Tag Archives: real estate CRM system

The Open House in 2018 – Promotion

Hungry for a sale, an agent blankets the neighborhood with Open House signs and then waits eagerly for a bite. Their efforts may drive traffic to their Open House and perhaps even bring the gold prize—a qualified buyer. But the question remains: Did this Open House, while effective, reach its full potential?

Even in this digital age when buyers rely so heavily on the Internet, the open house remains a cornerstone of real-estate sales and prospect marketing. At Weichert, Open Houses are deep rooted in our “people first” philosophy. Statistics published by NAR in 2017 show that 73% of homebuyers visit at least one Open House prior to purchasing.* Weichert open houses, specifically, attracted nearly one million potential buyers last year.** If you have the means to assemble a pool of buyers and sellers in one place where you can directly interact with them and sell them your value vs. your competitors, why wouldn’t you want to make the most of that opportunity?

But as every broker knows, a great open house event requires excellent conversational skills and a positive attitude. But more importantly, for it to be successful, it requires careful preparation, execution and follow-up. The question is whether the full potential of this type of event is being realized by your agents and for you the broker.  After all, this isn’t just finding a buyer for the property being held open, but this could help you connect with your next client(s).

If you haven’t recently examined how you and your agents are promoting, conducting and following up on data from open houses, you might want to consider it. As a start, take a few tips from the team at Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. who coach and train brokers across the country every day on best practices for open house management.  Let’s focus on how promotion plays a large role in Open House success:

Promoting Your Open House

In the performing arts it is often said that “less is more”, but when promoting your open houses, actually more is more!  More signs, more brightly colored balloons, more promotion starting at least a week ahead, and in more places. Traditional methods like postcard mailings and supermarket community board tear off’s should all be already part of your arsenal. Knocking on neighbor’s doors and door hangers are also part of this. The real estate coaches at Weichert teach a philosophy of keeping it personal, so there’s nothing like a phone call or personal note to get a response from the hotter prospects in an agent’s sphere of influence.

But what about the digital world?  Promotional strategies that do not fully include digital are leaving behind an increasingly large segment of buyers, especially millennials.  Here’s a quick checklist of activities you should consider for promoting your open houses online:

  1. Feature Open House listings as visual content on the homepage of your brokerage website, which link to the listing on your website.
  2. Have the agent write a blog for your brokerage website about the home and the open house.
  3. Promote the blog and the open house on Facebook. Spend a few dollars on Facebook advertising to reach the friends of your followers in the local area, starting about a week before the open house.
  4. Use the open house listing features available online. Weichert.com, for example, has a robust open house mapping feature that all agents are free to use.
  5. Put a home listing and open house ad on Craigslist.
  6. Post the Open house on LinkedIn from the brokerage page. If you are connected to corporate relo folks, make sure you message them directly about it.
  7. Email Blast! Use your email list or CRM to feature the listing to the many clients and prospects you’ve collected over the years. Send this email about 48 hours prior to the weekend of the event.
  8. Use text messaging to hit buyers as well for whom you have a mobile number. This is especially effective with millennial aged homebuyers. Hit them at least twice, both before the event, and the morning of.

Use the Open House Management Features of your CRM

Most brokerages employ a real estate CRM of some type, but many just use it to send out invites or enter contact data for only the hottest prospects. If your agents are guilty of this, or your CRM lacks robust features around open house management, you may be leaving money on the table. Weichert, for example, has a proprietary CRM which provides an open house management environment that is simple to use before and after the Open House for both promotion and follow up. Weichert also has an Open House sign in tool that feeds the CRM for follow up by agents.

Contacts can be tagged for immediate or subsequent follow up and all contacts are instantly available to the agent for future marketing initiatives.   Reminders and easily customizable email templates and graphics round out the capabilities that diligent associates will use to improve the reach of this open house, and all future open houses.

Good Open House Promotion Pays Off

Open Houses require a lot of planning, but if you do it right, the upside is tremendous. We can tell you from experience, a comprehensive, energetic and positive attitude toward open houses and having a structured system of executing them makes all the difference. The opportunity is there, you just need to know how to harness it. For more information on how Weichert gives brokerages a winning edge in all aspects of real estate, call our team at 877-567-3350 or visit our website at www.weichertfranchise.com


*2017 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Buyers and Sellers. 

**Based on a private study by Weichert, Realtors.

 

Time Management For Real Estate Brokers

Do you feel drained at the end of the day with a dozen important things remaining to be done? Do you leave tasks half-finished as you respond to an endless stream of urgent interruptions? Are you sacrificing time with your spouse and children? As a hard-working broker, you manage all types of tasks every day and may work long hours to accomplish them, from creating a marketing campaign to training new agents. Developing a work-life balance all comes down to using your time wisely. It’s easy to say but surprisingly hard to do, especially for brokers.

Here’s a few tips on how you can have the business you want, along with the lifestyle you deserve, from the experts at Weichert Real Estate Affiliates.

Principles of Broker Time Management

Time management is learning to accomplish more tasks in less time. It means better productivity and more quality time to renew and recharge. In turn, scheduling your time provides a more nurturing work-life balance that helps avoid broker burnout. There are a few main principles of broker time management that will have you working more productively with more time for yourself and your family:

  1. Organize your daily goals
  2. Delegate, delegate, then delegate some more.
  3. Use automation and tools
  4. Establish operational checkpoints on a regular basis

Daily Goals – The Most Powerful Part of Your Day

One famous dissertation on time management says you should write down 6 important goals you want to accomplish each work day. Whether your number is 5, 6, or 10, taking that 5 minutes each morning to define your priorities for the day is probably the single most important thing you will do all day.

Then as you accomplish each goal, cross it off your list to give yourself that feeling of accomplishment. Don’t get overly upset if you fail to achieve your full list, but make sure you follow through the next day.

Delegation

The temptation to take on certain tasks that you know you will do better than anyone else is strong and common. Yet if you never allow someone else to challenge themselves at this, you will be forever obligated to do it yourself. As a brand representing hundreds of brokers across the nation, Weichert experts will tell you that the most successful brokers have managed to be almost 100% strategic in their tasks and have delegated tasks they never thought they could.

Today pick one time-consuming activity that “I have to do myself”, and train someone in how to help you with it. They may stumble at first, but with patience and consistency, it is you who will run faster in the end.

All The Right Tools

The promise of so much technology and electronic capability is to do things faster and more efficiently. Unfortunately for too many brokers, technology promises have been offset by technology complexity and cost and brokers we see are either not using their tech properly, or at all.

And yet when you and your team are properly trained and fully utilizing modern systems like real estate CRMs, online lead generation and marketing, or even just using Microsoft Excel better, you achieve a level of organization and time management you can only dream of. You don’t have to be a computer geek. You just need to be willing to learn or leverage learned resources to be sure that the promise of the technology you use, is realized.

Trust But Verify (Regularly)

Even if your team is trained and motivated to use the systems and tools you have in place, establishing regular operational checkpoints is a must. This is an activity you can’t delegate. Having a look into how critical systems and initiatives are performing in the brokerage, provides you the critical insight you need to make larger, more far reaching decisions. For instance, you may find that agents are interpreting data in your open house management system in several different ways, causing problems with follow up. Or that the whole system simply doesn’t work the way you need it to, leading to an important strategic reinvestment in a new CRM.

As you grow, your verification activities should rise as well. Insist on the lower level process and tech reviews, but conduct your reviews with your team leaders. Hold them accountable for metrics at the lower levels while you up-level your view.

A Little Discipline Saves a Lot of Time

You don’t have to run your brokerage like a military operation, but a little discipline is certainly necessary. Having proper processes and systems in place that you don’t have to invent or constantly change is a big part of time management, success, and achieving that elusive work-life balance. Don’t spend time thinking about things that can be automated. Save that thinking time for the bigger strategic issues you really need to put thought into.

Management Systems. Digital Tools. Selling Systems. These are all things the team at Weichert can offer your business that you can plug into.  If you think this could benefit your business and put you on the path to growth call 877-567-3350 or visit weichertfranchise.com for more information.

 

 

Stop Seeing Red: A Smarter View of Brokerage Expenses

Running a real estate brokerage has its share of expenses. Payables—large or small—are a necessary part of doing business. Expenses like rent, office supplies, insurance, furniture etc. are easy to understand and manage. What is less obvious are the investments in marketing, advertising and technology that many brokers spend thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars on each month. The temptation to periodically cut these expenses requires a much more considered analysis that can’t be based completely or even in some cases, primarily on pricing. Conversely, you shouldn’t drop precious budget dollars on every new shiny thing that comes on the market.

Necessity Of Large Expenses

You must build and advertise a reputable brand to draw clients to your listings, competing with more well-known franchised brokerage names. Brand building for the independent brokerage can quickly eat away at your budget, especially when figuring all your advertising expenses. According to data published in 2012-2014 by the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials, U.S. real estate agents and brokers spent approximately $8.9 billion on residential advertising in 2015. That’s a substantial amount of money, yet an important expenditure if you are to compete for listings and credibility in your local market.

Let’s not forget our need for technology, and its ever-increasing role in real estate. Other than general IT set up and maintenance, customer relationship management (CRM) is a large, yet crucial, cost of doing business that can help streamline much of the real estate process in a busy brokerage. CostOwl reports that in 2018 inhouse CRM costs range from $100 to $1,000 per user plus maintenance, support, updates and potential customization, while web-based CRM systems run $50 to $100 per user every month with lesser fees for smaller brokerages.

Expense Analysis Revisited

As you know, with some business items, using a less expensive version works just as well and saves money. But this isn’t necessarily true for larger purchases. Of course, you want to spend money that provides the most value and significant benefit to your brokerage. It’s always a good idea to consider your bottom line when factoring in a new or recurring expense, but there is a difference between purchasing a store name brand to save money on office supplies versus buying a bargain basement real estate CRM technology because it has a lower up-front cost.

In the case of a CRM for example, between increased labor in transferring data, lost production time and price of a new system, it’s more cost effective to choose the right CRM system for your brokerage from the start. One that provides high value, and is right for your operation, rather than choose a system based primarily on price.  When you are part of a franchise, such as Weichert, you typically have the added benefit of a CRM that they’ve already vetted or customized.  The Weichert CRM, for example not only provides top tier real estate features such as contact management, marketing automation, open house management, and mobile app access, but its internal workflow has been designed to echo the best practices brokers and agents are taught on their roadmap to success. Your ability to integrate a CRM into your operations is just as important as the CRM feature set and this is not an area to pinch pennies.

Look At The Whole Picture

Why be penny wise and pound foolish, as the saying goes? Look at the whole picture of expenses in a way that incorporates a wider view of their utility.  Once you’ve made these decisions, give these expenditures a chance to prove themselves. Advertising mediums can be tagged to understand how much additional sales you are getting from expenditures on each. Technology can be judged to large degree on the utility it provides to you and the feedback of your team on its usefulness and ease of use. Budgeting more for items that can have big payoffs in the long run, such as specifically targeted brand advertising or an efficient CRM system can increase the brokerage’s long-term income and reduce their operating costs in a way that more than offsets the cost of the advertising or system.

Gain Access To Systems That Work

At least some of the headaches’ associated with expense management and analysis can be helped by having some deep, expert experience in your corner. Having the resources of a franchise system behind you can save you tremendous time vetting options and more time being productive. Not only do you instantly gain a brand name that matters, input from your coaching team and fellow franchisees about many of the most agonizing expenditures you face is always just a phone call away.

Could your brokerage benefit from this? Learn more at weichertfranchise.com or call 877-533-9007.

 

 

 

Having The Right Tools For Your Agency

Real Estate Marketing Tools

Successful brokers are always searching for the right tools to automate systems, save time and increase productivity and income, which doesn’t occur until each system is firmly entrenched in your overall brokerage procedures. The tool may be a new recruiting and retention software for accountability, a CRM system that better fits your growing brokerage or high-quality, easy-use digital marketing materials.

Consider Your Goals 

Before considering any new tool, keep in mind your updated brokerage business plan and the goals you intend to achieve this year. Ask yourself what tools will put you ahead of the competition? How can your agents’ productivity be transformed? What will improve the buying and selling experience for clients? Any systemized tool needs to work exactly as planned to either help you, as broker, improve productivity or your agents reach higher performance figures in less time, all while ensuring improved client satisfaction.

New Tools Take Time 

Getting a new tool up and running is an incredibly time-consuming task. Time for a busy broker is already a precious commodity, but it can feel as if it’s at a premium when attempting to incorporate a new tool seamlessly into your current system, which may take weeks or months.

Think back to the difficulties of setting up your own brokerage and what it took get software and systems set up. You’ve no doubt learned from your previous experiences and know the effort it takes to incorporate any new tool. The steps from research to use may flow like this:

  • First, extensive research into each digital tool under consideration is essential.
  • Second, speak with customer representatives to ensure each potential tool has the capacity to do exactly what you want it to do. Get hard answers to questions, such as: Are changes to the web-based software able to be made to accomplish your specialized needs? At what cost and in what timeframe is expected?
  • Third, you need to know that the technology or other tool will work as expected, so a trial test of one or two of your best options is important before you make that purchase.
  • Fourth, you must set up the system, implement the tool chosen into brokerage procedures, work out any kinks in the system (and there will be issues) and train those using the new tool.

Don’t Have The Time? Stop The Guesswork 

While there are brokers out there who can do this successfully on their own, it can be a real challenge for the average small independent brokerage owner. If you want to compete and stay ahead from a technology standpoint, an affiliation with a larger real estate brand can really help and offer a solution. They have teams of resources working through this every day. So while you are focused on running your brokerage, they are researching, vetting and testing out the next best thing to make running a real estate business easier and more productive. Weichert, which offers its affiliates proprietary digital tools, is a great example of how affiliation helps take away the guesswork in many areas. Its years of research into systems that work mean that all the tireless research and functional testing of new tools is unnecessary on your end. Plus, Weichert provides the training needed to make the best use of their technology inside a proven system for success.

Weichert’s numerous tools position you at the forefront of your area and assist with:

Build Momentum Before Tool Launch 

Whether you choose to go it alone with a new tool or system or affiliate with a company like Weichert that offers time-tested ones, know that you need to build momentum in your brokerage around agent tools prior to the roll out. Create a bang around the launch to keep agents interested in what it can do for them, as most will be skeptical that its use will improve their work. Pick a super user (that may be you) to train all users to fully unlock all the features of the new tool so all have the chance to achieve success.  Above all, keeping your arsenal updated and fresh is important in maintaining your value as a brokerage to retain your agents.

Why work harder than you should? Contact Weichert at 1-877-533-9007 to learn how their cutting-edge tools can help you exceed your business goals in less time.