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NEW JERSEY EDITION

6 METHODS FOR BUILDING BETTER EMAIL LISTS IS FINDING A NICHE MARKET RIGHT FOR YOU? KEEPING IN TOUCH— HOW TO STAY IN YOUR CLIENTS' LIVES FOR THE LONG HAUL

COVER STORY

DEBORAH GRASKE


NEW JERSEY EDITION

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DEBORAH GRASKE

CONTENTS 4) 6 METHODS FOR BUILDING BETTER EMAIL LISTS 13) ATTITUDE!

17) KEEPING IN TOUCH— HOW TO STAY IN YOUR CLIENTS' LIVES FOR THE LONG HAUL 22) IS FINDING A NICHE MARKET RIGHT FOR YOU?

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6 Methods for Building Better Email Lists By Kendra Lee

Email lists can be a blessing or a curse. When they’re composed of real email addresses of people in your target micro-segment, and those people recognize you or your company by name, an email list is an invaluable lead generation resource. When the list is filled with contacts who don’t know of you or your company, i.e. a cold list, lead generation can be though – really tough. Likewise, if your list is populated with fake, inactive, or irrelevant accounts you’re at risk of being banned by your email software provider. Not surprisingly, I hear from clients all the time asking how to build an email list that will get results for their campaigns. Should they purchase? Should they attempt to build their own? Remember that with email list building your goal is to build a list of people within your micro-segment, so quality is more important than quantity. The more similar the contacts, the easier it is to tailor your nurturing and lead generation content to their specific needs. Here are six methods that will help you build a quality email list. 4

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Nurturing and lead generation activities: When you engage in social media, nurturing activities, SEO, and Adwords, those mediums provide forums for you to drive people to your website, start a conversation via a social channel, attend an event you’re hosting, and add people to your list. People who respond really do want to be part of your list.

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Membership organizations: Whether it’s through industry associations, mastermind groups, or networking events, these types of organizations provide an excellent means for collecting contact information. Generally, people will update or provide their own information because they want other members to have easy access to them so you know the data is current.

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Shared lists: By finding a peer who targets a similar microsegment with a non-competitive offering, you may be able to forge a partnership in which you promote to each other’s lists. This happens frequently within the high tech space, with consultants, and with professional services organization where they understand the value of collaboration.

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Research the web and build your own: Increasingly, we’re seeing companies comb LinkedIn, Zoominfo. com, InsideView.com, DiscoverOrg.com and other websites for contact information, and then follow-up with companies to confirm the validity of that information. This approach is time consuming, but it can be very effective. A client who we coached through this process recently got a 41% open rate on their email nurturing campaign. I really like DiscoverOrg for the detailed information they have if you’re selling in the IT or telecom industry.

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Purchase lists: There are numerous companies that sell email lists, but you need to be careful which vendor you buy from

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and how much you spend. Prices typically range from hundreds to several thousand dollars depending on list specificity and size. One warning: Expect higher bounce rates with these lists and negotiate for that issue when you purchase. To avoid high bounce rates, look for a list company that validates the information. In this way I’ve been very pleased with ExchangeLeads for new lists and validation of current lists. If you don’t have any list, this may be the way to get started.

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Trade information for information: Sites like ExchangeLeads and Data.com community give you credit for providing contact information for companies you’ve worked with in the past. As you earn credit, you can use it to acquire lists for free. These services generally have a fee option as well, and the data integrity is dependent upon users keeping it current. Again, look for companies that validate data to reduce bounce rates and wasted time. I really like ExchangeLeads for trading information as well as purchasing it. Ultimately, my advice would be to focus as much on the organic list building methods (#s 1-4) as possible, and supplement with the purchased methods (#s 5 and 6) when necessary. If you start with a purchased list, plan to nurture it and build your recognition. Don’t toss it away if you don’t get immediate results. At the end of the day, you want to strive for list quality over list quantity. Pushing your messaging out to unwitting, uninterested, or unsuspecting prospects won’t do anything to help you close more deals.

Contact details for Kendra Lee: Phone: 303-741-6636 (Old fashioned, but very effective.) Email: Info@klagroup.com (Yes, I get every one of these personally.) Twitter: @KendraLeeKLA (And I do follow all direct messages on Twitter!) KLA Group is a sales consulting and training firm focused on helping clients get more customers in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment through lead generation, prospecting, hiring and onboarding strategies. Copyright©, 2016 Kendra Lee. All rights reserved. 6

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DEBORAH GRASKE 7


From aerial drone photography and the wise inclusion of floorplans, to 360 interactive tours and personalized websites, Deborah Graske’s techniques are tailor-made for

DEBORAH GRASKE For fourteen years, Deborah Graske has applied a discerning eye and capable hand to each property and client she champions. Though she earned her real estate license in 1982, Deborah worked in the corporate world for over twenty years managing purchasing departments, all the while maintaining a tightknit network of close real estate referrals. When her daughter graduated from college, Deborah decided to pursue real estate full-time, turning her keen business sensibility and aptitude for service into a thriving career. After closing about $11 million in business during 2016 alone, 8Copyright Top Agent Magazine

each of her clients.

it’s clear that Deborah’s gifts have been put to exceptional use. Based in northern New Jersey, Deborah serves Bergen, Passaic, and Essex counties, even finding time to cross the nearby border into New York state, where she’s also licensed. Ever the bright businesswoman, Deborah knows well the virtues of being detail-oriented, weighing the unique merits and marketing possibilities of each property she takes on. “I’m dedicated full-time,” Deborah says. “I make sure that every dollar spent is applied wisely, and I take great care Top Agent Magazine


when contemplating each property on an individual level.” For Deborah, there are no blanket efforts. While she makes use of professional photography for all her listings, she also incorporates specific marketing plans for each property, ensuring that each listing is represented to its fullest. From aerial drone photography and the wise inclusion of floorplans, to 360 interactive tours and personalized websites, Deborah’s techniques are tailor-made for each of her clients. Deborah also draws inspiration from the people she works with, familiarizing herTop Agent Magazine

self with what initially drew her clients to the home they’re now seeking to sell. “First and foremost in this job, you have to listen,” Deborah says, and it’s that extra level of insight that keeps Deborah’s clients coming back. With an impressive 90% rate of referral, Deborah’s skill readily extends to client relations, where she nurtures relationships on a personal level rather than a transactional one. “I’ve met so many interesting people while working in this business,” she reflects. “It’s always a tremendous amount of fun meeting clients with widely varied jobs, a range of personalities, learning the Copyright Top Agent Magazine9


personal needs of couples, families, and singles. You can even observe a subtle shift in body language when a client connects with a home. After a long time in this business, you can pick up on that, and it’s such an enjoyable part of the job.” A master cultivator of her network, Deborah keeps in regular contact with clients past and potential, sending out personal mailers and holiday cards, and even a monthly four-page brochure that includes recipes and seasonal homecare tips—a personal touch that goes a long way. Deborah’s warm relations extend to her local Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 10

community as well, as she counts herself a member of the Ridgewood Guild, and as an animal lover, Deborah participates in local rescue efforts and is a monthly contributor to the ASCPA. In her coveted free hours, she devotes her time to family and friends, and is a self-described genealogy buff, tracing her family tree all the way to Ireland, England, and across Europe, also meeting long-lost relatives and descendants of Revolutionary War patriots with whom she shares familial ties. With an eye toward the future, Deborah has plans to build a support team as her Top Agent Magazine


“Educations is key, and in this business you have to work to continually improve yourself and skills.” business continues to flourish. Though she has a variety of awards, certifications, and memberships under her belt—among them the NJAR Circle of Excellence Award, NJAR Distinguished Sales Award, and memberships in the National Association of Realtors and the New Jersey Association of Realtors—Deborah remains eager Top Agent Magazine

to advance her knowledge. “Educations is key,” she says, “and in this business you have to work to continually improve yourself and skills.” Though her real estate acumen has earned her extraordinary success thus far, for Deborah Graske there are sure to be many more triumphs still to come. Copyright Top Agent Magazine 11


To learn more about Deborah Graske email dgraske@optonline.net or call (201) 679-4075 Copyright Top Agent Magazine 12

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Attitude! By Verl Workman

My father was a former Marine and I learned as a small child that there is no such thing as an ex- Marine! He used to wake us up early in the morning by yelling “Reveille� and all seven of us children would march up the stairs to have a family breakfast together. As a high Top Agent Magazine

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school history teacher, Dad was big on education and drove home the importance of being good in school and paying attention. One year he had a group of students from his AP (advanced placement) classes compete in a nationwide model United Nations project where the students would deal with world issues. His class from Skyline High School in Utah won the national award in Washington DC where they competed and received that great honor. Dad was very proud of his students and their accomplishment. He talked about that award for years. I suggested to my dad one time that he was lucky because he had all the smart kids from his AP classes and could pick the smartest students in the school to compete. He looked me in the eye and raised his left eyebrow and said this “Son, I work with some of the smartest kids, but I choose to work with the kids who have the best attitudes.” He went on to say that “it doesn’t matter how smart you are if you don’t have a good attitude”. That conversation made a deep impression on me and has been one of my favorite memories of my father. In this challenging real estate market many agents find themselves faced with some difficult choices—but the most important choice we can make today is to keep a positive attitude and take action when others are simply whining and looking for excuses for failure. There are enormous opportunities today in every market. The business out there may not be your favorite type of business and it may not be the most fun, but if you have the right attitude, you can not only make money, you can thrive today. Here are a few simple things you can do each day to keep moving in the right direction: • GET up • Get showered and dress for success 14

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• Get into a productive work environment • Prospect 2-3 hours every day • Work your most profitable business (your database) • Look for real buyers and generate buyer leads from every source possible (buyers are paychecks) • Surround yourself with positive people that are goal focused and happy Hire a coach that can give you direction and guidance and hold you accountable to do the right things in your business We are blessed to live in this country where we can work for ourselves and enjoy all of the freedoms that make this such a wonderful place to live. We have our families, health, and skills that allow us to help people and we get paid very well for the service we provide. And we have technology and resources that allow us to do our jobs better. It is now up to each one of us to get going, stay positive and keep our attitudes in check. The first time I visited my Dad’s classroom I saw the sign above his desk that simply said this “Attitude is more important than Aptitude.” To this day, I believe that simple quote has made a great impact on my life and career. I love what I do! Verl Workman is a leading national speaker, coach and consultant. Despite his busy speaking schedule, and role as co-founder of Pinnacle Quest Consulting Group, he still sells real estate so that he can test and stay abreast of the latest tools and techniques that maximize results. He uses that knowledge to assist individuals and companies in building effective business strategies, implementing powerful technology solutions, and establishing strategic competitive advantages through coaching, seminars and private consultations. To contact Verl visit www.verlworkman.com. ©Verl Workman. All rights reserved. Top Agent Magazine

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HOW TO STAY IN YOUR CLIENTS’ LIVES FOR THE LONG HAUL

One sign of a great real estate agent is there long list of loyal client following. Part of achieving a great referral base is being a great realtor during the transaction. But, that’s only half of the work. To truly be your client’s realtor for life and keep them coming back to you as well as referring others to you, you have to stay in their lives past the transaction. Keeping in touch with your past clients can be one of the most important parts of your business, and one that many realtors tend to push to the wayside. Do you stay in your client’s lives, or do you disappear? People refer people that they feel they know well and that they trust, people they consider friends. However, earning and keeping your client’s trust involves maintaining a delicate balance with how much you contact them. Experts recommend reaching out to your clients at least quarterly. But, it’s not just about how often you stay in touch. You also need to be mindful about how you are reaching out to them. Here are some tips on how to keep in touch with your clients for the long haul: Top Agent Magazine

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INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL CONTACT One of the best ways to keep in touch with your clients is to simply give them a call every once in a while. Follow up and see how your clients are doing. Offer them assistance if they need it. Personalized contact helps to ensure that you remain as important to your clients long after the sale as you were during the transaction. Giving your clients a call on special occasions such as birthdays or holidays also makes for a great personal touch. Of course, nothing beats face-to-face contact. Stopping by to say hello can be a great way to keep in contact. An even better way to catch up and maintain that friendship is to set up a lunch or coffee date with past clients. Giving individual clients your undivided attention goes a long way towards maintaining that bond you formed during the transaction and earning your client’s loyalty and trust. Interactions like this make a lasting impression on your clients. Of course, many busy REALTORS® may not have time to follow up with every client oneon-one. A great way to still give personal attention to your clients without meeting each and every one for lunch is to throw a client appreciation party. This allows you to get in some face-to-face time with each client and make sure they all get your undivided attention and quality time to catch up with you, even if it’s only for a short time. Now, if you have a lot of past clients, this can be difficult to manage during one party. One way to get around the numbers problem is to organize smaller events based on client’s inter-

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ests. Instead of throwing one giant party, host a pool party for the families with kids or a wine and cheese get together for single clients. Hosting special events like these ones goes a long way towards keeping your contact with past clients more personalized and setting you apart from those businesses that simply send them a calendar once a year.

PROVIDE CLIENTS WITH USEFUL NEWS PROVIDE CLIENTS WITH USEFUL NEWS One way that many REALTORSÂŽ keep in touch with their clients is by sending them newsletters. This form of contact can be a double-edged sword. You want to make sure you provide them with useful information that reminds them of your value as a real estate professional. Otherwise your communication will amount to nothing more than spam, and clients will think of you less as a trusted friend and more as a nuisance salesperson. Clients react much more positively to communication containing information that is pertinent to their lives. Update your clients on what is going on in their local community and housing market. Demonstrate your knowledge about the community and the things that are important to your clients. Include information about local cultural events, community news, housing statistics, information on the mortgage market, home maintenance advice, home design tips, and anything else that your clients will find personally useful. Your clients will always be interested in value.

SEND CLIENTS MEMORABLE AND PERSONAL CARDS Sending your clients cards related to important events in their lives and letting them know that you remember those events and care will go a long way towards building and maintaining a close personal relationship with them. You want to make sure your cards stand out, though. Sending popular holiday cards can be a mistake, as they will most likely get lost amongst all of your clients other holiday cards and will be quickly forgotten. Instead send something more personal such as: HOME ANNIVERSARY CARDS: Send cards to each client on the anniversary of the closing of their home.

CONGRATULATORY CARDS: Remember important events such as wedding anniversaries, graduations, new babies, etc.

SPECIAL BIRTHDAY CARDS: Instead of just sending your typical birthday card, add something special to yours that will stand out. Include a $1 scratch off ticket or a $5 gift certificate to Starbucks. Make sure to include a handwritten personal note. Top Agent Magazine

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GIVE CLIENTS AN UNUSUAL GIFT Make sure the gifts you send your past clients stand out. Send your past clients an odd gift at the beginning of the year or on a holiday. Think outside the box and send things like funny magnets, customized mugs, a personalized piece of wall décor, and other fun and unusual items. A great way to make your gift stand out even more is to include a funny note with it that will catch their attention as well as make them think of you. For example, one cute idea is to send clients a bag of popcorn with the note, “Real estate is popping, give me a call.” You could send a bag of goldfish with a note attached that says, “I’m fishing for your referrals.” Get creative and have a little fun with it, your clients will notice and remember you for it.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL NETWORKS

Social networking sites make staying in contact with past clients in a more informal and friendly basis much easier. Connect with your past clients on Facebook. This will help you stay up to date on the important things happening in your pact clients’ lives. In return, it provides you a great platform for keeping those past clients up to date with what is going on in your business as well as keep in contact in a more informal manner. Use Facebook to remind past clients to check their basement after a heavy rain or that they can contact you for help during tax time. 20

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You can even organize your contacts on Facebook into customized lists such as “past clients,” “industry contacts,” etc. This will help you better manage your Facebook contacts. This will also allow you to view specific news feeds based on these lists and send messages to a particular list of contacts. Don’t forget about the many other social networking sites such as Twitter or LinkedIn either. Utilize this technology to drive personal contact with your clients.

STAY ORGANIZED

No matter how you choose to keep in contact with past clients, make sure to be consistent. Consistency will help you stay organized and diligent about reaching out to your past clients regularly. A tool used by many real estate professionals to stay organized is a customer relationship management solution. Whether you use one that is online or a computer software program, this will help you stay organized when managing your contacts and allow you to set notifications to alert you when you need to contact certain clients, send out gifts, plan a client appreciation event, and many other things throughout the year. Staying organized and consistent in your contact with past clients will help you continue to build and manage your referral base, as well as open the door to repeat and referral business. Top Agent Magazine

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Is Finding A Niche Market Right for You?

A lot of Realtors® take the ‘jack of all trades’ approach to their businesses, and some are extremely successful with doing it all and doing it well. But taking that approach can also make it hard to stand out if there are a lot of agents in your area taking the same approach. If you’re looking for a way to stand out from the rest, finding a niche market might be the way to go. Although it might sound limiting at first, with the right branding and marketing, your specialty and expertise may help you lock up a market after you become well known for being the ‘go to’ Realtor® in a certain demographic. Having a niche helps you target your marketing, making it more effective, until eventually people are seeking you out as you build your reputation as the foremost expert in your particular niche. 22

Despite the benefits of taking on a specialty, it’s still something that only a small percentage of Realtors® do, which means you have a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor in your area by being ahead of what is sure to be a looming real estate trend. You want to claim your stake on the niche that best fits not only your passions, but something that fills a void in your market. If this all sounds good to you, the next step is finding your niche! Here are a few things you need to consider:

There are two approaches to having a specialty, one that is truly your all-consuming passion or a sort of revolving niche, one that changes with the market Top Agent Magazine


In addition to creating a thriving business, finding a niche may even unlock a hidden passion. Does your area have a large historic home inventory? Are you passionate about helping first time home buyers realize their dreams? Having a personal connection to what you specialize in is always a great way to start out. If you’re passionate about something, you’re almost guaranteed to have the work ethic it takes to have success in a niche market. Once you hone in on a niche, make sure the market data backs up your focus. Another approach is changing with the market. If you’re truly an expert in a few areas of the business, it might be good to have sort of a revolving niche. In a down market you might specialize in short sales and foreclosures. When things pick up, you may take your innovative approaches and start applying them to luxury homes. Whether you take the consistent niche approach or the flexible one, it’s really all about figuring out what best suits you and your market.

Fill a void in your market Maybe you don’t have an instant passion for one particular niche. In that case, there are several areas you can consider. A lot of it will start with really researching and analyzing your market and having a good eye for what future trends will be. Is there a certain demographic that is surging in your area? Cater your business to serve them. Maybe you are fluent in Spanish and your area is seeing a rise in a Latino population, who are emigrating from other countries. Or perhaps, you live in an area that has a larger retirement population. There Top Agent Magazine

are numerous demographics that truly need expert real estate advice. Be the one to fill it. You can also focus on a particular neighborhood or gated community. Helping people navigate the ins and outs of a particular HOA can be a lifesaver.

Are you already serving a niche? Of course, sometimes you may already have a niche and are unaware of it. Maybe you are already dealing with a lot of first-time homebuyers. Look over your sales records and see what might already be there, then make it official. Figure out why you’re drawn to that area and then nail down the reasons you’ve excelled with that niche and use it to create a marketing plan and branding.

Find ways to really sell your expertise Once you figure out your niche, get the training, designations, and certifications that will enhance your expertise. Another way to let it be known that you are the ‘go to’ Realtor® in your particular niche is to become a resource online. Create a website with informative blogs and marketing information. Make a mark on social media where you can link back to your site, so potential clients can actually interact with you. There is a lot to consider when you’re thinking of going the niche market way with your business, but if you consider everything carefully and focus in on something you can be passionate about, the rewards could be a major win for you and for your clients. 23


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