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Archive for June, 2013

Call to Action: 5 Techniques to Turn Contacts into Commerce

Call to Maximum One Realty

Call to Action: 5 Techniques to Turn Contacts into Commerce – by Dana Sparks


Have you heard the phrase, “Call to action?” Is there a call to action in all of your marketing materials? How much business are you missing by not including some sort of request in everything you have online and in print?

A “Call to Action” is a response you want to solicit from a customer. That response could be a phone call, an email, attendance at a seminar, etc. Without this call to action, your marketing efforts will not translate into new business. It’s vital, therefore, to create an effective call to action. The action you wish someone to take is vital to your business planning as well because it will focus your efforts and give you a means to measure the effectiveness of your various marketing efforts. Below are 5 Techniques for Effective Calls to Action.

1. Set the Scene – Before you ask your public to do something, you must set the stage and create a scenario with which they can identify. You want to describe a situation that your client is in and show a potential problem with where they are now. Then in this same scene, you describe how they will benefit from taking your action. The public must recognize that they have a need which you can fulfill. For example, “think foreclosure is your only option?” or “have a growing family and need a larger house within your budget?”

2. Give an Incentive – Sometimes you have to “sweeten the pot” a little bit to entice someone to act. You have seen many adds that will offer a discount if you act within a limited amount of time, offer two for the price of one for a limited time, etc. Specific to real estate, perhaps you could offer a “free list if foreclosure properties,” or a “no obligation market analysis” if they respond to your call to action. “See More” is a great one to use. If you have a potential customer on your website and they want to view properties, allow them to look at two without requiring a registration and then when they click on the third property, have your registration page pop up. Or allow them to look at one photo of any listing but to view more than one photo per listing, they must “Sign Up to See More!”

3. Use active language – It is important to make your call to action obvious with your language. Use words such as CALL, BUY, REGISTER, ATTEND, TEXT … words that encourage the public to take some sort of action. Create urgency by limiting the time of your offer linguistically… “time-limited offer” “first 50 to subscribe” “register early for free gift”

4. Placement in Your Marketing – You want your call to action to stand out on the page whether that page be in print or online. Use a bigger font, a different color, and spaces before and after the words that describe what you want your customer to do. Additionally, you want to have your call to action on all places of your marketing pieces. This is especially important for websites. If you want the public to register with their email address, put a hyperlink to the registration page on every page of your site and in the signature of your emails.

5. Follow through when they act – There is no quicker way to lose potential customers than by not following through on what you say you are going to do. If you promise a free list when they give you an email address, make sure to provide that list. Also, be prompt when you receive that registration, phone call, text, etc. If your call to action is a phone call, then you had best answer your phone when it rings! It is a good idea to answer the call to action immediately including an auto-response email such as “Thank you for……” How many times have you called in to a customer service representative of a service provider and they put you on hold. Consider that at least they typically have music playing or a recorded voice that says “someone will be with you shortly.” Without these feedback, you wonder if anyone is there or if they hung up on you! The same is true of your customer, if you do not immediately answer their action with a response, they will wonder if you are still in business!

Samples: “Free download of Market Statistics” “Search Properties for sale” “Search Entire MLS” “Click to find Luxury Foreclosures” “Order Now” “View Listings” “Search Now” “Find Out More” “See More” “Sign Up” “Attend Seminar” “Follow me on Twitter” “Like me on Facebook”

Conclusion: An effective call to action will keep that “pipeline” of potential customers full and will also create a measurable return on your investment. If you have on a direct mail piece “text ‘Realty’ to 770-919-8825” and you don’t get any texts, then stop wasting money on those postcards! If however, you have a website with the call to action being, “enter your email address to find out what your house is worth in today’s market” and you get a ton of emails, then you should definitely do more online marketing (& prepare a bunch of CMA’s!)

So…. READ THIS NEWSLETTER every week and you will improve your business! 😉

Think People Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover? …Think Again!

Book Covers Get Judged

Think People Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover? …Think Again!


We have all heard that you should not judge a book by its cover… it’s what is on the INSIDE that counts. This may very well be true, however, if you want to succeed in real estate, you had better understand that people DO judge a book by its cover! To be successful and create opportunity for yourself, you better have a professional “cover” in all areas of your profession!

Attire & Personal Appearance

Do you dress like the commission you earn? Throughout the work week, would you be able to go on an appointment for a $500,000 listing at a moment’s notice? Are you dressed professionally enough to be the agent for that $300,000 Buyer that just walked in the front door? People are entrusting their investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars to you and they want you to look professional! Do not dress like you are about to spend the day at the park with your kids when you are working! Wear your name tag when out in public. I guarantee you will get at least 2 additional deals each year simply by wearing your name tag in public. People will ask you about the market while standing in line at the grocery or when you are out to dinner! Make sure that your smell will not turn away potential customers either by smelling of smoke or too much perfume or cologne. Also, make sure that your automobile does not have papers nor gum wrappers on the floor! These are all “cover” items that can potentially lose you business!


Are your marketing materials professional-looking? Is your website current? Does the “About Me” section sound professional and make you an expert in your field or does it still say “coming soon?” Your email signature should also be professional, have your contact information and perhaps a “call to action” such as “Call to find out what your home is worth in today’s market!” Additionally, consider your actual email address and think about what it portrays to the public…. Are you using a personal “gmail account” or something more professional and specific to your field such as “” Domain names are so inexpensive… come up with an appropriate domain name and get an email account with it. The possibilities are endless….,,, … get the idea!?!?

Social Media

Have you googled yourself lately? I guarantee you your customers have! Do you appear in Social Media or have a web presence. The public will always need real estate agents to COMPLETE a deal, but according to the 2012 NAR Annual Survey, Profiles of Home Buyers and Sellers, 90% of Buyers used the internet in their home search & this percentage was 96% for Buyers under the age of 44. Consider a website, a blog site, writing articles for your online HOA newsletter, a YouTube Channel, a Facebook Business Page, a Twitter profile, a Pinterest Account, a profile on LinkedIn, etc! On Facebook, be sure to be a “real person” by discussing your interests, asking interactive questions, etc. but probably NOT a good idea to talk about being hungover from the wild party you went to last night!


Your presentations whether they be digital, verbal or on paper should also be professional and specific to your particular customer. For example, when presenting a CMA, make sure you include RECENT comps from the neighborhood or at least neighborhoods within a close proximity. Did you actually PREVIEW the competition prior to going on your listing appointment or did you just pull a CMA from the listing service a few hours prior to your appointment? When presenting yourself and your services through email make sure you check your SPELLING and GRAMMAR! Almost every electronic device nowadays has a spellcheck and grammar check on it… USE those programs! If you do not think that you will be judged as being ignorant or less than professional due to spelling errors in your emails, think again! You WILL lose business if your emails are consistently replete with spelling mistakes!

Market Knowledge

How well do you know your craft? Your product? When is the last time you actually previewed property? Do you use the “hotsheet” features on FMLS and GAMLS to stay current with the market in your area of expertise (new listings, price reductions, average days on market, list price to sale price ratios, etc.) Have you set yourself up on a Listingbook account to see how the emails look and what they say? When is the last time you took a contracts class? This is the primary instrument of your trade… do you know the forms? the promises the parties make to each other? the responsibilities, time frames and consequences around meeting or not meeting those promises? The Exhibits, Special Stipulations, Amendments available to you with each contract? What about HUD foreclosures and making a bid on one of those for your client? The mortgage process in general… do you know where interest rates are? Do you know why they are rising? Do you know who Ben Bernanke is!?!? What about the role of the closing attorney or how to handle title issues?

The Book

There is absolutely no denying that the contents of a book are far more important and influential than the actual cover but the problem is that no one ever OPENS the book if they cannot get past the cover! You may be the most caring, most expert, hardest-working, most dedicated agent in the company, but if your hair is unkempt, your clothes sloppy or too casual, if your emails have spelling errors throughout, you will NEVER EVER get the chance to work with that Buyer or Seller! So in order to enhance your real estate business, remember that people DO judge a book by its cover in order to start reading the book!

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father's Day from Maximum One Realty

Happy Father’s Day! Selected Poems

Fathers are Wonderful People

Fathers are wonderful people
Too little understood,
And we do not sing their praises
As often as we should…

For, somehow, Father seems to be
The man who pays the bills,
While Mother binds up little hurts
And nurses all our ills…

And Father struggles daily
To live up to “HIS IMAGE”
As protector and provider
And “hero or the scrimmage”…

And perhaps that is the reason
We sometimes get the notion,
That Fathers are not subject
To the thing we call emotion,

But if you look inside Dad’s heart,
Where no one else can see
You’ll find he’s sentimental
And as “soft” as he can be…

But he’s so busy every day
In the grueling race of life,
He leaves the sentimental stuff
To his partner and his wife…

But Fathers are just WONDERFUL
In a million different ways,
And they merit loving compliments
And accolade of praise,

For the only reason Dad aspires
To fortune and success
Is to make the family proud of him
And to bring them happiness…

He’s a guardian and a guide,
Someone that we can count on
Helen Steiner Rice

Fathers Need Not Fathers Be
Fathers need not fathers be.
All one needs to do is choose
To love for life, and that embrace,
Held long and hard, bestows the grace
Each craves. For all in time must lose,
Restored alone by memory.
So now it is with you and me.
Author Unknown

Grandfathers Are Fathers Who Are Grand

Grandfathers are fathers who are grand,
Restoring the sense that our most precious things
Are those that do not change much over time.
No love of childhood is more sublime,
Demanding little, giving on demand,
Far more inclined than most to grant the wings
Allowing us to reach enchanted lands.
Though grandfathers must serve as second fathers,
Helping out with young and restless hearts,
Each has all the patience wisdom brings,
Remembering our passions more than others,
Soothing us with old and well-honed arts.
Author Unknown

To My Dad on His Day

To my dad on his day,
Of whom I am a living will:
May your happiness fulfill
Your goodness, as is just and right.
Deeds are seeds upon the night
As wind and wonder have their way,
Delivering the destined light.
Author Unknown  

Your Real Estate Career is Like Learning to Ride a Bike

Riding a Bike at Maximum One Realty Your Real Estate Career is Like Learning to Ride a Bike – courtesy of Jeff Dauler of the Bert Show on Q100 Radio Station in Atlanta

As a cast member of the morning radio talk show “The Bert Show on Q100,” Jeff Dauler gave a “commencement speech.” Although this speech was focused on imparting words of wisdom to graduates, I found his words very applicable and inspirational to agents who wish to enhance their real estate career.

“When you learn to ride a bike as a child you’re learning so you could be like all your friends. You need an activity to occupy your time until it’s ready to be taken over by a new activity. It’s mindless fun filled with imagination, excitement, speed, and no purpose. When you ride as an adult, it’s different. There usually is a purpose … a reason for riding the bike. Maybe you’re trying to get into or stay in shape. Maybe biking is your hobby or social time. Maybe you use the bike to commute to work.

Often, by looking at something just a little bit differently, you can understand it more. Often with that understanding comes appreciation, which is one of the many things that they don’t teach you in school, but you have to learn on your own. Life becomes vastly easier and infinitely better once you receive and understand this lesson. Perhaps I can enlighten you a bit here using something you should already know – riding a bike – with this commencement address.


First, lets talk about the hills. You’ll find hills on every single journey. Some will be small and subtle, some will be big some will be quick and steep. Some will be long and subtle, some will be long and steep. You’re not going to escape them, and you can’t go around them. Embrace them.

As a kid, hills were a way to pick up speed and pretend you were flying. The hills you see as a grown up are a bit different. Part of that is perspective … as a kid, you focused on the speed and ease of the downhill … no thought to the climb as it was a means to get to the fun part. As an adult, you’ll focus on the challenge and agony and duration of the climb. This is natural … but you need to enjoy every second of the up and downs.

Going uphill, don’t keep your head down the whole time. When you are pushing yourself, it’s natural to tuck in, look at the ground, and focus on the tough task at hand. If you do that all the way up, you’re going to miss a lot of the scenery. Look up. Look around. See the views you pass by, as it might be the only time you’re in that place.

When you were a kid, the downhills were a place to go push to go as fast as you can. As a grown-up, it might be natural to do that as well. When things get easy, you’ll keep pedaling and pushing and trying to go as fast as you can. You don’t have to do that. It seems natural, to use the ‘easy’ time to fly harder and faster. But sometimes it’s ok to coast … it gives you time to take a breath and relax and enjoy the labor you put in to get there. You didn’t push up that incline just to race through the downhill, did you? Take a moment to enjoy the work you put in to get there.

Everyone falls. You will, and you will watch it happen to others.

If you fall because of your own doing, just pick yourself up and keep going. It happens to all of us. Dust yourself off and get back on. You’ll probably be scared … and scared is OK, sometimes.

When you’re the cause of someone else’s crash – and you will be – sincerely apologize. And when someone apologizes to you, accept it and move on. Don’t dwell on past incidents, other than making them a learning experience for everyone involved. Your ride is too short to hang onto grudges long after your skinned knees heal.

If someone keeps causing you to crash, simply stop riding with them. That seems so obvious … but somehow being all grown up complicates these sort of things. Know when to cut ties.

Enjoy the view. Pay attention as you pass things by. By doing this … learning and absorbing while you’re moving … you won’t have to stop and look behind you or turn around. This might mean you have to move a little slower. And that’s OK. You’re learning and absorbing as you are going, and that is never a bad thing.

Have trust that the people coming up behind you, and everyone around you, will do the right thing. Change that opinion once they show you otherwise, but give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Life is just easier if you think most people are capable of, and will do, the right thing. Some people won’t, and you’ll see very quickly who they are. Act quickly to steer away from them when you see that … but until then, stay the course.

Sometimes the people behind you are going to see your ass crack, but don’t worry about that. It’s not your problem. If they don’t like the view, they can pass you. They pick the view they focus on … you don’t control that. Focus on you.

Never stop pedaling. Always move forward, even if you’re only going fast enough to keep your balance. Life only passes you by when you stop … so don’t ever stop. It’s always easier to keep going rather than catch up … especially on the hills. It’s going to get hard. You might even have to get off your bike and walk with it a bit. But don’t just sit there. Keep moving forward.

And finally … remember what it was like to ride your bike like a kid. Carefree, with no purpose other than fun, with your bestest friends in the world. Sun up to sun down. Do that every now and again. Forget the race and the purpose and the NEED to ride. Just ride. Appreciation cannot happen without comparison. Keep the energy and spirit of your irresponsible youth alive by going back there every now and again.

And, most importantly, be safe, have fun, and have a GREAT ride.”


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