By Tiana Baur
Staying in flow with your sphere is possibly the single most important piece of maintaining a successful real estate business and personal brand. How you choose to go about sphere marketing is what helps define your personal style, brand, and keeps people coming back for more (or doesn’t).
We’ve put together a list of 15 ways you can stay in flow and tackle sphere marketing. By no means is it necessary to start allocating all of your time and resources to do every one of these, but it is highly advised to incorporate at least five – that is if you haven’t already.
Are you on the gram? Do you post regularly? If you said yes to both of those, congratulations are in order because you are far ahead of your peers. Just don’t forget the 80/20 rule. 80% of your posts should be educational and entertaining, and only 20% should be promoting your business i.e. posting listing photos, just sold, open houses, etc.
2. Use Google Alerts
If you work in a city, chances are you have some pretty successful clients who are corporate big dogs. Set up Google Alerts (which are free) so you get an email every time certain words or names pop up in news. If they get a promotion or their company is in the news for something awesome, drop them a quick email congratulating them. Just go to google.com/alerts to set them up.
3. Neighborhood News
If you’re a Moxi Engage user, Neighborhood News is the perfect set it and forget it touch point. It sends automated market snapshots, personalized for each subscribed contact in an agent’s account. These monthly emails keep your sphere up-to-date on the market in their area.
4. Moxi Insights
Moxi Insights enables you to know your sphere better, faster. It is a prospect insights tool that instantly supplies you with access to extensive public data about contacts in your sphere. Here’s 100 ways to use Insights for your sphere marketing.
We really only advise you to try out snapchat for your client marketing if you’re mainly working with millennials. That said, if you are, this can be a great way to stay top of mind. Send a snap when you’re walking through a house you think they’d love or maybe you’re at Home Depot and they’re having a sale on holiday decorations. A quick snap is short and sweet.
If you aren’t already on Facebook, shame on you. If you are, are you posting enough? Once a week isn’t enough. Make sure you’re remaining active on all of your social channels, especially Facebook. It’s where the most people are – two BILLION people to be exact – and where you need to be posting your open house info, but more importantly what is going on in your life. This will help people establish a long-term connection with you.
7. Moxi Present
For those of you using Present, it’s not just for listings. Since they are infinitely customizable, you can make a presentation or nice slide deck around practically anything. Try making one about new, exciting things going in on your specialized area or their neck of the woods.
8. Be helpful
Everyone is busy. Everyone has a full inbox and too many balls in the air. Focus on what your clients need. Is it ideas for organizing their new home? Market news? Anything that lets them know you’re thinking of them and want to help is a good way to stay in touch.
Birthdays should be a regular touch point. With Moxi Engage you can use special dates stay in flow. If you can’t think of something to give them, send them a gift from Loop & Tie. It lets you send gifts from curated selections. Simply choose a price point and let your client pick from the amazing array of gifts. By selecting a private price level, your client gets what they want and they never see the pricing.
Just like birthdays, you can set house-iversaries as regular touch points. Celebrate the purchase that turned the house into their home every year.
11. Actual anniversaries
Spread the love. Whether it’s a 2 years, 10 years, or 36 years, sending flowers or a nice bottle of wine is the perfect touch for a couple that is celebrating their special day. Don’t underestimate the impression this will make.
12. Reconnect via direct mail
When it comes to your most important clients, reconnecting with direct mail is never a bad idea. Choose something relevant to them and their area.
13. Monthly E-News
E-Newsletters can be a really great touch point if you put in the time and effort to make them to be. Family-friendly events coming up, a new restaurant, etc., in your specialized neighborhood/area.
14. Do something nice – out of the blue.
A gift or card is nice on an anniversary or your birthday, but it’s even better when it’s unexpected, on a random day of a random week. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to send cards and gifts on anniversaries and birthdays and you should. However, a LOT of people are going to do that. A sure way to always be thought of fondly is to do something nice for them, just because.
15. Leave comments
Part of me felt like I didn’t need to put this on the list. The truth is, it’s not just enough to exist on social media. The entire point is to connect and participate. Comment on their posts (not every time, that would be creepy) when it’s something you can congratulate them on, relate to, or can add to the conversation.
Regardless of how much sphere marketing you’re already executing, it’s always good to set new goals, especially in a new year. Try adding one of these ways to stay in flow with your sphere in order to create longer, stronger relationships for more repeat and referral business.
By York Baur, CEO of Moxi Works
If you’re reading this, you have no doubt seen the news about Softbank (the world’s largest tech investment fund) investing $450 Million into the tech brokerage Compass – emphasis on the brokerage. This morning I sent out a note to all of our employees here at Moxi Works, and have decided to share them here. As a true “techie,” I’m sure it surprises no one to learn that I have some opinions about this.
For starters, Compass is a brokerage, not a tech company. However, like Redfin (who has continually overpromised and undelivered), they’re being valued as a technology company, not a brokerage, which means it’s valued at several times the valuation of brokerages.
This fundamental disconnect will work for a while, but gravity is pervasive, and the valuation will fall back to earth soon enough, particularly when there is a real estate market correction.
In short – this is the Greater Fool Theory at work.
What does this all mean?
To quote Inman, “Compass touts itself as “the first modern real estate platform, which reduces the friction and frustration associated with selling, buying, or renting a property by providing real estate agents with a set of powerful tools to increase efficiency and sales volume.”
They have to pay off agents with large sums of money to consider leaving their current brokerage for Compass and their platform. Hence, they are a brokerage, not a technology company.
Here’s a fact: You don’t have to with a true open platform and the technology that embodies it.
There’s nothing Compass has that we don’t already have or that isn’t available today from our more than 35 partners. Our success, the success of the Moxi Cloud open platform isn’t a theory – we can prove that our stuff makes agents more productive and brokerages more profitable. To that end, their CEO Robert Reffkin said today that agents that come to Compass do 24.9% better the year after. We know that agents that adopt Moxi Engage do 39% better, and are happy to walk you through that data.
News like today’s strikes fear in the heart of brokerages, as it probably should. Like every problem, there is a solution. That solution is the Moxi Cloud, which takes Compass head on and gives agents exactly what they need to be more successful than their competition.
I encourage you to contact us – we’d be happy to answer any questions you have, whether it’s about Moxi Works are not. We’re here to help the brokerage.
By Maddie Jostol
Real estate agents: Now is the time to start your 2018 business plan. The end of the year arrived quickly (as always), which has most of us reflecting on the past year and setting goals for the coming year. As an agent, what’s your plan for ensuring next year is even more successful than this one?
It’s time to start your business plan, set goals, and put the right tools in place that will get you headed in the right direction – towards financial success. Here are a few things you should be thinking about this time of year, including a handful of free resources to help you get a jump start.
Set your GCI goal
Goal setting is a key piece of the planning puzzle. It’s vital for you to know what you’re working towards in order to map all of your efforts towards meeting that goal. Your GCI (Gross Commissionable Income) goal is a cornerstone to your financial plan, so set it early on and create a plan to reach it.
For those of you who are Moxi Engage users, make sure you enter your GCI goal into your Moxi account. This will show you the progress you’ve made towards your goal throughout the year. This transparency allows you to manage your time and finances more effectively. Want to learn more about this? You can in our help center.
Get a system in place
Get all of your processes in place so you can start the year off on the right foot. This includes a reliable accounting system and a smooth process for tax filing. As independent contractors, realtors face unique challenges in tracking their expenses and filing quarterly taxes. Make sure you know what tools to use and which deductions to look out for. Want some tips? Download our Agent’s Guide to Stress-Free Taxes.
Our recommendation for 2018 is QuickBooks Self-Employed, an accounting app built specifically for independent contractors. It’s the perfect solution for busy agents. QuickBooks Self-Employed automates expense tracking, mileage tracking, and digital receipt storage and categorization. All of this is done easily on your smartphone, while on-the-go.
To give you a head start, we’ve partnered with QuickBooks to offer you a full year of QuickBooks Self-Employed for 50% off.
Make a plan
Whether you’re already starting your plan, or you’ve never created a business plan before – now is the time.
Join us for a free webinar on Tuesday, December 19th. We’ll have experts including Eric Thompson, Co-Founder of Windermere Leadership Academy and President of Windermere Services CO, and Charlie Snyder, Real Estate Specialist at QuickBooks. You’ll learn about getting started on your business plan, goal setting, saving money on taxes as an independent contractor, and managing your finances and business expenses throughout the year. They’re ready to bring you tools, templates, methods, and tips to help you be financially successful in 2018.
By Maddie Jostol
Yes, chatbots. It’s a question every brokerage owner should be asking themselves. It’s not as intimidating as it may sound, but it is necessary. The world of real estate is changing rapidly. What are you doing to stay ahead of the game and ensure your brokerage survives?
By 2020, over 80% of businesses are expected to have some sort of chatbot automation implemented. (Business Insider, 2016)
You don’t have to be a technology company or specialize in artificial intelligence to be smart about your business tech. Look at the shifts happening in our industry and consider solutions for combatting competition and adapting with the market.
Here at Moxi Works, we’re declaring 2018 the year of the chatbot. Massive investments are being made to develop chatbots, and chatbots are gaining familiarity with consumers. As they become more widely available and used, chatbots are becoming more commonplace. When backed by powerful AI (artificial intelligence), consumers often expect, and sometimes even prefer chatbots when it comes to customer service and support.
40% of consumers do not care whether a chatbot or a real human helps them, as long as they are getting the help they need. (HubSpot, 2017)
21% of consumers see chatbots as the easiest way to contact a business. (ubisend, 2017)
Chatbots are transforming consumer interactions. The way in which consumers access personalized information and get their questions answered has changed drastically. Consumer expectations have shifted and the only way to meet and exceed those expectations is to have smart efficiency tools backing up your sales process.
Realogy, a global leader in real estate with agents in affiliated brokerages totaling almost 300,000, has recently joined the chatbot trend. In September, they announced an agreement with OJO, an AI-powered chatbot that specializes in talking real estate with consumers. OJO Labs, Inc. focuses on the union of machine and human intelligence to positively transform the home buying and selling process. The AI-powered personal assistance holds two-way conversations, providing property information and answering client questions. OJO nurtures leads until they’re ready to speak with an agent, saving both the agent and the consumer time. With the addition of OJO, Realogy brokerages will improve their customer experience, see increased productivity in agents and improve retention, and see a positive impact on their bottom line. Realogy is just one example of organizations in real estate that are adapting and embracing technology and innovation in order to stay relevant through industry changes.
In real estate, it’s common for business owners to miss significant growth opportunities because they failed to embrace technology. While you don’t need to run out and choose a chatbot provider immediately, you should begin thinking about where one might fit in your business. Partner with technology companies that are considering these trends, ensuring you have the option to adopt artificial intelligence and chatbots down the road.
By Tiana Baur
Moxi Works is happy to announce our newest member of the Moxi Cloud open platform! FloorPlanOnline’s HomeDiary, a homeowner management platform that includes a free 3D space planner! HomeDiary enables agents to help their clients better keep track of everything going on in their homes; items, activities, and spaces.
A digital record of their home
With HomeDiary, your clients can log projects, photos, improvements, and documents for easy reference. They can upload photos and manuals, tagging items for a permanent record. They can clip images or upload snapshots of products or ideas, keeping a digital scrapbook. Finally, HomeDiary allows your clients to room plan and visualize their space in 2D and 3D.
Visualize & plan spaces in 3D
Draw a room or a whole floor plan! Design, plan, and view spaces in 2D and 3D. Plan furniture layouts, explore remodeling ideas, play with paint color palettes, and plan patio and landscaping ideas.
Store inventory & maintenance records
Find critical home information when you need it. Log paint colors and finally throw away those old cans. Find old receipts and purchase information, save and record every improvement, and easily story maintenance activities.
Clip ideas & create reminders
Save images from the web and upload or snap photos of products and ideas. Save purchase ideas, store decorating ideas, organize wish list items, and create maintenance reminders. Sort, filter, easily find!
HomeDiary helps agents stay connected to their sphere throughout the whole homeownership lifecycle. Through the Moxi integration, HomeDiary not only provides marketing tools for the listing side of the transaction, such as hands-free, automated, single-property websites and the free use of the advanced 3D floor plan engine, but it also enables agents to stay relevant with their sphere as they live in their home with the included HomeDiary sponsorship (for an unlimited number of clients). The HomeDiary system is extremely affordable—priced at less than the daily cost of a cup of coffee. Find out more on homediary.com!
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE Moxi Works has added FloorPlanOnline’s HomeDiary, a homeowner management platform that includes a free 3D space planner, to its Moxi Cloud open platform, the company recently announced.
By Tiana Baur
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It sounds complicated, but it’s actually quite simple. An API is the messenger that delivers the request you make to the provider you’re requesting it from, and then delivers the response back to you. It’s what moves your data from point A to point B. MuleSoft compares an API to a waiter or waitress at a restaurant. When you sit down, you are presented with a menu with a variety of options and variations. You place your order with the waiter who then delivers your choices to the kitchen and brings the food and drinks back to your table.
An API is what allows a brokerage platform to be truly open. And an open platform is what allows brokerages to have a choice in every tool and service they want to use. Here’s a look at the difference:
Open Platform: An open platform has an open API that allows brokerages to plug and play tools and services from multiple vendors, including multiple vendors per category (such as marketing, transaction management, advertising, gifting vendors, etc.), as they see fit.
Closed Platform: With a closed platform, brokerages are required to take the tools and services from one vendor and a very short list of partners, limiting choice and flexibility. Many will say that the brokerage has to use their website in order to get the “platform” with it. This means brokerages don’t get to keep the investment they’ve made into their current tools and services when they change them out for new ones. It means they have to start over.
The thing many brokerages don’t realize, is that data isn’t just a list of numbers. Data is what integration is literally made of. Brokerage data is the soul of the brokerage business that keeps its heart beating and its legs moving. This data is useless if it doesn’t work flawlessly together and isn’t stored in a shared environment. Without data, brokerages will cease to exist.
The Moxi Works API gives our approved partners an easy way to integrate with our open platform and helps provide a seamless solution to our brokerage customers, making them more profitable, and their agents more productive. Having all of their data in one center of truth, speaking to their unique variation of tools and services they’re plugging into their power strip, means they’ve future-proofed themselves for any and all technology changes to come. Why? Because they retain control of all their data.
The five core data components that the open platform has are:
1. Property data
2. Brokerage and agent data
3. Consumer data
4. Integration with the cloud environment with Microsoft and Google
5. An API allowing other companies to integrate
If a brokerage doesn’t use a powerful API to connect all of their tools and services, there is anarchy amongst them. A lack of integration gives agents and brokerages tool fatigue. The Moxi Cloud open platform and Moxi Works API work together to store and exchange data, and above all else, means brokerages can take the investment in their existing tools and services and integrate them using our open platform and API.
Want to know what our Moxi Works API is like? Here’s an idea of what our partners are saying about their experience with us.
By Maddie Jostol
There’s a digital transformation happening. Everything is moving to the cloud. On-premises servers are being replaced, data is constantly being uploaded, exchanged, and shared, and technological advancements are being made to the cloud daily.
First of all: What exactly is “the cloud?” Mashable defines the cloud as “a network of server.” Some servers provide an online service, like Adobe Creative Cloud, and others allow you to store and access data, like Instagram or Dropbox. New to the concept? Check out their cloud for beginners guide.
A few of the major clouds you might recognize include Amazon Web Services, Google, IBM, and Salesforce. Needless to say, with these powerhouses innovating, the cloud computing market is growing rapidly and you better believe the real estate industry is moving to the cloud as well. To put things in perspective, the global cloud computing market has grown from $5.8B in 2008 to $41B in 2012 to now over $128B in 2017. What’s that have to do with real estate? Let’s just say that the amount of money pouring into real estate tech is growing, with venture capitalists investing over $1.1B in real estate technology this year alone.
Yes, the cloud is taking over real estate as well. Let that be seen as an opportunity, however. Cloud migration is gaining rapid adoption for a reason – it’s good for business, and that’s especially true in real estate. Many brokerages feel pains derived from inefficiency, low agent retention, and industry changes. The best part about the cloud is, when it comes to an open platform, it gives you the flexibility to change out technology solutions as necessary, and your data will still be safe in the cloud, ready to integrate with the new solution.
The Moxi Cloud open platform was built to bring the benefits of a cloud-based platform to real estate, delivering brokerages higher flexibility, efficiency, and profitability. It isn’t just about convenience – cloud computing is having a serious impact on companies’ bottom lines. 74% of Tech Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) say cloud computing will have the most measurable impact on their business in 2017, according to Forbes. Companies are investing in the cloud for a reason. Forbes also revealed that 60-70% of all software, services, and technology spending will be cloud-based by 2020.
The power is in the data exchange. When you integrate your systems through data exchange, you find a smoother sales process, more value delivered your agents, increased productivity, and fewer mistakes from manual data entry. Cloud migration is an opportunity for you to get your brokerage’s technology solution up to par. The competition is heating up in real estate and it’s vital that you set your brokerage up for success with the right technology – not to mention, offering technology that will attract and retain agents. So… Got cloud?
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE Diane van der Goes, director of Recruiting, Marketing and Corporate Strategy for Star Real Estate in Fountain Valley, Calif., grew up in the real estate business; her mother was an agent, and van der Goes earned her childhood allowance by helping her mother farm for clients, wheeling a wagon around prospective neighborhoods and dropping pumpkins door-to-door.
Wagon wheels aside, van der Goes herself entered the real estate game in 2001. With a literal lifetime of industry experience, van der Goes is no stranger to the complexities of the business; she understands how important it is to keep a team running on the same pulse.
Earlier this year, she introduced her team to Moxi Works, an open platform connecting agents with their brokerage systems in an effort to streamline communication and business strategies, as well as place a suite of best-in-class tools in one location with one log-in.
By Tiana Baur
“Alexa, find me the best real estate agent for our neighborhood.” Another giant might be joining the real estate industry madness with Google and Facebook, providing more referrals and lead generation to real estate agents. An Amazon placeholder page was discovered, which has since been removed, that gave people the option to “Hire a Realtor.”
The webpage was found in their Home and Business Services section, which is a newly rolled out vendor marketplace. According to Inman, “If the marketplace works for agents like it does for other professionals, then agents would pay referral fees to Amazon in exchange for new business. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.” The general public can already hire home inspectors and interior designers via the marketplace, so adding real estate agents to the vendor list actually makes a lot of sense.
Reviews, Reviews, More Reviews
Amazon is review rich. It’s what makes buying from them easy and painless. Like everything else with them, their Home and Business Services section also has reviews for their vendors, meaning that real estate agent reviews might have yet another place to live. Instead of agents asking for reviews, they might start receiving them unprompted.
Move Over, Zillow
If Amazon really is going to get into the lead generation game, this agent referral page might be able to create extremely strong leads, meaning more competition for Zillow, making leads more affordable across the board. In fact, according to GeekWire, “When reports of the Amazon page surfaced, Zillow’s stock price slumped from $46.15 a share to $44.54.” They also declined to comment on the surfacing of this new service.
York Baur, CEO of MoxiWorks, said, “Monopolies are never good and competition is the antidote. If anyone can give Zillow a run for their money, it’s Amazon, and knowing them they’ll be incredibly price competitive.”
Plus, let’s face it: Amazon finds ways to make everything more affordable. Even on Thanksgiving, they were able to provide turkeys at a lower price at Whole Foods (the used-to-be most unaffordable way to buy groceries) since they recently acquired the company.
The future of real estate in general could get a lot more exciting and fun with Amazon in the mix. Actually, Amazon might just take over the world – and we’re kind of excited to watch them do it. “Hey Alexa, close this transaction for me.”