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10 Tips For Boosting Your Real Estate Leads

1. Get to know the professionals in your market

Do research into they key professionals of your market and call them to set up a meeting.  Let them know that your clientele often needs an insurance agent, good attorney, banker etc. and you would like to refer them business.  Keep in touch with them weekly to see how referral business is going for them or to refer them new ones. In real estate, everyone knows the strength of a referral and you will know doubt get returned the favor.

2. Talk to divorce attorneys

Everyone knows at least a few divorced people, find out if they used great lawyers and set up a meeting with them.

3. Introduce your life insurance agent

Life insurance agents are great for getting business referrals.  They are in touch with a lot of people on a daily basis and are in the know about their clients’ financial plans for the long run.  This includes if they plan on buying or selling a home.  It is also a good idea to have your clients meet with your life insurance agent after they close. Now that they have just taken out a mortgage, they may need to think about additional insurance protection.

4. Work with personal bankers

Prior to searching for a real estate agent, most home seekers will visit their bank to make sure they will be approved for a loan.  They are then typically referred to the bank’s lender without representation.  That being the case, you as the agent are not part of this transaction taking place and you have no control over the client experience.  This could lead to a poor experience by all.  In order to circumvent this type of situation, you can make an introduction between your buyers and your banker.  If they are moving into the area, chances are they do not have a personal banker already.

5.  Research who the top financial planners are in your area  

Any clients that walk away with a nice lump of cash after a house sale will need advice on what they should do with the money.  You can be the person to put them in the direction of the best person for the job. Take time to find out who the top financial planners are in your market and start developing relationships with them.  You will see it will pay off big for you.  Clients put a lot of trust in them with their savings and will in turn trust their recommendation for a real estate agent.

6. Find good commercial lenders

Like financial planners, commercial lenders have a certain level of trust with their clients and can send a lot of business your way. If you have any self employed buyers and sellers, they are going to need access to capital, so this type of introduction makes sense.  If you come across a great lender, you should consider opening up a bank account for your practice as a sign of goodwill.

7. Meet for regular happy hours with past clients and referral sources  

Putting together a happy hour is a great way to get everyone together.  Try doing one with your financial planner and you can invite people from your database and facilitate an introduction.  Have your financial planner do the same and you will have a nice mix of prospects for both sides.

8. Offer to have a housewarming party a month after closing  

Get together with your lender and attorney and split the costs.  You can let the owners know they can invite the neighbors and you will cater food and drinks.  All they need to do is make an appearance. This will set you back a mere $100 bucks for each of you and you will probably leave with at least a couple of new leads.

9. Thank your referral sources with a handwritten thank-you note  

Immediately after receiving a referral, write a letter of thanks and put it in the mailbox. Each time you receive a referral, you should do this. Most sales people know this is good to do, yet many don’t do it.   It is a great and simple way to show your appreciation.  Stock up on stationery and stamps so you have no excuses to not send one out.

10. Send real estate email flyers

Flyers  remain a very effective marketing tool for promoting your property listings.  Real estate email flyers are a fast and easy way to instantly announce new listings, reductions in pricing and open houses to a specific group of recipients. Since this is email, you do not have to worry about the information becoming out-of-date.

 

 

Top 10 SaaS Customer Retention Tips

In the world of SaaS, customer retention and a steady flow of customer acquisition is the recipe for success. With that being said, retention is much less expensive than acquiring new customers so you really need to put great focus on trying to hold on to your customers.

 Below are our top 10 customer retention tips for Saas businesses.

1. Follow up with customers after every interaction

After you have helped a client, it is key to follow up with them after as well.  Add this extra layer to your customer service process and it will pay off big.   With this scenario,  you solved their issue but by following up a couple weeks later, you are making sure they are satisfied.  When it comes to customer retention, a satisfied customer is just as important as solving their problems.

2. Welcome feedback

Addressing feedback should be a key component of any retention strategy. If a customer takes the time to make suggestions on how you can improve, they are investing themselves in the success of the company.  Make it clear you are interested in their feedback by strategically placing something on your pricing page where they can submit their suggestion. You can also include a link on their monthly invoice.  Just make sure wherever you place these calls to action, your customers can see it.

3. Create multiple opportunities for interaction with social media

You want to be able to engage with customers as much as possible.  For this reason, it is key that you have a social presence on the key platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) as well as any others that are relevant to your business. By doing this, customers can easily reach out to you via their platform of preference.  By using social media as part of your customer retention strategy, you are not only boosting awareness for your brand but also driving engagement which is the number one way to reduce your churn rate.

4. You need to brand yourself as both a software and a service

SaaS providers really need to play both sides of the coin by positioning themselves as both a software and a service. The service part really is key.  Take a look at your billing schedule and try to match your service improvement schedule to it.   People want to feel like they are getting their moneys worth. This can be in the form of increased security features, storage upgrades or any other add on that will provide additional value to the customer.

5. Avoid customer satisfaction surveys

Every business wants feedback, but surveys are not the way to get them.  They really just end up being annoying for the customer.  This is not more true than when a customer has a problem that you have fixed (customer is bothered but happy it’s fixed) and you continue to follow up with survey requests that they do not want to fill out.  The customer ends up feeling like the survey is more important than their time.

6. Emphasize engagement as soon as possible

If you are looking to improve your churn rate, driving engagement is key.  Engagement equates to value when it comes to the customer.  For this reason, you want to get your customers to use your product.  Send out emails, make phone calls, whatever you need to do to. The sooner they start using your service the faster they will recognize the value. Once this happens, the less likely they are to cancel.

7. Come out with a new version

If customers aren’t getting enough value from your product, they will eventually move on.  One way to get around this is by releasing a new version.  It should be free and happen automatically but most of all, the increased value should be clear to the customer.  

8. Offer free training

If your software is on the complex side, it would go a long way with users to provide free training sessions.  As we have touched on before, the more value users receive, the less likely they are to churn.  Furthermore, you are cultivating a stronger relationship between you and the customer.

9. Consider a loyalty program

Loyalty programs have been proven to work. It does not need to be expensive to be effective. The occasional gift card or discount will make customers feel valued.  

10. Track exit feedback

You will not be able to save every customer.  Some churn is inevitable. In order to reduce customer churn, you need to understand why they are leaving. But it doesn’t have to be all about loss.  Take this unique opportunity to find out why they are leaving. You can then use this valuable information to help improve upon your processes and in turn provide more value to your current customers.

7 Types Of Valuable Social Media Content To Share

When it comes to social media marketing, the name of the game is to get as many shares, likes, re-tweets and engagement as possible. The way to achieve this is by providing your audience with valuable content.  When executed properly, the right content creates a connection with your audience in a unique way. When cultivating a strategy, you want to focus on content that builds trust and is informational. By doing this, you will see your social media marketing strategy take off.

Below are 7 types of content to share with your  audience that will give you the most value.

1. Infographics

In terms of shared content, Infographics take the medal home.  These awesome tidbits of information are extremely engaging since humans are visual creatures.  Aside from the visual appeal, humans just process content better when it’s coupled with pictures.

2. Interactive Content

Interactive content ( animation, video, moving image audio, games, etc) is one of the best ways to boost engagement. If you are looking to go viral, quizzes are where it is at.  We have all probably taken one or had a friend share one (what fourth of July food would you be?  Me, a watermelon).  Go ahead and make your next post a quiz and see the results.

3. Content That Evokes Strong Positive Emotion

Content that sparks people’s emotions get more shares.  Pretty simple.  But which emotion will get you the most shares?  Not surprisingly, studies show that posts that evoke happy emotions are the ones that inspire people to share.  This rings true for whatever industry you are in.   Laughter and inspiring achievements are both great ways of building a connection with your audience.

4. Content With Images

When it comes to what people like to share most, it should be no surprise that images were at the top of the list.  Just like with infographics, our mind loves images. Shared strategically across all your social media platforms, you will see more engagement arise from your audience.

5. Live-streaming

As we approach the halfway mark of 2017,  live-streaming has taken the front seat for many brands. Facebook Live and Periscope are just 2 of the live streaming tools that are catching on like wildfire. These tools are free so it’s time to get your strategy going.  Breaking news, interviews, behind the scene shots and Q&A’s are just some ideas that can get engagement going with your audience.

6. Quotes 

Sharing the right quote at the right time can do wonders for boosting engagement and your brand.  They never get old and are highly shared. Quotery and Brainyquote are great sources for quotes. But before you go posting a bunch of quotes, you have to know what your audience will respond to.

7. User Generated Content

User-Generated Content is one of the best ways to engage with your audience.  This type of content shows that as a brand, you care about them.  Stay on top of all your social media platforms and keep an eye out for content that was created with your product in mind or that features your product. Just make sure to credit the person posting them back.

Coming up with great content share is not easy and can be very time consuming.  As my business is heading to the next level, I have decided to hire a company to write custom social media content for me.  Emphatic.co has been a lifesaver for me.   You provide them all the details about your business and they will give you amazing social media content tailored for you.  They only thing you have to do is review it and schedule it.  The process is so easy and has freed up so much time for me to focus on other things.

 

 

10 Agent Tips For Selling Homes

 

Now that you have landed the listing, it’s time to deliver on your promise and get that house sold for the best price possible.  This is often easier said than done.  Most often the types of homes you are selling need that extra bit of attention and agents and sellers need to work as a team in order to get that sold sign on the front lawn. This involves going above and beyond with your real estate marketing.

Below are 10 tips and tricks that will help you have more success selling homes.

1. Get a listing agreement signed

This is step one and and a must have.  Sellers can be fickle.  The deal isn’t reality until you have that agreement in writing and signed.

2. The MLS is your best friend

The MLS is key to the selling process.  As you add details to your listings, be sure to include as many beautiful photos as possible.  Listings with more than 6 photos are viewed twice as much than those that have less.  Also, be extremely thorough and honest with specific details about the home.  People will question you if you misrepresent the property.

3. Make sure listings are on all websites

Your listings should be on every major website.  Zillow, Trulia,  Redfin, Craisglist , Realtor, Movoto just to name a few.  Most home buyers are online searching way before they reach out to an agent, so the early bird gets the worm in this case.  Also, someone looking at Trulia is not necessarily looking at all the other real estate websites so being on as many of these sites as possible really helps expand your reach.

4. Check surrounding listings

Knowledge is power and knowing the market you work in is key in real estate.  If your buyer is not interested in the home you are showing them, you should know what is on the market in the area.  Real estate is all about service and it’s extremely helpful to know what’s out there.

5. Flyers are key for marketing

Flyers done right are still an effective real estate tool for marketing homes. Whether they are used at an open house or for people to take during a showing, your flyers should be thorough, beautiful and compelling. Printed flyers are not the only way to use this great tool.  Real estate email flyers can be used in online marketing, email campaigns and any social media promotions you do.

6. Hire a photographer

A picture says a thousand words.  Hiring a photographer will give you that extra edge with high quality photos.  Just make sure they capture your vision.  Details matter so make sure the house is in perfect condition.  This means toys cleaned up, no visible wires, no dishes in the sink, you get the idea.  If you do not want to spring for a photographer, make sure to invest in a decent digital camera.  Taking photos with your cellphone is not the route to go.

7. Talk to everyone you can

Getting the word out about your listings is a great way to gain traction.  Talk to your friends, family, neighbors and anyone else you come in contact with. The more you get the word out, the more interest gets generated.

8. Meet up with your competition

Make a point to visit other agents’ offices.  Take them out for coffee and chat about what you both have going on. This is a great door opener as it can lead to mutual business and referrals.

9. Take advantage of social media

If you are not already using social media as part of your marketing efforts.  You are missing the boat.  You should be posting consistently to Facebook and any other social media channels you are on.  Videos are a great way to get the buzz going for your properties.  You can show off your latest listing or create informational videos sharing valuable advice and expertise.

10. Host open houses

Open houses are a great opportunity to increase your potential buyer pool. First impressions are everything, so make sure the home is beautifully staged, utilities are on and everything is in working condition.  The rest is up to you.  Time to bring your excellent conversational skills, and a happy and positive attitude.

 

 

 

Top 5 Ways To Improve Your Landscaping Business

As you begin to enter a new season, re-evaluating your work processes is key to keeping your business on the path of efficiency.  This is something that is good to do year round, but a month or two prior to the season starting is the perfect time to gather your team and execute any needed changes.

Here are 5 ways to improve the way you are doing business now.

Make sure you are managing your man hours properly

Staying within budget when it comes to man hours is super important.  You want to make sure you have a landscaping business management software that will make the process of tracking hours effortless.  Scapersoft is a great business software that offers not only time tracking but a robust calendar with scheduling tools.   Having this feature will help you make sure your team is staying within or under budget.  This software is developed by lawn care professionals so you know you are getting every detail you could want or need in a business management software.

Keep track of tools by creating a list

There are so many tools that can go missing, that having certain controls in place can really lessen the burden of this problem.  A great way to navigate around this is by creating tool lists that your crew leaders will sign at the beginning of the season.  If a tool goes missing or breaks due to negligence, the crew is responsible for replacing it.  Having this in place really pushes the crewman to bring back their tools and really look out for them.

Switch crews up and provide cross training

They say consistency is a great way to drive efficiency but having the same guys doing the same work week after week can get monotonous for some.  It is a good idea to sometimes switch up your crews. Doing so allows more sharing of information and the guys can learn something from one another.

Another great idea to consider is cross training.  This includes having office staff getting involved with things like learning job estimates.  Maybe event taking them out to a jobsite to see how things are run.  Managers should also get involved with the office staff to see how they do things like data entry and report filing.  Doing this helps the managerial staff have a better understanding of the inner workings of what goes into managing the day to day stuff.  If you want to read more on why cross training is beneficial to any business, click here: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-crosstraining-improving-team-performance-33216.html

If  you don’t have a website by now..you should

Today’s business landscape is technology-driven hands down.  You must have a powerful online presence if you want to be competitive. Consumers are searching online for everything including services like landscaping.   Your website needs to be professional looking and easy to navigate.  A great add on to your website is a blog. The landscaping industry can always use more blogging and is a great way to  to stand apart from the competition, connect with your customers and show off your work.  If you want more tips on building a website for your landscaping business, check out this great article: http://www.greenindustrypros.com/article/10257853/landscape-business-website-design-tips

Feedback from your customers is key

If a customer complains, make sure you are listening.   This shows them you value their business. Make sure honesty and reliability are at the forefront of your business.  This will create a level of trust that is key to building long lasting business relationships.  It is also a good idea to create a space for consistent communication so that your customers know they can come to you and your crew with any questions or concerns. You will also want to perform routine inspections of your sites and take the time to briefly check in with customers.  As you get more customers with your great customer service, consider implementing a referral program.  This is a great way to expand your business!  If you want to get more tips on this, check out this great read: https://www.landscapeleadership.com/blog/customer-referral-programs-tips-examples-landscaping-lawn-care-tree-service-companies

 

5 tips for new real estate agents

The formula for succeeding in real estate is making sales.  But when you are new to real estate, that is easier said than done when no one knows your name yet.  Selling properties is not easy and that big paycheck you are hoping for does not come overnight.

Here are 5 tips to get your new business off to a successful start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real estate flyers are a great way to promote your brand

Create a brand that makes an impression

Competition is fierce in real estate.  In order to set yourself apart, you need to develop a brand for yourself.  You will need to come up with a distinctive logo, profile photo, color scheme and catchy slogan.  When first starting, your brand will be that of your company but this shouldn’t stay that way.  You will need to get that personal brand going that will set you apart from your agency. A great place to showcase your personal branding is on real estate flyers. They are great for not only marketing your properties but also your brand.   I love using Flyerco.  They have a robust template gallery and you can customize your flyers to your liking.

Find a real estate company that is the right fit

As you first start out in real estate, you do not have an established reputation to depend on.  For this reason, finding the right team to join is key.  In order to figure out who that is, you will want to do some research.  Check into which ones have won awards, have a great marketing framework in place and most importantly, the type of support from management that will help build your career.

Focus on a specific market

The best strategy when starting out is to find a specific market to focus on.  This might be condos, luxury homes or investment properties.  You want to look for an underserved market, that way you are not stepping on another agents toes.  By doing this, you will be further enhancing your brand by becoming an expert in your niche.

Be Productive and Set Goals

Without a boss looking over your back, it is up to you to make sure you are working enough each day.   Creating a routine and a set of daily goals are essential to efficiently managing your time.  You should have a set amount of time put aside for things like marketing, reaching out to prospective clients and client relationship building.

Your expertise should be a selling point

To be successful in real estate you need to know  the ins and outs of real estate.  Things like legal issues, transaction terminology, housing laws etc need to be a part of your knowledge base.  If it’s not, start brushing up immediately. This should be the first thing you do before reaching out to clients.  Now would also be the time to become an expert in your niche.  That will be your key selling point.  Becoming an expert in your niche will give you the opportunity to create things like a home buyer’s guide or a handout with specific market information related to your niche.   These extra small touches will help build your reputation as an expert in your specialized area.