As a coach I focus on the growth of my client’s business. When a client’s business regresses or stagnates I look carefully at what is happening and how they can overcome it. We have our coaching charts that really help us pinpoint the cause of a decline. Then there are the really difficult reasons that arise, a health challenge of the Agent or a loved one, an unfaithful spouse, marital difficulties, you can see the type of challenges that would hurt an Agent’s business.
Obviously, as a business coach we do not have the expertise or hold ourselves out to have the expertise to address any of these issues. At the same time, we often know more about our client’s life than most anyone else in it. So we listen. We empathize. We hurt, too.
I don’t have any magic words or thoughts about these situations. I am actually quite proud at times when a client tells me that they are more capable of handling the personal situation because of the strength they have built through our coaching relationship. Or, that the financial security they have built, gives them choices they would not otherwise have had.
In all of our coaching I lead my clients to trust their own judgment. We offer to be there for them and sometimes we are the most objective person they have in their lives with whom to share these situations.
I am really proud of my clients whose business goes to exceptional levels. There is a special place in my heart for my clients who survive and succeed through personal challenges. And another place of prayer for those who succumb to the challenges that face them.
Again, no magic, obviously I encountered another of these situations this week with a long standing client that has become a friend and I thought it was worth sharing the experience. Or perhaps it just helped me to share it.
You will never be able to manage your time if you don’t know what the goal is. Imagine that you want to get to a big, important, high priced, easy to sell, listing appointment by 4 PM but you don’t know the address. No matter how good your time management, and your organizational skills, if you don’t know where you are going you won’t get there.
This time of year (May of 2012) so many Agents ask me how to get organized and manage their time better. When I ask them what their goal is for the week or for the month, they ask me what difference that makes in their time management. The goal of a clean desk is not to have a clean desk. It is to have a desk where you can find what you want when you want it. The goal of your time management is to achieve your goals with greater confidence and control.
As soon as I get an Agent to focus on their New Clients per Week goal (it’s often only one per week to get an Agent to more business than they have ever done in their career) their time management problems get much easier to address. They don’t get everything done but they know that they are getting the right things done and they are happy with the result.
If they are not getting the result they want, then this weekly goal focus gets them asking themselves the right questions about their business that leads to the right decisions about their time management.
At the same time we focus on a monthly sales goal. It is important that this is an “under contract” goal not a closed sales goal. That’s it, those two goals are get the Agent more clear on their time management than any other time management tool or tip.
That is why our coaching Clients do so well in their production, self confidence, and peace of mind.
Interesting situation, one of my Clients, an Agent in New Jersey went on a listing presentation. He was one of four Agents interviewing, competing for the listing. He was third. There was still one more agent after him.
He got the listing. He asked why? The Seller told him. You weren’t pushy. You listened. You were comfortable. We trusted you.
When he got there they were insistent on a price. The two Agents that preceded him had agreed with the Seller on their price. He listed the house $30,000 below, that’s right thirty thousand dollars lower than the price they had in mind.
This is the power of good communication and sales skills; leading with questions, active listening, being present, and staying focused on their needs.
Join me each weekday on my free coaching webinar for more tips.
The first week in January it was obvious that Buyers were coming into the market at a pace we haven’t seen in years. It was apparent between Christmas and New Year’s Day for those working during that time.
So, on my free Daily webinars (www.FreeCoachingWebinars.com) I advised Agents to make contacts with:
1. People who you were showing houses to in 2011
2. People who said, wait until spring
3. Your sold Clients from 2011
4. Your referral sources from 2011
5. Leads left over from 2011
6. People you met during the holidays
Real Estate is on people’s minds. One Agent after another related stories about getting business from these calls. One Agent made five listing appointments in one day. She said it was so much fun she just kept calling people; checking in on how they enjoyed the holidays and asking what their plans were for the New Year.
When they asked how the market was, she was smart to do two things. She was very positive and she asked if they were thinking of doing something.
The lesson is: Right now, early in the year, snow, rate, sleet, or sun, make contacts. Be nice. They don’t care about how you are doing until you care about how they are doing. When asked about the market, be positive and close with a question about their plans.
He told Mary Ann that he had forty Real Estate Agents who were patients of his. She was one of three that he chose to interview for the listing. Mary Ann has been in Real Estate three years. The other two Agents he chose to interview had fourteen and twenty three years of experience. Both sell more than Mary Ann. One sells a lot more with a team of administrative and selling staff.
The dentist told Mary Ann that he wanted to choose her except the high producing Agent with the team was offering one percent lower commission.
Mary Ann told the dentist to ask the other Agent how quickly she or someone on the team will get back to interested Buyers or back to him for that matter. He said that she asked an interesting question because he had called her office the previous day and hadn’t heard back yet.
He asked about the one percent lower commission and if Mary Ann would match that. Mary Ann said to ask the other Agent what services she provided and what the other Agent does for her commission; and then compare the services of the two. He said he didn’t need to do that because he had seen what both Agents offer.
There is more but that’s enough. The point is that Mary Ann obviously did a good job marketing and networking to be one of the three out of forty that were chosen to do a listing presentation.
It is clear that she has personal credibility or the Client would not have given so believed her so quickly when she contrasted her work with the top producing team. Mary Ann obviously does a good job of marketing a listing and presenting her marketing plan.
Mary Ann is a coaching Client of mine. Each of the last three years her business grown; this year it has nearly doubled. She does things right. To be fair she has a background in negotiating. But the integrity, follow through, attention to detail, and commitment to continuous improvement; those things that define the character of her work, are the reason she got this business and will continue to grow and succeed.
The best kept secret in Real Estate www.1stFifteen.com
Agents that I coach all over the country are using this and literally everywhere it is generating listing leads.
You have a Buyer who you have shown everything on the market and they can’t find what they want. So, you send what I call a “Property Need Letter.”
You drive the Buyer around the area and select the specific homes and or the specific blocks of streets that truly have what they are looking for.
Then you send a letter to those specific houses. The letter has to have a specific structure and language so that it is credible. In fact, don’t do this unless it is real. The letter gives some details about the Buyer, what they are looking for and what they are not finding. It offers a confidential one time showing request.
My coaching Clients have been doing this for many years. Right now it seems to be more effective than ever. Perhaps because there are so many Sellers who are waiting for the market to improve but given the opportunity they would like to sell and move.
If you would like a copy of the property need letters, e-mail me. Although they are one of hundreds of documents exclusively for our coaching Clients, I’ll offer them to you to encourage you to listen to our free webinars www.FreeCoachingWebinars.com and to introduce you to a bit of our Success work.
It’s one of the most interesting parts of my job. When an Agent that I coach is in the middle of a tough negotiation I ask them to call me. Debbie did.
The asking price was $769,000. The offer came in at $625,000.
Debbie is smart and talented. As the owner’s anger and frustration arose, Debbie calmly explained that, “All offers are good offers,” that in this market Buyers feel that owners may be desperate. The key is that she kept the owner objective.
She did not disparage the offer, the other Agent or the Buyer. She didn’t compliment them either. Instead she kept it objective.
The owner countered at $725,000. The Buyer came back at $640,000. Again, as you might expect the owner was angry and frustrated. Again, Debbie kept her cool and told him. “I want to be as upset at you are but my job is to keep my eye on the goal of getting you the price you need to get the job done. So, let’s decide do we want to tell them we won’t respond until they raise their offer? Do we want to make a small concession and keep inching closer? Or do we want to go to or close to your bottom line and send the message that we want to get this done with less “Mickey Mouse” back and forth.
She explained the risks of not responding and allowed the owner to lead the decision making with her guidance.
So many Agents who are far less skilled negotiators than Debbie empathize with their Client in ways that paint the other Agent or the other party as wrong, greedy, etc. Debbie demonstrated three key negotiation skills of a talented negotiator.
My recent blog about listings got a lot of positive comment, thank you.
Let’s be clear on another thing. If listings are the name of the game, Buyers are the rest of the game. You don’t make a commission with a Buyer. In fact, a qualified, motivated Buyer with an urgent need is as good as the average listing (particularly in today’s market) any day; in fact, the better the listing, the more of those valuable Buyers it will attract.
So, as I said in the previous blog, keep taking listings. At the same time, keep searching for qualified Buyers who are eager and ready to buy. The key is to be rigorous in asking the Buyer questions about their financial qualification, motivation and urgency as early as possible in the relationship (with complete respect for Agency and Agency laws).
Yes, I saw the statistics on how much more money is made by Agents who focus on listings. And I completely agree that consistent success is based on a listing focus. I coach Agents every day to extraordinary listing success. But the statistics are flawed. Here’s why.
Most, possibly all, Agents with a team focus on listings. On their team are Agents who focus on Buyers. In fact in many those ‘Buyer Specialists’ refer all of their listing leads to the Primary Agent. The team leader (I call them the Primary Agent, thank you Patrick Daily) gets a portion of all the Buyer sale commissions. This enormously skews the statistics. The more accurate measure would be individual Agents who focus on Listings versus the ones who focuses on Buyers. The problem with that is that the vast majority of individual Agents necessarily focus on both.
The point is that focusing on Buyers in a smart way is necessary for Agents with or without a team. For the teams it would be a waste to get all those listings and not benefit from the Buyers they would attract. For an individual Agent it is also most often a matter of survival.
Buyers or Listings there is opportunity in this market. It absolutely takes more talent and effort to find it and close it in this market. Those who tough it out and learn to succeed in this market will be the top Agents and the leaders as a healthy market re-emerges. And with a bit of blessing, it will.
The best kept secret of Real Estate Coaching www.
What does “priced right” mean? It means the price that, with normal marketing, will sell the property in three weeks or less. The only exception is the house that is truly unique.
But wait, what if houses were selling last month for $350,000 all over the neighborhood but this month they are not selling. Does that mean they are now overpriced? The answer is yes. Will they come back to the $350,000 price range next month or in the spring? Maybe, but for this market this month, it’s not “priced right.”
In this economy it’s possible that next month or in the spring the price could be less.
An Agent that I coach had sold seven homes in a neighborhood for prices between $620,000 and $720,000 right up until the summer of 2010. Between the fall of 2010 and the spring of 2011 she had five others on the market. None were selling. She lost one listing to a bank foreclosure. The bank put it on the market for $549,000. It sold in a week. This year four others have sold in the neighborhood; all for less than $600,000.
It hurt her to see her Clients sell for less than they bought. For too long she was saying that the houses were worth more and that they were priced right when they weren’t selling. Her heart is in the right place. This is not easy for Agents or Sellers.
But let’s be honest and professional about pricing. Let’s learn the skills, approach, and language required to help Sellers make the best decisions even when they are difficult decisions.
Keep Taking Listings
First, I know that in many markets listings are not selling very quickly. The listings have to be priced right, in very good condition and still may not sell. (Although by definition priced right means they will sell. The problem of course is that priced right last spring, just four months ago may not be priced right now in September)
But keep taking listings. Kyle Killebrew has taken 88 listings so far this year. That is about 30 more than previous years. His listing sold percentage is way off from previous years. He has sold just 68% of them. Oh, that’s 60 of them isn’t it? And from the leads generated from all those listings he and his team have sold another 52 houses to Buyers. Even if less listings sell, having more of the listings means you sell more.
It is tougher to get listings sold in this market. The Clients’ situations are often negative. There are job losses, divorces, and involuntary moves. We are always dealing with these types of situations but in this market and in this economy there are a higher percentage of those negative circumstances.
There are more Sellers who believe their house should sell for a higher price. A higher percentage of Sellers who sell are disappointed with the price they get.
All of that is true and keep taking new listings, getting price reductions, and re-listing because there are flurries. A flurry is when, suddenly, for no apparent reason a bunch of properties sell. The Agents with the listings benefit from the flurries. These listing Agents benefit in two ways.
First, their listings sell. Second, Buyers contact them.
Kyle said, “Rich, you are right about the flurries. We sold six properties the first week in September. School starting, right after Labor Day, I wouldn’t have expected it. But I’m glad to have had the inventory.”
Keep taking listings.