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WITHDRAWN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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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.

 

Persistence With Buyers by Dirk Zeller

Real Estate Marketing Tips From The Home Inspection Man

Persistence With Buyers
by Dirk Zeller

The key to securing the face-to-face appointment with the Buyer is persistence. A Champion Agent knows that persistence will create the payoff.

As a child and throughout my high school years, I personally witnessed one of the greatest stories of a salesperson’s persistence. Many salespeople know the story of Bill Porter because he is a legend of sales. His story has been profiled in newspapers, books, magazines, and even an Emmy award-winning movie about his life titled “Door to Door”.

Few people can say that they experienced it first hand, though. You would have been blessed, like I was, to see it first-hand by growing up in an upper-middle class neighborhood on the Westside of Portland, Oregon. For more than fifteen years I watched Bill Porter come to our door to sell household products in the rain, snow, and summer heat. He always had a smile on his face, shoes neatly shined, suit and raincoat on, and a glove on one hand to carry his large briefcase up and down the hills of his territory.

Bill Porter’s remarkable journey in life started with a tragic accident at birth that caused cerebral palsy. His condition affected his speech and his motor skills of walking and using his hands. He can’t even tie his own shoes or button his shirt, yet there he was everyday, walking several miles each day going door to door to sell his household products for about $1200 a month in income. His steel will and persistence won over his inability to verbally communicate clearly. He had his clients write out the orders since he struggled to write legibly. He would type out the orders one finger at a time on his manual typewriter to ensure his clients received the correct products on time. Bill Porter is truly a Champion in sales and a Champion of persistence.

There are two areas of persistence. The first is the willingness to continue to call for days, weeks, and even months until a prospect is ready to move forward in a purchase. Most Agents quit long before they call a few times. Be persistent with prospects during your lead follow-up process. The second and most important area of persistence that only Champion Agents possess is continuing to ask for the appointment on the initial call even in the face of a no from the prospect. Only a Champion Agent would ask for an appointment multiple times on the same call.

Champion’s Rule: Ask for the appointment more than once.

Most salespeople quit long before the sale is made or even the appointment is booked. Salespeople quit when they receive the first “no” or first rejection.

When Salespeople Quit
44% 1st time the prospect says “No”
22% 2nd time the prospect says “No”
14% 3rd time the prospect says “No”
12% 4th time the prospect says “No”

92% of salespeople quit before they acquire the appointment or the order from the customer. Only 8% of salespeople will ask more than four times. 60% of all sales made or appointments set occur after the prospect has said “no” four times. The net result is that 8% of Salespeople control 60% of the business . . . just for asking. Persistence will create the payoff.

We need to ask for the appointment more frequently on each call that we make. My philosophy is: get beyond the “four” threshold right on the first call!

What Is The Optimal Time to Ask for Referrals?

The Optimal Time to Ask for Referrals
by Joe Stumpf

As a Realtor or Lender, do you know the optimal time to ask your client for a referral?

Not an “OK” time, or a “good” time, but — the optimal time to ask for referrals?

The optimal time to ask for referrals is when you’re in the process of helping someone buy, sell, or borrow. This is when you’re in the most frequent contact with your client, and this is when you’re dazzling them with your world-class service.

During the transaction you’re acting as their:

Consultant:
You lead the process, ask important questions, and offer expert guidance and advice.

Negotiator:
You utilize your experience and skill to evaluate their options and help them make the best choices.

Transactional Details:
You manage paperwork, electronic communications, telephone calls, and hundreds of details to bring their transaction to a successful conclusion.

On a daily basis you’re anticipating problems, finding solutions, and sometimes working miracles. You’ve been known to leap tall buildings with a single bound. So right now, as you’re performing these feats, is the optimal time to ask for referrals.

And did you notice that it didn’t cost you anything?

But here’s the catch: Your clients don’t know that you want their referrals because you haven’t told them. Do not — repeat — do not assume that your efforts will prompt your clients to connect the dots and say, “World-class service like that deserves a referral!”

No. That does not happen.

Fortunately, it’s easy to let your clients know — right up front, in the first few minutes of your first meeting — that you want their referrals, and that you intend to earn them. Here’s the language you use:

“Mr. and Mrs. Client, my goal is for you to be so happy with the help I provide that you’ll gladly introduce me to at least two people you really care about before your transaction closes.”

With this one simple sentence you’ve:
Demonstrated your resolution to provide world-class service.
Clarified your commitment to the client being happy with their buying, selling, or borrowing experience.
Let the client know that their introductions are crucial to your business.

Then, in the days and weeks ahead, as you’re anticipating problems, finding solutions (and perhaps leaping a tall building or two), when your clients say “Thank you,” gently remind them,

“You’ll remember that at our first meeting I said my goal was for you to be so happy with the help I provide that you’ll gladly introduce me to at least two people you really care about before your transaction closes.

“The next time you’re in a conversation with a family member, friend or coworker and they say they really want to get out of their apartment and into their own home, or perhaps they’re expecting a baby and they need a larger home, or maybe they’re empty nesters and they’re ready to sell their house and get into a condo — please give me a call so we can discuss how I can help them.”

Delivering world-class service is how you earn referrals. Using this language is how you get them.

P.S from ‘The Home Inspection Man’ tell to call us fir their home inspection 