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5 ways agents can become more organized and in control

With better organization comes more productivity which leads to more income, and with a detail oriented career like real estate, it can be overwhelming. Here are five tips for improving your organization skills.

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organization tips
Interested in becoming more organized, proactive, and in-control of your business? After all, real estate can be hectic. These five tips will help you get a grip on the disorganization and chaos in your everyday life.

1. Manage your active business

Use a CRM for REALTORS® to manage and organize your listings and the buyers you’re currently working with. In one place, you should be able to see all the listings you have at the moment and details about that listing such current status, property details, asking price, commission rates, contingency dates, related parties, and more.

What’s more, if you’re working with a number of buyers at once, it helps to view at a glance who these buyers are and their requirements. When it comes to listings and the buyers you’re working with, you don’t (and shouldn’t) have to rely on your memory.

2. Reminders and to-dos

It’s important to ensure you’re maintaining contact and building relationships with past clients and your sphere of influence (SOI). Top real estate coaches and trainers suggest that you make quarterly keep in touch calls, send out direct mail pieces, do some email marketing, and plan periodic events such as client appreciation nights.

You can schedule, plan, and organize everything you’re doing to keep in touch with your real estate database right from your CRM. And then you can set reminders so you’ll know what to do and when you need to do it. And that’s not all. Have an appointment with a prospect? Meeting with a client next week? Need to prepare paperwork? Set reminders in your CRM so you don’t forget. Tip: a good CRM will include the option to send yourself email reminders.

3. Calendar and task list

Organized agents log into their Realtor CRM on a daily basis to check their calendar and task list. This lets them immediately see the appointments they have for the day and what tasks need to be accomplished.

And as you complete various tasks, make sure you check them off of your list. This serves two purposes. First, it helps you keep track of your progress and be aware of where you stand work-wise. Second, it “feels good” to check off items on a “to do” list. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, you can look at your task list and see just how much you’ve accomplished.

4. Listing and closing activity plans

It’s easy for things to fall through the cracks, especially when it comes to details pertaining to listing and closing a home. Listing and closing Activity Plans will help you manage and remember the steps involved in these processes. By assigning a listing or closing Activity Plan, all the things you need to do to move a listing or closing forward automatically appear in your task list and calendar, and as email alerts if you so choose.

5. Drip marketing plans

From a sales perspective, it would be great to be able to call every single person in your real estate database regularly and send them ongoing direct mail. These things are fantastic relationship-builders and often help with getting more referrals and repeat business. But in reality, calling and mailing everyone isn’t too feasible from a cost and time standpoint. For your best clients or “A-List,” it is possible and should be done.

But what should you do to keep in touch and build relationships with everyone else in your database? This is where drip marketing comes in. Email is cost effective and takes up very little of your time. That’s why you need to be regularly emailing everyone in your SOI. A good CRM for Realtors will come with automated drip email campaigns for different types of contacts. You would simply select the marketing campaign that works best, and assign the contact(s) to it. The beauty of drip campaigns is that emails automatically go out (or “drip” out) at various points in time, which means that while you’re showing a client a home, you’re also marketing to a lead or keeping in contact with a past client at the same time.

The takeaway

Put into practice the suggestions above. You’ll find that they’ll work wonders increasing your day-to-day organization. And when you’re more organized, you’ll be able to perform your job better and project a more professional image.

Matthew Collis is part of the Sales and Marketing Team at IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a leading North American real estate CRM firm. In addition to overseeing many of IXACT Contact’s key sales and marketing programs, Matthew works with REALTORS® to help them achieve their real estate goals through effective contact management and relationship marketing. IXACT Contact is a web-based real estate contact management and marketing system that helps REALTORS® better manage and grow their business. The system includes powerful email marketing capabilities and a professionally designed and written monthly e-Newsletter.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. virtual office

    October 4, 2012 at 4:49 am

    Great post! Sorting your things out of your busy schedule may help you become more productive.

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Business News

Asking the wrong questions can ruin your job opportunity

(BUSINESS NEWS) An HR expert discusses the best (and worst) questions she’s experienced during candidate interviews. it’s best to learn from others mistakes.

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When talking to hiring managers outside of an interview setting, I always find myself asking about their horror stories as they’re usually good for a laugh (and a crash course in what not to do in an interview). A good friend of mine has worked in HR for the last decade and has sat in on her fair share of interviews, so naturally I asked her what some of her most notable experiences were with candidates – the good and the bad, in her own words…

“Let’s see, I think the worst questions I’ve ever had are typically related to benefits or vacation as it demonstrates that their priorities are not focused on the actual job they will be performing. I’ve had candidates ask how much vacation time they’ll receive during an initial phone screen (as their only question!). I’ve also had them ask about benefits and make comparisons to me over the phone about how our benefits compare to their current employer.

I once had a candidate ask me about the age demographics of our office, which was very uncomfortable and inappropriate! They were trying to determine if the attorneys at our law firm were older than the ones they were currently supporting. It was quite strange!

I also once had a candidate ask me about the work environment, which was fine, but they then launched into a story about how they are in a terrible environment and are planning on suing their company. While I understand that candidates may have faced challenges in their previous roles or worked for companies that had toxic working environments, it is important that you do not disparage them.

In all honesty, the worst is when they do not have any questions at all. In my opinion, it shows that they are not really invested in the position or have not put enough thought into their decision to change jobs. Moving to a new company is not a decision that should be made lightly and it’s important for me as an employer to make sure I am hiring employees who are genuinely interesting in the work they will be doing.

The best questions that I’ve been asked typically demonstrate that they’re interested in the position and have a strong understanding of the work they would be doing if they were hired. My personal favorite question that I’ve been asked is if there are any hesitations or concerns that I may have based on the information they’ve provided that they can address on the spot. To me, this demonstrates that they care about the impression that they’ve made. I’ve asked this question in interviews and been able to clarify information that I did not properly explain when answering a question. It was really important to me that I was able to correct the misinformation as it may have stopped me from moving forward in the process!

Also, questions that demonstrate their knowledge base about the role in which they’re applying for is always a good sign. I particularly like when candidates reference items that I’ve touched on and weave them into a question.

A few other good questions:
• Asking about what it takes to succeed in the position
• Asking about what areas or issues may need to be addressed when first joining the company
• Asking about challenges that may be faced if you were to be hired
• Asking the employer what they enjoy most about the company
• I am also self-centered, so I always like when candidates ask about my background and how my current company compares to previous employers that I’ve worked for. Bonus points if they’ve actually looked me up on LinkedIn and reference specifics :)”

Think about the best and worst experiences you’ve had during an interview – and talk to others about the same topic – and see how that can help you with future interviews.

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Business News

AdvoCare MLM was painted as a pyramid scheme! Well color me surprised

(BUSINESS NEWS) AdvoCare is the most recent case of an MLM being called out as a pyramid scheme by FTC, but there’s plenty more MLMs where that came from…

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AdvoCare business structure

It’s always a good day when an MLM (multi-level marketing business) actually suffers legal repercussions. Granted, these days don’t happen nearly as often as we’d like – MLM CEOs have historically had deep pockets and a far reach – which means it’s all the more reason to celebrate when one gets called out.

Today’s culprit is AdvoCare, a Texas-based “wellness” company. AdvoCare has been fined $150 million by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for operating a pyramid scheme. The company, as well as a few of its top influencers, have been misleading people when it comes to how much money they could earn. This is pretty typical behavior for MLMs in general, though many are careful to couch your potential earnings in vague terms.

For the record, the majority of users lost money, and most who managed to turn a profit made a maximum of just $250. I say ‘just’ because it’s hard to know how long someone would have had to work to not only break even, but manage to turn a profit. MLMs make big claims about earning money, but when you have to pour a hefty sum of cash into the products, it can take a while just to break even.

That’s why many MLMs, including AdvoCare, push contributors to recruit, rather than sell the product. And if you’re thinking that sounds like a pyramid scheme, you’re totally right. This method of putting recruiting first is part of the reason AdvoCare has gotten in trouble with the FTC.

In response, AdvoCare is moving away from multi-level marketing sales and pivoting to selling products directly to retail stores, which in turn sell to customers.

Now, with AdvoCare’s downfall, don’t be surprised if other MLMs insist that they’re different because they haven’t gotten in trouble with the FTC. In fact, plenty of MLMs are quick to tell you that they’re totally legal and totally not a pyramid scheme. Sure, Jan.

First of all, if there’s a big focus on recruiting, that’s obviously a big red flag. There are plenty of pyramid scheme MLMs out there that just haven’t gotten caught yet. But there are other sneaky ways an MLM will try to rip you off. For instance, some companies will insist you buy tons of product to keep your place, and that product can be very hard to unload. Not to mention, many of the products MLMs tout are subpar at best.

AdvoCare getting called out by the FTC is a great start, but MLMs seem kind of like hydras. Cut down one and two more seem to spring up in its place. So be vigilant, y’all. Just because an MLM hasn’t gotten caught yet doesn’t guarantee it won’t still scam you out of your hard earned cash.

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Business News

Bose is closing their retail stores, but we haven’t heard the last of them

(BUSINESS NEWS) Over the last 30 years Bose has become so well understood by consumers that they don’t even need retail stores anymore. We hear them just fine.

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bose closing retail stores

Over the next few months, Bose plans to close all of their retail stores in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia. The company made the announcement last week. With 119 stores closing, presumably hundreds of Bose employees will be laid off, but the company has not revealed exact numbers.

However, this shouldn’t be taken as a sign that the maker of audio equipment is struggling to stay afloat. Rather, the move marks a major change in how consumers purchase tech gear.

When the Framingham, Massachusetts-based company opened its first U.S. retail store in 1993, it was making home entertainment systems for watching DVDs and listening to CDs. According to Colette Burke, Bose’s vice president of global sales, these first brick-and-mortar locations “gave people a way to experience, test, and talk to us” about Bose products. “At the time, it was a radical idea,” she says, “but we focused on what our customers needed and where they needed it – and we’re doing the same thing now.”

When a lot of this equipment was new, consumers may have had more questions and a need to see the products in action before purchasing. Nowadays, we all know what noise-canceling headphones are; we all know what a Bluetooth speaker is. We’re happy to read about the details online before adding products to our virtual shopping cart. The ability for Bose to close its retail stores is probably also an indicator that Bose has earned strong brand recognition and a reputation as a reliable maker of audio equipment.

In other words, consumers are less and less inclined to need to check out equipment in person before they buy it. For those who do, Bose products can still be purchased at stores like Best Buy, Target, and Apple. But overall, Bose can’t ignore the fact that their products “are increasingly purchased through e-commerce,” such as on Amazon or directly from their website.

In a statement, Bose also said that it has become a “larger multi-national company, with a localized mix of channels tailored for the country or region.” While Bose is shutting down its retail stores in several continents, it will continue to operate stores in China, the United Arab Emirates, India, Southeast Asia, and South Korea.

Burke said the decision to close so many retail stores was “difficult” because it “impacts some of our amazing store teams who make us proud every day.” Bose is offering “outplacement assistance and severance to employees that are being laid off.”

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