Tech savvy agent Tina Plett

Playing Your Power Card in a Changing Market

four-aces

The local market has slowed a bit, and it’s making people nervous.
Real estate agents are leaving the profession.
Sellers are nervous. And cautious, fearful remarks are being made about people not being able to do in this market what could be done last year. Some plan to spend less on marketing to weather the year.

May I suggest an alternative?  Whether you’re a developer, REALTOR® or an investor, this could actually be your best year yet. Know why? Because while others are busy being afraid, you can play your power card.

Consider what you were awesome at last year:

Did you invest in marketing your business?

Did you learn new ways to serve your clients well?

Did you market for your clients like crazy?

Did you deliver high quality service?
If you’ve got all those (or even some of them) you’re ahead in the game already.

 

Here’s the deal. You are the same business person you were last year. (maybe even better!) And no matter what the market, two things are sure: people are always buying and selling, and they want high quality, professional service.

 

Your power card is your unique offering. I’m not talking about ‘sell with me and I’ll give you a free widget’. I’m talking about what you do better than anyone else.

If you’re a trained ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative), that’s something unique to offer in a buyer’s market.
If you’re specially trained to serve seniors, (you have a SRES® perhaps), that’s a niche market you can serve too.

In a seller’s market, being highly trained in Seller Representation (SRS® designation) can be an asset too.

Maybe your edge is that you are highly mobile or an authority in your industry.

If you are continuing to learn, and striving to serve your clients excellently, you have an edge.
There is something you have that others don’t. That’s your powercard. And when everyone else is cowering in their boots, holding back and hunkering down, that’s the time to play it.

Play that power card, baby.

What’s your power card?

 

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4 Ipad Apps Essential to my Business (or The Mobile Office Advantage)

imageDon’t let the zebra print fool you. This ipad is no toy. This is my office.

Some think that the brick and mortar office has an advantage in the marketplace. And that certainly was true a decade or two ago. Once upon a time, establishing one’s business in a solid building implied a solid place in the market. But times have changed.

Digital offices are the new way. They’re efficient, mobile, and accessible. Everything is online, and consumers expect to be able to find you there. I market tested this theory even back in my first years when I worked with a brick and mortar type of office. For a year, every single client I met with, I asked the same question. “Would you like to meet at… a) my (brick and mortar) office, b) in your home, or c) in a coffee shop or your favorite restaurant?” Know what happened? Not one single person EVER requested to meet me in the big building in which I worked.

Not one.  

I soon moved to an autonomous mobile agent situation (for several reasons), and continued to build a solid business. Mine is not built with concrete, but on solid, consistent, highly personalized service.

But. To have a mobile office requires tech savvy.  Heck, whether one has brick and mortar or not, one needs to still be tech savvy. If you are not online (where your clients are!), you’re missing out on over 60% of the market!  

One great way to start is to introduce your business to the ipad. You won’t believe what you can do with it, and how quickly.  I was asked recently how I use my ipad for business, so thought I’d share here too.

The 4 Ipad Apps Essential To My Business

Scanner Pro is my preferred app for scanning. I can scan documents, signatures and all, and send them instantly.

PDF Expert is my favorite app for typing or writing on a document.

Evernote is my favorite app for buyer files.

Dropbox or Google Drive are online file storages,  that are accessible from anywhere. This is where offers and all other documents related to a deal are stored in perfectly organized files.

In Real Estate, we have to respond to someone in a timely matter – immediately at times. Sending an offer in a hurry is a breeze with these apps. I can get my client’s signature right there in the restaurant, scan the document with the in app camera and it automatically converts to pdf right there. The PDF can email directly and on time, so we can close the deal.

What is keeping you from mobilizing your business online?

If you are already online, what is your favorite digital business tool? (and why?)

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The Funny Thing About Stopping To Rest

beach

I’ve got to tell you, my first scheduled time off was incredible.

The day filled with ‘firsts’. Some friends generously lent me their beautiful cabin by the beach. There, I did something that has for years been unthinkable – I headed for the beach and left my phone inside.
I left my phone inside!!
I can’t describe to you how awesome that felt.

It’s awesome like the new mom of a colicky infant who finally, after months, gets to be baby-free for a few hours.

It’s awesome like finally sharing a deep secret you’ve struggled with, to discover that you`re loved anyway.

It’s awesome like finally making the last mortgage payment on your property.

It’s freedom, baby, and the best toes-in-the-sand time I have enjoyed in years.

The funny thing about stopping to rest though, is what can be felt in the stillness.

When we buzz around, dashing from one pressing matter to the next, there is not alot of time to sit down and feel the feelings. When it`s go time, we go. We deal. We just keep moving. Then, when we finally stop to rest, all the dust we kicked up seems to waft over.

I forgot about that…

The emotions of that stillness surprised me. I was able to feel the sadness of the things that have happened with people around me in recent months.  In this space, on the sand, by myself, I could let go of the machine side of me that dashes and does, and embrace the human side of me that feels. Maybe it sounds weird. It felt weird. But I feel incredibly refreshed.

I really did take the break. (It helped to know I was leaving my business in the hands of solid, trustworthy professionals.)

 

What did you do on your last day off?

Did you really rest, or keep on buzzing around?

 

 

 

Paper Piles and My Escape Plan – Going Paperless

stacked-paper-sheets

I’ve always hated paperwork. Work got done, but my personal paperwork I put off as long as possible. Maybe you can relate. (Oddly, when left alone, those papers seemed to multiply. Like weeds…)

I’ve been able to curb this nasty habit at work though, by going paperless.

For two years I’ve been trending toward making my office paperless. I’m finding it not only helps me escape inevitable paper piles, it also has other benefits. The change has helped me to stay organized – I do better with e-filing. It has also reduced my office supply costs, and saved me the time of printing and copying. And, going paperless also saves space and is portable.

Huh. That’s actually alot of benefits when I stop and think about it! Who knew?

I haven’t fully trusted the e-filing system so far, and have been making paper copies of some super important things. You know, just in case. But more and more I’m getting used to the paperless idea, and trusting more in my efiles. (Backing up the data helps) I aim to master this by the end of the year, becoming completely paperless. (Minus the mandatory print-contracts and offers and such as required by law of course).

 

How about you? How paperless are you?
Do you struggle with piles of papers too?

 

Escaping the Social Media Vortex …Without Becoming Amish

 

Managing  social media  can be tough. It’s addictive -like cocaine according to this–  and can even change our brains according to this. This is dangerous stuff.

But so is gasoline. Still, everyday I speed down narrow lanes sitting on or near a tank full of the explosive liquid. Dangerous? Maybe. But I’m not about to start riding a horse and buggy to appointments.

Social media is necessary to my business. Without it,  listings & a whole lot of messaging would be impossible and acquiring clients would be a challenge. (You know 68% of people look for agents online, right? And that 91% of buyers would like to receive info from their agents via social media?)  To go without social media would be to kill my business. Or at least severely maim it.

So how does one use the addictive social media tool without becoming addicted?

There’s hardly one way that applies to all lifestyles, but here’s how I manage it. Maybe you’ll find it helpful too.

Basically, I try to keep social media in its place. There is enough in this life and about this job that can keep me hopping. I don’t need to add another. I check Facebook at coffee and lunch breaks. When coffee break ends, I’m done. That’s it. Then I check it again just before bed – it’s a relaxing wind-down time for me.

I was going to write this as a separate post – and I might still – but I’ll say it here too. If you’ve seen my Facebook page, you’ll notice I don’t ‘sell’ a whole lot. I’m being me, sharing my heart, joking around, and just being a person – not a salesperson. This is intentional. And it is a kind of marketing – the kind that works.  If you’re on social media blasting readers with what you have for sale, you’re going to annoy people. Be yourself. Genuinely care about others. Help, entertain, inspire – whichever, just make it about them. Then you’ll have a chance at getting some attention.

Just sayin’.

So how about you? How do you escape the vortex that is social media?

 

3 Reasons REALTORS® Should Blog

laptopBlogs started out as a kind of online diary and unfortunately there are business people who still think of them that way.
Times have changed. Blogs are now an essential business tool – for REALTORS® too.

There are loads more reasons, but here are the top ones.

Top 3 Reasons to Start Blogging Today:

1)      Google Ranking

Yes, it matters to be listed on the world’s largest search engine. And because Google doesn’t know about every website out there, you may be invisible out there on the net. Get visible by blogging. “On average, companies that blog receive 434% more indexed pages.” – Hubspot
remember how 68% of clients used Google to research their agent? Can you afford to miss being seen by most of the market?

2)      Connect with Your Email List  – They Want You To!

You’ve already got a list of people to whom you send emails every week. Use that. They already like you and want to hear from you – that’s an open door to building customer relationship (and, in turn, loyalty)!  Turn email lists into website traffic and develop that relationship. This will keep you on their minds, and they’ll remember you when it comes time to buy or sell a property.

3)      Build Reputation for Being Awesome

If you’re creating custom content (you know, instead of using canned posts from a blog writing mill?) you will be helpful to your readers. And they’ll remember that. ” 78% [of consumers] believe that companies behind content are interested in building good relationships.” Your readers will see that you are the kind of attentive, caring and, in general, awesome professional they want to work with.

My number one reason for blogging is so people see my website. My ranking on Google is part of my marketing plan. If over two thirds of people are looking online for a REALTOR® in their area, I want to be at the top of the list when they search. Regular, continual blogging keeps me ranked. And, because I’m about building relationship whether working or not, I hope the custom content here is helpful in some way.

How about you? Do you have a blog?

A Day In The Life of a Rural Agent: Dabbling In Tourism

photographerSometimes this job is weird. Good weird, but still. It’s never just selling houses or preparing contracts. This REALTOR® life is not about houses, it’s about people, so it’s always an adventure. As a rural agent, I get to work with a whole lot of backwoods types. And I love that. I am a bit of a redneck myself. That’s probably why it seemed especially odd when, one day, I felt a little like a diplomat.

The call came to meet a gentleman from China. (he had discovered me online) He wanted to see a piece of our vast prairie that was for sale. I did not expect to sign a new buyer or make money off of the meeting, thinking he was ‘just looking’. I obliged him though, because I love people, and saw it as an opportunity to serve as a representative of Manitoba.

It did feel a bit odd. I was, all at once, a distinguished representative (in my mind anyway), and also a tourist attraction – kind of like a giraffe in a zoo. He excitedly told me of his adventures so far in Canada. He made sure to have his picture taken with me. There we were, talking about purchasing the patch of land he’d only dreamed of, taking photos. Minus the camera around his neck, it was just like in the movies.

Feeling on display like that made me think.  Really, we’re all on display -especially in our digital world. But even offline, people are watching. What we say and do – how we live – we are always representing something or someone. Our family, the company we work for, or the God we serve.

Did you ever think of yourself as a diplomat, your every move a fascinating representation? Ooh. That’s deep. I’m excited for your own dabbling in tourism. So excited in fact, I’d like to take your picture.

Don’t move. I’ll go get my camera…

 

 

 

Why REALTORS® Need Social Media

cloud-computing-11299605484syQMost REALTORS® underestimate the marketing value of social media.  My marketing is social-media heavy, and I’m often asked, “Why bother?” and “what difference does it make?” or “Does it really help?” So I thought I’d answer these questions here. Online.

Did you know that, according to a survey by the California Association of Realtors (CAR) 63% of those who used an agent found them online? Without an online presence, that’s two thirds of a market you don’t have access to! I have met with clients from Alberta, Morden and even from China because they found me online. When I ask them how they discovered me, their answer was “online”. It works. That’s why I’m on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, advertising with MyHouseandHome.ca and have my own blog right here!

Check out these compelling stats every agent should know about buyers (who use an agent):

80%  interview 2 or more agents. This means we are in fierce, close-up competition with other agents, and being actively evaluated by our clients.

68% used Google to research their agent. I wonder how interested they are then, in an unfindable agent?

91% of buyers said they were receptive to receiving information about the home buying process directly from their agent via social media. This is a game changing piece of information. Buyers WANT to hear from us, and they want to hear from us through social media. I have several clients that I connect with almost exclusively through social media!

 

How then, are agents interacting with their clients? 51% of agents prefer telephone as their primary means of communication. There is a huge gap here between what clients want and what agents are doingAnd that’s good news for you and me. We can be the ones to step into that gap and serve clients the way they want to be served. We can literally meet them where they are; in social media.

As consumers, we know the trend is digital, and we expect other businesses to be online. But somehow there is this bizzare disconnect. As REALTORS® – as business people – we seem not to make the leap that WE need to get OUR businesses online. That’s where the clients are. It’s where they shop and live and hire. If we market primarily offline, we’re missing an opportunity to connect with 68-91% of the market!

So how can we meet our clients online? No one article could cover that, but diving into social media would be a tremendous start. Open accounts and start connecting with people. Then get researching about how best to market your business online. (You might be surprised to find the way not to market is to talk about your services all the time. It’s a people thing.)

ADVERTISING Is the responsibility of the agent!

Experience in real estate has allowed me to observe a variety of thoughts from many agents on the subject of advertising. Before I share, allow me to say that each thought has a point. Just because I think differently and make my choices differently from other agents, does not mean that I don’t see their point of view.

Here are some statements that I have heard from competing agents:
* The house will sell regardless, so why spend money on advertising?
* I put an ad in there once and I did not get any calls, therefore it is useless
* It’s too costly!

Here are a few reasons I choose to advertise:
* My seller has entrusted me to work on their behalf to market their property. I have access to advertising opportunities that a private seller does not have. Any agent can put a listing on MLS and put a sign on their property! I want to give my seller’s home maximum exposure!
* The seller does not just want a sale. The seller wants the sale to bring them maximum profits in the least amount of time! I don’t want to sit back and wait for someone to call, I want to entice the buyer to call!
* Well over 90% of buyers are beginning their home shopping on line! That statistic is reason enough to be strategically searching for the maximum online presence! If that’s where the buyer is, then that’s where I will go to attract the buyer!
* The age group that buys the most houses is 25-34 year olds! This young generation is tech savvy! I absolutely love working with first time home buyers and young people. This was motivation for me to become tech savvy and speak the language of the young. It can be a quick step to get more information on the house I am marketing! The mobile generation appreciates that I am a mobile friendly agent. I make myself accessible through social media and I am willing to respond in a timely manner.
* Complacency is offensive to me! It is upsetting to me when a seller is paying 5% or more of the sale price to an agent to market their home and they get no marketing exposure in return!
* I am grateful for the business!
* I want my sellers to be completely satisfied so that they will refer me to other sellers!
* MARKETING IS MY JOB! I chose this profession because I enjoy serving people and marketing is one of my skills!

My methods bring results!

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate