As I prepare to travel to San Francisco this August for Inman's Connect conference, I look back on the past year of new contacts, business growth and relationships built. Last year was my very first time attending an Inman real estate conference and to say that I was impressed is not doing the word justice. The speakers, content, events and parties were nothing like any real estate conference I had ever attended.
As real estate professionals, I believe that it is our responsibility to give back to the industry that gives us so much. We have the privilege of seeing people on a daily basis move in and out of their homes, but what about those less fortunate who do not have a home to move in or out of?
Say hello to GiveBack Homes.
As agents we spend 99% of our time and money trying to stay relevant. That’s all marketing is, right? We pay to run advertisements in popular magazines hoping that buyers and sellers see it and contact us. We spend countless hours at networking events fake laughing and chit-chatting with the community so they know we are their “go-to” real estate agent. We update our websites and pay SEO specialists boatloads of money to optimize our Google rankings so clients can find us online.
I’m here to let you in on a little secret… your efforts aren’t working!
At least not as well as they used to. Let me explain why many agents are quickly becoming irrelevant.
My real estate career began at Coldwell Banker, and my only brokerage change thus far was to Keller Williams Realty four years ago. I am very happy at KW, but I’d be lying if I said I weren’t enticed by the various offers I have received from competing brokerages. Companies such as Sotheby’s with its incredible luxury branding and Compass with its cutting-edge technology make compelling cases for switching brokerages.
Every business professional understands the power and necessity of networking. Networking is the magic word that mentors and coaches push as the key to success in real estate. However, most "networking" that I end up doing involves a name tag and a room full of people I don't want to be around. It is usually some arbitrary association which hosts an event wherein I spend the evening passing around business cards and drinking mediocre wine (and that is using the term generously). In my humble opinion, life is way too short to be stuck building business this way. I have found other options which are significantly more fun and actually lead to more business.
As real estate agents we all know how important it is to stay in touch with past, present and future clients, but many of us fail to do so on a regular basis. Some agents find it uncomfortable to randomly call clients just to say hello. Others have been in the business for a long time and are daunted by the thought of having to connect with such an extensive list of clients. So how do we overcome our fears, manage our time and stay in touch with past clients?
Apparently I awakened a sleeping giant of a topic with last week's article "Top 5 Ways to Get Sued in Real Estate." I received over 100 comments and emails from agents all over the world giving their input on the matter. The comments ranged from jokes about foolish agent decisions to providing other common ways to get yourself in trouble in real estate. Since I had the pleasure of fielding these responses I wanted to share them with you, the real estate community, to provide even more ways to get sued in real estate. Enjoy!
As I conduct real estate on a daily basis I run into agents doing and saying things that utterly shock me. It would appear that many agents are trying to get sued and lose their license. While my team and I enjoy joking about the silly things we see, I often wonder if these agents understand the severity of what they are saying and doing. On that note, here is my attempt to help real estate professionals avoid getting sued and in turn better represent their clients.
How many of us made New Years Resolutions this year? Probably most of us in one way or another made goals for 2016. Now that we are exactly 2 months into the year let's gauge our progress. Are we 1/6 of our way to our sales volume goal? Are we 1/6 of our way to our weight goal?
Probably not... But have no fear, we can still salvage this year! 2016 can still be the year of success through consistency, not embarrassment through empty announcements.
2015 N.A.R. stats are in, and technology proves to be overblown once again.
I continually find myself caught in limbo between conducting my business the way I think it ought to be run and the way statistics show successful businesses are running. As a progressive millennial agent, it’s in my DNA to find exciting innovative spins to old boring business practices, but I am also a closet math nerd so I get equally excited about statistics. At the end of the day, statistics show things for what they are and numbers never lie. So when the National Association of Realtors 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers was released, I immediately dived in and analyzed the data to assess my current business and how it might need to change for 2016.
The majority of my marketing, presentations and conversations focus on my knowledge and skill set as a real estate professional. I mean, that is what potential clients want to hear about right? Apparently not, according to the National Association of REALTORS "2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers." The evidence overwhelmingly points to an agent's character, not competence, as the most important factor when buyers and sellers are choosing an agent.
Last week, I had the privilege of attending Inman’s Luxury Connect in Beverly Hills, and it certainly lived up to the name. The speakers, parties and estates were all so luxurious that it made my $2.1 million sale that week look like child’s play. Although the span of the entire event was barely longer than a 24-hour period, the consumption of information rivaled that of a week-long conference. For those of you who were unable to attend Luxury Connect (#ICLX), here is a “spark notes” version of the agenda and a digital scrapbook, if you will, of my experiences.
If you are anything like me, you watched Kanye West’s 11-minute rant at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) last month and thought to yourself, “This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Why is this guy still on stage?” But, if you are anything like me, you also didn’t turn him off. How did Kanye grab my attention for 11 minutes? Better yet, how does he continually grab the media’s attention day after day, year after year? I’ll give you a hint: It isn’t his musical ability. Kanye has proven himself to be a marketing and branding genius.
Does anyone else dread going to the gym in January? At the beginning of every year the gym is packed with “New Years Resolutioners” that have zero weight-room etiquette, zero hygiene and zero chance of surviving through February. We all see it, and frankly we’ve all been those people! We set a goal (in this case getting back in shape) at the beginning of the year and then inevitably give up within a few weeks. Why is that? Are we all that lazy? Perhaps it isn’t laziness; perhaps there is a simple solution that can greatly increase our odds…
I entered real estate with a very bad stigma in my head about real estate agents. They were all obnoxious overbearing cheesy salesmen that belonged on a used car lot. In response to that stigma (which of course was an overblown stereotype… sort of) I conducted my practice on the far other end of the spectrum. I gave respectful distance to a fault. And it bit me in the butt; in a couple million ways. My sheepish business practices lost me multiple buyers and sellers – clients that went in the direction of whichever real estate agent was around them when they decided to make their move. Through trial and error, I found out that there was a happy medium where my business practices were strong but not obnoxious.
If you remember my article from a few months ago (4 Reasons Why You Need To Be An International Real Estate Agent), I gave a hard push to become comfortable with international real estate transactions. That comfortability starts with a C.I.P.S. (Certified International Property Specialist) designation and continues with ongoing education. For those of you who have headed my advice and begun adopting global expertise in your practice, let’s discuss what proper preparation looks like for someone thinking about buying internationally. Here are 10 questions to ask your clients before they buy abroad:
It would be completely normal to say that a person who works out every day and eats healthy is “trying to get in shape.” Following that logic, the average person who eats fast food and fails to regularly exercise is “trying to get fat” right? They must have a list of goals posted on their mirror and #1 says, “Get Fat.” And each night they purposefully avoid the gym, eat a large dinner/dessert, and then stand confidently in the mirror and say, “Yes, I am one day closer to my #1 goal in life.”
Of course not! The average person isn’t purposefully trying to be unhealthy; they simply get busy with life and it happens. But, if you remove yourself from the situation and analyze the data, wouldn’t you argue that their daily decisions (of which they are 100% in control of) suggest that they are purposefully striving for obesity? Because if obesity actually was my goal in life, wouldn’t my “to do” list look an awful lot like their normal day? Let's move this example from belly-fat to business and take an analytical approach to our success.
Have you noticed that most of what you hear and read about regarding real estate business is success stories? You pick up a Wall Street Journal and see the “Top 100 Agents.” You overhear an agent in your office talking about a big new client they met at an open house. You listen as the office manager interviews the new agent (who looks like he’s 12 years old) that just sold a $5 million house. Ok that’s great, but where are the people willing to get vulnerable? Who is willing to talk about all the difficult and downright boring parts of the business? Well I’ve found him, and his name is The Broke Agent. And he is hilarious.
Twitter just spent $86.6 million dollars and created the largest splash in social media since Myspace hit the scene in 2003. Earlier this year, Twitter bought a live-streaming video app called Periscope and officially launched it on March 26, 2015. This new app allows users to live broadcast themselves while interacting with viewers from all over the world. Will this trend last? Will this effect real estate? Should I, as a real estate agent, be “Periscoping?” The answers are yes, yes and yes! Here is why…
I’d love to portray a strong demeanor and say that nothing in my real estate practice phases me, but that would be a lie. Because of lost deals, mistakes made, and periods of months without a paycheck I have had some tough times. There are days that beat me down and make me question my career, my business strategies, even my personality and demeanor. Does any of this sound familiar? So how do we deal with these disappointments in real estate? How do we grow a strong practice while staying strong mentally and emotionally?