Posts Taged real-estate

ACQUIRING KNOWLEDGE ABOUT YOUR MARKETPLACE

Think of your marketplace as your playing field, not unlike an athlete views a football field, basketball court, or hockey rink. The better you know every inch of that playing field, the more you can exploit it to your advantage.

Before I became a real estate agent, in my early twenties, I was a racquetball professional. I played hundreds of tournaments over my sports career, and my best games were always at my home club. There, we had a court with floor-to-ceiling glass on the right side and back wall, making it particularly difficult to see in the back right–hand corner where the two walls of glass converged.

When players came for tournaments at my club, they struggled to pick up the ball in that corner – giving me what you might call a significant home field advantage. I rarely lost a match on that court.

Real estate is like any other competitive endeavor. If you learn all there is to know about your playing field, you’ll acquire a competitive advantage that will distance you from the competition and build the basis of your success.

The most challenging aspect of gaining market knowledge is determining what facts to collect and where to find the information you need. Fortunately, a number of readily accessible resources are available to real estate agents. All you have to do is contact the right people and ask the right questions. The following sections will help you on your data quest.

Your Local Board of REALTORS®

All professional agents belong to REALTOR® associations that compile and make available a wealth of statistical information. The facts you can obtain from your local board include:

  • The number of agents working in your marketplace. This information helps you understand your competitive arena. It also allows you to track whether your competition has expanded or receded over recent years.

 

  • The production of the average agent in terms of units and volume sold. By obtaining this information and comparing it with your own production units and volume, you will be able to contrast your performance against the other agents on your local board. This information will be useful in your effort to calculate your share of the market. It also helps you understand how you stack up against the other agents your prospective customer might be considering.

 

  • Experience levels of agents in your field. Most Boards of REALTORS® keep information regarding the percentage of agents recently licensed and those with three, five, and ten years in the business. This information provides you with another factor against which to measure your competitive position.

 

Meet with the executive director of your local Board of REALTORS® to learn the extent of information that is available to you, how frequently new research is released, and how you can obtain copies for your ongoing review.

Your Local Multiple Listing Service

The Multiple Listing Service, commonly called the MLS, keeps statistics of all the listings and sales in your area that are processed through the MLS.

The MLS does not cover every sale due to the fact that some sales bypass the system. Often, new construction builders, particularly in very robust markets, don’t submit their inventory into MLS. Agents also sometimes sell properties themselves or in-house, and those sales are not submitted to MLS. However, the MLS, in most markets, covers more than 95% of all marketplace sales, and it represents the surest indicator of real estate activity in your region.

The MLS can give you key market statistics including:

  • Days on the market averages
  • Listing price to sale price ratios
  • Listings taken versus listings sold ratios
  • Geographically active markets inside your service area

Nearly all real estate agents recognize the MLS for its significant role in increasing communication and exposure of real estate properties. Fewer real estate agents recognize the MLS for its powerful but under-utilized role in reporting trends and performance of agents, companies, and subsets of the marketplace. Access and put this information to work to your advantage.

The National Association of REALTORS®

There are a number of national resources that you can access to obtain a wealth of knowledge and statistical trends. The best is the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), which produces some wonderful studies, reports, and market statistics that most agents never use. The truth is most agents don’t even know they are available.

Their monthly “Real Estate Outlook” publication provides a national view of real estate sales: What has happened in terms of sales, days on the market, what people are purchasing, what financing they are using, emerging trends, and predictions for the future. This is a powerful tool in the hands of a successful agent. If you aren’t currently receiving and reading it, put it into your information arsenal immediately.

They also conduct annual surveys and studies of home sellers and homebuyers. They delve into why consumers selected particular agents, what services they sought from agents, and what geographic areas, home amenities, and features caused them to buy. This type of knowledge will enable you to provide the highest level of counsel and value to your clients.

NAR also issues reports on second home markets, investment properties, financing options, and many other topics. It’s one of the best services that NAR provides, but it’s the service that agents use the least. Make yourself an exception and dive into this deep pool of information.

Visit the NAR website at www.REALTOR.org to obtain an overview of the association, to access quick links to useful sites including REALTOR® Magazine Online, and to subscribe to receive e-mail updates on real estate topics and statistics.

Other Sources of Marketplace Information

Consult your broker about company-compiled statistics on regional trends and also on your firm’s market share and market penetration. Especially if you work for a regional or national real estate company or franchise, your organization has likely commissioned studies that will be useful to your fact-gathering efforts.

Also, if you live in a state where sellers provide title insurance to buyers, the title companies often conduct market trend reports that allow agents to better understand the marketplace they are working in.

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Problems With Training Today

In talking to real estate Brokers, owners, and executives, I hear this comment frequently, “My agents don’t come to training.” There are a number of reasons why it’s never been more challenging to drive attendance. The agents might feel the internal training is not as valuable. That is either just a perception or could be reality. I have reviewed a number of large international brands’ training courses and there is a high percentage of them that are lacking in instructional design, organization, and content quality.

Let’s assume that the content and value are high for your company’s training, but you still are lacking the attendance numbers you desire. The problem is most likely in the delivery methods of the training. Quality training and skill improvement programs can be segmented into three categories:

  1. Synchronous
  2. Asynchronous
  3. Blended Learning

 

Better than 90% of all training conducted in the real estate industry, whether internal in companies or external providers, is synchronous training. Synchronous training is defined as classes or courses that require the students or learners to be present at the same time as the instructors. The training happens in the exact same hour. Frequently, the synchronous training requires the same location as well. Because most agents’ businesses have shifted to almost 24/7 days due to the technology advancement and open access, some agents plan to attend and then have an emergency come up or become side tracked. Those agents tend to miss your offerings of training. Creating the ability for the synchronous training to be accessible, live without being present in the office, can open doors to agents. Using a live, virtual classroom can increase attendance numbers and participation. Through the proper instructional design, the training can be interactive, fast paced, skill improvement oriented, and fun.

At Real Estate Champions we have done more than 5,000 training sessions in our live, virtual classroom. We have done more than any company in the real estate industry. As good as a live, virtual classroom can be, it’s still synchronous training. Less than 4% of all real estate companies are offering quality asynchronous learning. Asynchronous allows the learner to take a training program or course on their own schedule. Quality asynchronous courses include engagement, feedback loops, contribution and collaboration strategies to create both individual and group learning.  They incorporate scenario learning, gamification, and quizzes.

In today’s learning environment, it is imperative to offer both avenues of learning in the creation of a blended learning environment. The blended learning where there is a clear marriage of synchronous and asynchronous in the design phase of development of the learning is the secret sauce. It’s moving out of the event or “brain dump of information” into spaced or incremental learning. It creates opportunities to implement new technologies and skill sets where agents can at times work independently based on their timeframe, but report results at intervals in the synchronous segments of the blended learning design.

The barrier for most companies, especially smaller companies, is the high cost of development of asynchronous training. Most Brokers and companies can design and deliver synchronous well enough.

It’s when they are faced with building new content, hiring a skilled instructional designer, video production, post-production, integration of games, scenario learning, quizzes and measurement metrics, that’s where the budget can go off the rails.

Companies must create asynchronous and blended learning for their agents. The millennial agents that all brokerages are working to recruit are demanding it. They are natives to online learning. The next generation of agent expects quality, accessible online training and education.

If you are recognizing a donut hole in your training, let me suggest the first step to fixing the issue is awareness. If you understand that your offerings are in one category, synchronous, you know a problem exists. If you want to explore a few solutions to broaden your training offerings into the asynchronous or blended learning categories, I am sure a quick discussion would be in order.

If you would like to understand the ins and outs at a deeper level of asynchronous and blended learning, click on this video link so we can provide you additional guidance in your development of your learning and skill development programming to recruit, retain, and improve your agent’s performance.

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BUILDING A CHAMPION BUSINESS BY PAUSING

Being able to build a Champion’s Business takes focus, skill, and determination. It takes the desire to move, change, test, adjust, and then change again. One of the ingredients that most Agents fail to execute is the ability to regularly pause. The ability to pause, evaluate, ponder, meditate, and clarify at regular intervals will move you from a good business to a Champion Business. The pause helps you learn and invest what you have learned into your future success account.

Pause at the end of each day to reflect on what went right. If you had to rate the day one to ten, how would it rate? Why did you rate it there? What could have been improved on? What are you most proud of for the day? What are the priorities for tomorrow? I typically spend thirty minutes at the end of the day reviewing the day and learning from the day. Too often, we continue on daily without pausing, pondering, and evaluating, so we make the same or similar mistakes repeatedly over time . . . warning!!

At the end of the week, take an hour to pause. A week is a pretty good chronicle of time that has gone by. Evaluate the prospecting numbers, leads generated, and appointments booked. What did you learn this week?   What would you change? How should next week be approached? What priorities didn’t get accomplished that need to be moved to next week? How’s your energy level and reserve? How’s your attitude at the end of the week? If you have staff, evaluate their performance as well.

Pause at the end of the month for two hours. Invest those two hours in your future wealth, growth, and happiness. Besides the previous questions for the day and the week evaluation, review your leads in your database. Did you miss calling anyone? Is there someone you should call earlier than scheduled? Too often, Agents call someone they have as a lead just after they have made a decision to commit to someone else, or they have bought and sold using someone else. By taking a few minutes to review the leads monthly, you will catch oversight that will cost you thousands. Even today, I review leads in our database quarterly and always catch opportunities about to be lost. My sales manager at Real Estate Champions is required to review calls and leads weekly and monthly.

At the end of the month review your prospecting leads, appointments, and overall numbers for your business. You also want to review the numbers on your market trends report. We must already know where the marketplace is heading in real time, rather than reaction time.

The break at the end of the quarter should be a half day to give you the opportunity to repeat all the steps I have given you thus far on a large, deeper, more focused time frame. When you get to the quarter evaluation, I really believe that it needs to be conducted off site. This time is of paramount importance and needs your full attention without the distractions of being in your office. If you feel you need to be in the office because of the availability of your data to analyze, then come in 4 hours before your normal day would begin, or stay in the evening and evaluate. Again, evaluating the marketplace for the quarter is an integral part of the quarter pause.

The pause at six months should be around a full day. Six months is a significant amount of time. I know Agents who have been way behind initially, but caught up to their goal in the last six months through making the right adjustments. I know others who were way ahead of their goal, but they didn’t take the time to review and weren’t paying attention. They missed the mark on their one-year objectives.

The pause at the end of the year should be from three days to a week. I personally prefer a week. The final week of the year has developed into my favorite week of the year. It is the time I hit the rewind button for the whole year and replay the tape.   I immerse myself in questions and evaluation to guarantee the mistakes remain in the past and the victories flow into the future. I check my business plan, business vision, and values, systems, lead generation source, and conversion. I check my mental state and commitment level to my goals for the next year. This week isn’t to build a business plan for the next year. In fact, if you are doing that in this week, you are too late. Your business plan for the new year needs to be constructed no later than the end of October of the preceding year. To decide a week before the new year to build your business plan is too late.

Take the above steps to execute pausing at regular intervals into your business. You will see how this exercise helps you move your business from a good business to a Champion’s Business.

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The Champion Do’s and Don’ts of Objection Handling

There is a series of mistakes that prevent most salespeople from reaching the Champion level in their objection handling. In this article, I am going to address the most common mistakes that stunt a real estate agent’s progress.

 1. DO! – Let them be heard

I have listened to countless agents’ presentations. Often, when the client begins to object, the agent will leap into objection handling mode too soon. Many don’t even wait to let the prospect finish their thought. They interrupt, which is certainly rude to the prospect. It can also cause frustration on the part of the prospect. It’s almost as if the agent is hoping to stuff the objection back into their mouth before they even get it out. We need to let he prospect express their view and concerns fully.

2. DON’T! – Argue and lose

There is a fine balance between guiding them to the truth of your advantage and the marketplace realities and arguing with the prospect. I know I have, at times, crossed the line into arguing. Almost every time I did, it cost me the transaction or listing. When you feel that you are beginning to be at odds with the prospect, you need to re-phrase everything into a question. It moves what might be considered verbal swordplay into a one-man-battle. The prospect will be using his sword against himself with the right questions. He will be the one getting cut

3.   DO! – Shrink it down to size

We need to shrink any financial objection down to the true size. If it’s a commission objection (when we want 6%, and the seller wants to pay 5%), we need to shrink it down to the 1% difference and not talk about the 6% and the 5% commission. If the seller wants to list at $450,000, and you know it needs to be priced at $399,000, you need to talk about $50,000.

We need to use payment, interest rate, inventory levels, list price to sales price, and monthly or even daily cost. The smaller we can make the difference between where they want to be and what we think is necessary to achieve their goals and create a reasonable fee for us, the better. That is the key discussion.

Once you have shrunk it down, you can then do a comparison close of the difference. Ask them, “If (the commission rate, initial list price, etc.) was the same between myself and Agent X, who would you select to represent your interests? So, if I would be willing to _______________ like Agent X, you will commit to working with me right now . . . correct?” We have to be able to define the reason and the size of the objection into the smallest differential between where we want to be and where the prospect wants to be.

4. DON’T! – Be the “but” of the problem

The most common error in objection handling is the usage of the word “but”. A “but” used in objection handling is the kiss of death. The “but” negates what you said up until that juncture.

For example:  “I understand how you feel about my commission, but I really feel I am worth it.”

OR

“I hear what you are saying about the list price you want to start at, but are you aware of the market conditions?”

Using “but” tells the prospect you really didn’t listen to them, and in fact, you don’t even care that you didn’t listen. It also says, “The things I said to you were said to make you feel comfortable with me. I am just trying to manipulate you to make a sale. I wanted to make you feel that I liked you and accepted your thoughts.”

The “but” says, “I’d argue with you, but you are wrong.” One other caution is that many salespeople try to substitute “however” instead of “but”. The truth is “however” is really a dressed up “but”. It’s really a “but” with a bow tie on.

 5. DO! – Get offensive

Objection handling is really an offensive opportunity. It’s not a time to play defense. When you respond to an objection, the final part of the objection should be a question. You should respond to the objection and then ask for them to proceed forward. Even asking them if they have any other questions sets the stage for the close. You can use any question you want. You could ask them, “Shall we get started?” or “Do you want me to handle the sale for you?” or “Shall we do a broker open this week or next?” or “When can I bring the first buyer through?” There is an unending series of questions that can be asked. We have to get in the mindset that we are going to hear objections as a scoring opportunity.

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