Tuesday, August 4, 2020

    Nope. Not another debate about whether or not to gift your clients at closing. Just a polite plea to change up what you’re gifting.

    You’ll find what seems like endless advice online about closing gifts. The most popular suggestions include cutting boards (right?), gift cards, welcome mats and knives.

    I think we can all agree that anything with your logo, face or other branding is a giant “no way!” Those are gifts that end up in the trash, the closet or at the local thrift shop.

    So, what’s a modern, thoughtful closing gift?

    “That’s going to depend a lot on the price point of the listing and your relationship with your clients,” according to Emile L’Eplattenier at TheClose.com.

    And, we might add, your budget.

    You’ve just spent at least 30 days getting to know these people, so we’re hoping you have some sort of clue as to what they like, need or want when they move into their new place.

    If you’re stuck, read on — we rounded up some gifts that agents are giving at closing that we think are both memorable and trendy.

    Thinking of You postcard from the Customer Appreciation Series
    Get them on the road to a smart home

    There are so many cool and useful smart home gadgets on the market now. From the basics, like an Amazon Echo or Google Assistant to a smart thermostat, doorbell or door lock, any would please the new homeowner.

    Get ideas by checking out Amazon’s most popular smart home tech:

    • Echo Dot (3rd generation)
    • Smart home cameras with night vision
    • Indoor security cameras
    • Ring doorbell
    • Nest Learning Thermostat
    • Smart light switch
    • Smart sprinkler system controller
    • Smart meat thermometer
    For the cash-strapped agent – Give a home management app

    Billed as “The All-In-One Home Management App,” the folks at Centriq have nailed the gifting decision process for those agents on a tight budget.

    This app promises to help your clients “… troubleshoot, operate and maintain …” their homes. The process sounds easy as well.

    “Just snap a picture of the appliances, electronics, and tools in your home. We’ll add the user manuals, warranties, how-to-videos and more.”

    For $7.95 per client, annually, the app will display your branding and it offers a “dedicated management dashboard,” among other goodies.

    Check out the agent plan at mycentriq.com.  

    Bling for the newly-minted luxury homebuyer

    The luxury home client’s gift may not look anything like that you purchase for the starter home client. And, luxury homebuyers can be further divided by newly-wealthy or old money when it comes time to choose a closing gift.

    “Those who are new to wealth tend to flaunt it,” according to Winston Chesterfield, the founder of Barton Consulting. The old-money types prefer “experiential gifts,” according to the editors at RobbReport.com.

    How about something to hold the keys to the new home, like a key ring from Tiffany & Co.?

    Old monied client? Consider gifting him/her with a book

    When billionaires gift their billionaire friends, they usually choose an “experiential gift,” according to Harry Cheadle at Vice.com. Agents with deep pockets may get some ideas by reading Cheadle’s blog post.

    Agents on a budget can’t go wrong with the careful selection of a book as a closing gift, according to Cheadle. Especially if that book is the biography of a successful person.

    No, books aren’t particularly trendy, but Steve Seibold, author of “How Rich People Think,” says that one of the first things we’ll notice when we enter a wealthy person’s home is “an extensive library of books they’ve used to educate themselves on how to become more successful.”

    “As long as that book is not attacking them and their way of life, they would value that gift and they would see that gift for an intelligent gift,” according to Chesterfield.

    Some clients are a cinch to buy for while others may take some thought. Hopefully, these ideas will set you on the path to finding that just-right closing gift.

    Thank You: Big as a House postcard from the Customer Appreciation Series
    Send the Thank You: Big as a House postcard from the Customer Appreciation Series to your past clients.

    PLUS: When you have time…here are some helpful resources we’ve made available to support your success.

    1. The Free Real Estate Mailing List Guide

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Real-Estate-Mailing-List-Guide2-3-D-999x1024.jpg

    The Real Estate Mailing List Guide outlines the top tools for generating targeted prospecting lists including Baby Boomers, Empty Nesters, Investors, Lifestyle Interests, High-Income Renters, Move-Up Markets, and more. The Guide also defines done-for-you marketing campaigns to match these markets. –Click Here

    2. The Free 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2020-Planner-3D-999x1024.jpg

    The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Get More Listings, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence. –Click Here

    3. The Free One-Page Real Estate Business Plan

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Business-Plan-3D-Book-New1-270x300.png

    Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan.  – Click Here

    4. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Become-A-Listing-Legend-3D-Book-White-274x300.jpg

    Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here

    5. The Market Dominator Branding System

    Become branded in a specific neighborhood with a Mega AMrketing piece sent automatically each month to an exclusive carrier route. Watch this excerpt on the Market Dominator from a recent Q&A Todd Robertson (Director of the Market Dominator) did below.

    For additional questions, you can reach Todd at 866-405-3638 or Todd.Robertson@prospectsplus.com or go to Market Dominator for more information.

    6. The Free Online ROI Calculator

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ROI-calculator-b-233x300.jpg

    Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! –Click Here

    7. The Free Real Estate Marketing Guide “CRUSH IT” 

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is CRUSH-IT-Guide-3-d-298x300.jpg

    The “Crush It” Guide includes easy steps to launching an effective direct mail marketing campaign, how to create a targeted prospect list, the perfect way to layout marketing materials for success, seven opportunities available to target in your area right now. –Click Here

      Guess Who Just Won Some FREE Marketing?

      Check out our first-place $250 Gift Card winner & our second-place $100 Gift Card winner below!

      1. Congratulations Kim Gregory Adams on winning our first place $250 Gift Card!

      Kim shared the following feedback with ProspectsPLUS!.

      “I just used ProspectsPLUS! to send out a COVID-19 Series postcard. It was a cute idea and I like that ProspectsPLUS! mailed the postcards out for me.”

      Kim recently sent out the Social Distancing postcard from the COVID-19 Series.

      2.Congratulations Julie Backman on winning our 2nd Prize $100 ProspectsPLUS! Gift Card!

      Julie shared the following feedback with ProspectsPLUS!

      “I love the variety of items ProspectsPLUS! has to choose from!”

      Julie recently sent out Just Listed postcards.

      Take the lead from Kim and Julie and send at least 100 marketing pieces to an area where you want more buyers and sellers!


      You might also like:

      Renters Earning in Excess of $70k: The Ideal Target Market

      Get More Listings: Pursue Absentee Owners

      Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our prospecting list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

        There seems to be this weird dichotomy that rules many real estate agents:  that the money they spend promoting their business cuts into the amount of money they’ll have for personal use.

        In the short-term this may be true. But if you plan to be in the real estate business for the long-term, not promoting your real estate business, or not promoting it well, is crazy.

        You’ll remain on that hamster wheel, spinning and spinning and spinning in your efforts to earn more.

        “Too many business owners under-spend on marketing, thinking that not spending is the same as saving,” claims Heidi Sloss, author of “Fortune is in the Follow-Up: Five POWER Strategies to Grow Your Business.”

        While it’s an old and somewhat tired adage, it really does “take money to make money.”

        I Have a Buyer panoramic postcard, Get More Listings
        What comes first, the spending or the making?

        Almost a decade ago, the folks at ActiveRain.com published the results of a survey of 2,000 agents in the form of an infographic, “How Much do REALTORS® Work, Earn & Spend.”

        The “average” agent (those earning, on average, $35,000 a year) spend only $1,070 a year on marketing. That’s $89 a month. They spend more on their car than on promoting their businesses.

        Agents who earn, on average, $100,000 a year spend five to ten times more on marketing than those that make $35,000 per year.

        It’s easy to assume that “Well, yeah, they have the money to spend.” It could be, however, that they understand the value of promotion and aren’t afraid to spend the money.

        Let’s face it, there are a number of money pits in the average real estate practice, from keeping up with the latest technology to what we drive and what we wear.

        The truly important stuff, however – most of what’s in your business plan – is where to focus if you’re looking for ways to gain more clients and grow your business.

        Activity in Your Neighborhood panoramic postcard, Get More Listings Series

        So, while it’s important to invest money in continuing education, professional development and ensuring you have the office systems in place to make your job easier, none of it means a thing without clients.

        Overcome your fear

        Remember the scene in the motion picture “Ghost,” where Whoopi Goldberg’s character is forced to hand over a $4 million check “to a bunch of nuns?” 

        She struggles with her mandate to hand it over, claiming to “just want to touch it one more time.”

        Finally, at the point of almost hyperventilating and with tears streaming down her face, Oda Mae hands the check to one of the nuns, but then refuses to let go. A tug-of-war of sorts ensues until she finally releases it and dissolves into sobs.

        Is that not exactly what you do in your mind when it comes time to part with your hard-earned money? Especially in a commission-based business, parting with money is frightening. Who knows when you’ll close another escrow? What if you make the wrong marketing decision?

        It’s only natural then that you might question whether any particular investment is really the right thing to do. Marketing dollars are especially hard to spend. What if the campaign doesn’t work? What if I lose this money? These are perfectly valid questions as you tenaciously hold on to your dollar.

        One of the best ways to overcome the fear of spending is by paying close attention to the annual budget every year when you revisit your business plan.  Once the money is budgeted, consider it spent.

        Then, make careful, informed decisions about where to spend the money when it comes time to do so.

        The bottom line is that if you really want to succeed in your real estate business, you’re going to have to spend some money on it – whether it’s on marketing, staff or technology.

        So, overcome the fear and lose the death grip on the pocketbook.

        Big Question panoramic postcard, Get More Listings Series
        Send the Big Question panoramic postcard from the Get More Listing Series. Take advantage of budget-friendly EDDM and make your presence known in an entire neighborhood.

        Need help targeting a specific niche of buyers or sellers? Use our Demographic Search Tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

        PLUS: When you have time…here are some Free resources we’ve made available to support your success.

        1. The Free Real Estate Mailing List Guide

        This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Real-Estate-Mailing-List-Guide2-3-D-999x1024.jpg

        The Real Estate Mailing List Guide outlines the top tools for generating targeted prospecting lists including Baby Boomers, Empty Nesters, Investors, Lifestyle Interests, High-Income Renters, Move-Up Markets, and more. The Guide also defines done-for-you marketing campaigns to match these markets. –Click Here

        2. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

        This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2020-Planner-3D-999x1024.jpg

        The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Get More Listings, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence. –Click Here

        3. The Free One-Page Real Estate Business Plan

        This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Business-Plan-3D-Book-New1-270x300.png

        Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan.  – Click Here

        4. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

        This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Become-A-Listing-Legend-3D-Book-White-274x300.jpg

        Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here

        5. The Free Online ROI Calculator

        This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ROI-calculator-b-233x300.jpg

        Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! –Click Here

        6. The Real Estate Marketing Guide “CRUSH IT” 

        This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is CRUSH-IT-Guide-3-d-298x300.jpg

        The “Crush It” Guide includes easy steps to launching an effective direct mail marketing campaign, how to create a targeted prospect list, the perfect way to layout marketing materials for success, seven opportunities available to target in your area right now. –Click Here

          COVID-19 has changed much of what used to be considered “normal life.” In cities that have relaxed restrictions, dining out may involve having your temperature taken at the door. Shopping may require that you wear a mask and follow arrows pasted on the floor, directing traffic.

          The future is at the top of many minds. Even if the world recovers from this pandemic, and gets back to normal (or something close to it), the lessons we’ve learned will be forever ingrained in our consciousness.

          Home, family, taking care of our health – have all become even more important.

          While the real estate market appears to be very much like it was before the pandemic’s outbreak, with low interest rates luring buyers into the market and home values holding steady, attitudes of real estate consumers have changed.

          We are told to expect an exodus from the cities to the ‘burbs and perhaps even rural areas. The downsizing craze is over, we’re told, and homebuyers want more square footage. Outdoor spaces and specialty rooms (office, gym, etc.) are on the lists of those buyers who can demand them.

          Most of all, many Americans who were isolated by distance from family during the lockdown, crave closeness.

          Life Event Series, Changing Needs postcard

          Especially older Americans and most especially those who live alone.

          While one of the primary reasons baby boomers sell their homes is so that they can move closer to their adult children or friends (23.5% according to the NAR), we think the social distancing we’ve endured will see many, many more choosing this option.

          Boomers in the real estate market

          Older homeowners naturally have more equity in their homes, according to NAR’s 2020 Generational Trends report. The average equity earned of sellers age 22 to 54 is nearly $45,000. Baby boomer sellers, on the other hand, have, on average, $74,300 in equity.

          The homes they will sell have at least three bedrooms and 2 bathrooms (many, however, boast three bathrooms). While on the market, boomer homes experienced far fewer price reductions than the homes of younger sellers.

          More than one-fourth of younger boomers have lived in their homes for 21 years or longer, while 35% of older boomers can say the same.

          Younger boomers who purchased another home after selling their current home chose a slightly smaller home, while older boomers, on average, chose slightly larger homes.

          Finally, baby boomers make up nearly half (46%) of the seller’s market.

          How to reach this group of home sellers

          Boomers love YouTube. But, before you race out to create real estate videos for this demographic you need to understand that they probably won’t watch them.

          Their use of YouTube is as a sort of TV-on-demand platform. According to data from Think with Google, the most-watched categories by boomers include “… entertainment, music, and news.”

          The best way to reach this cohort and engage with them is on Facebook. Pursuing organic reach, however, may be futile, according to BigCommerce.com.

          Life Event Series, New Memories postcard

          “With organic Facebook reach hovering somewhere between two and four percent, many brands struggle to gain impressions and engagement on the platform,” according to the site’s Ethan Giffen.

          The solution, he says, is Facebook ads. Yes, they cost money. But it’s one very effective way to reach the group that has a higher net worth, is most likely to want to move and sells more homes than any other.

          OK, so maybe Facebook ads are a bit pricey for your budget right now. Consider direct mail as a budget-friendly, highly effective alternative.

          This is a generation who grew up with mail as a major form of communication to friends and family. They still enjoy receiving mail and are more likely to read what they receive than the younger generations.

          But you need the right message

          To send the right message requires that you know your audience. Earlier we gave you a bit of insight into their real estate habits. But to effectively market to the group requires digging deeper. Baby boomers, by and large are:

          • Active
          • More internet savvy than they’re given credit for
          • Independent
          • Not “old”

          In fact, dump the word “senior” when referring to this group. Use “baby boomer” or “older American” if you must. While not all are offended by the term “senior citizen,” many are.

          Overall, they value useful information. This might include local market activity, a CMA, news on mortgage rates and helpful home maintenance tips.

          Get to know baby boomers’ interests by visiting aarp.org, nextavenue.org, and everythingzoomer.com.

          Life Event Series, Time For Play postcard
          Send the Time For Play postcard from the Life Event Series to your Baby Boomer Prospect List.

          Need help targeting this specific niche of sellers? Use our Demographic Search Tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

          PLUS: When you have time…here are some Free resources we’ve made available to support your success.

          1. The Free Real Estate Mailing List Guide

          This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Real-Estate-Mailing-List-Guide2-3-D-999x1024.jpg

          The Real Estate Mailing List Guide outlines the top tools for generating targeted prospecting lists including Baby Boomers, Empty Nesters, Investors, Lifestyle Interests, High-Income Renters, Move-Up Markets, and more. The Guide also defines done-for-you marketing campaigns to match these markets. –Click Here

          2. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

          This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2020-Planner-3D-999x1024.jpg

          The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Get More Listings, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence. –Click Here

          3. The Free One-Page Real Estate Business Plan

          This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Business-Plan-3D-Book-New1-270x300.png

          Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan.  – Click Here

          4. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

          This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Become-A-Listing-Legend-3D-Book-White-274x300.jpg

          Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here

          5. The Free Online ROI Calculator

          This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ROI-calculator-b-233x300.jpg

          Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! –Click Here

          6. The Real Estate Marketing Guide “CRUSH IT” 

          This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is CRUSH-IT-Guide-3-d-298x300.jpg

          The “Crush It” Guide includes easy steps to launching an effective direct mail marketing campaign, how to create a targeted prospect list, the perfect way to layout marketing materials for success, seven opportunities available to target in your area right now. –Click Here