Friday, December 15, 2017

See Why Savvy Business Are Creating Their Own Stimulus Package!REALTOR2
By Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing

In uneasy economies, many business owners put themselves on the “waiting out the market” fence by slashing expenses, cutting all marketing and going into an indefinite holding pattern. In a world full of fence-sitters, know this: the business and the revenue will always go to the entrepreneur who jumped off early, or never got on the fence in the first place. That said; where are YOU sitting these days?

Savvy business owners are going against the grain and doing everything their competition is not. Instead of waiting for the economic winds to change, they are putting every system and tool possible in place to makes sure they are in front of their customer base (and potential customer base) each and every month. They are seeking out every new opportunity to make an impression and in doing so, they are maintaining their professional presence, protecting and growing their brand awareness and engaging in smart relationship-building practices. After all, in the wise words of H. Jackson Brown, Jr., “Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.”

Where do you start? Well, where most change must start – take a look in the mirror. Know your business, your unique selling proposition and your customers so well that you can predict what they need and want almost before they do. Then, put the systems in place to connect, reconnect and stay connected!

Step One: Know your business. What makes you unique? What is it that YOU do differently than any of your competitors? Why should customers do business with you as opposed to any of your competitors? The answer to that question, in its clearest, most concise format becomes your USP or Unique Selling Proposition. The best USP is defined as a clearly written sentence that perfectly describes the benefits that are unique to your company or product.

Let’s look at some famous examples:

  • Dominos Pizza: “Fresh hot pizza delivered to your door in thirty minutes or less, guaranteed”
  • Federal Express: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”
  • M&Ms: “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand”
  • Hallmark: When you care enough to send the very best
  • Subway: Subs with under six grams of fat

Step Two: Define your demographic. Knowing your customer better than your competition is the kind of leverage that can make or break a business. Take a look at your best customers. Use the old 80/20 rule. Find the 20% of your customer base who equate to 80% of your sales. Are they male or female? Where do they live? What do they look like, act like, need most? What’s most important to them? Once you’ve clearly defined who you are marketing to, then you can develop how you speak to them most effectively in your marketing, on the phone and in person! Another bonus: Once defined, you can use that demographic snapshot to find more great customers with powerful data aggregation services!

By Roberta Ross, National Speaker and Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing, ProspectsPLUS!stock

In challenging economies, our sense of net worth and emotional stability very often rises and falls with the stock market ticker on our television screens.  Finding that much-desired feeling of empowerment and security may seem tougher to come by, but by shifting your view to what is possible, you find enormous opportunity.  The value of your stock is not based on what is, but upon your response to what is.  Top agents rely on action, tenacity and good old fashioned people skills to keep their stock high and their stress to a minimum.   
Building your “stock” in today’s market has much more to do with your daily activities than your investment portfolio.  A great number of successful businesses and extraordinary entrepreneurs are born from tough markets.  The question is, will you be one of them?  In this economy it’s important for serious real estate professionals to tap into what can be done NOW – that means, investing in yourself, your business, and your future.  Here are four key strategies to ensure that your “stock” is on the rise. 

Build your inventory.  It is listings that drive this business.  Your income is determined by your inventory.  For example, if you only have a handful of listings, you can’t with any certainty “bank” on closing transactions this month.  However, if you maintain an inventory of 15-20 or more listings, and they are PRICED right, you can trust that you’ll have a steady flow of income.  According to a seasonally adjusted index of sales contracts kept by the National Association of Realtors®, pending home sales in April of this year were up 6.7% from March, the biggest monthly increase since October 2001.  That means buyers are on the move.  By keeping your inventory in place, you are positioned to capitalize on these market shifts.  Whose listings they purchase is entirely up to you! 

 

By Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing, ProspectsPLUS!

seniorsBig

The American Geriatric Society calls it the “Silver Tsunami.” It’s the wave of citizens living into their eighth and ninth decade with few signs of slowing down. Today, real estate professionals in record numbers are calling it their specialty. This month we’ll unlock the reasons why and how choosing to work with today’s over-50 crowd could be just the niche market you’ve been looking for!

It’s estimated that there are more than 78 million seniors across North America, so certainly choosing this niche is a great way to tap into the market’s supply and demand. It really goes much further than that for most agents though. For many who choose to become specialists in the senior market it is much more about building valuable long term, incredible relationships with a generation of people who both need us to teach them in terms of what they need to know to protect their interests and also who have so much to teach us in return.

“It really is a niche where you become passionate and protective of your clients. There’s a lot more emotion and personal interaction than there is with other market segments,” said Debbie Rodgers, real estate coach and SRES instructor. “My kids and I would laugh at times when I took on a new senior client. I would call them my ‘five-pounders’ because ultimately, that’s how much weight I would gain with each one after meeting with them every week for cookies and coffee.” Debbie chose this niche back in the 90s when the market was actually very similar to what we are seeing today. As a single mom with two young children she very much wanted to stay in real estate and work during the day while her children were in school. She’s teaching agents all about how back then, and today, seniors are a great target market for doing just that and developing a powerful referral network who, when you do your best for them, are loyal in return.

More than 16,000 REALTORS® have earned the Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation from the National Association of REALTORS® and cooperating Canadian Association of Realtors®. They offer a powerful course designed to educate agents on everything from understanding and working with seniors, to government laws, programs and special services available to them. The course also teaches the subtle nuances and empathy needed to work best with this generation and their extended families as well. You are made critically aware of how to best protect their rights, preserve their trust and truly become an advocate they need. To learn more about earning this special designation visit them online at www.seniorsrealestate.com.

Like many agents getting their start in this business, Debbie began by working with first time home buyers. Unafraid of standing in front of a crowd, she enjoyed the opportunity (and the time management) of hosting first time home buying workshops. “It’s a great way to get your message to 15-20 people at a time, as opposed to going door-to-door or calling people individually,” shared Ms. Rodgers. As she expanded her business to work with seniors she leveraged that talent and time to host workshops specifically targeted towards the needs of seniors. In fact, she became so passionate about senior advocacy, she actually ran for City Council and served from 1996-2000, and ensuring all the while that her area implemented senior benefits in their communities.

RealtorKeysFive Top Industry Experts Share How to Adopt the Mindset of a Winner

By Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing, ProspectsPLUS!

Hats off to the new agents!  You bring to our industry fresh faces, new enthusiasm, and “ready-to-make-things-happen” attitudes, and for that, you are appreciated!  Floyd Wickman once said with the right tools, training and focus – ANYONE can make it in this business.  In that spirit, I asked five top industry experts to help us explore what new agents need to do to adopt the right mindset or “focus” for success. Our esteemed guests are:  Real Estate Speaker, Coach and Author, Bernice Ross; President of Frogpond.com, Susie Hale; Speaker, Coach and Author, Darryl Davis; Speaker, Trends Expert and Author, Stefan Swanepoel, and Author, Coach and Speaker, Matt Ferry.   Let’s get started!

Q:  What do new agents need to do to create and keep the right mindset for success?

A:  Bernice Ross:  Mentally, I would tell new agents to ignore all the experienced people who tell you how bad it is.  Surround yourself with those people who are doing great things.  There are so many good online resources you can tap into such as www.inman.com or www.realtytimes.com.  Bookmark these power sites, track what’s going on in this industry and keep learning. 

I also believe that if you help enough people with what they need or want, they’ll help you back.  Dive into conversations and find out what’s important to the customers who make up your book of business.  Find out what they need and how you can help them, then keep helping them as you build that customer base to more than 200 people.  That’s a great foundation for success.  I often share Michael Russer’s great advice and that is to make “irresistible offers.”  For example, offer your customers the “how-to” information they need to lower their taxes at tax time and the forms and CMA they need to complete the job!  Make yourself an invaluable resource to them and they’ll refer you again and again.

newagentneedsIndustry Experts Share “Must Haves” for New Agent Success

By Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing, ProspectsPLUS!

Despite media hype regarding the current state of our housing market, new waves of agents are joining the ranks of Realtors® eager to make their own mark in this business each month.  Though certainly faced with a few more challenges than they might have had years ago – new agents today are also blessed with considerably more opportunities and resources than have ever been available in the past.  This month, I asked some of today’s top names in real estate if they would help me explore the answers to three basic questions: 

1. What does every new agent need to know?
2. What “must-have” items do agents need in their “tool chest” to survive?
3. What do they need to do to create and keep the right mindset for success?

Joining me to share their valuable insight and perspectives are industry leaders Real Estate Speaker, Coach and Author, Bernice Ross; President of Frogpond.com, Susie Hale; Speaker, Coach and Author, Darryl Davis; and Speaker, Trends Expert and Author, Stefan Swanepoel. In this article, we’ll focus on the first two questions, what agents need to know and what vital tools they should have.  Look for our follow up article on developing the right mindset in which power speaker Matthew Ferry also weighs in!  Now, let’s get started!    

Q:  What does every new agent REALLY need to know?

A:  Bernice Ross:  First, I would recommend that agents make sure they know all the legalities required by their board or MLS.  After that, they can really focus on the one thing that will take them throughout their career – KNOWING their market. 

Start to train yourself to really know your inventory inside and out.  Make yourself an expert at your own market area, inventory, communities and price points.  For example, don’t just look at a flyer or the MLS listing to get the price of a house.  Walk inside home after home, and see if you can start to predict what the price is or should be.  Drive different routes to work each day, look for the new FSBOs and Expireds that pop up. Study your market until you know it in your sleep.

I also always teach agents to make the shift from telling and describing what you do to asking questions.  Dive into conversations with your customers to unlock what is most important to them.  It is the key to more effectively communicating. I believe it’s more important than ever to build your business starting with who you know and expanding from there.  I recommend a great book, The Go Giver, by Bob Burg.  It teaches valuable lessons regarding the power of giving and really connecting. 

A:  Susie Hale:  First of all, I’d want them to know that they have options and resources that are available to them such as mentors, managers and people to help them.  I always encourage agents, especially new agents, to really reach out beyond themselves and ask questions to build their skills and knowledge base. 

I’m also a big advocate for social networking.  This trend can be something that allows you to truly grow your relationships in a unique, dynamic and faster way.  Ultimately, marketing is creating a conversation, and by utilizing social media, you really do eliminate the gatekeepers, drive traffic to your website faster, and meet your customers who are alert, inquisitive and prepared to learn.  So, jump in and get involved! 

A:  Darryl Davis:  Good question!  I’d say that agents need to know the number one thing they have going for them is enthusiasm.  As a new agent, you come from space where anything is possible.  I challenge you to keep that enthusiasm and commit to this question, “How am I going to play this game called real estate?”  If you can stay in that state of inquiry and keep discovering–it will fuel the hunger for knowledge and source the enthusiasm you need to really thrive out there. 

A:  Stefan Swanepoel:  New agents need to know that there are a ton of opportunities to position yourself to be a great agent.  There is so much changing about our industry because of social media, e-marketing, consolidation, and globalization that ours is an industry in transition.  Stay ahead of that curve by constantly learning and finding your niche in all of it. I recommend you bookmark www.retrends.com for a constant stream of information regarding all the trends that affect real estate professionals today. 

Q:  What “must have” items do agents need in their “tool chest” to survive?

A:  Bernice Ross:  There are some tremendous resources out there for agents today. For example, www.Point2Agent.com is a great service that provides powerful websites for associates, and most importantly, syndicates them to more than 40 different web portals such as Trulia, Zillow, Yahoo, Facebook, Google and more with just a push of a button.  In this instance, distribution trumps destination.  Since consumers are going to all of these sites, you can just post your listing once and Point2Agent does the work of spreading the word!  It also has a built in tracking tool which is a necessary component for getting new listings and price reductions. 

I also recommend agents get engaged in social media such LinkedIn and Facebook and choose a URL for your business that says what you do, who you are, and where you are.  So many agents just use their name, but that doesn’t tell the consumer what you do!  Also, consider adding video features to your site for a search engine boost.  There is a free service, www.tubemogul.com, which provides a single entry point for deploying uploads to the top video sharing sites, and powerful analytics to track who’s viewing them!  These are just two items to try. As a coach, I am always on the watch for the tools and technology that will help my clients be more successful and productive.  I invite everyone to stop by my site regularly at www.realestatecoach.com.  I’m always posting new articles and links that can help you grow your business. 

A:  Susie Hale:  Well, obviously, my advice to agents is to get connected in the world of social media.  Dive into the conversation that is out there and make your name known.  Your “social intelligence” should include a website, e-zine and social networks.  Make them definitive parts of your marketing plan.   Why?

 They are relationship builders
 They remove the “gatekeepers” in your business
 They achieve branding goals faster and communicate your company culture
 They propel lead generation and keep your current customers up to date
 They position you as an expert and allow you to beat your competition

Use connecting systems to allow you to easily send information throughout multiple social channels such as www.hellotxt.com which does the work of updating all your social networks at once. If you want to continue to learn more about social networking and tap into what the experts are saying across the globe, I invite you to visit us at www.frogpond.com.  We house information and articles from some of the best minds in the business and you’re free to browse and learn at any time! 

A:  Darryl Davis:  Well, as you know, I can be a little different!  When you ask me about “tools” – rather than a “thing” or gadget, my first reaction is to say, more than those, agents need listing and selling techniques as their “must have” tools. 

For example, I teach my students to work with FSBOs and Expireds.  To me, Expireds right now are even better than FSBOs, in that any time a homeowner comes back on the market with a new agent, they know, even more than the FSBO, that “Elvis has left the building,” as it were.  They know that they have to price it right and be committed to selling.  My students and I have an expression that we use with homeowners, “You can’t be committed to price and committed to moving.  So, are you committed to moving?”  It’s a dialogue that works – try it!

I will also remind agents that the old adage that “any listing is better than no listing” is not true.  Walk away from overpriced listings.  They not only make you look bad, they are adding to the overall problem we have in this nation.  Consider this – if every agent took just ONE overpriced listing off the market – that would mean a million homes taken out of the inventory glut. 

I’ll add one more technique for aggressively pricing your listings. I’ll illustrate it this way.  I used to be a soccer coach, and there was one technique that helped our team stay undefeated.  Sometimes in soccer you’ll see a “beehive effect,” which is when players swarm to the ball.  I taught my kids to think ahead.  They learned that wherever the opponent was with the ball, not to chase him.  Instead, they were to figure out where the player was going next and meet him there. It’s the same with pricing listings in today’s market.  Try this dialogue:  “Mr. and Mrs. Seller, if the market is going down in price, we can’t price it at what the market IS; we have to price it at where the market is GOING to get it sold.”

A:  Stefan Swanepoel:  The first tool I would say an agent needs is a plan.  If you don’t have a road map, you really have no way to reach your destination.  I recommend a website www.createaplan.com.  It is the only company that I know of that is CRS approved for their business planning products for agents.  It will help you get on track and stay there.  Another great thing to consider is hiring a coach.  While it may be too much money for some, the right coach is usually worth the investment.  If not a coach, consider a mentor.  Ask someone you look up to, such as a broker or a successful colleague that is willing to let you shadow them.  You may also consider www.isucceed.com.  This is a great mentoring service for a low as $1 per day!  Agents from all brands and all areas are represented and there’s a wonderful audio file library to pull from. 

I would also steer agents towards focusing on the right designation for them.  Find what you’re passionate about and start learning the skill set you need to become an “expert” in that field.  There are more than 70 designations out there, visit www.redesignation.com as a great resource.  There you’ll find information to become specialists for Buyers, Seniors, Short Sales, Eco-friendly, and more. 

And now, here’s my two cents:  As someone who has been around this industry for more than 20 years, I echo so much of what our panel has said.  When I speak to new agents, I too tell them to do EVERYTHING they can to maintain that “can-do” spirit and “anything’s possible” attitude that comes with being new.  It is the edge you need to keep sharp as you build your business. 

I will also tell you that there is never going to be a better time to set up the systems you need for long term success.  Over the course of the last year, when times were tough in our business, I saw so many agents leave the industry after many, many years with nothing much to show for it.  Why?  They didn’t treat their real estate career as a business.  They didn’t keep track of the most valuable assets they had as a salesperson:  their customers.  Let me recommend our free BusinessBASE™ system from ProspectsPLUS!  Simply powerful and powerfully simple, it will help you build that salable book of business that one day, many years from now, when you’re ready to leave, you can sell to a broker, a team or top agent for top dollar.   Visit our website, www.prospectsplus.com and look for it in the “resource” section.  Once you get rolling in this business, it’s hard to go back and “get organized.”  Do it right from the beginning.  If you need help, call me.  I’m happy to steer you in the right direction! 

A huge thank you to our panelists for their advice and expertise!  As new agents, you need to ALWAYS be learning, gathering, fine-tuning and growing.  Look to these experts for valuable information!  Bookmark their sites and call for more help.  They are incredible resources for agents new and experienced!  Here’s how to get in touch:

Bernice Ross:  www.realestatecoach.com; Susie Hale:  www.frogpond.com;
Darryl Davis: 
www.darryldavis.com; Stefan Swanepoel:  www.retrends.com

Remember to look for our follow up article regarding adopting the right MINDSET for success as a new agent.  Bookmark our blog at blog.prospectsplus.com for more!  Of course, you can find me at www.prospectsplus.com.  Sign up for my free newsletter and a free web account that will give you access to many terrific resources for growing and building your business!  I can be reached directly at 1.866.405.3641.  Wishing you every success!