Monthly Archives: April 2011

A Valuable Business Lesson, Courtesy of The Boy Scouts

We had the privilege of sponsoring the Thunderbird District Mayor’s Community Leadership Breakfast today.  While enjoying our breakfast at Meson Sabika, we listened to the presentations discussing Eagle Scouts and the services they have provided the community.  All of the presenters touched on the Boy Scout Code, which is their promise to be:  Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.

These virtues, which are instilled in our youth, should also provide an example as to how we handle ourselves as adults.  As Realtors, we should also strive for the very same code; to be:

1. Honest/ Trustworthy– In our business dealings, and with our clients.

2. Loyal– we should make sure we look out for the best interests of our customers

3. Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind & Cheerful – Our clients are our business, being able to provide them the information they seek should always be our first priority.

We all have our days, where nothing seems to be going right, but that doesn’t mean that everyone else needs to pay the price for it.  Whomever we are dealing with, even on bad days, remember the old adage “you get more bees with honey, than with vinegar”

Your business is not just built around your clients, but around all the people you interact with professionally.  Home Inspectors, Loan Officers, Attorneys, Other Real Estate Firms, their agents, their staff and brokers, your interactions with each of these people is your brand.  If you are respectful of their time, are aware of the deadlines they need to make, and treat them and their staff the same way you would like to be treated, people will remember your professionalism.

4.  Thrifty– Perhaps instead of thrifty, we can call this one, cost-conscious.  We all know that our clients- buyers or sellers-are looking for the best deal that will benefit them.  Negotiations aside, we can be respectful of their money and time, by ensuring that we have done everything on our end to make sure their deals close, with the least amount of delays as possible.

5.  Brave – I like to think that “Confidence” and “Brave” are interchangeable.  As Realtors, we are the experts.  Project that confidence with your clients.

6.  Clean – We are professionals.  We need to act like professionals.  Part of that is looking and acting the part of a professional.  From what we wear, to how we speak, we should always keep professionalism front of mind.

7.  Reverent– Have respect for your clients, and all the people that you interact with on deals.  We all have clients who try our patience, or stretch our resources, but always remember that they chose you.   Honor that.  Respect the fact that of all the 37,000 agents in MRED, they picked you.

Remember also, that to be given the distinction of Realtor ® that we too have our own code which follows the same general ideas and ethics.  What all of this really boils down to though is:  be nice, be respectful, have fun.

Using Facebook for Your Real Estate Business – Continued

Now that you know how to set up your Facebook page for your Real Estate business, you can experiment with different ways to keep your Facebook page full of information that will engage your clients with your page.

This can be things like:

  • Posing questions in your status updates-  ie “where is your favorite place to eat in (specialty area)”
  • Having Photo Caption Contests-  with phones now-a-days being equipped with cameras and Internet capability, you can take pictures from your phone and upload them straight to your Facebook page.  Last week at the Agent Reboot conference, one of the presenters discussed how she always brings her phone with her when showing houses, because she’ll see funny or interesting things to take pictures of.  Like pets with funny faces, pretty flowers, or really wildly decorated rooms.  She will then post these to her Facebook wall, which then allows others on her page to interact with what she has posted.
  • You can post articles on things happening locally.  Art fairs, bands coming to play, new restaurants opening are all great things to share on your page.
  • Liking the business pages of companies in your specialty area is also a great way to interact.  If you see a local business post a special on their Facebook page, you can “Share” it over to your page and let your clients know about it.

Social Media is about showing your personality and engaging people on more than a professional level, so have fun with it.

How To Set Up A Facebook Business Page

Most everyone today has heard of Facebook, and many people connect with one another on this social media platform.  If you already have a Facebook page set up for your business, then this post is simply covering things which you already know.

If you are on Facebook, but you are only utilizing a personal page and have not yet created a Business page, continue on, and learn how to set up a Real Estate specific Facebook Page.

Having a Real Estate Specific Business Page (also referred to as a “Fan Page”)  is important for your real estate business.  First off, it allows you to keep your personal and private life separate.  It also allows you to position yourself as a local Realtor specific to the areas you are working in.  Charles Rutenberg’s office is in Naperville, so this is what I used in all of my examples, but you can tailor your Facebook page around whatever suburbs or sections of the city you are working with. The following is a You Tube video tutorial on setting up a Facebook Business Page.

Once you get your Facebook Business Page Set up, if you have any questions, please let me know.  I will be more than happy to assist you with specific questions.

This topic is provided to you by:  Charles Rutenberg Realty the Best Choice for Chicagoland Realtors

CRR Agent Photo Shoot

We just had a photo shoot with a number of agents who have shared their thoughts on why they joined and stayed with CRR and why they even rejoined after leaving to try out another firm. Agent comments were consistently positive. Examples incuded “The office staff is always on top of their game and very helpful…”, “Realtors are always looking for the Wow Factor and with CRR you will experience it first hand”, and “We like working for Charles Rutenberg, Realty so much that we have worked for them twice now….Yes, twice!”

Below is a short video clip of the photo session. Thanks to all our agents who are helping out with this project.

How Being Tech-Savy Can Help Your Real Estate Business

We came back from Agent ReBoot with lots of information which we are excited to share with you.  It was a six hour seminar, chock full of excellent information-  more than I can share with you in just a post or two.  So, instead, we’ll be breaking up all that we learned into at least a weeks worth of posts.  The bottom line that was taken away from the event,  the way we interact with customers or potential customers has changed exponentially.  Times have changed, ways in which we interact have changed, and we as Realtors need to change with the times.  Social media is the dominant force of day to day interaction.

Realtors need to either learn how to be social communicators, or if you already are, you need to step up your game.   Many Realtors have a social Facebook page for re-connecting with their friends, but how many of you have a professional or business page?

Are you on Twitter?

Do you utilize You-Tube?

Are you a Blogger?

All of these topics I will be covering over the next few days.

In order to do many of these things, the number one requirement is a good cell phone with internet access.  –  IPhone, Androids etc, because how can one communicate effectively on the go, if you don’t have the proper resource?

Here are a few interesting statistics for you…

Did you know that the average American spends 2.7 hours a day interacting on social media through their smart phone?

Or that 50% of local searches are done on mobile phones?

How many minutes a day do you spend on You Tube?  The Average person spends fifteen minutes a day watching videos that were uploaded and shared through You Tube.

What does this mean for a Realtor?

First of all-  if you have a website for your business, make sure that it is a mobile optimized site (meaning-  it looks ok on a cell phone)

Secondly –  if the average American is spending 2.7 hours a day interacting on social media, you should be too.  That is where you will be able to engage your audience and connect with prospects

Third-  if the average American is watching 15 minutes of videos from You Tube, then you should be broadcasting yourself to ensure that you are also gaining access to a piece of this untapped market.

Social media can be extremely overwhelming to most people, and with all of the options that are out there these days, which ones are the best ones to choose?  And how do you get started?  In the next few days we’ll be covering all of these topics and more to make sure that you are tapping into all of the possible markets out there.

This topic is provided to you by:  Charles Rutenberg Realty the Best Choice for Chicagoland Realtors

Borrowing A Page From The Millennial Playbook

I came across an interesting blog post this morning regarding how companies are tailoring their work experiences to be more appealing to the Millennial Generation. He makes some interesting points that really should be considered, namely how older generations can learn from the Millennials.

Millennials are used to being lead, not managed.  In a results driven industry, Millennials tend to find their own paths of getting results.  The article states not to get as caught up in the methodology of their results instead focus on the fact that the desired results were obtained.  We can also take a page from the Millennials playbook, and search out creative alternatives to gaining clientele, instead of always depending on traditional means.

In Real Estate especially, this is where we can all learn from Millennials.  The Millennial Generation essentially is people born from 1982 to 2000.  They are very familiar and comfortable with all forms of technology and this is their strength.  As we all know, social media is hot.  We hear words like Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Linked In, You Tube, in multiple conversations on a daily basis.  The Millennial Generation knows how to tap into this market, and they know that making social connections across all of these platforms pays off.

As technology becomes more advanced, the ways in which we reach out to people need to advance with it.  Millennials are in tune with the pulse of changing trends and are better able to stay ahead of them.  This is what makes them extremely successful in marketing and sales professions.  They are able to make connections that other generations would otherwise disregard as a fad, or perhaps a time wasting endeavor.

Take a look at your own marketing.  Are you on Twitter?  Facebook?  Linked In?  Do you participate in social gatherings for technology, business, or niche marketing?  Do you utilize You Tube?  How do you stay connected to your clientele once you have completed a transaction with them?    If there is one thing that we can learn from the Millennial generation, it is that a contact should remain a constant.  Additionally, constant contact does not mean marketing to them constantly.  It means connecting with them, expanding your network of “friends” not your network of “clients”

If you haven’t signed up for it yet, I highly suggest registering for Agent Reboot when it comes to Chicago this Wednesday.  The speakers will be touching on many topics regarding social media and marketing, and it promises to be an engaging and beneficial experience.  You can sign up for it at www.agentreboot.com

If you are planning on attending, keep an eye out for the Charles Rutenberg representatives, as we will be in attendance.  Feel free to tweet us from the event @crrchicago .

I’m looking forward to learning many new things on Wednesday.

If you are interested in reading the full blog I discussed you can find it here

This article summary has been provided to you by Charles Rutenberg Realty

Agent Safety When Showing Houses

I came across an article in  Chicago Agent Magazine regarding a Realtor who was murdered last week in Iowa. She was 27 years old and shot while working an open house.  Articles such as these serve as grim reminders that we as Realtors need to take precautions when working in the field with the public.  Certain precautions go without saying:

-Always keep your cell phone near you, and have emergency numbers programmed into your speed dial.

-Always let someone know where you are, who you are with, and how long you expect to be

– If possible, have another agent accompany you

– Set up a Code Word, so that when calling you can alert your assistant, office, or significant other, that you are possibly in danger

– If you are showing properties all day long, check in at least a few times, to ensure that someone knows that you are okay

It is important to keep your personal safety top of mind these days, and always go with your gut instinct, if something doesn’t feel right or safe.  What safety measures do you have in practice?  Do you have any suggestions for the Realtors out there on habits they should be adopting to ensure their personal safety?

You can find the article in it’s entirety here :  Iowa Associations Heighten Safety As Police Seek Suspect In Murder

Analysis of Article has been provided by : Charles Rutenberg Realty

Social Media and the Real Estate Industry

Writer Erica Swallow, as well as Alexis Lamster of Postling- wrote and designed respectively an engaging look at how Realtors and Real Estate is affecting Social Media.  The engaging info graphic can be found here .   Their findings are eye opening and very telling of the direction Real Estate trends are heading.

Of the Realtors polled, 79% use Facebook, 48% use Twitter and 29% use LinkedIn. When asked how comfortable they are using Social Media, only 55% said they were comfortable.  26% said they were only “somewhat comfortable” using social media with the balance being uncomfortable or not using it at all.

Additionally,  an eye-opening 73% of homeowners said they were more likely to use a Realtor that offered video (tours) via YouTube or some similar broadcast outlet, yet- of the Realtors polled only 12% actually had and used You Tube accounts!

What they did learn, is that the Real Estate Industry does hold a large presence on Social Media, but not nearly as much as it could.  Additionally, thanks to services that allow updates to be sent to phones, agents are able to be in better contact with prospects and clients.

If anything can be taken away from this article, it is that Realtors need to adapt to the times.  Social Media, and Cell Phone apps are now the driving force behind buyer interest in homes.  To be the best agent for your client, you need to make sure that homes you have listed are gaining as much internet visibility as possible.  Do you use all of the Social Media outlets currently available?  Are you utilizing your Facebook, Twitter and You Tube accounts to their fullest potential?

Full text of the article can be found here:  How The Real Estate Industry Is Using Social Media

Summary of the article is provided by:  Charles Rutenberg Realty

Check out this graph of a Baylor University study on where marketing dollars are spent and the effectiveness of each source of new business. Are you maximizing your efforts in the most productive areas?

Staying top of mind with past clients and prospects will deliver measureable business for agents that succeed in “advocacy marketing”. Communications must be actionable, relevant, unassuming,informative and consistently delivered. The marketing must have an emotional tie and the sincerityof the message (focusing on the consumers’ needs and dreams) must be evident.The shift in perspective from “about me” to “how can I help you?” is one that all agents mustembrace and implement for long-term relationship-building and business success.


Preparing for Battle Against the Ash Borer Beetle

Spring is a time for planting and planning out your annual and perennial gardens, but for those in Chicagoland, it is also the time that arborists and tree lovers alike, start to fret about the dreaded Ash Borer Beetle.  Keen on taking down all of the Ash Trees in our area, and with no known predators, the Ash Borer Beetle weighs heavily on the minds of many.  As someone who has a garden full of Ash trees, I too, fear that one day my beautiful trees may meet their demise, defenseless to this unwelcomed invader.

There is hope though, according to a recent Naperville Sun Article , home owners can treat infected trees on their own, without the cost of an Arborist by using products that can be purchased at local hardware stores or Wal-Mart specifically.  According to the article   Green Light Emerald Ash Borer Killer can be used to kill Ash Borer’s in trees with less than a 15 inch diameter.  Anything larger than that, the article states, should be handled by a specialist.    The article goes on to explain the absolute worst thing that a homeowner can do is to let the Ash Borer kill the tree completely and then remove the tree once it’s dead.  However, if it is too late and your tree has already been killed, be sure to also remove the roots of the tree, otherwise the Ash Borer will continue it’s destruction above ground.

Full version of the discussed article can be found here .

Article Summary provided by Charles Rutenberg Realty the Best Choice for Chicagoland Realtors®