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Access: A Key Component in Getting Your House SOLD!

Access: A Key Component in Getting Your House SOLD!

So, you’ve decided to sell your house. You’ve hired a real estate professional to help you with the entire process, and they have asked you what level of access you want to provide to potential buyers.

There are four elements to a quality listing. At the top of the list is Access, followed by Condition, Financing, and Price. There are many levels of access that you can provide to your agent so that he or she can show your home.

Here are five levels of access that you can give to buyers, along with a brief description:

  1. Lockbox on the Door – this allows buyers the ability to see the home as soon as they are aware of the listing, or at their convenience.
  2. Providing a Key to the Home – although the buyer’s agent may need to stop by an office to pick up the key, there is little delay in being able to show the home.
  3. Open Access with a Phone Call – the seller allows showing with just a phone call’s notice.
  4. By Appointment Only (example: 48 Hour Notice) – Many buyers who are relocating for a new career or promotion start working in that area prior to purchasing their home. They often like to take advantage of free time during business hours (such as their lunch break) to view potential homes. Because of this, they may not be able to plan their availability far in advance or may be unable to wait 48 hours to see the house.
  5. Limited Access (example: the home is only available on Mondays or Tuesdays at 2pm or for only a couple of hours a day) – This is the most difficult way to be able to show your house to potential buyers.

In a competitive marketplace, access can make or break your ability to get the price you are looking for, or even sell your house at all.


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What is SEO

What is SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine‘s “natural” or un-paid (“organic“) search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.

As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, HTMLand associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.

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To Do Lists Are Evil?

To Do Lists Are Evil?

Some days the to-do list seems bottomless. Just looking at it is exhausting.

We all want to know how to stop being lazy and get more done. I certainly wanted the answer.

So after some research I came across this article of someone who is insanely productive which was first posted in Time.com

Cal Newport impresses the heck out of me. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked. He’s insanelyproductive:productivity

  1. He has a full-time job as a professor at Georgetown University, teaching classes and meeting with students.
  2. He writes 6 (or more) peer-reviewed academic journal papers per year.
  3. He’s the author of 4 books including the wonderful “So Good They Can’t Ignore You.” And he’s at work on a fifth.
  4. He’s married with a young child and handles all the responsibilities that come with being a husband and dad.
  5. He blogs regularly about productivity and expert performance.

And yet he finishes work at 5:30PM every day and rarely works weekends.

No, he does not have superpowers or a staff of 15. Okay, let’s you and I both stop being jealous of his productivity for a second and learn something.

Below you’ll get Cal’s secrets on how you can better manage your time, stop being lazy, get more done — and be finished by 5:30. Let’s get to work.

1) To-Do Lists Are Evil. Schedule Everything.

To-do lists by themselves are useless. They’re just the first step. You have to assign them time on your schedule. Why?

It makes you be realistic about what you can get done. It allows you to do tasks when it’s efficient, not just because it’s #4.

Until it’s on your calendar and assigned an hour, it’s just a list of wishful thinking.

Here’s Cal:

Scheduling forces you to confront the reality of how much time you actually have and how long things will take. Now that you look at the whole picture you’re able to get something productive out of every free hour you have in your workday. You not only squeeze more work in but you’re able to put work into places where you can do it best.

Experts agree that if you don’t consider how long things take, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

I can hear what some of you are thinking: But I get interrupted. Things get thrown at me last minute.

Great — build that into your schedule. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Things will change. But you need to have a plan, otherwise you’ll waste time.

Want to stop procrastinating? Schedule. Here’s Cal:

Assigning work to times reduces the urge to procrastinate. You are no longer deciding whether or not to work during a given period; the decision is already made.

Does this sound too mechanical? Overly structured and not much fun? Wrong.

Research shows that it’s even a good idea to schedule what you do with your free time. It increases quality of life:

This study was designed to identify the relationship between free time management and quality of life, exploring whether the amount of free time or the way people using their free time relates to their quality of life… The result has found a positive relationship between free time management and quality of life.

(For more on the schedule the most productive people use, click here.)

Okay, the to-do list is in the trash and things are going on the calendar. How do you prioritize so you’re not at work forever?

2) Assume You’re Going Home at 5:30, Then Plan Your Day Backwards

Work will fill the space it’s given. Give it 24/7 and guess what happens?

You need boundaries if you want work/life balance. But this also helps you work better because it forces you to be efficient.

By setting a deadline of 5:30 and then scheduling tasks you can get control over that hurricane of duties.

Cal calls it “fixed schedule productivity”:

Fix your ideal schedule, then work backwards to make everything fit — ruthlessly culling obligations, turning people down, becoming hard to reach, and shedding marginally useful tasks along the way. My experience in trying to make that fixed schedule a reality forces any number of really smart and useful in-the-moment productivity decisions.

What does research say prevents you from getting burned out at work? Feeling in control of your schedule.

Anything that increases your perception of control over a situation — whether it actually increases your control or not — can decrease your stress level.

Via Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long:

Over and over, scientists see that the perception of control over a stressor alters the stressor’s impact.

(For more on how to achieve work/life balance, click here.)

You’ve drawn a line in the sand and worked backward, giving all your tasks hours in your day. But how do you handle longer term projects?

3) Make A Plan For The Entire Week

I think you’ll agree that the last thing this world needs is more short term thinking.

You’ll never get ahead of the game by only looking at today and never thinking about tomorrow.

How do you write books, teach classes, meet with students, do research papers and be a good parent consistently? Plan the week.

Here’s Cal:

People don’t look at the larger picture with their time and schedule. I know each day what I’m doing with each hour of the day. I know each week what I’m doing with each day of the week and I know each month what I’m doing with each week of the month.

Are you rolling your eyes? Does this sound overbearing? It’s simpler than you think. What’s really necessary?

Just one hour every Monday morning. Here’s Cal:

Every Monday I lay out a plan for the week. I go through my inbox, I go through my task list, I go through my calendar and try to come away with the best thing to do with each day this week. I write it in an email and I send it to myself and leave it in my inbox because that’s a place I know I will see it every day and I’ll be reminded of it multiple times throughout the day.

And he’s right. Research shows you spend your time more wisely when you follow a plan.

Via What the Most Successful People Do at Work: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Career:

Preliminary analysis from CEOs in India found that a firm’s sales increased as the CEO worked more hours. But more intriguingly, the correlation between CEO time use and output was driven entirely by hours spent in planned activities. Planning doesn’t have to mean that the hours are spent in meetings, though meetings with employees were correlated with higher sales; it’s just that CEO time is a limited and valuable resource, and planning how it should be allocated increases the chances that it’s spent in productive ways.

Maybe you think it’s enough to run down the week’s duties in your head. Nope.

Studies show writing things down makes you more likely to follow through.

(For more on how the most productive people get things done, click here.)

So you’ve got a fixed schedule and a weekly plan — but the math doesn’t add up. There’s just too much stuff. Cal has an answer for that too.

4) Do Very Few Things, But Be Awesome At Them

Maybe you’re thinking: I just have too many things to do. I could never get it all done in that amount of time.

And Cal concedes that you might be right. But the answer isn’t throwing up your arms and working until 10PM.

You need to do fewer things. Everything is not essential. You say “yes” to more than you need to.

Ask “What’s creating real value in my life?” And theneliminate as much of the rest as you can.

Here’s Cal:

You’re judged on what you do best so if you want to have as much success as possible you’re always better off doing fewer things but doing those things better. People say yes to too much. I say no to most things. I’m ruthless about avoiding or purging tasks if I realize they’re just not providing much value.

You feel like you have no time but John Robinson, the leading researcher on time use, disagrees. We may have more free time than ever.

Via Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time:

He insists that although most Americans feel they’re working harder than ever, they aren’t. The time diaries he studies show that average hours on the job, not only in the United States but also around the globe, have actually been holding steady or going down in the last forty years. Everybody, he says, has more time for leisure.

So what gives? It feels like you have no time because it’s so fragmented with little annoying tasks that drain the life out of you.

So do less. And be amazing at those things.

(For more on what the most successful people do, click here.)

Your plans are in order and by doing less, it all fits on the schedule. But one question remains: what exactly should you be doing with your time?

5) Less Shallow Work, Focus On The Deep Stuff

All work is not created equal. Cal says knowledge workers deal with two fundamentally different types of work, Shallow and Deep:

Shallow work is little stuff like email, meetings, moving information around. Things that are not really using your talents. Deep work pushes your current abilities to their limits. It produces high value results and improves your skills.

And what’s the problem? Most of us are “drowning in the shallows”:

People who are the most busy often are getting a lot less done of significance than the people who are able to stop by 5PM every day. That’s because the whole reason they need to work at night and on the weekends is because their work life has become full of just shallows. They’re responding to messages, moving information around and being a human network router. These things are very time consuming and very low value.

Nobody in the history of the universe ever became CEO because they responded to more email or went to more meetings. No way, Bubba.

Cal has it right: Shallow work stops you from getting fired — but deep work is what gets you promoted.

Give yourself big blocks of uninterrupted time to make things of value. What’s the best first step?

Stop checking email first thing in the morning. Tim Ferriss, author of the international bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek, explains:

…whenever possible, do not check email for the first hour or two of the day. It’s difficult for some people to imagine. “How can I do that? I need to check email to get the information I need to work on my most important one or two to-dos?”

You would be surprised how often that is not the case. You might need to get into your email to finish 100% of your most important to-dos. But can you get 80 or 90% done before you go into Gmail and have your rat brain explode with freak-out, dopamine excitement and cortisol panic? Yes.

(For more on how to motivate yourself, click here.)

So how do we tie all this together?

Sum Up

Cal’s five big tips:

  1. To-Do Lists Are Evil. Schedule Everything.
  2. Assume You’re Going Home at 5:30, Then Plan Your Day Backwards
  3. Make A Plan For The Entire Week
  4. Do Very Few Things, But Be Awesome At Them
  5. Less Shallow Work, Focus On The Deep Stuff823

Schedules and plans sound cold and clinical but the end result couldn’t be farther from that.

You’ll be less stressed, create more time for friends and family, and make things you can be proud of.

Here’s Cal:

Knowledge work is really just craftsmanship. It’s just that what you’re crafting is information and not carved wood. You’re crafting ideas. You’re crafting knowledge out of raw material and the more you think about it like a craftsman, the happier and more satisfied you’ll be, not to mention more successful.

The offices of the world could use a few less cubicle drones and a few more proud craftsmen.

Be Inspired X 10

Be Inspired X 10

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

may16-004

Sometimes you just need a dose of confidence or a boost in your motivation. Selling and buying real estate is hard. But if it is something that you love, you can’t imagine doing anything else. Still, few things can recharge your passion like a good inspiring real estate quote so we found 10 of them to keep you inspired.

10 Inspirational Real Estate Quotes

#1: “To be successful in real estate, you must always and consistently put your clients’ best interests first. When you do, your personal needs will be realized beyond your greatest expectations.” – Anthony Hitt

The best real estate agents in the business have a knack for anticipating their clients’ needs and matching those needs with the right piece of real estate. When you put your clients’ interests first, you will succeed in real estate.

#2: “Real estate is my life. It is my day job, if you will. But it consumes my nights and weekends, too.” –Ivanka Trump

Unlike most other jobs, real estate really has no set hours. You are working around the clock most days but because you love it, you don’t mind. Still, take time to recharge so that you don’t burn out.

#3: “Real estate is an imperishable asset, ever increasing in value. It is the most solid security that human ingenuity has devised. It is the basis of all security and about the only indestructible security.” – Russell Sage

Even at the height of the housing collapse, people were snatching up distressed properties and trying to turn lemons into lemonade. Real estate is an imperishable asset in times of prosperity and times of financial distress. There are always people looking for it.

#4: “The problem with real estate is that it’s local. You have to understand the local market.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Now more than ever, localizing your market is the key to building a solid real estate business. Yourwebsite content as a local expert goes a long way to showing off your local expertise. For everything real estate, start local.

#5: “I think if people are passionate about something, it could be real estate or biochemistry, and that spark gets turned on in them, everyone’s beautiful in that zone.” – Cindy Crawford

A person in love has a glow just like an expectant mother does. When you love what you do, it shows in your face, in your smile, in your demeanor. The most passionate real estate agents tend to be the most successful and attitude is at least 50% of that success.

#6: “Commercial real estate always trails residential, and as residential growth flourishes, shopping centers flourish and service the communities, and jobs come out.” – Johnny Isakson

As a residential real estate agent, you are an integral part of the success of a city or community. When you bring in families, businesses come in to serve those families. You are a crucial part of the circle of life.

#7: “You must learn that selling is not selling; it is providing and the key to providing is knowing in advance what to provide.” – Todd Duncan

Again, meeting your client’s needs will go a long way to securing your success in the real estate business.

#8: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer

Money can’t buy you love or happiness. Making a lot of money is not the definition of success. You can have a billion dollars in your bank account and be miserable. Do what you love and happiness is sure to follow.

#9: “In real estate, you make 10% of your money because you’re a genius and 90% because you catch a great wave.” – Jeff Greene

Part of being the best real estate agent is knowing your market. Still, having a little bit of luck doesn’t hurt either.

#10: “Real estate is the best investment in the world because it is the only thing they’re not making anymore.” – Will Rogers

Good News to Keep You Inspired

We hope you really enjoyed those quotes. Hopefully you can come back to this piece throughout the year to re-inspire yourself or better yet, memorize them so that you will always have them within you as a source of inspiration.

 

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3 Ways Content Can Build A Bridge Between Marketing and Sales

3 Ways Content Can Build A Bridge Between Marketing and Sales

The disconnect between marketing and sales teams has long been an industry-wide, hot-button issue, with both sides claiming communication is key but typically shying away from any real-world, concrete solutions for creating that communication. In fact, according to a recent study by Demand Gen, 49% of marketers and sales executives agree that communication is the biggest challenge in aligning teams.

downloadBut research shows that business booms when marketing and sales can overcome the gap between the groups for the good of the brand. An Aberdeen Group study found that businesses with highly aligned sales and marketing teams earned an average of 32% year-over-year growth, while those who reported less alignment saw a 7% decrease in revenue. Ouch. Takes alignment out of the nice-to-have category and puts it squarely at the top-of-the-growth agenda.

If aligning marketing and sales teams is so critical for growth, then how come it’s so hard to get the two groups together to focus on a clear content marketing strategy? The solution could lie in setting clear goals, outlining what each side wants from the other, and then using those goals for content creation.

Create content that brings better leads

When Demand Gen asked sales what they most wanted from marketing, the No. 1 answer was better quality leads, followed closely by more leads. And there’s plenty of evidence to support the idea that better content equals better leads, since most buyers are already nearly a third of the way through their journey before they even contact sales teams. The further online the buyer’s journey goes, the greater the responsibility is for marketing to create effective content that supports that journey.

download (1)Content that educates the buyer and stands out from competitors is crucial in this initial phase, and I have to say here, this is where interactive content has made all the difference for us. Research has shown that interactive content is 93% effective at educating the buyer (more than double static content), and it’s 88% effective at differentiating brands from competitors (more than a third better than static content).

But what’s seldom discussed is that interactive content, like ROI calculators and assessments, can act as invaluable tools in a sales associate’s arsenal for gauging where customers are in their life cycle and making sure that they’re getting personal, relevant attention as soon as they’re ready for it. As marketer Mark Yeager recently wrote, “Content fails when you create materials that speak to very broad audiences.” And static, impersonal content meant to appeal to the masses could be failing not just your customer, but also your sales team.

Help sales break the ice

As anyone who’s sheepishly deleted a failed tweet or an unloved Instagram can attest, it can be difficult to drum up interest from relative strangers. What most savvy sales teams quickly realize when they start integrating great content into their strategies is that opening gaffes are more easily avoided with interactive content.

Studies show that the majority of customers prefer custom content, so it stands to reason that they would also like sales teams to show a personal interest in their unique needs and preferences during the sales process.

Let sales in the loop

While we’re on the subject of communication between the sales and marketing teams, let’s look at what marketing wants from sales. According to the same Demand Gen study, 34% of marketers want better lead follow-up from sales teams, which seems ironic since sales mostly wants better leads from marketing. The problem is somewhere in the middle – a failure to use audience interaction with content in meaningful ways.

For example, when potential customers interact with content, be it testing their knowledge in an assessment built into a white paper or taking a quiz built into a blog post, they’re giving brands a clearer picture of what kind of engagement they want. However, failure to acknowledge that engagement is a missed opportunity – be it from a marketer who doesn’t use audience data to create more relevant content in the future or the sales associate who doesn’t follow up with a lead whose answers indicate she’s ready to buy.

download (2)A unified approach to data from interactive content creates a feedback loop that can be useful to every aspect of the buyer journey, from lead gen to closing the deal. Great insights from content interactions don’t do anyone any good if sales doesn’t have that hustle, hunger, and fire to follow up when they see a great prospect content interaction.

In the end, sales and marketing want the same things: better leads and more relevantconversions with ready buyers. Giving the sales team interactive content serves both purposes by providing data about where buyers are in their journey and acting as a gateway to further communication. And the result may very well be a 70% boost in conversions, which is definitely worth starting a conversation.

7 Ways To Offer The Best Customer Service In The Business

7 Ways To Offer The Best Customer Service In The Business

Associates at flooring companies wear different hats. They assist in designing an important aspect of a customer’s house. Installers also enter and work within a customer’s home. This process can either be intrusive and stressful or fun and exciting. Outstanding service drives the customer experience in a positive direction.

download (3)1.) Prioritize Customer Relations Over Singular Sales

When interacting with customers, think in the long term. Never coerce someone into buying a product they don’t really want/need. Instead, make sure customers leave knowing they have received quality advice. Satisfied customers will come back and purchase more products in the future.

2.) Admit Mistakes

If you’ve made a mistake, own up to it. A meaningful apology will ease tensions with customers. After apologizing, make an effort to remedy the situation. Being stubborn and accusatory is the easiest way to lose customers.

3.) Follow Through on Promises

Customers are looking for a business they can trust. The simplest method of gaining trust is staying true to your word. Honor business promotions and deals. Show up on time. Would you want a flaky person in your own home installing your own floors?  Of course not!

4.) Know Your Stuff

Make sure your customers are getting the best information possible. Be knowledgeable in your product, the pros and cons of different flooring, your supply etc. Not knowing the answers to basic questions is unprofessional and disheartening to customers.

5.) Be Responsive

People don’t like to be kept waiting. Respond within the day to phone and email inquiries. Most people won’t wait around for a call back and will just take their business elsewhere. Also, make sure to offer assistance to customers immediately when they enter the store. Customers should never have to work hard to seek out help.

Estate agent showing a house to the young family

6.) Be Pleasant

The experience of buying and installing floors can be  fun or a pain. You guide this process. Be enthusiastic, kind, and efficient. You don’t want to be responsible for adding stress into a customer’s life. Be someone who a customer wouldn’t mind spending a few hours with.

7.) Be Grateful

Your customers had the choice to go to any flooring company and they chose yours. Be thankful! Make sure that your customers know you appreciate and cherish their business.

Great customer service isn’t an exact formula. Utilize these tips and tricks to leave your customers satisfied and excited to return in the future.