By Sam DeBord
When I started out in the real estate business, my biggest fear was probably the same as many other agents’: “What if they ask me how many homes I’ve sold?” There was an almost inescapable fear that every new client I met would find out that I hadn’t been selling for very long, and abandon me for a more experienced agent.
The interesting part, looking back, was that I’ve probably only ever been asked that question a half-dozen times by the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with. Those that did ask, always kept working with me, whether it was in my first year, or after five years. The fact that I didn’t lose clients over that single question isn’t nearly as satisfying today, though, knowing how much mental stress it put me through in my first year, as well as how it was detrimental to my ability to concentrate on my clients at the start of my career.
Being experienced in real estate is a big advantage. To downplay it would be disingenuous. However, a calm, practiced response to questions about experience can make the real estate transaction much more relaxed for the new agent and to the clients. More importantly, it allows the agent to focus on what the client really wants – a partner who is easy to work with, listens to their needs, and follows up professionally.
It’s very easy when you’re new in the business to try to craft the perfect answer to every client question. You may feel you need to know everything, and if you can’t answer a question about a certain home or property type, you’ll be exposed as inexperienced. In reality, most home buyers and sellers would prefer that you have an affable personal relationship with them, and let them know that you’ll “look into it a bit and get back to them.” While your knowledge is important to the client, your ability to make them feel comfortable is even more important. Nobody likes to spend their day with a fidgety, nervous wreck of an agent. Continue reading »
By Brooke Wolford
In the past year since I started my real estate marketing company Organamx, I’ve noticed one growing trend: Many people have the notion that you can pay to somehow prove that you’re successful.
While you can pay for an amazing website, for placement on Google, and even for leads, spending money will never prove that you have experience. Your experience is at the heart of everything you do – how you conduct your business, how you behave when you interact with clients, and the value you provide.
If you want to get ahead and get the highest ROI for the dollars you invest in advertising, your website, and leads, then you have to prove to everyone around you that you can truly back up any claim you present.
Being honest is the greatest thing you can do. People like to deal with people who speak from the heart. Honesty creates trust very quickly. The most obvious way to do this is to not misrepresent your experience.
Some of the most successful people I know get the majority of their business from past client referrals. Referrals prove that you can provide a good experience. Nothing you pay for can ever prove that.
Your No. 1 priority should be working to create the best possible experience for your current clients. If you do this, your clients will be compelled to talk about you and use you for other transactions. Then use everything else (your website, online advertising, and social channels) to promote that you have the experience to get the job done.
Brooke Wolford is a real estate practitioner with Coldwell Banker Burnet in Woodbury, Minn. Follow her blog at www.thehousingword.com.
By Sam DeBord
One of the biggest hurdles for new REALTORS® is overcoming a lack of experience when meeting with a potential client. Motivation, marketing skills, and preparation go a long way, but they can fall flat when faced with a simple seller question:
“So, how long have you been selling real estate?”
Many REALTORS® who are fairly new to the industry are already outstanding salespeople. However, it’s still reasonable to expect a home buyer or seller to question the experience of their potential representation. The difficulty for the newer REALTOR® is that there is no way to speed up the length of time he or she has been working in the industry.
There is, however, an easy way to increase the depth of that experience. Exhibiting experience is not just about the number of years a REALTOR® has been selling homes. It’s much more about the knowledge gained during that time.
Consider two responses to our previously-mentioned home seller question:
Response 1 : “I’ve been selling homes in this neighborhood for 18 months, and have sold six homes so far this year.”
Response 2: “I’ve been serving this community as the government affairs liaison for the local REALTOR board, as well as selling homes here since 2011. I’ve helped a half-dozen clients sell so far this year, while also working on a task force that’s helping to ensure fair foreclosure practices and to secure property rights for our local homeowners.”
Which response do you think will win the seller over?
Working with a local board is the fastest way to achieve a wider range of experience, and contribute to your community at the same time. It shows potential clients that you’re trusted by the public as well as your industry associates.
The local boards are always searching for newer, younger, fresher ideas from their member base. Don’t be intimidated by the names or the experience levels of the committees. You’ll be surprised how much appreciation new members receive when they commit to more influential roles within their local organizations.
Give your local board a call, and add a title or two to your e-mail signature. Government affairs, social media, property rights, information systems, communications, education−there are a plethora of opportunities. Fast-track the depth of your experience, and you’ll quickly grow your credibility within the industry, as well as your confidence when communicating to potential clients.
By Michelle Flaherty Philbrook
A while back, I got a call on a condo listing of mine. The potential buyers were a retirement-age couple looking for a new place just large enough for their kids to stop by for a visit, but just small enough that their fledglings couldn’t fully return to the nest.
I showed the condo, and when it wasn’t a fit, I brought them on as buyer clients. After we became more comfortable with each other, this couple confided in me that they initially thought I looked “way too young to be [their] agent,” but that in the context of having met other agents both recently and over the years, they felt I was uniquely equipped help them meet their goals. I think the reasons we were so compatible can be applied rather universally, so if you don’t mind entertaining the occasional demographic stereotype, read on for how Gen Y traits can uniquely serve some common Baby Boomer needs.
Baby Boomer with a Sense of Urgency? Meet Gen Y with Fast Texting Fingers. As a general rule, most people don’t become more patient with age — a fact of life that works in favor of agents raised in the age of text messaging and real-time e-mail. When these buyers inquired via e-mail on my condo, I called them right away. And when the property didn’t work for them, I got their search set up the same day. They told me later that none of the other brokers came close to that level of responsiveness.
Baby Boomer with Intelligent Questions Based on Experience? Meet Gen Y with Fab Research Skills. The way that I was able to quickly aggregate property information from multiple (and at times obscure) sources beyond the MLS really impressed my boomer clients. The 2010 Census confirmed that the percentage of post-secondary graduates among the U.S. population is at an all-time high, so it follows that most YPNers can likely offer extensive research skills. And in an industry like ours with ever-changing guidelines, best practices, and technology, it is more valuable to be a quick study than a deep topic expert.
Baby Boomer with Very Specific Needs? Meet Gen Y Power Networking: Continue reading »
By Cory Brewer
My blog entry for this quarter will not come as news to most of the people reading it, but I think it’s a good reminder nonetheless: Every now and then, the clients and colleagues you work with will tell you one thing, but then do another.
Raise your hand if you’ve heard this one before from another agent: “I’ve got a great offer for you and my clients are really excited about the house.”
This “great offer” may even be full price…only you find out later that the buyer has a horrible credit score and can’t get a loan.
The point I’m trying to make is this: Nearly everyone I’ve talked to lately can feel the market starting to come back. Buyers, sellers, agents, lenders…everyone. It can be easy to get wrapped up in the excitement but I think it’s important, as an agent, to keep your cool and be level-headed while coaching your clients. It’s important to cover all the details of a deal, and a positive, optimistic attitude is key. But I also think it will serve you well to prepare your clients for the worst-case-scenario, because unfortunately sometimes that is exactly what can happen.
Draw on your experience – that is probably a big part of why your clients hired you in the first place. Cover your bases, and do your best to set the proper expectations from the beginning. So when that dream deal actually DOES come together, your clients will be thrilled that they were lucky enough to be working with you…rather than expecting everything to go smoothly only to have to suffer through unforeseen bumps in the road.
The market is coming back. It’s true. But don’t get caught up in the hype. Remember that a deal is not a deal until the ink on the contract is dry.
Cory Brewer is a REALTOR® in the Seattle area and Operations Manager at Windermere Property Management / LGA in Bellevue. Connect with Cory at www.wpmnorthwest.com.
By Brooke Wolford
I recently moved to a new brokerage. It was an amazing change for me and I fell in love with my fellow agents and co-workers at the office. I’m the kind of person who really appreciates all the little things people do for me. I can honestly say that I have never met such a great group of people who are all in one office.
I do, however, have a hard time knowing how to thank people. I got to thinking… How is it possible to explain to someone how much you appreciate them? I wonder if my clients know how much they mean to me, and that I genuinely appreciate that they decided to use me as an agent.
I began to think about the things I do when I say thank you. Whether it’s sending a card, an email, or a phone call, I always thank people somehow. I think to myself, “Is my thank you genuine enough?” I always tell clients thank you face-to-face at some point. This way I know they can see how true my appreciation is. Even after I thank them face-to-face, I still send them a card or email telling them “thank you” again.
I think sometimes the art of saying thank you gets forgotten. If you think that you are owed something or that things will always come your way, you are wrong. You have to remember that in our business, our whole framework for making a buck relies on others. It’s our clients, our brokers, our loan officers, title, office staff, etc. They all have a part in how we become successful. Be thankful. Appreciate the people who help you along the way. Say thank you and really mean it!
Brooke Wolford is a real estate practitioner with Coldwell Banker Burnet in Woodbury, Minn. Follow her blog at adventuresinrookierealestate.com.
By Crystal Webster
The Get Motivated seminar series recently came to Kansas City and I was pretty excited to go! On top of tickets being about $5; Bill Cosby, Joe Montana, Laura Bush, Gen. Colin Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Steve Forbes, John Walsh (the list goes on and on) were speaking.
I had some difficult closings happening that week, but aren’t all closing difficult these days? So I decided to take the day to “get motivated.” I walked in the door of the arena to about 20,000 others looking for some mojo too. It felt like a huge rock concert (at 7 a.m.) with people everywhere just excited to be there. We stocked up on our $50 worth of snacks for the morning (it’s still in a concert hall so we got concert pricing…) and went to find our general admission seats.
Wow, just wow. Seeing these people–in real, technicolor life–was pretty powerful. To think, these people were once at the very tippy-top of their industries…
However, the message was not that powerful, nor motivating. There was a lot of, “Remember the time I did this? Yea, I’m awesome.” And this: “I overcame adversity and become the biggest name in ______. I rule.”
I was expecting (or at least was hoping for) some helpful hints about getting ahead, staying organized and motivated, and maybe a little creativity. Instead, I seemed to get a big pat on the back fest. Oh, with a couple of infomercials for investment products thrown in to make up for the fact that the tickets were only $5.
By the end of day I just wanted to take a nap (and, really, get the last 8 hours of my life back). So my recommendation, if you get the itch to go to the get motivated seminar, is to instead buy their autobiographies, burn a $20 bill, and read one of those Dale Carnegie books that’s collecting dust on your bookshelf.
By Brett Caviness
I simply couldn’t wait two more years to graduate college before entering my dream career as a REALTOR®, so I didn’t. I went active as a real estate agent in Cedar Falls Iowa in 2009. Since entering the business, I have worked hard to manage my time. With class, work on campus, activities and friends I was able to make time to schedule showings, and close deals in-between. There are a lot of things I wish I knew before I got into the business; I mean this is hard work! So I made a list of a few things I wish they told me about the real estate world in my weekend classes.
1. A real estate license doesn’t mean sales. Your office doesn’t just hand you over some magic list of names of people ready, willing and able to buy or sell. You have to find them yourself.
2. Even if you are a part time agent, this is a full-time job. I didn’t realize between classes I would be on the phone with clients, offices, the abstract company, lenders and others while reviewing important documents on my Blackberry.
3. Starting a career in real estate is like starting your own company. I have quickly learned to be my own boss, marketing director, web master, public relations manager, and accountant while always working in research and development. Continue reading »
By Brian Copeland
If you are a young professional and have entered the real estate profession any time from 2004-2007, I want to be the first to congratulate you.
When you can no longer consider yourself a whippersnapper and Lady GAGA music is now playing on the Golden Oldies station, you can then say one thing proudly as a REALTOR®, “I’ve seen the best market in our time. I’ve seen the worst market in our time.”
You’ve officially navigated both and come out on the other side stronger. Remember, our defining moments arise out of adversity. I thank goodness every day for that teacher who said I’d never make it past my first year of college. I’m grateful for that boss who knocked me off my employment platform in my first job. Soon, you will be thanking the passing economy for making you one of the strongest real estate advisers of your day.
While millennial generation agents will still be able to say the same statement, our generation will be able to say our training grounds were in these two markets. Who wouldn’t want an airline pilot who was trained during the worst storms of the century simply because that was the time he got his pilot’s license?
I hope you will begin today, preparing yourself for tomorrow’s market. It’s going to be amazing, and the consumers will know more than ever that a smart, savvy REALTOR® who has navigated these treacherous waters needs to be on their side.
Use the next few months to finish a designation like GRI or CRS. Use 2011 as a time to get more involved in your local association than you ever have been before. Use the coming weeks to school yourself on the legislative issues that continue to affect your and your clients’ future. You’ll want to do it now, because the business you’re going to see in 2012 and beyond requires you to be at the top of your game. I’ll see all my YPNers AT THE TOP!
By Crystal Webster
…And REALTORS® make the worst clients. Has anyone else had the “privilege” of working with another REALTOR® – or even purchasing a home for themselves? I use the word privilege very loosely.
Some of you may remember, I began looking for my new personal residence back in September. I am pleased to inform you that I closed about a month ago (seven month after I started looking, mind you…).
Between my husband (the human computer), who is also an inactive REALTOR®, and I, there was always something that “wasn’t quite right” or “if we wait then maybe we’ll find…” We found plenty of good, decent homes that would have worked just great – but we just weren’t able to remove the emotion and focus on just the pros and cons of the bones of the property.
In the end, we have a great home that we will be very happy with for many years to come. I got lots of great practice on working with “difficult” clients, and I even worked on a few of my overcoming objections scripts (some multiple times).
If you haven’t worked with someone you have a personal interest in (maybe not yourself but a family member or close friend), do it! It reminded me why I got into the business to begin with and it feels so good to help better the lives of people you really care about.