How to Stay Healthy in a Work From Home Environment

Stop for a second and think about what you did last week. 

You consistently answered your ever-ringing cell phone, you responded to hundreds of emails, you perfected your virtual meetings backdrop to make the corner of your bedroom or home office look as professional as possible, you edited and posted half a dozen video tours of your open listings, and learned how to navigate several online office platforms to keep communications open between you, your clients, escrow officers, your broker, and other real estate agents. You’re self-employed. Busy doesn’t even begin to describe your day-to-day routine. You’re probably pounding the coffee or chugging those energy drinks just to make it to lunch. You yawn all day to toss and turn all night. Before you know it, you’re losing your edge, your motivation, your drive to win the day. You love your job but something’s gotta give. Thankfully there are a few things you can do that will not only to up your game but help you regain some of that sanity you may have lost along the way.

Sleep

Your body needs sleep. It’s a scientific fact. Memory loss, slowed reaction time, crankiness, irritability, reduced motivation, distractibility, weight gain… sound familiar? These are all side effects of both sleep deprivation (not getting enough sleep) and sleep fragmentation (not getting quality sleep)1. When it comes to sleep, quantity and quality matter. Want to sleep better? Here are a few tips: Spend some time outside during the day. Soaking in the sun helps balance your body’s circadian rhythms and helps you fall asleep faster once the sun goes down and helps you stay asleep until it comes back up. After lunchtime, opt for a decaf coffee or herbal tea. Better yet, drink water. Hydrating your body and avoiding that afternoon caffeine can help regulate your metabolism which helps improve the quality of your sleep. Have a bedtime routine. Every night, around the same time, take a shower or a bath, wash your face, brush your teeth, put on that lotion and then crawl into bed. Better yet, you choose the nighttime activities. Make up your own routine, but once you have one picked out, stick to it. Just like it helps our kids fall asleep when we give them a bath, read them a book, sing a song and say “I love you” as we turn out the lights, adults benefit from bedtime routines as well. After a while, you’ll find that once you start your routine, your body will key into the fact that it’s bedtime and you should be able to fall asleep faster.

Exercise

You don’t need a gym membership to reap the benefits of exercise. 30 minutes of a brisk walking 4-5 times a week can improve your mood, help regulate your metabolism, and increase your stamina2. If you have the time, try some strength training as well. Yoga, pilates, and low-intensity weight training are all processes that stimulate your muscles in a way that encourages continued toning, calorie burning, and protein absorption even after you’re done with your workout3. After all of these activities help regulate your metabolism and your hormones which help to improve your mood, increase your energy levels, and even help you sleep better.

Mindfulness

You may have heard of mindfulness. It’s a modern take on meditation that’s been shown to improve your mood and lower anxiety while increasing focus and awareness4. The main objective is to spend about five to 10 minutes a day in a calm, quiet space, being present and focusing on your breathing. Essentially, mindfulness is about being aware of your thoughts. While there are some apps out there that advertise mindfulness training, you can try it on your own by turning on some soft music, or sitting in a quiet room, closing your eyes, taking deep breaths and focusing on your thoughts. The benefit comes from directing those thoughts. Write down your personal goals on a worksheet like our free Personal Evaluation  and when you close your eyes, picture what it would take to reach those goals. Think about how it would feel to be successful. Imagine yourself sitting on a throne of accomplishment. Now breathe out. Taking a few moments everyday to be still and focus on a few directed thoughts, getting some exercise a few times a week, and working to improve your sleep can help you maintain during those busy days, excel during work hours, and get you that much closer to where you want to be. 1Pilcher, J. J., & Huffcutt, A. I. (1996). Effects of sleep deprivation on performance: a meta-analysis. Sleep, 19(4), 318-326. 2Morris, J. N., & Hardman, A. E. (1997). Walking to health. Sports medicine, 23(5), 306-332. 3Mindfully, L., Lifestyle, H., Eating, H., & Better, L. (2020, February). Pilates: 9 Longevity Benefits of This Physical Workout. In Pie (No. 1/383). 4Schreiner, I., & Malcolm, J. P. (2008). The benefits of mindfulness meditation: Changes in emotional states of depression, anxiety, and stress. Behaviour Change, 25(3), 156-168.

Part 1: Build Strong Relationships

It’s easy to think about everything we can’t do right now with the COVID-19 shutdown. Take this opportunity to pivot your business to come out stronger once the shutdown is over. Right now it is more important than ever to keep in contact with prospects and customers. To help you during this time of uncertainty, we invite you to join us on a multi-part series featuring different partners, each offering different suggestions that will help you find ways to set your business up for success. This special series beings with Dr. Billy Williams, a mentor, and influencer from Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring. Dr. Williams has created a list of what insurance agencies need to be doing right now during the COVID-19 pandemic. One-point Dr.Williams suggests is to “prospect, prospect, prospect! Pick up the phone and call… You may be asking why is this important? Right now with so much uncertainty in the economy people are looking for ways to save money, and you could provide a plan that helps them do that! Remember that once the slowdown ends, your prospects will keep you top-of-mind when they are ready to make the switch. What to know what else is on Dr. Williams’s lists? Check it out here! For 70 years, Cole has been right alongside businesses and we stay committed to empowering you through our data-technology to put your business in the best position forward!

Part 1: Don’t Stop Prospecting, Double Down!

As a small business, it is essential to evaluate your business plan. What are you doing right now to pivot your business for success? To help you during this time of uncertainty, we invite you to join us on a multi-part series featuring different partners, each offering different suggestions that will help you find ways to set your business up for success. Let’s being with Sam Taggart of D2D Experts, who has become one of the top influencers in the home service industry. Taggart has become an important industry leader because of the first-hand experience, guidance and motivation he offers when he teaches. Taggart did a recent podcast with our very own Greg Elsberry. Together they unpack the best strategies that small businesses can be deploying right now and how to execute those strategies. Elsberry and Taggart lay out a strategy of “7 Doors To Knock.” This sounds like a lot but this is something that as a small business you can execute during a tough market. For 70 years, Cole has been right alongside businesses and we stay committed to empowering you through our data-technology to put your business in the best position forward!

Winter-Proofing Your Landscaping Business Starts Now

The casual observer might assume that the hardest part of your job is long, hot summer days.

And while those days break a sweat, sometimes the more difficult part of owning a landscaping business is facing the uncertainty of winter. Spring has arrived. Your workers are able to get outside. Fall and winter probably aren’t at the forefront of your mind right now, but here’s why they should be. Downtimes for seasonal services are difficult. By planning now and building off-season services into your current offerings, you can keep more of your customers year-around and level off the seasonal slowdown. With the uncertainty of this year especially, you might find that your busy season isn’t ramping up as quickly as you were counting on. If that’s the case, make use of this time to make plans to reach new customers and build new services. According to the Small Business Association1, planning ahead helps you guide your business in the direction you want to go as you grow. Don’t get caught off guard and don’t get caught in a slump. Make a plan for what you want the whole year to look like and then make it happen. Consider these additional services that will keep your clients happy and help keep your business from stagnating during the winter months.

Freeze wrapping

After all of your hard work creating beautiful landscaping, it would be a shame for the winter to wreck it all. Who knows better than you what winter care is needed for everything you’ve planted? Offer your landscaping customers wrapping services for freeze warnings. This extra step and letting your customers stay in during the cold will keep them happy all year.

Salting and snow blowing

Similar to helping customers prepare for freezes, salting and snow blowing keep them warm inside and keep you busy when outdoor work is at a minimum. During a snowy winter, you could end up with nearly as much business as you have in the summer.

Holiday lights

This is the perfect out of season service to offer! Nothing says the holidays like lights twinkling on trees and bushes and from the eaves. You already have the necessary ladders. Build this into the services you offer existing clients, and then their neighbors, and watch your off-season business grow quickly

Make a Plan

Whether you’re thinking about how to winter-proof your business or cope with the COVID-19 crisis, our free Business Plan Health Check will help you figure out where there are opportunities to grow! Download it today! 1https://www.sba.gov/blog/5-reasons-you-need-business-plan

Cole Neighborhoods FAQ

Cole Neighborhoods has become an industry leader fueling hyper-local marketing across the country. You can build prospects based on your best customers or pick an area of town that you want to start connecting with. Here are some frequently asked questions, to help you get started! Where does our information come from and how often is it updated? Our information is updated every 30 days and is compiled from various public records such as real estate transactions, assessor information, and census data. To learn more about where we get our data visit:www.coleinformation.com/our-data/ What is Cole Community? Cole Community is our blog that gets updated with industry-relevant topics, videos, and downloadable content. Click here to check out Cole Community. What are your hours? Cole is open Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm CST. We can be reached at 800-800-3271 option 2 or drop us an email at yoursuccess@coleinformation.com How do I log in? To login to Cole Neighborhoods, visit www.coleneighborhoods.com How do I cancel my subscription? Please call our customer service team at 800-800-3271 option 2 or drop us an email at yoursuccess@coleinformation.com How do I know when my subscription expires? To ensure uninterrupted service, your subscription renews automatically. To know when your account renews, log in to Cole Neighborhoods and click on my account. If you have any questions call our customer service team at 800-800-3271 option 2 or drop us an email at yoursuccess@coleinformation.com What is a Neighbor Search? This allows you to prospect to an entire neighborhood What is Aerial View? This gives you a bird’s eye view of the neighborhood and allows you to pinpoint household details each time you click on a home. I am searching for a record and get no results. What am I doing wrong? Remember “less is more” and only enter the required fields. Try removing unnecessary words like street, court, plaza or lane. What is the difference between all records/ mailing/ telemarketing? All records provide all the information in our database. Mailing provides you with the highest deliverability based on USPS. Telemarketing provides individuals and phone numbers that are not on the DNC. I can’t find an address in your database. Why is someone else’s information on my address? The most common reason for this is the record holder has asked to be removed from the database or we are not able to verify the record information. I forgot to save a file. How do I find that file? Log into your account and click on “My Account” and look under recent downloads. We only save searches for two weeks, so if the search is older than two weeks it will not show up. How many records can I search for or export at one time? If your search exceeds 1,500 records, we can only display up to 10,000 records at a time. Depending on your subscription level you can download only so many records at once. The starter subscription has a cap of 2,000 record downloads per month. The pro subscription has unlimited downloads per month. There is a cap of downloading 1,500 records at once, but you can download all of your searches by selecting pages and downloading 1-5, 6-10, etc. until you get all of your records. Please reach out to our customer service team at 800-800-3271 option 2 (M-F 8 am-5 pm CST) if you have any more questions!  

Finding Your Dream Team

Have you found yourself saying one of these…

“Good help is hard to come by.” Or… “Kids these days don’t want to work.” We’ve all worked with people who completely justify these complaints.But we’ve also all seen workers whoo absolutely defy stereotypes – the dream workers who go above and beyond. So how do you attract more dream workers and fewer duds? Believe it or not, it all starts with you and the job posting you put out.

The Posting

Does it sometimes feel like the dream workers never even apply to work for you? Your job listing might be driving them away. Dream workers are very accustomed to reading between the lines. If your listing says … “hard workers only.” Potential employees hear … “difficult to please the boss.” The reality is, the need for hard workers is implied by the fact that you’re hiring in the first place. No one is hiring slackers on purpose, but you may be getting them accidentally by driving away good employees. Instead try, “opportunities for advancement.” This shows that hard work will be rewarded and can attract the kind of people you’re looking for. If your listing says … “always on time” Potential employees hear … “rigid, uncompassionate environment.” Timeliness is an important quality in an employee. But life happens and if employees feel like they’ll never be extended understanding, they’ll quit before you even hire them. Instead, express the importance of arriving on time during the interview, and use the potential hire’s timeliness for the interview to gauge if this is probably an area where they excel or not.

Set Expectations

List what you’re really looking for. According to ZipRecruiter, your listing can get overlooked if you fail to strike the balance between too specific and too general. Give employees an overview of what their day might look like. You want to attract the employees who can see themselves in that job.

Be Competitive

Offer competitive pay. This isn’t always easy, depending on the season, but landing those big jobs you dream of requires good employees to help you get the job done. They deserve to be compensated for the valuable role they play in your business, and the good ones know it. People need to know that in a business where not even the dirt is treated like dirt. Workers thrive on a sense of purpose and accomplishment, and that’s hard to foster in an environment where they feel disrespected.

Is Your Business Healthy?

With everybody thinking about their “essential” and “non-essential” employees right now, there’s no better time to make sure your business and team are healthy. Download our free Business Plan Health Check so you can assess how your team and other areas of your business are doing! 1https://www.ziprecruiter.com/blog/6-crucial-things-every-job-posting-must-include/

Cole Realty Resource FAQ

Cole Realty Resource has become an industry leader fueling hyper-local real estate marketing across the country. You can build prospects based on your best customers or pick an area of town you want to start connecting with. Here are some frequently asked questions, to help you get started! Where does your information come from and how often is it updated? Our information is updated every 30 days and is compiled from various public records such as real estate transactions, assessor information, and census data. To learn more where we get our data visit: www.coleinformation.com/our-data/ What is Cole Community?  Cole Community is our blog that gets updated with industry-relevant topics, videos, and downloadable content. Click here to check out Cole Community. How do I log in to Cole Realty Resource? To login to Cole Realty Resource, visit www.colerealtyresource.com How many people can log in at one time? It depends on the license you’ve bought. A single-seat license is for one user. For a multi-seat license, each user gets their own login credentials. What are your hours? Cole is open Monday-Friday from 8 am-5 pm CST. We can be reached at 800-800-3271 option 2 or drop us an email at yoursuccess@coleinformation.com How do I cancel my subscription? Please call our customer service team at 800-800-3271 option 2 or drop us an email at yoursuccess@coleinformation.com To learn more about your subscription visit: www.colerealtyresource.com/user-agreement/ How do I know when my subscription expires? To ensure uninterrupted service, your subscription will renew automatically. To know when your account renews, log in to Cole Realty Resource and click on my account. If you have any questions call our customer service team at 800-800-3271 option 2 or drop us an email at yoursuccess@coleinformation.com What is Retriever? Retriever is a bulk data append service that will fetch you the most current name, landline, cell phone and email from Cole Information’s trusted national database. Features include: – Capture contact information of expired listings. – Bulk append missing contact information. – Provide contact information of absentee owners across the country. – Find missing information for partial leads. I am searching for a record and get no results. What am I doing wrong? Remember “less is more” and only enter the required fields. Try removing unnecessary words like street, court, plaza or lane. What is the difference between all records/mailing/telemarketing? All records provide all the information in our database. Mailing provides you with the highest deliverability based on USPS. Telemarketing provides individuals and phone numbers that are not on the DNC. I can’t find an address in your database. Why is someone else’s information on my address? The most common reason for this is the record holder has asked to be removed from the database or we are not able to verify the record information. What is the difference between all records/mailing/telemarketing? All records provide all the information in our database. Mailing provides you with the highest deliverability based on USPS. Telemarketing provides individuals and phone numbers that are not on the DNC. I can’t find an address in your database. Why is someone else’s information on my address? The most common reason for this is the record holder has asked to be removed from the database or we are not able to verify the record information. I forgot to save a file. How do I find that file? Log into your account and click on “My Account” and look under recent downloads. We only save searches for two weeks, so if the search is older than two weeks it will not show up. How many records can I search for or export at one time? If your search exceeds 1,500 records, we can only display up to 10,000 records at a time. Depending on your subscription level you can download only so many records at once. The starter subscription has a cap of 2,000 record downloads per month. The pro subscription has unlimited downloads per month. There is a cap of downloading 1,500 records at once, but you can download all of your searches by selecting pages and downloading 1-5, 6-10, etc. until you get all of your records. Please reach out to our customer service team at 800-800-3271 option 2 (M-F 8 am- 5pm CST) if you have any more questions!

How to Sell Home Services in a Tough Economy

A tough economy is not a new economy.

The market constantly fluctuates which means it can be difficult to know what’s next. However, it also means that we can take advantage of the past to prepare for the future. As someone who provides valuable home services, what can you do to improve your staying  power, expand your reach, and prepare for the future?

Keep Your Funnel Full

Having a large sales funnel filled with a variety of potential clients means that business can still flow while consumers take their time to make a decision. Economic uncertainties can sometimes mean a slower sales cycle, making it all the more important to maintain a constant intake of potential and current clients. So, how do you keep your sales funnel full? Prospect. Send out those postcards, make those phone calls, and knock on those doors. Your sales funnel can expand as much as you need it to so cast a wide net and capture as many potential clients as possible.

Get an Early Yes

A changing market means that you may have to rethink some of your strategies. Customers may be inclined to hold their wallets close making it difficult to close the deal. By adjusting your approach, you may be able to get an early yes, securing a new client who has the potential to grow into a loyal customer. Existing customers are cheaper to sell than new customers. In fact, new customers cost up to five times more than working with an existing client2. Getting an early yes with a discounted product or inexpensive starter package and then providing reliable and empathetic customer service, gives you a better chance to sell them on bigger items in the future3.

Add Value

Go the extra mile for your prospects. Find out how a new roof can affect their homeowners insurance. Some insurance companies show a decrease in premiums if their roofs are outfitted with regional safety precautions like hurricane strappings or waterproofing4. Check into local electricity rates and see how the installation of solar panels can change their bills. Know who you are selling to and provide concrete examples. Someone living in a 2200 square-foot home will not have the same electricity bill as someone living in a two-bedroom 1200-square foot house. They may both benefit from going solar but you need to show them exactly what that benefit will look like for them. Insurance companies love a good paper trail. Offer to take pictures and document the process of installing that roof or putting in those panels so that your client has something tangible to present to their insurance agent when they want to make a claim5. By creating a larger funnel, working on that early yes, and adding value to your service, you can work toward increasing your ability to weather any storm and be prepared for the market no matter what state you might find it in.

Get Healthy

A tough economy is a great time to look in the mirror. Do you have the right product for the right audience? Are your marketing and team on point? Download our FREE Business Plan Health Check to find easy places to tune up your business so you’re in fighting shape to sell into this tough economy.   1Mindfully, L., Lifestyle, H., Eating, H., & Better, L. (2020, February). Pilates: 9 Longevity Benefits of This Physical Workout. In Pie (No. 1/383). 2https://www.outboundengine.com/blog/customer-retention-marketing-vs-customer-acquisition-marketing/ 3Leninkumar, V. (2016). The Effect of Service Quality on Customer Loyalty. European Journal of Business and Management, 8(33), 44-49. 4https://www.everquote.com/blog/home-insurance/roof_homeowners_insurance/ 5https://quotewizard.com/home-insurance/how-your-roof-impacts-homeowners-rates  

Part 1: How to be proactive

To help you during this time, we are inviting you to join us on a multi-part series featuring some of the top real estate minds. Offering suggestions that will help you survive in this challenging market. Right now, it is essential to evaluate your business plan. What are you going to do right now to pivot your agency for success? We are going to begin our series with top Real Estate Coach Mike Ferry. In this video Ferry covers many questions that agents are asking in this current market. One question he answers is “What can I do for the next 30-60 days to make sure that I’m going to be heavily involved in this marketplace?” Remember you’ve got this, and you will come out stronger. Keep these two points in mind moving forward:
  1. Other agents may not have all of the same resources or are waiting to see if the economy picks up.
  2. Working from home has become the new normal for more people.
Use this time to your advantage and start making connections today, so when the buyer is ready to sell, it’s your name they remember and when they are ready to make the big move, they come to you. For 70 years, Cole has been right alongside businesses and we are committed to empowering you through our data-technology to put your business in the best position!

Cole X-Dates FAQ

Cole X-Dates has become an industry leader fueling hyper-local insurance marketing across the country. You can build prospects based on your best customers or pick an area of town that you want to start connecting with. Here are some frequently asked questions, to help you get started! What is an X-Date? X-Dates are confirmed homeowners who have an expiring homeowner’s policy based on the purchase date of their home. Where does our information come from and how often is it updated? Our information is updated every 30 days and is complied from various public records such as real estate transactions, assessor information, and census data. To learn more about where we get our data visit: www.coleinformation.com/our-data/ What is Cole Community? Cole Community is our blog that gets updated with industry-relevant topics, videos, and downloadable content. Click here to check out Cole Community. How do I log in? To login to Cole X-Dates, visit www.colexdates.com How many people can log in at one time? It depends on the license you’ve bought. A single-seat license is for one user. For a multi-seat license, each user gets their own login credentials. What are your hours? Cole is open Monday-Friday from 8 am-5 pm CST. We can be reached at 800-800-3271 option 2 or drops us an email at yoursuccess@coleinformation.com How do I cancel my subscription? Please call our customer service team at 800-800-3271 option 2 or drop us an email at yoursuccess@coleinformation.com To learn more about your subscription visit:www.colexdates.com/user-agreement/   How do I know when my subscription expires? To ensure uninterrupted service, your subscription will renew automatically. To know when your account renews, log in to Cole X-Dates and click on my account. If you have any questions call our customer service team at 800-800-3271 option 2 or drop us an email at: yoursuccess@coleinformation.com What is Multi-Line Search? This search targets confirmed homeowners who have two or more adults living in the household. How do I use the Referral Search? With the referral tab, you can enter your current customer information and target similar customers based on street or radius search. What is Age Search? With this search, you can prospect based on a product or service you offer. This type of search is most commonly used by agents who sell life or health insurance, policies, annuities, long-term care insurance policies or Medicare supplements. I am searching for a record and get no results. What am I doing wrong? Remember “less is more” and only enter the required fields. Try removing unnecessary words like street, court, plaza or lane. What is the difference between all records/ mailing/ telemarketing? All records provide all the information in our database. Mailing provides you with the highest deliverability based on USPS. Telemarketing provides individuals and phone numbers that are not on the DNC. I can’t find an address in your database. Why is someone else’s information on my address? The most common reason for this is the record holder has asked to be removed from the database or we are not able to verify the record information. I forgot to save a file. How do I find that file? Log into your account and click on “My Account” and look under recent downloads. We only save searches for two weeks, so if the search is older than two weeks it will not show up. How many records can I search for or export at one time If your search exceeds 1,500 records, we can only display up to 10,000 records at a time. Depending on your subscription level you can download only so many records at once. The starter subscription has a cap of 2,000 record downloads per month. The pro subscription has unlimited downloads per month. There is a cap of downloading 1,500 records at once, but you can download all of your searches by selecting pages and downloading 1-5, 6-10, etc. until you get all of your records. Please reach out to our customer service team at 800-800-3271 option 2 (M-F 8 am-5 pm CST) if you have any more questions!