Coaches Corner Newsletter - Issue #902
October 11th, 2018
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Words of a Champion...

A person with greater knowledge and skill, but without activities, has no advantage over someone who has no knowledge or skill.  The activities create opportunities to use your knowledge and skill to your advantage.  For many people, it’s more important for them to hear something they know and fail to do than to hear something new.  Most agents are in the constant search for new ideas and new techniques, which is good.  The problem is, if we are not sound in the activities we engage in or what we invest our time in, the new ideas and new techniques will bring limited results. 

Dirk Zeller

Level of Service Creates Success

The Internet is a fantastic arena in which to conduct business.  It allows us to spread our marketing of properties and ourselves to a larger prospect base.  The creation of a website allows us an inexpensive entry into the world of 24-hour marketing.  It is a tool all Agents should add to their toolbox.  The more tools we have, that we know how to use properly, the more skilled craftsmen we are.

We encounter a problem if we try to use a tool for more than its true purpose – to elevate the tool to the “magical, mystical level”.  The Internet is not the magic answer to selling real estate.  Many people have anointed the Internet to a level of worship it does not deserve.

The Internet will make a good Agent better.  Good Agents have the sales skills and apply the daily “Disciplines of a Champion”.  The Internet will not make a poorly skilled Agent successful.  Success or failure in selling real estate will never be based on a website or Internet presence.  Successful Agents will be able to grab more market share because of effective use of the Internet tool.

Real estate Agents will always be rewarded based on the level of service they provide to the consumer.  Level of service can be defined by three components.

  1. Sales Skills

    The most important requirement for a real estate salesperson is the ability to ask questions that lead the client or prospect to the desired result, which is the best result for the client or prospect.

    In order to become a consultant salesperson, elevate your skills and knowledge beyond the norm for REALTORS®.  You want to be a valuable resource to your clients and prospects and make them think of you as a trusted advisor like their doctor, dentist, attorney, or accountant.

    Earl Nightingale said, “We are all paid in life based on our ability to sell.”  He did not qualify it by profession.  He said “all of us.”  If you look at the most successful doctors, dentists, and attorneys, they have solid sales skills with good technical knowledge.

  2. Time Management Skills

    Time is our most precious commodity, and none of us know how much of it we have left.  I asked a client the other day if he could have ten million dollars or unlimited time, which he would choose.  There was a big pause, and he said, to my amazement, “Could I have half of each?”  Which would you choose?  You only have two options -- ten million dollars or unlimited time.  Which one would you rather possess?

    I would rather have the time.  I can always make more money. I cannot make more time.  I could take the money today and be gone tomorrow.  Time is more valuable because it will always be an unknown, and we only have a finite amount.  Are you getting the most out of your time?

    Here is a technique for you to get more out of your time.  Before you leave today, plan tomorrow.  Write down on paper the six most important things you must do tomorrow, and then tomorrow start your day by doing #1 until it is complete.  Focus solely on #1 and nothing else until it is done.  Then move on to #2 until you complete your task list.  If you do not finish them all, don’t worry.  Repeat the process and start over the next day.

    This technique was given for free to a CEO of a major company.  The management consultant said, “Use it for 30 days and send me a check for what you think it is worth after 30 days.”  After 30 days the management consultant received a check for $25,000.  Why don’t you try it for 30 days?

  3. Knowledge of your Business

    You must understand and know where your business comes from.  What are your high payoff activities in your business?  What are the activities that pay you the most money?  How can you take your areas of specialization in real estate and drive them deeper?  Lean towards generating more revenue off what you do best.  These are the components of knowledge of your business.

    You need to track the inherent ratios in your business, the ratios from contact through the contract process.  Tracking will give you a blueprint to use to build your business.  You cannot change or adjust your business with effective results without knowing where you are today.  Stop right now and take stock of where you are today.  Then create a system to track your prospecting efforts, leads, appointments for buyers and sellers, contracts, deals in escrow, and actual closed transactions.  Take the time to understand and know your ratios and your business.

The Internet is a tremendous tool that can benefit all of us.  Don’t make it the most important or only tool in your toolbox.  Make sure you learn and improve your skill in using the three most important components.  They should be like that old favorite wrench that fits well in your hand and is easy to use now.

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Buyer Leads

Many Agents have more Buyer leads than they are able to convert effectively.  They generate them in large volume from the Internet, ad calls, sign calls, and floor time.  Currently, the Internet is the largest producer of leads.  The problem with Internet leads is the conversion rate on them is less than 1%.  Agents invest a tremendous volume of time working to convert Buyer leads with a very limited return.

The reason the conversion ratios are so low on Buyer leads is our approach.  The strategy of most Agents is to send information to a prospect.  Their hope is their information is better than the twenty other Agents who also currently possess the same leads.

Champion's Principle in Lead Follow-Up:  Don't assume for one second you are the only person who has identified this prospect as a lead.

It amazes me how often Agents believe we are the only person who knows about this prospect's desire to move, even if we secured the lead from a less than exclusive source.  Every time we acquire a lead from the Internet, we must assume that person has been to ten other Agents' websites, as well.  It is not reasonable to believe that we are the only Agent who has the information from a Buyer whose e-mail we just received or we met at our open house. It is also unreasonable to assume that an open Homebuyer will attend our open house exclusively.  We must assume they are gathering information from many sources.

As a typical Agent capturing or following-up on leads, we try to talk with them and attempt to build rapport.  We capture these leads in person at our open houses; via e-mail when it's a web lead; over the phone for ad calls, sign calls, and floor time calls.  We tenaciously respond to our web leads through e-mail.  We offer to send them information.  For lack of a better strategy, we send them "stuff"!  We are holding out hope that our "stuff" is better than the "stuff" that ten other Agents are sending them.

Finally, we pray that someday all the stuff we sent them will help us gain an appointment with this lead.  For most of us, we are relying on the volume and frequency of the information we send them to raise their desire to work with us.  My friends, the truth is that the objective of an inbound ad call, sign call, floor call, lead follow-up call, or face-to-face encounter at our open house is the same.  Plain and simple, the objective is to get an appointment. That appointment objective is not to show them homes but to conduct a Buyer interview.   Because we are so single-mindedly focused on building rapport and sending them "stuff", we often lose sight of the real objective . . . to get an appointment.

When we analyze the true differences between Champion Agents and other Agents in the business, the number of appointments makes the biggest difference.  Champion Agents have more appointments than other Agents.

We must to be able to convince the prospect on the initial call or initial e-mail that an appointment with us raises the possibility of them:

  • Understanding the marketplace better.
  • Receiving a high level of valuable service.
  • Securing an advantage when negotiating for a home.
  • Securing a better Lender for a smoother transaction.
  • Saving money in initial down payment
  • Increasing their equity position initially
  • Increasing their long-term appreciation because they selected a better property.
  • Receiving the representation they deserve.

Any of these are valid reasons to do business with us and to do it now.

The definition of a Champion Salesperson is someone who can convince a prospect to do something that is beneficial to them and do so more quickly than their competition.  People perceive a true professional to be someone they meet with by appointment only.  Their Doctor, Dentist, Attorney, and Accountant meet exclusively by appointment.  We must reposition ourselves as appointment only Agents.

Many Agents have bought into the concept of "by referral" only.  The strongest position for an Agent isn't by referral only; it's by appointment only.  Driving a prospect to a face-to-face Buyer interview allows us to serve them most effectively.  It also allows us to better ensure our ability to be compensated for our time, energy, and expertise.

The truth is there are an unlimited number of prospects we can work with if we are willing to work for free.  We must increase our value and show that value to the prospect, so they have a desire to meet with us.

Here are some scripts that are effective at directing and getting an appointment:

  1. In order for me to provide you with the highest level of service and representation, we simply need to meet.  Would __________ or __________ be better for you?

  2. Having helped _____ families during my career and over _____ just in the last year, my clients have found that, by meeting with me, they have a greater knowledge of the current and emerging marketplace trends.  They also have a dramatically higher probability of living in the best property for them and their family.  Would __________ or __________ be a better time to meet?

These are examples of how we can compel prospects to meet with us face to face to conduct a Buyer interview.

For any salesperson, the largest cost we incur is the opportunity cost we lose by working with the wrong prospect.  We spend vast amounts of time and energy sending stuff to these "wrong prospects" that we cannot get in to the office.  Most of us have huge opportunity costs that center around two core areas:

  1. Wasted time with low probability prospects.  The way to quickly separate out the best from the worst prospects is to ask for an appointment.  The last place a low-level prospect wants to be is in front of a salesperson.

  2. Managing all of our created but not converted leads.  I read a marketing piece from another trainer the other day that I will use to illustrate my point.  He was featuring a protégé who was closing about sixty units a year.  His protégé was being marketed by this trainer as someone who has it together in lead generation, because he generates 1200 leads a month.  Most Agents would be attracted to this training, so they can learn to generate 1200 leads a month, as well.  The truth is this trainer and Agent are living in a land of delusion. 

    Follow my thinking here: 1200 leads a month X 12 months = 14,400 leads a year.  That 14,400 leads a year yields 60 transactions.  UGH!!  Who in their right mind would want to manage 14,400 leads to generate 60 deals?  The guy must spend morning, noon, and night following-up on leads!  Yet, the rate of conversion for this guy is .004%.  That means his conversion ratio is less than ½ of 1%.  This trainer is promoting his system as the way all Agents should operate.  Give me a break!!

    There are only two options we have to conclude:

    1. There are a lot of leads, and the leads are junk.  It's easy to create a lot of junk leads.  If you have to invest your time to follow-up on junk leads, you'll never be a Champion Performer.  In the early days of computers, the techies had a term they use.  The term was GIGO.  It stood for Garbage In . . . Garbage Out.  That's exactly what's happening to this guy.  Garbage Leads In . . . Garbage Commission Out.

    2. This Agent doesn't know how to manage, categorize, follow-up, and sell the lead on an appointment with him.  He is unable to drive that prospect to a face-to-face meeting where he can make a service presentation.

For Agents to improve income and performance, we must solve these two issues.  The first is to separate the junk leads from the high probability leads. The second is to sell the high probability leads on the value of an appointment with us.  We might not have as many leads as this person does, but that is really not the real issue.  The real issue is what we are doing with them once we have identified them as leads?

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Value of Silence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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