REALTOR® Recruiting and Retention: The Non-MLS Value Proposition

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Sam DeBord

By Sam DeBord

Compulsion is the crutch that lulls our organization’s recruiting and retention capabilities to sleep. When real estate licensees are compelled to be members of a REALTOR® association because of their need for MLS services, we often fail to aggressively sell them on the broad spectrum of REALTOR® benefits, most of which lie outside of the MLS sphere.

The MLS is integral to our members’ businesses, and will continue to be important to our industry. Legal, financial, and technological shifts have significantly changed its role over time, though, and we should be prepared for the inevitability of future changes.

As a member of Washington REALTORS® and Seattle King County REALTORS® Board of Directors, I believe the long-term danger for REALTOR® associations is in resting on a value proposition that relies almost singularly on the benefits of compulsory MLS membership. Building apps and services that complement the MLS can reinforce the board/MLS’s value, but without member appreciation for non-MLS benefits, a REALTOR® board is putting all of its eggs in one basket.

The organization’s reputation has to be built on more than just transactional services.

Political advocacy, legal protection, corporate partnership benefits, and education are all services that can and should be relayed to members regularly to create a more consistent and broad picture of the value derived from membership.

NAR has made a significant investment this year to define the REALTOR® Value Proposition, and our local boards nationwide could benefit greatly by sharing our successful strategies with one another. YPN members who serve on their local or state REALTOR® board, take note: More collaboration between REALTOR® boards could streamline the identification of the most effective messaging strategies to be leveraged in membership-building campaigns across the country.

I’ve had the opportunity to chair a communications task force for Seattle King County REALTORS®, and we’d like to share our first steps in reinventing our value proposition.  Our president, executive committee, staff, and creative agencies have been working for over a year to audit our communications and messaging strategies. This is our first concrete value proposition piece, which going out this week to members alongside the annual dues invoice.

The annual bill is the single piece of communication between boards and members that will be delivered without fail. We’ve added our benefits brochure this year, with the front giving a quick visual highlight of most concrete REALTOR® tools available from NAR, the state board, and local board. The back side highlights timely advocacy issues and the specific financial ramifications for the member’s bottom line.

This is the most poignant moment to clarify member benefits. Educating members on the wide range of protections and services we provide should happen year-round, but we should be especially vocal on the day that we ask our members to recommit another year of financing for the organization which supports their businesses.

The impetus for Seattle King County REALTORS® to create this kind of messaging was greater than most boards would have – our regional MLS is not REALTOR®-owned.  Our local licensees have to find enough value in non-MLS services to justify REALTOR® membership. Despite that challenge, our board continues to retain the majority of local full-time agents within our membership, and our members do the bulk of the total sales in our market.

This kind of messaging, with a few local tweaks, should be applicable to nearly any board and a great complement to those providing MLS services as well.  We will be redesigning our entire platform of communication this year to make certain we’re contacting our members with timely, engaging, and useful information every chance we get.  We’ll be sharing more as the process moves along, and we’d invite you to invest in the development of the REALTOR® Value Proposition by sharing your most successful communications campaigns as well.

Sam DeBord is a director for Washington REALTORS® and Seattle King County REALTORS®, and managing broker with Coldwell Banker Danforth. Connect with his team, Seattle Homes Group, at SeattleHome.com and SeattleCondo.com.

Source - Realtor.org

4 Ways to Makeover a Master Bedroom

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Only 2 percent of more than 1,700 home owners say they have achieved their design vision in their homes, according to a survey by the remodeling website Houzz (2014 Houzz Decorating Trends Survey). And the master bedroom is where many say they still have a lot of work to do.

Here are a few ways home owners are planning to enhance their master bedrooms:

New headboard.

You can really showcase a bed by adding a headboard. A headboard can help dress up a bed and make a bigger statement in the master bedroom. Eighty-eight percent of the more than 1,700 home owners surveyed say they are installing a headboard in their master bedroom. Fifty-one percent of remodeling home owners are opting for a headboard with no footboard; while 37 percent are planning on both a headboard and footboard.

New bedding and coverings.

Sometimes all it takes is new bedding to give a master bedroom a completely new look. Nearly 30 percent of remodeling home owners say they’re going to choose floral fabrics for their master bedrooms. Solid fabrics remain the most popular choice.

Add a seating area.

Create more of a serene setting by adding seating to the master bedroom, even if it’s just one upholstered chair in the corner with a throw pillow. Nearly two-thirds of remodeling home owners say they’re creating living rooms in their master bedrooms with seating (such as chairs, loveseat or chaise lounge); a fireplace; or even a mini fridge (8%).

Accent wall.

Paint can make a big difference. Stark white walls can make a room look sophisticated and modern. But some home owners are still preferring the accent wall, in which one wall is painted a more vibrant color. About 52 percent of remodeling home owners say they plan to add an accent wall to their master bedroom. It’s a way to get a pop of color without too much commitment.

 

Source - Realtor.org

Prosperity or Perdition? My First Year in Real Estate

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Elizabeth Mackay

By Elizabeth Mackay

I had the fairytale notion I was so well suited to real estate that I somehow would transcend all odds to rise to stardom in a matter of months.  I thought, naively, that I would visualize and affirm my way to $100,000 in commission in my first year.  Well how could I not, I’m a decent photographer, have a fair command of the English language, I’m a people person, detail-oriented, and reliable.

Imagine my dismay after six months, with a whopping $600, long spent, to my glory. It’s about that time that my first year goal went from $100,000 in commission to “I will not quit!”. But when my visualizing and affirming became – DON’T GIVE UP! NEVER GIVE IN! – it was in the following months that I came to accept that real estate would give me something a thousand times more meaningful than money; that if I could hang in there real estate would transform me.

And it has. Real estate doesn’t care about comparisons. It doesn’t care who knows more people, who’s more eloquent or even, shockingly, more affable. It doesn’t care who’s on the most social media platforms, who has a blog, a newsletter, and a mailing list. Real estate laughs in the face of those who think that page one of Google is the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the real estate rainbow. If you don’t know how to leverage it, page one of Google can be a colossal waste of time in getting there and a bigger waste of time in fielding questions and sending information to those who are only looking for information – after all, isn’t that what Google is for?

All your admirable qualities and tech savvy will serve you well in the end, but in the beginning, real estate only cares about who has the guts and the will to stick it out. The determination to keep going in the face of all evidence to the contrary, when the entire world seems to be conspiring to prove to you that all your lofty ideals and fantastic qualities are essentially meaningless. Real estate cares who can take disappointment after disappointment, defeat after defeat and get up the next day and do it all over again, broken heart or not.  It cares about who can rise above deception and declare “I will not fail. I do not care how many people say no. I do not care how many people lie to me. I will not quit!”

So I haven’t earned $100,000 in commission yet, but what I have earned is infinitely more meaningful. I’ve earned my self-respect. Not the surface self-respect we often have – the type that makes us say goodbye to the bad boyfriend and amen when we leave the lousy job. I’m talking about the kind of self-respect that produces humility, perseverance, self confidence, and a sense of security and belonging in the world; the knowledge that you will never be a failure unless you declare yourself so; the courage that comes with knowing you have risen above sensitivity to rejection.

If you don’t quit, you will eventually come to that place where you know that the best is before you. And now, one year after I set out on what I thought was my road to financial freedom, I can say that real estate is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve had to stand on my own two feet and walk my personal road to perdition. In all likelihood you will walk yours too, so hang in there, never give in and most important: “Don’t let it be about the money, let it be about being great.

Elizabeth Mackay, MBA, is a salesperson with CA Christie Real Estate in The Bahamas. Connect with Mackay at livelifebahamas.com or liz@livelifebahamas.com.

Source - Realtor.org

3 Ways to Spruce Up the Garage

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Garages are an often overlooked part of the home, despite the fact that home owners spend a frequent amount of time there. In fact, for most home owners, the garage door is the main access point for entry and exit. It’s also a place for hobbies and storage.

The garage needs to be functional and attractive. Here are three ways to do it:  

1. Organization: Having an organized garage can help provide a home owner peace of mind while even possibly adding value to the space. As the garage often serves as a family’s storage center for everything from footballs to lawn mowers, shelves and cabinets can help make better use of the space. Sites like Pinterest can assist in photographic inspiration and provide ideas that will work for each unique space. At a minimum, set aside time to clear the clutter, categorize objects into groups (frequently used, rarely used, and hazardous materials), and then contain and store those objects to reflect the categories.  Both mounted racks and standing cabinets are options that can be purchased a big-box hardware store.

Photo credit: LiftMaster

2. Check your garage door: As a garage door is the heaviest moving object in the home, it’s important to ensure the home owner’s garage door and door openers are up to date with the latest safety features.  Don’t know if it is? A 90-second 3-step safety check (available here) will determine if the door has the safety features a home inspector will look for a flag for a potential buyer.

3. Install the latest garage technology: New smart technologies may also be an added selling point to a home owner’s garage.  Atop the list are technologies to connect to and control your garage door opener or home lights to any Android or iOS compatible device, allowing home owners to check their garage door, and open or close it from anywhere in the world. Another technology to explore is a battery backup system, a feature that will keep a garage door running for weeks in the event of a blackout, as well as a motion detector light inside the garage so home owners don’t have to always remember to switch off the lights.

Source - Realtor.org

The Common Denominator of Prospecting: Finding ‘The Why’

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Alex Cavelli

By Alex Cavelli

Prospecting is either the most embraced or most avoided activity for real estate professionals. While some see it as an opportunity to earn business right now, the majority of us don’t feel that the juice is worth the squeeze. Facing rejection and looking stupid is far more painful than not hitting our business goals.

No matter the sentiment, let’s take the pressure off ourselves and see prospecting for what it really is: Talking with people about their lives.

To frame our approach, let’s look at two ways to track the source of your business:

  1. Where they come from.
  2. Why they came.

If you look at your last five transactions, you can certainly identify those both sources.  The more important component is to take step and ask, “What life change was going on?” Your results may look something like this:

Source

“The Where”

“The Why”/

Life Change

Open House

Getting married

FSBO

Kids are all gone

Open House

Getting married

Expired

Retiring to Florida

Sphere

Job Promotion

Notice the insignificance of “The Where” in comparison to “The Why”? While one just tells you where you met your clients, the other has everything to do with their dreams, goals, and life ambitions. When prospecting, which would you rather focus on?

A mentor of mine correctly boiled real estate prospecting down to three questions:

  1. What life change is coming up?
  2. Is real estate connected to that change?
  3. Is there an opportunity to do business?

So, let’s take the pressure of determining how we will meet our future clients off ourselves, and instead, keep those three core questions in the back of our minds. As long as we’re connecting with people, “The Where” just doesn’t matter. It’s all about “The Why.”

 Alex Cavelli is a REALTOR® with Howard Hanna in Greater Cleveland. Connect with Alex via www.linkedin.com/in/cavelli or Alex@thecrockettteam.com.

Source - Realtor.org