The Resource: February 2020

It’s February already? It seems like we just celebrated the new year. If one of your resolutions this year was regular posting to social media, you’re in luck. Each month, we collect a full month’s worth of posts for you to pass along to clients, friends and family.

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Building 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 8, look ahead to Easter on April 12 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!

You need these people in your social circle…

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.

Should You Work From Home?

Working from home might seem like a dream come true. In fact, about 70% of professionals work from home at least once a week and many consider themselves more productive when working remotely. In an age where technology is at our fingertips and staying connected is easier than ever, the world seems made for remote working. And of course, homemade coffee and comfy clothes aren’t bad either.

Of course, nothing is as easy as it seems, and working from home isn’t for everyone. Some people just need the structure and routine of an office setting. But, if you’re willing to set some boundaries and take a disciplined approach, it could be just what you need.

Creating a routine is necessary, but give yourself room to adjust

Cultivating discipline in your new work-from-home lifestyle needs to be a priority. This can be particularly difficult if you have family or children at home. Create a realistic routine for yourself and define your expectations with those you live with. For example, do you perform better when you are showered and dressed for the day? If so, put it at the top of your list. Are you planning to make yourself available when a good friend calls wanting to meet for coffee, or will that throw you off your game? By defining your expectations for yourself early on, you’ll have an easier time sticking to your goals.

Remember that relationships need real face time

Whether you are working within a team or developing a new client relationship, some things need to happen in person. Don’t rely on Skype or conference calls when it’s time to make real connections. A realistic and practical mix of time at home and time with your connections will ensure that the people in your life don’t feel left out of the loop when you’re working from home. Regular trips to the office or even to a coffee shop to meet up with your team or your colleagues will help make the transition a smooth one.

Go easy on yourself

If you’re making the transition from working in an office to working from home, finding stumbling blocks along the way is inevitable. Whether you lose an entire morning to Facebook or end up taking too many snack breaks, remember that you are only human. Give yourself the grace to evaluate your weaknesses, figure out what changes you need to make, and learn from these moments. It’s all about balance.

Are you paying yourself enough?

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.

Here’s 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.        

National Get To Know Your Customers Day is January 16

According to National Day Calendar, Get to Know Your Customers Day is a day for businesses to reach out to existing clients to get to know them better. The day is actually a quarterly observance, observed on the third Thursday of each quarter (January 16, April 16, July 16, October 15 in 2020). So, what can you do to celebrate the day?

  1. Hold An Event – A social mixer with a few former clients will help you get to know your client-base in a unique way. Attendees won’t be guarded as they relax and have a good time, and they’re more inclined to create a social bond with you. This will help you create a more friendly relationship rather than one based on a business transaction.
  2. Do Some Research – In the era of social media, so much of our information is online and available for all. Without digging too deep, run a social media search on a client to learn more about them and their hobbies. This information could help spark some conversation ideas and give you insight on who you’re working with.
  3. Create a Customer Profile File – A spreadsheet with need-to-know info could be a lifesaver for your business. Create a file that lists names, birthdays, hobbies, favorite sports teams, and more. Don’t forget to include favorite Starbucks drink order! You can collect all of this information with a quick and easy survey, then use the data to remind you to send a quick note when their team wins the Super Bowl, a birthday greeting, or a link to a fun class or event you think they’d enjoy.
  4. Pay Attention! – Your clients are dropping clues all day long about who they are and what they like. At the end of a meeting, give yourself 5 extra minutes to jot down some things they may have said. Did they mention their pets? Did they talk about their children’s hobbies? Holding on to these small pieces of information and finding a way to acknowledge them later will highlight your thoughtfulness and dedication.
  5. Follow Up – Your client may be happily living in their new home, but don’t forget to follow up! Check in from time to time to catch up! Remember to be sincere in your approach. If a former client can tell that you’re only looking for a referral or a repeat customer, they’ll run for the hills! Make it friendly and personable. Don’t mention business unless they do first.

Building Your Business in January

Wow – 2020 came so quickly! But isn’t there something beautiful about the gift of a fresh, new year? The possibilities seem endless. 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!

Set Those Goals!

If you haven’t done so already, write out your goals for the coming year – it’s not too late! What would you like to accomplish? Was 2019 a big success for your business, or is there still some room for growth? Be ambitious – shoot for the stars! – but it’s a good idea to also be realistic when you’re setting your goals. Setting expectations that are just out of reach may challenge you, or it may intimidate you and cause you to jump ship before the month is over! Know what works for you and plan your year accordingly.

Make The Commitment

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. It’s one thing to make a goal, but quite another to build the roadmap that will help you get there. For many, carving out time to spend on your own business can be the most difficult task. Set aside some dedicated time to work on your OWN 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!

Real Estate Resolutions for 2020

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 2019? What’s left undone? What can you do to increase success in 2020? 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 2020. 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 2020 be the year you start posting and interacting regularly on social media?

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 2020 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. 

Social Media Resource: Holidays and Happy New Year

Is staying on top of social media posting on the top of your New Year’s Resolution list? You’re in luck, because we’ve curated a month’s worth of fantastic articles and ideas for January. Schedule it all in advance and you can sit back and relax!

NEW YEAR

HOLIDAY RECOVERY

GOOD TO KNOW

BUYING AND SELLING

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