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1 Weird Method To Sell Listings Fast

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The Referral Power of “Recognition and Appreciation”

Have you ever noticed that most people are “Recognition and Appreciation” starved these days?

Think about it. We’re all so busy and involved with our own personal lives, we hardly ever take the time to recognize and appreciate those around us.

When was the last time your boss really recognized you? When was the last time your spouse said, “I’m so lucky to have you in my life”?

When was the last time anyone acknowledged you exist on this earth?

Everyone wants to feel special. Mary Kay Cosmetics created such a strong “Recognition and Appreciation” program, they’ve created a “cult-like” environment in their organization.

If you’ve ever sold Mary Kay, you know what I’m talking about. They treat their sales associates special, with gifts at nearly every level, awards, and even a Pink Cadillac for outstanding production.

Their associates are bonded to them like super glue, because they’ve realized the “influence power” of recognizing people.

Yet many real estate agents miss out on this valuable way to bond prospects and clients and become their sole choice for real estate services. And with that, they lose the opportunity to truly capitalize on the LIFETIME VALUE of their clients, and never create the Personal Market Share™ required to reach their potential in real estate.

Recognizing and appreciating your prospects and clients on a regular basis is like sending out an EMOTIONAL TRACTOR BEAM that pulls them in, and bonds them to you for life.

Think of all the ways you can recognize your clients and share your appreciation for them. Then watch your client volume, referrals, and repeat business grow and grow.

Want some ideas? OK, try a few of these out in your practice:

Recognition Strategy #1: Recognize Special Holidays in a Unique Way.

I have a long-term client friend who’s a top notch REALTOR® in Orange County, California.

Not long ago, he shared with me a strategy he uses along with his monthly Service For Life!® contact with his Power List™ – and the great thing is…it can also be used as a stand-alone strategy.

My friend…Agent “X”…takes out a calendar and locates a HOLIDAY that occurs each month. He even researches bizarre holidays that most people don’t know about, just so he has something to “talk about” each month.

Then…he goes out and finds some kind of “themed” paper to write a very personal message. Now…notice his strategy has TWO components:

Component #1: He finds a reason (the holiday) for the contact, and uses a “THEME” as a way to capture attention…

Component #2: He creates a VERY personal, warm message that “recognizes and appreciates” his clients…

He then uses the message (on the themed paper) as his cover letter for his Service For Life!® newsletter. What are some of the holidays you could do this with? How about…

Thanksgiving

Christmas & Hanukkah

Easter

St. Patrick’s Day (“make more green with my services“)

July 4th

Halloween

Mothers Day

Fathers Day

Valentine’s Day (I love my clients)

But you can also find unusual holidays, such as “all saints day” or Flag day or Hungarian Pride day.

Here’s an example of just one flyer – I reduced it to fit the page, and I scanned it in black and white, but you can still understand what he does…

AIC_1140_peter_engby_example

By the way, my suggestion for this agent is to personalize the salutation on his letter and hand-sign in blue ink – it will make a bigger impact.

Recognition Strategy #2: The “Recognition and Appreciation P.S.”

This one’s quick and easy, but can make a huge impact. It’s a “take-off” of the Business Card Referral Programming language I’ve shared in earlier issues of Agent Inner Circle™.

The strategy is to use a “P.S.” with ALL of your letters with referral programming that says something like this:

“P.S. I’ve built my business based on the positive comments and referrals from people like you. Thank you for being such a special part of my business. I couldn’t do it without YOUR help.”

Did you notice the power of that message? It not only recognizes your clients for their help with your business, but it ALSO programs them for thinking about YOU for referrals.

Pretty smart, don’t you think?

Recognition Strategy #3: The “Recognition and Appreciation Advertisement”

Twice a year a number of our agents take out special advertising space in local publications to run an “appreciation” ad for their clients.

They begin the ad with a simple statement saying something like the P.S. language you just learned above. Then they list out their clients’ names.

If you don’t have a lot of past clients, you can either, 1) include the names of people who are close to you and can help you in your business (use language that includes “people who support my business”, OR 2) you can list out client names from the past several years – this way the list will be long and impressive.

This little strategy actually does TWO things at once…

First, it acknowledges people in your business – and people LOVE to see their name in print with appreciation attached to it.

Second, when you list out a LOT of names in your ad, it makes everyone believe you’re a very busy (and very good) agent. And that’s a strong message to communicate.

One more thing…if you do a lot of homes advertising in local publications, you can frequently negotiate either FREE space (because you’re a good client), OR you can ask for “remnant” or “distressed” space and get the ad for pennies on the dollar.

Recognition Strategy #4: The “Recognition and Appreciation SPECIAL EVENT”

One of the most effective ways to recognize your clients is by hosting a special event – such as a golf outing or renting a movie theater, or renting a comedy club for an evening.

And…by the way…it doesn’t have to be just with your “Top 20% Power Players™.” It could be for ALL your clients or Power List™ if you like.

You can also incorporate a “recognition” part of the event – and give out simple and inexpensive “awards” (blue ribbons or “appreciation certificates”) to the people who sent you referrals.

And here’s the great part: When all the other people see how you recognize others with your awards, they’re getting the message that they should send you referrals – and it happens without you saying a thing!

Try it sometime and watch your clients bond to you and feel motivated to send you referrals, word of mouth and repeat business.

Recognition Strategy #5: Monthly Contact “Recognition and Appreciation”

The more you can recognize and appreciate people who support your business with referrals and word of mouth, the more you stimulate that behavior.

That’s why, in our monthly Service For Life!® real estate newsletter, we provide multiple places for you to recognize and appreciate your clients and those who support you and your business.

This way you don’t have to worry so much about HOW you’re going to use this powerful strategy in your business.  It’s DONE FOR YOU ALREADY just by subscribing.

But we went even further than just “Recognition and Appreciation” programming.

“Service For Life!®” was engineered to include 7 Psychological Elements designed to bond people to you.

We also designed it with COMPELLING ARTICLES, TIMELY ADVICE and interesting “INVOLVEMENT DEVICES” to ensure it captures attention, and gets opened and read every month, and nurtures a profitable relationship with those who receive it from you.

We then included 14 DIRECT RESPONSE OFFERS into the newsletter to practically force qualified prospects and clients to CALL YOU for real estate services; in most cases before other agents even know they exist.

If you’re using it already…try some of these “add-on” recognition and appreciation strategies you just learned here.

If you’re not using it already, you can get on board RIGHT NOW.  Just check out www.ServiceForLife.com.

We’ll help you get started on the road to real estate success…and support you every step of the way.

How To Bring Back Old Clients And Get Immediate New Business

Here’s a very cool system for reactivating old clients, generating referrals, and building your Power List.

Many agents I know have a drawer full of old clients they simply forgot.  Life gets busy and before you know it, it’s been months (even years) since you last contacted some of your clients.

That’s why I created the “Re-Acquaint Letter System”…

This is an easy way to get back in touch and harvest referrals and repeat business from your network, and this  letter has worked for hundreds of agents all over the world.

I’ll give you the letter to use and also give you an example of a Referral Coupon.  This coupon is designed to work much like a “bounce-back” type of coupon that restaurants and retail stores use. The very same strategy will work for you if you just give it a try.

How To Use The “Re-Acquaint” Letter System…

STEP 1: Create a LIST of your past clients and friends, friends, family, and acquaintances

Narrow your list down to the people you’ve not contacted in the last 6 months.

STEP 2: Send them a personal LETTER

Here’s a pre-written letter for you to use and make your own.

(click the image to download as a word document)

red-arrow-curved-downrightRe-acquaintLetterImage

STEP 3: Give your Power List a meaningful REASON to get back in contact with you

Use a “Referral Coupon” that goes with this letter, like this…
red-arrow-curved-downleft
ReferralCouponImage
They may or may not use it, but it’s a stand-out way to remind them that you work by referral.

(IMPORTANT:  This coupon is designed to give a discount to the END-USER only.  In most, if not all states, it is illegal to directly compensate any unlicensed person for sending you business.  This coupon only makes a discount offer to the end user, NOT to a person sending you a referral.)

STEP 4:  FOLLOW-UP with regular contact (at least monthly)

Agents tell me they start getting calls within a few days after this letter goes out.  But you can also follow up by phone 7 days after sending the letter.

Going forward, you’ll want to keep in contact in a meaningful way.   I’m not talking about pumpkin seeds or calendars here.

You can use my Service For Life!® real estate newsletter system or your own monthly contact, just make sure it’s something your Power List sees as a “welcomed guest” rather than an annoying pest.  And make sure it gets out every month

This is very important.  For every 100 people on your database, 14 of them will buy or sell a home in the next 12 months.  And that doesn’t include the Referrals they could be sending you.

Don’t continue to leave this gigantic hole of lost revenue in your business by not following up at least once a month.  This “Re-Acquaint Letter System” will help you get back in touch with your clients.  Then you have make a commitment to not lose touch again by following up with your network each month with welcomed and valued contact.

[Ed note: Would you like to use a marketing system that costs nearly $0.00 and can bring you a steady flow of quality, motivated buyers — even during this slow economy?  Then click here to learn about one of the highest-return, lowest-cost marketing strategies you’ll ever use in your real estate practice.]

Use Apple’s Strategy To Sell More Homes In Less Time

If you’d like to learn a 3-step process that doubles your chance of selling homes… then take 5 minutes to read my article.  It’s about the real reason why Apple continues to launch successful products, and how you can use the same strategy to sell more homes, in less time.

But first, some background on the company…

Apple is on a long winning streak that started with the iPod, then the iPhone and now the iPad.  Apple’s stock is so richly valued the small company is now worth more than Dell and Hewlett-Packard combined.

When the company is praised for its marketing, it is usually for offering innovative, cutting-edge products.  Apple is often tagged with the desirable label of “first mover” status, meaning it gets new technologies on the market before the competition does.

But closer examination proves otherwise…

For example, iPod was not the first MP3 player on the market — not by a long shot.  Audio Highway sold the first MP3 player called Listen Up which won a national award at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1997.  Apple’s iPod hit the market in October, 2001.  Nokia was selling smart phones for years before anyone ever heard of an iPhone.  Tablet-sized PCs hit the market a few years ago with lackluster sales, but it wasn’t until Apple’s iPad that millions were sold.

My point is, Apple’s reputation for being on the cutting-edge is not actually supported by the facts.

But what is more overlooked is…

Apple’s Ability To Create Effective Advertising

Granted, the company’s engineers come up with beautifully-designed and easy-to-use products — which is a marketing function in its own right — but, pay attention to what takes place in their television commercials.  What unfolds in their TV ads is simple and “old school”.

The strategy for the iPhone and iPad are the same — just a straightforward DEMONSTRATION of what the product does for the consumer.  Do they use exotic locations, celebrities or sexy models?  Not at all.  Watch some of the current iPad commercials.  They are filmed as if you are holding the device, and you see books…movies you can select…and another sequence shows a typing keypad, etc.

For the iPhone, Apple used the same technique, and you simply saw a person holding the iPhone in his hand while he did things like bring up a compass or get a restaurant review.  Another ad showed two users bumping their phones together to exchange contact information.

Advertising agencies typically don’t like this kind of work because it is not creative, but in many cases a simple communication of benefits results in more effective selling.

The iPhone killer was supposed to be the new Droid — a joint venture between Google and Verizon.  I have seen the TV spot for the Droid that rates much higher for the “cool” factor with impressive special effects, but will it overtake the iPhone in sales?  I wouldn’t count on it.

Brush Up On Marketing Basics To
Understand Apple’s Advertising Strategy

Before you create any advertising, you should ask yourself if you offer a product or service.  Products are the easiest of those two because they are tangible.  Selling a service in an intangible. Just as the Apple examples prove that demonstrating benefits is highly effective, there is an similar method for selling a service that as powerful… you demonstrate the benefit of the service by way of telling an interesting story.

One sterling example comes to mind — the “give-you-goose-bumps” radio commercials for OnStar.  The best in this series begins with what sounds like a 9-1-1 call.  A little girl — with trembling voice — says the car has crashed.  Next you hear the calming, voice of the female OnStar Operator.  The little girl says her mom is hurt and not awake.  The Operator says she is sending help and, she tells the little girl she will stay on the line with her until help arrives.  As that conversation fades out, the announcers come on to make a pitch for OnStar.

What do Apple and OnStar have in common?  Nothing.  One is a product, the other a service.  Good advertising is not about products or services…it means you understand human behavior.  Good advertising is also NOT about manipulating consumers.  It’s about tapping into our human desires and motivating action through a compelling demonstration of benefits.

How Does This Apply To Selling Homes?

So why not use these professional strategies on the ultimate consumer purchase — a house?   Unfortunately, what most sellers get is a typical flyer that lists the number of bedrooms, baths and living areas along with the agent’s photo.   But where is the demonstration or storytelling in that?   Providing “dry” statistics about a house makes it seem similar to others on the market, and good advertising should make the product stand out, not blend in.

Note the first listing promotion (on the LEFT)— a classic story ad.  The headline makes you wonder who is getting a dream job in this economy?  The ad generated urgency because it suggested a good price was offered as a result of the owner’s buyout and promotion.

You can click the image to see it in a larger format, but you only have to read the headline to get the point — use a story ad that engages the reader and motivates them to respond.

RESULT: This ad satisfied the main litmus test — it produced multiple offers in less than three weeks in a neighborhood in which every other “for sale” house is still sitting on the market — some for over a year.

The next listing promotion (on the RIGHT) shows the same process Apple uses — a simple, clear communication of a unique benefit.  Can you spot the key element?  You would imagine that to sell a house, the ad must be about the house, right?  Not at all — this house was very similar to all the others on the market.

What made it different was the yard and view (no other competing house offered this kind of lot).  The photo of the yard, and headline, forcefully demonstrated what other “for sale” listings could not match.  The seller received four offers — unusual in this area.

How Do You Improve Your Advertising To
Attract Ready-To-Act Buyers?

Serious, ready-to-act homebuyers do not want to talk to a salesman — which is one reason I don’t stick my personal photo on my advertising — it has nothing to do with what is being sold. Here’s a simple process you can use to create an effective ad… one that sells your listings in half the time:

STEP 1: Identify a unique benefit that no other listing in the area can match…

STEP 2: Think of the best way to demonstrate what this benefit will DO for the buyer…

STEP 3: Dramatize this strongest benefit through an interesting story in your listing promotions…

Using this process, you’ll create better advertising (no matter the home or where you advertise),  you’ll get more attention, and attract the right target audience — a buyer who’s motivated to sign a contract.

Remember: Selling a home is not a real estate function — it is a marketing function.  If ten people find out about your home that is fine, but if twenty people discover it because you have better marketing than your competition, you have just doubled your chances for success.

If you want to learn more about my unique methods for selling listings faster then click here to watch a free video presentation.

CLICK HERE To View A Free Video Presentation
Of
Stan Barron’s Unique Home-Selling Method
(It has more strategies about how to sell your listings faster.)

How to Bond with Clients to Close More Deals

One of the most important (yet less talked-about) skills for success in real estate is knowing how to communicate and read clients when you’re face-to-face.

How many times have you worked hard to generate a listing appointment, researched the market, toured the home, created a stellar pre-listing package…only to learn the clients hired another agent?

Some agents have a natural knack for reading other people and knowing what to do in a pivotal sales situation. For others it’s a mystery. The good news is, bonding with clients and creating skills for closing deals can all be learned once you understand a few basics.

Today I want to give you some very important tips for making a great first impression, reading your clients and understanding their motivation, handling questions and objections, and recognizing buy signals.

The First Meeting…

According to Patti Wood, author of “Success Signals – Body Language in Business” most face-to-face buying decisions are made within the first three to five minutes of the call. That means 85% of the buying decision is based on not what you say, but what you do non-verbally.

So how to you create non-verbal signals that quickly bond clients to you?

The first step sounds obvious, but many agents blow it: SMILE! No, not some fake, wishy-washy smile, but a sincere gesture projecting your openness. Make sure you’re looking your prospects or clients squarely in the eye.

The second step is to use open body language. Open body language happens when you reveal the palms of your hands, keep your arms unfolded, hands away from the face, and project an open way of receiving your clients.

Another way of showing openness is in your speech tone. You don’t want to seem too excited (a give away for an inexperienced or hype-driven salesperson), and you don’t want to sound like a dud either.

You want to greet your clients the same way you greet your spouse (on a good day, that is!). Be happy to see them, but be sincere and keep your bearings.

The third step is to use the right kind of handshake. The secret of a great handshake is not just in the firmness of your shake (a must!), but in the percentage of palm-to-palm contact. Opening your palm to someone is akin to opening yourself to them.

Finally, a great way to bond with clients is to match your body language with that of your prospect or client. Matching body language is a non-verbal way of telling your clients that you like them.

The idea is that people prefer to do business with those similar to themselves. Watch the body language of people who disagree and you’ll see what I mean (they “mismatch” their body language).

Once you start mimicking your client’s body language, you’ll notice that they start to subconsciously mimic yours. That’s when you have the opportunity to open up – uncross legs and arms, lean forward, and speak directly – and they’ll open themselves to you.

This is a prime signal that you’ve built trust and rapport, and you can guide the direction of the relationship.

Handling Questions and Objections…

Every client presents us with tough questions and objections. That’s the nature of our business. While giving an accurate answer is important, don’t forget about non-verbal ways you communicate to advance the sale.

So how do you handle questions and objections effectively? Here’s a 3-Step process I learned more than 30 years ago, and works nearly every time.

The first step in handling questions or objections is to use “silence” as your ally – and this applies to the phone as much as in person. Before you jump to an answer, allow your prospects to completely finish their point – then pause.

This alone shows that you are in control of the situation and desire to hear-out your client. Plus, it gives you ample time to think through your answer.

The second step is to harmonize with your client. They’re obviously concerned about their issue, otherwise they wouldn’t be asking the question. I want you to indelibly mark your mind with these words: “I understand.”

Always answer objections with “I understand,” then, paraphrase the question or concern the client just asked you back to them.

Why are you doing this?

Because, 1) It helps you uncover the “real” issue from an emotional as well as rational standpoint, 2) It validates the concern of the client – a bonding tool, and 3) It allows you to compartmentalize objections or questions so you can handle them easier without causing confusion.

The third step is to answer their question, then follow-up your answer with a question back. Walt Disney used to say “there’s a real question behind every question.” Frequently clients will ask a question that highlights only a symptom or example of their objection, and you need to sort out the real issue from the symptom.

As an overly simple example, let’s say your client begins to ask about the details of a home’s alarm system. A novice would explain just the features, while a pro would realize that the wife wants to feel safe when she’s home alone with her children – and match “security” benefits to features in her answer.

By asking a question back, you are ensuring that the issue they raised has been handled, and you are maintaining control of the situation.

Recognizing Buy Signals…

Nothing happens if you don’t close deals, and knowing when to ask is just as important as knowing how to ask.

You probably know that when a clients starts contemplating furniture placement in a home they’re viewing, they’re getting pretty hot for the home. But there other non-verbal buy signals you should watch for…

The most important non-verbal buy signals come from three areas: Head Gestures, Facial Gestures and Body posture.

When a client tilts their head to one side, it can mean that they’re very interested in what you’re saying. When you see this behavior, make sure you’re making an important point advancing a sale.

A head titled down means they’re being negative and judgmental. Head titled back means they’re exhibiting a superior attitude. A client who is open and accepting will generally keep their head neutral. Look for head gestures the next time you’re in a listing presentation or showing a home.

When a client strokes their chin, it means they are considering making a decision. It’s an important time where you can help the process. Rolling eyes, looking over the top of their glasses, rubbing their nose, or even placing their thumb under their nose with their index finger pointing upward are ALL negative, dismissive or critical actions.

When a client leans their body forward and leaves their arms open, it indicates interest and agreement. This is the very best time to ask for a sale. If they lean back with arms crossed, it shows a lack of interest. Leaning forward with arms crossed can indicate potential aggressive behavior. When a client leans back and opens their arms, they’re showing cautious interest.

You’ll also notice that, when a client mirrors your body language, it’s a tell-tale sign they’re in agreement with you. That’s your prime opportunity to advance the sale.

How do you get better with detecting buy signals and body language?

The same way you get to Carnegie Hall: Practice, practice, practice.