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MISSOURI EDITION

Easy Blog Topics for Your REAL ESTATE BLOG Business Growth Hack: ABSORB YOUR CLIENTS’ STRESS! HOW TO CREATE A BUSINESSWINNING PLAN In One Hour

BE THEIR REALTOR® FOR LIFE: How to Build a Relationship With Your Clients that Will Last a Lifetime

COVER STORY

DEREK ESPEER


MISSOURI EDITION

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DEREK ESPEER

CONTENTS 4) EASY BLOG TOPICS FOR YOUR REAL ESTATE BLOG 6) BUSINESS GROWTH HACK: ABSORB YOUR CLIENTS’ STRESS!

17) BE THEIR REALTOR® FOR LIFE: HOW TO BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CLIENTS THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME 21) HOW TO CREATE A BUSINESS-WINNING PLAN IN ONE HOUR

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Easy Blog Topics for Your Real Estate Blog Today, blogging looks a lot different than it did back in 2007, when the platform was just beginning to take off. Successful bloggers don’t choose blog topics on a whim. They think strategically and develop pillar content that their target audience will come back to again and again. Real estate bloggers should be less concerned with whether the same post already exists (it does) 4

than with how they can be more informative and helpful than their competition. Your personality is likely the thing that your clients connect with, and your blog is another place where you can let it shine. Pillar content refers to those evergreen posts that never get old because they are always timely. Think about those questions that you’ve had to

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answer a hundred, if not thousands of times— that’s your pillar content. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could direct your clients to a blog post or, better yet, they discovered the answer on your website rather than you having to constantly repeat yourself?

Or maybe you helped a client sell their house for much more than they were expecting by conducting a series of small and inexpensive renovations. Tell your readers how you did it.

Evergreen Content

Your clients are likely new to the area. Inform them about upcoming community events or mom-and-pop shops they may have never heard of. Are there hiking trails or parks nearby? What’s the best place to grab a cup of coffee before work or a beer after? You can spotlight these places regularly as a monthly series.

This should really make up the bulk of your content. The possibilities are endless, and you could easily come up with an entire year’s worth of content with only a few hours of brainstorming. Here are some examples: You could provide your readers with a list of questions they should ask when interviewing a realtor, the steps to becoming a real estate investor, real estate facts all first-time homeowners should know, steps new parents should take to prepare their home for a baby, recommended vendors for home maintenance, or common real estate terms defined. You could explain to your readers what they need to know about home staging, which home renovations add the most value to their home, how to research schools or crime rates in specific neighborhoods, what a home association is, or how to start flipping houses and buying foreclosures.

Case Studies Sometimes realtors work with a client for years before they are ready to buy a home. Personal finance blogs are a thing for a reason. People want to see exactly how someone else achieved a shared goal. If you have a close relationship with a client who you helped become a homeowner, consider interviewing this client and writing up a case study that shows exactly how the two of you worked together to achieve this goal. Top Agent Magazine

Stay Local

There are plenty of real estate news outlets that will be posting about the state of the market—but they won’t be talking about your specific community, and that’s where your blog comes in. Of course, if you only blog about community functions or properties on the market, then as soon as that event is over or that listing is sold, your content ceases being useful. The best real estate blogs balance their content by posting a little about all the above. Maintaining a high-quality blog means your prospective clients don’t need to visit several websites to have their questions answered because you’ve done the work for them. It’s a tool that helps you make a great first impression. If you still need help coming up with blog topics for your real estate blog, consider sending a survey out to your clients. You can send it via email and post it on social media. Ask your clients what real estate problems they need help solving and write your content with their responses in mind.

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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. 6

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 8

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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DEREK ESPEER 9


DEREK ESPEER Operating under the umbrella of real estate giant Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, the ASPIRE Real Estate Group KC primarily serves the Kansas City Metropolitan area. Top Agent Derek Espeer, Owner and Team Lead of the ASPIRE Real Estate Group KC at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stein & Summers in Kansas City, Missouri is a consummate professional who uses his vast knowledge of the industry to provide exceptional client service to all of his buyers and 10 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

sellers. With over a thousand brokered deals under his belt, Derek’s reputation as a fierce advocate for his clients is well-established. Prior to his current career, Derek obtained a degree in Real Estate Finance from the University of Missouri and began working Top Agent Magazine


with a large commercial bank managing commercial assets on behalf of large investors and investment companies. “After that experience, I realized I wanted to be out in the field more,” he explains, “and I began working in non-real estate sales for a few years. In 2009, I saw many people in the real estate industry jumping ship due to the down market, and decided that it was time to get back into real estate on the sales side. I obtained my license, put together an aggressive business plan and stuck to it, and the rest is history.” Top Agent Magazine

Operating under the umbrella of real estate giant Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, the ASPIRE Real Estate Group KC consists currently of a team of five highly dedicated full-time agents who have closed an impressive $15,000,000 in transactions in 2017 alone, and are well on their way to a $25,000,000 year for 2018. Selling primarily in the Kansas City Metropolitan area, Derek can boast that 92% of his business is based on repeat clients and referrals. When asked to account for this impressive level of loyalty, Derek points to his and his team’s 11 Copyright Top Agent Magazine


commitment to professionalism. “We go about our business in a professional manner that’s aggressive and proactive. We’ve put together the tools that we use to address the needs of our clients. People recognize that this is something we do for a living and not something we do as a hobby.”

cific websites, virtual tours and high-quality professional photography, each and every listing is presented in its best possible light. “We’re constantly trying to figure out how to get a competitive edge over the competition,” says Derek. “So we’re constantly changing and modifying our approach.”

Another primary factor in Derek’s long-term success is his comprehensive, cutting-edge approach to marketing. Utilizing the most current technologies to promote his listings has resulted in their exposure to as many potential buyers as possible. Utilizing property-spe-

When asked what he enjoys most about what he does, Derek’s answer is unsurprisingly not about the commission, but rather about the flexibility of his job and the opportunity to serve his clients. “I love the challenge,” he enthuses. “I love that every day is different.

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I coach my agents that every deal is going to have its challenge, so be ready for it. I start each day with a plan, but I also need to be ready to adapt to make sure I’m addressing the needs of my clients on a daily basis.� Top Agent Magazine

Derek feels a commitment to giving back to his community, and to that end he and his team are actively involved with many local charitable events and organizations. Derek’s personal charities of choice are the Northland Copyright Top Agent Magazine 13


Animal Welfare Society, and he is also active in Feed Northland Kids, which provides food for under-served children in the area. When he’s not working, Derek enjoys spending time with his wife and children, and is an avid gardener who grows six different types of peppers and creates his own spice blends. However, as he is quick to point out, “I love

what I do, so when I am working it doesn’t feel like work.” Looking to the future, Derek’s plan is to continue building his business, team, and refining his already-exceptional approach to client service. “We’re constantly striving to improve the client experience and client satisfaction,” he says.

For more information about Derek Espeer, please call 816 - 897 - 2211 or email derek@dereksellskc.com

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stein & Summers Real Estate is proud to congratulate

Derek Espeer

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

Adam Stein, CCIM | Broker

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stein & Summers Real Estate ST. Joseph Office: 1007 E. St. Maartens Drive St Joseph, MO 64506 816-232-2000 (W) 816-248-6821 (C)

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Kansas City Office: 5819 NW Barry Road Kansas City, MO 64154 (816) 897-2211 (O) BHHSstein.com astein@BHHSstein.com www.

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Gary Usry is proud to congratulate

Derek Espeer

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

ASSURED INSPECTIONS Gary Usry | 816 - 560 - 6010 assuredinspectionskc.com www.

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Be Their REALTOR for Life: ®

How to Build a Relationship with Your Clients That Will Last a Lifetime In the world of real estate, an agent’s relationship with their clients can make or break their career. This industry revolves around working well with people, and being able to develop a strong relationship with your clients is the foundation that you business is based upon. Just like with a house, if that foundation is weak, the rest of the structure is also going to be unsteady and fragile. The mark of a good REALTOR® is their ability to build up a good referral network and following of loyal clients. This isn’t something that just happens by accident. Building healthy, strong relationships with your clients takes work and knowing how to gain another person’s trust, respect, and friendship. Here are some ways to make sure you are building the right kind of relationship with your clients. Top Agent Magazine

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1. Use Your Friendliness and Optimism to Win Them Over: No one wants a pushy, overly confident salesperson for a REALTOR®. Clients are much more inclined to put their trust in the hands of someone who is friendly when it comes to one of the biggest financial transactions of their lives. A pleasant, outgoing disposition will win you more clients as well as friends. You want to establish rapport in the first few minutes of first meeting prospective clients. Rather than starting with business right off the bat, begin your meeting with some small talk such as similar interests, hobbies, and family life. This will immediately help to put your clients at ease, and show that you are not simply trying to “sell” them something. People also respond well to optimism. During what can be a very stressful time, clients need someone to help them stay positive when a situation looks difficult and challenging. Optimism also tends to radiate charisma, and people want to be around and do business with charismatic people. You want to learn how to understand, motivate, and inspire people.

2. Be an Inquisitive Learner and an Empathetic Listener:

out any potential concerns they might have. After you’ve gained as much information as possible, you can then gauge their interest in your possible solutions by asking “what if” questions. Being inquisitive also demonstrates to your clients that you are genuinely interested and invested in their situation. On the other side of this coin is knowing how to listen empathetically. Empathy involves actually putting yourself or your mind in their shoes so you can genuinely understand their concerns, needs, and opinions. That understanding and empathy is then reflected in your conversation with that client. Your clients want to know that you care about their situation, and that they’re not just another sale for you to make. People are much more willing to put their trust in you when they can sense that you are actually making an effort to feel what they feel in order to understand their situation. Showing your interest through questions, and then thoughtfully listening goes a long way towards gaining trust. Showing empathy and acknowledging the feelings and emotions involved in your clients situation helps build a relationship founded on genuine care and trust.

3. Watch for Nonverbal Clues:

Don’t be afraid to show your curiosity and ask your clients a lot of questions. Some of these questions may even be difficult and uncomfortable. You want to discover and learn as much as you can about your client. Don’t make the mistake of jumping straight into the role of the know-it-all. Every different client has unique needs, so you want to learn as much as you can about their specific situation before trying to propose a solution. You want to uncover their primary motive for buying or selling, and flush

Most communication happens nonverbally, so knowing how to interpret your client’s body language can be incredibly helpful. Here are a few things to pay special attention to: Eye contact: Be careful with the level of eye contact you use with clients when first meeting. Too much and too little eye contact can send the wrong impression. You want to try and maintain eye contact around 70 percent of the time. That is the amount that most people are comfortable with. Pay attention to your client’s level of eye

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contact to determine how comfortable they are. When someone avoids eye contact that could mean they are not engaged in the conversation. A good way to quickly build a feeling of rapport when first meeting clients is to make eye contact when you first meet them and then start nodding yes to what they’re saying. If the client reciprocates the eye contact and nodding, you’ve established a connection.

4. Prove your honesty and credibility:

Choose the right handshake for each client: One handshake does not fit all people, and that first handshake can be crucial to making a good first impression. The way to do a good handshake for each client is to try and mirror the other person’s handshake in strength, keep your shoulders aligned as you are preferably standing when you shake hands. While you shake your client’s hand make sure you make eye contact and give them a sincere smile.

Showing a little weakness can actually be to your advantage in this situation, and will actually make others more inclined view you as honest. You don’t want to come across as too good to be true. When revealing this weakness, however, the key to coming out on top is turning what sounds like a weakness into a strength. For example, your service may be more expensive, but that’s because you offer more personalized and extra services than your competitors.

Honesty and integrity are the two traits that 98 percent of buyers and sellers report are qualities they consider “very important”. The thing is you can say you have these traits all you want on your website, bio, etc., but trust has to be earned, and the only way to do this is to prove your credibility.

Here are a few tips for how to sound more credible:

When you talk to your clients avoid using filler words such as “um” and “uh”, which can decrease your credibility. You also want to watch the tone of your voice. People tend to translate a deeper tone as sounding more credible.

You want to develop a relationship to last a lifetime when interacting with your clients. There are many things you can do to accomplish this, and using these tips can take you from getting just a few referrals and repeat customers to gaining a loyal client following. Taking the little extra time to make sure you are projecting the right attitude and making sure that you are doing things to gain your client’s trust can make a world of difference for your business. Top Agent Magazine

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How to Create a Business-Winning Plan in One Hour by Bubba Mills

Baloney! That’s what I say to those who think building a business plan should take days, weeks, even months. And I say baloney again to those who think a plan has to have a bunch of pages with graphs and charts. I know for a fact REALTORS® don’t have that kind of time. But I also know every serious REALTOR® needs a good plan. That means if you’re reading this, you’re in the right place. Stick with me and you’ll end up with a plan that can make your year much better. A comprehensive business plan (two pages max) can help you: • Account for what you accomplish • Clarify your life • Keep track of each of your goals • Manage your time Top Agent Magazine

• Determine if you’re heading in the right direction So let’s get right to it. Here are the steps to take to get your plan in place and your year (and rear) in gear: Create a mission statement. This gets right to the heart of your life and addresses why you’re in real estate. It answers why you’re here, what your purpose is and what your business is truly about. Use positive, present tense statements such as “I am,” “I provide,” “I strive” as you define who you are and what you provide your clients. Take 10 minutes now to brainstorm some possible mission statements. Perform a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). For strengths, maybe you’re tech savvy. For weaknesses perhaps you’re unorganized. With opportunities, it could be that a large firm is relocating to your city. And for threats, maybe 21


Every serious REALTOR® needs a good plan. the mid-term, one year; and the long-term, five years. Also, in this same section, write your personal objectives. We can’t be balanced in life if all we focus on is business. So consider what your ideal sitWrite your business objectives. In uation would look like with your this section I’d like you to consider family, your spiritual life and your what you want your business to look social life. Spend 10 minutes now like in the short-term, six months; in on these topics. interest rates are rising. Take 10 minutes now and fill in a few items for each category. If you get stuck, ask a co-worker or friend, who knows you well enough, for suggestions.

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Create a mission statement. This gets right to the heart of your life and addresses why you’re in real estate. It answers why you’re here, what your purpose is and what your business is truly about. Create your sales goals. Here’s where I don’t want you to be afraid to think bigger. Take 15 minutes for this section. As part of this segment here at Corcoran Consulting and Coaching Inc., we include what’s called a goal achievement system that helps you stay on track with your goals. So for each goal, we include a why, excuses for failure, resolve and action items. I believe this is a vital step because it allows you to examine why you might hesitate in completing parts of your business plan. Email me at Article@CorcoranCoaching.com, and I’ll send you a free worksheet on this system. Develop action items. To wrap up your plan, you need to get specific about how you’ll achieve your goals. So for each goal you should have action items, due dates, who will Top Agent Magazine

complete the items and a step-by-step daily and hourly plan with what has to be done. Take 15 minutes and do it. Tell me what you’re thinking. Do you have a plan? If not, why not? What’s preventing you from creating one? What successes or failures have you had with plans in the past? Bubba Mills is co-owner and executive vice president of Corcoran Consulting and Coaching Inc. (www.corcorancoaching. com/programs, 800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into Real Estate Companies, Mortgage Companies and Small Businesses. Bubba Mills is a nationally recognized inspirational and education speaker, coach and mentor to the top real estate agents and mortgage companies. To find out more about Corcoran Consulting & Coaching, call 1800-957-8353 or visit us at www.Corcoran Coaching.com. 23


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