What are the great tips from 2014 that can help you have a better year in 2015? Learning to speak “digital,” responding quickly to consumer inquiries, and accomplishing more by working less are great starting places for creating a strong 2015 for your business.

2014 was packed with great ideas that would be smart to implement in 2015. Here are five more of my favorite tips from my columns in 2014.

1. Do you speak digital?
Have you made the shift to “speaking digital”? If not, move this to the top of your 2015 to-do list. Due to the explosion in the use of mobile devices, long, word-laden websites and marketing materials are out. Instead, compelling visual images with a minimal amount of words are what work on all screen sizes. The primary shift to make in all of your marketing is to let pictures and graphics do the heavy lifting.

2. Quick-response marketing strategies
Because millennials hate using the phone, when they do call on one of your listings, it’s like a 911 call — they want a response now. A 2014 realtor.com study of 20,000 agents showed that 25 percent of callers disconnected when they heard a recording. They also disconnected when they heard a menu of choices. As realtor.com’s Max Pigman put it, “Merely saying ‘hello’ triples your conversion rate.”

Pigman recommended the following way to deal with this issue: Buy a prepaid phone and use that number as your real estate hotline for sign calls. If anyone calls on that line, you know they are calling from one of your listings. The beauty of this approach is that if you are going out of town or working with a partner, you can hand off the phone when you take time off.

3. What consumers really want
This sage buyer advice from Hear it Direct bears repeating every time you work with a buyer:

“Don’t send me random listings. Instead, take the time to determine which ones best fit our needs. When we contact you, we have already searched multiple sites to find out as much detail as possible about the properties we want to see. Don’t just tell us what we can already discover online. Instead, help us learn about the lifestyle and what’s special about living in this location.”

4. Where to spend your marketing dollars
The National Association of Realtors’ study on where closed transactions originate had important guidelines about where to spend your marketing dollars in 2015. Its research showed that a whopping 71 percent of all closed seller transactions resulted from “trusted sources” or face-to-face contact. (For sellers, 39 percent found their real estate agent through a friend, neighbor or relative; 25 percent used the agent they used in their previous transaction; and 7 percent were agent, broker or relocation referrals.) The buyer numbers were almost identical with 70 percent of all closed buyer leads coming from a “trusted resource” or face-to-face contact.

Consequently, the best place to spend your marketing dollars in 2015 is on generating leads from your sphere of influence and your past client list. This is especially true for any activity that creates face-to-face contact.

5. Work less, make more
An important issue most real estate professionals face is working too much and taking too little time for themselves. Real estate coach Joeann Fossland at this year’s Awesome Females in Real Estate conference had some sage advice on this issue. She began her session with a quote from Jim Collins:

“Failure is caused by the undisciplined pursuit of more.”

Fossland noted that being a workaholic has been replaced with the mantra of “less is more.” When you give up the pursuit of more, you have more time to pursue the activities you love outside of real estate. You will also have more money as well because you will spend less.

As Arianna Huffington observed in her book “Thrive,” “If we slept more and gave up technology from time to time, scientific research has shown that we would be more successful and more productive.”

A great way to work less and achieve more is to hire a coach. In one of my June articles I outlined seven questions to help you determine whether the coach you are considering hiring is the right coach for you.

The key points from these questions include making sure that the coach is completely focused on what is the best fit for you, that the coach can handle both business and personal issues, and that he or she has the skill set to help you with more than just holding you accountable for achieving your numbers.

The real test to determine if you have found that right coach for you: Did you feel energized and ready to take on the world after your coaching call?

Don’t miss Part 3 to learn more great tips for building your business in 2015.

Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of a three-part series. Read Part 1.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Discover why leading Realtor associations and companies have chosen Bernice’s new and experienced real estate sales training for their agents at www.RealEstateCoach.com/AgentTraining and www.RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.

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