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Things to do in 2011

I found this great article at: http://bit.ly/egYDNE thanks to my facebook friends.

While it is focused on real estate, I think it applies to everyone in business. Enjoy.

My good friend and noted real estate coach and trainer Darin Persinger (@ DarinPersinger) of ProductivityJunkes.com asked me to give my input on a little project he’s putting together to help agents continue on their quest for greater productivity in the coming year.

Grossly condensing this, Darin asked me to provide a list of the 12 things I would recommend agents focus on in 2011 to improve their business. That being said, here are those 12 things:

1. Measure Everything: “Father of modern management” Peter Drucker said this: “What gets measured gets done.” With that as the backdrop, start measuring everything you can measure. To kick this off, you should start the New Year with clearly defined income goals and then break those goals all the way back down to what you need to do on a DAILY basis to create what you want to earn.

2. Be Accountable: Continuing the prior point, measurement is nothing without accountability. So, make yourself accountable to someone (ideally that would be your broker). This is huge. Goals + Accountability = RESULTS!

3. Change Your Focus: Real estate has historically been a short-term, “transactional” game. As tech and Social Media become more prevalent, that’s changing. Stop thinking “short term/transactions,” and start thinking “long-term/relationships.”

4. Get into Facebook: After ignoring this reality for as long as possible, I have to come clean and say that Facebook is the “must do” Social Media action plan for every Realtor. It’s too big, it’s too important, and there’s already too much evidence in place to show that it’s not only the future, but the “right now” go-to place to connect and meet with people. Start by going here and just devouring everything you can.

5. Get into Video: 73% of all sellers want their Realtor to market with video, and yet less than 1% do. There is huge opportunity here for those who early adopt and differentiate themselves on this critical level. Read this and just make up your mind to “do video.” The learning curve is not nearly as steep as you might think.

6. Create a Massive Digital Footprint: I firmly believe that the future belongs to the agents and teams who create the “biggest digital footprint.” That is, who do people find when they search for “name of your town real estate” on Google? And what real estate professional gets recommended when people ask their trusted networks on Twitter or Facebook? That simply MUST be YOU. And you accomplish this by creating a constant stream of valuable, free content via blogging, Facebook and Twitter.

7. Limit Your Hats: Too many agents are failing because they’re trying to do too many things at once, and, as result, they tend to do many of those “too many things” poorly. Focus on a few things and do them well. Be honest: you’re confused right now, aren’t you? In points 4., 5. and 6., I’m clearly telling you to do MORE. And now, I’m telling you to do LESS, right? How do I reconcile these two conflicting messages? Read the next point.

8. Find a Tech Savvy Broker: Instead of trying to be a great blogger (almost no one is), a great Tweeter (very few are) and a great webmaster (that’s a full-time job in and of itself), go find a broker who can help you with these things. As an agent, I would GLADLY give up a little bit of my income to have a broker help me to wear all the hats I need to wear to succeed in today’s dynamic real estate environment.

9. Optimize Your Past Client Database: Most agents don’t do a great job of maintaining their past client database, and even fewer do a great job of leveraging that database to win new business. Use a CRM that allows you to do this, and make a commitment to staying in touch with the people you served well in the past. The most valuable asset you have is a happy past client. Don’t let that asset go underutilized.

10. Give Everyone a Reason to Say “Thank You:” Noted author Gary Vaynerchuk (@ GaryVee) of “Crush It” fame is about to release a new book called “The Thank You Economy.” The gist: people won’t hire you until you’ve given them a reason to say thank you. Think of anything and everything you can do to make people say “thank you” to YOU.

11. Crush It: Continuing the Vaynerchuk lovefest, there is just no getting around the fact that, in most cases, the person that works the hardest wins in the long run. People often think that technology allows us to work LESS. I don’t see it that way, and in fact it’s probably the opposite, because it takes so much effort to stay current and simply to do all the things we need to do to leverage technology (all the more reason to heed my advice at 8. above!). But there’s good news: for those that DO work the hardest AND leverage tech and Social Media the best, the relative payoff is HIGHER because of the exponential reach and effect of tech and Social Media.

12. Nail Down Your Bread and Butter Presentations: Make sure you have your listing presentation, your buyer’s presentations and any other important presentations absolutely perfected, and ideally in a cutting-edge manner (Prezi or, worst case, Keynote). I’d take that a step further and suggest you get an iPad and store those perfect presentations on the iPad. Given that the iPad has SO MUCH applicability to a transient, mobile business like real estate, I highly suggest you make the investment and buy one.

These are my 12 tips. I hope 2011 is a great year for you, in every respect!

5 Sales Ideas to Throw Out in 2011

I came across this article by Tom Searcy on bnet.com.  Thought it had some good points.

The end of the year is a great time to clean out files, closets, and that sales strategy bag filled with all of those things that don’t work or you no longer should use.

Want to do a thorough New Year’s mental housecleaning? Here are five sales ideas that you should leave behind in 2011:

1. Team Meetings – The regular sales team meeting is a waste of time. The only reason to get sales people together for a team meeting is quarterly for product/service training. Let’s face it: These meeting really only serve to make you (or your sales VP) feel like you’re doing something, and they give you a false sense of control. Management, coaching and development should all happen individually. Invest the time in more 1:1 development.

2. Hiring Cheap – Have we gotten over it yet? The idea that because there is a recession you can hire talent cheap? That you can get two “pretty good” people for the same price as one really good person? Talent costs because talent is always busy. At 30 percent unemployment, the talented people will still work, make money, and kick your butt in the marketplace if you don’t wise up and hire them.

3. Discounting Your market’s price correction should have happened about 6-12 months ago. This means you can stop giving into internal and external pressures for additional discounts. Those strategies have been exhausted and future discounting will be unsustainable.

4. Weighted Pipelines There is a crazy belief that you can create an estimated pipeline value by taking the individual estimates of the value of each prospect, multiplying it by the estimated chance of landing the account and then prorating that by the number of months from the estimated start date. You add the subsequent estimated values of each account and that gives you an estimated annual revenue amount. Does anyone need me to explain the insanity of this? You might as well be predicting weather six months in advance in another country. Stop.

5. Hoping If we are living in the new normal, then hoping that economy will turn around and that it will drive your business recovery should be put to rest. I am not speaking about abandoning your positive demeanor, can-do attitude, and entrepreneurial spirit. I mean quit looking to market conditions to generate your recovery. In this case, it is actually all about you.

Prediction 2010 – Granite Countertops are so last Decade

OK so I found this article on Fine Homebuilding. Could be good news for quartz and solid surface fabricators! What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree?

You know that feeling you get as you walk into a house with puke-yellow kitchen countertops, pale blue bathroom tile, and olive green shag carpet? How about that “what were we thinking?!” reaction when you look at pictures of your first house, complete with fake-wood paneling in the living room, stained glass light over the table, and linoleum flooring in the kitchen?

Mark my words: That is exactly the response that people will have 10 years from now when looking back at granite countertops.

No, I’m not some simpleton that can’t appreciate the beauty of nature. In fact, I can see the appeal of having granite, if only for the unique charm of incorporating Mother Nature’s 500 million-year-old child in your brand new kitchen. Unfortunately, my gut tells me that most people choose granite because their neighbors have granite, not because it’s a great countertop material. In short, it’s become nothing more than a “Keep up with the Jones'” thing.

Let’s face it. Granite is ridiculously expensive (typically $80 to $100 per sq. ft. installed), and frankly, a pain in the butt.

“Oh Barbara, you’ve GOT to get granite countertops for your kitchen, they are the best. Just don’t forget to reinforce your base cabinets to carry the extra weight, seal the surface of the stone every 6 months, and never let anything concentrated or oily sit on the countertop surface.”

I don’t know about you guys, but if I’m spending $4,000 for kitchen countertops, I’d prefer not to have to buff the surface with a diaper and sing it lullabies before bed.

I’m sure many people will disagree with me, but the buzz among real estate agents seems to confirm my stance. As “Boston Real Estate Now” journalist Rona Fischman said in her 2008 column on the death of granite: “I have never liked granite, but for a while, my clients wanted it. Then about a year ago, I started to hear “granite, blah, blah…” or “I am so sick of granite and stainless steel.” I think granite has died a natural death, gone the way of harvest gold bathtubs, paneling and Navaho White paint.”

Still don’t believe me? Consider this report from the U.S. International Trade Commission, which shows a roughly 50 percent decline in the import of “worked granite” last year.

My advice? Don’t rule out laminate or solid surface countertops too quickly. Laminate is still used in 75 percent of all new kitchens, and even the most expensive varieties are still less than one-fifth the cost of granite. Want something more like granite? Consider solid surface, which will give you a 10 year guarantee – just about perfect timing to be replaced when your kitchen needs a style facelift in 2020.

To read the original article go to: http://fb.me/OCEEFxwr

Got Remants??

RemnantSwap is a place to buy and sell remnants with fabricators near you. You can turn your granite remnants into cash by listing them today – it’s totally free.
How to see just your own remnants

Once you list your remnants (not just granite… there’s also lots of Silestone, Corian, Zodiaq, etc.) you’ll automatically have a page with just your listings. At the top will be the name of your company, a place to search, and all of your remnants listed in alphabetical order.

You can email your page’s link to your dealers or salespeople. Or, you can add the link to your website so that it’s easy for your customers to find out what granite colors you have available without interrupting you.

Here’s a 1-minute video that shows you how it works.

RemnantSwap is created and provided free of charge by the team that developed Moraware!

Great use for your scrap materials….

Here is a great idea for how you can use some of your scrap material to make a difference in the community. You can read more about the cutting boards Gerard Houseworks is creating for the ski boosters in Homer, Alaska by clicking on this link:

http://bit.ly/hlCSrY

Also if you have not visited The Fabricator Network, I highly recommend you do so, as there is a wealth of information to be gained.

Call Me a Duck….

For all you duck fans I thought you might like this UO video. It is pretty cool, take a look. Unique marketing piece….

www.Join.me

This site is pretty slick.  Have you ever found yourself trying to explain something on the computer to someone else over the phone?  Wouldn’t it just be so much easier if they could watch what you are doing when you do it?

Well now they can.  Join.me is one of the simplest, cleanest computer interfaces I have seen in a while.  All you have to do is download and install one file and you are up and running.

When you open the program on your computer it will give you a log in code that you can then give to the person on the other end of the phone.

They will simply go to join.me and enter the code you give them, and the next thing you know they are looking at your computer screen on their monitor. 

Now you can easily explain what was taking your forever over the phone.

Oh and the best part is… It is 100% FREE!!

Soothing Bath

Ok I found another picture of one of my favorite spare baths.  I love how clean it feels with all the marble.  The full frameless shower enclosure opens up the whole room. Read more

Pottery Barn Kitchen

I found this old kitchen picture.  While I know that this kitchen is not Viatera or Hi-Macs, I still love it.  Of course, I am biased.  But I just love the feel of this kitchen.  Read more