Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How to Create Engagement on Facebook

Facebook users are becoming savvy to marketers. You thought they would, didn't you? Instead they are looking for a social experience and engagement from their friends. This short video explains easy ways to increase your LIKES and engagement. Take a look!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Excuse Me! Five Social Media Faux Pas

Social media continues to be a great way, though not the only way, to create relationships and business opportunities. Like face to face contact, we have to make sure our message comes across sincerely. Nobody likes it when our friend invites us out for coffee or lunch to just pitch a product. The same insincerity comes across on social sites as well.

Watch out for social media faux pas in your online marketing plan:

  • Outsourcing your social media The first word of social media is social. Keep it that way. Use your source sites to interact with your friends and customers. Have fun and show your personality. It isn't easy to do that when you give someone else the responsibility of posting for you. A compromise would be to let others research, gathering data and articles, and then posting yourself. Use a site like www.hootsuite.com to maximize your posting instead of delegating posting to others.
  • Automating responses "Hi. Thanks for following me. I look forward to sharing with you valuable information." Yikes!! Thanks< Mr. Automatron.
  • Syncing social media sites Different sites have different nuances so let them stay unique. It may save time to post once and sync so the same message populates to all other sites but the rules change from site to site. Facebook users can spot a Twitter post a mile away so why not #keepitonTwitter.
  • Promoting listings only As far as I can tell, very few people use social sites to look for real estate. So perhaps bombarding your friends, followers, and connections with just listings isn't the best way to go. Instead, brainstorm a list of topics and key ideas that your friends would like to learn and hear from a real estate agent about. Using "How to's" and other informative posts will endear while just advertising may drive friends away.
  • Being a broken record I haven't forgotten that interest rates are low. Yes, I know NOW IS A GREAT TIME TO BUY. I get it. Do you have anything else you want to tell me? If not, I might quit paying attention to you. Consider this instead. What group of people do you want to attract? What information do they need from you? Look at you from their perspective. With a variety of information, you'll stay relevant.
Yes, we sell real estate. But isn't our job really to represent the best interest of our clients? Are there other faux pas that I'm missing? Let me know.

Friday, December 7, 2012

An Easy to Use Posting Tool

Hootsuite is really cool!!

This is the big time saver and organizer. Hootsuite organizes Twitter and Facebook into usable columns for easy targeted viewing. Scheduling tweets and posts to reach followers and friends at predetermined times allows for less time online and more focused posting. Hootsuite has great analytics, too!

Hootsuite has a free side that allows for pretty decent usability. Sign up and add your accounts. It's easy to do and quick. Scheduling posts to trickle out is just a click away.

Two Simple Truths for Success with Facebook

Success on Facebook starts with two simple ideas:

Be consistent. I've seen it over and over. Pages with daily activity are the ones that see BIG results.

I often get asked, "How many times should I post a day?" The sweet spot, based on many studies I've read, tends to be about 2-5 times a day.

If you don't yet have a lot of fans or massive engagement, posting more than 5 times a day can lead to unlikes. In fact the #1 reason people unlike Facebook Pages is because people post too much. Posting 2 - 5 times a day is the sweet spot.

Call to Action 
Include calls to action such as, "Click Like," "Please Share," "Click This," "Watch Now," "Enroll Here," or "Check this out." Check out the image I created with a strong call to action - this post spread like wildfire!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Characteristics of Successful Agents Show Bent Toward Social Media

With 2012 coming quickly to a close, agents are looking toward next year and its promises. These certainly include financial success with growth in brand recognition. Interestingly, the same old prospecting methods of 2012's highly successful agents will hold true to start out 2013. Of course, we'll see social media cloud based newcomers in 2013, but we can count on the strength of now the familiar avenues to get us moving in the right direction.

A few statistics that Chris Smith of Inman shared at Agent Reboot have stuck in my head. I keep working on how to make these create a return for my business:

  • 51% of the people who follow you on Facebook and 64% of those who follow you on Twitter tend to buy from you.
  • 65% of bandwidth is used on videos.
  • 50% of real estate agents who have more than 500 friends on Facebook make more than $100,000 while only 33% of the agents who make $34,000 have more than 500 friends.
  • 75% of real estate agents who make more than $100,000 use an iPad whereas only 50% of agents making less than $100,000 do.
  • There are more cell phones in the world than toothbrushes.
If Facebook is Good then Twitter is Great!
  • Make sure your Twitter Bio is up to speed - 160 characters that describes you. Jay Thompson, The Phoenix Real Estate Guy @PhxREguy has a great Bio
  • Follow local people. Twitter isn't about having a lot of followers. It's about having local followers. Use Twitter.com/search to find what is trending in your area
  • Create lists - Local News sources create great local content
  • Use Hootsuite.com to manage Twitter and Facebook
Video, Video, Video
  • Positioning in a room should be driven by what you want to show
  • Go wide for size
  • Get in close for detail
  • Use a slow pan
  • Camera against the window
  • Face the light to minimize shadows
  • Camera = Blackhole
  • Turn up the energy consciously
  • Smile BEFORE pressing record and through the stop record button
  • Introduce
  • End with a call to action
  • Economy of Language - 10 seconds per sentence
  • One feature per shot
  • Don't mimic the shot "Here's the kitchen"
  • Use your own voice
In today's market, video drives sales. Consider the following when creating a real estate video:

What to Shoot: If you were looking for a home, what would you look for? When the sellers bought their home, they saw certain features in this home.That's the same thing other buyers are looking for too. Video these features. Watch you lighting. It's tough to shoot towards windows.

What to Say:  Have you ever walked into the kitchen and wondered what room you were in? I'm going out on the limb to say, neither has anyone else! So, focus on the features of the room instead. You've got about 15 seconds in a room to talk about its awesome features.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Looking for success? Come out of the gate FAST!

New agents hit the real estate scene full of enthusiasm and dreams, dollar bills dancing in the head and ideas of making it big in their new career. Somewhere in their first month they get a dose of reality when business opportunities don’t actual knock their door down. Quickly, they can become frustrated and disillusioned.
Thankfully, there are remedies for this. It sounds overly simplistic and it really is, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!  Here’s how to be successful in your first 30 days:

Get rid of the Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Whether you believe you’ll reach your goals your first 30 days or you won’t, you’ll be right either way. Don’t let people fill your head with slow starting ideas. Set a goal to have a listing your first month and then BELIEVE and WORK to make it happen.

Prospect to survive and succeed When I was an elementary school teacher I didn't have to go find students to fill my classroom. Whether I was eady or not, the first day of school they just showed up. Real estate doesn't work that way. Maybe you have a friend or two who is thinking about buying or selling. But, what then? It is the multitude of activities that make agents successful. You have to make contact with people. 
  • Make a goal to hand out 20 business cards a day, every day for the first 30 days you’re in business.
  •  Knock on a few doors. 
  • Research for sale by owners and expired listings in your neighborhood and call on them. 
  • Find a new listing in your neighborhood. Make an appointment to go see it and take a friend with you. Then call other people in the neighborhood you know to find someone else who wants to see it. Chances are you’ll find someone thinking of selling who doesn’t have their home on the market. Do this until you make an appointment. You want an appointment, don’t you?

Be accountable to your manager Talk to your manager every morning. Show her your plan. Review the activities you did the day before. Tell her how many appointments you set; how many phone calls you made; how many business cards you handed out. Talk about difficulties (all veteran agents have difficult situations too). How did you handle rejection and objections.

Focus on Listings Listings generate more business. Keep making calls and sending emails asking a simple question: “Are you thinking about selling?” If the answer is no, then follow up with “Who do you know who may be thinking of selling?”
See Black and White There is only “yes or no” in real estate. There is no “maybe” and there is no “but.” If you get a “maybe” then work on overcoming objections. If you get a no then move on!

Work with a partner Find an experienced agent who will let you assist on a few appointments. Wouldn’t it be great to watch a pro? After gaining rapport or with the recommendation of your manager, ask an experienced agent if you may shadow them as she does a listing presentation from initial interview, through the research, all the way to the presentation itself. Do the same with a buyer, from consultation to contract.

Your first 30 days as a real estate agent are essential to your success. Aggressively follow a plan that has clearly defined goals and a plan of action. Set activity goals along with production goals. With clear direction and a positive attitude, your success is imminent! 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Foursquare: Have you checked in?

Foursquare hit the social media scene in 2009 and has gained popularity ever since. With over 25 million users world wide and over 2.5 billion check ins, Foursquare allows users to check in at businesses and public places. Foursquare is a fun social media app but it isn't all fun and games when you consider its business applications

Become the Mayor of your favorite spots
When you check in to a place more times than anyone else you are deemed the mayor of that place. Being the Mayor can give you special things and general notoriety.

Register your office
Setting up your office as a place on Foursquare not only allows you and others to check in at your office giving it online exposure, but allows you to write about your activities like preparing a new listing. It also gives you the opportunity to write tips like preparing your home to sell.

Open House Buzz
Foursquare is a good way to post information about open houses. Sellers and other office agents can comment about open houses and the neighborhood.With Foursquare's ability to forward to Facebook and Twitter, more of your social community can view open house activities.

Connect with your Sphere
Checking in at local stores gives you the ability to see which of your friends are there. Imagine "bumping into" an old friend while shopping! Knowing that they're there gives the savvy real estate agent time to prepare for the casual conversation.

Take a few minutes to sign up for Foursquare if you aren't already using it. The online social community is blending into our face to face contacts making prospecting much easier.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Four Steps to a Successful Prospecting Plan

Prospecting is the life blood of real estate. Successful agents have detailed and easy to follow plans to reach the consumers they wish to work with. Follow these four simple steps to develop a plan that will bring the income results you are looking for. Here's to your SUCCESS!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Three Steps to Real Estate Career Success

New real estate agents are always looking for tips to get successfully started in real estate. This short video gives 3 easy to follow tips to help agents become successful in their real estate career. Here's to your SUCCESS!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

CB Works eMarketing eCard Tool

This short video how to quickly make and send eCards to customers and clients. It's a snap! Take a look.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Getting Ready for a Social Media Event

Brushing up on statistics about social media while getting reading for a presentation. This video summarizes everything so well. Thanks Erik Qualman for making it.@Equalman

Here are the statistics from the video:

  1. Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30-years-old
  2. In 10 years over 40% of the Fortune 500 will no longer be here
  3. Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web
  4. Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S.
  5. 1 in 5 couples meet online; 3 in 5 gay couples meet online
  6. 1 in 5 divorces are blamed on Facebook
  7. What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook…
  8. 2009 US Department of Education study revealed that on average, online students out performed those receiving face-to-face instruction
  9. If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 3rd largest and 2x the size of the U.S. population
  10. 80% of companies use social media for recruitment; % of these using LinkedIn 95%
  11. A new member joins LinkedIn every second
  12. We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.”
  13. Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Britney Spears have more Twitter followers than the entire populations of North Korea, Australia, Chile…Israel, Sweden, Greece,
  14. Over 32 million have watched the Volkswagen Darth Vader Kid advertisement on YouTube
  15. Child actor has never seen Star Wars
  16. Ford Explorer launch on Facebook more effective than a Super Bowl Ad
  17. 50% of the mobile Internet traffic in the UK is for Facebook…people update anywhere, anytime…imagine what that means for bad customer experiences?
  18. Generation Y and Z consider e-mail pass̩ Рsome universities have stopped distributing e-mail accounts
  19. 69% of parents are “friends” with their children on social media
  20. eReaders have surpassed traditional book sales
  21. Groupon will reach $1 billion in sales faster than any company in history
  22. There were over 75 million more people playing Farmville than there were real Farmers
  23. Social Gamers to buy 6 billion in virtual goods by 2013; movie goers only buy 2.5 million in concessions
  24. The #2 largest search engine in the world is YouTube
  25. While you watch this 100+ hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube
  26. If Wikipedia were made into a book it would be 2.25 million pages long
  27. Because of the speed in which social media enables communication, word of mouth now becomes world of mouth
  28. 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content
  29. 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands
  30. Do you like what they are saying about your brand? You better.
  31. 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations
  32. Only 14% trust advertisements
  33. Only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI
  34. 90% of people that can TiVo ads do
  35. 93% of marketers use social media for business
  36. We will non longer search for products and services, they will find us via social media
  37. Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate
  38. The ROI of social media is that your business will still exist in 5 years
  39. Babies have been named Facebook in Egypt

Blogs: Quick and Easy Tips to Increase Readership

Writing and publishing a blog is a lot of fun. It allows the author,using articles photos, and videos, to creatively  develop their online personality. Many bloggers develop an intricate and detailed online personality only to be disappointed at the lack of interaction with their online community.

Here are a few words of encouragement. Whatever you do, don't give up! Try these easy steps to develop a long term group of faithful followers who interact with you through your blog.

  • Post - Quit waiting for the perfect article. Take the idea you have and express it. You can always go back later and expand your idea by posting more detailed information. Just Post it!
  • Distribute - Make sure your blog posts are shared throughout your online media sources. Remember to use your blog as the hub and sources like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and others as the spokes. These  other social media communities will help you draw in more readers to your blog.
  • Engage - Ask questions in your posts. When your readers comment, it is important that you respond. Listen so you can interact. Do this by setting up notifications to your phone or email (or both) so that you are immediately notified when someone comments on your post. By  responding to their comment quickly, you can create a real time conversation.
  • Adjust - Analyze and tweak as you go. Watch your statistics and and analytics so you understand what interests your readers most. Post on subjects that have high interest and comments. Stop posting on subjects that have little to now interest.
Enjoy developing your blog and your online community. Keep your blog fresh by updating it frequently. You'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Blog: Content is King Use an Editorial Calendar

Many blog enthusiasts believe the way to increase readership and interest is to blog at least three times a week. Consistently posting creates expectation by readers who eagerly anticipate the blogger's next feature. Though this has great credibility, it is only true if the post is worth reading.

Want to increase readership and interest? Write when you have something to say not just according to a schedule.

Content Marketing Plan
Always having content to write about isn't easy. Try using a Content Marketing Plan developed from an Editorial Calendar. Wikipedia defines editorial calendar as an efficient way for bloggers to develop, organize and publish content on blogs and other social media sites like facebook and twitter. They have been used for years in the publishing field and adopted by bloggers to facilitate the publishing process.

Two simple but important questions come to mind when considering content.
  • What do you have to offer?
  • What do your readers need from you?
Having succinct answers to these two questions will help a blogger develop their interests and keep readers returning looking for more awesome content.

Editorial Calendars need not be as sophisticated as the efficient plug-ins developed for blogs. Some bloggers use paper files and folders. If it works for them then it's the right thing to do. Other bloggers organize ideas and unpublished articles using spreadsheets or online calendars. No matter the format, an editorial calendar should be used to keep writing focused on desired topics and getting it published in a timely manner.

At a minimum, an editorial calendar needs the following elements:
  1. Brainstorm a list of topics based on your interests and audience needs
  2. Prioritize a list of what to publish focusing on time sensitive information
  3. Consider how much work each topic and piece will need to publish
  4. Assign dates for writing, editing, and publishing each article
  5. Determine where to publish each article (blog, facebook, email, newsletter)
Blogging has to be fun and interesting for the blogger. Creating lists on interesting topics, writing in shorter time periods, and understanding audience needs will increase the level of success and readership.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

If you're going to eat it, don't nibble

At some point, you're going to have to jump in. Business is tough. It's tougher when you're not committed to success. What's holding you back? Fear? Lack of plan?

As a trainer I get to meet a lot of people. They're all different with different learning styles. Beside how they learn, they're all the same. All people come to training with their own dreams and desires. Some people, however, go beyond dreaming. They have their dreams and desires organized as specific goals and some don't. It sounds tedious to the dreamer but it's essential. Taking defined goals and creating steps and action plans to achieve dreams is critical to success.

It's funny though, successful people not only know what they want and have a plan to get it they all have pulled the trigger. They're living the dream. They're doing what it takes to achieve their goals by implementing their plans.

Do you have your goals and plans? It sounds like you're ready. Quit nibbling and take a big bite! You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Use Social Network Sites to Research New Prospects

Social sites aren’t just for talking but for listening. Social networks provide excellent opportunities for real estate agents to search for people who are talking about making a move. Searching this way enables agents to make contact with people they may not yet know who are planning a move. Spend a few minutes (that’s all) each day searching your social media sites looking for people who are planning a move.

Think about who may be moving…

Anyone who has had a life event may be considering a move. Someone who has just graduated, had a baby, landed a new job, had children move out, etc. are all excellent prospects.

Searching is quick and easy when you know how to do it.

Start with the largest social media site, Facebook. At the top of the page is the search box. Type

what you are looking for in quotation marks. Here’s an example, let’s look for “moving to Houston” It’s important that you click on the magnifying glass to start the search instead of just hitting enter. Next decide what group to target. On the left side of the page are Search Filters. Start with Posts by Friends to check your friends. Move to Public Posts to check for people you don’t yet know.

Twitter also has great search capabilities. Just like Facebook,

type the search parameters into

the search box. Use quotation marks to narrow the results. The gear to the right of the search box has advance search tools. Add a location to your search to help target a certain area. Adding a target group of people is possible in the advanced search section of Twitter as well.

Searching for potential clients this way and reaching out to them on their social media site is the newest form of warm calling possible. The difference is though the potential prospects have already expressed an interest or need to make a move.

Just like any prospecting these potential customers may still require follow up before they are actually ready to buy. If possible, add them to your following or friends. Send them a message or comment on their post to help them notice you. Here's to your Success!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Home Showing Process Simplified

Real estate agents should help buyers in the home buying process. The agent's job isn't to make the decision for the buyer but to facilitate the process by properly preparing to show homes and to show homes correctly. Following these few simple steps will help the buyers come to the best decision for them.

Pull the weeds - Preview homes before taking a buyer to see them. Some houses look much better in the photographs than in person. Others may be next to undesirable items like high tension power lines. Previewing eliminates wasted showings and deminstrates professionalism.

Do your homework - Once the choice homes are selected spend time researching each property. Know the listing history, the date it last sold, the value, and other pertinent information the buyer will need to make a decision. Add disclosure notices to the showing packet for the buyer's convenience. Be prepared with market analyses.

Know where to go first - David Knox in his Mentor Series II series talks about what order to show homes. In David's tongue-in-cheek manner, he calls it The Theory of Relativity. Buyer's don't understand how good a home is until they compare it to other homes. For example, have you ever jumped into a swimming pool straight from the jacuzzi? Freezing cold, right? What if you just jumped into the pool first without going into the jacuzzi? The pool won't feel as cold because you didn't come from as hot an environment. David Knox recommends that after choosing the best four or five homes for your buyer client, put them in an order to help them reach a buying decision. Show them from good to better to best to good again. This gets them excited to move from house to house but shuts down the showing process in the end. Don't manipulate the process by adding a dog into the mix. These are the best homes available for your buyer.

Shhhh! - This is the hardest part! If the agents has done his or her job correctly, picking the best homes for the buyer, then all the homes should have practically all the same amenities. These are the perfect homes for the buyer. Why not let the homes show themselves and let the buyers experience them without agent commentary. Use the time to observe the buyers as they explore and enjoy the homes they are viewing. Listen for their comments as they enter and leave rooms. Write down their reactions to add to their feedback at the end of each home showing.

Following these easy steps will simplify the buying process for the buyers. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Uploading a Data File with the new Toolkit CMA

ToolkitCMA has changed the way a data file is uploaded when making a listing presentation or a buyer tour. Watch this short video to learn how to successfully upload the data file.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Build a Brand by Asking a Few Simple Questions

Value proposition statements are the thirty second commercials, the elevator speeches, that we have all memorized. We've prepared ourselves to be able to blurt our statements out at a moment's notice.

The creation of the value proposition statement usually starts with a period of reflection, jotting phrases and words surrounding defining the agent's own success, the agent's life experiences, values, and beliefs.

Step out of the Box!
Go a step further next time. Close your eyes. And ask these questions instead?
  • What makes you happy, REALLY happy?
  • What inspires you?
  • What makes you breathe?
  • Why do you live?
Did you get different answers this time? Good! Write about those instead.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pacific Dogwood near Lake Arrowhead

California has many different ecosystems which support an immense variety of flora. Surprising to me, pockets in the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California have gorgeous Pacific Dogwood.
On a visit in 1991, Lisa and I took my mother on a hike near Lake Arrowhead to visit a an area with many beautiful dogwood.
From photographs she took during several visits to the grove, this beautiful watercolor was created. This colorful painting was the first my mother gave Lisa and me. It proudly hangs in our home reminding of the foggy walks we took through these beatiful mountain groves.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Open House Prospecting Plan

Prospecting in real estate should always be systematic and planned. Open Houses, a comprehensive prospecting system, is a great example. With both active and passive prospecting activities, open houses expose our listings and reach both buyers and sellers.
For open houses to reach their greatest prospecting potential, follow these simple steps:

Two Weeks before the Open House
  • Choose a house to hold open
  • Mail invitation post cards to 50 neighbors
  • List the open house on the multiple listing service and on other real estate pages
  • Order a short open house newspaper advertisement or facebook pay per click ad

The Week before the Open House

  • Place an Open Sunday sign rider on the sign
  • Place an event on Facebook and invite local friends
  • Prepare flier for open house
  • Call prior open house attendees inviting them
  • Call twenty neighbors inviting them

The Day of the Open House

  • Place at least six open house signs
  • Request every visitor sign in by using an inexpesive raffle

These simple to follow steps will create an open house system that will generate many buyer and seller leads. Including the buyer prospect in future open house invitation calls insure more interest to your open houses and will create lucritive relationships with buyers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Open Houses Create Successful Prospecting Opportunities

If Prospecting is the lifeblood of a real estate agent's career, then open houses are the blood cells themselves. No other single activity gives more opportunities to prospect for new customers than the open house.
Frequently, real estate agents try open houses and then give up doing them because they quickly learn that open houses don't work. Though this will sound contradictory to my initial statement, they're right. Open houses don't usually work ... by themselves. Most of the time an agent plans an open house by placing an announcement on the local mls, an Open Sunday sign, places a directional sign or two and lets it rip. If this is your idea of an open house, let me save you some time, GIVE UP!
Open houses offer many proepsecting opportunities that need to be used to not just increase attendance to the open house but to also prospect for other buyers and sellers.
- Think about your sellers. They're looking for the BEST price for their home. Brining in more buyers may bring more than one offer but at least the highest possible offer.
- Think about the neighbors. They're watching the for sale sign in your seller's yard. They are considering selling but haven't found a real estate agent yet. They're waiting to see your efforts.
- Think about other buyers. Often buyers visit open houses long before they're ready to buy.
Prospecting for these groups will increase your customer base dramatically. Having success using open houses takes a systematic approach with a variety of open house invitation and follow up activities.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mt. Morrison - Convict Lake

Convict Lake is one of my favorite fishing lakes in California. Nestled high in the Eastern Sierras,Convict is a paternoster lake. It is one of a series of lakes in a glaciated valley, like beads on a string.
Mt. Morrison which guards the lake, is one of the most notable peaks near Mammoth Lakes in the Sierra Nevada. Its precambrian rock, composed of Dolomite and Marble - basically metamorphosed limestone, makes it some of the oldest in the Sierra.
Convict Lake and creek were named from an ambush that took place in 1871 when a group of escaped convicts holed up at then Mount Diablo Creek. Sheriff George Hightower and his posse caught up with the escaped convicts. In a shoot out posse members Robert Morrison a Benton Merchant, Mono Jim were killed. The convicts were caught later in Round Valley. Mount Diablo was renamed after Robert Morrison.
Besides its unmatched striking beauty, Convict Lake's depth and shelves make it an exceptional fishing lake. Loaded with plentiful trout, large German Browns and stout Rainbow Trout await the eager fisherman.
I fished from this exact spot many times. A few times my mother joined me. Usually I would fish and she would sketch. This beautiful watercolor painting started with a series of sketches and photographs. This painting by my mother hangs appreciatively in my office. Not a day goes by that I don't think of the summer days I spent with great friends and on solitary quests hunting the big trout of Convict Lake.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Quick Social Media Plug-ins for HAR.com

Social media networking and linking is an important part of being found in Google searches. The Houston Association of Realtors makes it easy for us to quickly link to social media sites. The short narrated video slideshow will help you set up your network.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Real Estate Reading List for 2012

With a new year comes a challenge and an endeavor to improve both in knowledge and in skill. My reading list never seems to shrink. As i finish one book I seem to add another two to the pile. What is on your list for 2012?
  • Linchpin Seth Godin
  • Raving Fans Ken Blanchard
  • Trust Agents Chris Brogan
  • Tribes Seth Godin
  • The Real Book of Real Estate Robert Kiyosaki
  • The Millionaire Real Estate Agent Gary Keller
  • Unselling: Sell Less to Win More Peter Bourke
  • The Law of Success Napoleon Hill
  • Google + for Business Chris Brogan
  • The Thank You Economy Gary Vaynerchuk

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Selling Real Estate Takes Perseverance

Real estate is a great career requiring hard, focused work. Agents reach fantastic emotional highs and then experience dramatic lows. Bouncing back and continuing to persevere receives it unmatched and well deserved rewards. Successfully helping clients reach their dreams is unbelievably rewarding!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ready, Set, JUMP!

Being cautious and looking at a problem from all sides is a great business practice. Business plans should include intricate details about marketing and product development. After careful analysis, however, sometimes you just have to take a running start and jump in! Don't forget to make as big of a splash as you can!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Content Marketing for Social Media Sites

Many new Facebookers have true concerns about what and when to post material. Instead of creating a page and then trying to determine what information to provide, do it in reverse. Decide what content to provide and then create a page designed to deliver the information.
Before creating your Facebook page decide what kind of content or information to provide. This will depend completely on who the targeted audience is for the page. This allows the page to focus completely on consumer needs and delivers enough content for the first thirty to sixty days.
Three good questions to ask before creating a Facebook page are:

  1. What kind of information does my targeted audience mostly likely need?
  2. Why do I love selling real estate?
  3. Why do I love this community?

The answers to these three questions are the beginning of a cntent grid. Use the following chart to help create a content grid.

Post several times a day in order to maximize exposure. Some recommend even posting the same material more than once to increase readership. Though this may look a bit like spam to frequent Facebook visitors, allows for the greatest exposure.

With all this great consumer centered information being produced, length of article or post is a concern. Facebook users are accustomed to short bits of information which is why Facebook is not in the center of the social media hub. Facebook allows the consumer to readily find topics and shorts posts of information. The true source of the information is the blog. Facebook just directs the consumer to it Even so, some bits of information may come from other sites like
governmental agencies, Realtor ssociations, school websites, news organizations to name a few. Create a link tothis information and post it directly on Facebook. Add the URL to longer articles or helpful link lists posted on the blog.

Each blog post has its own distinct URL or web address. By clicking on the title of the blog article, the URL will appear in the address bar. Copy and paste the URL for the article to Facebook. This gives the blog article greater exposure. The back link helps in placement in Google searches as well.

Content on blogs and Facebook is not limited to written articles. Content can be as simple as a picture with a title posted from Flick’r onto Facebook and the blog. Use the hub to create a network of sites whenever possible! Content can be shared as a video as well. Imagine, for example, keeping the community informed about a local construction project by posting
frequent and short videos. These videos are stored on YouTube and linked or embedded into the blog and Facebook. Creatively, client testimonials can be video as well. Ask satisfied clients to make a short 30-45 second video instead of writing a letter. These are great show instead of tells for blogs and Facebook.

Now that the social media hub is in place and beginning to work, refocus on the content grid to deliver quality and enjoyable information to your targeted group of consumers. This is the fun part!

China Island Big Bear Lake

My mother painted this and gave it to me for Christmas this year. China Island, really Garstin Island, is a privately owned island in Big Bear Lake. Maude Garstin built the little Oriental style buildings in 1911.

Big Bear Lake is high in the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California. A transverse mountain range formed by folding and faulting, the San Bernardino Mountains are home to spectacular wildlife including big horn sheep, bald eagles, montain lions, and bobcats.Mount San Gorgonio, known as Old Greyback, tops out at 11,499 feet and is the tallest peak in southern California. The San Gorgonio Wilderness has an extensive trail system and is home to several ecosystems including chaparral, yellow-pine forest, montane meadows, lodgepole forest, sub-alpine, and alpine

I was fortunate to pass by China Island frequently on my way to Papoose Bay to fish. Big Bear lake is a stellar fishing lake with rainbow trout, northern largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill, and even carp. Imagine having to live in such a beautiful place? Thanks mom for this wonderful gift!