Wednesday, December 30, 2009

True Social Media Network part 2

Blogging is different. It's somewhat of a neighborhood farm but it's online. It has to be worked and cultivated. Careful planning and continual upkeep will insure long-term results. Like a neighborhood farm, it will take some time to grow.

Amy Chorew writes that the blog should be the hub of online marketing. Daren Rouse says the same thing. He uses Chris Brogans model showing the blog at the center and other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Flick’r, etc. as sites to send people to your blog for information.

Dan Iampieri is a great youtuber. Take a look at his series, "Andrew buys a House from Dan" He uses youtube to direct customers back to his blog which gives them more information about buying and selling real estate. Dan gives away a lot of information. He's building a base of people who know and trust him.

All these exmples point towards the creation of a social media network with a blog in the middle.





A True Social Media Network part 1

When I started learning about this social media stuff I had two simple goals in mind. First, I wanted to reconnect with people I knew from years before. Second, I truly felt I could gain exposure in the marketplace and become of greater service to my community. Funny, I never realized the scope of either goal.
What I have learned in achieving both my goals is fairly simple, but not limited to:
1. It's far better to give than receive.
2. Facebook is really fun!
3. I've gone a lot of places because of twitter.
4. And, blogs have more information on one subject than I can ever begin to digest.

From the business side what I've notice more than anything is that the real bloggers tend to dominate the marketplace. More than any other social media user, those who provide quality information on their blogs to their readers tend not only to have the most readers but also the greatest market share... Let it sink in... Those who give the most tend to receive the most.

Blogs and websites that actually give information are highly appreciated. I continuously return to Brian Worrell's site MyWestoverPark.com as an exceptional example of a site that provides quality information. Brian uses the site for residents of the subdivision to learn about upcoming community events, garage sales, lost and found items, and other pertinent information. It is a site Brian has given to the residents. And, according to Brian, through giving he receives great benefit.

Many novice social media users try their hand at facebook (it is extremely interactive). They friend everyone. Post a listing or two and wait for the benefits. After a month of no dollar return they call facebook a timewaster and then call it quits. Their failure stems from misconception. Here's a major hint: people don't necessarily want to see all your listings on facebook. They want to get to know you better.

Facebook is fun and entertaining. Use it for some information but not much. Use Facebook to connect and socialize with your FRIENDS. Use it to point to your information site, your blog.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Action Plans: Five Steps to Success


Setting goals is a great activity for not only business but in all areas of life. Many people set very realistic, measureable and achievable goals but fail to achieve the goals they set. Some of the difficulty arises from not having a plan to achieve the goals set. Use these five simple steps to create an action plan to help ensure a positive outcome in reaching goals.
1. Remember the benefits. Frank Leahy taught us, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” This particularly pertains to goals because we tend to forget that reaching a desired outcome may be hard work. If that is the case then remind yourself when it is tough what are the benefits from achieving your goal? Visualize the outcome; mentally see yourself when you have succeeded. Remember why you desire the goal you chose.
2. Plan for obstacles. Not surprisingly, if you set goals that really cause you to work hard, there may be obstacles to overcome along the way. Plan for the obstacles and possible solutions so you will be prepared when these problems arise.
3. Consider also what new knowledge or skills needed to reach your goals. Are there people or groups that can help you in your pursuit?
4. Make action steps. Planning the steps necessary to achieve your goals will help your clearly see what is necessary to reach your goals.
5. Completion Date. When will you complete your goal? Setting a date is necessary. It creates urgency and a target.
Setting goals and working towards those goals can help in many different facets of life. Whether just helping organization or pushing to strive further than ever possible, goals may be more attainable when a plan is created. Planning allows a systematic approach to achievement. It enables us to work towards success.


What are your goals?

Every year this time someone, through articles or conversation, brings up this very question. Sometimes I can excitedly share my goals and vision for the upcoming year. Other years I skulk into a dark corner and hope that nobody notices that I didn’t answer the personal and prying question.
So, are you skulking, shrinking into the corner or are you ready to share? Huh, are you?
Is the structure of writing the goals the block? For me it has been. Chocolate Orchid blogged a fun alternative to the tedious chore of writing goals, suggesting creating a Vision Board to organize your goals. The Vision Board gives you the opportunity to think through your wants and desires and places them in front of you in a visual manor through pictures.
No writing necessary! Sit quietly allowing yourself to visualize your dreams. Use magazine photos, titles, and phrases to visually represent your dreams. Tear or cut out more items than you could possible use. Organize on a poster board the items into a visual statement. It’s ok to let the board sit for a while and then come back to determine if the board does actually represent your goals and dreams. Post the board in a prominent place so that you may continue to refocus your actions and thoughts toward becoming the goals and dreams you have set. Have fun!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Can you really make money with a blog?

Daren Rouse of Problogger.net has the best explanation of how to use social media sites to increase readership of a blog. He uses Chris Brogan's idea of creating social media outposts to support a blog. His ideas seem easy to follow:
1. Social media sites may gain and lose popularity.
2. Own the blog url instead of using a hosting site.
3. Find other related blogs and interact with them.

video

Use the charts in the video to help determine how to support your blog with your social media sites.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Goal Setting to Create SUCCESS

Success is an individual determination based on personal defintion of the attributes that make up a person's wants and needs. In order to achieve the results desired a system of goals and activities to reach the goals needs to be determined.

Huh?


1. What have you done lately?
2. What do you like?
3. What do you want?
4. What do you need to get there?

Let's first look at what you've done previously. Know your sales results for 2009 and 2008 if you can. Past results will help determine the source of your business. Realizing what your successes already are will help you see what already works and at what frequency. For example, if you pull a lever and every three times a treat comes down a chute then you can begin to expect a 1 in 3 success rate. Whereas if you pull a different lever and you get a treat 1 in 10 times, you either need to pull that lever at a faster rate to keep up with the success rate of the first lever, change the machine to increase the rate of return for that lever, expect a lower rate of return, or leave it alone and focus on the other lever. Knowing success rates is important to understanding your business.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I never have enough time to post

Don't get started thinking about the list of thngs you need to get done before the end of the day. If you are like me, the list starts with the items that were carried over from yesterday's list. Take a deep breath, and let that go. We are all busy, very busy.

Here's a few ideas that may help:
1. Keep a posting list. I keep a Word document minimized on my computer that I use to copy url's (websites), ideas, and other information that I consider important that I find throughout the day.
2. Grab 2 or 3 ideas everyday and summarize or complete the thought.
3. Aggregate your posts. Sites like socialoomph.com, ping.fm, or even tweetdeck help get the posts out to multple sites at once. Some of these sites will even schedule your posts to go out at specific times.

Minimize your work efforts by maximizing your activity. Try these few easy tips to help you post more frequently and effectively while reducing the amount of time you spend online.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Social Media Start Up Ideas

Many people who haven't yet launched into using social media sites and other web sites to promote their real estate give one of two reasons why they haven't started. The first is time and the second is knowing actually knowing what to do. Though many people agree that they would market using social media, they just don't have the expertise to be able to accomplish the task. If there were a step by step approach to getting involved in the more popular sites then these non social media users would jump right in. The other group, the one professing lack of time, has a legitimate reason as well, or at least those in this group think they do because they don't know how to manage their social media accounts.
Ideas to start:
1 Open a Facebook account. www.facebook.com It is very intuitive, even asking you which friends of yours you want to befriend. What are you waiting for?...
2 In your profile (click the tab) hit that little picture button to upload a photo of your favorite listing. In the rectangle that asks "What's on your mind?" Type a flowing description of your listing. Click share!
3 How about an event? See the little calendar tab? Click on it and add information about an upcoming event like an open house or a volunteer event you are involved in. Click Create an Event.
4 You are almost there! Now for the scary part... If you are on your laptop and you have a webcam, then you can create your own short video message. Let's start small and send it directly to a friend of yours. Up at the top of the page is Inbox. Click on it. Click on Compose and type a friend’s name in the To: box. Next is the fun part! Click on the camera and then the little white button in the red square at the bottom of the page...Start talking and SMILE! When you run out of things to say then stop talking and click the white square at the bottom of the screen. Click share.
5 Click on the Photos button on the left side of the page. Click upload photos and then click Create an album. Name it Homes I've Sold. Click create and then click the photos of homes that you've sold. They're in the photos on your computer aren't they? Click upload.

You now have a Facebook account and are part of the 4th largest country in the world. You can upload photos, write a post, make a photo album, and make a video. Set your timer for 30 minutes and stop when it goes off.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Putting Social Media All Together

Scott Stratten @unmarketing absolutely gets social media marketing; create an online relationship that leads to meeting a person irl (in real life). He uses authentic topics to reach out and engage his audience. He's real, not airing a personality or persona of fictitious matter. Scott is showing who he is and what he has to offer. Watch this video of Scott explaining his #followfive on his blog. In Scott's words, "Stop Martketing and start engaging." Click on the title to watch Scott's video.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Prospecting Requires Tool-kit

Sitting here reviewing the latest Facebook statistics, I am amazed at the fervor of activity and growth of social media sites. Facebook is now over 300 million users worldwide with over half of those logging on daily. Facebookers, spending ore than 6 billion minutes daily, post more than 2 billion pieces (including web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, events, and videos) weekly! Facebook is a growing, thriving country of intricately woven relationships.

It is astounding to me that we now have the ability to reach so many people simultaneously. It is no wonder why such a large number of marketers are focusing their attention on Facebook and other social media sites. We can create connections, establish relationships helping other people. Through a process of educational marketing we authentically develop these relationships with our friends as they begin to know, like, and eventually trust us, proving again Jim Weichert’s age-old adage, “People by people before they will buy a product or service.”

These social media marketing platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and the rest, have given real estate agents and other prospectors the ability to reach more people and further develop their sphere of influence. With the web 2.0 explosion, however, we have begun to lose sight of a very important piece of the prospecting system: good old eyeball to eyeball, belly to belly as the cronies call it, contact.

Yes, we can electronically and conveniently, send documents to be signed literally anywhere in the world. Relationships however still have to be developed and grown. Take the time to meet with people. It’s the relationship that really makes the service industry fun! Cherish the true richness of the personal face to face contact that or customers truly deserve.

Prospecting and marketing methods have changed. They include a new tool, social media. In the end, it’s still just a tool. You can’t hammer with it. You need a hammer for that.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Art of Networking

The more I read about networking, whether in person or online, the more I see recurring themes. There seems to be a similar opinion among networking experts and gurus as to how to most effectively network. Before I share the recurring themes let me share about a person who I have observed many times “work a room.”
Imagine the super-networker, as he enters the room. Watch him quickly scan the room looking for the key people he ultimately wants to meet. T he super networker moves confidently through the room, greeting everyone he comes near. He is quick to reach out and shake hands. The super-networker’s genuine smile has this way of making each person feel that he has been waiting all day just to talk to them. Usually, it is because he asks them a question that then allows them to talk about themselves. A question much deeper than the average, “How are you?” When the time is right, he either offers information or provides an important connection. After having this short conversation, he quickly excuses himself by offering the person something available in the room as if he is the host of the event. He then moves on to find the next person moving ever closer to the people he came to see.

The characteristics of a Super Networker are easy to spot:
1. He attends networking meetings. He shows up!
2. Has a compelling 30 second speech that tells people what he does.
3. Comes with a plan and a goal in mind.
4. Acts like the host of the event not a guest.
5. Asks powerful questions.
6. Listens more than speaks.
7. Gives information and connections.
8. Has a call to action.
9. Follows up with connections made.
10. Delivers on any agreements made.To be a Super-Networker you’ve got to practice. It’s best to practice at a real event. There is no better time to start than toda

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Open Houses Work

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Don't take my word for it. Take a SUCCESSful Weichert Realtor professional's word for it. Interested in learning how to make open houses work to sell your listings and help create new business? Call today 281-208-1700 Weichert Works!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Building a Brand and Creating Authenticity

Creating an online personality is an important part of establishing a social network. People need to know, like and trust you before they'll buy from you. In this article Stefan Swanepoel has takes a comprehensive look at setting up an online personality that is credible and authentic. Swanepoel's list is more philosophial than true steps to building the brand but it is definitely worth reading. Take a few minutes to read his article which is linked above.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Why Teens Don't Tweet


Geoff Cook, cofounder and CEO of social networking site myYearbook, wrote this enlightening article regarding Teen activity on several social media sites. Worth the read. Follow the link to his article in TechCrunch.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

5 Easy Steps to Prospect with Twitter

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Now that your new Twitter account is up and ready to be used, I am sure your are wondering what to post. This important video gives you five quick and easy ways to ensure Twitter will create business for you. Success starts with Activity!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Make a Splash in a MAXIMUM Wake Zone

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Weichert's Fast Track training goes from the basics to beyond to include the extraordinary. Social media takes the basics to a new level. Listen to 3 of 4 agent tell you about value. Join us to learn more!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Social Media Marketing Doesn't Work?

I recently saw a presentaton by Poetic Systems sponsored by Friendswood Development. Matthew Hagar read some pretty amazing stats:

Social Media surpassed personal email in online use
4th largest use of a PC
10% of al time spent on the computer is spent on Social Media
13 HOURS of video is uploaded on youtube EVERY MINUTE
Twitter has a 1382% growth rate per MONTH
5 BILLION facebook posts a day
2/3 college grads are social media users
35+ year old is the fastest growing group

What do you do?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Let's Rock the Walk Fun Walk 2009

Come join us Saturday, September 12th to support Candlelighter's Childhood Cancer Family Alliance at Terry Hershey Park, 15200 Memorial Park.
The mission of Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance is to provide emotional support for children with cancer and their families.
Please help Rock the Walk and rasie money for Candlelighters. Monies raised from the Fun Walk go to fund Candlelighters Camp Cliff, the annual family camp. Raising walk money is easy. Simply ask 10 friends, family members, co-workers or neighbors for a $10 donation each, All workers who raise $100 or more will get a Candlelighters Walk T-Shirt.

For a short informational video click on the title above: "Let's Rock the Fun Walk 2009"

To make a donation for a walker or a team online go to www.candle.org and click donate.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Success is Showing Up

Phillies' second baseman ends the game with an unassisted TRIPLE play. Not too many people can say they've ever been part of a triple play or even seen a triple play. Eric Bruntlett recorded all three outs of one! That's a play for the record books.

With the Mets creeping back into the game, Bruntlett's play ended the game. That's only the second time in Major League Baseball history that a game has ended on an unassisted triple play. Bruntlett, having a dismal season, was given a rare start in order to rest the regular second baseman Chase Utley. Eric Bruntlett showed up having a near career day at bat getting three hits in his first three at bats.

Success starts with showing up! Our hat's off to you, Eric Bruntlett.

Click on the title "Success is Showing Up" to watch the video clip.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just a Job?

I was reading Dan Miller's Blog this morning. He was talking about attitude and perception. He posted this quote. I thought it may be of interest to others. It definitely made me think a little. In moments of stress I tend to think that if I could just get others to do what it is that I want them to do, the situation would be better. My anxiety wanes, however, when I get to the realization that I can only control myself and my thoughts. Enjoy!!

'Can’t you get a “real” job?“My mother has always been unhappy with what I do. She would much rather I do something nicer, like be a bricklayer.” Mick Jagger'

Monday, August 10, 2009

On-line marketing goes to the front line!

Your exposure in the marketplace drives business to you! When working on a marketing plan to increase your personal business, you have to consider how to increase exposure within the marketplace. This can come in many forms including yard signs with personal riders, personal contact within your Sphere of Influence, phone call canvassing for Just Listed and Just Sold activity, open houses, direct mail, and internet exposure. Considering that more than 90% of all buyers start their home search online, internet marketing should play a significant role in your marketing plan. Internet exposure, just like marketing itself, comes in many different forms including e-postcards, on-line video clips, social networks, and website postings of your listings and personal information. To increase our exposure locally and nationally Weichert, Realtors has increased its online presence. Our listings now post to many highly trafficked real estate and classified ad websites. To learn more about these online locations visit Weichert University to see the newly revised DOORS presentation.

Not a Weichert agent? Call a local office to learn how you could be a part of a SUCCESSful Weichert Realtors team.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Organizing Your Electronic Communications

When computers were as big as rooms and we were all excited about things like Tang, computer aided instruction, Apollo rockets, and Space Mountain we were told that this new computer age would not only improve our lives but also reduce the 40 hour work week. Last week I worked over 60 hours with no days off and worked literally from the time I got up until the time I went to bed. I’d like to find those people who proliferated that lie about computers and kick them right in the shin. They are all probably dead anyway from over being worked…and drinking too much Tang
Technology has moved so quickly to make us all so electronically connected. So much so that we are expected, not only as real estate agents, to be in continual contact with our network or sphere of friends. The constant bombardment of emails, text messages, tweets, and other electronic communication devices has left us without a moment to ourselves.
It is difficult at times to determine how to take control of this constant level of communication that we are expected to keep. There are some things that we can do to reduce some of the clutter and demand of our time. First, when posting electronically to our social network sites make sure the various sites you have link to each other so one post goes to each site within your network. Second, use a posting scheduler like www.tweetlater.com to post your information. Using an automatic posting device like this will enable you to plan your postings for at least a day at a time and even longer. You could for example, research only once or twice a week, prepare a series of posts on a specific topic, schedule the posts, and then have them upload to your twitter site at specifically scheduled times so that it appears that throughout the day or week that you are consistently and constantly updating your sites. You can even review your calendar to post, at appropriate times, about events you haven’t even attended!
Technology and instant communication can at times seem overwhelming and burdensome. Since the computer age seems to be ever advancing and growing in speed, creating greater demands on our time, use these advances and tools to help reduce your stress.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Open House Invitation Call

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Neighbors appreciate being invited to open houses. Many attend to get an idea of home values in the neighborhood. Others come to find a good agent. Take a few minutes to make invitation calls encouraging neighbors to attend the open hous. This calls shows a messge left on a neighbor's answering machine.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Jerry Rossi's summary of the 2009 buyer

Watch this video by Jerry Rossi. He has a solid view of the characteristics of the 2009 buyer. Many of his points are about the characteristics we have been discussing but his overall message points out the need to provide pertinent information to capture the buyer lead. Pay close attention to his first listing video.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Practices of Follow Up

Successful agents are driven with determination and commitment when following up with leads. The more consistent the follow up the greater the chance the professional will have of converting the prospect into a client. Be careful of success and of being too busy for follow up. Being disciplined is a critical part of successful follow up. If you consider these tips when designing and implementing a follow up system you will have SUCCESS!
Time Management
· Following up with leads has to be a routine – set specific times daily to follow up with prospective customers and clients.
· Don’t let follow up time suffer from being busy. Set aside time daily to follow up even if it isn’t the same time every day.
· Lead follow up is your number one job when you’re not out actively performing duties for your buyers and sellers. It is a mind set of tenacity and determination.
Discipline and Organization
· Believe in the fact that consistent follow up is a proven method leading to success. Use an easily to follow system for follow up and stick to it.
· Organization begins with keeping the information you have on leads in one place. Don’t get confused between one lead and another by being disorganized or haphazard in organization.
Documentation
· Use a system to capture critical information like a prospect sheet and use it with every lead. Use a system that is easy for you and makes you feel comfortable.
· Keep notes on each lead with details from each conversation. Review these notes before each contact with a lead to help redevelop rapport and refocus on key information.
Set Your Expectations
· Expect rejection! It’s ok. Determine your no to yes ratio to keep yourself encouraged. Using that ratio and your average commission determine how much each no is actually worth. Have fun with this!
· Understand rejection. Many times customers use the word no to mean, “I need more information .” Sometimes no means, “I’m not ready yet.”
· If you don’t ask you’ll never be rejected. Ask for business a lot otherwise you’ll never get to a single yes.
· Understand your prospects’ needs and wants by asking probing questions and listening to their answers. This valuable information will help you be of exceptional service and stand apart from the competition.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Follow Up...A Key to SUCCESS

Following up with prospects is a key to being successful in real estate. Having a system that allows regular, consistent, and expected contact with your prospects is a must. When designing a follow up system consider the following five pricniples to get the most from your follow up routine.
1. Reach out on a regular basis. Consistently contact your leads and focus on building your relationship. The more a prospect hears your name, the more likely they will remember it. If you remain in contact with a prospect, they will be more inclined to work with you because you made an effort to stay in touch.

2. Make yourself memorable. Make yourself stand out among other sales associates. Give your prospects a unique item; tell them something interesting about yourself (hobbies or other interests outside of real estate); wear something distinctive so it's easy for potential buyers and sellers to remember you. Provide your prospects with a higher level of service than your competition so you stand out from the rest.

3. Make it personal by being a student of your prospects. Knowing details about your prospects' lives helps you to have a more natural flow to your conversations. People feel more comfortable with someone who can talk to them about leisure activities and common interests. Also, your leads will be very impressed and flattered that you took the time to learn something about them.

4. Give something of value. The purpose of each contact with a prospect should be to offer them something to help them with their real estate needs,and ultimately lead to them working with you. Offer to provide them with new listings that meet their needs, meeting with your Gold Services Manager, the Weichert Brochure or one of the other Weichert Tools at each contact. Get to know the inventory and stay current on the local market statistics such as average days on market, absorption rate, and median sales price in your area so you are ready to talk abut these helpful facts with your prospects.

5. Write it down - Use a system to schedule and organize your activities. Don't let disorganization keep you from following up with your prospects. Put a system in place to organize notes on your prospects and prompt you to call them in a timely and regular manner. Whether your system is online or paper based, the discipline of recording what action to take and when with each prospect will keep the relationship alive. When your prospect is ready to make a move, it's you they will turn to since you were the professional who kept in constant contact, focusing on their needs.

Friday, January 30, 2009

FSBO Statistics

In researching For Sale By Owners, I found on the National Association of Realtors site some interesting statistics that I'd like to share.

Did you know?. . . the typical FSBO home sold for $187,200 compared to $247,000 for agent-assisted home sales.

FSBO Methods Used to Market Home:
Yard Sign . . . 50%
Friends/neighbors . . . 29%
Newspaper ad . . . 31%
Open House . . . 25%
Listing on the Internet . . . 21%

Most Difficult Tasks for FSBO Sellers:
Getting the right price . . . 15%
Understanding paperwork . . . 18%
Preparing/fixing up home for sale . . . 15%
Attracting potential buyers . . . 9%
Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale . . . 7%

Source: 2007 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Do you have what it takes?

Do you have what it takes to be successful in real estate, to be an independent contractor working for yourself with nobody to answer to, nobody to call your boss? Take a few minutes to read through the folowing questions and comments written by Dan Miller.
1. Are you a self- starter? Successful people don’t sit around and wait for people to come to them.
2. Do you get along with different kinds of people? Are you conversational, get along with printers, secretaries, mortgage brokers, title people, appraisers etc?
3. Do you have a positive outlook? Focus on the positive. Optimism and sense of humor essential. Small setbacks are just opportunities to stepping stones to eventual success.
4. Are you able to make decisions? Procrastination is the main obstacle to good decision making. “How to Eat a Frog”- concept is to do what you look least forward to and do it early in the morning, of get it over with- out of the way. 80% of decisions made right away.
5. Are you able to accept responsibility? Be willing to listen to your client’s complaints, gripes, and accept responsibility for your mistakes.
6. Do you enjoy competition? Don’t have to be cut–throat, but enjoy competing for listing presentations for example. Even competing against yourself. Dan sets small goals for himself when he was a struggling student he would set small goals for himself like he would 20 cold calls before eating lunch- sometimes he would eat at 12pm, sometimes at 4pm. You could do 40 door hangers and go have a latte after it.
7. Do you have will-power and self-discipline? Without it you won’t succeed.
8. Do you plan ahead? Need a long-term plan to succeed. Know where you want to go and devise plan to get there. For example, I will do 3 find 2 new buyers a month. How to get there- what are the most effective activities to find new buyers- open house, networking, referrals, and postcards.
9. Can you take advice from others? You don’t have to have all of the answers- learn from others. Don’t have to make all of the mistakes yourself- take seminars, read marketing or business books, hire a business coach or mentor.
10. Are you adaptable to changing conditions? Change is constant- market changes, technologies change, relationships change. Do you adapt well and are you able to take it in stride and enjoy that each new day is not like the day before?
11. Can you stick with it? Most new ventures take longer than we would like for them to. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Are you prepared to make a one year commitment to this business no matter how bleak it looks sometimes? Will you continue even if your friends or family tell you to throw in the towel?
12. Do you have a high level of confidence and belief in what you are doing? If you don’t believe in what you are doing, you won’t be able to sell it. Enthusiasm is selling what you believe in.
13. Do you enjoy what you are doing? Don’t think that you will be successful if you are in it just for the monetary rewards. You should get a sense of meaning and satisfaction from what you are doing.

Helping people buy and sell real estate is a rewarding job. Getting to help people live thier dreams can't be listed in the job description of a real estate professional. With all its rewards and glory, selling real estate isn't for everbody. Reflect on your answers to these questions to help decide if the exciting career in real estate is truly for you. Still think you have what it takes? Let's talk!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Do your buyer a favor. Close the deal!

When I first started in real estate I took ALL the classes. Every time some sales guru came to town peddling the latest marketing system or the latest greatest technique, I was there shelling out my hard earned money. I was sure that they had the answers and could help me on my way to greatness in real estate.
I reflect now, shaking my head about some of the snake oil salespeople who I gave my hard earned money to see. Ouch! I would hate to add it all up. I also shake my head at how badly I needed to use some of the techniques that these sales gurus preached. I sure could have used a few good closing techniques. I wished I had used my newly learned techniques to close on a buyer or two.
When sitting with a buyer getting to know them, their needs, desires, motivations, I learned not only what my clients wanted in a home but also why they wanted these amenities. This didn’t just include number of bedrooms and types of room. As an exceptional real estate agent looking out for the best interest of my client, I learned about lifestyle needs, dreams, location desired. I dug deep. Taking all these variables I scoured the MLS searching for homes that didn’t just fit but were ideal. Carefully previewing each home, scrutinizing it with this buyer’s tailored made yard stick, I filtered my list of homes from ideal to perfect.
Excitedly I showed each of these gems to my eager buyers each home perfectly meeting all their criteria. Home by home we methodically went through the list with not one contract written. What went wrong? All the homes were exactly what the buyers wanted including the right price. Why didn’t the buyer buy?
Sadly, their agent in looking out for all his clients needs forgot to ask just one simple and short question. It can be said so many ways but went unspoken… “So, what do you think, do you want to buy this beautiful home?”
OR “Can you see yourself raising your children here?”
OR “Shall we put pen to paper on this one?” The list goes on.
Back then I felt that closing on buyer was wrong especially if they were my client. I felt it was a manipulative thing to do. Unfortunately, I was completely mistaken.
So often I personally go into a new situation knowing what I want to accomplish but don’t know how to get to the outcome I desire. If only an expert on the subject, someone I could trust would help me through the process. Usually, however, nobody does and I am left to figure the tough stuff out on my own. If only…
Transfer this to our buyers who are now faced with the largest financial decision they have ever made. Their agent, who just days before talked about best interest, trust, and loyalty is now mysteriously quiet while they inwardly plead for a lifeline. If only the agent would ask, “How are you feeling about this beautiful home? Would you like to make an offer?”
“Yes,” eeks the buyer. “Thanks for asking. What do we do now?”

Monday, January 12, 2009

Closing the sale

One of the most critical aspects of selling is closing the sale. Closing the sale has two distinct components. First is the science of the close itself. This is the technique or systematic process of the close. The second is the art of the close. The art of closing is a bit less tangible and can be thought of as the dance between the customer and the agent or the feeling of when to close. Though both of these can be elusive, the science and the art of closing both can be mastered with practice and experience.
Starts at the beginning
Closing actually begins at the very first encounter with a customer. Building rapport allows the salesperson to continue and deepen the relationship. In its early stages, closing is preparing the customer for the future and describing the steps or road that will be followed to get the customer to not only put pen to paper but also give the mental affirmative to continue to a successful conclusion.
Trial closes
Along the presentation process for whatever product or service the customer will ultimately agree to purchase, the salesperson should regularly monitor the pace of the customer to assure the customer is still moving forward at the same rate as the salesperson. This may be accomplished with trial or minor closes. Just getting a customer to answer in the affirmative during the presentation is one way of priming the agreement pump. Another very common trial close is getting permission to continue the process such by initially writing a purchase agreement. It is as simple as asking for the date or for the correct spelling of the customer’s name before putting pen to paper.
These simple processes sound easy enough, but the question as to when to begin these closes keeps popping up. Explanation of the process happens throughout the initial presentation. This goes almost without saying. The putting pen to paper may be risky however if done out of turn. When making the bold decision to move forward we have to ask ourselves simply, is the buyer ready to buy? The buyer may have explicitly stated a specific date and that day may be near or even at hand. But, are there signs that reveal the buyer’s readiness to move forward?
Yes, is the short answer to this important question. We now move into the art of the close and away from the technique or the science of the close. Recognizing a buyer’s readiness to buy or buying signs takes time to foster. There are many lists of buying signs including mentally moving furniture, asking detailed questions, becoming thoughtful or reflective. A definition of a buying sign may be the demonstration of a behavior that is uncharacteristic for this particular person. A true buying sign from a very quiet non-flamboyant person, for example, may be getting into an empty jetted bathtub pretending to relax in the soothing water. This may not, however, be a buying sign if this particular person did this in every home. This is definitely a ‘get the feeling?’ kind of action.