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Got a minute? If you're a busy manager, that's about all you have. That's why Carla Cross, management coach, speaker, and author, has created this blog just for you, with ready-to-use tips to master management through people.

Archive for Real Estate Marketing PR

training up stepsThis blog addresses another one of the 10 trends I’ve identified in the 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

This trend addresses segmentation: It’s no longer effective to market the same way to everyone. And, it’s no longer okay to try to appeal to all client segments. Even if you choose 3-5 segments, you must learn to speak to each in its own language.

This month, I’m featuring excerpts from this book. As a manager, read the thoughts on segmentation and ask yourself, “Am I teaching my agents how to identify their best markets? Am I helping them segment and market to that segment?”

{Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.}

Now: Four Distinct Segmentations of Buyers

As a new agent, I know you’re just concerned about finding someone who wants to purchase or sell a home! Yet, let’s think past just that. There are now four distinct segmentations of buyers (meaning those who want to buy our services of buying or selling a home). As you think about these distinct groups, ask yourself, “How do I have to adjust my selling style, my technology, my communication, and my expectations for each of these distinct groups? Which groups will I naturally relate to?”

  1. Traditionals—those older baby-boomers who are retiring
  2. Baby-boomers—getting ready for retirement, these folks make up the second largest buying population and have the greatest assets
  3. Gen-X—these folks have purchased first homes, but because of the housing bust, hadn’t been able to move up
  4. Millennials—(Gen Y) first-time home buyers, typically looking for affordable housing, such as condos, co-ops, and so on

In the National Association of Realtors’ 2015 report, Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, Gen Y (millennials) comprises the largest share of home buyers, at 32%. This trend will continue, as their large numbers combined with improving personal financial conditions will enable these buyers to move the market. Gen X has the largest share of first-time sellers at 68%. Read this report to see buyer and selling habits of these various ‘target’ (segmented) markets, and choose your markets carefully.

  • Positives: If you are able to adjust in the areas mentioned here, you can relate and sell to more people. To be successful, you must be flexible and sensitive to these differing needs and desires.
  • Watch out for: Don’t try to lump all these needs into one. The average real estate agent is in his 50s; the average buyer is in his 30s. Also, minorities will account for many more clients in the future, yet minorities are a small part of the real estate community. In many areas, buyers are frequently more tech-savvy than agents (that’s generally true in the Seattle area, where I live, because of Microsoft® and related businesses). Also, agents tend to work the market as they’ve known it. They are relating to the past, rather than accessing trends and working the market they’re given. Be sure to stay updated on where the market is going (your manager is a great source of this information).

* Big Idea: One size fits all is no longer applicable to real estate sales. Agents must specialize in each of the niches they want to serve.

shaking hands over computerTrend: Consumers are choosing agents differently. This is trend # 9 of 10 trends I’ve identified as very important for new agents to recognize. These trends are from my new 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

This month, I’m featuring excerpts from this book.

{Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.}

Also: Check the end of this blog for your free ‘end of sale’ survey to capture and keep more loyal clients.

How Consumer Habits have Changed

Traditionally, consumers either stumbled upon an agent (e.g., going into an open house) or got a referral from a friend. Although that’s still true, consumers have another powerful method to choose an agent: the Internet. Increasingly, consumers are looking at evaluations on Internet sites such as Zillow or LinkedIn to find out what other clients thought about that agent. Take a look yourself. Some of the evaluations are wonderful. Some are stunningly awful. And all are very public! There are even specific agent-rating sites such as www.realestateratingz.com and www.incredibleagents.com. Also, take a look at Zillow, which has agent ratings now. Bank of America and USAA are also getting into the game. You must work for long-term customer engagement and great ratings to sustain your real estate business. This will continue as a trend, and, I believe, change the way consumers choose and keep their agents!

* Big Idea: It costs six to nine times more to get a new client than to keep an existing client. Retention is king, and reputation is key.

{In the book, I’ve given positives and ‘watch fors’ to agents so they have great judgment on how to use these trends.}

  • Positives: It will be great for those competent, caring agents who really take care of their clients. It is easier now for potential clients to get feedback from third-party sources, clients just like them.
  • Watch out for: Doing a next kind of business, where you don’t care what happens after the sale. The client has recourse now, of the most expensive kind—a poor review!

Tip: Always use a ‘after sale’ survey to find out what your clients thought of your service. If you’d like a sample survey form, click here.

Managers: Have you read your agents’ clients’ feedback online? Make it a regular habit!

Up and Running_5e largerAre You Using the Best Start-Up Plan for your New Agents?

Does your plan have the detailed, prioritized checklists needed to assure a great start? Does it have built-in inspiration and motivation? Does it have dozens of tips to control the attitude? If not, you need Up and Running in 30 Days. Just out in its 5th edition, it’s the most successful book for new real estate agents ever!

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

 

shaking hands over computerClient relationship management: When do your agents start–and how can you help them capture and keep clients from day one?

This month, I’m featuring excerpts from my new 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

{Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.}

Client Relationship Management Supports Great Time Management

One of the biggest benefits of Up and Running in 30 Days is gaining strategies to conquer time management—prioritization and organization. A new agent starts with little concept of what’s important—so everything becomes important—or everything becomes unimportant! Their priorities get skewed because of bad training, hiding in low-impact activities, or really not knowing what’s important. So, time management becomes an agent’s biggest challenge—whether that agent is in the business three days or thirty years.

The Biggest Key to Effective Time Management

One of the biggest ways to constantly move ahead is to organize your contacts and leads into a database from day one. Yet, very few new agents do this. Why?

  1. They don’t think it’s important for them now (they don’t realize that every person they meet could be a gold mine—if they track that person, constantly communicate with that person, and show that they care more than a commission!)
  2. They don’t think they can afford a client relationship management. Yet, almost everyone has Outlook on their computers. Or, title companies over free contact management. There really is no excuse for not utilizing some type of electronic organization from day one!

For this 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days, I asked successful first year agents and leaders of teams what they felt contributed to an agent’s success—and what detracted. When I asked those agent and team leader contributors what technology is important to incorporate, here’s what they said:

“CRM and lead management tools”—Diane Honeycutt

“A really good and easy-to-use CRM”—Cerise Paton

“A good CRM”—Chris Cross. Yet, Chris has told me that, when he teaches a new agent course, only about 10% of those new agents are populating even a database, although, their assignment is to populate it aggressively.

According to Gary Richter, having a CRM is critical to his success: “For me having a CRM to track my leads and contacts is absolutely critical. I live in that database daily.”

Picture this: You meet a potential client, and a competing agent like Gary meets that potential client, too,  The other agent (Gary) consistently followed up and kept in touch—and you didn’t. Who would finally earn that commission from that client? Don’t lose out because you are trying to operate without a CRM—and have a haphazard follow-up marketing plan!

So, don’t be like the majority of new agents (and even seasoned agents!): Start using a database, or better yet, a CRM your first week in the business.

 Bottom Line: You’ll Make More Money!

A recent study by Active Rain (a popular real estate blog and tech information center), showed that agents who spent more money on contact relationship management (CRM) made significantly more money. It just makes sense. Agents who capture their leads via a database and then keep in touch with them via contact management software assure they keep their names in front of their potential clients, and are able to management and help many more clients. Agents who try to organize their clients via pieces of scrap paper and remember to call them once in awhile are woefully inadequate when it comes to staying in meaningful contact with their potential clients. Which agent would you prefer working with, as a client? An agent who regularly contacted you and kept you abreast of the market, or one who either never called you or contacted you irregularly?

So, the big lesson here is to organize all your contacts into a database, or better yet, client relationship management—from day one! Which CRM should you use? Don’t dither around! Choose one and start. You can always expert your contacts to a more robust program later.

Note: I got lots of recommendations on CRMs from my tech experts for Up and Running in 30 Days. I have made an extensive Resources section in this 5th edition of Up and Running  to list all the resources, including all types of technology, training, and support resources.

Managers: Using Up and Running with its extensive resources will save you so much time–and your agents will thank you forever!

Up and Running_5e largerAre You Using the Best Start-Up Plan for your New Agents?

Does your plan have the detailed, prioritized checklists needed to assure a great start? Does it have built-in inspiration and motivation? Does it have dozens of tips to control the attitude? If not, you need Up and Running in 30 Days. Just out in its 5th edition, it’s the most successful book for new real estate agents ever!

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

 

do itHere’s the easiest, least expensive, and effective thing your agents can do to get business.

Having hired and trained probably hundreds of new agents, I know the myriad of questions they have. So, here’s the simplest, yet most effective thing you can teach your new agents (and your experienced agents) to do.

Here’s the answer to the question, “What is the one thing I should do to get business?” Yes, people are always asking me that. I think it’s because I’ve written two resources for would-be and new agents: What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School  and Up and Running in 30 Days . By the way, Up and Running was just published in its 5th edition!

Now, we know that becoming a skilled real estate agent isn’t just one answer. But, there is one thing new agents can do that requires

No skill

No experience

No money

Little time

And, this one thing will make you stand out from the crowd better than any other one thing you could do! What is it? Simply:

Write a thank you note (a real hard copy note, not an email)

Why?

Because manners and ‘thank yous’ have gotten increasingly uncommon! You will stand out simply because you’ve taken the time, thought about that person, and cared enough to write—and put that stamp on it.

Write More Than One Note

I’m not going to tell your new agents to write a certain number of notes per day. You and your agents can set your standard (that means the minimum you’ll do).

What to Say

Thank you. Thinking about you. I appreciate you. I used your advice. Here’s something for you that would be helpful. I found the information you wanted.

Note to managers: This is also one of the strongest motivational tools you’ll ever have–writing notes to your agents with encouragement, thanks, etc. Do you do enough of it? Set your own goals now.

Big important sales principle:

Contacting people is simply finding an excuse to write, pick up the phone, or go see. Retaining salespeople is similar!

My challenge: How creative can you get?

Your agents are more creative than they think they are. Now, get them to sit down and think hard about 5 people they’ve started to work with, but need to contact now. What about them fits into any scenario for you to write that note, pick up the phone, or go see?

They are now using ‘advanced’ sales techniques, and they already know how to do all of this.

Sales meeting tip: One of the managers I know actually has agents write these notes during a sales meeting, and brainstorms the reasons one could write a note.

Proof is in the Pudding

My first year in real estate, I sold 40 homes. Also, I sent more things in the mail than any other of the 30 agents in my office. Why? Because I wanted to create a ‘critical mass’ of people who thought I was wonderful. Yes, an agent can also do this with social media. But, you want to stand out. And, you will stand out much more if you write to one person than to many. After all, you are working with that one person who will pay you thousands of dollars. He/she is worth that special, individual effort! That’s the one thing your agents  should do to get business.

Managers: How are you making this simple tip work for you and your agents?

Up and Running_5e largerHelp Your Agents Get a Sale Much Faster!

Why not provide your agents a proven business start-up plan, along with hundreds of success tips? Check out the new 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

Apr
04

Create your ‘Fans’!

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applause for fansCreate your ‘fans’! Yes, you want to create those who think you’re wonderful! Why? Because they are loyal and they are your best recruiters.

It occurred to me that the words “followers” (Twitter) and “fans” (Facebook) are borrowed from the performance world–a world I lived in for many years. I thought you’d like to get some skills in creating ‘fans’ or ‘followers’–not just how to use these programs, but, more importantly, how to create FF’s–admirers.

What’s ‘Admirable’?

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably involved somehow in managing people (that includes managing families, too!). So, it would be helpful to know how to create admirers–in the best sense of the word. Why? Admirers do several things for you (and you must do several things for them, of course):

They refer others to you with enthusiasm
They provide ‘positive grapevine’ promotion for you
They help you discover strengths you may not have known you have (think branding)
They see the best in you when you’re sometimes not seeing it in yourself!

What You Need to Do to Create ‘Admirers’

I worked my way through college and graduate school playing piano in bars (I sure learned a lot about human nature!). As a musician, I learned, to have admirers, I had to do 2 things:
1. Play the music they wanted to hear
2. Play the music they wanted to hear the way they wanted to hear it

To do this, I learned literally thousands of tunes and dozens of styles. Now, I was set to gain followers/admirers (and tips, of course!. In other words, you have to make yourself someone that can be admired (when did you take your last true ‘people management’ course?)

Appreciation: The best Tool to Gain Admirers

There are many ways to gain ‘followers’. The easiest is to lavishly use appreciation. How often do you appreciate? Probably not as often as you could. This is one of the most effective, low-cost, and happy methods to motivate and gain admirers you can imagine. Yet, few managers use this effectively (and I mean to be sincere about it, of course). I’ve created a white paper on the principles of motivation, along with over 25 ways to appreciate. Click here to get your copy.

I appreciate you and your support and comments on this management blog!

marketing you 3 DHow to Create Fans and ‘Market’ your Brand

How do you create trust? How do you differentiate yourself? How do you prove you really are what you say you are? In this market, everybody and their brother tells potential recruits and clients they are the best. You can’t afford to be one of the crowd! And, it’s more believable when others (your ‘fans’) tell potential recruits how wonderful you are.

This resource shows you, step by step, how to gain trust and differentiate yourself in a graceful, effective manner–a manner that’s comfortable for YOU. See it here.

 

 

coaching for leadershipWant a no/low cost effective marketing method? Here’s an inexpensive, yet very effective method to stand out from the crowd—writing articles to establish yourself  as the “real estate manager of choice”.

We become managers because we love to succeed through others. Most managers thrill to track their agents’ development—and recognize that at least part of those agents’ successes are attributed to the managers who support them  So, great managers develop the skills of training, coaching, and consulting—the methods they use to develop their agents’ careers.

However, it’s not enough to have the skills. These managers must also help agents find them! In this blog, I explore an inexpensive, very effective method for managers to use to promote themselves. (It works, too for agents to promote themselves as experts effectively and inexpensively).

The Problem

You can have the best product or service in the world. Yet, if you don’t let others know about it, the product or service doesn’t succeed. It’s the same way with managers. Too often, these same highly skilled, highly effective managers think that agents will, on their own, simply figure out that these managers are exceptional and join them. Not so. Unfortunately, many agents think that their success will be due to other factors such as:

The amount of good floor time given in a particular office–or Internet leads, or Relo leads–or any of those ‘reactive’ lead sources unscrupulous managers promise agents to get them to sign up!

The name of the company

The real estate market at the time

The amount of desk fee or commission structure

If any of these were true, the agents in that particular office would all be making the money of their dreams! We know that’s not so. You know you’re a great manager. You know you’ve helped agents succeed at a high level—fast. How do you promote this fact to hire more great producers?

Advertising And Public Relations: Do You Have Both in your Recruiting Strategy?

Too often, real estate companies and managers use a one-dimensional approach to recruiting. They look to institutional advertising only to recruit agents, just as they look to home advertising to find buyers and sellers. There are three concerns with relying on paid advertising only for recruiting:

1. The agent is over-communicated with today—everyone’s doing it

2. The cost of mail and newspaper advertising is ever-increasing

3.  It relies on the strategy that all managers are the same, it’s just the company that’s better

Revving Up your PR

Instead of spending so much money in advertising, and/or relying only on one type of marketing, expand your recruiting strategy to a different method of promotion: public relations (PR). Specifically, add to your recruiting strategy writing articles, getting them published, and using them for various recruiting tactics. You can use the same articles in your blogs. Why PR? First, it costs nothing except your time. Second, an article has a much higher ‘trust’ level than an ad. Third, you’ve got little competition. Fourth, you can use those articles in a myriad of ways to promote yourself:

In mailers

In your office entry “Book of Greatness” *

*See the link below for the contents in a Book of Greatness

In your pre-first visit recruiting package

In your recruiting presentation

Click here to get your complimentary ‘how to':

Create your recruiting Book of Greatness for your entry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

marketing you 3 DHow to ‘Market’ your Brand

How do you create trust? How do you differentiate yourself? How do you prove you really are what you say you are? In this market, everybody and their brother tells potential recruits and clients they are the best. You can’t afford to be one of the crowd!

This resource shows you, step by step, how to gain trust and differentiate yourself in a graceful, effective manner–a manner that’s comfortable for YOU. See it here.

 

coachingHere are ten tips to gain platinum level trust. Why is gaining trust so important? Managers are also salespeople. We salespeople can’t sell anything to anyone without first establishing an exceptional level of trust–an increasingly difficult thing to do. The ten tips I shared on in a recent radio show can help sales and management professionals build a ‘platinum level’ of trust.

The Ten Tips

1. Learn non-verbal skills and apply them in writing, on the phone, and in person to establish rapport in an increasingly ‘cold inquiry’ world.

2. We believe what others say about a salesperson, not what the salesperson says about themselves. Use testimonials; check evaluation websites to see what consumers are saying about you.

Check out www.realestateratingz.com and www.incredibleagents.com. Find other sites (like Zillow and Realtor.com) that display testimonials from your agents’ clients. What are they saying about your company?

3. Help your agents create an after-the-sale survey and use it consistently. If there’s something wrong, fix it fast.

4. We believe what we see, not what we hear. Show, don’t tell. Use visual presentations consistently. And, as a trainer, I know that people retain only 10% 3 days after hearing it. But, when they also see it, they retain 60%. Which retention rate do you need to gain trust?

5. Flip your sales presentations. Ask questions—lots of questions—first. Educate. Finally, sell (well, you won’t have to sell).

6. Tell the truth attractively. Show evidence, don’t try to scare the client into action by predicting  the future.

7. Evaluate the agent/client for long-term relationships. Is the agent/client someone you want to add to your ‘tribe’?

8. Use ‘tough love’ with a client to tell the truth, turn down a client—to stay true to your values. Do what’s best for the client.

9. Re-cap. Regularly, stop and re-cap with the client. Do this, too, when you can’t meet client expectations.

10. Book of Greatness: Don’t brag about yourself in the middle of a presentation. Create a ‘Book of Greatness’ to use in your pre-first visit so your clients get to know you and your approach to sales.  (See Marketing You for more information on that Book of Greatness.)

marketing you 3 DHow to ‘Market’ your Brand

How do you create trust? How do you differentiate yourself? How do you prove you really are what you say you are? In this market, everybody and their brother tells potential recruits and clients they are the best. You can’t afford to be one of the crowd!

This resource shows you, step by step, how to gain trust and differentiate yourself in a graceful, effective manner–a manner that’s comfortable for YOU. See it here.

 

dollar  markHere are more tips on using publicity for FREE marketing.

In an earlier blog, I gave you advice about how to create a steady stream of publicity as a recruiting and image-making tool. Now, I’d like to share a few more tips on writing articles or blogs.

From writing all those articles and blogs, here are the three most important lessons I’ve learned:

  1. A smaller topic is better
  2. Less ideas are better
  3. More examples are better

So, in about 400-500 words, you’ll only have time for one to three ideas and examples. Make the examples ‘real life’. Also, be sure your article is as perfect as you can get it before submitting. These editors don’t have time to work with any of us in extensive editing. The person who submits articles “ready to go” gets published much more often!

How to Find Appropriate Publications for Your Talents

Pick up your favorite real estate magazine or newsletter. See the kind of articles that the publisher likes. Note the length. Ask yourself: Why would my articles be a benefit to that publication? Then, contact the publisher for article specifications and submission policies. You’re on your way to standing out as an exceptional manager!

Make a list of hard copy and Internet-based magazines and newsletters. That becomes your ‘distribution list’. Each month, I submit at least one article to my list—all at once (your contact management program is invaluable to put your PR contacts in a field so you can communicate easily). I have a ‘template’ that I use, which points out the link to the article. In it, I point out the value of the article/blog to the reader. I ask the editor to include my biography with ‘hot links’ so readers can get the free documents I usually provide with each article—and can go to my website.

Make Publicity Distribution Really Simple…..

A new resource I just discovered: Recently, I signed up for an article submission service, so I could widen my scope of influence. Check out Submit Your Article.

Now, you are on your way to free publicity, a heightened image, and much improved recruiting, and it didn’t cost you anything!

Give me your tips on using publicity as a free marketing tool.

marketing you 3 DWant More Tips on Marketing YOU?

Why not optimize your personal ‘brand’ by marketing yourself more effectively? And, with methods that cost little or nothing? Here’s a great resource for you, Marketing YOU. Check it out!

many peole standing recruitingGrab this FREE recruiting tool: Publicity.

Do you want a free recruiting tool? You’re a real estate professional. You have limited advertising/recruiting funds. You want to recruit more. You want to establish your credibility as an industry leader. One of the best strategies is to write articles that get published, and use those articles in all of your marketing strategies. Here are the steps to follow to write articles that are valuable and that get published every time. The best thing about this strategy: It’s absolutely free!

The Process: Simple and Straightforward

Writing an article follows the same process composers use in writing a popular tune: It starts with the theme (A), continues with the middle, where you expand on the idea and example (B), and ends again with the theme. When I’m teaching my “Train the Trainer” course, we practice this simple structure when we create training programs.

The Eight Simple Steps to Get Started

Here are the simple steps I’ve used over the years to create articles that have gotten published hundreds of times in major real estate magazines and newsletters:

1. Decide on who your audience is, so you realize for whom you’re writing

2. Decide on the challenge (s) they have that you want to address

3. Jot down all the ideas you have about the challenges and solutions

4. Narrow the topic so you can zero in specifically on what you want to write about.  The biggest mistake writers and teachers make is to choose too broad a topic for the time or word framework.  For example, it’s difficult to write 500 words on how to create a team. You CAN write 500 words about why to create a team; or three strategic tips in creating a team.

5.  Choose one to three ideas to discuss.

6. Arrange the topics in the order you want to discuss them

7. To expand on the ideas, present the idea clearly and then give an example. One commonality I’ve found among editors is that they want examples with the idea. Otherwise, the reader doesn’t really get the picture.

8. Close the article with the reiteration of your challenge and solution. Give your audience positive motivation to take action.

coaching teaching skillsWhat’s your advice for new agents? I’m editing Up and Running in 30 Days for the 5th edition, due to be out in early 2017. As you probably know, Up and Running in 30 Days is literally the new agent’s start-up plan. In it, I show the what, how, why, and how much of real estate activities needed to do well quickly. Up and Running is very specific, and is easy to use to coach new agents to productivity fast.

Asking New Agents for their Advice

I’m in the midst right now of asking 1-3 year successful agents for their advice for the new agent. I will use these quotes throughout the book, to reinforce the start-up plan principles. If you have a successful 1-3 year agent that you’d like featured, you can forward my questionnaire here.

What’s Your Advice?

As one of the new features of the 5th edition, I’m incorporating great managers’ advice to new agents. Here’s what I’m asking:

  1. What do new successful agents do consistently that agents who fail don’t do?

 

  1. What common mistakes do new agents make that cost them time, money–and hinder their success?

 

  1. Would you advise a new agent to (why or why not)

–join a team

–have a mentor

–hire a professional coach

  1. What should a new agent look for in a training program?

 

 

  1. Other advice you provide to a new agent?

 

 

Your name:

Company name:

Number of agents in your office:

Number of agents you’ve hired that have completed at least 10 transactions their first year in the business:

How to Get your Advice to Me

If you’d like to write a comment to this post with answers to these questions, your comments will be relayed to me. If I’m able to use them in my book, you will receive a complimentary copy of Up and Running AND lots of PR–to help you in your recruiting as an expert in helping new agents.

Or, if you’d like to complete the questionnaire and email it to me, Here is the questionnaire. Just complete it and email it to carla@carlacross.com. You will be assisting thousands of new agents as they begin their careers, and, I think you’ll find that being published will help your ‘street cred’ with those you want to hire!

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