Monthly Archives: March 2013

Real Estate Agents – You NEED a CRM System!

If you don’t have the advantage of Leadstreet or other in-house provided CRM system, you really should invest in one oCRMn your own.   While searching for a solution for a client of mine, I ran across iXact.   No, I don’t have an affiliate program with them – wish I did, but I was really impressed with the services offered through this single program.

It’s around $40/month, and includes:

  • Marketing campaigns: drip, no-touch monthly newsletters (content provided) and the ability for you to send your own email campaigns ad-hoc (no need for Constant Contact, Vertical Marketing, etc.).
  • Calendar and task lists
  • Retains profiles on all your prospects, referrals and clients
  • Tracks your sales
  • Account sharing for teams

It’s a web-based solution, so it’s accessible from any internet connection.  All of the data is easily synced smartphone, and the system is also Mac OS compatible, so it can also be used on your iPad.  More important, it’s designed to support REALTORS® and their specific needs.

You need to be tracking your sales throughout your career.  How powerful is it say that, “I helped over ### families, and closed over $$$ Million in Sales” to your next prospect.   If you don’t know these figures, you’re losing out.

You also need to be keeping in touch with your clients at least once a month.   Timing is everything, and if they can’t remember your name when they have a need you’re also losing out.

Happy Selling,

Lora Zibman, Southeastern Admin

http://www.SoutheasternAdmin.com | 770-609-0904

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IMPORTANT REMINDER FOR FILINGS IN GA

Hello everyone, thanks to my friend Becky Brown of NGAC, Inc.ga secretary of state, I wanted to remind everyone that if you’re in the State of Georgia, you need to make sure complete your Annual Corporate Registration with the Secretary of State by April 1st.  This applies to Corporations, Non-Profits, Limited Liabilities and Limited Partnerships.

You can do this online by going to: http://www.sos.ga.gov/corporations/ar_terms.htm.

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Another Life

live like i typeToday I looked up at the hutch on my desk and saw this bookmark which I’ve kept with me through many moves over the years, and thought I’d share the story.

My very first office job was in Houston at the tail-end of the Oil and Gas industry boom.   The company was great, the money was flowing, and the work-environment was much different than it is today.  No one had ever heard of political correctness, when you left the office you left the office (no PC or cell phones), there was always a bottle of bourbon under the kitchen sink, and everyone smoked at their desks (and in the elevator and the kitchen and in the bathroom and at the copier).

All in all, it was really a great place to start for a 17 year old, just graduated from high school.  While I was more self-involved than career-minded, I did, and still do appreciate all the great people who surrounded me.

During my initial interview, I remember being asked if I was a good typist; this was important as we all still used carbon paper and Selectric typewriters.   I replied that I was not fast, but I was accurate – I had to hunt and peck for each letter.    A year after I was hired, my manager gave this bookmark, which I still have to this day.  It still makes me smile every time I see it.

Please feel free to share your first “real” job experiences.

Scanning For Customers

Okay, you’ve seen them everywhere: billboards, electronics stores, newspapers, Facebook pages, music promotions, real estate signs, and many other locations.  Those strange looking black and white squares that look like something from the future.

Those funny loQR Codeoking square barcodes are called QR codes.  QR stands for ‘quick response’ and they are revolutionizing how marketers convert prospects into customers.

The two-dimensional barcodes are designed to be scanned by smart phones with QR code reader scanning apps.  You can download free apps for your phone to read the codes.   I use Red Laser to read the codes on my android.   The resulting scan of the QR code will send the user to where you point them!

You can create a QR code for free, or you can have it personalized to include a photograph of yourself or company logo.   You can use your QR code to link just about anything:  text, phone, url, sms, email, events, calendar, etc.    There are many sites out there that will generate QR codes, so you don’t you don’t have to be limited to Red Laser.

QR codes are an excellent way to engage a prospect with your business at very little cost.  QR code usage trends continue to gain momentum as smartphone owners grow across the globe and smart marketers push to increase their reach to mobile consumers.  eMarketer’s latest statistics  show that on average 19% of US respondents (1 in 5) have scanned a QR Code.

 

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Are You Boring Someone?

Great post from Gretchen Rubin.

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Like most people, I have several pet subjects – that may or may not be interesting to other people. Don’t get me started on happboring2iness, or habits, or children’s literature, or Winston Churchill, unless you really want to talk about it.

By noting how I behave when I’m trying to hide my own boredom, I came up with a list of indicators that I might be boring someone:

1. Repeated, perfunctory responses. A person who says, “Oh really? Oh really? That’s interesting. Oh really?” is probably not very engaged. Or a person who keeps saying, “That’s hilarious.”

2. Simple questions. People who are bored ask simple questions. “When did you move?” “Where did you go?” People who are interested ask more complicated questions that show curiosity, not mere politeness.

3. Interruption. Although it sounds rude, interruption is actually a good sign, I think. It means a person is bursting to say something, and that shows interest. Similarly…

4. Request for clarification. A person who is sincerely interested will need you to elaborate or explain. “What does that term mean?” “When exactly did that happen?”

5. Imbalance of talking time. I suspect that many people fondly suppose that they do eighty percent of the talking because people find them fascinating. Sometimes, it’s true, a discussion involves a huge download of information; that’s a very satisfying kind of conversation. In general, though, people want to add their own opinions, information, and experiences. If they aren’t doing that, they may just want the conversation to end faster.

6. Body position. People with a good connection generally turn fully to face each other. A person who is partially turned away isn’t fully embracing the conversation. I pay special attention to body position when I’m in a meeting and trying to show (or feign) interest: I sit forward in my chair, and keep my attention obviously focused on whoever is speaking, instead of looking down at papers, gazing into space, or checking my phone (!).

Along the same lines, if you’re a speaker trying to figure out if an audience is interested in what you’re saying:

7. Audience posture. Back in 1885, Sir Francis Galton wrote a paper in 1885 called “The Measurement of Fidget.” He determined that people slouch and lean when bored, so a speaker can measure the boredom of an audience by seeing how far from vertically upright they are. Also, attentive people fidget less; bored people fidget more. An audience that’s upright and still is interested, while an audience that’s horizontal and squirmy is bored.

I also remind myself of La Rochefoucauld’s observation: “We are always bored by those whom we bore.” If I’m bored, there’s a good chance the other person is bored, too. Time to find a different subject.

Have you figured out any ways to tell if you’re boring someone? Here are 7 topics to avoid if you don’t want to risk being a bore. What other strategies do you use?

Tips for Naming Your New Business

The following is a repost by Mosaic Hub, but I thought these were great tips!

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Whether your business is just starting out, or changing its name to signal a new business direction, merger, or other shift, there are some basic guidelines every savvy namer should know:

    • Easy on the eyes and ears. If no one cmy name isan say or spell your company or product name, what good is it to you? “Chthonic Chronicles” might be what your website devoted to Greek statuary sells, but who’ll remember that strange spelling, or know how to pronounce it?
    • Catchy. It might make more sense to call your Greek figurines site something simple to spell, such as, “It’s Greek To Me”, or “We Speak ‘Greek!'” Now that would be eye-catching on a Home page or web banner!
    • Room to grow. “Aloha Awnings” makes a great title for a company’s Hawaii headquarters, but a different moniker might play better on the mainland. Create your name with future expansion or relocation in mind: “North Bay Realty” gives you more room to expand using the same business name than does “Healdsburg Realty,” which is more localized.
    • Consider cross-cultural connotations. The sad tale of Chevy Nova south of the border may be apocryphal, but it’s nonetheless noteworthy: the car reportedly bombed in Mexico, because in Spanish, “No va” means “doesn’t go.”
    • Availability. There’s no point in coming up with a terrific name only to discover the domain is taken, or the name’s been trademarked. Check out your favorite ideas with a domain registrar.

Beyond these essentials, what’s the best way to come up with a killer and cool company name?

    • Get symbolic. Metaphor can be a powerful naming tool. Start with your business’s or product’s main function, and make a list of what else performs the same action. That’s how a software company, in considering what copied files besides a flash drive, came up with the product name, “Mime.” (Consider how much fun you could have with one of those dancing human directionals, pointing the way to “Mime”!)
    • Change the spelling. It worked for Netflix.
  • Visit your competition. It would be a shame to dream up a fantastic name only to find a competitor using one that’s achingly similar. By the same token, checking out what they’ve done can help you spin off in an entirely new direction.

Excel – VLookUp Formulas

Happy Saturday!   I thought I’d follow up to the Excel Pivot Table lesson, with a lesson on how to use VLookUp formulas.

VLookUps help you find specific information that has been stored in a table of data in a spreadsheet.   I think it might be harder to explain what it is than to just show you!   These formulas are very useful and, as you’ll see, very easy to use.

Please be sure to let me know if there are other Excel lessons that you’d like to see.  I am a self-professed Excel nerd; I love it.  I even have all of my recipes in Excel with hyperlinks, so that I can pull up the scanned document containing the recipe (usually torn from a magazine).  I have them sorted by type (American, Chinese, etc.), then by main ingredient, if it’s for a party or comfort food or the slow cooker, and if I’ve tried it and liked it!   I have over 800 recipes, so if you’re looking for something in particular, let me know! (-:

Best wishes,

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Great No-Cost Marketing Resources

FREETonight we’ll be springing forward!  You’ll be changing your clocks ahead one hour in preparation for Spring and all the extra activities associated with the season.  Now’s also the time to step up your business’ performance as well.

Here are some great “free” (my favorite word) ways to get in front of your clients.

Mail Chimp:   If you have the burning desire to send out a Newsletter or Email Campaign, but are short on cash, this could be your solution.    Mail Chimp is a no-frills way to send out email campaigns to up to 2,000 subscribers, and up to 12,000 emails per month absolutely free. There’s no expiring trial, contract, or credit card required.  You can connect your campaigns with Twitter and Facebook.  They do brand your emails and newsletters though, and you would have to pay for a subscription to remove this branding.   Personally, I love Vertical Response – it is definitely worth checking them out if you have under 500 contacts in your database.

Word Press:  You can have your own blog for free through WordPress.com (of course if you’re reading this in my blog – you’re already aware of this!).   As with Mail Chimp, the free version is branded with the WordPress name, meaning that your blog site would be “yoursitename.wordpress.com”.  You are also limited to 3 GB of storage space on their site; this means that you can only store that amount of pictures or media to use in your blogs (there are ways around that though).   Word Press also links in with Facebook, Twitter and Linked In.  You also don’t have to be limited to your own blog; offer to guest blog for others – either industry related, or just a blog that you already love.   It’s a great way to network with others as well.

Survey Monkey:  Who doesn’t love a survey?  Survey Monkey offers a free version does not include any branding, but you can receive a link to include in any type of communication that you can dress up with your branding.   Surveying is a great way for you to get feedback from your clients.  Remember though, that if you conduct a serious survey and your clients are going to take the time to complete it, be sure to follow up.   As an employee at companies in the past, there’s nothing worse than a survey being sent and not seeing any action taken as a result.

Surveys can be fun as well!  Why not survey your Facebook fans on something related to your business or totally off the wall?  It’s a great way to generate interest, and a good survey can get you a lot of hits.  How many of you have seen those Facebook questions encouraging you to comment with something like, “I bet you can’t name a band that does have the letter ‘A’ in it”?   They get  thousands of responses!!  The key is to be creative!

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Are You Ready For Cloud Computing

The following repost is by the courtesy of Bill Abroms, CEO of ABC U.S., Inc.

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The typical business executive needs to make sure that every one of their employees has a computer and the correct software on that computer to do their job proficiently. When new employees are hired, you have to make sure that each of the new employees has a computer to use with the correct software on it. Sometimes this means purchasing new software, and other times it means checking current software to make sure you can add more employees to it.

However, with recent technological changes there is a better way of doing this. Cloud computing has the capability of changing the computer industry as we know it. With cloud computing your computer or mobile device will no longer carry the primary workload of running applications. Much of the workload is shifted to a network of computers, which make up the cloud computing system.

The Benefits of using a Cloud Computing System

1.  Cloud comcloud pcputing reduces costs – When you purchase a cloud computing system you are allowed to pay in increments. This makes it more affordable and easier than paying for expensive software in one lump sum.

2.  Provides more storage – Businesses and organizations can transfer much of their computer and mobile data storage onto their cloud computing system. This helps reduce the amount of computer and mobile data storage, which is actually stored on your computer or mobile device itself. Having less computer and mobile data storage taking up space on your computers, phones, or tablets means that they will run faster and have less technical glitches.
3.  Extremely Automated – Cloud computing systems work almost completely on their own. This means that you IT department will not have to worry about updating software on a regular basis.
4.  Can be accessed anywhere – The information stored on a cloud computing system can be accessed anywhere. Just like your employees can access their personal emails from anywhere, that has an internet connection; any information that is stored on the cloud computing system can be easily accessed from anywhere with internet service. You and your employees will be able to access information from laptops, smart phones, personal computers etc.
5.  Shifts the focus of the company – One of the great benefits of using a cloud computing system is that your company and employees will have less server problems, server updates, and other technical issues. This allows employees to focus their attention on innovative new ideas, and ways to improve the company. Less time spent on technical issues and problems, also means employees can focus on doing their jobs.

Why Implement a Cloud Computing System?

The overall cost of a cloud computing system is far less expensive than the cost of computers and software. Government and healthcare organizations will see even more savings in the IT department, because there will no longer be a need for constant system updates.

With a cloud computing system, you can securely store important and confidential information in a way that is easy to access when it is needed. The system will free up much of your computer and mobile data storage space, because it data won’t be stored directly onto your computer or mobile devices. This is similar to how Gmail or Yahoo emails work. The information is not stored directly on your computer or phone, but rather it is stored online for you to access anytime you need it. While using a cloud computing system government and healthcare organizations can focus on the issues they are supposed to be working on, since you won’t have the technical issues such as server updates and errors that may have previously postponed work.

Another benefit of using a cloud computing system rather than traditional software, is that it frees up room on the hard drives of computers and mobile devices. When computer and mobile data storage space is reduced, they run better and have less technical issues.

Technology is taking a huge step forward and there is no doubt that government, medical organizations, and companies will benefit greatly from cloud computing systems.

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ABC-US is an independent reseller of custom-configurable and portable data security solutions, and was founded in 1987.

ABC-US, Inc.:   4989 Peachtree Parkway, Suite 200, Norcross, Georgia 30092

Voice: 800-275-1359 or  770.448.5667

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Local Businesses, Are You Listed?

Here are two new tools to conduct a spot check to make sure that your website is getting the exposure you need.

getlisted: gseoetlisted is the place to find the best directories on which to be listed. Type in your business name and zip code and you will be given a listing score.  The score is based on whether your business is present in the local directories or not.  Is your score low?  Don’t be discouraged.   Getlisted will give you links, taking you to the right place to claim your listing, boosting your score.  You goal is for a 90% or higher listing score.

Boostsuite:  A/K/A “your web marketing assistant,” Boostsuite will help you get your website in tip-top SEO shape (on-page SEO).  Get a handful of suggestions for free.  You don’t need super website skills; you can send the suggestions and changes right to your Webmaster.

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