Do You Need An Assistant?

Congratulations! Your business is taking off! In fact, you’re so busy you could use a few more hours each day, or a few more days each week. Suddenly, tasks you once loved are feeling like busy-work and you’re terrified of missing phone calls, details, and deadlines. It’s probably time for an assistant. You’re certainly not alone – about 18% of REALTORS® have assistants.

The first question you need to ask is if you need to hire a licensed or unlicensed assistant. Each state has their own requirements for what unlicensed real estate assistants are allowed to do. Click here for the guidelines from the Texas Real Estate Commission. Once you’ve made your decision, posted the position, and picked a few interviewees, you’ll need to know the best questions to ask and methods to use to sort through candidates and find your perfect partner. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Phone Interview

Your first experience with a candidate should happen over the phone. This gives you the same “blind” experience that your clients will have when they call your office. This is a great opportunity for you to get a feel for the candidate and the way your customers will feel when interacting with them. Are they friendly? Knowledgable? Articulate?

If they didn’t answer your first phone call – was their outgoing message professionally-minded? Did they return your call promptly?

At this stage, ask basic questions like “Why do you want to leave your current job?” and “What’s your ideal position?”

First Interview

The first face-to-face meeting gives you a chance to evaluate the professionalism of the candidate. Watch for their people skills, energy level, professional mannerisms, and your own chemistry with the applicant. In this round, you’ll want to ask open-ended questions that require the candidate to talk at length about his or her experiences and requirements. Try questions like “Tell me about your experience in real estate” and “What challenges are you looking for in this position?”

Second Interview

After the first interview, you may have found your perfect candidate. If you’re still trying to make a decision, bring your applicants in for a second round. Before bringing them back in, give them a task to complete to demonstrate their ability to follow instructions and to be trained. This will give you a chance to check attention to detail, follow through, and the quality of his or her work.

Questions in this round should still be open-ended, but should give examples of situations the job may present, giving the candidate a chance to explain how he or she would respond.

This is a good time to bring in other members of your team for their input in the hiring process. You may also want to ask questions like “Tell me about a crisis you experienced in your last position and how you handled it” or “How would you handle a conversation with an angry client?”

Making Your Decision

No matter what phase of the interview process you’re in, there are no right and wrong answers. You have to trust your instincts and be able to take pride in your office and staff. You are the only person who can decide what will work for you and help your business continue to thrive. We’ve added a few sources below for more reading on the subject. Best of luck in taking the next step!


SOURCES

http://www.realtor.org/field-guides/field-guide-to-personal-assistants
https://www.trec.texas.gov/article/use-unlicensed-assistants-real-estate-transactions
http://realtormag.realtor.org/tool-kit/personal-assistant/article/interviewing-tips

Social Media – Don’t Make These Mistakes!

Social media is the most affordable and effective marketing took you have at your disposal – when you use it correctly. But making mistakes on social media is easier than you think. Don’t panic! Small missteps won’t always lead to disaster, but may damage your consistent brand image or at least make customers shake their heads and take their business elsewhere without saying anything.

It may be a good time to do a quick survey of your social media and see if you’re making any of the following mistakes.

Getting into Social Media without a plan

It’s easy to get excited about social media at first. Many people will join a network, load their profiles with great information, generate some buzz, then disappear when keeping up with it gets time consuming. The first step is to have a social media marketing plan. A good plan will include the time investment, goals and strategy, and plan for interaction. Create a calendar and fill it with articles, information, marketing opportunities and more, then use a scheduler to set up your posts weeks or months in advance. Once your initial time investment is taken care of with planning and scheduling, you can maintain your work, posting periodically if you come across useful information and interacting with your audience.

Not Posting Regularly

You’ll be surprised to know that you don’t necessarily need to post every day to be considered “active”, but you do need to post on a regular schedule. You’d hate for a potential client to find your page through a great post, only to see that it was your first one in six months! For Facebook, 1-2 posts per day is ideal. For Twitter, the number is 3-5 tweets. If those numbers sound outrageous, start with posting two or three times each week, and working your way up.

Overposting

While you want to post regularly (see above), inundating your followers with more information than they need is a quick way to lose their attention. Every couple of weeks, take a look at your progress and see which posts are getting the most or least interaction, check if there’s been a significant rise or fall in your audience numbers, and adjust your posts accordingly.

Very Little Interaction

In many cases, profiles have updates but no participation in conversation. Lack of conversation with your clients and followers decreases value of your social presence and you don’t build on valuable relationships. Social Media should be treated like a live event. You would never go to a party and wait for everyone to speak to you – you reach out, you engage, and conversations thrive. Social platforms work the same way. Follow sites you find interesting, comment and converse as your page.

No Real Followers

Are you posting information to the same 50 or so followers every month? Your page could offer the best information, but a small following won’t get you anywhere. To avoid this, interact on social media, tag other businesses and colleagues, and give people a reason to follow your page. If you’ve invited all of your friends to like your page and the number is still stagnant, it may be time to run a promotion or pay for sponsored post to reach new people in your target demographic.

Not Spending Wisely

Speaking of ads… Social media advertising can be very affordable, especially as your following is just getting started. However, if you’re spending money on ads and not seeing results, you may want to do a quick search on how to create a more effective ad, utilizing Search Engine Optimization and current trends.

Not Knowing Your Target Audience

Just like in any other form of marketing, it’s crucial to know who you are trying to reach so that your efforts aren’t wasted. Trying to reach millennial? The way you speak and act online will make a huge difference, as you want to stay ahead of trends. Trying to reach the elderly? Though many older people are using social media, your target may actually be their middle-aged children who are more likely to use the internet.

The Resource: August 2018 Social Media Calendar

It can be tedious to keep up with social media, especially when life and work keeps you busy! If you haven’t had time to sit down and create a social media marketing plan (and you should!), we’ve got you covered with a month’s worth of articles to post to your account.

Totally Texas

Outside The Home

Decor Inpsiration

Back To School

Good Ideas

Buying And Selling

 

Are You Sending Hidden Messages? Let Customers Know You Care By Changing These Habits.

Even those of us with the best intentions can send the wrong messages to the people around us. The three actions and habits below may not seem like huge faux pas, but you can be sure they tell potential clients that you aren’t invested.

Responding to calls and emails isn’t your top priority.

If clients are waiting days (or even hours, depending on the client), can make a huge difference in the way your client feels. You’re incredibly busy, of course, and may not think a slow response is a big deal. But your client does. Even if you are truly too busy to send a well-thought-out email, it doesn’t take much time to send a quick text or email that says “I received your message and want to respond more thoughtfully later.”

You aren’t touching base.

It would be rare for a client to feel like you’ve over-communciated, especially in the real estate industry. But almost all of us have been guilty of communicating too little at times. When people don’t hear from you, they usually assume the worst, thinking a deal has fallen through, or that you aren’t doing your job. Fix this by touching base regularly. Even if it’s a quick update to say, “I know you’re probably feeling anxious, but we don’t have any news yet” or “I just wanted to let you know where we are in this process.” By the way – this is a great practice to have with clients, but also a great idea with colleagues and team members.

You don’t ask for things until the last minute.

When you ask a client or team member for items at the last minute, it sends a message that you’re working on things at the last minute as well. When possible, look ahead and give timelines as far in advance as you can. This also sends the message that you are appreciative of others’ time and schedules. The same goes for deadlines – missing a deadline is one way we can convey to others that we don’t respect their time. Sticking to an agree-upon schedule is crucial.

 

Let’s Set Some Goals!

Confession time. Raise your hand if you’ve ever set a goal without actually taking steps to reach that goal? If you’re like most people, your hand is in the air. Setting goals like, “By this time next year, I’d like to have saved this amount of money” or “I’m going to sell 6 more houses next year than this year” sound great. However, if you aren’t changing your behavior, that goal-setting is nothing but a waste of your time.

It’s easy to dream – easy to know where you want to be – but much more difficult to map out a path to get there.

Necessary changes also mean taking a good, long look at where I am, where I want to be, and how I’m going to get there. We’ve got some steps that may help you avoid a plan that bottoms out.

Reflect

Start with the present. Make a list of what is working and what isn’t as well as what brings you joy and what doesn’t. You can’t move ahead without understanding where you are. This may be a good time to survey people with whom you have done business. What was their impression of your business? Was their experience positive or negative? Does their perception match the message you’re trying to convey?

Work Backwards

Start with the big picture. What does the future look like for you? I’m not talking about this time next year – I’m talking long term. Five years ahead, ten years ahead…what does that look like? What do you want your business to be known for? What does your income look like? What does your life look like?

In setting my goals, it’s good to know where you want to be in 10 years, 5 years and 1 year. It makes planning your next steps make so much more sense.

What’s next?

When you know what the long term looks like, take a look at your short term goals. What do you need to put in place today to make tomorrow possible? If you want to sit on the Board of Directors of an organization you care about, maybe your next goal is to attend a few more networking events this quarter. If you want to sell more, maybe it’s time to invest in some online ads, or attend workshops on lead generation. One good goal begets another.

Think Big, With Wiggle Room

Nothing is more deflating than falling short of your goal. Make big plans, but make sure you’re being reasonable when you decide how quickly to get there. And give yourself help when and where you need it. If there’s someone you admire in your industry, ask if you can treat them to coffee or lunch. Ask a peer for advice on the steps you can take to meet your goal.

Reassess

If there’s one certainty, it’s that your plans will change. Regardless of the specific goal you have in mind, be flexible and ready to change. There are plenty of reasons to change your goals: unexpected changes in the market, the actions your competitors take, your own life events, and more. There are so many factors outside of your control!  You may discover that something you thought would work just doesn’t and find that a new plan is necessary. Readjustment is normal and you shouldn’t see it as a setback.

Looking For Side Income? These Ideas Will Grow Your Wallet AND Your Business.

We’ve all experience the occasional sales slump. But before you start to give up, why not turn that extra time into extra cash? It could be the perfect time to start a real estate side hustle. And before you know it, both your wallet and your appointment book could be overflowing! Here are 3 ways you can earn a little extra income while you wait out the slow season.

Monetize Your Blog or YouTube Channel

If you don’t already have a blog or an active video presence, a slow season is the perfect time to get it started! When you use your platform regularly and consistently you’ll be doing two things. First, you’ll be gaining credibility as an authority in your field. Now, you could wax philosophical about real estate, but you could also turn to one of your other passions like local restaurants or community events, home decor trends, being a working parent, or any number of things. If you can be transparent and available through your blog or vlog, you’ll easily create a loyal following, making it easier to generate leads. Second, popular platforms can make you money through advertisements and affiliations. If you’re singing the praises of a certain yard tool, look into becoming an Amazon affiliate or something similar. You could get a percentage of the sales from your viewers. You can also place ads from Google and other search engines on your site, getting a few pennies for every click. Hey, it all adds up.

Consultancy

We know there’s that certain something that you do better than anyone else. It could be staging a home, setting up an office system, or handling your own graphic design. There’s something you do well that someone else needs! Let others in your brokerage know that you can train them on accounting software, or help them hire an assistant by handling resumes and interviews. Your little break from business could become the side hustle that saves you.

Teach Classes

If you’re looking to supplement income, teaching real estate classes could be your perfect fit. Getting certified to offer CE courses isn’t too difficult, though it will come with a fee. You can learn more about certification on the TREC website.  You can also browse major job sites like Indeed and Monster to find companies looking to hire real estate course instructors. Don’t overlook this opportunity to help others, gain credibility, and make some side income while you wait for business to pick up again.

Marketing Your Business This July

With Independence Day behind us and the start of school just a few weeks away, it’s time to plan your next move. What can you do this month to strengthen your future business?

Celebrate With Some Late Summer Holidays

Holidays can be the perfect excuse to connect with current and potential clients, and August is full of them – if you know which ones to look for. There may not be any big, widely recognized holidays in August, but there are a few good once that make connecting a breeze. Look ahead to Friendship Day (August 6) to be your perfect icebreaker. And who wouldn’t love to receive chocolate chip cookie mix in a jar as a pop by on National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on August 4. Other fun holidays include National Garage Sale Day (August 12), National Relaxation Day (August 15), and National Dog Day (August 26). See more at www.NationalDayCalendar.com

Back To School

August means kids are heading back to school, and unfortunately, some are heading back with a lot less than others. A great way to give back and encourage others to do so is by holding a back to school supply drive. You may want to collect traditional school supplies, or think outside the box and collect money for school lunches, or ask for donations of new shoes. Add your office as a drop off point and you’ll be able to connect to new friends as well.

Block Party!

If your neighborhood doesn’t already have an annual block party, it might be time for you to get the ball rolling. There are some great ideas here to get you started. Use the opportunity to help your neighbors get to know you and each other. You’ll love being seen as a connecting point for others.

Social Media Challenge: Neighborhood Know-how

Part of selling yourself as an agent is selling your expertise about the areas you live and work in. This month, use social media to highlight your favorite parts of town, from restaurants to museums to family spots to free activities. You want your audience to know that you are the best source for information! And when they’re ready to buy or sell, they’ll certainly want an area expert like yourself to guide them through the process.

 

Want To Appear More Successful? Make These Changes!

It may be common knowledge that people who are successful (or at least, people who project success) get treated differently. It may be something small like better service at a restaurant or something that can make a real difference, like a better seat at a networking events. Successful people get better introductions, better invitations, and, in general, more respect from the people they work with.

What may not be common knowledge is that you can project more success today by just making a few little changes. These little tricks could open big doors. Our little guide below will hep you “Fake it ’til you make it.

1. Change Your Mindset.

People who project success are usually confident people who are open to taking risks and finding solutions. If you’re not a risk taker, in business or beyond, you can start small. Take a new route to work, sign up for a kickboxing class, or start a conversation in line at the grocery store. If you’re naturally a risk-taker, try moving outside of your comfort zone in bigger ways, like taking a white water rafting trip or signing up for a talk at something like a Pecha Kucha event.

These kinds of changes will affect both your mood and attitude, which will affect productivity levels, which can help establish you as a leader. Let the success be mental and own it.

2. Dress For Success.

If you’re ready to be recognized as a leader, you’ve got to look like one. This doesn’t mean that you have to abandon your personal style, but you can polish it up. You’ll never regret being the best-dressed person in the room. Skip the at-home dye jobs and ill-fitting blazers and make some real investments in your personal style. Take pride in your appearance and it will affect the way you handle yourself, too.

3. Slow Down.

Studies have shown that people who move quickly can look frantic and anxious to others, while those who take their time appear intelligent and successful. Give yourself an extra 10 minutes to get anywhere or an extra 30 minutes for your morning routine and you won’t run the risk of rushing into a meeting or event. Whether you’re speaking to a prospective client or a peer, use a measured tone. By giving each person you speak with the time and attention they deserve (without looking hurried or ready to rush off to your next appointment), you’ll give the impression that you have the luxury of taking that extra time.

4. Change Your Body Language.

Just as speed can affect the way people perceive you, your body language speaks volumes. Successful people have a confident expression on their face, lifting their chin just a bit when they enter a room. They don’t wait for introductions; they approach others first. In fact, they’ll usually be the individuals conducting the introductions. Want to look unsure and unsuccessful at a networking event? Stand by yourself and check your emails and texts. This doesn’t make you look like a busy professional – it makes you look nervous and uncomfortable. Work the room, hold your head high, make eye contact, and your body language will start affect the way you think about yourself as well.

Now, go get ’em, tiger!

How You Can Use Storytelling To Attract Clients

Many real estate agents are good at their job, sincere with their customers, and hard-working individuals. If you’re an agent, there’s a good chance that you enjoy working with others – the difficult part is finding the clients in the first place.  Here are some strategies to help you attract more prospects by letting others in on the story of YOU.

Marketing is about storytelling – telling the story of you and your business to the people who want to hear it. Years ago, customers may have wanted to see a polished facade of the businesses they patronized, but that has changed. Especially if you are running your business as an individual, customers expect transparency. They want to know with whom they are spending their money.

To do this well, you probably shouldn’t lay everything out on the table. But there are certain elements of your story that will help you connect with customers.

How Others Experience Your Work

Obviously, testimonials tell the best story. Former customers have the opportunity to tell your future customers the real-life experience of working with you. If you haven’t done so already, reach out to your former clients and ask if they can share their story with you. And don’t just stop at Zillow or Facebook reviews – take those reviews and add them to your website, social media timelines, or e-blasts.

Photography

Posting a picture of a smiling couple at closing or a family in front of their new home speaks volumes. Again, this paints a real-life picture of your work. A testimonial can give glowing words, but can’t compare to glowing smiles on actual faces. Don’t forget to document these moments with your customers. This should be a regular part of your marketing campaign.

Your Unique Perspective

Every agent is different. Whether you hobbies include interior design, the great outdoors, or trying every restaurant in town, customers want something they can connect to. By being little bit more open about your life and your personal interests, you could very well win a client who shares your hobby.

Your story is your way of demonstrating your value, experience and expertise to a prospective client in a way that they can relate to and not be intimidated by. The better they know you ahead of time, the more comfortable they’ll be moving forward.

Is It Time To Walk Away From A Lead?

We’ve all heard that you shouldn’t give up too quickly on a lead – in fact, it can sometimes take 5 follow-up calls or meetings to finally hear a “Yes.” But, when does it cross the line from persistent into annoying? Once that line is crossed, it’s hard to get back into your potential client’s good graces. So when is it time to give it a rest?

When You’ve Exhausted All Possible Efforts

Do you find yourself scratching your head, desperately trying to think outside of the box for that one more way to your prospect’s heart? If you’ve contacted your lead by phone, email, text message, and offered to meet for coffee or lunch and you’re coming up against wall after wall, it’s probably time to let go.

They Tell You To Stop Calling

A more timid customer may try to put you off, telling you to call again in a month, or give them a few weeks to get back to you, when they may really want to tell you they’re not interested. But if a bolder prospect comes right out to tell you to stop your efforts, you definitely need to listen. It’s not a good idea to follow up again – this could be seen as annoying, or even harassing behavior.

When You’re Exhausted

We get it. Rejection is hard. Even if the statistics are on the side of persistence, you may have had all you can take. You may get a cold feeling from your potential client – you can probably tell by their avoidance behavior or their tone of voice (if you can get them on the phone).  It would be better in the long run, to quit before you’ve hit your wit’s end – or theirs – and take a break for a month or two. By the next time you have contact, you’ll be ready to take a fresh approach and chances are they’ll be more receptive.

It’s Not Forever

Remember that stepping back doesn’t mean that you won’t ever make things work with your lead. Keep them on your mailing lists and in the back of your mind. You may find the perfect opportunity to get the ball rolling again, somewhere down the road. Keep your head up and move on to the next prospect!