Wednesday, October 18, 2017

An Interview with Industry Recruiting Icon Judy Ladeur

By Julie Escobar

We’ve covered a lot of fourth quarter strategies this month, but haven’t touched on the topic of recruiting for a while.  This week I thought we’d show all our broker, owner and management team friends a little love with some top tips just for you!  To do that I called my long time friend and extraordinary recruiting expert Judy Ladeur.  She’s been helping brokers grow their businesses, power up their production and recruit new team members since before I met her 20+ years ago!

Here’s what she had to say!

Julie:  Hey Judy!  It’s been a while, but it’s always great talking to you! You’ve been busy these days (as always) helping real estate brokers build better, stronger, more productive teams.  As we dive into this fourth quarter – what are some of the most important things brokers should be doing to ensure a great end of the year and set themselves (and their companies) up for success in 2012? 

Judy:  Hey Julie – great catching up with you too!  Love following everyone on Facebook-don’t you?  To answer your question — For most brokers, instead of jumping in and making calls, they should spend time getting themselves positioned to recruit the best agents, which is more than just making calls and booking interviews. We have spent most of this past year helping brokers understand what a “value proposition” is and what it is not! We have determined that 90% of brokers have no idea what their value proposition is – even though it is the most important element in their recruitment arsenal.  The value proposition is NOT their tools. However their tools determine the value of their value proposition.

What we are teaching brokers to do is to identify their 12-20 most powerful tools and the results that each tool produces. You would be amazed how many brokers do not have a handle on this information.  Knowing the results of the tools you have allows you to share them in a way that educates the agents in your market about the opportunities that you can provide to them as a member of your team.  If you’re not sure where to start, poll your agents.  Ask them the value of the tools that you provide as an organization.  When the agents tell you what your systems mean to their real estate career, that is your value proposition to that agent. It is different for each agent, but these insights can give brokers what they need to figure out a minimum of 12 powerful tools with results that are unique in their market or things that they are doing that others are not doing. It can be a little tedious and it takes a while to complete but it’s well worth it. Next, they need to create visuals for each one as well with the results on them.

For any broker out there who wants a strong 2012, this is a task that they should completed long before the new year begins. Then sharpen their phone and interview skills so they can hit the ground running. We actually have a program here in the first week of December designed to position the broker to hit the ground running on January 1st and to have consistent results all year long.

Julie:  Wow, Judy – that sounds comprehensive.  When you say “tools”- can you give me an example? 

Judy:  Sure, when we bring brokers together for our retreats we ask them, “what are the 12 – 20 things you are doing–or doing better than you competition?”  Surprisingly, many can’t answer that.  Some will say “location,” or “a great broker like me!” That’s great – but really is not going to cut it in today’s world.  Specifically, what is different about you?   Think about it – if your answer is, “Great team” – what do you think your competition is saying?  Theirs is a lousy team?  You have to find the DIFFERENTIATORS.  If you can’t quantify those things in terms of time, money, energy saved, production, etc.–then it goes off list.  Here’s one, “We give agents leads.”  Next we’ll say, “Ok – how many leads year to date have you given out per agent?  What is the conversion rate?  You have to have the ability to bring it down to the numbers.  How about “Training program.”  Ok – what kind of results did the agents get? Many simply say, “I don’t know.”  And that’s fine – it gives them a starting point.  Sometimes they have to go back and track results after the next training, talk to agents who’ve been through it and ask for their results so they can get those numbers.  If they don’t have that information, this fourth quarter is a great time to do that so you can start the new year strong.  Sometimes a broker will tell us, “We have the best agents.” Then we’ll come back to them and ask them to quantify.  For example, according to the MLS, our agents are doing an average of seven transactions more than our nearest competitor.

For a lot of brokers this exercise is a big eye opener.  First it helps them identify more clearly where they are NOW.  And secondly – it forces them to put themselves in the agents’ shoes — sometimes for the first time in years.

Julie:  What’s new in terms of recruiting now that is significantly different than say, how brokers recruited even five years ago?

Judy:  Social media is definitely the biggest change and is bringing great results and a whole new perspective to recruiting. It’s easier now than ever to build relationships and comfortably stay in touch with prospects as well as your own agents.  It’s also much easier to ask for referrals by using social media. Tools like Facebook and LinkedIn are really helping to break down barriers.

Of course in terms of the things brokers want to hear – value proposition may be number one – but social media is a close second!  So many of them are still looking at social media as just a place to post when you’re having a coffee at Starbucks.  For those brokers – it’s time to get on board.  Social media is not going away – and for those that embrace it – it’s a terrific addition to their marketing.  In fact – if you look at agents who are really using it – they are staying in touch with their clients and sphere far more effectively today than they ever have.  Brokers can do the same via a company fan page and their personal page.

Julie:  Oh I can hear the groaning now – can’t you?  Let people into their PERSONAL lives?  I’m sure you’ve got some push back on that one-right?

Judy:  Oh yeah!  While I know it’s outside the comfort zone for a lot of brokers – truthfully, agents want to get to know you – the real you – before they are willing to consider your company as a place to hang their hat.  In fact, Let’s face it – 70% of potential hires are emotional – that means they’ve got to like you!   For the brokers that say “I don’t want to!”  We say, “If you want to hire 40-80 agents next year – you’re going to have to step out of your comfort zone!”  Let people in.  Share a little about who you are – not just what you offer as a company.  On your fan page you can share success stories about what your agents are accomplishing – spotlight their successes.  You can talk about what’s happening in your market area.

On your page – share a great picture of a grandchild, post a little inspirational quote, share a great new restaurant you tried.  These forms of media allow you to reach people you never would have before – to break down barriers and ultimately recruit agents you never would have been able to hire in the past. What’s funny – is that once we teach brokers to embrace social media – it becomes their FAVORITE thing to do!  Why?  Because it means they don’t have to make the phone calls.   We laugh, because we know they’re not going to make those calls anyway!  They SHOULD be on phone daily – but many just don’t create that good habit.  Listen, recruiting is a relationship business – so reaching out in EVERY way you can regularly is the way to build that relationship – and ultimately – build your business.

Julie:  Great stuff Judy!  What tools – both online or offline would you recommend that brokers put in their recruiting plan? 

Judy:  I would say a broker needs to add a Facebook Fan page for their company, lead generation tools, online marketing support and coaching. Most brokers today want to stick with technology – namely:  email.  But our ratios haven’t changed  — we STILL say that only 25% of your recruiting marketing efforts should be email or online.  It’s just too easy to get blocked or not read.  Plus – many times the real nudge that helps bring a recruit in the door is when the spouse or significant other sees the recruiting materials coming in the mail!  I know many brokers who will say it’s too expensive – but we fire back with one recruit will pay for a year of marketing.  It’s time to look at the budgets and make some adjustments.

It’s also important to know what agents are looking for.  A NAR survey four years ago said that agents didn’t care about leads – they were too busy.  Now that’s the number one thing with affordable marketing tools coming in second.

I say just start somewhere.  Send postcards.  Send the top 10-25 recruits “lump mail” – something like a  magnifying glass with a note that reads “time to take a closer look at what we have to offer.”

Julie:  Best success stories of recent months that can inspire brokers to break out of old habits and grow their organizations? 

Judy:  Well I’ve got to say there are two things that are getting great results right now:

  1.  Contacting smaller independent brokers in your market and offering them a chance to roll their company into your company and go back to working as an agent.
  2. Contacting agents who left you when times were good and tell them that you miss them and would love to talk to them again about rejoining your firm.

I mentioned before about knowing your results.  I am coaching a broker whose market position increased this past year through recruiting experienced agents was greater than the entire production of any team in his marketplace for the entire year. When he discovered that, he was amazed. Arming himself with that knowledge has allowed him to hire many of the top producers in his market and he is acquiring another brokerage firm in the neighboring city.

Sharing results like that is a great way to get the attention of brokers and agents and get them on the phone which leads to an interview and potential hire.  Another broker that I am coaching discovered that her agents had a $33 million dollar increase in their sales volume in 2010. By sharing this with other agents in the market, she has piqued the curiosity of area agents eager to know what she is doing to help her agents sell more real estate.  Her office is now full and she is moving to a larger location to continue hiring the best agents she possibly can!

Julie:  Wow!  That’s amazing!  So any predictions for the year ahead?

Judy:  Oh yeah!  I believe that 2012 will be one of the biggest years for smaller companies rolling into bigger companies. 

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.