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ILLINOIS EDITION

BE THEIR REALTOR® FOR LIFE: How to Build a Relationship with Your Clients that Will Last a Lifetime 9 Things the Best LEADERS NEVER SAY

COVER STORY

KATI SPANIAK

Drip Those ONLINE LISTING LEADS Killing Clients with KINDNESS AND VALUE


ILLINOIS EDITION

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KATI SPANIAK

CONTENTS 4) BE THEIR REALTOR® FOR LIFE: HOW TO BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CLIENTS THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME 13) DRIP THOSE ONLINE LISTING LEADS

18) KILLING CLIENTS WITH KINDNESS AND VALUE 22) 9 THINGS THE BEST LEADERS NEVER SAY

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Be Their REALTOR for Life: ®

How to Build a Relationship with Your Clients That Will Last a Lifetime In the world of real estate, an agent’s relationship with their clients can make or break their career. This industry revolves around working well with people, and being able to develop a strong relationship with your clients is the foundation that you business is based upon. Just like with a house, if that foundation is weak, the rest of the structure is also going to be unsteady and fragile. The mark of a good REALTOR® is their ability to build up a good referral network and following of loyal clients. This isn’t something that just happens by accident. Building healthy, strong relationships with your clients takes work and knowing how to gain another person’s trust, respect, and friendship. Here are some ways to make sure you are building the right kind of relationship with your clients. 4

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1. Use Your Friendliness and Optimism to Win Them Over: No one wants a pushy, overly confident salesperson for a REALTOR®. Clients are much more inclined to put their trust in the hands of someone who is friendly when it comes to one of the biggest financial transactions of their lives. A pleasant, outgoing disposition will win you more clients as well as friends. You want to establish rapport in the first few minutes of first meeting prospective clients. Rather than starting with business right off the bat, begin your meeting with some small talk such as similar interests, hobbies, and family life. This will immediately help to put your clients at ease, and show that you are not simply trying to “sell” them something. People also respond well to optimism. During what can be a very stressful time, clients need someone to help them stay positive when a situation looks difficult and challenging. Optimism also tends to radiate charisma, and people want to be around and do business with charismatic people. You want to learn how to understand, motivate, and inspire people.

2. Be an Inquisitive Learner and an Empathetic Listener:

out any potential concerns they might have. After you’ve gained as much information as possible, you can then gauge their interest in your possible solutions by asking “what if” questions. Being inquisitive also demonstrates to your clients that you are genuinely interested and invested in their situation. On the other side of this coin is knowing how to listen empathetically. Empathy involves actually putting yourself or your mind in their shoes so you can genuinely understand their concerns, needs, and opinions. That understanding and empathy is then reflected in your conversation with that client. Your clients want to know that you care about their situation, and that they’re not just another sale for you to make. People are much more willing to put their trust in you when they can sense that you are actually making an effort to feel what they feel in order to understand their situation. Showing your interest through questions, and then thoughtfully listening goes a long way towards gaining trust. Showing empathy and acknowledging the feelings and emotions involved in your clients situation helps build a relationship founded on genuine care and trust.

3. Watch for Nonverbal Clues:

Don’t be afraid to show your curiosity and ask your clients a lot of questions. Some of these questions may even be difficult and uncomfortable. You want to discover and learn as much as you can about your client. Don’t make the mistake of jumping straight into the role of the know-it-all. Every different client has unique needs, so you want to learn as much as you can about their specific situation before trying to propose a solution. You want to uncover their primary motive for buying or selling, and flush

Most communication happens nonverbally, so knowing how to interpret your client’s body language can be incredibly helpful. Here are a few things to pay special attention to: Eye contact: Be careful with the level of eye contact you use with clients when first meeting. Too much and too little eye contact can send the wrong impression. You want to try and maintain eye contact around 70 percent of the time. That is the amount that most people are comfortable with. Pay attention to your client’s level of eye

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contact to determine how comfortable they are. When someone avoids eye contact that could mean they are not engaged in the conversation. A good way to quickly build a feeling of rapport when first meeting clients is to make eye contact when you first meet them and then start nodding yes to what they’re saying. If the client reciprocates the eye contact and nodding, you’ve established a connection.

4. Prove your honesty and credibility:

Choose the right handshake for each client: One handshake does not fit all people, and that first handshake can be crucial to making a good first impression. The way to do a good handshake for each client is to try and mirror the other person’s handshake in strength, keep your shoulders aligned as you are preferably standing when you shake hands. While you shake your client’s hand make sure you make eye contact and give them a sincere smile.

Showing a little weakness can actually be to your advantage in this situation, and will actually make others more inclined view you as honest. You don’t want to come across as too good to be true. When revealing this weakness, however, the key to coming out on top is turning what sounds like a weakness into a strength. For example, your service may be more expensive, but that’s because you offer more personalized and extra services than your competitors.

Honesty and integrity are the two traits that 98 percent of buyers and sellers report are qualities they consider “very important”. The thing is you can say you have these traits all you want on your website, bio, etc., but trust has to be earned, and the only way to do this is to prove your credibility.

Here are a few tips for how to sound more credible:

When you talk to your clients avoid using filler words such as “um” and “uh”, which can decrease your credibility. You also want to watch the tone of your voice. People tend to translate a deeper tone as sounding more credible.

You want to develop a relationship to last a lifetime when interacting with your clients. There are many things you can do to accomplish this, and using these tips can take you from getting just a few referrals and repeat customers to gaining a loyal client following. Taking the little extra time to make sure you are projecting the right attitude and making sure that you are doing things to gain your client’s trust can make a world of difference for your business. 6

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KATI SPANIAK Top Agent Magazine

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Kati Spaniak and team provide the Chicago area with reputable, consistent, ethical and efficient realty support that is the envy of her competitors.

KATI SPANIAK Top Agent Kati Spaniak of The Spaniak Team at Keller Williams in Chicago prides herself on her team: a well-oiled machine that produces some of the best client service in the entire industry. Since 2012, Kati and team have been providing the Chicago area – specifically the North Shore region – with reputable, consistent, ethical and efficient realty support that is the envy of her competitors. With a marketing and administrative manager, a buyer’s agent, a listing manager, a full-time runner and two stagers, Kati is able to service her clients in a manner that is without parallel in the region, and they hope to be 8 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

the number one team on the North Shore of Chicago in 2017. One of the things that sets Kati apart is that she is no dilettante in the real estate world. While many other agents approach real estate in a more casual manner, Kati channels her previous experience running her own graphic design marketing firm into her current vocation, treating real estate as a serious business. “I view real estate as a real business,” she says. “Everyone on my team has their roles, and my customer service for my clients is outstanding. My clients all understand that there will be multiple people working for them. When you’re a successful agent, you have a lot of listings, and it can be hard to keep up with everything. That doesn’t hapTop Agent Magazine


pen with my team. My clients really like the team aspect,” says Kati. “They like the fact that they are getting a lot of attention.” This focus on individual roles within the team allows for a full-blown marketing campaign for each and every listing she takes on. “I market each property the way it needs to be marketed without thinking about the individual costs,” she says. “I create a sort of brand around the house when I market it.” In addition to tried and true marketing strategies, Kati has embraced newer technologies and has found success utilizing social media to promote her properties. “I do a lot of Facebook advertising, and am able Top Agent Magazine

to target specific areas with Internet ads.” Another unique element is the print advertising she does in local newspapers. With an advertising block reserved specifically for her company each week, she is able to feature different properties weekly via tailored advertising. With an impressive 24 5-star reviews on Zillow as of this writing, Kati’s clients are clearly more than satisfied with the service she provides. One of these glowing testimonials reads, “I worked with Kati to find a new home and sell my existing home. She is extremely professional and an expert in her field. Kati listened to my needs and always Copyright Top Agent Magazine 9


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responded in a timely fashion. I felt like she had my best interests at heart. Kati is compassionate and a skillful negotiator. I would highly recommend her to anyone I know.” “I think I’m good at what I do,” says Kati, “and I like being able to be a knowledgeable resource for my clients. They know and trust me and they know I’m giving them my best advice and opinions. I think I’m able to put myself in their shoes and sell their homes for Top Agent Magazine

the most money, and the least amount of time and stress.” As for the future of her business, Kati is looking for just the right people to grow her team. “If there’s anyone who is reading this,” she says, “and they think they have awesome talent and would like to be part of something huge, please contact me. I want to find people who want to build something awesome. That’s the message I’d like to get out.” Copyright Top Agent Magazine11


For more information on KATI SPANIAK, please call 847-379 - 8813 or email Kati@SpaniakTeam.com 12Copyright Top Agent Magazine

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Drip Those Online Listing Leads By Walter Sanford

My coaching clients are beginning to find more success with their online listing leads. Whether the lead is coming from postcard-generated invites to complete forms on their site or third-party consolidator leads, the web leads are coming in. The problem with a lot of these leads is bad phone numbers but good email addresses. The question is - how do we engage them in a conversation that leads to a listing appointment? Uncovering the seller’s needs prior to an appointment is always the first step in creating client satisfaction, but it’s very difficult to do without good contact information. By showing these potential sellers value, my clients have found that many sellers who wanted to remain anonymous are now holding up their hands and shouting “I want some of that!” The drip system that creates this kind of excitement is one that’s immediately started after the lead is received. The system shows the value that you can bring to their discovery process. Every three or four days, send an email that lets them know that there is so much more that a top, local, professional agent can add to their search. With my clients, we only give a little bit of information at a time. Usually within a few weeks, we have the serious leads contacting the agent for an over-the-phone consultation. Below are some of the points that we stress in our drip system email campaign for online listing leads: Top Agent Magazine

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Week One: Thank you for contacting us for more information regarding the sale of your property. I hope the information we have already provided was of some help to you. We believe that a real estate relationship should be based on the client’s needs. Once we know those needs, we have some very unique solutions that our past sellers have mentioned were available nowhere else. Please give us a call so we can supply some unique answers to unique challenges. Week Two: In our earlier email, we talked about unique solutions. One of the unique solutions we provide our sellers is a pre-listing consultation. Go to www.(yoursite).com/prelistingconsultation to answer a few questions and schedule a phone call that’s convenient for you. This will allow our team to be better prepared to give you some insights regarding what to expect in this market. Week Three: In continuing our theme of delivering value to our potential sellers, one of the most appreciated value propositions that we give our potential sellers is our “seller education system.” If you call us, we can program a search for brand new listings each morning. The search will include specs that compare to your home and the results will be emailed directly to you. This provides you with brand new listings that would be competing with your home, if it was on the market. This makes you the most educated seller in town knowing what the competition is. You’ll receive these new listings at the same time agents in (your town) receive them! Week Four: Occasionally, we have a seller who isn’t interested in considering a sale unless he/she knows the value first. We came up with a solution that eliminates a lengthy listing presentation. We call this our free 48-hour phone value analysis. Go to www.(yoursite).com/valueanalysis. Complete the form and within 48 hours, one of our team members will call you. Based upon the same comparables that appraisers would use, we will let you know the value of your home. This is a fast and inexpensive way to bridge the gap of an expensive appraisal or a time-consuming listing presentation with a service that can be just as accurate. There is no charge for this service, and we are happy to put the numbers together for you! 14

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Week Five: One of the services that our sellers most appreciate is our “meet the team” concept. You can go to our website or call us directly for the contact information on a trusted team member for almost any service. We know the best plumbers, HVAC techs, electricians, roofers, landscapers, painters, carpenters, and carpet installers in the area. We use them on our own homes, we trust them, and we have long business relationships with them. If you need anything done around your home to prepare for a potential sale or if you just want to get it ready for a special occasion, we know who does the job well here in (your town). Week Six: Our sellers get higher prices because we make their homes desirable to buyers! We call this service our “primp and polish” service. Any consultation is free! We can provide you some simple tips to make your home more inviting to buyers. We will point out any potential red flags and help you place furniture to get things ready to create that emotional pull. We have professional decorators on call. Their services cost money, but we have found their service is a good investment based on the additional monies that we receive for our client’s properties. The initial consultation is free! Please give us a call so we can set this up for you. Week Seven: Did you know that our company has access to a majority of the top real estate agents in any city in the world? If you are considering selling your home here and buying out of town--we can send you to top agents who understand your needs. Top agents know they can’t solve client’s challenges without first knowing what those challenges are. If you want a special house out of town, then give us a call. We know agents who will not only show you standard MLS properties but also properties that are not yet on the market. We call these “secret properties.” These secret properties can be owned by past clients who might consider selling or sellers developed from a postcard mailing campaign in your neighborhood of interest. These agents know many ways to find property that other agents will not show you. We find this service to be one of the best that we provide for our buyers so we wanted to make sure that you get the same service when you move. Top Agent Magazine

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Week Eight: If you’re not quite ready to list your property, we have a system called “sell the sizzle before the steak.” I know it sounds a little corny, but we can discretely present that your home might be available to our database of buyers. This helps us to do a little pre-marketing prior to a full commitment of our complete marketing plan. If you are interested in this service, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Week Nine: Did you know that we have a policy where no real estate agent will be allowed to negotiate with you in person? We do this because many times real estate agents can be very forceful in the presentation of offers from their clients. We ask for that offer to be presented to us, and we will spend as much time as you need with just us - your representatives. This eliminates awkward meetings where you need more time to think, and the buyer’s agent is pushing for an answer. We believe that selling a home should not only be massively profitable but also fun. If you’d like more ideas on how we differ from the competition, email or call me at your convenience. All contacts will be kept confidential. Well, I hope you get the idea that we’re trying to start a conversation with that potential seller instead of letting them fall through the cracks. A drip email campaign for a seller is similar to the campaign for buyers. It’s necessary for listing leads since the majority of information requests come via the web with incorrect or inoperable phone numbers. The only way to get these leads talking is to present them better value than everyone else. Copyright©, 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Walter Sanford has been designing and implementing real estate systems for 30 years. One of the most successful REALTORS® and now wealthy from his systems, Sanford teaches his systems and strategies through his products, seminars, and personal coaching producing the best results in the industry. Do what works, do what is proven. Hire Walter Sanford. Call our office at 800.792.5837, email walter@waltersanford.com, or chat with us online at www.waltersanford.com. 16

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Killing Clients with Kindness and Value By Walter Sanford

Sometimes, we need to “kill” our clients with kindness and offer value. I know it goes against everything in our nature to turn the other cheek when they are being mean. Recently, a coaching client had some challenges with a particular client, and I’m sure you have also worked with the kind of client who discourages you so much that you just want to hit the delete button! How about offering a response that increases your fame and makes the client always wonder what they may be missing? They might not list with you, but they will never forget you. Included in the balance of this article are the email from the client, the request for help from my coaching client, and then my suggested response. Email from the Potential Client: Sorry, I have been really busy. Let me tell you where I’m at with everything. You may or may not be interested. I am definitely putting the house on the market. The house has been rented for the last 5 years with the same family. They originally signed a rent to own lease. Three years ago, they decided they didn’t want to buy it. 18

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Anyway, I recently informed them that I’m going to put the house on the market. Now, they are reconsidering buying the house. I don’t think they will buy the house, but I guess you never know. If they do buy the house, it would be for sale by owner. I will not let them drag their feet. We happen to know a lot of REALTORS® in (area). Some are pretty good friends and with that comes opportunities at rates way under the norm. One of them did sell our last house quickly but circumstances have changed. I know you are a very good REALTOR®, because I have heard other REALTORS® talk about you. You may not be interested at this point anymore. If you are still interested, let me know what your best rate is. Let me know if you are okay with the current tenants on a “for sale by owner” agreement, if that happens. I would want a short-term agreement. The current rent is higher than my mortgage payment so I’m okay if they don’t buy and I’m not forced to sell at a low price. However, I want to sell ASAP. I’m wanting to purchase another property so I’m not going to overprice the house and I will negotiate. Email from Coaching Client to Me: Walter, this guy is a college basketball coach. I want to help him, but I need to have a chance to run a successful business, too! How do I answer this? Email from Me to Coaching Client (to share with potential client): Thank you so much for the nice words. It is very exciting to hear that our hard work is creating some buzz. I think we can accommodate you and exceed your expectations: Top Agent Magazine

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1. We believe that we exceed client expectations more often than most agents, because we spend the time to understand what the client needs. Then we develop a customized program to meet and exceed that goal. We would love to help you in accomplishing your real estate needs. 2. We would be happy to exclude the current residents from the listing agreement for 30 days. This would help in motivating the current residents to buy in that they can see the price discounted by the commission, if they commit to buy within the 30 day period. We would like to offer you our closing service that handles everything for a flat fee of $4,000. This handles the contract phase, aligning the team of affiliates, and the closing. This, of course, is at your option. 3..Our commissions are normal for our market, but we save you money over any commission discounter. Our specialty is increasing your net proceeds. We do this by bringing you more buyers with more effective marketing, better negotiating, better systems for handling inspections, better pre-approval tools for your buyer, better contracts, and less post-seller litigation from better contracts. Commission discounts usually cost you money because of the agent’s lack of emphasis on your net proceeds check. It is like a basketball player who is playing with no heart, only for the scholarship. 4. Our rate is retail 6%. This may eliminate us, but that would be a shortsided conclusion. Here are 5 of the ways we can beat any commission discount: A. We beat the average List to sell ratio in (area) by a larger margin than any discount. B. We beat the days on market, which affects your carrying costs and lost opportunity costs on your equity. C. We have a low litigation rate as compared to national standards. D. We can market your home a little over retail due to our marketing. 20

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D. We urge a pre-inspection plan to get rid of the little and big problems before a buyer is involved and wants everything built new. 5. Our agreements are 6 months, but that is not what sells properties. Marketing and price sell property. If we are wrong about those two items, we will adjust every week based upon showings and consultations with you. 6. I would also like to advise you on a misconception. Rental costs average about 35% of market rent in our area. Add in lost opportunity costs on your equity that is not doing anything at this point. I can show you how your current position is losing you money every month. I think our next step is a presentation of the tools we bring to achieve your goals. Listing with friends is loyal, but is it the best business decision? Do they have the tools and will you hold their feet to the fire when the results are not what you need? (Client’s name), you know the difference superstars make on a team. Let’s go for the win. It’s not so much whether my coaching client obtained the listing, but he needed to stand up for a profitable, long term business. Never sell yourself short to get business. You will never be happy. In these situations, I cannot guarantee an outcome, but I can guarantee the client will never forget you. You are planting seeds of discontentment with the small amount of money saved in a commission compared to not achieving their goal. Whether he/she admits it or not, he/she will have respect for you. Do more lead generation so you won’t have to work so hard on leads like these. Copyright©, 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Walter Sanford has been designing and implementing real estate systems for 30 years. One of the most successful REALTORS® and now wealthy from his systems, Sanford teaches his systems and strategies through his products, seminars, and personal coaching producing the best results in the industry. Do what works, do what is proven. Hire Walter Sanford. Call our office at 800.792.5837, email walter@waltersanford.com, or chat with us online at www.waltersanford.com. Top Agent Magazine

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Things the Best Leaders Never Say

As Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Being the boss is a great thing, but there’s a reason the ‘bad boss’ is common stereotype. Some people tend to use their power in destructive ways and that isn’t good for anyone. You might not even know you’re being a bad boss, it can be subtle sometimes. There are common traits among great leaders, if you want to be a boss that operates with integrity and is respected by everyone

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you work with, make sure you don’t say any of the following things.

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I’M THE BOSS

Stating a fact that should be obvious is always a sign of weakness, and when you are the boss, strength of leadership is THE key component. It also may indicates a stubbornness that is the death knell of a healthy work environment. Your job as a leader is to bring everyone to your level of success, not to create a larger rift.

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I’LL DO IT MYSELF

Being a good leader is all about delegation. If you are hiring people who are professional and trustworthy, then this should be a no brainer. It is your job as a leader to get the right people for the job and then lead them in away that means success for everyone.

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THAT WASN’T MY FAULT

There’s an old saying “The Buck Stops Here.” and that is still true today. Good leaders take responsibility for what happens. They don’t blame others or make excuses. They take the hit for the team and then find the solution to make it better. Not only does it show they have integrity, but it also fosters a warm team environment that makes all players feel like their boss has their back.

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I’M SORRY TO ASK YOU TO DO THIS

Treating your employees with respect is mandatory, at the same time there is no reason to be sorry when you ask people to do their job. Leadership is strength and confidence. Expecting your employees to put in the same work ethic as you is your job.

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I ALREADY KNOW THAT

Having a ‘know-it-all’ attitude isn’t pleasant coming from anyone, but the last thing you need to do as a boss is shut down the people working for you. If you give them the impression that you’ve thought of everything, why should they bother giving potentially valuable contributions? Make people feel good about all input, even if you don’t think it will work or have already thought of it. Open flow of communication and ideas is key to a successful team. Top Agent Magazine

THAT’S NOT THE WAY WE DO IT HERE

Well, why not? Being a successful leader means always being open to change and improvement. No great leader is ever accepting of the status quo. It’s not only lazy, it’s uninspiring and usually leads to a work environment that is stagnate. Yes, keep things that work going, but nothing should ever be untouchable. Creative thinking should never be faced with constant roadblocks. A good option is to always ask for more information. Let your employee show you why they think their way might be better. This gets them energized and excited to approach you with more in the future.

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I’M NOT HERE TO MAKE FRIENDS

This is a workplace, not a reality show competition. Good leaders know that building strong workplace relationships, with employees, vendors and peers, is the foundation of a successful business

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DON’T BRING ME BAD NEWS

No true leader avoids bad news. They confront everything head on because as we said above, they know that ultimately everything is their responsibility, and ignoring a potential problem will most likely end up being worse down the road. Good leaders want to know bad news right away, and the last thing you want is to foster a work environment where employees feel like they have to lie to you.

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YOU JUST DON’T GET IT.

You’re the boss. If someone who works under you is having trouble understanding something, it’s on you to make it clear to them. Getting frustrated makes them less likely to ask for help in the future. Sharing your expertise and experience is not only generous, but a necessary tool in the success of your business.

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