Thursday, August 30, 2007

When You Are Sick...

Go to the doctor. I see a lot of illness and pain in the real estate market. There are many brokerages who are sick, hurting and in need of a doctor.

In franchising today, we at Real Living are attracting companies who want to think big and have a long-term view of the industry investigating our franchise model.

These are companies seeing the industry change at a pace so fast they cannot afford to keep up - mentally and financially. These firms are in need of systems, tools, technologies, etc., etc. to attract agents, keep agents and most importantly make them productive. They see listing syndication, website enhancements, technology products - too many to list, SEO, SEM, etc, etc. and are confused. It is hard to believe but I spoke with a broker of a 50 agent company from major market this week who was interested in driving people to his site to generate leads. When I asked him his strategy, what his Alexa ranking is, and his plans for SEO… He replied, “What are you talking about??” As if I was speaking a foreign language.

Today, with the down-turn in the market, many small brokerages have finally had the opportunity to pull their head out of the listing and selling race for enough time to realize they are sick and need help.

If any of the above rings true for you and your company, let’s talk. Real Living will open your eyes to what you are missing and not only catch you up, we'll put you ahead of even the largest competitors in your area. We can save you from the vendors, buzz-words, and fluff you’ll encounter researching solutions necessary for your company to survive and thrive in today's ever-changing marketplace.

To learn more about Real Living, schedule a consultative visit, and see how we can help, give me a call at 614-203-0801 or e-mail We not only have the medicine for what ails you, we’ll put you at ease.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

National vs. "Next" Real Estate Brands

When discussing Real Living with broker/owners throughout the country a common dialogue typically centers on “who is Real Living? I’ve never heard of you.” Or, “we are going to franchise, but why would I franchise with a new, unfamiliar brand in my market?” So, when evaluating a decision to franchise, there are three major items to consider…

1. Are there stigmas or negativity associated with these other brands in your markets or elsewhere?

Chances are there are agents/companies from any national brand, primarily due to their size, who have made a negative impression on the market. Remember the NAR boasts 1.3 million Realtors running around out there. This stigma and image (negative or positive) will automatically be associated with you when you join these franchise systems. Don’t think you can change the world, these networks are too large and their impact is national. When affiliating with the next big thing, the image is fresh, new, and with Real Living, unique.

2. What is provided by national brand?

Franchisors through the fat and happy times of the past 10 years have become lazy and very focused on selling their name. In doing so, many have lost touch with providing their franchise partners a tangible offering agents and brokers can actually tap into to increase productivity, profits and awareness in the market. Real Living provides a wealth of tools, services and the best part is that they are tangible which means they save agents and brokers real money in development and or purchasing of “off the shelf tools” such as Top Producer for contact management or Point 2 Agent for web sites. The fact that Real Living provides these two items and much, much more not only saves money but also makes its tools easier to use and integrated. Every tool Real Living provides is fully interactive with each other from MLS feeds, to our 2.0 application, to contact management.

3. Who gets it?

This may be the most critical component. When evaluating brands, pay close attention to how they market and use your franchise service fees. Ask the following questions of these national brands…
- Do they have a defined target customer? If so, do you agree?
- Does the brand appeal to this target audience?
- Do they spend the service fees you spend to market effectively to this group?

At Real Living, our answers are as follows…
- Our target consumer is women 25-54 residing in a household earning an above average income. This demographic makes 90% of the decisions in the home-buying/selling process.
- The Real Living brand was developed to primarily appeal to this audience.
- Our national marketing dollars are 100% devoted to the female demographic defined above.

Many of the large nationals don’t get it. Take Re/Max for example. One of their national sponsorships is the Long Drive Championship – a golf event. How many women do you think are watching a group of meatheads on ESPN try to hit a golf ball 400 yards?

Century 21 another large national brand is the sponsor of Major League Baseball's Home Run Derby. How many women do you think are watching this event? I can assure you my wife is not viewing either of these programs and instead opting for programming on HGTV, Lifetime or Food Network.

When women make 90% of the home buying/selling decisions, are sponsorships in these types of events the highest and best use of your franchise service fees?

To learn more about
Real Living, our tangible systems, well-managed brand and how to potentially be the first to launch the brand in your market, let’s talk. We’ll open your eyes. E-mail me at, or call 614-203-0801.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Importance of a Well Managed Brand

How important is a well managed real estate brand? If you ask me, it is everything.

In my travels I regularly see brands mistreated and disrespected daily creating confusion and separation with the consumer – a no win situation. Unfortunately, you can pick up any Sunday newspaper, or go to any grocery store for a real estate guide like Open House Magazine, Homes and Land, etc. to spot them. There are easy to find. There are the cliché pictures of agent on the phone, those with their pets, and, my personal favorite… the unrecognizable glamour photo from 10 years ago.

Additionally, we see agents create sites like this one from a Coldwell Banker agent - You’ll see this agent branding himself in yellow and with a duck peddling real estate in Seattle. Isn’t Coldwell Banker blue? He’s even received recognition for his efforts in Broker Agent, Realtor Profile and Real Estate Executive, magazines which he prominently highlights on his site. Creative yes, consistent with the brand, no.

Agents being independent contractors have enjoyed, and in some cases taken advantage of the freedoms and liberties provided to them by their brokers. By enabling your agents to create sites like these, you are diluting your brand, messaging and image in your market.

Attn Brokers: Consider not turning the other cheek when you see agents take your brand and tarnish it with these poor attempts to build a personal brand. Take control of your brand. It’s possible – we’ve done it at Real Living, you can too. Here are some tips…

- Provide them branded web-sites with all the tools consumers need so they don’t have to build sites like those I selected above.
- Provide branded marketing tools and make it easy for them to tap into.
- Provide templates and standards to follow to ensure consistency.

If you don’t have the resources, time, money or energy to provide these, perhaps you would consider talking to us. We provide all of the above and more.

To learn more about the Real Living brand and how we manage it for the benefit of our network, call me 614-203-0801 or e-mail, or visit our franchise site.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New Franchisees Join Real Living

Real Living is growing. I’m proud to announce that we’ve just added three new franchises! The newest markets consist of Chandler, Arizona (our first in the state), Vail, Colorado, and The Woodlands, Texas (Houston area). And that’s not all. Get ready for four franchises next month.

If you reside in any of these areas, you’ll be seeing Real Living red signs popping up – hopefully in your front yard. You’ll also start taking notice of Real Living agents marketing homes deploying our innovative 360-degree system© designed to attract consumers using digital, mobile and traditional marketing vehicles.

To learn how to become a Real Living franchise partner, and activate Real Living’s unique and well-managed brand and our 360-degree system© in your market, give me a call at 614-203-0801 or e-mail me at

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

Recruit, Recruit, Recruit - Even in a Down Market

Recently I’ve received calls and inquiries from brokers regarding recruiting and have heard the following comment redundantly… “the market is so bad, we are having trouble recruiting agents” BALLONEY!! As stated in my recent post, not only is it a good time to franchise, it is a GREAT time to recruit. Additionally, the “ripest” agents to recruit are the good ones too – the sub-par agents who’ve been surviving on floor time, and the markets success are being forced to look for salaried jobs right now.

Here are some recruiting tips – which are geared towards Real Living broker/owners and the tools, systems, training, etc. that Real Living provides its franchisees nationally.

Prospect, prospect, prospect.
Use e-cards. Use the phone and attend networking events. Most importantly, keep in touch - the person who will not meet today will be ready sometime. It is only a matter of time until something upsets an agent enough to take a look around.

Find the "sweet spot."
Typically there are a group of agents producing from $1.5M/yr to $7M/yr volume (depending on the market) who are stuck, ready to move to the next level and more receptive to your calls/prospecting.

Interview the agent vs. selling them on your company and allowing them to interview you.
This will ensure you are getting the right fit for your office, culture, etc.
Devise and prepare questions to ask and go through the list taking notes during yoru meeting. My favorites include…
- What is important to you in a brokerage? (Chances are you have it with Real Living and will show it later when presenting the Real Living platform)
- What does your current brokerage do well? (Find out what you are competing against)
- What challenges is your current brokerage facing? (Find out their pain and provide a solution your presentation - spin your presentation to this pain)
- Where do you see your career going in the next 1, 2, 5 years? (Are they a fit? Are they worth your investment? Remember, you are making an investment in your agents – office space, phones, brand, etc.)
- What is holding you back from taking your real estate career to the next level?
- What would prompt you to leave your current company, besides commission which we'll discuss later? (Find out what exactly would make them switch and don't let it be commission only).
- Devise questions to ask after the presentation...
- How do you see yourself fitting in here at Real Living?
- As you mentioned, your current company is challenged by ___, With Real Living would our (insert tool, service, etc. here) support you better than you are being supported today?
- Do you see value in what we provide our agents here at Real Living?

Ask for their license.
From our discussion I believe we may be a fit (assuming they are). You see value in our product, company, etc. What would prevent you from joining our team today?

I hate to be cliché, however, you never get what you don’t ask for.

If you are interested in more recruiting help with real systems, real tools and real solutions to help agents produce (even in a down market), give me a call at 614-203-0801 (mobile), or e-mail me at You also can visit for more information regarding franchising opportunities within Real Living.