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NATIONWIDE & INTERNATIONAL EDITION

5 Things You Can Do to ACHIEVE YOUR BIGGEST GOALS FEATURED AGENTS RASHID BHUIYAN BLAKE CANTRELL SHERYL DESKIN-HESSLER DEBRA GOLL-PERFILI KIMBERLY CHASE HARDING ILEANA JONES JONI MAILANDER KRISTEN McGEE ARIEL MORA MARY ANN OSBORN CINDY PEARSON MATT RICE OLGA ROTARU SONIA SALAZAR JOE WILSON

Are You Doing Business as You on FACEBOOK? Branding Bad in REAL ESTATE MARKETING HOW TO THROW A CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENT No One Will Forget

COVER STORY

BLAIR MacPHERSON TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS


NATIONWIDE & INTERNATIONAL EDITION Peter Martin, Esq. is proud to congratulate

Rashid Bhuiyan 16

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RASHID BHUIYAN

BLAIR MacPHERSON

21

25

BLAKE CANTRELL

on being featured for the 33 state of New York 29 in Top Agent Magazine!

DEBRA GOLL-PERFILI DEBRA GOLL-PERFILI

37

41

BLAKE CANTRELL ILEANA

JONI MAILANDER

JONES ILEANA JONES BLAIR MacPHERSON

KRISTEN McGEE

OLGA ROTARU

KRISTEN McGEE

TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS Peter Martin, Esq. | Martin & Loiacono, LLP

274 Watchogue Road | Staten Island, New York 10314

CONTENTS

Phone:(718) 979-7114 | Fax: (718) 979-6657 pmartin@mlattorneys.com

23) 4 REASONS WHY 4) 5 LIFE LESSONS FOR MULTITASKING CAN REAL ESTATE PROS JONI ACTUALLY DERAIL FROM THE 'ARCHITECT' MAILANDER YOUR DAY OF THE BEATLES 13) MAKING A 'LEAD GENERATOR' WORK FOR YOU 20) 5 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO ACHIEVE YOUR BIGGEST GOALS

27) HOW TO THROW A CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENT NO ONE WILL FORGET 32) DAILY HABITS THAT WILL INCREASE YOUR MENTAL STRENGTH

OLGA ROTARU

35) COACHING 9-1-1 39) 6 THINGS ALL SUCCESSFUL NEGOTIATORS DO 43) BUYERS AND SELLERS: UNDERSTANDING HOW HOME INSPECTIONS ARE NEGOTIATION TOOLS

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. Published in the U.S. 2

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KIMBERLY CHASE HARDING MARY A SHERYL DESKIN-HESSLER 49 ARIEL cially MORA 46 50 Kimberly Chase Harding began her attune their distribution eff

An of agent who Ariel Mora has always fostered an Real estate is the only career thattenure agent in the we do is service oriented,” says Sheryl. “Weoftake care the prom industry as an attorney audiences potential buyers. To ers gains the mo Sheryl Deskin-Hessler of Keller Real estate is about buildingWhile relationships, entrepreneurial pur-a monthly local forWila real whole estate experience. firm in Washington ents,mindset. Kimberly utilizes property’s intrica liams Realty Chesterfield has ever had opposed turning and burning.” suing a business degree, begantrends and D.C. Whenasshe movedtoto the Chicago up-to-date on he industry Ann Osborn, the and the only one she’ll ever want. WithKimberly saw an opportunity to consider his career options, in she Hopin area, On a more personal level, als property knowle 30 years as a REALTOR®, Sheryl first Those relationships last. The team hosts several annual events search that launct for a career change and wisely tookfor opportunities ner and drinks to would stay deep-rooted connected entered real estate fresh out of business for clients and they stay in touch with their clientsher through the leap, earning her license speak back in setting. “Ispirit love of working with and to his skillset, indenon-p Angeles SHERYL MORA MARY ANNnotepads OSBORN email and visibility locally. “I’ve done for 25 years!” area re school KIMBERLY in St. Louis. CHASE “I moved to Cali- ARIEL 2002. Fifteen years later, Kimberly Kimberly says, in reflecting on he pendence, and interest in serving at est DESKIN-HESSLER fornia soon after and started selling real says Sheryl, noting that clients have come to rely on decades this smallhas Ro HARDING has mounted a flourishing career in “It’s so rewarding to help my clien others. After he arrived in Denver an ac the country’s new-construction l estate at the encouragement of a friend’s gift. In the community, Sheryl has beenpremier, a longtime supporter City, guided by she the foundational positivhousing needs and assist them to participate in the AmeriCorps ing thf Having reached more than $1 billion in in sal of Friends tenets of Kidsofwith Cancer, volunteering and helping on father.” She later returned to the the Windy St. Louis area, where forthrightness, professionalism. years, in late 2016 and golf honest with about a property, sowelcom I hire Top Agent Sonia53 ofity, RE/MAX True54and utmost program, Year,57 hetheir began totournament zero inme on realMary estate as was alove suppo planted the seeds ofSalazar a now well-established business. the City committee for fundraiser. “IAnn also 59 Pivoting of service toraised the Haute Living Real Estate Network, a marke partne inspector who is ataher 20-year Army veteran Advantage in Martinez, Cindy Georgia has ainterest sincere to play golf,” she an says. really it, but Ihave love it!” path. Soon enough, he“I’m decided take thespirit leap and positivity and unchanged enthusiasm for hertobad work and role Pearson’s in the world ofcareer Born and Matthew Rice grew up around Matthew really excels at working with bo kept her energized and the years. “For the first Kimberly primarily serves the Hyde ParkToday, andinspired berly devotes tosuccharitable an realthat estate naturally. ex-husGroup features onetime luxury real ag She makes time toKenwood get out and that about for wine tastings, con-estate “We primarily on selling and listing in her the Her West County Maryland, and and athroughout construction engineer, George Biasiny appreciation forfocus her career is came based on earn his license. after three years of consistent Denv the real estate business and had ers. He believes it all starts with good co twenty-five years in this business, I would sometimes work ten to band is a contractor and with many real agen areascess, where she first began her role asson is deeply involved in theestate local Ke market across the world. Area,”tosays Sheryl, whose teamneighborhoods—the ofthe fourAmerican includes an experienced certs, musical andof other cultural events. Infirm, addition, her family and his Vincent with GNB & Son Inspecdesire help others achieve he ishours at the helm his brokerage Mora Real city’s always been intrigued by it, recounts. but own his buying clients, he takes an education twelve a day,” she “I’ve always kept that dedicaalso active in the building busiuniquely suited stays active in fundraising efforts for Ranken Jordan Pediatric lead buyer’s specialist, a friends skilledagent listing/marketing coordinator, more than a decade ago. Today, she applies her nuanced her efforts culminating in Friends tion Services. He provides a detailed report Dream. grounded by a with commitment to advocacy, consistionCo., to a strong ethic me.” Cindyand is not only ness, Cindy’s regular exposure to the heEstate initially had awork successful canLikewise, be nervous have a lotAnn ofselling quest people Bridge Hospital. and a detail-oriented transaction coordinator. Inofa real competitive As City specialist, Mary repre understanding the local inventory and market toofexperience, her cli-Century parent fundraising organization tht everything that is wrong with a property, equipped with decades of but also with unparalleled industry spared her own estate tency, and building a legacy alongside his clients. As fo munity homes o career working with Verizon them through every step, which helps eli market where inventory beents’ low, Sheryl and team combine recently sold-out, 42-story masterpiece desi Likewise, Kimberly’s in real estate for additional offerings and insight experience into the market. In addition keeping pace withcourse thebe real career. When one friends—a because Itowant my clients to able toofthem make “Honestly,” says Sonia, can “I grew upbenefit. in ofa Cindy’s small dreams ownin busin Wireless, before the opportunity stress. With sellers, I work with t decades localfamily experience and deep rooted networks to match involvement, dedication toand service, and desire Stern Architects developed byorThe Rel world’s constant fluctuations, Cindy has mastered all licensed agent in own right—reclitigation uniquely equips herestate inThat all community aspects of aan transacstudents with edge when it’s tieI informed decision to goanmatters forward not. home withofPEARSON my and there was noher better “I took theing real Serving the Denver and Aurora regions, Mora Real Estate in to pursue his calling presented show ready, and priced right to ensure w CINDY SONIA SALAZAR MATT RICE JOE WILSON to nurture relationships has sustained Sheryl’s business and buyers with properties. They also utilize targeted marketing of the industry’s intricacies—an expert’s her understanding she’s able ognized her industry andcontractual Century represents Related’s Coast eI I West turned 18, but tion—from thepotential subtle and to the agent-oriented. coveted leisure hours, Kimberl want someone to be honest with so feeling of being a homeowner when I moved Co.toworks with athose range of clientele that includes first-time streak itself. “Ipass hadalong a client whoshewould was sold as asher possible. It’s myme, job to toto serves. Inplan reflecting upon favorite encouraged her toknowledge earn her ownoflicense, Cindy and decided to take based on their the market insight of the their continues propel her. “We toquickly keep growing,” she says. luxury high-rise living, incorporating lifest ticing until 201 She also an additional level and of of expertise, incorporating participates inwell.” local She als I says, do that for working my clients as away. Purchasing ainhome is usually theadds biggest her work, Cindy love with people. It’s araces. leap. That was back 1977, and today Cindy has earned stoa homebuyers Broker he had been trying and keep things smooth. Isucstayfor ahead and the area’s Hispanic community. After atrack hishisof cl clients’ needs. “We know every house that’s on thefour market in aspects Their 2016 sales reached $23 million and they’re on who earned a“I private screening room, bar lounge, privat herlifetime experience in commercial real estate, as well. All told, tionally and exploring the world w expense most of us make in our and to relationships business and I enjoy that. By the end of the buying or ried decades of professional experience. With over $450,000,000 recruit meyear’s forat years. I goal wastop am always proactive rather than reactive tenure astretch Denver’s boutique real estate firm—an for A this ofand $31 million. Sheryl, meanwhile, is the corridor up and down Wildhorse Creek and have beento incessful at before forming h Yogafuture, studios, spa, outdoor dining rooms selling process, you really become friends with your client. It’s nice property sales part for buyers andprocess sellers during herproficiencies stellar forty-year Kimberly’s are myriad and allow her to serve Kimberly has plans to apply A Premier Agent on Zillow, this concern for her beinleast such a vital of that is the most one of the top salespeople at its entdesigned to Realty feel blindsided orand uninformed.” licensed in both Maryland and Delaware, Joe also in charge of Keller Williams Chesterfield’s luxury 80% of them,” sayshasSheryl. experience Ariel praises for knowledge-building the nox fitness center. Mary Ann also to getwith to know new people.” professional tenure, Cindy cultivated a 55) masterful defined a wide array ofcareer clientele. In about fact, an the outstanding 100% commercial, in clients has translated into aresidential, multitude ofand fiveexperience.” 58) ARE YOU DOING NEWER AGENTS: 47) 5awesome REASONS WHY professional designations that set him apart, inc Verizon, so I was a bit nervous making leap, but I division, which she is dedicated to keep expanding by educatdecided lay when t the industry—he country’s largest luxurytobuilder, by a diligent work ethic, easy affability, and a dedication to heropportunity to cut his teeth in the rate of repeat and referral business, Kimberly and her team’s efforts within urban communities i tions in resort and second home properties (R star reviews. Among them is this exceptional just jumped Ipre-marketwantedthe to To be market my own was Matthew maintains those close relations ingTO other agents on whatOcean luxury buyers are seeking and how For listings, team conducts a MORE greatright dealin. ofQUESTIONS BUSINESS AS YOU ON YOU clients’ NEED ASheryl’s MENTOR herboss, listings, Cindy makes wise use of Santa the internet’s successes. Avenue in Monica, which sold foundation for hisand company andservice launch his own imprint. estate for senior citizens (SRES). ability to deliver results—along with a positive, hassle-free review: “Sonia Salazar is not just a realtor in the business of Sonia begandays, her career in real six years ago, when her homes. “I’ve been selling real estate ing. These with low inventory, homes have a tendency vast to reach, astutely recognizing the majority of buyers begin theirfor 30 sureestate that ASK with hard work, the sky was themarket limit. Iluxury couldn’t be ising long after the active transaction. ”Weonre the highest price-per-square foot FACEBOOK? YOURSELF—ARE While Mora Real Estate Co. still beginning to bloom, Ariel experience—is unequivocal. What’s more, she and team fifteen years of hard-earne house-hunting To her ensure that eachWith property garners maxiToday, works as soloduty agent, serving thedecision. main making a sale, she’s a person who has your best interests atw husband – who isBAD active Army – as were stationed years, so online. I’ve been through every cycle in the business,” she to sell Cindy quickly. To geta top dollar they concentrate onpoint exposure happier with my I’mofinnotthe only making more money, I stay in contact afterwards in various 51) BRANDING completing new home sales foraRelated, “I’ve been around this business very longshe ti hasthat already gleaned a robust rate ofthat referral clientele amountYOU STUMBLING OR UP mum market exposure, she makes use of theif leading digital listing contact forsocial each of her clients inbut the Big Bear, California area. She never lose sight of the fact for most, buying or selling along with a core ethos dedicated heart. I always told her they were giving out awards Fort Bragg area. “The agent we were working with to buy says. She appreciates how the industry constantly changes. through media and other online outlets. “Posting on ‘comI get to help make people’s dreams come true.” emails, and face-to-face interactions. An of Managing Director of Sales and Marketin invested in the community,” says Joe. Describ IN REAL ESTATE platforms and publicizes propertiesbusiness. on local and levels to “There’s a quarter of receive hisa situation overall As his endeavor spearheads her the offices of Gilligan Log anding AND RUNNING? always comes upnational and keeps inghouse soon’ suggested siteswork andfrom networking other agents is Ikey,” shefinancial a with home is one of Homes the largest undertakings in amy lifethe years still to come are she would vote for the hardest working realtor.” our I take the real estate class. thought it letthat them know that thethings check is 341 cut ment to community, he once explains that he sure was ret Residences, which will include alike.Ariel She also makes use of thePlaza occasional in-print advertisement Real Estate, a high profile, high production real estate companygrows, MARKETING stays committed to his educational approach interesting.” Many of those gear-changes are standard, but says. “At the Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield office alone time. Accordingly, Kimberly works hard to demystify and berly Chase Harding and her team sounded appealing,” she says. “So I did it and here we are six for the Board of Directors for the Ocean City Matthew’s business has grown so much since starting in I’m in their lives and want to be seen as aC being built in Century through wiselyCity. selected that has been well-established in Big Bear for over thirty years. as well, appealing to the local population of the relationship using thethat buying and selling we have around 200located agents, there’s lotthe going on right here.” Sheryl still enjoys the come outBoard of theofpeers blue. “I’m also on the Directors fo de-stress transactional instilling in hertackling clients a issues Another element thatmerce. sets Sonia apart from her is her years later.” fact, heBernardino isa currently getting systems inagent-client place to start growing area publications. With Big Bear Lake in so the San Mountains, theprocess, Development andsucceed. work on thecom pla process asfluency abring wayenjoys empower his clients with information She also mentoring and helping newer agents region is a Four Seasons Resorta area, ski and locales sensewith of two confidence atoin good energy to team. He has large become one calm. of the“We most in-demand agents Matthew isCorporation actively involved in his both English and Spanish. “There’s aIand need that “I’m not a typical resale agent, perfor se,” sa committees for the town of Ocean City.” Going Outside of the office, Cindy cites herself an animal lover, and as and a recreational lake that draws hundreds of thousands of visiSheryl and her team pride themselves on attention to detail, As her own business grows, Sheryl and her team plan to keep knowledge. “Iheoften work with first-time working in El service Paso. When he first started received the the Board ofhomebuyers Directors for and the in Elthat Paso Aa the process,” Kimberly explains. “We know it can naturally here,” she says. “There isn’t enough representation for the Sonia’s commitment to exceptional client has resulted homes sales brokers are different we onto thefoster Board forrehabilitate the Coastal Association of RE such, she supports numerous charities and anitors and property owners annually. Having built a sizable referral their stay ahead ofrepeat deadlines and their thorough honing and knowledge. To it’s all about mainvery eager and excited totoisprovide a them, market education,” Rookie of thereferral Year award, andI’m isbut currently ontheir the top 40 list tors®, as well as other community inve be difficult, sostemming there’s nothing we won’t do skills to make Hispanic community. many times people are being reprenot onlyability in anto abundance of business, completion including branding; strategi anSo RPAC trustee for the Maryland Association mals, and hasand even adopted andevery fostered some pets herself. Favoring network—with an impressive 60% of her and business from communication with everyone during the buying and selling taining improving on the consistency and dependability he explains. “I act as a consultant, but also provide clients of agents in El Paso. Spurred on to success with coaching, that focus on giving back locally. When h asfriends. easygoing as an possible.” This client-centric sented byCindy an agent doesn’t speak their language, a repeat clientand base whoclientele—Cindy for the mosttransaction part are now “Referral research; pre-sales; product absorpt “My community involvement is how Iand buildit’s m active lifestyle, loves who tographic do yoga, something she enjoys on referral primarily serves those looking process. “We believe in service and ensuring that everything they are known forreferproviding. with the facts and information to decide what’s best on their Matthew has already built up a remarkably high rate of enjoys spending time with his wife and is Joe. “I’m actually a big social media pers a dailyexpertise, basis in order to decompress. Living in cobranding thetonot beautiful Big for secondishomes or whoshe are interested selling their property. Atindustry difficult for Soplan I tryconcepts; to market and target those clients paired seasoned notthem. only serves opportunities; business the best,” says,care, “I in stay in with touch with most of relatively young; Icustomer really enjoy building relation Bear mountains, shethat also going playing recreational the clients heart of well Cindy’s lengthy career is an unwavering dedication to ralher business. ownalso terms. Mycontinuous goal is torelishes makepublic theirhiking, transaction as smooth as and relations; outreach who need representation.” my after closing and they send me lots clients’ interests well,referral but drives business golf, and the stunninghonest, scenery. her clients’ best interest, a tenet that has served her well over thepossible to know people incontinues person.” As Matthew toattorneys grow histobusi retention; anddirect.” working with bysoaking stayingupattentive, and business. My goal is to eventually not haveand to her payKCH as much for Kimberly team. years. “I always put my clients first,” she reflects. “When you do Key to Matthew’s success has been his absolute devotion to team, he also looks forward to mentoring prepare BRE documents.” Asfuture for the future, Sonia would eventually hert money towards lead generation andthey instead As for the of her business, Cindy has in a strong desire help tohegrow that, people feel that they’re respected,and they marketing, appreciate it, and As result, less than fivetolike years, has built customer service. Hesucceed; sells ansharing expeon,herself, helping them to achieve the success thn team which consists of Shawna McMillan (Buyers get a lot more referral-basedproviding business. There’s nothing Totomarket his listings, Ariel incorporates professional phoTaking aexceptional tailored really approach marketing, Kimberly ensures other agents her knowledge experience in advisor, the don’t forget you.” trusted real and estate agent and drawing not just a home. works to get his clients excited “Of all my honors, I’m most proud of b She provides a level of service and industry, she strives to guide other agents, supporting the young Agent) and Marlena Salazar (Assistant). “I’d love the opporters of his business from referrals. “It’s really better than word-of-mouth.”rience, that each listing makesHethe ideal first impression, while earntography and staging as well as high quality videos, to create people who are up-and-coming at her office. With decades of expethe process and make them comfortable, so they feel Influential” at my company for sharing While her track record of successabout ising proven, Cindy never loses sight knowledge not seen in resale. “I can that everything about a transaction happens smo tunity to be able to mentor and guide other agents as well.” all-out exposure along way. and In serving the luxury a the striking immersive experience that lures potential rience, perspective, insight earned—along withbones herat consistent of the personal beyond the transactional. “You can’t beIt’s all not about the the safe trusting him.authentic, about commission forand him, he talk with other agents my Whether enjoyable experience for myoffice. clients and that wi about the of the building, What keeps her clients so loyal is her caring market, Kimberly incorporates staging services whenever buyers. He also hosts open house extravaganzas, providing focus on client-centric care—the years still to come are sure toother bethepeople commissions,” she explains. “This work is about service, and that’s To learn settlement table.” Those relationships, hemor says, treats everyone like they’re family. “Everyone gets the same it warms my heart to see the vision, the infrastructure, design “Iprofessional lead example,” saysPearson. Sonia. there’s interanything togro be approach to herkeeps business. “When my What’s clients are looking for necessary, combined withfood, engaging photogradrinks, and by even the occasional raffle “If to inspire what ultimately your business alive.” more, Cindy’s filled with continued success for Cindy treatment.” that Iengendering had disclose, aKimberly small part in helping schematics,” confidence in th Chas said about afoot property, Iknow will disclose, disclose. Hona house, I always treat it asVIP if I’m the one who looking. phy to guarantee that is each property its best forward. est in hisputs events. Likewise, Ariel takes an astute, strategic thething.” buyer, she says. Moreover, buyers esty is always theend best If I were buying amore house, I’dabout want someone to abecustom genuine To learn Sheryl Deskin-Hessler, visit SherylDeskin.com, Kimberly also has website forat each home, visit KCHRealEs approach bymade listing the of the her week and,building-to-building oftentimes, a follow from as created to share information and images with just a simple property listed on a Friday can sell by the weekend’s close. they purchase new properties, knowing e-mail kharding@koe email deskinteam@gmail.com or call 314.330.9329 keystroke. In addition to To promoting property on she the will take care keep in each touch with his ever-growing network, Ariel of them. Given her or call (773) 9 leading digital listing platforms, her teamwith spemakesKimberly it a point and to connect past clientele over lunch orprocess, involvement with the contract Copyright Top Agent Magazine coffee, regularly checks in bywhen phonebuyers’ and e-mail, agent and puts sends a residence Copyr under with out clients, they essenthe occasional postcard as well. Hecontract also mails tailored

SONIA SALAZAR

CINDY PEARSONMATT RICE

JOE WIL

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5 Life Lessons for Real Estate Pros from the ‘Architect’ of the Beatles By Carla Cross, CRB, MA What in the world do the Beatles have to do with real estate pros success? A lot, I think. We’ve all heard of Paul, George, Ringo, and John—but, does the name “George Martin” ring a bell? Maybe. Martin was the record producer who discovered and molded the Beatles, adding his classical musical background to the Beatles’ creativity to produce the Beatles’ unique and ever evolving sounds. 4

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As a musician myself, I’ve always marveled at how the Beatles put classical musical aspects into their rock ‘n roll. Well, guess what? They didn’t do it by themselves—they melded their How are talents with Martin. George Martin just died at age 90, and many articles are being written about his you keeping collaboration with the Beatles. As I read these your business articles, I was thinking, “These life and performance fresh and lessons are absolutely applicable to us real estate professionals.” So, here are five life and performance exciting? lessons we can learn from their association:

• Keep improving your team until you are working with the best.

Martin urged Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein to replace drummer Pete Best with Ringo Starr, who he felt was a better drummer. Is your team the strongest it can be? Who’s holding you back? Who’s hindering your best performance? Who do you need to replace? I know, as an emsemble musician, you never play any better than your worst player!

• Start every listing, buyer and training presentation with an attention-getting ‘hook’.

Starting with the ‘hook’: Martin suggested Paul McCartney replace the first verse of Can’t Buy Me Love with the ‘can’t buy me love’ intro. That’s the hook, and we never forget it, do we? Do your listing/buyer and training presentations start with something attention-getting, or do you ‘ease into’ your presentation with banal comments like ‘I’ll keep this short’ or ‘we’ve got a lot to cover’. Stop being banal and get creative with your opening (we practice this in my Instructor Development Workshop and I teach this in The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide).

• Take your presentation apart and rebuild it with new elements.

You know the great ballad Yesterday (see, you’re humming it in your head!). But, did you know McCartney originally sang it with just acoustic guitar accompaniment? Martin added a string quartet, and that’s how that mellow, full, ethereal sound was created. Have you gone outside your comfort zone with your presentations? Have you gotten some coaching to polish and improve?

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• Think outside the box—for a change.

Martin took his classical music background and added Souza marches and a calliope to Sgt. Pepper’s. But, he didn’t just add them—he cut the tapes in pieces, turned them upside down, and switched the phrases to provide a somewhat chaotic, yet captivating music. Are you thinking outside the box? What have you done for the first time this year? What have you done differently? How are you keeping your business fresh and exciting?

• No one succeeds alone.

As you can see from these examples, Martin’s genius and the Beatles’ creativity resulted in something that had never been heard before—and will never be replicated again. But, what would they have been without each other? The Beatles would have been just another English rock ‘n roll group, and Martin would have been just another successful record producer. They melded their talents and were both flexible and adventuresome in trying new approaches. Who’s your partner in success? Real estate agents like to think they do it all on their own. But, studies show that virtually no one succeeds alone. Yes, someone may be the ‘front man’ (or woman), but there’s a partner behind the scenes, making everything better.

Remember to thank that partner now and then. It could be your manager, the owner, a trainer, a coach—or your family. Now, take these five life lessons to make your real estate career even more spectacular! Copyright ©, 2016 Carla Cross. All rights reserved.

Carla Cross, CRB, MA, is an international speaker, writer, and coach, specializing in real estate management. Her Leadership Mastery Coaching program is unique in the industry. A National REALTOR® Educator of the Year, Carla was recently named one of the 50 most influential women in real estate. Join Carla’s Community and receive special offers and free resources. Contact Carla at 425-392-6914 or http://www.carlacross.com. 6

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BLAIR MacPHERSON TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS Top Agent Magazine

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Blair MacPherson is among the most sought-after realtors currently working in the Islands of the Turks and Caicos. The Turks and Caicos Islands ranks high on the list of the most beautiful places in the world, a tropical paradise that is among the most popular travel destinations for those seeking out relaxation, a beautiful climate, beaches that rank among the best on the planet and an offshore tax free jurisdiction to boot. For this 8 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

reason the Turks and Caicos Islands are on the radar of many savvy investors looking for their next hot real estate investment. Top Agent Blair MacPherson, co-owner of RE/MAX Real Estate Group TCI, understands how blessed he is to live and sell in this beauTop Agent Magazine


www.remax-realestategroup-tci.com/property/yacht-club-townhouse

tiful corner of the Caribbean. “The Turks and Caicos Islands are often advertised as the best place in the world to do nothing. I really enjoy the relaxed way of life the islands afford me. I have a boat and I like to fish, play golf and walk on the beach. I know that sounds like the perfect world, and I know I’m blessed to live where I live and do what I do. I love the location and I don’t miss those long Canadian winters.” Blair began his career in real estate 25 years ago in Canada with a commercial real estate firm before relocating to the Turks and Caicos 15 years ago. Prior to that, he worked in sales and marketing, including stints with Hostess Frito-Lay and the Coca Cola company. Top Agent Magazine

Despite his access to paradise, Blair’s downtime is fairly limited, as he is among the most sought-after realtors currently working on the Islands. While the Turks and Caicos are comprised of eight islands, the majority of Blair’s business transpires on the most densely populated of these, Providenciales. The majority of his business is made up of international clients who are looking to purchase their own small piece of paradise. Marketing, therefore, takes a decidedly different bent than most. “In our particular situation,” says Blair, “we focus heavily on internet marketing. It’s a little different than purchasing in your own country, city or town. Our clients are leaving their country to come here to invest in real estate, so a lot of the legwork and due diligence, so to speak, Copyright Top Agent Magazine 9


www.remax-realestategroup-tci.com/property/blue-haven-penthouse-503

“Turks and Caicos is really an undiscovered Island and from a real estate standpoint the timing is really good, we’re on the front end of some considerable growth and development.” happens online combined with relying heavily on my honesty, integrity and market expertise to provide them the best advantage possible when making their final decision to purchase in the Turks and Caicos Islands.” The properties he represents include villas, condos, and luxury vacation homes, and he also sells land for those who wish to build their island dream home. “We’ve stayed in our lane, focus10Copyright Top Agent Magazine

ing on high-end properties,” says Blair. “We’re not trying to be the leader in number of listings, we prefer to spend more time with our vendors and buyers, and offer better overall service. It’s proven to be a better business model for us and we’ve been successful with it.” Despite the level of success that he’s achieved, it’s about much more than the transaction for Blair. “I really enjoy what I do,” he says. “I get the Top Agent Magazine


www.remax-realestategroup-tci.com/property/luxury-villa-grace-bay-beach

chance to meet people from all over the world, and I like to say I don’t just sell real estate, I’m more into making friends. Once you become friends with people and they respect and trust you, the real estate becomes a lot easier for them to buy. I’ve made tremendous friends from all over the world over the last fifteen years, and sold a fair amount of real estate along the way, I can’t ask for much more than that” “Turks and Caicos is really an undiscovered territory and from a real estate standpoint the timing is really good, we’re on the front end of some considerable growth and development. Top Agent Magazine

The timing is great, the beauty is here, and we’re frequently rated as the number one beach in the world. We don’t have to sell the beauty.” As for the future, Blair’s plan is to simply continue with what his company is already doing. “We’re happy with where we are positioned with the RE/MAX Fine Homes and Luxury Property brand,” he says. “I’m very happy with our International branding and our local position in the market. Our buyers can have a great deal of comfort knowing they are dealing with an Internationally acclaimed firm with strong local expertise.” Copyright Top Agent Magazine11


For more information about

Blair MacPherson

please call 649 - 432 - 5677 or email Blair@BlairMacPherson.com www.blairmacpherson.com 12Copyright Top Agent Magazine

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Making A ‘Lead Generator’ Work For You by Carla Cross

When it comes to sales, some people just seem to have the ‘golden touch’. There are agents who seem to be able to convert ‘leads’ into appointments, while others struggle. I had an opportunity to observe this time and again as a manager. Jerry, in my office, seemed to be able to convert ‘floor time’ calls into appointments with ease. (Floor time, as you may remember, is a scheduled time when agents answer inquiry calls from consumers). George, on the other hand, seemed never to get an appointment while he was assigned floor time. In fact, George accused me of giving Jerry “all the good floor time”. From Jerry’s conversion rates of calls to appointments, it may have seemed like it. However, we simply rotated floor times with all the agents. No one got any better ‘floor time’ than any other agent! Why did Jerry convert calls to appointments, while George struggled? You would know the answer if you just listened to each Top Agent Magazine

man on the phone. Jerry immediately established rapport, asked great questions, and answered objections masterfully. He followed up immediately. He had awesome sales skills. George had no skills, seemed not to care much about the caller, and acted as though he was doing the caller a great favor simply by answering the phone! A “lead generator” is anyone or thing that generates leads for you. There are two types of lead generation: Pro-Active: You go find the lead (like calling on for sale by owners) Re-Active: You wait for the leads (like lead generating companies, floor time, and open houses) Too often, agents like George blame the re-active lead generating source for lack of quality of leads. On the other side, lead generating sources feel that agents don’t convert enough of the leads provided. Instead of blaming each other, we can take 13


positive steps to assure that you can screen your leads effectively, and turn good leads into appointments. Now, both agents and lead generating sources are happy! The First Principle: Follow Up on the Lead Now! A web site lead costs $215 to generate, on average. Yet, a majority of real estate agents don’t even get back to a lead—ever! Why? I think there are three reasons:

you can’t just get back to a lead three days later. The consumer today expects to get a reply quickly. I’m constantly amazed when someone thanks me for responding quickly about a product or a question about our coaching. Our standard for answering product and coaching inquiries is within the day. What’s your standard for answering lead inquiries? (Which require much faster responses, in my opinion, than my ‘leads’).

There’s Competition For That Lead • Agents mistakenly think that the A few days ago, I was visiting with lead will be theirs forever—that my cousin, whose daughter just went there’s no time sensitivity to into real estate (she’s twenty-two). She has immediately put technology answering that lead to work, creating an awesome • Agents believe there’s no database and contact management system. She’s selling up a storm— competition for the lead and making the agents in the area • Agents don’t know the cost of a mad at her. Why? Because she’s lead—in both time and money so getting to the consumers before the they don’t treasure that lead as if it other agents do. They thought they ‘owned’ those consumers’. But, my were gold cousin’s daughter is proving that no With the instant information age, one owns the consumer. She’s 14

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turn that lead into an appointment. In my coaching program, Carla Cross Coaching, we find that developing agents lack the sales skills to optimize their time and energies. So, we The Second Principle: Give provide sales skills training resources to shore up their motivation and desire the Lead Its Value to reach their goals. If you’ve ever spent time generating your own leads, you know what this Set Your Sites And Raise Your means. As a new agent, I knew Skills To Mastery about two people in the area. Because I had no built-in network, I Our high accountability training did every kind of lead generation program, Advantage, is helping new known to man. I worked all the and newer agents capture the sales time. I learned by all my mistakes and organizational skills it takes to how to generate leads—and the convert leads more often. But, value of a lead. Purchasing a lead is training is only the start. It takes so much easier than generating your coaching to master any skill, along own. But, you must treat that lead with your determination to get like the potential gold it is, so you’ll really good at lead conversion. be the Jerry of sales, not the George. Decide today your standards for performance, what you want to The Third Principle: Develop master, and how you’ll go about it. Now, you’re on your way to Your Sales Skills becoming a top producer! Following up on the lead immediately shows you value the lead. But, that’s Copyright©, Carla Cross. All rights not all. It takes specific sales skills to reserved. demonstrating that those who put technology to work effectively today capture the consumer’s attention and loyalty.

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RASHID BHUIYAN The first time someone hired Rashid Bhuiyan to list and sell a house, he sold the property for more than asking price. Just a few months earlier, that same property was listed at the same price, but only garnered few low-ball offers that the previous agent insisted were the best the house could command. “I understood the comps and these offers just seemed wrong,” says Rashid, whose father was the seller. At the time, Rashid was studying for his real estate license and believed the agent wasn’t representing his father’s best interests. “When I got my license, we put it back on the market at the same price. I incorporated my knowledge from what I had done prior to getting my license,” he says, explaining his degree in marketing. With proper staging and advertising, a bidding war ensued. Nearly five years later, Rashid is a top-producing Staten Island, New York, REALTOR®, earning Silver honors. He works with seller and buyers at any price point, either helping them fix up and sell or finding the perfect home for their lifestyle. “I like giving buyers and sellers an honest, fair transaction and moving them through a deal they’ll remember as a happy experience.” In addition to running his independent real estate business with his wife, Oksana, through Tom Crimmins Realty, Rashid and his clients benefit from his strong business relationships with builders and contractors in the home improvement industry.

life experience in Brooklyn and Staten Island for my ability to close transactions in these neighborhoods,” he says, noting the quality of life that includes abundant parks and recreation. Rashid and Oksana are very involved in their daughter’s education and extracurricular activities and also love traveling and camping. In addition, Rashid finds time to help locally however possible. “This community gives so much to us and we love giving back,” he says. Among their recent outreach efforts, the Bhuiyans led fundraising efforts raising $3,400 for Carl’s House, a center that helps prevent and stop drug use and offers support to those in recovery. Extremely grateful for the success he has reached in only five years as a REALTOR®, Rashid plans to continue to promote the unique way he does business. In the future, he may consider his own firm. But for now, he is thrilled to explore new ways to make people happy through smooth real estate experiences. “I want to build my brand and become a more recognized REALTOR® - not just in great sales but with more opportunities to help people,” he says. “I want to be remembered as a person who helps unconditionally and does the right thing when it comes helping people with their real estate transactions.”

The Bhuiyans focus on Staten Island and Brooklyn, striving for excellence. “Some agents just want to look for a buyer or a seller, do the job and take their commission,” says Rashid. “But my clients always tell me, ‘Rashid, you are actually here to help us!’ In a competitive market, I’m there for them and looking out for their best interests, making sure they’re happy at full arms-length transactions.” One way he shows his commitment is by going above and beyond. “If there are things to be done with a property, I’m more than willing to do it any way I have to,” he says. He further distinguishes himself with his knowledge of which home improvements can result in faster sales at higher sale prices. Rashid has even authored three books on the topics of Home Improvements that Improve Values; Ways to Advertise and Promote your Home; and How to Sell Your Home for More Money. After ensuring a home is market ready, Rashid spares no expense. “I market online any way possible,” he says, mentioning a host of online real estate portals plus his own website along with various social media outlets. “I also do a lot by word-of-mouth, emails, and networking.”

To learn more about Rashid Bhuiyan, visit BhuiyanProperties.com, email rashid@BhuiyanProperties.com or call 347.276.2788 www.

In addition, as community member who sought out Staten Island for its ideal family setting, Rashid speaks from the heart when helping sellers find buyers and buyers find homes. “I credit my 16

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Peter Martin, Esq. is proud to congratulate

Rashid Bhuiyan

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

Peter Martin, Esq. | Martin & Loiacono, LLP 274 Watchogue Road | Staten Island, New York 10314 Phone:(718) 979-7114 | Fax: (718) 979-6657 pmartin@mlattorneys.com Top Agent Magazine

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William J. Golding, Esq. is proud to congratulate

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

William J. Golding, Esq. 718-227-5260 WGOLDING@WJGESQ.COM

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Daniel J. Byrnes is proud to congratulate

Rashid Bhuiyan

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

Daniel J. Byrnes, Attorney At Law 4459 Amboy Road, Suite 2 | Staten Island, Ny 10312 T: (718) 967-5000 | F: (718) 967-5005 dbyrneslaw@gmai.com | www.dbyrneslaw.com Top Agent Magazine

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5 Things You Can Do To Achieve Your Biggest Goals If there’s one thing successful people can agree on, it’s that setting goals has been key to their success. Whether you’re creating a five year plan or just settling on what you want to achieve by the end of the day, setting goals gives you the focus and direction you need to complete even the biggest tasks. But there is a method to setting them. It’s a process that takes careful thought and consideration up front, which is then combined with the hard work necessary to implement your plan. Luckily there are proven methods to goal setting that you can start using immediately. 1. MAKE YOUR GOALS SPECIFIC Yes, it’s fun to think in grand terms of where you want to end up in life and in your career, but it’s better to have a specific goal like “Increase my sales by 25%”, than “Get rich.” When a goal is clear and specific, it allows you to figure out the exact steps you need to take to accomplish it. The more general it is, the more paralyzed you might be when it comes to figuring out what to do since, the choices may be overwhelming. 2. MAKE IT ATTAINABLE Making attainable goals might seem boring, I mean afterall, you want to dream big! But you don’t want to suffer through the disappointment of not reaching your goal, something that may not even be possible at this stage in your life to begin with. One solution to that is creating goal levels. You can have the dream goal, but underneath that you have the realistic goals that are setting up a foundation for achieving the big one. Things that are attainable still take work and effort to achieve. Those small victories will keep you motivated and encouraged to go for the bigger dreams. And don’t forget, those 20

little goals may have been things you wouldn’t have gotten done if you didn’t set out to achieve them, so be proud! 3. PUT A PLAN OF ACTION IN WRITING Your plan of action should include daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. There is something about seeing things in writing and crossing them off the list that is oddly satisfying.The daily goals are especially important in regards to building up those good habits. The first few weeks of your plan of action are critical when it comes to your long term success. Reaching a goal is something you are doing every day, all throughout the day, in numerous ways. Achieving goals is all about creating good new habits. 4. MAKE IT MEASURABLE This is key, since you definitely want to reward yourself for a job well done, and having a goal that is measurable in some way is a sure way to know. Maybe it’s to increase your lead generation or to cut expenses, whatever the case, have a measurable test you need to meet, as well as a time frame. Then calculate what you have to do to reach that goal. Not only should your goal be specific, but the plan and the measure of success should also be set in stone. 5. ADJUST AS YOU GO You can have all the best laid plans, and you still might quickly realize that what you thought would help you reach your goal, might not be cutting it. Commitment to reaching your goals is good, but commitment to a plan you know isn’t going to work is not only a waste of time, but will be a devastating blow to your motivation. Sticking to a plan everyday means adjusting it accordingly.

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BLAKE CANTRELL

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BLAKE CANTRELL Blake Cantrell never intended to work long-term as a real estate agent, but while pursuing property investments, he decided to earn his license. At first, his only goal was to learn more about the investment process and the behind-the-scenes details that agents orchestrate. But when he navigated the sale of his first listing, in service of a good friend, he was wildly surprised at how much he enjoyed the process. That was thirteen years ago, and today Blake has chartered a prosperous career working fulltime as an agent, offering individualized service and expertise earned through a proven track record of success. Working as a solo agent, Blake primarily serves the Madison County region, where he leads the market in production as the area’s top seller. Acting as the main point of contact for each of his clients, Blake delivers concierge-level service and maintains round-the-clock accessibility, from his first phone call through to closing. Blake prides himself on providing a personalized experience to each of his clients, catering to specific homeownership goals. In fact, he has mastered a 100% repeat and referral driven business—a testament to his consistency in delivering results to those he serves. “I treat everyone like family,” he explains. “If you treat people right, it will naturally grow your business.” Altogether, Blake’s number one goal is to ensure each client walks away with a memorably positive experience in hand. “People won’t always remember what you said, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel,” Blake explains. “I think that’s ultimately what my customers take away—a positive feeling from our experience.” Likewise, Blake places great emphasis on the educational process inherent in a real estate transaction and enjoys helping his clients understand the short and long term value of their home. Accordingly, he takes careful time to get to know why a home is special to the owner, so that he can better position it for sale. “It’s so satisfying to help my clients secure or exceed the number they’re looking for,” Blake says. “I like knowing that at the end of the day, I’ve gotten the maximum value for my client.”

Blake applies a comprehensive, tailor-made strategy to each of his listings, from an undeveloped lot to a multi-million-dollar deal. If necessary, Blake provides staging services to prepare homes prior to professional photography and an open house. Each property is showcased through high quality images and video to ensure a crisp presentation that highlights the charm of each home. To stay in touch with past clients, Blake makes an effort to check in by phone to see how things are faring after closing. What’s more, he often forms lasting relationships with those he has served, acting as their agent time and again as the years go by. With a lengthy industry tenure behind him, Blake has earned detailed, firsthand experience and offers expert market insight to his clientele. In reflecting on his favorite aspect of his career, Blake says, “No two days are alike, and my business can only be limited by my own efforts.” Outside of the office, Blake is avidly engaged in his professional community, frequently participating in realtor events and organizations. He is also a board member of the Huntsville Margarita Society, where they host an annual gala for 2,000 people, driving toy donations that can exceed $200,000 in support of children in need. In his free time, Blake and his wife love to travel to their cabin retreat in the woods of Alabama. He and his wife were recently approved to become foster parents and hope to soon expand their family. They also love to spend time with their dogs, Charley and Zeus. As for the future, Blake plans to foster continued growth in his business, while staying true to the high level of customer service on which he’s built his reputation. To expand his reach, he hopes to continue cultivating relationships with area homebuilders expanding to areas that have enjoyed recent development. Now, equipped with more than a decade of industry knowledge and a tried-and-true devotion to his clients’ success and wellbeing, the best is yet to come for Blake Cantrell.

To learn more about Blake Cantrell, visit WhyBlake.com, e-mail blakecantrell@gmail.com, or call (256) 713 - 0400 www.

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4 Reasons Why Multitasking Can Actually Derail Your Day Common wisdom dictates that a master multitasker is likely to garner the most success. After all, doesn’t juggling multiple projects at once mean you’ll work faster than if you took each one as it came? While multitasking is often cited as a desirable skill—and surely serves its purpose now and again—studies show that a mere 2% of individuals can actually multitask effectively. Meanwhile, the remaining 98% might be doing more harm than good by trying Top Agent Magazine

to tackle too much at once. Take a look below at some little-known facts about the risky side of waging a routine built on multitasking.

1. Multitasking decreases productivity While multitasking gives us the illusion of completing two tasks at once, it actually means

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our focus and productivity is split. In other words, switching back and forth between two activities doesn’t mean they’ll each be completed sooner; it means that you’re getting half-as-much complete as you would if you focused on a singular task. Multitasking fatigues your brain, elicits stress, and make you less efficient in retaining new information.

2. Multitasking is actually addictive While watching TV or taking a walk, have you ever noticed the impulse to check your smartphone or scroll through your social media feed? Even though we think about multitasking as a workplace skill, it’s also an addictive form of mental stimulation. By satiating our need for distraction with constant check-ins online, we become accustomed to frequent breaks in our focus, training us to crave updates, messages, and push notifications—we even hit refresh when we’ve checked in five minutes prior! This negative habit-building makes it difficult to complete sustained bouts of concentration.

3. Multitasking has negative physical side effects Studies show that those who juggle multiple focus-intensive activities actually show spikes in cortisol, a stress hormone. Likewise, frequent multitaskers display symptoms of sleep deprivation: fatigue, disorientation, and lack of focus. Studies in Europe have recently 24

discovered that those who consistently multitask may actually show decreases in empathy and emotional control. What’s more, a constant sense of anticipation—readying to switch from one task to another, or persistently checking for e-mail updates—can potentially cause a decrease in overall IQ.

4. Multitasking breeds mistakes When our attention is split between tasks, it’s difficult to perceive and retain detail-oriented information. Because of this, mistakes—typos, clerical errors, mislabeled documents, and the like—occur with greater frequency. We’re in such a hurry to complete a portion of a task and switch to the next project that we lose sight of prompts, deadlines, and tying up loose ends. This means multitaskers are far more likely to overlook a glaring error than an individual who is devoting 100% of their attention to the task at hand. Now that we understand some of the dangers of multitasking, what can we do about it? While our tech-driven day-to-day might make focusing on a singular task a difficult endeavor, it’s the surest way to produce efficient, error-free work—while cutting down on stress, fatigue, and miscommunication. Try approaching your tasks for the day with a clear-cut schedule, moving one task at a time down your to-do list. This approach can eliminate some of the inefficiency inherent in multitasking and make for your most productive work routine yet.

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DEBRA GOLL-PERFILI

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DEBRA GOLL-PERFILI When Debra Goll-Perfili reentered the workforce in the late-1980s, she couldn’t have imagined her circumstances would lead to entrepreneurship, allowing her to put her two children through college and own a home on Michigan’s Lake St. Clair. But her job with a management company sparked her interest in real estate when the company began building an apartment community. After she visited the site, Debra fell in love with new construction, later deciding real estate could be her passion and her future. “I joined a very large office and struggled, working hard to farm my area,” she says. “When the broker wanted to get into building and no one else was interested, I knew I should do it.” Debra soon was reading blueprints and selling new construction, helping the brokerage make good money. “I finally became an associate broker and a few years later opened my own company.” That business, Helm & Associates Real Estate Specialists, has provided its specialized service to clients in the Detroit metropolitan region for more than 20 years. “We’re not a big company, but we do very well because of our team and how well we work together.” Debra’s handpicked team includes five agents and an office assistant besides herself as broker/owner. “We generally work from our homes, which maximizes flexibility and reduces stress – a win-win for the agents and our clients.” Customized service builds client loyalty, says Debra, whose office draws 100% of their business from referrals and returning clients. “Each of us keeps in touch with clients in our own unique way and we’ve found that’s the best way to get our referrals,” she adds. Clients are so happy with how Helm & Associates gets the job done that they eagerly provide anecdotal references to the team’s prospective clients. “We make every effort to customize what we do to meet our clients’ needs,” says Debra. Her clients notice, describing her as among “the hardest working and most

dedicated real estate professionals we have ever known.” Others value her compassionate nature and her eagerness to provide the support and confidence they need. Debra adds that when marketing their listings, they offer everything the big agencies do and more. “Everything is available online with high quality photography, but we spend a lot of time staging to present our listings in the most positive fashion,” says Debra. “We remind clients that buyers need to visualize themselves in the home and to know where they’d put their own family photos.” They advise clients to trim closet and cabinet contents by half, and then by half again; to not worry about packing belongings in labeled boxes (buyers know they’re moving anyway); to depersonalize the house; and to share the things they love about the house for inclusion in feature sheets. Between all of the agents, Helm & Associates covers every area of the market, explains Debra. “We do new construction, auctions, short sales, foreclosures, HUD homes, resales, and I’m even working with a developer,” she says. “By working together, we have survived bad economic cycles and have always been successful. I plan to continue that.” Debra may consider adding agents, but only those who are self-starters and will do right by clients. In the meantime, she has also developed a referral system with a trusted agent in Texas for helping buyers between both markets. Doing right in business also means sharing with the community. Among the organizations she supports, Debra regularly donates to Care House of Macomb County, which helps prevent and reduce the incidence and trauma of child abuse through collaborative, family-centered activities. Each other team member contributes to the community in their own, unique way, demonstrating the aspect of her work that Debra loves most. “We’re here to help,” she says, adding that she tells every client, “You are contracting me to do a job; if you’re not happy with that job, all you have say is, ‘Deb, we’re done here,’ and I will give you a release.” She explains their right to a release because she feels her team is good enough to be held accountable. “It keeps us on our toes!”

To learn more about Debra Goll-Perfili, visit helmandassociatesmi.com, email helmandassociatesmi@gmail.com or call 586 - 465 - 6296 26

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How to Throw a Client Appreciation Event No One Will Forget Clients are the foundation of any flourishing enterprise, and this is particularly true in real estate—an industry where relationships are central. Demonstrating your gratitude to former and current clientele is a winning way to cultivate your network, while upping your potential referrals and creating face-to-face time with the individuals that make your business tick. Keep in mind a few of the tips below as you stage a client event that will positively impact your brand, while conveying your appreciation to those who have driven your business all year. Top Agent Magazine

Supersize Your Guest List Inviting former clients to your client appreciation bash is only the first step in crafting your guest list. To really expand your sphere of influence, invite neighbors, local business owners and staff, old friends, family, associates, fellow alumni from your alma mater, and the like. Think of your client appreciation event as a celebration of business bringing people together. Expand your guest list and you’ll create a coveted, in-person opportunity to forge relationships and broaden your reach.

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An appreciation event may be geared toward your clients, but if done correctly it can also provide a fun-filled venue for your employees to enjoy a morale boost.

Consider A Sponsor Client appreciation events shouldn’t skimp on the details, but you don’t want to break the bank, either. To defray the cost of a client appreciation event, consider enlisting local businesses as co-sponsors. Not only does this approach ease the price tag of throwing a party, but it also creates an easy partnership between you and other entrepreneurs—widening your database and making for a memorable and generous event.

ship, or the Super Bowl is coming up quick, tailoring client appreciation events to already-established happenings can create an organic tie-in and boost your attendance numbers in the process. Throw a gingerbread house decorating party during the holiday season, or throw a barbeque during the Fourth of July. Capitalizing on a naturally occurring theme creates the opportunity for comradery between you and your guests. Apply A Personal Touch

Don’t Forget To Reward Your Employees An appreciation event may be geared toward your clients, but if done correctly it can also provide a fun-filled venue for your employees to enjoy a morale boost, as well. By encouraging your employees to cut loose at this celebratory event—instead of having them run interference all night—your team will feel appreciated and validated, too. Theme Your Event Whether the area’s high school sports team has made it to the state champion28

Invitations may seem like a small detail, but they shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. Consider handwriting some of your invitations for the clients you remember well, or for business associates who you regularly partner with. Personalizing invitations to key players is the surest way to a confirmed RSVP. Cultivating your network of professional connections is an essential part of driving business, and client appreciation events not only create memories between you and your clientele, but also inspire your to step back, reflect, and give thanks to those who keep your business booming.

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ILEANA JONES

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ILEANA JONES As a veteran of over 40 marathons, Top Agent Ileana Jones knows more than a little about going the extra mile, something she does for each and every one of her grateful clients, one of the many reasons she was Realtor of the Year in 2013. Ileana, who has worked for the highly respected Advantage Realty Group in Tuscaloosa, Alabama for her entire 19 years in real estate, was “discovered” by the company’s broker while working in retail. “He noticed my excellent customer service,” she says, “and encouraged me to get my license. From there, I started taking courses, trying to get as much knowledge as possible. Now, I’m one of the company’s top producers. I sold 71 properties last year, worth over twenty-million dollars.” While Ileana sells the entire Tuscaloosa area, she focuses primarily on the downtown area near the University of Alabama. “I deal a lot with parents who like to buy properties for their children, which is a good idea because the kids can have roommates and that helps pay for the mortgage and utilities.” This model is of extra benefit to Ileana, as every four or five years the house is sold when the students graduate. “I have a lot of success with the parents letting me resell the property.” This has also provided her with stability during down times, such as the infamous market crash of 2008. “I didn’t feel it as hard because the University provided consistency. So it’s kept my business pretty steady.” Staying abreast of ever-evolving technologies is another factor in Ileana’s stellar success. “I like to stay updated,” she says. “I continue to take courses, because real estate is a business that

changes every year. If you can stay on top of the technology, it becomes much easier than for the agents who don’t.” Ileana prides herself on providing the highest level of customer service available in the Tuscaloosa area. This has resulted in an impressive rate of repeat and referral business, which hovers at around 70%. “So many of my past clients continue to send referrals to me. I sold a house to a Professor nine years ago, and he recently decided to purchase the lot next door to build a home for his daughter. Even though he could have done it himself, he asked me to handle it. That kind of thing is extremely flattering.” Ileana, who speaks both English and Spanish, is often given referrals by other agents when they have a Spanish-speaking client. “I’m from Guatemala,” she says, “and I’ve been here for over 35 years.” During the rare moments when she’s not working, Ileana loves to indulge her passion for running. She’s not just a casual runner, however: she has, as mentioned above, completed over forty marathons in multiple countries over the years. “Running marathons has helped me have the endurance and patience that helps me help my clients. Running them is a treat for me, but it also encourages me to come back and work hard.” The London Marathon is a Fundraiser where Ileana’s clients were able to send donations for the Leukemia Society. “ I would like to thank my clients for their support and loyalty.” Looking to the future, Ileana plans to build a team to support her, and is already grooming her licensed assistant. It’s important to Ileana that whoever works with her shares the same ethos of excellent customer service. “I want any agent who works with me to show, manage and sell the same way I do. I’m a very goal oriented person: I like to set my goals and make sure I accomplish them.”

For more information about Ileana Jones, call 205 - 886 - 2829 or email IleanaJones1@gmail.com 30

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Daily Habits That Will Increase Your Mental Strength When it comes to building physical strength, the solutions are obvious, but keeping up your mental strength isn’t as easy as going to the gym. Although physical exercise does help clear your head and relieve stress, there are other things you can do daily that will help your mind be as strong and flexible as your body after a workout. Here’s just a few things you can do to help clear your head and make you more productive.

DON’T WASTE YOUR BRAIN POWER That might seem obvious, but think about how much mental energy you might use up worrying about negativity or things you have no control over. Instead of focusing on problems, focus on solutions. This actually take a lot of effort, we’re all conditioned to let worry paralyze us sometimes. Try and catch yourself when you’re wasting time thinking about about past mistakes or current dilemmas you don’t have the power to stop. You really only have so much mental energy, and if you have kids and an especially stressful work situation, that might be even less than normal. Start treating your brain like the precious resource it is. You don’t want to be running on empty when it really matters.

STEP OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE A lot of mental energy can go to dealing with anxiety. One way to deal with that is by forcing yourself to try new things and take on new challenges, that you might normally avoid because they make you feel unsure or scared. Challenge yourself daily, even with small things. This is definitely something that becomes easier with practice. Start small, and in no time you’ll be taking on things you never thought were possible. The simple task of trying something new every day will have you feeling energized and put you on the path to self-growth.

BE SELF-AWARE Your emotions affect everything you do, even if they’re not at the surface. Recognizing and labeling them is key. A lot of the above exercises require self-reflection. It’s okay to have the emotions you have, understanding why and where those emotions come from allows you to focus on dealing with them rather than just wallowing in them. Being self-aware is also about self-care. Know the things that help relax and rejuvenate you. That way you can handle everyday stresses and remain calm even during the most turbulent times.

BE MORE POSITIVE

BE WILLING TO LEARN

Eliminating negative thoughts is essential to increasing your mental strength. Carrying around negativity is like swimming with all of your clothes on. You might be okay at first, but eventually you’ll feel like you can barely stay afloat. Don’t drown in negativity, use positive thoughts as a lifesaver. This doesn’t mean you should ignore things you need to improve, just approach them with solutions rather than beating yourself up. Constant monitoring of this is important since it’s really easy to slide back into negative thinking.

A lot of people are still hung up on the idea that learning is a boring and tedious process, but you aren’t in junior high anymore. You can find something you’re actually interested in and immerse yourself in it, which engages your mind like nothing else. Whether it’s learning a new technology that will improve your business or something that will make you a more well-rounded person, the learning process keeps you engaged and open to new ideas. A curiosity about the world and new things is something that all mentally strong people have in common.

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JONI MAILANDER

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JONI MAILANDER Top Agent Joni Mailander of Colorado Springs brings to the profession a unique blend of high-energy enthusiasm and consummate professionalism that has become her hallmark, and has established her as one of the more sought-after realtors working in her geographic area. Almost born to be a real estate agent, Joni began her journey as a thirteen-year-old, working as secretary for her father’s construction business. Ultimately he pushed her to get her real estate license, though she was initially less than enthused by the idea. After working as his licensed assistant for a time, she eventually ventured out on her own and began working for a builder selling new construction. “In my first year I made eight sales,” says Joni, “and for the past two I’ve been the top salesman for the company.” Currently working with a small team, Joni has carved out a niche for herself as someone who takes her business very seriously, yet finds ways to make her job fun, both for herself, her clients, and even her prospective clients. Marketing is a case in point: Joni can often be found producing short, whimsical parody videos showcasing her properties, including “Gangster’s Paradise” and “Wizard of Oz” that both sell her properties and illustrate her willingness to think outside the box for her clients, both buyers and sellers. “My boyfriend calls me the Weird Al Yankovic of real estate,” she says with an infectious laugh. Despite her relatively short tenure in the real estate industry, Joni has spent the last three years proving herself to be among the most respected and reliable agents in the Colorado Springs area. Much of this has to do with her personality, she believes. “I just kind of bring a high energy into the situation,” she says. “I’m really in tune, and I’m not pushy, and I make things fun.” A good disposition is helpful, but it takes more than that to make a successful agent. Joni also possesses a deep understanding of the ins and outs of the real estate world, and her client service skills are the envy of many of her peers. A Premier Agent on Zillow, Joni has a slew of five-star reviews that are a testament to the customer satisfaction her clients 34

experience. One of these reads: “We had the pleasure of working with and getting to know Joni during our search for our first home. Countless times, she went out of her way to make us happy and help make the process less stressful. I never knew a realtor could be so kind, personable, diligent and hard working. I am so thankful that we had Joni on our side.” For Joni, her job is about much more than a paycheck. “I love helping people,” she says. “I love when they get excited about their new home. I work with a lot of first-time home buyers and single moms, and as a single mom myself I really enjoy that. It’s just a good feeling.” When she’s not working, Joni enjoys spending time with her three children and her boyfriend, and frequent vacations top the list of things to do. “I’ll work fifteen hours a day for three weeks straight and then we’ll go on a vacation. I try to balance it all out.” She is also very much involved with her local community, and as a member of the Women’s Council of Realtors recently emceed at a charity fashion show. She also portrayed a human Elf on the Shelf for their recent Christmas auction, doubling the amount of funds raised the previous year, with all proceeds going towards the Mill Dog animal rescue organization. Joni has also created networking groups to help small businesses thrive, and has assisted in building a home for Habitat for Humanity. As for the future, Joni plans on enlarging her support team, provided she can find agents who share her philosophy of excellent customer service. “They need to be knowledgeable, personable and really want to help people.”

For more information about JONI MAILANDER, please call 719-213-4721 or email dreamhomesbyjoni@gmail.com Copyright Top Top Agent Agent Magazine Magazine


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 Copyright©, 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. online at www.waltersanford.com. 36

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KRISTEN McGEE

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KRISTEN McGEE Kristen McGee was working in the granite industry when she decided it was time for a career change. She went to school at Samford University for Interior Design, but always knew that she enjoyed the interaction of being in sales more than the design side of her business. Considering that her mother, while pregnant, had been taking real estate classes— Kristen was inspired by the same entrepreneurial spirit when she secured her own license in 2010. Today, Kristen is in command of a seven-year career, established on the principles of accessibility, creativity, and a long-held passion for serving others. Kristen is a member of the area’s top team, the Gusty Gulas Group, working under the banner of Brik Realty. While Kristen primarily serves the Crestwood area—a town she proudly calls home—she also serves clients across Birmingham to accommodate their varying homeownership goals. What’s more, her degree in interior design has afforded her a keen eye, and Kristen brings an artful perspective to the table as she helps clients envision a property’s potential. She also prioritizes accessibility and responsiveness amidst the buying or selling processes—keeping clientele up-to-date, staying available for questions and concerns, and overall establishing a sense of calm security throughout. Having earned a hearty rate of repeat and referral business, Kristen’s cultivation of positive client experiences keeps business booming. “I work really hard to keep everyone happy,” Kristen says. “Sometimes there are inevitable bumps along the way, but I really try do my best with every deal and come to clients with solutions.” While Kristen is consistent in her ability to deliver on professional promises, she also keeps a firm focus on her clients’ best interests and wellbeing. “What I love most about my job is being of service to people,” she explains. “After all is said and done, it’s so fulfilling to see my clients happy and excited about their new home.” To market her listings, Kristen applies a tailored method, implementing strategies unique to each property. Staging consultations

help homeowners prepare for professional photography and open house presentations. The ensuing photos are distinct and inviting, while Kristen ensures 360˚ photo tours make for an immersive viewing experience online. She also incorporates drone footage on occasion for larger properties that require extensive aerial documentation. Distribution across all major listing platforms and a strong presence on social media gives each listing massive visibility, locally and beyond. To lend a personal touch to her marketing endeavors, Kristen and her team try to think outside the box. Recently they hosted a Friday night open house, providing pizza to visitors in an effort to engage the local community. To stay in touch with past clients, Kristen takes a light-hearted, imaginative approach to maintaining relationships. She’s a regular giver of gifts to those she has served, and is notorious for her unique merch such as koozies, pens, cutting boards, Yeti-Cups, pizza cutters, and more. Additionally, she sends out event calendars, and stays in touch with clients through cards and other giveaways throughout the year. Continuing her dedication to service even outside of the office, Kristen is involved with numerous organizations in her local community. She is a member of the Junior Boards for Hand In Paw, The Exceptional Foundation, Girls Inc, The Charity League, and KultureCity—to name a few. Most recently, she and her team participated in a Chili Cook-off for the Exceptional Foundation and The Girls Inc Cajun Cook-off , and sponsored a booth at the Mutt Strut for Hand In Paw. To foster a sense of community with their neighbors, Kristen and her office are participating in Slice Fest, a block party for the whole family. As for her free hours, Kristen loves to spend quality time with friends and family and her rescue dog Roman, attending live music shows, and traveling to new destinations. Considering the years to come, Kristen plans to further develop her business, growing her referral base and expanding her sphere of influence along the way. Equipped with unflagging enthusiasm and a genuine enjoyment of her client-centric career, the future holds assured promise and prosperity for Kristen McGee and her team.

To learn more about Kristen McGee, visit kristenmcgee.brikrealty.com, e-mail kmcgee1013@gmail.com, or call (205) 907 - 3390 www.

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6 Things All Successful Negotiators Do If you think about it, you’ve been negotiating your whole life. As a kid you negotiated constantly with your family, your teachers, and your classmates. If you’re a parent, you’re negotiating probably more than you ever have in your life. But it’s one thing to negotiate staying up late on a school night, people oftentimes have trouble translating those real world negotiation skills into the business world. But the truth is there are a lot similarities. Expert negotiators all have skills and techniques they bring to the table. It’s quite possible you also have them, and don’t even realize Top Agent Magazine

it. Here’s a look at some traits that are common among expert negotiators.

1. They keep emotion out of the process It’s very easy to feel frustrated, angry and defensive during a negotiation process. But when emotions run high, it’s often difficult to respond with logic and reason. This can be especially difficult if the person you’re negotiating with tries to escalate the situation. As the saying goes, keep calm and carry on. You

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have an end goal in mind, and getting heated won’t help you meet it. If things don’t go your way, remember it’s not personal. Best to leave the table with no hard feelings. Hopefully even though you may not have gotten what you’ve wanted this time around, you’ve established a foundation for success at your next try.

2. They’re reasonable If you don’t ask for what you want you’ll never get it, but at the same time, you need to be reasonable about what you’re asking for. Yes, ask for a little more than you want, so you have some wiggle room to compromise. But if you ask for too much too soon, you might shut down the person you’re negotiating with from the start, or even worse offend them. No one wants to feel like they’re being taken advantage of. Ask for what you deserve and you’ll never go wrong. At the very least you might start the conversation on how that might be possible down the line, if it isn’t just yet.

3. They’re well-prepared Part of being reasonable is being well-prepared. One of the biggest mistakes novice negotiators make is showing up over-confident and under prepared. Have the research and facts to back up what you’re asking for. Show your negotiation partner evidence of why what you’re asking for is not only fair, but necessary. Facts are hard to shoot down. This will also give you the confidence to really push for what you want. It’s not just something you think, it’s something that’s undeniable true. If you go in unprepared you’re more likely to flounder, which will damage your credibility going into future negotiations. 40

4. They always strive for a win/win solution for everyone Yes, negotiations are about getting what you want, but as the old saying goes, you get more flies with honey than vinegar. Your negotiation partner might also have reasonable requests that you need to consider. Ultimately, successful negotiations are about compromise on both sides, and ending up with an outcome that benefits everyone.

5. They’re creative Problems and conflict are a natural part of any negotiation. One surefire way to impress, is to head off any impending roadblocks, by coming up with creative solutions. It’s easy to point out problems and be negative. Truly expert negotiators think outside the box, and dazzle with innovative concepts and ideas that leave everyone excited about the process.

6. They’re good listeners Listening in order to really understand where your negotiation partner is coming from is important for two reasons: you not only want to make them feel heard, but knowing what they want is invaluable information you can use to get what you want. At the start, you’re gathering information by asking questions and really hearing what they say, which includes picking up on body language and nonverbal cues as well. This is part of being well-prepared, using every possible thing you can to have an advantage. Being in control of the situation, and then leading everyone to a successful conclusion all around is what great negotiation is all about.

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OLGA ROTARU

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OLGA ROTARU Top Agent Olga Rotaru of Keller Williams in Reading, Massachusetts isn’t one to rest on her laurels, despite having sold more than 200 properties over the course of her almost ten years in the real estate industry. Olga entered the world of real estate back in 2007 at the suggestion of friends who believed she possessed the qualities necessary to be successful in that field. Upon taking and passing her real estate exam, she was initially hired as a Broker’s Assistant, where she learned her craft from that broker and soon launched her own home-selling career. Currently selling in the greater Boston area, Olga’s dedication to premium client service has vaulted her to the upper echelons of real estate agents in her area. A return/referral rate of business that exceeds 40% is an indicator of how grateful her many satisfied clients are. “My clients keep coming back and referring other clients because I really watch out for them,” she says. “I have a great attention for details and help them notice things they otherwise would not. I advise them on many things.” When asked what sets her apart from her peers, Olga says “Consistence. Persistence. Follow-up. 24/7 availability for my clients.” Even the occasional failure does not dishearten Olga. “It only takes me an hour to recover from a setback,” she says. “Then I’m back on the road looking for more business.” The gratitude her clients feel for her is made clear by the numerous five-star reviews she has garnered on Zillow. Among

the many accolades is this glowing testimonial: “I was very impressed by the effort that Olga puts into her work. Whenever we had questions, she was always available for us. She responded very quickly to any request and went out of her way to make sure all paperwork was done correctly and done on time. We have never dealt with such a dedicated broker. she was on a mission to make sure all went well and it did.” Olga’s attention to detail and determination to present each of her client’s properties in the best light is made evident by the thorough marketing strategies she employs. In addition to the standard MLS placement and open houses, Olga also goes out of her way to make sure each listing is imbued with information most other realtors never bother with. “I always ask my clients to provide beautiful memories of their home, that I include in the marketing. Buyers love to know the story behind a house.” Olga’s passion for her job transcends the transaction, and she finds pleasure in helping her buyers and sellers achieve their goals. “I love engaging with people. It’s like an adventure, you never know who you’re going to meet. Sometimes it takes me 20 -30 minutes to find common ground, but eventually we connect.” During the rare moments she’s not working, Olga enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and watching documentaries. She also finds time to meditate and take long walks in nature for relaxation. As for the future, Olga plans on continuing to indulge a newfound passion: training up and coming real estate agents. “I enjoy the success of the people I train almost as much as I enjoy my own,” she says. “I’m looking forward to training and building a team around me.”

For more information about Olga Rotaru, please call 857- 373 - 9257 or email olga.rotaru@kw.com Copyright Top Agent Magazine 42

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Buyers and Sellers: Understanding How Home Inspections are Negotiation Tools That stunning home or vacation property may seem perfect. But Top Agents advise anyone buying or selling to prioritize the importance of professional home inspections. For sellers, many agents recommend preparing for two separate inspections, one for your own information before listing and the second at the buyer’s obligation. For buyers, know that the listing agent is required to disclose certain major issues discovered on professional inspection. But every buyer should also order a thorough home inspection. For both buyers and sellers, inspection provides knowledge and knowledge may translate to power, time saved or money. THE SELLER’S INSPECTION You’ll save time before closing if you find potential “sticking points” before listing your home. Even those repairs that a seller isn’t required to fix may be worth the upfront investment. Replacing or repairing leaky faucets, wornbut-not-compromised sections of roofing or cosmetic masonry work will go a long way to build trust between you and buyers in your market. In addition, the last thing a seller wants right before closing is a major surprise. If your inspection uncovers a significant issue requiring disclosure, you’ll have an opportunity either to make repairs or to get professional estimates on cost, which you then can present to buyers either as a credit or reduction in sale price. Top Agent Magazine

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THE BUYER’S INSPECTION Selecting your Inspector: Before hiring an inspector, your agent may ask if the seller conducted an inspection and who conducted it. With this knowledge, you’ll hire a different inspector. Consider some important factors when choosing your home inspector: First, remember the adage that “you get what you pay for.” This property is one of your biggest investments it’s the place you’re going to cherish as your home or vacation destination for years to come. Entrust it to a highly rated and properly licensed inspector with the appropriate professional affiliations and credentials. Your Top Agent is your best referral source, but read online reviews or ask for recommendations to learn more about inspectors and the inspection process. As a buyer, know that a home inspection report gives you opportunities to request repairs, a lower sale price or credit for work to be done. Talk to your agent about how to make the most of your inspection report. Your agent will likely have contacts with local professionals you can consult with for fair estimates on the cost of the repairs you would like made. In extremely competitive markets however, your negotiating power may be limited to major issues requiring disclosure. Heed the advice of your agent in making necessary requests without risk of losing your dream home. Be sure to attend the inspection or assign a proxy if you’re out of the area. Then, go above and beyond and give a luxury property the attention it deserves. Your inspector should help you find concealed issues that can help you negotiate. Honest oversights on the part of the seller, for instance can only be rectified if discovered before closing. For example, clogged exterior drainage inadvertently concealed by hardscape may become a flooding issue down the road. On the flip side, recent partial-room painting may indicate something more than the seller’s beautification efforts. HOW SERIOUS IS IT? Remember that a home inspection is one of the most useful items in the buyer’s toolkit, but be careful not to get overwhelmed by the results. Prioritize issues by immediacy (safety) and break down each category by cost to repair to determine how the issues may impact negotiations. 44

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SHERYL DESKIN-HESSLER Real estate is the only career that agent Sheryl Deskin-Hessler of Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield has ever had and the only one she’ll ever want. With 30 years as a REALTOR®, Sheryl first entered real estate fresh out of business school in St. Louis. “I moved to California soon after and started selling real estate at the encouragement of a friend’s father.” She later returned to the St. Louis area, where she planted the seeds of a now well-established business. “We primarily focus on selling and listing in the West County Area,” says Sheryl, whose team of four includes an experienced lead buyer’s specialist, a skilled listing/marketing coordinator, and a detail-oriented transaction coordinator. In a competitive market where inventory can be low, Sheryl and team combine decades of local experience and deep rooted networks to match buyers with properties. They also utilize targeted marketing based on their knowledge of the market and insight of their clients’ needs. “We know every house that’s on the market in the corridor up and down Wildhorse Creek and have been in at least 80% of them,” says Sheryl. For listings, Sheryl’s team conducts a great deal of pre-marketing. These days, with low inventory, homes have a tendency to sell quickly. To get top dollar they concentrate on exposure through social media and other online outlets. “Posting on ‘coming soon’ sites and networking with other agents is key,” she says. “At the Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield office alone we have around 200 agents, so there’s a lot going on right here.” Sheryl and her team pride themselves on attention to detail, their ability to stay ahead of deadlines and their thorough communication with everyone during the buying and selling process. “We believe in service and ensuring that everything

we do is service oriented,” says Sheryl. “We take care of the whole experience. Real estate is about building relationships, as opposed to turning and burning.” Those relationships last. The team hosts several annual events for clients and they stay in touch with their clients through email and visibility locally. “I’ve done notepads for 25 years!” says Sheryl, noting that clients have come to rely on this small gift. In the community, Sheryl has been a longtime supporter of Friends of Kids with Cancer, volunteering and helping on the committee for their golf tournament fundraiser. “I also love to play golf,” she says. “I’m really bad at it, but I love it!” She makes time to get out and about for wine tastings, concerts, musical and other cultural events. In addition, her family stays active in fundraising efforts for Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital. That community involvement, dedication to service, and desire to nurture relationships has sustained Sheryl’s business and continues to propel her. “We plan to keep growing,” she says. Their 2016 sales reached $23 million and they’re on track for this year’s stretch goal of $31 million. Sheryl, meanwhile, is also in charge of Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield’s luxury division, which she is dedicated to keep expanding by educating other agents on what luxury buyers are seeking and how to market luxury homes. “I’ve been selling real estate for 30 years, so I’ve been through every cycle in the business,” she says. She appreciates how the industry constantly changes. “There’s always a situation that comes up and keeps things interesting.” Many of those gear-changes are standard, but Sheryl still enjoys tackling the issues that come out of the blue. She also enjoys mentoring and helping newer agents succeed. As her own business grows, Sheryl and her team plan to keep honing their skills and knowledge. To them, it’s all about maintaining and improving on the consistency and dependability they are known for providing.

To learn more about Sheryl Deskin-Hessler, visit SherylDeskin.com, email deskinteam@gmail.com or call 314.330.9329 www.

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KIMBERLY CHASE HARDING Kimberly Chase Harding began her tenure in the industry as an attorney for a real estate firm in Washington D.C. When she moved to the Chicago area, Kimberly saw an opportunity for a career change and wisely took the leap, earning her license back in 2002. Fifteen years later, Kimberly has mounted a flourishing career in the Windy City, guided by the foundational tenets of positivity, forthrightness, and utmost professionalism. Kimberly primarily serves the Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods—the areas where she first began her role as agent more than a decade ago. Today, she applies her nuanced understanding of the local inventory and market to her clients’ benefit. Likewise, Kimberly’s experience in real estate litigation uniquely equips her in all aspects of a transaction—from the subtle and contractual to the agent-oriented. She also adds an additional level of expertise, incorporating her experience in commercial real estate, as well. All told, Kimberly’s proficiencies are myriad and allow her to serve a wide array of clientele. In fact, with an outstanding 100% rate of repeat and referral business, Kimberly and her team’s ability to deliver results—along with a positive, hassle-free experience—is unequivocal. What’s more, she and her team never lose sight of the fact that for most, buying or selling a home is one of the largest financial undertakings in a lifetime. Accordingly, Kimberly works hard to demystify and de-stress the transactional process, instilling in her clients a sense of confidence and calm. “We bring a good energy to the process,” Kimberly explains. “We know it can naturally be difficult, so there’s nothing we won’t do to make every transaction as easygoing as possible.” This client-centric care, paired with seasoned industry expertise, not only serves her clients’ interests well, but also drives continuous business for Kimberly and her KCH team. Taking a tailored approach to marketing, Kimberly ensures that each listing makes the ideal first impression, while earning all-out exposure along the way. In serving the luxury market, Kimberly incorporates staging services whenever necessary, combined with engaging professional photography to guarantee that each property puts its best foot forward. Kimberly also has a custom website made for each home, created to share information and images with just a simple keystroke. In addition to promoting each property on the leading digital listing platforms, Kimberly and her team spe46

cially attune their distribution efforts to appeal to particular audiences of potential buyers. To stay in touch with past clients, Kimberly utilizes a monthly newsletter to keep clientele up-to-date on industry trends and her team’s developments. On a more personal level, she also enjoys going out for dinner and drinks to stay connected to clients outside the office setting. “I love working with and getting to know people,” Kimberly says, in reflecting on her favorite aspect of the job. “It’s so rewarding to help my clients source solutions to their housing needs and assist them in finding the perfect fit.” Pivoting her spirit of service to the area she calls home, Kimberly devotes time to charitable and civic efforts, as well. She is deeply involved in the local Kenwood High School, with her efforts culminating in Friends of Kenwood Academy, a parent fundraising organization that works to secure funding for additional course offerings and activities that will provide students with an edge when it’s time to apply for college. In her coveted leisure hours, Kimberly is a runner and frequently participates in local races. She also enjoys traveling internationally and exploring the world with her family. As for the future, Kimberly has plans to apply her incisive skillset toward commercial, residential, and infrastructure development efforts within urban communities in Chicago and beyond. With fifteen years of hard-earned experience behind her, along with a core ethos dedicated to her clients’ successes, the years still to come are sure to remain fruitful for Kimberly Chase Harding and her team.

To learn more about Kimberly Chase Harding, visit KCHRealEstate.com, e-mail kharding@koenigrubloff.com, or call (773) 957- 3599 www.

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5 Reasons Why You Need a Mentor As great as it might feel to start your own business, and be solely responsible for its success, at some point, every entrepreneur reaches the limit of their potential, and needs a boost that only experience can provide. But how do you get a lifetime of experience when you’re just starting out? Sure you can read countless books, but no book can replace the real life experience and advice of a mentor. Mentors not only provides valuable insights, but they also have access to valuable connections as well. In fact a majority of the Top Agent Magazine

most successful CEOs and entrepreneurs in the country have said that having a mentor early on was instrumental in their success. Here are some of the reasons why.

1. They’re able to see where you need improvement, when you can’t When you’re working non-stop to get your business off the ground, you might feel sensitive to any criticism from people who aren’t going through what you are. A good

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mentor knows exactly what you’re going though, and has probably made every mistake. When you’re in the thick of it, you might not be able to see where the problems are. A knowledgeable outsider, who knows exactly where you’re at and has only your best interests at heart is just what you need. When you have a trusting relationship with someone like that, you will be more willing to listen to that brutal honesty, even if that constructive criticism stings.

energy into it. They can see things in a completely logical way and guide you based on the facts rather than emotion. A good mentor helps you work smarter, not harder. They help you focus on your goals and how to get there, as well as setting boundaries for you so you don’t overextend yourself. They teach you how to say no and help you let go when you need to move on from a setback.

2. They will encourage you to think outside of the box

In addition to expertise, building a strong network is something that can only come with time. A mentor will most likely have that already, giving you access to people and resources that would take others years to gain. These connections will lead to opportunities that might never have happened otherwise. It’s also a great confidence boost knowing that your mentor trusts and believes in you enough to invite you into their inner circle.

Years of experience can give someone a great idea of what works and what doesn’t. They’ve seen things first hand, not just in theory. At the same time, mentors recognize the importance of taking chances, calculating risks, as well as cutting losses and moving on. A good mentor isn’t trying to encourage you to be a carbon copy of them, they are trying to create the best ‘you’ possible. That includes encouraging you to take chances, and then being there pushing you to keep going forward if it doesn’t work out. A good mentor knows that even failures can be opportunities.

3. They take the emotion out of decisions and help set boundaries Unlike you, a mentor has no emotional investment in certain business approaches that you might have decided to try. There’s nothing harder than admitting something isn’t working when you’ve put a lot of time and 48

4. Networking

5. Encouragement At the heart or it all, a mentor offers you encouragement and motivation along the way, in good times and in bad. After a failure, it can be hard to get back on track and keep forging ahead. It helps to have someone who has spent year getting back up after being known down and coming out stronger than ever. It’s during those moments, when you feel alone and isolated, that having someone around offering you advice and positive feedback will be a much needed salve. They’re your cheerleader, they want you to succeed, and hopefully, you’ll pay it forward one day when you become as successful as them.

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ARIEL MORA Ariel Mora has always fostered an entrepreneurial mindset. While pursuing a business degree, he began to consider his career options, in search for opportunities that would speak to his skillset, spirit of independence, and interest in serving others. After he arrived in Denver to participate in the AmeriCorps program, City Year, he began to zero in on real estate as a career path. Soon enough, he decided to take the leap and earn his license. Today, after three years of consistent success, he is at the helm of his own brokerage firm, Mora Real Estate Co., grounded by a commitment to advocacy, consistency, and building a legacy alongside his clients. Serving the Denver and Aurora regions, Mora Real Estate Co. works with a range of clientele that includes first-time homebuyers and the area’s Hispanic community. After a successful tenure at a Denver’s top boutique real estate firm—an experience Ariel praises for its knowledge-building and the opportunity to cut his teeth in the industry—he decided to lay the foundation for his company and launch his own imprint. While Mora Real Estate Co. is still beginning to bloom, Ariel has already gleaned a robust rate of referral clientele amounting to a quarter of his overall business. As his endeavor grows, Ariel stays committed to his educational approach of the agent-client relationship using the buying and selling process as a way to empower his clients with information and knowledge. “I often work with first-time homebuyers and I’m very eager and excited to provide a market education,” he explains. “I act as a consultant, but also provide clients with the facts and information to decide what’s best on their own terms. My goal is to make their transaction as smooth as possible by staying attentive, honest, and direct.” To market his listings, Ariel incorporates professional photography and staging as well as high quality videos, to create a striking and immersive experience that lures potential buyers. He also hosts open house extravaganzas, providing food, drinks, and even the occasional raffle to inspire interest in his events. Likewise, Ariel takes an astute, strategic approach by listing at the end of the week and, oftentimes, a property listed on a Friday can sell by the weekend’s close. To keep in touch with his ever-growing network, Ariel makes it a point to connect with past clientele over lunch or coffee, regularly checks in by phone and e-mail, and sends the occasional postcard as well. He also mails out tailored Top Agent Magazine

promotions to his clientele, offering discounts or freebies at local restaurants and businesses. Hoping to spread the same entrepreneurial passion that launched his career, Ariel participates with a local community non-profit that fosters future business owners. In his work at Rocky Mountain Microfinance Institute, Ariel serves as an accountability mentor to aspiring business owners building their own enterprise. There, he offers his mentees moral support, help fine-tuning their business plan, and insight on marketing and strategy. In his free hours, Ariel enjoys visiting Denver’s world-class mountains for hikes, being a part of the city’s latin dance scene, and playing the congas with friends. As for the future, Ariel has plans to continuing growing his business with hopes to soon develop a team as well as venturing into the investment side of real estate. With an ambitious streak fit for the Mile High City and an authentic devotion to his clients’ long term success, the best is surely still to come for Ariel Mora at Mora Real Estate Co.

To learn more about ARIEL MORA visit arielmora.realtor, e-mail ariel@morarealestateco.com, or call (720) 446 - 6075 www.

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MARY ANN OSBORN An agent who represents developers gains the most unique view of a property’s intricate details. For Mary Ann Osborn, the amalgamation of her property knowledge combined with her deep-rooted relationships in Los Angeles area real estate over three decades has established her among the country’s premier, new-construction luxury REALTORS®. Having reached more than $1 billion in sales over the past eight years, in late 2016 Mary Ann was welcomed into the exclusive Haute Living Real Estate Network, a partnership of Haute Media Group that features one luxury real estate agent in each prominent market across the world. As Century City specialist, Mary Ann represented The Century, a recently sold-out, 42-story masterpiece designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and developed by The Related Companies. The Century represents Related’s West Coast entry into the turnkey, luxury high-rise living, incorporating lifestyle amenities such as a private screening room, bar lounge, private dining room, Pilates and Yoga studios, spa, outdoor dining rooms, library, and an Equinox designed fitness center. Mary Ann also worked with Related, the country’s largest luxury builder, when they built 158 units on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, which sold in 18 months achieving the highest price-per-square foot on Ocean Avenue. After completing new home sales for Related, she accepted the position of Managing Director of Sales and Marketing for the new Century Plaza Residences, which will include 341 residences currently being built in Century City. “I’m not a typical resale agent, per se,” says Mary Ann. “New homes sales brokers are different in that we are there from concept to completion including branding; strategic positioning; demographic research; pre-sales; product absorption and release; floor plan concepts; cobranding opportunities; public relations; customer outreach and retention; and working with attorneys to prepare BRE documents.” She provides a level of service and knowledge not seen in resale. “I can talk about the bones of the building, the vision, the infrastructure, the design schematics,” engendering confidence in the buyer, she says. Moreover, buyers follow her from building-to-building as they purchase new properties, knowing she will take care of them. Given her involvement with the contract process, when buyers’ agent puts a residence under contract with clients, they essen50

tially leave them in her hands to ensure a seamless close, given her intimate knowledge of the BRE documents. Mary Ann derives joy from imparting her passion for luxury homes to her clients. “We become friends; I have to ask so many questions and learn so much about them. It’s important to listen to what works and how they would live in the home.” Equally valuable is Mary Ann’s ability to read between the lines. “They often find something they didn’t even know they needed or wanted!” Mary Ann nurtures these client and broker relationships, keeping them informed of goings-on in their communities such as new developments and value updates. “I sell our future value as well,” says Mary Ann, who unobtrusively makes herself as a vital source of information. Discretion is paramount. “We sell to celebrities and high-net-worth individuals, and I’m very protective of anyone who comes in,” says Mary Ann. She neither confirms nor denies whether a certain individual has visited a project she represents. Because she works for the developers, Mary Ann’s approach to marketing properties spans a wide range of luxury publications and is supported by in-house marketing, PR, web and interior design. “We of course use the MLS, but we’re in the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Vanity Fair, Variety, Architectural Digest and Travel & Leisure,” she explains. “We also collaborate with the high-end yacht dealers and jet companies for co-branding events with them, art dealers, jewelry and car dealerships.” Mary Ann knows that luxury new-construction will remain her niche. “At some point I may open my own sales and marketing company so developers could hire us as opposed to keeping us in-house,” she says. She also plans to get even more involved in community outreach. “It’s funny how life takes you places you don’t think you’re going to go. You have to take advantage of opportunities when they come knocking, not be afraid to take risks, and keep learning.”

To learn more about Mary Ann Osborn, visit hauteresidence.com/member/mary-ann-osborn, email mosborn@nextcenturyrealty.com or call 310.871.0753 www.

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Branding Bad in Real Estate Marketing by Rob Flitton

To begin with, you cannot establish a brand for ANY business until and unless you know what your product and intended clients are. Think of your brand as a “message with instructions” for a potential client. It won’t be a direct message, but an image, group of words, symbol or design, or combination of these, that will allow the client to easily identify how you solve an existing problem or concern that they have. If you are not clear about who you are talking to, and why, your message with instructions will speak to anyone and everyone, and therefore to no one. Your message has to be both intimately related to the real concerns of an extreme niche of people, and authentically connected to who you are. Otherwise, the people you are intending to reach will not see or hear you, and will not use you. The choice that the vast majority of agents make to brand or co-brand Top Agent Magazine

with their brokerage company is a mistake that is causing them to be invisible to a large pool of potential clients, and lose traction or growth in their business. This mistake sees them repeating anemic efforts season after season to hunt for clients, instead of reaping the much larger benefit of farming or growing clients. In any given marketplace there are, say, a dozen major real estate brokerage brands. Just like some people love Ford and hate Chevrolet, or like Apple and hate Microsoft, they will either like or love the brand you’re with, or be indifferent to it—we can ignore the indifferent category, because they make the case that the company’s brand isn’t very important. By choosing to co-brand or line up with their brokerage, the agent therefore has as much as an 11 out of 12 chance of alienating a potential client. And there is another devastating result—the agent ends up financing the brand of their brokerage. 51


The major brokerages today rely on online search success as much as any business—by promising leads to their agents they need a tremendous amount of Google Juice. So, they offer the agent leads, but also offer them a unique co-branded page or presence on their website. By having hundreds, or even thousands of agents with pages on their website, they are gaining massive website traffic (links) and having those agents pay them for it.

down and focus on marketing, followed by strategic branding of the agent alone. The real estate business, or any business, comes down to two fundamental activities: finding potential clients (leads); and closing those clients (making them into customers).

And finding potential clients comes down to two fundamental activities: hunting—the effort to find “right If an agent ever decides to look into now” business every day form a changing their brokerage they are variety of sources; and farming—the somewhat trapped. Not only do they effort to grow a reliable bounty of lose any equity or money they spent leads by having a long term online on co-branding and collateral mater- and offline strategy with the agent, ials, and the reliance on having some and not their company, as the central leads here or there, but they are empty- core of a targeted branding strategy. handed vis-à-vis Google Juice—each time they leave a brokerage, they are Rob Flitton is a Seattle Real Estate Marketing specialist helping independent starting all over. The solution for any agent is to drill 52

agents to increase their income. Email Rob robflitton@gmail.com at any time or call/ text him at 206-612-2314.

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CINDY PEARSON Cindy Pearson’s interest in the world of real estate came naturally. Her ex-husband is a contractor and with many friends also active in the building business, Cindy’s regular exposure to the industry spared her own real estate career. When one of Cindy’s friends—a licensed agent in her own right—recognized her industry potential and encouraged her to earn her own license, Cindy decided to take the leap. That was back in 1977, and today Cindy has earned four storied decades of professional experience. With over $450,000,000 in property sales for buyers and sellers during her stellar forty-year professional tenure, Cindy has cultivated a masterful career defined by a diligent work ethic, easy affability, and a dedication to her clients’ successes. Today, Cindy works as a solo agent, serving as the main point of contact for each of her clients in the Big Bear, California area. She spearheads her work from the offices of Gilligan Log Homes and Real Estate, a high profile, high production real estate company that has been well-established in Big Bear for over thirty years. With Big Bear Lake located in the San Bernardino Mountains, the region is a Four Seasons Resort area, with two large ski locales and a recreational lake that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors and property owners annually. Having built a sizable referral network—with an impressive 60% of her business stemming from repeat and referral clientele—Cindy primarily serves those looking for second homes or who are interested in selling their property. At the heart of Cindy’s lengthy career is an unwavering dedication to her clients’ best interest, a tenet that has served her well over the years. “I always put my clients first,” she reflects. “When you do that, people feel that they’re respected, they appreciate it, and they don’t forget you.” While her track record of success is proven, Cindy never loses sight of the personal beyond the transactional. “You can’t be all about the commissions,” she explains. “This work is about service, and that’s what ultimately keeps your business alive.” What’s more, Cindy’s

positivity and unchanged enthusiasm for her work and role have kept her energized and inspired throughout the years. “For the first twenty-five years in this business, I would sometimes work ten to twelve hours a day,” she recounts. “I’ve always kept that dedication to a strong work ethic with me.” Likewise, Cindy is not only equipped with decades of experience, but also with unparalleled insight into the market. In addition to keeping pace with the real estate world’s constant fluctuations, Cindy has mastered all matters of the industry’s intricacies—an expert’s understanding she’s able to pass along to those she serves. In reflecting upon her favorite aspects of her work, Cindy says, “I love working with people. It’s a relationships business and I enjoy that. By the end of the buying or selling process, you really become friends with your client. It’s nice to get to know new people.” To market her listings, Cindy makes wise use of the internet’s vast reach, astutely recognizing the majority of buyers begin their house-hunting online. To ensure that each property garners maximum market exposure, she makes use of the leading digital listing platforms and publicizes properties on local and national levels alike. She also makes use of the occasional in-print advertisement as well, appealing to the local population through wisely selected area publications. Outside of the office, Cindy cites herself an animal lover, and as such, she supports numerous charities to foster and rehabilitate animals, and has even adopted and fostered some pets herself. Favoring an active lifestyle, Cindy loves to do yoga, something she enjoys on a daily basis in order to decompress. Living in the beautiful Big Bear mountains, she also relishes going hiking, playing recreational golf, and soaking up the stunning scenery. As for the future of her business, Cindy has a strong desire to help other agents succeed; sharing her knowledge and experience in the industry, she strives to guide other agents, supporting the young people who are up-and-coming at her office. With decades of experience, perspective, and insight earned—along with her consistent focus on client-centric care—the years still to come are sure to be filled with continued success for Cindy Pearson.

To learn more about Cindy Pearson e-mail cindy.pearson50@gmail.com or call (909) 585 - 0041 Top Agent Magazine

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MATT RICE Matthew Rice grew up around the real estate business and had always been intrigued by it, but he initially had a successful career working with Verizon Wireless, before the opportunity to pursue his calling presented itself. “I had a client who was a Broker and he had been trying to recruit me for years. I was one of the top salespeople at Verizon, so I was a bit nervous about making the leap, but I just jumped right in. I wanted to be my own boss, and was sure that with hard work, the sky was the limit. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I’m not only making more money, but I get to help make people’s dreams come true.” Matthew’s business has grown so much since starting in fact, he is currently getting systems in place to start growing a team. He has become one of the most in-demand agents working in El Paso. When he first started he received the Rookie of the Year award, and is currently on the top 40 list of agents in El Paso. Spurred on to success with coaching, Matthew has already built up a remarkably high rate of referral business. Key to Matthew’s success has been his absolute devotion to providing exceptional customer service. He sells an experience, not just a home. He works to get his clients excited about the process and make them comfortable, so they feel safe trusting him. It’s not about the commission for him, he treats everyone like they’re family. “Everyone gets the same VIP treatment.”

Matthew really excels at working with both buyers and sellers. He believes it all starts with good communication. With his buying clients, he takes an educational approach. “They can be nervous and have a lot of questions. I really walk them through every step, which helps eliminate a lot of the stress. With sellers, I work with them to get the property show ready, and priced right to ensure we get the property sold as quickly as possible. It’s my job to protect my clients and keep things smooth. I stay ahead of any problems and am always proactive rather than reactive.I never want a client to feel blindsided or uninformed.” Matthew maintains those close relationships that he builds long after the active transaction. ”We really become close. I stay in contact afterwards in various ways, social media, emails, and face-to-face interactions. Anything I can do to let them know that once the check is cut, I don’t disappear. I’m in their lives and want to be seen as a resource to them.” Matthew is actively involved in his community serving on the Board of Directors for the El Paso Association of Realtors®, as well as other community investment committees that focus on giving back locally. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his wife and is an avid sports fan. As Matthew continues to grow his business and build his team, he also looks forward to mentoring the agents he brings on, helping them to achieve the success that he has achieved. “Of all my honors, I’m most proud of being named “Most Influential” at my company for sharing my time and talent with other agents at my office. Whether it’s clients or peers, it warms my heart to see other people grow and succeed, and know that I had a small part in helping that to happen.”

To learn more about Matthew Rice call 915 - 526 - 7199, email mrmattrice3@gmail.com or visit mrmattrice.com www.

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Newer Agents: More Questions to Ask Yourself—Are You Stumbling or Up and Running?

By Carla Cross

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ewer agents: Are you ‘stumbling’ or ‘up and running’? It’s estimated that over 50% of new agents fail their first year in the business. From talking with thousands of them throughout my coaching, managing and speaking career, I know why: They can’t answer the questions below. In addition, they may be getting little guidance from their manager. Not having the combination of these two things almost assures their failure.

In an earlier article, I gave you five questions to ask yourself to truly get ‘up and running’. Now, here are five more. Ask yourself: Do I know how long it will take to get a sale? To get a listing? To get a listing sold? (so you can project your income) (New agents tend to wait, and wait, and wait, to get into the business ‘stream’, thinking that there is no time frame to buyers’ decisions—wrong!) Key point: Use the time lines in Up and Running to project your income. You don’t want Copyright Agent Magazine Top Agent Top Magazine

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Most new agents drastically underestimate their mental toughness in the face of adversity. to run out of money before you run out of time! Do I have a method of setting goals and tracking accomplishments in the areas above— so I can analyze my specific strengths and challenges in this business? (Most agents never track what they do, so they don’t know what worked—or why what they’re doing isn’t working). Key point: If you know how many listing appointments it takes, for example, for you to list one marketable property, you can project with confidence your income. You have truly become independent. Do I have a budget so I know how much money I should be spending in marketing my listings? Key point: Creating a marketing budget from day one assures you get paid for all that work you’re doing in lead generation (Up and Running has a prototype marketing plan for you, too). Do I have someone to talk to regularly, to coach me, to keep me on track, and to help me if I 56

fall off my start-up plan (to keep me from failing)? Key point: Most new agents drastically underestimate their mental toughness in the face of adversity. Studies show that having a mentor, a coach, someone on your side, greatly increases the chances of your success. Do I have a method to keep myself motivated and inspired to keep on keeping on (like a coach or your manager)? Key point: All the successful people I’ve ever met have a method to ‘keep themselves up’—diaries, logs, inspirational notebooks, readings, CDs, etc. That’s why I put so much inspiration and motivation in Up

and Running—we all need it! Give yourself every chance to succeed to answering ‘yes’ to all of these questions. You deserve success! Carla Cross, CRB, MA, is president of Carla Cross Seminars, Inc., and Carla Cross Coaching. She is an international speaker in real estate productivity. Carla is the author of 6 internationally published books and several productivity-producing programs for real estate agents and leadership, including the new 3rd edition of Up and Running in 30 Days. See her programs at www.carlacross.com, or contact Carla at 425-392-6914.

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SONIA SALAZAR Top Agent Sonia Salazar of RE/MAX True Advantage in Martinez, Georgia has a sincere appreciation for her career that is based on her desire to help others achieve the American Dream. “Honestly,” says Sonia, “I grew up in a small home with my family and there was no better feeling of being a homeowner when I moved away. Purchasing a home is usually the biggest expense most of us make in our lifetime and to be such a vital part of that process is the most awesome experience.” Sonia began her career in real estate six years ago, when her husband – who is active duty Army – were stationed in the Fort Bragg area. “The agent we were working with to buy our house suggested I take the real estate class. I thought it sounded appealing,” she says. “So I did it and here we are six years later.” Sonia’s commitment to exceptional client service has resulted not only in an abundance of repeat and referral business, but a client base who for the most part are now friends. “Referral business is the best,” she says, “I stay in touch with most of my clients well after closing and they send me lots of referral business. My goal is to eventually not have to pay as much money towards lead generation and marketing, and instead get a lot more referral-based business. There’s really nothing better than word-of-mouth.” What keeps her clients so loyal is her authentic, caring approach to her business. “When my clients are looking for a house, I always treat it as if I’m the one who is looking. If I were buying a house, I’d want someone to be genuine and honest with me about a property, so I hire an inspector

who is a 27-year Army veteran and a structural engineer. He provides a detailed report of everything that is wrong with a property, because I want my clients to be able to make an informed decision to go forward or not. I would want someone to be honest with me, so I do that for my clients as well.” A Premier Agent on Zillow, this concern for her clients has translated into a multitude of five-star reviews. Among them is this exceptional review: “Sonia Salazar is not just a realtor in the business of making a sale, she’s a person who has your best interests at heart. I always told her that if they were giving out awards she would receive my vote for the hardest-working realtor.” Another element that sets Sonia apart from her peers is her fluency in both English and Spanish. “There’s a need for that here,” she says. “There isn’t enough representation for the Hispanic community. So many times people are being represented by an agent who doesn’t speak their language, and it’s difficult for them. So I try to market to and target those clients who need that representation.” As for the future, Sonia would eventually like to grow her team, which consists of herself, Shawna McMillan (Buyers Agent), and Marlena Salazar (Assistant). “I’d love the opportunity to be able to mentor and guide other agents as well.” “I lead by example,” says Sonia. “If there’s anything to be said about a property, I will disclose, disclose, disclose. Honesty is always the best thing.”

For more information about SONIA SALAZAR, please call 910 - 705 - 2437 or email MyFavoriteRealtorSonia@gmail.com Top Agent Magazine

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Are You Doing Business As YOU On Facebook? Are you ‘Doing Business As YOU’ on your personal Facebook page? In other words, are you posting your business content from your personal page? Yesterday a REALTOR® asked us, “Why should I bother with a company Facebook page? Can’t I just post everything from my profile page?” The answer lies in what we call division of content. As you may be aware, social media began as just that… social. It was never truly intended for business use. Over time, as businesses began to see the potential in reaching the masses in a new way, they began to intrude on this communication. Today, it is widely accepted that business will be conducted on all social platforms, but the manner in which we do so (and in which we are received) is still a touchy subject at times. We believe it’s important to be transparent on social media. Draw the line between communicating as the Person and the Professional. Not only does this help you keep your content separate and appropriate, it also gives the control to your network of family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances and customers. They get to decide whether to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ your company page. They get to decide whether they want to see your business related posts. User control is the #1 reason you need a business page if you’re conducting business on Facebook. Wouldn’t you rather have a willing and engaged audience over a forced, potentially reluctant one? We have personally eliminated many of the ‘DBA’ offenders from our news feeds and you have likely done the same.

As in all controversial social media topics, there is some gray area. And that gray area is often subjective, so consider this post food for thought and decide for yourself. We try our best to keep professional content on our business pages, with a couple of exceptions: 1. Philanthropic Promotion: We’re in favor of posting anything that will help an organization in need on both your personal and business pages. Nonprofits often have little to no marketing budget and rely on all of us to promote their good works, so we believe that’s a good line to cross (as long as it’s about the organization, and not you). 2. Recognition Tagging: Facebook does not allow you to tag an individual on your business page. Yes, there are some tricky work-arounds, but they are inconsistent at best. So when it’s truly important for us to recognize and tag an individual, especially someone who has done something nice for us (inviting us as guests on their radio show or podcast, for instance), we will generally post that on the business page first, then share it from our personal pages, along with a comment recognizing and tagging the individual(s) or business who helped us. Either way (personal or business), remember to be true to the social aspect. Our participation on social media should be about giving, helping, recognizing and connecting…especially when it comes to your business.

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. 58

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JOE WILSON Born and raised in Ocean City, Maryland, and the son of two real estate agents, Joe Wilson is uniquely suited to advocate for people selling their beach community homes or seeking to fulfil dreams of owning a second home. “I took the real estate course when I turned 18, but I didn’t start practicing until 2012,” explains Joe, who earned his bachelor’s degree before forming his business. Now licensed in both Maryland and Delaware, Joe holds numerous professional designations that set him apart, including specializations in resort and second home properties (RSPS); and in real estate service for senior citizens (SRES). “I’ve been around this business a very long time and I’m very invested in the community,” says Joe. Describing this commitment to community, he explains that he was recently nominated for the Board of Directors for the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce. “I’m also on the Board of Directors for the Ocean City Development Corporation and I work on the planning and zoning committees for the town of Ocean City.” Going even further, Joe is on the Board for the Coastal Association of REALTORS® and is an RPAC trustee for the Maryland Association of REALTORS®. “My community involvement is how I build my network,” says Joe. “I’m actually not a big social media person, despite being relatively young; I really enjoy building relationships and getting to know people in person.” As result, in less than five years, he has built a reputation as a trusted real estate agent and advisor, drawing nearly three-quarters of his business from referrals. “It’s really important to me that everything about a transaction happens smoothly, that it’s an enjoyable experience for my clients and that we get them to the settlement table.” Those relationships, he says, are what he most

values about his work. “And because a lot of people never dreamed it would be possible to own a second home, it’s extremely rewarding to be at the settlement table when they accomplish something they’ve been thinking about for so long.” For his sellers, he offers leading-edge marketing and technology in addition to his strong networking. “The most important aspect of marketing, particularly in a second-home community, is professional photography,” he says. “The first impression is extremely important; 92% of buyers start searching online and professional photography is what gets them to the door.” He also uses 3D Matterport tours that allow out-of-area buyers to view homes as if they’re onsite. “And I do direct mail, email marketing blasts and connect with my past clients and with other REALTORS® in addition to marketing through my own personal website.” His clients, therefore, remember having a good experience with him and that he is professional, attentive and responsive throughout, no matter what may come up during the process. In addition, they value his dedication to the area where they are investing in homes. Another nonprofit he supports is Coastal Hospice, a group that helped his family before his parents both passed away in recent years. “I experienced the benefits of everything they do,” says Joe, who has held special fundraisers for Coastal Hospice. “I teamed up with some friends to put on one event, a Brew and Bites festival,” he says. “It was a food festival with a beer garden; we sold tickets and raised about $10,000 for Coastal Hospice.” The future of Joe Wilson’s real estate business promises expansion and continued advocacy for the profession and practice of real estate. “I want to continue to grow my business, but I’d also like to help other agents build their businesses as well.” Considered by his clients to be a “true professional who looks after his clients” and is highly knowledgeable in his market and real estate in general, it’s obvious that other REALTORS® are in good company when networking with Joe.

To learn more about Joe Wilson, visit joewilsonsellsoc.com, email joewilsonsells@gmail.com or call 443.235.8382 www.

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