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TEXAS EDITION

Tough Prospecting Environment Creates NEED FOR NEW SOLUTIONS KEEPING IN TOUCH— How to Stay in Your Clients' Lives for the Long Haul

FEATURED AGENT

ALVIN PAULSON COVER STORY

JONATHAN LINDLEY

Get your HEAD IN THE GAME!


TEXAS EDITION

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JONATHAN LINDLEY

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ALVIN PAULSON

CONTENTS 4) TOUGH PROSPECTING ENVIRONMENT CREATES NEED FOR NEW SOLUTIONS

14) KEEPING IN TOUCH—HOW TO STAY IN YOUR CLIENTS' LIVES FOR THE LONG HAUL

20) GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME!

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Tough Prospecting Environment Creates Need for New Solutions

By Richard Weylman

Agents at all levels of experience in the industry continue to have a difficult time gaining access to qualified prospects on a favorable basis. The negative image that has been portrayed of the industry together with the general cynicism of the population has translated into more and more barriers being erected to close out sales people of all types. The evidence of this continues to mount. Inquiries as well as questions at my various speaking engagements at industry functions indicate a general frustration with the state of the marketplace and the difficulty agents and managers are facing. Today’s prospecting environment requires new solutions to old problems. No longer does “make more calls, see more people” address or solve the problem. Specific relational strategies and tactics are needed to gain access to qualified prospects. 4

Here are just a few of the questions I’ve received recently from advisors and managers: Q: “Voicemail is everywhere. How can I get people to return my calls?”—Stephen G., Chicago, Illinois A: People return calls based on prioritization of the other calls they’ve received. People return calls for reasons of urgency or reasons of benefit. I would suggest that you write out very specific messages that you’re going to leave for your prospects. These messages should be laden with benefits, i.e., positive reasons that the prospect should return the call. As an example, “Mr. Donovan, this is Stephen G. As a teacher, you create lesson plans. As an advisor, I specialize in working with teachers to create a financial plan. Please call me at your earliest convenience.” Devise several of these messages specific to the market that you’re working so that Top Agent Magazine


Today’s prospecting environment requires new solutions to old problems.

each of them sounds different and gives people specific reasons to return your call. Review the to be sure they are relevant and speak the language of the market. If in doubt, create 5-10 messages and ask clients to select the ones they like and to which they would respond. Q: “How can I get CPAs and attorneys to work with me? I want them to refer their clients to me.” — George A., New York, New York A: CPAs and attorneys particularly like to stay in control of their clients and the decision-making process. For this and other reasons, CPAs and attorneys are not highly motivated to help you build your business by using them as the source of new prospects. However, positioned as a valueadded asset, you can succeed here. As an example, if you are targeting a specific market in the food industry, align yourself with CPAs and attorneys who are also working in the Top Agent Magazine

food industry. You find them by asking current prospects and clients who their attorneys and CPAs are and then meeting with them. Ask your clients to introduce you if necessary. When you meet, give them specific reasons to work with you. As an example, by pointing out the financial knowledge and services you have available which could enhance the value they bring to their clients that will motivate them to act as a center of influence for you. They are in a competitive environment also, and the good ones are seeking to increase client value. In addition, when meeting with CPAs and attorneys, let them know of your long-term interest and that you will respect the relationship that they have with their clients. As a value-added asset, you can create a consistent prospect flow. Q: “I’m targeting executives of major companies here in Rochester. How can I best get their attention?” —Bob J. Rochester, New York 5


In today’s environment, only a systematic approach to relational marketing and prospecting will keep you in sales. A: To reach executives effectively, keep three things in mind. First, you have to relate to these individuals. Two, you need to speak their language. Third, you must recognize that they are typically screened from any unwanted calls and/or mail. The best way to get their attention is to involve yourself in the activities and organizations that they support. As an example, the Senior Vice President of Marketing will most likely be involved in the American Marketing Association. The CFO will be involved in the CFO Society, heads of communication in IABC, etc.

belong to, ask executive clients to have or refer to Gale’s Encyclopedia of Associations regional edition (1800-877-GALE).

These questions represent a larger problem. In years past, the industry was focused on sales and transactions. Not a great deal was done to enable the development of the local sales agency into a marketing and prospecting organization. Advisors were expected to simply sell their friends and neighbors. Today’s marketplace, however, is significantly different. In the past, sales kept you in business; in today’s environment, however only a Getting involved in these organization systematic approach to relational will allow you to reach these exec- marketing and prospecting will keep utives and, most importantly, position you in sales. yourself as a resource to them. By serving on committees and activities C. Richard Weylman is an expert in that they’re involved in and support- marketing, selling and communicating to ing the causes to which they are affluent and high net worth people. He is drawn, it will position you as a the author of “Opening Closed Doors, Keys resource to them, someone who is a To Reaching Hard-to-Reach People," as caring and credible individual. If well as numerous sales, relationship and you’re having difficulty determining marketing and management audio and the organizations that these executives video education programs. 6

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JONATHAN LINDLEY Top Agent Magazine

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Jonathan Lindley is currently one of the majority share owners of River Rock Real Estate, one of the the premier boutique agencies in the Rio Grande Valley.

Although he is now one of the most respected names in the Rio Grande Valley real estate market, Jonathan Lindley got into the industry almost by accident. “At the age of 17, I started working towards getting my license to help my dad out who had just gotten into the industry himself. One year prior I was late in applying to college, so I ended up continuing to work alongside my dad and sold my first few deals. It just took off from there. 11 years later and I couldn’t be happier with my career in real estate.” Jonathan is currently one of the majority share owners of River Rock Real Estate, one of the the premier boutique agencies in the Rio Grande Valley with a particular focus on Hidalgo County. Jonathan has created a truly family-like environment at his company that 8Copyright Top Agent Magazine

has been one of the keys to their success. Every client gets the benefit of the whole office in addition to their individual agent. “We all help each other out. We believe that when you put the client’s needs first, success will come. And so far for us, that’s been true.” From the start of his career, Jonathan has made a name for himself by being an agent that creates an exceptional customer experience for his clients. “Unfortunately, a lot of people have had past experiences with agents that were less than desirable. My goal is to always create a seamless process from start to finish. I have a pretty laid back personality, and I treat everyone who walks into my door with the utmost respect. I keep in constant communication with my clients throughout the entire process. I do anything and everything I can to relieve their stress.” Jonathan’s approach has been remarkably successful and he enjoys a high rate of repeat and referral business. Top Agent Magazine


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Jonathan is not only great at building relationships, but because he truly cares, those relationships last long after the active transaction. “I make every effort to stay in touch with past clients throughout the year. A few years ago I came up with this idea to throw a big Christmas Party that my company hosts for clients, Realtors®, the lenders and title companies we work with. It’s a great event that has grown in participation over the years. We also use it to collect donations for Toys For Tots, which helps the children of our community, because the toys collected stay in our community.” In addition to his work with Toys for Tots, Jonathan is active in other charitable work in the community he lives and works in. An avid golfer, Jonathan participates in a charity golf tournament benefitting Habitat for Humanity, Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 10

and is a supporter of charities that help out the homeless. “Our community has been ranked one of the top ten fastest growing areas in the country, but it is also still very under-privileged in certain parts. I definitely want to do more community outreach in the future, including more homebuying seminars that educate renters on becoming buyers.” Jonathan would like to continue growing his office, so he can offer even more people the unsurpassed level of customer service that he has built his reputation on. “I want to create the best real estate experience for every client, whether that’s a first time homebuyer or a longtime investor. For me it’s really not about the money, it’s about helping people. Educating my clients and the community, helping them achieve their real estate dreams, is very rewarding.” Top Agent Magazine


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To learn more about Jonathan Lindley and River Rock Real Estate call 956-929-1583, email jonathan@lindley.realtor or visit riverrock-realestate.com www.

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Matthew T. Wilson is proud to congratulate

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

Matthew T. Wilson, CESP | Vice President- Escrow Sierra Title of Hidalgo County, Inc. 3401 N. 10th Street, McAllen, Texas 78501 Phone: 956-682-8321 | Fax: 956-682-6150 sierratitle.com www.

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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: 14

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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 interests. 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 REALTORS® 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 Top Agent Magazine

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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.

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. 16

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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. 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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ALVIN PAULSON Alvin Paulson owns a small brokerage that generates big results, based on solid investment knowledge, honesty and commitment to his clients’ goals. “My job is to make sure my clients make sound investment decisions,” he says. “I try to coach them on what a solid investment strategy is, what a good property is. I try to reduce some of the emotionality and make sure we’re operating on core fundamentals. Will they be able to resell the property when they’re ready? What are some of the basic strategies for getting the property updated? We’ve sold over 800 houses in my career, and we invest in and flip houses, so I have a good understanding of what it takes to achieve what the consumer is really striving for.” Alvin had always been in sales. Buying his first house, however, drove him to real estate. “My experience was frustrating,” he says. “The agent provided no service and had no knowledge.” Alvin realized that he could do far better. So he stepped into real estate, met his mentor and never looked back. In business 16 years, Alvin has been honored as “Best in Client Satisfaction” and a Five Star Realtor for three years straight (2013–15). In May 2016 he was voted a Five Star Professional by readers of Texas Monthly magazine and named among the top 1 percent of 61,100 Realtors in the area. Alvin opened his own brokerage, Paulson Residential, to give people the best possible service. “People buy from who

they know, like and trust,” he says. That’s certainly been true for him. Repeat and referral clients account for 76 percent of his business. With his team—an administrative assistant, a buyers’ agent and his wife, Jennifer, who works more on the listings side with him—he primarily serves Dallas and the north suburbs. Alvin spares no effort in marketing his listings, starting with staging, high resolution photos, aerial photos (as needed) and virtual tours; then advertising on various social media outlets. Finally, he and his team hand-deliver all their listings, on a weekly basis, to the 17,000 real estate agents in the area. “We want to make it easy for all those agents to be exposed to our properties,” he explains. Alvin makes sure he stays in front of his clients with monthly touches such as emails, flyers, client parties and stopping by to drop off quarterly or holiday items. He loves connecting with them. “Everybody has a different story, and the story is intriguing,” he says. “These are everyday people doing everyday things. We help them achieve their goal of buying or selling a house. It’s really gratifying.” Relaxing is a gratifying piece of Alvin’s success formula too. For him, it means living an active lifestyle: playing golf, cycling, running or vacationing with his family. But thoughts of business are never far away. His goal for 2017 is to grow his team, not only through his personal production but also by mentoring young agents, which he discovered is more gratifying than he anticipated. But that’s Alvin, finding gratification everywhere he looks.

For more information about Alvin Paulson of Paulson Residential, Dallas, Texas, visit AlvinPaulson.com, call 469.644.8558 or email Alvin@PaulsonRes.com www.

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Get Your Head in the Game! By Barry Eisen

Can you think of any top athlete in any sport who is inconsistent in prepara­ tion, has little focus, has no defined game plan, and has low confidence and self-esteem? If you can, you’re not thinking of a top athlete, you’re thinking of a wanna-be poser. There are lots of gifted and talented people in sports, but the world doesn’t care as much about the talent unless it shows up, demonstrates focus, shows a dedicated plan of action and acts like success is the natural by product of all the previous preparation. The same scenario is true about successful entrepreneurs. You’d be hard pressed to think of a winner who wasn’t prepared, focused, strategized and confident. 20

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The stories about Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, Lionel Messi, Amanda Beard, and thousands of other sports greats share many When you hear negative basic success principles. Think of the Captains of Commerce in your business and chances are the success principles are much the same.

messages in your mind... take a deep breath and replace them with supportive words.

I’ve been privileged to have worked with some of the very best in sport and business over many years and this is some of what I’ve learned from them. 5 ideas for stepping up your game.

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Preparation is what creates confidence. Don’t work on confidence. Practice more. Whether it’s practicing getting out of the starting blocks quickly in the 100 meter dash, efficient flip turns in the pool, chipping onto the green from 30 yards away or rehearsing business presentation scripts, introducing yourself while knocking on doors, or closing assertively after a strong presentation...you can’t get around practice/preparation. Check out “the 10,000 Hour Rule,” in Gladwell’s, Outliers. Ya gotta do the work! Mental practice in a relaxed state of mind (self-hypnosis) can speed up the success process from 2-5 times. Read almost any autobiography of a successful athlete or business personality and recognize this common trait; almost all successful people saw and savored the end result in their quiet, meditative states first.

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The quality of Self-Talk is a big reason for the separation between superstars and the herd that follows. It’s easy to be positive and use positive words when things are going great and your attitude is up. One way of getting and keeping an “up” attitude is to silently tell yourself what the outcome of the next event will be...where the ball will land, your time for the 100 butterfly, the height of the high jump you’ll clear, the room you’ll mesmerize with your speech, the powerful listing presentation you’ll Top Agent Magazine

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give today, etc. The result of negative self-talk (self fulfilling prophesy) is obvious...poor posture, unfocused, procrastination, fear. Self sabotage! When you hear negative messages in your mind...take a deep breath and replace them with supportive words. This will get easier and more automatic with practice and so will your successes. (If you don’t achieve what you set out for...it doesn’t matter...keep doing this.) The difference in how the ultimately successful get to where they are and where everyone one else gets, is how soon you pull the plug and quit. Raise your game by staying in it. As you shift your mind your game will improve/your business will improve.

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Visualize the self-talk. Pictures make more and deeper neurological impressions. A picture IS worth a thousand words. The greats in every sport played the game, walked the course, saw the 100 mph fastball come in, saw the touch at the pool’s wall, broke the beam at the finish line well before their bodies were involved. Your actions are based on your thoughts. Don’t be random. Choose successful pictures that move you forward.

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Feel the satisfaction of success for just a moment. How would it feel hitting that perfect dive, making the 20 foot putt, running your personal best in a 10k, nailing that listing presentation, passing that test? Allowing the neurotransmitter dopamine to flash through the pleasure centers of your brain, reinforces the positive goal towhich you are moving. We do things to maximize pleasure or to minimize discomfort. As you associate the task or goal with a positive feeling, you’ll approach the task/ goal with a more open, “CAN DO,” attitude. It’s attitude not aptitude that usually matters more. Like a pep talk before a game, like a supportive hand on a child’s shoulder before a test in school, like a smile from a prospect that says, “I’m open to what you have to say,” feel good about what you’re here to do. You’ll make changes, not because you need to or want to, but because it feels good. Take the kicking and screaming out of your life to experience a more centered and focused energy.

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Relax before you compete/take care of that piece of business. Some use music, some meditate, some create physical rituals (eat a certain food, do push ups, clap hands, stretch, a couple of breathes (and a whole lot of other crazy things you’ve seen. It ain’t crazy if it works.) Create a small ritual that focuses you in the last moment before the event/business presentation/prospecting/public speaking... Some sport psychology is about emotional, social and or physical issues, more to be addressed by qualified coaches, counselors or therapists, trained to deal with psychological baggage and physical scars. Some business leaders sit in with therapists and coaches to sort out individual blocks. But after all the analysis is said and done, the smart ones go back to the basics. See the ball, hit the ball. Copyright©, 2016 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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