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NEW JERSEY EDITION

TIPS ON BEING A GOOD TEAM LEADER

FEATURED AGENTS

JACQUELINE FRANK JENNIFER L. KUHN CORINNE SPADA GINA SURIANO-BARBER AMY ZACONIE COVER STORY

SIRLENE LIMA

BRANDING BAD IN REAL ESTATE MARKETING LONG TERM GOAL SETTING VISION=PERSPECTIVE= BETTER DECISIONS BUYERS AND SELLERS: UNDERSTANDING HOW HOME INSPECTIONS ARE NEGOTIATION TOOLS


NEW JERSEY EDITION

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SIRLENE LIMA

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JENNIFER L. KUHN

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AMY ZACONIE

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JACQUELINE FRANK

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CORINNE SPADA

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GINA SURIANOBARBER

CONTENTS 4) WHY DOESN'T TRAINING WORK FOR YOU? 13) HOW TO SEND SMARTER EMAILS 17) BRANDING BAD IN REAL ESTATE MARKETING 21) TIPS ON BEING A GOOD TEAM LEADER

25) LONG TERM GOAL SETTING VISION= PERSPECTIVE=BETTER DECISIONS 29) BUYERS AND SELLERS: UNDERSTANDING HOW HOME INSPECTIONS ARE NEGOTIATION TOOLS

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Why Doesn’t Training Work for You? by Carla Cross

Why isn’t your training working for as a ‘performance art’, not a you? Every company says they ‘knowledge pursuit!’ ‘have training.’ Yet, whether you’ve been in business 2 days or 20 years, Big question for you: Think of your you’ve probably felt frustrated that last 3 trainings. What were you doing those hours spent in class—listening in class? Listening to the ‘expert’? to someone at the front (the Or, were you putting to work what ‘expert)—didn’t do you any good. you were learning—while in class, There’s one reason training doesn’t so you could get valuable feedback work—and here’s how to make it before you ‘practiced’ on real work for you, so you don’t waste people—your clients? precious hours in training rooms. What you need to be doing in class Training doesn’t work because it’s to assure you can do it ‘for real’: not taught right—and the people in the class aren’t doing what needs to • If it’s appropriate, you need to role be done for training to make a play (like answering objections, giving a listing presentation, etc.) difference in their lives. Here’s what training needs to help • If appropriate, you need to you every time you’re in class: differentiate (like finding mistakes in a purchase and sale agreement). Training must have action inside class to be effective for you. • If appropriate, you need to practice the actions in class and then What do I mean? go out and do it with a ‘real person’—the client—and come back I mean we have to look at real estate and tell how it went (practice a 4

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listing presentation, do it ‘for real’, Real Estate: Performance Art and come back to class and refine it). or Knowledge Pursuit? None of these things happening in class? Make it work anyway. Take the ‘actionable’ items you learned in class and go do them—for real— within 3 days of going to class (otherwise we only remember 10% of what we heard!). Now you’ve made your own action plan. Trainers: I just videos showing training work. uTube channel. Top Agent Magazine

Let’s be honest: Do you know someone in your office who seems to know everything—but doesn’t sell a stick of real estate? Sure. That’s the problem with treating real estate as a ‘knowledge pursuit’. It has little to do with results. It’s a performance art. How you perform in the field—with real clients— did a series of 5 determines your success. how to make your See them on my Big question for you: Which kind of agent are you? A ‘performance art’ 5


How you perform in the field—with real clients—determines your success. agent or a ‘knowledge pursuit’ agent? Which is easier to become? Your Training Should Resemble a Piano Lesson

will ‘do it’ for you 3.Relying on ‘on demand’ video. Many large franchises are providing video on demand training. Brokers may be relieved that this is going to take training off their plates. I wish. Unfortunately, video training can provide very limited production results. Why? Because people don’t learn much by watching video. Yes, they learn a little. They observe someone else doing something; they get information. But, they don’t have to take action.

As a long-time pianist and teacher, I know intimately that, if you don’t practice, you can’t play (or you play badly)! Think of effective training like a piano lesson. You practice outside class. You come prepared. You get tips and modeling from your teacher. Then you practice in class with your ‘coach’ watching and listening. Then, you ‘go out in the field’ and practice. You come back When you’re ready to get results ready to perform for your coach from your training, you’ll be ready to treat your training like the power again. That’s effective training. tool it really can be. Here are 3 things that don’t work in training (and things for you to avoid): Carla Cross, CRB, MA, is an international 1.Listening for a long period of time and thinking you can do it (you already know that, from your experiences, right?) 2.Thinking most company training 6

speaker and president of Carla Cross Seminars, Inc. and Carla Cross Coaching. A former national Realtor Educator of the Year, Carla is known as one of the ‘go-to’ experts in her profession. She’s written training and coaching programs for most of the major real estate franchises. Contact Carla at 425-392-6914 or www.carlacross.com. Top Agent Magazine


SIRLENE LIMA Top Agent Magazine

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SIRLENE LIMA “Having moved here from Brazil, I am highly qualified to assist international clients relocating from other countries, many of whom have contacted me via my Facebook business page.” Sharp negotiating skills, quick thinking, and a reputation of excellence are vital to Sirlene Lima of Hoboken, New Jersey. Sirlene has built a real estate career from the ground up, setting herself apart with her unique brand and style. This visionary professional is defined by innovation, diverse expertise, and an ability to take risks in order to excel. Sirlene firmly believes in delivering superior client service, and prides herself on her ethical approach to doing business. Having immigrated to the United States with just a suitcase of clothing, and a strong work ethic instilled by her parents, Sirlene has been selling real estate full-time since 2015. She’s proceeded to make a trusted name for herself as an agent who truly cares about her clients, and is committed to ensuring the best purchase or sale experience possible. Sirlene wants her drive and success to be an inspiration to her children and example of life’s most valuable lessons, such as: “No matter where you come from, you can achieve what you put your mind to, as long as you respect people, stay positive, are professional, and work hard. It’s important to always remain confident and believe in yourself, despite inevitable challenges you will face. Mostly, don’t be afraid of being different.” 8Copyright Top Agent Magazine

Sirlene goes on to explain, “I consider myself street smart because I had to learn how to survive and take responsibility at a very young age. I therefore am programmed to always think outside the box, and usually never accept ‘no’ for an answer. I also am willing to admit and apologize for my mistakes, and am open to learning from my competition and clients. I never hesitate to ask questions or provide information to other agents and brokers, with whom it is imperative to build relationships. This business can be difficult if industry peers do not support one another.” Serving clients in six counties in Northern New Jersey, Sirlene just completed studies to obtain her real estate license in New York as well, which is less than 20 minutes from her home base. Her experience as an émigré has informed her choices, and made her an expert on relocation services. “Having moved here from Brazil, I am highly qualified to assist international clients relocating from other countries, many of whom have contacted me via my Facebook business page. My goal is to turn my Facebook page in a resource of information.” Staying educated is important to Sirlene. She spends a lot time previewing properties and Top Agent Magazine


buildings to keep up to date and abreast of all the regulations, amenities and staff, so she can provide comprehensive information and answer her clients’ inquiries. Sirlene additionally holds numerous open houses throughout the year.” Open houses are where many clients meet their agents. My responsibility is to help them find the right property for their needs, negotiate the best price, streamline their transaction, and provide the most satisfactory experience overall. For me, providing great service is about more than the money; rather, it’s about the reward and excitement of seeing the smile on a buyer’s face when an offer is accepted, or a deal closes.” With a highly respectable rate of referral business that is over 65%, Sirlene is clearly doing something right. Top-quality service, and empowering her clients, are the primary reasons for this. Sirlene is dedicated to personal-touch service and Top Agent Magazine

performing her best at all times. She attends every showing and closing personally, and her work comes from the heart. “Real estate involves properties and closing deals, but is mainly a business of people and relationships. There is no deeper joy than helping people with the purchase of a dream home or the sale of a prized property.” Sirlene also points to her core beliefs as the factors that have catapulted her success. “Customers always come first. I exchange in open communication, seek to understand, and put ideas before results. Integrity is equally paramount.” Sirlene gives every client the same level of attention whether they are buying or selling a multimillion-dollar home or a moderately-priced apartment. Ongoing contact, even well beyond the transaction, goes a long way in maintaining a lasting rapport. “I make sure to send my cliCopyright Top Agent Magazine9


ents postcards, remember their birthdays, or the anniversary of their purchase or sale to let them know I’m thinking about them. I do this out of my gratitude for their trust in me.” To optimize service to sellers, Sirlene is a firm believer in marketing through social media and cutting-edge technology, and she makes the most of it. “Selling property is both an art and a science which requires the creativity, experience and knowledge. When I take on a listing or represent a buyer, I am 100% committed to their individual needs. I understand how to properly price and market a property globally to maximize targeted buyers’ interest, obtain the highest market value, and ensure that the process goes smoothly, and in a timely fashion.” Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 10

Going well above and beyond is another of Sirlene’s hallmark qualities. She has been known to pay out of her own pocket to offer services that will help facilitate a sale. “I love what I do and strive to make my clients happy. I set high goals for myself, especially when it involves helping people during one of life’s most major investment decisions.” Sirlene is passionate in everything she does. Outside of her work, she makes time to volunteer at a local hospital where she previously worked, helping children with cancer and donating blood when she can. She also loves spending time with her own children, and looks forward to traveling to Brazil every year to visit family. Top Agent Magazine


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According to Sirlene, “I am who I am today; my foundation and essence will never change. If you follow me on Instagram or are friends with me on Facebook, you will see me connected to real estate, but you will also learn how I spend my days, mainly with family and friends. My brand may be

constantly evolving, however my core values will always stay rock solid.� Sirlene looks forward to providing you with the highest level of real estate service excellence when the time comes to buy, rent or sell.

For more information about Sirlene Lima visit SirleneHomes.com, email SLima@SirleneHomes.com or call 201-600-3587 www.

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How To Send

SMARTER EMAILS

Email is a great tool for agents to use when trying to stay in touch with their past clients, as well as for reaching out to prospective clients. However, used incorrectly it can make your attempts to reach out seem like spam. The secret to using email effectively is making sure that everything you send out does one thing: ensure that you remain relevant to your contacts. To do this you have to get personal. Personalization will go far to ensure that your contacts are actually clicking on your emails. This means that if you do reply on an automated drip email campaign to build business, you need to customize your content so that it delivers something meaningful to each individual recipient. Here are some steps that will help you do exactly that:

1. SEND A WELCOME EMAIL TO

NEW CLIENTS AND PROSPECTS Rather than simply add new contacts to your automated email drip campaign, make sure to send each new contact receives a warm welcome as well. Sending a welcome email along with adding new contacts to your drip campaign is proven to be 86 percent more effective at catching your contact’s attention. Let them know they are welcome and that you appreciate their interest. Top Agent Magazine

2. NURTURE YOUR RELATIONSHIP

THROUGH YOUR EMAIL To let your potential client know that you are thinking about them by sending them useful content that relates to the process of buying or selling a house. Some great topics include credit score information, ways to save money, regular market updates, what buying in your market is like, information about the neighborhood, tips on how they can prepare their home for sale, and other relevant information. A great way to

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add to these emails’ punch is to time them so that they coincide with what that individual is going through and dealing with at that time on their path through the buying or selling process.

3. CELEBRATE IMPORTANT DATES

Everyone loves to be noticed and appreciated. Schedule emails to go to each client that celebrate their purchase anniversary or birthday. Make sure you include a personal note and your own wishes that the year ahead goes well for them. If you’ve been a bit out of touch with your contacts, you might want to send them a friendly hello.

4.

MOBILE-FRIENDLY EMAILS With our phones being akin to mini computers, most people read their emails on their phone these days. So, it is particularly important to make sure that your emails are rendering well on the smaller screens. If you want to make any kind of impact, you have to run a mobile-friendly email campaign in today’s world. You are going to lose a lot of your audience if they can’t read your email on their phones.

5.

TRACK THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR EMAILS AND ALTER ACCORDINGLY The best way to make sure your emails are being read and making the kind of impact you desire is to consistently monitor the analytics,

and see what your readers are actually clicking on and what elements are most popular with your contacts. Going forward you can alter different elements of your email campaign such as content, images, graphics, and even smaller elements like your subject line to draw in more clicks from your readers, and cater to what grabs their attention. You also want to follow a targeted email strategy. The best way to do this is segment your email list based on the data from your CRM and the demographics of your contacts. Different clients are going to be interested in different content. Long-time clients looking to buy a second home or possibly downsize are going to be interested in completely different content than your first-time buyers. A good way to filter your contacts is by looking at which ones are looking to buy or sell, how far along in the process they are, as well as other important information about them.

6.

DON’T SPAM UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES You probably already know that flooding your clients’ emails is big no-no. However, different people have different ideas about what is too much contact. One great way to approach this problem is to ask your clients whether they would prefer weekly, monthly, or occasional emails from you. This way you can cater to each client’s preference.

The emails you send your clients can often be a double-edged sword when it comes to how well they work to bring in business. Following these simple rules will help your emails be as successful as they can possibly be, and will make your contacts much happier with you. So, don’t just send out emails without doing your homework about how to do it right. Your email campaigns can be a powerful tool if you know how to create and utilize them in the right manner. 14

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JENNIFER L. KUHN BROKER ASSOCIATE FOUNDER & TEAM LEADER OF JLK SALES GROUP Top Agent Magazine

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JENNIFER L. KUHN Jennifer Kuhn is all about listening. She makes sure her clients understand that the time she takes is for them. She keeps her ego aside and gives exceptional client care. It’s no surprise, then, that repeats and referrals account for nearly all of her business. “I explain the process of buying or selling a house and I really listen to their needs,” she says. “With buyers, I don’t have to take them out 12 times and show them 100 houses. So often, just from showing houses and listening to what they’re looking for, I can find the right house for them. Sometimes I just say, ‘Let’s go look at this, I think it’s exactly what you’re looking for,’ and nine out of 10 times they’ll buy it. It’s a great feeling.” Becoming a real estate agent was a natural segue for Jennifer, since her father is a surveyor and her family owns a home inspection company. After college she began working for a construction company but was laid off about a year later, when the company ran into problems. She wasn’t sure what to do. Her father suggested she give real estate a try, so she found a mentor, got her license, and absolutely loves it. Jennifer is in her 13th year now and earned her broker’s license in 2016. She and her two teams—the JLK Sales Group and a special team for sheriff’s sales—primarily serve Jackson Township but extend into Ocean and Monmouth counties. Because Jennifer hold seminars for first-time homebuyers, providing them with a wonderful packet of information, they return the favor with numerous referrals. “I’m also known for telling it how it is, not telling clients what they want to hear,” she adds. “I’m very professional, of course, but I’m honest and direct. I don’t sugarcoat anything.”

Now that Jennifer is a broker and has teams, she’s begun marketing herself with Facebook ads, which have been a successful tool. Potential clients see her ads and visit her website; then her administrator follows up to schedule meetings. In addition to first-time homebuyers, she specializes in new construction, farm horse property, land, foreclosures/bank-owned short sales and adult communities. She loves the whole process, from the flexibility her career affords to seeing people get into their first home, particularly if they’ve had a hard time getting there. “If you have good time management skills,” she says, “real estate is the best industry! You can set your own schedule and do well.” Even though Jennifer started young, getting her real estate license when she was just 24, she’s always been an active supporter of the community. Whether serving as president of the Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce, being voted Jackson Township County Committee Woman or serving on the ALC leadership committee for Keller Williams, her heart is in the right place. Her brother is a Marine, so she also focuses much of her time on supporting veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. When this go-getter has free time, she loves spending it with her family, especially her little nieces, one of whom is a newborn. She’s also a football aficionado, and she loves shopping and cleaning. (More than a few of her clients would love to appropriate her for that last talent.) Jennifer has a clear vision for her future, reflected in a five-year plan to build her business to the point that it runs itself. She’s made all her goals so far, so there’s no doubt she’ll accomplish this one, too.

For more information about Jennifer L. Kuhn, Broker Associate Founder & Team Leader of JLK Sales Group, visit kw.com/kw/agent/jenniferkuhn, call 732.300.5630 or email jlkhomesearch@gmail.com 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. 17


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 18

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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CORINNE SPADA

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CORINNE SPADA Corinne Spada always had an interest in real estate. After spending fifteen years as an office manager in Princeton, New Jersey, she decided to go back to school to get her Realtor’s license. “I started out part-time as an agent while working full-time at my other job,” she says. “Then I started getting busier so I made the transition to becoming a full-time Realtor.” Corinne is a Realtor at Keller Williams and she serves all of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Jackson, Howell, and Farmingdale in New Jersey. Nearly half of Corinne’s business comes from repeat and referral clients. “I have some new listings coming this Spring, and my referrals are starting to build,” she says. What keeps clients coming back to Corinne is her dedication to providing unmatched customer service. “I’m always available to my clients 24/7,” she says. Clients remember Corinne for her reliability and for the personal nature in which she conducts business. “If they have a problem I’ll go over to the house to assist them,” she says.

loves visiting the Jersey Shore, and enjoys an occasional trip to Atlantic City. “I like to travel, I’m really interested in photography, and cooking.” In the future, Corinne looks forward to expanding her business and her team. “I want to expand my growth and my sales. I have a good business plan in place and I’m really looking forward to my continued success as a Realtor,” she says. Eventually, Corinne plans on relocating to Las Vegas, where she wants to continue her work in the real estate industry for as long as she possibly can. “I hope to get my broker’s license and open my own brokerage in the future.” Corinne recently made the NJAR Circle of Excellence for 2016. She is also a member of the Keller Williams Agent Leadership Council, and she is a mentor to new agents, as well as a Keller Williams Technology Ambassador.

Corinne stays in touch with her clients through phone calls, texts, and social media as well. “If they have social media, we’re friends,” she says. Corinne also enjoys sending out holiday cards and gift baskets to her clients. For marketing, Corinne employs a variety of methods including flyers, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and LinkedIn ads. “I also put my open house listings in the Sunday Paper.” Corinne offers virtual 3D tours, professional, and drone photography for all of her listings. Corinne says her favorite part about her job is getting to see the look of joy on her client’s faces at the end of a transaction. “I like being able to help them. I do a lot of first-time buyers. I love giving them the keys to their new home and educating them along the way,” she says. “I also really enjoy getting out there to do the open houses and meeting all the people in the neighborhood.” Corinne likes to stay active in her community and she is a participant in Restore the Shore, an organization that benefits victims of Hurricane Sandy. “We provide clothing and we help build houses for those in need,” she says. As an animal lover, Corinne also enjoys volunteering at local animal shelters, where she helps to re-home animals. “Our company, Keller Williams puts on an annual charity event called Red Day,” she says. “That’s really fulfilling.” In her spare time, Corinne 20

To learn more about Corinne, visit: realtorcorinnespada.com or call Cell: 732.757.1178 Office: 732.942.5280 x242 Email: cspada@kw.com www.

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Tips on Being a Good Team Leader Your business is booming, so much in fact, that you’ve finally made the decision to start a team. You’ve made sure it’s financially feasible, and you’ve found the right people, but there is still one other component of a successful team. And that’s an effective leader. It’s your job to not only generate business, but to motivate your team, which in turn increase productivity. Here are a few simple tips on being a good team leader. 1. Evaluate each team member, making sure to utilize their strengths Hiring the right people is one of the first steps in creating a successful team, but once you have those people it’s really Top Agent Magazine

important to figure out where they best fit into the operation. Having every team member be an ‘expert’ in their part of the process leads to seamless transactions and a business that runs like a well-oiled machine. 21


Of course it’s also important to create a supportive atmosphere that allows team members to stretch beyond their comfort zones, under your guidance. It’s to the whole team’s advantage when people take initiatives to up their game by taking additional training or mastering a new and innovative technology that can improve productivity. The key is to constantly evaluate not only your systems but the people running them. It’s your job as a leader to encourage that personal growth while making sure to always protect against any major misfires. Which leads us to… 2. Always reevaluate what is and isn’t working It’s a good idea to have a weekly meeting where the whole team can convene and go over any snags they may have hit in the systems that you developed when starting your team. Your team is in the trenches with you and since everyone probably focuses on a different aspect of the transaction, it’s important to make sure things are working on every level. Make sure copious notes are taken during these meetings so you have a track record of what was suggested, as well as a history of things that may have been tried and the results. Another good thing to focus on in these meetings is goal setting. Set weekly and monthly goals, and use the meetings to discuss what’s being done or needs to be done to meet them. When goals are met, it’s a great bonding experience for everyone. When they aren’t, it’s a moment to learn how you can do better in the future. 22

Don’t forget to always take in what you can do to be a better team leader as well. 3. Stay connected and in communication These are your team members! There’s more to that than just a label. Be connected to them on a daily basis. Clear, open and honest communication is important on a busy team and that’s much easier if you actually like and trust your co-workers. Sure you want to succeed for yourself, but knowing that other people you respect are counting on you, is an additional motivating factor, that is certain to lead to everyone going above and beyond creating a wildly successful business. 4. Be inspiring and supportive If you’re enthusiastic about what you’re doing, it really will be infectious. Encourage innovation and creativity. Yes, systems and consistency are great but don’t let your team get in a rut either. Support their individual careers, always encourage them to go for more, let them rely on you for mentorship. If they sense that you want each member to succeed as much as you have, you won’t find more loyal employees. And perhaps most importantly focus on what’s being done right. Don’t be the boss that just points out things they don’t like. Let them know when they’ve done an amazing job and be specific about what it is. Make them feel valued and they will become a valuable asset to you and your business. Top Agent Magazine


AMY ZACONIE

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AMY ZACONIE Since the early 1980s, Amy Zaconie has been actively and passionately involved in real estate, from she and her late husband’s homebuilding and investment properties, to her current role as an agent for the people. Serving clients across New Jersey—particularly, Morris, Essex, Somerset, Bergen, Union, and Monmouth counties—Amy belongs to Better Homes and Gardens Coccia Realty in Montville, New Jersey, a regional market in which she has nearly unparalleled hands-on experience. As an agent, Amy prides herself on wearing a variety of professional hats. Not only has she earned a background in building as well as in buying and selling on behalf of clients, she also has experience in commercial and investment properties, as well. What’s more, Amy’s approach to real estate is decidedly fixated on the personal, recognizing the people at the heart of each transaction. As a masterful cultivator of relationships, Amy has worked with clients originating from all over the world, enthusiastic about helping her diverse clientele achieve the unifying American dream of homeownership. “I was told years ago that if you put yourself in the buyer or seller’s shoes, you’ll understand them better,” Amy recounts. “So I always put my needs second, and my client’s needs first. I believe in being honest and any information I have I share with my clients—it’s the only way to do business, in my opinion.” In her untiring efforts to prioritize her clients, Amy enlists the help of a Spanish-speaking associate to assist with clients who have translation needs. Additionally, Amy ensures that no matter the time of day, clients can rest assured that she’s available to help. “I’m very flexible,” says Amy. “If a client needs to meet at five o’clock in a snowstorm, I’ll be there—I work within my client’s schedules. I understand how huge an investment a home is. I don’t rush or pressure my clients, I only inform them of what’s in their interest and try my best to make them comfortable and confident in their investment.” As for her marketing methodology, Amy makes use of professional photography, high quality brochures, a vast social media footprint, and regular open houses. With meaningful bonds forged on almost every transaction she completes, Amy finds it easy to keep in contact with her clients past and potential. “Many of my past clients have become friends, so it’s simple to just pick up the phone and give them a call and keep up on what’s going on in their lives.” In fact, Amy goes above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to her deeply personal work. “I have a client whose daughter is moving to the United States from Korea, and we already have dinner plans when she arrives,” Amy says. “You go through so much with people when they’re buying a house, 24

and we really are able to connect and create a bond that lasts.” Considering Amy’s close ties to her clients and exemplary rate of transactional success, it’s little wonder that the vast majority of those she works with are repeat and referral customers, many of whom are generated from word-of-mouth recommendations—high praise indicative of Amy’s authentic ethos. Her knack for the interpersonal translates organically to her larger community as well, where Amy honors a variety of causes, including a role within the National Council of Jewish Women. As an animal lover and former owner of Great Pyrenees show dogs for twenty-seven years, Amy now contributes to dog rescue efforts in her area, too. Having worked in the housing market long enough to recognize the continual tide of change that flows through it, Amy also devotes her time to continuing education, staying sharp and atop the market she’s flourished in for years. As for the future, Amy fosters plans to continue to grow her business, develop her personal investment properties, and meet even more of the vibrant clientele that energize her work. “I meet people from all over the world, from all different walks of life,” Amy reflects. “People buying a home are realizing the American Dream. I’m so honored to meet these families who work so hard and can achieve this milestone. I love being a part of those priceless moments.” With decades of hard-won experience and knowledge under belt, along with her infectiously positive philosophy on life, the years ahead are sure to remain bright for Amy Zaconie.

To learn more about AMY ZACONIE e-mail amy.zaconie@gmail.com or call (973) 477-2773 Copyright Top Top Agent Agent Magazine Magazine


Long Term Goal Setting Vision=Perspective=Better Decisions By Barry Eisen

You’ve heard the saying, “The average person spends more time planning a vacation than planning the rest of their life.” It’s probably true because planning a pleasurable escape is easier and more comfortable than planning change, and whatever discomfort (fears?) may be associated with it. Top Agent Magazine

Most companies you’d consider investing in or working for have long term, short term and, in most cases, daily goals as benchmarks of performance. However, independent contractors associated with large focused corporations, usually don’t do the planning to create their own comfortable future. 25


The “whys?” don’t matter. The back story may be very interesting and compelling, but does “why?” solve the problem of an erratic business or personal life? Most all independent contractors either sit down with the owner/broker/ sale manager/boss at the beginning of the year or as solopreneurs, by themselves, and go over goals and business/game plans. But like New Year’s resolutions, by January 15th, they lose focus and end up playing a smaller and more chaotic game than anticipated. This is not just about the business of business, but it’s also about the personal areas of life, as well. And this is not just about business and personal lives, but ultimately about the way they see themselves (self image/self esteem) and create the lifestyle that matches that perception...self fulfilling prophesies.

There are so many ideas and systems about goal setting. Every speaker, sales manager and trainer has an approach. Know what? They all probably work, if the follow-through is committed to. Huge “IF” (I FEAR). Here’s my ofering at setting long term personal and business goals. The best way to predict the future is to create it.

1. Select a target year by which your long term (more than 1 year) goals will be completed. Giving a target date, even 3-5 years down the road, creates at least a small, but real, sense of urgency. Just the act of writing goals down starts a level The “whys?” don’t matter. The back of thought and commitment beyond story may be very interesting and having good intentions. Write the compelling, but does “why?” solve target year across the top of a blank the problem of an erratic business or piece of paper. personal life? The question, “What DO you want instead?” is a good 2. Along the left hand column, going starting point. Not what you Don’t down the page, write the categories want. Describing what you DON’T of your life that represents the want doesn’t give information as to balance and self image areas that actions to be taken to move forward. comprise all of our lives. In her book, Goals are not just targets, they’re Passages, Gail Sheehy lists Physical, guidelines. Financial, Emotional, Educational, 26

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Family, Social and Spiritual. Unless you have something else---go with these.

makes sense to you... in a draw under your socks or underwear, taped to the back of a closet door etc.

3. On the right hand side of the page, opposite each of the categories, write down 2 or 3 goals for each category. If you choose to not set goals in all areas, great! Do what feels right for you. There are no rules.

5. Look at the list every once in a while (daily, weekly ???) and let it reinforce the actions that will bring you to those, down the road, purposes. Spaced repetition is how you learn most of what you do.

If you have difficulty looking ahead and projecting results, for a moment look back at your previous 3-5 years. What have you done in that time to move ahead in each of these 7 areas? “If you continue to do what you’ve been doing, you’ll continue to get what you’ve been getting.” The reality beyond that often used saying is that in the future, Mother Nature will smack us all around a little harder, gravity will tug on us all a little bit heavier, business slumps will become more pronounced, memory becomes more challenging and spiritual connections become even more distant, etc. What do you want instead?

6. Update your list periodically to reflect new directions and adjustments.

4. Put this goals list in a place that

Accomplishing longer term goals not only gives the rewards of whatever the goals are about, but on a higher level creates the positive self esteem and confidence of accomplishment. Confidence comes from creating victories. Those in therapy, or should be in therapy, experience control issues (usually a lack of control). When you’re in control of your life you generally make better decisions, feel more alive and healthy and usually become a more compelling figure to those around you. Copyright©, 2015 Barry Eisen. All rights reserved.

Barry Eisen teaches personal development seminars and coaches Southern California top producing rEAltorS®. “Your business will never grow more than you do” is the theme; self hypnosis and behavior modification are the tools for playing a bigger game. barryeisen.com, barryeisen@lA.twcbc.com 818-769-4300 Top Agent Magazine

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JACQUELINE FRANK Jacqueline Frank is passionate about real estate and passionate about providing high-quality customer service. Her repeat/referral rate of 75 percent is solidly rooted in that service—she’s a communicator, is upfront and honest, and connects with her clients on a level of friendship and understanding. Jacqueline has an edge. She watched her mother, Jane Frank, a successful Realtor and broker, build her business while Jacqueline was growing up. In 2006, while in high school, she began working as an office administrator at a local real estate office. “Real estate was second nature to me,” she says, “since I’d seen it from such a young age.” At around age 19, she realized it would be her path, too. In 2008 her mother bought their CENTURY 21 Real Estate Office in East Rutherford, and in 2009 Jacqueline got her real estate license while finishing her bachelor’s degree in Business Management at Montclair State University. “It was perfect timing,” she says. “Everything fell into place.”

Board of Realtors. She was thrown into it not knowing what it entailed, and for two years learned the importance of networking and community service. “I organized myriad events and enjoyed doing it,” she says. Since then, she’s collected school supplies for kids in need, volunteered for the Boys and Girls Club and repainted rooms, among other things. This year, she’s been selected by the state to serve as Vice Chair of the New Jersey Realtors® Young Professionals Network, and she has been selected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Eastern Bergen County Board of Realtors. A dynamo who doesn’t quit, Jacqueline keeps her eye on the less serious side of life by feeding her foodie nature, trying as many local restaurants as she can. She also loves to travel as much as she can. She’s extremely happy where she is in life today but always wants to keep growing, learning and offering a better product to clients. And eventually, it’s quite likely she’ll follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a broker/owner.

She got her broker’s license in 2013 and now has transitioned to management work as well, mentoring and training agents (and aiming to be as great a mentor as the one she had). About 29 agents work in her office, serving all of northern New Jersey. She keeps close to past clients. “My thought is to always be in front of them,” she says. “I’d like to always be on their fridge!” Toward that end, she sends baseball and football calendars, postcards and notes letting them know what else is going on around town. “If they have a question, I want them to know I’m here for them,” she says. A natural with social media, she loves the friendships she builds with clients, seeing what each one is up to. She uses social media expertly to advertise her listings. A great deal of direct contact comes to Jacqueline through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and of course, Century 21 advertises all their listings on their site. She’s also building her reputation through reviews on major real estate websites. “All these methods have been really successful,” she says. Depending on the setup of the home being marketed, she has professional photography done or takes pictures with her own professional camera. As passionate as Jacqueline is about real estate, she’s discovering that serving her community is also very important. The turning point came for her in 2013, when she joined a new local Board of Realtors and was approached to get involved with the Young Professionals Network of the Eastern Bergen County 28

For more information about Jacqueline Frank of CENTURY 21 Gold Advantage, East Rutherford, New Jersey, visit JacquelineSellsHomes.com, call 201.446.3246 or email jacquelinefrankc21@gmail.com www.

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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. 30

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GINA SURIANO-BARBER In the 28 years that Gina Suriano-Barber has been in the real estate industry, she has never had a dull moment. Every single day is different along with the chance to work with a variety of people each day. “I never wake up knowing what the day will hold and that’s a good thing,” she says. While the diversity of the business keeps it interesting for Suriano-Barber, she thrives in the local area of New Jersey she serves. Covering the Union, Middlesex, and Somerset Counties, she has developed a 90 percent repeat and referral business for herself and has been honored with the NJ Realtors Circle of Excellence Sales Award every year since she started in the business. She has also been named a Five Star Real Estate Agent by New Jersey Monthly Magazine every year since 2012. Getting into real estate was almost immediate for Suriano-Barber as she started with a local builder as soon as she graduated college. Today, she is a top agent with Coldwell Banker, Westfield, where she has developed a loyal following based on her production and area knowledge. Being a lifelong resident in her market allows Suriano-Barber’s clients to rely on her for more than just real estate. “Anything they need locally, they can depend on me for my network of providers,” she says. This includes referrals for contractors to physicians, and everything in between. Suriano-Barber loves

the small communities she services and often meets with her clients while dining and shopping locally. The connection she is able to forge during these meet ups helps to keep her name forefront in the minds of her clients. “I keep close contact with my clients so they just naturally think of me when they’re looking to sell or buy again,” she says. When it comes to listing a home, Suriano-Barber has an edge in the social media department as she is technologically savvy and uses the latest media platforms to promote her homes. From Facebook to Instagram, she uses every opportunity to get the word out about a home she is marketing to ensure it gets the most exposure. She employs an assistant, stager, and professional photographer. Suriano-Barber is persistent in assisting her clients with the highest level of service, while keeping the home buying process a pleasurable one. As a local to the area, Suriano-Barber is involved in the schools her children attend and the activities they participate in. She is also a fundraiser supporter of charities that have impacted her family including diabetes and ALS. When she has some free time, she really enjoys traveling with her family. As she moves forward with her business she will continue to implement the latest tools for her marketing efforts as she keeps an eye out for the latest in technology and market trends that can help her business. She also wants to continue to be the “go-to” person in her community for all residents and use her local knowledge to its full potential.

For more information about Gina Suriano-Barber, visit GinaSellsNJHomes.com, call 908-917-4577, or email gina.surianobarber@cbmoves.com www.

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