Tuesday
September 27, 2016

YPN Lounge

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Updated: 1 hour 47 min ago

3 Easy Ways to Build Lasting Client Relationships

Mon, 09/19/2016 - 14:08

Brandon Doyle

By Brandon Doyle

When you are pioneering your own real estate business, it’s tempting to get completely wrapped up in the myriad managerial and administrative daily duties. But the foundation of all successful real estate ventures is built upon relationships with people, not just in executing a series of transactions. A personal touch is more than an effective way to keep clients happy and open-minded, it’s also a surefire method to build your referral base.

Keep in mind the following three tips that can transform your connection to clients from run-of-the-mill business transaction to a meaningful and professional relationship that serves you both.

1. Write 5 Handwritten Notes a Day

This may seem like an obvious move, but you’d be surprised at how few real estate professionals bother to keep in touch with past clients after their transaction is complete. Handwritten notes are efficient and effective relationship builders. Checking in with a thoughtful and personally-written note every now and again could lead to repeat business in the future, an opportunity for a referral, or—at the very least—the potential for networking down the line. If you write just five a day, it shouldn’t take longer than half an hour, but you stand to gain a sizable amount of business.

2. The Business Breakfast

@cheriedurbin, 2016. Morguefile.com.

Aside from the bonus benefit of getting you dressed and ready to go early in the morning, a business breakfast is a distinct and effectual way to continue to build relationships with former, existing, and potential clients. Since both of you are on your way to work, discussing business isn’t out of context and provides an organic connection. Similarly, the breakfast setting is casual and naturally lends a sense of communality that is sure to deepen your relationship with the client. And, by the time you get to the office, you’ll have already advanced your business while enjoying your morning coffee.

3. Use Social Media as More Than a Marketing Gimmick

Social media is a powerful tool for anyone building a real estate business. But try and imagine using social media as a means of personal connection, not simply a portal in which your only goal is to market. Just 15 to 30 minutes of mindful social media use a day may lead to a notable uptick in your business. Imagine Facebook, or your social media portal of choice, as a real life coffee shop that you frequent. You don’t walk in every morning with a megaphone and sign-up sheet, proclaiming your business acumen, do you? Instead, you engage with people on a genuine and personal level. Apply that same principle to your Facebook interactions and you may be surprised at the warm response you receive and the point of connection you have created.

The bottom line is this: In the real estate industry, people are at the heart of what we do. So, it makes perfect sense to prioritize your client relationships. Take to heart these three methods as a means of growing your real estate business, so that you can build a professional reputation that attracts good, steady clients for years to come.

Brandon Doyle, ABR, e-PRO, is a second-generation real estate pro with RE/MAX Results in the Twin Cities. He is also coauthor of the book M3Mindset, Methods & Metrics: Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent available now on Amazon. Learn more about Brandon at www.doylerealestateteam.com.

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Turn End-of-the-Year Busyness into Business

Tue, 09/13/2016 - 17:36

Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

I am a planner; so much so that I’m already planning for the New Year. But, I get it. You may not be a planner, and my admission may have made you cringe. So, just for you, I have eight questions that will help you win business in the next 12 months.

Some might call this business planning, which invokes panic attacks and procrastination—similar to tax season for many. Let’s avoid all that unpleasantness. Instead, I want you to call it “seeing the win.” Hopefully, that takes the stress out of the “p” word.

So, grab your favorite beverage, and invest the time it takes to watch a rerun of Friends in answering the applicable questions below:

NEW AGENTS
As a new agent, you may not know where to begin when it comes to your strategy over the next year. Your starting point should be using what you already have to as your tools to developing your business.

1. What have you excelled in?
To answer this fully, think about when you were in school, past jobs, sports, clubs, and even volunteer activities. Write down your strengths in these situations. This is for your business growth, so don’t take short-cuts and give half-answers.

2. What are the underlying skills you displayed in each achievement?
Did you have to master working with difficult people, negotiating, or the art of persuasion?  Did you have to become a wordsmith on social media, learn how to juggle multiple clients, or manage money? No matter what skills you had to use, list them all.

3. How can each of those skills be used as tools in your real estate business?
Next to your list from number two above, write how those skills can be useful in your real estate business. For example, if you have a knack for graphic design, this can translate into you creating a great website, email campaigns, social media posts, and handouts for your clients that explain the real estate process with images or graphics.

VETERAN AGENTS
You have made money in real estate sales and you want to keep it that way. That means being willing to make some business adjustments.

4. What activities generated business for you this past year?
Think about every new client and list how you connected with each person. Are you great at drumming up business from networking events? Does your tribe (sphere of influence) send you business every time you ask? Are you a superstar at using social media? Are your ads successful in bring in leads that you can convert? Be very reflective in your answers because herein lies the key to your next several wins.

5. How can you do of those activities in the next 12 months (including hiring help)?
Often times, we “old-timers” chase the latest trend, training, and technique. This can be costly if we ignore or forget to use what we do well and what has worked. Employ your strengths and give away your weaknesses (i.e. hire, refer, or outsource).

ALL AGENTS
Nothing in real estate stays the same.  Anticipate changes and “level up” your future steps.

6. With what type of client do you want to specialize (i.e. first time buyers, military, relocation, luxury, etc.)?
If you are a one-person shop, you may kill yourself trying to be all things to all people. That’s not to say you turn business away if it does not fit your “ideal client,” but you need to be strategic in how you spend your time, money, and resources to acquire new leads.

7. What webinars and training opportunities on this subject can you attend this month/quarter/year?
It’s time to do some research on how to up your game with education. My great-grandmother repeatedly emphasized in her 101 years, “Be on time, be prepared, and know your subject.” Despite her being a school teacher, her advice can do wonders for real estate pros.  Specifically, do you know your subject (the type of client with whom you want to transact)? A “no” answer should not discourage you.  Rather, let it inspire you to learn your subject through classes and webinars. There is a wealth of information available from successful agents, brokers, trainers/coaches and REALTOR® associations—including a plethora of designation and certification.

8. How can you implement what you’ve learned?
I’m sure you have been to wonderful trainings but are still trying to get around to implementation. The secret-sauce to running with what you’ve learned is deciding in advance how to implement it. Will you spend two hours after the training to review and update your calendar with what was learned? Will you spend the weekend visiting the online resources provided by the trainer? Build this into your schedule before the training so that you’ll bring the lessons into play.

I want to close by giving a shout-out to Venngage. I was given a complimentary subscription to try out this fantastic infographic maker, which is how I created the infographic accompanying this post. Infographics are good tools to keep your home buyers, sellers and real estate investors engaged with your emails, social media posts, and handouts. I found Venngage to be easy to use with many templates that I could quickly convert to my own content. Working on a buyer’s guide or tips to selling a home? Create an infographic using Venngage’s free user account and tell me what you think.

Lee Davenport is an Atlanta-based real estate broker and business doctoral candidate who trains agents and brokerages on how to use today’s technology to work smarter. Join Lee’s free RE Tech Insider’s Club by visiting www.LearnWithLee.REALTOR.

6 Ways to Get Business Without Spending Money

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 09:05

Drew Heasley

By Drew Heasley

As agents, we’ve all been pitched everything from mailers to web leads—but free is better. Below are six of my favorite free (or next-to-free) ways to generate business.

1. Ask your family and friends. And then ask them again. This is pretty simple, and I hope you are exploring this at great lengths already. When I ask people if they know someone who may be interested in buying or selling, and they answer “no,” then I ask them to keep me in mind at the office, out around town, or with their family and friends. Past clients are great for getting business. If you are a newer agent, this doesn’t help much, but use it as motivation knowing that it gets a little easier each year in the business. And, if you take great care of your clients, they’ll refer you often.

2. Host an open house. If it’s your listing, that’s great. But if you’re new to the business and don’t have any listings, host one for an agent at your office. This is a great way to meet buyers. Study up on similar homes for sale in the area. I like to ask questions to get the conversation started. Some agents are very laid back, and some have success being more aggressive. This seems to vary by agent and regional social trends. Do what’s natural for you and what works in your area.

3. Go to meetups and networking events. These are free, easy, and usually pretty fun. Even if you are not a polished salesperson, the conversations start very easily and you can get a lot of contacts in a short time. If you can’t find an existing group, or if the only groups you can find are saturated with other agents, then start your own group. Meetup.com is a good place to start. My group usually meets at local restaurants that are more than welcoming of small to medium sized groups. From my experience, the real estate investing meetups seem to do the best. You can find people who want to invest and are looking for some direction on how to get started. One good connection from an investor can change your career. It’s worth the time and energy.

4. Connect with agents in other specialties or niche markets.

YPN networking event during the 2016 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. Photos by Noah Hayes, ©2016 noahhayesphoto.com

Some agents get a significant portion of their sales from referrals that come from other agents. A basic way to get more referrals is to go to conventions and network with other real estate professionals. If you are spending money going to conventions and seminars but you’re not networking, then you’re are missing a huge opportunity. Places to do this at a convention: hosted networking events, the hotel bar, between sessions, while waiting in line, really anywhere you see agents.

5. Good old fashion door-knocking. If you have some hustle and want to save money on farming, you could knock on doors in a neighborhood or area you want to build business. Consider offering a free home price evaluation and tips for maximizing resale value. If you have a new listing, you can door knock the neighbors to tell them. This could get you both a buyer and a seller.

6. Engage on social media. Facebook, for me, is the best. I recently wrote about it in my last YPN Lounge post. Many agents get business from Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat as well. Twitter is great because people use hashtags, which you can use to search. If you live in a big city, this will be more useful since there will me more people using localized hashtags. Try using services like IFTTT to scan Twitter and email you notifications when someone uses a certain keyword in a tweet. For example if someone tweets, “PA has been great but can’t wait to check out Austin #austin #moving #cyaPA” and you have an alert set up for the hashtag #Austin, you could get notified via email and reply with a tweet welcoming them to Austin and offering to show them around the area. Snapchat is free and it’s great for engaging with your sphere, but the real secret on that platform right now are the custom geofilters. Pinterest and Instagram are just natural fits for real estate due to their photo-centric nature.

I hope these tips on free ways to get business help you out. I think the key is to diversify the platforms you use and be consistent when using them. Let me know if I can help and good luck.

Drew Heasley is an agent with Keller Williams Exton/West Chester in Pennsylvania. Connect with him on Facebook: facebook.com/chestercountyrealtor, or through his website: searchchestercountyhomes.com.

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Mendenhall to YPN: Time to Get Nerdy

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 16:55

When Elizabeth Mendenhall, 2017 president-elect of the National Association of REALTORS®, visited YPN’s Leadership Retreat today, she didn’t go easy on them. In fact, she told them they needed to step up to leadership positions beyond their young pro networks and become wonks.

Now, Mendenhall didn’t always see the path to leadership in this way. She told a story about her journey to the NAR leadership team, which led through her local and state associations. She remembered being asked to serve on a legislative committee and immediately rejecting the idea: “I was on the professional development side. I was sitting in the strategic planning meetings,” she said. “I don’t like that [legislative] stuff. I could care less who the senator is from the ninth district.”

But the president of the Missouri Association of REALTORS® at the time didn’t let her off the hook. Mendenhall said he told her, “If you ever want to be president of the state association, you need to know this. You need to understand what this means to home ownership and this profession.” So she went for it and never looked back, becoming president of her state’s association in 2010.

Mendenhall, now CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty in Columbia, Mo., said she saw a lot of similarities between her start and the YPNers in the room: “I would venture that a lot of you in this room are not sitting on the legislative committee,” she said. “You’re not sitting on the conventional finance and lending committee.” Mendenhall said she understands the desire to focus on communications, branding, and other association pursuits, but also asked members of YPN to recognize the importance of the political and legal issues surrounding their chosen profession. “None of this matters if we don’t have an industry where people can buy and sell homes… a single piece of legislation can change this industry overnight.”

The annual YPN Leadership Retreat is tailored to incoming leaders of local associations, and Mendenhall acknowledged that the next 18 months would be an exciting whirlwind of activity for attendees who will serve as local YPN chairs. But after that, she said, “It’s time to move on.” She highlighted YPN involvement as a useful entry point to greater responsibility within the organization, but that room must be made for new leaders to enter. “Somebody else sees you there and says, ‘I can do it too.’”

Still, too few YPN leaders are moving up, in Mendenhall’s estimation. “I was disgusted when I went through the applications for vice chair positions,” she said, noting that the lack of young professionals in the group could be attributed to both reluctant applicants and an association that might not be doing enough to encourage them to apply.

But just getting involved isn’t enough. Mendenhall again revisited the need to have more young people on policy-oriented boards. She told attendees that’s where the opportunity for real advancement lies, as she learned when she was a volunteer leader for her state association. “Yeah, it’s scary. Yeah, it’s daunting,” she acknowledged. “It’s a little bit more challenging but it’s absolutely worth it… You definitely get more than you give.”

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3 Mindset Principles for Success in Real Estate

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 15:37

Brandon Doyle

By Brandon Doyle

The professional philosophies you live by are key to making or breaking your real estate business. That’s why it’s so important to develop a productive, powerful mindset—a collection of principles that can lead you to become a confident, capable, and top producing real estate agent.

Here are three principles to remember when it comes to employing mind over matter in the real estate world.

1. Respect Your Real Estate Business Enough to Run It Like a CEO

Just because you are self-employed, doesn’t mean that the pressure is off when it comes to the technical details of managing a real estate business. No CEO worth his or her salt would neglect meaningful tools like a business and marketing plan, spreadsheets to track cash flow and expenses, quarterly profit-and-loss statements, and a thorough plan of attack each fiscal year. These measures may seem daunting at first—and certainly require a disciplined mental shift to tackle—but harnessing their power sets you on the path towards growth and success as a real estate agent.

@FlashBuddy; 2014. Morguefile.

2. The Horizon Mindset: The Value of Seeing the Big Picture

“When I first taught my daughter how to drive, she clung to the steering wheel and never allowed her eyes to look beyond the few feet of road ahead of her. Unprepared as new objects entered her field of vision, she would overreact and overcompensate, yanking the wheel in fear. To counter that, I advised her to keep her vision trained on the horizon, so that she could see any potential changes long before they arrived.” (This is a direct excerpt from the book I co-authored, M3, written from Marshall Saunders’ perspective.)

3. Be Specific in Your Goals and Vision

There’s little value in envisioning the big picture of your real estate business if the big picture is only a vague, abstract idea of the success you wish to achieve. In order to plan for and work toward a goal, you need to understand exactly what you’re aiming for. Embrace the principle of goal-setting, and make those goals precise—like a specific gross commission income goal, for instance. Once you have established a clear aim for yourself and your business, you can then surmise exactly what you need to do on a daily basis to inch toward that objective. In other words, the work doesn’t stop once you’ve specifically outlined your ambition; you must then do the detail work required to achieve it.

There’s no easy route to becoming a top producing real estate agent or business owner. However, fostering the mindsets illustrated above can provide the framework and discipline needed to succeed. Remember that professional philosophies are valuable, formidable resources that are ready to be used to your advantage as you lead your real estate business to the next level.

Brandon Doyle, ABR, e-PRO, is a second-generation real estate pro with RE/MAX Results in the Twin Cities. He is also coauthor of the book M3Mindset, Methods & Metrics: Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent available now on Amazon. Learn more about Brandon at www.doylerealestateteam.com.

Apply for the 2016 Network of the Year Awards

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 17:37

YPN Advisory Committee members with past Network of the Year Award winners.

Ready, set, apply!

In two short weeks, the deadline to submit applications for the 2016 Networks of the Year will arrive. We want to hear how your local YPN rocks, whether it’s by providing education opportunities, creating networking events, strengthening association involvement, or contributing to charitable causes. There are four award categories:

  • State Network of the Year
  • Large Local Network of the Year (associations with more than 5,000 members)
  • Medium Local Network of the Year (between 2,500 and 5,000 members)
  • Small Local Network of the Year (associations with fewer than 2,500 members)

Download and submit your network’s application materials by Wednesday, August 31. The awards will be presented live at the 2016 REALTORS® Conference & Expo YPN Networking Reception in Orlando. Tickets are currently on sale and will sell out prior to the event, so register today.

In the video below, Bobbi Howe, the immediate past chair of the YPN Advisory Board, reflects on her home state of Missouri winning the 2015 State Network of the Year last fall.

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Who Are Today’s Landlords?

Tue, 08/09/2016 - 18:56

If you’re looking to get into property management, you’ll want to research your potential clients. And property owners who are considering becoming landlords will be looking for a real estate professional who’s familiar with their needs.

According to a recent survey of 2,000 landlords conducted by TransUnion, 44 percent are age 34 and under and 66 percent are college graduates. While 40 percent of survey respondents own a property strictly for investment, the majority have sentimental or family ties to the home. TransUnion, which offers a tenant screening service for landlords and property managers, found that the most common reason for renting out a property is the owner enjoyed living there at one point and wants to make extra income. An average of 31 percent of property owners’ annual income comes from their rental properties, and half of the landlords surveyed say they depend on that income.

Learn more about the TransUnion survey in the infographic below.

Erica Christoffer is a consulting editor for REALTOR® Magazine and manager of the YPN Lounge. Connect with her at echristoffer@realtors.org.

SaveErica Christoffer is a senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine and manager of the YPN Lounge. Connect with her at echristoffer@realtors.org.

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7 Steps to Crafting a Better Sales Story

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 16:30

Nico Hohman

By Nico Hohman

Is your listing presentation working for you? Are you getting as many listings as you want?

If the answer is “no,” then it may be time to craft a better sales story.

According to Donald Miller, author, speaker, and founder of The StoryBrand Process, you should think of your listing presentation as a story. As humans, we have evolved from our storytelling ancestors. We are hard-wired to listen to and retain stories more so than any other type of medium. The better the story, the higher the probability of someone remembering and liking it.

In your listing presentation, you are trying to convey a message to your potential clients. But you must ensure that your aren’t conveying the wrong message. To get more listings, follow these seven steps to craft a better sales story.

1. Introduce the Hero

In many cases, this is exactly where most listing presentations fall flat. And once you have failed in the first step, you have lost your potential client for the rest of your presentation.

First, you have to understand that you’re not the hero of the story. Your client is the hero of the story. And as the hero of the story, your presentation should be focused significantly more on them and less so on you.

In fact, you as the real estate agent aren’t even introduced into the story until step three.

If you’re telling the story of the hero, you want to know as much about them as possible. Find out information about their family, their jobs, their interests, what they like and dislike. The more you know about the hero of the story, the more you can relate to him or her and tell their story.

2. Introduce the Problem

In every story worth remembering, the hero must overcome some obstacle in order to get to the end of the journey. Otherwise, you would have a story about nothing.

The problem for your client may seem obvious to you—they need to sell their home—but there is significantly more detail that goes into this problem.

Some of the issues the hero needs to figure out include: Why do they need to sell their home? How will they sell their home? What do they need to do to sell their home?

@5demayo, 2016. Morguefile.com.

3. Introduce the Guide

We have our hero/heroes (the sellers) and we have the problem (selling their home.) Now comes the time to interject yourself into the listing presentation.

Every hero, no matter how great, can’t accomplish everything on their own. Every hero needs a coach, a mentor, a sage, or a wise elder. You are the guide that will direct the sellers to the end of their journey. You are the one to help them answer their questions of why, how, and what to do to sell their home. You are the Yoda to their Luke Skywalker. You are the real estate agent that will help them sell their home.

4. The Hero Practices the Strategies of the Guide

While the guide certainly has a very important role in the journey of the hero, the story is not about the guide. The story is about the hero. Continue to keep that in mind. You can think of this step as the training montage in the Rocky movies.

You have heard what the seller has to say, and you understand their needs and wants. You now have to give the seller your expert thoughts and suggestions as to what needs to be done to get their house sold.

5. The Hero Implements the Steps Proposed by the Guide

We are at the critical turning point in our story by this fifth step. Our hero now has the tools, practice, and experience to face their problem head on.

This is the point in the story when we find out if the seller is willing to make those small renovations to their house to make it sale-worthy. This is the point when we find out if they’ve kept their house in tip top condition for pictures and future showings.

If the hero of the story followed the advice of the guide, you can skip to step seven of this process. If not, keep moving on to step six.

6. When the Hero Fails

Sometimes even the best heroes with the best coaches don’t always overcome the obstacles that are in their path.

What happens if your seller’s home has been on the market for two months and they haven’t gotten a single offer? What happens when you are under contract and the home fails the home inspection?

In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to worry about this step, but you always need to prepare just in case. This is the step where you should have answers for any question or objection that the seller may have.

Sometimes in a story, the hero cannot see the end of his or her journey. However, it is the duty of the guide to always encourage and inspire the hero to see things through to the very end.

7. When the Hero Succeeds

Everyone loves a happy ending: The guy gets the girl. The superhero saves the day. Or the team wins the championship.

In this scenario, you as the guide have helped the hero of the story, the seller, to do everything they need to do in order to sell their home.

Looking back at your marketing materials, how much of your listing presentation is about you, your brokerage, and your listing process? Make the seller the hero of your story, and you’ll be sure to get the listings you want. You’ll also be sure to get a happy ending.

Nico Hohman is a Tampa-based real estate pro with NextHome Discovery who works on renovation and rehab properties. Learn more about Nico at hohmanhomes.com or connect on Twitter: @thenicohohman.

July YPN Event Roundup

Thu, 07/28/2016 - 09:15

YPNs around the country are constantly coming up with new and exciting ways to engage with young real estate professionals while providing networking and educational opportunities. We’re spotlighting five events hosted by state and local networks each month to help you gain inspiration for your next YPN get together.

1. A Night at the Races

On July 20, the North San Diego County Association of REALTORS® YPN hosted a mix and mingle event at a local race track complete with a Hawaiian buffet.

Join the #ypn for one of our most popular events of the year!! #nightattheraces in #delmar is a blast don’t miss it! pic.twitter.com/GPBRNKIWqS

— YPN_NSDCAR (@YPN_nsdcar) June 24, 2016

2. Creating a “Bridge”

The Burbank Association of REALTORS® held a billiards tournament on July 14 at a local pool hall.

#BAOR #YPN Annual Pool Hall Tournament – Don’t miss out! pic.twitter.com/LhMlUoppOy

— BAOR (@burbankrealtors) July 2, 2016

3. Tech Tips for Business

The San Antonio Board of REALTORS® created an opportunity for members to learn about new and useful apps and technology during its Appy Hour event July 18.

#YPN is hosting Appy Hour July 18! Join us & learn the latest apps & technology to help you in your business. #SABOR pic.twitter.com/bAnvcbbOcL

— SABoard of REALTORS® (@SABoardREALTORS) June 28, 2016

4. Multi-Association Event

Eight local association YPNs in the Los Angeles area are planning to come together for a “Mega Mixer” on Wednesday, Aug. 3 to help support the California Association of REALTORS®’ Affordable Housing Fund.

2016 #YPN MEGA MIXER! #OMG pic.twitter.com/lf14br98tG

— BAOR (@burbankrealtors) July 15, 2016

 5. A Fitting Backdrop

The Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS® YPN set up an evening networking event on July 26 at a local luxury residential development.

The 30 under 30 panel today at #RealtorFest was filled with #GCAARYPN members! It’s always important to continue… https://t.co/cxdQl5DCNf

— GCAAR YPN (@GCAARYPN) July 18, 2016

 

Hope everyone can join us for this YPN event tomorrow night! #YoungIsAstateOfMind #YPN pic.twitter.com/a304966YPs

— HAAR (@HAARhsv) July 25, 2016

For more event ideas, or to share your own event, check out YPN’s Idea Bank.