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CHICAGO EDITION

How to Incorporate Current Events to Your Email Blasts and Stay Relevant

EMOTIONAL FLUENCY : HOW TO COMMUNICATE

WITH CLIENTS WHEN TENSIONS ARE HIGH

Playing the Real Estate Matchmaker

Jennifer Bell COVER STORY


CHICAGO EDITION

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JENNIFER BELL

Jennifer Bell CONTENTS 4) 3 MIND–BENDING PHILOSOPHIES TO EXPAND YOUR PROFESSIONAL PERSPECTIVE 6) PLAYING THE REAL ESTATE MATCHMAKER—FOLLOW THESE 8 DATING RULES TO ENSURE YOU MATCH YOUR CLIENT WITH THE PERFECT HOME FOR THEM

15) EMOTIONAL FLUENCY: HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH CLIENTS WHEN TENSIONS ARE HIGH 21) HOW TO INCORPORATE CURRENT EVENTS TO YOUR EMAIL BLASTS AND STAY RELEVANT

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3 Mind-Bending Philosophies to Expand Your Professional Perspective

Beyond the day-to-day duties that make your business tick, so much of success is derived from the principles you put in place to guide your business. The foundational tenets you subscribe to can make or break your business for the long-term; they not only influence how you complete routine 4

tasks, but also impact your growth, your ability to manage a team, and what the future might hold. With all that in mind, here are three philosophies to remember as you strategize your professional life—whether you’re mapping your monthly goals or creating an overarching plan for growth.

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Treat Your Business Like a Business

One of the perks of working in real estate is that you’re often able to create and manage your own schedule and volume, but that doesn’t mean you can skimp on the technical details of being your own boss. No real estate professional worth his or her salt would forgo empowering tools like a business and marketing plan, or spreadsheets to track cash flow and expenses, or regular profit-and-loss statements, or fiscal year budgets and projections. Taking these measures may appear daunting at first— and completing them will certainly require discipline and a learning curve—but harnessing valuable data and information can intelligently inform your professional decisions, strategies, and long-term growth.

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Achieve a Holistic Understanding

When schedules are busy, it sometimes feels like enough to reach the end of the week’s to-do list. But, if you’re planning on a lasting career built on year-to-year growth, it’s not enough to account for the short-term. By creating daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, and five-year goals, you’re outlining and quantifying your progress. While your quarterly and yearly goals may be clear in your mind, what about five years from now? Perhaps you’d like to add to your designations, or incorporate a new team member, or add an additional branch. No matter how you envision your profesTop Agent Magazine

sional future, the first order of business is to create a timeline. Once you have a clear deadline in mind, it’s far easier to build out the steps and calendar necessary to achieve your goals.

3 Specificity is Empowering While you may have a general sense of where you’d like to see your business go in the next few months or years, it’s hard to work toward or attain a goal that’s abstract. To make the most of your time and efforts, you must identify and understand precisely what you’re aiming toward. For instance, instead of planning to add volume to your enterprise, outline a specific, attainable number to work toward. Or, if you’d like to add an administrative staff in the years to come, consider the details of this decision—the money it would take, the type of people you’d want to hire, how many hours per week they’d work, what tasks they would complete, etc. Adding hard details to your goals not only makes them more realistic, but progress is more easily made when you have specific items you can cross off your to-do list along the way. While there are no 100% fool-proof or guaranteed routes to success, shifting your mindset from the present and the abstract, to the specific and the long-term can have a major impact on your chances of success. Instead of dreaming of being more productive or successful, do yourself a favor and craft a gameplan you can bank on.

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Playing the Real Estate Matchmaker –

Follow These 8 Dating Rules to Ensure You Match Your Client with the Perfect Home for Them When you think a bit more about it, the ultimate goal of a real estate agent serving a client is really to match them up with the perfect house for them, almost the way a matchmaker tries to find two people that will fit well together as a couple. When people are looking for a house, they often treat the process as a quest for “the one” house that will fulfill their dreams of living in the house of their dreams. Don’t be fooled. It is always a search for “the one”, at least when it comes to helping a couple or family find a home. When you look at your client’s search for a home in this manner, then you might begin to notice some pretty obvious similarities

between shopping for a home today and online dating. In this day and age most people live a substantial part entire lives online. People socialize with their friends on Facebook, they meet potential friends in forums and online communities, and we now even search for our perfect mate online. Shopping for a home also happens to usually start online. When they begin this search, make no mistake; they are looking for the “one.” These people then turn to you, the REALTOR® to play matchmaker for them. It is your job to wade through the pool of eligible homes (bachelors) and sort through all the ones that are too expensive, too nerdy, not cute enough, not smart enough, etc. until you find the “one.”

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It makes sense then to consult the tried and true practices in matchmaking that help those professionals find the right people for each other, and see if any of them could also apply for matching your clients with their dream home. You’ll find that these 8 dating rules may just show you the secret to matching your clients with the perfect home.

back to the store if you’re not happy with your new home. It’s best to first help your client get prequalified. This is a tangible step that shows they are ready to move on to a new home. You want to make sure they are completely over their love affair with their previous home. You can even ask them for a sign or proof that they’re ready to move on.

Who Is In and Not In Your Client’s League? Know Your Client’s Price Range:

Be Genuine, Not Superficial

When a person is looking for a mate, it is a waste of time for them to even consider those potential mates that are clearly out of their league. These people won’t even stop to give them the time of day. In the world of real estate the idea is the same. There is no point showing your clients houses that they can’t afford and will simply lust after without having any real chance of purchasing the house. It is your job to keep your client ground in reality, and help them be realistic in terms of price when choosing their next home.

When trying to manage the many pitfalls of online dating, on inevitably goes on a date where the other person looks nothing like their picture online. That can be just as big of a problem when looking for a house. When clients show you a particular house they want to visit, ask them to name something about the house that they like other than the aesthetics. This way you can see if they are simply infatuated with the way the house looks in those pictures, or if there is a deeper interest in the home that could become a deeper connection between your client and the house.

Never Let Your Client’s First Impression of a Home Rule Their Decisions

Make Sure Your Client is Ready to Move On From Their Last Dream Home You’re job is also to make sure that your client is truly ready to move on from their previous home. This is a long term commitment, and they need to be absolutely sure they actually want to buy a new house. You can’t simply take the receipt

When your client first sees a house they have already been lusting after in their mind, they’re often so excited to finally be looking at it, especially if it does in fact look as good as it did in the pictures. Make sure to encourage them to take some time before making such a big com-

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mitment, and don’t let their excitement push them into making a rash decision. It is your job to keep them grounded in reality. Push for your clients to do an inspection to make sure the house isn’t hiding any dark secrets. Sometimes the most charming facade can hide tons of slime and deadly mold.

Follow Your Heart (or Gut) People often laugh at and ridicule the idea of love at first sight, but when it comes to homes, the phenomenon can certainly happen. Your client may just find their perfect dream home at the very first place you take them. If you have a client that does insist this is the case, then you don’t want to try and rationalize with them or talk them out of their decision. You do, however, want to make sure you are watching out for their interest and make sure your clients take all the necessary precautions before they jump in headfirst.

See What Other People See in The Home – Do They See What Your Client Sees? Have you come to the conclusion that your clients are being blinded by all of the twinkling windows and crystal clear water glistening in the backyard pool, and can’t see that the house they’ve fallen in love with is really just a dirty animal (maybe a pig) dressed up in nice clothes and lipstick. Ask your client if they would be willing to look at the house again with

their close friends, family, and anyone else they trust for a second opinion there to see it with them. If the house really is a dud, they’ll be able to see past any personal bias your client might have to the truth. They will be able to help your client see through the shining facade

Celebrate the Happy Union! When a couple gets married they tend to throw a big party and celebrate their union. The same goes for the closing. Your clients have just essentially married the house of their dreams, and now it’s time to rejoice. Congratulate them on their new union. Show your support for their new homeowner status by going to their housewarming party.

Help Your Clients Maintain Their Dream Home & Ensure a Lifetime of Happiness You can’t just disappear after the transaction is finished. Become their realtor for life by showing your clients how to maintain their dream home. Act as their resource for other professionals they may need to maintain the house such as handymen, plumbers, electricians, etc. Show them how to keep up with home maintenance so they don’t ignore problems that surface and end up with a much larger issue than they started with. Help them make sure their dream home lasts so they can live happily ever after in their home for a lifetime.

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Jennifer Bell

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For Jennifer Bell, the journey into real estate first started in the mortgage industry. At the age of 24, she became a mortgage loan officer. Soon, she got to know many real estate agents, and was inclined to pursue a career as a Realtor®. “I thought it’d be fun,” Jennifer says. It’s now been 13 years since she received her license, and feels it is one of the best decisions she’s ever made. As the owner of Gramercy Group in Orland Park, Illinois, she has three people on her team. Serving the southside of Chicago, her rate of repeat and referral business is around 40 percent. With the Gramercy Group’s focus on customer service, they have maintained a high level of client 10 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

satisfaction, resulting in many returning to them in the future for their real estate needs. Jennifer has found that her previous experience in the mortgage industry has helped her build her business. “Working as a mortgage officer in the past has helped me a lot. When I work with buyers, I can assist them with financing options prior to them getting a loan officer,” she explains. “And I’m also able to give them a realistic perspective. With my sellers, my experience in the mortgage industry helps me because I can set proper price points. I set my price point based off of my knowledge with mortgages, depending Top Agent Magazine


on what I believe something can sell for, I think about who our targeted buyer could be. I make decisions about pricing based off of how someone can obtain financing.� Always valuing a hands-on approach, Jennifer guides her clients throughout the transaction, never leaving any question unanswered. When Top Agent Magazine

working with her, one can expect to receive personal attention and dedication. “When I first meet my sellers, I usually go into the property and we talk about the selling and moving. I get them in the mindset to plan that we are selling tomorrow,� Jennifer says. She wants the entire process to run smoothly for her clients, and that means getting them to pack their belongings 11 Copyright Top Agent Magazine


FLATS ON THE DRIVE • From an exclusive address on the south side Flats on the Drive offers a rare window into one of the most cosmopolitan capitals in the world. • Panoramic views over the most important stretch of the drive in every silhouette of the Chicago skyline. • Flats on the Drive is a new landmark on King Dr, a building to look at and look out from world renowned architectural practice brings a genuinely global perspective to “ Flats on the Drive” and the resulting design presents a bold and confident vision of the future. • Interior design flows seamlessly from the exterior, converting the buildings elliptical character, texture, grandeur and space define the interior which marries a deco heritage with a distinctly modern sensibility. The color palette is refined, the mood up lifting. • The most desired address on “The Drive” from its central location on King Dr “Flats on the Drive” is perfectly placed to

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capture the unique beauty and personality of the Chicago Metropolis. • Extraordinary views stretch from downtown Chicago to the Lake. • A city in a world of its own with its sleek architecture world class restaurants and cosmopolitan atmosphere Chicago is a fascinating and richly diverse city on the global stage. Here contemporary creativity is set against a backdrop of classical riches. The most culturally vibrant of the world’s capitals Chicago gives exclusive access to a lifestyle of unrivaled sophistication perfectly positioned. • Fast frequent and reliable train and bus services transport residents to the financial district of the city and to the very heart of downtown enjoyed by theatre audiences and shoppers alike. Less than 40 minutes away Chicago’s main international airport provide connections to the rest of the world. • There’s a wide range of convenient transport links close to Flats on the Drive, El train, Metra Train, #3 bus

• A landmark 18 unit development, developed by Evolving Homes, set in the heart of Bronzeville, offering 3 and 4 bedroom high specification units. • Further amenities include, 2 parking spaces per unit, outdoor space-including rooftop decks. • The exquisite units of Flats on the Drive are unique multi level residences located at the pinnacle of Bronzeville’s most iconic location-King Dr. • Each unit will feature customized kitchens from Brazil, balconies and rooftop decks. • The building is a remarkable feature of contemporary design and cutting edge engineering by award winning architects 360 Designs, with interiors by Bruss Designs, marketed by Gramercy Group delivering an unrivaled level of quality to homeowners. Situated on the drive of the historic King Dr. Flats on the Drive is part of the exciting revitalization of Bronzeville in Chicago, IL.

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before the house sells. Jennifer also assists in staging homes, and makes sure to show all listings herself. “I have a personal touch where I actually show all my listings myself. I am not the agent that merely relies on the co-operating broker to sell a property they too have never seen before, it is imperative that I show my listings and am present, therefore I’m available to answer any questions the potential buyers may have. I want to meet the ‘potential buyers” and have a conversation with them. From that feedback, I can assist the builders with designing future properties.” Top Agent Magazine

After the transaction is complete, clients love to leave glowing reviews. One said, “We are so fortunate to have come in contact with Jennifer Bell. She was very professional and patient with Copyright Top Agent Magazine 13


us. That was very important to us because we never worked with a Realtor® before and were anxious about the process. However, anytime we had questions, she was available, pleasant and always answered them thoroughly. Jennifer was there for us every step of the way and her determination to help us get the home we both wanted really impressed us. She was willing to go the extra mile. We appreciated her level of

expertise, her skill in negotiation and her passion to work for us.” As Jennifer looks towards the future, she is happy to maintain her current growth level, and continue providing stellar service to every buyer and seller. “I love that my job is never boring. I meet new people all the time and I always have a different task, it’s very rewarding.”

For more information about Jennifer Bell, call 312-714-2999, email gramercysold@gmail.com, or visit gramercysold.com www.

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Emotional Fluency:

How to Communicate with Clients When Tensions are High Managing emotions, expectations, and personalities are central to a successful real estate career. After all, this is a business based on relationships and interpersonal communication. Likewise, real estate is built on one of life’s central milestones—homeownership. This means that stress, disappointment, excitement, and competition are inherently Top Agent Magazine

involved in the process. As an agent, you take on the real estate world every day, but most of your clients aren’t well-versed in the norms of the industry and are likely riding an emotional roller coaster throughout. Acknowledging this, how do you steer the ship when emotions and tensions are running high?

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For starters, it’s not always intuitive. Just like you add tools to your arsenal when it comes to marketing, social media, or lead generation, you also have to add emotional tools to your repertoire. Here are a few ways to diffuse tense situations and keep clients on an even keel—even during the ups and downs of the transactional process.

Create realistic expectations from the outset and reinforce them as you go As a seasoned agent, some aspects of the industry may seem run of the mill to you, but may come as a shock to your clients. That’s

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why communicating expectations from the beginning can help create reasonable touchpoints in the minds of your clients. In addition to talking through the steps of the transactional process with your clients, consider writing out a checklist or compiling a buyer’s guide that can serve as a resource for them throughout. Think of it like a security blanket, but one that’s built by facts, figures, and anecdotal experience. If you paint a clear picture of what to expect, clients are less likely to be taken by the surprise and react impulsively as a result. What’s more, reinforce next steps, expectations, and possible outcomes as you go. If your client is left to wonder or guess at what’s ahead or

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what will happen, they will either envision the worst-case scenario and panic, or they’ll misjudge the next step and be disappointed or left anxious as a result. Minimize surprises by communicating regularly, clearly, and with all options on the table.

When unveiling a problem, come to clients with potential solutions in hand Any agent worth his or her salt knows that bumps in the road are likely to occur along the way. You can’t promise a transaction free of stress or unforeseen issues, but you can minimize the ensuing stress by preparing you client in advance for any potential problems, and by addressing any problems

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clearly and with solutions already in hand. Clients are likely to become agitated if a problem arises and they can’t understand why or what it means. That’s why slowing it down, talking it through, and offering potential avenues for recourse can quell fears and remind clients why they chose you to facilitate the transactional process. This means you’ll have to vigilant, proactive, and on the ball. Of course, it’s much easier to be an agent when everything is going great and flowing naturally. It’s when things take an unexpected or negative turn that true talent is really tested. Accordingly, show your clients that you are confident and in control by remaining adaptable, communicative, and clear in your problem-solving approach.

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Never underestimate the power of listening As an agent, you are probably well-versed in putting out fires and sourcing solutions. Sometimes, however, clients are really looking to you as a confidante and a listening ear. You’d be surprised how much nervousness you can resolve by simply offering a listening ear and offering reassurance. Sometimes it’s not about providing a band-aid or a practical solution; oftentimes, it’s all about listening. Clients need to feel like they’re being heard, even if you’ve heard it all before. By listening to their fears, acknowledging their perspective, and reiterating their goals—you display your empathy and understanding, which is often just what a client 18

needs to feel better. In other words, you don’t have to break out the graphs and data each time a client airs his or her insecurity. First, slow down, listen, and interact on a personal level. You may stop an emotional upheaval in its tracks simply by putting your listening cap on. Not all clients are alike. Some will require a little more hand-holding than others, but it’s your job to put yourself in their perspective, recognize the milestone at hand, and managing the personalities you’re working with. The next time you feel frustrated by a client’s unpredictable emotional energy, keep these insights in mind as you diffuse the situation, steer them to a place of comfort, and fortify your interpersonal skillset in the process.

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Laughs!

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How to Incorporate Current Events to Your Email Blasts and Stay Relevant Email marketing is a cost effective and straightforward method of getting your name and services in front of clients with just a few keystrokes. This tried-and-true approach to digital marketing is a favorite of many, and there are countless ways to customize (and maximize) your email blasts to reap superior results. Despite this, many real estate profesTop Agent Magazine

sionals are content to standardize their email advertising and take a broad, one-size-fits-all approach to capturing interest and leads. While an up-front sales pitch certainly has its uses and benefits, it doesn’t hurt to shake up your routine and refresh your email marketing approach by adding specifics that draw renewed interest from your audience.

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One way to accomplish this is by tying in current events and local happenings to your email blasts. After all, your sphere of influence likely receives countless marketing emails per day. To cut through the noise, sharpen your message with a few specifics that separate your communications from the pack. Not every email should be focused on closing a sale, or else your audience will learn to stop listening. How do you build your brand, stay top of mind, and keep the lines of communication open with your clientele? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

against an old rival? Do they host themed fan days honoring veterans or catering to families? Tailoring your communications to a local sports franchise’s big news or next event can draw intrigue and provide added value for your clients. Remember, not every communication you send should be focused on pitching and closing a sale, otherwise your audience will tune out your emails altogether. Instead, incorporate fun, community-oriented content that lets readers know you’re a resource for much more than real estate.

Sports news makes a splash

Become a one-stop-shop for holiday fun and seasonal ideas.

People love to rally behind the home team. Is a regional, local university, or professional sports team in your area headed to the playoffs or the championship? Are they facing off

From Mother’s Day to Thanksgiving, anyone can send an email wishing clients a happy holiday. While the sentiment is a good one, you’ll be one of dozens flooding inboxes with

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your well-wishes. Instead, go beyond the traditional greetings and good tidings and become a hyper-specific resource for clients. Create a gift guide for Mother’s Day, outline family-friendly local events occurring in your area around the holidays, or engage in a promotional partnership with a local business who’s offering a holiday special of their own. In other words, don’t settle for just saying hello during certain times of the year. Instead, up the value of your email blast by offering clients curated information that relates to their interests and area. Doing so makes your emails a must-read, while demonstrating your ability to go the extra mile.

Pop culture serves as a fun and timely tie-in. Is a new gaming app sweeping the nation? Have your social media feeds been flooded with the same viral video? Is everyone gossiping about the same TV show premiere? Pop culture tie-ins in your email marketing campaigns can be extremely effective, but in order to for

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them to work, you’ll need to move quickly and keep your focus on the phenomenon, rather than your service pitch. The goal behind pop culture marketing tie-ins is communicating the progressiveness and hip factor of your brand, while capturing timely, topical interest that’s at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be in on a running joke or trend, and if you leverage trending pop culture moments in your email marketing, you’ll be able to draw views and clicks from a wide audience.

Plenty of services offer standardized email marketing templates and content for today’s real estate professionals, and while the motivation behind marketing is transactional, your communications don’t have to be. The surest way to make an impact in your clients’ inboxes is to add original value and break apart from the pack. Consider updating some of your routines with these current events oriented techniques and your email audience is sure to take a second look.

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