It’s Time to Take Learning Seriously

In order to have the lifestyle of an entrepreneur, I had to take real estate seriously.  I had to learn the business and take ownership of learning it.  So I did, I became not just a REALTOR, I became a student of real estate.  If I needed information I made sure I was in the office to ask questions, I showed up to training and I took in person classes.  If I didn’t know something I took ownership of my learning and found the information.

Once when I was in the office, someone called to see a HUD home.   In the early 2000’s, agents or the office had to have a HUD key.  When I would talk to agents about borrowing the key, the agents would not share how to get a key or how working HUD homes worked.  After being frustrated I google how to work with HUD homes.  I read every detail about HUD homes.  Not only did I become an expert, I figured out how to obtain my own HUD key. That’s right! I took ownership of learning.  I got tired of everyone else having the information that I needed.

When a market market is stable, we have a large number of new agents coming to the business.  When business is good starting a new business appears easy.  We have agents entering the business from those that think it’s a get quick rich opportunity, part timers, some of the timers, investors and some full time agents.  Sometimes, I think we made real estate look easy on Instagram.

As a broker owner, real estate speaker and digital marketing instructor, I am amazed that folks still want to just make a phone call to ask a question, but they refuse to show up to class.  I like to say, “I’m not the help desk”.  I think if I started an 800 number line, my phone would never stop ringing with agents that don’t come to class or they can’t, because their full-time job gets in the way.

 “Learn how to Learn or figure out how to figure it out” Carrie J. Little

I love it when agents come to class and then asks for clarity.  If you don’t come to class it’s hard to teach a concept in 5 minutes.  The truth, it’s hard to answer a question on the phone when it really takes a few hours to teach the concept. So, when an agent does call and asks a question, I have to provide the watered down version and then say, “there is so much more to your question, please come to class or watch the online class in our workplace social media site.  If the agent is from another office, I have to refer them back to their managing broker.  On the flip side, I do offer training in my Facebook group Smart Girl Media Live, on YouTube and IGTV.  Join me today.

When I don’t have time to answer the question, I must tell the agent what to do and the agent doesn’t know why they are taking the action I suggested.  The need to just do and then here was no learning involved. When learning isn’t involved you will always be servant to those that have the knowledge.  Learning happens after you’ve taken the class, gotten the experience and then when you asks questions for clarity.  Wouldn’t you rather know the information for yourself?

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” 

“If I teach you how to learn or you learn how to learn, you’ll have a real estate business for a lifetime.”  Carrie J. Little

Running a real estate business without learning is like trying to put together a piece of IKEA furniture without instructions.  Taking the real estate course and working in the real estate business is like putting together the IKEA furniture with the instructions.  You may not have all the pieces and all the holes may not line up well, but you have the information to get the job done.  You may have to call for help and get more pieces but you were better prepared because you already had the instructions.  If you don’t have the instructions or the knowledge, you’re likely to make mistakes.  Agents that wing it and agents that don’t learn this business are more likely to quit, obtain a code of ethics fine, lose their license or never quit their real jobs because they never became proficient.

  • Decide today to take learning seriously
  • Sign up for class, pay attention in class and take notes
  • Share what you’ve learned with others
  • Those that teach remember what they’ve learned
  • Ad education to your annual plan
  • Learn so you Earn

The truth, if you don’t want to be told what do for the rest of your life, learn the business.  If you want to run the business like a business become an agent that learns and agent that seeks to understand.  Learn how to figure out how to figure it out! Wouldn’t you rather be the go to person for the knowledge?  Or would you rather someone else be your boss forever?  Entrepreneurs have to be willing to learn!  With that I implore you, please take learning seriously, learn how to figure things out, come to class and put into practice what you’ve learned.

 

Are you motivated by what you see? 

In today’s social world we are exposed to so much content it’s hard to keep up.  We know more about our friends, family and neighbors than anyone ever cared to know.  Information is at our fingertips in seconds.  I can find out information on just about anyone or business, on any social media platform right now, because the world is telling us in real time.

In many cases, I love the information highway and the fact that I can learn so quickly.  Learning when I want to learn, is how I want to learn.  Not when you tell me.  I often wonder how I made it out of high school not having a smart phone.  Good thing we had the library and read encyclopedias.

So, what do you really look at on social media? When I look at Instagram, I have access to real estate agents all over the United States and all over the world to see how they work.  Many agents are famous on Instagram. Some of us are famous on Instagram and sell real estate. Some of us are famous on Instagram and when we look up their numbers, they’re just famous on Instagram. I’m not knocking those that aren’t selling real estate but are famous on Instagram, However, if you’re famous on Instagram, hopefully you are using that platform to talk to the consumer and educate the consumer, so you can sell real estate.  We had to start somewhere!

If the truth be told, and you look up my numbers I’m not selling real estate. Do i have an answer? Of course, I am now a real estate broker owner of a company in Illinois. I’ve been selling real estate since 2001 and transitioned to an owner in 2017. What I learned from my previous brokerage, is that the managing broker really needed to be available to train and educate the agents in the office. Otherwise, the owner/managing broker, if they are selling real estate, they become the competition for the agents in the office. I am not saying that the owner shouldn’t sell, however if you are going to own a company, you may want to look at the model you want for your company. You may want to be the leader of your company and become the lead generator.  Then all the business goes under your multiple listing service ID.  Then the agents work for you and they go out and work with your clients or the business that you build with lead generation.  This model is where you’re the person that talks to the clients and manages the business.

Before opening my brokerage, CarMarc Realty Group, I encouraged my husband to get his license so I could run the company and he could work with our clients. As I’m writing this blog post, I currently have 26 agents including myself. I found that I need to be able to answer questions via phone, text and email.

Ask yourself this question, are you driven or motivated by what you see on social media? If you decide to be like other agents on social media, make sure they comply with your license law and the code of ethics. Just because someone has an awesome Instagram account, doesn’t mean they’re ethical.  Agents will often challenge me and say, Carrie, “this agent is doing it, why can’t I?” My response is “If that agent jumped off a building are you going to follow along?”  Or do you want to be your authentic you? Agents aren’t always successful online first.

Agents that generate leads or have a huge following on social media, might already have a huge network, allowing for lead generation to come easy.  Remember, you can’t beat what you copy. Emulating what other agents do on social media, may or may not be a great idea.   It doesn’t mean that you’re going to beat the other agent business, but you need to think about what you want out of your social media for real estate. You could be the most popular agent on Instagram and the most broke agent on Instagram. When I started selling real estate in 2001, I had an 11-year-old, an almost 3 1/2-year-old and I became pregnant.  My goal was to make a living not a killing.  Learn from other agents, can you emulate what they do, however, you won’t be your authentic you.  We didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, dig, delicious, stumbled upon, reddit, Instagram and Snapchat. We had to generate business, via the mailbox, networking, newspaper ads, and maybe a billboard.  For me making a living included, going to the swimming pool as often as I could with my kids every summer.  Therefore, I planned my day so I could be a parent that would spend time with my kids while they were young.

As of today, my youngest, who knows what a commission check is, is in his last year of high school. Now I can run a company, educate the agents in my office, help my agents close deals, train agents all over the United States, train office staff, and write a blog post and create videos and a podcast.  “I love what I do.”

Ask yourself this question, “what do you really want?”  Do you want to be like me, the agent on Instagram or do you want to be like you? I challenge you to sit down and write down your goals. I challenge you to come up with what you want out of real estate. That might change in 5 years.

You don’t have to do what everyone else does on social media. Remember, you can’t beat what you copy.  Your goal is to grow every year in business, not copy other agents, but a successful business while building your own brand.  If you’re motivated by what you see then you can’t be your authentic you!  Trust when I say, everyone knows when you are trying to be someone else.  So, Be your authentic you!

3 Brokers Walk Into a Bar

Professionalism, training hurdles, commissions, and sales meeting incentives were among the hot topics in this first-in-a-series chat with broker-owners.

January – February 2019 – by Erica Christoffer

What happens when you bring together a group of broker-owners to dish about the business and share ideas for addressing common problems? For this chat, the first in a series, the magazine invited a group of industry pros for a beverage at a Legal Seafood eatery in Boston. They were in town for the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in November. Whether it’s how to deal with lagging professionalism in the industry or what it takes to run an inspiring sales meeting, the candid conversation provides a glimpse into the everyday challenges facing the broker community.

The path to improved professionalism

Scott: Professionalism is lacking when agents are left to their own devices.  Read more…….

Source: 3 Brokers Walk Into a Bar

 

No Leads on Facebook? I have the Solution!!

I was recently asked this question…… 📽 ⭐I’ve been creating videos for 30 days on Social Media and still no leads. Guess What? I have the solution. ⭐🎥

If you are creating videos consistently and still no leads, then you must make a few adjustments.

1. Create different content. Are you boring? Get rid of the same old content. Tell your network something new and relevant.

2. Engage with your network – like and engage on their posts consistently.

3. Invite people to your business page. They will come if you just ask.

4. Connect with more people on Facebook – you need a bigger network – your network determines your net-worth

5. Create content in your business page – then boost it two days later with a landing page

6. Create a YouTube channel with your videos – horizontal videos only

7. Consistency is key. Keep creating and building content with video. Houses aren’t built in a day and neither will your social media.

Your Past Employment Prepared you for Real Estate

What was your first “Real Job”?  Did you hate it or love it?  Every job you’ve ever worked can help you transition into real estate.

I loved my first job at TJMaxx back in the late 80’s.  Who doesn’t want to work where they shop?  At TJMaxx learned how to customize clothing racks, clean the sales floor and check out TJmaxx customers at the cash register.  Let’s not discuss minimum wages in the 80’s.  😊.  My second job was at Sears Roebuck & Company.  I pretty much preformed the same job functions at Sears as TJMaxx.  However, at Sears, I eventually promoted to Supervisor in the children’s department then later to custom decorating.  Custom decorating was the department that managed draperies and shades for the real estate industry.

When I realized my income wasn’t going to change much, I began my job search again to one day be employed by Kissane Business System, the place where my technology career took off.  From there I went to NEC Technologies where I eventually managed all the demonstration equipment for the United States and Canada.    While at NEC, I decided to complete my BS in Business Management.  The great thing about working for corporate is that they will often assist with tuition reimbursement.

After NEC I worked for a non-profit where I managed the television department.   I learned how to work with television stations, edit video and build short commercials.  lAfter leaving one non-profit, I ended up working for another, a local church working as an administrative assistant.   Only part-time so I could be available for my kids.

While at the local Church I decided to go back the College of DuPage to earn my Real Estate Sales person license in 2001.  After passing the exam I began my part-time real estate career with a large Chicagoland brokerage.  So why all this history?  Every job I’ve held gave me different skills that would easily translate into real estate.  So, let’s break this down:

  1. As a retail sales person I learned how to take direction from authority. You’d think we’d learn this from our parents, right.   I also learned how to organize clothes, pick up after other people and handle someone else’s money.
  2. As a sales person and supervisor, I learned how to manage different personalities, work with customer service issues from frustrated clients and close a large retail store. Who knew I’d get the keys to Sears before the age of 21.  I gained their trust.
  3. As a customer service report for the Sears Custom Drapery department, I learned how to read measurements for draperies, pleated shades, shades, blinds and more. This is the job that made me re-think learning how to type.
  4. Kissane Business Systems is the company that hired me based on my twin sisters’ skills. Yes, I had to go to Triton College and take a typing class because I was hired to be the admin to the VP of Sales. Yeah, I learned how to type fast.  😊.   This where I learned the most about business.  They were a small business that sold computers, typewriters, and printers to companies like McDonald’s and Boston Chicken.  I learned how to create invoices, worked with accounts receivables, accounts payables, type letters, work with annual rental contracts while assisting an executive.  Oh, I made the coffee too.  I also was one of the first users on SAP accounting software in the early 90’s.
  5. When I made the leap to NEC technologies I started as a temp agent. After working in their A/V repairs department I was quickly promoted to assistant the department manager.  Then I took a new position in their sales department where I would manage the company’s demo equipment used by sales people.  I worked closely with the transportation department and off-site warehouse management teams.
  6. Then the big switch to a non-profit where I learned how to use professional television cameras, commercial editing equipment, and have connections local television stations.
  7. My last job, before starting my real estate career, was at a church. This is where I learned about 5013c’s, LLC’s and corporations.   I also created flyers, bulletins, balanced the bank account using QuickBooks monthly, entered payroll and deposited the church offerings at the bank.  I also cleaned the bathrooms in the office, cleaned the church bathrooms and cleaned the kitchen.  In addition to this,I was tasked with finding a “Free Mobile” classroom for kid’s church.
  8. Out of all these past careers, I also volunteered at Mothers and More where we raised over $50k twice a year.
  9. I worked as a legal assistant for McDonald’s Real Estate East Coast division where I learned about the commercial real estate industry and how to work with attorneys.

Many people get into real estate without a real estate background and have no a clue about the industry.  However, if you take about an hour, the time it took me to write this blog post, you’ll be able to look at your prior job history and incorporate into real estate.  And here is how:

  1. If you’ve worked in retail, you already understand how to work with buyers and sellers. You’ve figured how to deal with every personality type, provide excellent customer service, sell products and add new inventory.
  2. Working in Custom Decorating helps me understand what to look for in window treatments for any home. Yes, I know what’s out dated and what’s in style today.  What you can keep in the home and what “must” go.
  3. My administrative skills translate into transaction management, letter writing, organization and follow through. I created manuals to train others on the same systems I was using.  Today, I had to create manuals for new agents and for our admin staff.
  4. I learned how to use creative software by designing bulletins and flyers for the church, designing covers for audio sales at the non-profit, creating Newsletters for the church, invitations for parties and weddings.
  5. After working in technology, I can pick up new software tools quickly. I understand how they function and if the tool will work for my business.
  6. In 2006 I started training adults for free on how to use computers. I love watching adults learn something new and integrate it into their daily lives.
  7. Were you a stay at home parent? Did you take care of everyone else’s needs?  If so, you’re perfect for real estate.  This is exactly what we do everyday, create a process that’s seamless for every client.  We are the keep it together group.
  8. When I volunteered, I learned how to work with people I didn’t know, I learned how to raise lots of money for a worthy cause, and get the skills needed to speak like I do today.
  9. Have you worked in the financial industry, If so, learn how to read real estate data and explain it to your new buyers and sellers. This is huge for real estate agents.  Once you understand the data, the rest of what we do is easy.

Every job I’ve had prepared me to open a real estate company.  We all have different job histories.  Now take time to figure out how this translates into real estate for you.

Next steps:

Write a list of your job history and figure out how it translates to real estate today.  You’ve got this.  If you’re not tech savvy, start by taking classes at the library, the community college and watch my Carrie’s YouTube Channelvideos.  Join me in one of my Facebook Groups.  www.SmartGirlMediaLive.com or www.TheRealStreamingEstate.com

The Social Sip – May 3rd

Join Marki Lemons-Rhyal and Carrie J. Little in West Chicago for the Social Sip.

May 3rd at 6pm to 8pm.  Social Media Live and done right.  Click to get your tickets today.

Tickets

the social sip (5)

The Social Sip

The Business of Social Media

6pm – 6:20 – Networking

– Facebook Ads That Work

– Instagram and Facebook – Integrating the two

– Build a Content Marketing plan

– Convert viewers into Closings

Wine & Beer and Heavy Appetizers

Sponsored by First American Title and Champagne Closings

smartgirlmedia.com

 

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!

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.

Drip Campaigns Saved My Life!

As an agent, I am overloaded with inquires, potential clients, future clients and the ones that need my attention right now.  Chaos was my best friend.  My daily routine was working in chaos.  I had to do something.  So I did, I started using a drip campaign system that freed up at least 2 hours a day of my time.  More time to work with clients, writing and lead generation.  I was already using Mailchimp as an email marketing tool for my clients, however, I needed more.

I love using Mailchimp for email marketing.  It works great when sending e-blasts to clients, agents, and strategic partners.   This awesome tool to keeps me in front of my past clients, current clients, agents that request my schedule, and updates on the market place. Although I really love Mailchimp, I’ve come to realize that in order to be successful you need a drip campaign system.  What is a drip campaign?

A drip campaign is an automated process that provides relevant information to your buyers and sellers based on their current stage in the buying and selling process.  The campaign sends automated emails or text messages to your clients based on the emails or text messages you choose.  Many systems have pre-created campaigns.  Click and go!  Takes seconds.  I use Liondesk, a great tool for only about $25/month.   I stay in front of the client while I work with active clients.  No excuse, my buyers will always know I am in the business of selling real estate.

Things to know about Drip Campaigns:

  1. Drip Campaigns help you follow up with your clients automatically.
  2. Agents can build their own campaigns that send auto emails based on the information you want them to have.
  3. These campaigns keep you in front of the buyer or seller so they don’t forget who you are.
  4. Gives you the freedom to work with your “HOT clients” while the client in the incubation phase, receives timely updates on the market and the areas they’re interested in. Keeps you “Top of Mind” with the future client.
  5. Using a drip campaign let’s your clients know that you are still in the business of selling real estate.
  6. Allows you to re-direct your database to your social media or website.
  7. Drip campaigns can be used for past clients, current clients and future clients.

Example of a drip campaign:

Lead signs up for your offer on Facebook –>3 days later you send a new email with market information –> 3 days later you provide a link to “What’s Your Home worth” –> and so on.  Great content keeps the consumer clicking –> you follow up via phone, email or text and schedule the appointment.

Choose 4-8 collegesthat match youracademic profile.

Once you’ve selected the best CRM start a drip campaign right away.   Always ask for the new lead.  You have not because you ask NOT.  Most buyers start the home buying process online months before they reach out to an agent.  So make sure you’re the agent of choice.  Top of mind all the time.  And by the way, When you upgrade your mail chimp account, building drip campaigns is are easier to build for any business.

The Quickest Way to Capture a Lead

The Quickest Way to Capture a Lead with the Least Amount of Money.

In 2001, I became a REALTOR and the only thing that mattered to me was whether or not I would make money.  I wanted to generate a lead, with little to no cost, the fastest way I possibly could.   I walked my subdivision, went to laundromats, and apartment complexes with doorknob bags   I put flyers that said, “Warning Renting is Hazardous to Your Wealth”. Whatever i could to generate a leads with the least amount of expense.  When I talk to new agents, agents that have been in the industry for many years, and those that are redefining their businesses all want the same thing.  They want to generate and convert leads into closed transactions.

On April 16th, 2016, in my Cubs T-shirt, I went “live” on Facebook and talked to my followers on the steps to home ownership.  The live event was only 2 minutes.   In that 2 minutes I talked shared on:

  1. The steps to purchasing a home
  2. If you’re a college graduate you can purchase after graduation – yes, there are rules.  Talk to a lender!
  3. How I can negotiate your down payment.
  4. If you’re paying rent you are paying a mortgage.  Just not your own mortgage.

I didn’t look my best.  However, the consumer often needs to see that we are real people.  Even if, we can’t see because of the sun, if we have chapped lips, and no makeup there is an opportunity to generate new business.

From this short live video I’ve closed 6+ deals.  In the first 24 hours one of my high school friends sent a private message on Facebook that he was already approved to purchase.  This buyer closed in June and the other 5 deals closed before the end of October.  The first days I build what are called organic leads.  Leads that come from people that are already on my Facebook Business Page.

Take advantage of Facebook ADS.  Below is a short video on using your email list to target your database.  I don’t finish the ad, however, I show how to build the custom list using your network.