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. 

 

 

Win Clients Through Storytelling

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.

Do You Have a Niche?

Even if you’ve been in business for a while, from time to time you might find yourself struggling to feel “at home” in your career. We’ve all been there – going through the motions, making all the “right” choices, but you haven’t hit a comfort zone yet. If this sounds like something you’ve experienced, it may be time to identify your niche. In real estate, there are so many to choose from. And, while you may want to keep yourself available to a large audience, tightening your focus could unlock much bigger success.

From first-time buyers to seniors to luxury buyers and sellers, there are benefits to finding and developing your particular market. But where do you start?

Entrepreneur.com advises to ask yourself the following 4 questions for starters. Now, this is no quick quiz. They suggest taking a full hour to process each question, 15 minutes for each one.

1. What do you do best?

Make a list. What are your best talents and skills? Determine both what you do best – and what you don’t. It takes maturity and confidence to take an honest look at yourself and your business.  If there is something you don’t do well but would like to, is it worth whatever time and money it may take to develop the skill? It may be more beneficial for you to focus solely on what you already have.

2. What about your job do you enjoy the most?

With this question, your goal is to make sure that your heart and head are in the same place. You may be great at something that you don’t particularly enjoy. You may really enjoy something you aren’t particularly suited for. Your aim is to find that “sweet spot” where you heart and brain agree. Take a look at your list from Question 1 and rank your skills in order of most to least enjoyable.

3. What do people need?

Back to your list of skills – now take another look at determine which skills are most needed in your industry. If you’ve got a great skill that isn’t needed, it won’t do you or your clients any favors. Think about the questions your clients ask and the needs you see in your current audience – which needs can you match with your skills?

4. Where can you find the most financial benefit?

Consider the different niches in which you can see yourself. First time buyers make up a whopping 37% of the market while luxury homeowners are in at just 8%. Seniors make up 50% of the home buyers and sellers market. You’ll need to match your skills with the market and financial set up that brings you the most benefit.

With these 4 questions answered honestly, your niche should become clear to you, giving you the information you need to market yourself properly and reach an audience that needs you the most.

4 Great Ideas for Winter Blogs

We know December is usually a busy time for people, whether or not they’re in the real estate industry. Still, it’s no time to be getting lazy about business. To keep you on track, here are 4 great blogs you can write during the winter months to keep in touch with your clientele.

Holiday Activities

Depending on where your own interests lie, a post telling people where to find the most holiday cheer is a great way to connect. You can post anything from the best places in town to visit Santa Claus, best lighting displays, church service times, or places for ringing in the new year. A blog post like this 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.

Winterizing

Here in Texas, winterizing your home takes on a whole new meaning. While people might not need to snow-proof their homes, there are good home maintenance tips you can offer during our colder months. Aside from that, there are plenty of things your favorite homeowners can be doing around their gardens.

Home Safety 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.

Holiday Recipes or Decorations

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 holiday traditions.