Sunday, July 22, 2018

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. 

(It’s More Than Just Money!)what you lose by not staying in touch

By Julie Escobar

We frequently share the BENEFITS of building and maintaining a salable book of business or sphere-of-influence such as knowing where your next commission is going to come from, developing long-term friendships and relationships, solid referrals you can count on, etc.  What we don’t usually talk about is the flip side of that coin.  What is it COSTING you when you DON’T stay in touch and follow up with your sphere or farm?

What if ONE prospective seller or buyer fails to call you when they are ready to sell or buy because they ‘forgot’ you were in real estate since you didn’t stay top of mind?  Because you didn’t follow up when you said you would?  Because you stayed in stealth mode, waiting for the phone to ring?  Because you didn’t create a database to manage your lists, so they simply slipped through the lack of system?

We know that on average, top agents get more 66% of their business (or more) from their sphere.  (People who know you, like you, trust you, and you’re top of mind with.)  We also know that 1 in 12 will deliver a transaction or referral per year on average.  So let’s run SIMPLE numbers using our SOI calculator

If I wanted to make $200,000 per year in real estate and my average commission was $6,000 that would mean I would need AT LEAST 33 transactions in a year (plus whatever your fall-through rate is) to reach that goal.  If 66% of that is coming from my sphere – that means I can count on 22 of those transactions coming from the people I am staying in touch with. If 1 in 12 are sending me that business, then I’ll need at least 264 in my sphere to hit the numbers.

The reverse of that is this…22 commissions LOST. That’s $132,000.  But it’s even more than that-right?  Because let’s face it, if good news travels fast, bad news travels faster-doesn’t it? So, for every broken promise, lack of follow up, or poor customer experience you provide, that can mean a loss of not just a customer, but every referral they might send your way.  Add social media in the mix, “don’t use Agent X because they don’t follow through” – and you’ve got a slippery slope that’s tough to recover from.

  1. Commission loss per seller or buyer? _____________ (Average commission)
  2. Loss of referral?  ______________ (Average commission x let’s just say 2 referrals)
  3. Loss of re-list and future sale? _____________ (Average commission x average homeowner moves – lists, sells, and buys new – every 9 years)
  4. Loss of marketing dollars spent on those sellers and buyers not recaptured? ________________

Lastly, loss of reputation as a turn-to, stand-up, get-the-job-done agent.  That’s really too much to calculate, isn’t it? And that’s not YOU anyway!  You’re the stand-up agent-right?  Besides, staying top-of-mind is an easy, and affordable investment.  Remember that SEND-CALL-SEE + NETWORK approach I’ve shared in the past.

Start with how many you need in your sphere by heading over to our Sphere of Influence Calculator.  

SEND – let’s take our example from above – if I needed to stay in touch with my sphere of 264 customers listing-inventoryevery 30 days to stay visible, (and help earn that $132,000) – and I wanted to send a standard sized postcard first class, that would be 62¢ per card  or $163.68 per month.  Or you could choose jumbo cards, or newsletters, our Dominator, or even handwritten cards – or better still a combination of all of the above. See what your budget allows and start somewhere, but be consistent every 30-45 days.

CALL – you should call your customers every three months.  If you break down that 264 number over 12 weeks — that means you just have to call 22 per week to reach everyone.  Easy FEB-Dominator-FRONT-Largepeasy!

SEE – you should see your customers at least two times a year.  Many agents host open houses, holiday events, or even neighborhood block parties (with sponsors for each) which gives them a chance to see many customers at once.  Take that top 20% of your list – the ones who consistently send you business – and be sure to spend some one on one time with them.  Take them to lunch.  Drop by a gift. Deliver tickets to the movies for their family.  Our Master Marketing Schedule has some terrific ways to creatively connect each month.

NETWORK – In today’s hyper-connected world, networking has to be part of the equation. From social media to joining local groups, to developing a mastermind of like-minded people to share with — networking is a key source of knowledge AND referral business.

Don’t lose any more dollars, branding, or reputation to lack of connectivity.  You are your business.  The connection you have with each and every one in your sphere will determine whether they stay a client (and a referral source) or whether you take a loss.

Need help? Contact our team at 866.405.3638 today.

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Tracking on a Tech Business Chart Art

Taking the Guesswork Out of Real Estate Marketingtrack it

By Julie Escobar

You’ve got to love technology right?  As real estate professionals in today’s competitive world, every marketing step counts – and every marketing dollar is important.  We get that.  That’s why we put systems in place to track 100% of all postcard and mailing orders.  That way, you know what’s been delivered, when there’s an issue and exactly when you can start following up on your important real estate marketing mailing.

Here’s a quick video to show you how it works:

As you kick your marketing and momentum into high gear – here are four things you should know:

1.       Track My Mail is a Resource You Can Trust.  We know that every dollar counts and you want to know that your marketing is not only being sent, but is being delivered.  We want the same.  Every time you place an order, you will be sent a link when that order is shipped so you can track your mail every step of the way. When we deliver it to the post office, when and where it’s routed, and when it gets delivered.  That way you’ve got total confidence that your marketing is working for you. There’s no extra cost, no fuss, no questions.  We’ve got you covered.

2.       There are LOTS of options available.  Marketing is a big decision for agents today, and budgets are a jl-cards-2giant factor.  We’ve got tools that can match any budget, and can help you reach as far or as limited a target as you are comfortable with.  From Every Door Direct options that allow you to blanket entire geographic areas, to Just Listed/Just Sold Postcards which are a foundation for any real estate marketing plan, to the collateral pieces you need for fair trade items, blog fodder, consumer friendly website downloads and presentation content and more.  We can work with you one-on-one to meet your budget and extend your reach with ease.

3.       By real estate professionals for real estate professionals.  With our organization, you’ll know that your marketing is being written and produced by people who have long ties and experience in this industry we love.  We’re constantly watching market trends so we can keep you on the cutting edge when it comes to always having tcommunitynewsnovthumbsfront4he right piece for the right person at the right time.  It’s the difference – that makes all the difference.

4.       Totally editable.  We get that creating is HARD and clicking is EASY.  That’s why we try to do as much of the ‘heavy lifting’ as possible so that when you choose your marketing materials  – be they real estate postcards, newsletters, flyers, brochures, or even kits – you don’t HAVE to change a thing if you don’t want to.  You can simply have our system apply your contact and profile information and go – but if you want?  You can totally change whatever you like.  Change the words. The images. Upload your own piece even.  Flexibility is key in today’s busy world.  You have our commitment to continuously make that an easy solution.

Get started today!

We know that a successful agent is a busy agent.  And time – is really of the essence.  So giving you the options, materials, resources and support you need  is our top priority.  Call us today at 866.405.3638 and speak to one of our marketing professionals about building your book of business this year. We’ve got just what you need to succeed.

Then Putting the Who, What, and When Together

By Julie Escobar

As we head into the final months of the year, a lot of agents are already wisely getting into planning mode. One sticking point that stumps a lot of real estate professionals is building the right marketing lists to fuel their pipeline of business.  Let’s take a look at some simple strategies to put into place:

Sphere, Farm, Niche – it’s the real estate agent’s version of lather, rinse, and repeat.  Success in this business stems from staying in touch, staying positioned, and top of mind for the folks in all three.  I’m often asked by agents, “Where do I start?” The obvious is ‘the sphere’, aka – your sphere of influence or book of business.

Now, if I had a dollar for every agent that said ‘no” when asked if they had ever taken the time to actually put their sphere (those people that already know you, like you, trust you, and would do business with you) into a database, I could buy a very large piece of property – like an island or something! So don’t let yourself fall into THAT category! Savvy agents understand that their best customers, are the ones they’ve built and nurtured relationships with consistently.  Who should be in in your sphere?  Family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, past clients – and all those folks whose lives you touch and touch yours back. businessbase

Sphere:  For a list of 250 people that SHOULD be in your book of business, download a pdf of our BusinessBASETM at no cost today.  Then make THIS the week you make putting YOUR sphere into a working, viable, referral-generating database.  Need help inputting all the data?  There are lots of college students home for the summer already that would be perfect for that kind of task.  Or hire a Virtual Assistant for the project.  Your highest and best use of time is prospecting, presenting, and closing – so gather up the data – and delegate it to someone to make it happen.

Four great marketing pieces for your sphere:

  1. Holiday postcards – there’s something every month that can be sent as a friendly hello.
  2. Recipe cards – many agents swear by these as customer ‘keepers’.
  3. Newsletters – these powerful tools are perfect for connecting with your sphere.
  4. Content cards – these are content-rich, consumer-friendly postcards filled to the brim with valuable information that people love.

Farm:  Pick an area – but not just ANY area.  I asked Coach Todd Robertson for a little how-to advice for map my mail dataagents on choosing the right farm area for them.  He shared, “I work with a lot of agents to help them really fine tune what area they want to market.  Even if you find a geographic farm that you think works for you location wise with commission-friendly price ranges, you still need to be mindful of two other factors:  The turn-over rate, and the competition.  Ideally, we want to help position you to receive a 20% market share in a geo farm. If you start in a farm where another agent already has that or higher, you’re going to work much harder and have to be at it longer to see the results you’re seeking.  Finding an area where any one agent has less than 10% market share is preferable, or if you see an area where a previously aggressive agent has slowed or stopped their marketing.  In terms of turnover rate, ideally you want a one that is at least 10-15%.  You can easily determine the turnover rate by dividing the number of homes in the farm by the number of homes which have sold.”  That’s a great starting point.  So take a snapshot of your market area – look at the neighborhoods that may fit that criteria close to you, then use our MapMyMailSM system to easily capture mailings lists from those areas.  You can choose a radial search by address, or choose to search by zip code or counties. Talk to your broker, look at your options – then map out your marketing list! Once you have that – then remember to stay CONSISTENTLY in touch with these folks – month after month.    For a great read and more tips from Todd – read The Smart Scoop on Geographic Farming.

Three great tools for connecting with your farm:

  1. Neighborhood Update/Free Offer series: People want two things: to know the agent they work with can get results – and that they have the resources they need.  These cards present you as the agent with both!
  2. Listing Inventory Series: These postcards speak to the mindset of potential sellers with the right questions and direct response offers.
  3. The Market Dominator: For agents serious about dominating a geographic farm and earning a 20% market share.  This powerful, direct-response piece is 12×15 and attention grabbing.  It also takes advantage of Every Door Direct Mail, so the cost is even more affordable.

Niche:  Top agents don’t stop at just marketing to a sphere and farm. They specialize in a demographic that resonates with them.

Here are some ideas for working a niche:pp demographic search data

  • Investors: Use our MapMyMailSM – choose the demographic search option, then custom, then choose records with a household income of $150,000 or higher.  You can also look for REI or REIA websites to learn more about real estate investors.   Use our Investor Series postcards to reach out to these lists each month.
  • FSBOS & Expireds: There are great services such as LandVoice that offer data for FSBOs & Expireds in market areas all across North America.  Use our 7 Series for FSBOs or Expireds – send 3-7 postcards in rapid succession (every 3-5 days) as soon as you see a new prospect for these demographics, offer a free report such as 5 Factors That Cause a Property Not to Sell, and follow up after you’ve sent the postcards with a direct response offer.  Offer to perform a Merchandising Review to ensure that the home gets sold for the best possible price in the fastest possible time.
  • First Time Home Buyers: Use the MapMyMailSM system to find local renters.  Offer a variety of free reports such as How to Save for a Down Payment, or Top Ten Checklist for Choosing an Agent. Send our First time home buyer/renter series of postcards monthly with a fair trade offer to connect.
  • Seniors: You can use that same MapMyMailSM technology to find Baby Boomers and older.  Send our Senior series of postcards to these fine folks!
  • Get creative: From motorcycle enthusiasts, to local sports team members, to boaters, to farmers, and everything in between.  Finding the group of people that you really connect with and would love to serve and work with is a great way to get continuously better as an agent and build a powerful referral network.  You can edit our holiday, inspiration, recipe, content cards, or even image series to alter your message for each and every demographic.

We also have powerful Specialty Data Selects Using Nielsen’s PRIZM Codes available on the site to help you tap into incredibly detailed data segments to help make their marketing easier – and more effective. What is PRIZM segmentation? According to Nielsen, “Segmentation links your customer data with household-level and neighborhood-level demographics, syndicated survey and primary research data to reveal exactly what types of consumers are currently using your products or services. Any customer files, lists or survey data with complete addresses or at least a ZIP code can be coded with Nielsen’s segmentation systems. This allows you to identify your best prospect segments with the greatest efficiency for effective marketing strategies that align with marketplace demands.”

Smart, right? So what does that mean to YOU as a real estate professional? It means that marketing just got more interesting. See our Nielsen PRIZM options here.

For all three marketing avenues – your sphere, farm, and niche – be sure to connect every 28-45 days consistently to ensure that you maintain that top-of-mind awareness.  Armed with your database and marketing materials, and a reminder system to FOLLOW up with the folks in each will give you the competitive edge in your market that will allow you to develop and maintain a long and prosperous career.  Ready, set – GO!

Need help getting started? Contact our marketing professionals today at 866.405.3638.  They are an amazing resource – and they truly care about your success.  Happy Listing!