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Archive for time management

Time Blocking for Real Estate Agents

Time Blocking for Real Estate

I recently published an article about how success isn’t always glamourous. There was a lot of interest in seeing some examples of how to organize your time to get the most important things done first.

I want to start by saying that if you haven’t read Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller, I’d start there. Keller will help you understand where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there.

Once you have set your priorities, you’re ready to start doing the work. Time blocking can help.

Why Time Blocking?

When we have an appointment with someone else, we protect that time and make arrangements to ensure we arrive. We make sure we’re on time. We arrive ready to go.

Time blocking is a way of taking advantage of this prioritization by setting appointments with yourself. When you do this, you will not only be more faithful to your priorities, but you will have fewer interruptions.

Someone who looks on your calendar won’t see what you have scheduled, but they will see that some time is blocked out and they’ll work around that in meeting with you.

How to Make It Work

Some Realtors® have tried time blocking but discarded it because they didn’t think it worked. Everything seemed to bleed over into other blocks, and they found the control wasn’t there.

With a few tips, however, you can make allowances so that time blocking does work for your real estate business.

Technique #1: Block a Few Things a Day

It’s helpful to start small and just block a few things a day until you get used to the process. This helps prioritize your key tasks for times you have the most energy, while leaving plenty of “white space” for things that come up during the day.

To use this technique, think about what time of day you’re at your absolute best. Block 1.5 – 3 hours during this time for your most important task. Your most important task is the one that brings in clients. Cold calling, door knocking, following up with leads online, and more.

Avoid the busy-but-not-productive tasks, such as:

  • Checking email that isn’t from prospects
  • Spending time on social media in a way that isn’t directly related to getting leads
  • Errands and paperwork
  • Organizing your office

Once you’ve completed that time block, you can pursue the rest of your day knowing that you had one block of highly productive time that will build your business. Over time, you can add more blocks, always leaving plenty of room for unexpected events.

Technique #2: Time Block Your Whole Day

Many people who try time blocking jump straight into trying to break the whole day into blocks. This often leads to failure because most people’s ability to estimate time is far from perfect.

When you block your whole day, you run a high risk that something will run over, causing a domino effect of missed blocks. You may feel stressed, unaccomplished, and frustrated. The fact that you did get a lot done can be lost in a sea of things you weren’t able to do.

If you do want to time block your whole day, make sure you follow these tips:

  • Remember to time block time to eat, and time for breaks
  • Include blocks for regular family events: children’s games, date nights, and family dinners
  • Make your blocks longer than you think you need, to help avoid overruns
  • Put your most important work during high-energy times
  • Plan administrative tasks during low-energy times

Over time, if you’re willing to practice, refine, and edit, you’ll find a way to time block that works for you. When you do, you’ll have more confidence in your productivity, more focus on your marketing, and a thriving business.

Do you need to order some key marketing materials in time for the busy summer season? Set aside time to do it today! We have a variety of farming postcardsJust Listed and Just Sold materials, flyers, and more. Grab some today!

How to Find Time For Consistent Real Estate Marketing

Find Time for Consistent Marketing

Recently on Facebook someone asked, “In one word, what do you wish you had more of?” Almost everyone had the same answer, “time.”

Everyone feels like they don’t have enough time, and it’s especially true for Realtors®. Keeping up with your market, showing properties to buyers, marketing listings, keeping up with paperwork, finding time to eat and see your family, and more… who has time for marketing yourself?

You do. And here’s how.

It’s All About the Rocks

You’ve certainly seen this story before, but stick with me.

A professor of philosophy stood before his class with some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks about two inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was full.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and watched as the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The professor then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They chuckled and agreed that it was indeed full this time.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled the remaining open areas of the jar.

The jar represents each of our lives. We can fit in so much more than we think if we do it in the right order. The big rocks are major things, and the pebbles the next most important, and the sand the least important.

Of course, if you put the sand in before the big rocks, the big rocks would never fit. Order matters.

Are your key priorities in your business occupying first place?

What Are the Big Rocks in Your Business?

Despite the things that fill your days, there are only a handful of big rocks in your business. For most Realtors®, they are:

  • Marketing to build awareness and gain new clients
  • Serving your existing clients to the best of your ability
  • Staying up to date in your markets and industry
  • Scheduling and protecting personal time to care for yourself and your family

If you can do those four things, you’ve covered the bases to being successful in business. Everything else is pebbles and sand – it can wait until the big rocks are taken care of.

Make Marketing Happen By Planning

The key to keeping up with your personal marketing is not to let any of it take you by surprise. Don’t get to spring and wonder what you’re going to do to drum up listings.

It’s best to do six months to a year of planning at one time, but if you can’t try just doing six to eight weeks in advance. That will allow you to determine a timetable for farming and outreach, order postcards and other print materials, and spend time each day executing on your marketing plan.

Here are three key elements to a marketing plan:

  • Print marketing – mailing farming postcards at least once a month
  • Online marketing – social media, email, and maintaining your website
  • In person marketing – volunteering, networking, and spending time in target neighborhoods

One Step at a Time

When I was in college, I used to tackle major reading assignments by determining when it had to be done, and determining how many pages I had to read per day to reach that target.

It was the only way to stay sane during a time when there was always more to do. By deciding to do a certain number of pages, I could reach a point where I could say I was done for the day.

You can do the same with your marketing. Start by taking one step in each of the three areas above. Just one. Determine what you want to do with that strategy the next six weeks. Then divide it up by week, and then by day.

When you do this, you’ll be able to define exactly what you need to do today to be “done.” Then you can move on to your other priorities, confident that you’ll meet your marketing goals over time.

Need More Help?

One thing we’re proud to offer here at Printerbees is the ability to not only print your postcards but to mail them for you as well. If you provide your mailing list, or give us the information for the EDDM route you’re targeting, we’ll make sure it gets mailed.

If that’s something that would help you, let us know! We’d love to talk to you about how to plan your strategy and how we can help make sure it actually happens. Call or email us today!

How a Realtor® Can Best Manage Time

Realtor Time Management

As a Realtor®, you’re often required to wear many hats. Between marketing and promotion, generating new leads, showing houses and taking the time to follow up with your clients, sometimes it can feel like your job is never ending.

And this is especially true when you’re not managing your time properly.

But…what can you do about it?

Are there any tried and true time management methods out there for Realtors®?

The answer is most definitely yes – and here are some of my favorite time management tips.

Use Time Blocking for Scheduling

At the beginning of your week, take the time to not only create a loose schedule but actually assign specific blocks of time for everything that you need to get done. For example, maybe you need to be spending 5 hours a week on marketing efforts. In order to accommodate that, try scheduling out an hour-long chunk of time each day (from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. for example) and commit to only working on marketing-related tasks during that hour each day. Or, if you’d rather work on marketing for a longer period of time, dedicate one 5 hour block of time once a week, on Tuesday afternoons for example, and stick to that. The key is to be consistent and stay committed to your schedule.

Designate Time for Lead Generation

However you choose to spend your time, there’s no denying that lead generation is one of the most important things you’ll do to help your business grow. But as a Realtor® with a busy schedule, it’s easy to put off this off in favor of easier tasks – even when you know you shouldn’t be putting it off. So in order to combat this, set aside an hour every day to focus solely on lead generation tactics – whether that be cold calling, reaching out to past clients, following up with warm leads, replying to email leads or however else you generate leads. Stay focused during that hour and don’t allow yourself to get distracted by other tasks. Leads are the lifeblood of your business, so you need to make sure you’re dedicating proper time for generating them!

Only Answer Emails and Voicemails During Certain Times

Going along with the concept of time blocking, set aside time each day to check emails and listen to voicemails instead of doing so dozens of times throughout the day – something that is sure to distract you from whatever task you were supposed to be working on. If you’re worried about people thinking that you are ignoring them, try setting an autoresponder on your emails and a personalized message on your voicemail letting people know that you will be responding to emails and/or phone calls at 10am, noon, and 3pm, or wherever you want to set your office hours. It may take a little getting used to, but doing this will help you stay focused and get more accomplished in the long run.

Plan Marketing Strategies out in Advance

Instead of constantly having to come up with new marketing strategies and print new marketing materials, try setting aside some time at the beginning of each quarter to plan things out for the coming months. Then, once you have a plan in place, do the necessary things to keep the plan running in advance – like ordering all of your print marketing materials and writing out your blog posts and advertisements. Planning ahead will help you stay focused and on track and also free up time later on to work on additional tasks and projects.

Take a Break from Being a Realtor® from Time to Time

Between evening home showings and weekend open houses, as a Realtor®, your schedule can be a little crazy at times, making time management even more important. With the often sporadic hours, be sure that you’re taking enough time to rest and recharge with family and friends by always scheduling a day off during the week. You need this to keep yourself functioning at the level required for your chosen career, so don’t skimp! And if you have all of your time scheduled out for the week, taking a day to rest won’t cut into the items on your to-do list anyway – they can wait for their scheduled time.

Time management isn’t difficult, but it does take a little practice to get the hang of it. Try implementing some of these tips today and watch how quickly your time management skills improve!

Six Ways to Start the New Year with a Bang!

New Year with a Bang

Who’s ready for a massive 2016?

Every results-driven Realtor® wants to improve each year. But that’s easier said than done.

So, let’s take a look at 6 high-impact/ low-cost ways to make 2016 your best year to date.

1. Stop Trying to Manage Time. Manage Yourself

This isn’t something that only Realtors® do. It’s a mistake people in every sector do.

It’s a simple mental tweak. Stop trying to get more out of the day; try to get more from yourself.

“When you view time as an external that must be managed, it’s common to feel as if you are constantly racing the clock. ‘Time’ is in control — not you. To take control, view your day as a series of choices,” advises Bernice Ross of Inman.com.

2. Reward Yourself with the Fun Tasks

Is there a task that you struggle with? Do you even struggle to get started on it, because you hate it? Get that out of the way, first thing in the morning, so you have the rest of the day to look forward to.

“If your day’s tasks require an activity that you aren’t fond of, do it first thing. Getting past it will give you a lift and make the rest of the day a pleasure. It’s also best to do those hated things when you’re fresh,” wrote expert James Kimmons.

“I always have to do the things I most want to avoid first on my list.  I can look forward to more fun things, rather than the other way around.”

3. Take Your Website Mobile

If you haven’t done this yet, get on it! You need to get this done as soon as possible. In 2015, Google reported that mobile internet traffic now exceeds desktop traffic. Your customers (or would-be customers) are looking at houses on their smartphones. Smart Realtors® have websites that can accommodate them.

“You cannot avoid it anymore. Your website and emails need to be designed for all devices and screen sizes and be responsive. Sixty-six percent of emails are opened on a phone or tablet. Facebook has more than 650 million daily active users on mobile devices,” said R. K. Shrivastaw in a recent LinkedIn post.

“In short, there are plenty of reasons why you need to be sure that your business is mobile ready.”

4. Write Better Headlines and Subject Lines

This is a big one. And should be your New Year’s Resolution every year.

Dull, templated or spammy subject lines are the quickest way for your emails to be ignored, or flagged as junk.

Remember, people don’t make rational decisions; they make emotional decisions and then rationalize them. So write headlines and leads that tap into the buyer/ seller’s emotions and pain points.

Don’t worry. It will take time. And there will always be room to improve.

5. Revisit Your Personal Brand

The New Year is the perfect time to revisit your brand.

It can be hard to brand yourself, but it’s not that different than branding a big company. Too many Realtors® use clichés and say that they’re “trustworthy” or that “they know the area.” These attributes are not only oversold, they’re also somewhat common sense.

Kelle Sparta recently explored her branding efforts and said, “My own strengths were educating my clients, having a deep understanding of them and their needs, and being a true advocate for them.”

“A part of any presentation I gave was the phrase, ‘I won’t always tell you what you want to hear, but I’ll always tell you what you need to know.’”

A great way to further your brand is to review and update your printed materials, especially your business cards. Update your picture, review your tagline, and get noticed!

6. Further Your Education

There is always an opportunity for Realtors’ to better themselves with more training. It’s not hard to find classes, seminars and networking events aimed at Realtors®. But, feel free to step outside the box a bit.

Maybe you could take part in an online training session about Twitter and small business? Anything to help you grow your reach.

 

How are you planning to make 2016 the best year ever? Let us know in the comments below.

Time Management Tips for Busy Realtors®

Time Management for Realtors

If there’s one thing I know we all wish we had, it’s more time. Realtors® have a ton of demands on their time – farming, answering inquiries, marketing listings, keeping up on social media, running clients to showings, managing their budget, and keeping their important partnerships intact. No one I know thinks real estate is a 9 – 5 job. But they still find it worth the work.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make time management easier. Here are four. Take a look at these and see what you can implement next week – you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes!

Automate Your Lead Follow-up

If you’ve read many of my blog posts, you know I’m a huge advocate of marketing automation. That’s because before I implemented it, I was losing 70% of my leads because I simply didn’t have time to follow up with everyone. Now that I’ve automated my follow-up, I lose ZERO leads. The transformation has been amazing.

Automated follow-up sounds very impersonal, but it’s not. I use Infusionsoft, and couldn’t be more in love with its versatility. You can customize not only the emails – which can include the customer name and other personalization – but the actual flow of email itself. Based on what the reader clicks, you can trigger different email paths. It’s the ultimate in reacting to each customer individually.

I wrote a post that gives far more details about this a few months ago, called “How to Have a Full-Time Marketing Assistant for $199/month”. Take a look if you’re interested!

Be Choosy with Social Media

I hear so many Realtors® say “You have to be everywhere on social media,” and it makes me cringe. You DON’T have to be everywhere. You simply can’t!! Instead, be choosy. Select 1 – 3 social media platforms that make the most sense for your business demographic and neighborhood. Then, do the absolute best you can with these. It’s far better to have a great presence on a few sites than an inconsistent presence on many.

Like all marketing and relationship building, consistency is the key to success. No Realtor® or real estate office can be consistent on every social media platform in existence. Instead, choose 1 – 3 and focus on building those relationships. You’ll end up with far better marketing results in far less time.

Consider Hiring a Virtual Assistant

In today’s world, you no longer need to have an on-site full time administrative assistant unless you want one. If you’re in a position where you could use the help, but can’t afford a full-time employee, consider hiring a virtual assistant, or VA. A VA is a contract employee that you simply pay an hourly fee. You are not responsible for office space, benefits, or anything else.

A general VA can do basic office work, filter email, answer the phone, mail outreach material, and more. This can make a world of difference in how much time you have available. If you need more specific real estate help, there are also real estate VAs available. These people are often former Realtors®, and can help with more specific real estate paperwork, deal with banks and inspectors, and much more. In either case, a VA is a great solution for an overworked Realtor®.

Systematize Your Prospect Outreach

A lot of us put a TON of thought into what we are going to send our prospects each month/week. We all know that we need a ton of “touches” before we’re going to make a sale, but often we panic because we don’t know what to say. But what if you created a system?

Decide on how many “touches” you want to do, and designate specific content for each one. Touch #1 could be a specific welcome email you write in advance. Touch #2 could be a newsletter. Touch #33 could be a Buyer FAQ. Whatever it is, decide and create it in advance. Then, when a new prospect comes in, they just go into the system. No more deciding what to send – just send the next item on the list. How much easier is that?!

There are tons of ways you can plan your day and organize your time. These four tips are actionable, solid approaches that will dramatically reduce the amount of time certain tasks require. If you put them into practice, you’ll be less harried and more able to focus on what you love – helping people buy and sell homes.

What do you do to focus your time? Share in the comments!

5 Time Saving Tips To Help You Power Through Projects

Building A Business - Time Management
With all of the distractions that happen all day everyday, it’s difficult to stay focused and on task at times. Most of the time, for me!  I feel as if sometimes I am interrupted more than I actually work! It’s frustrating not to get the things done I need to get done.

I had to pull out the big guns and get focused!  Use these five tips to keep yourself focused and power through your projects.

  • Block time and don’t allow any interruptions during that time. Let your family, co-workers, friends and anyone else who you are in frequent contact with that you will absolutely not be available during that time. Make sure you are clear that you plan to be unavailable by any means of communication.

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