Monday, October 24, 2011

LCA Changes

So you all know I'm a huge advocate of taking lead conversion out of Agents hands. This week we have made one step closer by implementing a new position called an IML (Internet Marketing Liaison).

What I've realized over the past year is even thour our LCA's do a great job of calling our leads, their talents are wasted on the prospecting part of our business. Our IML will fill that part of our business model now and do all our prospecting on leads we have never been able to get in touch. This will allow the LCA's to concentrate on more active and revenue generating leads.

In the end, it's about helping as many our leads (customers) buy and sell homes. The best way we can help them is by creating systems that help my Agents. With the new way we are doing things, the LCA will now also be making our first call to our new leads. They will now ensure that each of our new registrations will be called multiple times until we get hold of them. Currently our Agents call once, maybe twice, and then let it go. It's all about maximizing.

My next webinar in two weeks is going to go over our first two weeks or results with our new IML program. I'm looking forward to helping everyone understand this process as I believe it's a game changer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quick update on paying LCA's

Of course in life there are always challenges. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. In this case we lost.

As you know I"m a big advocate of our LCA program. We have paid them as independent contractors since we started testing the program 4 years ago. Unfortunately one of our LCA's left last year and filed for unemployment. This triggered and investigation as to whether LCA's are employees or independent contractors from the Department of Revenue.

We had our appeals hearing last week and unfortunately we lost and now have to add our LCA's as employees. In addition, we will have to pay back unemployment taxes and payroll taxes on these "employees".

So with that said, you have a few choices. You can pay them as employees, or you can pay them just commission and pay them as independent contractors. The reason we lost was that they had set hours and we paid them a base pay.

Just wanted to give you an update in case you are using this program!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Interesting stats

At the end of June I was asked a question which I didn't know the answer. I was asked what percentage of our closings are from the current year leads. Interesting I thought since I have never done that equation. Of course that made me have my stat girl, take a look at our 2011 sales through the end of June. Here are the stats:

48% of our sales came from leads from 2011
25% of our sales came from leads from 2010
27% of our sales came from leads from 2009 and earlier.

This isn't off from what I had thought they would be. In fact, it solidifies my belief that those Agents who stay in touch with their customers will have more sales. I know I'm always hounding everyone about the importance of building relationships, and this is the reason why. More than 50% of our sales come from leads that are 9 months or more old.

If you are complaining because business and bad and you are broke, pick up the phone and within a short time your life will change!

Call your leads!!!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

To charge or not to charge

I can't believe it's been over a month since I posted. I've been quite busy evaluating my Real Estate company and making decisions to take the company to the next level. It does seem no matter how much I want to help my Agents become all they can be, I have trouble getting sustainable momentum from them. Over the past couple months I have been working on this and trying to figure it out.

Basically, through all my work, I have figured out that I can't really motivate the Agents. They must reach inside themselves and decide if they really have what it takes to be a top Agent. They are certainly great people and have all the tools at their disposal, but yet they just can't take that next step.

With this said, in our last office meeting, I was discussing what is holding them back to reaching their potential. One of the Agents made a pretty strong statement. He said, "until you are threatening our jobs, we probably won't work any harder". That hit me pretty hard because he is probably right!

This coming week I'm meeting with my core staff. These are a mixture of Agents that have been with me for at least 4 years. We are going to discuss where and how we are going to bring our brokerage to the next level. My mind is leaning toward a pay system for the Agents. Meaning, they will be charged a monthly fee for leads which will go away based on closings. The problem I'm finding with most teams operating a similar model to me is the lack of financial buy in by the Agents. With this system, the Agents do have a buy in but also have the ability to not pay anything based on closings. I'm hoping this will increase the Agents dedication to the leads and generating business on their own.

The question, to charge Agents or not to charge. If I had to do it again, I would certainly have charged a monthly fee, probably around $200 - $250 per month. If they have one closing it would go down to $100. If they had two closings it would go down to 0. If they had 3 closings they will receive a credit to use during a month they might be slow and so on. I believe that the buy in might be just what the doctor ordered to increase sales.

I'll keep you posted!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day and You

I hope you are having an awesome weekend so far. I've been thinking a lot lately why I'm so determined to help all of you reach your potential. I have been alone most of the weekend while my wife is in Chicago. Lot's of time to think about things....which as you know, may or may not be a good thing for me! But today, Memorial Day, has always been one of my favorite holidays. I don't know how many of you take what we have for granted, but you shouldn't. We have everything we have today because of our brave soldiers who have fought for our country throughout its existence. If it weren't for those brave men and women over the years, our country would look much different than it does today. I think about this often, but today I think about it with the memory of all those soldiers...all those kids. So why should you put forth the effort to grow your business? If for no other reason, do it in their memory. They gave their lives and they continue to do this today, so you can have the opportunity to be all you can be. (ok, that line might have been a little corny). You have so much opportunity and so much potential and it's totally up to you to deliver. It's not about delivering to me, it's about delivering to yourself. Sometimes we get caught up in just how difficult life can be...but you must take a look at your opportunities, not the difficult parts of life. These kids who gave their lives for you did not have a chance to live like you and I. They were 19, 20, 21 and their short lives were given so you and I can pursue our goals, our dreams and cherish our families. So as you enjoy your memorial day with your family, and I certainly hope you do, think of these young adults and use this as the wheel in motion to help get you going where you are destine to go. It's your life, you have complete control over whether you get up each day and take the bull by the horns or make another excuse on why you couldn't do whatever you had to do. There will always be excuses, it's up to you if you let them control your destiny or if you take control and go for it! Happy Memorial Day! Thank you so much our veterans, our current soldiers and our fallen soldiers. You inspire me!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What is holding you back?

I often look at my agents and wonder what really is holding them back. They have so much potential and business sitting in their database that just needs to be prospected. However, most of them do not do anything extra to convert leads to sales. If it wasn't for our software, they would most likely be struggling more than they already do.

Tonight I was looking at the leads in my system. I do this often, but right now my goal is not as much of what they are or are not working, but what is really holding them back. I've been talking about mindset alot lately. Mainly because I've had to adjust my mindset recently to get to a new place in my mind. Yes, even I can get down and negative sometimes. Luckily I understand the power of positive thinking and how that affects my daily life. I was able to change my mindset pretty quickly.

So what stops most people from succeeding? To me, the biggest part of this is the lack of confidence in themselves. Others don't feel they deserve to be successful as they never have been and think that is for others. Others are so afraid of failure that they figure if they don't try, they can't fail. Of course those of us who know, know that not trying is failure!

There is only one thing holding you back right now. Just look in the mirror and you will see that person. You have so much power in that brain of yours, that if you can unleash just a little bit of it, your business will rise dramatically. Become more positive and believe in yourself and your life changes...just like that! I like to say to people, "get yourself out of the way". Sometimes you are your own worst enemy.

So here is the answer: Set a Goal, Honestly Believe You can Accomplish This Goal, Work 80% of your time at revenue generating tasks and work Full Time! If you follow these steps your life changes. Does it take hard work to reach your goals? Of course it does! Go for it!

Monday, May 9, 2011

What can you do?

Whether you believe you can or believe you can't, you are right! Henry Ford

This is one of my favorite quotes! If you believe you can't accomplish your goals and make as much as you would like, you won't. However, if you truly believe you can, you will! What is the difference between yourself and the most successful Agent in your office? They Believe!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What good is a QR code?

The first thing we should cover is how to create a QR code. The easiest, best, and FREE QR code creator is at the ZXing Project. This page allows you to add some extra information and to perform differnt actions. For instance, one QR code may be on your printed material to take people to a specific page on your website that contains a call to action. These are called “landing pages”. Another QR code could be on the back of your business card. This allows people to enter your contact information just by scanning the code. Yet another may be used on a real estate flyer box. You know the always empty flyer boxes!! Well now it doesn’t matter. Your prospective customer can just scan the QR code and be taken directly to the listing on your website where they can view the virtual tour right on their phone. This should eliminate some nuissance showings… LOL!

Looking at the ZXing Project site, there are many options under the contents drop down box. I recommend using the contact information selection. You can enter all your contact information, plus a web address, and a memo. You can create a new QR code for each property, or item you wish to highlight. Just change the URL to direct the customer to the correct page on your website to learn more about the property or item for sale. Make sure you have a good URL to direct them to. If you don’t understand a good URL leave me a comment and I will write about that too! As for the memo section of your QR code, Make sure you have a call to action. Something like “Click here to learn more about xxxx and get your 10% off coupon!” Something enticing so that people will come see you.

Once you hit the generate button, you will see the code pop up. Underneath it you will see a link to download, and a small piece of code for embedding this on a website. Use what you need and start using them today!!

Here is what I created: Scan it to see where it takes you! :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

To call or not to call

I've received a bunch of calls recently about whether or not you should call your leads or not. I know you all know how I feel about this, but I wanted to comment. Here is what this company is saying. They believe that you shouldn't chase leads (prospect). They believe that when a lead is ready to buy, they will be contacting you.

Here is the reality. There are certainly leads that will contact you when they are ready to buy as long as you have been sending them listings and what they are looking to buy. However, the question isn't those leads, it's the leads (money), that you have left on the table because you didn't make any calls. Simple answer. My Agents (who no longer receive leads) who didn't make calls would get 5-10 sales per year without lifting a finger. Yup, it's possible. However, my Agents that make calls sell 20-30 homes per year from leads. The numbers don't lie.

Let's look at another scenario. You are sending someone listings and never call. You never have any conversation except maybe an email or two. They are on another website, which they are always, and that agent calls and has a discussion with them about their home purchase and continues to follow up. Who do you think they are going to use when it comes time to buy?

In the end, those who give great customer service and follow up will always sell more homes than those who just wait for the leads to call you. I know it sounds never have to make a call and the sales just come pouring in. As long as you don't mind losing a ton of sales, I guess that's ok. Frankly, I spend much too much money on my Internet marketing, I'm not about to let them go if I don't have to.

Prospect your database, you have a gold mine sitting there, all you have to do is call!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

When is the best time to call your leads?

We have tried several times during the days and evenings calling our leads to figure out the best time. We definitely talk to more people between 4pm and 7pm at night. The key of course is the contact.

I have seen so many Agents, mine included, who will call a lead once and then never call again. What a waste of a potential sale. One Agent said to me once, "if they don't call me back, they must not be really interested". Another said, "I'm not going to chase anyone to work with me, they should be happy that I'm going to work for them". I said, "REALLY?!"

The key to success in Real Estate, or any sales industry, is prospecting. This means picking up the phone and calling your leads. For those of us who have chosen the Internet path, this makes life very easy. You have a database, you have leads in your database, you are sending them listings, then call's a warm call and they will be happy you called! What a concept!

If you call someone during the day and it is a home number, then you need to call back at night. If you call and it's a cell phone during the day, you might need to call at night. Most people aren't Realtors and don't have access to their phones all day like we do. If you call at night and it's a work number, you need to call during the day. This isn't rocket science (I say that too much these days), but if you look at yourself in the mirror, are you doing it? Are you calling your leads more than once. I believe you should call and leave a message at least 3-4 times before you stop trying. Then, after a week or so if they are active in the system, call them again. Do we like to chase leads? Of course not, nobody does, but those who prospect (chase) sell more homes.

To see the report, go to:

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lead Conversion Agent - The Name has changed, the position is the same!

I know lately I have been talking a lot about the LCA position. I've recently changed the name of Lead Conversion Administrator to Lead Conversion Agent. Why you may ask? Well we recently ran into an issue with the IRS because they believe that mainly because of our name of our LCA (and because we were giving them a base pay), that they are administrators not Independent Contractors. This of course has major tax implications so we decided to change the name to better describe what an LCA is in reality. We continuing to discuss this with the IRS, but why leave things to chance.

Why am I so committed to the LCA program? It's quite simple, I know that the more people we contact, the more loyalty we earn. The loyalty we earn will turn into more sales and more customers for life. In reality, our Agents are only making money if they are out in the field showing homes, taking listings and writing offers and contracts. Our LCA position is the future of our business. It will eventually take the Agent out of the lead conversion role and more into the Realtor role. After all, most of our Agents are great Realtors, but that doesn't make them great lead converters.

Recently we have been able to really start refining the program. Once we started with our new phone calling system, the MOJO system (you can check it out at, in November, we knew we were taking the LCA position to the next level. Now we know we can contact the volume of people needed to generate more showings which in turn means more sales. However, we were still not converting the number of showings I wanted. This past week we figured out another piece of the puzzle. We realized that it wasn't the volume, but better deciding which leads to call.

Our LCA's were spending most of their time calling our Good phone number no contact leads. We had thought that if we can contact these we will be able to save a ton of leads. The program worked well. However, we realized this past week that this category, our prospecting category, should be just called 1 week per month. We also realized we have two categories that really are our most active leads, our shown property leads and our calendared leads. These are the two categories with the most potential to get people in our Agent's cars today.

So here is our new calling schedule for an average month:

Week 1 - Calling our Good Phone/No Contact

Week 2 and 3 - Calling our most active leads that have yet to schedule a time to come see homes.

Week 4 - Calling our shown property did not buy and our calendared categories. This is done the 4th week of the month confirming those leads who booked for the following month first, and then the shown property leads. Recently we added the ability to search our database based on leads that have saved listings along with opened their emails in the last 30 days. In the last 30 days we had 801 leads that have opened their emails and saved at least 1 listing. We can also search those leads by price range they saved. This is a huge step in building our business.

Is this the final step? I doubt it! Most of you who know me know that I'm not going to rest until we are able to convert at a 10% clip. We are actually a lot closer to that than our numbers show. I believe with more refinement of the program and better use of our 100mph marketing program, we will be able to really take the next leap. We are almost there and I know you will be watching!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How to deal with short sales as a buyers agent

If you ar a buyers agent and have a large short sale market as we do here in Melbourne Florida, you are waiting much to long when dealing with short sales. Yes, they are a major part of our market. However, you can show your buyer the benefit of buying a resale or foreclosure over a short sale and you will enjoy commissions soone than later.

One of the main problems I see with short sales is that we may be giving the buyer false hope without realizing it. For instance, how many of you say, "It's's going to take 4-6 months before we have approval"? Even though that doesn't sound bad, it's realy giving the buyer false hope. We are currently averaging 25% approval rate on short sales. The reality is, most of these do not go through because either the bank rejects the offer, the buyer ends up not wanting to wait (and blames you) or the bank wants the seller to hold a note and the seller refuses.

When talking to a prospective buyer, this should be your conversation.

"I understand that you have heard that short sales can be a great deal. In reality, they are not any better deals than foreclosures and resales. In the end, the bank is going to require you pay market value or they will not move forward with the short sale. Here is the problem, you are going to wait 4-6 months and have a 75% chance that the offer will not be approved or that the seller is required to hold a note in which they won't.

I have pulled these homes, which are similar to the short sale you have inquired about both in price, size and condition and based on my experience, buying one of these homes will save you a ton of stress and frustration."

In the end you can say this however you want. But, if you accent the positive, that is what they hear. If nothing else, just say "You are going to wait 6 months to not get approved or the seller walking way because they are asked to hold a note. Whether buying a short sale, foreclosure or resale, you are going to pay market value."

This should help some of you convert your short sale customers to buyeres today! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Remember, it's all in the meaning we give things. Change the meaning and you can change the outcome!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Are Internet Leads Bad?

Internet leads are as good as you want them to be. I believe that about 30-40% of the leads we have are actively looking to buy a home. Whether or not we will be their Agent is really up to how well my Agents, or my systems, help those customers become our customers!

If you read any of my manuals, or my book, you know that I have the 40% rule. We have found that approximately 40% of our leads are active on our site. So why would we not be their Realtor? The main reason is lack of follow up. Most Agents have no system in place to convert these leads (customers) to customers for life (sales).

So are Internet leads bad? NO! The key is are you good enough to convert these leads to sales. In most cases, most Agents, are not good enough. Ok, I can see everyone swearing at me right now from saying they are not good. I don't mean you aren't a good Realtor. I do mean that you may not be good at sales. The most important aspect of sales is prospecting and conversion. If you are not prospecting in Real Estate, you are not maximizing your sales. By collecting Internet leads, you are giving yourself the ability to prospect your own database verse cold calling trying to get appointments.

Personally I would prefer to spend my time calling leads that I have built a relationship by sending listings, just checking in letters and the other info that allows us to stay in touch with our customers. I'm not a big fan of cold calling. I'm a huge fan of warm calling.

If you really want to be successful in your business career by using the Internet, then you can't look at Internet leads as bad. You need to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are doing the best job you can to convert those leads to customers for life.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Looking at the numbers

We ended up 2010 with 329 sales and a lead conversion rate of a little over 4.25%. Not bad. I'm excited about this year because I think we will start seeing a rise shortly in business. There seems to be a little bit of confidence out there. I sure hope I'm right.

Every January we get a good amount of new members who want to make changes in their careers. Welcome to all of you who are new! One of the things I think is a MUST, is understanding your numbers. It's almost impossible grow your business without understanding the numbers.

So what do you need to know? Well in my case, I always want to know my gross number of leads per year. Then of course I look at our total sales. Once I know my sales per leads numbers, I can make adjustments from there.

Let's look at real numbers:

If you are spending $1,000 a month on PPC marketing at $1 per click and a 10% capture rate, this means you would receive 100 leads for that marketing expense. If you close at 2%, you will be getting 2 sales out of that 100 leads. Your cost per sale is $500.

So how can you increase sales with this amount of information? Firstly, you can easily increase your monthly spend to $2,000 per month on PPC. This theoretically should double your sales. But what happens if you also increase your conversion rate with good systems? If you get to where we are this year at more than 4 sales per 100 leads, your cost per sale goes down to $250. Not bad!

As you are putting your plans together to grow your business. Remember, it's all numbers. Everything you do in your business can relate to numbers. Once you understand how these numbers affect your business, you can then strengthen those areas to increase production. Not as hard as it seems. If you have any questions, watch our knowing your numbers webinar. It breaks this down a lot more.

Understand your numbers, change your business. You are almost there!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Here we go again!

Ok, well it's time to get the ball rolling for 2011. I spent the last two weeks turning 50. I know, it's a little long for a birthday, but heck, it's 50. I was kinda freaked out for a bit but now that I am officially 50, I don't feel any different.

Tomorrow I go back into the office and am booked solid with helping customers, helping my Agents and helping several RESN members. Once I get through all those, I am doing two demos of our software in the afternoon. Yup, it's time to get rolling.

On top of that, I have to write our webinar for Thursday. It doesn't give me much time, but I want to make sure I get a webinar in this week for our members. I'm going to be discussing how to jump start your career through the Internet for buyers and through FSBO's for listings. I love my FSBO program. It works great, I wish I could get my Agents to do it more often, but none of them really want to tackle them.

I'll be posting a bunch of stuff on here this year that is about everything from lead conversion to just daily thoughts that run through my head as I continue my quest to 10% lead conversion. Have a productive week and I'll talk to you shortly!