One afternoon in a sales training seminar, the speaker wrote OPPORTUNITY IS NOWHERE on the board. It was meant to remind us to view the words one of two ways: either Opportunity is Now Here or Opportunity is Nowhere. An astute salesperson, especially in residential real estate sales, knows to keep their ears and eyes open for opportunity while others are more comfortable in finding reasons they aren’t successful. When you fill your pipeline with prospective “opportunities,” it helps to think outside of the box.
One often overlooked strategy for residential salespeople (but used quite often in commercial real estate and property management) is to partner with vendors outside of your direct industry. Here are the five vendors a good real estate agent should have handy and that can refer business to you in return:
Plumbers. Your plumber not only makes a good living and may be purchasing or selling a home, but let’s face it, a plumber’s office is inside other people’s home. They may not be thinking to ask the homeowner whether or not they could use your services, but while fixing or making improvement to one’s home, they are certainly positioned to chat about a rather helpful topic for you – the home. Simply let your plumber know that you would like to refer business to him or her and then actually follow through with those referrals. Then politely ask, “Do you happen to know anyone right now that is planning to buy or sell a home. If you do, I’d be happy to give them a call with their permission.” Tell them a name, phone number, email address and even home address would help you prepare for the conversation as well.
Carpet & Hardwood Flooring Specialists. Roll out some red carpet of your own for these vendors. Nothing says flipping like a new layer of carpet and scratched up wood floors makes every what to fix before selling your home list you read. Carpet companies are great for referring because if they work with a client who is, in fact, fixing their home up to sell it, their need for your service is about as immediate as it gets.
Window Installation & Repair Professionals. Another favorite for home sellers is to repair or install new windows and frames. Anything that adds to the value of a home without breaking the bank is a great way to get referrals who are closer in the cycle.
Concrete and Driveway Pavers. Before the red front door, before the newly planted flowers, the driveway leading up to a home gives the real first impression to neighbors and passers by. Repaving your driveway or a nice cobblestone walkway is no inexpensive home improvement either. It doesn’t scream I’m about to sell my home, but with sellers listing every 9 years on average, a true listing agent knows meeting everyone in the community is well worth it. Companies that offer paving and concrete services are good friends to have in the home builder and new construction arena.
Painter. Every investor knows the value of a good exterior pain job when selling a home. It’s the first impression many homeowners think about before selling their home. Even inside the home, one of the most commonly used vendors to prepare for selling your home are local painters so you should have one ready to recommend.
Before you start making proposals to these prospective partners, a few things to remember are to
Check out this infographic for more on the list in the Top 10 Vendors Every Agent Should Have in Their Back Pocket.
HouseHunt, Inc. announced today the launching of its completely redesigned and content rich website, HouseHunt.com incorporating several new tools including the capability to search active, up-to-date real estate listings in over 27,000 cities in the United States. The new site is easy to navigate and offers a more refined search by city, new builder construction, resale, luxury and foreclosure homes for sale, as well as finding important community and school information including ratings, demographics, places to dine and shop, and market trends. Visitors can also connect with local real estate experts and mortgage lenders.
One of the unique search capabilities available on HouseHunt.com today allows the consumer to search community types like golf-course; beach living; gated – luxury; college town; suburban life; and city living; or by keyword search; points of interest; city; radius; zip code and metropolitan area to find real estate listings. The most innovative resource now featured on site is HouseHunt’s “Plus Tool” giving home buyers a more personalized search. The Plus Tool gives you the option to put personalized “plus” values on what home buyers consider being the most important features and locations, it then instantly identifies what listings match up with your preferences with a virtual sticky note placed in the upper right-hand corner of each resulting home. Rather than filter results by removing unwanted real estate listings, this tool offers the ability to view all listings but also highlights those matching the preferences a user deems the most important in a home.
“This way you will never miss a listing that might be your dream home,” said HouseHunt, Inc. President Mike Bearden, “and you can save your searches and favorite listings in your own private database. Once in your database, you can rate each listing, make notes and receive updates on price reductions.” Bearden also adds that there are more exciting new tools that will be launched over the next several months to give visitors new ways to identify their perfect home.
HouseHunt, Inc. is a nationwide, private company founded in 1995 and lead by its two founders Dr. Satoaki Omori a former rocket scientist for NASA and Mike Bearden one of Orange County, California’s premiere real estate agents. Their pioneering efforts in online home searching has provided US homeowners innovative ways to gather listing and community information and connect with an exceptional local real estate expert for the past two decades. Today, HouseHunt.com’s redesign and Plus Tool continue to bring home buyers closer to finding the exact home of their dreams.
Picture the most successful real estate agent in your area… What are they wearing? How do they act? When you picture the most successful agent in your area, is it you? If not, then what does that person have or what do they do that has made them more successful than you? Can it be taught? Some experts say YES because the key to being successful lies in this – how in tune you are with your own emotions and behaviors, how you perceive those around you, and how skilled you are at adapting your behaviors in response. In psychology, it’s referred to as emotional intelligence and, in business, many are saying it (your EQ) matters more than IQ when identifying one’s potential for success.
“Emotional intelligence emerges as a much stronger predictor of who will be most successful, because it is how we handle ourselves in our relationships that determines how well we do once we are in a given job.” – Dr. Daniel Goleman, Ph.
D., Psychologist and Leading Researcher on Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence (or EQ) in the business world is considered by many to be more important than IQ. So what is emotional intelligence exactly and how can you unlock the traits you already possess to maximize your success in real estate?
EQ is defined by top researchers Peter Dalovey and John C. Mayer as “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and your actions.” More simply, your EQ is how you perceive the world around you, how you respond to it and how you handle it when it responds to you.
Why is this important as a real estate salesperson? First and foremost, this is a relationship business – you aren’t just selling homes, you are also selling yourself and your services. Your social skills, self-awareness, ability to handle others’ emotions, and an in-depth understanding of how you manage relationships with others matters more than you think. Another reason is there is a very high failure rate among real estate salespeople and as you advance in your career, much of what you learn about the business comes from online continuing education courses that don’t tap into what truly makes someone a success.
Many people believe a good combination of IQ and EQ make for the most successful people. Travis Bradberry wrote an article entitled Why You Need Emotional Intelligence to Succeed in Business featured in Forbes online that claims, “people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time.” So, if you thought you weren’t smart enough to succeed in real estate, think again. Bradberry reminds us that “intelligence is your ability to learn, and it’s the same at age 15 as it is at age 50. Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice.”
Let’s look at the characteristics of successful salespeople: charismatic, verbal acuity, high energy, good listening skills, excellent follow-up, manages their time well, empathetic, ego-driven, passionate, confident, strong core values, a hunter mentality, alert to opportunities, positive, personable, organized and disciplined. Did I miss any?
Now see if you already have what it takes to be successful by taking this free online test that gives insight into your personality and many of the aspects that make up your emotional intelligence. (Paid tests that are more thorough include the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Kiersey test .) Your end result will be four letters. Review your personality type for clues about what inner traits you should tap into and which you may need to change. 16 Personalities also has a great review of the different personality types here including how your personality affects you at work.
Understanding your score:
by Vicki Duong
The latest trend in social media reminds us that “life’s more fun when you live in the moment!” It’s even more fun when you can share that moment with potential clients on Snapchat! If you are not already familiar, Snapchat is one of the more popular apps that your millennial clients are now using alongside other social media favorites – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even Vine.
Some basic features and terms that will send you snapping right away are:
You might be thinking your social media plate is full, but adding Snapchat to your arsenal is a smart move for real estate marketing for many reasons. For one, Snapchat is one of the preferred platforms for communication for millennials who prefer to communicate with their peers, order take-out, and contact ride sharing services from their smart phones and tablets. While they may not be ready to purchase a home at this very second, they prefer to have all the proper resources readily available in the palm of their hand and in quick spurts, which brings us to our next point.
A lot of folks (and not just millennials) have short attention spans. Whenever you share a snap or story you will most likely have your audience’s undivided attention. This gives you the opportunity to deliver fresh content on the fly while engaging with your audience. Rumor even has it that Snapchat’s developers are creating a brand new, easy to use chat interface which you can read more about here.
What kind of content should you snap and share? One idea is to snap any unique and interesting elements of your listings that may have been glossed over in the MLS description. Don’t just stop there; show your audience what’s great about your community and local market. Is there a hidden gem that not too many folks know about, such as best spot for star gazing or a new coffee shop?
Another important thing to consider sharing: yourself! Show your audience who you really are without the pomp and circumstance. Everyone understands that nothing beats working with an experienced professional, but it’s also important to make your potential clients feel at ease with who they are considering to work with for their next future investment. After all, Realtors are people too! Additionally, as a Realtor using a trendy app like Snapchat, you are indicating that you are not intimidated by the latest technological tools and social media trends, and that you are willing to take the time to showcase your expertise as a Realtor through a different platform.
If you haven’t already jumped on the Snapchat market, now’s the perfect opportunity to do so. With a New Year comes new strategies for marketing and Snapchat is a great platform to look into for your business. Look up some online tutorials like this one from Mashable on how to use Snapchat for your real estate business and take the time to learn its functions. Remember that you are in it for the long haul but it will pay off in the end with new clients and an innovative way to make your business flourish.
Snapchat is available for free download in the iTunes app store and in the Google Play Market. Learn more about Snapchat here.
Remember Annette Bening’s portrayal of a real estate agent in American Beauty (1999)? Bening’s over-the-top, Type A character Carolyn Burnham is mesmerized by the Real Estate King – Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher) and goes near berserk cleaning a home she is determined to sell. Seemingly unbreakable in her quest to achieve Kane-level success, Burnham repeatedly chants “I-Will-Sell-This-House-Today.” Later, we see a broken Burnham who is both unable to sell the home, and ashamed of her own loss of composure. As entertaining as she was in this role, it was frighteningly true.
What is it that causes real estate salespeople to get locked in a frenzy of determination and fear? Is it not knowing from where your next commission check will come? When opportunity knocks do you open the door with a smile or are you searching frantically for your keys, juggling paperwork and on your cell when that moment arrives? If you are spending more time balancing your daily activities, putting out fires or worrying about paying your bills than you are focused on accommodating your clients, you may be guilty of these…
YOU’RE NOT FEEDING YOUR PIPELINE. Jim Droz, the former #1 Agent in the World with Century 21 once said, “Many real estate agents are like a bull in a china shop – chasing down business and not ever knowing from where their next commission check will come. Real estate is simple. In order to get more business, you need more customers.” In other words it’s somewhat of a numbers game, but with a plan.. If every 100 customers you have in your database results in one closing then how many contacts would you need to close 10 transactions? Every year a real estate agent sets out to double their production over the last year and yet they don’t realize how that translates into feeding their pipeline with a specific number of prospects. Are you daily tasks focused on that number?
YOUR DAILY ACTIVITIES ARE NOT INCOME PRODUCING. Every day you wake up and schedule activities to help you achieve a profitable business. When you plan it out the night before, is it to bring you a specific volume of new business? Often if you aren’t feeding your pipeline, you are only feeding your ego. Direct mail, magazine ads and shopping cart ads, for example, produce little to no return for the majority of agents. So ask yourself what is your goal with this postcard? Do you have a listing to promote? A success to announce? Are you hoping to reach absentee owners? Benchmark your goals with everything you do and go back every quarter and adjust what isn’t working.
YOUR BUSINESS IS NOT RUN EFFICIENTLY. Having an efficient business starts with a solid business plan. An efficient business considers several factors from time management to converting your online leads. HouseHunt’s Diamond Business Plan starts with an efficiency test you can take to see how your business scores. You can review your answers to see what areas you are missing to find out whether or not your business is a well oiled machine or it needs a tune up.
YOU AREN’T PROVIDING EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE. Let me tell you a quick story….I once gave a referral (if you can call it that) to a good friend and real estate agent to someone who was certain she would be listing her mobile home. The person I referred already had in mind who she would be listing it with although she had never spoken with this agent. She had only seen his other listings in the mobile home park and was happy to follow her neighbors lead.
My friend showed up at her door that same day – but no answer. The very next day, she caught her at home; but, when she asked if it was a good time, the owner said she had prescriptions to pick up and was watching her grandchildren so maybe another time. My friend politely asked, “If I drove you to pick up your prescriptions, could we chat on the way? She agreed! The third time I checked in to see if she had gotten the listing yet, she was delivering pizza to the woman’s second home in a nearby city where workers were fixing it up to sell.
What was the result of that agent offering superior service to a prospective client? One mobile home sold; one three-bedroom home sold; and, one new home purchase. Her commission checks totaled over $25,000 in the same year. Would you give someone a ride or deliver a pizza if it resulted in $25,000? You never know what going above and beyond will achieve but it is seldom a bad thing.
YOU ARE NOT EFFECTIVELY SOURCING REFERRALS. According to NAR’s 2015 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 88% of home buyers say they would definitely work with the same real estate agent again or recommend them. Only 23% actually do. Why is that? A lot can happen in nine years, the average time someone will own a home before selling again, but sourcing referrals are a part of your business you could be neglecting. How do you maximize your efforts in this area?
Provide Excellent Customer Service. It’s easier to focus your energy on servicing when you have an efficiently run business void of activities that don’t either don’t add value to your audience or do not help you in reaching your goals.
Stay in front of the contacts in your database with an automated marketing system. This way you stay top of the mind not just for your own contacts, but for their contacts as well.
Ask your past clients if they know of anyone who plans to buy or sell their home.
Develop strong relationships with industry colleagues and vendor partnerships. Mike Bearden, CEO of HouseHunt, Inc., formerly a top real estate agent in Orange County, found opportunity in places agents don’t often consider. “I sought out partnerships with everyone – not just real estate agents. You’d be surprised how many referrals I got from plumbers, flooring specialists, landscape artists,…anyone who I met while preparing a home to sell. It occurred to me one day while meeting with a plumbing specialist at a client’s home, and I thought – he probably interacts with more homeowners than most real estate agents. So, I asked if he knew of anybody thinking about selling their home. A few months later I got a call from someone looking to sell their home saying they were recommended by their plumber. I thanked him by referring him business and we continued the partnership for many years.”
Need to feed your pipeline with quality leads? Don’t pay to compete, HouseHunt territories are 100% exclusive – Check to see if your territory is available here or call directly at 888-832-2244.