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Test, Iterate, Win Leads: How One Brokerage Perfected Their Lead Gen Program
What do you do when your brokerage's lead generation program is not where you want it to be? If you're like Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace, Realtors (CBWW), you don't get discouraged. Instead, you try something new, test it and tweak it until you hit your desired lead conversion goals. When CBWW's self-run lead generation program was getting low agent buy-in and few quality leads, the brokerage turned to realtor.com. They started with a pilot run in a handful of offices, and expanded company-wide as the leads rolled in. Agent buy-in and lead conversion rates have "gone up dramatically because of the quality of leads," says George C. Wallace, CBWW broker/owner. We spoke with George to find out how CBWW implemented and perfected their lead generation program with realtor.com. Read the interview below to find out how they not only increased the number and quality of leads coming in, but also how it's also helped them retain agents and even rescue the foundering careers of other agents. How did you hear about realtor.com's lead program? We were part of the peer group within the Coldwell Banker franchise with 20 other likeminded, similarly sized companies from across the country. We first heard the presentation at that meeting about 18 months ago. We first had a couple of managers try it at their offices as a pilot test case just to see how it would go, and how it worked, and so forth. Once we saw the results and began to investigate it more, we decided to launch it company-wide. How did you educate your agents—was there a learning curve? We decided to bring in realtor.com to do the training, and we started with about about 50 people who went through the orientation. We learned from our mistakes and made corrections, and more agents got involved. We're also offering additional training beyond what realtor.com does. We like the rules and the set-up and the training. I think it has led to increased conversion rates with these best practices, and we also created some of our own. So you have the leads pre-scrubbed by realtor.com. Where are the leads coming from? We weren't putting any in—they were just coming direct from realtor.com. Did you have leads coming to you prior to using this service? Yes, from several sources. We had it set up where we had our own internal department with ISAs who would chase leads, with that person calling and trying to make those contacts. We tried to scrub the leads ourselves and set them up on drip campaigns. But our conversion rate was not what we wanted it to be. Nor was buy-in from the agents where we wanted it to be. We tried a couple of different models; one of the models we tried was where we charged an agent a referral fee. They wouldn't have to pay anything upfront to belong, and we tried it that way for a while. Agents said, "Wow, we had to pay a lot of money." We just didn't get the buy-in having us administering this instead of realtor.com. As a third-party administering, there was more pushback. How did the changeover impact the buy-in and conversion? It has gone up dramatically because of the quality of leads. Customers are further along through the process with realtor.com capturing the lead compared to when we're doing it ourselves. It boosts morale and it has helped a lot of people. Those in the program are very positive about it and they're very exuberant about it and they're willing to tell their story. Does having success stories with the program help in your recruitment and retention efforts? Yes. They are saying, "I'm getting these leads. I'm converting these leads. I'm having fun with it." They're sharing that and it certainly has helped us recruit. It's helped us retain. In that regard, it's helped save some agents—there is no question. We have had agents that are resurrecting their career. Some weren't involved in lead generation programs and their business was sliding and they didn't have momentum going to win back customers or capture new business. We've been able to infuse this new opportunity to get them some leads. It's helped generate good outcomes each month and get their moxie back. They are building their sphere of influence and that helps generate some other business. I've heard this story several times and that's been a great added value. It gives them new life and new hope and new confidence, and they're like, "Wow, it's just fun business again." They're building their career or they're trying to build back their career, so it's quite a real, key role. It's a good way for them to brag on social media about how busy they are. Learn more about realtor.com's lead generation opportunities here.
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Long-term Relationship with Tech Partner Leads to Long-term Client Relationships for Florida Brokerage
The Holy Grail of real estate is maintaining long-term relationships with clients--and reaping referrals and repeat business from them over the years. But what about long-term relationships with your real estate technology partners? We talked about the value of a years-long relationship with broker Mike Larocque of LaRocque & Co., Realtors. He shared how his seven-year partnership with realtor.com has benefited his family-owned company. While the technology and consumer habits have changed, one thing has been consistent—realtor.com has been a steady source of quality leads for LaRocque & Co. for the better part of a decade. Read on to learn more about how this long-term relationship with realtor.com has helped this brokerage build long-term relationships with clients. Is the magic still there after seven years? Yes, it's true we've been using realtor.com leads for seven years now. There have been consistent quality leads and it still represents the lion's share of the business that we do at a company level. I've managed to expand into three counties and I've hired more agents. I'm in a growth spurt again at this time. I'm actively recruiting because I have so many leads that I need more agents to service them. I can only recommend it after seven years of a really profitable relationship with realtor.com. I'm a very happy broker. Do customers you met there back in the beginning come back as repeat and referral business, or do they just go back online? 100% of our goal has always been to get the best quality leads from realtor.com and set a relationship as a customer for life. We acquire their referrals and their repeat business, friends and family. It is very common that we're doing multiple transactions with individuals originally sourced from realtor.com. It's an exponential rate of return over time because you're not just doing one deal and done. You're doing multiple transactions with them over the years. Absolutely it's a big component of our business, as well as the repeat business from originally sourced realtor.com leads. Do they need a nudge to remember you if they do go online again? We are now using realtor.com®'s Local Expert(sm) for branding, knowing the importance of continuing to brand even to our past customers. We use this to catch them when they start looking at properties anew on realtor.com. The consumers are fickle and they want what they want when they want it. They don't oftentimes realize that we work in a contingency based environment, and so unless we consistently brand to them and remind them of who we are, they start looking at properties online or go to open houses and such and could wind up stepping foot across other brokerages and agents. Then it complicates our business model and our ability to get paid. Is this the only branding you do? I have no branding at a company level anywhere else. But Local Expert(sm) is giving me an opportunity to acquire some brand-new business. Because consider when the public hits "enter" to get more info about 123 Elm Street on realtor.com (or any site for that matter), they don't really realize who is going to be reaching out and contacting them. It's then that we need to set the hook and let them know who we are. With new customers, branding comes into play after our agents have contacted them and we need to stay top of mind. When they go back to realtor.com, and they do, they're going to start seeing our smiling faces on and also crossing their feed on social media. It's going to click and trigger their memory a little bit and it's a good use and deployment of branding. This is a neat tool and kind of a niche tool for us as a complement or sidebar to the tremendous amount of business we're doing from our realtor.com Connections Plus lead program. This is a nice little addition to that. Is this all focused on buyers? Actually what may be the most significant part of this is the "wow" factor under the auspices of acquiring listings. We can showcase how we can draw attention to a homeowner's property on realtor.com in a listing presentation for the purpose principally of acquiring that listing. The likelihood of actually acquiring a buyer using this tool is awesome. It certainly becomes a more powerful tool in your arsenal than posting things like open houses, for instance, because you'll never get the exposure doing that. I know a lot of agents whose whole business model is hosting open houses with little more than lawn signs. Well, pitch that to the curb using the tools as we just described. If you can showcase a listing across a user's feed on realtor.com, that's a powerful tool.
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What Are the Advantages of Becoming RESO Platinum Certified?
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Wendy Forsythe on Cultivating Relationships within Your Brokerage to Drive Success
"Get involved in your local board. Get involved in your state association. Get involved in the National Association of Realtors. Get involved in YPN or the Women's Council of Realtors or the Chamber of Commerce. Whatever it is, get involved, because that is only going to bring benefit," says Wendy Forsythe, Chief Operations Officer at HomeSmart International. Here are a few highlights from the video above: The importance of relationships as an agent, broker, executive and industry leader The importance of stepping forward. The power of not giving up. Rather read it? Check out the transcript here: Mike Schneider: Welcome back to another episode of our First Person series. Today I have Wendy Forsythe, the chief operating officer at HomeSmart International, and we're gonna be talking about the intersection of relationships and business, particularly in real estate. So-- Wendy Forsythe: Great. I'm excited to be here. Mike Schneider: So, our company's called First, and we like rewind all the way back to, how, when, and why did you get into real estate? Wendy Forsythe: Yeah, so, my real estate story started when I was in college, in Northern Canada. Mike Schneider: Wow. Wendy Forsythe: And I got into real estate as a summer job. So I got my real estate license in the summer in between my second and third year of college. And, sold a bunch of houses that summer. Went back to school, continued selling houses, finished my degree, continued selling houses, and here we are now. Mike Schneider: And here we are. Wendy Forsythe: Many years later. But, I fell in love with the industry and I knew that it was my career and I knew that it would give me opportunities that I hadn't even imagined at that stage. Being in my early 20s and, fast forward and I've just been so fortunate to be a part of this industry and, now I live in the United States and here we are. Mike Schneider: Yeah. Well, and now you're running a really big brokerage. Tell us a little bit about HomeSmart and your role there. Wendy Forsythe: Yeah. So, HomeSmart International, has 166 locations across the US. We have, as of this recording, just under 16,000 agents-- Mike Schneider: Wow. Wendy Forsythe: --and growing. Mike Schneider: Congratulations. Wendy Forsythe: Yeah. It's an amazing company. Very much focused on providing our agents with great service with a business system that allows them to reach their goals for their personal lives and professional lives and really a business model of the future in our industry with all the changes that are happening. So, it's an exciting place to be. Mike Schneider: I love that. I love the innovations on business model and technology and all of that. One of the things that's a mainstay pillar for our tech company, and I think for the industry is that relationships are really central. So, you've seen a huge spectrum of the industry. Wendy Forsythe: Yes. Mike Schneider: Can you talk a little bit about how relationships drive this business? Because a lot of people say that, but what does it actually look like? Wendy Forsythe: Yeah. I mean, there's so many different perspectives. So my days selling as an agent, I mean, relationships were key. You had that sphere of influence and those were the people that transacted with you multiple times, sent you referrals. And I think that's very consistent today. Mike Schneider: And that was a big percentage, the majority, what was that of your business? Wendy Forsythe: Uh, a big percentage of my business. Mike Schneider: Yeah. Wendy Forsythe: I mean, like any new agent starting out it, it took a while to get there. Mike Schneider: You have to build it up. Wendy Forsythe: Yeah. And then as I progressed into management and I owned my own brokerage for a number of years working with agents. That transition into their business, that relationship component. When I started working in more of the corporate roles that I work in now, we still see those relationships from the agent to the consumer perspective, but there's a whole other dynamic that opens from the relationship of leaders with-- Mike Schneider: Yeah. Wendy Forsythe: --agents, you know, in the company, with other people in roles like management and support roles, operations and training and, and all of those roles, to the industry. I mean, we work in an amazing industry. And, I've always looked at it from a point of abundance. So we come to conferences. We go to events. Maybe we're kind of competitors in a way with other brands and other companies. But, I believe in sharing and building those relationships and they can do well and we can do well and our companies can do well. And, you know, we can all prosper from that regard. So, I've been very fortunate to have long standing relationships with a lot of people as we've moved through different stages of our careers. And that's, ultimately what keeps us motivated and what really, sort of, nourishes the energy level that we need to do what we do everyday. Mike Schneider: That's great. I think that's becoming a theme too as we talk about relationships, the network component, that you really are building, and to your point, not just an individual agent's core asset, right, which is their network. But what you're talking about is the industry that you now are able to tap into [inaudible] at a broker level, at an executive level, as you're taking new business models to market. Wendy Forsythe: It is. And even at a local level, for agents, I always encourage agents, you know, "Get involved in your local board. Get involved in your state association. Get involved in the National Association of Realtors. Get involved in YPN or the Women's Counsel of Realtors or, the Chamber of Commerce." Like, whatever it is, get involved, because that network effect of those relationships is only gonna bring benefit. And when you isolate yourself, when things aren't going exactly as you hoped, you don't get the support of those relationships and that network around you. And, ultimately we all go through ups and downs, so that support system makes a big difference. Mike Schneider: That's a great recommendation, push. As you think back through being a broker, owner back in the day or from, some part, a lot of our, our viewers are agents, uh, is there a tip or a trick that you used or that you coached or that you still do today in terms of nurturing and maintaining relationships? What's something-- one thing somebody could go and say, "I'm gonna do that in 2019?" Wendy Forsythe: I don't know if it's a tip or trick. I mean, being yourself and being authentic I think is, the best thing you can do. And, I particularly remember as I was listening to young agents starting out, you meet other people that are maybe more seasoned or you aspire and you think, "Look, they've got it so together. They know everything. They know everyone. You know, I'm not there, so maybe I would sort of, hang back because of that." Mike Schneider: Sure. Wendy Forsythe: And, I just really encourage people just to like, just step forward and be yourself and say hello to somebody that you've never met. Introduce yourself. And then, just care. So, be in that moment in that relationship. And some of the people that I have the greatest admiration for have that quality of, when you and I are talking, we're in that moment together. Mike Schneider: Right. Wendy Forsythe: And then we may shift to the next conversation, but I'm in that moment, and I think that's a great quality to really foster as you think of developing your relationships personally and professionally. Mike Schneider: That's interesting. It does seem like that's something that you can learn and develop if you're intentional about it. Wendy Forsythe: Right. Mike Schneider: Um is there a question you ask? Is there something-- so you're getting to know someone new. I mean, I think that's where we get to the tip and trick level. How do you take the conversation there and be in that moment? Wendy Forsythe: It depends on the setting, but I love to ask people-- and particularly in my role, because I'm traveling across the country, I'm spending a lot of time with our HomeSmart agents, our franchise owners. I get not as much time as I would often like to spend with those people. But-- I get some time to connect. So if I'm just meeting somebody, I love to just ask them about their real estate story, cause I think we're all, like, living and writing our story every day. Mike Schneider: Yeah. Wendy Forsythe: So, you know, if we're just meeting, I'd be like, "Tell me about your real estate story." And they'll tell me about how they started in the business, why they started in the business, where they're at now, where they wanna go. And that gives me a lot more of a interaction that I can really build upon then, "Well how long have you been in the business? Well, do you like real estate? Well, why did you get your license?" So, uh, that's one of my favorite questions that I ask a lot. Mike Schneider: I like that. I like that and that you could have lots of different questions that fit that mold. But it's both, what's the story and you have the opportunity to talk about dreams and, future too. Wendy Forsythe: Right. Mike Schneider: Where do you wanna go next? Wendy Forsythe: Because what it tells me is what's important to them. Mike Schneider: Yes. Wendy Forsythe: Right? So, however they decide to take that question and answer it back to me, tells me what really is their passion and what are they excited about. So if they start telling me about, kids or vacations or debt or divorce or-- Mike Schneider: Right. Right. Wendy Forsythe: --anything, cause I get lots of interesting answers. Mike Schneider: Responses. Yeah. Wendy Forsythe: And I genuinely like people and I really like the psychology of human science. Mike Schneider: Yes. Wendy Forsythe: And, you know, why do we act the way we do? Why do we react the way we do? What is predictable about it? What is unpredictable about it? So, I've always had, that curiosity from that, element of things. So, I like hearing those answers. I think about them often at the end of the day, the people I talked to and the conversations that we had. Mike Schneider: I love that. I love that. Is there anything as you think back to either when you were running a brokerage or with, HomeSmart as a brokerage too, that you are, are implementing or coaching or trying to, you know-- what does the relationship side of the business look like there in terms of how you help your agents with that? Wendy Forsythe: Yeah. I'll focus on-- actually, I'll answer that-- I'll focus on working with our franchise owners. Mike Schneider: Yeah. Wendy Forsythe: Cause we do a lot of work on leadership. Mike Schneider: Okay. Wendy Forsythe: So, we're a large franchise company. We have independently owned and operated offices in multiple states across the country. So that's kind of our front line to the agents, cause the agents are actually making the choice to work with that local-- Mike Schneider: Of what they're gonna do and how they're gonna implement it. Sure, Wendy Forsythe: Yeah, that local owner is part of the HomeSmart brand. So, spend a lot of time, coaching and helping those business owners build their businesses. So, of course, leadership is a big component of that. Building culture is a big component of that. And, you know, when you're focusing on that, kind of, giving back mentality, you see amazing things happen with that. So that's part of what is a constant development phase, is, how do I be a good leader? What does it mean to be a leader? Are we providing the support, the tools, the relationships that the agents need and want when they're with our brokerages? Mike Schneider: That's really helpful. Well, we'll end on this one, but is there anything that you wish you had known or that you would've done differently if you had known a few years ago? Wendy Forsythe: Oh, yeah. I try to practice this now, but I have an awareness of it now that I wish I had told myself younger, and a few years ago. And that would just be everything's gonna pass. Take a breath, it's gonna pass, it's, it's gonna be okay. Whatever the outcome that I'm striving for when I don't hit that outcome, that it's okay. I'm gonna get another chance. Mike Schneider: It's alright. Wendy Forsythe: It's good. Just, keep moving forward. And it-- and I have a phrase, relentless forward momentum. Mike Schneider: Relentless forward momentum. Wendy Forsythe: Yes. So, just keep moving forward. Mike Schneider: Just keep moving forward. It'll pass. Wendy Forsythe: It, it'll pass. We'll figure it out. We'll make it okay. Mike Schneider: Wendy, thanks for being on. Wendy Forsythe: Thank you. Mike Schneider: I appreciate it. Wendy Forsythe: Thank you, it was my pleasure to be here. To view the original article, visit the first.io blog.
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Think Your Lead Generation Is Expensive and Ineffective? Watch This Short Video for 3 Lead Gen Tips from Industry Experts
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Investing in Opportunity Zones
Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones were created with the idea of providing incentives for private investors to revitalize economically distressed communities, rather than using taxpayer money to do so. The main incentive is offering investors a way to shield their proceeds from capital gains taxes by investing those proceeds in these zones and hitting specific benchmarks. Some of you might be wondering how this is different from a 1031 exchange? The key is that these investments don't have to be like-kind exchanges. To learn more about the rules behind these zones, review these frequently asked questions. Now that we know what Opportunity Zones are, and why this act was initiated, lets see how it's playing out in the real world from the perspective of Chad Gleason CCIM, with PENTAVIRATE in Seattle, Washington. Q. From your perspective, why are Opportunity Zones good for the commercial real estate sector and communities in general? A. Anytime you are in a situation where you can have the added benefit and incentive to invest in real estate, it's a great thing. We are working with groups who are looking at exit strategies from properties, but are hesitant to do so due to high capital gains tax costs. These zones offer an alternative to lower, and in some cases, totally negate the majority of capital gains taxes while providing the community with the benefit of improving dilapidated buildings or developing raw land. Q. How are local economic development groups using Opportunity Zones to attract investors? A. I am hearing of tax and zoning incentives being added to the already great benefits of the Opportunity Zones. This could be as simple as upzoning, as is the case here in the Seattle market, or with the addition of new market tax credits to the site, if applicable. Having designated assemblages within the zones are also key marketing tools for sites who are recruiting companies that are looking to develop, move or expand. Q. Let's say I want to invest in a property in an Opportunity Zone. Can I just sell my Amazon stock and take those gains to buy a building? A. There are a few options here: you can place all of your sale proceeds into the investment, partial proceeds or simply your gains from the prior investment. I would suggest sitting down with your REALTOR® and tax specialist to devise a strategy for your personal investment plan. The Opportunity Zone has great value when you are willing to place your funds in the project for up to 10 years. Q. What is your go-to example of an actual project in an Opportunity Zone and what difficulties have investors encountered in trying to set themselves up to take advantage of these benefits? A. I usually don't point to a specific example, but instead try to break down the impact for that specific client. Many investors are not willing to sell due to the large amount of capital gains taxes they would have to pay after the sale, so walking people through the process, showing them the pathway for reducing their capital gains taxes and showing them what that means to them in a cash on cash investment scenario, is the proper way to introduce them to an Opportunity Zone investment. The difficulties have been few outside of the timing of the roll out of rules that are now available to everyone. Over the course of the introduction of the program to the last round of the rules that were shared in May of this year, the relatively new program is only one and a half years old. Q. How are properties marketed differently when they are in an Opportunity Zone and what has been the impact of that fact on potential investors you work with? A. Investors who are aware of the program and are looking to reduce the capital gains tax from a previous investment are now asking about properties in Opportunity Zones upfront in the process. In response, listing platforms as well as the agents using them are making sure that it is very clear their property is in a zone when it is, which makes finding properties easier and connects us to the other data we need to perform due diligence on projects. Q. What advice would you give to a REALTOR® who is counseling a client on the purchase of a property in an Opportunity Zone in order to take advantage of the capital gains incentives? A. Use the information that is available to you through RPR along with NAR, CCIM, as well as your state and local associations. Learn as much as you can about the process, key points and timelines within the program. I strongly suggest you also work with the client's real estate attorney and tax specialists to make sure the plan is right for them. The sale and reinvestment of the client's sale proceeds is an important decision and needs to be very well understood for the success of everyone in on the transaction. See the Commercial Opportunity Zone Layer in action: To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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How One Brokerage Gets More Listings and Referrals with Online Branding
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How Did Compass Become Such a Successful Brokerage? Exclusive Interview with Compass GM Rory Golod
Parkbench recently sat down with the GM of Compass brokerage, Rory Golod, on our show Real Estate Moguls to discuss the seven key elements that launched Compass into the top 20 markets in America. Here are his seven secrets to creating and growing a successful brokerage:
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Finding Your Inner Entrepreneur and Launching Your Own Start-up
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Mission Focused: Behind the Scenes of a Top Team
The Nick Shivers Team is mission-driven, dynamic and red hot. What's their secret? Peek behind the curtain of one of the most successful teams in the Pacific Northwest. Nick Shivers Team, Keller Williams Realty Portland Central Building a Culture In real estate, we talk a lot about culture — and culture seems especially important when it comes to building, growing and sustaining a team. How would you describe the culture of the Nick Shivers team? Our team culture is about giving back, through our Sell a Home, Save a Child initiative. So at the core of it, we all believe in trying to help people; that's the basis of the team and the business. But as the team leader, I know that if my agents don't have business opportunities, they can't help clients or give back. So, we recruit with a combination of making sure the culture fits, but also by feeding them high-quality business opportunities and leads so they can better jumpstart their businesses. Extending Your Brand Online and Listings Statistically, sellers list with someone they know and trust. How do you carry your brand over to online to start building trust with those who don't know you and your team? The Local Expert™ product from realtor.com® really helps us in our listing presentations. It's an online ads solution that targets buyers and sellers with ads on realtor.com® and Facebook. And I know it works because my agents are using it to win the listing. The biggest thing that I've seen my agents do there is show sellers, "When people click in your area, you can have your open house advertised right there." It's massive exposure and I know that sellers, who are really interested in their house being seen by as many buyers as possible, are impressed. I can tell without having a lot of data (because we're in the early stages), that it is working right now. We also have our rocket listing, which is our instant buy program that I run on radio and billboards and advertise on realtor.com®. Lead Nurture, Persistence and Conversion If you meet a potential seller online, they may be months away from making a decision to sell. How do you keep the relationship fresh? To be successful, you need to be structurally able to follow up immediately. We offer new agents a 90-day ramp up where they're trained on scripts, dialogue and follow-ups for leads. The key is the follow-up and how they can use our technology to do that. We also focus a lot on staying the course. When I started in the business, I was really good at working with the leads who were interested in transacting in the next 30 to 60 days. I was not so good at the longer-term prospects and that's where the gold is. The sale might come after seven, eight or nine follow-ups. That is where you're going to get a lot of those deals, but it is in those repeat contacts that a lot of agents will give up. So we are laser-focused on training our agents not to give up too soon. Retention Once your agents "get it" and start using these guidelines, do they stick around? If I get my agents on the system, my retention improves. I suggest agents stick with me for a minimum of three years and then if they decide to start their own team, that is completely all right with me. I had an example in 2018, my number one producer decided to go out on his own. We are really good friends and I said, Great, go for it. He made less money this year and admitted that it's a lot easier to think about it and talk about it than to actually do it. Final Thoughts from Nick What defines your company? What are the main reasons that should someone consider joining your brokerage? Our big mission statement is about serving people — saving kids by selling real estate. Everything that we do is based on how we can give back to underprivileged children around the world, so that's number one. If that strikes a chord with you, then you're going to get past the first layer. The second thing is we love the underdog. I don't care where you have been. I want to see that you've had success, but I also believe that it doesn't matter where you start, it's where you're going. Last, it's about our systems and our lead generation and solutions and their long-lasting impact. And from this, we've built a tribe of loyal clients. In today's market, that's so important for agents. And of course, a big part of that is that our followers and clients know what we stand for. Because when you can literally say that your industry has helped — our Sell a home, Save a Child movement has raised over a million dollars to help kids — I think that makes a point where people go, "Wow, I'm not going anywhere else but with these guys and gals."    
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Follow the Leader: Max Henderson, Compass
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AI and Real Estate: Hype, Hope or Here Today?
When you see the letters AI, what do you think? What do you feel? For many, there's a natural reaction of "not quite sure" and for even some, a bit of fear. As we enter the early days of the fourth Industrial Revolution, a new world of artificial intelligence and machine learning is being ushered in. Many new commercial iterations of AI have focused on service industries and trying to create applications where machines can provide consumers with a better service level than that historically provided by humans. In this episode of the Gradually...Then, suddenly! podcast, listen in as industry executive and host Russ Cofano interviews John Berkowitz, Co-Founder and CEO of OJO Labs, a real estate AI company in Austin, Texas. John provides his thoughts on the promise of AI in real estate and what OJO Labs is doing to help both consumers and agents get value out this new technology. Specifically, John describes a problem in home search where buyers are not quite ready to talk with a human early on, and solving that problem by providing them with meaningful assistance from a machine that eventually acts as a bridge to real estate agents. Tune in to the podcast now! Russ Cofano is a thirty-year real estate industry veteran who has served in executive capacities in various industry sectors. Russ was President of eXp World Holdings, led Industry Relations for Realtor.com, and acted as Chief Executive Officer for the Missouri REALTORS. He is a noted author and speaker at industry events on data, technology and innovation in the brokerage industry.    
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The WHY for CRM
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Success Breeds Success: How One Leader Builds Up His Agents
Dan Lee is a team leader and broker unlike others. "I don't consider myself a savvy businessman," he says. "I consider myself as someone who took the responsibility to provide for everybody else's livelihood." Lee's focus on cultivating his agents' success has led to his own success in retaining and recruiting top salespeople. In this interview, Lee shares his approach to keeping agents happy, why he doesn't hire until he has leads for a new agent, and why he's never had to fire an agent. Read on to learn more!
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Retention Expert Offers 13 Ways to Keep Top Agents
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Bradley Real Estate Going after Listings with Effective eProspecting Campaign
Jason Lytz, Vice President at Bradley Real Estate, operates in Northern California, a market experiencing extremely tight inventory. He spent time with us to explain a new process their company is putting in place to engage potential home sellers. Jason explains Bradley's company-wide campaign to help their agents build relationships with potential sellers by arming them with detailed neighborhood data and teaching them ways to encourage homeowners to contact their agents if they are considering selling. Read the interview here:
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A Commercial Pro's Success Amplified through Realtor Membership
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Doubling Sales Volume Six Years in a Row -- By Following Up
From agent follow-up to leveraging the right tools, broker JP Piccinini, Founder and CEO of JP and Associates REALTORS, shares the secrets that have helped his firm double in size every year for six years. Check out the the interview below to learn more:
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Audience Engagement in a Noisy World
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Flashback Feature 2004: Keller Williams' Gary Keller Teaches His Way to the Top
This Flashback Features series unearths profiles from the past of real estate and technology leaders. A version of this story was first published in California Real Estate magazine. This profile of Gary Keller, founder of Keller Williams Realty International, is from 2004. His mother was a teacher, his father was a teacher, he had uncles and aunts who were teachers, and even his big sister is a teacher. So why didn't Gary Keller, Cofounder and Chairman of one of the fastest growing brokerage firms in the US become a teacher? "I did, didn't I?" asks Keller rhetorically, explaining, "What I do is the private enterprise teaching versus the public kind." Keller as a teacher – or what today is termed a "professional coach" – is the hallmark of Keller Williams Realty International's style as well as its success. Less than a decade old, Keller Williams 22,487 agents are based out of less than 300 offices that generated a remarkable $531 million in revenues in 2002.
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A Realtor's Path from Selling Homes to Investment Real Estate
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A Top Real Estate Team Shares Their 3 Keys to Success
The Kevin Blain Team closed 1400 transaction sides last year--their volume was over a quarter BILLION dollars in 2017. With 18 years in real estate and 75 team members, they're the number one team in California, according to Real Trends. So what are their secrets to success? They shared their approach to customer service, recruiting, and lead generation in recent interview with realtor.com®. Here's a transcript of the conversation: Customer Service You worked hard to establish your name and reputation over the past 18 years and to grow your business. Your team in itself is now larger than some real estate companies. How do you keep that high quality relationship going when you are managing 1500 transactions? Are the customers expecting you to be personally involved? How do you maintain that level of quality and care when delivering through a team? To be able to offer the same level of service with that many transactions we have specialists in place—there are sales specialists, listings specialists, support team specialists. With each having a defined role, it has allowed us to keep a high quality relationship with each of our customers. We have an expression: one client at a time. Each client gets individual attention; that's how we work. Recruiting How do you recruit team members that give you that level of professionalism? We are always looking looking for talented agents. We recruit here in Central California and we look for three things: integrity, attitude and intelligence—and maybe four, as I like to throw in energy. Bringing to the team the quality of service the right people will provide gives us what the customer is looking for. You may ask if the customer is looking for me to be personally involved and the answer is not usually—they expect the same quality of care as if I was. As long as the specialists on the team are delivering that, we will get a five star rating. And what are the agents you recruit looking for in return? What is your value exchange? When they look at our team, we need to exceed the value of what other companies may offer. We have the best support staff—a listing coordinator, a transaction coordinator, sign people—and we have the best training. They are getting training from the number one team in California. When they walk into a listing appointment, they can say that their team is the top team in all of California. We add value by providing leads—internet leads and from other media. Those leads do provide value. Here is a true example: We had an agent who was just starting on our team and after just 60 days in real estate, had closed five and had eight more pending. That does not typically happen, but it shows these leads can help an agent get off to a good start. Lead Generation We understand you have worked with realtor.com to bring in more leads for your team. Do you introduce your lead program when in a recruiting discussion? They bring it up—they know there is value in being on the team. They know there are several ways of getting business and one of those is online leads How have the leads from realtor.com contributed to the growth of your team or your plans to grow? About two and a half years ago, we started our inside sales department and that's when we started to purchase online leads, including realtor.com leads. From there, we have been able to expand to four counties in the Central Valley of California. When you are working with online leads, you need to respond quickly and have the wherewithal to follow up. We know it takes eight or nine contacts to have someone convert to become your client. If that work is not put in, then you may as well not purchase leads. We plan to engage up to 12 times knowing the conversion tends to happen after the eighth or ninth attempt. These are viable people and they get busy, so you have to call or contact them and they will finally respond when it is most convenient for them. What do you do to make sure that the investment you make in leads is not wasted? How do you track what actions are taken with them? I check numbers weekly with our inside sales dept. I look at lead measures every week so there is accountability on both sides. As I see them come in, I can see the follow-up efforts and appointments set, and address any issues if the follow-up is not happening. Is it all worth it? After investing your time and capital in realtor.com leads and following up, what kind of return are you getting on your investment? We get a good return on our investment and we work every day, every week, every month to get better. If you hear complaints that the these leads are not good, I don't believe that. What we have seen is that if we are doing our part to mine these leads and to provide good customer service, then they do pay off. We are continuing to enlarge our territory and go into new locations with online leads. Without them, we could not have made this happen so quickly.  
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Is Broker Paid Marketing Making a Comeback?
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An Economist's Tour from Wall Street to Main Street
Realtors® are often looked at by clients as local economic experts. With expectations to time markets precisely, identify future purchase/sale opportunities before anyone else, and ultimately apply all of this to determine the optimal purchase or sale price for projects having multiple year outlooks. Of course, this comes easy with a crystal ball, but if you don't have access to one, knowing a few data points and having the right resources can vastly improve your odds at projecting things accurately. Lucky for Realtors®, experts like George Ratiu are here to guide us in how to better use a tool like RPR Commercial in order to mine economic insights.
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Next Week's Don't Miss Event: First Live Interview with New NAR CEO Bob Goldberg
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How One Brokerage Cured their Weak Conversion Rate (and Brought Their ROI Back to Life)
When Pat McCandless and Chris Earl bought Stephens Real Estate in 2013, they became the instant owners of one of the top firms in their area. They knew, however, that the company could perform better. "Our reputation is excellent," says Pat McCandless. "But we did realize our support systems were out of date. In order for our agents to maintain our standards of service, we had to update those support and tech systems." One major underperformer was their online lead generation effort. Their ROI was weak, with leads converting at just half the industry rate. Obviously, something was wrong—but what? McCandless and Earl had to dig in deep to find out.
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Pull the plug or double down? Why one brokerage invested in new tech to get more value from their low-conversion paid leads
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3 Simple Ways to Find the Time to Grow Your Brokerage While Saving 8 Hours a Week
Every broker and manager that I know suffers from the same problem – there is simply not enough time in the day to effectively coach each agent to be the most successful they can be. We are too busy putting out fires all day, working our way through transaction anomalies and answering questions. What if there was a way to free up 10 to 20 percent of your week? Would that help you and your managers be able to focus on more productive work? We interviewed Sally Liddicoat, a broker from Arizona, and she gave us some great insights about how her transaction management system freed up numerous hours per week of her time for more profitable activities. Liddicoat runs WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Peak Performance, a brokerage in Arizona with 13 agents, including herself. Like most small business owners, she wears many hats, including owning her own real estate school. She is extremely busy. We spoke to her about Reesio, the program she has chosen to manage her transactions—completely online. Free Up About Half a Day Per Week Liddicoat tells us that by bringing her transactions online with a platform that systemizes transactions and creates easy-to-follow workflows, she has freed up time to focus on revenue generating activities. By streamlining her management process with a cloud based system, Liddicoat says that she found the time to start her own real estate licensing school and join the board of her local association—a much more productive uses of her time, in her estimation.
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Changing Buyer Behavior to Convert More Web Leads: A Q&A with San Diego broker Jesse Zagorsky
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Follow the Leader: Merle Whitehead
Our follow the leader series is an effort to write about the best ideas and best practices of great leaders in our industry who are raising the bar. In this episode, I am grateful to share the inspirational story of Merle Whitehead, a gentleman who grew America's ninth largest real estate firm, RealtyUSA. The intention is to share some background on centers of excellence in real estate that others can be inspired by. Early Career Start Merle Whitehead calls the Buffalo, NY area of Western New York his home. He started his career selling clothing on commission and came to the realization that commission sales are greater when you are selling more expensive things. At the age of 18, Whitehead married his high school sweetheart, Jan, bought a home, and started selling real estate at Lorigo Real Estate. It was not long before Whitehead became a leading sales associate at the firm, and was inspired by a few others in the office to start their own firm, RPM. The cornerstone of RPM was door knocking. Ron, Pete, and Merle would work on door-to-door solicitation every day. After a while, Whitehead was invited to join H. Potter Realtors®. After success in sales, Whitehead became an office manager which led to his 50 percent ownership in the firm by 1985, operating 11 offices and 400 sales associates. The Big Roll Up Whitehead was able to meet Warren Buffett a few times in his life. Buffett owns the Buffalo News and Whitehead was a big advertiser. Buffet inspired Whitehead with a story that the real estate industry would consolidate like the automobile industry did. Buffett mentioned that in the 20s there were 56 automobile manufacturers that consolidated into the big three. Buffet said that he believed the same would happen to the real estate industry and Buffett wanted to become one of those three. Inspired by that projection, Whitehead started growing a regional real estate company.
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How a Black Sheep Transformed His Personal Brand into a Successful Brokerage
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Opening Doors to Real Estate Investing
Garland Harris Jr., REALTOR® Masters in Community Development, BA in Architecture from Prairie View A&M University Garland Harris Jr. may be new to the REALTOR® family, but he is already primed to make his mark on the Houston area. By keeping his eyes open for opportunities, he has moved from watching developers as a service provider, to building an investment team and client base driven not only by profit, but also positive community impact. Our conversation with Garland should encourage anyone looking at real estate investing to become a sponge for knowledge and enact a plan for 2017. When did you become a Realtor® and how did you start working with investors? Garland: I joined the REALTOR® family in 2016, but started working with real estate investors in 2014. My first exposure came from working as a design architect for some local townhouse developers. After learning the development side, I gained interest in real estate investing, and became a REALTOR® to get access to data and build relationships with agents, affiliates and lenders. How is working with investors different from working with a client who intends to occupy a property? Garland: The main difference is what drives them to a buying decision. An investor is not focused on things like street appeal, but on how the numbers work and how the investment fits into their overall business goals. Understanding your investor's financial wants and goals is critical.
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Meet Patrick Arkeveld, Lone Wolf's New CEO
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Lean, Mean Brokerage Machine: Technology Empowers Firm to Operate with Zero Debt
Cory Kammerdiener is a military veteran who applied the technical skills he honed as an Electronic Technician in the U.S. Navy to running a real estate brokerage with minimal overhead and no debt. He accomplishes this by operating his company, NewHomePrograms.com, virtually. The firm has 55 agents and eight brokers in six major cities across Texas and Florida. Rather than leasing physical offices and hiring staff in each of those places, Kammerdiener leans on technology to close transactions, engage his agents, and bring in new business. "If you look at any other real estate company that has offices in as many cities as we do, they probably have a broker, an office manager and someone answering the phones," says Kammerdiener. "But I'm pretty much a one-man operation. I'm the accountant and lead coordinator. I do payroll and transaction management. I'm literally filling in for probably 10 different people that a typical real estate company has to hire. I can do it all because of the software I use." Kammerdiener uses four programs, all integrated with each other, from Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies to achieve this: brokerWOLF, for accounting needs like managing commission structures, tracking expenses and listing inventory, and real-time reporting. WOLFconnect, a virtual front office management system that helps agents working remotely stay connected to the brokerage. loadingDOCS, a document and transaction management platform. globalWOLF, a website solution that automatically syncs online leads to WOLFconnect's built-in CRM. "We first built the company with the idea that brokerWOLF and WOLFconnect were going to be the foundation," Kammerdiener says. "We wanted to be able to grow not only in our city, but in other cities, as well. Lone Wolf allows me to expand our operations without having to hire a bunch of employees."
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A High-Volume Brokerage on the Solution that Enriches Their Bottom Line
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Management Migration: A Sign of the Times
The conclusion of the industry's recent round of summer presentations and articles provides an opportunity for reflection and consideration regarding what lies ahead for fall and winter. As has been the case for the past few years, increasingly dramatic transformation continues to occur. Issues regarding the control and processing of listings and other real estate related data, the emergence of the hybrid brokerage culture, the continuing demise of MLS organizations and REALTOR® associations, the sharpening of the consumer expectation and the industry's almost myopic focus on all things 'portal' provides the framework for this ongoing discussion. Certainly one of the most significant dynamics currently driving the industry is the almost universal sense that little or no change will be initiated or driven by the traditional brokerage element. With few exceptions, like great fortresses along the Maginot Line, they stand bravely facing out toward the forest, awaiting their fate at the hands of those that will carry the day forward. Yet under the umbrella of the forest, there is a great deal of activity. Record numbers of more aggressive agents are abandoning these fortresses seeking refuge, safety and success with brokerage organizations that appear to be preparing to take both a leadership position and the advantage of the evolving marketplace environment. Many of these agents are entering into new brokerage relationships that involve levels of compliance, accountability and discipline that would never have been possible in the traditional sector. These agents may constitute the first wave of the new movement. If that is the case, the second wave is likely to consist of the brighter and younger managers who are increasingly recognizing that their futures are likely to depend upon getting onboard and up to speed with a brokerage that is preparing to align with the trends, emerging rules and realities of the new industry environment. In July of this year, I found myself engaged in a riveting discussion with a group of clients, all of whom are very successful brokerage management executives. The conversation worked its way through a number of interesting issues before coming to rest on the subject of management careers in the real estate industry. It was at this point that one of the participants assumed the leadership position and sharpened the group's focus by sharing the fascinating story of her recent career changes.
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Advice from a Veteran Public Relations Expert: Use Local PR to Build Strong Local Real Estate Brands
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Back to Basics
The other day I was on the phone with Mark Z. He's a leader of one of the top producing Keller Williams Realty teams in the country. The Mark Z. Home Selling Team closed over $59 million in sales transactions, just short of 500 deals, last year. He and his team are on target to eclipse 500 deals in 2015. That means they are closing more than two sales every business day this year. With that kind of volume, I was certain Mark Z. must be West Coast, East Coast or Texas based. That's where most of the hottest housing markets are, right? But here's the thing: Mark Z. isn't an associate broker on either coast, and is based nowhere near Texas. His market is the Detroit metro area – the most maligned city in the U.S., for goodness' sake! I'm especially taken aback because I was born just outside of Detroit and have watched its downfall for decades. For the first year of my life, we lived on Seminole Street off East Jefferson Ave, near the then glamorous Whittier Hotel where my dad and uncle worked. The Whittier was the grand dame of the Motor City. It was where the Beatles spent the night on their Detroit stop during their 1964 U.S. tour. Mark Z. and his team built a business around an area that's home to the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, is notorious for its exceptionally high major crime rates, has record unemployment and there are over 70,000 abandoned homes in the city. What's even more remarkable is the fact that Mark Z. and his team's numbers are not a fluke. They closed $10 million in sales in 2007; more than doubled that number in 2009 with $22 million; and more than doubled it again in 2012 with over $51 million in closed sales.
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Follow the Leader: Ken Moyle from DocuSign Leading Real Estate into Faster Transactions
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DocuSign's Mike Dinsdale: Leadership from the CFO Position
Every executive within a company needs to be a leader. That holds especially true for the role of the Chief Financial Officer. I had an opportunity to have a conversation about leadership from the CFO position with Mike Dinsdale of DocuSign that shines a light on a new style of CFO that is emerging in business today – a CFO focused on strategy and corporate development. Dinsdale's focus is as much external as internal for DocuSign, and he is inspiring many of the top CFOs in America to take a fresh look at their role in their organization. The Chief Financial Officer is defined in so many different ways across organizations today. It is hard to cull up the "typical" responsibilities of this position even when you try to align responsibilities according to the size of the company. Inevitability, the CFO has hands in many roles across the organization, if not all of them, to some degree. The list includes: Human Resources, IT, Accounting, Facilities, Budgeting, Strategic Planning, Business Development, Mergers and Acquisitions, Training, Support, Product Development, and so on. "All of these are the component parts of my departmental functions, but only a small portion is really what I do every day," says Dinsdale. Dinsdale joined DocuSign when the company was 50 people. Today, the company is 1000 people. Along the way, his focus has always been on corporate development and strategy. Everything else under his tent is accomplished by hiring the right people. I asked Dinsdale about their recent transition to paperless vendor systems. His response was that "my role in that was bringing on a good comptroller that does things like that." There are rumors about DocuSign going public, and Dinsdale has that experience. I asked him how much of his time is spent on that. "I hired a VP of investor relations," he replied. "Today, we do closings like a public company and practice mock earnings calls. We will be ready to go public if or when that makes sense for the company," says Dinsdale.
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Automated Listing Video Platform For Brokers From VScreen
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Is Data Scraping Taking Money from Brokers’ Pockets? Realtor.com’s Curt Beardsley Says, ‘Yes’
Data scraping and misuse of listing data that belongs to brokers are growing concerns. Many scrapers (or others who receive the data legitimately but use it in ways that violates its licenses) are actively reselling listing data for various uses not intended by brokers, such as statistical or financial reporting. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Curt Beardsley, vice president of consumer and industry development at Move, Inc., a leader in online real estate and operator of realtor.com®. Beardsley shared his thoughts on the proliferation of data scraping, the grey market for data, and how brokers can protect their data from unintended uses. Reva Nelson: How are scrapers using the listing data once they scrape it? Curt Beardsley: The listing data's first and foremost value is as an advertisement to get the property sold, and to promote the agent and broker. That value is clear and fairly simple. But the second value is not as clearly defined, which is all the ancillary ways this data can be used, such as for statistical reporting, valuation, marketing of relevant services, targeted mailing lists – that is beyond the original purpose of the listing, which is to present information to consumers and other agents to facilitate the sale of the property. Banks and other entities are eager to get hold of that data because it lets them know who will be up for a mortgage, who will be moving, who will be potentially needing services, etc. People who are selling homes offer a prime marketing opportunity since they may need movers, packing materials, storage, etc. There is a vast grey market for this data. RN: Given that the users of this data aren't even in the real estate industry, why should brokers be concerned about this issue? CB: If your license agreements aren't clear, that whole other world gets fed and is living on this data. It is taking money out of the broker's pocket. The leaks are taking money away in two different ways. First, if this marketplace could be created, it's a revenue stream. Brokers could be making money off of this. Second, they lose control of the leaked data. Brokers are losing control of their brand, and the way that listing is being monetized and displayed. Consumers are agitated when they keep connecting to their agents with homes that are not really for sale. A lot of it is wrong. Agents are paying for leads on homes that went off the market months ago. As a broker, that's a brand problem.
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Broker Jan Hooks on Technology
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Technology and the Road Ahead: An Interview with Broker-Owner Lee Garland
During my most recent trip to the great state of Mississippi to visit the Jackson Association of REALTORS®, I had the pleasure of chatting with well seasoned REALTOR® Lee Garland. Lee is the Broker-owner of Remax Alliance in Mississippi. In his 17 years of experience, Lee has many achievements under his belt, including Recruiter of the Year, being recognized as a Certified Residential Specialist, and serving on numerous boards and committees for the Jackson Association of REALTORS®. During the few moments I had to talk with him and get to know the JAR Board members, I learned Lee has a world of industry knowledge and a love for training. One broker told me he is the best teacher she knows. What follows are some of the insights he shared with me: 1) What is your opinion on the health of the market in Jackson, Mississippi? I have seen an improvement in the market in the last two months. I'm seeing progress in new development areas that we haven't seen since 2005. The increase could be attributed to interest rates. People start to see them go up so they want to make a move before they increase any more. 2) How has technology changed the way you work in the last 5 years? Everything is getting smaller. Agents aren't dependent on bulky desktops. Everything is going mobile. Also a transaction can be made with the first sit down meeting being at closing.
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Follow the Leader: An Interview with Krisstina Wise
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Educating Buyers and Fostering Good Will
Today's market brings a plethora of new challenges to both the real estate business professional and the buyer. "The mortgage process has changed and many buyers are not prepared for the process of obtaining a mortgage loan. Buyers also face competition with cash buyers," says Bessie Conway, the broker/owner of Realty Executives Premier Group in Towson, Md. Read on as she gives RIS the scoop on reaching out to buyers through education. Bessie Conway Broker/Owner Realty Executives Premier Group Towson, Md. Region served: Baltimore metropolitan area and surrounding counties Years in real estate: 11Number of offices: 1Number of agents: 25Average time on market: 97 daysAverage sales price: $284,596Top tip for keeping organized: I carry a notebook with me at all times and write everything down in real time.Must-have technology tool: My BlackBerry What is the climate like in your local market? The real estate climate in the Baltimore metropolitan area is good; 2012 has proven to be a year with much more sales activity. Inventory that is realistically priced is moving, interest rates are at incredible historic lows, the resale market has been fairly steady, new home construction starts are up for the first time in several years, there are many first-time homebuyers in the market, and the credit and lending crunch has eased, making it easier for homebuyers to obtain financing to purchase a home.
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Technology Helps Facilitate Five-Star Service
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Technology Enhances Winning Formula
When it comes to giving consumers what they want, a consumer-centric website and open lines of communication are undoubtedly at the top of any prospective buyer or seller's list. Find out what Chuck and Chad Ochsner and Greg Smith, partners, RE/MAX Alliance are doing with their website to help create a winning formula when it comes to working with today's clients. Barbara Pronin: Congratulations on the launch of your redesigned website. What can customers expect to find at HomesInColorado.com? Chad Ochsner: The new site is 100 percent customer-centric in design. It gives people the most flexible array of search options and data available, whether they are choosing a neighborhood, researching school districts or comparing properties and prices. Consumers can take a virtual tour of the homes that interest them and save their searches for future reference. We will also be incorporating walk scores for neighborhoods and we will integrate social media through a new platform called Social Bios. Greg Smith: Great communication is at the very top of every consumer's want list, so our site now offers the industry's most robust customer relationship management system. That means our customers can expect—and get—instant responses to their questions. And they will get those answers in whatever mode they prefer, whether by phone, text or email.
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Never a Better Time to Buy
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A New Spin on Agent Ratings- Don't Criticize, Just Compliment
People like to evaluate and share experiences. When it comes to evaluating an experience and letting others know where they landed, the people that choose to take time out of their day are typically those who either had an exemplary experience or an awful one. Agent ratings serve two purposes: To give valuable feedback to an agent for him/her to understand areas of strength and areas that need to be strengthened To provide the agent with testimonials they can use to build their online reputation and establish local expertise As you are reading through this series about agent ratings and the available solutions to real estate professionals today, what is your motivation? Are you looking for a marketing tool? Are you looking for a way to stand out from your other local competitors? Or do you feel like you have reached a plateau as a professional and would like feedback to help you grow and expand your skill set? This series will help both types of people find the solution that fits their needs.
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Want a New Way to Generate Leads via Mobile Technology?
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New Innovative Way to Market Properties: QR Codes!
Where else could QR codes be flaunted to attract the eye of homebuyers trolling neighborhoods, looking for their dream home?  For Sale signs!  Homebuyers cruising around on a Sunday afternoon pursuing attractive neighborhoods can scan a QR code from a For Sale sign from their car and view photos, property details, pricing, open house schedule and the listing agent’s contact information.  In an era of convenience and catering to the consumer, QR codes start to look for attractive in promoting real estate listings. This week we were able to preview a marketing solution by Homefinder.com that provides a QR code component for real estate professionals. We spoke with Mark Tepper, VP of Business Development and Sales, specifically with regards to QR codes.
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Using Market Statistics to Gauge Brokerage Productivity
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Development Differences Part II
Last week in our conversation with John Packes, Director of Product Development for Mobile Card Cast, New York (www.MobileCardCast.com) we looked at the differences between developing for the traditional web and Mobile Web. What we uncovered is that from a conceptual and information architecture standpoint, the two development processes are fundamentally different. Shortly thereafter, in a conversation with Ryan Jennings, Managing Partner of Indigo6, a Graphic Design & Digital Communication Company based in Norwalk, CT, he expressed to us how his firm views the challenge of continuing to focus on their core competencies while meeting consumer demand for Mobile to stay ahead of the curve. “Given the range of mobile device capabilities, it’s impractical [for us] to manually version content for delivery to the largest audience. Today, digital agencies need to partner with channel experts like Mobile Card Cast to ensure the message [they create] reaches the largest audience in the most compelling way,” Ryan Explained. This strategy will allow Ryan and his team to remain focused on creating the content knowing that the integrity of that content will not change no matter what mobile device it’s being viewed on. So how do the differences in traditional web development and Mobile web development impact me, my brand and my real estate business? What are the practical differences and what do I stand to gain from working with a dedicated Mobile web developer?  For this, we turn back to John Packes for a detailed explanation.
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Closing.com Interview with Victor Lund
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Home Closings Made Easy
DotLoop CEO and co-founder, Austin Allison appeared on FOX Business Network's "America's Nightly Scoreboard" on the Small Business Spotlight segment. This video details a new software solution for real estate agents to use to speed up the closing process, and join the digital movement. DotLoop is  a company that offers a transaction and closing management solution; they "connect the dots and bring people into the loop," hense, the name of the company, DotLoop. In this video, Austin Alison expains how the company began, what it does for agents, how much it costs and the overall benefit of using it. To see the video, click to continue....
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