Ten Things a Real Estate Professional Can Do in a “Down” Economy #6

July 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Robin's Ruminations

#6 Implement One New Technique, Every Month (sixth in a series)

blogicon1Earlier in this series, I recommended using any period of low business activity to undertake professional development activities, such as training. Often, during such activities, one learns about more new tools and techniques than one can possibly implement at one time. If you are participating in social media, such as Twitter, then you probably also learn about useful new tools and websites from your virtual connections, on a regular basis.

How can you efficiently implement so many new tools and techniques? Simply, by making a plan. (Yes, another one!) Planning will ensure that you implement the tools and techniques that you like in an orderly way and that you don’t forget to use them.

  1. Start by creating a list of new tools and techniques you have encountered, that you think will add value to your real estate business.  Consider this to be a “running list,” because you should add items to it, as you learn about them.  Because you will be sorting this list, I suggest that you create it in a spreadsheet program, such as MS Excel.
  2. Next, categorize the tools and techniques.  (Insert a special column for this.)  Some categories that you might find helpful are
    • Prospecting (including sphere of influence, market niches, FSBOs, expired listings)
    • Marketing Listings (including digital photography, virtual tours, listings websites, mobile technology)
    • Customer Management (including follow-up, frequent-touch programs)
    • Communications (including blogging, presentations, objection-handling).
    • Sort the list, so that items in the same category are together.
  3. Then, prioritize the categories.  (Insert a priority column, and assign the same letter or number to every item in any given category.)  The area in which your business requires the greatest improvement, such as Marketing Listings, should be your top priority.  Be brutally honest with yourself, here.
  4. Prioritize the tools and techniques within each category.  (Insert another priority column, and assign a unique number or letter to each item in any given category.)  This will give you a “nested” list, with the tools prioritized within prioritized categories.  For example, you may decide to improve the quality of your digital photographs of interiors before you add virtual tours to your listings.
  5. Finally, assign a month – or week – during which you will first implement each of the tools or techniques, in order.  (Yes, that’s another column.)  I suggest that you transfer these assignments to your calendar, so that you don’t forget to do them!

This is what your plan might look like:

Tools & Techniques

         

Target Date

Cat.Prior.

Category

Tool Prior.

Tool/Technique

7-Feb

A

Marketing Listings

1

Wide-angle photos

14-Feb

A

Marketing Listings

2

Real Estate Shows

21-Feb

A

Marketing Listings

3

Postlets

28-Feb

B

Communications

1

Blogger

7-Mar

B

Communications

2

Listing presentation facelift

14-Mar

C

Customer Mgt

1

Frequent-touch program

21-Mar

C

Customer Mgt

2

Post-closing gift program

28-Mar

C

Customer Mgt

3

Referral requests

4-Apr

C

Customer Mgt

4

Quality survey

11-Apr

D

Prospecting

1

Generation-X focus

18-Apr

D

Prospecting

2

Expired listing campaign

Important:  Do have fun using the new tools and techniques that are available to you.  Enjoy both learning how to use them and seeing your business take on new life because you have implemented them.

Previous post:  #5  Build Local Vendor Partnerships
Forthcoming post#7  Work with a Partner 

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Ten Things a Real Estate Professional Can Do in a “Down” Economy #5

July 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Robin's Ruminations

#5  Build Local Vendor Partnerships (fifth in a series)

blogicon1I’m sure that you realize that developing cordial relationships with businesses and service providers in your real estate market is simply good business practice.  You may already have several vendors listed on the Community page of your website.  You may also have received occasional referrals from them.

But have you considered that these relationships could develop into an ongoing source of revenue, too?  I offer two models – one simple (mutual support), one more complex (revenue generating) – for your consideration.

Mutual-Support Local Vendor Partnership Model

For the simple, win–win partnership model, you agree to promote each other’s services, in equivalent ways.  For example, you would publish their advertisements and special offers in your newsletter; they would publish yours in their newsletter.  You would list them as a preferred service provider on your website; they would list you on their website, in a similar manner.

This model requires no exchange of money, just a signed letter of agreement, in which the two of you agree to provide reciprocal marketing services for each other.  It is advisable to also specify how frequently you will advertise each others’ services – weekly? monthly? quarterly?

Revenue-Generating Local Vendor Partnership Model

Some vendors cannot provide reciprocal marketing services for you.  They may not have a website (still common, for small independent service providers) or publish a newsletter, relying solely on business cards and referrals.  You can offer marketing services for these vendors, for which they would pay you a small monthly fee.

For example, in addition to the two marketing services mentioned for the mutual-support model, you might feature a particular vendor in each issue of your newsletter.  You could also provide a link to a comparable, permanent feature page on your website.  Such features could include

  • a photo of the business (or vendor “in action”)
  • a case study (description of common consumer problem solved by the vendor)
  • your comments on the quality of the vendor’s services
  • a discount coupon or discount code
  • contact information, with your referral code.

This partnership model requires a signed contract[1], in which you specify the marketing services you will provide (including frequency), and the vendor agrees to pay you a specified amount, each month.  The amount you charge will depend on the size of your marketplace and the number of “impressions” you are willing to provide.  Your prices should be competitively affordable.

I strongly urge you to implement this model only with vendors that you can justifiably recommend – whether based on personal experience, or on testimonials that you trust.

Benefits of Partnering with Local Vendors

The benefits from your building partnerships with local vendors accrue to all:

  1. You will benefit from referrals generated through mutual advertising (simple model) and from the extra revenue received (complex model).
  2. The vendors will benefit from increased exposure, not only to consumers already in your marketplace, but also to consumers who are moving to your marketplace.
  3. Consumers will benefit from detailed information about high-quality service providers and from the discounts you are able to negotiate on their behalf.

Previous post #4 Get Some Training

Forthcoming post #6 Implement One New Technique, Every Month


[1] CAVEAT: We recommend that you consult a lawyer about all contracts, however simple. If you will receive a referral fee from any of your vendors, be sure to acknowledge that vested interest on your webpage.

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