Posts Tagged ‘task management’

Ask Denise: Social Media

April 20, 2011

Q: I know social media is an important marketing component. What percentage of my time should be devoted to social media? 

A: You’re right – social media is a very important part of your overall marketing strategy. It will take you time to ramp up, and time to manage it on a regular basis. However, remember that first and foremost you are a real estate agent — you make money by putting sellers and buyers together, and closing transactions. Recently I’ve been talking to agents who have gotten so caught up in the social media world that they are spending too much of their time posting, tweeting, and reading/commenting on blogs. While you need to pay attention to social media, and you should be involved in the online conversation, I caution you to not get so wrapped up that you start losing clients — and business!


Ask Denise: Time Management

April 14, 2011

Q: I have too much to do every week and am getting behind. How do I manage my time more effectively? I feel like I’m drowning!

A: Any time I hear an agent feel like they’re losing focus I know they’re not doing what I call “the hour of power”. You’ve probably heard me talk about the hour of power before. It’s as simple as this: set aside an hour of time each and every day where you work on projects that will improve your business. During that time you DO NOT call clients, email clients, text clients, or communicate with clients in any way. Instead, tackle those projects that will provide a long-term benefit to your business – such as the development of your website, the creation of a buyer or seller package, or the development of a brochure that describes your services. If possible, have your hour of power at the same time every day, and try to do it in a spot with as few distractions as possible.

Where Will Your Business Be Four Weeks From Now?

April 13, 2011

Without intervention, it will probably be exactly where it is today.

Now, if you’re exactly where you want to be … great!

But if you are searching for more success, or you need a jolt of inspiration, you need to join us on Safari to learn how to make business-building changes that will carry your forward.

Are you ready to set aside your belief that “the market” will dictate your success?  (Hint: we are coaching clients who are having their best year EVER!)   Do you love the synergy that comes from a room full of people focused on making a positive change in their business?  Is it just time to plan for a better business – one that you’ll love for years to come?

If you answered yes to any one of these questions, we want to see you at one of our upcoming Safari events.

Need more details?  Click here to learn more!

Just One Thing

February 24, 2011

For many agents, just getting away for a few hours to invest time in their business is hard. What’s even harder is getting away for two entire days. But recently a large group of agents did just that. They took two days away and joined us for the first of our 2011 Safaris.

We asked attendees to really look at their business. We asked them to really look at who they are. We asked them to look at their strengths and weaknesses. We asked them to look back at their production numbers and examine why they weren’t where they want to be.

We talked about their challenges. Their trouble points. The areas of their business where they struggle again, and again, and again.

While most Safari attendees planned on incorporating many changes into their business after the Safari, my hope was that just one of those changes be something that positively impacted their business right away. Just one thing!

I have to tell you, it was absolutely exhilarating to watch real life scenarios play out over the two days. It was amazing to watch the changes taking place for agents who were willing to lay their challenges on the line and ask for help.

Here’s just one story out of the many that transpired:

One of the agents attending Safari was having a huge problem that day – actually at a particular moment – with a buyer who, four hours earlier, had been ready to write an offer. However, the buyer suddenly wouldn’t return her calls. He wouldn’t return text messages. The agent had been working with this buyer for several weeks and had built, what she thought was, a very strong relationship. Time was running out and the agent was nearing panic. We could see it on her face and hear it in her voice. The last message she had from her buyer was quite strong. He had said, “You’re not supporting me.” In other words, he meant, “You’re not doing your job.”

Right there in class, this honest agent opened up to the group and asked for help. How could she even focus on our Safari content when she was frantically trying to save a transaction and a client relationship?

I reminded her to think about what the clues were in what her client had been saying earlier in the day. What was he feeling, how he was expressing it, and what had he needed most when she last heard from him. He said he needed support! I asked her to think about how she had responded to him – before he went AWOL.

From the clues he gave, what he needed right then was her support and an apology for not being as supportive as she could have been. She needed to humble herself a bit and save a client, and a transaction. She had to do what it would take to make this right. I told her exactly what to say and how to say it, knowing what her client’s personality type needed to hear from her.

Now – I’m sure you’re asking how I could tell what he needed. I’ve never even met the man. Here’s the thing, though– each personality type speaks a certain language. This buyer was speaking a particular language and what she needed to do was listen for clues and provide the same language in return. I asked the agent to step out of the room and communicate with the buyer by using his language instead of her language.

Something miraculous happened. Within seconds of her speaking his language, he responded right back with a positive, ‘let’s move forward’ message. When she came back into the room, she said she was completely amazed, considering that he’d been avoiding and hiding from her for several hours. All of a sudden, instead of trying to communicate in her tone, she spoke his language and he came out of his hiding spot.

What is the point of this story? For this agent, it was just one thing. Knowing how to communicate more effectively was all she needed on that day.

You likely also have at least one area that you need to work on which, for whatever reason, you haven’t yet mastered.

For all of you, there is certainly at least one thing about your business that if changed, could positively influence your business. Maybe you need to learn better communication skills, or you need to learn to master your daily schedule. Perhaps you need to focus on branding and marketing. It could be that you need to become a much better presenter. In all likelihood, you need to learn to let go of all the pain you’ve experienced over the last two years in a challenging economy.

These are all critical things! When you take time to invest in your business – to really examine your business – you might find that it’s just one thing that will make a major difference. You have to take a serious look. If you’re honest and willing to learn new skills and tools, you will transform your business.

If you’re ready to take a good, hard look at your business, and you’re ready to be honest with yourself about what needs to change, we invite you to attend our next Safari this spring. You may find you only need to change one thing. You may find you need to change a few things. Or a whole lot of things. But we guarantee that you’ll spend two, completely inspiring days, focused on finding the right path for you to transform your business for years to come.

Only One Week Left To Register for The Safari!

February 9, 2011

This Safari will kick your 2011 off right and is chock-full of amazing customizable material! And the best part? It is all about YOU! Your business, your habits and way of doing business, your custom solutions – there is no “one-size-fits-all” system at Safari:

  • Review your personal journey. You are at a crossroads and we need to take a look inside your rucksack—your belief system, conflict style, confidence, work style, personal pace, and habits.
  • Time to repack! A review of the “10 Essentials” and what you need to bring with you.
  • Where do you want to go? Building a successful business roadmap that runs parallel to your personal roadmap.
  • Elephant, jeep, on-foot, swinging on a vine – how do you like to travel? An in-depth investigation of the four personality types, how they affect your business, and how to adjust your natural style to communicate effectively with anyone.
  • Your Challenges; Your Solutions an open forum where you can tell us what the ‘roaring lions’ are for you, and where we teach you how stand your ground.
  • You’re out of the jungle and into the light! Planning for an amazing 2011 – creating custom lead generation, follow up, client care, and presentation plans for your personality type (capitalize on your strengths and avoid the quicksand!).

February 16th and 17th in Redmond, Washington.

Learn more about this exciting two-day event and register today!

Does Your Pipeline Need a Lifeline?

February 4, 2011

Every agent should strive to build a referral-only business. The lion’s share of income should come from past clients, a strong database and the subsequent referrals.

However, if you – like many agents I know – are not generating the income that you need to generate, it is a sure sign that your referral business is not yet where it needs to be. This means you are going to have to add a lead generation program to your business to make up for what your referrals are not providing you.

A great referral business comes about – and continues to build – after an agent provides really great service. Clients come back for more, and are willing to refer friends and family, when they have a great experience. Referral business means you’re doing something right.

The problem is that oftentimes your referral business cannot sustain the now business that you may need to keep transactions in your pipeline and income coming in. The timing of your referral business rarely matches the timing you need to meet your financial obligations.

To be really successful, your goal should be to have business in your pipeline every single monthToo many agents live a peak & valley existence – scrambling for business when they have none, and hoping that they will somehow, magically, get that all-important referral phone call to save them.

Here’s something to think about: What happens if your current database isn’t keeping you financially able to meet your commitments? What if you’re not meeting your goals – or far worse, your obligations – because you simply don’t have enough business?

In that case, you absolutely must have a lead generation system to bridge the gap.You have to find a way to increase the reach of your business, in order to generate business.

The key is to create a lead generation system that fits your individual work style, and that you know in your heart you will focus on. Too many agents just grab any system that sounds like the easiest, then fail in frustration when it doesn’t match their style or their needs. Lead generation takes work, folks. It takes time and patience.

There are two types of lead generation: Active and Passive.

Active lead generation is where you are generating leads (i.e. potential business) in person or on the phone. It includes things like joining networking groups, teaching first-time-buyer classes, holding open houses, and contacting expired listing sellers and for-sale-by-owner sellers. You are the catalyst for this type of lead generation.

Passive lead generation means you don’t have to show up. People are hearing from you, but it’s through mail, email and print marketing. Passive lead generation includes things like geographical farming. It also can include cancelled and expired listings. Your ability to articulate your expertise is the catalyst for this type of lead generation.

The reality is you need to be doing something. You need to keep your pipeline full and get out of the peak & valley existence that you may be experiencing.

An agent in one of my coaching groups recently said, “I really dislike having to go out and look for business. It’s so time consuming, and it never works for me.” Yes, it’s hard work! Yes, it takes time! Yes, you have to plan for it, and then be patient enough to let your system take hold and work for you.

If you know your referral business isn’t matching your financial goals, take the first step. Find a lead generation system that meets your style and comfort level. Decide if you want to have an active system, or a passive system. Or a combination of both. Decide what group, or groups, you want to target. Is it buyers? Is it sellers who had a bad experience, but you know they want or need to sell? Build a system that keeps you in front of those folks on a very regular basis. And stick with it. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Here’s another question I get asked all the time. “How do I know when I can stop doing lead generation?” It is really quite simple. You can stop when you’re getting all of the income you need from your referral business.

Here’s how you know when you’re at that point:

  1. First and most importantly, track the source of every transaction. Each year, you have to know how many transactions came from referrals, and how much income that business generated.
  2. Determine your annual income goal and how much of that income needs to (or will likely) come from your referral business. As an example: If you need $100,000 of referral income, and in your market the average price home is $300,000, then you can assume that – based on a 3% commission rate per side – each referral-based transaction will bring you $9,000. That means you need 11 transactions each year that come from your referral business.
  3. But let’s say last year you only had 6 transactions from referrals, and you had 5 transactions that came from open houses, sign calls or internet leads. You were short 5 referrals. You needed to somehow make up that lost referral income. The way to do that is by having a strong lead generation program.
  4. Until you can safely say that your referral business is consistently providing you with the level of income you need, you will need to continue with a lead generation program.

Don’t get me wrong. I want you to build an awesome referral-based business. I want you to enjoy the benefits of your hard work. But a strong referral business takes years to cultivate! What if you’re a brand new agent? What if your current database isn’t as fruitful as you need it to be?

There are two things I want you to focus right now. Choose a lead generation system that is based on your needs, on your work style, and on your personality. Then just get it done.

Without a lead generation system you won’t survive. And you certainly won’t thrive.

Interested in learning more about lead generation? Come to our 2-day Safari in February, where we’ll help you integrate lead generation into your business plan. Want to know more? Click here for more information and to register.

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI

Register for the Safari Today!

February 3, 2011

This Safari will kick your 2011 off right and is chock-full of amazing customizable material! And the best part? It is all about YOU! Your business, your habits and way of doing business, your custom solutions – there is no “one-size-fits-all” system at Safari:

  • Review your personal journey.You are at a crossroads and we need to take a look inside your rucksack—your belief system, conflict style, confidence, work style, personal pace, and habits.
  • Time to repack! A review of the “10 Essentials” and what you need to bring with you.
  • Where do you want to go? Building a successful business roadmap that runs parallel to your personal roadmap.
  • Elephant, jeep, on-foot, swinging on a vine – how do you like to travel? An in-depth investigation of the four personality types, how they affect your business, and how to adjust your natural style to communicate effectively with anyone.
  • Your Challenges; Your Solutions an open forum where you can tell us what the ‘roaring lions’ are for you, and where we teach you how stand your ground.
  • You’re out of the jungle and into the light! Planning for an amazing 2011 – creating custom lead generation, follow up, client care, and presentation plans for your personality type (capitalize on your strengths and avoid the quicksand!).

February 16th and 17th in Redmond, Washington.

Learn more about this exciting two-day event!

Click here to register today!


Turn Lost Opportunities Into Realized Opportunities: the Need for a Detailed Communication Plan

January 5, 2011

In the last two Zebra Reports I’ve been talking about the idea of Lost Opportunity and what it means to your business. Lost Opportunity business is business you can have, and it is income you should have. Don’t lose those opportunities simply because you didn’t have a plan to keep them in your pipeline. No more Lost Opportunities in 2011!

What’s the one essential thing that I think you must have?  A communication plan—as part of your overall business plan—that will solidify your relationship with your past, current and potential clients.

Recently, an agent I work with said, “Denise, I have a basic plan to stay in touch, but I never seem to follow it. What am I doing wrong?”  Once we looked at the reasons he wasn’t following it, the answer was right in front of him. He knew he needed a plan, and in the back of his mind he had an idea of what it looked like, but he didn’t’ have any details to guide him.

Most agents have the same problem. They may have a client communication plan in the back of their mind—they may even have it written into a yearly calendar. But if, on any given month, the notation simply says “call sphere”, it is easy to drop the ball. If you don’t know what to say, and if you don’t have details to guide you, your communication plan quickly falls to the bottom of your list. Nobody likes random calls. We don’t like making them; we know others don’t like receiving them. Random calls feel way too much like a ‘sales’ call. You won’t have to make random calls when you have a detailed plan.

Most of us are much better at following a plan. What if, in early January, your communication plan said ‘Call sphere to alert them about the predictions article.” Granted, you have to have your predictions article ready to mail out, but now you have a reason to make a quick call as well. The call sounds like this: “I just sent you my predictions article for the 2011 real estate market. If you have any questions, give me a call. Otherwise, I hope you find my article interesting and helpful.”

If you have to give last-minute thought to what to say, how to say it, or what your message is, the call will simply not be as successful as it might be when you have an actual plan for calling. When you have your plan and the details—even the script, it’s easy.

“Okay,” you say, “but it’s hard to figure out what to send, or what to call about.”

We created the visual chart, below, to make it easy for you to build a communication plan for your entire sphere, including additional communication options for your past andyour potential clients.

Sphere Database

Past Clients

Potential Clients
(buying or selling within the next year)

12  Monthly Real Estate Mailings




Annual Client Review and Client Appreciation Event


Weekly Communication


  • 12 Monthly Real Estate Mailings – here is an easy formula:
    • Six articles a year. These must be real estate specific.
    • Four quarterly real estate reports specific to your/their market.
    • One annual review
    • One predictions article
  • Weekly Communication for potential clients (less than a year from a transaction) should include market specific data:

Sample items for potential buyers:

  • Appreciation rates in different neighborhoods
  • Home comparison reports for different neighborhoods
  • Video tours of neighborhoods. This is especially important if they are not familiar with all the neighborhoods they might choose from.
  • Listing and sold data

All this information helps buyers begin to learn more about the market, learn where the best values are, and calm the sometimes overwhelming feeling new buyers have.

Sample items for potential sellers:

  • Regular listing, pending and sold reports
  • Days on Market reports
  • List-to-sales-price ratios
  • Inventory numbers

Not-yet-ready-to-sell clients have to get used to what comparable homes are selling for on the open market. This may not be the time in their life where their real estate will sell for what they want. You have to educate them. Be their expert and provide them with honest, accurate data on a very regular basis.

Send one of these at least once a month, and follow up with a phone call or email the other weeks. Yes, you may even count your monthly mailing to your sphere as communication for one of those weeks!:

Using this plan, and building in the details that you need to keep you on track, you will significantly strengthen your relationship with each person in your database and position yourself as their real estate expert.

Let’s recap. Regardless of whom you need to communicate with you must have a consistent, well thought-out weekly, monthly and annual plan that includes all the details you need to make your plan actually work for you. With a strong communication plan, business will come your way more easily!

Do you need more help creating a communication plan?

Join us for our 2011 Safari on January 12th and 13th at the Redmond Marriott Town Center. We’ll help you build your own customized 2011 business plan, including a communication plan that will keep you top-of-mind with everyone in your database and keep a steady flow of business in your pipeline.

I am truly excited about this upcoming Safari as I know everyone is going to walk away with the tools they need to make great strides in their business and systems in 2011. I hope you will join me!

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI

Featured Product: How to Manage Your Tasks, Not Your Time

November 15, 2010

We’ve lowered our prices on several of our downloadable audio products! Many now just $19!

This week’s featured product:
How to Manage Your Tasks, Not Your Time

Most Real Estate Agents spin their wheels day-to-day rushing around taking care of the most urgent need placed in front of them at that time. Learn how to run your entire business using task management not time management.

The nature of Real Estate makes time management impossible. The nature of the typical Real Estate agent makes task management a perfect solution for the type of business they are in.

You will be given task management ideas, checklists, forms and plans to completely revolutionize the way you do business.

Click on a title to view and purchase
Marketing Help:
Successful Closings
Creating a Buyer’s Package
Creating a Seller’s Package

Lead Generation:
Networking Groups
Niche Marketing
Blogging for Business
Your Website

How-to Series:
How to Hold a Successful Client Appreciation Event
How to Handle Floor Calls
How to Manage Your Tasks, Not Your Time
How to Build Your Business Using an Assistant

Visit our website for more information!

Club Zebra: An All-Inclusive Solution

November 5, 2010

After many years of helping our clients to brand themselves, I can safely say that I’ve pretty much seen it all. But there is one problem that I’ve witnessed over and over again—so much so that I’ve finally decided to do something about it.

What’s the problem? Many agents are not getting the ongoing support they need. They come to me for a specific reason—whether it be a marketing makeover, a business analysis, or branding help. When I start working with them, though, I realize that what they need is long-term help via a friendly hand guiding them through their weekly challenges.

From my personal coaching groups, including my year-long EVOLVE! programs, I have observed that the agents who do best are the ones who are well-supported, receive ongoing training, regularly re-analyze their marketing, constantly work on their presentations, and are surrounded by a group of enthusiastic peers.

Knowing all this, I decided it was time to provide an all-inclusive solution for my clients. I am proud to announce:

This idea was born out of a frustration with agents who were unable to sustain not only a high level of income in their businesses, but also a high level of motivation. I realized I needed to create a program that would keep members connected—providing ongoing training, support, and tools over an extended period of time.

So what’s the difference? Club Zebra provides:

1. A complete brand.

You will learn exactly how to create an identity tailored specifically to your personality and business goals. For those who already have branding in place, Club Zebra provides the tools required to help them stay successful in the long term.

2. A complete business analysis.

30 categories. 452 questions. An intensive look at where you are right now—including your strengths and weaknesses.

3. A “Needs Prescription”.

Based on the results from the business analysis, this is an in-depth report that clearly shows you what you need to add. Every agent has different needs. No two Needs Prescriptions will be alike because it’s based 100% on YOU.

4. Visual learning.

I can write about what a great listing presentation is, but I find that many agents need to see it to “get it”. This applies to many aspects of the business. Club Zebra is going to include video training of me showing you how to do certain aspects of your business.

5. A weekly pep talk and market update.

Every agent needs to be kept aware of what’s happening in the industry. With Club Zebra, you will be prepared to answer tough client questions because you will have had your weekly briefing directly from me. Not only will I provide news, I will also throw in a healthy dose of motivation.

6. Numbers crunching.

Club Zebra looks at the bottom line. We have tools that analyze your production and volume. You get charts and graphs that show you all the hard numbers that maybe you’re currently avoiding.

7. A “Master Plan”.

Again, this will be different for every agent. Because great businesses begin with a plan,  we have given agents in Club Zebra access to our “Master Plan”. This tool allows you to create your very own follow up plan for your clients and allows you to track your points, with the goal of obtaining 36 points per year per client. You’ll know what to do—but more importantly, you’ll know WHEN to do it.

8. Potential Income Tracker.

I’m really proud of this. This is an online database tracking tool that keeps your “Almost Now” clients at the forefront of your marketing efforts. You will see exactly how much income you’re generating—or losing—based on your activity with this group.

9.  A gallery of business-building success modules.

You can pick and choose from whatever you want to work on. If you’re weak in lead generation, then take the lead generation module. If you want to learn some branding techniques, then take the branding module. Education at your fingertips.

10. Private, personal, one-to-one email communication with me.

Got a challenge that’s very specific? You don’t need a “one-size-fits-all” solution. You need an expert’s opinion. Ongoing emails provide you with access to an expert—me. I’m very good at solving immediate problems that seemingly have no solution. Trust me, I’ve seen it before and I know how to handle it. I’ve heard it all. I know how to help you, no matter what the challenge.

As if that wasn’t enough, there is a monthly group call in which you can participate to discuss any of these ten points. You will be connected with other Club Zebra members with whom you can share stories, support each other, and work together toward your goals. There is nothing like being a part of a group of people who are in the same boat as you.

Not to mention all the success stories from this call. You won’t feel down or hopeless anymore because you’ll hear about how other agents are succeeding right now. You will have a constant source of proof that all this works if done right.

I’m so excited. This is my new masterwork. I wanted to create something that nobody else is doing. This is it. You will not find a more inclusive solution in the real estate industry.

If you know it’s time to make a change in your business… if you know it’s time to ask for help… if you know that it’s time to stop blaming outside influences for why you’re not where you need to be…

…then it’s time for Club Zebra.

Want to know more? CLICK HERE!

I will personally contact you with all the information you need. I look forward to talking with you and helping you take your business to the next level.

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI

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