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June
23

The most successful real estate agents tend to have a steady routine. They know their team, their brand and what they must do each day to achieve their goals. So, change can be a challenge even for the most experienced agents, just as it is for newer agents who are still establishing their foothold in the industry. A merger represents a significant change for any agent, but it can also lead to new opportunities for agents to thrive.

Keeping your agents happy throughout the merger process comes with its challenges, but it's one of the most important things you can do to make your merger a success. Transparent communication, honesty and a willingness to listen are all key ingredients in keeping your team on the same page as you transition to a new era. So, let's take a deeper look at what you can do to keep agents happy before, during and after a merger.

There are two sides to the coin for agents who are part of a merger, with the fear of change and the unknown being balanced by the new opportunities that the merger presents for them to grow their careers. How each agent perceives a merger depends largely on how you communicate with them, how well you prepare them for the transition and what they have to look forward to once the merger is complete.

Start With Open, Transparent Communication

Change is scary. That's as true for agents who've been with you for 25 years as it is for the promising, new agent who has recently closed their first few deals. How much that fear of change influences agents depends on how well you communicate with them throughout the merger process. So much of the fear of change comes from fear of the unknown, which is one reason why transparent communication is so important.

When you keep your agents informed, provide details and focus on open, transparent communication, those agents will naturally have less to fear. They will know what to expect from each step of the process, how to prepare themselves for the transition and where they'll stand when the merger is complete. Just as agents want clients to be able to imagine what their lives would be like in a potential new home, you want your agents to be able to imagine what their careers will be like after the merger.

These conversations won't always be easy, but they are necessary. The bottom line is that every agent is planning for their own financial future, and the possibility of a merger can have a big impact on their personal career plans. Effective communication helps keep everyone on the same page and gives you the best chance of keeping agents happy during a merger.

Provide Frequent Updates Using All Channels of Communication

Transparent communication is important, but it can only have the desired effect if that communication is also consistent and accessible. One of the easiest mistakes to make during a merger is to provide your team with a healthy dose of information upfront but then let communication trail off as time passes. Even if those initial details give agents a lot to look forward to, fear of the unknown is sure to creep back in if communication doesn't remain consistent over time.

So, you'll want to have a plan for providing frequent updates throughout the process to keep your agents informed and give them confidence about what comes next. When you're providing those updates, don't just rely on one channel of communication. An email with bullet points can provide important facts, but a video message or video call can provide greater context while allowing for a more personal touch.

Communicating through multiple channels has another key, practical benefit. Most teams have agents from various generations, and each agent will have their own preferences regarding communication channels. By providing updates through all channels of communication, you can ensure that your message gets through to each agent in the most comfortable and accessible way.

Create a Private Facebook Group to Provide an Open Forum For Conversations

So far, we've focused mostly on how you can communicate effectively with agents. However, it's equally important to ensure that agents have an open forum for communicating with management, and with one another. Starting a private Facebook group for your team to discuss the merger is a great way to foster the back-and-forth communication that is crucial to success.

This is one area where your willingness to listen, understand where agents are coming from, and respond in a thoughtful, transparent way will be critical. Agents will have questions, concerns and curiosities about what the future will hold for them after a merger. Those questions won't always be pleasant, and that's okay. Agents will naturally be concerned about their professional futures during a merger, and any tough questions they may have will be coming from an honest place.

A private Facebook group also provides a safe place for agents to interact with one another regarding the merger. Keeping an eye on what agents are discussing can provide valuable insights into what they're thinking and feeling, which can ultimately help you communicate more effectively with your team.

Showcase the New Tools and Opportunities That Agents Will Have

Another key element of effective communication is showcasing all the positive things that agents will have to look forward to after a merger. While the details differ case by case, mergers often provide new perks to help agents thrive.

Perhaps you're merging with a company known for its effective digital marketing practices, which can help every agent grow their personal brand within the larger company while generating more and better-quality leads. Maybe the combined financial strength created by the merger allows you to invest in new technology that will directly benefit agents, like a modern, feature-rich real estate CRM that can make their lives easier in many ways.

In many cases, the merger may create opportunities for agents to reach new markets or gain a stronger foothold in their existing markets. A merger might mean adding new divisions to the company, which will allow agents to branch out into luxury or commercial real estate if that is their preference. A larger team also means more learning opportunities, whether through mentorship for new agents or through experienced agents trading tips on what works best for them in specific markets.

Whatever the benefits are that agents can look forward to after the merger, make sure to communicate them clearly. It's so much easier to keep agents happy during a merger when they know that they'll have tangible, professional benefits that can help them grow their own careers and increase their earnings after the process is complete.

Stay Focused on Positives While Providing Proper Context and Perspective on Negatives

Let's be honest. In most cases, a merger is a mixed bag for agents, especially from their perspective. Ideally, the positives will strongly outweigh the negatives, but those negatives will still exist. Since agents are naturally so focused on how the merger will impact their own careers, it can be easy for them to focus on the negatives even if the merger will have positive benefits for them in the long run.

Keeping agents focused on the positives is an important part of your job during a merger. As we detailed in the previous section, there are usually plenty of things for agents to be excited about regarding a merger, so you should have no shortage of benefits to focus on when discussing the future with your team. Always be honest, but try to keep conversations focused on the positives as often as possible.

However, focusing on the positives doesn't mean ignoring any negatives that may be part of the process. Instead, try to provide the proper context and perspective on any factors that agents could view as negative. Even if they don't like one aspect of the merger, it will be much easier for them to digest if they understand why a change is necessary. When agents focus on the positives while understanding the context of the negatives, the transition of a merger is much easier for everyone involved.

The Bottom Line: A Successful Merger Starts With Communication

If there's been one consistent theme in our deep dive on mergers, it's that effective, transparent, consistent communication is the key to unlocking a prosperous future for both you and your team. Keeping your agents informed is the best way to keep them happy throughout the process while making them feel involved and invested as a result. Fortunately, you have a wide variety of tools available to help you keep them up to date. Balance honesty with positivity, and be prepared to answer questions in a transparent way.

Remember, too, that the merger is just the start of the journey. Communication isn't only important during a merger. It's also a key factor in the transition period after the merger is complete, while your agents adjust to the new normal. Keep your agents on the same page, and your business will emerge from a merger stronger than ever before.

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
30

There are many ways to find success in real estate, but the most successful modern teams also share some very important things in common. One key commonality is that thriving teams prioritize the integration of tech in a seamless, accessible way to ensure that every member of the team can easily stay on the same page. Tech helps teams in so many ways, from managing leads to showcasing properties and automating key marketing tasks with the help of AI. Here's why teams do better with tech and why every real estate team deserves the best possible tools for the job.

Making Sure That Your Team Is on the Same Page with Tech

Before we get into some specific tech that can help your team thrive, it's important to look at how your team uses tech in general. No matter how great a tool might be, you can only maximize its value when your team is on the same page about when and how to use it. That's why it's so crucial to ensure that every member of your team is trained in how to use the tech that's relevant to their job, and that they're encouraged to use it.

Some sales associates will jump at the opportunity to integrate new tech into their workflow, while others may take some convincing before they make new tech a reliable part of their daily schedule. Encourage the use of tech by building confidence, showing your team the benefits, and training them so that they can make the best use of their real estate tech.

How the Right Real Estate CRM Can Help Your Team Thrive

Your real estate CRM is the hub for so much of the key tech that can help your team improve their efficiency and effectiveness. The right CRM will help your team with marketing, lead management, and all of the nuts-and-bolts tasks that are crucial to real estate success.

  • Manage and Segment Leads
    No matter which member of your team is serving a client or nurturing a lead, you want them to have easy access to all of the information that they need to provide excellent service. Your CRM is a place to store all of the information that you have on leads, so that it's always just a click away when your team needs it. Easily keep track of data on leads, automatically segment leads so that you can provide timely marketing/service, and ensure that your team has the data that it needs to turn leads into clients.

  • Track Lead Activity to Provide Personalized Service
    Some of the information on leads in your CRM will come from the interactions that your team members have with that lead, but the right CRM can also provide a wealth of additional lead information based on online activity. Track IDX search activity, along with property searches, saved properties, and views, so that you know exactly what type of property a lead is searching for before your team connects with them.

  • Automation and AI-Driven Marketing Tools
    Want your team to have more free time to do what they do best? Of course you do! Tech can help you there too, by automating key marketing tasks and making it easier than ever for your team to connect with clients. Use AI-driven newsletters to keep clients and prospects up to date on the latest real estate happenings. Automatically generate My HomeFinder, Market Watch, and Seller Reports. Use email drip campaigns to stay top-of-mind and SMS text messaging to connect with clients in a quick, convenient way.

  • Virtual Open Houses and Showings
    Your team deserves the best tools for promoting properties, and these days that means providing a variety of options for how people can experience those properties. Virtual open houses and showings make it easy for your team to showcase your listings while allowing buyers to tour listings online easily.

  • Mobile-Responsive Design to Work from Anywhere
    Combine the modern, work-from-home trend with the fact that real estate sales associates rely so much on their phones while working on the go, and it's easy to see why you want your tech to work just as well on mobile devices as it does on desktop computers. Mobile-responsive design ensures that your team always has access to their tech, whether they're in the office or on the road.

Does Your Team Have the Right Tech?

One more thing to remember about tech is that your team is more likely to embrace it if you provide them with the best possible tools. That's why our DeltaNET®6 real estate all-in-one solution is the best choice for your real estate team. We're constantly innovating with new tech to help your team thrive, and DeltaNET®6 combines everything that your team needs to succeed in one convenient package.

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.

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.

October
26

According to research by RISMedia, the most popular technology stack for real estate agencies and brokerages includes these elements:

  • Lead generation and referral services (29.6%)
  • Task and time management tools (31.1%)
  • Aerial photography (25.8%)

These correspond with three big concerns real estate pros have: Developing new business, maintaining efficiency in the office, and ensuring properties have terrific listings. Add a dedicated real estate CRM to the mix, and you are ready to really shine.

Technology enhances your capabilities, helping you do more of what you do well and reducing time you spend on routine tasks. Combined with the versatility real estate pros bring to the table and the industry's natural diversity, it empowers you to excel no matter what the market throws at you.

But there's one problem: To reap the benefits, everyone has to be on the same page.

Why Even Great Technology Rarely Changes Your Business Overnight

Solo agents working alone in the home office often have more success implementing and using new technology than their colleagues in large teams. The individual needs to conquer the learning curve, but once that's done, it's easy to get nearly 100% of the potential value from technology.

On the other hand, large teams can face an uneven roll-out when it comes to technology.

Even a highly efficient company that's driven by best practices can fall behind if everyone has a different idea about what their software does, when to use it — and, most importantly, when to work around it. The more people avoid a platform or use their own solutions, the more confusing it all gets.

Software doesn't just make things faster. It gives everyone a common frame of reference, including the same workflow and the terminology to get the job done right. This is especially crucial when multiple professionals need to work together to bring a transaction to a successful conclusion.

The key to making a smooth transition is to understand how technology relates to change management.

Recognize Your Team's Early Adopters and Passive Resistors

In 1962, sociologist Everett Rogers published Diffusion of Innovations, one of the most widely cited works in the social sciences. The book was built around the idea of the Rogers Diffusion Curve, which stated that, within any organization, five different orientations to change would be represented:

  • Innovators (2.5%)
  • Early Adopters (13.5%)
  • Early Majority (34%)
  • Late Majority (34%)
  • Laggards (16%)

Innovators and early adopters are those most likely to embrace new technology. They do so not for its own sake, but because they clearly see and understand the value proposition it offers, whether that's speed, efficiency, accuracy, or whatever else it might be.

On the far end of the scale is the "passive resistor." This is not simply a "laggard" who will come around to new things in time. Instead, passive resistors demonstrate a commitment to things the way they are, often because existing approaches have proven successful for them in the past.

When decision-makers in an organization introduce a plan to use particular software and do things in a certain way, passive resistors are those who demonstrate lukewarm compliance. They might go right on using their preferred methods, which makes your business less efficient and less secure.

Getting Off to a Strong Start with New Technology

"Because I said so" rarely works on children, and it's just as useless with many adults. So, it's important to communicate about technology plans and lead change in a measured, respectful, transparent way. Only once such steps have been taken should active monitoring for compliance be used to close the gap.

Here's how to get started:

  • Recruit Your Early Adopters as Evangelists
    During the selection and implementation process, some people will have more contact with the new technology than others. They will also be the first to see concrete changes and real results. Let the most enthusiastic colleagues take point communicating the value at stake to their less eager colleagues.

  • Have a  Communication Strategy in Place
    Depending on the size of the team, different communication methods may be appropriate in the run-up to a big technology change. Try to use multiple methods, and be sure to create opportunities to ask questions, whether in the form of a town hall meeting, one-on-one, or another appropriate venue.

  • Use the Power of Internal Mentoring
    Software vendors can provide detailed training on every aspect of their solutions, but they are usually on-site only a short time. Identify your "power users" — often the same as your early adopters! — and find out who is willing to spend some time helping others in the organization sharpen their skills.

New technology may take some getting used to, but it can mean the difference between an average year and blockbuster results. Contact us to learn more about optimizing your use of real estate technology.

April
29

Any sound business starts with a plan. But what is a business plan, exactly?

A formal business plan can be comprehensive, investigating many aspects of the business and how they work together, or it can go deep into a single subject: most successful real estate agents have a marketing plan, for example. But if you've never written a business plan and have no idea where to start, it's not too late.

According to Harvard Business Review, you should spend no more than three months working on a business plan. Developing a business plan has a tangible effect on your results, making your practice much more likely to grow — but you don't need three months. In fact, you can get started in a fraction of that time.

Five steps get you the basics of a business plan you can continue to expand.

Step 1: Write Your Summary

The executive summary provides a capsule view of the problem your business was formed to address. It must be specific enough to demonstrate your basic market positioning. It should also include the basic strategic goal that you want to achieve with your business and the timeframe for reaching it.

For example, a real estate executive summary might say:

Next Nest Realty is a Nebraska-based real estate firm specializing in downsizing and retirement homes for retirees and those preparing for retirement, aged 55+. Next Nest simplifies the process of selecting, closing, and moving into a single-family residence for retirement. Sales are projected to reach $500,000 in Year 1, $1 million in Year 2, and $2 million in Year 3.

From the perspective of an investor or other reader, this establishes:

  • You understand precisely who your business will serve and how

  • You can translate your real estate insights into tangible goals

  • You have considered what products and services will be successful

Naturally, your text will vary considerably based on your interests and specialties. But giving deep thought to your market niche will help you hit the ground running with marketing and advertising that resonates with your ideal clients. That helps you stand apart from other real estate pros in your area.

Step 2: Define Strategies and Tactics

Strategies describe your overall objectives and the messaging and audiences that relate to those goals. Tactics are the specific initiatives that you use to realize your strategies. (All tactics can be broken down further into business projects and processes — but these are too granular for a standard business plan.)

If your strategy is to improve brand recognition among your target audience, your tactics might include joining a professional association, attending networking events, and launching your first marketing plan. Within that plan, you would then need to decide which methods are most likely to connect you with your target audience.

As more Millennials buy their first home, the vast majority of new home searches are starting online. Adoption of digital technology continues to rise among older buyers and sellers, too. So, no matter what kind of client you're targeting, it's a wise idea to include digital marketing in your plan.

For example, if you wanted five warm leads to contact you through your website each month, that strategy would be backed by tactics like SEO, blogging, video marketing, and social media.

Step 3: Assign Deadlines

Sometimes, deadlines may feel stressful. But deadlines aren't the enemy — in fact, they're your allies.

That's because deadlines are what turn wishes and hopes into action.

Assigning a deadline to a goal gives it a sense of urgency. Since many tactics are process-based, however, it is not always easy to know what a reasonable deadline might be. In cases like these, following the process is more important than using a specific amount of time — for example, publishing one blog post per week on your blog.

Step 4: Estimate Costs

Calculate projected income and expenses as best you can for the four quarters after your business plan goes into force. Not only does this help you get the best return on your business investments, but you will also hone in on areas where you need more information on cost versus value before you make a purchase.

Step 5: Measure Results

Measuring your results can take several forms. In the most basic sense, check in with your goals every week to ensure you are following the right processes. This helps you stay aware of results as they develop and course-correct if you get off track.

In some cases, as with digital marketing, measuring results might mean using analytics software to see how your campaigns are affecting your online visibility, including visits to your website. DeltaNET 6 is the powerful real estate solution that makes it faster, easier, and even fun. To learn more about making marketing a strategic priority, contact us.

January
7

After a year that seemed like it would never end, 2021 is already steaming ahead. Before we know it, the holiday season will be just around the corner once again. But is your year off to a strong start? It's a question all real estate agents must ask themselves. There are dozens of proactive measures real estate agents can take to ensure that they're moving in the right direction — but there are also a few pitfalls that should be avoided.

4 Do's & Don'ts of 2021

Even though we're into January, it's not too late to start the year off on the right foot. There are plenty of realistic and attainable goals that you can achieve if you start working on them now. Here are a few tips for making sure 2021 starts off strong.

  • DON'T: Rest on 2020's Success
    While we should acknowledge any achievements made during the pandemic, we also should understand that this year's success is not guaranteed. To make 2021 just as notable, you need to look at this year as a brand-new chapter.


  • DO: Keep the Momentum Rolling
    It's time to double down on your marketing efforts right out of the gate. Email marketing should be at the top of your priority list, as well as learning how to leverage social media to engage your market in meaningful ways. Throughout all your decision-making, you should consult your marketing budget to make sure you're staying on track. Doubling down on marketing doesn't need to be costly; it just needs to be effective.


  • DON'T: Dwell on 2020's Missed Opportunities
    There are always elements outside of our control, and the pandemic only increased these obstacles. Though some challenges were insurmountable, it won't help to dwell on these missed opportunities. 2021 is a fresh start.


  • DO: Learn from These Missteps
    Don't ignore these missed opportunities completely, though. Take a moment to identify the root of the problem and learn from the challenge. You'd be surprised how much you can refine your skills, increase your productivity, and gain a greater share of the market when you work on yourself. For instance, avoiding distractions by eliminating them from your workspace will instantly improve your goal progress. Keep in mind that distractions can also be considered inefficient practices that waste more of your time than necessary.


  • DON'T: Rely Only on Old Tactics
    In 2020, you had high points and low points, and certainly you've highlighted which strategies have yielded the best results. Though it's wise to employ these tactics again, you shouldn't rely solely on them to recreate your success.


  • DO: Up Your Game Through Learning
    One of the best methods for upping your game and keeping your momentum rolling is to learn more about your craft. Read the latest articles about the industry and stay current on trends.


  • DON'T: Resist Technology
    Technology will continue to advance no matter what happens in the real estate industry. Some of these technologies will be specifically developed for agents, while others will have practical usage for brokers despite being developed for a different audience. Regardless, these software and systems won't help you at all if you ignore them.


  • DO: Embrace the Latest Resources
    Every element of your real estate agency can benefit from the latest technologies. Virtual tours and live-streamed tours of properties are almost essential for markets now, offering a safe way for your clients to view high-def video walkthroughs. A CRM that helps you generate and follow-up with leads is another must-have resource in your real estate tool chest. Consider visiting the websites or apps of your competition and see what tech resources they're using to fuel their success; you may be surprised to discover you're lagging behind with some of the latest features. Leveraging this technology, however, presents you with more time to devote to focus on selling.

No one knows what the real estate market will look like this year, but one thing is for sure: there will always be a need for a real estate agent. People from all walks of life will continue to buy and sell houses. The best way to increase your likelihood of having a successful year is to start putting in the time and effort in January. By acknowledging your agency's strengths, identifying its areas for improvement, and being receptive to new ways of pursuing your goals, your brokerage can begin laying the groundwork for a successful year.

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