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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

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 and blogs.

From writing all those articles (over 300 published to date), 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. 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!

You’ve just created a new real estate course that is getting great results. But, nobody’s showing up. You just hired a top agent, but no one knows. You need a method to differentiate yourself from all those managers telling agents “You should join our team”.  You need a press release to the rescue! Few managers take advantage of press releases, and yet, they’re very effective–and very cost-effective (from $0 to a few bucks a month, if you use a service like  Newswire or PR Web.)

Did you know that about 85% of the ‘news’ is planted? That includes press releases and articles. Whether you’re a company with one (that’s YOU) or 1000, you should be putting press releases into your marketing mix. Why?

1. They raise your credibility

2. They deliver the messages the way you want them delivered

3. You have no competition–most companies don’t bother

4. It’s no cost or low cost, and delivers big returns

Getting Started

What’s your reason for a press release? It could be

  • a new class
  • a designation
  • an honor
  • a publication you’ve been featured in
  • a new concept you’ve launched
  • a charity you founded or participated in

To create that first press release, just follow my template here. I’ve also given you an example. Let me know how press releases work for you.

Get Press for your Agents

Why not assist your agents in promoting themselves? Several of my agents had just made personal brochures with my guidance. So, I called our local newspaper and got a full-page article, with a color picture of my agents, explaining the concept and how the agents used it. Then my agents used those brochures in all kinds of promotion to help clients understand their approaches. It was a great retention tool! 

Press release template and example

May
11

How’s your PR? What PR?

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How’s your PR? What PR? Are you taking advantage of FREE marketing? You should. I hear brokers say ‘I’m too small a broker’. ‘I don’t have a marketing budget’. Good. You don’t need one. Use the strategy below and reap big recruiting rewards. 

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! Any broker of any size can do it.

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.

In my next blog, I’ll discuss how to build your distribution list easily–and how to distribute your articles. You’re on your way to an awesome free recruiting tool!

Managers: Develop this skill and then teach your agents how to use PR effectively. Use this skill in the interview to show agents how you’ll help them expand their reach.

Social media: Usually today, articles are published electronically. When your article is published, put it on your Facebook business page and LinkedIn. Invite peole to share the article. Instant PR!

Everyone is trying to sell your agents high tech, automatic return programs. And, they’re not cheap. But, there’s one tool that brings a bigger return on investment than any tech tool–and it’s free. 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.

The Combination that Gets you Business

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: Become Tomorrow’s Mega-Agent Today and Up and Running in 30 Days. 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 your agents stand out from the crowd better than any other one thing they 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, heads up: Do you always write a ‘thank you’ follow-up note after you speak to a candidate? If you just don’t think you have time, write a ‘master’ note and have your assistant write them. You’ll recruit more.

Are you building your online reputation with purpose?  In the last blog, we talked about how our reputation has gone online–and the dangers that accrue if we stay affiliated with those that don’t represent the best ‘us’. Now, here’s how to build that reputation the best way.

Survey, Survey, Survey

Does your company send surveys after the sale? Do you call all those who don’t return the survey? (They’re not mad enough to dump on you, but they’re probably not happy enough to eagerly complete the survey). Do you fix problems fast? If so, you are in the ‘vast minority’ of real estate companies.

Associations are Starting To Survey

One Realtor association, the Houston Association of Realtors, has decided to regularly survey consumers on behalf of their members. In just a short period of time, the Houston association has gotten a staggering 47% response rate! I think that means the consumer really, really, wants to tell us what he thinks of us.

Don’t have a survey? Click here to get my After Sale Survey.

Suggestion: Send it from the office. Or, ask an independent company to send it. You’ll get a much better return rate.

  Rebuilding Trust: The Hidden Challenge

 The hidden, and I think, biggest challenge in real estate today is rebuilding trust. For, without trust, you can’t form rapport. You can’t move the sale forward. You certainly can’t get to ‘yes’. You can’t get good evaluations. So, evaluations and action on them need to become a huge part of our sales strategy. Not only do we need to let consumers know what others think of us, we need to make those testimonials available in hard copies, on our website, in our blogs, and in these new sales agent evaluation websites.

It was amazing to me, as I read the feedback from consumers, that the agent probably didn’t know—or care—that those very negative testimonials were virtually ‘circling the globe’. Take charge of your reputation now by surveying, coaching your agents, and separating yourself from those agents who are not helping you build your invaluable reputation.

Sep
20

How’s Your Online Reputation?

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Is your online reputation building–or eroding your profits?  For years, our industry has hired agents to ‘see if they work out’–to ‘give them a chance’. We are proud that we ‘hire from our gut’. We brag that we have great intuition about who will be successful in real estate. And, unfortunately, that gut and our intuition keep letting us down. Now, the reputation we’ve gotten from those hiring practices is viewed from a much larger perspecctive. 

 Reputation and Referral: It’s No Longer Done Just Word of Mouth

 I’ll bet you’re familiar with Angie’s List, or Yelp, where products and services are rated by consumers. Just think. If you were a roofing contractor, and you got poor ratings, it could literally ruin your business. Now, let’s relate these online evaluations to real estate agents. Are agent ratings now available to the millions of people using the Internet? Yes! In fact, some are on Yelp. In addition, though, new websites devoted only to evaluating real estate agents are springing up. Check these out:

 www.realestateratingz.com                   www.incredibleagents.com              www.zilllow.com  

Word of mouth is wonderful, but, since it’s verbal, it is not very memorable and can’t cover a very wide area. But, Internet postings can stay forever—either to haunt you or support your reputation. Read the reviews on the sites I’ve mentioned in this article. Some of them are from raving fans. But, many of them are from very dissatisfied customers.

People Love to Spread their Unhappiness….

You know, too, from experience, that unhappy people are much more likely to spread their unhappiness than are moderately happy people. In fact, the marketers tell us, on average, the unhappy person tells eleven people. Now, with the Internet, unhappy people have a much greater impact on yours and your real estate agents’ business and profits.

 Consumers Just Don’t Love Us Anymore

 The recent survey by the California Association of Realtors shows some stunning and alarming trends about customer service expectations and delivery. In 2005, Internet consumers rated their overall satisfaction with their agent at almost 90%, while traditional buyers rated their overall satisfaction at 37%. However, in the ensuing years, the ratings have plummeted. In 2009, both Internet and traditional buyers only rated their overall satisfaction with their agent at 4%!  (The ratings of Internet and traditional buyers now are equal). In other words, consumer expectations of what an agent should do for them are just not being met.

Dissatisfaction and Ability to Broadcast Should Give the Industry a ‘Heads Up’

 It’s true that the past few years have been very challenging for real estate agents. They have had to deal with customer distrust, indecision, short sales, and REOs. It’s much more difficult to bring a sale to closing. Yet, this is the very atmosphere in which agents should be perceived as much more valuable to the consumer. Instead, the consumer is judging the service received from the agent very harshly. There are several reasons for this:

  • Unrealistic expectations from consumers
  • Inability of the agent to adequately educate the consumer
  • Too many ‘dual career’ (read that as part-timers) and undedicated agents in our industry

 In my next blog, I’ll provide you a survey you can use to gain great testimonials–and fix any problems fast.

 If you’re like most managers, you’re not exactly rolling in cash. Yet, you need to promote yourself and your company. You need to reach out to more potential recruits. Writing articles is a great way to expanding your marketing reach–without putting out any dough! Here’s how to do it.

How to Decide What to Write and Who to Write For 

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! 

How to Construct your Article

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.

 Steps to Create and Publish your Article

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.

Note: You can write a longer article (1000-3000 words ) and then break it down into 400-600 word sections for a blog series.

   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, and give your audience positive motivation to take action.       

 Biggest Lessons

 From writing all those articles, here are the 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!

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