By Dave Robison
My brokerage had one crazy month a few months ago. We had five buyers who failed to perform on a contract and lost their earnest money. Now in Utah, getting the buyer’s earnest money is supposed to be as easy as the buyer’s broker writing a check in about 24-48 hours. But in all five cases it was a fight, with hours of discussions and arguments. In the end, our sellers received their checks — although, in some of the cases the buyers and their agents were very bitter about turning the money over to the seller.
In the midst of the stress, there was one agent in particular who shined through. I believe this person will always be more successful than others (and he is, actually). His attitude reminds me of the attitude held by one of the most successful people I have ever met: Bill Child.
Bill Child sold his furniture store called RC Willey to Warren Buffett. Bill met with me and several friends and told us his story. I also read the book written about him: How to Build a Business Warren Buffett Would Buy. The great thing about Bill is that his attitude toward working with others never changed from the time he took over RC Willey to when he sold it.
Bill took over the business when his father-in-law died. He didn’t realize it at the time, but the company was laden with customer service problems, debt, and tax burdens. Bill turned all that around. For example, the company had sold an appliance that later became known to have a defect. There wasn’t a manufacturer warranty or guarantee on the product, but Bill wasn’t about to let his customers down. He took on the responsibility himself to do the repairs on all the units, even though he knew it would make his company go in the red. Most companies would just blame the manufacturer and keep their money in their pockets, but Bill’s customers were his No. 1 priority and he took the responsibility himself when legally he didn’t have to. He cared more about his relationships and his customers than he cared about profits.
Now, I don’t know the details about all the conversations the agents had with their clients regarding deadlines and earnest money, Continue reading »
By Jay O’Brien
Now that I (maybe) caught your attention with such a money-hungry, eye-grabbing, cliché of a title, allow me to attempt to pave a thought process in your mind on how to achieve such an ambitious monetary goal without being too Robert Kiyosaki about it.
First, focus on connecting the dots more than selling houses. Learn how to spot opportunities.
Forget about the postcards, lose the expired listings scripts, and think. For example, is your neighbor having a garage sale? What’s their story? Maybe they’re gearing up for a move. What do you do? You have their address…now look up tax records, find out information, and send a personalized letter to help figure it out.
Here are two other ways to seize a business opportunity:
1. Have you ever received a phone call on one of your listings that was already in escrow? Think about EXACTLY how that conversation went. Most I have heard sound a little something like, “Nope, nope. Sorry. That property is pending and will be closing soon. Yep. Yeah. Thanks for calling,” in an annoyed and disturbed voice.
When a sign call comes in, prospective clients are calling your buyer’s hotline. It’s our job to capture this call, convert this lead, and represent this individual on a different transaction. I personally like to ask questions such as: Continue reading »
By Anand Patel
The invention of the DVR was a beautiful thing. According to ACNielson, the marketing research firm, by 2011 more than 40 percent of U.S. households had DVRs giving families the ability to breeze right over TV commercials and get right back into their favorite shows. Who wants to watch annoying commercials for products and services you have no interest in, right?
Just like fast forwarding television commercials we have no interest in watching, many residential agents pass up on perfect commercial real estate referral opportunities simply because they have no contact (or interest) with the commercial world. Instead of tapping an additional income source, they are skipping right over the commercial.
If you work exclusively as a residential sales agent, what do you do when your buyer, who just moved, to town asks you about commercial real estate because they want to open up a new business? Do you tell them you have no clue and wish them luck in their search? Or, do you have a basic understanding of the commercial market in your area and a great commercial REALTOR® you can refer them to?
In many markets, commercial real estate is picking up. Here in Tampa, Fla., we are seeing new businesses enter our market as they are in expansion mode. I have talked to several new entrepreneurs who are also looking to call Tampa home, as they are finding this to be prime time to make the move both personally and professionally. This scenario is playing out in many markets around the country.
This is a ripe opportunity for real estate professionals who only work in residential real estate to make referral income by partnering with a strong commercial agent. Here are some ideas:
- Attend introductory commercial real estate educational classes held at your local REALTOR® association. If they don’t offer any classes, now is a good time to encourage them to do so. Better yet, this may be an opportunity for your YPN group to offer a commercial 101 class, filling a void in your association’s current educational offerings.
- Attend networking events Continue reading »
By Jason O’Neil
Referrals, referrals, referrals. We all get them and we all want more. We want referrals from our lenders, our title reps, our barbers, our past clients, and we especially want them from other agents. We love referrals because they are easy leads. They are not faceless Internet leads or the sometimes abrupt sign calls; they are real people who are friends of someone.
Referrals are easy to talk to for two primary reasons: One, they are less guarded because you were referred by someone they trust. Two, you have something or someone in common.
Over the past 12 months, 85 percent of my business has come from referrals. I, too, love referrals.
We track our business sources, but do we track our referrals? When I say track our referrals, I mean the why. Why does someone refer you? What is your referability? High, low, middle? Do you have any idea? Why will some clients run to the top of a mountain and scream your name? And why do others, who have worked with you dozens of times, not feel comfortable referring you to their closest friends or relatives?
Sometimes we aren’t referred because referrals are risky. They really are. If I speak up and say you should work with my accountant because he does great work and you end up not liking him, I look bad. If you love my accountant, well, that was to be expected. If I say nothing or don’t refer an accountant, I likely stay unchanged in your mind’s eye. So there really is a downside risk to referrals. But referring people is fulfilling — it makes people feel good to help other people and to give their opinions.
So, why should people refer you? How do you become more referable?
I think it’s simple: Continue reading »
By Cory Brewer
I was recently a guest on a local radio show to discuss my brokerage and our services. The platform for the show revolves around business, finance, and real estate…and the other two guests on the program were an investment fund manager and a representative from a non-profit group advocating cancer research. It was a well-rounded group and we had some good conversation before and after the show off-air.
Near the end of the program, after completing our individual interviews, they brought us all back on the air to have a round-table discussion to answer the question “How do you find a trustworthy professional to work with?” The gut reaction answer is “get a referral,” but the producer of the program told us specifically to come up with something a little more creative than that. My initial input was to “ask for a referral from a professional that you already know and trust in a related industry,” and the conversation stemmed from there.
Across the board, we agreed that the best way to find a trusted professional in one industry is to find someone you already know who has exposure to them in a professional capacity from a related industry. It’s great to ask Aunt Sally if she knows a good dentist…but wouldn’t it make more sense to ask your doctor for a good dentist referral? In the real estate world, I believe there’s a lot to be said for this sentiment. Anyone who has spent an appreciable amount of time in the real estate industry can’t help but to have built relationships with other professionals in related industries (and if you haven’t, you’re doing something wrong).
Align yourself with a professional network of people who are likely to have exposure to your would-be clients. Continue reading »
By Jason O’Neil
One of the places where I have focused my business is on referrals and past clients. This isn’t unique. But the way I look at it is unique, and it has to do with what I call “The Gap.”
Here’s what I mean: According to NAR, in 2011, 69 percent of all sellers said that they definitely would use their agent again, yet in that same year only 22 percent of all sellers had previously worked with their listing agent.
Knowing that the average person moves every four-to-eight years, and moves 18 miles …what happened? Why would so many agents end the relationship brilliantly (presumably with a sale) yet fail to get the listing later on? I think there are only two real reasons for this: the agents goes out of business or the agent fails to talk to their clients.
- Have and use a database
- Develop a client touch program
- Minimum two touches per year
- Anniversaries (Home sale anniversary)
- Daylight Savings time
- Monthly Touch Program
- Monthly Mailings involving quotes and/or give-aways
- Vendor Partner Programs
The key is to be mindful of “The Gap” and develop strategies to avoid it. What are you doing in your business to Mind the Gap?
Jason O’Neil is a broker-owner of McKenzie Real Estate in Indianapolis. Visit his site: www.McKenzieListings.com
By Toby Boyce
The sun rose over the eastern sky as my alarm went off on what was quite the unusual March morning. Well beyond the fact that it was nearly 50 degrees, I decided to take my wife’s advice and go to the neurologist and chiropractor after six days of constant migraines.
As I sat in the chiropractor’s office, I was reliving every Charlie Sheen joke about chiropractors from “2-1/2 Men” in my head and sadly it blended very well with my own personal experience. But as I sat there waiting for my name to be called, I read through the pamphlet that was provided to me by the office manager – it dawned on me – these people were on the ball.
Are you on the ball?
They gave me three sheets of paper that outlined three key things that I wanted to know.
- What was going to happen on the first visit.
- What is going to happen on the upcoming visits.
- How to work with insurance and other options to pay for the treatments.
It got me thinking. Am I preparing my clients this effectively for the transaction? Sadly, REALTORS® have about the same reputation as chiropractors for working their clients over.
How can we take a page from this chiropractor?
- Provide a pre-meeting itinerary that outlines exactly what the meeting will cover and how it will go. This does a few things, but most importantly it keeps the meeting on track and provide a road map, keeping the awkward silence to a minimum. Continue reading »
By Scott Newman
I often encounter other REALTORS® who see little to no value in developing relationships with their fellow agents, and it just baffles me every time! We are in one of the most challenging real estate markets in U.S. history, not to mention we’re in an environment where rules and regulations change daily, which is only adding barriers to establishing a successful business. I think we need the support of one another now more than ever.
But how do you develop those bonds? Read on, as today I’m presenting a few great tips for building your agent network as a way to grow your business in 2012.
This is by far the most important piece of advice I can possibly share with you. Put down the phone, computer, tablet, and anything else with a power cord if you really want to network with your fellow agents properly.
I love social media, and I owe a great deal of my success to our ability to market effectively on that platform. But when it comes to connecting with other REALTORS®, you simply can’t replace face-to-face interaction with any technology that currently exists. Make it a point to attend one live networking event a week related to our industry, giving you have a chance to meet other agents in person. Bring plenty of business cards and come ready to mingle.
Here’s another great tip: Take some time to figure out what distinguishes you from your fellow agents so you stand out. Whenever I’m around other agents, I make it a point to nail home just how successful and interested I am in working with short sale listings. More often than not, another agent in the room is all too happy to take a referral fee for the few short sale listings he gets each year, which is a win-win for everyone.
Maybe you do leasing, or you’re a luxury specialist — whatever it is, emphasize your specialty and talents to distinguish yourself from the crowd and elevate yourself as the top expert in the room. It will go a long way towards cementing relationships and help you create pipelines through which new business and referrals can flow.
Join Up Continue reading »
By Cory Brewer
In the past year or so I have run across several examples of REALTORS® (myself included) being tempted to be a “jack of all trades” when it comes to serving their clients. Let’s face it, we don’t want to give up control and we are also worried about potentially giving up a paycheck.
However, is it really in your best interest to step outside your area of expertise? More importantly, is it in your clients’ best interests? Sometimes the answer to these questions is no, and that’s when you have to step back and think about giving up a little bit of that control.
I had an eye-opening conversation with a local colleague of mine recently who focuses his entire business on short sales. I have closed my fair share of them, but that is virtually ALL he does. The point of the conversation came down to a key statistic: Success Rate. This REALTOR® closes about 90 percent of all short sale listings that he puts on the market, whereas the national average is somewhere around 25 percent.
Here is the food for thought: Are you better off busting your hump to have a 25 percent chance at a 100 percent commission (which could very well be reduced by the lien holders, especially if you’re not a seasoned short sale negotiator) or are you better off referring it out and having a 90 percent chance at a 25 percent referral commission? Think about all the time, effort, and marketing dollars that go into a listing. Now think about how much longer (and how much more work) it takes to see a short sale through to closing successfully. And finally, think about who is truly doing a better job for the client…you, or the specialist that you trust to take care of them? Continue reading »