Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Build Your Business, Let Your Agents Sell Listings

Running a real estate brokerage is a rewarding business. You can do things your way from choosing a name and a location, training and mentoring a team, and driving your marketing.  You know you’ll never forget the excitement you felt when your sign was hung outside your brokerage for the first time. You made the transition from motivated sales associate to independent business owner and with that, comes a necessary shift in your thinking, and your actions.

The Salesperson Within

Most of the independent brokers we talk to were excellent sales associates. It’s why they made the move to being a broker. But a few years in, too many of them are still actively selling their own listings on a day to day basis. If this describes you, you have to know that you’re limiting your brokerage growth by continuing to actively sell. Before you hung your sign, the inner manager in you should have begun to change your focus from selling, to the process of managing. This means recruiting both experienced and promising new agents, and figuring out how to make them successful. Sure, it’s hard to break away from selling homes. After all, your sales prowess paid your bills all these years, but now it’s time to use your expertise to help other agents succeed and increase your bottom line. Salaried or contracted specialized administrative employees can help ease your work load and move you away from directly working with buyers and sellers to focusing on increasing agent transactions.

The Case for Letting Go

Many brokers mistakenly believe that they can’t stop selling or they won’t have the revenue to continue their operations or sustain their own income level. Inevitably this feeling is really due to another issue: you don’t believe your staff is able to do it as successfully as you. While this may even be true, if you want your brokerage to continue to succeed and grow, you need to invest in addressing that issue, not out meeting sellers to get listings. Train your agents to sell like you do, recruit new agents, and resist the temptation to slide back to old ways. Do that and everyone will reap the benefits and financial reward.

In fact, non-selling brokers typically earn more than those that continue to sell after opening their own brokerage. National Association of Realtors member profile for 2015 showed that managing brokers who solely took charge of their brokerage earned a median annual salary of $102,200 as opposed to $86,400 for brokers who also were in the field listing homes and/or working with buyers.

Handle Business Details

Think back to when you were working for another brokerage as a salesperson. How do you think everything ran so smoothly? Through the broker’s hard work on the various day-to-day activities of running the brokerage as a business. Or maybe it didn’t run smoothly, because the broker was too focused on their own selling or not invested in developing their agents.

Similarly, your mindset should only be on overseeing business details, such as continuing to foster your business and your brand to help agents get a leg up on the competition and your brokerage keep its integrity and sorecuieputation, among a slew of other operational tasks. If you are overwhelmed with the sheer number of tasks involved in managing your own brokerage and need a roadmap, you can consider an affiliation with a national real estate brand like Weichert. Our affiliates have the advantage of a blueprint for running a successful real estate brokerage, complemented with many broker tools to help handle business operations, marketing, recruiting and training that points you to the activities you should be working on for success.

Build A Better Life

When your entire brokerage is run seamlessly as a business, you are making a better life, not just for you and your family, but for all your agents. A successful brokerage means you can confidently take the family on vacation, knowing that the systems and people you’ve put in place will handle affairs while you are away.

Weichert has helped hundreds of brokers build the business of their dreams, contact us today at 877-567-3350 or online at http://weichertfranchise.com.

Original content posted on https://www.weichertfranchise.com/real-estate-agent-recruiting/build-business-let-agents-sell-listings/

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Is Your Website Converting Visitors To Leads?

Leads are the backbone of your brokerage. Good leads keep existing agents productive and are a draw for new agents. With 92 percent of buyers using the internet in their home search, according to NAR, brokers using smart website visitor conversion methods have a competitive edge in the cultivation and generation of leads for their teams.

Website Traffic to Leads

Let’s say you’ve been diligent about your advertising and your team is actively working multiple social media channels to promote their listings and your brokerage. You are monitoring your website analytics and you can see a healthy rise in website traffic from your efforts. While you may be getting website visitors, how many visitors complete your contact form or, better yet, directly contact you by picking up the phone or sending an email?

Converting visitors to real contacts through your brokerage website is one of the most cost-effective methods of generating leads. In digital marketing, we look at the ratio of unique website visitors to contacts, over a period of time, and we call that your “conversion rate”.  Too many brokers leave money on the table by focusing exclusively on advertising, and not the more subtle art of optimizing your website’s conversion rate.

Steps To A Better Conversion Rate

Increasing and optimizing your conversion rate isn’t rocket science. In fact, in most cases it’s just applied common sense. But done correctly you will build a better conversion rate and help ensure a steady flow of clients by using a few tried and true website marketing principles:

  • Calls To Action – Studies show that simply asking someone to contact you on a webpage, can increase your overall conversion rate 1-2%. Make sure you ask people to contact you on every page in context appropriate ways that are highly visible.
  • Micro-Conversions – If they are not ready to speak to a realtor, offer them another way to stay in touch. “Sign up for alerts about this property”, or “Download our ebook on local schools”, or “Home Wish List”, “Report on recently sold nearby properties” etc. These “micro-conversions” may not lead directly to a sale today, but any interaction that allows you to capture their name and email, builds your ability to market in the future.
  • Create a pop-up capture form on your landing page after leads have been viewing your website for 1-2 minutes.
  • Change the calls to action on your website forms every three months to determine which wording performs better.
  • Analytics – Keep track of your website traffic and form completions and regularly analyze the conversion rate of visitors to leads to see where and how they convert. Make sure all the leads are being followed up on.
  • Ensure your contact information on all pages is easy to find and click on for quick communication. Modern websites lock the phone number of the brokerage in the header, so it is always visible to those who want immediate and direct agent contact.
  • Humanize the non-MLS pages of your website where possible through pictures, stories, blogs, and talk about community events, being careful to stay away from text heavy pages where possible.

Finally, always remember that when you get that contact, you need to be ultra-responsive. Think minutes and hours, not days. The digital world is one of instant gratification, if not by you, then it will be by your competitors.

Lead the Way on Conversions

To win in real estate, you’ve got to do it all. In the digital case that means both getting the website traffic, and getting the contact from either a form, a phone call or an email. The more website visits turn into actual leads, the more the cost of creating and maintaining your site and buying advertising, pays for itself with increased sales for your agents. Don’t neglect the last piece of the puzzle, convert!
If you don’t have the type of resources outlined above to put into your website, you can still effectively take advantage of online consumer traffic by aligning yourself with someone who does. At Weichert, we make a significant investment in our website, Weichert.com and have the resources to continually optimize its results.  Our digital advertising and marketing strategy drives over 3 million visitors to weichert.com every month*, making it one of the top independent brokerage sites in the country and continually driving leads to our call center to connect with agents.  It’s one of our key benefits to our affiliates. To learn more about how this could fit into your business plan, go to weichertfranchise.com or call our team today at 877-567-3350.

*Google Analytics, January 2017

Original content posted on https://www.weichertfranchise.com/real-estate-broker-marketing/website-converting-visitors-leads/

Friday, March 9, 2018

Top Ways to Increase Warm Leads

Three decades ago, potential clients were reached by print advertising, mailings and landline phone calls, or by going door to door. Leads took a lot of time and investment and there was no real way of targeting the people most interested in what you had to offer. While those older methods are still used, technology is leading the way as digital lead generation methods take over in ways that were previously unthought of. In today’s digital world, you can connect with potential clients while they are at home or work, in the gym or anywhere; they are frequently online using both desktop and mobile advertising strategies. While some of these strategies won’t cost you much money, they will all cost you some time, but the payoff can be significant because you are spending money on the people who have the most interest in what you have to offer. Here’s a few strategies for driving warm leads in the digital age.

Free Digital Advertisements

Using these “free” strategies, real estate professionals can cast a wider net for their properties, and your brand.
  1. Craigslist – Craigslist can have a fantastic reach for housing promotion especially at the lower end of the market. Make sure your ad stands out and that you repost regularly at a frequency that reflects the population density of your market. In a busy metro market your ads will disappear in about 5 days, but if you post too frequently you’ll get flagged as a spammer. Also don’t forget that Craigslist has a “services” section where you can create a compelling ad for your brokerage as well.
  2. LinkedIn – If you’re going to focus on using free networking sites to connect with buyers, LinkedIn should probably be in your top three or four. Almost all the top agents work FaceBook, Instagram and Twitter, but many omit LinkedIn as a source of warm lead generation. Here is a great article from LinkedIn Pulse that talks about how to use LinkedIn for real estate lead generation.
  3. Facebook/Instagram – While real estate professionals are almost all heavily posting in Facebook, many neglect simple low-cost paid advertising extensions to Facebook that will greatly increase the reach of your listing. Every broker and agent should have some monthly budget set aside for targeted Facebook advertising and the boosting of posts about your listings. A couple hundred dollars a month is enough to get started, but large brokerages in urban areas will often spend thousands promoting their brand and their listings to remain competitive.

Paid Real Estate Advertising -Pay Per Click and Remarketing

While these are both paid strategies, they are really central to real estate marketing operations in the modern brokerage. Google AdWords, while widely used, has become quite expensive and so the addition of remarketing can have the effect of delivering you a lower cost per lead, and more leads that are really “warm”.  These strategies will drive interested parties to your website where they can use the MLS search to further locate homes.  Once they are doing this you have a good chance that it will be your team that gets the call when they see something they like.

If they don’t contact you on their first visit to your website, remarketing will ensure that they are reminded of their interest in your listing as they travel around the Internet.  Only people who have visited your website at least once will see these ads and since they’ve already shown an interest, the chances are much higher that they will contact you the second time around.  In Google, the cost of remarketing clicks is usually much less than AdWords clicks and so this has the effect of driving down your overall cost per warm lead.

Winning the Warm Lead Game

More than most people, real estate agents understand that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to meet a prince. Having an active lead funnel is key to that and your leads have to come from as many sources as you have time and resources to cultivate. It’s one of the reasons why a brand like Weichert invests so much money in lead generation and a call center that scrubs those leads even further to only pass the most qualified ones on to the agent. Not only does this take some of the financial burden of advertising off the broker’s shoulders, but the complexities of modern digital advertising are handled by experts to your benefit and the leads your agents receive are only the most likely to lead to a transaction. You can read more about our lead network operations at https://www.weichertfranchise.com/real-estate-lead-generation/ or by calling the Weichert Franchise Team today at 877-567-3350.

Original content posted on https://www.weichertfranchise.com/blog/top-ways-increase-warm-leads/

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

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.

Original content posted on https://www.weichertfranchise.com/blog/stop-seeing-red-smarter-view-brokerage-expenses/

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Understanding The Difference between Facebook And Instagram For Real Estate Marketing

Social media has taken over marketing in recent years, with 69 percent of the public using social media of some sort. You may do all your brokerage’s social networking or elect to turn that over to a marketing specialist. Whatever you choose, it’s imperative that you understand the demographics of each social platform to wisely spend your marketing time and money, while carefully branding your brokerage.

Facebook has emerged over the last 13 years as a powerhouse among the social networking platforms. According to Pew Research Center’s Social Media Fact Sheet, 68 percent of adults in the United States use Facebook. Facebook acquired Instagram—a newer social site—in 2012. Its use is becoming more popular at 28 percent of U.S. adults and amassing over 800,000 users to date, trailing far behind but still second to Facebook. Part of Instagram’s growing popularity is the ease of post and paid ad sharing between the two sites.

Facebook Friends 

Facebook may already be central to your marketing plan for its wide range of demographics and the sharing of all types of media—photos, messages and video—across desktop, mobile and tablet formats. Its use is split almost evenly between males and females.

Many view it as a networking forum for older adults, but that’s not a well-rounded picture of this versatile site. While Facebook does attract a larger share of the over 49 crowd than other social sites, Pew Research Center’s data indicates that ages 18-29 are big Facebook users (88 percent) with those ages 30-49 close behind in usage (79 percent).

Content should be engaging in more than one way, so create a mix of videos, images, information and calls to action that elicit user interaction to get followers. A little tasteful fun goes a long way on Facebook.

Instagram Images 

Facebook purchased Instagram back in 2012, and it has retained most of its unique nature. Both social sites share photos, videos and messages, but Instagram features images first and foremost, allowing the user to add numerous digital filters, as well as use image hashtags and geotags. You can create your own hashtags for events, open houses and more to gain traction. Since December 2017, users can follow hashtags, so your image hashtags need to be relevant, retain your style, and be interesting to grow your followers. Instagram’s newest rollout—Stories—is a Snapchat-like feature that is quickly growing in popularity.

Instagram is primarily intended for use on-the-go with a smartphone, appealing to younger users. In fact, Instagram’s core users are ages 18-29 (59 percent) with a higher percentage of women of any age favoring the site. Ages 30-49 make up 33 percent proving this network is a haven for those ages 49 and younger.

As a real estate broker, structure your Instagram posts around interior design, as that is a favorite topic on this platform. Has a local or national celebrity viewed a listing or sold a home using your brokerage? Snap a photo and post it (with permission), as celebrity and entertainment posts are hot. Visual consistency and imagination go a long way toward building your Instagram following.

Stand-Out Instagram Marketing 

Instagram is all about the aesthetics. To leverage marketing on Instagram that plays to your brand and brings in sellers and buyers, it helps to study a few real estate accounts of those who are rocking it in the world of Instagram marketing.

Here are some tips to help individualize your brokerage on the Instagram platform:

  • Display great images—it’s all about consistently branded visuals
  • Create branded hashtags
  • Add multiple hashtags—some of the top posts use 10 or more hashtags
  • Use images with your contact information/logo
  • Post strictly listings or add a few photos of the team and/or clients for a more personalized appeal

Play Off Each Other 

Instagram is a logical choice to add to your marketing arsenal to attract more of the on-the-go Millennial masses and even some older groups. As they play off each other, using Facebook and Instagram together equals a robust social sales strategy.

At the end of the day, a consistent approach to social media usage is just one part of your marketing and sales strategy. At Weichert, we have the systems that can help you pull it all together. Contact us at 877-533-9007to learn more or go to weichertfranchise.com.

Original content posted on https://www.weichertfranchise.com/blog/understanding-difference-facebook-instagram-real-estate-marketing/

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tapping Into The Relocation Market

Online retail giant Amazon is searching for another location outside of the Northwest to build a $5 billion facility and hire up to 50,000 employees. While many would be hired from the direct vicinity, others would come from nearby regions or even out of state, making a move necessary for a percentage of employees. Could you capitalize on this influx of home buyers or renters if your town or city was chosen?

Relocation Clients Matter

Of course, other companies don’t just start up in a new state, but transfer employees from an office in one location to an existing office in another state, sometimes due to mergers and acquisitions. The most recent movement trend research from the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council indicates that 49 percent of transferees were relocating for the first time due to a promotion or lateral move. First-time relocation clients require extra help navigating the ropes from selling their current home in one city to purchasing or renting a new home in the perfect location in another city.

Create A Specialty In Relocation

As a broker, you should be looking at all revenue sales streams for your brokerage. Making relocation a specialty taps into this lucrative market where few tread, providing you with valuable and consistent leads any time of year. Relocating buyers and renters want someone who knows the area well and can educate them on all the local amenities, services, schools, eateries and entertainment with an over-all knowledge of what makes the area tick. The challenge of course, is understanding how that business works and then getting the relationships with the corporate entities that do most of the relo in your area. These relationships are often under contract to other national real estate companies and it can be difficult for independent brokers to make inroads into this market.

That’s where an affiliation with a large national real estate brand can be particularly helpful Weichert Workforce Mobility for instance, is Weichert’s national relocation company, responsible for managing relo services for companies large and small around the world. These opportunities feed our qualified local Weichert brokers in markets all over the country, providing yet another lead funnel in addition to Weichert Lead Network.

Serving relocation clients requires some special knowledge and training. These clients require a reliable and stable brokerage they can trust with what, for many, is a daunting move. As a broker you must provide agents or teams who are interested in this section of the market with training to gain relocation designations or recruit those already relocation designated that have valuable experience in this field.

 Be The Go-To Relocation Brokerage

Depending on your location, you can position your brokerage as the relocation authority and create messaging in your marketing materials—from advertising to social media—with that in mind. Work with various moving companies, house cleaners and other services to provide clients a streamlined transfer experience to reduce the high stress of making a big move. This way your brokerage is always the area go-to for organizations or referral agents with client relocation needs. This is a labor-intensive process and an additional expense at first, but will pay off in time.

The Inside Track To Relocation

The easiest way to get up and running is to join forces with a company that’s already in the business. Weichert Affiliates, for example, have the opportunity to qualify for leads through Weichert Workforce Mobility, a leader in the relocation business. If this is something you are interested in for your brokerage, maybe it’s time to take a look at a Weichert franchise. Call 877-533-9007 or go to weichertfranchise.com to learn more.

Original content posted on https://www.weichertfranchise.com/real-estate-agent-recruiting/tapping-relocation-market/

Thursday, February 8, 2018

How To Use LinkedIn To Recruit Quality Real Estate Agents

LinkedIn’s mission is to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” As a broker, isn’t that essentially what you want, too? To ensure that your brokerage and your agents are more productive and continue to be successful? For your brokerage to thrive, quality recruiting is an essential element of growth. You know that acquiring talented agents who are hungry for sales form the lifeblood of your brokerage.

Think of the agent search as lead acquisition. Do you want to make Facebook friends or gain business leads? With its more educated and wealthier demographic compared to other social networks, LinkedIn is a viable social media platform for lead generation, so it makes sense to use it to search for quality real estate agents as well—new or seasoned. Plus, its smaller and more focused social platform is a prime place to showcase your brokerage and its needs.

Use Free Features 

Your LinkedIn profile speaks volumes about your professionalism and business model and is what most agent candidates will review to vet brokerage prospects. Make your headline stand out from the crowd, as that’s the first thing members see right under your name. Take the time to review your profile to ensure your message is correctly portrayed.

Directly messaging certain first- and second-degree connections is one way to interact with potential agents and make them take notice of what you have to offer, but there are additional options. With a basic LinkedIn membership, there are a few ways you can recruit at no cost: through posts and articles. These recruiting features use general targeting and may take some time to get results.

Play To Your Uniqueness

LinkedIn supports two kinds of content: Posts and articles. You can think of them as short form and long form content, respectively, and they each have a place in your LinkedIn marketing plan.
You want to create post items on a more regular basis that highlight the uniqueness of your brokerage—specialized trainings, online resources, sales mentors, prime location—and describe why it’s such a great place to work as opposed to your competition. Quotes from other agents, photos of employees, or the maybe the fact that you bring on veterans that became successful agents are some suggestions. You can also syndicate links to other content from Realtor.com or other real estate sites that you know that may be of interest. This is called “curated” content and can sometimes be easier for the busy broker or their associate to accomplish vs. writing original content.

Articles are different than posts and should be used to highlight areas of interest to agents seeking a first or new brokerage, such as “10 things every real estate broker should provide to its agents” or “what to expect as a new real estate agent”. Content should resonate with sales associates looking to make a change or just starting out. If articles rank high, recruits will be at your door.

Take Advantage of Targeted Data

You can up the ante and get more recruits by capitalizing on LinkedIn’s vast member information data—pulled from over 500 million members—and use it to specifically target interested candidates. Better results and less work for you, but a paid premium membership is required to unlock the features of both job posts and career pages. As these talent acquisitions are so focused, the price paid now should increase brokerage growth quicker and with better-qualified agents than previous methods.

Post A Job 

Unlike other job boards, posting a job on LinkedIn is highly directed to your needs. Skills, qualifications, education and more are used to get your job in front of candidates that fit your specifications. This feature boasts of real-time analytics, so you can see how your job posts are performing, as well as easy candidate review and contact methods.

Add A Career Page 

The LinkedIn paid Career feature boosts your visibility and functions like your very own website within the LinkedIn platform. You can showcase lots about the everyday work environment, interesting trainings or speakers, fun office facts or agent quotes, office layout and much more in words, images and videos. You can post more than one job opening—agents, office manager, marketing specialist—without paying for each job post. To easily assess your recruiting goals and determine how the Careers page is working, use the handy analytics tool provided.

Recruit on Multiple Channels

Don’t forget that LinkedIn compliments your current recruiting efforts, it won’t replace them. One of the major focus points of the Weichert team in coaching new Affiliates is, of course, Recruitment, and our process emphasizes a multi-channel approach that creates the right exposure and buzz around your brokerage in your local market. Our process gets great results but it’s not by doing one thing, it’s doing many.  From having the materials to help attract recruiting candidates to the training to get them up and running quickly to be successful, having a system in place is critical to recruiting success and growth.

The team at Weichert understands better than most that recruiting and retaining the best people is what will make you truly successful. If finding a successful recruiting plan is something you’re interested in for your brokerage, call today at 877-533-9007 and see how the Weichert tools and processes can give you an edge.

Original content posted on https://www.weichertfranchise.com/real-estate-agent-recruiting/use-linkedin-recruit-quality-real-estate-agents/