Archive for the ‘Real Estate’ Category

It’s an Education Extravaganza!

March 24, 2011

We have some amazing upcoming opportunities to share with you. First, our SAFARI is on the move!  Our signature event, SAFARI was developed for the agent who truly wants to make a significant change in their business. We’ll look at the challenges you face, recommend activities that take into account your work style, and help create action plans to move you toward success.

We have two SAFARI events planned for spring. You can join us at the SeaTac Holiday Inn, just south of Seattle, on May 11th and 12th. Or catch us on June 15th and 16th at Bothell’s Hilton Garden Inn. As the curriculum for both programs is identical, all you need to do is select that location most convenient for you!

Select a date to register for SAFARI:
May 11th and 12th | June 15th and 16th

Not sure if SAFARI is right for your business? Join us for a free, informational call on Friday, March 25th to learn more. The call will begin at 1:00 Pacific Daylight Time, and we’ll share the details of this great event. Click here to reserve your spot on the call. And be sure to bring your questions!

BUT WAIT … THERE’S MORE!

Are you unsure about the state of today’s real estate market? Do you struggle to answer your clients’ questions about the future of real estate? Are you looking for a positive point of view? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you need to hear what Denise Lones has to say! Based on national, regional and local data, Denise will share her insights and information about the cur­rent market, how we got to where we are today, and what’s in store for 2011. And we’ll include updates on where we are as the first quarter of 2011 draws to a close.

If a fresh perspective, based on market knowledge, is of interest to you be sure to join us from 9:30am-1:00pm on Wednesday, March 30th, at the REI store in Seattle for a 3.5 clock hour class.  Contact Michelle Gates of Old Republic Title at 206-441-2978 to enroll in Market Trends 2011.

We’re planning even more educational events for 2011. Be sure to watch your email for details!

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The Evolution of a Brand

February 17, 2011

In case you haven’t noticed, the Zebra Report has been given a makeover. Even zebras need to be freshened up from time to time! Basically, this is called a branding update. It’s not changing the components, or the message, or the primary colors – it’s giving our brand a tune-up. A makeover. Our zebra has enjoyed a day at the spa.

Companies do this all the time. Two companies in particular – Coca Cola and Pepsi – have done great job of brand evolution over the past 50 years. Their marketing gurus know how to take a look at what’s happening in the market and what’s happening with the consumer, and then rework their brand to better suit the needs of their ‘now’ customers. It’s very interesting to look at the evolution of their brands over the years. The elements stay the same. There are just subtle changes. But they are important changes.

So why did we freshen up our Zebra Report? For many reasons.

A major concern of ours has been that our readers – you – are busy people. They have a short amount of time to read articles online. Because our Zebra Report is sent out each and every week, we didn’t want it to get lost in the weekly communication shuffle.

We also wanted you to have a new, fresh, and better experience when you open up the Zebra Report. We wanted to continue with a similar look & feel, but also develop an easy way for you to remember our articles. So now, each week, our zebra – and other elements of our Zebra Report – will have a distinct color, which is drawn from the Design Spotlight section of the report. This gives the Zebra Report a pulled-together, cohesive feel, and will help you when you’re trying to remember an article. You’ll be able to say to yourself, “Oh, I know. It was the blue zebra from two weeks ago.” We want you to have an easy memory marker.

Note that we didn’t divert from our main color scheme: black, white, and shades of gray. We simply added a flexible accent color to create a memory marker.

Lastly, we felt that it was time to bring in a more elegant element to our zebra and our brand. We all know that zebras are black/white and can look somewhat harsh. We wanted to better match our zebra to our product line. We are not a mass-marketing company; we offer customized high-end solutions and very effective custom training. We want our brand – and our Zebra Report – to truly reflect who we are and what we do.

How does all this apply to you?

As a real estate agent, your branding says a lot about how your services will benefit potential clients. Let’s say you have personalized branding and marketing tools which were created for you ten years ago. Your brand fits you, it reflects your personality and your business, and yes, it worked wonders when you first implemented it. But how does that brand speak to clients in 2011?

Buyers and sellers in 2011 are more media and tech-savvy than ever before. They’re looking for agents who not only know their market, but who are current with the tools and marketing platforms that the most successful agents – and companies – are utilizing. You may be at the top of your game when it comes to technology, but if your marketing materials look like they were crafted ten years ago, your potential clients may not be so sure. Before you’ve even had a chance to introduce yourself and explain your services, they may have already made an assumption about you that is quite inaccurate.

Ask yourself this – does your look, or your brand, need refreshing? Does it need a day at the spa?  I want you to really think about it. I want you to think about how your sphere and clients have changed over the years, and make sure that your brand is still relevant to them.

Our Zebra Report needed an update – and we couldn’t be happier with the final results! We’ve had fantastic comments, and we’d love to have you let us know what you think. Does it give you a strong memory marker? Is our new format easier to navigate? You can offer your input by taking our short survey, below.

One last thought: this week’s Zebra Report topic is so near and dear to me, that I’d like to share a recording of a presentation that I gave about branding. If you’d like this free recording, click here to download.

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Only One Week Left To Register for The Safari!

February 9, 2011

This Safari will kick your 2011 off right and is chock-full of amazing customizable material! And the best part? It is all about YOU! Your business, your habits and way of doing business, your custom solutions – there is no “one-size-fits-all” system at Safari:

  • Review your personal journey. You are at a crossroads and we need to take a look inside your rucksack—your belief system, conflict style, confidence, work style, personal pace, and habits.
  • Time to repack! A review of the “10 Essentials” and what you need to bring with you.
  • Where do you want to go? Building a successful business roadmap that runs parallel to your personal roadmap.
  • Elephant, jeep, on-foot, swinging on a vine – how do you like to travel? An in-depth investigation of the four personality types, how they affect your business, and how to adjust your natural style to communicate effectively with anyone.
  • Your Challenges; Your Solutions an open forum where you can tell us what the ‘roaring lions’ are for you, and where we teach you how stand your ground.
  • You’re out of the jungle and into the light! Planning for an amazing 2011 – creating custom lead generation, follow up, client care, and presentation plans for your personality type (capitalize on your strengths and avoid the quicksand!).

February 16th and 17th in Redmond, Washington.

Learn more about this exciting two-day event and register today!

Register for the Safari Today!

February 3, 2011

This Safari will kick your 2011 off right and is chock-full of amazing customizable material! And the best part? It is all about YOU! Your business, your habits and way of doing business, your custom solutions – there is no “one-size-fits-all” system at Safari:

  • Review your personal journey.You are at a crossroads and we need to take a look inside your rucksack—your belief system, conflict style, confidence, work style, personal pace, and habits.
  • Time to repack! A review of the “10 Essentials” and what you need to bring with you.
  • Where do you want to go? Building a successful business roadmap that runs parallel to your personal roadmap.
  • Elephant, jeep, on-foot, swinging on a vine – how do you like to travel? An in-depth investigation of the four personality types, how they affect your business, and how to adjust your natural style to communicate effectively with anyone.
  • Your Challenges; Your Solutions an open forum where you can tell us what the ‘roaring lions’ are for you, and where we teach you how stand your ground.
  • You’re out of the jungle and into the light! Planning for an amazing 2011 – creating custom lead generation, follow up, client care, and presentation plans for your personality type (capitalize on your strengths and avoid the quicksand!).

February 16th and 17th in Redmond, Washington.

Learn more about this exciting two-day event!

Click here to register today!

 

Ask Denise!

February 1, 2011
Q: I’ve been working on my business plan for 2011. I’ve set my goals, but I’m not sure how to figure out what I need to do this year to increase my business and my income. Is there a basic formula?

A: Nope. Sorry. Building a really solid business plan isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. When I work with clients we look at their numbers in order to determine where they’ve been, compared to where they want to go. And then we reverse-engineer their data, working backwards from their goal in order to determine what they must do every day, week and month in order to reach their goals. If this makes sense to you but you want to take it one step further, consider attending my 2-day Safari this month on February 16th and 17th. It’s called Trek to Success for a reason – everyone attending will build a customized business plan, using their past and current personal data (and yes, that means MATH!) as a starting point.


The Safari: Your Trek to Success!

January 25, 2011

This Safari will kick your 2011 off right and is chock-full of amazing customizable material! And the best part? It is all about YOU! Your business, your habits and way of doing business, your custom solutions – there is no “one-size-fits-all” system at Safari:

  • Review your personal journey. You are at a crossroads and we need to take a look inside your rucksack—your belief system, conflict style, confidence, work style, personal pace, and habits.
  • Time to repack! A review of the “10 Essentials” and what you need to bring with you.
  • Where do you want to go? Building a successful business roadmap that runs parallel to your personal roadmap.
  • Elephant, jeep, on-foot, swinging on a vine – how do you like to travel? An in-depth investigation of the four personality types, how they affect your business, and how to adjust your natural style to communicate effectively with anyone.
  • Your Challenges; Your Solutions an open forum where you can tell us what the ‘roaring lions’ are for you, and where we teach you how stand your ground.
  • You’re out of the jungle and into the light! Planning for an amazing 2011 – creating custom lead generation, follow up, client care, and presentation plans for your personality type (capitalize on your strengths and avoid the quicksand!).

February 16th and 17th in Redmond, Washington.
(Dates changed due to snowstorm.)

Learn more about this exciting two-day event!

Click here to register today!

 

This Week’s Featured Product: How to Make Money Now, Not Later

January 24, 2011

We’ve lowered our prices on several of our downloadable audio products! Many now just $19!

This week’s featured product:

How to Make Money Now, Not Later

You need to make money NOW, in fact RIGHT NOW!!! You don’t have time to take a sales class or even attend a full-day seminar, you need to turn on the money faucet YESTERDAY!

Learn how to take the type of action that is required to jumpstart your business FAST. This is not the time to build the perfect business, it is the time to go hunting.

If you hate prospecting but need a jumpstart, you’ve come to the right place.

AUDIO PRODUCTS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

Select a title to view more information and purchase

How-to Series:

Presentations:

Lead Generation:

Marketing Help:

Visit our website for more information!

Why Ask Denise? Because You Need Sound, Honest Advice, Now More Than Ever!

January 21, 2011

While I love everything about my job, there are some things that really make my day – like receiving an ‘Ask Denise’ email. Every question has a different spin to it, because no two agents think about their issues and challenges in the same way. And I love that.

This week’s Zebra Report is based on five recent ‘Ask Denise’ questions. Thank you for continuing to ask … and thank you for making my day.

Question 1: Denise, should I spend more time at the office or at my home office? I get distracted at the office because I like to visit with my colleagues and staff. But I feel like it’s important to be there.

It really depends on your personality type. For some people, although being at the office can be distracting, it’s essential to feel alive and strong and fully engaged in business.

As an example, Promoters thrive with some distraction. They need interaction and camaraderie with others. It powers them up so they do great work. However, Supporters often find that being at the office is actually more detrimental than it is energizing. Supporters have a need to be very engaged with people—they give a lot of their time and energy, even when it’s not necessary. For a Supporter, being at the office is an energy drainer, not an energy booster. That’s why working from home on a very regular basis is important for a Supporter.

The one thing I can guarantee you is that you’re not asking this question if you’re a Controller or an Analytical. It doesn’t matter to them whether they are at the office or at home. Controllers and Analyticals have an innate ability to stay focused on the task at hand without being distracted.

Once you know what your personality type is, and how it affects you and your business so significantly, you’ll better know how—and where—you get your best work done.

Want to learn more? Come to our 2-day Safari on February 16th and 17th. We’ll show you how incredibly important your personality type is to every facet of your business.

Question 2: How do I counteract negative media when it seems like the market is starting to get better in my region?

You counteract negative media with knowledge. You have to really know your statistics, and you must have that information in front of you in an easy-to-understand format.

Let me give you an example. Recently Zillow had an article stating that the Seattle market is the 4th worst market to invest in right now. I don’t agree with that, and I know exactly why I don’t—I also track the statistics and see a much different picture.

Bottom line is this. If you know a recent story doesn’t jive with what you know is the truth, counteract act that story with stats and numbers and information. Have all the information you need to back your opinion up, so that the stories you hear and read don’t rattle you.

Additionally, don’t keep what you know to yourself. The people in your sphere are likely following the negative stories as well. Send something in the mail! Or call some of the movers and shakers in your sphere! When you have the strength of your data to back you up, you’ll be confident and knowledgeable in counteracting negative information.

Question 3: I’ve done many business plans over the years, but I never reach the financial level I want. What can I do differently to actually generate the success I’m looking for?

Thank you so much for asking this! So often I talk to agents who are struggling to reach the level of success they want, and learn that – sadly – they continue to do the same thing year after year, thinking (and hoping!) that “this year it will  work.”

What you have to remember is that the business of real estate is quite complex. In order for you to know how much money you need to make, you have to understand how your days-on-market numbers affect your commission. You have to understand the relationship between your average sale price and your projected income. You need to understand how the quality of your database (or lack thereof) affects your ability to reach the next level you’re striving for. You have to know how your follow-up systems and lead generation systems affect your business.

Most agents only focus on one or two of these rather than looking at them all and understanding how they are all tied together. You have to use all of them to build a strong business plan!

I look at it like this: there are about 6 levels of business plans. Most agents continually stick to a plan that is much too basic. I’d say it’s a Level 1. I want agents to know what a Level 6 plan looks like, and how to use it to really – and I mean really – take their business to a whole new level.

At our February Safari, we’re literally going to start at Level 1 and finish at Level 6. When you leave Safari, you’ll know exactly what you need to do daily, weekly, monthly and annually to reach your financial and personal goals.

Question 4:  I’m finding that I’m taking on too much, and my quality of life is really beginning to suffer. How do I balance my work life, and my personal life, and still make everyone happy?

This is another question I get asked all the time by my coaching clients. They are so busy at work, and so busy at home, that their overall quality of life is suffering.

When we really get into the discussion, what I find most often is that they just don’t know how to say, “NO.” They take on listings that take too much time, and won’t sell anytime soon. They give up family time to take non-committal buyers out instead. They volunteer for everything that comes up in their personal life, which takes valuable time away from their business.

What I tell agents to do is this: look at everything they are currently doing and assess two things – 1) does it produce short-term income, or 2) does it add value to either my quality of life, or the long-term success of my business. If it doesn’t fit into one of those 2 areas, they need to rethink how often they are agreeing to do things that hamper their ability to balance everything on their plate.

My last thought is this: you will never reach the level of business you want if you don’t have the quality of life you need to be happy. Remember that business plan we talked about above? The Level 6 plan we’ll create at Safari will teach you how to build a plan that gives you the balance you crave.

Question 5: My company has good name recognition in my market. They also have marketing materials I can use in my presentations. After a slow couple of years, why would I spend money on personal branding?

This is such a great question! While you can continue to use your company’s materials, you’re simply advertising your company – not you. I’m sorry to tell you this, but research shows that one agent looks very much like another to the consumer.

That’s exactly why you must stand out from the crowd. The most cost effective way to do this? Branding. Once you make the initial investment, it will pay off for years to come.

Imagine the impact to your business if every piece of marketing a client gets from you reinforces your marketing message. Trust me – it’s unbelievable.

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI

Which Are You? How Personalities Handle Different Kinds of Markets

January 14, 2011

Every person’s personality type creates natural tendencies. Personality can affect everything we do on a personal and a professional level.

There are four main personality types, which I call Promoter, Controller, Analytical and Supporter. They are each very different and each have their own set of strengths and weaknesses.

And believe it or not, personality plays a major role in how an agent handles different kinds of real estate markets. For the sake of today’s Zebra Report, I’m going to talk about how agents, all with different personalities, handle good markets and challenging markets. Have they prepared? Do they handle the changes well? Have they experienced a great deal of difficulty?

The pace of a fast market allows an agent’s weaknesses to be masked. Agents think they are at the top of their game. They are happy because the market is going well and they’re making money. In essence, the best of their type shines through because they have very little stress.

However, the moment you add market stress to their daily life, each personality type handles it differently. For some, is somewhat detrimental for their business but they will recover. For others, it can ruin their business.

Let’s look at the 4 types, how they handle a good market, and how they handle a changing, or challenging market.

Promoter: When the market is good, a promoter is having a great time. They are outgoing, they are high energy and the one-on-one communication is very important to them. They can juggle – and thrive when juggling – a lot of people at once. When the market changes however, a Promoter starts to lose their mojo. There are not enough people to talk to and not enough activity. For a promoter, lack of activity can destroy their business. Promoters need positive momentum. When it’s missing their gears get stuck and they slow way down. In a challenging market, the key for Promoters is to ramp up their follow-up and lead generation. They have to increase the number of people interactions. They need to find outlets for their energy.

ControllersWhen the market is good, a Controller is really happy because there is a lot to do. They are completely task-oriented, and they like getting things done. It’s not that they don’t like people, they are just very, very focused on ‘the job’. They are focused on the tasks. For a Controller, in a challenging market they struggle because there are fewer tasks to handle. They get very nervous because they need something to work for. The key for Controllers to staying focused is to find ways to have lots of tasks to do. If there are undone projects—i.e. buyer and seller packages or a new website—this is the time to really concentrate on those projects. Find a positive outlet for “tasks energy.”

AnalyticalsThe Analytical agent is happiest when they can spend most of their time really looking at market statistics and providing concrete advice to their clients. They like giving advice. However, this is also the agent that experiences the most fear in a challenging market. They analyze everything. They pour over the news. They over-analyze client remarks. They pay very close attention to what the other agents are saying. And, they become fearful. Oftentimes, they freeze. They are unsure what kinds of advice to give, so they don’t give any. It’s somewhat like a turtle—they recede into the safety of their shell. The key for the Analytical is to increase their lead generation and work with clients who have to move. They need to find ways to provide the kind of advice that they think is critically important to receive.Analyticals also benefit from a strong mentor because they need someone who is confident about the future and can counsel that the market is not as bad as they think it is.

SupportersThe supporter loves people. They love building relationships. They really care about their clients and they take their job as a real estate agent, and the support they provide, very seriously. In a challenging market, where clients are sometimes upside down on their mortgage, or cannot move because the market has them financially strapped, supporters have a great deal of difficulty. Because they love people so much, and they feel so badly about circumstances—even worse, they can’t fix the problems, their stress level becomes huge. When a Supporter has a short-sale client, it will bother them for weeks. It takes away their mojo. The key for a Supporter is to be careful about taking on other people’s problems. If they can help, great. If not, they cannot feel as if it’s their fault. Supporters also benefit from making sure they spend time with colleagues who are positive about the market.

The bottom line is this: Every agent and personality type reacts differently to good, challenging, and normal markets. You need to find a way to use what’s happening to benefit your business.

If you’ve let this current market get the better of you and need to win your business back, we are offering concrete solutions at our upcoming 2-day Safari in February (rescheduled due to the snowstorm). We’ll teach you exactly how to use your personality type and style to stay on top of your game, even when the market is challenging you in more ways than you’ve ever before experienced.

Want to know more? Click here for more information and to register.

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI

2011: What’s on the Horizon

January 7, 2011

How do you become an authority? By being an expert on a topic.

For me, that topic is real estate.

And to be an expert on real estate I need to understand many, many things.

Contract law. Buyer and seller motivations. The power of marketing. And so much more.

To truly understand the real estate market and be able to identify trends that impact your lives as agents, I also do an enormous amount of research into things that most agents don’t even think about when they hear the words “real estate”.  I research dozens of sources – and I’m not talking about CNN or the nightly news.

Because I research the market, and the economy, on a daily basis I have the ability to look at where we’ve been, and have a pretty good sense of where we’re headed. Which brings me to my 2011 predictions.

Every year I do predictions for the coming year. And in the 11 years I’ve been doing this, my success rate is 98%. You see, numbers don’t lie. Economic indicators are just that – indicators of where we’re headed.

Here are three of my predictions for 2011:

  1. Home Prices
    While most national and local economists are forecasting continued declines in the price of homes, I completely disagree.  I believe 2011 is the year prices will increase. There are two reasons for this: 1) the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is pumping jobs into the economy.  More jobs equate to more home buyers … and more home buyers equate to more demand for housing, leading to an increase in home prices in many areas.  Those areas that are highly sensitive to the job market will be affected more—positively when there are more jobs; negatively when there are fewer jobs.  2) The affordability index is at an all-time high, which also lures buyers into the marketplace.  Both the ARRA and the affordability index are contributing factors in 2010 that will peak in 2011.  Home prices should increase slightly in 2011.  Look for national increases of 2-3%, and increases of 4-5% in the State of Washington.
  2. Interest Rates
    Mortgage rates will likely rise slightly throughout 2011, exceeding the 5% level before year-end. However, rates should remain below 5% until May. The Federal Reserve will not raise rates until the unemployment rate decreases significantly, and will keep the short-term interest rate near zero through 2011.
  3. Consumer Confidence
    Research from a variety of sources shows that consumer confidence was on the rise in the last quarter of 2010. This important index rose to 49.9% in October of 2010, and to 54.1% in November of 2010.  Additional reports indicate a 5.5% increase in retail sales in the period from November 5 to December 24, as consumer spending continued to make a comeback. While there is always some increase in consumer confidence after an election, if the index continues to improve at this level it will most certainly help the economy and the real estate market in 2011.

This is the kind of market data that tells the real estate story for 2011.

As I said earlier, to be an expert on the topic of real estate you need to do the research. If you really want to become an authority, then take the time to understand what the numbers mean on a national, regional and local level—and how to articulate that information in your day-to-day business.

I’ve given you 3 predictions in this Zebra Report; however I actually have 20 additional predictions for 2011! While I would love to share those with you, my full list of annual predictions are reserved for my coaching clients, and my Safari Club and Club Zebra clients.

If you’d like more information on my predictions and what they mean for the 2011 real estate market, click here to sign up for Safari Club.

You’ll not only get my 2011 predictions article, you’ll have access to:

  • Valuable monthly real estate articles. Send them to your clients as though YOU had researched and written them.
  • Monthly coaching conference calls with Denise Lones.
  • Online business tools designed to help you keep track of your clients, realize your business potential, and make your marketing planning more effective.
  • Exclusive educational webinars.
  • 20% off all Lones Group audio products.
  • An amazing 50% off admission at our signature “Safari” business-building events including my upcoming 2 day Safari on January 12th and 13th.

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI


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