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MINNESOTA EDITION

BE THEIR REALTOR® FOR LIFE: How to Build a Relationship with Your Clients that will Last a Lifetime COVER STORY

CHRISTINA GOTTLIEB

5 Fresh New Approaches to CONTENT MARKETING Top Agent Tips and Questions for CHOOSING YOUR LISTING AGENT Why Millennials are Now the HOTTEST SEGMENT OF THE BUYERS MARKET


MINNESOTA EDITION

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CHRISTINA GOTTLIEB

CONTENTS 4) TOP AGENT TIPS AND QUESTIONS FOR CHOOSING YOUR LISTING AGENT

17) WHY MILLENNIALS ARE NOW THE HOTTEST SEGMENT OF THE BUYERS MARKET

13) BE THEIR REALTOR® FOR LIFE: HOW TO BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CLIENTS THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME

21) 5 FRESH NEW APPROACHES TO CONTENT MARKETING

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Top Agent Tips and Questions for Choosing Your Listing Agent Now that you’ve decided to sell, it’s time to select the professional to help you market your property. Before meeting with agents, however, consider Top Agent Magazine’s tips for preparing yourself. Frist, ask yourself what kind of relationship you’d like to have with your listing agent. Are you seeking a casual, personable relationship and the latest marketing tools or are you interested in a more formal, traditional relationship and approach to marketing techniques? Next, populate your list of agents by attending open houses and asking for recommendations from recent buyers and sellers. Finally, schedule your meetings at your home, where you’ll be able to gauge the chemistry between you and each agent. During your meetings, expect any Top Agent to ask you several questions, but also consider discussing the following: 4

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Will you please describe your sales experience and local network?

Ask your Top Agent to describe recent listings and sales of homes comparable to your own. Ask about the sellers’ priorities, the original list price, market time and number of offers. Top Agents will also describe how well they are connected with other REALTORS® in the region as well as their contacts with relocation companies, local corporations and chambers of commerce. Be sure to ask about each agent’s knowledge of how your market has changed over time and what has influenced change.

You’ll learn a lot by listening to agents’ opinions.

How will you market the property? Each

Top Agent has a unique set of online or local marketing tools at his or her disposal. Some use lead-generation applications and nearly ever luxury agent take advantage of video. Even video marketing tools vary from agent-to-agent, however. You’ll get to decide if you prefer an agent with higher-end video production and 3D Matterport tours or an agent with more intimate techniques featuring walk-and-talk style video tours. What factors influence your list-price recommendation? Before an-

swering this question, most Top Agents will have several questions for you, including whether you’re more focused on a faster sale or a higher list price. They’ll also educate you on how best to balance both market time and list price relative to sales histories your area. Now that you’ve seen the home, what repairs or improvements do you recommend before listing? You’ll learn a lot by listening to agents’

opinions on your home’s sale potential with or without some improvements. Most Top Agents will also recommend a full professional inspection prior to listing to avoid surprises during buyer inspection.

How will you help with staging? Some Top Agents will pay for part or

all of the staging costs. At a minimum, however, a Top Agent will have a staging professional or two in their partner network. While they’re at it, they may provide referrals for carpet cleaning, painting, gardening and other minor finishing touches. Top Agent Magazine

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What attributes of the property will you want to highlight? Each Top

Agent will have a somewhat different answer to this question, but that’s a good thing! Even if you have your own ideas about your home’s greatest attributes, you’ll glean insight into the current market by considering different agents’ opinions. In learning their views, you may even change your mind about your home’s most marketable features!

What is your approach to Open Houses? How many agent-only Open

Houses will your Top Agent want to host? How many truly Open Houses? Some Top Agents may even reveal a “swankier” approach to the Open House – such as an evening cocktail party or by-invitation “open” hours to which buyers visit along with the agent representing them.

Who will be our primary point(s) of contact from your office? This

important question will help you understand the scope of your agent’s practice. You’ll get to see if your agent runs a robust team with many hands on deck or if he or she works by close, one-on-one contact with each client. Either approach is wonderful; you get to decide what suits you. Now, let’s list! 6

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CHRISTINA GOTTLIEB Top Agent Magazine

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“When you work with us, you’re going to get genuine people who want to make your experience the best it can possibly be. We fully embody the phrase, ‘Minnesota Nice.’”

CHRISTINA GOTTLIEB Even as a young high school student, Christina Gottlieb always knew she wanted to be a real estate agent. Understanding that the path to her dream job would take some time, she put her diligence to good use, working other jobs and gaining experience toward her ultimate goal. Shortly into their marriage, Christina’s husband recognized her natural talent and potential, and encouraged her to chase her dream and earn her license. Soon after, she started working with a builder, and then met a fellow real estate agent who became her mentor. That was fourteen years ago and today, Christina’s business is ever-growing, having been founded on the principles of customer service, pristine presentation, and accessibility. 8Copyright Top Agent Magazine

Primarily serving the Twin Cities region, Christina and her team aren’t tied to a specific geographic area, preferring to go where clients lead. With a 98% rate of repeat and referral business, clients are impressed not only by Christina’s considered care, but also by her ability to deliver results. Having grown her team organically over the years, Christina works with two other professionals including her husband and a designer turned agent. Both have been tremendous additions to her operation and together, they offer a memorably high-quality experience to all their clients. With such a high rate of repeat and referral business, Christina’s dedication to open communication and educating clients throughout the transactional process keeps customers pleased and coming back for more. In fact, Christina and her team make responsiveness their utmost priority, answering and returning phone calls and keeping clients in the loop. From beginning to end, Top Agent Magazine


Christina focuses on empowering her clients through education, helping them source the best options possible. “When you work with us, you’re going to get genuine people who want to make your experience the best it can possibly be,” Christina explains. “We fully embody the phrase, ‘Minnesota Nice.’”

reason, Christina and her team prefer to stay in touch with people through social media, or—valuing face to face time with past clients—she also enjoys grabbing coffee or taking people to lunch. If that isn’t possible, an old-fashioned phone call always serves as a way to catch up.

Staying in touch with past clients comes naturally to Christina, forming a bond with each and every individual she serves. Christina explains, “Once you work with someone, you become friends with them. When we have a client, we want to have them for life.” For this

As for her listings, each home receives maximum exposure online on over eight hundred websites and listing portals. Christina also incorporates social media and targeted advertising to groups in the Twin Cities area, ensuring each listing reaches the widest possi-

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ble audience. What’s more, with a designer on her team, clients receive professional advice on how best to stage their homes, in order to make the ideal first impression in person or online. Likewise, professional photography helps each home look it’s best on all distribution platforms. Outside the office, Christina involves herself locally through her daughter’s school programs, attending community events, and offering her volunteer services at large. Her favorite things to do for fun include spendTop Agent Magazine

ing time with her family and soaking up the sun—especially during the albeit short, but beautiful Minnesota summers. As for the future, Christina has plans to expand her team with hopes to take on a higher volume without compromising the superior standard of care her clients have come to expect. With a strategic approach to growing her business—while maintaining an ethos of top-notch customer service—the future is sure to be bright for Christina Gottlieb and her team at Gottlieb Real Estate Group. Copyright Top Agent Magazine 11


To learn more about CHRISTINA GOTTLIEB, visit gottliebhomes.com, e-mail Christina@gottliebhomes.com, or call (651)492-9627 www.

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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. Top Agent Magazine

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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. Top Agent Magazine

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Why Millennials Are Now the Hottest Segment of the Buyers Market

and How You Can Attract Them to Your Home There are many factors when it comes to knowing how to sell your home to the Millennial generation. Millennials are becoming an important part of the buyer market, and to fail to cater to their needs will cut you off from a large and important segment. But, why have Millennials all of a sudden become interested in buying houses when they were perfectly content to rent for the rest of their lives? Top Agent Magazine

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A number of factors contribute to what has recently made Millennials the hottest segment of the Buyers market. One factor is the improved job outlook for Millennials. Millennials took a serious blow during the recession. Unemployment in this group soared to 14 percent, compared to the 9.6 percent for the population as a whole. But, in recent years that number has been decreasing, with unemployment for Millennials being 9.3 percent this past year. Rising rents are also contributing to making Millennials more interested in purchasing homes now. Rents have risen so much that buying a home now just makes more sense. Half of all renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Millennials are becoming increasingly stressed over the constantly increasing financial obligation to something that isn’t even theirs to own. The near-historic low mortgage rates are luring Millennials towards purchasing a home with their promise of affordability. When compared with the skyrocketing rental rates, buying a house looks even more enticing. Another factor helping Millennials get over the hump of purchasing a house is the lower down payment requirements. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now offering new loan programs that require as little as a 3 percent down payment. This may just be the last push the Millennials needed to turn toward buying a home rather than rent. So, now that we’ve established that Millennials are finally joining the Buyers market, the next thing that it is important to understand is what exactly Millennials are looking for in a home. What kind of floorplans do they prefer? What locations are they interested in? Here are some of the essentials that Millennials are looking for in a home: • Updated Kitchens and Baths: Almost everyone wants to buy a

home with new kitchen and bath fixtures, but this is especially true for Millennials Buyers. Millennials are going to spend most of their savings on the down payment and furnishings, leaving little room to update the Kitchen and Bath, which are also the most expensive parts of a home to

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update. Millennials who are on a budget simply won’t have the money to sink into those areas. An updated Kitchen and Bath is sure to bring in a younger crowd. • Big Kitchen with Open Floor Plan: For Millennials, the kitchen has

become the room where they hangout in addition to the family room. This is why having an open space that can transition easily from the kitchen to the TV room is high on the list of things Millennials are looking for in a home. Along a similar vein, Millennials are attracted to an open floor plan rather than one that compartmentalizes the home. This has to do with how Millennials entertain. Millennials want their guests to flow through the rooms and mingle together, rather than be sectioned off in different rooms.

• Home Office: More than 13 million Americans now work from home,

and if you look at the trend, that number is only going to increase as the time goes on. With technology steadily increasing, more Millennials than ever have the flexibility to work from home. But, the home office isn’t just for someone working from home full time. Having a separate space dedicated to work helps people concentrate and focus on work while they are at home. They can separate themselves from the activities going on around the house and have a quiet space where they can set up their workday, plan a presentation, hold a meeting on Skype, or even pay bills.

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• Less Maintenance: Many Millennials work different schedules that

don’t conform to the 9 to 5 workday, as well as full social calendars. This doesn’t leave them much time to clean a big house. Lawn services and low-maintenance front yards are particularly appealing, as they take less responsibility to still keep the curb appeal high.

• Energy-Efficient Appliances: Millennials have been educated on

keeping the Earth clean from the time they were born. They want to do their part to help the environment and appreciate the long-term cost savings that come with it. Energy-efficient appliances and greener ways to heat and cool the home might end up being the tipping point that makes them choose one house over another.

• Hardwood Floors: Millennials don’t have the time or patience to clean

dirty carpets, especially those that own pets. Hardwood and laminate flooring is easy to mop up if there’s been a mess. The more time they can conserve, the better.

• Good Location: Millennial buyers are looking for homes that are in

proximity to public transportation and have a good walking score. Young Millennial buyers without children are more likely to want a location closer to the action of the city, while Millennials with children would prefer more residential areas.

• Technology: Technology rules the Millennial’s life. They do work on

their computers through an Internet connection and solely use cellphones for communication. They are going to ask about how strong the cell service is and about the Internet service provider. While these amenities are out of the seller’s hands, Millennials are still going to ask these questions, and you will need to know how to answer them.

Knowing what Millennials are looking for in a home will ultimately help you make the necessary changes that will attract these buyers to your home. Since they are the a serious segment of the market now, updating your home to fit their needs will lead to more buyers and better offers. So, get with the times and embrace the Millennial buyer. 20

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5 Fresh New Approaches to Content Marketing A couple of weeks ago we were conducting a workshop when we were asked two excellent questions about content marketing:

• People

don’t want to hear from a roofing company every day. So how do you produce fresh and interesting content for social media that goes beyond your core services and yet ties back to your business?

• Can

you extend your social media presence and content to include personal things (like your hobbies) and how does that affect your overall business image?

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The workshop attendee who asked the first question was right. Almost no one wants to hear from any company every day… especially if all the content is about products and services…and yes, even if they’re giving helpful tips and information. Does that mean you should stop producing excellent daily content related to your business? No, of course not! Content is created for two reasons. First, to provide knowledge, expertise and even entertainment to your ideal customers in order to achieve top of mind awareness as an authority in your industry. And second, to produce SEO-rich results that keep you at the top of search engines. You must strike a

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balance between the two, and try to include content that draws people in by being super interesting and entertaining….and yes, sometimes personal. To help answer those content questions above, here are five different types of content (beyond the traditional stuff) that can give your brand a fresh, unique and balanced approach:

1. PHILANTHROPIC Your community efforts say a lot about who you are, and people will make an extra effort to do business with you as a result of this connection. We’ve consulted business owners who are very hesitant to promote these efforts because they don’t want it to seem as though they are exploiting the charities and organizations—and most especially because they don’t do it for the promotional aspects. They do it to give back. I ask you to keep this in mind. Nonprofit and charitable organizations very often have small marketing budgets. Not only do they rely on outside marketing forces to promote their initiatives, they would likely be forced to close their doors without that support. That means that when someone with a strong brand and presence promotes them, it’s a highly trusted and personal connection, and you can’t buy that kind of support. In other words, they not only need you to promote them, they want you to promote them. But your instincts are correct. It’s not about you. So just make sure your entire content focuses on the organization you’re helping, what they do for the community and how 22

others can join in the cause. Then it becomes a huge win for all.

2. HOBBIES You bungee jumped from four of the tallest bridges in the U.S. In your spare time, you go fly fishing. You love playing chef and use only locally grown, organic foods. Your friends are always begging you to go to Vegas with your card shark talents. You’ve done mission work in Africa and would like to start your own group. You almost played professional baseball. You have an insane talent for gardening design or bass guitar. Your family works at a soup kitchen once a month. Ok…you get the picture. And two more words. Reality TV. People are interesting…and people are interested in interesting people. We remember others based on these unique traits. And most of all, people love the story behind the face. Don’t be afraid to share your hobbies. Quite often, it’s the first thing that will personally connect you to a prospect.

3. CREATIVE CONNECTION This one is perhaps our favorite. While we can’t imagine seeing something come across our news feed from a landscaping company every day, imagine this for a moment. What are we always told to remember in this hectic world? Stop and smell the roses, right? So what if…a landscaping company posted a beautiful flower each day, just to remind you to ‘stop and smell the roses’. And at the bottom of that photo (small print), you included

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the type of flower and type of environment needed to make it flourish (moist soil, full sun, etc.). And then, of course, watermarked it with your logo….and a title like, “Sam’s Daily Reminder: It’s Time to Stop & Smell the Roses”. You could even include some great, thought-provoking quotes. It has the personal connection (Sam), the business connection (flowers & logo watermark) and a cool creative connector (pause the meetings and paperwork to take a moment and appreciate life by noticing this beautiful flower). This is a great idea for staying ‘top of mind’ and connecting business with the kind of creative messaging people wouldn’t mind seeing every day.

4. EXPERIENCES This one is similar to hobbies from the personal aspect, but instead of something that identifies us like our hobbies, our experiences are random happenings that can have great interest and meaning to our audience. Whether you have a unique experience buying a new car or a fateful conversation with a stranger in the airport, if you feel it ties into a life lesson or business lesson you’d like to share, by all means do. The lesson is to keep your radar up 24/7. Any experiences you have which relate to your

ideal customer are an opportunity to connect beyond the business world. And when we do that, we become a part of the family.

5. INFLUENCERS “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future”. You’ve probably heard that saying, and the same is true whether you are a teenager or a business owner. Maybe you’ve learned a lot of your business knowledge from Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet…or you like to quote Benjamin Franklin. Perhaps you have some mentors you’d like to recognize and tell why they’re important to you. Sharing the people and things that influence us is what makes us human. No matter how successful your business, you didn’t get there alone. People and circumstances shaped you along the way. Recognizing others for their contribution in our lives, large or small, is important in staying connected and grounded. We hope these five types of content help you to put a fresh spin on what you share with your audience, whether personal or professional. We believe you must have the combination of both to build an incredible brand.

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 www.BrandFaceRealEstate.com. Top Agent Magazine

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