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Archive for technology

shaking hands over computerIs technology your greatest challenge as a leader?A� I just saw an advertisement for a large franchise convention. The focus will be on technology. Okay. But, what about you leaders? What are your big concerns? I’ll bet they are NOT technology. They are

1. Finding great candidates — not just anybody

2. New agents joining–getting them successful quickly; reducing turnover

3. Creating a ‘team’ atmosphere that serves as a magnet for retention

In fact, I’m afraid that most companies are focused on yesterday’s challenges. If technology were still actually the #1 focus, our agents would all be doing well, and eager to embrace technology to support those efforts. The company challenge would be just to either provide that technology or the training to use it.* That’s not the case. Companies have plenty of technology resources or access to them. It’s just that agents reject using these resources! Why? They aren’t committed to their businesses. Or, they don’t know how to use the technology. That’s a leadership training opportunity.

*If I were to look at the convention speakers, would I find someone who was working with leadership to help them counsel and consult each agent to his tech plan? To provide a calendar with tech training customized to each office needs? Without these ‘on the ground’ actions, talk about tech is pretty worthless!

Technology: A Crutch, or a Support?

If agents see technology as a crutch, or an excuse NOT to lead generate, they will look to technology to solve their income problems. Tech experts say that less than 2% of all tech leads turn into sales. But, do agents think that? No. They think that each tech lead is a guaranteed sale. They think it’s easy to convert that lead. When they find out it’s not easy and that there’s such a low conversion rate, they give up fast. Franchises have failed nationally that relied on technology to provide leads to agents. Unfortunately, those agents were sold that the company leads would guarantee them a handsome income. So, they had inflated expectations about the quality of leads. And, according to the franchise owners, the agents wouldn’t follow up on most of the leads!

Getting the Cart before the Horse

So, focusing on technology intimates that it will be the solution to a manager’ owners challenge: To get more production from his/her agents. Technology will not do that. Technology will provide support for lead generation. Technology will make it easy to track those leads and constantly communicate. But, that means there still has to be a caring, communicating human being driving that technology–the responsible agent.

Leaders: What do you think are the biggest challenges managers face today in real estate offices?A� How does tech fit in?

30137_flying_by_the_seat_of_your_pants_andy_watsons_comedy_in_progress1Are your agents systematized in their businesses–or are they flying ‘by the seat of their pants’?

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.}

In this latest edition of Up and Running, I’ve identified 10 real estate trends that most critically affect how agents do business. Here’s trend #4: Systematization.

Why Systematize with Technology

To be more effective, you need to a�?duplicate and delegate.a�? The trend today is for agents to move faster and better by systematizing what they do and using technology to do it.

The First Step: Create Checklists and Processes

The first step is to create checklists and processes for everything you do. These become your systems. For you new agents, take full advantage of every checklist and presentation your company offersa��and those here in Up and Running in 30 Days . Youa��ll save hundreds of hours of time and energy, because these resources are the result of expertsa�� work. Your clients want to know that you have systems so that you provide a high quality of work every time.

* Big Idea: Ita��s much easier to refine a ready-made system than to create one from scratch.

Your Second Step: Add the right Technology

Your second job is to find some technology to support these processes. Your company may have already done that research work for you. It is amazing to me the number of agents who do not take advantage of the technology their company has paid for in research, development, or partnering costs. For example, one large franchise had partnered with a lead follow-A�up company to ensure that their agents had a simple, effective method to follow their Internet leads. The franchise spent thousands of dollars and hours researching companies to ensure that they chose a company in the agentsa�� best interests. They negotiated a great price for their agents, too. However, only about half of the agents in that franchise took advantage of the thousands upon thousands of dollars their company spent to create that partner agreement. I just cana��t see any reason not to take advantage of such a great opportunitya��unless the agent just didna��t care to be successful!

In this newest edition of Up and Running, I have a comprehensive References/Resources section. Ia��ve asked experts in the real estate field to name their favorite technology and Ia��ve provided their recommendations to you.

Gary Richter, one of my agent contributors, advises: a�?Get off your computer and go out into the areas. Focus on business-producing activities.a�? {and use technology as a support}

* Big Idea: Use the technology and systems your company has invested in for your convenience.

Pros and Cons of Systematization with Technology

  • Positives: Youa��re going into the industry as it has matured in its choices for needed technology. It will be easier for you to choose those that are important to your career success.
  • Watch out for: Invest quickly enough, but dona��t invest in gimmicks. Also, dona��t let yourself think that if you have all the technology toys, youa��ll be successful.

* Big Idea: Duplicate and delegate.

So, here are my questions to you: Have your agents started organizing their businesses with checklists and processes? Have theyA� taken advantage of your company’s resources? Are they starting with the technology they offer to you?

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 computerDearborn Education Company just released my 5th edition (!) of Up and Running in 30 Days. This book is literally the new agenta��s business start-up plan. In addition, Ia��ve provided lots of training and advice to assure new agents know what to do and how to do it.

One of the updates in this edition is the technology new agents really needa��and what they dona��t need, so they dona��t waste their previous dollars!

What My Technology Experts Told Me

Use technology to support your dynamic business. The easiest way to organize the names of prospects and clients is on a computer. If youa��re not in the technology world nowa��jump in. Youa��ll need technology to do the following (these are not my priorities, just a list):

Technology Recommendations from Up and Running

Use technology to support your dynamic business. The easiest way to organize the names of prospects and clients is on a computer. If youa��re not in the technology world nowa��jump in. Youa��ll need technology to do the following (these are not my priorities, just a list):

  1. Work from wherever you are with a laptop so you can find properties, do market analysis, and create presentations anywhere, anytime
  2. Organize your prospects, clients, and affiliates (such as mortgage lenders) in a database (if youa��re not extremely computer literate, start with Microsoft Outlook, which almost everyone already has on their computers)
  3. Organize your follow-up programs for specific target markets viaA� client relationship management (CRM)
  4. Capture and follow up on your Internet leads with Internet lead follow-A�up technology designed for that purpose
  5. Measure your progress to your goals with specific software
  6. Keep in contact with your customers via cell phone and pager (you will find it truly amazing how few agents return phone calls)
  7. Carry your contacts (database), schedule, and so on with you on a personal digital assistant
  8. Create a personal Web site and/or blog that promotes you and/or provides your prospects and clients access to information they value, such as updates on their property, marketing, or transaction progress
  9. Take pictures with a digital camera and add them to your Web site or your flyers
  10. Invest in a video flip camera so you can promote yourself and your listings via video
  11. Budget for your expenses, track expenses, and create, implement, and analyze your profit and loss statements with financial software (such as QuickBooks, Quicken, or Mint)

Note: See the References and Resources section in UP and Running in 30 Days A�for resources for these valuable tools. And, the reference section offers dozens of references for other software, training, etc.

Get Advice Before You Invest

These references include only a few of the technologies agents use in business. Before you buy anything, interview three technology-savvy, high-producing agents in your office and identify the technologies they consider important. Dona��t expect your real estate company to provide them, although seasoned agents within your organization may be willing to provide direction on the best use of technology. Also, see your manager for advice on the most up-to-date technology you need to perform.

Caveat: Dona��t run around buying every marketing program and tech tool from vendors. As Gary Richter, one of the newer, successful agents quoted in my book, advises: a�?There are many different programs and systems that vendors will try to sell to you as a new agent. Many overlap in capabilities. Pick one that works for you and stick with it.a�?

Up and Running_5e largerTake a look at what’s new in Up and Running in 30 Days:A� updates in 5th edition. This invaluable book is only $32.95 plus shipping, and has been used by thousands of new agents to launch successful careers. Order here.

Up and Running_5e largerI just received my copy of my 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days, the new agenta��s business start-up plan. Dearborn Education, a division of Kaplan, Inc., has published this book since its first edition. Ia��ve put lots of updates in this 2017 edition, including advice from successful newer agents. Rather than my trying to convince you of these principles myself, herea��s what theya��ve said:

On Training

Herea��s a quote from Kyle Kovats, who was recently chosen as one of the finalists for the a�?30 under 30a�? honors from the National Association of Realtors.A� These select nominations are agents chosen because they are under 30 and very successful in the business.

Kyle advises: a�?Find a broker who has a comprehensive training program. Ask if you can speak with agents who have gone through it to get the agentsa�� perspective on whether it was helpful.a�?

{Note: Up and Running in 30 Days has tips for you new agents in choosing the right training programa��a training program that actually assures you launch a great career).

The Importance of Coaches and Mentors

Therea��s a lot more to success than just attending even a great training program. Read this from Merrilee Prochaska, a�?I wish I had understood the importance of a mentor/coach before I began.a�?

{Up and Running in 30 Days discusses the trend toward coaches, and provides guidance in choosing the right coach for you.}

On What They Wish Theya��d Done Differently

Ita��s not all a smooth ride! Here are some comments from Cerise Paton, on what she wishes she would have done differently: a�?Followed up more and more consistently; understood the time and discipline and numbers needed for lead generation and lead conversion; recognizing the time it took to build trust; going on more appointments, failing more often, and getting better, practicing presentations with friendsa�?.

Gary Richtera��s comment on what he would do differently could apply to most new agents: a�?Contact all of my sphere and ask for business.a�? Gary admits he was reticent to ask them all for business.

On Prioritizing Your Activities and Lead Generation Sources

Dona��t take my word for it that clearly prioritizing your activities as business-producing or business-supporting is key to success. Hear it from Gary Richter, who used Up and Running in 30 Days to start his career. He says his priorities are big reasons hea��s succeeding now: a�?I am cognizant of my daily activities and recognized them as either business producing or business supporting. I spend the majority of my time on business-producing activities.a�?

And, Diane Honeycutt states, a�?Take the advice in this plan and be sure youa��re not a a�?secret agenta��! Develop a work plan and stick to ita�?.

Herea��s what Kyle Kovats, that great a��30 under 30a�� nominee, said: a�?Get out there and just do it.A� Try different forms of prospecting and see what works. An ounce of action is more powerful than a ton of planning.a�?

Gary Richter advises: a�?Get off your computer and go out into the areas. Focus on business-producing activities.a�?

More great advice from Kyle Kovats: a�?Be relentless. Follow up with handwritten letters rather than the generic form letters/cards most agents send people. Be unique.a�?

On the Importance of Client Relationship Management Technology

When I asked those agent and team leader contributors what technology is important to incorporate, herea��s what they said:

a�?CRM and lead management toolsa�?a��Diane Honeycutt

a�?A really good and easy-to-use CRMa�?a��Cerise Paton

a�?A good CRMa�?a��Chris Cross

So, dona��t be like the majority of new agents (and even seasoned agents who put off capturing all those leads in a database and then, even better a CRM!) Start using a database, or better yet, a CRM your first week in the business.

On Spending Money for Leads

Herea��s some advice from one of those Top 30 Under 30 finalists, James Pierce: a�?Don’t pay a dime to sites like Zillow, etc.a�?

From Cerise Paton: a�?You will get a lot of calls to sell you leads, google placement, banner ads, shopping carts, you name it. Dona��t do it. It either has no value, orA�you’reA�not ready for it, or you cana��t afford ita�?

Tip for managers: As you read these comments, ask yourself, a�?How is my training, coaching, and business start-up plan keeping my new agents on track?a�? What needs to be changed or refined so I get better results?a�?

How about YOU?

Are you following these principles? How many have you rejected or violated in your first few months in the business? Why? Success isna��t always easy, but it always has patterns and leaves clues! Dona��t try and re-invent the wheel. Follow a proven plan with assured results and you will be wildly successful!

Take a look at what’s new in Up and Running in 30 Days:A� updates in 5th edition.