Google+

Archive for sphere of influence

How to Build Your Sphere of Influence

Build Your Sphere of Influence

Your sphere of influence are the people who already know, like, and trust you. They’re the people you already have relationships with, and they are critical to your success in real estate.

Many times, people in your sphere will work with you on a real estate deal. Even if they don’t, they can refer you to those who are looking to buy or sell a home. The referrals can be even better than the direct work because people are likely to move occasionally, but they know others who are moving all the time!

When you gain more friends and associates, you can become even more successful. Here are some ideas on how to expand your sphere of influence.

Look for Opportunities

Not everyone is the type of person to strike up conversations with strangers in the grocery store and leave the building with a new friend. If you are, great!! Take advantage of your skill and reach out to folks you encounter.

If that’s hard for you, keep your eyes open for other opportunities. If you’re at an event and see someone standing alone, go up and talk to them. Try to get to know the friends of your existing friends and family. Join groups, such as those found on Meetup.com, where you can meet those with similar interests.

Not everyone you chat with will become a best friend, but increasing your circle of friends and acquaintances is fun and will help your business!

Build Authentic Relationships on Social Media

You probably don’t need me to tell you that not everyone on your Facebook friends list is actually a friend. However, it is a starting point. You can use the connections you make on social media as a way to start and deepen relationships.

The good news about social media is that it can be a comfortable way to connect for those who struggle talking to strangers or feel they are more introverted. The bad news is that it can be hard to build authentic relationships. Here are some ideas:

  • Practice active listening/reading online. Really pay attention to what someone says is important to them. Start conversations and join discussions.
  • Look for common interests. Use likes and comments on posts to start the conversation.
  • Use private messages for deeper connections. You can message someone and ask how a situation is going that they posted about. You can ask about their kids, or share a note about a common interest. It’s best to use private messages after you’ve connected with them publicly for a bit.

Of course, don’t friend people solely to send them a private message about your business. That’s a major turnoff for everyone! Instead, notice who you can reach out to and build an authentic friendship. You can be building relationships with multiple people at once, so that’s a big benefit!

Be a Giver

One of my friends absolutely loves the book The Go-Giver by Bob Burg. It’s a simple story that shows how much giving can impact your success. This is especially true when it comes to building your sphere of influence. Give tips, advice, free worksheets, a listening ear – whatever a person needs at a particular time, try to give it.

When you become a giver, you’ll notice that you enjoy life more. Giving is simply fun! It is also a great way to build relationships and become a person that others know, like, and trust.

Once you’ve built relationships, you can start sharing more about your professional work. Offer your services, ask for referrals, send mailings and other outreach from time to time, and more. The more people you add to your sphere of influence, the more impactful this activity will be!

Why Realtors® Avoid Their Sphere of Influence

Why Realtors Avoid Their Sphere

Do you work harder at marketing to strangers than to your own friends and family? You’re certainly not alone. However, your sphere of influence can be a tremendous source of referrals and clients. By sharing your services with those who already know, like, and trust you, you can gain new business faster.

Here are some common concerns Realtors® have with their sphere of influence, and how you can overcome them.

The “No” Hurts More

No one likes being told “No,” when they offer their services. When that “No,” comes from someone you know and love, it’s even worse. We don’t offer our services to those we’re closest to because we don’t want to feel rejected by them. Being rejected by a stranger is easier to brush off.

To overcome this, change the story you tell yourself about what “No,” means. Many of us use this story:

“If she tells me no it means that she doesn’t really believe in me as a Realtor®. She doesn’t support my business. She probably thinks I’m no good at it and that I’m destined to fail.”

Try shifting your perspective to think of it this way:

“If she tells me no it simply means she’s not buying right now or I’m not the right fit for her. That’s it.”

Not everyone wants to work with their best buddy in a major business deal. Many people know more than one Realtor® and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. The bottom line is, you can change the story you tell so that a “No,” isn’t personal, no matter who it comes from.

And of course, just because someone tells you “No,” doesn’t mean they won’t refer someone else to work with you!

You Don’t Want to Be a Pest

Many Realtors® are afraid that their friends and family will get tired of their enthusiasm for real estate. You don’t want people to avoid your calls, ignore your texts, or stop spending time with you. While I can see that happening if you only discuss business, it’s not likely if you simply discuss business along with other parts of your life.

Remember why you got into the real estate business. You want to help people buy and sell homes, and that means talking about your work and letting them know you’re available! Your friends and family should be able to reap the benefits of knowing someone in the real estate business, so don’t be shy!

Of course, if you’re desperate for business or pushy, you’ll come off badly no matter who you’re talking to. Don’t be needy or aggressive. Just talk about business as one part of your life!

You Forget About Referrals

Too many people see their sphere of influence only in terms of “possible clients.” It’s easy to forget that one of the biggest services someone can do is refer you to a person who wants to buy or sell a home.

Your friends and family members are not likely to be moving every year. However, they almost certainly know at least one person a year who is looking to buy or sell a home. Encourage your sphere of influence to share your information with someone who is thinking about moving. By making it low-pressure and easy for them to refer, you’ll gain a lot of valuable clients.

Take Care of Your Sphere

Your sphere of influence means a lot to you, and you mean a lot to them. Send them mailings and freebies occasionally, and keep up with being a good friend or family member. Show them you care, show them your passion and expertise for real estate, and be genuine. Your professionalism and thoughtfulness will shine through, and you’ll gain referrals and business as a result!

How to Get Out of the “Friend Zone” and Be Known as an Agent

Realtors out of the friend zone

I had lunch with a new real estate agent a few weeks ago, and he was complaining that it was hard to get business from his friends and family. In fact, most people he met saw him as something other than a Realtor® – a member of the neighborhood association, a parent, or a friend.

I started realizing that that’s a problem for a lot of Realtors®. Just like the tomboyish girl in high school, or the guy who’s got all the female friends but no girlfriend, we get put into the “friend zone” and people don’t even realize we’re Realtors®.

Fortunately, you don’t have to stay in the “friend zone”. You can make yourself known as an agent and actively solicit business. Here are three techniques you can use – it just takes a little self-confidence.

Friend Zone Buster #1: Talk about Work

Everyone seems to talk about their job. Why not you? You don’t have to join the complain-and-groan sessions. In fact, talk about how happy you are in your job. When they inevitably ask what you do, explain that you’re an agent. Talk about what you love about the business – except money. This is not the time to talk about great pay or unlimited income.

After you’ve expressed why you love real estate, ask how they felt the last time they moved. Ask if they used an agent, and why. Ask if they know anyone who’s moving right now and needs help. Do all of this naturally in the course of conversation, not as a rapid fire interview, of course.

Why this works: First of all, it gets the word out that you’re a real estate agent, which can be really important when people know you in other contexts. Secondly, it shows you’re happy and successful in your work. When someone wants an agent, they will want one that loves the job and exudes confidence and excitement about the buying and selling process.

Friend Zone Buster #2: Ask Friends and Family for Feedback on Your Marketing Materials

This one is kinda sneaky, but it’s a great way to get honest feedback from your sphere of influence while also spreading the word that you’re an agent. Ask people what they think of fliers, business cards, leaflets, postcards – anything! Ask if it would influence them to choose you as an agent.

This is a great way to find out if your marketing is actually effective to the people you’re trying to reach. If they react poorly, ask them why. Maybe they will bring up objections about Realtors® they have that aren’t related to your materials – you can talk to them about it, or you can consider addressing those concerns in other marketing outreaches.

Why it works: No one likes being sold, but everyone loves to be an expert. When you ask your friends and family for feedback, they will be happy to give you their $0.02, where if you just gave them a flier as marketing they would probably just throw it away. The more of your materials they see, the more cemented you are in their mind as a professional agent, not just a friend.

Friend Zone Buster #3:  Be an Expert on Local Happenings and Real Estate

Now, I’ll start right away by saying I’m not talking about the boorish expert who turns every conversation to their real estate expertise – the one people flee from at parties as soon as they have a chance. I’m talking about a being real, friendly, go-to person about your target neighborhoods.

It’s important to connect this expertise with your real estate work. You’ll want people to know you’re an expert because you’re a Realtor®, not just because you’re a social butterfly. Again, it takes some tact and grace to make this one work. But when you get it down, you’ll be non-threatening, but known as a knowledgeable and professional agent, not just a friend.

Why it works: Everyone likes to know what’s going on in their neck of the woods, or even in neighboring towns. A festival, new restaurant, or new development is a worthy topic of conversation to most people. It’s a very non-threatening way to make sure people know you’re an agent without feeling like you’re “selling” them on your services.

As a Realtor®, you can’t afford to be in the “friend zone”. You need folks to know that you are an excited, knowledgeable, and professional real estate agent. However, you already know that trying a hard sell with your friends and family drives people away. By using the three techniques above, you can soft sell your circle of influence and bust out of the “friend zone” for good.

How do you stay out of the “friend zone”? 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!

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.

I’ve Been Keeping Secrets…It’s Time You Knew…

Secrets With Friends Book CoverFor the last two years, I’ve been writing a book, just for you…with all my small business secrets!  The book is titled The Secrets I Share With My Friends, Everything I Know About Building A Small Business.  I’m  excited to announce it’s been published and is now available on Amazon.

Why this book is for you, as a Realtor®:

Whether you realize it or not, you ARE a small business owner and seeing your real estate business as a small business will help you to build it up as such.  There’s a big difference between having a real estate business and being a Realtor®.  The real estate business owner has a business that’s of value to someone else, where the Realtor® who didn’t build a business just quits selling real estate one day.  Done, THE END.  There’s nothing beyond the last day of work to show for it, other than years of dedication to helping the people helped along the way.  The name just fades away in to nothingness the day the Realtor® stops serving…the business owner can sell his/her business, has systems, a valuable database, a solid marketing plan and it lives on without her providing income long past the days worked.

There are very few books available (that I’ve been able to find) on how to build up and market a real estate business, that’s why I wrote this book!

I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, like the time I showed up to a really important business meeting with a business card I had printed from my computer ink-jet printer.  I’ve included that super embarrassing story in the book along with many other mistakes I’ve made along the way to success as a small business owner.  My personal stories of bumps and bruises received from attending The School Of Hard Knocks can save you from taking the same path.  A path all too common with entrepreneurs and small business owners…and yes, Realtors® too!  If you’ve been in real estate for a while, your story isn’t likely much different than mine when the real estate market crashed and everything when to…ummm…hell!  I’m not sure about you, but I found myself in line at the food bank to make sure I had groceries to feed the kids while trying to meet my financial obligations (1.5M. in debt), with NO income!  Rough times!

The book is filled with an abundance of easy to understand, easy to follow and easy to read information on how to build your real estate business, build a team, hire the right people, delegate what should be delegated, market your brand of real estate, managing business finances, building your prospect list, where to get a list, and everything in between… all the way to retirement.

Reading this book will completely change the way you see your real estate business and the possibilities that exist with some simple planning and thinking ahead.

As a Realtor® maybe retiring and selling your real estate business at some point isn’t something you’re thinking about, right now.  After all,  your clients are doing business with you, versus your business/brokerage.  Changing your thinking around this could be the difference between a comfortable retirement that includes passive income from your real estate business and just deciding to stop selling real estate when you retire with no passive income.  Which path sounds better to you?

As you build up your real estate business, if you build it up with the end in mind, you have the ability to set yourself up for a nice retirement and create a business that pays you even when you’re done and not working any in it longer.  Creating a successful real estate business that can live on without you is easy with some direction on how to do it and I’ve included all of my secrets on how to do that in the book!

The book is getting rave reviews from top thought leaders and coaches like Steve Hardison “The Ultimate Coach” as a blue print for small business owners, like yourself, that’s easy to read because it’s not a boring text book, it’s a memoir that’s interesting, funny and filled with secrets throughout.  Here’s what Steve had to say about the book after reading it in one sitting.

Nadine Larder’s part memoir, part “how to,” and part textbook, “The Secrets I Share With My Friends…,” meets with trumpets of success from world-renowned personal, relationship and business coach Steven Hardison.

“I met Nadine today in the parking garage after attending #ICON 14.  It was my great privilege to be given her first copy of the book, “The Secrets I Share With My Friends: Everything I Know About Building a Small Business.”  After I completed my afternoon with a client, I sat down to thumb through the book she had given me.  I could not simply thumb through it. It was too compelling.

“As I read her book I was amazed at the passion that came through the pages, and I was even more astonished at the content of the information.  It is extraordinary! I can hardly wait to speak with her to tell her what I thought of her masterpiece.  It is beyond brilliant.

“I particularly love her Pssst… comments throughout the book. I will be giving this copy to my daughter who, like Nadine, has the desire to build a small business from the ground up. This book is a brilliant blueprint.

“I do not know Nadine, other than the 5-10 minute encounter in the parking garage, AND I am totally moved by her contribution to me as I have consumed her writing. I can only imagine the impact it will have on readers who are building their own business. My hat is off to this powerful and dynamic woman. Thanks, Nadine. Be blessed.”

Visit www.SmbSmarts.net for more information on the book, Nadine and lots of small business secrets!  You can get the book on Amazon…Grab your copy now!  They’re first edition and we plan do to a reprint soon!

 

Why You Owe It To Your Sphere Of Influence To Get In Touch | Real Estate Marketing Magazine

real estate marketing to your sphereIf your like many of the agents I speak with, you too may be avoiding your sphere of influence and I’d like the opportunity to challenge your thinking. Once I convince you it’s time to get back in touch, I’m even providing a free download to help you out.  The download includes letters and call scripts to increase your comfort level and give you some direction.  Before you scroll to the bottom to get to the download, please read on…you reading why you need to get in touch will help you follow-through on actually using the download.

I first want you to know that you’re alone about not being in touch with your sphere, so please don’t beat yourself up…it’s totally normal and I totally get it.  I don’t remember ever meeting a Realtor® who feels comfortable about contacting their sphere of influence. There isn’t any excuse or story I haven’t heard before, and they’re all valid, but they’re still stories. They’re the kind of stories that keeps Realtors® from doing what works to grow a real estate practice at the fastest, most profitable and most practical manner.

Let’s start with the cold hard facts.

  • Your sphere of influence is twice as likely to do business with you than strangers
  • According to the top 150 agents who are part of the Mike Ferry coaching, 28% of their business comes from past clients and their sphere of influence
  • According to NAR, 42% of buyers find their agent via referral from a friend or family member, 12% of buyers used the same agent they had used in the past
  • 39% of sellers found their agent via referral and 25% used the same agent they had used in the past.
  • Close to 90% of clients said they would use their Realtor® again

The facts are “the facts” and they support investing in marketing to your sphere of influence. The sad part is that most agents don’t keep in touch, aren’t marketing to their sphere, so they aren’t reaping the benefits of all the above mentioned statistics.  Keeping consistent with marketing to your sphere does pays off and will absolutely give you the highest return on your marketing investment.

So, you may be asking yourself why you “owe it” to your sphere to get in touch…here’s why.  The people in your sphere are confused about the real estate market.  They have questions and are looking for honest and sincere answers.  The market has made huge shifts in the last few years and people are lost as to where it leaves them and their real estate investments.  Don’t you owe it to them to let them know you’re available to help and answer their questions?  Don’t you want them to reach out to you if they have questions about where things are, where things are headed, etc?

There’s a reason the top 150 agents have 28% of their business come from referrals, it’s because they work their database and they stay in touch.  Use these free downloads to help you get back in touch with your sphere.  They’ll be happy to find out you’re still in the real estate business and that they know someone they can trust.  You’ll reap the benefits of having gotten in touch, especially now that the real estate market is exploding again.  There’s no better time than the present!

Visit PrinterBees for a huge selection of postcards to help your marketing efforts.  It’s the best place on the Internet for real estate marketing!

 

 

The Secrets Realtors® Need To Know To Grab Their Share Of The Market Recovery

Real Estate Market Ideas 2014The secret to getting your share of the real estate market activity happening around you is really no secret. It’s good old fashioned real estate marketing that will get you new clients as well as having your past clients return every-time.  Your commitment to your own marketing is what drives business, and that’s a fact.  Without marketing, businesses starve, no matter what the market is doing.

Crazy times like this is when people are trying to figure out who to trust and who they can rely on.  Consistently marketing yourself and your business is what will make your phone ring.  People do business with the people they know, like and trust.  Your marketing will solidify your business relationships and your consistency will show your follow-through and commitment, which builds trust.

If your marketing has been on hold waiting for the market to come back…NEWS FLASH:  It’s back and it’s time to get serious.  The marketing you do now will yield higher returns now that people are back to buying and selling real estate again.

The secrets to getting your share:

  • Stay in touch with your past clients, they make great repeat customers and are fantastic referral sources.
  • Choose a neighborhood to farm that has good turnover, isn’t monopolized by another agent and get consistent with marketing to it.  It takes time to build a reputation as the “go to Realtor®.”
  • The greatest source of business will always come from people who already know and like you, which means marketing to your sphere of influence…consistently.  Here’s a link to a free download (letters and call scripts) to help you get back in touch with your sphere if it’s been a while.
  • Get yourself socializing on social media sites.  That’s where people are hanging out and if you’re not there, you’re missing out!  Signing up for an account and not actually participating doesn’t count and won’t help grow your business.  Participating and being active will.
  • You need to be on-line, with your own website so people can find you and communicate with you.  More than 90% of real estate transactions begin on-line.  If you’re not on-line, you’re behind the times and it’s time to catch up.

The Realtors® who are doing all of the above are absolutely getting business and getting busy.  These agents are using farming postcards, sending out just listed postcards, just sold postcards, showing they are active and engaged in the market and they are absolutely listing and selling homes like crazy!  Trust me, I see their print marketing, I see their farming postcards, followed by orders for just-listed and then just-sold.  They are consistent and ordering real estate print marketing materials no less than a few times per month.  These agents have a system, utilize resources like PrinterBees, and they work their marketing programs, consistently.  They’re ordering and mailing a few times per month because it works and it will work for you as well if you get yourself consistent.

FACT: Good marketing drives good business.

Mastering The Art Follow-Up: How It Will Boost Your Business

I’ve had this article sitting in the queue for a while waiting for the perfect time to publish it and with the recent release of Word Of Mouse made it a perfect time. Word Of Mouse is a great new internet marketing book released this week that features PrinterBees and our award winning Internet marketing strategies. Don’t mean to brag, but it’s our follow-up that has earned us the recognition and I want to share with you how we do it.

Word of Mouse: 101+ Trends in How We Buy, Sell, Live, Learn, Work, and Play

As mentioned in the book, we put the person back in to our marketing, because it’s the people who work within PrinterBees that make the magic happen and our customers deserve the chance to meet and work with the people on the other end of the phone or email messages. Our client-centric approach to helping Realtors with their marketing is what made our marketing stand out. It’s “duplicatable” and has some key points you can implement in your business.

We have automated our follow-up to keep customers from falling through the cracks. We don’t ever forget to follow-up or drop the ball on following-up, because we don’t depend on our calendars, memory or otherwise to do it. We have systems that simply happen, they are automatic and they happen the same way with every potential client, every time, without fail. Not because we don’t care, but because we do! We want our prospects and clients to know we care, know we want to earn their business and that we follow-up. Each client is provided a central point of contact (with a photo), a direct number, a direct email address, and their own graphics designer to assist them with their marketing. There’s nothing insincere about our follow-up, because every word of it is absolutely sincere and comes from a person at PrinterBees, not PrinterBees. The bee is cute, but you can’t get real estate marketing help or build a business relationship with a bee!

We built our process by evaluating what our clients need from us. They need their time more than anything. A person’s time is the one thing they can never get back, so if we respect their time by answering all of the questions we know and can predict they are going to want answered, we’ve saved them a phone call, a visit to our site or an email. When every customer has the same question, it’s a clue and an opportunity to serve.

We found most new customers have the same few questions regarding their first order. As part of our automated follow-up process, our clients receive a personal introduction, along with what they can expect to happen within the next 24 hours. They didn’t have to call or email us, we’ve predicted the questions and answered them via email directly from the person assigned to their account. If the client has other questions, they can easily reply to the email from their direct contact at PrinterBees, not an unmanned and impersonal customer service email box. We meet the customer where they are, on their computer or mobile device, we don’t expect them to come to where we are and hunt us down. It’s as simple as wanting to make it as easy as possible to business with PrinterBees.

To begin to automate your own processes, think about what your customers need from you. Evaluate what is the same about every customer follow-up and what parts of that follow-up can be automated, then automate it! Most follow-up emails are pretty much identical, so don’t reinvent the wheel, figure out what it is you duplicate efforts on daily and automate it because you care enough about your customer to do so. Following-up makes you available where most others will fail to show-up, automating it simply makes sure you do it and don’t mess it up.

The second best way to experience the follow-up with PrinterBees is to register for a coupon on the website or request print samples. I dare you to reply to any of the automated emails you receive with a specific question and guarantee it will be answered by your direct contact. I can also promise that If I hadn’t told you that every one of the emails were automated you would have never known. The best way is to experience it as an actual customer. 😉

You can pick up the book at Amazon, Mark Petrosky is a New York Times best selling author and the book is filled with great insights about the Internet and where it’s headed.  Word of Mouse: 101+ Trends in How We Buy, Sell, Live, Learn, Work, and Play

How the quality of your database impacts the quality of your leads

real estate leads | real estate lists | real estate databaseWith postcard marketing being a great way to generate leads in your real estate business, it’s a great approach to building your pipeline, but it’s important to make sure you have a good list before your get started.

The quality of the list you mail to will have a definite impact on the quality of the leads you attract in to your pipeline. If you’re mailing to a bad or outdated list, it’s no different than doing an email marketing campaign to a bunch of email addresses that don’t exist.  The only difference between the two is that mailing postcards to a bad list of addresses costs a fortune!  The largest expense in any real estate postcard marketing campaign isn’t the actual marketing piece, it’s the postage and therefore a costly mistake you don’t want to risk making.

The quality of the list you mail to will have a definite impact on the quality of the leads you attract in to your pipeline.

So, how do you make sure your database is good?

Always keep your mailing list up-to-date and current. With approximately 12% of people moving each year, your database can become outdated in as little a six months. Keep it updated by keeping in touch, it’s such a great excuse to get in touch.  When you get returned mail, make sure you contact that person to get their updated address.  If they’ve moved as a result of real estate transaction and you don’t know the new address, the bad news is that you aren’t the Realtor® they chose. The good news for you…the Realtor® who did help them won’t likely keep in touch and with your up-to-date database, you will and may have better luck next time.

Get a CASS certification on any bulk mail marketing campaign.  A CASS certification gets rid of any bad addresses in your list by comparing it against what the USPS has in their database.  It has to be done by a bulk mail company and there’s a small fee associated with getting the certification, but using a bulk mail company to handle your mailings will lower your postage rates. Think of all the money you’ll save on mailing to bad addresses for months on end.

Subscribe to a list company that provides the most up-to-date information.  Cole Realty Resources offers Realtors® affordable monthly or annual subscriptions to unlimited and up-to-date mailing address information.  It’s perfect for managing a farm, and even better for getting just listed/just sold postcards out to surrounding (owner-occupied) households.  They offer unlimited searches, unlimited downloads and even provide apartment addresses.  Services like this help you avoid mailing to prospects that aren’t the right fit, therefore a waste of resources.  Contact Cole Realty Resources at 800-800-3271, mention Real Estate Marketing Magazine and get a 30% discountIt’s a HUGE discount, so make sure to mention the magazine!

Regardless of how you approach keeping your database in order, it’s important to make sure it’s up-to-date, on target and high in quality to keep from wasting your time and money on marketing that won’t bear fruit.  The quality of your database really does matter!