It’s that time of year again when many of us make resolutions for the new year that we have the best intentions of keeping. Unfortunately, according to US News and World Report, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. Never fear, I have some resolutions that are guaranteed to take your real estate business to the next level, with the right attitude and commitment of course. Many of these ideas are technology related, but lets face it, growing your business depends on keeping up with new tech! Ultimately whether or not you follow through on these resolutions is up to you, but with the right support everything on this list is within reach.
Embrace Mobile Technology
There are two excellent reasons you should care about mobile technology. First of all, the fastest growing segment of the home owning population is the Millennial generation (ages 23-38) and they absolutely love their mobile devices (93% own smart phones). Even if Millennials are not in your sphere, then consider these numbers. Smart phone usage by the rest of the population is as follows: 90% of Gen X (ages 39-54), 68% of Baby Boomers (55-73) and 40% of the silent generation (74-91). Communicating with your customers on their smart phones via text, social media and property search apps is absolutely critical to growing your business. We are so convinced of this phenomenon that we give all our agents their own branded Home Search smart phone App.
The other reason you should care about smart phone technology is because it will make you so much more efficient. You’re on the road all the time, right? Accessing critical systems like CRM, email, calendar and MLS is so much easier with today’s smart phone apps. In fact, some of our agents actually prefer the mobile version of our CRM for some tasks. Today’s mobile apps can even scan and email documents, provide directions to properties and calculate mortgage payments. Even better, you can move your entire business to the “Cloud” where you can seamlessly synchronize your mobile devices with your computer and tablet, picking up right where you left off at the office. You can even sync with your car and use voice control. Safety first!
Take Control of your Online Reputation
Everyone has an online presence these days, whether you like it or not. When searching for a new dentist, physician or attorney most of us go online to check the various web and review sites. Guess what, your customers are doing the same thing when searching for REALTORS. Have you Googled yourself lately? Try searching your full name first. If you have a common name try adding “REALTOR” or “real estate agent” to the end (i.e. Google “Joe Blow real estate agent”). What did you find? For some people the results are shocking. Did someone give you a bad review you didn’t know about? How do you get rid of it? Did nothing come up at all? That’s even worse! Bottom line, if you search for yourself and you don’t dominate the first page of Google with positive results then you need to take control. There are some services that do this for you, but they are expensive. Its not that hard to manage your online reputation yourself. Send me an email and I’ll share some tips with you.
Get A Second Mobile Device
We provide our agents with mobile-ready listing presentations and cloud-based applications that are accessible on all platforms, so I encourage all my agents to get some sort of tablet device with cellular data capabilities. I know some of you have huge phones and you think that is all you need, but doing a presentation to a customer on your phone just isn’t that impressive. And laptops are just too bulky, difficult to connect to the Internet and lack battery life. Tablets are simply the best solution for the mobile real estate agent. Which tablet should you buy? Shop Apple and Android devices for the best options, but I strongly recommend you get the same operating system as your phone. This will reduce the learning curve and allow you to share apps between devices. As long as you can open a PDF file and a web browser you should have everything you need to be a tablet-enabled agent.
Create a Business Plan
I know, Boring! Well, real estate is not all fun and games and we all know that creating a business plan is one of the fundamentals of having a successful career, right? So where do you start? Well, there are plenty of resources online, including a plethora of information and templates at the nar.realtor web site. Some brokerages may have their own templates, so ask your broker what is available to you. No matter what template or system you use make sure you review and update your plan on a regular basis. Also, try talking through your plan with your broker, who may offer some valuable feedback and create some much needed accountability. I know this has always been effective for my agents.
Get In The Habit of “Managing” Your CRM
Everybody has Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. You do, right?. But do you really know how to manage your CRM? Do you ever wonder where your next lead is going to come from? Its probably right under your nose in your own database! Now I can’t speak to every CRM system out there, but if its anything like ours then you have plenty of functionality at your fingertips. All you need to do is manage it properly, mine it regularly and your CRM should produce regular “free” leads for you. If you can create these two “habits” I guarantee you’ll have more success: Add and Update. If you make it a habit to “Add” contacts to your CRM you will grow your Sphere of Influence (see “Get Social” below). If you create a second habit to “Update” your contact records you will stay in better touch with your Sphere and do more deals.
Looking for a better CRM? For a demo of our system please give me a call.
The market is changing and you need to keep up. Take advantage of the training at your brokerage and local board of REALTORS®. Consider getting a certification or designation and ask your management if they will create some new training on topics you’re interested in. Don’t just get a designation so you can add some letters to your business card. Get the designation for the education and then tell your customers what you have learned and why they should work with you. Share your new knowledge in your blog and social media. At By The Sea Realty we encourage continuing education and we offer regular training on topics like networking, technology, business planning and social media. What would you like to learn?
Get Social (Not What You Think)
To most people these days “getting social” means posting on Facebook, Tweeting or uploading pictures to Instagram. Those are fun things to do and should stay that way – “social” not “business”. In fact, I tell my agents to follow the 80/20 rule of social media. 80% of your posts should entertain, educate and inform, and only 20% should directly promote your business. If social media is part of your business plan, then make it a small part of your plan, keep up with it and stick to 80/20, you’ll be fine.
Now, what “Social” means to me. Think old school. Get out from behind that computer and meet people. Join a club, get involved with a charity, volunteer at your kid’s PTA, do whatever you can to get out and meet people in your community. We are in a business of relationships and there is nothing more powerful than getting to know people face to face, and creating “real” relationships. I promise you’ll be much better off with a sphere of influence of 500 people you actually know, instead of 5,000 Facebook friends. And, you’ll be much happier!
Tip: If you want to build an online network, try LinkedIn instead of Facebook. LinkedIn is all business, so you don’t have to worry about alienating your friends who don’t care about your real estate business. In fact, connect with me on LinkedIn and I’ll share my “LinkedIn For Real Estate Professionals” presentation with you.
I know it is difficult in our business, but we really need to think about our overall well being too, and lets face it, being on our devices 24/7 isn’t exactly healthy. While technology is super important to our real estate business, don’t let it be a detriment. Studies show that technology can cause stress, loneliness, physical ailments and sleep deprivation. Being unplugged and “present” with your family and friends does wonders for your quality of life. Try this: Next time you’re out to dinner with your family have everyone put their cell phones on silent mode in the middle of the table and out of reach. Don’t worry, your customers will understand.
Move Your Business
Where you hang your license is more important than ever. If you want to take your business to the next level and your company isn’t providing the support to get you there, it might be time for a change. Your customers won’t mind. It is you they trust, and if you are better off changing brokerages, then your customers will benefit too. From global franchises to local boutiques there are plenty of options for agents today. Interview with a few different organizations and make a move when you find the “right fit”. Don’t wait for the “right time”. The right time is now.
By The Sea Realty is looking for motivated agents and brokers who share our vision for a higher level of professionalism and customer service in the real estate industry. We offer cutting edge technology, training and support that makes your business more efficient and provides your customers with the best overall experience. If you are looking for a unique company where you can take your business to the next level then By The Sea Realty may be a great fit.
Call Rich Barnhart at 954-351-7007 or click here for more information