Tuesday, 31 May 2016

How to maintain Healthy Relationships with Past Clients

The people you have dealt with in the past, are your link to future clients.
It is always important to find ways to maintain a healthy relationship with past clients. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), in 2015, 88 percent of buyers said that not only would they use their agent again, but that they would also refer them to others. To confirm the importance of keeping in touch with past clients, NAR also found that 41 percent of buyers were referred to their agents and seven in 10 buyers only interviewed one agent before hiring them. Maintaining healthy relationships with your clients is the best way to ensure you are getting referred often and the one agent referrals choose to interview.

Mark Down Special Dates

The first step to maintaining healthy relationships is to try to mark two important dates in your calendar for each and every client:
  1. Their birthday
  2. The date they received the keys to their home and/or sold their home

Keeping track of these dates provides you with a legitimate and personal reason to contact them. You can prepare a hand written note or send them an email to send your best wishes as a little reminder they are important to you.

You can also take note of special dates such as the birth of a child or wedding that might have occurred during your work together.

Be Present, but not Annoying

You want to remain present in their lives without becoming annoying. The best way to do this is use legitimate reasons to keep in touch. Your calendar will be a big help in this area, however you can also choose a schedule to share information with them on a regular basis.

A monthly newsletter or email message works well as long as you are sharing news they can use or tips and information helpful to homeowners. Announcing you just sold a home in the area is a little boring, but sharing information such as timely maintenance tips for their home, recommended updates to improve the value of their home, fun holiday tips and recipes, etc. can be useful or provide a source of entertainment that will be welcome.

Make sure your newsletter includes a personal note so they will not regard it as spam!

Take Note of their Needs

Another important way of maintaining a strong relationship is to listen. You can pick up on some interesting tidbits that will offer you opportunities to assist them beyond the basic sale or buying of a home. They might mention wanting to get their child involved in sports and you have the inside scoop on important dates to get their kids signed up with the local teams. They might state they don’t like the kitchen counters in the home they bought so you could provide them with information on a sale you might hear about for a local, reputable home renovation or counter shop. They might be foodies or wine lovers so you could drop off a note or send them an email about a new restaurant they might enjoy. These personal touches show you care enough about them to offer your assistance as a local who knows what is happening in the community.

Remind them of your Expertise

Consider creating your own newsletter to share important news about the area. It can include important news about home values, mortgage rates, information about plans for an exciting new mall or the arrival of a prominent retailer. These tid bits keep you top of mind and also help you to be someone they trust as an expert in local real estate so they think of you when they decide to sell.
One last important statistic to keep in mind is that over the past three years every $1 invested in email marketing to clients, returns an average of $30 according to realtytimes.com. That is a pretty good ROI.

Realtour offers you the tools you need to remain in touch with your clients. From monthly ready to send print or email newsletters, to customized marketing materials, you will find an affordable option to keep you top of mind.





Wednesday, 25 May 2016

How Tutorials help you embrace New Technology

Technology is “the application of scientific knowledge for practical purpose.” However, if you don’t take the time to understand new technology it becomes quite impractical. Tutorials are designed to help even the most reluctant of users embrace technology and see it really can make life easier.

Thinking “I Got This”

One thing most technology companies have in common is that they advertise their tools, software or websites as “easy to use” and “time saving”. That often leads to new customers and users approaching new technology with an “I got this” attitude. There is nothing wrong with being confident, but the truth of the matter is, if you don’t know how to use something properly, chances are you will make a mistake that will cost you time and in turn, money. It is no different than buying a closet system from Ikea and refusing to use the manual. When you choose to go rogue, chances are you are going to miss a step. When you take a tutorial you are increasing your chances of actually “getting it” and realizing that the tools actually are pretty easy to use, as long as you know how.

Intuitive Software Myth

Tutorials provide the insight you need to get the most out of technology.
Although most programmers design software and interfaces to be “intuitive” to users, one has to ask themselves the question, “Intuitive to whom?” No matter how hard a company tries to appeal to the masses, there is always going to be certain aspects of their technology that is not so intuitive to you.
There are expectations that are hard wired into our brains and these expectations can lead to the wrong conclusions when using a new technology. When you take the tutorial you will know how the designers expect you to use it and voila, suddenly it is intuitive.


Upgrade = Change

Ask any support person who is working on the day they just launched a new website, upgrade or service and they will emphatically agree that their customers don’t like change. Using any form of new technology is very much like change. You have decided to use the technology to make positive change in your life. Yet, if you do not take the time to familiarize yourself with how it works it can literally take you hours to complete something that should have taken minutes. Consider your tutorial a period of adjustment to get used to the change, and suddenly acceptance and a new found zeal to embrace change will have you saving time and excelling in productivity.

The Tutorial Advantage

Any technology worth its weight in gold has a support team and some form of tutorial for a reason. They know that it is impossible for everyone to understand how to use their system as people of all different skill levels will be using it. The bottom line is that we all learn in different ways. Tutorials provide an advantage as they:
  • Demonstrate how the designers intended the technology to be used and applied
  • Use a logical approach that walks you through the steps required to get the best results
  • Demonstrate the simplest route to completion of a task
  • Offer tips and tricks that help you get the most benefit out of the technology
  • Reduce the odds of time wasting errors
  • Allow you to get a full appreciation for what the technology was designed for

Tutorials might seem like a waste of time, but there is a reason so many companies offer them and recommend you use them: They want you to like their product. And the best way for you to gain an appreciation for technology and embrace it is to understand what it can do to make your life easier.


Realtour offers free tutorials so you always know how to use their real estate marketing system effectively. You can opt to learn about just one of our marketing tools, such as virtual tours, eflyers or print creator, or take an entire overview. Either way you will learn to embrace the technology designed to make your real estate marketing virtually effortless. 

Thursday, 12 May 2016

How to be Smart when staging your Listing for Photos

Most agents know how important it is to have a well-staged home to help sell a listing quickly. However, you might be surprised how many agents miss some important details when it comes to preparing a listing for photography. Whether you are taking photos on your own, or have hired a photographer to come in and take them for you, it is important that you are smart when it comes to staging the home for photography. Here are some common things to double check before you start snapping photos.

Curb Appeal

These lovely red chairs add a punch of color.
You or the home owner might have arranged for some quick and easy landscaping, but it is easy to miss a few details that might show up in the photos including:
  • Hoses and other tools such as shovels, wheelbarrows, etc. peeking out from behind a bush or left unnoticed on the lawn
  • Debris that might have blown across the lawn or even lodged itself near the entry way of the home due to a windy night
  • Pristine front door lacking a smack of color such as a pretty urn or welcoming door mat

Views and Windows

It is easy to miss some things that can take away from the benefit of windows such as curtains that are too short, blinds and window coverings that are wonky and crooked, too many closed drapes and blinds blocking natural light, etc. Even if the windows are perfect, it can get a little messy if the curtains are open to a view that might not be so appealing. Some things to look for:
  • Unsightly vehicles parked in driveway or outside on the street
  • Patches of overgrown or dried out lawn or garden areas
  • Mess from renovations
  • Trash cans
You get the picture.

Smooth and Primp


Make sure you do a once over in every room to smooth and primp things such as bed spreads, pillows, area rugs, drapes, towels, shower curtains, etc. Having everything looking neat and finished helps to complete the look of each room.

Overlooked Rooms and Spaces 

There are rooms and features that are sometimes overlooked during the staging process such as:
  • Laundry Room
  • Walk in Pantry
  • Walk in Closet
  • Garage

These areas should be neatened in order to show off space and make everything look well maintained.

Backyard

The backyard is a very important aspect of the home, yet it is also an area that can easily have some details missed that could ruin your pictures. Much like the front of the home, look for issues such as:
This pristine pool area demonstrates how attention to detail pays off.
  • Hoses and other tools such as shovels, wheelbarrows, etc.
  • Debris
  • Trash cans
  • Pool maintenance tools such as nets
  • Things floating in the pool
  • Messy pool covers
  • Dog toys or mess
  • Messy barbecue without cover
  • Outdoor furniture with cushions askew or missing

General Tips

There are a few more things you can do to make sure your photos are as impressive impossible including:
  • Remove all trash cans from each room during the shoot
  • Add new light bulbs to lamps and light fixtures and make sure light fixtures with multiple bulbs are all of the same type and wattage
  • Straighten lamp shades
  • Move out exercise equipment from any room other than a gym especially master bedrooms
  • Straighten area rugs  
  • Neaten balls and cues in game rooms
  • Close utility panels in garage, laundry room, basement, etc.

Keep in mind that a professional photographer will be conscious of unsightly issues and do their best to keep them off camera. However, they are not responsible for worrying about the issues outlined on this list. Being smart by preparing prior to real estate photography will make your next photo shoot a snap!

Realtour offers an impressive line-up of professional real estate photographers and each pro shoot includes a free virtual tour and print flyer.


Monday, 9 May 2016

How to save Time if you are Tech Challenged

No matter how you look at it, using technology is a must for today’s real estate agent. Digital marketing is just one example of the challenges you might face if you are tech challenged. If you are constantly struggling with your computer it might be time to admit that you are just not that tech savvy. Once you do you will be able to focus on finding solutions to help save you time.

Classic Signs of the not so Tech Savvy

When trying to navigate the sometimes difficult terrain of digital marketing, there are some classic signs that will let you know you are not so tech savvy including:
  • You often feel disoriented when trying to do basic tasks, such as finding a document or image you saved on your computer.
  • You often can’t remember how to get back to a screen you were just viewing whether trying to upload images to MLS or copying text over from a Word document.
  • You do the same tasks over and over again on your computer, but you never seem to remember how you did it the last time.
  • You don’t know the difference between the terms upload and download.
  • You don’t know what a zip file is.

These are just a few examples that can make using a computer a nightmare. Each and every one of these signs have one thing in common: They all waste time.

The First Step

Once you can take that first step and admit you are “tech challenged”, you can then decide what you want to do about it. You have three basic choices:
  1. Take a course (or courses) to learn what you need to know.
  2. Find an application or software that makes it easier to access the technology you need.
  3. Find an affordable service to have some of the computer work done for you.

Courses

Taking courses is a great option if you have the time. You might want to view taking courses as a sort of investment: It will take time up front, but the time invested will save you time in the long run. Keep an eye out for free opportunities offered by partners you work with such as Title companies. They often hold seminars for their clients to assist with everything from using apps they provide to marketing tips. You can also ask your assistant to give you some tips so you can at least learn the basics to avoid frustration.

Software

Finding a software that will make it easier to manage might sound counter productive if you are already experiencing challenges with computer use and technology in general. However, there are DIY online applications you can use such as Realtour’s Marketing Suite that are designed to be user friendly. Understandably, if you are a self-processed tech challenged user, than there is a big “but” that comes with opting to use software: You must also opt to take a tutorial to use it properly. If you don’t you will probably be in even more of a pickle than you were before you decided to use the software in the first place.

Services

The world of technology might cause you frustration, but it also offers some easy and affordable solutions that weren’t available in the past. Virtual Assistants are a growing trend that can assist people in business such as real estate agents with a long list of tasks without ever having to hire and pay someone to work in your office. You can engage a Virtual Assistant to build and prepare your marketing materials so you do not have to struggle with things such as virtual tours, eflyer templates and print materials. The materials are prepared for you at a fraction of the cost you would pay a graphic designer or agency. In fact it is even cheaper than hiring an office assistant and you do not have to continue having to navigate the difficult world of digital marketing. This can be the most cost effective way to manage not only your marketing materials, but also your time.

Realtour offers time saving, affordable solutions for the computer challenged including tutorials, software and virtual assistant services.





Monday, 2 May 2016

How to Effectively boost your Eflyer Results

When it comes to real estate eflyers Real Estate Agents seem to either love them or hate them. And the haters really hate them. However, despite this fact eflyers continue to be one of the most effective ways to get your m
essage out about a new listing, open houses, price reductions, etc. Here are a few ways to help you effectively boost your eflyer results using eflyer best practices:

Subject Line

There are two reasons the subject line of your eflyer is so important
  1. First of all, the subject line of your eflyer is the first thing people will see in their inbox. Therefore getting to the point is the best way to catch the recipients’ attention. Avoid sensationalizing the subject line and instead focus on the benefit to the agent so they want to read the rest of your content. This will avoid disappointment if they do decide to read it. It will also entice those agents who tend to be leery of eflyers to see it is a legit attempt to reach out and share information about a listing you really feel their clients will appreciate.
  2. Secondly, the subject line is also the first thing spam filters read. By avoiding sensationalized subject lines you will also avoid spam filters. That includes common spam tactics such as using all caps, the use of misleading words such as free, and adding lots of exclamation marks. Avoiding these tactics will help to make it clear this is a business email more than a sales or unsolicited email.

Mailing List

Using best practices for your eflyers can help improve results. 
It is no secret that the mailing list you use will help improve your results. Using a company that updates their email list on a regular basis is very important to ensure you are not mailing out to a “dead” list. You want to make sure that when email addresses are collected, they are also filtering out names of people who have opted out of receiving eflyers.
It is also a good idea to have a list of your own that you begin to grow through interactions with local agents. The reason this is important to improve your results is that this group of people are familiar with your listings and area. They will be glad to check out your eflyer in case it is something their clients are seeking.  This way you are reaching two groups of agents: Those who know you and those you can get to know.

Follow the Rules

There are a lot of eflyer companies out there promising the world and these are usually the ones with whom you want to be cautious. There are very strict rules regarding eflyer campaigns. You want to be certain that the company you are using adheres to all of them. The rules include:
  • Having a clearly marked unsubscribe option
  • Showing the contact information clearly from the person sending the eflyer
  • Ensuring that anyone who uses the unsubscribe link has their email address removed from the mailing list within 48 hours

If any of these rules are broken there is a very good chance that your eflyers will be blocked by spam filters.

Be Succinct

As an agent you know what other agents are seeking. Make sure the most important points are covered in your eflyer so they get the big picture quickly and easily.

Be Professional

Professional photography is a must if you want to show the property in the best light. Most companies offering easy to use eflyer templates have designed the templates to accommodate photos taken by a camera not a cell phone. If you want your eflyer to show well, you want to use the best quality images and choose the ones that will show off the best features of the home. In hand with exceptional photography, make sure your virtual tour is well presented even if it is just with the basics such as smooth transitions, a logical walk through of the home and music to help set the pace. This will allow agents to view the home in full and also have a reference to share with clients.

Following these rules will help increase interest while avoiding aggressive spam filters.

At Realtour we offer a compliant eflyer service that keeps an up to date list of agent email addresses while following the rules to ensure your eflyer is not regarded as spam. Your eflyer always includes a free Bronze virtual tour making it easy for agents to share the listing with clients. For your convenience we also offer DIY eflyer services as well as affordable virtual assistant services to build your eflyers and real estate marketing materials for you.