How I stay on Top of the News in Massachusetts

Newspaper and digital tablet on wooden table

How do we have time for reading when we’re too busy liking Facebook posts, snapping Instagram selfies or playing Candy Crush? (ok, not sure anyone plays it, but I continue to get invitations to join!) Of course, I’m being a little facetious when I say that, because when it comes to being busy, Realtors® are some of the busiest people I know!

So how do you keep up with goings on in Massachusetts if you’re busy dealing with clients, lawyers and appraisers etc.? If you were asking yourself that very question, let me give you an answer by sharing what I use to make sure I know what’s going on at Beacon Hill and around the state.

I subscribe to three different emails. Each accomplishes essentially the same thing and it really comes down to personal preference. I suggest giving each a try and picking the one you like best. And if there are others out there that I might have missed, please let me know in the comment section as I’m always on the lookout for new sources too.

The Daily Download
This daily newsletter is produced by CommonWealth Magazine, which is published by the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank typically identified as MassINC.

MASSterList
MASSterList is published by Jay Fitzgerald and Keith Regan, two seasoned political reporters who know their way around Beacon Hill politics. This newsletter is described as providing a wide-ranging summary of the latest news on Massachusetts politics, public policy, and government that is curated from a rich array of sources, both conventional and niche.

POLITICO: Massachusetts Playbook 
POLITICO describes itself as the national global news and information company at the intersection of politics and policy. The Massachusetts edition of the Playbook is written by Lauren Dezenski’s and is described as the “must-read rundown of what’s up on Beacon Hill and beyond.”

Lead Generation Made Easy with LinkedIn

Lead generation just got a whole lot easier with LinkedIn.

If you’re already using LinkedIn’s advertising tools to drive traffic to your website, for example, then you may have noticed the recent option to “Collect leads using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms.”

How do LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms work? It’s simple. When a prospective client clicks on your ad, they will be prompted to fill out a form, which will automatically populate with their information from LinkedIn. Because people tend to keep their LinkedIn profiles up-to-date, this ensures that your lead will be accurate and complete. This solves the common problem of inaccurate, abandoned and incomplete lead generation forms that you may be all too familiar with as an advertiser.

After the user fills the form they will land wherever your ad was directed–your website, eBook or webinar sign-up page, for example. You can then export your leads directly from LinkedIn into the CRM or marketing automation platform of your choice.

Learn more in this video from LinkedIn:

 

We want to hear from you

Have you experimented with LinkedIn advertising in your real estate practice? What do you think of their new Lead Gen Forms? Let us know in the comments below.

“The Greatest Show on Earth” | MAR Conference & Tradeshow

Cropped image of magician opening red stage curtain

The iconic 146-year-old circus Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey announced that their final performances will take place this month. Recently, the CBS Sunday Morning Show featured company members to discuss what it takes to plan “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

This has us at the association reflecting: What does it take to be the greatest show on earth? How much sweat, stamina, and knowledge goes into planning an event like this? Members that participate on the MAR conference committee might have an idea.

Planning an annual event like the MAR Conference & Tradeshow is hard work. The time spent researching a venue and speakers for the event is immense. Then comes brainstorming as a group: What cutting edge information can we bring to the real estate world? What burning questions should our speakers address? In other words, how can we best provide for our members?

This kind of thinking is not only time-consuming, but requires a special kind of person to commit to the task. Still, conference committee members continue to demonstrate their skill and dedication. For example, in 2015 the planning committee selected Jan Hargrave, a body-language expert, to speak at that year’s conference. Jan was a hit! Members lined up to meet Jan and purchase her books. Afterwards, Jan was in high demand in the real estate industry. She came back for our conference in 2016 and spoke at the Jack Conway Convention and the Northeast Association of Realtors® Education Fair. Our committee team always has their eyes on the “next big thing” in real estate, and Jan was a prime example.

The committee is planning another exceptional event right now. The 2017 Conference & Tradeshow will be back at The Sea Crest Beach Hotel in Falmouth, MA on September 25 & 26.  The speakers are solidified, the website is launched, and registration is open. This year, along with providing a slew of national and local industry experts, the committee has several new networking opportunities planned (not to mention fun activities). In traditional New England style, we’ll be kicking off the first night of the conference with a clam bake on the beach. If you come the night before, head over to Lanes Bowl & Bistro where you can bowl and enjoy a dessert buffet.

Now that the scheduling and booking portion of the event is finished, it’s up to you. Sign up and enjoy another fun-filled and educational event that also includes the industry’s largest tradeshow. The opportunities are endless and we think it’s one of our “greatest” events yet.

Find out more about this year’s conference and sign up for the early bird price of $179.

Keeping Busy Keeps You Successful

Social network - multicolored vector illustration

The real estate market is booming and you are going a mile a minute with customers and clients.  Then why am I seeing so many members at the abounding real estate events across the state?

We, as staff working for Realtors®, attend many local and statewide events to promote Realtor® value and benefits. Just in the past two weeks, we have participated in an event at a local Realtor® association, a company’s continuing education event and a business rally presented by the local chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. Earlier in the year we participated in a large company conference and another local association event and have scheduled to join at least three more local association events.

And we saw and will see so many of you there!  You are busy as can be but still want to attend the variety of real estate related events going on around you.  But I can answer the question why – because you see the value in networking and learning from experts and each other.

Building Relationships
Real estate is a profession of relationships, we all know the importance of relationships with your clients and customers, your community and your fellow Realtors®.  Without success in relationships there is little success in business.  So the best way to foster the relationships with each other, form your referral base and learn about the benefits of being a Realtor® is to attend Realtor® events.

Education is Key
Last week at the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professional’s Business Rally, a Q & A took place with a local top producer. When asked what advice she had for fellow agents regarding success, she replayed with a simple, confident answer: Education.

Luckily you have many  networking and education events to choose from and I encourage you to check with your local association and MAR for upcoming events.  Many local associations host one day conferences, networking events and more.  And when applicable, MAR attends local events as I’ve described above so that you can firsthand see the value and benefits the local, state and national Realtor® associations have to help you in your profession.  MAR also hosts an annual conference and our Young Professionals Network hosts at least one or two regional networking events a year.

The MAR events calendar has many event listings and so does your local association’s website.  I know many of you are finding the local and state events because we see you there, so keep looking and keep busy so you can keep growing your business.

What’s in a Designation?

GRI 102 was full of fresh faces this March 2017.

There is a plethora of designations that Realtors® can earn throughout their career. The Graduate Realtor® Institute (GRI), Accredited Buyer’s Representative® (ABR), Seniors Real Estate Specialist® , and NAR’s Green Designation (GREEN) just to name a few. These programs can seem overwhelming—and let’s be honest, time-consuming—when your time is valuable.

But, if you look over the course outlines, you may see the value is well worth the time. For example, MAR launched the 2017 GRI courses in January and we had both new and seasoned agents signing up for the first course, eager to know the rest of the schedule because this designation covers so many different aspects of the real estate business. GRI covers essentials like risk management, negotiation, financing the sale, technology and much more.

Then, there are the designations than hone in on specific topics and specialties. The ABR designation is one of them. This program is designed for real estate buyer agents who work directly with buyer-clients at every stage of the home-buying process. The SRES helps Realtors® meet the special needs of maturing adults when selling, buying, relocating, or refinancing residential or investment properties. Lastly, NAR’s Green Designation is designed for agents looking to learn about energy efficiency and sustainability in real estate.

However, there are even more to choose from! Check out the full list of designations at the NAR website.

One of the best things that come with designation courses, besides the continuing education credits, are the great networking opportunities. You get to meet top-notch instructors and fellow agents.

So, in the future before passing on taking a designation class, take a minute to look over the material and keep these perks in mind. You may be missing out on your own personal growth and at the end of the day, isn’t it all about the education?

Ten Realtor® New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year from MAR! I thought that a good theme for my January blog post would be, what else…the dreaded New Year’s resolutions. As CEO, I get a lot of questions from Realtors® about how they can get more involved, be more attuned to what’s going on in the industry, and how they can boost their business. Here are the answers I give them, in a single post. If you take all these steps, I assure you and your business will have the best year yet.

10. ANTICIPATE change. There are some possibly big challenges (and opportunities) ahead this year. Mortgage interest deduction. Flood insurance. Taxes. Energy. First-time homebuyer savings. Student debt effects. The Realtor® “R” should also stand for “read”. Schedule time on your calendar to read the latest industry news and forecasts from reliable sources, rather than just scattershot Tweets and Facebook posts.

9. GET AHEAD of your state continuing education or Realtor® Code of Ethics training requirement by getting it done early this year. No kidding.

8. SUPPORT your community with at least one charitable endeavor this year. Remember, you’re in a relationships business. Join your fellow Realtors®  in assisting association programs like the Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, Big Brother-Big Sister, homeless shelters, food drives, holiday gift drives and many other programs. Add a fourth leg to the above “balance” table with service to the community this year.

7. LEARN something new this year. Courses leading to GRI, CRS, CRB, CCIM and the like are structured ways to learn profitable skills while adding marketable designations to your business card. (Go to the National Association of Realtors® designation page to learn about all the designations that are offered).

6. ATTEND something new this year.  Again, real estate is a relationships business–even more so across market areas. This industry abounds in networking opportunities, including the state and national Realtor® Conventions, NAR’s Legislative Conference, MAR’s Day on Beacon Hill, local association events, and a variety of other industry events. If you’re already a frequent flier, then make this your year to “bring a friend.”

5. ADVANCE the industry a few more steps forward. Look for committee volunteer notices around June and sign-up. Talk with your local Association Executive about being a town monitor or joining an SPC (State Political Coordinator) or FPC (Federal Political Coordinator) team (we love our acronyms). We know the importance of maintaining balance between your family, business and your industry responsibilities. Just remember that all three support your career balance.

4. REACT. Actually spend the five minutes it takes to respond to Realtor® Call for Action messages this year. Although we reserve these alerts only for the most critical issues facing your livelihood, a paltry 10-15% of Realtors® take time to respond with messages to their legislators. C’mon, we can do much better than that in 2017.

3. INVEST in RPAC. At least $25 fair share investment…but doesn’t your career success indicate a step-up to Major Investor this year?

2. ENGAGE your audience. MAR has done a lot in the past few years to step up our social media and online presence. We are committed to the mission of providing you with the latest news about the industry and data on your community. The good news is, you can share that information with your followers to establish yourself as the expert in your area. For example, share the local market updates in your town or the monthly statewide home sales data to impress your audience and educate your clients. Give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to get the latest.

1. COMMENT below. Let us know what you’re planning on in the new year to boost your business, expand your network, give back and reach out this year. We look forward to reading your resolutions!