5 Questions to Ask Before Joining a Real Estate Team

A team allows you to leverage built-in brand recognition and sphere of influence, as well as guidance from more seasoned agents and brokers. While the benefits are numerous, you don’t want to end up team that stifles your growth, takes an excessive commission split, or just isn’t a good culture fit.
 
First, it’s important to remember: don’t be afraid of asking a lot of questions! Joining a team is a big commitment, that could affect the entire growth trajectory of your career. While it’s true you are “selling yourself” in these interviews, it’s important to interview them as well.
 
So what kinds of questions should you be asking? Let’s get started with our top “must-ask” questions for any team interview.

1. What is the team structure?

There is no one-size-fits-all model for real estate teams. The size and ratio of members will vary depending on the city, whether it’s a franchise or independent brokerage, the housing market, etc. Ask for a very clear break down of how large the team is, how many buyers agents and ISAs there are, and who you would be reporting to. Additionally, what are the business goals for the team? Do they have remote teams in other cities/states, or are they considering expanding? Some teams are more specialized in a niche market, or “boutique,” while others service a broad range of clients. Understanding the team’s growth model and mission will give you a clear picture or whether or not it aligns with your ideal career path.

 

If you’re joining a franchise team, this is your time to learn all of the ins and outs about that franchise. Every large real estate franchise has something a little different to bring to the table. The “big guys” (Keller Williams, Century 21, RE/MAX) have household brand awareness and top notch training. If you are offered a spot on a franchise team, consider the following;

  • Commission splits
  • Desk fees
  • Brand awareness
  • Training
  • Marketing budget
  • Profit sharing
  • Online agent reviews

Compare the results with other franchises. Consider your goals, your work style, and your requirements for a healthy work-life balance.

2. What is the financial breakdown?

We know, we know, it’s all about those Benjamins. Don’t dance around the topic of money during your interviews! The financial model is often the #1 deciding factor when choosing between teams, so you want to know every detail before signing on.

 

Here’s what you should be asking about $$$

  • Is the team commission-based, salary/bonus-based, or a hybrid?
  • If it’s salary/bonus-based (less common), what is the salary and how do the bonuses work?
  • If it’s commission-based, what are the commission splits?
  • Is there a commission cap?
  • If you’re joining a franchise, are there franchise fees? Training fees?
  • Are there brokerage fees? (For example: desk fees, monthly office fees, MLS fees, insurance)
  • Does the brokerage cover the cost of a CRM?
  • Are you responsible for miscellaneous startup costs? (For example: REALTOR designation, business cards, website)

Another great question to ask about the financial structure, is why they chose to set it up this way. What works really well? There could be benefits to their way of doing things that you hadn’t even thought of.

3. What is your role, and what are the expectations?

Obviously you’ll know what your title is, but there can be some wiggle room in real estate. If you are joining as a buyer’s agent, will you have the opportunity to have listings as well? Are you expected to farm a specific area, or target a niche market? Get a clear sense of “the way things are done,” so you know what your day-to-day will look like. Additionally, how do they get their leads, and how are they divided between agents? How much time and money do individual agents spend on marketing and prospecting vs. following up with leads?

 

Finally, be clear about expectations. Ask your interviewer, verbatim, “What is expected of me in this position as far as number of transactions and time commitment?” Follow it up with, “Do you have any advice on steps to take that will help me be successful?”

 

Don’t skip over this part!! Be honest with yourself about your own personal goals. What is your current situation? Are you a new, highly motivated agent that is willing to work those 60+ hour weeks? Are you determined to grow into a top producer? If that’s the case then you will be sacrificing time at home with family and friends. Is there room for growth from within? Meaning, if you work hard and become one of the top producing agents on the team, is there opportunity to renegotiate commissions splits, or become a team leader? Or maybe you want a schedule that is a little less hectic, and you’re comfortable doing 5-10 transactions per year. And that’s fine! Just be honest with your interviewer from the very beginning, so goals and expectations are crystal clear.

4. Is it a culture fit?

In America, we spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our families. So do not underestimate the importance of enjoying your work community! A good question to ask to get a sense of a company’s culture is, “What is your mission?” If they mention empowering their agents, building community, fostering teamwork, etc., this is a good sign. You don’t want to get stuck in an ultra-competitive, “to each his own” setting.
 
Some teams place work-family balance as a high priority. Consider how important that is to you, and get a sense of how the team operates. Do they encourage you to take a vacation? Do they host retreats or family-friendly company events?
 
Check out top producer and work-life balance expert, Haro Setian, discuss how he created a family-culture within his thriving real estate business.
 

5. What technology do they use?

Let’s be real. It’s 2018, and the real estate industry is rapidly expanding and adapting to new technologies. Sometimes it can even feel a little “sink or swim,” when keeping up with the trends. The teams that embrace technology and leverage it for their success are outperforming other teams left and right.

 

This is why it would behoove you to ask about technology. Consider the following questions:

  • What is their advertising model? Do they advertise through Facebook and paid Google Ads?
  • What is their social media presence? Are they active on Facebook (specifically Facebook Live), Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, etc.?
  • Do they use a CRM? If so, which one? Does the CRM have a mobile app? Is this included in agent fees or does the broker cover it?
  • Do they embrace helpful apps, like mortgage calculators and camera scanners? Or tools that streamline productivity like an automated dialer, or transaction management software?

The ideal situation is a team that has their system down pat. They know what technology can help advance their business and empower their agents, and they aren’t afraid to invest in that. A great sign of a successful team is if they are diligent about tracking and measuring. Measuring the success of ad campaigns, or processes for lead generation and acting accordingly.

 

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People First, Profits Follow

If your heart is in the right place, everything will follow. 

Keller Williams agents Dan and Julie Ihara of the Honolulu, Hawaii, market center certainly have found that to be true as they’ve grown their business from $28 million to $76 million in four years. The Iharas have achieved this by coming from contribution and using seminars as their chief real estate lead generation strategy.

What is a Real Estate CRM?

Do you ever feel like keeping track of people is hard work? And does it seem like your efforts aren’t quite paying off?

 

Imagine your phone without the Contacts list. No phone number, no email address, and so on. It’d be hard to remember everyone. Today, though, all we have to do is say, “Siri, call Bob!” Technology enables us to complete tasks with ease and in less time.

 

But an address book can only assist you until you’re managing dozens of client relationships. This is where a real estate CRM benefits agents and brokers. CRM software levels up your communication and service abilities. It’s almost like cloning yourself, so you can be that “individual expert” for all your clients without draining your mental stamina.

 

Let’s go into some details …

 

1What is a Real Estate CRM?

By definition, CRM stands for customer relationship management. It usually refers to software that is a contact and communication tool. It allows you to manage multiple relationships, but also handles the day-to-day work involved with those relationships. Examples include task reminders like to-do’s. It can send emails out automatically. Or it allows the more deeper tracking of your sales pipeline, so you can measure revenue (i.e. business/commission income).

 

In real estate, a CRM enables you to service individual people throughout the entire home shopping experience. From the moment they register as a lead on your website to the moment they sign their name on the bill of sale. That journey always has a few bumps, as you know. A CRM helps coordinate all those steps and free up your workload (via automation). It smooths out those bumps.

 

2Advantages of a Real Estate CRM

Let’s break down the advantages by agent and broker. Depending on your job role, you’ll care more about specific CRM features.

For Brokers:

  • Accountability – Make sure your co-workers are getting work done. Example: If you’re spending money to generate leads, then you’ll want your agents calling and emailing those people. A CRM allows you to track their activity. Did they call/email their leads? Are they closing deals?
  • Brand & Service Consistency – Let’s say you have built a reputation in your market. In a real estate CRM, you can establish the protocol and build the communication agents have to use (for lead follow-up, for example). This makes sure everyone is operating on the same page and not going off-script.
  • Opportunity Finding – By leveraging filters and lead categories, you can prospect your database for “hot” opportunities, i.e. ready-to-buy shoppers. You can even nudge people out of “trash” categories with email nurture plans. And good CRMs allow you to track where leads are in the sales pipeline, mapping out your revenue potential.

For Agents:

  • Ease of Use – Imagine texting 100 leads in 5 minutes. You can use templated messages and emails to simplify your follow-up tasks. You don’t have to organize your day, since the CRM will help lay out your to-do’s.
  • Save Time – Using the example from above, imagine the time saved from not having to write 100 text messages by hand. You can get back to your other work quickly, like showing houses.
  • Never Forget – A real estate CRM will remind you who to call and when. There’s no more jotting down notes to yourself. The software handles it all.
  • Prioritization – Have you ever felt like you were being pulled in a million directions? CRMs can prioritize your lead follow-up, since they’ll identify who is more likely to act on a real estate property.

 

3How to Achieve ROI with a Real Estate CRM

There are plenty of free CRMs on the market, but they’re limited in ability. Oftentimes, agents and brokers will need to shop for a real estate CRM, weighing options. Whichever CRM you choose, it’s important to think about ROI. How will you make up the investment?

 

The answer is NOT to have big goals. You want small, achievable goals that build momentum. Real estate CRMs are built to handle a lot of business aspects. Tackling all those at one time is extremely difficult. Instead, start at your most critical pain point. Example: If you’re having a hard time closing deals (i.e. winning leads) or having issues with “lead quality,” then examine your lead follow-up.

 

Build out template emails, text messages, and phone scripts. Plug them into the CRM and have it automatically communicate to your leads. Then you can measure if you’re seeing progress. Don’t worry about the other features until you’ve graduated from your initial goal.

 

And lastly, the biggest hurdle to seeing any ROI with a real estate CRM is getting people to use it. Yes, adopting and using a CRM is more difficult than you think. If you’re a business leader, create rules for your co-workers. Everything goes into the CRM. Because if it doesn’t, there’s no way for you track ROI. All you’re doing is spending money without a clear picture. The best rule to use is: If it isn’t in the CRM, it means it doesn’t exist or you haven’t done your job. Typically then you’ll see your teammates adopting the product a lot faster.

 

4More Resources

If you’d like more resources about real estate CRMs, check out our articles on the 5 Business Benefits of a Real Estate CRM and How to Choose the Best Real Estate CRM.


Check Out BoomTown’s Real Estate CRM. Click Here >


 

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14 Thank-You Note Templates to Show Your Clients You Care

In this age of technology, digital thank-you notes are gaining more acceptance. Yet, a card received via snail mail still excites the senses and is a thoughtful reflection of your time and effort. A handwritten thank-you note to your clients can help you stand out from the impersonal style of digital communications. It is also a tasteful and sincere demonstration of your gratitude.

Staged to Sell: View Inside This Rosedale, Md. Home

Have a home you recently staged that you’d like to show off here at Styled Staged & Sold? Submit your staging photos for consideration, along with three to five of your best spruce-up tips. Contact Melissa Dittmann Tracey at mtracey@realtors.org. 

 

Home stager: Cyndi Ryan with Staging Gracefully, Middle River, Md.

About the property: A 3-bedroom, 3-full bath single-family home with a 5-car garage and open floor plan in Rosedale, Md. The property was completely restored by Yanni LLC.

Photo credit: Cyndi Ryan with Staging Gracefully, Middle River, Md.

Photo credit: Cyndi Ryan with Staging Gracefully, Middle River, Md.

Photo credit: Cyndi Ryan with Staging Gracefully, Middle River, Md.

Photo credit: Cyndi Ryan with Staging Gracefully, Middle River, Md.

Photo credit: Cyndi Ryan with Staging Gracefully, Middle River, Md.

Cyndi’s staging tips from this property:

1. Clean is serene! A fresh, bright decor brings a feeling of peace and tranquility. Whites and beiges paired with a darker wood is a great way to really extenuate a crisp, clean palette. Keep counters clear. Tuck toasters, can openers, and other handheld appliances away to maintain an open non-cluttered prep area.

2. Art does not have to be store bought pictures and paintings. Be creative. Clocks have so much personality now. Choose one that really demonstrates the style of the house and because of their popularity they are also easy to find for an inexpensive price. Create colorful abstract canvases with acrylic paint. Mount an old piece of driftwood or an old farm tool over a sofa for a dramatic textured focal point.

3. Stage the open house. Your refreshments may be store bought but your presentation shouldn’t show it. Break out those gallon pitchers with the cute spout at the bottom and invest in a few really awesome serving plates and racks. Add fresh cut fruit to your drink cups. You want buyers to feel they just walked into the next home where they will entertain friends. Add a little soft jazz playing in the background or music that is gentle and peaceful.

Photo credit: Cyndi Ryan with Staging Gracefully, Middle River, Md.

4. Unclutter. Declutter. Disclutter. Keep your staging simple. Whether for selling that property or even in your own home, no more clutter. The era of knick knacks and curios full of figurines left us some time ago. Minimize to a few staple pieces atop cabinets and dressers. Bring in fresh flowers (or even realistic artificial) and greenery. Let nature help create a space that is welcoming and spacious.

5. Dress the house for the occasion. Ever gone to a party and found that you were overdressed or under-dressed? Know your audience. Designing decor that is the most trendy, cutting edge in the world of interior design isn’t what will speak to most buyers. Buyers are looking for a relateable atmosphere where they can picture themselves. Design your staging to meet the price of the home and neighborhood it’s in. Also, be sure to invest more in homes that will bring a clientele that is looking for a bit more drama. Don’t be afraid of jewel tones or rich textures. Just know what style speaks to your potential buyers for that home.

 

 

Where Realtor Associations Bring Value. Words from the South Carolina Chapter.

 

We’re not developers. We’re not builders. Realtors don’t sell homes. We sell communities. A community is one that has great jobs, access to open space, good education and schools. It’s that stool that has all the different legs and components of what makes a thriving community. And when we have that, our Realtors are successful because homes are being transacted. And we try to maintain that balance.

Nick Kremydas is the CEO of the association for South Carolina Realtors. He’s spent 23+ years in the business and has been working tirelessly to promote homeownership, protect private property rights, and enhance real estate investments across the state. At the center is one driving factor: Supporting the dream of owning a home. It’s the goal every real estate professional talks about. Nick takes a deep dive into how associations like his help create value for Realtors by ultimately helping homebuyers and sellers.

In this episode of Driven, skip to these memorable moments:

  • The function of Realtor associations (8 min)
  • Where South Carolina stands among housing and affordability issues (12 min)
  • Incorporating technology into the business (22 min)
  • Talk about NAR and “logo-gate” (30 min)
  • Why adopting technology should be open-minded but heavily researched (48 min)

Subscribe to the Latest Episodes

Driven on iTunes

 

The post Where Realtor Associations Bring Value. Words from the South Carolina Chapter. appeared first on BoomTown!.

Google & Facebook: Digital Strategies that Actually Work

We don’t have to tell you how important it is to have a strong digital presence. Among nearly all generations of home buyers, the very first step is to look for properties online. In fact, 74% of buyers across all generations (and 92% of home buyers 37 and younger) frequently search the internet for their home in 2018. In addition, there are over 2.20 billion monthly active users on Facebook, with five new profiles created every second. That’s a lot of buying power.

 

Google and Facebook are easily the most impactful tools for digital advertising. BoomTown teamed up with our Google and Facebook Partners at BoomTown UNITE 2018, to share their insight on digital strategies that actually work .

 

Meet your panelists:
Tyler Johansson – Google Partner
Raya Khayat – Facebook Partner
Dotty Bell – BoomTown Digital Marketing Team Manager

 

Full-Funnel Strategy

Always have the “full-funnel” on the back of your mind when you run an ad campaign. Building brand awareness and getting exposure (top of the funnel), will align with Facebook Live and videos, whereas converting a lead (bottom of the funnel) will align with maybe a carousel ad, or a lead ad.
 

Raya: “There are two levers to the success of any campaign.

  • Targeting – Making sure you’re targeting the right people. Either by using advanced targeting (custom and lookalike audiences), or just targeting geographically and making sure you have a broad reach.
  • Creative – Users scroll at the average speed of 1.7 seconds on the user feed – this is extremely fast! Even if you’re targeting the best leads, you don’t want them to just keep on scrolling. We recommend engaging video. You have to catch them within the first 3 seconds.”

Behavioral and Advanced/Lookalike Targeting

Raya: “The lookalike audience is basically, you send in a list of your current leads, and the Facebook algorithm will find leads that “look” like them, with the current behaviors and behavioral traits that they have. You can definitely control that reach and frequency within our tools, to make sure that you’re not overwhelming them. The frequency that I recommend is 1-3 times.”
 
Keep the content fresh. Once you see that the ad has landed with your target audience, swap it out with a new video, or switch it up to a carousel ad or go live. You don’t want to hit you audience with the same ad over and over and over.
 
Always be Testing! Content works differently for different teams in different markets. We recommend that you test as much as possible. Try all different types of advertisements and see what works best for you.

Partner with Your CRM to Maximize Your Advertising Spend

If you have already begun digitally marketing for your business, you’ve likely explored Search Engine Marketing (SEM) through Google Adwords (Pay-Per-Click), as well as optimizing your website to get more organic traffic through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In conjunction with Facebook advertisements, this is the bulk of your digital strategy. So how can you maximize the money that’s in your ad budget and get the lowest cost per lead (CPL)?
 


Learn More About Lead Generation with BoomTown. Click Here


Tyler: “When you’re just getting started out it’s not a bad idea to try to self-manage, get educated, and have a useful conversation with a partner such as BoomTown. But then you get to a certain size where the cost of those mistakes, or just the cost of your time, where your time is better spent bringing in the revenue and making the sale. It’s probably better at that point to look for outside help and leverage BoomTown and their partnerships to say… “help me invest my dollars.” Really that’s where the difference lays, when digital marketers take that leap, and they start to see digital marketing as a driver of revenue, rather than a cost source.”
 
Raya: “You guys already have so much on your plate, with calling leads, nurturing them – I think the stat was, 26 times to call – it’s a lot of calls, it’s a lot that you’re already doing. I consider BoomTown to be this additional hand… it’s this 1 + 1 = 3 approach.”
 
Furthermore, if you work with a CRM partner like BoomTown that has a digital marketing team, consult with them on the cost-per-lead (CPL) you’re looking for. At BoomTown, we work closely with you to reach your business goals. We can give insight into similar CPL’s in your area, as well as recommendations for how to allocate your budget.

Facebook Pixeling (What is it?)

Raya:
“Facebook Pixel, in short, is a piece of code that you place on the back end of your website. It tracks your funnel – going from the ad on Facebook or Instagram, when they convert on your website, and the steps that they take once they’re on your website. You can track people that actually view your properties, add to carts and products, or just search for different types of things.
 
The piece of code “fires” when someone takes an action. Facebook tracks it, but it also optimizes. Let’s say you want to optimize for people viewing your property. You can tell Pixel that that’s the ‘event’ that you want to optimize for, and then our algorithm will find the people that are most likely going to view the property based on the signals it gets from the website. Data that we learn from the system and your website, to optimize and get better leads are more efficient CPLs.”

Best Performing Ads for Real Estate

For real estate professionals, Facebook Live, video, and carousel ads are the best performers.

  • Facebook Live: This is one of the best strategies for top-funnel marketing, which means getting brand recognition and getting face time with your leads. It personalizes you and helps leads feel connected to you as a trustworthy agent. Additionally, Facebook live has 10x more engagement than regular videos.
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    facebook live real estate

     

  • Video: While Facebook live videos should be at the top of your list, don’t ditch regular recorded videos on Facebook! “Video is still one of the best things to use, because it’s super engaging, and your making sure that you’re really capturing peoples’ attention.”
  •  

  • Carousel Ads: Carousel ads are one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website. This is for the bottom of your funnel, when leads are ready to convert. They are scrollable, engaging, and paired with good copy and photos, they can be invaluable.
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Recycle Content Across Platforms

Content takes time. Every video or advertisement that you create was time out of your day, so why not get the most possible use out of it. While you need to continuously add fresh content onto one platform (don’t bore your audience with the same ad week after week on Facebook), you can share across platforms to maximize exposure.
 
Share on Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, your personal Facebook page, email blasts, the blog on your website, etc. This is improving your organic search on Google as well.
 
Additionally, keep a personal library of your content so that you can recycle anything that is still relevant down the road.

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