Links for Feb 28 – March 13

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from Feb 28 through Mar 13, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Links for Feb 21 – Feb 27

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from Feb 21 through Feb 27, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Newsletter February – 2010: Maintaining Control of Your Contact Points (3/3)

Part 3 of 3

This is the final article of our three part series on controlling your contact points. Click here to read our first article where we discussed the importance of cell phones and here for our second article where we covered personalized email addresses. This article will touch on the use of a personalized website as an important way to maintain control over how your customers interact with you.

As you are aware, the Internet has revolutionized the way people buy and sell property. According to the National Association of REALTORs of all the serious home buyers, 87% start their search for a new home online. This shows there is an outstanding number of prospective customers available for those agents who are savvy enough to know how to attract and capture their contact information.

Many brokers provide a template based website solution for their agents with a sub-domain that utilizes the brokers Unique Domain Name (UDN). For instance, let’s assume that the broker owns the unique domain name – http://www.brokername.com; a sub-domain would be http://agentname.brokername.com. In most cases, the broker is providing a great service to you as an agent. However, the problem arises when you leave the company and as a result, lose that website address. You have lost a valuable contact point that you have possibly been directing clients to for months. In our previous article we discussed how to register your own Unique Domain Name. By registering your own Unique Domain Name (UDN) you are now able to prevent the situation described above. As the owner of your own UDN, you have total control over where your customers are directed and what content is displayed when they type in your website address. This functionality is called “Domain Forwarding” and every Domain Registrar (i.e. GoDaddy.com) allows their customers to choose where their Web site address is directed to. With this feature, you can register your UDN and then ‘Forward’ it to the website address you want, regardless of who owns the content or website. If you change brokerages, all you have to do is update the “Forward to” address in your Domain Registrar to your new website.

By making use of this low-cost, relatively simple solution, you can provide your personal website address to all of your contacts without the worry of having to notify everyone of the change or even worse, change marketing material should you change brokerages.

If you are interested in learning more about owning a highly professional personalized website with the functionality needed to capture those serious buyer leads, as well as the ability to own your Internet presence, we would love to talk with you about REDX’s Agent Sites solution. Feel free to contact one of The REDX’s prospecting specialists to discuss your options at 1-800-731-7339 option #1.

Newsletter February – 2010: FSBO’s OR EXPIRED’s, THAT IS THE QUESTION

FSBO’s OR EXPIRED’s, THAT IS THE QUESTION

By Mark Leck

In this ever changing economy, agents throughout the country have been employing a myriad of different tactics to help bolster their business to avoid going bust. The once taboo practice of working expired leads has, out of necessity in most cases, become an integral part of most successful agents’ business strategy. Similarly, more agents have also begun prospecting FSBOs, who only a year or so ago, would never have volunteered for that type of abuse! In the past, I have frequently been questioned about the merit of prospecting in general. However, now more than ever before the question is less about whether or not to prospect and more about what to prospect.? I would like to help answer that question, by comparing and contrasting the differences between your two major lead choices.

Expired Leads

I have always been surprised by how many agents get caught up in the question of going after another agent’s expired listings as opposed to focusing on selling a home for a potential new client interested in moving. Expired listings represent an incredible opportunity for agents that are capable of tackling the problems inherent with this type of lead source. However, understanding this lead type is the key to not getting frustrated in the process.

Q. What are the pros of working expireds?

A. First and foremost, this is a lead that wants to sell their home and has already demonstrated a willingness to work with an agent. They understand the value an agent can bring; they just have not met the right agent yet. So get in there, and let them know you are the right agent for the job! Another pro is that many agents do not meaningfully work expireds, so there is often little to no competition in any given market.

Q. What are the cons?

A. The first problem you are going to encounter with Expired Leads is trying to contact the owner. In most cases the only information you have is an address, and unfortunately, not every address has a phone number associated with it. If you have ever prospected Expireds on your own, you will understand that finding the owner information is not a science, but an art. Expect disconnected numbers, wrong numbers, and tenant numbers. It is all part of the game. Like panning for gold, you have to sift through the dross before you get to the gold nuggets – and gold is exactly what good expireds are. Using an automated system to do most of this legwork can save you a tremendous amount of time and give you a real competitive advantage. You will still have to make the calls and sift through the dross of wrong/disconnected numbers, but in the end it will be worth the effort when you find those golden home owners.

Once you get in contact with the homeowner, the second likely obstacle you will encounter is “the dissatisfied customer.” They have been hoping to sell their home for the last six months – their agent swore on the Holy Grail they could do it, but they did not deliver. What makes you any different? This, however, is not as difficult of an objection to overcome, and may actually help with the next hurdle: price objections.

By far, the number one cause for a listing to expire is due to a poor listing pricing. Unfortunately, most real estate agents allow the homeowner to act as the professional and set the listing price on their home, instead of the other way around. Far too few agents are willing to walk away from a listing, when they know that the seller has an unrealistic price and that the property will not sell. What is the result? The listing expires, and the agent ends up with mud on their face because the homeowner blames them. If more agents had the courage to walk away from these types of listings, they could save themselves the disappointment of an unsatisfied seller along with its associated repercussions. Down the road they might also be surprised to find that the homeowner is willing to work with the agent on their terms, once they have seen that the agent predicted their folly.

In today’s market, this problem has been exacerbated significantly by the depressed home values. Homeowners are in denial that the value of their home has dropped substantially and they frivolously hope they will be the exception to the rule. The ensuing disappointment felt by the homeowner, however, can actually work to your advantage. Many times, the homeowner of the expired listings has already experienced a reality check and is now more willing to do what it will take to sell the home.

All in all, if you understand that finding homeowners is an art, not a science and that correctly positioning the home is the key to selling expired listings, you will find this lead source an incredibly commission-rich opportunity for you as an agent.

For Sale By Owner Leads

For Sale By Owner (“FSBO”) leads are another excellent source of listings for the willing agent. Void of the taboo felt by some agents towards expired listings, FSBOs provide agents with an opportunity to compete for listings that have yet to be spoken for. This perk does not come without its price, however, and many agents have been led unsuspectingly into the challenges of FSBOs merely because of their desire to avoid working expireds. The key to these leads, as with all leads, is to clearly understand the obstacles you will encounter before you begin your prospecting.

Q. What are the pros of working FSBOs?

A. As I mentioned before, FSBOs represent a source of potential listings that have yet to be claimed by an agent. Once you have aggregated your list of FSBOs, they are relatively easy to get in contact with. Unlike expired listings, locating the contact information for the homeowner is relatively easy because just about every listing has a phone number. When calling FSBO listings, you rarely experience disconnected or wrong numbers because the individual selling it is expecting phone calls from interested buyers.

Often times, FSBOs experience the difficultly of selling their home solo; this experience can often make them more open to your professional advice and experience. With the right approach, this new found humility can be your ticket to acquiring a golden listing with a seller that is ready to work with you on pricing.

Q. So what are the cons?

A. The difficulty in working with FSBOs often depends on the individual, but one thing you can count on with any FSBO is objections. Typically anyone that puts their home up for sale also considers working with a professional who makes a living trading those assets. Something has made this person choose to go solo, and your task will be to determine what it was, and then resolve their concerns. Most likely they have a concern related to pricing and the cost of commissions, but it could also have been a negative experience with another agent, or a new found streak of independence. This article is not intended to be a treatise on resolving those objections, but instead to point out that there will be objections.

Prospecting FSBOs also tends to be more popular than prospecting expireds. As a result, you may find more competition. This should not deter you from prospecting them, but it may cause you to consider alternative strategies (such as prospecting “aged” FSBOs that are 30-90 days old, using mail-outs, etc).

Aggregating a list of FSBOs in your area can also be a challenge if you are doing it on your own. However, utilizing a FSBO leads provider can easily help you overcome this obstacle and help you get on the fast track to prospecting this valuable lead source.

Conclusion

Agents who find success in this ever changing industry are not afraid to work; and while prospecting definitely takes a higher degree of commitment, energy, and even skills; the return from these golden nuggets makes it worth sifting through the dross. No longer are agents asking “should I prospect”, but instead: “what should I prospect?” Understanding the differences between FSBOs and Expireds will help to prepare you to prospect either one – or both! So get after it! – Good hunting!

Mr. Leck is the Founder/CEO of Real Estate Data X-Change, Inc. (REDX)

Should I use Social Networking in my Real Estate business?

If you have been struggling with this question you are not alone. Many agents are asking themselves the same question, and if it’s not that particular question chances are it’s somehow related to it: which social networking sites should I use, how do I incorporate social networking into my business, how much does it cost, etc?

The fact that you are even asking the question means that you have heard about or read about social networking; that you have at least a basic understanding of what it is, how it works and now are interested to learn more. You may be surprised to learn that you’ve already been using social networking and just didn’t know it.

Do you have a blog, or a Facebook account? If you do, have you ever commented about your business; or perhaps posted information about a completed transaction? If the answer to this question is yes then you have already used social networking in your business.

As a real estate agent the very nature of your business is social networking. For many agents the confusion surrounding social networking – or social media as it is sometimes referred to – lies in the fact that these new forms of ‘networking’ take place on-line using websites that, on the surface, do not appear to be tools designed for business; but rather were created for fun. While it is true that most of the websites that comprise the social networking landscape were created for leisure it doesn’t mean they can’t be used to help you grow your business. In fact you can and should make use of all the tools available to help your business succeed regardless of their initial design or intent.

So to answer the question posed up above “Should I use Social Networking in my real estate business?” the answer is Yes; yes you should!

If you would like to learn more about Social Networking for Real Estate Professionals send an email to socialmedia @ theredx.com and we will place you in contact with some of our preferred partners who specialize in helping REALTORs get started with Social Networking.

Links for Feb 14 – Feb 20

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from Feb 14 through Feb 20, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Links for Feb 7 – Feb 13

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from Feb 7 through Feb 13, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Links for Jan 31 – Feb 6

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from Jan 31 through Feb 6, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Links for Jan 24 – Jan 30

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from Jan 24 through Jan 30, 2010.  The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals.  We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Newsletter January – 2010: Fix It!

Fix It!

By Verl Workman, Pinnacle Quest consulting 2010

With the New Year now upon us, it is with some relief that many look back upon 2009. Few would disagree that it was a challenging year. As we look forward now to 2010, what did we learn from the events of 2009?

There are many things that are beyond our control: the economy, interest rates, health care costs, global warming, etc. Some of these factors, combined with the apparent doom and gloom of the real estate market, provide ample excuses and are all we need to justify a lack of production and income. It is easy to be miserable, to sit back and wait for things to get better and to blame our situation on all of the factors over which we have no control.

But I have always been a big believer in the words of Reinhold Niebuhr’s serenity prayer:

“God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things that I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.”

In other words, if there is something that is challenging you and is causing you to stress or complain, ask yourself this simple question: “Can I change it?” If the answer is “no”, then stop stressing over it and just move on! But if the answer is “yes”, then stop complaining and get to work making the necessary changes!

As real estate agents, we may not be able to control the economy or market, but we CAN control our own individual, daily behaviors. Too many agents are focused on circumstances over which they have no control. Instead, they should concentrate on the daily activities and personal behaviors that they can control.

The simple deciding factor in achieving greatness is YOU. Are you prospecting every day? Have you identified the predominant areas where transactions are occurring in your market? Have you built a marketing and prospecting plan to put yourself in the middle of them? If the answer is no, then it is not the fault of the economy that you are struggling.

At a time when we are making resolutions and setting new goals, think about what you can personally change, what behaviors, actions and attitudes you can adjust this year, month, week, and today that will make a real difference in your production and income.

Accountability – The Secret Sauce!

As I coach agents from every market in the country, I have noticed one key factor that makes all the difference in their success: Accountability. Those who are willing to be held accountable are always the most successful. If you feel like you failed to meet your own expectations in 2009, reach out now to your closest friends, family or associates and share with them your goals. Ask them to help hold you accountable and keep you on track. Join an accountability group in your office or get involved with a coach that will hold you accountable to do what you need to do to be successful.

Let’s not wait for the market or the government or our broker to create our stimulus plan for 2010, let’s each take control of the things we can, and stop worrying about the things we can’t.

Are you with me?