Broker Website Background Images Now Customizable

We always appreciate input and new ideas from our brokers, and, in response to a recent request, we have added another way for franchisees to localize their Help-U-Sell websites. In addition to the five theme options available for all broker websites, we have now added the ability for brokers to upload a custom background image.

Images must be high-quality (at least 1MB in size) and should fade to white at the top and bottom. You can upload your image in OMS by clicking on Setup and then Website in the system. Below “Website Theme,” you will see “Background Image.” Check the box next to those words, and you will be able to choose a file to upload.

Adding a background image to a Help-U-Sell website
How to add a custom background image to your Help-U-Sell website

When selecting an image for your broker website, focus on your area’s most iconic or attractive feature. Help-U-Sell Federal City Realty’s custom background image features the Washington, D.C. skyline.

Help-U-Sell Federal City Realty's background image
Help-U-Sell Federal City Realty's background image

We encourage you to send us your background image so that we can examine it and make any necessary adjustments.

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New Help-U-Sell Corporate Site Updates

Thank you to our franchisees who have offered feedback on the new corporate site, which will launch very soon. We have made updates since our last Connect blog post about the site and are continuing to refine and adjust elements based on your input.

The biggest change is to the search function. We heard from you that you wanted it to be more prominent and easier for people to understand how to use. Our solution has made the search bar itself more visible by giving it a bolder border. We’ve also made it more intuitive to use by adding “Click here to Search for Homes” in the overlay of the search bar and incorporating the “Search Homes” button into the bar. A tutorial video with voiceover by James Dingman is in production and will offer a more detailed explanation of how to make the most out of the innovative search functionality. We have also included the Office Locator at the top of the homepage to facilitate users searching for their local offices.

Help-U-Sell Real Estate Homepage Search
The new Help-U-Sell Real Estate search function is easier to use and more prominent.

In an informal poll at the end of this week’s Tech Time Tuesday, most franchisees wanted the new search function on their broker sites. By popular request, we are looking into replacing the guy pointing at the search bar with a different person or a couple.

The broker sites will also have the option of adding a smaller version of the carousel scroller at the bottom of the homepage above the footer. See the rough mock-up below for an idea of the layout.

Help-U-Sell Real Estate broker website
This is a mock-up of the carousel scroller on a Help-U-Sell Real Estate broker website.

Some of your site’s pages have been refreshed in the past week or two, including the home evaluation page and the press page. We are continuing to make improvements. Let us know what you would like to see on the corporate site and your broker site, in terms of additional modifications, and we will take those into consideration.

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Help-U-Sell Successes in 2011

For us at Help-U-Sell Real Estate, 2011 was a fantastic year! We have a lot to celebrate and much to look forward to in 2012.

Our technology rivals that of any of our competitors. We have developed a full slate of tools for our franchisees and their clients, including a new leads management module for our Office Management System, a branded virtual tour service, a QR code generator and back-end systems for buyers and sellers to access listings data and documents. Next month, we proudly debut our mobile web application, which has already received national media coverage.

Help-U-Sell’s look and feel has changed to mirror the new technology we’ve created. A modern, sleek design has been incorporated into everything from banners to business cards. We’ll unveil more collateral boasting this new look in the next few weeks.

Banners for Help-U-Sell brokers
New banners reflect Help-U-Sell Real Estate's new design direction.

The new look also appeared at three conventions we attended this year. We had busy and impressive booths at the California Association of REALTORS, National Association of REALTORS and Triple Play conventions this fall. Our franchisees have spread the word about Help-U-Sell this year by working hard in their own markets and by attending conventions and being ambassadors at our booths.

We couldn’t have been more pleased to see so many Help-U-Sell family members at our Success Summit in Anaheim, Calif. We learned a lot from each other and from our guest speakers, among them finance expert Patricia Boyd and Zillow’s Nick Taylor. We’re looking forward to next year’s summit already. In the meantime, our weekly teleconferences, Tech Time Tuesday and Wonderful Wednesday, will continue to connect us and allow us to share knowledge with each other.

In the next month or so, we’ll also premier the new online coaching program, ProCoach-U. It will use online learning modules combined with one-on-one coaching for new franchisees. You can get a sneak peek on our YouTube channel.

We are proud of our accomplishments in 2011 but even more excited to move forward and keep growing in 2012!

We want to hear your proudest achievement of this year and your goals for next year. Share them with us in the comments!

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OMS Upgrades – Leads Management Module Additions and Time Zones

We have been working on building a new Leads Management Module for the past two months, and the last pieces are nearly complete.

Once you’ve claimed a web lead, it moves to your leads section. From there, you can now select if the new lead is a buyer or a seller, and you can manually add other leads that you acquired via phone, walk-in, ETM or other source. If the lead is a seller, you can set an appointment to view the property and include appointment notes. The appointment will then show up on your dashboard calendar.

A seller moves from a lead to a contact when you’ve clicked on “Convert,” or “Confirm Appointment.” You can also opt to delete the lead.

On another note, we’ve added the ability to select your office’s time zone in the OMS so that all of your alerts will be localized for you. It’s easy to change your time zone. On the Setup tab, click on “website.” You’ll see the new drop-down menu called “Set Office Time Zone.” There you can choose from Central, Eastern, Hawaii, Mountain and Pacific.

All changes should be live by the end of the week. Let us know if you have any questions or problems with the system after you’ve tried it out.
If you’d like training on anything during Tech Time Tuesday, leave us a comment. We’ll be covering movie editing in an upcoming webinar by broker request.

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OMS Upgrades – QR Codes and Leads Management Module Progress

We have some exciting developments to report. Those of you who participated in the Tech Time Tuesday meetings the past two weeks already know about these new tools. For those who have not been able to attend the meetings, here is a recap.

QR Codes

By popular demand, we’ve created a system to generate a QR code for every listing in the OMS. To access a listing’s QR code, open the listing and then click the “Reports” tab. You’ll see the listing’s QR code on the right-hand side. If you want to add the code to your printed brochure, select that option from the drop-down menu. The QR code will direct users to the mobile version of the listing.

You can save the code for use on printed materials by right-clicking on the image and choosing to save it. Some suggestions for use of the QR code are stickers and sign riders. One of our preferred vendors, Oakley Signs & Graphics, can print stickers for use on your existing signs and print the codes directly on new signs.

QR Code
A sample QR code

For more about QR codes, read our previous post on the subject.

Leads Management Module

The first phase of our Leads Management Module is complete. You can see your new web leads in OMS under the new Leads Management tab. Leads are color-coded based on their age. Red means the lead is more than two weeks old. Orange indicates between two weeks and five days, and green is younger than five days. Click on a lead to read the comment and to either delete or assign the lead to an agent. Once you “claim” the lead, it moves from the “New web leads” area to the “Leads” area.

On next week’s call, we’ll preview the next phase. It will allow you to add leads to the “Leads” area and you can sort them into types, such as “buyer,” “seller,” “walk-in” and “call.” Once the leads are converted into buyers or sellers, they will move to the “Contacts” area.

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