Coaches Corner Newsletter - Issue #895
August 23rd, 2018
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Words of a Champion...

I recently had a coaching call with one of our clients.  He is having a year of tremendous increase because of his hard work and focus for the first quarter.  He will increase his business by about 75% this year. The call we had focused around the swan dive that he has taken in the last few weeks.  He was struggling to keep the pace up that he had set.  For most of us, keeping the pace consistent is an issue we have to deal with regularly.  We all need to focus on that constant rhythm of activity that will generate the results we desire.  This tremendous agent still put the time in at work over the last few weeks and he was at work physically the same amount of time as before.  The truth is the high payoff activities, for him, fell sharply in the last few weeks.  The intensity also fell off pace.  We must be physically AND mentally present for success to happen.

I believe one of the keys for success for me is being in the game 100%.
Being in the moment, with a high level of focus.  Being 100% focused on the high payoff activities.  As I reviewed the coaching session, I realized that one of the key reasons that I took three days off per week is because it allowed me to be 100% focused all the time in selling real estate.  I could not keep the intensity at an extremely high level for five or six days a week.  I just could not do it.  Here is just a thought... most people can't either.  I would guess none of us could for six or seven days.  For me, to go more than four days I needed to pace myself.  I had to throttle back to make it through the fifth day.

Success is not contained in pacing oneself by throttling back.  It is controlled by going all out and then taking the required rest.  We must “play all out”.  Playing all out needs to happen in more than our businesses.  Play all out with our spouses.  Play all out with our health.  Play all out with our kids.  Life is about playing it all out.

Let me share a quote with you from Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.  Dr. Peale is one of the people I regret never having heard speak before he passed on.

" A major key to success in life is to be completely released and throw all there is of yourself into your job or any project in which you are engaged.  In other words, whatever you are doing, give it all you've got.  Give every bit of yourself, hold nothing back.  Life cannot deny itself to people who give life their all.  But most people, unfortunately, don't do that.  In fact, very few people do, and this is a tragic cause of failure, or, if not failure, it’s the reason we only half attain."

You are guaranteed the win if you play all out.  You are guaranteed growth and improvement.  Resolve to play all out today.  Play to win... or don't play!!

Dirk Zeller

Business Plan

The business plan is a foreign tool to most real estate agents.  After studying, observing, interviewing, and coaching hundreds of Agents, I have concluded that very few have taken the time to create a quality business plan.  Fewer still review their business plan on a regular basis.  The few who have good business plans often make them so complicated that they possess little value.  Those Agents create such a complex business plan that they will never carry it out.  What kind of value does this complex business plan have to them? . . .  Zero!

A well-written, concise business plan can provide an exceptional road map to guide your quarter, year, or next five years.  Most well-run companies have well-developed business plans.  You, as an agent, are the President of your own real estate sales company.  You have to view yourself as the head of a corporation that needs direction, vision, and a well-conceived road map to follow.  The business plan can provide all these tools that lead to success.

To create a quality business plan, you have to know where you are today – right now – in your business.  You have to ask some basic questions about your business.

  • How much do I want to earn in gross commission?
  • Where does my business come from?
  • What is my average commission check?
  • What is my average cost per transaction?
  • How many days am I going to work this year?
  • How many hours per day am I going to work?
  • What things do I need to implement to take my business to the next level?

The best place to start is at the top.  Ask yourself, “How much do I want to earn?”  You can have total control of your income.  You can make as much or as little as you desire.  The only person or thing that determines your income is you.  The market, other agents, and other outside factors have very little control over your income.  You alone have absolute and complete control.

Once you determine the amount you want to earn, break it down to quarterly, monthly, and weekly amounts.  For example, if you decide to earn $500,000 next year, you need to earn $125,000 per quarter, $41,666 per month, or $9,615 per week.  Secondly, you need to determine where your business comes from.  Figure out the percentage of transactions that are done in every category.  Let’s say you closed seventy-five deals last year.  The break down was thirty from referrals, fifteen from open houses, eighteen from sign calls, and twelve from expireds. 

Here is the breakdown in percentages:

  • 40%    Referrals
  • 24%    Sign calls
  • 20%    Open houses
  • 16%    Expireds

You should also know the ratio or percentage of listings sold versus buyer-controlled sales.

The next exercise is to determine your average commission check.  Take your gross commission and divide by the number of transactions.  For the purpose of our example, we will use $5,500 as the average commission check.  You want to earn $500,000 next year.  In order to do that, you divide $500,000 by $5,500 which equals 91 transactions.  You will need to close an additional 16 transactions next year to reach your goal. 

Then figure out the number of transactions you need in each category.

  • 40% of 91 = 37 transactions from referrals
  • 24% of 91 = 22 transactions from sign calls
  • 20% of 91 = 18 transactions from open houses
  • 15% of 91 = 14 transactions from expireds

You can break these numbers down to a quarterly, monthly, and weekly number of transactions from each category.  This break down will give you a clear path to achieve your income goal.  If you do the number of transactions you need weekly, by year’s end, you will achieve your goal.

Then you need to break down each category of business:  referrals, sign calls, open houses, and expireds.  You need to figure out exactly what you need to do to create the results you desire.  The further you can break your business down, the easier the overall goal is to achieve.  It is easier to achieve your goals if you can break them down to daily activities.  All you have to do is the daily activities to achieve the desired results.

Another important factor is profitability. You determine your profitability by subtracting your gross expenses from your gross commission dollar.  The critical point is to not forget any of your expenses.  Organize all of your expenses into categories such as automobile, staff, mailings, marketing, office supplies, etc.  You are only fooling yourself if you are not accurate.  Take your gross expenses and divide them by the number of transactions.  For example, gross expenses of $95,000 / 75 = $1,267, which is what it costs you to close one transaction in our example.  You can see how profitable you really are in your business if you follow this example.

To answer questions five and six, you need to address your work days and hours.  You need to factor them in against the work that needs to be done.  Then allocate the work that needs to be completed to the number of days worked.  This process will give you a schedule of what needs to be accomplished daily.

The last section of a well-planned business plan is implementing new ideas or systems.  Determine the weaknesses in your business and devise a plan to overcome them.  Do not overdo in this area because, often, when Agents over implement, they slow their business down to a crawl.  Since everyone is different and all staffs are different, a good rule of thumb is:  Do not implement more than two major changes in a month.  Determine what needs to be completed.  Prioritize your list, and then devise a plan to implement changes at specific times.

A business plan can be the backbone of your successful business.  The backbone will weaken if not checked on a regular basis.  You must review your business plan daily for the first few months; then you will need to review it regularly after that.  Do not make the mistake of writing a fantastic business plan and then never look at it again.  That mistake would be almost as bad as if you had never written it in the first place.

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Developing Referral Relationships

Once you’ve received a referral, gathered information, and ranked the lead, it’s time to pick up the phone. The following advice and scripts will help you at each step of the lead-conversion process.

Making first-time contact

The first call is the hardest one. Until you make first contact you really don’t know the quality of the lead. It could turn out to be a huge business opportunity – or nothing at all. You have to hope for the best. The referral lead could result in years of business and an important new referral alliance, or it could go into the trash 60 seconds after you make the call. As you initiate contact with a new referral, heed the upcoming advice.  Know the two objectives of your first call or visit

The primary objective of your first contact, like the objective of any other first sales call to a new prospect, is to book an appointment. The first appointment might take the form of an exploratory session aimed at determining the wants, needs, and desires of the lead, or it might be an appointment to conduct a buyer consultation or listing presentation.

The secondary objective of your first contact is to open the door, establish trust and respect, demonstrate your knowledge, and establish your position as a reliable resource.

In your first contact, you’re not trying to make a sale; you’re just trying to achieve a face-to-face meeting.

Use the name of your referral source to open doors

The best way to get beyond your prospect’s defenses is to share the name of your referral source. By presenting the name of your mutual associate, you establish immediate rapport and credibility. In your opening statement, include a reference to your referral source using a script such as this:

“Hello, Mr. Smith, this is Dirk Zeller with Real Estate Champions.  The reason for my call is that your name came up in a conversation yesterday with Bob Jones with the Acme Delivery Company.”

Then continue by using a linking statement such as:

“He said you are neighbors,” or “He said you used to work together,”


“He said your sons play soccer on the same team.”

“Well, Bob Jones is a very valuable client. Bob knows I primarily work with referrals; he suggested I give you a call. He thought it would be worth a few minutes of our mutual time to see if we should meet.”

You could also use a variation like:

“Bob was pleased with the service I provided to him and his family.  He thought you’d like to evaluate how I might be able to assist you in the future.”

Converting referrals into clients or referral sources

Once you’ve established a solid opening connection, it’s time to ask probing questions that help you determine the wants, needs, desires, and expectations of the lead. Depending on your findings, the lead might result in a qualified prospect that you convert into a client, or you might determine that while the lead isn’t ready to buy or sell, or to commit to an exclusive agent relationship, the person is a valuable resource to be added to your referral database.

Personal visits and calls

Leads generated through referrals come with a higher client-conversion probability than leads received from ad calls, sign calls, or any other cold sources. Due to that fact, consider investing some additional time as you launch the relationship. Instead of, or in addition to a personal call, consider stopping by to personally meet your new leads in their home.  Once they attach a face and voice to your name they’ll find it more difficult to reject you or select someone else to represent their interests.

If a personal visit isn’t possible, aim to enhance the sense of personal connection through an increased number and frequency of calls.  It takes, on average, four to six calls for you to leave a lasting impression.

Written notes, e-mail messages and mailers

Between calls and personal visits, build a bridge with personal notes and e-mail messages.  Written communications will never replace the personal touch of phone calls or face-to-face visits, but in between live contact they do a great job of keeping the connection alive.

Send market updates, testimonials, letters from other satisfied clients, information on your current listed properties, and news about key awards or recognition you’ve received.

Beyond that, treat leads as if they’re already clients by adding them to your newsletter list and to insider mailings that share news from your office.

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What is Sales Call Reluctance?

What is sales call reluctance? There are numerous definitions that industry experts have devised.  Some describe it as a fear of rejection; others describe it in terms of a fear of failure.  In their landmark book, The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance, George Dudley and Shannon Goodson describe sales call reluctance as “an emotional short circuit in an otherwise motivated and goal-oriented person.”

To really have true sales call reluctance, you must have clarity in your goals and objectives.  In short, you have to know why you are making the calls you are making beyond the need to meet this month’s quota.  For most of us, when we have clarity in the why, the how becomes easy.

My father, as a dentist, only worked Monday through Thursday.  He was always around on Fridays when I came home from school.  The biggest benefit to this was in the summer when we left Portland every Thursday afternoon to spend three days at a second home on a lake that was a quarter of a mile from the Oregon Coast.  Some of my fondest memories as a child and youth were swimming, sailing, water skiing, walking the beach, and playing at our family lake house.

My father’s why was born out of his love for my mother.  The reason for his financial success was the challenge of Multiple Sclerosis that they faced together.  My mother was diagnosed with MS when I was three years old.  By the time I was in the second grade, she never took another step.  The last years of her life were spent without the use of her arms, legs, hands, or feet.  My father’s big why for wealth was to provide her with the most extraordinary life possible during each stage of her disease; to be able to travel with three sons and a wheelchair bound wife to Mexico, Asia, Hawaii (annually), and many other locations.  But mostly, he wanted to be able to care for her in her aged years in their home with the use of full-time care givers, so she could live in the home she raised her children in; to have the best quality of life imaginable for someone in her condition.  That was his why.  What’s yours?

You also must have motivation to achieve in order to experience call reluctance.  If you don’t have motivation or desire, it’s not a case of call reluctance.  Motivation and goals are often connected in people.  It’s easier to have motivation to achieve if you know what you want to achieve.  The goals stoke the fire of motivation and desire.

In Dudley and Goodson’s studies, they determined that sales call reluctance can be traced to four core sources

  1. Predisposition
  2. Heredity
  3. Exposure
  4. Personality

We can acquire sales call reluctance from our parents and the environment that we grew up in.  Maybe our parents were technically inclined and technically educated like engineers, scientists, or accountants.  Their view of salespeople was not particularly high.  They often referred to someone in sales with phrases like, “He’s ‘only’ a salesperson.”  Sales was not a highly regarded profession in my household.  It has raised its status as a viable career only because of my overwhelming success at it.

We can be exposed to sales call reluctance by other salespeople and even our sales manager.  It’s like the flu.  We all catch it at one time or another.  If an outbreak happens in a sales department, it can be disastrous.  The sales for the whole company can be affected due to some salespeople being infected.

Our personality or behavioral style can increase our ease of catching it causing sales droughts to take place.  Through our extensive work in the last ten years, we have been able to connect a pattern between some behavioral styles and a high likelihood of sales call reluctance and even certain types of sales call reluctance.  For example, we have discovered that high steady behavioral style salespeople have a higher probability of contracting the yielder type of sales call reluctance.

Sales Call Reluctance can be identified when the act of prospecting and lead follow-up, in terms of numbers of contacts, is too low.  We know it’s too low when it doesn’t support the goals of the salesperson.  If you know your sales ratios of contacts to leads, leads to appointments, and appointments to sales, and you don’t make the number of contacts daily, and you have clear goals, you probably have at least a temporary case of some version of sales call reluctance.

If you can see marketing opportunities for what you are selling – whether you are selling a product or service – and don’t seize the opportunities, it is probable that sales call reluctance is inflaming your decision to not act.  Why won’t you take advantage of what might be the “perfect storm” to create sales?  Logically, most people with sales call reluctance will agree that they need to take action.  The problem is if they are experiencing sales call reluctance, few of them do take action.

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