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Conversion Conclusion

May 19, 2019 by

There are so many varieties of lead-generation sources that it’s almost overwhelming to agents and the brokers trying to provide the best leads to their agents and teams. While the simple solution to those looking to increase business is to buy more leads, does that solve the real problem?

By looking deeper at lead-generation systems, conversion rates, touch points, scripts and follow-up systems, we find that the solution to combatting a slowing market, dipping commissions and disruptors isn’t buying more leads. Instead, it’s all about having a clear focus on converting more of the opportunities we have.

There are seven specific steps that will lead to increased conversions:

  1. Track every lead from every source on first contact. Using a simple Google Docs lead tracker where every lead goes in on first contact with the most important data will in and of itself increase conversions. Complicated lead-conversion systems don’t get used, and it’s difficult to see the real status of each lead at a glance.
  1. Schedule the next touch. Whenever you have a touch with a lead, don’t just put it in the follow-up box; schedule the next touch. Call B leads twice a month and C leads once a month until you’re able to schedule an appointment.
  1. Take copious notes on every interaction. The more you know about your prospective client and their needs, the better your ability to serve them. I love Harvey MacKay’s list of 66 things you should know about everyone you would like to do business with, from his “Swim With Sharks” book.
  1. Inspect what you expect. After a great coaching week with a focus on lead conversion, it’s clear that leaders rarely inspect what they expect their agents to do. When lead conversion isn’t happening, look in the mirror and ask yourself if you’re developing and training your people so that they can be rock stars at lead conversion. If conversion numbers are off, be consistent and look at what’s being tracked in your lead tracker and CRM. If you inspect what you expect, your conversions will increase.
  1. Test scripts, emails and text messages for better responses. If you’re having conversations and not getting appointments, examine what’s being said. If you’re sending text messages and not getting responses, change the message. Lead conversion is a work in progress that’s constantly changing and adjusting based on what’s working. Our goal as leaders is to find the right mix and make adjustments when things aren’t working.
  1. Give away real value with no strings attached. While it may be tough to swallow, it’s true that consumers are focused on their families, schools, proximity to work and a variety of other things that have nothing to do with you, the agent. So, your messaging in conversion should be all about them, and making sure you give them real value to promote a face-to-face conversation. Insider knowledge on coming-soon listings, an invitation to be part of your exclusive investors-only group and a free site inspection or home evaluation are all great offers.
  1. Repeat. When your conversion isn’t getting the results you want, start at No. 1 and repeat this list.

Verl Workman is the founder and CEO of Workman Success Systems (385-282-7112), an international speaking, consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and building successful power agents and teams. Contact him at Verl@WorkmanSuccessSystems.com. For more information, please visit www.workmansuccesssystems.com.

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Ask the Expert: Branching Into Dual Real Estate Roles

May 18, 2019 by

Today’s Ask the Expert column features Demetrius Payne, a home inspector with Pillar To Post Home Inspectors and REALTOR®.

Q: When and why did you become a REALTOR®?
A: I became a REALTOR® in 2015. I loved what I did in the U.S. Navy and continued to do at Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Newport News, Va. I also had a liking for real estate that came from buying, selling and investing. I would attend real estate seminars to hear the different ideas and possibilities in real estate, and after reading book after book, I decided it was time to give it a try.

Q: So, when you were ready, you sought a real estate license?
A: Yes, and I still love the concept of real estate and helping people find their dream home. Listening to people describe their dreams and trust you with their vision of the future is amazing, and I enjoy building that bond.

Q: When and why did you become a home inspector?
A: As I learned what it took to be a REALTOR®, and what was looked for in a home inspector, I realized that the military had not only taught me how to do my job, but also some underlying skills that would work as a home inspector. One such skill is being able to explain and teach at a level that people can understand so as not to scare them, but cause them to think and make an educated decision. In the Navy, we called it the Chicken Little Syndrome, but in real estate, it’s called being an alarmist. I still get to have that feeling of helping, but I think I’m a better resource as a home inspector.

Q: Can you provide an example of a home you found a surprise in?
A: I was taught to trust, but verify. There was a home that was beautiful inside and out, but when I inspected the crawlspace, none of the plumbing was connected to the city sewage system. Most serious issues are in areas that often aren’t examined when a buyer falls in love with a home. This includes crawlspaces and the attic.

Q: Is it wise to have a pre-listing home inspection if you’re a seller?
A: Yes, it is. Sometimes, the seller balks at an added expense, but the trick is to find the small things that need to be repaired and do those yourself. Something that may cost $ 100 to repair might cost you $ 1,000 when the buyer’s home inspector finds it, which could lead to a reduction in the price of the home. A pre-listing home inspection will tell you exactly what shape your home is in so that you can price it accordingly.

Q: Is all this work stressful?
A: It can be. In the Navy, we used to go up on deck and “put it on the water.” Whether it was talking, crying or just sitting there in thought, you would “put it on the water” in order to focus on the goal ahead. Since I live in the Virginia Beach area, I have a modified version where me and my wife—and sometimes the grandkids—go to the beach, and while enjoying them, I can “put it on the water” and focus on the goal ahead, which is right in front of me: family.

For more information, please visit www.pillartopost.com.

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This Just In: RISMedia Celebrates Newsmakers in Washington

May 17, 2019 by

Standing with Darryl MacPherson, executive vice president of RISMedia, far left, and John Featherston, CEO and Publisher of RISMedia, far right, is RISMedia’s 2019 Newsmakers Hall of Fame Class, from l-r, first row: Gino Blefari, CEO of HomeServices of America, Mary Lynn Stone, president and co-owner of NM Management, Inc.; CENTURY 21 New Millennium, Carl Carter, Jr., REALTOR® with RE/MAX Elite in North Little Rock, AR and founder of the Beverly Carter Foundation; David Charron, president of MRIS Investors, Inc. From l-r, middle row: William E. Brown, founder of Investment Properties and past president of the National Association of REALTORS®; Rei Mesa, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty. From l-r, third row: Michael Saunders, founder and CEO of Michael Saunders & Company; Todd Hetherington, CEO and co-owner of NM Management, Inc.; CENTURY 21 New Millennium; Mike Ryan, senior advisor to RE/MAX LLC, executive officers and the board of directors; Diane M. Ramirez, chairman and CEO of Halstead Real Estate. (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

In celebration of RISMedia’s 2019 Class of Real Estate Newsmakers, more than 225 convened at the Real Estate Newsmakers Reception & Dinner, held May 16 during the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C.

Against the backdrop of the National Press Club—”The Place Where News Happens”—RISMedia applauded the more than 230 Newsmakers recognized this year, as well as 10 Hall of Fame inductees. The Class of Newsmakers is comprised of Achievers, Crusaders, Futurists, Influencers, Inspirations, Luminaries, Trailblazers and Trendsetters, each of which were spotlighted on stage.

(Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

As each member of the 2019 Hall of Fame Class was inducted yesterday, they shared the following thoughts:

Gino Blefari, CEO, HomeServices of America

“This award here really could be ‘the shoulders of giants.’ I made a list of the shoulder of giants I’ve stood on, and some of you have probably stood on these same shoulders, [including] Tommy Hopkins, Mike Ferry…Og Mandino, Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar…Brian Tracy, Allan Dalton, Bob Becker…Alain Pinel…Tom Ferry…Brian Buffini…Larry Kendall…Chris Stuart…and Ron Peltier, who gave me the opportunity to be the CEO of HSF Affiliates and now again as HomeServices of America. On behalf of all those giants and RISMedia, thank you very much.”

(Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

William E. Brown, Founder, Investment Properties; Co-Founder, Springhill Real Estate Partners

“I’m very blessed to be here as a second-generation REALTOR®. NAR is there to help our members make money in terms of controlling their finances as it relates to their investments, and fighting for our members on the Hill, and everywhere else. Thank you all for this evening.”

Carl Carter, Jr., REALTOR®, RE/MAX Elite; Founder/Executive Director, Beverly Carter Foundation

(Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

 “This is the highest honor of my life. This isn’t about me; this is an acknowledgement from an industry powerhouse, and the news source that we trust, that safety is a real concern and a conversation worth having, and that people that have been victimized like my precious mom didn’t die in vain. Since losing my mom, I’ve been very blessed by the people in this room that have given me opportunities to talk to your staff and agents to say, be smart when you’re out there selling. I thank you for every opportunity.”

(Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

David Charron, President, MRIS Investors, Inc.

“As leaders, I believe that we have a collective responsibility to shepherd those that are inexperienced but have the right attitude, the smarts and the will. It’s up to us as leaders in the industry to help these folks find their voice, put them under a grow light and give them the opportunities to succeed, and occasionally fail, but always pick themselves up and move forward. It’s my hope that the future recipients of this award in the years to come will look back on the 2018 and 2019 recipients and Newsmakers and look to us and say ‘Thanks a lot. You helped me. You inspired me.’ I hope we pay it forward in that way today, tomorrow, and in the years to come.”

(Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Todd Hetherington, CEO, CENTURY 21 New Millennium

“Normally Mary Lynn hates to get in front of the podium, and because of that in the last 20 years I’ve been the one that’s been getting the lion’s share of the limelight. I’m very pleased tonight that my business partner is the one that’s getting the limelight. Thank you.”

(Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Rei Mesa, President/CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty

“I am honored and humbled by this recognition. I am a very, very grateful individual that I get to do this, and get to do what I love and with people I love to do it with.”

Diane M. Ramirez, Chairman/CEO, Halstead

(Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

“To be among the people who are being acknowledged at all levels is truly an honor. This has been a great journey that I hope to continue doing for many, many years into the future. Leading Halstead and watching its growth from its birth and a vision of the East Side, West Side and Downtown of Manhattan to now having 38 offices and 1,300 agents and loving each and every one of them…I cannot tell you how much it means to me.”

(Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Mike Ryan, Senior Advisor, RE/MAX, LLC

“Newsmakers this year, and future Newsmakers, I hope we have some open-mindedness about what’s happening today and cut through the noise. There’s a lot of new business plans and new technologies to help better the professionals in our industry. The best headlines are ahead for us today.”

(Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Michael Saunders, Founder/CEO, Michael Saunders & Company

“As I look around this room, I see people that really have helped me become all that I am. I thank you, I thank everyone back in Sarasota that this honor goes to. Forty-three years ago, I never believed that my journey would lead me to this stage and in front of you. I am proud, I am humbled, and I am very, very thankful.”

(Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Mary Lynn Stone, President, CENTURY 21 New Millennium

“I am honored and truly amazed to be standing here amongst all of you, being recognized as a leader in a room filled with absolutely some of the best of the best in our industry. I’ve always been very surprised at where life can take you. I assure you that when I was a student at the University of Maryland working part-time in my family’s real estate office, I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be standing here being honored and recognized as a leader and being inducted into this prestigious Hall of Fame of Newsmakers. Growing and building a company that gives opportunities to people and individuals to build careers where they are able to help families find a home that they could live and love each other in is a very, very honorable and rewarding profession. I hope this evening and the reason I’m standing in front of all of you is because of that, so thank you very much.”

The event was presented by Master Sponsors American Home Shield, HSA Home Warranty, Real Estate Webmasters and Realty ONE Group; Host Sponsors Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, HMS Home Warranty, PlanOmatic, Quicken Loans, Realtors Property Resource®, Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting and Updater; and Event Sponsors Adwerx, DocuSign, Local Logic, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors and RE/MAX LLC.

Earlier on May 16, RISMedia hosted the Annual Power Broker & Real Estate Newsmakers Forum, “Are You Ready for the Next Wave? Mastering Market, Tech and Competitive Challenges,” co-moderated by Featherston and Ramirez, and featuring Hetherington and Saunders, as well as Mike Huff, broker/owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties, and Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, as panelists. Coverage of the Forum will be released shortly.

Look for news from the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo on RISMedia.com.

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PlanOmatic Expands Tech Capabilities and 3D Services With Walkthrough Acquisition

May 16, 2019 by

PlanOmatic, a national real estate photography and floor plans provider, has acquired Walkthrough, a Colorado-based real estate marketing company, the company has announced. The acquisition couples best-in-class service from both companies, including PlanOmatic’s national presence and Walkthrough’s low-effort process, which handles orders from live scheduling to media delivery, entirely online.

Headquartered in Denver, Colo., PlanOmatic provides the real estate industry with marketing services, including photography, interactive floor plans, virtual staging, aerial photography and digital marketing in 35 states across the US. Prior to the acquisition the company did not offer services in Colorado.

The combined talent-base will position PlanOmatic as a leading photography, floor plan and 3D tour provider. The transaction promotes PlanOmatic’s strategy to invest in technology-driven acquisition opportunities that build on the company’s high standards for both visual marketing products and their supporting tech platforms.

“The technology Walkthrough has built, combined with PlanOmatic’s amazing operations team, will provide one of the best services and experiences in the industry,” said Pascal Wagner, Founder and CEO of Walkthrough, “not only in Colorado but across the US. I’m excited for what’s to come next.”

PlanOmatic will acquire Walkthrough’s operations, including its products, services and technology. The newly founded subsidiary will continue to function independently under PlanOmatic as their original brand. Walkthrough clients will still enjoy the same existing prices, services and photographers under the new ownership. Kellie Smith, Head of Operations, will remain a member of the Walkthrough team and will continue supporting client and photographer needs.

“We’ve always admired the efficient processes Walkthrough has built, and the quality and support standards they have set.” Kori Covrigaru, PlanOmatic CEO stated, “The acquisition puts the most talented photographers in the state and incredibly powerful technology under the same roof, which will ultimately benefit our clients across the country.”

Learn more about PlanOmatic at https://www.planomatic.com. Learn more about Walkthrough at https://www.getawalkthrough.com/. For additional information about PlanOmatic call 720.414.2778 or email marketing@planomatic.com.

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Closing the Gap: Meeting the Housing Needs of the Growing AAPI Demographic

May 15, 2019 by

The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is swiftly becoming the largest minority group in the U.S. Population growth and record immigration numbers show that this demographic will continue to play an influential role in the real estate sector, But according to the recently released State of Asia America report from the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA)—also presented by RE/MAX and Freddie Mac—this segment of the population is severely underrepresented, leading to missed economic opportunities.

Mike Reagan, SVP of Global Alliances at RE/MAX LLC says the report “highlights the growing power and influence of the AAPI community—the fastest growing population in the United States.”

A Growing Force in Homeownership
What does this growth look like? According to the report, AAPIs are expected to outnumber Hispanic-Americans by 2055, becoming the largest minority group in the nation due to domestic growth as well as immigration. Just between 2000 and 2015, the AAPI population grew by 72 percent in America.

When it comes to homeownership, AAPIs are making the largest gains compared to all other segments in the U.S. Zillow data shows that by 2016, 58.1 percent of AAPIs owned a home, compared to the only 10.1 percent that did in 1900. Their buying power is increasing, as well. The report states that according to Zillow research, AAPIs could afford to purchase homes valued over $ 155,000 of the average purchase price of other populations. AAPIs also tend to have high credit scores and low loan-to-value and debt-to-income ratios.

A few factors contribute to this: higher incomes and an elevated educated level. The average median AAPI household income, for example, is $ 73,000, higher than the average household income across the U.S. of $ 53,000. Some segments of this population earn even higher averages, with Indian-Americans topping the list at $ 100,000, on average. AAPI women are making more on average compared to other female groups, as well. The report found that 23 percent of AAPI women over 25 years of age earn $ 50,000 or more, higher than the national average of 17 percent for women who earn the same.

In terms of education, the segment is seeing increased undergraduate enrollment rates, which grew from 198,000 in 1976 to 1.7 million in 2019, according to the report. Twenty-one percent of AAPIs also go on to acquire an advanced degree after receiving their bachelor’s.

Both of these factors are contributing to a generation of consumers who are increasing their buying power—by 257 percent between 2000 and 2017, the report states. This buying power is expected to exceed $ 1.3 trillion by 2022.

Barriers and Challenges
There are, however, homeownership obstacles that pertain specifically to this growing segment. Primarily, it’s language access. Over 77 percent of AAPIs speak a language other than English in their home, most commonly Cantonese or Mandarin. Because many AAPIs have limited proficiency with English, there is a major gap in communications when it comes to understanding the home-buying process. There are insufficient representation or translation resources for the 12 percent of AAPIs that do not speak English well and the 4 percent that do not speak English at all.

Additionally, many AAPIs lack a substantial credit history or do not have one at all, making today’s mortgage requirements difficult to meet. Another challenge is a lack of diversity and inclusion within the real estate space. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the housing, lending and financial sectors are reportedly some of the least inclusive and diverse industries in the nation.

Reagan says that real estate professionals who take the time to learn about the challenges and needs unique to the AAPI community “position themselves to provide better service and more value to customers.”

Tom Truong, the 2019 president of AREAA, believes that closing these gaps in the AAPI community is possible, and hopes that the report will help educate the public on the current status of AAPI residing in America.

“The same entities that can support growth in AAPI homeownership can mutually benefit with vast financial opportunities made available with this rapidly-growing demographic,” he says. “I hope this report inspires greater partnership, so we may continue our mission of supporting greater AAPI representation through greater homeownership and increased quality of life.” 

Solutions to Strive For
AREEA, RE/MAX and Freddie Mac are focusing on three key areas as they work toward finding solutions to help meet the homeownership needs of the AAPI communities. These three points are:

Language Access – AREAA is working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency to continue supporting access to credit for mortgage-ready buyers who have limited English proficiency (LEP). They are focusing specifically on creating an online clearinghouse with centralized access to resources that will help lenders, servicers and housing counselors better serve LEP borrowers.

Alternative Credit – This initiative includes promoting the use of additional criteria such as rent and utility payments to prove creditworthiness, rather than relying on credit history—all without sacrificing strict underwriting standards.

Lack of Diversity and Inclusion – AREAA has worked with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to add several languages, including Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Tagalog, into the preferred language field in the Uniform Residential Loan Application. Additionally, through the “No Other” campaign, AREAA included Asian Americans as a standalone category in quarterly reports on homeownership by race and ethnicity.

“The truth is that changing demographics, growing consumer expectations and the evolving economic landscape create opportunities for the housing industry to grow and adapt, and we want our clients to take advantage of these opportunities,” says Danny Gardner, SVP, Single-Family Affordable Lending and Access to Credit at Freddie Mac.

For more information, please visit www.areaa.org.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com.

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Facing the Fear of Change With Faith

May 14, 2019 by

I recently wrote an article for our membership talking about having faith. You see, much like you probably are, many agents are facing the fear of change. Some are facing adversity. Some are questioning if they have what it takes. I think everyone has times like that. Certainly, when you’re wading into the unfamiliar waters of a new career path, a little fear and anxiety can kick in for you as well.

Here’s my message—have faith. Put a little trust in a higher power. Something bigger than you. Understand that there are powers that may be working on your behalf every day. Choose to believe that whatever you are going through is happening for your greater good rather than complain and worry that it’s something negative. It really is a choice.

Next, take action. Tony Robbins says, “Emotion is created by motion. To change your state, change your physiology.” He’s absolutely right. When you find yourself feeling emotional, giving in to fear or anxiety, or stressed out, take action—preferably action that will help you strengthen your skills or knowledge about what you are doing. With skill building comes confidence, and that confidence can help fuel your faith.

There are a lot of things that you won’t be able to control in this career path; however, your ability to learn, to put systems and plans in place, and to shift your focus from fear to action is totally doable. What is in your control? Blocking your time so that you are prospecting at least four days per week for at least one hour each day. Your goal is to connect with people, build relationships and let them know you are a resource they can trust. To do that, you have to ask questions and listen, really listen—not just recite memorized scripts.

That’s easier said than done for some. Push past the fear and have a little faith that not only can you do this, but that there are powers in the world working on your behalf. I love the saying, “Hold the vision. Trust the process.” The vision? Thriving in an industry that allows for limitless possibilities. The process? Be a continuous student. Never stop learning. Never stop growing your skills and fueling your mindset for success. Commit to putting in the time, and you’ll feel your skills and your confidence grow—and your results right along with them.

You’ve got this. I’m here to help, with a passionate community of Power Agents® that can be there for you as well. Learn more at www.ThePowerProgram.com/NewAgentSuccess. 

Darryl Davis, bestselling author of “How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate and owner of Darryl Davis Seminars, has trained and coached over 100,000 real estate professionals around the globe for more than 27 years. He is the founder of the Next Level® real estate training system, The Power Program®, which has helped agents double their production over their previous year. For more information, and the new agent tools that can help take you to your Next Level®, please contact darryl@darrylspeaks.com or visit www.ThePowerProgram.com/NewAgentSuccess.

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