About Me

My photo
REALTOR® with Prudential New Jersey Properties, Moretti Division, in South Plainfield, NJ. Contact me for assistance with selling or buying properties in New Jersey! President of Robin Taylor Roth Enterprises, LLC - Training, consulting, and social media for small businesses. Living in New Jersey and loving it. Proximity to Manhattan opens the world to us.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Using the Listing to Get the Listing

How can you use the listing, before you have the listing? (No, I haven't "lost it"!)

Technically, of course, you can't. However, you can create a marketing presentation that shows the seller exactly how your splendid marketing of their home will look.

For example, consider these simple options:
  • Drive to the seller's home, ahead of time, and take a high-quality digital image of the exterior. Use that image in your customized listing presentation and in all of your marketing "mock-ups."
  • Using an existing Featured Listing from your website as a base, create a dummy Featured Listing of the seller's property, including all of the information that you currently have about the property. (You can make up the rest, borrow it from one of your existing listings, or use the standard "lorem ipsem" nonsense text as filler.)
  • Similarly, create an Open House Listing Sheet, and any other kind of marketing collateral that you typically use.
The sellers will understand that, with incomplete information, your marketing samples will not be complete or accurate. But, they will be impressed with the extra time and effort you invested. And, they will be able to visualize, much more easily, just how your complete marketing system can work for them.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Provide Monthly Updates, with Real Numbers

One of the questions to which consumers seek answers is, "What is the real estate market doing?" Make it easy for consumers to find the answer to that question on your website.

Each of the MLS systems of which you are a member will generate a snapshot or summary view of what your chosen real estate market has done, for any recent time period that you specify. I recommend that you establish a specific page or tab on your website, on which you summarize this information.

You can provide the information in tabular or bullet form - as long as it is easy for consumers to understand. Here's just one example: Watchung Borough, NJ (07059)

Be sure to update your market snapshot, faithfully, every month, so that consumers know they can count on you, to provide the latest information!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Previous Jobs Can Help You Get Business

I know: you're saying to yourself, "Robin is stating the obvious, again. I have already milked my previous jobs dry, in building my Sphere of Influence (SOI)."

But wait - there's more! Along with previous jobs, you also get ...

... skills, knowledge, and experience.

In a previous post, I asked "What do people see in you?" Through this post, I'd like to help you direct people's attention to the skills, knowledge, and experience you gained through previous jobs: the richness of your life experience, if you will.

So, your first task (after entering absolutely everyone into your SOI database) is to enumerate the skills and knowledge that you gained at the various jobs. Then, consider how you can adapt each skill or class of knowledge to improving your real estate business. Admittedly, some (such as running a particular machine) will be a stretch. But others (such as managing inventory, collective bargaining, or filing business papers) will readily generalize to real estate.

Apply that selected list of skills and knowledge to improving your business plan, your prospecting and marketing plan, your customer relationship management, your presentations, and your web site.

Next, inform the world of how your rich, varied experience enables you to work better with people, to market listings more effectively, and to provide first-class customer service. In your web site biography, describe how your work experience makes you a more effective real estate professional.

My own background is a tapestry of different kinds of work in various businesses and industries. Yet, I can honestly say that I have used practically everything I learned, along the way, in each successive career. I hope the same is true for you.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Your Website Represents You!

As an active real estate agent, you must have a website, of course. You may have a website that is provided by your company, an independent website, or both.

Each of these websites represents you, your services, and your company. It is your virtual ambassador, in a sense. How can you ensure that your website represents you in the best possible way?

At a minimum, your website(s) should include this information:
  • About Me (your background, approach to real estate, and a little personal information, too)
  • Your Listings (all of your active listings, preferably as a feed from your MLS)
  • Your Solds (display all those for which the buyer has given you permission)
  • Contact Me (an easy way for consumers to reach you)
  • Your Marketplace (information about the marketplace you serve, including financing options, schools, recreational facilities, and so on)
  • Blog (a key way to communicate to consumers).

Make each of your websites as powerful as it can be by, first, learning as much as you can about the features and functionality of the web template. Then, maximize your use of all of the capabilities of the template you have. For example, are there special widgets that show current housing prices in your marketplace? Can you link to your MLS listings? Is there a widget that supports podcasts? Use such special features to make that website stand out in your marketplace.

Investing time to polish each of your websites will ensure that you will be proud of your virtual ambassadors!

For additional ideas on keeping your websites current, visit Robin's Ruminations.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Don't Neglect Your Professional Development!

To maintain your professional image as a knowledgeable real estate professional, you must remain current on what's happening in the real estate business - even if your state does not have CEU requirements! There are many options available to you:
  • State association workshops
  • Broker-group-sponsored rallies
  • National or regional conventions
  • Online training.
When you complete any professional development activity, be sure to write about it in your blog. Also, post formal course completions on your website, to demonstrate your expertise.

It's a good rule of thumb to plan to participate in a formal professional development program, at least twice each year.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Remembering Your Clients & Customers on Special Days

I hope that, as part of your Customer Care program, you acknowledge your clients' and customers' special family days, such as birthdays and wedding anniversaries. But what do you do, the rest of the year?

These weeks are important for Jews (Passover) and for Christians (Holy Week). Would you send cards to your clients and customers, at such times? I think the answer depends on how well you know them. If you are confident of their religious practices and believe they would be pleased by such greetings, then, by all means, do send a card or hand-written note. If you are not confident that these wishes would be welcomed, then don't send them.

On the other hand, I do encourage you to acknowledge:
  • Secular holidays, such as Thanksgiving (US & Canada - on different days) and the Queen's Birthday (U.K., Canada, & Australia); and
  • National holidays, such as Independence Day (US), Canada Day (Canada), Cinqo de Maio (Mexico), Bastille Day (France), and Anzac Day (Australia).
Being remembered on general days of celebration helps make your clients and customers feel they are part of a larger community - a community in which you play a significant ongoing role. Seasonal greeting cards also break the pattern of business-focused contacts, such as Open House notifications and monthly newsletters, thus giving your clients & customers a more three-dimensional perspective on your character.

Not only do people like to be remembered, they may actually remember you, if you incorporate Secular & National holiday cards into your frequent-touch account.

For information about the holiday or celebration of the day, have a look at

Thursday, April 9, 2009

3 Reasons for Optimism

Are you succumbing to the barrage of bad news about the housing market, home financing, and the stock market? Is all that doom and gloom affecting how you perceive your chosen career in real estate?

Let me offer 3 reasons for optimism and, therefore, 3 reasons to renew your efforts:
  1. Mortgage rates are affordably low for many people who might not have qualified at last year's rates - even under today's more stringent qualification rules. Although it may take more time, people can qualify for loans. Qualify first, so that buyers and sellers can proceed with confidence.

  2. Most first-time home buyers - and there's a fresh group every month - are in better financial shape than those from older generations, who have run up mountains of debt. First-time home buyers are good prospects - as are many recent immigrants. Focus on niche markets like these.

  3. Real estate professionals have been closing transactions throughout this downturn, and the pace is picking up. Every day, my TwitterStream and Facebook Status reports describe listings sold, offers accepted, financing granted, and closings concluded.
To rekindle your own business, build these 3 reasons for optimism into your prospecting and marketing materials, and blog about examples specific to your marketplace.

Have you observed other reasons for optimism? Please describe them in a Comment!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Two Little Words

When you were growing up, a parent or guardian probably taught you the importance of saying "please" and "thank you." At the time, you were being taught to interact with people, politely. If you were like most children, that's a lesson that had to be repeated many times, before it 'took."

What you didn't learn until later, is the power of those words - particularly, "thank you" - in day-to-day business transactions. We rush through our busy days, hardly even seeing many of the people with whom we come into contact - yet all of them should be treated with the same politeness that we offer friends and family. Routinely thanking someone for performing a task for you - even if it is a regular part of the job - is a good way to generate support, when you need it.

However, the most important people you should thank are your clients and customers. Thank them in person, at closing day. Take them a gift with hand-written note, immedately thereafter. And put them all on your frequent-touch cards-and-newsletters program.

Thanking customers and clients ends the transaction (which may have been difficult) on a positive note; you have indicated that they were not just names on contracts, but people with whom you were pleased to work. You have also just increased the probability of getting repeat work and referrals from these individuals.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What Do People See in You?

Undoubtedly, you pay attention to your appearance: You dress as a professional, according to the style of your marketplace. You keep your shoes clean, polished, and in good repair. You maintain your fingernails. Your hair is always clean and properly styled. You routinely look after all those little details that you know are important to your "image."

While these basics are important, there is something else that will draw people to you - perhaps even more than your general appearance: your smile.

A sunny smile simply attracts people! When you smile happily, people perceive you as approachable, confident, successful, friendly, out-going, warm, and accepting of others. A great smile is a wonderful asset!

Do you have a stack of other peoples' business cards, with photos on them? Sort the cards according to facial expression - serious, neutral, or smiling. Then spread out each group of cards. Which group is more appealing to you? Which group would you prefer to join? Chances are, it's the group of smiling faces.

Not convinced? If you are on Twitter, try another experiment: Peruse the avatars of the people you follow. Probably, they include some you interact with regularly, and some you rarely do. Consider those with whom you interact: For which ones do you have a strong sense of their personality? For which ones have you found their personality harder to define? You probably feel closer to your Twitterpals with smiling avatars.

So, what point am I trying to make? Pin a happy smile on your face, whenever you go out in public. (For that matter, do the same at home. It'll get your family's attention, too!) You will find it much easier to engage people in conversation about real estate, because they will be more likely to want to talk with you!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Accentuate the Positive

In your blog posts and prospecting collateral, follow the advice of the old Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer song:

Accentuate the positive,
Eliminate the negative,
Latch on to the affirmative -
Don't mess with Mr In-Between.

Why is this approach important? I offer two principal reasons:

  1. Your view of your local marketplace can help balance largely negative national news reports;
  2. People prefer to work with someone who has a positive outlook.

Any small gleam of progress and hope can stimulate a short blog post, newsletter article, or market update. For example:

  • A house in your market received multiple bids;
  • Local lenders have just reduced mortgage rates;
  • Mass transit authorities plan to expand services to your marketplace;
  • A decision is made to proceed with a new development.

There are lots of positive stories in every market. Your challenge is to be informed of what's happening, in all aspects of your market,

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Clients' Own Home Can "Sell" Your Listing Services

Before you attend a listing appointment, take a good exterior photo of the home.

Use that photo to customize your listing presentation in a more personal way. Also incorporate the photo into sample collateral for your proposed marketing plan, including an online listing.

Seeing their own home in your materials will help persuade clients to list with you.