Suslick Step's
You're going to kill it today. High five!

Jul
25

Email marketing statistics and best practices vary greatly from one industry to the next. Each industry targets a different audience, and each report analyzes a distinct segment of the population. While there may not be a universal set of best practices, you can identify benchmarks that will guide you down the path to success.

CoffeePour

Here are four key elements to consider when analyzing your email marketing strategy.

Open Rates
Groundbreaking content means nothing if no one is opening your emails. So what is a good open rate?

  • Constant Contact reports an average of 18 percent across all industries.
  • Optinmonster says between 20 and 25 percent.
  • MailChimp shows an average of approximately 22 percent specifically for the real estate industry.

Bonus stat: According to Movable Ink, 63 percent of all emails are opened on smartphones and tablets, so keep your emails mobile-friendly!

Click-Through Rates
Not every email is designed to generate a click-through response, and average click-through rates will vary based on your calls to action. According to Epsilon, industries see a range of 2.6 percent to 6.4 percent on average. If you’re ranking considerably lower, it may be time to re-evaluate your strategy.

Subject Line Length
Statistics on subject line length vary:

  • According to Inc.com, subject lines with six to 10 words (or approximately 50 characters) score the highest open rates with 21 percent.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, Email Audience has found subject lines with more than 80 characters, especially those in the 100-character range, perform best. They reported a 115 percent increase in open rates compared to those with shorter subject lines.

These two results show that it’s a good idea to test subject line lengths with your audience to see what gives you the best results.

Send Day and Time
Which day and time will yield the best results for email marketing?

  • Thursdays between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. (WordStream)
  • Saturdays and Sundays between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. (Experian)
  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (MailChimp)

The tricks to email marketing are running tests, comparing the numbers and getting to know what appeals to your unique audience.

Read more details about best practices on the OutboundEngine blog.

Jul
25

Finish Strong

OutboundEngine recently surveyed 500 real estate agents. One of the survey questions was: Of your past clients, what percentage sends you referral business? A majority of agents reported that less than 20 percent of their past clients send them referrals.

In a recent National Association of Realtors survey, 88 percent of respondents said that referrals were “very important.” An additional 8 percent said they were “important” for generating leads, for a total of 96 percent.

If referrals are so important, but only 20 percent of past clients send referrals on average, what are some steps you can take to increase this critical segment of your business?

Problem 1: Client Loss Due to Attrition
Real estate agents typically lose 20 percent of their clients annually. The number one reason cited for this loss was a failure to stay in touch.

Solution: Stay in contact! Have a multi-touch approach to reaching your past clients on a regular basis through email, social and web.Email consistently ranks as the single most effective channel for awareness, acquisition, conversion and retention and is a great place to start.

Problem 2: Spending Marketing Dollars on the Wrong Audience
When it comes to referrals, it’s your past clients sending you business. So marketing to strangers on sites like Trulia or Zillow (or sending out flyers) may result in new leads, but will not result in referrals who are more likely to follow through with a sale.

Solution: To increase referrals, spend at least some of your marketing dollars on your existing client base. Did you know that it’s six to seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one? Focus inward to grow your business outward.

Problem 3: Right Audience, Wrong Message
Even with the right audience in mind, you need to make sure that your multi-touch communications are not annoying or irrelevant (that’s how you get deleted, ignored or worse, sent to spam folders).

Solution: Content marketing generates three times more leads than traditional marketing and is a way to communicate with your audience that offers them information that they want to read.

Read the remaining two problems and solutions on the OutboundEngine blog.

Jul
25

Dale’s Story!!!

Sunset Palm

“To be successful in real estate, you must always and consistently put your clients’ best interests first. When you do, your personal needs will be realized beyond your greatest expectations.” -A. Hitt.

Dale Suslick remembers the day well, a cold, winter day in 2008. He was in the basement of his home, calculating his losses. The businesses that he created were losing money left and right. In one short year, he had burned hard through the money, to the tune of one million dollars. That’s right-a one, followed by six zeroes.

Before the hard downfall, Dale started out down the small business path in 1997 by opening a tanning salon, the Madison Tanning Company. He grew his business into a four-million dollar a year operation, with twelve locations and 146 employees. By 2006, business was steady, but Dale wanted to diversify and expand his income. “I went to my children and asked, ‘What kind of business should Dad own,'” said Dale. “They came up with the idea of owning a inflatable bouncers to rent out for parties.” That business lost money in the winter time- you can’t bounce outdoors in frozen Wisconsin- so Dale once again turned to his kids for ideas. Paws and Claws (think, Build-A-Bear) was born, to the tune of a $250,000 loan from the bank. And to keep the inflatables up and running during the winter, Dale opened an indoor facility and hosted parties. The banks were quite loose with their regulations back then and Dale was able to borrow 500,000 for that business.

A year later, he was losing 20,000 a month. “I never thought I would lose money,” said Dale. “I had done everything successfully up to that point- I was a professional water skier, had won political elections, and I was running a successful business.”

Anxiety, stress, and fear began to take over.

“Until that time in my life, I didn’t have challenges. I was a King Midas-everything went well,” Dale explained. “This was the first time in my life that things were beyond my control. No matter how hard I worked, nothing was working. I was going further and further into a dark, deep hole- more money, more time, more energy- and I kept losing money For someone who had a lot of confidence and thought highly of myself – this was my world collapsing. With that failure, my status in the community was destroyed and my marriage felt like it was going to be destroyed.”

Dale’s heart was hammering when he poured out the news to Robin. Deep down, he was afraid she would leave him and take the kids with her. He held his breath waiting for her response. To his surprise, his wife turned out to be a much stronger woman than he ever anticipated. “Dale, the way I see it, you’ve got three options,” Robin said. “You can either go sit in that corner, curl up in the fetal position, and cry. Or you can build yourself a back-to-the-future DeLorean car and go back in time and make some better choices… or you can tighten your belt and clean up the mess.”

Faith is what got them through. That, and divine intervention. A month later, Dale shared his situation with his brother-in-law. “You need a dollar behind everything you spend,” he said. And that’s when he introduced him to Dave Ramsey, author of Financial Peace and Total Money Makeover – a man with a heart for helping people with financial matters. Dale and Robin signed up for Financial Peace University and began paying off their debt. “It took you fifteen years to get in this mess, it will take time to clean it up,” Dave Ramsey told them. “Be the turtle. Slow and steady always wins.”

“I’ll be the turtle with my tail on fire,” Dale responded. He was determined to clean up his mess as fast as he could.

There was a watershed moment when Dale found himself outside his lake home at three a.m. trying to work off some of the stress and anxiety with stretches and meditation. He walked out to the end of the pier and looked across the water. There were no clouds in the sky and in the distance, the lights from the Wisconsin capital reflected across the glass calm water. “I prayed. I asked for guidance on what I could do that day to get through the day and recover from the mess I made,” said Dale.

What was the worse that could happen? They could lose everything and move to an apartment. Would that be so bad? That’s how they started out when they first got married- and those were happy times. Stripped of everything, they would still have the most important things of all: faith, family, and friendships. Dale left the pier with an overwhelming sense of peace.

“I no longer cared what other people thought, it didn’t matter,” said Dale.

Looking back, Dale likens the whole experience to a forest fire. “Everything was burning-the forest represented everything I thought was important and what the world thinks is important-it was all burning down. I was left, figuratively, with third-degree burns. Out of the blackness comes new growth, but you can’t force that growth to happen, it happens at its own pace. I couldn’t have done it without my faith.”

Dale has paid off the majority of his debt and has experienced tremendous growth in all areas of his life. Dale now pays it forward and helps other families and businesses to get out of debt and get on the path of growth. He shares his story and tips at speaking engagements titled: Lessons From the Year I Lost One Million. Dale and Robin have a passion for children and a heart for Both Hands foundation in Tennessee and proceeds from an upcoming book will be donated.

In 2012, Dale sold his Madison based company and moved to Sanibel, Florida (where he obtained his Florida Real Estate License) … beaches filled with sea shells, an ocean filled with dolphins, and days filled with sunshine warmth … many of you have likely visited or heard of Sanibel. Proving God’s providence overrides even the best human wisdom, planning, and desire for year-round sunshine, Dale and his family were called back to Madison in time for Christmas 2013 i.e. Happy Wisconsin winter!

Bowman's Beach, Sanibel Island, Florida.

Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island, Florida.

Answering what Dale and Robin discern as a calling, Dale finished his studies at Liberty University in 2013 and currently is attending Seminary for a Masters of Divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. In early 2014, Dale served as Pastoral Intern at High Point Church, facilitating Financial Peace University, speaking to the students at High Point and Abundant Life Christian Schools during Chapel, substitute teaching, running track practices, and guest preaching at area churches.

The adventure continued as 2014 unfolded … Dale served as Director of Ministry, Coordination, and Activation at Living Water Church in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, as Marketing Director for Madison Christian Schools, and operated a market place business conducting leadership coaching for leaders, teams, and people.

2015 brought a new opportunity to lead Keller Williams Madison East | Monona as CEO | Team Lead. Today, you will find Dale in the office and real estate community working with leaders, teams, and people to build careers worth having, businesses worth owning, and lives worth living.

“Bad things can happen to anyone,” said Dale. “It’s what you do and learn from that bad thing-that’s what counts.”

Jul
07

BirdsSunset

For what will it profit them to gain the world and give up their life?

“Jobs are what people do for a living, many of them for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, minus vacations, for most of their lives. It is tragic to think how few of them have their hearts in it.

They work mainly for making money enough to enjoy their moments of not working. If not working is the chief pleasure they have, you wonder if they wouldn’t do better just to devote themselves to that from the start.

They would probably end up in bread lines or begging, but, even so, the chances are that they would be happier than they would be pulling down a good salary as a bank teller or dental technician or a supermarket bagger and hating every minute of it.

What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:3)? If people are in it only for the money, the money is all they gain, and when they finally retire, they may well ask themselves if it was worth giving most of their lives for. If they are doing it for its own sake – if they enjoy doing it and the world needs it done – it may help to gain them their own souls.” – Thompson

Feb
07

SunriseGary Keller makes the point in The Millionaire Real Estate Agent that too many real estate agents expect to start earning income before they learn the business of real estate. As one reads this thought imagine how many hands go up to say yes and agreed. The point is ready, aim, fire is always a better practice than ready, fire, aim. Get the ducks in a row before moving the ducks off the shore. Quack. Go and kill it today.

Jan
26

ShellSunset
 

 
1 Simple and Huge Reminder

Listen and take notes.

 
3 goals with People

1. Help others
2. Long term relationships
3. Have fun.

8 Basic Things to Remember in Sales, Parenting, and Life

1. Think you can.
2. Believe you can.
3. WiiFthem; Listen, listen, listen for wants, dreams, desires, needs, risk points.
4. Ask good probing questions to discover how you can best help.
5. Remove risk.
6. Own your results.
7. Gather testimonials.
8. Practice, practice, practice each day as great salesmanship developed over a lifetime, not in a day.

Jan
26

Sunset PalmPeople know you need willpower to finish a college degree, keep up a diet and fitness plan, or parent children, and more. Do you know the actions that cut your willpower?

The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan states it is important to engage one’s hardest and most important tasks when willpower (see below for 11 actions that sap your willpower) is strongest. For example, imagine one has a strength and wish for learning and continuous improvement. For decades they set an alarm and started his or her daily routine at 3, 4, or 5am in the morning. If working on an exciting project they are up at 2am. Learning new things keeps one ready to tackle what comes next in life. Then, when taking on a new accomplishment, the person is ready to focus willpower on what needs to get done.

When I used to own laundromats in Madison, Wisconsin, I would arrive at the laundry at 4am to complete repairs and start the days delivery and drop-off laundry. This way, by the time the doors opened to the self-service customers at 7am, I would have the majority of the wash-dry-fluff-fold items finished. This allowed me to focus on the clients and cleaning through the day. People and cleaning were much more natural for me and required less willpower that hammering out 30 loads of college students laundry or repairing machines.

For some, learning new skills and then putting into practice the new skills gives a rhythm of learning and doing. The One Thing talks of setting up a four-hour block of near daily time to work in the most important task block. In my case, sometimes I need the four-hour priority one thing block of time focused on learning something new. At other times, the four-hour block of priority time will revolve around putting into action the new skill or knowledge. One has to think some people are born not to learn something new, but to put into practice a special skill or practice. Would you think Aaron Rogers needs to learn pass protection blocking? No, Mr. Rogers priority block most certainly revolves around honing his main skill of passing the football and running plays for the Green Bay Packers.

Whether you have super human NFL quarterback skills or are trying to earn enough money to offer for your family of 8, the message is clear. Know those actions that tax your willpower. Define your critical priority tasks. Complete those tasks within the four-hour priority block of time.

11 Actions That Tax Your Willpower

1. Implementing new behaviors.

2. Filtering distractions.

3. Resisting Temptation.

4. Suppressing emotion.

5. Restraining aggression.

6. Taking tests.

7. Trying to impress others.

8. Coping with fear.

9. Doing something you don’t enjoy.

10. Selecting long-term over short-term rewards.

11. Suppressing impulses.

Jul
02

Grab coffee and food at Dale’s garage: Man Time on Wednesday mornings starting from 5:30am … come as you are, anytime, stay for 5 minutes or all morning. No worries.

Food. Fire. Man Cave.
Got a manly vehicle? Show it off here!
Good tunes, strong coffee.

Fishing in the back if you want.

Location: My garage, driveway, and lawn at 1220 Birch Haven Circle, Monona 53716

No pressure, No responsibilities …
Just guys hanging out 5:30-9am.

Apr
27

2013-03-29 16.02.24

I like snow!

There are three reasons I like snow.

The first reason why I like snow is you can have a snowball fight. It is the only time of the year you can throw stuff at each other [Dad note: Whatever. The kids throw and break stuff in and outside of the house year round].

The second reason is because you can have hot chocolate. You can have hot chocolate because it is cold outside [In Florida, this is when it is under 75].

The third reason why I like snow is because you can make big things. You can build a house outside [This is possible on the beach or with cardboard boxes].

In conclusion, I like snow.

 

Apr
05

Successful life coaches are excellent at asking questions. This post answers four questions about goals, goal setting, and obstacles in setting goals.

 

1. What is the importance of goal setting in Life Coaching?

Gary Collins says, “Planning can be useful, especially if others are involved” (Collins, 2009, p. 203). Goal setting fuels action, inspires, and is like shooting with a bow and arrow. Goal setting gives you a target to shoot at, something to aim at, and hit. From goals, create action steps. Consistently take action steps over time and to create results. God is in control; however, goal setting gives direction to dreams, visions, and missions (p. 208).

Having goals establishes a plan. Having a plan is smart; not having a plan, not smart. Limited are human plans; however, useful to get you moving (p. 203). Goals give you the target. Without goals, you can want to grow in your faith, have a dynamic marriage, and create financial success; but without goals, people miss the target.

 

2. How does a life coach work with a person to implement a plan to achieve goals?

           

            There are four overlapping steps to successful coaching: Start with becoming aware of the present and the client, focus on the vision for the future, plan, set and reach the goals and deal with obstacles in the way (p. 165). Collins inserts a seven-step goal-setting plan on page 207:

One: Clarify and agree on the desired outcome.

Two: Put goals on paper. It is fine to revise goals.

Garfield via Rapha-chan.

Three: Start with the desired outcomes; work backwards, mutually brainstorming interim goals.

Four: Agree about which of these alternative interim goals you will pursue. Recast each of these as SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and deadlines.

Five: Arrange the agreed-upon goals in order of priority starting from the first and most realistic.

Six: Write down indicators that show when each goal is hit. Do this with at least immediate goals. The others come, as you get closer to the end goal.

Seven: Put this list on paper

Goals need to be planned out, on paper, on purpose and before the day, week or time begins.

 

3. What are some obstacles that the life coach and the client could run into when setting goals?

One difference between successful coaching and failure is the ability to make goals, start, and stick with the plan over time. Adjustments of goals and the plan are important. Pray for wisdom, discernment, and the Holy Spirit to guide (p. 208). Goals not big, hairy; nor audacious (BHAG’s) can lead to failure (p. 209). Coaches who blame, scold, or judge can slow down or stop progress (p. 211). Examples of external barriers to success include distracting life events, no accountability and energy drainers (p. 222). Internal barriers to success include fear, boredom, and no place for God (p. 227).

 

4. What are some ways to overcome these obstacles?

 

            When driving up the mountain of life, massive boulders can block the path. When it happens, slow down, stop if needed, and find a way past the obstacle (p. 230). It is important to recognize obstacles exist. Ask a series of questions to overcome obstacles. Think ahead and ask when are barriers likely to appear? What has worked in the past when a similar situation arose? What things are not going to change (p. 230)? Coaches who are confident, encouraging and allow God to lead can overcome obstacles.

Reference

Collins, G. R. (2009) Christian coaching (2nd ed.). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress

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