How to Handle Objections in Real Estate

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In the prime of his career, Jim Droz was the most successful real estate agent in the world – grossing over a million dollars per year four years in a row. Since then, he has been a prolific speaker at conferences around the country and author of the book Releasing the Winner Within. He is also an advocate for the HouseHunt and TIM System. He hosts monthly webinars exclusively for HouseHunt agents. Here is just a bit of his insight from his most recent webinar! (To learn more about becoming a HouseHunt agent, submit your information in the form to the right.)

how to handle objections in real estate

Too many Realtors view objections from the client as a bad thing – a sort of confrontation. This is not at all what customers mean when they ask the hard questions, and viewing it was such will only damage your reputation. Instead of getting defensive, use every objection from a prospect as an opportunity to highlight the pros of your business and share your expertise.

There can be objections about anything. Disputes can range from home value to whether or not to use a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front yard. Here is a list of just about every possible real estate related objection and some appropriate responses from Realtor Mike Ferry. For objections specifically regarding home price, check out our friend Bill Gassett.

No matter the argument though, here is a step-by-step guide to how to handle objections in real estate:

  1. Let Them Talk. Don’t interrupt the buyer or seller while s/he is presenting his or her concerns. If you interrupt every time you think of a response, you will come across like you’re scrambling to play defense. Very unprofessional.
  2. Confirm Their Objection. Wait… this seems backwards, right? Believe it or not, the first thing you want to do after a concern is validate the client’s point of view. For example, “I understand this price seems low considering all the work you’ve done to it. The new landscaping will play a valuable role in curb appeal. You even installed hardwood floors which will be great for value. The last thing we want to do after all that effort is under-price your home.”
  3. Find the Reason Behind the Reason. Discuss the client’s concern more extensively, but listen for clues if there’s a real reason for the objection that isn’t quick to surface. In the example above, the client was concerned about underselling the house because he had put a lot of work into boosting the value. The work he’d put into the resale is a valid reason to be concerned. However, there’s also a chance that he’s been ripped off by another Realtor, or had lofty (though false) promises from other Realtors that he liked better. You can’t qualm the client’s fear until you find its roots!
  4. Highlight Your Expertise. If you truly believe in the systems you have in place, you can get your customers to believe in them, too! No matter what aspect of your business is in question by the customer, explain your reasoning behind it. Back that reasoning up with market analysis and personal experiences. By the time you’re done explaining your methods, the customer will buy into the vision. Furthermore, since you waited four whole steps before explaining your perspective, you don’t have to worry about making them feel attacked or inferior.
  5. Revisit the Original Concern. By the time you reach this step, you have already let the client fully explain his qualm, you’ve dug a little deeper to find the real issue, and you’ve explained why your method fits best in this circumstance. So by the time you address the original concern, it will seem nothing short of petty. For example, a seemingly underpriced home will seem irrelevant when you’ve explained the competitive market and how quickly you expect to move the property.
  6. Move Forward. Now that you’ve settled whatever the issue was with such grace, the client will be more likely to trust your discernment moving forward. Whether you were in the middle of a listing presentation or a purchase negotiation, you can now proceed with the utmost confidence. Even though this whole thing started with what seemed to be an argument, you’ve handled it in a way that actually boosted your reputation in the clients’ eyes.

Follow these six steps, and no objection will trump you. As a matter of fact, each question a customer has for you will actually boost your business and your confidence!


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Lead Follow Up Checkpoint

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You’re driving down the road and you come across a police checkpoint. What happens? You sit up straight, get those hands at ten and two, slow way down, and turn down the music. Even if you weren’t doing anything wrong, you start doing things a lot better when there’s a checkpoint.

Well today is your Lead Follow-Up Checkpoint!

Read through this post and follow the advice, and you’ll suddenly notice all of your lead follow up get a lot better!

People’s gut reaction when they aren’t getting the results they want in their leads is to blame the lead generation tool their using. This causes agents to jump from platform to platform, spending a lot of money on start-up costs, but never getting results. Their second instinct may be to blame the customers. Turns out blaming or pressuring customers isn’t going to make them want to buy or sell with you. Let this serve as a gut-check for you and you alone!

lead follow up checkpoint

1. Are You Cultivating Your Leads

‘Cultivate’ means to acquire and develop. You should have multiple buyers in every stage of your consumer pipeline. How many customers go there will depend on your own goals and the size of your business, but regardless, there should be people in every stage.

“I know if my business starts to slow, all I have to do is take a week to focus on new and old leads in my pipeline.” – Stephanie Kulp, HouseHunt Agent since 2001

2. What Are You Doing to Convert Them

You need to have a different answer to this question for every stage of your pipeline. The buyers who are far from a purchase just need occasional touches. The buyers who are actively looking for properties need aggressive marketing.

Do you have these clearly broken out? If you’re operating out of HouseHunt’s TIM system, it’s easy to organize every lead by groups to maximize lead conversion and ensure no one slips through the cracks.

3. How Can You Improve Your Lead Management?

Do you need to do an overhaul of your systems to get organized?

Is there a certain part of your pipeline that seems to fail to convert?

Constantly re-evaluate your systems to see what can be done for improved results. Have other agents analyze your lead management. Utilize everything from broker previews to conferences to learn from others in the business.

4. Are Any Leads Falling to the Wayside?

When you have a lead in your pipeline, it should stay there until you get a request from the prospect to be removed from your contact lists. Stay persistent in follow-up – even if follow-up is just occasional touches – until you have a valid answer from every lead.

 

There are no short cuts for good results; you get out what you put in. It takes discipline to turn those leads into sales. Also remember that most Internet leads are still at least three months from buying. Stick with your leads and you have a 100% guarantee that you’ll build a loyal clientele, a growing sphere of influence, predictable results, and a job well done!

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Social Media Happy Hour [Infographic]

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How can real estate agents maximize their efficiency on social media? Here’s a social media strategy for real estate professionals that covers every major platform! Cultivate leads from each platform in just one hour a day!

social media happy hour

Facebook

Invest 10 minutes per day

Post 1-2 times per day

Make a photo album for every active listing so that people can guide themselves through the house before contacting you. Always link back to your professional blog on Newsfeed posts. This platform is the easiest to to communicate with constituents through due to the fact that it has over 1.2 billion active users! This is also the most commonly used platform by agents. 79% of agents are on Facebook, so you’ll have to get creative to make your posts stand out among the competition.

Twitter

Invest 10 minutes per day

Post 6-8 times per day

The fast-paced nature of this platform makes it easy to share helpful buying and selling tips, post housing market statistics, and show your personality! This platform is mostly used to build brand image so that you stay at the forefront of consumers’ minds.

Google+

Invest 10 minutes per day

Post 1 time per weekday

Google+ is great about group forums, called Communities. These are a great place to share your industry expertise. Host hangouts with other experts to learn from your network. Link back to your professional blog/site whenever you post in your Newsfeed. An active Google+ profile is great for search engine optimization.

LinkedIn

Invest 5 minutes per day

Post 1 time per weekday

Post industry-relevant news in your feed. Market your professional blog by linking back to it. You can also link other social media platforms from this site. Network for referral partners and connections. LinkedIn has a sister site called Slideshare where you can share graphics and presentations to demonstrate industry knowledge. Slideshare also includes a helpful lead form!

Instagram

Invest 5 minutes per day

Post 1 time per day

Post pictures (or slideshows or videos) of new and/or featured listings. Publish 15-second video testimonies because viewers want testimonies, but probably won’t stick around to watch them much longer than the length of an Insta-video. This is also a great place to highlight local scenery. Since all social media is becoming more and more image driven, you’ll want to link the images from Instagram across multiple platforms.

Pinterest

Invest 10 minutes per day

Post 1+ times per day; different ways to post so could be considerably more than 1

Make boards of community events and highlights for out-of-town movers. Another popular thing on Pinterest are DIY boards for projects and crafts to make the (new) house more home-y. You should also create themed home decor boards, especially based around holidays or local events. Pinterest is a major driver of internet traffic. Have all your pics link back to professional blog/site.

Miscellaneous Sites

Invest 10 minutes per day

Post when appropriate

Join discussion groups like Reddit where you can share industry knowledge and anecdotes. Address realty questions on platforms like Yahoo Answers or Quora. Highlight your community with sites like Flickr. Internet Forums like these tend to have small followings, but they are loyal! So link back to your own site whenever appropriate and they will be major platforms in driving new leads.

 

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List to Last (+ Buy to Build)

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The mantra of the industry used to be ‘list to last.’ This meant that if you wanted to stay in business as a real estate agent, you needed to be primarily a listing agent. Listing agents were where the money was at, or so the argument goes. Today, it could be argued that the ‘list to last’ phrase is mostly outdated, and now agents can go with whichever aspect of the business they enjoy more.

Here at HouseHunt, we believe that you can make your business work by doing whatever you’re passionate about. That being said, we have a recommended business model for starting agents to help you figure out what works best for you. It takes into account the ‘list to last’ concept, while bearing in mind that to truly build your business, you’re going to need a decent percentage of buying clients.

Jim Droz, formerly the best-selling agent in the world and advocate for HouseHunt lead-generation services, recommends a 75/25 ratio for selling versus buying. Let’s take a look at why that ratio is important.

list to last

Pros of Selling

People make it sound like selling real estate is where the money is. Well the truth is, you get 50% of the commission check whether you’re selling or buying real estate. So it’s not that the money is in selling; it’s just that selling (often) requires less effort. You could make an argument that selling is where the quick money is at.

When you’re the listing agent as opposed to the buying agent, you don’t have to drive clients to house after house only to keep getting excuses for why this house isn’t a good fit. Once you’ve landed a listing interview, you don’t have to… okay, you rarely have to worry about the client flaking out. Let’s just say the adage ‘buyers are liars’ exists for a reason!

Pros of Buying

Even though buying clients will likely account for less of your business model, they should get just as much attention and focus as your selling clients.

Despite the fact that buying agents take more time and often make less commission for you as an agent, the long-term benefits they serve are imperative to your business. Your buying clients will likely come back as selling agents, and – more importantly – build your referral network.

Even though buyers get hated on in the industry, you’re still going to get 50% of the commission check at the end of the transaction. Buyers may be flakier or take more work, but they still make you money at the end of the day. Furthermore, a more balanced buyer/seller ratio can often mean dual agency, further increasing that paycheck!

Yet another benefit of buying clients is that each customer you successfully get in a home equals a testimony for you. Each positive testimony will build your reputation, boost your Internet presence (with Yelp and Google reviews, etc.), and serve as marketing material in the future. The value of a great testimony – from social media to your site to your business card – will always outweigh the extra work it took to get there.

Even if the mantra of ‘list to last’ is still true in today’s market, you’re going to have to ‘buy to build’ your business!

How you split up your buying versus listing ratio is up to you, but both will hold important roles in a growing small business.

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Tips for Becoming a Successful Agent [Infographic]

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Let’s face it, some agents give up on real estate–it can be a bit overwhelming. Here are some good tips for becoming a successful agent.

To Become a Successful Agent

 

 

Tips for Becoming a Successful Agent

 

1. Prospect Everyday: The best time to call clients is between 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

2. Prepare a Good Listing Presentation: Invest in marketing and tell ‘em why you’re worth it.

3. Keep in Touch with Your Clients: Make sure to always respond to clients and keep ‘em updated.

4. Utilize Today’s Technology: Whether it’s an App, a GoPro camera or an iPad, show clients how they will benefit from your technology.

5. Attend Ongoing Training: 72% of real estate offices provide training. It’s essential to stay on top of it.

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Get More Buyer and Seller Leads for Fall

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house for sale by owner   Flickr   Photo Sharing
FSBO Listings

Summer is winding down. This means you can lay off the sunscreen, rotate the wardrobe, and finally be done with that awful Calvin Harris song. This also means real estate business slows down for a lot of us. In the autumn, it’s important for agents to tap into new sources for leads to keep up business momentum.

Here are a few suggestions about where to find customers that you may not have had to utilize during the busy months. These guarantee quality buyer and seller leads, as well as minimal competition for their attention!

For Sale by Owner Listings

These people put their home on the market at the beginning of the summer, knowing that was a busy time for real estate. What they didn’t know, however, was how fierce the market was at that time, or how much work went into maintaining a listing.

Now it’s September and these people just desperately want to sell their home. Look for any FSBO listings that were posted a couple months ago, and see which are still available. (It will be most of them.) Approach those sellers, explain what professional services and experience you have to offer, and see if they would be interested in listing with you.

Property Management

You’re a Realtor, not a landloard. And an investment property is a lot to take on. We get that.

That being said, property management is a natural fit for a lot of real estate professionals. It serves two primary functions for the purposes we’re discussing:

1)      It offers consistent income when the real estate side starts to suffer.

2)      It gives you insight to potential buyer leads.

The first point is pretty self explanatory, so we’ll just explore the later function. Most people only intend on renting for a limited time before they make a purchase. Often a family is new to an area so they want to rent month-by-month while they become acquainted with the town. Or a family simply wants to downsize to save money for a year or so before purchasing a permanent home.

If you aim to rent your property primarily to renters with future buying intentions, you can spend your time as their landlord developing trust and reputation so that you’ll be their default Realtor.

Reverse Mortgages

Reverse mortgages are a great way for fiscally-tight retirees to start pulling from the equity in their own home, often to downsize to something more affordable. No matter their reasoning, there’s a need for a Realtor in the process. You can easily pull town or county records to gather information about elderly who have lived in the same home for a considerable amount of time. Those may be good candidates with whom to begin farming.

1031 Exchange Buyers

Just like with reverse mortgages, potential 1031 Exchanges are easy to find with local housing data. This government exchange assistance is an often-overlooked niche market. People who have owned a property for an extended time may want to sell in order to maximize their tax advantages. And with a 1031 Exchange, the seller must buy another property within 6 months. This means you could score a seller lead and a buyer lead from a single client.

Some of these ideas are a little bit more elaborate than others, but they’re all sure to get you fresh buyer and seller leads for the fall. And they all come from niche markets that are often ignored by real estate professionals, meaning less competition for you.

What other markets are you sure to tap into this season? Let us know in the comments below.


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Intro to Personal Branding for Real Estate Agents

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Personal branding is important for real estate professionals because it ensures that when a person thinks about buying or selling a house, your name is the first to come to mind. Here are some of the benefits of strong personal branding:

  • Steady Client Pipeline
  • Valuable Partnerships
  • Proven Credibility
  • Higher Perceived Value
  • Leadership Opportunities
  • Recognition/Status

All of these things are even more important in the world of real estate, where an ad for your business is synonymous for an ad for you. Here we’ll talk about the most important aspects of turning your name into a brand.

personal branding for real estate agents

Define Your Brand

Before you start marketing yourself as a brand, you need to define exactly what you’re selling. Obviously you’re a real estate agent, but is there a niche market you’re going to target? Do you work exclusively in certain areas? There’s nothing wrong with having specified clientele. Think of it as the In n Out mentality – It’s good to only do one or two things, as long as you do those things exceptionally well.

Continuing with the definition of the brand, we need to think on a more “superficial” level. Do you have a snazzy logo, a catchy slogan, a clear color palette? Your branding will have to be just as defined as your business model in order to be recognizable to customers.

 

Make Yourself Useful

Once you’ve defined what your strengths are as a Realtor, let the world know about them! This is where your content marketing comes into play. In order to market yourself, you’ll need a website –ideally just Your Name dot com. Start a blog to share your knowledge on the industry. Everything from market reports, insider tips, buyer guides, and more will make your site helpful to consumers. Even if someone is years from moving, if you make your site a helpful resource to them, your name will be at the forefront of their mind when the time comes.

Don’t just brandish your knowledge on the Internet: Whatever you’re an expert on, work those topics into conversations. Have data that no other agent is likely to have, and make it a point to bring it up in your listing interviews. Conversations like these will turn potential clients into returning customers.

 

Stay Consistent

This part of personal branding for real estate agents doesn’t usually sound very fun. Realtors love change, always having a new project, evolving with the times, etc. However, in order to turn your name into a brand, you have to give your audience time to familiarize themselves with you. It could take many months with the same slogan before it starts to stick. It will take many signs, flyers, and billboards before people can see your logo and automatically know what it’s for.

Most importantly, it will take a few successful transactions within your niche market before you start to build a solid referral network.

 

All of these things take time, but they certainly take a lot longer without clearly defined personal branding. As a real estate agent, so much of what you do is marketing. Maximize the effectiveness of your marketing campaign with these personal branding tips!

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How to Boost your Business with Social Media [Infographic]

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It’s very important to know the right ways to grow your business. In this infographic we tell you how to boost your business with social media.

 

Real Estate and Social Media

 

The Tricks and Treats of Social Media

Haunt ’em down: Utilize Facebook and Twitter to find who’s looking for a realtor or a home.

Don’t Spook ’em Out: Avoid asking your potential clients to “like you,” tell them why and how they should.

Never be a Zombie: Be authentic and show off your personality! Don’t be afraid to post something fun and witty.

Don’t get Lost in the Fog: Ask questions and get their opinion. People enjoy interacting!

Tell ’em a Good Tale: Post videos and pictures to share your story.

Give ’em a Chilling Surprise: Engage your fans with contests. Everyone likes to win something!

 

The Most Utilized Networks Amongst Realtors

Facebook- 78%

Twitter: 48%

LinkedIn: 29%

WordPress: 15%

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Top 5 Ways Home Buyers Use Videos

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Compelling videos are essential to a good content marketing strategy. But are you creating the kinds of videos that actually get watched? Here are the top 5 ways home buyers use videos marketing. We’ve also included pro tips to get the most out of each type of video, and an example of a video in each category that would surely win a Real Estate Oscar (if those were a thing).

ActiveRain

5. Watch Customer Testimonials

30% of Customers Watch These Videos

Customer testimonies are always important. If someone has strong words for how effective you are as an agent, it could be enough to persuade a buyer who was on the fence. The only reason that this percentage isn’t higher is because in today’s fast paced market, few buyers want to take the time to watch a whole video for a testimony. Often, testimonies are better highlighted as short text throughout your site, business card, etc.

Pro Tip: If you DO use video technology for customer testimonials, be sure to keep the visual moving. Don’t just leave the camera centered on one talking customer the whole time.

4. Decide Companies Based on Company Features*

44% of Customers Watch These Videos

Most of your potential clients won’t know what separates Keller Williams from Century 21 from anyone else… and this will likely be where they start their search! Whether you work for a nationwide company or a boutique shop, show some personality and let people know why your name can be trusted!

Pro Tip: Frankly, one or two companies have the corner on effective video marketing right now. More big companies need to focus attention here.

3. Obtain General Information

54% of Customers Watch These Videos

This type of video is particularly important with first time home buyers. These short, educational videos are very common to turn to for research about loans, inspections, and the general buying process.

Pro Tip: For basic info videos, a great tool is Adobe Voice. It’s a free app on iPad that allows you to make narrated slideshow videos to share with your audience. The app makes it so easy, you could crank out a couple videos in a day!

 

2. Tour Inside a Home

70% of Customers Watch These Videos

This one seems obvious. Today’s buyers want to get as many details about the home as possible before they actually take the time to show up. A video gives an honest look through the house to understand how it’s laid out, sized, and more.

Pro Tip: A great place to post these videos? Social media. Instagram allows 15 seconds to tour a home – long enough to slideshow some pictures and include an introduction by you!

 

 

1. Find Out About a Community

86% of Customers Watch These Videos

If a customer is moving, whether it’s across the country or an hour up the road, they are going to want to know what they’re getting themselves into. What kind of people live in the neighborhood? What is in walking distance? Where are the good places to eat? What are the schools like? The list could go on and on depending on what YOU want to highlight about the town you live in!

Pro Tip: Just like it often makes sense to use a professional photographer to do listing photos, it makes sense with these popular movies to hire a professional videographer.

Video is becoming more and more important for today’s homebuyer. Simply creating video isn’t enough in this market; you have to be using the videos that buyers actually want to see!

*this category merged with others from graph to streamline similar information

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Is Real Estate a Materialistic Job?

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We’ve already discussed on this blog how it takes money to make money in real estate, but does that lead to a materialistic job? Let’s we take a look at the resources most commonly used in the industry and whether they are superfluous items or necessary tools.

is real estate a materialistic job

Car

Real estate agents have become sort of notorious for their cars. They spend a couple grand per year on maintaining their car (which is a lot, even with tax write-offs). Even agents who work from home could spend hours per day in their car with broker previews, open houses, and meetings with prospects. On top of their heavy vehicle use, they have a reuptatioin for lavish cars to impress prospects. The stereotype has become that agents always have the nicest or newest cars.

Verdict: So is the nicest and newest car actually essential for agents? Yes and no. As long as the car is clean and customers don’t have to worry about screechy belts or faulty brakes, there isn’t usually a problem. With that in mind, a luxury client on the market for a multi-million dollar home is NOT going to want to crawl into your Scion. (I’m allowed to say that – I drive a Scion.) Yes, luxury buyers can sometimes be a bit snooty and superficial. If you don’t like it, you shouldn’t have gotten into luxury real estate.

Loophole: There is a recent trend in Realtor vehicles that provides a bit of a loophole to the nice car rule. With an ever-growing focus on sustainable lifestyles, many clients are immediately impressed when their agent drives an electric or hybrid vehicle. If you work with pretentious luxury buyers, you can get away with driving a Prius whereas you you may have noses turned up at other Toyota models.

Snazzy Marketing Material

On this blog, we’ve talked about all kinds of marketing tactics. Very often, they’re not the cheapest ideas. You/your business could sponsor a little league team, create professional videos, host holiday-themed community contests, etc. All of these ideas cost money!

Verdict: Yes, you need money to manage marketing. As a matter of fact, we recommend budgeting 12% of your income toward business expenses, predominantly marketing. There are plenty of free marketing strategies too, such as social media and content marketing. But the more creative methods will always attract ready-to-act buyers and sellers.

Technology

Technology plays a role in a lot of real estate. A tablet keeps you organized and demonstrates professionalism for strong first impressions. A smart phone keeps you efficient. A GPS (especially a car with a GPS installed) will keep you on course for showings and community exploration. It’s been seen time and time again – technology and real estate go hand in hand.

Verdict: This category is a bit like marketing material: you get out of it what you put in. You don’t necessarily need the latest whatever released from Apple, but it’s good to keep a pulse on gadgets and get your hands on the items that will boost your business. The job could get done with relatively minimal technology, but where’s the fun in that?

Wine and Dine

Agents are always taking their clients out to nice dinners. It makes sense: The dinner creates an aura of success that seems to ensure profit from a move with this agent. It also serves as a place to discuss business and marketing plans.

Verdict: This category is similar to the vehicle question. Some types of buyers will expect the fancy dinner if they’re going to take you seriously. But most buyers would probably rather connect over something else – a game of golf, a cup of coffee, or just a stroll through a community hotspot. A nice dinner is certainly a great gesture, but is not as necessary as many traditional agents still believe.

Conclusion

A lot of the topics here prove that the stereotype of agents needing the nicest and newest resources is true. But does that make real estate a materialistic profession? Aboslutely not. There may be some materialistic buyers and sellers on the market, but that doesn’t necessarily reflect on agents. All of these tools – from the car to the iPad – are necessary evils that empower the agent to produce better results for the consumer.

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