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TIPS TO MAKE NEW HIRES A LONG-LASTING SUCCESS

Keeping in touch – How to Stay in Your Clients’ Lives for the Long Haul

Are You A VALUE-ADDED AGENT?

COVER STORY

EDWARD VERDEL


NEW JERSEY EDITION

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EDWARD VERDEL

CONTENTS 4) 3 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR WORKSPACE WORK FOR YOU 6) ARE YOU A VALUE-ADDED AGENT? 15) KEEPING IN TOUCH – HOW TO STAY IN YOUR CLIENTS’ LIVES FOR THE LONG HAUL

19) REACHING THE MILLENNIAL MARKET THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA 22) 5 TIPS TO MAKE NEW HIRES A LONG-LASTING SUCCESS

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.

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3 Ways to Make Your Workspace Work for You Productivity experts agree that a curated workspace positively impacts productivity and mood, but oftentimes we settle for bland desks and cubicles that lack personalized details or considerations for workflow. Why miss out on the opportunity to optimize your surroundings when it could brighten your day—and boost your performance? Keep in mind some of these tactics to make your workspace your own and reap the benefits along the way. 4

DETERMINE YOUR WORKING STYLE AND DECORATE ACCORDINGLY For the creative set, a colorful and art-filled workspace can inspire fresh ideas and reduce stress. Likewise, casual yet aesthetically pleasing furniture, accessories, and décor set an inviting yet functional mood. A pop of color from an office tool—even something as basic as a stapler—can inject a sense of fun and modernism into your daily tasks. For the more analytical, right-brained worker, clean

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lines and zero clutter go a long way. A few well-chosen personal photos in tasteful, unassuming frames can provide a motivating connection to the world beyond the office, while accessories and supplies that are sleek, monochrome, and contemporary inspire a sense of calm efficiency. BUILD A WORKSPACE WITH YOUR DAILY ROUTINE IN MIND If you find yourself spending hours on the phone per day, or assembling stacks of documents and brochures, or even coming and going from the office with frequency—there are simple adjustments you can make to your workspace that will save you time and energy. If you sit for long hours—responding to e-mails or making calls—try incorporating an ergonomic chair or keyboard wrist-pad to maximize comfort. If you spend a long time assembling presentation materials, then file organizers, trays, and easy-to-pull labels can shave valuable time off your efforts. Lastly, those who step out for frequent meetings can reduce the hassle of being on-the-go by making your space mindfully organized—a coatrack and a dish for your keys by the door, an auto-brew coffeemaker, or an easily edited whiteboard calendar can make jet-setting simpler.

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ADD EASY DETAILS THAT ENRICH YOUR WORKING EXPERIENCE While organization and décor can rally productivity and mood, there are also a few extra details you can introduce to your workspace to improve the quality of your working life. Healthy, easy to grab-and-go snacks—think nuts, homemade trail mix, and fresh fruit— can keep your energy up without the sugar crush or guilt. If there’s a window nearby, a hard-to-kill plant like a philodendron or a fern not only cleanse the air around you, but also provide a welcome connection to the natural world. Being prepared in a pinch is another great way to make your workspace work for you: a spare tie, a tube of lip balm, hand sanitizer, or a box of Band-Aids can save you a trip to the store when an unexpected need arises. While we take great pains to make our homes our sanctuaries—complete with the decorations, furniture, and food we favor—we often overlook our work areas, even though we spend a sizable portion of our week sitting at the same desk. Challenge yourself to add a few of these personalizing, productivity-boosting details to your work area and bring the comfort of home to your working life.

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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? 6

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 7


‘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. 8

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EDWARD VERDEL

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EDWARD VERDEL Top Agent Edward Verdel has earned a host of accolades that underscore his diligence, including the NJ Realtors Circle of Excellence Sales Award, Gold for three years running. Edward Verdel’s first foray in real estate dates back to his days in the corporate world. After graduating from Rutgers University with a degree in finance, he moved on to a Big Four accounting firm to build his professional experience. In 2010, Edward earned his license and began dabbling in real estate as a part-time pas10 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

sion. Soon enough, his talent and affinity for the industry took center stage, and in 2013 he decided to pursue a career as full-time agent. Five years later, Edward has built a reputation for clear-cut communication, personalized service, and abiding integrity. Along the way, he has earned a host of accolades that underscore Top Agent Magazine


his diligence, including the NJ Realtors Circle of Excellence Sales Award, Gold for three years running. Today, Edward is the Broker/Owner of Verdel Real Estate, home to eighteen agents. There, they serve clients across the northern Top Agent Magazine

New Jersey region, with their offices based in bustling Hoboken. In the five years since launching his career, Edward has built a business largely driven by repeat and referral clientele—amounting to roughly 80% of his clientshare. To account for his swift success thus far, Edward counts straightforward com11 Copyright Top Agent Magazine


munication, market knowledge, and a particular proficiency with numbers as the defining features of his working style. “I’ve always been a numbers guy,” Edward says. “It’s one of the Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 12

reasons I also work with a fair number of investors. I myself am an investor, and I speak their language. I understand what their goals are and know the best way to achieve them. I’m somebody that’s not afraid to be forthright and realistic with my clients. I’m not afraid to tell the truth to my buyers and sellers and set clear expectations. Because of this, my clients know I’m honest and trustworthy, I work hard, and I make customer service central.” When embarking upon the listing process, Edward blends the best practices of digital Top Agent Magazine


and traditional marketing. Beginning with professional photography that showcases a home’s character, properties are then leveraged through social media, the leading online listing platforms, and through an email marketing campaign targeting a database of more than 7,000. Likewise, high-quality postcards and fliers find prospective buyers and make a memorable in-person impression. Presently, Edward’s listings range from classic brownstones to a multi-unit residential building, underscoring his versatility and investor’s eye for potential. Top Agent Magazine

To give back to the community, Edward is active in his local professional and civic landscape. At his regional Chamber of Commerce, Edward serves as one of the organization’s Ambassadors, Copyright Top Agent Magazine 13


onboarding new members and building a supportive business community. Additionally, he founded and leads his own networking group, Hudson Connections, which has been active in the area for the last three years. Beyond the office, Edward most enjoys time spent with family and loved ones, snowboarding, scuba diving, and camping in the great outdoors. He’s also an avid traveler and has visited thirty-four countries, with a goal of exploring at least a hundred over his lifetime. Looking ahead, Edward intends to continue developing his business steadily and mindfully, with plans to increase his regional market share while cultivating his growing brand. Now, five

years after his auspicious journey in real estate began, Edward Verdel considers what he’s come to value most about his chosen career. “From the beginning, I’ve always loved seeing how different people live,” Edward says. “I love exploring homes and seeing what people make of the space—from layout and renovations to decorating. I’ve seen those patterns change over the years, so it always keeps things interesting. I also find it gratifying to play a part in one of the biggest financial decisions of someone’s life. Whether a client is buying or selling, it’s really rewarding to be an important piece of that puzzle and help my clients find confidence and happiness in achieving their goal.”

To learn more about Edward Verdel email Ed@VerdelRealEstate.com, visit VerdelRealEstate.com, call (201) 679 – 7892, or visit his Facebook page here. www.

https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.facebook.com/EdVerdelRealEstate&source=gmail&ust=1537992891161000&usg=AFQjCNEMpmvxwtzt-Ou2Bh64

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g n i p Kee h c u in To

HOW TO STAY IN YOUR CLIENTS’ LIVES FOR THE LONG HAUL

One sign of a great real estate agent is there long list of loyal client following. Part of achieving a great referral base is being a great realtor during the transaction. But, that’s only half of the work. To truly be your client’s realtor for life and keep them coming back to you as well as referring others to you, you have to stay in their lives past the transaction. Keeping in touch with your past clients can be one of the most important parts of your business, and one that many realtors tend to push to the wayside. Do you stay in your client’s lives, or do you disappear? People refer people that they feel they know well and that they trust, people they consider friends. However, earning and keeping your client’s trust involves maintaining a delicate balance with how much you contact them. Experts recommend reaching out to your clients at least quarterly. But, it’s not just about how often you stay in touch. You also need to be mindful about how you are reaching out to them. Here are some tips on how to keep in touch with your clients for the long haul: Top Agent Magazine

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INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL CONTACT One of the best ways to keep in touch with your clients is to simply give them a call every once in a while. Follow up and see how your clients are doing. Offer them assistance if they need it. Personalized contact helps to ensure that you remain as important to your clients long after the sale as you were during the transaction. Giving your clients a call on special occasions such as birthdays or holidays also makes for a great personal touch. Of course, nothing beats face-to-face contact. Stopping by to say hello can be a great way to keep in contact. An even better way to catch up and maintain that friendship is to set up a lunch or coffee date with past clients. Giving individual clients your undivided attention goes a long way towards maintaining that bond you formed during the transaction and earning your client’s loyalty and trust. Interactions like this make a lasting impression on your clients. Of course, many busy REALTORS® may not have time to follow up with every client oneon-one. A great way to still give personal attention to your clients without meeting each and every one for lunch is to throw a client appreciation party. This allows you to get in some face-to-face time with each client and make sure they all get your undivided attention and quality time to catch up with you, even if it’s only for a short time. Now, if you have a lot of past clients, this can be difficult to manage during one party. One way to get around the numbers problem is to organize smaller events based on client’s inter-

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ests. Instead of throwing one giant party, host a pool party for the families with kids or a wine and cheese get together for single clients. Hosting special events like these ones goes a long way towards keeping your contact with past clients more personalized and setting you apart from those businesses that simply send them a calendar once a year.

PROVIDE CLIENTS WITH USEFUL NEWS PROVIDE CLIENTS WITH USEFUL NEWS One way that many REALTORSÂŽ keep in touch with their clients is by sending them newsletters. This form of contact can be a double-edged sword. You want to make sure you provide them with useful information that reminds them of your value as a real estate professional. Otherwise your communication will amount to nothing more than spam, and clients will think of you less as a trusted friend and more as a nuisance salesperson. Clients react much more positively to communication containing information that is pertinent to their lives. Update your clients on what is going on in their local community and housing market. Demonstrate your knowledge about the community and the things that are important to your clients. Include information about local cultural events, community news, housing statistics, information on the mortgage market, home maintenance advice, home design tips, and anything else that your clients will find personally useful. Your clients will always be interested in value.

SEND CLIENTS MEMORABLE AND PERSONAL CARDS Sending your clients cards related to important events in their lives and letting them know that you remember those events and care will go a long way towards building and maintaining a close personal relationship with them. You want to make sure your cards stand out, though. Sending popular holiday cards can be a mistake, as they will most likely get lost amongst all of your clients other holiday cards and will be quickly forgotten. Instead send something more personal such as: HOME ANNIVERSARY CARDS: Send cards to each client on the anniversary of the closing of their home.

CONGRATULATORY CARDS: Remember important events such as wedding anniversaries, graduations, new babies, etc.

SPECIAL BIRTHDAY CARDS: Instead of just sending your typical birthday card, add something special to yours that will stand out. Include a $1 scratch off ticket or a $5 gift certificate to Starbucks. Make sure to include a handwritten personal note. Top Agent Magazine

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GIVE CLIENTS AN UNUSUAL GIFT Make sure the gifts you send your past clients stand out. Send your past clients an odd gift at the beginning of the year or on a holiday. Think outside the box and send things like funny magnets, customized mugs, a personalized piece of wall décor, and other fun and unusual items. A great way to make your gift stand out even more is to include a funny note with it that will catch their attention as well as make them think of you. For example, one cute idea is to send clients a bag of popcorn with the note, “Real estate is popping, give me a call.” You could send a bag of goldfish with a note attached that says, “I’m fishing for your referrals.” Get creative and have a little fun with it, your clients will notice and remember you for it.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL NETWORKS

Social networking sites make staying in contact with past clients in a more informal and friendly basis much easier. Connect with your past clients on Facebook. This will help you stay up to date on the important things happening in your pact clients’ lives. In return, it provides you a great platform for keeping those past clients up to date with what is going on in your business as well as keep in contact in a more informal manner. Use Facebook to remind past clients to check their basement after a heavy rain or that they can contact you for help during tax time. 18

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You can even organize your contacts on Facebook into customized lists such as “past clients,” “industry contacts,” etc. This will help you better manage your Facebook contacts. This will also allow you to view specific news feeds based on these lists and send messages to a particular list of contacts. Don’t forget about the many other social networking sites such as Twitter or LinkedIn either. Utilize this technology to drive personal contact with your clients.

STAY ORGANIZED

No matter how you choose to keep in contact with past clients, make sure to be consistent. Consistency will help you stay organized and diligent about reaching out to your past clients regularly. A tool used by many real estate professionals to stay organized is a customer relationship management solution. Whether you use one that is online or a computer software program, this will help you stay organized when managing your contacts and allow you to set notifications to alert you when you need to contact certain clients, send out gifts, plan a client appreciation event, and many other things throughout the year. Staying organized and consistent in your contact with past clients will help you continue to build and manage your referral base, as well as open the door to repeat and referral business. Top Agent Magazine

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Laughs!

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5 Tips to Make New Hires

a Long-lasting Success Bringing a new employee into the mix is process commonly known as onboarding. The idea behind onboarding is to make the transition from new hire to team member as efficient and pain-free as possible. However, polling shows that some 31% of entry-level and intermediate level hires leave their new posts within just six months of starting. The question is: why? The hiring and training process is time-intensive and doesn’t come cheap. This means that mak22

ing a good match for the long haul requires more than just assessments of skill and personality. To ensure a talented new hire sticks around and is truly positioned for success, the onboarding process must be executed with the same care applied during hiring. For a few ideas on how to make the most of the onboarding process, consider the tenets below as you guide your new hire toward long-lasting success within your company.

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1. Be honest about the scope of the role Let’s say you’re looking to add a new buyers agent or loan processor to your team. You write up the position’s responsibilities, but neglect to mention that you want the new hire to handle a host of administrative tasks, as well. Maybe it doesn’t seem important enough to outline in detail, as it’s the sort of thing the rest of your does. Miscommunications like these are a leading reason why new hires leave their roles. If there isn’t clarity and transparency about a position’s true responsibilities, then new hires may become quickly disillusioned and seek out greener pastures.

2. Build in some perks While stocking the breakroom with bagels every Friday may seem like a small gesture, it’s often those little morale-boosting moves that build loyalty and comradery among the team. Bike-to-work incentives, subsidized gym memberships, and benefits that match the needs of your employees—all are ways to demonstrate appreciation and investment in your team. Likewise, the right candidate will return the favor and invest his or her energies into their new role.

3. Get a sense of big-picture career plans Another reason new hires move on may have nothing to do with you or your office. In fact, many hires in entry-level or even intermediate roles have doubts about their long-term vision. That’s why it’s important to be upfront from the beginning regarding a candidate’s five-year plan and ultimate dream job. Maintain realistic Top Agent Magazine

expectations when asking these questions, but use it as an opportunity to gage a candidate’s seriousness about the real estate or mortgage industry. Why this line of work over another? Emphasizing industry longevity and career growth during the interview process can save you drama down the road.

4. Keep the lines of communication open Take a proactive approach in communicating with your new hire. Take time to check in regularly during the first six months of his or her addition. If you can, make time to train new hires yourself—if only for a part of the onboarding process. You’ll forge a deeper professional bond and create an avenue for further questions. All in all, make it clear that you’re personally invested in their presence and talents, and that you care what they have to say. That way, if any issues or doubts arise, you can stay on top of it and work out a solution, rather than lose a new employee.

5. Give new hires meaningful work to do It’s natural to keep the kid-gloves on with new hires, but don’t let that stop you from giving them a chance to shine. New team members will feel empowered and motivated if given meaningful projects to focus on. Don’t relegate their daily duties to busy work as they build experience. Instead, task new teammates with something challenging, or that draws on a specific skill you hired them for. You’ll instill confidence, demonstrate your commitment to their growth, and with any luck—keep them around for the long haul.

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