Page 1

NEW JERSEY EDITION

Top 4 Ways to JUICE UP YOUR OPEN HOUSE STRATEGY Turning Your Profession Into A PASSION SIX POWERFUL PROSPECTING TIPS to Build Your Business

Are You a VALUE-ADDED AGENT? COVER STORY

CHRISTIAN COBO


NEW JERSEY EDITION

7

CHRISTIAN COBO

CONTENTS 4) ARE YOU A VALUE-ADDED AGENT? 13) SIX POWERFUL PROSPECTING TIPS TO BUILD YOUR BUSINESS

18) TOP 4 WAYS TO JUICE UP YOUR OPEN HOUSE STRATEGY 22) TURNING YOUR PROFESSION INTO A PASSION

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

Top Agent Magazine


mailto:mag@topagentmagazine.com

Top Agent Magazine

3


Are You a Value-Added Agent?

I’ll bet if I asked ten real estate agents, all ten would answer ‘yes’ to that question. Yet, when I ask agents how they are value-added, they say things like: • I communicate regularly with my clients. • I have a written listing presentation. • I am honest. • I am trustworthy. Are these ‘value-added’ attributes? Or, does the client expect these attributes and services? 4

Are these exceptional services or average services? I’m writing this article at the beginning of a New Year. It’s a perfect time to re-assess your professionalism and master being that ‘value-added’ agent.

Client Expectations are Higher than Ever Unfortunately, too many real estate agents assume they are ‘value-added’ because they are providing the services they want to provide— Top Agent Magazine


the services they think the client values. However, there’s a real client out there, and the client has different expectations. How do I know that? Because so few agents regularly survey their clients. In fact, when I’m speaking to an audience, I survey them, and find that less than 25 percent gather after-sale surveys! So, the majority of agents don’t know if the services they are providing are average or exceptional.

Why Bother Being Exceptional? • Because you want to set yourself apart. • You want to create client loyalty. • You want to create at least 50 percent of your business from client referrals (the latest National Association of Realtors survey Profile of Members found that the average Realtor got only 18 percent of their business from referrals. That’s a hard and expensive way to run a real estate business! • Because you want to run a more pleasant, profitable business.

Four Actions Value-Added Agents Take How can you identify value-added agents? By their actions. Here are four actions I believe show agents that are above just ‘average’. The principle here is:

Watch the actions, not the words. If I were a manager, or a seller or a buyer, and I wanted to find a value-added agent, here’s what I would look for: Top Agent Magazine

1. Has a database and populates it This agent is committed long-term to his clients and to his business. He uses a contact management program (CRM) to manage ‘leads’, so none are lost — and clients do not feel neglected. After all, it takes much longer today to convert a ‘lead’ to a sale than it used to take. Actively using and maintaining a CRM means the agent is committed to forming long-term professional relationships over time. Other demonstrable actions concerning the agent’s CRM are: • Has a rapid-response method to deal with Internet inquiries and other inquiries via email. (The average client expects a response within eight hours—but a recent survey showed the average agent responded in 50 hours!). • Has a method to follow up on all leads until they ‘buy or die’. As a client, that means I won’t get lost. As a seller, it means my agent will follow up with all leads and give it 100 percent to sell my home. 2. Invests in the technology and follow-up pros have This agent makes every decision based on their vision of their career at least three to five years in the future. For example, instead of selling someone a house anywhere just to get a sale, my value-added agent sells only in an area they define as their ‘target area’. That way, they’ll get known, and can build on their reputation. The value-added agent has the ‘guts’ to turn down business! Because they care more about the well-being of the client than getting one grimy commission check, they learn to 5


‘tell the truth attractively’, and work harder to retain the client than to make one commission.

Adding those Client Benefits to your Dialogue

3. Works for referrals, not just sales I said the agent learns to ‘tell the truth attractively’, even if the buyer or seller may not want to hear it. For example, if it’s in the best interests of the seller to list their home at a lower price, the value-added agent has the strategies and the statistics to prove that the seller won’t be well served by pricing higher.

Of course, it’s not enough to actually take these actions. You need to explain to the client why these actions are in their best interests, and how you stand apart from most agents by employing them. Why? Because your client won’t know you run your business so professionally. And, the client probably doesn’t know most agents don’t run their businesses this way!

And, this value-added agent has the intestinal fortitude to walk away if they know the home will not sell at the client’s desired price (but doesn’t have to too many times because they create a stellar reputation amongst their clientele).

TIP: Always show your clients, don’t just tell them. You do have a Professional Portfolio and evidence on your website, don’t you?

4. Keeps the buyers and sellers’ best interests in mind Our value-added agent makes every decision to grow trust, not just to make a fast buck. For example, the agent sits down with a prospective couple and finds out they can’t purchase right away and creates a plan with them to save for their down payment. Then, the agent keeps in touch over a period of months, offering helpful information and market updates.

Put Yourself to the Test

How many of these actions P. S. Managers and team leaders—two tips do you exhibit? What do you want to work on to become a true 1. Call each of your agents’‘value-added’ phone mails. What’s the impre agent? Are they professional? Do they state the company n TIP: represent your culture and image? Managers, give your agents a 2. Create a quick class in phone messaging using the ‘test’ on these four points. In other words, this agent practices seller or buyHow many pass? this blog. er agency representation, not ‘agent agency’!

Copyright ©, 2016 Carla Cros

Carla Cross,CRB, CRB, MA, is theoffounder andSeminars, president Carla Cross & Carla Cross, MA, President Carla Cross Inc.,ofand Carla real management and sales. Herspecializing internationally s Crossestate Coaching, is an international speaker in realbest-selling estate management and Running business planning for all professionals. agents, Up and in 30 Days, is real nowestate going into its 5thHer edition sevenexperience internationallyas published books, including Up and Running in 30 Days , vast a top-selling agent and award-winning manage and 20 agent and management programs have helped thousands of real sales podium, blending her musical background with her proven estate professionals to the greater productivity and teaches profitability.someone Reach Carla strategies (she uses piano AND even to at play—f 425-392-6914 or www.carlacross.com. and practical). Find out more at www.carlacross.com. 6

Top Agent Magazine

Top Agent Magazine


Top Agent Magazine

CHRISTIAN COBO 7


CHRISTIAN COBO Christian Cobo is the broker/owner of a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Elite franchise in Union County, NJ –where he leads a team of twenty-two agents. After eleven years working as a mortgage broker, Christian decided to shift gears and become a real estate agent in 2011. Due to his industry expertise and dedication, Christian started strong in his new field and two 8Copyright Top Agent Magazine

years ago he opened his own brokerage. He is now the broker/owner of a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Elite franchise– where he leads a team of twenty-two agents. As a top-producing broker, Christian is in Top Agent Magazine


the top 50 individual agents in the nation for the National Association for Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP); and in 2016, he was named NCJAR Circle of Excellence Platinum. Christian and his team serve all of Union County, New Jersey. A staggering 60 percent of his clients come from repeat and referral clients. What keeps his clients coming back and eager to spread the word about the amazing service he provides? He’s always honest and upfront. His clients rave that he always puts their needs first and is incredibly responsive. He has a strong work ethic and Top Agent Magazine

is incredibly persistent. “I don’t give up,” he says with a humble smile. To stay in touch with past clients, Christian sends a monthly e-newsletter. “But when reaching out, I like to use a personal touch,” Christian says. “That’s the most important.” To that end he makes phone calls and sends Copyright Top Agent Magazine9


Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 10

Top Agent Magazine


email to let past clients know they are on his mind and to see if there’s anything he could do to support them. Christian is known for having a genius for marketing. He reaches out to other realtors and brokers in his area to tell them about his listings. Because he’s well respected in his community and has a wide network, this is an incredibly effective strategy. He also uses social media and has a strong online presence. What does he like best about his work? “I love helping people. Being part of someone’s most important decision gives me great satisfaction,” Christian says. “It’s amazing to be part of that chapter of someone’s life. And being compensated for it creates a win-win situation” Top Agent Magazine

As a broker/owner, he focuses on putting his agents first. “That’s why I joined a franchise. I want to make sure my agents have tools and resources so that they can become very successful,” he explains. As a Better Homes & Gardens franchisee, Christian is part of “New Story,” which builds homes in El Salvador for families who don’t have running water, electricity and other basic needs. “I contribute part of my commission and I’ve pledged to build two homes. I’ve already finished one of them,” Christian says. To give back to his local community, he and his team donate to a local church. When Christian isn’t working, he’s spending time with his wife, triplets and 15-year old daughter. “Family time is pretty much my hobby,” he says with a smile. Copyright Top Agent Magazine 11


What does he have planned for the future? “My ultimate goal is for my office be one of top offices–if not the top office–in Union County,” he says. “It’s more of an office

accomplishment I’m seeking than something for myself.” With his expertise and his dedication to his realtors and his clients, Christian’s sure to make that dream a reality!

To find out more about Christian Cobo, you can contact him via email at: ccobo@EliteBHG.com or check out him out online at ChrissellsNJ.com www.

Copyright Top Agent Magazine 12

Top Agent Magazine


âœ˝

Six Powerful Prospecting Tips to Build Your Business By John Boe Why is it that some sales reps consistently earn a six-figure annual income while other reps, putting in the same hours, selling the same products, and trained by the same sales manager struggle each month financially to make ends meet? The answer to this question is painfully simple; the six-figure sales reps understand the importance of business development and never forget to ask for referrals. Top producing sales reps set high standards for themselves and spend the majority of their time either actively prospecting for new business or closing sales. Successful sales reps set productivity goals, establish priorities, and don’t waste their precious time hanging out in the break room or taking twohour lunch breaks. Top producers don’t need to be reminded to ask for referrals on a daily basis or follow-up on hot leads, because they understand that prospecting for new business is a necessity and not just an activity. The good news is that prospecting for new business, like any other learned skill set, can be trained and developed into a habit. Top Agent Magazine

13


Tip One: Don’t Forget to Ask for Referrals. When it comes to asking for referrals, timing is everything. Research indicates that the most effective time to ask for referrals is right after you’ve made the sale or provided a valuable service for your customer. Asking for referrals prior to closing the sale is a big mistake and may even jeopardize the sale itself. Once the sale has been completed, your customer will be on an “emotional high” and far more receptive to the idea of providing you referrals. When you ask for referrals, your goal is to get as many names written down as you can. Just keep asking... Who else? Once your advocate has given you all of his or her referrals, then go back over the list of names to get details on each prospect. Tip Two: Train and Reward Your Advocates. An advocate is a person who’s willing to go out of his or her way to recommend you to a friend or associate. Most customers are initially reluctant to provide referrals without some basic training and motivation.

Once you’re given a prospect, it’s a good idea to take the time to role-play with your advocate to demonstrate how to approach and talk to their referral. A brief role-playing exercise will build your advocate’s confidence and keep them from over-educating their referrals. During your roleplay session, be sure to prepare your advocate to expect some initial resistance. This training will pay big dividends by making your advocate more effective and less likely to become discouraged when faced with rejection. Always take the time to thank your advocates and give them feedback on the status of their referrals. I recommend that you call them and then follow up by sending a thank you card and or gift.

Asking for referrals prior to closing the sale is a big mistake and may even jeopardize the sale itself.

14

Top Agent Magazine


Tip Three: Strike While the Iron is HOT. Prospects, like food in your refrigerator, are perishable and therefore need to be contacted quickly. Each day you let slip by without making initial contact with your referral dramatically reduces the probability of you making the sale. Develop the habit of contacting your referrals within two-business days or sooner. Have a system to keep track of your referrals so they don’t end up falling through the cracks. It’s critical to have a computerized client contact management system to record your remarks and track future contacts and appointments. Relying on your memory alone is a very poor business decision that will cost you dearly. Tip Four: Schedule a Minimum of Two-Hours a Day for Phone Calling. Make your phone calls in the morning while you and your referrals are both fresh and alert. Treat your prospecting time with the same respect you would give to any other important appointment. This Treat your prospecting is not the time to check your e-mails, play solitaire on the time with the same computer, make personal phone calls or chat with your respect you would give associates.

to any other important appointment.

Avoid the temptation to try and sell your product or service over the phone. Your objective for every phone call is to create interest, gather information and make an appointment. If your prospect asks you a question, get in the habit of going for an appointment rather than giving a quick response.

Don’t shoot from the hip use a script. It’s important to use a phone script when you contact your prospect so you don’t leave out any key information. It’s a good idea to role-play your script over the phone with your sales manager until he or she feels you sound confident and professional. Top Agent Magazine

15


Tip Five: Qualify Your Prospect at Maximum Range. Unfortunately, not every prospect will be interested or qualified financially to purchase your products or services. Successful sales reps don’t waste time chasing after low-probability prospects and know when it’s time to cut their losses and move on. Tip Six: Don’t Take Rejection Personally. Selling, like baseball, is a numbers game pure and simple. Rejection is to be anticipated as a natural aspect of the qualification process, so don’t take it personally. Learn from rejection by using it as a valuable feedback mechanism. Salespeople who take rejection personally lack perseverance Salespeople and seldom make the sale.

who take rejection personally lack perseverance and seldom make the sale.

For the majority of salespeople, prospecting for new business is without a doubt the most challenging and stressful aspect of the selling process. Selling is a contact sport and daily prospecting for new business is the key to every salesperson’s long-term financial success. By integrating these six powerful prospecting tips into your daily business routine, you’ll be able to keep your appointment calendar packed with qualified prospects! “Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.” – W. Clement Stone Copyright ©, 2016 John Boe. All rights reserved.

John Boe presents a wide variety of motivational and sales-oriented keynotes and seminar programs for sales meetings and conventions. John is a nationally recognized sales trainer and business motivational speaker with an impeccable track record in the meeting industry. To have John speak at your next event, visit www.johnboe.com or call 937-299-9001. Free Newsletter available on website. 16

Top Agent Magazine


mailto:mag@topagentmagazine.com http://www.topagentmagazine.com

Top Agent Magazine

17


Top 4 Ways to Juice Up Your Open House Strategy by Rob Flitton

I go to open houses, but not just because of my profession or interest in architecture and interior design. I go to open houses to see how effective real estate agents are at selling. It has been rather eyeopening because there is very little selling going on—the average open house strategy needs work.

1.Build a Dynamic Open House Booklet After they leave, open house visitors will discard a one-page for-sale info sheet naming a home’s features. But they will keep, and possibly use, a 6 or 8 page booklet loaded with interesting items that directly solve problems for them.

Perhaps “selling” is considered an outdated skill, or that it feels socially awkward for agents to be regarded as a salesperson. But if you’re a real estate agent, you are a salesperson. At most of the open houses I go, I see money floating out the door every time a visitor leaves because of the agent’s inability or refusal to sell.

It will require some strategic thought to nail the content and design, but perhaps include: (i) descriptives about the benefits of buying the property you’re showing, and not just data, (ii) compelling reasons why they should consider working with you along with a web link to search for listings on your website, (iii) a web link telling them how to get a prompt, written estimate on the value of their home, or to find out what other homes in their neighborhood sold for, (iv) possible discounts on real estate related services—maybe a reduction in fees from your preferred lender, or a reduced home inspection price, (v) possible discounts on non real estate related items.

An open house is a lucrative opportunity to find buyer or seller clients –selling the listing itself may also be the goal, but an agent should not pass up this chance. There are 4 distinct strategies an agent can immediately employ to juice up their open houses and get awesome leads. 18

Top Agent Magazine


If you combine this dynamic booklet with properly trained closing language, as touched upon below, it is something the average person will either keep and use or pass along to someone they know. A well designed booklet can bring you a lot of business.

data—and they are void of interesting or problem-solving information.

2.Work The Neighborhood A few days prior to your open house, find the names and addresses (from tax records—or elsewhere) of, say, 20 homes in each direction from the Pre-internet, both open houses for open house. resale listings, and model homes for new construction, relied on strategic For the cost of postage and some collateral materials (handouts). Vis- sweat-equity, mail a postcard to these itors were ostensibly looking at sev- 80 homeowners inviting them to the eral competitors at the same time, so open house and offering something collateral materials had to have the unique and compelling—perhaps a power to bring them back to your drawing or giveaway for those willing site—a great call to action, eye- to provide their opinion on the asking catching color, identification of the price of the home (and the entry card, of course, will net you their email benefits of buying your product. address and phone number). People Yet at open houses today, I primarily are generally nosy and like to be see bland information sheets dis- validated, so asking for their opinion cussing features—the listing price, on something happening in their own the square footage, and the standard neighborhood is very appealing.

Top Agent Magazine

19


And, it is best to mail them again right after the open house to talk about what happened. “From our Saturday open house, we discovered 3 qualified and eager buyers that are now looking for a home in this neighborhood—if you would like to know what your home is worth for these buyers to consider, please give me a call.”

dynamic booklet and say: “Please enjoy our open house, and am hoping you’ll do me a favor. This booklet is loaded with great information about, and if you become interested at some point in buying or selling, would you please call and give me the opportunity to earn your business? Or if you happen to know someone now who is looking now, would you kindly pass this booklet onto them?”

Also, adding on door-knocking or If they reply with a “don’t know” type flyer-hanging to your mailings boosts of answer this usually means they are your neighborhood equity even more. indeed looking but are just not ready yet to reveal this to you, so you will 3.Close and Qualify need to work to make a connection. Engage every single visitor in closing Good consultative sales connections dialogue, because every single visitor are made when you can make them feel you’re not pushy and are able to is there for a reason. directly resolve their problem. While smiling, with shoulders erect, and maintaining suitable distance, A “yes” type of response is great, but look them in the eye and offer your you should take the qualifying step of handshake while stating your full asking them if they’re working with another agent. If they are, the dyname and company—and then ask: namic booklet comes in handy again: “Are you out looking to buy a home “If for any reason your agent is today?” unavailable to show you homes, I can be reached at the phone number in There are 4 categories of answers, this booklet. Plus, it contains fantastic and any answer they provide is an resources for searching online and a opportunity to get to the marrow of discount on financing.” what they need. There are “nos”, “don’t knows,” “yeses,” and “other.” If you can’t get a sandwich, get a bite. If they are definitive about looking, If they reply with a “no” variety of and don’t have an agent, then they are answer, then you can hand them your available for you to work with and 20

Top Agent Magazine


here again you need the right type of closing and qualifying dialogue. The goal here is to evoke from them their home-buying goals so that you can match and narrow down to a single opportunity. It’s a mistake to present multiple listings to a buyer at once. Ask broad questions and then narrowing questions followed up by “if-then” questions. Example: “What types of functions do you want in your new home, or activities near your neighborhood?” Followed by something like, “is the number or size of bedrooms important to you?” Followed by, “so if I can show you the kind of home we just described, are you ready to go see it and possibly make an offer?”

4.Have Interactive Tech Tools Onsite It is the worst feeling to engage someone as a potential client at an open house and then have no tools available to solve their problem— don’t assume they aren’t going to want to do business right away. If you’re engaging a potential buyer, you better be able to instantly gratify their desire to see viable homes online so internet access and an easily view-able screen are necessary. They may ask you to go see other homes in-person, so you need to have a coagent available to either show them those homes, or spell you off as host while you do. You may be asked to write up an offer for them so you will need the tools and ability to create and e-sign documents.

Naturally, any objections or “nos” you receive in this process are just fan- When a potential listing client is in tastic opportunities to learn about their front of you, you need to be able to needs and earn a connected trust. show them recent comparable sales and may even be asked to list their The “other” thing they might tell you home and will need the tools and is that they’re not a buyer at all, but a ability to create and e-sign documents potential seller. Potential sellers often for taking that listing. go to open houses to find out how their home stacks up, but are you It happens sometimes—but it never aware what the number one reason happens if you’re not ready. they attend open houses is? Potential sellers go to open houses to Rob Flitton is a Seattle Real Estate Mardirectly or indirectly interview you, a keting specialist helping independent agents to increase their income. Email Rob potential listing agent. And they hire robflitton@gmail.com at any time or call/ confident, prepared professionals. text him at 206-612-2314. Top Agent Magazine

21


Turning Your Profession into a Passion The old adage goes that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. On the other hand, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day worries and responsibilities of your career, even if you generally enjoy what you do. While there’s no guaranteeing that every day on the job will be a picnic, there are a few steps you can take to vastly improve your morale and transform your profession into a passion. After all, cultivating a passion for what you do will not only add to your quality 22

of life, but will likely make you more successful in the long run. BUILD YOUR BASE OF KNOWLEDGE Knowledge builds confidence, and confidence breeds success. A sure way to light a fire in your heart for your daily work is to challenge yourself to learn more and expand your understanding of your field. By doing so, you equip yourself for success, create challenges, and find the most inter-

Top Agent Magazine

Top Agent Magazine


esting features of your work—especially those that most appeal to your interests and talents. Try reading the top five books on the topic of your industry, or subscribe to a podcast where thriving professionals offer their two cents. Either way, learning more about your industry is bound to reveal a source of inspiration worth pursuing. THINK ABOUT THE BIG PICTURE

and excelling in your field, you may find that others’ approaches inspire your own. Likewise, what you learn from other successful, passionate people in your field can help you shape your own office and work life, in turn creating more opportunities for you to fall in love with what you do, all over again. TAKE RISKS

CONNECT WITH LIKE-MINDED PROFESSIONALS

One of the biggest hindrances of professional passion is falling into a rut. Routines are familiar and everyday responsibilities vie for our energy. But the next time you tackle a task the way that you always have, take a moment and try to refresh your perspective—is there a more clever or efficient way you could approach this project? Even better: why not take the plunge and do the things you’ve always been meaning to—throw that client appreciation event you’ve put off planning, take the continuing education course you keep forgetting to register for, even try a creative activity that pushes you out of your comfort zone. There’s no better way to inject some passion into your life than by going outside your bubble and taking a risk.

Have you ever chatted with someone who was overflowing with energy for what they do? That sort of passion tends to be infectious—often causing us to beg our own questions about professional engagement. By participating in local organizations or networking with those who are active

Passion comes from all directions—from your own interior journey and from the world around you. To transform your profession into a passion worth having, invest in yourself and venture into the vast world around you. You’ll surely reap the rewards.

Sometimes reinvigorating your passion for your work is about looking outward, rather than inward. Gain some perspective and consider who your work helps in the long run. As a real estate professional—whether you work as an agent, broker, in mortgages, home inspections, or otherwise—your work positively impacts someone else’s home-sweet-home. You make a difference. While it may seem like just another day at the office, taking a moment to visualize exactly who you are helping in the world at large is a great way to add some motivational fire to your daily tasks.

Top Agent Magazine

TopAgent AgentMagazine Magazine Top

23


mailto:mag@topagentmagazine.com

24

Top Agent Magazine

Profile for TOP AGENT MAGAZINE

New Jersey 1-29-18  

TOPAGENTMAGAZINE.COM

New Jersey 1-29-18  

TOPAGENTMAGAZINE.COM