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Having trouble overcoming homebuyer and seller objections? You’re not asking the right questions

Are buyer and seller objections keeping you from closing more deals? Would you like some fresh ideas for a closing gift or how to overcome objections? I recently spoke at

Melissa Zavala, short-sale specialist, shares 5 principles for agent success that apply equally in today’s strong seller’s market

Real estate broker Melissa Zavala’s new book, “Been There, Done That,” catalogues the trials, tribulations and insider secrets of being a highly successful agent in a short-sale environment. While the

Secrets to converting phone leads into real estate clients

Former realtor.com President and CEO Allan Dalton once observed that the real estate industry is great at generating leads — it’s converting those leads that is the issue. With inventories

Trump your real estate competition: Invest in sleep, take to Twitter, embrace uniqueness

The nation’s foremost real estate educators and female leaders in real estate (Real Estate Educators Association and Awesome Females in Real Estate) convened in Scottsdale, Arizona, this month for their

Real Estate Branding Creation In Five Steps

Branding your real estate business is vitally important, but what is a real estate brand? Let’s first start by giving you some (oft-quoted) key definitions of branding: Walter Landor, one

Having trouble overcoming homebuyer and seller objections? You’re not asking the right questions

Are buyer and seller objections keeping you from closing more deals? Would you like some fresh ideas for a closing gift or how to overcome objections? I recently spoke at the Greater Boston Association of Realtors and invited the audience to share their best negotiation and business tips. Here’s what these savvy Boston Realtors had to say.

1. I think my property should be listed at a higher price


Seller questions Bernice Ross

 

Colleen Kelly of William Raveis Real Estate went on a listing appointment where every comparable sale was less than the average price per square foot for the neighboring area. Of course, the seller didn’t understand why her house was not worth more.

Kelly did a comprehensive price-per-square-foot analysis for each comparable sale. She then showed the seller that the average price per square foot for her area was substantially lower than that for neighboring areas. She also showed the seller the spread between the list price and the final selling price. This detailed analysis persuaded the seller to list her home realistically.

2. Are they “satisficers or maximizers”?

Betsy Boggia of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. said it was important to identify whether your clients are “satisficers” or “maximizers.”

In his book “The Paradox of Choice,” Barry Schwartz defines a “satisficer” as being someone who makes a decision or takes action once his or her criteria are met. In other words, if your buyer says he wants four bedrooms, three baths, a specific school district and a two-story traditional that has been recently updated, he will purchase when he finds that home. Moreover, he will feel satisfied with his purchase.

Real Estate Questions Bernice Ross

In contrast, “maximizers” want to make the optimal decision. Using the same example as above, a maximizer may really love the house but will want to continue to look until he has seen every other possible option. What is particularly challenging about maximizers is that there’s always another new listing that they haven’t seen.

According to Schwartz, satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers can exhaust themselves in the search process and are unwilling to settle for anything less. Depending on the situation, most people are a combination of both.

Diane Maloney with The Higgins Group Realtors asks her buyer clients a great question to help identify whether they are satisficers or a maximizers: “How many homes do you feel you need to see to make an educated offer?”

If the buyer says, “I want to see everything!” chances are you have a maximizer. This means you will probably have a very long search process.

Rona Fischman of 4 Buyers Real Estate had another approach that could help you deal with the maximizers who need to see everything. Her approach is to ask, “Is there something unique about this house you like and that you would be unable to find in another property?”

If the maximizer can’t find that feature elsewhere, he or she may be more likely to purchase.

3. It’s cheaper for me to rent

Fischman also had a simple way to handle the buyer’s objection, “It’s cheaper for me to rent.”

Rather than launching into a long explanation about the benefits of homeownership, including how owning a home increases your net worth, Fischman asks a simple question: “Something brought you into this office to discuss buying. What was it?”

This is a powerful question since it helps you to understand the buyer’s real motivation.

Chris Thoman of Bushari Group Real Estate uses a different approach. Thoman advises: “Your upfront costs, including your first and last month’s rent, your security deposit and the brokerage fee, could be up to one-half of your down payment.”

Even if the lessee doesn’t pay a brokerage fee, there are numerous programs with minimal down payments. The first and last month’s rent, a security deposit and a pet deposit could easily come close to providing a big chunk of the down payment.

To provide your buyers with additional assistance, check out Down Payment Resource. This service aggregates the various local down payment assistance programs for buyers. They sometimes provide data on which homes will qualify for specific programs.

4. Give a closing gift that matters

Kim Patterson, an agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, had two interesting ways to serve clients after closing. In Massachusetts, you can provide your clients with a “property card” to keep with their closing statements. This card shows the chain of ownership, what improvements were made to the property, as well as permits and other salient information. Patterson obtains this card and gives it to her clients after every closing.

Patterson also gives her clients a website either for their home or community. This site would include information about their home, the local community, as well as her personal “team” of resources for home improvement contractors, dog-sitting resources and other types of service providers.

When Patterson sent this, one of her clients shared it with over 300 people.

If you want to increase your business effectiveness, try some of these tips. They work in Boston, and chances are they will work for you.

Melissa Zavala, short-sale specialist, shares 5 principles for agent success that apply equally in today’s strong seller’s market

Real estate broker Melissa Zavala’s new book, “Been There, Done That,” catalogues the trials, tribulations and insider secrets of being a highly successful agent in a short-sale environment. While the book delves deep into the details of what it takes to succeed doing short sales, many of the same lessons are equally important in today’s strong seller’s market.

What do down markets and up markets have in common? Zavala’s 10 agent success principles are critical to success no matter what type of market you are experiencing. Here are five of the most important ones that can help you with your business:

Been there done that Bernice Ross

1. Talk your talk
Clear communication with your clients, other agents, your lender, title and other service providers is critical in any market. In the age of relying on text messages, tweets and other short forms of digital communication, however, your communications are much more likely to be muddled.

When you communicate with your clients, verify what they tell you, whether it’s in person or digitally. If you’re meeting face to face, get in the habit of summarizing what each of you will be doing going forward.

For example: “Just to recap, you will be completing the physical inspection on May 23. The sellers have had the roof leak repaired by a licensed roofer. They will be sending us copies of the receipts and work completed by the end of the day. I will forward them to you as soon as I receive them.”

It’s also smart to follow up with an email as well. An even better approach is to use a transaction management platform where all parties can see relevant communication and where you have a detailed digital “paper trail.”

2. Never give up: the principle of determination
Zavala is a master of determination and persistence. When someone told her “no” on a short sale, she persisted by asking for a supervisor. In fact, she once wrote to all 12 senior executives at a company to resolve a dispute and sent the letters via FedEx. Needless to say, her persistence paid off.

The same is true in today’s market. Persistence is the name of the game. Many buyers become discouraged when they are repeatedly turned down in multiple-offer situations. The buyers who do persist, however, are the ones who usually end up purchasing.

This is where your persistence is critical as well. Prepare your buyers for the fact that it may take repeated attempts before they find the right house. Also keep in mind that if you become discouraged, your buyers may give up, too. While this can be very challenging, persistence ultimately does pay off.

Pay Attention Bernice Ross

As Zavala says, her persistence was the key to overcoming “bank bullies.”

3. Think inside the lender’s box and be empathetic
An important part of real estate success is being able to step outside of your personal perspective and to see the transaction through the lens of the client or the lender.

Zavala recommends that rather than becoming frustrated with your lender (or anyone else, for that matter), put yourself in their shoes. She recommends taking a few moments to establish a more personal connection. What frustrations are they having? Did the person just get yelled at by their boss, or did something else happen that upset them before your call?

Understanding the other person’s viewpoint will help to make your transactions go more smoothly. Rather than huffing and puffing, be persistent but do so in a cordial way.

A great way to approach this issue is to ask for the person’s help. When you are rude and demanding, your file often goes to the bottom of the stack. Those who ask for help and are polite usually obtain better results.

As Zavala puts it: “Banks are like puppies, and popcorn does not substitute for great customer service … You can be the best paper pusher in the world, but you’d be nowhere if you were not sensitive to the emotional needs of the people you work with.”

4. Lend an ear: the principle of attention
Zavala observes, “Agents need to shut up … Pay attention to your clients by deeply listening and to the market by closely observing. You have to ask good questions and be quiet to hear the answer.”

In fact, whenever possible, avoid using statements. Instead, answer your clients’ statements with a question whenever possible.

For example, when your client says, “This house has a beautiful view,” respond by saying, “It does have a beautiful view, doesn’t it?”

5. Know when to quit: the principle of acceptance
Occasionally, listening, persistence and empathy fail to yield results. As Zavala says, “Sometimes the rules really are the rules.”

Delivering bad news is never easy. Zavala’s advice is simply, “Get over it and get on with it.”

The secret here is knowing when to stop persisting. There are some situations that can never be worked out. Recognizing those and focusing on what can be solved is at the heart of achieving success no matter what type are market you are experiencing.

Secrets to converting phone leads into real estate clients

Former realtor.com President and CEO Allan Dalton once observed that the real estate industry is great at generating leads — it’s converting those leads that is the issue.

With inventories being tight and loans harder to obtain than ever, you’re probably wondering how to maximize your income over the next few months. The most important step that you can take is to maximize the return from the leads you receive.

Read more

Trump your real estate competition: Invest in sleep, take to Twitter, embrace uniqueness

The nation’s foremost real estate educators and female leaders in real estate (Real Estate Educators Association and Awesome Females in Real Estate) convened in Scottsdale, Arizona, this month for their respective annual conferences to share their personal insider tips that can help you grow your business.

1. Sleep more, achieve more
Realtor and coach Joeann Fossland began her session on “What is Success” with a quote from author and business consultant Jim Collins: “Failure is caused by the undisciplined pursuit of more.”

Fossland noted that being a workaholic has been replaced with the mantra of “less is more.” As Fossland puts it: “If it doesn’t make your heart sing, don’t keep it.”

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Real Estate Branding Creation In Five Steps

brandingBranding your real estate business is vitally important, but what is a real estate brand? Let’s first start by giving you some (oft-quoted) key definitions of branding:

Walter Landor, one of the greats of the advertising industry, said: “Simply put, a brand is a promise. By identifying and authenticating a product or service it delivers a pledge of satisfaction and quality.”

In his book ‘Building Strong Brands,’ David Aaker suggests the brand is a “mental box” and defines brand equity as: “A set of assets (or liabilities) linked to a brand’s name and symbol that adds to (or subtracts from) the value provided by a product or service…”

As Al Ries once stated, a brand is “a singular idea or concept that you own inside the mind of the prospect.”
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7 Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents in 2014

7-Marketing-Ideas-for-Real-Estate-Agents-in-2014Marketing ideas for real estate agents can take many shapes and price forms. You maybe use some form of direct mail to both your current clients and to new prospects. Perhaps you invest money in lead lists from 3rd party companies, selling you new names of people who have moved to the area. Or maybe you’re still paying to be listed in the Yellow Pages, or as most people know them, that book in the bag I have to throw out once a year. Whatever your current methods include, they all can be expensive, next to impossible to track, and for some, time consuming. That’s why I’ve put together a quick list of ideas to help you out with marketing in 2014.

Like a lot of your marketing efforts, your main focus is on getting in people who want to buy or sell a home. But as you already know, the majority of your leads you get in that become customers are those that are referred from your past clients. That’s why it’s important to nurture those past clients so you’re best positioned to getting in new referrals from past clients. Here’s 7 Marketing Ideas to help you increase your referral business in 2014.
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Real Estate Agents “Go Digital” to Reach Customers

real-estate-agents-go-digital

Image by Joanne Yen - Realtors have changed their marketing mix.
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Branding Basics

Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean? How does it affect a business like yours?

brandingSimply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

Are you the innovative choice in your industry? Or the experienced, reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You can’t be both, and you can’t be all things to all people. Who you are should be based to some extent on who your target customers want and need you to be.

The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and promotional materials–all of which should integrate your logo–communicate your brand.
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