Are You Your Own Worst-Paid Employee?

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.

Reaching Out to a New Contact

Let’s face it – we live in a world where texting is the primary form of communication for most people. In many cases, your clients may have even said they prefer a text to an email or phone conversation.

But there are certainly times when a phone call is so much more appropriate for the situation. And there are times when choosing between a phone call or electronic communication can make or break your relationship with a client. We break it down below.

Send A Text If…

  • You have already been working with your client for some time.
  • The information you’re delivering is brief (ex. changing a meeting time, thanking the client for meeting with you)
  • The information you’re delivering is not complicated.
  • Your question or information does not require a complicated response.
  • The client has given your their direct cell phone number and given you permission to text.

Send An Email If…

  • You have had a conversation with a client that requires additional information. For example, you’ve told them about a listing you think they’d like, and you want to follow up with website information.
  • You want to ensure that there is a record of communication.
  • Provide brief status updates.

Make a Phone Call If…

  • You have not already met with your client in person or had a phone conversation. Your first impression should never be via text message.
  • You’re delivering bad news. It’s important for your client to hear your tone of voice and for you to gauge his or her response so you can choose the best path to take next.
  • When it’s important to you that information (whether it’s practical information or tone of voice) is delivered accurately and in the proper context.
  • The nature of your conversation will likely take more than an exchange for 1 or 2 sentences.

Four Fall Blog Topics to Inspire You Today

You probably already know that blogging is a fantastic way to keep your website at the top of the search results. The consistent updates to your site tell search engines that your page is active, the additional pages help feed results, and the language on each blog (probably related to real estate) tells Google, Bing, and Yahoo that you are relevant to the real estate industry.

Keeping your updates consistent is crucial. So here are four topics to get you interested in making your blog is up to date!

UPCOMING EVENTS

There are plenty of things to get excited about as spring approaches. No matter where your interests lie, you can find something to get passionate about as you update your blog. You may want to highlight holidays and events this fall like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Rosh Hashanah, or Veterans Day. Community events can also be a big hit. Offer your readers a list and commentary of all of the springy events they can take advantage of. They’ll see you as a fantastic resource and community guru!

HOLIDAY SAFETY

Holiday safety is a great springboard for blog topics. Use ideas like safety tips for Trick or Treating at Halloween, kitchen safety for Thanksgiving, and home safety for those who travel during the holidays. Your readers will appreciate the valuable information you offer. More importantly, you’ll be offering great and useful advice that could make a difference this holiday season.

HOME MAINTENANCE

No matter where you live, preparing your home for the winter months is a great idea. Help your readers and potential clients get ready for the cooler weather by providing great advice on what they can do now around the home. Find some great ideas here.

FAMILY FUN

Autumn is just about the perfect time for family fun. From hayrides to festivals, there are some great ways to bond with the people you love best. Your readers will love some of the ideas here, including the Texas Renaissance Festival, Oktoberfest, and the Texas Hot Sauce Festival.

Love Real Estate but Hate Being in Sales?

For many people, the idea of being in the sales industry can be cringe-inducing. Even when business requires it, the idea can be an uncomfortable one. But we are here to help you embrace your salesmanship, build relationships, and find success.

Here are four points to help you learn to love sales.

We are natural salespeople

You may not realize it, but you were born for sales. Even as children, we know how to ask for, and how to get, what we want. There are things that don’t work (stomping feet, screaming, etc.) and things that do (kindness, sincerity, hard work, etc.) Sales doesn’t change much past childhood, but the audience does. Don’t be pushy. Do be courteous. Don’t manipulate. Do approach potential clients with sincerity.

Sales is already a part of your everyday life

Not every sales transaction has to involve money. Whether you are dealing with children, coworkers, romantic partners, or even neighbors, life is transactional. Our little everyday conversations have an aspect of sales within them. Asking your child to get ready for bed? In a small way, you’ve made a sale. Negotiating “duties” with your spouse or significant other? More sales experience. These mini-transactions can help prepare you for business transactions.

You are here to help

You are a professional. You offer a service people need. In fact, people desperately need the expertise you bring to the table. Your relationship with your clients is absolutely win-win. They get an expert to navigate them through a complicated transaction, and you get to build your business. They are receiving just as much out of the relationship as you are.

Social Media Resource: September 2019

We’re happy to share some great articles with you this month. Please feel free to pass these along to clients, friends and family.

Fall Friendly Tips

Around The House

Food

Buying And Selling

Great Ideas

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!

Marketing Your Business In May

How is your marketing plan shaping up this year? Here are some ideas to focus on for the month of May.

Prepare for Summer Holidays

There are lots of ways to celebrate in the coming months. Prepare your marketing materials, promotional items, and mail outs for holidays like Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day. Don’t miss out on the general relaxation of summer months. Sending a pack of movie tickets to your favorite clients can continue your relationship and give them a way to get out of the heat.

Community Partnerships

There are many small businesses that cater to summer entertainment for children, from dance camps to swim lessons to summer classes. Partner with these businesses to reach a new audience. Consider hosting a giveaway for a free week of camp with a particular business, or sponsoring a lunch for kids taking part in summer sports. You’ll be marketing yourself as having strong connections with the community and care for the next generation.

Social Media Focus: School’s Out

As children are finishing the school year, take an opportunity to send parents information on fun summer activities. This is another opportunity for you to build positive associations and relationships with local businesses as you can share their content to help your audience narrow down their summer plans.

Social Media Challenge: Schedule Your Big Days

This month, take an hour or two to prepare your posts for the summer months. Create images, write a blog or two, and schedule articles that will inform and entertain your audience. Too often, we feel that the big (and most marketable) events have snuck up on us. Use your time wisely and you’ll be grateful you prepared ahead of time.

Frontier Spotlight: Maggie Adams Ronquillo

This month, we’re featuring Maggie Adams-Ronquillo, an Escrow Officer in our Memorial office. Maggie has been an important part of the Frontier Title Family for the last 5 years, and has been in the title industry since 2003. We asked Maggie a few questions for this month’s feature.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love being a part of the home buying experience. I enjoy their excitement when I get to hand over the keys to their new home.

What do you think sets Frontier Title Company apart?

Definitely customer service.

What three traits define you?  

Motivation, dedication, and a giving spirit.

What is your personal philosophy?

Give everything your best so you can live with no regrets.

How do you define success?

Communicate, work smarter not harder, and provide the customer with the experience you would expect in your own transaction.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

I love spending time with my family, I enjoy my fur babies and watching as many sporting events I can.

Ready to work with Maggie? Get in touch by emailing MAdams@FrontierTitleTexas.com or by calling 713-893-0553.

It’s Earth Day! How Can You Make a Difference?

Happy Earth Day! It’s a great time to think about how small changes can make a big impact. If you’re a home owner, take a look at these energy-friendly tips. You’ll be lowering your bills and helping the environment all at once!

Lighting & Electronics

1)  Switch to Energy Star CFL bulbs, which use 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than standard lightbulbs. This small change will make a big impact on your utility bill.

2) Replace light switches with dimmers to save big throughout the year.

3) Turn off electronics completely before going to bed. Many electronic devices, like computers, have a standby mode, but by powering down completely, you’ll help prevent the draw of extra electricity.

Water

1) Run a full dishwasher when you can. You’ll use less water than if you wash by hand, and you won’t be wasting water on an half-empty load.

2) You can purchase a faucet water filter for around $30. Give up bottled water and use refillable bottles instead.

3) Replace your showerhead to a unit with a lower flow – it could save up to $45 each month!

4) A leaky faucet could be wasting over 50,000 gallons per year! Fix it and save!

5) Washing machines use a large amount of energy on heating water – set the machine to cold to save energy!

Reuse and Recycle

1) Roll up old magazines to stick inside boots to help your footwear keep its shape.

2) Old jam and baby food jars are perfect for storage for small items like nails and screws, bobby pins, thumb tacks, and other small items – plus they look a lot nicer!

3) Coffee Grounds can promote healthy plants! Spread your old grounds over your flower beds and watch your landscaping flourish!

Spring Blogs You Need To Write

As you gear up for your busiest season, embrace the little time you have left by boosting your blog. Remember, a good blog with regular updates is the one of the best and easiest ways to improve your SEO and drive traffic to your site. And you’re in luck, because we have 4 great ideas to add some great content to your blog today.

Summer Fun

What are your favorite summer activities? No matter where your interests lie, you can create a fun and interesting blog for your clientele. Are you a foodie? Make a list of the top spots for ice cream and frozen treats in town! Do you know all the best free places for family fun? Write it down and pass it on! Are you an expert on local tourism? Try a blog letting your audience know where they can go to really embrace the culture of the city. Blog posts like these does a couple of things for your business. It keeps your current clientele in the know, but will also rank pretty well in search results. Most importantly, it helps your readers get to know the real you.

Summer Tips at Home

In Texas, it’s important to take care of your home in the hottest part of the year. Not only that, but summer is a great time for a lot of families to take care of home maintenance tasks they may have been putting off. Make a branded, shareable checklist of good home maintenance tips you can offer during our hottest months from gardening to regular care.

Safety and Security Advice for Vacationers

We all worry about safety when we leave for vacation, so this is a perfect time to share some tips on how to keep things secure at home. You can do a little online research to find some great advice to pass on. This kind of post shows that you are truly invested in the well-being of your followers, friends, and clients.

Summer Recipes and Decorations

There are some big events coming up for your clientele: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduation, Memorial Day, End of the School Year Pool Parties…and they’re all great opportunities for inspiration. Got a list of favorite recipes for celebrating? Or advice on throwing a great party?  Pass those tips on to family and friends via your website blogs. The more unique and “closer to home” the better. Let this be a great blog for telling a personal story about your grandmother’s famous cookie recipe, or your own family traditions.