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MISSOURI EDITION

5 Fresh New Approaches to CONTENT MARKETING 4 Ways Mentoring Up-and-Coming Employees Makes You a BETTER AGENT

COVER STORY

KATHY HELBIG

4 Qualities of EXCEPTIONAL EMPLOYEES HOW TO BUILD A TEAM THAT WILL WIN BIG No Matter its Size IS YOUR PHONE VOICE ATTRACTING — or repelling?


MISSOURI EDITION

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KATHY HELBIG

CONTENTS 4) 4 WAYS MENTORING UP-AND-COMING EMPLOYEES MAKES YOU A BETTER AGENT 6) 5 FRESH NEW APPROACHES TO CONTENT MARKETING

15) HOW TO BUILD A TEAM THAT WILL WIN BIG NO MATTER ITS SIZE 19) IS YOUR PHONE VOICE ATTRACTING — OR REPELLING? 22) 4 QUALITIES OF EXCEPTIONAL EMPLOYEES

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4 Ways Mentoring Up-and-Coming Employees Makes You a Better Agent In the world of real estate, there are always new agents joining the ranks. Even if you’ve been practicing for just a few short years, you’ve likely learned your fair share of lesson along the way. As an agent, much of your working philosophy is derived from first-hand experience and your work on the ground. This means that new agents are less prepared for the inevitable curveballs of the industry. That’s where you come in. While mentorship is often pitched as a relationship that solely benefits the mentee, there is actually plenty to be gained from becoming a mentor. After all, personal growth goes hand-in-hand with professional growth, and becoming a mentor asks agents to thought4

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

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

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

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

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

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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 Top Agent Magazine

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. 8

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KATHY HELBIG Top Agent Magazine

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Kathy Helbig Owner, CEO and Broker at Experience Realty Partners in St. Louis, Missouri—a premiere boutique firm— oversees a dedicated, professional team of twenty-plus, and services all of St. Louis and St. Charles County. accolades – including receiving the Agent of the Year Honor - is evidence that she and the entire Kathy Helbig Group have become recognized within the industry as a force to be reckoned with.

KATHY HELBIG Kathy Helbig, Owner, CEO and Broker at Experience Realty Partners in St. Louis, Missouri possesses more than two decades of experience in the real estate industry. Her longevity has provided her with a wealth of experience regarding the market, trends, and technology that allow her to provide her many grateful clients with the very best service available in The Show Me State. Her membership in the RE/MAX Hall of Fame and a wealth of other recognitions and 10 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

Kathy began her journey in real estate in 1996, expecting to work part-time. “After about three weeks,” she laughs, “I realized that wouldn’t be the case. My business exploded right off the bat, and my part-time gig turned into a full-time gig, and then some.” As one of the first Realtors in the St. Louis area to embrace the then newly-emerging synergy between the internet and real estate, Kathy has long had her finger on the pulse of industry trends and technology advancements. “I was kind of a trailblazer,” she explains. “I was ahead of the curve on embracing internet marketing and branding. I learned from my mistakes and kept moving forward.” After Top Agent Magazine


stints with multiple real estate companies, including ownership of the largest and most successful Keller Williams franchise in her county, she opened Experience Realty Partners, a premier boutique firm, where she oversees a dedicated, professional team of twenty-plus, and services all of St. Louis and St. Charles County. With over $500 million in sold properties, Kathy is clearly doing something right. With nearly forty percent of her business based on repeat and referred clients, and the balance the result Top Agent Magazine

of clever, omnipresent branding and a robust online presence, Kathy holds a reputation as a consummate professional. When asked what she believes accounts for this level of client satisfac11 Copyright Top Agent Magazine


client called me to tell me personally how after dealing with my team, that he believes I am changing the industry for the better, and have raised the bar to a new level. I can’t ask for a better review than that.” tion, Kathy points to the team structure she has implemented to great success. “I’ve been refining the team concept for twenty years, and I’ve got it down to the point where I have the right people in the right seats, and it keeps the system moving smoothly,” says Kathy. “Recently, a Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 12

Creative, savvy and cutting-edge marketing has factored largely in Kathy’s success in the industry. “One thing we really embraced early on is the whole ‘coming soon’ phenomenon,” she says. Additionally, she and her team have re-embraced the open house paradigm, which Top Agent Magazine


she says has seen a resurgence with the decline in local inventory. Professional photography, maximum online exposure, and a network of trusted contractors to assist sellers with prepping their home for the market are just a few of the tools in her arsenal. Kathy has also been featured prominently on both television and radio, Top Agent Magazine

providing maximum exposure for her on-point branding. Kathy is passionate about giving back, both personally and via her company. She is a member of the National, St. Louis, and St. Charles Association of Realtors. Experience Realty Partners Copyright Top Agent Magazine 13


has also implemented a program that chooses one charity quarterly to support. When she’s not working, Kathy enjoys boating and spending time with her family at their lakeside vacation home, and she’s enthusiastic about traveling. The future looks bright for Kathy and her team, as she has recently opened her own title and insurance companies. “It’s not about making more money,” she says sincerely, “it’s about controlling the situation and making sure the entire transac-

tion proceeds smoothly. Quite frankly, during all my years in the business I haven’t found a title or insurance company I’m 100% satisfied with, so we’ve created our own.” Ultimately, however, it’s the more personal side of the industry that still provides Kathy with the greatest professional joy. “From the beginning,” she says. “It never was about the money, it was always about the satisfaction of the clients, building relationships, and helping them achieve their goals.”

To find out more about Kathy Helbig, call 314 - 276 - SOLD (7653) or visit KHGexperience.com www.

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

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

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Hire the Right Team Members

Put Your Team Members in the Right Positions to Win

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

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

To better understand what kind of person would make a strong addition to your team, you need to ask yourself what skills and characteristics you want your team members to possess. The strongest members are often ones that share their leader’s values. When you share values with your teammates, you are all running along the same course towards the same goal as one. Your definition of a victory in this case is also your teammates’ definition of it. This helps strengthen even the smallest of numbers because you are all working together toward a common goal. Another characteristic too look out for in potential team members is a positive attitude. You can teach someone the skills needed in real estate, but you can’t teach someone how to have a positive attitude. Positive members tend to achieve more due to their optimistic nature, but more importantly, they spread that positive attitude to the rest of the team, which improves every members’ performance. 16

Communicating Your Vision to Your Team

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

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

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

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Is Your Phone Voice Attracting–or Repelling? By Carla Cross, CRB, MA It’s such a simple thing, but so important--the first impression you make with your voice! Recently, I did a presentation to a group of Luxury Agent Specialists. It was about sound and its impact on others (I used the piano to demonstrate). We usually think of visual impact. But, as agents, we come across way more people initially via email or phone than we do by sight. So, isn’t it time to Top Agent Magazine

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polish your ‘phone voice’? It’s probably the first ‘warm’ impression people get of you (I call email ‘cold communication’ because it vastly shrinks the three major ways we communicate: sight, sound, and feeling). Here are three tips to assure your phone voice makes the best first impression. Remember, You never have a second chance to make a first impression!

Don’t Mistake Technology as the ‘End’

We are so focused on technology today, that we are in danger of forgetting to effectively use that technology. Here’s an example. When I phone an agent today, I have no idea where that agent will answer his or her phone—or from what phone the call is being answered. And, I don’t really care. Technology allows the phone to follow the agent. That’s great. Here’s what’s not so great. The agent’s message is so dull, powerless, or mumbled that it doesn’t sound as though the agent wants to talk to me. Or, the agent’s message is so long, that I’m impatient by the time I get to leave the message.

Make a Superior Phone Message

For three days, listen carefully to the tone, intent, and messages you hear in phone messages. Listen carefully to how agents, managers, and your affiliates answer the phone (including the receptionist at the office). What do you think? If you didn’t know these people, what would you think of them? Are they excited to hear from you, or are they bored? Here are 4 important tips to remember when recording your own message: 1. Stand up—you’ll sound as though you have much more energy. 2. Write out your script first—and be sure it’s not too long. I don’t really care where you’re going to be all day! 3. Modulate your voice pleasantly. Try to get some resonance. 4. Sound as though you’re looking forward to hearing from me!

Don’t Settle for One Run at It: Re-record Your Phone Message until It’s Perfect

As a musician, I would never play the piano for others unless I had practiced until the performance was perfect. Yet, when we ‘practice’ real estate, we often just ‘let it fly’ with whatever comes out of our mouths! Not good. You have too much at stake to settle for one run at it. 20

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Advice from a musician: Practice your phone message several times before you record it. Then, record and listen critically. Don’t just use the first recording. Make sure your ‘phone voice’ is the best first impression you can make.

P. S. Managers and team leaders—two tips 1. Call each of your agents’ phone mails. What’s the impression you get? Are they professional? Do they state the company name? Do they represent your culture and image? 2. Create a quick class in phone messaging using the information in this blog. Copyright ©, Carla Cross. All rights reserved. Carla Cross, CRB, MA, is the founder and president of Carla Cross & Co., specializing in real estate management and sales. Her internationally best-selling start-up plan for new agents, Up and Running in 30 Days, is now going into its 5th edition (!). Carla brings her vast experience as a top-selling agent and award-winning manager and trainer to the podium, blending her musical background with her proven sales and management strategies (she uses the piano AND even teaches someone to play—fast…..—entertaining and practical). Find out more at www.carlacross.com. Top Agent Magazine

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4 Qualities of Exceptional Employees Hiring a new employee is one of the more stressful parts of being a business owner. After all, you’re taking someone on and trusting that they’ll not only be a valuable addition to the team, but won’t do anything to hurt your business’s hard earned reputation. Sometimes a person comes in and you click right away, and other times you might be blown away by an impressive resume. But there are things you should look for that might not be as obvious at first. Employees that have the following qualities are ones you should seek out, because they will definitely be well worth the time and energy you invest in them. 22

1. They have the confidence to be innovative There’s a reason people are drawn to those who think outside the box. Not only do innovations often lead to an extremely profitable business, even when that thinking doesn’t pan out, creative thinking is something that will energize your business and will motivate more employees to start taking chances. Innovative thinkers also usually have great leadership skills. Ironically, you want an employee who isn’t afraid to speak up to authority and is someone who knows how to bend the rules without breaking them. They know that

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the success of the team and business is what’s most important, as long as it’s done ethically and with respect for everyone involved.

2. They are constantly reviewing their past performance A good employee looks forward, but they also look back. They are always evaluating what worked and what didn’t work in past performances and then adjusting their plans going forward accordingly. If they are coming off a big win, they know how to capitalize on that by using the momentum and cementing in everyone’s minds the value that they add to the team. If things didn’t go as planned, they assess what they can do better next time, and they don’t get bogged down in insecurity. They take responsibility and they have confidence that they won’t repeat past mistakes. They know that failure is a temporary state, and are able to learn lessons from their mistakes, that will make them a better employee going forward. While no one wants to fail, having the confidence to try something and fail will one day let you strike gold. Someone who lets failure shut them down, leads to a dead end and will soon make them a dead weight on your team.

3. They value teamwork Even though an exceptional employee might be a rising star, they realize that success is Top Agent Magazine

not an individual endeavor, it relies strongly on who you’re working with. Exceptional employees make sure that everyone is contributing and valued for their input. They put the interests of the company above their own, and thrive in an environment where ideas and information are shared freely. Shared success is the ultimate goal for every project. Exceptional employees have the confidence to know that even when they’re not singled out for praise, they’re an irreplaceable component of a larger machine.

4. They are self-motivated learners A key thing to remember is that while experience is a valuable commodity, intelligence and intellectual curiosity is usually something that can’t be taught. Yes, you might request employees get additional training or attend seminars, but exceptional employees will be seeking out educational opportunities constantly. Even if they don’t have a lot of money for weekend retreats, they will be getting books from the library, downloading audiobooks, and most importantly, taking advantage of one their greatest resources, YOU. Exceptional employees know that the way to stay ahead is to always be at the forefront of new technology and systems. They don’t see educating themselves as a burden, they actually enjoy it. They realize that everything they take in, will one day make them not only an exceptional employee, but an exceptional boss as well.

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