December Business Builders

As business slows down for the holidays, you may be looking forward to a little rest and relaxation. Taking the time to rejuvenate is crucial to staying energized throughout the year. However, if you’re up for it, the downtime may be the perfect time to work on your business.

Plan It Out

Take a look at the past year. What has worked for you? What hasn’t? Have there been any missed opportunities? As you look ahead to the new year, think about what you can get down on paper now to ensure success. Make sure you have holiday mailings, promotions, and events scheduled out with notifications and reminders so that you don’t miss a single thing.

Resolve

Where would you like your business to be this time next year and what can you do to set things in motion? Make New Years Resolutions for your business. What would help you the most? Attending more networking events, hitting a milestone sales number, or growing your team are all good places to start.

Holiday Greetings

We all know the importance of sending holiday greetings through the mail, but a quick, in-person stop can make a big difference for a special client. Take the opportunity to let them know you see them as more than just a business connection.

Party Time

Host a neighborhood gathering to let your neighbors get to know you a little better. We all prefer doing business with people we know and like. If you’re always talking about your business, this could be a chance to meet others on a new and personal level.

Live Giveaway

Hold an online contest for your social media followers. Who wouldn’t want a little extra money at the holidays. Give away a prepaid gift card to one of your followers for a store or restaurant via live Facebook video. Even better, promise to make the contest a monthly feature of your business. Watch your audience grow with the chance to win!

6 Gifts Under $30 – Perfect for your Favorite Client!

Oh no! Christmas is just weeks away! Have you ordered your client gifts yet? There are plenty of standard gifts available, but what will you send to those extra special clients this year? We’ve compiled a list of options – all under $30 – for your closer relationships.

Gingerbread Man Seed Cylinder, Wild Birds Unlimited $26.99

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Cold winter days offer the perfect opportunity to invite the birds to the yard. Your clients can watch the birds from a cozy spot on the couch in their new home.

Herb Garden Seed Kid, Williams-Sonoma $29.95

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The gift that keeps on growing!

Microwave Popcorn Popper, UncommonGoods.com $14.99

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This adorable and health-conscious popcorn popper is inexpensive enough that you can couple it with a month’s subscription to Netflix!

Kirigami Christmas Cards, Signals $29.98Why send a regular card when you can send a piece of art?

The FORMCard, The Grommet, 9 for $21.95

This is truly unique! The card is made of bio-plastic and, after being placed in hot water, conforms to whatever shape the user desires. It’s reusable, too, and could be especially handy around the home.

State Bamboo Cutting Board, Kohl’s $17.99

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Especially thoughtful for your new-to-the-state clients.

Four Winter Blog Topics That Will Boost Your SEO

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.

7 Steps to Surviving Holiday Networking

Here come the holidays! The party and networking opportunities are all closing in on you! Great news – this season provides some of the best chances to meet, greet, and generate leads that you’ll see all year.

To make the most of the celebrations, here are 7 Tips For Surviving Holiday Networking Events.

  1. Say YES!
    With a busy holiday calendar, you may be inclined to turn down a few opportunities. Of course, it’s important to maintain some balance, but be sure to take advantage of the gatherings as a way to make friends and follow up with your existing connections.
  2. Plan the Party
    Create positive associations with your colleagues by hosting your own party. Others will see you as an influencer and point of contact in their own networking and business journey. Of course, when you take on the role of host, you have an opportunity and responsibility of connecting others. For each person you invite, consider who you can invite as a party counterpart for your guest.
  3. Don’t Forget The Greeting Cards
    There are so many online services for creating your own greeting cards. These services are so easy to navigate (Shutterfly, VistaPrint, and Pear Tree are just a few) that there’s no excuse not to recognize your clients and colleagues with a quick note. Don’t miss out on your peripheral contacts. Go through your business card file and get those cards in the mail!
  4. Be Prepared
    Holiday parties seem more relaxed than other networking events, but it’s still important to bring along business cards and a schedule, if you use something other than your phone. You want to be ready to schedule follow up meetings in the new year!
  5. Know What To Talk About
    Be a conversation starter! Have open-ended questions prepared to keep the conversation flowing. “Tell me about your holiday plans…” and “What are your New Years’ Resolutions?” will carry you much farther than “Are you ready for Christmas?” And always remember that putting the focus on others is a great way to earn favor in the eyes of your colleagues.
  6. Send A Thank You Note and “Share” The Love
    Always, always, always follow up with a thank you to the host or hostess to let them know you had a wonderful time. If the event isn’t a private one, post pictures to social media and tag your host and colleagues. This is a great way to help grow their network and paint you in a positive light.
  7. Don’t Overdo It
    Relax and enjoy yourself, but know what your limits are when drinking is involved. Remember that these parties are still professional events. You can still be the life of the party without sacrificing any important relationships!

Marketing Your Business in November

Autumn is here! In Texas, that means football, unpredictable weather, and the chance sighting of a leaf changing color, 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!

Sources and Further Reading:
Fall Real Estate Tips
20 Fresh Fall Ideas for Generating More Leads
3 Fall Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents

Frontier Family Spotlight: Happy Anniversary, Melanie Burton!

We are excited to celebrate Melanie Burton’s 6th anniversary working with Frontier Title. She’s a wonderful member of the Katy office team. To celebrate, we’re featuring her with a little Q&A:

How long have you been at Frontier Title Company?

6 years!

What did you do before working at Frontier Title company?

I came from another title company with lots of knowledge including 18 years in the title business. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?  

When I get the file cleared promptly and able to handle it to my closer at an early and convenient time ! 

What are some of your defining traits?

Experienced, patient and compassionate. 

What is your personal philosophy?

“Just push the buttons- if it doesn’t explode then it can be fixed !”

How do you define success?

Taking part in my family’s happiness and activities. 

How do you spend your time outside of work?

I love to color, skateboard, gardening and bass guitar!

How to Market your Business in October

Autumn is here! 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 during the fall. 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 and make some good connections 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!

Big Dates Ahead

There are great dates to take advantage of during the October and November that may help you reach a new audience. Remind your constituents of these dates or plan special promotions around them.

October 14 – National Dessert Day
October 28 – Make A Difference Day
November 3 – Daylight Savings Time Ends
November 15 – America Recycles Day
November 21 – World Hello Day
November 28 – Thanksgiving

Sources and Further Reading:
Fall Real Estate Tips
20 Fresh Fall Ideas for Generating More Leads
3 Fall Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents

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.