Category Archives for "Business Building"

stop wasting your marketing dollars

Real Estate Agents: STOP Wasting Your Marketing Dollars!

Real Estate Agents: STOP Wasting Your Marketing Dollars!

You may not know this, but I actively sell real estate. I’m in the trenches with you every.single.day. Managing two businesses can get a little crazy which is why I’m vigilant about managing my marketing dollars. There is no room in the budget for anything to be wasted! And, I think every.single.one.of.you should regularly monitor your expenses to ensure you’re not wasting your marking dollars (or any other dollars, for that matter)!

ASK YOURSELF: ARE YOU USING IT?

Each month I go through ALL the expenses. The first question I ask myself is “Are we using this?” 

If the answer is NO – then go deeper. WHY NOT? 

The answer to this should give you direction.

Are you not using a service because you haven’t taken the time to set it up?

Well for crying out loud, you are a business owner. SCHEDULE THE TIME. 

Does the product/service no longer fit your business? 

That’s a sign it’s time to take action and part ways. For example, I recently realized I wasn’t using a monthly membership anymore. I had just outgrown it. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, but it wasn’t a good fit for me and my real estate business today, so it was time to cancel it. Once you realize you need to take action – schedule time to make it happen. 

ASK YOURSELF: IS THIS MAKING YOUR LIFE EASIER?

I’m totally willing to pay for convenience. If you’re paying for a product or service that’s saving you time in any way – it’s like a good investment.

But, you might want to consistently make sure that you’re still getting the best price. 

For example, I had a problem with my voicemail system. I use BetterVoice to have multiple numbers so I can route calls based on lead source. We used to rely on it heavily. But, as different lead pillars evolved we’ve made changes in the way calls are routed to us. I still use it for sign calls – every single one of our signs have a Better Voice number on it and if I cancelled the service I’d have to print new signs. Yikes! 

However, I thought the $50/month price was a little steep considering how little we use it in comparison to the past usage. After speaking with customer service to resolve the problem I was having, I asked about pricing. Turns out, they could do better. Now I only pay $20 a month. It’s a small change, but so worth it! 

Don’t be afraid to switch services for a better price. 

If Better Voice hadn’t lowered my price, I probably would have researched other services. Looks like I can get about the same thing for $10 a month through YouMail. Today, it was worth it for me to not have to change all those numbers on my signs though. Changing this service would require some time in planning and I’d have to get some ugly stickers for my signs which requires time and a little expense as well. Ultimately, it was worth it to keep everything the same and save a little with my current provider. I’ll reserve the right to change my mind on that later! 

ASK YOURSELF: IS THIS REALLY WORTH IT?

If you’ve got a membership that you’re not really using but you love the Facebook group – maybe that makes the monthly expense worth it to you. But, if you’re not using a service properly, or at all, it probably isn’t worth the expense. (And I want you to stop wasting your marketing dollars!)

But, when you ARE using a product/service you should still ask yourself if it’s really worth it. 

Especially when they raise your prices. 

Yesterday I received an email notifying me that prices are going up with my current CRM. I’ve been with them since 2012 or 2013 – a long time! My needs haven’t really changed that much over the years and the CRM still meets my expectations. They’ve done a lot to improve it and I understand why they need to increase their prices. However, I don’t really use a lot of their new technology. The more I thought about it – I liked it better before it was so updated with tons of features I don’t need or even know about. 

Are you paying for the same service twice?

Plus, I have a website that has a built in CRM. I don’t think it’s as good as my other CRM – but now I’m wondering, is it really worth $250+ MORE a month? So, if you’re like me and you have some redundant services, maybe it’s time to decide if you need them all. After all, you don’t want to waste your marketing dollars anymore than I do. 

Don’t forget to TAKE ACTION. 

No matter what you decide to do, whether it’s keeping the service but learning how to use it, or cancelling it completely – don’t forget to take action. It’s really easy to put something off to deal with later. And before you know it, you’ve paid for this product or service that you’re not using or don’t value for another 6 months! 

If you don’t already have a system in place to keep your expenses organized, you can download the exact spreadsheet I use in my real estate business. I’ve called this “Accounting is Sexy” with a pretty little pig to disguise the fact that it’s a spreadsheet. You’re welcome 🙂

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Save Time by Speeding Up Your Videos

Save Time by Speeding Up Your Videos

Save Time by Speeding Up Your Videos

If you’re like me, you probably watch a lot of real estate videos online. Whether you’re watching on Facebook, YouTube or a web page on the internet – watching videos takes time.

In this video, I’m going to show you how to save time by speeding up your videos.

The chrome store app or extension is Video Speed Controller. It’s my favorite extension and I use it all the time. Some videos I can watch at 1.8x speed!

Add this to your desktop chrome browser and start watching videos faster than their normal speed. You might need to start slow and work your way up, but no matter what you’ll save time by speeding up your videos.

You can apply this same theory to podcasts and audio books (audible). Before too long you’ll be annoyed when you have to watch something in normal speed.

Personally, I watch a lot of video on my iPad. As soon as I figure out the trick to speeding up your videos on iPad, I’ll share that with you too.

For more time saving tips: Savvy Agent Club

Realtors to manage their email inbox

Tips for Realtors to Manage Their Email Inbox

Before you throw away your computer in pure email frustration, we’ve got some pro tips to share for Realtors to manage their email inbox.

Whenever I learn about a new hack or something that’s going to save me time or make my client’s experience a little better, I try to pass that info on to you! This was from a Facebook live and I think you’re going to like these tips from Realtors to manage their email inbox. 

Unroll.me

A few people mentioned Unroll.me as a solution they use. This service is free. Once you sign up and they run their magic on your inbox you’ll see a list of all your subscription emails and you can select what you want to unsubscribe. 

Sanebox

Some others recommended Sanebox. This organization has a lunch box theme and you can choose your plan based on if you need Snack size, Lunch size or Dinner size. Prices vary from $59/year to $299/year. These were the prices at the time this post was published. OR, you can pay monthly with prices varying from $7 to $36 a month. 

Once you sign up, Sanebox runs their algorithm on your email. It will decide what’s important and what’s not. The emails that are designated as unimportant will be relegated to a SaneLater email folder. If you find important emails going to your SaneLater folder, you can quickly correct that so they go to your inbox. I believe there are reminders set periodically to let you know when you’ve got unanswered messages. 

DIY Delete

Several agents said they just delete the emails they don’t want to see – that it’s faster than a service. If they really don’t want to get the junk emails anymore they will manually unsubscribe. One agent even saves these emails for those evenings when she can’t get to sleep – and unsubscribes all at once. The satisfaction must be calming to help her sleep! 

Are you sending junk?

Knowing that we get an insane amount of unnecessary email makes me think about the types of emails WE are sending to our clients and prospects? Are you sending emails that are JUNK? We try to be intentional with every email we send to ensure that the content is going to matter to the person we send it to. And, I think everyone would benefit from completing an email audit to make sure you’re sending the highest quality emails and not sending crap that people hate. 

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3 Time Saving Tips

Get Your Life Back With These 3 Time Saving Tips

If you feel like there’s not enough time in the day to get ANYTHING done, then these 3 time saving tips are for YOU!

 

In this video, I’ve got 3 time saving tips that are going to save you so much time, you’re going to sell many more houses, you’ll be rich.

Time management tip number one:

Turn off your text notifications. It’s not like your phone isn’t attached to your ear or your hand 24/7 anyway, so turn off the notifications. Then, when you actually have a moment to concentrate on something, look at your text messages. Trust me. If somebody says, “I want to buy a house” and it took you 15 minutes to get back to them, they’re still going to want to buy a house! They know you’re busy, and who’s to say you’re not with a client?

And, just because you’re not with a client doesn’t mean that you should answer a text in lightning speed. You’re a business owner and you answer that text message when you have time to dedicate time to it. That’s why you should turn off your text notifications.

Tip number two:

Turn off the notifications to Facebook. Facebook will be there later, so turn off the notifications and you won’t be bothered constantly all day long just to find out that “Heather commented on your post, or Heather posted in a group that you’re in” so on and so forth. That way, you’ll spend less time on social media and more time focused on things that truly matter to move your business forward.

Tip number three:

Turn off your email notifications. I know that’s hard. I know everybody likes to get a little “ing, ding, ding, ding, ding” on your phone when you have an email, but enough is enough. Just like your phone is connected to you 24/7 for your text messages, it’s not like you’re not constantly reading email anyway.

Plus, so much of what we get for emails is junk. Just give yourself a break and turn off the notification, and then budget your time wisely. So, when you do have a moment to check your email, you’ll actually be able to concentrate on what’s going on there, and you won’t feel like you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off. (Seriously, you’ve got to check out the video for a hilarious chicken clip.)

So those are my three time management tips, and if you follow those then you will INSTANTLY have so much more time on your hands to sell more houses. Although, you probably will need about a week to get used to not being needed so much. With all of those notifications not going off, you’re going to feel a little strange with so much extra time on your hands. Now go use that time wisely and sell a house.

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How to Set a Dropbox Link to Automatically Download

How to Set a Dropbox Link to Automatically Download

Using cloud storage in real estate can be confusing for our customers. Here’s how to set a Dropbox link to automatically download.

Whenever I learn about a new hack or something that’s going to save me time or make my client’s experience a little better, I try to pass that info on to you! This was from a Facebook live and I think you’re going to like this Dropbox hack.

This hack is courtesy of my buddy Dara Sklar, who is phenomenal about all things digital organization. 

First, when would use this hack?

Do you ever do a CMA in PDF form and email that to a client?

Great example, I save everything, including my CMAs in Dropbox. Some CMA’s have a large file size. If you use RPR then you know the Sellers Report is usually 70+ pages.  And, that’s just a little much to print.

Anyway, I like to share my CMA’s electronically. So, I save them in Dropbox in the presentation folder for that particular client, and then copy the Dropbox link and paste it on an email to share with them.

Well, when you share it like that, it opens up in a folder or takes them to the Dropbox link on their computer.

But, here’s the hack!

If you change the number at the very end of that Dropbox link, so the link shows a 1 instead of a 0, then the file automatically opens when the end user gets the link and clicks on it. The last two characters of the Dropbox link are usually =0. So, just update that to =1 and it will auto download. Like magic! 

I love this Dropbox hack because sometimes it’s kind of confusing for people who don’t use Dropbox or are not familiar with it and they’re like, “Oh. What is this Internet thing that this real estate agent is taking me to?” So, by making that one simple change with this awesome Dropbox hack, you have just made your client’s life a little bit easier. (Although if you’re sending them an 80-page CMA, maybe not so easy after all??)

That’s the hack. Just change your shared Dropbox link, the very last character from a zero to a one and it automatically opens for the person who opens up that link.

Thanks again to Dara for sharing this tip! If you’d like to hear what she has to say in regard to SEO, you can tune in here. 

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Savvy Agent Goes to CRS Sell-a-Bration 2018

Savvy Agent Goes to CRS Sell-a-Bration 2018

Read more for the full review of that time when Savvy Agent goes to

CRS Sell-a-bration 2018! 

In this video (from a Facebook live) I share what I learned at CRS Sell-a-bration 2018, what I was astounded at, and what I was surprised wasn’t mentioned by anyone. Since I sell real estate, and of course I support real estate agents, so I went to the CRS Sell-a-bration 2018 convention. CRS stands for Certified Residential Specialist, although they’ve been re-branding to Residential Real Estate Council.  

About the Event

CRS Sell-a-bration is a small event that happens annually around the end of January, beginning of February. The location varies but in 2018 it was in Dallas, TX, at a nice resort. I’ve been to several Sell-a-bration events and this was the largest. There were maybe 1,500 or so people there (this is my guess, I don’t recall actual statistics). I like this event because it’s not so big that you get lost in a sea of agents. It’s small enough that you recognize familiar faces from past events and have the opportunity to network and create new relationships. 

Daily Schedule

Each day begins with a keynote speaker. And, each day ends with a general session open to everyone.

In between there are several breakout sessions to choose from. During each session time slot you get your choice of four breakout sessions, all with varying topics. Some of the more popular sessions are repeated but most times they’re not. So, choose your session wisely!

The popular session topics

In each one of those breakout sessions, there was almost always a speaker on Facebook live or incorporating video into your business. Those were really trendy topics. Then, a lot of the other stuff was just general social media stuff. I agree, these are all important to growing our real estate businesses. 

What I’m calling BS on

In one breakout session, the man teaching mentioned, “Yeah, you should post six times a day on your Facebook business page.”

What? What is he talking about? Six times a day? Are you kidding me? Who gives a shit to hear from a real estate agent six times a day? Maybe there’s a method to his madness, but it is not anything that I am aware of and that’s going to be an exhausting strategy.

What I didn’t hear talked about at all

The one thing that I didn’t hear people talking about was connection. So, let’s say you’re a believer in six posts a day. What are you posting about? Are you posting about yourself? Are you posting about your newest, greatest listing? Are you posting about mortgage rates? I mean, things that don’t necessarily apply all the time to your audience, right? So, it’s hard for your audience to connect with that. Those types of posts probably don’t get a lot of likes. They don’t get a lot of loves. They don’t probably get a lot of reaction at all from your audience because they can’t connect with things they don’t personally relate to.

But if you do a Facebook live and your insert your own personality…

That’s something that people can connect with. When you give them something on a more personal level, they can connect with you. That’s where they’re going to like and/or love  your posts.

If you ask your audience a question like, “Hey, what do you think about oak? I have an oak closet door behind me that I do not love. But, what do you think about it?” it’s something simple that they likely have an opinion on and they’ll hopefully willing to engage with your post.

If your audience is super COLD (meaning there hasn’t been any engagement for a long time) then you might need to ask even simpler questions to start getting engagement. For example, “I’m thinking about replacing my oak door. I’m trying to decide between (A) a white door and (B) a stained door. Which do you like better?”

Facebook Algorithm

You probably heard a bazillion times already about all of the Facebook algorithm changes. The main thing to that is that Facebook is going to serve your content that’s GOOD to more of your audience.

So, posting six times a day isn’t going to beat the Facebook algorithm because it’s hard to connect with people that many times a day. You’re going to exhaust your audience because they’ll be tired of seeing your posts six times a day. (Not to mention exhausting yourself curating that much content.)

And, having six posts a day that are high quality content that CONNECT with people? Unlikely. 

The moral of this story is actually post on social media less.

Definitely use video and use Facebook live, like they were teaching at at the CRS event.

But when somebody tells you, “Oh my gosh, the key to social media is to post all day long,” they don’t know what they’re talking about. If that crazy strategy somehow works for them, they are a real life unicorn. Seriously, that’s not what Facebook recommends. It is not any social media manager recommends.

I’m passing that tip onto you because I know it to be true, and it wasn’t really talked about at this convention.

Don’t post more, but rather post LESS and of higher quality.

When it comes to quality, think about connection. What is your audience going to engage with? What can you include in your post so that your audience CONNECTS with it by liking, loving, commenting and even sharing it. Those are all signs that the post was good which will help you beat the Facebook algorithm and have your post served to more of your audience. And that’s just going to help you grow your audience, therefore, grow your real estate business, right?

So, that’s what I know after Savvy Agent goes to CRS Sell-a-bration 2018. 

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Savvy Agent Time Management Tip

Savvy Agent Time Management Tip

Real Estate agents can combat the common “not enough time in the day” problem with this Savvy Agent Time Management tip. 

Time management is something every real estate agent struggles with. In this video (from a Facebook live) I’m sharing a tip I recently learned and implemented – it might help you dial down some of the craziness in your work life!

If you’ve listened to Calls with Chris Smith, then you’ve possibly heard this tip. But, it’s a good one and worth repeating!

The BEST time management tip for real estate agents – TURN OFF YOUR TEXT MESSAGE NOTIFICATIONS.

Seriously. Turn them off.

It’s possible you think this advice is scary, but I promise you – you’re not going to miss anything. Let’s face some facts – you’re already connected to that phone 24/7 anyway, aren’t you? So, if you’re constantly ON the phone, why not just answer those text messages when you have time to deal with them? If something is on fire, they’ll CALL you.

If you’re not ready to take the leap into turning off your text message notifications:

Then you should at least turn off your Facebook notifications. Baby steps into getting your time back!

Then, once you’ve adapted to life without constant Facebook notifications, you should try turning off ALL app notifications. Say goodbye to the little red dots that just increase your stress level anyway!

Finally, when you’re ready to graduate to full time management freedom (well, from your phone anyway) then turn off the text message notifications. Personally, I’ve had my text notifications turned off for about a year. It’s glorious. Never one regret. Not one.

Try it and let me know what you think!

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My Friend Just Listed With Another Agent

My Friend Just Listed With Another Agent

It’s hard to go into any group these days and not see this post: “My {friend, neighbor, family member, etc} just listed with another agent!”

First, it always stings a little when you don’t win the business. I get it.

Second, this is a GROWTH OPPORTUNITY.

You need to stop dwelling in victim-land. Honestly, if the strongest argument you have that your friend, neighbor, or family member should have used you is your relationship – well it’s no wonder they didn’t choose you!

Check your ego and ask yourself – why didn’t they choose me?

Could it be that working with friends, neighbors or family members is not ideal? If you’ve done a few deals you know that things can go sideways, fast. Sometimes the client is the cause of problems and it’s better for them to save face with you by working with someone that isn’t close to them. Do you want your next door neighbor to be your gynecologist? Ew, probably not! Okay, that’s an extreme example – but somethings people feel naked in real estate so respect their choice to keep their business private.

Could it be that you are brand new and while your friend, neighbor or family member loves you – they want someone with more experience? The experience hurdle is tough because it’s true. With the people closest to you – it’s hard to fake it ‘til you make it. So, chill out if they go with someone else and be supportive of their decision. Then, go to the office and LEARN. Read a real estate book. Listen to a real estate podcast. Attend your office meetings. Go to agent/broker tours. Shadow an agent in your office. ABSORB ALL THE THINGS. Next time, you’ll have the experience!

Could it be that the perception of your friend, neighbor or family member is that you’re not responsible or professional? Perception is reality, right? So, here’s an example of how you might be sabotaging yourself:

  • Complaining about clients.
  • Complaining about not having enough business.
  • Complaining about your broker or agents in your office.
  • Complaining about anything.

 

This is a tough business and complaints are real.

But, for people that aren’t IN the business, they just don’t get it. Plus, complaining isn’t exactly productive unless you’re working toward a solution. Complaints also belong in victim-land. And you don’t want your friends, family or neighbors to think you’re a victim! You want to portray a persona of confident success.

You can turn the tables to your favor. Find a peer group. Look for some agents that have similar aspirations to you and meet regularly. Look for solutions in your complaints. For example:

  • Complaining about clients = My client is upset about XYZ, how could I have prevented that?
  • Complaining about not having enough business = Brainstorming to get new business.
  • Complaining about your broker or agents in your office = Seeking a broker or office that has a vision that aligns with yours. Be open to learning from observing others.
  • Complaining about anything = Spin the table to the positive and how is that complaint going to further you in your career.

 

Finally, it’s not cool to tie your relationship to your business.

Not. Cool. If you put your relationships FIRST, then it won’t hurt if/when they choose to do business with someone else. And, you might even make a policy for yourself that you don’t want to work with friends/family. Refer that business out to an agent in your office that you respect. Because, sometimes your friend, neighbor or family, just isn’t worth the headache.

 

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