Monthly Archives: December 2013
Lot’s to look back on in 2013! No doubt that we all had some great accomplishments, as well as some failures in 2013. But this is the time to praise ourselves for our successes, acknowledge our failures, and reconcile what we did well and where we can improve and then start fresh in 2014 with a clean slate. Like every year, there will be market opportunities and market challenges, new legislation, and in 2014 as we all know there will be changes to conforming and high balance loan limits, and debt to income ratios will be reduced. Yes, there will be news reports promoting doom and gloom, and others touting the strong real estate market as always. This is why so many are calling this an “agents market”! The most informed and knowledgeable agents will be able to navigate the market substantially better than those who rely on opinions and news spin and will in turn help their clients make better informed decisions.
Despite all of the changes and influences that are beyond your control, I am writing this post to keep you focused on what you CAN control… YOU! Some agents will stand around the water cooler and lament about the changes with financing, interest rate shifts, inventory levels, etc, etc. Others will adjust to the market as it adjusts by staying plugged into the FACTS of the market data as it is evolving while remaining focused on their business plans and daily business development activities i.e. PROSPECTING! These agents will continue to do strong business in any market regardless of conditions. YOU are one of those agents! (Especially if you are reading this!)
So let’s keep it simple… 2013 is over, if you had a great year… congratulations… if you had a bad year… let it go! Our industry is so focused on the whole “what DID you do (for me lately) last year, and less focused on what you WILL do THIS year” that so many agents spend the first month of each year beating themselves up over the previous year. Even many sales managers see Dec. and Jan. as the month to re-hash the previous year and call it “business planning”. I am so passionate about the psychology of starting fresh without resting on past year laurels or lamenting on failures, that in my coaching/business planning meetings, I will actually have the agent write their previous years numbers on a sheet of paper and then crumple it up and throw it away symbolizing that this is a NEW year and a fresh start. With so many agents off track for the holidays, this is a great way to reestablish all of the right daily habits. If you had a great year, the same thought process applies, but build your business plan around embracing that momentum into this year, figure out what you did right and build in your plan to do more of IT this year!
Remember to surround yourself with success and avoid drama! Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your goal/plan! Success begets further success! If every time you go into the office you are pulled into distractions and office drama, then stop going or change something. If a coworker or friend tells you that you “can’t do it” then run from that person! Your mindset is everything and tremendous focus is what will propel you into 2014 with a strong start towards deliberate and predictable income producing activities!
Remember, there is NOTHING that can stop you from achieving your goals in 2014 except you, so have that conversation with yourself now and get out of your own way! Here’s a simple business plan; DECIDE how much money you will make in 2014… Divide your average commission amount by that number… This will be how many transactions you need to close! Determine where that business will come from, i.e. SOI, Past Clients, Farming, Doorknocking, Calling, etc., then heavily weight it towards listings, create a daily schedule for prospecting, execute each and every day per the plan and allow yourself to be held accountable to it by your coach! It’s not more complicated than that! Obviously your coach can help you with all of the details “in between”!
I want to thank all of you for subscribing to my blog! Going into 2014, I intend to write posts weekly to help keep you on track with your business and informed on the market here in North Orange County!
As always, I am here to help regardless of your company affiliation when it comes to building your business! We are very excited here at Coldwell Banker Previews Int’l to be part of your growth and success and if you are not already with Coldwell Banker, please feel free to browse the links on this blog for more information about this incredibly professional full service firm!
Happy New Year!
So, you had a great conversation with a homeowner while door knocking, lot’s of open house visitors, or a great appointment with a buyer or seller prospect, and you’re convinced that the conversation went so well that they “will call you” when they are ready. While this may be true, and they probably mean it at the time they said it, the reality is that the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality will inadvertently set in, and they will not call you. In fact, they will meet more Realtors at open houses, or through friends and family, etc. and the saga begins. You drive by their house, or bump into them weeks or months down the road and you find out that they listed or bought with/from another agent. That sinking feeling sets in and you immediately feel betrayed, then calculate the commission you lost, and ultimately kick yourself wondering what you could have done differently or better to have not lost the opportunity.
Many agents will over analyze the above scenario, blame the customer, feel hurt, feel angry, etc. and even search out other agents and even their manager to share in their plight and lament in their disappointment while never really determining the actual failure and moving forward with a solution to limit these situations from happening again. This is why I am writing this article! If I can convey the solution well enough, and the magnitude of this practice, and save some of you this loss, then I will have succeeded in my mission.
As many of the things I share with the agents I coach, most solutions to growing a business are pretty simple, but require action, and this is no different. The lifeblood of sales in any industry regardless of what you are selling, is FOLLOW UP! Without FOLLOW UP, you are fully dependent upon a prospect making a decision and signing a contract on the spot. Since we know this does not always happen, the ONLY way to dramatically improve your odds of getting a signed contract, is to FOLLOW UP consistently, and until you obtain it.
Again, as with many strategies I share, it is often the simplest ones that so many agents do not do, or they depend on some form of technology to do for them, leading to low return and ultimate increased failure rates. This is important to understand… It’s pretty well known that almost 50% of sales people never follow up after the first contact and only about 10% of sales people actually follow up more than three times. Hmmm… Is it a coincidence that the top 10% of Realtors covet so much of the business in an office? Now accepting that about 80% of the sales made happen between the fifth to twelfth contact, I think we have discovered one of the leading reasons why so many real estate agents struggle in this business. THIS PARAGRAPH IS KEY! Prospecting is critical as we discussed in my last post, but without follow up, the return/success will be substantially smaller!
So, what we know is that a good, consistent, semi-aggressive/aggressive, follow up plan for each client that DOES NOT RELY ON EMAIL alone, but rather in person or by phone contact, is a winning strategy that will yield HUGE financial returns to those who make this a vital part of their business strategy!
How much should you follow up? Great question! 🙂 My professional opinion from not only a Realtors perspective, but from a consumers perspective as someone who “buys stuff”, a follow up strategy should be tailored to each prospect based on their time frames for what they wish to accomplish. If a seller says they will be listing their home 9 months from now, then you are probably safe contacting by phone monthly, mail (or other form) bi monthly, while increasingly looking to determine if/when they are going to buy/sell, and when they are 30-45 days away, contact in person or by phone weekly. As a general rule, I’ve told salespeople that a good measurement of whether you are following up enough, is to do it just right up to the point that you feel uncomfortable and maybe a little past that feeling. This is a good natural way to know that you are growing in the process and as long as the clients don’t get irritated with you then, your feelings aren’t an issue, but rather a measuring stick.
In closing, I’d ask you all to think about the last commitment you made, whether it was a personal or financial commitment. Did that salesperson “close” you on the first contact? Likely not. It’s also likely that you actually felt obligated to the salesperson who followed up with you the most and best and felt that they “earned” the sale. Now, just do the same thing they did, but with your own prospects, and you will see your business skyrocket!
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and just know that I am here for all motivated real estate agents who are looking to grow their businesses and I am happy to offer a free coaching session to you regardless of company affiliation. At Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, we provide the tools and leadership to help you grow and would love to discuss your affiliation with the #1 Real Estate company in America if you’re not already here!
I hear it all of the time… “I mail, I drop, I email, I use social media, I advertise, etc. but I’m just not getting enough listings. What more can I do?” My response is always the same… “How many people are you talking to face to face and over the phone each day in your prospecting efforts?” And this is where the conversation begins to slide. “But Brad, I hate door knocking, I hate cold calling even more, and I feel like I’m bothering my past clients and SOI by calling them all of the time, and I mail them and email them all of the time so they don’t forget me and my last manager told me that was enough, in fact my last manager told me that I just needed to mail more, more often, and better messages.” At this point I realize that I am fighting an uphill battle and it’s very likely that everything I say from this point forward will land on deaf ears since it’s so easier to follow the “mail more” advice than it is to do the work that I will suggest. Sometimes though, I am pleasantly surprised by the agent that “get’s it” and says, “OK, I’ll do what you are telling me to do.” And those are the agents that keep me going on my mission to build careers.
If you have an open mind and strong desire to dramatically increase your success and income, then continue reading…
What I will share will seem like common sense, but in an industry where there are literally thousands of companies selling the “next best thing” to get agents business, it’s easy to drift off track and forget the most simple of strategies that cost NOTHING but time and a little sweat!
It’s well known that over 50% of communication is Non-Verbal, and more about body language and tonality, and that the #1 highest form of communication is FACE to FACE, yet as Real Estate agents we spend so much time buying products and services that limit that form of communication. i.e. mail, email, texting, smart phones, social media, and all kinds of fancy stuff. Managers bring these services to sales meetings and push them on the agents in hopes that $29.95 month will solve all of the agents woes. Presentation boards, brochures, flyers, etc. that frankly no one will ever read or care about if you don’t TALK to them, present well, and get FACE to FACE at some point.
Here’s where the world has been and has come to when it comes to forms communication by usage:
1. Email, Texting, Social Media
2. Post cards, form letters, bulk mailers
3. Personal handwritten notes and letters
4. Telephone calls. Voice to Voice
5. Face to Face in person initial conversations
Whats wrong with this picture? We have become so reliant on making things easier and less personal that 50-80% of our email in boxes and regular paper mail is JUNK! I don’t know about you, but if I don’t check our mail for a few days, I end up with a plastic bin full of JUNK and have to sort through it, tossing anything and everything that isn’t personal and important. Same with email. Heaven forbid we don’t check our email for a day, we would have hundreds to delete to get to the good stuff. But how many VISITS, CALLS and PERSONAL NOTES do we get anymore? Our lawmakers even had to create laws to stop us from texting while driving because we are so averse to making an actual call that we risk our own and others lives to avoid it.
Now here’s the success strategy to change and improve your business. Flip that list above, upside down! Get out there and actually knock some doors when people are home between 3-6pm, or anytime for that matter. Meet people, get to know them, establish relationships, and impact their memory banks so when they do get your mailers and emails they actually look at them more than 3 seconds. Make your first contact with a prospect or neighborhood in person.
Think of it like this, if the majority of the Real Estate agents/industry are working the above list in the order I wrote it, then YOU need to do the opposite!
That is how you will grow your business exponentially, and frankly that is how you will beat your competitors hands down!
So, go buy some comfortable shoes, and figure out how to use your smartphone for something more than facebook, twitter, email, texting, youtube, pictures, music, etc. etc. and start making some calls to your SOI, Past Clients, Farm, and all prospects and start off with “Hi, my name is ______ and I just wanted to meet/talk to you instead of only mail and email you….”
I posted a great and inspiring video below about a successful “door knocking salesman” that should help alleviate any fears you may have towards knocking doors. As always, I’m happy to provide free coaching to agents with a strong desire to grow their businesses! I look forward to SEEING you and TALKING to you soon! 🙂
Bill Potter, Door to Door Salesman
So you’ve looked through the luxury home magazines, the mls, around the internet, and day dream about what it would be like and what it would take to get a salable listing for $3.9 million or even $10+ million, and then as quickly as you began, you dismissed the thought and went on with your day. Sometimes you’ll hear about some agent in your office or market that listed something enormous and for a split second you cringe wondering why it wasn’t you, and then you dismiss it with “well, it probably won’t sell anyway”, and shake it off.
I’m writing today to shed some light on these elusive dream listings, and the agents who take them. After years of working with agents from the newest licensee to the ultra mega producers, I have had the benefit of witnessing, first hand, agents who list and sell the high end and ultra high end properties. While I certainly don’t know it all, I believe I can shed some light on this subject and help those of you who wish to enter this market with some information that can help you do so.
First and foremost, this is not a price range that you should enter unprepared. Unless you were raised in this lifestyle or are currently living it and already speak the language, then some preparation is advised. But don’t worry, I’m not saying that you have to spend a year researching the ultra-wealthy like a National Geographic explorer! What I am saying though is that you need to get very curious and learn as much as you can about their world. While it’s true like my plumber father always said “everyone puts their pants on the same, one leg at a time son”, it’s important to realize that the pants he’s referring to were likely substantially more expensive than mine, not to mention the surrounding environment where the pants were put on.
Here are some first steps that I have learned are critical to implementing a luxury home marketing strategy:
– Know the high end market inside and out! Scour the MLS and know every comp in the entire area and surrounding areas over the last year or two. Look at every Active, Pending, Expired, and Sold/Closed. Read the entire MLS printouts and gather information on these areas and these homes. Remember, you can have a $7 million home right next door to a $2.5 million home, so this isn’t like comp’ing out a tract home. There’s more about “feel” and knowledge of amenities than you could imagine.
-Learn how to speak the language! Subscribe to luxury publications like, Robb Report, Dupont Registry, WallSt. Journal, 1stdibs.com, PreviewsInsideOut.com, etc. and just start immersing yourself into the articles. Know more about what’s happening in the business world than you know in the sports world and you can’t go wrong. Yes, I know, there are athletes who would appreciate your knowledge of sports, but that is the exception, and even they will appreciate your knowledge of the global and US business happenings that could affect the luxury marketplace. At Coldwell Banker/Previews Int’l we publish a luxury market report that you should read and share with your high end prospects. (Click the image to the right to view report)
-Get certified by your company’s luxury home program! Most large national brands have a secondary brand that’s focus is the luxury market. At Coldwell Banker, we have Previews International. Some companies make this easy, some make it difficult, but don’t think that you can go up against an agent who uses the luxury brand with the standard brand and win. With a potential six figure commission on the line, it’s not worth the risk. At Coldwell Banker, Previews International is so well known in the luxury market that it is critical to use when working the luxury market. You can literally lose the listing opportunity in the first few seconds by introducing yourself with the wrong brand. Remember, these are often people that ONLY buy brand name, and while there are plenty of boutique companies out there that list high end, they have been established in their communities for years and have established a local brand themselves.
-Dress the part! No, you don’t have to wear a tuxedo or even a full suit and tie, business suit, prom dress, etc. But you need to look professional and well put together. Let’s be real here, a goatee doesn’t inspire trust or scream out wealth. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule, but why not just play it safe! Remember the size of the commissions we’re talking about here… Why bank on the exception to the rule and not just go with the rule. Remember, you’re applying for a job, so dress the part.
-Walk the Walk AND Talk the Talk! Look at all of your marketing, business cards, flyers, websites, social media, etc. etc. and ask yourself, “Does this all look high end?” “What image am I projecting?” “Do the last 10 posts to my social media reflect the luxury image or do I look like everyone else?” Do I have the typical salesperson screaming big photo glossy business cards that look obnoxious or do I have the smart classy subtle high end image business cards? Is my marketing ego driven, or image driven? You’re focus needs to be shifted from ego (if that’s the case) to IMAGE driven marketing. And your image needs to be consistent to ALL clientele regardless of price range. Remember, a high end image will not hurt you in the lower end price ranges, but a low end image will kill you in the high end price ranges. Besides, all clientele deserve the best, so why not fall to the high end image/approach for every client?
-LEARN your company’s luxury marketing value proposition and key differentiators from competitors! Know the listing presentation inside and out. Know WHY a luxury homeowner NEEDS to be listed with you and your firm! At Coldwell Banker Previews Int’l we make it very simple to convey this to the customer with MORE advertising and marketing for the high end than any other company in the WORLD! Use the office Marketing Coordinator to put together your listing presentation tools and show and tell pieces and practice the listing presentation! Practice with your manager!
-Be fearless!!! Now that you’ve done the above, you need to just let go of any fear you are harboring towards this market. The company your with should help eliminate a lot of it! If your company has a strong high end strategy and powerful value proposition to the luxury market, then you should walk with confidence into any appointment or prospecting conversation knowing that they NEED to be listed with you and your firm to get their home sold. IF YOU BELIEVE THIS THEN THEY WILL! If you try to wing it or “sell” them, they will smell it and run! CONFIDENCE WILL COME FROM KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITIONS AND BELIEF THAT YOU ARE THE RIGHT AGENT FOR THE JOB OF SELLING THEIR HOME! NOTE: As a Coldwell Banker Previews Int’l agent, you can walk proudly and confidently knowing that you are with the largest and most successful Real Estate Company in the US with the strongest high end luxury marketing tools available in your market place! You WILL be able to demonstrate to the luxury client that there is NO other choice in their price range to list with to achieve the results they are looking for!
Where do you get these prospects? Yes, it’s true that many of the luxury agents are well established in the high end, and a lot of their business is from referral and networking with other luxury clientele. You’re probably not going to spend tens of thousands of dollars to join the local country clubs. So what is your angle of entry into this market? Here’s some ideas:
-Expired listings! These high end listings often expire. Why not go visit all properties over $2 mil that expired in the past year?
-Direct mail! Don’t just hammer them with post cards, but rather why not pick a few hundred and send them the Luxury Market Report with a cover letter?
-Specialized lists! Coldwell Banker Previews Int’l has lists of Millionaires, Yacht Owners, Airplane Owners, Celebrities, etc. with home addresses, etc. on the NRTGateway. Just sort these lists by area and start connecting with them on Social Media, via mail, etc.
-Successful Business Owners! Always get to know the owner of a business where you frequent. Car dealers, restaurants, etc. Ask to meet the owner and complement them on their company. Then follow up by mail and Social Media.
-Other Luxury Realtors! At Coldwell Banker you can email Previews Int’l certified agents across the world directly and introduce yourself as a referral source for the luxury market, while offering to do the same in return. Create a non-intrusive schedule to make these contacts.
-Knock Doors! Yes, that’s right. It takes guts to knock a door on a $2 mil home, but if you knock with a purpose then it’s not going to backfire. Ex. Knock to hand out the Luxury Report as a courtesy to the neighborhood. Obviously some areas you cannot for obvious reasons, gates, rules, etc.
In closing, just start “being” a luxury agent. Make it who you are. Think like one and you’ll be amazed at the business that comes your way in all price ranges!
Note: At Coldwell Banker, the manager has the authority to certify and designate agents as Previews Int’l agents without any delays in processing. Marketing materials can be ordered immediately. Training is available as well as an office marketing coordinator that will assist you in building this aspect of your business.
For more information, contact Brad Pearson directly at 714-782-2723
Why do some agents seem to just get listings easier than others? What is their secret? If I had a nickel for every time an agent asked me how another agent seems to get so many listings so consistently year over year, then, well you… The truth is very simple but there isn’t a single answer. After 21 years in real estate and almost 15 in leadership/coaching, this is what I have discovered;
-Some agents success is the result of many many years of consistent hard work, prospecting, lead follow up, and incredible customer service ethics that have resulted in an accumulation affect that now results in consistent referral business year over year. When I’m asked “What does Jane Superagent do to be so successful?” and the agent they are asking about has been in real estate for 20+ years, I make it really clear that the way they get their business will not be the way they get their business…. YET. Like any established business with a book of clientele over a long period of time, like a good restaurant, doctor, or lawyer, they likely don’t have to prospect as much as someone brand new in the business with zero or much fewer clients.
-Some agents who are extremely successful and only in the business a short period of time, and seem to have come out of “no where” with huge production, were either very well connected with a strong SOI, or created and are following a very disciplined business plan with someone in place to hold them accountable. They adhere to a schedule and focus most of their time and energy on activities that will yield them the highest return. Those activities are proactively prospecting for new business, follow up with leads/prospects, and being in front of clients doing presentations.
It’s that simple. There isn’t a magic bullet or “secret”. In 21+ years, I have never met a top producer who attributes their success to the internet, social media, or some piece of technology, yet some do utilize the internet, social media, and technology to support their business and assist in becoming more efficient and effective in their efforts. In short, this is a people business, and therefore proactively TALKING and CONNECTING to PEOPLE as much as possible with a genuine motivation to help them with their real estate needs, is the “secret” to success in real estate sales.
Now, with all of that said, times have and are constantly changing! And it is becoming more and more necessary to be open minded to utilizing tools like social media, blogging, video, to CONNECT to more and more people in the way that THEY wish to connect to you. It is becoming more and more important to adapt and learn what your customers are using to stay connected nowadays. While Facebook is considered a “time waster” by some, it’s hard to ignore that there are currently 500 million users on Facebook with 250 million logging in each day, and with 317,227,000 people in the U.S., it might a little absurd to be the guy or gal that says “oh, I don’t use Facebook in my business”. This is a tool that cannot and will not replace your need to reach out and TALK to your prospects. But rather it is a phenomenal way to CONNECT with your prospects and clients in a place that they are very comfortable with and already using DAILY.
Let’s imagine for a second… You have a great appointment with an expired listing prospect, they decide to wait another two months before listing, but tell you that they “will stay in touch and will likely list with you”, you leave and add them to an email drip campaign and “plan” to call them in a few weeks and “follow up” consistently, now after the first follow up call they tell you “we will call you when we are ready” basically nudging you to “don’t call us, we’ll call you”… now what??? You know they won’t read your emails, and will very likely NOT call you. Let’s now connect with them on Facebook! Now you can learn all about their lives, like their posts, “get to know them”, and they can “get to know you”, your follow up calls can be much more “WARM” and you can jump right in with “so I just saw your post about your son making honor roll, congratulations! So, I wanted to touch base and just say hi and see if you had any questions about the market?”. You can also send a handwritten note now and say the same thing. Also, every single time you “like” one of their posts, they are reminded that you are there in the least intrusive way.
Start thinking of all of the other ways that you could use this strategy to bridge the gap between being a “pushy” sales person, to simply becoming their “friend” in a way that they are comfortable with. For Sale by Owners? Past Clients? Open House prospects?
I know, I know, some of them may not accept your friend request, this is true, but MOST will, and as long as you don’t overwhelm them or come off like a stalker, then they will not only accept you but they will start liking your posts too!
We won’t get into this yet, but once you get a solid group built of prospects that you are “friends” with, I can show you how to unobtrusively advertise to them right in their news feed!
Keep an open mind and embrace the new exciting tools available to us as Realtors, while continuing to stay in touch with the good old tried and true strategies of the past, with just a few tweaks for good measure!
Is your manager or coach sharing cutting edge strategies with you? Is your business just not taking off as fast or strong as you’d like it to? Remember, a manager/coach can and should have a significant impact on your business. Keep checking back on this blog for tips and strategies that will help your business grow, and never hesitate to call me (Brad Pearson) to sit down and have a free coaching session to get your business on track!