5 tips to inspire confidence

While your clients might not be mind readers (although, that would really help with an offer price...), chances are, they’ll feel rushed or uneasy with the process if you're not organized. 

When things are busy, there are lots of details to remember, and if you’re feeling rushed, every worry and anxious thought gets passed on to your client, no matter how many ‘Most Likely to Win an Emmy’ awards you won in high school. 

I get it - real estate is stressful, and it's easy to get details mixed up. But if you want to ensure a consistent client experience, following my simple advice will go a long way. 

Here’s my simple list of the most important things you can do to give your clients confidence in your abilities:

  1. Leave your baggage at the door

Worried about a family member’s health, an impending credit card payment, or your babysitter cancelling last-minute? That’s not your client’s problem. As hard as it is, do your best to leave your personal baggage outside of your work hours. If that’s not possible, see if someone can cover for you, or if you can reschedule a showing.

  1. Don’t take it personally

Issues with another agent? Don’t let your clients see you rattled. Interpersonal relationships - good and bad - are easy to pick up on, and it can be awkward for them to feel in the middle of a bad situation.

  1. Take ten

Before any client meeting, schedule in ten minutes beforehand to review your notes. Seriously - book it in your calendar! You’ll feel more prepared, and won’t be scrambling to find info while they’re waiting for you.

  1. Work that database

We’ve talked about it before - create a good database and use it! Those notes to check in on that I mentioned above? That includes your database, to check in on client info!

  1. Relax, and enjoy yourself

You probably got into real estate because you love people, and you love making the sale. Don’t forget those great feelings, even if you’re in a slump! You’re helping people find new homes and enter different stages of their lives, and that’s a huge honour to be part of. Enjoy yourself, and help your customers navigate what can be a stressful experience.

For help feeling confident and organized, read my other blog entries, or give me a call and we can work together on some systems personalized for you.

And how it can help your business

If you know Rachel likes to text, and Eli hates phone calls, it can help cement great relationships that will see you through multiple home purchases. I've talked about the importance of a great database here, but I can't reinforce it enough. But beyond a great database, how else can you ensure you're connecting with your clients?

Luckily, I've got a few easy suggestions on ways to connect with your clients emotionally. And luckily, they're just that - easy.

When a client walks into a home, do they walk gingerly on the old shag carpet? Not bother opening closets? Are their arms crossed the entire time? It should be clear already - they’re not interested in this home, at least not as-is. Stop selling the as-is features, and check in to see what they’re really thinking.

Sometimes easier said than done, but always important. Don’t just consider what your clients are saying - consider what they’re not saying as well. If someone is lamenting about the loss of outdoor space when moving from a house to a condo, but keeps reassuring you, ‘it’s fine, they’ll get used to it,’ they might be pleasantly surprised if you offer to show them a few houses, ‘just in case they’re interested.’ You’ll show your value, and they’ll appreciate your sensitivity and perception.

If you notice your clients only respond to your emails at night, or call you back when you text them, it could be an indication that they prefer to communicate in a different way. Follow their lead and mimic their style, and you may end up with happier, and more satisfied clients.

Consider starting any relationship, whether with buyers or sellers, with a questionnaire. See what their fears are, what they’re excited about, and what’s a priority with them. This also has the added bonus of protecting you and giving you the opportunity to ask about outstanding loans, home info, etc. Track it in your database so it’s always handy to reference.

When in doubt - ask. Instead of guessing on how your clients like to communicate, or what they value, ask them, and get a straight answer that helps both of you work better together. 

Looking for more ways to boost emotional connections with your client base? Let’s book a call and work together to create long-lasting client relationships.

It might be time to get digging

You do it for your dates, your daycare, and any home repair company - but when was the last time you searched your own name?

You can bet that any savvy client is going to do an in-depth online search, so it's important to beat them to the punch. But if nothing shows up, is that good, or bad?

Here’s my key pieces of advice for having a secure, yet prominent online profile - and what to watch out for. 

  1. Think you’re ahead of the game because nothing comes up with your name? Think again. If you can’t find you, neither can potential clients.
  2. Online reviews matter. Just like you’d check out a restaurant rating, it’s important to know what people are saying about you. Ask your clients to share their thoughts on working with you with an easy (automated!) follow-up email post-sale, and ensure those reviews are easily searchable online by linking them on your website. Make sure when someone searches Your Name + Real Estate, your website is listed. This is where having a unique name, or company name can come in handy, as well as ensuring you’re using the right search terms on your website and online profiles.
  3. Just because you untagged yourself from those embarrassing photos doesn’t mean they’re gone. Contact old friends on Facebook, Instagram, and any other channels, and get them to remove photos entirely if they’re problematic. 
  4. Keep things fresh. If you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile in years, that’s a great place to start.
  5. Get your name out there. Whether through writing guest blogs, media interviews, or award listings, the more your name appears online for things you’re proud of, the more those hits will be featured over things like your high school graduation announcement your mom just couldn’t resist posting.

Looking for more advice on how to improve your online profile and overall business? Let’s talk.. Now - get searching!

Why you should brand your biggest asset: you

You may think your award-winning smile is enough to win you clients - but consciously or not, your clients are drawn to your brand - not your dentist's hard work.

Brands aren't just for big business - and they're more important than ever when it comes to breaking out from the pack. In this post, I've shared five reasons why your personal brand is key, and how I can help you create a compelling one.

  1. It makes you stand out

For better or worse, a strong personal brand distinguishes you from the crowd. There are thousands of agents for clients to choose from, so what’s going to make them choose you? TIP: it’s not going to be because you love what you do.

  1. It makes business decisions easier 

Are you serving baguettes and wine at neighbours-only open houses? Perhaps you go for a personal touch and bring homemade lemon loaf to public open houses Or maybe you take public transit with your client’s to show them you’re environmentally friendly. Whatever your niche is, a good personal brand lets you lean into it from every possible angle. 

  1. It creates consistency

From your website to your business cards, your social media to your headshot, your branding should be consistent. Going for a dominant, win-at-all-costs approach? Stick to reds and serious photography. Showing a friendlier side? Lighter blues and big smiles are where it’s at. 

  1. It makes you reliable

Word of mouth is your biggest asset, and it’s important to create an image that aligns with what you’re actually selling. If clients hear no one manages an offer night like you do, make that part of your brand - it’s why they’re calling you.

  1. It brings you the right type of clients

Listen - we’ve all had clients we’ve worked with that we might not have sought out. But don’t you enjoy your work most when you’re working with clients you get along with and have similar values to? When you put your personal brand out there, you’ll attract clients who go about things the same way, and you’ll both have a better time working together.

If you’re not sure what really sets you apart, or what goes into creating a personal brand, you’re not alone. Book a call with me and together we can develop a strong and compelling brand that sets you apart, and makes you feel confident.

Automation: not just for robots

Find yourself stuck with what seems like endless small tasks for your clients? My friend, it's time to automate those small jobs!

The best way to do it? Spend the time (or have a professional do it for you), and set up a process that takes all those repetitive little tasks, and has them happen automatically. It's like magic, but you know, real. 

There’s lots of little things we get sucked into every day, so I’ve outlined a few categories and examples to look into when automating your tasks.

Email communication

Administrative tasks

Whether the above list seems overwhelming, or you’re hungry for more ways to save you time during your day, give me a call and let's evaluate how to make your business run more smoothly.

We've already talked about what your time is worth, and how to calculate what your task rate should be. But what about the things that seem like a waste of time, but end up being really important?

What you do during your workday typically  falls into three categories:

  1. Things that are a good use of your time;
  2. Things that aren’t;
  3. And things that you know aren’t a good use of your time, but you do them anyway (and maybe that’s okay)

But how do you determine what’s a good use of your time, and what activities that seem trivial, but might pay off in the long run?

Turns out, there’s one simple question to ask yourself that should give you the answer - and here it is:

What’s the potential outcome of this?

In order to be a good use of your time, or valuable in some sense, it should fall into one of four categories:

If your task isn’t hitting at least one of those points, your answer should be clear: delegate it, forget it, or change it.

Here’s an example:

You’ve got three things on your plate this morning: renewing your driver’s license so you can drive your clients to showings, learning WordPress so you can update your website, and practicing a client listing presentation. What’s the best way to spend your time?

Let’s break it down. 

Looking at the results, while the driver’s license renewal may be more urgent, overall, practicing your client presentation is the best use of your time. For more info on determining how best to spend your time, let’s book a call and navigate together.

Time to bring in the pros

You got into real estate because you were good at buying and selling homes - right? So why are you also trying to design a website, choose your business cards, and photoshop the company holiday card?

Just like you tell your clients, it might be time to hire a professional. A marketing/design pro can take the strain off your branding decisions, and deliver materials way better than you can create in MS Paint - and in far less time. And - it doesn’t have to cost an entire paycheque.

But where to start? What should you ask them? And, how much should you spend? (First piece of advice - check out my entry on the importance of a great marketing plan here.)

How to find them

Well, word of mouth is often a great start. Is there a colleague that has a great website you love, or a local business that always has awesome poster displays? Ask around and see if anyone has great recommendations, and can give you an idea of their pricing.

The right questions to ask

This depends on your project, as well as their expertise, but there’s always a few good rules of thumb. You’ll want to know what their timelines and fees are like, to check out their portfolio or past projects, and probably their working style to ensure you’re compatible. 

How much is too much?

How much you’re willing to - or should - spend, depends on the scope of your project, as well as the experience of your team. If they’re designing your entire website from scratch, including writing your content and taking your headshot, it ain’t gonna come cheap. Working with someone with a serious reputation as the best of the best? You’ll get great work - but you’ll definitely be paying for it. Some easier ways to save costs are to look for newer, freelance contractors, who are building their portfolio, and to work with a longer time frame in mind - which also means being prepared and organized on your end. 

For more info on when to know you need help, and where to start, you could ask around - or, just book a call with me.

Can you afford to hire yourself?

Being self-employed, our income is never steady, and never a sure thing. We often find ourselves trying to do every task ourselves just to save a few dollars - but is that actually costing you more money?

Consider what you could be doing instead of all those small tasks. Does all the time you're spending filing documents or updating your website equal a sale? Was it worth it? In some cases no - but in some cases, maybe so. 

Whether it was your favourite subject in school or not, it's time to do a little math to calculate what's worth your time, and what's not.

First, figure out what your time is worth. As real estate agents, we may not charge an hourly rate, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a ballpark number of what your time costs per hour. You can break this down by looking at your total income over a year, and how many hours you invested in your business. 

Next up: compiling all those tasks, and how long it takes you to complete them. Try tracking your time over a week, or even a day. How long does your average showing last? Your end of day paperwork? The time spent writing a contract? The short administrative tasks?  Once you know how long those tasks take, you’ll be able to determine if they’re worth it to outsource. 

Now - let’s put them together. If it takes you an hour to update a contract, and you determined your rate was $100/hour, it’s worth it for you to be the one to update that contract, unless you can find someone else to do it for less than that. But if your hourly rate was $500/hour, you can probably find an intern to junior colleague to update for you because it’s actually not worth it for you to lose out on $500 that could be invested elsewhere.

But remember these two important risks:

If the intern writing up the contract makes a crucial mistake, it could cost you a lot more than $500. Is the task at hand more important than the dollar amount you assigned to it? And, if you’re not using that hour you just gained to do something that contributes to your business, it’s not $500 you just gained back - it’s money you just lost paying someone else to do it for you.

For a more personalized look at how analyzing your tasks can affect your bottom line (or your take home salary) let's schedule a call, and let's crunch the numbers together.

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