Links for May 2- May 8

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from May 2 through May 8, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Links for Apr 25 – May 1

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from Apr 25 through May 1, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Newsletter April – 2010: Einstein and Me

By Jennifer Cummings

My self-appointed mentor, Albert Einstein, once said, “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” I am a big fan of both the man and the message.  And here’s why, simply put…our own unwillingness to accept ourselves as creative beings bogs us down.  I happen to believe we are ALL wonderfully creative.  However, I also know that most of the time we don’t feel that way, especially when we’re working on marketing campaigns and other promotional endeavors in our work.

For example, how many times have you sat in front of your computer screen and willed a brilliant ad to materialize?  If this sounds familiar to you, then I have a question:

How big is your marketing antenna?

What I mean by this is that creativity is simply being open to inspiration, and, if you have your antenna up – that is to say that if you are paying attention to other good marketing out there – you WILL learn the secrets of the master marketers.  And I’m going to share one of those secrets with you right now!  Do you have your antenna up?  Well, get ready folks, this is a good one…

It is better to edit than to create!

Now you may be saying, “Just what does that mean?’  Well, let me explain. Creativity is driven by curiosity.  Pay attention! Ask questions!  Get inspired!  Success leaves clues, my friend!  Have that antenna up and you will find inspiration in the most unlikely places.  If you need to create a postcard, for example, you may find something really juicy you can use on the back of your grocery receipt, or in the way a dish is described on a menu.  Or your teenager might actually say something incredible that you can use!  Perhaps you can even justify reading that tabloid because the ads in the back have amazing copy that really gets your own writing juices flowing. The National Enquirer is one of the most expensive magazines to advertise in, so those ads in the back HAVE TO work!

By taking an existing marketing piece and editing it as your own, all the work is done for you! You just have to breathe it all in and then make it our own – what a relief, huh?!

Einstein was absolutely right, “Creativity is being mindful enough to be stimulated by your environment.  You then simply edit and mold that environment to fit your needs.  We don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time we have to create a new ad or marketing piece – we simply have to let our surroundings illuminate our own wheels turning inside our heads.

That Einstein was onto something. Maybe he was so in-tune with his environment that the theory of relativity was something he creatively lifted from him own surroundings!  If we sharpen our own antennas, we could ALL be little Einstein’s…changing the world one postcard at a time!

Newsletter April – 2010: Behind Every Great Man

By Andrew Smith

It has been said that “behind every great man is an even better woman.”  Can that be true?  If so, then can a man be great without a woman?  Along those same lines of thinking, what about great women?  Who is behind them?  What about men without women behind them, or women without any men in front of them?  The more one thinks about this, the less that statement makes sense.  Perhaps, however, that statement was originally meant to convey a different message.  It seems more realistic that the idea presented above was actually intended to reinforce the idea of a mentor in general.

The great figures in history had someone who not only helped and supported them but forced them to view their status through a magnifying glass.  Think of some of the most influential people in history:  Alexander the Great, the Reformers, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Mother Teresa, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, even Tiger Woods (before the scandal).  Not a single person just mentioned had their ingenuity or skill level matched by any other, but even they started somewhere.  Even they had a teacher, parent, coach, or peer who challenged them to push harder than they thought possible.  More important than being presented with challenges, however, these great individuals were held accountable for everything that they faced.

The benefits of having a mentor, or a coach, in real estate are no different than those listed above.  The difficulty with being a real estate professional stems from the fact that there is often little or no accountability.  Sure road blocks exist in the form of a slow market or competition, or a thousand other excuses, but there are still agents who experience huge success in the slowest of markets while surrounded by competitors.  The difference between those agents and the average agent is that they set their standards higher, and hold themselves accountable.  Simply working with, or near, someone does not automatically engender a sense of accountability.  It is for this reason that so many real estate professionals will seek the help of a mentor.

In a very literal way, the difference between becoming successful with real estate and having to move in with the in-laws can be determined by whether or not a mentor is brought in early enough to make a difference.   Working with the right mentor will help an agent learn how to fit a solution to the needs of the clients-regardless of whether the focus is on buyers, listings or both.  It is easy to get into the rut of thinking that only working with referrals is a great way to do business-and it can be-but in today’s market, the successful agents are the ones picking up the phones and making calls.  To one who is neither experienced nor comfortable contacting a cold lead, having the added accountability of a mentor will help add motivation to pick up the phone.

Ultimately, it is not about making so many calls or doing so many money making activities that helps agents to be successful when working with a mentor, it is the simple fact that no one wants to say that they didn’t perform as promised.  That is even more uncomfortable than calling a total stranger.  After a while, an astute student will start developing habits.  Consistently acting on those habits will yield results.  In real estate, the end result is all about the commission, and that is exactly why having a mentor can help any agent, struggling or not, who has the right attitude to be successful.

Links for Apr 18 – Apr 24

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from Apr 18 through Apr 24, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Links for April 11 – April 17

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from Apr 11 through Apr 17, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Links for Mar 28 – Apr 10

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from Mar 28 through Apr 10, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Newsletter March- 2010: Building a World-Class Operation

By Amy Stoehr

What does a world-class real estate operation look like? Over the years a consistent model of success has arisen for all teams I’ve coached. A world-class real estate operation:

1. Rewards its clients with world-class service that they not only count on, but also enthusiastically tell others about.
2. Operates with a net profit. Period.
3. Runs on systems that are constantly being fine-tuned and enhanced.
4. Offers a happy and productive environment that everyone looks forward to participating in daily.
5. Looks, smells, and feels like a world-class operation.

For those of you who’ve read Good to Great by Jim Collins, you’re already familiar with the concept of making sure that first, you have the right people on the bus, and second, you make sure everyone is in the right seat on the bus. Having the right people on your team, in the roles where they excel the most and benefit each other the most, is paramount.

Your goal as a team is to work together to make sure that all actions going forward support your world-class vision. Each member of the team deserves to be happy, productive, and valued. If you’ve never heard of the Canoe Theory by Dave Hibbard, I suggest you pick up a copy. It takes the concept of Jim Collins’ bus and expands on it further, and if you can get your hands on a copy, the audio format is worthwhile for everyone on the team to listen to individually and later discuss as a group.

An important component of world-class operations is clearly-articulated consistency. Examine your standards of operation in the next week. How consistent are you being as a team? Do you have a clearly articulated dress code? Hours of operation? Script for answering the phone? Time-off policy? All of these things communicate to the world what your team is about. I’d be willing to bet that if I asked each of your team members separately their perception of what each of these examples currently are, they would likely generate varying (inconsistent) responses.

People and standards come first. When those are solid, you’ll find it exponentially easier to work together on the five components above.

Newsletter March- 2010: Top 10 Common Selling Mistakes

By Patti Kouri

Do you wish that your quest for clients and customers were more fruitful? It will be if you avoid falling into these common traps. Ask yourself these 10 questions to find out if you are making any of the Top 10 Common Mistakes in Selling.

1. Does selling feel like begging?

Too often, real estate professionals fail to think of their time with a prospect as an interview to find out whether that prospect qualifies to be a client. Instead of asking the questions to learn whether it’s possible to move the prospect to the level of customer, salespeople find themselves hoping…wishing…and even begging for the opportunity, and then maybe making a sale.

Instead of a salesperson, think of yourself as a doctor. A physician examines the patient thoroughly before making a recommendation, using various instruments to conduct the examination. In selling, questions are the instruments that will help you conduct a qualifying examination of the prospect.

Don’t sell … solve
Don’t pitch … probe

2. Do you talk too much?

Real estate professionals who are too focused on their pitch end up monopolizing the time with a prospect, while the prospect must listen whether they’re interested or not. As a result, for every hour spent in front of a prospect, only five minutes is spent selling the product or service, and 55 minutes saying things that might actually be buying it back. No listing, no deal.

When you hear, “I need to think about it,” and “I want to interview other agents,” talk less. The goal should be to get the prospect to do 80 percent of the talking, while you do only 20 percent.

Don’t talk … listen
Don’t tell … ask

3. Do you make too many assumptions?

Most real estate professionals understand that they are no longer in the business of selling but of providing solutions. This is fine, except that too often salespeople try to tell the prospect the solution before they even understand the problem! If salespeople were seen as accountable for their solutions, as doctors are for their prescriptions, they would be forced – at the risk of malpractice – to examine the problem thoroughly before proposing a cure. The salesperson must ask questions up front to get a thorough understanding of the prospect’s wants and needs.

Don’t talk … listen
Don’t tell … ask

4. Do you answer unasked questions?

When a customer says something like, “Your commission is too high,” real estate professionals often switch into a defensive mode. They’ll begin a lengthy speech on quality or value, or they might respond with a concession or reduction. If customers can get a discount by merely making a statement, they will reason that they can get you to contribute from your own pocket throughout the entire transaction. “Your commission is too high” is not a question; it does not require an answer. Ask questions to find out what is the real objection and then deal with it.

Don’t pitch … probe
Don’t sell … solve

5. Do you fail to get prospects to reveal their budget up front?

How can a real estate professional possibly propose a solution without knowing the prospect’s priority on a problem? Knowing whether the motivation to purchase is driven by money or time frame can help distinguish someone who is ready to solve a problem from someone who is merely fishing around. The amount of money the prospect is willing to invest to solve a problem will help determine whether a solution is feasible, and if so, which approach will be best.

Don’t talk … listen
Don’t tell … ask

6. Do you make too many follow-up calls?

Whether because of a stubborn attitude that every prospect can be turned into a customer, or ignorance that a sale is truly dead, real estate professionals sometimes spend too much time chasing prospects that don’t qualify.

Don’t sell … solve
Don’t pitch … probe

7. Do you fail to get a prospect’s dedication to purchase before making a presentation?

Some real estate professionals jump too easily at any opportunity to show how smart they are by making a presentation about their product’s or service’s features and benefits. They forget their true goal – to make a sale – and end up merely educating their prospects, who then have all the information they need to list with your competitor or go FSBO.

Don’t tell … ask
Don’t leave … close

8. Do you chat about everything and avoid starting the sale?

Building rapport is essential, but not if the small talk doesn’t end and the sale doesn’t begin. Unfortunately, the prospect usually recognizes this before the real estate professional. The result: the real estate professional is back on the street wondering how he or she did with that prospect.

Don’t talk … listen
Don’t tell … ask

9. Do you prefer to hear “I want to think it over” rather than “No”?

Prospects frequently end a sales interview with the standard “think it over” line. The real estate professional too often accepts this indecision. It’s easier to tell a manager or convince yourself that the prospect may buy in the future than to admit that the prospect is not a qualified candidate. After all, isn’t it the professional’s job to go out and get prospects to say “Yes”? Getting the prospect to say “No” can make you feel rejected or a failure. But a “No” actually allows you to go on to more promising prospects.

Don’t sell … solve
Don’t leave … close

10. Do you have a systematic approach to selling?

When you find yourself ad-libbing or pursuing a hit-or-miss approach to a sale, the prospect controls the selling process. Real estate professionals who are disorganized in their presentation often leave a presentation confused and unsure of where they stand. This happens because they don’t know where they have been and what the next step should be. Following a specific sequence, and controlling the steps through the selling process, is vital to an organized, professional sales effort.

Don’t sell … solve
Don’t pitch … probe

Do you see the pattern here? If you want to turn more prospects in to clients and close more sales, remember these simple but powerful tactics:

Don’t talk … listen
Don’t tell … ask
Don’t pitch … probe
Don’t sell … solve
Don’t leave … close

Links for March 14 – March 27

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from Mar 14 through Mar 27, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.