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A Secret Weapon To Farm For Expired Listings

One quick way to get extra business right now is to target Expired Listings.

Keep in mind, these are people who want help from an agent but for some reason haven’t been able to sell their home. You’ll have to speak to their frustrations and position yourself as an agent who can help them in their situation.

You can find expired listings on your MLS and mail them a simple letter like this example:

Tips For Using This Expired Letter To Bring You Business:

  • Important note about modifying this letter: This letter has one and only one purpose which is to get prospects to CALL YOU! Notice how everything is “Packaged” specifically for the expired prospect? It uses excellent elements to handle objections, gives lots of Unique Selling Propositions (what you’ll DO for them), and teases for response.  You can modify this letter to fit your practice, but be careful about changing too much as it may reduce the effectiveness.  And don’t forget to PERSONALIZE the letter with the homeowners first name if you can get that data from your MLS.
  • This letter offers a service called the “Maximum Home Value Audit.” You can do an in-person review of the major areas of their home in addition to a CMA to differentiate yourself from what most agents would offer Expireds.  Because you’re one of our valued Agent Inner Circle® members… here’s a ready-to-use template you can use for this!
  • You can enclose a packet of aspirin or antacid or string (to remind them to call you) with this type of letter. It helps to make a greater impact on the reader because it advances your message. Plus, you know they’ll remember you!
  • Using a multi-step approach with this letter will maximize your response. Mail a SECOND NOTICE (sent 3 to 7 days after the first letter) and a FINAL NOTICE (sent 7 days after the second letter).  See this real estate marketing article to learn about about multi-sequence mailings.  Some agents even send letters like this via FEDEX because it looks official and will get opened.  You’ll have to test and see if the numbers make sense based on how many expired listings leads you turn into clients and your average commission.
  • Follow-up with a phone call. Most agents will do one or the other (only send a piece in the mail or only try to cold call).  If you call 3 days after you mail the letter, it is a warm call because you can ask if they got the package you sent to start the conversation.


What do YOU do to get Expired Listings?

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How To Sell More Homes Spending $0.00

Would you like to use a marketing system that costs nearly $0.00 and can bring you a steady flow of quality, motivated buyers?

Then keep reading because in this article I’ll show you one of the highest-return, lowest-cost marketing strategies you’ll ever use in your real estate practice. I’m dead serious. This is working today to get more exposure and contracts for your listings. As a side benefit it also demonstrates your unique value to sellers and helps you get more listings.

Here’s how this 2-step marketing strategy works:

STEP #1: Get a quality list of people to EMAIL

STEP #2: Send them a “valuable update” at least once a month

The best way to explain how this strategy can help you sell more homes is by answering a few common questions about email marketing…

QUESTION #1:Is email effective?

  • Emails are quick and easy to create and send, and they cost you nothing…
  • Emails are welcomed when they’re part of a “valuable update” (as long as you’re sending something people want to read and not all real estate info, more on that in a moment)…
  • Emails are seen more than Facebook posts or Twitter updates because they arrive in someone’s in-box rather than on a website someone has to go and check…
  • Emails are the most reliable way to get visitors to your website anytime you have an updated listing (no more running ads, printing flyers, or paying for traffic to get potential buyers to see listings on your website)…

Are emails opened by everyone?  No.  Email open rates depend on many factors including:  1) your relationship with the people you’re emailing, 2) the nature of your previous emails, and 3) how often you email your contacts.

If your contacts know you personally, you can expect 25% to 40% to open your emails within the FIRST DAY of you sending an email, spending $0.00.  That’s why email marketing is the best way to promote your listings — it’s the highest-leverage tool you can use for free to get exposure for your listings.

QUESTION #2:What if I don’t have email addresses of my contacts?

The most valuable business asset you’ll ever own is your “Power List” — some agents call this your sphere of influence. It’s your past clients, quality leads, friends, family, or acquaintances who know of you from a common organization or group. These are people most likely to welcome and respond to your emails.

Many of these contacts are already in your current email program. You can easily export these contacts and put them in an email marketing system. Then you’ll be able to send a “broadcast email” where you message all your contacts at the same time (instead of one-by-one). The email can still be personal by having the email system merge in the FIRST NAME of each contact.

But what if you still don’t have ALL the email addresses of your contacts, or you want more? I’ve created a quick reference guide with 15 easy ways to get more email addresses, organized into the following FOUR categories:

  1. FREE (7 strategies to collect emails for no cost)
  2. CHEAP (3 inexpensive and effective strategies to get more emails)
  3. BIG BANG (2 strategies that cost money, but can help you build a huge email list quickly)
  4. LEVERAGE (3 strategies to get emails from high-quality contacts that other people know)

I’ve numbered each of the strategies so it’s quick to scan the list, pick the ones you want to use, and start building your email list. To download this guide, click the image below…

* One agent I know was averaging at least 2 new people every day added to her database, and in her first year alone made over $122,000 in commissions from this group.  And she keeps making a $6-Figure income each year from them, even in this economy.  This is worth it.  Follow the reference guide and keep at it.  You’ll be glad you did.

QUESTION #3:What do I email so it’s welcomed, opened, read, and acted-upon?

OK, so you’ve got your “Power List” with email addresses. What do you send them?

If you blast off a “pitch” email promoting your listings to these folks, many of them will be upset or wonder why you’re spamming them. Instead, you want to send them something that will be welcomed and valued. It needs to be something radically different than the “email flyers” you see used to promote listings to other agents.

How do you send something that sets you APART from other agents, brings great VALUE, bonds a deeper RELATIONSHIP, while ALSO promoting your listings and giving specific REASONS to contact you?

The answer is to send a “valuable update.” That’s a little vague. Let me explain it using the Service For Life!® real estate newsletter as an example.

Each issue of Service For Life!® is engineered with:

1) Articles people want to read (not all about real estate) to make your email welcomed and valued…
2) Teasers, trivia, odd facts and helpful resources to get people involved (the longer they spend with your emails the more they’re bonded to you and the more they’ll see offers to contact you)…
3) 14 specific OFFERS to convert leads, generate referrals, word of mouth and repeat business (including multiple places to promote your listings in each email)…

You can see a sample of the email version here.

The bottom line: sending the “right” kind of email allows you to notify all your contacts about your listings at least once a month… where they THANK YOU for emailing them. Now that’s powerful. Thousands of agents are using this strategy today to get more listings sold, for no cost, while also deepening their relationship with each person for more referrals.  This also demonstrates a marketing system you have to promote listing, which will bring you more seller clients.

There’s a lot more I could say to describe this strategy, but you can learn all the specifics on this webinar training.

What you need to know right now is: produce a “valuable update” email, once a month, that has all the right elements to get opened, read, engaged-with, and that motivates response.  More specifically, you’ll need to…

  • Spend 15 to 20 hours a month researching, writing, editing, rewriting, etc. the articles on your own,
  • Layout the entire email in HTML (or pay a graphic designer to do it),
  • And find an email marketing system to send broadcast emails.

Or, you could become a Service For Life!® member and have it 95% done for you each month…

** Your contact info and photo are already loaded into your email issue…
** You take 5-minutes to add a personal message so it looks like you created it (this personal touch is very important)…
** You can add links or listing information directly to the email template through a simple editor that looks and works just like a word processor…
** All articles are also modifiable through the email editor and there’s an article library with dozens of new articles available each month, ready to cut and paste in about 30-seconds…
** Press SEND, and you’re done.

All the right elements are already engineered into the Service For Life!® email template, plus there are videos and guides to export and upload your contacts into an email sending system, pre-written email openers that bonds people to you for life, and information for getting more emails opened with the right subject lines, along with the best times of day and days of the week to send emails.

Your time is really better spent working with clients and closing deals. The choice is yours: create your own “valuable update” email each month, or have it done for you.

Either way, putting in place this cheap, and amazingly effective marketing strategy could be the ONE thing you need to prosper in today’s new economy.

3 Rules To Make Listings Stand Out And Get Them Sold Faster

Buyers today don’t see any difference between your listing and the dozens of other homes for sale even in one neighborhood.

Fortunately, there are 3 rules borrowed from the advertising world that can make your listings stand out and get them sold quickly.  These rules are about branding — not the company logo but what the company stands for.

Branding is really about communicating to a potential buyer who your product is for, and who it is NOT for.  Here are a few examples:

  • You know that eBay stands for online auctions where you can sell your goods fast to anyone, but also have to compete with the world.  Their brand attracts people who want to sell to or buy from a global marketplace, but who don’t mind the tradeoffs that come from overseas competition or purchasing from a vendor in another state or country.
  • If you were asked where most people go when they want a strong cup of coffee, there is only one answer:  Starbucks.  That’s who they are and they don’t mind that some think it’s too strong.
  • You know that Neiman Marcus means “expensive” but also “quality”.

These are excellent examples of the results of effective branding, but what can a real estate agent learn from these companies to sell more homes?

To get a home sold you’ve got to find what’s unique about the home — why someone would buy it versus other homes on the market — and make that central benefit the “theme” of your listing promotions.  Let’s look at each of these three rules and I’ll apply them to real estate one-by-one…

The 3 Rules of Listing Promotions
Every Agent Should Know

Rule #1:  Sacrifice

Branding’s bedrock principle is sacrifice.

Marketing messages work best when you intentionally sacrifice the majority so that you can make a strong connection with a small group that has a burning desire for exactly what is offered. This is a proven concept from the advertising community that can be applied to real estate.

I wrote an ad that sold a home in sixteen days after it had already been on the market for a year. The difference was the marketing message I used.

The house had no back yard at all.  The previous agents never mentioned this in their marketing. I used the “non-yard” feature as the theme of my ad. The home sold instantly to a senior citizen who told me the lack of a yard was a benefit for her.

When you try to appeal to everyone you fail to connect with the very audience who wants what you have. If a home has a small yard, say so. If a home is wildly expensive because of its unique architecture and quality, don’t feel apologetic for this — use it to get the attention of those who would appreciate it.

Rule #2:  Don’t Copy Others, Promote Your Uniqueness

Many a retailer has gotten into trouble trying to piggy-back Wal-Mart’s claim of low prices.  K-Mart went broke trying to win the “low-price” war.  Target was smarter.  They conceded (or “sacrificed”) that turf to Wal-Mart by going more upscale with their marketing, store design and merchandising.  Falling into the “me-too” trap is easy to spot in the real estate business.

Here Is A Common Advertising Mistake For Agents: In most larger cities, there is one school district that is the most sought-after. Agents will routinely try to promote one of these listings by emphasizing the school district in their flyer.

But why would you highlight a feature that is guaranteed to be matched by ever other seller in the region? You always want to market in a way that makes your listing stand out from the others, not blend in.

For the same reason… I would be careful about using an ad, flyer or any marketing material that stresses a feature like “waterfront” or “stunning view” if there are many competing listings that offer the same thing.  Promote what is unique about your listings.  They’ll get noticed and sell faster.

Rule #3:  Substantiate Your Claim!

Al Ries once said, “Branding is nothing you do to the product.  It takes place in the mind of the consumer.

If you can get comfortable with this rule, you will do much better with your marketing.

Consider the example of a local car dealer hawking the idea that he has the lowest prices — you likely hear this message all the time in your own market, but I doubt you give it much credibility.

For starters, it is a claim used by too many car dealers to be believable.  Second, do they really offer any proof?  Not usually, so messages like this are not typically very helpful.

Branding is not just something you do for a corporation.  You should absolutely “brand” each listing you take on.  For example, don’t just say your listing was architect-designed.  Explain, in detail, what the consumer will notice about the house when they come to see it.

Here Is The Perfect Example…

I once took on a waterfront home that was designed by an architect who specializes in lake houses.  When I asked him why he designed the house the way he did, he started describing one interesting aspect after another.

When I interviewed him about his home, he walked me around to the back side of the house—the waterfront side. He pointed out that instead of a flat wall across the back, he visually re-created the same appearance that you’d get from the streetside view—there was a deep porch with impressive columns, high-pitched roof over the “back” door, shutters on the windows, etc.

In other words, he made the house look just as nice from the back as it did from the front.  He said, “A waterfront house should look just as inviting to guests you bring in by boat as it does for those who pull up in the driveway by car.”

Re-telling this in my ad helped substantiate the high price.  Potential buyers were able to visualize this unique benefit since I used descriptive “picture words” and compelling photographs.

Other agents turned this seller down because of her desired price. My ad pulled two full price contracts in less than thirty days.

A Summary

These are the rules of branding:

  1. Sacrifice.
  2. Promote uniqueness.
  3. Substantiate your claims.

For real estate agents, your primary theme for listing promotions must involve sacrificing the majority — not selling to anyone and everyone but focusing on the people most likely to buy the home. Say what makes the home unique and you will attract that right buyer. But also be careful to not get caught up in copying others. Say what makes your listing special and write a story with passion and detail that proves it!

Take time this week to review your current listing promotions and try to apply all 3 rules to each of your properties.  I guarantee it will make them stand out and you’ll attract qualified prospects who are ready to sign a purchase contract.

[Ed note: Copyright Stan Barron. Reprinted with permission. If you, or someone you know wants to sell a house, please give Stan a call at 512-345-8585.]

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4 Secrets The Pros Use To Make Money With Direct Mail

Even though the internet is where most marketing is happening, agents are still using direct mail with fantastic success. And, because it’s used less these days, it can set you apart and make your message MORE likely to be heard.

The key is to get your mail opened, read, and acted upon.

If you’ve struggled to get new clients with direct mail farming, chances are it’s because your mail was seen as “junk mail” and trashed before ever opened.

(Or because you picked the wrong area and not a targeted “strategic farm” where homes are selling, but that’s a topic for another article).

Below you’ll find 4 essential secrets direct marketing pros use to get past this junk mail hurdle, and how you can use the same strategies to get new real estate clients…and make sure to check out for a fantastic system that uses direct mail to generate referrals and repeats for life..

SECRET #1:   Make it “lumpy mail”

Have you ever heard of “lumpy mail”?  Lumpy mail is the process of inserting “something” into an envelope or doing something “unique” to make it stand out, involve curiosity and get opened.  It’s also known as a “grabber”.

The “thing” you include must tie-into your message inside.

For example, one agent mails their farming pieces in a small brown paper bag with a stamp.  Inside, the letter headlines, “Here’s Why There’s No Free Lunch When Selling Your Home…

The letter talks about “you get what you pay for — so why would you use a discount broker and steal from yourself?”

The letter then talks about the risks of using a discount broker, all the ways the agent can net the homeowner as much or more than a discount broker, makes an irresistible, completely risk free offer for a “Free Home Audit” and a “Free Special Report”.

The agent also uses a few great testimonials and statistics about their success (proof). The letter is then followed-up by a second and third notice.

Can you see how this type of mailing would get noticed and acted upon?

SECRET #2:   Make it “personal”

OK, you don’t always have to put something “lumpy” in your mail for it to stand out.

Another way to get your mail seen is to make it so personal, the reader thinks it’s just for them.

Here’s what to use on the envelope to make your mail look personal:

  • Hand addressed — or use handwriting font that actually looks real
  • Return address has personal name — not just business name
  • Stick on a “live” postage stamp — use Commemorative one if possible
  • Different size envelope than standard — 6 x 9 or greeting card size works great

Everything on this list above has personal appeal vs. junk mail – so your mail actually gets opened.

SECRET #3:   Make it “blind”

Have you ever received a letter with just a return address and NO business name?

This works great when farming to new areas where people don’t know you – your prospect’s curiosity will help your mail get opened.

Here’s a blind envelope template you can use when farming (click the image to download the template)…

3-Steps To Use Your “Blind Envelope” Template

STEP 1: Save the document to your computerBlindEnvelopeTemplateImage

Click the image or download this 6×9” BLIND ENVELOPE template by Clicking Here.

STEP 2: Personalize it with your information…

DO NOT put your name or your broker’s name at the upper left-hand return address. You can disclose your broker at the END of your letter inside of the envelope. Just use your return street address.

STEP 3: Direct impression right on to your envelope…

You can add merge fields to the template and then run the envelopes through your printer to “direct impression” the return address and the recipients address (or send the template to your printer with your mailing list).  But DO NOT use mailing labels.

Curiosity is one of the strongest human emotions –  if you don’t have a relationship with a mailing list this can be one of the best ways to get your mail actually opened instead of being quickly identified as “just another promotion to throw out”.

But remember, curiosity alone won’t help you build a stable business.  You also need to be marketing to a hot prospect, give compelling proof, a great offer, and call to action.

SECRET #4:   Make it “multi-sequence”

Multi-sequence contact always out-pulls single contact.  This applies to follow-up with leads or with farming an area.

Direct mail pros have found that you may spend 2 or 3 times more to send out a sequence of 3 letters, but because the response rates are so much higher your ROI is also higher.

To send a multi-sequence mailing successfully for a FSBO or Expired campaign…send your first mailing, then a second notice about 7 days later, then a third notice another 7 days later.  You can continue to send additional follow-up mailings or contacts until it’s no longer profitable.  But first start with a 3-step sequence rather than the usual one-and-done mailing agents usually do.

And for target farm areas and especially to your Power List™ of past clients and friends…send direct mail MONTHLY to be there when the time is right for them to buy/sell/refer AND to demonstrate your consistency and follow-through.

You’re leaving money on the table by not continuing to follow-up with a sequence of mailings.

One last piece of advice from my 36-year direct marketing experience…

I’ve just shared the most effective ways to get your direct mail opened, but if you’re going to get new business you need direct mail letters that capture attention, engage your prospects, and make a strong offer so people contact you.

I’ve worked with thousands of agents from all over North America and through our testing, we’ve identified a collection of pre-written templates that are proven to work.

It’s just one part of what you get as a member of my 3-STEPS ULTIMATE™ Real Estate Success System — learn more by clicking here.