I write this post on what is a “holiday” for many people: President’s Day. A three-day weekend, the most joyous of “holidays.” Meanwhile, my wife – who is now a REALTOR® in Chicago – is running around prepping for another day because three day holiday weekends only means an extra day to be with clients looking for homes in a market starving for inventory. She has realized what many a real estate pro already has known: There are no such things as holidays for REALTORS®.
This, after a marathon Saturday of showings where half the houses she saw sold by the end of the day, turned into a night of presenting four offers to her seller only for the elation to quickly wear off when said sellers realized they have no home to move into once their condo closes in two months. Let’s face it, the market realities today mean that the hours real estate professionals work may not be the hours they’d LIKE to work.
There’s lots of “work-life-balance” talk on the interwebs, but unplugging may be hard to do when you’re in a multiple-offer situation, or if you NEED to show that listing that just came up on your MLS radar. However, the time you DO have with your clients will prove to be the most valuable, and squeezing every bit out of time with them might mean a make-or-break deal. Some tips…
Audit Your Productivity Processes Now:
No other technology can position the client/agent team better in today’s hot market than mobile technology. How mobile are you? How mobile is your broker-tech, MLS, and forms technology? These entities are not created equally, and if you realize you’re working in the tech dark-ages, literally make it better, or carry contracts with you. Recognize that “being mobile,” actually means “being productive.” Know how to use DocuSign, Dotloop, zipForm or whatever your broker or MLS’s technology is that allows you to write offers on the fly. Dropbox and Evernote collaborations with clients may save your listing sanity. Sometimes having a MiFi hotspot and a laptop is all you need to be productive, whether your next office might be a Starbucks or the passenger seat of your car. The words, “I need to go back to my office to…” should never be enter into your lexicon.
Bonus: Brokers, make your next sales meeting a workshop, one in which your agents practice writing mobile contracts. For example, practice writing and sending forms to each other. Broadcast it live with about.me. Record it and throw it on your Youtube page. Your time is valuable too! Continue reading »
Let’s face it; the days between Christmas and New Years Day are a wasteland of rest, relaxation, and “Breaking Bad” binge watching. I know you deserve it. You got last minutes showings, closings, and paper shuffling buttoned up all while getting holiday shopping and family cat herding done. But those couple days can be productive as well, with only a couple hours within each of those days being put to good use!
December 26: Organize your clients. Shuffle your Class A, B and C peeps. Add to them your successfully-closed clients and those who were advocates for your business in the past year. For me, my “Class A” peeps were my top referrers of business and freshly-closed clients from the last year. “Class B” were those who weren’t loud raving fans, usually the families and busy folks who had their hands full living life. “Class C” were those nearing the 4- to 5-year home-cycle, plus warm leads from the previous year – all potential business for the coming year who may not know it yet.
December 27: Analyze your marketing. What worked this last year? What didn’t? What was the best bang for the buck that reached the most people in my sphere with the least amount of time, money, and energy? Cancel everything that didn’t work. Categorize your aforementioned peeps into the relevant lists in your marketing systems; at the very least into email lists.
December 28: Costco run. Pick up a couple cases of cheap champagne and bubbling cider. Full-size or cutesy individual size, whatever your budget allows. It doesn’t even need to be bubbly, pick up something that says “you” or that exemplifies your top clients. Post-holiday sales are awesome for this.
December 29 and 30: Say “Thank You” in person. Remember those “Class A” clients I mentioned? Continue reading »
“Change doesn’t happen without conflict,” said Brad Inman as he kicked off Day 2 of Real Estate Connect. And it was on this day that the continuing evolution of mobile technology and social media — and its infusion into every day business — hit home for many an attendee.
Tom Gonser of DocuSign shared the massive growth numbers of his e-signature platform, now with over 40 million identities saving people 150 million work hours and 2 billion days of turnaround time. Moreover, their mobile signature growth is staggering. “We expect to break the 50 percent threshold (of Docusign contracts signed on mobile platforms) by the end of 2013, many being international,” said Gonser. Mobile has not only led to increased use, it’s now a global standard, with over 188 countries being represented in its user-base.
Gonser continued the “disruption” narrative of the conference as well. “Zero infrastructure companies…” like the startups shown-off during Connect, “…are the new normal.”
Guy Wolcott epitomized the zero-infrastructure ideology while showcasing how he pivoted from a traditional brokerage to tech startup darling. His app, Homesnap, allows a smartphone user to pull all public information available on a home through geolocation by simply taking a picture of it, is one of the most popular real estate apps available for iPhone.
“I wanted a fun, easy to use ‘Shazam for homes,’” he put it, all so that consumers can “do what they want, when and where they want to do it.”
The mobile technology and social media “morphing of industry,” as Brad put it, was then highlighted in Tamara Mendelsohn’s “Building and Measuring the Social World” presentation.
Mendelsohn, the VP of marketing for the event management website Eventbrite, shared her company’s social business blue print; stating that “social media is no longer a strategy, it’s how you do business.” By “knowing your authentic self, humanizing your community, think about your product as an experience, and having fun with your community and brand,” one can now measure the value of things like a “share” on Facebook, to the tune of $4.15 for each Eventbrite event share on social media. By allowing others to speak for your brand and harnessing your message within their own social sphere framework, then sourcing it for your marketing, one can grow their brand’s reach. Bringing “digital communities closer together” as she put it, is something every real estate practitioner and broker should take note of.
Veering back to technology, Continue reading »
Empowerment was the name of the game for Day 1 of Inman News’ Real Estate Connect in San Francisco. Consumer empowerment; technological empowerment and access; and the broker and agent DIY ethos were all on full display.
Hear It Direct kicked off the day with a panel of buyers and sellers who talked about their buy/sell experience. The group, all California-based, consisted of a multi-state housing investor, a set of move-up buyers/sellers experiencing life-changes, and a couple of first-time buyers. The common threads: There’s an information gap during the search experience, and there’s a communications gap with agents and brokerages.
All these consumers were savvy and cynical in the ways of real estate marketing, and all were visually driven, citing their need for virtual tours and numerous listing photos. The iPhone was the top tool for all, using app geolocation to view listings and open houses within their targeted search area while physically in the area. Mobile targeting of specific homes was their segue way into local, detailed information searches about the home on smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The lack of features as simple as pictures on a listing signaled a problem property or a “lazy agent,” one panelist said.
These panelists performed searches for months, and in one case over a full year, before first contact with their agent. But when ready, they acted quickly to pick an agent and act upon the work they had done in the preceding months.
When it comes to communications, the panelists wanted it on their terms, quickly. They wanted to be prepared for their experience and the market and told upfront what would be expected of them. They wanted to be partners in the transaction process but said they seldom received the information they wanted or the experience they expected.
None of this was a surprise to the brokers and agents in the industry panel that followed—but these insights should be a wake-up call to brokers who aren’t in sync with such expectations, the panelists said. The industry panel included practitioners Sue Adler, CEO of HearItDirect and leader of the Sue Adler Team, Keller Williams Realty in New Jersey; Dawn Thomas, broker-associate, Intero Real Estate Services (@SVandBeyond); Michael Williamson, executive vice president and partner, John Aaroe Group; and Joe DiRaffaele, owner, DiRaffaele Group, Coldwell Banker Premier Realty in Las Vegas. They were joined by industry consultants Michael McClure and Rob Hahn and real estate tech company reps Joelle Senter of dotloop and Nick Taylor of Zillow.
Getting in sync starts with enhanced training so agents better educate clients on the nuances of the transaction. “Don’t assume [buyers and sellers] know specifics about the transaction, because they don’t,” said Williamson, adding that client customization of broker services—having the ability “…to be all things to all people…”—will be an ongoing challenge for brokers.
Rob Hahn’s last words were poignant: “All of our industry politics and inside baseball doesn’t matter to those people [the panel].”
It all boils down to hardware, design, content, and entrepreneurship shifting into a “by the people, for the people” ideology in which consumers aren’t just the end user, they’re partners in the change, said InmanNews and Real Estate Connect Founder Brad Inman in his general session keynote.
Brad’s vision has always been on consumer-centrism and making the real estate transaction easier. At the conference this week he’s using the term “future proof” to describe the resources and tools that will take us to that vision.
Innovation is coming from all direction—and entrepreneurs don’t necessarily need venture capitalists and angel investors to acquire the capital to launch a company or product, Brad told the audience yesterday. These “misfits… rebels… and troublemakers…” as he calls them, can now crowdsource for funds by taking concepts directly to users for cash via kickstarter.com and the like.
So, are you feeling empowered?