How To Use Hashtag

WHAT IS A HASHTAG?

Hashtags can be so confusing, can’t they? I am here to clear up the confusion for real estate agents.

The pound sign (or hash) turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link. This allows you to organize content and track discussion topics based on those keywords. So, if you wanted to post about the Gilmore Girls finale, you would include #GilmoreGirls in your tweet to join the conversation. You can click on a hashtag to see all the posts that mention the subject in real time.

WHY SHOULD YOU USE HASHTAGS?

According to the “experts, when used correctly, hashtags increase viewership, help build your social media following, create new customers and help with branding. You want to be found on social media and if you use relevant, hyper local hashtags, you will be.

WHO IS YOUR IDEAL CLIENT (stay with me, this is VERY relevant)?

As a Realtor, you should have a customer avatar. A customer avatar is a fictional character that represents your ideal prospect. Click here for a great worksheet to help you identify your ideal customer.

Here is an example of an avatar:

32 year old woman named Gina

Born and raised in Ft. Bragg, NC where she met Mark at age 19. Three years later they were married

Soon after they were married, Mark was stationed in Germany. They lived in Germany for three years before being reassigned to the Pentagon.

They now live in a three bedroom, three bathroom townhome near George Mason University.

She and Mark have two sons, Ryan, age 7, and Matthew, age 4

Gina went back to school at GMU and just finished her bachelor’s degree in early elementary education (she was attending Methodist University in Fayetteville before she and Mark married)

She is a stay at home mom now but hopes to get a job teaching once her kids are school age

Mark is a captain in the army and works at the Pentagon

Gina enjoys cooking, running and volunteering at church and at her kids schools

They would like to have one more baby but haven’t yet for a couple of reasons.
What is stopping them? Their house is too small, they cannot afford a four bedroom in Fairfax, husband’s commute time would increase if they moved further out, children would have to change schools.

WHAT HASHTAGS TO USE:

Start small so you don’t get overwhelmed: Based on your avatar, choose fifteen hashtags. Five should be geographic, five should be psychographic and five should be demographic.

The hashtags I would choose based on the above avatar are:

Demographic: #Millennial #FamilyFun #FamilyOfFour #MilitaryFamily #Expats

Psychographic: #SAHM #MRTT #momofboys #armywife #Methodist

Geographic: #FairfaxCounty #FairfaxCity #GMU #NOVA #NorthernVA

WHERE AND WHEN TO USE HASHTAGS:

You must create content or find and share content that SPEAKS TO GINA. Choose TWO platforms that your Avatar is on. I would choose Facebook and Instagram for Gina. Here are a few topics WITH some of the hashtags above (and a few extra I came up with):

5Ks in Fairfax (#FairfaxCity, #MRTT, #FamilyFun)

Activities to do with young boys / anything related to raising boys (#FamilyOfFour #Dinner, #momofboys #DinnerTimeAgain)

How Young Families Can Save More Money (#MilitaryFamily, #MoneyTips, #SaveMoreGiveMore)

Raising children with Christian values (#Methodist, #ChrsitianFamilies, FamilyOfFour, #momofboys)

What Single Family Homes Cost in Western Fairfax / Eastern Loudoun (#FairfaxCounty, #NorthernVA, #SingleFamilyVSTownHouse)

Babysitting Services in Fairfax City (#FamilyOfFour #DateNight #NOVA #armywife)

Activities at libraries in Fairfax City (#FairfaxCity, #FamilyFun, #momofboys)

How To Make Better Use of Space in a Small Home (#MilitaryFamily, #NorthernVA #SpaceSaver, #Minimalist)

Where to get military discounts (#armywife, #MilitaryFamily, #savemoregivemore)

How to connect with other expats (#expats, #NorthernVA, #NOVA, #armywife)

Expat groups or get togethers in Fairfax County (#expats #expatsinnova, #meetup, #armywife)

Healthy Family Dinners For Picky Eaters (#momofboys, #dinnertime #recipesformoms #FamilyOfFour)

BE CONSISTENT & PATIENT (you can do it!!):

I recommend posting on Instagram once per day and Facebook twice a day. The more you GIVE to Gina, the more she will notice and appreciate you. Every fifth or sixth post on each platform can be “salesy” (an open house announcement, a closing picture, a real estate update, interest rate update, etc.) But try HARD to communicate YOUR VALUE. Remember, Gina wants to have another baby and move. Address her concerns about moving via blogging and sharing content that answers her questions and eliminates her fears. As long as you are EXTREMELY consistent, you WILL see results in three to six months. And remember, all this is FREE. And when Gina comes to you to help her move, you will have created a RAVING fan because you have earned her trust. Raving fans REFER their friends and family to you. THAT is the BEST way to grow a real estate business.

About the author:

Kara Macdonald is the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC. She has succeeded in growing Pruitt’s brand and customer base by 300% in three years by utilizing social media. She is available for complimentary marketing and social media consultations and can be reached at 571-432-9382 or via email at kmacdonald@pruitt-title.com.

Three Ways To Determine If You Should Attend A Class

As a real estate agent, you are constantly invited to events. Whether it a happy hour, a networking event, industry gathering or a class on the latest technology guaranteed to change your business for the better, the invites are nonstop. While some events can be very good for your business, I would argue most are not. And when it comes to classes, most are a giant waste of time. Either because the content is not relevant or you don’t do anything with what you’ve learned.

Recently, I hosted a time management workshop called Zone of Genius, taught by Matt James. In the class, Matt taught a system to determine what activities have the highest ROI (return on investment) and ROE (return on energy). Matt talked about how valuable one hour of your time is worth if you are spending your time in the Zone of Genius. Ironically, as I am sitting in this class, it occurred to me that agents attend too many classes.

Next time you are considering registering for a class, consider these things first:

  1. THE TEACHER: Do you know the teacher? Have you attended classes taught by him/her before? If yes, did you get a lot out of the class? Look for reviews of the class and/or the teacher. If you can’t find any, request some. Most people teaching classes have one agenda, to get in front of agents to try and convince them to use their services. They usually have little or no training in teaching and have taught very few classes. To be fair, everyone has to start somewhere. Someone teaching for the first time may have something fantastic to teach and may be a phenomenal teacher. But that is not usually the case. So do your research. Look for tangible evidence of credibility and expertise.
  1. THE TOPIC: What is being taught? Is it something you truly need? Have you tried to learn it on your own? There are SO MANY ways to learn things nowadays: YouTube, Udemy, Lynda, the list goes on and on. If you can watch a 15 minute video in lieu of attending a 90 minute class that took you 45 minutes of travel time, why would you ever choose the latter? This even goes for the classes I invite you to! I am serious. Your time is valuable. Unless the class being offered is taught by someone famous in your industry and the topic has never been taught before or at least is not available online, why go? Exactly.
  1. THE TIME COMMITMENT: Attending a class take more time than just traveling to and from and the length of the class. Is there any preparation needed for the class? How much time will it take to implement what you learned (by the way, the prep time and implementation time should be a part of the class description so potential attendees can consider that ahead of time before committing to attend)? Are you willing to block that time out on your calendar? If you aren’t willing to implement what you’ve learned, do not go to the class. It will be a waste of time. It’s that simple.

I am a huge proponent of personal and professional development. But I am also a huge proponent of spending your precious time and energy on activities that have the highest ROI and ROE. It’s just smart. So before RSVPing YES to the next class invitation, run through the checklist above. Be honest with yourself. Protect your time. You’re worth it.

About the author

Kara Macdonald is the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC. She has over nineteen years of experience in processing, closing and marketing. Pruitt Title is a woman owned, independent title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, with offices in Rockville and Tyson’s Corner.

6 Ways To Stand Out From Other Agents

Response Time

A study done on agent responsiveness by WAV Group and Weichert Lead Network in 2014 revealed 48% of buyer inquiries were NEVER responded to and the average response time in general was 917 minutes (or 15.29 hours). That is staggering! And yet the top complaint I hear in the field from agents is that they struggle to get business. Whether it’s an email, text, Facebook message or a phone call, when a potential Seller or Buyer contacts you, you have to respond quickly. And by quickly, I mean QUICKLY. In today’s world, we are lucky to capture a prospect’s attention so when we have it, you must act on it QUICKLY.

If someone texts or send a Facebook message, always respond within one to five minutes, even if it’s to say you are in a meeting and will get back to them. If possible, let them know exactly when you will get back to them. And then of course, be sure to follow through. If someone emails you, try to respond within one hour but do not wait longer than two hours. I would not reply to an email to say you can’t respond now because the general impression will be that if you have time to type that, you could have just replied and fully addressed the questions or comments. You have a little more leeway with a phone call. Since very few people even call anymore and even less people leave a voicemail, these folks generally are okay if you call back within 24 hours. Do not wait longer than 48 hours because that will convey you are too busy for them.

Know Your Stuff

There is good news and bad news: The good news is there’s a LOT of information available. The bad news is there’s a LOT of information available. You cannot be everything to everybody. So pick something to be an expert in and master it. Really master it. If you want to target first time homebuyers in Loudoun County, pretend like you are a first time homebuyer in Loudoun County and think hard about what you would expect from your Real Estate Agent. It is not enough anymore to know the contract and have four designations and be top producer in your office. No one cares about that stuff. They want to know as much as possible about the area(s) they are considering buying in, what it is going to cost them, and how it will benefit them in the future. So do your homework!

Digital Presence

Your website must be good (I prefer great, but if it’s good, you are doing better than 85% of your counterparts). It should be easily navigable, visually appealing, connected to IDX and updated regularly. Additionally, you must have a social media presence. People expect brands to be on social media. Statistics show 85% of people of all ages expect you to have a Facebook presence, 80% expect you to have a Twitter presence and 55% expect you to have an Instagram presence. Why? Because consumers equate that to you being current on modern  technology which translates to their needs being better served.

Ask Questions At The Beginning

Get to know your clients. Ask them how many kids they have, how many animals, what their favorite things to do are, what activities are their kids in, what do they like best about the various areas (if they’re buying), do they go out to eat regularly, what their favorite kinds of restaurants are, how they met (or who they are hoping to meet if they are single), where do they see themselves in five years, ten years, personally and professionally, what is their favorite place they’ve lived . . . the point is, the more you know your clients on a personal level, the better you will be able to fit them into a home. Perhaps you do this in an email at the beginning or you may have a questionnaire that you show them when first meeting them. I guarantee it will impress them and may be the deciding factor that wins you their business.

Weekly Updates

There is a real chance to capitalize on how many people stink at follow up. Poor follow up seems to be more acceptable than ever, which is just sad. But you can be the difference and truly shine here by following up regularly with your clients. Each of your clients should get a weekly update, even if you think there’s nothing to update. Remember, you are in the real estate world all the time so what may seem like a small detail or not something your clients care about may be exactly what they want to know. I would suggest one day a week, you email them (a video email update would be even better) with a few details of what has happened this week with regard to their home search, property that is listed or the status of their contract. They will appreciate the “extra” info and attention to detail.

Give A Memorable Closing Gift

This is it! The last chance you have to wow them, make them remember you and most of all, REFER YOU! Spare no expense here. A good number to shoot for is $100.00. You can get fantastic, personalized gifts for that price (or less). I have agents spend go $250.00 on a gift from Tiffany’s. Yes it has a wow factor but it will fade. With a personalized gift, you are showing your clients that thought ahead and planned. That will go a long way!  Yes it takes a little planning but that also raises the emotional value of the gift. The look on their faces when you present them with their gift after they’ve signed will be remembered for a lifetime. And since it will be something they will probably display, the chances of future referrals is also high.

About the author

Kara Macdonald is the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC. She has over nineteen years of experience in processing, closing and marketing. Pruitt Title is a woman owned, independent title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, with offices in Rockville and Tyson’s Corner.

WHY I WON’T LIKE YOUR REAL ESTATE FACEBOOK PAGE (and no one else in the “business” should either)

As a Title Rep, I am Facebook Friends with A LOT of Realtors. Being connected to a lot of Realtors means I receive A LOT of invitations from Realtors to “LIKE” their Facebook Page. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE supporting my Realtor Friends. BUT, I am NOT the person you want “LIKING” your Business Page and here’s why . . .

Facebook is a business. And like any business, they must keep their customers coming back to their “product”, Facebook. This is why Facebook only shows you what it thinks is of interest to you, from your friends and the pages you like.

Since I am friends with over 1000 agents on Facebook, if I were to accept every invitation I receive from Agents to like their Page, it is very unlikely I will see those Pages on a regular basis. Even if I sat at my desk 24/7 and intentionally visited every page to like your content, I still would not see YOUR PAGE in MY NEWSFEED on a regular basis. You might be saying, BUT KARA, NOT EVERYONE I INVITE IS FRIENDS WITH THAT MANY AGENTS . . . To which I would respond, YOU ARE RIGHT, BUT, I promise you, while my Realtor friend count may seem high, the ratio is not. 1 out of 2 of my friends on Facebook are in the business and THAT is the norm for everyone in “the business”.

So why does this matter? The more “likes” the better, right? WRONG!!!! You must be strategic about whom you invite to like your page. You want past clients, potential clients and their friends, in other words, people who WILL refer you or use you when they want to buy or sell one day. These people are MUCH more likely to engage with your Page. But it doesn’t stop there. You have to post GREAT content that THEY care about or you may as well not have a Facebook Business Page at all . . . NOT THE CONTENT WORD AGAIN . . .

Most Agents share the same stuff. And consumers are sick of it. If all you are doing is sharing market stats, pictures of pretty living rooms and your latest listing, the 100 people you so strategically got to like your page won’t engage. And if they don’t engage (like, comment or share), Facebook thinks your Page is not interesting and will remove it from their newsfeed.

Real Estate is about FAMILY and COMMUNITY, it is NOT about your latest awesome listing or how blessed you are to receive referrals. You have to think like a consumer and post stuff THEY care about. You also need to show you care by writing or doing videos about what they care about. Get creative . . . get IN your community, IN the neighborhoods, IN the schools, IN the activities and post about THAT. I guarantee the 100 people that like your page will engage with that content and when they engage, they see your content more often and when they see it, their Facebook friends see it and you have WON.

So please do not invite me (or anyone in the real estate business) to like your Page. Most will accept because they want to show you they are supporting you. But guess what, they are also accepting invitations from every agent that sends them a request because they want to show THAT agent they are supporting him/her too. And then you have a bunch of likes from people who won’t see your content and Facebook will interpret that as no one likes your Page and they simply stop showing EVERYONE your page. Make sense?

Ratified Contract Now What

YFTL BLOG GRAPHIC_RatifiedContractNowWhat_10.24.2015You did it! You received your first ratified contract! Next step, send it to the Title Company (and the Lender). But what should you expect after that? What ELSE do YOU need to do?

I can’t speak for the Lender but the Title Company needs several additional pieces of information not stated in the contract and then a few ongoing things, or actions if you will, that will help ensure the process is smooth.

COMMISSION & ADMIN FEES

The Title Company does not have access to the MLS so they need to know what the total commission is and how it should be divided amongst the Listing and Selling Agent. If your Brokerage charges an administration fee or any other fee in addition to the commission, we need to know what the name of the fee is, how much it is and to whom it is payable.

CREDITS

If you or the other agent is giving a credit to the Seller or Buyer and it is not listed in the contract, we need a letter from your Broker detailing the amount of the credit, what it is for and to whom it is being given. An addendum signed by the Buyer and Seller is not sufficient.

CONTACT INFO FOR YOUR CLIENT & THE LENDER

The more contact info we have, the better! Please provide a phone number and email address for each of your clients and for the Loan Officer.

COMMUNICATION

Be sure to respond to all emails as quickly as possible. In most cases, the Title Company communicates with the Buyer and Seller through their Agent. It is critical that you read every email from us carefully and reply in a timely fashion. In this day and age, it is easy to miss an email or forget to return a voicemail. It happens to the best of us. Our Processor will follow up if she has not heard back but not all title companies do that so be alert!

If there are any addenda to the contract, send a copy to the Title Company, no matter what. You may think we don’t need a copy but better safe than sorry. The more we know, the better service we can provide and the better the overall experience will be for your client.

There are many moving parts from contract to close. And if you are a new or newer agent, it can be a bit overwhelming. The Title Company should be a resource to you and be willing to help you navigate through the entire process. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, even if you think it has nothing to do with the closing. If you are not getting the support you need, communicate that to the Title Company. If nothing changes, find a new Title Company, period.

Teamwork, loyalty and partnerships are very important but your first priority should be that you and your business are well respected and taken care of by all referral partners.

About the author

Kara Macdonald is the Director of Business Development for Pruitt Title, LLC. She has over nineteen years of experience in processing, closing and marketing. Pruitt Title is a woman owned, independent title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, with offices in Rockville and Tyson’s Corner. Remote closings are also available.

How You Should Feel After Closing . . .

How You Should Feel After Closing . . .I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was 1996 when I started working in the title business.  The office was small and intimate.  Typewriters clicked, the phones and fax rang.  We checked voicemail quickly and returned calls right away.  My favorite part was and always will be interacting with the Buyers and Sellers.  By the end of the transaction, everyone knew everyone by their first name and understood the role each person played in getting the closing done.  Marketing Agreements and Joint Ventures didn’t exist.  We relied 100% on referrals received from building relationships.  We stayed most Friday nights for a couple of drinks because we worked HARD all week long.  It was a fun and rewarding place to work.

Yes, that was almost twenty years ago and a lot has changed.  Technology has affected the way everyone does business.  Email and text messages are how we communicate now and even then, responding to everyone seems nearly impossible.  Marketing Agreements and Joint Ventures are now the norm, leaving little room for smaller title companies to compete.  Most real estate offices have exclusive partnerships with lenders and title companies.  The playing field is definitely not level nor is the general feel of the transaction.

What has changed?  People are still people and they’re still buying a home, one of the most important and special events they’ll ever experience.  There are stories behind every closing.  Whether it is a single mom who has been saving for years or a couple that is newly engaged and so excited to start their lives or maybe the man who lost his wife and is selling to move closer to the grandkids.  There is always a story and it’s our responsibility to know it.  What has changed is that technology and laws have made it possible for companies to get very big, very quickly, and the personal touch is lost.

I always say I miss the George Bailey days.  He ran a Savings & Loan in the classic movie, It’s A Wonderful Life.  George knew every single person that came into his bank by name (and their whole family).  He cared about them and everything that was going on in their lives.  It was not about the next account or deal or closing, it was about the people and their stories.

The best part about this business is the closing day.  When you sit down at the closing table and you know everyone by name and there are no surprises, the magic happens.

It is the responsibility of the Realtor, Lender and Title Company to give that experience to our clients.  Let’s all be sure the only reason we recommend our clients to another service provider is because they share the same values as we do.  Period.

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

human pyramidYesterday was not the easiest day for my team.  We had a difficult closing.  And it was not just one person making it difficult; the buyer was unhappy, the seller was not cooperative, the agents were mad at each other.  The closing took almost three hours.  But is closed.

I had heard about Mr. Difficult Buyer last week.  The Selling Agent had mentioned it at another closing.  I did not completely grasp how bad it really was until yesterday.

I was copied on a few emails early in the day regarding outstanding issues that everyone was trying to tie up.  They seemed pretty urgent but everyone was replying quickly so there was nothing for me to do.  I did send a quick text to the Selling Agent to say while this is obviously not an ideal day, I am pleased at the way our teams were working together.  His reply was, “Agreed.  Love it!”.   A couple of hours later (at the same time settlement was occurring), I received a call from the same Agent to ask how the closing was going.  I told him I would check but I was not worried.  He seemed surprised.  After getting a brief update from the closer and letting him know that all seemed okay for now, I knew there was still a chance it may not close.  An hour goes by . . . I was waiting to hear something, anything so I could tell the Agent that all was well . . . but I was not worried.  I received one more text from one of his team members stating it was not going well.  My thought was, “but it is still going”.  Another hour goes by and I finally heard everything was signed.  They had agreed on some changes to the HUD and once it was approved, closing would be complete.  That approval came this morning.

As I reflect back on the events of yesterday, I am so grateful for my team.  I have worked for a total of five title companies since 1996.  This is the first time I have ever been 100% certain that my team would handle everything just as it is supposed to be handled.  At the last four companies, I was in the trenches of the day to day processing.  It isn’t easy.  I respect the hell out of anyone that works in this industry.  But without fail, there has always been someone on my previous “teams” that just was not on the same page.  That is not the case with Pruitt.  Sara Bolton has put together the most competent group of people and created an environment of respect, trust and faith for us to work in.  It is in fact, the perfect place to work.

Team has taken on a whole new meaning since starting with Pruitt in June 2013.  We each know what our job is and we do it with pleasure.  We also trust that each of our teammates is also going to do what they are supposed to do.  I know I was put here for a reason; to be a part of something GREAT.  And that’s what Pruitt Title is.

Not every settlement is going to go perfectly but there’s a good chance it will end well when you’ve got us on your side!

Can A Realtor Ask A Title Company For Money?

Yesterday I received an alarming Facebook message from a local Realtor.  The conversation went like this:

Agent: Hi Kara!  I hope all is well.  Does your office offer traveling settlements for Virginia and Maryland?

Me: Yes ma’am.  How awesome of you to think of me!!!

Agent: Perfect.  I am growing my business but of course there is a cost associated with doing that.  I have heard many agents mention title companies helping them grow their business by paying for leads and in return sending them business.  Is this something your title company does?

Me: We do not offer this service.  Our fees are extremely competitive and we also offer a home warranty to many of our buyers.  BTW it is a violation of RESPA for a title company to to pay for leads in exchange for business.  I would be very careful asking people for this.

Agent: Strange how a lot of agents are violating RESPA.

The RESPA laws are pretty black and white.  The portion of the law specifically relating to this conversation reads:

§2607. Prohibition against kickbacks and unearned fees

(a) Business referrals

No person shall give and no person shall accept any fee, kickback, or thing of value pursuant to any agreement or understanding, oral or otherwise, that business incident to or a part of a real estate settlement service involving a federally related mortgage loan shall be referred to any person.As the Director of Business Development for a Title Company, you would be surprised how many agents ask me for money.  But this request was different.  No agent has ever written or said out loud “in exchange for business”.

It was very clear to me that this agent had a very poor understanding of the law that is directly related to the field in which she works.  And I bet she is not the only one.

As a professional, no matter what the field, you need to know your “stuff”.  If you ever have to go before a judge, and you are asked why you broke the law, I can assure you that “I didn’t know I was breaking the law” is NOT going to be a sufficient answer.

Trust me, I understand the mindset of someone who asks for money, especially if they are seeing others do it or even being instructed by their brokerages to do it.  It is EXPENSIVE to start a real estate business.   Most get into real estate because they think it is easy money.  I also understand the opinion that companies that benefit monetarily from your referrals should contribute to the cost of attaining said referrals.  However, it is against the law.

Ask your Broker first before asking anyone for anything of any value.  The last thing you want to do is lose your license especially when you are simply trying to build your business.

Kara Macdonald is the Director of Business Development for Pruitt Title, LLC, located in Vienna, VA.  

3 Tips For Getting The Most Out of Networking Events

Hello Friends!  It’s Your Favorite Title Lady, Kara Macdonald here and this is  my very first blog entry EVER!  I am super excited.  I have been wanting to blog forever but quite frankly, didn’t think I had enough to say.  Seriously?  I have TONS to say!

I want to touch on how I have made networking and networking groups work for me.  No matter what business you are in, there is an extremely high chance that you must develop new relationships to grow and succeed.  And although I am constantly tweaking and revising my methods, for the most part, a few things have not changed . . .

First is, you must ATTEND!  If you are on the fence about whether attending a networking group will be worth your time, trust me when I tell you, if you know how to “work” a group properly, every event you attend will be worth your while!  Of course, not every event or group you go to will be awesome but the probability that you will meet at least a couple people that could help your business is HIGH!

Second is follow up.  For a long time I had NO systems in place for follow up which essentially means attending the event was pointless.  Over time, I have learned to write where and when I met the person (or ran into them if I already knew them) ON THE BUSINESS CARD with a Sharpie marker.  Now, I know there are apps and such that will add them right to your contacts or CRM but that has not worked for me.  I schedule time into my schedule twice per week to follow up with everyone I meet.  Again, there are some people I may not want to follow up with and that is fine but it is nice to at least shoot them an email stating it was nice to meet them and if they ever need any help in your field, you are happy to try and help.  It is just good mojo to put kindness into the world.

Third is to keep following up, ESPECIALLY with the people whom you could potentially receive business from.  Now, I know this should be a no brainer, but I have attended HUNDREDS of networking events and I rarely receive any type of follow up, much less a second touch.  Think of the impression you will make if you follow up regularly since few others are doing it.  I am not basing this on my own experience alone, although it has worked for me.  Other people in various fields have told me follow up is rare, they are bad at follow up  themselves or conversely, when someone follows up regularly with them, they are more inclined to give that person a shot.

So there it is, my first blog post..  Hope you enjoyed it and hope you can put these tips into action and see results!

Pruitt Title is an independent,woman owned title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.  Kara Macdonald is the Directorbof Business Development and can be reached at 571-432-9382.

Shiny Objects Don’t Always Produce Fruit

When I first fell into the marketing / networking world, I loved it.  I saw opportunity after opportunity and it was very exciting.  I met with people, started to build relationships, met with them again, called them, and even got some of them to give me a shot at their closings.  I learned quickly that people were anxious to help other people by way of introductions to people I wanted to meet.  It was wonderful.  I definitely succeeded in gaining new business for thew title company I was working for at the time.

The more people I met, the more information everyone wanted to give me.  I couldn’t believe how many tools and seminars and blogs and classes and workshops and trips I had to take.  I immediately got to work!  I mean, if they were doing all of these things and it was ALL working for them, it would definitely work for me too, right?  WRONG!
Don’t get me wrong, I was (and still am) very grateful for everything everyone told me.  BUT, I became very overwhelmed with wanting to do EVERYTHING everyone told me.  At the beginning of 2014 (after being in this new world for approximately 18 months) I decided I needed to FOCUS on a few things (three at the most).  It was not easy because I knew that all of the things worked and I wanted to be successful.  I needed a new perspective.  A former Boss used to tell his wife, “Sweetheart, you can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want.”. This goes for business too.  I can do anything well, but I cannot do everything well.
Since I began with Pruitt Title in June 2013, I knew there were a couple of activities that produced the most fruit.  I decided those two activities is what I would put the majority of my time, resources and energy into.  I also had a dream of developing and teaching classes to consumers and realtors.  I decided to make that a goal for 2014.  Now I had a plan.  Three things.  No more, no less.  I am happy to report that while every day is not perfect, I focus on these three things and have seen my business and myself grow exponentially.  If a new, bright, shiny idea or thing pops up, I remind myself of how I felt chasing every shiny thing in 2013.  It wasn’t fun, nor did it produce any fruit.
The real estate business is full of fantastic ideas, classes, systems and people.  If you can discipline yourself to focus on what bears the most fruit, and recognize key opportunities that will truly improve your business and yourself, I guarantee you will see a harvest like you have never seen before.

Pruitt Title is an independent,woman owned title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.  We close anywhere at anytime.Kara Macdonald is the Director of Business Development and can be reached at 571-432-9382 or via email at kmacdonald@pruitt-title.com.