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MINNESOTA EDITION

Business Growth Hack:

5 STEPS

ABSORB YOUR CLIENTS’ STRESS!

TO ACHIEVE LONG TERM SUCCESS AS A REAL ESTATE AGENT How To Incorporate Current Events to Your Email Blasts and Stay Relevant

COVER STORY

FEATURED AGENTS

Matt Brostrom Diane Hawkins Molly Tulek

Cristy & Mosiah Willis


MINNESOTA EDITION

On-Site Title, LLC is proud to congratulate

Diane Hawkins

MOLLY TULEK

For Molly Tulek, real estate is all about the relationships. “My 11 clients come back to me and 19refer me to their friends and family because they really trust me as an industry expert and they know that I am going to be there to represent them well,” she explains. That trust is gained through her friendships with them. On a daily basis, she is focusing on communicating and making sure they feel connected. “It’s important for them to get to know me,” she says. “I focus on communication with my clients to provide exceptional service.”

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hundre they lo 6 27 with M lutely a ‘above the dur the pro extrem knowle challen coast a Northe With a genuine love for people, it is not surprising base in that she landed in the real estate industry in know a DIANE HAWKINS CRISTY 2008. & MOSIAH MATT BROSTROM MOLLY TULEK “I got my license in the mid-2000s when she wen on being featured for the stateWILLIS I was working at the corporate level of a large not giv Minnesota in Top Agent Magazine! Brokerage in the Minneapolis area,” she explains. Once she 100% information. Mol moved back to her hometown of Grand Rapids, she thought - a fantastic trait that is she would put her license to use. She started off part-time, but soon made it her full-time career. Today she serves all of Itasca Aside from her work in County as well as some of Aitkin County. Although she doesn’t with the Itasca County like to focus on numbers, she sold more than $15 million in real involved with the com estate in the last two years, and that is largely due to her talent resources to local chari have5a MORNING lot of repeat clients and refer- the school board for h 5 STEPS TO ACHIEVE for customer service. “I17) HABITS Terri 4) Schmidt-Trombley rals, I would say it’s probably close to 85 percent of my business spending time with my LONG TERMCloser SUCCESS ASeach year. I work hardTO MAKE YOUR DAY SUPER President / Executive to make myself available, and to keep of a great country musi A REAL ESTATE AGENT my clients up to date throughout PRODUCTIVE Phone: 952-595-6262 | terri@ostmn.com the entire process,” she says. boating, snowmobiling Whether it’s a $100,000 house or a million dollar lake property, the top of my ‘fun list.’ on-sitetitle.com she provides the same superior service. 8) HOW TO 21) COACHING 9-1-1 14800 Galaxie Avenue, Suite 300, INCORPORATE Apple Valley, MN 55124 Molly truly loves her j On-Site Title Insurance License #40370444 CURRENT EVENTS TO YOUR After working with Molly, she becomes a lifelong friend, so it is takes her. “I plan to foc MN Insurance Producer License #20402308 BUSINESS EMAIL BLASTS AND STAYeasy for her to become24) her clients’ go-to personGROWTH when they have goal is to have my clien a real estate need. “ForHACK: me, It’s about keeping those friendships and think of me as kno ABSORB YOUR RELEVANT after the fact,” Molly says. “My goal is always to be the person very passionate about t CLIENTS’ they think of when they think of a Realtor.” This has resulted in we live in”

CONTENTS

www.

Phone 888-461-3930 | Fax 310-751-7068 mag@topagentmagazine.com | www.topagentmagazine.com

No portion of this issue may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior consent of the publisher. Top Agent Magazine is published by Feature Publications GA, Inc. Although precautions are taken to ensure the accuracy of published materials, Top Agent Magazine cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied by its authors. To subscribe or change address, send inquiry to mag@topagentmagazine.com.For more information about Molly T Published in the U.S. you can find her at Edge of the Wilderness Lakes & Homes Re

Grand Rapids MN, EOWRealty.com, or on Facebook, L call 218 - 326 - 3411 or email Molly@EOWRea www.

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5 Steps to Achieve Long Term Success as a Real Estate Agent Real Estate can have a reputation as an industry with a high turnover as far as agents go. Being a ‘people person’ with an entrepreneurial spirit is a great start, but what some fail to realize when starting out is that this is a business. So if you’re in it for the long haul, you need to treat it that way. Here are some key steps you need to take to have your own successful real estate business.

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FIND A MENTOR

Once you get your license and hang your sign at a Brokerage, you’ll find that you’re pretty much on your own. That’s why it’s a good idea for new agents to find a large Brokerage that offers in-house training and mentorship or a boutique brokerage that has more seasoned agents who are eager to take a new agent under their wing. Being able to shadow a more experienced agent is invaluable and allows you to mirror what you’ve seen and run through the numerous scenarios that will arise when you are representing a client.

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CONTINUOUS TRAINING

This is a business that is constantly changing, so it’s smart to always stay ahead of the curve when it comes to new technological innovations and systems. There are even numerous online resources, where you can keep up on your trade, such as blogs by top producing agents that are a treasure trove of information. A confident agent with an in-depth knowledge of the business is one that easily earns the trust of their client, leading to repeat and referral business, which will be the bread and butter of your business.

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BUILD A STRONG ONLINE PRESENCE

Yes, referrals are the basis of your business, but building a strong online presence and marketing yourself to new clients is also important, especially before you’ve built up a strong referral base. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media tools are great way to get leads both for your listings and for yourself. It’s even a good idea to buy several domain names when you start, so that when you’re ready to build a website, you can ensure you have the names you want. Obviously the internet is also a great resource to find leads. Before you find a niche for yourself, it’s important to take advantage of every avenue there is. A lot of successful agents started off doing things no one else wanted to take on like foreclosures, expired listings or lower priced homes. But as you’ll find out, helping those who need it most is a great way to build a loyal client base, that will not only come back to you when they are ready to sell or buy again, but will be your biggest cheerleaders when it comes to referring you to friends and family.

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BUILD A SOLID FOUNDATION

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SET GOALS

One thing you’ll find in this business is that doing a lot of work up top, will lead to a more successful outcome down the road. That goes for marketing plans for your listings, as well as your business as a whole. It might not be the fun part, but it will allow you to one day focus on what you do best, dealing with your clients. Set up your CRM and the other systems you want to use from the get go. Getting these things established before you’re hopefully a busy agent is the best time to really learn them and decide what’s best for you.

Once you build a strong foundation and are establishing your client base, it’s important to continually set goals that help you implement your business strategy. You can even invest in a real estate coach if you need someone to hold you accountable. It’s also important to constantly reevaluate what you’re doing. Set up a monthly audit, where you go over what is and what isn’t working. As we mentioned above, this is a fluid business and things are constantly changing, the same can be said of your business. What worked a year ago, might be losing you money as your business grows.

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DIANE HAWKINS Top Agent Diane Hawkins, Lead of Team Hawkins at Keller Williams Premier Realty in Apple Valley, Minnesota is closing in on nearly a decade of providing buyers and sellers in the Twin City region with exceptional, personalized and dedicated customer service. Diane’s extensive industry knowledge, coupled with her highly ethical and direct approach has elevated her to the top of her profession, and her business continues to grow exponentially year after year. Prior to her real estate career, Diane was a hairstylist for thirty-five years. “I reached a point where my back couldn’t take it anymore,” she explains, “so I started taking real estate classes in 2010 when the market was down. I got my license knowing there wouldn’t be much business at that time, but I also knew that being with Keller Williams would provide me with free training. So I took all of their classes for about three years until the market shifted, and when it did I was ready.” Currently working with an equally dedicated team of four members, which includes her husband Bob, Team Hawkins works with clients within a fifty-mile radius of the South Metro area of the Twin Cities, which is their primary focus. If evidence is needed of the unparalleled level of customer service the team provides, look no further than their 65% rate of repeat and referral business, perhaps the surest indicator of a successful team in the highly-competitive real estate industry. “You need to provide a customer experience your clients won’t forget,” says Diane. “We always try to exceed our client’s expectations.” Perhaps the most common complaint among home buyers and sellers is difficulty reaching their agents. Team Hawkins recognizes this industry’s shortcoming and addresses it head-on, ensuring that their clients are able to reach them whenever they need to. “We’re very accessible,” says Diane. “We will pick up our phone when they call. If for any reason we can’t answer, we call them back as soon as we are able to. Unlike other agents, we don’t have scheduled times

to return calls. We return them as we get them. Also, the fact that my entire team works full-time ensures responsiveness, and I think that’s something they definitely remember about working with us.” While the financial rewards of a career in real estate can be considerable, it’s the more personal side of the industry that Diane finds the most rewarding. “I love when a client is at the closing table, and they haven’t settled for a house. When they’ve gotten the house that they love, when you can see how happy and thrilled they are, that is wonderful. Our team looks forward to going to work every day. We have a saying: ‘Thank God it’s Monday’, and we have a copy of a book with that title in our office that we share with other agents.” When she’s not working, Diane enjoys spending time with her family in their backyard pool, or time at their cabin in Wisconsin. “We’ve got four children and one grandchild, and we love spending time with them,” she says. “We work really, really hard, but when we can find time away from work we definitely relax.” Diane also finds time for philanthropy, and does so through support of multiple charitable organizations, including Open Door and Feed My Starving Children, both of which provide food to children in need. The future looks bright for Team Hawkins, and Diane looks forward to growing her business and her team. Diane is also enthusiastic about helping other agents in her Keller Williams Market Center through coaching and teaching. She and Bob have also organized a book club to help educate agents on how to survive the constantly-shifting real estate market. Of primary importance, of course, is her commitment to providing the exemplary client service that has become synonymous with her name. “I offer professionalism and communication that exceeds the expectations of our clients,” says Diane. “My goal is to provide a smooth transaction and stress-free experience from our first meeting to the closing table.”

For more information about Diane Hawkins, please call 651 - 226 - 7994 or email DianeHawkins@kw.com 6

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On-Site Title, LLC is proud to congratulate

Diane Hawkins

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

Terri Schmidt-Trombley President / Executive Closer Phone: 952-595-6262 | terri@ostmn.com on-sitetitle.com www.

14800 Galaxie Avenue, Suite 300, Apple Valley, MN 55124 On-Site Title Insurance License #40370444 MN Insurance Producer License #20402308

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How to Incorporate Current Events to Your Email Blasts and Stay Relevant Email marketing is a cost effective and straightforward method of getting your name and services in front of clients with just a few keystrokes. This tried-and-true approach to digital marketing is a favorite of many, and there are countless ways to customize (and maximize) your email blasts to reap superior results. Despite this, many real estate profes8

sionals are content to standardize their email advertising and take a broad, one-size-fits-all approach to capturing interest and leads. While an up-front sales pitch certainly has its uses and benefits, it doesn’t hurt to shake up your routine and refresh your email marketing approach by adding specifics that draw renewed interest from your audience.

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One way to accomplish this is by tying in current events and local happenings to your email blasts. After all, your sphere of influence likely receives countless marketing emails per day. To cut through the noise, sharpen your message with a few specifics that separate your communications from the pack. Not every email should be focused on closing a sale, or else your audience will learn to stop listening. How do you build your brand, stay top of mind, and keep the lines of communication open with your clientele? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

against an old rival? Do they host themed fan days honoring veterans or catering to families? Tailoring your communications to a local sports franchise’s big news or next event can draw intrigue and provide added value for your clients. Remember, not every communication you send should be focused on pitching and closing a sale, otherwise your audience will tune out your emails altogether. Instead, incorporate fun, community-oriented content that lets readers know you’re a resource for much more than real estate.

Sports news makes a splash

Become a one-stop-shop for holiday fun and seasonal ideas.

People love to rally behind the home team. Is a regional, local university, or professional sports team in your area headed to the playoffs or the championship? Are they facing off

From Mother’s Day to Thanksgiving, anyone can send an email wishing clients a happy holiday. While the sentiment is a good one, you’ll be one of dozens flooding inboxes with

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your well-wishes. Instead, go beyond the traditional greetings and good tidings and become a hyper-specific resource for clients. Create a gift guide for Mother’s Day, outline family-friendly local events occurring in your area around the holidays, or engage in a promotional partnership with a local business who’s offering a holiday special of their own. In other words, don’t settle for just saying hello during certain times of the year. Instead, up the value of your email blast by offering clients curated information that relates to their interests and area. Doing so makes your emails a must-read, while demonstrating your ability to go the extra mile.

Pop culture serves as a fun and timely tie-in. Is a new gaming app sweeping the nation? Have your social media feeds been flooded with the same viral video? Is everyone gossiping about the same TV show premiere? Pop culture tie-ins in your email marketing campaigns can be extremely effective, but in order to for

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them to work, you’ll need to move quickly and keep your focus on the phenomenon, rather than your service pitch. The goal behind pop culture marketing tie-ins is communicating the progressiveness and hip factor of your brand, while capturing timely, topical interest that’s at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be in on a running joke or trend, and if you leverage trending pop culture moments in your email marketing, you’ll be able to draw views and clicks from a wide audience.

Plenty of services offer standardized email marketing templates and content for today’s real estate professionals, and while the motivation behind marketing is transactional, your communications don’t have to be. The surest way to make an impact in your clients’ inboxes is to add original value and break apart from the pack. Consider updating some of your routines with these current events oriented techniques and your email audience is sure to take a second look.

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Cristy & Mosiah Willis Top Agent Magazine

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THE WILLIS REAL ESTATE TEAM EDINA REALTY, EDEN PRAIRIE, MINNESOTA

Husband and wife real estate team Cristy and Mosiah Willis of Edina Realty in Eden Prairie, Minnesota have built a successful business based on solid market knowledge, strong ethics, and a true desire to help their clients 12 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

achieve their real estate goals. Approaching each customer with a desire to build a lasting relationship, the Willis Real Estate Team has become synonymous with quality, caring, and success. Top Agent Magazine


Cristy began her career in real estate in 2006, after graduating from the University of St. Thomas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism. While pursuing print journalism opportunities, she happened upon an ad from a broker in need of someone to write a newsletter for him. While interviewing for that position, he convinced her to pursue a career in real estate, citing her affable nature. “I ended up loving it, and I’ve kept going with it ever since,” she recalls. “I Top Agent Magazine

made much more money in my first year in real estate than I would have as a reporter.” Mosiah, who has a background in construction, joined her business soon after the birth of their second daughter in 2014. “I’m more focused on the sales side of things, and building relationships,” says Cristy, “and Mosiah does a lot of the background things, like marketing and advertising.” Mosiah’s history in construction has been invaluable resource to their clients, since much of the 13 Copyright Top Agent Magazine


couple’s business is in the new construction arena and they currently represent a local builder. With nearly seventy percent of their business based on repeat clients and referrals, Cristy and Mosiah are clearly excelling at their goal of providing exceptional customer service. “We are very personable and hands-on,” says Cristy, by way of explaining this amazing level of loyalty they inspire. “We feel very connected to our clients. We’re there 24/7 for them. Whenever they need something, we’re the first people they call. Also, because Mosiah was in the construction trade, we know many different contractors who can help them.” Cristy also points to the sincere, personal approach they take with their buyers and sellers. “I feel like I’m part real estate agent, part lawyer and part counselor,” she muses. “I’ve had clients call me Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 14

after the transaction is completed just because they missed talking to me.” A comprehensive, cutting-edge approach to marketing also distinguishes the Willis Real Estate Team. Beginning with a thorough walkthrough to determine if staging is required or not, the pair follow up with not just one professional photographer, but three. “We have a still photographer, a virtual photographer who does 3-D imaging of the home for virtual floor plans, and then we have an aerial photographer,” says Cristy. Mosiah then utilizes his technology savvy to ensure that each listing has prominent positioning on the internet, including social media. This thorough, multi-pronged approach assures quick sales for top dollar. During those rare moments when they’re not working, Cristy and Mosiah are passionate Top Agent Magazine


about giving back to the community that has played an integral role in their continuing success, and do so primarily through support and sponsorship of their church’s charitable events. Spending time together with their three children is a priority, of course, and Top Agent Magazine

Cristy is grateful for the flexibility a career in real estate affords them. “As much as I work,” says Cristy, “I’m very involved with my children’s lives, and I’d love for other women who might want to get into real estate to know that it can be done.” Copyright Top Agent Magazine 15


Looking to the future, the Willis Real Estate Team plans to continue growing their business and providing the very best in ethical, hands-on customer service. They would also like to add some agents they can mentor and groom for success. “We would love to train them and get them up and running, because we enjoy

watching people succeed in this business, especially younger people.� Photos: Family portrait - Molly Platisha; Cover - Tammy Brice; Home/listing photos - John Dedzej.

For more information about the Willis Real Estate Team, please call Cristy at 952 - 356 - 7585, or email her at CristyWillis@EdinaRealty.com. Mosiah can be reached at 612 - 708 - 0871, or email him at MosiahWillis@EdinaRealty.com Copyright Top Agent Magazine 16

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5 Morning Habits to Make Your Day Super Productive For many, most mornings begin with a rush—a rush to get dressed, a rush to find something edible for breakfast, a rush out the door and into rush hour. Likely you have heard articles advising you to set your

alarm early to give yourself some flexibility —which is sound advice, of course—but consider a few of these additional tweaks to your morning routine that can set a productive tone for your day at large.

1. Keep Screens Away Until Breakfast Oftentimes, our first instinct upon waking is to check-in on our phones, tablets, or computers, to scope out the latest social media updates and e-mail correspondence. While diving into the action might seem productive, studies show that waylaying screen time until you’re up and dressed, and have had a good breakfast, will actually make your first pass Top Agent Magazine

at all things digital more focused, clear, and efficient. Instead of answering a few e-mails, checking out a friend’s photos, and then hurrying to shower and dress, instead make a resolution to keep the online world at bay for the first half-hour to an hour after you rise, then you’ll approach the digital world with fresh eyes, energy, and adeptness.

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2. Meal Prep Sometimes hitting the snooze button is inevitable, but if you make prepping breakfast the night before a part of your routine, then grabbing something healthy on the go will be a snap—and your stomach will thank you for it. Load up your coffee machine ahead of time, so all you have to do

is hit brew. Or, chop up a fruit salad, mix a smoothie, or simply put a granola bar and a grapefruit in your lunch bag, ready to be grabbed on your way out the door. Even if it’s small or basic, keeping yourself fueled will keep distractions, inefficiency, and mood swings at bay.

3. Queue Up a Podcast on Your Commute Whether you’re driving, biking, or taking public transportation into the office, a podcast is a perfect way to brush up on industry knowledge. Try sourcing a podcast relative to your field and narrated by experts. Not only will it get you thinking about the topics of your industry—while expanding

your professional vocabulary—it will also wake up your brain and get your head in the game as you prepare to launch your day. Use your commute time to bump up your knowledge and conversation points, and you’ll be ahead of the curve before you reach the office.

4. Begin with a To-Do List When work gets busy, sometimes just getting started is an overwhelming prospect. Before you dive in to your e-mails and projects, take twenty minutes and be thoughtful as you assess your daily and weekly to-do

list items, then map them. By giving yourself a bullet point system of what you need to accomplish and by when, you can undo some of the anxiety that a busy schedule promotes.

5. Walk It Out, Even If You Missed the Gym While we often rely on coffee for our morning buzz, exercise provides a potent burst of energy that can supercharge your day. But, let’s say you’re running behind and skip the gym—all is not lost! Take fifteen minutes in

the early morning to take a walk around the block a few times. The fresh air and aerobic exercise will wake you up, get your blood moving, and provide your morning with a natural injection of motivation.

Everyone’s morning routine varies, but perhaps the first step is identifying aspects of your routine that could be improved, and tackling them from there. From waylaying

screen time distractions to getting in a little blood-pumping exercise, keep these tips in mind as you launch your most productive morning routine ever.

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Matt Brostrom

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MATT BROSTROM As a fourth-generation real estate agent, Matt Brostrom got his start in the industry earlier than most. After graduating from college with a degree in finance, Matt headed to Florida where he earned his licensed and learned the ropes of property management. Upon returning to his native Minnesota, he decided to join the family business, Pell Insurance and Real Estate, a community institution for over fifty years. In the years since, Matt has set himself apart as a local industry leader and consummate professional, guided by the tenets of honest business, full-service care, and a community-centric focus. Based in Saint Peter, Matt heads a talented team of professionals that serve southern Minnesota. Considering the family imprint has been a community leader for decades, it’s little wonder that Matt has managed to draw roughly 80% of his business through repeat and referral clientele. What’s more, he has put his own superlative stamp on the transactional process. Whether working alongside buyers or sellers, Matt cites honesty, strategy, and value as the key tenets of his professional philosophy. “I’ve always seen myself as a value-added agent,” he explains. “My focus isn’t on volume; it’s about doing right by my clients. I wouldn’t encourage them to buy anything that I wouldn’t want to sell myself.” Likewise, Pell Insurance and Real Estate offers a variety of real estate services, from residential sales to home insurance and development. For his part, Matt manages his own portfolio of investment properties and uses this experience in flipping homes to further guide clients as they navigate the purchase or list process. Furthermore, he draws upon his degree in finance to help clients make an astute decision when it comes to budgets and long-term fiscal health. “I love crunching the numbers and seeing how cashflow operates,” Matt says. “At Pell, we’re able to work with those numbers more than the average agent and be innovative. People look to me as an expert in that area and we work together with our clients to see how best to make a project work.”

When it comes to the listing process, Matt’s campaigns are similarly detailed and strategic. He begins by helping clients ready their homes through cleaning and decluttering, then incorporates high-quality photography and immersive home descriptions to give prospective buyers alluring insight. From there, listings are marketed across social media, the leading online listing platforms, and through Pell’s extensive database. “Having been in business almost sixty years, we’re able to touch base with a lot of people and businesses in our community,” Matt says. “Having our diverse background and experience, and putting a marketing play in place is key. Our goal is to have our clients always control the pace and scope of their transaction and to feel empowered to make the right choices for them.” To give back to his hometown, Matt is active in a variety of organizations. In the past, he sat on the board of a local co-op and helped them restructure in order to preserve the homes of thirty local community elders. Additionally, Matt serves on the board for one of the local golf courses, and as a member of the local Improved Order of Red Men Club, one of the nation’s oldest fraternal organizations. Matt is also a member of the St. Peter Ambassadors. In his remaining free hours beyond the office, Matt most enjoys time spent with his family and loved ones, hunting, fishing, and venturing out on the lake during the summer months. As for the future, Matt intends to continue growing his business steadily, with plans to expand Pell’s offerings in development and property management. For now, he is content to serve his hometown community, one buyer and seller at a time. Finally, with close to a decade of experience and a long legacy of leadership to follow, Matt Brostrom considers what he enjoys most about his professional path thus far. “I love the challenge, but more than that, I love the feeling of being counted on to make the buying or selling experience a success,” he says. “It is so rewarding to know that my clients have made the biggest financial decision of their lives and that they put their trust in me.”

To learn more about Matt Brostrom email mattb@pellinc.com, visit pellinc.com, call (507) 514 – 3307 www.

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Coaching 9-1-1 By Walter Sanford

Having a coach can provide the right answers when you need it. Below is an exchange with one of our coaching clients and it provided a little “911” for his current situation: Coaching Client: I went on what I thought was a great listing presentation yesterday. However, the couple would not sign at our meeting. They said they needed to talk. I then felt like something was up. Walter: On the phone while making the appointment, one of the questions needs to be – “If everything meets with your approval, are you wanting to start the marketing plan tomorrow night when I meet with you?” Coaching Client: The guy just left me a voicemail saying they loved everything I had to offer; however, they were listing with some schmo that doesn’t do any FRICKIN’ business. Walter: Always make it your goal to get the signature! Fake that you are Top Agent Magazine

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leaving then do the “Columbo” and say, “So, I can email all answers at the office – what are you thinking about so I can do more research for you?” Coaching Client: They said they had a personal connection that really suggested that they use this guy. I know them as well and I can hear the conversation: the (name) Team are doing just fine and (name) really needs the business. How in the heck do I fight that? Walter: Let’s not try to fight until you are sure that’s what happened. Call them back. “(Wife’s name) and I are always trying to improve our services. Could you help me by letting me know what I could have done differently to earn your business? Was there anything I could have improved on for you?” Coaching Client: This other guy doesn’t even know how to spell marketing much less apply it! I am as mad as I have been since getting into real estate. Thanks for any suggestions. Walter: If that was the REAL reason, you needed to find it out while you were there then counter it by letting them know that more than anything else…an agent makes the difference on the amount a seller nets at the closing. Experience makes a difference in – • A large buyer database • More trust from buyers • More money to spend on marketing • The ability to convert leads into showings by uncovering needs of buyers and demonstrating how your property fulfills them having experience in negotiating • Understanding in how to write contracts to prevent post-closing seller litigation • Having a team who monitors every aspect of the closing successfully • Overcoming objections and challenges in the most cost-effective manner Walter Sanford has been designing and implementing real estate systems for 30 years. One of the most successful REALTORS® and now wealthy from his systems, Sanford teaches his systems and strategies through his products, seminars, and personal coaching producing the best results in the industry. Do what works, do what is proven. Hire Walter Sanford. Call our office at 800.792.5837, email walter@waltersanford.com, or chat with us online at www.waltersanford.com. Copyright©, Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. 22

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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. 24

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 26

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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MOLLY TULEK For Molly Tulek, real estate is all about the relationships. “My clients come back to me and refer me to their friends and family because they really trust me as an industry expert and they know that I am going to be there to represent them well,” she explains. That trust is gained through her friendships with them. On a daily basis, she is focusing on communicating and making sure they feel connected. “It’s important for them to get to know me,” she says. “I focus on communication with my clients to provide exceptional service.” With a genuine love for people, it is not surprising that she landed in the real estate industry in 2008. “I got my license in the mid-2000s when I was working at the corporate level of a large Brokerage in the Minneapolis area,” she explains. Once she moved back to her hometown of Grand Rapids, she thought she would put her license to use. She started off part-time, but soon made it her full-time career. Today she serves all of Itasca County as well as some of Aitkin County. Although she doesn’t like to focus on numbers, she sold more than $15 million in real estate in the last two years, and that is largely due to her talent for customer service. “I have a lot of repeat clients and referrals, I would say it’s probably close to 85 percent of my business each year. I work hard to make myself available, and to keep my clients up to date throughout the entire process,” she says. Whether it’s a $100,000 house or a million dollar lake property, she provides the same superior service. After working with Molly, she becomes a lifelong friend, so it is easy for her to become her clients’ go-to person when they have a real estate need. “For me, It’s about keeping those friendships after the fact,” Molly says. “My goal is always to be the person they think of when they think of a Realtor.” This has resulted in

hundreds of glowing reviews from past clients, as they love to share their experience about working with Molly. One recently read, “Molly is absolutely a remarkable real estate agent who went ‘above and beyond’ in all aspects - throughout the duration of the process - from the listing of the property to the final sale documents. She is extremely intelligent, energetic, personable and knowledgeable! Our circumstances were a bit challenging from the outset as we live on the west coast and the property we were selling was in Northern MN. Molly has such a great knowledge base in real estate. In the rare instance she did not know an answer to a question we had, believe me, she went the extra mile to get the answer. She does not give partial information - she answers with 100% information. Molly is a ‘straight shooter’ and tells it like it is - a fantastic trait that is sadly, not so easy to find in today’s world.” Aside from her work in Real Estate, and being an active Director with the Itasca County Board of Realtors, Molly likes to stay involved with the community through donating her time and resources to local charities and community events. She is also on the school board for her children’s elementary school. “I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, and I love the sounds of a great country music playlist or live concert. Camping, fishing, boating, snowmobiling and seeking adventure in the outdoors is at the top of my ‘fun list.’” Molly truly loves her job, and is excited to see where the future takes her. “I plan to focus on the business and keep growing it. My goal is to have my clients walk away with an enjoyable experience and think of me as knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and ethical. I am very passionate about this industry and the wonderful community we live in”

For more information about Molly Tulek, you can find her at Edge of the Wilderness Lakes & Homes Realty, 501 S. Pokegama Ave., Grand Rapids MN, EOWRealty.com, or on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, call 218 - 326 - 3411 or email Molly@EOWRealty.com www.

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