By Brooke Wolford
In the past year since I started my real estate marketing company Organamx, I’ve noticed one growing trend: Many people have the notion that you can pay to somehow prove that you’re successful.
While you can pay for an amazing website, for placement on Google, and even for leads, spending money will never prove that you have experience. Your experience is at the heart of everything you do – how you conduct your business, how you behave when you interact with clients, and the value you provide.
If you want to get ahead and get the highest ROI for the dollars you invest in advertising, your website, and leads, then you have to prove to everyone around you that you can truly back up any claim you present.
Being honest is the greatest thing you can do. People like to deal with people who speak from the heart. Honesty creates trust very quickly. The most obvious way to do this is to not misrepresent your experience.
Some of the most successful people I know get the majority of their business from past client referrals. Referrals prove that you can provide a good experience. Nothing you pay for can ever prove that.
Your No. 1 priority should be working to create the best possible experience for your current clients. If you do this, your clients will be compelled to talk about you and use you for other transactions. Then use everything else (your website, online advertising, and social channels) to promote that you have the experience to get the job done.
Brooke Wolford is a real estate practitioner with Coldwell Banker Burnet in Woodbury, Minn. Follow her blog at www.thehousingword.com.
By Dave Robison
How many times have you heard it? You are your very own business owner in real estate. You are an independent contractor, you incur and write off expenses, you spend your own marketing dollars and you work your own hours. You own a business.
It definitely sounds like a business.
Years ago, I was convinced I had a business, but what I realized was my business was really a job — it was unprofitable and I couldn’t sell it. It was unprofitable because I was paying myself all the money it made. I couldn’t sell it because if someone bought it they would have to hope my friends and family would use them as a REALTOR®. Also, who was going to buy my business when what they’d really be buying is a job. Who wants to buy a job?
Why is it not a business? Because it was missing 3 things.
Here’s the difference between a job and a business: A job is when you have to do the work yourself to get paid. A business pays the employees market wages while giving owners a 10-15 percent profit off of gross revenues. A business allows the business owners to be able to go on vacation and not have to answer sales calls. A business should be able to be bought or sold. It would be nice to sell your company and retire, right? Or maybe you want to stay involved after retirement but pay someone else to run your business operations. How many agents do you know who truly have a business or can sell their business? I would say it is extremely rare in our market.
So, you want to own a business? Here are the three things that will transform your career/job into a saleable business.
1. In order to sell a business you have to pay yourself a market wage and make a profit. Continue reading »
By Jason O’Neil
Referrals, referrals, referrals. We all get them and we all want more. We want referrals from our lenders, our title reps, our barbers, our past clients, and we especially want them from other agents. We love referrals because they are easy leads. They are not faceless Internet leads or the sometimes abrupt sign calls; they are real people who are friends of someone.
Referrals are easy to talk to for two primary reasons: One, they are less guarded because you were referred by someone they trust. Two, you have something or someone in common.
Over the past 12 months, 85 percent of my business has come from referrals. I, too, love referrals.
We track our business sources, but do we track our referrals? When I say track our referrals, I mean the why. Why does someone refer you? What is your referability? High, low, middle? Do you have any idea? Why will some clients run to the top of a mountain and scream your name? And why do others, who have worked with you dozens of times, not feel comfortable referring you to their closest friends or relatives?
Sometimes we aren’t referred because referrals are risky. They really are. If I speak up and say you should work with my accountant because he does great work and you end up not liking him, I look bad. If you love my accountant, well, that was to be expected. If I say nothing or don’t refer an accountant, I likely stay unchanged in your mind’s eye. So there really is a downside risk to referrals. But referring people is fulfilling — it makes people feel good to help other people and to give their opinions.
So, why should people refer you? How do you become more referable?
I think it’s simple: Continue reading »
By Stefanie Hahn
In a recent post here at the YPN Lounge, Jessica Hickok encouraged us to avoid becoming the “Real Turd” who can’t separate his or her work life from anything else. She offered some great tips for managing our daily lives so that we don’t stand out as “that guy” or “that girl” with the annoying Bluetooth thingy and the loud phone screaming all the time.
What I came away wondering, however, was whether there wasn’t another angle to be considered here…the online component of being a REALTOR® in a world where the consumer isn’t willing to wait anymore to be served. According to the most recent survey conducted by the California Association of REALTORS®, 96 percent of Internet home buyers expected contact from an agent within 4 hours of their initial request, while 31 percent of them expected an IMMEDIATE response if they were going to have a relationship going forward.
So how can we offer immediate response AND be the ideal spouse/friend/restaurant patron? Here are some tips I think will help, along with a few things I am pretty sure will just get in your way.
1) Give more information, not less: I know our industry thrived for generations on making sure we were the “keepers of the keys” but now it is time to make sure those consumers who come to us are not just coming because they can’t find our info online.
2) Maximize the power of text messaging: You have a form where people can ask you a question, why not ask them for their cell phone number? Then when you get the info transmitted to you, even if it is in the middle of dinner, you can reply with the classic 140 character retort. My opinion here, but if you text the person back and tell them you are sharing an important family event but that you will either 1) forward their request or 2) get back to them as soon as you are finished they will stay with you…so long as you live up to your word. Continue reading »
By Toby Boyce
I am the technology director for my office and have been doing a lot of teaching and developing new continuing education classes to assist those agents that are still struggling with technology and harnessing it to improve their business.
To develop a sense of what was needed, I spent a lot of time talking to top-notch agents … you know, those who make up the “cherry on top” of the Central Ohio real estate industry. It became very apparent that I was neglecting a key piece in the business.
Of course, just like the majority of agents, I have the business plan in the corner gathering dust written in an hour of inspiration to be looked at every May to see what goal I missed on or never achieved. But when was the last time you really had an evaluation?
You evaluate your leads as they come through the pipeline … usually on a “can they or can’t they” buy basis. So why aren’t you doing the same thing with yourself?
These top-notch agents all had teams. They had multiple buyer’s agents and make no bones that they ranked their buyer’s agents based on ability to achieve the ultimate goal – close the deal in a way that is consistent with the team’s values and objectives. Ouch. That seems harsh doesn’t it in this world of “competing is good enough,” but isn’t it a refreshing thought? Continue reading »