Month: January 2018

Cyber Crime Red Flags | MASTROIANNI CONSULTING

More than 1 in 5 Americans have been, or know someone who was a victim of cyber crime.  Protecting our personal and business information online is a daily task and requires vigilance.  There are dozens of ways we can be scammed.  It may be an email hack, a phishing scam, a Nigerian money order or a product that sounds just too good to be true.

Here are 8 red flags to stay alert for:

  1.  An Increased Number Of Pop-Ups.
    An increase in pop-ups in browser windows could be the first sign that your information has been compromised.  This is especially troubling if it is accompanied by sudden crashes or stalling.
  2. Odd Software Behavior.
    Automatic mouse movements, changing of passwords, and unsolicited software installs could mean that someone is trying to steal your information in exchange for ransom.
  3. Resisting Update Downloads.
    Regularly updating your antivirus software is vital, but if you are unable to do so or you are unable to visit the vendor’s website, it is likely that someone is tampering with your network.
  4. Phishing Emails.
    Cyber criminals can easily manipulate the sender field to appear to be from an authoritative or legitimate company.  These emails look trustworthy and people often click on them, exposing themselves to a cyber attack.  They have poor or no photos, terrible formatting and often result in ‘data ransom‘, often costing several thousands of dollars for the release of your data.
  5. Payment Required Without Clarity.
    If upfront payment is required before you are given any real information about a product that you are interested in, it’s likely a scam.
  6. Required Downloads.
    This is one of the top ways online scammers can get to your information.  They ask or require you to download something.  This download contains malware which infects your hard drive and steals your information.  Check the source and trust notifications from your anti-malware software.
  7. Jargon.
    Be wary of jargon you don’t understand.  While reputable companies aim for customer clarity, fraudsters aim to confuse and trick.
  8. Too-Good-To-Be-True Promises.
    If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Lofty promises are usually an attempt to steal your banking information.

One of the easiest ways to verify the source of a suspected email is to Google the sender.  Consider this your due diligence.  Look for a working phone number and make sure someone actually answers your call—don’t settle for an automated message.  Look for an address and then Google it.  Lastly, trust your intuition.

We hope that you enjoyed this article.  It was sourced from several others and is only intended to bring awareness to this pervasive crime.

Mastroianni Consulting is a unique consultancy firm whose goal is to assist Realtors to build their businesses and become more successful.  For more information, please reach us at (636) 220-7481 or contact a Client Care Specialist at clientcare@mastroianniconsulting.com

Here are some other articles that may interest you:
Tips To Improve Your Productivity
Ten Business Relationships Every Realtor Should Have
Email Subject Lines: Words to stay away from

 

Tips To Improve Your Productivity | MASTROIANNI CONSULTING

In “The 12 Week Year,” Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington address the challenge of why some people get more accomplished than others.  They advocate that you can more easily develop consistent execution by implementing a scalable 12-week system.  The key is to focus on one week at a time.

Every day of the week counts.
By changing your focus from 365 days to shorter timeframes you are better able to inspect your progress (or lack of it).  To successfully accomplish this, you must begin by readjusting your daily activities.  A Daily Success Habits Tracker is one of the best tools to help you do this.  Use this tracker each day to record a daily target for a specific number of calls, handwritten notes and other dollar-productive activities that will help you develop incremental success habits every day.

Track your time and eliminate fake work.
Learn to focus on activities that create opportunities for you.  For example, target a specific age demographic that may be ready to move and offer them information, solutions and options.  It is important to not rely on new ‘magic’ platforms or super systems.  Pick up the phone for an hour every day and connect with people who need your services to see measurable results.

Deadlines create urgency.
People focus on the finish line and increase their activities once it is in sight.  Change your focus from a year-end finish line to a week-end finish line to see compounded results.

By navigating one week at a time you will build success habits that improve over time.  This then leads to better productivity and, ultimately, greater success.

If you would like a success-minded business partner then team up with us, here at Mastroianni Consulting.  To reach us, please call (636) 220-7481 or email clientcare@mastroianniconsulting.com.

Other articles that may interest you:  Ten Business Relationships Every Realtor Should Have

Essential Business Skills for Realtors

5 Ways to Build Stronger Customer Relationships

Ten Business Relationships Every Realtor Should Have | MASTROIANNI CONSULTING

You’ve heard the saying, “You can’t be all things to all people”?   That is the reason every real estate agent needs a circle of relevant professionals; people to call on for answers or services that the agent can’t provide.

When you build strategic relationships with businesses in auxiliary services, you will find that they are targeting the same audience as you.   Not only are you making recommendations to your clients, they can also provide opportunities and referrals to your business.

Here are the ten business relationships every real estate agent should have:

  1.  Financial professionals & institutions
  2.  Loan officers & mortgage brokers
  3. Architects and builders
  4. Appraisers and inspectors
  5. Legal professionals
  6. Title & insurance companies
  7. Moving & storage companies
  8. Contractors
  9. Landscaping & cleaning services
  10. Maintenance professionals

Cultivating business relationships with other professionals and organizations in your community can strengthen your referral network and highlight your expertise.

Source:  Listhub

For more tips on building your business, please contact the Client Care Specialists at Mastroianni Consulting.

To reach us, please call (636) 220 7481 or email: clientcare@mastroianniconsulting.com

Other articles that may be of interest:  Essential Business Skills for Realtors5 Ways to Build Stronger Customer Relationships17 Time Management Tips (Infographic)Email Subject Lines: Words to stay away from

Email Subject Lines: Words to stay away from | MASTROIANNI CONSULTING

Whether you are email marketing or simply sending an email, the words and phrases that you use in the subject line often determines whether your email gets through or is sent to the spam folder.  Here are 50 subject lines real estate agents should avoid using.

Avoid using special characters:

1.  100%guarantee
2.  Open house TODAY!!!!
3.  Save $$$ on this flipper

Avoid call to actions:

4.  act now
5.  apply now
6.  call now
7.  limited time
8.  click here
9.  hot information you requested

Avoid greetings in the subject line:

10.  Dear friend, today is the day to list your home

Avoid anything that looks like yelling, starts with a $ sign or has unnecessary spaces:

11.  JUST LISTED!!!!
12.  Can someone say v.a.c.a.t.i.o.n home?
13.  O p e n H o u s e t h I s S a t u r d a y
14.  $150,000 2 bed/1 bath condo just reduced

Avoid these words as professional spammers have tainted them:

15.  credit
16.  lower your mortgage
17.  offer
18.  refinanced
19.  loans
20.  easy terms
21.  mortgage
22.  cash bonus
23.  buy
24.  financial freedom
25.  make money
26.  satisfaction
27.  discount
28.  your family
29.  consolidate
30.  lowest rates
31.  now only
32.  compare
33.  don’t
34.  You’re a winner!
35.  extra income
36.  instant
37.  fast cash
38.  free
39.  free access
40.  free gift
41.  free offer
42.  get out of debt
43.  earn
44.  hello
45.  hidden
46.  delete
47.  amazing
48.  avoid
49.  stop
50.  collect

Source:  eMerge

Mastroianni Consulting is dedicated to excellence.  Team up with us in 2018 and watch your business grow!

mastroianniconsulting.com | (636) 220-7481 | clientcare@mastroianniconsulting.com

 

 

 

 

 

Essential Business Skills for Realtors | MASTROIANNI CONSULTING

While many Realtors reference their work in real estate as their ‘career’, they may be better served viewing it through the lens of a business, making them small business owners.

The distinction is small but important.  With a career, you climb the company ladder; you have a boss.  As a small business owner, you are the boss and there is no ladder.  There is, however, a very real opportunity to create a good business that produces a good income.

Small business owners need these essential skills:

  1. Financial Management.  Cash flow is king.  You need to understand what comes in and what goes out.  Create a budget and a business plan and stick to them.
  2. Marketing Expertise.  You need to build your brand to create a loyal following.
  3. The Ability to Sell.  Be committed to the many benefits of homeownership and your enthusiasm will catch on.
  4. A Bias Towards Execution.  Got a great idea?  Come up with some concrete steps to put it into action.
  5. Superior Customer Service.  Treat everyone, and I mean everyone, with the highest standard of customer service.  This includes: your clients, other Realtors, office staff, ancillary workers, title company, lenders, inspectors etc.  Everyone.
  6. Leadership.  Be proactive.  Inspire others.  Lead by example.  Always be learning.
  7. Time-Management.  Outsource or leverage tasks to create more time for you to be working on our business and not always in your business.
  8. Problem Solving.  Catch problems early and know who to turn to when they occur.
  9. Focus on the work.  It has to get done.
  10. Give Back.  Spare some time to work in your community or with a charity.

By focusing on developing these skills and having a business owner mindset, chances are you will be successful.  But be kind to yourself, as Quint Studer, a Florida based business consultant puts it, “No one is born a great business owner, knowing all there is to know.  Great business owners evolve.  They fail, they learn, they do better next time.  This is how growth happens.”

5 Ways to Build Stronger Customer Relationships | MASTROIANNI CONSULTING

For most of us, if you are in business, you are in the relationship business.  Good customer relationships are vital.  The more we learn about our customers, the better we are able to meet their needs.  This knowledge, when implemented, allows us to build loyalty and trust.  We hear it all of the time, “People do business with people they know, like and trust.”  The true benefit of good customer relationships is, once earned, they often generate repeat business and referrals.

In honor of National Get to Know Your Customers Day on Thursday, Jan. 18, we took a look at five simple ways you can get to know your customers better.

  1.  Ask for their input:  People will usually tell you what you want to know if you ask them.  You can do this in person, or you can conduct surveys to collect standardized responses. Your questions can range from simple requests for updated contact info to in-depth evaluations of their customer experience.
  2. Request reviews, then follow up:  Reviews help potential customers make informed decisions.  They also present an opportunity to strengthen relationships with your existing clients.  The key is to follow up on every review, both positive and negative.  Doing so, gives you the opportunity to reinforce the customer experience, identify clients who are likely to recommend you, and convert dissatisfied customers into happy customers.
  3. Make it about them:  Let your clients know they’re not just another number by setting aside time to check in periodically, either in person or with a phone call. Find out what they are up to.  If their goals have changed, ask if there’s an opportunity for you to help.  Then, use automated email marketing to supplement the time between conversations.
  4. Seek out data:  While you can learn a lot about your customers from one-on-one conversations, data can help you delve deeper to understand their preferences.  Use your own data (if you have it), or purchase aggregated data to uncover psychographic, behavioral, demographic, or geographic information.  Data will give you insight into the types of customers you should focus on, making it easier for you to convert more leads.
  5. Utilize a CRM:  The more you get to know your customers, the more you’ll need a centralized location to store the information.  Use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to maintain individual customer profiles, track purchase and referral history, record communication preferences, and set follow-up reminders. For example, if your client just bought a house or had a baby, a CRM can remind you of these important life milestones, which is information you can use to have more personalized and productive conversations about your services.

These tips, when implemented, will assist you to build better, stronger and more successful relationships.

Source:  Adapted article Spark | Stifel Bank & Trust

Mastroianni Consulting can help you strengthen your customer relationships and close more business.   Team up with us and watch your real estate business grow!

17 Time Management Tips (Infographic) | Mastroianni Consulting

As there are only 168 hours in each week, managing what we do with our time is key to living a balanced and productive life.  Check out these 17 tips to manage your time and become more productive.

Realtors, Mastroianni Consulting is here to help you manage your 80% so that you can focus on your 20%.  Team up with us….

#2019TeamUpWithUs  #MastroianniConsultingIsHereToHelp

Other articles that may interest you:  Tips To Improve Your Productivity | MASTROIANNI CONSULTING
The Importance Of Professional Networking | Mastroianni Consulting
Highest and Best Use of Time | Mastroianni Consulting

REAL ESTATE CONTRACT CHANGES | Mastroianni Consulting

EFFECTIVE JANUARY 01, 2018

Both St Louis Association of Realtors and Missouri Association of Realtors introduced updated real estate contracts effective 01/01/2018. The purpose for these changes is to keep pace with legal and technological requirements/advancements.

Taking a look at the changes for the St Louis forms:

Key Changes:

• The Listing Contract (LC), Residential Sales Contract (RSC) and Special Sales Contract (SSC) now have the following verbiage added: “The text of this form may not be altered in any manner without written acknowledgement of all parties.” This is to prevent ‘doctoring’ of the contracts with PDF Writers that can mimic the typeface and size and language. Any and all changes must be initialed by all parties.

• The Listing Contract also now includes verbiage addressing Foreign Investment (FIRPTA). The seller needs to declare he/she is not a foreign person.

• The Residential Sales Contract Paragraph 2 Inclusions and Exclusions has been updated to address fixtures removing the wording “such as flat screen tv’s” and replacing it with electronic equipment in the introduction of the section. There are also changes to the itemized items for the purpose of clarification.

• RSC & SSC Paragraph 3 includes clarification for Earnest Money. When completing the form, the agent needs to check a box that he/she physically has the check or it will be sent to the escrow agent.

• RSC & SSC Paragraph 4 Method of Finance now includes a dedicated section for Seller Paid Closing Costs. No need to use the Special Agreements any more.

• RSC & SSC Paragraph 5 Closing and Possession clarifies possession and the exchange of keys with a check box for closing or a time and date “but in no event prior to Closing as defined above…..”

• RSC Paragraph 7 is now a Franchise Disclosure.

• RSC Paragraph 9 & SSC Paragraph 8 Adjustments and Closing Costs now includes wire protection letter costs.

• RSC Paragraph 16 & SSC Paragraph 11 now called Miscellaneous Provision and combines the previous sections relating to Time is of the Essence, Binding Effect, Governing Law and Entire Agreement.

• RSC Paragraph 17 & SSC Paragraph 14 renamed Foreign Investment (FIRPTA). Seller confirms he/she is not a foreign person…

• RSC Paragraph 22 & SSC Paragraph 19 renamed Square Footage Disclosure. “Broker is not an expert….”

• RSC Paragraph 23 & SSC Paragraph 21 renamed Relationship & Communications Disclosures. Providing greater detail as to Licensee Personal Interest Disclosure.

• Both Residential and Special Sales Contracts now have a requirement for all parties to initial the bottom of each page with the exception of the respective last pages.

• For standardization purposes, the additional verbiage added to address Licensee Personal Interest Disclosure have been included in the Relationship Disclosure Addendums.

As a reminder, it is a violation of Missouri law to use forms for which the approval has been withdrawn. The association will not defend the use of withdrawn forms. Generally, E&O insurance policies require the use of approved forms.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your Client Care Specialists with Mastroianni Consulting at
(636) 220-7830 or clientcare@mastroianniconsulting.com