Archives: January 2011

The Brand Debate – is there really any question?

SKE Realty Group: The Brand Debate

How much does brand matter?  Will a national real estate brokerage brand help your business?  The truth comes from the consumer – in national survey’s and polls, brand does not matter.

As a real estate agent, don’t get caught up in believing that the consumer cares about your brokerage brand – they don’t.  They care about YOU.

Create your own brand.  Create your own business

Stop promising crap – start delivering value

Have you ever heard of the term “under promise and over deliver”?

If so, STOP PROMISING CRAP YOU CAN’T DELIVER ON!

Yeah, it’s that simple.

I see SO many agents & brokers “starting” real estate blogs – and they all start the same: putting up a post explaining what the blog is, what it’s going to have, questions they’ll answer, how often they’ll be doing the blog, etc.

They put forth an expectation of what they will be delivering (with no proof of delivery).

Give them a month.

Heck, give them a week.

They’ll fail the expectation they’ve tried to set for the consumer.

Not only that, no consumer gives a rats butt about what the person “says” they are going to do – the consumer cares only about what you’ve already done.

Stop promising crap – start delivering value.

Designations, Certifications & the "Referral" myth

For the “pushers” of designations and certifications, I always hear this statement “I do/did it for the referrals”.

Really?

Tell me, how many documented, closed, referrals from your designation network did you get in the past 12 months because you have your XYZ  designation (documented, not gut feeling)?

My point?  Don’t pursue designations just because the promoters of the designation say people with XYZ designation earn more or people with XYZ designation get more referrals.  They are selling you the designation!!

Pursue the designation that will help you implement something within your business that will help you serve your clients better.

Your broker should have the knowledge to help you make that choice, after all, your broker has met with you multiple times and knows what your vision is for your business, right?

Education v. Training – which would you rather be involved in?

There’s a lot to be said for people who love learning.  For one thing, they tend to have higher IQ’s.

Do higher IQ’s translate into business success?

Which would you rather be involved in – Real Estate Education (designations, certifications, continuing education, etc) or Real Training (webinars, non-continuing ed sessions, how-to sessions, etc)?

Here’s food for thought from our business coach Darin Persinger with Productivity Junkies and a paraphrased story he tells . . .

Visualize this:

Your child brings home 2 permission slips from school one day.

One is for sex education, the other is for sex training.

Which permission slip are you going to sign?

Is your broker encouraging you to go to every type of education and/or training available?  If they are, why?

Is it about getting designations or certifications?

Does your broker know what you want out of your business (and life) enough to advise you as to the best direction in training you should be attending or which designations you should be pursuing?  If not, why not?

Has your broker asked you about your vision and core values?

Thoughts to ponder . . . Questions to consider . . .

Step away from 'social networking' and your business will explode . . .

too many real estate social networking sitesIs anyone else just plain tired of all of the ‘social networking’ sites out there? Let’s just say that they are being created faster than babies are being born. Ok, that’s not true, but good grief, there’s a new site practically every week. FromActive Rain to My Space to Facebook to Real Estate World, it’s a massive grab to be ‘the‘ site. The problem is, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with it all.

Oh yes, there is definite value to being a REALTOR® that’s ahead of the curve when it comes to technology. The key is, what’s simply cutting edge and what’s insanity? I watch agents all over the country picking up every single piece of new technology, spending hours upon hours upon hours of their time creating profiles on social networking sites and writing posts and content for all sorts of websites include LocalismTruliaZillowRealtor.com, etc. I wonder, are they actually building and running a business or are they spinning their wheels?  Where is their brand? Where is their business?

Some may come forward and say 80% or 90% or 100% of my business was from these various sites – but when you ask them to show you what business they did, they won’t say. Sure, it’s easy to say that 100% of your business comes from spending hours upon hours playing on the internet when you sold precisely 4 or 6 or 8 homes. The more business that agents do, the lower the % of it came initially and directly from the internet. No, I don’t have a verifiable stat to back it up, but I do have personal experience and relationships with agents across the country that have a solid business in real estate. What’s a solid business? Selling at least 50+ homes a year (no matter what “type of market” we are in).

I find it exhausting even thinking about trying to keep up with all of these websites, yet a part of me keeps thinking I have to. I think I’ve finally come to my senses – no, I don’t have to. I need to keep building our business, building our brand, and not work on building some other websites business or brand. Oh yes, I fully see the potential benefits in doing so – with ActiveRain the google juice is phenomenal (if you pay for their monthly service), but I won’t be running like mad trying to be on everything. The very few additional closings we may get from participating in every single other website simply isn’t worth it. As with all things, you have to consider your ROI. I get a phenomenally better ROI utilizing that crazy little thing called direct mail (combined with our websites and our blogs), then I get spending 40 hours a week broadcasting myself all over the internet. Yes, I may get some fame amongst my colleagues, I may even get to speak at an event. Do these things bring me the business I desire?  Maybe, maybe not.

The key? Our internet world reinforces our business, but isn’t the major force in being a single source for our business. It builds our credibility and without it, the other 85% of our clients that do use us, may never have used us without our internet presence.  It’s a spoke in the wheel, not the wheel itself.

Everyone needs to stop trying to keep up with the “Joneses” on the internet. We all need to step back, focus on our business plans. We need to focus our marketing plans to achieve our business plan. Scattering yourself all over tarnation in an unfocused pattern isn’t going to achieve you anything. Focus what you do based upon your goals. Are your goals the same as your colleagues? Be careful with that. Build your dream, not someone else’s.

What tech tools do you "REALLY" need for your business?

Getting overwhelmed by all of the blabber about the tools you need? Not sure if you should have the iphone, droid, ipad, mac or pc, flip, kodak, etal?

We Realtors are known for dropping buckets of money on all of the latest gadgets and accessories because we hear from “experts” left and right what we should have and should be using.  We fear being left behind.  We fear being out of the loop.  We fear that if we don’t buy or use that gadget, we’ll be out of business before we know it.

Well, in some cases, our fear is good and healthy.  However, in most cases, we just need to plug our ears, shut our eyes and sing really loud.

Ok, you might get some weird looks with that one so do it figuratively.

Recently, a Realtor friend asked me if he should keep the ipad his wife bought him.  Would he really use it for his business?

For him, the answer was . . . No he shouldn’t keep it and no he won’t use it.

Let’s assess this:

  1. He’s a listing agent, not a buyer’s agent.  He won’t be driving around showing buyers property (and therefore has no need to access the MLS from the ipad).
  2. He lives in Idaho where the Trulia and Zillow apps do not work (we are a non-disclosure state so solds are confidential and this frustrates Trulia and Zillow and royally screws up their data).
  3. His seller base is banks – he’s an REO specialist.  In other words, he doesn’t meet with his sellers in person, it’s all long distance.
  4. He also doesn’t do any open houses.
  5. He also doesn’t travel for business (no need for the long battery time and 3G).
  6. He already had a laptop, netbook (which he rarely used) and a droid.  Did he really need or should he need the ipad?

While the ipad is a really cool device to have and play with – it’s just not a tech tool that you need to ‘stay ahead’ of the curve, to be ‘tech savvy’, to be in business in a year.

My overwhelming point with this is: assess your business, assess your actions.  Pick the tool that is the most logical for the way YOU do business.

What did 2010 look like for you? Did you work harder, more hours?

Valuable information, nitty gritty, to the point.

Shared by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan in a recent webinar.

Data source: 8 weeks of work by Top Producers in a very shifted market

Conversion ratios:

  • Contacts to Leads = 60%
  • Leads to Listings = 24%
  • Leads to Buyer Agreements = 26%
  • Listings/Agreements to Sales Contracts = 35%
  • Contracts to Closing = 57%

Their conclusion 33 contacts = 1 closed sale.  They also stated that it’s gone up to around 40-45 contacts = 1 closed sale as the market has shifted even more.

Interesting food for thought.  What are your conversion ratios?  Do you track them?  If you don’t, how can you run a successful business?  The answer: you can’t.

Overwhelmed?  Exhausted?  Call me today – Christina Ethridge @ SKE Realty Group 208.769.9464 for a confidential conversation about the direction your real estate business is heading.

Myself + One Month + No Content. A Challenge. Have You Experienced Content Overload?

I’m having content overload.

What is content overload? Too much ‘information’ coming at me from various sources: blogs, magazines, videos, books, classes, etc.  It’s a case of “you need to do this”, “why haven’t you implemented this”, “the top this or that things that are essential to your business”, etc.

So much so that it is kind of paralyzing me.  I didn’t know it was doing that to me, but now I do (thanks to my business coach) and therefore, I’m taking action to change that.

I have committed to a content ‘fast’.  I’m going cold turkey.  I’m not going to allow a single bit of content to pass by my eyes or ears in the month of January.

One month.  No content.  Nothing.  No books, no magazines, no videos, no DVD’s, no TV, no newspapers, no blog reading, no articles, no talk radio, no classes, no conferences, no webinars, nothing.  Nothing business related, motivational related, personal, etc.  N.O.T.H.I.N.G.

I am making a single exception: I will be reading my bible during this time (I will not give that up).

So, from January 2nd to January 31st, anything that might be important, that might be good for me to know, is going to remain unknown.

How will I ever survive?