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Executive Agents of the Month

PROFESSIONAL PROFILES Anne Marie Ashley Christian Noiroux Eric Schmidt


Executive Agents of the Month

Debra & Lauren Kovacs Century 21 Award

22 19 Professional Profiles





Anne Marie Ashley

Christian Noiroux

Eric Schmidt

Villa Real Estate

Nationwide RE Executives

Harcourts Premier Properties

ExecutiveAgent Magazine

September, 2017 - California Edition

Editorials 32

What To Do? What To Do? -Patti Brotherton


Choose To Enjoy Life! -RVM




Fred Arrias Executive Publisher PO Box 73384 San Clemente, CA 92673 Ph: (949) 297-8323 Fax: (949) 266-8757

ADVERTISERS’ INDEX Benchmark Mortgage...........................................2 City of Hope........................................................39


Call-Killing Phrases -Wendy Weiss

Fairway Mortgage................................................18 Finance of America Mortgage...........................29 iPhotography Studio...............................................25


Kinecta Federal Credit Union...............................40

Your Attitude - You Choose -Chris Widener

PWAOR...................................................................28 SBAOR....................................................................35 The Termite Guy......................................................3




Ticor Title Company....................................................34

5 Ways to Have More Best Days at Work -Teala Wilson

Photography: iPhotography Studio, Ian Wiant, Rob Paino Graphic Designer: Garon T. Arrias Editorial Manager: Trudy Van Writers: Haley Freeman, Shannon Hartsoe Editorial Writers: Tony Alessandra, Linda Brakeall, Bill Brooks, Tamara Dorris, T Scott Gross, Wendy Weiss, Chris Widener, Dirk Zeller, Zig Ziglar

Choose Your Clients-Choose Your Business -Dirk Zeller

© 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.

Success - What it is and isn’t -Zig Ziglar

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ERIC SCHMIDT Taking the Real Approach to Real Estate Written by Haley Freeman


ome of the best advice Realtor® Eric Schmidt ever got about being a Realtor® is this:

“Don’t be a Realtor®.”

He took that advice to heart. This down-to-earth, good-natured guy isn’t caught up in how big the next

And with that zesty tagline, Eric is selling the Schmidt out of South Orange County. Eric hails from Chicago, a city he describes as “architecturally affluent.” As a youngster, he was enamored with the region’s rich architectural heritage, and he looked forward to frequent class field trips to homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. However, the 10-year-old Eric didn’t see himself going into real estate. About the closest he got was a conversation with his dad about the neighbor who always drove really nice cars. He was, of course, a Realtor®. Eric grew up and left home to attend the University of Arizona. While there, he got more than an education; he also acquired a wife. She is a California girl from Newport Beach, and after his first trip home with her, he also fell in love with California. With a father-in-law who was also a real estate developer, young Eric began studying for his real estate license. At the time, he says, “I was bored by it. I didn’t even understand what escrow was.” Eric persisted, and he became a licensed agent in 2002. Eric was young, and he looked younger. The sophisticated coastal real estate market was a tough sell for a guy who had just recently started shaving. So, Eric began his career in the mortgage side of the industry, where he could take refuge behind the phone and leverage his phenomenal sales ability. He had skills. He also had a legendary Midwestern work ethic he learned from his enterprising parents, who ran a dental supply company from the basement of their home.

commission will be, or projecting a carefully contrived image of success. There’s no starchy, stuffy Realtor® here. He simply promises: “I’ll sell the Schmidt out of your house.”

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After surviving the market downturn doing mortgages, Eric began helping Realtors® across the country craft their online marketing presences. That’s when it all came together in his head, and he realized he could be applying his industry knowledge, his work ethic, and his wicked sales skills to real estate. He was willing to do the work that other agents just wouldn’t do. That’s about the time Brandon Hobbs persuaded him to join his top-producing team at Harcourts Premier Properties, the Miller Hobbs Group. “Within 30 days, I sold my first deal,” Eric recalls. “I didn’t make a lot of money, but I learned a lot.” Eric did open houses every day of the week for six months. On Thanksgiving Day, he sat at an open house in Laguna Beach and sold it on the spot to a guy who walked through the door. After a stellar first year, Eric earned Harcourt’s Rising Star Award. Now Eric is building a team of his own, The Schmidt Group, on his philosophy of “doing good things for people.” He takes the real approach to real estate. He explains, “I like to hit pause and step back and look at who the client is, where they are looking, what they can afford, and what is their goal. I want to help them get a home they can

afford and that they love. I like to go out with the client and have fun with them. I want to laugh and be a human being when I’m with people.” Eric says his home community of Ladera Ranch, where he now resides with his wife, Adrienne, and their two children, is the closest thing he’s found to the Midwest in Orange County. This is also the center of his real estate practice. “It’s a fantastic community to live in and build a business,” he says. “When I was a kid, we used to come home from school, throw down our backpacks, and go outside to play until dinner. It’s like that here. I enjoy getting out in the community and meeting other families and making friends.” So, when it’s all on the line -- your family, your money, your future -- don’t you want the guy who’s going to give you the straight Schmidt? Eric Schmidt is the real deal, and you can count on him NOT to be a Realtor®. Eric Schmidt Harcourts Premier Properties 2600 Michelson Dr., Ste. 110 Irvine, CA 92612 Tel: 949-922-1353 Email: Web: www. CalBRE # 01349352

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5 Ways to Have More Best Days at Work


hink about the last time you had a “best day” at work. What happened?

For some people, it involves being a problem-solving hero. Others like being a valued contributor of a team working on a particularly challenging project. A really great day at work could even be a time when someone is trusted to get things done within a team.

work against life has us forgetting too often that we’re still living life when we’re at work. Our work ambitions are often rooted in personal ambitions. We are personally attached to the work we produce. We take personal pride in our work accomplishments and want to talk to our friends and families about them, and we want to talk about the great things happening in our life with the people we work with.

Whatever the reason, something about your best day just clicked. And having one can be energizing and invigorating. It also makes you want to have more days like that.

It makes sense that we want more best days at work because we want more best days in life.

If you could have more control over how many best days you have, I bet you’d jump at the chance. In fact, many people would. In 2016, The Conference Board, a global business research association, found that more than 50 percent of American workers were unhappy at work.

Let’s say you get a solid eight hours of sleep every night. That leaves you with 112 waking hours per week, more than a third of which you spend working if you’re a full-time employee. Having some control over whether those hours are good is important. Think about it. For you to enjoy life, and for your employer to benefit, it all starts with having someone who enjoys what they do for a living.

Why should you want to have more best days at work? Back in the 1980s, the concept of work-life balance gained popularity as a way of separating the personal from the professional. Before that, the common term was work-leisure balance.

What can you do to have more best days at work?

Here are some ways to help yourself have more best days: 1. Understand why your work matters.

Both terms are a little misleading. The idea that you must balance work against life or leisure leads many to think that the scale tipping too far in one direction or the other means they’re shortchanging employers and colleagues, or friends and families. The bigger problem is that 30-plus years of pitting


If you walk into work every day without knowing how your work contributes to achieving team, department and organizational goals, it can feel like you’re spinning your wheels with no real purpose. Even if you feel clear on how you fit into the big picture, take some time to sit down with your manager and discuss it. You might even

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get some insights about what you bring to the table that you hadn’t realized before. Better yet, you’ll begin to understand your why, something very deep and personal that can really open our eyes to realizations you might not have considered. 2. Ask for opportunities to grow. Whether it’s taking a course that teaches new skills or assignments that build your knowledge and abilities, seeking out opportunities shows your willingness to meet new challenges. When you have a growth mindset in your approach to life and work, you can learn from everything you do. 3. Work with people you like and trust. Working with a connected team that is invested in the work they’re doing is a gift. When trust is strong, people are more open to ideas, information and even being challenged. There’s a collective interest in achieving the goals of the team. Building solid relationships on teams can open the door to more opportunities to grow. It’s not about working with your best friends. It’s about working with people who help you be better.

5. Speak up when there are issues. Just like certain aspects of our lives, work can be tough. But nothing will change if you don’t stand up to say something. Before you assume the answer to what you want is a no, have a conversation about it, especially if you’re considering looking elsewhere for work. Need more time with your manager? Ask. Not sure how you’re doing? Ask. Having a hard time with a project or another person? Speak up. You can have more best days by staying authentic, honest and curious. When you take an active role in seeking out the opportunities, feedback and information you need to grow, you’ll feel more connected to the people around you and to your work, and more invested in the goals you’re working to achieve. Teala Wilson is a talent management consultant at Saba Software. She supports HR professionals on a national and global level in areas such as performance management, recruitment, employee benefit programs, training and talent development, workforce planning and internal communications. In her spare time, she enjoys visual arts and design.

4. Be confident in being yourself at work. No one should have to put on a work persona when “clocking in.” It’s stressful to hold back parts of yourself or hide them out of fear you won’t be accepted. There’s some evidence it can hurt your career but it can also damage companies that don’t value inclusion.

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Anne Marie Ashley Coastal Living Expert Written by Haley Freeman


ntegrity. Energy. Commitment. Results. These are the shining qualities that set Realtor® Anne Marie Ashley apart as a Southern California coastal living expert. Born in Long Beach to parents of Venezuelan origin, she grew up in Irvine enjoying the region’s legendary sun and surf. She distinguished herself as a 3-sport athlete who earned multiple scholarship opportunities, eventu-

ally completing her undergraduate degree in psychology at San Diego State University. Anne Marie’s passion for sports prompted her first entrepreneurial journey as a pioneer for other women athletes. She and two colleagues began cultivating young female talent under the slogan, “For the players, from the players.”

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“I think a lot of my strengths come from my sports background,” she says, “including my team-orientation, strength and drive. My general philosophy of life is ‘work hard, play hard.’” Anne Marie has indeed worked hard. At the encouragement of her father, she went on to immerse herself in LA’s fledgling downtown redevelopment scene. As a young professional, she sought out influential decision-makers and became a powerful presence in her own right, helping to bring investors to marginalized sectors of downtown and transform them into thriving urban centers once again. “During that renaissance phase of downtown, I found the right connections and helped put on events tied to USC to bring young professionals back downtown to live and work. I also helped to broker a lot of transactions down there for buildings and the loft scene.” Having grown up playing sports with the boys, the young Anne Marie was undaunted by the male-dominated business environment, engaging a business coach to help her refine her professional abilities. Eventually, she met Orange County real estate authority Tim Carr and began what has become a successful 13-year affiliation. She first assisted with his vision to revitalize Long Beach and its surrounds in the same spirit as downtown LA. Anne Marie’s roots in Long Beach and love for the community fueled her enthusiasm for the project. “I lived in Long Beach at the time, and I think it’s an amazing city. It’s a great representation of how the world should look, and a diverse and harmonious community.” As a key member of the Tim Carr Group at luxury boutique Villa Real Estate in Newport Beach, Anne Marie has fostered a fine reputation as an expert in Orange County’s coastal communities. She has also created relationships with banking institutions and become a conduit for savvy investors who are seeking distressed properties to monetize their portfolios. She not only possesses the knowledge and contacts to facilitate the transaction of California’s distinctive coastal and urban properties, she is also accomplished at scouting development and investment properties in other regions of the country and around the world. Anne Marie has deep roots in both France and Spain, where members of her extended family reside. She is fluent in Spanish and has a passive language ability in French.

Barfield. Together, They are leveraging their combined knowledge and influence to serve clients in the elite communities of Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Sunset Beach and Surfside. “I felt so connected to Nancy from the time I met her. We have many things in common, including that we were both born in Long Beach, we are both 3-sport athletes, and our husbands are firefighters. Nancy is a beautiful, strong woman who has been a pioneer in the industry for almost 30 years. I have great respect for what she has accomplished, and for her knowledge, wisdom and experience not only as a professional, but as a woman with 4 children and 10 grandchildren. I bring my technology and marketing skills to our partnership, and we are both strong negotiators. We both enjoy connecting with other strong, entrepreneurial women, and it’s a pleasure to work with clients who respect our professionalism and want to work with professional women who know the business.” Anne Marie is now a resident of Seal Beach where she resides with her husband and two children. She is a student of yoga and meditation, and enjoys raising her children near the beach while supporting them in their own athletic endeavors. “My first and foremost job is being a mother. I love being a role model for my kids and showing them I can be a mommy and a successful business owner.” Integrity. Energy. Commitment. Results. These words describe Anne Marie’s lifetime of commitment to personal and professional excellence, and her keen desire to make a meaningful contribution to the world. “At the end of the day, we are all souls having a human experience. When we start looking at life from that perspective, we can start honoring what we came here to do. We all have a gift. Real estate for me is an opportunity to be of service to others.” Anne Marie Ashley Villa Real Estate 660 Newport Center Dr., Suite 200 Newport Beach, CA 92660 Tel: 562-307-4467 Email: Web: CalBRE # 01402474

Two-and-a-half years ago, Anne Marie joined forces with another powerhouse woman in real estate, Nancy

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Choose to Enjoy Life!


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e have a choice to make our life interesting and exciting, or we have a choice to get into the mundane of life. When we get into the mundane of life, life escapes us, to be gone… never to return. Very few of us actually take it up as a challenge to enjoy life and to make it exciting. Most of us just slip through life. We drive through life as if we are driving on a highway without choosing to go left or right. We just keep going where the road is going, and at the end, we arrive at a destination that we may not have decided to reach. But because we did choose to go where we want to go, we have reached and arrived somewhere else.

Stop! Don’t just drive through the highway of life, but think who are you? What do you want? Where you want to go? If you keep going where you are going, will you get to where you actually want to go? When you get to where you were going, will you be happy? These questions must always be on the top of our minds , and they must decide the direction and where we are going. RVM is a ‘Positivelife’ philosopher, an Author, Speaker, Poet, Singer, Philanthropist and Motivator.

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Written by Haley Freeman

Christian Noiroux


hristian Noiroux, Broker Associate and Sales Manager at Nationwide Real Estate Executives in Laguna Hills, has enjoyed more than one successful

career. In 1984, he came to the United States and began working in the electronics industry.

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His entrepreneurial drive came to the fore when a friend introduced him to the mortgage industry. He held a range of positions from loan officer to sales manager, before he and a partner created their own mortgage company. When the market crash sent a shockwave through the industry, Christian transitioned to real estate, using his banking connections and market savvy to help investors buy, rehab and resell distressed properties. Nationwide Real Estate Executives is a full-service, boutique brokerage recognized by Inc. Magazine as the number one fastest-growing real estate brokerage in California, and one of the fastest-growing real estate organizations in America for the last two consecutive years. When Christian met the owners, he knew right away it was a place where he could both give and receive value as a professional. “I liked their vision. For example, we have several divisions to cover every possibility, including investors, residential home buyers, property management and commercial. Having good systems and following routines is key to any successful entrepreneur.” It is also a company committed to a win-win-win virtuous cycle characterized by outstanding service with absolute integrity. This culture comports with Christian’s approach to real estate and his style of management. “I like building relationships with people, and I do everything I can so the end result is happy and satisfying for the client. You’re only as good as the way you solve problems.” Christian’s background gives him insight into the cultural differences that come into play during a real estate transaction and motivate people’s decisions. “Perspective is reality to people,” he says. “In this business, you have to be aware of the different cultures out there and the fact that people view things differently. You find out what’s important to them by listening. Then you must respect them and accommodate, or the transaction is not going to work.” As a manager, Christian brings value by helping everyone succeed. In an office that embraces both experienced professionals and those who are new to the business, he encourages the exchange of ideas and knowledge. “We look for people who are starting out and train them so they can bypass the trial and error. The company does a good job training and getting them focused on what really matters as a Realtor®. We have a family atmosphere that is not highly

competitive internally. Everyone helps each other succeed.” Christian is a producing sales manager who still works with a good number of investors. He also assists residential buyers and sellers, and he is effective at adjusting his approach to create value for whichever client he is representing. “Rather than being in love with the house, the investor mindset is being in love with the numbers. There is a detachment when someone is buying from a financial point of view, versus someone who wants to be in love with the home they will live in. I think more in terms of financial gain or protection in any transaction. I had a client who built a house, and I told him if he built two streets over, he would get more money when he sold it. He built on a street with condos and multi-unit rentals, but two streets over were only single-family residences. I bring that kind of long-term financial thinking to clients.” As the real estate industry is being transformed by technology, Christian asserts that there will always be a need for knowledgeable professionals who bring value through expert advice and personal service. “I think the industry will be increasingly under pressure by companies that are trying to make the process a commodity. They are trying to make the Realtor® unnecessary. But I think that approach will only take a small portion of the market. We are meeting many of our clients online, because this is how people connect, but I still have to sit down and have coffee with them and go show them homes. We may need to adapt, but you can’t get away from the importance of relationships and being able to see what a home and neighborhood look like eyeball to eyeball.” Christian is highly effective at bringing value to his clients in terms of cost, service and overall satisfaction with their real estate experience. He takes time to discover what is important to each individual client and then create an outcome that meets their unique goals and expectations. Christian Noiroux Nationwide Real Estate Executives 24422 Avenida de la Carlota Laguna Hills, CA 92653 Tel: 714-227-9910 Email: Web: CalBRE # 01347214

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Your Attitude – You Choose


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Written By Chris Widener


here are lots of things in this life that we do not get to choose. On the other hand, there are lots of things in this life that we do get to choose. Our attitude is one of the things that we get to choose. Nobody else lives inside our brain. Nobody else controls what or how we think. It is up to us, moment by moment, to choose what our attitude is. It is up to us to determine how we will look at and perceive the world around us. It is up to us to decide how we will react to our world around us. My advice? Choose a positive, optimistic attitude! Here are some thoughts on choosing your attitude. We cannot choose our circumstances. For the most part, this is true. We cannot control if someone around us gets ill. We cannot control how another person will treat us. We cannot control the global economy. We cannot control the direction our society as a whole will go. For some, this may seem scary. For me, it is freeing. I do not have to control my circumstances. Running the whole world would be a big responsibility. It is good to know that I am not in charge of, or in control of all of my circumstances. This dose of reality frees you to focus in on what you can control – your attitude. We can choose our attitudes. That’s right. We get to choose what our attitudes are. Here is the definition of attitude: “The feeling or opinion about something or someone, or a way of behaving that follows from this.” We choose how we feel about others and situations. We choose our opinion about people and situations. We choose the way we will behave in relation to other people and circumstances. We choose it. It does not have to be bad. It does not have to be anything but what we want it to be. We have the option.

of magic; it is just how the world works. Now, do not get me wrong. It will not cure everything and turn your world into a virtual Shangri-La, but it will significantly improve the world you live in. For example, let’s say that every day you go into work and you gripe about life and work from the moment you get there until the moment you leave. Will others want to be around you? Will others ask your opinion? Will others like you? Will others ask you to join them for lunch? Probably not! But what if you come to work every day and you are the positive optimist of the crowd? Will everybody love you? No, but significantly more people will than if you are the office pessimist! Your choice of attitude will determine what kind of circumstances you get! Ultimately, it is our choice on what we have as an attitude. Nobody else can force you to have a bad attitude. Nobody else can force you to have a good attitude. It is simply a choice you make. Where are you with your attitude? Do you have a good one? Why not sit down and give it some serious thought? Then, no matter where you find yourself, decide to take your attitude to the next level! If you have a really bad attitude, decide to take it up a couple of levels! Your attitude. Your choice. Choose wisely. 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@;

The choice of a right attitude will significantly determine new circumstances. Choosing to have the right attitude will change the world around you. This is not any sort

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MORE EDUCATED, MORE MOTIVATED, MORE CONFIDENT HOME BUYING. In an uncertain market with changing interest rates and home prices, it’s more important now than ever to work with a professional Mortgage Consultant to ensure your success in today’s housing market and in securing your Home Financing.

Ryan Grant Producing Branch Manager NMLS # 118767 Phone: 949.651.6300 Efax: 866.842.4051

100 Spectrum Center Drive #250 Irvine, California 92618

Copyright©2017 Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. NMLS#2289. 4801 S. Biltmore Lane, Madison, WI 53718, 1-877-699-0353. All rights reserved. Other restrictions and limitations may apply. Equal Housing Lender. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Finance Lenders Law. Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law License.

Cover Story

Executive Agents of the Month

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Written by Haley Freeman - Photography by Ian Wiant


ew real estate professionals possess such comprehensive knowledge, professionalism and influence as does Debra Kovacs, leader of the highly acclaimed Kovacs Connection Team at Century 21 Award. Together with her daughter, Lauren Kovacs, Debra and her team are the premier choice in Orange County for those seeking both integrity and excellence in their real estate representation.

Debra first entered real estate to buy and flip investment properties, a business practice she continues today. However, it wasn’t long before she discovered that she had both a talent and a passion for the business, and she extended her expertise to helping clients with home transactions throughout Orange County. Debra is also a gifted interior design professional who previously owned and operated a design center, and has designed new home interiors for homebuyers and private clients for the past 30 years.

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Debra’s expertise in the Orange County home market is unrivaled. She has amassed an impressive array of awards for her outstanding service and production, and is recognized among the top one percent of Realtors® worldwide. She is a Certified Relocation Professional (CRP); a Fine Homes and Estates Specialist; and a Home Staging Specialist. As much as her professional know-how, it is Debra’s outstanding character and caring service that bring clients back to her time and again. One commented: “I have worked with Debra Kovacs for over 15 years, and she is the only real estate agent I trust to handle my personal transactions. Her professional and caring approach to clients and meeting our needs, particularly during times of transition and change, help to make the process easier on everyone. It takes great negotiation skills to keep real estate transactions together, and in that regard, there is no one better than Debra Kovacs!”

agent, Debra decided to share her experience and assemble a team equipped to assist a greater number of clients with her same commitment to integrity and excellence. It was only natural that Lauren would become her partner, bringing her own industry expertise in lending, title and property management, as well as her youthful enthusiasm and strong community advocacy. Lauren is a licensed Realtor® who, in addition to working with buyers and sellers, heads up the team’s marketing and social media presence. She is well-known throughout Rancho Santa Margarita and South Orange County, where she spends time networking and supporting community events. “I think part of what makes us a great team is our blend of old-school values and a new way of doing business,” Debra says. “We complete each other. I started in real estate with a pager and a Thomas Guide, and I had up to 6 listing appointments a day. Lauren brings her knowledge of social media marketing and technology that are essential in today’s market.”

After spending many years as a top-producing, solo ExecutiveAgent Magazine

Professionalism, Commitment, Relationships “It’s an amazing opportunity to work with someone with such a high name and respect in the industry,” Lauren adds. “It’s a big compliment to work side-by-side with my mom.”

tournaments. These bring our team closer, as well, so everyone feels supported and knows they can depend on their coworkers.”

The Kovacs Connection is a diverse team of seven top-tier professionals whose backgrounds reflect the rich cultural heritage of Orange County. Among them, they speak Chinese, English, Farsi and Spanish, and can effectively serve foreign nationals from around the globe. Their differences are also their strengths, as this team works as a collegial and cohesive unit to help one another and their clients succeed.

“We have a lot of laughs together,” Lauren says. “Even though everyone takes their job seriously, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s great watching our team members succeed. We’ve created a fun, supportive environment.”

Debra comments, “I knew it was important that if I was going to build a team, I had to bring the right players. Since everyone comes from different backgrounds, each has something unique to offer. Everyone gets along, and we all help each other. I think that sets us apart from other teams. My template is that I like to keep the team together. We socialize outside of work, which makes for a better office environment where everyone enjoys coming to work. We also like to do community events together, like charity golf

While the team is based in Rancho Santa Margarita, where both Debra and Lauren have their roots, they are happy to go wherever their clients need them in Southern California, from San Diego, to the desert, to Los Angeles. Due to Debra’s longevity in the industry, she has the privilege of serving multiple generations within the same families as they transition through life’s milestones. “Many of my clientele are of a generation that is retiring while helping their kids get their first homes and helping their parents liquidate property and move to assisted care,” Debra explains. “We try to make those transitions as easy and smooth as possible, and treat our clients like friends.”

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A long-time client affirmed this when she stated: “Debra Kovacs has represented my family and I for the last 17 years. She has assisted us in buying, selling and leasing seven different properties. She consistently brings professionalism and the highest quality of service in every transaction. She loves what she does, and that shines through! I would never think about using anyone else.” Being relocation certified means the team also frequently assists military families with their housing needs. “Many are USAA members who are buying their first homes,” Debra says. “I’m proud to be working with them and helping them fulfill their dream of owning a home while fighting for our country. It’s a great opportunity to give back.”

Fairway Mortgage. “I have hand-selected professionals who all do an incredible job for us,” she says. “The people you use are an extension of who you are, and I think they are an important part of the success of my business.” When asked how she would define her commitment to integrity and excellence, Debra said, “It means that all of us give our clients excellent service from the first minute we meet until the job is done, and ever after. It’s important to us to have continuing relationships with clients, and stay in touch with them. We remain friends, and go to their events, and celebrate with their families. We do this work because we love it, and we really care about the people we work with.”

Debra requires that her industry partners serve clients with the same commitment to integrity and excellence as her team. Over the years, she has developed relationships with some of the region’s top title, escrow and mortgage professionals, including Ryan Grant, Branch Manager at ExecutiveAgent Magazine

DEBRA & LAUREN KOVACS The Kovacs Connection Team Century 21Award, 22342 Avenida Empresa, Ste. 150 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688 - Tel: 949-350-0146 Email: - Web: Web: - CalBRE #01277417 / 01927907 ExecutiveAgent Magazine



he path to failure is trying to please everyone you come into contact with. I believe that I was not put on this earth to help everyone buy and sell. I can’t help everyone, and I don’t want to. Too many Agents believe that they are forced to work with anyone who shows up. By excluding people, you will create better and more loyal clients.


porting documentation. They open up about their goals and desires for real estate and their expectation for service. You will always know where terrific clients stand; they don’t play “hide the ball.” You are not the enemy. You and the terrific clients will be on the same team, working toward a common goal. They also will be fantastic referral sources for your business.

Some of the people we meet are unreasonable and should not be clients of anyone. They don’t deserve the honor of any Agent’s time and attention. Our job is to recognize their low probability of ever becoming a quality client and to run away quickly.

No-Clue Clients: No-clue clients live in a dream world. It is difficult to get them to look at the facts and figures that might upset the fantasy world in which they live. These clients really don’t want to know the truth . . . that their home is worth 15% less than they think. Each one believes that he or she will land the one buyer who will pay above fair market value. Unless the no-clue client has extremely high motivation – job transfer, divorce, new children — you will have no sale. If the bottom line is that they have to move, you may be able to bring them to reality. In that case, the no-clue client could eventually make progress toward becoming a terrific client.

The feeling of walking away from someone who would otherwise cause my staff and me great frustration was even better than that of getting a new listing. The look on that person’s face was always priceless. Most Agents never experience the thrill of doing business on their own terms. Most Agents compromise their philosophy and beliefs for dollars. Below are four different categories of people you will find yourself working with regularly. Terrific Clients: Most salespeople are just looking for the sale. A professional salesperson is always on the lookout for terrific clients. Terrific clients respect people who are highly skilled at their professions. They listen to advice and guidance that is presented well and that has sup26

Information Service Clients: These people just want information and expertise from you. They have no intention of creating a relationship of trust; you are only there to provide your knowledge. The information-only client truly believes that this approach is justified. He or she also believes that if you are foolish enough to give your knowledge for free, then that’s your problem.

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These clients will take your knowledge; they will either use it to buy or sell on their own or will give it to a friend or family member who doesn’t have your skill level and put the business into that person’s hands. Information-only clients will rarely answer direct questions. They are evasive. They will challenge your knowledge, beliefs, advice, fees, and services; these challenges will usually become their justification for not working with you. Sometimes they get offended at your questions. Their belief is that the expertise that they can get out of you is useful, but that their way is better. Distrusts Everyone Clients: These clients believe that everyone is out to get them. They believe that everyone is trying to reach into their back pockets. They believe that every question you ask comes with its own hidden agenda . . . that what you are really looking for is the weak point that will allow you to destroy them. Even when, with a lot of care and attention, you manage to win these people over and make them your clients, they will be gone if you or your team make one honest error. They believe that whatever negative experiences happen to them it is all part of the big conspiracy against them.

tations of clients themselves. Some people just don’t make good clients. Create a strong interview process, so you can quickly and efficiently remove the problem prospects before they get inside your inner circle. The price you pay for letting them inside is wasted time, wasted energy, emotional drain for you and your staff, and certainly loss of revenue. Focus on working only with terrific clients. You’ll be amazed at the increased income and job satisfaction you will enjoy. Dirk Zeller is an Agent, an Investor, and the President & CEO of Real Estate Champions. His company trains more than 350,000 Agents worldwide each year through live events, online training, self-study programs, and newsletters. He’s the widely published author of Your First Year in Real Estate, Success as a Real Estate Agent for Dummies®, The Champion Real Estate Agent, Telephone Sales for Dummies®, and over 300 articles in print. You can get more information by visiting www.RealEstateChampions. com. © 2008, Dirk Zeller. All rights reserved. For information contact FrogPond at 800.704.FROG(3764) or email;

Selecting and excluding people at the outset is the best way to ensure good client relations. Many problems with clients are caused, not by external events or deficiencies in our interpersonal skills, but by the perceptions and expecExecutiveAgent Magazine



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SUCCESS - What it is and isn’t


hat is success? It is many things to many people. Here are a few signs of success:

• Success is closing the door to your office at the end of the day with a smile of satisfied contentment crossing your face. It’s knowing that you did a good job and that those who interacted with you had a positive experience. • Success is looking forward to getting home and seeing the people you love. It’s being mentally and emotionally free to share yourself with them and to be interested in them. Success is being loved by the people you love. • Success is sitting down to pay the bills and knowing that you have enough money to cover them, this month and next month. It’s knowing that you have taken measures to ensure the financial security of your family in the event of your demise. • Success is knowing where to turn when it seems that there’s nowhere to turn. Having a spiritual life is akin to eating food and drinking water. It’s necessary! • Success is having interests or hobbies to call your own. It’s things that you personally anticipate doing again and again. Having interests gives you job and peace. • Success is waking up in the morning and feeling food. It’s knowing that you eat right and exercise regularly and that you do everything you personally can to ensure continued good health. • Success is turning out the lights, slipping under the covers, and thinking to yourself, “It just doesn’t get much better than this!” It’s whispering a prayer of gratitude to your Creator before you fall into a deep, restful sleep.

fourth time this week, apologizing because you’re going to miss dinner with the family again. • Success isn’t hurrying into the house and hiding behind closed doors or the television set because “After the day I’ve had, I need my space!” • Success isn’t having all the riches in the world and still trying to figure out how to have more of all the riches in the world. • Success isn’t physically going to a worship service and mentally writing a to-do list for when you get home. • Success isn’t all work and no play. • Success isn’t burning the candle at both ends and living on a diet of food that’s delivered through little windows. • Success isn’t spending mental energy figuring out how to explain why your project isn’t going to come in on time, why you have to miss your child’s school play, why you can’t pay the bill in full as you promised, why your eyes are red and your blood pressure is going through the roof, why you’re canceling your golf game, and why you just don’t find any joy in living. Success is directly related to having a balanced life. If any one area is out of sync, all the areas of your life suffer. Take the time to examine your life and take small steps to gain balance. 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.

And here are a few things that success is not: • Success isn’t calling home from work for the


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What To Do? What To Do?


es, we are in a changing real estate market. Yes, the events of the last weeks have changed our lives forever. Yes, there is positive about what is happening in the real estate market. Yes, we need to be the leaders in this industry and do what is best for our sellers and our buyers. We need to keep them informed. We need to help them make informed decisions. Let me give you some ideas to keep in mind right now to help all your clients. Re-qualify Your Buyers The interest rate changes have made a significant difference in this market versus other times when the economy was slowing. And with the changes in the demand of the bond market, we have seen the interest rates again drop to a 30-year low. To give your buyers more confidence, have them pre-qualified again. The chances are that they can qualify for a larger loan. And with softening in home prices, it’s the best of both worlds for the buyer. Even if the buyer didn’t want to use the higher loan amount, it will make him see that this is a benefit to him. It may even motivate your buyer to purchase a property now by giving him more confidence in what he is doing. Educate Your Sellers We all talk about keeping our sellers informed, but do we really? You need to tell them when you see one page of new listings coming on the market in a week and two pages of price reductions. Something is happening. An easy way for the market to talk to your client and be the “bad guy” instead of you, is to prepare a CMA every month on the sellers’ property. Show the sellers in black and white what is happening-the competition is coming on at better prices, homes are on the market longer, there are more price reductions than ever, there are more properties falling out of sales transactions, etc. Your CMA will do that. If you don’t want to do a CMA, then just make a copy of the MLS data for a week and highlight all the activities. Let the sellers draw their own conclusions based on the printout.

you talk with your sellers. You don’t want to just be painting a “doom and gloom” picture because that is definitely not the case. The truth is, we are in a transitioning market and you are trying to have their property lead the market, not chase it. There are lots of properties selling! And like every marketplace that ever was, price is the key! Put the right price on your listings and if they don’t sell within 60 days, start reducing the price. One of the problems for us as Realtors® is that we use comparable sales from the last six months, and when prices are changing fast, we don’t always adjust up or down. You need to watch for the signs. Are you seeing more signs? Are you seeing sales fall out? Are you reading the local newspaper to see what the consumer mood is? Are you seeing properties sell fast when they are just a tad below the comps? You know what to look for. Be careful; don’t “buy” a listing. It will cost you much more in the long run. The Bottom Line When you keep both your buyers and sellers informed on what you believe is happening in the marketplace and back it up with facts from the MLS, everyone wins. Your seller will be more inclined to price their property correctly and the buyers will want to purchase sooner than later. It’s a great business-real estate is a sound investment for now and for the future. Patti Brotherton is President of PAB Performance Partners. Patti’s company was formed to reach a broader base of agents, managers and companies to help them in any way possible to do more business, to improve their business, to help them balance their business and generally improve the quality of their professional life. Patti believes in individualized marketing programs, including graphic design, as well as business systems that have proven to work in many different market places. Copyright© 20002001, Patti Brotherton. All rights reserved. For additional information about Patti’s presentations and company services, please call the Frog Pond Group at 800.704.FROG (3764) or email; http://www.

Lead the Market Make sure you emphasize something positive every time


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Call-Killing Phrases


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ow often have you started a call to a friend, family member or business associate with the phrase, “How are you?” I’m willing to bet the answer is a lot. I know I say it frequently. It’s commonly used as a greeting, as a “hello.” Because “How are you?” is so commonly used, how often have you started your introductory calls with this phrase? If you do use this phrase as an opening for your introductory call, please stop immediately. It’s an introductory call-killer, and this is why: 1. If you ask this question, you must be prepared for the answer. What if your prospect answers, “I’m having a lousy day. My back hurts, I have a cold, I hate my job and my wife left me yesterday”? Do you really care? Is this the reason for your call? 2. You lose control of the call. (This is probably the most important reason.) If your prospect does respond, “I’m having a lousy day. My back hurts, I have a cold, I hate my job and my wife left me yesterday,” how are you going to get the call back on track? 3. It’s a set up, a tip off to your prospect that you are making a s.ales call. It gives your prospect the opportunity to say, “I’m busy. What do you want?” (See number 2 above.) Similar issues apply with the introductory call-killing phrases, “May I have a moment of your time?” and/or “Is this a good time to talk?” With both of these phrases, you lose control of the call right at the beginning, before you’ve had a chance to say anything at all. If the prospect answers, “no,” the call is over. These are also both tip off phrases. Friends, family and important business colleagues would probably not say, “May I have a moment of your time?” or “Is this a good

time to talk?” Only someone making a s.ales call would use this language, and it’s all too easy for your prospect to respond negatively. I know that many of you reading this will argue, “Wendy, it’s polite. It’s polite to say, ‘How are you?’ as a greeting and it’s polite to ask permission to speak.” There are, however, many ways to greet a prospect - saying “hello” works just fine. It is also equally polite to simply introduce yourself and get to the point. This is not only polite, it’s respectful of your prospect’s time, it’s more effective and it allows you to retain control of the conversation. In order to be truly effective prospecting or selling by phone, it is imperative to control the conversations you have with prospects. You want to set yourself up to have the best possible conversation that you can have with any given prospect. While it is true that not all prospects will respond badly to the above phrases, why take the chance? Why risk blowing a lead at the beginning of the call if something as simple as not starting out with, “How are you?” can totally eliminate that possibility? Say hello. Introduce yourself. Get to the point and say what you have to say. Then ask for what you want. This is the formula for a successful introductory call. Save the “How are you?” question for those whose answers really interest you. Wendy Weiss, “The Queen of Cold Calling,” is a s.ales trainer, author and s.ales coach. Her recently released program, Cold Calling College, and/or her book, Cold Calling for Women, can be ordered by visiting http://www. Get Wendy’s free e-zine at http://www. Copyright© 2007, Wend Weiss. All rights reserved. For information contact FrogPond at 800.704. FROG (3764) or email; http://www.

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