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Friday Freebie: 2022 Real Estate Business Plan and Strategy Guide
Here we are in the fourth quarter of 2021 with 2022 looming on the horizon. Is it too early to plan ahead? Not in today's market! With ever-tightening inventory, now's the perfect time to create--and budget for--strategies that will elevate your business in 2022. To help you out, we're highlighting a business planning guide in this week's Friday Freebie that comes complete with worksheets and performance calculators that will help you prepare for a profitable 2022. Free download of 2022 Real Estate Business Plan and Strategy Guide, courtesy of Zurple "If you don't know where you've come from, you don't know where you're going." That's a Maya Angelou quote, but it's applicable to planning for your business' future. The 2022 Real Estate Business Plan and Strategy Guide offers worksheets to help you understand your performance in 2021 so that you can better plan for 2022. In addition, this free guide offers: Real estate news stories to help your clients understand the current market Tips for success in 2022 Lead generation strategies Worksheets for calculating your performance in 2021 Worksheets for helping you set goals and strategize for 2022 Tools, including lead generation and performance calculators Get ready to tackle 2022 and download your FREE copy of Zurple's 2022 Real Estate Business Plan and Strategy Guide now!
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Establishing the Infrastructure to Support Scaling Your Real Estate Business
Imagine your client flow doubles overnight. Would your current infrastructure and systems support this influx of new business? Probably not. For the same reason you wouldn't try to fit 100 people into a 10-person boat, your real estate business can't handle that many clients. If your business can't handle an increase in business, the infrastructure and systems need to be upgraded so they have the capacity and infrastructure to manage all the new clients you will generate as you scale your business. In the first two sections of this Scaling Your Real Estate Business series, we've discussed ways to evaluate your real estate business for growth opportunities and strategies to generate funding to finance your scaling venture. Using the tools and guides from these articles, you can calculate the amount of leads, transactions, and budget needed to hit your specified Gross Commission Income (GCI) goals. In this article, we'll share advice on ways to establish a stable infrastructure for your real estate business to support the increase of lead generation, nurturing, and ultimately, the scaling of your business. If you plan for growth, you plan for success. That means establishing the right infrastructure to support your scaling venture for real estate business. Before you start planning, ask yourself these questions: How will I consistently generate enough leads to hit my GCI goal? What systems do I need to support, manage, and track the increase of leads, clients and transactions? Is there technology that can support my business' growth and make processes more efficient? Will I need to hire staff to help me? How will I ensure each client and transaction gets treated with the same focus? Let's go back to the imagination where our client flow doubles overnight. When brainstorming ideas that support your business if it doubles, you must examine and come up with solutions each stage of the lead's journey. These stages include: Consumer Lead Qualified Lead Client Evangelist Simply put, a consumer is unaware of you or the real estate services you provide. At this stage, the consumer isn't looking to buy or sell a home. They convert into a lead when they engage your brand and give you their contact information. At this stage, the lead is usually interested in your real estate services but are window shopping for a home and are less motivated. A lead converts into a qualified lead when they engage with your brand more frequently, At this stage, the qualified lead will stay on your website longer, open your emails, save listings, and even each out to you to schedule a meeting. A qualified lead becomes a client once you've agreed to work together. At this stage, communication is frequent, homes are being shown, and offers are being made. A client becomes an evangelist when you dazzle them, help them achieve their real estate goals, and complete the transaction. At this stage, the evangelist is enthusiastic about your services and recommends it to their network. For your business, that means focusing and upgrading systems that support: Lead Generation (Consumer to Lead) Follow Up, Tracking and Nurturing (Lead to Qualified Lead) Conversations (Qualified Lead to Client) Client/Transaction Management (Client to Evangelist) To generate more leads, you can increase your ad budget, diversify your lead sources, or farm new territories. You can upgrade your follow up, tracking, and nurturing systems by automating them with personalized messages that provide value and send with perfect timing. You can elicit more conversations by implementing a system that notifies you when a lead displays red flag behaviors that signal their readiness to be contacted. Finally, you can hire additional staff to help you manage these systems—so you can focus on what matters most, meeting clients, managing transactions, and closing deals. With all the new business you'll generate from scaling your business, you might need to hire multiple agents to help support you. To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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Close the Year Strong: 5 Ways to Regroup, Recharge and Reach Goals
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How to Evaluate Your Real Estate Business for Scaling and Growth Opportunities
Aren't you tired of being too busy? You might be overextending yourself by working 12-hour days and performing every aspect of running a real estate business -- while squeezing in time with family. It might feel like you're drowning in work, barely keeping your head above water. Since you're spreading yourself too thin, you might provide a poor experience for your clients, since you're unable to give them the time and attention they deserve. Don't they deserve the best? Plus, businesses are reopening and yours might be experiencing a flood of buyers as if a dam burst. But hey, it's better to drown in work than to have no work at all, right? True, but you can have a heavy workload without feeling like you're drowning, and you don't have to sacrifice your personal life or your family to succeed as a real estate professional. You can have it all, just work smarter. If you're drowning in work, can't give your clients the attention they deserve, and can't find free time for yourself or your family, that's a good indicator it's time to scale your real estate business. Why? By scaling your business, you can reassess your processes and create the infrastructure necessary to properly manage and facilitate its growth. If you scale successfully, you'll increase your income, have more time for clients, family, or yourself, exert less energy on less important tasks, and ultimately increase your market share in your area. In this article, I will share ways to evaluate your business, provide tools to help you forecast and project your real estate business's growth, and offer tips for planning for the future. How to Evaluate Your Real Estate Business and Plan to Scale To begin scaling your business, you must evaluate your real estate business and its historical information first. By reviewing your past sales, expenses, amount of work/hours spent working, task priorities, and marketing metrics like page visits/clicks/conversions, you can assess your numbers to forecast your future performance. Since your historical information is the foundation for forecasting your future sales/profits, your projections will be more accurate if they are more detailed and thorough. 1. How to Forecast Your Real Estate Business's Annual Sales Growth Let's say you've been in the real estate business for three years. You have three years of performance data like sales, expenses, profits, and marketing metrics that you can use to forecast the future. To get the most accurate data, use your monthly performance data and its sum to determine your annual performance. To calculate sales growth, we need to calculate four amounts: # of Services Sold: The amount of monthly home buyer transactions, home seller transactions, and other ancillary services you provide that produce cash flow like referral bonuses, homeowner's insurance, home improvement, etc. Average Price of Service: The average income earned from each transaction and service you provide by month. Average Price of Service = (Price of Transaction 1 + Price of Transaction 2 +...)/ # of Transactions Revenue: The amount of income earned. Revenue = # of Services Sold x Average Price of Service Average Revenue Growth Rate: The percentage of sales growth based on the previous year Average Revenue Growth Rate = (Historical Year 2 Revenue/Historical Year 1 Revenue) -1 After you've determined your average sales growth rate, you can use it as a constant for growth to forecast the amount of potential future revenue. For example, if you earned $1,000,000 of revenue in historical year 1 and $1,100,000 in historical year 2, your average sales growth rate would be 10%. To forecast year 1's revenue, simply multiply historical year 2's revenue by the average sales growth rate 10%, then add the result to historical year 2's revenue: Year 1's Revenue Forecast = (Historical Year 2's Revenue x Average Sales Growth Rate) + Historical Year 2's Revenue $1,331,000 = ($1,210,000 x .1) + $1,210,000 Finally, complete these steps for Year 2 through 5: Year 2's Revenue Forecast: $1,464,100 = ($1,331,000 x .1) + $1,331,000 Year 3's Revenue Forecast: $1,610,510 = ($1,464,100 x .1) + $1,464,100 Year 4's Revenue Forecast: $1,771,561 = ($1,610,510 x .1) + $1,610,510 Year 5's Revenue Forecast: $1,948,717 = ($1,771,561 x .1) + $1,771,561 Therefore, your real estate business's revenue would increase by $617,717 over five years at a constant growth rate of 10% and $1,100,000 base revenue. Since real estate is highly influenced by seasons, use the difference between monthly growth rates instead of the annual growth rates to calculate projections more accurately (March Historic Year 2 – March Historic Year 1 = March Sales Growth Rate). Based on this information, you can determine the amount of monthly and annual transactions and their average prices required to hit a certain revenue or growth goal. 2. How to Forecast Your Real Estate Business's Expenses Your business expenses are the costs associated with running your real estate business. Your should have a separate bank account to keep your business and personal costs split up – it's much easier to manage and track your budget this way. The most accurate way to forecast your expenses is by following a similar process as the Sales Growth Forecast step above. First, calculate your historical monthly expenses for the past two years. If certain fees are paid annually, divide them by 12 months to calculate the monthly expense. Then compare the historical expenses for historical year 1 and historical year 2 to calculate your expenses growth rate: Expenses Growth Rate = (Historical Year 2 Expenses/Historical Year 1 Expenses) – 1 Once you've calculated the Expenses Growth Rate, you can use it to calculate the Expense Forecast for Year 1: Year 2 Expenses Forecast = (Year 1 Expenses x Expenses Growth Rate) - 1 Alternatively, you can estimate your monthly expenses and expense growth rate to calculate a less accurate five-year expense forecast. Note: If you choose to estimate your expenses growth rate, it is better to overstate and have extra budget than it is to understate and have run out of budget early. Some real estate business expenses include costs associated with office overhead, phone, vehicle, productivity software, marketing, education, training, commissions paid out, business meals, travel for work, general business, licenses, fees, and other expenses that help you do your job. Again, be as detailed, accurate and as thorough as you can if you want to the most accurate forecast. Many of these business expenses are tax deductible, so you get receive a hefty tax refund by tracking your spending in detail and reporting it the IRS on your taxes. With this information, you can properly budget, find the necessary amount of funding, etc. over the next five years. 3. How to Forecast Your Real Estate Business's Profits After you've calculated your sales growth and expense forecasts, you can use those results to estimate your profits forecast. Your profits forecast can be calculated by subtracting your expenses from your revenue. By creating a five-year profits forecast, you can paint a picture and more accurately predict the growth of your real estate business. Before you draft a plan to scale your business, you must first evaluate your historical performance so you can forecast your real estate business's potential growth more accurately. To evaluate your historical performance data, gather two years of past sales performance to determine your sales growth rate, and two years of past expenses to determine your expense growth rate. Use these growth rates to forecast your potential profits over five years. Once you've determined your profits forecast, use the results to plan your budget, set monthly/annual transactions objectives, and project the average service price needed to accomplish your scaling goals! Download the complimentary Sales Growth, Expenses and Profits Forecast Calculator to help you forecast sales growth and revenue over 5 years >>> To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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Ask the Industry: What Are Your Top Negotiation Strategies?
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From Plan to Reality: Making Goals and Sticking to Them
Real estate is one of the most popular second careers in the United States. Agents come from all sorts of backgrounds and from all over the country. From homemakers to retirees, tradespeople to executives, each person brings a fresh perspective to the industry. Along with a growing number of college students graduating from real estate business programs, all of these various viewpoints and personalities help shape the future of buying and selling homes. What one thing unites them all, more than anything else? They want to succeed – and no matter when they begin their career, they're in it for the long haul. Many people spend their first two years in real estate getting their footing and discovering the ins and outs of the trade: Learning fundamental real estate skills and discovering what appeals to them Seeking out warm leads among their family, friends, and business associates Executing on those crucial first transactions and cultivating a referral network There are few things more satisfying than reaching closing day on your first home. It is a truly transformative experience for many newcomers: The day they can see that they have truly made a difference in a client's life. But how you get started isn't always how you should continue. It's easy to fall into the trap of doing what's worked before for as long as you can. Unfortunately, it's impossible to grow or scale your business without stretching to try new things. If you stay in "referral mode," your profit will always be limited by the hours in the day. And if you push yourself to work too much, you could crash. Instead, real estate agents who have cleared those first few hurdles should take time to plant seeds and find that perfect balance. The Goals You Pursue Today Are Your Seeds for a More Prosperous Tomorrow The most precious resource is time. Few things make that more obvious than a handful of weeks spent working 10-hour days! When you set and commit to goals, you are designing your future in important ways: You determine the highest-value ways to use your skills, money, and time in the long run You go from having a job to owning a business that can help you live the life you desire By growing on the way to your goals, you are more resilient when circumstances change Even goals we don't reach can teach us things we will use in the future — because the purpose of setting a goal is to clarify where you're headed and move in the right direction consistently. It's that second part – consistency – that brings so much challenge, even for high-performing people who accomplish much in many areas of life. Big goals can seem very far away. In many cases, your progress toward them is opaque. So, how does anyone – in real estate or otherwise – stay the course on those big goals? Odds are good you set a few goals of your own in January. Here's how to stick to them and excel: Recognize the Limits of Your "Goal Bandwidth" Goals are critical to being proactive and intentional. But whether you're working solo or you have a team of ten, time and attention set hard limits on goals. From individuals to agencies, most people have room for two or three goals at a time. The more goals you have, the more divided your focus and the less time you can devote to each one. Make Your Goals Impossible to Ignore Goals need to be externalized into the present world to have any effect. Even something as simple as having to open a specific file to review your goals is already too complicated. Just like fundraisers have those iconic "donation thermometers," you need physical reminders of your plans, so your thoughts return to them regularly. Break Goals into Smaller, More Attainable Pieces The bigger a goal is, the easier it is to feel out of reach. Anyone who has ever tried to lose 30 pounds or more knows this feeling. The solution? Break goals down into individual steps, then look at that immediate next step and dice it down even further until you understand precisely what you need to do next. Document Those Small Pieces Wherever Possible Say you discover that one goal has four major steps, and the first of those steps has six little pieces. The odds of you remembering all of them at any given time are nil – they exceed working memory all on their own. Once you figure out your steps, write them down. This will also help you uncover gaps where more research or planning is needed. Make Time to Review Your Goals As you take those small steps, you are making progress. But that progress is often hard to see, let alone be excited by. Goal reviews should happen at least monthly, for two reasons. One, they ensure you are still doing the things you need to do. Two, they put your progress since the last check-in into context, boosting morale. Find Ways to Leverage Accountability Research shows people are much more likely to complete a fitness program if they enter it with a friend and stick together. So, too, with real estate goals. Peer accountability works and avoids the de-motivation traps that top-down accountability to a boss can cause. Accountability to a mentor can also be highly effective. Implement the Tools You Need to Reach Your Goals As you center your goals, you will find more opportunities to update and upgrade your workflows. You might find, for example, that you can save half an hour a day by using a Customer Relationship Management suite to stay aware of what your contacts are doing. Look at the long-term cost-benefit of tools as you decide. Eliminate Distractions from Your Day The bird's-eye view keeps you on the right track, but goals aren't attained at 30,000 feet: They involve daily effort down in the trenches. One of the best ways to rack up those hours is to cut distractions. Start with your mobile device; it should be on mute and notification-free for defined periods of the day while you do deep work. Use the Eisenhower Matrix to Guide Daily Priorities President Dwight D. Eisenhower, commander of the Allied invasion of Normandy, used a single tool to optimize his limited time and attention. This four-quadrant matrix immediately clarifies the relevance of any work task: Urgent and Important: These tasks are top priority and should be done right away Urgent, Not Important: These tasks should be delegated if they cannot be eliminated Important, Not Urgent: Time must be set aside for these long-term growth tasks Not Important, Not Urgent: These tasks can be cut out of one's work-time schedule Dedicate Your First Hour to Your Highest Priority Invest the first hour of work (after your morning routine) to the most vital task that will bring your goals closer. This hour should be ruthlessly distraction-free, which is why it helps to do it early: FOMO is often high among real estate agents, who know they must respond to leads in minutes, but always put first things first. Goals become goals because they won't materialize in the normal course of doing business – or if they do, it will take ten times longer than with focused, intentional effort. Using these techniques, you can drive toward your goals more consistently, honor the value of your time and energy, and still get the rest you need. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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5 Strategies To Grow Your Real Estate Business
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How to Set Yourself Up for Busy Season Success
Believe it or not, we're not in busy season. Yes, the real estate market has been red-hot since June, with a record number of buyers looking to relocate in the wake of the pandemic. And, yes, this winter has been one of the most active in recent memory—so much so that, to many in the industry, it's as if last year's buying frenzy never ended. But the truth is, the market is comparatively slower right now, and it will pick up steam in the coming spring and summer months, just as it always does. In fact, as more sellers gear up to enter the market to capitalize on record-high home prices, we might be on the precipice of one of the busiest busy seasons in recent memory.
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5 Simple Steps to Scale Your Real Estate Business to the Next Level
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How to Use Outsourcing to Reduce Your Workload
The rebound in real estate markets nationwide has been challenging for many agents. Tight inventory and multiple offers in many places is the norm. Working with buyers and sellers during a pandemic adds a new, extra layer of effort. Having to work remotely adds even more challenges. It seems agents find themselves today working harder than ever. How do you keep the quality of your work high and, at the same time, reduce your workload? Outsourcing is one option worth your consideration. Here's how to figure out what you can – and should – be outsourcing. Self-assessment test The saying goes, "Do what you do best and outsource the rest." After all, everyone knows the tasks they love as well as the things they loathe. The problem is, using this as a particular measurement to decide what you should be doing and what you should be outsourcing is not always in synch. For example, some agents love to develop their marketing materials. The problem is the creation of marketing materials can consume a significant amount of time. It's also easy to outsource these activities. By making an assessment, you can make the right decision. If you don't enjoy creating marketing material or are not particularly good at it, then you know outsourcing can be a great answer to reduce your workload. If you enjoy these tasks, then you need to measure it. When you track your time, you can see what it takes to create marketing materials for each listing. How much total time is it taking to develop a property flyer, update your website with a single property listing page, and create a virtual tour? Like most agents, you would be shocked as projects like these include tasks that can consume much more time than you expect. That's why you need to measure it before you decide. Low-hanging fruit In addition to marketing tasks, how does your client database look? Are you using a CRM or Customer Relationship Management software? Hiring someone to pull together all of your contacts in one place can reduce your future workload. You will avoid scrambling to look for past client background information when they contact you as you will have it all in one place – just a click away. How much time do you spend scheduling appointments with vendors to help your sellers? From arranging for professional photographers to stagers to inspectors, this is another area that can end up eating into your most productive time. Is there someone in your office that you can contract to help with these tasks? Another alternative is using a virtual assistant as this is the kind of ideal routine job that someone else can handle, even if they don't live where you do. Looking at photography, are you still shooting your listing photos? Research says you shouldn't be. Listings with professional photography sell faster and can help increase your ability to win more listings in the future. Home listings with high-quality photography sell 32% more quickly than listings with poorly shot images, according to the Center for REALTOR® Development. Even though your smartphone takes great photos, there's no substitute for a professional photographer's skill when it comes to showcasing the most important part of your business. A great way to outsource If technology isn't your thing, and you have FREE access to Tech Helpline—as more than 60 percent of all Realtors in North America do!—this can be one of your best and most cost-effective ways to outsource! Tech Helpline can help you with every tech tool and nearly every software program you use every day. If you get a new smartphone or laptop, it's the first place you should contact. As a covered real agent or broker, you can ask Tech Helpline multiple questions about your tech challenges all on one call. Most importantly, Tech Helpline can help you with other business tech needs beyond just helping you reset your Wi-Fi for a faster connection or help get your printer to print. You can get assistance from adding a background image or video for your next Zoom meeting to the ins and outs of connecting your social media accounts. There are so many things that Tech Helpline can help you with when it comes to all things technology related. Here's an article that shares more ways Tech Helpline can help you reduce your workload. And if your Realtor association, MLS, or brokerage doesn't have Tech Helpline yet, encourage them to go online at TechHelpline.com and reach out to add this valuable member service. Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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7 Advanced Strategies to Grow Your Real Estate Business
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Proven Tactics of Real Estate Super Producers
What does it take to be one of the most successful real estate agents in the country? Joe Sesso, the Executive Director of Sales Marketing for Homes.com, delved into the Secrets of Top Selling Agents archives and discovered four common themes that industry titans such as Howard Brinton, Tom Ferry, Alexis Bolin, Michael Maher and 11 others have used to build amazing real estate businesses. He outlined these themes and shared some of their tips in a recent webinar, which you can view here, or purchase the book for more profitable business tips!
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How to Thrive in Challenging Times
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Friday Freebie: 2020 Real Estate Marketing Planner
Are you psyched to crush your sales goals during real estate's busy season? Now's the time to get ready because the market is about to warm up. To help you prepare, we're highlighting a free, year-long real estate marketing planner in this week's Friday Freebie. Full of worksheets, calendars, and campaign ideas, this planner is so much more than a bunch of boring bullet points—it's full of actionable items that can help turn your sales dreams into reality. Read on to find out how you can download it for free! FREE Download: 2020 Real Estate MARKETING PLANNER™, courtesy of ProspectsPLUS! Goals are easy to set, but a solid plan for achieving those goals? Well, that's a little tougher. If creating an effective plan is not your forte, never fear. ProspectsPLUS! is offering RE Technology readers a free real estate marketing planner that has everything you need to keep your sales pipeline full year-round. Here's a look at what's inside this free download: An annual business planning worksheet with income goals, listing goals, and more A monthly calendar with action items on specific dates and observed holidays Color-coded campaign suggestions for different types of marketing, including listing leads, niche marketing, geographic farming, sphere outreach, and customer appreciation. A tip of the month with creative strategies for marketing your business Weekly worksheets to track how well you met your goals And more! You know the old saying: "A goal without a plan is just a wish." So get ready to plan your way to success in 2020! Download your FREE copy of the 2020 Real Estate MARKETING PLANNER™ now!
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5 Ways Real Estate Agents Can Hit the Ground Running in 2020
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Rebuilding Your Real Estate Business After a Disaster
Would your business survive if a natural disaster hits your city? Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and fires can have long-term effects on the real estate market in your city. But that doesn't mean you have to shut down your business. With the right precautions, you can ensure your business survives and put yourself in a position to help your community rebuild.
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Make Giving a Part of Your Business Strategy
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Listing Tips and Strategies to Stand Out and Sell More Homes
Fastest and Easiest Source of Listings Every top agent knows the number one source of business is word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat customers. Word-of-mouth is defined as: Giving people a reason to talk about you or your stuff. Making it easier for those conversations to take place. Every real estate professional needs a marketing strategy to intentionally give people a reason to talk about you and to make it easier for them to have that talk. Sending out useful real estate information on a consistent basis to everyone you know is the easiest and fastest way to make these conversations take place. Share tips, emails, blogs, social posts, and short videos that share what you know about real estate that also creates the perception that you are an expert—that you are competent at what you do.
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How Business Strategy Can Help You Stand Out in Real Estate
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5 Tips to Successfully Launch Your Real Estate Career
So you finally have your real estate license and you're ready to kickstart your new career as a real estate agent. What do you do now? While launching a career in real estate can be daunting, the following are a few ways to ensure you position yourself for long-term success in the industry.
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Risk Management for Your Real Estate Business
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Friday Freebie: Set (and Keep!) Your 2018 Goals with this Workbook
Are the goals you've set for your real estate business this year really goals—or are they just wishes? Here's how you can tell. If you say, "I want to make $10,000 more in commissions this year," and leave it at that—well, friend, you're just a wishful thinker. If, however, you say, "I want to make $10,000 more in commissions this year—and here are the specific steps I'm going to take to do that," then you're a bonafide goal setter. But here's the thing—it's easy to think of what you want to accomplish, but much harder to devise a plan for how to accomplish those things. If formulating the specifics of your strategic plan for this year is overwhelming, never fear! In this week's Friday Freebie, we're highlighting a downloadable workbook that leads you through the most challenging aspects of setting goals.
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[Infographic] Planning Your Best Year Ever
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7 Steps to Creating an Awesome Marketing Campaign
Marketing campaigns play a crucial role in our job as real estate agents, so it is always paramount that our campaigns are top notch and deliver results! Individual tactics aimed at creating awareness of your brand, building relationships, and connecting with potential clients are good but not nearly as effective as a strategic foundation of activities that all work towards a common marketing campaign. A well-designed marketing campaign can help to: Build your brand Promote your business presence in the local community Attract repeat and referral business Generate leads How does Garry Wise, co-founder of The Paperless Agent and co-owner of GoodLife Realty, and his team put together a marketing campaign that gets results? Great marketing comes down to one simple equation: Right Person + Right Place + Right Time Here are the seven steps you need in order to create an awesome marketing campaign:
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5 Steps Real Estate Agents Can Take to Finish 2017 Strong
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3 Tips for Agents Who Want to Open Their Own Brokerage
"It was never my dream to work for a real estate company for the rest of my life." —Stacie Perrault Staub Was it the idea of promoting someone else's brand, working around someone else's schedule, and splitting your commission that encouraged you to pursue a career in real estate? Probably not. Working for an established brokerage is a great way to get started in real estate, but it's rarely the end goal of aspiring agents. In a recent Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, Stacie Perrault Staub, founder and owner of West & Main Homes and the brain behind the popular Genuine Hustle conferences, shared her tips to start your own real estate brand. Watch the free webinar, Launching a Real Estate Brand from Scratch, for more information, or find our three tips from the webinar below! 1. Take Your Future into Your Own Hands It can be hard to leave a job or company you love, but eventually you have to "make the decision to take a leap and go out on [your] own and start [your] own thing." Staub stressed that "finding those like minded people that share your passions" is a crucial step toward building the confidence you need to launch your own brand. Consider planning a conference, hosting an event, or forming a mastermind group to help you connect with real estate professionals who have already started their own brand, or who, like you, are just starting down the path.
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How to Set Your Goals Now for More Commissions in 2017
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Real Estate Retirement: What’s Your Exit Strategy?
For many reasons, the real estate industry is one that doesn't lend itself well to retirement plans. For most agents, selling real estate is a constant battle to stay ahead of the curve--over-spending when the market is up, and struggling to survive when the market goes south. In a business where 20% of the agents do 80% of the business, it's easy to see why an exit strategy is the last thing on most agent's minds. However, as is the case in most situations, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. For those who can survive the first five years in the business and then avoid the high rate of burnout that permeates the industry, there is a built-in retirement plan for those who do two things: provide great service and then follow-up. It's that simple. A staggering 84% of home buyers said that they were satisfied with the agent they used and would use that agent again. Yet, less than 20% of buyers end up using the same agent in their next transaction. There is a huge disconnect going on and it is costing most agents hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Currently, the average agent reports earning 21% of his or her business from referrals from past clients. That number jumps to 29% if the agent is making $150,000 or more. The better agents get it. With the average homeowner buying and selling a home every five to seven years, that is a LOT of opportunity simply by making sure you simply stay in touch.
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The Weather Outside is Frightful – Now What?
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Friday Freebie: Business Plan Builder from realtor.com®
With a new year just beginning, now's the perfect time to put pen to paper and calculate what you need to do to achieve your goals in 2014. A business plan isn't set it stone, nor should it be a heavy burden. Rather, it's a roadmap that helps clarify your objectives and how you're going to achieve them. Success stems from having established goals and a plan to achieve them. Fortunately, this week's Friday Freebie makes creating a plan with achievable goals simple. Read on to learn more. Free Business Plan Builder from realtor.com® Realtor.com® offers a free tool that allows you to review last year's results, set goals for the next year, and calculate just how many activities you will need to engage in to reach your objective. This free tool is designed for agents who have set an ambitious goal for prospecting, sales and closings. It includes recommendations for the following, based on your unique business objectives: Webinars Downloads Tools If you're looking for a strong foundation to get your goals back on track, spend five minutes with this free tool from realtor.com®. It'll help you assess the tools you're already using so you can plug in solutions that deliver results. You will see how many prospects you need to acquire each month, and how many follow-up calls you need to make to position yourself to meet your goal. Click here to learn more about this free benefit from realtor.com®.
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Best of 2013: 4 Steps to Becoming a Stronger Listing Agent
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5 Steps to Effective 2014 Business Planning
It is hard to believe that there is only a little over one month left in this year. Where did the time go? The holiday season is quickly approaching, bringing the new year in its wake and conjuring up images of all the things that were meant to be accomplished over the past 10 months, but never seemed to be completed. Oh, the guilt of having neglected the reorganization of your storage room! On the other hand, it also brings about images of all the successful tasks that did get done during the year, as well as ideas regarding opportunities and tasks that can be scheduled for the new year. Glorious visions of that newly-organized storage room, the freshness of a new daily organizer, the hope that your email box will eventually clean itself. Visions that won't become a reality unless a plan is put in place! To help you achieve your goals next year, we've compiled five steps to effective 2014 business planning. It's never too early to plan for success. Step 1: Retrospective of 2013 Emerson once stated that, "Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect." He was right. Wishing on stars and hoping that things magically turn out the way you want them to be does not work. Looking back to 2013, if there are things that did not go the way you wanted them to, then looking at the reason this happened will provide a strong foundation for your 2014 planning. In particular, answer the following questions: What was your particular focus for 2013? Did you achieve it or how close did you get to achieving it? If you did not achieve your goal, what prevented you from doing so? What could have been done to remove those obstacles? What worked? What didn't work? What reporting did you use to track your progress? Did you track your progress? What resources were pinpointed as being potentially beneficial for the future? What resources are no longer helpful and should be discarded? Who provided you feedback or insight that was especially helpful? What key events took place that changed your focus or aided in your staying on track? Can they be repeated? What new things did you learn about you, your clients, your business, the industry? What mistakes did you make? What did you learn from these mistakes?  
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5 Questions to Ask Yourself for a Successful 2014
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Turning Prospects into Customers…for the Long Run
As media reports continue to confirm on an almost daily basis, things are on the rise for real estate. With 2013 panning out to be a big year of recovery, agents across the nation are seeing a significant upswing in business as buyers and sellers get off the sidelines and jump back into the game. With this upswing come more leads, clients, appointments ... and more need for organization and close management of day-to-day demands. According to Karen Werling of Prudential Chaplin Williams Realty in Fernandina Beach, Fla., the right technology and systems are critical to taking care of business and maximizing the opportunities of the market rebound. As is the case for many real estate professionals around the country, Werling has witnessed noteworthy growth in her market. "The biggest change in the market is that buyers are ready to purchase," she explains. "They're no longer holding off to see what the market is going to do. Inventory is dropping, and prices are going back up, so they're taking action." Five-to-seven years ago, Werling and her team were prepared for the imminent advancement of technology in the real estate arena. Therefore, they focused on Internet leads and marketing. "Five years ago, home prices were spiking. We've been in the real estate profession for over 25 years, so we knew it was going to be short lived. We needed to prepare for what was to come. As we expected, the economy took a downturn, but we were ready for it," she says. Over the last year, Werling's market has recovered very quickly, which was also anticipated by her team. "Our inventory is down 30 percent from three years ago and our sales are up 40 percent. This is a result of attractive pricing and rates and the pent-up buyers who are ready to buy," she says.
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Friday Freebie: Business Plan Builder from realtor.com®
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How to Keep Other Agents From Stealing Your Leads
It's a common practice in real estate to try to generate leads from a competitor already doing a good volume of business. The easiest way to steal leads is to look at a competitor's shortcomings and create a marketing plan based on their shortfalls. Easy Targets: Agents who don't focus on a target market. Agents lacking a comprehensive website. Agents without a lead management system. Lack of drive will also cost you leads. Don't become complacent with your marketing plan – there's always someone around the corner creating a strategy that tries to address your inadequacies. Target Market Casting a large net into a sea of leads seems like a good idea. But potential leads don't want to do business with an agent who doesn't specialize in a specific field. Without a target market, you will look like a generic agent. People want to do business with agents who know who their clients are and what they want. When you look at it from the client's perspective, it makes sense. They don't want to waste time working with an agent who doesn't understand their needs. Stand out from the rest by becoming an expert in your field. Dustin Russell, manager of acquisition marketing at Market Leader, offers this advice: "Make sure you aren't advertising alongside other agents. A site that places you next to one, two, or three other agents doesn't provide exclusivity. You may get a lead here and there, but you aren't positioned as the only expert in your area."
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4 Steps to Becoming a Stronger Listing Agent
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Creating Actionable Social Media Strategies
The list of social media networking sites, including Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Active Rain, and YouTube, could make your head spin. If the thought of starting and maintaining an actionable social media strategy seems overwhelming, it's time to come up with a game plan. In the world of social media, you are either a player or sitting the sidelines. Writing a blog from time to time, creating a Facebook page that you rarely visit or tweeting every couple of weeks doesn't keep you in the game. In fact, it shows that you are inconsistent. Go beyond just creating a presence. How to Get Started Before you start creating accounts on every social media networking website under the sun, take some time to think about your target market. By focusing on a target market, you can create a consistent brand and focused social media strategy. "Determine your target market, because you will want to use the social media tool(s) where you will find your target market. ... By establishing this, you will be more effective and efficient in your social media efforts," says Sheryl Johnson, founder and CEO of BD-Pro Marketing Solutions. A target market is who you think will buy a property or service from you. Create a list of characteristics that you think your customer base has—age, marital status, geographic location, occupation and hobbies to name a few. This list is referred to as a demographic profile. Use this demographic profile when creating your online presence.
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Holiday Deal: 2013 Business Plan (and Training!) from Market Leader
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Why Every Real Estate Agent Needs a Real Business Plan
It seems that at least once a year I get into a phase where I consider purchasing a new car. Of course, I rarely take the next step and actually buy one (my garage can only fit two cars at a time). I've always been a fan of brands like Audi, Toyota, and Nissan, but this year I was surprised to see some cool new car designs from Ford, and now I'm noticing them all over the place. I guess it's human nature to notice certain things once we've set our minds on them. For example, we recently launched the 2013 Real Estate Business Plan, so naturally I'm noticing other real estate business plans all over the place. In fact, for those of you who were able to attend this year's NAR conference, you might have picked up a copy of the Florida Association of REALTORS® November/December magazine. In this magazine are a slew of business plans for real estate professionals. I've included a list of them below, along with a few others, for your reference. As I look over the list, I notice a number of differences. Some are essentially guides for creating a traditional business plan – such as a small business might create. A couple of the plans mention trends for the coming year and advise agents and brokers on where to focus their efforts.
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An SEO Strategy That Pays Back
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A Geographic Farm? Do it right the first time.
It is hard to deny that in many areas of the country (especially the Silicon Valley market, where we reside), the real estate market has rebounded nicely and is showing no signs of slowing down. Because of this, many REALTORS® have decided to start a new postcard farming area, or fire up an old one that hasn't had any action in a while. Many agents, contemplating such a move, call or email our office for best practice advice, tips on where and how to market, or even help carrying out a direct mail campaign. Here are a few of the most common questions and/or pitfalls we encounter and how we advise our clients. Hopefully this helps you out as well: 1) How do I pick a farm area? Selecting a farm area is one of the most important things you can do when planning your campaign. Think about it: You are going to be marketing to this area, on a regular basis, for months (actually years) to come. You are going to be spending hundreds, and most likely thousands, of dollars on this endeavor throughout the course of your career. With those two things in mind, why would you take this decision lightly? Whenever I speak with a client or prospective client about picking a farming area, I always bring up two things: Location Location Location: I am betting you are thinking I'm talking about picking an area that is "desirable," hot, or fashionable. Well, get ready for this--I'm not. What I mean is pick an area that you are in love with. Human beings are smart animals. We pick things up based on our interactions with people. If you are at a listing appointment with a prospective client, or holding a home open, if you aren't in love with the area, don't like the houses, or would rather be somewhere else, it's going to be evident. It might be slight little things, but people will see this and figure it out. Simply put, if you love what you do, it will shine, making those around you enthusiastic about what you are doing and therefore making you more successful. Just because "everyone else" is focused on a certain price point of home, or certain geographic area of your marketplace, does not necessarily mean you have to also be focused on that area. Work where you love, and many things will work themselves out.
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HomeGain Releases 2nd Quarter 2011 National Home Values Survey Results
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