What’s in your toolbox?

Keeping up with the pace of new technology is almost impossible. The challenge for most real estate salespeople is finding tools and programs that assist with productivity and and servicing their needs and those of their customers better, faster, more efficiently.

Realtors do tend to like the shiny new object, especially when it comes with a guarantee specifically to do with lead generation or conversion, or “no effort or training required.”

So, what should be in our toolbox?  I am going to suggest we separate this into three distinct areas for simplification purposes.

  1. Business development
  2. Operations
  3. Maintenance

All three are active at all times, but for the purposes of looking at the tools and systems, it will help to identify the tools in this way.

The first “box” is all about Lead Generation.  While this is a no-brainer, it is not something that real estate sales people truly focus their efforts on.  For most Realtors today, there is an assumption that friends, family former business associates, will all simply come calling when we hang out a shingle.  Not so much.  Pro-active lead generation is a must starting out.  In the past (for us older folks), prospecting or cold-calling, was required and a key component of any new sales job.  Technology currently provides some great tools to assist in this process such as Kunversion, Commissions Inc (CINC), FaceBook and other lead generation sources. These tools, however, still require an element of personal involvement from the agent.  Follow-up!  Whether you are getting 10 or 50 leads a week or month, you must have a system and process in place to make the most of these leads to ensure a reasonable return on investment (ROI).

The second “box” is probably the biggest as it concerns all the activities and therefore tools required to run the business.  This includes such things as a CRM to manage the leads generated, paperless e-signature platforms, marketing systems, transaction management systems and, of course, accounting programs to track revenue and expenses.  Probably one of the most forgotten tools is the post-transaction contact management system.  While this can and should be tracked using the CRM discussed earlier, there are multiple marketing systems available to assist with this process which can add some real value to the client-agent relationship.

Box number three is the “high-level” component of this tool-kit.  These are the 30K foot overview and monitoring programs that ensure the business plan is on track.  One of the least hi-tech but most useful is the almighty Whiteboard!  If you want a hi-tech version, you could refer to a “dashboard”.  There are companies who have created versions of a real estate business dashboard but I have yet to see one that is simple and real-time.  More to follow on this topic. next week.

FREE Webinar: August 17th 2017

apps that convert leads

Need more real estate leads? Our next session will help with people who are already getting traffic… but not getting any leads or web form conversions.

We’ll be reviewing a few apps that help you get live calls, leads & live chat requests – direct from your website!

Our next webinar will cover…

  • How to get more real estate leads from your website!
  • My top tools and unique calls-to-action that work!
  • Real estate examples and ideas!

Make sure to register (you’ll get the recording if you can’t make the live date).

This is part of our ongoing Group Coaching program and it’s FREE to all local real estate agents (from ANY company) 🙂


Time to revise your goals?

Most corporations prepare budgets late fall of each year to prepare for the upcoming new year.  What often happens as well is that the budget along with all of the financial projections is revisited half way through the year with a view to making revisions and re-forecasts to accommodate major shifts.

From an individual sales perspective, we hope that it is a change for the positive.  This is a really important step as quite often when we hit our targets, we tend to back off.  The real estate market, however, does not.  Whether it is a strong market or a soft one, the momentum you have is one that you need to maintain and even fuel to achieve a higher goal.

When reassessing your business plan and goals, it is important to look at what is working and what isn’t; to ask some very important questions, to review your systems, tools, CRM, programs, technology as well as marketing efforts.

In fact, it is a great time to go back to the “Are You Running Your Business As A Business” checklist, courtesy of Ninja Selling (link to the form is provided below).  I challenge you to do this as one of your personal Monday Morning meetings – whether by yourself or with your team.  As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions.

JLusink-RunningYourBusiness-NoCP (1)

Ninja Selling: Subtle Skills. Big Results.

Online Training For Agents

We have a new online training program and it’s open to all agents from any brand in our area.

The focus will be on marketing & technology for the real estate industry. Including: Seller leads, buyer leads, social media marketing, landing pages, lead follow-up, lead generation, scripts & more!

You’ll get 24/7 access and bi-weekly updates on future calls.

They are recorded and you can get instant access here: www.groupcoaching.me/go-eXpRealtyCanada

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Toronto MLS New Listings Trendline

The TMLS New Listings Trend line graph brings a bit of perspective to the current spate of media articles on the state of the market.  Words like “soft, crash, bubble,” to name a few are really not reflective of one or two months of an increase in listings – a welcome reprieve by the way.  For more information, contact your Realtor for the in-depth Marketwatch Report which is published every month by The Toronto Real Estate Board.

TMLS New Listings Trendline May_2017

When’s the Appropriate Time for a Price Reduction on a House?

Back in 2014, I encountered a somewhat sobering story in the Toronto Star.  It was about a young Toronto couple who had recently bought their dream home and who had made their purchase prior to selling their current home.  Since their current home was located in a prime area of Toronto and since the housing market has been so strong, the couple assumed they would be able to sell their current home fairly quickly.  Unfortunately, their assumptions were not correct.  Much to the couple’s dismay, as well to their Realtor’s, while they watched many other homes in their neighborhood sell in a relatively shortly amount of time, theirs remained unsold and seemingly forgotten.  As a result, the couple faced the burden of paying mortgages on two separate properties.

This story offers some important takeaways – for one thing, it reinforces the fickleness of all real estate markets, regardless of the location.  I think it also provides fire to the idea that perhaps selling a property prior to buying a new one may be a safer, more preferred option.  Finally, the story in my opinion raises the question of when the appropriate time is to consider lowering a home’s listing price, this latter topic being what I would like to explore in more detail in this month’s blog.

Clearly, when you the seller are considering lowering the listing price of your home, things are not going well.  You’ve taken all the necessary steps.  With the help of your agent, you put your home on the market.  You successfully hosted several open houses and, indeed, you may have even had a tentative offer.  But, that offer fell through, and as more days passed since you first put your home on the market, you have the sickening feeling that your home’s ‘honeymoon period’ has come and gone, and the momentum surrounding the hopeful sale of your property has slowed.

This is the common path that leads to a price reduction.  And now, having reached this point in the selling process, your agent may be urging you to consider lowering your property’s listing price in order to attract a fresh round of interested buyers.  But, of course, lowering your home’s price is not an easy thing to do – not only does it mean that your net proceeds from the sale of your home will be reduced, it’s also in some ways an admission of defeat and a blow to the ego.

But, putting aside one’s ego, there are certain points in the selling process where reducing the listing price of one’s home is strategically the most intelligent thing to do, and may be the only action that will help sell your property in a reasonable amount of time.  Therefore, it’s important for you as the seller to know how to determine when that time has come.  So, with that in mind, I thought I would offer a few tips on how you can evaluate whether or not it’s time for you to lower your home’s listing price.

As you may already know, performing a comparison of your home to similar homes in your local market is an essential part of selling a home.  It’s an essential part of determining a proper initial listing price for a home; it’s essential in understanding who the potential buyers are of the home; and, in relation to this article’s topic, it’s critical in gaining an idea for the average “days on market” for properties in the area.  An average days on the market number is basically the number of days it takes for a home in your local market to sell.

So, assuming either you or your agent has analyzed how long on average a similar home in your area takes to sell, you can compare this average to your current situation. An important point when analyzing “days on market” (DOM) statistics is to make sure you look at the complete listing history of comparable properties.  Realtors will often “cancel” and “re-list” a property to bring it on the market as a new listing.  This simple procedure re-starts the DOM clock!  If the real total average length of time is more than the amount of time your house has been on the market, then breathe a sigh of relief – you still have some time to work with.  However, if the opposite is true, then this is a strong indication that you will need an extra incentive – such as a price reduction – to successfully sell your home.

But, like many things in real estate, it’s never as simple as it seems – and in my opinion, other factors need to be considered before you and your Realtor finally decide on reducing your property’s price.  For example, have you thoroughly cleaned and staged your home for prospective buyers?  If you haven’t professionally staged your home, consider this as a possible first alternative to a price reduction.  Similarly, have you re-evaluated your home’s marketing?  Are there ample professional photos of your home on all major real estate sites?  Do the existing photos illustrate your home in the most flattering way possible?  Once again, this may be a point to re-evaluate before jumping to thoughts about a price change.

In the end, it would be a perfect world if every home sold the minute it entered the market.  Unfortunately, that’s not reality – and that’s why, in the situation where a home is not selling, it’s so important for you the seller to have as much information at your disposal, as well as an experienced and dedicated Realtor who can guide you to a successful sale.

Daily structure – How do I start my day?

A great short clip on inman.com by a Broker, Peter Lorimer of PLG Estates, puts it very succinctly: https://youtu.be/7b2BVH0ZDjc

He talks about two key ingredients; time-blocking and lead generation.  As most Realtors have transitioned to working from home, including this author – and more and more follow suit, the discipline of following the “perfect week” is even more important. This is a topic I have written about previously and can’t be repeated often enough.

Below, is a copy of The Perfect Week, courtesy of Ninja Selling – one of the best programs for Realtors out of Ft. Collins, CO that I reference often.  You will draw a few immediate conclusions, one of them might be that there is no way this is realistic “because I am too busy” or “I have a life too, i.e., family demands!”  For those people, I am going to suggest that Mom’s are among the best organized when it comes to juggling kids and their sports, extra curricular and other activities.  Everyone of them has the famous family calendar pinned up somewhere with all of those “appointments” laid out, often color coded.  Well, the same principles apply to the calendar below and I would suggest that you should start by first putting in those personal, family appointments and then work in the real estate business appointments around them.  And, yes, treat every one of the items in the calendar as an Appointment.  This has to be the mindset.  If you don’t train your mind to treat them as a non-cancellable appointment, you will operate as you have before without any discipline and control with the end results speaking for themselves.  (If you would like the excel version, send me an email)

The Perfect Week
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
7:00 AM Exercise Exercise Exercise Exercise Exercise
8:00 AM Get ready for the day Get ready for the day Get ready for the day Get ready for the day Get ready for the day
8:45 AM Write affirmations Write affirmations Write affirmations Write affirmations Write affirmations
9:00am to 10:30 am Write 2 personal notes Write 2 personal notes Write 2 personal notes Write 2 personal notes Write 2 personal notes
Make 13 FORD calls, listen for change. Look for ways to add value Sales Meeting and Tour Make 13 FORD calls, listen for change. Look for ways to add value Make 12 FORD calls, listen for change. Look for ways to add value Make 12 FORD calls, listen for change. Look for ways to add value
Gather data for 2 Real Estate Reviews. Call and set appointments to present each. Call all clients under contract. Pick Open House for the weekend.  Gather neighborhood data, call seller to make sure house is “parade ready” Review Hot and Warm Lists for property matches on new listings. Review Hot and Warm Lists for property matches on new listings.
Call and schedule 2 lunches for next week Contact each of your sellers with update on  new neighborhood listings.  Call, DON’T text or email.
Review Hot and Warm Lists for property matches on new listings. Make appts. Review Hot and Warm Lists for property matches on new listings.
11:00 AM
Noon Lunch with an A list Lunch with an A List
1:00 PM Open House
2:00 PM
3:00 PM Present Real Estate Review Present Real Estate Review
4:00 PM
5:00 PM
6:00 PM 23.75 hours left to work “in” your business, working a 40 hour week INCLUDING your Open House
7:00 PM
8:00 PM BE HOME or Hang out BE HOME or Hang out BE HOME or Hang out BE HOME or Hang out BE HOME or Hang out BE HOME or Hang out


The second main point that Lorimer discusses in the short video is to start with Lead Generation.  In the calendar, this is referred to as F.O.R.D. calls.  F.O.R.D. refers to Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams.  Again, Ninja Selling suggests that you work with people you know and like.  To re-connect, and develop a meaningful relationship, the schedule above suggests making calls to your COI/Sphere to ask or talk about anyone of the areas listed in the FORD acronym.  These are not “sales calls”.   I can guarantee that if you make this a non-negotiable part of your schedule you will be as busy as you want to be and even more importantly, you will be working with people you know, like and trust.

This is truly the breakfast of real estate champions!