May 27, 2011

Five Reasons for a Buyer Counseling Session - Part 5 of 5

It's been said that in the absence of value, price will always be a factor. How are you demonstrating to your clients that you bring value to their real estate search? Do you lay out a step-by-step plan to find the right house, negotiate the sale and help them manage through the transaction? Is your explanation of fiduciary duty clear and understandable so they know why it makes sense to become a loyal client?

In this last part of our five part series on reasons to hold a Buyer Counseling Session, we discuss showing value. Click here if you don't see the video below.

Click here for Reason #1 - Identify Needs
Click here for Reason #2 - Gain Control
Click here for Reason #3 - Build Rapport
Click here for Reason #4 - Establish Expectations

May 26, 2011

Five Reasons for a Buyer Counseling Session - Part 4 of 5

When you're working with Buyers, it's always hard to anticipate how they will react to the houses you show them. What sounds good on paper and what looks intriguing on the web might be exactly the opposite of what the client (or you) were thinking you might see.

Buyers rarely have an idea of how long the search might take...or how quickly they could find the right house. It also might surprise some people how much an agent does for them from the start of the process through a successful closing.

In our five part series on reasons to hold a Buyer Counseling Session, today we discuss the importance of establishing expectations. Click here if you don't see the video below.

Click here for Reason #1 - Identify Needs
Click here for Reason #2 - Gain Control
Click here for Reason # 3 - Build Rapport 

May 25, 2011

Five Reasons for a Buyer Counseling Session - Part 3 of 5

As you continue to get in front of potential Buyers this summer, I hope you realize how important it is to begin to develop a detailed understanding of who the people are who you're helping to find a house that will be their new home.

Remember, it's not your clients job to have something in common with you and it's not a requirement to have something in common with them. I am sure that most of you reading this will agree that as soon as you can find out some common ground, the better the relationship will be between parties and the better the transaction will go thanks to the similarities that you may share.

Reason #3 in our 5-part series of why Realtors should hold a Buyer Counseling Session is all about Building Rapport. (Click here if you don't see the video below)

I hope you're starting to see the power of meeting face to face with prospects before you invest any time and efforts to sell them anything before you have sold them on working with a professional like you.

Click here to see Reason #1 - Identify Needs
Click here to see Reason #2 - Gain Control

May 24, 2011

Five Reasons for a Buyer Counseling Session - Part 2 of 5

In the last post, we explored the importance of identifying needs when meeting with potential Buyers so ytou can be better prepared to help them find the right house.

In this post, let's take a look at the second reason to hold a Buyer Counseling Session. (click here if you don't see a video below)

In tomorrow's post, we'll discuss reason #3 to hold a Buyer Counseling Sesison. I hope we'll see ya tomorrow.

May 23, 2011

Five Reasons for a Buyer Counseling Session - Part 1 of 5

Cabin fever is a few months old and the spring weather has hit most of the country. There's just a few more weeks left before the kids are out of school for the summer and inventory levels are starting to recede from their high levels in the last few years. 

Now before anyone thinks the hot market is coming back, hold your horses. It's very typical that the market will heat up a bit with new listings hitting the market so I thought I'd use the video blog to share some thoughts on how to approach the Buyer boom that will be happening in the next few months.

Let's take a look at five reasons you should be holding a Buyer Couseling Session (BCS) to pre-qualify and prepare to serve Buyers in today's market. The first reason to hold a BCS? Let's try to identify needs.

If you don't see a video below, click here.

In tomorrow's post, we'll discuss reason #2 to hold a Buyer Counseling Sesison. I hope we'll see ya tomorrow.

May 22, 2011

Play Ball - What Realtors Can Learn from Little Leaguers

Monday Morning Match is a quick post - maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea - intended to spark some motivation inside each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.

Today was my son Ryan's first day of baseball for his little league season. It was a beautiful day in Central Ohio as the boys played a double header and it got me thinking about some of the simple lessons Realtors can learn from little league.

Start Early - Today's first game started at 8am (on a Sunday, no less) but if you want to get your day off to a great start, get up early and set your mind right that you're going to win. Enjoy a good breakfast and have your day planned ahead of time. Ryan's To Do List today was "play baseball." What's on yours today?

Warm Up & Practice - The kids have been practicing hard for the last few weeks (in between rainstorms here in the Midwest) but it still was necessary to loosen up with some catch and a quick cycle of fielding ground balls before the game.

When was the last time you practiced your skills? Rehearsed dialogues lately? For most Realtors, the last time they practiced their listing presentation was when they gave it. Isn't that approach leaving your most important skill to luck?

Taking 15-30 minutes each day to review your skills, paperwork and technology tools might just be the trick to make you "game ready" when the next client shows up.

Know Your Position - The kids needed to feel comfortable running to their positions when the coach called out the lineup. They need to know their assignments and who covers each spot on the field. Doesn't it make sense that Realtor's should really know their "area" of assignment? Have you researched the market weekly to know the inventory, average sales price and days on the market? When a question about the market is hit your way, can you field it with a blend of competence and confidence?

Good baseball players can anticipate where the batters will hit the ball, giving themselves a better chance to get out of the inning and up to bat where they can score some runs. Good Realtors should know which way the market is moving and help clients get ahead of the prices - in either an appreciating market or a depreciating market.

Shake Off Errors - Everyone makes mistakes. Baseball players and Realtors are no exception. How you handle them is the key to your success. Do you learn from them and try to do better the next time? You need to shake them off and stay focused on the next opportunity.

You Can't Get a Hit If You Don't Swing the Bat - Ryan suffered a strike out in his first at bat but we cheered for him anyway. He didn't just stand there and let other people dictate his future. He swung the bat because he knows you can't get a hit if you don't first make contact. Sure, just making contact with the pitched ball doesn't insure you will get on base safely, but it's the first step.

In his second at bat, he stepped up confidently with a runner on third base and smoothly slapped the ball between the first and second baseman, scoring the runner from third for the teams first RBI of the season.

Good Things Happen to Those Who Hustle - Some very good advice for anyone in a sales position might be "keep your head down and get moving." Ryan's hustle to beat the throw at first base led to him being safe. He led off first and quickly stole second base on the next pitch, advanced to third on an overthrow and scored his first run of the season as the outfielders weren't able to gather the ball quickly enough.

Imagine the good things that could happen to you if you were the first person to contact that expired listing down the street, or knocked on the door the day the home owner planted his For Sale By Owner sign and started building the relationship right away. Start off each day contacting members of your "bullseye list" via phone calls and hand written notes and you're putting yourself in scoring position.

Pay Attention to the Action - When you're a nine-year-old it's easy to get distracted by any passing airplane, barking dog or loud cheering from another diamond, so paying attention to the ballgame in front of you is paramount.

Are you staying focused on your current transactions - allowing the checklists and systems you have created to keep you on track - as well as consistently blocking out time for business development activities? Are you letting social networking and chit chat around the water cooler swallow up your day? Just like we say to the kids, "Keep your eye on the ball."

Be Ready to Run - This is the first year kids have been able to steal bases and, as you can imagine, the defenses aren't exactly skilled enough to throw runners out. If you get on base, there's a pretty good chance you might score without your own team getting a hit. In this league, base runners and fielders always need to be on their toes.

Are you ready to meet with a client if an opportunity arose today? Do you put yourself in a good position to advance in your career by being in front of people at your church, gym, country club, school or maybe even your kids sporting events?

Cheer for your Teammates - Support of and for people on your team is so important. It's so much easier to get up after a failed attempt when you know your teammates are pulling for you to do better the next time. When you succeed it sure is nice to have someone to celebrate with, isn't it?

If It's Worth Doing, It's Worth Tracking - If you didn't keep score, it would just be a scrimmage - no winners and no losers. But that's usually not why people play a game. Keeping score is one way to measure your efforts and identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. The results will help you do better the next time or repeat successful actions to hopefully repeat a good outcome.

Are you tracking your prospecting efforts so you know how many calls it may take to secure an appointment and how many appointments it takes to secure a listing? How many houses do you have to show each buyer before an offer is written? It's time to get your score sheets out and aim for RBIs - Realtors Building Income.

Win or Lose with Class - Shake Hands - Kids learn at an early age that it's great to win but it's also okay to lose. Nobody starts a game hoping they'll come out on the losing side but when you do, look across the diamond and congratulate the winners. There's always another game. Whether you've won or lost, you can always do better next time.

Everything is Better with a Post Game Snack - What are you waiting for? Get out there and score some big deals, secure some new listings, sell some houses and then gather with your teammates and enjoy a cold Popsicle.

Get ready to play. It won't be long until your next game is ready to begin and the umpire yells,

"Play Ball!"

May 20, 2011


Welcome to what I think might be my first official video blog post. It's probably not perfect and my guess is that I will not be receiving any calls from Hollywood any time soon but that's okay. I'm not looking for a blockbuster motion picture deal. I'm looking to share with you in a different way than normal.

If you don't see the video below, click here.

I hope you'll connect with the guests I speak about in this video. They are neat people and tremendous Realtors and I'm sure if you start to follow them on Twitter or "Like" their business pages on Facebook or subscribe to their YouTube channels.

Nicholas "Niko" Apostal is from Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter (@NikoApostal) or his Business page on Facebook 

The Seattle Divas - more formally known as Kim Colaprete and Chavi Hohm, are from Coldwell Banker Bain in Seattle. They love Twitter (@seattledivas or @chavih) and keep an active Facebook business page, they blog and are active Yelpers as well. If you want to see a really cool e-Newsletter chock-full of relevant content, sign up for their Team Diva newsletter and get ready to get a taste of the Seattle lifestyle.

Michael Ackerman is also with Coldwell Banker Bain and is certainly someone you should be following if you want to expand your marketing to video to capture more business. Check out his video blog on his website or you can see him on YouTube and be a subscriber. He's also on Twitter (@m_ackerman) and has a Facebook business page for you to Like.

Special thanks to some of my friends who helped connect me with these great people including Debra Trappen, Linda Aaron and Virginia Thomas as well as some additional assistance from Stefanie Hahn, Cindy Hamann, Victoria Baker, Gary Kopco and Matt Case.

It's great example of using the relationships you have built to solve some of your problems and have a lot of fun along the way. I hope you'll continue to do the same all year long.

May 15, 2011

Rise and Shine

Monday Morning Match is a short post - maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea - intended to spark some motivation inside each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.

"There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction."
-John F. Kennedy

As you look ahead to your week (and rest of the year), will you make the commitment to get up each day and do what it takes to win?

I hope you do.

Click here if you don't see a video below

May 8, 2011

Are Realtors and the Horses in the Kentucky Derby from the Same "Neigh"borhood?

Monday Morning Match is a short post - maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea - intended to spark some motivation inside each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.

Let's Make a Run for the Roses

After enjoying the 137th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, which was won by underdog Animal Kingdom in his first race ever on dirt, it got me to thinking about how much Realtors have in common with these thoroughbred horses.

Everyone wants to get to a point in their career where their name is well known and every is talking about you before you even show up.

Getting off to a fast start isn't as important as what happens down the stretch

You need to rely on your coach and/or trainer to get you in to position to win

Give it everything you have for short time frames. There will be plenty of time after the big races to relax.

The favorite doesn't always win so when the gates open, start running.

Don't pay as much attention to the competition as to how you're running your own race.

When you're in the middle of the action, keep your blinders on. There will be plenty of time for "partying in the infield" when the job is done.

Regardless of the odds, once the starting bell is sounded, everyone has an equal chance.

The general public might not believe in you. Heck, they may not even know your name right before the race starts. But after a big success, you can be sure that people will suddenly be watching your every least until the next big event.

And down the stretch they come...

I hope you have a great week. Break out of the gates with speed, focus and passion. And remember... if you have to place a wager this week, I might suggest you bet the house on this trifecta:

Build Relationships to win
Solve Problems to place and
Have Fun to show.

May 5, 2011

Looking for an Edge?

"The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action."
Herbert Spencer, British Social Philosopher

Negotiating isn't easy to learn. The American culture doesn't exactly support the idea compared to many of the other world cultures. Yet in an industry like real estate, the ability to negotiate is an important skill and one that many Buyers and Sellers count on and expect from their agents.

I was honored to spend the last two days learning about the concepts of negotiation with fellow real estate educator Ed Hatch. Ed is a CRS (Council of Residential Specialist) instructor and was the guest of the Ohio NRT Companies in Columbus and Cincinnati

I'd like to share a few ideas and concepts that I learned from Ed's presentations with my Realtor's Toolbox readers today. Please understand...just reading a few sound bytes from the classes on negotiations doesn't make you a better negotiator any more than staying overnight at a Holiday Inn Express will make you a successful ball room dancer. If you want to learn more about negotiations, I highly recommend you seek out the class The New Negotiating Edge and see if it's coming to a city near you.

People are predictable - What can you do to eliminate chance from your relationships with customers, clients and helping them achieve their goals?

Whenever you say or feel that you "must have something," you have just created a poor position from which to negotiate.

Good marketing should be designed to help people choose you and your services before they need it. Once this occurs, much of the need for people to negotiate has been removed.

In order to truly advance in your career or life, you should first determine those things that are non-negotiable and build your schedule and business plans around them. Remember what German playwright and poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe said. "Things which matters most should never be at the mercy of things which matters least."

The best negotiators are those who always think "relationships" before they think about "transactions."

When you're looking to survive, having more options is the surest way to do so.

Seek to be someone to people rather than something

Know what business you're in. Are you selling the Magic Carpet Wizard or a set of encyclopedias?

Use more "ands" instead of "buts"

Learn the "Duke Tilt" to demonstrate active listening

Understanding the clients "Cognitive Mind Map" is critical to your success. Are you able to answer the five critical questions that lead to clients making a comfortable decision?

Guide people with the right questions. Don't lead them with the right answers.

Until you go to your opponents side of the wall, you'll always struggle to reach an agreement.

"Rapport if the tunnel through which truth passes"

Finally, just because something is valuable and relevant to you doesn't mean it will be to your customers or clients.

Thanks again to my buddy Ed Hatch for spending a few days with the hard working associates and managers from Coldwell Banker King Thompson and Coldwell Banker West Shell. It's always great to learn from others so thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Until next time...keep building relationships, solving problems and having fun.

May 4, 2011

It Could Be Worse, Right?

Before you complain about something today, catch yourself and think about this for a second.

Gas might seem really expensive right now...but you could be without a car and have to walk everywhere, right?

The rain and cold weather might be getting really old for many of you...but you could be living without a roof over your head.

You have almost 1,000 channels on TV and still can't find anything of value to watch. Remember the days when you had just three channels to choose from...and had to get up to change the channel?

You could have a manager, partner, or parent who expects great things from you, pushing you to do your best when it sometimes might be easier for them just to let you be comfortable being average. Average is safe but average never inspires.

You could have children who want to do different things from the things you did when you were a kid...or you could have kids that either don't care what you did or don't want to do anything.

Would you rather have clients that have really high expectations or clients who have really low motivation?

Don't get so discouraged. I'm sure you're life may not be what you would consider perfect...but it could be worse, right?

Control what you can control.

Build relationships, solve problems and have fun. 

May 1, 2011

Hard to Argue with the Logic

Monday Morning Match is a short post - maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea - intended to spark some motivation inside each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.

Don't spend too long figuring out what you're going to do this week, who you're going to call, who you're planning to see or where you're hoping to go. Just get started on your business development activities.

Stop over thinking it.

"It is simple. We are where we should be, doing what we should be doing. Otherwise, we would be somewhere else, doing something else."
- Richard Stine

You're right where you're supposed to be. So whatever you are supposed to do...just do it.

Make it a great week helping people make good decisions.