Bah Humbug: Holiday Lights gone Bad…

Deck the halls with lots of lights, fa-la-la-la, oh whatever. To celebrate the holiday season, we’re gifting you with a selection of five holiday light fails, so you can feel better about the light choices your neighbors make.

HYDRATED SANTA

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A little too much milk there, Santa. Funny or crass? We will let you decide!

 

MEH

meh

For those feeling underwhelmed this holiday season, this light job is ideal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BAH HUMBUG

bah-humbug

Greetings from your friendly neighborhood Scrooge!

RIP RUDOLPH

rip-rudolph

Now this is just messed up. Way to make all the neighborhood children weep, buddy.

DITTO

ditto

We kind of like this example of “What they said.”

Let us know if you find some fun or messed up lighting displays in your neighborhood.

Choosing A Word Instead Of A Goal

bubblyIn addition to glasses of bubbly champagne and (hopefully) a kiss at midnight, New Year’s Eve also brings with it a desire to start fresh. January tends to be a time for cleaning our slate—disposing of baggage, literal and emotional—in order to usher in clarity, hope, and new ideas for the future.

For many years now I have been working with hundreds of agents and leaders in developing business through planning, strategies and of course GOALS. Now if you attended one of my fall 2016 MEC events where my focus was on teaching you how to be insanely productive in 2017 through focus and working distraction free. Many of you can relate to how I laid out goal setting. See forever most of have been setting GOALS in life and in business and including these goals in our business plan for each coming year has helped us achieve success.

A close friend recently shared with me their “WORD Of The YEAR”. At first I was confused and didn’t quite understand what she meant. Instead of adopting GOALS, she adopted a WORD.

That’s when I stopped setting goals, and started choosing a word.

It’s important to know choosing a word for the year doesn’t negate your specific hopes and dreams. Instead, it supports them by allowing yourself space to grow, change, and make adjustments along the way.

The way Claire Diaz Ortiz puts it, “pick one word that word that imbues the type of year you wish to have, and a word that can serve as a guidepost for what you want in the year to come. One simple word that will help you decide between X and Y, and help you remember what’s important when you find yourself in an endless loop of Facebook/Twitter/Email checking you can’t get out of.”words1

3 STEPS TO CHOOSE A WORD FOR THE YEAR

Step 1: Set an intention

The best words arrive when they’re ready. It might take a week, or a month. (I suggest you begin considering your word in October or November, then make a firm decision at the end of the year.)

When choosing a word for the year, don’t rush the process.

The best way to determine your word is to simply set an intention to find one. Give yourself some time to ponder it. Reflect on the current year, and as far ahead as you can see, what the new year might offer. Ask yourself how you want to feel, not what you want to do or accomplish.

Step 2: Gather some options

As you reflect, gather a handful of words that might be contenders. See how you respond to them, and if you like, talk it over with your significant other or a close friend.

Step 3: Make your choice

When the time is right, commit to the word. Don’t worry about making the wrong choice. The beauty of a single word is it can manifest its meaning in several ways.

For instance, my friends word for 2016 was OPEN. This ended up applying to small moments like being open minded about an idea or recommendation (not caring where a group decided to go to dinner, say), and larger experiences like navigating new career options.

Once you’ve settled on your word, embrace it. You don’t need to do anything specific, just be aware of it, and enjoy seeing how your word begins to apply to various aspects of your life throughout the year.

Have you ever chosen a word for the year? Are you thinking of trying it for the first time? Share in the comments!

RE/MAX Gold Holiday Timeline Covers

It’s always a great idea to change up your Timeline covers for the holidays. It’s  great way to gain exposure throughout your sphere. Jan in our marketing department has done am amazing job of designing a handful of new Timeline Covers just in time for Christmas and New Years.

To use one of these covers for your Facebook page. simply right click on the image and save to your computer. Then upload it to your Facebook.  Enjoy!

3 Myths In Real Estate That Could Be Hurting Your Business

Real estate marketing in the digital world can be confusing at best. Most agents try everything and anything they read and or hear about to find their way through this social craze and online exploration we call the digital consumer. One thing is for sure. Myths seem to find their way into our business practice nearly every day. I am always surprised when agents tell me they heard this or they heard that about the online marketing world. You might be surprised yourself to learn the 3 biggest Myths I learned about this last year. these very Myths are misleading you down the wrong path and one filled with frustration. No worries. I am here to set you straight and get you on the path to success again.

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Whether you are new to digital marketing and just getting started or perhaps you are a seasoned pro, you may have tried a variety of organizational and marketing tasks hoping to arrive at the perfect system that helps put your digital tasks on autopilot to let you do what you do best: SELL! The Front Porch Report is an awesome “Do It For You” marketing system that takes the challenge of understanding the when, how and why out of your daily tasks, I strongly believe agents should empower assistance and or hire marketing platforms that do it for them. Stop wasting money (Which we all know time is money) on tasks below your “Pay Scale”

Myth #1: CRMs don’t work

We know that NAR states that 40-50% of real estate leads come from referrals from people you know or from repeat clients. I’ve implemented plenty of CRM (contact relationship management) systems in my day. I think it is absolutely mandatory you understand and use a digital CRM platform vs. the old system (email, sticky notes, excel spreadsheets, etc.). This is not to say that a handwritten note once in awhile almost always seals the relationship and takes it to another level.  Having said that, the system that you may have selected may not be the best or easiest system to use. It may not be the best for your industry, your mind type.

Fact #1

CRM systems DO WORK if they are well selected and implemented. Today’s CRMs are not the same as even a few years ago. The evolving nature of automated drip campaigns as really elevated the value of CRMS into a must-have in order to NOT let any your leads or referrals sources get lost in your digital ecosystem and automatically helps keep you top of mind while you’re out selling, selling, selling. There are many options to choose from and it’s imperative to find the right CRM for you, the way you work, what reports you want and what workflow processes match the way you manage your day-to-day business. After you pick the right one, to get the value out of the software you selected, you must COMMIT to using it and it alone for all your contact data and communication needs. This paradigm shift can take a good 30 days so make sure you give it the time it needs to be successful and you feel really comfortable with using your new software. Trust me when I tell you, you will not be disappointed.

Fact #2

In almost all CRM eFarming drip campaign newsletter providers I see the same thing. Real Estate, Real Estate, Real Estate! Yes you read right. Stop sending your client’s all real estate related material. The occasional market update is fine but everything you send them should not be real estate related. Why companies can’t figure this out is beyond me. Let’s take The Front Porch Report Daily Posts and Weekly Email as an example. We focus on three primary subjects, Home, Health and Wealth. These three topics are proven winners for engagement in the social world of marketing. This means more people will like your posts and click through to the stories if they involve their lifestyle. Nutrition, fitness, recipes, inspiration, travel, good eats, decor, design etc are all hot topics that create engagement with your consumer. Real Estate related stories are advertising. This advertising should be sprinkled in between the articles. When done right. Magic happens. Your sphere grows, and referrals happen.

Myth #2: I’ve tried Facebook and it doesn’t work

I love it when I hear this. There are so many questions I ask following hearing this response. like “what did you try?” and “why do you say it didn’t work?” The responses I hear are typically “I have a Facebook and I post on it but I never get leads from it.” Implementing HOW you can make it work for you takes time and knowledge. The sad part is that as SOON as you think you’ve mastered Facebook for business, it changes. Facebook is one of the fastest evolving advertising platforms around. That’s right, I said advertising. After tasting the sweet fruit of organic and free traffic / visibility / connectivity on Facebook, they have flipped the script and are making businesses pay for reach (not new news / not surprising).

Fact #1

Facebook is simply The single most powerful tool in advertising right now. You can find exactly who you want to target (age, income, homeowner/not), where you want to target them (location, The ability to target and reach your intended audience is beyond amazing and is a marketing professional’s dream come true. Most business owners who want to use Facebook use as a blow horn to say “HEY, COME BUY FROM ME!” You have to understand the nature of today’s performing marketing practices is all about creating compelling value and authentic relationships. Then, you have to understand the Facebook platform and why people are there. They are on Facebook to connect and engage. If you are hitting COLD traffic with COME BUY FROM ME type of messaging, then don’t be surprised when you aren’t getting any clicks / leads. Advertising has evolved and you have to evolve with it or be left behind.

Fact #2

Facebook is the single most important platform you should be using. Think of your Facebook feed as a place to Datamine. This means sit in front of your computer or on your phone and look for opportunity to engage. Each and every opportunity is a chance to build on your relationship and get their commitment to use your services when the time comes.  Take it to another level. Don’t just “Like”, “Comment” or “Share” this engagement. Reach out. Grab a note card from your desk and send them a handwritten note congratulating them on their accomplishment and or event that has just taken place. I call this “eBuffini” them. Birthdays, anniversary’s that’s the easy stuff. Look for job changes, accomplishments, send notes about how a post made you feel good. This is the magic formula to building referrals from social media.

Myth #3: The more websites the better

NAR states that on average 9-10% of real estate leads come from organic searches. I don’t think I’ve talked to an agent/broker that has less than 5 website domain addresses. Many have upwards of 10+ with roughly 5 emails addresses they are managing. They’ve left various firms and joined others or opened their own. There was a time when owning “YourTownHomeForsale” made sense. Not anymore. Where is the consumer looking for homes? ZILLOW with 80+ million visitors a month. We only sell 5 million homes a year and yet 80 million visitors monthly are searching. That’s a lot of dead leads…

Fact #1

More is not always better! Google is one really smart search engine. He’s getting smarter every year. Google dominates search with 66% of the search market and when Bing and Yahoo, they collectively make up 32% of the search market. You might be operating off of old SEO (search engine optimization) information when you think that more domains are better. Google releases 2+ algorithm updates a year. He knows which websites are trying to game the SEO system to reach higher organic (free) SERP (search engine results page) rankings and dings them for it. Google local is a whole other animal and there are professionals and software system specifically dedicated to helping users get found in the Google local pack in the top right corner. Submitting your business to Google as a REALTOR with RE/MAX Gold is a sure way to get noticed and indexed fast.

Fact #2

Your name as a domain website is probably the most important website you can own. And really the only one you need to own. Unless you are a SEO wiz and creating website landing pages sound fun to you. Stick with your name. You might be surprised how easy it is to get your name as a domain. Even if you have a very common name. jim Smith. Instead of trying to get jimsmith.com which will not be available. try Jim-Smtih-Real-Estate.com Use hyphens to seperate the words. This really helps when people are searching for you. Consumers no longer call phone numbers. they search fro you on Google. The Google the address. Finding you is your end result. Think of how you type in to find someone online. You don’t type in jimsmith, you type Jim Smith. You use spaces. Hyphens tell Google and other search engines “Space” This creates more accurate searches.  Try it and watch your business grow.

Hopefully these three tips will clear up some misguidance you have received over the last year. I still strongly recommend you work towards having this whole marketing stuff done for you. Front Porch report does it for you for $100/monthly. Try it today.

7 Ways To Win The Listing Every Time

When it comes to getting the listing there is so much more involved than just sitting and conducting the listing presentation. Your mental state for one, arriving early, research beforehand, pre listing packages etc.  The list can go on and on.. Today I want to share with you 7 Ways to Guarantee you the best shot at securing that listing. Going beyond the presentation.

1101_salescoach

1). Make sure you are talking to the decision makers.

Often we agree to host a listing presentation only to find out that the significant other, the brother in the Trust and some other party with interest in the listing is not present. This may sound like a no brainer, but your would be surprised at how many times I hear agents telling stories about their new listing they have coming up. When I ask what’s holding it back they tell me the wife needed to discuss everything with her husband. Not having all decision makers in on the presentation puts you at a sever disadvantage. No one can share your enthusiasm and your skill set when it comes to all the things you will do to sell the property than you! What most likely happens is the other decision maker ends up disagreeing with the terms, process and or ideas being shared by the one who was in the presentation. You see the problem here right? ALWAYS MAKE SURE ALL DECISION MAKERS ARE PRESENT.

2). Sell The Power of the Brand.

RE/MAX is a network of over 110,000 agents worldwide. Offices are located all over the world in over 100 countries and a RE/MAx office can be found in virtually every city in America.  Why is this so important? In California alone, nearly 40% of all real estate transacted is done so with buyers and sellers moving in and or away from the community you are trying to sell in. Think of it like this. Mr. Mrs. Smith in order to reach 100% of the buyer you will need global exposure. A company that reaches all ends of the earth. If you are okay with 60% of the buyers and just your local agents knowing the home is for sale then by all means this won’t matter. That’s crazy! Buyers come from all over the world. Foreign investment is at an all time high! Remember Zillow is no available outside the United States. Nobody Sells More Real estate Than RE/MAX creating-a-marketing-plan

3). Having a Specific Marketing Plan.

Sure you have a marketing plan right? But do you have a specific marketing plan for this home? One that represents the specifics it will take to sell this home? In this neighborhood, at this price, for this long using these tools? The more specific you can be the more this will increase the likelihood you’ll get the listing. Shwoing them some three year old marketing plan you outlined in your “Custom” listing presentation will not do anything excepet convince them they should look elsewhere. Think of all that has changed in the market in the last year alone, let alone three years. Always update and make your marketing plan specific to the home you are trying to list! Here is a link to my 19 point marketing plan to get you started.

4). Be On Time

This sounds silly… Right? How many times have you been late to a listing presentation? Did you get the listing? Most likely not! Being on time is 15 minutes early waiting around the corner to arrive 5 minutes early. This is their first impression and being on time says a lot about who they are hiring. No one wants to hire someone who can show up on time. Plan ahead. Plan for obstacle and or things that can make you late. Better to be very early waiting than to be late. The side effect of being late is stress and with stress comes your inability to perform at your best.

5). Be In The Right State Of Mind

Plan out your presentation. How it will flow, the questions you will ask, what questions they will ask. Rehearse your presentation. Do it in front of a mirror, your spouse, friend or mom for that matter. Just get it down in your head. Be specific and make sure you are covering everything. Then allow 1 hour before to just think about the presentation and how it will go, clear your mind and be prepared. Don’t allow other people, drivers, and or calls to distract you thought process. What do you think happens when a car suddenly cuts you off while driving to your listing appointment? You get all upset and yell crazy things, and now your mind is all focused on the the incident and how you feel rather than the presentation you are on your way to do. This hijacks the process and when you arrive you are not ready, you’re trying to shake it off, but your mind has lost touch with the calm collected you. Be calm, don’t allow others to hijack your mind.  The right state of mind can make all the difference in the world. listing_data_shutterstock_147258680

6). Reverse Prospecting

This is the secret formula, the magic sauce. This one marketing tip has won me hundreds if not, thousands of listings. I call this Reverse Prospecting. It’s the single most important piece to your listing presentation and will almost guarantee you the listing if presented right. When talking about how you are going to sell their home. Make sure you cover how important this one thing is. See as REALTORS in California we see through the MLS a few facts. Fact one, at any given time 30% to 40% of the buyers are what we call “Move Up Buyers” (Explain to them what a move up buyer is), Fact two, move up buyers are always looking for home 20% to 30% higher than the home they are currently selling. Now here’s the secret sauce. These buyers can all be found on your MLS. Take the expected listing price of the home you’re trying to list and subtract 20% to 30% from the price and then go in the MLS and print out all the matching listings. here is your target buyer list. She the sellers this list and let them know you will send out a flyer of their property each time one of these homes goes pending. The flyer will feature their home and have this verbiage on it. “Congratulations on getting your current home sold. Perhaps you are interested in moving up? Please take a moment and consider this home for sale as one you might be interested in. It’s available and if you are interested please have your agent contact me. Hand them the flyer and watch. they always say “Wow, that’s pretty cool. This is your unique selling proposition. The one thing you and or your team do that gets homes sold. Let them know you have sold more homes with this process than any other way and that you are surprised that other agents don’t do this. (This always get’s them to hire you)

7). Follow up

If by chance you don’t get the listing and they ask for more time. I am assuming you have worked every objection and as a final result you allow them this extra time to decide. The first thing you do is follow up. Immediately. Once in your car, send them a quick email from your phone thanking them for their time again and confirm your next follow up. Then continue to send them any and all changes in the market. New listings, price reductions, solds, rate increases or drops, and send them tips on preparing their homes for sale. Do this at least every other day.  Staying in touch insures they choose you and not some friend of a friend that will do it all for less.  Speaking os less, that’s a topic for a whole other series of how to get the listing.

I hope this helps you secure your next listing. Please feel free to comment and leave your ideas for ways we can all get better.

 

Advertising Real Estate On Instagram… A Must Do!

instagramnew-api

The face of real estate advertising has changed drastically over the past few decades. The marketing mix now tilts digital, and real estate professionals must be ever-vigilant about coming up with relevant, innovative ways to reach potential clients.

Millennials – those individuals born between 1982 and 2004 – make up a large portion of the home buying population and their share is growing each year. These young adults represented 32% of the market as of 2015. At the same time, the median age of real estate agents is 57. The disconnect that is created by this age gap has caused a challenge for real estate professionals who are attempting to strengthen their target marketing to Millennials. Expanding your advertising campaign to Instagram can bridge that gap and significantly increase your business’s exposure to this increasingly important demographic.

remaxgold-instagram

Instagram

This social media community was launched in 2010, and in the short span of its existence has garnered over 400 million users worldwide. The premise is simple – users can follow each other, and by doing so they can see photos and videos posted by those in their feed. If a user posts publicly rather than privately, you can see their content regardless of whether you’re a follower.

How can you, as a real estate professional – whether broker, agent, stager, or loan officer – leverage the power of this popular platform to get exposure for your business? Instagram recently made this infinitely easier. It used to be that advertising had to be purchased through personal interaction with an Instagram representative. This meant that only companies with enormous budgets could afford to market there. Fortunately, with Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram advertisers have many more options.

SIMPLE, ACCESSIBLE, TARGETED MARKETING

In November 2015 Instagram launched a public API (application program interface), which allows users to customize their experience – including purchasing ads. Now you can get your company name out there in front of a targeted audience through the use of hashtags and location-specific marketing.

Instagram offers the option of photo ads, video ads, and carousel ads (posts that allow users to flip through multiple photos). You can embed links to your website and enable users to download your mobile app. This option opens up a whole new world of possibilities – you can post your current listings (high quality collages have proven successful for a number of real estate firms), share your company’s story through visual moments (creating a personal connection with potential clients), and encourage users to click through to the valuable content on your website.

hastags-instagram

Does it work? Ask Poshmark, the online portal for buying and selling gently used women’s fashions – they’ve seen an 85% increase in their campaign objective. Canadian firm Bench Accounting has experienced 12.5% increased click-through rates through their use of Instagram advertising. Even brands that are already prominent are seeing the benefits of reaching Millennials through Instagram – Philadelphia cream cheese alone has seen a 41% rise in sales. That’s a significant result no matter what business you’re in.

Zillow Group Partners With Facebook-Gives Listing Agents A Boost!

trulia_zillow

Zillow Group recently announced the launch of two new products for its Premier Agents, Premier Agent® Direct and Seller Boost. Premier Agent Direct uses Zillow Group’s Precision Targeting to connect real estate agents and teams to their advertising audience on Facebook; Seller Boost generates listing leads:

Premier Agent Direct – Premier Agent Direct combines the power of a real estate network with social media, allowing users to expand the targeted audience they advertise to through a simple, easy platform using Zillow Group’s Precision Targeting. This technology identifies home shoppers using Zillow or Trulia and connects with them on Facebook. Agents can feature a specific listing or automatically highlight new listings or recently sold homes.

Premier Agent Direct helps agents more efficiently work their farm area and either extend or eliminate the need for a direct mail campaign by using Precision Targeting to connect with local home shoppers and sellers on a medium they are using every day. Premier Agent Direct is available on mobile and desktop.

Seller Boost – Seller Boost leverages Zillow and Trulia’s audience of potential home sellers to generate listing leads for Premier Agents. The new Seller Boost ads will appear on the home details pages of homes that are not-for-sale and the owner dashboard. Both of these products seamlessly integrate into the Premier Agent App. Seller Boost will be available to a limited group of Premier Agents before the end of the year.

“We have worked incredibly hard this year to create new opportunities for agents to connect with buyers and sellers so they can scale their businesses with greater ease. The new products are the results of those efforts,” says Greg Schwartz, Zillow Group chief business officer. “Through this new publishing platform, we have created a way to significantly increase the agent’s reach to consumers who are in a transaction mindset. With Precision Targeting, we know these people are using Zillow and Trulia, and now there’s a new opportunity to connect with them on Facebook. Coupled with the launch of Seller Boost, these products will help agents connect more effectively and easily with interested buyers and sellers through our growing platform.”

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

Let’s Thrive…

Lets-Thrive

When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is. And your life is just to live your life inside the world — try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.

That’s a very limited life.

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is: everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

    -Steve Jobs