COLORADO 7-27-20

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COLORADO EDITION

COOPERATION, NOT COMPETITION, CREATES MUTUAL SUCCESS FOR AGENTS

COVER STORY

JEANNE GUISCHARD FEATURED AGENT

ALEXA ELLIOT

MILLENNIAL BUYERS:

Where They Are & What to Know

CONCIERGE CARE:

Services that Lure Clients and Transform Your Reputation


COLORADO EDITION

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JEANNE GUISCHARD

ALEXA ELLIOT

CONTENTS 4) CONCIERGE CARE: SERVICES THAT LURE CLIENTS AND TRANSFORM YOUR REPUTATION 6) COOPERATION, NOT COMPETITION, CREATES MUTUAL SUCCESS FOR AGENTS

15) EASY BLOG TOPICS FOR YOUR REAL ESTATE BLOG 20) MILLENNIAL BUYERS: WHERE THEY ARE & WHAT TO KNOW

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Concierge Care: Services that Lure Clients and Transform Your Reputation It’s a no-brainer: customer service is central to success in the real estate industry. While properties may be the product, this industry really revolves around people and the relationships you cultivate along the way. With that in mind, how would you describe the service you provide? If solid service is the baseline, then to set yourself apart you must deliver service that’s exceptional. But, how? Returning calls and displaying a friendly face won’t necessarily separate you from the pack. If you really want to take your customer service to the next level and build a reputation for white-glove, concierge-level courtesy, then keep a few of the following tips in mind as you create a professional style that’s completely bespoke. 4

Make your communications matter For many agents, communication during and after a transaction are perfunctory affairs, with one-sizefits-all newsletters or promotional postcards that feel mass-produced. To really grab the attention of your clientele, you’ll want to build a recognizable brand. To accomplish this, begin by adding value to your regular communications. Clients are likely to bypass your communications if they think your only intent is to sell them something. Focus instead on creating content that’s compelling and dishes out value to your clientele. Just like a favorite blog you revisit again and again for its quality content, con-

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sider your communications as an extension of your brand and identity. A few popular ideas from which clients can derive value include: local restaurant guides, tax tips for homeowners, reports on home values and the marketplace, or highlighting home décor and landscaping trends. Make your communications readable and useful, and your clients past and present will think twice before skipping past your name.

Showcase the lifestyle Clients remember when you go the extra mile, and that additional effort distinguishes run-of-the-mill agents from high-powered professionals. Whether listing or buying, consider a property’s lifestyle. First, think about a client’s everyday experience. Where’s the best breakfast spot nearby? How’s access to public transportation or bike paths? Which outdoor recreational opportunities exist in the area? Where might your client swing by for coffee? Neighborhood guides that outline the livability of a home and its area not only boost value and highlight potential, but they also demonstrate your ability to think outside the box and connect on a personal level. After all, a home isn’t just a house; a home is all about the daily experience that unfolds within and beyond those four walls. With that in mind, do your homework and make yourself a local expert. Your clients will feel they’re in good hands and will better envision their future unfolding, all thanks to your thorough legwork.

Customize your approach to clients As an agent, it’s only natural that you build your own daily routines and practices that keep your business running. While it’s necessary to create positive habitats that streamline your workflow, it’s also important to remain adaptable. For instance, Millennial clients may prefer to chat by text, instant Top Agent Magazine

message, or email, whereas older clientele may prefer face-to-face time or connecting by phone call. Adapting your communication style is as simple as a brief discussion: ask your client how they prefer to communicate and adapt accordingly. While it may seem like a small matter, it provides clients with a sense of comfort and control. Again, the key here is communication. Talk with your clients about their preferred methodology. Maybe they prefer a marathon house-hunting trek on a weekend day, or perhaps they rather sift through listings online before making in-person visits to a narrowed list. It’s okay to encourage clients or fill them in on industry norms, but it’s important to create an experience that’s tailored to their style and personality.

Authentically seek feedback While it may feel uncomfortable, asking for feedback during and at the end of a transaction can dramatically improve your working style and professional blind-spots. It can also help you adapt your working style to better suit your respective clients. Of course, it’s important to be open-minded and to quash the need to be defensive. Not all feedback will be useful, but you can incorporate the parts that are. This not only grows your skillset, but it also demonstrates to clients that you are open to constructive criticism and sincerely prioritize a job well done over personal praise. As a bonus, positive feedback can be parlayed into client testimonials, which are incredibly useful tools to boost your business on the whole. It’s no secret that real estate is a busy, self-determined business. While your client care may feel all accounted for, there is always room to grow. Professionals at the top of their field know this and never stop building out their repertoire. If you want to take your business to the next level and create an imprint that’s synonymous with concierge care, then keep these ideas in mind as you build your relationships and your brand.

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Cooperation, Not Competition, Creates

Mutual Success for Agents When people get along during a business transaction, everyone comes out happier. And in a service industry like real estate, agents have the power deliver that happiness. By working cooperatively, sharing advice and helping each other help clients, agents not only enhance their own reputations, but that of real estate in general. 6

“Bring everyone together” Matt Kobelski, with Credentials Real Estate Group in Massachusetts, points out that providing good service involves more people than the party you’re representing. “I’m not afraid to bring together all the parties in a deal and say, ‘OK, let’s figure out a solution that works best

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Teaming up with an agent from a different brokerage on a transaction is not as uncommon or complicated as it might seem

for everyone,” he explains. “My goal is to avoid being adversarial.” Real estate, he believes, should always be a field in which each person can win. “It’s about working toward a mutual goal, shaking hands, and walking away happy that a seller sold, a buyer bought and everyone got what they wanted.” But Is it that simple? Most agents have experienced the ways conflicting personalities and tension during a transaction can heat up even the most cordial relations. In reality, however, it’s more productive to let down your guard and work with others as a team than it is to allow stress and competition to preside. South Florida REALTOR® and broker associate, Risë V. Siegrist, for instance, has zero interest in competing with other agents. “It’s more important to be professional and associate with competent, caring people,” she says. By serving others with a cooperative spirit, experienced agents like Risë set an excellent example for emerging real estate stars. Risë hopes to be a model for the next generation of agents, training people who may one day become part of her team. Risë’s position on cooperation inspires more reasons for nurturing relationships with other agents. Over the decades, many agents change brokerages several times. Who knows if that agent across the table will one day work at the Top Agent Magazine

same brokerage you do? Perhaps you’ll even have an opportunity to partner on an exciting, future transaction. Good relations keep doors open to endless possibilities.

Co-listing cooperation Teaming up with an agent from a different brokerage on a transaction is not as uncommon or complicated as it might seem. In fact, some agents cleverly capitalize on their collective attributes, rather than competing against one another. South Carolina REALTOR® Kimberly Pannit is a perfect example of the universal benefits of co-listings. Although she has always been an independent agent, Kimberly works hard to form professional alliances that give her business the feel of a cooperative network across brokerages. This cooperative approach may be nontraditional, but it benefits clients in unique ways. By working closely with agents at other brokerages, she shows how agents can improve client service while helping one another. Kimberly’s cooperative approach began in her own neighborhood, where an agent friend from a different brokerage also lives. “Several years ago, I approached her because both of us were friends with our neighbors. I asked, ‘Why don’t we give our neighbors superior service and

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co-list together? We both love our area and are passionate about our jobs, the location and schools.’” She also didn’t want to make their mutual friends choose between them when they could work together. “I said, ‘Let’s give them amazing service together!’” With their brokers’ permission, two weeks later the agents co-listed their first home and put extra energy into ensuring uninterrupted client service.

Networking and “Co-opertition” When the ultimate goal is to match a client with the perfect home or create optimal terms of sale for a listings, networking with other agents can facilitate that ideal buyer-seller match. Nashville REALTOR® and broker/owner Lisa Land embraced every opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the real estate industry and to her local market, even before building her own team. “Agents would frequently ask me for help or advice,” she says, noting that she shares, rather than guarding, the methods she uses to get through difficult or confusing transactions. “I was fortunate to have great mentors when I started in real estate, so I’m always

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willing to offer help, even to agents outside of The Luxe Collective.” Meanwhile, on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Janet Leigh Scott describes the climate between agents as relaxed and professional. “While the real estate market is highly competitive, we’re truly a ‘co-opertition’ market; agents work together and a have greater sense of community than you might experience in off-island brokerages,” Janet says. “If I have buyer coming into town, I’ll reach out to agents I’ve done transactions with to ask if they have anything coming up that might not be on the market yet.” Even in hot, competitive L.A. real estate, independent agents such as Andrej Nagy of The Agency RE knows the importance of receiving and providing professional mentorship. “My relationships with clients are extremely important,” he says. “But my relationships with agents on the other side of a deal are also important.” For REALTORS® like him, working smoothly with other agents is a privilege. Doing so builds rewarding relationships while ensuring win-win transactions for everyone at the closing table.

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JEANNE GUISCHARD

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Lifetime Achievement RE/MAX Career Award 2019

Top Agent Jeanne Guischard of The Elite Team, RE/MAX Real Estate Group services clients in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado. Jeanne Guischard was born into the real estate industry. “My mom was an agent in Mission Viejo, California, so I grew up watching her work,” she recalls. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting/Information Systems. Shortly thereafter, she transferred to Vandenberg with her husband, Vince and pursued a career in 10 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

marketing, working as a projects coordinator for the University of California at Santa Barbara. “It was here, that I began to develop many marketing strategies and customer-service oriented talents,” she says. After moving back to Colorado Springs in 1999, she realized that her parents (her father also obtained his license) were in need of assistance with their real estate business. “The technology had Top Agent Magazine


15170 Ridgefield Lane Colorado Springs CO 80921 - Sold May 2020

Kitchen Remodel with Turk Interiors at Guischard’s personal home

drastically changed, and it was clear that they needed help!” she asserts. “In addition to helping my parents, I was a marketing specialist for agents in the area. ”It was at this point that she realized she had a passion for real estate and got her license In 2005. “I have enjoyed the new challenges of being a licensed agent ever since!” she exclaims. Top Agent Magazine

Jeanne’s mom, Roberta Stein, groomed her to take over The Stein Team, which she did in 2012. She has since changed the name of the business to The Elite Team, RE/MAX Real Estate Group, and works with an assistant and one agent, covering the Pikes Peak region of Colorado. Jeanne’s efforts have been so successful, she reports her business is 90% repeat 11 Copyright Top Agent Magazine


Client Appreciation Event Briarfest Festival - Fall 2019

“I like to exceed the expectations of my clients,” Jeanne notes. “I am there to educate and advise but I always go at their pace, no matter how long it takes. In the end, the client must make his or her own decision.” and referral clientele. “I like to think I exceed the expectations of my clients,” she notes. “I am there to educate and advise but I always go at their pace, no matter how long it takes. In the end, the client must make his or her own decision.” Jeanne’s tenacity and hard work together with her “can do” attitude assures her clients the best possible service, whether they are looking to purchase their next home or sell an existing Copyright Top Agent Magazine 12

one. “I’m extremely detail-oriented,” she says. “I’ll always go the extra mile to do the research on a property or whatever it is they need. They appreciate that.” To stay in touch with her clients, Jeanne stays busy on her Facebook business page as well as sends out monthly mail-outs and postcards. “I am very big on client appreciation events,” she says. “In July, we’re having our drive-through Top Agent Magazine


2435 Amberwood Lane Colorado Springs CO 80920 - Sold Nov 2019

111 Mayflower Street Colorado Springs CO 80906 - Sold April 2020

recycling event. As an added treat, I’ve also hired an ice cream truck.” Jeanne is also a Miracle Agent and makes a donation after every transaction on behalf of her client to the local Colorado Children’s Hospital. In 2019, she was recognized as a top RE/MAX Fundraiser. Jeanne admits that she does not need to do as much marketing in the current climate. “Inventory gets snapped up pretty quickly these Top Agent Magazine

days,” she says. However, she does utilize all of the latest technology, including virtual tours, 3D walk-throughs, and online floor plans. “I’m a Zillow Premier agent, so my listings are featured there, plus I promote to my peers,” she says. What does she love most about her work? “Some agents view real estate from an asset perspective, focusing solely on “bricks and mortar,” dollars and cents. I have a different view,” she asserts. Copyright Top Agent Magazine 13


Family photo Clare, Vince, Jeanne, and Amber - Spring 2018 in Forest Lakes

“I see real estate as a people business, first and foremost. It’s more than just dollars and cents. It’s about people, and their hopes and dreams.” As for her future plans, Jeanne is still searching for her “mini-me,” someone who will eventually take over her business as she did for her mother.

“Unfortunately, my kids, Amber and Clare, aren’t interested in the business,” she says. She does plan to work for at least another 5-10 years. “And then I will do more supervisory work and hopefully do some traveling with my husband, run another marathon or two, and give more of my time and talents to my church,” she says.

Client Appreciation - Private Wine Tasting Event - Fall 2019

To learn more about Jeanne Guischard, call (719) 440-2872, visit eliteteamcos.com or email jeanne@eliteteamcos.com www.

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Easy Blog Topics for Your Real Estate Blog Today, blogging looks a lot different than it did back in 2007, when the platform was just beginning to take off. Successful bloggers don’t choose blog topics on a whim. They think strategically and develop pillar content that their target audience will come back to again and again. Real estate bloggers should be less concerned with whether the same post already exists (it does) Top Agent Magazine

than with how they can be more informative and helpful than their competition. Your personality is likely the thing that your clients connect with, and your blog is another place where you can let it shine. Pillar content refers to those evergreen posts that never get old because they are always timely. Think about those questions that you’ve had to

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answer a hundred, if not thousands of times— that’s your pillar content. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could direct your clients to a blog post or, better yet, they discovered the answer on your website rather than you having to constantly repeat yourself?

Or maybe you helped a client sell their house for much more than they were expecting by conducting a series of small and inexpensive renovations. Tell your readers how you did it.

Evergreen Content

Your clients are likely new to the area. Inform them about upcoming community events or mom-and-pop shops they may have never heard of. Are there hiking trails or parks nearby? What’s the best place to grab a cup of coffee before work or a beer after? You can spotlight these places regularly as a monthly series.

This should really make up the bulk of your content. The possibilities are endless, and you could easily come up with an entire year’s worth of content with only a few hours of brainstorming. Here are some examples: You could provide your readers with a list of questions they should ask when interviewing a realtor, the steps to becoming a real estate investor, real estate facts all first-time homeowners should know, steps new parents should take to prepare their home for a baby, recommended vendors for home maintenance, or common real estate terms defined. You could explain to your readers what they need to know about home staging, which home renovations add the most value to their home, how to research schools or crime rates in specific neighborhoods, what a home association is, or how to start flipping houses and buying foreclosures.

Case Studies Sometimes realtors work with a client for years before they are ready to buy a home. Personal finance blogs are a thing for a reason. People want to see exactly how someone else achieved a shared goal. If you have a close relationship with a client who you helped become a homeowner, consider interviewing this client and writing up a case study that shows exactly how the two of you worked together to achieve this goal. 16

Stay Local

There are plenty of real estate news outlets that will be posting about the state of the market—but they won’t be talking about your specific community, and that’s where your blog comes in. Of course, if you only blog about community functions or properties on the market, then as soon as that event is over or that listing is sold, your content ceases being useful. The best real estate blogs balance their content by posting a little about all the above. Maintaining a high-quality blog means your prospective clients don’t need to visit several websites to have their questions answered because you’ve done the work for them. It’s a tool that helps you make a great first impression. If you still need help coming up with blog topics for your real estate blog, consider sending a survey out to your clients. You can send it via email and post it on social media. Ask your clients what real estate problems they need help solving and write your content with their responses in mind.

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ALEXA ELLIOT Top Agent Magazine

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ALEXA ELLIOT

Top Agent Alexa Elliot with American Home Agents, covers the Denver Metro area. “Helping people has always been important to me...I set aside 10% of my commission to help single moms or first-time home buyers complete their dream of owning a home.” Alexa Elliot started out working with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept. She was in her mid-twenties at the time, but after the excitement of buying her first home, she decided to make the switch to real estate. “Helping people has always been important to me, and I wanted to share the experience with others, so I moved to Denver, Colorado, and got my license.” That was 25 years ago. Since then, Alexa has helped over 1500 families achieve home ownership and sold over a half a billion in sales. She is currently working with American Home Agents, covering the Denver Metro area. Alexa reports closing 104 transactions this year. “I love to do most of the work myself as it helps me build relationships, get to know my clients plus I am very detail oriented,” she says. “This allows me to control the transaction to the benefit of my client, 18

but I will bring in a transaction coordinator to help me with paperwork.” Alexa has built her business on repeat and referral clientele and building relationships with lenders and other professionals. “I love helping family, friends, and past clients find or upgrade to their new homes,” she states. “I treat them like family and believe in being their ‘Realtor for life,’ no matter what their needs.” The type of caring and kindness she offers many of her clients comes in the form of charitable donations. “I set aside 10% of my commission to help single moms or first-time home buyers complete their dream of owning a home,” she says. “Many Buyers have great jobs and good credit, but they just need help with a down payment or closing costs. Copyright Top Agent Magazine


That’s where I’ll pitch in.” She also sets aside 5% to place dogs who need homes through a company called Pet Madness. In addition, American Home Agents, with spokesperson Peyton Manning, gave $100,000 to the food bank during the Covid crises. Alexa believes in reaching out to her clients using a touch system. “I try to touch base at least twice a month, whether it be with mailers, special occasion cards, and of course, phone calls, emails and texts,” she asserts. With more than 20 years of experience in all aspects of Real Estate, she has developed and trained in franchise systems related to the real estate industry on a national and state level. Alexa also specializes in real estate investing. She has helped numerous clients buy investment properties creating a retirement asset, residual monthly cash flow and assisted in the management of those properties. “Since I’m practically a native of Colorado, I am well versed in all areas and aspects of the local market and trends throughout,” she says. “But most importantly, I believe in honesty, integrity, hard work and building relationships.” She loves what she does because of the joy she brings to families. “Seeing the smiles on their faces when they’re handed the keys to their new homes, is the best,” she says. “It’s always been my mission to help people attain their goals and dreams of home ownership.” When she’s not working, Alexa tends to her small hobby farm in Castle Rock. she loves her animals, saying, “It’s so beautiful and relaxing there,” she says.

As for her plans for the future, Alexa says, “I’ll keep working until I can no longer walk,” she laughs, “My goal is to continue to stay in the top 10 of all agents in Colorado. I also plan to add a few exceptional agents, who use the best tools and technology available to give our clients the highest returns in their home sale and incredible deals for our buyers and investors”. Top Agent Magazine

To learn more about Alexa Elliot, email AlexaRealtyGroup@gmail.com, visit her website ColoradoHomefront.com, or call (303) 933-1664 Copyright Top Agent Magazine 19


Millennial Buyers: Where They Are & What to Know Homebuyers and sellers come from all walks of life. If you’ve been an agent for long, you’ve likely worked alongside a wide variety of folks—from first-timer homeowners and down-sizers, to second home searchers and those finally hunting for their dream home. While there is hardly a shortage of diversity in the housing market, there 20

is one generation that is making big strides in homeownership these days: Millennials. Millennials can be loosely defined as those between the ages of twenty-two to thirtyseven. As you can see, this constitutes a wide swathe of the population. If you’re an agent who stands to learn a bit more about

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a demographic whose influence and homeownership goals are rapidly evolving, tune in below for a few pointers that can help you expand a segment of your clientele in the process.

Where do Millennials prefer to buy? Many Millennials came of age during or immediately following the Great Recession, and as such, many of them relocated or returned to mid-size cities and smaller communities where the cost of living was most affordable. Of course, there are countless Millennials that call the U.S.’s major cities home—especially those in the

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tech industry. The good news is that you can court Millennial clientele no matter where you service area is located. That said, community amenities are of great importance to this generation. They value public transportation, green space, and entertainment—from coffee shops and topnotch restaurants to farmer’s markets and boutiques. Emphasizing those attributes will be key in selling to Millennials and locating neighborhoods they’re most interested in.

What sort of communication do Millennials prefer? Most Millennials are digital natives, or close to. That means they grew up learning

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how to navigate digital spaces, and prefer to communicate through mediums like email, text, and social media. This isn’t to say that Millennials aren’t good communicators, but they’re often on the go, and have learned to research and shop online. To accommodate this, it’s best to build a presence across the most popular listing portals and social media platforms. Although, it’s not enough to establish a site and wait for the calls to come in. Responsiveness is a key factor for Millennials, who expect speedy response times. Make sure you’re checking your inbox frequently, responding accordingly, and engaging with your audience online. This will let Millennials know

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that you’re savvy, available, and understand the value of their preferred method of communication.

Are Millennials ready to buy? It’s a common misconception that Millennials are uninterested in the rite of passage of purchasing a home. While Millennials maybe waiting a bit longer than their parents did to buy a home, there are good reasons to explain this phenomenon. For starters, Millennials entered the job market during the downturn, which means they are more conservative when making big purchases, and have to play catch-up to reach a sound

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financial position. Likewise, student loan debt has proved a major financial inhabitation for Millennials. Instead of socking away a few hundred a month to save for a home, they’re forking over that cash to pay down their educational loans. How does a Realtor compete with this reality? For starters, a bit of understanding goes a long way. Work with your mortgage partners to find financing possibilities that cater to this younger demographic. Recognize that Millennials—like most buyers—have some trepidations when buying a home. Also consider fielding Millennial clientele with the long view in mind. You might be Top Agent Magazine

courting them for months or more until they’re ready to take the plunge, but they’re also famous for their reviews. When a job is done well, Millennials shout it from the rooftops—or at least share it a dozen time from their phone. As time passes, Millennials will continue to dominate the marketplace when it comes to buying and selling homes. A little self-education on this powerful demographic can go a long way. If you know your clients and your audience, you’ll be in a far better position to serve their interests and make a customer for life.

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