Save “tacky” for Christmas sweaters: How to navigate the holiday networking scene tastefully

Between glasses of eggnog and sugar cookies, fancy clothing and champagne, the holiday season offers a wealth of networking opportunities. But, striking the delicate balance between personal and professional during the festivities can be downright overwhelming.

Maybe you err on the side of being discouraged by all of the invites. Perhaps you often find yourself in the midst of tacky self-promotion when you should be joining in the caroling.

Follow these guidelines to tastefully connect with your audience this season, from friends to future clients.

Remember, networking with a self-promotional mindset will get you nowhere. Craft a story for your listener that illustrates how your job solves their problems.

According to Forbes magazine, our best mindset when engaging an audience is to remember that it's not about you. Rather than highlighting your achievements and prowess, share how your work adds value to the community and brings solutions to the table.

If you have several clients who have invited you to their holiday parties, be strategic about which invites to accept. Ideally, you'll make an appearance at each one. If you are stretched too thin, even spending a short amount of time at an event is better than declining the invite all together.

Listen, you might have a good follow-up story you want to share, but don’t interrupt before others are finished telling theirs. You never know what you might learn. On the flip side, be generous with the knowledge that you do have. This establishes your credibility. Exchanging business cards at the close of a conversation is a subtle way to remain in touch without being pushy.

Whether you’re at a client’s party, a networking event or an industry gathering, be clear and concise about your vision and what you do. A rambling, vague overview of your career wastes your time as well as your listener's time.

A savvy networker will be ready to network anywhere at anytime. If you feel your listener is interested in learning more about what you do and are engaging in the topic, don’t be shy. You never know how you could help them or with whom they may put you in touch.

You don’t have to be “on” all the time. From a gift exchange with childhood friends to a holiday dinner with your extended family, remember to cherish the fellowship and focus on being present in the moment.

Can being thankful make us happier?

This time of year is filled to-do lists, stress, family plans, work schedules, and fast-approaching deadlines. Is there a way we can feel happier and more fulfilled? Good news! Studies tell us there's a secret path to happiness: gratitude.

Gratitude expert Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, has proof that actively being thankful for what we have can improve our mental health. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Dr. Emmons and his colleague Dr. Michael McCullough from the University of Miami examined the effects of writing gratitude diaries on almost 200 college undergraduates. Students were divided into three groups. Group 1 was instructed to write weekly diaries about things they were thankful for. Group 2 wrote about daily annoyances, and Group 3 wrote about neutral events. After 10 weeks, the students who focused on their gratitude felt an overall higher satisfaction with their lives than the other students.

Various other studies based on similar ideas have shown the same results: when we focus on the reasons we have to be happy, we actually feel happier. When we remember and relive moments when we felt joy, we receive similar or same effects as when we first lived in that moment. The more happiness we recall and consume, the more we realize that a majority of our life is focused on this positive emotion. Who doesn't want to feel happier?!

We challenge you to add something new to your to-do list. Spend five minutes at the beginning of your day writing down three things you are thankful for. If you are really ambitious, add why you are thankful. These can be people, experiences, jobs, opportunities, memories, material things, or anything else you are grateful for. After a few weeks of writing down the good things in your life, let us know how you feel! Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or just email us. We look forward to hearing how this gratitude practice impacts your life. 

How to select the best neighborhoods to farm

Have you been farming an area for months, or even years, without the results you were hoping for? We can help! Improving your farming results may be as simple as making a few adjustments in your strategy. For starters, let's discuss some questions to see if you've selected the best neighborhoods to farm.

Is your farm area the optimal size?

Many real estate experts suggest a farm of 400-600 homes as the optimal starter size. Target neighborhoods or a partial zip code to set the boundaries. Define your marketing niche by choosing homes that appeal to the same demographics or that fall within a certain price range. Ideally, your farm should be near your home or in a community you are familiar with. As you continue to grow your business, you can always expand your boundaries or start additional farms in other neighborhoods.

What is the turnover rate in the neighborhoods?

As you define your geographic boundaries, it's wise to begin collecting data. Crunch the numbers to find the turnover rate in these neighborhoods. Divide the total number of properties sold during the past year by the total number of homes in the farm.

For example: 35 homes sold / 500 homes = .07 or 7% turnover rate.

For best results, your farm should have a turnover rate of 7 percent or more. Other information to consider is the average selling price of the homes as well as the average number of days on the market. Establish yourself in neighborhoods where the commissions and opportunities are worth the price of your time and marketing costs.

Are you appealing to the right demographics?

The best farming areas are often close to your home. The benefits here are two-fold. Logistically, you will spend less time commuting back and forth for showings, open houses and meetings. Additionally, being part of the community automatically increases your trustworthiness. You know the neighborhood, you know the people, and they know you're invested in the community's future.

If you are farming an area that is farther away from your home, it's still possible to find a niche that shows your knowledge and passion for the area. For instance, if the neighborhood consists mostly of older homes, and you can recommend top-notch remodelers, you've found your niche. If you're well acquainted with the school district and can vouch for its excellence, you've created another niche in an area that is popular among young families.

When your clients and prospects can identify with you, trust you and feel like they truly know you is when they'll remember you and refer you to their friends and family.

Want to chat in more depth about your personal marketing strategy? We'd love to help you choose the marketing materials that will appeal to the prospects in your farm. Call us at 800.458.8245 to talk with a living, breathing person. Or visit to learn more. 

The benefits of a Client Follow-Up Program

A recent study shows that 73 percent of buyers would definitely use the same agent again, but only 25 percent actually do. Yikes.

How are you staying in touch with clients? Are you reaching out, checking in and keeping up? It can be a lot of work to stay connected, but your list of past clients is your future. Keeping in touch shouldn't be a burden, and it won't be with our help!

With the Client Follow-Up Program, we have everything you need to keep in touch with past clients and encourage referrals. You simply send us their contact information, and we'll make sure they hear from you on a regular basis for the next five years. Think of all the referrals you'll get from your satisfied clients.

Once your clients are enrolled in the program, their first mailing will include a colorful thank-you postcard with your name, photo and contact information printed on the front. They will also receive a sheet of peel-and-stick labels printed with their new home address. They will appreciate the convenience you offer them when they send out change-of-address announcements, invitations to a housewarming party, or any other correspondence.

As time passes, we will continue to keep you connected. Clients you enroll in the Client Follow-Up Program will receive 12 unique postcards in their mailbox over the next five years, each with your smiling face and contact information included. These eye-catching postcards will strengthen your brand, your client connection, and your chances of getting a call when past clients are ready to talk real estate again.

In addition, the clients you enroll will also receive our Today's Living magazine every fall and spring for five years. This professionally designed magazine includes home décor tips, recipes, lifestyle trends, travel opportunities, and other topics of interest to homeowners. Each magazine will be enjoyed by your clients, and then set out on a coffee table for others to read throughout the year. Just like our other mailings, Today's Living magazine will display your photo and contact information to remind readers who to call when they're ready to buy or sell a home.

Every time a piece of mail goes out to your clients, we send you an email. This way, you can reach out to follow up with past clients and catch up on their busy lives. We make your job easier, so you can maintain genuine relationships with a greater number of clients. The inquiries and referrals will continue for years as past clients seek to reconnect with their trusted Realtor® and friend: you!

Ready to get started? Visit our website today to enroll your clients!

If you prefer to talk to someone, call us at 800.458. 8245 and a living, breathing person will pick up the phone!

Battle complacency with creativity

Do you ever feel like you're just stuck in a rut? Going through the same motions every day without getting the results you're looking for? It's time to battle your routine and your complacency, with a little bit of creativity.

While good habits keep us on track and help us work efficiently, switching things up every once in a while keeps us on our A-game. Here are five ways to breathe new life into your routine.

Hold a brainstorming session. Choose a business problem you want to solve and hold a brainstorming session to dream up creative solutions. It's best to work with a small group of people who all have an interest in solving the problem. First, frame the problem clearly, and then have everyone quickly call out ways that you could attack the problem. Get out of your box. Listen to crazy ideas. Your end solution may be inspired by something really off-the-wall.

Intentionally change a habit. Many people perpetuate habits simply because “that's how it's always been done.” Pick something in your business routine that is comfortable, such as sending out a weekly email blast or posting on your Facebook page. Then come up with a list of ideas about how you could change that habit to improve it, or replace it with a more effective option. Implement a new idea, and then measure the results against your previous results to see if it was a positive change.

Dress in your best outfit. Changing your look, even slightly, can be a confidence booster. You'll add pep to your step when you look your best and feel your best. This also demonstrates to coworkers and clients that you respect yourself and your profession. If you normally wear khakis, wear dress pants for the day. If slacks and a casual shirt are your usual, try wearing a suit (or dress) for your new look. Better yet, dress your best on a Monday to get your week started off on a positive note.

Set up a lunch meeting at a new restaurant. Eating lunch at your desk (or in your car) gets old. Change things up by venturing to a new restaurant you've been wanting to try and invite a client or coworker to share the experience. If you need to get some work done, why not do it in a new atmosphere? If you have the chance, skip the work and build a relationship with an intentional conversation over delicious food.

Schedule a few hours without calls or emails. How much could you get done if you didn't take any calls for a few hours once a week? What about limiting the number of times you check your inbox on a daily basis? Don't neglect your current clients. Just let them know you'll be tied up for a few hours, and then use that precious time to review your schedule, plan a marketing strategy ... and breathe.

Do you have other ideas to help you switch up your routine? We would love to hear them! Tweet us your ideas at @PersonalMktCo

How to reach just outside your client base

How many people do you know who are ready to buy or sell a home? It's probably more than you think. According to the BMO Harris Bank Home Buying Report, 54 percent of Americans may buy a home in the next five years. While this is just a survey of those with home buying on their mind, it's an uplifting statistic. More than half of Americans see themselves buying a home in the very near future! So, now what?

While participants in the BMO survey might not be looking to buy right this moment, that shouldn't stop you from making connections with potential buyers. When the time is right, you want to be the professional they call. You're already farming neighborhoods and building your database. Keep up the great work and don't stop now. This is prime referral time. The clients in your database have their own network of friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances. Each client is a powerful asset. Even if your clients aren't looking to buy right now, they likely know someone who is.

Every mailing, every follow-up text or call, and every intentional conversation you have with your past clients brings you closer to those on the inside of their circle. The mailings you send to your clients might end up on the fridge or coffee table and get noticed by their friends. When your past clients hear that a friend is looking for a new home, they'll remember your name by the relationship you've created through intentional follow-up. These conversation starters can lead to valuable referrals. Create countless opportunities for your client base to refer you by continually reaching out.

As always, we are here to help. Our Client Follow-Up Program is designed not only to keep in touch with the vast database of clients you already have, but also to make it easy for them to refer you to their own friends and family. Get started today by visiting

Want to speak with a living, breathing person about client follow-up or other marketing strategies? Call us at 800.458.8245.

The best way to use Just Listed and Just Sold postcards

Just Sold and Just Listed postcards are a staple of many real estate agents' marketing strategies. But many people are not using them effectively.

Just Listed, Just Sold postcards are in a league of their own.

Unlike other personalized postcards agents use to farm neighborhoods, Just Listed and Just Sold postcards require a different strategy.

Where seasonal cards, recipe cards or general interest cards appeal to large groups of people in virtually any neighborhood, Just Listed and Just Sold postcards should be more targeted.

Best practices:

  1. Make gathering the material a habit.
    The information needed for a Just Listed or Just Sold postcard includes: one or more photos of the home, the asking price (or the price the home sold for) and your contact information. Make it a habit to gather this information and digitize it for every home.
  2. Find your target audience.
    Target homeowners in the same neighborhood (or similar neighborhoods) and in homes with similar value to your listing. You want the audience to have an understanding of what their house could be worth and to consider putting it on the market. It's often more effective to send Just Listed postcards to motivate potential sellers than to attract buyers.
  3. Educate with Just Listed postcards promptly.
    When you list a property, send out Just Listed postcards as soon as possible. Markets change fast. You want the neighbors to have the latest information about homes in their area, so they can be prompted to consider listing their own home.
  4. Follow-up with Just Sold postcards.
    They've seen your face and contact information once. Now demonstrate you've successfully sold that home. Showcase the price you were able to secure, so they can get excited about the potential value of their own home.
  5. Integrate prospective clients into your broader marketing strategy.
    You've now put your smiling face and contact information in front of a targeted audience with two very powerful touch points. The postcards are designed to entice prospects to consider selling and to show them exactly who can make them successful. (You!) Now it's time to keep in touch. Add these prospective clients to your broader farming or follow-up strategy, so they regularly receive direct mail that reminds them you're always available. The fastest way to lose a prospect is to stop communicating that you're ready whenever they're ready. 
Order postcards from The Personal Marketing Company! It's an easy and quick process. Your cards will mail the next business day! To order, visit or call us at 800.458.8245.

Get creative with your “thank you”

People are weird. We can sing the alphabet, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and probably even spout off several quotes from our favorite movies. But, we find it incredibly difficult to say two little words: thank you. It's not that we don't want to say thanks, we often have a hard time figuring out how to say it. How can we show the depth of our gratitude with two simple little words? If someone gives us a referral that leads to the sale of a home, how can a quick “thank you” suffice?

We know that finding the best way to say thanks can be hard. So, we've thought of a few ways to creatively and genuinely communicate your gratitude.

  • Make a phone call. Taking a few minutes of your time to make a phone call with no ulterior sales motive will encourage people to answer the phone when they see your number.
  • Write a personalized “thank you” letter and mail it to their home address.
  • Invite them to lunch or coffee and enjoy just catching up. No business talk allowed.
  • Offer to take care of a chore they may need help with, such as mowing the lawn, raking leaves or hanging up holiday lights.
  • Share inspirational books, music or podcasts with your friends that will brighten their day.
  • Prepare a meal and deliver to their door during a busy and/or stressful time. Make sure it's packaged to be frozen if they need to save it for a later date.
  • Build or craft something that they wouldn't expect, such as a personalized frame or wall hanging that you know fits their décor.
  • Book a massage to help them unwind.
  • Give a relaxing gift, such as a warm blanket, cozy socks or soft throw pillow. Don't forget the chamomile tea and eucalyptus candle.
  • Refer their business, products or services to your family and friends. Networking is a powerful way to express gratitude.

If you're still not sure, just tell your friends or loved ones how their actions made you feel. Whatever you do, be sure to acknowledge your thankfulness because as author G.B. Stern once said, “Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.”

3 Tech tools REALTORS® should consider

Technology is here to stay whether we know how to use it or not. Your past, present and future clients use social media platforms, smartphones and various other forms of technology to make their lives easier and more efficient.

So, don't get left in the dust! Check out these three tech tools that will put you ahead of the game by showcasing your skills and services to clients and by streamlining the way you do business.

  1. Matterport Pro2 3D Camera
    This camera makes virtual tours a breeze! With the Matterport Pro2 3D Camera, you can easily walk through a home and capture the 3D images to create a virtual tour for your clients. You can post the tour as an advertisement or use it as a tool to connect with buyers who are relocating and need a sneak peek. It's a great way for followers to check out your listings without leaving their screen.
  2. Evernote
    Forget lugging around a notebook, planner, portfolio, and pens. Evernote is a free note-taking tool that allows you to stay organized digitally, saving both time and money. Just download the app to your laptop and keep notes and information. You can take notes digitally, or easily convert your handwritten memos with a click of your camera. You'll love this space-saver! Plus, you won't have to deal with outdated Word documents anymore.
  3. CamScanner
    For the Realtor on-the-go, CamScanner is a great way to scan documents and email them quickly. This app allows you to take a picture of a document and turn it into a PDF that can be sent via email from your phone. You can easily send documents to clients who may be out-of-town, and you'll save time making trips back and forth between buyers and sellers.

5 Pro tips for farming your database

You've sold houses, built up your database, and have a large circle of connections. With a list of valid leads just sitting in a spreadsheet, it's time to start farming your database.

Usually when we talk about farming, we talk about consistently blitzing a neighborhood with marketing materials, so that homeowners come to know you as the real estate expert in that area. Farming your database is a little bit different. Instead of trying to turn up new leads from a potentially unreceptive neighborhood, you're nurturing relationships you've already built.

Here are a few tips and suggestions toward successfully farming your own database:

  1. Personalize your client's experience - As clichéd as it may seem, the phrase “it's the thought that counts” rings true here. Send newsletters in the mail or share articles over email and social media that appeal to your clients' personal tastes and interests. If a client loves to chat about the environment, email them the Living Green newsletter. If they love to entertain, forward them articles on how to throw the best backyard party, or drop them a recipe postcard.
  2. Follow Up - Go one step farther after you enroll clients in a newsletter program, and recontact them personally about the content they receive. Text or call them, and ask if they saw that particular article that you thought might be of interest. Just a personal note  can go a long way toward making your clients feel special, such as, “This feature about the best dog treats for your new puppy made me think of you! Hope you find it interesting!”
  3. Remember important dates - Keep track of important dates and anniversaries in your database. The date clients buy their home, family birthdays, marriage anniversaries, and holidays are all great opportunities to recontact your clients. Reach out to clients with a personal message on these special dates to let them know you care.
  4. Stay in touch regularly - Your clients had a great experience, but if you don't keep in touch, eventually they're going to forget your name and contact information. They may even wonder if you're still in business. Engaging with your client database will help you stay relevant and up-to-date on the latest happenings in their lives. Knowing how the people in your database are doing will give you an edge when they are ready for a change of address.
  5. Be a friend - Don't be the annoying, pushy salesperson. Check in at times when it makes sense in order to show you care about building a relationship. Pushing your new listings and badgering your clients could send them running. Know when to step back, but don't be afraid to engage in conversations that aren't centered around business. People want to feel you are genuine and trustworthy, so they can confidently recommend you to friends and loved ones.