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July 2, 2015

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The One Minute Huggy

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 08:30

Anand Patel

By Anand Patel

Every night while tucking in my now six year old daughter for bed she asks me for a big hug. She says the hug has to be for exactly one minute. If I walk out of her bedroom forgetting to hug her, she is quick to remind me “Daddy, give me a one minute huggy!” During this “one minute” as I squeeze her tight, she squeezes back tighter while asking periodically throughout the embrace: “Is it one minute yet?” If I say no, she’ll yell, “Don’t let go then, it’s not one minute!” These one minute huggies really are no longer than 15 or 20 seconds but they means the world to my daughter.

It got me thinking about real estate…

As an industry, we spend a lot of time, effort, and money on generating leads. There is a small percentage of practitioners who actually focus on converting those potential customers, and even smaller number who intentionally spend time reaching out to stay top-of-mind with clients after the closing.

According to the 2015 NAR Member Profile, the typical REALTOR® earned 20 percent of their business from repeat clients and customers and 20 percent from referrals from past clients and customers. This means that the average member earns more than 40 percent of their business from their current and past database of customers. Many agents I talk to say that number for them is even higher than 40 percent.

So what does any of this have to do with hugs?

Once you leave the closing table, how do you keep in touch with (“hug”) your customer? Do you give them a call, periodically send a note or gift, send a video e-mail message, or drop by to say hello? Knowing the stats above, wouldn’t it be in our best interests to embrace those we have worked with? You’ll be surprised how many of your current and past customers would really appreciate a quick “one minute huggy” from you.

What are some creative ways you use to give your customers a “one minute huggy”? Would love for you to share them in the comments below!

P.S. I originally started writing this article a few months ago and just now got to completing it, but since that time my daughter has negotiated up to a five minute huggy. She drives a hard bargain!

Anand Patel is the founder and president of residential brokerage NextHome Discovery and commercial brokerage Pangea Realty Group, both based in Tampa, Fla. Connect with Anand: @anand_tampa, facebook.com/discoveryourplace, or linkedin.com/in/anandpatel1.

The Best Worst Sales Call I Ever Received

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 17:58

Charlie Allred

By Charlie Allred

Here’s the scene: I’m driving home in my car after showing houses, and my phone rings. It’s an out-of-state number, not atypical since I regularly get calls from home owners wanting to move to the Phoenix area (I have blog posts on “Moving to Phoenix,” “Move to Chandler,” and “Move to Scottsdale“). So I answer my phone and it’s a sales call. Ugh. I’m almost never rude to sales representatives calling because I’ve done my fair share of cold calls, mostly when I worked in commercial real estate.

I listened to his sales pitch. He’s trying to sell me the number one spot on Bing.com for “new homes in Chandler AZ.” I ask several questions and being polite I ask if I can call him back. He says, “No, I can’t take incoming calls,” and he’s really pushing the “I can get you the top spot on Bing for $99.” I end up hanging up after a while.

Thank goodness this sales representative called me because it gave me keywords for my next blog post. I’ve been writing more articles about Chandler, Ariz. My office is in Chandler and I’m active with the Chandler Chamber of Commerce (which is the third largest Chamber in Arizona). I often struggle to find new article ideas, so this was a great help.

Here’s what I did:

    1. I Googled “new homes in chandler AZ” to see who was on page one of Google’s results. They were all big companies, mostly home builders. So my initial thought was, I can’t beat out these big websites with a blog post.
    2. “No Video?!?” I noticed there were no YouTube posts that popped up. Google loves to add YouTube videos to the first page of its results.  Google owns YouTube, and if there are applicable videos (they have to include the keywords), they will be front-and-center in Google’s search results.
    3. I decided to make a video for the topic. First, I was a little stumped because there are tons of new homes in Chandler. How could I make a video that includes all the new homes? The list of homes for sale would be huge. Here’s the video I made: https://youtu.be/N2Iuij_z8bk

  1. I looked up the keyword volume on Google Adwords. The best long-tail keywords were “new homes in Chandler AZ.” At first I thought, “new homes Chandler AZ” would have the highest search volume, but it didn’t.
  2. My choice was to make a “Must-Know” video about buying a new home in Chandler, Ariz.  I even inserted a big warning intro image.
  3. I made the presentation in my Google Drive. I just inserted some photos and text (see right).
  4. My plan was to record myself talking while I flip through the presentation.  I thought about adding music, which is what I do in my Genius Home Videos. But this topic is very important, so I thought I should add a voice-over even though I don’t love my voice in videos. I tend to get a little overly excited.
  5. Lastly, I wrote a blog with the same information. This way I could link to the blog post from the YouTube video, which drives more potential clients to my website. At my site, the potential client can get valuable information on homes in Chandler and learn more about me.

This is the first time I’ve ever used a sales call to push my online marketing. I am sometimes stumped by what to write about on my blog, mostly because I have tons of posts on my blog already. How many times can you talk about Scottsdale homes or Chandler homes?

My next goal is to make a video made for this topic using a whiteboard video. You know those videos that look like someone is writing on a whiteboard with amazing narration?

I hope you can use this information to propel your blogging and online efforts. For more details on this process, head to charlieallred.com. As always, I hope you are succeeding.

Charlie Allred is a Phoenix-based designated broker for Secure Real Estate and author of the book “Pinnable Real Estate: Pinterest for Real Estate Agents.” She leads the Killer Online Mastermind for real estate agents; you can learn more at charlieallred.com.  She is a Pinterest expert who coaches agents on how to gain more leads, followers, and clients by using Pinterest. Learn more at her blog: www.PinnableRealEstate.com.

4 Considerations to Negotiate Like a Ninja

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 10:25

Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

I remember getting my real estate license and thinking I was ready to make my first commission check. Little did I know that I had much to learn about generating leads back then. Perhaps you feel the same way, whether you are new, returning, or revamping your business. Well, check out this excerpt from my latest workbook, “Plan to Win! Transform Your Sales Game Plan,” which is available on Amazon.com.

The Epsilon Playbook: Negotiating Like a Ninja

Are you intimidated by the sea of agents in your local area? You won’t be when you develop a competitive edge by negotiating like a ninja.

The Greek letter epsilon means elasticity (Gachette, 2008), and that is exactly what you need if you want to be a skilled negotiator – or what we call a Ninja Negotiator. Hundreds if not thousands of books have been written on negotiating. But what these books may not readily and overtly tell you about is how to negotiate with unmotivated, reclusive appraisers, head-strong lenders, or obnoxious or incompetent agents.

Negotiating in real estate is different than most industries because often times you will stumble across and be in the predicament to work with the same lenders, agents, appraisers and other industry professionals again and again. Because these practitioners typically represent either your client or those on the other side of the closing table, it becomes a necessity to advancing your clients’ best interests while understanding the art of “catching more bees with honey” as opposed to “burning bridges,” despite how obstinate the other professional may be.

Your state may require you to provide a minimum level of services, including basic requirements to help negotiate, to present and receive offers, and to answer questions relating to real estate property (Nanda and Pancak, 2010). But you must do more to create an unstoppable game plan for sales success. Ask yourself the following questions BEFORE your next negotiating face-off.

My Training Journal

1. What is your mindset when entering negotiations (can do, I am scared, I am a bull-dozer, etc.)? Why? What are the positives of this attitude? What are the drawbacks of this attitude? How can you lessen the drawbacks?

2. When you represent the buyer, what are the typical needs and objections of the seller? Appraiser? Lender? What solutions can often mitigate these objections and appear as a win-win (although you are protective of your client’s best interests)?

COACH’S CALL: The key with negotiating like a ninja is being steps ahead of the other party so that you can answer their needs and questions while showing that your client’s request is not in conflict and will not jeopardize the other party from being satisfied.

3. When you represent the seller, what are the typical needs and objections of the buyer? Lender? Appraiser? Home inspector? What solutions can appease these objections while still endeavoring to meet the ultimate need of the parties (i.e. what are possible win-win outcomes)?

COACH’S CALL: These tentative solutions should not be written in stone, never to be changed again! These are just to give you a guide so that you minimize unpreparedness as much as possible, which is critical to negotiating like a ninja. These are a starting point that should be developed over time with each transaction you encounter.

BONUS: Preempt problems with appraisals by meeting the appraiser with contract, comparable solds and a list of home features in hand. Prevention is still better than a cure! These are a starting point that should be developed over time with each transaction you encounter.

4. What is your DiSC profile or Myers-Briggs Personality Type? What are the most effective negotiating tactics for this profile?

Strategy Replay

A good negotiator can make all parties to a transaction feel as if they have won. Be sure to consider objections and complaints from all parties regarding the real estate transaction before entering into negotiations in order to more effectively understand the best strategy to promote your client’s best interests.

Remember that you are given two ears and one mouth for a reason. You should let all parties speak to you twice as much as you speak in order to effectively assess their needs and strategize a game plan that is as much of a win-win as possible, keeping in mind that your client’s best interest is your supreme guide. This will allow you to better handle and persuade even the most unyielding parties like a professional, and become a ninja in negotiating real estate transactions.

*This was just an excerpt so get your copy of “Plan to Win! Transform Your Sales Games Plan,” which will help you plan to generate more leads, sell with social media, win listings, wow buyers, and much more. I hope to “see” you in the social-sphere: Follow me on Google Plus and Facebook for more tips and techniques. Here’s to your success!

Lee Davenport is a licensed real estate broker, business doctoral student, trainer and coach.  Learn more about the training and 1-on-1 coaching programs that she offers by visiting www.AgentsAroundAtlanta.com.

7 Must-Know Ways to Kill It Online

Fri, 06/05/2015 - 09:00

Charlie Allred

By Charlie Allred

With more than 90 percent of home buyers searching online for their new home, how are you capturing these online buyers?

Here are my seven absolute must-know tips for becoming a killer online real estate agent.

1. A Vibrant Blog: Having a vibrant blog means you post consistently, which is once a month at minimum, but I suggest between two and four posts per month with posts that address your real estate specialty or niche neighborhoods. The key is to make sure you are consistent.

2. Answer FAQs: You know your niche, so you know they ask similar questions all the time. Answer these questions on your blog/website. You already tell your clients these things individually, so why not share it on the Internet and let your expertise work for you?

3. Share Your Content: If you want your blog and articles addressing your niche to be found, you must share them. Choose your social media platforms and be consistent. Share every blog post, you can even share an older blog post with a new graphic or put into a new context.

4. Nichify: Make sure you are always talking to one niche market or audience at a time. Don’t try to write an article including every neighborhood you specialize. Write a separate article for each neighborhood. Make your niche feel understood; be the expert of your neighborhoods! Here’s an example of a new article I wrote about moving to Chandler, Arizona.  This area is a new niche for me, so my first article is broad but the next articles will touch on topics that are more and more narrow.

5. Offer Something: You need to offer something on your website or blog to gain opt-in e-mail addresses. This list of leads is a great source for potential clients. You can offer something as simple as “a list of homes in Scottsdale 85250.” I also offer an MLS search for free on my site. The goal is to offer something that will entice people enough to sign up with their contact information.

6. Your List: Once a potential client opts in for your free resource, you need to have systems in place to keep in touch with this buyer. Auto-responders are perfect. You can create an e-mail drip campaign with small offers throughout the series. Here are some simple examples:

  • A welcome e-mail
  • A tutorial on the MLS search
  • An offer for a personalized search
  • Your latest blog post

You can send e-mails to your list as often as you like, but I suggest no more than once a week and make sure you are sending good information.

7. Detailed Resources: Once you start talking to the prospects on your list through your automated drip campaign, you can then reach out by sending more detailed resources. This could be a buyer’s checklist (or a seller’s checklist for your list of seller leads), neighborhood statistics and market reports, or whatever you think is most important to your niche.

Keeping things simple and think about the big picture. Always be useful when you talk to your potential clients, focus on one niche at time, and be yourself.

I have this information in presentation form as well.  For a more detailed version of this article, head to www.charlieallred.com.

Charlie Allred is a Phoenix-based designated broker for Secure Real Estate and author of the book “Pinnable Real Estate: Pinterest for Real Estate Agents.” She leads the Killer Online Mastermind for real estate agents; you can learn more at charlieallred.com.  She is a Pinterest expert who coaches agents on how to gain more leads, followers, and clients by using Pinterest. Learn more at her blog: www.PinnableRealEstate.com.

How We’re Working to Keep Agents Safe

Mon, 06/01/2015 - 17:22

Alyssa Hellman

By Alyssa Hellman

Most people don’t consider real estate to be a dangerous industry;  however, the frequency of crimes against real estate agents – including the horrific murder of Beverly Carter last year – is a chilling reminder of the dangers we potentially face.

In the excitement of meeting a prospective client, agents sometimes agree to meet at questionable locations simply for the sake of the deal. Let me make one thing crystal clear: No real estate transaction is worth risking your safety or the safety of others. As REALTORS®, we must hold ourselves to a high professional standard, and that begins with our safety.

REALTOR® safety is discussed frequently at brokerages across the country, yet most of the discussions center around general best practices, like not meeting a stranger in a vacant home (or any home), making sure other people know where you are going, or getting a copy of a new client’s driver’s license. The fundamental problem with most approaches to safety is that much of the action is only effective retroactively.

Earlier this month, our brokerage, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate | Go Realty, took a more proactive safety step by creating the #GoSafe Movement.

#GoSafe is a program designed to protect our agents as well as our colleagues at any brokerage in the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham, N.C. area). We have opened our doors and welcomed any agent who is looking for a safe space to meet a client prior to showing them homes. The reality of real estate is that you won’t always have your brick and mortar brokerage location nearby when you’re in the field. Our agent’s don’t have that either. We realize this isn’t a singular answer to issues of safety, but by opening our doors as a safe place for agents to meet clients, we believe it’s a way to contribute to an industry-wide solution.

Go Realty has five spaces throughout the Triangle with locations in Cary, Durham, Holly Springs, Garner, and a new space opening in North Raleigh next month. The offices are designed as spaces that any agent could be proud to bring a client to. Each office will participate in the program during normal business hours. “As a brokerage, we feel it is our responsibility to serve and protect agents. Not just our agents, but agents we work with – keeping each other safe and continuing to serve our communities,” says CEO Kevin Woody.

As agents, we should not only take our own safety more seriously, but we should band together as an industry to protect each other. Our efforts can only impact the areas which we serve. Can you be doing something locally to help this cause?

Learn about Managing Broker Sam DeBord’s open door policy at Seattle Homes Group. He also expanded his proposal to include lenders and title companies. Plus, get more safety tips at realtor.org/safety.

Alyssa Hellman is the director of the Go School at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate, Go Realty based in Cary, N.C., serving Raleigh-Durham and surrounding areas. You can find Alyssa on Twitter @AVHellman or visit her website, www.alyssahellman.com.

World’s First Virtual Broker Open

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 16:04

Brandon Doyle

By Brandon Doyle

Last month, the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® Young Professional Network presented the first ever virtual broker open. Architech 3D Imaging was on hand to talk about 3D mapping and virtual tours, including Matterport as well as a new service they’re now offering. I spoke about how virtual tours can help market properties and save time for both buyers and sellers. Meanwhile, attendees were able to experience virtual reality demonstrations with Samsung Gear VR platform and a version Architech 3D Imaging’s new product for Google Cardboard that is under development.

Photo courtesy of Brandon Doyle

The virtual tours we’re creating can be displayed on a computer, tablet, or mobile device. They’re able to be syndicated out to thousands of websites including Zillow through an MLS data feed, so consumers can access them from their couch anywhere in the world. Not only are buyers now able to visualize the home on a flat screen surface, they can also use virtual reality devices to experience the properties as if they were standing right there in the home.

A Samsung Gear VR retails for about $200 and requires the use of compatible Samsung phone. While an agent or a builder may invest in one of these units, it is unlikely that most buyers will have one anytime soon. Enter the Google Cardboard! For around $20 you can fold together a piece of cardboard with a couple of lenses, allowing you to use almost any smartphone to access the virtual tour.

I’m not suggesting that virtual reality will replace a real life showing, but it is a great way for buyers to get a better feel for the layout and finishes of property before visiting. It also allows them to share the home they’re considering virtually with friends, family, or a decision maker who may not be able to attend an in-person showing.

Video captures a property and tells a story, but virtual tours put the consumer in the driver seat. Virtual reality headsets take it to a whole new level of realism.

Brandon Doyle, ABR, e-PRO, is a second-generation real estate pro with RE/MAX Results in the Twin Cities. Learn more about Brandon at www.doylerealestateteam.com.

Get Your Own Wine Social Started

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 09:00

Erika Villegas

By Erika Villegas

When writing my first blog for the YPN Lounge in March about the marketing success I’ve achieved from putting on wine socials, I truly didn’t have any expectations about what the response would be – I wondered if anyone was even going to read the post. But after it was published, I was blown away by the number of inquiries, comments, and responses I received. All of the emails with questions and phone calls requesting more information on how to get a wine social started has motivated me write this follow up piece.

My personality is very upbeat and I love meeting people but I am not a pushy businesswoman, so organizing a wine social is perfect for me. It’s very casual and it allows me to couple my marketing with one of my passions – wine. Here is how I got started:

First, I made wine socials part of my marketing plan for 2015, so I budgeted $4,000 total at the beginning of the year and it seems that I am on track with my spending unless the events grow faster than I anticipated.

My second step was to decide who my target audience would be and how to reach out to them. I decided to target neighborhood moms, so I created a Facebook group called “Women’s Wine Social.” I invited friends, family, past clients, and neighborhood friends to join, then asked them to invite others. I also shared my group with other Facebook groups from the neighborhood and on my personal page. (The group now has more than 150 members and it continues to grow every day.) Then I created an invitation to help further promote the wine social. The invitation is posted on social media, particularly on Facebook pages from the neighborhood and mom groups in the local area. I also text and email personal invitations every month and connect with past attendees to remind them about the upcoming event. The attendance has been consistent at about 35 to 40 women every month.

Once you’ve sent your invitation, you need to buy the wine, and lots of it. I purchased wine from a local liquor distributor at a very cost effective price. I purchased enough red and white wine to cover the first six monthly socials, and I purchased wine glasses from IKEA, which I found to be the best price around. It’s more work to have to reuse actual wine glasses, but I don’t like to drink wine from a plastic cup and it’s a nice touch; people notice it. I also purchased cups for water, napkins, and small plates in bulk. Don’t forget to buy raffle tickets and name tags in bulk too. I did spend more the first month because I needed to buy the initial supplies but now I don’t have to worry about purchasing these items for the entire year.

I then asked local businesses to host the wine socials. The January event was held at a restaurant, then at a beauty salon in February, and at a cell phone store in March – and every one of those businesses is woman-owned in my niche neighborhood market. I mixed things up a bit for the April event and called it “Whiskey and Wine.” A soccer store hosted the social and I invited men in my neighborhood to attend as well. You can customize your own wine social to the needs of your community by taking demographics into account. I found what works for my community.

Some of the businesses agreed to provide some appetizers and I provide a few as well. There are also a few attendees who have graciously provided an appetizers or dessert at no cost to me. I reached out to affiliate businesses and a mortgage lender agreed to help sponsor the events and provide goody bags with a small gift. I’ll add some personal marketing materials such as a pen or notepad too.

At every wine social, I introduce myself and thank everyone who helps me make the wine social possible that month. The list usually starts with the host business, the caterer or restaurant providing the appetizer(s), the lender or whomever provides the goody bags, and any anyone else involved that month.

The idea of a wine social was intended for me to meet more people in my neighborhood, get my name out in the community, and support local businesses; I have accomplished that. The wine social has already helped me grow my business by generating new clients, plenty of leads, and word of mouth recommendations. The most exciting part for me is that I am also helping other women grow their businesses as I grow my own, and we’re having fun in the process.

Erika Villegas is a broker associate with ERA Mi Casa Real Estate in Chicago. Connect with Villegas at www.erikavillegas.com.

How to Select a Brokerage

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 10:49

Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

As a new real estate agent, it may be hard for you to decide which real estate brokerage firm to “hang your hat.” From having a friend who works at XYZ Realty to remembering the agent who sold you your home with ABC Realty to seeing all the brokerage lawn signs, commercials, and billboards, it can be an overwhelming and stressful process.

​But have no fear! (LOL – I’m being a little corny, but hopefully that put a smile on your face during this time of deliberation.)

Here is a short yet informative guide that will help you to identify and recognize the features you desire most in a brokerage: The Rookie Roadmap to Selecting a Real Estate Brokerage

Once you have identified the type of place you want to be associated with, the next step will be to schedule meetings with as many realty firms as possible in order to interview the managing broker and chat with agents who may be in the office at the time of your appointment. This will help you see which office meets your standards.   ​ ​

I ​want​ to encourage​ you to​ not settle or cut short ​the ​interview process. The time, effort, and energy you put in now finding the right realty “home” can save you potentially thousands of dollars in lost revenue later. Be selective and inquisitive so that your first real estate firm experience is a good one.

Here’s to your success!

Lee Davenport is a licensed real estate broker, business doctoral student, trainer and coach.  Learn more about the training and 1-on-1 coaching programs that she offers by visiting www.AgentsAroundAtlanta.com.