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MICHIGAN EDITION

3 Beyond-theOffice Activities To Inspire a Creative Business Boom

Creative Ways to Say THANK YOU

SUCCESSTHESE 7 HABITS ARE THE REAL SECRET TO SUCCESS

FEATURED AGENTS

PATRICE ALEXANDER EMILY FORD DAVID VAN ITTERSUM

COVER STORY

THOMAS A. SERIO


MICHIGAN EDITION

EMILY FORD

With a mother who has been licensed since 1985, In addition to immersive professional pho 7 exposure to the real estate industry 17 came 20 23 of social m Emily Ford’s Emily leverages the influence earlier than most. Back in college, Emily decided to the leading online listing platforms to sec Davidis Va With more than thirty years of sales and Staying ahead of her competitors im follow in her mother’s footsteps and made the prudent mum visibility for homes headed to market marketing experience to her credit, Top that end she employs a savvy marketing his journe choice to earn her license—never imagining thatAgent six- Patrice Alexander of RE/MAX working with buyers orand sellers, Emily re on new technology, a commitment years ago.t teen years later, she’d be in command of a flourishing opportunity to work alongside clients in Classic in Novi, Michigan understands listings is shown in its best light. Prof successful career in her own right. Today, Emily has established a milestone goal, utilizing her skillset an what it takes to provide her clients with video, high-quality marketing materials David dec herself as an experienced professional with an unflagknowledge transactions a success the very best in customer service. Her utilizedto to make great effect, as is the internet. on a new p ging work ethic, a commitment to integrity, and a local nothing moremore rewarding alon focus on expert negotiating, cutting-edge pursuing creativethan ideasworking around d After the cons marketing and a true desire to do right “because ninety-seven percent of buy knowledge that is unrivaled. clients,” she says. “I’ve met some of my sets migh by her many grateful clients has solidionline.” She is business, also focused honing friends through this and industry, Ion love that fied her reputation as a Realtor who truly cated herself to continuing education. T Based in Clarkston, Michigan, service area is different. keepsITTERSUM you on your toes. It’s THOMAS A. SERIO PATRICEEmily’s ALEXANDER EMILY FORD DAVIDItVAN estateinclu asex puts her buyer’s and seller’s best interests a number of industry designations, is encompassed by Oakland County, southern Genechallenging. Helping my clients reach affording him limitless potential for the groS front and center in every transaction. Buyer Representative), PSA (Pricing see County and northern Macomb County. There, she that’sexercise what makes the hard work so rewardi his entrepreneurial spirit. Now (Real Estate Negotiation Expert), SFR spearheads her businessPatrice, with the support of a full-time licensed David has built and a steadfast whose father was also a Realtor and entrepreneur and who later, Resource Specialist), the SRScareer (Seller assistant under the banner of Morgan & Milzow Realtors. date, To give to her hometown community with a reputation for honesty, aanprove influenced her decision to become an To agent, began taking realback estate Council Member). Patrice isand alsoprofessi activ a significant contingent classes of her business is was builtright on repeat refer- crashed,” scape,she Emily serves as the of President personal touch. in 2007. “It before and the market recalls, Council Realtors.for the Clarkston C ral clientele—a testament her proven staying Commerce, with Habitat for Humanity, and ta “soto it wasn’t really atrack goodrecord time to and get into the business.” In 2015, volunteers she power as an agent. To account sustained success thus far, local and fundraising worthy including re obtained for her her license and hung her shingle at RE/MAX, hit the events “Whatfor I like about this industrya is Based in St. most Claircauses, Shores, Michigan, running. Her success was almost immediate, munity and she has been “Each client leaves abanner lasting imprint on em Emily cites a persistent ground work ethic, market knowledge, and adapthome tour. work In hersolo remaining free hours,of she most under the Real Livin recognized by her company withfull-time a numberand of achievement awards, build trustof and credibility with and them. I lik ability as the key markers of her working style. “I’m spent with family the and loved ones, live music, tryin areas Macomb County, Wayne including theirjust 100% Award and highest increase house find the home. Real est full-service,” Emily says. “You can’t putClub a sign in a yard to get percentage restaurants. LivingCounty. on theorThere, lake, she also enjoys getting heperfect has built a business acrossI all offices andto 200-plus In 2017 water she was for boat me. Being this business is so exhil top dollar for a listed home. goseven the extra mile take a agents. hands-on onhonored her family’s and paddleboard. by repeat andbyin referral clientele, undersc with Hour Magazine’s “Real Estate All-Star” status and ranks in the something new with each transaction.” approach, and I have a lot of experience and market knowledge. personality and ability to deliver. In fa top 5% of metro Detroit agents. She is currently on track to close $10 I’m dedicated to my work and I pride myself in doing a good job Considering the future of her clientele business,two Emily showstim n same repeat and three million in sales this year alone. Patrice points to her former career When she’s not working, Patrice gives for my clients.” Likewise, a personal touch goes a long way in the slowing anytime soon and astutely recognizes the const eleven-year career—a surefire indicat as playing a large role in this success. “My background in sales and through a myriad of philanthropic effo real estate industry, andmarketing Emily stays her tion and opportunities of her industry. “You he always have t experience wereconnected transferable with skills,” shenetwork explains. “I worked with some transactional organizations she supports arecultivates. the Childr of clientele by hosting of two friendly client appreciation events a this business,” she says. “It really is everchanging and ging work ethic is another pillar ofit’s D the largest beauty brands in getting their product to market and I the Alpha House, where she sits on the pl though his event, career began in 2007 year. A pool party in thehave summer months draws together ant to marketing be receptiveand to what’s happening inwhich the market. My an understanding of thefamilies importance of an integrated Gimme Shelter assists fam challenges, he persevered than for outdoor fun, while plan, her yearly holiday the always be learning,market evolving, and difficult continuing to grow thro which I’m able tobrunch translatecelebrates to selling homes.” housing during times. She is als Success, which helps empower women t his persistence, dynamic sales strategie season with new and familiar faces. Last year, Emily even dressed Patrice’strademark business is based in largeFinally, part onwith repeat pendence. Sherecord also enjoys spending have of success and I tho geh up as Mrs. Claus to joinImpressively, in on the fun—her enthusiasm nearly twoa strong decades of experience behind clients and referrals. “It’s because I connect with Ford my clients on a what working with her sonabout and his says. I’m working with c on full display. considers she“Whether values most hergirlfriend, careera to personal level,” says Patrice, by way of explainingpeople this remarkable houseshe at the right“I price, listingto a and community serves. feel or so I’m fortunate level of loyalty she inspires. “I really try to connect with my buyers the Looking buyer—I to the future, Patrice’s plans incl thrive When listing properties, Emily’s approach is detail-oriented and I do and to love wherebest I live,” she says. “I’monsoworking grateful w f and sellers. I think we develop a relationship that goes well beyond ering onlineonpresence, as well as growing a their goals.” ensures each home is appropriately market ready. “I pride myself on that I’m able to live and work in the town I grew up in an the professional. I get to know their families, and I keep in touch with already significant business. Her priority how my listings are readied and displayed online,” she says. to build here.” her clients with the very best c themfor onsale Facebook and checking up on them with phone calls,community just to providing David also takes a tech-savvy approac see how they’re doing in their new home.” in her market. with clients, as well as when broaching t Since relationships are central to his wor in touch regularly with his sphere of Phone 888-461-3930 | Fax 310-751-7068 online at his clients’ pace. When listin mag@topagentmagazine.com | www.topagentmagazine.com full-scale digital approach that lures p short order. Beginning with professiona No portion of this issue may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior consent of the publisher. Top Agent then utilizes a customized marketing ap Magazine is published by Feature Publications GA, Inc. Although precautions are taken to ensure the accuracy of published property enjoys maximum exposure. “I materials, Top Agent Magazine cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied by its authors. with clients on coming up with strateg To subscribe or change address, send inquiry to mag@topagentmagazine.com. their specific property,” he says. From Published in the U.S. the leading online listing platforms an For more information about Patrice Alexande digital audiences are targeted compreh To learn more about Emily Ford email emford_79@yahoo.com,

PATRICE ALEXANDER

DAVI

CONTENTS

4) SUCCESS–THESE 7 HABITS ARE THE REAL SECRET TO SUCCESS

13) 3 BEYOND-THE-OFFICE ACTIVITIES TO INSPIRE A CREATIVE BUSINESS BOOM

19) CREATIVE WAYS TO SAY THANK YOU

21) 6 THINGS ALL SUCCESSFUL NEGOTIATORS DO

call 248 - 513 - 4270 or email PatriceAlexanderHomes@

visit emilysells.com, call (248) 722 – 4239, or visit her Facebook page here www.

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Success– These 7 Habits Are the Real Secret to Success What is it that makes some people so successful and others not? Is there a secret recipe one can follow, as easy as baking a cake, which will give them the strength to achieve their ultimate goals and have it all? The answer is that, in a manner, there is. The trick is in how you think about success and what it means for you. Many people define success as achieving their personal goals, but could this be leading them to look at the world a little too narrowly? The people that are truly successful in every aspect of 4

their lives don’t stop at simply achieving their personal goals. They succeed in many avenues of their life, including their job, relationships, health, and family just to name a few. It turns out that ultra-successful people tend to have quite a number of things in common. One main skill many seem to possess is high emotional intelligence, or the ability to manage your emotions so that you can stay calm and focused even in high

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stress situations. Luckily, it seems not all of them are simply born with this ability, but have many strategies they use to help them achieve higher emotional intelligence. Here are seven strategies and habits that will help you achieve success in every area of your life.

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BE COMPOSED The first thing successful people always seem to have under control is their composure. Successful people stay calm and composed when the going gets tough and fingers start pointing. They don’t panic. The secret? They understand that in life things are always changing. It doesn’t matter if something is bad at the moment because that will change soon enough. In this topsy turvy life all you can really do is adapt in order to stay happy and remain in control of how you react.

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BE KNOWLEDGEABLE Have you ever noticed how successful people always seem to have such a wide range of knowledge and interests? Successful people do know more because they are always working to grow and learn. They strive to constantly increase their self-awareness. If a spare moment exists, then they will fill it with some kind of self-education. They do this because they are passionate about learning new things and ways to improve their life. Ignore the fear of being judged and ask questions, because that is the only way you can learn. Successful people don’t

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fear asking questions. They fear not asking those questions and growing stagnant.

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BE DELIBERATE It is important to think and reason before you come to a decision. Successful people don’t rush. They seek out advice from other, they think of all the aspects, and sleep on their thoughts before finally making their decision. Your gut instinct can be misleading, and lead you to make a rash decision that you will come to regret later.

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BE CERTAIN, AND SPEAK WITH CONVICTION Successful people speak with certainty. Unless you communicate your ideas with conviction and certainty, then you will have a hard time getting people to listen to them.

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BE POSITIVE Successful people use positive body language when they are talking to other people. Their tone is enthusiastic, they maintain eye contact, leaning in towards the person speaking to show interest. Successful people use it to draw those other people in. How you say something can be just as if not more important that what you say to people. Positive body language can completely alter how your speech is perceived by others, and helps to keep attention on you and what you are saying.

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BE MEMORABLE BY LEAVING A STRONG FIRST IMPRESSION You only have once to make a first impression, and they are incredibly important, as they are closely ties to positive body language. You have around 7 seconds to convince a person to like you after you initially meet them. That is how long it takes them to decide when they meet you. After that a person is simply spending the rest of the conversation justifying that initial reaction they had. You can make sure you make a good first impression by having strong posture, a firm handshake, a warm smile, and open shoulders.

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BE FEARLESS Successful people know that to give in to fear is a choice. They don’t let the fear take over, instead focusing on the rush of euphoria that comes with conquering fears. All of this adds up to having a high emotional intelligence. What helps you to succeed is the ability to control those whirlwind emotions so you can stay calm and focused on actually succeeding. These habits can help you gain a higher emotional intelligence, but as you probably already know, anything involving dealing with your emotions in a healthy manner takes serious work. So, don’t give up if you fail the first time. You must always try and try again.

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THOMAS A. SERIO

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Under the banner of Five Star Real Estate Leaders, Thomas A. Serio heads a team that serves clients across the Western Michigan communities of Muskegon County, Ottawa County, and Oceana County.

THOMAS A. SERIO Thomas A. Serio got his start in the real estate industry far earlier than most. At seventeen, he began working as an assistant to an agent, before earning his own license at the age of eighteen. From there, he built experience as a buyer’s agent, then on a team, before making the final transition to work as a solo agent. By working his way up the ranks of the industry, Thomas earned first-hand experience at every rung on the ladder, affording him wisdom that would prove invaluable as he mounted his career. While the market’s down8 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

turn presented its fair share of challenges, Thomas ultimately weathered the storm and relaunched his practice in 2015, armed with the insights he spent years honing. All along, he displayed a natural instinct for his work as an agent. In his first year in business, he sold 39 homes from April to December. In his second year, he sold 82 homes and expanded. By year three, he sold 135 homes—a formidable testament to his lasting talent and sustained ability to deliver. Under the banner of Five Star Real Estate Leaders, Thomas heads a team that includes two additional agents and a transaction coordinator. Together, they serve clients across the Western Michigan communities of MusTop Agent Magazine


kegon County, Ottawa County, and Oceana County—though Thomas also expands his service area to accommodate his clients’ real estate needs. Over the course of his decadeplus career, Thomas has built a sizable base of repeat and referral clientele, which amounts to roughly 80% of his business today. LikeTop Agent Magazine

wise, he is a property investor in his own right, which means he’s earned considerable experience navigating the transactional process first-hand, and understands the lasting financial implications of buying or selling a home. This is an especially useful value-add for the many investor clients that Thomas serves. Copyright Top Agent Magazine9


In describing his working style, Thomas cites concierge-style service, industry knowledge, and a personal touch as the foremost drivers of his success thus far. “The high level of service we provide is what keeps clients coming back,” Thomas says. “We’re genuine, and because I like what I do, I’m very passionate about it. I try to make the process very seamless for my clients and source solutions for any stressful situations that might arise. That way, my clients aren’t the one doing the heavy lifting and I put my expertise to use. Copyright Top Agent Magazine 10

At the end of the day, I make sure they’re taken care of and kept informed throughout the process.” When listing, Thomas’ approach isn’t onesize-fits-all. With listings that range from $20,000 to $500,000, Thomas tailors his techniques to suit each property’s strengths and market position. “Each property and situation are unique, so we customize our marketing to suit our clients’ needs,” he explains. “That way, dollars are wisely spent and clients get Top Agent Magazine


what they need to meet their respective goals.” Beginning with professional photography and aerial footage, Thomas ensures each home is documented in its finest light through immersive presentations. From there, maximum visibility is secured across the leading online listing platforms, as well as through promoted social media ads that target buyers in short order. Whether representing buyers or sellers, Thomas’ focus remains squarely on the individuals and families at the heart of each transaction. Top Agent Magazine

To give back to his community, Thomas takes a hyper-local approach and sponsors area events and organizations, including the local Beer Fest on the Beach and a host of Little League and junior sports teams. “Anytime our clients re involved in something and ask if we’d like to get involved, we always try to find an opportunity to give back,” he says. In his remaining free hours beyond the office, Thomas most enjoys time spent with family and loved ones, as well as escaping on a new travel adventure to unplug. Recent Copyright Top Agent Magazine 11


destinations includes Las Vegas on the domestic front, and Australia abroad. As for the future of his career, Thomas intends to keep growth strong and steady, with a goal of refining the model he has successfully cultivated thus far. “My business and team have always evolved organically,” Thomas says. “Our plan is to take it as it comes and adapt as growth and new opportunities come our way. From there, we’ll dial in further on what we do best.” Finally, with more than a

decade of tried-and-true experience behind him, Thomas A. Serio reflects on what he has come to enjoy most about his daily work. “The most rewarding part of what I do is helping someone become a homeowner for the first time,” he says. “It’s the American Dream, and homeownership is so positive for families and neighborhoods, and it’s an excellent way to begin building wealth for the long-term. There’s nothing more gratifying than successfully helping someone through that process and transition.”

To learn more about Thomas A. Serio, email sellingwestmi@gmail.com, call (231) 286 – 0102, or visit SellingWestMI.com www.

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3 Beyond-the-Office Activities to Inspire a Creative Business Boom Maintaining motivation year-round is a challenge, especially for those who are several years into a demanding real estate career. It’s easy to burn out, get stuck in a rut, or cycle blindly through a well-worn routine. But those that leave an impact on their industry understand that creativity holds the key to innovation and longevity. To stay ahead of Top Agent Magazine

the curve and build your brand, you’ve got to take the time to breathe new life into your practice and see things from a new angle. But where to begin? To invite change, you’ve got to look outside the box—or in this case, beyond the office. If you’re in need of a professional creative make-

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To stay ahead of the curve and build your brand, you’ve got to take the time to breathe new life into your practice and see things from a new angle. over, or at least want to experience a burst of inventive energy, consider some of the activities below. You may just shake up your routine, bend your brain in new ways, and inject some inspiration into your professional path.

Expand your mind through meditation. You’ve likely heard all about the supposed powers of meditation, and perhaps you’ve long considered it an over-hyped New Age invention. But did you know that some of the foremost entrepreneurs of our era practice this cost-free, mentally restorative routine? From Oprah Winfrey to Steve Jobs, practitioners of meditation cite its stress-relieving principles, in addition to improvements in concentration, energy, self-awareness, and overall health.

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Even mainstream medicine is beginning to understand the preventative and restorative health benefits that meditation affords. As professional fields go, the mortgage and real estate industries require their fair share of emotional labor—you’re tasked with guiding clients through the investment of a lifetime. Meditation promotes peace and perspective, while reducing stress, adding a new level of self-awareness, and helping you mentally declutter. When it comes down to it, it only makes sense that taking time to go quiet and center your mind helps professionals find wherewithal amidst a hectic industry. Next time you’re feeling drained, out of ideas, or at your wit’s end—consider just fifteen minutes of meditation to get you started. Like most things, it takes some practice. But, if you commit the time, you’ll be thanking yourself later.

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Learn something new. If you’re facing burnout, then adding a new responsibility to your plate may seem like the least appetizing self-help solution there is. However, learning a new skill can reinvigorate your understanding of familiar tasks and dilemmas. Plus, learning a new skill doesn’t have to mean formal classes or time-draining homework. Select something that can even kill two birds with one stone. Want to let off some steam, too? Try a kickboxing class that meets just once-a-week. You’ll have something new to look forward to, meet new people, challenge yourself, and earn some feel-good endorphins, Top Agent Magazine

too. Want to cut loose and have some fun? Join a board game meet-up group, take a cooking class, or try rock-climbing for the first time. A stimulating new activity will light up long-dormant parts of your brain, and your clients and colleagues will surely notice the influx of energy to your outlook. Still don’t think you have enough time to add something new to the mix? Blend your morning commute with an audio language learning service. The point is to shake-up your habits and introduce a new challenge that’s unrelated to work. Doing so can make you look at things in a new light and boost your mood along the way.

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See new sights. If you can, there’s no better way to break from routine than to physically separate yourself from your surroundings. There’s nothing more inspiring than traveling to new destinations, experiencing new cultures, and getting a sense of the world’s true vastness. If a trip abroad isn’t in the cards, don’t fret. There are bound to be plenty of places relatively close by that you’ve never seen. And these trips don’t have to break the bank, either. Devote just one or two days to visiting a place you’ve never gone before, like a state park, protected forest, or a small seaside village. Perhaps you’re only a few hours from a National Park you’ve been meaning to visit but have never made time for. Or, there’s a lively city one state over that you’ve always wanted to try. Whatever the destination, near or far, you’ll refresh

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your perspective entirely when removed from all your usual routines. New restaurants, traffic patterns, storefronts, weather—whatever the change may be, you’ll be experiencing everything brand new all around you. Taking the time for trips like these isn’t easy. In fact, making yourself devote those free days may be a difficult task itself. But it’s the most direct way to get a breath of truly fresh air, and when you return home you’ll be able to assess familiar surroundings in a totally new light. However you decide to add creativity to your professional life, don’t wait. Once you take the plunge, you’ll be regretting you hadn’t done it sooner. After all, the key to longevity is regular maintenance, so do your part and break the mold today.

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PATRICE ALEXANDER With more than thirty years of sales and marketing experience to her credit, Top Agent Patrice Alexander of RE/MAX Classic in Novi, Michigan understands what it takes to provide her clients with the very best in customer service. Her focus on expert negotiating, cutting-edge marketing and a true desire to do right by her many grateful clients has solidified her reputation as a Realtor who truly puts her buyer’s and seller’s best interests front and center in every transaction. Patrice, whose father was also a Realtor and entrepreneur and who influenced her decision to become an agent, began taking real estate classes in 2007. “It was right before the market crashed,” she recalls, “so it wasn’t really a good time to get into the business.” In 2015, she obtained her license and hung her shingle at RE/MAX, and hit the ground running. Her success was almost immediate, and she has been recognized by her company with a number of achievement awards, including their 100% Club Award and highest percentage increase across all seven offices and 200-plus agents. In 2017 she was honored with Hour Magazine’s “Real Estate All-Star” status and ranks in the top 5% of metro Detroit agents. She is currently on track to close $10 million in sales this year alone. Patrice points to her former career as playing a large role in this success. “My background in sales and marketing were transferable skills,” she explains. “I worked with some of the largest beauty brands in getting their product to market and I have an understanding of the importance of an integrated marketing plan, which I’m able to translate to selling homes.” Impressively, Patrice’s business is based in large part on repeat clients and referrals. “It’s because I connect with my clients on a personal level,” says Patrice, by way of explaining this remarkable level of loyalty she inspires. “I really try to connect with my buyers and sellers. I think we develop a relationship that goes well beyond the professional. I get to know their families, and I keep in touch with them on Facebook and checking up on them with phone calls, just to see how they’re doing in their new home.”

Staying ahead of her competitors is important to Patrice, and to that end she employs a savvy marketing strategy that relies heavily on new technology, and a commitment to making sure each of her listings is shown in its best light. Professional photography and video, high-quality marketing materials, and open houses are all utilized to great effect, as is the internet. “I really want to continue pursuing more creative ideas around the digital realm,” says Patrice, “because ninety-seven percent of buyers first look for homes online.” She is also focused on honing her craft, and has dedicated herself to continuing education. Thus far, she has achieved a number of industry designations, including the ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative), PSA (Pricing Strategy Advisor), RENE (Real Estate Negotiation Expert), SFR (Short Sale Foreclosure Resource Specialist), and the SRS (Seller Representative Specialist Council Member). Patrice is also an active member of the Women’s Council of Realtors. “What I like most about this industry is the people,” says Patrice. “Each client leaves a lasting imprint on my life. I love being able to build trust and credibility with them. I like helping people sell their house or find the perfect home. Real estate is just a really good fit for me. Being in this business is so exhilarating,” she says. “I learn something new with each transaction.” When she’s not working, Patrice gives back to her community through a myriad of philanthropic efforts. Among the charitable organizations she supports are the Children’s Miracle Network, and the Alpha House, where she sits on the planning committee for their Gimme Shelter event, which assists families that need temporary housing during difficult times. She is also involved with Dress for Success, which helps empower women to achieve economic independence. She also enjoys spending those rare moment she’s not working with her son and his girlfriend, and she is an avid golfer. Looking to the future, Patrice’s plans include ramping up her digital online presence, as well as growing a team and increasing her already significant business. Her priority, of course, is to continue providing her clients with the very best customer service available in her market.

For more information about Patrice Alexander, call 248 - 513 - 4270 or email PatriceAlexanderHomes@gmail.com Top Agent Magazine

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Creative Ways to Say Thank You

Most top real estate agents find ways to welcome their clients to their new home. A common theme is a bottle of wine and some wine glasses for that first post-threshold toast, or a bouquet of flowers to brighten up that empty living space until the furniture arrives. But are you truly being as creative as you can with your appreciation? Here are some innovative gift ideas that will truly keep you front of mind with your valued customers and assure their gratitude and repeat business, not to mention a slew of referrals.

1. How about a streaming video device, like a Roku

or Amazon Fire Stick? There’s a good chance your clients will not have their cable service up and running for a few days, and this is an excellent way for them to enjoy their television before they get that connection going. Bundle it up in a basket with some DVD’s for the kids, and don’t forget all necessary cables.

2. Matching bathrobes and Bath kits: Fleece or ter-

rycloth bathrobes and a basket filled with highend his and her body scrubs, bubble bath and other luxurious pampering items can make the first night in a new home feel like a check-in at a fabulous resort and make the memory of that first night one to cherish. Again, don’t forget the kids!

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3. Arrange a catered meal from a local vendor. As-

certain in advance dietary preferences and restrictions, and have a wonderful, healthy meal delivered on move-in night. To complete the magic, provide brand new plates, silverware and glassware to serve it all on.

4. For homes with swimming pools or Jacuzzis, a

stack of fluffy pool towels is always appreciated and will be used by family and friends for years to come. Additionally, acrylic stemware for celebrating safely can be provided alongside them.

5. If it’s winter time and the home has a fireplace, make sure there’s plenty of wood to burn. Some fireplace accessories and a log holder will certainly make your clients appreciate you on every chilly night to come.

So when it comes to gifting your buyers, the trick is to be creative. A bottle of wine lasts one night, and the flowers wilt in a few days. Try coming up with something a little more creative that will remain with your clients in their day-to-day lives and remind them of you consistently. The little bit extra you spend to show your gratitude can reap huge dividends when it comes time for your client to purchase a second home or refer a friend. 19


EMILY FORD With a mother who has been licensed since 1985, Emily Ford’s exposure to the real estate industry came earlier than most. Back in college, Emily decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps and made the prudent choice to earn her license—never imagining that sixteen years later, she’d be in command of a flourishing career in her own right. Today, Emily has established herself as an experienced professional with an unflagging work ethic, a commitment to integrity, and a local knowledge that is unrivaled. Based in Clarkston, Michigan, Emily’s service area is encompassed by Oakland County, southern Genesee County and northern Macomb County. There, she spearheads her business with the support of a full-time licensed assistant under the banner of Morgan & Milzow Realtors. To date, a significant contingent of her business is built on repeat and referral clientele—a testament to her proven track record and staying power as an agent. To account for her sustained success thus far, Emily cites a persistent work ethic, market knowledge, and adaptability as the key markers of her working style. “I’m full-time and full-service,” Emily says. “You can’t just put a sign in a yard to get top dollar for a listed home. I go the extra mile to take a hands-on approach, and I have a lot of experience and market knowledge. I’m dedicated to my work and I pride myself in doing a good job for my clients.” Likewise, a personal touch goes a long way in the real estate industry, and Emily stays connected with her network of clientele by hosting two friendly client appreciation events a year. A pool party in the summer months draws families together for outdoor fun, while her yearly holiday brunch celebrates the season with new and familiar faces. Last year, Emily even dressed up as Mrs. Claus to join in on the fun—her trademark enthusiasm on full display. When listing properties, Emily’s approach is detail-oriented and ensures each home is appropriately market ready. “I pride myself on how my listings are readied for sale and displayed online,” she says.

In addition to immersive professional photography, Emily leverages the influence of social media and the leading online listing platforms to secure maximum visibility for homes headed to market. Whether working with buyers or sellers, Emily relishes the opportunity to work alongside clients in pursuit of a milestone goal, utilizing her skillset and regional knowledge to make transactions a success. “There’s nothing more rewarding than working alongside my clients,” she says. “I’ve met some of my very best friends through this business, and I love that every day is different. It keeps you on your toes. It’s exciting yet challenging. Helping my clients reach their goals— that’s what makes the hard work so rewarding.” To give back to her hometown community and professional landscape, Emily serves as the President for the Clarkston Chamber of Commerce, volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, and takes part in local fundraising events for worthy causes, including a recent community home tour. In her remaining free hours, she most enjoys time spent with family and loved ones, live music, and trying out new restaurants. Living on the lake, she also enjoys getting out on the water on her family’s boat and by paddleboard. Considering the future of her business, Emily shows no signs of slowing anytime soon and astutely recognizes the constant evolution and opportunities of her industry. “You always have to adapt in this business,” she says. “It really is everchanging and it’s so important to be receptive to what’s happening in the market. My goal is to always be learning, evolving, and continuing to grow throughout.” Finally, with nearly two decades of experience behind her, Emily Ford considers what she values most about her career to date: the people and community she serves. “I feel so fortunate to love what I do and to love where I live,” she says. “I’m so grateful for the fact that I’m able to live and work in the town I grew up in and continue to build community here.”

To learn more about Emily Ford email emford_79@yahoo.com, visit emilysells.com, call (248) 722 – 4239, or visit her Facebook page here. www.

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6 Things All Successful Negotiators Do If you think about it, you’ve been negotiating your whole life. As a kid you negotiated constantly with your family, your teachers, and your classmates. If you’re a parent, you’re negotiating probably more than you ever have in your life. But it’s one thing to negotiate staying up late on a school night, people oftentimes have trouble translating those real world negotiation skills into the business world. But the truth is there are a lot similarities. Expert negotiators all have skills and techniques they bring to the table. It’s quite possible you also have them, and don’t even realize Top Agent Magazine

it. Here’s a look at some traits that are common among expert negotiators.

1. They keep emotion out of the process It’s very easy to feel frustrated, angry and defensive during a negotiation process. But when emotions run high, it’s often difficult to respond with logic and reason. This can be especially difficult if the person you’re negotiating with tries to escalate the situation. As the saying goes, keep calm and carry on. You

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have an end goal in mind, and getting heated won’t help you meet it. If things don’t go your way, remember it’s not personal. Best to leave the table with no hard feelings. Hopefully even though you may not have gotten what you’ve wanted this time around, you’ve established a foundation for success at your next try.

2. They’re reasonable If you don’t ask for what you want you’ll never get it, but at the same time, you need to be reasonable about what you’re asking for. Yes, ask for a little more than you want, so you have some wiggle room to compromise. But if you ask for too much too soon, you might shut down the person you’re negotiating with from the start, or even worse offend them. No one wants to feel like they’re being taken advantage of. Ask for what you deserve and you’ll never go wrong. At the very least you might start the conversation on how that might be possible down the line, if it isn’t just yet.

3. They’re well-prepared Part of being reasonable is being well-prepared. One of the biggest mistakes novice negotiators make is showing up over-confident and under prepared. Have the research and facts to back up what you’re asking for. Show your negotiation partner evidence of why what you’re asking for is not only fair, but necessary. Facts are hard to shoot down. This will also give you the confidence to really push for what you want. It’s not just something you think, it’s something that’s undeniable true. If you go in unprepared you’re more likely to flounder, which will damage your credibility going into future negotiations. 22

4. They always strive for a win/win solution for everyone Yes, negotiations are about getting what you want, but as the old saying goes, you get more flies with honey than vinegar. Your negotiation partner might also have reasonable requests that you need to consider. Ultimately, successful negotiations are about compromise on both sides, and ending up with an outcome that benefits everyone.

5. They’re creative Problems and conflict are a natural part of any negotiation. One surefire way to impress, is to head off any impending roadblocks, by coming up with creative solutions. It’s easy to point out problems and be negative. Truly expert negotiators think outside the box, and dazzle with innovative concepts and ideas that leave everyone excited about the process.

6. They’re good listeners Listening in order to really understand where your negotiation partner is coming from is important for two reasons: you not only want to make them feel heard, but knowing what they want is invaluable information you can use to get what you want. At the start, you’re gathering information by asking questions and really hearing what they say, which includes picking up on body language and nonverbal cues as well. This is part of being well-prepared, using every possible thing you can to have an advantage. Being in control of the situation, and then leading everyone to a successful conclusion all around is what great negotiation is all about.

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DAVID VAN ITTERSUM David Van Ittersum launched his journey in real estate eleven years ago. Fresh from selling his successful cell phone company, David decided to set his sights on a new professional challenge. After considering how his skillsets might translate to a new industry, David identified real estate as a natural transition, affording him limitless potential for growth and the ability to exercise his entrepreneurial spirit. Now, more than a decade later, David has built a steadfast career as an agent, equipped with a reputation for honesty, a proven track record, and a personal touch. Based in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, David spearheads his work solo under the banner of Real Living Kee Realty, serving the areas of Macomb County, Wayne County, and St. Clair County. There, he has built a business driven almost entirely by repeat and referral clientele, underscoring David’s affable personality and ability to deliver. In fact, he has fielded the same repeat clientele two and three times in the course of his eleven-year career—a surefire indicator of the memorable transactional experience he cultivates. Likewise, an unflagging work ethic is another pillar of David’s working style, and though his career began in 2007 amidst considerable market challenges, he persevered thanks in no small part to his persistence, dynamic sales strategies, and adaptability. “I have a strong record of success and I get the job done,” David says. “Whether I’m working with a client to find the right house at the right price, or I’m listing a property and sourcing the best buyer—I thrive on working with people and delivering on their goals.” David also takes a tech-savvy approach to keeping in touch with clients, as well as when broaching the marketing process. Since relationships are central to his work as an agent, he stays in touch regularly with his sphere of influence, connecting online at his clients’ pace. When listing, David leverages a full-scale digital approach that lures prospective buyers in short order. Beginning with professional photography, David then utilizes a customized marketing approach to ensure each property enjoys maximum exposure. “I really like to interact with clients on coming up with strategies that work best for their specific property,” he says. From there, visibility across the leading online listing platforms and MLS outlets ensure digital audiences are targeted comprehensively. As for what Top Agent Magazine

he enjoys most about his second-act career, David relishes the chance to serve others as they embark upon their next chapter of homeownership. “When it comes to business, it’s business, but along the way, I’m able to create a personal relationship with my clients as friends,” he says. “Professionalism will always be key, but I like the chance to get to know people and create those connections.” To take part in his local landscape, David gives back by serving on his community’s local tax board and focuses resources on area charities that support foster children aging out of the system, as well as children with special needs. In his remaining free hours beyond the office, David most enjoys time spent with loved ones, playing the occasional round of golf, and cheering on the local university and state sports teams. What’s next for David and his business? As of late, he has been developing his own investment property portfolio and plans to continue growth in this sector in the years to come. In the meantime, he intends to continue his business’s steady growth as he serves his community, one homeowner at a time. Finally, with eleven years of insight in his arsenal and no signs of slowing anytime soon, the future is bound to bring continued promise for David Van Ittersum.

To learn more about

DAVID VAN ITTERSUM email DavidVanIttersum@gmail.com, visit DavidVanIttersum.com, or call (586) 231 – 4707 www.

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