The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Become The Information Portal

5 minutes
Real estate agent showing a property to a couple.
Joshua Smith Oct 16th, 2020
Appointments
CRM
Follow-up

We are living in the “Information Age,” and to stand out from our competition, you must learn to win the game of delivering great information to the marketplace.

For realtors, the name of the game is: Get people to know you, like you, trust you, and become aware of what you do for a living. Then, as long as you stay in touch frequently, your business will grow.

The internet and technology continue to change how this mission is accomplished, so you must always be adapting to the changes to continue to thrive.

Today’s consumer can search homes, get information, see photos, and much more without our help. No longer is the realtor essential in the home search process; well, at least that perception can be the consumer’s sentiment. So we must ask about which things can be really difficult to find information. What are things important to the consumer that can’t be found on Zillow or other major online search sites? Spend some time on those sites, and you will quickly find out.

If you can deliver the hard-to-find information consumers are looking for, you become valuable. And if consumers continue reading/watching your content, they will get to know you, like you, trust you, and become aware of what you do for a living. And when they are ready to buy or sell real estate, the chances of their choosing you greatly increase.

The cool part is that this strategy is essentially free. Let’s break down a few things to give you some ideas.

What and How To Create Content To Become The Information Portal In Your Market:

First, let’s break down the “How.”

#1: Get a camera that shoots good video (an iPhone or any new cell phone will work). I am sure you already have a cell phone, so this should not cost you any additional money.

#2: Have a website with a blog feature, and which is connected to a CRM/database. I am sure you already have one, as it is essential to have in the time that we are in, so again, should not cost you any additional money.

#3: Set up a YouTube channel. YouTube is 100% FREE.

#4: Have a Facebook account. Facebook is 100% FREE.

Now let’s break down the “What.”

#1: Create a weekly video in which you interview a local business owner. Make the interview about the business owner and not your business. Discuss what the business does, how long they have been open, do a tour of the facility, etc. Keep it under five minutes.

#2: Create videos of local parks, amenities, schools. Anything nice about your area and would attract people to want to live there.

#3: Create videos of local subdivisions/communities.

#4: Create videos of all new build developments.

#5: Create videos of all your listings and any nice homes that you see/preview.

#6: Create a monthly video market update about your local real estate market.

Now that you have all this great content, what do you do with it?

#1: Upload the videos to YouTube and make them public. Make your channel in your name, with your photo, and make sure to put in a great description. 

#2: Embed the YouTube video into your website blog, so now you have a video blog, AKA “Vlog”, then do a written blog about the video you created.

#3: Mass email your blog link to your database as soon as you release your blog (weekly is a good timeframe).

#4: Share your blog on your Facebook page, as well as any other pages or social media accounts you have.

#5: Create a local area Facebook group: Example “Living In XYZ City, State”... Make it a group, not a page, and allow anyone to join. Post each blog in there (again weekly is good).

Yes, this is a lot of work, but work which is well worth it. Think about it this way: As a realtor, you are applying for a job to work for buyers and sellers. When you apply for a job today, what is the first thing the potential employer does after reading your resume? They search for you online and on social media. YouTube is the number two search engine on the planet. And YouTube is owned by Google, which happens to be the number one search site on the planet. Google will drive consumers to your YouTube channel to watch your content, and embedding a YouTube video on your blog is one of the quickest ways to build up SEO (Search Engine Optimization = getting your website to pull up organically on searches without having to buy ads on Google).

In addition to the points in the above paragraph, at minimum you are delivering great content to your database (valuable on its own merit), which then drives your leads back to your website. With Facebook, you are building a local community of people who live in your area and are building connections and allowing potential clients to get to know you, like you, trust you, and become aware of what you do for a living.

As with anything new you take on, this shift in action does come with a bit of a learning curve, but eventually you can can accomplish all of the above in about five hours out of your week. You will meet all the local business owners, builders, school principals, etc. Not bad people to have good relationships with, and you will become “The Information Portal In Your Market”.

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

4 minutes
Young professional demonstrating strategy via post it notes.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Less Is More

Joshua Smith Oct 9th, 2020
Joshua Smith
Lead Generation
Making Money in Real Estate

I talk to realtors almost daily, and I regularly hear this type of sentiment: “I am calling FSBO’s, expireds, doing circle prospecting, doing open houses, running Facebook Ads, and just started investing in Zillow, but I can’t seem to get anything to work.” 

You’ve heard the saying jack of all trades, master of none. To become great at anything, you must put in massive amounts of practice through repetition. When you are taking on too much, you will never have the time to get proficient at any one thing, and you will end up doing everything with mediocre focus, attention, and effort. Which is the recipe for mediocre results.

What if, instead of taking on everything all at once, you just started with one method of lead generation? You focused on that one thing, became amazing at it, and once your system was fully mastered and dialed in, if time permits, you then added something else and followed the same approach? 

Let's take an optimal open house strategy as an example:

1.) You take the time to do your research and find the right property inside the right area for your open house.

2.) Four days before, you door knock and deliver 500 neighborhood invitation flyers to the open house.

3.) The three days leading up to the open house you run a targeted Facebook Ad promoting the open house. 

4.) At 6:00 on the morning of the open house, you set up all your signs and take the time to make sure you have the right amount of signs to get attain and that the signs are placed where drivers will notice them.

5.) You show up one hour before the open house to make sure the house looks great, set up your welcome table, sign-in sheets, flyers, promotional materials, etc.

6.) You take the time to ensure everyone is registering with their information, or as many as you can get, and then take the time to give an amazing tour while focusing on the human connection.

7.) Then, with every person to whom you are able to give a tour, you strategically ask for an appointment.

8.) Before you pack up the open house, you create a quick thank you video and text it to everyone who attended.

9.) Right after the open house, you go immediately back to the office and input everyone into your CRM, set everyone up on a strategic email drip, set everyone up on a home property alert search, and send everyone another thank you email.

10.) Then, on Monday, you call everyone who attended the open house, and then call them every seven days, for three attempts, and then every twenty one days after that.  

The above ten steps are just an example, but you can see that if you take intentional and strategic action, combined with extreme focus and massive action, you quickly will master that activity and quickly get amazing results.

I am, by no means, saying to not have multiple lead sources, but before you add a new lead source, reflect and analyze what you are already doing and make sure you are mastering your activities. 

By doing less, you are actually able to do more. Do not approach anything you do with only an average amount of action. Instead, take massive action, which will absolutely produce massive results.

Massive Action = Massive Results!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

4 minutes
Number crunchin'.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: The Path Is In The Math

Joshua Smith Oct 2nd, 2020
Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate
Funnel

Realtors who never track their numbers will never know…

What it will truly take to hit their goals.

What created success in the past.

How to track their real expenses.

What their true ROI is.

Every single successful entrepreneur knows his/her numbers.

Tracking does not need to be difficult, and you do not need some elaborate system. Google Drive Sheets, Word documents, or whiteboards will all do the job, and are FREE!

I recommend you track three different parts of your business. In the end, it all ties together and will tell you the exact story you need to know to grow your business and make smart, strategic decisions.

The 3 Parts Of Your Business To Track:

#1: Activities and Actions

#2: Closing Data

#3: Income and Expenses

#1: Activities and Actions: I recommend you track these per lead source. Track the number of leads received. Track the number of reach outs (calls, text messages, etc.). Track the number of conversations. Track the number of appointments set. And track the number of closings.

You can always track more items, of course, but the more basic you make your system, the higher the likelihood is that you will execute on it. Eventually, the above tracking information will tell you: how many leads = one closing for that lead source, as well as how many reach outs, conversations, and appointments set = one closing. 

#2: Closing Data: I recommend that you track the lead source tied to each closing, buyer/seller, commission earned, and final sales price. This data, combined with the above data in item one, tells you so much information about your business. What lead sources are best, where your time is best spent, etc.

#3: Income and Expenses: I recommend you track all your gross income received (commissions earned) per lead source, and break it up between buyer and seller. Then track all your expenses. NOT just your overall total expenses, but break it down by each individual expense, each individual lead source, etc. You should know how much of your expenses are from your systems, lead generation, rent, open house signs, professional listing photos, and so on. Do this every single month as you will be forced to know where your money is going and also given the opportunity to evaluate your expenses each month and determine if all are necessary.

Again, this data allows you to grow your business and make smart, strategic decisions. Maybe you discover one lead source is bringing you a 700% return and the other is bringing you a 400% return. 400% ROI is a good return, but it may make more sense, if you are able to do so, to take that money, and invest into the lead source giving you a 700% return.

Watching the numbers will help you tremendously in your yearly goal setting and business planning as well. Maybe you want to increase your income by 30% this year from last. This data shows you exactly what you must increase to do so. Just imagine if you had concrete information like this: 10% of your Leads turn into appointments set, 76% of your appointments set get conduction, 26% of your appointment conductions turn into a closing. You discover you close one out of 47 of your leads, and your average lead cost is $6. That breaks down to one closing per $282 per closed home. Then, you discover it takes 500 Dials to get 100 conversations and 100 Conversations equals 1 Closing. You then know EXACTLY how many leads you need daily, how much you must spend, how many dials and conversations you must have daily, etc. to ensure your yearly goal becomes a reality. Powerful stuff!

I know tracking numbers is not fun and is something most of us dread doing, but there is not much that is more important inside your business!

Remember, your tracking system does not need to be fancy, it just needs to be in place. So start tracking and start EXPLODING your real estate business!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

4 minutes
Crunching the numbers.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: The Income Roller Coaster

Joshua Smith Sep 25th, 2020
Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate
Delegation

A roller coaster goes up and then goes down.

Roller coasters can be both fun and scary, but the constant fluctuation (up and down) of the income realtors earn is only scary. But this pattern of income is extremely common in this industry.

First, you must understand that the income roller coaster most experience is 100% avoidable! Most realtors experience this unpredictability their entire careers, but just because they do, that does not mean you have to.

The reason this fluctuation occurs for many realtors is simple. Realtors start off not having any business, so they spend their days lead generating and other activities which lead to connecting with clients. Then they get some clients and stop doing the things that produced the clients in the first place. This process is repeated over and over.

To avoid taking a ride on the income roller coaster, you must do these three things:

#1: Manage Your Schedule

#2: Know Your Money Making Activities

#3: Delegate

Let's break each down. 

#1: Manage Your Schedule As discussed here, so much of your success will boil down to planning and managing your schedule. If you learn to make it a habit to plan your day out the evening before, you will most likely avoid the income roller coaster altogether. Have your appointments blocked off on your calendar along with your lead generation, lead follow-up, paperwork, and anything else essential to creating a successful day. 

We will go deep into tracking your numbers in the next real estate success tip blog entry, but the great thing about tracking is that you will be able to identify the exact amount of action that must happen daily to ensure you are hitting your goals. Each day you should know how many leads you need to generate, how many reach outs, how many conversations you need to have, and how many appointments you need to be setting to hit your yearly goal. Everyone’s goal is different, so your personal goals will determine how much time you need to allocate for each activity. 

Once you have your schedule planned and time blocked, stick to it. Create a plan, and then execute on the plan! If you allow yourself to get into a reactive state, having an effective day will become very difficult.

#2: Know Your Money Making Activities As a realtor, you will make money in this business in three ways (read more here). The first is your activities leading to setting appointments (lead generation and lead follow-up). The second is the actual appointment conductions that allow you to convert the lead into an actual signed/committed client. The third is contract negotiation. You need to negotiate contracts to get your buyer and seller clients into under contract status.

Everything else you do inside your business, even though it may be essential, must be classified as a non-money making activity. These are things which are essential but are not actually adding more deals in the under contract status. Examples include: Turning in paperwork to your broker, ordering inspections, inputting your listing into the MLS, etc.

As stated in point #1 above, you MUST manage your schedule to ensure that the essential non-money making activities do not take over and prevent you from doing your daily must money making activities. Daily planning will massively assist in ensuring this will not happen to you!

#3: Delegate Delegation becomes critical in a growing real estate business (more on delegation here). No matter how well you plan, how well you manage your calendar, or how good you get at your money making activities, you will hit a capacity. There is only so much time in a day, and only so much you can do. Eventually you will need to employ some help. I recommend you hire out the essential non-money making activities first.

Of course this plan easy to lay out in a blog post, and the process itself is not that tough. The hard part is staying disciplined daily to follow this plan. But, if you choose to create the necessary discipline to do so, you can avoid the real estate income roller coaster, and your future self will be extremely grateful you did. It is not easy, but well worth it!

And now it is time to take action on this information! Remember, information is no longer power, it is taking action on the information we learn which creates power in our lives… So, go take MASSIVE action, and keep up the amazing work!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

9 minutes
Buyer clients agreeing to work with an agent.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Getting Buyers to Commit to You

Joshua Smith Sep 18th, 2020
Buyers
Appointments
Converting Leads

Many realtors are afraid to ask for their buyer clients to sign commitments, but your time and services are valuable and must be treated as such or risk leaving your business in a vulnerable position.

But I have good news: getting buyers to commit with a signed agreement, if you have an effective process in place, is pretty easy!

As realtors we understand the importance of getting a seller/listing agreement signed. I know those agreements are required to list a property, but why not make it a requirement for your buyer clients, as well? Yes, you have more money invested into a listing/seller client, but you typically have much more time into your buyer clients. And time is money!

So, how do you do it? You must treat the process just like you do with your seller/listing clients. You need to perform an official “Buyer's Consultation”. At the end of the day, it does not matter where the consultation happens, as long as it happens, it may be at your office, a property, at their house, or at a local coffee shop.

To get this buyer consultation appointment scheduled, you MUST sell the value in the appointment. Most realtors try to sell themselves to potential clients, but the reality is we need to sell them on the appointment first. Then, during the consultation, we can sell our services.

Buyer Consultation/Appointment Setting Script: 

“The next best step in the process is to set up a time for us to meet so I can fully understand your goals, your needs, what is important to you, as well as educate you on the buying process here in (your area). There are some costs which you will incur during the process. For example, inspection fees, appraisal fee, loan down payment, lender and title closing costs, etc. There are also areas you are protected by in the contract, and areas in which you are at risk. With that being said, I like to meet with all my clients and thoroughly explain the entire process, answer all of your questions, and give you all the information you need to make the best decision for yourself and for your family. You may decide now is the time to buy a new home, or you may decide now is not the time to buy a home. Whichever route you decide is 100% okay, of course. Just so you know, there is no hassle, no obligation, and everything I do is 100% zero pressure. Again, the sole purpose of us meeting is to provide you with all the information you need to make the best decision for yourself and for your family. Also, I like to make everything as convenient for my clients as I can. We can meet at my office, your current residence, at a local coffee shop, or whatever works best for you. I have X time and X time available tomorrow (just as an example), which one of those times works best for you?”

IMPORTANT NOTE: If a buyer says “No”, they are not rejecting you; they are essentially saying “Not right now.” So, in that case, you can say something like, “No worries at all, I know you may not be ready to meet at this time. I will continue sending you homes which meet your criteria and will check in from time to time to see if there is anything you need or any questions I can answer. Thanks again, and have an amazing day!”

Then continue to check in frequently.

OK. So let’s say you have the appointment set. Now what do you do during that appointment? First, and this is really important, you must ask great questions and listen deeply to the buyer’s needs and wants.

Things To Cover During The Appointment Process:

#1: All the features they would like in their new home. Remember, it is not just about the home itself but understanding everything that is important. For example, in addition to the home features, maybe their kids are involved in certain activities, and they want to be close by to those, etc. The deeper you go, the better!

#2: Identify their time frames. A great question to ask is, “In a perfect world, if we could time this out perfectly, when would you be sticking the key into the front door of your new home?” This question can tell you a lot, and can help prevent you from becoming a chauffeur for the next six months. 

#3: Educate them on the step by step buying process. What each step is, timeframes, contract contingencies, how they are protected by the contract, potential ways they can be at risk, and what those consequences are, monetary investments, etc. A mistake I see a lot of realtors make is to skip this process with buyer clients who have purchased multiple homes in the past. The average person moves every five years, which is a long time to remember everything that is involved in the process. Even if it is a reminder, it is always better to over educate than the alternative. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: In addition to educating your clients, this process is important as it shows the value you bring. As an example, while educating, you can use scripts like this: “Per the contract, we have X days to perform our inspections. We can always request more time, if needed, but in most cases this timeframe provides enough time to do the necessary inspections. During the inspection period, we have the option to cancel the contract, accept the property as is, or ask the seller to do the repairs which you would like to see performed. Again, we have X days to do our inspections. Let's say you want to request some repairs. We must get that request in writing, signed by you, and delivered to the listing realtor by 11:59pm on X day. If we miss that time, even by a minute, you have now accepted the property AS-IS. So, it is absolutely critical we pay close attention to all the timeframes inside the purchase contract. Now, I don’t want you to stress about it, as this is what I am here for. I will make sure all the timeframes are met, and I will always look out for your best interests.“ In the above example script, you are educating and showing your value as their realtor.

#4: Educate them on everything you are doing for them as well as how you get paid. Make a list of everything you do. Don’t be afraid to make it a full page of items. This list demonstrates the value of utilizing your services and is critical to educate them on what you do and how you get paid. Instruct them on what must happen if they attend an open house without you, or want to see a FSBO, or want to go look at new build developments in your area, etc. In the majority of cases I have ever seen where a realtor get’s “burned” by a buyer client (home purchase with a different buyer agent), it was the realtor’s fault for not educating the client properly.

#5: Ask for their commitment via a signed “Buyer Employment Agreement”, or whatever your area and/or Brokerage calls the document.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I have found it is critical to do the “Buyer Consultation” in the exact steps outlined above, as doing so allows you to build a relationship, trust, and value to utilize you as their realtor!

Simple Script To Getting The Signed “Buyer Employment Agreement”

Have the agreement ready to go right after you get done explaining all the services you provide. You can then transition into a script just like this: “There are other things that I do in the process, but that was a list of the main items I am doing to ensure your real estate goals are accomplished. As I stated, I only get paid upon the successful closing of your home. I want you to know that I am fully committed to helping you accomplish your real estate goals. I will always put your needs first and always lookout for your best interests. I am 100% committed to my career and my clients, and all I ask in return is your commitment to me. Here is our “Buyer Employment Agreement,” which states that if you choose to buy a home in the next X Days or Months (however much time you are asking them to commit for), that you are committed to using me as your Realtor. You are in no way obligated by any means to purchase a home, and I would never push you into doing anything that you don’t want to do. Again, I am 100% committed to my clients, and ask that they commit to utilizing my services in return.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: I recommend you role play this script over many times. The more natural you make the transition, the more success you are going to have. Also, don’t make it seem like you are asking them if they are going to commit. Instead, lead with the approach that you are assuming they are. As you deliver the above script, have the agreement and a pen ready, start filling it out, and then ask them to sign and date it.

You may get some push back, of course, but you will be amazed at how many clients agree to committing to you right away. If you hear something like, “I refuse to sign that. I am going to go with whichever realtor finds me the right home,” in my opinion, don’t walk but run from them. Those are clients you do not want. However, if the buyer says something like, “I see the value in your services, and I do want to use you, but I feel uncomfortable signing anything as I have had a bad experience in the past.” Well, then you can make your best judgement call on how to handle it from there.

Alright, I know this was a long one today, but hopefully you found MASSIVE value in it! Now, it is time to get your “Buyer Consultation Process” dialed in so you can get more committed clients, which will 100% result in more closings!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

5 minutes
Closing a deal at the table. Handshakes and applause. And here come the keys.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Leading Buyers To Closing

Joshua Smith Sep 11th, 2020
Appointments
Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate

You just met a buyer. Your buyer consultation went perfectly. The buyer has agreed to commit to working with you as his/her real estate agent.

Now how do you get this buyer under contract?

First off, remember you were hired as the real estate professional to help find a new home, the buyer’s ultimate goal. You now have the buyer’s trust. How can you lead this buyer down the path of accomplishing his/her goal with the right blend of advice and motivation?

It all starts with your buyer consultation. A lot of realtors do not treat a buyer consultation the same way they do a listing consultation, which is a mistake. You must treat both your buyer consultation and listing consultation as a serious and professional process! 

During your buyer consultation, you want to dial in a buyer’s wants, needs, goals, timeframes, expectations, and more. Once those items are identified, you go to work finding homes which meet your new client’s needs.

I am not a fan of showing 50+ homes. Of course I will do it if necessary, but I will always try to avoid it. At this part of the process you have hopefully pre-qualified your buyer with a lender or have verified “Proof of Funds.” Once those things are taken care of, inform your client that you are going to spend some time together in front of the computer identifying homes that meet any criteria. I always recommend narrowing the list down to the top eight homes. Less is fine but more than eight typically gets overwhelming.

Now it’s time to go check out those eight homes. I always tell buyers that as we see each home, we will compare the home to the needs list, and before we move onto the next showing, I am going to ask the buyer to grade the home with a 1, 2 or 3.

1 = You really like the home, and it is a great possibility.

2 = You don’t hate it, but you don’t love it. You are just unsure.

3 = Not for you, and toss into the elimination pile.

My goal here is to narrow the initial homes list down to the top one or two homes. If needed, we can go check out the top picks again, of course, but I am working to help identify the #1 choice based off the needs list we identified in the buyer consultation.

Once we have picked the top home, I then say the following: “I 100% agree with you that this home meets your goals and needs the best out of all the homes we saw on the computer and in person. Out of everything available on the market, this home is the one. In my experience, nice homes in nice areas, regardless of the market, tend to sell fast. To ensure this home does not get sold to another buyer, I recommend that we go back to the office and write up an offer. What are your thoughts on that?”

Now, some of you reading this may think this is too aggressive, but remember, you have been hired to find a home and essentially close on a home. You are not pushing this client into doing anything he/she doesn’t want to do. This is a home that was identified as the top pick. All you are doing is asking if they would like to move forward with the next step.

Some will say they want to think about it, but you will be shocked at how many say, “Yes let's do it.” A good chunk of people are instant decision makers, and they don’t want or need the time to think about it. Of course, you have others who do need to think about it, and you can give them the time they need; however, by being aggressive, you are able to identify those who are ready by just asking one simple question and leading the process.

As you have heard before, “Ask and you shall receive.” If the buyer does not want to write an offer on the sport, just say, “No worries at all, I 100% understand your wanting to think about it. Buying a home is a big decision. How about I follow up with you tomorrow morning, which will give you the night to think about and sleep on it, and then I can see if you have any questions or if you would like to take another look at the property or even go look at some new properties. Whichever route you decide. Would 9am tomorrow morning be a good time for me to call?”

As a realtor, your clients are hiring you as the professional to “Lead The Process.” To truly lead, you must ask questions to identify your client's expectations, timeframes, etc.

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

3 minutes
Young woman reading in front of a laptop.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Read to Grow

Joshua Smith Sep 4th, 2020
Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate
Mastery

“The amount of money you are making is a direct reflection of what the general public perceives your value to be… If you want to make more money, then you must add more value to yourself that you then can transfer to the marketplace.”

-Jim Rohn

The average high school and college graduate reads one book after graduation. Ever. One book.

The average Fortune 500 CEO, on the other hand, reads sixty books each year. 

Jim Rohn also said that “Unsuccessful people have big TV’s, where successful people have big libraries…”

The difference is a commitment to self-development.

As we discussed in the tip on finding the right mentor/coach (read more here), so many people have created massive success and have written books on how they did it. So you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you must take the time to educate yourself. Books are a great and inexpensive way to do so.

Perhaps you are thinking that you don’t have the time to read books. Well, the great thing about today is that you can listen to audiobooks while you are driving, while you are getting ready, while you are working out, cleaning your house, etc. No need to add another task, just integrate your self-development with things you are already doing. 

The average person drives 12,000 miles per year. That’s 300 hours behind the wheel, or about two semesters of college. As realtors, we tend to drive much more than average, so listening to a book a week while on the road can be easily achieved.

But not all books are created equal. So find authors who have created success in the topic they are writing about, so you can learn how they did it, and apply those strategies to your life.

josh Don’t read books just to get through the book, rather read books to get from the books. NASA has shown that the average person only retains 10% of what he/she learns the first time around. So you may need to re-read, or re-listen to a book multiple times to really get the information down. Then understand it is not the information which makes us successful, rather taking action on the information we learn which then creates the success.

A good place to start is to make it a personal rule that while you are getting ready in the morning and while you are in the car by yourself, that you are going to listen to an audiobook. You will quickly find yourself being able to listen to a book a week. A book a week can quickly change your life!

Start getting intentional with your self-development, and you will start seeing massive improvements inside your business and life!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

4 minutes
Using technology to enrich a business relationship.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Recommended Tech

Joshua Smith Aug 28th, 2020
CRM
Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate

While last week’s post was focused on how to prevent technology from diminishing your role as a realtor, technology and systems do help you run a much more effective and efficient business, while providing better service to your clients and creating a deeper connection.

So today, I would like to discuss some systems I recommend having in place.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You do not need to have all of these systems. They can allow you to be much more effective and efficient but are not necessary if you are unable to afford them.

Recommended Technology and Systems In Your Real Estate Business:

#1: CRM/Database. Your #1 asset in your real estate business is your connection with your database. To be truly effective with your lead conversion, pipeline management, etc.. a CRM/database is absolutely crucial! More on CRM essentials here.

#2: Tracking Systems. As we have discussed in past tips, you MUST be tracking your daily activities, appointment set/conduction/client ratios and your financials. The great thing is this can all be done for free with Google Drive. Read about tracking here.

#3: Website. Today’s consumer is going to do their research on you, and they will expect you to have a site. You want a website which allows you to brand yourself, has a blog feature, is effective at lead generation, etc. More on what to look for in a site here.

#4: YouTube Channel. Today “Content is King,” so you must have video content on YouTube, which is the #2 search engine on the planet, and is owned by the #1 online search engine on the planet, Google. You should be creating and posting market update videos, informational videos about your area/community, top real estate tips, etc. The importance of creating content will only grow.

#5: Social Media. Social Media is essentially another free database which allows you to build relationships with potential clients, current clients, and past clients. More on Facebook Lead Generation here.

#6: Email, Cell Phone, Scanner… OK, I know these are all things we know, but I wanted to throw them in here, as they are essential.

#7: A System for Everything Done More than Once. You should have system in place for anything and everything you do regularly, from ordering business cards, to your lead gen, lead follow up, appointment preparation, appointment conduction, client/contract to close process, past client follow up process, etc. Just as a rule of thumb, anything you do more than once, needs a system in place to ensure it happens over and over, in the same way, is not missed, can be duplicated, and eventually delegated.

#8: Online Email Signature System like DocuSign, ESign, etc…

BONUS/Additional Luxury Systems/Technologies: power dialer, expired/FSBO list provider, neighborhood homeowner contact information provider, CMA report tools, seller net sheet/buyer cost sheet apps, contract to close/contract management systems and many more, as there are thousands of systems which exist.

Again, technology and systems will allow you to provide better service to your clients, stay on top of your tasks, and ensure things are not missed. As soon as you are able add these systems to your business as they will have a large impact if used properly.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any technology/system you implement into your business will only be as good as you use it. For example, you can have an amazing CRM/database and get poor results if you use it poorly. There is no “Magic Pill” that exists. Like with anything else in life, you get out of it what you put into it!

Of course, always “Lead with Revenue”. Add what you can as you can, but make sure you have the revenue coming in to afford it. Then, add it into your business, use it, and take your business to the next level!

Also, don’t try to implement everything overnight. Implement one system, get it dialed in, learn how to use it effectively, and once you have it down add the second system, and so on.

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

4 minutes
Working on a tablet with chart overlay.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Don’t Be Replaced By Technology

Joshua Smith Aug 21st, 2020
Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate
Mastery

We can’t stop the growth of technology, but we can control how we harness it.

Technology, one could argue, is already creating somewhat of a perception that a realtor can be replaced. So the focus must be in showing our true value to our clients.

Ways To Overcome Technology and Show Our Value To Clients:

#1: Know your area EXTREMELY well. Know the local businesses, local schools, subdivisions, recreation, houses, inventory, etc. Focus on becoming an “Information Portal” for your area. If someone says, “We are looking for a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 2800 + sq.ft, with a large kitchen/kitchen island home, in walking distance to an elementary school, that has an A rating,” you need to know your area so well that you can say, “I know of 3 subdivisions which feature A rated elementary schools within walking distance that features the type of home you are looking for.” Spend time on Zillow and identify what Zillow can or cannot provide to the consumer. You must become that bridge of information.

#2: Stop using technology that diminishes your value. Technology is great, of course, and allows you to stay on top of activities and develop deeper relationships with your clients, but many realtors unfortunately allow it to diminish the relationship and their value. For example, many realtors use an online signature program, like DocuSign. Let's say you just get done showing homes and your clients have picked a home. You tell them that you are going to go to the office and will email over the contract to them, where they will open/sign on their email. They receive the email, and it takes them 5 seconds to sign it. All they see is that 5 minutes. They do not see the 45 minutes it may have taken you to fill out the contract, which absolutely can diminish your perceived value and the relationship. I am all about systems like DocuSign when necessary with out of area or traveling clients or if it is a quick addendum we need signed ASAP. However, when writing the initial offers, bring the client back to your office, fill out the contract together, explain everything in detail, answer questions, etc. Let your client see everything live, which will help create a deeper connection and allow clients to see your true value.

#3: Pick up the phone. I get it; email and texting is so easy. But they can’t replace an actual phone or face to face conversation, especially when people are buying or selling the largest assets of in their life. Be the support system they really need, and ensure you are facilitating the best experience you possibly can for them.

#4: Build world class buyer and listing presentations which show your step by step process to ensure the buyer or seller is successful at accomplishing their real estate goals. Most buyers and sellers have no idea all the things their realtor is doing for them. Make sure you communicate everything you are doing, and never assume that they already know this stuff. Educate them on everything.

#5: Focus on building strong relationships. At the end of the day, we are in the human connection business. Focus on developing a strong connection with your clients, and focus on maintaining that connection with continued follow-up (more on effective follow-up here).

Technology is critical, and will allow you to do more with less inside your business. Just don’t make the mistake of allowing technology to replace the human connection. Instead incorporate it into your business and view it is a way to enhance the human connection!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

4 minutes
Looking at an empty wallet with despair.

The Path Toward Real Estate Success: Stop Wasting Money

Joshua Smith Aug 14th, 2020
Joshua Smith
Making Money in Real Estate
Mastery

If I asked you, and be 100% honest, to give me your exact year to date net profit and monthly expenses, would you be able to answer?

Don’t feel bad if you can’t give me the answer yet; over 95% of realtors don’t know those exact figures.

So far in this blog series, we have discussed some real estate specific numbers such as tracking your lead sources, appointments set, closing ratios, etc. But you must also track and pay attention to your business financials, aka your profit and loss statement (P&L).

In short, a profit and loss statement shows you how much money you are actually making and how much you are losing. However, a good P&L will show much more than that!

I highly recommend you run and review your profit and loss statement every single month. But where do you start, and what should you be tracking on this statement?

First, understand that tracking your business financials does not need to cost you any money. You can spend money and get a program like QuickBooks, of course, but you don’t have to. Word or Excel can work just fine.

Items You Want To Have and Track Monthly On Your P&L:

1: Track/Document your Revenue. For realtors, this will be your commissions. I recommend you break it down from buyers/sellers/rentals, as well as each lead source so you know what is coming in and from where. 

2: Track Your Expenses. Just like your revenue, you want to break down your expenses. Some examples would be: individual lead sources, websites/systems, rent, license fees/dues, vehicle expenses, property photos, flyers, open house signs, etc. You will want to break each category down individually, so you know and can see those exact costs each and every month.

3: A Total of your Gross Revenue, Gross Expenses and then Net Profit or Net Loss.

You cannot make intelligent financial decisions for your business without a detailed business financial tracking plan. When you track these figures each and every month you are forced to pay attention to your finances and see a true picture of what is happening.

Every month, when I review my P&L statement, I analyze every expense to see if it is absolutely necessary. I also look at all my revenue to look for opportunities to increase sources with a high return on investment. For example, with this information you can see your exact ROI for each lead source. You may discover one lead source is getting you double the return of another. You can then safely cut the lower ROI lead source and put those funds into increasing the lead source getting you the better ROI.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You must stay organized to properly analyze your business financials. I recommend getting a large, letter-size envelope and writing the month on the front, and then toss every invoice you pay and every receipt you get inside that envelope. Of course, you should be tracking your closings as well in Word or Excel, for instance. Then, after the end of the month, you will have all the information to enter onto the document. Yes, it is another task you are adding to your schedule, but one of those absolutely crucial non-negotiable tasks which must be added to create success!

If you are not doing so already, start running your profit and loss statements ASAP! I can assure you it will be a game changer!

Thanks for reading!

  Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur

-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal

-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily

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