RE/MAX Select on Main
 

As year end quickly approaches – it is time to start making plans for 2013!  I am talking about a written business plan to support the attaining of your personal goals.  The stories highlighting the importance of a good business plan are many but I won’t attempt to do it here.
 
I’m asked from time to time about our market.  While we can succumb to the media’s interpretation of the events, I would rather focus instead on some positives:
 

  • We continue to have attractive interest rates – albeit not at historic lows, still very attractive!
  • Our local economy is still strong – just try to secure a contractor for work. 
  • Vancouver and it surrounding communities are still sought by people throughout the world as an ideal place to live.
  • Real estate continue to be a valid cornerstone to building financial security.
  • After years of a very active market in terms of price increases and volume, an adjustment period is normal and welcomed.

 
That said, real estate is a contact sport – one which requires us to be in touch with people and never was that more important than at times like this.  There are no quick fixes to lead generation.

  • Find the lead
  • Work the lead
  • Close the sale
  • Cultivate the relationship for future referrals.

 Some ideas to keep in mind:

Focus on your goals as a way to keep on track and positive.  Stick to the business plan you laid out for yourself.
 
Stick to a structure – In our business, it is too easy to be distracted by non-productive events. 

  • Get in the habit of starting at a particular time (noon might not be ideal). 
  • Taking breaks during the course of the day will help keep your energy up.
  • While we all need lunch breaks, they don’t need to be for 2 hours – and why not take the time with a past client for lunch.
  • Working the sale – set time aside to deal with the follow up elements for your sales, but don’t allow it to consume your day
  • Make sure your day includes uninterrupted time for the family
  • Block time for lead generation – remember real estate sales is a contact sport.

 I’ve asked our REALTOR®s to consider turning off the TV (News…) stop reading the papers.  Fill you mind with positive information vs. the baggage which fills the media today.  The list of quality books is endless.  Your office may have a library already of such book or VHF, DVD etc. for your use.  Take advantage of it.
 
Take action – whatever you decide to do, it does not have to be perfect, Nike says it best  – Just do it!


Richard Laurendeau 

Managing Broker

RE/MAX Westcoast 


604-279-8044
richardl@remax.net

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Hey team,

It is almost time to look back at 2012 and ahead to 2013.  The owners and managers of our group certainly hope you'll invest time in yourself by joining  us next Thursday Nov 29th at 8:30 at the Marine Drive Golf Club for our Annual Business Planning Breakfast Session.

With the theme of these weekly emails being tech, I thought it might be a good time for you to review your tech efforts in 2012.  How much time have you spent clicking a mouse or touching a screen (excluding direct communications with clients) this year?  How much business did those efforts get you?

While technology can be great and make our lives easier, it can also be a time suck and worse yet, it can fool us in to thinking we are busy.  So I'll ask the question again, but this time actually stop and think about the answer.  HOW MUCH EXTRA INCOME DID TECHNOLOGY HELP YOU EARN IN 2012?  I am not trying to be harsh here, and not by any means suggesting you throw away your iPad, but it seems more and more than Allison Sawyer and your Managing Brokers are hearing people say things like "Once I get this new app I'll...." or "I need to get more friends on social media" or things like that.

Let's remember that the power you have to influence people diminishes greatly as you move away from face to face to over the phone.  It then exponentially drops off again if you are using one on one digital communication (direct message, text message etc) - And it is least powerful when you are broadcasting something that they just happen to be receiving.

So if you are an agent doing 12 or more deals a year looking to add new lead generation techniques to your business in order to increase your market share, look at all options, including tech.  If you are in the category where you are new enough (or circumstances have made you lose focus) and you are doing less business than that every year, there are plenty of options you should be exploring before looking to tech and social media to bring you business (although spending 30 minutes a week to make sure you have an online presence would still be wise) 

Let's look at some lead generation techniques we know agents are using.  If you business plan for 2013 calls for you to make more income than in 2012 (and if it doesn't why not?) then you need to step out of your comfort zone and do things you haven't done in the past (or that you used to do but fell off)

  • Sphere - It is hard work to get people to know and trust you, and then to think of you when they are buying or selling real estate.  The good news is you already have people that know and trust you, you just need to remind them on an ongoing basis that you appreciate their business and look forward to providing amazing service to their referrals.
  • Past clients - When was the last time you spoke with your past clients, on the phone or in person and specifically asked for their referrals?  Are there people out there that think that you might be too busy or might not deal with the type of client/product they have to refer?
  • Expired Listings.  Make sure that you have access to the DNC List for any "cold" calls
  • For Sale by Owners.  Tom Ferry once asked a big audience at an event if they had ever driven by a house with a for sale by owner sign on the lawn.  Almost everyone put up their hands.  He then asked how many knocked on the door, right then and there, and about 1% of the people put up their hands.  Talking to the 99% that didn't knock, he said " So you drove by, saw the sign, thought 'wow there is someone that could really benefit from my services' and drove away"????
  • web leads - Your website should have a members only access to MLS info (VOW) built in.  Techy or not, when you get a lead you should respond IMMEDIATELY.
  • RE/MAX LeadStreet - same as above.  When you get a lead, respond NOW.  "Sorry mom, I'll call you back, I just got an email that if I respond to quickly enoough and work really work I can earn an extra $9000, gotta run!"
  • Open Houses - Sure, those new to the business are doing open houses, but are you doing them well?  Do you have information about the neighbourhood, sales stats, promotion about yourself, all to give to potential buyers?  Are you asking each and every visitor that comes through if they are working with a REALTOR(R)?  Are you building rapport with those that come through?  Is your goal to pick up at least one qualified client at each open you do?  Pro Tip; knock on at least 40 doors before your open inviting people in the area to your open.   More than one will have questions about the market or the listing you are doing the open at.
  • RE/MAX Events and Conventions - Sales Rallies, local conventions, out of town conventions.  Talk to people within our group that frequent them, research a little and try to find a way to generate business from these.  Those that do it, do well at it. However, it will have to be more than just a party... you'll have to work at it
  • Your brand.  What do you stand for? What do you represent?
  • Causes -  The Real Estate Board is doing its annual blanket drive build up right now.  You could phone 500 people asking them if they have items to donate and I bet you that you'll even stumble on some business while doing good for others.  Same with the RE/MAX annual yard sale for the cure, Children's Miracle Network and other causes.
  • Foreclosures -  In speaking both with agents who get foreclosures and bankers who give it, it is really as simple as making connections with the decision makers.  Find out who is in charge of giving out foreclosure business at a few institutions and add them in to your stay in touch plan for 2013
  • Developers - Find out who the decision maker is, fiqure out how you can add value and stay in touch.
  • Business Networking - we have several agents who are part of a BNI group.  There are any business networking opportunities including what Brian Buffini talks about it the Ultimate Agent Program... start your own!  Visit local businesses and service providers and start a win/win relationship
  • New to real estate dropouts.  Outside of our little bubble of training and support, there is a high failure rate amongst new real estate agent agents.  If you know of anyone who has recently left the business, see if you can help serve whatever clients they may have had.  Again, pay a healthy referral and make it win win
  • Marketing (in print and online)  - This takes time to "stick".  Have  a plan and a budget and stick to it.  If you spend all your budget in 2 months and don't get any results, then what?  Stretch your budget to allow 6 months or more of a marketing program to get a feel for how it is doing
  • Just listed/Just sold - phone calls, door knocks and postcards
  • Media - Send information to the media.  If you sell a property that is unique or something about the sales price is noteworthy, let it be known.  If you do research and find something that would be interesting for the public to know, let the media know as well.
  • Lunch -  A great salesperson I know once said when asked the secret to his success said "I never eat lunch alone"  He was saying that he saw lunch as an opportunity to build his business.  
  • Buyer/Seller Seminars - Feel free to use our boardroom here.  Partner up with a mortgage or other professional and put on seminars
  • Teaching and Speaking Opportunities - try to become a sought after expert 
  • Promotional Items - Trainer Danielle Kennedy said she never knocked on a door without an item of value in hand (and she knocked on a lot!)
  • Any other lead generation you have been doing 
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Interesting tech times (seems to be the case most weeks, right)


My first story today is about customer service in what I will call the "new reality" of social media.  I strongly believe that companies simply cannot run business the way they used to.  I think the days of the two guys sitting beside each other on a flight, one having paid $200 and one having paid $2000 are numbered.

The fact of the matter is that it is too easy for the public (hey that is our consumers!) to share information on facebook, twitter and the like for companies to have secretive pricing and policies.  The consumer now has more control over your brand than the company does.
 
Some examples of customer service in this new reality.

Hootsuite, a Vancouver company, monitors online for mentions of their name (perhaps they use Google Alerts ) - I was having an issue scheduling posts through Hootsuite, and posted on twitter whether or not anyone else was having the same issue.  Within minutes, @hootsuite_help was tweeting at me and had the problem resolved in minutes

In another example, I called my cell phone provider, Fido, to change my plan to one I had seen advertised in the newspaper.  I was told (they had to repeat it a few times as I found it hard to believe) that I was under a contract with them so they wouldn't give this better plan to me (we make more money off you and you can't cancel so why would we give that to you)  While technically correct, I looked on facebook and twitter and have seen nothing but negative comments about Fido in regards to this policy.  Whether or not they buckle and figure out this is not a good business move in a competitive market place, we do know there have been many examples of companies being forced to change policy as a result of social media pressure.  Fido will need to get this right or they will lose market share once contracts come up for renewal.

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Yesterday I read an amazing stat.  Google now generates more revenue than all print media combined.  It isn't exactly an apples to apples stat as Google makes revenue worldwide and the print media they compare it to is just in the USA.  However, it is no doubt an indication that online advertising is growing.
 
 
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Another cool thing in tech.  This company, fastcustomer, has set up a website/app that sounds very cool.  They will dial a company number for you, navigate the "press 1 for..." menu and call you when someone is ready to talk to you, in person!  I haven't tried it (it is US based, not sure how many Canadian companies are on it) but man does it sound cool.
 
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I read a quote I can't readily find so I'll paraphase... "Technology won't replace real estate agents, but rather they will be replaced by agents who embrace technology"  Not sure I agree with the "replace" part (we still see a LOT of top producers using only low tech methods) I thought it was interesting
 
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Be the best needle in the haystack

Google's head of real estate reveals strategies for growing your business

Inman News®

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Real estate brokers and agents who want more buyers and sellers to discover them on the Internet -- and to be impressed by what they find --  can start by putting themselves in the shoes of their would-be clients.

 

If your market is Atlanta, Google "best Realtors Atlanta" or "best places to live Atlanta." Are you in the results? Where?

Try Googling your own name or your brokerage's name, and see what comes up -- your website, or sites over which you have little or no control?

If you Google your name and "reviews," what are people saying about you?

This little exercise is one example of what Patrick Grandinetti, head of industry across the real estate vertical at Google, calls finding the "pulse" of online consumer behavior.

Once you've found the consumer pulse, he said, respond  -- either by creating content that will draw "organic" (unpaid) traffic from search engines, or by buying keywords and paying for a set amount of "clicks" (traffic to your website).

 

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