Archive for Agent Development – Page 2

How Easy Are You to Do Business With?

Realtor Easy to Do Business With

Realtors® have many stories about nightmare clients. Clients who say they want to buy right away, but then want to see 24 houses over 2 months and still can’t decide. Buyers who claim to be in great financial shape but then can’t get approved for financing. Sellers who insist on pricing using a Zestimate rather than real market conditions.

But the truth is, buyers and sellers have their own horror stories. They often struggle to work with US, and tell their friends and family about how terrible it is to try to deal with a Realtor®. Why? Because sometimes, Realtors® make a key mistake – they fail to communicate well with clients. As a result, buyers and sellers have expectations that aren’t met, are dissatisfied with their experience, and spread bad press about real estate agents. Here’s how not to be “that Realtor®”.

Set Expectations Up Front

We do real estate transactions every day, but the reality is that almost all of our clients do a real estate transaction once every 5 – 20 years. The industry changes tremendously in that amount of time, and buyers and sellers rarely know what to expect. As a professional agent, our first job is to lay out the process for clients and help them know what to expect, when the waiting times will be, and what the average timeframe is for each part of the process.

You should also share your normal working hours and when the best time is to reach you, along with any days or times you won’t be available at all. When you lay out the process very clearly, and then make sure your client doesn’t have questions, you avoid a lot of heartache down the road. Your client doesn’t have unrealistic expectations, and you have your boundaries. If your client starts to stray outside the lines, you can reign them in by reminding them of the expectations you laid out at the beginning.

Communicate Regularly Regarding Progress

Buying or selling a home is a really big deal to real estate customers, and they get very nervous when they feel their Realtor® has “disappeared” or hasn’t given an update in a while. They may or may not understand how many other clients you are serving, but regardless, they deserve regular reassurance. A simple email or phone call – five minutes at most – can help clients understand if you’re still waiting for someone, or where the process is at the moment.

This doesn’t mean you’ll never have a client who pesters you. However, it will take the anxiety off of your normal clients, who will have more faith in you because you are giving them regular updates on the process. You’ll also build more rapport, which will be a great asset when you ask them for referrals.

Stay in Touch After the Transaction

No one likes to feel like a number, and sometimes Realtors® give buyers or sellers that impression by simply vanishing after a transaction has finished. While it’s true that you have active clients that need more of your time, there’s no reason you can’t check in with your former buyers and sellers occasionally. An automated email system can help a lot with that, as can holiday postcards or other marketing mailings.

If you follow these steps, you’ll never be the Realtor® everyone warns their friends about. It doesn’t mean you’ll never have another difficult client – there’s always someone out there with crazy ideas about real estate. But, it does mean that your normal buyers and sellers won’t become problem clients. When you set expectations, give frequent updates, and keep in touch after the sale, you’ll be doing your part to make our industry look great.

How do you keep communication flowing with your clients? Share in the comments!

The Importance of a Mentor for Every Realtor®

Mentors for Realtors

A mentor – someone who is further along than we are, able to give us an outside perspective, and helps bring out our best – is an essential part of every real estate career. Obviously, new Realtors® who are just starting out should find someone who can show them the ropes, cheer for them, and support them if they struggle.

But a mentor is just as important for a seasoned veteran in the industry. If you want to achieve high levels of excellence, more than simple hard work is required. You need someone who can inspire you to reach higher, help you learn advanced strategies, and more.

Finding a mentor can be a challenge. Fortunately, a simple shift in thinking can help you see mentors where previously you thought there wasn’t anyone – and can help keep you from desperate “please help me!” outreaches to disinterested superstars.

Starting Out – A Mentor for the First Steps

As a new Realtor®, you have a lot of resources available to you. In fact, you may have so many you don’t know quite what to do! You will definitely be advised to “find a mentor”, but you probably don’t know how to go about it. If you have a great brokerage, they may assign someone to you. However, that doesn’t always happen.

The first step to finding a mentor is to think about folks who are just a little bit ahead of you. Not the rock stars, who will likely be too busy to offer a real mentorship – in fact, they’ll probably try to sell you a course or seminar instead. Instead, look for someone you already know – someone in their third year, or someone who does well in your brokerage, and strike up a friendship.

The key to the relationship is not to immediately ask for mentorship. Instead, be helpful to that person. Ask them questions (but not constantly). Find ways to create a win-win relationship. As the friendship develops, you’ll find yourself learning things from them automatically. Over time, you may be able to ask for a formal mentorship, but you may find that you learn a lot without ever doing that. They simply become a wise friend you can rely on.

As a Veteran – Even LeBron James and Serena Williams Have Coaches

As you become more seasoned in the real estate business, you may find that you drift away from asking for help. In some ways this is simply the result of learning the ropes, but other times it becomes a prideful attitude – you feel like you know it all. Or, you may simply feel awkward asking questions because, after so many years, you think you shouldn’t need anyone to lean on anymore. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Everyone in real estate can learn more. There are always more farming methods, list-building ideas, technology tips, and objection-handling scripts to learn. Even more, you need people who can help you keep going when you get discouraged and frustrated, and who can help you see things from an outside perspective. The very, very best in every sport all have coaches. Why? Because they can still learn! Because they need someone who will ask more of them then they ask of themselves. Because they want to become even better than they are today.

As a veteran Realtor®, you probably have a lot of relationships in the industry already. You may not think of these people as mentors, but the truth is, they could be. Just as your most memorable mentors when you were younger were probably people like a teacher, older relative, or sibling, your current mentorships start with already-existing relationships. You don’t need to find a guru – instead, start to focus on and invest in the fruitful relationships you already have.

Everyone needs a mentor – even a superstar. Keep in mind that great mentorships start with existing relationships. Look around at who you know that inspires you, and start to spend more time with them. You don’t even have to have a formal mentorship arrangement to benefit. Just spend time, help them, and listen. You’ll learn a lot, and then one day you’ll be in a position to teach someone else.

Do you have a mentor? Why or why not? Share in the comments!

Close Deals Faster By Slowing Down

Speed up by slowing down

With everything you have going on every day, slowing down is probably the last thing on your mind. If you’re like me, you try to get things done quickly, and then move on to the next task, and the next… in fact, it never really ends.

Many Realtors® are focused on processing something just enough to “move it down the line”, that is, get the client’s deal to the next stage. They quickly make phone calls, check on listings, and contact partners. Something you may find counterintuitive, though, is that you can often close deals faster when you slow down. Here’s why.

Moving Slower Takes Your Client’s Emotions Into Account

We deal with so many real estate transactions that we often forget how emotional it is to purchase or sell a home. In fact, the emotions of the transaction are something we view as a hindrance to our efficiency. We try to work around them as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, this kind of speed is counterproductive. When we push on a deal and sidestep the emotions involved, we pressure our clients and can end up with clients backing out of deals, deciding not to sell their homes, or just looking and looking at listings without ever committing to buy.

Instead, close the deal more quickly by slowing down. Talk to your clients about their emotions, let them know they are heard, and don’t push faster than they are willing to go. When you really acknowledge the emotion, you’ll close the deal faster – or, you’ll find out more quickly that they aren’t ready. Either way, you save time and energy.

Moving Slower Helps Catch Details

One transaction fades into the next, and it’s easy to miss small things about a deal. As you probably already know, the small things quickly become big things when you’re scrambling to find an inspector by the inspection due date or suddenly looking for an alternate lender when your buyer failed to qualify.

Moving quickly can mean that we speed past and ignore – or don’t even hear – important red flags when interviewing clients. Juggling too many balls at once means dates fall through the cracks, or you don’t notice a key change in your buyer’s demeanor when discussing their upcoming offer. Missing these details can derail a deal, meaning your time and energy were wasted.

Instead, move slowly enough to keep all the key details in order. Make sure you pay attention to non-verbal cues when interviewing new clients or meeting with existing buyers and sellers. Notice when things aren’t right, and move slowly enough to feel the gut instinct telling you which path to take in a deal. You’ll close more deals and have far less stress in the process.

Moving Slower Avoids Last Minute Derailments

Obviously we can’t avoid every last-minute derailment, but we can prevent some. When we’re moving extremely quickly, we might overlook someone who needs to be involved in the process. Are you so eager to show homes that you convince the husband to see listings before his wife gets back in town? Do you assure the couple who’s selling that their involved mother will love you – even if she hasn’t met you?

When you’re moving too fast, you often try to smooth over cracks and bumps in the process that actually need attention. Unfortunately, those smoothed-over areas can come back to bite you. You’ve probably had it happen – the wife wants to re-see all the listings when she arrives in town, the mother wants the listing to go to another Realtor®, or an “I’m sure it’s fine” crack turns out to be a major issue at inspection.

Instead, move slowly enough to notice and fully investigate the bumps in the road. Wait until the wife is in town – it’ll save you time in the long run. Wait to do your listing presentation until the involved mother can arrive. Make allowances for that small crack to be a big deal. You’ll thank yourself when your deals go more smoothly and derail less often.

Do you feel like you’re moving too fast? How can you slow things down? Share in the comments!

Five Ways to Be a Superstar Real Estate Agent

Superhero Real Estate Agent

Real estate is a profession with a high attrition rate. Some of this can be attributed to lack of preparation – getting your real estate license is very easy, and the process isn’t set up to ensure that you’re qualified for this business.

However, many other real estate agents have the potential to be amazing, but they defeat themselves. Here are five ways to avoid washing yourself out of a great career – and to instead become a superstar real estate agent.

Combine Online and Offline Marketing

Newer agents are very focused on online leads and online real estate marketing. That’s great, but the solid, effective practices of traditional real estate marketing are still important. Yes, have a website, a blog, social media, and even Periscope. But make sure you balance your efforts with postcard marketing, door-knocking, cold-calling, and many other traditional techniques.

Many real estate agents rely on online marketing as a crutch – they simply don’t have the confidence to meet people face to face, and so they convince themselves they can do everything online. It’s isn’t true. Not only that, but your lack of confidence will show itself online as well – hiding isn’t doing you any good.

Overall, as a real estate agent you need to build a network quickly. Your regular sphere of influence is a great start, but you need more than that. By doing neighborhood farming, knocking, and calling in addition to your online efforts, you’ll make better connections and get your name in front of prospects regularly. That will make a big difference in making you a successful real estate agent.

Practice Self Care

I don’t want to get too “woo-woo” on you, but taking care of yourself is vital if you’re going to be a superstar agent. One reason so many real estate agents drop out in their first year or two is that they simply burn out. Yes, it’s fun to commiserate about never having any weekends or time off, but it’s not a healthy way to live.

What’s an agent to do, though, since they DO have to work so many nights and weekends? My suggestion is to simply schedule yourself into your calendar like you would any client. Put three one-hour blocks per week in your schedule, label them “private”, and use that time to take care of yourself. A long lunch at your favorite restaurant, a pedicure, or even a nap can fill that time. Whatever it takes to nurture you.

Don’t let anyone intrude on that time either! You wouldn’t double book with another client, so simply tell folks that you already have an appointment at that time and suggest another option. You can’t serve others if you don’t take care of yourself. If you want to excel in real estate, consider yourself a client too.

Make Goals and Write them Down

When your goals are right in front of you each day, it’s much more motivating and it’s easier to focus. Make goals in more than just your real estate practice – have goals for business, family, finances, education, mental and spiritual health, and physical health. You don’t need five goals in each – that would be overwhelming – but knowing your top two in each area is helpful.

One reason it’s important to make goals in multiple areas is that it helps you remember you’re a multi-faceted person. Yes, you are a Realtor® and you want to succeed. But you are also a whole human being, and in order to be a great Realtor® you need to be a balanced and healthy person.

As you write down your goals for your business, take time to think about the steps needed to get there. You can use these steps – written down, of course – to help guide your daily and weekly schedule. If you need 10 listings this month, think about how many calls that is. Break it down and do enough each day to reach that total. By breaking each goal into steps, you’ll be much more likely to succeed.

Understand that Boring Repetition Creates Momentum and Success

Yes, it’s tough to make the calls every day, to send the postcards every week, and to do outreach and door-knocking. It seems boring and repetitive. However, remember that to succeed in real estate you need repeated success – listing after listing, sale after sale. The only way to get repeated, consistent success is to put in repeated, consistent effort.

One thing I notice about small businesses of all kinds, including real estate, is that there’s always someone out there who wants to sell you a shortcut. They want to tell you that you can avoid the boring repetition of real estate marketing and outreach, and simply become successful while resting on your laurels. I promise you, the only one getting rich on that strategy is the huckster. Don’t fall for it.

Anything worth doing has its exciting elements and it’s boring, repetitive elements. However, the ongoing work is what brings ongoing success. Don’t stop marketing because you made a few sales, unless you don’t want to make any more sales! Keep marketing, and you’ll keep making sales. Simple as that.

Don’t Waste Leads

I’m ending on this one because it’s astonishing how often it happens, and it’s so damaging to a real estate agent’s success. You get leads in so many ways, it’s very easy to let some – or many – of them slip through the cracks. Do you get a list of buyers from an open house? Do something with that! Don’t just let it languish.

One way to make lead capture easier is to use automated systems. I’ve talked before about how I use Infusionsoft to capture my leads and how it brought my revenue up 472%. Whatever system you use, use it consistently and you’ll find that your business is immensely more successful. Track every lead – social media, email, phone call, personal interaction, and more – and follow up. You never want to waste a lead.

I’m amazed how many Realtors® “wing it” when it comes to lead follow-up. They just seem to hope they remember to call or email the person. Sometimes they do – and sometimes they forget until it’s too late. Don’t be that person. Have an automated follow-up system so you don’t leave any money on the table with your leads.

These are five ways you can become a Realtor® success story, instead of another dropout statistic. Combine your marketing techniques, take care of yourself, write down goals, understand the impact of boring repetition, and don’t waste leads. Your success is right in front of you – go take it!

What habits ensure your success in real estate? Share in the comments!

Personalities: Listing Agents vs. Buyer’s Agents

Listing Agent vs Buyer's Agent

“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.” –Shannon L. Alder

Personality is such a fascinating thing. We all have specific traits that stand out more than others in the way we live our lives. Our values are certainly important, and our goals are important – but often, the best thing we can do for ourselves is discover our real personality and live in harmony with that.

Wizehire, a software company that specializes in helping brokers grow their teams, did an interesting study this spring. They administered specific profile tests to over 8500 agents. They found that certain personality traits correlated with being a very high performing listing agent, and others with being a high performing buyer’s agent. I’ve listed some of their finding below. Where do you see yourself?

Qualities of High Performing Listing Agents

In the study, Wizehire administered tests to 3237 listing agents. They determined that 21% of them were high performers, defined as having more than 50 transactions in a calendar year. Here were the traits shared by those high performers.

More Decisive. Top listing agents were significantly more aggressive and assertive than top buyer’s agents. This works both for them and against them: while they are great at tracking down leads, they are also less patient with indecisive buyers. This higher decisiveness means that top listing agents are always actively selling, looking for customers instead of hoping others find them.

Less Stable. Buy this, I don’t mean listing agents are crazy, although they can seem that way sometimes! It’s just that they can thrive in much less stable, more unpredictable situations. Top listing agents are able to wing it and fly by the seat of their pants much more than top selling agents.

Less Detail Oriented. The study also found that top listing agents are less attentive to details than other personality types. They are less concerned with how something happens, are merely focusing making sure that something happens. As a result, they can be poor about the follow-through once a deal is made. This means that top listing agents do best when they have a team around them to finish the deals they start.

Qualities of High Performing Seller’s Agents

Wizehire administered personality profiles to 5554 buyer’s agents. 17% were top performers, defined as having more than 25 transactions in a calendar year. Here are the traits that were dominant in top buyer’s agents.

More Relatable. Top buyer’s agents were found to have a high score in areas related to interaction. They are thus able to more easily connect with and build relationships with others, especially their clients. However, this interactive trait is also linked with disorganization, so paperwork and organizational tactics may not be a buyer’s agent’s strong suite.

Moderately Dominant. One interesting trait is that top buyer’s agents were moderately dominant. This differs from the listing agents’ strong scores in this area. Wizehire analysts noticed that this trait translated into an agent patient enough to deal with tentative buyers, but strong enough to push when it was time to make the purchase. This balance helps buyer’s agents excel.

Highly Stable. The best buyer’s agents are great at making their clients feel comfortable, secure, and supported. They have a natural ability to calm those who are anxious, which makes buyers eager to work with them. The downside of this trait is that buyer’s agents are less aggressive. Prospecting and proactive lead-gathering are not nearly as easy for them as customer service and support.

Obviously these are not the only differences between great listing agents and buyer’s agents. However, these were the traits found to be the most different in the Wizehire study. Do you see yourself in these traits? Are you surprised by any of these? Let us know in the comments below!!

How to Make Time for Self-Development in Real Estate

Personal Development in Real Estate

You’ve passed your licensing and you’re ready to go! Time to dive into lead generation, buyer’s presentations, and more. But how do you learn to do all that – and do it effectively?

Or perhaps you’ve been in business for years. The industry has changed, but not much has changed in how you operate. Sometimes you have to go back and make corrections because you remember the old way of doing things more than today’s methods.

In both cases, the struggle is the same – how do you make time and energy for self-development? Both new and seasoned Realtors® are very busy, and it can be hard to take time out to learn new, more efficient and effective ways of doing things. Here are four ways to make time for self-development in real estate.

Make Yourself a Priority 

Real estate is a serving profession, and many Realtors® are more focused on their clients than themselves. While that can be admirable, it can also short-circuit your career if you don’t keep up with training and development. Make yourself a priority and schedule specific time for self-development.

You can do this by blocking off time on your calendar and using it to read great books on real estate, do online courses, or seek mentorship. If you prefer to keep your time private, simply note it in your calendar as an appointment. No one has to know specifically what you are working on – you’re simply not available.

Learn to Say No

This has got to be the biggest struggle we all face. It’s hard to say no – “No” to a non-qualified buyer who wants to tour homes, “No” to a colleague who wants to chat about her frustrations – again, “No” to so many other unimportant things that take up our time. It’s often easier to say yes and allow our time to be wasted.

If you want to excel in your career, you’ll need to learn to focus on the most important work you have each day. This is true whether you’ve just gotten your license or been in the business 15 years. When you focus on your most important tasks, you set your own priorities, including self-development.

Make a Development Plan

Too many times we fail to have time and energy for self-development because we don’t have a systematic approach. We aren’t sure where to start, what to do, or how much time to spend. Take some time to specifically plan your development. Set out a list of things you want to learn, and resources that can teach you.

Then, set up a specific number of hours each week to devote to this training. Block the time out on your calendar and consider it a sacred appointment with your future. After all, if you never develop, your successful future will never arrive!

Focus on One Topic at a Time

This is probably my Achilles heel. I love to learn, and I get completely distracted by trying to learn too much at one time. I have two or three learning plans going at once, and after a few days, I’m getting nowhere fast!

Instead, focus on one topic at a time. Do you want to learn more about getting listing leads, farming a neighborhood, and public speaking? Pick the one that’s most important right now, and learn it carefully. Then, once you have learned it – or at least have a habit of making time for it – you can pick up another topic.

Self-development isn’t a luxury in the real estate business. If you aren’t learning regularly and tuning your skills, you will fall behind and other Realtors® will be happy to take your place. Make the time and energy to develop your skills by making yourself a priority, learning to say no, creating a development plan, and focusing on one topic at a time. Your career – and your future – will thank you!!

Do you make time for self-development? Why or why not? Share in the comments!