What Can Streamlined Business Solutions Do For You?

Streamlined Business Solutions offers an amazing range of services to brokers and business owners. Our guests, David and Christi Pittiglio, are here to shed some light on what SBS does for its clients.

The goal of the company is to assist clients in running their business, which involves helping them understand the inner workings of their company from a financial standpoint. As a client of SBS, you’ll have a guide to help you understand your financial statements and the overall profitability of your business.

Many clients who contact SBS are business operators who don’t really know where to start. They may be commingling business and personal bank accounts, and they don’t have a solid strategy to organize their affairs and move forward.

One of the services that SBS offers is setting up an LLC (limited liability company) for their clients. This classification means that members of the business cannot personally be held responsible for the debts of the company or any lawsuits incurred. 

Many people are concerned that their business isn’t large enough to warrant the services that SBS provides, but really, they serve anyone who wants to grow their business, work based on industry standards, or learn about the options they have, such as whether or not the company can afford its first hire. 

Located east of Phoenix, Arizona, Streamlined Business Solutions has branches in 44 states and 440 clients, many of whom are in the real estate industry, but also some from dental practices, attorney’s offices, and more.

Lisa Mont-Ros from Moncord Real Estate Professional services can personally attest to the value of SBS’s tax preparation services. 

“Before we hired them, for our tax planning, I had literally a bag of receipts that we would dump on the table on April 10 to try and sort through all of our bills. Now, they’re on me all the time, making sure that I’m getting everything submitted to them so they can take care of it for me. It’s made a world of difference for us; I don’t know what we ever did without them.”

We look forward to partnering with Streamlined Business Solutions in the future.  If you have any questions for Christi or David, you can reach them at ClientCare@StremLInedBookKeeping.com. If you have any questions for us about this or other real estate related topics, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to help you out any way we can.

Lisa Mont-Ros

"[Working with SBS has] made a world of difference for us; I don’t know what we ever did without them."

What Can Brokers Gain From Connecting With Attorneys?

I’ve brought in Vincent Humphrey of Humphrey & Associates to share some insight into the legalities of real estate and the relational side of real estate from a legal perspective. 

Vincent and his firm specialize primarily in family law here in the Bellevue area, which includes divorce, parenting planning, child support, custody battles, and other things of that nature. They also handle civil litigation, which can involve handling residential and commercial real estate transactions. 

According to Vincent, most people don’t understand what it means to specialize in family law and what that encompasses. “When you do family law,” he says, “You do and see it all—from finances, to real estate, to the relationships with the kids and spouse. Everything is there.”

From his perspective, brokers in our market are missing out on a great opportunity by not working with an attorney. When it comes to lead generation or looking for potential off-market deals, attorneys are amazing assets. Vincent himself has many clients who either need to buy a house or have a house or multiple properties that they need to divest themselves from. 

If you’re a broker who’s frustrated that there’s nothing coming out on the market, talk to a divorce attorney.

If you’re a broker who’s perhaps frustrated that there’s nothing coming out on the market, he recommends that you talk to a divorce attorney. If there’s a house involved in a case they’re handling, many times it needs to be either sold or refinanced. 

Brokers can also provide attorneys with valuable services they don’t do themselves, like a CMA or an appraisal. Heading into an arbitration scenario, home values are an important factor. Lawyers can look at Zillow or Redfin, but having the services of a broker at their disposal allows them to speak from a place of authority in that case. 

Stay tuned for part two of my interview with Vincent, where we’ll delve further into the relationship between the legal world and the real estate industry. If you have any questions for Vincent in the meantime, you can call him at (206) 946-8580 or email him at vincent@halegalteam.com. 

If you have any questions for me or you’re looking to buy or sell a home, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help! 
 

A Conversation With Lloyd Ball of Anomaly Commercial

Lloyd Ball of Anomaly Commercial joins me today to discuss the latest trends in commercial real estate and illustrate how we add value to our clients’ business.

Anomaly Commercial is a commercial real estate brokerage services group that helps investors acquire and sell assets for their portfolios. They also work with tenants, national franchises, and small businesses to help them locate expansion spaces for things like restaurants and retail stores. 

According to Lloyd, an interesting shift is happening on the commercial side of the market. More investors are chasing higher-yield properties in smaller, more affordable markets. They’re shifting their attention away from core areas like downtown Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland and instead focusing on markets like Tacoma, which is actually one of the leading cities in the country in terms of rent growth.  

When asked about making the transition from a residential broker to a commercial broker, Lloyd explains that the knowledge gap is what stops people from taking that extra step and jumping into commercial real estate. The commercial field is specialized, and you have to understand what property types are involved, their specific terminology, and how to evaluate those different types of properties. 

“You’re shifting from business to consumer to business to business,” he says. “It’s more heavy on quantitative analysis and less emotional.”

For residential brokers to bridge that gap, Lloyd suggests they transition from working with single properties to working with multi-family units because they’re more like an investment property anyway. He adds that dealing with businesses on the commercial side of real estate isn’t without its share of emotion either, though. Business owners and CEOs have employees to think about, and they care about their well-being and their opinions.

We work with Lloyd on the transaction coordination side of things, and the systems we have in place as a team add great value to his business.

Alex and the whole Moncord team go above and beyond to help us see what the health of our business is.

For example, when he delivers an offer and it’s mutually accepted or he sends an offer over to a broker, he CCs Lisa and it shows a certain presence that indicates we’re not just some individual broker—we have a team behind us and this is going to be a professional transaction. This effect helps boost the image of the offer as it comes over.  

For Lloyd, there are many more internal benefits for himself also. He doesn’t feel the pressure of keeping track of everything. With our systems, he can look at all the timelines and deadlines and receive email updates when things need to be done. He feels comfortable with any issues because it’s easy to react to them instead of figuring out what has to be done. It’s easy for any broker who deals with a lot of volume to lose their way in regard to what’s important at any given time and where they’ll put their focus on any given day. Without having systems in place, that can be overwhelming. 

“The uncertainty of where things are can paralyze you,” he says. When working with us, whenever a task comes up, it’s easy to get it out of the way, and that creates a mind space that allows you to think about other things in regard to the business. 

“One thing I can testify to is Alex and the whole Moncord team go above and beyond to help us see what the health of our business is.”

I want to thank Lloyd for taking the time to sit down with me today. He is a great asset to our team and I value my friendship with him. If you have any questions for him about commercial real estate, you can email him at Lloyd@AnomalyCO.com. 

If you have any questions for me about our market or you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help you. 


 

Why Molly Says Moncord Is the Best at What They Do

Molly Haines.jpg

Molly Haines

Keller Williams Realty

Listen To The Audio Testimony Below:

"I was referred to them by a colleague of mine who had already started working with them. And they have been helping for a few months now, maybe six, basically do everything after I get the house pending. They just take it from there to closing. I was just in Mexico on vacation and Lisa was extremely helpful. I think she did quite a few things that would not be considered her job so I appreciated that a lot. Very helpful, always available, and they always say yes. I have referred them to a few people and I just tell them that you need to work with a transaction coordinator and if you're going to do that then you need to work with them because they are the best. Taking everything from pending and taking it all the way through saves tons of time for me. I don't have to go in and do small documents back and forth, or contact the escrow company, or contact the other sides lender. It saves me a ton of time in making those phone calls or making those documents, so it is a great value for me." 

- Molly Haines

What Are the 5 Components of Developing a Strategy for Your Business?

How can you develop an overarching strategy for your business? 

The full answer to this question lies in a great book titled “Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works.” It was written by A.G. Lafley, Roger Martin, and other contributors, and discusses the topic of developing an overarching framework, or “strategy cascade.” It was based on their own case studies of how they solved problems within their own industry. 

There are many ways to develop a strategy framework, but within the strategy cascade detailed in this book, there are five components you need to know about.

The first is defining your winning aspiration. What does your real estate business exist to do beyond just making money? What does winning mean to you and your team? Your winning aspiration must transcend money and carry your organization beyond that 10-, 15-, or 20-year mark into the future. 

The second component is defining where you’re going to play in the marketplace. This is also important because it will define where you’re going to decide not to play. Within the real estate market, we sometimes see agents working in multiple areas and not clearly defined on where they’re going to approach and attack the market. Within this specific part of the cascade, you’re defining which specific type of buyer/seller you’ll work with and which region you’ll work in. 

What is your overarching, winning aspiration?

The third component is defining how you’re going to win. This will define your value proposition and your competitive advantage within the marketplace. There are thousands of brokers you’re competing with on a daily basis for the same business. If you can’t clearly define what your competitive advantages are in the marketplace, other brokers will win more business. It’s critical to understand how you’re going to win the marketplace, what your competitive advantage is, and knowing how to execute these principles in your day-to-day business. 

The fourth component is what capabilities are needed. This includes what activities will enable your organization to win within the marketplace. What activities will create accountability? What activities will help business and sales development? 

The fifth and final component is what management systems you’ll need to execute your strategy. Think of this as your processes, procedures, and systems you have on the back end. For example, what type of CRM are you using? What type of lead follow-up processes and procedures do you have in place? These are small components of a real estate business, but a lot of them are needed to have a highly robust management system to execute your overarching strategy. Without having this last component built out, the previous four won’t work. 

There are more components to developing an overarching strategy—all of which we cover in our strategic consulting service—so if you’d like to know more about it, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. If there are any other topics you’d like us to cover, feel free to send us an email. We’d be happy to help. 
 

What Does Moncord Do Differently From the Rest?

I recently sat down to interview Kaley Hopwood, a licensed transaction coordinator and one of our teammates here at Moncord Real Estate Professional Services. 

So, what areas are brokers struggling with and how is Moncord able to resolve those problems? 

Kaley says that the key issue is with communication and time management. Missing deadlines can be particularly harmful to deals. As a transaction coordinator, it is her job to make sure that all of the fine details are sorted out and that everything in the deal moves forward smoothly. 

Time management is a big focus in our mission. Kaley told me that in her near decade’s worth of experience, she has never seen a transaction company as detail-oriented as ours. She noted that everything from our systems to our team members are great contributors to this fact.  

With the way our team does things, she explains, we are backing up our brokers in a way that means they don’t have to worry about certain details. 

When Kaley joined our team, we immediately valued her feedback. We knew that she had a great deal of experience herself, but we also knew that she came from a family who had all also been in the business. 

With this in mind, it obviously meant a lot for her to say that Moncord is the most proactive, detail-oriented transaction company she’s ever seen. 

Moncord is the most proactive, detail-oriented transaction company Kaley’s ever seen.

According to Kaley, our team always goes above and beyond. In her mind, going above and beyond means having everything covered for your clients and having great communication skills. 

Whether it is working on weekends, making extra phone calls, tracking down earnest money, or whatever else it takes—Moncord works hard to take care of our clients. 

If you have any other questions or want more information, feel free to get in touch by giving us a call or sending an email. We look forward to hearing from you. 
 

Answering our Most Common FAQs: Part 2

Welcome back to another one of our Q&A sessions. We’re glad to be joined by Kaley Hopwood, our transaction coordinator, to answer two questions in particular. 
 
1. Once a person is on board and the contract goes mutual, how easy is it to start working with us?
 
Just email us the contract and that’s it. It’s not complicated. You don’t have to open an app or fill out a bunch of paperwork. Once the deal goes mutual, you email it to us and we get to work. It’s really that simple. 

2. What does our onboarding look like? Why is it critical to get that done? 
 
With our onboarding process, we send a small welcome packet to our new clients. This packet covers everything that we do in reasonable detail. The first couple pages contain information about you and your business, including other information we’ll need such as passwords and login information. Since we’re working on your behalf, we need to know everything about your business that you do. Questions include where you’re currently located with your license and contact information for your preferred escrow and lender. We also have questions about your goals and how we can help you achieve them. 
 
The rest of the onboarding packet details information about us and our services. It’s easy to read—you can probably get through it in a couple minutes. We want to make sure everyone’s on the same page in terms of how we work and how we expect to be worked with. 

We want to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

This packet has streamlined much of our onboarding process and saved the broker time because we didn’t have to keep going back and forth asking one question after another. This packet is still evolving and it will grow into better questions we can ask so we can get to the heart of the information that’s really important. 
 
If you have any other questions you’d like answers to, don’t hesitate to shoot us an email. We’d be glad to help you. 
 

Why Jodie Feels Moncord Does Everything They Promise, Plus More

Jodie Weir

Weir Real Estate Group at Owner/REALTOR

Listen To The Audio Testimony Below:

“I started with Moncord, we had an operations manager who ended up leaving the team so we were in a place where we really needed to make sure that files that were in progress, those clients were being contacted. I put a post on Facebook and there were a few different people that had referred Moncord. So I met with Lisa along with a few other transaction coordinators and the thing that I really loved about her was, one, adorable! But she’s just a nice and caring human and we were going through a transition of our team and all the other transaction coordinators I went to gave me a list and said, that’s it! Where Lisa was like, okay you’re in a transition period, we want to be a part of your team, we’re here to help. The way that she presented the different things that they did and also with her background of experience of being a lead buyer specialist. Everything that they do, I feel like they do everything they promise to do plus more and they are always on top of it. I do refer them a ton. I would just tell them that they absolutely need to use them because they will make their life so much simpler. They can trust them and know that they are putting their clients and files in good hands. What they do takes on hundreds of hours that I would be doing. Just really being able to rely on them and trust them to know that what needs to be done is going to be done and not have to worry about that all the time. And also you know, doing the different projects that they are doing with each file and doing addendums, talking to clients, talking to other agents all of that kind of stuff. All the day-to-day tasks of what needs to be done to facilitate a transaction—they do. That frees me up to hopefully get more deals.” 

- Jodie Weir

How Moncord Allows Lloyd to Focus on Higher Return Activities

lloyd.JPG

Lloyd Ball

President/Managing Broker at Anomaly Commercial

Listen To The Audio Testimony Below:

“I heard about the idea from Alex that he was going to launch a business. And I had known that his wife had already been in this space for a long time so I was excited to work with them from a commercial perspective. This was about a year ago and it’s been a great partnership ever since. It seems like their service level is above and beyond because I’ve had other commercial brokers compliment me on how fancy our system is because as soon as something goes into contract there’s this barrage of emails that goes to all the stake holders in the deal letting them know when time lines are and when XYZ is due, that escrow is set up and it just works. It all comes together very nicely. That said, it’s just constant above and beyond compared to what I’ve seen in the past. And I’ve been in real estate for 16 years so I’ve seen a lot of it. Specifically for commercial people that I work with all the time, I kinda don’t want them to have Moncord! No, I’m just kidding. I would say that it really gives you an edge, it allows you to focus on the higher return activities instead of working on transaction management, which is crucial and it’s very important because any deal can fall apart if the key people kind of take a back seat and they don’t drive the deal. I would say it makes you more productive. For people in my position most of the time they don’t like paperwork and they’d rather be in the field talking to people and looking at property and analyzing its highest and best use. So I’d say it’s going to make you a better real estate professional. I don’t have to worry that I’m going to miss a date, I don’t have to keep going back and looking at the contract and figuring out all those things that are key and crucial to keep me out of trouble but also keep the deal moving forward. First of all, it’s a stress reliever and then second of all it makes me look like I’m bringing a team to the table that’s professional. I do have a team but not on that side of the business and now if feel more complete and it gives me a sense of pride and confidence. Lastly, it’s freed up my time to not have to focus on those details and it’s allowed me to continue to prospect and focus on revenue driving activities.“

- Lloyd Ball

Answering our Most Common FAQs

Whenever we’re onboarding new clients or answering questions for prospects interested in using our services in the near future, two questions in particular get asked the most often:

  1. How do we get compensated?

  2. Can we draft addenda for the real estate agents that we serve?

To answer the first question, we get compensated when you get compensated. If the transaction closes and we’ve put in the work to help you close that transaction, we’ll get compensated for that work. If the transaction doesn’t close, however, we don’t charge you a fee and we don’t get compensated.

We believe in building a partnership with you and we know the challenges of the market. There are times when deals fall apart where we may have done a lot of work up front, but we won’t charge for that because we know that you did a lot of work up front and you’re not getting paid for it either. Most of the time when a deal falls apart, the real estate brokers we work with are very good at getting whichever client they were working with under contract somewhere else and moving the deal forward.

We believe in building a partnership with you.

To answer the second question, yes we do draft addenda for the brokers we serve. Our transaction coordinators are licensed, which gives us the ability to draft addenda and manage that process.

The one thing we don’t do while drafting addenda is write down verbiage. This is because of liability reasons. If a broker needs addenda drafted, they give us the language they want to use for it and we make sure that language gets placed onto that addenda verbatim. We then manage that process to get signatures from the respective parties, whether that’s the buyer, seller, another real estate agent, or whomever. We then send that document out to the right parties that it needs to go to within the transaction. This creates more efficiency for the broker so they can keep moving forward and growing their business.

Stay tuned for future videos where we’ll address more frequently asked questions. In the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We’d be happy to help.

Improve Your Marketing Campaigns By Adding This Tool To Your Arsenal

Today I’m here with Tim Mangold, who is a digital advisor for Moncord, to share some cool things with you on how to better market your listings. 

To really step up your marketing game, you need to use custom property websites. These websites generate more listings and market those listings more successfully. 

Yourhome.studio is the brand, and the websites can normally be purchased for $150 here.

However, today we are offering these websites for only $33! Reserve your order in the next seven days to lock in that great deal.

Better yet, if you are new to Moncord and have never done a transaction with us, but decide to give us an opportunity to provide you with Transaction or Listing Coordination Services, we will credit a one time $33 on your first transaction. So in essence it's FREE on your first order to try Yourhome.studio property websites!

Most of the time, real estate agents have their print marketing game on point. They present beautiful flyers or have special brochures about a property, but we see them struggle with digital marketing. 

Custom property websites are your digital solution.

Using Tim's custom property websites has given his team some great results, and they want to share that success with other brokers. 

Everyone knows that buyers start their home searches online, so presenting them with a website that contains all your listings will really wow them.  

If you purchase one, you’ll get to speak with Tim’s team who will show you how you can use it to generate the most business. It’s more than just a website that looks good. It really is your first step to creating a great digital marketing plan that will be the foundation for capturing leads. 

We use the website to capture those leads in two ways. 

First, Tim's team offers a free pre-inspection report and a tips and tricks document that explains how to submit the most competitive offer. Second, we put a tracking pixel on the homepage which will continue to advertise to potential leads as they surf the web. 

There is so much more about the websites that you should know, so I encourage you to email Tim at Contact@MangoldHomes.com or call 425-205-0791 with any and all questions you may have. This really is a great digital marketing solution. To order a custom property website, just click here!

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! 

Why Shari Describes Moncord as Dialed In and ON IT

Shari Jansen: Avenue Properties

Shari Jansen: Avenue Properties

Listen To The Audio Testimony Below:

"Well, since I introduced the two of them, through real estate working at Keller Williams years back as a CEO team leader, Alex and Lisa started doing transactions for their office. I had just moved to a new office called Avenue Properties and he said, can you give me shot? I said I’d love to, absolutely love to. So that’s how we began and I introduced them to our whole company and just started, every deal we have, we use Alex and Lisa, every single one. We had a very difficult transaction, it was a custom build, international buyer. He’s a principal for a new division of Microsoft, high end stuff. It took 10 months from the time we basically stole the house from the builder. We brought Lisa in upon purchase and sale, huge deposits of earnest monies, big chunks of money. I mean that girl probably should have been paid quadruple what she got! Because they were there the entire 10 months keeping this family in the loop which was really important. The things that she would view as important were on my priority they were hers, which made her a master of what she did and I was a master at what I did so that’s how we team approach. It turned to be awesome, we’re all good friends, this family we’ve made very dear friends with them. It turned out amazing actually. They are ON IT. They absolutely don’t skip a beat. They have their checklists, checklists, and checklists. Which going into a different company, having them going into ours, she was familiar with the paperless pipeline it was really our master checklist for our designated broker, and she just dialed in, knew everything. The intro letters that she sends to the clients right from the time of purchase and sale agreement are incredible. She’s does a lot of explaining of things that as a new buyer, things like that, she really handles that beautifully. I say she, but it’s Lisa and Alex. So yeah, very, very happy with them. We just hand them a file, and once that electronic file goes over I know it will get done, I don’t have to worry about it. She sends us everything that is checked off and done so we know it’s completed. I don’t have to double check her, she double checks me which I love that. They’re very, very good and always keeping you informed and CC-ing clients, CC-ing all parties and keeping everyone in the loop. She’s made it so that, we just closed two pendings this last week, we’re just selling so my time isn’t in the office it’s out in the car with my clients."  - Shari of Avenue Properties

Why Roger Trusts Moncord to Get Things Done

Roger Bitner Sr.: Synergy Properties

Roger Bitner Sr.: Synergy Properties

Listen To The Audio Testimony Below:

“Lisa was referred to me from an escrow officer that I’ve done business with for a long time. And that probably occurred, I don’t want to say the exact date but let me think about this for a second, probably she’s been my transaction coordinator for three years plus. And so it was an introduction, a referral from an escrow officer that I trusted and did business with. I’m used to being a business owner so lets just say that in the first two years with Lisa, I’m a believer in that when you hire somebody, [you] let them do their job, so I basically did not talk to Lisa for the first two years, and I met her probably two years after I hired her. So basically she gets it done, and I only ask her to call me if it’s an emergency and she can’t solve the problem, so that’s how she helps me. Well I’ve referred them to probably four or five brokers within the framework of our office at Keller Williams over the last couple of months. They’re responsive, I love their online cloud based transaction system. It gives me access over my cellphone, my iPad, over any computer that I’m accessible to. It allows my back office admin to track what’s going on. I work off of a template in agreement that I’ve worked with her on certain tasks that she performs for me and the greatest thing that I can say to the people that I refer to is that she gets it done and you don’t have to worry about it. I pay them for the services and we just negotiated all the steps that take the burdens of closing a transaction off my back. And it’s rare that she has to chase me to have me solve a problem that she can’t solve herself. Not quite sure what else I could do other than I’d give her five stars and I’ve recommended her to other agents and I don’t take a recommendation lightly.”

Why Hire a Transaction Coordinator?

We believe that there are two foundational reasons why a real estate agent would choose to hire a transaction coordinator like ourselves. The first is to save time, the second is to ensure great customer care.

Not a lot of agents are aware of this, but it takes 10 to 20 hours to manage a single transaction from beginning to end. Instead of spending a lot of that time signing contracts and communicating back and forth with your client; you could be leveraging that time to grow your business. You could also be coming up with different ways to generate revenue or just spend more time with family.

A lot of agents out there are not leveraging their time effectively in order to grow and scale their businesses. When a real estate agent wants to increase their business, they have to take a closer look at their time management and determine where the inefficiencies are in their business so they can cut them out. Hiring a transaction coordinator is one of the ways you can offload some of those “time vampires” in your business.

When we succeed, it’s good for both of our businesses.

Great customer care both leaves your client happy with the service while also establishing credibility as a professional. With a transaction coordinator managing the process from A to Z, it takes a huge weight off your shoulders. It also helps with your referral business. Here at Moncord, it’s normal for us to get a thank you message from a buyer or seller after the transaction. They thank us for relieving their stress and helping them feel comfortable. That’s good for both of our businesses because we’re working together as a team.

We believe those are the two most important reasons to hire a transaction coordinator. They save you time so you can focus on higher dollar-producing activities and they maintain your reputation and credibility through great customer care.

If you have any questions for us or are interested in hiring us to help your next transaction along, give us a call or send us an email. We would love to hear from you.

Is A Marketing Assistant Exactly What You Need?

By Amanda Creter

A new world of possibilities for the modern day Real Estate Agent has been unlocked when it comes to marketing. Many professionals have integrated new strategies and tactics that are setting themselves apart leveraging social media and other distribution channels. However, with these new opportunities also come new responsibilities and many Real Estate Agents simply don’t have the time to invest to make sure they are staying competitive. This is leaving quite a bit of their potential market untapped, open to other Agents who have taken steps to monopolize marketing.

How have they done this? Aren’t they just as busy? They were most likely in the exact same boat as the next agent. So when it came time to expand their team, they looked toward the role of a Marketing Assistant, knowing the advantages such a role would give them in the industry. A real estate team can benefit from many roles, each specializing in their respective duties. Why should a Marketing Assistant be at/near the top of your list? Here are a few areas of value one can bring to your team.

·         Generating/Creating Content – Most Real Estate Agents don’t have much time to post anything other than Congratulations to clients who have just sold or purchased a home. Writing is also not every Agents strong suit. A Marketing Assistant can help a Real Estate Agent or Real Estate Team bridge the gap by creating marketing content. Whether this be weekly blog posts, systematic posting on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc), or adding relevant material on an Agent/Teams website, this creates a web presence they wouldn’t otherwise have. 

·         Lead Management – While they are running your social media presence, they can also be monitoring and following up on leads that come through these channels. Today’s Real Estate Agent has so many lead channels to choose from or invest in, which can become overwhelming. Often times the leads go unchecked because an Agent/Team doesn’t have the time to follow up. Adding this task into your Marketing Assistant’s duties while he/she is already managing your marketing initiatives may be a cost effective way to ensure your leads are not wasted.

·         Market Research – You are busy working with clients and growing a team. You most likely do not have the time to sit down and research what makes your competitor more successful, or what you could be doing more effectively. A Marketing Assistant will be able to do this and provide you with a comprehensive break down on what you are doing well, and what could be improved upon. This may provide you or your team a distinct advantage over the competition.

·         Advertising – The preferred way for Real Estate Agents is to operate and build their business through word of mouth. This takes time to build and Agents still need to cultivate their message to their past clients to maintain their referral business. For a newer Agent, or an Agent trying to grow a team who needs leads to distribute to their team of Agents, a referral based business may not  produce enough leads to sustain a team. When it comes to advertising, many Agents may be challenged finding where to start to build a sustainable pipeline of leads. A Marketing Assistant can spearhead lead pipeline growth initiatives while managing the projects.

A marketing assistant is not only limited to helping out in the areas mentioned above, but those with more experience can take on and understand SEO and Social Media strategies, digital transformation initiatives, and planning/overseeing promotional activities or customer appreciation events. Depending on the structure and goals of your business, a Marketing Assistant can be salaried or paid hourly. If you have your sights set on continuing to grow and are unsure of how to execute against a true marketing strategy, this hire may play a vital role to your organization.

Let us know your thoughts by commenting below

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Executing Strategy: Different Approaches to Consider

By Amanda Creter

We have already discussed strategy and some of the popular strategic techniques. Picking a strategy that speaks to you is the first step. But where do you go from there? Having a strategy in place isn’t enough. You need to be able to effectively execute that strategy to create long term success for your business, and most business owners will admit that execution is their number one struggle.

                So what is the key to business execution? Like strategy, there is no right answer. Many forms of business execution exist and each one has its place. Here are a few noteworthy examples to help you decide which best aligns with your specific strategy.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Covey, Huling, McChesney

·         Discipline 1 – Focus on the Wildly Important: In the simplest terms, the more you try to split your focus, the less you will end up accomplishing. This is often a hard task for leaders to practice, because they want to try and do it all. But to be successful, you need to focus on that wildly important goal and pursue avenues that are in line with helping you achieve that goal.

·         Discipline 2 – Act on the Lead Measures: This discipline focuses on the notion that not every action your team performs will be equal in importance. This is why the first discipline is so important. With a clear goal in mind, you can more easily identify which measures require your attention. Instead of focusing on Lag Measures (things that have already happened), you can then focus on Lead Measures (high impact items that need to be focused on within your company to achieve your goal and fix your Lag Measures).

·         Discipline 3 – Keep a Compelling Scoreboard: To maintain motivation you need to engage with your team in a way that drives them to succeed. When they know the “score” and whether or not they are “winning or losing” the level of performance and productivity will rise. The key to keeping score however, is that you allow them to create the scoreboard so that they can instantly and easily know their place on it.

·         Discipline 4 – Create a Cadence of Accountability: The first three disciplines set you up for execution, but it isn’t until the fourth discipline that you truly begin to execute. You do this by establishing a system of accountability. Unless your team is holding each other accountable, and being consistent with that accountability, you will not be able to achieve your goals. They have to know that they are being held to a certain standard, and that they can in return ask their teammates to hold to that standard as well. With regular accountability check ins, your team with be invested in achieving the goals you have set forth.

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

·         The People Process: Focuses on looking into the future, instead of in the past or present. Most companies look at employees and evaluate whether or not they can do the job they are currently doing. According to Bossidy and Charan, you should be looking at employees and evaluating whether or not they can do the job of tomorrow. The types of assessments most companies have in place look at past performance, but don’t effectively asses future capabilities.

·         The Strategy Process: Are the people you have employed capable of executing your strategy? With an effective skills matrix in place, you can address the lack of certain areas of skill within your company before they compromise strategy.

·         The Operations Process: Most strategic visions require that skill levels change and advance over time. By having a system in place where employees can easily access learning materials to increase their skills, you help them achieve skill milestones that aid in your strategic objective and timeline.

The Execution Premium: Linking Strategy to Operations for Competitive Advantage by Robert Kaplan and David Norton

·         Stage 1 – Develop the Strategy: This stage is heavily focused on conventional strategy. First you need to clearly outline your mission statement, values, and vision. From there, start to do an analysis, such as a SWOT analysis, on your competitors and market trends. Completing analysis’s like these will give you the information critical to developing your strategy.

·         Stage 2 – Plan the Strategy: Once you have developed your strategy, then transform your objectives and goals into short term plans of action. Create a plan, identify gaps, and implement your strategy accordingly.

·         Stage 3 – Align the Organization with the Strategy: Once you have a clear strategic plan in place based off of your mission, values, and vision, make sure you have articulately conveyed them to your team. If they do not see your dream and understand it the way you do, they cannot effectively implement strategy to help achieve those goals.

·         Stage 4 – Plan Operations: Align your strategy with the most important aspects of your business. Do not waste your time or your resources improving aspects of your business that are not absolutely vital to your strategy. Instead focus on the core processes that will help facilitate stronger strategic and operational ties.

·         Stage 5 – Monitor and Learn: Do not just sit back and assume that everyone understood your vision and is now executing strategy the way you desire. Check in frequently to get status updates and feedback. This way you learn of a problem in the strategic operation early on, and can address it as soon as possible.

·         Stage 6 – Test and Adapt the Strategy: Be pliable. At some point along the way your strategy will need to adapt. As you grow, your goals will begin to change, which will require a change in strategy. Over time you may also see a change in your market, whether it be consumer or competition, and to remain successful you will need to be able to adapt to that change. If your strategy fails early on, try a different tactic. Strategy is not a perfect science, and will require trial and error.

These are only a handful of the examples of Strategic Execution out there. No strategy is the same, and therefore no execution will be the same. Do your research, and create a strategic execution plan based on what you are trying to achieve. Many struggle with strategic execution, so don’t be surprised if you don’t succeed immediately. The key is to keep adjusting and adapting until you do.

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Lead Well...5 Areas Great Leaders Master

By Amanda Creter

     Whether you are just beginning your journey into Leadership, or whether you have been leading a team for a while now, a great leader strives to set themselves apart from the rest. These leaders attract and retain the best talent. But what is it about the great leaders out there that makes them stand out from the rest? And how do you take yourself, and your business to the next level where great leaders reside? Here are 5 areas they have come to master that set them apart from the crowd.

Made to Inspire: All of the great leaders are able to inspire their people. They have a goal in mind, a vision they want to bring to fruition, and they convey that vision to those linked to them in such a way that they see it too. The ability to inspire your staff with the same fire and passion you have, will make it easier to achieve those dreams. Many working towards the same goal that believe in it as well is the foundation of success.

Great Communicators: You may know exactly what your goal is and how you need to go about achieving it. But if you can’t effectively communicate it to your team, how are they supposed to know the direction you want them to be taking? You may think you are communicating effectively, but that isn’t always the case. If tasks are being completed the way you envisioned them being done, then you may have already mastered the ability to communicate successfully. If you think they may be having a hard time understanding what you are communicating, be frank and ask them. If you can’t communicate your vision, then you can’t inspire your people.

Know When and How to Delegate: If you have mastered inspiring and communicating with your team, then it’s time to delegate the workload. Your entire operation will run more smoothly if you can hand out tasks to your team and know that you have been able to communicate how you want them done, and they see your vision clearly enough to execute those tasks without needing to be micromanaged or having their hand held. Great leaders are not afraid to take risks by allowing their team the chance to shine. “At Lucasfilm, superboss George Lucas trusted his team to define the characters, set designs, and sounds of the original Star Wars movie. He didn’t micromanage. But he did check in periodically and personally to test employees’ inventions against his vision. Because he was so clear about what really mattered — his vision — he could more easily cede control over all else” Harvard Business Review

Stay Flexible: Sometimes, aspects of your vision may not be attainable. Instead of stubbornly sticking to your plan that isn’t working, be open minded to other ideas. Tweaking parts of your business or plan that isn’t working doesn’t mean admitting failure. It’s knowing when it’s time to be flexible so that you can succeed. FUBU CEO Daymond John said “One of the biggest myths is that good business leaders are great visionaries with dogged determination to stick to their goals no matter what. It’s nonsense. The truth is, leaders need to keep an open mind while being flexible, and adjust if necessary. When in the startup phase of a company, planning is highly overrated and goals are not static. Your commitment should be to invest, develop and maintain great relationships.”

Keep it Positive: Things are going to go wrong. Show me one example of a business or team that has had smooth sailing every step of the way? Chances are you can’t, it’s not the way life works. You will have set backs, and when that happens, you will have a team looking to you to show them the way. Lead them by example. It’s how you handle the downs that will set you apart. Keeping your employees positive is essential to productivity. So if this means the occasional office treat (like bringing lunch in), or taking everyone out one Friday a month, do it. A happy team is a healthy team, and if you go out of your way to stay positive and spread that positivity, they will notice.

     Leverage the attributes you currently have that Great Leaders are known for and work on those that need attention to get you to the next level of leadership. You, your employees, and your business will be happy you did. 

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Real Estate Agent Productivity Hacks and Tools: Here are just a few, what are you using?

By Amanda Creter and Alex Mont-Ros

     We’ve used the saying “time is money” before. In a busy real estate market, truer words have never been spoken. To be as successful as possible, a Real Estate Agent must learn to maximize their time and become as productive as humanely possible. The most successful agents don’t waste a single minute of their day. They have mapped out and organized their business so it is a lean, mean, well-oiled machine. To take your business to the next level, you must do the same. Here are some hacks to help get you started.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems

     The number one tool at an Agents disposal is that of a CRM System. If you are not using one, then you need to seriously take a look at how you are running your business. From our experience, the majority of business an agent receives is through word of mouth and on a referral basis. This is why top Real Estate Agents will ask often and strategically throughout a transaction if their client has any referrals, usually at set points throughout the transaction. These leads need to be tracked and managed so the business can have a line of sight on where the potential next transactions will be coming from. With regards to referrals and timing of when to ask for them, The Real Estate Trainer mentions, “always bring up the topic at the listing consultation, after successful open house, after an offer is accepted, after inspection repairs are completed, after a home appraises, at closing, and after many other steps in the typical transaction are completed.” For these new leads that will come from asking for referrals, a CRM is a must. If you already have a CRM and it’s working for you, stick with it. If you have yet to REALLY incorporate a CRM into your business here are a few you can try free.

·         Streak – If you already use Gmail and find it easy to navigate, check out their FREE CRM tool. They even have an option specifically for Real Estate Agents

·         Hubspot – Hubspot offers both a free trial and a full program upgrade. This one is more like a traditional CRM, and for anyone who may have past experience using them, you may find this one more user friendly than others. The coolest feature I enjoy about this one, the ability to track when someone opens an email. For marketing campaigns this is a great feature as it ties right into your email allowing you to get instant notifications and increasing your ability to convert leads.

·         Brivity – A CRM created by Top Real Estate Agent Ben Kinney. This CRM takes your business to the next level by increasing the effectiveness of customer service and marketing tactics and strategies. It is also a fantastic and effective Time Management Tool as well. Ben Kinney is well known in the industry and this tool was built by agents for agents. Highly recommended!!

These are just a few of the CRM options available to you. No matter which system you choose, we highly recommend FULLY implementing one if you want to grow your business!

Project Management and Collaboration Tools

     One way to stay on top of your business is by using a Project Management and Collaboration Tools. There are many out there to choose from. Here are just a some we recommend:

·         idonethis.com

·         Trello

·         Asana

·         Groupme

·         Slack

     These all have free versions and are easy to use. I really enjoy using idonethis as it allows you to keep track of tasks, reminding you and your team of what was accomplished the day before. It then keeps those tasks that were not complete on the list until further notice, updating you at a set time every day through email notification that you can control. Pretty cool, super simple, and highly recommended.

     Most of these tools allow you to input every aspect of your project(s), assign tasks to team members to be completed, input deadlines, create check lists (that can then be assigned to different team members), among many other features. And it is all in one easy to use interface. Keep track of your day and what your team members are doing so that everyone stays on track and is maximizing their productivity.

Transaction Coordination Services

     We have discussed in the past how having a Transaction Coordinator or Transaction Coordination System in place will save you valuable time you could be spending networking and growing your business! Contracting your Real Estate Transactions out to a qualified team will increase productivity, assist in bringing in new business, and improve customer service. This can also have the added effect of increasing how often clients refer you out. Remember, transaction management can take up to 10-20 hours per transaction. As an agent, if you are coordinating transactions, you are missing out on executing against revenue generating activities. Delegating is what leaders of a business do to go above and beyond, and transaction coordination should be on your list of the next set of activities that you stop doing and start delegating.

Tracking Your Time

     A key step in understanding how to increase your productivity is by being aware of how and what you are spending your time on. You may think you are using your time each day, week, or month to the fullest, and maybe you are, but using a program that will track what you are spending your time on will show you if you need to refocus your energy on other tasks. These are some great tools for teams who have admin or staff working on key projects for the business as well as keeping track of your own time as a business leader or owner as well.

·         TimeDoctor – TimeDoctor is an app that can be placed on all of your devices, such as phone and computer. It will track what you are doing during the day (example: how much time spent on social media, emails, research) and will give you a daily, weekly and monthly break down. You can review the reports and be aware of areas you are or are not spending enough time in.

·         Hubstaff – Similar to TimeDoctor and allows you to track your activity daily, weekly, and monthly as well. Another feature that couple be a bonus is that you can add your team onto the account and see how productive they are as well. This will help your entire team with Time Management.

     These are only a few hacks to help increase productivity and time management. There are many options and variations out there at your disposal, and any number of them can make all the difference. Try out a few different programs and tools to implement, get a feel for what is right for you and your team, and customize your routine from there. Once you are organized and maximizing your time to run more efficiently, you should see a growth in your business! 

If you know of any other great hacks or tools to increase productivity, please share with us by commenting below!

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Real Estate Challenges Series: The Bozo Explosion

By Amanda Creter and Alex Mont-Ros

     A few months ago, we met with a very successful real estate agent who was struggling with team members and getting them into production. Time and time again this real estate agent/team leader would hire on someone to find out a few weeks later they were not a good fit and momentum was always lost. As we examined the business from a transaction coordination and consultative perspective, we identified that the team leader was not hiring the type of agents that would help raise the bar on the overall team’s production and growth objectives, which builds momentum and attracts other talented individuals. This was one reason amongst many why their business began to struggle. Most of us never give a second thought as to why this happens to countless teams that are eager to be successful, but continue to be plagued with an unproductive team.

     Any number of factors could have influenced the trajectory of why a real estate team fails to meet their potential. One element that we see often influencing a real estate team’s success, or lack thereof, is the management teams' ability to hire the right talent. In previous Real Estate Challenges Series articles, we’ve discussed the importance of taking your time on hiring the right fit for your company and how it can influence the outcome of your company’s overall success. When it comes to hiring talent we have experienced our own trials as an organization, so we can empathize with those that are going through this today.

      The point we want to drive home is if you hire team members that don’t raise the overall benchmark or bar of the team/organization, you will end up with inept employees or independent contractors that will not add the appropriate value you were looking for. Steve Jobs labeled this the “bozo explosion”. Jobs believed that “A Players” should hire other “A Players”. We are in agreement on this and it needs to be a clear expectation that the leader sets as the standard for all new hires coming on board. When management hires anything less than an A Player, it increases the odds of business integrity degradation and lack of high performance. In return, it becomes a trickle effect where B, C, and D Players become the norm and sets the benchmark for the organization. These players will most likely produce the outcome of a failed organization.

     Notice the image below for two examples that keep the organization or team thriving and on the cutting edge, versus the example that don’t move the organization forward and creates roadblocks to true growth and success. On the right side, the CEO or Real Estate Team Lead and those under them (think of them as Executive Assistants, Transaction Coordinators, Buyers Agents, Listing Agents, Marketing Coordinators, Etc.), were A Players and the hiring process continued to meet the standard of hiring on A Players. This increases the odds of bringing out the best outcomes for the roles they were hired into. However on the left side, When that same CEO or Team Lead hired on a B Player, they also were more inclined to hire down and not challenging the status quo which created a ripple effect of more poor hires. Thus, as Steve Jobs would mention creating the “bozo explosion”.   

     Now, you may be looking at this image thinking your team or organization is different. You may have a small Real Estate team and only have one manager, with a handful of Agents under him/her. With a small team, you couldn’t possibly have a bozo explosion on your hands, Right? If you don't know, its time to take inventory of your team. If you already made the mistake of hiring  B, C, or D Players, take corrective action. By now, you already have an idea of those on the team that are not a good fit by the deterioration of the quality of work, decreased productivity, and possibly stunted company growth. Either provide them better training, repurpose them to a better fit within the organization that plays to their strengths, or cut ties with that employee or independent contractor. Keeping them around hoping they will improve within their current role only hurts the members of your team that are working hard and being productive...the A players.

     Another way to prevent the bozo effect is by diversifying your team. You need different perspectives to think outside the box and grow in ways you may not have seen on your own. Diversity within a company is healthy. You shouldn’t rule a candidate out because they don’t have the right resume. Plenty of candidates have the perfect resumes and still end up being B, C, D, or worse, F Players.

“Keeping them around hoping they will improve within their current role only hurts the members of your team that are working hard and being productive…the A players.”

     So how do you go about hiring A Players? It seems like a simple answer, hire someone smarter and better than yourself. It really is that simple on the surface and you shouldn’t be threatened by this. Many times we may not hire better and smarter because we feel they will out do us and eventually not see the value to stay for the long haul. Another excuse or fear may be that you become exposed of some insecurity as a leader. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to hire smarter and better, it’s what your business needs, not a bunch of bozos you can tell what to do who add no sustainable value to the organization. A better practice is to interview someone with the thought in mind “would I want to work for you and can you do what I need done better than myself?” If the answer is yes, and they are qualified with a proven track record, you may have found your fit. 

     It is also worth noting, just because a person is smarter, doesn’t mean they will actually be a good fit within your company so don’t make the mistake of hiring just smart people. They could be extremely knowledgeable within one area of the business, but lack EQ and the expertise within your particular field. The worse is having someone who is a genius, but lacks work ethic needed to get the right things done. As Mark Zuckerburg mentioned and rings to be true, “Raw intellect is not the only measure of an effective person; the real trick is finding smart-working people who aren’t jerks that get stuff done.”

     As you are working to grow your real estate business and hiring on team members, keep in mind that you are not alone in this struggle, and let us tell you, the struggle is real. Focus on finding A Players that may be smarter and can do what you do better, or that can focus on doing the tasks better that you don’t find productive as a leader. With this type of focus, you just may reduce the risk of having a Bozo Explosion within your organization.

Please comment and share with us your thoughts below.

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Real Estate Challenges Series: Hire Slow, Fire Fast??

Contributors: Amanda Creter and Alex Mont-Ros  

     When you are growing your real estate business, there comes a point where you can no longer do it alone. You have more on your plate than you can handle, so naturally, you begin the hiring process. This is necessary and vital to your organization. However, you should be very careful during this phase, because it can easily hinder growth, instead of aid it. Who you hire, especially early on, is paramount to the construction of your team and the trajectory of your business.

     With most startups and specific to real estate, once you feel the pressure to bring someone on, you’ve waited too long. You feel like you “need someone NOW.” Flash hiring because you need the “bodies” can get you into a lot of trouble and set your company back. Former Apple Chief Evangelist Guy Kawasaki said "When you're in a rush to fill openings to respond to growth, you make mistakes. Unfortunately, many companies adopt the attitude of, 'hire any intelligent body, or we'll lose business--we'll sort everything out later.'' This method, though it may be effective in the interim, will not serve you well for the long haul.

     So what is the best approach when it comes to your real estate business and who you align yourself with? There’s a lot of controversy over the mantra “hire slow, fire fast”, but many successful business owners support this philosophy. I think what many people miss is that this hiring process isn’t advising you to take a long time to interview and bring on each new person, but it does recommend you perform your due diligence and not rush it.

     Instead of reviewing a resume and conducting 1-2 interviews before extending an employment offer, take a bit longer to get to know the person, and how well they will mesh with your team. If feasible, possibly extend an invitation to come in and work side by side with your team for a day. There are other plenty of great ways to perform this due diligence such as implementing Panel Interviews with a few trusted people, usually no more than 3, who can walk through situational & behavioral questions and role plays with the candidate. This process usually removes the hiring manager and allows their peers or trusted few to interview the candidate and give their unbiased opinion, allowing the collective group to rate as a whole the candidate. Keller Williams Realty also has a well built out structure called Recruit Select to help identify the right candidate for the job. Involving your team early on will help in the decision making process, and could save you from a catastrophic hiring mistake. But what do you do if you’ve already made the mistake?

     Most individuals are not trained on how to bring on new talent, or cut ties with someone who just isn’t working out. It’s a process learned over time, by trial and error. It’s okay if you have already made the mistake of hiring too quickly and now being faced with the dilemma of what to do next. If you already have the feeling a team member isn’t working out, it’s time to part ways. Keeping someone on staff that just isn’t working out hurts both your team and your business. A bad apple can slowly poison the rest of the batch. If you keep someone around who shouldn’t be there, your team will notice, and begin to question why. You may feel a sense of loyalty; maybe you hired a friend, or this is someone who has been there from the start. But waiting won’t resolve the issue, and it isn’t kind to keep someone around that is detrimental to everyone else.

     Firing fast when you realize the person isn’t a fit is crucial to your business. As the saying goes, “you are only as strong as your weakest link.” You are running a business, not a charity. You have clients, and possibly investors, to answer to. You cannot afford to keep someone around that isn’t working out. Firing someone is never easy, and never feels good. It requires being a leader and having hard conversations. When all is said and done, your business and your team will thank you for doing what was necessary for them to thrive. 

If you know of any other great ways for hiring the right talent and avoid making bad hiring decisions, please comment below and share. We would love to hear from you.


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References:

Kawasaki, G. (2006). How to prevent a bozo explosion. Retrieved from http://guykawasaki.com/how_to_prevent_/