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.

7 Top Character Traits of Successful Agents

What Characteristics to Adopt Before the New YearLucky seven

by Real Estate Coach Judy LaDeur

I recently heard that real estate sales is a 93/7 industry. That means that 7% of the agents are earning 93% of the money! I found that amazing! Why are such a small % of agents earning so much more that the majority of agents?  To find the answer, we did some research and found that successful agents have several common traits. Successful agents are:

1. Passionate: Successful agents are passionate about their company, the opportunities within their organization and passionate about the business. When your presentation is passionate, the person you are talking to knows that you believe in your company and are sincere about what you have to offer. Of course, there is a difference between being passionate, or trying to sell your services. No one wants to be sold. But the more you believe in what you have to offer, the more successful you will be in sales.

2. Great listeners / Attentive: The #1 key to success is to be a great listener. With buyers as well as sellers, from the moment you begin asking questions, you will learn what they want and what is important to them. Successful agents have good eye contact and keep their attention focused on the client. When you take the time to understand their concerns, past experiences and expectations, your job is much easier!

3. Patient: This one is tricky. By nature, great salespeople are not patient at all! But, great salespeople know that it is a process. It is all about the timing and being there when the time is right for them to make a move. So, a very important trait that we see in successful agents is that they have consistent marketing campaigns, designed to keep their clients informed and educated, and to stay in touch until the time is right. It takes patience and marketing, but it’s exciting to be positioned when they are ready.

4. Competitive: Successful agents hate to lose. This is a great trait. It means that they prepare properly for the appointment and fine tune their skills whenever the opportunity presents itself. If they don’t sign the prospect the first time they meet with them, they continue to follow up until they can get back in front of them again, but they don’t give up! This is where patience comes into play again.

5. Caring Nature: Successful agents truly care about others. This is a character trait that you cannot fake.  When you care about what others care about, it shows. I often say that even though it is tough…the best agents are always honest about what it will take, even if it means they don’t select that agent. You cannot be all things to all people, but you will have more success and less stress when your goal is to “help others make the right decision for them”.  In most cases, that will be you!

6. Strong People Skills: This is a relationship business. To be a great salesperson, you have to like people, and they need to like you too. Strong people skills come into play in several areas. It means having a strong relationship with the people in your client data base, as well as those in your office and your community.  The best agents prefer doing business with and selling the listings of the other great agents in the market.

7. Good Problem Solvers: Tenacity is a word that comes to mind. It is not always easy to get the sale closed, or to secure the financing that your buyer needs, but a great salesperson knows who to call and where to go to get the job done.  They do not look at objections as objections, but rather as challenges that have a solution, and they look for it!

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being outstanding, rate yourself in each category. If you have a total of less than 55, look at the areas that you can improve in 2015 and create some actions steps to make next year your best year ever!

The Profitable Sales Agent can help you consistently stay top of mind and build a strong business foundation with the right tools and strategies each month to help you move forward. Learn more here.  Our Profitable Sales Agent members will find additional scripts, tips, and tools in your membership platform.  Have fun with them! 

FSBO Myth-Busters

While there are tens of thousands of agents across North America competitively out-listing their peers by making FSBOs their niche market of choice, there are still some surprisingly pervasive myths floating around out fsbo signthere about working this demographic.

So, let’s put on our “Myth-busters” hat for a moment and take a look at some common misconceptions:

1.  All FSBOs are MEAN. Come on now – all of them?  In truth, most sellers who are trying to fly solo to get their homes sold are eager to save money, not well-informed as to what it takes to price right in today’s market and usually fairly motivated.  Are they distrustful of agents?  Sure, manay are — but that doesn’t make them mean – it makes them human beings.  It’s YOUR job to earn their trust, treat them with respect, develop a relationship and make them raving fans.

How do you help develop that relationship? Consistent communication, professional presentation tools and a can-do attitude.

2.  All FSBOs Are Overpriced. Don’t you just love sweeping generalities?  In truth, (again) – many probably are.  But surprisingly, with all of the internet information out there, and the fact that it is a buyer’s market — many for sale by owner sellers DO get pricing a property right. But more often than not, they don’t get that they can get MORE for their home, statistically, using a real estate professional – in fact, last year, according to NAR,  the average FSBO sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 for agent-assisted home sales, so it’s your job to help them understand that!  

A great tool to use is the Merchandising Review from our friends at ProspectsPLUS!  As soon as you see that FSBO pop onto the market, you should contact them by telephone and attempt to use the Merchandising Review as a reason for them to set an appointment to talk with you.

“Hello, Mr./Mrs./Ms/Miss

__, my name is
__, and I’m with
_.  The reason I’m calling is that I see you have put your home on the market and I’m sure you’re eager to get the best price for it – right? (Wait for their answer!)

Wonderful!  I wanted to offer you a very special tool that we use called a Merchandising Review Form…have you heard of it before?  It is what I use to make a comprehensive analysis of whether a home is salable in TODAY’S market and what you can do to guarantee that it will sell for a great price and terms.

What I’d like to do is set a time when we could sit down together and go over the Merchandising Review.  No cost or obligation – just something that can help you get your home sold.  It takes about 20 minutes. (Set a time.)

Walk them through each item and negotiate the issues that were might keep the property from selling.  Correct these issues, and ask if they would allow you to show them your marketing plan.

3.  FSBOS can just do this on their own. I love this one.  Truth is, statistically, most FSBOs do end up using an agent.  In fact, last year, only 9% of the homes sold according to NAR were FSBOs. And of those – 31%  don’t even market their properties. So, they NEED someone like you to lend them the expertise to not just get a great price, but to make the process as headache free as possible.

Most Difficult Tasks for FSBO Sellers:

  • Understanding and performing paperwork: 18%
  • Getting the right price: 13%
  • Preparing/fixing up home for sale: 12%
  • Helping buyer obtain financing: 3%
  • Attracting potential buyers: 3%
  • Selling within the planned length of time: 7%
  • Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale: 6%

FSBO’s really are the “low hanging fruit” for many agents – why?  Because they’re usually still motivated to sell!  But the keys to success are that  you have to consistent (can’t show up just ONCE – remember MOST deals are sealed after the FIFTH contact), timely (most successful FSBO experts make reaching out to FSBOs a DAILY business practice – no half-stepping it!) Know your business and your market (practice, drill and rehearse your presentation and you’ll create a presence as the turn-to agent in your market for FSBOs.

So go ahead – go after those FSBO’s and start maneuvering, out-selling and out-smarting the competition in your market place!  And remember -we’re here if you need us. 

Back to School (And Back to Basics!)

FIVE LESSONS FOR BUILDING A BETTER BUSINESS AND LIFEphotodune-3820804-maths-xs

By Julie Escobar

It’s that time again. Kids everywhere are returning to school and although mine are all but grown up, I got to see a glimpse of that first step into “the big world” in the eyes of my nephew Eli, who is still in grammar school. Shy and unsure, but excited and eager—it got me thinking about some of those first lessons we learn, how important they are to building a better life and how easily we can lose sight of them in our hustled and hurried world.

So this month take a look at some of the best lessons you learned along the way and consider what impact great teachers made on your life. Then remember that some of those lessons we can put to good use today as we grow our businesses, build relationships, and seek that peace of mind and life balance that can be so elusive for professional salespeople and entrepreneurs.

BUILD RAPPORT: Part of that “playing well with others” talent that we had to learn as children, great parents and teachers shared the art of finding common ground and appreciating differences. They taught us to pay attention to the people around us with an open mind and a compassionate spirit. I believe this life skill is a very real common denominator in top producers. Unlike their “hard sell” or self-indulgent counterparts, the savvy sales professional understands that building rapport with a client or customer (or anyone for that matter) is about creating a connection. It’s not about qualifying them or finding an edge, but more about building a relationship, creating a dialogue, and opening a door to what could be a lifetime client.

Some keys to building solid rapport:

  • Ask Questions. Truly one of the best skills of any salesperson, practicing the art of asking the RIGHT questions (those that are engaging, compelling and about the other person) is a must.
  • Listen more than speak. My mom always said that we were given two ears and one mouth in that proportion for a reason! Listening has become a lost art with many people but it is the key to information gathering, showing respect and displaying genuine interest.
  • Lighten up! It’s okay to smile, to laugh and to be warm—after all think of the alternative!
  • Look around you. Whether you’re in a home or someone’s office you’ll find clues to their interests, family, accomplishments. All of which are a great springboard for conversation.
  • Do your homework. If possible, learn as much about your customer or client before you meet to give yourself a head start on getting to know them!

BE BRAVE: I like this one. Did your mom or dad ever tell you to be brave in a tough situation? To lead and not follow? To “just try” when you felt like you couldn’t do something? Is that something that you’ve passed down to your children or your protégés? To do extraordinary things, to accomplish greatness, and build foundations, you have to step out of the wings a little. You have to dare to be different and meet challenges where they are. I love the Robert Anthony quote, “The opposite of bravery is not cowardice but conformity.” There’s not much we can’t achieve if we’re willing to do the tough stuff, to fight for what we believe in and to put our bravest face forward —even when we’re feeling not so courageous.

FOLLOW THE RULES: This is a tough one. In changing economies, in difficult times, and frankly, when we’re hell-bent to get something we want, it’s tempting to break the rules or to take short cuts. I’m not saying you have to follow the trends, or conform to the masses but in terms of the basic laws and principles of character, integrity, and professionalism, show them what you’ve got. The very best of you. From good manners to good behavior to good business practices, trust me, in the long run it makes a huge difference to your reputation and the name you present to those around you.

SET HIGH STANDARDS:
 It’s a funny thing about standards; people will rise or fall to the level that you set them. Know that it’s fine to set boundaries and expectations. In fact, look at the marines for example. Their motto is they only want a “few good men.” Not everyone—just the few. That’s high standards, and they have a line out the door to get in. Whether you are dealing with customers, kids, friends or family, it’s important for you—and for them—to know that when it comes to the important things that matter (like that integrity and character stuff we just talked about) you’re not willing to accept or deliver less. Believe it or not, your bottom line will reflect the high bar that you set.

KEEP LEARNING: Oh my! If we could just convince EVERY child the benefit of this one! Our capacity to learn is limitless as is our ability to utilize that knowledge to enrich our lives, advance our careers and soothe our souls. Each week or each month, determine a skill, a technique, a piece of history, or a tool for the future and then learn everything you can. Become the master of your profession and feed your mind with all the wit, wisdom and knowledge that you can. It will keep you younger, sharpen your competitive edge, and hopefully, ignite a love of learning in those around you as well!

So, tap into that childhood spirit of old and dust off the best lessons you’ve learned from teachers of every size, shape and color. Maybe it was an elementary teacher, a high school coach, a wizened grandmother, a mentor or a parent—take the time this month to remember what they told you and what they taught you. While you’re at it, if possible, let them know they’ve made a difference in someone’s life. I did that and made someone’s day. Who’s day can you make? “Take out your pencil and paper and let’s begin…”

As always, call us if you need us at 1-866-234-8740   and visit our site online at www.theprofitablesalesagent.com.  We’ll always do our best to ensure your “homework” is a great experience!