ms. Escobar. “With marketing dollars few and far between, it makes sense to increase your response rates by matching your message to your market. These postcards help short sale specialists do just that.”

Agents also can find a variety of sphere of influence, farm, seasonal and holiday postcards at www.postcardsplus.com. Customized postcards are available for every major real estate franchise and larger independent organizations across North America.

Want to learn more about inside strategies, upcoming automated product lines and how leveraging the power of direct mail can generate more than $100,000 per client throughout your career? Call Julie Escobar at 866.405.3641 to schedule a FREE Webinar for your office. 

Need more marketing ideas? Sign up for our FREE Master Marketing Newsletter™ to have fresh ideas, innovative tools and smart solutions delivered to your “in box” every month! Visit www.prospectsplus.com today, and click on Master Marketing Newsletter™.