What I’m working on this week (Oct. 24-28)

This week is a “roll-up-my-sleeves-and-write” week. Every week seems to be that but this week is especially true because I’ve been working on a couple of print books for two real estate investors and I’m really getting into the thick of it… the actual writing of the book (not just the planning). It’s this effort that is the real sweat-and-tears of bookwriting. Definitely the hardest part.

Oh, and it’s my wife’s birthday on Saturday so I need to try to remember not to schedule work for Saturday! :)

Here are a few other projects I’m working on:

  • Writing two articles for a mortgage broker in Connecticut.
  • Writing a couple of blog posts for a real estate investor client who used to be a client years ago and with whom I’ve just reconnected. I’m really excited about working with him again! (We did some great work together a few years ago but only scratched the surface. I believe we’re really jumping into some special projects now!)
  • Writing some initial content for a gold investor who is starting up a new business.

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2 real estate investor sales funnels that I really like right now

I was talking to a prospective client late last week. He’s a real estate investor and he was asking me about different sales funnels that I thought were particularly effective for real estate investors. Here’s the answer I gave him:

There are two sales funnels that I really like for real estate investors right now. Each one is perfect for a slightly different audience.

SALES FUNNEL #1: THE BLOG SALES FUNNEL

Sales funnel overview:
Drive traffic > Blog > Newsletters > Become client

Driving traffic to your site: In this sales funnel, you drive traffic to your website through some fairly standard online marketing techniques. Right now I really like press releases and social media for driving traffic. I like articles, too, but because of the recent Google Panda update, I’ve become far pickier in recommending articles as a solution. I’ll only recommend them in certain situations.

Once a visitor is on your real estate investing site: On your website, visitors are greeted with a blog. You blog regularly about topics that are of interest to your audience and you build up your credibility and authority on the topic. You can present yourself as a solution but it needs to be a softer sell. You also prominently feature a newsletter subscription.

Once a visitor is subscribed: Here, you provide even deeper content that makes your subscribers feel like they’re part of an inner circle. You also present more clearly your ability to as a solution to their problem or need.

Buy from you: This is the action that your subscriber takes to contact you so you can help them.

SALES FUNNEL #2: THE SALES LETTER SALES FUNNEL

Sales funnel overview:
Drive traffic > Sales letter > (Newsletter) > Become client

Driving traffic to your site: Just like the above sales funnel, you drive traffic to your website through some fairly standard online marketing techniques. But you can also drive traffic to your site through Google AdWords.

Once a visitor is on your real estate investing site: On your website, visitors are presented with a long-form direct response sales letter and a very clear call-to-action. The call to action can be either a subscription to a newsletter or to contact you. (It depends on what you’re selling. I’ll talk more about this in a moment).

(Once a visitor is subscribed): If the call to action (above) was to subscribe to a newsletter, you would send helpful content to them on a regular basis.

Buy from you: This is the action that your site visitor takes at the end of the sales letter OR it’s the action that your subscriber takes at the end of each newsletter you send them.

WHICH SALES FUNNEL IS BEST?

I presented 2 sales funnels that I really like right now because I think they both can work… it just depends on who your audience is and what you are selling. Here are some ideas to help you choose the right sales funnel for you:

  • If your audience is highly skeptical, choose the first sales funnel because you can spend time building rapport with them. For example, if you are a real estate investor who wants to find hard money lenders to help you buy properties, a blog might be good.
  • If your audience has a very time-sensitive need, choose the second sales funnel and the call to action of contacting you, because a direct response sales letter will help them move forward quickly.
  • If you have helpful content that you can divide into “great for everyone” and “great for only a few people”, then the first sales funnel can work because you’ll want compelling content in your blog and in your newsletter. This doesn’t work for everyone, though.
  • If you want to measure the success of your marketing and drive traffic more effectively, use the second sales funnel because Google AdWords tools can help you manage the metrics in your sales funnel far better than a blast of online marketing and social media efforts.
  • If your audience is already convinced of their problem or need, use the second sales funnel.
  • If your audience is facing a problem or need for the first time and needs to be educated before they can choose your services, use the first sales funnel.
  • If your message has a certain amount of exclusivity to it (i.e. you do something completely different than everyone else), use the second sales funnel.

Little known marketing secret reveals how to get your phone ringing off the hook

While writing their marketing content, a request I commonly hear from financial and real estate professionals is to ramp up the “salesmanship” of their content so that they get more committed clients calling them on the telephone.

They want their marketing content to sell their services so that more people go “wow! I want to hire that person to help me find a home” or “wow! I want to hire that person to manage my investment portfolio“.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

It takes A LOT of marketing content (sometimes over a substantial period of time) to convince someone who hasn’t heard of you before to become your client. (It’s not impossible… but it probably won’t happen in a 500 word article).

Instead, your marketing needs to accomplish just one action… and it’s not “become my client“.

The action needs to be a painless next step that the curious would take (perhaps fill out an online form or pick up the phone and call you) rather than a big step that the committed would take.

See the difference?

People are afraid of commitment and don’t want to get locked in to a bad thing (like working with the wrong professional). So they’ll willingly do non-committal things, such as filling out an online form or picking up the phone to call… and THAT is when you sell to them.

They will eventually make a commitment to become your client but they need far more convincing than marketing content on its own can often perform.

HERE’S AN EXAMPLE

Take my business, for example. My marketing rarely asks people to become my client. Rather, it asks them to get in touch with me. That’s because my over-the-phone close rate is nearly 100% while my written conversion is much less. So my goal is to get people to call.

The concern that some of my prospective clients might have is: Won’t I get more crackpot callers? You might. (And it’s a reason that my close rate isn’t exactly 100%!). But you won’t get that many more because here’s what’s really going on…

When you use marketing content that tries to convert a cold lead into a client, that content has a lot of work to do and the client may come up with objections that the content can’t address. And, the content can’t capture your entire personality and pre-qualify clients. So you get lots of cold leads reading your content and deciding for themselves whether or not they should hire you… and many will not call because they don’t want to make that commitment based solely on the marketing content they’ve seen.

But when you use marketing content that only tries to move a cold lead into a warm prospect, that content has a lot less work to do and can therefore be far more effective… at pre-qualifying these people and at convincing them to take the smaller, easier step of picking up the phone (instead of making a commitment). And, YOU can then share your personality with your client (hint: that will be a huge selling feature for you) and you can handle their objections.

Result: Your marketing will qualify your clients (weeding out most of the crackpots) but it will also get more of the good prospective clients to pick up the phone.

By using this model of focusing your marketing on a painless, no-commitment action, you can get more people calling you and you can convert more of those prospects into clients.

We’ve also seen a similar shift in selling digital download products (like ebooks). It used to be that you could put up a sales page and have a buy now button at the bottom and get clients. And some people still do that (and it still does work sometimes but not as much as it once did). But today, the more effective squeeze page offers a link to something free and valuable (an ecourse or videos, for example… something non-committal!) and then the sales letter comes later. Thus, there’s the first non-committal step followed by the more targeted, harder-hitting commitment.

For more information about getting your leads and prospects to do less, learn how to identify the steps in your sales funnel stages. Or, if you’re still thinking about how you want to market your business, check out this first in a series of sales funnel 101 blog posts.

What I’m working on this week (Oct. 17-21)

I’ve just had an insanely busy weekend. I landed six new clients in the past two weeks so I’ve been scrambling to get on top of their work. (I can handle much more than six clients — but usually the work is spaced out a little more!!!). I’m really excited about this week — there are lots of opportunities I’m pursing and although I’ve a plan for 2012 for a while now, I’m starting to add more detail to that plan and put some of the pieces in place.

Here are some highlights of projects I’m working on this week:

  • Completing a squeeze letter, sales page, and autoresponders
  • Continuing on two print books for two real estate investors
  • Starting a futures trading e-newsletter for a client
  • Writing some articles for a credit union about the basics of investing
  • Contributing to a stock picks blog for a client
  • Oh, and I also have a lunch scheduled for a client from way, way back… we’re meeting to throw around the idea of working together again!

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