Welcome, Sarah Watson!

We’re excited to welcome Sarah Watson to the Memorial Office! Sarah joins Lindsey Zanovich to complete our Business Development team!

What brought you to Frontier Title Company? 
I wanted to try a new city to live in. I did title for over four years in San Antonio, and Memorial needed a new rep, and it just worked, like fate.

What did you do before working at Frontier Title Company?
I worked in title in San Antonio, I have also worked for a lender doing Business Development and Marketing, as well as recruiting and working at Whataburger Corporate

What do you enjoy most about your job? 
Every day is different. I get to get out and interact with so many different people and build new relationships.

What do you think sets Frontier Title Company apart? 
I’ve worked for two other title companies, and I can tell you, Frontier is vastly different, in the best way. I believe leadership cares about you, and they trust you to do your job, without micromanaging. There’s no drama, and everyone is your cheerleader.

Tell us about three traits that are important to you – either personally or professionally. 
Honesty, loyalty and trust in both personal and professional matters. Without those, what really matters?

What is your personal philosophy?
Don’t compare yourself or your path to others. Everyone is in a different place in life for a reason. But don’t waste the opportunities and chances being given to you either.

How do you define success? 
I think success is when you’re genuinely happy with where you are in life; what you’ve accomplished. You can sit there and be proud of the work you’ve done and the life you’ve made for yourself.

How do you spend your time outside of work? 
I spend my time with my dog, Ellie. I also get out with friends and explore as much of the city as I can.

 

Welcome, Jason Starkey!

We’re thrilled to welcome Jason Starkey, Business Development, to the College Station office!

What brought you to Frontier Title Company?
I have spent ten years out of the business world and I wanted to utilize my degree in business and Frontier Title was the company with whom I wanted to start my new path.

What did you do before working at Frontier Title Company?
Before being employed by Frontier Title, I can proudly say I was an elementary and middle school teacher and high school coach for ten years.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
There are many reasons why I enjoy my job, but the number one reason is getting to meet new people and build relationships with them.

What do you think sets Frontier Title Company apart? 
I believe what sets Frontier Title Company apart is their sense of teamwork. Everyone works together to make sure business is running smoothly and someone is always willing to help you out, if needed.

Tell us about three traits that are important to you – either personally or professionally.  
Three traits that are important to me are (a) honesty, (b) great work ethic (c) and respect.

What is your personal philosophy?
My personal philosophy would be that you are never too old to have dreams and goals.

How do you define success?
Success is not a monetary item or plaque on a wall, it’s the feeling of helping others or putting a
smile on someone’s face when you have helped them accomplish their goals.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
When I am not working I enjoy spending my time fishing, kayaking, hiking, or hanging out at the lake with my family.

Have You Taken A Good Look At Your Brand Lately?

Rebranding is something that needs to happen every so often. It keeps your business – and your own mindset – fresh and open to change. And of course, it’s a great idea to do a regular internal audit of your business, your mission, and your brand to make sure that you’re still where you want to be and headed in the right direction. Now more than ever, businesses need to be able to adapt to a changing world.

However, rebranding is a big step to take. It’s not something you should do unless you absolutely have to. So how do you know when it’s time to rebrand?

Your Idea of Brand Doesn’t Go Beyond Your Name and Logo

Many of us make the mistake of equating “brand” with “logo”. It’s true that branding often starts with a good logo, but the logo is merely a representation of the brand itself. Think about well-known brands like Apple, Target, Starbucks, etc. Apple’s logo is a simple, clean apple, but it represents innovation, passion, power through technology, and imagination. Anything your business stands for, anything people have come to expect from you – that’s your brand. When many small business owners begin their career, they have an idea and a name, but don’t often take the opportunity to think through how their name, their logo, their mission, and their ideas all fit together. If you haven’t taken this step – it’s time to REBRAND.

Your Business Focus Has Changed

Have you been operating independently, but now you’re growing your team? Are you trying to reach a new demographic? Over time, markets change, industries change, and our own personalities change.  Branding is all about building a reputation around your message. And the reality is that your message is going to evolve as your business grows and evolves. If your message isn’t evolving, then chances are you’re not evolving and that’s not a good thing.

You Aren’t Growing

While it’s important to find a focus for your business, you also want to make sure that your brand gives you room to grow. How do you know if your focus is too narrow? Take a look at your customer base – do most of your customers come from similar backgrounds or demographics? If your brand is becoming known for serving only one kind of customer, you’ll have to do some work to let others know you’re willing to serve them as well.

You’ve Lost The Passion

If you are feeling bored with your business, it’s definitely time to reexamine what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. If your customer base has dried up, it’s time to reflect on your brand. You should be the most passionate and most excited about what you offer. If you aren’t, set aside a day (or a weekend if you can!) to brainstorm, redefine, and rejuvenate your brand.

Remember: If you aren’t deliberate with your branding, others will define it for you. Take control!

 

Gain A Loyal Client From Your First Meeting

Loyalty is a hard thing to manufacture. And sometimes it isn’t enough to create and promote outstanding service. Clients are finicky and one false step can cost you a customer or a harsh review. There are no guarantees, but you can certainly increase your chances for loyal customers by building strong relationships.

Ask Questions First

Before you rattle of your resume and spill all about your business acumen, truly focus on getting to know your customer. Psychologically, we like people who like us and your interest in who the client is and what they are looking for will help build this bond. Business is becoming more personal every day. Clients want to work with people they like and can relate to. As you learn about your client, you’ll discover that your commonalities create an organic and natural relationship.

Reveal Something About Yourself

After you learn about your prospect and it’s your chance to have the floor, talk about yourself in a comfortable and relaxed way, as you would speak to a friend. Without revealing something too personal or embarrassing, share an anecdote that shows your human side. According to a study the Journal of Consumer Research, if a salesperson shares something persona, even something as simple as a birthday or a birthplace with a client, the client is more likely to not only do business, but to feel good about their decision to do business.

Be Clear, Be Predictable

Take a good look at your branding, your print materials, your website, and the statements you make about yourself online. Do they match your “real life” service? If they don’t, it’s time to adjust either your brand persona or your service! Customers like predictability and when you match their expectations, their loyalty will be secure.

Speak Their Language

The average customer doesn’t understand industry jargon. Make the process simple for them by using language they’ll understand and explaining what they don’t. Be careful not to patronize, but to focus instead on helping them have the best experience.

Take A Break From Texting

Unless your customer has specifically stated they’d like to be reached by text or email, make the effort to call them on the phone and speak to them directly. Things get lost in translation with the written word, and a phone call ensures that your meaning is clear, your explanations are sure, and you and your client are on the same page.

Be A Client

Notice what you love and what you don’t. Make mental notes about what bothers you and what experiences leave you smiling and change your own habits.

 

Do You Need An Assistant?

Congratulations! Your business is taking off! In fact, you’re so busy you could use a few more hours each day, or a few more days each week. Suddenly, tasks you once loved are feeling like busy-work and you’re terrified of missing phone calls, details, and deadlines. It’s probably time for an assistant. You’re certainly not alone – about 18% of REALTORS® have assistants.

The first question you need to ask is if you need to hire a licensed or unlicensed assistant. Each state has their own requirements for what unlicensed real estate assistants are allowed to do. Click here for the guidelines from the Texas Real Estate Commission. Once you’ve made your decision, posted the position, and picked a few interviewees, you’ll need to know the best questions to ask and methods to use to sort through candidates and find your perfect partner. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Phone Interview

Your first experience with a candidate should happen over the phone. This gives you the same “blind” experience that your clients will have when they call your office. This is a great opportunity for you to get a feel for the candidate and the way your customers will feel when interacting with them. Are they friendly? Knowledgable? Articulate?

If they didn’t answer your first phone call – was their outgoing message professionally-minded? Did they return your call promptly?

At this stage, ask basic questions like “Why do you want to leave your current job?” and “What’s your ideal position?”

First Interview

The first face-to-face meeting gives you a chance to evaluate the professionalism of the candidate. Watch for their people skills, energy level, professional mannerisms, and your own chemistry with the applicant. In this round, you’ll want to ask open-ended questions that require the candidate to talk at length about his or her experiences and requirements. Try questions like “Tell me about your experience in real estate” and “What challenges are you looking for in this position?”

Second Interview

After the first interview, you may have found your perfect candidate. If you’re still trying to make a decision, bring your applicants in for a second round. Before bringing them back in, give them a task to complete to demonstrate their ability to follow instructions and to be trained. This will give you a chance to check attention to detail, follow through, and the quality of his or her work.

Questions in this round should still be open-ended, but should give examples of situations the job may present, giving the candidate a chance to explain how he or she would respond.

This is a good time to bring in other members of your team for their input in the hiring process. You may also want to ask questions like “Tell me about a crisis you experienced in your last position and how you handled it” or “How would you handle a conversation with an angry client?”

Making Your Decision

No matter what phase of the interview process you’re in, there are no right and wrong answers. You have to trust your instincts and be able to take pride in your office and staff. You are the only person who can decide what will work for you and help your business continue to thrive. We’ve added a few sources below for more reading on the subject. Best of luck in taking the next step!


SOURCES

http://www.realtor.org/field-guides/field-guide-to-personal-assistants
https://www.trec.texas.gov/article/use-unlicensed-assistants-real-estate-transactions
http://realtormag.realtor.org/tool-kit/personal-assistant/article/interviewing-tips

Social Media – Don’t Make These Mistakes!

Social media is the most affordable and effective marketing took you have at your disposal – when you use it correctly. But making mistakes on social media is easier than you think. Don’t panic! Small missteps won’t always lead to disaster, but may damage your consistent brand image or at least make customers shake their heads and take their business elsewhere without saying anything.

It may be a good time to do a quick survey of your social media and see if you’re making any of the following mistakes.

Getting into Social Media without a plan

It’s easy to get excited about social media at first. Many people will join a network, load their profiles with great information, generate some buzz, then disappear when keeping up with it gets time consuming. The first step is to have a social media marketing plan. A good plan will include the time investment, goals and strategy, and plan for interaction. Create a calendar and fill it with articles, information, marketing opportunities and more, then use a scheduler to set up your posts weeks or months in advance. Once your initial time investment is taken care of with planning and scheduling, you can maintain your work, posting periodically if you come across useful information and interacting with your audience.

Not Posting Regularly

You’ll be surprised to know that you don’t necessarily need to post every day to be considered “active”, but you do need to post on a regular schedule. You’d hate for a potential client to find your page through a great post, only to see that it was your first one in six months! For Facebook, 1-2 posts per day is ideal. For Twitter, the number is 3-5 tweets. If those numbers sound outrageous, start with posting two or three times each week, and working your way up.

Overposting

While you want to post regularly (see above), inundating your followers with more information than they need is a quick way to lose their attention. Every couple of weeks, take a look at your progress and see which posts are getting the most or least interaction, check if there’s been a significant rise or fall in your audience numbers, and adjust your posts accordingly.

Very Little Interaction

In many cases, profiles have updates but no participation in conversation. Lack of conversation with your clients and followers decreases value of your social presence and you don’t build on valuable relationships. Social Media should be treated like a live event. You would never go to a party and wait for everyone to speak to you – you reach out, you engage, and conversations thrive. Social platforms work the same way. Follow sites you find interesting, comment and converse as your page.

No Real Followers

Are you posting information to the same 50 or so followers every month? Your page could offer the best information, but a small following won’t get you anywhere. To avoid this, interact on social media, tag other businesses and colleagues, and give people a reason to follow your page. If you’ve invited all of your friends to like your page and the number is still stagnant, it may be time to run a promotion or pay for sponsored post to reach new people in your target demographic.

Not Spending Wisely

Speaking of ads… Social media advertising can be very affordable, especially as your following is just getting started. However, if you’re spending money on ads and not seeing results, you may want to do a quick search on how to create a more effective ad, utilizing Search Engine Optimization and current trends.

Not Knowing Your Target Audience

Just like in any other form of marketing, it’s crucial to know who you are trying to reach so that your efforts aren’t wasted. Trying to reach millennial? The way you speak and act online will make a huge difference, as you want to stay ahead of trends. Trying to reach the elderly? Though many older people are using social media, your target may actually be their middle-aged children who are more likely to use the internet.

The Resource: August 2018 Social Media Calendar

It can be tedious to keep up with social media, especially when life and work keeps you busy! If you haven’t had time to sit down and create a social media marketing plan (and you should!), we’ve got you covered with a month’s worth of articles to post to your account.

Totally Texas

Outside The Home

Decor Inpsiration

Back To School

Good Ideas

Buying And Selling

 

Are You Sending Hidden Messages? Let Customers Know You Care By Changing These Habits.

Even those of us with the best intentions can send the wrong messages to the people around us. The three actions and habits below may not seem like huge faux pas, but you can be sure they tell potential clients that you aren’t invested.

Responding to calls and emails isn’t your top priority.

If clients are waiting days (or even hours, depending on the client), can make a huge difference in the way your client feels. You’re incredibly busy, of course, and may not think a slow response is a big deal. But your client does. Even if you are truly too busy to send a well-thought-out email, it doesn’t take much time to send a quick text or email that says “I received your message and want to respond more thoughtfully later.”

You aren’t touching base.

It would be rare for a client to feel like you’ve over-communciated, especially in the real estate industry. But almost all of us have been guilty of communicating too little at times. When people don’t hear from you, they usually assume the worst, thinking a deal has fallen through, or that you aren’t doing your job. Fix this by touching base regularly. Even if it’s a quick update to say, “I know you’re probably feeling anxious, but we don’t have any news yet” or “I just wanted to let you know where we are in this process.” By the way – this is a great practice to have with clients, but also a great idea with colleagues and team members.

You don’t ask for things until the last minute.

When you ask a client or team member for items at the last minute, it sends a message that you’re working on things at the last minute as well. When possible, look ahead and give timelines as far in advance as you can. This also sends the message that you are appreciative of others’ time and schedules. The same goes for deadlines – missing a deadline is one way we can convey to others that we don’t respect their time. Sticking to an agree-upon schedule is crucial.

 

Let’s Set Some Goals!

Confession time. Raise your hand if you’ve ever set a goal without actually taking steps to reach that goal? If you’re like most people, your hand is in the air. Setting goals like, “By this time next year, I’d like to have saved this amount of money” or “I’m going to sell 6 more houses next year than this year” sound great. However, if you aren’t changing your behavior, that goal-setting is nothing but a waste of your time.

It’s easy to dream – easy to know where you want to be – but much more difficult to map out a path to get there.

Necessary changes also mean taking a good, long look at where I am, where I want to be, and how I’m going to get there. We’ve got some steps that may help you avoid a plan that bottoms out.

Reflect

Start with the present. Make a list of what is working and what isn’t as well as what brings you joy and what doesn’t. You can’t move ahead without understanding where you are. This may be a good time to survey people with whom you have done business. What was their impression of your business? Was their experience positive or negative? Does their perception match the message you’re trying to convey?

Work Backwards

Start with the big picture. What does the future look like for you? I’m not talking about this time next year – I’m talking long term. Five years ahead, ten years ahead…what does that look like? What do you want your business to be known for? What does your income look like? What does your life look like?

In setting my goals, it’s good to know where you want to be in 10 years, 5 years and 1 year. It makes planning your next steps make so much more sense.

What’s next?

When you know what the long term looks like, take a look at your short term goals. What do you need to put in place today to make tomorrow possible? If you want to sit on the Board of Directors of an organization you care about, maybe your next goal is to attend a few more networking events this quarter. If you want to sell more, maybe it’s time to invest in some online ads, or attend workshops on lead generation. One good goal begets another.

Think Big, With Wiggle Room

Nothing is more deflating than falling short of your goal. Make big plans, but make sure you’re being reasonable when you decide how quickly to get there. And give yourself help when and where you need it. If there’s someone you admire in your industry, ask if you can treat them to coffee or lunch. Ask a peer for advice on the steps you can take to meet your goal.

Reassess

If there’s one certainty, it’s that your plans will change. Regardless of the specific goal you have in mind, be flexible and ready to change. There are plenty of reasons to change your goals: unexpected changes in the market, the actions your competitors take, your own life events, and more. There are so many factors outside of your control!  You may discover that something you thought would work just doesn’t and find that a new plan is necessary. Readjustment is normal and you shouldn’t see it as a setback.

Looking For Side Income? These Ideas Will Grow Your Wallet AND Your Business.

We’ve all experience the occasional sales slump. But before you start to give up, why not turn that extra time into extra cash? It could be the perfect time to start a real estate side hustle. And before you know it, both your wallet and your appointment book could be overflowing! Here are 3 ways you can earn a little extra income while you wait out the slow season.

Monetize Your Blog or YouTube Channel

If you don’t already have a blog or an active video presence, a slow season is the perfect time to get it started! When you use your platform regularly and consistently you’ll be doing two things. First, you’ll be gaining credibility as an authority in your field. Now, you could wax philosophical about real estate, but you could also turn to one of your other passions like local restaurants or community events, home decor trends, being a working parent, or any number of things. If you can be transparent and available through your blog or vlog, you’ll easily create a loyal following, making it easier to generate leads. Second, popular platforms can make you money through advertisements and affiliations. If you’re singing the praises of a certain yard tool, look into becoming an Amazon affiliate or something similar. You could get a percentage of the sales from your viewers. You can also place ads from Google and other search engines on your site, getting a few pennies for every click. Hey, it all adds up.

Consultancy

We know there’s that certain something that you do better than anyone else. It could be staging a home, setting up an office system, or handling your own graphic design. There’s something you do well that someone else needs! Let others in your brokerage know that you can train them on accounting software, or help them hire an assistant by handling resumes and interviews. Your little break from business could become the side hustle that saves you.

Teach Classes

If you’re looking to supplement income, teaching real estate classes could be your perfect fit. Getting certified to offer CE courses isn’t too difficult, though it will come with a fee. You can learn more about certification on the TREC website.  You can also browse major job sites like Indeed and Monster to find companies looking to hire real estate course instructors. Don’t overlook this opportunity to help others, gain credibility, and make some side income while you wait for business to pick up again.