Wednesday, March 21, 2018

By Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing, ProspectsPLUS!

There’s an old Girl Scout campfire song that begins with, “Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.” That tune came to mind as I sat down to write this month’s article. Why? Simply because I know many agents who are so busy chasing “new” business that they forget the customers who got them to where they are. While I agree that looking after new or “silver” clients is a great idea, there is no measure for the career longevity of consistently building a strong “golden” sphere of influence.

Did you know that the average 20-year value of a client is more than $93,000 for most agents? It’s funny how, even knowing that, so many bright, successful salespeople ignore past customers. I spoke to a ProspectsPLUS! client two weeks ago who-by most agents’ standards-is doing very well in what many consider a tough market. We were talking about her strategy for working with move-up market candidates, and I told her how proud I was of everything that she was accomplishing and then asked her, “How are you managing your BusinessBASETM?” Her answer was that, unfortunately, she wasn’t. Here was an agent who had been working with affluent homebuyers with the ability to move up into their dream homes despite a tough economy for the past year, yet she had not put the one system of our program in place that would help her keep those customers for life. We helped get her on track, but her story is not unique. How many of you have been so caught up working IN your business that you’ve bypassed the crucial step of working ON your business?

There’s no time like the present to adopt another Scout motto: Be prepared. Our markets are changing rapidly and, according to the experts I’ve talked to, many areas should start seeing significant changes beginning in the spring. So taking the month of December to get your proverbial “ducks in a row” just makes sense. What do you say we make a New Year’s resolution a month early-so we’re PREPARED for whatever comes our way in 2009!

Make a list, and check it twice! Take a tip from Santa this year and use some downtime to compile a list of customers and prospects past and present. Use whatever contact-management system you’re comfortable with, and jump in! You’ll be surprised at how the list grows once you start including friends, old classmates, business associates, your doctors, attorneys, CPAs, sports team members and neighbors. Visit to download our free BusinessBASETM, which includes a list of the 250 people who should be in your sphere of influence and guidance on how to start compiling the information you need to keep them not only as customers, but also as a referral base that will position you to weather any market.

Not sure how many people you need in your sphere to realize your 2009 goals? That’s not uncommon, so we’ve made it simple to figure out. Visit to calculate your number based on your financial goals and average commission. This handy calculator is based on National Association of REALTOR® statistics that tell us top agents receive roughly 66% of their business from their sphere of influence and, when contacted at least monthly, one in 12 people in their sphere should result in a transaction every year.

Divide and conquer! Once you’ve got a handle on who’s on your list (no small feat, but well worth the effort), you can begin to segment your list so that you can market to those VIPs appropriately! In other words, you wouldn’t say the same thing to an investor that you would a first-time homebuyer candidate, right? Your marketing shouldn’t, either. By segmenting your list, you can be sure to send the message that best matches the mindset of your customer. For example, monthly postcards are a nice touch for friends and family. Newsletters are a great way to stay in contact with both your sphere and your geographic farm. Builders might like to hear how you can help them move standing inventory, while CPAs might love to hear how you can provide smart services for their clients looking to save when tax time comes next year!

Here are some examples of list segments to consider:

  • friends and family
  • business associates
  • neighbors
  • professional contacts (doctors, lawyers, CPAs)
  • geographic farm
  • buyer prospects
  • seller prospects
  • referral agents
  • corporate marketing contacts (we’ll get back to this one!)

Create your strategic plan. Notice that I said “strategic.” Not just plan, not business plan, not “shot in the dark.” The professionals who will win both short- and long-term in this business utilize smart strategies, solutions and systems to streamline their business and manage their time. The new online version of our Master Marketing Schedule, which helps you map out at least two campaign ideas per week, with more than eight categories to choose from each month, is just weeks away! Email me for more information on this great tool!

Your plan should map out at least three to six months in advance to avoid getting caught up working IN your business rather than ON your business. Your strategic plan should include the “send-call-see” system in BusinessBASETM.

Next, set up an old fashioned alphabetical “tickler” file so that you remember to contact each client in your database. Send them something every month. Call them every two months. See them every three months. It might sound overwhelming, but if you break it down and just do a letter or two a day, it’s really not a lot when you consider the return. Top agents block out their hour or two a day without fail and, because of this, feel those inevitable market changes significantly less; in fact, many are reporting record years! The “see” portion of the equation can even be done in semi-annual or quarterly client events or appreciation parties. You can accomplish a lot without spending a lot if done right!

Get to it! Go ahead… and make new friends but keep the old! Add one person every business day of your year, and you’ll grow your business by leaps and bounds. Target one new niche market this year, and become the best in the world at it. It’s hard to be the number one agent in your market area, but it’s not hard to be number one with a targeted segment! Stay in touch this month and every month with solutions that allow you to set the dial, then go do what you do best!

As we close out 2008, I challenge you to look at the opportunity to stay in consistent contact with all of the people in your life not as a burden, but as a blessing. The rewards will be extraordinary, in terms of both career success and personal growth. There really is no such thing as a self-made man or woman, is there? There are many people to care for along the way. We’re here if you need us!

Learn how our new Personal Marketing Consultant can help you get ready for the new year by emailing Find your copy of BusinessBASETM at, click on ProspectsPLUS! and then BusinessBASETM.

88623260Eleven experts share their smartest survival strategies for today’s market

By Julie Escobar

“The smart ones ask when they don’t know. And sometimes when they do.” Consider these wise words from Malcolm Forbes, a man who clearly knows a thing or two about surviving financial storms.

Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do when we don’t know, are facing adversity or are in over our heads? Heck, isn’t that even what we’re supposed to do to get ahead of the curve during tough times and be positioned for greatness when the tide starts to turn? 

I think so, so I did. I asked: “What’s the SMARTEST thing agents can do to build their business in today’s market?” Fortunately for all of us, 11 of the top minds in the industry answered.

Here is what our special guests—Floyd Wickman, Mr. Interview™-Michael Krisa, Bill Barrett, Darryl Davis, Carol Johnson, Mr. Internet®-Michael Russer, Matthew Ferry, Walter Sanford, Dave Beson, Claudia Wicks and Judy LaDeur—had to say about the smartest thing you can do to build your business now.

1. Industry icon Floyd Wickman: Well, I believe that’s a three-part formula. First, work each week (we could stop there and increase production by 38%)… on bringing in saleable listings. That means getting face to face with a seller for a listing or price reduction. Next, get all buyers and lookers into the office to be qualified, and sell them on the benefits of the office like you never have before. Last, sell in-house inventory first!

2. Mr. Interview™, Michael Krisa: My best advice? First, don’t panic! Look around your town/city/state, and identify the agents who are making the deals. Ask yourself what they are doing to adapt and how you can emulate them. Don’t reinvent the wheel; take momentum from the ones already in forward motion.

3. Industry icon Dave Beson: Focus on filling the prospect pipeline and improving your presentation so that when you get in front of a “live one,” you will win! If you aren’t pre-planning your day and including an hour or more of prospecting by phone, in person, by letter, by email, by postcard and follow up, then you’re missing the boat. I tell my audiences, “You have to be a missionary for real estate.”

The easiest thing to do is to tell a success story—just one—about a couple who kept their house or a family that WAS ABLE TO BUY because of your help. If you need to share a story with someone in the office, that’s okay. I have a letter that I suggest agents send out to everyone they know. It’s cool to follow up by phone, too, even if it’s just to leave a voice mail! Here it is:

Dear Bob and Mary,

I just reviewed my business for the year and found an amazing surprise: More than 61% of my business was past customers, referrals and repeat business.

Sure, it’s been a challenging time in real estate, but where would I be without the support of important people like you and your friends? Many thanks for telling your friends about me, and me about them.

Be sure to let me know if there is anything I can do to help you or a friend.

All the best,

Your Name

Get in touch, and stay in touch–consistently. That’s key.

4. Real estate and trends expert Bill Barrett: DO NOT CUT BACK ON YOUR BUDGET! Keep in touch with your past customers—meaning ALL of your past buyers and sellers—on a monthly basis. Superstars get 80% to 90% of their business from past customers through continuous prospecting and marketing. Consider that we’re still on track to sell four million re-sales nationwide this year. Who’s going to sell them? Certainly not the ones who “give up.” Stay in the game.

5. Noted speaker Darryl Davis: I believe the best thing about this market is that we will see a flood of buyers coming out. Sellers who were waiting in the wings to sell their houses and buyers who were sitting in the wings waiting for rock bottom all will start to move as we see our market start to inch up. Remember: The agent with the most listings WINS! If I were to gamble, I would say things will be on the upswing starting this spring. So prepare for the surge of buyers by building your listing inventory NOW!

6. Recruiting pioneer Carol Johnson: Stay in constant communication with your book of business, customer base and centers of influence. There is a market–people are buying and selling! This is a good time to make a change. It’s also a great time to develop new niche markets. Property condition is paramount right now—properties need to be in good condition, and prices have to be right. Make your listings the most compelling properties on the market!

7. Mr. Internet®, Michael Russer: I would have to say, launch your e-team. E-team members specialize and differentiate themselves by targeting a niche. 90% of agents don’t do this, which forces them to compete with everyone. Specialists know that they must always effectively answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” for every client.

8. Industry coach Matthew Ferry: For agents, I would say that they need to find that faith they had in themselves before. I’m doing a webinar for all of my clients that includes a six-point action plan to help them find the courage and strength to make 2009 their best year yet. It takes honesty—about finances, about whether this industry is the right industry, and about resentment and anger. These mindsets and energies have a very damaging effect on productivity. People know what to do, they just don’t do it. They don’t do it because of hidden negativity in their mindsets. This must be discovered and removed.

For brokers, I would have to tell them to get to the heart of each agent’s passion and purpose. Most people are focused on what doesn’t work about life right now and, consequently, draw from that energy to make decisions. This is very detrimental and will pull you further into a mental breakdown. The key is to discover the future you are committed to and get focused on that. Everyone is operating in relation to the future they are present to. If you are in despair, then you are present to a bleak future. If you are empowered, then you are present to a future that you are looking forward to. Today’s action is a function of the future.

9. Real estate expert Walter Sanford: Short and simple: “Triple (at least) your current listing inventory.” This positions you to win when the market turns.

10. Speaker and trainer Claudia Wicks: Learn online marketing and how to use the technology tools consumers are using. You need to have an online presence and, of course, develop a database of prospects. Establish relationships with more prospects than ever before. Collect email addresses; use tech tools to stay in touch automatically until they are ready to buy and/or sell, and stay in touch with past clients.

According to NAR, many agents have been in the business seven years or less. They have never known this type of market. They do not know what to do to generate business. Agents who have developed a large database of prospects, however, are not struggling. They have a steady stream of business. In this market, you need to get down to basics and build your business. That means generating prospects. You can do it by talking to everyone you know and asking for business by networking and letting everyone know it is a great time to buy. You also can do it by creating an online presence and branding yourself by marketing your own web site, blogging, joining social networks, and responding immediately to online requests for info.
Show up every day, and start working. Stay motivated by doing something nice for someone else, by talking to past clients, and by watching how you talk to yourself and not listening or “buying into” all of the negative talk. You can do it by believing in yourself.

Brokers and managers, the smartest thing YOU can do is provide training and encourage new skill building for your agents. Keep them engaged in productive activities such as networking opportunities, open houses involving the entire office or office tour of homes, or showing them how to market their listings online. I’d also suggest having “call nights” where they call past clients to stay in touch. Also provide them with valuable information such as:
• which price ranges are selling, list price to sales price, days on market
• how to handle issues that arise at closing
• how to work with appraisers to help ascertain value
• what type of financing is available
• good news at the office such as new listings, sales and price reductions
• short sale help
• foreclosure information
• how to get a price reduction
• how to help get a listing in good condition or staged 

11.  Recruiting guru Judy LaDeur: Agents, DO NOT read the newspapers, and please turn the TV off! Agents are glued to TVs and reading papers like never before, just looking for the gloom and doom. I say, “Ignore the press!” There are opportunities in every market, and the agents who are finding them are having a great year in real estate! This is a great time for apartment renters to buy homes. It also is a great time for sellers in a starter price range to move up to their dream home. Price homes correctly, and stage them well. Homes are still selling! If you have listings that are not priced and staged correctly, get rid of them!

Brokers and managers, I’d tell you to first trim the fat! That means look at your costs, and see where you can cut back. You also should look at your agents, and trim a few of those as well. Most brokers right now are carrying agents who need to be out of the business. Those agents drain your office resources and staff.

I’d also tell you that there has never been a better time to recruit! Many agents are unhappy and looking for options. The brokers and recruiters we’re coaching right now are having record-breaking recruiting years because they pick up the phone every day and talk to agents. In this market, if you are not recruiting, you will not survive!

And the last bit of advice is the same advice that I gave the agents. DO NOT read the newspapers, and turn the TV off! We are coaching several brokers who have doubled the size of their office this year by ignoring the press. If anything really bad happens, you will know about it soon enough. All of your friends who are glued to the TV will call and tell you what is going on! So stay focused, and keep moving forward!

Thanks to all of our extraordinary panelists for their extraordinary answers! When it comes to “asking” for help, you’ll find this “dream team” of experts to be a resource you can turn to and rely on every time.

Keep an eye out for the other three parts of this series: Just Two Things…; Leadership Lessons From the Top; and Motivated—Me? Our generous experts shared more than 20 pages of insight, inspiration and information on these vital topics. Visit our blog, visit our site at, or email me directly to learn more about this timely series.

ProspectsPLUS! provides the tools and information you need to find and implement the strategies necessary to propel your production in any market. Visit our blog at, or discover the many solutions offered online at Julie can be reached at or (866) 405-3641.

Panelist Resources: Floyd Wickman –; Michael Krisa –; Dave Beson –; Bill Barrett –; Darryl Davis –; Carol Johnson –; Michael Russer –; Matthew Ferry –; Walter Sanford –; Claudia Wicks –; Judy LaDeur –

Year End Strategies for Maximizing Your Market Setting the TableBy Julie Escobar, Corporate Marketing Director Setting the table for a successful new year means starting early for savvy real estate professionals.  While much of the competition falls into cruise control, plan holiday parties or simply wait for the economic shift to suit their style, top producers turn up the heat to sweep the market share in their absence.   

  1. Prospect, Promote and Prosper.  In changing markets, many agents stop advertising, re-direct their marketing dollars to the year ahead and put their prospecting in park until after the holidays.  Stay forward of the competition by continuing to market yourself with creative, consistent, targeted marketing.
  2. Spread the Holiday Cheer.  Make the most of this opportunity to reach out to your client base with face-to-face visits.  Choose fifty or so of your top prospects and make plans to visit them.  What may seem like a lot of time, can really be broken down into 10 or so contacts per week.  Would that be worth a sale or two?  Sure it would.  Make the calls.  Shake hands, bring a card and thank these very important people for their contribution to your career.  For those really special clients, bring along a treat for their family table and you’ll find yourself more than their REALTOR® you become a friend. 
  3. Clean Out Your Client Base.  Most agents wait until January to truly wade through their client base.  Getting an early start means momentum as you head into the New Year when most are still putting away party hats and streamers.  If you don’t currently have a means of tracking your clients, visit our site, for a free BusinessBASE™ client management system.  Getting to know your prospects, their families, their needs and their personalities will help you build long term, solid relationships that bring you current listings and sales as well as referrals that will build your book of business throughout your career.
  4. Live and Learn.  What a tremendous time to be a professional salesperson.  Never before in history has education, skill-building and growth as an agent or as a person been more simple or accessible.  How fortunate we are to have internet, 24/7 that allows us to tap in, download, read, discuss and explore ways to improve our life skills personally and professionally.  Make it a goal this quarter and coming year to consistently fine tune who you are and what you do. 
  5. Implement Systems for Success.  New agents run on adrenaline, nerve and sheer exhaustive energy.  Experience gives us the insight to set systems in place to plan now for a successful year ahead.  Calendar your direct marketing for the months to come, implement your BusinessBASE™ to insure ongoing, automated contact with your clients, and employ creative campaigns throughout the year that will differentiate you from your competition.  In a shifting market, systems simplify your life, keep you on track and maximize your market share through consistent, results producing planning. They allow you to focus on the revenue based activities that are your strength, prospecting, presenting and closing without expending energy on deciding each day, each week what your course of action should be.  Our Master Marketing Schedule™ makes this process easy with 24 months of innovative marketing campaigns.
  6. Fall in Love With What You Do.  The secret of success is historically based in finding your niche and enjoying every minute of it.  Whatever your passion, whatever demographic of the industry lights your fire, run with it, own it and allow it to empower your prospecting with determination and enthusiasm.  This season, as you give thanks for your many blessings, your family and your friends, take stock in the incredible opportunity you have to set your own pace, create your own calendar and charter your own course for financial freedom. 

Inevitably, there will be down time this holiday season.  You’ll have days strung together to re-charge, re-connect and realize your strength as you approach the fourth quarter and the year ahead.  Make it magical.  Take this time to set your sights on new goals, family dreams and incredible new opportunities.  Whether it is a much needed vacation, new family car or boat, include your family’s goals when creating your budget and marketing plan, so they not only know why you are negotiating into the evening and weekends, they support you.  Your goals are their goals.  Their goals are yours.   Set the table this month for a bountiful year end and a resolute momentum heading into January.  Balancing success, life and market twists and turns takes practice to be sure.  With the right systems, tools and training, you can and will find your stride.  We’re here if you need us! For more ideas on how you can continuously impact your market area, visit our website at  Sign up for our monthly Master Marketing Newsletter™ which is filled with innovative and creative ways to ensure your prospecting is both fun and effective!  If you need  help building the success strategy that’s best for you, ask about our Personal Marketing Assistant Program – it’s just the extra hands you need to gear up for the new year.  Have questions or ideas you would like to share?  Call Julie at 866.405.3641.

Eleven industry experts share their insights on the “must-have” leadership skills in Leadershiptoday’s market

By Julie Escobar

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” This Eric Hoffer quote succinctly illustrates the importance of changing with and adapting to our ever-shifting industry.

To that end, we looked to some very learned industry experts who also happen to be some of our favorite “learners” (and teachers) to explore their best advice for brokers and managers in today’s challenging times.

Here is what our special guests—Floyd Wickman, Mr. Interview™-Michael Krisa, Bill Barrett, Darryl Davis, Carol Johnson, Mr. Internet®-Michael Russer, Matthew Ferry, Walter Sanford, Dave Beson, Claudia Wicks and Judy Ladeur—had to say about keeping agents motivated during these trying times:

1. Industry icon Floyd Wickman: My best advice for management today? Start with accountability. If there’s ever been a time to raise standards, it’s now. If there’s ever been a time when an owner should say, “In order to work on our team, in our family, we have basic requirements,” it’s now. I’m reminded of a broker who once said, “My people wouldn’t live up to my standards, so I lowered them.” That’s the opposite of what needs to be done.

Second, insist that your people do the basics. Any broker who does a quick analysis of his or her agents by asking, “How many prospective buyers, sellers or lookers have you been face-to-face with in the past two weeks?” will likely be shocked at the answer. Agents say they’re hungry, but are they doing what they need to do to move ahead? The solution is to get face-to-face with their customers. So many are face-to-face with the mirror, each other and their families right now—but the real answer is to see the people and get out there with customers.

Next, work as a team. “Teamwork makes the dream work,” as they say. It creates synergy, and if there was ever a time when we needed synergy, it’s now. I’m on a quest to show brokers how to convert their office of individuals into ONE TEAM. We’re seeing some pretty powerful results because of it, so we know that it works.

2. Mr. Interview™, Michael Krisa: Now is NOT the time to cut back on training and marketing. Seek out the gurus with proven track records who know how to make agents succeed in tough times, and bring them in for webinars, seminars, etc. In tough times, agents are looking for leadership. Brokers and managers have to step up and fill those shoes or risk losing their agents to brokers who can.

3. Real estate and trends expert Bill Barrett: Brokers need to motivate their salespeople now more than ever. Bring in speakers, offer training and give them the best techniques in the industry. Practical ideas and real-world solutions are critical. Help them discover the best ideas on the market to move their listings. The typical reaction to tough markets is to STOP–marketing, working, everything. The ones who are making the impact and capturing the market share are the ones still investing in their marketing.

4. Noted speaker Darryl Davis: You need to show confidence in the upswing of the market. There’s an old adage that says if you’re on the front lines and the enemy is shooting at you, don’t turn to the platoon and say, “What do we do?” Agents need four things right now: leadership, consistency, confidence and a plan! I recommend every 30, 60 or 90 days, have your agents focus on niche activity that forces them to be proactive rather than reactive. Next, create a family or team atmosphere, which minimizes the backstabbing and bickering.

5. Recruiting pioneer Carol Johnson: Communication and leadership are essential. Agents are desperate for guidance and leadership as to how to proceed in the market. Productivity is key–keep them focused on market potential and strengths in their area. Do the things that will give them immediate production so that they are set to come out ahead of competition when the market makes a turn.

Add extra classes, tools and meetings; your agents will win, the others will lose. Programs like Floyd Wickman’s that really put a target in front of people and help them move in the direction of that target are great. Tools like the ones from ProspectsPLUS! are essential, as well.

6. Mr. Internet®, Michael Russer: Well, I have a little different take. I suggest that brokers only work with certain agents, of which I believe there are three types:
• Cool Cats – Coachable agents who see challenges and opportunities – These are the ONLY agents to work with and represent about 5% to 10% of the market.
• Tom Cats – Agents who aren’t really in business. They go from transaction to transaction, which is much like a prison that happens to pay a commission.
• Fat Cats – These guys have been in the business forever and have that “don’t bother me” attitude. So you don’t and shouldn’t.

Find the Cool Cats who are making their successes visible, and you’ll see the Tom Cats who want to become one of them. Set your standards very high, and create an elite core group of agents that’s committed and poised to make it through tough times.

7. Industry coach Matthew Ferry: The dictionary defines motivation as “provided with an incentive for action.” This means that the person taking the action doesn’t really want to do it. That’s why they need to be motivated. I prefer to work with inspiration defined as “imbued with the spirit to do something.” The best thing a broker can do today is help each agent discover his or her purpose and insert it back into his or her real estate career. This will inspire them to take “right action” and get back in the game. When people are inspired, they don’t need encouragement, they just take powerful action. I call this inspired action.

8. Real estate expert Walter Sanford: Quit waiting for the market to change; have your agents change instead. They need to know how to walk away from under-motivated buyers and sellers. They need to write tighter contracts, close transactions faster and know which business to walk away from. In most cases, they also need to triple their listing inventory to generate the same activity that they had in 2006.

9. Industry icon Dave Beson: Tighten your belt, then tighten your belt again. Cut costs, and focus on profitable activities. Focus on the ones who want to work and who want to win. Get the “tigers” in the office, even if there are just two of them, to come in or to meet somewhere where you can share ideas. Bring treats, pour coffee, and have a fun hour. Then ask each of the tigers to nominate one person from the office who they think should be at the meeting. Make sure those people are invited next week. Go out of your way to get one or two people to join in. Have these meetings, say, at 2:30 on Thursday. Get noticed.

10. Speaker and trainer Claudia Wicks: Provide needed training: negotiating skills, prospecting skills, contracts, financing options and, most important, training on internet marketing and tech tools. According to NAR, 84% of consumers are going online to search for property. This is the time for agents to learn, while they unfortunately are not as busy as they would like to be. It is a chance for them to practice and prepare to handle the Gen X and Y consumers. John Tuccillo predicted at the NAR convention in Las Vegas last November that there will be a tsunami of Gen X and Y buyers beginning in 2010. We already see it happening; make sure your agents are ready!

11. Recruiting guru Judy LaDeur: It all starts at the top. Your agents will follow your example, so find something positive to feed them each week. Show the productive ones that they are in the top 10% of agents nationwide, or whatever the correct number would be for your staff. Right now, 80% of agents are doing very little or no business, which means that the productive ones are among the top percentile of agents in the nation. Create a great press release for agents to use in the local paper or in a letter to their sphere of influence. Bottom line: If your agents are discouraged and worried, take a look in the mirror, do a check-up from the neck up, and see if there is something that you could be doing to change the attitude and motivation in your office.

Thanks to all of our exceptional panelists for some great advice and insight on how leaders can take their companies and their agents’ careers to the next level, regardless of the market. Their willingness to help us reach out to the thousands of real estate professionals seeking solutions to today’s challenges is priceless on a number of levels.

Keep an eye out for the other three parts of this series: Just Two Things…; The Smartest Thing You Can do to Build Your Business; and Motivated—Me? Our generous experts shared more than 20 pages of insight, inspiration and information on these vital topics. Visit our blog, visit our site at, or email me directly to learn more about this timely series.

ProspectsPLUS! provides the tools and information you need to find and implement the strategies necessary to propel your production in any market. Visit our blog at, or discover the many solutions offered online at Julie can be reached at or (866) 405-3641.

KnowledgeBy Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing, ProspectsPLUS!

In the midst of what often seems to be a media circus regarding the current housing market and economic crisis, I recently had an opportunity to talk with 11 leading real estate experts: Floyd Wickman, Mr. Interview™- Michael Krisa, Bill Barrett, Darryl Davis, Carol Johnson, Mr. Internet®- Michael Russer, Matthew Ferry, Walter Sanford, Dave Beson, Claudia Wicks and Judy Ladeur.

I asked them to share two good things about our industry today; their best advice for brokers and managers; the smartest thing agents can do sooner rather than later; and how they stay motivated during these challenging times. I came away with more than 20 pages of extraordinary real estate knowledge—so much great information that I decided to write an entire article on each of the four topics. This article focuses on the first one.

Here are the 11 answers from our panel of masters.  The topic?  Name the top two good things about our industry today:

1. Industry icon Floyd Wickman: I would have to say—if you look at it from everyone’s point of view—this is the perfect buyer’s market. If you ever wanted to buy, now is the time. Some day that will turn again, so it’s an opportunity just as much as it is an obstacle. I’d say even a pretty good one for a lot of people!

Next, I would have to say that this market is a major adjustment. A 2006 USA Today article was all about how real estate prices were out of whack and overinflated. That was a negative. Now things are coming back down to normal, and perhaps we are just bringing them to where they should be.

2. That Interview Guy™, Michael Krisa: I believe that a challenging market brings out the best in real estate professionals. It forces the good agents to adapt and get creative in their approach to business and marketing. More importantly, it weeds out the weak and part-time agents.

The same is true of real estate industry product and service providers; it puts the value and effectiveness of what they have to offer to the test. Agents will NOT spend precious capital on vaporware and empty promises in tough times. So, in essence, it forces us all to be sharper and deliver more.

3. Real estate and trends expert Bill Barrett: Interest rates are still incredibly low, so it’s a great time to buy—particularly in cities such as Orlando, Scottsdale, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sarasota and Miami—where prices went high but now have gone down. There’s tremendous value now for both new construction and inventory; builders will do ANYTHING to sell their homes. The good news is that builders and RELO companies are unemotional; they’ll do whatever it takes to get the properties sold—from improving the condition to lowering the price.

4. Noted speaker Darryl Davis: I’d have to say that we are already starting to see some bottoming out in some markets, which means fewer listings this year than last—same number of sales, but fewer agents. That means more money per agent. Also, FSBOs need us now more than ever, which equals an increase in commissions and more cooperative sellers.

5. Recruiting pioneer Carol Johnson: First-time homebuyers have some opportunities never afforded to them before, so it’s a great time to work with that segment of the market. The second good thing is that investors can pick up on some outstanding opportunities—if they have cash and PATIENCE.

6. Mr. Internet®, Michael Russer: Everyone is scared, which means that the people moving forward will gain market share and have a great advantage. It’s a tremendous opportunity to capture market share lost by those who are leaving and establish yourself in one or more specialties.

During any time of tribulation, there are major problems and major opportunities to solve those problems. Don’t be afraid of it; run toward it! And remember: No thumb sucking allowed!

7. Industry coach Matthew Ferry: Now more than ever, the public is listening to REALTORS® very intently. We are no longer plagued with arrogant sellers who spit in our faces and tell us that we are worthless. The general public is scared and now actually wants to know our thoughts.

Next, all of the “skimmers” are leaving the business. Never in real estate history has overall per-agent production been so low. We will now see a dramatic rise in per-agent production because everyone who got into the business to sell their friends one house is leaving. Serious businesspeople are going to be the only ones left standing. The agents who press on and make it happen in this market are going to have their best years during the economic downturn. At least that’s what my coaching clients are finding. 

8. Real estate expert Walter Sanford: I will give you four “good things:” Sellers produce listings, and listings produce buyers. Looking for unique inventory for buyers produces seller leads. Buyers and sellers pay you to look at the inventory that you should be buying. There are trainers that do the business better than you do, and you can copy them. These are all called the “leverage” of real estate sales. That gives you the ability to do the business of three agents by just doing the right activities.

9. Industry icon Dave Beson: People understand homes, and most know that they need us now. Unlike mortgages, or these crazy financial instruments that we don’t even understand the value of, they do know about homes. So a home is worth 15% less? Perhaps, but the flip side of this is the roller coaster of the stock market. With real estate, we’ve got shelter, dreams and tax deductible interest. People need and crave what we sell. While not everyone can get into a home today because of tougher underwriting and such, about 80% can sell or buy. They need us, and that’s good.

Secondly, we can’t be terminated. We can just fade out by not doing more of what we already know we should be doing. Now is the time to determine if you are ready to quit. If you aren’t, then get going! Almost anyone can improve their business if they go to work two hours earlier and plan their day the night before, with a focus on prospecting and lead generation. Stay in the present, and just do your assignment every day.

10. Speaker and trainer Claudia Wicks: Great opportunity for buyers; it’s the best combination of house prices and attractive interest rates we have seen in a long time. That’s a great opportunity for investors and the agents who work with them!
This also is the perfect time for agents to re-tool their business practices. During the downtime, take the opportunity to build a business. When the turnaround comes, you’ll be poised to take advantage of the market.

11. Recruiting guru Judy LaDeur: Consumers can buy homes today that they have never been able to buy—and have instant equity as the market starts to improve.

Next, know that there are two levels of agents in today’s market. One group is making “no money;” the other group is making more money than they ever have. So if you’re willing to work hard and learn how to be creative in this market, there are more opportunities now than ever before.

There you have it… from some of real estate’s top talent—the “real” opportunities are there for the professionals who are willing to tap into them. I strongly urge you to step back from the doomsday news reports and agents who dub themselves “realists” but aren’t doing anything proactive to expand their business—and focus on what you CAN do!

We are extremely fortunate to have these experts in our network of real estate friends. They offer priceless tips, techniques, ideas and insights that we use to create the marketing solutions you need, when you need them.

Stay tuned for the remaining three parts of this series: Leadership Lessons from the Top; The Smartest Thing You Can do to Build Your Business; and Motivated—Me? In the meantime, I’d love to know what YOUR two top things about this market are! Email me today!

ProspectsPLUS! provides the tools and information you need to find and implement the strategies necessary to propel your production in any market. Visit our blog at, or discover the many solutions offered online at Julie can be reached at or (866) 405-3641.