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.

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.

Things have changed

No one’s inbox is immune - email is definitely the preferred communication for work, and we’re all getting hundreds of emails a week. How do you make yours stand out?

While I can’t ensure your email will get replied to in a reasonable timeframe (I’m no magician), I can help you create professional, effective emails that should help you break through the clutter.

Read on for five basic pieces of advice that will help you navigate the email world efficiently.

  1. Ensure you’re using the right email address

This doesn’t just mean avoid using the numbers 420 and 69. Think about when you say your email address out loud - what’s easier to remember, jen@dumitrescu.com, or jen.dumitrescu.sales.agent@jendumitrescu.com? Taking it a step further, do you have an uncommon, or tough to spell name? Are you .com, .ca, or something totally different that people may get wrong? It’s worth making sure your email address is clear, easy to understand, and avoids opportunities for people to type it incorrectly.

  1. Lead with a great subject line

Subject lines are key. Without a great one, why should people even bother opening your email? Think about asking a question, using numbers (like, oh, I don’t know, ‘5 pieces of email advice’), or using other tried-and-true copy tactics to write a strong subject line that has your readers hooked before they’ve even read the first sentence.

  1. Personalization is king

This is easy if you’re sending emails to just one person. You should spend your first paragraph or sentence relating something directly to them so they know this isn’t just a form email (even if it is). But what if you’re sending a mass email or newsletter - how do you personalize it in that case? Try using a program that allows for variable text when necessary, like entering in a client’s name, or their neighbourhood. They’ll still know it may be going out across the city, but the psychology behind it works.

  1. Keep it simple

No one has time to waste on long, boring emails. Say what you need to say as quickly (but politely) as possible - and then hit send.

  1. Include a strong call to action

This is perhaps the most important point. If your reader gets to the end of their email, and doesn’t know what you want them to do, you’ve just wasted their time - and yours. Ensure that within the first few lines it’s clear what you’re looking for, and reiterate again at the end of your email - don’t leave room for questions.

There you have it - five easy tips for improving the quality of your communication, without a lot of effort. Looking for more advice on how to effectively communicate with your clients and coworkers? Give me a call - or maybe, shoot me an email.

It doesn’t have to

It's a classic scenario - you've got important plans you made weeks ago, when a client wants a last-minute showing. 

You: 

a) Cancel all your plans immediately and book the showing. This could be it!
b) Tell them you'll book something for next week, and risk losing the sale. 
c) Wait... there's another option?

You’re not alone if you find it tough to navigate your personal and work life balance. There are thousands of articles out there on how cell phones, social media, and competitive job markets have led to a lifestyle of always working. But trust me - creating some personal time doesn’t mean you have to risk losing your sales, and it’s critical when you run your own business. 

Figure out how you like to work. If you’re a person that loves the thrill and excitement of closing that sale no matter what - at the risk of always being available to your clients - that's great. However, that work style may not work for everyone, and may not be sustainable in the long run. If you prefer having set hours that you respond to messages and clients, that's great too. You might find it easier to manage your personal life, but there could be implications from a client perspective as well. A lot of it will come from managing expectations and the communication you have with your clients. Be true to you: if you know you’re the kind of person that needs alone time - having a working model of "always on call" might not be for you.

In the long run, experts say time off to recharge is critical to your long term success. And as hard as it is, when you’re self-employed and feel like you should always be connected, remember: it’s okay to take some personal time.

Let’s talk self-auditing

There's nothing like a good audit to get your juices flowing, am I right?

Believe it not, no, I'm not joking. Completing a self-audit is one of the most helpful (and satisfying) tasks you can do, and one of the easiest ways to give your business a facelift while keeping costs low.

This process can seem overwhelming, but here are three great places to start.

  1. Gather all your materials and assets

As Marie Kondo knows, it’s tough to evaluate what you have if it’s not all together. Start by compiling all your materials, from your website, to your latest take-homes, to your online profile bios and any advertising materials. Are they all saying the same thing, or do they look like they could be from multiple agents? Do you have more materials than you really need?

  1. Ask for reviews

Your clients and coworkers might be your strongest critics, but they should also be your biggest advocates. Consider sending out an anonymous survey, or book one-on-ones (lunch should be your treat!) with a few trusted people, and find out what they loved - and didn’t love - about working with you. Did they find you emailed way too frequently? Missed sending them important listings? Or did they love how organized you were and how you took the time to walk them through something new? The important thing here is to look beyond some of your best relationships, or you’ll risk getting a skewed opinion - remember, this is about improving, not giving yourself a pat on the back.

  1. Find your biggest areas for improvement

The best place to start is with the things that will make the biggest impact. This could mean anything from redoing your marketing materials so your key messages are clear and look consistent, or it could mean revising your selling strategy. Don’t let yourself get sucked into the small changes that, while easier to make, won’t make an impact on your bottom line in the same way that more daunting tasks can. 

If you’re not sure where to start on a self-audit, or want a professional opinion on what your biggest improvement options are, book a quick call with me and let’s talk.

Or at least plan to read this

I get it - creating long, complicated plans for work can be boring, time-consuming, and way too overwhelming. Isn’t it more productive to actually do the work?

The importance of a great plan can't be overstated. It helps you stay on course, eliminate the stuff you don’t need to be doing, and gives you a guide to look back on so if you happen to veer off course, you know how to get centered again.

Every great business should have four plans:

1. Business plan

Your business plan is your north star. It should guide all your major business decisions, and be a point of reference you check in on throughout the year. It should include important benchmarks, and answer questions like:

It doesn’t have to be complicated, and it should be flexible enough to adapt to uncertain circumstances. The important thing is to refer to it and update it constantly - you control the plan; it doesn’t control you.

2. Marketing plan

Wondering how a marketing plan is different from your business plan? Think of your marketing plan like the image you present to the world, while your business plan is more around the structure and how you’ll make your income. Your marketing plan should include your social media and online presence goals, how you expect to grow your business, and how much is an appropriate amount to spend. Many great agents may partner with an external agency or contractor to help develop this plan, and it can be wise to get some professional help.

3. Personal time plan

This is an especially important one if you run your own show. When you take a day off, or head on vacation (remember - vacations are critical to your success!), your business doesn’t stop. How will you manage incoming emails, phone calls, and any social media accounts you’re managing? Don’t let your business go dormant while you’re enjoying cocktails on a beach or skiing black diamonds - plan ahead, and come back to an organized (and still running) business.

4. Financial plan

Probably the plan everyone’s the most worried about, but potentially the most important. No matter how junior or senior you are, trust me - you need a financial plan. What happens if the market surges and you have to bring on someone new to help with all your listings? Or - knock on wood - things take a dive, and you have less business for an extended period of time? The businesses that are able to take advantage of markets, and stay afloat through difficult times are the ones who have a strong financial plan. 

Whether you’re starting from scratch, or just want a second opinion on your hard work, why not set up a call? In fact - let’s plan on it.

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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Copyright 2021 Jen Dumitrescu Consulting
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