Realtor Marketing Tip of the Week

Realtor Marketing Tip of the Week

Organizing Your Real Estate Business

by Denise Lones

Trouble staying, or getting organized? Follow this easy step-by-step file management system for better efficiency, productivity, and results from your business.

Recently I had a discussion with Heather, our project coordinator, regarding the importance of agents keeping things organized in their business. Whether that is organizing your files, systems, or even your time, each is critical to an agent’s success.

As Heather puts it “good organization is key to a successful transaction and being organized saves you time, money and potential transaction mishaps.” I couldn’t agree with her more. Here are some of the great ideas that came from our discussion.

The first step is to create a system to manage all of your paperwork and all of your transactions. On your computer, you can categorize your folders. Make sure to keep all business and personal files separate!

The main folders should include:

ADMIN
BUYERS
SELLERS
CLIENTS
MARKETING
SYSTEMS
The Admin Folder
Inside the this folder, create these sub-folders:

BUSINESS: This might include documents for your business license, corporation documents, taxes, financial, broker, and business receipts (keep these by tax year).
CLOCK HOURS: This is the folder where you can keep certificates to track your clock hours for license renew.
EMPLOYEES: You can use this folder if you have employees or vendors which will contain information such as contracts, payroll, etc.
PASSWORDS: Warning! For best business practices, make sure to keep these in a password protected file!
POLICIES: This folder will contain policy information for your business. Yes ,you are a business and you need policies!
The Buyers Folder
Inside this folder, create these sub-folders:

CLOSED: Include clients separate by year i.e. “CLOSED 2015″ “CLOSED 2016″.
LOOKING or IN PROCESS: This folder is for any buyers who you have begun to show homes to but haven’t yet written an offer.
OFFERS: Keep client folders for those in process here
PENDING: This folder is for pending files.
In the above folders, include a folder for each client and simply move the folder from one folder to the next as they complete a transaction.

The Sellers Folder
Inside this folder, create these sub-folders:

ACTIVE
CLOSED (have folders for each year i.e. “CLOSED 2015″ “CLOSED 2016″
NOT YET LISTED
PENDING
WITHDRAWN
Same thing here regarding client folders. Make a folder for each client and move the folders between the folders.

The Clients Folder
Inside of this folder, create these sub-folders:

CLIENT DATABASE
CLIENT LISTS/GROUPS – if you separate your database in categories such as, family, friends, sphere, past clients, referrals, active, hot, closed, and sold, etc. then you can keep them all together in this folder.
The Marketing Folder
Inside this folder, these sub-folders:

ADVERTISING – Include information on newspaper, radio, TV, internet ads.
BLOG – Keep copy of all blog articles by date AND subject for easy reference.
BIOGRAPHIES – Keep a copy of your bio or bios, so they can easily be updated as needed.
CLASSES – If you teach a first time home buyer class, for example, include that information, materials, and curriculum here.
DESIGNATIONS – Keep copies of certificates, descriptions, expiration dates, etc. in this folder.
MARKET STATS – Data collected regarding the real estate market would go in this folder. You can keep it in folders by date to ensure accurate data for blogs, website, and social media.
MY STATS – This would include ranking reports, sale reports, etc.
TESTIMONIALS – Video testimonials and written ones would be included in this folder.
VENDORS – In this folder, keep a list of vendors you use for various things whether it be lenders, escrow or plumbers, handy-man, window washing, lawn care, cleaning, etc.
WEBSITE – Keep your website content here so it can easily be edited then copy/pasted to update your website quickly.
Now, inside your Marketing folder you are also going to want to have a TEMPLATES folder for the following types of documents:

IDENTITY MATERIALS – This folder will include templates for business cards, letterhead, envelopes, address labels, notecards, etc. You may also want to include your logo and your current photo in this folder.
LEAD GENERATION – You may want to name this folder after your lead generation method. For example, if you have a geographical farm and your farming templates are included here, call it GEOGRAPHICAL FARM. You can also include any niche market information in this folder.
CLIENT CARE AND APPRECIATION – in this folder you can keep track of thank you cards, anniversary cards and keep the templates for them along with templates for your article for your database, annual client review and client appreciation event materials, ideas, and checklists.
OPEN HOUSE – Include your templates, checklist, etc in this folder.
POTENTIAL BUYER CLIENTS – This folder would contain your buyer package and any templates or materials you use to pre-qualify a buyer.
POTENTIAL SELLER CLIENTS – Include template for your seller package and listing presentation materials in this folder along with any pricing templates.
PROPERTY MARKETING – This folder would contain your templates for house flyers, just listed cards, just listed letters, special feature cards, etc.
I recommend having your templates in this folder, but as you customize them for the different transactions you are involved in, save a copy of the customized document to the correct folder.

For example, say you are listing the home of John Smith and you need to make a house flyer. Open your property marketing templates folder and open your house flyer template. Choose “save as” and save it to your SELLERS/ACTIVE/SMITH, JOHN folder with the title “John Smith House Flyer 758 Fern Ct”. This way you have both the client name and address in the title, making searching easy down the road if by some chance you needed to access that flyer but don’t remember when you had that listing.

For lead generation, you may want to have your templates in one folder here with a sub folder for executed lead generation. As in our geographical farming example above, you may want to have a sub folder which contains the mailers you created for the farm by date.

Since your article template will live in your Client Care and Appreciation folder, to keep track of your mailers to your database, you can either save those in a separate folder within this folder or save them in the CLIENTS folder.

Then you may also want to have a document in this folder with printer information. For example, if you got your business cards printed at ABC Printing, include that information, the date you ordered, the price and quantity, and your sales rep information so you have it at your fingertips the next time you order.

The Systems Folder
Inside of this folder, create these sub-folders:

CHECKLISTS – In this folder, you would include your checklists for prequalifying a buyer, making an offer, taking a listing, etc.
TRANSACTION TRACKING – This folder is where you would include your spreadsheet that tracks the transaction, any specific information on title reports or processes, and anything you use to see the transaction from pending to close, etc.)
LISTINGS – In this folder you would include templates for seller reports, list of advertising links, showing feedback template, email text for frequently sent emails such as showing feedback, utilities lists to send at end of transaction, weekly listing performance report for agents- looking for good reasons for price reductions, and zoning code lists.
Additional Tips
Now that you have your files set up, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

MANAGING YOUR FILES
Once you have your filing system set up if it much easier to manage your transactions as you can simply move them from category to category. For example: In each seller or buyer file you keep ALL the paperwork associated with the transaction (or listing). Then you simply move the folder to the correct location: For example: if a seller starts in the “NOT YET LISTED” folder- after it goes active, you move it to “ACTIVE”, after it goes pending, you move it to “PENDING”, then when it’s closed, it goes into the correct year in the closed folder “CLOSED 2015″.

FILE NAMING
Name each signed around document by the date (year FIRST for proper sorting with multi-year transactions) and add the same form term in every transaction i.e. “15-06-03 Mutual PSA” that way you can sort and search easily. If you have a document signed by one part only and are waiting for it to be signed around, DO NOT DATE IT. It would look like this: “UNSIGNED BUYER Seller Disclosure” – that does 3 things, it makes it easy to search for ALL the documents you need signed in all your transactions and it is also easy to see in any given folder and it is easier to sort!

FILE SEARCHING
If you name your files the same each time, you can open your real estate folder and search for the keyword “UNSIGNED” and every document you have saved as UNSIGNED will appear regardless of which folder they are in. You can also search by date “15-06-03″ and see every document you rec’d signed around on that date. Furthermore, you can search by form name “Mutual PSA” and see every form of that name you have.

CLOSED FILES
Make sure to ask your broker if there is an office protocol for closing files and keeping a backup. We do not recommend relying on Dropbox or any cloud-based backup unless there is a hard copy backup as well AND the system has been approved for sensitive files. There are many options for external hard-drives to which you can save your files. And remember to backup all of the files on your computer preferably daily which can be done with an auto back up program.

Having a system that keeps you organized is one of the most important performance enhancing things you can do for your business.

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4 Steps for Coaching Buyers to Hot Market Success

4 Steps for Coaching Buyers to Hot Market Success
By Tara-Nicholle Nelson

The skill set of a successful agent in 2015 is wide-ranging. A couple of years ago, there was a viral video that parodied the Super Bowl “God Madea Farmer” commercial, which somewhat accurately documented the roles we all play, variously, as our clients: financial advisors, detectives, psychologists and even, if duty calls, gardeners and bed makers.

Then this year happened. And the market began to recover, with homeprices ascending at breakneck speed for months on end. In times like this, when the market is ticking up faster than buyers; expectations can keep pace, agents often find ourselves in the role of cheerleader. Agents find themselves called upon to constantly provide encouragement about how and why buyers should not get discouraged or give up in light of their repeated losses in bidding wars or the emotional upset that comes from the dawning realization that their money won’t go as far or buy as much house as they’d hoped for.

I submit that there’s a more powerful way to deliver this encouragement in away that sustains your buyer clients; hope while also positioning yourself as an authority who will use your know-how to lead the way to a successfulhome buying experience. Developing the skills and using the tools of acoach can move you from cheering your buyers from the sidelines to leading the way to a home buying win. Here’s what coaches do and use that agents should, too – especially in seller’s markets:

1. Playbooks:

Every great coach has a great playbook, and every great agent does, too. Every home you have ever sold has undoubtedly left you with learnings and insights that you use when advising your buyer clients. You know what aclient’s experience of a transaction will look like from start to finish, from pre-approval to housewarming party – including all the points at which they will freak out.

And you have:

strategies for collecting the information you need about competition levels and seller priorities from the listing agent
strategies for understanding the comps and a buyers personal finances to formulate your recommendation regarding offer price;

strategies for knowing when to recommend a client change course and save more, spend more, offer more aggressively or house hunt in a newneighborhood.
Normally, when you sit down with a buyer for the first time, they are ready to get in the car and start house hunting; they might even start out by sending you listings they already think are “the one.” But you know better, you know that you’ll need to first interface with their mortgage broker, help them understand list price-to-sale price ratios and possibly house hunt in a lower price range, and whatever other strategic steps their success in your market will require.

You know what a realistic timeline looks like, what action items they need to do at the beginning of their transaction to set it up for a successful end, and when to kick in a Plan B, C and D, as well as how to create the Plan B, C and D in the first place!

So tell them, from the beginning, that you have playbooks for every stage of the transaction. Coach your buyers to success, even in a heated market climate, by sitting down with them from the beginning and helping them understand, play by play, how a normal house hunt in your area today unfolds, all the decision points that they’ll face, ways they can rethink anything that causes them panic and fear and even insider insights like how many homes the average buyer loses before they are successful. This positions you as a credible authority and causes buyers to relax into the feeling that they are being well advised and represented, when they do in fact experience things the way in line with the expectations your coaching has created.

2. Practice:

regular meetings that move preparation forward. Every good coach holds practice. In sports coaching, practice involves all sorts of drills and conditioning work to get the athletes prepared, and also scrimmages, trial runs. Both of these sorts of practice come into play in coaching your buyers in a hot market. Preparation work and trial runs in the form of offers that don’t get accepted can both serve as practice, so long as your buyer is more ready to be successful after the experience than they were before.

Buyers’ potential to panic and feel out-of-control of the events of their house hunt can be quelled, in part, by setting up a recurring, weekly home tour appointment at the same time every week, just like a sports team practices’ rather than one-off, scattershot meetings whenever you can make your busy schedules line up. To turn occasional meetings into a coach-driven practice, implement practices like having a set format for home tours, possibly:

setting up the list of homes via email in advance;
having a system for collecting their feedback during and after the tour; and
setting up next steps (and confirming the next practice time) at the end of every meeting.
As the coach, you understand that every “practice” might not result in asale, or even an offer. Make sure you let your buyer clients know that your definition of a successful weekly tour is that they are somehow closer to asuccessful home purchase at the end than they were before, whether that means they are more qualified to buy, more clear on what homes will and won’t work for them, more informed about what can be had in which neighborhood for the money, or closer to compromising with their co-buyer.

5-Step Guide to Handling Unrealistic Client Expectations

Realtor Tip of the Week

 

5-Step Guide to Handling Unrealistic Client Expectations
By Noah Tennant

Beautiful loft apartments in a chic, central location with marble countertops, gleaming wood floors and free parking. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, but sometimes the difference between the ideal living situation clients have in their head and what they can actually afford can be pretty gaping.

And it’s the real estate agent who is left trying to bridge that gap – it’s our job to educate our clients on the realities of the market while also trying to find them a place they’ll love.

So just how do you do that? Here, you’ll find five helpful tips that will help you to negotiate those high (and maybe unrealistic) expectations with reality.

5. Open Their Eyes – Often when a client’s demands seem wildly unrealistic to you, it’s because they just don’t know enough about the market or the city. If, for example, someone has just moved to Chicago from a small town in Michigan, it makes sense that they can’t really comprehend that $1,500 a month doesn’t get you much in River North.

They may even be incredulous to the point of denial at first, and your expert opinion and words are not enough to convince them otherwise. You may have to dig up a few examples of $1500/month rentals in River North so that they can see firsthand that this budget will simply not cover a luxury unit in that neighborhood. Once they see the reality with their own eyes, they’ll be much more open to your other suggestions.

4. Commiserate – Sometimes the best thing you can do for a client is simply to show sympathy when they’re feeling confused or disappointed. After you show tough love by opening their eyes to the realities of the market, get back on the same team by commiserating with them a bit. Express your agreement that the prices make no sense or that their budget should, in theory, be able to get them more. This show of solidarity will help you win back their faith in you so that you can move forward to find them the right property.

3. Set Priorities – At first, a hopeful new client may believe they can have it all. If their budget doesn’t lend itself to that kind of thinking, then it’s up to you to gently inform them that it’s time to play favorites. Is a deck really necessary if the place has that modern kitchen they’re after? Can they be flexible on the location if the price is right?

Listing out all of the features on their wish list and assigning a numerical value to them can greatly assist with the process. Once they create this prioritized list, it’ll be much easier to accept that some sacrifices may have to be made in order to secure a place with the features that are truly most important.

2. Focus on the Positive – It may take a little while to convince a client that their budget simply does not jibe with their wish list. But once they are convince, you should expect some serious disappointment and be ready to swoop in with solutions. The last thing you want is to make them feel hopeless about their search.

Once they’ve accepted that they may have to tweak their plan, you should be ready with a bunch of great options that match their new budget or their adjusted expectations. And the key is to present these new options with an attitude of excitement – the new choices are not the next best thing, they are the best thing.

1. Narrow the Options – When it comes time to make a final decision, the best thing you can do is to cut down the list of options. Here’s why: New York Times best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell once spoke of an experiment surrounding jelly samples at a grocery store. What they found was that when the jelly flavors approached 30 and up, people bought fewer jars of jelly but when they had a more manageable 6 choices, jelly sales shot up.

The lesson here is that too many choices causes paralysis. It’s confusing and it seems easier to not make a choice at all. When, however, there are just a few good options, it’s easy to see which one is the best.

Often the most positive and optimistic people are the ones who have unrealistic expectations. They just always see glass as half full and think that they’ll be able to find the one-in-a-million cheap, beautiful apartment in the perfect neighborhood.

That’s where you come in – your experience and knowledge tell you that those apartments just don’t exist. While you know that to be true with every fiber of your being, you still have to be diplomatic and delicate as you work to make your client see things clearly.

 

Top Ten Home Home Renovations And Features Desired By Buyers

Top Ten Home Home Renovations And Features Desired By Buyers
by Roger Noujeim

If you plan to sell your home, an on-line auction will likely generate a bidding competition and fetch a price higher than you or your REALTOR anticipated. However, there are also features and upgrades that buyers value and are willing to pay extra to get.

Discuss these ideas with your family and real estate agent, as completing one or more of those renovations can further increase the sale price of your property.

According to research by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), home buyers are willing to dish out up to more than two thousand five hundred dollars for certain upgrades.

This also means that when competing for buyer dollars, offering these upgrades could give you a significant advantage.

Here is the top ten list of upgrades or features and how much a buyer is willing to pay extra for them:

#10: A fireplace (or more than one) up to $1400 extra.

#9: Eat-In Kitchen $1770.

#8: Stainless Steel Appliances – $1,850.

#7: Kitchen Island $1,370.

#6: En-suite Master Bath $2,030.

#5: Hardwood Floors $2,080.

#4: Granite Counter-tops $1,620.

#3: Walk-In Closet In Master Bedroom $1,350.

#2: New Kitchen Appliances $1,840.

#1: Central Air Conditioning $2,520.

MAKE 2013 YOUR BEST YEAR EVER !!!

MAKE 2013 YOUR BEST YEAR EVER !!!

How To Meet Your 2013 Goals: Look Back, Feel Good – Look Ahead, Get SMART!
by Joe Stumpf

‘Tis the season…
We’re approaching that end-of-the-year time when we start thinking about what we have – and haven’t – accomplished, and what we want to accomplish in the coming year.

When you look back on the past year, is your glass half empty or half full? In other words, do you focus on what you didn’t get done – or do you celebrate what you accomplished?

And what are your goals for 2013? Make more money? Work less hours? Spend more time with your family? Lose weight? Travel someplace besides to your office?

I’d like to share a two-step formula that’s proven highly effective for me for years, and for top-producing agents, lenders, and other successful people when they’re setting goals for both their personal and professional lives.

Step 1: Look Back, Feel Good – Make a List Of The 2012 Accomplishments You’re Most Proud Of, Personal And Professional

Why make a list of your 2012 accomplishments? Because the successful people who are also the happiest are those who can look back and celebrate the joy of their accomplishments. This step will also get you into the right mindset for Step 2, so please don’t skip it.

It’s critical that you plan this step – don’t do it on the fly. Get out your calendar, block out 60 minutes of uninterrupted time, and choose a location where you can have that 60 minutes of uninterrupted time. I can’t emphasize how important it is that you commit this hour to focus on yourself. I know focusing just on yourself for an entire hour may be a stretch for some of you, but be like Nike: Just Do It.

Now, for your list. Take a piece of 8½ x 11 lined paper and draw a line from the top to the bottom. Then number the first 10 lines, one through 10. Write “Professional” at the top of the left column, and “Personal” at the top of the right column.

Then, start writing: the personal and professional accomplishments you’re most proud of in 2012. Don’t hesitate, don’t over-think it, just write whatever comes to mind. The only person who will see your list is you, unless you choose to share it. Don’t stop writing until you have at least 10 items in each column. And don’t overlook an accomplishment you may think is “small” but isn’t. Did you start flossing every day? Accomplishment. Did you make a donation to a charity? Accomplishment. Did you finally watch a movie you’ve wanted to see for ages? Accomplishment. Did you clean out a file cabinet drawer you’ve been meaning to clean out since the first George Bush was president? Accomplishment.

After 30 minutes stop – but only if you’ve listed at least 10 items in each column – and put down your pen. Now you’re going to spend the next 30 minutes reflecting on your accomplishments and how good you feel about them – and about you. Ahhh… Doesn’t that feel good? And look at all you accomplished in 2012! You done good!

Keep your list handy and look at it regularly, until it’s time to create your 2013 accomplishments list.

Step 2: Look Ahead, Get SMART! Reality Check On Your 2013 Goals

I’m not going to suggest any goals for you because you and I and most people have more goals than we’ll ever attain.

But I am going to suggest that the best way to reach a goal is to make sure your goal is SMART. By SMART I mean Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.

Here’s what each letter stands for, and how this process will help you reach your goals in 2013.

S = Specific

You have a much greater chance of reaching a specific rather than a general goal. To get specific, answer the six “W” questions:

Who: Who is involved?
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Where: Identify a location.
When: Establish a time frame.
Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

For example, a general goal is, “Get in shape and lose some weight.” By contrast, a SMART goal with specifics looks like this: “To increase my physical stamina and reduce my body weight by 20 pounds, I will join a health club by January 1 and work out three days a week for the next six months.”

M = Measurable

When a goal is measurable, you establish concrete criteria for tracking progress toward the attainment of the goal. Measuring your progress helps you

• Stay on track
• Reach your target dates.
• Experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to the continued effort required to reach your goal.

To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as How much? How many? How will I know when it’s accomplished?

My example above has the measures built into the statement: 20 pounds, three days a week for the next six months. These specific measures support achieving the goal.

A = Attainable

When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals, you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.

R = Realistic

To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you’re the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.

A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seemed easy, simply because they were a labor of love.

Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished.
Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past, or to ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.

In my example, the elements are attainable and realistic: 20 pounds in six months. Work out three times a week. It doesn’t say 20 pounds in two months or work out six times a week. The goal is attainable and realistic – not impossible.

T = Timely

A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it, there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 20 pounds, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work.

However, if you anchor it within a time frame like “by January 1,” then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.

T can also stand for Tangible. A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing. When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus, attainable.

So: Step 1, creating your list of accomplishments and reflecting on them. Step 2, using the SMART guidelines to help you succeed at reaching your goals.

I know I said “two-step” formula, but I’m going to add a third:

Step 3: Remember that the secret to attaining your goals is to focus on progress, not perfection. MAKE IT YOUR BEST YEAR EVER !!!

Social Media – It’s Time to Get On Board!

Social Media – It’s Time to Get On Board!
By Denise Lones

Even if you’re not interested in social media, I want you to read this.

I’m going to show you how to dip your toe in the social media waters, without being intimidated or overwhelmed.

Regardless of whether you’re a brand new agent, a seasoned agent, or somewhere in-between, there are tools that you simply cannot ignore if you want to have a healthy and successful business. And social media is one of the newest and most important tools you must take advantage of.

I talk to agents all the time who say, “Denise, it’s just too much. I can’t possibly keep up! I don’t know a Twit from a Tweet and I don’t understand what all the hoopla is about.” Other agents tell me, “I know it’s probably important for my business, but I don’t know how – or where – to begin.”

For all of you who may feel this way, I’d like to explain social media in terms that you can understand. And I think you’ll quickly see the value that it has for your business.

First, let’s start with a positive mindset. Don’t say “It’s too hard,” or “I don’t see any value for me.” Even a small change in your attitude will create a huge difference in how you view social media.

The easiest way to understand social media is to recognize that it’s simply a new way for people to communicate.

If you think about the technological advances in communication, it looks like this: First there was the telephone. Then, there was the fax machine – which was just another way of communicating back and forth. Then the mobile phone was invented. Many of us scoffed at the thought of carrying a phone with us 24/7. But would you be without your cell phone today? I know I wouldn’t!

Social media is exactly the same. It’s nothing more than another new way to communicate; another way to connect with people and build relationships.

The power of social media is immense! It’s just as impactful as the original telephone – if you use it consistently and correctly.

Do you need to stay abreast of every social media avenue available to you? Does that mean you need to be on every site, all day, every day? Absolutely not! But you do need to become familiar with the opportunities that exist.

Here’s an easy way to think of social media: pretend you are watching television and you have many different channels to choose from. What networks do you prefer? Are there particular shows you like to watch? Do you like comedy? Drama? Reality TV? Think of social media options as “communication channels”.

The only way to find out what social media outlets you prefer is to tune in to different “channels”. Play around with them! Experience their differences. Discover what you like and enjoy, and what’s of no interest to you.

I know agents who are seriously plugged into Facebook. I know agents who absolutely love Twitter. I know agents who choose LinkedIn, or who regularly communicate with colleagues via Active Rain.

Regardless of the “channel” or “channels” that attract you, it’s important to get involved. Please don’t be intimidated – social media can add so much value to your business! Embrace it at a level that you are comfortable with. Participate, even in small ways at first, until you determine the best way to use it in your business.

The beauty of social media is that it takes communication to a level that you never had before. Using Facebook to connect with your friends and clients gives you an opportunity to know what is going on in their lives, and to stay connected with them on a consistent basis – much more than if you occasionally send them mail or call them on the phone.

Social media also gives you an opportunity to reach out to your sphere when a change in their lives might lead to a real estate need.

Whether you are new to social media or an experienced veteran, there are two key thoughts I want to leave you with:

Social media can add huge value to your life, and to your business! When you engage consistently, and respond to people who reach out to you, you add value to the relationships you have built. Your life can become richer because of it, and your business will benefit as well.

Social media can also have serious consequences. First and foremost, think before you type! What you write online stays online. Secondly, please never attack a person’s character or beliefs. If they have an opinion that you don’t agree with, disagree respectfully, and keep to the issues. Do not let it get personal. Lastly, if there is a hot topic being discussed, know your facts before you speak, and never verbally harass or criticize someone. Social media is definitely about engagement; that engagement needs to be respectful.

If you’re not currently plugged into social media, don’t be afraid of this powerful communication tool. Consider it as your new and exciting “television” with many exciting “channels” and take advantage of it. If you’re intimidated, start slowly and just dip your toe in … then dive in when you’re ready!

It’s a whole new communication world – and you need to get on board!

Does Your Pipeline Need a Lifeline?

I’m always searching for great “Grow Your Business” tips and strategies from some of the best coaches and writers on the topic. My hope is that you will be able to take this information and implement it into your real estate business to help you grow!

Does Your Pipeline Need a Lifeline?
Denise Lones

Every agent should strive to build a referral-only business. The lion’s share of income should come from past clients, a strong database and the subsequent referrals.

However, if you – like many agents I know – are not generating the income that you need to generate, it is a sure sign that your referral business is not yet where it needs to be. This means you are going to have to add a lead generation program to your business to make up for what your referrals are not providing you.

A great referral business comes about – and continues to build – after an agent provides really great service. Clients come back for more, and are willing to refer friends and family, when they have a great experience. Referral business means you’re doing something right.

The problem is that oftentimes your referral business cannot sustain the now business that you may need to keep transactions in your pipeline and income coming in. The timing of your referral business rarely matches the timing you need to meet your financial obligations.

To be really successful, your goal should be to have business in your pipeline every single month. Too many agents live a peak & valley existence – scrambling for business when they have none, and hoping that they will somehow, magically, get that all-important referral phone call to save them.

Here’s something to think about: What happens if your current database isn’t keeping you financially able to meet your commitments? What if you’re not meeting your goals – or far worse, your obligations – because you simply don’t have enough business?

In that case, you absolutely must have a lead generation system to bridge the gap.You have to find a way to increase the reach of your business, in order to generate business.
The key is to create a lead generation system that fits your individual work style, and that you know in your heart you will focus on. Too many agents just grab any system that sounds like the easiest, then fail in frustration when it doesn’t match their style or their needs. Lead generation takes work, folks. It takes time and patience.

There are two types of lead generation: Active and Passive.
Active lead generation is where you are generating leads (i.e. potential business) in person or on the phone. It includes things like joining networking groups, teaching first-time-buyer classes, holding open houses, and contacting expired listing sellers and for-sale-by-owner sellers. You are the catalyst for this type of lead generation.

Passive lead generation means you don’t have to show up. People are hearing from you, but it’s through mail, email and print marketing. Passive lead generation includes things like geographical farming. It also can include cancelled and expired listings. Your ability to articulate your expertise is the catalyst for this type of lead generation.

The reality is you need to be doing something. You need to keep your pipeline full and get out of the peak & valley existence that you may be experiencing.

An agent in one of my coaching groups recently said, “I really dislike having to go out and look for business. It’s so time consuming, and it never works for me.” Yes, it’s hard work! Yes, it takes time! Yes, you have to plan for it, and then be patient enough to let your system take hold and work for you.

If you know your referral business isn’t matching your financial goals, take the first step. Find a lead generation system that meets your style and comfort level. Decide if you want to have an active system, or a passive system. Or a combination of both. Decide what group, or groups, you want to target. Is it buyers? Is it sellers who had a bad experience, but you know they want or need to sell? Build a system that keeps you in front of those folks on a very regular basis. And stick with it. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Here’s another question I get asked all the time. “How do I know when I can stop doing lead generation?” It is really quite simple. You can stop when you’re getting all of the income you need from your referral business.

Here’s how you know when you’re at that point:
First and most importantly, track the source of every transaction. Each year, you have to know how many transactions came from referrals, and how much income that business generated.

Determine your annual income goal and how much of that income needs to (or will likely) come from your referral business. As an example: If you need $100,000 of referral income, and in your market the average price home is $300,000, then you can assume that – based on a 3% commission rate per side – each referral-based transaction will bring you $9,000. That means you need 11 transactions each year that come from your referral business.
But let’s say last year you only had 6 transactions from referrals, and you had 5 transactions that came from open houses, sign calls or internet leads. You were short 5 referrals. You needed to somehow make up that lost referral income. The way to do that is by having a strong lead generation program.

Until you can safely say that your referral business is consistently providing you with the level of income you need, you will need to continue with a lead generation program.

Don’t get me wrong. I want you to build an awesome referral-based business. I want you to enjoy the benefits of your hard work. But a strong referral business takes years to cultivate! What if you’re a brand new agent? What if your current database isn’t as fruitful as you need it to be?

There are two things I want you to focus right now. Choose a lead generation system that is based on your needs, on your work style, and on your personality. Then just get it done.
Without a lead generation system you won’t survive. And you certainly won’t thrive.

Does Your Pipeline Need a Lifeline?

I’m always searching for great “Grow Your Business” tips and strategies from some of the best coaches and writers on the topic. My hope is that you will be able to take this information and implement it into your real estate business to help you grow!

Does Your Pipeline Need a Lifeline?
Denise Lones

Every agent should strive to build a referral-only business. The lion’s share of income should come from past clients, a strong database and the subsequent referrals.

However, if you – like many agents I know – are not generating the income that you need to generate, it is a sure sign that your referral business is not yet where it needs to be. This means you are going to have to add a lead generation program to your business to make up for what your referrals are not providing you.

A great referral business comes about – and continues to build – after an agent provides really great service. Clients come back for more, and are willing to refer friends and family, when they have a great experience. Referral business means you’re doing something right.

The problem is that oftentimes your referral business cannot sustain the now business that you may need to keep transactions in your pipeline and income coming in. The timing of your referral business rarely matches the timing you need to meet your financial obligations.

To be really successful, your goal should be to have business in your pipeline every single month. Too many agents live a peak & valley existence – scrambling for business when they have none, and hoping that they will somehow, magically, get that all-important referral phone call to save them.

Here’s something to think about: What happens if your current database isn’t keeping you financially able to meet your commitments? What if you’re not meeting your goals – or far worse, your obligations – because you simply don’t have enough business?

In that case, you absolutely must have a lead generation system to bridge the gap.You have to find a way to increase the reach of your business, in order to generate business.
The key is to create a lead generation system that fits your individual work style, and that you know in your heart you will focus on. Too many agents just grab any system that sounds like the easiest, then fail in frustration when it doesn’t match their style or their needs. Lead generation takes work, folks. It takes time and patience.

There are two types of lead generation: Active and Passive.
Active lead generation is where you are generating leads (i.e. potential business) in person or on the phone. It includes things like joining networking groups, teaching first-time-buyer classes, holding open houses, and contacting expired listing sellers and for-sale-by-owner sellers. You are the catalyst for this type of lead generation.

Passive lead generation means you don’t have to show up. People are hearing from you, but it’s through mail, email and print marketing. Passive lead generation includes things like geographical farming. It also can include cancelled and expired listings. Your ability to articulate your expertise is the catalyst for this type of lead generation.

The reality is you need to be doing something. You need to keep your pipeline full and get out of the peak & valley existence that you may be experiencing.

An agent in one of my coaching groups recently said, “I really dislike having to go out and look for business. It’s so time consuming, and it never works for me.” Yes, it’s hard work! Yes, it takes time! Yes, you have to plan for it, and then be patient enough to let your system take hold and work for you.

If you know your referral business isn’t matching your financial goals, take the first step. Find a lead generation system that meets your style and comfort level. Decide if you want to have an active system, or a passive system. Or a combination of both. Decide what group, or groups, you want to target. Is it buyers? Is it sellers who had a bad experience, but you know they want or need to sell? Build a system that keeps you in front of those folks on a very regular basis. And stick with it. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Here’s another question I get asked all the time. “How do I know when I can stop doing lead generation?” It is really quite simple. You can stop when you’re getting all of the income you need from your referral business.

Here’s how you know when you’re at that point:
First and most importantly, track the source of every transaction. Each year, you have to know how many transactions came from referrals, and how much income that business generated.

Determine your annual income goal and how much of that income needs to (or will likely) come from your referral business. As an example: If you need $100,000 of referral income, and in your market the average price home is $300,000, then you can assume that – based on a 3% commission rate per side – each referral-based transaction will bring you $9,000. That means you need 11 transactions each year that come from your referral business.
But let’s say last year you only had 6 transactions from referrals, and you had 5 transactions that came from open houses, sign calls or internet leads. You were short 5 referrals. You needed to somehow make up that lost referral income. The way to do that is by having a strong lead generation program.

Until you can safely say that your referral business is consistently providing you with the level of income you need, you will need to continue with a lead generation program.

Don’t get me wrong. I want you to build an awesome referral-based business. I want you to enjoy the benefits of your hard work. But a strong referral business takes years to cultivate! What if you’re a brand new agent? What if your current database isn’t as fruitful as you need it to be?

There are two things I want you to focus right now. Choose a lead generation system that is based on your needs, on your work style, and on your personality. Then just get it done.
Without a lead generation system you won’t survive. And you certainly won’t thrive.

You’re Sure to Get a Response from Dead Prospects With This Email

You’re Sure to Get a Response from Dead Prospects With This Email

Real Estate Marketing Tips From The Home Inspection Man

by Mike Brooks

Ever had a client or prospect never get back to you?

Because you’re in sales, then I know it’s happened to you (or is happening with several of your clients or prospects right now!).

If you ever find yourself in a place where you’ve qualified a prospect, sent them information, then find that they just won’t return your calls or emails, I’ve got a guaranteed email that will get you a response.

In fact, don’t take my word for it. Check out this word for word email I received a couple of weeks ago from one of my readers who used this technique himself:

“Mike, just wanted to drop you a note and say thanks. Just one tip I took from you about your ‘guaranteed email’ worked so well I needed to say thanks.

‘Should I stay or should I go’

I had a 30% response from a group of prospects I could not get on the phone a second time and did not want to chase. It worked like a charm and of the 42 responses I picked up 2 sales I would not have gotten otherwise. I also made several people smile that day. Thanks again for the technique! – Eric K.”

You’re welcome, Eric!

OK, so if you’re ready to learn and use this technique, here it is:

(Note: this email technique was one I learned last summer when I spoke at the L.A. Chapter of the AA-ISP. One of the participants shared it with us and I’ve been passing it along ever since!)

Subject of your email: “Should I stay or Should I go?”

“(Prospect), while I’ve tried to reach you, I haven’t heard back from you and that tells me one of three things:

1) You’ve already chosen another company for this and if that’s the case please let me know so can I stop bothering you.

2) You’re still interested but haven’t had the time to get back to me yet.

3) You’ve fallen and can’t get up and in that case please let me know and I’ll call 911 for you…
Please let me know which one it is because I’m starting to worry…

Thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing back from you.”

Is that great or what??

This works on so many levels including using a “Clash” song everyone can relate to in the subject line, to giving them options and an out in case they’ve decided not to work with you.

And, of course, you give people a reason to smile and that always relieves the pressure from the sales situation.

Use it this week and see for yourself how it works to get your prospects to get back with you and how it gets you deals.

The Home Inspection Man

We strive to be a complement to your professional sales process and not a hindrance!

We’re the inspection firm that won’t kill your deal!

When it’s time for a home inspection for your client, please give us a call.

888 690-6903 or 815 690-6903

www.HomeInspectionMan.com

How to Become a Real Estate Grand Master and Have Your Best Year Ever

Tip of the Week

How to Become a Real Estate Grand Master and Have Your Best Year Ever
by Joe Stumpf

I read a fascinating article in Scientific American that dealt with the “secrets of expert minds.” It started me thinking about the relationship between an entrepreneur and his client. Basically, clients are in search of someone with expertise. They need your expertise in consulting, they need your expertise in negotiating, and they need your expertise in overseeing all the transactional details. So if people seek expertise, then your primary goal should be to become a true expert in your profession.

The article discussed the Grand Master’s strategy in the game of chess. To achieve Grand Master status, a chess player must become one of the finest in the world. When chess players begin playing, however, they all start out at the same level, and it takes about five years of constant playing to develop the mental acumen to play the game comfortably on an automatic level of expertise.

At that point, things change. Players begin developing a new skill, one of learning something new every day. They gain a new perspective, a new insight. This lasts for another five to eight years, so after 10 or more years of constant effort, they’ve built a repertoire of over 100,000 possibilities.

At this level of expertise, the Grand Master can simply glance at any chess game in progress and almost automatically identify the best next moves.

Most agents in their early years in the real estate industry are learning the basic moves. You learned how to handle some common objections and you developed a discipline to handle basic problems. You did many things for the first time, and each of these added to the breadth of your experience. After five years, you begin to get the feeling that you’ve seen it all, done it all, and you begin to feel comfortable and secure in your profession; you consider yourself a true expert. That’s a critical point in your business: You either stop learning and go stagnant, or you take the next step toward becoming a Grand Master.

The best in the business don’t stop. They develop a new mindset, and that mindset is “I’m just getting started.” And from there, the expert mind begins developing those 100,000 possibilities for looking at any situation, automatically. Each day begins with the affirmation, “I commit to learning a new move today.” And at the end of each day, a Grand Master reviews that new learning, lodging it firmly in memory so the experience is ready for use the next day.

Imagine sitting down with clients and listening to their unique circumstances. As you listen, their scenario unfolds as if it’s on a game board with pieces you’ve played hundreds of times. As you listen, you see all the moves, the counter moves, and the counter-counter moves instantly, and you can give your clients the best advice immediately. You can do this because you have a wealth of learning that’s contributed to your expertise.

And the secret is, after five years, you are just getting started. So each and every day, commit to learning something new in your expertise area, keeping in mind that even something subtle can be significant. It’s important to recognize that only a handful of people are willing to make the commitment to becoming Grand Masters at consulting, negotiating, and overseeing transactional details. If you’re now at that point in your career, now is the time to start learning the things you don’t know that you don’t know.

Two ways to begin are to start reading, and to start studying successful people. What you gain from reading is obvious — textbook knowledge from expert practitioners and leaders in their fields. You don’t need to focus on an author in your field; many people write books about skills that transfer easily from profession to profession. Here are my Top Three suggested books for Grand Masters:

Value-Based Selling by Bill Bachrach
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

By studying and internalizing the successful habits of others, you can take yourself and your business to the next level.

The true experts in our industry are continuing to have their best year ever, despite the challenges in the market. And they’re doing this because they’ve committed themselves to learning something new every single day so they have 100,000 possibilities for anything they encounter. Those with less expertise are struggling to weather the storm.

Now is the time to concentrate on becoming a Grand Master in this market. Start reading. Start studying successful individuals in all walks of life. Learn, adjust, and adapt.

The Home Inspection Man

We strive to be a complement to your professional sales process and not a hindrance!

We’re the inspection firm that won’t kill your deal!

When it’s time for a home inspection for your client, please give us a call.

888 690-6903 or 815 690-6903