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VALUE OF SILENCE

The difference between great and good is very little. It’s the last inch, or two, that separates great from good. It could be the smallest detail that gets overlooked by most people, but to the person who wants to achieve greatness, it is never overlooked.

In selling, it’s the little nuances of what we say and how we say it. It’s the properly selected words we use to convince the client to move forward. Too often, we wing it without spending the time to properly craft the questions.   When the questions are delivered well, they will elicit the response we desire. In selling, we need to be a wordsmith. Just as a master silversmith works with silver to craft an elegant tea service, we must work with our words to craft a compelling reason to do business with us. A master silversmith spends time refining the silver over fire. The heat of the fire removes the impurities from the silver. The mold is then built for the silver to be poured into. Once cooled, the silver piece is polished to brilliance.

Your words must go through the same steps to achieve perfection. As a good salesperson, you must think, write, and rewrite your words; especially the key words contained in your prospecting scripts, listing presentation, and objection handling scripts. You then need to mold these words into a comprehensive and cohesive presentation. The presentation needs to address the benefits of doing business with you, versus anyone else. It must focus on the client and clearly answer the question: Why should I hire you? Just as the silversmith will fail if the mold is inferior, so will the salesperson. Check your mold.

Next, you must polish the presentation. You need to spend hours perfecting the delivery. The silversmith polishes the silver until it shines with brilliance. He will spend hours upon hours making it perfect. Then, when it is perfect, he stamps his logo, or signature, on the piece. When was the last time you practiced your scripts? When was the last time you taped your listing presentation? You stamp your signature on every presentation. How good is your signature?

One of the key areas between good and great in the presentation is the silence. It’s the silence after a direct question. Too many sales people fear the dead space in a conversation and think they have to fill it up. That need to fill the void will keep you from greatness in sales. The void of silence causes our client or prospect to think. At this moment the sale is made.

Arthur Rubenstein, the world famous pianist, was once asked, “How do you handle the notes on the page as well as you do?” He responded, “I handle the notes no better than many others, but the pauses…ah! That is where the art resides.” Your sale process needs to be like a great piece of music. It causes a reaction and emotion from your client or prospect. The real artistry is in the pauses. It’s in the void of quiet after the question. Don’t run through the pauses with another question or statement. Let the power of the pause take over. Rubenstein would let the note resonate throughout the hall. Let your question resonate in the conference room, living room…wherever you are making your presentation.

If you step into the pause you invalidate, or soften, the last question. You are at the moment of truth. You will find out valuable information about your client or prospect at that moment.   The power of silence is deafening. Make sure to use it to your advantage. Becoming a great salesperson requires watching the little things. Spend time daily breaking down the words and your delivery. Invest your time into practice. Perfect your craft of sales. Lastly, work to create and leave the pause in the presentation. There is immense power in the pause.

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GAINING OBJECTIVITY THROUGH COACHING

Our job as the CEO of our own multi-million dollar sales business is objective evaluation. Can we objectively evaluate our business and our personal performance? Are you capable of seeing reality as it is, not how you wish it to be? Can you pull back the camera like in the movies and see the whole battlefield like a general, rather than just this one soldier that you are waging war against in front of you? The soldier represents one big problem in your face. Do you have the ability to adjust your game plan and execution as a player without periodical time outs and direction from a coach who sees the whole playing field?

Coaching is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The real estate industry is inundated with coaches, and many Champion Agents have used the services of a coach to get there. One of the valuable benefits of a coach is objectivity. It’s their experience of a personal track record of success. You might now, or in the future, be considering a coach. I would like to share with you a few areas to think about before you make a large investment, so you select the right coach or mentor for you.

I am a firm believer in coaching; which should be obvious because I founded Real Estate Champions as a coaching company in 1998 . . . years before coaching was en vogue. I founded Real Estate Champions to impact people’s lives through coaching. The speaking, audio training, books, and webinars were never part of the original vision. There is a difference between a coaching company that is built on the framework of coaching and a speaker or trainer who saw coaching as another revenue opportunity.

In personal improvement, there are three options for growth. There is education, training, and coaching. All three of these serve a valuable purpose in one’s continuum to achieve the Champion Agent level.

Education is fundamentally the acquiring of knowledge. It’s what you are doing by reading this article. It’s what you do when you attend a seminar or listen to audio training. Education plays a vital role in our success. Most of us spend at least twelve years in school educating ourselves to achieve a high school diploma.   The challenge with education is once you know it, what do you do with it? It’s still up to you to use the education. To create the strategy and tactics to implement yourself and hold yourself to a high enough personal standard to do what you know you need to do. To know and not to do is not to know.

Training is different from education. We are raising our skill level to a specified area of our business or life. We recognize a deficiency, and we receive training to improve our deficiency. It’s more action oriented and practice oriented than education. Most training happens live in real time. It’s where you learn the skill and the practice of the skill. Again, the use of the skill is up to you.

Coaching is personal process of performance improvement. Effective coaching analyzes who you are, where you are going, your skills, your business, your goals, your values, and your envisioned future and connects that with a plan and skill development in a customized format of execution and accountability to raise the odds of your success dramatically.

There are a lot of people “coaching” who are merely providing education and training with the outside wrapper of coaching because of the raised public awareness for coaching. I guarantee if you select a coach that operates this way, you will be disappointed. This happens most frequently through companies that transition into coaching from the speaker or training medium. They take training material, spin it, and call it coaching.

Coaching for peak performers has been around for years. The most successful athletes, for many decades, have been coached to win the big event. Tiger Woods would not be the golfer he is without his golf coaches. In fact, Tiger did not have a coach during a period when he didn’t win a major championship for over twenty-four months. Once he started to work with a coach again, he won a major championship within six months. The only difference was the coach. Michael Jordan, John Elway, and Michael Johnson all had coaches. Leaders in the business world, with some of the most successful companies, have coaches. Behind each great milestone, or accomplishment, stands two people – the one who executes the task or carries out the game plan and the one who helps create the game plan and teaches and coaches his goals and objectives. Maybe it is time to evaluate and consider the benefits of a coach.

A good coach has five basic traits. When these traits are used to help you move forward in your life, the results are amazing. A coach can help you increase your production and enjoyment in life and help you craft a life of long-term success.

The first trait of a great coach is the ability to listen and help you clarify your goals and vision in all areas of your life. Earl Nightingale, the famous speaker, stated, “We are goal-seeking organisms.” Our purpose is to set and achieve goals in life. The difficulty for people is not in achieving their goals but setting them in the first place. We can truly accomplish anything in life provided we truly decide to do it.

The second trait of a successful coach is guiding you to understand that all goals must have deadlines. Deadlines get one’s juices and thoughts flowing to create the desired result. Have you ever planned to go away for a vacation, and two days before you are to go, you get a flurry of activity in your business? It is because of the deadline that the activity increases and things begin to happen. How would you like to have that kind of production ongoing? Determine effective deadlines for all areas of your business.

A Champion coach will take the goals and vision you set for yourself and teach you to achieve them. He will help you create the step-by-step game plan to achieve the envisioned future. Even the big projects that seem like mountains can be broken down into bite size pieces – a coach has the objectivity to help.

For example, I had a client in 1998 who wanted to earn over $250,000 for the year, when the year before he had only earned $130,000. We worked diligently to break what he needed to accomplish in order to achieve his goal down into bite-size pieces. Once the bite-size pieces were determined, we were able to determine the daily disciplines for him to undertake. Because he had to just focus on his daily disciplines, the task was not paralyzing. When he got behind in achieving his goal, it was always caused by him not doing his daily disciplines. As his coach, I helped him create the game plan and targeted him to execute it daily. He achieved and broke his goal by earning over $265,000 for 1998, which was over a 100% increase in his business. Coaching really works in real estate sales, as in other fields.

A Champion coach will show clients the consequences of not following through on their goals and commitments. The coach will provide ongoing motivation and inspiration during the storms of life. The storms of life will come. We will experience all the storms in this world. We cannot avoid them. Since we cannot avoid them, we must prepare for them. It is not the storm that causes the problem; it is how we react to the storm. A Champion coach will help you brace for the storm that otherwise might overwhelm you. Coaching provides the motivation and inspiration for our lives to overcome those storms.

Lastly, a Champion coach provides accountability and is available for you. A Champion coach will help you evaluate your progress against your goals and vision. He will hold you to the standard that you have set for yourself.

 Many agents today are working longer hours to keep on the treadmill of life. They are delaying (or scrapping) long-range focus in the marketing and prospecting business system arenas. They often are neglecting their time investments for their health, families, and self-development areas of their life. They are spending a tremendous amount of time working on their business. They are truly an employee of their real estate business, rather than the owner, CEO, and visionary of their multi-million dollar sales company. To be an owner means you can walk away for a vacation with your family, and the business continues to turn out your product. Your business continues to earn an income for you while you are lying on the beach. Is the huge price being paid worth the results? Can one grow with balance?

We live in a time when there is an abundance of information. We can attend seminars, listen to CDs, and read books. We have more resources for growth than any other time in history. There is one crucial barrier to utilization of the knowledge you have even now. It is action or an implementation strategy. It is someone to hold you accountable for the implementation of the new idea or development of the new skill needed. It is the guidance for creation of the new streamlined system.

A coach has one other important focus. Coach, Tom Landry, put it best, “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear and has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you can be.” A Champion coach will shrink the gap between where you are and the true potential that is inside you. If you are not achieving your full potential, you are a prime candidate for coaching. To be successful, a coach must be passionate about your success in life.

If you have a strong desire to improve your income & quality of life, I urge you to take the first step and get a free coaching consultation to see if it’s the right fit for you: www.RealEstateChampions.com/realestatecoaching

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UPGRADING YOUR REFERRAL

Implementing a strategy to upgrade your referrals can really explode your referral business. Most salespeople get the name and contact information and try to get off the phone immediately to call the prospect. That is a significant mistake.   Follow these steps to increase the odds of your success.

1. You must immediately thank the referral source. Assure them of the quality service their referral will receive. You are giving them your personal guarantee. Before close of business, today, write out a handwritten thank you note at a minimum. You can use gifts or other inducements as well, but the handwritten note doesn’t necessarily need them.

2. Determine the quality or level of the referral.

We are trying to increase the probability of the referral for us. The first step is to secure more information before we make the first call. The first call is the point at which you will win these people over or not. Determine which of these four categories their referral will be.

C Level – This referral is the coldest variety. The conversion rate is at the lowest level. Your referral source has only given the name and phone number of a potential prospect. They have not allowed you to use their name to create an opening or connection.

B Level – I would describe this referral as lukewarm. The odds are improving, but still probably less than 50/50 conversion. The referral has given you the prospect’s name and phone number. They have given you one thing the C level did not, permission to use their name as the referral source to open the door. That certainly helps the connection on the first call.

A Level – We are getting warmer with this referral. Again, you have the prospect’s name and number, but you have also been granted permission to use the name of your referral source to open the dialogue door. The best part is the source has given you time to ask questions. They are willing to give you five or ten minutes to explore the referred individual to probe and help increase the odds of connecting with the prospect.

AA Level – This should be the level we all shoot for. It’s the Cadillac of referrals. It’s all that the A level has with one huge difference. You have all the information that you have with an A, but the referral source is willing to open the door for you himself. They are willing to make an introduction call personally for you. This call doesn’t replace your call. It only makes it easier to call and raise the chance of a positive result quicker. You might find that a really effective referral source can set up lunch or breakfast meeting with everyone involved.

To increase your conversion odds of connecting with the referred individual invest the time with the referral source, explore these questions. This will only take you five to ten minutes but will be well worth the time.

  • How would you describe your relationship?
  • How do you know this person?
  • Is there anything that you can see that we have in common?
  • What type of a personality will I encounter?
  • What organizations does this person belong to?
  • What are a few of this person’s personal interests?

 

3. Thank your referral source again.

Once you have secured as much information as possible, again, offer your assurance that you’ll provide the same level of quality service that your referral source has received from you in the past.

Don’t make referrals complicated. Success is simple, it’s not complicated. Referrals aren’t a complex system or strategy. Success in referrals is achieved through consistency of the fundamental process of client connection and client service. You may already know some of the things I have shared with you here. The truth about success is that sometimes it’s better to hear something you have heard before but are not doing than to hear something new. Make the commitment to execute the fundamentals in your referral section of your business. That objective will create the growth you desire.

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HANDLING THE LANDMINES OF WASTED TIME

There are numerous challenges and landmines to the time management equation. Entrepreneurial small businesses face a large number of these challenges. As Real Estate Agents, we are owners of entrepreneurial small businesses. This business type tends to put us in the front lines, with multiple job descriptions at once, trying to drive strategic objectives in sales, marketing, management, leadership, customer service, accounting, administration, and research and development all at the same time. The probability for landmines that can blow up and wreck your day, hour, or even half hour of production is lurking around every phone call e-mail, fax, cell phone call, and meeting. My goal is to give you tools, strategies, and implementation techniques to help you achieve the highest return on investment for your time.

1 – Handling the constant stream of interruptions:

We are in a profession that we delight in the inbound sales inquiry calls. We all live for the potential Seller or Buyer who calls us to ask about a property or, better yet, about our services. The problem for most Agents is there are never enough of those and a lot more problem calls. We can compound those interruptions through the use of cell phones, pagers, and access to our home phone as well.

I believe that we are the most interrupted profession on the face of the planet. We have the highest probability of distraction, as well, especially when we add e-mail to the distraction list. We must be able to limit the access we provide people by restricting inbound calls significantly. We want those calls, and we need to be able to respond to them quickly. One tactic is to use your cell phone for the lead generation calls or what I call “money” calls. We might have to re-educate our clients whom we have listed, sold, or are securing a home for to call the office line. It would help you reduce the number of cell phone calls. The more we can direct only “money” calls to the cell phone, the more we are able to secure the other calls out for later. Certainly, another technique is to simply turn off your cell phone and only operate through the voice mail for much of the day.

Create a short list. That’s a list of people your Assistant or Receptionist knows to put through to you right away when they call. You want about half a dozen people on your short list. For me, it’s my wife, my attorney, and my father. All other people must leave a message or book an appointment for as soon as I am free. There is rarely anything in real estate sales that can’t wait an hour.

2 – Procrastination – the silent killer:

Procrastination is caused by thinking that we have more time to complete a task than we really do. It is also a lack of urgency on our part. There is a difference between procrastination and prioritization. Prioritization is the skill of a Champion. A Champion puts off the things that don’t matter as much and uses their time to do high-value activities. Procrastination is putting off everything that is challenging and difficult. The challenging and difficult items are usually the most important and valuable items. Procrastination is caused by lack of clarity in goals and lack of connecting the goals to important activities that link with the goals. The key question: Is what I am doing right now bringing me closer to or further away from the goals I have set?

Procrastination can be caused by having too many workdays available. In your mind, you can think, “I can always do that later”. It allows you to do the activities a few days later, even though today would be best. We can really fake ourselves out by not having set workdays. The old adage that work expands into the time allotted is true.

3 – Unclear vision, objectives, and priorities:

Procrastination can happen because of a lack of clarity in your vision and what you do. Why are you in real estate sales? What are your objectives for the year in gross commission income? What is the mix of your business in listing side versus Buyer controlled side? How many listings do you need to take yearly, quarterly, monthly, and weekly to reach your goals? How many Buyer sales do you need to make in the same time frame? What’s your conversion ratio of leads? How many leads do you need to generate and appointments do you need to make to earn your income goal? Every Agent who wants to achieve the Champion level must have clear objectives and a clear vision of what needs to happen next to accomplish their objectives.

The skill of prioritization is missing for most Agents. How you execute your priorities has a dramatic effect on your income and results. When we evaluate what our objectives and priorities are, too many Agents view them synonymously. Objectives are really the results you are aiming for in your business. Priorities are the individual steps in the right order to accomplish the objective.

Champion Rule: We have too much to do and not enough time.

Most people who are Champion Performers are running at 100% or more all the time, and there is more stuff added to their plate daily. As we get better and more successful, our opportunities and responsibilities increase.

I am blessed with more opportunities and responsibilities today than when I sold real estate. I have more now than when I founded Real Estate Champions over fifteen years ago, and fifteen years from now, there will be even more. With greater success comes greater responsibility and greater opportunities. You will also experience greater problems. As you expand your business, the problems and challenges will increase in number and difficulty. The good news is with larger problems comes larger money. We are problem solvers in the real estate business. When markets shift, problems increase, and your value as an Agent increases too. The increased responsibilities and opportunities are the circle of life from the time we were born. Wesley, my son, has more responsibilities and opportunities than his younger sister, Annabelle.

Time management myth: More successful people have fewer distractions. Because of their production and the opportunities they are constantly creating, they experience more interruptions, distractions, and challenges on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. They are, however, better at handling these demands than others. They have the ability to solve the challenges much faster. They let the negative things that happen to all of us affect them mentally for shorter periods of time. If you are a Champion Agent, like many of my clients who earn $500 an hour or more (that means each fifteen-minute block of time is worth $125), you can’t let too many of those fifteen-minute blocks slip away during the day. The control of those blocks of fifteen minutes and the attitude control is one of the main reasons they are worth $500 an hour.

Champion Rule: We will never get caught up.

For Champion Agents, there is no hope of ever getting caught up. Why would you want to? It means you are not getting new opportunities, challenges, clients, prospects to sell to, etc. It means your business has stagnated or receded. A Champion Performer will go home each day of their work life with something un-done or not completed. We could stay in the office past midnight each day, and we still would not have everything completed. We must get over the “clean up and get everything done” syndrome. The question isn’t, did we get everything done; it’s did we get the most important things done. The ability to have a system to select and execute the high-value tasks enables us to align our priorities with our objectives.

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CONTROLLING YOUR INCOME

Being able to control the income is really where agents get into trouble. Too many agents’ pay comes irregularly.   A Champion Agent’s income comes consistently. It enables them to control it better, save more, and invest more to create wealth. It is not what you make, it’s what you keep.   I have met too many agents who make $300,000, $500,000, even a million dollars a year and are broke. Part of their problem is their expenses. The other part is in their personal and business system of controlling the income. I will share with you a simple plan to help you control your income and become wealthy.

Your business checking account is merely a holding tank. Don’t keep large amounts of money in there. When a commission check is received, put it all in the business checking account. Set up a business savings account and deposit 10% of your gross commission in there. That is your rainy day fund, dividend fund, and source for the future. You can build up a lot of funds through this method. At the same time, set up a tax savings account. Deposit 20% of every check to the tax savings account. This method guarantees you have the funds available when quarterlies are due.

Create one last account for your investments savings account and deposit 10% in that account. This account can be built up to fund your retirement accounts, 401K, simple IRA, whatever vehicle you use. I am a firm believer that as a business owner we need to take advantage of these tax free investment opportunities. You can save the money to buy property. The more you can segment or even hide money from yourself, the greater the chance you can avoid wants becoming needs. When the money comes in bunches, wants can easily become needs.

If you are unable to put 10% in each of these savings accounts, start with 5%, 2% or even 1%. It’s the habit that we are trying to establish. The habit will lead you to wealth.

Collect a significant monthly personal compensation out of the business in salary and dividend that you can segment or hide your money again. You want to pay yourself enough to cover your personal expenses while at the same time, saving and investing in your future as well. I have used the 70/10/10/10 way of managing my money for years. It’s a simple approach, I don’t have to budget extensively and it works. The seventy percent is what my family gets to live on. Joan and I can spend it any way we would like. There are usually long discussions about that in our home. We give 10% of our income to charity. For us, it’s our tithe to our church that equates to that 10%. The blessings have been awesome since we make that commitment to bring in the whole tithe years ago.

We save 10% in a general savings account for emergencies, property taxes, family fun, and large purchases like a new car. I am not a believer in debt, whether car or credit card. My view is the only debt I will accept is appreciating asset debt like real estate or possibly business debt. Because we have been doing that so many years, we rarely pull money out of savings for anything. It’s just another area to create wealth.   We then save 10% for investment. This can be real estate investment or after tax investment of stocks bonds, CD’s or any other source we choose. I am not professing that I have created the perfect system, but it works for me and works for thousands of other people I have taught it to, both inside and outside of real estate.

When I started this system well over twenty years ago, I was not able to do 70/10/10/10. I had too much month at the end of my money due to debt and lack of income. I wanted to do 70/10/10/10, but couldn’t, so I started with 95/1/2/2. That quickly became 90/3/3/4. Within twenty-four months, I was able to do 70/10/10/10, and my life has never been the same.

The real skill of a Champion is to control the resources and money they have to create the quality of life they desire. We all need to live within our own means to make sure our future is secure. I believe that you won’t be blessed with more unless you wisely use what you have now. People who acquire wealth learned to control small amounts well before they acquired large amounts. Control what you have now and more will be granted to you.

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THE TWO C’S OF OBJECTION HANDLING

The two Cs of objection handling:

1. Communication

When we look at our ability to communicate at the Champion Agent level, we need to evaluate our verbal, vocal, and visual communication skills. The vocal and visual are the most powerful when dealing with objections.

Verbal: These are the actual words and phrases you use to communicate to people. The words really don’t convey the complete story, since they account for only 7% of communication. However, it is hard to think about how best to use the vocal and visual to improve your communication and conversion if you are stuck focusing on the words. It is priceless to have mastered the words for the approximately forty major objections.

Vocal: This is the tone and pace of your delivery. This carries more weight than the words. We experience 38% of our communication using the vocal medium.

Visual: This is what people see when you speak. It’s the powerful, subtle yes head nods, confident posture, and eye-to-eye contact. This form of communication accounts for 55%. Your body language conveys how you perceive yourself and the value of your service. If you visually demonstrate that you are the best, the prospect and clients will have more faith in your claim. They can see right through practiced responses that are inconsistent with the body language. The salesperson who exudes confidence and excitement will generate the same feeling in their prospects and clients.

2. Confidence

When your confidence goes up, your competence goes up, as well. When you communicate your confidence, and the prospect feels that you are prepared to handle the objections that you might encounter, this will reduce the amount of objections they express to you, and they will sign more quickly. This confidence must come out from the initial contact with the prospect. My question is what do you need to improve on to dramatically raise your confidence? What skills do you need to practice? What mental attitude do you need to change? Is there knowledge that needs to be acquired?

Preparation is essential for Champion Objection Handlers. Learn who they are, so you can anticipate their needs and questions. Prepare the proper questions; prepare to listen, as well, and you can better direct the presentation to answer their objections before they come up.

 

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DEALING WITH TIME-CONSUMING FIRES

Time-consuming fires are the hot issues that result from the emotional turmoil involved in many real estate transactions. Sometimes they require calm and caution; other times you need to put on a fireman’s hat and start dousing the flames of a delayed closing, emotionally frustrated buyer or seller, problem co-op agent, or slow moving inspector, appraiser, or loan officer. Let the following rules guide your responses:

Rule #1: There is no closing issue that can’t wait an hour. When your transaction hits a snag, don’t let it dramatically change your day’s schedule. Wait to resolve the issues during the time you’ve blocked for administrative tasks.

Rule #2: A frenzied reaction only adds fuel to the fire. More often than not, when one closing party gets riled it’s because someone else in the transaction is riled – and hysteria is catchy. Aim to serve as the calming influence in the transaction. If the problem arises two hours before your predetermined administrative time slot, inform the parties that you have prescheduled appointments that you can’t change, but that you will be able to take action when you get out of the appointments in two hours.

Rule #3: Fires often burn themselves out. Rather than jump into the mess, give the issue a bit of time to simmer down. Remember that your prospecting and lead follow-up tasks are appointments to which you have committed. Sticking with your daily plan may give the issue time to cool or even resolve itself.

Rule #4: Don’t wait for a three-alarm fire to call for the pump truck. If the fire becomes hot, suit up your broker right away. Before the transaction flares out of control, ask for help. The longer you delay, the more effort you’ll spend getting the situation cooled down.

 

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LEAD CONVERSION AND FOLLOW UP

The first step to higher lead conversion is developing a better definition of what a lead is. What’s the criterion of a lead for you? Is it a specific timeframe or level of motivation? Is this a subjective or a pre-determined scale you use? For most Agents, a lead is defined as any human being who can fog a mirror when held up to their mouth. It’s basically anybody and everybody. That definition is much too broad for us to ever reach the Champion Agent level.

Too many of us are investing our time and money trying to convince any and every lead to turn into a good lead. We, in effect, say, “Oh, please, Mister lead, if I work with you long enough, won’t you turn into a good lead; because I really don’t want to have to prospect, and I need to make my mortgage payment next month.” Are you trying to turn bad leads into good leads, or are you looking for good leads? It’s almost as if we are trying to water dead plants in hopes of resurrecting them from the dead. They are dead . . . move on! What is the quality of your leads right now? What would someone pay you to buy your leads? If the answer is not much . . . Houston, we have a problem.

Champion Rule: The leads you have in your database are in other Agents’ databases as well. Whoever calls them and meets with them first wins the game.

 This, my friends, is the truth of our business. For some reason, many Agents haven’t come to grips with this concept. We think somehow we are the only Agent who knows about this prospect’s desire to buy or sell. This is particularly true of Agents who work exclusively by referral. You are making a huge mistake in today’s competitive market if you feel that you have the inside track or non-competition track. Couldn’t another friend have referred them to someone else? Isn’t it possible that they searched the Internet a little and got information from other Agents? Could they have been out to an open house? When a lead appears, we need to take action toward a face-to-face appointment immediately.

Effective lead follow-up is like threshing wheat at harvest in ancient times. Threshing is, essentially, separating the wheat from the chaff. The good kernels of wheat would be removed and used for food, while the chaff would be blown away in the wind. If we aren’t actively threshing our leads, we will become complacent. Too many leads can cause lead complacency. Too many leads can be a bad thing. You did read that right. Too many leads can be bad!

An overabundance of leads can lead to complacency in your prospecting. You can stop or slow the flow of new leads by reducing your prospecting because you feel comfortable because you have a certain number of leads (50, 100, 1000, or whatever the number may be). You may feel that you don’t need to prospect today because you have enough. What if what you have left has a high percentage of chaff in it that you haven’t found out yet? It’s going to take a lot of effort to find that out.

When I started working with a particular client a few years ago, I asked him how many leads he had who wanted to buy and sell in the next six months. He said he had 247 that fit into that category. He was proud of himself, yet I found out he had not talked with them in a while, and he hadn’t been prospecting because of this volume of leads. His attitude was “I don’t need to; I have 247 leads”. I asked him to call all 247 in the next two weeks and ask for an appointment. If they were not ready to list or buy, he was to set an appointment with them anyway to move the relationship along, so he could secure them as future clients. Two weeks later, the first thing out of his mouth before hello was, “I have fifty-nine leads.” He dumped over 182 leads that were junk. He realized he needed to prospect to create new leads every day.

Being successful with lead generation & conversion is more complex for real estate salespeople than ever before.

More avenues to create leads in the real estate business have emerged in the last few years than in the last fifty years…

The technology revolution has gripped the real estate industry full force, with some believing it to be the “be-all-end-all” to lead generating and conversion processes.

Using technology to leverage your business is essential, but there is a core set of skills you have to have in addition to it. You need to have selling strategies that are powerful, client centered, and service oriented to increase your sales.

That’s what I’m going to reveal in my new free white paper, take a look:

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COACHING YOURSELF TO THE CHAMPION LEVEL

Too often, as agents, we can feel like an island out in the middle of the sea with no other land in sight. We feel alone and trapped – far short of where we had hoped or imagined. One of the reasons we selected real estate sales is due to the opportunities and flexibility our independent career offers us. We are truly an independent contractor; a self-employed individual and business.

I frequently say that one of the best things about being an independent contractor is nobody can tell us what to do, how to do it, or when to do it. We control our success and also our failure. At the same time, one of the worst things about real estate sales is that we are independent contractors. No one can tell us what to do, how to do it, or when to do it. It’s the yin and yang of the business.

We are self-employed, so we are our own employers and our own employees. This creates a unique relationship with the potential of a “me/me” conflict. There is a personal, internal conflict between diligence and laziness, perseverance and quitting, success and failure. We have the same responsibilities to manage ourselves as we would if we were managing salespeople in a sales manager role. We must manage ourselves as if we are paying someone else an equal amount of money to do what we make or plan to make.

We are in a competitive business. We are not an exclusive source of real estate services. We are in competition because there are more agents than business. We might like and enjoy these competing agents, but we still must focus on taking market share away from them. We don’t significantly influence the number of transactions done annually in our marketplace. Generally speaking, there are a set number of transactions in any given year in any marketplace. If we want to increase our business, we will need to take transactions from someone else. I know many of you don’t like me saying that, but it’s true. If you get more, someone will need to get less.

We don’t own our prospects; they don’t owe us with their business or commission dollars. Our job is to compete to earn their business initially and continually for life. We must use our sales skills, service benefits, competitive points of difference, value, tools, materials, and systems to promote us favorably to our targeted markets, prospects, and clients.

We must be willing to invest in ourselves and in our business. We have all heard the statement “It takes money to earn money.” We also know the wisest investments we can make are in ourselves. You are the greatest asset you have to create income and expand your business. By developing your knowledge, skills, and attitudes, as well as creating systems that are productive, you are guaranteed growth in your business.

If you want to invest in the greatest asset of yourself, kick start a revenue increase and also ensure your success in the future, you need to focus on 3 critical areas that will make a big impact on your level of success and revenue. Learn more here: http://www.realestatechampions.com/thesuccesstrio

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INCREASING YOUR SLICE OF THE MARKET

There is nothing that attracts business more easily than dominant market share. When you have increased your slice of the pie to the point that it dwarfs your competition, the prospects begin to seek you out.

I coach an agent on the east coast who, in the two towns she dominates, single handedly sells more homes than the number two and number three companies in sales and unit volume. One year she listed and sold 66 properties in her market areas, over which time the top competing companies together sold 59. And the balance just keeps tipping in her favor, because success breeds success and nothing indicates success better than dominant market share.

What is market share? Market share is the percentage of sales that you control in your marketplace. Market share can be based on listings taken, listings sold, buyer sales, sales volume, or sales by units. In any case, your share reflects the portion of total market activity that is represented by you or your company.

To calculate your market share, simply divide your or your company’s production against the overall production of your marketplace. For example, if 575 homes sold last year in your market area, and if your company sold 215 of those 575, then your company handled 37% of all transactions and controls 37% of the market activity (215 ÷ 575 = .37).

Also, calculate market share in various market segments. You might find that your overall market share is low but that you have a commanding market share in a certain neighborhood or price category.

Market penetration is another way to describe market share. If you command large share of your market, you’ve achieved significant market penetration. If your market share is minimal, your penetration is minimal as well.

A single agent can’t expect to penetrate a broad market overnight, if ever. For years, I worked the east side of Portland, Oregon – a geographic area that was home to 750,000 people. Even as productive as I was, with 150 home sales a year, my market share when compared to the size of the marketplace was miniscule. I barely scratched the market surface, let alone penetrate it. But within the market niche I’d carved, I was a dominant force.

A niche is a segment of the overall market. Niche marketers serve a select group of consumers whose interests and needs are distinctly different from the needs of the market in general. Think of niche marketers as big fish in small ponds.

You can create a market niche by serving consumers in a particular geographic area, consumers seeking a certain property type, a certain type of buyer or seller, a certain income category, the list is goes on and on. You can create a niche by focusing your efforts and increasing your penetration of FSBOs, Expireds, non-owner occupied properties, or small multiplexes.

The key to gaining penetration in a niche is focus. You have to decide which smaller section of the marketplace you want to work and quit trying to be all things to all people. Then, once you identify your niche, you need to create presence, penetration, and dominance, following these steps:

*  Make contact with prospects in your niche not just once but repeatedly over a compact period of time.

Studies show that it takes six impressions for a consumer simply to recognize or retain who you are. By increasing both the number and frequency of contacts with prospects, you can increase your market awareness, which is a first step in achieving market penetration.

*  Make personal contact. For most agents, the preferred method of contact with people located in a geographic segment is mail. They mail and mail and mail their prospects to death. They send refrigerator magnets, note pads featuring the agent’s name and face, local football, baseball, or basketball game schedules, annual calendars, and more. Guess what? That’s not enough to achieve market penetration.

A few years ago, I started working with a client named Sue who wanted to penetrate a large gated community where the turnover of homes was brisk and the sales prices were high. She’d given herself a tall order because another agent dominated the market and controlled more than a third of all the community’s real estate business. Luckily, though, the dominant agent had gotten lazy and reverted to easier contact approaches than face-to-face visits. Sue moved in with well-designed marketing pieces for use in mailing, but also with a well-crafted personal contact strategy. When all was said and done and her market share goal was met and exceeded, she determined that her success didn’t stem from marketing pieces that were better than the other agent’s pieces. Her success came from the fact that the people who lived in the gated community saw her frequently.

Whenever anyone in her firm listed a property in the community, she’d ask and receive permission from the listing agent to hold it open. Then, prior to the open house, she’d walk around the neighborhood personally inviting the neighbors. In between open houses, she provided the neighborhood with regular market updates. And on a constant basis she was personally very visible in the community, spending a few hours each week meeting and greeting her prospective clients.

When an expired listing came off the market, she showed up at the owners’ front door. When a FSBO sign appeared in a front yard, she was there, as well. In fewer than 20 months she went from a single-digit market share to a share of over 30%. Meanwhile, the once-dominant agent went from 37% to less than 20%. She had been beaten by the effectiveness of personal contact.

How to achieve market dominance

To become a dominant market force, you need to take market share from someone else. Dominance involves growing your percentage of the overall marketplace until you control a greater share of market business than any competitor. In some markets, which are shared by a great number of competitors, a 10% share might be dominant. In other situations, where fewer competitors exist, you might need 30% or even a higher share in order to be the dominant player.

To gain market share and dominance, first you need to gain recognition, which results almost automatically from simply doing more than you are expected to do:

*  Do more personal prospecting.

*  Create more useable market and industry information.

*  Have more communication with your clients.

*  Do more for your community, by sponsoring picnics, baseball or soccer teams, or community events as a few examples.

Doing more than is expected will earn you recognition and create a buzz about how you are different. Your reputation will be enhanced. Suddenly, rather than being an unknown agent you’ll be a “name,” a known entity.

Then, with the confidence you build through your awareness-development efforts go one step further. Dare to do things that no one else is willing to do.

 Sue, my client in the preceding anecdote, was willing to take the risk of rejection by calling on people and meeting then face-to-face. Her competitor, even though she was the market’s dominant force at the time, was unwilling to subject herself to the potential rejection. Of all the approaches I’ve seen, I believe that establishing more personal contact is the easiest, most cost-effective way to move to a position of dominance in a real estate market.

By taking each of the preceding steps – choosing a market segment, establishing contact, gaining awareness, establishing personal rapport, going beyond the expected, and daring to be different in your communication approaches – over a period of 18-24 months, you will penetrate your target market niche and be well on your way to achieving market dominance.

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