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UTAH EDITION

Keeping in touch –

How to Stay in Your Clients’ Lives for the Long Haul Turn Open Houses Into

DESTINATIONS

6 THINGS YOU NEED TO DO TO BE A GREAT MENTOR

COVER STORY

BLAINE LARSEN

Properties: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly


UTAH EDITION

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BLAINE LARSEN

CONTENTS 4) 6 THINGS YOU NEED TO DO TO BE A GREAT MENTOR 13) KEEPING IN TOUCH – HOW TO STAY IN YOUR CLIENTS’ LIVES FOR THE LONG HAUL

19) PROPERTIES: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY 22) TURN OPEN HOUSES INTO DESTINATIONS

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6 Things You Need to Do to Be a Great Mentor

Everyone reaches the point in their career where they feel they have gained enough experience and wisdom about business and what it takes to succeed, to actually help someone else achieve the same. Although you may have trained or given advice over the years, taking on the official status as a mentor to someone is a whole new ball game. 4

Although mentorship is an unpaid endeavor, you’ll be surprised to find out how much you’ll gain from the experience. You’ll also grow as a business person through the process of teaching someone else. It’s also an endeavor that many will pay forward one day, creating a business atmosphere that is based more on mutual success than competition, which is better for everyone.

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If you were mentored, you may already have an idea of what it entails, and what you liked or didn’t like in your mentor/mentee relationship. Although it is a personal relationship that will need an individual approach, there are certain things that are key when it comes to being a great mentor: 1. Be a good listener

est about your own failures. It can be a huge relief to find out someone they look up to has gone through similar experiences and still managed to come out on top. As we all know, oftentimes the greatest lessons come from failures, which can be times when our character is truly tested. Building trust through mutual respect and honesty will make every aspect of your mentorship more effective.

You’re basically a sounding board who needs to hear your mentee’s ideas, plans and goals in order to advise them. Strong, constant and clear communication is key to any successful mentoring relationship. Sometimes just letting them talk things out with you, will lead to them to discovering the solution they were looking for. 2. Set expectations and goals at the start When listening to your mentee in your first meeting about the potential relationship, it’s important to establish the parameters of what that relationship will be: What can you give them? What do they need or expect from you? Once the terms are agreed upon, you may want to set specific goals you’ll be working on together so that there’s a defined plan of action, timeline and result you can both expect. 3. Be honest This is important when it comes to offering them constructive criticism or tough love, but more importantly, you need to be honTop Agent Magazine

4. Get them to think, don’t make decisions for them Sometimes being a mentor is being a bit like a psychologist. By asking certain ques-

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tions you can lead your mentee to their own conclusions about their business dilemmas and strategies to reach their goals. Being a mentor is all about guidance. Build confidence by drawing out the best in your mentee rather than just presenting them with solutions. 5. Look at the situation objectively One of the key strengths you offer your mentee is a complete emotional detachment to their business. You have no sentimental attachment to doing things a certain way or working with an incompetent vendor because you ‘go way back’. Your only motive is what’s best for your mentee and their business. Although emotions cans still get in the way sometimes, having a detached perspective on hand to guide you is invaluable. 6. Don’t just offer constructive criticism, be supportive Yes, being a mentor is sometimes advising your mentee that he’s doing something ineffectively, but your main purpose is to alway approach everything like cheerleader. You need to let them know that through it 6

all, you are a reliable support to them and have a complete belief in their abilities. Make sure to always praise their accomplishments. Remember: your job as a mentor is more about guidance than constant feedback. Your goal is to help someone become the best they can be, not someone who just does everything the way you do it. You’re helping them build confidence in their own intuition, which will hopefully lead to a lifetime of success, and one day, they too might be a valuable resource to another mentee down the road.

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BLAINE LARSEN

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BLAINE LARSEN Blaine Larsen, Associate Broker at KW Legacy Keller Williams Realty and lead of the Larsen Realty Group in Layton, Utah is a rarity among real estate professionals. Committed solely to providing an exceptional customer experience, he truly places his client’s needs front and center in every transaction. Courteous, knowledgeable, and possessing an impressive work ethic, Blaine and Larsen Realty Group were named as the number one team in their office for 2017, an impressive feat when one considers the high caliber of the agents working at KW Legacy. 8Copyright Top Agent Magazine

Blaine began his career in real estate in 2005, working for a number of other brokerages before settling in comfortable at his current company in 2016, where he immediately distinguished himself as a top producer. An advocate for his many grateful clients, Blaine focuses on providing an exceptional experience for them. “I’ve always been someone who is willing to work 24/7, and answer any questions my clients might have,” he explains, “and therefore my clients feel comfortable with me and that translates into a lot of referral business.” At least eighty Top Agent Magazine


percent of Blaine’s business is based on these referrals from satisfied customers, an impressive accomplishment by any measure. If one needs any proof that Blaine goes above and beyond for his clients, one needs to look no further than the wealth of glowing testimonials he has received on Zillow.com, on which site he is a Premier Agent with a perfect overall fivestar rating. While every review enthusiastically endorses Blaine and his team, this one stands out, perfectly illustrating the highly-personalTop Agent Magazine

ized service Blaine provides: “Being first-time home buyers, my husband and I didn’t know what to expect. In the beginning, we weren’t even sure what exactly we were looking for. Blaine was very patient with us and willing to show us many homes over the course of months until we found the perfect one. He is very knowledgeable and made what could have easily been an overwhelming process seem very simple. What most impressed us though, was his ability to make us feel like we were the only clients he had.” Copyright Top Agent Magazine9


Blaine’s reputation for being hands-on and extremely thorough precedes him, particularly when it comes to marketing his listings. “We will make multiple trips to the property to help with the staging aspect because that’s just key in this industry when it comes to getting top dollar,” says Blaine. “I’ve literally made tens of thousands of dollars for my clients by simply asking them to do minimal work, spending a minimum amount of money.” Blaine also utilizes a multi-pronged, cutting edge online Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 10

approach as well, using the internet and social media to great effect, ensuring that his properties are seen by as many potential buyers as possible. He also uses professional photography and video – including drone footage – exclusively. When asked what he enjoys most about what he does, Blaine points to the ability to provide his clients with expert guidance, whether it’s a buyer or seller he is working with. “I Top Agent Magazine


enjoy advising them, and making sure they are aware of all the options available to them,” he enthuses. “I want to make sure they make the best decision moving forward, as it’s a huge financial investment and I want to make sure they are making the right one for them.” Top Agent Magazine

Blaine is also committed to working for the betterment of his community, and to that end he formed his own charity, which provides support to local charitable causes. His focus is making sure monies go directly to the cause he is currently supporting, and he loves to keep Copyright Top Agent Magazine 11


his focus right in his back yard, i.e. his community. His current charitable endeavor is his support of a local young man who is battling Batten’s disease, so any money he is donating or time volunteered has gone to help Chase the Cure. “This one just touches me and is close to home,” he says, “and we need to get more people on board to help support it.”

Blaine’s plans for the future includes growing his exceptional team, while sacrificing none of the amazing service that has become his calling card. “I want to make sure I deliver the same phenomenal experience every single time I do a transaction,” he says. “I want to make sure every transaction proceeds smoothly and that every client has a great experience.”

For more information about Blaine Larsen, call 801 - 452 - 5413 or email BlaineDLarsen@kw.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL NETWORKS

Social networking sites make staying in contact with past clients in a more informal and friendly basis much easier. Connect with your past clients on Facebook. This will help you stay up to date on the important things happening in your pact clients’ lives. In return, it provides you a great platform for keeping those past clients up to date with what is going on in your business as well as keep in contact in a more informal manner. Use Facebook to remind past clients to check their basement after a heavy rain or that they can contact you for help during tax time. 16

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

STAY ORGANIZED

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

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Properties: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly by Denise Lones

I was shocked. There it was. An expensive property near a busy intersection that had stayed on the market for almost a year. I asked one of my agents, “Why hasn’t this one sold?”

But none of these are reasons to put this property on the back shelf. In fact, there is a market for every market, no matter its location or condition. Too often, we make the mistake of shortchanging sellers who don’t have manicured lawns on cul-de-sacs with perfect houses. We prejudge our own listings to the detriment of the people we’re supposed to be serving.

He said, “Because it’s a dog. Look at it. Nobody wants those turrets that stick out like that. And besides, it’s at that intersection where there’s traffic all day long.” I’ve been there. I’ve driven to properties hoping for a terraced I couldn’t believe what I was masterpiece with a stunning garden, hearing. This agent had “classified” and then felt that sick dropping this property in his own mind as feeling in the pit of my stomach something that wasn’t worth the when I finally saw it. trouble to market—pretending to service his customer while doing What do most agents do? They’re nothing. True, it wasn’t as beautiful polite, they take the listing, and they or pristine as surrounding neigh- get out of there fast. They rely too borhoods. True, it was in a not-so- much on their own opinion of the prime location. True, it could use property rather than pulling statistics to determine its true market value. some handyman work. Top Agent Magazine

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OR they tell the seller, “This house isn’t going to sell unless you change the carpet, fix the paint, install new roofing, etc.” Beware! This could lead into a legal nightmare. While on the surface this agent is giving generic advice, what if the seller does everything the agent suggests—and the house still doesn’t sell? That agent might want to call a good lawyer.

If a property needs work, that’s never a reason it won’t sell. There are investors, handypersons, contractors, and do-it-yourselfers who love these properties. Go to your local real estate investment club meeting and you’ll find people searching frantically for such properties. Advertise it as a “Handyman’s Special.” Target these people directly. You may be amazed how many of them are out there.

Here’s the truth: Every property— True, you may have to advise the good, bad, and ugly—will sell if seller they won’t get top-dollar if priced right. It is always about price. a lot of work needs to be done. There is always someone in the But this is the true issue here—not market ready and willing to buy the work itself. It’s always about right now for the right price. price. 20

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Let’s talk ugly. A house is in pristine condition, but has a rather peculiar look. Well, I have news for you: Just because you think a house is ugly doesn’t mean there isn’t someone out there who will say, “This is the home I’ve been looking for all my life!”

cannot tell you how many times my jaw dropped when someone told me, “Perfect! We love it!” So, I’ve learned never to judge a house by its paint job, landscaping, or design.

You have a job to do: sell the house at top-market price. You are hired to be the market expert. Sellers don’t Did you know there are people out have the time to do so themselves. there who prefer ugly houses? Yes, That’s why you have a career. ugly houses! Some people don’t care about the outside of a property. It’s always the market that They’re only interested in the determines what sells. No matter the inside, where they know they will shape, size, or condition. And you be spending most of their time. are not in charge of the market, These are people who don’t buy to which as always is based on supply impress others, but rather to please and demand. Whatever is in demand themselves. Thank goodness for will sell, whether it’s a beachfront these people. Without them, we’d mansion or a shack in the woods. Be creative. Use your marketing to have to tear down half the planet! target people who truly want these I’ve seen houses that look like properties. But most importantly, something from a Stephen King price the property correctly for the novel sell overnight while another market. that could be on the cover of Home and Garden languishes on the market Know thy market and thou shalt for weeks. Why? Because somebody know what sells—good, bad, or ugly. wanted that house. Period. You are not the world’s taste critic. Copyright©, Denise Lones. You cannot tell what people want. I All rights reserved. Top Agent Magazine

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Turn Open Houses into Destinations People are busy. Even those who are actively looking to buy a house or want to learn about the market for a future purpose have busy schedules. But with bit of added time, creativity and investment in making open house into destinations, you’ll see greater turnout. And we all know that greater turnout increases the likelihood of offers. There are several creative ways to hold an open house with a mindset of hospitality and with the goal of providing something of value to each person who attends. 22

The neighbors-only open house Some agents embrace the “nosy neighbor” concept as a benefit, not an eye-rolling challenge. With his client’s permission, Wesley Peters, a Keller Williams broker in the Baltimore Metro Area, often gets the neighbors together before a home hits the market. “We invite other brokers, too, but we include as many neighbors as we can,” he says, explaining that he schedules these events for a Thursday or Friday evening, happy hour-style, rather than midday on a Sunday. They get a better turnout at 5:00 pm than

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midday on a weekend when the neighbors are busy with their lives. In a relaxed setting, conversations flow, neighbors can mingle and catch up, and the buzz begins before the home is listed. In advance, prepare invitations and hand-deliver them to homes on the streets you and your client agree are best to include. The destination is the event; the value each attendee receives is the social interaction and the removal of any awkwardness over visiting their neighbor’s house. Your client’s benefit is the buzz. A turnkey block party any time of year Once a property is listed, some agents take on the role of party planners. Certain streets or neighborhoods, they find, are perfect for lowkey social occasions. In some place, such as neighborhoods with many young families, a bounce-house or games may even ramp up the fun factor. But the idea of a seemingly spontaneous block party during an open house can be easy to pull off, whether you’re serving lemonade and cookies or coffee and pastries. The chance to meet prospective neighbors turns the event into a destination for both buyers and the neighbors; the value comes in buyers’ ability to see how the neighbors interact. Your seller’s benefit is that the grapevine will be filled with happy stories about their home. Tips: By keeping basic supplies in storage, you’ll be ready for a pop-up block party any time. Promote this type of event with targeted social media marketing and fliers or postcards to communities within a short distance of your listing. Invite other professionals It’s common mortgage lenders to attend open houses. But why not provide even more value to people who attend? Chances are, you have more than a handful of professional partners who welcome an opportunity to join you at your open house. Consider inviting an interior designer, a contractor, a gardener, even a gardener or a painter. Invite them to your broker’s open in advance or give them time to view the property Top Agent Magazine

before the open house begins. Then encourage them to stroll the property during the open house or to sit with you. When visitors ask about needs or concerns they may have about the house – such as loan questions, the cost of improvements or upgrades or even remodeling – you’ll be able to introduce them to an expert on the spot. For that matter, your invited pros don’t even necessarily have to be in home-related businesses! Prospective buyers always want to know about the community when visiting open houses. Consider inviting representatives of community

organizations, like youth sports group or owners of mom-and-pop retailers to help your visitors get a feel for the neighborhood or town. For this type of open-house, prepare a flyer or card with your community contacts on it so visitors can leave with resources as well as information. Open house should be about the buzz. They’re about creating a conversation about your listing and making the home memorable to visitors. By giving people a unique experience they won’t forget, you’ll show your sellers how creative you are in meeting their needs.

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