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Business Planning. Do It Now Before the Holidays Hit.

Nov 17, 2019 by

Most people use New Year’s Day as a time to make resolutions and dream up new, ambitious plans. But waiting until the first of the year may be too late.

While it’s true that we start thinking about the holidays and spending time with family in November, it’s also a great time to tackle your business planning for the next year. Come December, most of us are consumed with shopping and entertaining for the holidays, and we’ll be watching the ball drop in Times Square before you know it.

That means the best time to start business planning is right now. Here are four things you should do to get started:

No. 1 – Set Aside the Time
Business planning is one of the most important keys to your success. Sure, you can make it through the year without it, but studies show that planning for your success exponentially increases the chances that you’ll achieve it.

Because business planning is such an important factor to your continued success, you’ll want to set aside blocks of time to complete it. And you should absolutely go so far as to block it off in your calendar and find a quiet place to do it.

No. 2 – Reflect on Your Year
Good, or not as great as you’d hoped, it’s important to reflect on your year and take note of the things that went well and where you could have done better. What marketing strategies worked, and which ones fell short of producing actual results? What were your learning moments? What were your big wins, and how will you repeat them next year?

It’s important to not only reflect on these things, but to also write them down so you can weave them into your new year.

No. 3 – Meet With a Coach or Accountability Partner
We can’t emphasize this point enough. Coaches have the experience and knowledge to fill the gaps, while accountability partners are perfect for keeping you focused and motivated. If not both, you should at least have one of these in your corner to help you design a plan for the new year and determine what strategies and tactics will have you celebrating next December.

No. 4 – Outline Your New Goals
Get started. Business planning can seem like a daunting task, and if that’s the case, we recommend creating an outline to get you going. This could include your marketing and financial goals, as well as both the new and old strategies you’ll use to get there. Once the outline is complete, you may feel more confident about the process and ready to get after it.

Realty ONE Group is hosting a network-wide business planning session this month for its franchise owners. It’s one of many reasons entrepreneurs and real estate professionals are making the move to and staying with Realty ONE Group. For more information, please visit www.realtyonegroup.com.

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Top Teams Stand Out by Concentrating on Repeat Business

Oct 21, 2019 by

Take a moment to ask the members of your team this one question: “How well are we working with past clients?” The answer may (or may not) surprise you. A recent NAR survey profiling homebuyers and sellers revealed that only 12% used the same agent—meaning a whopping 88% used a different agent! What answer(s) did you discover?

Leading real estate teams reach the pinnacle of success by understanding that the next hot lead might already be in their database. With the right real estate software and some best-practices to generate repeat business, your team can stay relevant by engaging past clients.

3 Ways Teams Should Leverage Past Clients for Future Business:

1. Generate & Distribute Market Insights
Market Insights or Market Reports are amazing tools that new leads love—but are also highly valuable to past clients. Rather than sharing just a generic newsletter, get into the habit of sending targeted property or area-relevant content to your clients. Information should include data about local home sales, price trends, days on market, etc. With Propertybase, you can generate reports in mere minutes that your clients will not only want to read, but highlight your team as the trustworthy market expert.

2. Put Your Relationship-Building Skills to Work
Consumers are savvier than ever. So rather than putting your contacts on once-a-year email blasts that scream “one size fits all,” change your mindset. Agents are skilled in building real human relationships—put this to good use! Make note of birthdays, ask about anniversaries or interests, sports teams, etc. Use this information to communicate with your contacts more frequently and more personalized. Create birthday smart lists and templates then automate drip campaigns. If you know a number of your contacts are “foodies,” provide them with some of the top new restaurants in your area to try. Of course, you’ll have to find what content resonates with your clients, but showcasing that you took the time to reach out will undoubtedly help keep you top of mind.

3. Produce & Share Area Profile Content
The rule of thumb that content is king still holds true. When you’re not featuring the latest listings turn your team’s focus on being (or becoming) the community expert. Hyper-local content about the neighborhoods you serve, events/concerts, relocation tips, home design trends, school info, etc. are all relevant and easy topics to write about (plus, these are great tips to drive website SEO). Engaging, informative, and targeted content of this nature is great to share across your blog, social platforms, and of course in regular emails to past clients.

When it comes to filling your team’s lead pipeline, remember that you don’t need to go far to find a reliable source. Build authentic, trustworthy relationships and stay engaged with past clients. They’ll reward you with repeat business and maybe even refer your services to everyone they know!

You Sell the Dream—Propertybase Takes Care of the Rest
Contact Propertybase to learn how our open ecosystem of real estate tools, including award-winning websites, real estate CRMs, transaction management and lead generation, can help your team create better agent-client experiences and grow.

Request More Info Now!

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Business Planning for the Year Ahead: Putting Growth Strategies in Place

Oct 13, 2019 by

This month’s National Association of REALTORS® Power Broker Roundtable discusses planning strategically for 2020.

Moderator

Jim Imhoff
, Chairman, First Weber Real Estate, Madison, Wis., Liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)

Panelists

Drayton Saunders
, President, Michael Saunders & Company, Sarasota, Fla.

 

Diane Glass, COO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group, Chicago

 

Candace Adams, President & CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties, Westchester Properties and New York Properties


Jim Imhoff:
Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up someplace else.” The Yankees superstar, whose quirky use of language was the butt of a thousand jokes, was right on the mark on this one. If you don’t map out your strategy for growth, you don’t stand much of a chance of getting anywhere, much less where you want to be. With 2020 right around the corner, the time is now for savvy brokers—and agents—to get business strategies in place. First question for the brokerage: Do we handle this internally, or do we pay an outside facilitator? Drayton?

Drayton Saunders: Brokers, like agents, are easily distracted by the next shiny penny—or, as some call it, by the next perceived “disruptor.” But if you’re going to grow, you need to stay focused—to keep your eye on the prize. It may be that an experienced outside facilitator can help identify the market trends and specific issues you need to address and map out workable strategies for dealing with them.

JI: I think some brokers are a little scared to bring in a facilitator. They think they can’t justify the cost, because it can run into thousands of dollars. But sometimes it takes a neutral, unbiased eye to see things as they are and identify what we need to do in order to grow. That can be critical for understanding not just the potential risk factors—the environmental scan, if you will—but what is commonly called “SWOT”: our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Surveying those factors is the first step to strategizing—and putting down in black and white—how we will navigate through them.

Diane Glass: In the definitive business planning guideline we’ve developed, goal setting is critical. We’re using the MoxiWorks platform to keep us on track to increase profitability, recruitment and retention and to provide our agents with a CRM that leverages their strengths and gives them a working way forward: What should I do more of? What should I do less of? How can I best nurture long-term leads?

Candace Adams:
I think timing is essential. Our company business-planning process begins in late summer and is finalized in October. It goes to managers in early November, and they are charged with making certain every agent has a plan in place before the end of the year. All plans are flexible and modifiable, but everyone—even our top producers—needs to measure their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and have a plan in place to aggressively address them.

JI: Who’s responsible for seeing these processes through? And what about accountability?

CA: Managers see that every agent has a formal plan in place, but we know that agents have different skill sets. We work in a very supportive environment, and results speak for themselves, of course—but we do schedule quarterly check-ups, and we adhere to that.

DS: Software like MoxiWorks helps agents stay on track, but accountability is key. Our managers are constantly monitoring. We don’t want to overwhelm our agents, but we do stay in touch. How are you doing? What do you need? What can we do to help?

DG: The value of a formal business plan is that it gives you a framework and a practical, hands-on process that helps you step back and look at what you’ve been doing, how you’ve been doing it, and how you can do it better—no matter the shiny pennies or disruptors.

JI: I think most brokers are diligent about helping agents plan and stay on track. But the path to growth starts with the brokerage. Who keeps us on track? In our company, we do an annual agent survey—a review by our agents to determine how we, as a company, are doing to support and inspire their success. We want them to rate our training programs, our information technology and our face-to-face support. We typically get a response from more than 70 percent of our agents, and they don’t pull any punches. It’s revealing—and it’s a good way to measure our accountability as a brokerage so we can strategize the best ways forward for the company and for the agent.

CA: We all want our agents to be thorough and professional—to go the extra mile and do it the right way, every time—and I agree, that starts with the brokerage.

DS: Which brings us back to the premise: A comprehensive business plan—for both the company and the agent—is the first step toward energizing growth.

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

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The Brokerage Business: Disintermediated, or Simply Undervalued?

Sep 25, 2019 by

(Above, L to R) John Featherston, RISMedia; Hoby Hanna, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services; Kuba Jewgieniew, Realty ONE Group; Rory Golod, Compass; and Frank Gay, JP & Associates REALTORS® Franchising, discuss “The Future of Real Estate: Which Models Will Win?” at RISMedia’s 2019 Real Estate CEO Exchange. (Credit: Korin Krossber of PlanOmatic)

If you ask Kuba Jewgieniew, the brokerage business caters to relationships, not transactions.

“In the past 15-20 years, the residential real estate business has been complacent; it’s been on auto mode,” explained Jewgieniew, founder and CEO of Realty ONE Group, during “The Future of Real Estate: Which Models Will Win?” at RISMedia’s 2019 Real Estate CEO Exchange, held in New York City September 18-19. The event gathered more than 300 at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

“We understand our business better than [iBuyers] do,” Jewgieniew said. “This is our unique opportunity to get away from auto mode.”

During the panel session, Jewgieniew and brokerage executives Frank Gay, CEO of JP & Associates REALTORS® Franchising; Rory Golod, Compass’ New York regional president; and Hoby Hanna, president of Real Estate Brokerage at Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, dissected their individual operations, as well as their approaches to disruption, centered on the industry’s No. 1 question:

Which business model will win?

“We’ve got lawsuits out there questioning our business practice, we’ve got iBuyers coming in and people saying in the next 10 years they’ll be 20-30 percent of the market,” Gay said. “In our model, we’re looking for either that full-time agent or the producer—those are the people that are hopefully going to still be standing.”

“We are in a world where there’s far more money, technology and incredibly talented people that are trying to replace us than fight for us,” Golod said. “The scale is totally stacked against us. I’m agnostic to the model—there’s room for 100-percent splits, there’s room for iBuyers, there’s room for more traditional brokerage models.”

(L to R) John Featherston, RISMedia; Hoby Hanna, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services; and Kuba Jewgieniew, Realty ONE Group, at the CEO Exchange (Credit: Korin Krossber of PlanOmatic)

According to Golod, the best bet for brokers is supply—creating it, and creatively marketing it.

“What I would encourage everyone to do is find a way to make your inventory unique to you,” he urged. “The only way we’re going to get our agents and consumers working on our companies’ platforms, and not the companies’ that are trying to replace us, is via inventory.”

Compass is accomplishing that through Compass Coming Soon listings, along with Compass Bridge Loans and Compass Concierge, which enhance the firm’s overall value, Golod said.

In a similar vein, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services is differentiating inventory with “Find It First,” a coming-soon feature on its website.

“The MLS doesn’t love it,” Hanna joked.

For the Hanna family—in the brokerage business, in the conventional sense, since 1957—an agent-centric focus has helped keep the organization thriving. Today, Howard Hanna is the No. 5 Power Broker in the U.S.

“We all started out as real estate agents or loan officers in the business, so we understand what our salespeople think about and what challenges are there,” Hanna said. “We get to know our people. People need to be rewarded and recognized by the ownership and the leadership. It can’t all just be about, ‘How can we eke out a little bit more margin out of the commission?’”

According to Jewgieniew, as commission dollars get pinched, attractive compensation structures, along with best-of-the-best culture, marketing and technology, are going to matter more and more.

“The pressure on GCI continues, and the trend going forward is that the GCI will suffer, so agents will continue to look for value,” Jewgieniew said.

To deliver on value, Howard Hanna has heavily invested in technology, including MoxiWorks and RealScout, to build efficiencies for its sales team.

“We believe that the agent has to be treated well, cared for and given the support they need,” Hanna said. “Technology will not replace the transaction or the agent, but we made big investments through MoxiWorks and RealScout [in terms of] how we create data and bring more data to our agents, and use that data to make the transaction easier or simpler.”

To define their organization’s value, JP & Associates REALTORS® decided to implement a six-transaction productivity standard, coupled with robust technology and training.

“Productivity is a big differentiator that separates ourselves from the other 100-percent transaction fee companies,” Gay said. “Our goal is very simple: to be the most productive company in the country. We do over 100 trainings a month, [and have] end-to-end, stitched-together technology.”

Additionally, the brokerage caps fees at 25 transactions, which helps improve retention, especially for the highest-performing REALTORS®.

“We realize our operation and our program attracts a lot of top producers, and we don’t want to continue to charge them transaction fees,” Gay said.

At Compass, agents come first, as well—but what of the company’s compensation packages, which have been criticized as excessive?

“If you could actually just go buy agents, our job would be a lot easier,” Golod said. “We’re in a people business, and there are some agents who’ll be moved by [money], but, ultimately, once that is no longer available, they’ll move to the next company that has another offer.

“We believe the most underserved consumer is the agent,” he stated. “We want to build the platform that helps power them in a way where they can do 10 times as much business as possible. It’s not just technology—it’s in terms of providing programs and resources and tools and human support.”

Another crucial differentiator? The ability to scale. Competing domestically is one thing, but at Realty ONE Group—approaching marketshare in 50 states—the focus is moving outside the U.S.

“We have a very good footprint, we’ve got great people, and we’re going to scale and disrupt and get marketshare,” Jewgieniew said. “We’re in the people and relationship business, and are really passionate about who we are and our brand and what we’re willing to achieve, and killing it together across the globe.”

Who’s Coming Out on Top?
As consumers demand more from their REALTOR®, the brokerage business is transforming, from clearinghouse and facilitator to full-on service and support. According to the panelists, it all comes down to value. What are you offering? Is it in need of retooling? How are you communicating your value? Is it effective?

“Disintermediation of the broker is the big white elephant in the room,” Gay said. “How do we make money in different places in the transaction, and for the consumer side, how do we provide value, whether it’s data and technology, experience or service? We all have to get smarter.”

“The agent will stay at the middle of the transaction,” Hanna said. “There will be tremendous consolidation in the industry, and we’ll start to get it right with data and information, and hopefully make this infrequent, expensive, confusing transaction maybe just a little bit easier.

“We believe our model and business plan makes sense,” he said. “At the end of the day, buyers and sellers want to achieve one thing: purchase a home or sell their home, and we give the agents the resources and tools they need to create customers for life.”


(L to R) John Featherston, RISMedia; Kuba Jewgieniew, Realty ONE Group; Hoby Hanna, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services; Rory Golod, Compass; and Frank Gay, JP & Associates REALTORS® Franchising, at the CEO Exchange (Credit: Korin Krossber of PlanOmatic)

For CEO Exchange continuing coverage, visit RISMedia.com.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

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