Let’s face it– even if you’re a real estate rainmaker, building an optimized team around you provides more benefit than performing your role as a lone-wolf advisor. When you’re working solo, you’re always going to be presented with the sour moment of turning away leads due to not having ample time and resources. You can’t do it all. You need a real estate team.
With a team, you’ll be able to build your real estate empire. You’ll be able to capitalize on every lead that comes your way and knead and bend the constraints of your day so that you can get every task completed. [Not only will leveraging a team allow you to bend the constraints of your day, but it gives you the ability to capitalize on every lead that comes your way so you can focus on building your real estate empire.
To borrow from Jim Collins, American author of Good to Great and renowned lecturer on the subject of company sustainability and growth,
“In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances…”
In short, your team is paramount to the success of your business.
What should an optimal team look like and how should you go about building said team?
Below are a list of tactics, strategies and practices involved in building the best team possible for your real estate dominance:
1. Outline your overall “why”
Ask yourself: Why are you looking to build a team under your tutelage?
When you are first building your team, you need to consider your needs.
- Are you looking to delegate some of your work as to have more freedom?
- Are you looking to ramp up revenue generation and have people follow up on the leads you’re too busy to follow up with?
- Are you looking to offer more customer support to your clients?
You need to properly identify and outline your motivations for building a team. There isn’t really a wrong answer, however if you follow the wrong motivation, you are destined to fail your business and your team.
2. Make sure your own office is in perfect working order
“The foundation of building a profitable real estate team is to have your own house in order first.”
— Jan O’Brien, RealEstateTeamBuilder.com
As the business leader, your role is to make sure that your team has the proper resources to take all the excess work that is being presented at your doorstep and capitalize on it. Your team is not there to solve all the problems you may already be experiencing with your business.
Your hires are looking for delegation, direction, and guidance. Only when you have your own office in working order can you take on the role of delegator and leader.
3. Identify the right people for your team
Referencing the above quote from Jim Collins, it’s important to know who you have on your bus before you decide on where you want to go with this team.
Where are you weak? Try to identify potential team members that make up for your shortcomings. Many realty businesses have employed using DISC Personality Profiling to aid them in matching the necessary skills needed in building their team with potential hires.
While DISC Personality Profiling might help in identifying your needs, it isn’t a surefire failsafe. Other successful real estate agent enterprises enact a trial period hiring process (generally 90 days) in order to see if the candidates are the right fit.
84% Of job seekers would consider leaving their current job if offered a job by a company with an excellent reputation.
4. Your reputation will reflect your candidate pool
Your reputation will dictate how much you are sought after in this business. When you reach the point of building a team, you are going to want the best people possible. Are you in a place where the best candidates are going to put you on their radar?
A study conducted by Glassdoor For Employers indicates that 69 percent of job seekers would not take a job with a company that has a bad reputation–even if unemployed. 84 percent would consider leaving their current job if offered a job by a company with an excellent reputation.
In a world where job satisfaction is put at a higher priority than compensation, what kind of culture are you fostering?
5. Hire slow and rely on your gut
Kyle Alfriend is a Realtor with over 20 years experience. He knows a thing or two about hiring a team.
Here’s Alfriend’s three step process on hiring new team members::
- First, his staff conducts an initial phone screening.
- The second step is an interview, which incorporates some Myers-Briggs testing with the main focus of weeding out the bad candidates as opposed to finding the good ones).
- Finally, the candidate gets to Alfriend. As Alfriend puts it, “The more ‘out of the box’ I want them, which is marketing and sales, the more I follow my gut. However, on the more procedural or compliance related jobs, like closing coordinators or processors, the more I allow the questionnaires and personality tests to decide,”
Alfriend says regardless of the position, he always makes the final call ultimately based on gut feel.
The strength and prosperity lies on your decision making abilities and vetting processes. When it all comes down to it, what does your gut say?
As a real estate advisor, you are always wearing a leadership hat. Whether you have only yourself to be responsible for or you are building a team to help you navigate the dynamic landscape, you are the catalyst for your own success. Building a team is tough. We wish we could merely clone a few copies of ourselves and employ them, but of course we can’t. However, you can use various tactics and procedures to build an advantageous team. From there, you can achieve our most ambitious goals.
There’s been a lot of media coverage recently about how personal information is being used and misused by social media companies. The best known example is the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal, where personal data about Facebook users and their habits were sold to marketing firms. It unearthed security and privacy breaches, and as a result, limitations have been placed on how advertisers access user and behavioral data.
The repercussions are certainly felt among those of us in the real estate field because Facebook is an important marketing tool in our efforts to engage with prospects and generate leads. While the changes to Facebook’s advertising guidelines change our approach, they don’t have to impede the benefits we get from using the social media giant. The right path forward can help you effectively use Facebook to build your business or find alternatives that still deliver high ROI on your marketing spending.
The effects of user privacy
Individual data and how it’s protected is increasingly concerning in today’s digital world. The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica case highlights the issues of users and the companies that are chartered with the responsibility of protecting them.
What happened at Facebook wasn’t illegal, but it raised serious ethical questions about corporate behavior and the rights of users. The company did what many companies have been doing for a long time. Essentially, Facebook has a lot of data about each user. It includes pretty much everything that the user divulges voluntarily (name, date of birth, hometown), but it also collects information about users’ behaviors in the network. Who are they connected to? What groups do they follow? What links do they tend to click on? From that data is a lot of valuable information that could help others target their advertising and messaging to specific users.
Facebook sold the data they had collected to companies who then used it to target advertising campaigns at those users. Cambridge Analytica was a political consulting firm that identified information about users’ political predilections and used it to target very specific types of ads to specific people, and generated usable demographic and psychographic information that helped them in campaigns for their candidates.
As a result of all of this, Facebook has changed some of its policies and features. They have restricted how user data is shared, and will no longer let third-parties (like the companies who develop game apps and other apps you might use while you’re on Facebook) have access to user data. Users, however, have more power over how they manage their profiles and how their behavior is tracked. It’s also showing fewer ads, and herein is the concern for those of us who spend money to advertise there.
What can you do now?
Despite all of this, Facebook remains the most popular social channel, one that still maintains a high degree of trust among users. And as we’ve seen, it offers a variety of ways to convey your message and brand. It still gives you the ability to target your advertising to people based on location and other information they voluntarily provide. So in many ways, not a whole lot as changed, although it looks like over time, users will be increasingly reluctant to share much information about themselves.
If you’ve invested marketing dollars in Facebook, we would suspect you will see very little change to the effect it’s having on your ability to increase awareness and generate leads. Many digital advertising experts suspect there will be very little impact, especially if they already have a presence on Facebook.
A new approach might be helpful, however. One thing you can do is to make your advertising non-invasive. Avoid anything that looks like you’re creepily tracking what a user is clicking on. Instead, just focus on your message of being a great Realtor for their particular geographic location. Instead of ads that focus on a come-on like “book a meeting” or a home evaluation, link your ad to a happy success story about your clients. Or use ads that highlight your community involvement more than delivering a hard-sell.
Many have found success with Facebook Lookalike Audiences. This is a program that enables you to upload a list of your own customers to Facebook and the network then identifies people who resemble that audience. It gives you a way to target without Facebook selling user data. Rather, it’s a way to align your needs with Facebook members who have willingly provided information about themselves.
Alternatively, you may want to experiment with other social networks like Nextdoor, Instagram, TikTok, or Snapchat. As we’ve outlined previously, social media can help you package your message in a creative, effective, efficient, and cost-friendly way, all in pursuit of increasing our reach among potential clients.
Don’t stop marketing (or believing)
We have survived all kinds of changes to marketing processes. Many of us have relied on forms of advertising that have changed over the years, and we’ve survived. The PennySaver used to be the go-to source for reaching prospects, and even billboards and bus ads have brought many of us lots of business. Digital marketing has changed much of that, but we’ve adapted and continue to thrive.
If your business is being impacted by changes in Facebook’s strategy or other aspects of social media, get with other real estate agents to learn what has helped them deal with it and succeed. We know this won’t be the last time there is change in our marketing strategy, so continuing to learn, experiment, and move forward will help us stay focused and profitable.
The personalities of both you and your team will play an integral role in your success – from the listing appointment to escrow. Backed by extensive research and clout within the medical field, the Big 5 personality assessment can assist you in understanding and capitalizing on your personality strengths (and weaknesses).
Astrology. Numerology. Even fortune cookies – there is an endless number of “authorities” out there that apparently know you better than you know yourself. Are you born between the dates of May – June? Then you’re stubborn as a bull (or cow, does anyone know what a Taurus is?). How about some Orange Chicken with a clairvoyant cookie on the side?
At the root of all of this is a desire to discover/understand ourselves and predict our futures. Or more precisely, to take control of them. The same is true within real estate – an industry defined by think pieces and coaching, all in the hopes of achieving our best selves/teams. This even applies to having the right personality for success. There’s an endless sea of advice articles on the subject (I’ve even covered it myself), imploring you to adopt these one-size-fits-all traits that will apparently guarantee success. Conversely, there is far less literature out there that provides quantifiable proof of the impact of personality, nor is there much material on how to actually assess your personality. (Nothing worse than someone who doesn’t know that they’re a Hermione)
But fear not, now you can have your cake and eat it too. Here’s a little something to prove the impact of your personality, and how to actually gauge it.
Thankfully there are many resources available that will help you determine your real estate compliant personality traits, such as the ‘Big 5’ personality assessment. “In contemporary psychology, the Big Five traits of personality are five broad domains which define human personality and account for individual differences,” and they include: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.
Granted, you may be lead to think that Big 5 are no more than trumped up fortune cookies and astrology diagnosis (though, Gemini’s are wild). But the Big 5 has been fine-tooled by psychologists over eons, while being respected and utilized by a host of medical professionals. There’s even a push to create the practice of “personality neuroscience (i.e., the systematic study of individual differences in personality using neuroscience methods) as a discipline.” (Pubmed).
Most importantly, Big 5 personality tests have even been used to predict team and job performance within the workplace – showcasing its application in improving your own business. Again, we’ve established that those with a high level of Conscientiousness and Openness tend to perform better within sales. Conversely, one of these OCEAN traits even has a negative correlation with success.
The point is, you should be seeking to improve your success rates by any means necessary, and taking one of these assessments could be your ticket to achieving this. Don’t worry, there are no wrong answers.
What This Means for You and How to Take Advantage
Upon taking the assessment, you can use your results to double down on the good stuff, while minimizing the ‘detriments’ to your success. For example:
- Are you too agreeable? A competitive agent will hunt for the best deals for their client, but a “manipulative” one will drive business away.
- Too Open? Trying new things is great, but you have to be firm in your convictions and opinion. After all, you’re the expert.
- Not Open enough? A know-it-all agent risks losing clients by being inconsiderate of their needs. Also, a lower score for “Openness” is marked by an unwillingness to “meet new people”, which is most likely bad for business when working in real estate.
Tell Us What You Discovered
Clearly, personality can be a strong benefit (or detriment) to driving business. Find out what yours is, and make it work for you! If you haven’t already, join our Mastermind Community and let us know what results you get!
Did you know: the way you focus on the experience of your clients – past AND present – will be either the key to your success as a top real estate adviser or the precursor to your failure?
Research shows that 92% of all consumers now read online reviews.
- Furthermore, of these online readers, 94% would do work with a business with a 4-star rating.
- Customers research an average of 10 different sources before making a purchasing decision.
And while your online presence should always be treated with the utmost strategic focus, every agent worth her salt can attest to the power of word of mouth (still the most popular and powerful method for referrals) and organic leads. For better or worse, you are always being watched. You are being measured with how well you run your business and how well you treat people you do business with. Generating valuable and credible customer reviews and word of mouth referrals that have the potential to translate into your past clients becoming your brand ambassadors can be overwhelming at times.
Here are tips to help you grow your referral influence and see the referral turn into cash
1. Maintain relationships
Every interaction you have with potential clients can have an impact on your reputation and how you are perceived in your business dealings.
A positive relationship always starts with a great first impression. We are programmed as human beings to put an emphasis on a first impression. It helps us navigate complex and novel situations where we need to rely on the little information that may be present. Luckily, there are services at your disposal that can alleviate the many stresses of making those first impressions. The relationship building continues throughout the entire buying experience and even after the purchase is done.
When the deal is over with, don’t lose touch with the individual. People don’t like to feel used during a transaction–people like to feel helped and not sold. The make of a great agent is someone who ensures their clients walk away feeling like more than just another commission check. You want people who did business with you in the past to have nothing but positive things to say about you.
Furthermore, are you making yourself accessible on the web? Are your showcasing your online reviews of past clients in order to influence potential clients who may be on the cusp of doing business with someone they trust?
2. Generate Great Reviews
When you perform great business, you should be rewarded for it. Generating great reviews can seem hard to acquire at times. The most effective way to convert a positive experience into a review is simply by asking face-to-face. Research indicates that by simply asking for a review face-to-face you are 8X more likely to convert the experience into a review.
You also can use your CRM to send out automated emails simply asking for a review of your customer’s experience. Make it simple for the customer on the other side. In the email, take them directly to the site or page you wish to have them create the review. Let them know how much in the email this is going to mean to you and your business.
The email or in-person request should lead the client to one or preferably a few of the review sites you wish to target. Google is still “king.” Most people start with Google when performing their initial search inquiries. You should also utilize Zillow, Yelp, Realtor.com and Facebook.
3. The “Tao” of Client Experience
“Offering continuous value without any expectations” – David Tal Verse CEO
People are attracted to others who do great work strictly out of the need to do great work. When you go above and beyond for the benefit of someone else, it will be rewarded. People notice this compassion. Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, built his entire multi-million dollar business on this philosophy at the foundation, “We’re wired for it. And people do business with other people. So when you learn to generally give to those people without expecting them to do something in return, you win.”
We’ve been told his as a fundamental law since we were kids: If you give, you shall receive.
4. The Bespoke Agent
Knowing who your client is and what his or her likes and dislikes are key in generating a repertoire of positive reviews and achieving an excellent overall client experience.
It’s important to note that when interacting with your clients, one size doesn’t fit all. Human beings have their varying uniqueness and recognizing this is important for the potential of this person becoming a brand ambassador. Mirroring is a great sales technique one can use in order to capture the essence of making this person feel as if they are your friend and confidant during the experience.
How does this person like to interact?
- Do they prefer texting over a phone call?
- Are they showing up to the meetings in a casual, friendly manner or are they extremely professional?
- Are they a younger demographic who needs a lot of guidance or is this someone well versed in the real estate buying experience?
Your client should always feel taken care of and know that you have their best interest at heart.
When a client feels like they are the only person you care about, how are they not going to refer you?
Building positive relationships is a cornerstone facet to any successful business–especially as a real estate adviser. You are building trust with people who are engaging in the most important financial decisions of their life.
Make sure you are well equipped with the skills, tactics, and strategies necessary for building and nurturing relationships that will help you and your business prosper.
Millennials have really taken it on the chin as of recently, don’t you think? It seems like everyone from pundits to industry leaders to even their own parents have had something negative to say about this young generation, calling them everything from entitled and lazy to arrogant and spoiled.
It seems like even if you mutter the word millennial during your lunch at the local cafe you’ll be met with older folks shivering and reacting with a foul taste in their mouth.
In truth, many of the young professionals within the workforce now are resourceful, determined, industrious, and thoughtful people.
The millennial generation from a bird’s eye view:
The optimization of your own real estate enterprise is contingent on adhering to and capitalizing on the very specific and tailored needs of the generation that makes up 33% of today’s workforce.
Furthermore, the millennial generation should be considered a gold-mine demographic within the housing industry:
To take all of this a step further, a PwC NextGen study notes that over 60% of millennials would prefer to work remotely inside the confines of their homes. Furthermore, this study finds that with the current economic landscape, it’s possible for 50% of the US jobs to be compatible with partial telecommuting.
This is placing an absolute premium on the homebuying characteristics of millennial buyers. If this trend increases (and all signs are pointing to such), millennials are going to be an exploding market that is putting an emphasis on the home and office combination purchase.
So what does all of this mean for you?
In order for you to capitalize on this burgeoning opportunity, you’ll need to equip yourself with the proper toolbelt in order to reach, communicate with, and make the most of these opportunities.
Communicating with this unique generation requires tact and strategy. As the old saying goes:
“I can sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman wearing white gloves.”
With millennials, you’re going to want to say,
“I can sell contacts to a hipster wearing thick-framed glasses.”
Your communication tool belt for reaching millennials:
As a real estate agent, you have many different means of communicating with potential clients. You are able to meet in person, call on the phone, text, send emails, and perhaps the occasional carrier pigeon (hold for the mountain-man agent who just happened to gain internet access to read this…thank you).
With all of these mediums at your disposal, texting should be the pinnacle choice in reaching this market.
Text messages do have several advantages—which is probably why 68% of millennials admit to texting “a lot” on a daily basis, compared to 47% of their Gen X counterparts. They’re instant and mobile, which means they can be read and exchanged at almost any time. Millennials are the digital generation. Most (if not all) of the millennials you know are probably literate in one or many forms of digital machinery.
Facebook and Twitter are perhaps the best social media channels for agents to use in order to relate to millennials, but if an agent can make use of Tumblr, Instagram or Google+ too, then they should.
Pew Research Center reports that 71% of people aged 18-24 are using Instagram on a regular basis. The research further concludes that 94% of the same age range of people are using Youtube regularly (68% regular Facebook users, 78% for Snapchat and 45% for Twitter).
While the statistics are always changing and at times difficult to track, Hubspot reports the best time to post and communicate through the respective social media outlets are as follows:
- In general, the best times to post on Instagram are on Monday and Thursday, at any time other than 3-4 p.m.
- For Facebook, on average, the best time to post is 1-4 p.m., when click through rates have shown to be at their highest.
- Good times to tweet average around 12–3 p.m., with an apex at 5 p.m. — which makes sense, given that it correlates with the evening commute.
The way you communicate through these digital means can also have a big impact on how it is received by your potential millennial buyer. Here’s a list of effective ways to communicate with millennials:
- Keep it simple and short: Modern day is calling for efficiency and expediency. Just as we like to grab our meal-on-the-go power bars for a quick bite, we also like our communication to follow suit. Get to the point. There is no need for the next Gettysburg Address when communicating with this buyer.
- Converse at their level: You’re definitely the expert here, let’s not forget that. However, millennials like conversing with people as if they were their friends; even in the context of doing business. You can quickly tune out and lose the interest of a potential millennial buyer by bombarding them with over the top industry lingo.
- Show them what you mean, don’t always tell: 98 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds watch video content on their smartphone on a daily basis. This is a fact. So when this generation is looking to purchase their largest investment, where do you think they are going to go in order to gather critical information? By now, you know how important video is in selling homes. Utilizing and texting links to show off your prowess is one the best tools you can use in communication with millennials.
- Have fun: Millennials want to be heard. They want to be catered to. In a world where it seems like you can customize everything from your burrito at lunch to the t-shirt you will wear to your next night out, customization to the experience of a millennial’s home buying shouldn’t fall by the wayside. Communicate in a fun and engaging way that really helps get to know your millennial buyer. Adhering to the agent’s job’s persona of an uptight professional yearning for the sale at all costs is so 1975. Make your buyer feel like they are the only person on the planet. Get to know their interests and hobbies. Use this information to build a custom experience around them.
As much as people are still going to want to poke fun at millennials and make sure they are the butt of all the jokes when it comes characterizing a generation, if the tactics illustrated above are taken seriously it can open up opportunities for you to tap into a market that is on the verge of redefining the entire industry. The American Dream is still alive and well. It is taking on a new shape and it will be the unique and tactful advisor that helps these millennials reach their dream.