By Ryan Gervais
The first thing almost every new REALTOR® is told when they get in the business is to get a website. New agents usually ask their broker or fellow agents where to go to fulfill this seemingly important task, and they usually choose an out-of-the-box template solution. These cookie-cutter solutions do offer the convenience of getting up and running fast, but does it separate your from your competition?
Industry insiders often throw around words such as search engine optimization, Google Analytics, bounce rates, and social media integration as a way to measure how effective your website is. I challenge everyone who is reading this to think about all of those things, but add the most important one of all: Lead Conversion.
Your website should be a place to convert visitors to clients. If you do not know how many visitors it takes to convert a visitor into a prospect or how many prospects you need to convert to a transaction, then what is the point of focusing on all the buzz words above? If you are just using your website as an infomercial for yourself, and not to directly engage visitors and give them many options to become a client, you are wasting a valuable opportunity to pick up another client.
REALTORS® should be benchmarking our websites with other conversion-friendly industries to learn best-practices when building a website that is meant for conversion. Users respond differently to colors, buttons, text links, pictures, white space, and generally need to be told what to do in many different ways if you want them to do something like give up their personal information.
My goal is to get every reader of my posts one new transaction this year by sharing some best practices on lead conversion and answering website related questions over a series of articles.
Ryan Gervais is a sales representative in Sarnia, Ontario with RE/MAX Sarnia. Connect with Ryan on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SarniaRealEstate LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/ryan-gervais/a/222/3b or on the Web at www.sarnialistings.com.
By Jared James
I was thinking about our culture recently in this time of voicemails, emails, and social media, and it appears that everyone has a greater desire to communicate, but a lesser desire to actually have conversation.Believe it or not, communication and conversation are two completely different things. The actual definition of the word “communicate” is the activity of conveying information, while the definition of the word “conversation” is the spoken exchange of thoughts, opinions, and feelings; talk. The key difference between the two is the word “exchange,” which occurs during communication. Communication is a one way street, while conversation runs both ways.
We have gotten to a point where we love to communicate through emails, text messages, and social media, as long as we don’t have to actually hold a conversation with someone because that may actually require us to invest a little bit of our time in the present and not in the future at a time when we deem possible to respond. This infatuation with communication over conversation has reached such levels even on our cell phones — a device which was solely created with mobile conversation in mind— that we actually have an app called slydial that allows us to go straight to people’s voicemails…because God forbid they pick up the phone and respond to what we have to say. That would be way too inconvenient.
Now let me say that if there were a line for the guilty in this battle of communication vs. conversation, I would be at the front of the line. Shoot. I would be the spokesperson. But I also understand that almost every good thing can be a double-edged sword. Continue reading »
By Brooke Wolford
It seems that every time I blink there is some new “expert” telling me that I need to take some course, read some book, or attend some webinar. I often have a hard time finding a course to take on something other than “How to use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.” I don’t understand how some of these courses still exist. I was born in 1980. I know how to use “social interneting” <–(This is an actually a term I heard on an infomercial about using the internet for business…no lie.)
I took a little poll on Facebook asking the question “How many of you are burnt out on social media trainings?” Everyone who responded had the same feelings about it that I do. I think the majority of people these days get how to use social media. It’s time to focus on the basics and improve on the skills that you use outside of social media.
You might be skilled in the ways of the internet, but you still need to have the ability to meet someone in person and actually shake their hand. You need to get out there and show people how you are going to be the agent to sell their home.
Take the time to learn something new and non-social media related. Connect with fellow agents and talk about successes. Simply unplug!
To all the trainers out there…please help me by giving me something new to learn…I really need to get some continuing education and I really can’t handle another class on using social media.
Brooke Wolford is a real estate practitioner with Coldwell Banker Burnet in Woodbury, Minn. Follow her blog at adventuresinrookierealestate.com.
By Peter N. Lamandre
Well, it seems as though some more changes are coming to Facebook. Love it or hate it, timelines are hear to stay… and now timeline is coming to your business page.
Facebook recently announced that beginning March 30, 2012, your business page will be getting a facelift. The admins of business pages can preview the changes and play around with the new features. I’d strongly recommend you take a look at how your business page will appear after the change.
There are a few things you will want to do in preparation for the change.
- One of the first things you will want to do is add your cover photo, which is what people will first see when they visit your page. It would also be a good time to review your profile picture, which should be square and at least 180 pixels wide. The picture appears to be a bit larger then it does the old page, thus, you will want to make sure your profile picture is a bit higher quality so it does not look pixelated.
- You will also be able to control the order of things on your page, so make sure you play around with order of your apps as only the top 12 will be displayed.
- You will be able to highlight events in your timeline, such as making certain things wider and pin things to the top so everyone will see it first. A nice feature is the ability to delete posts and updates from your timeline should you want to omit it from your profile.
- You will be able to monitor your pages’ activity and interact with visitors all right from the admin panel. Continue reading »
By Stefanie Hahn
Make a New Year’s resolution to better manage your name and online reputation. The first step is to figure out which social media platforms work best for you and your business. Check out my video to learn more.
Stefanie Hahn is the education director for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Collegeville, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.
By Rob Reuter, YPN Manager
Beginning January 1, 2012, YPN will be shutting down its online community feature narypn.memberfuse.com due to a lack of activity, competition with a successful YPN group on Facebook, and the cost to maintain the site.
As a result, we have been looking at a product known as the REALTORS® Association Management Cooperative (RAMCO). The primary purpose of this program is to help association staff track membership, but it has a number of other features that makes it appealing to YPN. Along with having a personal profile, a portal feature would provide YPN members with access to a directory of other YPN members for referral purposes. It will also be synced with the NRDS database, so it won’t require a lot of maintenance and consistent logging-in to be effective.
Once the program is ready, hopefully early in 2012, we will provide further details and instruction both here on the YPN Lounge and directly to state and local associations. Until that time, we encourage you to join the Facebook group “National Association of REALTORS® YPN” and continue to communicate with each other there.
By Michelle Flaherty
Now that we’re on to day two of the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, and my mind and body are beginning to adjust to west coast time, the pieces of information that I will bring back home with me are becoming much more clear.
First, it is becoming abundantly clear that I need an iPad. Every class I’ve attended so far has opened my eyes to at least one new tip, trick, or app to enrich my clients’ experience and make my job easier and more fun. Nobu Hata (2012 chair of the YPN Subcommittee) in the “follow me” class made a point to say it was THE single tool that agents need to have to improve their businesses. And when it came time to write this blog post, I’m embarrassed to say that I had to ask my MOM to borrow hers so I wouldn’t have to go get my laptop in the hotel room. Yes, I’m embarrassed to say that the Gen-Y is the technology dinosaur in this family real estate team.
Second, in a world full of social media and advertising noise, people in the community appreciate when you recognize or mention an ad they placed in the newspaper, an award they received, or an accomplishment that earned them a place in the news. Both the “marketing without money” and “selling luxury property” class instructors suggested clipping articles and reaching out to people personally when their names or businesses are in the news (assuming the story is positive). A great reminder that real estate is and will always be a business built around real relationships. Continue reading »
By David Krichmar
Any time you come in contact someone who needs a REALTOR®, you should add them to your database. Trust me, I know this idea in itself is not brilliant. Once you have a database, how do you keep in touch with those clients?
The key to having a database is to stay in touch with past clients, current clients, and future clients. Not just past clients. What about someone who contacted you but did not need your services at that time; that is defined as a “future” client. So if you don’t already, add every person and email address to your data base as soon as they contact you. Now would be a great time to start. Once you have a growing database, let’s talk about 5 ways to keep in touch with them.
- e-Newsletters - Again, not a rocket science idea; you probably already do this. But if not, start doing it. Many email marketing programs will do the newsletter for you and send it out monthly. Making this the easiest way to keep in touch. Make sure the newsletter does not just talk about real estate, but other topics as well. This gives a better chance of your contacts actually reading the information and finding it helpful. Keep in mind, not everyone needs a REALTOR® right at this moment. But they always are looking for helpful information.
- Friend them on Facebook - As Facebook has grown, the majority of folks are on Facebook daily. So friend your database on Facebook. This makes it easiest to keep up with their needs and life events. Most people look at Facebook as being private, so not all clients may accept your friend request. In this example I suggest just friending past clients, that way you have the strongest relationship with them. Continue reading »
By Anand Patel
As a member of the newly-formed and energized Tampa YPN network in Tampa, Fla., I find myself, along with our other committee members, answering this question when sharing the purpose of YPN with REALTORS® of all ages.
Why do I need YPN? If you ask any three YPN members, you’ll get three different answers. I discovered this while speaking with fellow YPNers at the local, state and national levels as everyone sees a different purpose and value in being a part of the Young Professionals Network.
There are MANY compelling reasons to belong to a YPN network (and I’d love to hear yours below this post), but I want to share with you the #1 reason why I feel YPN is important — no, NECESSARY –not just for the “under 40” crowd, but for our more “seasoned” REALTORS® as well: We need THEM and they need US…bottom line.
I truly believe we are at a crossroads in our industry right now where the old school and new school ideology are intersecting, with both achieving success at varying degrees. YPN is the necessary “bridge” between the generational disconnect currently experienced in real estate. It is a forum where two seemingly polarized ways of doing business can benefit from what each has to offer.
There is only so far the use of technology and social media can get you in terms of building rapport with clients, gaining industry competency and closing the deal consistently. There are negotiating skills, sales techniques, understanding the psychology of all parties involved (especially when the deal is about to fall apart), and many other traits that usually only come with experience. Continue reading »
By Toby Boyce
We’ve all seen the advertisements on television. The more Axe bodywash you use, the more female attention you are going to get.
Well, I recently conducted a not-at-all scientific experiment and wore Axe body wash to the library. A couple of girls and guys smiled at me, but I was really disappointed as I expected there to be a line out the door complete with cat fights. I mean, that’s what the advertisement leads us to believe will happen, right?
Ahh, yes. But we know better. We know that isn’t true. We know that there are a lot more things that go into whether you’ll have a female talk to you than what body wash you used this morning.
So how is it that so many of these “real estate gurus” continue to travel the country selling the exact same thing? The magic bullet that will save your real estate career and desperate agents buy into it.
“Those that came here today hoping to just pick up one piece of usable information are just prolonging their failure.” It was the line that got me in 2006. I was struggling and forked over $600 that we really didn’t have for a system that I never really ended up using. Why? Because I needed a magic pill and they offered one.
When teaching technology classes in my office and others, I see too many agents looking for the same result from social media. The most common question is, “How much will blogging make me?” Well that’s hard to answer because it depends on what you do with it and where you take it. But you can do it. Sadly, I can count on one hand the number of blogs I’ve set-up over the years that are still functional and being maintained.
Yet every single agent has access to the “magic pill” for their real estate career — a business plan. Continue reading »