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August
4

Technology is becoming the key that separates the most successful real estate agencies and brokerages from all the rest. You do not need to be part of a huge team to take advantage of the latest artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning, however: It is within your reach right now.

Real estate agents have always faced this critical issue: When someone wants to buy, it isn't always easy for them to tell the difference between one agent and another. With the right technology, applied in the right ways, you can meet their needs proactively — that's the ultimate differentiator.

Making the Most of Today's Technologies Starts with Knowing Yourself

One of the most quoted aphorisms in history begins, "Know your enemy and know yourself."

It may seem counterintuitive that in a world overflowing with tools that aim to uncover more about your customers, you must focus on knowing yourself. But this is the step agents should take if they want to build a thriving practice that offers them the best work-life balance possible.

If you do not strive to know yourself, even the best real estate marketing software will not unlock your full potential. But when you begin by understanding exactly what kind of business you plan to build, technology becomes the facilitator you need.

That begins with two key questions:

  • What kind of customer energizes you most?
  • What key problems of theirs can you solve?

In their first year, agents may spend all of their time chasing down leads in an effort to understand these two questions. They are learning the ropes, trying out various transactions and client types. Once you're ready to identify your core customers, then technology can equip you to exceed their expectations.

What Are the Most Important Technologies in Real Estate Today?

Thanks to the forward-looking innovation of top real estate thinkers from decades ago, our industry has access to vast quantities of data. Before anyone else realized just how important that was, the MLS was making virtually all U.S. properties and real estate transactions available at a glance.

Much can still be done to improve on and optimize listings — features like virtual tours, to give just one example. But improvements in individual listings are truly only the beginning. You must embrace a technology-driven shift in how you conceptualize your workflow and business.

Three emerging pieces of technology are transforming real estate as you read this:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Machine learning
  • Automation

Let's take a closer look at them and what they mean.

  • Artificial Intelligence
    Artificial intelligence is the big basket into which "machine learning" and several other technologies fit. In essence, artificial intelligence is any effort to help a machine think like a human. In practical terms, it refers to efforts to give computers problem-solving capabilities beyond their original programming.

  • Machine Learning
    Machine learning is one element of artificial intelligence. It focuses on the idea that computers can use the data they come in contact with to recognize patterns even the best human analyst would miss. As patterns become evident, the AI can then upgrade its problem-solving approaches and perform better.

  • Automation
    Automation is the ability of an artificial intelligence computer system to undertake tasks using machine learning. With real estate marketing automation, for instance, AI learns behaviors that indicate interest in working with you, then notifies you so you can follow up with people who are ready to hear from you.

Adopting an All-in-One Real Estate Center of Excellence for Your Practice

Not that long ago, even basic artificial intelligence was the stuff of science fiction. It was worked on in the most exclusive universities and think tanks, and no products took full advantage of it. Today, your ability to use AI is limited only by your ability to envision a better future for your business.

At Delta Media Group, our all-in-one real estate solution puts the most powerful artificial intelligence available in the industry directly into your hands. Our customers are already using it to save time and money, zero in on opportunities with their leads, and help properties close faster and at better prices.

The centerpiece of our strategy is in real estate marketing automation.

Marketing is crucial to defining and growing your business, but it often falls down the priority list. Our seamless, AI-driven approach ensures machine learning integration in every aspect of digital marketing.

From email marketing to social media and everything in between, Delta Media Group customers can deliver highly valuable content targeted to the precise needs of their leads and customers. Once you're set up, you'll often spend only minutes a week ensuring helpful, informative contact that gives a "high touch" experience to your network — without the hours of effort on your part that high touch implies.

Contact us today to find out more or get started.

August
1

The real estate industry has evolved at an even faster pace than usual in recent years, with new technologies emerging that change the ways that both agents and clients conduct business. The online component of real estate transactions is more important than ever, and in some ways, we're already getting a taste of what the real estate industry of tomorrow will look like, from automated, AI-driven marketing to innovative new ways to experience properties online.

While surprises are inevitable in real estate, we already have some ideas about the ways that the real estate landscape of tomorrow will impact agents. Here are some of the tools in DeltaNET®6 that will help you navigate that landscape with confidence and plan for a successful future in real estate.

How Virtual Reality Will Help Buyers and Sellers

Over the last few years, we've already seen the rise in technology that helps buyers experience homes in great detail without ever visiting in person. Virtual Open Houses and Showings help buyers tour homes from afar, often with an experienced real estate agent as their guide. Tools like our Properties in Motion make it easier for buyers to fully experience properties online in ways that listing photos and descriptions can't match.

Given the popularity of these tools, you can expect the virtual aspect of touring homes to grow even more robust in the years to come. Buyers love it because they can tour homes no matter where they're located and get a meaningful impression of what the properties are like. Sellers love these tools because they increase the potential buyer pool, create more competition among buyers, and ultimately help them sell their homes for the best possible price.

AI-Driven Marketing Makes Life Easier for Agents

Technology isn't just making life better for clients. It's also making it easier for agents to market your services, build trust, and keep your audience informed on the topics that matter most to them. Already, we offer AI-driven email and print newsletters that make it easier to keep your audience up to date on the real estate data they crave. Our auto-generated My HomeFinder, Market Watch, and Seller Reports allow you to inform and engage every segment of your audience. With automated, AI-driven marketing, you'll be free to invest more of your own time in serving current clients, while still keeping your pipeline stocked full of leads.

Simplifying Lead Segmentation and Nurturing

Getting your foot in the door with a potential client is a great start, but generating leads is just one step in the process. Most leads will take some time to convert, which is why tools like smart drip email campaigns are so valuable for agents. These campaigns make it easier to nurture leads over time, with automated, targeted, timely content that appeals to their specific real estate needs. Automated lead segmentation, another tool that you'll find in DeltaNET 6, is also key to this process. Automatically segmenting leads makes it easier to know exactly where each leads stands, and which leads to prioritize. Interactive lead visibility adds another layer of real-time data that can help you convert leads into clients.

Integrated Technology Puts More Tools at Your Fingertips

New technology is constantly emerging in real estate, so being nimble is essential. It's much easier to keep up with the latest tools and put them to work when you can access everything in one place. DeltaNET®6 features integrations with dozens of partners that make it easy to do everything from market your real estate brand on YouTube to set up secure document signings for client who are ready to close on a home. 

Making the Most of Your Technology with Learning and Support

Even for tech-savvy agents, keeping up with all of the latest trends, tools, and technology can be a challenging task. Having access to the right training – whether for yourself or your team – is a critical step in adapting to the future real estate landscape. DeltaNET Academy allows you to plan courses, highlight specific tools, provide supplemental training to your team, and track results, all at no extra cost to you.

Be Prepared for Tomorrow with Technology That Adapts to the Times

Preparing for the future starts with choosing the right technology in the present, and with an all-in-one real estate solution like DeltaNET®6, you'll find the perfect platform to help you keep up with the times. So much of what we've mentioned in this article is already possible with the reliable tools in DeltaNET®6, and we're always adding new features to help you adapt to the changing real estate landscape. Why wait for tomorrow, when both you and your clients can benefit from the best real estate tech today?

June
9

Zillow has endured some notable failures recently, including shutting down its Zillow Offers iBuying program after consistently taking losses when flipping the homes that it purchased. But does that mean that the threat of Zillow is over for real estate agents? Not quite. While Zillow is no longer in the business of purchasing homes, it's still a popular, well-known platform that many people turn to for real estate information.

The good news is that, while Zillow is still a threat, there's plenty that you can do to stay out in front and provide a level of service that big platforms can't match. Zillow's clout comes from its name recognition and size, but agents and smaller real estate firms have the advantage of being nimble. With the right tools to boost your marketing and provide personalized service, you can stay ahead of big-name brands like Zillow.

Your real estate CRM, like DeltaNET®6, is one of your most powerful, reliable tools for overcoming the threat posed by companies like Zillow. Here are some of the many ways that your CRM can help you stand out from the crowd.

Provide Personalized Service by Knowing Your Leads and Clients

Whether you're gathering data on new leads or keeping track of the needs of your clients, your CRM allows you to keep all of the information that you need to provide great service in one place. With all of your key data in one place, you're always ready to provide personalized service and connect with clients in meaningful ways. It's not just about remembering names and contact information. The data that you compile lets you know what your clients want, where they stand, and how you can help them move forward with their real estate goals.

Take Advantage of AI and Automation to Boost Your Marketing

As an individual agent or small real estate firm, simply finding the time to stay ahead of brands like Zillow can feel like a tall task. DeltaNET 6 offers many time-saving benefits to help you stay ahead, from auto-generated, AI-driven newsletters to smart drip email campaigns that can help you reach out to large segments of your audience with content that converts. All of this can be done with little effort on your end, leaving more time for you to provide the level of service that keeps clients coming back again and again.

Segment Leads to Send the Right Message at the Right Time

Automated lead segmentation is another tool that both saves time and leads to better results with your marketing. One of the biggest challenges with marketing is making sure that the right message reaches the right person at the right time. Every lead is at their own place in their real estate journey, and knowing where they stand can help you reach them with the content that they want to see. Segmenting leads also makes it easier to know which leads to prioritize so that you can invest your effort where it will make the biggest difference.

Track Data to Improve Results

We've already touched on how being nimble is an advantage compared to big companies like Zillow, and part of being nimble is a willingness to find out what's working, as well as what could be improved. With analytics and tracked email marketing, your CRM can provide you with the data that you need to make informed decisions about your business. You don't have to guess what's working and what's not. You can easily learn more about your strengths and discover insights that help improve upon your weaknesses.

Integrations Put Countless Tools at Your Fingertips

The tools within DeltaNET®6 extend far beyond the basics, including integrations with dozens of popular platforms that can help you market your business, promote your listings, build deeper connections with your clients, and make your life easier in the process. Why scour the internet to find every tool that you need when you can have it all available in one place? Just one more way that your CRM can help you stay ahead of Zillow.

Zillow May Be a Threat, but You Have the Tools to Overcome It

Even with some very public failures, the threat of big-name online real estate platforms like Zillow is unlikely to disappear completely anytime soon. That's why it's so important to take advantage of the tools that you have available, like DeltaNET®6, to attract new leads and provide the best possible level of service to your clients. There's no one magic fix to overcome big brands like Zillow. Instead, it's the sum of all of the small things that your real estate tech provides, along with the ability to innovate and adapt at a much faster pace than the big, corporate brands.

March
29

With the eldest in their cohort entering their 40s, the Millennial generation is coming into its own. It's already the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. In recent years, it is also the top generation in both home buying and first-time selling.

Coming up just behind is Generation Z. Believe it or not, the oldest members of this generation are in their mid-20s. They're finishing college, launching careers, and starting families. One of the biggest success stories of the last few years is their strong showing in the housing market.

While Millennials were once wary of buying a home, they are tired of renting. On the other hand, Generation Z always had high hopes about homeownership. With a mindset that harkens back to their grandparents, they see buying a home as a critical goal for early adulthood.

Both these generations will continue to transform the world of real estate for years to come — and that starts with the adjustments agents and brokers need to make. No matter how skilled or experienced you are, you need a digital marketing strategy to connect with today's customers.

Virtually All Your Future Customers Start their Home Search Online — Are You There?

According to the National Association of Realtors, 95% of buyers reported using the internet to search for homes in 2021. On the other hand, just 7% of those surveyed said they touched a newspaper during their search. The typical first-time buyer was also relatively young, 33 years old.

Regardless of age, 41% of recent buyers started their search by going online to do their own self-paced research. Only 19% of buyers began the process by contacting a real estate agent. Once they did find an agent, 91% of buyers said that person was a "very" or "somewhat" useful source of information.

From the moment buyers first show interest in looking at a home, your digital marketing has a chance to hook their attention. The earlier you make first contact and provide value with useful online resources, the more likely you are to be the agent buyers ultimately choose.

Since many buyers don't reach out to real estate agents until well into their process, your #1 asset in gaining their trust is effective digital marketing. Every piece of digital marketing collateral you create makes it more likely you'll be found in online searches relevant to your business.

When you are found early, you can position yourself as a trusted expert and be there every step of the way. That becomes even easier than ever before with today's sophisticated digital marketing, such as video marketing — which spotlights the human touch and builds real rapport.

Let's take a closer look at some digital marketing "must-haves" for today's agents:

  • A Fast, Modern Real Estate Website
    Your real estate website is your digital first impression. A modern website is essential — people need to feel comfortable enough on your site to engage and look around. There are several planks to that. First, your website must be fast. Second, it should look great and navigate smoothly on mobile devices. When these foundations are in place, more people will review your resources and might reach out.

  • Plenty of Helpful, Informative Resources
    Blogging is an indispensable tool for the modern agent or broker. A short article from your experienced local perspective can make buying or selling easier. But what to write about? Simply look for problems and questions your customers have. For example, if you work mainly with first-time buyers, you might want to review and explain the different first-time homebuyer programs out there.

  • A Quick Way to Check Out Your Listings
    Listings can be passed directly from the MLS and integrated into your website. When listings are right on your website, you get additional information about how long people spent looking at each one and what features they clicked on. This will help you enhance your listings in the future, which will lead to faster and more lucrative transactions for your customers (and yourself!).

  • Real Estate Video Content
    Virtual tours boost listing engagement through the stratosphere, but they're only the start of what video can do. Video is the most popular content online, and it is especially sought after by younger website viewers. It's a wise idea to have video content that introduces yourself and your practice. Blogging by video also makes your content more shareable and much more memorable.

  • Social Media and Email Marketing
    Social media is a powerful way to start new buyer relationships, while email marketing keeps you in touch over the weeks and months it may take before a prospective buyer jumps into the market. If you're already blogging, you have plenty of content you can share on these channels!

Contact us today to accelerate your digital marketing with the power of automation.

January
25

As a real estate agent, you are a local expert. People trust your knowledge about the market and its ins and outs. They rely on your advice not only to buy a home but to identify the best neighborhoods, the top school districts and employers, and how everything will interact to shape their new lifestyle.

There's one problem: They may still have trouble telling you apart from your peers!

Real estate is a highly competitive industry. Many of your colleagues and competitors are true self-starters, focused on continuously improving and making an impact. There may be many agents in an area who can offer a terrific experience to your potential customers.

So, you need to focus your marketing around differentiation.

Your marketing communicates who you are and what you do for others. Differentiation refers to all of the skills, personal traits, and other characteristics that set you apart. Define exactly what you bring to the table, and it'll be easier to highlight all the ways in which you are different.

You can also use your knowledge, skills, and tools in ways that differentiate you. Whenever you pick up a new piece of technology or learn something new about real estate, always think about the many ways you can use it to add value. The more creative you are, the better it will function as a differentiator.

Teams and agents alike need to differentiate — but it is much easier than it might look:

  • Define Your Niche and Showcase It In All of Your Marketing Collateral
    Early in their career, many real estate agents feel they need to be ready to work with just about anyone. After the first year, however, it's crucial to define your niche. Your niche describes who your ideal client is, what you do for them, and how your way of doing it is special. Yes, it can mean turning some business away — but your message will resonate deeply with your ideal clients, more than making up for it.

  • Introduce Customer Relationship Management (CRM) into Your Workflow
    No matter who your ideal customer is, that person expects speed and responsiveness. A CRM suite is an effective way to deliver it. Your CRM gives you complete visibility into contacts, leads, and customers. It keeps track of transactions and relationships for you. An AI-driven real estate all-in-one solution like DeltaNET®6 learns as you use it and can prompt you to follow up at the best times to inspire a favorable response.

  • Get Comfortable with Online Video Content
    Most of your future customers will first learn about you online, not from a face-to-face meeting. Video content is exceptionally helpful in building a human connection. As "the next best thing to being there," video fosters trust and helps people feel like they know you even before you've met. Use your video to introduce yourself and your team. It can also enliven virtual showings, neighborhood tours, and more.

  • Publish Helpful, Informative Content Focused on Your Customers' Needs
    Once you embrace your niche, you usually end up with very strong insights into who your customers are and what challenges they're facing. Respond to their burning questions with a blog on your real estate website, and you'll give them a preview of the value you can offer. Publishing useful content helps you appear in more searches relevant to your business at the moment people are looking for you.

  • Build Community Online...
    Several different social media platforms are especially fitting for real estate. LinkedIn is ideal if you are in the luxury real estate space. Instagram, on the other hand, is practically tailor-made for your most beautiful real estate photography. Posting is only the beginning — be sure you are building relationships by responding directly to comments and checking out the content of people who interact with you.

  • ...And Offline
    Embrace your role as a local tour guide who knows a little bit of everything. Keep your finger on the community's pulse by attending charity events, networking, and more. Always check out new restaurants and other amenities. This gives you more knowledge of what makes your local area special. Not only will you have a ready answer when customers ask you questions, but you'll also have more to share online.

  • Give Yourself Plenty of Time for Learning
    There's always something new to learn in real estate. Even the most successful agents don't "know it all." At the beginning of each year, set out a plan for the new certifications, skills, and technology tools you plan to learn. Then, invest in your success by making sure you have time set out on your schedule to actually do it. The more you know, the better your performance, and that's the best differentiator.

Contact us to learn more about using real estate technology to stand out.

January
6

How do you measure success? Every successful real estate firm prioritizes slightly different metrics, which means that there's no one right answer to that question. But with the ability to track so many metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), it's easy to feel a little overwhelmed by all of the data at your fingertips. The important thing to remember is that metrics are more than just numbers. Tracking results, from lead generation to closings, is one of the most reliable ways to help your team grow and unlock higher levels of performance from your sales associates.

Prospecting and Lead Generation Metrics

Analyzing results and projecting future performance starts with understanding what your sales associates are doing to generate leads. Statistically, luck tends to even out over time, which is one reason why volume is a key factor in many prospecting and lead generation metrics.

  • Leads Generated
    We'll get into some of the more granular details shortly, but if you want a quick, overall look at what your sales associates are doing to generate new business, then leads generated is the perfect place to start. The simple fact is that sales associates who generate more leads also tend to close more deals. Volume is important, and leads generated is a catch-all metric to track the work your team is doing to bring in new clients.

  • Calls/Contacts Made
    How efficiently and effectively is your team working to generate leads? The number of contacts made online and good, old-fashioned phone calls that a sales associate makes naturally play a big role in the number of leads that they generate. While raw outreach numbers don't tell the whole story, they provide a solid picture of the effort being made.

  • Database Size
    Ideally, the number of leads, clients, and contacts in a sales associate's database should show stable growth over time. A bigger database means more opportunities, and creating more opportunities leads to more closed deals. If a sales associate is making a large number of calls/contacts but the number of clients in their database isn't growing accordingly, they may need to adjust their tactics for converting leads.

  • Appointments Generated
    Generating appointments is a critical step in turning leads into clients, and sales associates who post a high number of appointments generated are giving themselves more chances at success. Like database size, the appointments generated metric provides a window into how well a sales associate is managing leads.

  • Appointments to Listings/Appointments to Buyer Representation Agreements
    We group these two metrics together because they're two sides of the same coin. Appointments to listings is a KPI for sales associates who cater to sellers, while appointments to buyer representation agreements tell the same story for sales associates who work primarily with buyers. These metrics tell you how well your team is doing at turning leads into clients.

Measuring Results and Client Satisfaction

Of course, results matter too! Keeping track of how many leads are converted, how many deals are closed, and how happy clients are with the service they receive can provide important insights into the performance of your team.

  • Average Sales Price
    How does the average sales price of homes listed by your sales associates compare with the overall average sales price in your markets? If the average sales price for your sales associates consistently beats market averages, then your team is likely doing a good job of marketing, promoting, and showing homes.

  • Showings Per Sale
    Are your sales associates using showings as a key tool for finding buyers? While marketing and pricing also play a role in showings per sale, a sales associate who posts weak showings per sale numbers may benefit from some extra training to help with performance during showings.

  • Listings Closed
    How many listings are your sales associates closing? While this is a fairly basic metric, it's also one of the important numbers for measuring the success of your team and individual sales associates.

  • Client Feedback Score
    Are your clients satisfied with the service they received? A high client feedback score often means more referrals, which can be a goldmine for sales associates. Of course, the client feedback score is also an important reflection of how clients view and trust your real estate brand.

Improve Tracking and Success with the Right Real Estate Tech

Is your real estate CRM providing you with all of the data that you need to help your team thrive? With DeltaNET®6 you get more than just a comprehensive suite of tools for lead generation, marketing, and relationship management. You also get more ways to track performance, discover which tactics work best for your team, and analyze results. If you want your team to learn, grow their confidence, and thrive, then it's critical to provide them with the right tools for the job.

January
4

No matter what technology you incorporate into your real estate practice, one thing is for sure: It's all about people. Technology doesn't replace the human touch — it gives you more time and opportunities to make the connections that are so important to your success.

At Delta Media Group, we're going into the new year with a commitment to put people first.

Now is the perfect time for brokers and real estate agents to think about the best ways to place customers at the center of their practice. The idea of the "customer-obsessed" business has become a cliché in recent years, but nowhere is it more relevant than real estate.

Why Customer Experience Matters for Real Estate More than Virtually Any Other Industry

In today's modern market, there are no industries out there where customers simply don't matter. But the world of real estate is very different from the norm. Real estate professionals rely on achieving a level of customer experience excellence above and beyond other sectors of the economy.

Customer experience encompasses every interaction a person has with a brand, no matter big or small. Each one of those interactions will influence the customer's brand sentiment, adding up to a picture of what they think of you and what you can do.

It doesn't matter how you market yourself or sell your services if those brand messages are out of harmony with what a customer has directly experienced with you. In real estate, this effect becomes more pronounced because it affects your entire future.

Most people will be in the real estate market only every 5-8 years. Customer experience is the defining factor that determines whether they will come back to you, enhancing their lifetime value. Even more crucial, it can mean the difference in hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential referral business.

As real estate businesses mature, it is important to go from "chasing leads" to earning referrals. A healthy real estate business will have a strong mix of referral clients and new leads attracted to their digital properties through inbound marketing. There'll be very little "chasing" involved!

By putting people at the center of your business, you make it far more likely that they will stick with you over the dozens of competitors they might otherwise choose. Making a good impression on someone can transform your bottom line, even if you never work directly with that person again.

If you are part of a team, being people-centric has other aspects you should be aware of.

It means giving those around you the resources and opportunities to thrive. Paradoxically, it also means recognizing that people have limits, individual weaknesses, and significant priorities outside of work — and showing some grace to the whole, human person you work with. This is essential to stave off burnout as we enter the third year of a global pandemic!

The Biggest Ways to Put People First in 2022

  • Cultivate Empathy
    Empathy is the ability to put ourselves in others' shoes. While it comes to some people naturally, it can also be developed over time. Real estate pros show empathy when they maintain a genuine interest in their clients, those clients' needs, and the best way to realize their goals in a transaction.

  • Have a Unique Plan for Each Client
    Once you've asked open-ended questions and put clients at ease, it's critical to take action on all of that information. That means having a unique plan for each person, focusing on their budget, location, and amenities. Never take a "one size fits all" approach with any client, even if you have a narrow niche.

  • Communicate Progress
    No matter whether your client is buying or selling, communication is the key to gaining and maintaining their trust. Be sure to clarify with clients what is happening now and what the next steps will be. Should any roadblocks develop, be candid and take an action-based approach that helps them feel in control.

  • Believe in Continuous Improvement
    In real estate, there is always something new to learn. Every client provides a fresh opportunity to discover more about the human condition. Once closing day arrives, it's a wise idea to look back on your customer interactions to find room for improvement – and don't forget to ask for feedback!

  • Cut Busywork Out of the Equation
    Most real estate agents are energized by spending time with people. They don't want to lose more hours than necessary behind a desk perfecting social media posts or emails. With the right software, you'll greatly reduce the time you spend on marketing collateral while still getting great results.

Real estate technology makes it easier to bring your whole self to the work you do. To learn more about upgrading your business with real estate marketing automation, just contact us at Delta Media Group.

December
6

More businesses are talking about "values," but what does that really mean?

To an individual, "values" are most often seen in value judgments. These are statements about life that can't be proven or disproven in ordinary ways. They disclose what the person making the statement considers important but aren't necessarily held by other people.

For example, many would agree with the statement, "All people have inherent dignity and worth." That statement might be considered part of their desire to embody a given value, say respect or compassion. Values can be boiled down to one word, but they always require interpretation.

What does all this mean when it comes to your life as a real estate agent?

In short, virtually every brand "says" it has values, but not all values are created equal. It's not enough to simply write down a value statement or publicize it on your website. You also have to make decisions about what those values mean, how they affect your priorities, and how they get rewarded.

Let's explore how it all adds up — and what it means for the people who count on you.

To Make a Difference to Your Customers, Values Must Be Reinforced and Rewarded

Let's take a common example many of us have experienced inside and outside the business world.

Growing up, lots of kids are encouraged to value learning. But learning can be a messy process, and it often involves making mistakes along the way. If you aren't comfortable with mistakes, it's very hard to come to grips with starting off in any new endeavor since you always start from scratch.

If the same child who was told to value "learning" is punished or yelled at every time they make less than an A+ grade, they will quickly realize learning isn't the goal. It isn't what's valued. What's really valued in that situation is grades, as the difference between word and action shows.

Something similar happens in businesses every day!

For example, lots of businesses claim to value creative thinking. But creativity requires risks, not all of which will pay. If those risks are discouraged, the conflict between word and action opens up. People will get wise and stop taking risks to be creative – or else they will move on.

The smaller your group, the easier it is to make sure your words, actions, and objectives all align with your stated values. Indeed, it's easiest when you're doing it for yourself! But the lesson is this: To adopt a value, you need a concrete idea of exactly how it will affect your day-to-day work.

That's what allows you to know your values in action when you see them.

To Make Values Tangible, Understand How They Will Influence Your Priorities

Here's an example that crops up in the lives of many new real estate agents.

In the beginning, most agents need to focus on finding leads, and they don't want to lose a single one. They quickly conclude that they want to stand out for their customer service — "being there for customers no matter what." This is a statement of values. It could be simplified to responsiveness.

An agent who values responsiveness is therefore making a choice of priorities. They might interrupt another work-related task in order to return a call. Taking things further, they might also choose to return a call earlier in the morning or later at night than they otherwise would.

All these activities would be in keeping with the value of responsiveness. But it's critical to recognize some values-driven behavior can be self-defeating. Agents who find themselves returning texts at all hours of day and night to be responsive could burn out at the same time.

Choosing Values that Move Your Business Forward

Start the process of deciding on values by listing them out. Then, underneath each one, list the specific actions the value would motivate you to take. What commitments are implied by this value? What will you do when one value is in conflict with another? Which, if any, is your "highest" value?

In this way, you can incorporate your values into your business. When your values resonate with those of your ideal customer, upholding them will draw the right people to you. After all, your "brand," in real estate or any industry, isn't just what you say about yourself.

It's also what others think and say about you, online and off.

As you communicate and demonstrate your values, the kind of customers you want to work with will be inspired to maintain a long-term relationship with you. They will also be more likely than they otherwise would be to share their positive experiences with others, sending you more referrals.

Thus, by making a few decisions about what matters to you, you can energize your entire career.

November
5

For years, Zillow has seemed like the big bad wolf of the real estate industry. Since the company's 2004 founding, Zillow has steadily expanded its reach into territories where only an experienced real estate agent could help you buy or sell a home. Now, the company garners millions of web visits a month and threatens the success of local real estate experts. And despite the news that Zillow is shutting down its homebuying business, that doesn't mean the company will go away — nor does it mean other competitors won't try to achieve the same goals as Zillow but with better efficiency.

The good news is that tactics like Zillow's haven't been tested by time the same way those of the traditional agent have been. In fact, you have an advantage over Zillow and all the other online real estate companies that want to be on top: you're a real-life expert that buyers and sellers can trust. With that in mind, Zillow-proofing your business is not only possible, it may even come easy! Here are 5 steps for taking on Zillow.

  1. Be Powerful
    Your brand is far more meaningful in your community than those of the online companies. In fact, you may be more of a household name than you realize. You can increase your brand recognition with clean and effective website design. Effective SEO will also keep you on top of your market digitally, even to the point where you can compete and surpass Zillow for top spots in search results.

  2. Be Efficient
    Efficiency in the digital age means spending less time on routine tasks and spending more time utilizing your unique skills. With an all-in-one real estate solution like DeltaNET®6, you can automate away pesky and time-consuming tasks while generating more and better-qualified leads.

  3. Be Creative
    Taking advantage of cutting-edge software and services doesn't mean letting go of the wheel completely. With a powerful online creative studio, you can fine-tune promotional flyers and brochures to your liking. That way, you can ensure your personality and messaging shine through without needing to be a graphic design wiz.

  4. Be Reliable
    Everyone is skeptical of faceless companies, but when a client can put a name and personality to their real estate venture, they'll be far more trustful knowing a real person cares about their experience. Automated text messages may seem impersonal to someone who's never used them, but their power comes from being able to stay in contact with clients and allowing clients an easy way to get in touch with you when they need a more in-depth consultation.

  5. Be Different
    It's always good to make yourself stand out, but it's also important for your clients to know exactly what makes you different. With the right tools, you can focus your energy on providing clients with the expertise you've earned through years of connecting families with homes.

          For more tips on how you can Zillow-proof your business, contact us today.

          October
          28

          What is your company culture like, and how does that culture impact the success of your team? These are crucial questions in any industry, and they're especially important in real estate. Building a strong culture starts from the top, but it also depends on every team member doing their part. Here's why culture is so critical to success and how you can foster a strong culture for your real estate team.

          Individual excellence may improve results, but team culture is the key to building a reliable, sustainable business where team members look forward to working each day and providing an excellent experience for your clients. A healthy culture makes it easier for your team to collaborate, support one another, and seamlessly integrate new members into the team.

          Your culture is reflected in everything that your team does. It makes your real estate business a more attractive place to work for top-performing agents and helps every team member perform to the best of their abilities. It's also reflected in how your clients are treated, how well your team helps them accomplish their goals, and how likely they are to generate referrals after those goals are accomplished.

          How to Build a Strong Culture with Your Real Estate Team

          As a team leader, other team members will naturally look to you as a culture setter and an example. When you bring a positive, team-focused attitude, a collaborative spirit, and a strong work ethic to the table, team members are naturally more likely to follow your lead.

          • Establish Core Values That Your Team Can Be Proud Of
            What motivates your team as a whole? Are the values of your team members aligned with the core values of your real estate business? Those values provide a guiding light for team members, both in how they treat clients and how they treat each other. Providing an outstanding experience for your clients is something that every team member should be able to get behind. It motivates them to work together to provide that experience and to make an effort to treat team members just as well as they treat each client.

          • Learn What Motivates Each Team Member
            While team goals and values are important, it's equally critical to remember that every team is made up of unique individuals. Understanding what motivates each individual will help you create an environment that allows them to maximize their skills, work toward their goals, and understand how those goals fit within the larger context of the team. Take the time to get to know each member of the team and learn about their career goals. The more you know about your team, the easier it is to build a strong culture.

          • Encourage a Culture of Collaboration and Respect
            The most successful teams work together toward common goals, with each individual doing their part. In real estate, collaboration comes in many forms – experienced agents helping new agents, buyer's agents helping seller's agents, and vice versa. In order to encourage collaboration and trust, it's important to foster an environment of respect. When team members treat each other the right way, respect the goals of each team member, and accept new ideas, it's much easier to succeed.

          • Help Your Agents Learn and Grow
            The best agents never stop learning, are aware of how they can improve, and are willing to listen to advice from experienced voices on how they can grow their careers. Encourage agents to grow by providing learning opportunities and coaching. Make mentorship a priority so that each generation of agents can help the next generation thrive.

          • Celebrate Team and Individual Successes
            Real estate is hard work. Agents of all experience levels invest extensive effort in achieving both team and individual goals. Celebrating those successes is a great way to bring your team closer together and remind them of why individual success is so closely linked to team success.

          • Create an Inviting, Social Work Environment
            Even the layout of your office can make a positive contribution to team culture by encouraging agents to socialize and collaborate. An open floor plan makes it easy for agents to interact and connect. Regardless of the floor plan, you can create common areas where agents can easily meet up, discuss real estate matters, or even just relax for a few minutes and connect on a personal level.

          No matter the size of your real estate business, team culture is a key ingredient in your recipe for success. Whether you're launching a new brokerage or working to boost the performance of your existing team, actively building a positive culture will help you accomplish your goals. No two teams are exactly the same, but the core elements of a strong culture apply across the board.

          Schedule a Demo

          Schedule a Demo