Manage your energy for better productivity

We are constrained by time. We check our watches, set timers and alarms, and constantly need “just five more minutes.” Sometimes life can feel like an endless, exhausting race against the clock. Managing time can be a hard game to win, but managing your energy can change your life.

How do you manage energy? Great question! Think of your energy levels like a bank. You can make both deposits and withdrawals. Unlike time, you can add more energy and take more out as needed. You can renew your energy levels throughout the day, while still completing tasks that require large amounts of energy.

Energy management is mindful and intentional without being draining. It's not like counting calories or minutes. You have to feel your own energy and take opportunities to adjust. Perhaps you have low energy in the morning. Take this time to make energy deposits like enjoying a cup of coffee, working out or spending time journaling. Find an activity that leaves you feeling renewed so you can take on the day.

Around lunch your energy may be low again. Use your lunch break to renew by going for a walk, listening to a podcast or reading an article that inspires you. Give yourself the chance to refill your energy levels without any guilt. Taking this chance to make an energy deposit can allow you to tackle big afternoon projects with a fresh mindset.

When you complete a task that gives you an energy burst, don't waste it. Strike while the iron is hot and get some real work done! A huge part to energy management is knowing yourself and knowing when you do your best work. If you are someone who experiences a runner's high, then hit the gym before the office. If you are a night owl, use that late-night energy to crank out emails or work on a project.

While it can be tempting to focus on beating the clock, focusing on time management will leave you drained. Maximize your life by organizing your day according to your energy levels to get the most out of yourself and your day without feeling useless afterwards.

Charisma: you can have it too

Have you ever met someone who just lights up a room? Someone who is everyone's friend. Someone who always has a smile across their face. They are easy to talk to and make you feel important, like they are really listening to what you have to say. You want to hang out with them, and wish you could be more like them. What is that special something these people have? Charisma.

Being a charismatic person means leading people in a way that lets them feel involved, not commandeered. People are attracted to someone with charisma because it feels like talking to a genuine friend – someone who is trustworthy, knowledgeable and fun to be around.

If you're thinking charisma is something that could set you apart in the world of real estate, you're right.

You don't have to be born with special abilities to have charisma. It's a trait anyone can develop through intentional pursuit. Here's how:

Have conversations with people, not for them. When you talk to someone, it should feel like a two-way street. You both are engaged, listening intently and responding appropriately and thoughtfully. No one wants to be talked at. If you find yourself speaking without real purpose, take a step back and re-direct your thoughts to focus more on the person with whom you are holding a conversation. People with charisma make the person they are listening to feel like the most important speaker in the room.

Get comfortable. If you find yourself feeling self-conscious and awkward, you will likely not exude charisma. Start by preparing yourself for success. Wear clothes you feel good in, arrive to meetings and appointments early so you aren't rushed, and think about topics to discuss so you feel prepared. Do what you can to ensure that you are comfortable, so that you can focus on others.

Keep the mood light. People gravitate to the person who can keep a conversation flowing. If a meeting seems tense or a client is getting cold feet, don't add to the emotional discourse of the conversation. Point out the positive aspects of a situation, remind others of a common goal, and lessen the extremes of any issues without dismissing the problem. This doesn't mean cracking jokes at inappropriate times. It simply means reassuring people so they can continue to let ideas and conversation flow freely with less tension.

Make the first move. Charismatic people aren't the ones sitting in the corner waiting for others to approach them. The person with the most charisma in the room is welcoming others to the conversation. They are the first to say “hello” to the new person. They shake hands and hug, making friends with everyone. This doesn't mean being the most extroverted person, but a charismatic person possesses a warmth that makes clients, friends and strangers feel comfortable even in new situations.

It's time to ditch ABC for ABG

When attempting to make a deal, the ABCs of business quickly come to mind: Always Be Closing. We are told over and over that completing the transaction between the buyer and seller is the ultimate endgame, but it's time to change that.

The pushy salesperson persona is overplayed and outdated. Today, people have a plethora of choices when it comes to hiring someone for a job (like choosing a real estate professional). To be at the top of your game, you need to have an edge. If you are so concerned about what others can do for you, or closing a deal, then you won't build a connection with the actual people you want to serve. Find your edge by adopting a new sales motto: ABG – Always Be Giving.

This idea of ABG comes from The Art of Charm podcast, as a simple, yet groundbreaking way to make connections with real people. Host Jordan Harbinger's method implies that your first thought when you meet someone new should be, “What can I offer this person?” Or, “How can I make this person's life easier?”

This sets you up to make connections and build relationships. You may be able to refer your plumber to an acquaintance or connect an engaged couple with your neighbor who bakes wedding cakes. Having the ability to give a new friend or acquaintance something they need creates a bond. This bond will last longer than a quick business transaction.

When people learn to like you because you're friendly, caring and giving, they will naturally want to reciprocate. Down the road, they may refer a home buyer to you or ask for your help putting their house on the market. People will do this because they have a relationship with you that would not exist if you were always just trying to sell them something.

However, it's important to keep in mind that this method cannot come with expectations. You can't keep score or expect anything in return. This way of connecting with people is purely a relationship-building tool. The key to building your client list is to make genuine connections that can lead to referrals. What better way to be referred than by someone who knows you, likes you and trusts you?

Tips for Personalizing Your Clients' Experience

There are many ways to go above and beyond to turn a business deal into a relationship-building moment. Each interaction between you and your customers can become a memorable part of their home buying and/or selling process. With a positive attitude and sharp attention to detail, you can ensure all your clients' memories are positive ones. Then, when they're faced with an opportunity to refer you to a friend, or repeat the selling process again, they will be eager to return to you.

Here are a few tips to personalize your clients' experience:

Use their names.
During each walk-through, ask if the home feels like it could be the future “Smith Residence,” using your clients' last name. Instead of referring to a room as the “kid's” bedroom, point out how much their daughter Annie will love the closet space. And don't forget to mention how much Duke and Rex, the family dogs, will enjoy the spacious backyard.

Remember details.
If your clients have to rush off to make their son's baseball game, be sure to ask how it went next time you interact with them. If you hear your clients mention that they like to entertain, show them homes with ample space to accommodate visitors. Maintaining an authentic interest in their lives shows that you aren't just selling a property, you are finding them a home.

Maintain a friendly tone.
It's easy to get lost in business talk when discussing prices and market trends, but don't forget that clients are people too. Buying and selling a home is a financial transaction, but it doesn't have to be so serious and robotic. Every once in a while, have a meeting in a local coffee shop or celebrate a final sale with lunch to show clients that you are more than their agent, you're their friend.

Ask for input.
Ask questions so you can stay aware of your clients' feelings and in tune with their thought processes. People want to feel that they are being heard, so ask for their input and do your best to respond to the information they provide. As a rule of thumb, always listen more than you speak.

Make it fun!
Buying or selling a home can naturally bring about stress and anxiety for your clients. After long days of attending open houses or touring homes, be sure to keep energy up by making things fun. Keep your sense of humor and fill downtime with light conversation. Take notice when your clients seem energized and when they are wearing out, and respond accordingly. A happy client is more likely to refer you to friends and keep in touch next time they need your help.

Close the Deal with Confidence: Habits of Successful Salespeople

Being in sales means constantly testing your confidence. You’re told “no” time and time again, but you cannot waiver. You must carry on because your livelihood depends on it. Keep your confidence soaring so that you can keep closing deals. Here’s how:

Look good, feel good.

When you know you look good, you feel more confident. You’re prepared to tackle a big sales pitch or a meeting with a client. Recreate that feeling when you know you'll need a boost of confidence. Everyone you cross paths with will notice the extra pep in your step, and you will command attention without having to utter a word.

Know your stuff.

Don’t set yourself up for failure by being under-prepared. Talented public speakers talk effortlessly because they know their material inside and out. They can ad-lib and answer questions on the fly because they know their stuff. You’re only as good as your training. If you practice with notes, you may not be able to continue on without your notes. Practice until you feel confident that you could make your sales presentation in your sleep.

Set yourself up for success.

Front-load your week with the sales opportunities and meetings you are most confident will end in success. By building your week with wins early on, you will boost your confidence and be ready to tackle whatever else comes your way at the end of the week.

Become an expert.

Knowledge can be a powerful tool. Be at the top of your game by staying informed of changes in your industry. The more you know, the better you can pitch and advise clients. Read industry journals, news articles, social platforms, and don’t forget to pay attention to your competitors. You’ll have more confidence in yourself when you are armed with the knowledge to do your job well.

Surround yourself with positivity.

Do you have any “energy vampires” within your close circle? In five minutes flat, your positive energy can be sucked dry because of people’s negative outlooks on life. Put yourself in a situation to be influenced by confident and positive people. Friends and colleagues who are supportive and encouraging are the type of people you want to surround yourself with, both in the workplace and in life.

Don’t think about it.

Skip the mind games. If you're constantly focused on being more confident, you’re ultimately telling yourself that you’re not a confident person. This thought process is called the Law of Reverse Effect. The harder you try, the more likely you are to fail. Confidence is meant to be an unconscious action. By thinking about it, you’re bringing it into conscious action. Improve your confidence by skipping the negative self-talk and by simply believing in yourself.

7 Ways to Perfect your Professional Website

Your personal website is a reflection of your personal brand. An updated website indicates a high level of professionalism and commitment to your craft. It will also build confidence in your clients that you take your job seriously and are firmly planted in the modern era of real estate.

Use these tips to get your site in top shape.

Find relevant keywords and use them.
Use keyword tools like Google Keyword Planner or BuzzSumo to pinpoint the keywords that will draw clients to your site. Generic keywords and phrases like “real estate” are too competitive. Instead, test out keywords that focus on a niche market or geographic region you serve. Once you find appropriate and successful keywords, use them frequently so they become a strong link to your site and personal brand.

Be clean and consistent.
Choose a clean layout and theme for your site. Keep colors, fonts and photos consistent and on brand. Don't get carried away with too many distracting visual details or features. Use more pictures and less text to keep your audience's attention. Simple and streamlined is considered sleek and modern. Platforms like Wordpress, Squarespace and Weebly make it easy for a non-technical person to design a professional-looking website.

Market yourself with a professional photo.
If you don't have a current head shot, have a professional photo taken ASAP. Put on your best business attire and have a photographer or skilled friend take your photo against a neutral background. Use the photo on your “Bio” or “About” page and on your social media profiles, as well as on your printed marketing materials. You want your face to be etched in the minds of clients and prospects, so smile big!

A great personal photo is always an important investment.

Don't be afraid to get personal.
Speaking of your “About” page, have some fun with it! While professionalism is a virtue in the business world, you don't have to avoid authenticity. Being personable with your content will help build trust with your clients. You want them to feel like you are their trusted Realtor, as well as their friend. If potential clients have to choose between two agents they don't know personally, they'll choose the one they feel most comfortable with.

Highlight what makes you unique.
Do you have a niche or specialty? Is there a service you offer that your competitors don't? Make sure this information is displayed loud and clear on your website and throughout social media. It's hard to become the face of residential real estate, but it's much easier to become the face of residential real estate specializing in first-time home buyers in a particular area of your town.

Use testimonials.
Anyone can say they are a great REALTOR®, but it's more effective if a customer says it for you. Ask satisfied clients to write a 2-3 sentence testimonial that you can feature on your site. The more personable and specific, the better.

Communicate regularly.
Your clients and prospects communicate in a number of different ways. Make sure your social media feeds all connect to your website and vice versa. If you have a blog, keep it updated and enable comments and sharing. Build an email list and allow people to sign up easily via your website. Frequent communication shows that you are available and willing to chat in whatever way is most convenient for each of your clients.

Gamification: It Just May Change your Life

If you have a hard time breaking bad habits (or forming positive new ones), the solution may be hidden in a shockingly simple and familiar pastime: gaming.

People all over the world are changing their lives for the better because they have learned how to gamify their routines. There are several ways to jump on board with this trend, and you don’t have to be an experienced “gamer” to get excited about it.

What is gamification?

Gamification is a personal training method that appeals to a person’s competitive nature and provides consistent motivation for a person to improve. It uses visual rewards, such as earning badges or filling in a progress bar, to encourage you to complete tasks and reach goals.

Businesses are already using gamification to engage and motivate their employees. According to a Markets and Markets report, the gamification market is on pace to grow from $1.65 billion in 2015 to 11.10 billion by 2020.

There are several consumer applications for your tablet or smartphone that exist to turn your life into a game. Try Habitica or SuperBetter to get started. All you have to do is set goals, and then list the tasks necessary to reach those goals.

The Habitica app adds a fun fantasy theme to every-day tasks.

Reach personal fitness goals by gamifying your workout routine. Add healthy eating goals by rewarding yourself for eating your daily veggies. You can even add negative tasks, such as “don’t drink soda.” If you reach the end of your day and you’re still soda-free, check it off and receive your reward.

Professionals often use gamification to improve their work life. Add your daily to-do list to your gamification app and check each item off one by one. The more productive you are at work, the more points you will score and the more virtual rewards you will receive.

You can even gamify your personal life. Put grocery shopping, house cleaning and home projects on your gamified app. Those tasks you’ve been putting off will suddenly become top priorities.

Why does it work?

If you’ve ever been motivated to hit the step count on your fitness tracker or to collect punches on a “frequent customer” card, gamification has worked for you. During childhood, your teachers gamified your learning experience with sticker charts. At work, your boss may have gamified your environment by creating goals and offering incentives to the employees who reach those goals.

Gamification works because people are inherently interested in achieving rewards. Tangible rewards, such as free coffee upon the fulfillment of a punch card or a bonus upon reaching a sales goal, are very effective. But if you’ve ever been hooked by a video game, you know that collecting virtual “coins” or “lives” can be just as motivating.

Download a gamification app today to see if this method of motivation works to help you improve your health, work experience or personal life. Share your stories with us in the comments!

Social Media Buzz: Post Better Images

Social media is one way to reach prospects, build relationships and ultimately grow your database. The key to an engaging social media feed is powerful imagery. Whether you are posting on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, or a combination of platforms, the guidelines for producing and posting images is very similar.

Follow these tips to keep your followers interested and engaged.

Keep work images on work accounts.
Your personal accounts should be kept separate from your professional accounts. This way you can stay “on brand” with your professional images, and clients won't be confused when you post vacation pictures.

Develop a personality and stay on brand.
When new followers scroll through your photos, they should see a similar look that ties each picture together. Keep color, scale and size in mind and try to be consistent. Develop a brand voice and tone and stick with it. Are you more casual and personable? Or more professional and formal? Help your audience get to know you through the images you take and the captions that accompany them.

Use a teaser photo.
If you have a new listing with gorgeous photos on your website, choose a separate picture as a teaser and post it only on social media. Use this teaser photo to direct potential viewers to your website, where they can learn more about the featured home.

Plan out your feed.
Commit to planning your social media posts ahead of time. Brainstorm what shots you want to take, plan when you will shoot and edit them, and then decide in what order they will be posted. Don't let images be an afterthought. Exposure from one good post can lead to referrals, but social media is more effective when playing the long game. Your audience will need to see your posts several times before they recognize you as an expert in real estate. Be consistent, patient and dedicated for the best results.

Create engaging videos.
If you shoot stationary videos, invest in a small tripod to steady the image. Adding a clip-on microphone can do wonders for audio quality. Horizontally oriented videos are best for social media purposes.

Follow like-minded people.
Follow other agents and business professionals to get new ideas about how they utilize their accounts. Engage with other people on social media, and consider collaborating with other professionals in the housing market, such as builders, interior decorators or landscapers, to gain exposure to their followers.

A big social media audience is out there ready to follow your content. So get started ASAP!

Direct Marketing: Staying Consistent and Persistent Is Key

People like to feel wanted. That goes the same for your prospects. Pursuing them and showing that you genuinely care about being their Realtor® is key. You can achieve this goal by staying persistent with your direct marketing. This will ensure when the time comes to buy or sell, prospects and past clients will turn to you: a recognized and trusted professional ready to help them with one of the biggest financial moves of their lives.

There is a tried-and-true marketing theory called the “Rule of 7.” It says that potential clients need to see your image or message seven times before they decide to buy from you. Some studies suggest the number is even higher in certain industries.

Throughout the marketing process, your message must be consistent and your delivery persistent.

Newsletters are a great way to get your face out there!

Contacting your prospects time and time again may seem like you’re trying too hard, but there are ways you can achieve a successful direct marketing campaign without being overbearing.

  • Stay relationship-focused, not transaction-focused, with your messaging. Buying and selling a home is very personal. In order to build trust when contacting clients, look for opportunities to connect with them as real people. You want to be the Realtor® they turn to because it's clear you want to help them, not because you're just looking for a commission check.
  • Include helpful tips and inside information about the real estate industry. This helps break up your call-to-action with pieces that will educate your prospects and build relationships. It also has the power to make you the “expert” in the client’s eyes. When they have questions about the real estate industry, they will know who to reach out to for answers.
  • Mix up your mediums. Sending the same emails over and over again is not effective. Remember, the mailbox is quieter than the inbox. Newsletters and postcards are great options that are proven to grab your future client’s attention. When mailers are designed well, they stand out in a stack of mail and grab your client's attention immediately.
  • Stay on brand. Make sure to keep messaging and branding consistent, so customers can start drawing the connection between you and the information you’re sharing.

Consistency and persistence are not words saved for pushy, transaction-based salespeople. They are descriptors of successful professionals, who care about building relationships that could lead to long-term opportunities. Don’t be afraid to get your name out there on a regular basis. If you are not reaching out to potential clients, chances are someone else is.

5 Books to Boost your Professional Development

Reading is a great way to relax at the end of a busy workday while keeping your mind sharp. Choose books that pique your interest and those that have the power to influence changes in your personal and professional life. With numerous options available to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start.

Check out these recommendations:

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
What if the methods you’ve always been told will lead you to the greatest success, were actually flawed? In this book, you will learn keys to productivity and simplicity that buck a lot of traditional ideas. (Hint: stop multitasking!) Instead, unlock the “one thing” inside of you that can lead to extraordinary results.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
Psychologist Angela Duckworth hypothesizes that success is not driven by the “genius,” but the motivation to keep getting back up when you’ve been knocked down. In this book, you’ll get a better understanding of what happens in your own mind during times of trials. That understanding may just make the difference between backing down and moving ahead.