Saturday, March 23, 2019

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!

How to Use Lifestyle Interest Data to Attract New Real Estate Customers

As we kick into high gear for the spring season, we wanted to revision our training webinar-on-demand featuring Lifestyle Interest Data.  We were thrilled to share some how-to’s, answer some terrific questions, and even spotlight how simple it is to build a list of prospects that you can use again and again to work with the customers you most want to attract.  Using specialty data to target consumers such as boaters, golfers, tennis enthusiasts, do-it-yourself home improvement fans and more – and then expertly matching your marketing messages to those data segments is a great way to find the real estate hand raisers in your market.  For those of you who missed it or just want a quick review – we’ve got it on demand for you to watch below!

Want to learn more about putting this marketing strategy in place? Contact our marketing experts at 866.405.3638 today! 

 

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!