Wednesday, May 24, 2017

By Julie Escobar & Connie Podesta

Listen.  We’re big fans of change.  Connie’s a motivational speaker who travels the world, more often than not helping companies, organizations, associations and people ADAPT and leverage change.  Julie was an early adopter of social media and in the speaking and training industry for years.  We feel your pain.  You’re disgruntled.  Confused.  Unsure.  Ticked off even.  It’s understandable.  Change – well at least the way you just experienced it – is a tough pill to swallow.  So let’s break it down.

Here are the four things to learn from Facebook’s quick change:

  1. It was unexpected.  Things change, we know that.  But successful leaders and organizations don’t spring things on people.  They give fair warning.  They give adaptation tools.  They manage expectations and clearly spell out benefits.  Not AFTER but before. They recognize “sneak attacks” don’t lend well to good graces.  Heck, we know people who freak out if the people surprise them with the happy birthday song at the local restaurant!  Sometimes a little new year’s eve-esque countdown isn’t a bad thing you know?
  2. No explanation.  Yeah.  Blindsiding people is never a good idea – worse than that is when they don’t understand why something is done.  As a leader or organization – there should be a lot of looking before you leap.  There should be some explanations as to why BIG changes – especially so many at once are vital to the end goals, beneficial to the people involved and hopefully – what’s next if anything.
  3. Lack of ownership.  Normally in organizations if big changes are occurring there is some ownership to that.  A little “statistics show,” “our research tells us,” “we’re making these changes because” information is forthcoming.  Dazed and confused is not a good customer state of mind!
  4. Too much at once.  You know, we’re doing the best that we can in most cases to just keep up with technology as a whole.  Or for that matter – change in general.  Today’s business person has what feels like a million different changes coming at them daily.  From company changes to social media switches to family dynamics to over-the-top scheduling.  Cut a little slack to the everyman or everywomen you deal with.  Ease people into big changes so they can adapt without panic.  Realize that for most of us – time is a precious commodity and there’s not a lot extra to learn “everything at once.”

In a way – Facebook did us a great favor. They help us to see two things.  One, that change is necessary, vital and timely in an every changing world.  Two, that how you position that change, roll it out and adapt to it says a lot about your organization, your skill level and your willingness to create new opportunities from what everyone else sees as ISSUES.   What do you think?  I’d love to hear – catch Connie on facebook or Julie on Facebook and tell us your thoughts!  Better still, bookmark our sites for tons of up-to-the-minute content, fresh insights and new ideas.  www.conniepodesta.com  blog.prospectsplus.com.

No matter what change is making your head spin – we’ve got you covered!

An Interview with the Ever-Insightful Virginia Munden

by Julie Escobar

Whenever I’m curious as to what’s new in the world of real estate service specialists, I go take a peek at my friend and powerhouse professional Virginia Munden’s Facebook page.  Truly one of the coolest and most down-to-earth people you’ll ever want to meet, her business is growing at the speed of light and I’m sure it has everything to do with her commitment to customers and community.  Want the same kind of results?  Tune in…

Julie:  Hello my friend! I was so inspired by your vlog (video blog) post the other day and your topic of becoming the “curator of your market” — tell me how you came about that term (which I love by the way) and what it means to you?

Virginia.  Hello back!  Love sharing coffee and ideas with you this morning!  I’m so glad you liked the vlog.  I love this topic as well.  Being the Curator of your Market is simple. It’s a matter of going beyond what you’ve always done.  You know, in the real estate industry –it’s always been that everyone is concerned with being #1 – yet few take the time to get to know their community, the people in it or the culture surrounding it.

Being a Curator means knowing all that makes that community thrive.  Knowing the best schools, transportation routes, professional services and amenities, parks and trails are not enough…what makes a community special?  Are the schools known for charities or professional sports or special foundations?  Are the parks named after special people or founders of the community?  Is the local business celebrating a milestone anniversary or have they made an impeccable donation to a hospital or ministry? It’s about diving in and getting to know everything that’s making your community tick, from the names of the business owners to the demographical changes, to the cultural expansion to what’s happening day in and day out that you can share back to your clients, customers and colleagues.

Julie: Awesome — so in other words, concentrating less on what’s going on in the whole of the market or global economy, less on what number you are in terms of agents in your area and more on the hyper-local information and community culture that consumers are hungry for-right?

Virginia.  We, as agents, need to pay attention to what’s going on around us more so than ever now.  Our communities and culture are shifting so fast.  And if we don’t keep up with that change – how can we effectively communicate? I’ll give you a great example….

Texting, Tweeting & QR Coding 

By Julie Escobar

It’s funny – in an exciting, time-blurring kind of way how technology has changed the way we communicate, the way we do business, the way we market ourselves and our products in what literally seems like the blink of an eye (or the snap of a smartphone!)

Keeping up means keeping an open mind, a willingness to adapt, an-ever present eye on how your customers wish to be communicated with, and the ability to smartly manage time like never before. There’s no one thing fits all anymore.  The times, as they say are changing, and the savvy sales person has to change with them.

Rewind five years.  Smartphones to open lockboxes?  Facebook to communicate with customers?  Twitter to touch base with prospects?  And the idea that a small square filled with a bunch of squiggles could, in an instant, propel a buyer or seller to your online site?  Kind of all would have sounded like flying cars and space invasions right?

Not anymore – so get on board with these exciting new trends and see why they can make all the difference in your life and business.

The QR Code:  Like everyone else in our world buyers today are short on time and quick to expect more.  Allowing them to skip steps to find you or your listing details is not just a good idea – it’s smart business.  Today you’ll find QR Codes on everything from direct marketing postcards to sign riders to property flyers to ads.  Smart agents are using them effectively every day to drive offline traffic EXACTLY where they want them to go.  That’s one reason we’re excited to share that you’ll see our GettingListingsSold.com system soon offering a free pdf of a sign rider in their downloads – complete of course with a QR Code taking them straight to the property’s online house tour!

SMS Technology.  Does it get much better than a simple two-second way for a buyer to send you a message that they want to see a property AND have it capture their phone number so you can save it and open a line of dialogue all at the touch of a few buttons?  Heck no!  Current real estate statistics tell us that buyers are getting younger and younger – and technology statistics tell us that people under thirty use texting as their top means of communication.  Fast, simple and accurate.  Don’t lose that thought.  (So yeah – we thought we’d add that technology into our marketing system to.   Hey – you guys asked and we’re listening!)

Today’s consumers are a techno-savvy bunch for the most part – and your ability to respond to them quickly and accurately is a deal-maker or breaker.  Refrigerator magnets just aren’t going to cut it in a world where content is king, speed is vital and competition is fierce.  If you’re good – if you meet them where they want to be met, communicate in the ways they want to communicate — and deliver RESULTS — they’ll be Tweeting their praises and fanning your Facebook!  If not…they’ll still be talking about you – but not in a good way. Social media is the fastest PR on the planet right now – make sure your image can stand up to the test!

We can’t wait to show you what we’re up to next!  Look for more information about these two powerful additions next week! If you want more information on how you can add these powerful, integrated tools to your marketing plan and ramp up your production as you head into the last quarter of the year – take a tour today at www.gettinglistingssold.com or contact our marketing team today at 1.866.405.3638.  We’re always happy to help.

Oh – and connect with us online too to stay up to date on all the tools, technology and industry expert advice we’re dishing up every week!  See you there!  www.facebook.com/prospectsplus & www.twitter.com/Prospectsplus

In Step With Speaker Rossi

By Julie Escobar

There’s no doubt that savvy sales pros today have figured out that they key to long-term relationships and referrals in this business lies in the ability to COMMUNICATE effectively with clients, customers and colleagues.  For some folks however – the capability to STOP TALKING is just not in their repertoire.  I was fortunate enough at a young age to learn from my mom that “God gave you two ears and one mouth in that proportion for a reason –listen at least twice as much as you speak!”  Not everyone was so lucky though.   That’s why I asked communication specialist and speaker Rossi to share a little of what he’s learned along the way with all of you this week.

Here’s the inside scoop on our chat…

Q:  Hey Rossi – nice to meet you!  One of the most vital skills that sales professionals today need to fine-tune is communication.  What are some of the best practices you’ve found in today’s market for agents eager to continuously build a book of business?

A:  Hey back Julie – great to be here.  I’ve got to say the number one best practice is to develop great Listening Skills.  It’s amazing really – while most major universities host classes on public SPEAKING – did you know that only twelve offer courses in LISTENING?  Ask any great salesperson out there though and they will be the first to tell you that hands-down — listening is more important.  Not just as salespeople but as parents, colleagues, friends and family members – we’ve got to get better at learning to listen.  And guess what?  It takes PRACTICE!

Q:  I agree – but really — how do you PRACTICE listening?

A:  I teach a skill that I learned from Steven Covey called “capture communication.”  That is to successfully be able to repeat back what the last person said to their satisfaction before you say what you want to say.  Instead of just practicing what you want to say!  In fact – that’s what most people do when they are in a conversation with someone else – instead of really listening and paying attention to what the other person has to say – they really are just going over in their head what they want to say next!  (Did you know that we talk to ourselves at a rate of more than 1200 words a minute?)  There’s even a trick to knowing when someone is practicing that “internal dialogue.”  They will look down and to the left.

However—IF  you are FOCUSED on making sure you are listening intently enough to what the other person is saying so that you can repeat back what they say – you automatically shut off the internal dialogue.  In turn, what you are doing is complimenting the sender (the other speaker) and showing greater respect which is ALWAYS a good thing in building relationships!  When you repeat back their words and ask for clarification and qualification it allows you accurately know whether you have misheard or correct what they have misstated.  Then it’s important to do what is called TRACKING – and that is to, once you’ve clarified what you’ve heard – to put people right back on track in the conversation to where they were.  These two skills are amazingly effective in communicating and sales – but they do take practice!

Q:  Great stuff to know! You’re asked to speak a lot about what people should STOP doing in order to leverage their success.  Can you give me your favorite “STOPS?”

A:  Sure – I guess my favorite “STOP” would be Passive Marketing.   That is doing those things that you spend money on where you simply can’t monitor your results.  Things like ads in newspaper and yellow pages.  There’s no way to monetize those results.  In truth, active marketing is less expensive.  Those things you participate in that can be monitored and you can track results.  It’s time to get back to the basics.

I’ll give you an example.  I had a client who was a charter fisherman in Alaska.  He spent thousands on TV, radio and magazine ads – but nothing in a database management and contacting or staying in touch with the people that he took out on charters.  In fact – he had spent a fortune on beautiful windbreakers that had his logo and website on them and he kept them in the closet – I told him – “Here’s a tip– hand them out!”  Put your information where people can see it – spread the word, talk to people, build relationships.

It’s funny, I asked 3,000 people to define “work smart” – and no one could give me a definition.  So I defined it—“Doing the basics better and more often than anyone else.”

Here’s an interesting fact.  In 1994 TIVO came out – and it was great right?  You could watch TV when you wanted instead of when other’s wanted you to.  But the folks behind TIVO marketed it in a “here’s what we have, here’s why it works and here’s why you should buy it” sales strategy. Enter their competitor – the DVR. The masterminds behind this product changed it up. Their marketing strategy started with the WHY it’s perfect for you in today’s world, then how it works then how to buy.  The results?  They outsold TIVO 6,000-1!

Real estate is very similar.  We’re always attempting to sell real estate as the product first instead of finding the WHY – which is the person with the “why I need to move” need such as the house too small, having a new baby, leaving the area, downsizing, etc.  If someone has the why – they will buy.  Get REALLY GOOD at asking those open ended questions to uncover the “why” and the sales process gets exceedingly easier.

Q:  Negotiating is a MUST have in today’s world.  Your thoughts on how sale pros today can be stronger, better and more courageous at this?

A:  Salespeople need to better understand the power of non-selling.  Again – learning to best ask for the “why” when communicating.  Then we are no longer in the business of selling real estate – we are in the business of Managing the Behavior of those who Buy and Sell.

Q:  And finally your best advice for a brand new agent just trying to get started in this business?

First don’t TRY. In fact eliminate TRY from your vocabulary.  The word “try” actually tells the unconscious mind that you don’t have to do something.  I’ll give you an example – Raise your elbow.  Now – TRY to raise your elbow.  You can’t do it – it tricks the brain into not doing whatever it is you need to do.

Secondly, get out of judgment mode and get into curiosity.  Keep learning how to uncover the WHY, how to listen to what your customers and clients are saying (there’s great clues there as to what they really want) and practice the art of Non-Selling.

Thanks so much – it was great learning from you!  If you want to learn more about communicating more effectively with your clients – you can find Rossi online at www.RossiSpeaks.com or connect with him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RossiSpeaks.  While you’re there check us out at www.facebook.com/ProspectsPLUS and send us a shout out!

To learn how to effectively reach out to you customers and sphere AND be able to track your results – contact us today at 866.405.3638 or visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com.