You Need A Vacation!

When you are in charge of your own business, there’s an assumption that you can do whatever you want with your time. However, that “freedom” often makes it harder to get away. And even when you do take a rare vacation, it’s hard to make it a true vacation – work always beckons.

With Labor Day weekend coming up, here are some whys and hows of how to take the time that you need without sacrificing your business.

WHY YOU NEED TO TAKE A VACATION

First of all, multiple studies have shown that your brain still works while it’s relaxing. In fact, during mental “down time” your brain is focusing itself on boring, but essential, tasks like memorizing skills you learned last week.

Secondly, your brain has two levels of operation. One level is focused on tasks while the other is focused on letting your mind wander. If you are always in task mode, your brain isn’t able to daydream, wander, and come up with creative solutions.

Thirdly, it is scientifically proven that people who take several short vacations are happier and remain happier for up to two weeks after their vacation is done. So, it’s not only beneficial to take some time off but to take smaller, more frequent vacations.

 

HOW YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN

Plan. Plan for how taking the time off will impact your business. What might happen while you’re away and how can you plan for it now?

Arrange for Help. Even though you’re operating independently there are probably other agents in your office who can cover for you while you’re gone, especially if you offer to return the favor. Set up what you need before you leave and work out how compensation will work in case you need to call on them.

Be Clear with your Clients. You don’t want to surprise your clients with having your fellow agent step in to cover their questions, showings, etc. Make sure all of your clients know you’ll be out of town and introduce them to your colleague (at least via email) before your departure so they feel comfortable with the situation.

If You Must Work. If you plan on being reachable during your vacation, make sure you set aside specific times to handle work calls and emails so that they don’t interfere with your time or your family’s time to relax. Schedule a little time in the morning and/or a little time in the evening to catch up on what you’ve missed!

 

Steal Some Of Retail’s Biggest Tricks For Your Next Open House

Did you know that when stores pipe in a vanilla scent, customers are more likely to impulse buy? When preparing an Open House, a vanilla scent may lure buyers into considering the property, but impulsive decisions don’t often end well for either party. Likewise, the smell of cleaning products, particularly orange scented products, gives consumers a feeling generosity.  The clean, orange smell may help your potential buyers see the value of a home.

There are so many things that influence the way we buy. Retail stores have used psychological triggers to their advantage for years. And some of those same tips may help you sell more quickly!

SCENT

As stated above, vanilla scents lead to more impulse purchases, while clean scents lead to generosity. And of course, most of us have heard that the scent of baking bread, or even bacon, gives many people a feeling of “Home Sweet Home”. So, for your next open house, ditch the vanilla candle and try something new!

COLOR

Our minds are easily provoked by color, which is why color psychology should be considered when staging or even repainting a home to sell.

Red – Red gives consumers a sense of urgency and encourages people to take action quickly.

Blue – Blue gives us feelings of trust and security. It may be the perfect choice for a great home in a less-than-ideal neighborhood.

Green – Green is calming and soothing and linked to growth and wealth.

Black – Black evokes class and sophistication, used most frequently when marketing luxury items.

MUSIC

If you’re hoping your potential buyers will linger and take their time as they walk through an open house, the right music can help. Music with a fast tempo increases heart rate and encourages us to move quickly. Conversely, a slower tempo helps us slow down and take our time.

Genre can make a difference as well. Consumers listening to classical music in a retail environment are more inclined to spend their money on luxury items. Customers listening to Top-40 pop music usually make smaller and cheaper purchases.

 

Sources and Further Reading:

Using Colors and Shapes to Convert Shoppers
6 Psychological Triggers that Win Sales
Smell Manipulation
Sight, Smell and Sound and Consumer Behavior

 

Organize for Better Business

Staying organized during a busy season can be daunting, or even impossible, for some. Here are some great ways to cut down on the clutter and keep your clients’ files controlled.

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In The Office

  • Before you file anything, take a real look at what you’re putting away. Many of us stack papers and pile things up that we may never need or look at again. Realtor.org recommends that you “organize those you must keep so they correspond with how you transact business. For instance, arrange papers by prospect or neighborhood. Make one file each for maps, expense reports, and legal documents.”
  • Use different colors for folders or tabs to indicate the types of files in your system. And of course, make sure everything is clearly labeled for easy retrieval.
  • If something can be scanned and saved electronically – do it. Keep it all safe in a cloud-based system like Google Drive, Dropbox, or similar.
  • Finally, use a quiet day to organize the paperwork and do it frequently to avoid getting overwhelmed.

On The Road

  • Keep your papers in a plastic file case to make things easier to tote so that your important documents won’t be left behind, damaged by rain, ruined by food, etc.
  • Find a container that you can easily store on the floor of the backseat to keep the things you often need, like an umbrella, clipboard, measuring tape, air fresheners, etc. By keeping it all in one handy container, you’ll be able to carry things easily into the house and unload at your own office or home.

Helpful Apps

  • Apps like Everlance and MileIQ will track your mileage automatically so you’ll have it at your fingertips at tax time.
  • Circle Back will clean and complete contact information and merge duplicates so that your list can stay up to date.
  • If you’re looking to simplify your social media pursuits, Pocket is an easy to use bookmark tool that helps you to save content and articles you find on the web to your “pocket,” making it much easier to access (and remember) for your blog or newsletters later.

 

What tools do you use to keep your business in order? We’d love to hear about them!

Frontier Family Spotlight: Ricky Guerra

We’re excited to introduce San Antonio’s Ricky Guerra, Escrow Officer in this month’s Frontier Family Spotlight. Ricky has been with Frontier Title Company for 2 and a half years.

What do you think sets Frontier Title Company apart?

We simply go above what other title companies do to take care of their clients. Our job doesn’t stop when we leave the office. It doesn’t stop on weekends, and doesn’t stop on holidays. If the clients job is 24 hours a day, then why should ours stop at 5:30? Being there for when they need us, goes a long way.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The closeness with everyone who works here. Most companies have so many layers, they tend to lose touch with their employees. Frontier really does feel like a 2nd family.

What are three traits that define you?

My humor,  my love of debating (my wife would vouch for this), aaannndd, my car 🙂

What is your personal philosophy?

There are always going to be hardships and speed bumps in the road. It’s not about when you get over them, it’s how you handle them that make you who you are.

How do you define success?

Not by the materialistic things you can surround yourself with, but how you take care of the ones around you.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

Playing video games with my kids, basketball every weekend, and working on my car.

All About SEO

What is SEO? You’ve probably heard the term thrown around in meetings about websites and social media. And you may already know that it stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” But what does that mean?

SEO for Real Estate

In short, SEO is the process of getting traffic to your website from the free and organic search results on search engines.

How Search Engines Rank Sites

When someone searches for a term using Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., the search engine gets information from your page and every other page on the internet to determine what sites are the most relevant to the topic. You can pay, of course, for an ad that puts your information front and center for certain search terms. However, by using the right SEO strategy, you can earn a higher ranking without spending any of your advertising budget. Here’s what goes into search result ranking:

Clicks Help SEO

Each time someone searches for “New Homes in Texas”, the search engine will keep track of which results are clicked most often. The website with the most clicks will earn a higher ranking. This is a very difficult component to change. If a website has earned a top spot in a search result, it will continue to earn more clicks. If your page is appearing on the fourth, fifth, or later page in the results, it will be very difficult for you to get more organic clicks.

Content Helps SEO

This is one of the best and easiest ways to impact your position in the results. Sites like Google look at the words populating your site. If people are searching for “real estate agent”, search engines look for how many times those words appear on your pages. This is why blogging is a great idea! Instead of having five or six pages on your site that point Google in the right direction, a regularly updated blog can add an ever-increasing number of pages.

You may have seen places for “Meta Title”, “Meta Description” and “Meta Tags” at the bottom of a website editing program. These things are embedded in the page’s code, rendering them invisible to your viewer, but very visible to search engines. Again, these all help tell the search engines what your page is about.

Links Help SEO

It’s all about relevance. Adding links to other pages on your site is helpful, as long as the links are relevant to the services you’re offering. So, by linking to your brokerage website, to lenders, title companies, inspectors, and other vendors, you’re helping search engines recognize your value to the topic at hand. If other sites link back to you, it’s even better!

Updates Help SEO

A site that isn’t updated regularly won’t look relevant to search engines. To improve your SEO, make sure your site is regularly updated. Blogs, again, are a great way to update regularly, add content, and add links.


SOURCES AND FURTHER READING:
https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo
http://www.mtu.edu/umc/services/digital/seo/
http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/S/SEO.html

 

Get Some Online Attention For Your Open House

It’s no secret that digital marketing is the easiest, and often cheapest way to meet your next customer. More than 75% of American adults have a mobile phone with a data plan. The entire internet is at our fingertips, in our back pocket, and in our purses. With social media growing each year, online is the very best place to showcase your business.

if you’re marketing an Open House in the near future, here are some ways you can best take advantage of our constant access to the web.

Make Good Use Of Video

Videos have a much higher rate of engagement than photos do. And with such a wide variety of apps on the market that make creating videos and slideshows simple, there’s no excuse for not marketing one. If you’re looking for something extraordinarily easy, check out Quik (Free), which creates interesting and unique videos, complete with music, using photos you choose. If you want a little more control over your videos, our pick is Pinnacle Studio Pro ($12.99, but worth the investment).

Create a Facebook Page for the Property

Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php to create a page for your property. Select “Local Business or Place”, the  “Real Estate” as the category. Use the house address for the business name and add your own information as the contact. By inviting people to like this page, you’re focusing your attention on a smaller, but more responsive group and avoiding spamming the news feed she of people who aren’t interested. You can also boost and advertise posts to reach a better demographic for your listing. Once your page I see set up, create an event to promote the specific Open House dates.

Create an eFlyer

For this, you can use an email service like MailChimp or Constant Contact to create a flyer and distribute it to your full list. If you want a little more creativity, try an app like Canva, which makes it easy to create images and pdf files you can pass along. Don’t forget to post your eFlyer on social media, too! Include links to your single property website, facebook business page and more.

Submit, Submit, Submit

Submit your Open House to event websites. There are obvious chouses, like Realtor.com, but do not skip sites like Craigslist, LinkedIn, and Eventbrit

Go Live

On the day of your Open House, arrive early and walk your followers through a live showing. Show off the unique features of your listing. But don’t stop there. Go live again as prospective buyers arrive ano get some real time reactions as they view the home

 

Looking To Boost Your Business? Connect With These 5 People!

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.

 

Marketing 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 12, look ahead to Easter in mid-April 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!

Find Your Perfect Tagline

There are many companies that can be identified just by their tagline or slogan.

“I’m lovin’ it!”

“A diamond is forever.”

“Maybe she’s born with it…”

You don’t have to have a global platform to benefit from a good tagline. Local brands and small businesses can still make a memorable impression with a unique slogan. Don’t have a tagline yet? We’re here to help.

Find Inspiration In What You Already Have: Most potential customers will see your business name and logo before they hear your tagline. Let the look of your logo and the qualities of your business lead you into a strong slogan.

Don’t Overcomplicate It: You want your tagline to be something catchy and memorable. Don’t get too wordy or complicated. Most of the world’s best-known slogans only have between 4 and 6 words. Use words that are easy to understand and define, and make sure the wording of the tagline flows easily so that clients can remember it well.

Brainstorm a Word List: Aside from using obvious real estate terms, think about what makes your business stand out from the competition. What’s important to you? What do your clients say about your quality of service? After you’ve made a word list based on these things, focus on the words that seem to call out to you. Focusing on words that hold some personal meaning to you will get you closer to a strong line.

Use A Call To Action If It Works For Your Brand: Consumers respond well to action words and encouragement. Think about Nike’s “Just Do It” or McDonald’s 80s slogan, “You deserve a break today.” Don’t underestimate the power of suggestion.

Consult Friends and Family: Don’t rely solely on your own opinion. Seek out the opinion of those important to you. They may catch something in your new tagline that you didn’t hear or offer a word or two to inspire a great change. Keep in mind as you ask around that you’ll never please everyone. Don’t let one or two negative comments sidetrack you from finding something you love.

Let It Go: Not every strong business has a slogan. And no slogan is better than a bad slogan. If you can’t create a tagline you’re crazy about, don’t sweat it. A lot of businesses can get by without one at all.

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.