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!