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 #4

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Robin's Ruminations

#4  Get Some Training (fourth in a series)

blogicon1It always seems difficult to fit professional development activities into a busy work life.  And required training, such as Ethics or Fair Housing, may use up as much time as you believe you can spare.  However, now, when you are a little less busy, is a great time to invest in your professional development—learn a new skill, expand into a niche market, or earn a designation.

Learn a New Skill

Is there a tool or technique that you’ve been wishing you had time to learn?  Perhaps you’d like to become proficient in PhotoShop, so that you can enhance the photos and illustrations on your website or in your marketing pieces.  You might wish that you could create short, effective videos about your services and your listings, for posting on YouTube.  Or, you could be ready to try building a comprehensive website, using a tool such as WordPress.  The links I’ve included take you to some free online tutorials, but you can undoubtedly find onsite, “hands-on” training in a neighborhood community college or adult school, if you prefer that format for technical training.

    Learn About a Niche Market

    An effective way to build your real estate business is to specialize in one or two small market segments, or niches.  Examples of niche markets include accessible housing, retirement communities, and vacation properties.  You may already be working in a niche market like that.  If you would like to strengthen your skills and knowledge in a new niche market, this is a good time to seek out the specialists who provide training and coaching in that area.

      Earn a Designation

      Real estate marketing methods have changed a lot, in the past decade, as has the housing market, itself.  National Association of REALTORS (NAR) and other providers, such as Social Media Marketing Institute (SMMI) and RealtyU, offer a variety of designations on such topics as “green” housing, effective Internet marketing, and working with sellers.  Take advantage of any lull in your business to differentiate yourself from the competition, and to increase your value to consumers, by earning a designation.

        Just as you create a formal business plan and marketing plan, so you should create a formal professional development plan.  A slower market offers you the opportunity to put that plan into action.  Do it now!

        Previous post: #3 Retool Your Presentations & Marketing Pieces

        Subsequent post#5 Build Local Vendor Partnerships

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