“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.

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.

New Real Estate Agent Grows Her Business and Generates a Steady Flow of Leads Through Consistent Personal Marketing

Despite being a brand new agent in a slow San Antonio real estate market, Michele McCurdy has been able to grow her business throughout her first year as a result of her personal marketing campaign. She has applied personal branding strategies, expired listing follow-up systems and proven business-planning strategies to generate leads and reach–and exceed–her sales goals month after month.

Michele McCurdy is no stranger to the concept of building a business from scratch. One of her most successful ventures was a baked goods business she started out of her home in San Antonio, Texas. What began as a few goodie baskets for friends and family became a $2 million business, culminating in the opening of her own successful bakery/delicatessen. Through exceptional word-of-mouth advertising and other grass roots marketing plans, Michele was able to create a thriving business that later became a launching pad as she embarked on a highly successful sales career in the corporate world.

So when Michele chose to pursue a career in real estate a little more than a year-and-a-half ago, she had a much different outlook than a lot of agents who get into this industry looking for a quick buck. She’s a single mother of five and, for her, failure in any of her business ventures has never been an option she could afford. “It was a scary transition into real estate,” Michele says, “but I knew the rewards could far outweigh the risks if I did things right.”

Looking for Solutions

During her real estate training and license prep courses, Michele began asking around to see what other agents were doing to be successful in this economy. She was surprised to learn there weren’t a lot of people willing to invest in their own business. They were not marketing themselves or developing well-thought-out business plans. Finally, one of her instructors suggested that if she wanted to go all-out with her marketing plan, she should look into Hobbs/Herder.

The instructor warned Michele that it would be a significant investment of money, but that didn’t phase her. She came in with an entrepreneurial outlook, knowing that it would take a certain amount of capital to launch her business on the right foot and keep it growing over time. “You have to spend money to make money,” she explains. “I already understood how important branding and name recognition were to building a business and Hobbs/Herder was the answer I was looking for.”

Michele called Hobbs/Herder within a few weeks of getting her license. She put a custom marketing package together and within a couple months, she had her final printed materials in hand and her website ready to launch. She’ll never forget the day all the boxes showed up at her office. All of the other agents laughed at her for investing that kind of money on her advertising and taking such a personal approach in her materials. They couldn’t understand why she was making herself the focal point of the marketing. The negativity didn’t bother Michele, though. To her, it was an investment in her business. It actually inspired her more because she knew she was making a positive step forward while they were all sitting in the office and waiting for leads to appear out of thin air.

Last-Minute Inspiration

Michele attended the Hobbs/Herder Gateway event in San Antonio that same month she received her printed materials. Though fully confident in her decision to invest in this marketing program, she still couldn’t help but feeling a small sense of panic now that her campaign was finally ready to launch. Through the seminar, Michele not only regained the confidence that she needed to push forward, but she was also able to fine-tune her mailing plans and servicing systems. One of the most important things she did after the Gateway is take all the personal letters she received and customized them to her own voice and style. Michele feels this was a small, but significant, step in her preparation because she knew the personal touches would make a bigger difference and she was able to familiarize herself with the meaning behind each of the letters.

Michele made sure to take the time and map out her plan of attack for her first year of marketing before sending out any mailings. She set her budget and she put all the systems in place to ensure that nothing would go off track. Michele chose her mailing farm of 2000 homes (consisting of one-and-a-half zip codes in her the San Antonio area). She developed her “In Touch List,” which is comprised of her friends, family members, past clients and other business contacts who already had a certain level of familiarity with her and her real estate services. Michele committed to sending out two marketing pieces per month to everyone in her farm. She has sent out her brochure twice (once in the first month of her campaign and again six months later) and has followed the Hobbs/Herder Standard Mailing Plan exactly as it was given to her at the seminar.

Goals Set. Milestones Achieved.

As she was getting her systems in place, Michele set a personal income goal for her first year. She determined how many transactions she’d need per month to achieve that goal. She realized that she would need to close at least one transaction a month in order to consider her first year a success. It wasn’t a lofty goal, but a realistic one for Michele.

With her own business background to draw from, Michele knew that her success in real estate would not happen overnight. She realized it would take time to build a strong marketing presence and tap into the minds of consumers, especially in such a slow market. Michele committed herself to a full year of marketing before she’d make a judgment on the campaign’s overall success or failure. Now with less than a year passing since launching her marketing program in September, Michele can honestly say that everything is going even better than she planned.

Michele can directly attribute 12 transactions to her direct mail marketing program. On average, she gets at least three calls per month from potential clients looking into her services. However, the calls she gets nowadays are very different than the ones she received prior to launching her personal marketing campaign. People used to ask her about her brokerage affiliation, her experience in the industry and what she would do to market their listings. Now, the callers she gets are pre-sold on her and her services. They assume from the quality of her own marketing materials that she’s an expert marketer who knows how to attract buyers. They feel like they know Michele and trust her without even having met face-to-face. They rarely ask what brokerage she’s with. It’s a huge advantage for a new agent like her not to have to “sell” herself against her more experienced competitors.

Affecting Positive Change

Michele believes that the personal nature of her marketing campaign resonates well with her target audience. The cover headline on her brochure states “Anything is Possible,” and her own story of how she went from being a homemaker who loved to bake for friends and family to a successful entrepreneur draws readers in on an emotional level. In fact, she had two different people whose homes were nearing foreclosure call her looking for advice. After they read her brochure, they truly felt that anything was possible and knew that Michele would be the one who could help them make the most of the situation.

Michele is also taking advantage of the expired listings in the down market. Every week, she runs an MLS report to track the expireds in the neighborhoods in and around her farm. On average, there are about 12 new expireds every week and Michele puts every one of them on the targeted weekly letter campaign that she received at the Gateway. Over the past year, she attributes roughly 40% of her business to expireds, which goes to show you that there are opportunities to be had with a proactive approach like hers. In fact, many of her company’s office meetings now revolve around why all the agents should be going harder after expired listings, yet nobody is as diligent about it as Michele. That’s why she now does more than half of the total business in her office every month.

Turning Results into Planning

With ten months of marketing under her belt, Michele has been able to track her results and put the data to good use as she sets her income goal for her second year. When Michele used to work at a Lexus dealership, she figured out that for every eight test-drives, one would result in a sale. With that in mind, she was able to determine how many test drives she’d need to have to reach her sales goals. It’s this same basic philosophy that she applies today in real estate.

It All Adds Up to Success

Michele works the numbers backwards. How many transactions does she need per month to reach her income goal? How many leads does she need to generate to achieve that number of transactions? How many calls does each mailing generate? It’s helping her to set her marketing budget and adjust her numbers and systems accordingly. In addition, she is expanding her marketing efforts by advertising in a local magazine and newspaper and is hoping to incorporate some outdoor and radio advertising in the next year as well. “It’s like planting seeds on a farm,” she says. “You can’t just sit back and wait for things to grow. You have to water and cultivate the plants to make them grow.”

Michele is certainly excited about the positive results she’s achieved so far through her marketing campaign and business plan, but she knows this is just the beginning. She knows that while other agents have ceased almost all of their marketing efforts, she is building her brand in her target farm and increasing her market share with every mailing she sends out.

“This is the time to build a brand, because when the market comes back, I’ll be ready for it!” Michele says.

Audio Only: Is Your Marketing Plan Helping or Hurting You.

Real estate marketing expert Greg Herder teaches you how to evaluate your marketing plan for the year ahead so that you can know if your marketing plan is building your business or costing you money. Learn the three key questions you must be ask about your marketing plan. Learn how to determine the number of people you need to be reaching each and every month to achive your personal objectives. You will also the key pieces of marketing that every serous real estate agent must have in place to build a marketing driven real estate business in todays market place.

“Audio Only” Greg Herder Interviews Top Producing Agent Tony Slowik

This month Greg Herder does an in-depth interview with top producing Realtor Tony Slowik from Sky Realty in Austin Texas. Learn how Tony successfully got his business up and running and how he has been using YouTube video’s and Facebook Ads to lock in his brand and take over a very competitive high-end farm. Learn why he attend s Hobbs/Herder’s 3 Day Marketing Mastery Seminar each and every year and how hi uses what he has learned to keep his business growing. Learn how Tony pays his assistant and the systems he has in place to keep his business running even when he is not there. Grab a pen and get ready to take some notes so that you can use what you learn in this educational yet entertaining interview.

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Watch for Domain Registration Scam for your Real Estate Website

Protect Your Domain/URL! It’s Valuable to You.

Picture 6Every couple of weeks, we get a call from one of our web hosting clients in a panic, saying they received a letter letting them know their real estate website domain was expiring and they are surprised to get a letter from a company they don’t know asking them to renew at exaggerated pricing. Or worse, they get what looks like a scary legal correspondence implying that there is an issue with their domain.

This is a practice called “phishing.” Companies are unscrupulously trying to trick agents into renewing their domain registration through them and leaving their current domain registrar. The scary legal sounding letter scam is typically trying to trick agents into purchasing the .us domain (agentname.us) version of that URL.

These companies pull information that is generally available on the Web about when domains are expiring and when domains are purchased and by who to determine who to hit with these letters. This blog post is just a warning to be on the watch for them and a recommendation to always check with your Registrar, or the company who is managing your domain before ever contacting or responding to these letters. To all Hobbs/Herder web hosting clients, if you receive one of these letters, please feel free to contact us and we’ll help you determine if it’s a letter from your legitimate registrar, or a scam letter.

Your domain is valuable, you should do everything you can to protect it. Make sure you know who  is managing your domain (if it is not you directly), so that you have up to date contact information on file so you are properly notified when it is going to expire. If it expires, you may not always be able to renew it if it is scooped up by someone else. Then, if you have print materials with that domain, it could be costly to you. Hope this information  helps you out.

How to Win TV’s Cable Cash Game (One of real estate’s most overlooked marketing advantages)

How to Win TV’s Cable Cash Game

One of real estate’s most overlooked marketing advantages is sitting right in your living room.

jayTVOk, if you are like many agents out there, you aren’t entirely satisfied with your production. Many agents are feeling like they are working twice as hard but not feeling real tangible growth. Many agents are worn out scrambling for listings in a tight inventory. Other agents feel that there will be real opportunity in the next 12 to 24 months, but are not sure how best to grab more of that market share. It may be time to cash in with cable TV advertising.

Cable TV is one of the best keep secrets in real estate marketing. In 95% of U.S. markets, you can buy a 30-second cable TV spot on a strong cable program like CNN, Comedy Central, and The Family Channel for under $100 per spot, in some locales, even cheaper. Think about it. The television is the most powerful marketing medium ever invented. It combines sight, sound and motion so that you can bombard a prospect’s senses and create an emotional connection with them. No other advertising or marketing medium even comes close to its power.

Target Marketing

Even more amazing is that in today’s cable TV marketplace, you can buy advertising in a highly targeted group of homes in your area. This ability to buy advertising that reaches a small targeted group of homes is what makes cable TV one of the greatest values to a real estate professional today.
Unfortunately, most agents that do try TV advertising make the same fatal mistakes that lead to failure. They think that they are trying to sell something, like a house or their experience, knowledge or service. So they create commercials that are strong in education and information but fail to reach out a grab prospects emotionally.

Great TV advertising reaches out and touches people emotionally. As a real estate professional, the number one goal of a TV commercial should get people to feel good about you as a person. To help you understand what I am talking about, view the television commercial we created for our longtime client and friend, Jay Cannone:

Secrets to Cashing In
Now let me share with you the secrets that will help you cash in on cable TV. First, you must understand that cable TV works best when you already have solid name recognition in your marketplace. If you have already been sending out direct mail and running print ads, you will find that cable TV will dramatically increase the impact of those activities.

When a prospect sees you on TV and then sees an ad in the newspaper or picks up a piece of direct mail that you have sent out, your print materials produce a much greater response rate than without TV. So, when you start your cable campaign, you cannot stop your other forms of marketing. TV must be added to what you are already doing. For new agents, I recommend that you do not start a TV campaign until you have a traditional marketing campaign already in place.

Establishing a Budget

Next you need to establish a budget. Call your local cable station and ask them for a media kit complete with pricing information. Ideally you would like to run 15 to 25 commercials per month. This should cost you between $600 and $1,500 per month. You might save yourself 10-20% off the cost if you sign up for a six-month contract. A long-term contract is a great idea because you want to have consistency over time.

Next you want to make sure that your commercial grabs your prospect emotionally. It is critical that your TV commercial carry the same graphic theme and style as your direct mail and advertising campaigns so that each different medium reinforces the other. Don’t allow the cable company to talk you into allowing them to do a free commercial for you. I promise you, you will not be happy with the results. It should cost you about $2,000 for a writer to come up with a great story board and script complete with directors’ notes and an additional $3,000 to shoot and edit your 30-second spot. A well done commercial should last two or three years and is worth every penny. Hobbs/Herder can help  you write a script tailored to your branding and marketing message at a great price. View more information.

TV Power Equals Increased Production
The power of TV advertising is that it will amplify the return on investment of everything else that you are doing. Over and over again, we have seen top producing agents double their business over the year before simply adding cable TV into their marketing mix. If you want to break through to the next level of productivity, it’s probably time to cash in with cable TV.

If you think a television commercial will help you get ahead of your competition, contact Aleks Bugarski at 1-800-999-6090, ext. 599 for more information.

Real Estate Agents and Branding: How to Build a Sustainable Business

Tom Smith

Branding. It’s one of those words that most people know and understand (to varying degrees). We  have found over the years that many real estate agents across North America seem to grasp the meaning, but not completely. It can be subtle. We found a good working definition and wanted to share it with you as a starting point for this discussion:

BRANDING: The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumer’s mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.

In the over 26 years we’ve been training countless agents on Personal Marketing at our training seminars and then creating branded marketing materials for tens of thousands of those agents, we have found varying degrees of understanding of the branding process. The challenge for agents is that in the wake of our quarter century tenure, there have been many companies and individuals who have sprung up and claim to offer branding and marketing campaigns, often at highly discounted prices.

The problem is this. Branding, when done correctly, is an involved process. It is much more than choosing pretty colors, coming up with a clever type treatment and icon for a logo, crafting a pithy slogan and generally, putting together a pleasant graphic look and feel. That is the easy part. Any junior designer with a page layout program and Photoshop can do that. Many are, unfortunately.

That is the problem. Branding, done correctly, involves digging deeper. It is about discovering what it is that makes the particular product (in our case real estate agents) stand apart. What does it stand for, what makes it unique? How will it speak/relate to the intended target market. What is that target market? As professional marketers, we want to determine that agent’s core beliefs, core values, what life experiences have shaped him or her into the person (and business professional) they are today. In essence, our goal is to define that person’s/agent’s story. To coin a phrase, “people like doing business with people they like.” It’s about “owning” a piece of that prospective listing client’s mind so that when they think about real estate, they think about YOU.

We work hard to craft a story that defines the agent. Speaks to others who may be just like him or her. It has to be on an emotional level that resonates with others to truly work its magic. We have developed a personal questionnaire we have refined over the years to help us dig down and find that story. We have perfected the interview process to find the nugget of a story, a belief or an attribute that we can build the brand around.

When you take the time to carefully build and develop and refine a brand, magic happens. Your story resonates with people in your farm. They identify with your beliefs, values or your life experiences. You aren’t JUST ANOTHER REAL ESTATE AGENT.  And if you go back to our working definition of branding, if  you build that brand with CONSISTENCY and quality, you will attract and retain LOYAL clients.

Time and time again, clients tell us that they go on listing appointments and the excited homeowner tells them, “we knew you were going to be our agent when it came time to move.” Through the careful branding process, that emotional bond was created, and sending that message consistently reinforced it. How exciting is that idea of having devoted fans living in your farm who because of your expert branding have already decided you were the agent for them, sometimes years before they make a move?

During the market downturn of the past few years, many of our clients who have diligently put their materials and brand out there have not only sustained business during that downturn, but more importantly, their business is going gangbusters and they are getting listings in a tight inventory over other agents…because they built a brand and a story that resonated deeply, and didn’t just put together pretty colors.

We hope this discussion helps you understand the difference between real branding and desktop publishing design. If you want to do it right, find your story, define your brand and consistently build upon that important foundation.

Are Your Social Media Pages Working for You or Against You?

Don’t Let a Neglected Social Media Page Undo the Goodwill Your Effective Branding Generates Elsewhere

Real Estate Marketing for Priscila Rodrigues

Imagine this scenario for a minute: A homeowner receives your personal brochure. It doesn’t matter how she got it, whether it was mailed to her, she picked it up from a stack or you gave it to her personally. What matters is this – she read through it and she likes what she sees. She feels a connection to you and your story.

It’s a good start. But is it good enough?

You see, in today’s world, there’s so much easily accessible information out there, a homeowner is unlikely to stop his or her research at your brochure. Why not do a quick Google search and check you out on your website, Facebook or Twitter to gather a little more information?

And this is where things can get dicey.

A Google search leads the homeowner to your personal website. Great! Or is it? Does your website convey the same professionalism and branding that was in your brochure? Or does it look like a company-issued template site that either buries your name and branding and gives the company top branding, or does the visitor get confused because it looks exactly like 4 or 5 other sites of agents they’ve been scouting? Does the jarring disconnect affect the visitor’s decision whether or not to work with you? That’s the key question.

Okay, to continue our scenario, the homeowner logs on to your Twitter but then finds a generic looking page that hasn’t been updated for a couple months. If they take the time to find you on Facebook, is your story and branding reinforced or non-existent?

Uh oh.

Hopefully you’re getting the point. Today’s technological world offers a bounty of branding opportunities, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a great opportunity for people to discover you and experience your brand. The downside is this: You never know how someone is going to find you, and therefore it is essential that your branding extends to every conceivable platform. Consistency in your branding from direct mail to web to social media is more important than ever.

Back to the scenario we described above, if that homeowner who loved your brochure goes on to find cohesive branding across your website, your Facebook, Twitter, etc., you’re only going to bolster the positive impression made with your brochure. But what about the alternative? If she finds a lackluster, generic-looking website? If she’s underwhelmed by your standard-issue Facebook page? If your Twitter page looks neglected and lacking any inkling of the branding that was so impressive in your brochure? Suddenly you’ve created a disconnect, and there goes the goodwill you built through your brochure. What if you lose that prospect to an agent who took the time to build cohesive branding across the spectrum?

Here’s the moral of the story: You never know where or how a prospect will discover you. You need every marketing venue you appear in to be in lock step with your brochure branding. In this digital age, social media has become too important to not give it your all. The good news is it’s not all that complicated to turn an ordinary looking social media page into something that truly wows prospective clients and extends your brand. Make it a priority that everything you do conveys your own personal brand. If you don’t know where to start or you’re having trouble doing so, give us a call. We can help.

To find out more, email Aleks@hobbsherder.com or call 800-999-6090, ext. 599.