Direct Marketing Techniques
Make this pledge to yourself right now Before you enter another listing presentation, qualify your prospects in advance. When scheduling your listing presentation, ask questions that allow you to obtain important information about the customer's desires, time frame, and expectations. Without this information, you can't possibly serve the client well.
Quality prospects must be motivated to buy, must want or need to take action within a short time frame, and must be committed to working exclusively with you as their agent. If your prospect lacks these attributes, you're better off saying next and turning your time and talent toward another prospect. Turn to Chapter 9 for advice and a questionnaire to use when qualifying your prospects.
When properly used, direct mail is a quick, efficient, and relatively cost-effective way for you to make direct contact with all of the out-of-town and problem property owners in your area. Why just contact out-of-town and problem property owners Many out-of-town and problem property owners are uninformed and out of touch when it comes to local property values. Here are four very good reasons I use direct mail to contact potential option property owners 1. Direct mail is easy to use. All I have to do is sit at my computer, point and click, hit a couple of keys, and it will crank out one of my standard letters to problem property owners, which just needs to be signed, folded, and inserted into an envelope. I use Microsoft Word 2003 that can merge names and addresses with letters. I use window envelopes so I do not have to take additional time addressing them. 2. Direct mail is relatively cheap to use. I am a penny pincher, and direct mail is cost efficient. For example, I can mail out...
Direct mail is one of my favorite ways of finding deals. Gather a list of houses for sale or rent in your area. One easy way to get these addresses is right out of the paper. People list open houses by address in the paper every weekend. Copy down the address and put it in your database. Some cities have a For Sale By Owner magazine that lists fifty or more houses with their addresses for sale. Copy those down as well.
Direct mail is still one of the best ways to generate business, but only if it gets to the right people and only if it gets opened and read (instead of thrown directly in the trash with the other junk mail). To get your mail to the right people, create a carefully developed list that includes the addresses of past clients and people within your sphere of influence, which basically consists of the people you know. Don't expect your direct mail program to just happen spontaneously. Plan it out a year in advance. Select about a half a dozen dates over the course of the year to send handwritten cards to past clients or people in your sphere. Program the dates and nature of the mailers into your database to remind you when to do it. Just make sure to follow through.
The Telephone Prospect Questionnaire form is an invaluable tool. When you properly interview your prospects, you will find out exactly what type of customer you are dealing with. Gathering this information up front before you send them to the property will allow you the advantage of knowing if they are a real prospect or just someone who is wasting your time. For example The question When will you need the house ferrets out those who are just calling around, but won't need it for two or three months. Unless they are able to move quicker, you can tell them to call you later, closer to moving time, or keep their information on a Buyer Renter List for later follow up with other properties. The questions about job, income, rent, etc. will immediately tell us if this is someone we can do business with. For example if our rent is set at 800 per month and the caller only makes 1,800 per month, this defies my income must be at least three times the rent rule, thereby telling you that this...
The second-most frequent pathway to success is to buy business through massive marketing campaigns. Some agents buy or brand their way to top-level real estate by investing in billboards and bus benches with their names and faces on them, thousands of direct mailers, expensive ad schedules, and all kinds of promotions. Others buy their way to the top by discounting their commissions. By offering themselves at the lowest prices, these agents eliminate the need to emphasize their skills, abilities, and expertise.
Advertising for tenants is another rental responsibility. For rent signs on the building and print ads in appropriate media, such as newspapers for apartments and specialized publications for office or industrial space, can be useful. Billboard, direct mail, and Internet advertising also may be used. Radio and TV ads usually are less effective but may prove useful in some markets. One commonly held belief is that recommendations by satisfied tenants may be the most effective advertising for a building.
A quality contact management system can be a powerful tool. It can trigger your next call to a prospect. It can keep all your notes in one place for easy retrieval. It can make interaction with your prospects, sphere of influence, and past clients simple. Here are some tips on how to use contact management software effectively no matter what brand you select
Basically, to win an expired listing, all you have to do is make a phone call or series of phone calls. Yet agents create complex and elaborate systems involving extensive postcard mailings followed by sales letters and direct mail packages. They jam the owner's mailbox with cute, clever, and even corny packages, postcards, and letters. They create envelopes that look like they contain express deliveries. I've even seen agent-created mailers shaped to resemble firecrackers which, when opened, reveal the message, Bang Your listing is dead. And you wonder why people call it junk mail. The agents who actually take the time to work expired listings and rely exclusively on direct mail win a distant second place behind those who call directly or use a call and mail combination. An owner with a ready-to-expire listing is flooded with direct mailers, all competing to be the one that grabs the owner's attention and interest. However, what grabs attention is personal contact.
I Owners of FSBOs are easy to find and reach. One of the most difficult steps in the sales process is locating prospects in need of your service. With FSBOs, like expired listings, you know who your prospects are, and you know how to get in touch with them. Reaching FSBOs is easier than reaching expired listings because FSBO sellers want to be found, as detailed the section Finding FSBO listings later in this chapter.
When following up, don't assume that your event was the only open house your prospect attended. I guarantee you that this isn't the case. Realize that you're in a competition with other agents, and one way to prevail is to prove that you're the one most skilled at lead follow up. Once your hand-written note is received by your prospects, take the following steps
I To determine their service expectations. What kind of service do they expect What buying or selling approach do they follow Is there a match between your philosophy and theirs If there isn't, can you convince them through persuasion that your approach is better than their preconceived notion of what and how you should represent their interests If not, are you willing to turn down the business The only way to address these issues is to figure out what your prospects are thinking before you make your presentation.
Ability relates to the financial capacity of your prospects. Do they have the financial stability to sell their current home and buy the one of their dreams Do they have enough equity in their current home If not, can they borrow a larger sum to buy the one they want, or do they have access to additional funds to achieve their goal
Be crystal-clear on this point The objective of a listing presentation is to secure a signed listing agreement before the meeting ends. It's not to pave the way for a be-back listing, where you plan to return at a later date to handle paperwork and secure final prospect approval. Your purpose is to make your case, close the deal, and get ink on the paper right then and there while you're face to face with your prospects. If you don't, I guarantee that the odds of securing the listing start to swing away from you. If you let even a few days or weeks slip by, your prospects will have a difficult time separating your presentation from those of the other agents they met in the meantime. And the moment they lose sight of your distinguishing attributes they'll revert to a commodity mindset, focusing on price and selecting an agent based on who offered the lowest commission or the highest list price.
Become a student of the local marketplace and share meaningful statistics. Also, track trends in the national marketplace, both to enlighten your prospects and to distinguish yourself as a well-read, well-connected, and well-informed agent. What the prospect has to say is more important than what you have to say. Great salespeople do less than 25 percent of the talking. You already know all that you need to know about what you're thinking. You need to figure out what your prospects think, know, and desire so you can match your service to their wants and needs.
If you aren't completely clear on your prospects' interests and needs, flip back to the first pages of this chapter. One of the reasons I constructed the opening section on qualifying prospects so meticulously is because acquiring prospect knowledge is truly the key to a good presentation. You absolutely have to secure the right information before going into the appointment.
Every 50 people in your Haven't Met database marketed to 12 times a year (12 Direct Mail) 1 sale. business (lead generation from your Met database) require less money per sale than new business. We also understand that while these cost less, they take more time and effort (thirty-three touches as compared to twelve direct mails). Unless you can get more referral and repeat business per person (i.e., establish a clientele of real estate investors), your time will limit the amount of referral and repeat business you can do. Furthermore, the kind of personal attention required to successfully lead generate from your Met database may also prevent you from eventually stepping out of the business and achieving the final stage, Receive a Million. This is one reason most of the Millionaire Real Estate Agents aggressively pursue Haven't Met lead generation in addition to their formidable Met marketing and prospecting programs.
If you're marketing a lower-end home in your marketplace, many of your prospects may not be technologically savvy. With limited resources, they probably haven't invested in computers or included Internet connections to their monthly budgets. Therefore, you probably won't want to weight your marketing efforts toward online ads that your prospects may never encounter. You'd be better off placing ads in penny-saver or nickel-ad publications that are readily available for free pickup. One segment of these buyers that is tech savvy is the first-time homebuyer category. Young professionals can also fit into this category. You may often find them stretching out of this bracket into the next or at least to the upper end of the bracket. If you're marketing a home in the mid-price range, you can be fairly confident that your prospects are searching for properties online.
Information-distribution sites present information about neighborhoods, schools, housing areas, and specific properties. Consumers visit informationdistribution sites to find out about the houses for sale in their area. For that reason, the sites need to include search functions that are easy for consumers to use. To increase your success, information-distribution sites should also include at least a minimal level of lead-harvesting ability. As an agent, you want to be able to get your prospects' contact information so that you can provide service follow-up.
A real estate brokerage initially gets its brand onto a prospect's marketing ladder by exposing the prospect to a consistent marketing message five to seven times in a relatively short period of time, using a variety of media. This means that the broker cannot exclusively rely on just one type of marketing medium, such as direct mail, classified ads, radio ads, or open houses, but rather needs to include a variety of these approaches to create an effective marketing program.
The bottom line is that the whole purpose of a prospect presentation is to establish your competitive advantage. In the least time possible you want to communicate what makes you different from the more than 1.2 million other real estate agents in the United States. You want your prospects to see exactly why they should hire you, what's in it for them, and why they should sign your listing agreement with confidence.
So from the very start, by concentrating on listings first and foremost, you could potentially double or triple your gross income on the same amount of work. If this isn't incentive enough, then consider how listings provide a lead-generation platform through direct mail, ads, signage, and open houses. It is a fact that being in the listings business begets more business. Our research shows that one listing properly marketed should generate enough leads to produce a minimum of one closed buyer.
Direct response marketing is a form of marketing designed to solicit a direct response that is specific and quantifiable. I use direct response marketing methods to create finder strategies that find and drive qualified prospects to me. Let's start with what I'll call finder ads for now. I create finder ads for a number of different applications. I use classifieds, business cards, flyers, mailers, yard signs, and even ad words on Google.
When most agents hear farming, they think door knocking. Although door knocking may be part of it, to me farming is more focused on doing direct mail. I am not against door knocking. I know and you know that door knocking does work. And if it works for you, you should keep doing it.
1 Find out each person's service expectations. Before you enter a new prospect presentation, make it a rule to discover everything you can about what your prospects are looking for in an agent and how they define excellent service. For help, refer to the prospect qualifying techniques in Chapter 9. Keep in mind that many times there are two people making the decision to work with you as their agent. Be sure to understand each one's service expectation.
A key element to include in any branding effort is the development of marketing postcards and other direct mail pieces. These are typically postcards for just listed announcements, just sold announcements, or open house invitations. Given the ease, availability, and quality of online printing
The 12 Direct program is how you work the Haven't Met portion of your database. It stands for twelve direct mail pieces mailed out annually. Our research and experience have taught us that for every fifty people you market yourself to twelve times a year, you can reasonably expect to generate one sale. At a 50 1 ratio, you'll have to have 2,500 people in your database to consistently hit an annual goal of fifty closed sales. Amassing a database of 2,500 people in your market might seem difficult and expensive, but it isn't. However, it will take some focused effort and time devoted to getting the names, moving them into the database, and planning out your 12 Direct marketing campaigns each year. To save time and money, we suggest you plan and set up each twelve-month campaign all at once at the beginning of the year then it can go on automatic pilot for the year.
The most prevalent theory, encountered in almost all sales training programs, is that folks need to be helped along in the decision-making process. To do this, a whole series of closing techniques have been devised, named, cataloged, and taught. Each is designed to facilitate the process as you guide your prospects smoothly and efficiently toward the major close by achieving a series of minor closes (less important decisions the client makes along the way).
Although we touched on this subject earlier, it bears repeating. With the current wave of identity theft crimes, many prospects may be reluctant to hand out their Social Security numbers. The law does not require anyone to provide his or her Social Security number. Conversely, you have the right not to do business with that person if he or she doesn't provide the information. By assuring your prospects that you understand the law and that you will secure their information properly, you will help to alleviate their anxiety. You may also point out that each time they charge a credit in a restaurant, write a check in a supermarket, or order a product over the phone or via the Internet, they are giving out confidential information to a stranger. The fact that the person works for a company doesn't change the fact that he or she has access to your personal information.
When showing a unit to a prospective tenant, use a bit of salesmanship. Open curtains or blinds so the rooms are bright and cheery. Walk through each room with the prospect, pointing out features and suggesting how they might be used. Use words to help your prospects visualize living in the house or apartment. Say such things as, The floor plan is very open, and
Advertising With Circulars
Co-op Mailing means that two or more businesses share in the cost and distribution of a direct mail campaign. It's kind of like having you and another non-competing business split the cost of printing, assembling and mailing an advertising flyer to a shared same market base.