Musings of a Career Consultant

SoCal Texan in Bmore Leading Rock Stars

From Coast to Coast March 14, 2013

I left Texas 7 1/2 years ago and started what was an amazing life in Southern California. My real estate team enjoyed some great years in the downturn and my leadership grew due to the opportunity I snatched up all around me. Because of those two combined pieces, I was offered and accepted a position as the Team Leader/CEO of the Keller Williams Metro NW Market Center. My new home is in Baltimore, MD.

That’s right… Maryland! It’s a big move and yet I believe this is an amazing opportunity to let my real estate team in SoCal to continue to grow while I build on my leadership. Even if it’s from the other coast.

This is an amazing opportunity for all of my clients. You now have a coast to coast  REALTOR that’s ready to help you find the best agent for you, even if it’s not me.

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No Cookies For You January 12, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — mkzabora @ 12:40 pm
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This article by Keller Williams Rancho Cucamonga Assistant Team Leader Melissa Krchnak originally appeared on YPN Lounge by REALTOR Magazine Blogs.

Jim Rohn asks, “What does the word ‘no’ mean to a child? Almost nothing.” He’s so right, too. I have two nieces under the age of 6 that I just spent last week with and they couldn’t understand “no” any less. No candy. No soda. No dessert until after dinner. No playing with your Happy Meal toy until you finish your nuggets. And yet, they still push. They’re relentless. They don’t give up until I give in. And, they always win. Not because I’m the cool, fun aunt. Because I get worn down to a place of exhaustion. It’s so energy-draining that it’s not worth the fight.

I’m not saying you should wear your clients down the way these two adorable rug rats do me, yet, why do we announce defeat at the first “no?”

I have a challenge for you: If you set out to make a certain number of calls today (say 100),  set out to get 100 “nos” rather than make 100 calls. It’ll take a few more calls, and yet, that extra call might mean extra business.

Here’s to getting nos!

 

Sometimes life’s just hard, for no reason at all. -Remember the Titans November 7, 2012

Titans, they are.

They say that bad things always comes in threes. Well, I just got the call about my 3rd one this afternoon. Our local Market Center’s been challenged this last week and this call broke it down for me.

The toughest part about being an eternal optimist is that you’re, well, eternally optimistic. You’re always seeing the bright side of things. You live in rose-colored glasses.

This call. This one shook that resolve. It got me crying and wondering about all that optimism.

I believe that everything always works out. It does. And yet that journey to it “working out” can be a trying one.

Here’s to these Titans and that day in the near future when we can rest easy.

 

The Last Time I Worked Alone & What 200 Means to Me September 13, 2012

When I started in this business I was filled with the excitement of “Being my own Boss”. We all were, weren’t we? We ventured out on our own and had all the hope and naivety that infects any small business owner… then the reality set in. It’s ALL up to ME! Talk about a scary thought! Fear pushed me further than desire ever could. After months of working 60+ hour weeks, I decided to bring in some help and had a Buyer’s Agent help me with showings and writing offers. The title really should’ve been Showing Assistant (with the pay to match) and yet that’s another lesson I learned. We had a good thing going and as my investors took a back seat in my business he was no longer necessary so I went back to a solo act.

It always felt like I was on a lonely island (not a nod to the band) and I thought that’s how I was supposed to feel. We’re independent contractors, remember? It wasn’t until I was introduced to Keller Williams that I realized that might not HAVE to be the way that I worked. While I was skeptical of this company and it’s crazy cult-like followers, it didn’t take me long to realize why they loved it so much. They love it because it loves them. They don’t leave because we don’t leave them. We love our Agents so dang much (and they feel it!) that they don’t WANT to be anywhere else. What a great AHA!

Yesterday, KW Rancho celebrated all of its 200 Agents and how great it’s been all these years. It was so fun and we loved every second and yet, we’ve barely tipped the iceberg. We’re looking toward our next goal and the one after that and the one after that and so on and so forth. So, here’s to our 200:

 

Please Don’t Leave Me! – Avoid the “Unsubscribe” September 12, 2012

Along with the author of this article, I’m a SATC (Sex and the City) fan so when she made reference to the infamous “post-it break-up”, I knew exactly what she was talking about. Berger got back with Carrie just to leave the below message for her when she woke up… harsh, huh?!

 

I’m Sorry. I Can’t. Don’t Hate Me.

Is this how your sphere feels? Are they ready for a break-up and don’t want to tell you to your face? Or are you delivering the value they want? Read Kim Stiglitz‘s article courtesy of Verticle Response:

As an avid Sex and the City watcher back in the day, I’ll never forget the episode where Carrie got broken up with via a Post-it note. In this day and age of mass marketing and virtual anonymity, our prospects and customers can be and are sometimes total strangers to us. Why then, do we take it so personally when they “break up” with us via an unsubscribe? And why are they often unsubbing en masse? As a smart business person and marketer, how can you keep your customers in love with your business and engaged in your communications? Marketing, like dating or marriage can be a slippery slope to navigate. Read on and I’ll share a few tips from my years in the trenches.

First, some scary stats to illustrate that this is serious stuff:

91% of consumers have unsubscribed from opt-in marketing emails. (This means they chose to subscribe to your communication, then later changed their mind – Hmm, why?)

77% of consumers have become more guarded about giving companies their email address in the past year.(Because they suspect we may do something unscrupulous with it perhaps?)

The stats speak to an epidemic that marketers and businesses face. In a split-second we go from inbox cock rooster to feather duster. Why?

Many marketers, and I am not going to name names here, are not delivering on the golden promise they made when someone opted into their list. Deliver What You Promise. It’s that simple. If, when someone signed up for your email list, you promised you would send them tips on home repair once a month, do that. If you start sending emails every week with offers for 50% off paint and wood flooring, you break your promise. When someone provides you their email address, they’re saying they trust you to do the right thing with it (i.e. not bombard them with excessive self-promotional stuff). Your customers want something of value from you. There has to be something in it for them. And, usually that’s what you promised them that caused them to sign up in the first place. That’s why your opt-in form and page are vitally important. It is there that you vow that you’re a good, upstanding person/company and that you will use the power of email marketing for good, not evil. Capisce?

You Get Old & Boring. Of all the consumers that unsubscribe, nearly half cite that they found content to be repetitive or boring over time; another 25% found content irrelevant – Egad. We’re being replaced by a younger, hotter and more interesting version of ourselves? Now you get the dating analogy, eh? So, short of a tech version of a nip and tuck, how do we stay hot in the inbox? Content Rules. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, you must deliver relevant, value add content to your subscribers to keep them engaged and coming back for more. We even did a webinar about it.

You can get a good feel for how engaged your readers are by keeping an eye on the open and click-through rates (CTRs) of your emails. You can even segment your list (we’ve got a webinar for that too) on this information and provide specific content based on what your readers are responding (or not responding) to. If you notice your open rates dropping, take a look at things that may have changed. Are you sending out the same amount of mail as you have in the past? Are you sending at or around the same time and day you have in the past? Does this need to be tested or changed? And, how are your subject lines? Are they attention-grabbing and action-oriented? Or, are they a snoozefest like the oh so popular, September Newsletter? Your click-through rates can actually be a stronger indicator of reader engagement because they illustrate that not only did the recipient open the message, but they found content that made them want to learn more, or do something. You can affect your click-throughs by including strong calls-to-action in your message and being very clear about what you want your reader to do. Use an active voice and language in your calls-to-action and watch the CTRs climb.

SPAM I am (Not). When your subscriber has had enough, how do they choose to end it? 67% click “unsubscribe,” 17% just delete the email. And 8% stick it to you – they click the spam or junk button, sending your lovely message to the black hole of email hell and your sender reputation along with it. So, how to avoid email purgatory and stay in the good books with your subscribers? Mail on a schedule and stick with it. If you decide to increase the frequency that you mail your subscribers, communicate it in advance and let them know the value of getting more mail from you. 47% of subscribers unsub because they get too many emails. We’re all suffering from message overload, so the messages we allow in our inbox and engage with better deliver.

Check out this unsubscribe infographic from our friends over at Litmus to learn more.

What value are your messages adding for your subscribers? Share how you use email marketing for good, not evil, in the comments.

Stats sourced via Litmus.

 

New Short Sale Guidelines for GSEs Will Make Process Easier August 28, 2012

Esther Cho wrote this great article for DSNews.com and I wanted to share its content:

Starting November 1, 2012, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will implement new short sale guidelines to make the approval process easier for eligible borrowers.

“These new guidelines demonstrate FHFA’s and Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s commitment to enhancing and streamlining processes to avoid foreclosure and stabilize communities,” said FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco in a statement. “The new standard short sale program will also provide relief to those underwater borrowers who need to relocate more than 50 miles for a job.”

The changes are part of the FHFA’s Servicing Alignment Initiative and will require a streamlined approach with documents, leading to a reduction in documentation requirements. For example, borrowers who are 90 days or more delinquent and have a credit score lower than 620 will no longer be required to provide documentation for their hardship.

The GSEs will also waive their right to pursue deficiency judgments. Borrowers with sufficient income or assets can make cash contributions or sign promissory notes instead.

One major barrier that is also being addressed is the issue with second lien holders. To prevent second lien holders from stalling the short sale process, the GSEs will offer up to $6,000.

The new guidelines will also enable servicers to approve a short sale for borrowers who are not in default but face certain hardships including the death of a borrower or co-borrower, divorce or legal separation, illness or disability or a distant employment transfer.

In addition, all servicers will have the authority to approve and complete short sales that follow the requirements without first going to the GSEs for approval.

Provisions were also created for military personnel with Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders. Servicemembers who are required to relocate will automatically be eligible for short sales even if they are current. They also won’t be obligated to contribute funds to pay for the remaining deficiency.

“Short sales have become an increasingly important tool in preventing foreclosures and stabilizing communities,” said Leslie Peeler, SVP, National Servicing Organization, Fannie Mae. “We want to help as many homeowners avoid foreclosure as possible. It is vital that servicers, junior lien holders and mortgage insurers step up to the plate with us.”

Tracy Mooney, SVP of Single-Family Servicing and REO at Freddie Mac, said, “These changes will make it clear that Freddie Mac servicers have the authority to approve short sales for more borrowers facing the most frequently seen hardships. These changes will further empower the industry to minimize foreclosures and help Freddie Mac in its mission to minimize credit losses and fortify a national housing recovery.”

Fannie Mae will send the announcement for the new changes to servicers Wednesday. Freddie Mac sent their announcement Tuesday.

In April, the GSEs also announced they were setting requirements to have a decision on a short sale offer made within 30-60 days.

What do you think? Are you believing in the hype?

 

CRMLS is Making Some Changes… Are You Aware of Them? August 27, 2012

On Tuesday, August 28, the following changes will be made in the CRMLS Matrix platform:

Changes to Printed Reports and Search Displays

  • The ML# field on the Quick CMA report will be removed to make room for the addition of theDOM/CDOM and COE Date/End Date fields.
  • The Baths Total field (Ba) on the Agent 1 Linedisplay will be removed and replaced with Baths Full/ThreeQtr/Half/OneQtr (Bth(F,T,H,Q)).
  • The Open House Agent Full report and display will be renamed to Open House Full.
  • All search displays containing an agent’s DRE#will link directly to the DRE site with the agent’s license information.

Field Changes

  • When adding a Residential Income listing, the totals entered into Unit Information must match the total number of units that you input in the # of Units field. For example, if you entered 3 in the # of Units field, you will be required to enter Unit Information for three units. For each type of unit you specify in the #Units field, you will be required to enter information in the corresponding#Bedrms#BathsFurnished?Garage SpacesActual RentTotal Rent, and Pro Forma fields. If the number of garage spaces you entered is equal to one or more, you will also be required to enter a value in the Garage Attached/Detached field.
  • If Notice of Default is not selected in the Sale Type field when entering a Short Sale listing, you will receive an input warning asking you to verify that a Notice of Default does not exist. If a Notice of Default does occur, you will need to update your listing. This is for all property types.
  • If the value entered in the Date of Listing field is more than 10 days from the day you enter the listing in Matrix, you will receive an input warning during listing input. Input will still be allowed.
  • When entering Mobile Home listings, the Park NameManager’s Name, and Contact Information fields will be required.
  • When entering a Mobile Home listing, if you selectNone in the Park Type field, the Space Number,Park Name, and Manager’s Name fields will no longer be required.
  • When entering a Mobile Home listing, if you selectLease in the Land Fee/Lease field, the Land Lease/Space Rent Amount field will be required.