For the seventh straight year, the National Association of REALTORS® Young Professionals Network members from across North America gathered during the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo on May 16 at the The Park at 14th in Washington, D.C. REALTORS® make the trip each year to take part in legislative activities and advocate for the real estate industry, public policy, and the association. They also participate in special issues forums, committee meetings, and networking events like this one. Making in-person connections is an important part of YPN, and about 200 members attended this year’s event. Read REALTOR® Magazine’s coverage from #NARLegislative:
- The Word From D.C.: Foundation
- The Word From D.C.: Tax Reform
- The Word From D.C.: Cybersecurity
- The Word From D.C.: CFPB Restructuring
Photos by Noah Hayes, ©2017 noahhayesphoto.com
By Ryan Fitzgerald
There are many great ways to build a real estate business. One way, is to start small and focus your efforts on hyperlocal neighborhoods or smaller cities. Here’s what I mean:
Whether you’re just starting out in real estate or you’ve been an agent for a long time, a focus on smaller, less competitive markets can be one of the best things you do for your real estate business.
It’s natural for agents to start fishing in the largest pond, or focus their attention on the most lucrative areas. Some will even want to do things just for the attention or the fame, and completely lose sight of what matters: results.
If you are chasing after the biggest fish in the sea, you are competing against many other agents to find them. If you can focus your marketing on a smaller, less competitive pond, you may have an easier time landing clients with less competition. We recently shifted our business direction to focus on these smaller ponds.
Many agents in my area of North Carolina are focused on Raleigh or Cary, as they are the two most desirable real estate markets. Not nearly as many are paying attention to the homes for sale in Garner, N.C. Garner isn’t as big as Raleigh or Cary (combined population of 650,000 vs. 28,000) and the homes aren’t as desirable or priced as high. The area is still growing, and fast!
This creates significant opportunity for someone who is paying attention. You can try to attack the bigger cities of Raleigh and Cary, while competing against thousands and thousands of other real estate professionals, or you can try to attack a smaller market like Garner and compete against a much smaller pool of agents.
No matter what market you work in, there is a good chance there’s an area or smaller city many people are overlooking. Even if it’s as small as a neighborhood, as long as you focus your attention there, you’ll have a much easier time being the local expert.
Another great market to target is one where the growth is happening. If the city is building infrastructure (schools, highways, parks, commercial developments, etc.) than you know that it’s an area worth considering focusing on.
In Raleigh, there are several areas exploding with growth. Cities like Clayton and Holly Springs have both shown big population increases in terms of percentage. Holly Springs has more than doubled in population over the last ten years and this trend is not expected to slow down anytime soon.
Some agents who live in the town of Holly Springs are focused on hyperlocal neighborhoods inside the town and they are crushing it! They have turned themselves into the neighborhood experts, so whenever anyone needs to sell (and sometimes to sell and buy) they are calling the neighborhood expert.
Predicting the Future
New construction neighborhoods are great targets.
Once a neighborhood is five to seven years old, there is a great chance the listings there will begin to pick up. The average homeowner spends five to seven years in their home before selling.
One of the best ways to become the neighborhood expert is to either start a Facebook group connecting the community, or to join a group and be constantly posting helpful information that’s town related or real estate related. If it’s a new construction community, they need someone to be a voice for the neighborhood.
It’s not going to happen overnight. Through consistent efforts, you will soon become the expert much faster than you would in a larger market.
Once you become the local expert in a smaller market, you will make some truly great money selling homes…and it’s far easier than fishing in the bigger pond.
By Lee Davenport
Excerpt from “Profit with Your Personality“
I detest seeing tags in t-shirts that say, “one size fits all” because that one size never does. Whether the shirt hugs you like a baby’s onesie or drapes over you like a potato sack or Snuggie® Blanket, it is just not a fit for everyone. Similarly, mislabeled t-shirts are like our careers in residential real estate sales — different strokes are needed for different folks. Here is the shocker:
There is no one DiSC personality type that cannot succeed in residential real estate sales.
Did that make your brain go tilt? If you are like me, you have probably heard that only particular types of personality will do well in sales, whether real estate or otherwise. For those of us who are more reserved, we have likely acquiesced to that notion because doing the cold lead generation tactics (using outbound activities like cold calling and door knocking) have made us feel like the round peg being stuffed and banged into a square hole by an impatient kindergartner. It is uncomfortable, to say the least!
Business practitioners, including real estate firm managers, frequently use the DiSC personality assessment to size up its sales force due to its ease of use and four simple dimensions. DiSC profiles simply categorize the spectrum of our behaviors based on four prominent measures:
• Dominant (outgoing and task-oriented)
• Influencer (outgoing and people-oriented)
• Steady (introverted and people-oriented)
• Conscientious (introverted and task-oriented)
Among some companies, a prospective salesperson’s predominant DISC personality type is relied upon to determine her overall aptness for a residential real estate sales career.
What We Say:
The RIGHT Salesperson Personality
However, in my scholarly literature review of this topic, no significant correlation has been established between a salesperson’s ultimate sales success and her preeminent DiSC personality profile. Before you write a rebuttal, think about it this way: As managers, I have observed that we typically do not actually link a salesperson’s personality profile to their ultimate sales success either. Rather, we associate a salesperson’s personality with certain lead generation methods, particularly the methods we favor or the methods most used by our firm’s sales team.
For example, we likely assess that someone who is reserved will have a hard time cold-calling (a method) while someone who is outgoing and task-oriented, like the Dominant personality profile, will not. And, if we prefer our sales team to do cold-calling, we will more likely hire the Dominant person and dismiss the more introverted person. In essence, we have determined that the salesperson will not succeed with our customary lead generation methods. There is nothing wrong with that. But then we or the salesperson takes an unconnected leap, concluding the salesperson is completely unfit for real estate sales altogether. Unfortunately, a salesperson’s success (or lack there of) with certain methods were confused with the salesperson’s overall ability to succeed in sales. We must separate lead generation methods from overall ability. Here is why.
Top Producer Best Practices
I recently conducted a university-based study that polled a portion of the top 1,000 residential real estate salespeople in the United States. This study found:
“Top-producing residential real estate salespeople may have a prominent personality type stemming from any of the four DiSC profiles; no one or two personality types are core or crucial among sales professionals.”
That means that “Chatty Cathy,” typically seen as the Influencer personality style, is not the only type of top producer who can thrive in residential real estate sales. Real estate sales is not exclusive to the extroverted. This research proved that those of the more introverted natures (e.g. Steady and Conscientious) have achieved nationally-recognized sales success too, which is no small feat in an industry of more than 1 million professionals.
What Research Suggests:
The RIGHT Lead-Gen. Activities
This is ground-breaking research that should help you breathe a sigh of relief. Why? The results prove you do not have to take on a fake persona in residential real estate sales because this career field is not exclusive to one or two personality types (as defined by DiSC). Your personality is not detestable in sales. One size does not fit all. There are lead generation methods that likely fit you uniquely. In my book, Profit with Your Personality, get ready to find out what they are.
• What sales limitations have been presented to you based on your personality, whether you are introverted or extroverted?
• How has the information from this chapter excerpt helped you?
• What is your most prominent DISC personality type? Bonus: Visit www.LearnWithLee.REALTOR and search “Profit with Your Personality” to take a complimentary quiz to find out.
I would love to hear from you. Give me a shout on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+, or by visiting LearnWithLee.Realtor. Want more of the best practices from our nation’s top producers? Grab your copy of the short read, Profit with Your Personality. And, be sure to tell the real estate agents you know to get a copy of the 5-star rated workbook, Plan to Win!, to transform their real estate sales game plan. Here’s to your success.
Dr. Lee Davenport is an Atlanta-based real estate coach who trains agents, teams, brokerages, and other business organizations on how to use today’s technology to work smarter. Join Lee’s free RE Tech Insider’s Club by visiting www.LearnWithLee.REALTOR.
You and your peers are busy this time of year. If you’re looking for ways to keep attendance and participation up in your local YPN, here are some ideas for creating fun, educational, and meaningful events.
1. The spring market is on fire…but that can come with questions and concerns. Take a cue from the Greater Philadelphia Association of REALTORS® YPN and host a forum covering current market trends and insights for real estate pros in your area.
— Samar Jha (@legallyshot) April 4, 2017
2. Get into the nitty gritty. Assemble an event focused on a specific business topic, such as the Pensacola Association of REALTORS® YPN’s recent sellers panel.
— Pensacola REALTORS® (@pnsREALTORS) March 31, 2017
3. Pitch a new networking idea. Baseball season is back in full swing. The Lake & Geauga Area Association of REALTORS® in Ohio recently hosted a viewing party.
4. Get appy with it. Appy Hours are always a solid way to share business ideas and opinions on the latest and greatest mobile apps. Look how much fun the folks in the Greater San Antonio YPN are having.
— Greater SA YPN (@YPNSA) March 28, 2017
5. Make advocacy your YPN’s priority. Many REALTOR® associations and YPN groups coordinate state legislature visits in the spring to advocate for real estate and homeownership issues — the Portland Metro Association of REALTORS® is just one examples. Make sure your network is on board, or set date on your calendar.
— PMAR YPN (@PMARYPN) March 16, 2017
By Anita Clark
People visit your website for one of two reasons:
1. They might be looking for an agent. If that is the case, they are already half sold. As long as your website looks professional, shows you as credible, and makes it easy to contact you, you have a new client.
2. They might be coming to your website for information. They might want to learn about things like:
- buying tips
- selling tips
- real estate trends
- what they can afford
- home searches
How you present that information will make a big difference in whether they will contact you when they are ready to buy or sell. The information has to be both credible and accessible. If your visitors do not feel like they received what they need, you will not convert them to clients, even if you published all the right information.
Here are 5 metrics for information content, and how they are applicable and important for real estate websites:
Of these, readability is the easiest to measure. “Readability” is an algorithm that measures how much effort a reader has to put into reading your text. Although there are several scales, Flesch-Kincaid is the most well-known.
Write to a Grade 6-8 level. Why so low? Most of your clients have at least a high school education, right? They can read much better than that. True, they can read beyond Grade 8, but studies show that they will not.
Yes, if I have to read a medical journal, I can. But if I do not have to, I will not make the effort. Studies show that I will do a subconscious cost-benefit analysis, and probably leave a page that feels tough to read. I will look somewhere else, like on one of your competitors websites.
Bottom line: the easier your page is to read, the better it will convert.
How can you improve readability?
- shorter sentences
- shorter paragraphs
- simpler words (buy a house, not purchase a domicile)
- active voice rather than passive voice (subject – verb – object)
Feed your visitors easy info, and you will keep them on your pages until they are ready to seek an agent.
This is a simpler concept even than readability. People look at your web page, and before even trying to read, they do that subconscious cost-benefit analysis. Your page looks either easy and inviting, or tough and challenging.
A page with many large paragraphs, called “blocks of text”, actually repels readers. Many will just hit the back button before even trying to read.
In general, people do not read web pages. They scan. They might stop at parts they want to read if they seek specific information, but the pages need to be easy to scan. This becomes even more important on mobile devices with small screens.
How can you improve scanability?
- shorter sentences
- shorter paragraphs
- bullet lists wherever possible
- break up text with images
Make it easy for people to quickly do that subconscious cost-benefit analysis and decide to read.
Once people start reading, you want them to nod their heads. “I understand.” You do not want them scratching their heads, wondering what you mean. Test your text on a friend who is unfamiliar with the topic (not another agent). Ask if there is anything not clear.
If your text is confusing, the reader is likely to leave without hiring you. All you have to sell is your credibility. If the impression you leave is that you confuse people, that will not sell you well.
How can you improve clarity?
- common words
- shorter sentences
- shorter paragraphs
- bullet lists wherever possible
- specific words to describe things
- active voice rather than passive voice (subject – verb – object)
This is a tricky one. Of course, you want to make sure that you do not say something incorrect. But once you start talking about complex things, such as amortization rates or liens, you can actually confuse people by being completely accurate.
How can you improve accuracy?
- Provide more detail for specialists, like lawyers and bankers.
- Remove details that will confuse clients, when writing for the public.
Incredibly, accuracy and clarity depend on the audience. What is more accurate to a banker or lawyer might be less accurate to a client. What is more accurate to your readers might be less accurate to a banker or lawyer. Write for your audience.
Least important or most important, depending on your viewpoint, is findability. When people search for information online, will they find you?
It is worth thinking about what words people will use to find your information. Front load these as much as possible in your headings and in your paragraphs. Do not stilt your writing so that it sounds unnatural, but include these terms when it sounds right.
How can you improve findability?
- Use words people use.
- Think of what terms people would use when searching for your information.
- Put those words in headings.
- Use those words in the text where it makes sense.
- Front load those words when possible in headings and paragraphs.
In addition to improving your search engine rankings, these words on your pages will give readers a sense of continuity. They searched for “spring staging tips”, they clicked on a link, and they see the words “spring staging tips” a few times on the page. That gives them confidence that they have landed on the right page, that they will find what they want on your website.
How you write counts. Write content that is easy to find, easy to view, easy to read and easy to understand. Make people feel like they received what they came for, and they will be much more likely to hire you to buy or sell their home.
Anita Clark is a residential real estate agent with Coldwell Banker SSK, REALTORS®, in Houston County, Ga. She is from Coventry, England, is a retired military spouse, and has been assisting buyers, investors, and sellers in middle Georgia since 2007. Connect with Anita on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or on her Warner Robins Real Estate Blog.
By Alexis Craig
My family hates playing board games with me. I’m really competitive. They like to say, “It’s just for fun,” but I’m not buying any of it. I play to win.
That mindset is present in every aspect of my life, especially real estate. I have this obsession with becoming the best — with developing unapologetic mastery in the real estate industry. Ambitious? Yep, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.
As a result, one of my favorite things to do is to pull back the veil of top real estate agents and SHOW you how to compete with them. Today, I’m going to show some of the strategies I’ve used to compete with top agents. They work even if you’re brand new. Let’s dive in.
Stop Looking For The Magic Bullet
It’s not your fault. Our industry is plagued with marketers who understand the power of a magic bullet. That’s why we see headlines like, “THE NUMBER ONE MARKETING TACTIC YOU MUST DO!!!!”
Barf. I get these calls every single day. People promise to catapult my business by managing my social media, handling my SEO, or writing articles for me.
A lot of agents claim they want to be successful. They reach out to top agents and ask, “How do I become a top agent? Tell me the SECRET?” The truth is that there isn’t a secret. A ton of agents release content telling you EXACTLY how to do what they did.
But as soon as people find out a top agent had to make 35 cold calls every single day for a year or produced an article every single week for two years, they immediately make excuses.
- “Oh, I could NEVER do that. I don’t have time.”
- “I don’t know how to write. I failed English class.”
- “You don’t understand. I have a family. Who could work that much?”
What do you honestly think top agents are going to say? “Oh well, it came down to this one social media post that I made?” Agents get extraordinary results from extraordinary actions.
We think there must be some secret because we’re looking for a magic bullet. But there isn’t one. There is NO MAGIC BULLET.
When you’re the same, you get drowned out. And when a homeowner can’t see the difference between you and the Joe down the hall — who always has mustard stains on his shirt — they make their decision on price or number of homes sold.
You aren’t going to be able to compete against top agents by being the same as everyone else. Find a way to be unique and different in a way that your market loves.
To separate myself from every agent, I send all qualified leads a surprise package in the mail that includes information and a gourmet cookie. The package costs me about $12 to mail. At best, my competitors are sending thank-you cards.
Ask yourself, “How can I stand out in a way that makes me the clear winner?” A majority of the time it comes down to better follow up, better marketed services, being relatable, or building deeper relationships.
Start Small and Pick a Niche
The biggest mistake I made when I started real estate was trying to do too much too soon. I see agents take out Zillow ads, cold call every expired listing and FSBO, take out ads in publications, and attend every networking event.
Yes, you need to work hard and do a lot. But you also need to target your efforts. With limited time and money, you need to target a specific group of people.
You can drive all of your time and money into this group. Quickly becoming a dominant player in that market. You can beat out top agents who are spending their money across different groups.
Let me give you an example. One of the groups I targeted early on were foster parents. As a foster parent myself, I could easily reach this market. I went to support groups, a lot of my friends are foster parents, etc.
This was a market that few real estate agents could touch because they aren’t a foster parent and don’t understand the first thing about fostering.
Here’s a simple method I use to force other agents into picking a niche:
[Criteria 1] + [Criteria 2] who need to sell (or buy) a home.
- Newlyweds in Grand Ledge who need to buy a home.
- FSBOs whose homes are above $300,000 who need to sell a home.
- First-time homebuyers with established credit score above 700 who need to buy a home.
The niche you pick should be a market you can serve. As a woman who got married at 18, I don’t have much in common with a 30 year-old bachelor. In fact, I try to structure my business to repel that market.
While I can’t say I don’t work with these people, I can control how much of those people come into my business by choosing NOT to market my services in certain media, the language I use, the services we offer, and the images on our websites.
Competing against top agents isn’t about finding a magic bullet. It’s putting in the consistent results. I know it’s not what most of us want to hear. That’s fine. But for those of who want to take action and are willing to put in the work, then I’ve created a cheat sheet for you that will help you pick your market.
The cheat sheet includes exact steps for finding a niche market so that you can compete against the top dogs. Learn how to target by qualities that are important to you and work with the type of customers you want. Get the FREE cheat sheet today.