Monday, June 24, 2019

Row of new residential houses in suburban neighborhood

It Happened on My Street

A Guest Blog by Brian Fox, Benutech, Inc.

It happened on my street… and I would not be surprised if you have seen it occur on yours. A for sale sign goes in the ground… and presto –  soon after, more for sale signs start popping up. It’s an interesting phenomenon, but it seems to hold true in markets from coast to coast. For those reasons, you hear top real estate coaches in the industry advise their students to, “Find areas where homes are selling and market into those areas!” It works. It’s a big informational edge that increases agents marketing success rates.

So let’s take a moment and look at this turnover rate idea a bit closer. Here’s what happened on my street: no properties had been listed on my street for more than a year. Then a property went on the MLS market in June of 2015. By October, two more homes on my street went on to MLS priced similarly. All of them closed by January 2016, so in back to back months (March and April of 2016) two more homeowners on my street decided to list their properties for sale. Coincidence?

Maybe… But that’s five homes for sale on my street in the past year, when there were none listed the previous 12 months.  Not only that, but within my subdivision, there is not another street that has had more than two homes listed or sold within the same time period of time. Heck, I have even entertained the thought of selling my home at the prices homes are selling at on my street! The sign posts have even got me thinking.

So in my opinion, along with the opinions of those high profile real estate coaches, it’s true… when folks seedominator June3 sign posts in the ground it gets them thinking… “If I could get that much for my home, I would sell”. Or, “If that home can sell for that price, and it’s smaller than mine, then mine could sell for much more…”  So the bottom line:  Home sales in a community seem to get the selling ball rolling!  For a real estate agent, that’s a very good thing.

The only problem with turnover rate though is tracking it. There has not been an easy way to locate high rates of turnover in communities. Even if your title company or an assistant that you employ was willing to help you crunch the numbers to find the higher turnover rate areas… it’s time consuming.

That’s the reason we added the Tract Utility tool to Benutech, Inc.’s ReboGateway product.This tool instantly groups homes together by FIVE different property groupings, and displays the groups from highest turnover or sales rate to lowest rate in seconds. That’s SECONDS, not days!  Not only is Tract Utility providing quick, targeted results, but it’s also grouping homes in groups small enough for agents to easily identify and utilize.  Tract Utility breaks geographic areas down from Census Tracts to all the way to the housing tracts that homes are built into.  What’s the most popular grouping? It’s been the “Postal Carrier Route” grouping, which is the same group of homes that the US Postal Service uses when delivering ‘Every Door Direct Mailings’ (EDDM).  EDDM is the least expensive way to deliver mail, which cuts the price of mailing down to 1/3 the price of a postage stamp per door.

So as a real estate agent, where should you start? Right here:  Successful farming is created by repetitive listing inventory 2actions in the farm area. You can’t plant a seed (Mailer #1) and expect to reap large results in farming. It’s not enough care, not enough action to create a successful farm.  Successful farms are created with regular, repetitive contact at properties in your farm.  In crop farming the repetitive actions would be water and nutrients.  In real estate, its repetitive actions of mailers, door knocks, phone calls and the delivery of valuable useful information to homeowners that creates large crops of buyers and sellers. That’s why we love working with and partnering up with our friends from ProspectsPLUS.com. We provide the data and they provide the branding tools such as the impressive Market Dominator. It’s the perfect way to brand yourself in a farm area, and make yourself a known entity and celebrity to the homeowners, by showing you care about them and the community.

But now let’s talk about technology and farming. Farms can be created in any geographic area… but farming in all geographic areas are NOT the same. Not even close. You could choose to farm in the dry, rocky soil of the desert… and if you use tons of water, shade, and constant care, you may be able to create a successful farm.  But if you are smart, and chose an area of soft, fertile soil, a mild climate, in an area with lots of available water… wouldn’t you have a much better chance of creating a highly successful farm? Of course!  The place you choose to begin your farming is a very important decision. The correctly chosen area will result in more successful farms that are much easier to create. So select the area that is right for you and your farming.

So don’t just choose an area to farm that is closest to where you live or work – it may be dry, rocky soil in the desert… (and so 1990’s style of real estate farming).  Instead, you’ll want to crunch the numbers to find the community that has a perfect combination of…

  • Lack of solid presence of any one agent
  • high turnover rate
  • Solid sales prices
  • High homeowner saturation (as opposed to a large renter population)

This way, when you are ready to start investing in your geo farm, you know that you’ve got a market segment that has the highest potential for success.  You can do this on your own with the help of your title company and spreadsheets or acquire access to www.rebogateway.com and use the Tract Utility to find fertile farming areas in your neighborhood. Use that valuable information to identify the top postal carrier routes, or top housing tracts with the highest turnover rates nearest you.  Then begin your farming in these hand-picked farm areas using direct response tools such as the Market Dominator, Listing Inventory Series, or Neighborhood Update postcards from ProspectsPLUS.com, and a smart strategy of follow up via canvassing, door hangers, and phone calls, and you’ll be on track to build a successful farm that will continue to reward you with listings and referrals for years to come.

Join us for this week’s webinar “How to Pick the Perfect Geo Farm”, Thursday at 1pm Eastern. Register here.  

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Interested in finding out of if the Tract Utility tools and ReboGateway is right for you? Call the ReboGateway support team today at 866-887-0206 or email them today to set up a one on one demonstration at sales@benutech.com.

Interested in learning more about the ProspectsPLUS.com tools such as the Market Dominator to earn a 20% market share in the geo farm of your choice? Contact our team today at 866-405-3638 or visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com.

Row of residential houses in suburban neighborhood

Insights From ReboGateway

By Julie Escobar

We just had an amazing and informative webinar with our friend Brian Fox from Benutech and ReboGatewaybest carrier routes that got a lot of agents buzzing about using a BETTER way to leverage EDDM®.

For those of you who are new to the concept, EDDM® is a system provided by USPS that allows you to literally get in EVERY door in a carrier route for a low postage cost of 18.3 cents per piece – and you have the ability to send out marketing pieces of all sizes, which is big plus when you choose a BIG size!

What we’ve found is that one of the toughest challenges is deciding where to start.  Almost daily we are asked by customers, “What’s the best way to pick a carrier route?” Fortunately, our friends over at Benutech figured that part out for us!

In this webinar you’ll learn how they can help you pinpoint not only which carrier routes have the highest NeighborhoodSpecialist_11x8.5_FullBleed_Workingturnover rate, but also those with the highest dollar homes, and largest percentage of homeowner to deliverables. That’s huge for agents, because up to now, most agents have chosen carrier routes more based on location to their office, or the neighborhood they live in, or just randomly – without really knowing which would have a higher probability of yielding the best results.  Now, they can be much more strategic in their approach to carrier routes.neighborhood update series

The great thing about EDDM® is that you don’t need a list – it literally gets in every door.  However, the savvy agent knows that marketing should be layered. So they can also pull the list from their ReboGateway system to add additional marketing touches such as Just Listed postcards, Just Sold postcards, Open House cards and more.

To learn what our customers top picks for Every Door Direct Mail®, we asked our Director of Business property showcaseDevelopment Ramona Williams who works with our customers every day.  She shared, “I’d say, by far, the most popular piece hands-down is the Panoramic Postcard featuring a new listing.  It’s sleek, beautiful, markets the new listing and is a great way to showcase the agent’s results as well.  Secondly, we’re seeing a lot of agents who are using a little bigger piece to spotlight multiple listings on one mailer.  It might be for a series of open houses or just to showcase that the agent is the turn-to person to call for listings in an area.  And third, we’re seeing agents use panoramic postcards featuring direct response offers such as a Free CMA, List of Homes, Consultation, etc.”

Some links to get you started:

Use promo code EDDM10 to save 10% on your www.prospectsplus.com EDDM® order! 

To save on ReboGateway use promo code PROSTUA (make sure it’s all capitalized).

This promo code will provide ReboGateway annual for $399.95 with the Tract Utility (turnover tool) provided for FREE (saving $120) via the Promo Code.

If you are thinking of using this powerful tool, consider choosing just one or two routes to start.  With the average carrier route running anywhere from 300-500 homes, it just seems like a manageable area for most agents to not only connect with – but have the ability to follow up on.

And follow up is important, as is consistency.  If budget is an issue, then you may wish to choose a smaller route and be consistent in sending to that route often. One-shot mailings – even ones that saturate a market area are not normally very effective.  The agents that are seeing the best results from this system are sending every one to two months for at least six months.

Watch the video:

If you’re interested in learning more about the tracking data from Benutech and ReboGateway, call them today at 866-887-0206 for a free demonstration of the data that is available in YOUR area.

If you are a real estate pro and you’d like to learn more about what EDDM® tools we can help you with, give us a call at 1.866.405.3638 today.   

Real Estate Agent Success

Insights from the Front Line with Ramona Williams

By Julie Escobar

When it comes to knowing EXACTLY what real estate professionals, and specifically our ProspectsPLUS!
customers want and need to grow their businesses in today’s market, I knew that there was one person who would be perfect to interview. My closest friend and always one of the smartest people in the room, our Director of Business Development, Ramona Williams.  With both an MBA and more thirty years of experience working with real estate agents and brokers, she’s the go-to resource for insights and ideas.

Here’s what we learned:

Q:  You are on the phones with customers every day, where do you think agents are needing the most help in terms of marketing their businesses and their listings?

A:  Consistency – hands down. That’s honestly where most agent’s marketing breaks down.  One and done listing inventory snapshotmarketing doesn’t work, never has and never will.  Secondly, what hurts agents is having no strategy at all.  That’s not a new problem of course. That’s historically where agents fail to grow their businesses, and why so many don’t make it.  Unfortunately, the majority of agents try lots of little things, including whatever the “shiny new idea” is in the office at the moment and never commit to anything consistently.  The result is they end up all over the place in terms of the message they are sending out into their market, and they’ll actually spend considerably more money trying every new thing that comes along than they would if they just put a solid, strategic plan of tested direct marketing that works in place and stuck to it.  Consistently sending branded, direct response marketing every 21-45 days to a sphere and farm is still the best means of driving results in our industry.

Q:  We’re seeing a huge rise in agents using EDDM® as a means to strategically market for less – what is your take on that and what advice do you have for others eager to do the same?

A:  I think Every Door Direct Mail® is a terrific way for agents to cover a large geographic area because of the Dominator April 16lower postage costs.  It makes it really affordable for agents to get back to those basics like working a geographic farm.  What I really like about seeing agents return to geo-farming is that it helps them focus their marketing efforts. For a long while we saw agents just chasing the next deal. They’d follow internet leads wherever they took them – sometimes driving hours to take a listing.  EDDM helps them to find a geographic market area that makes sense for them and literally get in every door. When used consistently, it creates a much more predictive business and income model than constantly chasing new business.  Here’s what else I can tell you – the great agents get that. They know that it’s not only OK to be in control of their marketing and business, it’s a must if you want to create a consistently growing business with commissions and referrals you can count on.  I think so much of the time you see agents who look at the business of real estate as risky to start with or unpredictable because it’s commission based.  So their mindset is that their business is supposed to be all over the place, or unpredictable as well.  Savvy agents know that real estate is a business and can be a very lucrative one if they treat is like it is and work a plan.

Q:  What product do you see the most demand for in today’s market?

A:  I’d say in most areas of the country inventory is still historically low, so agents are looking for any vehicle that can help them get listings.  So we’re seeing a lot of EDDM, Just Listed postcards and Just Sold postcardsjl js cards (which are great for pulling double duty – marketing the listing and the agent), our Market Dominator, Listing Inventory cards, FSBO and Expired tools, and our Neighborhood Update/Free Offer cards. The last take a little more work to input the listing data, but it’s what consumers want to see, and they make direct response offers, so they work.  Again, it’s getting back to taking control of your marketing.

We are also seeing an uptick in agents struggling with pricing listings correctly and that’s where your eBook 21 Ways to Get Your Listing Priced Right the First Time (Despite the Seller’s Objections) is a terrific tool that’s really affordable and filled with the kind of objection handlers agents need today.

Q:  You and I go way back in this business – we won’t say how far!  How do you think the market has changed and what do you think agents can do to best get in front of those changes and be competitive?

A:  You know, surprisingly, it really hasn’t changed all that much.  Our business is and always be cyclical.  What is different, of course, are the amount of technology options agents have and how many different organizations are selling to them.  Many of which are amazing and game-changing solutions for agents, no doubt. It does, however, make it really easy for agents to take their eye off the ball and look for that “magic pill” that will skyrocket them to success.  While that’s understandably tempting, the keys to being the top in your field is the stay focused, build inventory, price listing right, have a strategic plan, and find areas you really enjoy working and stay the course.

Q:  Excellent advice! You work with top producers and high volume teams quite a bit as our Director of Business Development.  What are some factors from a marketing perspective do you think they deploy that allow them to continuously rise to the top?

A:  Much like we just talked about, top teams and top agents don’t roll the dice with their results. They build their businesses exponentially by putting systems in place so things don’t fall through the cracks and understand and implement the power of consistent marketing.  In other words, they don’t wait and they don’t shy away from marketing at high levels.  They prioritize immediate lead generation, but they also have systems that allow them to build their brand and their businesses long term.  They are also typically service-minded professionals.  They take excellent care of their customer base, and communicate effectively and often with their sphere and farm.  That’s smart business.

Q:  Awesome. Any last words of wisdom for the readers?

A:  Well I guess I would say that this is truly a great industry where people can make an excellent, lucrative living that is relatively affordable to get into with a strong return on investment.  I would tell them to be strategic, consistent and be mindful of who you model yourself after.  You and I have both seen, countless times, agents who have been in this business 3, 4, 5 – even 10 years or more in this industry and have never put a sphere of influence database together.  While some may do all right at that, it makes you really wonder where COULD their business be if they had put that basic but so important piece in place? That’s a lot of missed opportunity and money left on the table.  I’d challenge agents to not do the same.  Get back to the basics.  Have a plan. Use strategic, consistent marketing (both in terms of timing and branding) to build your inventory, price them right, follow up, and take care of your book of business and your farm.

As always, you’re a tremendous source of advice for today’s professionals. What’s great for our customers to know is that you’ve done such an amazing job of both training and managing our support and marketing teams that they have incredible skills and insights as well and are wonderfully adept at helping agents and brokers figure out the best plans for them, and helping them strategically implement those plans every day.  Kudos to you for that!  Thanks for sharing!

If you’d like to connect with a member of Ramona’s team, you can call them at 866-405-3638 or email us at pmc@prospectsplus.com.  They are eager to help make your job – and your life a whole lot easier!

business and office concept - businessman and businesswoman trying to connect puzzle pieces in office

A Winning Combination to Find Real Estate Hand-Raisers

By Julie Escobarlifestyle interst

What makes people sit up and take notice of your marketing? When it speaks directly to them.  Now, there is a powerful new way to do just that for specialty niche markets.  You may have seen our recent posts regarding specialty data lists that are now available where agents are able to search by selects such as age,
income level, and length of residency.  Now, there is the ability to drill down even further to include lifestyle interests such as boating, golfing, do-it-yourself fans, health and wellness etc.

What that means is if you are an agent that loves to work with folks with those interests and specialize in health wellness3golf communities and waterfront properties with docks?, your job just got a whole lot easier.  We’ve created an entire series with a set of three postcards for each demographic to make connecting a whole lot easier.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Login to www.prospectsplus.com.
  2. Head over to our Specials Page to grab your money-saving promo codes for the month.golf your game
  3. Click on our New Series – Lifestyle Interest Postcards (look for the purple starburst).
  4. Pick a postcard design for the lifestyle segment that most resonates with you. We currently have boaters, golfers, tennis enthusiasts, Do it Yourself (DIY) Living, and the all new Health & Wellness versions! In the coming months you’ll find new series for Arts, Aviation, Gardening fans, RV enthusiasts, and Equestrian. We’ll have at least 3 cards per interest to start so that you can use as a three-month campaign to your new list.
  5. Customize your card however you like!
  6. Click on the button that says Click to Start Mailing List, boaterthen click on the Purchase list option. Next, use the Demographic Search function, select the geographic area you want to target, then click on Lifestyle Interests. In the next screen, choose the segment that you want to target, then click search.  It will populate as many records as you would like to choose for that area.  Choose your desired amount of records and save your list.
  7. Apply your promo code and check out!
  8. Put a reminder in your calendar to take a few minutes at the first week of the next few months to send the next card in the series to the same list.
  9. Follow up with these VIPs.

The more you can resonate with a prospective customer, the higher your chances are at finding the hand-raisers who are ready, willing, and able to either work with you – or refer work to you.  Matching your messaging is one powerful way to help you do that.

We recently hosted a webinar on the topic – you can watch it on demand below!

Got questions?  Call our marketing team today at 866-405-3638. They are there to help!