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Last week I called on my friend Jeff Lobb to provide what he thought were the 12 must have apps for real estate professionals. This week I want to talk about seven different ways to help you grow your business in the immediate future.

Because I travel so much I get to have a unique view of our market. When sales people aren’t succeeding, I generally hear the same excuses as to why that is happening. One of the most common ones that I hear is that there just isn’t enough business out there. What I have found though is that the issue is not usually a lack of transactions – the issue is that those transactions don’t have your name on them.

With that being said, here are seven different tools and strategies that you could leverage to change that fact.

1) Social Media – Yes, I know this is probably the most over-discussed topic on planet Earth, and while I don’t think that you need to take a three-hour course on it to be successful, I do believe that it can still be a great business tool for you. My final two months as a full time real estate professional, I did seven transactions that came directly from Facebook. Think about it – how else can you connect with all of your past co-workers, high school & college friends and anyone else you have ever come in contact with? This is not the place to do nothing but post your listings and ask if anyone is looking to buy or sell though. The average person buys or sells a house once every 5-7 years and 69% of those people consider themselves unrepresented. Do yourself a favor and spend five minutes a day commenting on their status’, saying nice things about the pictures of their kids and grandkids and updating your status’ with content that helps them get to know you on a deeper level or makes them feel better about their day. If you aren’t sure what to write, feel free to add me and check out the kinds of things that I post.

2) Listings-To-Leads – In a world where everyone is spending too much time trying to prepare and learn, and not enough time actually implementing, along comes Listings-To-Leads. What I love about this company is that they have systematized some of the tech stuff that so many real estate professionals want to take advantage of but just don’t have the time to learn. In short, for less than $20 a month, they give you all the tools that you need to create an amazing amount of leads off of your listings, leveraging landing pages, SEO and other tech-related tools. Do yourself a favor and check them out: www.listingstoleads.com.

3) 10,000 Flyers – Some of us have become so awe struck by technology that we are forgetting to balance our marketing and as a result end up leaving out key consumers. Here is a newsbreak – people still read the Sunday paper! I mean actually pick it up and read it with a cup of coffee in hand. You will have to check the pricing in your area but I used to create flyers of my listings and have 10,000 of them inserted into my local Sunday paper. The cost for me was $850 but I sold the back of the flyer to people that I networked with. I would sell the back top half to my mortgage broker for $425 and the bottom back half to my attorney for $425. In the end my listing, and myself, were getting marketed to 10,000 people every week for FREE! Start thinking outside of the box.

4) List Source – If you have ever farmed a neighborhood or done any kind of mail marketing solicitation then you know that the percentage return is not that high, but it’s a numbers game. The truth is that we are living in a world where marketers track your every move on the Internet so that they can only put ads in front of you that match your interests. Why wouldn’t we be operating in the same way? There are sites like www.listsource.com and others that allow you to buy very specific lists to market to. For example, you could obtain a list of homeowners in your county that live out of state and have owned their properties for more than 7 years. Why? Because if you know that if they live out of state, you already know their pressure point. They are probably tired of being a landlord. And if they have owned for more than 7 years, they probably have equity in their properties. This is just one example of being creative.

5) Get strategic about your friendships – One of the things that has amazed me as a trainer has been that amount of opportunities that are right in front of so many sales people that they don’t take advantage of. Remember this phrase – “If there is change, there is opportunity.” The sad truth is that you work in an industry where things like death and divorce trigger as much of a need for your services as marriage and children being born do. Statistics tell us that it takes 41 real-estate-related conversations to create one transaction but I think you can lower that number if you are strategic about your friendships. Have you made it a point to go to lunch with estate, bankruptcy and divorce attorneys? Have you befriended your local wedding planners, videographers, photographers and midwives? Maybe it is time to start…

6) Local Papers – If you go to the business or real estate section of your local paper, at the bottom of every article is the writer’s or editor’s contact information. They are cursed with the task of trying to come up with good content each and every day and that can be an overwhelming task at times – so why don’t you help them out? Did you know that less than 14% of people believe what you write in a paid ad in your paper but over 85% believe what is written about you? You should be on the phone with and emailing your paper a minimum of once every two weeks to become their go-to person when they need a quote for an article or need an idea for something to write about.

7) Quality Investors – Did you know that last year was the first year in history that over 30% of transactions were paid for with cash? Did you know that most of those transactions were not actually cash? They were quality investors who had lines of credit through hard money and private lenders that show up as cash in their offers. Do yourself a favor and go to http://reia.org and find out where your local real estate investors association meets and start networking with these buyers. They are knowledgeable, quick and easy and are completely underutilized in our profession.

I could go into much more depth on each of these but the point is to whet your appetite and get you thinking. I look forward to hearing your response, connecting with many of you and answering your questions!

Jared James is the CEO and Founder of Jared James Enterprises, an internationally sought-after speaker and trainer. James built one of the fastest-growing real estate teams in the country, was inducted into the International Hall of Fame for one of the world’s largest real estate companies and wrote a best-selling book—all before the age of 28. As an acclaimed speaker, James keynotes events for major real estate organizations and conducts regular webinars and training for nationally known organizations like NAR, CRS, Yahoo Real Estate, Trulia and Zillow Academy and blogs regularly for RISMedia.

To stay in touch with Jared James, visit www.facebook.com/jaredjamestoday and www.twitter.com/jaredjamestoday or visit his website at www.jaredjamestoday.com.

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