An Interview With Mike Dorman From Eclipse BMS

Today, Mike Dorman from Eclipse Business Management Systems Inc. joins me to talk about how his company can help grow your business.

Mike was in sales for 13 years. For the first 10, he struggled with chasing leads, even as a top producer with a successful business. He didn't have a work/life balance, so Mike decided to make the shift from chasing leads to attracting business.

After implementing a few proven strategies, Mike started teaching other people how to transition from chasing leads to attracting business, which is what Eclipse does.

Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

2:00: Mike explains the areas Eclipse concierges focus on for real estate brokers: gifting, conversion, phone calls to your database, events, and monthly mailers.

4:00: The cost benefits of hiring Eclipse versus hiring an in-house Marketing Coordinator.

6:30: Why your database may not be as organized as you think it is.  

7:00: How Eclipse generated 1,700 referrals for their clients in 2017.

9:00: What’s the first step in getting to know more about Eclipse? Check out their webinars on EclipseBMS.com.

I’d like to thank Mike for joining me today. We leverage Eclipse for part of our marketing strategy, and they have been really great. If you have any questions for Mike, you can reach him at 425.214.6253 or Mike@EclipseBMS.com.

As always, if you have any other questions about growing your real estate business, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

 

Why Moncord Allows Lisa More Freedom and Less Worry

lisa serratos headshot.JPG

Lisa Serratos-McGregor

Synergy Properties-Keller Williams Realty Federal Way

Lisa Serratos-McGregor

“Well that’s a good story, I had a partner in the last two years that was using Lisa at Moncord previously and told me all the great things that they do. I did not believe until I’d seen it and started working with them and I’ve been able to give them all of my transactions this year. I have been able to save a lot of money due to not having another employee expense, they’ve done a great job just keeping all of my deals together, great communication, and a great platform. I would say the previous listing coordinator that they had that worked with them, she was just on the ball at all times. I think she over-worked! I always felt like she actually worked for me directly just because she was so on top of communication and just getting things done and very detailed. I would tell people that it’s just a great resource in your real estate business to keep things organized. You’ll have less calls from clients because they’re informed, they know what’s going on. It’s a very nice platform again to be able to go back to, to have all your paperwork in line, and everything is uploaded so if you ever have any issues you can just go back in and grab access to it. Regarding building my business and more time, I would say just because I trust them now, it took time to build that trust to have different coordinator than I originally started with and so it took like a month to get stabilized with that. But at the end of the day I trust her, she’s always doing things with a smile, she’s again very on top of everything and it’s been able to allow me more freedom and less worry.”

- Lisa Serratos-McGregor

How Justin Richards Built His Real Estate Team

Today I’m joined by Justin Richards of Entegra Real Estate to discuss building a real estate team. 

Justin is a long-time client of ours and a top producer in our area. He has been working in the Greater Puget Sound area and the Bellevue and Seattle markets for 14 years and started to build a team a couple of years ago. Entegra Real Estate focuses on buyers and investment strategies, but they can handle all aspects of real estate. 

You can listen to our full conversation in the video above. Here are a few highlights from our conversation about team building: 

2:00 Justin discusses the challenges of starting a team and the advantages of working with Moncord Real Estate Professional Services 

5:00 Justin offers a few tips to help you build a team in 2018. 

7:00 As the broker of a team, you have two customers: your clients and your agents. 

9:00 At what point do you start bringing on agents? How can you make sure that you hire agents that align with your goals? 

11:00 Setting standards for your agents so that your team can grow with you. 

12:00 Justin explains why he is his agents’ competitor. 

I would like to thank Justin for joining me today. We have learned many things over the years of working together, and I appreciate him stopping by to discuss team building. 

If you have any further questions, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!
 

Continuing Our Talk With Attorney Vincent Humphrey

Welcome to the second half of my discussion with attorney Vincent Humphrey. When we last left off, we were exploring all the advantages a broker could gain by reaching out to an attorney and establishing a professional partnership. 

As stated in part one of this interview, a broker not forging a true partnership with an attorney is a missed opportunity in the real estate industry. 

Vincent talks to many different managing brokers at different real estate firms, and from a brokerage standpoint, many times there is an attorney behind the triggering events of why a person or a family needs to buy or sell a house. In this way, it’s a benefit for the attorney to have this working relationship as well. 

If you’re a broker and you’re interested in everything a professional relationship with an attorney can provide, Vincent would be more than happy to speak with you, fill you in on all the details, and see if you would be a good fit. From there, you would build your network and add value to your business. Many times, it’s not about your immediate need—it’s about who you know in your network who you can build a bond with in your own respective businesses. 

An attorney can provide you with information that could be a value add for one of your clients.

Once you build that relationship, more of your immediate needs can get taken care of. For example, if you’re trying to sell a home for a client who’s going through a nasty divorce and you’re not sure how long before you can close and move on to your next deal, a lawyer can step in and offer their advice on how to settle the situation. 

If it is a good symbiotic fit between you and them, they can provide you with more information that could be a value add for one of your clients, which can then allow you to focus more on your more important tasks instead of laboring over any stress points. Vincent and his firm call having this resource an “access to justice.” If you don’t know somebody who can offer you access to justice—not just in a criminal setting—that can be perilous. Establishing that communication and building that relationship will lead to client referrals.  

I’ve known Vincent for a long time, and he adds a tremendous amount of value to many other brokers I know. Whether it’s him or someone else, it would be wise for you to consider strategically aligning yourself with an attorney. 

Once again, if you have any questions for Vincent or you would like to reach out to him, you can call him at (206) 946-8580 or email him at vincent@halegalteam.com.

If you have any questions for me, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I’d be happy to help you. 


 

How Does the Development Sector of Real Estate Work?

Today I’m joined by David Mulcahy and Tyler Thomas  from the Great Seattle Opportunity Team. There’s a lot of business out there relating to development and rezoning, so I wanted to talk a little bit about how the Great Seattle Opportunity Team is contributing to the market.

According to David and Tyler, they work mainly with development properties in Seattle. They say that it’s very easy to get started in the development space. Their personal experience with starting a business in this area began with a mentorship. Ultimately, David and Tyler say that starting in this business is as simple as having a genuine interest. 

Interest in getting started is just the first step, though. I also asked them how marketing aids them in their endeavors. Tyler said that, from a marketing perspective, what really matters is being able to effectively convey information to a developer.

He says that this becomes easier once you’re able to run the numbers and get a good understanding of how a space might be most effectively used. Having all the necessary information to make your case is the key to getting the deal done quickly.

But, what about the actual sourcing of these properties? Do David and Tyler work with residential or commercial brokers?

Having all the necessary information to make a strong case is the key to getting the deal done quickly.

Actually, this sort of collaboration does happen. David explained that he and Tyler both recently partnered with someone who is both an architect and a real estate broker. Now, they’ve been sending him information, projects, and have even begun a joint venture with him and another seller.

David, Tyler, and their team are happy to assist anyone who needs help structuring a deal. Their assessments can really help determine the financial viability of a project.

It all goes back to a willingness to learn, ask questions, and take a genuine interest in improving the business. As a part of that, they told me that working with Moncord has been extremely valuable to their team. Because they only operate in the development sector of real estate, collaborating with Moncord helps them run their business more smoothly and at a higher level. 

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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 3 Game-Changing Benefits of Working With Moncord?

If you sign up with Moncord, there are three things you get that can benefit you greatly in your business. 

The first is our designated resources. Anybody who comes on board with us automatically gets a designated listing coordinator and a designated transaction coordinator. This means you get two new team members with zero training time or down time. It takes about two to three transactions for us to get into a groove with you, but our coordinators are already trained in the industry and know exactly what they’re doing. 

This is a huge value when you think about the normal cost of bringing on staff. These two resources would cost another business a whole lot more than what we charge our business partners. Consider the money you’d save as far as training and staffing goes—we take that burden off your plate. 

When you sign on with us, we help absorb the burdens that come with managing transactions.

Second, you get a dashboard ready to go for your business and an overview of what you’re doing from a transaction perspective. We have an online system we utilize that allows you to see this at the tip of your fingers with your mobile device. It’s basically a dashboard of your income and what you have coming in. It tracks everything you close with us in addition to what you have in status that’s active. 

At any given moment, you can look at the dashboard and know where you’re at with any given transaction, have all your contacts readily available, and have a thorough grasp of what’s happening in your business. You don’t need to have a whiteboard that you’re constantly updating—we do that for you. 

Lastly, there’s the amount of experience you get. We’ve closed thousands of transactions, so we know how to help you become better at what you’re doing. Having a team behind you with that kind of experience is invaluable. We’re here to help you get through your transaction smoothly, and as a second set of eyes, we can catch things in transactions most other brokers wouldn’t. 

If you’re not currently doing business with us, we’d love to talk more with you about how we can support you, your growth, and what you’re doing in your business. Feel free to give us a call or send us an email anytime. We look forward to hearing from you. 
 

How Do We Help You Grow Your Business?

>

Recently, we sat down to talk about how you can have a better experience working with Moncord. 

There are three things we’re going to cover today on this subject.

First is how we build a better experience for teams that have assistants. Many times when we work with agents who have built out a team, assistants are already in place. In the past, this assistant was perhaps filling a role where they were doing transaction and listing coordination. 

When we move in and take over this role, the assistant’s part must be repurposed to another area such as database management, client communication, client care, or marketing. 

The most important thing is ultimately that a team’s assistant is working as a catch-all for your business. You will need someone who is focused on growing your business. Re-assigning roles like transaction and listing coordination to us is actually going to allow a team’s assistant to fulfill other duties and, therefore, help the business grow. 

While you or your assistant may remain as the primary point of contact with a client, we are still going to be working behind the scenes and dealing with logistical details. As we handle some of these tasks, you or your assistant will then be free to make a warmer connection with the client, which will lead to referrals. 

Ultimately, we’re here to help you build on top of what you already do.

The second way we build a better experience is by having strong communication. Building clear and effective lines of communication begins with the broker letting us know how we can best reach them. Some brokers prefer phone calls while others may prefer email. Whether it is one of these two methods or something else, we work hard to customize the way we communicate to what you prefer.

We’re here to help you build on top of what you already do.

Throughout the process of working with us, though, make sure to keep us in the loop. We do send out weekly updates to all parties in the transaction, but this communication will need to be reciprocal for us to have the greatest success. If the closing date gets moved, the appraisal has come in, or anything else has changed, it is important that you let us know. 

Having a weekly phone call to touch point is a great way to help us all stay in-the-know about what is going on in the transaction. This way we will be able to keep you updated, and you will be able to do the same for us.

The third point on how we build the best experience is that we remember it’s your business. This may sound obvious, but our ultimate goal is to never overshadow the mission, goals, and growth of your business. You have reached the point you’re at today by following your own path. So, while we want to help you build on top of what you’ve achieved, it’s also important that you still feel able to do things in a way that is comfortable and natural for you. 

When it comes to negotiating, your buyers and sellers have chosen you because of the way you were able to communicate with them. We’re more than happy to help with detail work, but we also want you to know that we don’t want to take the essence of your business away from you. 

Finally, it’s important for you to know that we at Moncord love to have fun. We work extremely hard to build success and we know you do the same. When you work with us, you can trust that you are working with true professionals who know how to deliver a positive experience and have a good time. 

To illustrate this characteristic, we actually had a little bit of fun while making the video above. Throughout the video, you may notice that there were seven changes that took place. If you think you were able to catch all seven changes, you can email Alex at alex@moncord.com for the chance to win a free Starbucks gift card. The first person to contact Alex with a complete and correct list of all the changes will be the winner of this challenge.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon. 
 

 

7 LinkedIn Hacks for Growing Your Business in 2017

By Amanda Creter

By Amanda Creter

When it comes to marketing yourself and your business on social media, what are the first platforms that come to mind? Facebook tends to be the first place most young professionals and entrepreneurs turn to. Although Facebook can be a great resource to grow your presence on social media, many tend to overlook other outlets. One that a lot of individuals don’t invest much time into is LinkedIn. Many view it as a forum to look for a new career or recruit new talent for big corporations. It is not commonly associated with small business, entrepreneurs, or fields such as Real Estate. However, given the chance, LinkedIn could benefit you in more ways than you realize, and here are 7 hacks to kick starting your business presence on LinkedIn.

1)      Complete your Profile. This may seem like a pretty straightforward task, but you would be surprised by the amount of LinkedIn users who have not completed their profiles. A complete profile lays out a better story of your history, your skills, and how you may be a valuable contact to someone.

2)      Create a Business Page. LinkedIn is not just for professionals looking to change careers. You may not think you will gain much from LinkedIn outside of connecting with others in your industry, but it is a good way to keep in contact and up to date on potential clients.

3)      Link your Business and Personal Pages. This way you can promote your business on your personal page as well. You can also link your personal page to your business website. By linking these two pages you give connections a look into yourself personally (the individual behind the brand that they can relate to) and by showcasing what your company/business does.

4)      Join/Start LinkedIn Groups. See a group that interests you? Maybe it’s about Marketing, Real Estate, or the area you live in. Whatever it is, join in and share your opinions (or expertise!) If you don’t see a group that interests you, or you see enough mention of a topic that doesn’t have its own outlet, create a group for it! Maybe you are in a large group of other Real Estate Agents and you want to connect with a handful of them specifically. Create a smaller group to converse in, you never know what resources they may provide in the future.

5)      Update your Company Page Frequently. Use this to your advantage. Post frequently, but make sure your posts hold value. Don’t post something that you wouldn’t put on your website or other business pages you have. Add your blog, but make sure they have content your audience would find beneficial. Post visuals, but make sure they are eye catching. Don’t just post any image that comes your way.

6)      Interact with other Professionals (but don’t accept/invite everyone!). Be picky. Yes, you are on LinkedIn to network and make new connections. But not everyone that adds you to LinkedIn will be relevant to what your goal is, growing your business. Take the time to review the profile of every person that adds you. If you think they could be a resource or potential client, then feel free to add them. And this goes the other way around as well. Don’t start adding people to grow your connection count. Quality over Quantity is an important adage to live by in this situation. If you add and accept just anyone, eventually your 3rd party connections will be a complete mess, and you won’t be able to keep up with those who have pertinence to your business.

7)      Customize your URL. This will make it easier to search for you and share your profile with others.

LinkedIn isn’t a good fit for everyone. Those who are not looking to grow a business, change careers, or Network, will most likely stick to platforms like Facebook where they can keep up to date with friends and family. This makes LinkedIn a more niche platform for professionals to use. Take the time and learn the ins and outs of LinkedIn, stay up to date with the changes it makes, and it will pay off for you professionally!

Tell Us Your Thoughts By Commenting Below

Follow Us @

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.

Please let us know your thoughts by commenting below

Follow Us @

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. 

Let us know your thoughts by commenting below and follow us @

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!

  FOLLOW US

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.

Follow Us

Source:

https://www.xero.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/orgchart1.png?F5CH=I

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.


Follow Us

References:

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

Real Estate Challenges Series: Jack of All Trades, Master of None

By Alex Mont-Ros and Amanda Creter

     Typically, when a Real Estate Agent working towards building a team starts to expand because of growth in the business, we see challenges presented as they hire help to relieve some of the transactional and administrative pressures. The real estate agent or team lead should not want to operate as a jack of all trades, and master of none as they find their business growing, but refusing to delegate tasks and hire on new team members will stunt growth and keep this agent doing many roles within the business. Action needs to be taken to accomplish growth objectives so they can continue to focus on mastering what Real Estate Agents do well. The first position they hire for usually is an Administrative or Executive Assistant (EA). This individual serves as an all-in-one role for the Agent, handling not only the Administrative tasks of the business, but also taking on roles such as Marketing Coordinator, Transaction Coordinator, Listing Manager and anything else the Agent needs.

     For a Real Estate Agent or Team’s first hire, this “jack of all trades” role on the surface makes sense, and is seen as an asset to his/her team. At first, this is true. The Agent needs help around all aspects of their business and this Executive Assistant provides that help. What most Agents do not realize, is that having one person focus on so many different roles all at once can actually hurt the business more than help it. In the long run to keep the business growing and meeting the demands of the market, something will have to give or breakage in the business will occur.

     Hiring someone that can tackle any obstacle seems like the perfect addition to your business. But as the old adage goes “jack of all trades, master of none”, an agent who hires an EA to do all will quickly find their team structure become fractured and overworked. Though your Executive Assistant may be competent with many skills to perform many roles, you are preventing them from delivering quality service as the business begins to scale and the role becomes more time consuming. Not to mention, the cost and time of training someone in each role an EA operates from can quickly add up becoming a sunk cost to the business.  

     Having an EA split their focus and energy among so many different roles prevents them from harnessing and mastering any one skill. It limits them to how much they can grow in their role, and prevents them from specializing in any one thing. To be the best you can be and set yourself apart in a market saturated with competition, you need to offer your clients the best service possible. Having your EA not focusing on where they can add true value with laser focus on mastering their craft isn’t offering your clients the best, it’s offering them substandard services as the EA begins to be overworked, less productive, unhappy, and may end up potentially quitting, causing the business to suffer a massive blow that will be tough to recover from. We have seen this play out countless of times and the feedback provided from Executive Assistants who left very successful teams was that they were overworked and had too much to do with little clarity on what was truly priority for the agent or team.

Traditional Executive Assistant Workload

This is prior to bringing on a Transaction Coordinator

     This becomes especially true when an EA handles all the business operations, administrative, transaction coordination, and marketing; putting the business in serious risk and causing brand degradation when service levels drop. A Real Estate Agent will find themselves having to recruit, hire, and retrain someone to do it all over again when an EA decides to stop working for the Real Estate Agent. This is not a good use of time and can impact revenue negatively. 

     To help meet these challenges head on, Real Estate Agents or Teams will hire on a transaction coordinator first to take on the most time consuming tasks, which is managing the transaction from start to finish. Some teams may not have an EA, but they have learned how to delegate the marketing and administrative tasks well enough to get them by through outsourced service offerings. Even so, we recommend what is optimal and at a minimum; hire an Executive Assistant and a Transaction Coordinator until growth has reached a point where an EA will now need to delegate the marketing tasks to a Marketing Coordinator.

     If a team already has an EA, the second hire is typically a Transaction Coordinator. This is a critical hire, whether first or second to join the team. A TC will focus their energy solely on the most time consuming part of the business which is the coordination of transactions, as this entails all communication and monitoring of the deal(s) to see them to closure. When you have many deals all going on at once, the time needed multiplies to manage these transactions. This is one of the main reasons why the Transaction Coordinator needs to also be a master of this craft of transaction coordination, and not be a jack of all trades. A Transaction Coordinator will now be able to provide specialized care of the Real Estate Transaction(s) from start to finish. They will also provide the right attention needed to service your clients, giving your EA hours back each week to focus on other critical tasks to help the Real Estate Agent grow and scale their business.

Transaction Coordinator

100% Focus on Transaction Coordination-No other tasks

     By having Executive Assistants and Transaction Coordinators who are masters of their domain, Real Estate Agents increase their odds of delivering high quality services to ensure the best experience for their clients. Through this appropriate delegation and hiring of critical team members, it also helps the Real Estate Agent become a master of their craft, and not just a jack of all trades.

FOLLOW US ON

Are you giving Agents a competitive advantage? Some Real Estate Agents may not think so.

By Alex Mont-Ros and Amanda Creter

As a Real Estate Team Leader or Operator of a Real Estate Firm, what do you do to set yourself apart from other teams and agencies? Do you offer anything to your team that sets you apart? If you aren’t differentiating yourself, why would an Agent choose to join your team or office instead of another down the street?

    It’s a competitive market, and it’s not easy to draw in new talent if you aren’t offering them a differentiator between yourself and the competition.  Options like hands on training and lead generation are great, but many other Real Estate Team Leaders are already doing that as well.  Why not try offering something unique that saves your Real Estate Team valuable time, and allows them to focus on what they should be focusing on; generating new business?

   That’s where offering a Transaction Coordination Program comes in.  Larger agencies are offering this service to attract agents, and it’s working!  Real Estate Agents didn’t choose this career path to focus the bulk of their time on paperwork, follow-up, and monitoring.  They want to drive new business.  They can’t do that from a desk while managing calls, emails, texts and other correspondence on multiple files all at once, and not to mention maintaining their client base and likely their sanity.  Offering a “game changing” service benefit like Transaction Management adds hours back into each working day and sets you apart, and will have agents lining up to join your team.  When their clients can correspond directly with the Transaction Coordinator for specific updates, and your agent(s) don’t have to stop what they are doing constantly to manage and coordinate the transaction that is already mutual, Real Estate Agents will see the value in you and what you have to offer.

              “When building my Team, I had to look at what I would have wanted or needed to better my business practice, and allow me to do what I did best – benefit my clients.  What I realized was that real estate sales people are typically great at one of two things: highly effective human interaction, or precision business management; however, very rarely are we as agents “great” at both.  Transaction Management was a natural plug & play asset for my Team as we grew.  Moncord handles the details, while we go out and make dreams come true for our clients!” Justin W. Richards, Keller Williams Realty, Bellevue WA (Follow him on Facebook)

    Besides helping you differentiate yourself in a saturated market, implementing a Transaction Coordination System for your team helps YOU.  Most Team Leaders without a Transaction Coordinator don’t have the ability to monitor their team’s transactions while in processes.  Without the ability to oversee and regulate what their team is doing, they are unable to help or steer their team in the right direction for success.  Adopting a Transaction Coordination Program will help you facilitate smooth transactions for your Agents, and will help you standardize a process company wide.  How does this make a difference?  This helps you keep track more efficiently of what is taking place with your team’s transactions, and consolidates everything in an effort to make it seamless and ensure your team is running as smoothly as possible.

That’s the type of team that will attract new talent and continue to grow.

             

***Justin W. Richards | ALC Board Member | Keller Williams Realty – Bellevue, WA

Team Size: 7 | Estimated 2016 Transaction Volume: 125+ sides / $50 Million+

Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for more information, tips, success stories, and to help get to know the Moncord Team better!

Real Estate Agents...How much is your time worth?

Earlier this year, we had a real estate agent come to us inquiring on what exactly do we do as transaction coordinators? The interesting aspect of the question was who it was coming from. This particular real estate agent was tenured, which surprised us a bit. There was an assumption made that he would have known the functions and value provided by using a transaction coordinator, but we were mistaken on making this assumption, hence why we felt the need to write this and provide a description and better understanding of the roll of a transaction coordinator, and the time they help give back to the real estate agents they serve.

Read More

Moncord Has Arrived!

Below is our recent press release announcing the launch of our company. We were excited to get our message out to over 500 distribution channels and spread the word about the good work we are doing with the brokers we serve.


Moncord Real Estate Professional Services has just launched in Greater Seattle to make life easier for real estate brokers by offering seasoned listing coordination, transaction coordination & strategic consulting.

Bellevue, WA – 25 Apr, 2016 – Real estate transactions imply dealing with massive paperwork that make life too hectic for the brokers. But all that is to change now for Greater Seattle brokers as new transaction coordination service company Moncord Real Estate Professional Services has promised to make life easier for brokers with its coordination services by seasoned real estate professionals.

The company was launched on April 20, 2016.

“We are happy to announce the launch of our new company Moncord Real Estate Professional Services which aims to lessen the burden for real estate brokers with leading transaction coordination assistance that has been missing in the market. This is to ensure they get the desired time to focus on what matters most to them. Backed by enormous experience in the industry, we promise you seasoned help, dedicated to premium services & strategic consulting,” stated a leading spokesperson from the company while announcing the launch.

“Since last year, we have been helping brokers close more than 100 million dollars in property transactions,” she added further.

Moncord is an endeavor by leading real estate pros Lisa Mont-Ros & Alex Mont-Ros. An experienced broker and industry leader, Lisa was dubbed as “Rookie of the Year” & sold over 60 homes in less than 2 years. Along with many industry designations, she also holds a BA in Business Administration and is Head of Operations for Moncord.

Alex is Moncord’s Head of Marketing and Strategy and carries an extensive background in sales, corporate leadership, and management. He started his successful real estate career in 2003 and earned key industry designations throughout the years. He holds a BA in Business Management.

Added to real estate brokers, Moncord also helps FSBOs & investors.

Speaking on their transaction coordination services, the spokesperson assured a comprehensive assistance for the brokers from mutual contract to close.

“We will help you with all kinds of related document verification, personalized communication in marketing, online tracking of transactions, tracking & monitoring of key milestones, submission of brokerage compliance documents, quarterly reviews of your business and more.”

The company also offers listing coordination services under Basic & Premium packages, starting from listing to close. A senior official from the firm stressed extensive help with ensuring listings hit the market smoothly.

“To further help brokers, we provide strategic consulting services included with our coordination services,” added in the senior official. Moncord believes strategic consulting services is a perfect value add considering the story transaction data tells about each broker they work with.

“Our proven consulting framework will help our clients make the right choices and emerge as the leader in their target market. We are here to take brokers to the winning edge.”