Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Selling More Homes in a Slowing Market

Blanche Evans from Realty Times wrote a great column this morning, sharing a number of ideas agents can think about in a slowing market. Smart Agent CEOs already have a pipeline of business lined up, in good markets and bad, for months to come. But if you're like me, you're also not going to ignore new, practical ideas that can help you make even more money.

Check out the column here.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Will we be early adopters?

Let's face it, most real estate agents aren't exactly early adopters of new technology. But this might be something more agents pick up on quickly, since it'll save us so much money.

I'm talking about hydrogen cell cars - even better than the current hybrid options.

Read more about them on GM's blog here.

Would you drive one? Even if the car cost a lot more up front, would you buy it to save money on gas driving your customers from house to house?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Who To Ask For Referrals

Some of you know I'm a big fan of the Duct Tape Marketing blog.

The other day, they offered some simple advice on where to look for referrrals. Give it a quick read, and think about the places in your network where you might not yet be asking for new business.

16 Words or Less

A good friend of mine once told me that any good presentation should have no more than 16 words on each slide. The goal, he says, is to very succinctly summarize your core points with words on a page (or on a screen), and use the spoken word to paint a more compelling picture of your primary points.

His additional premise is that almost anything can be communicated in FAR fewer words than most people typically use. This isn't always an easy rule to follow, but I've found that he's right. Not only are presentations easier to present and understand using ths rule, but the audience is almost always more receptive and attentive.

Why? The content isn't intimidating. It doesn't seem hard to follow. Reading 16 words at a time is easy. And the words I use to augment those words in a live presentation are not only more powerful (because they are presented live), but also augment and create more meaning for the 16 (or less) words on the page.

What's the lesson for Agent CEOs? My point is that all of us can present our content more succinctly. On our Web sites, in our printed marketing materials, in our listing presentations, etc. The fewer words we use, the more powerful those words become. What's more, if you can write more efficiently, your audience is far more likely to 1) read what you're written, and 2) internalize it and BELIEVE it.

Make your marketing and your presentations stand out by writing LESS, not more. It'll be more powerful as a result.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Real Estate Professional

If you aren’t yet a Real Estate Professional subscriber, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s an established magazine for real estate agents and brokers, and a very well-done print magazine. Every other month, it’s chock full of useful advice, best practices and profiles both of successful real estate professionals as well as business services that are making Realtors successful nationwide.

They have the second-highest circulation behind Realtor Magazine (which is distributed for free to all NAR members), and is considered by many top agents as a must read.

I read every issue cover to cover, and always finish with a long, written list of ideas I want to try in my business.

Working with sellers can get you more BUYERS

I've heard many agents recently talk about how buyer leads are more valuable right now than listing leads. In a slower market, I can understand why that might look attractive. But by ignoring sellers, you might be walking away from a lot of money.

Let's look at the facts:

You already know that more than 70% of sellers are also buying a house. And according to the US Census, 85 percent of moves are local, meaning they're people moving to a new home in the same market.

The National Association of Realtors gives us even more compelling information. According to NAR, the average buyer moves just 15 miles away from their previous residence, and one out of every three sellers aged 18-44 is buying a LARGER home.

Keep in mind as well that listings ATTRACT buyers! Marketing a new listing is a highly-efficient way to meet prospective buyers. Your lawn signs, open houses, etc. all attract local buyers. When you control the listings, you control the inventory – and buyers come to you!

Even better? You can double and triple-dip on each listing. First, you get the listing. Then you find that seller a new home. THEN, you find a buyer for your listing. All of a sudden, you have THREE transaction sides, including two buyers, all from a single listing.

Before you say no to working with sellers, make sure you think about how those sellers could help you find even more buyers too!

Sept 19 Update: Click here and here to read two stories of Agent CEOs who have turned their sellers into buyers. You can do it too!

It's still a numbers game

In baseball, a good lifetime batter FAILS 70% of the time.

In marketing, a GREAT response rate to a mailer is 3%. That means 97% of the mailings FAIL.

When you're evaluating new sales & marketing strategies to grow your real estate business, keep in mind what a good success rate might look like.

This is particularly important when looking at a good prospect database. If you're lucky, you're building a pipeline of several hundred prospective buyers & sellers in your database. And you know that the vast majority of those aren't going to buy or sell anytime soon.

But you also know that a very small percentage of those leads need to "pop" in order to make you some serious money.

Kendra Shearer did a good job writing on this subject recently on the RealBlogging site. Give her post a read, and think about how this would apply to your business.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sometimes it's good enough just to stand out

A friend forwarded me this picture taken on a recent vacation in Hawaii.

This van isn't the prettiest thing in the world, but it gets itself (and the driver) noticed. And if it generates a few calls from interested home buyers and sellers, is it worth it?

Sometimes it's good enough to be unique. To be remarkable. To be different enough that people take notice and give you a chance.

Does your marketing do that? Do you strive to make it perfect, or is it simply - and sometimes plainly - remarkable?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It's NEVER too late to write a plan!

Several months ago (February, in fact), I wrote a column for Realty Times that addressed several strategies any agent can take to plan for a more successful 2006. In that column I offered a free business plan to anyone who would email me directly and ask for one.

I'm excited and impressed that, to this day, I still get requests on a regular basis for this plan.

If you're a new reader of this blog and would like a copy of my 2006 Business Planning Guide, please send me an email. With four months left in the year, there's still time to finish the year strong, with lots of momentum going into 2007.

I'll have a similar plan for 2007 available soon...

ACT on your thoughts!

Here's a great post by Dirk Zeller on the RealBlogging site, all about taking action on things you think about.

If you're like me, you think of new things all the time. But the vast majority of them are just thoughts, gone as quickly as they come. Even some of the great ideas don't ever see the light of day, much less action to benefit your business.

Dirk's post is all about taking action. Clearly you still need to separate the wheat from the chaffe, and move forward with only your best ideas. But the idea, as simple as it may sound, is to simply take action more often.

You'll be surprised how much this can benefit your business.

Read more from Dirk here, get inspired, and take action!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

55 Computer Shortcuts

I'm always looking for shortcuts, especially when they help me do things faster without impacting the quality of what I'm working on.

Here's a great list of 55 shortcuts in Microsoft Windows you can use to make typing, editing and moving between computer applications much faster. I've used many of these to significantly shorten the amount of time I spend on the computer.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Money Magazine: 4 renovations that kill a home's value

The majority of homeowners assume that virtually any home improvement or renovation project is going to add value to their home. But savvy Agent CEOs know that's not true.

This month's Money Magazine points out four renovation projects that oftentimes can detract from a homes marketability, and could even decrease it's value on the market.

Think about how you could use knowledge like this to your advantage. Consumers in your area who may be thinking about selling their home several months down the road could be considering renovations like these.

If you were to offer them advice on which projects add significant value, and which might detract from their home's value, you'll be providing invaluable advice and demonstrating a level of expertise that could surely help that consumer sell their home for the highest possible price once they're ready.

The Bottom Line? Demonstrate a level of expertise and insight at every chance possible. You'll be surprised how quickly it will help create loyalty among your customer pipeline.