Daily Archives: January 7, 2016

The 4 Best ‘Calls to Action’ in Real Estate

It takes a solid ‘call to action’ to generate a response from new prospects. Many have proven to be successful, but these four are the ones I recommend most to my private coaching clients.

by Hoss Pratt

Even the most social of the social butterflies among us can’t deny there are more people we don’t know than we do.  This makes the math fairly simple:  the number of potential transactions is greater with strangers than with those we do.

So how do you market to the people that don’t already know, like, and trust you? And what, specifically, is the purpose behind your marketing to this demographic?

The answer to both of these questions can be summed up this way:  A powerful call to action is fundamental to getting in front of people outside your sphere of influence.

You’ve no doubt seen the JoS A. Banks commercial that says, “Buy one suit and get two more new suits… this Saturday only!”  Why would they make such a seemingly excessive offer?  Easy, it gets people to respond. The perceived value is immense because it is “this Saturday only” and  the resulting perceived scarcity provokes immediate action.

Here’s the hook… when you walk through the doors on Saturday you already know in your heart of hearts you aren’t going to buy a $500 suit and get two more $500 suits for free.  There are always restrictions and as discerning consumers we have come to expect them.

In the real estate industry savvy agents are using this same type of ‘call to action’ to get in front of new prospects.

There are several that have been tested and proven to be extremely successful, but these four are standouts, and the ones I recommend to my private coaching clients.

 

  1. Your home sold in 39 days or I’ll sell it for free! (Or 19, 29, 49 – the fewer days, the better)
  2. Your home sold in 39 days or I’ll pay your mortgage until it sells!
  3. Your home sold guaranteed or I’ll buy it!
  4. Your home sold guaranteed or I’ll pay you $500 cash!

 

When agents see these bold statements, many of them are paralyzed by fear and their limiting beliefs cause them to think that they could never make those claims.  The first thought that comes to mind is, “What am I going to do if I don’t sell the house in that time frame?  I can’t afford to sell houses for free and I certainly can’t buy them myself, so this can’t possibly work for me.”

Here’s the thing… Just as with the JoS A. Banks ‘call to action’ the perceived value is enormous and we as consumers know and expect some sort of restriction is going to apply.  It’s these restrictions you put in place that are your protection and assurance to keep your client serious and motivated about selling their property.

Five Important Restrictions For Program Qualification

In order to qualify for whichever program you choose as your marketing message, these five restrictions must be explained to and met by the seller.

  1. The house must be appraised up front—The seller must pay for a licensed appraiser to establish a current appraised value for the property. An overpriced house doesn’t qualify for these programs.
  2. The house must be professionally inspected—Any and all discrepancies listed on the report must be repaired or replaced as appropriate.
  3. The house must be professionally staged—homes that are staged sell faster than homes that aren’t. In order to reduce the time on the market, it will be competing with model homes and therefore, should show like a model home.
  4. The mortgage must be current—this should be obvious, but it just doesn’t make good business sense to guarantee a seller who is behind on payments, “Your home sold in 39 days or I’ll pay your mortgage until it sells!”
  5. The seller must purchase a home through you—again, this should be self-explanatory; you wouldn’t want to take all the risk if they plan to use their sister as their buyer’s agent for their next home.

 

Of course, you should practice explaining each of these restrictions before you use them in your listing presentation.  If you are not comfortable with the delivery, the seller will sense it and your lack of confidence will kill your chances of conversion.

Once you have gone through each of them, you will find that many sellers are reluctant to jump through all the hoops required to qualify for the program.  I always say, “Mr. Seller, if I could net you an extra $30,000, but it took me an extra 50-60 days to sell the home, would it be worth the wait?”

In my experience, the answer is always a resounding “Yes!”

To which I reply, “Perfect.  The guarantee is not for you then, because that is for dead-serious sellers.  I can put more money into your pocket, but ‘program B’ is the way to do that.”

So you see, most of the time the seller will choose not to utilize the guarantee, but without it, you would have never had the opportunity to meet with them and to establish a relationship where you can build rapport and trust.

Be bold.  Use irresistible calls to action to get face time with those you haven’t met.  The agents who are doing so consistently are the ones we refer to as “the 5%” who do 95% of the business in any market.  Shouldn’t that be you?

Why Good Real Estate Agent Business Plans Are Rare

With a plan built on these 4 skill sets, by this time next year you will be selling and earning far more than past years and have more strength, confidence, and security.

by Rich Levin

I’ve worked with thousands of Real Estate Agents across the country and one thing stands out, year after year: business plans are extremely important.  Agents who follow through on their business plan earn over far more, often $100,000 more than those who don’t.  The biggest problem is that it’s tough to follow through on a bad plan.

First, we have to clarify how you know that it’s a good plan.  A plan that will motivate you, the Agent, to follow through all year long and exceed your goals.

The business plan must make sense.  When you’re creating your plan, make sure you understand how it all works together.  You’ll experience a sense of confidence and excitement as you are building your plan.

You’ll be working with this plan from the day it’s created throughout the entire year. Working the plan must keep you constantly focused and motivated.  The plan can’t be confusing, boring, or burn you out.

It must be simple to understand and easy to follow.

Daily routines and systems are crucial.  A good plan has routines and systems that are simple, clear, easy to follow, and-here’s the key-that bring results quickly and continuously.

A great business plan can be tailored to the Agent who prospects a lot, or for the Agent who works their Spheres of Influence a lot, or the one who gets lots of leads from Internet Marketing.  It should even work for you if you haven’t yet found your best source of leads.

It should also work despite your team conditions–if you’re alone or working with assistants–and current production level.

So now, let’s get to the HOW.

A great Real Estate Business Plan is built around these 4 Key Skills:

  1. Goals and Progress
  2. Tactical Skills
  3. Routines and Systems
  4. Motivation and Attitude

It looks like this:

Goals and Progress: Set annual goals in Sales, Listings, Income, and New Clients.  The first three are broken down into monthly goals.  The fourth is broken down into a weekly goal.  The progress in all four are reviewed and updated daily and weekly. (See Routines and Systems below)

Tactical Skills: After evaluating the full range of skills necessary for success in Real Estate, your plan should focus on and works your strengths.  The key categories are lead management, presentations, marketing, sales skills, and service.  Time management and organization are completely handled with Routines and Systems.  Build a strategy that takes advantage of your strengths and attacks any weaknesses that are holding you back.

Routines and Systems: This is the most important skill set.  All organizational problems are solved with Routines and Systems.  Create a daily and weekly routine that keeps you mindful of your goals and progress while you take specific, planned actions.  Those two, looking at progress and taking action, work hand in hand.  When the right things are measured and progress is reviewed daily, you’ll get the feedback necessary to understand what is working and what needs attention.

Here’s the daily cycle: record and look at results, think, take action, make decisions.  This is the key daily routine that creates success beyond your expectations.  It’s simple to put in place and takes less than ten minutes a day to accomplish.  Please, don’t confuse simple with easy.  Routines and Systems, as simple as they may be, are often difficult to keep consistently.  Exceptional success is only achieved with consistency.

Motivation and Attitude: Great Agents are continuously learning and practicing the skills that create and strengthen positivity.  We all fall into negative self-talk from time to time.  An Agent who has the skills and strategies to overcome negativity can move on and get back to productive work, instead of getting stuck in a downward, negative cycle that can destroy focus and self-confidence.

Think of motivation and attitude like a muscle that needs to be constantly trained and strengthened so that, when needed, you’ll be able to handle the strain and stress that come with a highly successful Real Estate career.

With a plan built on the 4 Skill Sets, by the end of 2015 you won’t just be selling and earning far more than past years.  You’ll actually be stronger, more confident, and more secure–personally and professionally.  I see it happen every year with my Clients.

Here are a few warnings:  This type of plan isn’t developed in one session.  It takes weeks.  Then it’s applied in your business over the course of the entire year.

I also don’t recommend doing it alone.  Intelligent guidance, compassionate encouragement, and comfortable reminders go a long way in creating a wise and powerful plan, and making sure you stick to it and adjust it when needed.

Work with your coach, trainer, manager, or other Real Estate business leader to build and implement a plan based on these fundamentals.  It will be hard at first, easier over time, and worth every moment of your effort.

Prospecting… From Fearful to Fearless

Top Agents have somehow escaped the tyranny in this area of their business. I’ve spent my career seeking to understand why and the findings may just surprise you…

 

Brian Buffini has built his career teaching people to avoid it. Mike Ferry, my father, is villainized for teaching it.

It’s controversial. What is it?

Prospecting!!

I started teaching people how to prospect in 1993, and built my career on helping people learn the skills necessary to be successful to use prospecting to build their business.  Yet after teaching thousands of agents the techniques, scripts, dialogues, closes, and systems for prospecting… few ever did it and even fewer still made it pay.

In 1999 I had a flash of insight!  An awakening of sorts.

“The only difference between the successful prospector and unsuccessful prospector was their mindset.”

Same skills. Same calls. Same scripts. Yet the better mindset wins every time.

At first it didn’t make any sense to me. It took me years to fully understand it. In the end it became so obvious that mindset is the one change that changes everything, that I took my focus off of techniques altogether and started teaching mindset full time.

Is prospecting only for the fearless or can anyone do it?

The answer to that question is both simple and complex. The simple answer is yes, anyone can do it. The complex answer is that you must develop a mindset that is aligned with prospecting.

Let me see if I can help you understand this and inspire you to take on the process.

Your mind has many facets. One of the most influential facets of the mind is your survival system. I call this part of your mind The Drunk Monkey. Its job is to assess the situation you are in (or about to be in) and decide the best course of action.

“The Drunk Monkey gets out of control and leads you away from making money”

Here’s an example: You walk over and pet a dog. That dog bites you. Question: What happens next time you see a dog? Answer: You experience a negative reaction. Do all dogs bite? No! But your survival system is doing it’s job. Now let’s look at prospecting…

You’re in school as a kid. The teacher asks a question. You raise your hand. You answer.  “Wrong!” says the teacher. All the kids laugh. Adrenaline floods your body, your cheeks turn red, and you are embarrassed. What happens the next time the teacher asks a question? You don’t raise your hand.

What does this have to do with prospecting?

Your broker says, “Pick up the phone and call this list of people, and ask them if they want to buy or sell.” Instantly The Drunk Monkey says, “What if they ask me a question that I don’t know the answer too?  What if I look stupid?  What if I’m embarrassed?” You just got duped by The Drunk Monkey. Your career just got massively limited by the illogical generalization that this time will be like when you were a kid in school.

Top Agents have somehow escaped the tyranny of The Drunk Monkey in this area of their business. I’ve spent my career seeking to understand why they think the way they think. I have dissected this thought process and have successfully taught it to agents who didn’t have it naturally (like most people).

2 of the Top 5 Ways to Make it in Real Estate

Basic Strategy

If you’re like most agents your hesitation in working private listings is due to a fear of rejection.

All the other agents are calling and ‘why would they want to listen to you’ right?

Everything changes once you understand your objective with new leads is to qualify them for you, not yourself to them. It’s you who will be doing the screening and eliminating those 80-85% who aren’t worth your time and other investments.

This approach has three huge benefits for you:

★ You start out with a positive ‘in-charge’ mind-set going into your prospecting calls.
★ It distinguishes you from others calling as a winner.
★ You’ll develop a genuine workable prospect list with higher conversion rates.

Those who don’t understand this mind-set and strategy are doomed to a dreadful and rejection filled experience before even getting started, leaving a much narrower field of competition for you down the stretch.
The Only 3 Questions You Need to Ask…

‘Mr. Seller, I just have 3 quick questions and I’ll be out of your hair’…

1. ‘If I brought you a qualified buyer would you be willing to pay me 3%?’ If not, thank them for their time and move on – simple as that. Again, it’s critical for your morale and motivation to understand you are rejecting them, not the other way around.

2. ‘How long are you going to try and sell this property on your own before exploring other options?’ This tells you a lot about their motivations. Most don’t make it as long as they think they will so cut in half whatever time goal they give you and note this as your target date to list them.

3. ‘If you don’t sell the property on your own within your time frame, what other options will you be exploring?’ This question ensures someone else doesn’t have a lock on their business – an agent who’s a relative perhaps.

If you can’t get acceptable responses from all of these 3 questions thank them for their time and move on. Otherwise ask them if it would be OK to email them some information on local market trends, stats, or whatever your most valuable piece is to secure their email and make your best first impression with them.

With these 3 simple questions you’ve eliminated undesirables, discovered genuine prospects, and obtained their email contact to enter into your automated follow up system.
A good follow up system is essential to your winning strategy.

It’s critical to understand that as each week goes by more and more of your competitors will give up.

Maybe 30 the first week, then 15 the second week, 5 the third week, etc.

Your follow up system is the only thing that ensures you’re the one still there when they’re ready to list, and if done correctly also has built a relationship for you along the way that will help you close the deal when it’s time.

To establish that relationship your qualified prospect needs to hear from you in a different way each week (email, letter, postcard, etc.) – With one phone call or drive by each week in addition to your send.

Summary

★ Having a core strategy is key to converting private listings. Any other information or tool needs to facilitate and strengthen this – If not, it’s usually a waste of your time.

★ You’re the one in control. You’re the one who decides who to accept or reject. You decide who’s worth your time and investment to pursue.

★ It’s a process. When those you’ve qualified are ready to throw in the towel it’s you who will get the “Come list me” call because you had the right strategy and system in place from the start.

How to Control Expireds in Your Market

It starts with establishing yourself as an expert in Expireds

My coaching clients use all of their available media… Adding the line “Helping Expired Listings Sell Their Homes” to their postcards, letters, voice mail messages, emails, blogs, website, social media, and any place else they may have a presence.

Your expired listing marketing channel could be at www.yourwebsite.com/expired. Here the expired would find plenty of helpful resources and be encouraged to call or complete a questionnaire to perhaps receive a free, 48-hour value analysis or an opportunity to sign up for a pre-listing consultation.
Here are a few ideas for your marketing to encourage and stimulate expired prospects to contact you…

You missed marketing opportunities that sell property in the (your market) area. We will show you marketing procedures that have worked in the last 12 months.

The marketing was not customized to your personal needs and desired outcomes. We ask many questions to determine your exact needs and then draw from a large quiver of tools to customize your experience.

Your agent was not a buyer magnet. We will show you the unusual services that we have for buyers which drives them to interact with us — most times under contract.

Your features and benefits of the property were not adequately delineated and distributed to the world through an aggressive search engine optimization procedure. We will demonstrate and guarantee results.

Your price needs to be adjusted. There is a delicate balance of pricing at the next level to take advantage of a better market with lower interest rates, but not too high as to be rejected by appraisers. How many times was your price adjusted up or down to make allowance for the market.

Your agent needed a better grasp of the comparable sales. Smaller homes have a greater price per square foot. Some improvements greatly increase prices, some reduce. Decorating causes emotion, emotion causes sales. We have personal knowledge of the sold comps and the staff to help you make changes to your home, if you desire.

Your agent lacked creativity. In the past, we have purchased a buyer’s home to allow them to close on a new property. We have loaned buyers their down payment from our commission so they could qualify for a loan. We have a lender team member who has come up with innovative financing plans to squeeze that buyer into a home. Through experience, we are innovative and that innovation gets homes sold.

Showings on your home were not seamless. One phone call to our office gets agents into your home for showings. The owner gets previous notice of the showing and then after the showing, they receive feedback so they are aware of what the market is saying.

You did not evolve with the market. Every 10 working days, we have a meeting with you to look at the changes we can make based on the competition, the sales, and the feedback. We have a fluid marketing plan to provide what the market calls for in obtaining offers.

Interest did not result into contracts. We follow up on interest and make suggestions on how contracts can be formulated to achieve buyer’s goals while keeping your needs in mind. Newer agents representing buyers may not have the tools to move a buyer across the finish line. We will help with a little push!

Implement some new ways for the expireds to interact with you. Some of my clients are controlling 15% or more of the listed expireds in their area by offering more value to get the expired listing to call or email you.

Market moving OK under new mortgage disclosure rules

SAN DIEGO – Nov. 16, 2015 – Months of preparation and training paid off for Realtors® as the implementation of new closing documents – the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and Truth in Lending Act Integrated Disclosure – enters its second month with minimal delays, according to panelists at the “RESPA-TILA Know Before You Owe Rule: Regulatory Issues Forum,” part of the 2015 Realtors Conference & Expo in San Diego.

On Oct. 3, 2015, the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule took effect as part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s ‘Know Before You Owe’ initiative. CFPB’s goal was to offer greater transparency to mortgage borrowers.

Under the rule, a single Loan Estimate (LE) document replaced the Good Faith Estimate and Truth in Lending disclosures. Consumers must receive the LE within three business days of applying for a loan. A new Closing Disclosure (CD) form replaced the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and the final Truth in Lending disclosure. That form must be given to consumers at least three business days before closing.

Panelists shared their insights into the rollout and implementation process.

“Realtors worked hard to get themselves educated about … Know Before You Owe, and that work seems to be paying off,” said 2015 NAR President Chris Polychron. “We are pleased that closing delays and other harmful effects resulting from the new rules have been reportedly few in number so far.”

Polychron said there still might be “bumps in the road,” but “NAR will continue to monitor the implementation of ‘Know Before You Owe,’ communicate Realtor® concerns to the CFPB, and work to help ensure on-time, efficient closings for consumers.”

NAR also worked with the CFPB to win concessions before the rule became effective, including delayed implementation for several months. It also pushed CFPB to show “sensitivity” towards good-faith-actors that were working to comply with the new rules in the early stages of implementation.

The panel included Patricia McClung, assistant director for Mortgage Markets at the CFPB; Karen Crowson, chair of NAR’s Regulatory Issues Forum; Stephen Hoover, vice chair of NAR’s Regulator Issues Forum; Don Chiesa, vice president of National Loan Production at Quicken Loans; Anthony Lamacchia, broker/owner of Lamacchia Realty in Waltham, Massachusetts; and Maria Lau, sales division manager of Waco Title in Waco, Texas.

© 2015 Florida Realtors®

U.S. still favored by Chinese property buyers

HONG KONG – Nov. 17, 2015 – The Chinese will continue to seek overseas real estate, especially in the United States, said the co-founder of Juwai.com, a website that helps buyers from China find overseas properties.

Simon Henry helped to create Juwai in 2011. Although the financial crisis appeared to be over by the end of 2010, most countries were still in recession, Henry said in an interview on Monday.

“China was the one country that had a lot of cash,” Henry said. Working in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, he and his partners developed an online platform to connect Chinese buyers with global properties. The company generates revenue from agents and brokers who list properties for sale on the website.

Despite last summer’s stock market turmoil and slower-than-expected economic growth, Henry said there is no shortage of Chinese buyers for real estate in the U.S., Canada and other nations.

“China’s government is now aiming for 6.5 percent annual growth in gross domestic product, which would be the envy of just about any other country,” Henry said. “We are not seeing any impact (from economic issues) at all, and we expect an escalation of buyers. We look at outbound travel and other categories. The buying power of the Chinese consumer is still very strong.”

Henry said that in 2010, buyers from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan acquired $5 billion in overseas real estate. In 2014, that number jumped to $52 billion and is expected to grow to $220 billion by 2020.

“Most investors in China are already property-rich. They are seeking diversification,” Henry said.

Henry said Juwai is an educational resource in addition to being a property marketplace.

“We have full-time staff writing thousands of articles about international property investment,” he said. “We knew we were dealing with an emerging market and they needed to be educated.”

About 70 percent of Juwai’s users are from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and about 30 percent are Chinese living overseas.

Henry said the U.S. remains the top destination for Chinese property buyers. He cited a survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showing that Chinese buyers have replaced Canadians as the most dominant foreign-home purchasers in the U.S.

Homebuyers from China comprised 16 percent of international buyers who purchased single-family homes and condominiums in the 12-month period ending last March, up from 12 percent in 2013, according to the NAR. Canadians made up 14 percent of international buyers, down from 23 percent in 2013.

The top five states in the U.S. for Chinese buyers are California, Florida, New York, Texas and Washington State, Henry said. It’s been well documented that the Chinese like New York and San Francisco, which have large Chinese populations.

“There are other U.S. areas that are attracting Chinese buyers,” Henry said. He said the Chinese are in the top five of international property investors in 46 of the 50 states and listed St. Louis, Gainesville, Florida, and Seattle as “up and coming” areas.

Henry said Chinese buyers fit into four main profiles: investment, immigration, education and lifestyle. “Investment buyers like new apartment buildings because there are mostly apartments in China,” Henry said. “Immigration investors like to live in established Chinese communities, while education buyers seek apartments close to U.S. colleges and universities for their children to attend.”

© 2015 China Daily Information Company, Paul Welitzkin. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).