Posts Tagged ‘Favorit-est Tips’

posted by on Reflections From a Difficult Market

Last week we did a teleseminar show in the SWS Virtual Studio on a rather sensitive subject – QUITTING. Yeah, quitting. As in, throwing in the towel and calling it a day. The goal of the show was not to talk anyone out of quitting, or shame them into staying or even to sell them a bunch of my books so they’ll miraculously turn their career around; no, the goal to assure agents that IF quitting is right for them, there’s no need to apologize, feel guilty or be ashamed. In fact, I believe it takes a lot of courage to admit that something isn’t working and go do something ELSE!

QuitDuring the show I described seven Reasons to Leave that I believe are perfectly valid Reasons to Leave. Not that anyone needs my permission or blessing, of course, but if you, or someone you know is struggling, and any or many or all of these apply, leaving might very well be the best course of action.

1. Your market truly sucks. Contrary to the rah-rah’s and Pollyannas, there may NOT be enough business to go around and some markets are truly awful. If buyers aren’t buying and sellers aren’t selling, there’s nothing we as real estate agents can do to change that. To determine if your market is viable or not – take a look at how the top five agents in your office are doing. If they’re busy and seem to be going to closings on a regular basis, then there probably IS business to be had if you could figure out a way to get some for yourself. But if even the top dogs are struggling, your market may not be viable, right now anyway.

2. You aren’t suited for self-employment. Not everyone is cut out to be self-employed. And there’s no shame in that. Here’s a great article about the entrepreneurial personality: http://www.bizoffice.com/library/files/entrepreneur.html

3. Your understanding of what a real estate agent does all day was wrong. Before going into real estate, many agent-wanna-be’s think the job revolves around showing property, writing offers, attending closings, creating home brochures and holding open houses. Which, as we all now know, isn’t the case at all. If you didn’t realize how much of your time would be spent pursuing business, trying to solve unsolvable problems and dealing with grumpy idiots, and you don’t particularly enjoy these activities, perhaps real estate wasn’t a good choice for you.

4. You don’t handle confrontation and conflict well. Most normal people would prefer not to have a lot of conflict and confrontation in their lives, but if you tend to avoid it at all costs and literally make yourself sick when in the middle of a disagreement, it’s likely a career in real estate will be miserable for you.

5. It’s simply time for a change. No one ever said real estate had to be your last career. Hey, if you’re bored or burned out or ready to do something different, go for it!

6. Your lifestyle has changed. Perhaps you’ve had children since you got your license… or maybe your children are now at an age where they’re more demanding of your time. Maybe you’ve gotten married… or divorced… maybe you’re having health issues or are caring for an aging parent. Life happens… and sometimes a lifestyle change will also require a change in career to accommodate your new reality.

7. And my favorite… Real estate is just too hard right now. You know what? Selling real estate is freakin’ HARD right now. And often not much fun. And often not too profitable. If you aren’t having any fun; if you aren’t sleeping well at night; if you aren’t making any money and don’t see that changing – GO DO SOMETHING ELSE! Life is way too short to get up every morning and hate what you do.

If you’re struggling with whether Real Estate is/was a good career choice for you, you might check out a new (free) newsletter mini-clinic I just put together. It’s specifically for aspiring agents (people who are thinking about going to real estate school), but it’s a fairly hard-core look at the realities of the career – and might be helpful for you in making your decision. Just go here: http://sellwithsoul.com/sws-specialties/rookies/aspiring.html

posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense

Negotiate

Yesterday, we did a teleseminar show in the SWS Virtual Studio about negotiating – specifically, negotiating on behalf of our buyers and sellers (as opposed to any sort of fee or commission negotiation). I was joined in the studio by Blake Farley, from Silver City, New Mexico and from the positive feedback I received on her presentation and brilliance, I’m guessing you’ll be seeing her on future shows – GREAT JOB, Blake!

The format of the show was that Blake and I took turns sharing our top ten favorite tips and strategies for keeping negotiations on track and civil… and, oh yeah, maximizing the likelihood that our client gets what he wants without any unnecessary drama, chaos or angst. At the end of the show, I asked the audience to tell me what their favorite tip(s) of the day was/were, and here were the results:

Favorit-est Tip #1: When negotiations get hot and heavy, withdraw. Dead silence from your side. Don’t tell the other agent you’re “thinking about it” or going to “sleep on it,” just stop all communication until the next day. Very unsettling to the other side, and keeps your client from getting carried away by the emotion of the negotiation.

Favorite-est Tip #2: Never believe anyone when they say “This is our best offer” or “This is our bottom line,” and related, never let the deal die on your side. No one knows what their best offer or bottom line is until they’ve either signed an agreement, or rejected one. When the other agent presents a counter-offer to you and tells you “this is the best we can do,” pay no attention. If your client still wants the house (or still wants to sell), counter back. More often than not, the negotiation will continue beyond the previously stated “best” or “bottom.”

Favorit-est Tip #3: Related to 2, never ask your buyer or seller for their bottom line or highest-and-best. If you do, you force them to commit to a figure and they might be uncomfortable down the road if they’re willing to go higher or lower. A side benefit to this strategy is that you won’t be accused of spilling the beans to the other side if, by chance, the offer or counter comes in at the exact figure they shared with you. If a buyer or seller tells you what their highest-and-best or bottom line is, act as if you didn’t hear them ;-]

Favorit-est Tip #4: Get everything in writing – no oral negotiating. When agreements are reached over the phone, something always comes up when it’s time to put the agreement on paper, creating unnecessary drama. It’s easy enough today to just “write it up,” and keeps everyone on the same page, so to speak.

(Tied for) Favorit-est Tips #5, 6 & 7: (Almost) always counter an offer, even on technicalities to keep the buyer from feeling he could have/should have offered less; as the listing agent, don’t remind the buyer’s agent of contingency deadlines (to protect your seller’s right to retain earnest money); and always remember whom you represent, which helps you be a stronger negotiator and not make an idiot out of yourself with your own client!

Other tips from the show:

  • Make the offer price/counter price “attractive” to the other side by rounding up or down (e.g. $279,900 versus $280,000)
  • When countering, use positive statements when possible – e.g. instead of “No termite inspection,” say “Buyer to pay for termite inspection.”
  • Realize that you can say NO – and that the other side sometimes fully expects you to.
  • Set expectations with your clients BEFORE you get to the offer stage (e.g. market conditions, communication, etc.)
  • Negotiate delayed possession for staged and owner-occupied properties, in case the loan falls apart at the last minute
  • Try to give the other side an opportunity to save face when negotiating – don’t reject a counterproposal outright – give a little bit, even a token amount or concession.

posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense

Did a show in the SWS Virtual Studio last week about setting appropriate boundaries and expectations with clients upfront – walking that fine line between being the best thing to happen to your clients and… losing your mind! It’s an imperfect balancing act, to be sure, but there ARE things you can do to minimize the likelihood of too much crazy-making!

As I explained in the first part of the show – a lot of it has more to do with YOUR attitude and expectation of what is reasonable and “normal.” Once you’ve adjusted YOUR expectations and are committed to going with the flow more often, you’ll find that your clients’ behavior isn’t nearly as frustrating and crazy-making as it used to be. Just because someone is different from you doesn’t make them unreasonable or unusually demanding; in many cases it simply means they’re DIFFERENT, but perfectly normal.

On the other hand, some people are crazy. Maybe not technically crazy, but their behavior IS outside the realm of normalcy and they are unreasonably demanding or critical. But many agents, especially new ones, don’t realize this and beat themselves up for not being able to please these crazy people, even though, looking in from the outside, it’s obvious they can’t be pleased. When dealing with a crazy person who is driving YOU crazy, you may need to make a mercenary decision as to how likely they are to lead you to a payday – and fire or not fire accordingly. I can put up with a lot of nonsense if I’m pretty sure there’s a payday for it in my future!

Anyway, at the end of the show, I asked the audience to tell me what they learned that was the most helpful to them. And here are the results!

Favoritest Tip #1: Ask, don’t tell
Instead of telling your new clients what to expect from you, ASK them what they expect from you. Once they’ve said it outloud, it becomes their expectation. And most normal people will not demand unreasonable availability and response times out loud if they’re asked. Say something like: “Bill, I’d like to talk about your expectations for me as to availability and responsiveness. For example, will you be okay if I’m with clients and can’t return your call for a few hours? Or if I’m with my family on Sunday afternoon and don’t get back to you until the evening? I just want to make sure I don’t disappoint you.”

Favoritest Tip #2: SHUT UP
If a client asks something of you that is unreasonable, respond respectfully, but briefly, and then stop talking. This is a fantastic strategy for declining monkeys.

Favortest Tip #3: Don’t change your business model for crazy people
As mentioned above, some people are just crazy. In most cases, it’s not necessary to change your business model just because a crazy person made your life hell for a few months. In other words, don’t “punish” (and risk alienating) your perfectly normal future clients by setting off-putting ground rules unnecessarily. Most people will be respectful of your time and attention without being pre-emptively scolded about it!

Favoritest Tip #4: Different does not equal Difficult
As mentioned above, just because someone processes information differently from you doesn’t make them difficult. For example, if a buyer needs more time than you think is reasonable to decide whether or not a house suits him, that’s not wrong, it’s just how his mind works (and you’re not going to change him). So, be patient, be respectful, and let him do his thing, in his own time. When dealing with someone who is frustrating you – ask if they’re truly unreasonable… or just different from you.

Other tips from the show:

  1. Ask a seller prior to listing: “What will you do if the house doesn’t sell?” (What’s your Plan B?)
  2. When things get difficult, STAY CALM. If you get antsy, your client will, too. And they’ll become nervous and demanding.
  3. Don’t apologize for not taking (or returning) after hours phone calls. Just return the call in the morning, no apologies, no defensiveness, no explanation. Many people call after hours not realizing they’re not calling an office and don’t really expect you to answer or respond.
  4. You can say NO. Just because someone asks doesn’t mean you have to say YES. In most cases, a polite, respectful NO, with an alternative will be perfectly satisfactory.
  5. Let the buyer low-ball if he wants to. If he wants your opinion on offer price, he’ll ask for it. If he doesn’t, and you try to talk him up in price, he’ll wonder if you’re truly on his side. At some point you may decide to let him go, but don’t try to persuade him to change his offer strategy.