The One Marketing Tool You Need to Drive Your CRE Business – Free Webinar

I remember the first time I saw a real property package. You know the ones I’m talking about. They are beautiful. Maps. Demographics. Graphs. Comps. All branded beautifully and consistently. I was blown away.

I had been in the business for about a year before I saw one. Our firm was small town CRE. Not only did we have relationships, but we had them going back generations. Business walked in our door. We didn’t have to compete or present (not much, at least).

Businessman having stress in the office

But then I got called into my first dog and pony show. I was one of three brokers who would present to win the business. I knew the other brokers would walk in with these beautiful proposals.

I spent days trying to create the package that would stack up. It was futility. I was beyond frustrated.

I could tell you many more stories about frustrations I’ve had with different parts of the business. Entering data over and over again in different apps and listing portals as none of them talk to each other.

I remember the first time I tried to create a retailer map with Photoshop and google searches for logos.

I remember trying to merge documents into a cohesive pdf – just to find out I need one simple edit. Ugh! Start over from scratch.

I’m guessing you can relate to these frustrations.

Well I have a treat for you. On Wednesday at 3pm Eastern, I’m hosting a free webinar to show you the one tool you need to eradicate all of these frustrations from your business – and so many more. CRE tech has lagged so far behind, but Buildout is going to change that.

Claim My Seat!

Kris Krisco from Buildout is going to join me and demonstrate what Buildout can do. You will be amazed.

Here are 6 reasons you should attend this webinar:

6 Reasons To Attend My Buildout Webinar

1. Time – Time is the most valuable resource you possess. It is absolutely limited. Plus, high dollar activities in CRE are worth big bucks. Handling the marketing is not. Buildout will absolutely save you and your firm a ton of time.

2. Branding – Branding consistency is a huge deal whether you are a boutique firm or a big national. Consistent touch points reinforce trust, etc. Buildout makes this super easy and automatic. And their in-house designers handle everything.

3. Speed – Speed to market is a huge competitive advantage. I’m going to share a story on the webinar Wednesday about a particular deal where we were super fast. I still can’t believe we pulled that off – and all because we had Buildout.

4. Free access to your own information – We used to pay Loopnet to have the privilege of putting our listings on their site (one of the many duplicate data entry points). Then we would pay them again to have those listings on our website. And, Loopnet reaped the SEO for all of it. Buildout solves this.

5. Retailer maps – I can’t wait for you to see how long it takes to create a retailer map – seconds.

6. Magic fairy dust – I admit – a little over-the-top. I’m going to stop my list here. There is too much more. But we are going to show it to you on Wednesday. And some of this stuff looks like magic to me.

I have one more reason you should attend. I’ve negotiated the absolute best deal to offer on the webinar. You won’t be able to get this anywhere else.

If you identify with any of these frustrations or want to just see what Buildout can do, click the button below to claim your spot – space is limited.

So I hope you will join us Wednesday. It is going to be full of info you can use and could literally save you thousands of dollars.

Claim My Seat!

How to Capture and Keep the Unicorn Called Inbox-Zero

Email is the bane of my existence. It is the constant interrupter. It knocks me off schedule. It distracts. Yet, it is important. It is one of the major forms of communication I use.

This post has a lot of goodies for you. I have created a cheat sheet for you to download and take with you.

Download Your Email Inbox-Zero Cheat Sheet

Let me make a confession. I had 954 emails in my inbox yesterday. It was like my inbox was 954-lbs – just weighing me down.

iStock_000019446683_Large

I received an email from John Lee Dumas this week that has shifted my paradigm regarding email. I am writing this post to myself as I want to solidify this change in thinking. I also want to execute and solve my email problem once and for all.

OPA

Have you ever heard of OPA before? I hadn’t until I read JLD’s email. OPA stands for Other People’s Agenda. That is what the email inbox is. A collection of emails.  All of them are seeking to get you on their agenda. That almost makes me mad. So here is my plan to effectively and efficiently deal with my inbox. To be clear, I am defining daily email success as reaching inbox zero every day.

At this moment, I have achieved inbox-zero. I feel fantastic. I have captured the unicorn. This is how I’m going to keep it.

In fact, anyone can achieve email success (inbox zero) by following these 4 steps.

The 4 Steps to Achieve Inbox Zero…and stay there!

1. Declare Bankruptcy – Last night I was staring at an inbox with 950+ emails. If I spent one minute sifting through each email, it would have taken 15+ hours. No thank you. I started from the oldest emails and highlighted all on a page – 50 at a time. I then quickly scanned the emails and unchecked any that I wanted to take a look at. After about an hour, I was down to less than 70 emails.

2. Utilize Technology – There are some great apps I would recommend that can help you stay at inbox zero. These apps also helped me deal with the last 70 emails I had left after my bankruptcy.

1. Inbox Pause – I didn’t know this existed, but I can’t tell you how excited I am about it. This free app will literally pause your inbox. If you need to focus for 90 minutes on a specific task without emails flooding your inbox, just pause it. It is brilliant.

inbox pause

 

inbox pause 2

This single app puts you back in control of your inbox. In fact, I suggest you keep your inbox paused and only turn it on during scheduled intervals. This means you deal with email completely on your schedule.

And it only works for gmail.

2. Boomerang – You may have heard of Boomerang as I believe it is the number one email add-on for productivity. The same people make Inbox Pause who make Boomerang.

What Boomerang does is give you some scheduling options. You can take an email you don’t know what to do with and have it boomerang back to your inbox in an hour, day, week, or time of your choosing.

Boomerang also lets you schedule emails to be sent later. So, if you are burning the midnight oil, you can schedule the email to be sent at 7:30 a.m. Lot’s of flexibility. I’ve been using this like crazy of the last 24 hours.

Note: the free version is very limited. Do yourself a favor and buy the $4.99 version of it. There’s no telling how many hours this app will save you. Your time is worth way more than $4.99/hr.

And I think it is also only for gmail. Time to switch?

3. Mailbox App – This app is for your phone from the makers of Dropbox. This app allows you to do on your phone what Boomerang does on your browser. It makes email ‘light, fast, and mobile-friendly.” And it does.

With a swipe, you can quickly archive, trash, or schedule it to come back to your inbox in the future – just like Boomerang.

This one works on iOS and Android. They have a desktop app now, but I haven’t used it. It can unify your emails on different platforms – sounds pretty slick.

4. Filters – This is super easy in Gmail and cumbersome in Outlook – but possible. I signed up for John Maxwell’s email list. Turns out that he emails more than I like. I do want his emails, but I want them on my schedule. So I set up a filter that takes his emails straight to a special ‘folder’ and skips my inbox.

3. Only look at an email once – This is where I really struggle. I will look at an email, not know what to do with it, and leave it there. I’ve wasted 30 seconds and not resolved anything. Thus, I will have to look at it again. Maybe then I will be ready to make a decision.

You have 4 choices – just four.

  1. Deal with it – I generally do this if it takes 2 minutes or less to do so. If you’ve read Getting Things Done, you know where I got that idea. If you haven’t read this book, do so immediately!
  2. Delegate it – This could take a couple forms. Forward the email immediately to the person on your team who will deal with it. Or, you have someone on your team responsible for handling your inbox, and only the important stuff makes it to you. That sounds awesome and is on my bucket-list.
  3. Delete it – Nuff said.
  4. Defer/Boomerang it – Kick the can down the road until you are in a better place to consider which of the first three choices apply. Just don’t let the email sit in your inbox in the meantime.

4. Turn off notifications – There is nothing more distracting than that pop up notification informing you that you have a new email. Turn it off. I’m serious. Stop reading this post and figure out how to turn the emails notifications off.

This will be less of an issue if you are using the pause app. For you non-gmail folks (I’m so sorry), you will have to do this manually.

So now the question is how long can I maintain inbox zero? I’m going to make this one last.

But I need your help. How have you managed email and kept it from distracting you or completely derailing your day? What have I left off of my list? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Download Your Email Inbox-Zero Cheat-sheet

How You Can Become a Top Producer

So many settle for mediocrity.  I have done it myself.  I despise that place.  You can see others around you excelling at what they do – what you could do.  You may find yourself asking, “Is it even possible for me to have that kind of success?”  Good question.

The Four  Not-So-Secret

I started playing the guitar when I was 14 years old.  I was looking for something that I could be good at.  I had already realized it wasn’t going to be sports.  I took a few months of lessons and then kept playing.  By the time I got to college, I was OK at best.

Then Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds played a show at my college.  They were incredible.  Two guys with their acoustic guitars on stage playing.  No band.  Just them.

The Answer to the Most Asked Question – CRM’s

As I coach commercial real estate professionals, the most asked question is, “What CRM should I use?”

What is the BEST CRM

To answer this, I always tell them the same story. Over a year ago, my church hired a new senior pastor. One of the first things he did was change the pew bibles from one translation to another.

I remember him giving the congregation a heads-up in a sermon about the coming change.

He asked everyone, “What is the best translation of the bible?” When he asked that question, I cringed. I knew how passionate people can get over this issue.

I thought to myself, “This may not be a brilliant way to start your time here.” But then he gave his answer. It was brilliant.

He answered by saying, “The best translation of the bible is the one you will read.” Great answer!

[Video] Ask Bo – A Question from Brian Fleming

In this edition of Ask Bo, Brian Fleming submits his question.  Brian is a CRE pro from Fort Lauderdale and wants to know my take on all the new CRE tech apps that seem to come out on a weekly basis.

How can you remain productive if you are spending all your time trying to learn new applications?  Great question.

I share the 4 essential CRE applications (or software) you absolutely need to remain competitive.  And I also share a huge need that the CRE industry needs.

Be sure to connect with Brian on these platforms:

Links from the video:

The 30 Tools I Use For Productivity, Blogging, Social Media, & Travel (18 are free!)

I don’t know how many times I’ve said – “I wish I had more hours in the day!”

I’m sure you’ve had that sentiment as well.  Alas, 24 hours a day is all we get.  That isn’t going to change.  What can change is how much you can squeeze out of each hour.

30tools 3d cover

Before I go on, I want to make this point.  I’m not advocating becoming a workaholic – or even feeding that addiction.  I’m talking about getting more work done faster.  I’m talking about being able to have more time for what really matter.  Time for your family.  Time to take care of your health.  Time for self-development.  Time for care for your spiritual health.

Some of the most valuable posts I’ve ever read have been on the subject of productivity.  I consume that kind of information.  Everything I’ve learned about productivity apps has come from others or just tinkering with them.  All I’ve learned about traveling efficiently comes from experience and what others have shared with me.

So here is my resource list of the 30 tools I use on a regular basis to squeeze more out of every day.  I’m going to give you the highlights here, and you will be able to download it at the end of the post.

Productivity

When I did my reader survey last month, the subject of productivity was the number one topic of choice.  In this section, I give you my favorite free and paid tools for increasing your productivity.  And here’s a little hint – 1password and Tripit are completely awesome.  Awesome!

Blogging

Blogging has revolutionized my online presence.  It is not easy to do.  But it is so worth it.  The key to blogging well over time is to systematize it.  I have a few templates that I use for most posts.  It saves me a ton of time.  These are the tools I use to build my email list, optimize for SEO, etc.  These tools will save you a ton of time and allow you to maximize your ROI.

Social Media

I’m almost sick of social media.  I believe most people have accepted that social media provides value – sometimes a ton of it.  Though I’m sick of talking about, I use it everyday.  And if you’ve never heard or used BufferApp, you need to check this section out.

Travel

I traveled a ton for work last year.  I think I was on 65 airplanes.  If there is one thing I’m good at, it is navigating airports.  Traveling is a drain on your energy no matter who you are.  Being able to minimize the frustrations of travel while remaining productive saved me a tremendous amount of stress.  These are the tools I used to do it.

Bonus Section:  Recommended Books

As a bonus, I’ve included some of my favorite books in the following categories:

  • Platform building
  • Productivity
  • Business
  • Leadership
  • Stewardship
  • Parenting
  • Marriage
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • And others…

These are books that I’ve read and personally recommend.  I’m no expert in any of these subjects.  However, these are books that have helped me grow in these areas.

To download your copy of this free resource list, simply click the button below!

Download Your Free Resource List

Results of the 2014 Reader Survey

Two weeks ago, I launched my first ever reader’s survey.  My goal was to better understand my readers so that I can provide better value in my content.  You have responded, and I am grateful.  Hundreds of you took the time to take the survey.

Young businessman

I am going to share with you the results by profiling my average reader.  If you don’t fit this profile, don’t worry.  You are welcome.  Frankly, I don’t fit this profile.  So let’s take a look at my average reader, and then I will draw some conclusions.

My reader is male (77%) between the ages of 45-64 (58%).  He has a bachelor’s degree or higher (78%).  He is most likely a CRE broker or business owner (69%), and he lives in the United States (95%).

He makes over $100,000 a year (63%) or even $200,000+ a year (27%).  He is predominantly Christian (80%) attending church at least once a week (59%).  His faith is very important to him (69%).  He does not have a blog (77%) and reads 1-2 books a month.  As an aside, my wife says that you need to pick it up a bit.  She read 144 books in 2013 – incredible!

It is no surprise that I just described the Commercial Real Estate industry.  It is dominated by 50+ year old white men who tend to be behind the curve when it comes to technology.  CRE needs more women.  CRE needs more diversity.   CRE needs more tech.

Observations

  • Main topics of interests in order:  Productivity (62%), Prospecting (56%), Personal Development (53%), Life Lessons (52%), and Creating Presence (50%).  I am very glad to hear that these are the top ones.  Most of the content I have planned for this year fall into these categories.
  • More content – The number one comment I received regarding improving my blog was to give more content.  For the first part of 2013, I was posting 3 times a week.  It burnt me out and I ended up taking the summer off.  That was a big mistake.  My goal for 2014 is one post a week.  However, based on the feedback I received, I will throw in the 2nd weekly post on occasion.
  • Videos– I had a surprising amount of requests for videos.  I’m not sure what to do with this.  Video isn’t easy for me to do.  I don’t really own the equipment.  I have a brother that can do it all, but he’s a cruise ship performer (tough gig!).  I would love to create video content, however.  If you have any suggestions on how I might look into this, please let me know in the comments.
  • Readability – Readability was the comment I received the most when I asked what you liked best about the blog.  I’m very pleased with this response as I try very hard to create content that is very readable.  
    My absolute favorite response to the question of what do you like best about my blog was:  “your my son whats not to like.” My mom is a grammar queen so thanks Dad! I love you.
  • Can’t please everyone – I don’t often get accused of trying to please everyone.  Frankly, I think it is futile, counter-productive, and impossible.  This is true with this blog as well.  Some people are asking for more pictures and links.  Some are asking me to take the clutter out.  Some want me to eliminate the talk about my faith.  Some want me to use more scripture.  Some love the variety of topics while others want me to focus on just one thing.  I can’t please everyone so some things I will just be going with my gut.

I’m so very grateful to those who participated in the survey.  It was so very helpful to me.  It has given me the data I was craving so I can create better content for you.

Question: Do you have any other suggestions? If so, I’m all ears! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

How to Overcome the 4 Fears of Blogging – and Launch!

I previously wrote a post on the 8 Reasons Why You Should Blog. This post is the follow-up.
You may have heard the question, “When is the best time to plant a tree?”  The answer is 100 years ago.  The second best time?  Today!

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

This is the mindset I encourage you to have when considering whether or not you will start your blog. I don’t know if you’ve noticed in your life, but fear will hold you back. I remember the fear I felt when I enlisted in the Marine Corps.  I told my dad before I left that I wanted to go to Parris Island and be the best Marine in my company.  After 10 days on the island, I wrote him a letter.  It told him that I just wanted to survive. Fear holds you back.  It causes you to pause – to hesitate.  Fear can prevent you from doing something great.  Fear is not your friend. You can launch your blog by overcoming these 4 fears.

Overcoming the 4 Fears of Blogging

1.  Who is my audience?

Good question.  Who is your audience?  It isn’t going to be the same as mine – or anyone else’s.  Ask yourself who your ideal client or prospect is.  That is the who you are writing to.  Frankly, I need to remind myself more about this. I was listening to an interview a couple of weeks ago.  The topic was profiling your ideal client or customer.  Do you know how they think?  Do you know their buying habits?  What they like?  How much money they make?  Single or married? Go through an exercise of  answering all of these questions.  Once you are done, name your ideal client.  I call mine Bob.  Now write to Bob. Clarity on this question will allow you to push through the fear.

2.  How do I set it up?

This is really what help me back from starting.  How do I do it?  There are so many blogging platforms.  How will you choose?  I’m going to make this super easier for you, and I’m going to tell you what to do.

    1. Use the wordpress.org platform – Many platforms exist, but this is the one the pro’s use.  It is what I use.  It is the absolute bomb.  It is free.  The absolute best resource to learn how to use WordPress is – http://www.wp101.com/.  It will have you rolling in no-time.
    2. Pick a web host – This is not free, but it is cheap.  There are even more of these to choose from.  Use Bluehost (affiliate link), and here is why.
      • Their support is awesome!  My site got hacked, and they helped me get it back up in no time.  And I don’t have a clue how to do this website stuff.  They have helped me at 2 in the morning.  And they speak great English.
      • In my one year with them, I’ve never had an outage.
      • They don’t allow porn.  This may not be a big deal to you, but it is to me.  And as they generally use shared serves, I love the idea that my site doesn’t “live” next to that stuff.  I love that.
    3. Pick a premium theme – If you are going to do this, then make it look excellent.  A premium them will look like a million bucks.  These can cost anywhere from $50 – $200, but it is a one time fee.  The look of your site augments your brand, so don’t go cheap on me here.  Here are some choices for you to cut through the clutter.
      • Woo Themes – I’ve never used these, but I’ve heard many recommend them.  They have many to choose from, and it will cost you about $100.
      • Standard Theme – I have used this theme and was a big fan.  It will run you $39.  And brokers are cheap, so I might suggest you start here.
      • Elegant Themes – You can get access to all 86 of their themes for just $39, and they are beautiful.  I do think they are on the feminine side, but that’s just me.
      • Get Noticed Theme – This is the one I use.  It is on the expensive side for themes ($197), but I love it.  If you are starting, you may wait until you know you will do this for the long haul before you spend this kind of jack.
    4. Watch this screencast – This is the best tutorial I’ve seen on how to put all of this together.  You can be up and writing your first post in 20 minutes – literally.  Just watch this video and follow along.  This is exactly how I did it.

3.  What do I write about?

This is a post all unto itself, and I will write it soon.  But take it from me, this is so much easier than I thought.  Once you have an outlet for your thoughts, it is like you start thinking differently.  I see potential blog posts in just about everything.  I even have friends that feed me ideas now (thanks David!). I do have a brainstorming exercise that I use to generate post ideas.  I will share this in a subsequent post.  But for now, don’t let this stop you from starting.

4.  How do I find the time?

You have the time.  In fact, you have the same 168 hours a week that everyone else does.  You will spend those hours exactly how you choose to. Personally, I watch less TV.  It may be something different for you that has to go.  I encourage you to consider what you are doing during your non-productive hours.  Those hours when you aren’t producing. When I struggle with this area, I reconnect with my why.  I remind myself about the many benefits of blogging – how this site can go before me and grease the wheels of the sales process.  Connect with your why, and it will drive away the fear.  

Question: So what is holding you back from launching your blog? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Download the PDF of this post

CRE Tech & App Review – ClientLook and Today’s Big Announcement

In January of this year, I wrote a post on why you should use a Simple and Cloud-Based CRM System.  In that post, I profiled ClientLook.  I’m not going to rehash what I wrote before.  I do want to give you an update and discuss their excited announcement today.

clientlook logo

Update on My Previous Beefs

Speed – I mentioned in my previous post that my main beef with ClientLook was the speed.  That is no longer an issue.  ClientLook has made numerous upgrades in this department and it cooks.  Very fast.  Thank you!

Property Database – ClientLook is now in development of a property database.  Today, I got to see a screenshot of it.  This will make ClientLook a complete solution for me.

Upgrades

Email – One thing that is difficult to track, quantify, and report on is email.  ClientLook makes it very easy to automatically attach emails to specific projects and contacts.  Each project or contact in your database has a specific email addresses generated for it.  All you have to do is include that email address in an email, and that email will be recorded in the correct project and/or contact in ClientLook.

The big win with this is with reporting.  You should be reporting to your clients on a monthly basis.  Most of us track who we spoke with, how many property tours, how many offers, etc.  What gets lost is all the time and work that happens via email.  ClientLook solves this for you.

A best practice for this functionality is creating a contact in your email program with the project email address.  For example, create a contact for your listing 123 Main St.  Now you don’t have to remember the email address.  You just put 123 Main St in the bcc line.  Piece of cake.

Search – I griped a little before about the search capability of ClientLook.  They have taken large strides in this area.  It is now much easier to navigate through 1000’s of contacts quickly.  You can also search and quickly find notes in a contact or project file.

Today’s Announcement (Sept. 26th, 2013)

On a webinar today, Michael Griffin announced that ClientLook has formed a strategic alliance with xceligent.com.  I have known about this for some months, so it is good to be able to talk about it.  I think this is a big with for the Commercial Real Estate industry.

logo_xceligent_hires

xcelligent.com’s answer to Loopnet is the newly launched – and very free – CommercialSearch.com.  Most of the national CRE firms have their listings populated on CommercialSearch.  I am working right now with Michael Griffin to get all of Sperry Van Ness’s listings on there as well.  It may have already reached critical mass.  Your listings should be on there.

Michael’s announcement today centered around 4 things.

  1. Automated Lead Generation – A prospect is on CommercialSearch and is looking at your listing.  When they click to get more information, CommercialSearch captures their information.  It then checks to see if the prospect is already in your ClientLook database.  If not, it creates the new contact, including all contact information, and notifies you of a new lead.  Pretty sweet.  They are also developing a plugin to do the same on your website.
  2. Automatic Activity Reporting – Some of you will run a report on a monthly basis from Loopnet and give it to your listing client showing online activity.  Wouldn’t it be nice if Loopnet automatically put that in your CRM for you – and in the right place?  CommercialSearch does that for ClientLook.  All that data in one place makes me “happy, happy, happy!”
  3. Property Marketing – The information will also flow the other way.  A new listing in ClientLook will automatically be placed on CommercialSearch for you.  Efficiency is a beautiful thing.
  4. Real-Time Embedded Research – This is cool.  If xcelligent.com covers your market and you subscribe, you can run reports.  Say you want a list of all the attorneys in town using over 15,000 sf of office space.  You can import that list automatically into ClientLook.  The exciting part is any time xcelligent.com updates the contact information for one of those attorneys, it will update in your ClientLook account.

I’m excited to see how this shakes out and if CommercialSearch.com can reach critical mass so that these integrations can be of great value.  I am confident that it will.

Question: What do you think about the partnership between ClientLook and xcelligent.com? What new functions and products would you like to see come out of the partnership? You can leave a comment by clicking here.