Friday, September 10, 2010

What color is your COW?

I was recently reminded of that great book on branding yourself by Seth Godin called "Purple Cow." For those who haven't read it, it's a good read. So along that thinking QTS came up with some ideas on how to market your listings without spending a single dollar! Want to keep reading? Great!

The goal is to create attention to your listing for it to stand out as a PURPLE COW! The concept is simple, if there are thousands of cows in the field, why will yours stand out? Here's some ideas:

What does every buyer in this market want? Bragging rights. They want to be able to "get a deal" and tell people about it. Does that always mean they need to get the home for less than list price? Not if it's already priced right. What if we highlighted for them the "PEAK VALUE" scenario. For example, if a home today is worth $250,000 and in the last peak it would have sold for $325,000, that's their deal! Check your market for accuracy, but I would bet that if you looked at past peak markets you would notice a trend. That trend is each peak market was higher than the last. If the home was peaking at $325,000 last time and it's true each peak surpasses the next, could the home be worth $350,000 in the next peak? If so, sell the buyer on the $100,000 in equity they'll gain, rather than focusing on the list price today.
Check SOLD property MLS remarks. Did those properties have anything clever or specific that could have attracted extra attention. Was their description better? Is there anything that stands out that could have created the sale that you can duplicate for your listing?
Highlight any incentives. The idea here is figure out what the prevailing challenge in your market is and create a solution. Example: A builder offers up to $25,000 in closing assistance on his CURRENT home. The problem is, prospect wants to buy in the builder's development but is $25,000 upside down on the sale of his home. Problem solved! Example: Seller guarantees a specific figure for rental income in a resort market. The problem is, buyer wants the home but is unsure of the income for the first year or lender wants something concrete in order to qualify the buyer. Problem solved!
Encourage your sellers to use 6 month pricing. Remember back in the rising market, buyers were willing to pay full price and often times, more than full price. Why? They knew prices were rising and in 6 months or sooner the value would be there. Well buyers are no different today. In this declining market, they want to buy the home at what the value will be in 6 months. Figure out the rate of depreciation and price the home as close to what it will be in 6 months and it will sell FAST! Not to mention, you want have any issues with the lender on appraised value.
Rent vs. Buy. What is the average rental price in your market? What price range would a comparable mortgage payment be? Finally, how many listings do you have in that magic price range? Example: My market average rent is $1250. That will get you about a $240,000 home with FHA 3.5% down at a 5% rate. Currently their are 143 homes available under $240,000. What if the listing agents marketed each of those homes to tenants paying that rental rate?

We have to be creative and think outside the box. It's about using the logic the market is providing us to our clients' advantage. Hope these ideas help you sell a listing this month!

Happy Selling!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tip of the Day!

Objections haven't changed since real estate began. They're basically the same as they were 50 years ago. I'm still looking for new ones. At least new ones that are common. Sure, you will hear some crazy things, yet those are random. For the most part, sellers give us the same reasons not to move forward or to delay as they always have.

Tip of the Day - Learn the answers! Since objections haven't changed, and there are answers available, why in the world wouldn't we learn them? Yet each day I work with and talk to agents who get stopped cold by the same old objection.

I just talked to an Expired listing who wanted to "wait until January." I asked a few more questions, gave a little bit of information (a.k.a. answered the objection) and now have a listing appointment Friday afternoon. When I first called she wasn't going to be re-listing. Now she's considering it. I'm the 3rd agent who called her. What was different? I did my job as a SALESPERSON.

At QTS we have a 5 step process for handling any objection. You will find your business increasing as you can learn to handle objections better. There are two types: those objecting to the appointment and those objecting to the signature.

•What objections stop you?
•What are you doing to learn the answer?
•What's your plan?
•Would you like to do more business and would learning the answers help you do that?
•How often are you practicing?
•Imagine getting 20% more business from the people you're ALREADY talking to?
We have a teleconference class coming up on this specific topic. If you'd like more information let me know.

Happy Selling!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tip of the Day - 30 day challenge

In an effort to participate in the 30 day blog challenge, I suppose I have to come up with something clever to say. I've decided that the least I can do is offer a FREE coaching tip for the next 30 days and hopefully we'll all be making more money.

Today's tip - Go back through every single person you've communicated with since January 1st and recontact them. Every lead you can possibly find through email or phone. I've noticed an overwhelming amount of people who are in a much different place today than they were in earlier this year. Since that's the case, some of the dead leads may be changing their plans for the end of the year.

Here's the SIMPLE script - "Hi, we're approaching the end of the year and I was calling to see if your plans to (buy or sell) have changed since the last time we spoke?"

Their answer will tell you where to take it next. Remember to ask a lot of questions, pre-qualify thoroughly for motivation and SET THE APPOINTMENT. You won't sell them anything over the phone! Get in front of them as soon as you can.

Happy Selling!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How to do a Successful Open House!

The great Open House debate has been going on for some time now. Does it work? Does it not work? Well there's a couple of answers to that age old question. So here we go:

We know attitude and expectation are more powerful than anything else. If you believe or don't believe something, you're exactly right! So, if you don't believe it will work, you're right. If you do believe it will work, you're right! Everyone wins. Now I realize it's not exactly that simple, so let's go further.
Open house results are about repetition and consistency. If you're an agent that thinks you can do 4 or 5 open houses and get 4 or 5 deals, WRONG! To really make this an effective part of your business you need to plan on 30 or more Open Houses a year.
Remember the purpose of the Open House is to sell the house you're in. Statistically speaking, it's not a high probability. It can and does happen, just not often enough to scream from the mountain tops. What it does accomplish is getting the word out, generate some buyer leads, possibly get some feedback on the home and make the seller happy if they've requested it.
Pricing is everything. You can do any number of marketing activities on an overpriced home and it will never sell. After all, how much marketing would it take to sell a nickel for ten cents? See my point?
Open House success will vary by location. In some markets it just won't work as well. The best way to find out if it will work in your market is to do one using the suggestions below. An example of a market where Open House doesn't work. In my market (resort) try doing one in the middle of January. There's no one here to even see the home! Internet saved our market from being a complete seasonal event.

So, (DRUMROLL) how to do it "right."

Select the right home. It must be priced well, in a great location, easy to find with few signs needed, great curb appeal, CLEAN and uncluttered. Go over 30 to 45 minutes early to get familiar with the home if you aren't already.
Invite the neighbors. On Thursday or Friday afternoon, go around the neighborhood and invite everyone to the event. I have a great script I will send you if you email me. The best part about this is a couple weeks later when it's SOLD, you can go back around to the same neighbors and let them know it sold so quickly. If anyone is thinking about selling, you'll be on the top of their list for sure.
Call/email people. Call/email all of your buyer leads current and past and invite them. Call the President of the Association. Chances are that person knows everyone in the neighborhood and may know who's moving soon!
Advertise in free resources. No longer do we need to do newspaper ads! Use all of the free resources you can find. Blogging, Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Direct interested parties to a website with GREAT photos and lots of them.
Have the home "On Sale" for the event. Offer some incentive to prospects to visit like closing costs paid or small price reduction "for one day only."
Have pre-set-up showings for 2-3 comps that are slightly different than yours (a bedroom more/less, pool/no pool, etc) and offer to show to buyers at the end of your open. (If no takers, be sure to cancel the show requests!)
Have great signage. Make sure your signs are crisp and clean. Don't use flimsy signs that can blow over while you're not looking. Have balloons on the signs. Have as many as you can so they aren't missed. Have balloons on the mailbox at the home as well.
Stage the home if necessary. If you follow tip one, less of this will be needed or it may already be done. Make the home as clutter free and inviting as possible.
Set the mood. Play some nice soothing music. Have a few scented candles to create a nice warm aroma. Bring some fresh flowers for the table. Have great lighting.
Have snacks. If your area is "known for" a food or snack offer that food. If you have any visiting prospects it will make a nice conversation starter.
Smile, Stand Up and have Enthusiasm. There's nothing worse than walking into a stranger's home and seeing a boring, unenthusiastic agent sitting at the table or on the couch. Give the prospect a reason to stay by having great energy. A smile is infectious.
Have a great opening line. We teach people a great conversation starter to any incoming prospect is..."Which home in the neighborhood do you own?" You'll quickly find out who the neighbors are and get them talking. If they respond with "We don't." Simply say, "Great, what brings you into the neighborhood today?" Keep the conversation going from there.
Have a lender with you. If you get a "live" one the lender can pre-qualify them right there on the spot.
Have very nice looking fact sheets. Bullet points work best rather than long paragraphs. You can fit more in and they are more likely to read it.
Make it an "Event." Coordinate with your office all nearby Open Houses that day and have a map on the back of the fact sheet or on its own to each Open House. Support each other.
Ask lots of questions. If the prospects are truly motivated and need some help, they aren't going to come out and tell you. By asking questions and keeping the conversation going you build rapport and it becomes easier for the prospect to open up to you. The key is to keep them talking as long as possible. You become less scary the longer they are with you. Unless of course you're just scary. Ha ha...couldn't resist!
Final and BEST TIP of them all...Bring your current listing leads to the Open House. At 20 minutes before it ends, we are typically tempted to start turning off the lights and packing up and sure enough, another prospect will pull into the driveway! To stop that temptation, bring your listing leads and call them to tell them you've just done an Open House and what kind of results you got. Let them know that can be their home next weekend! If nothing else, they'll know you're working!

That's the list. Do you have anything to add? I will re-publish a final list if we get some more great ideas.

While I don't guarantee success with these tips, some may work, some may not. If you're going to do open house, these should help your results.

Last disclaimer...remember that Open Houses are time consuming and there's no "real" guarantee of anyone coming in. If you find yourself in that situation, make sure to have a list of Past Clients, COI, Leads, Expireds, FSBOs, someone you can call and talk to about real estate to make it a productive use of your time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Don't look now...the sky is falling!

I was reading some of the very articulate and interesting posts on the 27% news that has caused such a here's my post on it.

The 27% actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it or actually read the article. Considering the number of buyers who rushed to meet the tax credit deadline, it's not surprising at all and as stated in the article, was expected. Simply put, buyers who would have bought and closed in May and June, did it in April. April essentially "stole" those sales! ha there's a spin. Keep on reading and you'll see sales are expected to reach 5 million this year. The 20 year average is 4.9 million. There's even more positive news after that. So what's the problem?

Could it be that some of us forget we are SALESPEOPLE? We go around with our fancy titles and fluff here and there when people actually hire us to SELL. Isn't our job to give valuable information so our clients make the right choices. This is valuable information, now how can we use it to benefit our clients? What if we got into the habit of taking not so great information and finding a positive way to communicate it? After all, there's something good in everything if you're looking for it.

So, how are you using this information with your clients?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Closer!

Do you want to be a better closer? Do you go on appointments and not even ask the prospect to do business with you? Being a skilled closer can easily boost your sales without working one minute longer. Think about it. Let's say you go on 50 presentations and have a 50% closing ratio. That's 25 deals. If you increased your closing skills to an 80% ratio, that's 40 deals! The best part is, you haven't worked any harder because you would have been on the same 50 presentations!

So how do you get better at closing? Below are a FEW ideas on this topic. I have way more material on this but I'll keep it short for this beautiful Wednesday morning.

Understand closing is simply the next step. Once you've given a great presentation to a qualified prospect, it only makes sense to close. It's really nothing more than a natural ending. After all, if you did a good job and they want your service, why wouldn't they say yes? So ask!
Identify what part of closing is hard for you. Is it because you don't know what to say or how to do it? Are you afraid of the rejection? Practice doing it. It will be easier with practice. Experts tell us that the sale happens after 5 to 7 closes, so ask one more time than you normally would. You might just be surprised with a YES!
We don't want to feel "pushy." That's a valid concern. This is why you practice what to say so it comes naturally. Remember, the only time you'll be pushy is if you're trying to sell something to someone that they don't need or want. If you're with a prospect, there's a reason. If you do a good job presenting, they will want it. We're not talking about selling ice cubes to Eskimos.
Closing is easier with a qualified prospect. When we take the time to pre-qualify each person for their needs, desires, motivation and time frame we have a chance to remove the rejection. If you qualify properly you'll know whether to close. If they aren't qualified, no rejection! After all, how likely are you to close and unmotivated person?
Be confident. Shaky skills prompt questions and lack of comfort. You have to believe in your own value and what you're selling before they can. The more value displayed the easier the close. So, write down the top 5 reasons you're the best agent for the job and be sure to use them in your presentation. Then they'll be closing you!
Be direct. Let's face it, in this market every minute they could be losing money on their home or missing the best house for them to purchase. Being direct shows you're a professional. They are expecting this from you, which is why they are on the presentation anyway.
SHUT UP! Once you ask, quit talking. Don't over sell and talk your way right back out. Nod in agreement, smile and wait for their response, no matter how long it takes. The more you keep talking the less likely they are to commit.
What's your best closing line? How do you rate yourself on this skill on a scale of 1 to 10?

Friday, August 20, 2010

How did I lose that lead?

Regardless of how you generate them, leads have to be managed. After all, the number one complaint from consumers is that we don't call them back. So to avoid that trap, here are some simple ideas regarding Lead Follow Up!

Have a definition of what a lead is. How long will you keep a lead in your system? Studies show the longer you spend following up on leads, the less business you do each year. Answer this question...A lead is someone who NEEDS to buy or sell within _______ days? My personal recommendation is no more than 30 days.

70% of your business should come from lead follow up. That's's that important. 70% of the time you will have to follow up with that lead to get an appointment set. 30% of the time you will set the appointment on the first call. So here's a scary much business are you losing by not having a great system?

Lead Follow Up should be a daily activity posted in your schedule. Plan to spend 30 minutes to an hour a day calling your leads and setting up the appointment. A great time to do it is first thing in the morning. Call your hot leads and get some commitments which will start your day off with a great "high."

Remember leads have NO VALUE. Where do you go with your lead system or file and say, I'll take a paycheck please...I've generated all these leads, now pay me. Well, not in this business. Leads don't represent security. They have no value until they are a closed deal. Over-managing and over-protecting gets you where exactly?

The purpose of your LFU call is to SET AN APPOINTMENT. Period. Nothing else. Each time you follow up with a lead the goal is to get the appointment set. To make a sale you have to do a presentation. To do a presentation, you have to be on an appointment. To have an appointment, you need to generate a lead and get the commitment to meet. Simple as that. Anything else is just being a free information provider. Now, I do understand that you must give out some information to establish credibility and rapport. There is a difference between building trust and providing free information. Most of the time, you know when you've crossed over.

Accept the fact that you will cycle through a large number of leads each year. Imagine if everyone you talked to bought a house. You could do all your business in January and take the rest of the year off. :) Since that is unlikely to happen, it's important to quickly move to the next lead when you recognize one is dead. As the saying goes, "when the horse is dead, dismount."

Having too many simply hides the good ones from you. Accept the fact that if you don't qualify your leads, you will end up with a lot of "Fools Gold" rather than actual leads. For each lead, identify the date you will discard them if they haven't set an appointment. Not only will that help you get rid of the bad, it will force you into action knowing you only have that amount of time to convert them.

Implementing these ideas will help you convert the good ones faster. What are your thoughts on Lead Follow Up?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

4 steps to a Price Reduction

So one of the biggest challenges my clients face is getting their listings priced right and sold. I imagine that is an issue we all have right now. The 4 steps I have listed here is a pretty good system to get the seller to adjust the price.

Here are some important points about working with sellers:

•Regular communication is a must. If you're not talking to them weekly, they will have less trust and rapport. They will be more resistant to taking your advice.
•Alternate your communication with email and phone. One week email with some kind of market information, even if nothing happened with their home. The next week call to speak to them.
•Motivation. Each time you call and speak to the seller, start your call talking about their motivation for moving. Motivation changes, sometimes it goes up, sometimes it goes down. The only way to find out what's happening is to ask. Just make sure their plans and time frame are the same. That way, they know you're paying attention and you're also reminding them of why they're selling.
•Accountability. When they hired you, you probably gave them a list or some idea of what you do to get the home sold. Don't let them assume you're doing everything. Tell them. When you email or call, let them know what activities you've done so they can see you're working. Since you're working and the home isn't selling, they will be less likely to blame you for it and more reasonable when you bring up the price.
•Use questions. Telling is not selling. Good selling is asking a series of questions to get the other person involved in the conversation. If all you're doing is calling them up and telling them what's happened and what they need to do, chances are they're not listening. Telling creates resistance. If you want them to see what's happening, they have to be educated on it. Asking questions gets them involved.

Here's the process.

•Email over in advance the information. Or, if face to face, take it with you.
•Make sure it's easy to read so they can follow along.
•Start off with their motivation.
•Once you ask the questions, shut up! Let them answer, no matter how long it takes.

You'll need the following information (already typed up for them to see)

•How many days has the home already been on the market?
•How many showings have we had?
•How many offers have there been?
•How many similar homes actually sold since you've been listed?

Now let's put it all together

"Hi Mr. Seller, it's Ilona with XYZ Realty, how are you? I'm calling about your home for sale, is this a good time? Great, do you have the information I emailed over handy? If not, can you grab it. Perfect. Now just to double check, you and your wife still need to move to _________ and you'd still like to be there by ____________, correct? Great. Let's review the information.

Based on what I sent you, how many days have we already been on the market? 75.....That's right. And in those 75 days, how many showings have we had? 5....Exactly. And of those 5 showings, how many offers did we receive? 0.....OUCH! No offers! Now Mr. Seller, how many similar homes actually SOLD since we've been listed? 5....Right. And looking at those properties, were their prices higher or lower than your current price? Lower. Exactly. So based on this, what do you think the market/buyers is/are telling us about your price? I guess it's too high. Right. So what price do you think we should use to get you on this SOLD list?"

It's important to let them tell you the price because then it becomes their idea. They usually won't argue with themselves. Now, if their price suggestion is too high...have them refer back to the SOLDS and ask, based on what we've seen is that price really going to get the job done? Go back over it until you've got them in agreement. If they won't agree, no problem, same exercise in 2 weeks! They'll get it eventually.

For more help with this, email me. I have some additional scripts.

Friday, August 6, 2010

"I don't want to give my house away!"

Ever heard that from a seller? It's one of the common objections we hear in today's market. Funny thing is, there's only one way to give your house away. That's to give it to the bank. Otherwise, what the seller is doing is simply pricing the property to sell in today's market.

Yet how do you convince the seller of that and remove the emotion of the decision? Statistics are important. Asking questions is also key. Knowing their motivation and options is another way.

One method I have found to be very helpful is to always approach the seller from a position of contribution rather than desperation. Then present them with the options they have. There are really only 3 or 4 options they can choose. Show them what they are and based on their motivation have them pick one. It doesn't really matter which one they pick, it's their choice. Hopefully with the right statistics and education from the agent they will pick the one that makes the best sense.

So here are the options:

1. Give the house back to the bank.

2. Stay put. If they are solely price motivated, how many years will it take for them to get their price? In my market it's about 7 years before prices will be higher than they are today. That's based on today's stats. So, can they stay for 7 more years? What will it cost for them to stay that long.

3. Price it right and get it sold today. Most of the time, when you calculate what you're asking them to drop the price today and what it will cost to stay and wait it out, the price drop today will be less or the same. So I ask - "Since it seems either way it will cost you _________ amount, the question is do you want to do it slowly or get it over with?" Usually they want to get it over with.

I also remind them if they are re-investing, they will really not lose anything. See, they are simply transferring their investment from one house to another. Eventually the market will appreciate and they will make money. I ask them - "When the market returns and prices go up, do you want to be in this house or the new one?" Guess again which they choose.

Another great point is that it is nearly impossible to under sell a home today. Imagine the following scenario. You have a listing that realistically will sell in today's market for around $250,000. That's fair market value. What would happen if you listed it at $225,000? Would you get multiple offers? Sure. What happens when multiple offers occur? Buyers get so emotionally charged about the property they start bidding higher for it. At the end of the bidding, where will you likely end up? Close to or at the $250,000 price. So you see, buyers won't allow the home to be "given away" in most cases.

Let's also remind ourselves that market value is defined as - What a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to sell for on an open market. I like to add to that definition in today's times - what a lender is willing to lend on it. I'm finding a few cases where the buyer is willing to pay higher than the appraiser thinks it's worth, thus driving the price down again to keep the deal together.

For more objection handlers on pricing, contact me.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Is it time for an Intervention?

In today's real estate market we have to work very differently than we did 5 years ago. That word called "work" has come into question. Are you really "working" as efficiently as you could or should be? Are you getting the results you want?

As a real estate coach I see the challenges agents face first hand. Sometimes it's important to have an Intervention to get them back on track. Take a look at these questions and if you need help with YOUR answers, feel free to contact me.

1. Based on your plan/goal, how many properties should you have closed so far this year?

2. How many have you actually closed?

3. Do you have any leads right now that you are 90% or more sure they will sign a contract this month?

4. What specifically is stopping you from being on track?

5. Is it time to change the goal for the year or with hard work do you think you can still make it?

6. What will happen when you get back on track and earn the money you need to? How will that change your current situation?

7. What is your commitment level to getting your business back on track?

8. Since this will be difficult, are you prepared to do what it will take to make it happen?

9. If you had a clear plan to get there, would you be willing to do it at all cost?

10. If you decide not to follow the plan, will you achieve the goal? How will that impact your life?

If you'd like the plan, let me know!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Strong Listing Presentation is Key!

Components of a Listing Presentation
The following are the 6 parts that should be included in EVERY listing presentation. Remember, the more scripted you are the better job you do and the easier it is to stay on track. When you establish to the Seller that you are prepared and have pre-planned questions, you stay better in control of the conversation and they appreciate you saving their time. Whatever script you decide to use, make sure it has all 6 parts.
1. Thank them for the appointment and their time. This is done as soon as you arrive. This is also a fantastic time to use an assumptive close. For example:
“Thank you so much for having me over, I appreciate the opportunity. I am very excited about getting your home on the market and getting it SOLD quickly for you.”
2. View the home by yourself. This saves time and since they won’t be showing the home anyway, you want to see it the way the buyer would see it. If there are special features that need to be seen, have the seller show them to you after they’ve signed the paperwork. There’s no point spending an hour looking at the home with the seller if they aren’t going to list it with you.

“I’m going to take a quick look through the home. I’d like to see it from the eyes of the buyer and if there are any special features you’d like me to know about, we can take a look at them once the paperwork is done. While I do this, if you could go ahead and start filling out this MLS feature sheet so nothing is missed.”

The benefit of doing this is twofold. First, it gives them something to do and second, it increases the commitment level as they are already filling out paperwork for you!

3. Review the motivation, loan balance, next plans, etc. Basically as you start your presentation you want to review the Pre-Qualification questions you asked them over the phone when you set the appointment. (Hopefully you are asking Pre-Qualification questions.) There are two major reasons for this. First is to bring up the motivation before you start so they can be reminded of why they are doing this. Second, because you likely only spoke to one person while setting the appt and the spouse needs to confirm the motivation and add anything the other one didn’t. You may also find out more about the motivation at this time as their trust level is most likely higher now that you are in the home than it was during the appointment setting.

4. Explain and review the condition of the market. Use as many questions as you can during this process to ensure they are following what you’re saying. Just spouting out statistics to them will only confuse them and they will be less likely to take your pricing suggestion. Also remember to be sure to bring some positive news. Reality is reality and has to be presented, as well as giving them hope you can get the job done. Have easy to read charts and stats so that if you ask a question they can easily identify the answer and follow along. Simplify it. Make sure they fully understand this part before you move on.

5. CMA and Pricing Presentation. Remember, you study the market every day, they don’t. The seller will likely have a skewed perspective of what’s actually happening. Consumers get conflicting information daily. Keep in mind, your price and what’s actually happening will probably surprise them. Help them understand the market is not your fault. You are the messenger. It may be helpful to let them know you have two choices…to tell them the truth, which may hurt for a moment, and get results…or, tell them what they want to hear and have the property on the market for a long period of time. Which would they prefer?

Also keep in mind that “active” comps can often be more helpful than “sold” comps. A buyer cannot purchase a home that has already sold. They can only buy what’s currently for sale. So where does the pricing put them in relationship to the competition. Buyers today are looking for the best value. We create value by having more for the same or less price. Pricing ahead of the competition is the best way to ensure buyers will see the value. Sold comps in a declining market can sometimes paint the wrong picture. A home that sold 4 months ago in a market with .5% to 1% depreciation per month isn’t going to help your seller see TODAY’S pricing.

6. Now it’s time to close for the signature. The biggest mistake agents make is not being strong on closing. If you receive an objection here, it’s most likely because they still don’t understand something you’ve said, not necessarily because they won’t sign. The strength of you presentation will determine the number of objections you get. The stronger you are, the less or no objections you will receive. Be sure to ask questions here if they are not willing to sign. You need to know what part of the presentation you have to go over again to answer their question. The key is to keep them talking, keep questioning the motivation, keep reinforcing the statistics and asking them to take action. If need be, move to your Active Marketing Plan to create value to them about what you’re planning to do to get the home sold, once you’ve priced it correctly of course!
A few other thoughts…
1. Create a weekly system to communicate with your sellers. One week email, one week phone. More communication strengthens the trust and allows you to get price reductions faster than not talking to them at all or sporadically.
2. During the listing, refer to the Active Marketing Plan so they know you are working. There’s nothing worse than making a promise and not following through.
3. The price is not your fault. Don’t let the seller blame you for the pricing. Market value is simply based on what a Seller is willing to sell for and a Buyer is willing to pay. With so much competition, Buyers are more selective than ever.
4. If you’re not strong on objections or pricing, consider using a FAQ sheet. Write out the most common objections you hear, list the answer to it and give it to them as a Frequently Asked Questions worksheet. The great thing about bringing up the objection first is it loses all of its power.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lead Follow Up

Here are some thoughts on this very important topic.

1. What is the definition of a lead?
a. How do you determine that definition?
b. My definition is someone who is going to buy or sell in the next 30 days.
c. Buyers and Sellers are making decisions slower in this market so our job is to educate them faster.
2. The amount of time you spend with a lead is directly proportionate to the amount of deals you will do each year.
a. The longer you hang on chasing a lead, the less deals you will do.
b. How much lead follow up does a highly motivated, highly qualified lead actually need anyway? None! Why aren’t we looking for more of these instead of messing around with the others?
c. At what point should you let a lead go?
d. You have to determine if this is someone who moves into your COI list or you remove them completely.
3. Studies show that 70% - 80% of your appts should come from lead follow up and not from your first contact.
a. Does this fact make a difference in your lead follow up habits?
b. Do you lose more business by over-calling or under-calling your leads?
c. Do you actually have time scheduled each day to do lead follow up so you can capture these appts?
d. It’s best to schedule it right before or right after your prospecting since you’re in the zone!
4. The hard truth is, a lead has no value as long as it remains a lead. Only when it turns into a contract will it bring you income.
a. Having a lot of dead leads is no different than having Monopoly money. It’s fun to have it but it’s got no value.
b. We have to quickly accept the fact that we cannot turn an unmotivated or unqualified Buyer or Seller into a client that earns you money simply because you kept them for years.
c. Train your mindset to think rather than what if I let this lead go and they buy or sell, to what if I keep this lead on and waste time? What other “qualified” leads will I be missing?
d. If you consistently bring in new leads, you don’t have to keep the bad ones.
5. Remember, doing 75 transactions a year only requires 75 REALLY GOOD leads.
a. Because sales is a numbers game, we have to accept that we will cycle through a large number of leads.
b. Having bad leads diminishes our desire and urgency to do good lead follow up.
c. Don’t over-protect your leads by putting them into the computer and fancy systems – just call them! If they are motivated, they will appreciate it. After all, what is the number one complaint about agents from consumers?
6. Remember the purpose of the call is to SET THE APPOINTMENT!
a. “Managing” your leads gets you nowhere. Set the appointment or move on.
b. What’s the script? Since most of lead follow up is about qualifying and handling the objection so you can close for the appt, that makes each call very different.
c. Hi, this is blank from blank, how are you? Great, I’m calling to find out if you still need to buy or sell a home? Let’s set an appointment this week.
d. If they give you an objection to the appointment – Ideally when would you like to be in your new home or have your home sold? Whatever the answer you say, great, that’s exactly why we need to meet!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Last of the Basics

#5 Basic Skill is Close!
Closing is the skill I find agents fight the hardest. We tend to let them take their time when that isn't always the best choice for them. If we learn to close and get clients to act sooner, we avoid conversations with them that contain "woulda" "coulda" and "shoulda."
So, how many times do you ask for a commitment before giving up? Do you ask at all or wait for them to decide? Could you commit this week to asking at least one more time than you normally do?

#6 is Negotiate with them.
What side of the negotiation should you always be on? Most people will answer, "On the side of the client, of course." While that seems to make sense, we sometimes have to remember their side may not be in their best interests. Especially if their side is based on emotion and not logic. So, my standard answer to this question is, be on the side that accomplishes the clients goal the best. That way we stay with logic and get the job done.
How do statistics play in the negotiation? Are you equipped to show numbers to support your argument?
Can you take not so good information and present it in a positive way so the client doesn't react emotionally? We know from years of study that emotional decisions are typically very costly. Can you help your clients avoid them?

Skill #7 - Do 1 - 6, Make it happen and Start all over again by telling everyone about it!
Enough said on this skill.

So, which of these 7 Skills do you need the most help with? Email me with your questions, I'm happy to help!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

7 Basics Continued

#3 is to Qualify your leads
1. Do you routinely qualify all buyers and sellers? With buyers I mean more than just their lending capabilities. Finding out their motivation is the number 1 tool you have. Imagine a doctor prescribing you medicine without first asking your known allergies, getting your weight, etc.
2. Why do most agents avoid pre-qualifying? Often times they are afraid their ONE lead is not qualified because then they will have no leads. So they avoid the questions and just "hope and pray" they will buy or sell.
3. How would you handle it if you did run across an unqualified or unmotivated prospect? What is your script for that?

#4 is go on Presentations daily
1. Do you use a script on your listing and buying presentations? If not, why? Using a script helps you maintain control of the presentation, make sure you ask all the appropriate questions, keeps your presentation to a reasonable time and sets you apart as a professional. If you show up and "wing it" each time, how professional is that?
2. We get paid to the level we present. Do you practice the presentation regularly? How will you know you're getting any better if you don't practice? What are the common objections you receive at a presentation? The number of objections you receive is most likely related to the quality of your presentation. Tighten it up and watch your objections go right out the door!

If you have questions about these ideas, feel free to contact me.

Monday, June 7, 2010

7 Basics of Selling

Well after a short, unintentional break from this blog, I am back with information that I hope will bring light to your career. These are not new age ideas. They are basics. Vince Lombardi said it best..."become brilliant at the basics."

So here are the first 2.

1. Find people who want to buy or sell real estate every day.
What are you doing now to generate leads?
Is it working?
Do you have a consistent flow? Lead generation to your business is like water to a plant. Without it both will die!
How much time do you spend each day generating new leads to replace the old ones?
Do you know what questions to ask to generate lead?

2. Follup Up Daily/Regularly
How much lead follow up does a truly qualified, motivated lead actually need? I would suggest none! Since the point of lead follow up is to set an appointment and nothing else, if they are truly qualified you should be able to do it immediately. For everyone else, good lead follow up is needed.
How do you create urgency with your leads?
Do you know their true motivation? If not, how do you know when the right time is?
What is your current lead follow up system?
Is it working?
Do you have the right mindset about leads? Are you afraid to lose an unqualified lead OR are you afraid of what you're losing messing around with an unqualified lead.
I suggest the latter will make you more money.

For help with these or other questions about your business, email me!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Why is this a great market?

What you believe greatly impacts your results. We are driven by our thoughts. So, how do you feel about today's market? Are you surviving or THRIVING? Or worse, stuck in a rut? Well, regardless of where you are, here are several reasons why this is the BEST time to be in real estate!

1. Interest rates are still very low and favorable.
2. Buyers have plenty of great homes to choose from. Remember the days when every house was a bidding war and our buyers got so frustrated? Not today!
3. There are more Expired leads than ever before. Great opportunities to get listings.
4. FSBO's have little to no chance of selling on their own in this market. They will have to employ a powerful agent like yourself to get the job done.
5. There are fewer agents in the market today, less competition.
6. A lot of the agents left in the business are beaten up and have bad attitudes about the market.
7. Sellers are now aware of the market and are more willing to negotiate to get their home sold.
8. Tax credits and incentives have brought out more buyers.
9. Prices are low and affordable for more people to get involved.
10. The need for YOUR professional service has never been higher.

With these thoughts in mind, who are you going to help today? Someone in your market needs your service, will you go find them?

Monday, March 15, 2010

What I've learned in this business.

Through many years of selling, managing, training, and coaching I have come across truths in the business that cannot be overlooked. This will be a "blog" in progress! Here are a few of them to consider.

1. Your mindset will determine your outcome. You can put in the time, prospect, follow up, go on appts, have a strict schedule...if you don't have the right mindset, you won't have the right business.

2. We get paid for what we know, not necessarily for what we physically do. So if we are paid on our knowledge, how are you increasing that so you can earn more money? We have scripts, stats, dialogues, objection handlers all to make your business more smooth. Are you using them? Practicing them? Most in the business don't and are paid directly in proportion to that.

3. Time Management. Boy what a topic. I've never had a coaching client where this wasn't an issue to discuss. Because of no real "boss" we lack the accountability that is provided in a normal job. We are all responsible for how we spend our day and since we each have the same 24 hours the question does a 100 deal a year producer spend their day? And, how is it different from how you spend your day?

4. To truly operate as a business person, it is essential to know and track your numbers. This ranges from deals closed to how many appts it takes to get a listing. This is only important if you want to predict your business and have control of it. How are you tracking what you do each day?

5. Coaching. It just makes sense that the most productive agents have a coach. The accountability, motivation and continuous education is why they are set apart from the rest. What would be the perfect coach for you?

This is a start to this list. I will continue these ideas over the coming days. Feel free to leave comments or post questions.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Closing Skills

Here are some basic thoughts on closing for an appointment or signature in your real estate business.

1. What is Closing? -- Natural Call of Action Closing is helping the prospect! There is danger if they don’t make a decision much of the time. Being a good closer is not about selling ice to Eskimos – it’s a natural part. People don’t normally take action unless we ask them to.
2. Why don’t we close more often? What are we afraid of? Use Quantum Tools on the Website - How are you going to FEEL about them making a bad decision because you didn’t CLOSE! 80% of all sales will happen within 5-7 closes. Can you make a commitment to asking for the close just ONE more time that you normally would have?
3. Do we even know what we are closing FOR? Close for the APPOINTMENT – that’s the 1st step in the process. Don’t be answering questions now. That’s what you do ON the appointment.
4. Ensure the close will go smoothly by pre-qualifying How likely are you to close an unmotivated, unqualified prospect? If we pre-qualify – we are going to avoid rejection by only presenting and closing to motivated, prequalified prospects…
5. Make sure we are confident about what we are doing. There is never any room for assumptions unless we are assuming they are going to do business with us. Must be confident that YES, they want to do business with us… because we are confident about what we are saying? Say your positive affirmations daily. I am a power closer! People want to do business with me!
6. Be Direct. Are you there for a purpose? Have they asked you to their home for a reason? You are there for business. They are expecting you to ask them to do business. If you don’t, what does that say? Whose job is it to make the close, the Agent, or the Seller? Start with indirect and follow up with more direct… the Close.
7. Shut Up. We talk too much, don’t we? When we ask the B/S to take action, we have to be quiet and let them do it. Sometimes we talk too much and talk them OUT of doing something. Ask for the signature and nod your head yes. SMILE. Ask the question, nodding your head, smiling. Wait for them to respond.
8. Use HUMOR to break the tension. When you’re on the phone with a FSBO and they are insisting they are going to do it themselves… brain tumor, are you buying a drill and doing it yourself! Powerful sales people use some humor in your conversations. People get off “edge” so you can move the conversation forward.
9. Believe in your own VALUE. To be a good strong closer, you must believe in the value you bring… as the Value to the customer increases, the close becomes easier. If they don’t see the value, it’s easy to not commit. We must provide the value as a professional salesperson. Exercise: Find 5 good reasons why people should work with you. Put on an index card and bring it out and chant it 5-6 times. You are reminded of the value. Will you commit to doing that this week?
10. If all else fails, tell them you are going to close and why. As a professional salesperson, I want to demonstrate my superior skills to you. That’s why I am going to ask you to sign the contract so you know you are working with the best. This is the same skill I will use when working with a Buyer for your home. So, ___, will you sign the contract?
You are demonstrating a skill that they want you to have. Is that going to set you apart?