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Leads over Lunch – Using Your Sphere of Influence

Leads Over Lunch

Many of us while away our lunch hour chatting with colleagues in our brokerage, running errands, or just zoning out. But what if you put your lunch to work? Lunch can be a great time to develop leads and connect with your sphere of influence.

The key here is to not be pushy or salesy. Building leads over lunch is more about the relationship building, person-to-person aspect of having lunch together. With that said, don’t be shy about mentioning your desire for their business or referrals if it comes up!

Here are three different types of lunch dates you can use to develop your sphere of influence and cultivate leads.

Business Partners

You can – and should – have lunch with business partners who could be a great source of referrals to you. You probably have a team of people who help you with staging, repairs, mortgage reviews, and inspections. Make it a point to take them out to lunch, chat with them about how business is going, and ask for referrals.

You should also ask for permission to put them on you mailing or email list, so that they receive your newsletters and keep up with you. Offer to join their mailing lists as well. Be sure that you give them referrals of people who might need their help. Finally, don’t forget to offer to answer any of their real estate questions or help them if they need to buy or sell!

After a lunch of this type, a handwritten note thanking them for their time and expressing how much you enjoy working with them is a great touch. It cements the relationship in a personal way.

Past Clients

Taking a past client to lunch is a great way to check in with them and see how things are going. If they took on renovations, you may be able to refer to one of your business partners if they need help. If not, you can still keep up with their family’s accomplishments and other small things going on.

Many people are immediately forgotten by a Realtor® as soon as the commission clears. Continuing the relationship will be a great way to establish you as different from others, as well as allowing you to learn things about the neighborhood and other families in the area. Of course, previous clients should be on your email list – if they are not, ask them if you could keep in touch that way.

Finally, all past clients are a great source of referrals. Don’t make the lunch all about what they can do for you, but do ask at some point if they know anyone else that has questions about real estate or is considering buying or selling.

Friends and Acquaintances

Having lunch with friends and acquaintances is another good way to build leads. Some of those you associate with may not know you’re a Realtor®. Lunch is a great time to have more casual conversations with people you may normally only see at homeowner’s associate meetings or PTA events. You can talk more fully about what you each do. Keep track of any referrals you may have for their type of work.

Even with friends who know you’re a Realtor®, you can use a lunch date to break the ice a little bit and reestablish yourself as both a professional and a friend. Assure them that you won’t try to sell them if they ask you real estate questions, and let them talk about their curiosities.

If it’s appropriate, you can of course ask friends and acquaintances to join your email list to keep up with happenings in the neighborhoods you serve. And let them know that if they or their friends or family need a Realtor®, you’re here to serve.

Don’t let lunch be a dead zone of unproductivity. Rejuvenate and reconnect with a casual lunch date, and build leads and relationships in the process.

Do you use your lunch to build leads? Why or why not? Share in the comments!

5 Steps for Creating Your Real Estate Marketing Plan

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Real Estate Marketing Plan

Do you create a marketing plan for your real estate business each year? If not, you are almost certainly leaving a lot of customers and money on the table. A real estate marketing plan shows you how your business goals will become reality. When you write it down, it’s a concrete document that will remind you of what you set out to accomplish and what you still need to do to get there.

Many Realtors® don’t write a plan because they aren’t sure where to start. Others may feel they don’t have time. However, without a plan, you won’t know where you’re going or how to get there! It’s one of the most important things you can do each year. Here are five steps to help you create your real estate marketing plan.

Decide What You Want

Setting concrete goals is the first step to your marketing plan. Decide what you want to accomplish by the end of the year. You can think in terms of listings, sales, overall income, or number of customers. You can also set goals in terms of name recognition, market share, or number of referrals received.

You’ll want to make sure each goal is SMART:

  • Specific: Rather than “grow” plan to “increase the number of listings this year”
  • Measurable: Rather than “increase listings”, plan to “increase listings by 20%”
  • Actionable: You should be able to take specific actions to accomplish the plan
  • Realistic: It should be something you can accomplish
  • Time-Bound: Set a deadline, like “By Dec 1” or “Before Jan 1”.

Define Your Market

Your market is probably defined by a specific geographic area and by the people that live in the area. Take time to write down all of the specific markets you serve. In my city in Iowa there’s a large university, so a Realtor® here might focus on groups from “college professors needing to upgrade” to “new graduates buying their first house”. There are also small cities very close by that have a large number of professionals and families, which provide additional markets.

Once you’ve written down all of the markets you have available in your area, you might choose just one or two to focus on for the next year. That way, you’ll have a manageable target for your marketing efforts.

Find Your Voice

The next step is to think about how you’re going to stand out to your target markets. What special value can you bring them? In my city, being a graduate of the local university could be a difference maker. You could leverage your role in a community or volunteer organization you care deeply about. Or, you could choose one of your market segments and concentrate on meeting their specific needs in an extremely focused way.

Once you find your voice, refine your marketing message. Decide what promises you want to make and fulfill to your target market groups. Write down several targeted offers that you want to present in your community.

Determine Your Tactics

Up to this point I haven’t talked about specific tactics, because deciding whether to blog, email market, use farming postcards, etc., doesn’t make sense until you’ve done the first three steps. Your tactics are determined by your goals, market segments, and voice.

Now that you have those laid out, determine which types of marketing would most likely reach the target markets you’ve chosen in a useful way. Older folks will be more receptive to mail, where younger folks may be a great group for email or social media marketing. In addition, think about what methods make the most sense based on the types of offers you plan to make.

Don’t use more than two tactics per marketing group to start with. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself or your community.

Follow Through

I’ve saved the best for last – take action! Unfortunately in every area of life people know far more information than they follow through on. Real estate agents are just as guilty of this as everyone else. Now that you’ve made your plan, WORK THE PLAN. Take the steps you need to take to reach your goals.

Every plan is subject to change. If you find that you need to adjust your plan in some way, do it. However, keep your goals clearly in your mind. Your methods may change, but you still want to create success each year. With your goals in mind and your plan in place, you will be well on your way to doing so.

Do you use a written marketing plan? Why or why not? Share in the comments!

5 Tips to Maximize Your Realtor® Website

Maximize Realtor Website

There are over 3 billion people in the world that use the internet. With that many people online, a Realtor® can’t afford to do without a website. However, there are so many websites online that it can be hard to know how to stand out. These five tips will show you how to maximize the effect of your website on your realty business.

Use Graphics and Have a Responsive Site

Graphics are an undeniable part of showing off your real estate business online. People love to see pictures, and having a great photo gallery of each listing will help generate interest and create buyers. However, it’s also important to have a “responsive” site, or one that adjusts to fit on the screens of mobile devices.

Many times, you can bypass knowing the nuts and bolts of website design by using pre-designed templates on a website service. Just make sure the service lets you have your own domain name, such as MyNameRealty.com. In addition, take advantage of slideshow templates that allow you to cycle photos of various listings and recent sales on the homepage.

Focus on the Visitors’ Perspective

Visitors to your site aren’t interested in you; they’re interested in how their own needs can be met. Be sure to set up your website and optimize it with this in mind. You’ll want to use keywords based on prospective clients’ needs, such as “moving in Atlanta” or “new homes in Charleston”.

When you write the content on your website, whether it’s a blog post or a property description, think about it from your visitors’ perspective. What would resonate with a potential buyer or seller? What do they need to know? What needs and fears can you address? When you focus your website on the visitor, you’ll stand out to the right people and your site will gain traction.

Link Your Social Media Accounts to Your Site

If you have active social media accounts – and as a Realtor®, you should – you’ll want to link them to your website. Not only should your social media posts invite viewers to visit your website, your website should also have links that encourage people to visit your social media accounts.

It’s always helpful to specify what you would like people to do when they visit your page. You can say things like “Follow me on Facebook!” or “Check out my latest pins!” These types of invitations will help people join you on all of your platforms, allowing them to receive information from you more often. That will keep you top-of-mind when they have a need!

Have a Blog that Informs More Than Sells

A blog ensures that new content will be created on your site frequently, which will help it rank highly in search engines. In addition, you can share your blog posts on social media to encourage viewers to visit your site and check out your listings.

However, your blog should be about more than your real estate business. You should use an 80/20 rule – 80% of your content can inform, educate, and entertain, while 20% can advertise your listings and recent successes. Sometimes a Realtor® has a hard time knowing exactly what to write about on a blog. If that’s you, check out this amazing list of 101 blog post ideas. You won’t lack inspiration ever again!

Focus on Lead Management Along With Lead Generation

As many Realtors® know, it’s not enough to just generate leads. It’s important to nurture those connections as well, so that they will come to you when they are ready to buy or sell a home. If you simply collect new contacts, you may lose out on old leads that are now ready for a Realtor®.

There are many ways to keep in touch with the network you create. Social media is one way, but you can also keep in touch from your website. Offer a monthly email newsletter highlighting what’s going in the neighborhoods you serve. You can use the newsletter to show of recent success stories you’ve had, and to congratulate new homeowners. This way, you don’t lose touch with leads that aren’t yet ready to act – and when they are, they will be more likely to come to you.

Having a website isn’t optional for Realtors®, even though the homes you sell are definitely not virtual. Using the five tips above will help you maximize your website results and help your realty business grow tremendously. The time you invest online will be handsomely rewarded!

How to Get More From Your Social Media Efforts

Realtors® Get the most out of Social Media

As we discussed earlier this week, having a social media presence is essential for a Realtor® in developing relationships, building interest in properties, and gaining attention for their business. But are you really getting the most out of your social media profiles? Remember, social media shouldn’t be a passive experience for your followers. Building relationships is all about engagement!

Be of Service

This is the first and most important thing you can do on social media as a Realtor®. Remember that your business is not all about making money, or selling more houses than someone else. The point of your business, if you want to be truly successful, is to serve. Use your social media profiles to be the most helpful Realtor® around, not just to potential clients but also to other professionals. If you’ve helped another Realtor®, they will remember you and may make a point of bringing a client by to see one of your listings. Community will get you much further than being a lone wolf.

Include Social Media Monitoring in Your Strategy

Social media monitoring may sound intrusive or time-consuming, but it really isn’t. Another term for it is ‘social listening’. It just means you keep up with what people are saying about you, your industry, and your business. A social media monitoring strategy can let you know when someone is tweeting about an upcoming move, or has questions about using a Realtor®. By being the first professional contact that person gets about their question, you’ll put yourself on top of the pack when they need your services. Social listening helps you build better relationships, beat your competition to the punch, and get a better return on your social media time.

Initiate Contact with Those Who Express a Real Estate Need

By being proactive and finding those who are talking about moving or selling property, you can dramatically increase you results. NM Insite published a report that showed that 71% of consumers who experience a quick and effective brand response on social media are more likely to recommend that brand to others. In social media, you ARE your brand, and if you can make a connection, you’ll be more likely to find recommendations coming your way.

Add Value Statements to Your Profiles

Being a Realtor® is about bringing tons of value to your clients as they search for or sell their property. By making those statements of value upfront, you’ll gain extra attention on social media. A value statement will describe and differentiate your services, and give consumers a better idea what you are about. Keep in mind, though, that customers want to know how you meet their needs, not how amazing you are. So keep the value statements focused on the customer and the important benefits they gain from working with you.

Keep Interest with a Variety of Content

Your social media presence will be more interesting and gain more followers if it provides a variety of content experiences. Here are some ideas you can use as a Realtor®:

  • Video walkthroughs of a property
  • Case studies showing how you helped a client
  • Infographics showing the importance of using a Realtor®
  • Photos of listings
  • Well-written articles describing the value of your services to clients

Create Targeted Calls to Action

Whether you’re posting a beautiful listing on Facebook or engaging with property hunters on Twitter, you want to make sure to let viewers know what you’d like them to do next. The power of suggestion is potent, and by saying things as simple as “Don’t miss this open house!” or “Call me about this home!” you can create action on the part of your customer. A targeted call to action can make the difference between a post with no engagement and a post that drives customers to your listing.

Social media can be a gold mine of relationships with colleagues and potential clients. However, it does take proactive work on your part to make it happen. By using the tips above, you’ll be taking full advantage of your social media experience.

What’s your favorite thing to share in social media? What gets you the most engagement? Share in the comments! 

How Realtors® Can Take Full Advantage of Social Media

Realtor Social Media

As of January 2014, Pew Research found that 74% of online adults use social networking sites. 74%!!! That means that three-fourths of your online customers can be found using social media.

As a Realtor®, it can be difficult to know exactly how to approach social media. There are so many options, and consistent engagement can be hard to maintain. In this article you’ll find great tips for the three most common social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

No matter what social media platform you focus on, be sure to listen, add value, and interact consistently. Also, follow the 80/20 rule – 80% of your postings should be lifestyle, connecting, and helping. 20% can be about your listings.

Facebook

Facebook is the most well-known and well-used social media platform. Pew Research found that 71% of online adults use Facebook, so this is a great place to start your social media strategy.

  • Set up a business Facebook page focused on your realty business. You want to separate your Realtor® work from your personal life and personal posts. Stay natural though! Have real conversations and make connections. And use lots of pictures! Some ideas include pictures of your target neighborhood, pictures of unique staging or architecture, and of course pictures of your listings and sold properties.
  • Using the 80/20 rule, post a lot of helpful information, especially about your target neighborhoods. Post about local events, local news, and local sports. This will make you stand out as a very knowledgeable Realtor® to potential clients in that area!
  • Run contests to encourage engagement. Ask what your page followers’ favorite street name in the neighborhood is, or have them vote on a favorite photo of unique or celebrity homes. Award a random winner with a local treat. You’ll build your reputation and strengthen your network!
  • Consider targeted local advertising with Facebook. You can have promoted posts offering your services end up in front of locals, encouraging them to contact you if they know someone buying or selling.

Pinterest

Pew Research states that 21% of online adults use Pinterest, and demographics show that these users are largely female and focused on home, food, and design. That makes it the perfect platform for a Realtor® to show their expertise!

  • Get ideas for staging properties you sell. Pinterest is full of amazing home décor ideas. You can start a board of home décor ideas – this will allow you to attract followers while stockpiling ideas. Avoid using the word ‘staging’ in titles and descriptions, as that comes off as inauthentic.
  • Set up a variety of board that will help you attract followers, such as celebrity houses, interesting architecture, or DIY projects. Not only will these pins teach you facts that make interesting talking points, others may follow you and see your listings and other pins as well.
  • Be authentic – post about your own hobbies and interests too. On social media, it’s important to show your real self, not just a professional image.
  • Have a board for your listings. Repin listings that have important changes to bring them to the top of others’ feeds. An upcoming open house or recent price reduction can be highlighted this way. Also highlight your sales!

Twitter

Twitter may be the most intimidating platform of these three. Because it is text-based and uses only 150 characters per tweet, many realtors aren’t sure how to use it to promote their business. However, 19% of online adults use Twitter, so it’s worth learning how to tweet effectively!

  • Create the right account. Your handle (name) should have something to do with real estate, and your smiling face can be your image. Be sure to give a quick elevator-style pitch in the bio, add your website address in the links, and create an attractive background.
  • Remember the 80/20 rule in your tweets. You can tweet your listings, but also tweet about local events, local news, fun things to do in the area, and tips for moving. Don’t forget to include pictures – you can add a short link that leads to a Facebook photo or pin on Pinterest!
  • Use hashtags to expand your reach. A hashtag is a pound sign – # – and indicates a general subject. You might use something like #NYMovingAdvice or #TXHomesForSale. You can make up any hashtag you like, and folks who search for that topic will see your tweet.
  • To build followers, find influential people in the area and follow them first. Ideas are local celebrities, news organizations, or community groups. They may follow you back, and in any case you can retweet (re-share) their content. When you do, their followers will see you, and may choose to follow you for more information.

Social media is about being as helpful as possible in order to build connections with others. Whether you choose to focus on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or some combination of the three, authentic interactions are key. The people you help are likely to become customers as they learn to know and trust you. They’ll think of you when they need your services!

Do you use social media as a Realtor®? What have you found to be effective? Share in the comments!!

Create the Perfect Real Estate Business Card

Perfect Real Estate Business CardLasting impressions are made in a matter of moments, especially in real estate. One way to ensure you make a great impression is by having amazing real estate business cards. As a Realtor®, handing out your business card can mean the difference between gaining a customer and losing to a competitor. However, not all business cards are created equal – it’s important that yours stand out and really represent who you are as a professional. Here are some tips on creating the perfect business card.

Standard Size

It’s fun to be creative, but keep your creativity inside the standard sized card. Oddly shaped or sized cards do stand out, but for all the wrong reasons. Customers will find them hard to place in a wallet or standard business card holder, and as a result your real estate business card may get thrown away rather than kept for future reference.

You also want to make sure you choose excellent paper quality to help your cards seem more professional and ensure they hold up inside a wallet or purse. You may also want to choose a supplier that allows you to add additional information to the back of the card, so that you can utilize the full surface.

Choose Complementary Colors

Winning a customer is all about having a business card that stands out in the right way. If you were listing a property, would you want it to have bold, brash colors inside, or complementary tones? Obviously the home that shows best is the one with complementary colors. The same holds true for your real estate business card. You can choose noticeable coloring, but make sure the colors aren’t too bright and don’t clash.

Remember to be careful about using colors that are too similar for the background and the text. The text can disappear into the card, especially after printing. Suppliers and design programs do their best to show you the finished product, but there will always be a difference between the screen and the printed result.

In the same way, detailed pictures should not be located behind text. The text and the details of the picture can trick the eye and result in neither one being clearly visible. A detailed picture in one corner, such as a photograph or logo, and text in a different area is the best strategy.

Mind Your Edges

The edges of a card can be a danger zone. Whether you are designing and printing your own cards or are ordering from a supplier, you want to watch the outside area known as the ‘bleed area’. This is the area where you or the supplier aims to cut the cards. You want to make sure your background color covers this area completely to avoid white edges. However, you also want to make sure no important information carries over into the bleed area. If it does, you could easily end up with your phone number or email address cut off!

In addition, to keep your cards as sharp as possible avoid putting any kind of border around the edge. This is especially true if you are ordering from a supplier and not doing your own cutting. A small change in the cutting zone can result in cards that have only three or two edges bordered, creating a very unprofessional look. In the same way that your property listing photos should be centered and clear, your real estate business cards should also be symmetrical and centered.

Display Your Smiling Face!

As a Realtor®, you are your own brand. You want to make sure that your card shows off a professional image of who you are. This serves three purposes – first, it displays you at your best ever time the customer looks at the card. Second, it helps them remember who you are and what you look like – if they see your picture elsewhere, it will trigger recognition. Finally, a personal picture helps create a personal connection, allowing the customer to feel like they know you despite what may have been a short introduction.

Additionally, make sure you include all relevant information. The more ways a customer can reach you, the better. A phone number and email address are the minimum – if you have an office address, website, or Facebook page that’s even better. Finally, think of a clever or personal tag line that can be the motto of your realty business. By including that on the card, you’ve added another memorable personal touch.

Your real estate business cards are a key part of your realty business. You want them to be colorful but not brash, unique, and display your brand at its best. By being mindful of size, color and edges, you’ll be assured of having a professional card. By placing your clear, smiling picture and personal motto on them, you’ll build recognition and create relationships. These steps will give you the perfect business cards to grow your brand and win customers.

 

Need help getting the perfect real estate business card? Check out PrinterBees right away – we provide professional quality, customizable business cards at a great price

Real Estate Marketing Ideas for 2015

2015 real estate marketing ideasThe New Year is upon us, so it’s time to revamp your marketing efforts for 2015! A new year is a great time to review what worked in 2014 and make plans for what you want to change or continue. Here are some real estate marketing ideas for you to consider for 2015.

Person to Person Interaction

The world has become too impersonal – we rely so much on email, postcards, and social media that we’ve almost forgotten how to actually speak to each other. For your 2015 real estate marketing strategy, place your agency on the front lines of in-person interaction. Here are some ideas on how:

  • Take regular walks in your target neighborhoods. If you have a well-behaved dog, even better! Strike up conversations with homeowners that you see out in their yards and driveways. Get to know them, shake their hand, and offer a useful branded item, such as a pen.
  • Host quarterly in-person events. These can vary throughout the year – perhaps a costume party at your office in the fall, and a free spring-cleaning seminar in the April. By regularly having face-to-face events, you will become well known in your community as a resource and a helper. Even if attendees aren’t buying or selling they likely know someone who is.
  • Participate in festivals, fairs, and other events that take place in your area. This may include attending farmer’s markets regularly, or having a booth at a local fair. Whether you’re simply attending or actually advertising, your presence will make you a trusted, familiar face.

Ask for Referrals!

As much as 75% of a Realtor’s® business comes from referrals and word-of-mouth. As a result, it’s important to not only make yourself known, but to ask for referrals! It costs many times more to get new prospects than it does to keep in touch with previous clients and ask them to help you find new customers. There are several ways to keep the communication going with previous clients:

  • Invite them to your in-person events. Using the “80/20 rule”, you should spend 80% of your interactions being helpful to others and only 20% offering your own services. As a result, you should be offering plenty of events that previous clients can learn from. If they come and gain more valuable knowledge from you, they will keep you in mind if someone they know needs a Realtor®!
  • Keep in touch with regular mailings. These mailing should be different than they ones you send prospects – they should include a thank you for your previous work together and ask for referrals if they know someone who is buying or selling property. These mailings can be holiday cards, seasonal postcards, or – for an especially personal touch – a birthday greeting.
  • Keep in touch on social media and email. Although you can focus on personal interactions in 2015, you can’t neglect the amount of time people spend online. Sprinkle in some emails, social media mentions, and other online interaction to keep your bonds with previous customers strong.

Rework Your Open Houses

Open houses can be one of the most effective ways to introduce buyers and other Realtors® to your listed properties. In your 2015 real estate marketing, focus on giving these a special touch. Here are some ideas:

  • Set up special stations near key features of the home. Everyone understands that staging is a must if you want to sell a home quickly and efficiently. But making interactive stations near key features is a great way to draw special attention to them. Set up some snacks on the beautiful kitchen island, or put some cocoa or cookies near the focal-point fireplace. This will also give people a reason to linger in the most beautiful parts of the home.
  • Consider when you schedule your open houses. Weekend afternoons can be very busy, and many buyers will be working during weekday hours. Consider an evening open house during the week, or a late morning brunch on a weekend.
  • Advertise your open houses in unconventional places. Think about where your ideal buyers are likely to spend a lot of time. Is there a popular gym in the neighborhood? Are there online sites that appeal to that demographic? By using targeted advertising, you can get more of your ideal buyers through the door and increase your chance of selling the home quickly.

A new year doesn’t mean you eliminate everything you did last year to build your real estate business. However, it is a great opportunity to bring new focus to your work. These real estate marketing ideas will help you create personal connections of trust, increase referrals, and make your open houses more effective. Here’s wishing you a prosperous and successful 2015!!

Thanksgiving Marketing Ideas – FREE Thanksgiving Word Search Handout

The piece we ran on Halloween marketing ideas was a huge hit, so we thought you might want some ideas to market yourself for Thanksgiving too. I personally think marketing you do in November will have more impact than what you put out in December. It gives you an opportunity to express how thankful you are, and it’s a holiday most Americans celebrate, no matter their religious beliefs.

There sure is a lot to be thankful for and it’s a great reason to get in touch, therefore a great reason for marketing and getting yourself out there. People are overwhelmed with the barrage of marketing for the holidays, it’s everywhere we turn and big companies with big budgets kind of outshine the “little guy” in December. I received my Toys R Us Catalog before Halloween this year.

Here’s some ideas to get the creative juices flowing:

Use thanksgiving greeting cards. Everyone else will send traditional holiday cards in December. The best way to stand out is to do what everyone else ISN’T doing. I was listening to a presentation where Ben Kinney (super star KW agent) talked about how he is increasing his postcard marketing budget because so many are abandoning the tried and tested traditional marketing methods of using real estate marketing postcards.

Pick up the phone! No one wants to pick up the phone anymore, which is why you should do it! Call your sphere of influence to say “hi,” wish them a Happy Thanksgiving and to offer your services, should they need your expertise. This could lead to referrals because as we all know, this is the time of year when people are far more social with family and friends. If you want to be top of mind, stay top of mind by being present.

Email something the people in your database would find useful for their Thanksgiving celebrations. The ultimate turkey recipe, how to cook a ham, the secrets to avoiding holiday traffic or anything else you can think of which your database would find valuable. If it’s something of value, it’s a perfect reason to get and stay in touch.

Get yourself on Pinterest! There’s an endless number of ideas for inexpensive give aways to choose from with a quick search on Pinterest. Stopping by past client homes to drop off a small Thanksgiving Day token is a great excuse to drop by. Brian Buffini uses the term “pop-by” to describe the action of popping by, where you leave the car running as you stop by quickly to say “hi,” provide well wishes and get on your merry way to see the next person on your list. It’s not an intrusion when it’s a quick visit and you never go past the front door! How would your business benefit and grow if you added the “pop-by” to one of the many ways you connect with clients, both past and present. It’s brilliant and it works!

Download this FREE Thanksgiving Day word search (below) we created for you, customize it to fit your business andThanksgiving Word Search Puzzle get it out! Offer a prize or drawing for those who send you a picture of their completed word search to increase the engagement with your audience. Post it on your social media channels, your website and encourage competition to make it fun! As people respond, you’ll be collecting leads AND building a relationship. Step it up a notch by having a competition with one of the other agents in your office to see who can get the most responses. Publicize your competition to get your sphere of influence to help you rally for the win!

There’s plenty of excuses to get in touch and most people absolutely celebrate thanksgiving, making it the ultimate excuse. I don’t think you’ll ever find someone who doesn’t appreciate Thanksgiving well wishes…so it’s safe to get out there and connect!

FSBO Lead Generation Tactics – FREE Download

FSBO Lead Generation TacticsWhen many sellers get ready to sell their homes, the first question many consider is, “Can I get away with not using a Realtor®?” With all of the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) websites popping up, it’s easy for a homeowner to think they can save money by listing the property themselves and not paying your commission. You and I know that’s simply not true and that homes sold by Realtors® sell for more and much faster, it’s been proven time and time again.

With lead generation being critical to the success of any real estate agent’s business, prospecting to FSBO’s offers an extremely targeted list of prospects/leads to target.  The key is showing the person who has decided to go FSBO that it is in their best interest to use your services.  Here’s some great objection handling information (which can be downloaded as a flyer…free) for you to use the next time you’re speaking with someone about the advantages of using a Realtor® vs. selling it themselves. It’s a no-brainer!



Buyer’s Commission
As a seller, you would still end up paying the buyer’s agent commission if you sell your own home. This means that your savings is not 6%, but rather 3%. That amounts to $7500 on a $250,000 house. While that may still sound like a significant amount of money, think about the amount of work you’ll do to get the word out. How much is your time worth? Realtors® really do earn their pay.

Listing Services
When you use an agent, they take care of listing your property. They do this not only locally, but also on the internet, where 90% of home buyers look before purchasing a home.

You can certainly list your own home online, but it isn’t free – sites with Multi-Listing Service (MLS) access charge anything from a $395 flat fee to $199 for a 6 month listing. And you want to make sure to hit all the major sites, free or paid. It’s the only way to make sure you are visible to all potential buyers and their agents.

A Realtor® will take care of all of these listings for you, so you don’t have to worry about which sites to use, how long they take to set up, or how much they cost.

Screening Buyers
When you use an agent, they receive all of the calls and weed out the ‘just curious’ lookers or others who would not be able to qualify to buy your house. When you list the home for sale on your own, you have to take ALL the calls and emails yourself. This is another serious time commitment. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending two weeks going back and forth with a potential buyer only to find out they never had financing.

An agent will have the experience to be able to tell right away if someone isn’t going to be able to complete a purchase. And, if a potential buyer does end up wasting their time, that’s part of what you’re paying them to handle. This way, you can spend time on your own commitments and let your agent handle the curious and the serious buyers.

There’s also the consideration of safety.  Most experienced Realtors® won’t work with buyers who aren’t pre-qualified and pre-screened by a mortgage broker. Getting pre-qualified requires showing proof of identification, financial background, a credit check, etc.  It’s good to avoid having complete strangers traipsing through your home with no record of who they are.

Buzz Creation
Real estate agents belong to a close-knit community and know how to build buzz about your property with other agents. In doing this, they are exposing your home to a market you wouldn’t have access to on your own. When a Realtor® can call up a professional contact and recommend they bring a client by, you have an immediate prospect that is actually ready to buy.

In addition, agents have a lot of experience setting up open houses and creating interest in their events. An agent isn’t going to want to waste time or money on an open house that isn’t attended, so they will put their network and advertising skills to good use on your behalf.

Price Setting
The key reason sellers choose to go on their own is to save money. Unfortunately, a real estate agent can offer significant expertise in setting a price-point for your property. They have experience in the area, so they know what price to ask for that will bring good value while also selling your property quickly.

Homeowners have the potential to fall off of both sides of the pricing wagon. Some homeowners love their house so much they price it inappropriately highly, resulting in it sitting on the market unsold for months. Others are unsure of themselves and need to move quickly, so they underprice their homes and cost themselves a lot more financially than they would have saved in commissions.

Ironically, the founder of ForSaleByOwner.com had to use an agent to sell his own home after he “mispriced” it and couldn’t sell it himself. Not only did he gain a lot of money in the price – even after the commission – the property sold quickly.

Paperwork
If you do find a buyer on your own, you’ll quickly realize the mountain of paperwork that it takes to complete a sale. It takes a lot of time to understand all the legal and financial forms you need to make available and sign with the buyer. A mistake in the paperwork and proper disclosures can open you up to serious liability or financial loss.

If you do sell on your own, the sales paperwork is an area where you can’t afford to go it alone. Make sure you do your research and perhaps even consult a real estate lawyer to help you draft the correct forms and disclosures so that you don’t find yourself in significant trouble later.

In the final analysis, you may save a few bucks by going the FSBO route. Unfortunately, you will also spend a significant amount of time, in addition to your current professional and personal obligations, to do so. You may also misprice your home, and you’ll need a lot of help with the final paperwork once you find a buyer. In the end, using a real estate agent is the easier and more affordable way to go.

Realtor® Rip Off Report: How to Avoid Lead Generation Ripoffs

Market Leader Rip Off ReportEvery Realtor® needs leads in order to show and sell properties. Getting leads can be a lot of work, and many Realtors® don’t know where to start. As a result, some Realtors® turn to lead generation services that promise to do all the legwork. Sounds great, right!  Please read on….Market Leader is one such service, however according to many complaints they simply take your money and do not provide the promised leads. By locking Realtors® into a multi-month contract, services like Market Leader leave professionals with nowhere to turn despite not getting what was promised.

Market Leader Issues
Market Leader promises to generate a certain number of leads within your area code, but over time many Realtor®s are seeing the leads from outside their area. One customer was finally told that Market Leader cannot promise where leads come from. That makes the leads useless.

Past customers also report that once a contract is in place, Market Leader and many other services will work hard to make sure you can’t get out of it. Customers have complained that they have been told they need 35 day written notice (long enough to charge you an extra month) and that they have to cancel by a certain day of the month in order to have it process in time.

Unfortunately, the complaints about customer service abound as well, both on posts to their Facebook site (Posts to Page on the left sidebar) and on external services. Many customers say they get ‘outside business hours’ messages in the early afternoon, or are not allowed to speak to a supervisor when they wish to dispute charges. There are also many technical issues with the site and Realtors® are simply told that a ‘ticket has been submitted’. Some Realtors® had customers reporting the campaign emails as spam because the Market Leader campaigns were malfunctioning, and multiple calls to customer service did nothing to fix the issue.

You can read all of the gory details from the Facebook group, “What Should I Spend My Monday On?” It’s  a good group!

Finally, users with Macs do not have nearly the functionality of other subscribers, but they pay the same high prices. The creative portions where you create your own mailings have to be done from a PC. Even with a PC, you cannot verify ownership of your domain with Market Leader so apparently there is no syncing with Google apps to coordinate with a team.

For a service that charges $580 a month and locks you into a 6 month contract, you have a right to expect better. In fact, if you put those kinds of resources to work in your own lead generation efforts, you could grow your business dramatically and remain in control of the quality of the leads you attract.

How to Avoid Ripoffs and Generate Your Own Leads
Here at the Real Estate Marketing Magazine, we have a free e-book that can help you get a jump-start on your lead generation efforts. You don’t even have to start spending your hard earned cash! Here are some tips from the e-book and beyond.

Start with those you know. I know, no one likes to harass friends and family. But remember, you’re in this to SERVE, and folks need help finding a great place to live! Finding a great Realtor® isn’t as easy as you’d think.  Keep in mind that it isn’t just who you know, it’s who THEY know also. Use our free calls scripts and letters to help you reach out to the people in your sphere.

By starting with those you already know and asking for referrals, you can begin your network with those who already know and trust you. And trust sells!

Social Media
Social media is a great way to reach out to those you don’t know, build relationships, and nurture prospects. You can establish a Facebook site for your realty business, and post photos from your listings to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Twitter! In addition, you can establish a website using easy-to-build templates through any number of services. Squarespace is well known for having great visually-focused templates, which is a major bonus for any Realtor®! Remember, when you help people see themselves in your properties, your sales job is almost done.

Business Cards and Mailings
A professionally designed business card is essential for any successful Realtor®. Services such as PrinterBees have hundreds of real estate business card templates to choose from.  In addition, sending farming postcards to people in your area to announce a new listing or an open house can be very effective. Postcards get seen more readily than letters, which residents often throw away without opening because they are  seen as ‘junk mail’. Postcards with great graphics are eye-catching and already ‘opened’!  PrinterBees has a huge selection of real estate marketing postcards for any type of lead generation program you want to kick off.

These are just a few examples of low-cost ways to begin to gain leads. There are many more. See each person you meet as a potential sale – if not them, then someone they know! Learn how to connect quickly through conversation and assess their needs. When you add a new person to your network, it isn’t one person – it’s more likely 100, since you add their entire network as well. With this mindset, you’ll see that the world is your oyster – and you don’t need to pay $580 a month and be plagued with issues to access it!

Have these call scripts emailed to you. They work great for contacting your sphere of influence.