Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Power Strategies to Turn Prospects into Profits

There are thousands of Agent CEOs across the country, but one of the most accomplished has to be Sherry Daminski. I've written about her here before, and consider her not only a great role model for real estate agents nationwide, but also a good friend.

Sherry recently participated in one of the most widely listened-to Mastermind Calls produced by HouseValues, and it's more than worth the time to read through a brief summary of her call below. She just pops with great marketing ideas!

Featured Speaker: Sherry Daminski, Washington D.C.
Moderator: Raymond Gravelle, Distance Learning Specialist

Raymond: Sherry, you have built a pipeline of 15,000 prospects in about three years. How much business is your pipeline producing?
Sherry: I started in January 2003. At the end of the year I had 2,500 prospects in Market Leader, and had closed 37 transactions. In 2005 I had over 15,000 prospects, and closed 112 transactions, with over $575,000 in commissions.

Raymond: Do you have a team?
Sherry: My team includes my husband, who handles our referral business. I do listings and marketing and we have two buyer agents as well.

Raymond: What is your philosophy of prospecting?
Sherry: Agents can spend their day prospecting or following up. I enjoy prospecting so that’s what I choose to do. By prospecting, I create a large pipeline that allows me to let them get in contact with me when they’re ready. I used to make personal contact by hand delivering CMAs, but I stopped when my pipeline grew to over 10,000 prospects. I can now work four days a week.

Raymond: How do you get so many prospects?
Sherry: My postcard mailings get the best response. I mail 10,000 each month and get a nine percent response rate. They are very simple: “What is your home worth? Find out free at http://www.staffordvahome.com/" I’ll post a sample on the MasterMind Forum. I mail “Just Listed” and “Just Sold” postcards to seven neighborhoods consistently. I start by sending one every two weeks for a couple of months, then monthly. I have Web Capture on my sites so each request is directed to my Market Leader. I have 250 Web sites, including neighborhood sites, one for waterfront homes, and several for homeowner associations. Go to http://www.neighbors101.com/ for ideas.

Raymond: How do you manage so many prospects?
Sherry: For CMA requests I just put in a price range on the CMA email and comment that I will send comparable information shortly. Then I email the comparables with photos from eMLS. I also take a screenshot of the CMA and copy onto two postcards which I send on the third and seventh day after emailing the CMA. The postcards ask if they received the CMA. I mail a 15-page spiral-bound pre-listing packet within two weeks. I also email updated CMAs every six months. Buyers get listings automatically from eMLS. I assign everyone to an email campaign. I still try to keep up with the follow-up phone call activities as well.

Raymond: Do you have any other marketing tips?
Sherry: I use yard signs and riders to drive people to my Web sites. My Web site addresses are on all of my marketing materials. I just started putting Hershey Miniatures chocolate candy in bowls in some shops, wrapped with property information and “Looking for your new home? Find it online free at http://www.staffordvahome.com/" I had 30 Web Capture requests in one day, and I know they’re from the candy.

Raymond: Are you using HomePages to “turn prospects into profits”?
Sherry: I use HomePages in my listing presentation and sellers love it. I use the HomePages yard signs with the listing ID number, and I also put the HomePages stickers on my marketing brochures.

Raymond: Thank you for sharing with us today.

Question & Answer

Question: How do you keep the store employees from eating the candy?
Sherry: I provide a bag of candy for them and tell them I’ll bring another each time I refill the bowl.

Question: How do you make the candy wrappers?
Sherry: http://www.wrapcandy.com/ supplies software to create the wrappers. I’ll post a picture of the candy bowl with candy on the MasterMind Forum.

Question: What did you do when you knocked on doors?
Sherry: I still knock on doors when I have time. I deliver a marketing update, what’s happened in their neighborhood in the last six months.

Question: How much do you spend on marketing?
Sherry: I spend 20 percent of my income.

Question: What percentage of your deals do you attribute to HouseValues?
Sherry: I don’t have a percentage. Even the closings I get from past clients and referral business I give HouseValues at least part of the credit because Market Leader kept in touch with them.