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!

The Best Way To Keep In Touch With Your Past Clients


The Best Way To Keep In Touch With Your Past Clients
By Denise Lones

I love technology. I really do. I love the way it has simplified my life and my business. There’s no doubt we’re lucky to live in a time when technology has played a dominant role in our lives.

But many agents seem to be so caught up in technology that they have forgotten some ideas from the good old days–ideas that still work brilliantly. Most agents don’t think they need to do these things anymore, but they’re absolutely wrong!

For example, let’s talk about that ancient device that allows you to talk to somebody even if you’re not in the same room with them. Remember it? It’s called the telephone.

Sure, we all use telephones. We use them to take pictures, to send email or text messages, and to download music. But we seem to have forgotten that we can actually still talk to people on them.

Particularly when it comes to past clients, the telephone is your best friend. Many agents rely on email to be their complete follow-up system, reporting system, and contact system.

Yet email is not the most effective form of communication when re-connecting with past clients. I know this because I’ve actually tested the power of email as compared to the power of the good old-fashioned personal telephone call.

Recently, I asked some of the agents I coach to look at their database and make a list of thirty past clients they would like to reconnect with. Thirty is a manageable number, right? After all, that’s only one call per day for a month.

Initially, the agents were reluctant to make the calls. I could see it in every fiber of their body language. When I pressed them to explain their reluctance, the agents told me that the number one reason they don’t pick up the phone to call past clients is this: they simply don’t know what to talk about! So, I told them to put together a really good report about what’s going on in the market right now.

Once the report is complete, I asked them to call their past clients and say:

“Hi Barbara, this is Jen from Highland Realty. How are you? I’m glad to hear that! I’m just calling to let you know that I put a report in the mail for you that I know you will find helpful. The report talks about what is really going on in the real estate market right now.

There is so much competing news about the industry that I wanted you to have the real facts at your fingertips. The report focuses on our area and how it relates to a number of real estate issues, on both the state and national levels I hope you find it helpful.”

Now, isn’t that a fantastic icebreaker? It’s a perfect reason for the call–much better than “How are the kids? How is the dog? How are things going?”

Calling up just to ask ordinary questions raises a red flag. It makes them wonder: Why is this agent calling me? It can’t be just to find out about my kids and my dog.

But when you have something to offer–something that is helpful, informative, and reaffirms the value of their investment–your call makes much more sense and is no longer greeted with suspicion. When you offer service first, you create trust and connection with people.

So, my test team made the calls and I was pleasantly surprised at the results. One agent told me, “Denise, I have two listings that came directly from those thirty calls!”

That’s pretty substantial. Two out of thirty is a great ratio. Most of the time, agents send out hundreds of emails and may not even get one response back.

Another agent told me that one of her clients said, “I’m so glad that you called me. I always worry that you’re busy and that I might be bothering you. My husband said we would actually probably be doing you a favor by using a neighbor across the street who is a real estate agent. We do want to sell our starter home and move up to something nicer. But we figured you wouldn’t want to work on an inexpensive home like ours. You want better stuff to work with.”

Of course, the agent was shocked to hear this. The client wasn’t unhappy with the agent’s past performance–they just didn’t want to bother her.

Another agent told me, “Denise, I have four people who told me they want to list in the next three months.”

Performing this exercise really opened up the group’s eyes to the power of a personal call via the good old-fashioned telephone. While email is a great communication tool for dealing with day-to-day transaction details–your “now” business–it truly isn’t the best tool for keeping in touch with your past clients and building (or rebuilding!) your business.

Just the sound of your voice on the telephone can re-establish a past connection. That connection is only made stronger when the client realizes you are calling to offer something to them, not ask something of them! At the end of the day, a call is so much more personal than just a series of pixels that form an electronic message on a computer screen.

I challenge you to put this concept to the test. Call thirty of your past clients and see what happens!