Sales Skills

BECOME THE EXPERT

Do you have the skills that will make you massively successful? Are you making the most of them? The people who are compensated the best in life are highly skilled and highly specialized. They perform few functions, but the ones they do are performed exceedingly well, and they are paid handsomely for performing them.

Let me share an example. When my father had open-heart surgery, he was blessed to have an excellent heart surgeon. That was exactly what this doctor did — heart surgery and only heart surgery. Of course, there were many other steps to the process, and the surgeon had a skilled team to handle those other steps. There was an anesthesiologist who put my father to sleep. There was another surgeon who retrieved a vein out of my father’s leg and prepared it for by-pass. There was another surgeon who opened the chest cavity and readied the heart. After all those functions were complete, the heart surgeon stepped in for his part. He completed his sections of the surgery and then left the rest of the team to complete the operation. What if we had the skills and the systems to run our businesses that way? What would our production look like if we did? How balanced would our lives be with this type of a business? It is truly an exciting thought.

If you had that level of sales skills and consultation skills and had a strong team that would enable you to operate your business on that system, you would be paid better than that heart surgeon is paid. You have a bigger market to sell your services in than a heart surgeon has; there are more people who truly need your services than there are who need heart surgery. The question is whether you are truly taking advantage of that market and preparing yourself to be a leader in it. Strong, specialized skills and a team with the skills to support your work will free your time, so you can serve an increasing share of the market and enjoy a healthy personal life, as well. Imagine the life and the business you would have if you operated in this fashion.

What is your area of specialty in real estate? Where do your strongest skills lie? We all have exceptional skills in specific areas. When we know what they are, and are able to focus our efforts to make the best use of them, our clients benefit, and so do we. Specialization is very much a fact of life in the world around us. We see it more and more, not only in medicine, but in law, accounting, insurance, and even sports.

Let me share another example. When the NFL was first formed, players played both offense and defense. But, within a few years, we had players playing only offense or only defense. Starting in the 90’s, we had specialists: designated pass rushers; nickel backs; pass-catching running backs; blocking running backs. Each NFL team may have twenty guys, each of whom is on the team for only one function. They are specialists in the career of professional football.

To create a specialized, team-enhanced real estate business, you must first evaluate what you are skilled at doing, what you enjoy doing, and what needs to be done regardless of your specific skills and interests. Separate out those activities that you really dislike and those you are less skilled at doing. Then construct a plan that will, over time, remove those activities and delegate them to skilled and enthusiastic staff members.

For example, maybe you like meeting with clients but really don’t enjoy the escrow process. Solidify your escrow processing system, so a staff member can take it over, freeing you up to do the activities that you do enjoy. Or maybe you have a high level of skill in qualifying the buyer but don’t feel highly skilled at showing property. Set appointments in the office to qualify the buyers, but have someone else show property to them. The possibilities are endless.

Life is truly too short; each of us has only a limited time to enjoy life’s treasures. Why not make the most of your time by creating a business that is structured around your skills and your desires? Then hire, train, and coach a team of specialists who will complement your skills and help you achieve success. I truly believe that everyone involved — your clients, your staff, your family, and you — will win. With a system in place that makes the most of your abilities and of your staff, you’ll be able to achieve success faster than you can say: “Pass the scalpel, please.”

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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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ACQUIRING KNOWLEDGE ABOUT YOUR MARKETPLACE

Think of your marketplace as your playing field, not unlike an athlete views a football field, basketball court, or hockey rink. The better you know every inch of that playing field, the more you can exploit it to your advantage.

Before I became a real estate agent, in my early twenties, I was a racquetball professional. I played hundreds of tournaments over my sports career, and my best games were always at my home club. There, we had a court with floor-to-ceiling glass on the right side and back wall, making it particularly difficult to see in the back right–hand corner where the two walls of glass converged.

When players came for tournaments at my club, they struggled to pick up the ball in that corner – giving me what you might call a significant home field advantage. I rarely lost a match on that court.

Real estate is like any other competitive endeavor. If you learn all there is to know about your playing field, you’ll acquire a competitive advantage that will distance you from the competition and build the basis of your success.

The most challenging aspect of gaining market knowledge is determining what facts to collect and where to find the information you need. Fortunately, a number of readily accessible resources are available to real estate agents. All you have to do is contact the right people and ask the right questions. The following sections will help you on your data quest.

Your Local Board of REALTORS®

All professional agents belong to REALTOR® associations that compile and make available a wealth of statistical information. The facts you can obtain from your local board include:

  • The number of agents working in your marketplace. This information helps you understand your competitive arena. It also allows you to track whether your competition has expanded or receded over recent years.

 

  • The production of the average agent in terms of units and volume sold. By obtaining this information and comparing it with your own production units and volume, you will be able to contrast your performance against the other agents on your local board. This information will be useful in your effort to calculate your share of the market. It also helps you understand how you stack up against the other agents your prospective customer might be considering.

 

  • Experience levels of agents in your field. Most Boards of REALTORS® keep information regarding the percentage of agents recently licensed and those with three, five, and ten years in the business. This information provides you with another factor against which to measure your competitive position.

 

Meet with the executive director of your local Board of REALTORS® to learn the extent of information that is available to you, how frequently new research is released, and how you can obtain copies for your ongoing review.

Your Local Multiple Listing Service

The Multiple Listing Service, commonly called the MLS, keeps statistics of all the listings and sales in your area that are processed through the MLS.

The MLS does not cover every sale due to the fact that some sales bypass the system. Often, new construction builders, particularly in very robust markets, don’t submit their inventory into MLS. Agents also sometimes sell properties themselves or in-house, and those sales are not submitted to MLS. However, the MLS, in most markets, covers more than 95% of all marketplace sales, and it represents the surest indicator of real estate activity in your region.

The MLS can give you key market statistics including:

  • Days on the market averages
  • Listing price to sale price ratios
  • Listings taken versus listings sold ratios
  • Geographically active markets inside your service area

Nearly all real estate agents recognize the MLS for its significant role in increasing communication and exposure of real estate properties. Fewer real estate agents recognize the MLS for its powerful but under-utilized role in reporting trends and performance of agents, companies, and subsets of the marketplace. Access and put this information to work to your advantage.

The National Association of REALTORS®

There are a number of national resources that you can access to obtain a wealth of knowledge and statistical trends. The best is the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), which produces some wonderful studies, reports, and market statistics that most agents never use. The truth is most agents don’t even know they are available.

Their monthly “Real Estate Outlook” publication provides a national view of real estate sales: What has happened in terms of sales, days on the market, what people are purchasing, what financing they are using, emerging trends, and predictions for the future. This is a powerful tool in the hands of a successful agent. If you aren’t currently receiving and reading it, put it into your information arsenal immediately.

They also conduct annual surveys and studies of home sellers and homebuyers. They delve into why consumers selected particular agents, what services they sought from agents, and what geographic areas, home amenities, and features caused them to buy. This type of knowledge will enable you to provide the highest level of counsel and value to your clients.

NAR also issues reports on second home markets, investment properties, financing options, and many other topics. It’s one of the best services that NAR provides, but it’s the service that agents use the least. Make yourself an exception and dive into this deep pool of information.

Visit the NAR website at www.REALTOR.org to obtain an overview of the association, to access quick links to useful sites including REALTOR® Magazine Online, and to subscribe to receive e-mail updates on real estate topics and statistics.

Other Sources of Marketplace Information

Consult your broker about company-compiled statistics on regional trends and also on your firm’s market share and market penetration. Especially if you work for a regional or national real estate company or franchise, your organization has likely commissioned studies that will be useful to your fact-gathering efforts.

Also, if you live in a state where sellers provide title insurance to buyers, the title companies often conduct market trend reports that allow agents to better understand the marketplace they are working in.

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HOW TO REALLY LISTEN

Our ability to serve our customers and prospects well is contained in our ability to listen. Most telephone salespeople were convinced by some friend or relative to get into sales because they had the gift of gab rather than the gift of listening. In all sales situations, the gift of listening far outweighs the gift of gab.

To become a better listener, you need to understand why you would want to improve that skill. What’s your desire or motivation for improving? If the why is large enough, the how becomes much easier. The why includes more sales, shorter sales cycle, higher conversion of leads, and more referrals because your client service is better.

On any sales call, there is one party who has the most important and relevant information, opinions, and comments. Hint . . . that person isn’t you! What the other person has to say, along with how they receive it, process it, and respond to it, will determine your income. This truth must be ingrained in your brain. You need to review that before each prospecting session.

Sometimes, one of the best ways to learn something is to evaluate how not to do it. By knowing how not to do something, we can apply the 180-degree theory to success.

“I got this nailed.”

Too often, when we get entrenched in our scripts and dialogues, we don’t listen as well as we should. When we are so focused on getting to the sales presentation or closing section of our script, we forget to listen along the way. We miss the nuances that any good telephone salesperson must pick up on to make the script come alive.

Our pre-call preparation can be over the top and work to our detriment. I know that as you are reading this, you are thinking, “Dirk always hammers on scripts and dialogues and pre-call planning, and now he’s changing.” I am definitely not changing, just giving you a little caution. There are times when telephone salespeople over-prepare and think they already know everything about the client. When the prospect tells you something about their needs, you think, “I already know that.” We are using one ear and have half our brain tied behind our back. We miss the client’s real view, so we miss the opportunities to serve and sell. We can have a false sense of security on our call because of the knowledge we acquire through our study and pre-planning. We need the preparation, scripts, and dialogues; what we don’t need are the blinders on from over-preparation, the pre-conceived ideas of what the client needs based only on our research, and rigidity to a fault in our scripting.

“I’m the expert; just ask me.”

This is where we are looking for openings to flex our mental muscles. We are listening for openings to impress them with our knowledge and preparation, rather than really hearing the client’s needs. We get antsy to demonstrate to the client how much we know. This anxiousness can lead us to interrupt prospects because of our excitement for the sale. When you feel that anxiety, it means you really aren’t listening. What the prospect has to say is always more important than what the salesperson has to say.

“Enough about you; how about me?”

This is similar to the “I’m the expert; just ask me” problem. The difference is you are looking for the openings to make your presentation or pitch. We are scanning the conversation exclusively for the cue to leap into the “sales pitch”. I despise the term “sales pitch”, but it really describes the technique that most salespeople end up using when they are experiencing this syndrome. These salespeople, at best, are selectively listening. They only hear what they want to hear. The minute they hear something that resembles the opening they are looking for, they start the wind-up and throw their pitch.

Listening is at the core of working harder. It’s harder to hold yourself back from blathering. It’s more challenging to ask good questions and shut up for their answers. If every salesperson could do that, the sales in your company would explode.

Listening is also the epitome of working smarter. Knowing with certainly the prospect’s wants, needs, expectations, time frame, desires, motivation, authority to take action, and financial ability gives you the edge. It enables you to move to your sales presentation more effectively with a higher close rate when you do make the presentation.

If you want to learn more about how to engage with your prospects you will be interested in our newest course, Sales Language of a Champion. We are opening the new course for our Champions Circle Members next week. The first session is Monday, March 7th, 2016. Click here to find out how to become a member and gain access to this new course: http://www.realestatechampions.com/championcircle/

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FOUR STEPS TO A GREAT LISTING PRESENTATION DELIVERY

The solution is to plan what you are going to say beforehand, so that during the presentation you can focus on language, tonality, and the following four steps to a great delivery.

Step 1: Conviction

Webster defines conviction as “a fixed or firm belief.” I’d add that there is nothing more compelling than conviction. Your belief that you can get the job done draws the client to you. Your belief in the value of their home or how their home should be sold earns their trust. Your firm belief about where the marketplace is headed backed by statistics that prove your point sells you and your recommendations.

 Before you go face to face with sellers, determine the three things that you are going to express with absolute conviction. If your sellers share your views (you’ll know based on your prospect qualifying work), that’s a bonus. If their views are opposite yours, be doubly persuasive and resolute in order to win them over to your point of your view and gain their signature on the listing contract.

Step 2: Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm sells in spades. People want to work with those who are enthusiastic about their home and the market. If the market is tough, you have to be frank and honest; you can’t just hide market realities. But you can still be enthusiastic and show that you are excited about the opportunity to “beat the odds” of the marketplace.

Your listing presentation will be more interesting if you are enthusiastic about your career, your business, their home, and the sellers as people. There is an old sales adage: “Enthusiasm is to selling as yeast is to bread. It makes the dough rise!”

Step 3: Confidence

I believe that in my early sales career, confidence was my secret edge. Even when I was new to the game, I was confident I was the best agent for the seller . . . the result of a deeply grooved expectation of victory that came from athletics.

Where have you experienced victories? Tap into those past experiences as you pump up your confidence in preparation for prospect presentations.

If you lack confidence, determine what you need to do to up level your belief in yourself and your ability to achieve success. What activities would help increase your confidence? What skills do you need to master to dramatically affect your confidence? What one thing, if you did it with excellence, would change your self-confidence?

Webster defines confidence as “a belief in one’s powers or abilities.” The great success motivator Napoleon Hill says, “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

 I saw evidence of this truth a few years ago while working with a great agent in North Carolina. She didn’t have confidence in herself, nor did she think she was a great agent. Even when she closed 100 units a year, she was still self-sabotaging her success.

I asked her to write out her standard of a great agent. She did so with great and specific clarity. Six months later, she had met the standard to a tee but was still in self-sabotage mode. Fortunately, I’d saved her written document and could re-present it to her as proof of her success. She has never looked back.

Step 4: Assertiveness

Agents don’t want to come off as pushy or aggressive in their sales approach, and, by mistake, they shy away from assertiveness, as well.

The definition of a great salesperson is “a person who convinces someone to do something that is beneficial to them or convinces them to do it faster. Going for the close or asking for the order is not pushy. It’s assertive. As a real estate agent, your job is to persuade prospects that you have the best service, the best value, and the highest probability for their success and to convince them to sign up for the benefits you provide, now!

One of the easiest ways to exert your assertiveness is to tell the prospect what’s coming. Early in the presentation explain, “At the end of my presentation tonight, provided we’re all in agreement, we’ll finalize the paperwork, so I can begin to work for you right away.” This bit of foreshadowing may come in useful should you encounter resistance at the time of the close, at which time you can use one of these scripts:

“This should be no surprise. I told you I would ask for your business. You want me to follow through on what I commit to you, don’t you?”

Or

“I’m proving to you right now that I follow through, right? Listen, Mr. and Mrs. Seller, homes are sold, not bought. The reason conversion of leads is so low is because many agents lack assertiveness with the buyer. So my question is: Do you want an agent that you know will for sure ask every buyer to buy or an agent that you hope will do that? Which gives you more comfort?”

Being assertive in selling is a good thing.

So plan what you are going to say beforehand by following the four steps of conviction, enthusiasm, confidence, and assertiveness. Then you can focus on what is going to be the most effective and have the greatest impact your presentation – body language and tone.

Want to learn more about listings? Take a look at Dirk’s free white paper, “7 Solid Systems to Create More Listings”:

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Problems With Training Today

In talking to real estate Brokers, owners, and executives, I hear this comment frequently, “My agents don’t come to training.” There are a number of reasons why it’s never been more challenging to drive attendance. The agents might feel the internal training is not as valuable. That is either just a perception or could be reality. I have reviewed a number of large international brands’ training courses and there is a high percentage of them that are lacking in instructional design, organization, and content quality.

Let’s assume that the content and value are high for your company’s training, but you still are lacking the attendance numbers you desire. The problem is most likely in the delivery methods of the training. Quality training and skill improvement programs can be segmented into three categories:

  1. Synchronous
  2. Asynchronous
  3. Blended Learning

 

Better than 90% of all training conducted in the real estate industry, whether internal in companies or external providers, is synchronous training. Synchronous training is defined as classes or courses that require the students or learners to be present at the same time as the instructors. The training happens in the exact same hour. Frequently, the synchronous training requires the same location as well. Because most agents’ businesses have shifted to almost 24/7 days due to the technology advancement and open access, some agents plan to attend and then have an emergency come up or become side tracked. Those agents tend to miss your offerings of training. Creating the ability for the synchronous training to be accessible, live without being present in the office, can open doors to agents. Using a live, virtual classroom can increase attendance numbers and participation. Through the proper instructional design, the training can be interactive, fast paced, skill improvement oriented, and fun.

At Real Estate Champions we have done more than 5,000 training sessions in our live, virtual classroom. We have done more than any company in the real estate industry. As good as a live, virtual classroom can be, it’s still synchronous training. Less than 4% of all real estate companies are offering quality asynchronous learning. Asynchronous allows the learner to take a training program or course on their own schedule. Quality asynchronous courses include engagement, feedback loops, contribution and collaboration strategies to create both individual and group learning.  They incorporate scenario learning, gamification, and quizzes.

In today’s learning environment, it is imperative to offer both avenues of learning in the creation of a blended learning environment. The blended learning where there is a clear marriage of synchronous and asynchronous in the design phase of development of the learning is the secret sauce. It’s moving out of the event or “brain dump of information” into spaced or incremental learning. It creates opportunities to implement new technologies and skill sets where agents can at times work independently based on their timeframe, but report results at intervals in the synchronous segments of the blended learning design.

The barrier for most companies, especially smaller companies, is the high cost of development of asynchronous training. Most Brokers and companies can design and deliver synchronous well enough.

It’s when they are faced with building new content, hiring a skilled instructional designer, video production, post-production, integration of games, scenario learning, quizzes and measurement metrics, that’s where the budget can go off the rails.

Companies must create asynchronous and blended learning for their agents. The millennial agents that all brokerages are working to recruit are demanding it. They are natives to online learning. The next generation of agent expects quality, accessible online training and education.

If you are recognizing a donut hole in your training, let me suggest the first step to fixing the issue is awareness. If you understand that your offerings are in one category, synchronous, you know a problem exists. If you want to explore a few solutions to broaden your training offerings into the asynchronous or blended learning categories, I am sure a quick discussion would be in order.

If you would like to understand the ins and outs at a deeper level of asynchronous and blended learning, click on this video link so we can provide you additional guidance in your development of your learning and skill development programming to recruit, retain, and improve your agent’s performance.

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ACQUIRING THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL OF ALL

The single most important skill for a Real Estate Agent is sales-ability. No matter where you are in your real estate career, decide right now to master the skills of selling in order to fuel your success.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s true, that more than 95% of Agents lack top-level real estate sales skills. The reason I know this is because I coach some of the best and highest-earning Agents in the world, and even they believe their sales skills can use improvement. The difference between them and other Agents is that they realize that sales skills are vital to success and they continuously seek excellence in this area.

To follow their example, make it your priority to develop and constantly improve your sales skills, especially in these areas:

  • Develop sales skills to secure appointments.
  • Develop sales skills to persuade expired and for-sale-by-owner listings to move their properties to your business. This lucrative and largely untouched field.
  • Develop sales skills to make persuasive presentations that result in positive buying decisions. You can do this in every step from pre-qualifying prospects to planning your presentation, perfecting your skills, addressing and overcoming objections, and ending with a logical and successful close.

We are now no longer in the robust market conditions we had experienced in the 90s and early 2000s, where leads were abundant and relatively easy to attract, especially Buyer leads. So when the market slowed, as it inevitably would, real estate success becomes less automatic. Only great sales skills guarantee that you – instead of some other Agent – will win clients no matter the market conditions. The best Agents make more money in a challenging market than in a robust market.

Regardless of economics, every market contains real estate buyers and sellers. No matter how slow the economy, people need or want to change homes. Babies are born. Managers get transferred. Couples get married. People divorce. And real estate opportunities arise for those with the best sales skills.

The way to build immunity to shifting market conditions is to arm yourself with skills in prospecting, lead follow-up, presentations, objection handling, and closing.

If you have a strong desire to improve your income & quality of life, I urge you to check out the video by Dirk and take the first step here: www.RealEstateChampions.com/coaching

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