What’s in store for 2013?

I get asked all the time about “What’s the latest technology or marketing tool out in the market to help me have a better year in 2013?”.  With the speed that technology changes along with the habits of the public, that’s a VERY difficult question.  There are lots of great devices and software packages out there to use, you just have to take the time to learn them and understand how to apply it to your business.  BUT, the very best tool that a real estate agent can have in regards to technology is an “I’m not scared of that and I’m willing to try it” attitude.

Technology will change in the future! I’m certain of that.  The devices and individual items we either choose to use or not to use will come and go with the times, but our attitudes about how we handle this change is what’s important.  I remember when I started using the Motorola Q phone and I could actually get my email and surf the web (well, an 1/8th of a page at a time).  I got so used to navigating it that I resisted what was happening all around me.  Then, the perfect storm hit, my IT Director needed a replacement “Q”, so I gave him mine and I got an iPhone.  WOW! what a difference.  Not that I now, cant’ live without it, or even that it was life altering, but it allowed me to easily do things that were once difficult and time consuming.  Blogging on a mobile device is one example.

So I don’t think there are going to be any “out of the park” new devices that we can’t live without in 2013, but I think more and more people will have that “Ahh – Haa” moment in 2013 that will get them thinking about technology in a different light.  I also thing that there is no 1 expert in all things tech.  You will see more idea sharing and discussion training in real estate in 2013 than ever before.  For example, it doesn’t do an agent any good (except to impress your client) to do a transaction completely paperless, when the agent on the other end of the transaction doesn’t know how to handle and communicate what to do on their end.  So bringing up the level of use of technology is important for all agents to make your life easier.  So if you know how to use technology in a specific way and rock at it, comment below and we can see about setting up a class for you to teach.

Other than that, comment below and let me know what you want me to help you with this year regarding technology.  I’m still learning too, so let’s make 2013 exciting!

Watch your P’s and Q’s

I wanted to share a story about an experience I had on Facebook.  The political season is over and it really seemed to get heated over different points of view.  If you know me, I won’t shy away from a good debate, but some of the things that were posted were just plain ‘ol nasty.  And you know what your mom used to tell you growing up… “If you’ve got nothing good to say…”.

Well, I think the same thing should apply to what we do and how we interact with our “Friends” on Facebook.  Our opinion is our opinion, but in a lot of cases, it is better for us to keep our opinions to ourselves.  So here’s what goes through my mind when I’m catching up on what’s going on on Facebook.

  1. I am a pretty black and white kind of guy (as most of you know).  There’s not a whole lot of room for fluff with me, although I do have a secret compartment in my brain when I try to jam 10 pounds of fluff in a 5-pound box. A 5-pound compartment is all my “A-type” will let me have.
  2. I am interested in what you have to say about a variety of things, as are most of your “Friends”.  If they weren’t then your status would be hidden, or worse yet, you would be “UN Friended”  Noooooooooooooo.
  3. In business, I like to deal with clients that I feel are going to be a pleasure to work with.  As a client, I like to work with service providers and vendors who I know will be honest and care about helping me grow the business.
  4. To me, character counts in a BIG way.  When you post something about your family, kids, ideas, thoughts, the last party you went to, why you like or don’t like something or someone, etc… it gives me a little glimpse into your character.
  5. I like to do business and help people that have similar character traits as me.

I could be way off base here, but in my very “A-Type” world, I believe that other people feel the same way I do.  So if that’s the case, I want to give this little bit of advice……

“When choosing what to say and post on Facebook, make sure you choose your comments, pictures, rants, etc… that are becoming of your character.  Because they show your character even in the smallest of ways.”

Now, I’m a big fan of using Facebook and social media outlets for business, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.  And if you are in the real estate business where ALL of your friends and their friends are who you want as your clients, you have the distinct privilege of always being “on the clock”.  Remember that people need to trust you before they do business with you.  Don’t give them a reason not to trust you.

There you go.  I would love to get some comments back from you on your thoughts, so let me know.

5 Tech Tips

So I want to make sure that I not only post cool Tech Tools and information on my blog, but also some practical ways to use technology to increase your business right now and into the coming year.  Here are 5 things that you can do right now to help you finish strong in 2012 and set you up for a fantastic 2013.

  1. Ever wonder how you use Facebook to increase your business, today?  Send a personal message to 5 “Friends” a day.  Let them know you are updating their contact information (get their email address).  Also, don’t forget to ask for the referral. See my previous blog post.  Remember, you won’t get the business unless you ask for it
  2. Need an easy, online photo editor?  Try out PicMonkey.com  It allows you to adjust colors, size, rotation, clarity, crop, etc… all in your browser.  It’s fast and easy. 
  3. Set up your Drip Marketing for 2013 during this time of year.  Include an email letter the 2nd week of January thanking all of your COI for the business they sent you in 2012.  See sample letter on IQOffice (or click here).
  4. Spice up your emails in 2013 by using video.  Eyejot.com allows you to use your computer, iPhone, or iPad camera to quickly shoot a message and send it to a client.  It’s a very impactful way to get your message across and your clients will remember you for it.
  5. Learn 1 new thing a week.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the “Tech” that’s available to us.  To the point that we just lock up and don’t do anything about it.  As my kids would say, “Dad, Chillax!”  Take a breath and remove the pressure to do all of it all at once.  Just learn 1 new thing a week about IQOffice, Profiles on Websites, How to run and use Reports, your SMARTphone, iPad, etc…  In a year from now, you’ll be teaching classes on this stuff.

These are just a few tips to put in your tool bag.  Remember, I can share them with you and even train you on them, but I can’t make you use them.  If it’s going to be done, it has to be done by you.  Now GO GET’EM!

Remember to post your comments on my blog.  Thanks

Facebook Idea

I have thought myself and get asked a lot by agents on how to utilize Facebook to get business.  Well, as you know, Facebook is a SOCIAL media and we need to better understand that it’s really not a great place to force feed our business to our “Friends” when they are out there to just be social.  Makes since to me.  So how do we use this “Billion User” system to help us grow our business?

First, you have to remember that Facebook is a perfect place to engage your COI efficiently.  You can post an idea or question and it gets immediately exposed to potentially hundreds of “Friends”.  Also remember that your “Friends” are more likely to engage you, if you engage them.  You have to “Like” a lot and “Comment” on people’s posts.  This will help with your “EdgeRank” on Facebook (Look that term up on Google, you will sound like an expert if you can understand it).

So here’s an idea that anyone can do to better engage your COI.  What if you sent a personal message to 5 of your “Friends” every day on Facebook and said something like:

“Hey! I have been updating my contact info and I would love to have your updated phone number, mailing address, and email. Periodically I will be sending out real estate related material and other things like calendars, Christmas cards etc. because I want to keep in touch and to make sure you have my info to contact me with ANY real estate needs. As you can imagine, the real estate business is hard work and I appreciate your help! And as always, if you know of someone who would appreciate the level of service I provide, please call/email me with their name and number and I will follow up and take great care of them. Thanks in advance!”

I’m pretty sure that, with a consistent effort, this will increase your referrals from your COI.

Just a thought.
Remember to post a comment if agree, disagree, or just want to share your thoughts.

Open House info on Realtor.com

Well, well, well, I just found out something interesting.  Did you know that our open house information feeds automatically to Zillow, Trulia, and ColdwellBanker.com? Just by adding the information into IQOffice it flows to those sites.  Pretty cool, huh?  Did you also know that it flows to TulsaOpenHouse.com? (that one may be new to you).  I always thought that because we sent our open house information back to the MLS to show up on TulsaOpenHouse.com that it would automatically feed to Realtor.com.  NOPE!  The only way, for now ;-), to get your open house information to Realtor.com is to login to your account and add it to your listing.

Now some of you may be asking, “But Bryan, I’ve never logged into my Realtor.com account and don’t know how to do that. Can you help me with that?”.  Well, of course I can.  I am the Tool Man and this is Tool Time so here we go.

  1. go to http://solutioncenter.realtor.com
  2. Select the MLS as Tulsa
  3. Put in your MLS indentifier (This is your GTAR #)
  4. Put in your password (if you don’t know it, click on the Forgot Password Link, If you don’t have an account, click on the Sign Up Here Link – only if you are new to real estate).
  5. On the left menu, click on “Edit a Listing”
  6. Select the listing you want to enter the Open House info for and click “Edit”.
  7. Click on Open Houses and then “Add an Open House Date”
  8. Select the Time and Date and click Save.

YOU’RE DONE!

Now that wasn’t all that bad was it?  We are working on a way for us to send this information directly to Realtor.com without you having to go through this step, but for now, you’ll need to do this.

Hope this helps and don’t forget to comment on this post if you like it, hate it, or just want to sound off.

Contacts from iPhone to Excel

So I’ve been asked a number of times, “How do I get my contacts from my iPhone into Excel so I can put them in IQOffice?” Well, here is the answer.  I even had someone try it and verify(since I don’t use a PC anymore).  To be fair, I did not come up with this information, but found it on TrickyWays.com website (Click Here to see the original website).

If you are going to change your iPhone or just want to take backup of your iPhone contacts, here is a simple way to export your iPhone contacts as csv file in Windows 7 and you can open this csv file in Excel. You just need your iPhone and iTunes running in Windows7. Windows XP users here.

Export iPhone contact as CSV file or to Excel

Download and install iTunes, after installation Run iTunes.
Connect your iPhone with computer using data cable.
On the safe side backup your device first, Right-click on your device and select “Back Up” (in-case of any problem with iPhone Contacts you can restore your device later).
Connected iPhone device
When iTunes finish the back up process, Click on “Info” tab
iTunes info tab
Click on “Sync Contacts with” check box, select “Windows Contacts” from drop down menu and click “Apply” or “Sync” button
sync contacts with windows
Press “Windows + R” keys form keyboard to open “Run” window and type “wab” in “Open” filed and hit OK
type wab command in run
Click on tiny arrow and select “Export” as shown below
all contacts
Select “CSV (Comma Separated Values)” option and click “Export” button
export csv
Click on “Browse” button, choose location to save iPhone contacts as csv file
csv export
Select iPhone contacts fields that you want to export and hit “Finish” button
Field to export in csv
You will see this message if iPhone contacts exported as csv file successfully, hit “OK” button.
Windows Contacts
Now you can use this csv file to import iPhone contacts in any other application or device or you can open this file in Excel to view all iPhone contacts.

Remember to comment on this post if you like or hate it. 😉

Tool Time!

So, I’m back to Tool Time. Last week I posted about ColdwellBanker.com Profile Pages and the response was great. What I’ve discovered is the need is greater now than it has ever been to help you all with the tools that are available to you at CB Select, so I ‘m back at it.  I hope that you will take my tips, tricks and ideas with a grain of salt and apply the one’s that you see fitting into your business.

At Coldwell Banker Select, we offer more tools, marketing, and technology than any other company that I’ve come across.  That is fine and well, but one of the glaring issues that we face is helping agents implement the tools we offer into their business through example and training.  Sooooo, that’s where I’m going to be focusing a large part of my time and effort.  I want to make sure that you know about and understand how to use the tools available to you to help you grow your business.

The first tool I want to talk about is HomeFacts.  As many of you know, this is a call capturing tool that allows you to be texted the caller ID information whenever a potential buyer calls in and inquires about your listing.  It’s fast, responsive and can put you in front of more buyers, as well as be an incredible tool if demonstrated in a listing presentation.

One of the downsides to this automated system is, “it’s automated”.  That means there is a very robotic voice that will greet every caller, unless you change the message. I know a lot of agents don’t know how to change the message so I am including a link to the instructions on how to do that:

http://iq2.us/AAA64B

In these instructions are a sample script of what you can say about your listing.  I recommend that you write it out and get it just the way you want and then when you record, simply read the script.  That way you don’t waste hours trying to “get it just right”.

Oh the other thing, for those of you who “hate” your voice…..you do talk to people don’t you? Trust me, your sellers and potential buyers want to hear your voice.  When they press “1” to be connected to you, they want to get the same person that was telling them about their dream home.  It brings legitimacy to it.  So don’t worry about your voice, just do the recordings.

Another tip on recordings is to plug your website.  You have a captive audience at that moment and I would let them know that they can “go to my website and see the photos of this listing or any other listing on the market.”  Why not, it’s your system.

I do get asked a lot about whether or not to put the price on recording.  I have some great options for you in the example script that you can use.  So give it a shot and let me know how it works.  Remember, the most important thing regarding HomeFacts is follow-up.  Just reach out and say “Hi, How may I help you?”

ColdwellBanker.com Profile Pages

Did you know that you have a profile page on ColdwellBanker.com? Yep, that’s right. It’s one of those perks you get for being BLUE.

Here’s what you do. Go to http://cbworks.coldwellbanker.com/ and login. If you don’t know what your login is, then you follow these steps. On the CBWorks login page, it will say “First Time Users, Click here for Access”. CLICK THERE. It will ask you for your email address. This will be your company email address. The CBWorks system will then email you your password for the system. Follow the steps in the email to get logged in to the system. If it asks for your CREST ID, contact accounting and they can get that for you.

Once you get logged into CBWorks, you will see your name on the left. Click on your name, this will take you to the ColdwellBanker.com/secure site where you enter your profile information. On the left hand side, click on “Profile” and then on “Edit Profile”.

There are some requirements that you have to have in your profile in order for it to show up. (1) You MUST click on “Media” and upload your photo. (2) You must have 6 bullet points combined about you in “General”, “Credentials”, or “Qualifications” area. The rest you can put in what you want. If there is any information that is wrong that you can’t change, send an email to czumwalde@cbtulsa.com and we will get it fixed for you (She’s going to love me for that one).

Once your profile is setup, it takes about 24hours to be active on the site. Check back the next day and let me know if you have any issues.

Remember, if you want the leads from your listings to go directly to YOU on ColdwellBanker.com, then you have to have your profile page setup.

HouseLogic.com Information

  • Check out some of the articles that you can pull from HouseLogic.com/members.  It’s FREE if you are a Realtor.  You can post these in your BLOG, share them on Social Media, download them for a newsletter, etc…  It’s a pretty nice service that NAR provides.
  • Dos and Don’ts of Homebuyer Incentives

    Homebuyer incentives can be smart marketing or a waste of money. Find out when and how to use them. Read
  • Fielding a Lowball Purchase Offer on Your Home

    Consider before you ignore or outright refuse a very low purchase offer for your home. A counteroffer and negotiation could turn that low purchase offer into a sale. Read
  • 6 Reasons to Reduce Your Home Price

    While you’d like to get the best price for your home, consider our six reasons to reduce your home price. Read
Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.
Copyright 2012 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

I met with the CEO of Trulia – Pete Flint

So today I had the opportunity to have lunch with the Founder and CEO of Trulia.com, Pete Flint.  First off, what a great guy.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him and talking to him about how Trulia came about and what’s in store.  It was pretty cool when they asked me about what they could do for our agents to make Trulia better and to serve our agents better. (Yes, I did take the opportunity, if you’re wondering).  We talked about data integrity, leads, agent support, strategies to help drive more leads to agents, training, and promotion of Trulia products that help agents do more business and that are FREE.  If you know me, I am a big fan of FREE.

So, many of you don’t know about the Trulia Agents App for the iPhone. It’s really slick (download it at the app store).  You can see all of your leads that your listings generate off of Trulia without having to worry about whether or not you “accidentally” deleted the lead email that was sent to you. We all know that many of the emails look the same and it’s easy to delete a legit lead. You can also “Check-in” to a property that you have toured and share the information with a buyer that you may be working with.  Here’s what Trulia has to say about it from their BLOG.

“Trulia for Agents also pushes immediate lead notifications to the iPhone, helping agents respond quickly to consumer inquiries.  Agents can also access all of their leads, store their client list and add new contacts while hosting an open house.Also included in the app is a quick property lookup that lets agents find nearby listings and instantly share homes that fit clients’ needs.  They can also share other neighborhood details including open home times, driving directions, nearby restaurants, grocery stores and more.”

So go download the App and use it.  You will do more business with it.