Coaches Corner Newsletter - Issue #973
March 12th, 2020
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Words of a Champion...

We are all under the gun every day in real estate sales.  Most of us get up every morning unemployed.  We need to go out and find a person to buy and sell with every day.  How do we “pressure proof” our business?  We must put ourselves in the position where we are always winning.  When we are on a listing appointment, and we are struggling with the seller, we must believe they will sign the listing before we leave.  We must know during our prospecting block that we will turn up a new listing or new buyer every day. In this week’s Coaches Corner, let me share with you a few ideas to make your business “pressure proof” and successful daily.

To Your Success,

Dirk Zeller

Creating After-the-Sale Service

If you don’t plan for it, after-the-sale service won’t happen. You’ll get so consumed with the next deal and with the task of earning the next commission check that you’ll overlook the opportunity to create long-term revenue through your past clients.

An after-the-sale service program is like most things in life: people get derailed before they take the first step, and if they don’t take the first step – the step that involves establishing the program you commit to follow ­­– they can’t begin to meet the objective.

Use the following to guide you as you create your plan. It helps you define exactly what you need to do in the first 30 days after the sale and on an ongoing basis thereafter.

Laying the groundwork during the transaction period

When working a real estate transaction, you have two prime opportunities to develop interpersonal connections and high-grade referrals.  One is during the transaction period when you’re working with your client to buy or sell a home and close the deal. The second is during the 30 to 45 days that follow the closing.

If you do a poor job during the transaction, you’ll be hard pressed to recover lost ground after the closing. An attorney who blows a case doesn’t get a second chance from the client, and the same holds true for real estate agents. Your service during the transaction must be stellar, or you’ll sacrifice the chance for repeat and referral business, which is the easiest and least costly business to acquire. If that isn’t bad enough, you’ll also lose the opportunity to collect client testimonials and generate positive word-of-mouth.

During the transaction period, you’re in frequent contact with your clients and have ample opportunities to provide excellent service; make a strong, positive impression; and develop the basis for a long-term relationship by following these steps:

  • When you first begin to work with clients to buy or sell a home, their enthusiasm is high. They fully anticipate and expect that they will be able to find the perfect home and that you are the ideal agent to accomplish the task. During this initial period, your clients think about little other than their real estate hopes. Your presence becomes woven into the fabrics of their lives and their conversations with friends and family members. This is an ideal time to ask for and win referrals.

  • If the sale or purchase process drags on, expect your clients’ level of excitement and energy to ebb. At the same time, expect their focus on their purchase or sale to intensify. The most important thing you can do during this potentially dangerous time – when your clients are experiencing concern and talking non-stop about their real estate issues with others – is to stay in frequent communication; offer solutions; provide calm, professional advice; and retain the clients’ confidence in you and your abilities.

Setting a service agenda for the first 30 days after the sale

If you did everything right during the transaction, then your clients were totally satisfied with your service when the deal closed. Now you have a decision to make: Do you wish your clients well and walk away, or do you begin an after-the-sale service program that turns them into clients for life? You already know the answer: You begin to turn them into clients for life.

  1. Begin by personally calling your clients at least four times in the 30 days after the closing.

    • Call in the first few days after the closing to thank them for the opportunity to serve them. Tell them how excited you are for them to be moving into their new home. Share an anecdote about working with them that will make you all laugh and touch their hearts.

    • After the call, send a hand-written thank you note further expressing your thanks and asking for future business or referrals.

    • By the end of the first week, call again. Once again, express thanks for trusting you. Then ask: How did the move go? Did anything get broken? How do the kids like their new rooms? Have they met any of the neighborhood kids yet? Did the seller leave the home properly? Is there anything that wasn’t right that they need any help with?

    • This last question can open a Pandora’s box of issues, and that’s exactly why to ask it. If there are problems you don’t know about, you may be blamed for the mishaps without any opportunity to do anything about them. Most will be issues between the seller and the buyer, and power over the seller – unless legal action is involved ­– is gone because the transaction has now closed. Sometimes all you can do is provide a listening ear and sympathetic voice. Other times you can make a few phone calls to help right the wrong. The fact that you are willing to listen and to see what you can do speaks louder than any demonstrable action. It shows that you care.

    • At the conclusion of the second call, send another hand-written note. Express concern for the unresolved issue and again thank them for their trust and for taking time to talk with you today.

    • Call again at the two-week mark. Ask how they are doing getting out of boxes and settling into their new home. Update them if you’ve made progress on the issue that was concerning them. Ask them about the kids and their transition. Before hanging up, ask if your service is needed. Also, ask them for referrals.

    • On their 30-day anniversary in the home, call again. Congratulate them on their great decision in selecting this home. Check on the kids and their progress settling in to the house and neighborhood. Thank them again for the honor to serve them.

    Simple as this approach sounds, it will enable you to lock your clients in for life, plus it will open the door to referral business that flows freely.

  2. While you’re at it, call the other party involved in your real estate transaction as well.

    Every real estate deal involves a buyer and a seller. In most cases, you represent only one of the two parties, but why not call and offer after-sale service to both? Do you think the other agent is doing this? For your answer, you only have to look at the National Association of REALTORS®’ finding that only 13% of 2004 real estate clients used an agent they had used previously to represent their interests. My estimation is that fewer than 10% of agents actually call their clients after closing.

    When calling to follow up with the party represented by the other agent in your transaction, be ready for a response of surprise and great appreciation. The fact that you are calling four times in a month, while the agent who got paid to represent their interest hasn’t called even once, will positively awe most people. By the end of your 30-day after-sale service period, the names of the other agent’s clients will be in your database, and you’ll be the one receiving their referrals.

  3. Deliver or send a gift to your client.

    This gift is usually called a closing gift, but even if you attend the closing, don’t take the gift with you for two reasons:

    • At the closing, your clients will be focused on the transaction and thinking about their impending move and all the challenges that lie in front of them. Your gift will be lost in the shuffle.

    • The papers presented at the closing put the amount of the real estate commission in writing, causing your clients to focus on exactly how much money you made from the transaction. If you give your gift at the same time, they could make a negative comparison between the value of the gift and the money you received.

    • In choosing your gift, don’t go overboard. Save any over-the-top gestures you might want to extend until after your clients have settled in and after your commission has long-since been paid. The more you deliver after you get paid, the more your gift communicates that you care about your clients, not your commission check.

    • Find a closing gift that reminds clients of you and your service.  Give them something that can be used rather than consumed. A great bottle of wine or gift basket quickly disappears. A customized mailbox, door knocker, or yard plant will last almost forever.

    • By taking or delivering your gift to your clients’ new home, you’ll put it in their hands at a time when it can create the most significant feelings of good will, warmth, and referrals. If you want to give them something at closing, hand them a thank you note.

Another nice gesture is to help your clients notify their friends of their move.  Offer to create a postcard with a picture of their new home on the front and to print up a couple hundred for their use. Then offer to mail them out on your clients’ behalf.  You’ll save them the cost and enlarge your database to boot.

You might even call people on the list to make sure they received the card you sent for your client. You could then ask them if they are committed to another Agent.  If not, then you’ve opened the door to a new client relationship.

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Pressure Proofing Your Business

We are all under the gun every day in real estate sales.  Most of us get up every morning unemployed.  We need to go out and find a person to buy and sell with everyday.  How do we "pressure proof" our business?  We must put ourselves in the position where we are always winning.  When we are on a listing appointment, and we are struggling with the seller, we must believe they will sign the listing before we leave.  We must know during our prospecting block that we will turn up a new listing or new buyer every day.  Let me share with you a few ideas to make your business "pressure proof" and successful daily.

  1. Trust Your Skills and Abilities

    We all go through droughts or slumps in our business.  I see Agents who close big volume who stop cheering themselves on if they have not listed a home in a week.  They start to doubt their abilities.  They start to make dramatic changes in a panic.  You have cultivated certain skills and abilities that work for you.  Just because they did not work today or this week does not mean you should make wholesale changes.  You should not give up on what brought you to the dance.  People have a tendency to change course too often in life.  Set a solid course and trust in your skills and abilities.

  2. Gain Greater Trust Through Practice

    In my twenties, I competed in racquetball professionally all over the United States.  When I was having problems with my passing shots, I didn't give up.  I would practice for hours hitting thousands of passing shots to every corner of the court.  A few weeks later, I would be competing in a match, and the shot I had been practicing could win a point.  I was on autopilot and would hit the shot for a win.  The hours of practice allowed me to be "pressure proof" during the game.  All good athletes know about this skill.

    What if we applied this concept in real estate?  What if we practiced game type situations?  If we practiced the listing presentation daily, or we role-played objections that regularly came from buyers and sellers, would that lead us to "pressure proof" our business?  Wouldn't it be nice having the response come out on autopilot for almost every situation?  What would that skill do for the trust you have in yourself?  Your performance would increase, as would your results.

  3. We Need to have "Positive Addiction"

    Psychology expert, William Glasen, had a concept called "Positive Addiction".  The concept was simply that the mind can become addicted to positive action and positive results.  As an example, you can become positively addicted to running, working out, learning, reading, writing, or anything you do well.

    His theory was when you do something well, and you enjoy doing it, you will experience a rush of endorphins in your body – the same kind of endorphin rush we have all heard about as a "runner's high".  The endorphins in your brain create a feeling of well-being and happiness.  Then your mind remembers this elevated state and motivates you to repeat the activities that gave you that feeling of well-being.

    We truly can become addicted to taking listings, selling homes, prospecting, etc., etc.  As long as your mind associates something you do well and enjoy doing with the endorphin rush, it will try to create the circumstances or activities with regularity.  You truly can become addicted to positive, constructive activities.   That certainly would be a valuable addiction to have.

    To enhance that addiction, you need to develop a greater trust through practice.  The practice phase leads to the other successes.  Practice will help you gain greater trust even during a slump.  You can achieve what you desire - just trust in yourself.  Develop the "Positive Addiction" to success today.

Practice the skills you need to succeed daily.  Doing so will lead you to being "Pressure Proof" in a very short time.

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Two Rules For Increasing Performance

To raise our own performance and that of others on our team, we must establish some type of activity management system.  A system that monitors and reports the activities of each staff member based on their position or responsibility is best.  For salespeople, the activity management system must count, and report contacts, leads, appointments, and corresponding conversion ratios of their activities against the results of units sold and revenue generated.  Even very good teams in the real estate field rarely do this type of reporting and monitoring.  There are many reasons why; lack of knowledge, system set up, and time are frequently sited.  One of the most obvious is because, as a new Agent entering real estate, the Broker never required it, so the measuring of activities was never taught from the early stages of one’s career.

When you are dealing with your support staff, you need to be able to monitor, report, and objectively establish standards and evaluate performance as well.  Are they establishing the right priorities for the day or week?  Are they completing the highest priorities before the close of business for the day?  Are they getting enough done in quality, priority, and volume to advance your business?  Are they helping you achieve your objectives and priorities for your day by protecting you from distractions and interruptions?

Champion Team Rule – When performance is measured, performance improves.

We must be willing to devise measuring systems for the performance of our staff and ourselves.  This is especially true of our sales-focused staff, i.e. Buyer’s Agents, Listing Agents, and Telemarketers.  Performance rarely improves without measurement to identify the where, how, and why of needed improvements.  Improvements won’t be sustainable unless we know the specific how of the improvement.  Knowing how it will be accomplished is essential for replication.  Without the measurement, the how is merely a guess!

Champion Team Rule – When performance is measured and reported, performance improves faster.

When you require not only the measuring, but also the reporting of performance, you will see performance improvement speed up.  What you thought would take six months to fully correct may only take three months.  You may save yourself three months of lost revenue, lower sales, increased training in time and dollars, and have more satisfied employees at the same time.

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