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EXECUTIVEAGENT MAGAZINE

Jeff Harwood Executive Agent of the Month

PROFESSIONAL PROFILES Sonia Brown George Deekrich

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www.loandepot.com/branches/rancho-cucamonga-ca

we’ve moved! RANCHO CUCAMONGA BRANCH

OUR NEW ADDRESS: 3281 E. GUASTI ROAD, STE 550 ONTARIO, CA 91761 DIRECT OFFICE: 909-912-7810

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SAME GREAT SERVICE. SAME GREAT PEOPLE! Richard Hedrick NMLS# 1059650 Branch Manager

(909) 912-7835 office (714) 400-2753 cell 3281 E. Guasti Road, Ste 550 Ontario, CA 91761 rhedrick@loandepot.com www.loandepot.com/branches/rancho-cucamonga-ca

Contact us today to discover how you can advance towards your dream home!

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NOTE: Residency restrictions may apply to loan programs. By refinancing the existing loan, the total finance charges may be higher over the life of the loan. Rates, terms, and availability of programs are subject to change without notice. loanDepot.com, LLC NMLS ID 174457. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act CRMLA 4131040. (06262017 9949)


Executive Agent of the Month

Jeff Harwood Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

21 17 Professional Profiles

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Sonia Brown

George Deekrich

loanDepotÂŽ

Kinecta Federal Credit Union ExecutiveAgent Magazine


August, 2017 - Inland Empire

Editorials 8

Expanding Your Vision and Ideas -Tony Alessandra

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Empowering Your Agents: Negotiation -Rich Casto

E XECUTIVE AGENT

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MAGAZINE

Fred Arrias Executive Publisher PO Box 73384 San Clemente, CA 92673 Ph: (949) 297-8323 Fax: (949) 266-8757 Fred@eamag.net www.EAMag.net

ADVERTISERS’ INDEX City of Hope..........................................................26

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loanDepot®..............................................................2

Owners, Managers, Agents: -Carla cross

iPhotography Studio...............................................23 Kinecta Federal Credit Union...............................36 PWAOR...................................................................34

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Communicating With Your Customers -Peggy Morrow

SBAOR...................................................................27 The Termite Guy......................................................3

Doing the Remarkable -Jim Rohn

Photography: i Photography Studio, Ian Wiant, Rob Paino Graphic Designer: Garon T. Arrias Editorial Manager: Trudy Van Writers: Haley Freeman, Shannon Hartsoe Editorial Writers: Linda Brakeall, Bill Brooks, Patti Brotherton, Tamara Dorris, T Scott Gross, Rich Levin, Chris Widener, Dirk Zeller, Zig Ziglar

Embracing Adversity For Achievement -Chris Widener

© Copyright 2017 Executive Agent Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Although every precaution is taken to ensure accuracy of published materials, Executive Agent Magazine cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied by its authors.

Pa-ZIG-ative Thinking -Zig Ziglar

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E XECUTIVE AGENT

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MAGAZINE

Written by Haley Freeman

Sonia Brown

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onia Brown has always told her five children, “Find your place and your passion, and you’ll find your purpose.” Sonia is a woman who practices what she preaches. In 2009, she entered the mortgage industry and found her passion helping families attain the American Dream of home ownership. In her role as a mortgage professional, she has made excellent use of her background in marketing and promotion, skills she previously

honed working with her husband, former Olympic Gold Medalist and NFL Football Player, Ron Brown, in his tireless work of providing opportunities to retired NFL players. “I credit my husband with his methods that have paved the way for retired NFL players, and I apply the same work ethic and mentality to my industry. He has inspired me to fight for people to become homeowners.”

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Recently, imortgage consolidated with its parent company, loanDepot, to make a greater impact on homebuyers across the nation. loanDepot, a company long recognized for its industry-leading technology and innovative loan solutions, has funded more than $100 billion in loans since its inception. The organization is now poised for further growth, with new technologies and fresh lending products that will make home loans accessible to more Americans. Sonia is a loan specialist at loanDepot, where she is putting her full range of talents into play by acting as an ambassador between her lending team, the real estate community, and the families they serve. Inspired by the opportunity to engage with this dynamic enterprise at a pivotal time in its expansion, she joined Senior Loan Consultant Javier Brito and his outstanding production team in Rancho Cucamonga, with the unique mission of expanding the team and paving the way for more people to become home owners. “I’m here to promote visibility for our Hispanic team by reaching out to those in the community who feel they may not be able to own a home. Currently, we have two loan officers, a dedicated processor and a production assistant. Part of my job is to bring on new loan officers and help them develop their business. Javier has more than 25 years of industry experience, and our Branch Manager, Richard Hedrick, is 100 percent there with his support.” Sonia and her team are working with the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) on a local and national level to raise awareness about loanDepot’s downpayment assistance and flexible loan programs, while helping borrowers prepare for loan eligibility. “Everybody needs a home, and they will pay rent, so they might as well pay a mortgage and build an asset. We want to bring that reality to people. I’m Hispanic and from humble beginnings. I understand how people in the Hispanic community think, and some of the barriers to home ownership. I also believe in the stability and pride that owning a home can bring to a family.” Sonia is also excited about working with real estate professionals to support the growth of their businesses. loanDepot’s status as both a portfolio lender and a broker means it can provide a broader range of lending options. The company is also well-known for its outstanding customer service and timely loan closings. New technologies are making it possible for clients to apply for and manage their loans online, with full transparency and real-time updates, perfecting communication between parties and making the loan process seamless.

loanDepot promises “a lending solution for every dream.” As your home loan ambassador, Sonia has found her passion and her purpose in facilitating the American Dream. “When people own their homes, the community thrives, and everyone benefits. Every family deserves a home, and I want to help make that vision a reality. My foundation comes from finding my passion and knowing my purpose. Faith in God comes first in my life and family, and this is an opportunity to pay it forward. I am excited about the opportunity to work with this company and do the work I believe in.” Sonia Brown loanDepot® 3281 E. Guasti Road, Suite 550 Ontario, CA 91761 Tel: 626-523-8065 Email: SoBrown@loandepot.com Web: www.loandepot.com/sobrown NMLS ID 255109

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Expanding Your Vision and Ideas

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kindergarten teacher asked a student what she was drawing. “I’m drawing a picture of God,” the child quickly answered.

“But, sweetheart,” said the teacher, “no one knows what God looks like.” “They will in a minute!” the child replied, according to a story told by Sheila Murray Bethel in her book Making a Difference. Charismatic people possess a similar, almost childlike faith in their vision and their ability to create change. People will follow leaders whose vision inspires them and makes their lives more meaningful. What do you feel passionately about? What do you care really deeply about? Whatever your objective-whether it’s ending world hunger or ensuring better care for stray animals-you’ll never influence anyone to change their ideas or take action if you don’t feel strongly about it yourself. In fact, having a strong, compelling vision will go a long way toward compensating for a lack of some other charismatic attributes. Einstein, for example, or Eleanor Roosevelt, or Bill Gates, whom I mentioned earlier, aren’t people who immediately leap to mind as being as dashing

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or debonair as stereotypically “charismatic” leaders. But their strong ideas or vision may have more than made up for other shortcomings. (Have you heard the computer-industry joke? “What do you call a nerd fifteen years from now?” The answer: “Boss.”) Their vision, it can be argued, transformed them into charismatic leaders. The strength of their ideas, and the passion with which they held them, gave them a different brand of personal magnetism. Warren Bennis, author of the best-selling book Leaders, says that being able to articulate your vision in a way that’s easily understood, desirable, and energizing is the spark of leadership genius. Here are some other ideas Expanding Your Vision and Ideas: 1. Listen to your yearnings. Don’t dismiss your daydreams, or for that matter, your nocturnal dreams, either. They may be signals from your mind and body of some unconscious attraction. What’s important is what’s important to you personally. 2. Sometimes it’s helpful to recall your childhood or youth. What propelled your dreams back then? Where did your imagination take you? What most influenced you?

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And it’s not just the fun or fanciful moments you should recall. If you were poor, maybe helping others escape poverty could be your mission as an adult. If you were abused, maybe abuse prevention is an area where, in your heart of hearts, you would like to make a difference. 3. Seek feedback. “Unfortunately,” said Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, “most people would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” But getting others to give you honest, constructive feedback may help put your mission and your goals in perspective. They may uncover a diamond you thought was just a pebble, thus sending you off in a better direction. 4. Focus on your strengths. You may have heard the adage “Don’t try to teach a pig to sing-it wastes your time and annoys the pig.” Too often we try to force ourselves to become detail people when we’re not, or to climb the management ranks when what we enjoy and excel at is the rank-and-file work. Ask yourself: What am I really good at? What do I most enjoy? And think about a mission and goals related to those answers. 5. Deal with distractions. On the route to achieving your dream, you’ll find change, risk, surprise, stress, and perhaps even failure. But if you’re committed, you’ll adapt.

6. Do it! “The best way to predict your future,” says management guru Peter F. Drucker, “is to create it”. Once you know your mission and goals, that’s the time to get down to doing it. It’s so in every field of endeavor. Writers must sit down and write; salespeople must sell; managers must manage; and painters must paint. Too often, though, people are locked into habits that prevent them from moving ahead. They relive yesterdays, they invent excuses, they procrastinate, they doodle in the margins of life’s tablet instead of seeking to write their signature boldly. So don’t give up on your dreams but, instead, pursue them with passion. Dr. Tony Alessandra, CSP, CPAE has authored 13 books, recorded over 50 audio and video programs, and delivered over 2,000 keynote speeches since 1976. Copyright© 1999, Tony Alessandra. All rights reserved. This article has been adapted from Dr. Alessandra’s book, Charisma (Warner books, 1998. Dr. Tony Alessandra is recognized by Meetings and Conventions Magazine as... “one of America’s most electrifying speakers.” For information about Tony’s keynote presentations, please call The Frog Pond Group at 800-704-FROG (3764) or email susie@frogpondgroup.com; http://www.frogpondgroup. com.

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Pa-ZIG-ative Thinking

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eople who are doing better than good will be sensitive to the needs of others and do the little things that make a big difference.

Sometimes little things can make a big difference. One morning at IHOP, one of the places at which the Redhead and I periodically enjoy a late breakfast, we were served by a lady from India who was pleasant and effective. A brief conversation revealed that her husband was a medical intern and as we enjoyed our visit together we experienced a delightful breakfast. There was then a moment when the Redhead excused herself from the table. The waitress brought me the check. I signed it and included a $10 tip. The cost of breakfast was less than the tip. When the waitress returned from the cashier, I was seated in quiet contemplation. She approached me from behind, leaned over and gave me a brief kiss on the cheek, saying, “Thank you, Sir! Thank you so much!” I was delightfully surprised. Then it dawned on me that for me the $10 amounted to a simple “thank you.” For her it might have meant the meeting of an obligation. I always tip at least $10, regardless of whether the bill is less than that. The reason is because each of my three daughters served as waitresses while they were in school, and I well remember how thrilled they were when they received a $10 or, in some cases, a larger tip.

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Sometimes when we have abundance, when we’ve been financially blessed, we neglect to value the feelings and needs of others. That little incident, which lasted only a brief moment, made a lasting impression on me—which leads to a very important point. A little kindness, a little thoughtfulness, a little compassion, can really impact the life of another person. And it takes so little time and involves such a small investment. Yet real joy can be the outcome. Little things do make a big difference. Today I hope you will have an opportunity to say a word of encouragement, to give an extra big smile, to use a more enthusiastic tone of voice, or anything else that will give just a word of hope. The reality is, we never know but that the other person might be in the depths of despair, and a simple act of kindness could well literally be a lifesaver. In addition, it involves joy on the part of the gifter. Joy is what you experience when you do something for someone else, someone who cannot reciprocate your kindness. Think about it. Give it a shot today—and tomorrow, too! Zig Ziglar is a beloved author and America’s motivator. He is the author of 25 books and offers training and consulting to organizations all across the globe. To learn more about Zig and his business visit his website at www.ziglar.com.

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Written By Zig Ziglar

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E XECUTIVE AGENT

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Written By Haley Freeman

George Deekrich

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marathon starts with a single step. Nothing is impossible in life. If you put your mind to something, you can achieve it.” This is the affirmative spirit with which George Deekrich, top-producing loan officer at Kinecta Federal

Credit Union, greets his life and work. After joining the company’s Newport Beach office in 2011, George quickly moved up the ranks to become the branch’s number one loan officer, a position he has held for the last three consecutive years. His success is the result of his unfailing determination, integrity and care for the well-being of his clients and real estate partners.

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Committed to Making a Difference “I try to remain optimistic and open,” George says, “because when people come to you, every one is different, and they all have their own story. I love to hear someone’s story and learn what they are trying to accomplish so I can understand the life and lifestyle they want to achieve. Then, I can tailor the transaction to one that fits and help them achieve their financial goals.” George’s embracing nature is partially grounded in his own multicultural heritage. Born in Israel to a family of German-Italian decent, George immigrated with his family to the U.S. when he was a boy. After growing up in Chicago, he moved west to attend college at UC, Berkeley, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business and finance. It was around that time that a friend, who was a mortgage broker, offered him an opportunity to learn the mortgage business. His mentor gave him some advice that George has never forgotten: “He gave me a huge book of guidelines and told me, ‘Study these. This knowledge is what will separate the amateur from the professional loan officer.’” George went on to earn his MBA and has always dedicated himself to keeping abreast of changing industry regulations and new program guidelines. As a result, he is a master at untangling complex tax returns and finding loan solutions for hard-to-qualify borrowers. “If I take a loan and give a pre-approval, you can count on it to close. I have zero fallout. To me, every file is a puzzle. It might just be missing a piece, and I like to find it. Recently, I had a self-employed borrower with 37 companies, 84 K-1s, and four Schedule Cs. I worked with his CPA and got him into the right jumbo product. I like those kinds of loans because they make me think.”

My job is to close that loan. If you love what you do, and do it with integrity, the money will follow. That is the way to build lasting relationships in this business.” With a primary focus on purchase transactions, George says he is very selective about the refinances he takes. “I won’t do it if I don’t see a tangible benefit to the member. If they had a 30-year fixed and want to refi five years later, I’ll recommend that they go with a 25-year fixed so they don’t lose out on the five years of interest they paid. There is always someone who will do it for them, but I work with my clients to weigh the pros and cons and see what’s the better way for them. No matter what kind of transaction I am doing, the whole idea is to take clients and put them into a more beneficial financial situation.” The quote in George’s e-signature sums up his approach to home lending: “Treat others the same way you want to be treated.” “This is something I believe in,” he says. “Early in my career, I realized I was making a real difference in people’s lives by helping them achieve their financial goals. It brings me joy every time I know I’ve helped someone.”

Having lived abroad and traveled to numerous points around the globe, George has a big-picture financial perspective. He remains informed about the performance of both domestic and foreign markets in order to evaluate rates and financial trends, and give his clients the best possible financial advice. In addition to serving his clients well, George strives to be an indispensable resource to his real estate partners. “It is well-known that if I tell an agent, ‘I’ve got this,’ they can move on to the next file. I understand that it is not only my reputation on the line, but also that of the agent. ExecutiveAgent Magazine

George Deekrich Kinecta Federal Credit Union 4041 MacArthur Blvd., Suite 100 Newport Beach, CA 92660 Tel: 714-955-9191 – 949-293-7359 Email: gdeekrich@kinecta.org Web: www.kinecta.org NMLS ID 194556


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Doing the Remarkable

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hen it comes to meeting and conquering the negativity in your life, here is a key question: what can you do, starting today, that will make a difference? What can you do during economic chaos? What can you do when everything has gone wrong? What can you do when you’ve run out of money, when you don’t feel well and it’s all gone sour? What can you do? I came across Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements the other day and it strongly resonated with this desire to pare back; to simplify; to become more real as a participant in this world and begin operating in a more authentic way. Let me give you the broad answer first. You can do the most remarkable things, no matter what happens. People can do incredible things, unbelievable things, despite the most impossible or disastrous circumstances. Here is why humans can do remarkable things: because they are remarkable. Humans are different than any other creation. When a dog starts with weeds, he winds up with weeds. And the reason is because he’s a dog. But that’s not true with human beings. Humans can turn weeds into gardens. Humans can turn nothing into something, pennies into fortune, and disaster into success. And the reason they can do such remarkable things is because they are remarkable. Try reaching down inside of yourself; you’ll come up

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with some more of those remarkable human gifts. They’re there, waiting to be discovered and employed. With those gifts, you can change anything for yourself that you wish to change. And I challenge you to do that because you can change. If you don’t like how something is going for you, change it. If something isn’t enough, change it. If something doesn’t suit you; change it. If something doesn’t please you, change it. You don’t ever have to be the same after today. If you don’t like your present address change it — you’re not a tree! If there is one thing to get excited about, it’s your ability to make yourself do the necessary things, to get a desired result, to turn the negative into success. That’s true excitement. Jim Rohn knows the secrets of success - in business and in life. He has devoted his life to a study of the fundamentals of human behavior and personal motivation that affect professional performance. He can awaken the unlimited power of achievement within you! Reproduced with permission from the Jim Rohn Weekly E-zine. Copyright© 2006, Jim Rohn. All right reserved. For information about Jim’s keynote presentations and seminars, contact the FrogPond at 800.704.FROG(3764) or email susie@ FrogPond.com http://FrogPond.com.

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Written By Jim Rohn

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EXECUTIVEAGENT MAGAZINE

Nomination Form Nominate a fellow REALTORÂŽ to be featured in one of our feature stories; on the cover as Executive Agent of the Month, or as a special feature story. All candidates must be nominated by a real estate professional. The selection process includes a questionnaire, personal interview, reference check and final approval by the Advisory Council. Candidates are evaluated based upon professionalism, length of service and uniqueness of story, as well as industry and community involvement.

I Nominate: Name_______________________________ Company___________________________ Address____________________________ _____________________________________ City, State, Zip_____________________ _____________________________________ Phone______________________________ Email_______________________________ Submitted By: Fax/Email nomination to: Executive Agent Magazine PO Box 73384 San Clemente, CA 92673 Fax: 949.266.8757 Email: Info@eamag.net Tel: 949.297.8323

Name_______________________________ Company___________________________ Phone______________________________ Email_______________________________

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Cover Story

Jeff Harwood Executive Agent of the Month

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Jeff Harwood Written by Haley Freeman - Ian Wiant Photographer

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eff Harwood has proven time and again that when results matter, he delivers.

The eldest of three boys, Jeff had the good fortune of growing up in Orange County in a loving household with parents who set him up for success in life. From an early age, his father challenged him to participate in numerous sports, from running to football. He excelled athletically in four high school sports as a National Merit Scholar. He went on to attend Virginia’s most selective institution of higher learning, Washington and Lee University, where he earned dual degrees in journalism and East Asian studies while playing four years of NCAA football. “My dad was my wedding best man and is my best friend in a lot of regards,” Jeff says. “I credit him for forging the talents I have.” After college, Jeff served in the United States Army, where he was aide-de-camp to the Commanding General of the Chemical and Biological Defense Command, which

was responsible for transporting over 100,000 U.S. chemical weapons from Germany to Johnston Atoll in the north Pacific Ocean. Jeff later served as an Airborne Ranger Commander, developing and leading Special Operations for the EOD Chemical Biological Response Teams. He concluded his distinguished eight-year military career and retired as a Major. It is no surprise that Jeff’s extraordinary credentials were in high demand in the corporate world, beginning with General Electric, where he advised as a Six Sigma Blackbelt. This corporate training added to his already immense repertoire of skills, which he now uses to help his clients buy and sell real estate to their best advantage. He explains, “Six Sigma is a rigorous statistical approach to looking at any process where you want to reduce the amount of deficiencies. It’s a way to measure deficiencies, analyze them and come up with improvements. It applies to many processes in a real estate transaction, especially when it is a challenging transaction like a short sale or the sale of a luxury property.”

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After working in corporate America, Jeff came to the realization that he was saving and/or making millions of dollars for the companies he worked for, with limited reward. He had heard many people comment about how they were not being served well in real estate and saw an opportunity to use his skillset to make a difference. He has since demonstrated the efficacy of a simple equation: talent x experience = strength.

of its most challenging periods on record in 2007, he took on real estate the same way he has taken on all other challenges in his life; he didn’t see failure as an option. He embraced the opportunity to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the industry, and he continues to build on that expertise to deliver service when results matter. “A home is not just an asset,” he says. “It’s a place where a family experiences their memories.”

“Honing our talents and forging experience with knowledge equals strength exponentially - the ability to consistently provide superior performance. My clients count on me to deliver service when results matter. We live in a society where most people know an agent who is a relative or friend. But hiring the right agent can either save or cost you thousands of dollars.”

In keeping with his lifelong custom of placing himself among the best of the best, Jeff has aligned himself with Coldwell Banker, the only real estate company with a global presence in 49 countries and a reputation for worldclass excellence. The company’s immense global reach allows him to communicate with parties from around the world and generate extensive and relevant digital traffic for his listings.

While Jeff entered the real estate industry during one ExecutiveAgent Magazine


Delivering Service When Results Matter Jeff devotes a portion of his real estate practice to assisting military personnel and their families who are relocating. This is the perfect application for his talent, experience and passion, as Jeff has an acute understanding of the needs of military families and the unique challenges they face. He is compassionate and dedicated, willing to go the extra distance to ensure that they arrive at their new home with minimal stress and uncertainty. “I refer back to my experience as a commander to know what they’re enduring. I can talk with military personnel overseas or veterans and immediately speak their language and acronyms, which helps us establish common ground so I can better serve the client. I understand that they have to continue with their job and may not be able to purchase a home on site, but they still have to move their family. I can pick them up at the airport, get them to a hotel and help

them find a home in just a couple days.” This is exactly what Jeff did for a Marine who was moving his family from Hawaii to the Temecula Valley last year. Prior to his brief visit, Jeff established exactly what the family was looking for and pre-selected several properties that fit the profile. He then took the Marine to visit the properties, and they identified the perfect home for his family. Jeff reached out to the listing agent, submitted the offer, and had an acceptance within 90 minutes. The Marine flew back to Hawaii, acceptance in hand, along with photos and videos that he could share with his family. A month later, they were moving into their new home. “I was able to minimize the impact on his family, and to this day, he is a friend of mine. I consider this a great opportunity to continually give back to families that are sacrificing and serving our country.”

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In the new digitally driven, sharing economy, where millennials are transacting their most important purchases online, Jeff is committed to adding value. “Uber is the largest car service, but it owns no cars. Airbnb is the largest provider of accommodations, but it doesn’t own any real estate. Each of these quintessentially 21st century businesses connects buyers and sellers instantly and globally, essentially dispensing the middle salesperson, specifically the discount and marginal Realtors®. Superior, professional agents will surpass the oncoming Zillow-type and bank discount options. My clients will continue to benefit from premier concierge service. As the largest group of first-time buyers, Millennials are very aware of the markets and what they want in a home. We as professionals have to be ahead of the curve and offer beyond the internet content and clicks or swipes on a website. Otherwise, we have no value.”

by preemptively leveraging alternative options so they can always negotiate from a place of strength. He says, “Sometimes it’s advantageous to say ‘no’ with a smile because we have other priorities or principles.” Having raised his three children who are now all adults and living in other states, Jeff says it is gratifying to be their friend and the person they call for advice. He enjoys giving back to his community by teaching Sunday school, mentoring underprivileged youth and coaching high school football. According to Jeff, you can measure an individual by the way they respond to a challenge. From Military Special Operations to General Electric, from luxury home sellers to relocating military homeowners, Jeff has unquestionably demonstrated that when results matter, he can be counted on to deliver service with distinction.

Jeff coaches his clients and acts as a trusted advisor, guiding them with the information they need to make their own decisions. His repeat clients know him as a fierce negotiator, who strategically sets his clients up for success ExecutiveAgent Magazine


JEFF HARWOOD Coldwell Banker Residential 32675 Temecula Pkwy., Ste. A Temecula, CA 92592 Tel: 951-473-9663 SaVvySeller@gmail.com BonafideBuyer@gmail.com www.socalhomesale.com CalBRE # 01804099 ExecutiveAgent Magazine


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Communicating With Your Customers

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hat happens when customers try to communicate with your company? For example, when they have a complaint or want some information? Is it a positive experience-one that will ensure their continued loyalty? Or is it a frustrating experience-one that will make them easy prey for your competitors? I’m sure at sometime you have ended up in “voice mail hell” after you have gone through the “press one” for this and “press two” for that. In a recent customer service class, several participants told me that the impression they receive when they have to navigate through a long automatic routing system is the feeling that the company does not really care about the customer, just in saving money. What about your company? Do you have several methods for customers to contact you? Or do you set up as many barriers as you can to try to force them to use your website? Yes, websites definitely have a place in the communications mix, but customers should have other options, too. Not everything can be answered in a FAQs section. Are your systems highly responsive? Are your e-mails, voicemails, and tweets checked often? Do you have online, live chat available? Everyone is in a hurry today and they need information NOW, not in 48 hours as one company told me when I requested information. At least they set my expectations by telling me when to expect a reply. Many companies do not even do that.

portal to the company and your customers can literally plot their own course. The key is a variety of choices that make communication fast and easy because that is often one of the ways your customers judge your company and decide whether to do business with you or not. In general, make your contact channels customer friendly. I recommend that you perform a “dummy check” on your various methods to contact your company. Have a friend or business associate call your company to see how easy it is to get their questions answered. You may be surprised! And as always, please think of me to help your organization establish a culture of true customer service or build better teams. peggy@peggymorrow.com Peggy Morrow, CSP, is President of Peggy Morrow & Associates. She is an author, consultant, certified professional speaker and training consultant in business for over 27 years. Author of two books on customer service, she has also published over 400 articles on management and customer service as well as being named a “content expert” for Inc Magazine’s web page, Inc.com.© 2012, Peggy Morrow. All rights reserved. For more information about this article or author, contact Susie@FrogPond.com. For the most current local Housing Trends, go to http://www. HousingTrendseNewsletter.com.

In the “old days,” our method of communication with customers was by telephone or the written word. Then it moved to FAX and finally e-mail. Now you can put up a 24

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Our bone marrow transplant reunion is now standing room only. Each year, City of Hope invites bone marrow transplant recipients and their families to attend the “Celebration of Life” event. It’s a joyous time during which survivors of blood cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma embrace their health, their life and each other. It began more than 35 years ago when City of Hope created what is now one of the largest and most successful bone marrow transplant programs in the world. In fact, we’ve completed over 11,000 transplants and, according to national reports, our outcomes are among the best in the nation. The goal of curing cancer isn’t just something we work at. It’s what we live for. If you have cancer, make us your first call. Or ask your doctor for a referral. We accept most insurance. 800-826-HOPE

COH-0726_BMT_Hem_fp_4c_ExecAgt.indd 1

WE LIVE TO CURE CANCER. Science saving lives. cityofhope.org/bmt

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Owners, Managers, Agents: Are You Building Your Company on a Strong Foundation for the Future?

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gents, before you skip this article, please take a moment and consider if you, too, aren’t first a businessperson, even before you’re a salesperson. And, like all businesspeople, to be successful in the future, you’ll want to build your company on the newest, most vibrant business-creating principles available. Isn’t it true that, today, you’re building a “company”--even if it’s a business of one? In this challenging, quick-changing world of real estate, all of us real estate practitioners, no matter what our specialty, must learn to think like the most innovative businesspeople we know--in any business. Why? To prosper in a real estate world that the experts say will be much different than the world we know today. In this article, I want to introduce you to a business concept that is literally changing the way people do business internationally. Although this concept has been around the business world for several decades, it’s just become the most important principle in the last few years. Now, it’s gathering force in the real estate industry. Here’s the idea: To build your business around the values and vision you have for yourself, and measure each busi-

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ness move you make against your values and vision. Great companies like Nordstrom have been doing that for years. In fact, in their book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, Stanford professors James Collins and Jerry Porras discovered that true visionary companies like Nordstrom, were more profitable, less vulnerable to outside economic and competitive pressures, and had better customer satisfaction ratings. Wouldn’t you, as a real estate business practitioner, like to be more profitable and have a better image with customers? As Porras and Collins’ studies proved, when you’re guided in your business dealings by a good set of prioritized values, you make the customer happier, your business grows, and your image soars. However, when you let yourself behave differently than your values say you behave, your company vision is shattered--and your business becomes less profitable than it could be. Let me give you an example. Let’s say that the CEO of a real estate company says that the company values are to treat each agent equally. Yet, the CEO allows top agents to steal other agents’ customers. What’s wrong with this picture? And, of course, when stated values clash with behaviors, the public’s perception of real estate agents

ExecutiveAgent Magazine


EA

Written By Carla Cross

goes down. The long-term result of this ‘culture clash’ is that company loyalty goes down, mid-producing agents give up, and the company ceases to be a company guided by common vision. Now, three questions to ask yourself as you test your values, vision, and reality: 1. If you were to have to open your company on Mars tomorrow, who would you take on your spaceship as representative of the company vision and values? If you’re in management, how many in your office couldn’t you take? 2. If you were to retire tomorrow, what would people say about your vision? That is, what did you accomplish that added to people’s lives through your business? 3. What do you envision five years in the future in your business that’s so inspiring, so awesome, that you’d work for it, even if you didn’t need to get paid? Having an inspiring, value-based vision for your company gives you, and all that work with you, a reason for being. It gives greater meaning to your work than merely making money. It focuses your efforts on the consumer, and guides you in making those tough decisions today in

real estate. It becomes your compass and your guide. But, you say, you’re barely surviving. You don’t have time for this high-filuttin ‘vision’ stuff. That’s the paradox. According to Parris and Collins’ exhaustive studies, companies who abandoned their vision in tough times were companies who went out of business. In fact, the authors observed that companies whose visions were grasped, loved, and lived out by all the company members were much better able to withstand tough times! If you’re in leadership in a company, you must provide the vision. Start now. Carla Cross, speaker, trainer and author, has had the good fortune to learn effective teaching techniques from the best. She is a master Certified Real Estate Broker (CRB) national instructor. Her passion is to assist owners and managers in conquering the challenges of managing in today’s real estate world. Copyright 2004, Carla Cross. All rights reserved. For information, contact the Frog Pond at 800.704.FROG(3764) or email Susie@ frogpond.com; http://www.frogpond.com.

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EA

Embracing Adversity For

Achievement

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uccess in life depends upon being strong, people with clear goals and indomitable spirits. Unfortunately, most of us are not born that way. We grow that way. And that growth can either come from us entering willfully into situations that will cause us to grow, like subscribing to Made for Success, or from the way we react when circumstances come upon us without our consent. The latter is what we call adversity. Most of us spend our lives trying to avoid adversity, and I guess that is just as well. We should not pursue adversity, but when she arrives, we should welcome her as a foe who, though our interaction with her, will make us into better people. Every contact we have with adversity gives us again the opportunity to grow personally and professionally and to forge our character into one that will achieve much later on. With that in mind, here are some thoughts on adversity, and how it can help you to succeed in every area of your life and achieve your dreams. Adversity brings out our resources. Horace said “Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it.” When everything is going well, we coast. There is not a lot of stress, and we do not have to draw too much on the resources that reside within us. But when adversity comes we begin to draw upon each and every resource that we have in order to conquer the circumstances at hand. Adversity then, keeps us sharp. It keeps us using our personal muscle, if you will. That is a good thing because we grow through the use of our resources. Adversity brings us together with others. Sure a team can have their problems with each other, but when their on the court, when they experience the adversity of facing another obstacle, they pull together. One for all and all for one, as they say. The next time you experience adversity of some kind, keep your eyes open for how it can bring you together with your family, your co-workers or your team. Then when you are through it, you will find a bond that was created that was not there before.

acters. Never underestimate the power of adversity to shape us inwardly. How will courage, discipline and perseverance ever flourish if we are never tested? After adversity, we come out stronger people and able then to use our character and influence in an even greater way to lead those around us and to improve their lives as well as our own. Adversity makes life interesting. John Amatt said, “Without adversity, without change, life is boring.” How true. Have you noticed that while we are in the middle of adversity we only long to get out of it, but we then spend a lifetime recounting it to anyone who will listen? This is because it spices life up a little. Imagine how boring life would be if everything always went well, when there was never a mountain to be climbed. Here are some questions for you to reflect upon before I close: Q. If you are in the middle of some adversity right now, what resources are you drawing on? Who are you drawing closer to and working with? What part of your character is being tested, and built up? What can you do to view this adversity as one who will be better for it on the other side? Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit – Napoleon Hill “Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.” - Lou Holtz Chris Widener is the President of Made For Success. He teaches leaders how to become Extraordinary Leaders. Chris’ speaking and consulting services have challenged the best to become optimists, to pursue excellence relentlessly, and to dream big dreams. Copyright© 2007, Chris Widener. All rights reserved. For information about Chris’ speaking and consulting services, contact the FrogPond at 800.704.FROG(3764) or email susie@ FrogPond.com; http://www.FrogPond.com.

Adversity makes us better people with stronger char-

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ExecutiveAgent Magazine


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Written By Chris Widener ExecutiveAgent Magazine

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EA

Empowering Your Agents:

Negotiation

reat recruiters are great coaches. They have a great sense of the business and pass that knowledge to their agents. This will be the first of a series of articles that address critical areas that agents need coaching in. It is called The Empowerment Series.

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you. Then we will come up with a counter offer price. At that time, I will gather all the evidence possible that proves that your counter offer makes your house the best house at that price in the entire area. I will attach this evidence (comparables) to the counter offer.”

One of the most crucial skills sellers’ want from their agent is the ability to negotiate. Most agents have no strategy. No strategy means it is not addressed in the listing presentation. This makes the agent vulnerable to discounting agents.

“I will put a cover letter on the counter offer, covering a few items: 1. Thanking the buyers for their offer. 2. Letting them know their agent is working hard for them and has earned my respect. 3. Letting them know that our counter offer, based on the evidence attached, makes the property the best house in the area for this price. And to please review the offer with their agent. 4. Telling them that the sellers (you guys) are very thankful for the offer and want to insure that all parties are pleased with the contract and want to create a win-win.”

Below is actual dialogue that is based on principle: “Mr. and Mrs. Seller, the most critical piece in the process of getting your home sold is the negotiation. Let me specifically detail how I will negotiate an offer on your home.” “When we receive an offer I will immediately call the buyer’s agent and thank them for their hard work. Commend them for a job well done, recognizing the fact that it takes a lot of hard work to find the right home for buyers and also to go through the contract process. I will also commend them for making the offer on (my sellers’) home. “I want to enroll the other agent. We want to make this a win-win situation. Most agents negotiate win-lose or they have no negotiating strategy at all. Did the other agents explain their specific negotiating strategy? Wouldn’t you agree that this is the most important part of getting you the highest price?” “Ok, back to this offer. I will let the agent know that we will get back to them promptly.” “No matter what the offer looks like, even if it is way too low of a price, we do not have to get upset. The reason? We don’t have to sell it for that price!”

“Mr. and Mrs. Seller, wouldn’t you agree this is by far the best way to get the highest price for your home? Did the other agents demonstrate their skill and understanding in negotiation? Would you agree the ability to negotiate could get you 2, 3, 4 or 5% more for your home? So, you may be getting a listing fee discount of 1%, but it may cost you much more on what you actually receive from selling your home.” If you want your agents to have more value in the listing presentation coach them to be more skillful. That is the value you should bring to your agents. Provide that kind of value and you will stop recruiting, and start attracting. Rich Casto is Founder of Rich Casto & Company, The Real Estate Coaches, The Leading Management and Recruiting Solutions Experts. © 2008, Rich Casto. All rights reserved. For information contact FrogPond at 800.704.FROG(3764) or email susie@FrogPond.com; http://www.FrogPond.com.

“At that point, I will show you a snapshot of the market, both houses sold and those currently in competition with

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ExecutiveAgent Magazine


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Written By Rich Casto ExecutiveAgent Magazine

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