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Should Your Office Go Virtual?

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virtual office

While it was once common for REALTORS® and brokers to divide their time between office space and field work, times have changed. Now, agents and brokers spend more time working from their laptops or tablets, and less time occupying those pricey office suites.

As a broker, switching to a virtual office space and working from home (or at a listing, or in a coffee shop), may seem like a cheaper way to manage the business, but is it practical?

Advantages

If you are currently leasing office space for your team, switching to a virtual space could save you money. But the real advantage to going virtual and working in the cloud is that you and your team can always be connected.

“Being able to be very dynamic and having everything at your fingertips—always—is the biggest advantage,” said David Newcombe, designated broker for Habitat Urban in Arizona.

While most offices exist in a 9 to 5 world, having your office with you wherever you go makes it easier to work around your clients’ schedules, or to set your own schedule.

Disadvantages

If you do decide to go virtual, you will “have to work harder on broker communication,” Newcombe says. Without the water cooler around, you will need to set up times to talk with your agents and your office staff, send regular memos to keep everyone in the loop, and find more inventive ways to train new hires.

Virtual offices may also create some inconveniences on the client side. “The client needs more than just a Starbucks to meet in,” Newcombe said.

That doesn’t mean you will risk losing clients. You just need to find another way to meet and finalize deals.

“Think forward as to what affiliates might work with you to provide conference rooms for occasional special client meetings,” Newcombe said.

Finding the Right Equipment

If do decide to switch to a virtual office, having the right technology in place is key to a successful transition. Newcombe recommends starting with the right customer relationship management software.

“Don’t always go for the obvious old tried and tested solutions,” he said. “There are many great new products on the market that you can customize to fit your brokerage like a glove.”

Once you have a CRM system in place, a handful of productive tools will keep your business running smoothly. At the very basic level you will need an email client, online-based cloud storage, compliance and filing software, and word processing software. Newcombe recommends looking into:

Making the Transition

With the right planning, transitioning to a virtual office could be completely painless. Start by setting regular meetings with a time and place for all of your office administrators, marketing specialists, Web designers and REALTORS®. Having regular meetings will help smooth the transition.

Before you lose the office entirely, Newcombe says to “make sure your REALTORS® are as tech savvy as they can be and used to working without paper.” Also, offer training on any software you will be using and provide agents and staff with a list of equipment they will need to buy.

The post Should Your Office Go Virtual? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: Realtor.com

Providing Value Is Just One Click Away!

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jan-brady-lists-malibu-home-4

“Should I sell before I buy or buy before I sell?”

“How much do I need to have saved for a down payment?”

“Do you know how much you’ll REALLY be paying?”

These questions and so many more are asked by consumers each and every day. Wouldn’t it be great to supply your members with the answers, along with an easy way to share them through their social media channels?

Realtor.com now offers this free service to state and local REALTOR® Associations to help you deliver relevant, sharable content to your members. All you have to do is click the link below, press send and we’ll get you (and your members) started.

Sign Us Up!

You will receive an email from us, twice weekly, such as the one shown above, which you can share internally and forward to your members. They can simply click on one of the share buttons and provide valuable information to their social circles anytime, day or night.

We’re always searching for ways to collaborate with you, and help you deliver value to your members. Offering regular social content in an easy to use format will help them educate their clients and make more connections – it’s a value-add that we believe will be welcomed with open arms! Get started today.

The post Providing Value Is Just One Click Away! appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: Realtor.com

Recruiting and Retaining Top Agents With Quality Leads

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retaining top agents

Turnover is expensive. Recruiting and training new agents only to watch them leave is costly for any brokerage. Retaining top agents becomes a priority.

It’s imperative brokers find ways to improve retention and keep valuable cash-generating agents in place.

One of the best ways to entice agents is the lure of business. Brokerages must differentiate themselves by offering agents extensive marketing packages that include professionally taken photos of listings, but what about also offering top producing agents new business?

“Increase the bottom line by offering a steady flow of leads to your top three REALTORS®,” said Steve Pacinelli, Vice President of Industry Events for Move, Inc., during a webinar, “Recruitment, Retention & Revenue, Using Online Lead Systems”.

The most cutting edge brokerages are signing up for online leads and routing them to agents who account for a majority of the office’s business. Those agents develop a sense of loyalty to the company while generating bottom line results.

“A lot of brokers charge 25-30% referral fees on office generated leads,” said Pacinelli. “They’re happy to pay that.”

Anytime new business lands in an agent’s lap without having to cultivate it, it is a win for the agent. There is an understanding in real estate: every piece of business has a cost. Either it is a cost in time hosting an open house to acquire unrepresented buyers or a cost of buying online ads and printing postcards. New business comes with a price tag.

“Some brokers change the split,” Pacinelli added. “If it was 80/20, they charge 60/40 for an office-generated lead.”

It’s important to note the leads must be high-caliber quality leads that can be converted into closed sales. Not all leads are created equally.

Realtor.com® leads have the highest conversion rate in the industry, according to PAA Research. Leads from realtor.com®, filtered through ConnectionSM for Cobrokerage, have a 30% higher conversion rate, noted Pacinelli.

To help REALTORS® convert leads, ConnectionSM for Cobrokerage now offers verified phone numbers and email addresses, when available. It also provides useful demographic information cultivated from social media sites.

Now, each lead comes with a peek into the prospect’s ability to buy. Instantly, the agent knows where the prospect works, what their job title is, their household income and marital status. Agents can also see which houses prospects saved as their favorites and the last three houses the prospect viewed.

Such information not only moves the conversation forward, it infuses each interaction with client insight. The goal, of course, is to use this insight to transition the prospect from online lead to in-person client.

For the broker charged with recruiting top agents and cultivating new top producers, ConnectionSM for Cobrokerage is a secret weapon.

It can be used to not only steer leads but also to track agent productivity. With its back-end CRM using Five Street, brokers can measure which agents work online leads with the most lucrative results.

Kimberly Grogan, a REALTOR® from Arlington, TX, won Rookie of the Year in 2012 for the national Keller Williams franchise. She credits ConnectionSM for Cobrokerage for her success as a new agent.

She spent $1,000 per month on leads and made $8,000 per month in closings, Grogan said.

A broker could multiply that success and spread this best practice throughout the agency to create an office of high-volume agents who stay: the key is quality leads, investing in your business—the agent—and connecting them with quality leads.

For more information about for ConnectionSM for Cobrokerage, call (877) 560-7386 or visit the product site.

The post Recruiting and Retaining Top Agents With Quality Leads appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: Realtor.com

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