Sunday, November 28, 2010

Finishing Strong

Every year I wonder how bad December and January will be for my brokerage. It's probably my most stressful time of running my brokerage. It seems that most years, Agents decide that from the second week of November through the first of the new year, it's time to take off. I have seen this over and over again since getting into the business almost 10 years ago.

Why does this happen? I have many thoughts, but one in particular that stands out for me. Mindset. Yes, the mindset is that business is always slow this time of year so why work hard. Unfortunately for so many Agents, that is so wrong. I remember I started in Real Estate on Sept. 10, 2001. Of course we all know what happened the 2nd day I was on the job. However, people still bought homes and in January of 2002, I had 9 closings. The only reason I believe is that I worked the entire holiday season, I didn't take the last 6 weeks of the year off, I worked hard.

So how do you want to start 2011? If you want to start where you have no closings in January, then do nothing. Do what you may have done each year and take off the rest of the year doing as little as possible to get by. Or, work while most Realtors are sitting around doing nothing and thrive. Wouldn't it be great to start your year off with 2, 3, 4 or 5 closings instead of your first closings of the year coming the end of February or the beginning of March?

Make a six week plan. Figure out what you can do between now and the end of the year to generate customers and contracts. What are you doing tomorrow, Monday? Get yourself out of your chair and continue to run your business with as much energy and enthusiasm as possible. Remember, while most Agents are asleep at the wheel, you can claim your stake and start 2011 off with a bang!

Good luck!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Have you thought about 2011 yet?

I know, it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but it's time to start thinking about next year. But, before you can look at your future, you need to look at what you did this year that worked, and didn't work. I often like to reflect on both my wins and my losses. In business, at least for me, I have always learned more from my losses.

So what worked this year and what didn't?

1. Print - I spent a bunch of money this year testing different print programs and concepts through postcards and print ads - Results - Loss!

2. Radio - I spent a couple thousand dollars per month for 3 or 4 months - Results - Loss!

3. Internet Marketing and Lead Conversion - As I have for the past 9 years, I spent the majority of my marketing budget on Internet Marketing and Lead Conversion - Results - It's a winner!

I'm sure that if I continued both the post card program as well as our radio campaign I would have started to see some results. However, when I look at the dollars spent verse how those dollars would perform through our Internet program, it's a no brainer. Let's take a look.

I spent about $8,000 on Radio ads. I received around 5 or 6 calls and no business. $8,000 in Internet Marketing equals 800 leads. 800 leads, even at 1 out of 50 leads being a sale, would have been 16 sales. Of course we are closer to 1 out of 24 leads being a sale which would have equaled around 32 sales. And why do I test these other options?

I don't have my print numbers handy, but I can tell you that either myself or one of my Agents spent $1500 per month over 6 months which resulted in 1 listing. $1500 per month equals $9,000. I'm not going into the math again, as you can figure it out from here.

So let's look at next year. What am I thinking?

1. Increasing sales and closing ratios - We have been stuck around 4% for a few years now. My goal is always to increase our sales conversion rates. This year we plan on working to develop our LCA program. I talked about it in a recent post, but it's just a matter of time before our office breaks out! One interesting note, over the last 18 months we had 703 customers come to the area who didn't buy because they have a home to sell. This is approximately 500 customers this year that couldn't buy but would have if their home had sold. Even if half those 500 we showed homes to bought, our conversion rates increase dramatically and instead of having 325 sales or so this year, we have 575 sales this year.

2. Increase Agents - I have been wrong in my count of Agents this year. For some reason I had thought I had 18 full time Agents. I don't, I have 14 full time Agents. My goal for the first quarter is to find 4-6 new Agents to get up to my 20 Agents hopefully selling 40-50 homes per year.

3. Expenses - One of the problems with being the person who always invents the wheel, my expenses usually run high. This year I'm going to work on lowering my expenses 20%.

So that's what I'm thinking of at the moment. Of course this is just for my brokerage. I have other plans for 100MPH Marketing Software and The Real Estate Success Network. Running multiple businesses has always been fun to me. It's a little challenging in this market, but I'm very excited about the future and I know that we are geared up and ready for when the market starts to make its comeback!

So have you started thinking about 2011 yet? It's time to start putting your goals and action plans together. Don't wait until the year is over already because you will start too late. I'll be doing our goal setting and action plans with my staff the second week or so in December. If you need any help with your goals and plans, don't hesitate to contact me. I'm always here to help!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Real Estate and Work Ethic

I'm sitting here going through my emails before I go out and tackle that little golf ball shortly and I'm just thinking. I was recently talking to a lead generation and software company about how to convert leads. They had contacted me about using their system. I'm always trying to figure out better ways of working leads, but this one had me curious. The system itself is basic and easy to use. It doesn't have a ton of functionality, but it's not bad. However, when I was going through the demo, the person on the other end of the line told me that the best part of the system is you don't have to chase leads. You simply put the system up and they will come to you. They don't believe you should prospect or work your database, just wait until they contact you to buy a home.

With that said, it made me realize why they were marketing the system like this. This company doesn't exist because Internet Lead Generation is important and a great way of doing business, they exist because many if not most Realtors do not want to work to get business. Everyone is looking for the easy button. There is no easy button.

Yes, you can set up your Internet Program where you get leads and you don't ask for phone numbers and you never call a lead until they give you their number and you have a conversation. My question is always; how many sales are you leaving on the table. If you are able to get 4-6 sales a year without doing anything, how many sales would you have if you actually prospected your database of leads.

In the end it comes down to work ethic. Most Realtors are looking for the easy button and the Internet seems like the closest thing we have to the easy button. You can market online and capture leads and never call them. You will, with an appropriate backend marketing campaign, get sales. No question. But since when are we satisfied with mediocrity? So many Agents, and not just Agents but people, are willing to never reach their potential because of their lack of work ethic. This business is one of the easiest sales jobs I have ever had. There is basically very little if any "sales" that go into selling Real Estate. Of course getting business is all about sales and prospecting. If you don't prospect your database, you are leaving thousands of dollars on the table...very simple.

So as you move on with your day today, just think of how much your life would change if you had just 1 more transaction per month, how about 2 extra transactions per month. If you are lucky, you know thousands of people and they send you business every month. However, if you are like most of us, you need to do something than just sit by the phone waiting for someone to call you. Be proactive, work hard, and success is there. It's not rocket science. It's just about having a solid system and plan and moving forward!

As always, if you need anything at all, I'm always here!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lead Conversion Administator

So as most of you know, I've been testing a Lead Conversion Admin (LCA) position for almost 3 years. It wasn't until last December that we figured out what we were doing wrong with the position. At the time, it wasn't really working and I was close to giving up on it. What we figured out was the LCA wasn't really doing the LCA job. It became more of an assistants job and she was doing all sorts of duties for the Agents. It was a huge revelation to me, finally realizing that I was missing the boat with the program. I guess I should have monitored it better.

Once we realized my mistakes, we defined the role to be very specific and simple. From then on, the LCA's only job was to make phone calls. All admin duties were given back to the Agents which allowed the LCA's to make more phone calls.

Since January 2010, we have been running the LCA program with the LCA's contacting at least 15 people per day and usually leaving another 35-40 messages each day. It's been hard to really quantify, but while most brokerages I know have been declining in business, we have still managed to grow again in 2010. It isn't our usual 20% in transactions, but it looks like we will be about 15%-20% growth in profits. Think about it, with the LCA's contacting over 900 leads per month and leaving around 1700 messages or so, it would be almost impossible for our stats go up.

Fast forward to November 15, 2010. The LCA program is working fine, but it's just not accomplishing my goals that I had anticipated. I couldn't figure out how we could get the agents to make more's like pulling teeth sometimes. All I want is for them to be successful for themselves, and they don't want to do the work. It's very frustrating. During a seminar two weeks prior, I had talked about a phone call system as my Lead Conversion seminar in Orlando called MOJO. Two of the Agents attending had told me they loved the program. After hearing that, I quickly put back into my mind to take another look at the program. The year before I decided it wouldn't work well for us because of the way we were able to search leads. That's all changed now.

Since 11/15 we have implemented the MOJO phone call system to our 100MPH Markeitng system. It's been simply amazing. I don't have exact numbers in front of me as of today, but I can tell you that the two LCA's I have calling have used the system a total of around 20 hours since last Friday, the 15th and have called over 2000 leads and talked to approximately 200 people. We are averaging around 6-10 contacts per average. Prior to installing the system, we are contacting 2 people per hour.

I can't tell you exactly what the impact of this addition to our program is going to be, but I can tell you that based on just one week of calling, we are on to something very big. If all works out well, I won't have to get upset at Agents for not making their calls. There won't be any calls for Agents to make except the leads that are scheduled to come in to meet them. Is it possible to have this much control over marketing? Time will tell, but we are certainly getting close.

If you have been thinking about adding an LCA, give me a shout to talk about specifics. Have a great weekend!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Internet Marketing

It's amazing to me how many Realtors I see trying to market online and doing a terrible job or more importantly how many are using these $100 a month company's who are going to place you on Google and you will get tons of leads. How much marketing do you really think you would get for $100 per month?

Internet Marketing isn't difficult. The key to all of this is the ability to generate leads. That's my only goal of my Internet Marketing. I'm not trying to brand myself, I'm trying to get as many people as possible to register on my site so they can be sent to my lead conversion program. But how do you get people to your site. There are many ways, but these are the easiest to start generating leads today!

1. Pay Per Click Marketing - This is by far the easiest and most predictable form of marketing I have been able to find. I know if I spend x amount I'm going to get x amount of leads which will give me x amount of sales. It's very simple and very easy to track. You only pay when someone actually clicks on the link to your site.

2. SEO - Search Engine Optimization - SEO is important for your long term strategy. If you are going to do SEO, be aware it could take a year or more before you start seeing strong results. Six months at a minimum. However, once you get there, you can expect a good return on your investment as the more you do SEO, the less it expensive it becomes.

Since Pay Per Click is so effective, I wanted to talk for a minute about Homegain's BuyerLink program. This program is the most effective online marketing I have found for Real Estate Agents. In fact, I believe so much in it that I have dropped all my other online marketing and just use their program. My costs are about 50% of what I was paying on Google and I capture twice as many's a no brainer to me. To see if traffic is available in your area, go to

If you have questions or need help. Let me know. I'm always here to help!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Blog - What's it all about?

I had started one of these a while ago, but spend so much time blogging on other sites, I just haven't spent any time developing my own blog. I did have one at one point, but I'm not sure exactly what I with it! Losing things is a way of life for me! My dad used to say that if my head wasn't attached, I would lose it. He was right!

So what is this blog about? Those of you who know me, know this is going to be mostly about Internet Marketing and Lead Conversion. However, it's also going to be different tips in all aspects of our business. Members of The Real Estate Success Network know that our site has so much more content than just our Internet stuff. In the future I will be talking about things such as Internet Marketing, Lead Conversion, Basic Sales, Floor Calls, FSBO's, and so much more.

I really don't know where this blog will take me. My goal is to post something useful once a week or more. Who knows, maybe I'll even do some video blogs! That could be fun!

As you read this, if there is any subject you would like me to cover, drop me a note or an email. My goal is to help you succeed. It's that simple. I know you can do it, and I know my systems work. It's a win win situation.

Well that's it for now. I'll be back soon!