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CONNECT BEYOND REAL ESTATE to Attract Future Clients HOW TO BUILD A TEAM THAT WILL WIN BIG No Matter its Size Are You Doing Business as You on FACEBOOK? 4 Ways Mentoring Up- and-Coming Employees Makes You A BETTER AGENT

KEEPING IN TOUCH – How to Stay in Your Clients’ Lives for the Long Haul COVER STORY







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to Attract Future Clients What kind of content are you sharing on your blog, website, and social media? Does most of it have something to do with buying or selling a home? While sharing the latest market information or tips on how to qualify for a mortgage, or when someone should buy or sell is important and demonstrates your value as a REALTOR®, it shouldn’t be the only subject you cover. If you only focus on real estate, you’ll be missing the chance to connect with future clients that might not be ready to move just yet. By sharing a lot

of industry-heavy content, you are only going to appeal to those who are currently in the market rather than a broad base of potential clients. To pull in those other future clients you want to provide fresh, interesting content that will appeal to those possible future clients that aren’t quite ready to move yet. However, you also want to still tie this content back into your business goals. So, how do you share content that will speak to a wider audience, but also still be relevant to your business?


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Talk About Your Philanthropic Activities

The philanthropic work you do to support your community says a great deal about who you are as a person. Many people will be attracted to working with you because of the charitable works you are involved with. While you may be hesitant to share these efforts because you feel it may come across as bragging, you also need to remember that sharing information about the charitable organizations you support will actually help those organizations. Many of them have small marketing budgets, so any free exposure you can give them helps to promote their cause. In fact, they want and need you to promote them. And you can promote them without coming across as a braggart. Focus your content entirely on the organization. Talk about why you support them, how they help the community, and how others can also get involved. This turns what could have been bragging into something that benefits everyone. n

Your Local Community

We humans are connected to each other through our community – our local sports teams, parks, churches, schools, and much more. What better way is there to connect with people in your community than to talk about your community? Demonstrate that you are an expert on your community, and bring that community to your followers. Share information about a local event; perhaps even share the actual event through live-stream video. Interview city officials to get the low-down on the latest development project. Share information with your followers about things they didn’t know about their community. Consult with local historians or the historical society to share interesting information about your community that your followers will want to read. You could even turn it into a series of podcasts or videos. n

Use Your Creativity to Connect

Find creative ways to engage your followers on the topic of real estate. Try engaging your followers in an interactive project such as posting photos of interesting front doors. Doors are the entry point into our homes as well as our private lives. The way we adorn our front door can give someone a sense of our style and personality. Ask followers to submit photos and choose one to post each Friday. Make sure to watermark each photo with your logo at the bottom and include an inspirational quote that ties back to the importance of home. You could also ask your followers to provide a little story or caption to go along with the photo that tells something about them and their home. These kinds of projects are interesting and unique, and clearly connect back to your business. n

Share Your Hobbies

Are you an adrenalin junkie who has bungee jumped from some of the tallest bridges in the world? Are you a foodie that grows your own organic vegetables and fruit? Do you have a Top Agent Magazine

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secret passion for photography? Everyone has hobbies that they enjoy outside of work. When you look past the surface people become quite interesting. People also happen to find interesting people interesting, and tend to remember people based on their distinctive traits. We humans love discovering a person’s behind the scenes story, the mind behind the face. While you don’t want to talk too much about yourself, sharing pieces of your personal life and things that interest you can be a great way to connect with followers. By sharing interesting facts about your life, you will find that many followers will feel a strong, personal connection to you based on your hobbies and personal interests. n

Divulge Interesting Experiences

This is somewhat similar to the idea of sharing your hobbies. Sharing some of your more interesting personal experiences such as a fateful conversation with a stranger or an exciting adventure you had while in another country can be a great way to connect with followers as long as it also relates to some kind of life or business lesson. Talk about experiences you’ve had with clients or purchasing your own home. Experiences that relate to your business are great ways to connect with future clients in a manner that goes beyond the world of business. n

What and Who Inspires You

No matter what you’ve chosen to spend your life doing, you didn’t get there alone. You may have had a mentor that made a special impact on your life or someone already in the business that you looked up to and who perhaps inspired you to get into real estate. You may have found inspiration through a love of architecture or design. People want to know why others do the things they do. Sharing who or what influences you in your personal and business life is a great way to connect with followers. Recognizing that you didn’t get to where you are now by yourself shows humility, and talking about those people that had an influence on you shows others that you stay connected to the world and people around you. Connecting with potential clients is something that is essential to any REALTOR’S® business. If you’re doing the work to create interesting blog posts and make those connections, you want to make sure that you’re sharing the right kind of content to draw in those future clients. It takes a lot more than simply providing the latest market news. To get the most out of what you share, you need to provide a wide array of interesting content

that will draw in a broad range of followers. Providing the right kind of content can make all the difference when it comes to connecting with future clients and building the right kind of relationship with them right from the start. Connecting through your website or social media and sharing more than just real estate advice will help you build confidence and trust with future clients before you even meet them.


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LEE ANN ASHLEY PARKS Top Agent Lee Ann Parks of the Bean Group in Portsmouth, New Hampshire sits comfortably at the top of her chosen profession, having coupled a sincere passion for the business with a dedication to providing the very best customer service to each and every one of her many satisfied clients. Lee Ann got her start in the business way back in 2005, when she and her ex-husband opened a small boutique agency. They then went out and bought their own RE/MAX franchise which they operated for seven 8Copyright Top Agent Magazine

years. Now an Associate Broker with the Bean Group, she has accumulated a bevy of awards and recognitions for her stellar performance. She is currently a member of her firm’s Platinum Club, of which only 16 out of 400 employees have been so honored in 2016, and she has already secured that same recognition for 2017. She has been consistently awarded a spot among the top ten producers of the Strafford County Board of Realtors. With several months to go in 2017, she has already racked up over $10 Million in sales. Top Agent Magazine

Licensed in both New Hampshire and Maine, Lee Ann works with a small team of dedicated professionals. “It’s me and my husband David,” she says, “and also my mother. Cait is our transaction coordinator.” With over 80% of her business based on repeat clients and referrals, Lee Ann is obviously doing something right. When pressed to account for this loyalty, she pauses for a moment. “I work very hard for my clients,” she says. “I’m very hands-on with them. A lot of agents will just put a lock box on a property and expect the MLS to sell it. That’s not my M.O. From the very beginning, we meet Top Agent Magazine

with our buyers and sellers and sit down and formulate a plan and we work to stay within that plan.” A Premier Agent on Zillow, her client’s gratitude is made evident by the scores of five-star reviews she has accumulated. Among the many glowing testimonials is this one that illustrates the lengths to which Lee Ann will go to help her clients: “Lee Ann was with me every step of the way and was always available when I needed her. She had my home under contract in two days and closing within thirty. We had a few big repairs that needed to be done before we could close. Lee Ann Copyright Top Agent Magazine9

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helped me through the process, eliminating a lot of the stress I was feeling. I simply couldn’t be happier with the final results. Thanks Lee Ann! I would recommend her to anyone in need of a realtor in a second.” While her career has proven to be financially rewarding, it’s not the money that Lee Ann enjoys about her job. “I really like helping first-time home buyers,” she says. “There’s something exciting about helping someone achieve the American Dream.” She also enjoys working with listings, and helping the sellers prepare the home for sale, even when the circumstances are difficult; divorcing couples being a case in point. Top Agent Magazine

Giving back is of paramount importance to Lee Ann and her team, and to that end they donate $250 from every commission to charities that resonate with them. The most recent is the the Cocheco Valley Humane Society, to which they’ve already contributed $10,000 this year with three more months to go. Additionally, she sits on the Strafford County Board of Realtors as the Education Chair. When she’s not working, Lee Ann can be found at the local and multi-state skate rinks, including Canada and New York, where her sons are avid hockey players. “My boys are as much a part of my life as real estate,” she says. “I love what I do because it allows me Copyright Top Agent Magazine 11

to schedule free time to spend with them and support them.” She also runs marathons, and is currently training for a half-marathon that is sponsored by her Owner/Broker, from which funds to to the local homeless shelter, Crossroads in Portsmouth.

When asked what advice she would give to new agents, Lee Ann replies, “Follow your dreams. When I first got into this business, there were a lot of naysayers. But I didn’t give up. Anybody can achieve their dream with hard work.”

For more information about Lee Ann Ashley Parks, Associate Broker, please call 603-978-6666 or email Copyright Top Agent Magazine 12

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How to Build a Team That Will Win Big No Matter its Size In the real estate world building a team is a goal almost every agent strives towards achieving. Doing business with a team as opposed to solo has numerous advantages. With more agents handling clients as well as other employees specialized in areas such as marketing and administrative support there to assist you; you can greatly increase your business and sales. Top Agent Magazine

So, when creating a team, logic would tell us that the bigger it is, the better, right? Wrong. When it comes to real estate teams, size doesn’t matter so much as the players you bring onto that team to work with you. A team doesn’t have to be big to win big, and here are the secrets to building a team that wins big no matter its size.

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Hire the Right Team Members

Put Your Team Members in the Right Positions to Win

You’ve probably heard the saying, “you’re only as strong as you’re weakest link.” That idea holds true for any kind of team, including those in real estate. If you have weak members on your team, then it’s not possible to have a strong team. Drawing strong team members to your business is essential.

Finding strong team members is just one part of the equation. As the leader of your team, you now have to assess each member’s strengths and weaknesses and position them appropriately. You want the best player for each role playing that part and catering to their strengths. Choose your team member’s roles wisely, and place each individual in the position where their strengths can shine and they can best contribute to a win for the entire team. Every role is important to the team working smoothly and winning as a whole, so it is important to place each team member in the role most suited to his or her skills.

To better understand what kind of person would make a strong addition to your team, you need to ask yourself what skills and characteristics you want your team members to possess. The strongest members are often ones that share their leader’s values. When you share values with your teammates, you are all running along the same course towards the same goal as one. Your definition of a victory in this case is also your teammates’ definition of it. This helps strengthen even the smallest of numbers because you are all working together toward a common goal. Another characteristic too look out for in potential team members is a positive attitude. You can teach someone the skills needed in real estate, but you can’t teach someone how to have a positive attitude. Positive members tend to achieve more due to their optimistic nature, but more importantly, they spread that positive attitude to the rest of the team, which improves every members’ performance. 14

Communicating Your Vision to Your Team

Your team members are the key ingredients to ultimate victory, but what recipe do you follow now to lead them to victory? That is what communication is for a winning team; the recipe you will use to

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help best utilize each team member and instruct them on how they need to work together to fulfill the recipe that will lead them to be a winning team. Your team members need to know the plan and you must give them the tools to successfully execute it. It is up to the leader of a team to help your players see your vision and help them understand what a victory looks like. The goal may seem simple and obvious to you, but you must communicate it over and over again to your team members, so they understand it as well as you do. With different personalities coming together to form a unit, you are going to be dealing with numerous challenges such as competing agendas. You will find this on any team. You must keep the goal and at the forefront of your player’s minds in order to encourage them to put aside their own personal desires in order to come together as one cohesive, single-minded unit and push towards the team’s goal.

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Give Your Team Members the Tools to Help Them Perform at Their Best The final thing all great leaders do is equip their team members with the proper tools and training needed for them to succeed. You have to show them how they can each come together with their different strengths to work as a team towards one unified goal. This involves more than simple skills training, but also endurance, so they can last as a team and win even those matches that seem unending and impossible. Think of all the challenges that they could possibly face ahead, and clear their path to victory by giving them the necessary training and tools they will need to get past any obstacle. As the leader, you must be prepared to continually communicate the team’s goal and your vision. Use that vision to motivate your team members throughout the journey towards victory.

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Are You Doing Business As YOU On Facebook? Are you ‘Doing Business As YOU’ on your personal Facebook page? In other words, are you posting your business content from your personal page? Yesterday a REALTOR® asked us, “Why should I bother with a company Facebook page? Can’t I just post everything from my profile page?” The answer lies in what we call division of content. As you may be aware, social media began as just that… social. It was never truly intended for business use. Over time, as businesses began to see the potential in reaching the masses in a new way, they began to intrude on this communication. Today, it is widely accepted that business will be conducted on all social platforms, but the manner in which we do so (and in which we are received) is still a touchy subject at times. We believe it’s important to be transparent on social media. Draw the line between communicating as the Person and the Professional. Not only does this help you keep your content separate and appropriate, it also gives the control to your network of family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances and customers. They get to decide whether to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ your company page. They get to decide whether they want to see your business related posts. User control is the #1 reason you need a business page if you’re conducting business on Facebook. Wouldn’t you rather have a willing and engaged audience over a forced, potentially reluctant one? We have personally eliminated many of the ‘DBA’ offenders from our news feeds and you have likely done the same.

As in all controversial social media topics, there is some gray area. And that gray area is often subjective, so consider this post food for thought and decide for yourself. We try our best to keep professional content on our business pages, with a couple of exceptions: 1. Philanthropic Promotion: We’re in favor of posting anything that will help an organization in need on both your personal and business pages. Nonprofits often have little to no marketing budget and rely on all of us to promote their good works, so we believe that’s a good line to cross (as long as it’s about the organization, and not you). 2. Recognition Tagging: Facebook does not allow you to tag an individual on your business page. Yes, there are some tricky work-arounds, but they are inconsistent at best. So when it’s truly important for us to recognize and tag an individual, especially someone who has done something nice for us (inviting us as guests on their radio show or podcast, for instance), we will generally post that on the business page first, then share it from our personal pages, along with a comment recognizing and tagging the individual(s) or business who helped us. Either way (personal or business), remember to be true to the social aspect. Our participation on social media should be about giving, helping, recognizing and connecting…especially when it comes to your business.

Tonya Eberhart is the Branding Agent to Business Stars and founder of BrandFace®, LLC. Michael Carr is America’s Top Selling Real Estate Auctioneer & BrandFace® partner. Together, they focus on personal branding and marketing designed to help real estate professionals become the face of their business & a star in their market. BrandFace® for Real Estate Professionals is a book, professional speaking series and an exclusive workshop for agents, and is currently active in 18 U.S. states, Canada and New Zealand. For more information, visit 16

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g n i p Kee h c u in To


One sign of a great real estate agent is there long list of loyal client following. Part of achieving a great referral base is being a great realtor during the transaction. But, that’s only half of the work. To truly be your client’s realtor for life and keep them coming back to you as well as referring others to you, you have to stay in their lives past the transaction. Keeping in touch with your past clients can be one of the most important parts of your business, and one that many realtors tend to push to the wayside. Do you stay in your client’s lives, or do you disappear? People refer people that they feel they know well and that they trust, people they consider friends. However, earning and keeping your client’s trust involves maintaining a delicate balance with how much you contact them. Experts recommend reaching out to your clients at least quarterly. But, it’s not just about how often you stay in touch. You also need to be mindful about how you are reaching out to them. Here are some tips on how to keep in touch with your clients for the long haul: 18

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INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL CONTACT One of the best ways to keep in touch with your clients is to simply give them a call every once in a while. Follow up and see how your clients are doing. Offer them assistance if they need it. Personalized contact helps to ensure that you remain as important to your clients long after the sale as you were during the transaction. Giving your clients a call on special occasions such as birthdays or holidays also makes for a great personal touch. Of course, nothing beats face-to-face contact. Stopping by to say hello can be a great way to keep in contact. An even better way to catch up and maintain that friendship is to set up a lunch or coffee date with past clients. Giving individual clients your undivided attention goes a long way towards maintaining that bond you formed during the transaction and earning your client’s loyalty and trust. Interactions like this make a lasting impression on your clients. Of course, many busy REALTORS® may not have time to follow up with every client oneon-one. A great way to still give personal attention to your clients without meeting each and every one for lunch is to throw a client appreciation party. This allows you to get in some face-to-face time with each client and make sure they all get your undivided attention and quality time to catch up with you, even if it’s only for a short time. Now, if you have a lot of past clients, this can be difficult to manage during one party. One way to get around the numbers problem is to organize smaller events based on client’s interests. Instead of throwing one giant party, host a pool party for the families with kids or a wine and cheese get together for single clients. Hosting special events like these ones goes a long way towards keeping your contact with past clients more personalized and setting you apart from those businesses that simply send them a calendar once a year.

PROVIDE CLIENTS WITH USEFUL NEWS PROVIDE CLIENTS WITH USEFUL NEWS One way that many REALTORS® keep in touch with their clients is by sending them newsletters. This form of contact can be a double-edged sword. You want to make sure you provide them with useful information that reminds them of your value as a real estate professional. Otherwise your communication will amount to nothing more than spam, and clients will think of you less as a trusted friend and more as a nuisance salesperson. Clients react much more positively to communication containing information that is pertinent to their lives. Update your clients on what is going on in their local community and Top Agent Magazine

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housing market. Demonstrate your knowledge about the community and the things that are important to your clients. Include information about local cultural events, community news, housing statistics, information on the mortgage market, home maintenance advice, home design tips, and anything else that your clients will find personally useful. Your clients will always be interested in value.

SEND CLIENTS MEMORABLE AND PERSONAL CARDS Sending your clients cards related to important events in their lives and letting them know that you remember those events and care will go a long way towards building and maintaining a close personal relationship with them. You want to make sure your cards stand out, though. Sending popular holiday cards can be a mistake, as they will most likely get lost amongst all of your clients other holiday cards and will be quickly forgotten. Instead send something more personal such as: HOME ANNIVERSARY CARDS: Send cards to each client on the anniversary of the closing of their home.

CONGRATULATORY CARDS: Remember important events such as wedding anniversaries, graduations, new babies, etc.

SPECIAL BIRTHDAY CARDS: Instead of just sending your typical birthday card, add something special to yours that will stand out. Include a $1 scratch off ticket or a $5 gift certificate to Starbucks. Make sure to include a handwritten personal note.

GIVE CLIENTS AN UNUSUAL GIFT Make sure the gifts you send your past clients stand out. Send your past clients an odd gift at the beginning of the year or on a holiday. Think outside the box and send things like funny magnets, customized mugs, a personalized piece of wall décor, and other fun and unusual items. A great way to make your gift stand out even more is to include a funny note with it that will catch their attention as well as make them think of you. For example, one cute idea is to send clients a bag of popcorn with the note, “Real estate is popping, give me a call.” You could send a bag of goldfish with a note attached that says, “I’m fishing for your referrals.” Get creative and have a little fun with it, your clients will notice and remember you for it. 20

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Social networking sites make staying in contact with past clients in a more informal and friendly basis much easier. Connect with your past clients on Facebook. This will help you stay up to date on the important things happening in your pact clients’ lives. In return, it provides you a great platform for keeping those past clients up to date with what is going on in your business as well as keep in contact in a more informal manner. Use Facebook to remind past clients to check their basement after a heavy rain or that they can contact you for help during tax time. You can even organize your contacts on Facebook into customized lists such as “past clients,” “industry contacts,” etc. This will help you better manage your Facebook contacts. This will also allow you to view specific news feeds based on these lists and send messages to a particular list of contacts. Don’t forget about the many other social networking sites such as Twitter or LinkedIn either. Utilize this technology to drive personal contact with your clients.

STAY ORGANIZED No matter how you choose to keep in contact with past clients, make sure to be consistent. Consistency will help you stay organized and diligent about reaching out to your past clients regularly. A tool used by many real estate professionals to stay organized is a customer relationship management solution. Whether you use one that is online or a computer software program, this will help you stay organized when managing your contacts and allow you to set notifications to alert you when you need to contact certain clients, send out gifts, plan a client appreciation event, and many other things throughout the year. Staying organized and consistent in your contact with past clients will help you continue to build and manage your referral base, as well as open the door to repeat and referral business. Top Agent Magazine

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4 Ways Mentoring Up-and-Coming Employees Makes You a Better Agent In the world of real estate, there are always new agents joining the ranks. Even if you’ve been practicing for just a few short years, you’ve likely learned your fair share of lesson along the way. As an agent, much of your working philosophy is derived from first-hand experience and your work on the ground. This means that new agents are less prepared for the inevitable curveballs of the industry. That’s where you come in. While mentorship is often pitched as a relationship that solely benefits the mentee, there is actually plenty to be gained from becoming a mentor. After all, personal growth goes hand-in-hand with professional growth, and becoming a mentor asks agents to thought22

fully explore and demonstrate their own ideologies, practices, and rationale. With that in mind, take a look at some of the benefits of mentorship below, and you’ll get a sense of why counseling new agents can be a boon to your own business. Teaching lessons to others reinforces your own professional values. Showing the ropes to young agents is a great way to brush-up on your foundational skills. Verbalizing and demonstrating processes, or walking through the rationale behind negotiation tactics—all cause mentors to think through their established practices and outline in detail why they’ve chosen this route over an

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alternative. This helps older agents fine-tune their routines, while getting back in touch with the critical thinking that went into constructing those habits. Mentorships allows you to see the big picture.

surely sharpen your ability as the head of a team. What’s more, you’ll be building skills of empathy, understanding, teaching, and constructive criticism. Working on those skills will better your practice and your ability to lead in your office.

After a lengthy industry tenure, it’s not uncommon for battle-worn agents to lose some steam and begin to burn out. By devoting some time to mentoring up-and-coming agents, you’ll get back in touch with your early days, remembering the excitement, the trials, and the hard lessons gleaned. Spending time with the next generation of real estate professionals can reinvigorate your practice, as seeing the business from the eyes of an eager amateur can inject energy into your working life. You’ll benefit from seeing things from a new perspective. Just as working with young agents can help you remember your career’s big picture, you may also benefit from working alongside someone with a new perspective. Young agents bring a different set of skills and awareness to their work, and established agents can benefit from a fresh take. If technology isn’t your strong suit, or you’re interested in tapping the Millennial homebuyer market, working with a younger agent is an excellent way to see through fresh eyes. Mentoring young agents makes you a better leader. As a mentor, you’ll often direct the flow of your professional relationship—figuring out which issues to tackle, making an agenda, and imparting lessons in a clear way. These are all characteristics of a leader, and acting in a position of authority as mentor can Top Agent Magazine

While some may balk at the time commitment or energy required to take on a mentee or two, you might consider it an act of ongoing education or professional development. While your mentee will undoubtedly benefit from access to your expertise, there’s certainly much to be gained from taking the time to cultivate tomorrow’s real estate leaders.

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Maine/ New Hampshire 10-23-17  


Maine/ New Hampshire 10-23-17