Friday, December 15, 2017

Empowering Your Life and Career with Two Extraordinary Words

By Julie Escobar

“Thank you.”  Pretty powerful stuff for two tiny little words right? During this season of thanks, it’s important to remember that we don’t need to wait for a holiday to let our gratitude shine through for our family, friends, customers and blessings.

That’s why most successful people I know start and end their day with thanks. Now that’s a powerful way to bookend your day!  Giving thanks for the people, the opportunities and even the challenges — more often than not those are what teach us the most.

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. (Thanks Floyd!)  Recently too, I had a long conversation with my friend Connie Podesta who is both a motivational speaker and a therapist, on the topic and her thoughts echoed my own.  “It’s easy to get caught up in the drama, the challenges and the negative in today’s world, but for those who keep it in perspective and focus on the relationships and on the people — those are the folks who are not only going to STAND OUT in their industries, but lead happier, healthier lives.”

Here are some ideas for saying thanks to your sphere from some of our valued clients:

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 are not your thing, read our blog post: Celebrate Your Customers – Ten Great Ways to Say Thank You.

Talk about mixers; consider this idea from Coach 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 also called on the very talented, very inspiring Karin Hill of Watson Realty Corporation in Florida. As the broker and manager of 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, in the past 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 put 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! Learn more about this strategy here: Take a Back To School Approach to Prospecting!

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. Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season!

Ready to kick your niche marketing into high gear? Visit www.prospectsplus.com or our blog at blog.prospectsplus.com to learn more great ideas for staying top of mind. There you’ll also find valuable training resources, customer tools and more. Call if you need us at 1.866.405.3638.

Oh – and don’t forget about our contest for an iPad!  As our way of saying thanks — we’re giving away a free iPad, iPod and hundreds in postcard mailings!  Learn more here or visit us at www.facebook.com/prospectsplus — tell us your best story about any of our products and you’ll be in the running to win! 

Insights & Strategies Interview with Industry Icon Floyd Wickman

By Julie Escobar

To finish our focus on fourth quarter strategies this month, I called my old friend Floyd Wickman to pick his brain for best practices for sales professionals as they head out of this year and set the stage for next.  As always, he mixed a little laughing in with the learning.

Here’s what he had to share…

Julie:  Hey Floyd! Thanks for your time today! With a little better than three months left in the year we both know that what sales professionals do NOW will determine what kind of holidays they have and how they hit the ground running in January.  What are a couple of your best fourth quarter strategies for success?

Floyd:  Hi Julie, it’s my pleasure!   I think there are two questions facing salespeople right now.  First, “how do I hit my goal for the year?” and secondly, “How do I position myself to start the new year off with momentum?”  In terms of hitting your goal for the year, the first thing you have to do is convert that goal to numbers.  In other words, what percentage of the way to your goal are you?  Are you on track or how far off track are you really?  Next, you have to convert that number to daily production.  Then work your formula from there.  So if you’re a real estate agent for example, you can break your goal down by listings.  How many more listings do you need to hit that number?  How many appointments do you need to get those listings?  How many contacts do you need to make to get those appointments?    So, my advice is this – spend a little time off by yourself and look the rest of your year numerically  and decide what you have to do to hit your goal.  Numbers will always tell you exactly what to do.

Next  thing you have to look at is how important it really is to you to hit your goal.  Do you go for it or adjust downward?   We all know what winners do and what losers do – in terms of pouring the energy into your daily activities —  that’s where it you have to begin.

From there – do the basics.  There’s an old phrase that I learned from Bill Gove, “How do you go from good to great?  Don’t forget what brung ya.”  (That was Bill’s style!) In other words, during those times when you’re at your best what  were you doing?  Do that.  Or as Zig  Ziglar says, “Search your memory bank the answers are in there.”

Julie:  Oh I can hear it now…“But Floyd – how do I do that?” Right?

Floyd:  Oh yeah, I’ve heard that a time or two.  Some smart “basics” to start with?  Pairing up with someone else is always healthy.  Find an integrity partner that you like and respect who also has goals to hit and help each other out.   I also recommend staying BOOKED.  I wouldn’t shut down for the holidays until I knew that I already had the first two weeks of 2012 booked.  The salespeople who don’t start booking themselves until January 3rd or 4th are giving everyone else a head start. (Take advantage of it!)  Plus you can have a more peaceful holiday knowing you’ve already got things in place to hit the ground running next year.

Julie:  Great advice.  I’m a big fan of working together to ensure everyone’s on track.  What else can they do to ensure they start the new year strong?

Floyd:  Complete your circles.  For most of you, there are at least some unfinished systems, solutions or projects that you’ve been “meaning to” get implemented.  Get those in place.  Maybe it’s a database, or a marketing system or a virtual assistant or all of the above.  Take advantage of the slow moments to make the business decisions and systems implementations you need to complete those circles.  You’ll be better prepared for the new year and you’ll have more peace of mind because you won’t have unfinished business looming over your head.

Julie:  Yeah, those incomplete circles make me nutty too!  You often talk about winning “formulas.”  Can you share a winning formula for our real estate friends?

Floyd:  The most basic formula in real estate is that your inventory level will determine your income level.  If a person did anything for themselves to ensure their success this year and next – it’s to focus your energies this last quarter on building your inventory.  If you can start your January with a larger inventory than you’re carrying now your odds greatly increase on having a successful year.

Julie:  Floyd, our market shifts have left a lot of people feeling overwhelmed, down and in a reactionary rather than a proactive mode.  What are some ways that you stay motivated and can you share a couple of tips to help folks get re-focused, re-energized and ready to turn their obstacles into opportunities?

Floyd:  Well that reminds me of the kind of like the guy that says the doctor, “Doc, every time I move my arm like this it hurts.”   And the doctor says, “Stop moving it like that.”  People who are reactionary rather than proactive are not in positive control of their lives or careers — and because of that they will always have more aches and pains than the rest of us.  It’s a personal decision every day.  Things come up – they always will.  But it’s up to you how you handle those interruptions.  If you know to hit your goal & complete your circles by the end of the year you have to do this, this and this each day and you commit to it – then commit.  If something comes up you have to decide – ok, is this something I have to take care of now that I know will take me off track or is it something I can manage after I’ve completed my tasks for the day?

Sometimes people live their whole lives in a pattern where no matter what they have planned they let other people or situations control their time.  We have a phrase that we teach in my classes, “Nobody slaps me around anymore!”  (How many of you have heard that?)  Listen, you have to stay in positive control of your time, activity and mindset – or someone else will and they don’t have to pay your bills!  No one is going to call you up in a year and say I’m sending you a check for $50k as my way of apologizing for taking control of your time this year.”  So, guess what – it’s up to you.

Julie:  Ok-that made me laugh – great analogy.  It’s true though – it’s easy to get off track…

Floyd:  Oh yeah, happens every year.  Right around Halloween is where people’s mentality starts leaning towards that “after the holidays” type thinking.  Then thanksgiving rolls around and they really get into the “after the holidays” mode.  Before you know it we’re closing in on New Year’s and then they start saying, “Well after the first of the year.”  It starts off small; put this off, that off, this customer on hold, that project on hold and it snowballs.

A good salesperson takes positive control of that situation.  They wisely equip themselves with everything they need to stay on track.  For example, they know every answer to questions like “What are the benefits of buying a house or putting a house on the market before the first of the year?”  “Should I wait for the market to change?”  “Will our home sell during the holidays?”  A great salesperson gets creative about knowing every benefit, and overcoming any objection (whatever time of year it is!)  When you let your creative imagination get rolling – it’s amazing what you can come up with.

Julie:  I completely agree.  Now,  Floyd – social media has changed the way we communicate in today’s world, but to succeed you’ve got to step out from behind the computer and still get nose-to-nose and face-to-face with customers and clients.  What are your thoughts on that?

Floyd:  It’s funny you should ask.  I’m doing a talk for one of my clients in Cleveland in November and on the platform with me is a social media expert.  We’re using the phrase high tech and high touch.  Most of the great social media experts in the sales industry will tell you that when we look at comparing social media today to media of the past – we see it as advertising.  We used to advertise in magazines, classified and newspaper – now we have social media.  What is that?  Building image creating awareness making an offer getting noticed

Whether advertising is in print, television, radio or social media – it’s still all aimed at making a sale-right?

In our business,  where people still have to talk to people though – the bottom line is you have to get voice-to- voice or face-to-face. Social media is outstanding for creating interest, building your brand and capturing the attention of the consumer – but in what we do – people  aren’t going to buy or sell unless the like us, trust us and know that we’ve got their best interests at heart.  It still comes down to the relationship with the person.

Julie:  Awesome Floyd – any last nuggets for us?

Floyd:  Just to remember that nothing lasts.  Not the good or the bad.  There are a lot of great things happening out there right now.  If you haven’t experienced it yet – hang in there.  The good is coming.  I always say that times are good – put some in your left pocket to save for when they aren’t.  Counting our blessings gives great perspective.  So if success is what you want in your sites — start by looking at your numbers, close those circles, get yourself booked and count your blessings!

Julie:  Thanks Floyd – terrific advice as always – wishing YOU and yours a terrific fourth quarter and an amazing holiday season ahead! 

If you want to learn more about Floyd or the training or coaching he provides, be sure to visit his site today at www.floydwickman.com and follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/floydwickman

If you want to learn more about how we can help you put some of those systems in place, close those circles and get yourself booked for the new year, visit us online at http://www.prospectsplus.com/specials.aspx or call our incredible marketing team at 866.405.3638 today!  Ready?  Go!

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….

An Interview with Industry Entrepreneur & Housing Trends eNewsletter Founder Susie Hale

By Julie Escobar

One of the things I love most in this business is getting to know incredible people like Housing Trends eNewsletter founder Susie Hale.  I’ve got to say she embodies innovation, creativity and a passion for her customers.  The quality of her product and the fearlessness in which she continues to bring extraordinary tools to the real estate industry are two of the top reasons why we have included HTEN in our GettingListingsSold.com toolkit and why we encourage all of readership to take advantage of this powerful – and FREE – marketing solution.

Here’s a glimpse inside our interview!

Q:  Susie – we’re SO excited to introduce Housing Trends eNewsletter to our customers!  It’s such a robust and wonderful tool for agents and I know it will be a value-add for their clients.  Can you tell me a little more about your incredible product?

A:  Hey Julie – I’m excited too!  We just love bringing solutions to agents – as does your organization – so we appreciate partnering up! I’d love to tell you about HTEN – it’s one of my favorite topics!

What we wanted was for Housing Trends eNewsletter to be a lead generation and client retention tool for agents to share with clients and prospects via email, websites, blogs, email signature and social media sites.   It’s just a great way for today’s real estate pros to engage buyers and sellers and become the consumers’ trusted advisor, the professional needs to provide the consumer with the information they are seeking. And what do Consumers want?  NUMBERS – and not just any numbers – the hyper-local information that means the most to them such as:

1.   Local and national real estate sales and price activity provided by MLSs and the National Association of REALTORS®
2.   U.S. Census Bureau key market indicators
3.   National real estate market press releases and articles
4.   Housing market video reports
5.   Consumer how-to videos
6.   Blog posts
7.   Real estate glossary
8.   Maps
9.   Mortgage rates & calculator
10. Local Community Reports
11. Consumer articles
12. Real Estate Today Radio

Q: That’s awesome Susie!  These are busy and hectic times for real estate professionals – tell me – how easy is it to sign up for HTEN?  And how easy is it for agents to “make it their own” with links and copy that personalizes the newsletter?

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.