Eight Deal Breakers

Has this ever happened to you? You worked so hard at marketing a listing and at the end the seller is not willing to cooperate with you to get it sold?

Following are eight tips to get more of your listings u/c. I compiled this list from an interview I watched with Barbara Corcoran.

1. Don’t get insulted. In today’s market even real buyers are making low ball offers. Why? Well, it’s the market. With so much media attention to the state of the market and specially being in a true buyer’s market, if your buyers don’t make a lower than normal offer, they feel they didn’t try hard enough. Instead of getting offended, ask your seller to counter, most real buyers will play along and come up with a better offer.
2. Hanging around at the open house. Nothing discourages more a perspective buyer than seeing a seller walking around the house during open house day. I understand that many sellers want to be of assistance, but most of the time they end up saying too much and there goes the sale. Ask them to make plans for the day and if there is no way they can leave the property, then ask them to stay in one room, even if it’s the closet.
3. Waiting for a better offer. Well by now you already now that the first offer is normally the best offer.
4. Clean the closets. Most buyers open the closet doors and a messy closet normally makes the buyer feel there can be something wrong with the house. Why? I have no clue.
5. Not making much needed repairs. AS IS! Many times sellers lose thousands of dollars because they refused to make small repairs. Buyers will always double or triple the estimated cost of repairs and include that discount in their offers.
6. Haggling over the accessories. How many times I lost good offers because the sellers wanted to negotiate over the washer and dryer or the chandelier or the refrigerator. As the saying goes “pound foolish, penny wise.”
7. Internet curb appeal. Most people look for properties in the internet and if your listing doesn’t have an attractive “net curb appeal” they will take it out of their house to see list.
8. Renegotiating the agent’s fee. Many sellers don’t understand the importance of commissions; a lower commission will send their house to the bottom of the houses to show list rather than to the front of the list.

I hope this list helps you make an extra sale. If there is anything else I can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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Profile of the Internet Consumer

With an estimated of 67 million people looking to buy, sell, rent or finance a home on the Internet, and real estate professionals who want to land their business are making a huge mistake, they are treating them all the same way. They are treating them as someone who is ready, willing and able; instead, we should look at them as four distinct audience segments.
A white paper commissioned by Yahoo Real Estate, “Embracing the Online Real Estate Market,” offers loads of practical advice about marketing to each group.
Passionates. Are the smallest group, an estimated 6% of the audience but the most attractive target as well. The study found 79% are in the market to buy, 82% to finance, and 45% to sell real estate in the next six months; their average income is $202,000.
Passionates are “advanced” Internet users, early adopters who visit multiple real estate sites early in the buying process with specific goals in mind, the study found.
“Since Passionates spend a lot of time online on multiple Web sites, it is important to reach them where they are online,” the study recommended. “Authoring your own blog, being present on mainstream social networks and industry-targeted communities, and participating in other consumer focused (question-and-answer) sites are great ways to reach Passionates.”
Conventionals. Because they tend to use offline sources such as printed advertising as a first step in the real estate research process, real estate agents are the most important source of information for “Conventionals.” This segment represents about 14 % of in-market real estate consumers. Average income for the segment is $69,000, with 82 percent owning property with an average value of $349,000; 53 percent are male. Although Conventionals may begin the research process offline, 83 percent eventually get online when buying a home, and 40 percent turn to MLS sites as the first place they do research.
Because they may start the process offline, it’s important to think of reaching Conventionals online “as an extension of your offline marketing efforts,” the study said. Offline marketing copy “should reinforce your presence online, including your Web site URL, your blog URL, your e-mail address, or your social network profile names. Keep in mind that even though their name implies that they are offline, Conventionals spend time researching online to supplement their offline activities.”
Actives. Actives are the second-largest group of real estate consumers, at 19% of the audience. Most Actives, 71% are financing properties, while just over half are buyers and about one in four are sellers. The typical Active is a highly educated 44-year-old married male with an income of $87,000, and 82% own property with an average value of $410,000.
Actives seek out information in a thorough way, often using online sources as a first step. Most use multiple sites and many tools, with no single source considered a “one-stop shop,” the study found.
Because Actives use multiple sites, “you should have a presence on many real estate Web sites,” comScore recommends. “In particular, real estate professionals should distribute their listings to as many real estate search and portal sites as appropriate. Actives are also busy financing, so partnering with mortgage brokers, both online and offline, is a great way to reach them by sharing referrals.”
Online real estate agent directories are also used by Actives, an important consideration since repeated “impressions” in front of this group “is critical, as Actives are still contemplating what service providers to collaborate with.”
Future Prospects. Future Prospects who are “just looking” are the largest group of active real estate consumers, comprising 61% of the category. They mostly go online to view listings and follow the market, and less than 10% are working with or even looking for a real estate agent. But that doesn’t mean they should be ignored.
“Once this segment becomes more serious about home shopping and buying they will rely on a real estate agent to assist them, so investments that get you in front of their selection process are important,” the study recommended. “For this group, awareness is the most important marketing objective, and marketing investments should be geared toward consistently putting your brand front-and-center. Graphic media campaigns on newspapers sites and real estate sites that enable local targeting, search-engine marketing in your local market, and listing your profile in the emerging category of online real agent directories should be considered in the marketing mix for this segment.”
The typical future prospect is a 45-year-old married female with an average income of $69,000, with two-thirds owning property worth an average of $324,000.
“Since they are the least knowledgeable about real estate compared to the other segments, Future Prospects are more likely to enlist outside help,” the study advised.
Treat them all different, create different approaches and most importantly don’t stop marketing.

Sarah Breedlove Walker

I’d never heard of Sarah Breedlove before today. I saw a small tag line on an email saying that she was the first “millionairess” in the world after developing of hair care products. I had to know more. Upon delving further I found out the following which continued to blow my mind:

• Sarah was born to freed slaves in Louisiana, USA in 1867
• Married at 14, she was orphaned and widowed by the age of 20
• Upon retirement Sarah built a house beside tycoon J.D. Rockefeller
• The Guinness Book of Records lists Sarah Breedlove as the first female (black or white) who became a millionaire by her own achievements

In her own words: “There is no royal, flower-strewn path to success. And if there is one I have not found it. For if I had accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard.”

After watching the recent election in America many people across the world are amazed to see what someone of African American descent is able to do right now. How phenomenal is it to then consider what Sarah Breedlove Walker was able to accomplish as a female African American, over a hundred years ago.

How to Differenciate Between a Looker and a Buyer.

“Buyers are liars” probably you have heard that same expression from one or more of your sales people in the last few days.  Sales agents are complaining about the quality of the buyers, what a waste of time they are, the lack of loyalty and mainly the low offers these buyers are making. 

 

Whenever I hear an agents complaining about their buyers, I ask them: Did you qualify your buyers? Experienced Realtors are still putting contracts together, because they spend more time disqualifying buyer leads than qualifying them. “The top 10 percent recognize there are only a certain number of hours in the day. And they know they can only close qualified prospects. So they spend time asking tough questions to find real buyers and the ‘lookie-lous’ never make it into their funnel.”

Top performers are so guarded about who goes into their prospects lists that their pipelines look more like cylinders: fewer opportunities going in one end and a higher percentage of them closing on the other. Contrast that with the other 90 percent of the agents. Typically this group aims to prop up every lead that comes their way, stuff them into their pipeline, and hope some will buy a house.

To radically boost the performance of your bottom 90 percent, you need to get them to shift from a mindset of qualifying buyers to one of disqualifying them. And the way to do that is by giving them a qualifying checklist with six questions. When an agent gets on the phone with a lead, he/she must know the answers to these six questions:

 

1.        What was it about the ad (sign, house, etc) that caught your eye?

2.        How long have you been looking for a house with a ______?

3.        How many houses with a ________ have you seen?

4.        Why didn’t you buy one of those?

5.        What is your time frame for the purchase?

6.        What are some reasons they wouldn’t buy?

 

Agents are afraid to ask these questions because they think their prospect won’t answer them or because they’re afraid of the answer. These questions are key to the disqualifying process because if the lead is vague or evasive about any of them, it means he or she is not a serious buyer and agents shouldn’t waste their time. Thinking they can turn it around is a bottom 80 percent strategy; spotting the red flag and discarding the lead is a top 20 percent strategy.

When top agents don’t get the answers they want or need, they ask the tough questions, and they’re not afraid to say, “You know, Mr. Prospect, it sounds like you’re interested in waiting for the prices to come down further. So keep my number on file and when you feel the bottom price is here, give me a call.”

I understand that shifting from a mindset of qualifying your leads to disqualifying your leads can be a bit scary. Sales people worry that if they start tossing out leads; there won’t be any more coming in to fill their pipeline. But here’s the gem: These techniques will never disqualify a true buyer; they will reveal the true buyers.

If you’re think your agents are still nervous, ask them the following question: “Do you want to spend it with “lookie-lous” who aren’t serious about buying? Or do you want to spend it with prospects that are qualified and genuinely interested?” If it’s the latter, you need to do a good job of weeding out the former. “Once you get confident with these techniques and see you are closing more sales, you’ll never go back.”

Tips for Today’s Market.

How do you deal with today’s market? Is a question I get asked almost everyday of the week.  Well, the answer is simple just follow the three simple rules I learned when I was a brand new agent in Real Estate.  These rules have helped me and many other professionals build great business and they will do the same for you (as long as you apply them).

 

Rule #1. Act as If. This is one of the oldest rules; the economy and the real estate business are not what they used to be, but we are acting as if there is no solution to the problem! Why don’t we begin to ACT AS IF WERE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL AGENTS IN THE WORLD. Will this change anything? Absolutely, it will change our outlook, the way we walk, the way we dress and ultimately the way we perform.

Rule #2. Separate the looker from the buyer. Remember what we learned in real estate school, buyers must be: READY, WILLING and ABLE in order to enter into a real estate transaction. Well, if the buyers you are working with are still waiting for the prices to drop, then they’re not buyers, they are lookers! And right now you can’t afford the luxury to waste valuable time and energy in lookers.

 
Rule #3. Listings, listings, listings. Remember this is an inventory driven business, if you don’t have any listings then you are losing control of the market. Even in a buyers market the listing is king. To get listings you must allocate at least one hour every day to generate listing leads; even if you feel afraid, remember the best way to conquer fear is by facing it.

If there is anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Semper Fi. How Marines Motivate the Front Line.

In today’s market place, sales agents are taking control of their brokerages financial destinies. More and more brokers and managers allow their agents to use any excuse to justify their low or lack of productivity.

The head business coach for the coaching division of my company, Curtis Phelan happens to be a former marine. I recently asked him, how real estate brokers and managers can benefit from using the Marine Corps principles to make their offices more productive? His answer was: “Marines have a Common Value System they understand what it means to have a mission and they take pride in everything they do and they have a Blue Print for Success.” While former Marine Corps members often run successful sales organizations, experienced brokers and managers are frequently unaware of the motivational master plan that runs America’s finest military organization.

Here are the five key components of the Marine blueprint for success, to help you recruit the best people, design better training, develop teamwork, inspire loyalty and achieve victory.

1. Recruiting: Marines send out their top performers to recruit the best people. These experienced officers display a missionary zeal, and they personify the values and pride of a Marine.

How much recruiting have your top salespeople done in the past? I know, you are probably saying “my top agents will never do it” well, it all depends on how committed your top agents are about working for the most successful company in the area.

2. Training: Marines spend 12 weeks in basic training. When the training gets tough, drill sergeants often quote the old saying, “the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.” Boot camp is not designed to weed out certain people, but to cultivate everybody. While many companies allow those who don’t perform up to standard to linger around until they quit, Marines practice until everybody graduates.

What kind of training do you have in place to help new agents succeed and avoid being an expense for your company? How about your experience agents; what systems do you have in place to help them make more money and become more successful?

3. Leadership: Marine officers lead by example. If a leader asks a platoon to climb a 100-foot wall, he will be the first one to start the climb. Of all military services, the Marine Corp has the highest casualty rate among officers. In real estate, the best sales managers are not the ones who hide behind their desks, but those who go out to see the toughest customers with their front-line people.

One of my clients in South Jersey, (by the way, he happens to run the largest company in the area), makes a point to go out FSBO prospecting with his agents in a regular basis.

4. Commitment: The Marine Corps credo is do or die. Curtis says that you have to be careful what you ask a Marine to do because he’ll die trying. Marines in action show how much a highly committed team can accomplish. What if salespeople adopted such high standards for new listings or assisting other agents become more successful? Remember the more successful agents working for your company, the easier the listing, selling, recruiting and the more profitable your company will be.

5. Loyalty to the troops: While many companies often tell agents that they are replaceable, Marines are told that they are irreplaceable. They know that the entire country and their fellow Marines depend on them. It’s natural for a Marine to say, “I love my Marine Corps.” How many salespeople say, “I love my company.” More and more companies are studying the Marine Corps model for motivation. As a result, their sales teams take more pride in their product and more pride in their companies. Imagine the possibilities. Imagine every salesperson in your company as proud as a Marine. Imagine how many competitive battles you’d win. Every year, thousands of loyal and highly trained Marines retire: why not deploy their talents to win more sales?

Just in Case you Know Someone who’s Considering Quitting.

In today’s economy, many real estate professionals are considering leaving the industry and move on with their lives.  However, no one has ever reached success before facing numerous and very difficult challenges and if we quit we will never know what the future could’ve been like.

 Just in case you know someone thinking about quitting, please share this message with them.

  • In 1816 his family was forced out of their home. Still a child he had to work to help support them.
  • In 1818 his mother died.
  • In 1831 failed in business.
  • In 1832 ran for state legislature – lost.
  • In 1832 also lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
  • In 1833 borrowed money from a friend to start a business, by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
  • In 1834 ran for state legislature again – won.
  • In 1835 was engaged to be married, his fiancée died and he was heartbroken.
  • In 1836 had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
  • In 1838 sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
  • In 1840 sought to become elector – defeated.
  • In 1843 ran for Congress – lost.
  • In 1846 ran for Congress again – this time he won – went to Washington and did a good job.
  • In 1848 ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
  • In 1849 sought the job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
  • In 1854 ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
  • In 1856 sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – got less than 100 votes.
  • In 1858 ran for U.S. Senate again – again he lost.
  • In 1860 Elected President of the United States.
  • In 2009 we celebrate his Bicentennial, his name: Abraham Lincoln.

 Never, ever quit. You were born for greatness.

How to Make 2009 Your Best Year Ever.

Harvard University conducted a survey with over 1,600 businesses and found out that 70% have no written or verbal business pan, 27% had verbal goals and only 3% had a written business plan.  The same survey also showed that 98% of the wealth was created by those 3% who had a business plan. So, my question is, do you have a written business plan?

 

Most agents in our industry set their goals at the beginning of the New Year, especially when the broker or manager requests our goals for the year; however these goals are rarely in writing.  Why? We don’t think it’s necessary or important.  But remember having a goal is not the same as having a business plan.  A good business plan is very detailed and can be quite expensive if prepared by a professional. This email has to do with 5 Reasons why it’s Important to Create a Realtor Friendly Business Plan. 

  1. Tax Savings:  If you go to your tax preparer at the beginning of the year and bring your business plan, he or she will be able to assist you better and perhaps increase your tax deductions.
  2. Vision:  Your business plan should include the cost of taking your business to the next level.  Let’s say you’ve been thinking about hiring an assistant, but feel that you can not afford it; you should still include the cost of having an assistant in your plan.  Now you know how many deals you need to close in order to be able to hire one.  Remember, we only make money when we are in front of the client, not pushing papers.
  3. Awareness:  A well prepared business plan includes all your expenses (personal, family and business).  Once you know how many transactions you need in order to live the life you want to live, you can get to work and just concentrate on doing what you need to do in order to fulfill your plan.
  4. Direction:   Your business plan should be like a GPS for your career.  Why do we look up addresses on Map quest or program our GPS before going to a showing?  Well, we don’t want to look unprofessional or unprepared or waste our time by getting lost; a business plan will do the same for your business. It will tell you if you are on or off track and how far you have to go before reaching your destination.
  5. Failure to plan is planning to fail. We are in this business because we want more out of life than just what a job can provide.  We want to be successful; we are not in it because we want to fail.  Unfortunately, most sales agents never reach their full potential, not because of lack of willingness, but mainly because of the lack of planning.

 One last thought; even the most detailed business plan will never work without one more ingredient and that is persistence.  I would like to leave you with the abridged version of one of my favorite quotes: “Nothing takes the place of persistence, talent will not, genius will not, education will not, Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Calvin Coolidge.

Six Reasons why I love Today’s Market.

Most media loves to point out the negatives in today’s market.  We’ll this week I spent some time with my friend Chris Leader and we agreed there are some positives to this economy, hope you’ll agree with us.

1. I love today’s market because during the last market I lost more than one sale after my clients were outbid and they felt I didn’t work hard enough for them.   

2. I love today’s market because during the last market there wasn’t a big selection for my buyers buyers to choose from.

3. I love today’s market because during the last market my buyers got the worst end of the deal; houses were sold “as is” and had to pay top dollar for them.

4. I love today’s market because during the last market, buyers and sellers stopped seeing me as a real estate professional and didn’t appreciated my efforts or valued my knowledge and expertise.

5. I love today’s market, because it has allowed me the opportunity to develop new skills; I’m learning how to be disciplined and to work this business as a business.

6. I love today’s market, because life has removed all the obstacles that were preventing me from becoming the sales person I was born to be.

“If you think you can or you think you can’t; either way you are right.”  Henry Ford.

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