Posts Tagged ‘Coaching’

Safari is Just Around the Corner!

May 24, 2011

Don’t let the amazing event pass you by!

We’ll be looking at:

  • Where you are in your business.
  • What the last two years have brought … and what the next two years could bring.
  • Your natural work and behavioral styles, and how they dramatically impact your success.
  • The ten essentials for a successful business.
  • How to create an action plan that takes you where you want to be.

Think this is just another real estate seminar?  Think again!  We guarantee you’ve never attended an event quite like this.

Here’s what one agent had to say after our last event:

“This was the most personal and insightful seminar I have ever attended.  Denise has a great gift, and this could be the key to my personal and professional success.”

If you’re ready to take action, enroll in Safari while seats still remain!

The Unforgettable Open House!

May 5, 2011

Join us for our “Unforgettable Open House” event, and we’ll teach you how to design and conduct a truly unforgettable open house experience. You’ll learn the secret “props” needed for success, and how to captivate open house visitors. Discover the art of truly showing a home, rather than simply standing in the kitchen while potential clients walk in (and out!) the door. Hear the simple secret to capturing client contact information, without seeming like a pushy salesperson, “masculine talk” versus “feminine talk”, and much, much more!


We’re offering this amazing opportunity in conjunction with Washington REALTORS® in support of the National Association of REALTORS® Open House Weekend, scheduled for June 4th and 5th. Master all of the insider secrets to a successful open house … then participate in the National Open House Weekend by holding your best open house ever. Public awareness of open houses will be high, and their expectations will be as well. You need to be ready to deliver!

Event details:

Tuesday, May 24
Master Builders Association
335 116th Avenue SE
Bellevue, WA   98004

9:00 – 12:15    OR    1:00 – 4:15

Attend for no cost* … or receive 3.5 clock hours for $35 ($40 at the door).  We’re limiting attendance to this event, so sign-up today!

If you want to create an unforgettable open house experience – one that will generate income for you – you must join us for this memorable class.

RSVP for “The Unforgettable Open House” class, today!

*You must RSVP for this event, even if you are selecting a complimentary ticket.

This event sponsored by:

Kathy Tarabochia
Mortgage Consultant

Powerful Technology Tools

April 14, 2011

This is the fourth article in my series on powerful listing presentations, where we’ll be covering pricing, communication, technology, marketing, and home presentation & photography.

This week I want to discuss powerful technology tools and the importance of these tools in your listing presentation.

Regardless of whether technology is important to you in your personal life, you must step up to the technology plate when it comes to your business. In today’s world, providing the widest possible array of online marketing tools is critically important to your success as a listing agent.

Here’s why: Sellers are hiring you to expose their home to the largest potential group of buyers available. Online marketing is a very important part of this process. Gone are the days when can you simply rely on flyers, yard signs, newspaper and magazine ads, the MLS, and other agents.  I’m not saying to stop using these traditional methods, just trying to make sure that you’re integrating technology into the mix.

Yes, there are buyers who likely only look for houses through print media, or only with their agent. And there are also buyers who rarely look at houses online, and would rather spend their weekends attending open houses. However, many buyers today are completely plugged into online real estate search sites, as well as Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. It’s part of your job as an agent to understand the value of technology, embrace it as part of your overall business plan, and apply it to get results.

And your listing presentation is the perfect place to show that you “get” technology. According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2010 Profile of Buyers & Sellers, more than 90% of sellers today expect enhanced online marketing. The message is clear — online marketing is extremely important to sellers!

While there are lots of technology tools to choose from, and even more opportunities for online marketing, the way you present your technology plan to sellers is immensely important to meeting their needs and expectations. If you can show your expertise in this area, you’ll immediately increase the likelihood of walking out with a signed listing agreement.

So just how do you articulate your value to today’s tech-savvy seller? You create visual tools!  Remember those? They are the ‘props’ I’ve been talking about in my recent Zebra Reports. Use your props to show sellers how you will expertly market their home online.

Below is my list of the technology “musts” for today’s successful agent.

1. You must have a custom website: It would be hard today to find a real estate company without its own website. Since the late 1990’s, real estate companies around the world have built websites that: 1) help buyers search for homes, 2) help sellers market their homes, and 3) act as a marketing tool for the company itself. Some are amazing … and some leave a lot to be desired. Regardless of how robust your company’s site is, you need your own custom website.

Often an agent will say, “My company offers nicely done template websites at very low cost. That’s good enough for me.” I disagree! Imagine this: you work in a market where you and many of your company colleagues are competing for the same listings. Each of you shows up at your listing presentations with the same basic template, and very, very similar online tools. OK, so maybe there are a few changes – your personal photos are obviously different, and maybe a couple of you have changed a background photo on the site — but it really is the same website.  Who stands out to the seller? Nobody. Remember that statistic above? Sellers are telling you that they want more – they want to know that you have stepped up your technology game to a whole new level. They are looking for technology that meets their expectations, and exposes their home to the largest number of potential buyers.

They also want your website to showcase their home – not simply advertise their home as one of the many listings you may have. Just as you want to stand out from the agent crowd, your sellers want to know that their home stands out from all the other listings on the market.

There are hundreds of features available, such as simple map searches, common-feature searches, school-proximity searches, and pre-mapped neighborhood searches. You don’t need them all, but you must have enough custom tools on your website to ‘wow’ your sellers with your ability to reach and engage buyers.

A custom website allows you to do all of that.

Take a look at John Hurlbut’s website, below.  John was in my EVOLVE coaching group last year, and is part of this year’s ENCORE group. We developed John’s website for him in 2010.  A tech-savvy agent, John knew that a website was a key component in building his business. John’s website utilizes an IDX (Internet Data Exchange) service to pull in listings from the MLS and display them front and center on the website. Visitors have the ability to perform as simple or complex a search as they desire, can save search queries and favorite listings, make notes on listings, receive updates, plug numbers into a mortgage calculator, and so on. In addition, a custom website allows you to include other helpful pages, such as details on your client services, an area resource section full of information for anyone who might be new to the area, and a blog.

While you’re building your custom website, consider including a private client area as well. This is a username and password-protected area where your sellers have access to a wide variety of information about their individual listing.  The private client area is the perfect spot for feedback reports, showing reports, local and neighborhood market data updates, your marketing calendar, and – once there is an offer – your pending-to-closing calendar. While this doesn’t replace having person-to-person discussions with your sellers, it provides them with another layer of service that few agents provide.

2. You must engage in social media: Gone are the days when posting your listing to a website is good enough. Long-gone are the days when every evening an anxious buyer sits down at his computer and weeds through all of the new listings. Today’s buyer is instantly plugged into the latest information on new listings. Even though real estate is still about building relationships, and those relationships need to be personal and face-to-face, sites like Facebook and Twitter have fast become the communication tool many people use on a daily basis.

If you’re not engaged in the conversation – and talking about your listings and real estate – other agents will be filling in the gap. And their listings are being put in front of thousands of potential buyers every single day. Your sellers deserve the kind of global marketing that social networking sites offer.

3. You must syndicate your listings: It’s not enough to have a website and use social media to market your listings. There’s one more step you must take – and it’s listing syndication!  What is listing syndication?  It’s a way to is a way to promote your listing in a national – or perhaps – global way.  When you “syndicate” a listing, you post that listing on a large number of websites … and in turn, those sites share their website content (a part of which is your listing) with other websites.  Syndicate strategically, and you’ll be able to promote your listings to hundreds of thousands of potential buyers searching online for real estate.

Listing syndication is a terrific tool, but you need to do a little research before syndicating. Take care to only post to sites that accurately represent your listings, and which provide a way for you to quickly and easily update pricing information or additional photos.

Look for websites that offer you the widest amount of buyer-friendly tools, including the ability to add multiple and virtual tours. Determine who their online partners are (who they syndicate to), and the depth of the exposure your sellers will receive. Create a visual ‘prop’ that indicates not only where you post your seller’s home, but where those posts are syndicated and the number of visitors that each site has every day. There is value in numbers – and your sellers will instantly understand how that value impacts their goal to get their home sold.

If you want to syndicate, but you’re not sure where to start, look no further than your real estate company. Find out where they post your listings. Then look at regional and national sites. There even companies that will syndicate your listings for you. You simply post your listing information once, and they do all the work for you.

Many of the agents I work with tell me the sites below are ones that they regularly use to take advantage of listing syndication. You should do your homework, however, to find websites that offer you the most benefit.

The technology board below is a terrific example of a listing syndication ‘prop’ that one of our clients uses during his listings presentation. This allows him a visually compelling way to explain what listing syndication is, and the considerable benefit it brings to his sellers.

I know this focus on technology may sound a bit daunting at first blush.  It will take you some time to do your homework, determine the best ways for you to market your listings online, and learn how to articulate that value to your sellers.  But I promise you it will be well worth it in the long run. Listing competition is tough these days, and if you want to successfully build your business (and increase your income!)  you absolutely must use technology to your advantage. If you do, your listing presentation will have yet another layer of expertise that will dramatically set you apart from the competition. And that means sellers will look no further than you when hiring their listing agent.

The fifth topic in our six-part “Powerful Listing Presentations” is marketing … and we’ll be unveiling that next week.  Be sure to watch for our next Zebra Report!

Ask Denise: Time Management

April 14, 2011

Q: I have too much to do every week and am getting behind. How do I manage my time more effectively? I feel like I’m drowning!

A: Any time I hear an agent feel like they’re losing focus I know they’re not doing what I call “the hour of power”. You’ve probably heard me talk about the hour of power before. It’s as simple as this: set aside an hour of time each and every day where you work on projects that will improve your business. During that time you DO NOT call clients, email clients, text clients, or communicate with clients in any way. Instead, tackle those projects that will provide a long-term benefit to your business – such as the development of your website, the creation of a buyer or seller package, or the development of a brochure that describes your services. If possible, have your hour of power at the same time every day, and try to do it in a spot with as few distractions as possible.

Where Will Your Business Be Four Weeks From Now?

April 13, 2011

Without intervention, it will probably be exactly where it is today.

Now, if you’re exactly where you want to be … great!

But if you are searching for more success, or you need a jolt of inspiration, you need to join us on Safari to learn how to make business-building changes that will carry your forward.

Are you ready to set aside your belief that “the market” will dictate your success?  (Hint: we are coaching clients who are having their best year EVER!)   Do you love the synergy that comes from a room full of people focused on making a positive change in their business?  Is it just time to plan for a better business – one that you’ll love for years to come?

If you answered yes to any one of these questions, we want to see you at one of our upcoming Safari events.

Need more details?  Click here to learn more!

Does Your Business Deserve Some Attention?

April 5, 2011

Like a garden, your business will flourish only if you seed, feed, and water it.  And we believe the best way to do that is to step away from your business for a couple of days to really focus on where you’ve been … and where you want to go.

We also believe your business deserves a commitment to nourish it.  Today is the day to commit to spending two days with us to revitalize your business!

We want to see you at our next Safari event.  What is Safari?  Simply put, it’s a two-day revitalization plan for your business.  We’re going to look at where you’ve been, what you’ve brought on the journey, and where you want to go.  And then we’ll provide you with tools, tips, and techniques to help you get there.

You’re probably thinking five weeks is a long way off … and that you’ll decide in three or four weeks whether you’ll attend our Safari event.  But we believe your business deserves more of a commitment from you than that.  That’s why we encourage you to click here today – right here, right now – to enroll in our next Safari event.  Seating is always limited for this event, and we sell out each time we offer this opportunity.  Don’t hesitate – enroll today!

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!

Ask Denise: Buyers & Foreclosures

March 24, 2011

Q: I’m frustrated because I’ve been working with a buyer who will only look at foreclosures. He believes that’s where the ‘deals’ are. We keep writing low offers, which keep being rejected. I need help convincing him to write an offer the bank will accept … or I have to find a way to convince him to look at listings that are not short sales or foreclosures.  Help!

A:  This is a common question in today’s market. First, you need to explain the reality of the foreclosure market to your buyer. Foreclosures can be immensely complicated because there are so many stakeholders to deal with. The lender is also the property owner. There is a complicated legal process that must be followed. Title companies are often backlogged with the paperwork required by the lender and attorneys. Add all these components to the mix, and you’ve got serious challenges.

Buyers must also understand the time it takes to buy a foreclosure.  Many foreclosures take months and months to close. If your buyer currently has a loan in place with an acceptable interest rate, what will he do if his transaction takes six months to close … and interest rates increase during that time? Will he still be approved to purchase the property?

It’s imperative that you have a frank discussion with your buyer about the benefits and challenges of looking only at foreclosures. Buyers always think foreclosures are a “great deal”. They can also be a great deal of work, are typically accompanied by a great deal of frustration and waiting, and always require a great deal of patience. Make sure your buyer understands, and is comfortable with, all of the challenges before you write any more offers.

Out of Sight = Out of Mind

March 10, 2011

There’s nothing harder than running into a past client and learning that they just bought or sold a home … without you. It wounds your pride, it shakes your confidence, and it hurts your pocketbook. What I’ve learned over many years is that when someone tells me their story, I’m rarely surprised after I hear the full story. Here’s a hint: Out of sight = out of mind.

One of the most important truths in real estate is that you need to stay “top-of-mind” with your clients. You must be confident that when the people you know need real estate services, you are the first person they think of.

People today are busy. They have busy jobs, busy lives, and often they are juggling the activities of several family members – and everyone’s corresponding calendars. When they are ready to buy or sell property, they don’t have time to search for a new agent. If they have one who is already top-of-mind, that’s who they call. People call the agent who is in their mind, at the exact moment they decide to pick up the phone, look a house online, or send an email.

Are you that person?

Agents ask me all the time: “How do I cram one more thing into an already hectic business?”  My answer is simple: You have to.

It’s not your sphere’s job to remember to call you – it’s your responsibility to make sure they call you.

Another question I often get asked is: “What’s the best way to stay top-of-mind?”  My answer is always the same – and a bit frustrating for some agents. There is no magic formula, and there is no one “best” way. The truth is, you have to match your communication format with the way your sphere wants (and sometimes needs) to be communicated with.

Remember this: deciphering their communication code takes a lot of time! But it’s absolutely worth it in the long run.

First look at your database. Then determine the best way to stay top-of-mind with each of them. Is it in person? Is it by mail? Is it by phone? Is it via email? Or are they happiest when they see you at the grocery store?

Here is why this is so frustrating to some agents. It’s hard to put together a follow-up plan – a strategic and effective top-of-mind campaign – when you have so much to consider and not a lot of time to build a plan.

So, what’s the answer? Here are some things to think about.

  1. A great place to start is by thinking about how you are going to communicate. I firmly believe that for most agents whose client base includes a wide variety of age-groups and an even wider variety of communication preferences, a very high-quality, content-rich piece of mail is critical. It’s important that your clients get something they can touch and feel, and that reinforces the fact that you are their best resource for real estate expertise. A high-quality piece also says that they are important to you not only on a professional level, but on a personal level.
  2. Determine your message. Always send real estate-related information. (Note: If you have a sphere that really appreciates the college football schedule you send in August, that’s fine. But I consider that an “extra” mailing piece, not your August top-of-mind piece.) Top-of-mind mail needs to update your sphere on the real estate market. It needs to speak to the trends and news and also provide insight into the market. This piece needs to address the factors that impact your sphere’s ability to make wise real estate investment decisions. For example, you might include important changes to real estate laws. The content needs to include the kind of information that any buyer or seller wants (and needs) to have.

Some agents send a newsletter, and some agents send an oversized postcard. Again, the format should meet the needs of your sphere – which may be different than the format a colleague of yours sends to their sphere. And it should always be designed using YOUR brand. Remember – your sphere may be getting information from other agents in your area. If everything they get looks eerily similar, the reader will think the content is the same too. You have to stand out – and you must provide relevant content.

If you want to make your mailer more personal, consider sending out a quarterly neighborhood review. Collect data on every active, pending and sold listing and provide commentary on what the market is doing right now. One note of caution – do not just send a chart or a graph or a list. You have to also tell your reader what the data means, and why that is important to them as potential sellers and/or buyers. People like to know what’s happening in the real estate industry. They like to be kept up to date so they can feel ‘in the know’.

I often get asked about sending out an online newsletter. My answer is this: If you are very confident that your sphere is best served by an online newsletter, or a blog that you write and they follow, then that’s a good option. However, as I said earlier, most agents have a very diverse sphere. Some folks may not be connected to the online world. Or they are bombarded by email every day and what you send will get deleted along with every other email they aren’t reading. If you have a tech-savvy population within your sphere, by all means customize an online piece just for them.

The bottom line is this:

  • To stay top-of-mind with your sphere, you have to have a strong follow-up plan.
  • To have a strong follow-up plan, you have to take the time to determine exactly who your sphere is, and what your plan looks like.
  • Once you have everything mapped out, make it easy on yourself by setting up a regular schedule that ensures your sphere hears from you each and every month.

Want to go from out of sight and out of mind to top-of-mind? A strong follow-up plan will get you there.

Just One Thing

February 24, 2011

For many agents, just getting away for a few hours to invest time in their business is hard. What’s even harder is getting away for two entire days. But recently a large group of agents did just that. They took two days away and joined us for the first of our 2011 Safaris.

We asked attendees to really look at their business. We asked them to really look at who they are. We asked them to look at their strengths and weaknesses. We asked them to look back at their production numbers and examine why they weren’t where they want to be.

We talked about their challenges. Their trouble points. The areas of their business where they struggle again, and again, and again.

While most Safari attendees planned on incorporating many changes into their business after the Safari, my hope was that just one of those changes be something that positively impacted their business right away. Just one thing!

I have to tell you, it was absolutely exhilarating to watch real life scenarios play out over the two days. It was amazing to watch the changes taking place for agents who were willing to lay their challenges on the line and ask for help.

Here’s just one story out of the many that transpired:

One of the agents attending Safari was having a huge problem that day – actually at a particular moment – with a buyer who, four hours earlier, had been ready to write an offer. However, the buyer suddenly wouldn’t return her calls. He wouldn’t return text messages. The agent had been working with this buyer for several weeks and had built, what she thought was, a very strong relationship. Time was running out and the agent was nearing panic. We could see it on her face and hear it in her voice. The last message she had from her buyer was quite strong. He had said, “You’re not supporting me.” In other words, he meant, “You’re not doing your job.”

Right there in class, this honest agent opened up to the group and asked for help. How could she even focus on our Safari content when she was frantically trying to save a transaction and a client relationship?

I reminded her to think about what the clues were in what her client had been saying earlier in the day. What was he feeling, how he was expressing it, and what had he needed most when she last heard from him. He said he needed support! I asked her to think about how she had responded to him – before he went AWOL.

From the clues he gave, what he needed right then was her support and an apology for not being as supportive as she could have been. She needed to humble herself a bit and save a client, and a transaction. She had to do what it would take to make this right. I told her exactly what to say and how to say it, knowing what her client’s personality type needed to hear from her.

Now – I’m sure you’re asking how I could tell what he needed. I’ve never even met the man. Here’s the thing, though– each personality type speaks a certain language. This buyer was speaking a particular language and what she needed to do was listen for clues and provide the same language in return. I asked the agent to step out of the room and communicate with the buyer by using his language instead of her language.

Something miraculous happened. Within seconds of her speaking his language, he responded right back with a positive, ‘let’s move forward’ message. When she came back into the room, she said she was completely amazed, considering that he’d been avoiding and hiding from her for several hours. All of a sudden, instead of trying to communicate in her tone, she spoke his language and he came out of his hiding spot.

What is the point of this story? For this agent, it was just one thing. Knowing how to communicate more effectively was all she needed on that day.

You likely also have at least one area that you need to work on which, for whatever reason, you haven’t yet mastered.

For all of you, there is certainly at least one thing about your business that if changed, could positively influence your business. Maybe you need to learn better communication skills, or you need to learn to master your daily schedule. Perhaps you need to focus on branding and marketing. It could be that you need to become a much better presenter. In all likelihood, you need to learn to let go of all the pain you’ve experienced over the last two years in a challenging economy.

These are all critical things! When you take time to invest in your business – to really examine your business – you might find that it’s just one thing that will make a major difference. You have to take a serious look. If you’re honest and willing to learn new skills and tools, you will transform your business.

If you’re ready to take a good, hard look at your business, and you’re ready to be honest with yourself about what needs to change, we invite you to attend our next Safari this spring. You may find you only need to change one thing. You may find you need to change a few things. Or a whole lot of things. But we guarantee that you’ll spend two, completely inspiring days, focused on finding the right path for you to transform your business for years to come.


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