4 Best Practices for Real Estate Email Drip Campaigns

With email being a common way to communicate and share information, it’s easy for an email to get marked as spam or immediately deleted by the receiver. How do you make it past delete? When reaching out to a prospect via email, there’s actually an art to it!

As marketing and prospecting have evolved, so have email drip campaigns. They have become an effective way to get information to a group of people without the need to send individual emails manually. If you’re unfamiliar with drip marketing, it’s basically an automated way to send out emails to particular groups or segments of people —and they can be scheduled over a long period of time (hence: drip campaign).

For example, if a prospect visits your real estate site and fills out your online form to get more information, you can automatically send them an email that prompts them to download your “Tips for Home Buying Guide”. If they download the guide, the next email could include content that relates to home buying. If they do not download the guide, the next email could remind them. The options are really endless.

When you’re looking to start a real estate email drip campaign, make sure you’re implementing these best practices to get the most out of your marketing.

#1. Understand Your Goals

When beginning any type of marketing campaign, it’s important to know and understand your goals and what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you hoping to get more traffic to your website? Are you looking to showcase a particular listing or neighborhood? Once you’ve thought about the type of actions you want to measure or improve, you are better prepared to design your campaign.

#2. Develop Your Message

There are many great real estate drip campaign templates out there, and many real estate CRMs offer template emails you can use to setup your next message. Just keep in mind that the more personal the message, the more likely it is to be opened. You can always edit the template to ensure it “sounds” like you.

#3. Determine Your Timing

Decide how often you need or want your message to get to their inbox without being a spammer. A slow and steady approach is usually the best approach, and there are a wealth of resources online that talk about the best times to send emails to increase your open rates. And, be sure you go back and look at the results of your campaign to determine if your timing is working.

#4. Reevaluate Your Lists

While it’s easy to put one contact in a certain category (say “buyers”), people change and circumstances change. More importantly, your prospect’s affinity to sell or buy change with their circumstances, so remember to set aside some time to reevaluate your list of contacts to periodically determine if you need to make changes to the type of campaign they’re receiving.  ProspectNow scores and ranks properties daily to prioritize which ones are most likely to sell and/or refinance.  This can help you determine the exact message and when to communicate it.

Communication is an important part of turning leads into clients. There’s a balance and art in being an agent offering valuable information and one that’s just spamming their inbox. Don’t be a spammer! Make contact with one of our professionals at ProspectNow and let’s talk about how we can help you target the right audience when you are designing your dream drip marketing campaign.

Improve Your Prospecting With These 6 Steps

Whether you’re a brand new agent or a veteran broker, it’s a safe bet that one of your struggle points is prospecting. This is the life’s blood of real estate; it keeps new opportunities in the pipeline, and time spent prospecting is an investment in the future.

It’s also often difficult, tedious, and frustrating. As with any task, refocusing and tweaking your efforts can refresh your prospecting approach. A few small adjustments can make the task easier, more authentic, and more fruitful.

Start before you begin

Your efforts to make contact will be more successful if you take the time on the front end to make sure that your brand is clearly defined. So, determine what specific markets you’ll be working in. Identify your “specialty,” and differentiate yourself from other brokers. What is your focus?

Study your prospects

According to CCIM, a good prospect has these qualities:

  • needs commercial real estate services;
  • know they need commercial real estate services;
  • has the authority to act on that need;
  • has the budget to back up that authority;
  • feels a sense of urgency to act;
  • knows your company and has had a positive experience in the past;
  • knows you and likes and trusts you; and
  • is willing to follow your guidance.

The more of these attributes a person possesses, the better quality prospect they are.

Be consistent

The importance of prospecting to your business makes it deserving of daily attention. Create time in every workday for this task. It’s advisable to take care of this early in the day, before other tasks begin to intrude on your time –and on the time of the people you’d like to contact.

Diversify

Use a variety of methods and channels for prospecting. You may despise cold calling (join the club), but it is still one of the best ways to reach out to potential customers. Remember that the cold call is just one approach, and the goal is to get a face to face meeting scheduled.

Another effective, and a little more gradual, way to make contact is to send a note through the mail. This creates a favorable impression and makes it more likely that the prospect will recognize your name and take your call.

Be receptive

Your first meeting, in particular, should be all about the potential client. Ask open-ended questions and encourage them to share concerns and experiences. Make note of their needs and interests and apply that information in identifying ways that you can help. Turn off your phone, eliminate distractions, and give that person your undivided attention.

Customize

Once you have the ear of your potential client, tailor your pitch to address their needs and concerns. This requires careful listening, and demonstrates that you are aware of their needs and interested in helping to meet them. A one-size-fits-all presentation is not impressive or memorable.

Prospecting may never be your favorite aspect of the job, but remembering these tips for best practice can improve your results and make the task a little easier to swallow.

3 Reasons You Don’t Need a Script When Cold Calling Prospects

The cold call is a time-honored way to find new opportunities and clients, but like many long-standing practices, we sometimes view it very narrowly. Methods for cold calling can differ; how the task is accomplished is up to you.

For many of us, there’s a certain level of security in having a script for making calls. We feel prepared for various questions or objections that the prospect might make, and scripts provide some structure to keep us on track even if we get flustered.  There are a plethora of services providing scripts and templates that are a “magic” solution to cold calling.

The desire for a cold calling script is understandable, but do you really need one to get results?  Certainly not. In fact, there are some compelling reasons for abandoning scripts all together. Ari Galper advises us to ask these questions:

  • How do you really feel when you use a script?
  • How do your prospects feel when they know you’re using a script? (And they do know.)
  • Most important, how many sales are you losing because you’re using a script?

If your own experiences with using scripts are not particularly positive, and they’re not enhancing your ability to connect, then you should consider working without one. Here are some ways that ditching the script can be make prospecting easier and more productive.

#1. Look for needs

A cold call should be a conversation, not a pitch. Scripts can make prospects defensive because they focus on what you can do for the customer rather than what the customer needs.

You don’t need a script to be a good listener. Come up with a few open-ended questions that you can use to get the prospect talking about their business and situation, and then LISTEN.

#2. Use your long game

Your goal in calling is to create an opening and start a relationship, not make a sale. Particularly in real estate, client relationships are a long-term proposition.  Working without a script makes for more authentic connection and allows each conversation to be unique, so it’s tailored to the person on the other end of the line.

#3. Be more nimble

A problem with using a linear script is that it can’t anticipate all of the twists and turns that a call can take. Relying on the script can leave you flummoxed as to how to proceed if the conversation takes an unexpected turn. By keeping in mind your goals for the call (find out more about the prospect and open the door for future contact), your course is clear.

Many in the industry recommend using a script only as a backup. This point was made in an interesting discussion on Quora:

…use scripts as a fall back, not as gospel. The purpose of script is that when   someone says something that is confrontational, rude, challenging or otherwise makes you nervous or throws you off your game, instead of freezing up, you have something you can say confidently instead of stuttering like an idiot.

Nobody wants that. But rest assured that even with the most bulletproof script there will be calls that don’t go well and leave you feeling frazzled. Keep at it, learn from your mistakes, “fail forward,” and you will get results.

5 Old School Lead Qualifying Tactics that Still Work in a Digital World

Most real estate professionals don’t have time to chase leads that are going nowhere. But, how can you pre-qualify the lead to know if it’s worth your time? Nearly 70% of sales leads end up being trial balloons and not serious prospects.

That adds up to hours and hours of lost productivity chasing leads that turn into dead ends. You can vet your leads much better through old school lead qualifying tactics that still work in the digital world of today.

Lead Qualifying before the Internet

Before the internet, prospect mining was the top strategy for qualifying leads. You used certain statistics like profit margins and area development metrics to determine where to find quality leads.

But batting 30 out of one hundred was typical before the internet. You couldn’t afford to discard any leads for fear of losing a real prospect. Now however, you have access to much more information that combined with certain old school tactics can make those strategies extremely potent.

Today your lead qualifying tactics can be customized to precisely target your specific demographic. You no longer have to sift through hundreds and hundreds of unserious leads.  You can improve productivity and focus your time and energy on the kinds of quality leads that end in a signed contract.

5 Old School Lead Qualifying Tactics that Still Work

One way to make your tactics incredibly effective is to design your online marketing strategy to harness your leads based on these 5 lead qualifying tactics. Construct your website and link your social media platforms in a way that directs your quality leads along a path that ends in a deal.

The “BANT” Strategy

Before the internet, IBM branded a strategy for selecting the best leads out of thousands of queries called the BANT approach that still works in a digital world. Here’s how it applies to your lead qualifying strategy.

#1: Budget – Find out what kind of budget your prospect is working with before you begin pitching your services by creating a short multiple choice questionnaire on your online contact form that asks for a budget range.

#2: Authority – Who is the decision maker? Too much time is wasted working with someone who loves what you’re offering and after you’ve been hammering out details with them for weeks, their boss overrules them.

Find out who the decision maker is to direct your pitch at the right person before you waste your time by asking for position title on your online contact form.

#3: Need – Find out exactly what they want by asking them to select which of your services they are interested in when they fill out your contact form.

#4: Timeline – Many of your clients will want to know your track record for closing deals in an efficient manner. In your online marketing and advertising make sure to promote your timeliness or some other feature that makes you stand out.

Get the Answers First

Our last tip is not part of the BANT method but it is crucial to weeding out the non-productive leads. Get answers before you start pitching your strategy. You can use an e-mail campaign, your social media platforms, or your website blog or contact form to get the answers that you need to laser in on the leads that will turn into profits for you.

5 Ways to Successfully Prospect via Email

Email is still a powerful medium for marketing to your prospects despite the proliferation of social media and website lead generation. It has long been the main form of communication on the internet and even with messenger and chat options, e-mail is still the communication method of choice in business.

Your e-mail prospecting strategy will dictate whether or not your e-mails get read and acted upon or they just get deleted. But there are some easy things that you can incorporate into your strategy that will help you land more contracts via e-mail.

 Making your connections meaningful is the fundamental goal of your e-mail prospecting strategy. Getting an e-mail address and sending an e-mail is just the first step. What will make them see your e-mail, open it, and then follow through with some sort of action is a well written prospecting e-mail. Here are 5 useful tips for developing your strategy.

#1: Answer the question – “Why should I use your services?”

Most importantly, don’t dilly dally. The subject line of your e-mail should at least get your prospect’s attention by focusing the subject on them and not you. Tell them why they should open your e-mail in a way that is quick and to the point.

#2: Direct the conversation but make it a personalized one.

You know all of the facts about your prospect’s region. You have all of the information that they need to boost their sales. You are ready to give them your best pitch. But if you aren’t careful, your pitch could begin to sound like a telemarketing call.

Make your pitch personalized. Don’t jump right into your sales pitch. Start a conversation first. Answer a question in your e-mail that you know will get their attention that is directly related to their particular business. That way you show off your expertise and you show that you are focused on serving them.

#3: Show them that you are serious with a one-two pitch.

When you call and get your prospect’s voicemail leave a message. Then follow up immediately after you hang up with an e-mail. Now you’ve shown your prospect that your e-mail to them was part of a direct pitch to them. This is not some spam advertising but you are a real person looking to offer quality service to them.

#4: Give them something of value.

Now that you’ve got their attention with your headline and you’ve demonstrated immediately that you have something important to tell them, give them something of value. Create a proposal detailing what you would do for them, demonstrating that you have already done your research on them specifically and have unique solutions for them.

#5: Don’t forget to make “the ask.”

In an e-mail campaign it’s easy to get caught up in building great content into the body of the message that you forget to make “the ask.” Remember, you want them to finish reading your e-mail and when they reach the bottom of it, to take an action. Make your goal clear – sign up for our newsletter or view our properties – and make it personal.

10 Actionable Tips for CRE Agents New to Prospecting

For many in CRE, prospecting is among the least appealing routine task. Still, this activity is our bread and butter. It keeps the pipeline full and generates countless connections and referrals.

Prospecting is critical, but it needn’t consume your days. Like any aspect of your work it can be streamlined through thoughtful planning and utilizing all of the available tools.

If you’re just getting started with prospecting, here are some quick tips to keep in mind. They’ll help you make the most of the time you devote to cultivating potential clients.

#1. You’re going to make mistakes

Count on it. The first few calls you make are likely to be a little awkward, and you may not feel that you’ve accomplished much. Au contraire! Mistakes are opportunities for improvement. Keep notes on your calls and identify missteps to be avoided in the future. Think of alternative approaches to try next time.

#2. Some prospects are not a good fit

It may happen that, on contacting a prospect, you realize that your property is not a good fit for them. This will happen, but the call is not a complete bust. If you have been energetic, engaging, and confident you have likely made a favorable impression, and may come to mind in the future. Meanwhile, try to leave the prospect with some useful information.

#3. Consult, don’t sell

Especially on the initial call, you should not come across as a salesperson. You’re not going to be pitching a property. Your role should be that of a real estate expert who is interested in finding out what challenges and pain points the prospect is facing, and how you might be able to help.

#4. Integrate marketing intel

Use data gathered through marketing channels to tailor your outreach. Use the prospect’s preferred method of contact, address any challenges with which the company may be struggling.

#5. Ask questions and listen

Asking good questions will encourage the prospect to share their concerns and priorities. Listen to them, and take notes on every call.

#6. Do your homework

Prior to the call, find out about the prospect and their organization. Scan the company’s website: What big projects are they involved in? Are they hiring? Learn some personal details about the person you’re calling: Where did they go to college? How long have they been in their current position?  All of this information can spark conversation effectively.

#7. Know your listings

As you listen to the prospects needs, you want to be very familiar with your listings, so that you can begin to make connections that might work for everyone. Perhaps you might be able to recommend other services or vendors that can help.

#.8 Keep organized

Use a good CRM to manage contacts and ensure that you never miss scheduled calls or meetings. Make detailed notes with each call. Document every meeting and make sure that all the related paperwork is stored together or easily traceable.

#9. Listen to your coach

As a new agent, you will likely be reporting to a mentor or colleague. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn from the experience of others. Apply advice that seems sound. You may be surprised at what a big difference some minor adjustments can make.

#10. Follow up

It’s hard to overstate the importance of this step. Failing to follow up and follow through on commitments you make to prospects can be tremendously costly. Keep ALL appointments. Respond promptly. Supply any promised information.  This is part of earning trust.

Research has repeatedly shown that it’s necessary to make contact multiple times before a prospect becomes a client. Sales experts hold that you must reach the lead at least 7 times on average before a sale. This varies widely depending on the situation and the format and quality of the contact, but there is no doubt that your first call should never be your last.

5 Pieces of Lead Intelligence You Can Gather Before Getting on the Phone

Identifying leads is a matter of determining the potential amount of interest that person has in a deal. Your techniques for this can include information on their current portfolio, financial history, and the roles they play in their current position.

Once a lead has been identified, and you’re ready to make that first call, it’s wise to spend just a few more minutes in preparation. Knowing some details about the person with whom you’re about to speak can have a big impact on the success of your call. Here are a few items to look into before you pick up the phone.

Years in Position

The amount of time the lead has spent in their current position can have a bearing on how you approach the conversation. The individual’s title gives you some insight into what their job entails, but how long they’ve held the position tells you a lot about them too.

Someone who has held their position for many years has likely seen some success and has considerable influence within the organization. Often, this person will be less interested in changing the status quo than someone who is relatively new.  By the same token, someone who has not held a leadership position for long may be more open to looking at alternatives, but likely has a little less influence and professional capital within the organization.

All of this information will likely show up on a LinkedIn profile, or may be included on the company’s website.

Hometown

This point is easy to determine, and can provide a great opening for making a personal connection. Find out a little about where they’re from, and bring up any connections you may have with the place. Have worked there in the past, or nearby? Is the location in the news recently for some reason? Is the lead a fan of their local sports team? All of these are conversation starters, and the lead will be impressed that you took time to learn about their hometown.

College

The same idea applies to finding out what college your lead attended. You might be able to comment on the school’s excellent programs or mention a friend or colleague who also attended that institution. Finding this information is generally as simple as a Google search.

Position in Local Market

Take a little time to look at the company’s website to see any recent deals they’ve completed. A good way to see how they stack up against their competition is to do a Google search of “company A” vs. “company B.” This might yield an article that compares the two, and it will give you some insight into the company’s strengths and weaknesses.

Depending on the organization, industry reports may include rankings that show how a specific company rates compared with local competition. On their website, see what positions are open in the company. A lot of openings can tell you that the company is undergoing some transitions and growth.

Interests and Passions

People who are very involved and passionate about their business are great prospects because they’re excited about improving their organization. They tend to be more curious about innovations and new ideas, and more open to hearing them.

The level of interest that a person has toward their work and organization can be gauged by checking a few sites. They may blog regularly about their business. Reading a few entries will familiarize you with their style and priorities. These may be found on the company’s site or the individual’s LinkedIn page.

Your lead could also be active in professional organizations and give talks at events and conferences. See if you can find out about any projects they’re working on and consider ways that you can be of help –whether it’s sharing a relevant article or recommending a related vendor.

5 Ways to Effectively Speed Up Your CRE Sales Cycle

CRE sales involve monitoring listings, prospects, and transactions at a variety of stages. It’s always desirable to speed up the process wherever possible, and how we find and deal with prospects is one area where much can be done.

Identifying potential customers could be a full-time job. The tools we use for this task have become much more efficient, and careful utilization will cut the time spent on this task considerably. Everything from developing and maintaining prospect lists to interacting with contacts and accomplishing routine tasks can be expedited with digital tools and platforms.

Automate the routine

Every firm has repetitive tasks that are critical to operations but are draining time that could be better spent on less routine work. Wherever possible, it’s good practice to automate these tasks, which might include data entry, contact maintenance, or research.

A good CRM platform can manage many of these tasks, distributing data across a variety of applications and eliminating the need for redundant data entry.

Digital document signing is also a major time-saver. Tools can be used to quickly produce routine invoices and forms. Making it possible for clients to sign contracts on any device streamlines the sales cycle tremendously, eliminating the back-and-forth that often occurs when paper copies are used.

Set goals for each conversation

Create a clear goal for every call and interaction. That way you and the prospect are working together and know where you’re going. For example, the goal for a call might be to identify the client’s priorities for office space. Having this goal keeps things focused and results in a clear accomplishment at the end of the call. The prospect feels heard, and both parties have benefitted from the call.

Get beneath the surface to understand the client

On any sales call, there are naturally obstacles that the client will suggest. Investigate what’s behind prospects’ objections. Rather than minimizing the barriers to the sale, dig into them and help solve the problem. If you can help the prospect to get around these barriers, you become more of a partner and less of a salesperson.

An effective way to prepare for this is to thoroughly research your prospects so that you have some insight into their challenges and goals. In CRE, knowing a few details about the prospect’s status with regards to mortgage can help determine when the time is right to make contact, and knowing who is responsible for specific decisions in an organization also saves time. Prospect Now provides this sort of detail for millions of property owners.

Respect the time of the Prospect

Be clear and upfront about anticipated costs. No one likes to be hit with surprises after investing considerable time into a process. Show respect for the prospect’s time by letting them know critical information as early as possible. It will save you time as well.

Be someone you’d like to do business with

Share your expertise, but don’t push. Make yourself valuable to the prospect, whether there’s an immediate sale anticipated or not. This is a long-term strategy that will pay off, and it’s a good way to do business.

The Effective Use of Social Media in CRE Business

Sometimes you have to spend time to save time. This holds true for many aspects of the commercial real estate business, and brand building is certainly no exception. It is well worth your while to invest some time in making others familiar with whom you are and what you do. One very cost-effective way to do this is through use of social media.

Used strategically, social media can have a big impact with a small investment of time. It’s the nature of the beast for information to be quickly shared among an ever-widening audience, often through the likes and shares of others. Once information has been posted in the right forum to appeal to a wide audience, dissemination goes on autopilot.

Social media tools are widely used in CRE, with Facebook reigning as the current top dog. Results of a national survey published in 2014 showed that it is the most-used social media tool in CRE. As you might expect, other important platforms are LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter. You don’t have to make use of all of these, but it is true that these tools are more powerful when used in combination. The sum is often greater than the parts here.

Whatever platforms you decide to utilize, there are ways to optimize your results. To make the most of social media efforts, there are several easy tips to keep in mind.

Facebook

Something that a lot of people don’t know is that there are six different page classifications from which to choose on Facebook:

  • Local Business or Place
  • Company, Organization, or Institution
  • Brand or Product
  • Artist, Band, or Public Figure
  • Entertainment
  • Cause or Community

Ensuring that you choose the one that’s appropriate for your purposes can get you connected with the people you’re looking to reach. There are also metrics built into Facebook that can help you track basic activity:

  • Overview- a one-week summary of page activity
  • Likes –shows the growth of site fans
  • Reach –the daily number of people reached by the page
  • Visits –tells where the visitors are coming from

LinkedIn

One of the most useful elements of this site is access to Groups. Joining these can put you into contact with a large number of like-minded people. They are likely to be sharing information that’s useful to you and to in turn be interested in information that you may share.

Participating in group discussions often opens the door for new connections and can generate some name recognition among potential partners and clients.

YouTube

This site can be seen as the visual equivalent of Facebook, and is extremely popular in CRE. In fact YouTube and Facebook are quite complementary, with information constantly floating back and forth between the two.  An example of this is the following statistic: every minute on Facebook, 323 days worth of YouTube videos are viewed.

Remarkable! –And once you’ve set up your account, uploading a video takes very little time. The reach of your information, and its potential to spread well beyond your widest network is tremendous.

Twitter

Twitter has over a billion registered users, and news travels faster here than on any other social media platform. It’s the most mobile-friendly of the social media, which makes it a great vehicle for reaching millennial audiences. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when using Twitter for business.

  • Consider your username carefully. Seek a balance between distinctive and professional.
  • Identify a purpose for your Twitter account, and keep your messages focused. This is the only way to stand out in the vast sea of tweets.
  • Use keywords when you set up your account, to increase your reach. Try Google’s Keyword Planner to get started.

Once your social media presence is established, there is a range of services available that will help you to manage your accounts and examine the useful data they can generate. This is where the real payoff can develop, as you aggregate these data with other sources to create targeted and efficient social media strategies.

4 Tips for Marketing Your CRE Property to Investors

With technology developing at a furious rate, our options for marketing in CRE are expanding daily.  Investors are becoming more and more sophisticated, with access to tools of their own for verifying information and comparing properties.

Reaching this niche of buyers requires a marketing strategy that provides a clear picture of a property’s potential returns, the reliability of the developer, and the expertise of the broker. Here are a few best practices that will deliver your message to potential investors effectively.

#1: Target your efforts

Effective marketing starts with knowing your audience. To ensure that your message gets to someone who cares, you need information on the investors themselves. It’s good practice to create a prospect list that includes information on recent transactions and currently owned properties. Prospect Now also includes details on mortgage terms and other information on commercial properties, so you can match investors with the deals that will most appeal to them.

This approach helps you to utilize the powerful reach of big data to provide more insight in your marketing package, delivering the sort of detailed and comprehensive information that investors expect and respond to.

#2: Utilize the tools your competition isn’t

Creating a compelling marketing campaign is key, and making use of the many digital tools available to make that happen is smart. Many CRM platforms include a marketing component that allows you to quickly create high-impact, detailed marketing materials using an extensive range of data.

It’s hard to overstate the effectiveness of visuals in marketing. A striking online presentation catches the attention of busy investors and packs a punch. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a 3D virtual tour might be worth a million.

Consider using drones to capture compelling aerial views that show the scope of a property, as well as the surrounding area, better than any written description could do.  Services like SparkAerial produce amazing footage for their clients.  3D technology is also an effective tool. Models can be created for existing properties as well as proposed development and renovations.

#3: Connect with influencers

A powerful marketing approach involves understanding the influencers of your target audience. Consider what sources and experts investors go to for information. What social media connections can you make to put yourself on the radar?  Providing useful information to their influencers can in turn make the investors themselves look to you as an expert. Similarly, producing an informative blog that links to influencers can be an effective strategy. Take advantage of social media to make connections, from Twitter to LinkedIn.

#4: Accommodate in your process

Commercial investment from international sources is a big part of the overall picture. Foreign investment in U.S. properties is booming, and one thing that helps that process along is platforms for managing transactions online.

When marketing to investors, be sure to highlight the services that you can provide with regard to access to pertinent documents, records, and contacts. If you show your process to be conducive to international deals, you will have removed one concern for many investors.