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?

Don't Say The World Can't Be Blown Up . . .

If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can’t be done.  ~Peter Ustinov 1921 – 2004

I love this quote. If you have a dream – go forward. Do not listen to others that tell you it can’t be done. If everyone listened to others we wouldn’t have the light bulb, the telephone, the PC, the internet, the automobile, etc.

Have a Happy New Year and work to fulfill your dreams in 2011.

Multi-Taskers Have Lower IQ's Than Pot Smokers

Yep.

It’s true.

Don’t believe me?  There’s even a study to prove it.

There is a great coffee mug that reads: “Multi-tasking, the best way to screw up both jobs.” Yet, many of us walk around with our chests out looking for a Foursquare badge for our multitasking promiscuity.
~ Erik Qualmann

Yes!  Who of you can relate to this?  “To be more successful means you are better at multi-tasking”.

Yeah . . NOT.

…the human mind cannot, in fact, multi-task without drastically reducing the quality of our processing. Brain activation for listening is cut in half if the person is trying to process visual input at the same time.”

“A study at The British Institute of Psychiatry showed that checking your email while performing another creative task decreases your IQ in the moment 10 points. That is the equivalent of not sleeping for 36 hours – more than twice the impact of smoking marijuana.”  ~ Josh Waitzkin

In short?  Turn off the computer, turn off the smart phone, give yourself to permission DAILY to get productive work done.

No, you do not need to answer your phone every time it rings, I don’t care what some agents in the industry say, being available 24/7 is not a benefit, it’s a detriment, for your clients.

Work during holidays / Relaxing during holidays – which is a better indicator of success?

Whether working during the holidays or relaxing during the holidays, which one is a better indicator of success?

Neither.

Relaxing is not an indication of lack of work.  Working is not an indication of abundance of work.

Being busy during the holidays is a choice to work during this time, in which case I wonder – what are your priorities and do you have a business equipped to run without you involved in it on a minute-by-minute or day-by-day basis.

Relaxing during the holidays is a choice to not work during this time, in which case I wonder – did you mentally decide it’s slow, that people aren’t moving right now so you might as well wait until after the holidays to work again?

If you are working, did you make a choice to work during this holiday season so that you can take time off at an already scheduled and planned later date?

If you are relaxing, did you make a choice and work your business accordingly to take this time off now?  Is your business still functioning and running with you there?  Are you still producing revenue while you are relaxing?

What matters are the choices you have made and if they are fulfilling your goals.  Make either one your focus (work or relax) and do not feel guilty for your choice.  Just make sure that it is a choice, not a default or defeat result of your business dictating to you.