Make the Most of the September Slump

Every year as the school year begins homes sales invariably decline in September from August – kids are back to school, families are adjusting to the new routine, and buying or selling is the last thing most of your potential clients are thinking of. Instead of waiting for the phone to ring or complaining about the lack of business, now is the time to get to work and make your business the best it’s ever been! Here are a few places to start…

1. Send some handwritten notecards to clients.

You may start with the best of intentions, planning to send follow-ups and thank yous shortly after your clients are in a new home, but did you actually do it? Now is a great time to reconnect. Thank them, inspire them, and just say hello. But make sure you’re sincere in your approach or your time will be wasted!

2. Take a good look at your brand.

Branding is so much more than just your logo, but it certainly starts there. What message are you trying to send to your audience? Does your logo reflect that? And when you’ve made sure that it does, how does that message filter through your business cards, social media, print materials, and more? With time on your hands, you should be able to streamline your message, ensuring that your potential clients get the same first impression, no matter where they find you.

3. Take a small business class.

We’re not just talking about real estate courses here. Scroll through sites like Eventbrite.com and Eventful.com to find classes on marketing, branding, networking, etc. You’ll make new friends (and potential clients), learn new skills, and become more confident in your abilities.

4. Round up some testimonials.

Send out a sweet email asking for reviews, or search your business name to see what people have been saying about you. Did you know you can embed any tweet in your website? Simply click “More” on the Tweet you want to embed, then select “Embed Tweet,” then copy the code that pops up and place it on a Praise or Testimonial page of your website. Boom.

5. Revamp your website.

Old-fashioned or outdated website design can do more than turn off customers — it can tarnish your reputation and hurt your search rankings. It’s important to do a website redesign every so often to keep things fresh, update your look and keep the technology current on the back end as well.

6. Create a solid marketing plan.

Break down your promotions (New Year, Fourth of July, Back To School, etc.) and plan what you’ll need to do on a weekly and monthly basis.

7. Make a Social Media Calendar and schedule your posts.

Two of the key elements for social media are timing and consistency. In your downtime, plan what you’d like to post and use Facebook’s scheduling services (or a tool like Hootsuite, if you’re using more than one social network) to plan months in advance!

8. Write a few blogs.

Blogging is a great way to add content to your website, offer great information, boost your search results and MORE. What are you passionate about – can you relate that to your business? Are you a foodie who knows the best spots in town? Are you really into staging? Turn these into blog posts and schedule them regularly – with some real time set aside, you could schedule and write 12 blogs – enough to post once monthly for a year!

9. Make a financial plan to save up for that next big purchase.

What purchase would change your business? Have you been putting it off? Evaluate the cost of your existing business tools and services and see if that money might not be better spent toward the purchase of something more effective. Make a chart or a schedule if that helps and you’ll be well on your way to better business growth.

10. Do something that has NOTHING to do with your business.

Take a cooking class, write another chapter in your novel, paint or sew…give your brain a break from the stress of work and use your time to refresh and renew your soul

11. Organize your computer files.

Seriously – how many times have you complained to yourself about your computer’s lack of organization. It’s a simple change, but one that will really make your life easier and your work more productive.

12. Check out some free ebooks!

A quick Google search for ebooks on specific will produce some great results. Sites like BookBoon.com offer free ebook and textbook downloads (some with email sign up requirements) and you’ll be able to exercise your mind and learn new skills!

So there you have it – downtime doesn’t have to be a drag! Use your time wisely and your business will benefit!

Frontier Family Spotlight – Elise Stein

Elise Stein is celebrating 9 years with Frontier Title. We are thrilled to have her on our team, and yours!

How long have you been at Frontier Title Company? 9 years!

What did you do before working at Frontier Title Company? My biggest impact before Frontier Title was college at Michigan State University, ! Go spartans!

What do you enjoy most about your job? I love calling people to finalize the transaction! I love to let each party know we are funded and getting their commissions in order.

What three traits define you?  Meticulous, Experienced, and Friendly

What is your personal philosophy? I love the quote, ” What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked god for yesterday?”  I love remembering that I can create my own happiness.  

How do you define success? Success to me is a happy family

How do you spend your time outside of work? I spend most of my time with my husband, Michael and our daughter Claire.  We enjoy traveling and family trips to Michigan.  

Marketing Tips You Can Use This Fall

Autumn is on its way! In Texas, that means more football than falling leaves, but there’s still a distinct feeling in the air throughout the fall months, and with some of the ideas below, you can use it to your advantage when it comes to lead generation.

Get Involved

There’s always something to do in the fall months. From high school athletics to community festivals, there are wonderful opportunities for sponsorship and involvement. Go a step further than placing that ad in the football program and volunteer your time. It will give you a chance to talk to people instead of just hoping your ad catches someone’s eye.

Give Back

This is a great time to sponsor a food or clothing drive for the less fortunate. Partner with a local business and spend a day collecting items for those in need. Bring along some refreshments to hand out to your new friends.

Refer Your Fall and Winter Weather Vendors

Remind your mailing list about your favorite gutter cleaners or lawn clean up crew. As your clients prepare their homes for colder weather, you’ll be able to keep yourself in the top of their mind by helping them find good help quickly.

Help Your Clients Prepare

Create a Winter Weather Prep checklist or ebook that visitors to your site can download by signing up for your email list. The information will be useful, and you’ll be able to keep their attention with future emails.

Beat Them to the Punch

Every business sends Christmas greetings, and most homes are so inundated with cards that promotional mailing gets completely overlooked. Get a step ahead by sending a Thanksgiving card and recipe to your mailing list!

Time To Get Organized

Staying organized during a busy season can be daunting, or even impossible, for some. Here are some great ways to cut down on the clutter and keep your clients’ files controlled.

In The Office

  • Before you file anything, take a real look at what you’re putting away. Many of us stack papers and pile things up that we may never need or look at again. Realtor.org recommends that you “organize those you must keep so they correspond with how you transact business. For instance, arrange papers by prospect or neighborhood. Make one file each for maps, expense reports, and legal documents.”
  • Use different colors for folders or tabs to indicate the types of files in your system. And of course, make sure everything is clearly labeled for easy retrieval.
  • If something can be scanned and saved electronically – do it. Keep it all safe in a cloud-based system like Google Drive, Dropbox, or similar.
  • Finally, use a quiet day to organize the paperwork and do it frequently to avoid getting overwhelmed.

On The Road

  • Keep your papers in a plastic file case to make things easier to tote so that your important documents won’t be left behind, damaged by rain, ruined by food, etc.
  • Find a container that you can easily store on the floor of the backseat to keep the things you often need, like an umbrella, clipboard, measuring tape, air fresheners, etc. By keeping it all in one handy container, you’ll be able to carry things easily into the house and unload at your own office or home.

Helpful Apps

  • Apps like Everlance and MileIQ will track your mileage automatically so you’ll have it at your fingertips at tax time.
  • Circle Back will clean and complete contact information and merge duplicates so that your list can stay up to date.
  • If you’re looking to simplify your social media pursuits, Pocket is an easy to use bookmark tool that helps you to save content and articles you find on the web to your “pocket,” making it much easier to access (and remember) for your blog or newsletters later.

What tools do you use to keep your business in order? We’d love to hear about them!

Your Time Is Valuable.

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 $50 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 $30, 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.