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.

 

 

What Do You Really Want?

Everyone wants something out of life.  It might be success, a new job, a vacation, more money, flexibility or maybe to reach a childhood dream.  In order to get what you really want we have to change our thinking.  To complete our journeys, we need to reassess where we are today.   It’s often hard to reach our dreams because life seems to get in the way.  We have jobs, family, kid’s sports, kid’s recitals, and every day chores.   One thing is for sure, it’s never too late to get back on the path to success and reach our dreams.

If you could have what you really want, what would it be?  Yes, pause, write down what you really want.  It might be to write a book, blog, increase your income or more free time.  Whatever it is you can have what you really want with commitment.  The journey is really simple, if you start with a purpose, getting what you really want is easier than you think.  When you have a purpose for what you do it’s easier to get up in the morning and focus on what you really want.  I absolutely love helping real estate agents reach their full potential using technology, social media and the tools they access every day.  The thrill of seeing others succeed actually gives me energy and excitement.

Get back on the path to success today.  The Journey really does start with you.  I challenge you to write down what you really want.   Here are a few ways to get started.

  1. Write down what you want – What is the one thing you want?
  2. What is your purpose? Why do you want what you really want?  Dream BIG!
  3. Block time to work on your one thing. Don’t let anyone distract you.  Not the phone, social media or email.  Shut the door and focus.  Let others know you have set an appointment to focus.
  4. Consider reading the book, “The One Thing”.

journey-starts-with-you

This year my one thing is to blog every week.  I created a blog calendar in December with specific themes each month.  If the conversation is changing online, I’ve given myself permission to change the blog post.  I block time to write, create video and schedule my blog.  My vision is to become the go to person for Digital Marketing and Analytics for Agents, Real Estate companies, associations and small businesses.

What’s do you really want?  Share it and tell us that your journey has begun.

Guaranteed Ways To Increase Lead Generation on Social Media

March 2001, I decided to enroll in the real estate pre-license course. I guess you could say I was tired of the Monday – Friday work week.  My class met every Monday and Wednesday evening.  To this day, I think the real estate course was one of the hardest courses I’d ever taken.  I studied every day and signed up to take the exam within a week of the class ending. Yep, I passed the first time taking the exam.  Passing the exam may have been difficult, but what’s hard is learning how to sell real estate.  Securing leads and turning those leads into clients isn’t as easy as I’d hoped.  The one thing I figured out before finishing the course was to ask my friends to wait until I finished the class to sell their homes.   It’s a good thing I asked for the sale.

July 1, 2001, I listed my first home and sold it in 30 days.  After my first 3 transactions, I did whatever was necessary to generate a lead.  I walked my subdivision, put flyers in laundry-mats, took flyers to apartment complexes and held home buyer seminars.  Anything to keep marketing costs down.   My favorite call to action was, “Warning, Renting is Hazardous to Your Wealth”.  Yes, that Call to action still works.

Today, my model has changed.  My primary source of business is Facebook and my 2nd is by referral.  If you already know where your business comes from, it will be easy to add online marketing to your business plan.

Marketing online is extremely inexpensive.  Maximizing online tools is a great way to build a real estate business if you are using social media, email marketing, drip campaigns and lead capture tools.  The key to these inexpensive marketing tools is your “Call to Action”.  Are you able to create a click-thru on what you’re offering?  Do your followers want what you’re offering?  How about your paid advertisement?  If what you’re offering doesn’t apply to me I am less likely to click.  Think about what makes you click when you shop online.

Per the National Association of REALTORS 95% Millennials used the internet to shop for a home and only 60% of the Silent Generation.   The way we shop has changed.  I watch my kids shop on Amazon for clothes, technology and food.  There is a shift in how we consume information, make decisions and buy what we need.  Consumers are doing online research before they decide to purchase a home.  Millennials are searching for 11 weeks and Baby Boomers about 8 weeks before contacting YOU!

If our clients or potential clients are shopping online weeks before deciding to work with an agent how can we get their attention online? How do we break through the noise?  What is the guaranteed way to make someone click on your link?  The guaranteed ways to get someone to click is your “Call to Action”.  If your “Call to Action” or lack of “Call to Action” isn’t great, the potential client will not click.  Are you great at lead generation?  If so, you can be great at lead generation online. If you’re not great a lead generation we need to talk J.  If you are new to online lead generation below are a few ways to build great “Calls to Action”.

  1. What does the online shopper want to know? Think about your buyer and seller client.  Are you a 1st time buyer agent? 1st generational buyer agent?  Luxury agent? Global buyer agent?  Do you sell horse property, Farm Land, Condos or townhomes? Do you work with investors? Think about your market and your client base.  Create Calls to Action that reach your client.
  1. What can you offer that makes someone want to click? If your primary focus is investors, write titles that reach investors.  Example:  Are you looking for a list of fix and flip homes?  Click now for a list foreclosures in your area.
  1. Have you ever offered a “FREE” download? Example:  Thinking of selling your home?  Now might be the best time.  Click now to find out when the best time to sell.  Your free download might include tips on determining the best time to sell.  However, your potential client can’t receive the download until they provide an email and/or a phone number.  Once received you can send accurate information for their home and their city.
  1. What about a “How to Video”? How to videos can provide steps to home ownership.  Saving for your first home.  Tell your story.  Tell your followers about your 1st home purchase and your experience.  This video on Facebook generated over 2900 views, 10 leads, and  6 closed deals from June 2016 to October 2016. Let me negotiate your down payment.
  1. Have you ever considered sharing information on the “best restaurants” in your city? How about the best gyms or even showcases the park district?  I live in a city that has a swimming pool with a bucket.  Yes, this pool is exactly like the water parks in Wisconsin Dells.

My husband’s good friend always says, “Give people what they want, not what you want them to have”.  We want the consumer to see our listings, top producers, the best of the best, and that we sell X number homes per year, or that we’ve sold over a million in sales.  Guess what? The next generation buyer is a consumer of content and they want information.  It’s important to produce, so keep producing.  While you sell homes reinvent your marketing and provide awesome content.  Own your market place by creating great content and “Calls to Action”. Make us click and contact you!