Q. I’ve Seen All Kinds Of “Marketing Strategies and Tools” Out There For Agents. Why Is This Different?
A. It’s natural to ask questions or be cautious about something that’s new or not used by “everyone.” So here are 10 Reasons Why Service For Life!® is Unique and Different from anything you’ve seen for real estate professionals…
1. Designed from the ground-up to get Delivered, Opened, and Read. If whatever you send doesn’t at least get opened and read, it doesn’t stand a chance of causing response or resulting in a return on your hard-earned marketing dollars. Most traditional newsletters and marketing materials look slick and professional, but are nothing more than Junk Mail that goes into the trash. Service For Life!® is designed to “look” (and read) very personal, almost like a card sent by a friend, because personal mail gets opened and gets attention, while “junk mail” is trashed with hardly a glance.
2. Uses “High-Readership” strategies and “Hard” Content. This is no “wishy-washy” newsletter with boring, bland articles. Service For Life! ® articles contain important news, entertainment and “how-to” information people really want to know to improve their lives. Plus, our left margin content provides great trivia, humor and entertaining tidbits people love to read and share.
3. Written by MARKETERS, Not “Journalists.” Journalists may be able to write, but Marketers are masters at capturing attention, creating interest, stimulating desire, and motivating action. Which do you want working for you?
4. Builds Relationship and Trust. Service For Life!® is specifically designed to build a family-like relationship with clients and prospects and to motivate them to contact you first for business and referrals. We intentionally use content, approach, voice, and specific “bonding” strategies to endear readers to you.
5. It’s NOT all about real estate. Why? Because newsletters or mailers written only about real estate information never get broad readership, and you never build the kind of relationship that motivates on-going referrals, repeats and word of mouth. Service For Life!® is about building deep and differentiating relationships, and positioning you to be there first (before other agents) when it’s time to buy or sell.
6. Positions YOU as a Trusted Advisor, Not “Salesperson.” Service For Life!® positions you as a trusted advisor…a friend and true expert bringing welcomed value to prospects and clients each and every month.
7. It gets SHARED. Because of the natural “how to” content, tips, news and trivia, it multiplies itself out in the marketplace to help leverage your ability to get referrals, repeats and new clients.
8. It Motivates RESPONSE. Each issue helps create predictable client flow, referrals, word of mouth and repeat business for you by using unique “referral programming,” and over a dozen response offers, teasers, captions and programming when used with our inserts. Every month you’ll be getting the very best of my 36+ years of marketing and direct-response experience, ready to go to work for you.
9. It’s DONE FOR YOU. It’s not a marketing course or tool that will sit on your shelf gathering dust waiting for you to “study” it. There’s nothing to research. Nothing to write. Nothing to interfere with your highest priority each day – selling real estate. We even have a FREE Virtual Assistant who can manage the entire process FOR you each month, included with your membership.
10. More than 10 Ways to Use. Service For Life helps you leverage relationships into referrals and clients with more than 10 ways to use – including strategies that cost little or no additional expenditure on your part. See our “10-Ways to Use” blog post.
Bottom line: There’s never been an easier, faster, more powerful way to finally break through the “income barrier” you’ve desired for so long. To get to the next level. To build your personal market share. To finally help you achieve a stable, ever-growing production month after month, year after year.
Q. How Many Different Ways Can I Use Service For Life!® In My Practice?
A. When I first created this tool back in 1998, I engineered it primarily as a prospecting, stay-in-contact and referral-generation tool to be used with your clients and sphere of influence (I call it your “Power List”). And it works like a charm to bring you a never-ending stream of referrals and repeat business from these folks.
But I never realized that I had created a tool so powerful that it’s now used as 10 or more marketing tools in one by agents. You can see more than 10 ways agents are using Service For Life!® by clicking on our “10 Ways To Use” blog post.
Q. How Much Will It Cost to Send My Service For Life!® Each Month and How Do I Understand The FINANCES Of Marketing This Way?
A. My original “beta testers” asked this question when they first started using it years ago. And it’s a good one. Read closely because this is important. I have a 2-part answer…
The FIRST part is this: There are a number of ways you can send out Service For Life!® spending $0.00, including our “Email Strategy” (we give you all the details and resources when you subscribe), and by using our special “Sponsor Program” (covered in a separate question).
But it’s also a tremendous tool to use in other areas, including sending through the mail, door hangers, public displays and more. So let me answer that question too…
I understand your concern for money. But the problem you’re facing is NOT that you’re spending too much money with your marketing. The problem is you’re getting NO RESULTS. Consider this…
If you knew for every $1 you spent on marketing you got back $2 or $5 or even $20 in sales, you’d spend marketing money day and night, because it’s making a strong return on your investment.
So the real problem you’re facing right now isn’t the amount of money you’re spending, it’s the return you’re NOT getting on your hard-earned dollars. And while we cannot “guarantee” your success, or any success or ROI you’ll get using Service For Life!®, we specifically designed Service For Life!® to get opened and read, deepen relationships, and motivate response and referrals for your business. Because of these built-in strategies, we believe Service For Life!® has probably the highest chance of being successful over any other “referral” marketing tool you could use from a ROI perspective.
That said, I also understand you have a limited budget and you want to invest your money where it will have the greatest potential to bring you clients and increase your production. Is Service For Life!® that tool? I cannot answer that because every agent uses it differently. However, I can help you understand the finances revolving around any form of contact system you use.
So here’s the SECOND part of my answer…
Let’s Do Some EASY MATH: Let’s say your going to send about 300 issues a month to either your Power List (past clients, friends, family and acquaintances – all of them homeowners), OR a specific farm where you specialize (don’t forget, there are dozens of ways you can use Service For Life!®, and many of them cost you $0.00 more than your membership investment).
Step #1: Calculate your monthly investment to send Service For Life!®. If it costs about $1.20 per issue on average (print, stuff, post and send), you’ll invest about $360 per month to send 300 issues. Write that number on a piece of paper. (REMINDER: You can send Service For Life!® spending very little or no money – I’ll explain more in these FAQs)
Step #2: Calculate out the average length of home ownership in your area. Recent statistics by the National Association of Homebuilders say it’s about 13 years on “average.” Write that number on a piece of paper.
Step #3: Calculate how many transactions will come from your contact list or farm area EVERY year. It’s easy: simply divide the size of your Power List by the average home ownership length in your area.
For example, if you have 300 people and the average home ownership is 13 years, then about 23 transactions will come from that group EVERY year on average (300 ÷ 13 = 23). And this does NOT include referrals these folks will be sending you – it’s just direct business that will most-likely come from the group.
Step #4: Calculate Your Break-Even and Return on Investment. Take Your monthly investment to send Service For Life!® and multiply it by 12 – to get your annual investment. Then, divide the total cost by the average commission you make from selling a home to determine how many homes you’ll need to sell in a year to “break-even” for your Service For Life!® system.
Using our example: $360 x 12 = $4,320 per year to send SFL by mail (that’s to make 3,600 contacts – sending up to 500 emails and our Social Media version cost you $0.00 more). Now, if your average commission on a $180,000 home is 3%, that’s $5,400 (if it’s a $300,000 home, it’s $9,000; a $600,000 home, it’s $18,000, etc.).
Now, divide the total cost of sending it for one whole year by your average commission. In this example, you’re dividing $4,320 by $5,400 and you get 80%. This means…
You Only Need To Sell Less Than ONE home (Out Of The 23 That WILL Sell From This Group) To Finance The ENTIRE YEAR of Your Service For Life!® Marketing System!
Remember, that’s ONE deal out of 23 to make a profit. Do you now see how and why this tool quickly became the mainstay marketing tool for my “beta-testers?”
What’s more likely to happen?
Think about this: If the average homeowner owns their home 13 years, then of those 300 people, 23 homes will go on the market EVERY YEAR on average.
Of those 23 homes, you need ONLY ONE to profit with Service For Life!®. We all know the agent who gets the business is the one who’s built the closest relationship, who’s kept in contact, who’s brought on-going value to people, and who’s demonstrated competence and the level of commitment each month – so WHO do you think should get the lion’s share of those 23 homes that will go on the market?
Hint: it won’t be the agent who sends out a recipe card or pumpkin seeds every 3 months OR the agent who does nothing but thinks people will automatically think of them because they did business in the past.
It’ll be the agent who’s THERE!
How many of those deals do you think you’re likely to get if you’re the one who’s there? (Certainly not all of them, but probably more than ONE).
And imagine what happens when your list grows? So too does your GCI.
IMPORTANT NOTE #1: Remember, unlike other “slick and snooty” newsletters who charge you for every issue you send out, you pay a FLAT RATE for Service For Life!® to be written for you each month. You can send 10 or 10,000 issues, you pay nothing more for the actual newsletter (you’ll only pay additional printing and postage depending on the number of issues you send each month). I wanted to give you the flexibility in how you’ll use it.
IMPORTANT NOTE #2: Did you know you can actually send out Service For Life!® for Spending $0.00 extra? We provide you with all the instructions for EMAILING your issues, plus a special Sponsor Kit with your subscription – you get a proven sponsor solicitation letter, instructions, a phone script and a sample ad agreement. It’s all done for you.
So the REAL Issue isn’t whether you can afford it, but can you afford NOT to use it?
Q. Can I Send Out Service For Life!® Spending $0.00 Additional?
A. Yes, you can. We currently have agents who send out Service For Life!® spending very little or no money at all. How do they do it?
Well, many agents on a budget use the Email and Social Media issues – it’s fast, it’s free, and it’s fun. And the great thing is they get shared too.
But there’s another way you can send it spending $0.00 additional.
It all started when our “beta test” group of agents asked me how they could easily get sponsorship for their newsletter – thereby reducing their overall costs to send it, AND introducing a few smart (and competent) service suppliers to their clients. The result?
I put together a special “sponsor kit” for them to help generate sponsors without taking time or energy from their main real estate practice. You can now have the benefit of our testing and tweaking of our sponsor kit – you won’t have to reinvent the wheel, just plug in the system we’ve created for you.
When you subscribe to Service For Life!®, I’ll provide you with a “Marketing Tool Kit” that will have, among other things, a special “sponsor kit,” including…
1. A sponsor solicitation letter I wrote – it’s great. This letter is unlike anything you’ve ever seen and will have potential sponsors calling you to sponsor your newsletter.
2. A phone script to use when potential sponsors call you – or when you call to follow-up your letter. I’ve carefully worded your 30-second script for maximum success.
3. A sample advertising agreement you can use with your sponsors. All you do is complete a few spaces and you’re ready to go.
4. A special “Sponsor Template” for highlighting your sponsors inside your Service For Life!® issue each month.
5. Complete instructions on how to use your Sponsor Kit, so it’s quick and easy for you.
IMPORTANT NOTE: In the process of working with sponsors, make sure you never “endorse” the services of a sponsor.
Q. How Long Will It Take To See Results?
A. It’s different for everyone, and impossible to predict your results. I’ve seen some agents get immediate business. For some it took months, others didn’t know how well it did because they didn’t take the time to measure.
But after investigating a little, unscientifically trying to determine the “success factors,” I got a hunch that it all revolved around one thing: QUALITY of their power list. I estimate this will apply to you as well.
Bottom line? If you’ve failed to maintain regular, monthly contact with your house list (or you don’t have one at all), don’t be surprised to find most of them don’t know who you are. One agent told me her Mother didn’t even realize the newsletter was from her!
So it may take time and implementing a few “boosting” strategies we’ve learned (and will teach you) to super-charge your Power List.
BUT THAT’S THE GOOD NEWS, because you’ll now own a tool for keeping your Power List the highest quality possible – so you become THE agent they think of when they think real estate.
Plus, you’ll be getting something our “beta testers” didn’t have – years of testing and tuning this marketing tool. You won’t be re-inventing the wheel. You won’t have a “learning curve” to work through. It’s been done before you.
Of course, you’ll have to manage a “Power List” (it’s VERY EASY and I’ll show you how starting from day one). And you’ll have to keep a simple data base (I have a saying: “money doesn’t grow on trees – it grows on databases!”). And, of course, you’re going to service the good clients that come your way by referral or direct business.
I’ve made a huge effort to ensure even the “slowest” agent gets results as quick as possible. And once they start rolling in – it’s an awesome feeling.
Q. How Do You Manage “Areas” Between Agents Using Service For Life!® ?
A. During our first 1 ½ years of testing, I had 3 “beta test” agents from the same office using the newsletter at the same time. They all knew about the others, and none of them had any overlap or problems with the other agents sending the newsletter.
The “territory” issue has never been a problem because each agent sends the newsletter to his or her own “Power List.” And since it’s impossible to control WHERE an agent will send their newsletter (a few send theirs across the country to family), “guaranteeing” exclusive territories would be impossible (WARNING: any newsletter or marketing tool that “guarantees” you an exclusive territory is promising something they cannot deliver!).
But since some agents may want to farm using the newsletter, I didn’t want to “flood” your market with a bunch of agents using the same tool.
So we decided to manage the number of agents using this tool in each area. We do this by minimizing the number of agents per zip code – depending on the density of the area. For example, a zip code in New York city will allow more agents than 8 zip codes in, say, rural Iowa. It’s NOT a perfect science, but we do try to avoid having many agents using the same marketing tool in one area.
Q. Why Did You Make Service For Life!® Look The Way It Does?
A. The “look” of Service For Life!® is NOT identical to all the other mass-produced, agency-slick, brochure-looking newsletters out there. It won’t blend in with all the other 4-color, expensive “Junk Mail.” And there’s a very good reason for all this.
First, Service For Life!® was intentionally meant to “look” personal. I want the reader to think that YOU worked more than 15 hours a month to research and write the newsletter – because people value gifts from others that took time to create.
I want them to think that you are the expert who’s sharing valuable real estate and consumer knowledge. And I want them to think you are providing the recognition, appreciation and referral programming in the newsletter. That’s how you build a true relationship.
Second, most of those slick “brochure-looking” newsletters go into the trash – because they’re a dead-give-away that you just paid some company to print it for you. They look just like junk mail, and they end up where all junk mail goes.
Haven’t you received those cold newsletters from investment brokers? And didn’t you think to yourself, “this is just another piece of junk mail?”
Third, this is the only newsletter I know of that has ALL the elements we engineered int Service For Life!®. Every page…all the elements were painstakingly created and tested to do ONE thing: Build and nurture such a strong Relationship that when your readers think about “real estate” they automatically think of YOU, before other agents know they exist.
For the EMAIL version of the newsletter…we spent more than 6 months researching and designing the template for the highest readership and response possible. We took all the elements of the print version that make it work (the persuasive “psychological triggers”, involvement devices and direct-response strategies), and created an HTML email template that’s visually appealing plus easy to read online.
Most importantly, it still looks like it was written by you. And, this is very important, it includes your photo and an area for you to share personal updates or local market news to make it extremely personal.
Q. Is It Better To Send Service For Life!® by MAIL or EMAIL or Social Media?
A. Mail will “generally” out-perform email, if for no other reason than, 1) It has higher delivery, and 2) It doesn’t get lost in the clutter of someone’s email in-box.
But here’s a caution: Success using Service For Life!® is not “only” about which medium you use (mail, email, etc.), but in the quality of your Power List. For example: An email version sent to quality power list members will probably out-perform a mail version sent to a compiled list of homeowners from a title company. It’s quality of Power List AND quality of contact that counts.
We added the email and social media versions, not because I believe email is better than mail, but for TWO main reasons…
1. Email/Social Media may be the only option for many agents with very limited/no budgets – so it’s either email/social media contact or nothing for them. Certainly an email and Social Media contact system is significantly better than no contact at all.
2. I had a lot of requests from agents who wanted to send mail to their highest-quality clients and send email to everyone else (and some wanted to send both to everyone) – then post to social media. I consider this a very smart strategy.
We spent more than 6 months researching and designing our email/social media template for the highest readership and response possible. We use great content (designed to go viral), multiple direct-response offers with an easy way for readers to contact you (just click on a link), client recognition and appreciation, involvement devices, referral programming, real estate Q&A, and trivia question.
But we have NOT eliminated the print version in favor of email – we’ve simply enhanced Service For Life!® with a completely integrated online/offline system.
So it’s not a question of “either-or” but more of how can you use BOTH mail and email to continue to provide value to your Power List, building a deep relationship that stimulates more referrals, word of mouth, and repeat business.
Q. Do Any Agents FARM Using The Service For Life!® Newsletter?
A. Yes, they do. I never thought I’d say that, because I originally told my “beta testers” to ONLY use it with their highest quality list – their power list.
But I was mistaken.
In fact, I was shocked to learn on a group teleconference that almost half of my “beta testers” were farming with the print newsletter – and getting good results.
Some homeowners like to see how much their home has appreciated in value since they’ve bought it, so we have a special “farming template” called “MarketWatch™” you can use to provide active, pending and sold statistics for farms – another “involvement device” that makes your newsletter welcomed each month.
You’ll also get a number of very important tips for farming successfully, and they’re covered in the “Jump Start” Webinar you get as a new member.
Q. What Kind Of Computer Software Will I Need to Personalize My Issues?
A. Depends on the version you want to use.
If you want to customize your issues, you’ll need Microsoft® Word – Windows® (be sure you’re using the newer versions using .docx format, as the older .doc format is no longer supported by Microsoft) or Mac® versions will work. MS Word is one of the most popular word processing programs. If your computer came with any of the MS Office programs, it should have MS Word. Otherwise you can contact your local computer retailer.
We also offer a “1-Minute” version that automatically merges in your photo and contact information, and with the press of a button produces your newsletter in less than 1-minute flat. This version is not as customizable as the MS Word version, but is very popular with many of our subscribers.
And for the email newsletter, you’ll just need an internet connection since the online version of Service For Life!® has a built-in editor that’s very easy to use (much like MS Word) without any software on your computer.
Q. Couldn't I Write My Own Newsletter Each Month?
A. Yes, you could. You’ll need between 10 and 20 hours per month to research, write and format the newsletter. And you’ll need professional sources for getting the information – without violating copyright.
Then, you’ll need to learn dozens of “psychological direct response” elements that took me 25+ years and over 10,000 hours of writing to master. And in the process, you would be giving up tens of thousands of dollars you could have made selling real estate to write a newsletter.
So the answer is “YES,” you can do it all yourself – but WHY? – when it’s all done for just a fraction of what you would spend doing it all yourself.
The best advice I can give an agent: You make the most money working with clients and closing deals – practicing real estate. Every minute you take away from that…especially doing things that have a lower value (including writing newsletters)…and you just gave yourself a pay cut.
Q. How Do I Create A LIST or FARM of People To Send It To?
A. Building a list of high-potential people is one of the most important strategic moves you’ll ever make in your business. It represents your “personal market share.” If you have no personal market share, you open yourself to the stresses and strains (and waste of time) of constant prospecting.
People do business with people they KNOW, LIKE, they feel are COMPETENT, and whom they TRUST. And the single greatest reason why someone will do business with you is because they either know you personally, know OF you, or are referred to you from a trusted source. According to the NAR’s Profile of Buyers and Sellers, more than 2/3rds of all clients come from some type of relationship.
So let’s talk about 2 types of lists you’ll be building with Service For Life®: 1) Your “Power List” and 2) a Farming Area.
1. Your Power List is the highest quality list in your business – it is essentially YOUR MARKET SHARE, and it will ultimately be responsible for up to 60, 70, 90% of your entire business. Most agents take 20 years to build strong market share because they don’t know how to do it – we’ll show you how to do it in less time with our member training.
Building a power list is not difficult, it just requires some focus on your part. We’ll give you a FREE course with your membership, called “Building Critical Mass In Your Real Estate Practice” that will show you, step by step, exactly HOW to build a power list. It’s a video presentation of one of our seminars on building a power list, PLUS, a complete manual with over 40 ready-to-use marketing systems. It’s a Free Bonus for members to help you succeed as much as possible (and you can watch it directly on the Member’s Only Website anytime – no matter where you’re at).
The QUALITY of your power list is more important than the total number of people. For example, we have a couple in Orange County who reportedly make over $200,000 GCI per year on a power list of about 320 people. Others have 2,000 or more and don’t do near that volume. The difference? The 320 people know the agents better, have been in a contact program with them for years, and they automatically think of the agent when they think ‘real estate.’
2. Now let’s talk briefly about FARMING:
The first piece of advice I can give you is: “Fish in a stocked pond.”
A lot of agents select farm areas without analyzing their potential. There are subdivisions and areas in your locale that are more profitable than others. You want to find areas with: 1) Relatively larger number of homes for sale, 2) lots of turns (i.e. the subdivision turns over a lot), 3) relatively fast sale times, 4) fewer agents working the subdivision – so you know there’s opportunity for you.
Obviously, the more homes for sale, the higher the sales price, the faster the turns (popularity of area), and fewer agents make for a higher potential farm area. We give you a simple, but helpful farming analysis template with your membership, where you can compare farms against each other (using MLS data you research) to determine which farms may have higher potential for success.
Now, the second piece of advice I can give you is, “Adjust your expectations.”
A farming area that doesn’t know you, or doesn’t understand your difference, value and professionalism is going to be much lower quality than a Power List that knows you or has done business with you in the past. Make sense?
So it’s going to take more time, effort, and investment to make a farm area pay off for you – for obvious reasons.
Make sure you use our “MarketWatch™” template with your farming area – some people want to know how much their home has increased in value. If you know that’s something they want, then give it to them each month.
Also, if you decide to farm, include a brief market overview of activity for the area in your cover letter. It shows you’re professional and competent, and you know their area (you’re a specialist).
Q. Can I Share My Service For Life!® Issues With Other Agents?
A. No. Your newsletter membership comes with a single-user license. This means that you and you alone are licensed to use the newsletter in your own practice only. You may not provide the newsletter to any other agents under any circumstances. In some cases, we allow partners to use the newsletter together – such as husband and wife. However, sharing the newsletter with any other agents is a violation of your license agreement and potentially a violation of copyright and trademark law.
If you have multiple agents who would like to use Service For Life!®, we do offer a “broker” license where multiple agents can use Service For Life!® for one low cost. Please call our offices Toll-Free at (800) 622-2540 and we’ll answer any questions you have about the license.
Q. A Mortgage Broker (or another provider) Offered to Give Me A Newsletter To Send For Free If I Send Them Business – Why Don't I Use That In My Business?
A. Because it may be illegal. There are people offering similar newsletters for real estate professionals – knock-off companies (and agents) and even mortgage brokers who are giving newsletters away for free to seduce you to send them your mortgage, title or other business.
One mortgage lender actually used OUR Service For Life!® for these purposes – until we took legal action against him. Please be careful. Here’s why…
We’ve learned that many of these other newsletters 1) are inferior knock-offs that neglect the right elements to make them work to begin with, and 2) some do not create original content. Because they are lazy, they illegally steal content from websites and news sources thinking no one will ever know. The problem is, if you use the material, you may be subject to copyright infringement.
Service For Life!® content is researched and written by our internal marketers and writers – so you can rest assured you always have the very best, up-to-date content.
Q. Can I Send Service For Life!®Outside My Assigned Area?
A. Yes, you can. And that’s one reason why we don’t give “guaranteed exclusive territories.” But we DO protect areas to prevent too many agents from signing up in one area (by population), and I cannot “guarantee” your area will be available when you sign up – so it’s best to get your application in right now if you want to use this tool in your practice.
Q. How Do I Get My Print Version of Service For Life!® Printed And Sent Each Month?
A. There are several ways you can go with printing and sending your Service For Life!® issues, depending on your budget and time available.
Some of our agents on a tight budget (or with extra time available) print, fold and send their own issues. This is obviously the least costly way as you’re doing much of the work yourself – which means you’re taking time away from real estate. But it’s your call. Some even hire neighborhood kids to help and pay them on a per-piece basis (like .10 per piece or so).
Some of our agents have a budget allowance from their brokers, and/or they use their broker’s printers to create their own issues. Others use the resources or allowance of local title companies or other related professionals with whom they have an existing relationship.
Many of our agents create sponsorship programs with other compatible professionals, thereby reducing their total cost to send. We give you everything you need to establish a sponsor program – fantastic recruitment letters, scripts and sponsor templates for your issues.
There’s also another option. We have relationships with several printers/mailers who can do the entire process for you under one roof. The companies we’ve been using can do everything turn-key (print, mail merge, stuff, post, and send), or can do any part of the process for you. You simply email your database list to them with your current month’s modified issue – and they take it from there. We’ll give you everything you’ll need once you sign up.