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NEW JERSEY EDITION

How to OVERCOME YOUR WORKPLACE FEARS Developing Your PRICING PHILOSOPHY

COVER STORY

ANTONIO M. HENRIQUES

6 Habits of HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE AGENTS Top 4 Ways to Juice Up Your OPEN HOUSE STRATEGY


NEW JERSEY EDITION

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ANTONIO M. HENRIQUES

CONTENTS 4) 6 HABITS OF HIGHLY PRODUCTIVEANTONIO AGENTS

M. HENRIQUES

13) DEVELOPING YOUR PRICING PHILOSOPHY

18) TOP 4 WAYS TO JUICE UP YOUR OPEN HOUSE STRATEGY 22) HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR WORKPLACE FEARS

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Habits of Highly 66 Habits Productive Agents Productive In a business that can be constant chaos, you’re In a business that can be constant chaos, you’re constantly on the go and dealing with things as constantly on the go and dealing with things as they hit you. It can be difficult to take a second they hit you. It can be difficult to take a second and regroup. But there is a better and smarter and regroup. But there is a better and smarter way to work. If you take the time to create some way to work. If you take the time to create some better habits, in the end, you may end up being better habits, in the end, you may end up being more productive. If you want to make better use more productive. If you want to make better use of your time, as well as have more focus, here’s of your time, as well as have more focus, here’s some habits that you’re going to want to pick some habits that you’re going to want to pick up - all common to top-producing agents. up - all common to top-producing agents.

1. Learn how to prioritize 1Although . Learn how to prioritize it might be your instinct to get some

Although it might beout your get things some of the boring work of instinct the waytofirst, of 4the boring work out of the way first, things

that actually generate income (or are time-senthat actually generate income (or are time-sensitive!) should be the first thing you focus on sitive!) should be the first thing you focus on when you start your day. when you start your day. Lists are your friend! Make a list of things you Lists are your friend! Make a list of things you want to accomplish for the day, the week, and want to accomplish for the day, the week, and even the month. Always list them in the order even the month. Always list them in the order of priority. If things get cut off when you run of priority. If things get cut off when you run out of time at the end of the day, at least it’ll out of time at the end of the day, at least it’ll be the things that are not as important or time be the things not asyour important time sensitive. As that withare anyone, time isoryour sensitive. As with anyone,and your timebe is used your most valuable commodity should most valuable and should be used wisely. When commodity you make your list, you can wisely. When tasks you as make your list,a meeting, you can even schedule if they were even schedule as iftime theygoal weretoa meeting, giving yourselftasks a little beat, as giving yourself a little time Top goal to Magazine beat, as Agent


well. Treat your time with the same respect you would a colleague’s or client’s and don’t ever waste it. As with anyone, your time is your most valuable commodity and should be used wisely. When you make your list you can even schedule tasks as if they were a meeting, giving yourself a little time goal to beat, as well. Treat your time with the same respect you would a colleague’s or client’s, and don’t ever waste it.

to accomplish it? Write it out and then incorporate that into your prioritized ‘to do’ list. You’ll be amazed at how driven you become to reach that goal when you actually write it out with clarity. And, the sense of accomplishment you get upon completing it will carry over to the next day. It’s important to remember to be specific. Once you get into the habit of meeting your goals, exceeding them won’t be far behind.

2. Remove distractions

when you need to focus This is especially hard when you’re a Realtor®. Most are constantly connected to their phones. But, unnecessary distractions can get you off schedule and make you lose your focus instantly. If you can, turn your phone off for the half hour it takes to do a task. Interruptions make everything take twice as long, especially when you take that text and then decide to check Facebook for a second. We all do it! Complete your task, then take ten minutes to respond to all texts and messages before you start up the next thing on your list. You can even schedule those ‘text backs’ into your schedule. A concentrated effort is always more effective than going back and forth between things.

3. Set daily goals This is so key. What do you want to accomplish for the day and what do you need to do Top Agent Magazine

4. Don’t make excuses There’s that old saying, “The buck stops here”. Well, take it to heart. This is your business and you are responsible for doing everything you can to make it successful. Sure, there are reasons for why you didn’t get a listing or why your business is slow, but what are you doing to change things and make them better? Successful Realtors® work harder and come up with innova5


tive ways to stand out when times are tough. They don’t look for excuses, they look for solutions.

5. Be deliberate

about everything you do When you’re making your list, it helps to have a goal in mind for even the smallest task. If you’re calling past clients to touch base, have a specific reason why you’re calling. Are you letting them know some market news? Thanking them for a referral? When you’re meeting a referral partner for lunch, have a goal in mind for what the outcome of that meeting will be as well. Yes it’s good to socialize and build relationships, but if you have a reason, make sure it isn’t put off until the final moments, when things are wrapping up. Always having a purpose in mind will also help you prioritize your list better.

6. Always look for ways to

get out of your comfort zone Yes, you are prioritizing what is most important or urgent to your business, but it’s also important to make an effort to break out 6

of your routine as much as you’re comfortable doing. Trying out new things or taking some time to learn about new and innovative real estate techniques and technology, can have an energizing effect on your business. Not only might they lead to things that make you more productive, but it keeps you sharp and engaged. And, ultimately keeping yourself at the top of your game is what it’s all about. Top Agent Magazine


ANTONIO M. HENRIQUES Top Agent Magazine

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ANTONIO M. HENRIQUES If one thing is for certain about Antonio M. Henriques, it’s that he’s a determined agent focused on the future without ever losing sight of the upbringing that molded his passion for the industry. After a decade of working in luxury sales in corporate America, Antonio decided to pursue that passion and obtained his real estate license. He began working as a part-time agent, scheduling business on weekends. He sold his first house his very first week—it was then he began laying the foundation for his real estate career in New Jersey while maintaining a full-time job in the New York area. When Antonio eventually decided to leave his regular nine to five behind, he risked it all, losing the stability and weekly paycheck the position offered in order to chase his dreams as a full-time luxury sales 8Copyright Top Agent Magazine

realtor at Signature Realty NJ. After only five months as a full-time agent, the risk paid off, as Antonio was awarded Top Agent of the Month in his brokerage for Total Volume. “I am extremely grateful,” Antonio says, “but for me, it’s not just about selling homes. It’s about the journey with the people I service. I truly enjoy every part of the process.” This recognition solidified what Antonio knew all along: he was born to be in the real estate industry. Antonio primarily works out of Union and Essex County with a focus on the luxury market in West Orange and surrounding towns. West Orange is the very place where Thomas Edison invented electricity. In one of Antonio’s current projects, Albert Einstein even had a private office. “I love the chalTop Agent Magazine


lenge of working with investors who want to modernize the aesthetic of these luxurious 19th century homes while maintaining the integrity and superior craftsmanship these estates are famous for,” Antonio says. Despite his knack for luxury homes, it is his utility in the business that has garnered him such a strong reputation. “While I love these ventures, I pride myself on my ability to sell a million dollar home as easily as one that’s a quarter of the price.” This multi-dimensional scope keeps Antonio focused on why he got into the business to begin with: not only his passion for houses but for the people who make them a home. Antonio’s loyal clientele work with him, in part, due to his superior communication Top Agent Magazine

skills and penchant for being in constant contact. Having grown up in a family that spent summers indulging in European vacations, Antonio is fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, which includes reading and writing. Beyond mere translation, he exudes patience and pays close attention to body language. “It’s exciting to work with people from countries I can only hope to visit,” Antonio says. “I fall in love with their cultures, backgrounds, and stories.” He stays in touch with phone calls a few times a year and sends clients a card during the holidays. His engagement on social media in particular has earned him a strong following on multiple platforms. He uses these channels as a main avenue to market listings, running Facebook campaigns to advertise to those in his target market. Copyright Top Agent Magazine9


Antonio’s determined immigrant parents taught him the values of hard work and integrity at a young age. He recalls waking up early on weekends to help his father work construction projects in various homes. “As a teenager, I never understood it—there were weekends I would literally wheel stones to my dad all day while he masoned a wall. He was instilling in me something far greater than I could’ve imagined,” Antonio says. The impact this had on him has only served to benefit both his passion for real estate and his dedication to his international clientele. One client, J.M. Esposito, highlights this dedication in a testimonial, saying of Antonio, “The guy gets his hands dirty when he needs to get the job done, and this is what me and my wife loved about Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 10

him. I never, ever had to worry when he was involved—I knew we were in great hands. He will be your greatest investment.” Antonio has big plans for the future—he’s looking to expand his brand within the communities he serves by establishing himself as a household name. His signature “white glove” service and determination for unprecedented results has paved the way for a career sure to be marked by longevity and success. Despite the level of accolades he has already received, Antonio remains humble, accrediting everything to the simple act of treating every customer like a friend. “My motto is and always will be,” Antonio says, “I make a customer, not a sale.” Top Agent Magazine


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To learn more about ANTONIO M. HENRIQUES, visit: SignatureRealtyNJ.com, www.

email: Antonio@SignatureRealtyNJ.com, or call: 973-508-0931 Copyright Top Agent Magazine 12

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Developing Your Pricing Philosophy By Dirk Zeller

Ask a dozen agents to explain their home pricing philosophy, and you’ll

hear a dozen different approaches. And if the talk reveals frank responses, you’ll also learn that the most common pricing strategy is no strategy at all. Here’s my advice: Break out of the ranks by establishing and following a specific strategy for arriving at the ideal selling price for each home. Adopt the philosophy that, in real estate sales, price is king. Price trumps all other factors—including marketing approaches, home condition, market competitiveness, and sales approach. I believe that, in the end, marketing and condition of the property are controlled by the price. The alternative, advocated by many agents, most sellers, and even some sales trainers, is to emphasize marketing over pricing. Rather than working to set the ideal price, they believe success will come from optimizing the home’s condition and presentation and then marketing it with skill and savvy.

I take the opposite belief, based on years of experience working with sellers who wanted unrealistic prices for their homes and who experienced firsttime sales failures as a result. Over my sales career, I resurrected and re-listed more than 600 expired listings—nearly 75 a year. Among all those transactions, I never met an owner with an expired listing who thought that an unreasonable price had anything to do with the home’s failure to sell. They all blamed the previous Copyright Agent Magazine Top Agent Top Magazine

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agent and that person’s approach to marketing. Each sought some magic marketing strategy to change the reality of the law of supply and demand. There is a magic strategy: Price the home correctly. Price is the only factor that can overcome sales obstacles, compensate for a home’s deficiencies, and motivate a purchaser even if the condition of the property and your marketing approach is less than perfect. Getting the listing at any cost Does this scenario sound familiar? An agent (usually a newer agent) is short on business or maybe even desperate for the chance to stake a sign in someone’s yard. The agent wants a listing at any price – even if the chance 14

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to seal a deal erodes the likelihood of selling the property. To gain a seller’s nod of approval, the agent makes a flatteringly high pricing recommendation, throwing out a number the client wants to hear and then hoping something good will result from the bad situation. I can think of few examples, if any, where this philosophy works. Hope isn’t a successful pricing strategy. Worse, the please-the-client mindset is a hard one to abandon. Agents who achieve listings with unrealistic prices find it hard to later counsel their clients honestly.

If you take and price a good listing competitively, it will sell. You can’t keep a good price a secret! The pitfalls of a “please the buyer” approach are many and significant. By overpricing, you can practically count on a reduction in your productivity, profitability, and salability, and here’s why: It’s impossible to keep your productivity high when your time is spent in conversations with an unsuccessful seller who lacks motivation to take corrective action. The seller’s negativity, concerns, and phone calls will only increase with each week or month the house remains on the market. Top Agent Magazine

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As time goes on, you’ll devote more and more time unsuccessfully trying to create a sale not only for your seller but also for yourself. This will pull you away from activities that are more likely to deliver income. The ensuing frustration will de-motivate you and stunt your ability to secure better appointments that create other income opportunities. An unsold, overpriced listing negatively impacts your profitability because it costs you time and money to service while it delivers no revenue to your business. And the situation only gets worse the longer the listing languishes on the market. You’ll end up deducting the expenses of this in-limbo listing from the proceeds generated by any revenue-producing deals you manage to close in the meantime, reducing your net profit and business success. Unsold homes that linger on the market seriously diminish your salability, which is the term that describes your sales success track. Your salability is based on such key statistics as your average ratio of listing price compared to sale price and the average number of days your listings are on the market. Obviously, these statistics, which prospects rely on when choosing one agent over another, can be crushed by a “get the listings at any cost” philosophy. They’re also harmed by the “start high and reduce later” tactic. If you take and price a good listing competitively, it will sell. You can’t keep a good price a secret! Dirk Zeller is an Agent, an Investor, and the President and CEO of Real Estate Champions. Copyright© 2014, Dirk Zeller. All rights reserved.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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How To Overcome Your Workplace Fears Fear is something that can help protect us from danger, but it is also something that can be a hindrance to us in our lives, especially when it keeps us from potentially thriving and growing as a person. This is especially true in the workplace. Here is a look at some proven ways to overcome common workplace fears.

your head, what exactly you’re feeling and why, it can help deflate the fear. Think of it as releasing some of the fear into the ether. Yes, you’ll still be nervous about your presentation, but a lot of what was holding you back is gone. You’ll feel lighter, and hopefully have just enough butterflies to make your soar.

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Really owning the emotions that are putting you in a place of fear, is the first step. By just naming it and then talking it out in

Nothing can make you feel more isolated than going down the path of “This is something that only happens to me.” Trust me,

ASSESS THE FEELINGS BEHIND THE FEAR

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TALK ABOUT YOUR FEARS WITH A TRUSTED CO-WORKER

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it doesn’t, and you might be surprised to find out that some people have had it even worse. Talking to someone you trust and admire, hearing their own fear horror stories and how they overcame them, will help normalize what you’re feeling. Releasing yourself from the idea that it’s something about you, will be an enormous relief.

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THINK OF THE WORST CASE SCENARIO

Although it might seem counter-productive, truly assessing what the worse outcome of the situation you’re afraid of serves two purposes. It might lead you to realize the worst case scenario isn’t that bad after all. Of course it could also lead you to a really uncomfortable thought, you could lose your job. As bad as that is, it also gives you an opportunity to start focusing on what really matters, and how you might grow from the experience and possibly end up better off. Countless people in their dream jobs now, were once fired and thought it was the end of the world. Hopefully, that won’t happen to you, but learning to have confidence in your abilities to always find a way, will be a great tool in overcoming fears.

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COMPARTMENTALIZE

If you’re a super-organized type, you might try actually setting aside time in your day to focus on your fears. It might seem odd, but it will let you NOT focus on your fears during the other hours of your day. Think of it as a task, you aren’t just sitting there worrying, Top Agent Magazine

Start thinking of fears as challenges. As scary as it might seem to face them, for the most part they are things that can be fixed.

you’re taking in your fears and figuring out ways to overcome them.

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START THINKING OF YOUR FEARS AS OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH

Start thinking of fears as challenges. As scary as it might seem to face them, for the most part they are things that can be fixed. A lot of fear is based on inexperience which leads to a lack of confidence. A common fear is workplace evaluations. Instead of looking at it as hearing everything that is wrong about you, think of it as an opportunity to see where you can improve. Going into it with a positive attitude rather than a defensive posture, will make the whole thing better for both parties. Overcoming fears is oftentimes about a simple attitude adjustment. Like anything it takes practice, but the results of that practice will lead to a life that you’re able to thrive in both personally and professionally.

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