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Preach to the Converted
The real estate industry has been led astray by advertising portals. Today, there seems to be a shift happening in syndication strategy, MLS strategy, advertising strategy, and CRM strategy that puts brokers and agents back on course--and it's about time. Let me share this perspective with you. To follow this perspective, you need to consider these three statements: Just about every home ever traded in America has been with the help of a Realtor or two. The National Association of REALTORS® reports a market share of over 90 percent. Over 80 percent of all transactions are with a repeat or referral customer of a Realtor. The no. 1 reason why a customer does not use the same Realtor is their Realtor did not stay in touch. (I think that the no. 2 reason is that their Realtor retired.) Strategically, the very first dollar invested in supporting your business should be spent fixing the leak of repeat and referral customers lost due to a failure to stay in touch. Somehow, that focus on customers is not happening in our industry today, hence the claim that the real estate industry has been led astray. I blame the advertising portals for this. They have done an excellent job of selling agents on how to drive online leads so convincingly that agents forgot to spend money on maintaining the business relationships with their current customers. I am not suggesting that investing in online lead generation is bad, but you are a fool if you invest more in that than you do on supporting 80 percent of your existing business. Take care of the relationships with current customers first, invest in new customers second. I remember my first conversation with Jed Carlson of Adwerx. His company started out helping music bands connect with their fans—websites, newsletters, social media, pimp your Myspace page, whatever. He knew then, as he knows today, that the social capital, er, "relationship" between a band and their fans is everything. If a fan downloads your song, likes your Facebook page, goes to your concert, or sees your video, you want to make them a fan for life. His company specializes in advertising to your customer base. When Jed told me that he was bringing this sauce to real estate to help agents and brokers stay connected to their clients, I knew that he would be successful immediately. The real estate industry has been out there spending their entire wallet on trying to find new customers or taking customers away from someone else, and doing little to shore up the relationship with their existing customers. The Shift A shift is visible in our industry as brokerages and agents come out of the proverbial fog. Adwerx is growing remarkably because they help brokers and agents stay in touch with their fans (Facebook custom audience advertising). This consumer-agent connection is what companies selling Facebook Boost Ads are missing. CRMs such as Commissions Inc, Inside Real Estate, Contactually, Boomtown, and IXACT Contact are experiencing widespread adoption because they organize the customer record for agents to prevent them from losing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. Syndication is viewed through the lens of the Fair Display Guidelines, whereby an online listing is treated as a yard sign. Only the listing broker and agent are displayed. MLSs are being recognized for their value in this regard, leading the way with data licensing agreements that follow better principles. The Broker Public Portal with Homesnap is a perfect example of this improvement, although there are several others. The takeaway is simple: preach first to the converted. Make sure that you are staying connected to your existing customers first. Worry about new customers after you have done that job to your satisfaction. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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Brokers Need to Weaponize to Combat iBuyer
Who is getting to the listing appointment first? Is a traditional broker the first call for a listing appointment, or do consumers reach out to iBuyer programs like Zillow, Redfin, Keller Williams, Realogy, Opendoor, Mark Spain, or others first? For now, iBuyer programs will continue to reach more markets and brokers need to prepare their strategy, consumer and agent communications, and agent training. Opendoor and Redfin were the first brokers to weaponize with iBuyer programs. Mark Spain is having tremendous success. Are you next?
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Ready Player One: How the New Hybrid Virtual Brokerage Can Help You Compete
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10 Reasons Why You Should Sell Your Brokerage... or Not
Today's real estate market is equally primed for those real estate broker/owners who want their company to be acquired by another and for those wishing to acquire an existing company. - Tami Bonnell, CEO of EXIT Realty International Not among the estimated $2 billion invested in the real estate space last year, according to T3 Sixty, is the continued M&A activity within the space. Tami Bonnell, the CEO of EXIT Realty International, released a white paper suggesting now is the best time for brokerage owners to cash out, and examines the reasons for both acquiring or being acquired. The Reasons to Buy or Sell
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Adjusting Your 2019 Budget with Economic Data
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3 Key Strategies for Being a Better Leader in Real Estate
If there's one thing Doug Edrington knows, it's how to lead a team. Doug recently opened his own Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Brokerage, J Douglas Properties, and runs (with no shortage of success) The Edrington Team. Last year, his team sold 491 houses. And when he's not busy being a top producer, he is also a Tom Ferry Coach. Doug recently shared some of his recent experiences and expertise when it comes to building a sustainable business and being an effective leader. Here are the top takeaways:
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Brokers Need to Shift Strategy Immediately
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5 Technology Expenses to Review for Budget Season, Part Two
Part two of this two-part series continues to explore technology expenses and strategies for budget season. In part one, we discussed the importance of reviewing your technology partner agreements and telecommunication expenses. Part two focuses on finding savings in cloud services, the benefits of a hardware refresh program, and capturing Shadow IT costs. So, let's start.
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Disruptors Are Really Only Innovators and Motivators
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5 Technology Expenses to Review for Budget Season, Part One
As we embark into the first week of the fall season, the time is ripe to review and prepare next year's budget. When it comes to technology expenses for 2019 budgets, the following five areas are prime opportunities to harvest savings or craft better budget strategies. This is part one of a two-part series.
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What You Need to Know about Transaction Fee Brokerage
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How to Future-proof Your Brokerage
I'm sure you've seen in the press that Upstream has launched. So what? What does that mean to you? ​It means you have access to one of the most instantly valuable broker platforms in the country. It's your data. It's one of your brokerage's most valuable assets. And your data is critical to your current and future business. That's why every vendor and portal wants it.
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Defend Your Brokerage Fortress: The Solution to Margin Compression
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Are Brokerages Using BI Visualization Tools?
In talking with various people inside brokerages, I hear the same challenge time and time again: "My data is all over the place and I have no way to understand what it means." Driving what your data means and information out of your data is Business Intelligence (BI). There are free or low-cost solutions to help analyze data in your control and derive the answers to make better business decisions.
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Broker's Corner: When to Grow Your Business Through Acquisition
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Are You Guilty of "Business as Usual" Budgeting?
How many of have been informed that you need to spend the rest of your budget or it's going to be reduced next year? How many times have you blindly hit copy and paste and then added a bit for inflation and an unexpected project, and then called it a day on your budgeting process? If you're walking somewhat blindly through your budgeting process, then you're practicing what we call "business-as-usual budgeting."
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5 Essential Skills for Real Estate Entrepreneurs
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5 Steps to an Impactful and Effective Strategic Plan
We've all been involved in those strategic planning sessions where you get locked in a room, hold hands, sing Kumbaya, feel really excited for about three days—and then everyone goes back to doing everything the same old way they did before the session. They are a total waste of time. I call those sessions "Forced Family Fun." They give strategic planning a bad name. Let's talk about a way to make the time and effort put into a strategic plan that will actually MAKE A DIFFERENCE for your organization.
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Low Risk, High Return Growth Strategies for Real Estate Teams
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SMART Goals and Why Your Business Needs Them
Every brokerage owner dreams of success, but far fewer define the goals needed to achieve those dreams. The S.M.A.R.T goal-setting methodology makes it easy to set realistic business goals and achieve them. Read on to learn about the methodology and how it can benefit your firm. What are S.M.A.R.T. Goals? S.M.A.R.T goals refers to a goal setting methodology that helps you set clear and reasonable expectations in order to maximize your odds of achieving a goal. Each letter of the acronym identifies an essential component of effective goal setting. "S" – Specific Business goals like "make more money" are rarely attained because the goal isn't specific enough to be actionable. You need to identify the driver and desired outcome of the goal. The easiest way to do this is to ask yourself the five Ws: What do you want to achieve? Why do you want to achieve this? Who is involved? Where will this goal take the business? When do you plan to accomplish it? With this approach, you can swap the goal of "making more money" for the specific goal of "finding one new client by the end of the month." This specific goal checks all the five Ws and can actually be implemented.
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5 Strategies for an EPIC 2017
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Annual Strategy Planning and Management Retreat
There is a curious coincidence about the relationship between strategic planning and success. Large, successful companies always have strategic plans and management retreats to celebrate accomplishments and recognize opportunities for success. Interestingly enough, start ups do the same thing. Where is the middle ground? For whatever reason, companies that are in the middle of the pack typically do not have plans. Or, the plan they do have is stale – the product of a moment in time when the leadership or board of directors insisted on cobbling something together which, in turn, was saved in a remote desktop folder or shoved into a drawer somewhere. For decades, WAV Group has been providing strategic planning facilitation for leading real estate brokerages, technology firms, large MLSs, and large associations. We have also reviewed strategic plans and business plans for the most ambitious young start-ups. If you are planning your strategic plan to launch your business powerfully into 2017, be sure to consider a proposal from us. Organizing your strategic planning session will be unique to your business and culture, but here are some elements of strategic planning that may point you in the right direction. 1. Discovery – Interview the board of directors and key staff to understand their perspectives about the business. Great boards and business leaders are often closer in their perspectives about the strengths and weaknesses of a company than you might expect. Using an outside facilitator opens the door to more candid discussion.
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To Zap or Not to Zap?
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The Value of Your Value Proposition
How do you recruit new agents? How do you keep the ones you've got? Just as agents need to prove their worth to their broker, brokers needs to prove their worth to the agents. Here are three ways to you can use back-office data to strengthen your value proposition: 1. Insight Show your agents how much money they've made this year compared to last. Email them their expense statements so there are no surprises. Show them how much money they can make by following your brokerage's standards. In doing so, you'll give your agents vital insight into how your brokerage fosters their success.
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Is Real Estate Still in a Slump?
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Planned Technology Implementation
Have you ever tried to launch a technology product in the spring or summer? It can be very hard to gather the attention of your sales associates in the heat of their selling season. You can manage though it with strong leadership and support, but there is a better way. To the extent that you are able, it is a good idea to plan your technology deployments when sales dip. For most areas of the nation, that puts the ideal time for technology deployments in the October to February time frame. The exceptions to this planning are ski area markets or snowbird markets. Either way, you know when your sales historically dip. I cannot express how much planning is the secret to success with product launches. The number one reason why agents fail to adopt or enjoy a technology solution is their own failure to take the time to learn how to use it. When some companies do user satisfaction research, they ask two questions (among many others) at different times in the survey so that the responses are not intellectually correlated: 1. How satisfied are you with Product Name? Never used it Not satisfied at all Somewhat satisfied Mostly satisfied Extremely satisfied
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3 Drivers of Economic Growth
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Graceful Vendor Termination
System conversions are very difficult in real estate. If there is one eternal truth it's that agents will absolutely resist change no matter what. Even with MLS system conversions where the death of the application–vital to their business–is imminent, they hang on during the parallel period until the very end. Then there is a flood of complaints about failure to notify them or train them. It’s a way of life that extends beyond the MLS system to the brokerage system. More and more, brokers are providing end-to-end business systems to their agents. Over years, the company trains and supports the program. It becomes part of the culture of a company. Then one day, usually for sound business reasons, the broker decides to change vendors. Chaos ensues. Change is a recruiting opportunity When you see a competitor changing vendors, it is a great time to target your recruiting. License the system that your competitive broker is dumping and offer it for agents who want to come over and bring their system with them. The recruits can wear the old shoes of their last firm for as long as they like.
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Does Your Brand Have a Strategic Plan?
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Avoiding Secondary Disruption With Strategic Design
A significant number of past commentaries from this column have discussed the various aspects of digital disruption, both from the perspective of being the disruptor and of being disrupted. The fact is that disruption is a primary factor affecting almost every aspect of the current brokerage scene. Most compelling brokerages are either in the process of responding to disruption or creating innovative disruptions of their own. Sometimes these disruptions are external and impact the brokerage's competitive position in the marketplace. In other cases, the disruptions are internal and impact management and operations. While disruption as a business factor for real estate brokerages is too new to have evolved a classic tactical or response pattern, certain matters are already clear. Chief among those is the absolute necessity that firms adopt and implement their own strategic and innovative course rather than adopt a response strategy that forces the firm to respond anew to each incursion of internal disruption and/or external market or competitive forces as they occur. With few exceptions, response strategies equate to being led around by a leash with a blindfold. It is hard enough to anticipate the challenges of one's own strategic intent, let alone trying to track and prepare for the unknowns of another's. The essence of strategic design requires taking a "total" or "big picture" approach. Brokerages that have a strongly articulated strategic intent set and maintain their own course. While the activities and actions of the market or competitors may require occasional course corrections, they do not result in major shifts in strategic course or tactical deployment.
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1000watt Nails Large Broker IDX Strategy
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Dominate Your Market—Without It Dominating Your Time
For real estate professionals, driving from community to community and personally nurturing each client from the initial meeting until close has long been the bread and butter of the business. And if you're like most brokers, you get frequent requests from agents on your team looking to somehow multiply their time and effort. They usually have their minds stuck on one way to do that—with the help of an assistant. Next time you hear this request, give agents a counterproposal. Tell them there is a staff of nine highly qualified, motivated salespeople eagerly waiting in the wings to help them reach their goals. The key to this process is new construction. Brokers can take advantage of the way many of these communities operate to help their agents close more sales and exert a lower level of effort. This is how the business model niche works. Select agents focus on new homes and leverage new-home salespeople to multiply their efforts. These agents don't drive around, taking individuals to endless properties. Instead, they find three markets (ZIP codes) in which to specialize, and develop a team of new-home salespeople in those markets. In each one, they work with a salesperson in an entry-level, mid-level, and luxury home community. The agent's job is to find new clients and determine which area, community, and home is most appropriate for the client. From there, the agent hands the client off to the appropriate member of their team and let that salesperson do all the legwork (and of course, the paperwork) from there.
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Forward Looking Technology
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Your Business Plan Should Be a Strategic Spring Board, Not a Dynamic Anchor
Today's real estate industry is awash in new strategies. Franchises, brokerages, Multiple Listing Services and professional associations are all using "strategic" as their new magic word. Some of these strategies represent bold and innovative steps into a new and exciting future. Others, unfortunately, are just updates and recasts of what their sponsoring organization has always done in the past. Fortunately, more and more of these organizations are opting to seek outside expertise with their strategic plan document. The key differentiating factor here is the difference between acquiring assistance (an amateur commodity) and acquiring expertise, the commodity that is really needed. Not so fortunately, many brokerage executives are electing to align their future potentials with individuals who have little or no experience with the concepts of strategy or are already aligned with a larger philosophical entity (e.g. a franchise) to which them have already pledged their allegiance. Many of these plan documents suffer from substance abuse. This is what occurs when the individual selected by the organization or company to facilitate their planning experience (rather than process) casually asks everyone in the organization what they think should happen, then gathers the leaders and executives together for a more intimate view, then moves the organizational pieces forward in incremental steps so that, when executed, the organization will look exactly like it has always looked, just a year or two older. In other words, Substance Abuse in planning is what happens when the plan document reflects where the company or organization has been rather than where it wants to go. Substance Abuse is what happens when a strategic plan becomes a task list rather than an expression of strategic intent. But interestingly enough, as great a hardship as identifying an appropriate planning professional, creating an effective planning process and giving birth to an innovative business plan has become the ultimate challenge in accomplishing a successful implementation process.
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Am I a Seller?
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Arriving at the Fork in the Road
Guest contributor Jose Perez of PCMS Consulting says: Our industry continues to change and evolve; some will make it, some won't. Brokerages are finally making money again; some are reinvesting, some are not. We could easily see another recession in coming years; some will be ready, some won't. Many brokerages have arrived at a fork in the road. Real estate brokers should be asking themselves the following questions: Am I proactive? You should be focused on building a competitive brokerage now and over the next five to ten years. Am I profitable? Your financial strategies need to give you sufficient capital to make the necessary investments to support question 1. Am I willing and able? Consider if it is time for you to hang it up, or if you should be consolidating market share through acquisition. Currently we are advising a large brokerage who, as recently as a few months ago, was entertaining buy-out offers. Not receiving the value they believed justified their sale, they have switched positions and now are aggressively pursuing an acquisition strategy with our help. Their answers to the first two questions influenced the outcome to question 3. They decided it was the right strategy to consolidate market share through acquisition of a company that might not be in the same position.
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Allre Causes Brokers To ReThink Strategy
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Treat Your Brokerage Like a Sales Organization
I want you to think about two things; you're running a business and that business is a sales organization. Let's discuss some real estate best practices. In my seven plus years providing real estate professionals with technology related services, I've found (time and time again) more often than not, Broker Owners/Team Leads/etc. don't treat their teams like either. Today, I wanted to point out a few best sales/business best practices that you can adopt to make the agents you're currently managing work smarter and get more sales--and a few simple things to adopt to make you a better CEO (which, as you should know, is how you should be looking at yourself). Sales best practices: Have monthly strategy sessions Have monthly (minimum) pipeline reviews In the aforementioned pipeline review, determine if they are on pace to finish behind or ahead of their individual goals (GCI, number of transactions, etc.) Look at what marketing efforts are yielding the highest ROI and, conversely, what is not. Use this information to guide yourself and have relevant talking points in the pipeline reviews Hopefully, whatever system you're currently using, gives your agents the ability to see behavioral data (how many times did they view a property, where did they share the property, what properties did they save or request information on?) and use that data to have a compelling reason to call "Have you found any properties that are of interest?" Make it a "curious" call so as not to give the impression Big Brother is watching! Use this data to make intelligent and relevant contact. Have a preset list of goals going into each call.
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Sometimes Profitability is NOT as Important as Market Share
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Preparing Your Real Estate Business for Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)
Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is being introduced on July 1st, 2014. This legislation puts restrictions on what is, and what is not considered acceptable forms of electronic messaging. Moving forward businesses must ensure that there is expressed (explicit) or implied consent before emailing or texting people in Canada. This law also pertains to those in the U.S or overseas who are contacting Canadians via electronic messages. Let's take a look at what it means to receive expressed or implied consent: Expressed Consent: The recipient has given you direct permission to email them for business purposes. This could be via a mailing list sign up form on your website, or a confirmation link in an email etc. There must be an affirmative action whereby the person clearly identifies that they wish to be contacted by you. You must also include the option to unsubscribe from your communications at all times. A record of this expressed consent must be kept. Implied Consent: Revolves around the notion that you are allowed to email someone because you have an existing business relationship with them. An "existing business relationship" exists where the sender and recipient have engaged in business together within the previous two years from the date the message is sent.
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How to Overcome a Slow Market with Resourcefulness
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6 Business and Strategic Planning Tips for the Year Ahead
The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to think about how you want your real estate business to grow. From building a business plan to formulating an online marketing strategy, we've published plenty of great articles that can help you get organized and plan ahead for success. The articles below are a sampling of the best business and strategic planning articles of the past year. Take a look for ideas on how to succeed in 2014. 1. New View of Broker Social Media Strategy - by Victor LundOne of the key shifts in online marketing that has occurred over the past five years is the evolution of social media marketing. What is astounding is how far removed most broker websites are from executing baseline social media strategies effectively. 2. Did You Forget About the Data? - by Lorne C. WallaceWhen integrating one office to a new environment, the back office systems are often not the same. And, even if the two companies are with the same technology partner, the service level or menu of products can be different and will require some advanced planning to seamlessly integrate.
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6 Steps for Growing Your Real Estate Brokerage
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The Real Reason Resolutions Fizzle and How to Change It
Everybody loves a new year. It's a bright, shiny, fresh, clean slate. A vista unblemished by mistakes or regrets. A brand-new chance to make those changes and accomplish those things we've been meaning to do forever. Yet, undermining all this glorious potential is the hidden truth we're aware of even as we proclaim that this time we'll really lose 20 pounds or get out of debt or finally launch that long-dreamed-of business: New Year's resolutions are nothing more than fairy tales we grown-ups tell ourselves. That's right. If you're like 92 percent of Americans, you're not going to keep those resolutions. What's more, you know it. What you may not know, says Brian Moran, is why. "The number one enemy of most New Year's resolutions isn't feasibility, a lack of know-how, or even a lack of motivation, though those things can come into play," says Moran, coauthor along with Michael Lennington of the New York Times best seller, The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months. "The No. 1 enemy of most resolutions is time." Think about it: It's all too easy to procrastinate through January, February, March and even longer. No problem, you think. I have over half a year left to do what I said I'd do. Even when July and August roll around, there are still enough months left in the year that you don't feel a real sense of urgency. Next thing you know, the holidays are almost upon you. You're still over your ideal weight, drinking too many sodas a day, working the same job, with less savings than you'd like. Too late to do anything now, you figure. I'll try again next year. Ultimately, says Moran, effective execution happens daily and weekly and on a consistent basis. To perform at your best, you will need to get out of "annual mode" and stop thinking in terms of a 365 day year. That's where the 12 Week Year comes in. It's a system that works for businesses striving to meet their goals—and it will work for you, too. Moran offers eight ways to get yourself out of the annualized thinking trap—and into the much-more-productive 12 Week Year, where resolutions do come true.
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Brokers Should Audit Their MLS
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Rewind: Why Zillow and Trulia Don’t Matter Today
We're continuing a holiday tradition of revisiting classic articles from the past year. This article was originally published back in August. Enjoy! Let's start by stipulating two arguments: First, that every listing needs a buyer. Second, that most buyers find the home they bought on the internet. We might even throw in a third truism in real estate: a powerful web presence can bring in lots of business for most real estate brokers. All fine and well. Except for one thing: the market. It's true that most buyers today find their homes on the internet. According to NAR Research: It's also true that buyers like to use major web portals to do search for those homes. By and large. Yet the fact remains that most real estate remains local (most buyers moved less than 15 miles last year) and that local brokerage websites remain more-than-capable of capturing that buyer traffic. See the broker-revolt against sharing listings with major portals as market evidence of this fact (more here and here). And while there will always remain a large, soft chunk of the industry that prefers to outsource its buyer marketing and lead generation to third parties, Zillow and Trulia will hum along nicely for some time to come. None of which really matters today. Because it's not a buyer's market any more. It's a seller's market.
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Brokers Losing Agent SEO Battle to Portals
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Business Strategy: Understanding Tech for Agent Adoption
Over the past 12 years, I've looked behind the curtain of many brokerages and spearheaded countless tech innovations and developments. One thing remains constant: If your agents don't see value in the technology and adopt it, your efforts and money are essentially wasted. Training and effective roll-out strategies are crucial for adoption, but there's a critical early step that is often overlooked. This step will determine whether your idea translates into a brilliant and useful tool or serves as just another bell and whistle that sounds great at conferences. You must ask: "Do your agents know they want or need this technology?" The most successful technology ideas I've seen implemented haven't come from industry blogs or innovative conference speakers. These ideas have come from within the organization, directly from the agents, and focus on helping them do MORE transactions in LESS time. Unfortunately, in many cases, the brokerage doesn't consult its sales force. You must engage your agents to evaluate their current needs, then use these findings to understand exactly what technology can help overcome these challenges. Doing so will allow your brokerage to present itself as the leader and ally in your agents' success.
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8 Secrets Every Real Estate Agent Needs to Know for a Successful 2014
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5 Questions to Ask Your Team for a Successful 2014
"The power of questions is such an important thing," says real estate coach Mike Lindstrom. "A good broker or good leader is always empowering the agent to ask those questions." With 2014 right around the corner, it's the perfect time for real estate professionals to take stock of where they want to go in the year ahead. Last week, we featured five questions from Mike Lindstrom that agents should ask to ensure a successful new year. This week, Lindstrom offers five questions that "brokers should always be challenging their agents with--constantly, throughout the year." Why are you in this business? What are your goals? What is missing? What are your shoulds? What is your identifiable niche? Lindstrom was one expert selected to provide one-on-one training sessions to the winners of the 2013 HomeFinder.com Agent Makeover Sweepstakes. For more details on these questions, read the transcript on the next page.  
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Why are MLSs surprised?
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Have You Started Planning for 2014?
With summer behind us, the New Year is approaching quickly. Make sure your office is ready for 2014 by following the tips below: Create an Annual Business Plan Having an Annual Business Plan allows you to focus on what creating primary goals and focus areas for upcoming year. A basic Annual Business Plan should have the following: A mission statement that spells out your company purpose for 2014. Goals that your office will strive to achieve (i.e., market share, new technologies) Plans for additional recruitment of agents Plans for retention of current agents A master calendar with all of the events, sessions and meetings your office is planning on. Take the business plan you've created and use it as a foundation for choosing the direction of your brokerage in 2014.
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What Every Broker Should Do Series – Set Production Standards
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More Brokers Offering More Services
WAV Group consults primarily with enterprise brokerages who offer full services. We frequently refer to full services as home services, not to be confused with the Berkshire Hathaway company of the same name. Home services refers to the variety of needs that a customer has during a real estate transaction and beyond. In residential real estate, this may take the form of Mortgage Services, Homeowner's Insurance, Title Insurance, Home Warranty. Some residential companies even offer contractor services, maintenance services, and landscaping services. Resort areas have brokers who offer concierge services where they will clean your home before and after your visit, and even do some grocery shopping before you arrive. Beyond residential real estate, there are a plethora of other product lines offered by brokerages. They include relocation services, commercial sale and leasing services, property management services, etc. All of these full service companies often operate as separate corporations or joint ventures, principally to adhere to RESPA laws. Perhaps the best way to connect these operations together is through data sharing. The more information that you can share with a partner about the needs of a common client, the better level of service that consumer will get. "An interesting caveat to this trend is that many of the MLSs in the United States and Canada have not expanded their data services to support the broker's need to handle property management data or commercial real estate lease and sales," notes WAV Group partner Marilyn Wilson. There are some who have, but most MLSs buckle under the challenges of supporting business models that are different from the residential format for offers of compensation. WAV Group firmly believes that MLSs should step up and follow paths that other MLSs have made toward offerings for residential and commercial business lines that brokers have today. It is a great way for MLSs to grow in support of their clients. Marketing technology provider Imprev released an interesting study today that confirms that more brokerages are focusing on full service, which they refer to as "one stop shopping." In a press release issued today, they note the following.
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Why Zillow and Trulia Don’t Matter Today
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Trulia to Collect More Agent Data
To optimize your online effectiveness in the real estate business, you need to think strategically. This is the kind of strategic thinking that WAV Group works with brokers and franchises on every day. When a company that does a great job at online marketing and search engine optimization focuses on a strategy like enhancing agent information, we pay attention. Typically, when Trulia, Zillow, realtor.com®, or Homes.com makes a change, it is with intent to find improvement. It's the way everyone should think. Why Agent profiles are important When consumers search, they use keywords. In our broker website effectiveness study, we learned that most consumer keyword searches that direct them to broker websites involve the company name or the agent name. A robust agent profile increases the likelihood of a consumer selecting an agent. If you have not Googled your broker name or agent name in awhile, you should do so, and look at the results. Broker Name Keyword search trends Brokerage name keywords generally display the brokerage website at the top of the list. If they are a franchise, the franchise page for the brokerage tends to follow, then it becomes a bit random from there. Yellow pages, Yelp, and a host of other sites are fighting for top slots. *The only portal that I recognized in my sampling of brokerage searches was HomeFinder.com. They build company landing pages on their site for brokerages that seem to get indexed quite well.
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Realogy has a great second quarter
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Real Estate Internet Marketing Strategies that Increase Your Competitive Advantage
Guest contributor PCMS Consulting says: Your real estate internet marketing plays an important role in your business strategy. Today's fast-paced internet and real estate website environment requires detailed planning for sales and marketing, but these plans can be daunting to create and maintain. The right real estate consulting services offer your brokerage the strategic planning and technology tools to boost efficiency and increase sales. Online marketing for the industry remains in its infancy, with most brokerages still accepting a static brochure for a website. Your competition rarely connects the dots between SEO, social media, syndication, web platforms, rapid response, lead management and CRM. However, a successful business strategy includes all these components, which should be based on internet and real estate best practices. The Internet and Real Estate Driving real estate internet traffic to your website is essential to building a successful brand online. Why spend money on a great website if you don't have a plan to get your message out to prospects? A comprehensive real estate internet strategy includes SEO and social media to build brand awareness and increase consumer engagement. Your real estate internet marketing strategy must include search engine optimization. With 90% of customers beginning their home search on the internet, there is significant opportunity for your business online. This makes your optimized website a valuable business tool. Well-executed search marketing using internet and real estate best practices will benefit your website. You'll see increased website traffic and search visibility.
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The Epidemiology of an Emerging Market
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Did You Forget About the Data?
You are buying another brokerage, you've negotiated the terms and you've finally cut the deal. The acquisition of that competitor's office is going to finally happen. Congratulations! Now you are thinking about changing the building sign; getting new business cards and yard signs for the agents; how to announce the deal; etc. This is all of the surface stuff that people see. But have you thought about the engine that runs the machine? Your technology, your back office accounting systems, your web integration to the MLS/Boards and every tool that actually makes your company run! These essential tools are often overlooked until the day after. And what you don't see is what creates challenges! Here are some things to consider: When integrating one office to a new environment, the back office systems are often not the same. And, even if the two companies are with the same technology partner, the service level or menu of products can be different and will require some advanced planning to seamlessly integrate. The MLS systems can be challenging and will also require some advanced coordination between you, the other party, your MLS, real estate boards and your technology partner. Sensitivity and confidentiality prior to your announcement are critical and you should ask your technology partner and any employees involved to sign a NDA.
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New View of Broker Social Media Strategy
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4 really wonderful words that are music to the ears of every broker I know, “I am so busy!”
This post comes to us from the PCMS Consulting blog: Maximizing profits when the market heats up. It's true, the market is coming back and after years of struggling and being in the doldrums, brokerage companies are seeing signs of real life, opportunity, and profits again. Although that is certainly great news, for many brokers there is a small catch with all this new business—their operations are out of date and inefficient. Meaning there are investments to be made in infrastructure, technology, and systems—but are now taking a back seat because things are heating up. Ironically, a year ago, those same investments were taking a back seat because brokerages did not have the money to pay for them! These structural issues caused many companies to lose profits—or worse, go out of business. While your business may be improving, the reality is these problems have not changed—and you are still losing profits! I'll tell you why: Consumers still have huge expectations regarding their experience that are not being met. This includes prompt and knowledgeable call backs, interaction through multiple communication channels such as email, phone, text, Facebook, etc.
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A new tenor to integrated solutions for brokerage
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Give Your Company a S.W.O.T!
A S.W.O.T. analysis, while not a new tool, is nonetheless a highly effective one. In fact, it has the potential to be a real game changer for real estate brokerages today. In this first installment of this three-part series, we'll outline the basic structure of a S.W.O.T. analysis. The first step of a truly effective S.W.O.T. is to first gain consensus among the key stakeholders on what the objectives of the company are. They might include things like: Improved profitability Become the dominant brokerage in your market area Grow and train a highly effective sales team Improved communications both internally and externally Update company technology Establish a positive corporate culture Failing to obtain consensus on these objectives will render a S.W.O.T. analysis less effective, at best, and a waste of time, at worst. If participants have different results in mind, then how can they arrive at one correct result?
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Bad Broker Strategy Found Everywhere
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Is the MLS In Danger?
I do not really know Alain Pinel as well as I would like to. He sold the company that bears his name and pursued other interests. He is back now and runs the Luxury division of Intero Real Estate, one of Alain Pinel Real Estate's chief competitors in San Jose, along with Coldwell Banker and others. What I do know of Alain Pinel I like and respect a lot. I have a similar level of respect for the maverick efforts of Intero, who used passion combined with technology (AgentAchieve) to launch a powerful brokerage in a very competitive marketplace. In a blog post today, Alain Pinel asked – Is the MLS in Danger? He says: There are signs suggesting that the MLS is going through some mid-life crisis. [Non MLS transactions are] depriving most local REALTORS® of the ability to objectively judge values and trends. Listing agents who bring only a few of their peers in the loop, can nevertheless achieve the objective: the sale. They may even argue that the fact that they cooperate with only a few creates some urgency among the select group. We must respect the seller's decision to withhold a listing from the MLS. [The MLS] has its own agenda. You may wonder if the tail (the MLS) is not wagging the dog (the Broker). One thing is sure; the tail (The MLS) is now bigger than the dog (the Broker). Many brokers think that the MLS is now eating their soup, somewhat competing with their business, and too zealous regarding new constraining rules. MLSs which offer all their members a vast menu of state-of-the-art apps which compete with similar services that the finest companies created, at great cost, to differentiate themselves from other brokers. More and more syndicated sites and real estate related service providers, which feed off of the MLS, progressively divert the consumer from our sites to theirs and capture value-pieces of our business.
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Is Your Brokerage Playing Out Its "Aggro" Strategic Intent?
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Create Your Success Blueprint
In order to realize your dream, you must build a blueprint for success. How do you build a blueprint? You must have a crystal clear vision of what you want your business to be. The more powerful your vision is, the better chance you will achieve it. For example, If you wish to make $500,000 through real estate marketing, you have to plan each day so that you're working on the things that make you the most money. Develop your ideal client, then come up with a mission to reach that client.
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7 Business and Strategic Planning Tips for the Year Ahead
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Broker Profitability POD concept
This may be the real future of real estate brokerage. You will need to endure a series of short product stories to understand the POD concept for real estate brokerage. The coffee industry hit a home run with coffee pods. As it turns out, consumers would be happy to pay more for coffee if they do not need to deal with filters, scoops, and cans. The coffee pod industry was able to sell less coffee for a higher price by offering convenience. The pod revolution did not end with coffee. The rather smart dudes and dudettes at P&G took one look at the coffee pods and deduced that they have powered stuff that consumers would like podded up too. They released dishwasher soap pods. The same effect took place. They found that consumers hated managing boxes of powder or gooey liquid soap. They put the soap into pods and were able to sell less soap at a higher price by offering convenience. P&G was so overjoyed, that they sought out pods for everything. Next up on their list was Tide Detergent. If you have ever had to go to a laundry spot to wash your laundry, you know how painful it is to carry around that big box of Tide. P&G put Tide into pods and were able to sell less Tide for a higher price by offering convenience. There is a pod thesis for real estate, but it has not been executed yet. It is a customer for life strategy where the real estate brokerage manages everything for the consumer. Imagine fractional ownership for homes, only you own the entire house. The consumer just writes a check every month. The broker handles everything including maintenance, mortgage, insurance, everything.
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The Role of Mortgage on Broker Dollar
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Technology Tools Used by Great Office Managers
All too frequently, companies focus on broker tools or agent tools, losing sight of the tools used by great managers. Brokers who truly understand the value of office managers dedicate resources to deliver manager tools that drive company success and agent productivity. These tools fold into three categories: Market Analysis, Sales Analysis, and Agent Effectiveness. Market Analysis Tools Market Analysis involves using tools like Terradatum Broker Matrix or Trendgraphix. These tools give office managers access to two specific measurements that are key to success: Competitor Sales Volume and Agent Sales Volume, relative to market pace. The first is a competitive overview of competitor sales volume vs. office sales volume. Managers can compare their office productivity relative to competition in the market to understand pace. Pace is a different measurement than market share, and is more important. Your office will always grow or shrink in sales volume relative to real estate cycles. Pace is the measurement of growth vs. competitive growth. If your office is up 22%, you may be excited. But if competitive offices are up 28% in the same market, you are losing pace. Likewise, an excellent manager may have a 10% loss in sales, but if competitors lost 15%, that manager's office has outpaced competitors by 5%. Sometimes, even when you are losing, you win.
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Searching For Your Online Marketing Strategy
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Data Only Brokers
There are lots of brokers who subscribe to MLS services. They are called participants, and as participants, they are provided data rights beyond agents, and way beyond vendors or third parties. Moreover, participants are the nucleus of reciprocal offers of compensation, an agreement that if one broker represents a willing buyer and the other broker represents a willing seller, they will share compensation. There is a new brokerage model that has entered the MLS sphere, and I am not sure if it is a good thing or a bad thing. I will call this type of brokerage a "Data Only Broker" or DOB. These DOBs truly are licensed brokers under state law. They join the MLS conforming to policy. They pay dues. They typically do not have agents. You see, a DOB does not intend to list homes for sale, or show homes to buyers. They are simply in it for the data rights and possibly referral fees. Many of these brokers can make plenty of revenue with data, especially if they scale nationally. DOBs see themselves as mavericks of the digital frontier. They breathe the spirit of virtual brokerage, virtual office, consumer self service, digital transactions. I think that Brad Inman is calling this the "Latte of Real Estate" for his upcoming NYC conference. Inman has developed a thesis that buying or selling a home should be as simple as buying or selling a latte. After all, there is a lot of technology behind the latte – bean growers, bean toasters, transportation logistics, customs, FDA requirements, restaurant licensing, health inspections, labor laws, service solutions, commerce, and the ever-present espresso machine. Despite all of this complexity, if you wait in line at Starbucks for about 15 minutes, you walk out with a delicious latte. Brad is correct. Using the right technology, a consumer can purchase a home online.
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Build a Business Plan... Build a Business Plan... Build a Business Plan!
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A Broker’s Dozen: 13 Productive Culture Trends - Part 1
Are you caught in an endless cycle of putting out fires, quelling arguments, dealing with difficult agents, and financial survival every month? After years of consultation work with brokerages, I'm convinced that the goal should be one oriented to solution-finding for increasing productivity and decreasing stress. The following list is a compilation of real world observations of trends that are, I believe, counterproductive to a positive and growing culture. Once you know the issue, correction and improvement isn't far behind. 1. Not switching from building their own sales business to building a company. Often top salespersons strike out on their own when they hit a "critical" mass in their production. Financially, it may make sense to establish their own office and identity in the marketplace. Initially, these top salespersons must continue to sell in order to afford the expenses that coincide with business ownership. What occurs, however, is that over time many will not relinquish or scale back on their personal sales in order to concentrate on building up their licensees to replace the income they once earned. Consequently, a double workload is laid upon the owner/producer's shoulders--keeping their own sales production at a high level and stressing out at not being available to handle inner office issues.
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What is the Gateway to Market Level Profitability for Real Estate Brokerages?
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Monday Morning Mobile: Google Changes = Broker Opportunity
Last week I had the good fortune to attend RISMedia's Real Estate CEO Exchange and, as always, their team led by John Featherston put together an absolutely phenomenal event! From start to finish, the day-and-a-half agenda kept all those in attendance fully engaged, offering countless insights and takeaways from industry leaders. Among the many great sessions, one in particular left the biggest impression, as it relates to today's mobile technology, which we focus on here at Monday Morning Mobile. John Lim, President and CEO of Mobile Real Estate ID, LLC, fresh off a twenty city Google "Adsense in Your City" tour, shared the details and corresponding opportunities that are being created for brokers right now due to changes taking place with Google mobile. Google, who essentially controls the consumer search experience, has made a major change in the way in which search results are presented on your desktop compared to your mobile device. Now, on mobile, local results are of much greater importance than they have ever been. For example, if you were to search for "homes for sale Tarrytown, NY" on your mobile device, you will see one paid ad--the top organic result--and then results for local real estate firms in Tarrytown listed through Google Places.
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What's the social media strategy for your brokerage?
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The NAR Power Broker Roundtable: Search Engine Optimization: the Need, the Quest and the Payoff
The Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS® and Rei Mesa, NAR's Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations. Watch for this column each month, where we address broker issues, concerns and milestones. Moderator: Rei Mesa, Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations, NAR, and President/CEO, Prudential Florida Real Estate Services Participants: Jennifer Marchetti, VP, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate, Parsippany, N.J. Helen Hanna Casey, President, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Pittsburgh, Pa. Chris Kelly, Gen. Counsel, Reece & Nichols Real Estate, Kansas City, Mo. Rei Mesa: According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR's) 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 35 percent of all buyers and 40 percent of repeat buyers are starting their home search online. That's approximately double the number of those who begin the search by contacting an agent. The big question is: when consumers do search online, what brokerages pop up first? In this new age of search engine optimization (SEO), how can you tell how well your efforts in that direction are paying off in hits—or closed business? Jennifer, you specialize in Internet marketing strategies for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. How important is it today? Jennifer Marchetti: You might compare it to how important it is to have prime shelf space at the supermarket. Unless committed to a certain brand, the average consumer will reach for the box at eye level. So getting your brand out where the customer will see it first can be critical.
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Defense of Commissions
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Three Traits of Every Rock Star Real Estate Agent
It's certainly been a rough few years for the real estate industry. In most cases, there are fewer deals happening, and those which do close, sell for significantly less. Given this, agents need every advantage they can find to stay ahead of their competition and provide each and every customer with the best experience possible. Happy clients (and the referrals from them), after all, are what fill the bulk of agents' pipelines. Agents are feeling pressure from both a soft market and from the ever-shifting demands of consumers clamoring for reduced hassle in their transaction, which nowadays includes a completely electronic environment. It's this shift in the industry that requires agents to take a different approach to their business and adopt the traits of those who are truly "rock stars." Here are three ways the most successful agents have adapted to the ever-changing industry and market: 1. Client Convenience. It's a fact: Inefficiency and time kills deals. Agents need to adopt technology that solves real problems, instead of relying on tools (or multiple tools) that solve a portion of the problem or a portion of a business process. Look for a solution that solves an entire business process. Buyers and sellers — especially the younger generation — expect to do most of their negotiating, amending and signing online. This client expectation is what should drive implementation of technology, making everyone's lives easier, including that of the agent.
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Edina Realty and Broker Syndication Choices
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