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How To Generate Clients On A Poor-Boy Budget

How would you like to learn a prospecting system that's cheap, easy, and incredibly powerful at generating new clients, referrals and repeat business for you?

Who wouldn't, right?

Well...take a minute and read this quick article (and check out my example) on how to create a “Social Proof Prospecting System” for your practice.

It's a take-off on using testimonials, only in this case we're not using the client's voice, but yours  (by the way, if you want to read about how to use testimonials to grow your business, check out my article in Issue 1106.)

The point to remember is that if a person hears a success story from someone in their same shoes, they become convinced they can get similar results.  It's a dynamic of persuasion called “Social Proof” (Dr. Robert Cialdini addresses this subject in his book “Influence” – get yourself a copy on Amazon.com).

The prospecting system I'm going to share with you today involves using client stories on simple post cards.

Yes, I said “post cards,” but this system could also be used on your web site, farming letters, “just sold” notices, email marketing, listing presentations or anywhere you want to convince prospects and clients of your value – and why they should work with you.

I've known agents to make up to $10 to $1 return on this system – so pay very careful attention.

Here's how you do it step-by-step...

How To Create A “Social Proof Prospecting System”...

STEP 1:  Identify the PURPOSE of your promotion
If you're prospecting for listings, you'll use a success story from one of your past listing experiences.  If for buyers, use a story for buyers.  Don't confuse the two or this won't work.  Generally speaking, I like to use this to prospect listings or use as a “Just Sold” on a great transaction, then use the listings as a magnet to attract buyers (as I detail in Step 2 of our 3-Steps System).

STEP 2:  Think Of A Great Story From Your Past Experience
Think of how you've helped a client in a tough situation, or how you did something out of the ordinary to help a client buy or sell real estate.  If you have a funny story, or a strange story, that's good too.  Your objective here is to find a “stand-out” example of how you helped people just like your reader either solve a pressing problem, or achieve a desired benefit (save time, save money, etc.).

STEP 3:  Determine The SIZE Of Your Post Card
I suggest you take a standard-size sheet of card stock (8.5 x 11”) landscape, and cut it into 4ths – thus “4-Up” on a page.  Why?  Because first-class postage will be almost half what you'd pay on a larger post card (check with your local post office if you have questions).  Keep in mind you'll have a fairly small space so your story needs to be concise.  You can easily create these in Microsoft Word or any other software program – just create text boxes for the 4 cards on 1 sheet, print, then cut to size.  ALSO, use an ultra-bright card stock, as it will “stick-out” from other mail and get noticed.

STEP 4:  Write your HEADLINE
What's the best way to get attention?  The same way the newspapers do it – with a captivating headline.  Your headline is your “ad for your ad” so you need to say something that not only gets your prospects attention, but also conveys the central benefit of your services.  And using it as a title to a story helps give it more credibility.

NOTE: If you're sending this card to a community or farm area, use the community name somewhere in the headline.  Specifics help match the message to the market better.

STEP 5:  Write your STORY
Write out your story similar to the example below.  Using specific details gives it more believability.  Include the name of your clients (if they'll allow you), a summary of their exact situation, and the emotions they felt during the problem in the story – and especially how you solved their problem and saved the day.

STEP 6:  Motivate ACTION
Remember: No one will do anything without a self-serving, meaningful REASON for doing so.  So you need to also include and OFFER with your card – a reason for the reader to actually pick up the phone and call you.  Remember, if you give no offer, you'll get no response – and you've wasted your money.

What to offer?  Well, offer something valuable to your prime prospects such as a Maximum Home Value Audit™ for sellers or a free report for buyers revealing “7 Secrets for Saving Thousands When Financing Your Home”.  Call my office if you want information on how to get a bank of “pre-written” Special Reports for real estate (800-622-2540).  They work as great “response-magnets.”

STEP 7:  Make Your Cards Look PERSONAL
When you get the cards ready, simply create a mail merge from your database (you can set-up the exact paper size and fields with your word processor, then merge the names from your database into your documents).  Or you can run it as a full sheet, then cut later.  Then, run your post cards right through your laser printer. Try not to use mailing labels as they are less personal.

A few more tips:

  • Try to use a first-class postage stamp (commemorative, if possible).
  • Consider signing your card in your own handwriting (if there's space), then reproduce it with each card.
  • Put your name and address on the front of the card – you can obviously disclose your brokerage, but don't go plastering your logo all over the place.  Remember, you want this to look a bit “down home” and hokey.  It's intentional, and it works!
  • You can create 4 to 6 of these in no time, and you have enough cards to rotate for years – just send a different one every month or so.  If you find one that works better than others, consider using it in different communities and mediums.
  • Most important, make sure you send your cards monthly at the latest – many agents drop them in the mail along with their Service For Life!® Personal Marketing Newsletter.

That's all there is to it!

Here's an example post card...

example post card
click to enlarge image

[Ed note: This article is a small excerpt from the "Fast-Track to Success" Turn-Key Real Estate Business Building System. To learn more about this system click here.]

Flip video camera

Could you use this cool Video Camcorder in Your Business?
Share Your Best STUFF!

Real estate can be a tough, lonely business. Even top agents need a continuous flow of guidance, support and new ideas to keep going strong. When you share your best stuff with our community, everyone wins!

AND…remember, each month we hold a drawing to award one amazing FLIP video camcorder to an agent who submits an idea we use. So submit your best prospecting, marketing, horror story, or other real estate idea that makes you more successful, and you'll automatically become eligible to WIN a BRAND NEW FLIP video camcorder. Be sure to include an example if you have one! Click Here

The “No-Hassle” Way To Ask For a Price Reduction

Here's a strategy to get clients to agree to a price reduction at the listing presentation.  This virtually guarantees your listings won't sit on the market for months.

Agent Francine Hoffman created 1) a simple script that educates clients on why they need a price reduction and 2) a form that spells out the adjustment details in crystal clear terms.  This way there's no begging, arguing or hard feelings.

You can use this price reduction script and form “as is” or modify it to fit your personality.  Either way it helps to overcome tension and allows you to get an agreement from sellers before it's too late.

Here's Francine's description, script, and form below:

“I created this many years ago when I sat back in my chair one day and asked myself this question, 'What is the worst thing I have to do in my real estate business?'

I thought for a few minutes and this is what I came up with.  I hated calling my clients up and asking for a price reduction.  It is such a negative call and no one is happy at the end of the day.  So I came with a way to make it a more pleasant process for everyone involved...

When does the client love you?  Answer:  When they sign the listing agreement with you.  So why not stay a few minutes longer and educate the client on what will happen from that day forward.  This is how my script goes:

Mr. & Mrs. homeowner let me share something very important with you.  The first 10 days that your listing is on the market are the strongest days of your listing and what I mean by that is if the marketplace feels that your house is priced right, you should have between 'x' and 'y' showings and/or an offer in those first 10 days. But if they feel that your house is not priced right, you won't have that many showings or any offers. Now on the 11th day, I am going to recommend that we adjust the price on the 11th day by 'x'% or $'x'.

Next, I pull out my form that I call my 'Price Adjustment Schedule'.  Here's a snapshot of what my form looks like:

Price Adjustment Schedule
click to enlarge image

Now this is signed at the same time as the listing agreement.

This way the clients know what to expect.  They have signed the agreement and now when I call them I say, 'Folks, I have some good news and I have some bad news.  The good news is we have had 'x' showings.  The bad news is we do not have any offers, so we will have to put plan 'B' into place, the Price Adjustment Schedule.'

They already have a copy and you ask them to pull it out and you can go through it with them.  Also make sure they have a copy of your marketing plan so they know that you are not just adjusting the price of their home, you are doing other things as well.

This form and process works wonders for me and I don't feel like I am beating people up anymore, they know what to expect.  And as a result I'm able to sell my listings faster at realistic prices, and build a base of clients who respect me and stay with me for the long-term.”

QuickTip: How To Destroy A Client Relationship 101

“Here's a simple rule that will earn anyone who applies it at least $20,000 more in commissions per year:  DO NOT STAND IN THE WAY OF YOUR CLIENT...

The client loves the home, YOU hate it.  You hate the location.  You hate the railroad running adjacent to the back yard.  You hate that the basement relies on a sump-pump.

GET OUT OF YOUR CLIENT'S WAY!  If the client loves the home, let them buy it!

I have had to deal with AT LEAST two clients of other agents per year for the past six years because the agent stood in the way of the home they wanted to purchase.  These clients each fired their agents in writing, and I double-ended the listings AFTER the agents wouldn't let them buy it.  Agents who ignore this rule not only lose out on initial sales but future transactions and referrals that come from a good client relationship.”

Win Clients By Understanding The Local School District

“Clients depend on us to assist them with the most expensive purchase that they generally make.  Yet so many times agents in today's real estate market just do not spend the time they should with their clients -- getting to know them as well as their needs.

I found it very important to not only spend the time to get to know your clients, but to also get to know the educational systems within the areas that you primarily work.

Recently, we had real estate agents from numerous offices come to a breakfast sponsored by our local school district.  In addition to a wonderful breakfast held in the Art Gallery of the school district's Fine Arts Center, the School Superintendent presented a lecture and power point presentation to provide the agents with significant information regarding the schools and their programs.

We than boarded a school bus and toured an elementary school, middle school and high school.  We met the principals of each school had a tour of each schools campus and saw the students in various classes in session.  We found this to be very valuable information that we can pass on to our clients who are interested in moving to the area.

We need to be able to educate our clients above and beyond the home information we provide them.  The more we are educated ourselves, the more they will understand and learn and appreciate what we do for them.

An educated client is a better client to work with.  So continually educate yourself and call your local school system to set up a meet, greet, and tour.  You'll be glad you did!”

Horror Story: Obvious Signs You're Dealing With A Creeper

“One day, while on floor time, I got a call from a man that was passing through on his way North to his family's camp.  I was a brand new agent and very anxious to make my first sale.

The man asked me if he could see a particular property 'right away!'  I said, 'Of course, I think that owner is away for the weekend, I'll meet you there in 15 minutes.'  I knew better but I really wanted a sale, so I rushed over to meet the man.

We chatted briefly as we approached the front door, he made comments on how pretty I was and I started wondering what I had gotten myself into.

Once inside, we discovered the owner was home after all.  She had come home early from her weekend away.  As we went to the basement, he started saying things that made me feel 'creepy.'  It was dark and I became very anxious to get back up stairs.

Once outside, he seemed like he was in a rush to leave, turning his head, as he got into his truck, he said, 'Tell your husband he's a lucky man!'  From the tone in his voice, it was not meant to compliment me!  I really felt I had dodged a bullet that day and I've never let my guard down since.”

Issue #1154