Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Small business owners are a unique breed. You work harder than other folks – longer hours, fewer days off and vacations? Yeah, right.

NAR’s 2018 Member Profile claims that “Most REALTORS®” put in a 40-hour week.” We don’t believe that.

We agree, in fact, with a recent Gallup poll finds that nearly 40 percent of small business owners work more than 60 hours a week. That seems to be more illustrative of the work ethic exhibited by the agents we know.

Furthermore, weekends are prime time for many real estate agents so taking them off like a normal 9-to-5 worker is pretty much out of the question.

That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t find at least one other day of the week to get away from work. A day for yourself.

Are you “too busy” to take care of your health?

We recently read a survey of small business owners who claimed that, although they promised to take Thanksgiving off, 70 percent did not.

No reason was given, but we can pretty much guess why: “I’m too busy.”

If that sounds like you, enjoy the busyness while it lasts, but allow it to control you at your peril. Science has shown us that working too much leads to health issues:

  • Working non-stop raises your chances of suffering a stroke by more than 30 percent compared to the risk for 40-hours a week folks.
  • Work more than 55 hours a week? Your chance of developing atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) is 40 percent higher than those who work a sane schedule.
  • An Australian study found that if you work between 49 and 59 hours a week you are 48 percent more likely to experience a decline in your mental health than those who enjoy a standard work week. Work more than 60 hours a week and that chance increases to 53 percent.

Keep in mind that these studies don’t just cover the time spent at the office. Add in the texts you answer during dinner, the emails you respond to from your home office before tucking the kids in and the phone calls you return when the house quiets down for the evening.

Being “too busy” with work should never come before taking care of your health. If for no other reason than that, take a day off every week. 

But there are other reasons

The belief that working “twice the amount of hours results in twice the output is short-sighted and toxic,” according to Jason Lengstorf, architect and lead developer at Gatsby.

Why?

Over the decades since Henry Ford ushered in the 40-hour work week, researchers have attempted to determine exactly how many hours a week we can work and remain productive.

What they’ve learned recently is that a 50-hour work week results in a reduction in productivity (Stanford University). After 55 hours of work, it “falls off a cliff,” according to Bob Sullivan at cnbc.com.

“So much so that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours,” he concluded from the study.

Sadly, the promise that technology would simplify our lives has yet to be kept. Sullivan notes that “technology seems to be irresistibly driving the trend” of working long hours.

This is especially true with real estate agents who insist on being on-call almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on Thanksgiving, apparently.

Elon Musk may have it all wrong

Ryan Cooper at theweek.com calls it “The Musk Meltdown.” It looks like old-fashioned burnout to us.

The man puts in an insane number of hours each week – 120 according to his count. He works in 5-minute segments and is headed toward burnout, according to David Finkel, who co-authored the book “Scale: Seven Proven Principles to Grow Your Business and Get Your Life Back.”

The results – the Twitter tirades, the tears, the admission that he requires a prescription drug to get to sleep, should serve as a lesson for the workaholic real estate agent.

Avoid a similar fate by taking a day off. Every week. Religiously.

And you can do this by relieving yourself of as many of the day-to-day business-running tasks as possible. Either through technology (automating whatever systems you can) or delegation (hiring help if necessary), you can create a boundary between your work and personal life.

 Techniques to consider

We aren’t suggesting you hang your current clients out to dry on your day off. Physicians have an on-call schedule and you should too. They ensure their patients are covered when they’re not on-call.

One of the best suggestions we’ve heard is to team up with another agent. You cover for her on her day off and she does the same for you on your day off.

If you’re a member of a real estate team, this one should be simple. If not, find another agent in your office with a similar work ethic.

Then, when it’s your turn and you finally have that 24 hours of leisure time, use it wisely. Reading through agents’ thoughts on the day-off issue at activerain.com, we came across a post from an agent who writes about an annual event in his area that is so special, “it is one of the few days I do take off.”

In the very next sentence, he says that “even some present and prior clients/friends joined us.”

Don’t kid yourself. If clients, whether current or former, are involved in your activities, you are working. It is not a day off.

Turn your phone off and shut down your computer to resist doing work on those days. It’s far too easy to allow one phone call, one text or one email to turn into just another day at work.

And, if you find you just can’t seem to stick to a weekly day off, start smaller. Try a day off during alternating weeks or one every 10 days. Do whatever it takes. And don’t you dare work on your day off. The real estate world will still be here when you get back.

Want an easy way to stay in touch with your past and potential customers that won’t take time or thought? Send out a monthly postcard from our Holiday Series to your chosen mailing list (yes, there are holidays to celebrate every month of the year).

This month send out the Most Wonderful Time of the Year postcard from our Holiday Series to your chosen mailing list.
Let the people that are important to you and your business know you are thinking about them.

Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

PLUS: When you have time…here are 4 free ways we can help you STILL CRUSH IT in 2018!

1. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook.

Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here 

2. The Free 2019 Real Estate Business Plan.

Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan  – Click Here

3. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan.

The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here

4. The Free Online ROI Calculator. 

Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

Also…check out these cool tools 

 Three Click Postcards – Just snap a home photo & create a postcard all from your mobile phone

MLSmailings.com – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

Want to Refer a friend or colleague? Refer them, Here. THEY get a Free $25 Gift Card and YOU become their hero. BTW, you also get a $25 Gift Card too (now that’s what I’m talking about)!

And Increase Your Listings in 2019

Engaging your sphere of influence isn’t an area for spontaneous effort. To prosper as a Real Estate Agent today you have to commit to building your database, then applying consist follow-up and marketing.

Combine these elements and it’s the secret to growth and long-term success.

So here are a few ways to engage in consistent follow-up through and make the difference between what might be and what WILL BE A GREAT 2019!

Send Something Meaningful

The goal, for consistent results, is to maintain an ongoing connection with your database on a regular basis. In fact, the Direct Marketing Association recommends reaching out to your database every 21-45 days.

The Holidays are an ideal time of year for easy and inspired connections with your database. Sending a well-timed Holiday postcard or Recipe postcard is sure to be appreciated and is a nice way to show your sphere you’re thinking about them. You can also send a free report that offers advice and industry insight such as the report, “How to Chop $24,000 & 4 Years Off Your Mortgage”.

If you become the resource that goes the extra mile, it will be valued and remembered. And by getting something in front of your sphere via direct mail, it will give you a great reason to make a follow-up phone call.

Call Just Because

Calling someone you don’t know well can be uncomfortable. This makes it the perfect task for an agent to avoid at all costs. You just need to ignore this instinct, move past the fear, and do it anyway.

Remember you could be just the person they needed to hear from that day. Timing is everything. Be yourself.

This phone call doesn’t have to be scary or pushy. Ask if there is anything you can do for them. Do they have any questions about current topics trending in the real estate industry?

Then listen and respond.

After you have made a few phone calls to the same person, you’ve earned the right to ask if there’s anyone they know that might be interested in buying or selling now or in the future?

Break your calls down into manageable numbers so you don’t get overwhelmed – 10-20 a day. Then add them to your calendar like an appointment and commit to making it happen.

Put a face with a name

Get out there from behind your desk and car and see people face to face. As a professional agent, meeting new people and continually adding to your sphere is not an option, it is a must.

Walk your neighborhood farm with Market Dominators, Community Newsletters or Door Hangers in your hands. Introduce yourself to anyone you happen upon.

Attend community garage sales, fall festivals or winter carnivals at the nearby schools.  Wear your name badge, bring your business cards, and shake some hands.

Stop into local restaurants, shops, and businesses in the community and get to know people there. Let them know you work on referrals and you’d love to refer your clients back to them as well.

Share your stories about a great meal, terrific new shop or amazing customer experience on social media.

You’ll not only make new friends, but you’ll also gain new clients.

Finally, take your top referral clients to coffee or lunch or stop by with a special treat. Stand out as someone who goes the extra distance for their clients.

Ultimately you’re not just in the business of selling homes. You’re in the business of helping people. So show up again and again through the mail, phones calls and face-to-face visits.

And the results will take care of themselves!

Start now by sending a Thanksgiving postcard greetings from the Holiday Series to at least 100 people in your database.

Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

PLUS: When you have time…here are 4 free ways we can help you STILL CRUSH IT in 2018!

1. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook.

Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here 

2. The Free 2019 Real Estate Business Plan.

Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan  – Click Here

3. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan.

The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here

4. The Free Online ROI Calculator. 

Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

Also…check out these cool tools 

 Three Click Postcards – Just snap a home photo & create a postcard all from your mobile phone

MLSmailings.com – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

Want to Refer a friend or colleague? Refer them, Here. THEY get a Free $25 Gift Card and YOU become their hero. BTW, you also get a $25 Gift Card too (now that’s what I’m talking about)!

Who started the thing where new agents should go after buyers? Sure, right now there are lots of buyers in the market, but it isn’t always like this.

And, there is a truism in real estate: If you list, you last.

So, let’s get you some listings before you stereotype yourself as a strictly buyers’ agent.

Do it right

While shooting a bunch of arrows into the air may result in you eventually hitting something, a planned, disciplined approach to lead generation works far better.

This means choosing which methods you will use, planning your marketing approach carefully and scheduling a time to perform the necessary follow-up.

Most important of all is that, should you seek advice from your colleagues, ignore the unsuccessful among them and definitely pay close attention to anything offered by the most successful agents.

Target neighborhoods

You’ll often hear this approach to real estate lead generation referred to as “geographic farming,” and for good reason.

To be successful requires certain farming techniques, such as choosing a fertile plot of land, planting marketing “seeds,” and having patience while these seeds germinate.

Then, you need to nurture them along.

To find that fertile plot of land, research. While there’s no consensus among the experts, many suggest that you start with an area of about 500 homes. Ultimately, it comes down to your budget – how much money you have for marketing – that will determine the size of your initial farm.

To narrow down the choice of area, agents use different techniques. Some choose an area based on its current sales activity.

“Look for movement,” suggests Martin Bouma with The Bouma Group in Ann Arbor, MI in an interview with Gary Keller.

Others choose by home price point. For instance, if you know how much you want to make in gross commission income, it’s easier to hit your target if you’re consistently listing homes in a particular price range.

Bouma suggests that you research each area of interest to determine how many commission dollars were earned last year (by all agents) and then determine if any particular agent dominated in listings. If the dollars are high and competition is low, go for it.

Ok, so you’ve chosen your ideal geographic farm – now what?

It’s time to start communicating with these people. Again, how you’ll do this depends on how much money you have to spend on marketing.

If you aren’t crunched for money, consider using “things that people will hang on to,” Bouma suggests. He mails 4-page market reports in a color-magazine-like format.

Successful lead-generating marketing ideas include postcards, flyers and door hangers with the following information:

  • Introduce yourself as the area expert
  • Announce just listed or sold homes in the farm area
  • Advertise an open house that you’ll be holding (hopefully, someone in your office has a listing in the area and they’ll allow you to hold it open)
  • The advantages of buying over renting (for the tenants in the area)
  • An invitation to contact you to learn what’s happening with home values in the area (ideal for absentee owners)
  • Offer a CMA

How often?

“If I was brand-new I think I’d do it every month,” suggests Bouma.

More important than how often, however, is that you reach out consistently. Gary Keller calls consistency “the magic pill” and Bouma agrees: “I just keep reaching out in a bunch of ways, consistently.”

 “The medium is the message”

In the 1960s, Canadian professor Marshall McLuhan studied the media as a way of understanding society. He coined the phrase “the medium is the message” to describe how the medium is as, if not more important than the message, because of its enormous influence on how the message is perceived.

What medium (or mediums) will you choose for your message?

While digital messaging can be inexpensive, it’s also hit and miss in its effectiveness. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Consistent blogging and social media use coupled with direct mail, however, is the bullseye you should aim for.

Postcards, capture the recipient’s attention instantly making them less likely to be thrown away than something sent in an envelope.

If you’re a door-knocker, consider printing up your message on door hangers. You can blanket an entire neighborhood (up to 400 homes) for less than $200.

“Having the right attitude is probably more important than any other factor,” when trying to become a top listing agent, according to Phoenix mega-agent Russell Shaw.

“A complete willingness to do whatever is necessary and to have the viewpoint that you are going to persist until you have arrived.”

Get started now, send out at least 100 Free Home Market Analysis postcards from the Free Offer Series to an area where you want more listings.

Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

PLUS: When you have time…here are 4 free ways we can help you STILL CRUSH IT in 2018!

1. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook.

Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here 

2. The Free 2019 Real Estate Business Plan.

Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan  – Click Here

3. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan.

The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here

4. The Free Online ROI Calculator. 

Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

Also…check out these cool tools 

 Three Click Postcards – Just snap a home photo & create a postcard all from your mobile phone

MLSmailings.com – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

Want to Refer a friend or colleague? Refer them, Here. THEY get a Free $25 Gift Card and YOU become their hero. BTW, you also get a $25 Gift Card too (now that’s what I’m talking about)!

Even folks who aren’t thinking of buying or selling a home in the near future enjoy reading well-written real estate market reports.

If you aren’t using market reports in your marketing efforts, you’re missing out on a prime opportunity to show your area expertise. However, it’s not enough to slap up an MLS graph and call it a market report.

If you’ve ever scratched your head over a medical report from a doc, radiologist or other medical professionals, you know how your market report recipients feel when poring over all the stats.

It’s up to you to put them into a form that’s easily understandable to the layperson. Then, it’s up to you to let them know what it means for them.

We’ve seen some brilliant market reports but, unfortunately, we’ve also seen some pretty bad ones. Let’s start with what not to do when writing your report.

1. Don’t assume consumers understand real estate jargon

“The pending ratio indicates the supply & demand of the market.”

While this statement might be true, the author (a company that actually creates reports for agents) assumes that the average reader understands what she means by “pending.”

Pending what? Most consumers don’t understand MLS terminology so each and every report should clearly spell out the meaning behind what you assume are widely-used terms.

So, rewritten, it might look like this:

When a seller accepts an offer on a home, the listing agent changes its status in the MLS from “Active” to “Pending,” meaning the home has an offer, but it hasn’t closed yet.

Then go on to explain what the pending ratio means – in clear, easy-to-understand English.

Then, there’s “absorption rate.” One Las Vegas brokerage offers an email of a menu of local reports, including a “Monthly Absorption Report.” Sounds more like a soil report than what’s going on in the housing market. We don’t imagine they get many requests for that one.

“Inventory” is another term that’s tossed around as if everyone understands what the agent is talking about.

Consider appending the use of “inventory,” at least on the first usage, with an explanatory term. “Inventory of available homes” or “Inventory of homes for sale,” will get the meaning across.

We love Long & Foster’s description in its market reports. While their graph is titled “Inventory,” the accompanying text simply says:

“Versus last December, the total number of homes available this month was lower by 298 units or 26%.”

Then, there are all the acronyms so frequently used by agents that may be a complete mystery to your report recipients. Like “DOM” and “Y-o-Y.”

2. Don’t assume they understand the statistics’ implications

Many real estate consumers don’t have a clue as to how different aspects of the economy impact the housing market and why the local economy accounts for many of the differences between the local and national market.

We like the way Mountain Oak Properties in Asheville, North Carolina handles this:

“Looking deeper into what is driving this steady improvement nationally and locally, you will find that the Asheville area job growth is outperforming the nation and NC.”

The report then goes into a deeper dive of the statistics presented in the report, what job growth has to do with the real estate market and what the consumer might expect in the future.

We all know that we can’t predict the market’s future performance based on current numbers, and you should explain that. But, as the “local expert,” you can take a stab at it.

3. Don’t Be Too General With Your Information

Get as specific as you can. Lucky you if your MLS provides neighborhood-specific statistics. These allow you to go hyper-local.

Determine your target market and focus your reports accordingly. If you’re trying to achieve more listings, mention the neighborhoods with the highest price appreciation. Do the opposite if you’re hoping to lure buyers.

4. Don’t Just Offer Stats and Dry Copy

Once you have your report written, it’s time to get it into an easy-on-the-eyes format. Ideally, you’ll hire a graphic designer and outsource this part of the project. You can find inexpensive designers online at sites such as upwork.com or 99designs.com.

Prefer to DIY? Consider customizing one of the thousands of templates at Canva.com. It’s an easy-to-use graphics site and most of what you’ll find there is free.

Sure, you can take that nifty graph from your MLS and paste it into your report, but, again, it’ll be meaningless to the average real estate consumer.

The name of the game with market reports is “Reader-Friendly.” And, since 65 percent of us are visual learners, this means using lots of colors and big, bold graphics.

Brilliant market reports can help set you apart from the lazy agents. Do them right, and you’ll be one more step ahead.

Start generating interest in your market reports now! Send the Free Comparative Market Analysis postcard from our Call to Action Series to at least 100 prospects in your farm or an area where you want more listings.

Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

PLUS: When you have time…here are 3 free ways we can help you STILL CRUSH IT in 2018!

1. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook.

Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here 

2. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan.

The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here

2. The Free Online ROI Calculator. 

Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

Also…check out these cool tools 

 Three Click Postcards – Just snap a home photo & create a postcard all from your mobile phone

MLSmailings.com – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

Want to Refer a friend or colleague? Refer them, Here. THEY get a Free $25 Gift Card and YOU become their hero. BTW, you also get a $25 Gift Card too (now that’s what I’m talking about)!

Congratulations to our $250 Gift Card Winner of our October Strategy Challenge!
Carmen Wieck!

Here’s what Carmen shared as her October Challenge Marketing Strategy!

“To establish myself as a local real estate expert, every month I have a short video about one of the local businesses, sometimes, even with giveaways that encourage engagement”.

“This month the video prepared will be about a well-established local restaurant that was destroyed in a fire 9 months ago and just re-opened this week“.

What a clever and informative way to embrace your target community! Well done Carmen!

To give you a little more insight into Carmen’s other marketing habits we’ve shared a few marketing pieces she’s sent out from ProspectsPLUS! including the Market Dominator, the Free Report, “5 Reasons Why Your House May Not Sell” and the Free Report, “6 Dangers of Overpricing your home”.

For more information on our NEW November Strategy Challenge, Go Now!

Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

PLUS: When you have time…here are 3 free ways we can help you STILL CRUSH IT in 2018!

1. Become a Listing Legend Free ebook.

Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here 

2. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan.

The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here

2. The Free Online ROI Calculator. 

Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

Also…check out these cool tools 

 Three Click Postcards – Just snap a home photo & create a postcard all from your mobile phone

MLSmailings.com – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

Want to Refer a friend or colleague? Refer them, Here. THEY get a Free $25 Gift Card and YOU become their hero. BTW, you also get a $25 Gift Card too (now that’s what I’m talking about)!