Posts Tagged ‘Favorit-est Tips’

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Last week we did a show in the SWS Virtual Studio about Facebook… some Simple Do’s and Don’ts for real estate agents who want to take advantage of the Power of Facebook to build their businesses.

As I often do at the end of the show, I asked the audience to share their favorite tip or tips from the program and here is what they told me!

Favorit-est Tip #1: Share other agents’ awesome listings! Not only will this be good content, imagine the warm fuzzies and reciprocal good karma you might enjoy.

Favorit-est Tip #2: Casually mention a great referral you received and/or thank a friend for referring you… withOUT, of course, any mention of how much you LUUUUUUUV referrals (no referral-begging allowed!).

Favorit-est Tip #3: Use Facebook to connect, reconnect and stay connected with people you know and meet. Period. Do not use it to market yourself to strangers (or to your friends for that matter).

Favorit-est Tip #4: Be passionate about a hobby and find a local Facebook group to join and participate in,

Favorit-est Tip #5: Turn OFF your business page if you aren’t using it or seeing any benefit from it.

Other tips… NO whining! Be sure your status as a real estate agent is visible somewhere on your profile. Don’t use four-letter words or share posts that use them.

Want to hear the whole show? Join Club SWS and have access to nearly SIX YEARS of teleseminar recordings! www.ClubSWS.info.

 

posted by on Introverts Are Awesome!

The subject of the final SWS teleseminar of 2014 was…socializing! Without fear! For introverts!

During the program my guest Susan Haughton and I shared 101 tips (well, maybe not 101 but a lot) you can use in your own socializing to make getting out there in the world where other people happen to be fun and productive. If you missed the show, you can find it in the Simple VIP Lounge Here: http://www.itreallyisthatsimple.com/#vip-lounge

After the show, I polled the audience for what they felt were the most interesting, meaningful and valuable tips of the day and here’s what they told us:

Favorit-est Tip #1: Offer to help the host of the party – ask them to give you a “job” to do. Come early to help set-up, serve drinks or food, take pictures, etc.

Favorit-est Tip #2: Honor your comfort zone when socializing. Don’t feel pressured to do things that don’t sound fun, unless you WANT to push your comfort zone.

Favorit-est Tip #3: Before socializing, visualize yourself having a great time.

Favorit-est Tip #4: Not really a tip, but a lot of attendees commented on the discussion about the difference between “introverted” and “shy.”

Favorit-est Tip #5: Have an exit strategy going in. Just in case…

Favorit-est Tip #6: When out and about, make an effort to smile at strangers and make eye contact. “Be Pleasant.”

Favorit-est Tip #7: Leave your business cards in the car when socializing so you won’t be tempted to push them on people.

Favorit-est Tip #8: Buy things (event tickets, girl scout cookies, etc.) and give them away.

posted by on Working with Sellers

Earlier this week we did a show in the SWS Virtual Studio called “Listed to Sold: Beyond the Old 3P’s” where we discussed various strategies to getting listings SOLD so that our sellers can move on with their lives and we can enjoy a well-DESERVED paycheck. I say well-DESERVED because the premise of the show was that you can (and should) go way above and beyond the “Old 3P’s” (Put a Sign in the Yard, Put it on the MLS, Pray) if your goal is to be the Best Listing Agent You Know (and I truly hope that IS your goal!).

At the end of the show, I surveyed the audience to see what tip or tips they found the most valuable toward reaching that lofty goal, and here’s what they told me:

Favorit-est Tip #1 (by far): Make your seller a partner in the pricing process. Show up with a detailed CMA along with clear summary pages, but don’t include your suggested price. Go over the data with your seller and then ask them to sit on it overnight with a promise to call them in the morning to discuss.

Favorit-est Tip #2: Price is not always the best solution to a non-selling listing. Sure, recommending a price reduction is an EASY solution, but is it the best? Unless you’re just grossly overpriced (and that shouldn’t be the case, right?), there is probably something else that is keeping your listing from selling. And you can almost always fix the problem much less expensively than you can price for it.

Favorit-est Tip #3: Explain the two types of seller’s regret

Favorit-est Tip #4: Don’t overpromise and under-deliver in your marketing. If your listing has a substandard feature – e.g. a rickety garage – consider being upfront about the issue in your marketing so buyers aren’t disappointed. In the example of a crummy garage, consider removing all mention of the garage in the MLS and let buyers be pleasantly surprised by the large storage building in the back yard!

Favorit-est Tip #5: Approach difficult conversations with your seller with a positive attitude“as if” you know they are going to be willing to consider your advice and suggestions.

 

posted by on An Exceptional Agent, Random (Un)Common Sense

If you follow my blog, you know that from time to time we do a “Favorit-est Tips” post where I share the feedback I got from a recent Sell with Soul teleseminar. This installment is from the show we did earlier this week called “Guiding Your Clients to the Right Decisions” where we discussed various strategies for helping clients, well, make good decisions in a real estate transaction!

Are you asking if it’s really our job to assist in the decision-making process? Aren’t we just supposed to give them three options and let them decide? And advise them to contact their attorney if they have questions? Or conversely, aren’t WE the experts so shouldn’t WE just tell them what to do?

In my opinion, no. Part of the job description of a professional real estate agent is to help our clients understand their options and respectfully guide them to the right decision for THEM. NOT the “right” decision for us and our paycheck, but to truly be looking out for their best interests, even if that means a delay in our own payday (hey, I didn’t make the rules, but that’s how it works in our business).

Anyway, at the end of the show, we polled the audience for their favorite tip or tips of the day and here’s what they told us:

Favorit-est Tip #1 (by far): When talking with clients, always use “we,” “our,” “us” and “let’s.” This put you on the same side as your client, both in your mind and in theirs. Try it, it’s incredibly powerful.

Favorit-test Tip #2: Give your client a back door. Always give your client an “out” when discussing their options. The bigger the “out” the better. Reassure them that they can say no, walk away or do nothing. The less pressure a client feels from you, the more open they will be to suggestions and the less likely they are to actually use the back door!

Favorit-est Tip #3: Don’t try to “bust” a buyer’s objections. If a buyer is complaining about features of a home, it’s actually a sign they are interested in it. Don’t argue with them about their objections; in fact, agree with them! “Yes, the closets are a little small, aren’t they?” Your buyers aren’t stupid – they know no home is perfect and need to work through their objections without being argued with.

Other tips from the show:

  • Use reverse psychology so clients don’t feel pressured or coerced by you
  • Offer alternatives to a price reduction (e.g. staging, cleaning or making improvements to the home)
  • Offer to “try that price for two weekends” when a seller wants to price higher than your recommendation
  • Be mad with your client when the other side annoys them – help them blow off steam

posted by on Especially for Rookies

We did our first SWS Teleseminar of 2014 last week – WWJAHD for Rookies (What Would Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn Do?) where we discussed various situations, dilemmas and concerns faced by our beloved newer agents with a theme of … what would I (JAH) DO in this or that situation? As we usually do, at the end of the show we polled the audience for their favorite tip or tips of the day, and here’s what they told us:

Favorit-est Tip #1: How to answer the question: “How long have you been doing this?” Don’t lie! Your potential client has a right to know how experienced you are and if experience is important to them, they may very well choose someone else. And that’s fine! Answer honestly but confidently (I’m in my first year” is just fine) and ask “Do you have any specific concerns I can address?”

Favorit-est Tip #2: Interview at least five brokers before choosing one. A lot of new agents go with the first office they talk to and then find themselves unhappy, but without a good idea of their alternatives might be.

Favorit-est Tip #3: Always prioritize client care over prospecting when planning your day. It’s easy to be overwhelmed in your first year with all there is to do and learn. So, when faced with too many things to do, get in the habit of making sure the clients you already have are completely taken care of before moving onto the rest of your to-do list.

Favorit-est Tip #4 (related to #3): Accept that you will always feel a bit overwhelmed by all there is to do. It’s part of the joy of being self-employed!

Favorit-est Tip #5: Don’t go into real estate thinking you’ll keep your day job and do real estate nights and weekends. Instead, get a second job now, save lots of money and in a year, you’ll be able to make real estate your primary career which gives you a much better shot at making it work!

Other tips from the show:

  • Be pleasant to ten people a day
  • Focus on activities you enjoy
  • How and when to change brokers
  • The pros and cons of joining a team

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Romancing the ‘Hood? What on earth does that mean?

You’ve heard of geographic farming, right? Where you blanket an area with your marketing in hopes of becoming the go-to agent in the neighborhood because the homeowners there recognize your name and know how to reach you when they have a need for real estate services? Well, Romancing the ‘Hood takes that a step further so that all those homeowners not only know your name, but they also LIKE you, or at least, they like what they know about you and therefore are even more likely to hire or refer you.

That was the topic of the most recent teleseminar show in the SWS Virtual Studio. At the end of the show, we polled the audience for their favorite ideas, strategies or tips… and here’s what they told us:

Favorit-est Tip #1
Order ‘hood-specific “Top Ten” Magnets to mail out and make available at open houses. This not only guarantees your magnet will be of value, but may also endear you to the local shop-owners featured. Read more here.

Favorit-est Tip #2
Be authentically YOU in your ‘hood marketing – don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in your mailings, advertising or self-promotional material. Use common sense (e.g. you probably don’t need to share your opinion on the pro-life/pro-choice debate), but neither should you try so hard to be liked by everyone that you’re just boring!

Favorit-est Tip #3
Do open houses in the ‘hood and pre-market the heck out of them. Don’t use your open house to “pick up buyers” (that attitude scares visitors away); just promote the house itself and be non-predatorily pleasant to everyone who comes in the door.

Favorit-est Tip #4
Choose the ‘hood to romance based on your comfort level relating to the people who live there, or want to live there, not just based on the price range.

Favorit-est Tip #5
Become a “regular” in the ‘hood’s restaurants and shops. Find non-cheesy ways to let the business owners and staff know you’re in real estate (e.g. “I need to find a closing gift for a client who just moved to town – do you have any suggestions?”)

– See more at: http://activerain.com/blogs/sellwithsoul#sthash.LLRpWElP.dpuf

posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense

Last week we did a teleseminar show in the SWS Virtual Studio called “Getting Help!” which was on the subject of, well, getting help – in the form of an assistant (as opposed to a partner). At the end of the show we polled the audience to tell us what tip, idea or strategy they found most insightful and here is what they told us!

Favorit-est Tip #1 (by far): When you’re thinking it’s time to get some help, start out with a part-time unlicensed assistant and see if that does the trick. An unlicensed assistant (aka personal assistant or “wife”) can free up a lot of your time and energy by running personal and business errands for you, without the commitment and risk of an employee or licensed assistant.

Favorit-est Tip #2: Make a list of all the things you do as a real estate agent and then identify which activities you enjoy and/or are good at. What’s left (i.e. the things you don’t enjoy and/or aren’t good at) might just be a great place to start to create the job description for your assistant! Don’t get stuck in the idea that an assistant has to do paperwork – YOUR assistant can do whatever YOU want them to do, even if it’s not something an assistant typically does!

Favorit-est Tip #3: Don’t automatically assume that an assistant should handle “administrative” duties while the agent goes out and prospects. If an “assistant” is capable of managing a real estate transaction from start to finish, he or she is more of a partner, not an assistant.

posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense

Last week we did a teleseminar show in the SWS Virtual Studio called “Time Management for Real Estate Agents” (catchy, eh?) where we shared tips and strategies for getting the most out of those 24 hours we all have in which to get stuff DONE. At the end of the show we polled the audience to see which of the dozen+ tips we shared were the Favorit-est, and this is what they told us:

Favorit-est Tip #1: Use a white board (dry-erase) to list your long-term projects. Put the board somewhere in your office where you don’t see it every day, but glance at it from time to time to see how you’re doing. You’ll be surprised how many of your projects get DONE, some without your even realizing you did them!

Favorit-est Tip #2: When prioritizing your day, always put your clients first, ahead of your prospecting. If you focus on caring for your current clients instead of hunting down your next ones, you may never have to formally prospect another day in your career. Seriously.

Favorit-est Tip #3: When tackling your to-do list, do everything that will take you five minutes or less to complete, regardless of its importance. Once those little to-do’s are DONE, your mind will be much clearer and better able to focus on the subject of the next Favorit-est Tip…

Favorit-est Tip #4: Get the ugly to-do’s done first (after you’ve handle the five-minutes-or-less ones) – anything on your to-do list you’re dreading – DO IT. You’ll be amazed how much better you’ll feel and how open the rest of the day will seem!

Favorit-est Tip #5: Realize that not all problems are yours to solve. Just because someone is willing to dump THEIR problem on you doesn’t mean you have to accept it.

Other tips: Hire a Wife, Change Your Self-Talk, Answer the Phone When it Rings Instead of Letting it Go to VM when possible, Rely on a Planner.

posted by on Working with Sellers

Last Thursday we did a little show in the SWS Virtual Studio called “How to Wow Your Seller” where Susan Haughton and I discussed various things a listing agent can do to ensure that her seller clients are talking about her behind her back, letting everyone they know how thrilled they are with the service they’re receiving. At the end of the show, we asked the audience to share their Favorit-est Tips and below are the results of that survey.

But first, know that your sellers aren’t going to be “wow’ed” by a big flashy display or expensive closing gift. No, wowing your seller (or your buyer for that matter) is far more a function of the Total Client Experience – how satisfied they are in the day-to-day with your communication, your attention and your expertise. If your client is less-than-wow’ed with you during your transaction together, no Flashy Wow or Fancy Closing Gift will change that.

My point is that the Favorit-est Tips you will read about might seem kind of mundane, even ordinary, but I promise you, if you do these things for your seller, you’ll blow away most of your competition because they AREN’T doing them!!

So… without further adieu… How to Wow Your Seller: The Favorit-est Tips

Favorit-est Tip #1 (by far): Contact the seller every day for the first ten days of the listing. While putting a sign in a yard may be just another day at the office to you, it’s a Big Deal to your sellers and they want to feel that you care as much as they do about your new listing. The best way to let them know this is to be in frequent communication about all the things you’re doing and what’s happening so they know they’re Always On Your Mind. This is really easy to do since there ARE a lot of things going on in those first ten days!

Favorit-est Tip #2: Ask your seller for feedback on how you’re doing. That this tip was so popular surprised me. But yeah, a few weeks into the listing (after you’ve been showering them with attention the first ten days!), just ask your sellers if they’re satisfied with your service. I think I’d fall over in a faint if a real estate agent ever asked me that!

Favorit-est Tip #3: Give the seller a Market Snapshot when their home goes on the market. A “Market Snapshot” is a list of the current competition for your listing – aka the other homes on the market competing with yours. Every few weeks, update this report with a “State of the Market” report, detailing recent activity such as new listings, price reductions, homes under contract and withdrawn, etc.

Favorit-est Tip #4: Preview any new competition as it comes on the market and share your findings with the seller. Keep an eye on the market activity surrounding your listing and preview any new listing that comes up. This gives you a great excuse to contact your seller with feedback and keeps you up-to-date on the market activity in the area. Win/win!

Favorit-est Tip #4a: Offer to take your seller out to preview the competition for their home. 

Favorit-est Tip #5: Provide the seller with a Calendar of Events detailing what will be happening during the listing period, as well as during the Contract-to-Closing period.

Other Tips: Provide prompt feedback after an Open House, send the seller links to your online advertising, prepare a thorough CMA and be able to intelligently discuss the data within it, prepare a new CMA every six weeks, use “we,” “our,” and “let’s” when discussing strategy.

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Last Thursday, we did a show in the SWS Virtual Studio called “It Really IS That Simple – Low-Tech Ways To Build Your Business with SOUL.” The gist of the show was that while gizmos and gadgets and programs and systems are fine and dandy and fun and interesting, success in a real estate business is much less complicated… and less expensive… than the companies who are marketing these gizmos, gadgets, programs and systems would like us to believe.

Basically… the more people who KNOW you… and LIKE you… and TRUST you… the more successful you’ll be. Simple as that. So, how do you get yourself more of these people who know you, like you and trust you?

That’s what the show was about… six simple strategies to increase the number of individual human beings in the world who KLT (know/like/trust) you. At the end of the show, we asked the audience to vote on which strategy was most meaningful to them and here are the results:

Favorit-est Tip #1
“Impress One Person a Day” – if you make a positive impression on just one person every single day, that’s 365 people in a year who think a lot of you as opposed to just a whole bunch of people in the world who sorta recognize your name.

Favorit-est Tip #2
“Forget about Branding, Focus on Bonding” – instead of trying to brand yourself as the ________ Realtor (Hiking, Biking, Golfing, Dog-Rescuing, etc.), get out on the world and hang out with people with similar interests. Once these people get to know you as a person, they’re far more likely to want to support your business than if you’d simply targeted them to market to.

Favorit-est Tip #3
“Be Pleasant to 10 People a Day” – In order to increase the number of people in the world who know you, just get out there in the world (where these people are!) being a bright little ray of sunshine in the lives of everyone whose paths you cross.

Favorit-est Tip #4
“Be an RCHB (Reasonably Competent Human Being)” – Anyone who is self-employed and hoping for the support of his or her friends and acquaintances needs to realize that they are always on display. While our friends may love the heck out of us as a friend, if our behavior when socializing gives them reason to doubt our professionalism, it WILL affect their willingness to support our business.

Favorit-est Tip #5
“Prioritize Properly” – Always put your current clients at the top of your priority to-do list. Yes, even ahead of prospecting.

Favorit-est Tip #6
“Go to lunch with friends” – note, I didn’t say TAKE your friends to lunch, I said GO TO LUNCH with your friends. As a FRIEND, not as a “hungry” (pun intended) real estate agent on the prowl for business. When you GO TO lunch as opposed to TAKING someone to lunch, there’s no obligation for you to pitch your business, nor for your friend to listen to your pitch.

posted by on Consulting & Compensation

We did a teleseminar show in the SWS Virtual Studio yesterday called “Real Estate Consulting in the Real World – The First Steps” where we talked about what a new real estate consultant might do to get his or her consulting practice off the ground.

One of those “first steps” was to come up with a list of two or three specific alternative services you could offer (by “alternative” we mean a service that is real estate -related but not the traditional buyer or seller representation paid by a contingent commission); services you’re really jazzed about – that you feel you could market and “sell” because you feel there IS a market for them.

To help prime the pump, I provided the following list of potential alternative services:

Traditional home sellers or buyers who are willing to participate in a “shared-risk” arrangement
For Sale by Owners (FSBOs)
… who want a professional, objective CMA
… who found a buyer and want help preparing, explaining and executing the proper contracts and disclosures, and/or
… want help navigating the contract-to-closing period
Homeowners who:
…are considering a significant renovation, but don’t want to “over-improve”
…need help deciding whether to “move or improve”
…need help deciding whether to sell “as-is” or renovate
…need help deciding whether to sell now or wait
…want help interviewing for a listing agent
…want help determining if they have enough equity to pursue refinancing
Landlords deciding whether to re-rent or sell
Owners of expired listings who would like an objective analysis of “what went wrong”
Homebuyers who have found a property and want contract-to-closing assistance
Potential homebuyers who are considering buying, but want objective advice without pressure to BUY NOW
Licensed real estate agents who need another agent to list their homes for E&O (Errors & Omissions insurance) purposes, but will handle most of the marketing and negotiation themselves
Licensed real estate agents who need outside expertise in their transactions (and you have that expertise, e.g. short sales, REO’s , estates)
Investors who find their own properties and want a real estate expert on their team to be involved as needed.

At the end of the show I asked the audience to tell me which of these ideas really grabbed their attention; which ones they could see themselves getting fired up to do! And here were the results:

Favorit-est Idea #1
Offer contract-to-closing services to FSBOs

Favorit-est Idea #2
Offer a “What Went Wrong?” analysis to owners of expired listings

Favorit-est Idea #3
Offering sellers the opportunity to “share the risk” by charging an upfront fee in exchange for a lower commission

Favorit-est Idea #4
Consulting with renters for a fee (not on the list above, but several mentioned it)

Favorit-est Idea #5
Offering a “tour” package in resort communities for a fee that would be credited at closing

posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense

Last Thursday we did a show in the SWS Virtual Studio called “Are You an RCHB?” 

Um… huh? What on earth is an RCHB and why might you care to be one (or not)?

Well, RCHB stands for “Reasonably Competent Human Being” and the context is whether or not we give the people we know and the people we meet in our day-to-day wanderings reason to believe we are RCHB’s… and therefore capable of handling their real estate business and referrals. 

Hopefully most of us realize the importance of being Reasonably Competent when it comes to our businesses – when we’re working with our buyers and sellers. But where a lot of people (myself included) fall short is in our personal lives – with our friends, acquaintances and people we meet outside of business. But since someone who has never had the pleasure of working with us in a real estate transaction doesn’t know if we’re any good at what we do, they must make a hiring or referring decision based on what they know of us on a personal level. 

During the show, we described six potentially problematic areas where it’s easy to “let your hair down” and, well, demonstrate to people that you might NOT be the RCHB real estate agent they’ve been searching for. 

At the end of the show, we polled the audience to see which of the six tips hit closest to him for them and which one they’d be making an effort to do better in…

Favorit-est Tip #1
Do what you say you’re doing to do instead of making excuses for why you didn’t do it. It’s so easy to overcommit and then scramble to get out of doing whatever it is you committed to… or apologize afterwards. But to come across as an RCHB, you want to be the person who does what she says she’s going to do, not the “Yes” person who constantly overpromises and underdelivers. 

Favorit-est Tip #2
Be on time. Not only for professional appointments, but in your personal life as well. Don’t keep other people waiting for you, not even your friends. Sure, your friends may put up with your lack of punctuality; they might even laugh about it, but it very may affect how your friends view you as a professional. The factors we use to choose our friends are very different from those we use to choose the people we hire and refer, so strive not to give the appearance of disrespecting others’ time or being too unorganized to show up when expected. 

Favorit-est Tip #3 
Return phone calls promptly. Again, not just business phone calls, but personal ones as well. You only have a small window to “return a phone call promptly;” after a few hours that opportunity is lost and you’re left with apologies for not calling back sooner. While the people who call you might not expect a prompt return phone call, it will certainly make a great impression if you do call right back! Sure, sometimes you simply can’t, but when you can, do. 

Favorit-est Tip #4
Watch your language. Curtail your use of profanity, if that’s a problem for you. Yes, even among friends. It’s very easy (trust me on this) to become unaware of the effect a potty mouth has on others who don’t use profanity on a regular basis. If you don’t believe me, cut out all four-letter words from your vocabulary for a week or two and you’ll see what I mean…

Related to this is to watch your Facebook and Twitter posts with regard to alcohol use. I can’t tell you how many posts I see from real estate agents about being drunk or wanting to be drunk. I’ll probably write a whole separate blog on this subject soon!

Favorit-est Tip #5
Review your marketing materials for errors, especially your website. Anything you put out there in the world in writing needs to be as close to 100% error-free as it can possibly be. If your website contains typos, misspellings, broken links and glaring grammatical errors, it will raise the question in your visitors’ minds if you’re (note, not “your”) a Reasonably Competent Human Being. 

Favorit-est Tip #6
Be emotionally mature. This simply means to do your best not to whine, moan and complain to your friends and acquaintances about your business, your health, your love-life, your dog or your car. Sure, from time to time you need to vent, but part of being an emotionally mature human being is to be able to handle your problems. 

So, there you have it… I see myself in a few of these… not at all in others… no one is perfect, of course, but if there is an area or two in which you could use improvement, no time like today to start doing something about it!

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

As we often do, after last week’s “SOI for Advanced Practitioners” show I collected feedback from the audience as to their SOI“Favorit-est Tip(s)” from the show. Below are the results.

If you’d like to read more about what the show was about, you can do that here, but in a nut, we discussed various approaches to inspiring the people you know and the people you meet (your “sphere of influence” or SOI) to think of you as someone they’d trust with their business and referrals. And no, doing that has nothing at all to do with bombarding them with bi-monthly postcards or incessantly reminding them of your affection for referrals. No, it’s much simpler than that; in fact, THAT was one of the underlying themes of the show – that there really isn’t any such thing as “Advanced” SOI! The simpler and more authentic… the more effective your SOI efforts will be. The more complicated or sophisticated they are… the less effective they will be.

If you’d like to listen to the show in its entirety, you can do that by becoming a member of Club SWS (www.clubsws.info) or you can purchase a recording of the show in the SWS Bookstore.

So… here are the Favorit-est Tips!

Favorit-est Tip #1: Avoid the “Predator” Approach (thank you Deb Stephenson!)
When you go out into the world hoping to inspire the people there to think of you as someone they’d trust with their business or referrals, avoid the “predator” approach – that is – if what you’re doing makes you feel like a mountain lion crouched on the desk ready to spring on his prey, DON’T DO IT. When you’re talking to someone about life, love or your business, always check your intent… if your goal is to pitch your stuff… it will come across exactly as that… an annoying pitch that the person on the receiving end will want to flee from… and avoid in the future. Yes, you can talk about your career, but do so authentically, not with the goal of subtly marketing yourself. No such thing…

Favorit-est Tip #2: Reward ALL referrals immediately (not at the closing, again, thanks Deb Stephenson!)
If someone sends you a referral, whether it’s a great one or a crappy one, reward the BEHAVIOR right away, don’t base your “reward” on whether or not the referral goes to closing. You want to thank people for thinking of you when the subject of real estate comes up, not just when you make money. TIP: if you’re going to send a thank-you gift for a referral, send it to the referrer’s place of work, not their home! As they’re sharing the brownies or cookies or smelling the flowers you sent, they’ll obviously mention you and your wonderfulness… and that’s a very good thing.

Favorit-est Tip #3: Get out and have fun with people who enjoy the same things you do (instead of trying to market to them!)
A lot of real estate agents want to “brand” themselves with their hobby or passion – for example, maybe they love horses so they want to brand themselves as the “Horse Realtor.” Or they love to hike, so they market themselves as the “Hiking Realtor.” A much more effective approach is to go out and DO that thing you love to do WITH other people who love to do it too… create a community of friends and acquaintances with whom you have a natural rapport and at some point when they find out what you do for a living, they’ll be happy to support your business because they know you, like you and trust you, not because you came up with a catchy tagline!

Favorit-est Tip #4: Don’t market to your SOI
A common myth in traditional SOI teachings is that because your friends like you and care about you, they’ll be more receptive to your self-promotion, but that’s just not true. First, most people in your SOI are not your bestest buddies, and they don’t really care on a day-to-day basis what you’re up to, and second, no one really likes to be “marketed to” whether by friend or stranger. But at least when strangers do it, we can ignore them, however, when a friend or acquaintance markets to us, we feel we have to listen, to be polite, even though we’re annoyed. Related to Favorit-est Tip #1, you really can’t “subtly” market to anyone without their realizing they’re being marketed to.

Are we saying that you shouldn’t let your friends and acquaintances know you’re in the real estate business? Of course not, but when creating your SOI business plan, leave the word “marketing” out of it and focus on doing things that: “Inspire the people you know and the people you meet to trust you with their real estate business and referrals.”

Other Favorit-est Tips

  • When going out for lunch or coffee, let the other person pick up the check (if they offer) which creates an opportunity for you to reciprocate.
  • Always ask a new acquaintance what they do for a living, which will inspire them to return the favor, thus creating the opportunity for you to…
  • When asked what you do, say: “I’m a real estate agent!” as if it’s the coolest job in the whole world. No other cleverly-crafted “elevator speech” comes close to authentic enthusiasm.
  • Categorize your SOI (in your contact management system) into Group 1 (social network) and Group 2 (everyone else). Keep it simple!

posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense

Did a neat little show in the SWS Virtual Studio called “Creating a Low-Drama Real Estate Business!” You can read more about it here.

As we often do during SWS Teleseminars, I asked the audience to tell me what their favorit-est tip from the show was – what they learned that made them say “Wow! That’s the most brilliant thing I’ve heard all day!” or something to that effect.

Well… I have tallied up the results and here they are:

Favorit-est Tip #1
Recreate your belief system about your business, and therefore, your reality. Write down (on an index card) what you DON’T like about your business and turn it into an affirmation of what you’d like instead. For example, if you’re frustrated that your transactions fall apart so often, you would write on one side of the card something like: “I hate it that I work so hard on my deals and then they fall apart.” Then, on the other side, write: “It’s amazing how often my transactions stay together even when problems arise. I love being able to solve the problems or even head them off before they become potential deal-breakers.” Put your affirmation in YOUR words; words that feel natural and make you feel good when you say them out loud. And watch your reality change like magic!

Favorit-est Tip #2
Change your beliefs about what your reality is and get more of what you want. But if you hold onto negative beliefs, you’ll get more of what you don’t want. “Worrying is praying for what you DON’T want!”

Favorit-est Tip #3
Watch Your Language. Stop complaining about your clients and telling dramatic stories about all the things that are going wrong. While it can be entertaining to share horror stories, it might be creating more of them to tell, which is NOT what you want!

Favorit-est Tip #4
Bask in your successes. When something good happens; when you do something right; when you’re feeling proud of yourself… take a moment to ENJOY the moment. Relish it, luxuriate in it, appreciate it. FEEL how good you’re feeling!

Favorit-est Tip #5
Don’t take overpriced listings! ‘Nuff said.

Favorit-est Tip #6
Appreciate a negative experience for the lessons learned, take steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again and move on. No need to dwell on mistakes or be traumatized by them.

Favorit-est Tip #7
When presented with a problem or dilemma, ask yourself if this is truly your problem to solve. If so, stay calm and visualize the perfect resolution and work toward it. If it is NOT (and that will often be the case), gracefully decline to take responsibility for the problem and politely hand it back to the person whose problem it IS to handle. (Related Reading: the Declining the Monkey series).

posted by on An Exceptional Agent

Last Thursday, we did a little show in the SWS Virtual Studio about Mastering Your Market for Fun & Profit. The format was that my guest and I (thank you, Chiara Petro!) took turns sharing our tips for Market Mastery and asked the audience to vote on their favorites.

By far, the most favorit-est tip was to “Leave the GPS at home.

Here’s why you might want to do that. To become a true “master” of a market or neighborhood, you need to be able to get TO it and THROUGH it, and understand how it fits into the Big Picture of the area, without relying on that little computer on the dashboard to guide you.

When I started selling real estate in Denver in 1996, we had no choice but to learn our way around town, or risk looking like idiots when we put buyers in our cars. And that knowledge served me well, very well, throughout my career. To this day, I can draw a fairly accurate picture of the City and County of Denver, placing all neighborhoods, major cross streets, parks and shopping districts. I understand how the neighborhoods, highways, attractions and commercial districts relate to each other geographically which gave me tremendous credibility and confidence when talking with buyers about their location preferences and needs.

The funny thing is… now that I don’t live in Denver and I don’t sell real estate anymore, I have no clue how the town in which I currently live is put together. After more than two years here, I still need the GPS to get to Walmart, the health food store and the dog park. If someone tells me they live “west of downtown” or “north of I-10,” I have absolutely no mental picture of where that might be. And if I were trying to sell real estate here, that would drive me nuts.

One of my definitions of being a Master of Your Market is that when someone tells me where they live, I can mentally “place” their home on a map and have a reasonably accurate idea of what their neighborhood is like. If you’ve been relying on your GPS to navigate your way around town, it’s likely that ability and familiarity will never fully develop.

So, as you’re working toward Mastering your Market, try it the old fashioned way. Yeah, it might be a bit frustrating and take more time, but you’ll be glad you made the effort, I promise.

posted by on An Exceptional Agent

On Thursday, we held a show in the SWS Virtual Studio entitled “Mastering Your Market for Fun & Profit” where my guest Chiara Petro and I discussed WHY being a Market Master is something you might want to be and HOW to go about becoming one!

My definition of being a Market Master is that if someone tells me where they live, I get a mental image of their neighborhood, subdivision or condo building. I don’t necessarily know what year their house was built or how big it is, although I might be able to guess pretty accurately, but I have a general sense of the overall ambience, what amenities are nearby and I probably have a real estate-related anecdote or two about the area I can toss out. I call it being “conversationally familiar” with the Market when I can easily and confidently chat about the real estate in an area without resorting to the tired old “Well, I don’t really know, but I’d be happy to find out for you!

At the end of the show, I asked the audience to send in their favorite tip-of-the-day, and here are the results:

Favorit-est Tip #1: Leave the GPS at Home!
As you’re working toward becoming a Master of Your Market, leave the GPS at home to force yourself to learn how to find your way around without relying on that voice coming from the little box on your dash. Not only does this give you far more credibility when buyers are sitting in your car, but you’ll also have a much better mental picture of your market area and how the various neighborhoods, highways and commercial districts relate to each other geographically.

Favorit-est Tip #2: Preview, preview, preview!
If “previewing” is allowed in your market, take advantage of it… as often as you can! There’s no way you can become a Master of Your Market by memorizing MLS statistics or even looking at pictures – you need to be out IN it. And your previewing tours will be far more effective if you practice “opinionated previewing” which means you look at similar homes (i.e. similar price range, vintage, architecture, etc.) and compare the homes to each other as opposed to just heading out and looking at a bunch of unrelated properties.

Favorit-est Tip #3: “Averages” are meaningless; instead, research the “ranges
The “average” price, square footage, days on market or list-to-sold ratio statistic in a market area is likely a meaningless indicator of what’s really going on there. When researching a Market to become a Master of it, focus on identifying the “ranges” – highest and lowest price, largest and smallest square footage, highest and lowest days on market, etc.

Favorit-est Tip #4: Identify alternatives to the Market You’re Mastering
As you’re Mastering one Market area, try to identify alternatives to that area that a buyer might also consider. For example, perhaps a buyer loves a certain style of home that can be found in the neighborhood you’re mastering, but needs a larger lot than is typically available there. Or perhaps they can’t quite afford that neighborhood, and would appreciate knowing what other parts of town offer similar homes and amenities for less money. Being conversationally familiar with the alternatives will give you tremendous credibility when talking with buyers.

Favorit-est Tip #5: Patronize businesses in the Market You’re Mastering
Hey, you gotta shop somewhere… you gotta eat sometime… you gotta get your hair cut, your dog groomed and your dry-cleaning done, so why not do it in the Market You’re Mastering? Not only will you be likely to meet people who have real estate needs in the area, but you’ll also be able to speak intelligently to clients about the local businesses and amenities.

Favorit-est Tip #6: Identify all landmark buildings in the Market You’re Mastering
Drive around the Market You’re Mastering and make notes of the buildings you see that aren’t readily identifiable. Schools, churches, rest homes, etc. Find out what they are so when you’re working with a buyer and the buyers asks “What’s that?” you’ll know the answer!

Other favorit-est tips from the show included:

  • Blog and create market reports about what you learn while previewing
  • Read other agents’ blogs & newsletters
  • Know school district boundaries & statistics
  • Choose one geographic area at a time to master
  • Know your office inventory

posted by on Consulting & Compensation

Last week we did a little teleseminar show in the SWS Virtual Studio called “Using a Consultative Approach with Expired Listings,” where we discussed a better way (IMHO!) to work with frustrated homeseller wannabe’s than the traditional pushy, salesy nonsense that’s preached as gospel in our industry.

By “consultative” I mean that you go in with an attitude of “What Went Wrong and how can we fix it?” as opposed to an attitude of “please sign this here listing agreement so I can put MY sign in your yard for another six months and oh, yeah, you were overpriced, that’s why you didn’t sell, see ya in six weeks when I show up with a price reduction amendment for you to sign.”

During the show I described an approach that helps both the agent and frustrated homeseller wannabe figure out exactly What Went Wrong and if it CAN be fixed to maximize the likelihood of a better outcome this go-around. I asked the audience to take notes and at the end of the show, tell me which tip or strategy was their favorite of the day…

And here are the results!

Favorit-est Tip #1
Approach the homeseller wannabe with a list of questions about their prior (unsuccessful) listing experience (including asking them why they think the home didn’t sell) instead of coming in with a fancy-schmantzy presentation and sales pitch.

Favorit-est Tip #2
Go in with the heart of a detective (i.e. a consultant) with the goal of discovering What Went Wrong instead of a goal of Getting a Signature.

Favorit-est Tip #3
Related to #1 and #2, have a CONVERSATION with the homeseller wannabe instead of making a presentation; listen more and talk less.

Favorit-est Tip #4
Use a multi-step process – your first visit is solely to gather information, and on the second visit you present your analysis of What Went Wrong.

Favorit-est Tip #5
Take a close look at the prior agent’s MLS listing looking for red flags that might have impeded the sale of the home. Examples of red flags include: important fields not completed properly, the listing describes showing restrictions, the buyer agent co-op isn’t competitive, the home is priced just above a natural threshold, or the listing description overpromises.

Favorit-est Tip #6
You can actually CHARGE to perform this “What Went Wrong” analysis as a separate service and offer to rebate the fee at closing if hired to list the property.

Favorit-est Tip #7
You might discover when doing your analysis that the property simply isn’t sellable right now.

posted by on Working with Sellers

In keeping with our tradition of posting the Favorit-est Tips after our How-To shows in the SWS Virtual Studio, below are the Favorit-est Tips from yesterday’s show: The Proper Care & Feeding of Sellers from Contract to Closing.

The show was about a listing agent’s duties and responsibilities during the critical Contract-to-Closing period to keep everything on track and heading toward the closing table. We used my Listing-Under-Contract checklist (which you can find in my VIP Lounge) to refer to, although interestingly, a few of the most favorite tips weren’t even ON my checklist! (Thank you SWS Coach Deb Stephenson for adding your brilliance!)

So, without further adoooooooo…. Here are the Favorit-est Tips as voted on by the live studio audience, in reverse order of Favorite-ness!

Fifth Most Favorit-est Tip
Prepare the seller for the inspection by 1) asking them to vacate the home during the inspection so the buyers can begin emotionally moving into the home and 2) setting the expectation that the inspection may go badly so that if it does, they aren’t shocked, and if it doesn’t, they are pleasantly surprised.

Fourth Most Favorit-est Tip
Put up your SALE PENDING sign fairly quickly after contract. This is great marketing for YOU and for the local real estate market. SOLD signs always breed more SOLD signs and that’s a very good thing.

Third Most Favorit-est Tip
Do a walk-thru with your seller before the buyer does his or her walk-thru. This gives you the opportunity to make sure the buyer won’t find anything amiss and create a ruckus right before closing. Wish I could take credit for this one, but it was Coach Deb’s.

Second Most Favorit-est Tip (seriously)
When you pick up your sign and lockbox, take some toilet paper rolls with you to make sure there’s TP in the bathrooms. Many sellers inexplicably take their half-used TP rolls with them and it’s a drag for the buyer when they arrive with their moving truck… and there’s no TP to be found. The buyer may never know it was you, but it’s just good karma ;-] – Thanks, Deb, for this visual.

And…

The MOST Favorit-est Tip…!
Prepare for and attend the appraisal. Have good comps with you that support the price, as well as any that don’t and be able to explain the lower ones. Also bring an itemized list of any repairs, improvements or features the home offers, with approximate costs. Don’t annoy the appraiser with random chatter or get in his way, but do be there, be charming, and offer to help measure.

posted by on Introverts Are Awesome!

Thanks to everyone who attended last Thursday’s SWS teleseminar show ‘specially for introverts about Socializing Without Fear or Discomfort!

If you are naturally socially-inclined, you may think that going out into the world with a smile and a hearty hello for everyone you find there is an easy, natural thing to do! But for those of us who aren’t quite as socially comfortable, who enjoy time with ourselves far more than time spent in a crowd, who become frazzled and exhausted after too much social interaction – we sometimes feel inadequate, inferior or even fatally-flawed because we aren’t interested in being the life of the party.

Not that we introverts need to apologize for our personalities – not at all! Nor should we try to “overcome” our more-reserved nature so we can be more like our extroverted colleagues. No, we’re pretty awesome just the way we are, even if we do struggle sometimes in social situations. Hey, nobody’s perfect.

Back to the show… my guest, Susan Haughton and I shared our personal tips for getting out in the world and inspiring the people we find there to like us, trust us and eventually care that we sell real estate for a living, using strategies that won’t make a typical introvert feel like a schmuck. At the end of the show, I asked the audience to share their favorite tips, I compiled them all, and here are the Top Four!

Favorit-est Tip #1: Go to lunch with two friends every week. By “friends,” I mean people you enjoy hanging out with, not just people you know. If you’re dreading a lunch date because you have no idea what you’ll talk about with this person, they aren’t a good lunch date candidate for you. But if you go to lunch with two friends a week, every week, that’s more than 100 times you connected with people you enjoy being with and who probably enjoy being with you, too.

Favorit-est Tip #1a: – Don’t feel you need to always pick up the tab when you go to lunch. You’re going to lunch with a FRIEND, not a prospect, and if they want to pay, let them! You can return the favor next time (so make sure there IS a next time). Don’t create uncomfortable drama at the end of the meal by fighting over the check. You can pay, or they can pay or you can split it. It’s a friendly lunch, not a business lunch.

Favorit-est Tip #2 (Thank you Susan!): If you have season tickets to local events and you can’t always use them, start calling your friends and acquaintances offering to give them away. You’ll probably “have” to go through several names before you find someone who will take you up on your offer, which is a wonderful way to organically connect! If your marketing budget allows, you might even buy tickets to popular events with the sole intention of giving them away in this manner.

Favorit-est Tip #3: When attending a party (which is not typically an introvert’s favorite thing to do), ask the host for a job or task that you can be responsible for during the party. Help bartend, serve snacks, take photos; anything so that you aren’t standing in the corner by yourself feeling as if everyone is looking at you. Also, related to party-attending, come armed with an exit strategy, if for no other reason than to comfort yourself that you CAN leave if you aren’t having fun.

Favorit-est Tip #4: Walk your dog! Dogs are wonderful ice-breakers for introverts. If your dog is particularly cute (or particularly ugly!), just taking him or her out in public can start up all sorts of conversations. And don’t forget that other peoples’ cute or ugly dogs can be conversation-starters for you. If you don’t have a dog, but consider yourself a dog person, offer to walk a friend’s – not only will you be out there starting up conversations, but you’ll be impressing your friend with how helpful you are!

Honorable Mentions

  • Don’t pretend to be an extrovert if you aren’t – it’ll just make everyone (you included) uncomfortable.
  • Be a Master of Your Market. Being conversationally familiar with your local market gives you all sorts of things to talk about when socializing.
  • Leave your business cards at home when out and about so you aren’t tempted to push them on everyone you meet. If someone wants your contact information, take theirs and promise to get back with them.
  • Stay IN your comfort zone when socializing. If large parties make you nervous, avoid them, and host your own intimate dinner or casual afternoon BBQ with a small group of friends.

Here is a wonderful article called “Caring for Your Introvert” – if you ARE an introvert, you’ll recognize yourself here… if you know an introvert, they’ll much appreciate your taking the time to better understand them!

posted by on Contact Management

I believe that every real estate agent who wants to be the best thing to happen to their clients (thus generating a steady supply of new clients throughout their careers) should invest in and commit to a real estate-specific contact management system. No, not to send out cheesy drip-mails to their nearest and dearest every two weeks, but to maximize the likelihood that everyone they know thinks of them fondly when the subject of real estate comes up in their day-to-day wanderings.

On Tuesday, October 18th, I did a teleseminar show in the SWS Virtual Studio on the subject, and discussed several ways contact management can be used to help a real estate agent enjoy the success they dream of. At the end of the show, I asked attendees to send me at least one thing they learned that would help them achieve that – and below are the results of that poll!

Favorit-est Tip #1
Create checklist (or Action Plan) templates for your transactions, specifically, your Active Listings, your Buyers-Under-Contract and your Listings-Under-Contract. Every time you enter into a transaction, apply the appropriate template and voila! Your transaction-specific to-do list auto-populates into your daily task list so nothing slips through the cracks! (you can see samples of mine in my VIP Lounge here.)

Favorit-est Tip #2
Print out a list of your “Group One’s” (your social network) every quarter and work your way through the list, making personal contact with a few each week. Each week, different names will “call out” to you from the list, depending on your mood, and by the end of the quarter, you’ll have at least attempted to talk to or meet up with everyone on the list. Once you’re through the list, print out a new one and start over.

Favorit-est Tip #3
Use your contact management system to REMIND you to do things, not to do them for you! Don’t ask your contact management system to DO your staying-in-touch, particularly with your Group One’s and your clients. Just set up tasks that will remind you it’s time to send a birthday card or a how-ya-doing email or a market status report – then send the greeting card, write up the email or send the report personally.

Favorit-est Tip #4
Every time you have an encounter with someone you know, think of something from your conversation you can follow-up on, and create a task for yourself to do it. For example, if your friend tells you they’re job-hunting, set a reminder to call them in a week or two to see how it’s going.

If you’d like to read more of my ramblings on Contact Management (exciting stuff, I know), just go here: www.SellwithSoul.com/contact-management.