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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 social media

 Are you giving your new agents every opportunity to succeed? Do they have start-up plans? Are they being coached weekly in those plans? Iam proud that Dearborn Financial Publishing has just released my 4th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days. It features technology recommendations, a social media planner, a technology planner, and dozens more updates. Take a look at a short video I just did for the publisher:

Yes. Your new agents attend training. But, that doesn’t give them a detailed hour by hour schedule, nor a lead generating plan to follow. It DOES provide them lots of information. Their problem is in prioritizing it. Unfortunately, 95% of new agents start without a start-up plan! So, they waste so much time, money, and energy chasing one idea after another. You can get a coherent, proven, completely contemporary plan with the new 4th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

And, in this new edition, I offer tips to coaches to support their agents as they work through the plan–and get a sale in 30 days!

Click here to take a look at what’s in the new 4th edition.

 

 

I just created a new business page for Carla Cross & Co. on Facebook. (Hey–join and take part in contests, sweepstakes, etc.). 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?)

What does that mean to you as a manager? You have to figure out the needs that they want filled, and fill them the way they want them filled. I did a webinar, Light ‘Em on Fire, for the Learning Library of the National Association of Realtors, and discussed the ins and outs of motivation–a mis-understood yet incredibly powerful tool.

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

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.

How have your agents integrated social media into their business plans? Where does it go?  In the marketing part of their plans. That’s pretty easy. But, what should social media to do for agents? Sell houses? Get calls to them? Increase their (and your) image? Before we can answer that, we have to define types of marketing and how to measure its success.

Does Social Media Work?

One of the biggest questions agents ask is, “Does social media work?” Well, that depends on what you expect it to do for you. To make any of marketing effective, the marketer must first decide what the objectives are for that marketing. Then, marketers can set up appropriate measurement tools.

The Two Types and Objectives of Marketing

Merchandise: That means advertising a product or a service to ‘get the phone to ring’, or to get a specific, immediate response. An example of merchandise advertising would be placing a home ad in the newspaper—or placing a home ad on Facebook.

Institutional: That means advertising that increases your image, cements your uniqueness in the mind of the consumer, and/or establishes you as the agent of choice. These are not placements that make the phone ring, or get an immediate response. Instead, this kind of marketing  is more subtle. It is also more difficult to measure, but, it can be measured. How? By establishing a baseline of consumer perceptions about the product or service, and then measuring the consumer perception after the campaign. (Best to hire a professional marketing service to do this, because it requires expertise).

What do Agents Expect from Social Media Efforts?

If agents are placing homes on Facebook, they probably expect to get inquiries on those homes. Are they getting  them? Do they have a method to measure results? Or, if they’re not expecting an immediate response, why are they putting the home there? To show Facebook friends they are successful? The marketer must decide.

If agents (or you) are blogging, what to you expect to get from blogging? If you’re establishing yourself as a neighborhood expert or expert in certain types of homes, you should be able to see more acceptance and trust from the consumer after you consistently and frequently add to your blog.

Don’t Give Up!

Frequency and consistency are the by-words of marketers. Yet, advertising executives always complain that their clients expect results too quickly and change their campaigns way too soon. Just think. How many times did you have to hear that pop tune until you started recognizing it? How long until you could hum it? Probably anywhere from 8-20 times!

In my business planning system for real estate agents, I show agents how to create a marketing plan. Put your social media into that plan, be clear about your objectives, and set up consistent and frequent efforts to your best target markets. Now, you’re using social media as part of your overall marketing strategy.

Social Media: Are your agents counting on it as their ‘magic bullet’? First, before you read this, let me tell you that many of you will be angry or bereft at the opinions in this blog. Just hang in there, though, until you see the ‘why’ of it.

Social Media. There are more classes on it, more talk about it, and more agents are worrying about it than any topic in real estate. That may cause them to think that it’s the most important ingredient to an agent’s success. But, not so fast. Who is telling them that? Are they people who have been successful real estate agents? Or, are they technology gurus—or, worse yet, people who want to sell agents their services?

Industry Leaders Don’t Agree with Social Media Gurus

Whenever I write an article about where social media fits into an agent’s business life, I get emails from respected industry leaders who are very concerned that social media is prioritized wrongly as a critical ingredient for an agent’s success. Why would leaders think this? Because they see agents avoiding the big priorities the leadership thinks will make them successful. They also see them looking for the easier ‘magic bullet’.

What are those big priorities for success?

Business producing activities: proactive lead generation, working with buyers and sellers, listing properties, selling properties, and listings that sell.

But, mom, isn’t there another way? Isn’t there an answer that didn’t require me to put up with all that rejection?  I wish there were. However, all the successful real estate agents I know spend lots of time in those business producing activities. They aren’t looking for the ‘magic bullet’. (Well, they already know what that magic bullet is: Meeting and working with people to form long-term professional relationships).

I Love Houses and Technology; I Just Hate People

Do you have those agents who spend a majority of time at their computers? Do they spend little time pro-actively lead generating?  Are they always looking for a way to spend less time with potential clients and more time away from ‘contact’? Are they thinking maybe social media will allow you more ‘arms length’ from that scary consumer? Here’s what to be aware of:

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

By being the ‘go to guy’ about technology and/or social media, those agents may be working themselves into different jobs. They actually may be in the wrong business. Successful real estate agents look for opportunities to meet and work with people. They don’t put technology a priority instead of people.

What’s Social Media For?

In my next blog, I’ll help prioritize social media in a business plan, and show you a neat way to think about marketing in context of social media.

Did I say social media wasn’t important to agents’ businesses? Not exactly. But, to make it pay off correctly, they must use it correctly. See that next blog to find out what I mean.

Managers: Be sure you are helping your agents prioritize their businesses correctly. If they need help in keeping those priorities right, get them Up and Running in 30 Days.

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