Marketing Your Business This July

With Independence Day behind us and the start of school just a few weeks away, it’s time to plan your next move. What can you do this month to strengthen your future business?

Celebrate With Some Late Summer Holidays

Holidays can be the perfect excuse to connect with current and potential clients, and August is full of them – if you know which ones to look for. There may not be any big, widely recognized holidays in August, but there are a few good once that make connecting a breeze. Look ahead to Friendship Day (August 6) to be your perfect icebreaker. And who wouldn’t love to receive chocolate chip cookie mix in a jar as a pop by on National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on August 4. Other fun holidays include National Garage Sale Day (August 12), National Relaxation Day (August 15), and National Dog Day (August 26). See more at www.NationalDayCalendar.com

Back To School

August means kids are heading back to school, and unfortunately, some are heading back with a lot less than others. A great way to give back and encourage others to do so is by holding a back to school supply drive. You may want to collect traditional school supplies, or think outside the box and collect money for school lunches, or ask for donations of new shoes. Add your office as a drop off point and you’ll be able to connect to new friends as well.

Block Party!

If your neighborhood doesn’t already have an annual block party, it might be time for you to get the ball rolling. There are some great ideas here to get you started. Use the opportunity to help your neighbors get to know you and each other. You’ll love being seen as a connecting point for others.

Social Media Challenge: Neighborhood Know-how

Part of selling yourself as an agent is selling your expertise about the areas you live and work in. This month, use social media to highlight your favorite parts of town, from restaurants to museums to family spots to free activities. You want your audience to know that you are the best source for information! And when they’re ready to buy or sell, they’ll certainly want an area expert like yourself to guide them through the process.

 

Want To Appear More Successful? Make These Changes!

It may be common knowledge that people who are successful (or at least, people who project success) get treated differently. It may be something small like better service at a restaurant or something that can make a real difference, like a better seat at a networking events. Successful people get better introductions, better invitations, and, in general, more respect from the people they work with.

What may not be common knowledge is that you can project more success today by just making a few little changes. These little tricks could open big doors. Our little guide below will hep you “Fake it ’til you make it.

1. Change Your Mindset.

People who project success are usually confident people who are open to taking risks and finding solutions. If you’re not a risk taker, in business or beyond, you can start small. Take a new route to work, sign up for a kickboxing class, or start a conversation in line at the grocery store. If you’re naturally a risk-taker, try moving outside of your comfort zone in bigger ways, like taking a white water rafting trip or signing up for a talk at something like a Pecha Kucha event.

These kinds of changes will affect both your mood and attitude, which will affect productivity levels, which can help establish you as a leader. Let the success be mental and own it.

2. Dress For Success.

If you’re ready to be recognized as a leader, you’ve got to look like one. This doesn’t mean that you have to abandon your personal style, but you can polish it up. You’ll never regret being the best-dressed person in the room. Skip the at-home dye jobs and ill-fitting blazers and make some real investments in your personal style. Take pride in your appearance and it will affect the way you handle yourself, too.

3. Slow Down.

Studies have shown that people who move quickly can look frantic and anxious to others, while those who take their time appear intelligent and successful. Give yourself an extra 10 minutes to get anywhere or an extra 30 minutes for your morning routine and you won’t run the risk of rushing into a meeting or event. Whether you’re speaking to a prospective client or a peer, use a measured tone. By giving each person you speak with the time and attention they deserve (without looking hurried or ready to rush off to your next appointment), you’ll give the impression that you have the luxury of taking that extra time.

4. Change Your Body Language.

Just as speed can affect the way people perceive you, your body language speaks volumes. Successful people have a confident expression on their face, lifting their chin just a bit when they enter a room. They don’t wait for introductions; they approach others first. In fact, they’ll usually be the individuals conducting the introductions. Want to look unsure and unsuccessful at a networking event? Stand by yourself and check your emails and texts. This doesn’t make you look like a busy professional – it makes you look nervous and uncomfortable. Work the room, hold your head high, make eye contact, and your body language will start affect the way you think about yourself as well.

Now, go get ’em, tiger!

How You Can Use Storytelling To Attract Clients

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.

Is It Time To Walk Away From A Lead?

We’ve all heard that you shouldn’t give up too quickly on a lead – in fact, it can sometimes take 5 follow-up calls or meetings to finally hear a “Yes.” But, when does it cross the line from persistent into annoying? Once that line is crossed, it’s hard to get back into your potential client’s good graces. So when is it time to give it a rest?

When You’ve Exhausted All Possible Efforts

Do you find yourself scratching your head, desperately trying to think outside of the box for that one more way to your prospect’s heart? If you’ve contacted your lead by phone, email, text message, and offered to meet for coffee or lunch and you’re coming up against wall after wall, it’s probably time to let go.

They Tell You To Stop Calling

A more timid customer may try to put you off, telling you to call again in a month, or give them a few weeks to get back to you, when they may really want to tell you they’re not interested. But if a bolder prospect comes right out to tell you to stop your efforts, you definitely need to listen. It’s not a good idea to follow up again – this could be seen as annoying, or even harassing behavior.

When You’re Exhausted

We get it. Rejection is hard. Even if the statistics are on the side of persistence, you may have had all you can take. You may get a cold feeling from your potential client – you can probably tell by their avoidance behavior or their tone of voice (if you can get them on the phone).  It would be better in the long run, to quit before you’ve hit your wit’s end – or theirs – and take a break for a month or two. By the next time you have contact, you’ll be ready to take a fresh approach and chances are they’ll be more receptive.

It’s Not Forever

Remember that stepping back doesn’t mean that you won’t ever make things work with your lead. Keep them on your mailing lists and in the back of your mind. You may find the perfect opportunity to get the ball rolling again, somewhere down the road. Keep your head up and move on to the next prospect!

Boost Creativity Today With These 4 Ideas

It doesn’t matter how left- or right-brained you might think you are. Every single one of us has the capability of creative thought, especially when it comes to business. Adding that little bit of creative spark could, in fact, be the stepping stone to big business success.

If you’re feeling stuck or lost when it comes to new, inventive ideas, let us suggest the following steps to tapping into that imaginative side.

  1. Take A Walk

    Get out of the office! If you have a bit of free time, even just a five minute walk will give your mind a chance to wander. Here’s the thing, though. Leave the phone, music, or any other kind of technology at home. Give your brain a chance to relax and you’ll be surprised at how the ideas start to flow. Plus, won’t a little exercise be a nice change?

  2. Collaborate

    Collaboration is an excellent way to change things up in your business. Maybe you have a colleague who would love to run a promotion with you, or maybe there’s a business you admire who could benefit from some cross-promotion as well. What you’ll get out of finding a short-term business partner is a quick change of perspective. Who knows what business ideas you can take away and implement for your own success.

  3. Unplug

    We are so connected to the world at all times, aren’t we? Whether it’s checking your phone a dozen times a day, being interrupted by email notifications, or even unable to handle silence at home or in a car, we’re surrounded by electronics. With all that noise, it’s difficult to let any new ideas get in. Take a mini-retreat from tech, whether it’s an hour, an afternoon, or even a weekend. Turn the phone and television off, drive to work without turning the radio on, and take an email vacation, and see what develops.

  4. Change Your Routine

    It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with the same old routine. Get up, go to work, come home, work out, go to bed. We even take the same route to work, listen to the same music, eat lunch at the same places…all of these things make sense, but can also contribute to a bit of lazy thought. Keep yourself on your toes by switching things up every now and then. Take an alternate route, try a restaurant you’ve never been to, wake up early to work out, or forego your evening tv to read a new book.

You Need These 3 People On Your Side To Grow Your Business

Most of us can agree that one of the biggest ways to attract business success is making friends with the right people. Whether you’re a master networker or a wallflower at parties, reaching out to the following community partners will help drive your business forward.

The Neighborhood PTA Mom

Where can you find all of your neighborhood’s adults gathered in one place? PTA Night! What better way to connect and foster new relationships than aligning your business with the families and areas you’re hoping to serve? Aside from sponsoring a PTA night, you may want to look out for opportunities to support school sports teams, theater and music events, and more. Your sponsorship lets potential clients know that you’re invested in the neighborhood.

The Local Librarian

Libraries are wonderful resources. Many libraries have space and time for scheduled community events, like a free home buying seminar. Get in touch with your closest library to see if there are rooms available for rent (many will allow you to host an event at a minimal cost, but require that the event be free to the public.) Marketed well, you could become the go-to agent for first time homeowners, property investors, home staging – whatever your strengths may be. When those attendees are ready to buy or sell, you’ll be first on their list.

The Small Business Owner

The possibilities with small business owners are endless. From restaurants to boutiques, entrepreneurs are typically ready and willing to connect to spread the word about their products or services. Connect with a home cleaning service to suggest a steady flow of business (from the buyers and sellers you’ll refer) in return for discounts for your clients. Reach out to your favorite pizza place about advertising on their tables, and order a pizza for your new homeowners on their first night in the new house. Whether you enter into a financial partnership, by way of advertising with your small business owner friends, or strike up a mutually beneficial arrangement, by making friends with a local entrepreneur, you’re placing yourself one step closer to those personal referrals. On top of that, you’re showing off your local expertise.

 

Are Your Marketing Efforts Paying Off? Here’s How To Measure Your Success!

No matter how you’re marketing your business, tracking the success of your efforts is crucial. By having an idea of what’s working and what isn’t, you’ll get a better idea of how to continue to spend your money. Measuring your return on investment will help save you money AND help make you more money. Here are just a few ideas you can implement to see how hard your money is working.

Ask

In your initial conversation with a prospective client, a simple, “How did you hear about me?” is all it takes. You may find that most of your business comes from referrals, or you may find that the ad in your church bulletin is proving to be successful. Regardless, it’s important to ask and keep track of the answers. You can also send surveys to former clients and include the same question to get an idea of how your former campaigns did, in case you haven’t been keeping track.

Keep Track

This may seem like a no-brainer. And hopefully, you have an idea of how much you’ve spent and what marketing tools you use each year. A simple Excel spreadsheet is great for keeping a list of your campaigns, what dates they were active, how much it cost, and the number of leads you generated for each. For example, even if last year was a terrific success, you may find that the mailer you spent a couple of thousand dollars on gave you several clients, while your $50 Facebook ad got you one or two. You may have gotten more clients with the mailout, but the price per client is much lower for Facebook. You’ll never know if you don’t keep track.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics offers a free code to embed on your website, which allows you to track how people are arriving on your site, how long they’re staying there, what information they’re clicking on, what pages they view last, and so much more. This is a great, easy, and totally free way to see what’s working for you, especially if you’re running any online ads. For example, if you wanted to run an ad through Facebook and through Google Ads, you could easily see which ad set is getting you the most traffic through Google Analytics.

With every system, it’s crucial to have a good period of time for measuring your actions. It’s unlikely that you’ll learn much from one campaign but six months’ worth can tell you a lot. In addition, setting up a regular time monthly or quarterly to review your marketing metrics can help you see what’s been working and keep you on the ball for the future.

Marketing Your Business In June

Happy summer! As we know, the summer months can be a little crazy (in a good way) in the real estate world. Hopefully, your business is booming and we’ll be seeing your happy face in our office several times in the next few months. Whether things are going strong or you’re wondering when you’ll get that next client, this is no time to let your marketing efforts fade away.  What can you do this month to strengthen your future business?

Keep An Eye On The Calendar

It seems like everyone is offering some kind of promotion for Independence Day. If you’re worried about getting lost in the 4th of July crowd, there are fun holidays throughout the month of July that might be fun to celebrate. What about an ice cream social in your neighborhood to celebrate National Ice Cream Month (July) or Vanilla Ice Cream Day (July 23)? Pass out free breakfast on July 26 for National Bagel Day, or hold an event to celebrate International Day of Friendship on July 30.  You can also begin to think a little further ahead to Back To School in August and host a school supply drive or back to school party.

Pop Bys

Stopping in to visit your past clients’ houses with a small gift is a great way to stay in touch. For summer themed gifts, consider a S’mores kit, beach pail filled with goodies, or gift cards to get ice cream or frozen yogurt or to see a movie in a nice, cool theater.

Social Media Fun: Party Time

Social calendars fill up during the summer months. Use your social media pages to feature easy-to-make dishes and desserts to bring along to those summer cookouts and 4th of July parties, DIY party decorations and ideas, and pool safety tips, among other ideas.

Social Media Challenge: Host A Scavenger Hunt

Get your followers engaged by hosting a fun city-wide scavenger hunt. Make a list of fun things to see and do around town (theme parks, popular eateries, and more) in the summer months, and ask them to post a photo and tag your business page. Any follower who completes your list can be entered in a drawing for a fun prize!

Be A Better Listener In 3 Easy Steps

Good listeners are worth their weight in gold. Being a good listener shows the people around you that you’re sincere, caring, attentive and more. In the business world, it could make the difference between closing the deal and losing the sale.

Take a look at what TheBalanceCareers.com has to say about being a good listener:

Active listening is especially important in the sales world. That’s because prospects are often ignored or talked over because the focus is on making the sale, not the person making the purchase. When salespeople show that they value the prospect’s needs and opinions, it is far easier to build trust and ensures that the conversation results in a mutually-beneficial experience.

If you’re not a great listener, don’t fear. Forbes.com has some great tips on increasing your listening abilities and letting your clients know how much you care.

  1. Build Rapport

    Building a strong rapport with a customer let’s them feel like they’re in good company. You’re creating a safe environment for them to be themselves. Forbes suggests physical body mirroring (matching your posture to theirs) and keyword and gesture backtracking (using similar words and actions) to appear more attentive. These subtle action can go a long way in earning trust.

  2. Use The Meta Model

    When your client uses phrases like “This is too difficult” or “I’m frustrated,” these can often seem like signals used to end conversations. However, this is a great opportunity to truly understand where your prospect is coming from. By asking questions like “Can you elaborate on that?” or “What do you mean, specifically?” you’re offering them a chance to open up and be better understood. This will allow you to see the world from their perspective instead of imagining how they’re feeling.

  3. Make It Easier For Them To Express Themselves

    It can seem difficult to share thoughts or feelings in many situations. Forbes suggests that feeling a lack of safety, belonging, or mattering are the root causes for this kind of difficulty. Let your conversations be a safe haven where opinions are heard, respected, and understood.

     

Do Yourself A Favor And Start Delegating These Tasks

Sometimes, as business grows, so does discomfort. There’s an awful in-between place for growing businesses where agents are too busy and successful to handle all of their mounting responsibilities but not quite busy enough to justify a new full-time employee. But there is a third option: Outsourcing! As you struggle to keep your head above water, consider the following tasks for outsourcing.

Marketing

There are plenty of companies and freelancers looking for new clients. If you love your work, but struggle to stay on top of important dates and opportunities to market your services, finding a firm or a contract professional to help you on your way is a huge weight off of your shoulders. Marketing professionals can run about $50/hour, but if you’re paying them for just a few hours a week, you’ll be in good shape. Outsourced marketing personnel can handle creating a marketing schedule, communication with vendors, mailings and more.

Data Entry

Whether you’re looking for someone to input your information into the MLS or clean up your email database, a data entry professional can help streamline your work. A freelance data entry contractor can charge between $12-20 per hour, depending on their skill and experience.

Graphic Designer

Even great tools and apps like Canva and Snapseed can frustrate the technologically-challenged agent. Graphic design professionals are available at a variety of rates and skills. If your needs are simple, you may want to hire an art student to whip up Open House flyers in their free time. If you’re looking for more consistency in your look, an independent graphic designer will usually charge between $45-75 per hour, but may be available for less on a retainer.

Search Engine Optimization

If you’ve read anything on getting traffic to your website, you know that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial. If you don’t understand SEO, you’re not alone. It can be confusing without professional help, but implementing the right keywords and techniques can put your business at the top of search results. An SEO expert will probably charge one rate to analyze your website and set up your pages for success at the start, and then an ongoing monthly rate. These rates vary greatly depending on how experienced the professional might be, so be sure to shop around.

Content Writing

One great way to improve SEO is with consistent blogging and content creation. Search engines like to see that websites are being regularly updated and blogs are the way to get there. Most people start with big plans to blog, write consistently for a few weeks, then let it go. An outsourced blogger can help you stay consistent and top-of-mind with your clientele. Expect a good, experienced blogger to start at $75 per blog.

Social Media

Now, to be honest, the best social media is personal. If your goals are to create engagement and develop relationships, it is always best to handle your own social media. However, if you are short on time, and looking for someone to keep your page up-to-date and consistent with posts and current events, hiring someone isn’t a terrible idea. Most social media gurus will ask for a monthly retainer, varying from $25-75 an hour.