Monday, December 10, 2018

Putting the Pieces in Place to Out-Brand, Out-Market, and Stand Out in a Geographic Farm

by Julie Escobar

The savvy agents? Are out there in their neighborhoods, and in their communities and in this powerful age of information. Top agents are presenting themselves as the resource they know can and will make a difference in terms of how they make decisions for their families.

So, how do you brand yourself as that resource?

1. Consistency & Content.  Farming a geographical area is a time-tested, proven method for garnering new listings and referrals.  Yet for many agents, the what (what to send, say, create), the when (how often) and the cost (that one speaks for itself) has stopped them from farming consistently.  Maybe a mailing here or there, but nothing that will truly help them become a brand name in a market area.

That’s why we created the Market DominatorSM. We’ve got the ‘what’ and ‘when’ buttoned up for you.  Each month we have two powerful, consumer-centric articles on the front, bright, eye-catching info-graphics, engaging direct response offers, free reports that can be used as fair trade items, fun conversation starters, and a timely agent message.  On the back, we have content-rich articles and ideas that consumers love to share.  All of this in an attention-grabbing 12 x 15 poster that is delivered to EVERY home in the farm area, EVERY month, via the cost-saving Every Door Direct service from the USPS.

2.  Get out of stealth mode.  We recently viewed a video from a powerhouse agent and coach who challenged her coaching members and agents worldwide to get out from behind their computers and out – front and center in the communities they are services.  Social media is an amazing place to speak one-to-many, and develop powerful agent-to-agent referrals and connect with your sphere — but nothing — NOTHING will ever take place of meeting and greeting the folks in the neighborhoods you serve.

Our Dominator customers know that owning a market is like peeling an onion – there are many, many layers to it. Door knocking, canvassing,  Q&A sessions at your local market, coffee shop, or library, open houses, charity drives, school sponsorship participation — all of it helps consumers put your face with your name, your name with your business, and helps brand you as THE community resource they can turn to get information.

3.  Beef up your collateral (and sell yourself).  What do consumers also want to know about the agents they five tipswill choose to help them with one of the biggest financial transactions of their lives?  Your RESULTS.  Fire up those Just Listed and Just Sold postcards – share statistics and testimonials, showcase what makes you unique and how that benefits THEM. Use door hangers, and free reports to extend your reach, and the extra Dominators that are sent to you to show potential sellers how you are going the extra mile to ensure that every home you list is sold as quickly as possible and for the highest price available.

In the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) Channel that folks are tuned into every day – they want to see these two things:  RESOURCES & RESULTS.

National speaker and coach Todd Robertson shared this thought, “As the market heats up the great agents in the country and those on their way to becoming great are very focused on three things:

  1. Qualifying people stronger than ever before
  2. Separating themselves from competition
  3. Having a consistent campaign in place to farm and create passive income for years to come. This is simple. Yet not always easy. Simple because most of your competition will not commit to an area for any real length of time. Simple because we have seen the results of at least 10 percent market share first year. 20 plus percent the second year.

The truth is that it’s not always easy because you have to believe in yourself. Believe in your selling skills and most importantly believe that you deserve to be wildly successful. It all starts there.”

Most agents?  Won’t commit to geographic farming.  “It takes too long.” “It costs too much.”  The two biggest ‘reasons’ for not jumping in.  That’s good news for the agents that do.  It means that they fall into that 93/7 rule.  They will be the 7% of agents ruling their markets while the other 93% continue ‘one-and-done’ marketing or worse, no marketing, just chasing the next deal.  Chasing the next commission is not a fun way to earn a living or live.  Our industry is a treasure trove of opportunity.

It’s one of the few where you have zero caps on how much you can earn or how far you can go regardless of gender, race, religion, geography, history – anything.  It does take a little planning, a little courage, a little consistency, a little skill building, a little stick-to-it attitude, and the right tools.

This month commit to being part of that 7%.  Fire your business up on all cylinders.  Work your sphere, your farm, and your niche – each month — EVERY month.  The results? A career and life that IS fun, exciting, rewarding, and anything you want it to be.

Questions about how to DOMINATE in your market?  Call Todd Robertson at 702-683-1967 or email us today.

Need help building your collateral materials, sending Just Listed/Just Sold postcards, finding the right free reports for your buyers and sellers, or building a better brand for yourself?  

Visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com or give us a call today at 866.405.3638.

 

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 business 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, Content 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 the 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.  They 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 to 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.

 

Start by Answering the Questions Already in the Minds of Consumers

By Julie Escobar

A new month – and a new marketing season are straight ahead — and both buyers and sellers in our markets have been inundated with information regarding the economy and the housing industry on television, in print and on the internet.  Some good information – some misinterpreted, and some just flat out wrong.

What consumers need more than ever is a RELIABLE, TRUSTWORTHY resource to help them best understand how market changes affect them most. What’s my home worth today?  What if I wait a year to sell?  What are interest rates going to do?   Should they sell?  Should they buy?  Should they move up to the next size home or is that a risk?

The questions are many – and the answers are yours for the giving – IF you can capture (and keep) the top-of-mind attention of the folks in your area.

One direct response series that is getting great response for agents is our Free Offer Series.  Sending three over the course of 2-3 months can certainly help you create the top-of-mind awareness and show potential sellers that you are the agent to ask when they have questions.

Consider kicking off this campaign free home market analysis starting with the Market Analysis postcard.   This allows you to spotlight your ability to deliver the information sellers are looking for in a professional way and tap into today’s consumers’ natural desire to search out ‘free’ offers and trusted resources.

Step one:  Login to your free ProspectsPLUS.com account. (Or easily create an account and profile in a matter of minutes. Once your profile is ready – the system will automatically populate your information into all of the 680+ marketing tools on the site.)

Step two:  Select the Market Analysis Postcard.  You can leave as is or customize to suit your marketing style. Click here to watch a video on how to select a postcard series.

Step three:  Add your mailing list or use our mapping tools to create a mailing list. If you need help with mailing lists – call our support team at 866.405.3638 or click here to see all of our comprehensive mailing list solutions.

Step four:  Place your order then track it. It’s that easy! Click here to watch a video on tracking your postcard order.

Making your job easier is our goal.  That’s why we’ve re-engineered the Master Marketing Schedule to offer free offer door hangerstrategic and creative solutions for building your business faster, easier, more affordable and with way less headaches. In fact, if you’re following the Schedule – this week is a great time to get out in those geo farms and start making real connections.  Our Free Offer Door hangers are a great compliment to the Free Offer postcards and the perfect leave behind when you’re door knocking in the market area you most want to dominate.

Putting systems for staying in touch in place don’t have to be tough – or time consuming.  Most of our top customers schedule 15-30 minutes at the beginning or end of every month to focus on what marketing tools they want to go out.  When they choose a campaign, it’s easy — they simply pick the next one in the series, order and get back to their high priority tasks. Some even delegate a member of their team to make it their priority that something is always being sent to their sphere and farm so top of mind awareness is always there.

Kudos to the agents that are working their systems and are willing to share their experiences with others. We so appreciate you all. For example, Cozett shared with us on ResellerRatings, “I like how ProspectsPLUS! puts marketing at my fingertips and then handles the time consuming work of mailing and distributing materials if I need them too.”  Or Jeremy who wrote on our Google+ page, “ProspectPLUS! is a real lifesaver for me. I have been looking around on how to keep in contact with my sellers. I needed more than just a phone call. The postcards are a highlight to my business now. This has also allowed me to start farming a few neighborhoods that I drive through with a more personal touch.”  Or Bradley who wrote on our Facebook Page, “ProspectsPLUS makes it so easy for me to market to not only my sphere but also to my farming areas. In less than 5 minutes I can have all of my postcards ordered and off my plate so I can work on what I do best…selling homes!”

We’d love to hear from you too! In fact, give us a shout out with a review now on our Google+ Page and you’ll be entered to win one of our monthly prizes! Wait until you see what’s in store for July!

Have questions or need help developing the marketing plan that’s right for you?  Call us today at 866.405.3638 or email us at pmc@prospectsplus.com.  We’re here to assist!

 

Six Answers You Need to Know

By Julie Escobar

With markets and competition heating up this summer, geographic farming is more relevant, and results-producing than ever. It’s what is differentiating top agents from lower producers, and what is setting some apart as leaders in both their marketplace – and in market share.

To learn more, we asked Todd Robertson about what he is seeing trend across North America right now. Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q:  Todd – there was a time when agents got away from geographic farming but now it’s back stronger than ever – can you shed some light on that?

A:  Here’s what we’ve found:  With all the ‘noise’ out there now, social media, Zillow, Trulia, email, spam filters, online ads – a lot of home buyers and sellers aren’t responding to the noise. Yet, a LOT of agents are still hiding behind their computers. We know that 95% of people check their mail every day – and direct mail is standing out from the ‘online’ noise.  It used to be that farming was expensive. Mailings were expensive. Now with technology and new USPS tools, it’s much less so, and with most agents still not in that space – those who do jump in – WIN.

Q:  We’ve all seen agents who get frustrated because they want instant results – and farming just isn’t that kind of marketing.  What do you say to agents who want instant gratification?

A:  The truth is we are in an instant gratification mode. We’re looking to the lottery for a quick million, fast food for an instant meal, and whatever ‘golden ticket’ it might take to unlock the key to right-now success.  But what I like to share with agents is the hunter vs. farmer mindsets.  The hunter is great at getting on the phone, shaking the trees, finding those expireds, FSBOs, SOI leads, anything that will generate business today or this week.  Where the farmer isn’t crazy about all that possible rejection, so they slowly and surely cultivate an area with direct mail and email marketing.  After 25 years in this business we do know two things though:  Patience and persistence will always win and combining the two skills of hunting and farming are your best means of generating long term success at a whole other level. You do have to be “all-in” – but it is so worth it.

Q:  In your talks and webinars you speak about putting ALL the pieces in place – can you share more about what you mean by that?

A:  Well this kind of goes back to my last answer.  You really CAN dominate a market area and out-pace any competition if you are willing to streamline your practices – and do it all.  Not one thing. Not the easy things. But all of it.  Direct mail. Just Listed. Just Sold. Door knocking. Aggressive open houses. All of it – and not just once but really adhere to that 3-7-27 rule of marketing I’ve shared in the past where you’re continuously making impressions and staying top of mind because the competition, for the most part, is not going to be as committed to doing it all. If you are? You win.

Q:  Follow up is a critical part of marketing, but so many agents are reluctant to walk their farm or pick up the phone.  What’s your best advice to get over that hurdle?  

A:  Well, the tough advice is that if your mindset is ‘I’m afraid or unwilling to prospect’ then perhaps this is not the profession for you.  If we look at the old 80/20 rule which says that 20% of the agents do 80% of the business, we know that those numbers are now outdated. In today’s world it’s 93/7.  7% of the agents are doing 93% of the business.  The reason lies right here – prospecting. Following up.  I like to tell my audiences, “If the game is scheduled, and you’ve chosen to play – you might as well win.”  So if you are in this business to help people – then remember, you are paid in direct proportion to how many people you help, and how good you are at that help. So don’t just put your toe in the pool – jump in.  Don’t be that agent who tried something once, or twice, or three times and throws up their hands and says, ‘this doesn’t work’.  Stick with it. The year is half over.  Don’t fall into that – it is what it is mindset where it is all right to be average, or less than your goals.  You get paid in proportion to how many you help. Get out there and play hard.  If you get a no, pick up the phone again, and again.  It’s a numbers game, but more than that, it’s a people game. Find the next person to help.

Q:  This is a busy time for agents – and many are so busy working IN the business, they don’t stop to work ON their business.  What can you share with our readers regarding blocking time so that nothing falls through the cracks?

A:  It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae, I know. The feel-good work. The paper shuffling. The non-confrontational. Top agents though know that the highest and best use of their time is doing three things: prospecting, presenting, and closing.  The rest they find solutions for. Automated marketing. Virtual Assistants. Database management systems. Marketing systems.  They are effective time managers – that’s the level you need to strive for.

Q:  The Market Dominator is hard to ignore when homeowners get it in their mailbox – can you tell us a little about the science of its size, content, and calls to action?

A:  Well it’s the largest piece allowed legally through the USPS system.  It’s got 100% impression rate. It’s coated on one side, full color and on great paper.  Most importantly, it’s filled with the kind of content people want to read.  Not salesy – hyped commercial stuff. But real world content. And real world calls to action.  It’s relevant and fun and ‘share-able’ for people.  And it gets the job done.  I just heard from one of our customers who has done 16 transactions this year so far, three directly as a result of the Dominator.  Take a look and let me know if you have questions. It’s a powerful tool for agents who are really interested in dominating their own geographic farm.

Thanks so much for your time Todd.  For those interested in learning more about the Market Dominator, you can watch Todd’s informative video here.  For questions, give Todd a call at 866-405-3638.  Now, go out there and dominate in YOUR favorite geographic farm!  

Left in the Year — How Will You Spend Them?

by Julie Escobar

We are more than halfway through the year. Just better than two hundred days left. What you do now will determine what kind of holidays you’ll have. Whether you’ll hit those goals you set in January. Whether you’ll finish strong and kick off the new year with ease. So, what’s it going to be? Let’s take a look at some ways you can get back on track or keep on track:

  1. Review your SMART goals weekly. Create a means to measure where you are in relation to your goal. Use a chart, a checklist, or an integrity partnership to review your progress. When you wait months or an entire year to review – it’s impossible to know whether you are on track or off. Top agents always know their numbers, always have a visual of the goals that they are passionate about and are always re-calibrating their time, tools, training and activities to ensure they achieve the goals they set.
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Relevant 
    • Time bound
  2. Get out of stealth mode. The idea that the business will just come to you in today’s market is false. There is considerable competition so get out from behind the desk or computer and get out into the markets in which you want to build market share. Knock on doors. Meet the neighbors. Leave branded collateral pieces at local professional offices and waiting rooms where possible. (Think doctor’s offices, car dealerships, etc.)  Host events. Ask questions. Sponsor sports teams. Donate the bounce house at the neighborhood event. Show that you are the face of real estate in your area.
  3. Reach out to your sphere. If you’re not touching base with everyone in your sphere at least twice a year, then you are leaving money on the table. We know statistically that one in twelve will result in business or referral every year. But NOT if you don’t stay in touch. Many agents use holiday cards every month with a message on the back to keep connected. Others choose newsletters or content cards as a monthly “touch”. Whatever you choose, be sure you are consistent. It’s one of the best things you can do to build and grow your referral base.
  4. Never neglect your neighborhood farm.  Your competition won’t be and they’ll take market share wherever they can find it.  If you’ve got an area that you want to dominate in, consider our Market Dominator system, or using the Listing Inventory Series to stay in touch every month. Top of mind awareness is crucial in today’s market. Attend every neighborhood function and be sure you are walking your farm with content-rich collateral at least twice per year.
  5. Add at least five people to your marketing list per week.  Always be in networking mode and always look for ways to grow your database and sphere. Committing to adding five people per week means you’ll add 260 to your sphere. To help you put that in context, I used our SOI calculator to show you what that looks like. I entered $200,000 as an annual goal, and an average commission of $6,000 – which told me that to realize that goal I’d need 33 transactions. Using the national stats that 66% of business comes from an agent’s SOI, I calculated that I needed 264 people in my SOI to realize my goal.  You can calculate how many you need here. 
  6. Be consistent. I can’t stress this one enough. One and done marketing has never, ever earned anyone a good living. If you’re not touching base monthly or at least quarterly, you are leaving the door open for your competition to create the top of mind awareness that you could be earning. That’s like handing away future commissions to other agents. To succeed at high levels, you’ve got to stay on top of your marketing game and stay present in your market place. Using smart time management and done-for-you marketing tools can help.

Remember we are here to help. Our company is steeped in real estate experience and we train our marketing team to know exactly what agents just like you need to succeed and excel. We want to help you make the most of the last 200 days of the year — and every day after that as well. Visit www.prospectsplus.com today or call our team at 866.405.3638 to learn more.