“Audio Only” “How to Make the Year Ahead Your Best Year Ever”

Personal Develeopment expert Greg Herder will walk you through a powerful exercise to help you close out the year behind you, learn from both your failures and successes in the past year and then use those insights to create meaningful change in the year ahead. Then you will learn how to create a vission for your life that will motivate you to make the changes you have wanted to make for years. If you have set goals in the past that you did not achieve this is a program that will transform your life.

The Video Brochure?

The Video Brochure? The Digital PowerKard? One fundamental always applies in the ever changing world of real estate marketing and technological advancements.

By Dennis LeBlanc  | Creative Director at Hobbs/Herder

videopostcardsIf you are like me, you enjoy looking at old books and comics and seeing what people envisioned about the future and what technology looked like from their perspective so many years ago. It’s even more interesting to see how many things they envisioned that have come true in one form or another. From jet packs to wrist watch phones to electric cars, in our lifetime we’ve seen an incredible acceleration of new technologies once only dreamt about in comic books.

From the invention of the fax, the creation of email communication to the proliferation of cell phones, laptops, smart phones and tablets, it’s been interesting watching how technologies have entered the world of the real estate agents and have both liberated them and enslaved them. Some of you younger agents may find this incredible, but at one point in time, all new listings were published in a giant book that was printed at certain times. Can you imagine? Do you remember? The world is moving so fast, we can’t even imagine working as an agent under those conditions.

Greg Herder: Revolutionary
Let’s face it, it’s a full time job sorting through all the latest technologies and figuring out how to harness them to build and/or manage a real estate business. Back in the early 80’s, Greg Herder was a “revolutionary zealot” in the real estate industry as he preached the idea of a single real estate agent promoting him or herself with a personal brochure. He was literally kicked out of many offices for his (at the time) heretical ideas and suggestions.

Branding is Timeless
Flash forward almost 30 years and personal promotion is widely accepted practice for agents (though in our opinion, many agents are shorting themselves by using templated prospecting brochures from the many copycat “branding” companies that have sprung up over the years). Hobbs/Herder has built a nearly 30 year career teaching agents the art of correctly “branding” themselves, teaching agents that THEY are the product they need to promote. Not the house, not the office/company, but their unique, individual brand, life philosophy, your back story and style of service. You are the brand. Our clients who have embraced this and followed through know the power of a strong brand that consumers are attracted to, that they ask for by name, the consumers can see a difference between a branded agent and all the other seemingly identical professionals offering similar real estate services.

Student of the Game
With the goal of supporting the critical fundamental of branding as his guide, for over 30 years, Greg has carefully reviewed and studied the playing field as new technologies arise. He has built a nearly 30 year respected reputation for showing agents how to build their brand and how to HARNESS the new technologies to grow their business by expanding their brand. From personal brochures (radical at the time) to websites and social media and video and the world of online marketing and advertising, each step of the way, Greg has helped agents sort it all out and pointed them in the right direction to take each new marketing innovation, each new technology and maximize it to build an agents’ business and grow their brand.

earbudzbroMy Futuristic Proclamation: Video IS the Future
When I first started at Hobbs/Herder, I always proclaimed to our new writers and designers that one day, our Personal Brochures and PowerKards would have active video playing on them when you opened them or viewed them. That they would play a recording or video image of the agent speaking directly to the reader. With the internet and tablets and smart phones already providing this, video has become one of the most powerful marketing tools of all time. All the Fortune 500 companies are embracing the power of video to build business, establish a rapport with a brand and communicate powerfully their marketing message. YouTube is proof of the power and reach of video.

Well, my prognostication about video and sound on our Personal Brochures has arrived. It’s still too cost prohibitive for the average agent or budget, but it’s here! There are a handful of companies who are adding screens on direct mail postcards and other printed pieces that will play a video, and there are companies who have added sound to the printed piece. The challenges in tapping into this technology are battery issues and per piece cost, but it is possible to mount a video screen on a printed piece of paper, or embed an audio player in a printed piece. But is it only a matter of time until they find a way to cheaply embed sound and audio into a printed piece? (I don’t want to get into the discussion about whether print is dead or not, that’s for a different blog post. Spoiler Alert: Print is NOT Dead. But the purveyors of digital marketing want you to believe that to help sell their services.)

Keep it Emotional
As we look forward into the future, what other technologies are headed our way? At Hobbs/Herder, the key is when you harness these technologies, you are looking for better and smarter ways to present and communicate your brand. Avoid slipping into the sins of the past where agents promote the house or the company and do not build an emotional based brand. Will your first printed brochure video attempt to make an emotional connection with the viewer, or will it be a shrill “I’m number one in service with such and such ABC Designation”? Will you use the new power of that innovation to try and close your prospect into submission, or will you build a rapport and an emotional connection that puts you on the menu as a potential agent they would feel comfortable calling (the true goal of an effective personal prospecting brochure)?

Greg Herder teaches that you must always be building and communicating your brand. As new technologies arise, it just presents more opportunity to communicate that brand to prospects, to make an emotional connection, to build rapport. It’s not an opportunity to clobber them over the head with what a great agent you are and how many designations you have achieved and how you (and only you) are number one in service. (Remember, the analogy is this: if you walk into a cocktail party, you don’t walk up to the first person you see and hand them your business card and proclaim what a great agent you are and ask them to list their house with you! That only scares people away and they consciously try to avoid you the rest of the party. Think about it, are you doing that with your unemotional, unbranded marketing you keep clobbering prospective home sellers and buyers with?)

So that is the moral of this technological parable that I have written. When sorting through the various technological innovations and new inventions, remember that one ageless fundamental will always apply (at least for the savvy agents who understand): build the brand and they will come.

Author’s Note:

Okay, so the video screen technology is not quite ready for the average direct mail postcard. But if you understand that direct mail is STILL one of the best ways to build a brand by reaching your prospective home owner RIGHT IN THEIR HANDS IN THEIR OWN HOME, you might want to read our new special report on Direct Mail.

How to Generate 10 Transactions in 90 Days using a Personal Prospecting Brochure

In this show Greg walks real estate agents through his best selling manual “How to Generate 10 Transactions in 90 Days, using Your Personal Prospecting Brochure”

This manual walks you through who to send your brochure to each week, what letters to send with it and how to talk about your brochure on Facebook.

Following the plan laid out in this manual is the fastest way to turn your prospecting brochure into closed transactions.

Audio Only How to Generate 10 Transactions in 90 Days, using Your Prospecting Brochure”

In this show Greg walks real estate agents through his best selling manual “How to Generate 10 Transactions in 90 Days, using Your Personal Prospecting Brochure”

This manual walks you through who to send your brochure to each week, what letters to send with it and how to talk about your brochure on Facebook.

Following the plan laid out in this manual is the fastest way to turn your prospecting brochure into closed transactions.

Mass Media vs. Direct Mail: Getting the Most Bang For Your Marketing Buck

Determining the best approach to reach your target market isn’t simply a guessing game. Learn how to maximize your marketing dollars in this month’s feature story.

They say 15 to 30 percent of your gross income should be spent on advertising. That’s way too much money to be spent haphazardly. That’s why we’ve devoted this month’s feature story to helping you determine the best method to deliver your message to your target market.

When allocating your marketing budget, you need to break things down. One of the first things you want to look at is your direct mail and mass media options. Mass media options would include print advertising, commercials on cable TV, and billboards and other “outdoor” advertising such as bus benches.

Your goal is to expose each household in your farm area to your message three times each month, but how should you reach your target market? Well, the best-case scenario is to provide those three exposures through a carefully orchestrated mix of both direct mail and mass media.

What’s Your Best Option?
Generally speaking, the first place for any agent to build a core marketing campaign is with direct mail. A direct mail campaign delivers your message directly to your targets and you only pay to reach those you wish to reach, providing a “rifle” effect as opposed to mass media. Mass media advertising covers a lot of ground with a broader, “shotgun” approach that also provides increased credibility and a higher quality of your message.

For the most part, when we’re looking at an agent’s situation, we advise them to allocate most of their budget to direct mail. Over time, or if they are already a top producer, the agent should augment that direct mail campaign with mass media advertising, especially when the agent’s production increases or they are forced to expand their market in order to grow their business. But there are some fairly rare instances when direct mail is not a next-level supplement to direct mail, namely those agents whose markets are too large to make direct mail cost effective.

Finding the Right Mix For You
Here’s a general analysis every agent should do to get started:

If your target market can be defined by streets, a neighborhood, a subdivision, or a lifestyle, and has 3,000 names or less, direct mail will probably generate the best return on your investment. If your target market is not defined by a geographic region or place, and is comprised of more than 3,000 people, mass media will most likely be your best option.

If your analysis leads you to direct mail, keep in mind that as your business and income grow, you need to look toward bolstering your direct mail with a mass media campaign. This will not only provide your campaign with a needed injection of new energy, but also increased credibility.

A Quick Case Study
A good example of this is Phil Herman. Phil’s original farm was a single subdivision in Dayton, Ohio, which he farmed exclusively through direct mail. The more successful he became and the more markets he expanded into, the more he recognized the need to add mass media advertising to the mix. In conjunction with his direct mail campaign, he began running ads in the Dayton Daily News and launched an outdoor campaign that found him on a prominent billboard in the area. He later began running TV commercials on local cable stations.

Eventually, he reached the point he’s at today, farming the entire Southeastern Greater Miami Valley area that includes the cities of Dayton, Centerville, Kettering, Washington Township and more. Needless to say, direct mail is a costly method of reaching every homeowner throughout the region, so Phil has made the complete transition to mass media and no longer does any direct mail farming.

Evaluating Mass Media Effectiveness
Whether you’re going to use mass media to augment your direct mail or if your situation dictates that you use mass media exclusively, there is a proven advertising formula that will help you evaluate your options. It’s crucial that you learn this formula to determine how to get the most for your marketing dollar.

The CPM is the advertising industry’s universal measuring stick to compare the cost of putting a message in front of 1,000 people. It’s determined like this:

Cost of the Advertising
Number of People Reached (in thousands)=CPM (Cost per thousand)

Divide the cost of the advertising by how many thousands of people this option will expose your message to. For example, let’s say you want to place an ad in your local weekly newspaper. For our purposes, let’s say it has a circulation of 25,000 and a half-page ad costs $750. To figure your CPM, you would divide 750 by 25, which equals 30 dollars per thousand people your message is exposed to.

Consider Your Reach
However, an important caveat must be considered when evaluating mass media CPM. In mass media outlets, your reach, that is, the amount of people exposed to your message, may be larger than you need. If that’s the case (and it often is), you’re actually paying to deliver a message to a subgroup of the entire circulation of the publication. What this means is that to best evaluate cost effectiveness, you should recalculate your CPM using the smaller, subgroup number because the rest of the people to whom your message is delivered do not really matter to you.

To clarify, here’s an example. Let’s say you live in Southern California and you wanted to explore your opportunities on TV. Your options include the broadcast networks or cable TV. Let’s first look at the local NBC affiliate, KNBC for example.

KNBC reaches everywhere from Ventura County, 40 miles north of Los Angeles, to south Orange County, some 60 miles south of Los Angeles. If you’re doing business in, say, Huntington Beach, a oceanside community of slightly more than 200,000 people in north Orange County, you still have to pay for all of KNBC’s territory, making it prohibitively expensive to reach such a small segment of the overall reach.

That’s what makes cable TV such a tremendous mass media opportunity. Cable TV companies often serve just one or two cities each, allowing you to deliver your message directly to those to whom it matters for a fraction of the price of broadcast networks. (There are even rumblings that in the near future, cable providers will be able to deliver different commercials to neighboring households based on demographics, further increasing their ability to tailor messages to desired target markets.) What’s more, cable TV still carries a large part of the cachet of traditional television advertising, giving you increased credibility and prestige.

Good Question, Difficult Answer
To recap, direct mail will usually be the core element of your marketing campaign. As you begin to grow or if you’ve been mailing consistently for two years or more, add new communities to your farm and your repeat and referral business grows, you’ll want to augment your direct mail with mass media for optimal effectiveness. Once you reach a point where you need more targets to continue to grow your business, you will want to definitely augment and maybe eventually replace your direct mail with mass media advertising. It all depends on the CPM.

The direct mail vs. mass media question is one we get from agents on a regular basis, and it’s one that doesn’t have a black and white answer. The best answer we can give is that the best case is a carefully selected mix of both direct mail and mass media. And as we’ve shown here, even that answer has some exceptions.

The best thing you can do for your career is to follow the guidelines we’ve laid out in this article and make a habit of calculating what will provide the best return on your investment. By doing so, you will stretch your marketing budget to the max, ensuring the greatest result for your dollar.

Practical Time Management Tips

In this training session Greg Herder teaches you why no one can manage time, but what you can manage are your activities. He shares a number of simple but very effective tools that will dramatically increase your productivity so that you will get more done in less time. You will learn some of the most practical productivity enhancing tools that are used by many high preforming people in many industries.

How and When to Send a Digital Brochure (the rules of engagement)

YoFrankAltesePDFexampleur Hobbs/Herder “Printed” Personal Brochure is always your go to marketing piece. But sometimes, you need to send a digital brochure. Read on:

At Hobbs/Herder, we’ve always viewed the personal brochure as the centerpiece of the entire branding campaign. It is the single most impactful marketing piece you can have. It gives people a chance to learn more about you before they meet you. It makes them feel good about who you are as a person, and as a result, feel more comfortable putting their trust in you as a real estate professional.

Nothing will ever beat having a high-quality printed brochure to hand out to prospective clients or mail out with your farming campaign. However, today is a digital age and there are times where it makes sense to have a digital version of the brochure you can share through email, smartphones or social media platforms.

When it comes to having a “digital brochure,” we are not just talking about having a screen-quality PDF of your normal brochure. That is certainly an okay solution, but it doesn’t quite have the same impact because it’s not folded up and like a real brochure. It’s just two flattened sides. We are now converting print brochures into digital versions that are optimized and formatted specifically for multimedia use. (Click on the image to the left to see an example)

A digital brochure is reformatted so that the key theme, imagery, content and graphics are presented in a natural order on an easy-to-view PDF file. It is also interactive in the sense that website URLs can be active links that someone can click on. Likewise, the social media icons can take them straight to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube pages. In today’s “I need it now” world, this provides immediate gratification.

Our client, Frank Altese from Ridgefield, CT, had us convert his brochure into a digital format. He deals with many buyers, sellers and investors who live in Manhattan. Frank’s digital brochure is often utilized when prospecting and building relationships with potential clients, even though they are located an hour-and-a-half away from where he works. It’s a great complement to his online presence in a market where direct mail farming isn’t as cost effective for him.

You should always try to get a printed copy of your brochure in a prospective client’s hands, but there are times when you can utilize a digital brochure for quicker delivery and engagement. Perhaps the person you are dealing with is located in a different town, state or even country. Perhaps they are just a really tech-savvy millennial who you can tell will react better to a digital presentation. Perhaps they just need more information about you right at that moment. There are plenty of opportunities to send your brochure digitally in place of, or most likely, in addition to a printed copy.

Was this article helpful? To learn more about digital brochures, contact Aleks Bugarski at 657-235-3629. Or fill out this convenient form and you’ll be contacted.

Is There an “Expiration Date” on Your MegaAgent.com Personal Prospecting Brochure?

Is it Time for a “Refresh?”

We’ve been dealing with a lot of clients lately who originally did their brochures several years ago and are now coming back to us and “refreshing” their marketing campaigns.

We’ve always recommended that you replace your pictures every 3-5 years. Looks change, fashion evolves, children grow up—there are many reasons why it’s worth taking the time to update your photography to keep your brochure from becoming stale or dated. However, every so often, it makes sense to make other updates to the content or even design of the campaign.

You’ve had the marketing out there for years. You know what people react to and what might not be hitting home quite as much, so some tweaks could be necessary. You might have changed companies or earned a broker’s license that’s worth mentioning in the copy. Maybe your hobbies or lifestyle has changed in some significant way (you got married, had kids, got divorced, etc.). You could be just getting a little tired of your old color scheme and it might be worth exploring some graphic changes.

One of our clients, Sharon Kong, recently moved from Vancouver, BC to San Francisco, CA and restarted her real estate career. Her original brochure and branding materials were still perfectly viable, but obviously the background pictures of the area, brokerage information, contact information and other minor details needed to be changed to reflect her new Bay Area market.

Chad Van Horn from Holland, MI is a longtime client of ours. Just last year, his daughter, Josi,  joined him in real estate and we revamped his materials to include her as his business partner. This year, the team grew once again when his wife, Jenny, also joined the team full time. In this case, it made sense to alter the branding to reflect the Van Horn Team concept. Though the look of his materials hasn’t changed much over the years, the story was completely rewritten and the new pictures highlight their unique family team concept.

Is your brochure in need of an update? Perhaps it’s time for a “refresh.” We’ll be happy to look at your current materials with you and see where some strategic revisions and new photography can help make it even more successful for the coming years. For more information about refreshing your campaign, contact Aleks Bugarski at 657-235-3639.

The 4 Fundamentals to Success in Sales, with Greg Herder

In this show Greg Herder takes a look at four fundamental activies that will ensure your success at selling anything. These keys may sound simple, but they are not always easy to do. Greg has found that most people stuggling in sales are failing because they are missing one or more of these fundamentals.

1.) Have somthing great to sell

2.) Talk to lots of people everyday

3.) Provide great service

4.) Be Real Nice

In the show Greg breaks these down so that you can make sure that you accomplish the sales objectives you have set for yourself. The show is not only educational but it will give you some great insights in a lot of different areas of your life.


How to Find a Niche that Gives You a Long-Term Sustainable Advantage!

Agents looking for a competitive advantage in their markets need to stop looking for quantifiable benefits and start looking to make an emotional connection with a specific market segment. Greg describes how to find the right niche for you that can’t be duplicated by your competitors.

Agents, both rookies and veterans, constantly come up and ask me what’s the hottest new marketing angle that they can use to differentiate themselves? I always tell them the same thing, it’s not hot, it’s not new, but without a doubt the best way to succeed in real estate is to find a niche that gives you a long-term sustainable advantage over all the other agents in your marketplace. They always say, “Greg, that’s exactly what I am looking for! Tell me, what niche will give me a long term sustainable advantage?”

I always tell them, every agent has a different niche that will give them a long-term sustainable advantage, but they have to find it within themselves. I tell them finding it is without a doubt the hardest and most important thing they will ever do in their real estate career and, unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. My objective in this article is to guide you along this path so that you can find your niche.

Emphasize the Differences
Start by asking the question “What advantage would an agent have if they had a niche that differentiated them in a way that gave them a long-term advantage over their competition?” Unless you understand the true value in creating a long-term competitive advantage, you will never be able to make the sacrifices necessary and will always be looking for the broadest marketing appeal and end up with marginal results.

Next, ask yourself, “What elements make something a long-term competitive advantage in real estate?” I believe the answer to this is simple. It’s offering your clients something that they value and respond to at an emotional level, and that your competitors have a very difficult time duplicating.

Don’t Quantify Your Niche
Once you understand this, you will understand why most agents’ efforts to differentiate themselves fail miserably. They work extraordinarily hard to offer something new or different, and as soon as what they are doing starts to produce results, their competitors copy them, effectively killing off any chance of a sustainable differentiation. I have seen this over and over again with countless numbers of agents’ Service Plans, Guaranteed Sales programs, Direct Response Systems and Advertising Campaigns that quantify some number as proof of an agent’s value. The problem is, most agents don’t ask themselves, “If I launch this program, how will my competitors respond?” It is always critical to ask yourself where the weaknesses exist in your strategy.

What Drives You
After agents go through this mental exercise, many of them email me and say, “Greg, this is hard. I cannot find anything to differentiate myself with.” So I ask them to think about what their friends and family find most interesting about them. I also ask if they have any specialized knowledge of an industry or hobby that they are totally passionate about. Once you have identified these areas of who you are, think about the niche markets that you could select from in your area. What you are looking for is a target market that will emotionally respond to one of your personality traits, specialized knowledge, or passions that you have. Then you ask yourself how you could serve this group of consumers in ways that amplify these differences, and that agents will have a hard time copying.

Be True to Yourself
One of our early clients at Hobbs/Herder was a horsewoman who had competed in the Olympics in dressage 20 years before she started in real estate. When I met her, she was frustrated with how things were going in real estate. She was a very disciplined agent who provided outstanding service, but was struggling to attract a steady flow of clients. She had been promoting herself as the agent with outstanding service but found that was just not setting her apart in a way that emotionally resonated with consumers. After getting to know her and understanding her personality and background, I suggested that she refocus her marketing efforts to go after people that loved horses and upscale horse property.

We crafted her marketing materials to tell her story of how she used her passion for horses and personal discipline to overcome her shyness and go on to great success as a dressage rider, and how today she used what she learned in dressage to create success in her real estate career. Horse people instantly connected with her story in an emotional way. In dressage, the horse and rider are judged on the elegance, precision and discipline of the horse’s movements. All of her marketing materials carried this theme that served to differentiate her in a way that became almost impossible for anther agent to duplicate.

Connecting with an Area or Lifestyle
When agent Damian DiCesare signed up for his Hobbs/Herder Personal Brochure, we looked to connect Damian with the West Hollywood area of Southern California. This regional niche was a natural since Damian was so familiar with the area and its lifestyle, and the focus helped him capitalize and leverage the networking he had steadily built up over the years. It was the perfect niche and he has sustained his presence in this market for many years.

Use Emotion to Your Advantage
The most amazing thing to me is that this approach seemed so natural and so right to the client, yet she fought it all along the way. She did not what to talk about the Olympics because she had not won a medal, it was a long time ago, people didn’t care about what she had done in the past, and a laundry list of other stuff. She wanted to talk about her service program and her own experience in buying and selling her own homes over the years.
The problem was that lots of other agents provided pretty good service, and had lots more experience in buying and selling their own homes that would allow them to imitate and even exceed her claims. The real problem is that those things simply do not create an emotional connection with consumers and they turn into just more meaningless marketing messages that get ignored, no matter what marketing gimmick you use.

Agents tell me, “Greg, that’s great, but I never competed in the Olympics!” That’s fine, but I promise there is something about you, your personality or your passions that a segment of people will respond to in an emotional way that will give you your long-term sustainable competitive advantage.

Find Your Connection
The opportunity is to look inside yourself and find that one thing. Until you have that to build on, you are simply spinning your wheels and you will always be disappointed with the results of your marketing efforts. I know it can be hard, even frustrating at times, to figure out, but the payoff is huge. If you can’t do it on your own, hire someone who can help you – it’s the best investment you will ever make in your real estate career.