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How to Make Time for Self-Development in Real Estate

Personal Development in Real Estate

You’ve passed your licensing and you’re ready to go! Time to dive into lead generation, buyer’s presentations, and more. But how do you learn to do all that – and do it effectively?

Or perhaps you’ve been in business for years. The industry has changed, but not much has changed in how you operate. Sometimes you have to go back and make corrections because you remember the old way of doing things more than today’s methods.

In both cases, the struggle is the same – how do you make time and energy for self-development? Both new and seasoned Realtors® are very busy, and it can be hard to take time out to learn new, more efficient and effective ways of doing things. Here are four ways to make time for self-development in real estate.

Make Yourself a Priority 

Real estate is a serving profession, and many Realtors® are more focused on their clients than themselves. While that can be admirable, it can also short-circuit your career if you don’t keep up with training and development. Make yourself a priority and schedule specific time for self-development.

You can do this by blocking off time on your calendar and using it to read great books on real estate, do online courses, or seek mentorship. If you prefer to keep your time private, simply note it in your calendar as an appointment. No one has to know specifically what you are working on – you’re simply not available.

Learn to Say No

This has got to be the biggest struggle we all face. It’s hard to say no – “No” to a non-qualified buyer who wants to tour homes, “No” to a colleague who wants to chat about her frustrations – again, “No” to so many other unimportant things that take up our time. It’s often easier to say yes and allow our time to be wasted.

If you want to excel in your career, you’ll need to learn to focus on the most important work you have each day. This is true whether you’ve just gotten your license or been in the business 15 years. When you focus on your most important tasks, you set your own priorities, including self-development.

Make a Development Plan

Too many times we fail to have time and energy for self-development because we don’t have a systematic approach. We aren’t sure where to start, what to do, or how much time to spend. Take some time to specifically plan your development. Set out a list of things you want to learn, and resources that can teach you.

Then, set up a specific number of hours each week to devote to this training. Block the time out on your calendar and consider it a sacred appointment with your future. After all, if you never develop, your successful future will never arrive!

Focus on One Topic at a Time

This is probably my Achilles heel. I love to learn, and I get completely distracted by trying to learn too much at one time. I have two or three learning plans going at once, and after a few days, I’m getting nowhere fast!

Instead, focus on one topic at a time. Do you want to learn more about getting listing leads, farming a neighborhood, and public speaking? Pick the one that’s most important right now, and learn it carefully. Then, once you have learned it – or at least have a habit of making time for it – you can pick up another topic.

Self-development isn’t a luxury in the real estate business. If you aren’t learning regularly and tuning your skills, you will fall behind and other Realtors® will be happy to take your place. Make the time and energy to develop your skills by making yourself a priority, learning to say no, creating a development plan, and focusing on one topic at a time. Your career – and your future – will thank you!!

Do you make time for self-development? Why or why not? Share in the comments!

How to Market to Millennials

Marketing to Millennials

Millennials are the age-range from 18-34 – today’s young adults and young professionals. They wield $1.3 trillion in annual buying power, and are incredibly diverse. Nearly 43% are non-white and 25% speaking a language other than English at home.

This is the generation most likely to be buying their first home, or expanding into a new home to accommodate a growing family. As a result, this demographic cannot be ignored by Realtors®. The question is, what’s the best way to market to millennials?

Recognize the Events that Shaped Them

Millennials are strongly shaped by the events of 9/11, as well as the general economic crash of 2008. Many of the graduated from school into a terrible recession and even now struggle to find work worthy of their education. They may have seen their parents struggle to hold on to their homes when the real estate bubble burst.

As a result, these young adults may not be as quick to buy into the “American Dream” of owning a home. They may see renting as a safer option, both economically and for their circumstances. It may take extra nurturing of this age group to encourage them to step up from renting a home to buying one. After all of the foreclosures they’ve seen, and the constant news of homeowners being underwater from 2008-2010, do you blame them?

You’ll have to gently encourage them to see home ownership as an accomplishment rather than a financial liability.

Respond Quickly to Inquiries, Then be Patient

You probably don’t need to be reminded that millennials are a fast-moving generation. These young adults have never known life without computers and the internet. As a result, they aren’t likely to wait around for you to get back to them when they submit an inquiry.

Inman recent published some sobering statistics about lead response time. Some of the highlights – or are they lowlights? – are below:

  • The average response time for an Internet lead is 44 hours.
  • 65 percent of all companies don’t nurture the lead.
  • Only 25 percent of all salespeople make two contact attempts.

While you need to respond quickly to get a millennial customer’s attention, remember that they will not necessarily respond quickly back to you. The Inman article goes on to point out that 80% of all transactions require five to 12 follow-ups.

Why? Millennials are on the go and try to do a lot at once. It’s easy for your first – or even second – response to get lost in the daily life of today’s young adult. Don’t give up. Reply quickly, and then be patient.

Build Relationships

Speaking of a generation that has grown up online, have you noticed how many more hucksters there seem to be than ever before? Yep, so have millennials. As a result, they don’t trust easily. You’ll have to build a relationship with them before they’ll become a loyal customer, full of referrals for you.

Fortunately, building relationships is largely done online. While some face-to-face interaction is wonderful (see my previous Leads over Lunch article), largely millennials prefer to talk electronically.

The great news for you is that this means that social media marketing, text marketing (via mobile phones), and email marketing are all great ways to nurture relationships with this key demographic. There’s one caveat – you have to actually care. If you fake it, they’ll know it, and you’ll be ignored in favor of your competitor.

Today’s millennials are in the perfect stage of life for purchasing their first and second homes. As a Realtor®, you ignore this demographic at your own risk. By recognizing the events that shaped them, responding quickly and then being patient, and building relationships with millennials, you’ll be tapping into a perfect customer base for your real estate practice.

How do you market to millennials? Share in the comments!

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace…

Speak Now

The part of weddings where they ask if there are any objections always makes me nervous. I guess I’ve seen too many romantic comedies or something, because I half-expect there to be an outburst, a revelation of cheating, or some other drama. Of course, in real-life weddings, there almost never is.

Today, though, it’s not about a wedding – it’s about YOU! Here at the Real Estate Marketing Magazine we want to know what struggles YOU have with real estate marketing. Here are some questions we have:

  • What Holds You Back From Your Best Success? No one comes into real estate looking to do poorly. However, most of us don’t achieve the success we dream of. What’s holding you back?
  • What’s the Hardest Part of Real Estate Marketing? We know there are dozens of strategies, from farming to choosing whether to focus on buyers or sellers. Even with all these options, we still see Realtors® struggle with marketing. What’s the hardest part for you and the other Realtors® you know?
  • What Do You Enjoy Most About Real Estate? Why are you a real estate agent? What do you love about it? What makes you excited to get out of bed and get to work each morning? Share with us what you love most about your work!
  • What Do You Hate About Real Estate? No line of work is all rainbows – what do you like least? What is your biggest struggle? What makes you want to hide under the covers on a Monday?
  • What’s The Hardest Part of Getting Leads? Every Realtor® knows that leads are how you last in real estate. What’s the hardest part of getting them? What strategies do you need help with? Or do you just need a new strategy altogether?
  • What Resources Are Missing? Is there one type of information or template that you wish you could find, but you can’t? Or perhaps the options are too expensive? What resources would be most helpful to you and other agents you know?

We at the Real Estate Marketing Magazine and Printerbees want to help. We’re planning on launching a website very soon that will provide resources and hopefully help you answer some of the tough questions of being a Realtor®. However, we can’t create great content without knowing your needs – so let us know! We want to hear from YOU!

You can comment below, visit us on Facebook, or send us an email. No matter how you choose to reach out, we appreciate your feedback. We want your real estate business to be as successful as you ever dreamed it could be!

Thanks for taking the time to share. Here’s to your success!

How to Stay Safe – Know Before You Show

Know Before You Show

The news has continued to highlight terrifying stories of Realtors® who become the target of thieves and criminals while showing a home. Because prospect and the Realtor® are often the only ones in the home, criminals can, and have, taken advantage of the situation. This issue is not confined to female agents, either – men have also been the victims of violence.

Keeping yourself safe is of utmost importance in any situation, especially during an open house when the public at large is welcome to enter the home. Two brokers in central Iowa created a Realtor® Safety Pledge after two separate murders of young agents. The pledge highlights important safety steps that all Realtors® can take to minimize risk to their personal wellbeing.

  • Meet at the Office. Set an office policy that all buyers should meet agents at the real estate office, and get a copy of a photo ID before going to the property. This will help discourage dishonest ‘buyers’ (who won’t want to risk being seen by someone else at the office) from setting up a showing to commit a crime. If you can’t set the office policy yourself, advocate for it with your broker.
  • Have Self Defense Training. While this training won’t make you perfectly safe, it will definitely make a difference in how you react if someone attacks you. Some Realtors® take this a step further and choose to train with and carry a gun. The only caveat I would offer to that is to make sure you are very comfortable using it. A criminal can take a gun from a shaken or uncertain Realtor® and use it against you.
  • Consider Limiting Open Houses or Use a Buddy System. Open houses are one of the most dangerous arrangements for agents, because they are alone in a private house that is open to the public. If a stranger comes in and wants to see the basement, they are suddenly out of view and a crime can easily occur. If you want to continue using open houses as a marketing strategy, arrange with another Realtor® or two that all of you will be present at each other’s open houses.
  • Listen to Your Intuition. People have an odd but strangely accurate “sixth sense” about dangerous situations. Trust that uneasy feeling and decline to show a home alone if you feel unsafe. You can reschedule for a time that someone will be able to go with you, or you can simply decline the showing. Remember that a single showing will not make or break your listing, and even a big sale isn’t worth your safety or your life.
  • Prequalify Your Prospects. Before you meet someone at a home, prequalify them. This involves gathering information from them to make sure they are a serious buyer. Not only is this helpful in not wasting your time or the seller’s, it will also keep people away who don’t want you to know exactly who they are or what their situation is. The people you discourage will be the ones you wouldn’t have sold to anyway – and you’ll be much safer in the process.
  • Retrain Your Customers and Influence Public Expectations. You can’t change how everyone thinks, but you have a lot more influence than you think. Retrain your prospects that they cannot expect you to meet them, sight unseen, at an empty house. Tell your friends, family, and anyone who will listen that this practice is unsafe and that agents need to prequalify clients and meet at their office before going to a home. With enough Realtors® saying it, eventually public opinion and expectations will shift.

Making a major change in an industry can seem difficult. However, in real estate it boils down to thousands of agents making a change in their individual behavior and educating people about why. I hope you do it. If I read about you in the paper, I want you to be winning an award, not being the victim of a crime.

Will you join us? Make the pledge to stay safe, and encourage others to do so as well!

3 Tips for a Successful Real Estate Blog

Real Estate Blog connections

Blogging has been a hot trend in business for several years now. Business owners, including Realtors®, realize that customers are searching online, and search engines give results based on great content that seems to match the keywords used by the customer. The goal of any business blog is to be relevant to specific keywords in order to gain customer traffic.

However, that shouldn’t be the only goal. Just like with print marketing in key neighborhoods, you want to establish a relationship over time. That means creating useful content that keeps readers coming back, even if they don’t need your services right now.

Here are five tips that will help you establish a successful real estate blog that brings in search visitors and builds relationships over time.

Write About Local Real Estate

This is the most important way to get noticed in your market. The key to being listed highly for a search term is to write about it frequently. Being in the top results for terms like “real estate agent” is very difficult and really not that helpful. Customers are much more likely to be using terms like “buying a home in Dallas” or “selling homes in St. Louis”.

This means that the most bang for your buck will come from writing about local real estate. Write about new home developments in your area, or write specific tips about how to prepare a house for sale with references to your city built in. When you write with local terms, your blog will naturally rank well for local real estate search terms.

Know How Often to Post

Some Realtors® don’t start a blog because they are worried about the time commitment. In truth, you can post as little as once a week and still have a great, fresh blog. Quality of content matters much more than quantity.

This can help you avoid starting a blog and abandoning it also. If you know you don’t have to post every day, you can take some of the pressure off of yourself and create great content once a week or so, rather than trying to post every day and burning out.

If you need help creating regular blog content, there are writers who can help. Find someone who is a great writer and is familiar with the real estate business to help you. You can work out a contract where they ghost-write for you, and you own the content and can publish it under your own name. Of course, these need to be high-quality blog posts.

Write Naturally

The best and most authentic writing is when you write similarly to how you talk. You don’t want to sound fake or canned. You certainly don’t want to be shoving keywords like “St. Louis real estate” into every other sentence. Just write naturally, the way you sound.

When you write naturally, not only will you be creating great blog posts, you’ll be allowing your audience to get to know you. This will help them feel a connection with you immediately, which is essential to getting business. In addition, those that don’t need your services right away will still feel connected to you and may well come back and continue to read your blog. This will keep you top-of-mind when they do need a Realtor®.

When you create a frequently-updated local blog, you’ll be creating a resource that is valuable for those moving in to your area and those that already live there. When you write in your own natural voice, you’ll be building authentic relationships through your blog. A great resource and authentic relationships bring sales to YOU, saving you time and making you money. Sounds like a win/win, doesn’t it?

Do you have a customer-facing real estate blog? Why or why not? Share in the comments!

How to Harness Your Personality for Success

Personality and Success

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How do you know, and what does it mean for your career? The answer may not be what you think.

Of course, no one is 100% extroverted or introverted. However, most of us have one that is dominant. It would seem like you would need to be an extrovert to be successful in business, especially real estate. However, both personality types have pros and cons, and both can be successful. It’s just a matter of harnessing your personality for success.

Extroverts

Extroverts are people who get their energy from active involvement with other people. They like a lot of different activities and enjoy taking quick action to get things done. They often work though problems by talking about them.

Strengths to Capitalize On:

  • Meeting People is Easy for You. In any career, who you know is as important as what you know. In real estate and other fields, you will easily meet people, strike up conversations, and make a connection. Use this to your advantage to build your network.
  • Share Your Expertise. As an extrovert, you likely have little trouble speaking to people about what you know. If you struggle with technique, consider joining an organization like Toastmasters. You want to refine your speaking skills, because sharing your expertise is a key road to success.
  • Take Calculated Risks. As an extrovert, you likely enjoy the adventure of taking risks. In your business as a Realtor® or other professional, you’ll need to take a lot of calculated risks to succeed. The ability to step out into the unknown is a major strength for an extrovert in business.

Weaknesses to Consider:

  • You May Fail to Follow Up on New Leads. While extroverts are great at initial contacts, the thrill for them is in the newness of the encounter. Following up on leads can seem like boring, hard work – or may never cross your mind. Extroverts should be careful to implement an easy-to-use automated follow-up system or you’ll lose all your hard work.
  • Learn to Listen. While extroverts are great talkers and love to share expertise, it can be hard to listen well. It’s important that you take the time to learn to listen carefully to what others are saying, or your clients will feel like you don’t care about their needs, and you’ll lose business.
  • Think Before You Act. Extroverts love the excitement of quick action and getting things done, but sometimes fail to think about why they’re making this specific decision and what the consequences could be. As an extrovert, make sure the risks you take make sense in your business and your life.

Introverts

Introverts aren’t necessarily quiet and mousey. They just need time alone frequently to recharge. Introverts get energy from dealing with ideas and their own inner world. They often prefer activities done alone or with only a few people. They take time to reflect so they have a clear idea of what they will do when they act.

Strengths to Capitalize On:

  • You’re Great at Written Communication. Considering that email marketing returns $44.25 for every $1 spent, that makes you a marketing machine! Today, many prospects prefer written communication, and as an introvert you should play to that strength.
  • You’re Amazing One-on-One. Much of real estate – or any business negotiation – happens between you and one or two other people. Because that’s your comfort zone, you can excel by focusing on your clients as individuals. Because you already listen well, you will naturally give them the specific, personalized care they crave.
  • You See Things Differently and Challenge the Status Quo. Who says a real estate agent or other professional has to do things the same way as everyone else? Because you think deeply about the world, you often come up with new and innovative ways of doing things that lead to your personal success and can change the industry for the better.

Weaknesses to Consider

  • Networking is a Challenge. In any business, you need to meet people and make connections to be successful. For an introvert, this can feel like climbing Mt. Everest. The simplest solution is to see a networking opportunity as a chance to connect with individuals. If you don’t look at the mass of people, but rather at one person at a time, you can get into your one-on-one relationship comfort zone.
  • Presentations May Not Come Naturally. As an introvert, you can find it hard to put the right words together when you’re in the moment. You can overcome this by joining an organization like Toastmasters or otherwise practicing your speaking and presentations regularly. Because of the focused work, you may sound more smooth and sincere than your extroverted counterparts!
  • You Need Recovery Time. It’s important for introverts to work with their energy instead of against it. After a big meeting, presentation, or social event, make sure you block out time on your calendar to be alone and recharge. Protect that time like any other appointment, because it’s key to your success.

Both extroverts and introverts can succeed in real estate or any other business. It’s a simple fact. You simply have to know yourself – strengths and weaknesses – and harness your natural tendencies to achieve success.

Are you an introvert or extrovert? What challenges does that bring? Share in the comments!

The Danger of Overpricing Properties

Dangers of Overpricing

Everyone wants to get the best value from their property. As a Realtor®, it can be tempting to price a client’s home more highly than you believe the market warrants. The pressure from the client can be a strong factor, and of course your own income and reputation improves when you can gain higher prices for homes.

Unfortunately, overpricing properties can lead to a lot of issues for both you and your clients. Here are some of the biggest dangers of overpricing a property.

Lost Time and Value

As you likely know, the higher you price a property, the longer it will take to sell. Regrettably, in many markets today that lost time translates to lost value. Imagine setting a home price at $400,000 in a market where similar homes are going for $350,000. After six months, the house doesn’t sell and the owners are willing to reduce the price. Only now the homes in the market are going for $325,000. By overpricing and losing time, you’ve also lost value.

If you don’t understand the local market, or allow a homeowner to pressure you into pricing their house to high, you will lose time and money for both yourself and your customer.

Stress and Cost to the Homeowner

If a house is priced at the market peak, it must be shown in top-notch condition every time a potential buyer visits. Even for the cleanest clients, keeping a home that clean and organized over time is stressful. If a house is cluttered or dirty, there’s no chance of getting an over-market price for it. In addition, since a higher-than-market priced home takes longer to sell, the homeowners will have that strain for a long period of time.

The homeowner is also suffering significant costs while the home stays on the market. Each month the homeowner has to pay another mortgage payment, which is money they won’t get back. As the costs for your client mount, their patience with you is going to decrease. In the worst case, they may change to another Realtor®.

Decreased Interest in the Property

As time passes, a property becomes less interesting to buyers. People see a house that has sat on the market for weeks or months, and they wonder what’s wrong with it. In addition, if they are interested, they are likely to significantly low-ball their offer, knowing that the house hasn’t moved.

If you convince your client to lower the price on the home, even to an appropriate level, you may do damage to the attention buyers are willing to pay to the property. A house that has sat unsold for a number of weeks and then drops the prices looks like a problem property. The only way to avoid this perception is to appropriately price the house at the beginning.

Issues with Appraisal

Even if you are able to sell the home above the market, the appraisal could cause you issues and even scuttle the deal. In order for the buyer to get financing approved, they have to get an appraiser to assess the property. The bank uses that information to approve the appropriate mortgage for the home. If the home is priced above its actual value, you may have delays with the sale or even have the financing completely fall through.

Knowing how to deal with a low appraisal on a home is part of the job for every Realtor®. However, you can avoid the issue many times by simply pricing the house correctly for the market.

As you can see, it’s not in your interest or in the interest of your client for you to price a home above what the market will bear. As a professional Realtor®, you should gain the skills you need to not only properly assess a neighborhood market, but to deal with difficult clients who are looking for a high price.

If you choose to list higher than you should to win a listing, you’ll quickly earn a bad reputation with clients and other Realtors®, which will hurt your business. The only course of action for a professional, high-quality Realtor® is to understand the market and price all properties appropriately.

5 Tips to Maximize Your Realtor® Website

Maximize Realtor Website

There are over 3 billion people in the world that use the internet. With that many people online, a Realtor® can’t afford to do without a website. However, there are so many websites online that it can be hard to know how to stand out. These five tips will show you how to maximize the effect of your website on your realty business.

Use Graphics and Have a Responsive Site

Graphics are an undeniable part of showing off your real estate business online. People love to see pictures, and having a great photo gallery of each listing will help generate interest and create buyers. However, it’s also important to have a “responsive” site, or one that adjusts to fit on the screens of mobile devices.

Many times, you can bypass knowing the nuts and bolts of website design by using pre-designed templates on a website service. Just make sure the service lets you have your own domain name, such as MyNameRealty.com. In addition, take advantage of slideshow templates that allow you to cycle photos of various listings and recent sales on the homepage.

Focus on the Visitors’ Perspective

Visitors to your site aren’t interested in you; they’re interested in how their own needs can be met. Be sure to set up your website and optimize it with this in mind. You’ll want to use keywords based on prospective clients’ needs, such as “moving in Atlanta” or “new homes in Charleston”.

When you write the content on your website, whether it’s a blog post or a property description, think about it from your visitors’ perspective. What would resonate with a potential buyer or seller? What do they need to know? What needs and fears can you address? When you focus your website on the visitor, you’ll stand out to the right people and your site will gain traction.

Link Your Social Media Accounts to Your Site

If you have active social media accounts – and as a Realtor®, you should – you’ll want to link them to your website. Not only should your social media posts invite viewers to visit your website, your website should also have links that encourage people to visit your social media accounts.

It’s always helpful to specify what you would like people to do when they visit your page. You can say things like “Follow me on Facebook!” or “Check out my latest pins!” These types of invitations will help people join you on all of your platforms, allowing them to receive information from you more often. That will keep you top-of-mind when they have a need!

Have a Blog that Informs More Than Sells

A blog ensures that new content will be created on your site frequently, which will help it rank highly in search engines. In addition, you can share your blog posts on social media to encourage viewers to visit your site and check out your listings.

However, your blog should be about more than your real estate business. You should use an 80/20 rule – 80% of your content can inform, educate, and entertain, while 20% can advertise your listings and recent successes. Sometimes a Realtor® has a hard time knowing exactly what to write about on a blog. If that’s you, check out this amazing list of 101 blog post ideas. You won’t lack inspiration ever again!

Focus on Lead Management Along With Lead Generation

As many Realtors® know, it’s not enough to just generate leads. It’s important to nurture those connections as well, so that they will come to you when they are ready to buy or sell a home. If you simply collect new contacts, you may lose out on old leads that are now ready for a Realtor®.

There are many ways to keep in touch with the network you create. Social media is one way, but you can also keep in touch from your website. Offer a monthly email newsletter highlighting what’s going in the neighborhoods you serve. You can use the newsletter to show of recent success stories you’ve had, and to congratulate new homeowners. This way, you don’t lose touch with leads that aren’t yet ready to act – and when they are, they will be more likely to come to you.

Having a website isn’t optional for Realtors®, even though the homes you sell are definitely not virtual. Using the five tips above will help you maximize your website results and help your realty business grow tremendously. The time you invest online will be handsomely rewarded!

Real Estate Marketing Ideas for 2015

2015 real estate marketing ideasThe New Year is upon us, so it’s time to revamp your marketing efforts for 2015! A new year is a great time to review what worked in 2014 and make plans for what you want to change or continue. Here are some real estate marketing ideas for you to consider for 2015.

Person to Person Interaction

The world has become too impersonal – we rely so much on email, postcards, and social media that we’ve almost forgotten how to actually speak to each other. For your 2015 real estate marketing strategy, place your agency on the front lines of in-person interaction. Here are some ideas on how:

  • Take regular walks in your target neighborhoods. If you have a well-behaved dog, even better! Strike up conversations with homeowners that you see out in their yards and driveways. Get to know them, shake their hand, and offer a useful branded item, such as a pen.
  • Host quarterly in-person events. These can vary throughout the year – perhaps a costume party at your office in the fall, and a free spring-cleaning seminar in the April. By regularly having face-to-face events, you will become well known in your community as a resource and a helper. Even if attendees aren’t buying or selling they likely know someone who is.
  • Participate in festivals, fairs, and other events that take place in your area. This may include attending farmer’s markets regularly, or having a booth at a local fair. Whether you’re simply attending or actually advertising, your presence will make you a trusted, familiar face.

Ask for Referrals!

As much as 75% of a Realtor’s® business comes from referrals and word-of-mouth. As a result, it’s important to not only make yourself known, but to ask for referrals! It costs many times more to get new prospects than it does to keep in touch with previous clients and ask them to help you find new customers. There are several ways to keep the communication going with previous clients:

  • Invite them to your in-person events. Using the “80/20 rule”, you should spend 80% of your interactions being helpful to others and only 20% offering your own services. As a result, you should be offering plenty of events that previous clients can learn from. If they come and gain more valuable knowledge from you, they will keep you in mind if someone they know needs a Realtor®!
  • Keep in touch with regular mailings. These mailing should be different than they ones you send prospects – they should include a thank you for your previous work together and ask for referrals if they know someone who is buying or selling property. These mailings can be holiday cards, seasonal postcards, or – for an especially personal touch – a birthday greeting.
  • Keep in touch on social media and email. Although you can focus on personal interactions in 2015, you can’t neglect the amount of time people spend online. Sprinkle in some emails, social media mentions, and other online interaction to keep your bonds with previous customers strong.

Rework Your Open Houses

Open houses can be one of the most effective ways to introduce buyers and other Realtors® to your listed properties. In your 2015 real estate marketing, focus on giving these a special touch. Here are some ideas:

  • Set up special stations near key features of the home. Everyone understands that staging is a must if you want to sell a home quickly and efficiently. But making interactive stations near key features is a great way to draw special attention to them. Set up some snacks on the beautiful kitchen island, or put some cocoa or cookies near the focal-point fireplace. This will also give people a reason to linger in the most beautiful parts of the home.
  • Consider when you schedule your open houses. Weekend afternoons can be very busy, and many buyers will be working during weekday hours. Consider an evening open house during the week, or a late morning brunch on a weekend.
  • Advertise your open houses in unconventional places. Think about where your ideal buyers are likely to spend a lot of time. Is there a popular gym in the neighborhood? Are there online sites that appeal to that demographic? By using targeted advertising, you can get more of your ideal buyers through the door and increase your chance of selling the home quickly.

A new year doesn’t mean you eliminate everything you did last year to build your real estate business. However, it is a great opportunity to bring new focus to your work. These real estate marketing ideas will help you create personal connections of trust, increase referrals, and make your open houses more effective. Here’s wishing you a prosperous and successful 2015!!

Realtor® Rip Off Report: How to Avoid Lead Generation Ripoffs

Market Leader Rip Off ReportEvery Realtor® needs leads in order to show and sell properties. Getting leads can be a lot of work, and many Realtors® don’t know where to start. As a result, some Realtors® turn to lead generation services that promise to do all the legwork. Sounds great, right!  Please read on….Market Leader is one such service, however according to many complaints they simply take your money and do not provide the promised leads. By locking Realtors® into a multi-month contract, services like Market Leader leave professionals with nowhere to turn despite not getting what was promised.

Market Leader Issues
Market Leader promises to generate a certain number of leads within your area code, but over time many Realtor®s are seeing the leads from outside their area. One customer was finally told that Market Leader cannot promise where leads come from. That makes the leads useless.

Past customers also report that once a contract is in place, Market Leader and many other services will work hard to make sure you can’t get out of it. Customers have complained that they have been told they need 35 day written notice (long enough to charge you an extra month) and that they have to cancel by a certain day of the month in order to have it process in time.

Unfortunately, the complaints about customer service abound as well, both on posts to their Facebook site (Posts to Page on the left sidebar) and on external services. Many customers say they get ‘outside business hours’ messages in the early afternoon, or are not allowed to speak to a supervisor when they wish to dispute charges. There are also many technical issues with the site and Realtors® are simply told that a ‘ticket has been submitted’. Some Realtors® had customers reporting the campaign emails as spam because the Market Leader campaigns were malfunctioning, and multiple calls to customer service did nothing to fix the issue.

You can read all of the gory details from the Facebook group, “What Should I Spend My Monday On?” It’s  a good group!

Finally, users with Macs do not have nearly the functionality of other subscribers, but they pay the same high prices. The creative portions where you create your own mailings have to be done from a PC. Even with a PC, you cannot verify ownership of your domain with Market Leader so apparently there is no syncing with Google apps to coordinate with a team.

For a service that charges $580 a month and locks you into a 6 month contract, you have a right to expect better. In fact, if you put those kinds of resources to work in your own lead generation efforts, you could grow your business dramatically and remain in control of the quality of the leads you attract.

How to Avoid Ripoffs and Generate Your Own Leads
Here at the Real Estate Marketing Magazine, we have a free e-book that can help you get a jump-start on your lead generation efforts. You don’t even have to start spending your hard earned cash! Here are some tips from the e-book and beyond.

Start with those you know. I know, no one likes to harass friends and family. But remember, you’re in this to SERVE, and folks need help finding a great place to live! Finding a great Realtor® isn’t as easy as you’d think.  Keep in mind that it isn’t just who you know, it’s who THEY know also. Use our free calls scripts and letters to help you reach out to the people in your sphere.

By starting with those you already know and asking for referrals, you can begin your network with those who already know and trust you. And trust sells!

Social Media
Social media is a great way to reach out to those you don’t know, build relationships, and nurture prospects. You can establish a Facebook site for your realty business, and post photos from your listings to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Twitter! In addition, you can establish a website using easy-to-build templates through any number of services. Squarespace is well known for having great visually-focused templates, which is a major bonus for any Realtor®! Remember, when you help people see themselves in your properties, your sales job is almost done.

Business Cards and Mailings
A professionally designed business card is essential for any successful Realtor®. Services such as PrinterBees have hundreds of real estate business card templates to choose from.  In addition, sending farming postcards to people in your area to announce a new listing or an open house can be very effective. Postcards get seen more readily than letters, which residents often throw away without opening because they are  seen as ‘junk mail’. Postcards with great graphics are eye-catching and already ‘opened’!  PrinterBees has a huge selection of real estate marketing postcards for any type of lead generation program you want to kick off.

These are just a few examples of low-cost ways to begin to gain leads. There are many more. See each person you meet as a potential sale – if not them, then someone they know! Learn how to connect quickly through conversation and assess their needs. When you add a new person to your network, it isn’t one person – it’s more likely 100, since you add their entire network as well. With this mindset, you’ll see that the world is your oyster – and you don’t need to pay $580 a month and be plagued with issues to access it!

Have these call scripts emailed to you. They work great for contacting your sphere of influence.