How to Own What Matters Most To Your Business

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Growing revenue should be the most important task for every business. If your business is not growing, a competitor’s will be and they are taking customers away from your company. If you are running a Fortune 100 company, the majority of your time should be spent creating products and sales channels to generate revenue.  If you are an individual entrepreneur, the majority of your time should be spent on income-producing activities.  The biggest key in growing your sales lies in first knowing who owns that responsibility and having the proper systems in place to hold the organization, or yourself, accountable for the growth goals.

Accountability. How did such a great concept get such a negative reputation? Inefficient leaders and poor managers have wrapped it in a veil of negativity and used it as the enforcer of responsibility. We complain about it at work, and in our personal lives; think about your family budget or weight loss goals. Usually, it is discussed as a virtue that is lacking in others. However, it is part of the planning process that will position you to reach your business goals. What turns the fun activity of goal setting into the not as much fun implementation of the business plan is facing the fact that someone has to be responsible for the outcome.  For all important business tasks, ownership and accountability have to be in place and individuals have to be willing to be held responsible for the outcomes assigned.

The most common misconception about accountability is the difference that exists between excuses and responsibility.  If you look at the companies and individuals who achieve great results over a long period of time, they all know the difference between having success and being effective. You can have short term success and then reach a very difficult obstacle and not be effective in growing past those difficult circumstances. In order for individual leaders to be effective in the long term, the most important factor is not how they place blame, but rather it is based on their ability to take responsibility for what they can own. In taking responsibility for the outcome, effective leaders are empowering themselves to develop new personal traits and skills needed to commit to take action and place their business’ growth back on track.

Nothing should stop your dream of building an incredibly successful business.  The growth of your business is what matters most. Here are four principles of accountability that need to be in place to ensure your company will reach its goals:

  • Designate the individuals who are responsible for growth in your company
  • Build precision in your budget and determine how each dollar spent will impact your growth
  • Create proper incentives and ramifications for the individuals who own your growth goals
  • Identify the right benchmarks to track the progress of reaching your growth goals

Feeling sorry for yourself or placing blame won’t correct your missteps. However, there is a great sense of self-empowerment when you realize that you have the ability each day to decide to hold yourself accountable.  No longer are other people’s actions and perspectives a deterrent to your achievement. No longer can we use work, relationships or others as an excuse to not achieve. It is all up to you and your actions. What a wonderful discovery! The decision is yours, the vision is yours, the actions are yours, and you are accountable for you.

Think of accountability not as a negative activity to be shunned, but rather as a valuable coaching tool to help you grow. Top executives, athletes and sales individuals all understand that to truly excel they need a confidante, a coach who cares about their success and helps them succeed. If you are looking to learn more about how coaching can help your real estate business, visit our website.

Best wishes!

Peter

Why Most Businesses and Individuals Don’t Reach Their New Year Goals

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As the New Year begins, there is never a shortage of newly developed business plans and individual resolutions that are built and created.  Each time I go online, a new social media post or article will pop up addressing the importance of goal setting, offering motivating tips and techniques on setting goals for your business, career or personal life.  In a recent google search I conducted for the term ‘goal setting’, the search produced 15.9 million results!  There is definitely not a shortage of information on how to set goals and build plans.  What there is a shortage of, is people and enterprises that actually reach their goals.

It’s not setting goals, building business plans or creating New Year’s resolutions that are the problem, it’s knowing what the real obstacles are that you are going to have to overcome that keeps people from achieving the results they desire.  Whether you are setting S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Based) or B.H.A.G. (Big Hairy Audacious Goals), if you do not know what hurdles you will be encountering you won’t know the proper steps  to take to leap over them. You can do a lot of things right with regards to staying positive, taking care of your health, visualizing your success, having an accountability partner and still end up short of reaching your goals. Without conducting the proper research of the obstacles you will encounter during your journey, you will become either discouraged or unprepared to reach your desired outcome or win against your competition when you reach the difficult part of executing your plan.

It’s not only important to know what to do to reach your goals, it is equally important to know what the real obstacles will be to reach your goals that far too often are overlooked.  Not understanding the difficulties of achieving a worthwhile goal leads people to underestimate what actions are required to accomplish their goals. Most people have no challenges with dreaming big, they are challenged with understanding how much work is needed to overcome the unidentified obstacles they will encounter along their journey. However, you can overcome this universal goal setting deficiency with proper research that identifies the obstacles ahead of you and gives you insight on actions to take to overcome those challenges.

Through research you find out who and what you are competing against. What is the result that matters and what relevant skills will you need to develop to achieve the goal. It does not matter whether it is for advancing your career, launching a new business, or losing weight; proper research is the first step to get you on the right path to success to reach your goal. Research also helps you identify the pitfalls to avoid. It allows you to know what has been done before, and what the needs, rewards, trends, and new developments are. You can also discern what to learn and what to avoid. Good planning is a component of research. Sounds simple enough, but how much time do we spend researching and planning versus just having a plan. A plan and planning are two distinctly different items. Research is a part of planning that educates and provides you an organized format for both the goals you want to achieve and identifies the obstacles you will encounter along the way.

Napoleon Hill, in his bestselling book, Think and Grow Rich, wrote, “Anybody can wish for riches, and most people do, but only a few know that a definite plan, plus a burning desire for wealth, are the only dependable means of accumulating wealth.” It is human nature to want better, but why do so many people get off track? Just because you wish it, just because you want it, just because you think it doesn’t mean you will get it. You need to have a definitive process to follow that allows you to get to where you want to go.  That process includes setting goals, developing action plans and properly identifying the real obstacles you will have to overcome during the course of the year.

It’s a new year, and instead of just following the advice and expert opinions on how to set goals, positon yourself for a breakthrough year and also take the time to learn what key obstacles you will have to overcome to reach your annual goal.  In order for you to accomplish something significant in 2017, it will require a lot of work.  In fact, it will most likely take more effort than you realize.

What strategies, resources, time commitment and skills will be required for you to have the transformational year you have outlined in your annual plan?

Peter

Christmas, the New Year and Hitting the Reset Button

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Christmas is right around the corner, and then a week later it will be time for the New Year celebrations! For most, the Holiday season begins on Thanksgiving and it kicks off a month of gatherings, parties and celebrations with family, friends and business associates.  For many it is truly the most wonderful time of the year, as they experience the joy that is associated with the season of giving.  While it may not be the most productive time for many businesses, it is typically the busiest for most people.

The traditional month long holiday season is filled with activities that include visiting family and friends, eating bigger meals, drinking more, exercising less, and the additional stress that comes along with added commitments.  For a lot of people the end result of the Holiday season is weight gain, and feeling drained. Unfortunately, studies have shown that most people will not lose the weight they gain over the Holidays and in fact they will repeat the process of gaining additional weight each year during this season. Without resetting your mind and body, you can easily settle into a comfort zone that unknowingly keeps you from heading in the direction you seek.

I love Christmas time and celebrating the Holidays, while also taking the time to recognize the true meaning of Christmas.  There is something about seeing the Christmas lights on homes, trees decorated, hearing Christmas songs, and gathering with friends that leads people to be kinder, more generous and polite to each other during this time of year. It’s a time we gather together and embrace our family traditions, celebrate the present and look forward to the future. It’s also a great time to be reminded we all have choices to make on what we will do, who we will be, and what future we will create.  As we mature, and certainly when we become parents, we realize that the true joy of Christmas is in giving, not receiving.

In 1843, Charles Dickens wrote the novel A Christmas Carol, which continues to be a popular book today. The novel has never been out of print circulation, seen in countless plays, in addition to movies and shows reproducing the work in some manner. A Christmas Carol was an immediate success as Dickens’ writing vividly captured the real human emotions of suffering, separation, despair, unbreakable hope and the difficulty people have in actually changing for the better. The story accurately conveyed what has to be in place for true joy to exist in a person’s life. The positive ending of finding inner peace through a dramatic change in one’s belief system resonated immediately with its audience, as it still does today. The novel ended with the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, memorializing the secret to long lasting change. “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the past, the present, and the future. The spirits of all three shall live within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

Through his experiences that Christmas Eve, Mr. Scrooge was able to reset his life and take it in a dramatically different direction. Fortunately, most of us do not need as dramatic of a life changing reset as Ebenezer Scrooge went through to make positive changes. However, it is not uncommon for all of us to dwell on negative events in our life, stop some of the good habits we have been developing during the year, and set future goals without taking any action to achieve them. After all, goals remain only dreams if we don’t take action. The past is for learning from, not dwelling upon. It is the present we live in, and what we commit to do now that will decide our future. The actions we take do make a difference. As Charles Dickens’ novel pointed out, living abundantly is not about how many possessions you have or how much money you have in the bank, it is recognizing that you need to continue to grow and contribute to live life to its fullest. The most successful, happy people manage to keep the joys of giving and carry a grateful spirit with them year-round.

We all need a time for rest and reflection. You most likely don’t need a Scrooge intervention to reset your path to fulfillment, but I’m certain you will benefit from taking time to reset after the Holidays. Enjoy the celebrations, reflect on the past year and reset your mind and body on the goals and possibilities of a new year. After all to achieve success and reach true fulfillment, you have to answer a big question.  What kind of difference will you make in 2017?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday’s!

Peter

The Why, What and How of the Entrepreneur’s Business Plan

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Over the past three weeks, with the aid of technology, I had the privilege to kick off the annual United Real Estate business planning workshops with hundreds of real estate agents from across the U.S. in attendance.  It is very satisfying to aid so many entrepreneurial individuals in understanding that freedom in business and in life is having the ability to do what you are supposed to do.  The essence of a successful plan goes beyond spreadsheets and a mission statement.  Everyone is familiar with the celebrated success stories of the start-up entrepreneur’s technology business that quickly made them rich.  We are also aware that most businesses don’t succeed past 5 years and the odds are stacked against the individual start-up. A lot of factors make up the difference between succeeding and failing in business. However, all successful entrepreneurs have a common theme to their planning process. They recognize they are not just building a business, they are creating a lifestyle.

While the projected sales numbers and profits that make up the forecast and budget of a business plan are in everyone’s game plan for success, the individuals who breakout from their competition have more than just a strategy and spreadsheets.  What successful entrepreneurs recognize is that when you open a business, particularly a real estate business, you can’t easily separate the business from you, the individual. The Why, What and How of building a plan is not just about your business, it’s also about your life story and it all starts with answering with definitive knowledge and having very specific answers to these three questions. The answers combine passion with knowledge and precise action plans that justify the hours you work, and put to ease the initial uncertainty that is part of owning your own business.

The Why – To grow a business you have to do things that are at first uncomfortable. To build new success habits you must know what you have to look forward to in the future in order to stay motivated in the present.  You have to ask yourself not only why potential customers should do business with you, but why you are personally in business. If you are like most entrepreneurs you left the certainty of a paycheck for the freedom of being your own boss.  The freedom of working for yourself also brings with it uncertainty. Your Why to take on this risk and then insure your success has to be really big. You are not just looking at what your life is today but what it can be in 5 years and also in 20 years. Done correctly, answering your Why will set the goals for your business.

The What – After you understand your true Why, then, and only then, are you ready to move to the What. Following this path greatly increases the likelihood that you will succeed. You must have a rock solid reason as to why you are going to keep striving and pushing past the setbacks that are inherently part of building a business. Goals tell us what to get, not what to do. The best sales people set goals that are not just about the outcome, but the process to get to the outcome. It is here you answer the universal equation of success for all entrepreneurs. What is the market opportunity for your business?

Total number of potential clients * conversion rate + past customers + referrals = Income

The How – The dream is known, the goal is set. It’s time to lay out your strategy on what methods you are going to deploy to reach your potential clients. The key to executing this part of your plan is knowledge and commitment.  You need to know how to reach your customers, how to communicate with them, how to stay in touch with them, and how to sell to them. To be successful as an entrepreneur you will have to commit to performing these activities for a very long time.  This requires you to continually invest in building your potential client list and also developing your personal skills. The business environment will always be changing and you have to adapt to utilize new technologies and adapt to new trends to modernize your business. Becoming a market expert will not be enough, you will also have to learn how to develop the invisible traits of determination, persistence, grit and personal accountability.

Building a business that will support the lifestyle you desire is a skill to be mastered, not just pursued. A great question to ask yourself is, have you spent more money on Starbucks this year or on your personal development? After all, true freedom is reached when you realize you are empowered to do what you are supposed to do to create your ideal life, not just what you want to do. To learn more about how to implement a plan to raise your income in real estate and improve your lifestyle, join us at the 2017 United Real Estate Convention.

All the best!

Peter

How the Three C’s of Selling Will Boost Your Income

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The sales profession is one of the largest occupational groups in the United States. It is estimated that over 15 million people work in sales related jobs.  In the real estate industry there are currently over 1.2 million Realtors. Across all industries, sales is a very competitive occupation, and one that allows the top performers to be highly compensated.

Being in sales is very similar to running your own business and in commission based sales occupations, such as working as a real estate agent, you are in-fact running your own business.  In any entrepreneurial role you must have daily habits that will ensure you manage your time effectively.  Moving past the general sales training that is made available to all individuals in a selling occupation, there are certain skills that top performers have developed that have made them excel. Here are the three “C’s” that are not taught in sales training courses and make up the intrinsic skills that separate the top 5% of sales performers from their counterparts.

Caring – All successful sales people have come to understand that they should listen to their potential clients more and speak less when they are meeting with them.  This becomes the formula for any successful sales person in both Business to Business sales and Business to Consumer sales. It is the basis for being a highly paid advisor as opposed to a sales rep. Not only do the top sales people ask more questions of their potential clients, they listen better.  Their listening skills are superior to others who just hear but don’t really understand the needs of their buyers. The top sales people have empathy for their potential clients and are able to understand the buyer’s problems or their unmet goals.  They relate to their feelings in a way that allows them to become trusted with helping the buyer reach a new level of satisfaction by guiding them to solve their problems with the solutions they have to offer.

Candor – A top sales person will focus initially on the buyers needs and not on the services they are offering. When the buyer realizes the seller cares about their problems and why those problems matter, the sales person becomes a trusted advisor.  A trusted advisor, in comparison to someone who is just selling a product, earns the right to be straight forward and honest with the potential buyer. Top sales professionals not only ask more questions than their counterparts, they also ask better questions. More developed questions stimulate thought by the buyer of what their unmet needs or desires truly are. The top sales pros do not worry about losing rapport with a buyer, as they have established trust. When you care about your profession and develop a trusted relationship with your buyer, the ability to ask them difficult questions about why they are doing things in a certain way is earned. This honest dialogue is respected by the buyer.  The odds that the buyer will choose your services or product over a competitors greatly favors the sales person who has the ability to have candid conversations with potential buyers.

Competence – Most sales professionals know how their products or services function and how they can fit a buyer’s needs.  The difference between top sales people and others is the top performers know how their services or products solve the specific problems of the buyer they are working with today. Top sales people are not generalists, they are experts in their field. This means they know more about the future of an individual buyer’s business or investments than their client does. In order to gain this expertise, the top sales professionals spend the time necessary to study their industry and work on developing their own personal skills. This gives them more experience, which allows the top sales person to express that knowledge using a question based methodology, therefore putting the buyer’s needs at the forefront.

To boost your income and separate yourself from your competition, it is not enough to commit to only completing your company’s standard sales training or your industries continuing education requirements. The key to long lasting sales success is mastering the three C’s of selling. Be certain to commit yourself to continued learning opportunities. To learn more about boosting your income in real estate to a new level, join us at the 2017 Unitedpalooza.

All the best!

Peter

Are Your Home Buyers Looking For You On Video?

 

Vlog to gain access to a younger generation of home buyers that grew up researching and learning through videos on the internet. If you don’t have a presence on the internet, are buyers finding you?

Win three FREE nights in Austin, Texas! Share your prior experience at past conventions and your excitement for this years Unitedpalooza through a short video! Use your phone and start recording, what do you have to lose? The winner of the drawing will recieve three nights paid at The Westin Austin Downtown.

See you online,

Peter

How the Happiness Advantage Can Break the 80/20 Rule and Lead You to Success

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Across the United States, entrepreneurs are planning for the New Year.  2017 will be upon us in less than 60 days, and we know there will be changes in elected officials with different agendas on the national and local level. The economy may get better, it may not. We can take the predictions from the experts with a grain of salt and arrive at the safe conclusion that they are all right, and they are all wrong. Large nations and large corporations are complicated. The people who run these institutions were created as complex beings, but ones who were designed to succeed.

What everyone should have learned over the past twenty years is that industries will change, careers will change, technology will change, and to have success in life and business, you will have to make changes along the way to grow. Very few predicted the extent of the Internet boom in the late 1990’s and subsequent crash in 2001, which was then followed by the attacks on 9/11.  The steady housing growth post the dot.com crash, followed by the housing boom that defied historical growth patterns ended up turning into a severe recession by year end 2007. Regardless of the changes, there will be companies and individuals who will thrive.

As individuals, we have control over how our lives and careers will turn out. Accepting these truths is good progress. Having a process to follow for success will turn progress into a great life. Having success in your personal and professional life in 2017, just like past economic times, will be a matter of choice. You decide that it is important to have a dream and take the right action to achieve the dream. This requires performing the tasks of proper goal setting, planning, and developing certain personal traits including faith and determination. You also must decide to have personal accountability be a part of your daily life.

We are at a critical time right now where many young people are discouraged about their prospects for long-term success. With all that we have learned about success, most of us need a new map to help us stay on the correct path to succeeding. Take for instance, the tested 80-20 rule that originated in economics after an observation by an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto who correctly correlated in 1906 the fact that 20% percent of the population controlled 80% of the wealth. This theory became known as the “Pareto Principle” and was later observed to hold true in other aspects of life, starting in the business world where companies noticed that 20% of their customers accounted for 80% of their profits. It was later taken into further detail with the notion that 20% of sales people accounted for 80% of the sales for any given company. This 80-20 rule in sales has proven to be occurring despite the decades of research and significant investment companies made in time and money for general sales and personal development training to make their sales people productive. When you currently speak to businesses and economic leaders about this basic principle they all overwhelmingly point to the 80-20 rule moving to a 90-10 rule when it comes to the percentage of people who make the majority of the income, have the majority of the wealth, and in breaking it down further the smaller percentage of people who now in their everyday life are succeeding. It has always been difficult to break out of the 80-20 rule, and in the new connected economy, it has gotten even harder. We are at a point in time where half the people working are dissatisfied with their careers, and also at a time where half the businesses which open, end up failing. These statistics don’t include living an abundant and full life.

The question is, how do you find the most relevant information that will help you break out of the patterns that are keeping you from reaching a new level of success? The world is a crowded place with a lot of messaging. However, science and the understanding of the specific human needs we all have to meet to obtain fulfillment have come a long way. You just have to fight through the noise and the distractions to find the correct path.

One breakthrough study demonstrating how work performance can be increased came from a Harvard Psychologist who specializes in Positive Psychology and developing positive mindsets.  In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor changed traditional thinking. We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but he postulated that we are thinking about it backwards.  In a fast-moving and very funny Ted talk, he argues that, actually, happiness inspires us to be more productive. Take a few minutes to unwind from the election and enjoy the motivating, empowering truth behind the science that proves we are in control of our future. Click Here! 

To borrow from United Real Estate’s convention keynote speaker Mel Robbins, “What consumes your mind, controls your life.” As you put your plan together for 2017, know that you have within you the ability to create the business, career and life you want.  Starting with the right mindset is a good place to begin. To learn more about how attending the United convention can help you achieve your goals in 2017 please visit our Convention page.

All the best!

Peter

If You Give, You Begin To Live

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One of the founding values of United Real Estate is to be a positive contributor to the communities we live in. In order to do so, we must give back. United Real Estate is a company that has been rapidly expanding through franchising across the United States for only three years, while obtaining more than triple digit growth in agent count and transactions each year.  It would be easy to say we are “too busy” to make certain that important cultural aspects of giving back are occurring inside the company, but that is not the case.  I am always proud to see United Real Estate offices and agents volunteering to make the world a better place.  I am always happy to give a like on Facebook or shout-out to any and all who make the time to improve a community or make an individual’s life better.

Individuals search for personal fulfillment in a variety of different ways. Some are positive, but some actions unfortunately lead to negative habits that instead work to the detriment of what the individuals are searching for – happiness. There are plenty of articles, graphs, quotes and lists that can be easily searched and found on the Internet of how successful people behave to reach fulfillment. However, even with an abundance of information available at our finger tips, a recent Harris Poll concluded only 1 in 3 Americans consider themselves to be “very happy”.  I truly believe we were created to do good, and in order to reach our full potential and be happy; we need to address and fill two advanced human needs. The first is our need to grow.  In order to reach the state of being happy, we need to continuously develop and expand our dreams. Second, is the need to contribute. Understanding the world is not just “about me”, it’s “about we” which allows us to contribute to something bigger than ourselves, something worthwhile. It produces a true, visible change of things being better because we gave beyond ourselves.

Through the dedication of our employees, we have reached a new milestone in supporting our corporate charity, Autism Speaks. By redesigning our internal processes, every United agent can now voluntarily contribute to Autism Speaks at each closing, either a specific amount or a percentage of commission earned!  Together, as a United family and community, we can help a charitable organization that is making massive positive changes to the individuals diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. To learn more read our press release.

I also believe there is a greater chance, than just a hope, that more than 1 in 3 Americans will become very happy. While millennials are known as being experts in digital communication, they are also unknowingly geared to do well by positively contributing to their communities. In the book Meet the Millennials, the author noted giving back and being civically engaged are the millennials highest priorities. This is a great step towards fulfillment when you realize it is tough to feel bad about yourself when doing good for others. It’s also an important factor for prospective employers and businesses that are wanting to sell to this generation. Millennials absolutely expect their employer to give back and contribute. As a customer, they expect the company will live up to those same set of values, as well.

One prime successful example of the power of donating a portion per transaction is seen through the generous contributions by the Dave Mathews Band. Through its Bama Works Fund charitable foundation, the band has raised and donated over $40 million to benefit the people living in the Central Virginia area, as well as internationally.  The band was able to generate this by setting up a per ticket sale, per album sale, per download sale and directing a portion of each sale to charity, as well as from fans who wholeheartedly support these causes making direct online donations. This has undoubtedly made a huge impact.

It is with great enthusiasm that I look forward to the major positive impact our fast growing network at United Real Estate will make to the individuals and families who are living with Autism.  It is estimated that it takes $60,000 a year to effectively support someone diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum Disorder.  At United Real Estate, we are now closing over 12,000 transactions a year, and that number is about to double!  Our collective contributions at each closing will do more than just fulfill a guiding principle. It will change lives.

Let me also give a shout out to the Dave Mathews Band and pay respect to them for giving back. It’s a verse from a complex song, and I see the positive in the lyrics, “If you give, you begin to live. You get the world, you get the world.” The path to fulfillment will include growth and contribution. May this inspire you to start or continue your journey!

On behalf of everyone at United Real Estate, thank you, for not just being part of our company, but for being active in supporting the communities we all live in. Happiness is not guaranteed, and giving should not be mandated, but should be heartfelt.  The reward is waiting for you.

All the best!

Peter Giese

President & Co-Founder

United Real Estate

Are First-Time Homebuyers Back and Here to Stay?

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There were many positive headlines this month from various news outlets highlighting the continued growth in total number of real estate sales and growth in home prices. Aiding this growth is the percentage of potential buyers that will make up the next generation to influence the real estate industry and the economy – Generation Y, or the Millennials. The month of September was another solid month for real estate closings, according to the National Association of Realtors sales were up 2.8% over previous year with a total of 484K existing homes sold during the month. What drove the increase was the return of first-time homebuyers to a respectful level of 34% of all buyers being first-time purchasers during September, which is a level that has not been seen in over four years.

The three primary generations that made up over 90% of home purchases this year were the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Millennials.  The generation segments coincide with an explosion of growth in population after World War II, from 2.8 million annual U.S. births prior to the boom, to averaging over 4 million births for the period classified as the Boomer generation. The birth decline did not begin again until 1963, when the next demographic generation, Generation X, saw a decline in population growth through new births for a period that lasted until 1977.  Now, the Millennial generation has entered the prime years for buying a home and how they educate themselves about homeownership is very important to understand as they outnumber the amount of Baby Boomers with a total estimated population of over 83 million and are far more diverse than previous generations.

Millennials currently compose 35% of all homebuyers and I safely predict, from the stand point of the total number of them that percentage will increase in 2017 and beyond.  According to a recent survey published by Realtor.com, first-time buyers have increased to 52% of prospective buyers planning to buy a home in 2017.  This is up from 33% of prospective buyers that were first-time purchases when the company conducted the same survey the previous year. So, what makes this next generation of home owners different from previous generations but yet the same?

I am part of Generation X, which means I grew up with access to a computer in a classroom but the majority of learning took place from textbooks, and communication was in person or via the phone. Society and the media describes the Millennials as enthusiastic, tech-savvy, entrepreneurial and opportunistic – all good things!  Now for the negative labels: lazy, unproductive, and self-obsessed. I like the generation behind me, and hasn’t the label of being self-absorbed been a common description for everyone who is still growing up?

The ironic thing is those are the very similar descriptions that were placed on my generation.  We were the slacker generation because of the different music style, referred to as grunge or alternative rock, which was popular in the 1990’s. However, as a demographic group, Generation X became very independent and went to college at a higher percentage rate than the Baby Boomers before them.  We all age and mature, but the emotional needs of people that drive their behaviors remains the same.

So what will be different with the Millennials that will affect the housing market? They are delaying or eliminating marriage, but that is nothing new, as the average age of marriage and percentage of unmarried households has been going up since 1960. What is dramatically new is the way of communication. Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, people have been able to be connected online through a mobile device 24/7.  It has always been a critical skill in business to know how to communicate effectively with your customer. As the Millennials will continue to dominate home sale purchases, communicating effectively and expediently with them will all be about how well agents tap into technology to market and respond to them. While personal referrals are critical for an agent’s success to grow their business, the latest surveys conducted by Zillow showed that 29% of Millennials found their agent online, bypassing the personal referral process. I expect that number will increase, and the number of first-time homebuyers will continue to grow.

How do you communicate effectively with this population demographic?  It actually starts before they contact you, as they begin to research the market long before they speak with a Realtor. For starters, you need to have a mobile strategy, a video strategy, and be easily found online with your agent brand visible to them in multiple online formats. In targeting this group, just like with any marketing campaign, you should focus on the buyer’s interests.  I like what the Minneapolis Association of Realtors is doing with its first ever campaign targeting first-time homebuyers. They are creating humorous 30-second videos that will be available on social media.  You can see their ads at MatchMakersForHomes.com. This makes sense, as the Millennials consume information more and more through brief video segments.

To learn more about building your business, be sure to join the many Baby Boomers, Generation X’s, and Millennials who are all part of United Real Estate and register to attend the United Convention! Go to: Unitedpalooza.com.

Peter Giese

President & Co-Founder

United Real Estate

The Best of Bob Dylan and How Going Electric Could Be Good for Your Career

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This past week Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first musician to ever win the award.  I was not yet born when he started his journey from a controversial folk singer to a popular rock star, who plugged in an electric guitar at a folk music festival and in doing so went on to change the song writing process of popular music forever. I have to admit, I was also not old enough to remember the original releases of some of his famous songs that would blend poetry with music and lead to him receiving the Nobel Prize.  However, as a music fan I have enjoyed his songs and the first concert my wife and I saw together (over 14 years ago) was a Bob Dylan performance.  By that time his voice had faded, but the energy and passion had remained and the audience knew the words to all his hits.

I have read about the night Bob Dylan plugged in an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Music Festival and in doing so upset the purist of acoustic folk music fans, while at the same time elevating his career to superstardom. It was documented that some fans were booing him, thinking this type of innovation was not what was needed. Even at a music festival, people don’t like surprises or change.  The strange thing is people do like good surprises, who doesn’t like it when they find twenty dollars in the laundry machine, and successful people will change. Bob Dylan was right when he wrote the song The Times They Are a Changin’ in 1964. The times are always changing.

The change he made introduced an entire new audience to his music and changed the direction of popular music. It was a bold move as he expanded his audience and he was rewarded in his career and financially with now over 100 million albums sold, a Nobel Prize, and the respect from artists of all genres. A move, that some thought was crazy, paid off by embracing the inevitable change that was occurring in consumer tastes.

I think of how many people I’ve met, and businesses I have seen, that have not changed. They have stuck with the status quo and do not reach their potential, reach a larger audience, or go in the same direction where their customers are heading. In the business world this is easy to point to, as 57% of the companies on the Fortune 500 list in 1995 are no longer on the list. Just think of Blockbuster and you can get a clear idea of how competition, when properly using technology, can displace an incumbent brand. Netflix changed the customer experience making it more user- friendly, and as a company they continue to change.  They now added a streaming video service, which attacked their own original disruptive business model.

Take a look at your business and do an honest assessment of how you are keeping up with the demands of your current and future customers.  In real estate, this means embracing technology to enhance relationships, working mobile to meet the customer where they want to do business, and promoting your agent brand effectively online so potential clients see you as the right choice to assist them with the largest financial decision they will make in their lives. How do you go electric in real estate to reach a larger audience?  There is an entire new audience for you to reach who is digesting information in quick segments of video. In August 2016 alone, over 15.5 million videos were uploaded to Facebook generating over 236 billion views!

The real estate consumer’s behavior has permanently changed.  Last year 60% of people searching for real estate didn’t just look at properties online, they actively googled real estate agents to learn more about the agent they were thinking of contacting.  Those trends are not going to reverse, so plug into them by having your online profile positively positioned on all relevant websites and social media outlets.  Give it a try to go electric by plugging into an entire new generation of home buyers by filming an introductory video of your services and making it available on your website and Facebook page. It will be a good surprise to the next generation of homeowners, who don’t see many agents communicating with them how they want to be communicated with.

As for the best of Bob Dylan, here are my top three:

  • Like A Rolling Stone
  • Lay Lady Lay
  • Tangled Up in Blue

All the best, and I would love to hear about your success stories of implementing a video strategy into your businesses, and also, what are your favorite Bob Dylan songs?  I am certain we will see and hear from both of these categories at the United Real Estate convention in Austin!

Peter