Saturday, March 24, 2018

3 Great Strategies for Creating PRESENCE This Season

By Julie Escobar

It’s that time of year.  The holidays are here and with them much of your competition is settling in – for shorter days, slimmer work calendars and that ‘wait ‘till the first of the year’ slump.  Not you.  You’ve got your eye on a new year filled with promise and kicked off with momentum-right?

Here are three things you can do to create vital PRESENCE now that will carry you through the holidays and long into the New Year with powerful, forward, full-steam-ahead strength.

Commit to Consistencythanksgiving cards

You know what you see a lot of?  Agents who ONLY send a postcard or greeting card once a year.  Start now and make it a point to ‘touch’ your sphere and farm at LEAST once every 21-30 days for the duration.  Consumers today are savvy – they’re not swayed, influenced or impressed by the ‘one-and-done’ marketing efforts.  From their perspective?  If you’re that lax in how you market YOURSELF – how will you be at marketing THEIR property?  Show the consumers in your market place that you’ve got the chops – and the commitment to be front and center not just once, but again and again and again.

Community Countsworkshop cards

Want to be known as the neighborhood resource or the market specialist?  Get out of the office, out from behind your desk and out in FRONT of the people in the community you serve.  Make it a point to calendar at least ONE community event in your market per quarter – or even per month.  It’s an edge that will set you apart, win favor and create a presence that you’re the top agent to talk to. Team up with your local schools, libraries, chamber of commerce, or even a network of like-minded business professionals to help create awareness, increase attendance and bring a wide spectrum of information to those who want it most.

Think AHEADlisting inventory1

The smartest agents in the business are never satisfied with doing things the ‘same old way’.  They’re keeping their ear to the ground, eyes open, and thinking ahead.  What can you do to make a splash?  How can you best keep the ‘buzz’ going?  I love Tony Robbins who has served up the motto ‘Constant And Never Ending Improvement’ for years.  In a 24/7, 365 world, you can’t let your skills, your top-of-mind awareness, or your passion to coast or slip to the back burner.

Need help?  Call us at 866.405.3638.  We’ve got answers you can count on.  From direct response postcard marketing that keeps you top-of-mind, to Holiday messages that make a difference, to real world resources that you can adopt and make part of that empowered new marketing and business plan for 2017 that we know you are ALREADY working on!  Have a great week!



Shake Up Your Thinking & Your Business

By Julie Escobar

As a sales professional or any business minded entrepreneur really – one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard was by Motivational Speaker Connie Podesta when she said, “NEVER be satisfied with the status quo.”  It really is like throwing a monkey wrench into your creativity, forward motion and success.  As one of the leading experts in CHANGE – Connie hits the nail on the head with that one.  Heck, I even share that little tidbit with my children.

Status quo is limited thinking.  It’s cementing your career and mindset in the past – and that my friends will never get you what you want in the future.  Look at it this way – our world is changing at lightning speed – and to get the most from our lives and careers – we’ve got to be willing to keep pace.  So let’s do this.  Let’s get UNSTUCK.  If you are finding yourself STUCK in old habits, old mindsets, old dialogues, old marketing plans, even the same old crowd that is bent on bringing everyone down – CHANGE things UP!

Pick a new niche – choose a new neighborhood to specialize in, contact the business owners in your market and create some alliances.  Be CONSISTENT.  Be CREATIVE.  Be COURAGEOUS.  Ultimately we are all in a service industry – and our business is connecting and communicating with the PEOPLE in our market areas.  Getting them know us, like us; trust us – with integrity and character.

I love real estate industry icon Danielle Kennedy’s approach to creating new business.  She said, “I believe you should contact your past customers at least once a month in some way. Send out an email, postcards, knock on the door, notes, letters, all of it. And work your way through the alphabet at least every three months. Don’t worry about checking in, you’re not bugging them. Send them a picture of you winning an award, with a note telling them how much you appreciate that they are a part of what you do and that they’re wonderful. Put a system in place to contact them consistently. Plant those seeds for referrals. After all, as Woody Allen says, “80% of success is showing up!  Farm every week, work FSBOs every day and Expireds every week and create a niche that you LOVE.  That way you’re never in fear of burning out – and perspective comes easily.”

So if you’re ready to make a change, grow your business and tell the status quo to move over – we’re right here to help you!  From creating the right marketing pieces for the right niches to consistently connecting and communicating with your sphere and farm – we’ve got you covered.  Call our team at 866.405.3638 today.  We’ll help you get a plan in place to rock the rest of this  year and kick start 2013 with a passion!  Ready? 

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. 

Six Silent Roadblocks to Real Estate Success

A fun interview with Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta & Julie Escobar

First, things first…there has NEVER been a more important time to OUT-SMART, OUT-PERFORM & OUT-SHINE the competition than right NOW. To succeed in this business you MUST differentiate yourself in smart and positive ways and ask yourself this question, “What about ME is so special & unique that people will want to know & do business with me instead of the competition?”

I had a GREAT TIME chatting it up with one of my ALL TIME favorite keynote speakers – Connie Podesta.  If ever there was a woman who can teach you how to STAND OUT and be FEARLESS in today’s market it’s Connie!

We got on the topic of bad habits that need to be kicked to the curb if agents want to compete & succeed in today’s market -and it was so much fun I wanted to share!

Here’s a sneak peek inside our conversation…

Connie:  Hi Julie – always fun chatting with you!  If there is anyone who knows that now’s the time to STAND OUT and step up your game to win at real estate it’s you.  You know normally, I would lead with a positive spin on an article – but you and I were talking about how funny it is that sometimes the eBooks or articles that capture the most attention have a “darker” tone to them.  Isn’t that funny how we’ve all got a little of that “slow down at the scene of the accident” in us?  Human nature is an interesting thing isn’t it?

Julie:  It sure is Connie – but in all the years I’ve written for the real estate industry – it is those tough labeled, “fear factor” type titles that do tend to have brokers calling me announcing, “I just copied that and put in every agent’s mailbox!”  So let’s take a page out of that book and talk today about some habits that some sales associates are perpetuating that frankly – can be career KILLERS!  (Of course – not any of YOUR readers I’m sure – but they may have someone in their OFFICE who could use a little nudge right?)

Connie:  Absolutely – my readers are all on the top their game – but let’s give it to them straight anyway.  They know I’m not a “beat around the bush” kind of gal!  I think we need to focus on what is really feeling like an incredible (and necessary) trend in the industry today – and that’s a resurgence of agents putting service and customer value FIRST.

Julie:  I feel that too Connie – the real estate world has some great leaders out there right now who are really driving that message and METHOD home – and showing agents how making a friend first will not only lead to a sale later – but a whole lot of referrals after that.  Let’s look at the FIRST ROADBLOCK that comes to mind in terms of what agents are FAILING to do that could be costing them not just NOW customers – but lifetime ones as well.

Roadblock #1:  Inaccessibility. One of the top customer complaints of all time is, “They never called me back.” In customer speak, that translates into, “They don’t care about me, and they don’t want (or deserve) my business.”

Consider these tips, and be sure you consistently:

  • answer phone calls and emails within six hours, and always within 24 hours
  • contact open house attendees within three days of the event
  • use automated systems to keep up with web and direct mail inquiries
  • make yourself available; do NOT launch a marketing campaign and then leave town, attend a four-day workshop or head for the beach

Julie:  They’ll laugh at that last one Connie – but you and I have BOTH seen sales professionals do just that!

Connie:  I know! You guys need to understand this…Ours is an “instant gratification” society. People don’t like to wait, so don’t make them!  What’s number two Julie?

Julie:  Ahhh—glad you asked!

Roadblock #2:  Talking more than listening. I’m not sure who said it first (although I remember my mother sharing it a time or two), but this classic line really does put this point in perspective: “You were given two ears and one mouth in that proportion for a reason! Listen more than you talk.” Did your mom ever say that to you?  Listening allows you to hear objections, get a real feel for the comfort and motivation level of your customers and effectively answer their questions and meet their needs. Listening attentively also makes the client feel important, connected and cared about. Another old friend of mine, Floyd Wickman used to always say, “They don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”  He was right about that!

Connie:  You’re absolutely right – one of the first steps to showing VALUE to your customers is listening to them, really hearing them.  Not only does that make them FEEL more important and cared for – if you’re listening well – they almost ALWAYS give you clues as to what their buying or selling triggers really are.  I also want to interject in here that sometimes salespeople engage in what I  call “desperation talking” – and that’s when you want so BADLY to convince someone to BUY or to SIGN or to LIST that you just KEEP talking and end up OVER-SELLING – or talking yourself (and the prospect) right out of doing what you want them to do.  Learn to be quiet sometime, read people and even just ask them their preferences such as, “Do you want to look around the home and ask questions or get a feel for it on your own?  Which do you prefer?”

Julie:  You hit that nail on the head!  Now, on to one of OUR favorite topics…

Connie:  Indeed!  That is…

Roadblock #3:  Getting caught in a social media web:  I’ll be one of the first people to say it’s time to stop thinking social media is a passing fad and prompt you to dive in to the huge online knowledge base that can teach you how to tweet, find friends and get linked!  In fact, I’ll tell you that it is a MUST-HAVE communication skill if you want to keep communicating with the younger generation.  Social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN are extraordinary tools to help you expand your reach with the ability to talk one to many – develop your niche, and bring value to your sphere of influence and prospects every day.  You can touch many people at once; share your perspectives and network far faster and easier than we ever dreamed possible.

I will caution you though – do not get too caught up in the web.  I can’t tell you the countless sales professionals I’ve met who never learned to put boundaries on their time.  Social networking, like anything, can be a time stealer if you’re not using it properly.  There is still no substitute for real, live, face-to-face or at least phone-to-phone contact with your clients and genuine prospecting time blocks.  So if you’re spending all your time tweeting about the weather or playing Mafia Wars and Farmville (you know who you are) – then start today to block out your power hour of prospecting, reaching out to your customer base and leave the playtime for your personal time.