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Want to Generate More Referrals? Plan a Client Party!

By the experts at Buffini & Co.

shutterstock_69309796When you work by referral, your relationships drive your business. In order to build lasting relationships with your clients, it’s important to maintain consistent contact with them. How can you do this? Get face-to-face and voice-to-voice with them! However, communication goes beyond a few phone calls and a Pop-By a month; client parties are a fun way to catch up with several of your favorite clients at once, thank them for their business and ask for referrals.

Show your appreciation

Everyone wants to feel appreciated and your clients are no different. After all, their business and referrals keep you in business! While saying “thank you” is certainly an effective way to express gratitude, it’s important to show them how much they mean to you.

Client parties are an opportunity to express gratitude beyond the spoken word. For Dan and Maria O’Dell, real estate agents from Kansas City, Missouri, client parties have helped them show their appreciation to their existing clients while they grow their database. “We do the events to show our commitment to our clientele,” says Dan.

According to Maria, they started throwing high-end, larger scale client parties a few years ago. “People love them!” says Dan. “We do them well.”

Don’t forget to ask for referrals

While you’re thanking your clients for their business, remember to ask them for referrals. When is the best time to ask? When you’re chatting with them, of course! Take a page from the O’Dells: “We ask for business,” says Dan. “We ask them to connect us with people that they love and care for. The more you receive, the more you can give away, and that’s what we’re about.”

What if you’re an introvert?

Do large groups of people make you break out in hives? You can still host a client party; the key is to keep it small. If you’re more introverted, you may prefer to connect with people one-on-one.  Small parties allow you to focus your attention on your clients, while avoiding the noise and distractions that come with large parties. So, while your extroverted peers are hosting a 500-person bash, invite a few of your top referrers over for an intimate dinner party. You’ll enjoy all of the benefits of a larger party without the stress of entertaining a big group of people.

Now is the time to start planning

Inspired to start planning your next client party? Autumn is the perfect time to host one. Plan a hayride with your favorite clients and their families, an afternoon at a winery with your A+ clients or go all-out with a Halloween-themed party. It doesn’t matter what you do; just make sure it’s fun!

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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Success Tips for the Self-Employed

Being self-employed is the ultimate freedom. You get to be your own boss, set your own schedule and enjoy unlimited income potential. But this sort of flexibility also comes with real risk. With so much responsibility to juggle, how can you stay on track, build your business, and fulfill your potential?

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Here are six tips that will help you lay the foundation for a profitable and rewarding business for years to come, while simultaneously enjoying all the benefits of working for yourself:

Take a Risk and Do it Now

Have you been putting off a project or venture until you have all the answers? The truth is, you will never have all the answers. As inspirational author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, ‘You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.’ What really matters is moving forward so be brave, take that one step that’s required, and start now. It doesn’t have to work out perfectly – you can always refine later.

Create and Stick to your To-Do List

Daily habits are critical to financial success, most especially in how we manage our time. It’s all too easy for hours to slip by answering emails and becoming distracted by social media. To keep on track, create and diligently stick to a to-do list. Schedule appointments and build time blocks for high-priority activities in your daily planner. If you make these tasks non-negotiable, you will consistently achieve your priorities.

Track and Measure

If you have no formula to measure your success then you will have nothing by which to track your progress – or lack of. Write down your business goals, determine what you have to accomplish every day to reach them, and then start consistently tracking. If you don’t then you can easily drift off course.

Get Checks Ahead

In the real estate industry, income can ebb and flow. Bearing this in mind, make it a goal to have three months of business expenses in reserve to give your company some breathing room – and give yourself some peace of mind. By consistently saving, you will always have the resources to hand to navigate the inevitable valleys.

Invest in Yourself

shutterstock_129217481Long-life educational self improvement is critical to success – after all, it’s your skills that pay the bills so it’s important to keep them up to date and fresh. To achieve this, always allocate ten percent of your income to growth opportunities such as business conferences, training programs, business books, etc. This isn’t a waste of valuable resources – it’s a long-term investment in the health of your business.

Pay Yourself a Salary

No one should work for free. Determine what your monthly expenses are and then cut yourself a check for that amount every month. Anything that’s left over should go back into your business.

Follow this step by step plan and working for yourself will no longer be a chore – it will be everything that you ever dreamed it could be!

Download and print the Success Tips for the Self-Employed infographic as a reminder to stay on track with your business goals.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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6 Plumbing Maintenance Checks

Routine maintenance can save homeowners thousands in potential repairs, especially when it comes to plumbing.

shutterstock_93440857There are several steps homeowners can take to check for red flags in their plumbing systems, says Patricia Bonacorda of Spartan Plumbing. She recommends these conducting these six maintenance checks at least once a year.

Lint Trap

It may seem unrelated to the plumbing system, but lint buildup can block the drain of your washing machine if left unattended. Clear your lint trap (typically found on the internal recess of the unit) or hire a plumber to install a wire trap filter to improve drainage.

Supply Hoses

Inspect hoses that connect to appliances, such as your dishwasher, icemaker and washing machine. Look for bulging or other signs of leakage. If you spot a leak, make repairs or replace with a stainless steel hose immediately.

Sinks

Hard water deposits can clog the faucets in your kitchen and bathrooms, reducing energy-efficiency. If you notice mineral buildup, unscrew the screen at the tip of the faucet (the aerator) and soak it in vinegar overnight.

Toilets

Conduct a DIY litmus test by adding a few drops of food coloring to the tanks of toilets in your home. If the water in the bowl changes colors after a half an hour, call a plumber to assess the problem.

Water Heater

Check the thermometer to make sure the temperature is lower than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Increase the longevity of your unit by draining a few gallons of water from the tank to eliminate corrosion-causing sediment.

Sump Pump

If your home’s basement is protected from flooding by a sump pump, test the unit by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. It should activate automatically and shut off when the job’s done. For an added layer of protection, install a flood alarm.

Source: RISMedia’s Housecall

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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