10 Reasons to go Paperless

Featured

Have you ever needed a document while on vacation? How about when you are out of the office or showing a house and your buyer wants to write and offer? You call the office and the office admin is too busy to send you the necessary documents. Or better yet, you are in the office and you can’t find the necessary documents to write an offer. If any of this sounds like YOU, then maybe it’s time to consider going paperless.

As a licensed real estate professional, former project manager, television producer, stay at home CEO” mom”, former legal assistant and secretary, I really understand what it’s like to make sure I have access to documents. I can remember having to copy documents and put them in the front of my suitcase, so I could have access to them when traveling. Ugh, who really wants to do that? If you’re not a paperless agent, it’s time to go paperless.

Today, I am managing broker owner of CarMarc Realty Group in West Chicago Illinois.  My goal was to open an office that was innovative with the latest technologies.  The agents in our office are paperless and in a constant mode of learning.  Going paperless isn’t an option.  When you work for CarMarc you must become a paperless agent.  The next gen agent wants this technology.  How about you?

10 Reasons to go paperless

1. Access your files from any Tablet, Smart Phone or PC

2. Sign Documents using your Tablet, Laptop or PC

3. Documents are always legible.

4. Share files with your affiliates, clients and office staff in one logical place—Your Virtual Filing Cabinet.

5. Easier to follow up with your buyers and sellers.

6. Email and split documents from the cloud.

7. Provides the ability to share your documents with an agent that’s helping you while you’re out of the office.

8. Write an offer from your car, in a restaurant, at the airport, just about anywhere.

9. Never lose a file again. Stop carrying that ugly bin in the trunk of your car.

10. Your Staff Will Love You!

If you aren’t paperless today, consider signing up for a paperless class with Docusign. If you’re an MRED agent, MRED will send an instructor to your office if you have 8 agents.

Advertisements

10 Ways to Generate Content for Facebook Live & Periscope

Be your own broadcaster.  Take over your market place with your smartphone.  Don’t think you can do it?  Neither did I.  Before I open my own real estate firm, one video produced 1.9 million in volume.  I love proving that social media works, if you work it!  Start today and create content that people want to view.

10 Ways to Generate Content

Talk about the home buying process and the selling process.  This is the one that lead to 10+ transactions.  1,900,000 million in volume.  

  1. Share information about your market place. What types of homes are in your city?  Do you live or work in an area with a specialty home?  I happen to live in a city where we have Sears homes.  These homes were available for purchase via the Sears catalog.  How about the history of your city?
  2. Come up with information that the person moving to your city may not know.  Example: Do you know why highways have exits in the middle of the highway verses the outer sides? 
  3. What can you share that will create a “Click Thru, Call To Action, Share, ……..”?
  4. What’s happening in the cities you work in? Upcoming events, Farmers Markets, Things to know about the city, and the park district.
  5. Grab content from RPR – Neighborhood statistics, economic data, and city information.
  6. Do you have a real estate niche? Share that information in your live broadcast.  Luxury Real estate, 1st time buyers, commercial, how to prepare to own a home, home maintenance, the fastest way to pay down your mortgage or how to become an investor.
  7. Share information from your multiple listing service. Example: Breaking news – There are 125 pre-foreclosures in the city of _______________.  Go to a specific lead capture form to request a list from area.  Always share accurate information and reference the source.
  8. Explain the impact on your market place. Has it improved or declined.  How long does it take to sell a home?  When is the best time to list a home?  When is the best time to purchase a home?
  9. Check out Cloud CMA’s “What’s My Home Worth”? lead capture form. Talk about home value.  Then offer What’s My Home Worth link.
  10. How about a “Live” Session where your followers can ask you about Real Estate”?  Ask me your real estate questions live every Thursday at 7pm.

CONTENT FOR LIVE cj

Becoming a live broadcaster might be intimidating for many.  However, if you plan your live broadcast you’ll find live streaming to be easy.   Don’t expect your 1st videos to be perfect.  There are many that go live and are great off the cuff, However, if that’s not you, here are a few tips.

  • Consider pre-marketing your broadcast via email or social media. Announce when you’ll go live.
  • Make sure you have a strong connection – nothing like going live and you drop the broadcast.
  • Remind your viewers to subscribe to your broadcasts and share with their friends.
  • Write down talking points so you have something to bring your ideas back to memory.
  • Thank your followers and acknowledge them by name. You can do this before the broadcast starts, during the broadcast or at the end.  Do what make sense for your business.
  • Always thank people for watching and ask them to come back.
  • The more you go live the more followers you’ll get. So, “Go Live Often”.
  • The longer you broadcast you’ll reach more people. Look at your analytics and go live when your followers are online.

There is no magic formula for live streaming.   The results will be different for everyone.  Be your authentic you. Tell a great story and just do it!  Subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

From Chaos to Lead Gen

2003 was the year I was exposed to one of the best lead generating conferences available to real estate agents.  The event was two days with hundreds of agents from all over the United States.  One of the breakout sessions included focusing on where you are in your business.  The speaker said, “Are you living in Success, Stability or Survival?”  I was shocked to discover that I was operating my business and my family life in Survival mode.  Chaos was it!  I was moving without purpose.  I had to change my thinking, what I was speaking, what I was reading and learning.  Are you living in Chaos, #Survival?  If you said, “yes”.  I have a plan for you.

 

Going from Chaos to lead generation will look different for each of you.  In order to change my life and business I begin to see myself in my new position and life.  Positive confessions do work.  I am not here to change your beliefs, this is what worked for me.  I started reading the bible, books on success and determining to learn something new every month.   When I determined to get back on track my revelations included:

  1. Know your purpose – If you have a purpose for your life it’s easy to get up in the morning and get to work. Purpose is the one thing that makes you get up in the morning.  The one thing you have to live for.
  2. Start speaking what you want in your life. In 1995, I watch a speaker, Bob Harrison, speak and motivate others to reach their dreams.  After hearing him speak, I begin to say that what he was doing is what I will be doing one day.  Today is that day.  I have the opportunity to motivate and educate real estate agents and other industry professionals.  Write a list of things you will accomplish and state them daily.stop-3089945_1920
  3. Write down your goals. If you can’t see it, you won’t achieve it.  Write your vision and make it plain.  There is truth in writing your goals on paper, a vision board or in a place where you can ready your goals daily or as often as possible.
  4. Have a plan for your business. If you are a real estate agent plan your day, week, month and quarter.  What will you do to generate leads, follow up with clients, and track your business?
  5. Build a success list. When you reach a new goal tell someone and check it off the list.  Build your success list so it’s achievable.  When you reach your weekly, monthly and annual goals moving forward becomes easier.
  6. Track where your business comes from. Know where your business comes from so you can perfect it or make changes to make the lead generation process easier.
  7. Review your goals and adjust when necessary.  Change is inevitable.  Reinvent your business and stay ahead of the trend.

Today, I am a successful speaker.  Businesses and Organizations reach out to me for services. I’ve been invited to speak nationally, state and local levels.  Years ago I wrote down my vision and began to see myself educating others.  Now it’s your turn.  If you believe it, you can achieve it.

Get on the road to lead generation for your business.  Start believing that you will be successful.  Get the negative talk out of your life and see yourself as a successful entrepreneur. Are you living the life you expected?  If not, start seeing yourself as a lead generator, see yourself with clients, and see yourself as a successful agent or entrepreneur.   Take negative talk out of your vocabulary.

Amazon Go! Will there be a Real Estate Go?

Amazon Go is changing the way we shop

It’s all about speed for the consumer.  What does this mean for the real estate.  I’ve been saying this since years, making technology a part of your routine and learning process is crucial for the real estate agent’s success. I have the opportunity to educate agents all over the United States and I am deeply concerned for the agents that won’t embrace technology.  The Consumer wants it now and if you think the “Go” world won’t affect our industry, just wait.  I am sure someone is already thinking about how we can make real estate, faster, easier and similar to Amazon Go.    So, what is Amazon Go?

Amazon Go is a new way of shopping in the Brick and Mortar Store.   The name says it all.  You just walk in, Shop, and Go.  Just leave the store and the Amazon app bills your account.   When you walk into the Amazon Go store you scan your app and put your phone away.  The Amazon app recognizes what you purchase as you grab them.

I can see it now, the future of real estate.  The consumer secures a loan, the agent shows the home and the consumer clicks an app to make an offer.  Many agents would panic! and I would say, “The agent that embraced technology won’t be replace” “Make sure you know your market place and technology”.  Then, when Real Estate GO, emerges you are ready for the change.   The professional, tech savvy agent can adjust with change.  What can you do to stay prepared for what might happen to our industry?

  1. Sign up for social media classes – it’s not going away, whether you embrace it or not, the next generation is using it! So, why won’t you?
  2. Stay current with real estate trends. If your only focus is making a living, eventually you’ll be applying for a “Real” job. Don’t get left behind because you refuse to learn.
  3. Sign up for technology classes. What’s new in technology?  Can you sign a document electronically?  If you had to write an offer right now, using DocuSign or dotloop, could you?
  4. Sign up for a google alert to watch technology trends – Yes, I want you to read.
  5. Do you understand Data Trends and how Data impacts our industry?
  6. Learn something new often!
  7. Join Marki Lemons and I on The Real Streaming Estate where we teach technology to real estate professionals.
  8. Take ownership of change.

 

 

 

You Have All This Stuff and No Engagement!

Social Media is a great platform to increase your bottom line.  However, if you are just a poster, sharer or liker it’s time to get back to building relationships and great content.   If you build it they will come!  Just because you have a Facebook page or an Instagram account doesn’t mean you’ll generate leads.  We all must be intentional in our marketing and with relationships.   So how do we create engagement?  What do our followers or future followers want from us on social media?

  1. They want relevant content – are you the thought leader in your market place? Tell me something I don’t know. Provide content that encourages a click, engagement or a lead.
  2. Followers want authenticity – be yourself and tell your story. We all have something to share.   I like telling my story of home ownership.  I purchased my first home in 1997 with little money down.  However, I had to pay $900 per month for five months, to the builder, until I closed.
  3. Information that makes them engage – What can you tell your audience that creates engagement? Are you running a marathon?  If so, tell your audience and encourage them to join you as you run or prepare for the race.   Do you volunteer?  Show us how you help the community.
  4. Information that makes us think – Have you ever wondered why someone would buy a house on a busy street? Me too!  Now go research why and share it.
  5. Video that makes your audience watch, listen or read. –  Are you renovating your home?  Show me the before, during and after.  One day I’ll show you my closet!  Create short video clips then piece them together in iMovie or VivaVideo.   Become a brand ambassador for your business.
  6. The power of the Hashtag on Facebook and Instagram. Hashtags are a group of words the bring a conversation together.   Test Hashtags by following your favorite businesses or television shows on social media by searching for their Hashtag.  I follow the #GoodDoctor on Twitter to join the conversation.

Take the necessary steps to build your social media, engage with your followers today!

Are You Branded on Social Media?

Selling real estate today is much different from the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s.   I started selling real estate in 2001.  Then we walked, cold called and asked our sphere of influence for referrals.  Creating postcards, emails and newsletters was simple.  We used tools like publisher and adobe illustrator to design marketing.  Today any agent can take over a market simply by building a social personality that shares relevant content, important community information with an authentic persona.  In the world of real estate, agents are in charge of managing their brands.  The current trend for many companies is to allow agents to co-brand.

Building a brand in real estate is essential for online marketing.  Who we are in direct marketing and in person must translate to the digital space.  If you are a direct marketer in real estate making the transition in brand awareness on social media, email, blogs and your website is not a difficult task.  Today, there are tools like Canva that make it easy for any agent to build creative work that can be redesigned in seconds for any social platform.   There is no excuse, every agent can compete in the online arena.

  • Do you want to be relevant in a few years? If so, it’s important to become an online personality.
  • Do you have a personal brand? If not, get started NOW, not tomorrow.
  • Does the consumer know who you are before they schedule an appointment with you? Not sure, google yourself and check your following on your social media accounts. If we can’t learn about you, neither can the consumer.
  • Are you posting and receiving engagement from your network? Not sure, Go Check!
  • No Engagement? Don’t worry, start responding to posts. Not just your posts, your networks posts.

A personal brand is, “the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. … Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization.” (Wikipedia)

The next generation agent is good at this.  They’ve been using technology for as long as they can remember.   I remember when my oldest son was three years old.  His childcare center offered computer classes.  24 years later he a computer whiz.  My most recent college student has her own online brand.  The youngest of the group is building his own YouTube channel.  They are just good at tech, not because they took classes, it’s because they always had an opportunity to use the technology.   If you’re not good at the technology, start playing with it.   Trial and error can be the best way to learn.

Building your own personal brand will put you in front of the consumer before they have an opportunity to meet you.   I always find it fascinating when I’m approached and someone says, “Carrie, I feel like I already know you.”  Our sphere of influence is an important part of helping our businesses thrive.  We count on our friends, family and past clients to be our Brand Ambassadors.  We want them to tell people how “fabulous” we are as agents.  The same applies to online, we need our social pages, email marketing, YouTube channels and traditional marketing to showcase our personal brands and our expertise.  Generating new business and repeat business has never been so easy.  The internet doesn’t turn off.  The idea that the consumer can find us 24 hours a day should excite all of you.

Showcase your brand on all platforms.  Are you and your business recognizable on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Snapchat and Instagram.   Are you a brand or are you all over the place?   Take inventory of your social media today.

The Top 7 Reasons We Don’t Act on Social Media!

Acting is often the easiest step to take when starting something new.  So, why won’t we ACT?  There are many reason we don’t act or simply start.   When I educate agents on social media and digital marketing, the comments I hear include:

Carrie, “I’m just too old.”

“I don’t want everyone to see my personal information”

“What if I make a mistake?”

“I don’t have time to learn something new.”

“Who has time for this?”

“I’m not sure where to begin”

The list goes on and on.  Many have excuses, however, if the truth be told, the way we engage with consumers is changing.  If we don’t ACT on Social Media, we might be replaced by the agent that is willing to ACT.

Maybe I can help.  If you are challenged with the Top 7 Reasons We Don’t Act on Social Media, I have solutions for you.  Don’t let the 7 Reasons keep you from acting.

1. Not sure where to begin? Pick one of your social media accounts and schedule time to learn it.  Have conversation with the people on your personal page.  If you have a business page, share content about your communities, your listings, upcoming events and things to do in the areas you farm.

2. I don’t have time for social media. No time for social media?  Really? You have time to build a brand, generate leads, and build relationships.  We do this everyday.  If you adjust your week and schedule your social media marketing, you can take time to be social.   There are many ways to plan your social media marketing.  You may choose to take 15 minute a day to market on social media.  Another option might be to take two hours, one day, a week to pre-schedule your marketing.   What works for you?  How much time do you spend talking in the office?  Take this time to plan your social media.

3. I don’t know the rules for advertising on social media – The rules are simple.  Read the terms of agreement for social media.  Facebook wants you to have a business page if you are selling something.  Adhere to real estate license law and the Code of Ethics.  If your goal is to generate a lead when you post on social media, make sure the average consumer knows who the sponsoring brokerage is, don’t share other agents listings without permission and don’t share anything that’s a violation of Fair Housing.   Think before you post.  If it doesn’t seem right, it might not be ok to post.

4. I don’t have any followers! You didn’t have buyers and sellers when you became a real estate agent.   THINK!  How can you gain followers on social media?  Add your social media links to your direct mail marketing, to your email signature, and invite your sphere to like your pages with an email blast.

5. Video – No way, I do not want to be seen on camera. I am with you on this one!  I don’t like to be seen on camera.  I don’t even like to watch my own videos.   If the truth be told, I create video and avoid watching them.   When I was a teenager I would break out in a sweat if I had to speak in front of the class.  Couldn’t figure out why.  Now I know.  When you know your subject speaking in front of people or video is easy.  So, If I can do it, you can do it.

6. I don’t know what to say on video or Facebook Live, Instagram Live or Periscope. Just like talking to your clients you can talk on video.   When you became a new agent, you were scripted.  We used notes to speak intelligently to our clients.   That’s exactly what you’ll do when creating video.   Script yourself.  Use bullet points to begin.  If you’re extremely uncomfortable have someone interview you.   Try the prompter app from your Google Play Store or your Apple App store to get started.

7. Procrastination – most struggle with not starting because of anxiety and stress. We often procrastinate because learning something new might be difficult.   Don’t let putting off something new.  Start using social media on purpose today.

Social Media has been around for years.  Many of the early, non-college students, began using Facebook in 2008 or 2009.   If you were lucky enough to start using social media in the early adoption years, understanding the functionality is easier to understand.  If not, don’t waste another day.  Integrate social media marketing into your business plan.  Visit my YouTube channel on Facebook and get started today.

Leverage Video on Social Media

Creating video is easy.  Even if you don’t want to be on camera, you can build awesome videos.  Using today’s smartphone, anyone can be a videographer.

The starting point:

  1. Create videos with your smartphone
  2. Keep the phone horizontal (unless you are on snapchat, messenger or Instagram live!)
  3. Pick a subject
  4. Write 5 to 10 bullet points on a sheet of paper (REALLY BIG so you can read it)
  5. Then create your video – if you don’t want to be seen, make sure what you are sharing is relevant.
  6. Post the video

Sample video – Cory Little- Basketball

Next steps – Creating a 60 spot!  Think of 30 to 60 seconds as a commercial.  When you watch TV most commercial are 60 seconds or less.

  1. Create a few video clips with your phone
  2. If you have an iPhone add those videos to iMovie.
  3. If you have a droid phone consider ViviVideo to build your commercial (60 second spot)
  4. With these apps, you can shorten your clips and add the best parts of the video.
  5. You can also turn off sound, add music and add still pictures. I use wordswag, Over, grid apps, legend and quik to enhance my 60 second videos.   Want to learn how?  Click now and invest in your business.

Sample video – Parks in West Chicago

Live Video

  1. It’s not required to plan your live video – but you can plan your live video using the “The Starting point”
  2. When you go live start talking even if no one joins you.  Why? When you end your followers can watch the video later.
  3. Shorter live videos on Facebook allow the user to add captions after the video ends.
  4. Short videos are great for repurposing on YouTube and other social media sites.

Leveraging Video

Facebook

  1. Let your live video or video rest for 24 to 48 hours before paying for advertising
  2. Share your live video to your personal page to gain traction on your business page
  3. Add a photo to your video using canva or picmonkey. Any tool that allows you to build graphics.
  4. Boost your video and target a specific audience. You can also target your email database using the Facebook Ads Manager.

Snapchat, Messenger or Instagram Stories

  1. Build a story around your business
  2. Share tips on what you provide and how the consumer can benefit
  3. Instructions
  4. How to connect with you
  5. Behind the scenes information.

Periscope

  1. Tell your audience when you will go live.
  2. Send an eblast to your database
  3. Welcome people into your live event
  4. Tell people when you will start the actual learning.
  5. How will you answer live questions? As they appear or at the end of the event.
  6. Horizontal video is important if you intend on reusing the video.

Leadpages

Use your video with a lead pages product to sell your information, products or videos.  I use Leadpages to build my landing pages.  A lead page allows me to capture information from the consumer and provide information, count down pages and so much more.   This is the one tool I feel is a must have for any business.

Video Ideas

  • Share relevant content about your product or service
  • Don’t give everything away in the video. Provide a link where the consumer or follower can purchase the full version or the item.  Yes, your landing page built with tools like leadpages.
  • Provide the steps for something! 5 steps to selling your home fast.
  • 10 ways to leverage your LinkedIn account
  • If you’re a real estate agent showcase the cities you work in or the best restaurants
  • How to videos
  • The steps to home ownership

These are only a few ideas for video.  Take a few minutes and write down 12 topics, then break down each topic into 4 segments.  Now you’ll have 52 videos you can create for an entire year.  Yes, it’s that simple.

Want to learn how to create short videos on your iPhone?  Join me on my Facebook Group.  Smart Girl Media Live to get access.

Let’s Talk About the DM

No, DM is not a dirty word!  It’s how we message each other on social media.  My generation is more likely to message via Facebook Messenger.  The next generation is more likely to use Snapchat and Instagram messaging.  I am more likely to

26D49B26-E6F3-4ACF-9B45-11632B8DC7FDreceive a message via Facebook than on my mobile device.  Therefore, who needs text messages on a mobile device when you have Facebook messenger, Snapchat direct message, LinkedIn messaging, Twitter messaging, and Instagram Direct Messages.   I will receive a faster response from my kids on Snapchat then any other tools.

I’ve negotiated a contract via Direct Message, followed up with clients, generated leads from a Facebook Live video and created group chats to follow up with my grade school friends.  My friends are more likely to respond to a Facebook Direct Message than from a text message.  Snapchat has changed the way I communicate with my techy friends, my real estate friends and my national connections.

Direct messaging isn’t new and today it appears that Direct messaging is the new “Cold Call”.   We are spammed with automated DM’s to follow a business page or to check out a new thingy that someone is selling.   If you’re a real estate agent only going for the hard sale in a DM you’re missing an opportunity to connect and generate a lead.  A great way to master the DM on your platform of choice are:

  1. Know your audience, friends, family and sphere of influence. Are you connecting better on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Snapchat?  I’m more likely to a response from Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.  Why? These are my preferred platforms.
  2. IMG_8551Are you using the DM like an “Old School Cold Call”? Guess What? If you are, we are blocking you.  If you call me to sell something without being a part of my network or a personal relationship you’re as good as blocked.  I am more likely to connect with you when we’ve connected in person, I already know you personally or you’re offering to help me.   Give before the ask.
  3. If you’re going to automate your Direct Message Marketing with tools like IFTTT, then consider the “thank you” response. How can you help the person you’ve just connected with?  Are you an affiliate for the real estate industry?  Provide a coupon for an agent’s client.  Come to a networking event and meet an agent in person.  Make the relationship personal and intentional.  Get to know your network.  YPN or Women’s Council is a great way to engage face to face.  We want to see you as well as engage on social media.

4. Lead Generation – Direct messaging is a great way to generate leads.IMG_8549 However, you’re more likely to generate those leads from people you already know or those that reach out to you.  In the last 30 days, I receive two direct messages that have resulted into leads.  One of those leads was a direct message from Snapchat.  The other message was from Facebook Messenger.  That lead should generate a new listing in the next 30 days.

5. How to generate leads with direct messaging! Make sure people know you’re in business. Use LIVE social media to tell people your story.  Who is your audience?  Tell your audience what they get from contacting you. If you’re a real estate agent remind your social network.  Don’t let them forget that you’re in the business of buying, selling and creating lifestyle home ownership opportunities.