Coaches Corner Newsletter - Issue #897
September 7th, 2018
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Words of a Champion...

After the vacations that most people take in August, we can feel out of sync.  It is often difficult to get back the focus for the final push to win the game.  We can easily fall asleep at the wheel at the most crucial time of the year. 

This reminds me of one of the greatest matches I ever played in professional racquetball.  I was playing in the Seattle Open.  I was in the semi-finals, and my opponent and I split the first 2 games.  We were in the tiebreaker to 11.  I started out the tiebreaker asleep at the wheel.  It was the most important part of the match, and I was out to lunch.  I remember taking a few time-outs and wondering, “What the heck is going on?”  Before I knew it, the score was 10-0; I was in deep trouble. 

It’s really easy, at that point, to lose focus.  It would have been easy to pack it in for the day, take the semi-final check, and go home.  The truth is it’s never too late to quit.  We can quit at 10-0, or we can quit at 10-10 in a game to 11.  Most of us quit too easily and too early.  We even quit in the last quarter.  You have one quarter of the year left.  What are you going to do with it?  Are you going to play all out and make the big comeback if you are behind?  Are you going to finish strong?  Or are you going to pack it in?  I decided to play all out in the match.  I had nothing to lose.  Some of you may be so far behind that you have nothing to lose either by playing all out.  Some of you are on track, and it will be easy to let up.  You have the big 10-0 lead in the match to 11.  You figure you can coast in and make it. 

The key is earning one point at a time.  You need to make each motion, each point, each day, each call, and each appointment count.  That’s the way you mount a comeback.  That’s the way you finish strong.  The key is commitment to the cause and persistence.  I made a decision to win the match.  I committed to win the match.  I committed to an all-out effort, and then I slowly regained control of the match.  It was 10-3, then 10-5, 10-6, 10-8, and 10-9.  Once I got to 10-9, I knew I was going to win.  I had re-established momentum.  I had established fear in my opponent.  Even when we went back and forth on 10-10 a few times, I knew I would win.

I really want you to look today at where you are now.  Are you way ahead?  Are you way behind?  Or are you right on track?  What adjustments do you need to make to ensure the win?  Push hard for the win.  It’s never too late to quit.  It’s easy to quit at the last minute; don’t do it.  You have one quarter left.  What are you going to do about it? 

Dirk Zeller

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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Creating Referrals

We all want an office in which the phone rings continually with offers of referral business.  Does having this type of office sound like a dream?  It doesn’t need to be such a far-fetched reality, though it requires diligent work with clients.  There are a few key steps to creating a great referral business. 

The first step is to provide a high level of service in the first place.  If the service is not exceptional, no referrals will be forth coming.  One of the crucial factors in customer satisfaction is communication.  When our client feels we have communicated with them clearly and regularly, their level of satisfaction goes up.  Clients can overlook other errors at times, but lack of communication is rarely forgiven.

Another factor is to select the right person initially.  There are people we can do business with who will never be satisfied.  These people genuinely distrust everyone and everything.  They are looking for problems that do not even exist.  For example, I sold a listing I had obtained after another Agent’s listing contract had expired.  I went out, listed the home, and my Buyers' Agent sold it within 30 days at full price.  We had a long escrow period, and it closed on time.  The seller received 19 days of free rent back.  It was a perfect deal for her!  The day before closing, the seller called me because she thought I had not earned my commission.  She said I had not done enough ads or open houses.  The key was she never was going to be happy.  I made a mistake when I selected her as a client.  I was paid well, but referrals are not forth coming from her.  The truth is I would not want them because, more than likely, most of her friends are just like her since people tend to enjoy spending time with other who are similar to themselves.  I am not interested in having clients similar to her because they will never be satisfied.

Another step toward obtaining referrals is to ask for them.  There is no substitute for actually prospecting for referrals.  Picking up the phone and communicating with your past clients is crucial.  If you send out pieces of mail, you will get a 3% to 5% return.  If you make phone calls to all the people who received the mailing, you will get a 12% to 15% return.  That is an extra 9% to 10% return from the same piece of mail.  Who would not like to do another ten transactions from the same mailing?  If your average commission check is $3,000, you will earn an extra $30,000 from the same piece of mail just by making a few extra calls.

Most Agents mail, mail, mail; but they never pick up the phone to make the call.  If you want to do a better job, you can track the effectiveness of your mailings by calling your clients.  You can also get feedback on what kind of information would be helpful to them.  Your clients want to hear from you.  If you provide quality service, they also want to help you be successful.  If you did a good job for them, they will want you to do a good job for their friends.

Do not forget to ask your current clients.  The people you are currently working with can be your best referral sources.  They are telling everyone they meet that they are either buying or selling.  Their whole conversations revolve around their current activity in real estate.  You want to hit them early on when their excitement is high.  Do not wait; get the referral now.  Your sellers are going to be on a high the first few weeks on the market.  They may never again be so high on you.  Enlist them into your referral army to find new clients.  Convince them that finding new clients will help you sell their home because it will.  If you have more signs, you will get more calls.  More calls mean more leads, more leads equal more buyers, and having more buyers will give you a better chance to sell their home.  Send them out to do reconnaissance in the bushes to find you buyers and sellers.  They will be more apt to do this in the first few weeks of your listing than at any other time.

Your buyers are excited and talking to everyone about the home they want, especially if they are a first time home buyer.  Do not miss the chance to tap into all their other friends who are first time home buyers.  If they tell you about a few friends and one of them buys, you will get the others to follow quickly.  They do not want to be left out or the last of their group to buy.

Lastly, understand you must consistently contact your past clients in order to achieve success in referrals.  Creating a program that helps keep you in constant contact with your past clients will yield the best results.  You will receive a good 80% of your referrals from 20% of your past clients.  You will have a small force of specialists who will do the bulk of the reconnaissance work.  Reward them and praise them for their efforts.  You will need to create a program to contact these people more frequently.  The more you keep in front of these people, the more business they will create for you.  You will need to contact these people at least monthly.  To achieve the greatest results, you personally must make the calls or the visit in person.

Make sure to effectively track who is sending you the business.  You need to know which people to spend the most time, energy, effort, and dollars on.  You might be surprised who is your leading salesperson in the field.  By tracking, you can accurately reward the “top producer” of referrals.  You could even have a contest and create a recognition reward for the most valuable past client, a MVPC award.  People love recognition from others.  If done right, you could create a feeding frenzy of past client referrals.

Personal contact is the key.  You need to personally call your client base with regularity.  Do not miss the opportunity to increase the level of your referrals by 10% with a few calls.  Calling past clients also might make your day, because they will often say how thankful they are for your good service.

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Following the Seven-Second Rule of Openers

There are a number of key areas in telephone sales that I have conviction about. There is one specific area where my conviction should come out loud and clear. The opening of your sales call will make or break the call. Your opening statement and how you craft and deliver it will lead you to or away from the sale. If your opening statement doesn’t cause the prospect to lean in and get excited about your call or grab their interest and elicit a positive reaction, you are done . . . period!

You only have one shot to make the opening statement. You can’t try it again. Either you nail it, or it will nail you. If it doesn’t elicit a positive reaction, it will create the reaction of, “Oh, it’s a salesperson.” That is not the frame of mind you want a potential prospect to start with before you really begin.

Your opening statement must communicate clearly to the prospect that: “I have something that might benefit you. I need a few minutes of your time to learn about you and see if that’s the case.”

The Seven-Second Rule states that you have seven seconds to grab the prospect. That’s why your opening statement is so essential; you don’t have longer. Whether you get more time than seven seconds is based on that first seven. You get another seven seconds if the first seven are great. Recognize the word used . . . GREAT. At a minimum, your opening statement has to be great; it’s even better if it’s outstanding, world-class, or stellar. Having a poor, mediocre, average, or even good opening statement frequently is not enough to generate another seven seconds of talk time.

If your opening statement is less than great, you will hear, “I’m busy. I’m not interested. We are going to use our previous agent. Can you call me at another time?” Any of these are really no’s that are designed to shut you down. How do they know they won’t be interested in what you are offering . . . they don’t.
What they do know is that you weren’t interesting enough for them to want to explore the possibility of you providing service and value to them getting their home sold. They drew that conclusion based on your less than stellar opening statement or the same old boring type of opening statement they have heard before.

Too frequently, salespeople make large assumptions about themselves, their company, and what they have to offer a prospect. We assume that, if we work for a large company, the prospect has heard of us. I believe that is a faulty assumption. Even if your company has high recognition numbers, don’t assume that they have ever heard of you.

In addition, if they do know the company name, don’t assume that they know exactly what your company offers in the way of services and what you personally bring to the table. Also, don’t assume that they remember you. In most studies on prospect recognition, it took more than six contacts for the prospect to remember the person who was calling. The truth is they don’t remember you at all.

When I was selling real estate and was calling people whose listings had expired because they failed to sell through another agent, I would call them for three days in a row to book an appointment with them. I frequently talked to people for three days straight using a similar call format and scripts. Rarely did anyone say, “You have called me for the past three days.” I booked a lot of appointments on the first call, second call, and even the third call. They didn’t remember me because of the volume of calls they received daily. Even as effective as I was, because the volume of calls was so large, all of the real estate salespeople sounded the same to them.

So, communicate clearly in those first seven-seconds, who you are, who you are with and grab their attention by making sure they understand that you have something to bring to the table that will benefit them.

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