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How we can take tips from Marty McFly to help our future selves

How we can take tips from Marty McFly to help our future selves

How we can take tips from Marty McFly to help our future selves

Anyone else notice that buyers today are a little more difficult? Perhaps even a little (or a lot) crazy during negotiations and/or inspections?

If NO, yay for you and the perfect world you live in. (And please tell me where I can find these unicorns!)

If YES, the struggle is REAL!

If we could go Back to the Future, what would Marty McFly do to help his future self ?

How we can take tips from Marty McFly to help our future selves
  • He would use his big ol' camcorder to document Doc Brown's processes. 
  • He'd write secret notes to be opened in the future (when Doc needs it). 
  • He expected history to repeat itself and used that to his advantage.
  • (And a bunch of other shenanigans that are beside today's point)

Marty was a content creating machine, before it was trendy.

The fact is our buyers don't always listen to us. During showings they're not focused on what we say because they're mentally arranging their furniture in the living room. Or they didn't comprehend what you said because it wasn't what they needed to know at that moment.

We need to inform them in a way they'll remember (preferably without repeating ourselves over and over) and creating content is the best way to do it!

If you create this educational content you can give it to them whenever they need it. For example:

  • A video highlighting what to expect during inspection
  • An email template outlining the next steps after contract acceptance
  • A thorough explanation of earnest money they could read/watch
  • A blog post/video/email sharing a story about a nightmare-crazytown buyer that asked for new carpet because they didn't like the color anymore (yes, this happened to me), and how that's not the point of inspections

I could go on and on but you probably get the idea. Then you re-purpose that content on every other platform you use (blog/YouTube playlist/social posts/drip emails, etc).

This is possibly the best time to start creating your educational content library. Because you might have extra time on your hands thanks to coronavirus. And because now is better than later, even if you're busier than ever before.

Your future self will thank you. 

Join the Club

We have several courses in Savvy Agent Club that focus on content creation. If you're not sure where to start on your own this would be a great asset to your business. 

BEFORE YOU START ADVERTISING ON ZILLOW

read this before you start advertising on zillow

This article was inspired by a coaching client who asked me if they should start advertising on Zillow because $200 was open in a zip code they would like to be in. 

It all started because Zillow has been contacting agents with the good news that they've opened up spots in popular zip codes. Apparently they're getting more traffic and leads than they expected so they can let more advertisers in. 

But, before you invest, consider what you'll GET for your money. 

For example, if a zip code you want has only $200 available - how many live connections will you receive? 

Probably less than 1 per month.

Is $200 really worth .5 a lead? That's a HALF of a lead. Seriously. 

That means you'll be getting ONE lead every other month. WHAT?!?


Your Zillow rep (aka sales person) will sell you on the "nurture" leads. These are also sometimes called "other" leads. And, while all leads are welcome and nice to have, you need to understand that they are a lower quality leads and they don't convert like the live calls. 

The "Nurture/Other" leads include people that are unresponsive - which means the lead is OLD. Who even knows how long Zillow has attempted to reach this lead. Probably at least a few days, if not more. Those leads look like this:

Then, there's the "Nurture/Other" leads that specifically say they're not ready to talk to an agent. Maybe they said "OMG, DON'T CALL ME!" or maybe they said, "Ooops, I didn't mean to submit that on Zillow." Or, my favorite, "I don't know what you're talking about, I never asked about a property??" Those leads look like this: 

The live calls, or "connections" are the best quality of the paid leads through Zillow.

However, they aren't as amazing as Zillow would have you believe.

To give you some perspective, I spent $1168 on Zillow in the last month. 

With that investment,  in the last 30 days I've received 5 "connections" and this is where they're at today:

1 - was a bonus connection - it wasn't in the zip code we advertise in it. Thank goodness, because turns out she has an agent. She told us on the phone she didn't have an agent, but then when we drove 30 minutes to show her a rural property she mentioned in fact she DOES have an agent. Awesome. 

1 - buyer rescheduled two different appointments with us but did take our advice to get pre-approved. Unfortunately, they don't have enough trade lines to get approved today. Naturally, we'll stay in touch and hopefully convert them to a sale in the future. 

1- showed the buyer one house, her brother is buying it for her family but can't provide a pre-approval letter. After days of inquiring on pre-foreclosures (aka homes NOT for sale) she's ghosted us. We will continue to call, text and email and nurture this lead. 

2 - were decent prospects that aren't ready to buy today, but might be ready to write within the next 6 months. 

SO, in 30 days, we have 2 good prospects. 

What do you think about those leads? Does it seem sort of low for the investment? I know a lot of agents in more competitive cities and they're paying THOUSANDS more, for basically the same results.

Now, imagine if you're spending $200. That half a lead isn't going to get you very far, is it? 

So, before you invest your hard earned dollars - be very clear about what you can expect in return for that investment.


Please note that if you're a brand new advertiser with Zillow, you can probably expect to be in a 6 month contract. Maybe even a year contract.

It's no fun spending money when you're not getting much of anything in return.

So, if you've been wondering if you should start advertising on Zillow (or any other online portal) I hope you take some time to analyze what you can expect to get for your investment. 

While I'm not against investing in Zillow or other online lead strategies (obviously, since I do!) I firmly believe you should have a SOLID STRATEGY to help grow your business. And paying for half a lead a month isn't a very good strategy. Paying for online leads without a solid strategy isn't going to help you grow.

While you're here, why don't you grab our FREE social media graphics and amp up your social posts to reach your online audience - maybe they need your help buying or selling a house! 

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Download FREE Social Media Graphics

Designed exclusively for real estate agents, we've got 20 free graphics (just like these!) that you can use to promote your real estate business on social media. Grab yours!

how to spy on your competition in real estate

How to Spy on Your Competition in Real Estate

How to Spy on Your Competition in Real Estate

You know those agents that tell you how they get SO MUCH business from Facebook?

But, when you ask them HOW they’re getting all this business, they don’t really give an answer?

Yah, I know those agents too. And here’s a tip to SPY on them – and find out exactly what kind of ads they’re running!

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Download FREE Social Media Graphics

Designed exclusively for real estate agents, we've got 20 free graphics (just like these!) that you can use to promote your real estate business on social media. Grab yours!

Real Estate Agents: STOP Wasting Your Marketing Dollars!

Real Estate Agents: STOP Wasting Your Marketing Dollars!

You may not know this, but I actively sell real estate. I’m in the trenches with you every.single.day. Managing two businesses can get a little crazy which is why I’m vigilant about managing my marketing dollars. There is no room in the budget for anything to be wasted! And, I think every.single.one.of.you should regularly monitor your expenses to ensure you’re not wasting your marking dollars (or any other dollars, for that matter)!

ASK YOURSELF: ARE YOU USING IT?

Each month I go through ALL the expenses. The first question I ask myself is “Are we using this?” 

If the answer is NO – then go deeper. WHY NOT? 

The answer to this should give you direction.

Are you not using a service because you haven’t taken the time to set it up?

Well for crying out loud, you are a business owner. SCHEDULE THE TIME. 

Does the product/service no longer fit your business? 

That’s a sign it’s time to take action and part ways. For example, I recently realized I wasn’t using a monthly membership anymore. I had just outgrown it. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, but it wasn’t a good fit for me and my real estate business today, so it was time to cancel it. Once you realize you need to take action – schedule time to make it happen. 

ASK YOURSELF: IS THIS MAKING YOUR LIFE EASIER?

I’m totally willing to pay for convenience. If you’re paying for a product or service that’s saving you time in any way – it’s like a good investment.

But, you might want to consistently make sure that you’re still getting the best price. 

For example, I had a problem with my voicemail system. I use BetterVoice to have multiple numbers so I can route calls based on lead source. We used to rely on it heavily. But, as different lead pillars evolved we’ve made changes in the way calls are routed to us. I still use it for sign calls – every single one of our signs have a Better Voice number on it and if I cancelled the service I’d have to print new signs. Yikes! 

However, I thought the $50/month price was a little steep considering how little we use it in comparison to the past usage. After speaking with customer service to resolve the problem I was having, I asked about pricing. Turns out, they could do better. Now I only pay $20 a month. It’s a small change, but so worth it! 

Don’t be afraid to switch services for a better price. 

If Better Voice hadn’t lowered my price, I probably would have researched other services. Looks like I can get about the same thing for $10 a month through YouMail. Today, it was worth it for me to not have to change all those numbers on my signs though. Changing this service would require some time in planning and I’d have to get some ugly stickers for my signs which requires time and a little expense as well. Ultimately, it was worth it to keep everything the same and save a little with my current provider. I’ll reserve the right to change my mind on that later! 

ASK YOURSELF: IS THIS REALLY WORTH IT?

If you’ve got a membership that you’re not really using but you love the Facebook group – maybe that makes the monthly expense worth it to you. But, if you’re not using a service properly, or at all, it probably isn’t worth the expense. (And I want you to stop wasting your marketing dollars!)

But, when you ARE using a product/service you should still ask yourself if it’s really worth it. 

Especially when they raise your prices. 

Yesterday I received an email notifying me that prices are going up with my current CRM. I’ve been with them since 2012 or 2013 – a long time! My needs haven’t really changed that much over the years and the CRM still meets my expectations. They’ve done a lot to improve it and I understand why they need to increase their prices. However, I don’t really use a lot of their new technology. The more I thought about it – I liked it better before it was so updated with tons of features I don’t need or even know about. 

Are you paying for the same service twice?

Plus, I have a website that has a built in CRM. I don’t think it’s as good as my other CRM – but now I’m wondering, is it really worth $250+ MORE a month? So, if you’re like me and you have some redundant services, maybe it’s time to decide if you need them all. After all, you don’t want to waste your marketing dollars anymore than I do. 

Don’t forget to TAKE ACTION. 

No matter what you decide to do, whether it’s keeping the service but learning how to use it, or cancelling it completely – don’t forget to take action. It’s really easy to put something off to deal with later. And before you know it, you’ve paid for this product or service that you’re not using or don’t value for another 6 months! 

If you don’t already have a system in place to keep your expenses organized, you can download the exact spreadsheet I use in my real estate business. I’ve called this “Accounting is Sexy” with a pretty little pig to disguise the fact that it’s a spreadsheet. You’re welcome 🙂

Get Access Immediately:

how to market your vacant listings with virtual staging

How to Market Your Vacant Listings with Virtual Staging

How to Market Your Vacant Listings with Virtual Staging

Have you ever had a listing that is vacant and would benefit from staging but for whatever reason the cost for staging just isn’t in your budget?

One of my favorite and quite affordable solutions to this is virtual staging.

There’s probably a lot of options for virtual staging but the one I’m using is Box Brownie.

Check out these before and after photos:

BEFORE

AFTER

Living Room
Dining Room
Master Bedroom
Theater Room (Lower Level)

What was a rather vanilla looking listing is now quite interesting!

You can choose the type of style you want it done in. The photos above were in Urban Industrial style.

Another choice is if you want it neat but lived in or neat as a pin – everything in it’s place. If you notice the bed is a little messy looking – I don’t love that but it’s because I selected the neat but lived in look.

Each virtual room costs $32 to stage with Box Brownie. At a quick glance you wouldn’t know it was staged – but if you look close you can totally tell. Still, for $32 a picture it’s soooooooooo worth it!

This particular listing is $170,000. (Don’t judge, I live in the very affordable Midwest!) And, I’ve only invested $128 on staging. The sellers are impressed (their last agent had some unfortunate photos) and hopefully these photos will catch the attention of our target buyer market.

I don’t get a kickback from Box Brownie for recommending them. Seriously, I’m just so impressed with them I think all agents should know about this resource to help them up their marketing game!

**Make sure you follow any rules in your association regarding how you market virtually staged photos so you don’t get in any trouble!

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new years marketing resolution

New Year’s Marketing Resolution

Do you have New Year’s resolutions for your real estate business? If you’re not sure where to start here is one of my favorite New Year’s marketing resolutions. This resolution can (and should) be implemented every year. It doesn’t expire and always gets better.

New Year’s Marketing Resolution: Do more with your database

You’ve probably heard people say that there’s a lot of money in your database. So, as the markets tighten, and online lead costs skyrocket, focus on finding the sales that exist in your database!

What do you need to do to get this resolution working?

1. Create a database

Seriously – it’s almost 2019. If you don’t have a database yet, you need to stop everything and get your house in order! You don’t need to buy an expensive CRM (although sometimes they’re helpful). You could actually start with an excel spreadsheet. So, take a few minutes, gather your contacts and create your database.

2. Create communication plan

Now that you’ve got your database organized, you need a communication plan. How will you stay in touch with all those people? Do they all get the SAME communication or should you treat them differently? Consider how you’ll communicate (and how often) with your past clients, sphere of influence, active leads and old leads that may have fallen off your radar. Some ideas to get you started:

 3. Give value

Value is one of those things that EVERYONE talks about but is sometimes hard to identify. So, take a little time and think about the value you have to offer your database. If you’re going to incorporate value into your communication plan, maybe it looks something like this:

  • Send a weekly newsletter that includes market statistics.
  • Call your past clients every 90 days with an equity update.
  • Perhaps your sphere of influence would also appreciate an equity update – even if they’ve owned their home longer than you’ve been in real estate.
  • Connect with your database on social media by posting hyper local content and other interesting types of posts that people will engage with.  

You know that real estate is a long game.

Working your database consistently is a long game strategy. You might get quick wins here and there (which is fantastic!!) but if you don’t – please don’t be discouraged.

You’re in real estate 24/7, but most people only buy a handful of homes a lifetime.

Your goal is to remain top of mind with the people you know. So, when they are ready to buy or sell, you’re the first person they think of. But, you’re also the person they share with their network when someone mentions real estate! (Hello, referrals?!?!)

This new year’s 2019 marketing resolution to stay in touch with your database shouldn’t cost you a lot of money. It does require a little time to implement. But, investing time to deepen your relationship with the people in your database is time well spent!

We’ve got all the resources, templates and trainings you need to master the above strategies in Savvy Agent Club. If you’re not already a member, check it out.

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Insert Content Template or Symbol
better facebook ads strategy

Real Estate Agents Need a Better Facebook Ads Strategy

Real Estate Agents Need a Better Facebook Ads Strategy

This was a Facebook Live video done on the Savvy Agent FB page

Some background:

So, I was on a call with a couple of agents earlier this week and they’re spending pretty decent money with Facebook doing some lead generation ads, I assume, or I guess I shouldn’t assume because it sounded like they didn’t really know what they were doing. One of the real estate agents said, “Well, how do I know if my ads are working? I’m spending $1500 a month, how do I know if it’s working?”

There are many different answers to that question.

This particular person had a marketing person that was in charge of that. The answer for her was, “You need to go to your marketing person and have them explain what the strategy is and if it’s working.”

Personally, I don’t spend $1500 a month on Facebook ads. Actually, I have three or four ads running right now, just promoting listings. It’s a really simple strategy. In the last seven days, I’ve gotten 97 leads and I’ve spent $58.65. That’s pretty good return for the money spent.

But my strategy on that ad is very simple. The ad is basically exactly what I wrote on the MLS listing and it takes them to my IDX website. So, when the visitor is on my website, if they look at more than one picture, it forces them to register. Forced registration and I have their contact info!

Never spend money for someone to go nowhere.

In order for that ad to be profitable, and for me to say, “Yes, my Facebook ads are working,” then I need to get something for that ad.

Before you start any ad campaign, you need to know what you want in the end.

  • Do you want to get people to go to your website?
  • What do you want them to do once they’re on your website?
  • Do you want them to join a buyers group that you have on Facebook?
  • Do you want them to download a guide?
  • What is your ultimate goal?

In this example, my goal was super simple: I want leads on my listings for my team to work.

But, the other agent that we were talking to said, “Well, you know, I do videos, I do this, that, blah, blah, blah.” (Blah’s inserted to abbreviate the conversation.)

Also, she wasn’t really sure of what her overall strategy was. I said, “Oh my God, you have got to stop.” And then I drew a terrible picture. And that terrible picture looked, well, frankly, like female anatomy. It looked like Fallopian tubes!

In the video above, I pre-drew the picture so it’s a much better drawing. This is essentially a funnel: 

Better Facebook Ads Strategy

Not to be confused with a funnel cake, but it’s a SALES funnel.

A sales funnel is essentially the process of you getting strangers into your sales funnel and moving them down the sales pipeline to ultimately buying real estate. This sales funnel is going to be what helps you have a better Facebook ads strategy. It works for all advertising strategies too – not just Facebook ads. 

For example, think of strangers being above the sales funnel. All the people in the world that don’t know you are outside the top of your funnel. So, maybe you upload a real estate video to your Facebook business page.

You want people to watch the video because you want to show them that you’re amazing, naturally. In this example, you would target cold traffic to get people INTO the top of your sales funnel. And, because the people who already know you deserve a different message, right? It’s all in the strategy.

What do you do with someone once they watch a video?

Well, you don’t just forget them. You want them in a video views audience. Then you can serve them another ad after they watch the video. 

And that’s how it goes. You serve another ad to that audience and move them further down the funnel. The whole point is to get strangers into your sales funnel (or what I like to call the circle of trust) and the people interested in doing business with are pushed to the bottom of the sales funnel when they make a purchase. The funnel gets smaller toward the bottom because not every person that gets into your funnel is going to turn into a sale.

And, it’s possible that someone who enters your funnel in 2018 might buy or sell a house with you in 2022. But, you have to have a good strategy to stay at the top of their mind for when they’re ready to do business with you.  

A simple sales funnel example:

Ad 1 – Serve your video as an ad to a cold audience (strangers).

Ad 2 – Then, anyone that watched at least 25% of your video you’re going to serve them a home value ad.

So, if they watch 25% of your initial real estate video, then that might be a sign they’re pretty interested in real estate. Then you want to serve them a very specific ad that has the opportunity for them to take action. In this case we used a home value ad. Once they register with your home value ad – you’ve got their contact info and you’ll work them until they sell! (Or at least put them on a drip campaign.)

This is a pay to play world.

Be strategic with your sales funnel and how you’re going to get them further down the pipeline. Now, of course, not everybody’s going to make it to the bottom of the funnel, so that’s why it gets a little bit smaller, but you can get so much more targeted as you get closer to this buying decision part of the funnel. Once you have this strategy in place, then you can actually say with confidence whether or not you know if you Facebook ads are working.

Today, I have a very simple strategy because I was too lazy to set up a complicated funnel. And well, frankly, maybe it’s not even me being lazy. Maybe it’s just that I’m so darn busy, all I had time for was to throw up those ads.

I want leads on my listings.

Just like you and every other real estate agent out there. And there is nothing wrong with that. It’s effective. I can say that 97 leads for less than $60 in seven days is worth the money.

Before you give Facebook any more money… actually, this rule actually applies for everything.

Before you give Google AdWords money…

Before you give ANY VENDOR any money, make sure you know what you want in return for that money. And then you have something to judge the performance by. You have your baseline expectation and with a little more experience, you’ll have cost per lead, cost per sale, you’ll figure all of those things out. 

The very basic minimum thing that you have to have…

…is a strategy of what you want to happen. Then, you can grade your performance and know ultimately if that money is worth your time or not. You can get a lot more advanced and nerdy about the numbers later, but please: If you don’t know if your ads are working, STOP.

Stop spending that money right now or talk to the marketing person who’s in charge of those ads. Somebody knows. And if that somebody is supposed to be you, shut the ads down and think through it, look at the numbers. You’re a business owner and you deserve to know that your money is being spent wisely so that you know if you should spend more of it or not.

We teach a lot about funnels in Savvy Agent Club. But, if you make sure you have a STRATEGY before spending any advertising dollars, that’s half the battle right there.

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free real estate leads

Get Free Real Estate Leads with Customer Reviews

Get Free Real Estate Leads with Customer Reviews!

Love it or hate it, people are visiting Zillow when they’re in the research phase of their real estate journey. They might be scoping their competition, or they might be looking for an agent. If you don’t have a presence on Zillow, you’re missing out on the potential of getting FREE real estate leads. 

Reasons why I think everyone should collect reviews on their Zillow profile: 

  1. It’s FREE! You don’t have to be a Premier Agent or pay Zillow any money to have reviews.
  2. Zillow is going to get more website visitors than your website, so why not capitalize it?
  3. People will message you directly because they loved your reviews. (Hello, FREE real estate leads?!?!) 
  4. Your competition probably isn’t going to put as much effort into it as you, so you’ll have an edge. 

 
You can, and should, get reviews from these types of clients:

  1. Past clients
  2. People that bought FSBO or some other way without you
  3. People that you showed properties to, but decided not to make a move
  4. Your friends that benefited from your free real estate advice

 
And, if you can think of anyone else, you should totally ask for a review! 
 

Maybe you’ve gotten out of touch with your database. 

Why not re-engage with them with a “hey, I was in your neighborhood the other day and thought of you” message? Then, when they respond, ask for the review. This is a double win because you’re reminding someone you once worked with how amazing you are, and then when you get a review, perfect strangers will also see how awesome you are. Which results in FREE real estate leads. (Isn’t that awesome?)
 

Make getting a review part of your closing system.

We talk about reviews at the very beginning of our relationship with people so they know that this ask is coming at the end. And, when you time it right, they’re usually quite happy to write a glowing review. 

But, does it have to be Zillow? 

You can collect reviews on other sites like Facebook, Google, and I’m sure many others. The key is to get the reviews – and get a lot of them. It’s best if they’re housed somewhere that gets a lot of real estate traffic already so you can get some traction with your reviews. Having the most reviews on www.yourname.com isn’t going to help when you get 7 website visits a month. 

Recycle those reviews!

Finally, you can always copy/paste the reviews you’ve received on Zillow (or any other site) to your own website. So, no matter how someone gets to your website, you’ve got the social proof of your awesomeness at their fingertips! Often times those free real estate leads are going to research the heck out of you so having a solid website in addition to awesome reviews is going to give them more incentive to contact you. 
 
How many reviews do you have today?

Why not set a goal to get 25 more reviews by the end of 2018? 

You can totally do it!

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