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Big news at Agent Inner Circle! Plus, a special request (watch the video)…

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Hello Agent Inner Circle members…  

The news is getting out about some changes that we are making to the Agent Inner Circle and Service For Life.  As well as continuing with the current team, we have some fantastic people coming on board from the new owners Lone Wolf Holdings, LLC.  The additions are Lorne C. Wallace, Alex Camelio and Michael Krisa.  I’ve included some information about each of them below so you have a better idea of the people involved going forward. We’re really excited for the coming year, and you’ll be hearing a lot more from the new team both this week, and over the coming weeks. As Craig has mentioned, we expect nothing but growth from such a great team.

Thank You,

Your Service For Life and Agent Inner Circle team

Lorne C. Wallace, C.A.
Lorne C. Wallace, Executive Chairman and Founder of Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies, is a Chartered Accountant who has specialized in real estate brokerage operations since 1989.  Lorne is the third generation of his family to be involved in the real estate industry and can list in his relationships a grandfather with a 25 year career in real estate that Lorne dropped off just sold cards for as a child, a mother who sold real estate for 15 years so he had lots of family dinners go awry at the last minute, a brother-in-law and a sister who themselves are the owners of a 50+ year boutique brokerage and finally a wife who ran a 750 real estate agent operation (yes, she was a client first) comprised of 14 offices, so you can guess what they all talk about at family dinners.  Lorne has strong opinions on the value of relationship building and the true underlying reasons for success in real estate that he is looking forward to sharing with the Agent Inner Circle community.

Prior to becoming involved with the Agent Inner Circle and Service For Life programs, Lorne founded and built Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies, one of the largest technology vendors in the industry with a footprint that covers 10,000 real estate office and approximately 250,000 real estate agents.  Lorne has also spoken at numerous industry events over the years.

Alex Camelio
Prior to selling his company to Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies, Alex was the Co-Founder and President at Barcode Realty.  After graduating from Syracuse University in three years, with degrees in Political Philosophy and Legal Studies, he worked as the Director of Operations for a New York City based tech firm where part of his job was managing enterprise level data centers as well as the supply chain management system for Denso Wave corporation – the original inventor of the QR code.  Upon realizing the impending boom in mobile technology, Alex decided to form a company with the core goal of implementing end-to-end mobile marketing strategies focused on specific industries, with real estate as the primary focus.

Within the real estate community, Alex Camelio has been recognized internationally as an expert in technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship and has presented for groups including, the National Association of Realtors, the National Women’s Council of Realtors, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the Vermont Realtors, the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, and the North Carolina Association of Realtors, to name a few. As always, Alex is excited to share his expertise.

Michael Krisa
Michael is a licensed real estate broker, a syndicated columnist and a freelance internet marketing consultant.  As a sought after speaker and trainer, he is best known for helping to utilize video and video marketing in a way that actually works to make you money!

Michael Krisa has a unique style that demystifies video marketing and helps brokers and agents alike implement this powerful new strategy into their marketing mix.

Social proof of Michael’s impact using video and online marketing was his nomination for both the Inman News Innovators Award and Inman News People Choice 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate.  With over 400 interviews to his credit, Michael has become recognized as “That Interview Guy” and has become the Trusted Voice For Real Estate Professionals.

His latest initiative is TabletVideoForAgents.com

A comprehensive online course that radically simplifies video making/editing and syndication by using harnessing what he calls the all-in-one-video-solution – the iPad.

Michael is very excited to join the team, and bring along his years of experience in real estate marketing.

Endless Clients System #4 – After Sale Contact

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Do you give closing gifts to your clients following a successful transaction?

Most agents do.

After all, the close of a successful transaction is the prime time to express your appreciation to your client.

But it’s also a time when such a gift is almost expected by your client.  And when it’s expected, it doesn’t have near the impact as it would when unexpected (such as the “wow” systems I mentioned in a previous article).

So let’s get this straight…  

You definitely want to show your appreciation to your clients, but you also know that it’s probably not going to have the impact of an unexpected gift.  That’s because closing gifts are almost a necessity these days.

What does all this mean?

It means that your closing gift must be something that will make a deep personal impact on your clients, AND be a great vehicle for keeping you in the top of their minds for referrals and repeat business – without violating any gift-value laws or regulations.

This gets me back to the issue of LEVERAGE.

Remember we’ve talked about leverage before?  “Leverage” is your ability to get more return for either the same (or less) effort.

And the “leverage” question you want to ask yourself here is…

What Can You Give that Makes a Deep Impact and
Reminds People of YOU Again and Again?

But the “leverage” question goes even deeper.

Is there anything else you can gain from your client at this time that will help you in your business?

I like asking empowering questions.  That’s because empowering questions motivate answers that move you forward.  And the answer to the “leverage” question is, YES, there are numerous opportunities you have to not only make a personal impact with your clients…but to help your business grow in the process.

Here are 3 simple systems you can implement following the close of a transaction…and these systems will not only make an impact with your clients, but also help grow your production to new heights in the process.

These systems should go into your closing checklists so they’re consistently accomplished with EVERY client…

After Sale™ System #1:  The Perennial Post Premium™

Do you use “strategy” when sending out thank-you gifts to your clients?  If not, here’s a great strategy that really works.

Simply stated, you want to find a gift of beauty that’s “home” related, yet will REMIND people of you each and every month, like clockwork.

Here’s an example:  People who buy or sell a home (and most likely buy again), are very interested in how to make the house they bought into a “home.

That’s why I recommend you find a subscription to a high-quality magazine, such as Architectural Digest and send a special 1 or 2-year subscription to your client.  Here’s what you’re doing:

  • You are sending a gift related to homes, with lots of ideas and helpful information they will use with their home – you’re giving VALUE;
  • Where do you think a high-end magazine will land in their home?  Most likely on the coffee table – where other people can see it.  Two things will happen: 1) Others will see the magazine and ask about it, upon which your clients will tell them YOU sent it, and 2) If you get the publisher to put something on the label such as “Compliments of [Your Name], REALTOR®” your client’s friends will see it – a great conversation piece.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, your gift will continue to arrive on your client’s doorstep month after month, perhaps year after year.  And every month, when they open the beautiful magazine, guess who they will think of?

    YOU!

    Is there any better way to reinforce your name almost effortlessly, month after money, year after year?

Are there other applications of the Perennial Post Premium™?  Of course there are.  You could, for example, put your clients on a monthly flower delivery program for the first year.

Or you could put your clients on a “candy of the month” program – each month they’ll receive a new selection of treats with YOUR name on them.

Or if you find your clients are golf nuts, give them a subscription to a high-end golf magazine.

And, most importantly…you need to send your Service For Life!® Direct-Response Prospecting and Referral real estate newsletter once a month.  This will continue to bring value to your clients, bond them to you…and motivate them to refer their friends and family to you.  The bottom line is…

You Want to Do Something that Motivates
Your Clients to TALK About You

Think of the different products that could be delivered on a monthly basis, thus reminding your clients of YOU without you having to call or take any extra effort whatsoever.

That’s what I mean by “leverage.”

After Sale™ System #2:  The After-Sale Survey™

One of the greatest ways to heighten your “professionalism” in the eyes of your clients, gain valuable feedback for improving your practice, and stimulate referrals is with a post-sale “Referral-Programming Survey™.”

It’s all easily accomplished by sending out a simple “survey” letter with a self-addressed, pre-stamped return envelope.  This makes it easy for your client to respond to you.

Here’s a great example you can use in your practice…just type one up in your own words.

sample letter

I hope you use the above letter.  Why?

Because the agents who use it continually improve their practices with the feedback, and receive the highest referral rates in the business.  And they show their clients that they CARE about their business – a trait of a true professional.

And you can use their comments as testimonials!

But MOST IMPORTANT of all:  As you accumulate many surveys, you now have a vehicle for…

Using Service Statistics in Your Marketing!

Armed with survey results, you can make simple claims like…

“9.9 out of 10 clients would use my services again…”

“9.95 out of 10 clients would refer me to friends and family needing caring and competent services.”

And so on.  Do you see the VALUE in this process?  Do you see how it will differentiate you from other agents?

After Sale™ System #3: Post-Sale Testimonial Request™

I am a HUGE fan of testimonials.  Yet, I see so few agents using them correctly.

There is nothing more influential to the human mind than the positive comments made about the quality of your services from an unbiased person.  That’s because (I’ll say it again)…

What Others Say About You is 10,000 Times More
Influential than What You Say About Yourself

That’s why I want you to ASK for testimonial letters from every client.  Just make it part of your closing or post closing checklists – a “task” system.

Then, I want you to use the testimonials in EVERY single marketing piece you create: letters, ads, flyers, postcards, listing presentations, buyer packages and more.

You cannot imagine how much business you will get by using testimonials.  People want proof.  And if you want them to believe you, you need to prove you can do what you promise.

So, what are the elements of great testimonials?  Here is a review…

  1. First and foremost, you want testimonials to tell what you DID for someone.  Did you save them money or time?  Were you responsive?  Provide information other agents didn’t.  Remember, what you DO for people is most important.  And what you did must also be valuable to the person reading the testimonial.
  2. Your testimonials need to differentiate you from other agents.  They should tell what you did that other agents wouldn’t have done.
  3. The strongest testimonials always start with, “I was skeptical…, but after working with Mary…”  You want to acknowledge objections, then have your testimonials overcome them.
  4. Always put the FULL NAME of the people who gave you a testimonial.  You don’t need to put their address or phone number.  Testimonials with just initials (Ex) P.R., Phoenix, AZ) are not as credible as full names.

Systemize the process of asking for positive comments about your services after every closing, and you’ll see your business grow.

Here’s a simple letter you can send to every client you do business with – and a RESPONSE Letter you can send after you receive your testimonial.

sample letter

Now…here’s the letter you can send in response to a testimonial you receive (whether it’s from the letter above or your After-Sale Survey™).

sample letter

You can use the above letters either in place of the After-Sale Survey Letter I gave you above, or in addition to it.  If you use it in addition to it, send it several weeks after your survey letter (assuming they did NOT give you a testimonial with your survey – if they did, just send the follow-up letter).

Whether you use the Survey Letter or the Request for Testimonial…using testimonials in your practice will instantly differentiate you from other agents and goes a long way toward providing the proof and believability people require to do business with you.

Action Plan:

You just learned 3 easy “task” systems that will help grow your practice and bring you greater credibility with your marketing.  Like your Transaction Referral Programming™ systems, they’re pretty simple, but they’re powerful…especially when used collectively.

I’ve given you everything you need to use these systems in your practice.  Now it’s up to you.  Do yourself a favor and start putting these simple systems to work.

You’ll be glad you did!

And if you’re not currently using Service For Life!® in your practice, click here to learn how you can put it to work in your practice starting today.  It can multiply your referrals for years to come by being the “ultimate” after-sale contact system.

 

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When Top Agents Need A Price Reduction, This Is What They Do

The best time to “set-up” a price reduction is when you take the listing (you already knew that, right?).

But if for some reason you’ve taken an overpriced listing and need to get a reduction, you can use this simple process to correct the situation and save yourself months of carrying expenses.

This process is part of a face-to-face “price reduction meeting.” Top Agents use these meetings to establish trust with sellers, get price reductions with ease, and ultimately sell their listings faster.

I’ll give you the outline of how the price reduction meeting should go and the exact questions to ask your seller-clients during this important meeting…

4-Steps To A Successful Price Reduction Meeting…

Your price reduction meeting with sellers will be similar to your original listing presentation, except you now have accurate, historical information about the seller’s home.

STEP 1: Present an Updated Market Analysis

Before the price reduction meeting, you’ll need to prepare an analysis similar to your original CMA (or “Maximum Home Value Audit™”). During the meeting, compare your seller’s home with all of the other listings, pendings, and sales in the area.

Analyze other statistics such as average time on the market, price ranges, list price to sales price reduction percentage, and the percentage or number of listed homes sold during the same period as the seller’s listing. After presenting the market analysis, ask your clients 2 questions:

Question 1. Do You Have Any Questions Regarding The Market In Your Area? You’re trying to confirm that they agree with your market analysis. If they have questions, answer them directly, then ask:

Question 2. Do You Agree That The Home is Priced Above The Market At This Time? You’re not asking them to lower their price here. You’re asking them to confirm that their home is overpriced. You’ll be asking them to reduce price shortly. Once they see for themselves the home is overpriced, go to the next step…

STEP 2: Present Your Completed List of Marketing Tasks

Go through your original marketing plan, and discuss every action you’ve taken to market their home. Explain the impact or exposure of each action on generating prospective buyers.

You can also explain the historic impact each task has had on selling other homes you’ve listed, or homes sold in the area. Your objective is to reinforce the seller’s confidence in your ability to market their home. At this point you want to ask another 2 questions:

Question 3. Do You Feel That Your Home Is Being Marketed Properly Up To This Point? If they say “yes,” go on to the next section. If they say “no,” you need to ask this question:

Question 4. What Areas Do You Feel Need Improvement In Marketing Your Home? You want to ascertain their expectations about your marketing activities at this point.

Some sellers value open houses, others want to see more agent showings — everyone makes their own expectations, logical or not. Listen carefully here. You can adjust your marketing plan to better fit their expectations if it’s warranted. Nevertheless, the sale issue will always come back to pricing the home — the seller’s responsibility.

After the sellers finish sharing their thoughts on the marketing of their home you can move on to the feedback you’ve received…

STEP 3: Present Feedback and Areas For Improvement

Take out the comments you have from touring agents, showings, and open houses. Review the comments relating to price and showing condition of the home.

These comments are very important because they are honest, third-party opinions about their home. Sellers may get a little upset at this point, but it’s important they hear feedback that will better motivate them to sell their home. At this point, you want to ask the following question:

Question 5. Do You Agree With The Comments From These People? You want to make sure they acknowledge the comments made about their home.

If some of the comments made require physical improvements to the home, you need to open that discussion and start making plans for improvements. But, don’t get the issue confused — there’s still a price issue to be discussed…

STEP 4: Ask For The Price Reduction

The first thing you want to tell sellers at this point is you’re doing everything possible to promote the home, as shown from the activity and marketing plan. Second, tell them that your efforts will be fruitless unless “we” adjust the price to get closer to buyers expectations. Then tell them the following:

Mr. and Mrs. seller, your property will remain unsold as long as we continue to price it at $_________. Pretty soon other agents will cross it off their show list because they know it’s priced too high, and they won’t want to waste their time. Before this happens, we need to reduce the price. I recommend we reduce the price about ___% to be more in line with the market.

IMPORTANT TIP: Notice I used a percentage, not a dollar figure? Percentages are more relevant and better received when making price adjustments. Clients will probably want to know how much that means in dollars, and you should tell them, but present it first as a percentage.

Then ask the following question:

Question 6. Is This Price Acceptable to You? They’ll probably say “no,” and give you a price that’s a small reduction from their current price. If they do, say the following:

The formula here is really quite simple: The greater your price adjustment, the faster your home will sell (and for the most money possible). The lesser your adjustment, the longer it will sit on the market.

Then, remind them of their motivation:
Have you finalized your plans to move yet? (or) Have you made any decisions on your next home? (or) When do you have to qualify for your next home, and is your loan approval dependent on selling this home?

At this point, they’ll either say “OK'” or they’ll have common objections. Remember, objections are just unanswered questions revisited. Handle each objection keeping in mind that seller’s have many emotional attachments to their homes, which can compromise their rationality.

And one final thing…don’t forget to complete and sign the agreements for the price adjustment AHEAD OF TIME. Keep the “price” field empty, but complete the rest of the agreement. You’d be surprised how many agents forget at the end of this long (but now much easier!) process.

 

4 Ways To Build a Profitable Real Estate Practice This Year

Over the last 18 years, I’ve helped thousands of agents and brokers find better, easier ways to grow their real estate practices.

Below, in no particular order, are FIVE strategies and in-the-trenches “marketing wisdom” that will help you generate more clients, and build a long-term viable business.

Many of these suggestions are further detailed in the 3-Steps Marketing System.

1. Prioritize Your Marketing Time, Money and Effort According To the QUALITY Of The Prospect/Market

“Quality” is defined as how well the prospect already knows you and is most predisposed to use you over any other agent.

You never want to chase cold prospects at the expense of higher potential prospects, so here’s how I believe you should prioritize your marketing:

  • Build a “Power List” and market to them on a monthly basis (this is your “market share”, where 70% or more of your business should come from – more on this later).
  • Market off “Transactional Leads” (from your listings for buyers) and other listings (once you have them).
  • Work hot leads – follow-up is essential.  At the very least, you know they’re in the market to buy/sell, and most agents hopelessly ignore follow-up.
  • Do your research homework to select market niches that have the most promise, and work them (i.e. fish in a stocked pond) – this includes geographic markets (farms) and specialty markets (resort, golf, vacation, etc.).
  • Work FSBOs and Expireds – but notice the low quality of this group.  We both know the reason.  Here’s a revealing fact: The National Association of REALTORS® produces an annual research report called Profile of Buyers and Sellers.  It’s filled with lots of facts and figures, but the most startling fact they’ve discovered is that approximately 73% of all real estate transactions occur because the client either 1) knew the agent already, or 2) was referred to the agent from a trusted source.  This means that 3/4 of all transactions happen because of a relationship —  yet only 4% of all agents have any “systems” to harvest deep relationships and build market share.  So about 4% get the lion’s share of business and 96% wrestle each other over the scraps.  THIS fact alone is why I told you (above) to create a “Power List” of friends, family, past clients, acquaintances, etc., and market to them first and foremost.  They already know you and will trust you to represent them when purchasing or selling a home.   This is why I created the Service For Life!® real estate newsletter as a ready-to-use tool to capture this “easy” business.  I’ll cover this in another article.

2. When Starting Out, Spend 80% of Your Time Prospecting

I don’t like cold prospecting because it has a terrible return on investment if you value your time.  Not to mention makes you feel like a sleazy person, always begging for business.  There are much easier, more effective ways to generate new clients.  However, I realize that if you’re new to real estate or starting over, and have no money, you have to get the ball rolling.

So, until you establish marketing systems like I show agents in my 3-Steps system, focus your time and energy on meeting new people and getting business.  Don’t allow distractions (self imposed or otherwise) to interfere with this task.  And remember, don’t neglect establishing other marketing systems so you can quickly stop manual prospecting.

3. Product-Ize Your Real Estate Services

The real estate industry is a mass-commodity of agents all screaming the same thing to prospects — professionalism, dedication, integrity, blah, blah, blah.  You need to be seen as DIFFERENT.   And in ways that are important to your target prospects.  So, create unique “products” out of your services.

  • For example: Your Maximum Value Home Marketing Plan,” or “Preferred Buyer Program“.
  • Another example: Rather than give CMAs, agents will offer a “Maximum Home Value Audit” to examine and determine ways to maximize the value of a home and sell in least time.

The secret is to weave the greatest benefit for the client into the name.  Then, make a simple list of everything you do for the client as part of your program – even if other agents do it, it’s likely they don’t promote it, so you have the advantage.

4. Make Yourself A Self-Proclaimed “Specialist” in Your Market

Farming a resort area?  Make yourself a “resort property specialist” and title your product specifically to it: “Ventana Canyon Golf Property Specialist” and “Ventana Canyon Maximum Value Golf Property Program.”

Use your creativity and match your services specifically to the market or type of property you sell.

Your success requires intense focus on your highest priority activities.  This list will get you started down the right path of where to make changes to grow your real estate practice this year, and for the future.

[Ed note: This article is a small excerpt from the 3-STEPS ULTIMATE™
Real Estate Success System
. To learn more click here.]