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

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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.