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CHICAGO EDITION

From Chaos to CONTROL 4 WAYS TO WIN the Battle Against Procrastination

6 Methods for BUILDING BETTER EMAIL LISTS

Business Growth Hack: ABSORB YOUR CLIENTS’ STRESS!

COVER STORY

EMALFARB RESIDENTIAL


CHICAGO EDITION

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EMALFARB RESIDENTIAL EMALFARB RESIDENTIAL

CONTENTS 4) BUSINESS GROWTH HACK: ABSORB YOUR CLIENTS’ STRESS!

19) 6 METHODS FOR BUILDING BETTER EMAIL LISTS

13) FROM CHAOS TO CONTROL

20) 4 WAYS TO WIN THE BATTLE AGAINST PROCRASTINATION

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Business Growth Hack: Absorb Your Clients’ Stress! Your business coach or a CRM software sales rep has probably described a number of products or services to help you grow your business. But sometimes the easiest way to increase the deals you’re closing is to simply be present for your clients. In doing so, you’ll find have the power to decrease the stress they feel. And when you decrease their stress, you increase your value to them, leading to new referrals and organic growth. 4

You may be thinking, “I have enough stress; how can I find the emotional bandwidth for other people’s stress?” But consider this: As their day-to-day point of contact in this life decision, you are already a strong presence in your client’s lives. Why not allow yourself to be the only seemingly calm part of this process? By asking them what’s on their mind, by truly listening, by showing that you truly understand and even by rolling up

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your sleeves to relieve some of their grunt work, you’ll prove yourself invaluable. Think of yourself as the equivalent of an anti-anxiety pill to your clients. All you have to do is form a few easy habits.

Laura and Raj, their agent and their loan officer soon came to learn that Laura’s 80-year-old mother may eventually move in with the family. This news not only helped the agent best meet Laura’s and Raj’s needs for a new home; it gave both the agent and the loan officer opportunities to go above and beyond for their clients. Their REALTOR® connected Laura with a senior services nonprofit near Laura’s mom’s current home that may be able to assist the family. And their loan officer outlined various, detailed options to Laura and Raj make smart, long-term financial decisions. Meanwhile, the agent and loan officer earned the trust of Laura and Raj, who felt less worried about the future.

Listen – really listen – with patience Behind every home purchase or sale is a person or a family with a uniquely complex set of needs, motivations, objectives and priorities. Asking the right questions and truly listening to the answers are the easiest ways to learn how to make clients’ lives easier. In doing so, you not only show that you’re interested in them as people, but you help yourself discover ways to surprise your clients with service. Take “Laura and Raj,” for instance – a couple in their 30s who wanted a larger home because their family of five outgrew their first home. By patiently getting to know Top Agent Magazine

Empathize Don’t be afraid to describe your own personal experiences as a homebuyer or seller, explaining how you felt at the time; let your client know you “get” it. The agent who is willing to open up and let buyers and

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your sleeves to relieve some of their grunt work, you’ll prove yourself invaluable. Think of yourself as the equivalent of an anti-anxiety pill to your clients. All you have to do is form a few easy habits.

Laura and Raj, their agent and their loan officer soon came to learn that Laura’s 80-year-old mother may eventually move in with the family. This news not only helped the agent best meet Laura’s and Raj’s needs for a new home; it gave both the agent and the loan officer opportunities to go above and beyond for their clients. Their REALTOR® connected Laura with a senior services nonprofit near Laura’s mom’s current home that may be able to assist the family. And their loan officer outlined various, detailed options to Laura and Raj make smart, long-term financial decisions. Meanwhile, the agent and loan officer earned the trust of Laura and Raj, who felt less worried about the future.

Listen – really listen – with patience Behind every home purchase or sale is a person or a family with a uniquely complex set of needs, motivations, objectives and priorities. Asking the right questions and truly listening to the answers are the easiest ways to learn how to make clients’ lives easier. In doing so, you not only show that you’re interested in them as people, but you help yourself discover ways to surprise your clients with service. Take “Laura and Raj,” for instance – a couple in their 30s who wanted a larger home because their family of five outgrew their first home. By patiently getting to know 6

Empathize Don’t be afraid to describe your own personal experiences as a homebuyer or seller, explaining how you felt at the time; let your client know you “get” it. The agent who is willing to open up and let buyers and

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EMALFARB RESIDENTIAL

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EMALFARB RESIDENTIAL Top Agents Janelle Emalfarb Gordon and Geri Katz Emalfarb, with @Properties in Chicago and the North Shore, have recently teamed up to form Emalfarb Residential. Bringing nearly fifty years of combined real estate experience, and over $250 million in closed sales, the two have spent decades developing a solid reputation for providing the very best customer service available, making them a force to be reckoned with in both the Windy City and North Shore markets. Geri, a former school teacher, began her journey in real estate 26 years ago when she found herself the head of her household and having to support her children. In her very first year she experienced stellar success, and as she says, she “was hooked.” Janelle was working in the wine 8 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

business, and decided she wanted more out of life. With aspirations to start a family and buy a home, she fixed on real estate as her passion. She embarked on a career that has seen her work with the likes of Oprah Winfrey’s top brass, supreme and appellate court justices, talent, athletes, and many friends. The pair, who have a history of Emalfarb family values, have recently joined forces and cover all the geographic bases. Says Geri, “I do sell primarily the North Shore, and I work as well in the city.” Janelle focuses on the city but has begun to work on the North shore as well with the new partnership with Geri, “We work well together,” says Janelle. “We are both Cut-tothe-Chase gals.” Top Agent Magazine


TESTIMONIALS:

“I have been working with Geri Emalfarb for several months and she has been outstanding in every way!” She is most familiar with every aspect of real estate as well assigners and contractors for possible renovation. When asked if it would be possible for me to see pictures of the renovation to her apt, she replied with of course but instead I ‘II have you over. Any Idea how welcoming this is for a couple who just moved from the East Coast?” —Testimonial from Jody Gale

“Janelle is an extraordinary realtor providing full service to both Rosie and me with in Rosie’s words, laughter and sophication.” Thank you for all the things you had done big and small.” —Testimonial from Tanyna Miller (assistant to Rosie O”Donnell)

“Geri demonstrated strong market knowledge, true real estate experience, resourcefulness and creavity. She went double the distance. I cannot wait to recommend her!” —Testimonial from Beth Corey

“After working with hundreds of agents though my job as an editor, Janelle Gordon stands out from the pack due to her moxie, insider knowledge , sense of humor, followthrough, and over all spirit of the real estate market and people.” —Testimonial from Erin Calandriello: Editor, Urban Turf Chicago Top Agent Magazine

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10Copyright Top Agent Magazine

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53 SYCAMORE PLACE, HIGHLAND PARK

BACK YARD

GERI EMALFARB | 847.602.6771 | www.geriemalfarb.com

Both Janelle and Geri’s business consists almost entirely of repeat and referred clientele. “I’ve never really gone out and looked for prospects,” says Geri, “that was never my thing.” Janelle KITCHEN echoes her sentiment: It’s the exact same for me,” she says, “most of my clients come through a network or prior clients, friends and business GERIBoth EMALFARB | 847.602.6771 www.geriemalfarb.com contacts.” women agree |that one of the primary reasons for this client loyalty is the personal and personable service they provide. “I think you have to be a lover of people, a people person,” says Janelle. “Buying a home is a serious endeavor, and it’s an emotional process. If you can be there for them, and maybe have a laugh while you’re helping them understand what’s Top Agent Magazine

going on, I think clients feel more comfortable.” Geri feels the same. “I know that I take everything I do very personally. If I’m listing a house, I treat it as if it’s my own house, and that’s how I refer to it. I want my clients to feel good, be happy, and to feel like they got something for their money, and that they found the right home for their family and ultimately made the right decision.” Despite their incredible success in their industry, the pair derive the majority of their job satisfaction from the relationships they build with their clients. “I really love the people that I meet, and I love that I get to be a part of their lives,” says Geri. “It’s been a fabulous way for me to get in touch with Copyright Top Agent Magazine11


people, understand, and become good friends with them.” Janelle agrees: “You feel like you are a part of their| 847.602.6771 community and together you collaborate GERI EMALFARB | www.geriemalfarb.com and create the best senerio possible for your client. That’s so fulfilling. Everyone has a story, and we like to hear them and then figure out how to best help them move forward. We love that challenge. At the end of the day, we just love helping people.” “I can tell you,” says Geri, “that our whole philosophy is everything we do is for the benefit of our clients. It’s never, ever about us, it’s always about what’s best our clients. We don’t care about the price

Janelle Emalfarb Gordon JanelleGordon@atproperties.com 312-925-0975 12Copyright Top Agent Magazine

point of a property, we just care about the people and hope they all feel that when they work with us.” As for the future, though they both have been very successful working on their own, they are very excited to team up and believe that as team they will be able to both expand their business and provide even better service to their clients. “We should have done this years ago,” laughed Geri and Janelle. We invite you to Experience Excellence and look forward to using our combined knowledge and passion to provide a smooth transition to your next home.

Geri Katz Emalfarb Geri@atproperties.com 847-602-6771 Top Agent Magazine


From Chaos to Control By Barry Eisen

Below are 24 great ideas designed to give you back your time and life. Managing time, rather than letting it manage you is an art form. Little changes can make huge differences. Look at what is offered below and incorporate 1 or 2 ideas that make sense to do. You can always come back to the list for more when you’re ready for more. 1. Get Ready the Night Before. Get it out of your head. Plan

out your next day by writing a “killer” To-Do list and prioritize A, B and C business and personal priorities. You’ll sleep better too. Top Agent Magazine

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2. Focus on the Important Things. Less is more. Commit to

doing the A things on your To-Do list. Stop randomly playing games and surfing social media. Focus on what’s important. Here’s the procrastinationbe-gone formula: Do the important stuff first. No “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts” do it. 3. Remove the Clutter. Much of our “visual noise” is caused by

stuff. Practice a three-part clutter rating system that will help you prevent and remove clutter: • It’s important now. Use it and then put it in its home (where it’s supposed to be). • It will be important. Put it in its home (where it’s supposed to be). • It’s not important. Get rid of it: Toss it or if possible, consider donating it.

4. Get Organized and Stay That Way. Pick an organizational

system, execute it, and stick to it. Your new system may feel foreign at first, but it will eventually form into a habit. If you slip or feel like you’re ready to give up, recall the benefits of being organized and pick up where you left off. When necessary, make adjustments, but avoid switching to new organizational systems or you’ll lose the benefits.

5. Keep One Calendar. Whether it’s a Week/Month at a Glance

appointment book, wall calendar, smartphone app, etc. - keep ONE calendar. First, keep track of the usual calendar events: birthdays, and appointments. Second, use your weekly calendar to keep track of bills, plan menus, make appointments with yourself to write or read, etc. This will help prevent the scenario of sifting through bills, notes, and multiple calendars. 6. Focus on What’s in Front of You. Of course, not all tasks

require 100% focus, but for tasks like prospecting or writing, never multitask. Lots of studies have shown the inefficiency of juggling tasks. If you refocus your attention on another task, it can take more time to refocus on your original task. Don’t do it. Stay focused. Turn off your phone and disconnect from the internet during tasks, like writing or studying, to focus. Don’t drop what you’re currently doing to address something you just thought of or remembered. If you think of something completely unrelated to what you’re 14

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working on, jot down a few quick notes (a word or two to jog your memory will suffice). Keep up momentum: FOCUS. 7. Execute Decisions Faster. If you find

yourself hemming and hawing over a decision, make a decision then and there. If the task Sometimes a has a lot hanging on the outcome, fresh set of eyes is seek/ask for more information if you need it, but the key all you need to get is: make a decision now. back on track. 8. Delegate and Learn to Love It.

We can be greedy with our workloads. Drop the, “if you want things done right, you have to do it yourself” mentality. If it can be done by someone else (more effectively) and it’s not an important task, delegate it. 9. Just Say “No.” Stop agreeing to take on things for which you don’t

have time. If you don’t have time for it or it will take your focus away from other priorities, say no.

10. HELP Is not a Dirty 4 Letter Word. Ask for help. Sometimes

a fresh set of eyes is all you need to get back on track, but be sure your plea is directed at the right person and is respectful of their own priorities. 11. Time Activities. We all can get swept away by television, social

media, internet browsing, article reading, and games. Allot yourself an amount of time for online activities and playing games. Set an alarm. When the time is up, stop the activity. 12. Time Your Conversations and Meetings. I’m not

recommending that you don’t socialize or be rude. I’m recommending that you don’t allow conversations or meetings to completely disrupt your day. Allot yourself time. For “water cooler” talks, give yourself 5 minutes and keep them infrequent. For meetings, estimate how much time you’ll need to address the needs of those involved, come prepared, and if there isn’t

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already an agenda, propose talking points to squeeze more value out of the meeting. 13. Call, Don’t Text. Text messaging is supposed to be quick and to

the point... not long, drawn out conversations. For anything beyond a quick yes or no question, call. For example, call for emergencies and all of those “how are you?” and “what ‘cha doin’?” questions. If it goes to voicemail, don’t worry. Most people have access to visual voicemail anyway, so it will be like a text. Either way, trust that they will get the message.

14. Turn Aimless Browsing Into Growth Opportunities.

Create an ongoing list of questions, curiosities, or things you’ve always wanted to find out more about. When you sit down to browse the internet, start looking for answers. You might surprise yourself with what you find. 15. Do Your Errands at the Same Time. Schedule time to

do errands and plan a route ahead of time to ensure you’re not wasting time bouncing back and forth across town.

16. Filter Your Email. How much time do you waste in your inbox?

Filter your email: • Create rules for recurring emails that don’t require an action to be archived in a particular folder. • Set rigorous anti-spam settings to block unwanted email from reaching your inbox. • Form a habit of touching an email once: If you open it, you have to address it (e.g., respond and file). 17. Automate Responses. If you find yourself replying with the

same or nearly identical responses for clients keep a template to quickly copy/paste the response and tweak it as necessary to personalize the message. 18. Automate Bill Payments. For any recurring bills that you

have: AUTOMATE. Not only will this save you time, it may even save you money and raise your credit score if you’re the forgetful type. 16

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19. Sort the Mail in Your Hand. When you get your mail, don’t

let it sit in a pile. Sort out the junk right away and then prioritize other items respectively (see weekly calendar). If possible, go green by electing not to receive the hard copy. 20. Avoid Rush Hour. Do you commute to work? Negotiate a work

schedule to travel during non-traffic delayed times. You can easily turn a 60-minute, traffic-jammed commute into 25 minutes by getting ahead of the traffic or waiting it out. Online apps, like Waze, do a good job informing of traffic problems so you can adjust accordingly.

21. Keep a Running Shopping List. Create a policy that for

whoever squeezes the last bit of toothpaste out of the tube, kills the mustard bottle, etc., they are responsible to write it down on the shopping list. In doing so, this will save time from taking inventory as well as keep your shopping trip quick - get into the store, grab what you need, and go (rather than meandering down aisles). 22. Cook for Tomorrow. Double the amount of what your cooking

and refrigerate/freeze the leftovers. It may take you a small amount of time to double what you’re already making, but it will save you much more time making your next meal by not having to start from scratch. 23. Learn While You Workout. When on a treadmill, elliptical

machine etc., listen to news, pod casts, and audiobooks rather than music to keep up with trends in your niche, current events, books, and learning at large.

24. Exercise More Effectively. Exchange moderation for higher

intensity. You can have a more effective and efficient workout by putting more effort into a 30-minute high-intensity workout than 90 minutes of lowto-medium effort.

Copyright©, 2016 Barry Eisen. All rights reserved.

Barry Eisen teaches personal development seminars and coaches Southern California top producing REALTORS®. “Your business will never grow more than you do” is the theme; self hypnosis and behavior modification are the tools for playing a bigger game. barryeisen.com, barryeisen@LA.twcbc.com 818-769-4300 Top Agent Magazine

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6 Methods for Building Better Email Lists By Kendra Lee

Email lists can be a blessing or a curse. When they’re composed of real email addresses of people in your target micro-segment, and those people recognize you or your company by name, an email list is an invaluable lead generation resource. When the list is filled with contacts who don’t know of you or your company, i.e. a cold list, lead generation can be though – really tough. Likewise, if your list is populated with fake, inactive, or irrelevant accounts you’re at risk of being banned by your email software provider. Not surprisingly, I hear from clients all the time asking how to build an email list that will get results for their campaigns. Should they purchase? Should they attempt to build their own? Remember that with email list building your goal is to build a list of people within your micro-segment, so quality is more important than quantity. The more similar the contacts, the easier it is to tailor your nurturing and lead generation content to their specific needs. Here are six methods that will help you build a quality email list. Top Agent Magazine

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1

Nurturing and lead generation activities: When you engage in social media, nurturing activities, SEO, and Adwords, those mediums provide forums for you to drive people to your website, start a conversation via a social channel, attend an event you’re hosting, and add people to your list. People who respond really do want to be part of your list.

2

Membership organizations: Whether it’s through industry associations, mastermind groups, or networking events, these types of organizations provide an excellent means for collecting contact information. Generally, people will update or provide their own information because they want other members to have easy access to them so you know the data is current.

3

Shared lists: By finding a peer who targets a similar microsegment with a non-competitive offering, you may be able to forge a partnership in which you promote to each other’s lists. This happens frequently within the high tech space, with consultants, and with professional services organization where they understand the value of collaboration.

4

Research the web and build your own: Increasingly, we’re seeing companies comb LinkedIn, Zoominfo. com, InsideView.com, DiscoverOrg.com and other websites for contact information, and then follow-up with companies to confirm the validity of that information. This approach is time consuming, but it can be very effective. A client who we coached through this process recently got a 41% open rate on their email nurturing campaign. I really like DiscoverOrg for the detailed information they have if you’re selling in the IT or telecom industry.

5

Purchase lists: There are numerous companies that sell email lists, but you need to be careful which vendor you buy from

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and how much you spend. Prices typically range from hundreds to several thousand dollars depending on list specificity and size. One warning: Expect higher bounce rates with these lists and negotiate for that issue when you purchase. To avoid high bounce rates, look for a list company that validates the information. In this way I’ve been very pleased with ExchangeLeads for new lists and validation of current lists. If you don’t have any list, this may be the way to get started.

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Trade information for information: Sites like ExchangeLeads and Data.com community give you credit for providing contact information for companies you’ve worked with in the past. As you earn credit, you can use it to acquire lists for free. These services generally have a fee option as well, and the data integrity is dependent upon users keeping it current. Again, look for companies that validate data to reduce bounce rates and wasted time. I really like ExchangeLeads for trading information as well as purchasing it. Ultimately, my advice would be to focus as much on the organic list building methods (#s 1-4) as possible, and supplement with the purchased methods (#s 5 and 6) when necessary. If you start with a purchased list, plan to nurture it and build your recognition. Don’t toss it away if you don’t get immediate results. At the end of the day, you want to strive for list quality over list quantity. Pushing your messaging out to unwitting, uninterested, or unsuspecting prospects won’t do anything to help you close more deals.

Contact details for Kendra Lee: Phone: 303-741-6636 (Old fashioned, but very effective.) Email: Info@klagroup.com (Yes, I get every one of these personally.) Twitter: @KendraLeeKLA (And I do follow all direct messages on Twitter!) KLA Group is a sales consulting and training firm focused on helping clients get more customers in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment through lead generation, prospecting, hiring and onboarding Copyright©, 2016 Kendra Lee. All rights reserved. strategies. Top Agent Magazine

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4 Ways to Win the Battle Against Procrastination One of the most common professional afflictions is procrastination. The funny thing is, everyone knows that procrastination is negative—it’s a waste of time, a creator of stress, and is entirely a problem of our own making. Still, knowing all of this doesn’t necessarily decrease our odds of procrastination. There are plenty of explanations we give when putting 22

work off until the last minute. Perhaps you convince yourself that you work best under pressure, but it’s truer that you’re used to working under pressure by necessity. Maybe you’re a perfectionist and the fear of getting it all wrong puts you off from the task. Whatever the justification may be, overcoming procrastination requires some willpower and technique. With

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that in mind, take a look at a few tricks below to jumpstart your motivation and nix the lastminute time crunch. After all, you owe it to yourself and your business to operate like a procrastination-free professional.

1. Make Your Intentions Known As realtors and mortgage professionals, you may serve as your own boss. So, when the time comes to complete a task and you put it off—perhaps you’re only disappointing yourself. This is easily remedied by making a new promise to try again tomorrow. On the other hand, it’s much harder to break promises and commitments to others. Try verbalizing your intent and commitment to your team, or to an assistant who can hold you accountable, or better yet—to a business partner or to a client. Make a hard deadline public and you’re likely to perform for fear of embarrassment or losing face. In a way, this puts the pressure of expectation on you, instead of the pressure of the ticking clock.

2. Take a Baby Step When tasks pile up, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you’ve got a number of items on your to-do list, including some heavy hitters that require a lot of attention and time, begin by taking on something simple. Identify an easily completed job that needs attention and put it first in your queue. Duties that are straightforward and aren’t time-intensive can lead you to the rest of your to-do list, fueling you with the satisfaction of a task already complete. Even if it’s as small as returning e-mails, or dropping off your dry-cleaning, one simple thing off your Top Agent Magazine

list can inspire you to continue on to the next item in the spirit of productivity.

3. Work in Windows If work is the last thing you want to do and you can’t seem to self-motivate, make a compromise with yourself. Agree to work just fifteen minutes, and mean it. This tiny window of time is easy enough to complete, isn’t overwhelming, and you’ve already agreed to move on once time is up. The truth? Odds are that just fifteen minutes of active work will inspire you to keep going. After all, the most difficult part of procrastination is getting started. By putting in those fifteen minutes, you’ll trick yourself into diving into the action.

4. Switch Up Your Environment If you’re stuck in rut when it comes to procrastination and productivity, try changing your surroundings. If the office feels stale and stressful, take your work to the nearest coffee shop and try to tackle your tasks there. Perhaps the quiet, studious ambiance of a library can make you focus, or a picnic table outside the office can stimulate the senses. Sometimes changing your scenery can breathe new life into your routine and give you the extra push you need to get work done. There’s no one way to overcome procrastination. In fact, it’s likely a lifelong process of building discipline, finding techniques that work for you, and simply prioritizing your time more effectively. Don’t lose hope—remember these tricks and winning the war will be possible, even if you lose a few battles along the way.

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