Sunday, June 25, 2017

Eight Factors to Adopt Today to Leverage More Success

by Julie Escobar

You’ve seen them — those mega-producers who seem impervious to the market peaks and valleys felt by mere “mortal” agents. They continue to work day in and day out, usually with a smile to share and the time (and money) to even take their families on nice vacations each year.

How do YOU become one of THEM? Start by recognizing eight traits that superstars embody, embrace and constantly improve upon in order to maintain forward momentum and a healthy balance-and then adopt them as your own:

1. Positive attitude. That’s right! Attitude is critical to top producers. They greet their days with confidence and joy, seek out the positive and leave the negative for those unwilling to step above the mire. That’s not to say that problems, obstacles or objections don’t arise; they just choose to approach them as opportunities to find new solutions. They understand that to go where they’ve never gone, they must do things they’ve never done. They push forward with persistence and joy because they know the feeling and frame of mind that accompanies every new success.

2. Action oriented. “Just do it.” Nike has it right, as do top producers in every industry. They move forward. Do something. Take action. They don’t wait for the perfect time, a better market or a new day. Author Jules Renard said it well, “Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.”

Top producers don’t sit by waiting for the phone to ring. They don’t plan, re-plan, organize and re-organize to the point where they spend no real time doing the things that will earn them a viable living. They move forward. Take action. Delegate the “busy work” that could prevent them from achieving their goals. Go ahead, just do it!

3. Desire to learn. How do the best get better? How do they maintain their integrity, success and longevity despite market shifts and economic challenges? They take a page from the Marines: They adapt and overcome.

We are fortunate to live in a time where knowledge is available via the internet 24/7. We can learn whatever we want, whenever we want. Industry legends create downloadable seminars and publish books, CDs and DVDs. Live training is available in every major market-and most of the smaller ones, too. The wise never stop learning-never stop improving who they are and what they do. They feed their minds and their hearts with the best the world has to offer. It is part of what fuels their days and invigorates their careers.

What have you learned lately? I challenge you to learn a new skill or acquire a new tool that will make you better this week. Then learn another and another until you, like all top producers, are passionate about expanding your knowledge base.  Want a little light reading to get you started?  Read a digital version of our all new Master Marketing Magazine today!

4. Serious about systems. Agents at the top of their game know that systems are key. They know that continuously marketing their name and brand is too important to leave to chance. They have systems for contact management, lead generation, time management, administrative responsibilities, and budget checks and balances. They have a financial plan for their future and an exit plan for their careers.

Finding the right systems may seem like a big mountain to climb, but reflect back on #2 above, and take action-any action-today. Start by taking advantage of our simple BusinessBASETM  which helps you identify the 250 people who should be in your sphere of influence.  It’s not only effective, but it’s also FREE! Be sure to lock into our Master Marketing Schedule as well for month-by-month guides to consistently staying in touch with the folks in your sphere, farm, and niche markets. While you’re at it – don’t wait until January to get organized.  Ask the super-agents in your office who they recommend for a financial plan, what systems they use to manage their time and what advice they can give to aspiring top producers. You might be surprised at how much they’re willing to share.

I recommend the book Juggling Elephants by Jones Loflin and Todd Musig. It’s a quick read that shares some terrific time-management and priority-setting strategies you may just want to adopt for yourself!

5. Put people first. One of the traits I find most interesting about many of the most successful entrepreneurs I know is their commitment to putting people first. They are service minded, happy to help and willing to go the extra mile not just for their clients, but for everyone in their lives.

Is money a priority? Sure, but it doesn’t top the list. Top producers fully understand that theirs is a people industry, and an unwavering focus on bringing their best selves to the table for everyone is what makes them superstars above and beyond the balance in their bank accounts.

I recommend both Jack Mitchell’s Hug Your Customer and Mark Sanborn’s The Fred Factor. These terrific books explain how focusing on and serving the VIPs in your life brings tremendous rewards that go far beyond business.

6. Self discipline and motivation. Top producers don’t ask their managers what to do next, who to call or where to start. They rely on their systems for that and use their own sense of discipline to follow through. They motivate themselves by tapping into the sources and mindsets they need to greet each morning, each customer, each appointment, each obstacle and each opportunity. They see greatness when others see weakness. They realize potential where others see waste.

7. Expansive thinking. Top professionals don’t think in terms of “limits” or use the word “can’t” very much. They are broad-spectrum, can-do people. They look at what could be and make it reality. They turn negative thoughts and doubt away at the door by taking action and moving past the moment.

Mike Ferry said it well, “When you think big, think bigger, then think bigger than that. If I had it to do all over again, I would think bigger.” Now that’s a strong statement from a legend in this business. Open your mind, knock down the walls and think big-then think BIGGER!

8. Don’t go it alone. Very few successful people are “self made;” most had a lot of help along the way. They recognize the value of having the right people in their lives-not only to help them realize their goals, but also to keep them playing at the level of success and balance that they desire.

They are, in many cases, both mentors and protégés. They seek guidance and coaching in the areas that matter: family, relationships, business, education and spirituality. They keep family and friends close for strength and support. Success is far more fun, meaningful and exponential when it’s shared.

What could you accomplish this week if you embraced or improved on just one of these characteristics? What would it mean to your family, yourself and to the possibilities that lie before you? What if you didn’t stop there and-step-by-step and day-by-day-made all of these traits your own?

How quickly or effectively you weave these traits into your life and career is up to you. It all begins with the desire to do more, be more and achieve more than ever before. I challenge you to start today.

ProspectsPLUS! can enhance your team’s vision, purpose and productivity through foundation-building skills, winning mindsets and proven tools for ANY market. Be sure to bookmark our featured specials page for budget-saving offers. Contact our inside marketing team today at 1.866.405.3638 to learn how they can best help you grow your business and become the kind of top producer you’ve always wanted to be. 


And Success Will Often Follow You…do what you love concept on blackboard

By Julie Escobar

If there’s one thing I’ve learned through all of my years and experience with sales professionals, it’s that the most successful among them, the ones who seem to effortlessly rise to the top and stay there have many common denominators – but right at the top of the list – is PASSION. They LOVE what they do.  They love the people they work with, the client base they’ve cultivated and the tools and systems they use to make it all look so easy.

How about you?  Are you infusing your career, your days – your life with passion?  I recently read a great quote – “If you can’t put your heart into it – take yourself out of it.”  That’s good advice, and a powerful reminder that much of what makes people successful comes from their ability to really put themselves – heart and all – into what they do each day.

How can you become more passionate about your career?

1.  Work with the people you like. Don’t try to be all things to all people.  That’s a mistake many new sales professionals make (not to mention a fair share of experienced ones as well.)  Finding a niche that works for you and becoming the very best you can be at it will not only propel your productivity, but save you time, money, headaches and aggravation as well.  Top that off with the fact that it’s just more FUN to work with people you like and you’ve got a great foundation building block.

2.  Take more action. In the words of Pete Seeger, “do-so” is more important than “say-so.”  Top professionals don’t wait, procrastinate or debate decisions three hundred ways to Sunday.  They take action-strategically, intelligently, thoughtfully and consistently because they know that action is the key to momentum and productivity.  Growing your book of business should be based on a send-call-see formula.  Each and every month you are taking ACTION by sending something to your sphere and farm, postcards, free-reports, neighborhood updates, newsletters — then following up.  You should be calling everyone on your list at least twice a year.  And finally seeing – take the time to be out in the community, to canvas the neighborhoods you want to be top of mind in, and to personally invite to lunch or visit those top 10% of referring customers in your business base.

3. Desire to learn. How do the best get better? How do they maintain their integrity, success and longevity despite market shifts and economic challenges? They LEARN…New things almost every day.   They keep their eyes, ears, heart and mind OPEN so that they can continuously absorb new ways to grow as people and professionals.

4. Put people first. One of the traits I find most interesting about many of the most successful entrepreneurs I know is their commitment to putting people first. They are service minded, happy to help and willing to go the extra mile not just for their clients, but for everyone in their lives.

Is money a priority? Sure, but it doesn’t top the list. Top producers fully understand that theirs is a people industry, and an unwavering focus on bringing their best selves to the table for everyone is what makes them superstars above and beyond the balance in their bank accounts.

I recommend both Jack Mitchell’s Hug Your Customer and Mark Sanborn’s The Fred Factor. These terrific books explain how focusing on and serving the VIPs in your life brings tremendous rewards that go far beyond business.

This month give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift – and add more PASSION to your business and life.  I challenge you to adopt and adapt these traits of top entrepreneurs so that you can invite the EXTRAORDINARY into your career.  To paraphrase Confucius, “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.”  Now – doesn’t that sound like great advice? 

We’re here if you need us!  One thing is for sure we LOVE what we do – and that’s bringing the very best tools and strategies to agents each and every month.  Please visit our Specials Page for budget-saving coupons each month!  Got questions? Call us at 866.405.3638! 

Empowering Your Life and Career with Two Extraordinary Wordsthank you note

By Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing, ProspectsPLUS!

Thank you. Funny, isn’t it? How two little words can make such a difference? We’ve heard a lot over the last few years about the power of fueling your life with an “attitude of gratitude.” There are hundreds of variations of that thought and probably a million or more examples of the very real connection between abundance, riches, wealth and happiness and our ability to give thanks. So in this season of thanksgiving, let us explore just how we can adopt that “get by giving” philosophy into our lives year around and what that can mean for our careers, our clients, our communities and our families.

Start and end your day with thanks. It’s amazing really, when you add up the people that affect your life every day. Beginning and ending your day by giving thanks for the support, lessons and love you get from your family, friends, clients, prospects, colleagues and peers is the best way to keep life’s obstacles, challenges and trials all in perspective. Even those who “challenge” us – teach us.

We get what we give. Floyd Wickman was the first to introduce me to the phrase, “we get by giving,” twenty-plus years ago when I was a fledgling in this business but it still holds true. I spoke at length about this with Coach Patti Kouri once.  Her thoughts echoed my own in that having this component in your life, and living it really is a way to not just increase your business, but be happier, healthier and more fulfilled in the process. “Without coming from that place of appreciation each day, you really can’t attract more of what you want. Granted, sometimes you have to look HARD to find what you appreciate about some people, but take the time to look around you. Consider the administrative assistants, past clients, friends, even those toxic clients have something to offer – if nothing else an opportunity to ask yourself, ‘What did I learn?’ I always tell my clients, “You can’t expect people to give to you unless you have given value first. It’s like only making withdrawals from a bank – eventually – there’s nothing left. You’ve got to always put in more than you get.”

Mix it up. Get creative. There are some great ways to show your appreciation above and beyond frequently saying those two important “thank you” words! Pat Tasker with Shorewest Realtors actually got together with three other agents to throw an easy-but-effective Customer Appreciation Movie Night. The cost was affordable, and the results were amazing. “Between the four of us, we had about 150 people attend, everyone was thrilled and splitting the bill between the four of us was really very manageable. The nice part is, even those that didn’t attend felt special just for being invited. It gave us all a reason to connect with our client base in a positive, fun way! The movie theater made it easy. It was $6 a person for the movie, popcorn and drink and all we did was show up early, greet everyone when they came in, took pictures with families and friends, watched the movie and that was it! Easy!”

Movie nights are a great way to get large groups together to say thanks, and it really is extraordinary to see the referrals you will receive afterwards as well because you’ve reached out to your client base, your name is top of mind and they know that you are appreciative and there for them. If movie nights aren’t your thing, a holiday open house, or simple invitation to lunch might work!

Talk about mixers; consider this idea from Patti Kouri: “Go into your database and choose a small group of people each month and invite them to lunch. Make the lunch a networking event of sorts and start with the question, ‘How can I help you?’ Before long, you’ll have a whole group of people exploring ways to help each other and all appreciative that you facilitated something that was not just about listing a house or getting a referral but truly helping people. Make a regular habit of this and watch as the law of reciprocity kicks in! Consider calling people individually as well – and ask what you can do for them. How can you help them in their business or endeavor? You’ll find when you approach ‘prospecting’ in this way it:

  • Feels better than cold calling
  • When you’re giving not asking for something, it’s easier
  • You create a natural ‘boomerang’ and invite good things back to you

Keep trying new ways to help your clients. Many agents come from a place of fear, which is really a place where you don’t want to do anything. Take the opposite approach and you’ll find that you immediately and instinctively want to take action.”

I am reminded too of my conversation with Watson manager Karin Hill in Florida. As the broker with a great team in the Orlando area, Karin definitely is a think outside the box professional. “We do a lot of community service work here. It’s a wonderful way to build your business while really working for a greater good. At any given time we are involved in several charities. For example, we’ve worked with the Second Harvest Organization on a food drive. They estimate there are roughly 250,000 homeless children in Florida and could use a few helping hands to reach out to them! We have the information on our sign out front, and it’s wonderful to have strangers come into our office with donations. It really lets people know that we are there for the whole community, not to sell them something and they appreciate it. We even have the agents bringing in canned goods to our weekly office meetings!

We’ve organized charity runs, car and motorcycle drives, ‘adopted’ families in need, poker runs and more. It’s a great way for us to work together as a team, stay connected to our community and give back all at the same time!”

All great ideas from great thinkers! Another great way to give back and show your appreciation for your community is to work with your area schools. Most of them are looking for business partners who can help them provide the things they need for the students and staff. It’s a fun way to get to know the teachers, the faculty and the parents and they always appreciate the helping hands so it’s definitely a win-win for everyone!

So this month, and EVERY month, give thanks for the opportunity before you. As real estate professionals, you are only limited by your own thinking. There are no glass ceilings in this business, no one telling you that your income is capped and your goals are too high. Are there challenges? Most definitely – but challenges make us stronger, push us to try harder, learn more, and fine-tune our skills. Give thanks for those VIPs that make up your book of business and who invited you into their lives and those of their families to help them with one of the biggest decisions of their lives. Treat them well, show them you care and they’ll be a customer for your entire career, sharing their lives, their business and their referrals. Give thanks for your family and friends. They tolerate the often odd hours, pick you up on tough days and celebrate with you during the triumphs. Lastly, give thanks for another day to give back, to work hard, to try again and to make a difference in the world around you.

Here’s a great quote from John Southard to help keep things in perspective: “The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.” That said, know that we appreciate YOU! Thank you for spending a little time with us today reading this article, for being a client, for doing all that you do. What can we do for you? How can we help? We’re just a phone call away at 866.405.3638. Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season!

With Industry Icon Danielle KennedyDanielle Kennedy

By Julie Escobar

It’s not too often you get to interview one of the First Ladies of Real Estate, so I was thrilled to connect with none other than industry pioneer Danielle Kennedy last week to congratulate her on the 30th Anniversary of one of the most timeless real estate books written, How to List and Sell Real Estate.  As always, she’s delightful, strong, passionate and right to the point.  I hope you’ll enjoy her words of wisdom!

Q:  Danielle, how exciting to announce the 30th anniversary of your best-selling book of timeless real estate strategies, How to List and Sell Real Estate.  I remember reading the original ‘back in the day’ — how do you feel about hitting this milestone?

A:  Excited and strong.  Strong, meaning, I am so pleased I wrote the book and made it real.  From DK How to list and sell real estatemy heart.  And very, very practical.  It is not a puff piece.  It is very hard core. I wrote it when I was in the heat of the business.  Floundering all around looking for answers from others when I was the one who had the answers.  I loved houses.  I cared about people. AND I was motivated from within because I had bills to pay and family to support.  The HAVE TO DO IT is a necessary element. That combination for anyone wanting to be successful in this business is the true recipe.  And then layer good behavior into that combination.  Good behavior means you stay focused.  You stay disciplined.  You put in the time to meet and greet people.  It is, after all, a contact sport. If you think it is about the internet, or the most expensive lead generation program you can buy, or who your coach is, you will fail.  Those are in the equation, of course.  But it is up to you to go DO the deed.  And we all know the deed is about consistent prospecting and paying more attention to what the client needs than our own personal selfish issues.  Not always an easy task.

Q:  Your insights and tools are so powerfully relevant to today’s agents, just as much as they were 30, 20, or 10 years ago.  Do you have any favorite chapters agents should earmark?

A:  Yes.  Open House Frenzy.  How Listings Are Sold In The Best And Worst Of Times. Cut To The Chase Qualifying. Negotiating For a Lifetime Customer.  THE WHOLE ENCHILADA.  Read the bloody book.  Especially those doubters.  Those folks that think it is all about social media, technology and burying your head in your smart phone vs. making eye contact with real people. If you do not have people skills you will fail miserably in this business.  This is a manual that deals with proper people skills during every single step of the listing and selling process.

Q:  I’m a big proponent of staying top of mind with your sphere and farm, as I know you are as well.  What do you say to agents who think farming, direct mail, and relationship building are ‘old school’? 

A:  Anyone who thinks farming, direct mail and relationship selling are “old school” should come be a fly on the wall at the offices and homes of the highest paid agents on the planet.  I know them. They take home commissions in the millions.  This is the honest to goodness truth.  And they are all about farming, direct mail and building lifetime referrals.  If agents are criticizing old school, it’s because they know nothing about people skills.  They do not know how to write a letter, speak to someone on the phone or at the door in a neighborhood who has a need to buy or sell.  And sometimes that’s what humans do when they don’t know.  They deny the existence of better ways to do things.  It takes humility to admit one needs help to improve. There is nothing OLD SCHOOL about communicating compassionately, directly, and confidently with people who may need you to serve them.

Q:  If you had one word of advice for agents today, what would it be?

A:  One word of advice: Make it your business to discover the truth about every prospect that gives you the opportunity to work with them. Make sure they are giving you the straight story about what they need and can afford.  If you do not have their trust and they are not honest with you, your life in this business will be chaotic.  That’s why How To List and Sell Real Estate is a book that needs to be in your library.  It is essentially a book which helps you build trust with those you serve.

Q:  Where can people get your amazing book? 

A:  That’s easy!  You can go directly to the publisher and order online, or try Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Thank you Danielle.  As always, a pleasure to touch base with you.  You’re doing amazing things and I’ve so enjoyed following all your life’s adventures.

If you’d like to learn more about Danielle, you can visit her site at DanielleKennedy.com, and look for her in upcoming film and television productions as well.  She’s added incredible actress to her repertoire in recent years. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to put some of those prospecting lessons to work in your own business, call us today at 866.405.3638 or visit www. Prospectsplus.com. We deliver powerful direct mail, postcard marketing, objection handling, geographic farming and sphere of influence tools to some of the best agents in the business. 

Month-by-Month Watch to Hit Your Goalsinfluence

By Julie Escobar

There’s an old saying, “there’s acres of diamonds” in your book of business.   But only if you’re willing to put in the work to make sure it stays on track.  The key to your sphere of influence is of course, influence.  That relationship you develop where they know you, like you, and trust you. That last one is vital.  In the words of Zig Ziglar, “Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”   It’s a great illustration of the importance of staying in front of the folks in your sphere until they are ready, willing, and able to buy or sell and trust you enough to be the one they call when they do.

Each month make an appointment with yourself to review for at least one hour where you are in terms of your book of business.  Ask yourself these four questions:

  1. How many past clients will I contact this month? 
  2. What is my focus? 
  3. Who can I add to my database?
  4. What’s working and what’s not? 

Then take action on your answers.  Top agents don’t worry about chasing their next commission. They know that a strong sphere, connected with month after month, will reap all the leads they want and more!

Here is a reminder of the 10 strategies you should always consider for creating and keeping a results-producing sphere of influence.  

  1. Get it all on ‘record.’  Whatever database management system you choose, be sure that you have entered at the very least the basic information such as name, address, phone number, email address, social media addresses if you have them for every past customer, friend, family member and acquaintance that you can think of.  Sound like a lot of work?  It is – but SO worth it.  And I’m not saying you have to do it yourself.  Delegate it – that way you can stick to what you do best – getting face to face with the folks in your market. Click here to get a copy of our BusinessBASE™. In it you’ll find a list of everyone who should be in your sphere of influence.
  2. Fill in the blanks.  The more RELEVANT you are – the more REFERRALS you’ll receive. So once you’ve got the basics down – take note of more personal information about the people in your database.  What do they do?  Where do they live?  What makes them unique?  What else do you know about them that you can reference?  Who’s in their family?  You know the old saying – the ‘devil is in the details!’ The more you know the easier it will be for you to connect with them on topics that are relevant and important to them.
  3. Clean up old records.  At least twice a year go through your database and cull old contacts, and clean up missed or incorrect information. Connect with your database and let them know that their business is important to you and that you’re just doing a little ‘housekeeping’ so that you can be sure they are always kept in the loop and double check their information.  You can even make them a fair trade offer of a free report or certificate of some kind.
  4. Data mine for ‘like’ minded people.  One of the best things an agent can do is to really take a good long look at what their ‘best customer’ looks like.  Who do you like to work with?  Seniors?  Singles?  First time homebuyers?  Expireds? FSBO’s?  Once you know that – and can determine who you both like to work with and the type of people you have the most successful relationships with – you can data mine to find more of the same.
  5. Add new personal contacts.  As sales professionals we come into contact with new people every day that are potentially great future clients or customers.  Make it a point to add at least one new person per day or 5 per week to your book of business – more depending on how fast you want your business to grow.  Many agents I know make this database building a positive habit by dedicating one hour a week to the health and maintenance of their list.  Every time they meet a new person at the local Starbucks, networking meeting, business event, PTA, restaurant – even the grocery store and have an opportunity to collect a business card or information – that person goes into the ‘book’ and the nurturing begins!  Some of the best agents spend an hour a week sending a personal note or firing off an email just to say what a pleasure it was to meet and if they need anything – just call.  (Making notes on the back of those business cards or in your phone after meeting a new person will help jog your memory for details when you are entering them into your database at a later time.)  Think about 10 people THIS WEEK you could add if you tried:  Teachers, Bankers, Restaurant Owner/Staff, Accountant, Attorney, Landscaper, Gas Station Owner, Grocery Store Manager…the possibilities are endless!  (If you did that EVERY week you’d be adding more than 500 people to your book of business each year!)
  6. Add past lists:  If you’ve sent out Just Listed or Just Sold postcards and have purchased a list of homeowners contact information who received those postcards – be sure not to forget those folks.  You can add them in and start the process of taking them from ‘prospect’ to ‘member’ of your sphere by building those relationships over time.
  7. SHARE with them.  Direct mail is a great way to ‘touch’ your book of business at least once a month.  From powerful sphere of influence postcards with relevant offers to a monthly newsletter packed with valuable content – staying in TOUCH is the key to staying TOP of mind.  We’ll even help you put the right pieces in place to allow you to put your marketing plan in motion and then focus on those personal contacts and the three tasks that are most important in your business:  prospecting, presenting and CLOSING.  Visit our SPECIALS page today to learn more about these options or call our team at 866.405.3638 for help deciding what might work best for you, your list and your budget!
  8. Invite them into the conversation.  Savvy agents are firing up their social media strategies on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest and inviting their community of followers to join in the conversation.  Create a Facebook page for your neighborhood farm and post community information that’s relevant to your buyers and sellers such as school information, local business information, fun facts and more.  Agents are breaking out their iPhones and flip cameras and creating video walking tours of area hotspots, news for the week, reviews of local businesses, types of homes to look for in their area and all kinds of fun and interesting information.  Pinterest has people pinning and posting all about staging ideas, inspirational quotes, homes in the area, community events, blog posts and more.  Use our On the Web Series of postcards to drive your offline traffic to these valuable and engaging sites.
  9. Follow up.  Break your list up into manageable numbers and commit to follow up calls every week.  Most experts recommend scheduling a daily appointment with yourself to prospect.  Don’t underestimate the value of face-to-face connecting as well.  Community events, school functions, networking opportunities and just being active in the community that you service will help keep you visible, allow you a chance to arrange follow up conversations and ask questions, be the resource people need and you will generate referrals in the process! It can be as simple as letting them know that you are there to help anytime.
  10. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  Well you get the idea.  Treating your database as the saleable, valuable resource that it is means not putting it away for 11 months out of the year.  Commit to these ten strategies monthly and your career will thrive – and you won’t have to always be wondering where your next commission will come from.

Need help?  Call us at 866.405.3638.  Our team of marketing professionals can help you put your plan in place for success.