Grow Your Business In April

How is your marketing plan shaping up this year? Here are some ideas to focus on for the month of April.

Get Ready for Upcoming Holidays and Events

As we head closer to summer, there are some obvious holidays to pay attention to like Mother’s Day (May 12) and Father’s Day (June 16). We also can anticipate the end of the school year, Flag Day (June 14), Cinco de Mayo (May 5), Memorial Day (May 27), and even a slew of summer weddings (growing families may mean a change in housing). If you want to have a little more fun, find a way to focus on Star Wars Day (May 4), Teacher’s Day (May 7) or National Gardening Week (June 2-8). How much fun would it be to put together a gardening pop by or a Star Wars goodie basket?

Social Media Focus: Family and Children

With the school year coming to a close, families planning vacations, looking for summer camps, and more, family activities are on the brain for many people. Highlights family-friendly events in and around town, day trip ideas, etc. Your audience will begin to see you as a resource for their family needs.

Social Media Challenge: Social Media Takeover

Try offering a social media takeover for your Facebook or Instagram feed to increase visibility and relationships. A takeover usually involves giving another individual or group a day of access to your platform, with the ability to create posts and upload photos. Allow a representative of the group you’re trying to connect with to post to your social media for a day. The swim team can post pics from a race, a PTA Association can highlight what they’re doing for the community. They get to promote their group. You build relationships and show your followers that you’re involved in the community. Everyone wins!

Don’t Change Who You Are To Make A Sale

Let’s face it – not everyone is a natural salesperson. For those uncomfortable with the stereotypical style of a hard sell, business goals may seem out of reach. Never fear! You can achieve sales success without compromising your personality by following some of the guidelines below!

George Dudley and Shannon Goodson have developed a six-factor model of selling that takes into account different personalities and comfort levels.

The six styles they outline are:

Competition-oriented selling. 

Competition-oriented sellers are persistent in persuasive efforts. They don’t take no for an answer and will do everything within his or her power to close the deal.

Image-oriented selling. 

Sellers who are Image-oriented rely on their reputation and credibility to help them stand out from the crowd. Their reputation has done most of the work ahead of time and customers usually seek out Image-oriented salespeople.

Need-oriented selling. 

Need-oriented sellers focus on, you guessed it, the needs of the customer. They are diplomatic, quick to respond, and start relationships by asking questions meant to discover the customer’s real needs. They are problem solvers and are skilled at calming fears of reluctant clients.

Product-oriented selling. 

Product-oriented sellers are extremely knowledgable about features and benefits of the product they are trying to sell. They are educators at heart and good at explaining complicated processes to their customers.

Rapport-oriented selling. 

If you walk away from transactions with new friends, chances are you are Rapport-oriented. These kinds of sellers build and develop relationships with their clients, gaining trust and almost becoming business partners with their customers. Communication is key for this personality.

Service Oriented selling.

Service-oriented sellers fall somewhere between Rapport- and Need-oriented  sellers. These sellers are able to explain and follow through on exceptional services, unique to their personality and brand.

SOURCES AND FURTHER READING:

http://www.confidentapproach.com/assessment/sspa/different-selling-styles

Make LinkedIn Work For Your Business

When most people think of LinkedIn, they think of finding jobs or hiring employees. However, the social media platform offers so much more. It’s a great opportunity to make real connections and generate leads. When used correctly, creatively, and consistently, it can give your business a big boost.

Your Online Business Card

Treat your profile like a business card – you’d never attend a networking event without up-to-date and professional cards. Your profile should get the same attention. Make sure all of your information is current, including your profile picture. Take a good look at your online presence across social media, web sites, etc. Make sure that the pictures, logos, and other information are consistent across all platforms.

Your Summary

A well-written summary can represent you well. Use first person and conversational language. LinkedIn users will scan a resume, but will dig into a well-crafted paragraph. Take this opportunity to let people know who you really are. If you’re looking for leads on LinkedIn, avoid industry terms that prospective clients may not be familiar with and speak to them on their level.

Your Pictures Is Worth A Thousand Words

Because LinkedIn is a site meant for professionals, your profile picture should reflect your business persona. Snapshots, cropped photos, and family or vacation pics are not welcome here. Use your professional headshot. If you don’t have one, it’s time to invest in some good photography!

Finish What You Started

Everything on LinkedIn is searchable. The more complete your profile is, the easier it will be for prospective clients, business partners, and vendors to find you.

Optimization

As you fill out your profile, think of your target connection. Are you looking for potential team members? Prospective clients? What words will they use to search for you on LinkedIn? Pepper your summary and experience with these search terms to optimize your chances of making good connections.

Posts

You have the opportunity to get the word out about your business by posting links, articles, status updates, and blogs. Do not pass up your chance to let the professional world know what you do! Show off your expertise and business savvy by contributing to the global conversation!

Connect

Social Media is all about participation. It’s reciprocal – you get out what you put in. Comment on posts, congratulate your connections on their new positions, anniversaries, and promotions. You never know where your next lead will come from. A simple happy birthday message could lead to a big sale!

What do you Need to Succeed in Sales?

John Rampton at Entrepreneur.com recently published a list of 15 must-have qualities for successful salespeople. You can see the full list here, but our five favorites are listed below!

Conscientiousness

Being conscientious means that you pay attention to what you’re doing, approaching each task with the intention of doing your work well and thoroughly. A conscientious attitude will shine through to your clients and prospects. They’ll appreciate the pride you take in your work, and it will give them confidence that you’ll approach their needs with the same diligence.

Respect

People can have different views of what it means to be respectful, so it’s a good idea to take a look at your actions and habits and make sure you’re considering the needs of the people around you. Do you respect others’ time by being prompt and prepared? Do you respect your clients’ needs by listening well and implementing their ideas? Do you respect the capabilities of your team members by asking their advice or delegating tasks to those who need experience? People who respect others earn respect back.

Persistence

Persistence is a necessity in sales. Between cold calls, lukewarm clients, and sales slumps, it can be difficult to find the strength to keep going. Face rejection head on, take it as a necessity of the industry, and keep going! Rampton’s best advice here is “in lieu of the hard sell, lead with kindness and consideration.”

Initiative

People who get things done rarely wait for others to take the lead. Instead of waiting for directions from your team, be proactive about your approach. Read everything you can about your business, and look ahead to what problems might arise so you can tackle them before they become issues. Your clients will certainly appreciate the forethought you have when it comes to dealing with their needs.

Coachability

As important as it is to be persistent and take initiative, the best leaders know when they need help and advice. Rampton writes that “being energetic, willing to learn and having the ability to adapt” are all crucial skills. Constantly seek for ways to improve. Find a mentor to connect with if you haven’t already, and let them guide you through the next steps of your career.

Next Time, Sell It This Way

Postcards, websites, knocking on doors…while these ideas are tried and true, marketing ideas are changing quickly. Below are some unique selling ideas that we’ve been seeing and hearing about – let us know what you think!

Text Message Marketing

By using a service like TextRock.com you can get a unique text code that sends home information to users’ phones – they opt in by texting your special number, found on the for sale sign in the yard. You can help prospective buyers learn about open houses, price changes, and more, while building your list of leads. A service like TextRock costs around $99/month.

Airbnb

Let people try before they buy by using Airbnb. This is truly unique and requires an open-minded seller, but it’s a plan that would definitely make a splash. The current homeowner would need to make their home available through Airbnb, but this isn’t difficult. Airbnb is such a trendy service – this kind of offer makes you appear to be a cutting edge agent and gives buyers confidence in their purchase.

Blog Partnerships

With blogging being big business these days, it’s a great idea to seek out partnerships with local home decor and design bloggers. If you’ve got a beautiful or unique home, ask one a blogger to view the property and post a review of the home. You’re instantly getting new, interested eyes on the property.

Neighborhood Tour

Part of selling a home is selling the neighborhood, right? Take your social media followers on a virtual tour of the neighborhood. Move beyond the features of the home and take some live videos of restaurants, stores, playgrounds, and other nearby features of the neighborhood. Live videos are all the rage on social media – viewers spend 3x the amount of time watching live videos than they do watching uploaded videos.

Marketing Your Business In March

Spring is here! While some are getting the itch to declutter and clean, it’s a great time to declutter what isn’t working in your business and make some new marketing plans!

Start (or beef up) your Instagram account

Here’s some big news – Instagram is now featured and shared on more websites than Twitter. While Twitter still has more account holders, this news means that Instagram is still growing steadily and more and more businesses and blogs are turning toward this trend. If you haven’t already set up an Instagram account, now is the time to do it! With a visual business like real estate, you’ll be missing out if you don’t.

What’s Coming Up?

April has some fun you can feature on social media and other marketing. April Fools Day, is of course, a lot of fun. Passover begins on March 30 and Easter falls April 1 this year. But don’t miss out on sending your clients and followers tips on green home living and recycling as Earth Day approaches on April 20.

Social Media Focus: Green Living

As we mentioned above, Earth Day on April 20 will have a lot of minds turning toward recycling and green living options. Highlight your local recycling center, tips on conserving water and energy at home, and growing your own vegetables. The spring season will have your followers craving this info.

Social Media Challenge: Make a Plan

Some entrepreneurs may like to “wing it” in their social media marketing. But in this day and age, social media provides the most affordable way to reach your followers. You can get in on their everyday conversations and promote your business, free of cost (unless you choose to run an ad). Your social media marketing should receive just as much attention, if not more, than your other forms of marketing. Sit down and ask yourself what you want to accomplish on social media? More followers? More leads? More visibility? How will you get there…by posting more regularly, by running occasional ads, and by developing a strong and consistent presence online.

4 Spring Blog Topics That Will Get You Excited To Write!

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 religious events and opportunities during Easter and Passover, outdoor festivals, Earth Day offerings, or event gardening get-togethers and meet-ups. 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!

SPRING CLEANING

Whether you’ve tuned into Marie Kondo or not, spring gives all of us an itch to get organized! Post your best tips and tricks, links to articles with advice, or a branded checklist of spring cleaning ideas. This is a great opportunity to offer ideas on how to spruce up the house if readers are considering selling in the next year. Point your readers toward trendy colors and styles they may want to include in their home for just such an occasion.

DINING OUT

Texas towns offer plenty of amazing outdoor eating opportunities. Invoke the feeling we all love of enjoying a perfect spring evening eating out on the patio. Direct your audience toward the best outdoor eateries and farmer’s market. The fresh feel we all want in the springtime can be easily found in places like these. Plus, your knowledge about all things local will quickly paint you as a neighborhood expert for potential clients.

SPRINGING FORWARD

Time to enjoy the great outdoors!

More daylight hours mean more opportunities to get outside! Nature walk idea, park listings and reviews, backyard games to play with the kids, or even neighborhood picnic recipes will delight your outdoorsy followers. Keep your phone on hand to capture your own adventures and include those in your blog posts to get readers excited about the great outdoors!

Is It Time To Cut Down On Social Media?

Don’t be crazy – having a strong presence on social media is crucial to your business. It’s free marketing and advertising, after all. Not to mention that more and more, people are looking online for help in almost every industry.

However, your social media accounts could also be hurting your chances of securing that next client. Too often, our ambitions can exceed reality. By signing up for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, and more, you may be hoping for increased visibility. However, with the demands of your schedule, posting regularly may not be a possibility and you can come across as inactive, indifferent, and inconsistent to anyone who comes across your account.

Missing Out On Business

Many businesses and entrepreneurs sign up for every social media platform because they’re afraid of missing out on business. If you put all of your energy into Instagram, who are you ignoring on Twitter? The truth is, if you can get a handle on your demographics, you’ll see where the real attention is coming from.

Instead: Use the traffic analysis on your website or through Google Analytics, to find out where your traffic is coming from. Look to your existing social media accounts and see where you’re getting the most attention. Take the time you’re wasting on platforms that get little results to increase your presence where things are already working for you.

Autoposting

Many platforms have a feature that allows you to autopost from one to another. For example, when you write a post on your Facebook page, it automatically generates a link to your Twitter account. While this may seem like a great idea initially, this practice actually leads to a 70% decrease in interaction. Most social media platforms favor native content, which means your autopost are going to get less attention in a newsfeed. Add to that the less-than-ideal formatting that the automated service provides, and your post isn’t visually appealing either.

Instead: If you have multiple accounts, craft messages separately and in a style unique to the platforms you use. 

Involvement

If you’re low on time, you won’t be able to interact well on each platform. Success on social media requires personal connection and conversation. If you’ve overdone it and can’t take part in the conversation, your followers will be able to tell.

Instead: Cut down to one account (or two) that you can manage well, and get involved! “Talk” to other users, comment on posts, and create a real presence.

Ready for growth? Add these 5 people to your social circle!

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.