Be a Student of Life and Business

In Step With Career Agent Leonard Giarrano

by Julie Escobar

One of my dear friends in this business is a fellow by the name of Len Giarrano. We met in New York years ago and he’s just the kind of businessman you want to pull up a chair next to and let his wisdom and sage advice wash over you. He was kind enough to share some of his insights with our readers.

Here’s a little of what we learned:

Q: Thank you, you my friend. Can you start by telling us a little about you?

A: My name is Leonard Giarrano.  I started my career as a Hotel and Restaurant major, part-time community college restaurant management and marketing teacher. I found myself wanting a career and practice that I could help facilitate the interests of others like my Dad in his law practice.  At the same time, I wanted a vehicle to develop my own personal wealth.  Creating Wealth by author Robert Allen inspired me with its promised nuts and bolts of real estate for building wealth. And that led me to real estate, and I’ve never looked back.

Q:  Most agents coming out of real estate school have high aspirations and goals, but lack clear direction on how to even get started. What would your top three pieces of advice be to head them in the right direction?

A:  The master appeared as this student was ready.  I found a real estate office that had a spaced-training program that had recipes that I could apply myself to and get the foundation of listing and selling real estate in a defined area. Emphasis on a planned listing presentation chalk full of quality service techniques far and above the efforts of other agents.  You are going to WOW them with crisp, prepared professional presentation. Get high-quality business cards.

Q:  What common misconception do you think most agents have in terms of making it in today’s market and what myth-buster would you share with them?

A: Bottom line?  Real estate is about relationships and listings are (and always have been) the name of the game. Read Robert Allen’s book Creating Wealth, for some sound fundamentals.  Also, note that buyers will come as you build a practice from listings. Inspect what you expect as product knowledge is the fuel for confidence.

Q:  Building a Book of Business is one of the smartest things an agent can do, yet so many agents instead continuously “chase new business”. What advice do you have for building a strong sphere of influence?

A:  Get a personal core list of people you know and could pop by to say hello to for referral.  You will need an annual calendar and thank you notes.  Start a geographic community to focus on. Find an active market in both price point and volume as an area to focus your efforts.  There is a seller in that enclave that needs the services of a professional agent. A printed listing presentation that you share at the seller’s kitchen table with visual support materials will walk the conversation towards your representation. Raising the seller’s consciousness to the task ahead builds the needs of your service.  I am happy to share my 25-point listing presentation with anyone who asks.

Q:  That’s generous Len! Prospecting is a crucial component for agents (new and experienced) – what tips would you give someone new to the process?

A:  Get a foothold, identify an active real estate community of homes as a farm. Take a six-month snapshot of homes available listed and inspect those.  What is in-contract and 180 days sold?  Find an office agent that has a listing there.  Volunteer to run two weekends of open house.  Send a mailing campaign to invite people to the open house. Hand write an invitation to the immediate neighbors.   Develop a thick flyer to show your effort far and above the other local agents’ handouts. Buy 110-pound paper stock for 1st page of the flyer.  Next, 28 or 32-pound paper for remaining pages. Buy a tri-level clear plastic flier rack. Up front is the thick flier, next fliers on area info, schools, shopping etc. last and not least have pre-printed contracts (full price filled in) and all disclosures high-lighted printed on 28 or 32-pound stock. Snacks and bottled water for the open house and York Peppermint individual wrapped candies add a great finishing touch.  Collect as much information as you can and be sure to add those folks to your new database so that you can continually stay in touch.

Q:  Follow up is where a lot of agents fall short. Do you have any strategies for helping agents get over the fear of the phone and following up?

A:  I’m old school, so my first inclination is to say watch an old episode of Columbo. He was a master at follow up! Or just always look for something that is a fair trade item to get back in touch with all that you meet.  Example, you can offer entry to a drawing, local school information, a free survey, market analysis, home component content such as tips for their HVAC or even their home tech system.  Local restaurants and businesses can even supply you with coupons to send.  The key word is communication Share the item with an “As Promised” message which subliminally lets them know that you keep your promises

Q:  Any business planning tips that you think would be important to share?

A:  Schedule your prospecting and personal time off.  Early to bed and early am with some exercise, all in writing and in an obvious space for your and those that are part of your efforts to see what is on the menu for your shared success. I’ve also had great success with local small builders.

Q:  What are the top 5 tools or sites that you would recommend to new agents just starting to build their business and marketing platforms? 

A: Professional dress appropriate to climate, polished shoes, pressed clothing. Gals dress carefully look up Barnard University, a collegial fashion. Dress for success is a great primer. Equipment: Black or cordovan color, leather or vinyl letter or legal pad with pocket. Silver or chrome ballpoint pen, 25’ tape measure. Three-ring notebook with divides (three-hole punch). Dividers define priorities, year, month, at a glance, one-page worksheet for each day as a day planner. Next section seller leads, next section buyer registrations other sections to organize activities.  This book is your office. Two-hole punch and file folders with two dividers for your listings. Start a file on serious leads gives you an assumption to the listing.

Q:  Any last bits of advice for agents to take to heart?

A: This exciting and rewarding career is a practice so crush the fundamentals, own them. Invest in real estate to build your pension and retirement. You are ten years to a net worth of a million.

Q:  How can our reader’s best connect with you to share their success and referrals?

A:  Direct 941-724-0690, text to see if I can spare a conversation with you and give you the attention you need, e-mail an outline of questions you wish me to discuss with you. Leonard Giarrano, Associate Broker, RE/MAX Alliance Group, or email me at LVGiarrano@hotmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Be an Invisible Agent

An Interview with the Talented Kathy Casarin

By Julie Escobar

I’m so fortunate in my travels to have met and connected with some creative and talented real estate professionals. One of those, who I met through Facebook actually is Kathy Casarin!  She’s a full-time REALTOR® with Nasser Real Estate who believes that Real Estate is all about networking, getting yourself and your name out there to be known. Her top advice: “Get testimonials, volunteer, use social media, get involved in your community, children’s school, attend fundraisers, and participate. All that is free and comes back to you in spades.  Real Estate is a very social business, people want to feel they know you and can identify with you.  So I would tell you to not be shy, or sit around the office waiting for leads to come to you.  Instead – get out there and meet your next client!”

Q:  Most agents coming out of real estate school have high aspirations and goals, but lack clear direction on how to even get started. What would your top three pieces of advice be to head them in the right direction? 

A:  First: Distinguish yourself.  Find a way to stay apart from what everyone else is doing and ahead of your competition.  How?  Get designations!  You can take the classes online or even travel to do that.  I recommend the Certified Negotiation Expert Designation first. How impressive does that sound – right?  Another designation that requires more course work but you learn a lot is the Certified Residential Specialist.  Once you have your designations, be sure to use them everywhere.  On your business cards, social media, advertisements etc.  Designations and awards if you can get them from a publication, board etc. help you stand out and validate you.  During my first year in the business, I earned RISMedia’s National Top 50 Realtors On the Rise award. During my first listing appointment, I remember getting the listing, because the client said how professional and prepared I was and that having awards and designations meant that I was serious about my business.  The results spoke for themselves.  Confidence won and I then tackled the market with ease.  I was also told I was so much more prepared than the prior agent and they I know were in the business for years.  So it’s all up to you be prepared, read, stay up to date on Inman News, Real Estate blogs, feeds…talk up your local market – and BE the expert. Will it take work?  Absolutely.  But when you take the time to be the source of information, data, and real estate facts in your market, you will blossom.

Next, saturate yourself in social media.  Remember this: It all works — you just have to do it!  Get on Facebook, create a business page…use Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.  Create accounts on Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, ActiveRain and start to get your name out there.  Once you’re up and running, Google yourself to see how much you fill the internet.  You want clients to find you!

If you’re new to Real Estate?  Don’t be an Invisible Agent!  Take phone time, go after expired listings, offer to hold other agents’ open houses.  Get involved in community groups and by all means, make sure people know you’re in real estate.  Your business cards and all correspondence should have your professional headshot on them so that people can identify who you are.  Write a press release announcing that you’ve recently joined the XX Real Estate Group and submit it to all local media outlets with your headshot.  This is free press if you don’t write it for yourself who will?  It’s a good start to building your business profile.

Q:  What common misconception do you think most agents have in terms of making it in today’s market and what myth-buster would you share with them? 

A:  Do not speak negatively about the market.  In fact, don’t dwell on the negative at all.  Every day, no matter what market you’re in, people are out there looking to buy. In tough markets, lazy agents give up — and that means those agents aren’t doing the work – so their market share could be yours.  Take the reins! Don’t forget referrals, and past clients either.  Build your book of business database from day one and watch it grow.  You never know when someone’s cousin, co-worker, or friend needs a home.  You want to ensure they remember and then contact you!

Q:  Building a Book of Business is one of the smartest things an agent can do, yet so many agents instead continuously “chase new business”. What advice do you have for building a strong sphere of influence?

A:  Perfect – since I just mentioned building your book of business!  Your book of business is a database that contains past, present and possible future clients.  Think of everyone you know, everyone you do business with – get them all into one big database, and use identifiers so you know who is who. (Friend, family, acquaintance, past client, etc.) Use your social media to gain new clients for this book, engage them, with blogs, e-newsletters, post cards, letters and more.  And here’s an out of the box idea: always consider doing what nobody else doing.  Like attend a bridal expo and host a drawing for a prize to one lucky couple!  These people are getting married and will soon be looking to buy their first home!  Obtain their contact info for the prize and follow up with them.  Congratulate them when they do wed that thoughtfulness costs nothing and will earn you their trust.

Q:  Prospecting is a crucial component for agents (new and experienced) – what tips would you give someone new to the process? 

A:  Get involved, attend local chamber events, network, business to business breakfast meetings where you exchange referrals with professionals in other lines of work.  Read!  Know your market and what is going on.  You are the expert.  You are the one they will come to.  Example:  “I just read this morning on Realtor.com that…”

Q:  Follow up is where a lot of agents fall short. Do you have any strategies for helping agents get over the fear of the phone and following up?

A:  There are services that help you with this, small fee…tap them.  Software that offers to generate newsletters, such as iContact and Constant Contact are great. Think of every Monday as new business Monday!

Q:  Any business planning tips that you think would be important to share? 

A:  Your board most likely offers classes, scholarships, officer and board roles, and awards opportunities. Check into this…it’s an easy way to get involved in your local market and your best bet is to act like a sponge and learn all you can from the well-seasoned agents all around you.  Look for a broker than will be a mentor. You know what they say, “there aren’t any stupid questions.”  Ask and learn as much as possible.  About sales, and about your contract and deadlines.

Q:  What are the top 5 tools or sites that you would recommend to new agents just starting to build their business and marketing platforms?  

A:  Get online! I love Facebook, LinkedIn, Inman News, and REALTOR.com.  I also recommend that you create a comprehensive pre-listing presentation package! I created one years ago when I got my start and would mail it out to expireds several times per week.  It contained testimonials, information about me, my company, articles I thought pertinent to someone thinking about selling, information on what sells a home, staging information, and more.  I put all this together with the intent of addressing and answering any question these potential sellers would ask me during a listing interview.  It worked like a charm. I would not only get an interview — once they read through my packet, I got the listing.  Why?  They weren’t my client and I already delivered way more that all the other agents sending a quick expired letter. This one tool alone helped me to fast-track my start in this business.

Q:  Any last bits of advice for agents to take to heart? 

A:  You build your reputation on how you conduct yourself with each transaction. Always give it your best.  It’s not about you, it’s about your client or potential client.  Always put yourself in their mindset.  Think like they would and this helps you best direct them.  It also helps you when showing houses, as you listen to them, you can help narrow down their searches and keep them focused.

Q:  How can our readers best connect with you to share their success and referrals? 

A:  Please like my business Facebook page Kathy Casarin, Realtor or email me:  KathyCasarin@yahoo.com.

Thank you Kathy for your powerful insights. You’re a rock star!

If you’d like to learn more about being a

How to Create CUSTOMERS for LIFE

From First Contact to Closecustomer for life

By Real Estate Coach Judy LaDeur

To make it in this business for the long haul – you need to build a referral base. And that process?  Starts with the very first contact. Every person that you meet is a potential client, even if they currently know another agent. I always asked everyone that I met if I can send them my homeowner tips and ideas each month. They rarely say no. A NAR survey showed that 87% of all homeowners surveyed were happy with their agent and would use that agent again IF they could remember their name! That’s sad but true. I would say that 9 out of 10 times that I ask someone that I meet who sold them their home, I get the same response. They were really nice, but just can’t remember who they are. I have found that repetition of marketing materials, combined with personal contact, is the #1 thing that you can do as an agent to not only have those you know do business with you, but it’s also a great source of ongoing referrals.

When I started in the business, many years ago, I was “thrown in” and told to “hit the phones”. No one told me what to say or what to do. That has changed, and today’s agents have more training than ever before. Here’s the million-dollar question: If there is more training today than ever, why are so many agents still struggling to earn a living? Perhaps they are not doing the basics. This is a contact business, and if you are not selling or listing a home, you should be looking for someone who wants to sell or list a home. It’s just that simple

What does your pipeline look like? Your pipeline consists of the total number of active listings, combined with the number of buyers that you are working with, plus any prospects that you are currently talking to about listing their home or buying a home. You should have 25 people in your pipeline at all times. How many do you have right now? If it’s not at least 25, then it’s time to hit the phones!

Once they are your client, stay in touch weekly, providing reports and feedback to insure that they are happy. Most clients want results. Results require honesty. Is the home priced too high? Does it need staging? Our job is to deliver the “tough news” in a way that they appreciate and understand. I picked up many expired listings, through referrals, and each time it was the same scenario. They needed a price adjustment and staging or decorating. They were always willing to do what was asked, when they knew that it was the key to getting their home sold. If they were not willing to do what was needed to sell their home, I was not the right agent for them.

Happy clients are clients for life if you get the job done and stay in touch after the sale. If you stop chasing all the NEW commissions and focus on building a strong book of business.  If you put each and every customer and contact in a database that you can stay connected to week after week, month after month.

If you’re an agent who wants an easy, comfortable, effective way to stay in touch, visit www.TheProfitableSalesAgent.com and sign up for our weekly newsletters, training, social media tips, and agent tools. They weekly newsletters are perfect for staying connected in a way that positions you as a resource people can trust. They are filled with lots of great messages, tips for homeowners, and calls to action. If you’re a broker who wants to help your agents get on the fast track to successfully staying in touch, invite them to do the same. In fact, register in the next 45 days and take advantage of our 4th quarter special! Use promo code 50OFF any agent membership and save 50%!

If you follow these simple steps and you’ll have happy clients from first contact to close, and a source of referrals for life.  You’ll end up with a lot of great new friends too!

COACHING TIP OF THE MONTH: MAKE THE CALL 

There are many agents who take the listing and then don’t communicate with the seller because they have no idea what to say.  Here’s an idea: Contact each of your listings, without fail, every Tuesday.  If there has been absolutely no activity, simply tell them that.  Generally, though, even though nothing has happened with their particular listing, something has happened in the neighborhood.  Whatever it is, tell them and, if appropriate, discuss a price reduction. Studies show that sellers want lots of communication from their agent, so stay in touch and you will see that they are more likely to work with you to get it sold.

Start communicating effectively today!  Register for www.theprofitablesalesagent.com today with promo code 50OFF and save 50%. 

    

Lead Incubation Strategies for Savvy Agents

Putting Systems in Place for SuccessLeads

Things are hopping out there in today’s market! And that’s great news, but the savvy agent leaves nothing to chance when it comes to their long-range strategies for finding, nurturing, and KEEPING new customers.

However you are generating business leads, whether by referral, website, blog, social media, SMS or pay-per-lead services, unless you USE them, well, unfortunately, you’re fairly likely to LOSE them. Our market is the perfect storm for lead loss. Why? Simple — with reduced patience and the insistence of a higher level of service, consumers are no longer willing to accept “good” or “good enough.”  They know that competition is fierce and they know more (thank you Mr. Internet and Ms. Media) and expect more than they ever have in the past.  So how are you going to project your business in the eyes and minds of your leads and current customers?

Let’s take a look at some ways you can turn “good or good enough” into “the right person for the job” in their minds…

1. It’s about CONSISTENCY. It starts with a desire to consistently stay in contact with a lead, whether self-generated or purchased until it results in a transaction. Sound easy? It’s not; it takes a carefully crafted system, creative marketing and a lot of patience. Consider an internet lead first. It may have potential, but more often than not, it’s not really a “done deal” now is it?  Some are just curious about their market. Others are simply seeing what they might sell their home for today. Still others may not be ready to transact for years. However, by connecting with these possible buyers and sellers month after month you incubate or “warm the lead” until that consumer feels comfortable enough to reach out for your answers and trust you enough to do business with them.

2. Speak their language. Stop talking to consumers as if they are all the same. Sellers want to know what it means to their financial bottom line if they sold their house, what the process is, how long it would take, and the big question for many–what will you do differently than everyone else? Buyers want to know how to get the most house for their money, what their financial options are, and where they can get their down payment.

3. Make it about THEM.  The stats are in your favor if you take the time or put systems in place to make sure you are CONSISTENTLY sharing viable, valuable information, staying in touch and putting service first week after week via social media and month after month via additional means such as enewsletters, direct response postcards, etc. then you will continuously grow your referral base.  Think about it from the perspective of your lead.  How valued would that make you feel?  How many of your competitors are they likely to hear from with the same careful attention? Not many, I venture to say.

Salespeople are historically poor at this necessary component which is probably why the top producers are such a small percentile. Change your thought process (and your presentation) to be not just a real estate expert but a marketing expert as well. It’s a mindset that will serve you well. Capture the series of messages you want to convey each month or tap into a ready-made system such as our enewsletters, to ensure that the process is consistent and efficient. While taking that step may seem daunting to you now, what it will mean to your bottom line and your career longevity are enormous.

4. Patience is a virtue.  Most lead incubation strategies are not overnight successes. That’s why they’re leads and not customers! Put in the time, make the effort and stick with it! The rewards are great, and with a terrific system, the work is little. Make it part of your overall marketing plan. Use it to show sellers how actively and diligently you work to find the right buyer for their home. Use it with buyers to let them know how vigorously you are searching for the right home for them. Use it, to keep your pipeline consistently full as you “turn up the heat” on your “warm” incubated leads as you continue to add new “cold” leads to your powerful system.

Hopefully you picked up a few ideas or at least a better understanding of what lead incubation has to offer. It keeps your pipeline fresh while you stay focused on prospecting, presentation and closing! Good luck to you and please, contact us should you have any questions on this or additional products and services. We’re passionate about your success.

The True Value of Agent-to-Agent Referrals

An Interview with Top Agent Keith GroganKeith Grogan

By Julie Escobar

Networking in our business is a powerful thing – not only to continuously grow as a professional, but for the ability to connect with some very cool people.  I was fortunate in the last week to touch base with one of my favorite agents to follow online Keith Grogan.  He recently shared some valuable tips for agents about the real importance of nurturing those valuable agent-to-agent referral relationships – and how many agents fall short.  It was timely and on-point, and he was gracious enough to sit down for an interview to share his experience.  Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q:  First of all Keith – thanks so much for taking your time to share with our readers!  Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

A:  I spent twenty-four years in sales management with consumer product companies, managing both regional and national sales forces with a constant focus on team building. When I grew weary of spending all of my time on the road, I sought a second career, one that would require little or no airplane travel.  After serious consideration, I found that real estate would provide the most opportunity and I loved the concept of being in control of my income knowing that the harder that I worked, the more that I would make. What a great concept! Sixteen years ago, I partnered with one of Atlanta’s premier agents, Marsha Sell, who is now in her 43rd year of selling Atlanta real estate. We have a team that support our efforts and we cover Atlanta and the northern suburbs.

Q:  Your recent online advice to agents on why it’s SO important to build a strong referral network was on point — and so timely.  Can you share your thoughts on that with us?

A:  My business partner began building her network throughout the country years ago when most agents were only looking for ways to gain more exposure for their listings. Our referral base has enabled us to avoid the peaks and valleys that many agents experience because we have a good flow of referrals coming in throughout the year.

I see many, many agents who are so focused on the short term and get so wrapped up in each transaction and making sure that they get paid that they simply never consider the referral potential nor are they adept at knowing how and when to ask for referrals.

Q:  Too often agents are unresponsive, or unreliable when it comes to managing referrals and leads that come their way — can you share how you feel they are missing a big component of their business by doing this?  

A:  Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to place more outgoing referrals than in any year in the past ten years and I have been absolutely shocked at how difficult it is to place most of these referrals. In a huge percentage of the cases, it was nearly impossible to even reach the agent. More shocking to me was that, once I did reach the agents, most of them sounded as if they weren’t too sure that they wanted to take a referral at the time. I guess that they just had all the business that they wanted!

Of the referrals that were placed last year, I only received updates throughout the process from two or three agents. If you are trusting a client, a friend, or a family member with an agent in another area, you would think that just common courtesy would dictate that they would at least update the referring agent on date of contact, date of first meeting, time frame for purchase/listing, progress reports, purchase notification, and confirmation of closing. To me, that seems very basic but, sadly, that is not being done.

When I find an agent who is enthusiastic about a referral and who communicates effectively, I look for opportunities to give more referrals to that agent.

Q:  You have a LOT of social media fans for your terrific sense of humor and terrific posts.  You shared with me why you made the shift to humor – can you share that with the readers? 

A:  I had volumes of inspirational and motivational quotes and cartoons that I accumulated and used often during my years in sales management. In my early days on social media, I posted only inspirational, motivational, and informational posts. When the market changed a few years ago, I realized that most of my Realtor friends throughout the country were trying to stay afloat in uncharted waters and nobody was having much fun. I decided to shift the focus of my posts and, since that time, my goal is to bring a smile to at least one Realtor’s face every day.

Q:  I’d say you succeed in that goal every day Keith!  Now, if you had to give your best piece of advice to a new or experienced agent in today’s market – what would it be?

A:  Build your database, maintain your database, and work your database. The longer that you are in this business, the more of your business will come from your database. When you work your database and communicate properly with your database and sphere of influence, you can reach a point where you find that you are getting more clients, more listings, and making more money and you will find that you are working less to secure new business.

Q:  How can readers connect with you? 

A:  Keith Grogan, The Sell Team, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage,

www.facebook.com/KeithGrogan.TheSellTeam, www.twitter.com/SELLTEAMwww.sellteam.com.

Awesome stuff Keith – thank you so much for your insights and ideas.  You are a terrific example of professionalism and high standards in our business – and one heck of a funny guy to follow!  If you haven’t connected yet with Keith, follow his Facebook page today.  He’s always on point!  While you’re at it, be sure to connect with us there as well!

Being a PROFITABLE SALES AGENT means doing things sometimes in unexpected ways.  It means staying in touch.  It means developing those powerful relationships with other agents that will earn you a great reputation – and bottom line referrals.  Want to learn more about being a strong agent?  Stay tuned right here and become a Profitable Agent Member Today! Join in the month of February and take 50% off your membership with the coupon code 50OFF! 

Webinar On Demand: Strategies for Today’s Agents

We had an awesome group last week for our end of the year webinar where we shared the top five things agents should be doing right now to set themselves up for success in the new year. We also took a look at some of the best insights, tools, ideas and strategies that our guest speakers this year shared with us as well.  We hope you enjoy this webinar on demand.

Join us today and take advantage of our special offer of 50% off with the promo code 50OFF any 6-month or annual pro membership.  That’s 50% off everything you need to be in the right place at the right time when buyers are sellers are ready to make a move. 

 

Four Easy Listing Tools to Use This April

How to Help You Soar Past the CompetitionCompetition

By Real Estate Coach Judy LaDeur

April is the month to set yourself apart from the competition in the marketplace! The decision as to who to list with can be a daunting one for many sellers. Every agent will offer the basics, but the best agents have discovered that the easiest way to knock out the competition is to offer something that other agents do not offer, and that sellers want!

What do sellers want? They want to sell their home faster and for more money! For the month of April, we will feature a different tool or technique to give you the “leading edge” over your competition each week such as…

  • Pre-Listing book
  • Staging Tips
  • Solid Marketing Plan
  • Photography Tips

We’ve placed these tools and the collateral in your platform for your agents to use. We will also give you the tools that you need to compete.

The Profitable Sales Agent is a marketing platform filled with tools, tips and weekly e-newsletters, designed to keep you positioned with your clients and customers for life.  Each week you get a newsletter with valuable info for your clients, motivational quotes, social media tools, DIY tips and an action step for you, the agent, to stay ahead of your competition.  We also host an agent webinar each month in which we feature top agents from all over the world who are crushing it in their markets to share what they are doing differently.

A recent NAR survey shows that 86% of buyers and sellers would use their agent again IF they could remember who they are, or could remember where they work! The #1 way to dramatically increase your income, this year and every year, is to stay positioned with those who already trust you and the service you deliver.  It could not be easier with this newsletter which can be sent via email to your clients, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.  You can also post the info to your social media page, or use it in your listing presentation.

Fire up your marketing today.  Sign up for all these powerful tools and more  at www.TheProfitableSalesAgent.com and use code 25OFF to receive 25% off your subscription. No contract, no obligation, you can stop anytime you do not see the value of this incredible program. 

Making Safety a Priority

Expert Advice from a Superstar Sales ProfessionalBarb

The topic of safety came up again this month, as I imagine it does all the time for agents all over the globe.  I was hearing a lot of rumblings from agents who were not taking as many precautions as they maybe should be for fear of meeting resistance from their sellers and buyers.  That’s scary!  There are ways to present safety precautions in a professional way, and I wanted to dive a little more into the topic.  Fortunately, I was able to turn to my social media friend Barb Erdmier to look to for some real-world answers.  She’s a powerhouse agent with a track record for excellence – and an eye for what it takes to keep agents – and clients safe in today’s often uncertain world.

We’re grateful for her insights!  Here’s an excerpt from our interview…

Q:  Barb, personal and property safety is paramount for both consumers and agents these days. What would you say are the top four ways that agents keep home sellers and buyers physically SAFE during the listing process and how?

A:  In regards to physical safety for sellers, I would have to say elimination of having open houses is paramount to safety. I explain to my sellers the reason I do not like having homes open is that we have no idea who the people are that are coming in. Nor, what their intentions are. Could be innocent or could be harmful. I inform my sellers to check windows and doors after private showings as well just to be sure all are locked. I also am finding shoppers ringing doorbells to ask sellers to view properties. I inform sellers to ask shoppers to contact me and to not let anyone into their home without an appointment. Sellers need to put all prescription medications and financial documents away during showings as well.

As for the physical safety of buyers? I would have to say top one would be to not visit properties without an appointment. It’s trespassing and they could be arrested. Also, some homeowners have aggressive dogs that must be removed prior to showings that could be wandering around outside. Seeing the property during daylight hours is always a good idea to avoid tripping and falling due to darkness.

Q:  How do they keep buyers and sellers financially safe?

A:  Sellers need to keep financial docs out of sight. Bank statements, pay stubs, checks, credit cards, tax returns, etc. Buyers need to work with a lender they can trust. Either recommended by their agent or family member.

Q:  Do you include that kind of information in your pre-listing and/or listing presentations? 

A:  Most definitely.

Q:  What extra precautions do you share with your colleagues in the industry to help them be safer in today’s world?  

A:  There are a ton of safety apps available for smart phones. Agent Safe, Personal Safety, Safer Showings, Real Agent Guard. Meeting a new client? Always get them in the office first. If that cannot happen, take a spouse, co-worker, or friend with you as an added precaution.

Q:  I spoke with my brother recently who is a retired homicide policeman and he said one of the most important things people can do is to listen to their intuition.  If that have that ‘feeling’ that something is off – to be on high alert or walk away. Developing that extra sense can be a saving grace.  Your thoughts on that?

A:  Oh heavens yes. On more than one occasion I have brought a man with me on a showing for a new client, only to have the buyer not show up. I’m thinking they drove by and saw me with a large male and kept on driving.  If for some reason I am by myself, I take a picture of the license plates of the buyer and send to my husband. I let the buyer know what I have done this as well so they know that they are being “tracked” if I may end up missing. My husband has full access to my showing schedule as does my office and assistant.

Q:  Any last words of advice for either consumers or agents — or both?

A:  The selling/buying of a home is an exciting time for all parties.  Just keep your guard up and be aware of surroundings at all times.

Q:  How can our readers connect with you?  

A:  Sure, I can be reached on my cell at 815-222-8866 or via Email at

barb@rockfordrealestate.com  or my website: rockfordrealestate.com. Also, everything social! Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram. You’ll find the links are on my website.

Thanks so much Barb!  Your insights are awesome.  Bottom line?  Safety is a priority for you and your clients.  Never miss an opportunity to go the extra step or to listen to your gut.  Stay safe friends and let us know your thoughts!

Creating Clients for LIFE

From First Contact to CLOSECLIENT FOR LIFE

by Real Estate Coach Judy LaDeur

If you are looking to build a referral based business, it starts with the very first contact. Every person that you meet is a potential client, even if they currently know another agent. I always ask everyone that I meet if I can send them my homeowner tips and ideas each month. They rarely say no. A NAR survey showed that 87% of all homeowners surveyed were happy with their agent and would use that agent again IF they could remember their name! That’s sad but true. I would say that 9 out of 10 times that I ask someone that I meet who sold them their home, I get the same response. They were really nice, but just can’t remember who they are. I have found that repetition of marketing materials, combined with personal contact, is the #1 thing that you can do as an agent to not only have those you know do business with you, but it’s also a great source of ongoing referrals.

When I started in the business, many years ago, I was “thrown in” and told to “hit the phones”. No one told me what to say or what to do. That has changed, and today’s agents have more training than ever before. Here’s the million dollar question. If there is more training today than ever, why are so many agents still struggling to earn a living? Perhaps they are not doing the basics. This is a contact business, and if you are not selling or listing a home, you should be looking for someone who wants to sell or list a home. It’s just that simple!

What does your pipeline look like? Your pipeline consists of the total number of active listings, combined with the number of buyers that you are working with, plus any prospects that you are currently talking to about listing their home or buying a home. You should have 25 people in your pipeline at all times. How many do you have right now? If it’s not at least 25, then it’s time to hit the phones!

Once they are your client, stay in touch weekly, providing reports and feedback to insure that they are happy. Most clients want results. Results require honesty. Is the home priced too high? Does it need staging? Our job is to deliver the “tough news” in a way that they appreciate and understand. I picked up many expired listings, through referrals, and each time it was the same scenario. They needed a price adjustment and staging or decorating. They were always willing to do what was asked, when they knew that it was the key to getting their home sold. If they were not willing to do what was needed to sell their home, I was not the right agent for them.

Happy clients are clients for life if you get the job done and stay in touch after the sale. If you are looking for a great tool to stay comfortably in touch, go to www.TheProfitableSalesAgent.com and sign up for our weekly newsletters. They are filled with lots of great tips for homeowners, and simple ways to stay CONNECTED.

If you follow these simple steps and you’ll have happy clients from first contact to close, and a source of referrals for life.  You’ll end up with a lot of great new friends too!

COACHING TIP OF THE MONTH

MAKE THE CALL 

There are many agents who take the listing and then don’t communicate with the seller because they have nothing good to say.  You contact each of your listings, without fail, every Tuesday.  If there has been absolutely no activity, simply tell them that.  Generally though, even though nothing has happened with their particular listing, something has happened in the neighborhood.  Whatever it is, tell them and, if appropriate, discuss a price reduction. Studies show that sellers want lots of communication from their agent, so stay in touch and you will see that they are more likely to work with you to get it sold.

Brain Food…

What are YOU Reading That Can Help You and Your Business GROW? Library

While it is indeed the age of information and words, MP3s, Kindles, iPads, e-books, smartphones, streaming video and more are at our fingertips and downloadable 24/7 via that incredible internet, there is to me, still something to be said for curling up for a 20 minutes to an hour a day with a good old fashioned book.

I know, I know – lives are busy, going warp speed in a thousand directions and mine is no different. Believe me, there is tremendous merit to audiobooks that we can listen to on the go, but there is great satisfaction in building a library of your own that you can tap into and reference whenever possible for strengthening your skills, improving your mind or igniting your spirit.

So, whether you’re cracking the spine of a new hardback or downloading a new eBook on your iPhone,  as we head into the new year, I wanted to take the time to share with you just some of the book treasures we’ve found over the years and challenge you to start or add to a library all your own!

§ Good to Great by Jim Collins – Great for mastering the premise “Be the Best in the world at ONE thing.”

§ Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer – Terrific for short snippets, great ideas and reference-his e-zine Sales Caffeine is pretty good for daily jolt as well.

§ How to Become a Rainmaker by Jeffrey J. Fox – Learning to dollarize is a vital tool in our industry – Jeffrey Fox teaches it well.

§ Purple Cow by Seth Godin – You’ll find valuable Lessons in effective marketing.

§ Shut Up, Stop Whining and Get a Life by Larry Winget – We all loved this book. It’s as edgy as its title but drives home some must-learn points.

§ Be Our Guest by the Disney Institute – You have to hand it to those folks at Disney – when it comes to customer service – they have it down. Lots to learn here!

§ Swim With the Sharks Without Getting Eaten Alive by Harvey Mackay – An oldie but a goodie when it comes to classic life and business lessons.

§ Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi – Some great ideas on the power of social and business networking.

§ The Power of an Hour by Dave Lakhani – Time management guru Lakhani explains how to put some muscle into your time management and make those minutes count!

§ Hug Your Customers by Jack Mitchell – We liked this book so much, it became the theme for one of our corporate meetings! Spotlights the power of extraordinary customer service in any industry.

§ The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino – Truly one of my favorite all-time books. I re-read it often and what’s funny is that I have asked countless industry “icons” to name a favorite book throughout the years – almost all of them count this at the top of their list.

§ Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – Another classic, must-read for anyone who wants to live abundantly and build a better life and business.

§ How to Become a Marketing Superstar by Jeffrey J. Fox – You have to love Fox’s books for their quick read and great references.

§ Better Than Good by Zig Zigler – Zig’s insight is always a welcome gift as he shares the power of a positive attitude in this game of life.

§ Winning by Jack and Suzy Welch – Delivers a solid career’s worth of this legendary leader’s management wisdom.

§ Wooden on Leadership by John Wooden – Extraordinary Coach John Wooden shares tremendously valuable insight on what it means to win with integrity in ANY game.

§ Built to Last by Jim Collins – Much like Good to Great, Collins shares the successful habits and visions of some of the greatest companies of all time.

§ Shift by Gary Keller – Keller shares what it takes to not just be a successful real estate agent, but how to truly treat your business as a business and effectively grow it without limitations.

§ Satisfaction by Chris Denove and James D. Power IV – A true spotlight on how listening to the voice of the customer can make – or break a company and career.

§ The Spellbinder’s Gift by Og Mandino – This well crafted contemporary parable by Mandino offers tremendous inspiration and wonderful reminders on how to live a better (happier) life.

§ The Age of Speed by Vince Poscente – This offers lessons on how to thrive in a world that runs at lightning speed.

§ Juggling Elephants by Jones Loflin and Todd Musig – A great read for all of us who sometimes feel we need to get our “act” together in the three-ring circus we call life.

§ The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn – Sanborn teaches us through the true story of Fred – the mail carrier – how going the extra mile and taking the extra steps for our customers can turn an ordinary career into an extraordinary one.

§ Blink by Malcolm Gladwell – Fascinating book that illuminates how we can re-train our minds to instantly pull vital information from life’s moments.

§ The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – definitely not the easiest book you’ll ever read, but if you can work your way through each of the “habits” and make them a part of your life and career, you’ll far exceed any goals in front of you!

§ 10 Ways to STAND OUT From the Crowd by Connie Podesta – This insightful book is filled with the practices and tools you need to always make sure you’re invaluable!

I do hope you will enjoy the lessons, laughter and genuine knowledge builders found within the pages of these book recommendations. It has been a fun journey to discover new books, new authors and new additions to my growing library of books for business. I do make sure there is room on the shelves for recreational reading as well, so you’ll find James Patterson, Sue Grafton and Patricia Cornwell books all tucked on the shelves next to the books above! After all, “work hard, play hard” can be a good motto for this aspect of life too!

So go and read your mind and expand your personal library for success. I would love your recommendations for our Book of the Month club! Feel free to add yours in the comments!