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3 Essentials of Marketing Real Estate Listings

Essentials of Marketing Listings

With summer in full swing, marketing listings is top-of-mind for many Realtors®. Listings are the core of many agents’ businesses, and it’s always useful to make sure you’re covering the essentials.

You want to move well beyond the “Put up a sign, put it in the MLS, and pray” strategy. Here are three essentials that will get your listing in front of the right buyers so you can close the deal!

Avoid Obvious Problems

It’s no secret that some listings sit for months due to completely avoidable issues. Pricing is one of the biggest. A home should be priced appropriately for its condition, location, and market conditions. If a seller won’t agree to those terms, don’t compromise. Move on!

Social media has made buyers more visually motivated than ever. If you don’t have beautiful pictures of a home, and the home isn’t gorgeous to buyers who tour it, you won’t move the property quickly. Some sellers completely miss the point that the home shouldn’t be decorated for them anymore. It should appeal to the largest base of buyers possible.

Finally, make sure your writing is compelling as you promote the home. The best pictures in the world won’t cover for bad copy! There are a variety of ways to make your listing description captivating to draw in agents and buyers. Highlight the home’s character and how it differs from other properties in the neighborhood.

Use a Variety of Marketing Methods

Every listing should have a clear marketing plan created. When you have a plan, not only does it help you win listings up front, it also directs your daily actions. You can move forward purposefully, knowing that you have a set plan, you’ll be focused and sell the home quickly.

A marketing plan often includes:

If you only market one way, you’re missing out on potential buyers. People are active online in a variety of ways, and there’s less competition in the mailbox than ever. By taking a multi-faceted approach, you’ll be able to access all potential buyers.

Network with Other Realtors®

Other agents aren’t your competition, they’re a great source of buyers for your listing! There are a variety of ways to connect to other real estate agents to find buyers.

Reverse prospecting on the MLS is one idea. Through saved searches, you can find Realtors® who have buyers that might be interested in your new listings. Once you ensure that the buyer is still active, don’t forget that you need to sell the agent on why your listing is perfect for their client.

You can also find other agents on Instagram. When you have an active account, Instagram is a great way to showcase your listings and connect with other Realtors®. You can find buyers, or buyer’s agents – either way, you win!

Of course, networking with other agents in person and through agency and industry events is important as well. You never know when the Realtors® you meet will be just the connection you need.

When you cover these three fundamentals, you’ll be doing a very solid job of marketing your listings. The more creative you can be, the better! We’re in a powerful seller’s market in 2017, so there is no excuse not to move homes quickly.

Are you ready to set up a Just Listed and Just Sold campaign? Interested in other print marketing materials? We’re here to help. Contact Printerbees today!

The Five People Every Realtor® Needs to Know

Five People Realtors Need to Know

People never find business success alone, especially in real estate. Knowing the right people and being able to use a close network to help your clients is vital.

How do you know who you need to know? Professionals in a variety of fields help your clients finalize a deal. Whether it’s a mortgage banker or a home inspector, having people you can refer clients to time after time gives you many benefits.

The Benefits of a Close Referral Network

Why bother to have a go-to mortgage professional or inspector? Why not just let the client find their own?

First of all, you’ll save a lot of time. Home buyers, especially first-timers, don’t even know where to start when looking for professionals. When you give them a referral, even if they don’t use it, it will give them a starting point.

Secondly, you can help your clients find someone who is qualified. It’s easy to be fast-talked into a bad deal when you’re already overwhelmed with buying a home. It’s also easy to end up with someone who does a poor job and causes the deal to fall through.

Finally, it helps you build good relationships with other professionals. You can build a lot of goodwill by sending consistent clients to someone, and perhaps when they need a Realtor® or know someone who does they will think of you.

The Five People You Should Have on Your Side

So who does every Realtor® need to know? Most of these are common sense when you think about it, but the truth is that most real estate agents don’t take the time. Build a relationship with these five folks and you’ll be able to streamline the buying process for your clients.

Mortgage Broker

This is the most obvious, and many real estate agents do have a mortgage professional they refer clients to. This can help clients gain pre-approval and be an option for them when closing a deal. Find someone who is good at working with the types of clients you tend to have, and closes a lot of deals.

Home Inspector

Having a Realtor® who knows a well-qualified home inspector is a great benefit for buyers. Home inspections are nerve-wracking and home buyers are always nervous something will be missed and they will be left with a lemon. Having a self-assured, detail-oriented inspector you can recommend will help your buyers be confident in their purchase and in you.

Insurance Agent

Having home insurance is a key factor in closing any real estate deal. Many customers will have an existing insurance company to use, but you can also refer them to a skilled independent agent you know as well. Comparing prices never hurts, and if a buyer is completely lost your referral can give them a starting point.

An Escrow Officer

Knowing someone who has closed a lot of escrows and has seen a variety of scenarios will be invaluable to your real estate business. Using an inexperienced or unskilled escrow officer can completely scuttle a deal, which costs you and your clients money. Find out who is excellent at escrow in your area and make sure they are a part of your team.

A General Contractor

Many buyers approach a home wanting to make changes and updates. Other find specific things that need repaired or changed once they move in. Even after a deal is closed you may get questions about who to call for specific repairs. Having a general contractor you know that has a great reputation and performs high-quality work will make you look great to your clients.

Who Do YOU Know?

In real estate, as in many other kinds of business, it’s not always about what you know. It’s just as much about who you know. With these five professionals as part of your referral network, you’ll save time and hassle in almost every buying deal. It’s worth the time and effort to build these relationships, so start today!

Are you ready to ramp up your spring and summer marketing efforts? We’ve got a variety of ways to reach out to new buyers, including buyers postcards, Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM), and more. Contact us for help today!

Pro Tips on Using Business Cards Effectively

Using Business Cards Effectively

Are business cards even worthwhile anymore?

The answer is absolutely yes, and here’s why.

People forget names, and you want them to remember yours.

Tapping on your phone to email someone or get contact info is rude. Instead, keep eye contact and a clear conversation as you hand over a business card.

When used effectively, business cards can help build your network and bring in new clients.

Using Your Cards Effectively: What to Do

Effective business cards start with a great design. You want to make sure you can customize the design to fit you individually so that you don’t run the risk of having the same card as someone else. It doesn’t look professional when your card is the same as your competitor’s!

Be prepared. Always have at least a few business cards on you at all times. Even on vacation, you might meet someone who’s interested in buying or selling a home or knows someone who is. Even if you’re in a different state, you may well meet someone from your specific city, so don’t think being out of state means being out of cards!

Be interested. Don’t just shove your card desperately into the hands of whoever you meet. Instead, have a conversation, get to know them, and make sure they’re someone who may need your services. If so, offer your card and ask for their information too so that you can contact them later. By showing interest in the other person, you’ll make an authentic connection.

Include your picture on your card. We meet dozens of people during a day, and our memories aren’t that great. You want to make sure a prospect or possible partner has as many ways to jog their memory as possible and providing a picture helps.

Using Your Cards Effectively: What Not to Do

There are ways you can hand out and use business cards that damage your professional image instead of enhancing it. You don’t want to come off needy, desperate, or creepy. This is especially important for Realtors® because you’re handing your card to regular consumers rather than other business folks. Being authentic and natural is important.

Don’t hand your business card out like candy. Not everyone wants your card or wants to do business with you. Take the time to make a genuine connection with someone, get to know their needs, and then decide if handing over your card is appropriate. The goal of networking is connecting with qualified leads, not just handing out your card.

Don’t forget to ask for their contact information too, if appropriate. You don’t have control over whether someone contacts you, but if you have their phone number or email, you can follow up with them later. Of course, remember to follow through! Nothing is less professional than promising a call or email and failing to do it.

Finally, don’t expect your business card to do all the work for you. When meeting others, you still have to put your best foot forward, ask open-ended questions, engage in active listening, and more. Your business card is the icing on the cake – the last thing you do once you’ve already made a great impression.

Is it time to revamp your business cards? Printerbees is here to help! We have a variety of real estate business cards that you can customize to be exactly what you need. Contact us today!

Real Estate Marketing on the Go – Invite Conversation!

Real Estate Marketing - Invite Conversation

Do you work from a coffee shop so much that you know how to make all their drinks? Or do you drop into one from time to time to get some work done?

The coffee shop is the world’s cheapest shared workspace. But did you know you can get a bit of business while you’re working there? It’s true. Just set up a clear sign that says who you are, what you do, and that you’re there to help.

Simply display a sign that says something like “Hi! I’m a Realtor®. Feel free to ask me questions.” This could be the cheapest and most effective display ad you ever buy.

Here’s why…

Everyone Has Real Estate Questions

Just about everybody in the coffee shop can use your wisdom. Most people are either in the market or know someone in the market to buy or sell a home.

Real estate is always changing, so people always have questions. Things like:

  • Is now a good time to buy or sell?
  • My sister is asking $400,000 for a 2 bedroom. Is that too much?
  • How do I tell my daughter to stop wasting money on rent?

People are often shopping for a home, even when they’re not consciously aware of it. They may be telling people, “I’ll wait for the spring” but they are still taking a peek at online listings and making note of “For Sale” signs on lawns.

Give these people a polite and informed answer, and ask if you can stay in touch. Voila! A lead or a referral.

It’s Unique

Most people who work in coffee shops have their headphones plugged in and have tunnel vision to their laptop.

Breaking this mold is refreshing. This sign invites a conversation, which can be a refreshing change from the plugged-in-and-don’t-bother-me demeanor given off by most other coffee shop workers.

You may find that things snowball. Some may be too shy to come over to talk to you. But, once the ice is broken, things will pick up. People will overhear your conversations, which will lead to them coming over to ask their own questions.

It Links You to Other Professionals

Even if you don’t meet someone that is looking to buy or sell, you can make valuable contacts with other types of professionals who are important to know.

Meeting new people always provides me with new ideas, a different perspective on existing problems, or an interesting connection to a new person doing something awesome that inspires me,” wrote Wesley Verhoeve, founder of Family Records and GNTLMN.com about his coffee shop working.

“Today alone I met a top Skillshare teacher whose class I will now take, a sleep consultant, a publicist who offered to help with a project, and a wine consultant who recommended some bars.”

It Extends Your Brand

Have your sign professionally printed, with your logo and color scheme. This is an excellent chance to extend your brand, so take full advantage of it. Even if people don’t walk up and make conversation, they will notice your sign and take note of your offer of service!

You can even make one for everyone on your staff, to make sure they have one when they’re out and on-the-go. Just make them portable and small enough to fit into a laptop bag.

If you need help getting great signs, business cards, or any other printed materials, we offer a wide variety of options – contact us today for more information!

5 Ways to Develop Relationships in Your Target Neighborhood

Building Relationships

As a REALTOR®, marketing is the lifeblood of your business. Whereas most businesses cultivate a name or a brand, a REALTOR® is both the name and the brand. In essence, promoting your business means promoting yourself and your services in a particular market area.

So how do you promote yourself and make meaningful connections in your target neighborhood? It may sound difficult, but there are several ways you can do it. Here are five methods for cultivating effective relationships in a target neighborhood:

  1. Put Social Media to Work for You

I’ve talked a lot about how social media can make a difference in your real estate marketing. With one in two American adults on Facebook, social media should be a key component of your marketing efforts.

Some Realtors® are hesitant to engage in social media because they are concerned about appearing too informal, or they simply don’t know what to say. It’s important to remember the “social” side of social media. In other words, you can achieve great success by simply being yourself, as well as providing information that is interesting and valuable to your target audience.

People like to feel proud of their community. Join Facebook groups focused on specific communities and neighborhoods, and then tap into the sentiment by sharing photos of the neighborhood and relating personal stories of your interactions with community members. You might also consider posting content that is entertaining or useful, such as “10 Tips for Spring Cleaning” or “Where to Find a Pet Sitter.”

  1. Invest in the Community

This doesn’t mean you need to buy a home in the neighborhood – although if you already live there, it’s a great start! Ultimately, real estate is about people, not property. Consider investing your time in local programs or service organizations. Many communities have civic organizations that need regular volunteers. Show families and individuals in the neighborhood you care about the area and its residents – and gain some great exposure for yourself and your business in the process. Offer to plant flowers around an intersection that could use some beautifying, or donate some items to a bake sale. Even a little effort will pay off down the road.

  1. Consider Predictive Analytics

According to REALTOR® Magazine, predictive analytics is a powerful new spin on traditional door-to-door marketing. Rather than wasting valuable hours – and the soles of your shoes – knocking on doors at random, you can tap into a stream of data designed to predict which properties are likely to hit the market in upcoming months.

Predictive analytics uses computer algorithms to compile data from numerous sources, track trends, and assess the likelihood of a future sale. There are several companies and apps that have developed algorithms that scour sale records, auditor records, mortgage loan records, delinquencies, and tax records for information – something made possible by the digitization of many county and state public records.

Although it is possible to compile these records yourself and track trends without the help of a third party app, data-crunching demands time – time you need to make personal connections with potential sellers. Armed with this valuable data, you can focus your door-to-door efforts on homeowners likely to enter the market in the near future.

  1. Stay in Touch with Past Clients

You have made a sale, negotiated the closing, and sent your client a thoughtful housewarming gift. However, your work is not done. As all REALTORS® know, referrals are an important source of future business. In 2014, 40% of all buyers chose to work with an agent that was referred to them by a friend, neighbor, or relative.

Whether you represent a buyer moving into a target neighborhood or a seller moving out, be sure to stay in touch long after the sale is final and the moving trucks have left.

There are several ways to do this. Many agents send holiday or birthday cards, and include past clients on their newsletter mailing lists. Most people put down roots in their community – even if they move away, they maintain connections in their old neighborhood. You never know when a past client will recommend you to a friend, family member, or work colleague looking to buy or sell in the same area.

  1. Build a Business Referral Network

Local businesses are the backbone of any community’s economy. Residents rely on these businesses to provide services and products. In turn, businesses thrive when people perceive them as trustworthy and reliable. As a REALTOR®, you can become part of this network of providers by building relationships with your fellow local businesses.

Getting started is much easier than you might think. Real estate clients may rely on their agents to recommend everything from landscapers to a good pizza place. If a business serves your target neighborhood, there is a good chance your clients will patronize it. Reach out to these business owners and ask about establishing a referral relationship.

Making It Work

Growing your business can be tough. With persistence and a firm commitment to making personal connections in your target neighborhood, however, your real estate business will benefit both now and down the road. These five tips will help you build the relationships you need to be successful.

What steps have been key to building relationships in your target neighborhood? Share in the comments!

 

Four Ways to Get More Referrals for Your Real Estate Business

Real estate referrals

All agents know that referrals are the best leads you can possibly get. Folks that are referred to you are not only ready to buy or sell a home, but they already are warm to your services and style. The question is, how do you get more referrals sent to you? Here are four simple tips.

Ask Current Clients

Many of us don’t think to ask for referrals until we’ve finished the deal. But why wait until a client has moved on in their lives and loses touch with us? Instead, ask during the process if they have any friends or family that need a Realtor®. The rapport you’ve built will be very fresh in their minds if they’re still working with you on a regular basis, and they will already be discussing their real estate search with everyone they know. Why not ask them to put in a good word for their amazing Realtor® as they share the process with their friends and family?

Follow Up With Past Clients

Past clients are, of course, a rich source of referrals. Keep in mind, however, that you may need to invite them to refer others to you multiple times before they follow through. This is often because real estate is no longer on the top of their mind, and they have other things to think about now that the deal is over. One way to get an immediate recommendation from them, even if they don’t send a direct referral, is to have them write an online review for you. You can use it on your website in addition to having them post directly on the review site.

Networking

Do you ever feel frustrated because you left a networking even without meeting anyone who needed a Realtor® right now? I know I have. However, remember that all of those networking contacts probably have someone they know who needs a Realtor®, either now or in the near future. Don’t end a conversation if someone doesn’t want to buy or sell a home – instead, ask about who they know that’s involved in moving into or out of your farm neighborhoods. Don’t just get a name – have them pass you along as a recommendation to their friend or family member.

Business and Social Connections

Being approachable and friendly can go a long way toward not only getting leads, but getting referrals as well. Always have your business cards on you, and keep your horizons wide. Just because someone isn’t a perfect fit for you doesn’t mean they don’t know someone who is! We literally meet enough people in a single day to reach out to tens of thousands indirectly. When you strike up conversations, get to know people and find out what they enjoy. Once you’ve built a great rapport, you can ask them to refer to you someone they know and give them your business card to pass along.

Once someone sends you a referral, be sure to treat that person like gold. Even if they don’t work with you in the end, the great experience will certainly get back to the person who referred them! Also, be sure to thank the referral source, even if the prospect doesn’t sign a contract with you. It’s important to show appreciation, even if it doesn’t work out – next time, maybe it will!!

Where do you look for referrals besides past customers? Share in the comments!

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!