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Got a minute? If you're a busy manager, that's about all you have. That's why Carla Cross, management coach, speaker, and author, has created this blog just for you, with ready-to-use tips to master management through people.

Archive for Marketing

shaking hands over computerDearborn Education Company just released my 5th edition (!) of Up and Running in 30 Days. This book is literally the new agent’s business start-up plan. In addition, I’ve provided lots of training and advice to assure new agents know what to do and how to do it.

One of the updates in this edition is the technology new agents really need—and what they don’t need, so they don’t waste their previous dollars!

What My Technology Experts Told Me

Use technology to support your dynamic business. The easiest way to organize the names of prospects and clients is on a computer. If you’re not in the technology world now—jump in. You’ll need technology to do the following (these are not my priorities, just a list):

Technology Recommendations from Up and Running

Use technology to support your dynamic business. The easiest way to organize the names of prospects and clients is on a computer. If you’re not in the technology world now—jump in. You’ll need technology to do the following (these are not my priorities, just a list):

  1. Work from wherever you are with a laptop so you can find properties, do market analysis, and create presentations anywhere, anytime
  2. Organize your prospects, clients, and affiliates (such as mortgage lenders) in a database (if you’re not extremely computer literate, start with Microsoft Outlook, which almost everyone already has on their computers)
  3. Organize your follow-up programs for specific target markets via  client relationship management (CRM)
  4. Capture and follow up on your Internet leads with Internet lead follow-­up technology designed for that purpose
  5. Measure your progress to your goals with specific software
  6. Keep in contact with your customers via cell phone and pager (you will find it truly amazing how few agents return phone calls)
  7. Carry your contacts (database), schedule, and so on with you on a personal digital assistant
  8. Create a personal Web site and/or blog that promotes you and/or provides your prospects and clients access to information they value, such as updates on their property, marketing, or transaction progress
  9. Take pictures with a digital camera and add them to your Web site or your flyers
  10. Invest in a video flip camera so you can promote yourself and your listings via video
  11. Budget for your expenses, track expenses, and create, implement, and analyze your profit and loss statements with financial software (such as QuickBooks, Quicken, or Mint)

Note: See the References and Resources section in UP and Running in 30 Days  for resources for these valuable tools. And, the reference section offers dozens of references for other software, training, etc.

Get Advice Before You Invest

These references include only a few of the technologies agents use in business. Before you buy anything, interview three technology-savvy, high-producing agents in your office and identify the technologies they consider important. Don’t expect your real estate company to provide them, although seasoned agents within your organization may be willing to provide direction on the best use of technology. Also, see your manager for advice on the most up-to-date technology you need to perform.

Caveat: Don’t run around buying every marketing program and tech tool from vendors. As Gary Richter, one of the newer, successful agents quoted in my book, advises: “There are many different programs and systems that vendors will try to sell to you as a new agent. Many overlap in capabilities. Pick one that works for you and stick with it.”

Up and Running_5e largerTake a look at what’s new in Up and Running in 30 Days:  updates in 5th edition. This invaluable book is only $32.95 plus shipping, and has been used by thousands of new agents to launch successful careers. Order here.

Up and Running_5e largerI just received my copy of my 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days, the new agent’s business start-up plan. Dearborn Education, a division of Kaplan, Inc., has published this book since its first edition. I’ve put lots of updates in this 2017 edition, including advice from successful newer agents. Rather than my trying to convince you of these principles myself, here’s what they’ve said:

On Training

Here’s a quote from Kyle Kovats, who was recently chosen as one of the finalists for the “30 under 30” honors from the National Association of Realtors.  These select nominations are agents chosen because they are under 30 and very successful in the business.

Kyle advises: “Find a broker who has a comprehensive training program. Ask if you can speak with agents who have gone through it to get the agents’ perspective on whether it was helpful.”

{Note: Up and Running in 30 Days has tips for you new agents in choosing the right training program—a training program that actually assures you launch a great career).

The Importance of Coaches and Mentors

There’s a lot more to success than just attending even a great training program. Read this from Merrilee Prochaska, “I wish I had understood the importance of a mentor/coach before I began.”

{Up and Running in 30 Days discusses the trend toward coaches, and provides guidance in choosing the right coach for you.}

On What They Wish They’d Done Differently

It’s not all a smooth ride! Here are some comments from Cerise Paton, on what she wishes she would have done differently: “Followed up more and more consistently; understood the time and discipline and numbers needed for lead generation and lead conversion; recognizing the time it took to build trust; going on more appointments, failing more often, and getting better, practicing presentations with friends”.

Gary Richter’s comment on what he would do differently could apply to most new agents: “Contact all of my sphere and ask for business.” Gary admits he was reticent to ask them all for business.

On Prioritizing Your Activities and Lead Generation Sources

Don’t take my word for it that clearly prioritizing your activities as business-producing or business-supporting is key to success. Hear it from Gary Richter, who used Up and Running in 30 Days to start his career. He says his priorities are big reasons he’s succeeding now: “I am cognizant of my daily activities and recognized them as either business producing or business supporting. I spend the majority of my time on business-producing activities.”

And, Diane Honeycutt states, “Take the advice in this plan and be sure you’re not a ‘secret agent’! Develop a work plan and stick to it”.

Here’s what Kyle Kovats, that great ’30 under 30’ nominee, said: “Get out there and just do it.  Try different forms of prospecting and see what works. An ounce of action is more powerful than a ton of planning.”

Gary Richter advises: “Get off your computer and go out into the areas. Focus on business-producing activities.”

More great advice from Kyle Kovats: “Be relentless. Follow up with handwritten letters rather than the generic form letters/cards most agents send people. Be unique.”

On the Importance of Client Relationship Management Technology

When I asked those agent and team leader contributors what technology is important to incorporate, here’s what they said:

“CRM and lead management tools”—Diane Honeycutt

“A really good and easy-to-use CRM”—Cerise Paton

“A good CRM”—Chris Cross

So, don’t be like the majority of new agents (and even seasoned agents who put off capturing all those leads in a database and then, even better a CRM!) Start using a database, or better yet, a CRM your first week in the business.

On Spending Money for Leads

Here’s some advice from one of those Top 30 Under 30 finalists, James Pierce: “Don’t pay a dime to sites like Zillow, etc.”

From Cerise Paton: “You will get a lot of calls to sell you leads, google placement, banner ads, shopping carts, you name it. Don’t do it. It either has no value, or you’re not ready for it, or you can’t afford it”

Tip for managers: As you read these comments, ask yourself, “How is my training, coaching, and business start-up plan keeping my new agents on track?” What needs to be changed or refined so I get better results?”

How about YOU?

Are you following these principles? How many have you rejected or violated in your first few months in the business? Why? Success isn’t always easy, but it always has patterns and leaves clues! Don’t try and re-invent the wheel. Follow a proven plan with assured results and you will be wildly successful!

Take a look at what’s new in Up and Running in 30 Days:  updates in 5th edition.

coaching for leadershipWant a no/low cost effective marketing method? Here’s an inexpensive, yet very effective method to stand out from the crowd—writing articles to establish yourself  as the “real estate manager of choice”.

We become managers because we love to succeed through others. Most managers thrill to track their agents’ development—and recognize that at least part of those agents’ successes are attributed to the managers who support them  So, great managers develop the skills of training, coaching, and consulting—the methods they use to develop their agents’ careers.

However, it’s not enough to have the skills. These managers must also help agents find them! In this blog, I explore an inexpensive, very effective method for managers to use to promote themselves. (It works, too for agents to promote themselves as experts effectively and inexpensively).

The Problem

You can have the best product or service in the world. Yet, if you don’t let others know about it, the product or service doesn’t succeed. It’s the same way with managers. Too often, these same highly skilled, highly effective managers think that agents will, on their own, simply figure out that these managers are exceptional and join them. Not so. Unfortunately, many agents think that their success will be due to other factors such as:

The amount of good floor time given in a particular office–or Internet leads, or Relo leads–or any of those ‘reactive’ lead sources unscrupulous managers promise agents to get them to sign up!

The name of the company

The real estate market at the time

The amount of desk fee or commission structure

If any of these were true, the agents in that particular office would all be making the money of their dreams! We know that’s not so. You know you’re a great manager. You know you’ve helped agents succeed at a high level—fast. How do you promote this fact to hire more great producers?

Advertising And Public Relations: Do You Have Both in your Recruiting Strategy?

Too often, real estate companies and managers use a one-dimensional approach to recruiting. They look to institutional advertising only to recruit agents, just as they look to home advertising to find buyers and sellers. There are three concerns with relying on paid advertising only for recruiting:

1. The agent is over-communicated with today—everyone’s doing it

2. The cost of mail and newspaper advertising is ever-increasing

3.  It relies on the strategy that all managers are the same, it’s just the company that’s better

Revving Up your PR

Instead of spending so much money in advertising, and/or relying only on one type of marketing, expand your recruiting strategy to a different method of promotion: public relations (PR). Specifically, add to your recruiting strategy writing articles, getting them published, and using them for various recruiting tactics. You can use the same articles in your blogs. Why PR? First, it costs nothing except your time. Second, an article has a much higher ‘trust’ level than an ad. Third, you’ve got little competition. Fourth, you can use those articles in a myriad of ways to promote yourself:

In mailers

In your office entry “Book of Greatness” *

*See the link below for the contents in a Book of Greatness

In your pre-first visit recruiting package

In your recruiting presentation

Click here to get your complimentary ‘how to':

Create your recruiting Book of Greatness for your entry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

marketing you 3 DHow to ‘Market’ your Brand

How do you create trust? How do you differentiate yourself? How do you prove you really are what you say you are? In this market, everybody and their brother tells potential recruits and clients they are the best. You can’t afford to be one of the crowd!

This resource shows you, step by step, how to gain trust and differentiate yourself in a graceful, effective manner–a manner that’s comfortable for YOU. See it here.

 

coachingHere are ten tips to gain platinum level trust. Why is gaining trust so important? Managers are also salespeople. We salespeople can’t sell anything to anyone without first establishing an exceptional level of trust–an increasingly difficult thing to do. The ten tips I shared on in a recent radio show can help sales and management professionals build a ‘platinum level’ of trust.

The Ten Tips

1. Learn non-verbal skills and apply them in writing, on the phone, and in person to establish rapport in an increasingly ‘cold inquiry’ world.

2. We believe what others say about a salesperson, not what the salesperson says about themselves. Use testimonials; check evaluation websites to see what consumers are saying about you.

Check out www.realestateratingz.com and www.incredibleagents.com. Find other sites (like Zillow and Realtor.com) that display testimonials from your agents’ clients. What are they saying about your company?

3. Help your agents create an after-the-sale survey and use it consistently. If there’s something wrong, fix it fast.

4. We believe what we see, not what we hear. Show, don’t tell. Use visual presentations consistently. And, as a trainer, I know that people retain only 10% 3 days after hearing it. But, when they also see it, they retain 60%. Which retention rate do you need to gain trust?

5. Flip your sales presentations. Ask questions—lots of questions—first. Educate. Finally, sell (well, you won’t have to sell).

6. Tell the truth attractively. Show evidence, don’t try to scare the client into action by predicting  the future.

7. Evaluate the agent/client for long-term relationships. Is the agent/client someone you want to add to your ‘tribe’?

8. Use ‘tough love’ with a client to tell the truth, turn down a client—to stay true to your values. Do what’s best for the client.

9. Re-cap. Regularly, stop and re-cap with the client. Do this, too, when you can’t meet client expectations.

10. Book of Greatness: Don’t brag about yourself in the middle of a presentation. Create a ‘Book of Greatness’ to use in your pre-first visit so your clients get to know you and your approach to sales.  (See Marketing You for more information on that Book of Greatness.)

marketing you 3 DHow to ‘Market’ your Brand

How do you create trust? How do you differentiate yourself? How do you prove you really are what you say you are? In this market, everybody and their brother tells potential recruits and clients they are the best. You can’t afford to be one of the crowd!

This resource shows you, step by step, how to gain trust and differentiate yourself in a graceful, effective manner–a manner that’s comfortable for YOU. See it here.

 

dollar  markHere are more tips on using publicity for FREE marketing.

In an earlier blog, I gave you advice about how to create a steady stream of publicity as a recruiting and image-making tool. Now, I’d like to share a few more tips on writing articles or blogs.

From writing all those articles and blogs, here are the three most important lessons I’ve learned:

  1. A smaller topic is better
  2. Less ideas are better
  3. More examples are better

So, in about 400-500 words, you’ll only have time for one to three ideas and examples. Make the examples ‘real life’. Also, be sure your article is as perfect as you can get it before submitting. These editors don’t have time to work with any of us in extensive editing. The person who submits articles “ready to go” gets published much more often!

How to Find Appropriate Publications for Your Talents

Pick up your favorite real estate magazine or newsletter. See the kind of articles that the publisher likes. Note the length. Ask yourself: Why would my articles be a benefit to that publication? Then, contact the publisher for article specifications and submission policies. You’re on your way to standing out as an exceptional manager!

Make a list of hard copy and Internet-based magazines and newsletters. That becomes your ‘distribution list’. Each month, I submit at least one article to my list—all at once (your contact management program is invaluable to put your PR contacts in a field so you can communicate easily). I have a ‘template’ that I use, which points out the link to the article. In it, I point out the value of the article/blog to the reader. I ask the editor to include my biography with ‘hot links’ so readers can get the free documents I usually provide with each article—and can go to my website.

Make Publicity Distribution Really Simple…..

A new resource I just discovered: Recently, I signed up for an article submission service, so I could widen my scope of influence. Check out Submit Your Article.

Now, you are on your way to free publicity, a heightened image, and much improved recruiting, and it didn’t cost you anything!

Give me your tips on using publicity as a free marketing tool.

marketing you 3 DWant More Tips on Marketing YOU?

Why not optimize your personal ‘brand’ by marketing yourself more effectively? And, with methods that cost little or nothing? Here’s a great resource for you, Marketing YOU. Check it out!

many peole standing recruitingGrab this FREE recruiting tool: Publicity.

Do you want a free recruiting tool? You’re a real estate professional. You have limited advertising/recruiting funds. You want to recruit more. You want to establish your credibility as an industry leader. One of the best strategies is to write articles that get published, and use those articles in all of your marketing strategies. Here are the steps to follow to write articles that are valuable and that get published every time. The best thing about this strategy: It’s absolutely free!

The Process: Simple and Straightforward

Writing an article follows the same process composers use in writing a popular tune: It starts with the theme (A), continues with the middle, where you expand on the idea and example (B), and ends again with the theme. When I’m teaching my “Train the Trainer” course, we practice this simple structure when we create training programs.

The Eight Simple Steps to Get Started

Here are the simple steps I’ve used over the years to create articles that have gotten published hundreds of times in major real estate magazines and newsletters:

1. Decide on who your audience is, so you realize for whom you’re writing

2. Decide on the challenge (s) they have that you want to address

3. Jot down all the ideas you have about the challenges and solutions

4. Narrow the topic so you can zero in specifically on what you want to write about.  The biggest mistake writers and teachers make is to choose too broad a topic for the time or word framework.  For example, it’s difficult to write 500 words on how to create a team. You CAN write 500 words about why to create a team; or three strategic tips in creating a team.

5.  Choose one to three ideas to discuss.

6. Arrange the topics in the order you want to discuss them

7. To expand on the ideas, present the idea clearly and then give an example. One commonality I’ve found among editors is that they want examples with the idea. Otherwise, the reader doesn’t really get the picture.

8. Close the article with the reiteration of your challenge and solution. Give your audience positive motivation to take action.

man pointing questionnaireCan you answer these business planning questions?

For November and December, I’m featuring business planning. I want to help you get a great plan for 2017! You’ll see complimentary handouts and lots of business planning tips.

See my complimentary business planning webinar, too, coming up November 8.

Click here for more information on the webinar and to register.

Managers: Invite your agents and get these questions answered, too, prior to the webinar!

The three questions: 

1. What percent of your listings sold in normal market time last year?

2. How much money did you spend on your best source of business?

3. What should you do differently in 2017 to make more money, keep more money, and spend less time?

These are three of the questions we’ll explore in our complimentary business planning webinar. Carla will give you tips on ratios, expenses, and tactics to assure you’re not spinning your wheels in 2017.

Plan_Act_CelebrateHow to Bullet-Proof your Business Plan for 2017

If you’re like most real estate professionals, you create some type of a business plan this year. But, maybe it didn’t work for you. Or, maybe—you just didn’t work it! Join us Nov. 8 at 3 PM Pacific time) to get the answers you need—and the inspiration—to make a bullet-proof plan for next year.

During this fast-paced webinar you’ll see:

  • Why your plan probably didn’t work for you—and what to do about it
  • How to definitely find out what will work for YOU (not someone else’s plan!)
  • How to anticipate market shifts (!)
  • What to STOP doing in 2017
  • What one thing will assure your business plan works
  • Bonus: 10 Creative Marketing Ideas for your plan

Included handouts:

  1. The strategic planning process created exclusively for real estate professionals by Carla Cross
  2. Review: Your best sources of business

Carla Cross, CRB, MA, is the only real estate professional ever to have had her business planning system published internationally and used by thousands of successful real estate professionals. Carla also has written a business planning program for CRB, leading to the Certified Real Estate Broker designation. She’s an acknowledged expert, and has been working with Realtors for over 2 decades, test marketing her planning system and seeing results. Let’s work together to create an unassailable plan for 2017.

Managers: You’ll get tips on how to help your agents create great plans!

Click here for more information on the webinar and to register.

 

slide 1 Excerpts 2016 NAR profileDo your agents have what buyers value? Do you know what buyers value? Every other year, the National Association of Realtors does a survey of thousands of buyers and sellers to find out their demographics and their opinions on real estate agents. These surveys, I think, are well worth the cost of Realtor membership! Why? Because they give us valuable insights into what buyers and sellers think is important, and they give us third party facts to share with buyers and sellers.

I have used the results in these surveys in my listing and buyer resources, so that agents have proof of the claims they say are true. In the next few blogs, I’ll be sharing with you a few of the invaluable nuggets of information from the National Association of Realtors’ 2015 Survey of Buyers and Sellers.

Watch for the videos: In the next week, I’ll be making 2 videos explaining 19 big takeaways from this survey. I’ll post the video AND the PDFs of the videos so you can share them with buyers and sellers.  I’ll show you how to use these statistics and facts in your presentations and help your agents be more effective.

buyer satisfactionHow satisfied do you think buyers are in specific agent skills and qualities?

Highest valued by buyers was honesty and integrity. That’s good news for newer agents, because honesty and integrity has nothing to do with time in the business and everything to do with your ethics and character.

What do you think buyers were most dis-satisfied with?

Negotiation skills! Why? It could be because agents promised more than they delivered. Or, it could be that they just aren’t very good at negotiating. How practiced are you? Have you taken negotiation courses? Do you have a goal to increase your negotiation skills?

How can agents (and managers) prove they have the skills and qualities buyers want?

You Can’t Brag But You Need to Stand Out–How?

marketing you 3 DMisunderstanding how to make yourself stand out can cost you thousands of dollars. You know you need to differentiate yourself from the ‘pack’, but how and when?

What NOT to do: Never, ever try to put your testimonials, statements, or accomplishments within your presentation. It’s too late, and will just get in your way–and come off as bragging. Instead, follow the instructions in Marketing YOU. Share your talents and skills with potential buyers and sellers in the right way. See more here.

Managers: Order this month, and you’ll receive your own instructions on creating your ‘Book of Greatness’ for recruiting.

 

 

 

How many of your agents would you say are truly confident in themselves and their sales abilities? I’ll bet less than 35%! And, that lack of confidence means they won’t make lead generating calls, they won’t follow up, they can’t close, etc, etc, etc. So, what would you bottom line be like if you could increase your agents’ confidence levels? Here’s how to help your agents gain that confidence.

Work with them to ‘bring the rest of their lives into real estate’.  If you have a new real estate agent, you know he/she is probably feeling he/she doesn’t know a thing! Or, if they are seasoned, they aren’t taking advantage of the skills and talents  developed in other parts of their lives.  In a sense, they are ‘secret agents’, letting the client think that all we have are some real estate skills.

Help Them Recognize and Utilize all Those Life Skills They Have

Okay. We know the new agent has little experience in sales. So, it’s understandable that they don’t have high confidence.  But, I’ll bet your new agents have life skills that, if they recognized them, noted them, and showed them, would help clients appreciate them AND dramatically raise their own confidence levels. Same with your seasoned agents.

Note: We in leadership need to do the same exercise. After all, agents choose us for what we can do for them–not what that great big, impersonal, giant corporation called the company will give them!

You Need High Confidence to Succeed in Sales

One of the problems with not using your whole life experience, is that it leaves us with a lack of confidence in real estate.  Here’s an exercise I call Bringing your Skills and Talents to Real Estate Clients. Why is this important? When we’re new agents, we think we know nothing. We’re constantly humiliated with our lack of knowledge, and inability to handle objections. We get so tired of ‘nos’ that sometimes we forget that we are capable, honest, caring, responsible humans. We actually come into real estate with a whole adult experience of widely developed skills, qualities, and natural talents. These are much more useful to us than we give ourselves credit for. For us experienced agents: We fail to promote all those life skills we have gotten and we sub-consciously p ut to use in real estate. So, we sound and act like every other real estate agent people come across. That leads to less converted leads and less confidence.

Gaining That High Confidence and Promoting your Value

Let me give you an example. As many of you know, I was (and am) a musician since age four. But, when I went into real estate, I felt like I knew nothing! And, it is true I didn’t know anything about selling real estate. But, I carried with me many great skills into the business that in turn carried me to success fast. Can you guess what some of those skills were—and are?

Had to practice piano 2-4 hours                               Tenacity

Put off mastery for years                                            Persistence

Followed direction of a coach                                  Coach ability

Had to compete in performance                             Confidence

Show, not Tell

How could I show one of these traits that I had from all those years as a musician? Let’s take tenacity.  Here’s the example and how I showed it:

In my first year in the business, I actually presented an offer and went back and forth, getting counter-offer after counter-offer. I ended up with 10 counteroffers–and the sale! I just never gave up, because I felt it was in the best interest of both parties to buy and sell from each other. In my Professional Portfolio, I showed that marked-up purchase and sale agreement with a note on how it happened and the outcome. How else could I share that quality? I could show testimonials from my clients in social medial, and in my Professional Portfolio.
Managers: Do This Exercise With Your Agents: Bring Your Skills and Talents to your Clients

Draw three columns. Name the first ‘skills and talents’. Name the second ‘benefits to clients’. Name the third ‘how/where to show clients’.

Now, list at least three skills and talents from your former business life. What about these skills/talents are benefits to clients? How would you show this? Where would you show this?

Enlist a Partner

If you’re having some ‘mind blocks’ on how and where to show these benefits to clients, enlist a partner to brain storm the possibilities with you. Once you start crafting these, you’ll get much more excited about your ability to help people—along with that confidence to expand your leads and help more people.

How to Get that ‘Believability

Clients believe what others say, not what we say.

Be believable.  Show examples of  your traits and qualities. Get testimonials. Your confidence will soar and you will be able to serve your clients much better.

marketing you 3 DHow Believable are You?

If I were moving to your area, and had to choose an agent prior to getting there, how would you prove you’re the agent for me?  My resource, Marketing You, has dozens of ideas on how to show and prove your worth to potential buyers and sellers. It shows you how to make a dynamic portfolio (your Professional Portfolio). Using the strategies here also helps clients accept your advice. It provides you great confidence. It helps you win more often. For $59.95 and instant access (everything is digital, nothing sent to you), why wouldn’t you invest in Marketing You? Find out more here.

 

man ponderingSelling real estate: What’s farming got to do with it?

No—I don’t mean farming the fields to reap the food. Well, yes I do—in a different context. In real estate sales, ‘farming’ means contacting people in a specific market (can be a geographical area), forming a business relationship with them over time, and making that area/target market your specialty. Through time, people get to know and trust you, and will turn to you for their real estate needs.

Recently, an office with whom I consult invited a master real estate ‘farmer’ who farms a specific geographic area to share with us his secrets to great success. Steve Hicks, agent with Windermere Wall Street in downtown Seattle, has enjoyed a dominant market share (that’s his PERSONAL market share, not the company!) in Queen Anne, a very upscale, historically-significant area of Seattle, Washington.
So, guess what? When people in Queen Anne are thinking buying or selling, who do you think they think of? Yes—Steve Hicks. How would you like to have that name recognition? How would you like to go to a listing presentation with respect for your expertise already built in? Steve has established that.

Here are 3 big principles Steve shared with the group, mainly seasoned, successful agents on the Eastside of Puget Sound.

1. Recognition, Trust, and Business Doesn’t Come from a “Once Is Enough” Approach

One of the big lessons Steve left with the group was that, to be successful, you must focus your efforts. Why? Because people buy and sell real estate with people they know and trust. They buy and sell real estate with those they believe have expertise in the area. That trust and respect doesn’t happen in a ‘once is enough’ approach. Today, agents in the great Puget Sound can roam far and wide to list and sell homes. What they don’t realize, though, is that they are not establishing a recognition for excellence, expertise, and trustworthiness.

Big lesson: What does this mean to you if you’re a small business owner, a salesperson in another field, or a recruiter?
That our goal is to establish a trusting relationship over a period of time, building a reputation for trustworthiness and excellence. Too many times, we launch our businesses thinking we’re something special, something different—and we expect success in a nano-second.

Stop and reflect: What are you doing to create a reputation that’s spotless, that’s trustworthy, and that’s there for the long run?

2. Contact, Capture, and Follow-up is Key to Relationship-Building

Steve didn’t become the ‘master farmer’ overnight. He built his business through constant reflection, taking risks, and trying new things. Most importantly, he built his business by first knocking on doors to establish that relationship. At the same time, he captured each person’s name and contact information, first, by writing it down, and then establishing a database and contact management system. Then, he dutifully followed up. Sounds simple, but, how many salespeople contact—and then don’t capture? Or, they capture, and don’t follow up. Steve says there are 22,000+ agents in his multiple listing service. He knows he must out contact, capture, and follow up to stand out.

Big lesson: No matter if you’re in real estate or in another field, if you want to build a business, immediately establish a method to contact, capture, and follow up.

Stop and reflect: Are you a service business, like a dentist, window washer, or car detailer? Do you have a list of all your clients in a database? Do you contact them regularly? If not, you’re leaving thousands of easy dollars on the table!

3. Consistency is Key

Too often, we think, since we’re trustworthy, since we’re nice people, since we work hard, people will recognize that and instantly work with us. Wrong. It takes dozens of contacts or time to establish a trusting business relationship. Steve has a marketing plan that includes a monthly newsletter. This newsletter includes information about homes for sale and homes that have sold. It is short and concise. Steve writes his own newsletter, but advises agents to start with as company-or other resource written newsletter. Why? The most important consideration is to be consistent.

Big lesson: No matter what your business is, you need a consistent marketing plan to ‘touch’ your would-be and present/past clients at least monthly. With 22,000+ real estate agents in the area, your potential/present client is easily ‘swayed’ to someone else if you’re not relentlessly consistent.

Stop and reflect: Do you have a marketing plan? Are you consistent? How many easy sales are you missing because you are treating your business like a ‘once is enough’?

My personal thanks to Steve Hicks for sharing his expertise with others in our industry to improve our client service. Starting with my years as a piano performer and teacher, I learned that the very best in any profession have several common traits. One of them is that they generously share their knowledge with no fear that someone will ‘steal’ their ideas. Second is that they are constantly challenging themselves to get better. Steve Hicks reflects both of these exceptional success qualities.

How can you  use these principles yourself? How can you use them with your agents?

logoIf Your Agents Aren’t Buying Into Lead Generation, You Need this Program!

What if your culture was that productive agents are the norm? What if all your agents lead generated? How much more profitable would you be? If you want increased profits, take a look at Carla’s revolutionary online training/coaching program, Up and Running in Real Estate.

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