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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Real Estate Marketing Strategies: Why Do Some Real Estate Agents Do Well in Today’s Economy?

Real Estate Marketing Strategies: Why Do Some Real Estate Agents Do Well in Today’s Economy?

Posted By susanne On March 20, 2012 @ 3:47 pm In Marketing,Real Estate,Real Estate Information,Real Estate News,Real Estate Trends,Today's Top Story |


[1]Is that a question you’ve ever asked yourself? Have you ever wondered why some real estate agents do well in today’s economy while others fail? There is a huge discrepancy right now between people who are failing and people who are succeeding.

Having been a real estate business coach for the past 15+ years I’ve had the privilege to observe how real estate agents function. And this experience has included new agents and seasoned agents, and the experience of watching them work through hard times and good times. In addition, I’ve even had the privilege to be able to participate in helping them to become successful.

Here’s the secret to what separates those who are doing well in today’s economy from those who are not. It’s one word – fear. The not so successful real estate agents have fallen into a cycle of fear. Usually that pattern is established through incessant watching of the news, whether it’s reading a newspaper, or a magazine, or watching TV, or listening to the radio, the real estate agents who aren’t doing well are following the news much too closely, and what happens is that their mind is focused on gloom and doom.

They have gotten in a cycle of focusing on what they don’t want instead of what they do want. Because the media focuses on lack, they have also been focusing on lack. Since our thoughts create our reality the more we focus on lack the more we bring that experience to us.

The energy of fear is a contracting energy. If you’re caught up in fear you might not know it but you might notice the signs and symptoms of fear. Here are some things to watch out for: Are you feeling discouraged? Are you procrastinating? Are you avoiding marketing? Are you feeling depressed? Are you suffering from low energy?

You see all of these signs and symptoms simply indicate that your energy instead of being expansive and confident has shrunken.

So what’s the way out? Let’s take a look at group B, the successful real estate professionals in today’s economy. These professionals are not watching the news very much at all; in fact most of them go out of their way to avoid the news because they know the devastating effects on their mindset if they inundate themselves with the latest media blitz. Instead they focus on the opportunities available in their marketplace.

They are keenly aware of the properties available. They are keenly aware that this is one of the best times to buy. They are taking action.

What the successful group is doing that the non-successful group is not doing is that they are keeping their confidence level high and their mindset. They are focusing instead on, “How can I serve the people in my community?”

In addition they are not focusing on what they don’t want; they’re focusing on what they do want. They’re focusing on their vision. They’re focusing on the income they want to create. They’re focusing on how they want to help people.

In addition, they’re focusing on their capabilities. If they have skills that they need to refresh they’re taking that opportunity to do it now.

Finally, the most important thing they’re doing that the other group isn’t doing, is that they’re taking action. With a positive mindset it’s easy to take action. They are getting on the phone. They’re not afraid to pick up the phone and call their past clients, their current clients, their sphere of influence, and even people they don’t know. Because they know that they have a valuable service they offer.

Most of the time when I coach my clients I help them with this belief: “I have a valuable service to offer and people are happy to hear from me.” Since our beliefs create our reality if that’s what you put out to the universe that is what you get back.

Many of my former clients that are practicing being proactive, practice getting their clients connected with the great opportunities. They have actually doubled and tripled their income in an economy that the rest of the world is calling a recession.

My advice to any real estate professional right now who wants to be successful is this; you may have knowledge of the current economy, but you don’t have to participate. Instead you could do what Jack Canfield recommends and just say to yourself, “I hear there’s a recession going on and I choose not to participate.”

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Friday, March 30, 2012

6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers

6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers

You're the boss, but you still spend too much time on the day-to-day. Here's how to become the strategic leader your company needs.

In the beginning, there was just you and your partners. You did every job. You coded, you met with investors, you emptied the trash and phoned in the midnight pizza. Now you have others to do all that and it's time for you to "be strategic."

Whatever that means.

If you find yourself resisting "being strategic," because it sounds like a fast track to irrelevance, or vaguely like an excuse to slack off, you're not alone. Every leader's temptation is to deal with what's directly in front, because it always seems more urgent and concrete. Unfortunately, if you do that, you put your company at risk. While you concentrate on steering around potholes, you'll miss windfall opportunities, not to mention any signals that the road you're on is leading off a cliff.

This is a tough job, make no mistake. "We need strategic leaders!” is a pretty constant refrain at every company, large and small. One reason the job is so tough: no one really understands what it entails. It's hard to be a strategic leader if you don't know what strategic leaders are supposed to do.

After two decades of advising organizations large and small, my colleagues and I have formed a clear idea of what's required of you in this role. Adaptive strategic leaders — the kind who thrive in today’s uncertain environment – do six things well:

Anticipate

Most of the focus at most companies is on what’s directly ahead. The leaders lack “peripheral vision.” This can leave your company vulnerable to rivals who detect and act on ambiguous signals. To anticipate well, you must:
•Look for game-changing information at the periphery of your industry
•Search beyond the current boundaries of your business
•Build wide external networks to help you scan the horizon better

Think Critically

“Conventional wisdom” opens you to fewer raised eyebrows and second guessing. But if you swallow every management fad, herdlike belief, and safe opinion at face value, your company loses all competitive advantage. Critical thinkers question everything. To master this skill you must force yourself to:
•Reframe problems to get to the bottom of things, in terms of root causes
•Challenge current beliefs and mindsets, including your own
•Uncover hypocrisy, manipulation, and bias in organizational decisions

Interpret

Ambiguity is unsettling. Faced with it, the temptation is to reach for a fast (and potentially wrongheaded) solution. A good strategic leader holds steady, synthesizing information from many sources before developing a viewpoint. To get good at this, you have to:
•Seek patterns in multiple sources of data
•Encourage others to do the same
•Question prevailing assumptions and test multiple hypotheses simultaneously

Decide

Many leaders fall prey to “analysis paralysis.” You have to develop processes and enforce them, so that you arrive at a “good enough” position. To do that well, you have to:
•Carefully frame the decision to get to the crux of the matter
•Balance speed, rigor, quality and agility. Leave perfection to higher powers
•Take a stand even with incomplete information and amid diverse views

Align

Total consensus is rare. A strategic leader must foster open dialogue, build trust and engage key stakeholders, especially when views diverge. To pull that off, you need to:
•Understand what drives other people's agendas, including what remains hidden
•Bring tough issues to the surface, even when it's uncomfortable
•Assess risk tolerance and follow through to build the necessary support

Learn

As your company grows, honest feedback is harder and harder to come by. You have to do what you can to keep it coming. This is crucial because success and failure--especially failure--are valuable sources of organizational learning. Here's what you need to do:
•Encourage and exemplify honest, rigorous debriefs to extract lessons
•Shift course quickly if you realize you're off track
•Celebrate both success and (well-intentioned) failures that provide insight

Do you have what it takes?

Obviously, this is a daunting list of tasks, and frankly, no one is born a black belt in all these different skills. But they can be taught and whatever gaps exist in your skill set can be filled in. I'll cover each of the aspects of strategic leadership in more detail in future columns. But for now, test your own strategic aptitude (or your company's) with the survey at www.decisionstrat.com. In the comments below, let me know what you learned from it.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Time Management: Are You Losing Money?

Time Management: Are You Losing Money?

Posted By susanne On March 22, 2012 @ 3:21 pm In Best Practices,Business Development,Coaching,Real Estate Training,Today's Top Story | No Comments


[1]The person who coined the phrase “time is money,” must have been a sales rep paid on commission. In the selling profession, the old cliché rings true; if you are not talking to a prospect or customer, you’re unemployed! How effectively do you manage your time? Do you spend your time as you would any other precious, nonrenewable asset? Or are you the type of salesperson who is stressed-out, constantly jumping through hoops and consistently running late for meetings and client appointments?

We measure time far better than we manage it. In today’s high-tech world, physicists have become extremely proficient at measuring time. The atomic clock, based on strontium atoms trapped in a laser grid, is so precise that it has an inaccuracy of less than one second in 200 million years.

While we can all agree on how to measure time, we each tend to approach time management from our own personal perspective. Look at all of the ways we view the use of time: We waste it, save it, spend it, invest it, borrow it, steal it, juggle it, squander it, and we always seem to be looking for more of it. We have time wasters and time bandits and sometimes, in those rare moments when we find we have too much time on our hands, we even kill it. Time flies when we’re having fun, but tends to drag for those who are doing time. For some people time stands still, while others see time slipping away, like sand through an hourglass.

I am convinced that the improper use of time is the number one contributor to high turnover in the selling profession. I wish I had a nickel for every smart, talented and motivated salesperson who failed because he or she simply couldn’t or wouldn’t effectively manage their time properly.

Time Management Tips

1. Plan your schedule the night before and hit the ground running. When you’re not in control of your schedule, you invite stress to fill the void. Set and prioritize meaningful tasks to be accomplished. Whether it’s an appointment calendar or a software program, the critical first step to properly managing your time is to organize and schedule your day. Be careful not to confuse activity with productivity. For example, don’t just block off a couple of hours to make calls; set measurable activity goals to be accomplished, such as 25 phone calls per day.

2. Identify your time bandits. Once you’ve scheduled your day, the next step in managing your time is to recognize and modify old behavioral patterns regarding the improper use of time. Avoid procrastination in all of its attractive forms. Having a planned schedule helps you say no to time wasters such as web surfing, personal phone calls, long lunches and chatty coworkers. An open door invites continuous distractions. Effective salespeople focus on task achievement rather than tension relieving diversions.

3. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Ineffective salespeople “play office” and hide behind paperwork. Make a smart business decision and delegate all non-sales related tasks to an administrative assistant in order to free yourself up for client appointments and prospecting phone calls.

I encourage you to reduce your stress level and give yourself a pay raise by integrating these simple, yet highly effective time management tips into your daily business routine and remember, there’s no time like the present!

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One Daily Goal to Double Your Income in 2012

One Daily Goal to Double Your Income in 2012

Posted By susanne On February 15, 2012 @ 4:44 pm In Best Practices,Business Development,Coaching,Marketing,Real Estate Information,Real Estate News,Real Estate Training | Comments Disabled


As real estate professionals, we are forced to continuously adapt our services to match the latest developments in the national economy and our local housing markets. The world in which we conduct our business is dynamic and the only constant is change. To put it simply, if we refuse to evolve and improve ourselves, we risk going the way of the dinosaur.

With the pace of modern life, it can be a challenge to keep up sometimes. Our lives can become so complicated with activities that it is paralyzing. Should we spend most of our time on Facebook or Twitter or focus on creating mailers, cold calling or walking our farm? Or should we focus on expired listings, short sales and foreclosures?

People are always trying to sell us something, whether it’s a new marketing strategy or a new technique for serving our clients, a new flyer or sign or the latest technology. We are bombarded by the latest and greatest to such an extent that it can be overwhelming. The result is that, at the end of the day, we sometimes have to ask ourselves, “Do I even remember what business I am in? Will any of this actually help me sell more homes?”

Instead of trying to master everything at once, why not work on setting one important goal, on one important topic, five days a week? If you can simplify and streamline your process, you can increase your productivity by 100 percent.

The tried and true acronym—KISS—Keep It Simple Salesperson—may seem a little overdone, but the fact that we have all heard it before only proves its relevance and value.

We need to grow and maintain our businesses, stay current or ahead of the latest technologies, refine our infrastructure and improve our systems. Start by asking yourself, “How much time have I really spent on these areas on a daily basis over the past year?” If you were to set one achievable daily goal for one of these items, five times per week, it would have an extremely positive impact on both your mental well-being and your business.

Think about how many leads you’ve received or generated in the past month. The marketing companies are always asking me if I would like to attract hundreds or even thousands of leads to our business and website. How about keeping it simple and instead do something every day that creates one new lead?

What can you do to find one new lead a day? Wouldn’t you agree that finding five good new leads in a week would make a substantial improvement to your bottom line?

Maintain your existing relationships and your business will thrive as a result. Call your current leads, current listings, escrows and buyers. Analyze your systems and processes. Are they running efficiently? You don’t need to fix all of them in one day, but if you make it a goal to achieve one small victory every day, the results will follow.

Evaluate your proficiency with the latest technology. Are you behind the times or current with the newest developments? Improving this area of your business should be easy, just commit to learning or practicing one of your current technologies once per day for a small period of time.

Make it a goal to discover one old, current or new piece of your business that can be improved on a daily basis, even if that means discovering that you can do a better job prospecting the next day.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Real Estate One Southeast Michigan Annual Market Trend Report 2011-2012

We are pleased to present you with a copy of the Real Estate One Southeast Michigan Annual Market Trend Report 2011-2012.

FlipBook
Southeast Michigan Annual Market Trend Report - 2011-2012

PDF (for printing)
Southeast Michigan Annual Market Trend Report - 2011-2012


Whether you are thinking of moving or just curious about what is happening in your local real estate market, this report has it all. It is your opportunity to have an inside view of local housing trends, forecasting, and market statistics compiled by the largest real estate company in Michigan.

As you review this report, there are a few things that we would like you to remember about Real Estate One. We are a family owned company, in our third generation of leadership, headquartered in the heart of Southeast Michigan. When you invest in our services, our people, you support Michigan workers. In addition to home selling, we offer one-stop shopping through John Adams Mortgage, Capital Title, Insurance One and Relocation America - all Michigan based companies. And most importantly, we get results, by selling more homes in our state than any other real estate company.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Monday, March 26, 2012

How to Read Your Prospect Like a Book

How to Read Your Prospect Like a Book

Posted By susanne On March 13, 2012 @ 3:27 pm In Best Practices,Business Development,Coaching,Real Estate Training,Today's Top Story | No Comments


Top salespeople and the most successful managers recognize the importance of nonverbal communication in the selling process and have learned to “listen with their eyes.” They understand that one of the easiest and most effective ways to close sales is to be aware of their prospect’s “buy signals.”

Are you aware that your body language reveals your deepest feelings and hidden thoughts to total strangers? It might surprise you to know that research indicates over 70 percent of our communication is done nonverbally. In fact, studies show that nonverbal communication has a much greater impact and reliability than the spoken word. Therefore, if your prospect’s words are incongruent with their body language gestures, you would be wise to rely on their body language as a more accurate reflection of their true feelings. Body language is a mixture of movement, posture, and tone of voice. The good news about this subject is that your subconscious mind already understands the meaning of every gesture, posture, and voice inflection. The bad news is, without the proper training you are unable to consciously apply this information.

Gain the Competitive Edge
Get started on the right foot. Research shows that we decide in the first few moments whether we like someone or not. There is absolutely no substitute for a positive first impression. Create a favorable first impression and build rapport quickly by using open body language. In addition to smiling and making good eye contact, you should show the palms of your hands, keep your arms unfolded, and your legs uncrossed.

Create harmony by “matching and mirroring” your prospect’s body language gestures. Matching and mirroring is unconscious mimicry. It is a way of subconsciously telling another that you like them and agree with them. The next time you are at a social event, notice how many people are subconsciously matching one another. Likewise, when people disagree, they subconsciously mismatch their body language gestures. The psychological principle behind matching and mirroring is that people want to do business with salespeople that they believe are similar to them.

You can build trust and rapport by deliberately, but subtly, matching your prospect’s body language in the first 10 minutes of the appointment. For example, if you notice that your prospect is crossing their arms, subtly cross your arms to match them. After you believe you have developed trust and rapport, verify it by seeing if your prospect will match you. Uncross your arms and see if your prospect will match and mirror you as you move into a more open posture. If you notice your prospect subconsciously matching your body language gestures, congratulations, this indicates that you have developed trust and rapport.

Conversely, if you notice your prospect mismatching your body language gestures, you know trust and rapport has not been established and you need to continue matching and mirroring them.

Body Language Basics
Be mindful to evaluate the flow of “gesture clusters” rather than isolated gestures taken out of context. Listed below are some important body language gestures that you need to become familiar with.

Body Postures:
There are two basic categories of body postures; Open/Closed and Forward/Back. In an open and receptive body posture, arms are unfolded, legs uncrossed, and palms are exposed. In a closed body posture, arms are folded, legs are crossed and the entire body is usually turned away.

• Leaning back and closed = Lack of interest.
• Leaning back and open = Contemplation and cautious interest.
• Leaning forward and closed = Potential aggressive behavior.
• Leaning forward and open = Interest and agreement. If appropriate, this would be a good time to ask for the order.

Head Gestures:
There are four basic head positions.

• Head neutral = Neutral and open attitude.
• Tilted back = Superior attitude.
• Tilted down = Negative and judgmental attitude.
• Tilted to one side = Interest.

Facial Gestures:
Facial gestures reveal deceit, doubt, deliberation, and critical judgment.

• Eye rub = Deceit, “see no evil.”
• Eye roll = Dismissive gesture that indicates superiority.
• Looking over top of glasses = Scrutiny and a critical attitude.
• Nose rub = Dislike of the subject.
• Hand or fingers blocking mouth = Deceit, “speak no evil.”
• Chin stroking = Making a decision.
• Thumb under chin with index finger pointing vertically along the cheek = Negative attitude and critical judgment.

Are you missing your prospect’s buy signals? As a professional salesperson you must continuously monitor your prospect’s body language and adjust your presentation accordingly. By understanding your prospect’s body language gestures you will minimize perceived sales pressure and know when it’s appropriate to close the sale!

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Communication Makes or Breaks Your Client Relationship

Communication Makes or Breaks Your Client Relationship
by Carrie Gable

March 15, 2012 | Tech & Gadgets

Real estate professionals are in a highly competitive field. Much is said about establishing your personal brand and keeping your name and face in front of the public. This will help you attract new listings, but it does not assure you of future referrals. In fact, your clients may feel as if you don’t have enough time for them.

Maybe you don’t.

Yet from the moment you take the listing, your home seller is expecting action!

leaping image via shutterstock

She is expecting results. She may understand that a home takes time to sell, but without consistent communication she has no idea what you’re doing.

One of the biggest complaints a home seller has about his real estate agent is that he does not feel kept in the loop. If the home sells, he may forgive you, but he may not be impressed enough by your service to recommend you to others. If the home doesn’t sell, any perceived lack of attention gives the seller incentive to take his business elsewhere.

Remember the old adage: If a customer is happy, she will tell six people. If a customer is unhappy, she will put his complaint on the Internet and ruin you. OK, I updated the expression, but you get the idea.

What can you do to keep even the most demanding home sellers satisfied with your efforts?

paper dolls image via shutterstock

Duplicate yourself! Or triple yourself, if need be. You can do it, with the help of real estate virtual assistants. It’s like having a team of pros at your fingertips. A virtual assistant (VA) can free up your time and keep your clients impressed with you!

How Does it Work?

Your VA will set up an email account through your Web domain in order to communicate with your clients on your behalf. For example, it may read something like Marketing@YourDomain.com. It can be used by the entire VA team, and is easily transferred if needed. The email signatures will include just about everything you normally use on your own signature, such as your website address, Facebook and Twitter links, and your phone number.

What Tasks Should I Delegate?

Start by having your VA take care of all your marketing related to listings. Uploading listings data and photos to multiple websites is time-consuming. If you’re technically challenged by some website functionalities, it can also be frustrating. Let your VA handle it instead. You’ll get a confirmation email with active links, proving the posting, and so will your client. Your client will also get PDF attachments of fliers and postcards of his home, if you choose. This gives the seller impressive proof of the beautiful marketing you have in progress.

Next, have your VA pull bimonthly reports on the property listing. The reports should include the number of Web hits, virtual tour hits, visual graphs from the hosting websites, and so on. Some websites offer an automated reporting function, but those should never be sent to clients. They are impersonal, and do not help build your relationship. Instead, your VA will compile data and communicate it to your client in a friendly, yet professional manner — just like you would.

Finally, let your VA follow up with other agents who have shown the home. Your clients go through a lot of work to prepare their home for a showing, and they deserve feedback. Your VA will handle the agent contacts, organize the feedback, and supply it to you and your client. Keeping record of all feedback is valuable, especially when it’s necessary to re-evaluate the listing price with your client.

By adding a virtual assistant to your team and using the above suggestions, your client will have at least three substantial communications within the first month of the listing. From there, your client will receive bimonthly reports on Web activity as well as continual feedback from showings. Plus, you still have the ability to reach out to your client and “touch base” — but in a relaxed, conversational manner, as your VA has handled all the details. Consistent communication builds strong client relationships that pay dividends for years to come.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Saturday, March 24, 2012

5 ways real estate agents can 'own their market'

5 ways real estate agents can 'own their market'
Play the 'board' to trump your competition
By Bernice Ross
Inman News®

Whether it's your real estate business or your personal life, everyone has a different set of strengths and challenges. How can you put your unique set of skills together with your unique situation to achieve maximum profitability for your real estate business?

My husband and business partner, Byron Van Arsdale, was recently working with a client who had lost her sense of confidence around obtaining listings. She is a highly experienced agent with a long track record of success. Her current challenge was that she had sold all her listings and had none in the pipeline. She was extremely frustrated and eager to find a solution to the situation.

The day before, I was working with a different agent who was encountering a similar problem in her business. She had hit a plateau and was eager to break through it. What was really aggravating her, however, was how the "girls at the club" who weren't very good agents were getting a big chunk of the business in her market area.

As Byron worked with his client, he came up with a metaphor that has application for anyone in any type of sales business. The metaphor is "playing the board" for those who are Scrabble or "Words with Friends" addicts. This could be the same as "playing the course" in golf, "playing the table" in pool, or, "playing your field position" in football.

Most people are familiar with how Scrabble or Words with Friends works. Each player has seven letters that have different point values. You play the letters on the board where you have opportunities to score double or triple values for the letters, as well as double or triple values for words. Here are some of the lessons the "board" can teach you about your real estate business.

1. Each hand is unique
Just as your board and your letters change in Scrabble, so do the market conditions and your ability to cope with them based upon the skills that you have.

For example, if you have built up a strong short-sale business and the number of short sales has declined locally, your "hand" will not be as strong as it would have been if short sales continued to be strong in your area. Because the board/market is constantly changing, you must be prepared to react to the changes or be left in a losing position.

2. Where is the greatest opportunity for a return?
For each hand you play, your goal is to get the most possible points for your play. A well-placed "Z" can be worth up to 120 points as opposed to a poorly placed "A" that is worth only one point.

In terms of your real estate business, you have much the same situation. The 80-20 rule says that 80 percent of your income will result from the top 20 percent of your activities. Unfortunately, most agents fail to monitor which parts of the market are the most active.

As a result, they have to work much harder to earn the same amount of income as compared to an agent who is working in an area where there is a greater amount of sales activity.

In order to tell which areas and price ranges are the most active in your market, track the sales board in your office as well as the sales on your local multiple listing service. Make sure you are spending your prospecting time in the areas that are active, not where it's quiet.

Along the same lines, each agent has his own strengths and weaknesses. Look at your production for 2011 and identify the top three lead generation activities for last year. Focus the bulk of your energy on those activities and drop the bottom 50 percent that resulted in little or no income.

3. The best defense is a good offense
While you can't ignore what the other players on the board or in your market are doing, you can't let them dictate your play. Both agents above were being pulled off of their game by being too focused on what their competitors were doing. When you focus on playing someone else's game, you set yourself up to lose.

Instead, the smart move is to raise the caliber of your personal game so that you are playing to your strengths rather than being in reaction mode to what your opponent is doing.

The first step in achieving this goal is to do some competitor reconnaissance. What exactly are your competitors offering to their clients as part of their value proposition?

Next, identify two or three items that you can offer that your competitors are not offering. This could be a virtual staging site, a single-property website, architectural photography, or a professionally produced video. Your goal is to offer what your competitors offer, and then have two to five additional differentiators that they don't offer.

4. Constantly practice and grow your skills
Whether it's a game or your business, the best way to improve is to constantly be learning and practicing. Take online training courses, attend webinars and seminars, read online real estate news, and keep up to date as to exactly what is going on in your slice of the real estate market.

As my former boss used to say, "All we have to do is to be six months ahead of the competition and we will own the market."

5. Not every hand is a winner
No matter how good your skill set is, if you have a truly lousy hand, sometimes there simply isn't a play on the board. When this happens in your real estate business, it's time to get back to work and to start prospecting for a new batch of high-probability sellers and buyers who will help you achieve the goals you set for your real estate business.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Friday, March 23, 2012

Successful Short Sales: Giving the Lender What They Want

Successful Short Sales: Giving the Lender What They Want

Posted By susanne On March 14, 2012 @ 3:52 pm In Best Practices,Business Development,Coaching,Real Estate Information,Real Estate Training

As I mentioned in my first two columns on the subject of short sales (see the January and February issues of Real Estate magazine), short sales are enjoying a much-needed resurgence as lenders become more motivated to move short sale transactions through the pipeline more quickly. So, if you’ve soured on short sale business, now is the time to rethink your position as the lending landscape begins to change.

Your approach to successful short sales must be focused in two areas: making sure the seller is truly a short sale candidate (see last month’s column [1]); and making sure you foster the right relationship with the lender.

A little secret nobody realizes is that many lenders are desperately looking for a competent real estate partner in the short sale arena. I walked into my local bank, for example, and discovered that they were getting barraged with calls from clients inquiring about a short sale on their property. While a lot of us think that banks are against short sales, the reality is, they just don’t have the time to handle the volume.

This is where huge opportunity lies for real estate professionals. Take the time to build a relationship with your local lenders, understand exactly what they need in order to process a short sale, and then be the conduit throughout the entire process. In other words, work with your clients to give lenders what they want. This will eliminate notorious delays and save you, your client and the lender precious time.

Following is the lender package that I require all short sale clients to complete. When it comes to short sales, the devil is truly in the details.

Required Items: Before the Sales Contract
1. Cover letter
2. Table of contents (this lets the lender know right away that everything they need is included)
3. Third-party authorization
4. Seller’s tax returns from the previous two years
5. Seller’s bank statements from the previous two months (six months is even better)
6. Most recent paystubs
7. Seller’s hardship letter
8. Bank worksheets (financial situation)
a. Current
b. Projected in next three months
c. Projected in next six months
9. Listing agreement

Required Items: After the Sales Contract
10. Necessary short sale addendums
11. History of listing – market report
12. Sales activity report
13. Local community economic report
14. CMA/absorption rate
15. Sales contract
16. HUD-1
17. Buyer’s pre-approval letters
18. Earnest money verification
19. Damage report with photos
20. Carry cost estimate
21. Agent personal letter

By providing banks with the right information, you are helping them push through the glut of short sale requests. Make sure you become their partner in this effort.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Thursday, March 22, 2012

6 tips to nail your next listing appointment

March 12, 2012

6 tips to nail your next listing appointment
Play up 'team' approach, communication strategy
By Bernice Ross
Inman News®

Would you like to convert more listing leads into signed listings? If so, author and speaker Terri Murphy has two great strategies that helps her list 100 houses a year without the aid of an assistant.

Many agents go on listing appointments with little more than a comparative market analysis (CMA) in hand, if that. They lack a specific marketing plan and often fail to explain the services they provide for their sellers. As a result, it comes as no surprise that National Association of REALTORS® statistics have repeatedly shown that approximately 7 percent of the agents are doing 93 percent of the business.

The power of a preappointment system

According to Murphy, one of the best ways to stand out from the competition is to have a preappointment system. Here are the key items Murphy recommends that you include:

1. A list of marketing tools you will use to promote the property
Do you have a list of tools that your multiple listing service and your company provide to market your listings? If not, it's smart to compile this information and make it available to the sellers either in print or digital form, depending upon their preference.

Even if everyone else on your board and/or in your company has access to this information, virtually no one is explaining it to the sellers. You can stand out from the competition by simply showing them what you do to achieve maximum exposure to the market.

If you have your own tools, that's even better. Create a list that outlines your entire offering and share that with the sellers as part of your preappointment system.

2. A referral services list
When people list their home, there is a wide variety of services that they will need. This includes professional services related to the transaction, such as lenders, title, loan officers, building inspectors, movers, etc. Most agents have a list of service providers that they have used in the past and that the sellers can rely on to receive the best possible service. Share this list with your sellers.

There's one important caveat, however: Make sure you have a minimum of two, and preferably three, professionals from which to choose.

3. A seller's homework sheet
Murphy recommends that before the sellers ever meet with you they pull together information the buyer may need to access as part of the purchase process. For example, it's smart to check the loan documents to see whether there is a prepayment penalty or some other aspect of the loan that could be an issue at closing.

It's also smart to ask for receipts (and permits) for any work that has been done the property. This includes the plans if there has been a major remodel.

Furthermore, given today's increasing energy prices, it's also smart to ask for the last 12 months of utility bills so the buyer can make an informed decision as to the energy costs associated with maintaining the property.

4. A communication agreement
How and how often do the sellers want you to communicate with them? It's important that you match your sellers' preferred communication style instead of forcing them to match yours. Also, once you agree to when you will communicate, be sure to deliver on what you promise.

5. Testimonials
Murphy recommends having testimonials as part of your prelisting appointment system, especially video testimonials.

6. Leverage the power of your strategic alliances
Before Murphy ever went on an appointment, she had members of her "team" contact the sellers to explain their role as well as to answer any questions they might have.

You may be thinking that you don't have a team. Quite the opposite is true. Even if you are a solo agent, you have a host of people that you work with to close the transaction,

For example, Murphy had her favorite loan officer contact the sellers to have them become prequalified for their next purchase. If they were moving out of the area, she introduced them to a member of her "relocation" team, which was an agent she trusted who worked the area where the seller was moving. She also had her favorite movers contact the sellers to schedule an appointment to bid out the cost of the move.

Another option was to send out a professional stager so the sellers could hear from the stager, rather than from Murphy, about what they needed to do in terms of fixing up their house. You can also introduce your manager and in-office team members who handle the advertising, marketing and Web services for your company.

Her agreement with each member of her team was that they mentioned her name at least three times during the time they spent talking to the sellers.

Murphy's prelisting appointment system establishes trust and credibility with the sellers. The point she makes is a valid one: When they hire her, they're hiring a team of professionals, all of whom are dedicated to helping the sellers have the best selling experience possible.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Marketing Strategies: Do You Need to Be Lucky to Succeed?

Marketing Strategies: Do You Need to Be Lucky to Succeed?

Posted By susanne On March 10, 2012 @ 12:03 am In Best Practices,Business Development,Coaching,Marketing,Real Estate Training,Today's Top Story

While helping a client release her self-limiting beliefs, she brought up the old belief that she has to be lucky to succeed.

I asked her how she would benefit from releasing and reprogramming that belief and she answered, “I would be more motivated to take action.”

During the reprogramming process, I asked her to go back to the origin of this belief, and she vividly recalled sitting in the living room with her parents and watching TV. When shows would come up that would showcase a successful person, her parents would always say, “look at them, they are so lucky.”

She realized that even at a young age that her parents used this statement as an excuse for why they didn’t have more material possessions. She realized that whenever her parents would say that, they would deflect the responsibility for success on to something beside themselves.

She had the further insight that by telling themselves that success depended on luck; they could more easily accept the scarcity in their lives. I asked her to tell me how she benefited from believing as her parents did. She told me it gave her a sense of belongingness with her family to believe the same way they did.

I asked my client to tell me what would be the negative consequences of continuing to hold on to the belief that her success depended on luck. She was surprised to realize that as long as she held on to that belief, she wouldn’t really work her hardest to succeed. She would never give 100 percent as long as she thought her success depended on luck.

With that insight, it was easy for her to choose to install some updated empowered beliefs.

1. Now I know that my income is a direct result of my efforts
2. My vision takes me to my goals
3. I always get what I focus on
4. I am a magnet for my ideal clients
5. As I project confidence, I become a magnet for an abundance of my ideal clients

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever believed that something outside yourself is responsible for your success or lack of success? Have you ever attributed your lack of success to a lack of luck or to the belief that the economy is responsible for your lack of success?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like a victim, rather than realizing that you are the deliberate creator of your life.

I highly recommend that you release any self-limiting beliefs that put power outside of your control and install empowered beliefs so that you too can be one of the TOP real estate agents; even in tough times.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

5 Tips to Brand Your Way to Success

5 Tips to Brand Your Way to Success

Posted By susanne On February 2, 2012 @ 4:53 pm In Best Practices,Business Development,Business Outlook,Coaching,Marketing,Real Estate Information,Real Estate News,Real Estate Training,Real Estate Trends

When most business owners think about creating a brand for their businesses, they immediately think about logos or brainstorm amusing taglines. Yet, effective branding goes much deeper than this.

“One vital component of building a recognizable brand for your business is to find its unique attributes and then build upon them,” explains LogoNerds.com founder Joseph Messina. “Highly successful companies have discovered how they can provide their customers with products and services they can’t get anywhere else, and their brands communicate that eloquently.”

To help businesses get the ball rolling, LogoNerds.com offers five key brand-building insights:

1. Increase Recognition. Think about the logos of the most successful companies in the world. They’re simple and recognizable even without displaying the company name. When a business’ brand is easily recognized, people are more likely to view that business as professional, trusted and credible.

2. Earn Customer Trust. Customers are justifiably wary of any business they don’t know. “Your business and brand must instill a sense of trust within your customers if you want them to come back and refer their friends,” says Messina.

3. Build Customer Loyalty. Building a sense of loyalty in customers is easier when they associate a business with a strong brand. Creating an emotional attachment to a brand in customers’ minds makes it more difficult for competitors to win them over.

4. Gain Referrals. When consumers search for a product and find multiple options, they usually end up asking friends for advice on which one will be the best choice.

5. Stand Out from Your Competitors Online. Even the best designed sites can get lost in the noise of the Internet. “If your brand is recognizable, previous customers will be able to pick your site out from the competition,” Messina explains.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Monday, March 19, 2012

Marketing Strategies: Easy Ways to Turn a Scarcity Mindset into a Prosperity Mindset

Marketing Strategies: Easy Ways to Turn a Scarcity Mindset into a Prosperity Mindset

Posted By susanne On March 5, 2012 @ 4:46 pm In Best Practices,Business Development,Coaching,Marketing,Real Estate Information,Real Estate Training,Real Estate Trends,Today's Top Story

What do you do when you notice a gap between where you are and where you want to be? If you’re like most people, you probably dwell on what isn’t happening. You might start saying things to yourself like:

• My bank account is so low, I’ll never be able to save for retirement
• People just don’t want to do real estate right now, there just aren’t enough clients
• I’m just not good enough to make it in today’s market

These thoughts are called negative intentions. In other words, our thoughts create our reality, so if you tell yourself it’s not possible, then it’s not possible.

Henry Ford once expressed this theory by saying, “Whether you believe you can or you can’t, either way you’re right.”

Dwelling on what you don’t have sends negative scarcity energy out to the universe. Since we get what we focus on, you get to have more scarcity.

For example, studies have shown that the energy of worry and anxiety are lower vibrations and therefore less attractive to what you desire; your ideal clients.

An easy way to turn your scarcity mindset into a prosperity mindset is to stop beating yourself up and start noticing that we live in an abundant universe. Where there could have been a few stars, there are billions, where there could have been one tree; there are also billions, etc.

Start to notice what is, rather than what is not, and send out feelings that attract, such as love, joy and appreciation. For example, when it comes to prospecting, instead of beating yourself up and telling yourself that you’ll never learn to prospect; try these thoughts instead:

• Prospecting is nothing more than a set of skills
• I can easily attract to me the teachers, mentors, coaches and books I need to learn these skills

Start to visualize yourself successfully prospecting and attracting your ideal clients.

The one caveat I would like to offer is that if you are carrying hidden beliefs about yourself or about prospecting, you may need some mindset coaching to help you clear these beliefs and install empowered beliefs.

For example, a good teacher, mentor or mindset coach can easily help you transform beliefs. In doing so, a belief like “I’m not smart enough” becomes “I am more than smart enough.” A belief like “I don’t deserve to have it all” becomes “I more than deserve to have it all.” A belief like “If I call people I am bothering them” becomes “I have a valuable service to offer and people are happy to hear from me.”

As you start to fill your conscious and subconscious with empowered beliefs, you manifest the results you desire, and then some. Remember: Your thoughts create your reality, so make them positive.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Using hard data, psychology to predict mortgage default

Using hard data, psychology to predict mortgage default
Tool gives distressed-asset managers insight into borrower behavior, risk
By Steve Bergsman
Inman News®

Paying your mortgage is all in your head.

Well, really, it's all in your wallet or checkbook, but what's going around in your brain is whether you intend to pay that mortgage, and savvy loan servicers are trying to figure out what's up there swirling about the cranium.

Take Ocwen Financial Corp., for example. It is now the largest servicer in the country of subprime mortgages, which are, of course, risky loans, and it behooves Ocwen to try to figure out a way to keep the borrowers -- many of whom are distressed -- paying their mortgages.

Mortgage servicers collect loan payments on behalf of investors or lenders that own the loans, and when those loans appear to be troubled, mortgage servicers will either remedy or foreclose.

Ocwen has for a long time employed a team of social psychologists who write the scripts used in the call centers.

As writer Ruth Simon wrote about Ocwen in the Wall Street Journal last year: "Psychologists are parsing the words borrowers use for clues to their emotional and intellectual states. That information could help Ocwen determine whether someone will respond better to a brief recitation of facts or a more detailed discussion."

The Ocwen "psych squad" made me think of the WillCap program unveiled back in 2010 by Santa Ana, Calif.-based CoreLogic.

WillCap is referred to as a "decisioning" system that predicts a distressed borrower's desire and ability to make mortgage payments. It's less social psychological and more behavioral psychological than what Ocwen does, but the hoped-for result is the same: predicting continued mortgage payments.

Or, as Michael Bradley, CoreLogic's vice president of modeling and analytics, tells me, "WillCap built a variety of behavioral models to capture a borrower's willingness and capacity to pay."

This decisioning system uses hard data to predict a particular behavior -- i.e., whether the client will maintain a current mortgage or bail.

"The capacity really captures over a rolling six-month period the amount of income the borrowers devote to debt payments, and the willingness captures their interest in either staying out of trouble or quickly getting out of trouble should they find themselves in it," Bradley said.

In a sense, it all sounds a bit touchy-feely, but there's a sharp edge to it all.

"If you understand why a borrower is defaulting, then (you) can design an appropriate treatment to help them respond in a way you would like them to respond," Bradley said.

When a borrower is at risk of going 90 days or more past due, the servicer will devise a loan treatment plan that would involve payment reduction, principal reduction or some combination of the two.

"You get a loan modification or we go to a short sale because there is nothing else to be done. This borrower is so distressed that I could come up with all kinds of loan modification terms, but the redefault rates would be astronomical," Bradley said.

"For some borrowers, there is no appetite to work with the servicer, so then you have to take them down the foreclosure route."

WillCap analyzes the different cash flows in a probabilistic sense as to what will happen with the different kinds of modifications, as well as other kinds of treatments, then ranks them as to which would probably be more successful. Is this a borrower that can successfully use a loan modification, and if so, what are the terms of the mod.

If no mod can be done, can the client go through a short sale? If so, what would be the value of that short sale? Finally, if you take the homeowner through the foreclosure process, what will be the expected outcome?

Although WillCap was launched two years ago, it's taken a while to be picked up by the large banks, for a couple of reasons: long sales cycles and the banks' need to internally test the model.

"Our model that predicts loans will go 90 days or more past due significantly outperforms the current at-risk models at the money-center banks," Bradley said.

Fate and fortune predictably have changed the program.

"The nice thing about what's happening now and the reason why WillCap has gotten considerably more traction over the past quarter is because mandated programs are winding down," Bradley said.

Going forward, major loan servicers will have more discretion as to how mortgages are treated.

"Even though banks knew what they were doing, may not have been optimal -- the banks had to do it because it was mandated," Bradley said.

Which leads to an interesting point, Bradley said. "We are talking to hedge funds and people involved in buying and selling whole loan portfolios because to the extent the financially regulated institutions are following disposition strategies that were suboptimal but couldn't do anything about it.

"Another entity not nearly so regulated could buy those distressed assets from the banks at below what the assets might be worth. That creates an arbitrage opportunity for the acquirer."

To my way of thinking, this could be a useful tool for the mortgage industry. Someone comes in and wants a $400,000 loan to buy a single-family residence in Boulder, Colo. The bank runs WillCap and sees that if the loan is made there is a distinct possibility it will go 90 days delinquent at some point in the future. The bank doesn't make the loan.

"WillCap could be used for new mortgages," Bradley said. "That's just not our current focus, which is helping people manage distressed assets either in their portfolio or buying and selling distressed-asset portfolios."

Well, OK. But I did have a good idea.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Saturday, March 17, 2012

10 things to know about mortgage debt forgiveness

10 things to know about mortgage debt forgiveness
Real Estate Tax Talk
By Stephen Fishman
Inman News®

Over the past several years, millions of homeowners have had billions of dollars in mortgage debt forgiven, either through foreclosure, refinancing or short sales. It's important for real estate professionals and homeowners to understand that mortgage debt forgiveness has significant tax consequences.

Here are 10 things the Internal Revenue Service says you should know about mortgage debt forgiveness:

1. Normally, when a lender forgives a debt -- that is, relieves the borrower from having to pay it back -- the amount of the debt is taxable income to the borrower. Thus, a homeowner who had $100,000 in mortgage debt forgiven through a short sale would have to pay income tax on that $100,000, as an example.

Fortunately, under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to exclude from your taxable income up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your principal residence from 2007 through 2012. This means you don't have to pay income tax on the forgiven debt.

2. The limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.

3. You may exclude from your taxable income debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in a foreclosure.

4. To qualify, the debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence and be secured by that residence.

5. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act applies to home improvement mortgages you take out to substantially improve your principal residence -- that is, they also qualify for the exclusion.

6. Second or third mortgages you used for purposes other than home improvement -- for example, to pay off credit card debt -- do not qualify for the exclusion.

7. If you qualify, claim the special exclusion by filling out Form 982: Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness , and attach it to your federal income tax return for the tax year in which the debt was forgiven.

8. Debt forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or car loans does not qualify for the tax-relief provision. In some cases, however, other tax-relief provisions -- such as bankruptcy -- may be applicable. IRS Form 982 provides more details about these provisions.

9. If your debt is reduced or eliminated, you normally will receive a year-end statement, Form 1099-C: Cancellation of Debt, from your lender. By law, this form must show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property foreclosed.

10. Examine the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the information shown is incorrect. You should pay particular attention to the amount of debt forgiven in Box 2 as well as the value listed for your home in Box 7.

The IRS has created a highly useful Interactive Tax Assistant on its website that you can use to determine if your canceled debt is taxable. The tax assistant tool takes you through a series of questions and provides you with responses to tax law questions.

For more information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, see IRS Publication 4681: Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments. You can get it from the IRS website at irs.gov.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Friday, March 16, 2012

Selling to the Four Temperament Styles

Selling to the Four Temperament Styles

Posted By susanne On March 6, 2012 @ 4:19 pm In Best Practices,Business Development,Coaching,Marketing,Real Estate Information,Today's Top Story

Have you ever wondered why you seem to hit it off right away with some customers, while with others it’s more like oil and water? That’s because we respond intuitively to the natural chemistry, or lack thereof, between temperament styles. Our temperament style not only determines our behavioral traits, body language patterns and buying style, but it also influences our compatibility with other people.

Today we have access to innovative tools such as the Internet, cellphones, faxes and voice mail all designed to enhance our communications and support us in selling more effectively. Nevertheless, even with all of these technological tools at our disposal, the alarming number of failed relationships, dissatisfied employees and lost sales all reflect the fact that none of us are as effective at understanding others as we would like to believe. For example, what about that sale you thought you had made, but for some unknown reason your prospect changed their mind and didn’t buy…or at least they didn’t buy from you. Chances are you lost that sale because of your inability to recognize and adjust to your prospect’s preferred buying style. This temperament mismatch is often referred to as a “personality conflict.”

Research in the field of psychology tells us that we are born into one of four primary temperament styles (Aggressive, Expressive, Passive or Analytical). A person’s temperament style is determined genetically and has nothing to do with his or her astrology sign, birth order or childhood experiences. Our temperament style is also unrelated to race or gender. Each of these four primary behavioral styles requires a different approach and selling strategy. Ancient Wisdom Hippocrates, the father of medicine, is credited with originating the basic theory of the four temperament styles 2,400 years ago. Since the days of ancient Greece, there have been many temperament theories and a wide variety of evaluation instruments, but essentially they utilize the four temperament styles that Hippocrates identified. Hippocrates observed that these four styles have a direct influence on our physiology, character traits and outlook on life.

The Aggressive or Worker style is:
• Extroverted
• Determined
• Demanding
• Domineering
• Controlling
• Practical
• Self-reliant
• Decisive
• Insensitive

Their major weakness is “anger management.” Under pressure, the Worker will work harder and may become ill-natured or explosive.

The impatient and goal-oriented Worker prefers a quick, bottom line presentation style. They expect you to be on time and well prepared. They like it when you avoid small talk and get right down to business.

Workers are generally quick to make a decision. They are focused on results and ask “what” questions. Keywords to use when presenting to a Worker are results, speed and control. Give them options so you don’t threaten their need for control.

The Expressive or Talker style is:
• Extroverted
• Enthusiastic
• Emotional
• Sociable
• Impulsive
• Optimistic
• Persuasive
• Unorganized

Their major weakness is “emotional management.” Under pressure, the Talker will talk more, shop or eat, and may display an emotional outburst.

The playful and friendly Talker prefers a fast paced and enthusiastic presentation style. Use a short warm up and allow extra time in your presentation for them to talk. Talkers can be impulsive shoppers and are generally quick to make a decision. The key to making a sale to a Talker is to keep them focused on the presentation and allow time for them to express their feelings.

Talkers seek social acceptance and are concerned about what other people think of them. They ask “who” questions. Keywords to use when presenting to a Talker are exciting, fun and enthusiastic. Keep your presentation big picture and avoid giving them too much detail. Consider using colorful pictures, pie charts or graphs when presenting to this style.

The Passive or Watcher style is:
• Introverted
• Accommodating
• Harmonious
• Indecisive
• Patient
• Polite
• Uninvolved
• Friendly
• Sympathetic

Their major weakness is “self-esteem management.” Under pressure, the Watcher will avoid conflict by sleeping in longer.

The peaceful and stoic Watcher prefers a slow, deliberate presentation style. Watchers, unlike the impatient Worker, require extra time to warm up before you begin talking about business. Watchers are very sensitive to conflict or “sales pressure.” They have a need to accommodate others and tend to ask “how” questions. Keywords to use when presenting to this style are family, service and harmony. Help the Watcher make a decision by giving them assurance. They dislike having to make decisions and are natural born procrastinators who love the status quo.

The Analytical or Thinker style is:
• Introverted
• Thoughtful
• Organized
• Critical
• Shy
• Detailed
• Pessimistic
• Introspective
• Secretive
• Aloof

Their major weakness is “stress management.” Under pressure, the Thinker becomes withdrawn, depressed and worries more (panic attacks). They “stress out” and seek perfection.

The cautious Thinker prefers a slow, detailed presentation style and warms up slowly. They are skeptical and typically research before they purchase. Thinkers want detailed information and they tend to ask “why” questions. Keywords to use are logical, safety and quality. Because they are concerned about making a wrong decision and appearing incompetent, you can expect the Thinker to want to take their time. Their frugal nature will cause them to “shop your numbers” to make certain they are not paying too much. Because of their desire for research and their need to avoid making a mistake, Thinkers often get bogged down in details. They get what is called “paralysis from analysis.” Close the sale with the Thinker by reducing their fear of making a mistake. Give them evidence, facts, testimonials and guarantees.

While there are certainly many factors that influence the selling process, by far the most important factor is to identify your prospect’s preferred buying style. Once you learn how to quickly and accurately determine your prospect’s temperament style using body language, you will be able to close more sales in less time.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Be strategic with real estate content

Be strategic with real estate content
Know the difference: people vs. leads
By Gahlord Dewald
Inman News®

Last week I got a call from someone who was completely overwhelmed with all of the technologies that are seemingly "must do" for real estate. This isn't uncommon. In fact, it's a really common call for me.

You see, there are so many bits of new and shiny technology out there to try. And there are so many voices pitching and testimonializing and "must-do-ing."

The end result: feeling swamped and not knowing where to begin, or what is most important in a digital communication strategy. I'm as guilty as anyone in this regard -- probably more so since I began writing this column.

The person on the other end of the phone was an agent. She didn't have a website but was paying for an email newsletter program -- one of those cookie-cutter, regurgitated, national-real-estate-trends-content things. She wasn't getting leads from it. This didn't surprise me.

There were a couple of large problems with what she was doing and how she ended up where she was.

The email-newsletter-only conversion problem

The only method of conversion in the email newsletter was for the reader to send an email (to a nonbranded email address like gmail.com, in this case) or to call. Granted, those are solid conversion points: a direct contact.

But as the only form of conversion in the newsletter, it left a wide variety of soft conversions on the table. With no way to track linkable content, there's no way to figure out what is interesting enough for the readership to click. There's no feedback on whether this content is any good or not.

Given that the service she is using is one of those turnkey solutions that you throw money at and then forget about, I suspect that learning whether the content is good or not may not be in the best short-term interests of the vendor. Also, I'm guessing that none of the vendor's customers are likely asking that question. Instead, they are probably saying, "I'm not getting any leads."

The content problem

My real estate clients consistently tell me that the real estate story in their markets differs quite a bit from the national story about real estate. Often, there is a more upbeat story in their local markets. But sometimes it isn't. There are always nuances to the kinds of properties that are moving, and the goals and needs of the people buying and selling.

In short, they remind me that real estate is, indeed, local.

The email newsletter service the agent on the phone with me had signed up for was using generic real estate news that was from a national perspective. The content being sent out to her list had little to no relationship to her market.

Sure, it was about real estate. But it wasn't about real estate that she could help anyone buy or sell. It was close, but really not close enough.

Why would anyone get the generic content that wasn't about real estate in their area and then think they should call the agent? I guess it could be a straight-ahead numbers game: Run as much meat through the sausage grinder until you can make a hot dog.

The real problem with all of this

The problem encountered by the agent who called me was the result of not working or thinking strategically. Instead, she happened upon a tactic ("Email newsletters!") and started doing it.

Then she read about a bunch of other things ("Social media!" "WordPress website!" "Pinterest!" "Facebook!") and was quickly overwhelmed.

This isn't an issue of budget, either. As the budget -- whether it's the time budget or the money budget or both -- decreases, the need for a clear strategy gets that much more important.

This is because, with fewer resources available, there is less room to recover or have a "learning moment." But excellent things can happen on a very small budget. Sometimes more excellent things can happen with fewer resources because fewer people will get in the way of doing them.

I could envision a digital strategy for real estate that, like the agent who called me last week, involved only email marketing -- no website, no social media, no paid advertising.

But it would involve a lot of hands-on work. It would have to be focused entirely on excellent content. It would have to work from a consistent plan and be informed by an exceptionally clear strategy.

The good news is that it wouldn't be that hard, overall, considering the time and money saved on websites, social media stuff and paid advertising.

But it wouldn't be turnkey. It would probably cost more than $50 per month to get the content made if, like the agent who called me, the marketer didn't like to write.

It would require involvement and care on the part of the marketer. It would require being very concerned with delivering the absolute most worthwhile, relevant content to a list of people who are viewed as people and not leads. It would probably look more like community management than direct-sales marketing.

The same activity -- sending an email newsletter -- can be dramatically different in terms of look, feel and results. It just depends on whether it's another tactic bolted on to a list of things you do, or whether it's part of a strategy for serving your market.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

5 Leverage Points to Close More Sales

5 Leverage Points to Close More Sales


Posted By susanne On March 8, 2012 @ 4:46 pm In Best Practices,Business Development,Coaching,Marketing,Real Estate Training,Today's Top Story

As the first quarter of 2012 draws to a close, you may be thinking to yourself, “Gosh, I gotta step this up! I am not on target for the goal that I set to improve my sales volume this year.” If this sounds like you, the following checklist will help you focus on the areas where you need to improve in order to get yourself on the right track to closing more sales this year.

1. Get more leads. As our market changes, buyers and sellers keep evolving in the way they look for real estate and make decisions, therefore, we constantly have to be on the hunt for pumping more leads into the organization. Just remember the psychology of growing and improving starts with you. If you don’t believe that more leads will make a difference, then no one else will either. The bottom line: more leads equals more sales.

2. Tighten up your sales process. The secret to growing your business is to create connected and meaningful conversations with qualified prospects. Look at your process. How does the lead contact you? How long does it take for you to personally engage (yes, I do mean voice to voice and heart to heart) with them? What outcome do you want to achieve from the first connection (schedule appointment, etc.)? What do you want to happen during that first appointment to turn them into a raving fan who wants to work with only you? You are only as strong as your weakest link, so your first impression with the prospect and the connection is your tipping point against your competition.

3. Raise that sales conversion. The bottom line is that you want to get more clients and close more transactions. If you are a one-person operation, look at a recent transaction that you lost. What do you think happened that made you lose the sale? If you have a team that meets with the buyer or seller, are there some rising stars who need coaching to duplicate your processes? Take the time to tweak, refresh and improve your core message of why people should work with you. Help your sales team through training initiatives to get them to the rock star level of working with folks and closing business.

4. Increase the transaction value. Do you really need to cut your commission to get the seller to list with you? For those of us who have purchased something extravagant at any point in our lives, it’s because we are connecting with something more than the actual product. We are buying the experience, the culture, the identity and more. How can you add these values to a client’s experience right now?

5. Follow up. Follow up with your leads and your raving fans to raise the connection and build your unique positioning.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How to become an ‘expert’ in picking your clients

How to become an ‘expert’ in picking your clients

by Peter Toner March 6, 2012

Over the past couple of days we have created our niche to differentiate ourselves, and we have researched that market and know the inventory.

It’s time to create a detailed persona of your ideal client!

ideal client image from wikicommons

If you have a clear idea of who your clients are likely to be, the laws of attraction will kick in, making your life much easier. Once you know who your ideal client is, you will have no trouble recognizing your client when you meet!

If you have worked in the business for a while, this becomes a little easier — you can create a composite of the best clients you ever had.

If not, look at the demographics of your niche, visit local businesses, and hang out at the coffee shops to figure out who is buying the types of homes you hope to sell.

To bring your persona alive, give the person a name, a car, a job, even a dog — create a strong visual image of what this person or couple looks like.

Making a sketch of this persona should help you remember what the person looks like. For instance if the person likes basketball, your persona could be wearing basketball shoes.

Now you have something really powerful — an identity that you can “market to.”

This will all make more sense when you later begin writing blog content about your niche. You will have a laser focus on your target audience: your potential new client.

Qualify every potential client, every time.

It never ceases to amaze me how some agents throw any customer who comes along into their cars and then spend hours and hours — maybe days — touring homes, without first asking the right questions.

Time is your most valuable commodity. There are only so many hours in a day. To be successful you must make sure that you qualify everyone you work with before you invest your time.

When a client is referred to you by a friend or acquaintance, the job of selling yourself and your service should be that much easier — you already come with a recommendation of some sort.

You must remember, though, to qualify the client. Qualifying is easy if you ask the right questions.J

Having a “Must move by X date” is a good indicator of motivation.

People love to talk, especially if you are attentive and willing to listen. So, literally, all you have to do is ask. With the right series of questions they will tell you anything you want to know. People love to talk about themselves: their likes and dislikes, problems and needs.

You also need to know and understand the difference between a real customer and a pretender (in the car trade they are called “tire kickers”) — intuition is your friend. It comes naturally to some and can be learned by others in the “school of hard knocks.”

Qualifying sellers.

Qualifying goes both ways on a listing presentation. The seller thinks he is interviewing you, but you must be qualifying the seller, too. First and foremost, please learn about your potential client’s needs before you launch into your presentation.

For instance, ask (delicate) questions to determine whether, if the asking price is initially going to be too high, can the seller be counseled to be more realistic over time?

When and where to qualify.

Some agents swear that the best way to qualify buyers (and sometimes sellers, too) is to ask for an initial appointment in your office, where you can be in total control. Starbucks works for some — it’s a lot less formal than an office setting.

Sometimes people just qualify themselves. Those who are unmotivated will resist, or avoid meeting you, if they don’t want to or are just not ready.

If you are going to work together, make sure you use your financial services people to run a credit check and prequalify your new client for a loan, just to make sure that the client is not delusional about the price range.

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Monday, March 12, 2012

Do Not Take the Listing When…

Do Not Take the Listing When…

March 7, 2012|Tools & Trends

While you want a good book of listings, sometimes it is best to turn a listing down. To save yourself the headache of getting a property that will not sell, be sure to fully explore these three challenges with prospective clients.

1. Is the property marketable?

Not all property marketing obstacles can be solved by simply reducing the asking price. Here are a few obstacles that can affect marketability and your decision to take the listing.

Listing before the challenges are solved

If sellers insist on having their property listed immediately, be sure to think it through. Delaying the date a property is brought to market can allow time to solve challenges. Increased days on market has an inverse relationship with optimal selling price which hurts the seller, and he longer time on market can unnecessarily exhaust the agent and broker’s time and marketing budget.

Location and condition challenges outside your expertise

Some properties have obstacles that need to be overcome in order to bring about a successful closing. Weigh the selling points against the obstacles to determine whether or not you are qualified to handle this transaction.

When making this assessment consider not only the neighborhood location, but also any needed repairs, zoning or deed restrictions, and any nearby environmental hazards that might complicate a sale.

If you perform your upfront due diligence and find that the property has special needs outside your area of expertise, advise the property owner to start calling in the appropriate experts.

True story: Property owners held a large parcel of land as a retirement investment for several years and paid five figures in property taxes each year. When the owners determined the time was right to sell it, it was discovered the property failed to pass the environmental tests necessary to obtain subdivision or building permits. The value decreased to a few hundred dollars.

2. Does the seller have the authority and capacity to sell the property?

Before you take the listing, make sure you know who the “real” seller is. To ascertain this, ask questions:
•Who is the titleholder and who has the right to execute the listing and sales contracts?
•With a divorced or divorcing couple, who will be the legal decision maker? Or if both parties must sign, is there cooperation and what will your role be?
•If the titleholder is deceased, what recording changes need to take place in order for you to have a valid listing contract? Is there an executor or multiple family members who will jointly participate? And, Are there any liens on the property that will prevent a title transfer?

True story: A seller contracted with a broker to list a property after the agent performed due diligence including pulling preliminary title and tax records. The title was held by John Smith, Sr. and the agent also met his wife and their small child, John Smith, Jr. The agent successfully marketed the property. At closing, it surfaced that there were three generations of John Smiths, and the true title holder was the father of the individual who executed both the listing contract and sales contract. The true John Smith, Sr. attended closing to sign the documents, much to the surprise of everyone involved.

3. Is the seller motivated?

A seller shows that he or she is motivated by accepting and working with market conditions. Beyond the most common gauge of realistic pricing, there are many other clues about a seller’s motivation.

To determine whether a seller is motivated, ask:
•What are the show instructions and flexibility of the seller?
A seller who restricts the availability and demands substantial advance notice is telling you their motivation level is low.
•Is the seller interested in your suggestions for staging and presenting the property?
•Is the seller willing to embrace and take action and heed your advice?
If your counseling appointments are too much of a debate, you may want to rethink the listing.

True story: A seller was eager to see a property listed in MLS. The seller wanted no sign, no broker open house, no public open house, and pictures of only the exterior. Showings were difficult to schedule, with it always being “a poor time.” Ultimately, the agent learned that the MLS listing sheet was being used as evidence in a family court case to demonstrate the property owner’s intent to sell because expenses needed to be reduced. Long after the listing expired, the property owner still resided in the same property.

Bonus: Should you ever take an overpriced listing?

That depends on other barometers of the property owner’s desire to sell. If the other factors point to serious intent, price may become flexible with more data within a reasonable time frame. The major question to ask here is: Will the seller commit to evaluation of results of showings and competitive properties movement in the market with a price adjustment as a consideration?

Here's a free business plan creator to get you started!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

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