Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How To Make Real Estate Sales Profitable

“I’ve learned this over and over, but it does bear repeating. The more willing we are to focus on what other people want, the more profitable our own real estate business becomes. It’s NOT about where my next commission is coming from, it’s ALL about what someone else wants and how I can fill their needs. People do not care how much you know until they know that you care… I care. I love this business, it is not easy, but it can be fun and profitable!” Submitted by Lamar Jarvis, REALTOR® (Thanks Lamar!) Do What You Are Passionate About… “Do what you are passionate about. Life is too short and the hours in the day so quickly pass, so make choices according to what is most important to you. So many people choose careers for the wrong reasons, or even for many right reasons…but at the end of the day, if it’s not your passion then something will be missing from it. If it is your passion than you will enjoy the hours you spend doing it and it won’t stop there. You will succeed because it is who you are. Look at where you’re at and choose to make changes according to where your passions are. You have the potential to be your best!” Submitted By Joy Costello, REALTOR® and iPod Winner! How to Avoid the Ravaging Effects of BURNOUT! By Craig Forte, Senior Editor I always knew that practicing real estate was stressful. But what I didn’t realize was that the real estate profession is ranked in the top 15 “burnout” professions in America. Right up there with air traffic controllers, SWAT police officers and NCAA coaches, real estate agents not only feel the pressure to perform, but frequently sacrifice their personal and family lives for their jobs. Yet not all feel this way. How is it that some people love the craziness of the business, while others feel overwhelmed and stressed to the point of collapse? Not long ago, I met a person who shared an interesting observation about stress. She said that people feel stressed when their OBLIGATIONS exceed their COMMITMENT level. In essence, we create struggle and resistance in our lives when we take on obligations, duties and expectations that are inconsistent with our commitment level (deepest desire) to perform them. This person also shared with me five helpful tips for lowering stress levels and creating a life and career of greater balance. And given the “hot topic” lately, I thought I’d share them with you… Tip #1: Know what you want personally. Your business exists in the “marketplace” because you provide a great service that solves problems and delivers benefits to consumers – you make people better off by what you do. But when it comes to “you” personally, your business exists for ONE reason only, and that reason is TO SUPPORT YOUR PERSONAL LIFE. How often do you find yourself focusing on your MLS or office ranking or some “guru’s” expectations of you rather than what YOU want out of your career? Everyone has a different vision for what they want personally. Everyone has a different commitment level…or even commitment “tolerance”. If your personal desires are in conflict with the expectations you take on from your office, MLS, Broker or anyone else but YOU, you’re gonna have stress. Think about what you want for your life, and keep your focus on serving your clients as best you can, and forget the other “external” standards. Tip #2: TRAIN your clients how you work. This sounds like I’m suggesting poor service at first, but it’s really just the opposite. If you let the inmates run the asylum, you’re in for trouble. Tell your clients up front how you work and you’ll be amazed how they’ll comply. They’ll actually appreciate your forthrightness. Discuss how they may reach you or your assistant. And tell them how and when you return calls that require your personal attention. If they don’t know your boundaries, they’ll assume you have no boundaries and act accordingly. Tip #3: Control your time. This sounds like a Herculean challenge for agents. We think “availability” is paramount in this business – and it is important to be responsive to your clients. Problem is, we confuse giving good service with personal balance. The more proactive you become with your time (i.e. the more you “template” your day based on the activities you need to accomplish) the more balance and productivity you’ll have in your life. You’ll make much more money, too. Tip #4: Control your contact/info devices. Once again, the coyote is guarding the hen house. Cell phones, pagers, email, PDAs, traveling computers were all designed to “make us more efficient.” Yet, I have yet to meet an agent that didn’t want to take a sledgehammer to most of them on a daily basis. Simplify. Turn your cell phone on ONLY when you’re available to take calls – all other times let your voice system or assistant handle them. Control your email – somehow people sending emails think you’re sitting right there in front of your computer for the sole purpose of answering their message. Your response should vary according to the importance of the email. Clients and potential clients get highest priority. Friends and family get the lowest. Let people know how you operate. Use a PDA only if you really believe it makes you more productive (Enlightening story: I carry a little pocket phone book. Yes, it’s made of high-tech paper. The other day I had a race with a friend with a PDA to see how fast we could look up a name we each had. I found it in 8 seconds. He took 24 seconds. Hmmm…productive??). Technology can direct us away from the fact that real estate is primarily a relationship business. Consider your options for contact carefully. Tip #5: SYSTEMIZE your business – especially your marketing and client generation. There are only 2 ways you can leverage your ability to make money: 1) with other people, and 2) with systems (by the way, in the next edition I’m going to share with you a step-by-step way to systemize your business – it’ll be some of the most valuable information you’ll ever read for your business and life). If you’re manually prospecting instead of using Hotlines, Newsletters, web sites, and all the systems we teach in the 3-Steps System (www.3-Steps.com) to get clients from gazillions of sources…you are minimizing your productivity and income, and MAXIMIZING your stress level. Ask yourself constantly: “How can I put my client generation on auto-pilot…and allow my systems to sort and sift for new clients…so I can spend my time working with quality clients, closing transactions and cashing commission checks (and taking the time to enjoy my family and personal life).” There’s an ironic benefit to knowing what you want, and setting boundaries within your business (and knowing what’s important from what’s unimportant) that SUPPORT your desires. You become much more productive. Your stress level will plummet. You will attract the kind of clients you want – strange but true. And, most importantly (and the most “ironic” part), you will be dealing with your clients from a place of balance – and that’s power.

The Most Dramatic Example Of How To Sell Listings Fast

By Stan Barron, REALTOR® and Contributing Editor Hundreds of times now I have taken on a listing that did not sell. I would change nothing but the marketing message, and the home would sell almost instantly. It just happened again, but I have never had one quite this dramatic, nor have I ever had one case teach so many essential marketing lessons. If someone made me select just one case study to teach the real estate industry how to get effective advertising done, this is the example I would use. You’ll see it is not about having a more exciting message for the home itself, but a more honest one. This is the story of a home that went unsold for 2 years, and then sold for full price, with 8 offers in 4-days. The previous agent had worked his tail off to try to sell this house. He spent thousands of dollars on things like: a virtual tour made that included high-quality production values with voice-over narration and music, a 4-color, professionally-printed brochure, and open houses for agents and the public. All with no results. Most interesting was the agent’s final advice at the end of his two-year attempt to sell. He told the sellers they simply had a “problem” house. He was not being mean-spirited — anyone would have come to the same conclusion based on the harsh feedback that came in about the house. I am used to dealing with a house that has one “problem”, but this one had three: 1.the lot was all slope with no usable yard 2.the master bedroom was upstairs and 3.many complaints poured in that the house was way too small and unimpressive given that the others were in the 5,000 to 8,000 sq. ft. range with prices up to $5M (this one was $725k and had a little over 3,000 sq. ft.) What would you do with this situation? When I carefully studied the previous agent’s marketing I realized all of the complaints about the house were not credible at all. Why? Because the marketing was attracting the wrong profile of buyers over, and over, and over again. The house wasn’t the problem, it was the marketing that was the “problem”. Do you make the mistake of focusing on where to relay a message instead of the message itself? In order to sell this “problem” house I wrote an updated listing description and put it in one place (not the MLS). I didn’t do any of the things the previous agent had done. I changed nothing but the marketing message. I got eight offers in four days, and the home sold for full price! I have done this for years — updating the marketing message to attract the right buyer for a home. But the real story in this case lies in the observation that most people concentrate their marketing efforts on the method of delivering a message rather than the message itself. In recent years agents have spent lots of money and time on the latest marketing fad — social media. Before that, other marketing trends have been blogging, podcasts, blast emails, and the notion that if you’re in real estate you must have a website. Agents tend to jump from one trend to the next without ever considering the actual message that is being used. And besides “new” media, the real estate industry has another distraction that dooms most advertising of listings. Advertising messages should always be positive and upbeat — are you sure? There is this ingrained pressure to always be positive and upbeat. The belief is if you mention anything in your advertising that might be taken as a drawback you will scare people away. However, every home has something about it that will turn off some buyers. The house may have a small yard. It may be dated. It may be on a busy street. It may not have a view when others do, etc. It is rare for agents to list a “perfect” house, and even when we do, guess what problem crops up? The price will be very high compared to others (as it should be). However, this just causes agents to be nervous because they know buyers — and buyer agents — will object to a price that is higher than neighborhood average. In short, and this takes place at the subconscious level in my opinion, but all of this creates fear. And this fear of the home not being “perfect” results in agents who use timid marketing pieces to sell houses. Most agents simply list the number of bedrooms, baths and living areas. All over the country agents use stock phrases like “gourmet kitchen”, “granite counters” and “highly-rated schools”. They’re trying to attract all buyers in the market instead of the right one — the one that will buy this listing! Do you do that too? The previous agent on the listing in my example here not only used this approach, he glossed over all of the drawbacks as if no one would notice these features when they walked through the house! Fear weakens advertising. Fear of missing potential buyers makes your listing promotions wimpy and causes you to not sell home faster and for more money. My ad was bold and decisive. I made no apology for the home’s attributes. And talk about brazen, I promoted the “drawbacks” as benefits. Not by way of slick salesmanship. I did NOT turn a negative into a positive — I used the ad to attract a small, targeted audience of buyers who WANTED this home just the way it was. For example, who would prefer to have all bedrooms upstairs? Parents with young children like this design because you can hear your child call out for you in the middle of the night if that child is sick or scared. I also used the word “small” in the headline in order to flag the attention of those people who liked the idea of owning a small home in a big-home neighborhood. The key is these are bold decisions that have to be made before ANY marketing is done, and you cannot allow any fear to creep in. This provides so much clarity because it means you will only get inquiries from buyers who want exactly what that home offers, and when you do this sales seem to just fall into place. In advertising, this initial step is called positioning…it is the way you decide on which target audience you want to attract. Think about just two examples you are exposed to as a consumer. Costco does not apologize for the warehouse appearance of its stores because it supports their “bargain price” position. And Neiman-Marcus does not fear sticking a $700 price tag on a purse because this fits their upscale position. Positioning that works is the opposite of trying to appeal to everyone. So, how are you trying to “position” the homes you sell in your marketplace? If it’s to everyone, you have no position, and you have no audience of buyers! The most powerful way to position your listings Emphasizes that which cannot be easily duplicated by the competition (other homes for sale in the area) and your listings will stand out and get the attention of the right buyer. The house featured in this case study was NOT a “problem” house at all. It was loaded with benefits (small size, master upstairs, etc.) that no other seller could match. It is as if they were hidden in plain sight. All I did was emphasize them rather than try to gloss over them. I am attaching the full ad that triggered eight offers: Click here to download this PDF NOTE: I have embedded small “yellow” icons all over the ad at key points. If you click on the icons, you get a pop-up box that explains the various steps in the process. These icons do NOT show up on phones or an iPad, but they do appear if you are looking at the pdf file on a computer screen. Many sales coaches would tell you that in order to be effective at selling homes, you must be aggressive and hard-charging. To this day, a lot of sales training involves techniques for “overcoming objections”, “not taking ‘no’ for an answer” and to “follow-up with prospects over and over until they buy”. Really! Don’t know about you, but I recoil from salespeople who behave in this fashion. These antics are unnecessary if you get the marketing message right from the start. What to do if you are tired of spending money on advertising that is not working There are two main takeaways in this article. First, stop doing things just because that’s what everyone else is doing. Instead of jumping on the latest trend, be objective and analyze the current message you are sending out about your listing. If you think I am one of those people that is always advising realtors to increase their advertising budget, you would be way wrong. The house featured in this case study did not sell even though the previous agent spent thousands of dollars on a multi-pronged marketing campaign. I spent less than $50 to print my listing promotion that I then stuck in the info box attached to my yard sign. Message trumps conduit. Don’t worry if you’re using social media or not, if you’re on every website or not — it’s the message that matters more than the media used to convey the message. Second, your message must connect with consumers at a deeper and honest level. You are guaranteed to have a failed listing promotion if you attempt to do this with only facts about the home. Instead of using the “traditional” listing flyer with only bedroom, bath count, square footage — use a “story ad.” Story ads are listing promotions that tell an interesting and accurate story about the home, and are the way to reach consumers at the emotional level in order to sell homes quickly (and for the most money possible). Above all, you must not let the fear of losing “some” buyers influence you or you are certain to write a wimpy listing description and lose the ones that will buy your listings. What are you doing to get your listings to stand out and sell quickly?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

General contractors, home builders, and more ∨

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As you get ready to host an event, be sure you have enough dining chairs and dishes for dinner guests, as well as enough bakeware and kitchen knives for food preparation.
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Monday, August 12, 2013

New Southside Home in Bradley Point

New Southside Home in Bradley Point

Situated on a private double cul-de-sac and always a favorite, Regal Builder's Sonata, an alluring home with great room, loft, formal living and dining allowing for tons of actual living space; desirable final touches help polish this home nicely, such as wood, granite, and stainless appliances.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

40 Amherst Way, New Home in Bradley Point

VirtuallyShow Tour: VirtuallyShow Tour video.

8 Castle Hill Road

VirtuallyShow Tour: VirtuallyShow Tour video.

Enjoy all the amenities and convenience of Berwick Plantation. The Sonata offers lots of home for the $$$. Foyer entry leading to living room, separate dining, eat-in kitchen,& great room, but that's not all..add't loft. Still time to personalize, all with the peace of mind of Extended warranties!