Mac or PC for Real Estate?

As a PC user many would think I would say, “buy a PC”!  It’s difficult for me to recommend a Mac or a PC.   I love my laptop but I really want a Macbook Pro.  Either product works for real estate.  Don’t buy a PC or Mac just because someone said you should.  My recommendation is that you think about what’s best for you.  When considering either of the products answer these questions:

  1. What are you currently using? If you already understand how to work a PC then selecting a PC or laptop might be the best answer.  And the same goes for a Macbook.  If you are already working on a Mac then upgrading your Mac might be the best option.
  1. Are you willing to learn new technology? If the answer is “NO”. Stick with the technology you are currently using and maybe consider an upgrade.  If the answer is “YES” then you must be ready to learn the new technology.
  1. Are you motivated by price? If not, then get what you want.  If you are on a budget then do your homework.  There are many different price points when investing in a new PC/Laptop.  You can also consider refurbished or used if a new PC or Mac Book isn’t in your budget.
  1. Are you concerned about safety? If so, then make sure you update your virus software is current on your PC.  If you purchase a Mac Book safety is built into the product.   Apple’s OS X Yosemite is built to protect your laptop.

Whether you select a Mac or PC understand that technology is changing at a rapid pace and you will have to become a lifelong learner.  “The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Alvin Toffler

Build Your Real Estate Brand with Social Media

With so many Social Media Platforms real estate agents want to know how to integrate social media into their businesses. The simple answer is, “You need to start” integrating social media today.  Whenever I speak at a real estate office about social media the top complaints are, how do I find the time? Which platform should I add first?  What should I share on social media?  Where do I begin?

  • Let’s start with social media platforms. There are hundreds of social media platforms available for personal and professional use.  Of these platforms the top 5 social media tools are:  Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Pinterest and Google+.

When choosing a social media platform consider your sphere of influence.  Is your sphere of influence on social media? Would your sphere interact with you on social media?  If your sphere of influence is on social media, start with the platform they are using.   If your sphere isn’t on social media I recommend picking one of the top THREE sites and perfecting it.  Once you are proficient with that platform move on to the next.  If you are not sure which social platform to select first consider starting in this order:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twittersocial_media_icons
  3. Linked In
  4. Google+
  5. Pinterest

Once you’ve select the social platform begin using it today.  Take the next 30 days to learn it.  Take a class and watch how to videos.

What should you share?  The best form of sharing is writing your own content, sharing photos and short videos.  Your own content can be as simple as, “click now to buy or sell a home” then add the link to your website.

How do I find the time to share?  I’m already busy searching for new leads and managing my current inventory.

  • Consider sharing one article a day. If you’re organized with your time plan your social media for the week.  Facebook has a new feature that gives you the option to schedule your posts.   Add your social media marketing time to your calendar.  Then stick to it.  Add social media apps to your smart phone so you can be social whenever you have a few extra minutes.  If you’re tech savvy jump into HootSuite. A great way to manage your social media in one place.

When you take advantage of social media by sharing, engaging and posting great content your real estate brand improve.  So what are you waiting for?  Start today!

Customer Lifecycle Analysis in Real Estate-What Companies Are Doing This Right?

 Customer Lifecycle Analysis in Real Estate-What Companies Are Doing This Right?

Author:  Carrie Bey-Little  January 27, 2015

The Customer lifecycle in Real Estate is much different than the retail industry.  When working with Buyers and Sellers an agent will have a similar lifecycle with the potential of a new lifecycle after the home is purchased or sold.  When working with a new buyer the lifecycle is as follows:

  1. Works with a Real Estate agent to
    1. Purchase a home
    2. The agent negotiates the deal for the buyer
    3. Once a deal is agreed upon the buyer’s agent maintains a relationship with the buyer
    4. Assists with the inspector, appraiser and attorney depending on the market. (all markets don’t always work with attorneys)
  2. The Real Estate agent follows up on contingency dates and buyer updates
  3. Follows up until the home is closed (in many cases the Buyer Lifecycle Analysis ends)
  4. Good agents stay in contact with the buyer to retain that customer and ask for new client leads from that buyer.

The seller lifecycle is slightly different and is as follows:

  1. Works with a Real Estate Agent to:
    1. Determine Value of their home
    2. Prepare the home for the real estate market place
  2. The Real Estate Agent Markets the home using multiple platforms
  3. Once an offer is received the agent assists in negotiations to procure a contract
  4. The Real Estate Agent assists with inspections, meeting appraisers, scheduling village inspections, purchasing transfer stamps and other pre-closing items.
  5. The agent often attends the closing
  6. Post-closing the agent might follow up with the seller
  7. Good agents stay in contact with past clients

The KPI’s for a real estate agent include:

  • The number of actual listings and active buyers. These numbers should indicate how well your marketing campaigns or referrals are working for you.
  • Actual Cost per lead – When generating a lead what is it actually costing to gain a lead?
  • Customer Lifetime Value – What’s the value of retaining a real estate client?  Are you past clients helping you generate leads?
  • Appointment to conversation. How many appointments lead to new buyers and sellers?  Agents can track this information in a good Client Relationship Management tool.
  • Email Marketing– Are your email marketing campaigns effective? Is your Sphere of Influence opening the emails? What is your click thru rate (CTR)
  • Social Media Marketing – Are you actively using social media in your digital marketing? Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Pinterest and Instagram to name a few.   Are you generating leads from this tools and do you have a social presence.  Check out Klout.com to learn if you have a social presence and track your social media leads in your CRM
  • Website – In addition to Social Media and Email Marketing your website is the top way potential buyers and sellers learn more about you and your market. Are you redirecting potential client to the site? Are your past clients visiting your site to check out the market and your listings?  Does your website enter new signup into your CRM.  Make sure you understand your top searched pages and use the site to redirect clients to your interactive social sites.

If your leads aren’t increasing then consider re-defining your audience.   Business that provide Client Relationship Management tools to assist their agents with the ability to track their customers have figured out that cultivating the buyer and seller relationship after the sale build a strong referral business.  If you need a CRM tool check with your Multiple Listing Service first.  You may already have the ability to sort, track and determine where your leads are coming from inside your MLS.

When it applies to lead generation companies like Keeping Current Matters and Brian Buffini have a good grasp on KPI’s, Lead Generation and the Customer Lifecycle.   Building a business on referrals is one of the best ways to build a business.  Every real estate agent has the opportunity to build a successful business by tracking what works and what doesn’t work.  If you know your KPI’s you’ll understand where to make adjustments.

The Most Important Personas for Real Estate in 2015

The Most Important Personas for Real Estate in 2015

Buyers and Sellers are the most important Stakeholders for Real Estate Agents and Broker/Owners.  Without a buyer and a seller our businesses wouldn’t exist.  Who are buyers and sellers?  A buyer is someone that is willing and able to purchase a home.  A seller is someone that is selling a home.

Although we have buyers and sellers it’s important to watch the trends in real estate.  Who are the buyer’s for the 2015 market?  Who are the sellers for the 2015 market?  If you know this information as a real estate agent you will understand where to focus your marketing efforts.

Who are the customer personas for 2015?

  1. Millennials are expected to outpace the Gen X group in home ownership for 2015. As our rental rates rise Millennials will seek home ownership. This group is expected to spend 1.6 Trillion dollars on home ownership in the next 5 years.  Tip:   Take advantage of social media.  Millennials are heavy users of technology.
  1. The overseas investors are still finding U.S property more appealing. Most foreign buyers are paying in all cash and consider it safer to invest their dollar.
  1. Baby Boomers might be ready to downsize and relocate. Home values have been increasing for the past few years.  The bottom of the Northern Illinois Market was in April of 2013 and we’ve seen nothing but increase home values.  Therefore, the Baby Boomer’s are likely to take advantage of the improved real estate market.
  1. The Boomerang Buyer will make a comeback to home ownership. A Boomerang Buyer is someone that lost their home in foreclosure or ended up selling their home short of what was owed when home values plummeted.   Many of these original home owners understand the process and will purchase again.  If a real estate agent sold a home for a seller as a ShortSale, prior to 2012, now would be a great time to reconnect with that seller to start the home buying process for 2015.

Based on my research the top 4 customer personas for 2015 include: Millennials, Overseas Investors, Baby Boomers and the Boomerang Buyer.  As a real estate professional it’s important to understand the trends.   If you understand how to research your local market using tools that include Google Trends, Google Analytics, social media trends, REALTOR®.org Trends, Corelogica Smart Data company, your multiple listing service and your local tax records you will be better prepared on who your target market is for the year.

“If you wait until there is another case study in your industry, you will be too late!” – Seth Godin (Author Of Permission Marketing)

Run Your Business Like A Business Series for REALTORS® Tip Two

Run Your Business Like A Business Series for REALTORS®  Tip Two

Whether you’re a new agent, seasoned agent or an agent that needs to jump start their business; generating leads is key for a real estate agents success.   If you read last week’s blog post you’ve already created a list of everyone you know in an excel spreadsheet.  If not, click to review.   After you’ve created a list of everyone you know, that could be a potential lead or referral source, you’ll have the ability to upload that data into your

  • Multiple listing service
    • Many MLS’ allow you to create mailing labels
    • Email clients
    • And sort your list based on client status
  • Email marketing tools like
  • Client relationship management tools (CRM)
  • MSWord
    • a great way to create mailing labels or
    • form letters
  • Upload that data into a marketing service tool to order postcards
    • You’ll need to convert the data into CSV format. Just save it in MSExcel as CSV.
    • If your company uses a post card company use it

Once you’ve chosen the tools that you would like to upload your database to, create a plan to email, mail, text, engage on social media and call your clients.

  • Contact your Top clients monthly
  • Mail something of value to your clients monthly
  • Share market updates, local events, Real estate news and more to your social media sites at least once a day. The best times to post are 9:00am, Noon, 3:30pm, after 7pm and weekends after 10am.
  • Don’t forget to ask your top clients for a referral
  • Track your leads and where the lead is generated. Next week we will discuss the importance of your database.

Run Your Business Like A Business Series for REALTORS® Tip One

Run Your Business Like A Business Series for REALTORS®  Tip One

The best tip I can ever give is to “Get up, Get Dressed, & Get to Work and Start with Lead Generation”.   If you work better in the office go to the office.  If you can work from home, stay home.  If you get more work done at Starbucks, go to Starbucks.   Go to the best place where you can produce new business for your business.

Once you’re up and ready for work think about if you should check your email right away or not.  I know that if I check email I end up putting out fires or responding to emails that could have waited until 11am.   For me lead generation is the best way to start my day.  If I’m not working on lead generation I’m not building future lead opportunities.   Some agents can check email first then work on lead generation.  If you can do this and stay on track with lead generation then go for it!

Tip One – Summary

  • Get up and go to work
  • Schedule your lead generation time and put it in your digital calendar so it syncs with your phone, laptop and tablet.
  • You may also choose a to do list.  I use Gtasks app from Google on my phone.  The to do list can also be located in your Google Gmail account.
Google Task Drop Down Menu

Google Task Drop Down Menu

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google Task App

Google Task App

 

Next week I’ll provide tips on how to generate new leads.  If you can’t wait for this post, sign up for the Realist class at www.mredllc.com.  Classes are free if you’re an agent in Northern Illinois and a member of Midwest Real Estate Data.   Also consider putting everyone you know in an excel spreadsheet with Name, Address, phone and email address.  Once you’ve created your list find the top people that would refer you if you asked them to.  You’ll be more than prepared to begin next week.

 

 

Increase Your Business by 42% in the NEXT 12 Months

Increase your business by 42% in the next 12 months.

The Women’s Council of REALTORS® opening session started with a high energy and engaging speaker who challenged us to change our perception of how we do business. Did you know that 10% of real estate agents dominate the real estate market? Maybe you’re one of the 10%. If you’re not, Travis Robertson (@TravisRO) shared simple strategies to change your business by 40% in the next 12 months.

Below are my top take-aways from his presentation:

  1. Don’t give up on online leads. Only 3% or less are actually responded to.
  2. Consider Facebook Ads. By integrating Facebook Ads in your business plan, you will reach more of your friends and your friends’ friends in their news feeds.
  3. Follow up, follow up, follow up. Agents don’t stay in touch with their clients. Stay in their mind; at least 27 touches per year. Use direct mail, email marketing, and client parties as one of your touches.
  4. Deadly Myth: Online leads are crap?! Truth: The leads are not the problem; it’s your lead nurturing system.
  5. Create a business that supports your life! Not a business that runs it!

Check out the 2014 NAR Conference Blog for more tips for your Real Estate Business

Social Media Marketing Plan for AGENTS

Aside

1. Select the time of day to share on Social Media

There is no cookie cutter method to social media marketing.  Selecting the right time to share or post on social media is key to a successful real estate social media marketing plan.     The best times of day to post can often depend on your followers or customer personas.   Millennials are on social media all day using their mobile apps.  About 60% of mobile users are accessing their social media sites throughout the day.   So when are the best times to share on Social Media?

2. Choose your content

Many agents have no idea where to begin when adding content to their Facebook Business pages.   But if you take a few minutes to think about the real estate industry I am sure you can come up with information you want others to know about Real Estate.   Here are a few tips for choosing content.

  • Use statistics from your MLS to share city specific data
  • Share industry specific information
  • House Logic has a FREE REALTOR content driven website – You’ll need your NRDS#
  • How about information you receive from your Board, NAR and your REALTOR Magazine
  • Do you know your local city events, farmers markets and building programs
  • Facebook and Hootsuite allow future scheduling.   Plan your social content posts.

There is no excuse.   Become the industry expert on social media

3. Follow up is key

Make sure you have the Facebook and Facebook Pages apps on your smart phone, tablet or iPad.  By using these apps you can respond to real estate questions in a real time format when you say “Yes” to push notifications.

4. Engage your followers

Are you an expert at networking?  Are you good at talking on the phone?   Are you a good writer?  If you can do any of the above you can engage your followers.   Talk to your Facebook friends, family, network and Fan Page Likes.  When your followers post make a comment, Click LIKE or send a private message.  Of course, if it’s someone’s birthday.  Say “Happy Birthday.”  By doing these simple steps for engagement you can increase your social presence and let your “Facebook Sphere” know that you exist.

5. Review your Analytics

Facebook Pages has an Insights section so you can track your followers:

  • LIKES
  • Reach – Agents can track their organic and paid reach
  • Visits – Who is visiting your page and how are they getting to your page. Do you have special pages on your Facebook page?  You can track those visits as well.
  • Posts – When are your followers online
  • People – Who are your followers? Below is an actual chart of my Real Estate followers.

Everyone can build a Social Media Marketing plan.   I recommend starting with Facebook.  Facebook is still the most used Social Media Site in front of Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.  Join me at the MORe #TechFest2014 to build your Facebook Real Estate Fan Pages.

About Carrie Bey-Little, the Speaker

My goal is to educate, inspire, and motivate small business owners to reach their personal and professional dreams.  Over the next several weeks I will update my blog to inspire new agents and agents that need to reinvent themselves for a successful 2015.

Speaker, Trainer and Licensed C.E. Instructor

Speaker, Trainer and Licensed C.E. Instructor

The Real Estate industry is evolving quickly for real estate agents.  Agents that have been selling for more than 15 years are finding that they are competing with the new generation “AGENT”.  The tech savvy, social savvy and educated agent.  These agents are changing the way business is done.  Most buyers and sellers are able to educate themselves before reaching out to a real estate agent.  If an agent doesn’t integrate the new technologies into their businesses they will end up “listless”  No listing and no buyers”   If you don’t have a buyer and or a seller you don’t have an income.

Check out a few Real Estate Agents who are using Social Media in their daily business plans, Sam Powell, Andrea Geller, Jeffrey Metz, and myself Carrie Bey-Little.

As many of you know I am in a Masters Degree Program, “Digital Marketing and Analytics” at Aurora University.   I will share what I am learning with you or at least give you the “Carrie” Version so you can use these tips in your businesses.

So, Who AM I?  I am a Social Media and Technology Expert in my industry. I speak locally, at the State, and National Level.  I have authored two Continuing Education courses for the state of Illinois. “Social Media & License Law and E-signatures and Cloud Storage.   As a Continuing Education instructor and contract trainer with Midwest Real Estate Data I have the opportunity to educate thousands of real estate professionals using the best MLS tools available in the United States every year. In addition to speaking on a National and Regional Platform I am a Blogger for the National Association Party Convention.   I have a background in Social Media, Television Production, Commercial Real Estate, Residential Real Estate, Marketing, and Business Administration.  I am driven to motivate others to dream big and reach their personal and professional goals.

My education includes a Bachelor of Science degree from Elmhurst College, a Paralegal Certification from Boston University, Docusign Certified instructor and Hootsuite Certified.  I have had the opportunity to work in the technology industry since 1991.  From NEC Technologies to a non-profit industry in Television.  I worked in the legal Real Estate Department, East Coast Division, for McDonald’s Corporation, one of the largest real estate holders in the United States.

Carrie Bey-Little is an active member of MORe-Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®, IAR, NAHREP, NAR and the 2014 Women’s Council of REALTORS® 2014 President of the West Suburban Chapter.  Featured in Chicago Agent Magazine as an industry expert.

5 Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make

1. They’re unprepared to compete against all-cash offers.

2. They place a car ahead of the home.

3. They place too much emphasis on online loan information.

4. They bank too much on online home values.

5. They forgo the home inspection. 

Read the full article written by   Source: “8 Biggest Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Make,” CNBC (July 17, 2014)

5 Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make.