Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Formula for Success

By Julie Escobar

In today’s market (or any market for that matter) – if you’re not out there networking, making calls, reaching out to your sphere and farm, being PRESENT in your marketplace and even knocking on doors – then you are leaving your success as a real estate agent to chance.  The truth is?  It’s not LUCK — it’s LISTINGS.  And listings are STILL the name of the game.

So what are three things you can do to drive listing inventory in your market? 

Listing Inventory Cards

STEP ONE – SEND:  Use a direct response postcard or flyer to the folks in the hot-turnover neighborhoods or even those that are right on the cusp of turnover.  Let them know that the buying market is HOT and the time to sell is NOW.  Be sure to send any marketing you choose in increments of at least three.  (Remember that 3-7-27 rule – it takes 3 contacts for someone to recognize your name, 7 to put your name with what you do and 27 to become a brand or household name in the minds of the consumer.  Most transactions happen after FIVE contacts.) We’ve got a terrific series that speaks directly the mindset of sellers in this market called our Listing Inventory Series.

STEP TWO – CALL: Here’s where a lot of agents either fall down on the job or lose their muster.  Call people?  Talk to them?  Yikes!  Can it be nerve wracking for some?  Sure.  Will you get ‘No’s”? Absolutely.  But the numbers are in your favor.  If you call enough people, make enough contacts, you’ll get a yes. And that yes can turn into a listing and a listing into a sale and a sale into a commission – so no leaving it to chance.  Make a contact! (Or twenty, or more…)

Here is a sample dialogue  to help you get started:

  • Agent: Hi, my name is _____, and as you may know, our market is on the move and we’ve got more buyers than we have listings.  Have you thought about selling your home now or in the near future? 
  • Seller Question:  How much do you think I could get for my house?
  • Agent Answer (a la Floyd Wickman):  I don’t know, I haven’t seen your house yet, let’s get together!

STEP THREE – SEE:  Don’t knock the idea of old-fashioned door knocking!  Getting out there and visible in the neighborhoods and communities you are eager to service and become a brand name in is just good business.  Why?  It’s personal.  People can put the face with the name.  They can see that you are committed to making an impact and you get a chance to get the real lay of the land.  Door hangers or even shell-printed postcards are a great leave-behind for those who aren’t home – and a nice collateral piece for those who are.

I challenge you to take these three steps to grow your listing inventory, your market share – and your confidence!  Be consistent with it at least once a quarter and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.

Want to learn more about how to drive listing inventory and build a stronger market share?  Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com or call our marketing team today at 866.405.3638!  They’re terrific at helping agents figure out exactly what they need to market themselves in a budget-friendly way! 

Was YOUR Name Drawn?

Wow! A big thanks to all our amazing contestants this past month! We had some terrific entries – and we thank you all so much for sharing your ProspectPLUS.com experiences! If your name wasn’t drawn – no worries!  We’ll choose three MORE winners March 2nd. Congratulations everyone!

Our $250 winner is Scott Wolf‎ who shared, “I have recently returned to my original farm area after an 18-month absence. One of the best ways for me to reacquaint myself and let my sphere know what I was doing was to send out high quality postcards. I choose the jumbo size that emphasized pictures with high quality pictures of my new listings to support my brand promise. Quality over quantity. My farm while using mobile technology more and more are still the paper generation. The new jumbo cards are a good value that has high perceived value with my audience of 1,800 doors in an upscale 55+ community. ProspectsPLUS! is my quick reaction force when I need get a campaign out fast. I have gone from 2 listings to 9 in just 60 days. Paper does work and the various layout designs that the jumbo cards offers is modern, classy and catchy!”

Our $100 winner is Charlie ‎‎Pagan who shared, “I just signed up with them and ordered business cards and I must say, the service thus far is excellent. I got a call from one of their representatives letting me know that my picture was blurry and to kindly forward a new one. I liked that, because she held back my order until such time things were done correctly. Now to me, that’s service. Other companies would have possibly just sent it as is, especially when you have taken advantage of a first-time bonus offer. In this company’s case, they simply made sure that I get what I paid for. I will continue ordering through them and by the way, the prices are excellent as well.”

Our $50 winner is John Fulsaas‎ who shared, “I received an email from Ramona with ProspectsPLUS! after selling a listing in Beaumont, CA. The email wanted to know if I wanted to send postcards announcing the sale to 100 homes nearby for about $70. I went ahead and gave it a try. Later I received a phone call from a homeowner on the same street who wanted me to sell their home. It worked out perfectly!”

Thank you to everyone who entered! Ready to throw your hat in the ring? It’s easy!  Leave your review of your ProspectsPLUS.com product or service on our Google+ Page or our Facebook Page today!  We’ll give away a total of $400 more in ProspectsPLUS! gift cards!  Next drawing is March 2nd!

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

Strategic Marketing Ideas for Strong Agents

by Julie Escobar

As competition grows more fierce, you may find yourself like many agents asking, “What’s my next move?” Savvy sales professionals are negotiating the turn by investing in smart systems and tools that will help them compete long-term in today’s real estate arena. Who will take the lead in both listing and selling homes as we navigate this constantly shifting market? Those who stay strategically focused on one-to-one marketing, negotiating effectively up front, and committing to consistent business development through monthly prospecting.

1. Set Your Standards High: In any market, taking listings that just won’t sell is far worse than having no listings at all. While you may be tempted to take at any price, terms or commission to secure the listing, this is a recipe for failure. Consider instead, raising your standards using a strong, effective tool which spotlights the homeowner’s commitment to getting the home sold in the quickest possible time, with the best price and terms. We call it our Merchandising Review and there are three very successful ways to implement this valuable tool.

First: Make the right mutual decisions at the listing appointment. In all likelihood, throughout your MerchandisingReviewTHUMB
presentation your sellers will have an objection or two regarding terms such as price, commission, etc. Our suggestion is to agreeably shelve objection handling until AFTER you have obtained the signatures for the listing. Then close your appointment by going over the Merchandising Review to make certain everything is in order.

Sample dialogue: “I want to thank you for listing your home with me. Please know that I will do everything in my power to get it sold. To help me do just that, let me take a few minutes to go over our Merchandising Review. I use this the same way pilots use a pre-flight checklist. This list of 18 different seller-controlled factors actually will help generate a quicker sale for the best possible price and terms. What I need from you is a commitment to check off at least eight of these items. Let’s review.” Then simply walk them through the list and negotiate where necessary. If you struggle to get listings priced right or are looking for additional tools to help you handle objections you might hear, you may wish to consider reading 21 Ways to Get Your Listings Priced Right the First Time. 

2.  Get non-selling inventory back on track. Go through your inventory and red flag problem listings. Walk PricePyramidTHUMBthrough the problems using the Merchandising Review and the Five Most Common Mistakes tools. Contact your sellers by phone or visit in person to help them understand those review items that are hindering the sale of their home.

Sample Dialogue: “Mr. and Mrs. Seller, we’ve had your property on the market for ____ days now and we are not getting the results that either of us had hoped for. We have a new tool called the Merchandising Review that helps us identify problem areas, and I’d like to sit down with you to discuss those issues. I believe if we walk through these items we can get your listing back on track and help exact a faster sale for your home. Would tomorrow at 6:00pm be good or would 8:30pm be better?”

3. Data mine for the niche that’s right for you.  By targeting niche markets that are near and dear to your own interests, you’ll be better able to “speak their language” and let your passion for that market segment build the momentum you are looking for.  For example, do you love listing and selling waterfront properties?  Is boating the way you unwind?  Now, it’s easy to find and market to like-minded people and work not only with your sphere — but consumer interest groups that most resonate with you.  That way you are growing your book of business with the kind of folks you are most interested in working with. (And that just makes work, and life, a whole lot more interesting, don’t you think?)

It’s never been easier to do.  

Use Option 2 on our Mailing List page to search for the customer segments you most want to market to:

mailing

  1. Choose High Income Consumers for luxury or investment property.investor
  2. Choose the Lifestyle Interest option for a treasure trove of niche markets such as golfers (golf community property), Tennis enthusiasts (high end home with tennis courts, or communities with tennis centers), Boat owners (waterfront properties), etc.
  3. Look to High Income Renters for high quality first time home ownership options and communities that are high in amenities, low in upkeep.  lifestyle
  4. Choose baby boomers and elderly if working with seniors is your passion.  Very often this will lead to developing powerful, referral relationships with the seniors and their children.
  5.  Choose move up market for those who have been in their homes over nine years and statistically are a good candidate for a move.  Help them list their current home and find their new dream property!
  6. Empty-nesters are a great segment to market for downsizing move upopportunities.  With the right marketing twist, you could end up listing their current home, and helping them purchase their new home.

These market segments are just the tip of the iceberg.  Find the niche that most works for you.  Watch all three videos regarding the mailing options  that are available to help agents find the perfect customers.  From radial searches, to demographic searches to all new Nielsen Prizm Code data, the possibilities are endless.

Whatever strategy you deploy this season, make sure your message is clear and marketing consistent. Call, see or send something to everyone in your base of business at least every 30 days and you will find that your productivity, profitability, referrals and commissions will be on track all year round.

Need help?  Call our marketing team today at 866.405.3638 to put the best systems in place to build your business easily, and cost-effectively. 

To Up Your Game This Year

By Julie Escobar

If ever there was a time to up the ante on your marketing presence, it’s right now. Stakes are high, competition is fierce and anyone eager to be THE resource for consumers in their markets need to bring their A-game and then some.

Here are a few musts to consider:

  1. Get a professional headshot. I know. This one seems like an obvious choice. But take it from a company who produces hundreds of thousands of real estate marketing postcards per week, we see agent photos that just aren’t print quality and reach out to customers to send high resolution shots that show them in their best light.  Oh, and when you’re taking those pictures – SMILE! Studies from photofeeler.com show that people who smiled in their head-shots were considered far more likable and influential than those that didn’t, and slightly more competent. It’s a marketing expense that makes a lot of sense. Your job is to help consumers think of your name and your face first when they think real estate – so put your best FACE forward!
  2. Craft a great bio. On many of our marketing tools, agents have an opportunity to share some “about me” information. You should have a long and short version.  Long for your website, but short and sweet for real estate brochures, flyers and postcards.  Choose your words wisely. For the best balance? Present yourself, your brand, why you do what you do, and what differentiates you – without being too salesy. Then have both versions proof-read before beginning to use them.  This makes it easier when you’re creating your marketing pieces as well as you aren’t trying to come up with something on the fly, which often leads to typos or inconsistent copy.
  3. Pick a brand style that works for you. Too often you see agents who are all over the map in terms of listing inventory snapshottheir marketing. Different styles, colors, messages. While it’s good to test a little, you’ll find better results when sticking to a campaign that has some uniformity.  That’s one of the reasons agents love our series of postcards, which have the same look and feel throughout the series. For example, our popular Listing Inventory Series has the same branding style, with a series of messages that lets potential sellers know that this is a great time to list.  They can send one a month and keep their branding with their sphere or farm consistent to get better results.
  4. Be consistent. We kind of just covered this, but one and done is dead. In fact, it never was a marketing strategy that worked. The key to becoming a brand name is 27 impressions.  Keep showing up, and the Nov-DOM-Free-Reportnext time someone is asked if they know anyone who sells homes, your name will be top of mind!
  5. Don’t forget your contact information. Would you be surprised to learn how many times people do not put their phone number or contact information on their marketing materials, then send thousands of them out and wonder why they don’t get a response? Make sure people know how to reach you. And if you are inviting people to your social media platforms via your marketing, don’t just use the blanket, “Find me on Facebook”.  Actually, give them a unique URL they can go to such as Facebook.com/yourrealestatepage.
  6. Offer items of value. Many of our customers use our Free Reports as Lead Capture offerings on their websites. There are lots to choose from, easily customizable, and they serve multiple purposes.  Use them on your site, at your open houses, in your listing presentations, or as collateral for the popular consumer meet and greets that so many agents are doing today.
  7. Build on what you already have. All those lists you’ve purchased? The ones from your Just Listed postcard orders?  Reuse them! Put those folks on a drip campaign of postcards so they know you’re always in the game.  I recommend a combination of our Neighborhood Update Free Offer Series and updates on your listings such as Neighborhood update postcardsContract Pending and Just Sold. Every 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!
  8. Have some FUN. Real estate is serious business for certain, but you can certainly have some fun with it too. Our Master Marketing Schedule is filled with fun ways to reach out to your sphere and farm and make a noticeable difference! See what’s coming up for the next month.

It’s a great time to be a real estate professional and it’s a great time to tap into ready-made resources that can make your life easier.  To that end, we’re here to answer your questions and get your marketing on-track within a budget that works for you! Call 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.