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MINNESOTA EDITION

Business Growth Hack: ABSORB YOUR CLIENTS’ STRESS! 3 Beyond-theOffice Activities to INSPIRE A CREATIVE BUSINESS BOOM

A Step-byStep Guide to CONVERTING INTERNET LEADS TO REAL LIFE SALES How to Recognize TRUE LUXURY PROPERTIES

COVER STORY

JIM SLATER


MINNESOTA EDITION

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JIM SLATER

CONTENTS 4) BUSINESS GROWTH HACK: ABSORB YOUR CLIENTS’ STRESS! 14) HOW TO RECOGNIZE TRUE LUXURY PROPERTIES

18) 3 BEYOND-THE-OFFICE ACTIVITIES TO INSPIRE A JIM SLATER CREATIVE BUSINESS BOOM 22) A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO CONVERTING INTERNET LEADS TO REAL LIFE SALES

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Business Growth Hack: Absorb Your Clients’ Stress! Your business coach or a CRM software sales rep has probably described a number of products or services to help you grow your business. But sometimes the easiest way to increase the deals you’re closing is to simply be present for your clients. In doing so, you’ll find have the power to decrease the stress they feel. And when you decrease their stress, you increase your value to them, leading to new referrals and organic growth. 4

You may be thinking, “I have enough stress; how can I find the emotional bandwidth for other people’s stress?” But consider this: As their day-to-day point of contact in this life decision, you are already a strong presence in your client’s lives. Why not allow yourself to be the only seemingly calm part of this process? By asking them what’s on their mind, by truly listening, by showing that you truly understand and even by rolling up

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your sleeves to relieve some of their grunt work, you’ll prove yourself invaluable. Think of yourself as the equivalent of an anti-anxiety pill to your clients. All you have to do is form a few easy habits.

Laura and Raj, their agent and their loan officer soon came to learn that Laura’s 80-year-old mother may eventually move in with the family. This news not only helped the agent best meet Laura’s and Raj’s needs for a new home; it gave both the agent and the loan officer opportunities to go above and beyond for their clients. Their REALTOR® connected Laura with a senior services nonprofit near Laura’s mom’s current home that may be able to assist the family. And their loan officer outlined various, detailed options to Laura and Raj make smart, long-term financial decisions. Meanwhile, the agent and loan officer earned the trust of Laura and Raj, who felt less worried about the future.

Listen – really listen – with patience Behind every home purchase or sale is a person or a family with a uniquely complex set of needs, motivations, objectives and priorities. Asking the right questions and truly listening to the answers are the easiest ways to learn how to make clients’ lives easier. In doing so, you not only show that you’re interested in them as people, but you help yourself discover ways to surprise your clients with service. Take “Laura and Raj,” for instance – a couple in their 30s who wanted a larger home because their family of five outgrew their first home. By patiently getting to know Top Agent Magazine

Empathize Don’t be afraid to describe your own personal experiences as a homebuyer or seller, explaining how you felt at the time; let your client know you “get” it. The agent who is willing to open up and let buyers and

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sellers know that they personally understand their needs and concerns will connect with clients quickly, break down barriers and help the process move smoothly. Chayan Alavi, Broker/Owner of Alavi Agency in Long Beach, California, challenges himself and his team to ensure that every action of every day serves others. “If we can put ourselves in other people’s shoes with empathy, then we become stellar professionals and great human beings, too,” he says. “I like knowing that we remove the sales pitch from real estate and make it all about the customer.” Chayan and his team focus on customer advocacy and building trust. But they don’t take trust for granted. Instead, they know trust must be earned and nurtured over time.

Roll up your sleeves “You can’t be afraid to do anything!” says Matthew Todd of d’aprile properties in the Chicago area. “People know there’s nothing I won’t do to get the job done.” He has 6

mowed clients’ lawns, walked dogs and personally cleaned someone’s 8,000-squarefoot, $2 million home for a showing one day after his seller left the house. Two days before another closing, Matthew’s client was unable to move large amounts of unneeded furniture out of the house he sold. No problem! Matthew joined or created five online garage sales; sold or gave away most of the client’s belongings and had the remainder hauled away before cleaning in time for the closing. “The first time I sit with a seller on listing presentation or the first day I take someone on a buyer’s tour, they know I’m ‘all-in.’” Meanwhile, in the Cincinnati area, Aaron Denton of Summit Funding considers himself and his team members to be concierges for their borrowers. “We’re like personal assistants,” says Aaron. “People are happier when you remove the stress.” Included in their standard services are researching moving quotes; arranging and organizing movein day; scheduling utility transfers; assisting with children’s school registration paperwork; and even connecting buyers with local resources like daycares. If “rolling up your sleeves” isn’t your strongest skill, then an easy alternative is to get to know professionals in your area who can do these tasks for you. In the end, remember that by listening with patience, empathizing, and being willing to go the extra mile, you have the power to remove the stress your clients would experience without your help. When clients feel cared for, they remember the agents and partners who helped them.

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JIM SLATER 7


JIM SLATER Jim Slater of Coldwell Banker Burnet started his career in real estate when he was only 22 years old. But by that time he’d already done a lot of living. His father died when he was only 16 years old, and in his late teens he went to work with local rock and roll bands as a roadie. In his early 20s, a family friend and mentor suggested Jim would be an incredible realtor. Jim took his advice and got his license. At first, he didn’t like the direction he was heading in and quit after only a year, returning to his life as a professional roadie, working with the likes of REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, Guns N’ Roses, and many 8Copyright Top Agent Magazine

other bands. In 1992, he retired from touring and spent his last year as one of the lighting guys for Phil Collins and Genesis on their last world tour. One of his favorite memories was taking Joe Perry and Steven Tyler, from Aerosmith, water skiing on Prior Lake. What a hoot! He then returned to real estate, investing in lakeside properties in Prior Lake, and studying the positive health effects of living on the water. “I soon became the lakeshore specialist. People started calling me The Lakeshore Guy,” Jim says with a smile. He quickly grew an enthusiastic following of high net worth clients. Top Agent Magazine


He now leads a team he calls his brain power that consists of a Director of Marketing, a Strategic Innovator, an Optimization Specialist, a Director of Business Development, and a Director of Business Operations. He serves all of the Minneapolis Metro area. A huge percentage of his business comes from repeat and referral customers. “I don’t just have satisfied clients—I have raving fans!” he says. He’s a veteran of the industry and he’s now helping the children and grandchildren of his original clients, making his well-known slogan “Sooner or Later, You’ll Call Jim Slater!” ring true. Top Agent Magazine

What sets Jim apart from his peers in the industry? His clients are his number one priority. They matter to Jim and he treats his clients how he would want to be treated—he becomes the client. “I work 24/7, not because I am a workaholic, but because it is my life’s passion!” Jim’s characteristic energy shines through in every aspect of his approach to his business. His enthusiasm makes it easy for him to stay in touch with past clients. He calls them to say hello and genuinely cares about what is happening in their lives. He sends thinking of you cards and gift cards for special occasions to let them Copyright Top Agent Magazine9


know how important they are to him. “They start out as clients, but they leave great friends.” He also hosts an annual client appreciation brunch on the lake attended by hundreds of people.

they don’t know the intricate parts of the moving machine of real estate. Seeing their smiles at the closing table is off the charts incredible!” he says.

For Jim it is all about marketing, strategy and innovation. He harnesses raw data to figure out who the most likely buyers will be for each property, and then hones in on those key markets, conducting thorough marketing campaigns via all social media platforms. What does Jim like best about his work? “The smiles on my clients faces. I love making them happy! My clients may be doctors, attorneys or top executives, but

Jim feels strongly in giving back. He has a Keep Smilin’ philosophy and he is proud of his partnership with Smile Network International, a Minnesota-based non-profit that provides life changing surgeries to children across the world born with cleft lips and palates. With every home he sells he donates $500 to Smile Network International in both the buyers’ and sellers’ names to cover the cost of a surgery. Since 2012, he’s

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donated nearly 500 surgeries! Jim trekked the 26 mile, four-day Inca Trail to Machu Pichu in Peru and hiked to 14,000 feet with Smile Network International as well as participated in a medical mission in Lima, witnessing first hand how his fundraising has helped change the lives of children around the world. He hosts fundTop Agent Magazine

raising events for Smile Network as well. “I don’t wake up thinking, ‘How many sales can we make?’” he says. “Instead it’s, ‘How many smiles can we give today?’” When you partner with Jim, another home sold means another child smiles. He’s very involved in the community, supporting many fundraising events. As a surviCopyright Top Agent Magazine 11


vor of throat cancer, he’s particularly interested in supporting cancer research. As of June 9th, 2018 Jim is celebrating 30 years cancer free. In his free time, he enjoys team building activities, attends sporting events with clients, and he loves to water ski. But his real passion is his work. “I love what I do! It’s not a job for me. God blesses you with

a gift, and you’ve got to take that gift and give it away. And I do!” he says. For the future, he wants to continue to mentor young professionals, and keep his focus on constant strategic innovation. Jim wants to continue to do more, be more and give more. With his incredible energy and experience, he’s sure to accomplish those worthy goals!

To find out more about Jim Slater you can contact him via email at jim@slaterrealtygroup.com or by phone at 612 - 590 - 1802. You can also check him out online at slaterrealtygroup.com www.

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Spacecrafting is proud to congratulate

Jim Slater

on being featured for the state of Minnesota in Top Agent Magazine!

A R C H I T E C T U R A L

P H O T O G R A P H Y

&

V I D E O

Spacecrafting, Inc | 612-353-4073 | spacecrafting.com www.

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How to Recognize True Luxury Properties What to Consider Other Than Location When luxury home buyers are looking for a new abode, they are often advised to pay most of their attention to location, location, location. And it’s true that good locations often have better properties, but if you’re only looking at location then you might be forgetting what it is in a luxury property that makes it luxury. You could view a property in a great location, and because you completely ignored any of the other factors that make a property high end, you might find that once you move in, you aren’t as pleased with the actual house itself as you thought you would be. Here are the other things you should look out for when purchasing a luxury home: • Architectural Uniqueness: The simple fact is that good

architecture retains its value. Do your homework on architects and find the ones that have a good track record of designing beautiful, but practical homes. Don’t simply pay attention to how the building looks today. Consider how it will look in a few decades. Keep an eye out for the “bones” of the building, and decide whether they will stand the test of time or not. Things such as a solid foundation, high-grade materials, unusual details, and artistic components are good aspects to consider. Will the structure hold up well or will it degrade and crumble without constant upkeep? That funky molding may look artistic today, but in ten years will it be considered artistic or just plain weird?

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• Practical Layout: Make sure you have enough room to live

in comfort. As a buyer of luxury property, you probably have quite a busy social schedule. You want to make sure that the layout will lend itself to helping you maintain clear separation between your social areas and private ones. You don’t want guests having to go back into your bedroom to use the bathroom. Look out for places with stairwells, awkward columns, long hallways, and other wastes of space.

• Unobstructed Views and Light: You want to live in

a home that gives you lots of natural light, such as one that is open to the outdoors. That natural light will improve your mood, as well as the resale value. The openness of a space filled with natural light will make you feel more comfortable and happy in your new home. What about the view? Do you see a Do you park, a bridge, a river, or a skyline? Is the see a park, fantastic view out your window protected? a bridge, You’ll need to understand the surrounding air a river, or a rights and zoning allowances of neighboring buildings to understand the possible risks. skyline?

• Windows: Windows are the primary source of losing heat and

cooling. Make sure they are double-paned with good insulation that will protect your home against weather and noise. Unless the windows are already like this, it is unlikely that the condo or co-op board will allow you to install your own.

• Ceiling Height: Consider the cubic footage of the property.

You want to look for high ceilings that increase the openness of a room. Of course, you don’t want to go too high. Above 14 feet will get you diminished marginal returns.

• Storage: If you’re a woman, you will understand this one. We need

lots of closets and additional storage room to fit all of our clothes, shoes, jackets, hats, purses, etc. However, lucky for you, your potential home’s existing closet square footage will not limit you from putting in more storage space. Custom closet companies can create any kind of storage

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space you desire. You will have to, however, make sure that your new home does have an area that you can turn into this storage space. • In-Unit Laundry: In-unit laundry has become necessary for

any luxury home or apartment. Do you really want to have to trek down flights of stairs to use the basement laundry? If you still consider it wasted space, you can convert it into more closet space.

• The Gym: Having a fitness area nearby is an amenity that is especially

important, particularly in winter when you don’t feel like walking to the gym a few blocks down. One thing to consider is the Do you really want of the gym in relation to have to trek down size to the size of the building in flights of stairs? light of common area fees. • Move-In Ready: I’d advise against buying time-consuming and

frustrating fixer-uppers no matter how much you want to add custom kitchens, finishes, fixtures, and other characteristics. Choose a property that already has all of these amenities taken care of. These properties have already had the same designers you would hire fashion the house at a fraction of the cost you would pay to have them do it after you move in. In this light, it is worthwhile to pay a little extra for the move-in ready home.

• Reputation: Pay attention to the reputation of the building. A

property that has a good reputation tends to retain its value. You can easily find this out online on posts, and established locals are likely to have an opinion.

If you want to buy luxury property that is really worth it’s price, then I would suggest adding these points to your list of things your new home must have. If you want to get a high quality home that is a true luxury, you’ll want to watch out for these aspects as well as the location. Some properties might claim to be luxury based on their location, but when compared against this list, they don’t make the cut. So, don’t be fooled by imposters, and make sure you find a true high-end property. 16

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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 18

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, 20

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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A Step-by-Step Guide to

Converting Internet Leads to Real Life Sales In the era of apps, instantaneous social platforms, and text messaging, it’s little surprise that the modern homebuyer begins his or her search for real estate representation online. Even if you’ve got a top-notch website or an influential social media presence, how do you connect with web surfers who have yet to commit to the services you offer? Take a look below to learn a few key techniques to bridge the gap between digital interest and real-world sales. 22

RESPONSIVENESS IS KEY Like it or not, our digital culture relishes immediacy and instant gratification. With that in mind, be sure to stay on top of online interest forms, e-mails, or newsletter signups. Don’t let an online lead go to waste by taking too long to engage and follow-up. Things move fast, and it’s easy for potential clientele to forget which websites they’ve visited. Even if your lead isn’t ready to commit then and there, you demonstrate your

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Mastering the fundamentals of digital communication is the first step to converting digital interest into concrete business. accessibility and attentiveness by following up swiftly—a characteristic anyone would seek in an agent or lender.

ENGAGE WITH OPEN-ENDED CONVERSATION When online back-and-forth goes stale, communication drops off quickly. If you’re following up via e-mail, social media, or text, be sure to keep topics focused squarely on the potential client. Ask open-ended questions to give your lead the opportunity to loosen up and engage on a personal level. There’s no better way to cement a digital lead than to take a pointed interest in the specifics of their situation. Doing so transforms the impersonal invisibility of the internet into a true connection.

GIVE ADDED VALUE Plenty of businesses send impersonal, automated messages in response to an online inquiry, but establishing a true connection may mean providing your lead with something of value. Perhaps you’re forwarding a property for sale that fits the interests of your lead, or a relevant article, or maybe you take the time to send a personal message—demonstrable value and a personal touch separate your follow-up response from spam. Other ideas to consider when Top Agent Magazine

adding value to your follow-up technique: incorporate area promotions and access to local events, make a date for coffee, or offer a brief consultation free of charge to make the first move.

DON’T STOP MAKING CONTACT If you don’t connect with your internet lead right off the bat—don’t be discouraged. It often takes multiple tries before a follow-up interaction sticks. Folks are busy and frequently flooded with e-mail blasts and junk mail. A lead may not engage without a little prodding that shows you’re committed to their business. Remember: it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. Digital leads don’t have to be difficult to capture. The internet plays a powerful role in funneling modern clientele your way, but in order to take full advantage of the web’s reach, you’ll need to tailor your follow-up technique. Mastering the fundamentals of digital communication is the first step to converting digital interest into concrete business. Keep these tips top-of-mind as you build your online presence and mine the vast world wide web for an endless wealth of clientele. Earning a command of digital lead conversion is the surest way to bolster your business in the ever-evolving digital era.

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