Looking To Boost Your Business? Connect With These 5 People!

Jim Rohn once said that we are the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time. What this boils down to, of course, is that we are greatly influenced by those closest to us. These people affect the way we think, our self-esteem, the decisions we make. If you’re ready to grow, here are five people you need in your professional circle, according to career coach Richard Leider.

#1 – Committed Listener

If you have a decision (big or small)  to make about your career, do you have a friend or colleague who you know will always listen? Knowing that you have someone you can turn to that will talk out a problem or debate a decision is a huge source of comfort – we all need a sounding board. Talking is a great way to process your problems and get some outside perspective. Keep this person on speed dial!

#2 – Catalyst

Hitting a rut in your professional life is common. And that’s where catalyst friends do their best work. Even if you don’t consider yourself or your career very creative, connecting with someone who likes to think outside of the box will help you do the same. Next time you hit a slump, take your catalyst out for a drink and share your woes. Chances are, their wheels will start turning and they will have plenty of ideas about how to get your groove back.

#3 – Connector

Connectors bring about change by bringing together people. They’re natural hubs of connectivity. We all know a connector – because they seem to know everyone! If you’re ready to grow your business, your connector will be your best resource. Connectors are easily able to recognize your strengths and the strengths of others who will complement your skills.

#4 – Task Master

Unconditional support is a wonderful thing, but there comes a time where a cold hard dose of reality is the best medicine. A colleague who will look at the facts and tell you what you need to hear is a necessity in every professional life. You should always have someone in your life who you can trust to tell you the truth–no matter what. They will be able to play devil’s advocate and help you see things in a new light. Next time you are lacking motivation or can’t figure out why your marketing plan isn’t working, ask your most critical friend for advice and they will set you straight.

#5 – Mentor

Even the most successful people can learn from others. Foster a relationship with someone you really admire – someone who has experience that you lack. Find someone you can trust to impart their wisdom on you. Just be sure to return the favor to someone in the future!

The best boards contain a diverse group of people, each of whom plays a different role: a committed listener, who holds up the mirror; a catalyst, who helps you get outside your comfort zone; a connector, who plugs you into other resources, people, and learning opportunities; a task master or trainer, who holds you accountable for doing what you say you’re going to do; and a mentor, who helps you keep your eye on the long view and the big picture.

 

Marketing Your Business In February

February is here already? The year isn’t going to slow down anytime soon, so let’s look at a few ideas to keep your marketing plans on schedule!

Start Looking at Spring Marketing Plans

We’ve got a couple of big things coming up in the spring – decide what works best for your business. You can remind your contacts about Daylight Savings Time on March 12, look ahead to Easter in mid-April or Earth Day on April 22. Use these key dates as a way to connect with customers new and old.

Revisit Your Annual Marketing Plan

You got this one taken care of in January, right? If you didn’t, it’s not too late to plan ahead for the rest of the year. If you did set up a marketing plan, now that you’re a month into the year, you should have a little bit better understanding of how it may work. Were you too ambitious? Too lax? Just right?

Social Media Focus: Spring Cleaning

With the holidays behind us and warm temperatures ahead (especially for our San Antonio and Houston audience!), many people are feeling the itch of clutter. Highlight tips for organization, cleaning, decluttering and more on your social media accounts. Help your contacts get that nice and fresh feeling!

Social Media Challenge: Who Are You?

In January, we challenged you to set aside some time to focus on social media. This month, we’re taking it a step further and we’re challenging you to post about YOU at least once a week. Tell your followers who you really are, whether it’s a selfie at a new listing, info on a new restaurant you tried, or info on your involvement in your community, church, school, etc. More people choose to do business with people they know – so let them see the real you!

Find Your Perfect Tagline

There are many companies that can be identified just by their tagline or slogan.

“I’m lovin’ it!”

“A diamond is forever.”

“Maybe she’s born with it…”

You don’t have to have a global platform to benefit from a good tagline. Local brands and small businesses can still make a memorable impression with a unique slogan. Don’t have a tagline yet? We’re here to help.

Find Inspiration In What You Already Have: Most potential customers will see your business name and logo before they hear your tagline. Let the look of your logo and the qualities of your business lead you into a strong slogan.

Don’t Overcomplicate It: You want your tagline to be something catchy and memorable. Don’t get too wordy or complicated. Most of the world’s best-known slogans only have between 4 and 6 words. Use words that are easy to understand and define, and make sure the wording of the tagline flows easily so that clients can remember it well.

Brainstorm a Word List: Aside from using obvious real estate terms, think about what makes your business stand out from the competition. What’s important to you? What do your clients say about your quality of service? After you’ve made a word list based on these things, focus on the words that seem to call out to you. Focusing on words that hold some personal meaning to you will get you closer to a strong line.

Use A Call To Action If It Works For Your Brand: Consumers respond well to action words and encouragement. Think about Nike’s “Just Do It” or McDonald’s 80s slogan, “You deserve a break today.” Don’t underestimate the power of suggestion.

Consult Friends and Family: Don’t rely solely on your own opinion. Seek out the opinion of those important to you. They may catch something in your new tagline that you didn’t hear or offer a word or two to inspire a great change. Keep in mind as you ask around that you’ll never please everyone. Don’t let one or two negative comments sidetrack you from finding something you love.

Let It Go: Not every strong business has a slogan. And no slogan is better than a bad slogan. If you can’t create a tagline you’re crazy about, don’t sweat it. A lot of businesses can get by without one at all.

What Potential Clients HATE About Sales People

 

It’s no surprise that consumers aren’t comfortable around salespeople. But could your sales tactics be hurting your chances of winning your next client? Here are just a few things that could be causing your leads to run the other way.

1. Not Really Listening

Professionals in any kind of sales industry have a reputation for pushing for a sale so hard that their customer’s needs are ignored. Time is precious to all of us and a customer that doesn’t feel important to you won’t waste their time. Whether your lead is telling you they aren’t ready yet to buy or sell, or your current client wants to take a break from house hunting, make sure you’re listening well and acting accordingly.

2. Not Following Through On Your Promises

It’s not enough to speak confidently – your actions need to be able to back up your pitch. Take a thorough assessment of how you’re marketing yourself online and in the materials you send out. Are you truly an expert in the areas you claim? Does your branding match the “real” you? Nothing will shake a potential client’s trust more than making an appointment with the “you” they found online and showing up to meet someone completely different. Furthermore, keep their trust by doing what you say you’ll do. When you say, “I’ll be in touch by the end of the day,” keep that promise!

3. Not Being Honest

Though you may be tempted to slip in a little white lie every once in a while to keep a client interested, this is the absolute worst thing you can do. Not only is it unethical, but it can only hurt your client retention and referral rates. Be honest and upfront about important details, especially as you get close the transaction itself and need to be dealing with deadlines, paperwork, and other parties.

 

Help! My Former Employee Has Become A Competitor!

It happens. Your business is growing, you add a newer agent to your team and show them the ropes, and share with them the inner workings of your business. And when they’ve earned their wings, they strike out on their own, to start their own successful team as a competitor. Now the secrets that made your business great are being used to help a competing agent.

Is There Anything You Can Do?

Not a lot. While non-compete agreements may discourage former employees from poaching your clients, the agreements are hard to enforce. In fact, the cost of doing so may outweigh any money you may lose when an employee jumps ship. The problem is also one that entrepreneurs in most industries face.

However, even if you can’t do much about it, there are some steps you can take.

Talk To Your Team

Let your other team members know what is going on (without being petty and gossipy of course – that won’t help build your team’s confidence in you). Talk to each agent one on one to keep the problem from spreading. In these meetings you have a chance to see how the rest of your team is feeling, helping to ensure that there aren’t deeper problems in the way you run your business or that others aren’t planning to strike out on their own as well.

Get In Touch With Your Clients

Before your new competitor has any chance to reach out to your client base, do so yourself. You don’t need to explain the situation – in fact it’s better not to do so. But this is a good time to check in, especially if you’ve developed relationships with any of your clients. It will serve as a friendly reminder that you’re still available when needed.

Make Better Hiring Choices

When you’re focused on growth, it’s easy to get blinded by quantity over quality. As you hire a replacement for your lost team member, be extra focused on finding someone who fits your goals and values. And if your employees feel like they can grow along with the company, they’re more likely to stay.

Protect Yourself

As stated above, non-compete agreements can be hard to enforce, but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Staff members should sign a simple confidentiality and non-competitive agreement, limiting what team members can do for a reasonable and specific period of time. You may ask an employee to agree not to use a particular vendor for a year, or to agree not to contact clients earned through your team.

The best way to stop employees from leaving is to create an environment and working relationship that they don’t want to leave behind. At the same time, make smart decisions that protect you and your business and you’ll be happy you did.

Take It Offline: 5 Non-Internet Marketing Tactics That Still Work

We can all agree that the internet has completely changed the way we do business. Marketing, more than almost anything, has completely reinvented itself through social media platforms and blogging, among other things. The connectivity of the world wide web has made reaching millions of people more achievable than ever. However, you don’t have to be glued to Facebook or a blogging expert to reach your dream client. These tried and true marketing tactics are still valuable means of reaching out.

Direct Mail- Direct Mail isn’t as dead as some might say. Many customers still respond to advertisements they receive in the mail. The secret is reaching the right people, of course. If mailers are right up your alley, invest in a super targeted list to reach your key demographic and you’ll see better results.

Cold Calling- We don’t know many people who love cold calling. But the reality is that cold calling works. Just like mailings, don’t waste time calling the wrong people. Make sure your call list is highly targeted.

 

Networking- Are you making the most out of your time by attending networking events, parties, classes, and more? Don’t neglect this incredibly important part of growing your business. And don’t stop at attending either – be sure to exchange information and build the foundations of relationships at each opportunity.

Relationship Building- This won’t be changing anytime soon. People prefer to do business with people they know, trust, and like. And this is where the internet fails us most. It’s not easy to build solid relationships via social media and email. Building genuine relationships requires serious time and face to face interactions, but they’ll get you a lot farther in the long run.

 

How Much Is Your Time Worth?

If you work for yourself, like many do in the real estate industry, it’s important to know the true value of your time. Driving to and from appointments, working on contracts, attending CE classes, and networking, among other activities, can take a toll on your day. Before you spread yourself too thin, you’ll want to understand just what you’re giving up when you commit to one more thing.

Take a look at the Time Value Calculator or take this quiz at Clearer Thinking.

When you understand the value of each hour of your day, you’ll be in a better position to schedule your tasks and to decide what you want to outsource and what you can tackle on your own. For certain responsibilities, you may find it more financially viable to hire outside help for a lower rate than your own time is worth.

Say that your free time is worth around $20 per hour: If hiring an employee will cost you about $12 and save you an hour compared to doing the work yourself,  then it might be the right call. If it’s going to cost you closer to $20, you should probably reconsider. You can use your new knowledge to help you figure out:

  • Whether you should order in or cook
  • Whether you should hire someone to organize your office
  • Whether to hire someone to manage your social media accounts
  • Whether time spent on the phone with customer service to save $X is worth it
  • Whether or not it’s time to move on from a stalling client

The calculators linked above are meant to act as guides, not gospel truth. You will also want to factor in your personal budget, your own enjoyment of certain tasks, and more. Regardless, knowing your value is always a good thing.

Business Planning in January

Welcome to a New Year! There’s something wonderful about a fresh, new year and all the possibilities it brings. If you’re like most, you probably have goals you plan to reach this year, and a good idea of how to achieve them.  This is a perfect time to take advantage of the momentum you’ve built up in your time off and watch that positivity bring growth to your business!

Make Some Goals

If you haven’t done so already, write out your goals for the coming year. What would you like to accomplish? Were you happy with your business in 2017, or do you see lots of room for growth? It’s important to be ambitious, but realistic when you plan ahead. Making goals that are just out of reach may challenge you, or it may intimidate you, depending on your personality. Know what works for you and plan your year accordingly.

Stick With It

After you’ve set some goals, put pen to paper to create an action plan of how your work each month of the year will help you reach success. For many, carving out time to spend on your own business can be the most difficult task. Set aside time to work on your business, and stick to that plan as you would an appointment with a client. Your business deserves your attention, too!

Resolutions and Reminders

This is a great time to reach out to clients and remind them of important dates in the New Year. Home maintenance schedules, Texas Homestead Exemptions, and organizational tips are all great ways to stay connected and prove your value.

Looking Ahead

Get your Valentine’s ready! Whether you’re treating your contacts to a pop-by for Valentine’s Day, or celebrating some lesser known February holidays (National Send A Card To A Friend Day is February 7 and National Love Your Pet Day is February 20 – see more unique days at National Day Calendar), now is definitely the time to prepare.

Social Media Challenge

Try a Photo-A-Day Challenge for your January Social Media efforts. You can track your own New Year’s Resolution progress, give followers a glimpse into the life of a real estate agent, or show something a little more personal. The idea of the challenge is to give followers a chance to see the “real” you. Photos have a high rate of engagement across all social media platforms, so there’s even one more benefit!

The Resource: January Social Media Plan

We often hear our real estate friends say they’re short on time and can’t handle regular posting to social media. So, each month, we collect a full month’s worth of posts for you to pass along to clients, friends and family.

Happy New Year!

Melinda Gates’ Inspiring New Year’s Tradition (Real Simple)
15 Healthy Sandwiches To Help You Keep Your Resolutions (The Spruce)
New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home (Family Handyman)
10 Home Hacks for the New Year (Realty Times)

Texas Living

Top Texas Wines – Fall 2017 (Texas Monthly)
Meanwhile In Texas (Texas Monthly)
10 New Texas Hotels Worth Checking In To (Texas Monthly)
Jumpstart 2018 with the Texas Coffee Festival (Texas Hill Country)
Texas Hill Country Named One of the Fastest Growing Vacation Spots (Texas Hill Country)

Around The House

5 Genius Paint Hacks (Real Simple)
Gain Control of that Cluttered Desk (Real Simple)
99 of the Coolest DIY Furniture Pieces of 2017 (Shelterness)
January Home Checklist (Houzz)
Tidy Up Your Closet (Better Homes and Gardens)
8 Ways to Make Your Home Smell Amazing (Better Homes and Gardens)
100 Must Have Items to Organize Your Life (House Beautiful)

Decor Inspiration

How To Find Your Personal Decor Style (Real Simple)
Interior Design Trends to Look for in 2018 (Houzz)
Graphic Tile Might Be What Your Fireplace Is Missing (Hunker)
12 Fantastically Fun Game Room Ideas (Hunker)
How To Style Open Shelves (The Spruce)
20 of the Best Neutral Paint Colors (House Beautiful)

Buying And Selling

5 Things To Know If You Want to Prepay Property Taxes (Realtor.com)
Does It Make Sense To Buy A New Home Before Selling Your Current Home? (Realty Times)
How To Buy A House With A Low Income in 2018 (The Mortgage Reports)

 

Your 2018 Business Resolutions

This is a wonderful time of year to reflect on the last year in business and make some business resolutions to bring more success in the coming year. Did you accomplish everything you set out to do? Did your business grow and flourish in 2017? What’s left undone? What can you do to increase success in 2018? Here are some of our favorite ideas:

Create a Marketing Calendar – And Stick To It!

In a time when calendars and alerts are at our fingertips, there’s no excuse for missing another holiday, special event, or other marketing opportunity. Make a realistic plan for what you can accomplish to market your business this year. Schedule automated alerts to remind you when it’s time to design holiday cards, send birthday cards to former clients, or promote a Christmas toy drive.

First Thing’s First

Too often, entrepreneurs sacrifice their own promotions to take care of business as usual. While putting the client first is great, if you don’t make growing your business a priority, it will never happen. Make a resolution to start every Monday morning with an hour just for you. Schedule a week of social media, line up a meeting with a business coach, update your website. When your business is your priority, your clients will notice.

Delegate

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is crucial to successful business management. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you are the best person to do it, or that your time won’t be better spent elsewhere. You can find contractors and freelancers for a lot of small business tasks, like data entry, design, website maintenance, and social media.

Learn Something New

From being more adept at Microsoft Office Suite to taking a karate class, new skills will help you in business and beyond. Obviously, learning more about office skills or social media will enhance your business, but picking up a new “fun” skill will increase your confidence and your social circle as well.

Set Networking Goals

Networking is important, but can fall to the bottom of a list of business chores. Set a reasonable goal for 2017. Maybe you’ll make a point to attend at least 2 networking events each month. Or maybe this year will be the year that you join (or start!) a networking group. Networking can include social media as well…will 2017 be the year you start posting and interacting regularly on sites like LinkedIn?

Make Some New Friends

While networking will gain you some valuable business contacts, we all know that most people choose to business with real estate agents they already know. Make a list of the different groups you have the potential to reach: your neighborhood, the other parents at school, fellow gym members, congregants at your church, etc. How can you make more meaningful connections with these people? Remember that friendships only work if they’re sincere – so don’t try to meet people unless you’re willing to make an honest investment in a relationship.

Let Go Of What Isn’t Working

Sometimes we commit hard and fast to an idea or an expectation that doesn’t work that we fail to see the time, effort, and money we could be using elsewhere. Take a hard look at your business expenses (both time and money) and ask yourself what’s bringing you gain. If you’ve been after something for 3-6 months or more without progress, it’s time to reevaluate.

 

Here at Frontier Title, we are committed to helping your 2018 be your best year in business ever. We know that real estate isn’t usually an 8-5 job, and we are truly here to assist you along the way. Best wishes for a happy, successful, and joy-filled New Year.