Wednesday, May 24, 2017

FloydIndustry icon Floyd Wickman shares insight, ideas and inspiration
for staying at the top of your game in a changing market.
 
By Julie Escobar

The going is most definitely tough in many parts of our country. I have talked to hundreds of agents lately who are seeking the inside secrets to maintaining momentum (or simply surviving) in a changing economy. Having been around this industry long enough to have some of the best minds in the business on speed dial, I let my fingers do the walking to answer some of the most difficult questions. Floyd Wickman was the first to come to mind. Having weathered the storms and surges of every possible market condition during the past 40 years—and having trained, motivated, coached and cultivated hundreds of thousands of agents and managers—there was no doubt that this industry icon would have a few thoughts to share. Here is how our conversation went:

Q: It’s no secret that the market is tough. What are some of the biggest challenges today’s agents are up against?

A: Like you and your ProspectsPLUS! account executives, our team has been inundated with questions just like this. I guess if I had to say what I hear agents struggling with the most right now it would be, first of all, getting their deals closed or pending sales that do not go to closing. Second, agents have more inventory than many are used to handling. And third, the length of time between listing and sold is much longer, making it more difficult to manage.

Many agents are simply not used to these challenges and, in a lot of cases, neither are their managers. Many managers have just not been in the business long enough to have experienced market conditions like this, so where do agents turn?

Q: I guess they turn to us! So pretend I am a struggling agent. What advice do you have for me with regard to a higher percentage of deals NOT closing?

A: First, I would have you look at the reasons why deals are not closing. Understand why lenders are pulling back and changing the way they do business. The increased foreclosure rate makes them more likely to turn down loans and less apt to give the benefit of the doubt when it comes to appraisals. Buyers, too, have an attitude that there are unlimited property choices and are more demanding, sometimes even to the point of arrogance.

Second, master the art of straight-line communication. It is more essential than ever that the buyer is met in the office, pre-qualified, pre-approved and PREPARED to expect the worst AND make a decision. Choose your words wisely. For example: “Mr. and Mrs. Buyer, we are going to start today with a meeting of the minds. There is a lot of inventory available, and I am going to ask you to make a decision if you find something you like—and to be reasonable when you make that decision. I am not in the business of helping steal homes. I am in the business of finding the right homes at the right price in the shortest period of time.”

I love to see agents get buyers pre-approved through their own suggested mortgage source, because it gives them more clout when it comes to keeping the process moving. In the case of a buyer who has been pre-approved elsewhere, you might say, “Mr. and Mrs. Buyer, if there is a better deal out there, it doesn’t hurt you to find out. Let’s talk to my lender and see what they have to say as well, and you can choose which works best for you.”

Remember, too, that “pre-qualify” does not just mean what is the best they are looking for, but what is the worst, as well. Find the urgency, and you can communicate the value of making a decision quicker and negotiate the subtleties of helping them accept rather than settle. In other words, accept a property and get settled into what they need, not necessarily all they want.

By Roberta Ross, National Speaker

Every day, our world becomes more and more focused on the benefits of choosing a more organic—or green—lifestyle. Cleansing the environment of toxins found in our daily lives is a tremendous way to protect our earth, but imagine if you took it just a step further and adopted that same green effect into your personal mindset.

You may have already gone organic in your diet and in your home—choosing organic groceries, purified water and a switch to green mountain energy—but what about your mind? Have you gone organic in your thoughts? At any given point in the day, if we placed a camera in your mind, would it be a place of peace and serenity or more like a scene from The War of the Roses?

In a changing market, our natural inclination is to focus on dropping market values, rising interest rates and tightening loan qualifications. We worry about the business we don’t have or the prospecting pipeline that has all but dried up. We drone on about money that is lacking and wonder if this is the beginning of the end of our chosen career. These are the most critical times to mind your mind. As important as our diet, the air we breathe and the water we drink are, the ability to cleanse our minds of the toxic waste we allow to pollute our thoughts enables us to enjoy a much healthier lifestyle and career.

You might have seen or heard a great deal in the media lately about the Law of Attraction—the premise being that what we focus on is what expands in our life. Your thoughts are the seeds you plant in every moment of every day. If you’re choosing thoughts of doubt about why something won’t work, should it be any surprise when it doesn’t work?

For example, if you say to yourself, “The market is a disaster, and I can’t pay my bills,” then NOT being able to pay your bills is exactly what you will get. If you say, “Nobody is buying,” then NO BUYERS is what you’ll have. Or, if you tell yourself, “I’m not going to make it in this business; I should get a job,” then a job is what you’ll get.

These poisonous thoughts set in motion a downward spiral of events. Always remember that your thoughts determine your outcome. Your past performance was, in large part, a result of the thoughts you chose in the past. The thoughts you choose now will determine your future performance.

By Julia Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing

Trick or Treat? I know it’s a changing market, and there’s much to worry over, struggle with and think about. But truly, who needs haunted houses and horror movies when you can get a real fright just listening to a few of the agents in the office! Spooky tales of declining markets, terrorizing sellers, freaky FSBOs and the real estate version of Chicken Little’s “The sky is falling!” are almost enough to make you want to hide under the covers until it’s all over!

Choose to treat yourself instead by shaking it off, my friends. Develop a wicked sense of humor, and know that it doesn’t take the supernatural or super sleuthing skills to be a Market Whisperer! What it does take is a passion to succeed, a commitment to consistency, an eye on the trends and the ability to tune out the depressing drone.

Step away from what they say. Have you ever noticed that the ones most caught up in the drama and doom were never really all that productive or successful, even when the market was booming? The truth is that in any market, there will be homes sold and homes bought and clients who need your expertise and–quite frankly–could use an optimistic self-motivator over the profoundly pessimistic. After all, who would you rather talk to?

Look to those who refuse to get caught up in the chaos and continue to track real results month after month, market after market as your mentors or examples. How do they stay on track regardless of trends? They sustain the right mindset, continuously develop new skill sets and maintain their momentum.

What GOOD happened today? Take some time each day to chronicle your business–and your day. Some of the world’s top motivators recommend keeping a journal as a way of staying on track and maintaining perspective. Don’t be the one to lay your head down at night filled with regret, doubt or fear. Whatever life hands you–good, bad or indifferent–there are lessons to be learned.

Gratitude is an incredible gift we put forth in this world. It blesses those we are grateful for and fills us with warmth. Did you close a deal, list a home, talk to a friend, tell someone you loved them, hug a child, realize a goal, make someone laugh or have an incredible meal today? Look at each day for the good it brings. Count your blessings, large and small, and write them down as a reminder of how full life can be. It will enrich your life more than you can imagine.

Commit for the duration. Don’t be afraid to commit for the long haul. Your ability to see past today’s trouble and recognize tomorrow’s opportunities will give you the traction to be a fierce competitor and provide much-needed peace of mind when the going gets tough.

Consistently staying in touch with your BusinessBASE™ or book of business is not a suggestion; rather, it is a must-do for agents who want staying power throughout their careers. Clients are as inundated with market trends as we are, and they need to know that you are there with the answers.

Adopt the “what have you done for them lately” mindset, and make sure that you touch everyone on your VIP list at least monthly. Send them something, call them, see them in person. Mix it up, and make sure they know that you are not a fair-weather agent, but someone who takes your career and your commitment to clients seriously enough to weather whatever comes your way. Need ideas on what to say and when? Tap into your BusinessBASE™, filled with reasons to call and ways to stay in contact–found in the Lead Masters section of your ProspectsPLUS! software. Or you can download your FREE copy today by visiting www.prospectsplus.com and clicking on BusinessBASE™.

Scare up some new business. First, take the time to reach out to your customers. Segment your database to those who are most likely to need you or refer a friend in the next six months. Look to people who have been in their homes for at least six years, are tops on your list of referring clients or who you know have special circumstances.

Open your conversations by letting them know that you are available to answer any questions they have about today’s changing market. What can you help them with? What do they find most challenging? Let them know that you are there if they need you and are happy to assist their friends and family with questions or concerns, as well. Remember, people don’t care what you know until they know that you care, so show them that you are there for them–always.

Find a new audience. The key to expanding your business is to expand your base. Keep what you have, but add a new avenue. What demographic really interests you? What new segment would you like to tap into? For some it’s new home owners, for others it’s investors, and still others like the feeling of helping hometown heroes such as teachers, firefighters, police and military.There is a tremendous feeling associated with really loving what you do. Find the people you most love to work with, embrace that challenge, be the best at helping them, and your career will be exciting, challenging and rewarding on more levels than you could possibly count.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Go ahead! Exercise new techniques and reach out to new segments. This market is only scary to agents who are unwilling to take personal responsibility for their success or failure. Those who are accustomed to seeing what is wrong can’t possibly search out what is right. That is not you.

Picture Glinda from the classic Wizard of Oz, asking in that oh-so-high pitch, “Are you a good agent or a bad agent?” Being the BEST agent in your marketplace reminds your clients–beyond a shadow of a doubt–that there is no place like home.

Above all, keep your sense of humor. Each day is an opportunity to share who you are and what you do, and it never hurts to laugh along the way. It’s easy to fall into the drama, but know that happy is the life that is filled with humor. It is a tremendous equalizer known to put people at ease, release tension and forge friendships. In the words of Will Rogers, “We are all here for a spell; get all the good laughs you can.” Don’t buy into the scary; expect the extraordinary instead.

Whether you are part of the trick-or-treat crowd or are enjoying the cooling climate, keep your wits about you, pass the Milk Duds, and go conjure up a few customers. The only thing scarier than a tough market is not having the ability to reach out to the people who matter most to us. Know that we believe in you. You are remarkable, resilient and ready to realize all of your dreams. And we are here to help you every step of the way!

Download our FREE BusinessBASE™ system and learn more creative ways to boost production while saving time and money at www.prospectsplus.com.

FSBOs looking for help will participate in conference calls—if they
can phone in anonymously!

by Mike O’Boyle, National Speaker, Regional Director

Want a creative way to work For Sale By Owners without the worries of do-notcall violations? The FSBO conference call is a powerful guerilla-marketing tool that will put you in touch with a lot of prospects.

According to the Texas Profi le of Homebuyers and Sellers, 16% of sellers in 2004 sold their home without using an agent—up from 11% in 2003, and higher than the national average of 14%. This survey also found that challenges for FSBOs include selling within the time planned, preparing the home for sale, attracting buyers, understanding paperwork, and getting the price right. Clearly, many people who sell their home on their own could benefi t from your help.

Knowing that a large number of FSBOs will eventually list their homes for sale with a real estate agent, why not try a rejection-free approach that will literally get FSBOs to call you? This is a creative, easy, cost-effective, and painless strategy that will get your phone to ring and increase your listing inventory. A word of caution: This tool isn’t for everyone. But if you are the type of person who believes in the magic of creating a relationship first and making the sale later, you’ll love this!

How can I get FSBOs to call me?
Contact your local telephone company or look in the yellow pages under conference call and fi nd out how to set up a conference call. There are many companies offering conference-call technology. You will receive a special phone number and instructions, which probably will include a password for folks calling into the conference call.

Create and print fliers letting FSBOs know that they can participate in a free, anonymous 30-minute conference call each week to help them sell their homes. Let them know what day and time to call and any instructions they need to join the conference call. Try not to pick a time and day of the week that confl ict with a popular TV series or major sporting events. Distribute your fliers/invitations to as many FSBOs as you can fi nd—the more the better. You can also place the fl iers on local bulletin boards in your area. Grocery stores, home-improvement stores, and shopping centers are all great places to start (and all places where FSBOs often advertise their homes). You can even search the Internet for FSBOs by going to Google and searching on the phrase for sale by owner and the name of your city. (For the best results, put for sale by owner in quotes and the name of your city outside the quotes.) Several Web sites will show up where FSBOs are advertising their homes for sale. You will be surprised how many of these Web sites actually display the FSBO e-mail addresses right on the site!

Now, for zero cost you can e-mail your fl ier directly to FSBOs with an invitation to participate in your free For Sale By Owner conference call each week. (Make sure that your e-mail subject line contains ADV:, you include your return e-mail address and postal address, have a means to unsubscribe, and comply with all other state and federal e-mail rules.

Your flier should let FSBOs know that they can talk with other people selling their homes on their own, and they can talk with you, one of the area’s top real estate professionals (or however you brand yourself).

What will you talk about?
Your job during this call is simply to carry the conversation. Thank your callers for joining in and let them know you are available for private consultation if they’d like to call you directly. Have a prepared list of subjects you plan to talk about and a list of sample questions they may want to discuss.

Offer free advice on what they can do in the next few days to help sell their home. Here are just a few examples of free information you can offer the participants of your call:

  • Selecting the right price to attract the most buyers
  • Making the right improvements to avoid wasting money on unnecessary, unprofitable projects
  • Advertising tips, so you don’t waste money
  • Preparing your home for a good showing
  • Holding a great open house
  • Qualifying buyers to separate them from lookers.

Now, imagine you were a caller. What would you ask? What would you want to know about selling your home?

  • What kind of financing alternatives may be offered
  • What to do when a buyer wants to make an offer
  • How to counteroffer without jeopardizing the sale
  • How to negotiate effectively for a better offer
  • Who to contact to help close the sale.

You can also invite guest speakers, such as loan officers, home inspectors, or real estate attorneys to discuss specific topics relating to the sale of a home. You can ask your guest speakers to pay for the cost of the call that week in exchange for the opportunity to market their services to home sellers.

Think about this example—even if a FSBO does sell his home on his own, the buyer will need a loan from somebody. If the buyer is not pre-qualified, and the FSBO can politely recommend the loan officer from the call for immediate pre-qualification, that certainly would be worthwhile for that mortgage professional. It also would be worthwhile for the FSBO, who does not have to waste time on unqualified buyers.

Throughout the conference call, offer free services. A price analysis, an equity analysis, or a FSBO first aid kit usually works well. What’s in a FSBO first aid kit? You can include information or advice to help the sellers sell their property, like a marketing plan, home-staging advice, negotiating tips, etc. These items may encourage the FSBO to invite you to show them how you can sell homes quickly and for top-dollar.

Finally, wrap up your call by asking the participants to call back and report their results to you and discuss new topics next week. This is a great way to build FSBO confidence and eventually gain their business.

Will FSBOs call in?
You bet they will, and here’s why:

  • It’s free
  • It’s anonymous
  • It’s more comfortable to them than meeting face to face with a real estate agent
  • Anybody with a touch-tone phone can call in from any location.

In fact, you can moderate the conference call from the comfort of your own home while you’re wearing pajamas and eating your favorite ice cream.

This is a definite “give before you get” proposition, so be patient. If you expect immediate results, you will be disappointed. Often, there will be a few people on the line who will not talk. After a couple of calls, most people will feel more comfortable and will chime in. It’s a beautiful thing when FSBOs begin sharing their horror stories of “an open house gone bad” with first-time callers.

Keep in mind that while some For Sale By Owners may successfully sell their homes on their own, many will decide to list with an agent. Your value proposition in exchange for offering this free service is that you are simply asking that should the time come when they do decide to list, you hope they will think of you. If they do sell on their own, perhaps you can help them with the purchase of their new home.

Remember to ask everyone on your calls for referrals.

Could this strategy be worth an extra listing (or two or three) per month to you? Set up the call, invite as many FSBOs as you can, and find out.

Mike O’Boyle is regional director with ProspectsPLUS! a personal real estate marketing software company endorsed by CRS. He has trained with industry experts including Floyd Wickman, Dave Beson, and Bill Barrett, and has delivered more than 1,500 talks nationwide helping real estate professionals make more money with proven tools and techniques. You can book him for your event at 972-772-8331, mike.oboyle@prospectsplus.com, or MikeOBoyle.net.

Three Systems for Success

By Todd Robertson, National Speaker – Regional Director, Prospects
This is it!  Now is the time that you are going to meet and exceed your recruiting goals, right?  You’re fired up, competition is pulling back because of market conditions and you are ready to capture those talented agents and lost market share that hang in the balance!

Congratulations, you are officially in Phase One of the Four Phases of Recruiting, the “Enthusiasm/Exhaustion” Phase.  Don’t get me wrong, enthusiasm is crucial, and a necessary, vital tool in attracting the right kind of people to your organization, it is just difficult to maintain long-term without the right momentum.  Enter Phase Two of the process which is the “Work for It Phase” which describes most of the recruiting population who are operating on sheer will and work ethic.  Again, viable traits when sustaining long term forward movement, but you need something more.  You need a shot of the “work smarter, not harder” tools that will give you the highest level of success.

Let us explore the third “Systems in Place Phase” which allows you to funnel your enthusiasm and work ethic into processes which help you realize the maximum results for your efforts and time.

Common sense prevails. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.  While that seems to reduce the problem to the ridiculous, ask yourself what you are doing “differently” to be more effective.  Consider that 70% of recruiters do a poor job.  Why?  More often than not, they lack focus, goals, and have no system for follow up.  Another 20% do a good job, getting by– doing no more and no less than bare minimum with the end result being mediocrity. While good might seem fine to some of you, know that while the cost of greatness is high, the toll of mediocrity is much higher. How do you move from mediocrity to greatness? Master the two common denominators that make the top 10% the industry’s most effective recruiters.