10 Things to Check-Off Before 2020

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As we approach peak business planning season, many professionals are trying to play catch up as they look ahead. One of the biggest mistakes we see people

Plan Your Gifts & Donations

The holiday season is a truly wonderful time to up your giving and while we’re big believers in giving, this is something you have to plan for otherwise it can quickly spiral out of control. Try making your very own “nice” list including the people who have been most instrumental to your business this year. You’ll consider not only current and past clients, but vendors, co-workers, neighbors and more. Once you have your list, plan to give out appropriate gifts to thank them and consider writing handwritten holiday cards to stay in touch and boost your referral business.

The holiday season also presents a great time to evaluate your charitable giving. While this is a great practice for obvious reasons, it doesn’t hurt to get the tax benefits and the brand recognition that will likely come as an added bonus.

Check Your Tech Stack

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We’ve all been guilty of signing up for the next shiny object at a conference and then not implementing it or utilizing it the way we should. While technology isn’t going to run your business without you, it is a critical component to running your business smoothly. Do you have the systems in place to hit the ground running in 2020? Take the time to evaluate your vendors and systems and ensure they are true partners in your success. You’ll want all your partners to be on the leading edge of innovation, and helping you deliver unmatched customer experiences.

Evaluate Your Online Presence

We can’t say it enough - you are your brand. Is your personal brand reflecting your core values and the type of service you’re committed to delivering? The holidays are a great time to spruce up your social media profiles, check the links on your profiles and websites, and skim through your content to ensure your brand is reflective of you.

Plan Your Content

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As a follow up to evaluating your online presence, you will likely get a front-row perspective to the quality of the content you’re putting out. The holidays is a fantastic time to start planning your content for next year so that you can implement and execute that plan seamlessly as the year progresses. A little advance planning and design can go a long way in ensuring a consistent and cohesive content strategy.

Up Your Game

The best of the best stay that way through a constant commitment to their personal and professional development. Oftentimes business can get so time consuming that we neglect this development, yet it is essential to your long-term success. Consider 2-4 professional and personal development goals that you would like to tackle in 2020 and incorporate them into your business planning.

Glance in the Rearview Mirror

We’re careful to suggest a rear-facing glance versus an extended look because the past is the past. You cannot change where you stumbled this year or in years prior - but you can learn from them and put the proper procedures, practices, and systems in place to improve in the future. Take the time to reflect on what went well, what didn’t, and what could improve from this year and use this information as a starting point in your planning for next year.

Get Those Plans On Paper

While this may be the season of business planning, many professionals make the mistake of simply writing down goals and not charting the plan for how they will achieve them. Reserve the time in your schedule for in-depth business planning and even consider utilizing a professional. We’re happy to help with individual business planning sessions for agents whether or not you’re a client. Contact us here to learn more.

Tidy Up Your Finances

Just like our tech stack, our finances can easily get thrown off throughout the year. Did you keep a budget during 2019? How well did you stick to your budget? Unfortunately, many professionals throw their budget to the wayside when they close a big transaction or get a little more money in their pockets. This is a terrible habit that could lead to true financial disaster. Audit your expenses and trim the fat. Keep what you cannot replace and set a budget you can stick to.

Check Out Your Company Offerings

During the year it is easy to get caught up in working the business and generating business and forget about systems. Brokerages often will roll out new systems, offerings, and technologies throughout the year, not in one big push, so it is helpful to take some time to review what they have launched and if any of it can fit nicely into your business. Are any systems you currently subscribe to now redundant? Is there an opportunity to impact your budget or even better, your business, by trying something new?

Wipe Your Slate Clean

The year is quickly coming to a close, but the beauty of a new year is a clean slate. And what’s even better about 2020 is that it is the start to a new decade! Take your successes and failures and be prepared to leave them in 2019 where they belong. Dwelling on them won’t change the outcome and neither will patting yourself on the back for too long. Celebrate your wins, grieve your losses - and plan for the future.

A Promise Made is a Promise Kept

I'm going to tell you an uncomfortable truth...we're all liars. 

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I know, it stings. Even when we pride ourselves on our honesty, we lie constantly. Maybe not to others, but certainly to ourselves. How many times have you promised yourself you would start on that project or that diet or that workout today, which turns into tomorrow, and eventually next week. It's not long before tomorrow turns into never either. And, that is scary if not downright terrifying. But this begs the question - why are we so comfortable breaking promises to ourselves when we couldn't imagine doing it to others. 

My a-ha moment was when I started keeping promises to myself. When I made my items in the day as non-negotiable as the deadlines set for my projects and clients, I began to see - when you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen. But as for excuses? They're the byproduct of not wanting something bad enough. 

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You will continue to produce at the standard that you set for yourself. You just have to ask yourself, am I aiming low or raising the bar? I get it, these small every day promises that you break to yourself may not seem like a big deal. In fact, you probably think I'm blowing things way out of proportion, but the truth is, I'm not. Your actions will dictate your success and if you continue to break promises to yourself, it won't be long before you're breaking them to others. 

What I love about a relentless commitment to your promises is that it forces you to be intentional about the promises you make, the goals you set, and the commitments you agree to. You're forced to slow down long enough to not only think about the commitment but the ripple effects it may have. This process of slowing down and being intentional about your time and your commitments will have drastic impacts on your effectiveness and efficiency. Just watch. 

5 Ways To Leverage Video Without Breaking Your Budget

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Video is no longer the next big thing, it is here and here to stay. So many agents struggle to execute effective video marketing because they are focused on high-dollar, heavily produced video and while those sort of videos are undeniably effective - there are tons of other ways you can leverage video and get a great response from consumers. Here are five of our favorite ways!

Promote your actions

Have you ever felt frustrated that consumers question your value? Here is a little secret…consumers question your value when you don’t show it. As agents, you can shoot quick videos at your new listing talking about an upcoming open house, putting a sign in the ground, or even out at an inspection. These are all some behind-the-scenes work that we do that clients don’t often know about but inviting them into the process can be a great way for them to see and appreciate all that you do.

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Document the process

So many prospects are “fence-sitters” merely because they don’t understand the intricacies of the homebuying or selling process. Most homebuyers have no idea just how quickly they can go from pre-approved to homeowner and so they will wait until the eleventh hour before taking action. By documenting the process, you’re able to utilize video to better educate your prospects and ultimately make them better informed clients!

Convert those prospects

With 97% of homebuyers starting their search online, the number of online inquiries is at an all-time high. And while responsiveness is key to converting those opportunities, so is the human-element. Have you ever responded so quickly that the person on the other end of the phone wondered if they were talking to a real person or a computer? It happens! Take the time to record a short video (on your iPhone/smart phone is best) to let leads know that you received their inquiry and you’ll be reaching out ASAP. This can give them an immediate level of comfort when you reach them and put them at ease.

Get your clients on video

Videos are undeniably more effective with a personal touch. If you can get your clients to record video testimonials or even put together a brand video featuring past clients, that can be leveraged to connect with future prospects in a really effective way.

Get over yourself

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We all get blemishes, no one likes the way their voice sounds on camera, and no, the camera doesn’t add ten pounds - you just look like that. The key to those that are successful with video vs. the ones that aren’t is that the successful few are vulnerable and camera-ready. They aren’t scared to pull out their phones, or turn the camera toward themselves as a medium for conveying their message. Good video comes with lots of practice, just like anything else. Drop that ego, pick up that camera and get to work!










5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Current & Past Clients Relationships

While online lead generation is all the rage, we all know that there is plenty of revenue to be earned from our relationships. We are, after all, a relationship business and our ability to leverage and grow our existing relationships. Here are 5 ways to make the most of these relationships:

Understand their holistic needs

This is all about offering a value-based strategy with your clients. When you understand the holistic needs of your clients, you go beyond just the symptoms of their problems and get to the root issue at hand. This allows you to demonstrate huge value in that you understand their needs better than any other agent and are best suited to deliver for them in an impactful way.

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Check in along the way.

Many agents make the mistake of simply plugging clients into a tried and true method of doing business. While this isn’t completely off-base, consumers change and so does the nature of our business. You have to establish yourself as constantly evolving and constantly responsive to your client’s needs by checking in with them as they navigate the process with you. Aim to please, but more importantly - aim to evolve by asking “how could I be better tomorrow?”

Retarget them on social media.

This is one of the most underutilized methods for staying in touch because retargeting is often misunderstood or not understood at all! By retargeting your consumers on Facebook or Instagram, you’re able to continue to grab their attention with information that is directly relevant to them. This is an extremely cost-effective way to mass market highly relevant content. If retargeting is not something you fully grasp, partner with someone who does so you can utilize it in your business.

Keep in touch.

Talk about missed opportunities! Keeping in touch is one of the lowest cost solutions to growing your business. Too often we think “I don’t know what to say” or “they don’t want to hear from me” and if all your talking about is real estate, you’re probably right. But think about how you feel when an old friend calls or sends and unexpected gift or note. It gives a sense of surprise and delight and that’s exactly what you want to deliver to your past clients.

Fully understand their journey with you.

You can’t expect to solve someone’s problems when you don’t understand their experience. Taking the time to fully understand what your prospects and clients are going through is essential to building out a truly memorable user experience. Focus on asking questions that will help reveal how you can enhance your processes and better connect with your clients then implementing solutions designed to address those problems.


Looking for new podcasts? Check out these designed to help your business thrive!

Podcasts have been one of the fastest growing mediums for people to take in cutting edge content. Their ease of production and accessibility have made them a favorite among many including us! While we love jamming out to music as much as the next person, we also know that when time is valuable, utilizing time in the car or on a flight to educate ourselves can give us a huge competitive advantage. Check out this list compiled by Inc.com of 10 of the Best Podcasts to Help Your Company Thrive.

1. StartUp

StartUp focuses on the experience of starting a business and entrepreneurial life. The podcast launched in 2014 and is powered by a team of women, including Senior Producer Molly Messick, Co-Host Lisa Chow, and Reporter Amy Standen. Past episodes have tackled issues such as balancing entrepreneurship with parenthood, pitching a business to investors, and past mistakes entrepreneurs have made. 

StartUp is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. 

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2. Mixergy

Created by Andrew Warner, Mixergy features interviews with business founders. During each podcast, a founder tells their story and shares solutions to some of the challenging issues that founders face. Past guests have included Gabe Schillinger of Legion Beats, Max Makeev of Owl Labs, and Maria Paz Gillet of Jooycar. 

Listen to Mixergy on Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts. 

3. The Tim Ferriss Show 

Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, hosts the widely popular Tim Ferris Show. The show has amassed over 300 million downloads and has been included in Apple Podcasts' "Best of" ranking for three years. Ferris interviews guests such as LeBron James, Maria Sharapova, Jamie Foxx, and more, examining the routines, tactics, and tools that contribute to their success so that you can put those strategies to work in your life. 

Catch The Tim Ferriss Show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Overcast. 

4. Business Wars

Business Wars pits competing businesses against each other, examining what drives a company's success or failure. Hosted by David Brown, this podcast focuses on massive companies such as Netflix, Blockbuster, Anheuser-Busch, Miller, and more. 

Business Wars is available on the App Store or on Google Play. 

5. Rise and Grind with Daymond John

Daymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU, interviews successful entrepreneurs, musicians, and athletes such as Barbara Corcoran, Ian Siegel, and more. Each interview subject shares their secrets to how they achieved success, and you can benefit from them, too. 

Listen to Rise and Grind with Daymond John on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. 

6. The Brand Builder Podcast

Looking to understand the current trends in branding? The Brand Builder Podcast examines what's working for some of the most successful brands and gives you actionable advice that you can use for your own business. 

Listen to this podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher. 

7. This Week in Startups

Longtime Silicon Valley investor Jason Calacanis hosts this series of conversations, usually with talented startup founders. If you want insight into the nuts and bolts of scaling a small business in competitive environments, this is a helpful podcast.

Listen to this podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Youtube and more.

8. The Hirsch Marketing Underground Podcast

This podcast digs into marketing strategy with detailed, precise advice for any business. The short episodes are easy to catch while on the go, giving you new concise marketing strategies in just 15 minutes. 

Enjoy the Hirsch Marketing Underground Podcast on Stitcher. 

9. The Brainy Business

Conversion expert Melina Palmer shares insight and tips about behavioral economics to help you better understand why people make purchases. Use the tips to increase your business' sales and customers. 

Listen to The Brainy Business on Stitcher. 

10. The School of Greatness

Hosted by New York Times bestselling author Lewis Howes, The School of Greatness examines just what it is that makes people great. Guests include business owners and entrepreneurs, celebrities, athletes, and more. 

You can catch The School of Greatness on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, YouTube, Google Play, or Spotify. 

Many of these podcasts give you the opportunity to learn from hugely successful entrepreneurs and business owners. They all give you concrete tips and advice that you can apply to your company. And, whether you're looking to develop productivity habits or refine your marketing strategy, you're sure to find valuable information (and some entertainment, too) from these podcasts. 


3 Tips to Better Convert Online Leads

Online leads are all the rage in real estate these days and while we believe in this method of lead gen, we always advise clients to only invest in online leads if you have a process to convert these leads. The money of a lead is always in the conversion, so the focus should be on higher quality, not higher quantity.

Here are 3 tips to better convert these prospects:

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Be Quick to Communicate

With 98% of homebuyers starting their search online and another 54% of homebuyers finding their home online - we can no longer dispute the stats. The buyers are there but the biggest factor in converting online prospects is you speed to lead. How quickly you respond can not only drastically increase the likelihood of converting that lead, but it can demonstrate true value to the consumer about how much you value their business.

Bonus Tip: Ensure your leads route to a specific phone number and/or email address to up your responsiveness. Also try developing pre-written responses to reach out when you’re unavailable and buy you some time.

Be Smart About The Information You Provide

Consumers can access more information than ever online without ever contacting an agent. If you deliver everything on the first communication or worse, voicemail - you’re all but assuring that they have no reason to contact you back or discuss further. Answer questions, but remember to provide some reason for future communications.

Bonus Tip: Ask probing questions about what they might be interested and promise to deliver that. That will set the expectation that they will continue to be hearing from you.

Consistent, Valuable Communication

The key to online lead conversion is not all that different from converting any prospect. You must continue to communicate with them ultimately building a strong relationship through demonstrated value. This value is not a science. You must be willing to ask the right questions and deliver personalized content that matches their needs. It is not all about houses, but rather solving the problems they face.

7 Ways To Say No

We’re all chasing productivity when in reality, the answer is right in front of us. Have you ever over-committed? Spread yourself a bit too thin? Maybe even said “yes” when you really wanted to say “no” for fear of looking like a jerk? Don’t be shy, you’re in remarkably good company. Yet, the old saying of “every time you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else” rings incredibly true when it comes to productivity. With time as a limited (and incredibly valuable) resource, we need to refine the skill of saying no. But in order to do so, we have to find ways of doing so without coming off like a jerk. Here are 7 tips to doing just that!


Blame your workload.

A really effective way to let people down easy is to explain that you simply would let them down if you did say yes. Maybe it is your workload or maybe it is simply your bandwidth, being honest about how much you can commit is not only kind, it is the only acceptable solution. People will appreciate that you don’t want to let them down and find another solution.

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Recognize the difference between an opportunity and a distraction.

When we work with our clients to help identify distractions, we encourage them to look at things and ask themselves “will this help me accomplish my goal(s)?” If the answer is “no”, it is defined as a distraction. Now, I don’t mean to imply that your world must be completely distraction free; however, you need to find the rhythm that works for your business and your life.

Refer them someone more qualified.

We often feel guilty for saying “no” because we feel like we’re letting others down by doing so. Just like many of the other tips, this tip can give them both a kind and a productive solution. People ask for help when they need it and so long as you can fill that need, it doesn’t have to be a personal solution. Expanding your network of capable people others can rely on and trust with various situations is a huge asset. This way you can still solve the problem without sacrificing your productivity at the same time.

Explain you don’t do that.

Oftentimes, people ask for help from people they admire or respect. This is undoubtedly an honor, but we sometimes field requests that are simply not in our wheelhouse. The biggest mistake you can make is by actually taking these things on.

Don’t dig yourself deeper.

One of the best things you can do when saying “no” is be completely transparent about exactly why you are saying no. While you don’t owe anyone an explanation, they certainly help temper emotions. Being dishonest about why you are saying no can often leave you with your tongue-tied when someone finds out the real reason you said no harming your relationship more than it would have been had you simply been honest in the first place.

Propose something else.

When we are asked for our help, sometimes it is a result of people having tunnel-vision about the possible solution. This is the old adage of “something is better than nothing.” For instance, say someone asks you to blast something out to your whole mailing list but you feel uncomfortable doing so but you would feel comfortable sending it to a certain segment of your mailing list or posting it on social. These are both great alternatives. You won’t always make everyone happy with this solution but showing that you care by making some sort of an effort can often smooth things over.

When you say it, mean it!

The worst thing someone can do is say have uncertainty. When someone musters the courage to ask for help - they are normally ready to do at least a little convincing to get their way. If you are not firm in your response, you can expect them to do what it takes to get their way. Stay firm and do not waiver. It will establish a standard allowing you to be more productive and faced with only relevant future opportunities.

Are Your Beliefs Messing With Your Mindset?

Your mind is a powerful thing, you know. The stories we tell ourselves and the things we believe about ourselves can be our biggest hurdle to the success we dream of. Often we do everything in our power to try to control the things outside our control that we completely ignore the things we can control. We simply make up our mind that those things are out of our control too.

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You see, I know this because I had made up my mind that these things were out of my control at one point too. And when I shifted that mindset to being able to harness the power of my thoughts for good - everything changed. Doors opened, relationships improved, I was a happier, healthier, better version of me. In fact, so much of what I’d been chasing was right there in front of me.

Deep-seeded beliefs are what compromise a “fixed mindset” and a fixed mindset is often what impedes our growth and skill development. For instance, if you believe “I’m just not that good with numbers” chances are that you will never improve because you’re accepting your place as you are. You’re fixing your circumstances rather than committing to growth. Now if you instead said “I wish I was better with numbers” your brain will automatically go into growth mode and crave expansion of your skill set. Really, think about what deep-seeded beliefs you have that might be holding you back. What are they?

  • “I’m not a natural athlete…”

  • “My body just isn’t built that way…”

  • “I haven’t been in the business for that long…”

  • “It’s hard for me to find the time…”

  • “I’ve got a sweet tooth.”

It doesn’t really matter what the belief is, what matters is how your mind reacts to these beliefs. If you’re able to prompt action with your beliefs - a lot can change. As the saying goes - “the first step is always the hardest…” Now, you just need to take it.

#FunFriday - June 7, 2019 - Vanessa Bergmark

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Today's #FunFriday feature brings us one of THE most fun people I know but far more importantly, one of the kindest, smartest, bravest people I know - Vanessa Jones Bergmark.

Vanessa is the fearless leader of Red Oak Realty - a powerful independent brokerage that is admired and modeled off of by indies around the country. It is no surprise that this is the case with dedicated leaders like Vanessa at the helm.

But what makes Vanessa feature-worthy is that her unapologetic leadership makes her lift up her team versus making it about her. She works tirelessly to ensure her agents are well supported with an agent to staff ratio of 8:1. She is a zealot for culture, refusing to compromise her core values for the sake of a dollar. And most importantly, she is committed to helping her agents build businesses worth talking about in the face of acquisitions surrounding her market.

Vanessa isn't just a talking head on a stage. She lives her creed so authentically that you can't help but smile when you're around her, learn from her, and want to be like her when you grow up.

Keep rockin, VB! We love watching you soar!

#FunFriday - May 31, 2019 - Eric Rollo

It is the last Friday of the month and for this #FunFriday, we're headed back to Boston, MA to feature one of our favorite brokers, Eric Rollo!

Eric is the founder of the Eric Rollo Real Estate Team - William Raveis Real Estate in Boston, MA and this guy lives and breathes his town! Not only is Eric a true professional with tons of accolades such as one of Realtor Magazine's #30Under30 in 2015, but this Boston boy is all about loving where he lives and works.

Whether it is real estate or the best restaurant to grab a bite to eat - Eric embodies what it means to be a local expert. Not to mention, he has fun while he does it! We're loving following along with Eric and his team.

Keep on rockin' y'all! Oh, and Go Yankees! 😉

#FunFriday - May 24, 2019 - Andrew Flachner

This #FunFriday, we're straying from our normal features of agents to a vendor because he embodies what #FunFriday is all about (and he is one of our favorite humans), Andrew Flachner.

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Andrew is the Co-Founder and President of RealScout, a real estate software designed to help buyers match with homes. We chose to feature Andrew not only because his team has developed one of the best real estate products but because he has an unwavering commitment to the real estate industry.

Andrew spends much of his time traveling the country (and the world) meeting with brokers to talk about how RealScout can help their agents be more successful, but also interviewing some of the top real estate minds such as National Association of REALTORS® CEO Bob GoldbergOpendoor founder Eric WuRedfin CEO Glenn Kelman, and Zillow Board Director, Amy Bohutinsky. He calls for industry participation through asking our questions and shares all the content for free. All with one goal in mind - helping us all work together for a better industry.

Andrew deserves far more than our accolades here at Compass South but for now - we'll give him a big high-five for all he does!

Keep being your wonderful self, Andrew! We appreciate you!

Weekly Planning That Makes A Difference

One of the most requested topics we hear about from you all is time management. This is something that we almost universally struggle with because our brains are focused on survival (expelling the least amount of energy possible) while our ambition is focused on success. The two competing forces often lead to the frustrating feeling of not enough hours in a day.

When I first began my study of time management, I focused heavily on daily planning. Winning the day by waking up early and making the most of the morning hours and staying efficient through regimented habits. What really made the biggest difference is when I added an element of weekly planning. For me, I tackle weekly planning on Sunday afternoons/evenings. It serves to wind down my weekend and allow me to hit the ground running on Monday morning.

Just imagine how much more productive you could be if you kicked off Monday morning by getting straight to work on tasks you know you needed to accomplish instead of making a list of those tasks! But weekly planning is a bit different than daily planning because it takes the big picture into account.

Step One: Define Your Goals

Proper planning starts by defining what your goals are. Often times, we make ambiguous goals and struggle to make plans to accomplish them because the goals are so loosely defined that a plan is next to impossible. Instead, focus on your top 3 goals. Don’t limit yourself just to business either. What are your goals for your personal life too?

Step Two: What Impacts Your Goals

The next step requires you to complete a sort of objective analysis of what is happening in your life. You need to be really honest with yourself and define - what things have a big impact on these goals? These could be activities, habits, or even plans. Most importantly, they have to have an impact on your level of success. Take care to be honest about both positively and negatively impacting things. Remember, your success is in your hands but we understand that there are always outside influences at play.

Step Three: Time Block For Your Goals

The difference between planning and calendar management is a key distinction to understand. Planning is about strategically reviewing your actions and your schedule to see how you can give yourself the best chances of success. Calendar management is simply a supply/demand exercise. Yet, together - the two are one of the most beneficial ways to develop great habits. During both Step One & Two, you’re able to objectively review the actions you need to take. You have no excuse of time constraints and don’t even need to answer the question “when?” until now. The final piece of the planning puzzle gets you to not only say what you need to commit to do, but when you will commit to do it. It establishes personal accountability, which can be a powerful factor in getting things done.

Whether you’re just getting started with planning or this is a practice you have long held, these tips can help you quickly become a better planner. You’ll begin to see things objectively and really benefit from only a few minutes each week and each day seeing the impact almost immediately.

Happy planning!



#FunFriday - May 10, 2019 - Katie Clancy

It is #FunFriday and we're over the moon excited about this feature! Today, we're featuring the self-described (and we agree) happiest person in real estate - Katie Clancy!

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Katie first caught our eye on the Inman Connect stage when she talked about how she leverages the relationships in her community to build a really impressive real estate business. We rushed to the green room and said "We want to be friends." Luckily, she wasn't super creeped out and agreed!

Since then, we've watched Katie soar both at home on Cape Cod, MA, as well as on stages throughout the country. She operates every day with a zest for life and mission of helping people see real estate as a happy profession. Plus, she agreed to co-host Between the Lines with me earlier this year and we're having a blast learning and laughing together.

Her knack for helping others, contagious laugh & smile, and commitment to our industry is unmatched and we're so happy to feature her today.

Keep smiling, Katie! You're making a difference!

Feeling Stuck? Try These Questions to Improve Your Service

Have you ever felt stuck in your business? Maybe your marketing feels stagnant or you’re struggling to generate more prospects. Regardless of what is causing you to feel stuck, we are big believers that the right type of brainstorming can really take our businesses to the next level.

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So what do we mean by the right type of brainstorming? Well, feeling stuck can be caused by polarizing forces. Either we get a block where we simply cannot think through the next steps or we get overwhelmed by thinking up too many options. Instead, we suggest focusing your thinking to the most productive ways you can innovate.

Here are four questions we believe make a huge difference in focusing your thinking and upping your innovation!

  1. What would you do if you had a million dollars to make the company/product/service better?

  2. How would you do this if you had a quarter of the resources?

  3. What should you be asking that you’re not asking?

  4. How would you reinvent your current product/service?

These four questions lead to focused, productive brainstorming that will prompt serious action. What are you waiting for?

#FunFriday - May 3, 2019 - Stephanie Lanier

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We're so excited for this week's #FunFriday feature because it is one of the most important people in the world to us - Stephanie Lanier

When we think of women we admire, Stephanie is atop that list. Stephanie embodies everything we love about #FunFriday. She is motivated, hard-working, badass, and most of all fun. What we think is so special about Steph is that she puts her money (and action) where he mouth is and has lived her life by the creed of creating the things she wished existed. 

Instead of waiting for a seat at the table, Stephanie built her own table when she launched The Lanier Property Group, Inc. in Wilmington, NC - an independent real estate brokerage (but more of a family) of highly productive brokerage of agents who are truly business owners in their own right. Why? Because Stephanie isn't about holding it all for herself, she is about empowering and teaching, which is exactly what she's done for each of her agents - empowered them to be strong business owners. 

Speaking of empowering, Stephanie realized her magic wasn't just limited to real estate and we're so glad she did. She has also created The Inspiration Lab - a network of women who learn from and inspire one another. We were SO honored to be one of the speakers at their inaugural event last November and the day was filled with magic (really, the event ended with puppies). 

But Stephanie has built all of this to achieve her larger why of providing for her medically fragile son who she truly loves beyond measure. When many of us are trying to keep our heads above water, Stephanie is out there moving mountains (both at home and professionally) to create the life she wished existed. And frankly, we think she's crushing it. 

Keep creating, Steph. We're always here rooting for you!

How to Stop Avoiding Things

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There is no greater place to start that right now, wherever you are. So often, we spend a huge amount of time justifying why we shouldn’t give something a try when we could spend that time in action making a difference. But avoiding is a natural human reaction to discomfort. Our brains go into survival mode and work to expel the least amount of energy and stress. If you’re feeling stuck, these helpful tips can help you start doing and stop avoiding.

Figure out the next step. The first step is often the most difficult. Chances are that if you’re avoiding something - you’re doing so with good reason (i.e., because it is uncomfortable, difficult, new, etc.). But once you take that first step, you can build off the momentum it will inevitably create. Marathon runners train for months before they run a race - starting with smaller, easier runs and building up to be able to handle a full race. Any task you’re avoiding for should be the same. Start small and build in increments.

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Start when you have the most energy. Most people are the most energetic in the mornings. Let me clarify…you don’t have to leap out of bed with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning to be energetic. I’m talking about brain energy. Your mind is freshest in the morning before the world has distracted you and pulled you in a million different directions. When you find a task undesirable, go ahead and get it on your scheduled for the first thing on Monday morning. Work to time block time needed to make a dent and go ahead and get it done. You will likely even enjoy the added bonus of having an even more productive day the rest of the day building of your early productivity.

Treat Yo’self!  I routinely reward the small wins in my day/life. This is how I keep showing up for the difficult tasks and build strong habits. Too often, we think of rewards as high-dollar rewards. Instead, focus on small rewards. Did you get an hour of prospecting done? Reward yourself with lunch with a friend. Crushed your week? Schedule a date night!

Seek and keep accountability. The months following hiring our Project Manager, my business thrived. I hear the same from our clients once they start working with us. It isn’t any big secret that causes this. In fact, it is simple accountability. As humans, there is one thing that we like less than an unpleasant or uncomfortable action, and that is letting other down. When you not only fail to do what you said you would do, but you also have to tell someone you didn’t do it - it just plain sucks. Keep in mind, it doesn’t matter how it gets done. It matters that it gets done. You don’t need a coach or a trainer to help with this. Set up accountability practices in your daily life and you will drastically impact your likelihood of getting things done! Just watch.

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Stay curious. Sometimes we put things off for a good reason but sometimes - we just put things off. Did you ever wonder why kids learn so much so quickly? Because they are constantly curious. They’re constantly asking questions and learning new information. Steve Jobs once said “Curiosity is the fuel that makes people think at a tangent and come up with new ideas, in an attempt to work differently and come up with better results.” This point has always resonated with me. If you stay curious, you’ll continue to refine and improve on your processes and more importantly, yourself.




 

How to Delegate Like a Champ

Delegating is one of the most important keys to scaling your success but time and time again - it is something that professionals share as a struggle. I get it. Really, I do. When I began scaling my business, delegating was difficult for me too. It helped to think of delegation as part of the process of eliminating things from my daily task list.

Letting control go of the things that have helped build your business can undoubtedly be uncomfortable and even stressful, but here are a few tips we have for easing the process.

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Establish firm priorities. During the delegation process, it is important to keep your eye on what is most important. What are the things that you must continue to do? What can someone do almost as well as you? Understand that when you delegate something, it may not be done exactly the way you have always done it - but it is freeing your time up to handle the more important things that only you can handle. At the end of the day, the result is more important than the process when it comes to delegation.

Play to your team’s strengths. Delegating is about winning back your time to focus on more pressing matters, which means that delegation is not just a professional undertaking, but a personal one too. If you have specific tasks you need to delegate, hire for those roles. But often where delegation goes off track is that we start with the task versus the person. Focus on what the people in your life do well, enjoy, and are capable of then see where you can leverage those strengths.

Take the time to train. Delegating is the first step in a larger process to remove these tasks from your daily agenda. The biggest mistake I see people make is skipping delegation and moving straight to elimination. They are not the same thing. Delegating is an active process that you as the delgater still must be involved in both through training and follow up. Elimination (the goal) is not concerning yourself with the task at all. It is not enough to take the time to train once and move on. Training may take a few times of you explaining the process, letting them attempt the process, and over time - letting go of the process. Don’t skip the training!

Trust, but verify. Many times, people become reluctant to delegate as a result of previous negative experiences. When delegating, you must be willing to trust the ability of the person taking on the new tasks. Without this trust, you defeat the purpose of delegation in the first place (which is how so many fail at delegating) because you actually spend double the time on the tasks as you originally did - first through trying to delegating then by handling the task yourself anyway. Resist this urge! One great way to build your trust for the person taking on these tasks is to trust their ability and their work while ensure you’re available for questions, yet verifying that the tasks were done to your satisfaction. A few times of verifying their stellar work will build your trust that they are not only capable, but exceeding expectations. Or, verifying that they aren’t capable will save you time of keeping someone tasked with work they cannot handle.

It’s a journey, not a destination. As I have said so many times, delegation is a process. It will require you to be involved in training, support, verification, and so much more. Be patient with yourself and with those you task with the work. They are learning and it can be helpful to remember how you felt when you were first learning these tasks. If you devote the proper level of attention to delegation, you will undoubtedly begin to see the success you were hoping for!


#FunFriday - April 12, 2019 - Brad Allen

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It is #FunFriday and you know what that means - another feature! This week, we're featuring Brad Allen, Broker-In-Charge and Partner of The ART of Real Estate based in Columbia, SC with offices in Greenville, SC and Charleston, SC! 

This southern gent launched the company with his savvy business partner Mary Lane Sloan because they believed it was far too challenging for an agent to be truly productive in real estate while delivering the service customers deserve. 

What they have built is a dynamic team of agents while always holding true to their core value of "quantity must equal quality". In an industry obsessed with numbers and agent count, this is a refreshing approach to team building! 

A fellow Realtor Magazine #30Under30 honoree, Brad believes in giving back and has played a central role in organizing and executing the #30Under30 Mastermind Reunion events we have annually. His no-nonsense attitude combined with his southern twang make him an instant crowd favorite and we admire so much of what he does. 

Keep rockin', Brad! We're always here cheering you on!

The Recipe For Great Leaders

In a rapidly evolving industry, leadership has never been more important. Leadership is one of the most discussed topic in today’s society, it is far more than a trendy term or practice. The right to be a leader is earned, not bought or won. We believe that the best leaders share certain qualities that set them apart.

They take full responsibility. Great leaders know that the performance of their team is 100% a result of their leadership. While they cannot force action or inaction - they can inspire it and great leaders know that when something goes awry - it is due to how they steered the ship. No one likes to be peppered with directives, but great leaders take responsibility for their team’s actions/inactions alike and knows that ultimately, the buck stops with them.

They motivate through fun. As I explained, great leaders don’t force action or inaction - they motivate it. And great leaders know exactly how to get their team’s motivated where much of the work doesn’t have to feel burdensome but enjoyable and some may even say, fun. Whether it is culturally feeling part of something bigger than themselves or simply not wanting to let others down - the teams of great leaders are always ready to show up for one another.

They connect with their teams emotionally. Fun is all well and good, but real connection happens on an emotional level. Great leaders work to connect with their teams emotionally. To make a difference in someone’s work, you often must make a difference in their lives. By taking the time to connect with their team on a personal level - to know their families, their hopes/dreams, and even their struggles. This characteristic of great leaders cannot be emphasized enough.

They train new leaders. Great leaders understand that their leadership undoubtedly will have an expiration date. They know the importance of leadership being in tune with the team’s they’re leading, the trends of the industry, and even the style they work in. This is one of the biggest differences between management and leadership. Leaders care more about how the team will be led for years to come than just managing the right now. As a result, they invest heavily in their teams now to ensure they are grooming the next generation of leaders too.

They are always learning. Above all else, great leaders know one thing - that they don’t know it all. This is one of the best qualities of great leaders because it also allows them to lead by example. To show the vulnerability of not having all the answers and doing the hard work of lifelong learning. Whether it is new ideas, new strategies, or even just a new way of saying something old - great leaders are invested in learning.

Being a leader requires a lot of skills and characteristics - but these, above all else, define great leaders to me. I hope as you have read through this, you have been able to have someone on your team or within your organization come to mind. If not, starting looking. Great leaders are the best indicator of an organization’s success.

#FunFriday - April 5, 2019 - Brian Copeland

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Our #FunFriday feature this week is near and dear to our hearts - none other than Brian Copeland, founder of Doorbell Real Estate

One of the many reasons we decided to feature Brian is that one word comes to mind when we think of him - giver. Brian not only gives top-notch service to his clients, his agents, and his audiences when he speaks; but he gives back to the industry which has given him so much. 

Brian was the 2011 Nashville REALTOR® of the Year; served as the 2017 President of Tennessee REALTORS; 2019 Vice President of the National Association of REALTORS, and advocates for property rights at the local, state, and national association levels. And today, he's hosting an REBarCamp in Nashville (one of the largest in the country) for the event's 10th anniversary! 

Those that know Brian know that he has a larger than life presence and I genuinely feel better for knowing him and am certain our industry is better with him as a part of it. 

If you're looking for exemplary leadership, you need not look further than Brian Copeland, my friends. He's got it all. 

Keep being your wonderful self, Brian! We appreciate you!

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