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Are You Missing Potential Leads?

March 21, 2014

Author: Jolene Quinn, eBusiness Manager of Alain Pinel Realtors
Are you receiving calls on your listing and your listing is pending? What are you saying to these clients? “Thank you for calling but the property has an accepted offer”. Click
These are prospective clients that you can represent as buyers!  Your response should be “The property has an accepted offer but I know of a similar home in the area. Would you be interested in seeing it?”

  • If they are not working with an agent, offer to show them another home. This is a client who called you who needs assistance finding a home! This is a great lead!
  • Sometimes they already have an agent. Always be kind. You can answer a few questions then refer them back to their agent. If their agent drops the ball then they will think of you if they want to work with a different agent.

Not interested in representing buyers?

  • Refer them to a buyer’s agent in your office. Not only can you get a referral fee from the agent but you’re also building rapport with your peers.  Not to mention, helping the client!
  • When you speak to the client, tell them you work with a great buyer’s agent that you would be happy to refer them too. Make sure to let them know the name of the agent and give a nice introduction.  This makes it more comfortable for both the client and the agent.

Asking these questions before you pass them off to your buyer’s agent helps the agent:

  • What area are you looking in?
  • What price range would you like to stay under?
  • Are you pre-approved for your home loan should you need one?
  • How many beds and baths do you need?
  • Do you prefer a condo or single family home?
    • Do you have pets? (if interested in condo)

Above all, make sure you respond to client inquiries quickly!  In today’s world, clients expect a response within minutes and will quickly move on to another company if they don’t hear from you.  Have a process in place with your referring buyer’s agent so the agent understands a quick response is mandatory if you are to continue referring clients to them.


About Author:

Jolene Quinn is the eBusiness Manager at Alain Pinel Realtors. She has almost 20 years in real estate and over 13 years working directly with internet leads. Prior to working with APR she managed the eBusiness department of a large real estate company that spanned 3 states. She was responsible for taking the department from ground level to one of the most successful eBusiness departments in the nation. 

Business Planning Insights Industry Insights Marketing and Technology Insights Sales Insights

Update Your Skills in 2014!

January 2, 2014

Author: Diane Bravo, Director of Technical Training at Alain Pinel Realtors.
Is your New Year’s Resolution to improve your professional skills and brush-up on industry knowledge? Are you unsure quite how to go about accomplishing this daunting task? Not sure which training resource might best help you reach this goal? As a longtime trainer, this topic is on my dashboard all the time. The answer, unfortunately, is not so simple. What works best for some, doesn’t always work for others – people learn better from different styles. Below are five eLearning tools I’ve found to be most effective. Start using one today and find out which one maximizes the return on your time.
5 easy ways to update your skills online 2014:

  1. Grovo – Grovo is the leading online learning platform that trains users on Internet tools with 60-second personalized videos. The base video offerings are free, with advanced videos offered at a premium. The folks at Grovo are adding lessons at the rate of about 15 per day. What is even more impressive is they do it with down-to-earth style from communication ideas to management tips and more. Sign up and try it today – you can only win with this tool.
  2. Industry News and Newsletters  – No matter what your industry or niche, there is a source for you. These can be newsletters you sign up for with your email address, or groups you join on a social media site you are active on. For example for my real estate news, I follow Inman News – Real Estate Connect on LinkedIn. Not to be left behind in the Training Industry, I follow many groups including my newest addition – Instructional Design and eLearning Professionals Group. But here’s the catch, you have to read whatever newsletter or summary from any group you sign up for. And I get it – we are all overwhelmed and inundated with mail and messages these days and it is tempting to ignore eNewsletters. However, isn’t investing in your skills and staying on top of industry knowledge important? You owe it to yourself.
  3. Lynda.com – This is a little different from the freemium model at Grovo. Instead, Lynda is available in a monthly or annual subscription, but well worth the investment if you’re looking for a more in-depth training. With abundant topics including Microsoft and Google products to Project Management and web design, you can learn to use software right at your desk. It is an online virtual library and the expansive offerings are amazing.
  4. Your Network – Never underestimate the power of your network. With LinkedIn being one of the top social media sites today, it’s easy to keep track of where your contacts are working. When you see them, talk about it! It’s amazing what you can learn and take back to share at work, if you just ask your friends what they are doing in their industry.
  5. Attend a Seminar or Training Course – There are a lot of seminars out there – from free online webinars to all-day in-person trainings. If one comes recommended to you, is about a topic of interest, or has an engaging keynote speaker, it is often worth the investment. Sometimes companies will even help you attend these if you ask – especially if you are willing to share what you learn when you return.

Whatever method you choose, remember investing in yourself is important. Learning will ultimately lead to more opportunity and influence over your sphere. Do something today to improve your skill and lead to a better, more prosperous 2014.


About Author:

Diane Bravo brings 20 years of technical training and implementation experience to Alain Pinel Realtors. In her current capacity as Director of Technical Training, she is responsible for helping all APR agents improve their business through the use of real estate software. Before moving to APR, Ms. Bravo worked for Integrated Device Technology as Business Systems Analyst.
 

Business Planning Insights Industry Insights Marketing and Technology Insights Sales Insights

Staying in Front of Your Clients Online This Holiday Season

December 12, 2013

Author: Diane Bravo, Director of Technical Training at Alain Pinel Realtors.
Did you know that according to the National Association of Realtors® surveys of buyers and sellers in 2011 that over 90% of real estate consumers never hear from their Realtor again after closing? Be different. Get more future business by keeping in touch!  The holidays are a perfect time for you to reach out to past, current and future clients in a natural way –and with online tools, it has never been easier.
Here are 5 easy was to get more exposure online this holiday season with the click of a button:

  1. Send a holiday card from your contact management tool.  Want to avoid the religious connotations of some of the season’s holidays?  Select a classy New Year greeting to ring in the New Year!
  2. Post a holiday tip on your favorite social networking site.  This can be anything from a decorating tip, to gift ideas, to recipes, to general entertaining ideas.  Just Google “holiday tips” and the possibilities are endless.
  3. Send a Facebook Gift. Facebook Gifts were launched late last year as a way to send gifts to celebrate the special moments millions of people share on Facebook each day.  It couldn’t be easier and can cost as little as a $5 for a Starbucks gift card. This is a thoughtful and easy way to really surprise your clients and connections in an unexpected way. And it’s simple for them – a message and redemption code is emailed directly to your friends.
  4. Share an online magazine or article. The Autumn 2013 Exquisite Living magazine is the perfect example of an online read to share. The magazine was designed for ease-of-use for the consumer to flip through luxury trends, market updates, community spotlights and some of Alain Pinel Realtors most impressive homes and estates.
  5. Sharing local holiday happenings in your area is another great way to touch base, while at the same time providing useful information. If you don’t already know some in your area – try checking out your local Chamber of Commerce, community events calendars and local news sources and papers. From holiday wine events, art exhibitions, parades and lightshows, to visits from Santa, who wouldn’t want to see a list of nearby events at a glance? In today’s fast paced environment, people seldom have the time to go out and look for things to do. Do it for them!

Whatever method you choose, remember keeping in touch ultimately lead to more sales. Do something today to cultivate more business and fill your pipeline for 2014.


About Author:

Diane Bravo brings 20 years of technical training and implementation experience to Alain Pinel Realtors. In her current capacity as Director of Technical Training, she is responsible for helping all APR agents improve their business through the use of real estate software. Before moving to APR, Ms. Bravo worked for Integrated Device Technology as Business Systems Analyst.
 

Industry Insights Marketing and Technology Insights Sales Insights

How Do I Convert My Internet Leads?

December 3, 2013

Author: Jolene Quinn, eBusiness Manager of Alain Pinel Realtors

The most common statement I hear from agents is:

“My online leads never pan out!

 
It’s the most misunderstood type of “client” in the real estate industry and yet, it is probably now the most common!  So how do you turn an internet lead into a sale?  Build a relationship! All the statistics say that clients are starting their search anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years prior to actually purchasing their home. They use the internet to research and get facts. Many are first-time home buyers who don’t fully understand the process and they are very hesitant to give out their contact information. So when a client does contact us, it’s usually an email with no phone number or a quick call to ask a few questions. Consider this first contact like the first “hand-shake” when you meet someone face-to-face.
First impressions are everything! And you have but a moment to make it a good one “virtually”! Delivering a wonderful experience from the first phone call, email or text is very important if you want to turn a lead into a client. Clients no longer choose an agent for information. Information is just a click away! If you manage to make that first impression a good one, chances are you will have a client you can build a relationship with and will be loyal to you for the long-haul.

  • Learn how to make a good first impression virtually. Generally just be cordial and knowledgeable.
  • Take them seriously even if they aren’t pre-approved. Most don’t understand the importance of pre-approval until they build a relationship with an agent, then they get it.
  • Respond as quickly as you can to calls, emails and texts. Even if it’s a quick note to say you got their message and will get back to them.
  • Ask how they would like you to correspond and how often.
  • Have the skill and knowledge of your area. They don’t realize you viewed most of the homes in your area or know what the home next door sold for.
  • Don’t automate everything. Mix in personal text and calls.
  • Don’t give up and think the client isn’t serious just because you haven’t heard from them in a while. Let the client know it’s okay to contact you no matter how long it’s been.
  • Be patient. It may not be a quick sale. Each client is unique and has their own timeline.
  • Build a good relationship with your client. This is important if you want them to be loyal to you and not seek another agent when they’re ready.
  • Build your relationship with other agents! Agent relationships are just as important as client relationships. Everyone wants to work with an agent that is well-liked and respected.

Use this information to build a better relationship with your internet leads. Distinguish yourself by providing clients with great service! Pretty soon you won’t need to chase your clients, they’ll already be in your pipeline and converting to a sale as time goes on.


About Author:

Jolene Quinn is the eBusiness Manager at Alain Pinel Realtors. She has almost 20 years in real estate and over 13 years working directly with internet leads. Prior to working with APR she managed the eBusiness department of a large real estate company that spanned 3 states. She was responsible for taking the department from ground level to one of the most successful eBusiness departments in the nation. 

Industry Insights Marketing and Technology Insights Sales Insights

What Buyers and Sellers Want in 2013

October 24, 2013

Author: Diane Bravo, Director of Technical Training at Alain Pinel Realtors.
Do you know today’s home buyers and sellers expect from their real estate agent?

I recently attended a real estate conference in San Francisco, Inman Connect, where various types of home buyers were represented in a panel.  While listening to the seven panelists needs, common themes began emerging which I’ve classified into 10 categories.  If you take a look, you will see just a few simple things can WOW your clients if you choose to practice them.
10 Things the Modern Home Buyer and Seller Wants from their Agent 2013:

  1. Communication – Communicate, communicate, and communicate! Some of these panelists weren’t getting calls back from their agent for days.  Same day call back is a must, but within a shorter timeframe really shows a level of dedication that is appreciated by clients today.  Today more than ever, the early bird catches the worm.
  2. Professional Photos – Let’s face it, if the photos aren’t professional, the home is not being presented at its best. If you are a listing agent and are not displaying high-quality professional photos, you are behind the times.
  3. A Full-Time Agent –Every panelist wanted a full time real estate agent! Gone are the days when a part-time agent adds full service value. Buyers want agents who have the contacts, know the tools and have the time to commit and respond quickly.
  4. An Agent with a Smartphone – Some clients prefer a phone call, some an email, and almost the entire “y” generation wants a text!  Whoever you are and whatever your age, you need to know what your buyers prefer – and  they need to know you have the technology to communicate the way they want. This multi-generational home buyer group was tricky, but one thing they were sure about – no flip phones please.
  5. Teamwork & a Game Plan – These 2013 home buyers are ready and willing to pitch in and help with their search. All they want is a plan of attack, carefully assembled with their real estate agent. Not too much to ask, right?
  6. Pocket Listings – This may be specific to certain markets, but those who mentioned it like to feel they are getting the inside scoop.
  7. Quarterly Statistic Reports – While clients have access to lots of information on the internet, they want to get market reports from their agents.  Regardless of your technical skills, it can easily enough be done with an automated tool.  At APR, agents have access to weekly Altos Market Reports that can be sent automatically to their contact database.
  8. Weekly Inventory Newsletter – This may be the most time consuming of the lot and may pertain mostly to listing agents. The idea was to get a simple list of homes available, from all of the different sources the real estate agent has, combined into one communication. Sellers want to know what else is out there.
  9. Customized Service – This may sound complicated, but really it does not have to be. Know what they like to drink? Have it already in the car when you go to show them homes. One example that was given was an agent who arranged a private showing for the prospective buyer’s mother.  This meant the world to the buyer!
  10. Gifts – Oh, the gifts! Most favored gifts included show tickets, game tickets, expensive bottles of wine, or even dinner.  A dinner accompanied with their agent topped the list! If you’re giving your clients what they want, they will enjoy spending time with you – working or otherwise.

Are you giving your clients what they expect?


About Author:

Diane Bravo brings 20 years of technical training and implementation experience to Alain Pinel Realtors. In her current capacity as Director of Technical Training, she is responsible for helping all APR agents improve their business through the use of real estate software. Before moving to APR, Ms. Bravo worked for Integrated Device Technology as Business Systems Analyst.
 

Business Planning Insights Industry Insights Sales Insights

Salespeople Need ENERGY!

August 13, 2013

Author: Steve Dickason, Vice President and Marin County Manager of Alain Pinel Realtors.

Salespeople need energy … not only to complete the myriad of tasks we must perform in the execution of our jobs. We need energy in order to project the enthusiasm and confidence clients demand from their Realtors. There are two primary sources of energy drain to watch out for. The easiest to combat is energy loss due to physical exertion. This form of depletion is easily reversed by taking in some nutritious food, getting a good night’s sleep or exercising regularly.

More difficult to recoup is the energy lost through mental and emotional exertion. Creating thoughts, retaining thoughts, reconciling conflicting thoughts, creating emotions, controlling emotions all depletes energy. When we become emotionally depleted we reach for the food. Unfortunately, instead of recharging our emotional battery, eating when depressed just makes us fat and depressed. The secret to preventing mental and emotional depletion is to stay open to the world around us.
Most of us have a natural tendency to see problems where they don’t exist. We each carry with us a vision of the world as we think it should be. When the world falls short of our image (and it does—constantly) we see it as a problem that must be fixed. We expend a tremendous amount of energy each day worrying, fearing unwanted results, trying to solve perceived problems that may never arrive. This nearly constant internal dialog takes its toll.

The solution is acceptance.

Life is supposed to be unpredictable, messy, sticky. Helen Keller said that “Life is a daring adventure or nothing.” If you need life to match the idyllic image you carry in your head, then you’re going to perceive a lot of problems. Start each day with an intention that you will remain open, flexible, relaxed. Rather than judging others for their thoughts or actions, accept them as perfect for that person at this time. Life unfolds as it will, based on the actions of millions of people alive today and millions who came before. By seeing the world in its chaotic perfection we see that there is usually nothing to fix. If you don’t like what you see and have the capacity to change it, go for it. If you can’t change it, accept it and move on. The less you fight the world the more energy you’ll have to enjoy it.
 


Steve Dickason currently serves as Vice President and Marin County Manager of Alain Pinel Realtors where he oversees the Tiburon / Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera – Central Marin, Ross and Novato offices. In 1971, after graduating from The University of Colorado at Boulder, he moved to Marin County, became a Realtor in 1976 and a Broker in 1980. In addition to supporting and training real estate agents, Steve has written two books and publishes a weekly personal growth newsletter titled “Caffeine for the Brain.”

   

(Photo: Flikr/ooberayhay)
Business Planning Insights Industry Insights Sales Insights

Early Bird Gets the Lead

October 12, 2012

The evidence is in – when it comes to internet leads – the early birds gets the worm.
Often salespeople argue that if you’re a strong salesperson, even if you call a lead late, you’ll have a higher chance of closing a lead than someone who contacts them earlier – but so far, the evidence suggests otherwise. Internet consumers not only want, but expect almost immediate responses to their inquiries – and any response over 15 minutes greatly reduces the chance of closing that lead.
Let’s look at the internet consumer:

  • Internet consumers often submit 3-5 lead forms, creating multiple “leads” for multiple agents
  • In a 2011 California Association of Realtors survey of buyers, when asked why they chose their agent, responsiveness played a major role in two of the top five factors named:

What Determines How Buyers Chose Their Agent:
1. Most responsive (28%)
2. Worked with agent before (18%)
3. First to respond (17%)
4. Most agressive (16%)
5. Most knowledgeable (6%)

  •  Additionally, the CAR survey showed that 36% of buyers expected an instant response from agents on internet requests – and 96% expected a response within 4 hours
  • According to MIT*, the odds of contacting a lead more than 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drops 100 times. From 5 to 10 minutes the odds decrease by 5 times.
  • The first to contact a lead increases conversion 238%, speed of response is THE best predictor of a closed transaction
The statistics are clear – the modern internet consumer moves fast – and expects you do too. When they choose to submit any sort of lead from they want information right then. If you aren’t providing it for them, not only are those leads quickly dying, but they’re likely to be picked up by another agent. In that same CAR survey, 86% of leads felt that response time was “extremely important” when deciding their real estate agent.

While perhaps it’s true that not too long ago, a better salesperson could close a lead more frequently even if contacting a lead later – in this rapidly changing industry – that is not what consumers want. An easy way to increase your business and start closing more leads today is to decrease the waiting time before responding to leads. Every agent should make it their goal to respond to any lead within 15 minutes.
Photo Credit: Corn Exchange Clock Bristol (Rick Crowley) / CC BY-SA 2.0
* Research Study by James  Oldroyd, PHD, MIT, October 16, 2007
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Can I Be Removed From Your Mailing List?

September 13, 2012

Despite all the different ways Realtors® promote themselves online, direct mail marketing is still a large part of any comprehensive marketing plan. However, while email marketing has strict anti-spam and various other laws that outline who you can email and who you cannot, the rules surrounding snail mail are a bit more murky. How do you handle when a consumer asks to be removed from your mailing list?

While there are no laws prohibiting snail mail or requiring you to take people’s names off your mailing list, we do offer some best practices. Even if not required, it is a good idea to police lists and purge the names of those who do not want the mailings. Most large companies and marketers actually belong to associations that are bound to remove any customer who requests to be removed – both for goodwill and for environmental reasons. You can read about many of the ways people get removed from mailing lists and consumer rights here. In an era in which consumers are empowered by social media and other outlets to express their dissatisfaction with companies, failure to remove prospective clients from mailing lists may antagonize them.
For most real estate companies, there is no centralized “list” – most agents maintain their own lists. As a result, requests for removal need to be made directly to each agent. As it is a reflection not only on your business, but on the broker you represent, here are some tips for removing consumers:

  • Have a system in place to permanently remove addresses, no matter the source of your original list
  • Apologize for any inconvenience
  • Explain you can only remove them from your individual list
  • If necessary, explain how your list was created and why they originally began receiving your mailings (some consumers do not realize that their information is often public)
  • If they are receiving additional mailings from another agent in your broker, offer to reach out on their behalf (and follow through)


Conversationsis where we help agents deal with common client concerns and detail best practices.  Are you being frequently asked a question by your clients? Or are you unsure how to handle a situation? Trouble talking to your clients about a tricky situation? Send us an email (blogs@apr.com) and we will try to answer it in a future entry.
*These are not meant to serve as official legal advice.
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Welcome to the Alain Pinel Realtors Insight Blog!

September 4, 2012

Welcome! Today we are proud to announce our new APR Insight Blog – an agent and industry blog that will be an invaluable resource.

We have transferred some old content from our previous blog – but our best is still to come. The new blog will covers a much wider variety of content. Check back often or subscribe via RSS or email to get the latest!