Coaches Corner Newsletter - Issue #933
 
May 18th, 2019
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Words of a Champion...

I have always believed that new challenges in life present new opportunities.  We are given opportunities to grow, improve, and learn new skills and abilities, which we might not learn otherwise.

It is easy to get comfortable and complacent when the going is easy.  We often just ride the wave of success, rather than learning how to paddle better.  We miss the opportunities to learn, grow, and gain greater strength.

I have come to realize that there is always a greater challenge around the corner.  The obstacles that you are facing right now are preparing you for the future.  I did not always embrace this attitude of gratitude for challenges and obstacles.  I used to say, “If I could only solve this problem, I would have everything else handled.”  That’s not the way that life and business works.  The most successful people are problem solvers.  Rather than CEO, President, Sales Manager, or Salesperson on your business card, it should read Chief Problem Solver. 

You can learn techniques to build your confidence and competence in facing new challenges in this week’s Coaches Corner!

To Your Success,

Dirk Zeller

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Facing New Challenges
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I have always believed that new challenges in life present new opportunities.  We are given opportunities to grow, improve, and learn new skills and abilities, which we might not learn otherwise.

It is easy to get comfortable and complacent when the going is easy.  We often just ride the wave of success, rather than learning how to paddle better.  We miss the opportunities to learn, grow, and gain greater strength.

I have come to realize that there is always a greater challenge around the corner.  The obstacles that you are facing right now are preparing you for the future.  I did not always embrace this attitude of gratitude for challenges and obstacles.  I used to say, “If I could only solve this problem, I would have everything else handled.”  That’s not the way that life and business works.  The most successful people are problem solvers.  Rather than CEO, President, Sales Manager, or Salesperson on your business card, it should read Chief Problem Solver. 

One technique to build your confidence and competence in facing new challenges is to record them.  Record the challenge then think on paper to create the solution.  Too often, we don’t concisely write out the new challenge.  Then we fail to think solutions through on paper.  Completing this process gives us two benefits:

  1. Greater access to our mind to create solutions:  By writing your challenge down, you activate your whole mind (the conscious and subconscious) to work on the challenge even when you are asleep.  You will light a mental fire that will burn bright until you have extinguished the problem for good.

  2. A record of success:  By writing things down, you create a blueprint for greater success.  You allow yourself to go from one victory to the next, applying your gained knowledge quickly and efficiently.  Making the right decision is essential to success, but making it quickly is nearly as important.  Sometimes, we might make the right decision, but we have waited too long.  We have missed the opportunity that was before us.  Many times, opportunity merely knocks once.  You must be prepared to seize the opportunity when presented.

The speed at which a good decision is made is essential.  Place yourself in the cockpit of an F16, one of the highest advanced aircraft in the world.  You have been instructed to attack another military force.  You have a series of missiles bearing down on you.  Do you let the speed at which you make the decision have a bearing on your success…of course!  If you don’t move quickly, you’re dead.
We have to take the right perspective and attitude to achieve success.  We have to acquire the focus and intensity of a great problem solver.  We have to act decisively and quickly to achieve our desired result.

 
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Four Rules of Business Expansion
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To be a Champion Agent, you must understand the Four Rules of Business Expansion.  These rules are universal to all businesses, but especially to service businesses where the competition is high and the opportunities for repeat customers and referrals are higher.  Those factors describe the real estate business well. 

These four rules control the level of risk you will need to take to achieve a Champion Agent’s business.  The farther down the list you venture, the more risk you incur, and the probability of achieving a return becomes even lower.  I always counsel clients to attack these rules in order.

Rule #1 – Protect what you have currently

This doesn’t take a lot of work.  Sometimes you get so excited about the new venture or opportunity expansion that you fail in your core business area.  Your core business begins to slide and becomes stale, stagnant, and lifeless.  Don’t ever take your eye off the ball.  Each of you has one or two pillars of your business that generate a sizable business without much extra attention, but it does need some attention.  Don’t throttle all the way back.

The vast majority of Agents do a poor job of this.  We are so excited about new techniques, new systems, and new lead generation sources that we neglect to protect the business, past clients, and sphere of influence that we have now.  As I once said to a new client, when explaining the four rules of business expansion, it’s like you’re running a ranch.  You spend all of your time buying new cattle (that you find through a little prospecting or through marketing).  The problem is the whole back of your corral is open, so your freshly acquired cattle that haven’t been branded yet are getting out into the neighbor’s pasture.  You have some fence mending to do.

The easiest and fastest way to growth in your business is to protect what you currently have.  This doesn’t really take a huge investment of time or dollars.  It needs to be done, or you will be working too hard for too little return.

The National Association of Realtors® has done many studies over the years about our clients and the satisfaction and retention levels of both Buyers and Sellers.  The numbers are really quite shocking.  In a survey conducted over a series of years, 69% of people were satisfied with their Agent’s service.  When they checked back with this test group, they found out that only 24% of the people who conducted another real estate transaction did so with their previous Agent.  We only produced a 69% average of satisfied clients, which is about a C- grade.  We then only got 24% of the total to even do business with us again – another 45-percentage point drop.  Those numbers are really terrible.

What that says boldly to one is that we don’t protect what we currently have very well; that too many of us are sending out trash and trinkets in hopes of those leading to referrals and long-term relationships with our past clients and sphere.  It is obviously not working!

A Champion works first to protect what he currently has before moving down to improving market penetration with his target market or those he already does business with.  Most Agents go to number three on the list first.  The reason is because it’s new; it’s fun; it’s an adventure; someone recommended it; they’re bored.  Most Agents move to number three before anything else.  Remember that the risk and probability are inverted the farther down the list of rules we work.  The risk is higher and the probability lower as we go to rules three and four.

We must protect the farm we have (if we have one), our past clients, and our sphere of influence.  You have to protect your position first, and that means anywhere that you are currently generating business from . . . protect it!

Rule #2 – Improve your market penetration with your target market or the people you already work with.

Once we protect them, we need to expand our reach in our target market.  Basically, the rule says that wherever you have strength or control, exploit that strength to get more.  Figure out ways to acquire a larger piece of the business in an area you have already penetrated, if you already control a piece.  If you have a farm to work, increase your market share in the farm.  I have a client who owns over 30% of the sales in her farm.  Our first step was to create a strategy to increase her market share to over 45%.  We did that through promoting her dominance as compared to other Agents and even companies.  We also promoted the concept of a second opinion to the people who lived in the farm.  She wanted to raise awareness of the changing marketplace and the fact that a second opinion costs nothing but gives them peace of mind that they are making the right decision.  That strategy worked beautifully.  She increased her number of appointments in the farm by 23% in the first few months.  She is on track to exceed the 45% threshold of market share easily.  She is getting a far better return in a short period of time with lower risk by working Rule #2, rather than Rule #3.

You also can convince your clients to invest in real estate; to do more deals with the people you currently do business with by getting their friends and relatives to work with you.  Ramping up your referrals is a Rule #2 activity. 

A target market would be any market that you currently target to generate business.  It could be geographically, like my example, or it could even be FSBOs or expireds if you already do them.  It is anything you are doing currently and deliberately to generate business.

Rule #3 – Expanding horizontally in your core business area.

For the majority, your core business area is residential real estate.  Whatever you generate 80% of your commission dollars from is your core business.

When you expand horizontally, you open up another section of your business or a new lead source but still remain in residential real estate.  You could begin to work builders; market to condos, multiplexes, investment property, FSBOs, or expireds; or establish a new farm area.  Move into conducting open houses, attending service clubs, and conducting seminars for Home Buyers, Home Sellers, or Investors.  The options are really endless for what you could do in this category. 

The key is to expand into this area once you have hit the point of diminishing return in the first two rule categories.  The law of diminishing return says that you are getting close to the maximum in that area, so the closer you get to the ceiling, the less growth you will receive, even if you put in tremendous effort and resources.  There’s just not enough growth potential to be worth it.

Rule #4 – Change and create vertical expansion.

To expand vertically would be to move to a similar, complimentary business that is structured like the real estate business or has ties to the real estate business.  This rule allows you to take what you learned in real estate or use the contacts you have in real estate and build an additional business and revenue stream.

The most common occurrence for Agents in this area is to open a real estate brokerage office and recruit Agents to work for them.  You could also create a mortgage company, title company, escrow company, branch off into land development, building homes, or investment real estate.  I have even heard of Agents becoming or forming a business partnership with a property and casualty insurance provider. 

If you have data based well and communicated with your past clients and sphere frequently you certainly have the option of servicing them with other financial needs, as well.

Champions work to follow the four rules of business expansion.  They focus on the risk and the probability of working to keep those both in their favor.  I know of many Agents who became Champion Agents merely by focusing on Rule #1 – protecting what they have currently and Rule #2 – improving their market production with their target market or those they already work with.  Because of their skill, database size, and frequency of communication, they can achieve exponential growth with limited risk.

 
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The Two-Step Presentation Model
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Whether your sales cycle is more effective with a two-step presentation or you have made the switch to a two-step model because of road blocks erected by the prospect, you must commit to it.  There is nothing wrong with a two-step model when desires, needs, abilities, and authority are determined in the first step.  You should have enough benefits to pique their interest to secure the second appointment when the real presentation and closing will be conducted.

In step one of the presentation, you are really on a fact-finding mission.  You are doing prospect recognizance.  You want to find out what their problems and challenges, needs, wants, and desires currently are.  You want to explore the typical process of finding services.  How do they go about making big decisions?  If they were to make a change, what key factors would need to change?  Who else would be involved in that decision-making process?

The next step on the initial presentation would be to demonstrate some benefits and value, so they are interested in hearing more.  Don't give it all away on this call.  The key is giving enough that they want more.  If you give them the whole benefits package and fully connect them with the results they will see, they will think they have enough information to make a decision.  That decision, unfortunately, will usually be no.

If you need to send more information or materials to the prospect, confirm with them when you will send it and when they should expect to receive it.  Also, establish when they will be able to review it.  Always establish that they want the information and that they will review the information.  This step is the precursor to booking the next appointment.

Once you know when they will review the additional material or the timeframe they need to think about this conversation (if they use that on you), your job is to book the next appointment during the call.  Do not hang up the phone without securing the next appointment . . . ever!  If you do not get the next appointment, you have lost your place in the sales process and must go back to "Go" and cannot collect $200 like in Monopoly.  The prospect now has the option to really hide from you.

To book the appointment, make a definitive statement of your belief in the value of your product or service and ask them to book time to explore their options or opportunities further.  When booking the next appointment, I would highly advise using the assumptive close coupled with an alternate of choice close.  Assumptive closes show confidence in assuming they want to meet again with you, rather than asking if they would like to meet.  Alternate of choice gives them options of when to meet, rather than asking what works best for them.

"Because we have just met over the phone, at this point, I don't know enough about your situation to guarantee I can help you, and you don't know enough about me to know that I can't help you, I think it would be worth a few minutes to know with certainty.  Would Wednesday or Thursday next week work best to meet and discuss your options further?"

The question you need to ask before you finalize securing the second appointment is where the appointment will take place.  Will it be another over the phone appointment, or will it be face-to-face?  If it is face-to-face, will it be at their home, your office, or a mutual location.  You must know what method of delivery will raise the odds of conversion.

I feel that a face-to-face presentation on a two-step presentation will usually generate the best result.  There are some products that are solely sold over the phone; however, real estate is not one of them. 

Before you begin to close on the prospect in the two-step appointment process, you must demonstrate a better connection between the wants and needs of the prospect and the results they will receive.  In a one-step presentation, you are often trying to create the connection on the fly.  You listen to them and pull out the benefits and results extemporaneously.  With the two-step process, you have the ability to prepare more effectively by investing the first presentation call into the second. 

 
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