Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Life Balance, Action Plans and To-Do Lists for Today’s Realtors

By Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing, ProspectsPLUS!

Way back in the day, when I started my journey into real estate, there was a speaking sensation sweeping North America with a passion, purpose and a can-do message of perseverance. That sensation was Danielle Kennedy and from everything I’ve seen, she hasn’t slowed down one bit. Hot off the release of her new book WorkingMoms.calm, I caught up with this real estate super hero to learn a little about what she had to share about creating life balance, tackling action plans and what the right to-do list can do for you! So, hold on to your hats, and join me for a little Kennedy magic!

Q: Hey Danielle, great to talk to you again, it’s been a long time! When I first heard you speak, you were a single mom making big waves in this business while juggling the pressures of family vs. career. Tell us your thoughts on creating a good life balance.

A: I believe life balance is about perspective. You have to always remind yourself of the big picture. What may seem like a catastrophe right now, in the greater scheme of things is usually pretty minor. Losing a buyer or a low appraisal may seem big at the moment but compared to what? Losing your health, your ability to be active and alive, or the loss of a loved one? Those are big. Keep things in perspective. Having lived on this planet for awhile certainly helps as well. You soon learn: “This too shall pass.” That is a good mantra for a bad day, upsetting news or what seemingly appears to be a temporary setback.

Q: Words to live by! I remember reading and re-reading Og Mandino’s book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, and repeating that scroll a time or two in my life as well! Tell me, what would you say to agents grappling with making a living in this business in today’s economy?

A: Well, I joined the real estate industry in a tough market, which was truly a blessing in disguise. I learned quickly that there was no free lunch. You HAD to get out of the office and prospect. I am a believer in the niche marketing. In my newest edition of How To List and Sell Real Estate, I lay out a viable action plan.

I recommend you work eight niches and additional ones that may appear during certain market conditions–such as working with lenders on REO properties and short sales. And I believe you should work those niches EVERYDAY. No matter how slow or busy the market is. I give that same advice to new and experienced agents. When we look at those who’ve left the industry through this market, I think many probably never learned the discipline of niche marketing. They might have gotten in during easier markets and EXPECTED business to fall in their laps. You have to self-generate business in real estate. Not easy to begin with but once you begin and it starts to take hold, it’s amazing how you can flourish.

Q: Great advice, Danielle. You and I share the same passion for niche marketing. Explore that a little more for our readers, please!

A: As I said, I believe in working eight niches:

  1. Past customers
  2. Open houses
  3. FSBOs and expireds
  4. Social networking
  5. Local business network
  6. Past life acquaintances
  7. Introductions
  8. Farming

I just listed them in order of payback. For example if you are coming out of a slump or want to take your business to the next level, you need to devote 3-4 hours per day on niches 1-4: past customers, open houses, FSBOs and social networking. Your return on those niches happens faster than the bottom four, but don’t neglect the bottom four! Once you have generated more business in your pipeline from the top four, start on those. You’ll find there’s a big difference between action and activity. ACTION leads to transactions for example: business development, prospecting. ACTIVITIES leads to time wasted, for example: gossiping, long lunches, obsessively checking emails etc.

How to survive the surges of a changing economy Business woman with money
By Julia Escobar, ProspectsPLUS! Director of Corporate Marketing

What goes up must come down. Our current economy is a constant reminder of that adage. Every boom has a bust and, fortunately, every cloud has a silver lining. Your challenge is to be mentally and financially prepared for any market, find the hidden positives, and turn those positives into a profit center.

Entrepreneurs and small-business owners historically fall into three predictable traps on the economic roller coaster. First, they spend when times are good; increased confidence makes them want it all! They buy bigger houses, lease expensive cars, create the corner office shrine to their success, over-expand their businesses and, unfortunately, fail to save for the eventual rainy day.

The second trap occurs when the market slows or normalizes, and business is no longer booming. All of a sudden, as confidence wanes, quick-to-spend entrepreneurs realize the value of saving a dollar. What do they do? They drastically cut back on advertising, marketing, services and expenses. The result is that they become invisible to the buying and selling public and, consequently, find themselves on the slippery slope of fast failure.

What, then, should you do? The opposite of what everyone else is doing! Save during the good times, and spend (wisely) when the going gets tough.

Having a handle on your true expenses is essential in both good times and bad. As entrepreneurs, our first instinct with money tends to lean toward the “I’ll just make more” mindset.

As we make our way into the fourth quarter of the year, and set our sights on a new year, it’s important to break out the budget and make smart cuts in expenses, such as renegotiating phone service rates or sharing expenses with industry partners at networking and prospecting events. Then put capital back into the business by paying off debt, improving your income/expense ratios and strengthening your bottom line.

Don’t be so quick to cut sales-generating activities such as advertising and promotion when the market tightens. Instead, take an aggressive stance by increasing your prospecting and marketing budgets, and you’ll soon reap the rewards of your forward momentum.

Businesses that cut back often emerge smaller and weaker when the market recovers. On the other hand, businesses that spend the money to maintain their branding rebound even stronger – often capturing market share lost by those who left the business or are in a perpetual state of quit.

The third pitfall is that many salespeople fail to grasp the concept of patience. Agents often are looking for a quick fix-immediate gratification for their marketing efforts. They send one postcard or place one ad and expect the phones to ring and their prayers to be answered.

Consistency, repetitive recognition and the understanding that every marketing effort has a track-able cycle for success is vital to your staying power. After all, it takes at least seven contacts for a prospect to recognize your name and place it with your company and profession. Too bad most salespeople throw in the towel after three. When should you stop promoting and marketing your business? When you retire – and not a day before.

Weathering market changes and economic storms is nothing new. How you handle each storm – whether you are willing to seek out the silver lining and keep your mindset on building that forward momentum – will determine your success and survival. Take your cues from the top producers who continuously keep their eye on the bottom line, are never afraid to do a rain dance and always find themselves high and dry no matter the market conditions.

Julie Escobar has more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the real estate and speaking industries. From copywriting to convention management, you will find her consistently seeking out innovative solutions, fresh ideas, as well as creative products and tools for the ProspectsPLUS! team of talented speakers and of course, their valued clients.


Would you like to bring effective sales strategies and skill-building techniques to your office? Call Julie at 866.405.3641 or visit and register for our Master Marketing Newsletter™.

thoughtThis month, in the spirit of the season, I asked a few of our Facebook Friends what they would share with the “class” this month in terms of making the most of today’s market – and I loved what they had to teach us!  

Denise Buscemi, Broker/Manager, Century 21 Sterling, New York

1. Remember when you are meeting customers and clients, make everything you do be about that person and only that person–the rewards will naturally follow.
2. Read More.
3. Learn to be a great listener.
4. Hard work and going the extra mile is key.
5. Understand why people do the things they do, and be compassionate.
6. Do Your Homework!!!

Crissie Cudd, Broker, Manager, Watson Realty Corporation, Florida

1. Systemize everything you do so that you never forget a step in any process and you can do things more efficiently.
2. Ask questions. You should know everything you can about your buyer or seller’s needs. Doctors can’t make a good diagnosis without asking a lot of questions. Neither can you.
3. “Feed the beast” every day. Keep talking people who have the ability to buy, sell, or refer and do it EVERY DAY.   Don’t let your pipeline run hot and cold. The more people you talk to the more business you’ll do. Period.

Kathy Casarin, Power Agent, Prudential Preferred, Pennsylvania

1. No timeouts for replays!  Engage your client get back to them fast whether it is on Facebook, email, in person or a phone call.  Don’t wait or you’ll find they’ve already called upon someone else.
2. Assure your client you are the professional. You are experienced, successful and know what works and what doesn’t. Earn your clients trust upfront.
3. Communicate.  Keep your client in the loop every step of the way, whether it is periodic emails as to how their listing is doing vs competitors.  Make that phone call to discuss price, home improvements, showings, open houses etc.  Regular contact reassures the client you haven’t forgotten about them or their listing or the homes they want to buy…so when you have to advise them on say a market adjustment on home price they agree and know it is in their best interests b/c you are always with them to get this SOLD.
4. Do what works.  The truth is it all works–but only if you do it — so don’t forget to post on your social network, answer real estate questions on Trulia, renew and use your ProsectsPLUS!, send out postcards, attend social gatherings to see and be seen and be that constant reminder to say, “Hi! I’m in Real Estate!”
5. Keep current.   Get your designations, go to continuing education, webinars, keep your website, cell phone message, ads, web status, photo – everything up to date.   Let your presence reflect like the market is on fire and SO ARE YOU!

Carla Cross, Coach, Speaker, Industry Icon

1. Don’t make up your own start-up plan. That’s like trying to make up your own Beethoven Sonata!  Get a proven start-up plan and learn the business/time management right the first time.
2. This is your job. You are not just training or educating yourself now. Put your training/coaching in perspective. As I say in Up and Running in 30 Days: The business starts when you start talking to people.
3. Don’t try for perfection. Try for action. We learn 99% by doing. Just make mistakes and get better every day.

Roberta Ross, Speaker, Motivator, Trainer

  1. Have a clear vision of what you get paid to do: A. Build relationships and B. Give exceptional service. These get top billing each and every day. That means staying in touch consistently via direct mail, email, social networking, calling, visiting, and inviting to events, parties, webinars, etc. Exceptional service means making what you do about the clients you serve; and continually educating yourself on your craft and developing your skills.
  2. Treat your role as a business by putting systems in place from the beginning. Systems allow the agent to be efficient, attract a steady stream of business and focus on what really matters
  3. Doing something is better than doing nothing! Take action rather than wait for perfection!

These ladies have a wealth of experience and some of the most incredible insight in the industry!  Come find us on Facebook — and join in conversations! Thank you much ladies!  You’re awesome!   Find me too!  Click here:

newagentneedsIndustry Experts Share “Must Haves” for New Agent Success

By Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing, ProspectsPLUS!

Despite media hype regarding the current state of our housing market, new waves of agents are joining the ranks of Realtors® eager to make their own mark in this business each month.  Though certainly faced with a few more challenges than they might have had years ago – new agents today are also blessed with considerably more opportunities and resources than have ever been available in the past.  This month, I asked some of today’s top names in real estate if they would help me explore the answers to three basic questions: 

1. What does every new agent need to know?
2. What “must-have” items do agents need in their “tool chest” to survive?
3. What do they need to do to create and keep the right mindset for success?

Joining me to share their valuable insight and perspectives are industry leaders Real Estate Speaker, Coach and Author, Bernice Ross; President of, Susie Hale; Speaker, Coach and Author, Darryl Davis; and Speaker, Trends Expert and Author, Stefan Swanepoel. In this article, we’ll focus on the first two questions, what agents need to know and what vital tools they should have.  Look for our follow up article on developing the right mindset in which power speaker Matthew Ferry also weighs in!  Now, let’s get started!    

Q:  What does every new agent REALLY need to know?

A:  Bernice Ross:  First, I would recommend that agents make sure they know all the legalities required by their board or MLS.  After that, they can really focus on the one thing that will take them throughout their career – KNOWING their market. 

Start to train yourself to really know your inventory inside and out.  Make yourself an expert at your own market area, inventory, communities and price points.  For example, don’t just look at a flyer or the MLS listing to get the price of a house.  Walk inside home after home, and see if you can start to predict what the price is or should be.  Drive different routes to work each day, look for the new FSBOs and Expireds that pop up. Study your market until you know it in your sleep.

I also always teach agents to make the shift from telling and describing what you do to asking questions.  Dive into conversations with your customers to unlock what is most important to them.  It is the key to more effectively communicating. I believe it’s more important than ever to build your business starting with who you know and expanding from there.  I recommend a great book, The Go Giver, by Bob Burg.  It teaches valuable lessons regarding the power of giving and really connecting. 

A:  Susie Hale:  First of all, I’d want them to know that they have options and resources that are available to them such as mentors, managers and people to help them.  I always encourage agents, especially new agents, to really reach out beyond themselves and ask questions to build their skills and knowledge base. 

I’m also a big advocate for social networking.  This trend can be something that allows you to truly grow your relationships in a unique, dynamic and faster way.  Ultimately, marketing is creating a conversation, and by utilizing social media, you really do eliminate the gatekeepers, drive traffic to your website faster, and meet your customers who are alert, inquisitive and prepared to learn.  So, jump in and get involved! 

A:  Darryl Davis:  Good question!  I’d say that agents need to know the number one thing they have going for them is enthusiasm.  As a new agent, you come from space where anything is possible.  I challenge you to keep that enthusiasm and commit to this question, “How am I going to play this game called real estate?”  If you can stay in that state of inquiry and keep discovering–it will fuel the hunger for knowledge and source the enthusiasm you need to really thrive out there. 

A:  Stefan Swanepoel:  New agents need to know that there are a ton of opportunities to position yourself to be a great agent.  There is so much changing about our industry because of social media, e-marketing, consolidation, and globalization that ours is an industry in transition.  Stay ahead of that curve by constantly learning and finding your niche in all of it. I recommend you bookmark for a constant stream of information regarding all the trends that affect real estate professionals today. 

Q:  What “must have” items do agents need in their “tool chest” to survive?

A:  Bernice Ross:  There are some tremendous resources out there for agents today. For example, is a great service that provides powerful websites for associates, and most importantly, syndicates them to more than 40 different web portals such as Trulia, Zillow, Yahoo, Facebook, Google and more with just a push of a button.  In this instance, distribution trumps destination.  Since consumers are going to all of these sites, you can just post your listing once and Point2Agent does the work of spreading the word!  It also has a built in tracking tool which is a necessary component for getting new listings and price reductions. 

I also recommend agents get engaged in social media such LinkedIn and Facebook and choose a URL for your business that says what you do, who you are, and where you are.  So many agents just use their name, but that doesn’t tell the consumer what you do!  Also, consider adding video features to your site for a search engine boost.  There is a free service,, which provides a single entry point for deploying uploads to the top video sharing sites, and powerful analytics to track who’s viewing them!  These are just two items to try. As a coach, I am always on the watch for the tools and technology that will help my clients be more successful and productive.  I invite everyone to stop by my site regularly at  I’m always posting new articles and links that can help you grow your business. 

A:  Susie Hale:  Well, obviously, my advice to agents is to get connected in the world of social media.  Dive into the conversation that is out there and make your name known.  Your “social intelligence” should include a website, e-zine and social networks.  Make them definitive parts of your marketing plan.   Why?

 They are relationship builders
 They remove the “gatekeepers” in your business
 They achieve branding goals faster and communicate your company culture
 They propel lead generation and keep your current customers up to date
 They position you as an expert and allow you to beat your competition

Use connecting systems to allow you to easily send information throughout multiple social channels such as which does the work of updating all your social networks at once. If you want to continue to learn more about social networking and tap into what the experts are saying across the globe, I invite you to visit us at  We house information and articles from some of the best minds in the business and you’re free to browse and learn at any time! 

A:  Darryl Davis:  Well, as you know, I can be a little different!  When you ask me about “tools” – rather than a “thing” or gadget, my first reaction is to say, more than those, agents need listing and selling techniques as their “must have” tools. 

For example, I teach my students to work with FSBOs and Expireds.  To me, Expireds right now are even better than FSBOs, in that any time a homeowner comes back on the market with a new agent, they know, even more than the FSBO, that “Elvis has left the building,” as it were.  They know that they have to price it right and be committed to selling.  My students and I have an expression that we use with homeowners, “You can’t be committed to price and committed to moving.  So, are you committed to moving?”  It’s a dialogue that works – try it!

I will also remind agents that the old adage that “any listing is better than no listing” is not true.  Walk away from overpriced listings.  They not only make you look bad, they are adding to the overall problem we have in this nation.  Consider this – if every agent took just ONE overpriced listing off the market – that would mean a million homes taken out of the inventory glut. 

I’ll add one more technique for aggressively pricing your listings. I’ll illustrate it this way.  I used to be a soccer coach, and there was one technique that helped our team stay undefeated.  Sometimes in soccer you’ll see a “beehive effect,” which is when players swarm to the ball.  I taught my kids to think ahead.  They learned that wherever the opponent was with the ball, not to chase him.  Instead, they were to figure out where the player was going next and meet him there. It’s the same with pricing listings in today’s market.  Try this dialogue:  “Mr. and Mrs. Seller, if the market is going down in price, we can’t price it at what the market IS; we have to price it at where the market is GOING to get it sold.”

A:  Stefan Swanepoel:  The first tool I would say an agent needs is a plan.  If you don’t have a road map, you really have no way to reach your destination.  I recommend a website  It is the only company that I know of that is CRS approved for their business planning products for agents.  It will help you get on track and stay there.  Another great thing to consider is hiring a coach.  While it may be too much money for some, the right coach is usually worth the investment.  If not a coach, consider a mentor.  Ask someone you look up to, such as a broker or a successful colleague that is willing to let you shadow them.  You may also consider  This is a great mentoring service for a low as $1 per day!  Agents from all brands and all areas are represented and there’s a wonderful audio file library to pull from. 

I would also steer agents towards focusing on the right designation for them.  Find what you’re passionate about and start learning the skill set you need to become an “expert” in that field.  There are more than 70 designations out there, visit as a great resource.  There you’ll find information to become specialists for Buyers, Seniors, Short Sales, Eco-friendly, and more. 

And now, here’s my two cents:  As someone who has been around this industry for more than 20 years, I echo so much of what our panel has said.  When I speak to new agents, I too tell them to do EVERYTHING they can to maintain that “can-do” spirit and “anything’s possible” attitude that comes with being new.  It is the edge you need to keep sharp as you build your business. 

I will also tell you that there is never going to be a better time to set up the systems you need for long term success.  Over the course of the last year, when times were tough in our business, I saw so many agents leave the industry after many, many years with nothing much to show for it.  Why?  They didn’t treat their real estate career as a business.  They didn’t keep track of the most valuable assets they had as a salesperson:  their customers.  Let me recommend our free BusinessBASE™ system from ProspectsPLUS!  Simply powerful and powerfully simple, it will help you build that salable book of business that one day, many years from now, when you’re ready to leave, you can sell to a broker, a team or top agent for top dollar.   Visit our website, and look for it in the “resource” section.  Once you get rolling in this business, it’s hard to go back and “get organized.”  Do it right from the beginning.  If you need help, call me.  I’m happy to steer you in the right direction! 

A huge thank you to our panelists for their advice and expertise!  As new agents, you need to ALWAYS be learning, gathering, fine-tuning and growing.  Look to these experts for valuable information!  Bookmark their sites and call for more help.  They are incredible resources for agents new and experienced!  Here’s how to get in touch:

Bernice Ross:; Susie Hale:;
Darryl Davis:; Stefan Swanepoel:

Remember to look for our follow up article regarding adopting the right MINDSET for success as a new agent.  Bookmark our blog at for more!  Of course, you can find me at  Sign up for my free newsletter and a free web account that will give you access to many terrific resources for growing and building your business!  I can be reached directly at 1.866.405.3641.  Wishing you every success! 

WebinarsProspectsPLUS! has released the first-quarter schedule for its popular training Webinars. The schedule appears below and also can be viewed at

“We are thrilled to present timely topics, innovative solutions and guest presenters for 2008,” shared Director of Corporate Marketing Julie Escobar. “It is our privilege to bring solutions to today’s challenges, as real estate professionals seek to compete and excel in a shifting market. We have added management and coaching elements and are currently securing dates for the second quarter, with topics such as short sales, power recruiting and customer relationship management!”

Participation is FREE and easy! Simply bookmark the site, and click on the Webinar link of choice. You will receive an email reminder of the time and date, along with the passcode and phone number for each Webinar you sign up for.

2008 First-Quarter Webinar Schedule

January 7 @ 1:30 EST: Unlock the Magic of, with Becky Keyt
Discover the hints, how-tos and magic of automation using our patented system for automating your Just Listed/Just Sold postcard marketing!

January 9 @ 3:00 EST: Support Call Recruiting, with Jim Morton
Company President Jim Morton discusses how creating and maintaining office teamwork and synergy is a vital component for both recruiting and retention in today’s market. Support Call Recruiting helps you do both with a system that doesn’t cost a penny–but the rewards can be immense!

January 14 @ 1:30 EST: Presentation Tools, with Gay Jones
Ever hear the old saying, “Presentation is everything?” That’s especially true in today’s competitive market. Learn the tricks of the trade from Regional Director Gay Jones as she discusses how to effectively use your ProspectsPLUS! Presentation Tools!

January 21 @ 1:30 EST: ProspectsPLUS! 101, with Billy Allen
For those of you just starting (or restarting) your ProspectsPLUS! software, Customer Support Manager Billy Allen walks you through the simple step-by-step processes for putting systems in place and making the most of your marketing!

January 28 @ 1:30 EST: Corporate Marketing System, with Scott Gregory
Ready to become the “go-to agent” in your market for every local company with 25 or more employees? This unique competitive-edge system allows you to dramatically increase your BusinessBASETM, turn the Do Not Call Registry on end, and strategically build a strong referral foundation!

February 4 @ 1:30 EST: Unlock the Magic of, with Becky Keyt
Discover the hints, how-tos and magic of automation using our patented system for automating your Just Listed/Just Sold postcard marketing!

February 11 @ 1:30 EST: BusinessBASETM, with Tanja Kor
Ready to earn 6 ADDITIONAL COMMISSIONS IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS? We’re here to help! Regional Director Tanja Kor discusses the most powerful tool around for building your book of business to consistently and effectively achieve repeatable, sustainable success.

February 13 @ 3:00 EST: Get Results Every Time, with Guest Wayne Einhorn
Join industry leader and coach Wayne Einhorn as he shares top recruiting and management strategies for getting real results in EVERY market, EVERY time.

February 18 @ 1:30 EST: ProspectsPLUS! 101 with Billy Allen
For those of you just starting (or restarting) your ProspectsPLUS! software, Customer Support Manager Billy Allen walks you through the simple step-by-step processes for putting systems in place and making the most of your marketing!

February 25 @ 1:30 EST: FSBO Success, with Todd Robertson
How would you like to have FSBOs calling you for a change? Join Todd as he shares the strategies savvy agents use to become FSBO leaders in their markets.

March 3 @ 1:30 EST: Unlock the Magic of, with Becky Keyt
Discover the hints, how-tos and magic of automation using our patented system for automating your Just Listed/Just Sold postcard marketing!

March 10 @ 1:30 EST: Data Mining, with Billy Allen
As one of the most powerful and important tools in today’s industry, data mining enables agents to take target marketing to a whole new level. Join Billy as he shares how to manipulate national databases to segment your marketing, increase your response rates, find new niche markets and, of course, continuously build your book of business!

March 12 @ 3:00 EST: Recruiting for Results in a Shifting Market, with Carol Johnson
Industry icon Carol Johnson shares some of the superstar strategies she has gleaned from the best in the business for getting real recruiting results in today’s quickly changing market.

March 17 @ 1:30 EST: ProspectsPLUS! 101, with Billy Allen
For those of you just starting (or restarting) your ProspectsPLUS! software, Customer Support Manager Billy Allen walks you through the simple step-by-step processes for putting systems in place and making the most of your marketing!

March 24 @ 1:30 EST: Working With Expireds, with Mike O’Boyle
Effectively marketing to expireds takes the right tools, technology and mindset. Learn all three and more as Mike O’Boyle shares the secrets top producers use to turn expireds into listings… and listings into SALES.

Learn more about these powerful training tools by visiting You also can find more cost-effective ways to boost production while saving time and money at While you’re there, remember to sign up for our FREE Master Marketing NewsletterTM and request your FREE 24-month Master Marketing ScheduleTM. Do you have at least 10 agents and 30 minutes to spare at your next sales meeting?
Call us to schedule a FREE Master Marketing MeetingTM! This fast-paced presentation provides agents with data-mining strategies, corporate marketing ideas, objection-handling techniques, FSBO tools and more. In just 30 short minutes, your agents will discover easy-to-implement tools and techniques designed to quickly boost their productivity-and their sales! Call Julie Escobar toll free at 866.405.3641, or visit today!