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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 www.ServiceforLife.com 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.

How To Create Seven-Figure Systems™ In Your Real Estate Practice

Would you like to learn a simple skill that can help you deliver outrageously-superior service to your clients every single time… manage multiple priorities with ease… maximize your income… and cut your work-effort in half or more – all at the same time?

Then drop whatever you’re doing and read every word of this article.

The skill you’re about to learn is so important, it can change the level of success of your real estate practice almost overnight. Today we’re going to talk about…

Creating $7-Figure “SYSTEMS” In Your Practice

That sounds like an MBA mouthful…but it’s essential for you to understand “Systems” fully if you’re going to truly succeed in real estate. That’s because…if you don’t have systems running in your practice, you ARE the systems…

So what is a “System?”

A business – any business – is more than just the people involved. A business is really a product or service and documented “ways of doing things” that brings about a consistent, predictable RESULT for its client and you (the owner).

And these documented “ways of doing things” are called SYSTEMS. Ultimately, your business is just a large system of smaller systems all working together to bring a consistent, predictable…and desired result.

What are a few examples of systems for real estate?

How you manage a listing can be a system (your listing checklist: signage, entering the home into MLS, listing brochures, info tubes, hotlines, advertising, client updates and feedback, etc.) – all the ways you get a reliable, consistent result every time.

How you prospect for clients can be a system (your “Sales Generation Systems™”) – ads, farming, prospecting off your listings, web marketing, etc. – to bring you a steady stream of business. How you handle buyers – from qualifying to closing – can be a system.

Why are “systems” so important to your business?

We all want consistency in our lives. As humans we crave it for security. But “systems” are even more important to the successful operation of your business.

“Systems” help to create reliability in the way your business operates – whether it’s prospecting and marketing systems that produce reliable client flow…”product and service” systems that deliver excellence for each and every client…or even follow-up systems that build your Personal Market Share™ and boost your referrals, word of mouth and repeat business (as you’re learning here).

See…your goal is to have a business that is more reliant on “systems” than “people.” Why? Because people come with all kinds of quirks and inconsistencies: work skills, personality flaws, unreliability, etc.

But “systems” are Steady as the Rock of Gibraltar

That’s also why…when your business is organized around “systems,” you not only get your freedom back (you get a life!), but your business begins to run like the smooth movement of a Swiss Watch – with or without “you” involved.

And there’s one more thing…

Residual Value™ is the value of your business without “YOU” attached to it.

Having a “systems dependent” business achieves Residual Value™…it makes your business have a value in and of itself – not dependent on you.

And an intrinsic Residual Value™ to your business means it has a greater value if it’s sold. Have you ever heard of a real estate practice being sold?

Not very often. Why? Because most agents operate businesses wholly reliant on their personal involvement. When they leave, the business leaves.

But agents who build Residual Value™ create businesses with predictability that can actually be sold. Residual Value™ happens by creating and using “systems.”

And here’s even one more reason for systems: Well-run businesses – whether they’re IBM or “Sally Realtor” – are actually quite boring. The less “drama” you can introduce into your business, the more effectively it will work for you.

Systems help minimize the exceptions (i.e. crisis) that cause drama in your business.

How do you create and manage systems in your practice?

Once you understand how systems are created and managed, installing them into your business will be a snap. Oddly enough…the best way to describe how systems are created and managed is to look at the aviation industry.

When you fly on an airliner, do you know that everything on the flight…from pre-flight, through boarding, through engine start, take-off, cruise, descent, approach and landing…is managed through systems?

That’s how you get consistent, predictable results – in this case a safe arrival to your destination. Each of these systems (pre-flight, take-off, etc.) is managed by a CHECKLIST.

The combined checklists (small systems) for all the tasks involved in the flight comprise the overall SYSTEM. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

And Your Practice Works the Very Same Way

I’ve built 4 multi-million dollar companies, and I have used the very same “systems structure” with each business. I’ve never seen it fail for anyone who learns and uses it.

I’ll give you the skills and a simple structure to create your own systems, but because every business is different, it’s up to you to customize the systems to your unique business.

There are 2 types of systems you have in your practice:

TASK Systems and TIME Systems

First: TASK systems are used to accomplish some type of operation in your business.

For example…when you take a listing, you would use your “New Listing Systems” checklist (you’ll see more below).

Another example: When you run an ad, your “Ad Systems” would organize and execute the logistics: ad writing, photos, layout, placement, response mechanism, lead pick-up, lead conversion, etc.

Think through the MAJOR TASKS of your business, then create a system (and checklist) for the EXACT way you want the task to be accomplished.

Don’t worry about whether it’s right or wrong – it’s about how YOU want to operate your unique business. Follow along with me, and you’ll understand it thoroughly…

Step #1: Major Tasks

List out the Major Tasks you perform in your business: Your business is really about Listing and Buying, right? So, for listing systems (for example), you want to take out a piece of paper, and write “Listing Systems” at the top.

Then, you create your systems by simply thinking through the logistical (step-by-step) tasks of getting and successfully managing listings in your business.

Here are a few ideas that relate to the listing side of your business (notice how I thought through the listing process chronologically – from prospecting through post-closing)…

  • Listing Prospecting System (your marketing plan to get listings – some of these may be “time systems,” but don’t worry about that for now)
  • Pre-Listing System
  • Listing Presentation System
  • New Listing System
  • Home Marketing System (sell home + attract buyers and listings)
  • Listing Management System
  • Offer and Negotiation System
  • Escrow System
  • Closing System
  • Post-Closing System

You can do the same thing for your buyer systems – just think them through chronologically, then we’ll fill in the details in the next steps.

Step #2: Minor Tasks

Take out one piece of paper for each of the Major Tasks you outlined above, and list out ALL of the important tasks that need to be accomplished to execute the task to the standard you demand.

I call these “Minor Tasks” because they are the “Major Tasks” broken down into manageable pieces. For example, your “New Listing System” sheet (#4 from above) might be broken-out to look like…

  • Listing agreement signed
  • SPDS Complete New Client Welcome Gift
  • Title/History Search
  • Home Staging
  • Photos of Home/Virtual Tour
  • Home Brochure
  • Enter into MLS
  • Order Signs & Riders
  • Info Tube Up
  • Web Listing
  • Sign-in Sheets/Visitor Pkg.
  • Etc.

Do you see what we’re doing here?

We’re outlining all the details and tasks that make your services superior – and when they’re documented and systemized (even outlined on a simple piece of paper), they provide you a more consistent, predictable delivery of service.

Step #3: Procedures

IF YOU FEEL IT’S NEEDED: create PROCEDURES for exactly how you want each of the Minor Tasks completed. Some Minor Tasks are simple and intuitive and you don’t need procedures, while others may require further details or standards you want implemented.

The way to create your procedures is to simply take another piece of paper, and write the “Minor Task” at the top, then list out the step-by-step procedure of how you want the task completed.

For example, if you want your Home Brochure (#7 above) to also include important marketing tasks, such as offers for Free Consumer Reports on the back (to attract buyers to call you), then you need to detail that with your “Home Brochure” Minor Task.

Are you following me here?

Notice that we’re simply taking the Major Tasks, breaking them down to Minor Tasks, and (if needed) break them down again into detailed Procedures (so they can be easily used to train employees as you grow).

Step #4: Assign Accountability

The final step of your Systems is assigning a responsibility for completing the System.

A lot of agents create their systems on simple cards (or sheets of paper), and they use rows and columns to manage their systems checklists. Obviously, one of the columns is going to assign accountability for completing the task.

They then bind the systems (Major Tasks, Minor Tasks and Procedures) into a notebook for training and easy reference.

Remember, you have a unique practice – so don’t be afraid to create the systems exactly the way you want your business to run. You’ll know your systems are “correct” if your practice is running smoothly, delivering consistent services, with nothing falling through the cracks.

So let’s talk about the SECOND type of Systems for your practice…

TIME systems are used to accomplish something that occurs (or reoccurs) on a regular basis – whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly or yearly.

For example, if each morning you or your assistant checks on your hotline leads or inbound calls (from ads running, sign riders, or info-tube flyers), then you need to have a system to pick-up and follow-up on those leads each day.

Or if you need to present showing feedback to a homeowner of a listing each week (on, say, Fridays), you need to have a system to alert you (or your assistant) to create a report each week – or whatever the time frame you provide listing feedback.

You can create your own TIME systems by simply thinking through the tasks needed to be completed on a regular basis. Here’s the structure of the systems we use in our business…

DAILY/WEEKLY:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

MONTHLY (and yearly):

January

February

March

April

May

Etc…

To create your time systems is incredibly easy. Here’s a quick overview to help you get started.

STEP #1: Create DAILY/WEEKLY Systems

Take out a piece of paper for each day of the week (Monday, Tuesday, etc.). You can simply put the day of the week at the top of the page.

Then, for each day, list out (in detail) exactly what you want to have happen for that day – in order. You can be as detailed as you like to ensure everything is completed. Some TIME checklists may actually refer to your TASK checklists to make sure they’re getting done.

For example, here’s what a (partial) list for a Monday Time System may look like…

Monday:

Check voice mail – client calls – Return Calls

Check hotlines – lead process/follow-up

Check Listing Feedback – report

Pull Listing Activity for (area)

Pre-listing CMA’s Prep’d.

Check Escrow Status

Info Tubes Stocked

Etc…

Create your Task Lists for EACH day of the week.

STEP #2: Create MONTHLY/ANNUAL Systems

Some tasks you’ll complete on a daily or weekly basis as shown above. However, some will be done only on a Monthly or Yearly basis – such as reconciling your commission reports or even your checking account.

Again, how you want to manage these is up to you, but you want to get your systems in place for Monthly/Annual tasks to be completed. Just follow the exact same instructions for your Daily/Weekly tasks, but think through the items that need to be completed on a monthly or annual basis.

It’s easy once you get started, and you can always add or refine your lists as you grow in your business.

Do this for EACH month of the year.

STEP #3: Procedures

IF YOU FEEL IT’S NEEDED, create procedures for each of the tasks for each day of the week or month of the year. Again, most tasks will be intuitive, but some will require detailed explanation of how you want the tasks to be completed to the standards you set.

The way to create your procedures is to simply take a piece of paper (for each Task on your Daily/Weekly or Monthly/Yearly lists), and write the Task at the top, then list out the step-by-step procedure of how you want the task completed.

Notice that we’re simply taking the Day, Week or Month, then breaking it down to Tasks, and (if needed) break them down again into detailed Procedures (so they can be easily used to train employees as you grow).

STEP #4: Assign Accountability

There are 2 ways to assign responsibility for TIME Systems.

The first way is to create your TIME Systems Checklists just as I showed you (Monday thru Friday, and January thru December) and have a COLUMN for WHO will be responsible for their completion. This works best when you’re a small organization.

The second way is to create TIME Systems Checklists for EACH POSITION you have in your company. So, for example, your Escrow Coordinator or Buyer Agent or Personal Assistant might have their own checklists for Daily/Weekly or Monthly/Annual tasks.

As you grow and add positions to your company, you simply add the Daily/Weekly and Monthly/Yearly Systems Checklists for new positions.

Again, either way will work – it’s just how you want to handle it in your own organization.

I hope this little article helps you understand the process of creating Systems in your business. Part of truly understanding the process is taking initiative and working through it. If you simply start and commit a little mental focus to this process, getting a finely-tuned real estate business will be easier and faster than you ever thought possible.

Your production will grow, you’ll get more done each day, you’ll slash the stress and strain you face each day, and you’ll have more time for “you.”

Take out a notepad or set up checklists in Excel and start today. You can also try out Google Calendar online or a free schedule maker. You’ll be glad you did!

The BEST Way To Use Facebook To Get New Leads (part 3 of 3)

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been sharing a 3-part series on the easiest, fastest, and most effective ways to get “right now” business from social media.

In my first article about Facebook I shared how to stay connected with past clients, friends, family, and acquaintances (your Power List™) to generate unlimited referrals and repeat business.

Then in my second article about Facebook I shared how to leverage your Power List™ to sell homes fast.

Today, in my third article, I’ll share the BEST way to get new leads from Facebook for free.

TOP STRATEGY #3:

Generate new prospects automatically and grow your Power List™

We both know real estate is a relationship business.  The more relationships you have, and the deeper you can make those relationships, the more money you’re going to make.  So here’s a here’s a quick and effective strategy to generate leads and start new relationships…

To get new leads from Facebook offer a “lead magnet.” 

What’s that?  It’s a specific reason for someone to contact you – valuable information that’s free and easy to get.  Someone has to contact you to request it and identifies themselves as a potential prospect who is thinking of buying or selling real estate soon.

Here’s how it works: Members of the 3-StepsUltimate.com group have a pre-written report called “8 Secrets For Saving Thousands When Buying A Home”.  Promote this report for free by…

 

Posting a status update on your Business Page to fans:

Thinking of buying a home soon?  I have a free report called: 8 Secrets For Saving Thousands When Buying A Home In [Area] — if you’re not already a fan click “Like” above, then call me at 555-555-5555 to get your copy.

 

Then, use a status update on your personal profile to friends:

Hey friends in [Area]!  I just finished updating a free report called: 8 Secrets For Saving Thousands When Buying A Home In [Area] — if you’re thinking of buying soon (or know someone who is), go “Like” my Fan Page and I’ll send you a copy.  Here’s the link to my page: https://facebook.com/your-fan-page-url

 

Can you guess what happens when someone does this?

First, you’re generating leads from people you’re already connected with.  So this strategy can get you more “fans” for your Business Page on Facebook.  The first time someone “Likes” your Business Page you get an email notification from Facebook.

Then send them a private message on Facebook with a link to download your report as a PDF.  Or send them a message through Facebook asking for their email address so you’re also building your email list for you monthly “Direct Response” real estate newsletter.

Second, when they “Like” your business page, it shows up on their newsfeed FOR ALL THEIR FRIENDS TO SEE.  Someone they are connected to (a friend of a friend) may be thinking of buying or selling and they can click on a link to be taken right to your Business Page.

Holy cow!  That’s exciting.  That’s free, viral marketing.  It’s reaching people you don’t know yet in a way that’s credible because it’s basically an endorsement of YOU from their friend.  But your friend didn’t have to do anything else but click the “Like” button.  And this can happen for not just one person, but EVERY person who “Likes” your Business Page to get one of your offers.

Now, you don’t want to be doing this all the time on your personal profile with your friends (remember the first strategy about building relationships by offering helpful information but not too much where people tune you out).  Try making offers to get more fans on a weekly basis, and then use your Business Page to get leads to call you!

Keep in mind, you have to write the message in a way that is natural and still gets attention.  Plus, there are other “lead magnets” you can offer like a free home value analysis or a free list of homes that I don’t have time or space to discuss here.  Members of our 3-StepsUltimate.com group have ready-to-use Facebook messages to copy-and-paste and use this strategy in a few minutes each week.

 

How To Get Started Using These Facebook Marketing Strategies…

There are dozens of ways to use Facebook to reach potential buyers and sellers.  But remember, the BEST ways our network of agents has identified are:

#1: Stay connected with your personal network for repeats and referrals using the right type of status updates that “program” friends and fans to do business with you and only you.

#2: Leverage your network’s reach to sell homes faster by messaging specific people who may know your next client.

#3: Meet new prospects through your network’s connections by having people “Like” your Business Page for free offers.

I hope you use these 3 strategies to maximize your results from Facebook in the coming weeks and months.  

 

The BEST Way To Use Facebook To Sell Homes Fast (part 2 of 3)

Do you want to know the easiest, fastest, and most effective ways to get business from social media?

I spent 8 months surveying, studying, and questioning our network of top-performing agents I’ve found the top 3 strategies any agent can use to get more real estate clients from Facebook this year and for years to come.

Most real estate professionals have a personal Facebook profile, but few understand how to use Facebook to generate new leads, send updates about your activity to sell homes faster, or program people to send you referrals.

Follow my next few articles about Facebook and I promise you — even if you think you’ve heard it all before — you’ll learn new ways to bond people to you more, refer you more, and how to sell more homes.

Here’s the second strategy about how to use Facebook to sell homes in a fraction of the time as other agents!

TOP STRATEGY #2:

Leverage your Power List™ to sell homes fast

In a previous article we talked about how to leverage your relationships to get referrals from your social network.  Now we’ll talk about how you find a buyer for your listing, or the perfect home for a buyer client by tapping into the extended connections of your network.

So, what is your “extended network” of connections on social media?

Think about it this way…

For every 100 people you know, 14 will buy or sell a home each year.  That’s based on the average length of home ownership statistics from the National Association of REALTORS®.

This means, if you have 100 friends on Facebook, they also each know at least 100 other people, so you could potentially reach 1400 people (or more) who will buy or sell real estate in the next 12 months.

Question is, how do you get the attention of these people to sell your listings and find great homes for buyer clients?

We’ll handle these one at a time…

 

What’s the best way to PROMOTE LISTINGS on Facebook?

You can use a “Just Listed” strategy without overtly selling so more people welcome and value your message.  Instead of blasting everyone an update with a photo of the home, do this:

  • List out who in your personal network lives close to your listing.  Individually, send them a personal message on Facebook letting them know about a listing “in their area.”  Why?  Because many times a person will know a friend or coworker who wants to move into the same area.  It makes sense.
  • Also, think about what type of person the buyer would be, then message people in your network who are similar.  For example, if you have a listing a first time buyer would want…then, send a message to each person you know who is under 35 years of age (fyi, this could also work the other way, if you have a vacation home that friends over 50 may want to buy).  Don’t have friends in the age range you need?  You’ll learn more about how to make new connections in an upcoming article.

 

What’s the best way to FIND HOMES for buyers?

Besides announcing on your personal profile and fan page that you have a buyer who is a looking for a certain type of home, use a similar approach to what you just learned…

  • Message people in your network who live near where your buyers want to live.  Ask them if they know of anyone wanting to sell and you may even get a listing.
  • You can also have your client message their friends on Facebook.  Do this right and you can get exposure to a lot of other potential buyer and seller clients.

 

Stay tuned for my upcoming article about the THIRD of the top three strategies to get real estate clients from Facebook.