KEEPING IN TOUCH â€“ How to Stay in Your Clients' Lives for the Long Haul GOOGLE ADWORDS: How to Make Google Do the Work for You COVER STORY
Top Agent Tips and Questions for CHOOSING YOUR LISTING AGENT
CONTENTS 4) GOOGLE ADWORDS: HOW TO MAKE GOOGLE DO THE WORK FOR YOU
15) KEEPING IN TOUCH â€“ HOW TO STAY IN YOUR CLIENTS' LIVES FOR THE LONG HAUL
21) TOP AGENT TIPS AND QUESTIONS FOR CHOOSING YOUR LISTING AGENT
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How To Make Google Do the Work for You There is no denying that the internet is the first place a buyer begins looking for a new home in this digital age. Knowing how to put the powerful tools available on the internet to work for you can give you a decided advantage when it comes to attracting prospective buyers to your listings, as well as you as an agent. Google is easily one of the major superpowers of the internet, and they have one of the most powerful advertising tools available. Knowing how to utilize Google AdWords in the correct manner can make your internet advertising immensely powerful and possibly your best way to reach prospective buyers. Google AdWords is also extremely cost-effective. This multifaceted tool gives you much more control over your advertising campaign than other more traditional methods. You can target specific audiences, choose the specific search terms, also known as keywords, that will bring up your ad in someoneâ€™s search results, and you can set a budget for each campaign that will dictate itâ€™s reach and how long the campaign will run. Here are some tips for how to put Google AdWords to work for you. 4
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ent websites. You want to set yourself apart from every other real estate website users are viewing in their search for a house.
MAKE SURE YOUR ADS ARE GOING TO SEND USERS TO A SITE THAT WILL CAPTURE THEIR ATTENTION
You can spend an infinite amount of money on Google advertising campaigns, but if those ads don’t send users to a site that will capture and hold their interest, then you’ve just wasted all that money. Don’t put your cart before the horse. Make sure you are considering exactly where these ads are going to send users. To set up your website for success, at the very least you want to make sure users are greeted by clear call-to-action, such as a message that will encourage them to sign up for your newsletter or subscribe to your blog. You want to set up your website to maximize and capture the leads the ad campaign sends your way.
BUILD CUSTOMIZED OR CUSTOM-MADE WEBSITES RATHER THAN TEMPLATE WEBSITES It is easy and tempting to use template websites, or to offer your agents template websites if you are a real estate manager or broker. While this offers a cost-effective solution to providing every agent with a website, it does little to set you or your agents apart and capture the attention of users that are used to seeing a wealth of differ-
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MAKE SURE YOU ARE OFFERING VALUE ON YOUR WEBSITE
Don’t simply use your website as a kind of brag sheet. Let users know what makes your particular services valuable to them. Highlight your expertise in a certain location through tools such as blog posts, providing market updates, or giving pertinent information on a unique type of property. This will ensure that your online advertising campaigns are much more successful.
LOCATION IS EVERYTHING!
Location is everything in real estate, and the same holds true for Google AdWords. You can target specific locations in your ad campaign. While one approach is to focus on the area around your location, a more advanced approach would be to link AdWords campaigns to your Google My Business account. This is a Google service that includes your address in the ad, allowing people to then click on it and see exactly where you are located on a map.
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USE GOOGLE ADWORDS IN YOUR CAMPAIGN TO EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS IN GENERAL
Focus an AdWords campaign on expanding your business by incorporating specific zip codes and neighborhoods that will help you establish a presence in an area where you would like to increase your real estate business. Making sure that your ad appears in search results that are related to the real estate in a specific area will help shape the image and brand of your business as well as bring in new leads.
HARNESS THE POWER OF DATA
When you run a Google AdWords campaign Google Analytics captures a wealth of information about your target client demographic. You can gain real insight into your online visitors, such as when they visit, what they do and look at on your site once they get there, and what search terms they use. You can use all of this information to grow your business. Use Google Analytics to determine which users (location, gender, age) are utilizing specific aspects of your site, such as looking at multiple listings, reading your blog, etc. You can then use this information to target these specific demographics in your AdWord campaigns, Gmail ads, the Google Display Network, and other advertising.
Using the internet to help advertise your business and your listings is one of the smartest moves you can make as an agent in this modern age. However, you donâ€™t want to simply go into the process blind or youâ€™re wasting a lot of potential resources and data that could make all the difference. To reap the benefits of Google AdWords, you must apply an intelligent strategy to using these campaigns. 6
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SAMUEL CACHOLA Top Agent Magazine
INTRO Sam Cachola is the owner of Reality Realty Professionals LLC, a paradigm-shifting real estate company based in Northern Virginia. Sam’s company leverages his Reality Check Process™ to evaluate, educate, and empower clients to make the best real estate decisions, which may even include foregoing homeownership. His service-based approach and philanthropic efforts have ensured Reality Realty Professionals are able to give back to clients, the local community and our nation. His vision statement underpins the foundation of his company and highlights a refreshing change in a bottom-line focused real estate market: “To change the way real estate is conducted on a global scale by committing to the readiness and stability of both our communities and clients, empowering them to make sound real estate decisions, rooted in clearly defined goals, season of life, and fiscal wellbeing.” His approach, has evolved into a calling, a calling for service to his clients, community and nation. This has led to the receipt of numerous local, regional and national-level awards and over a million dollars in charitable donations and savings for his clients. HISTORY Sam Cachola has had a lifelong obsession with real estate. “I grew up poor in Patterson, New Jersey, where I lived a highly transient lifestyle residing in apartments or with relatives. Home owner8Copyright Top Agent Magazine
ship symbolized stability,” Sam explains. When he would go to the super market he would always pick up the real estate magazines and look through them. “My parents thought I was crazy, most kids were looking at comics and coloring books. There I was combing through real estate adds,” Sam said. He can remember seeing the prices and wondering how people could afford to buy a home. At that time in his life, homeownership seemed impossible. Sam’s perspective changed overnight when a Marine Corps recruiter contacted him in his senior year. “It was a full court press to get me to sign on the dotted line. I did not go easy and it took several months for me to sign. They went over every tangible and intangible benefit of earning the title “Marine.” None of the education benefits or monetary benefits could sway me. They had me on the ropes with the pride, respect, testing yourself, serving my country, etc., but I was not convinced it was right for me. Then out of nowhere, the recruiter brought up the VA Home Loan benefit, explaining I could buy a home for “no money” down. My ears perked up, I was laser focused, and started peppering him with all kinds of questions related to home ownership,” Sam explained. “I knew not to trust a recruiter’s explanation, so I left his office and immediately drove to a local bank. I asked to see a loan officer and had him explain to me what the VA loan program was about. It all checked out,” Sam said. He can’t recall who thought he was crazier, the recruiter or the loan officer who had to indulge the questions of an anxious 18-year-old! Then the Gulf War kicked off and the call to serve overshadowed the rest. “I enlisted at 19, and went to Parris Island on Sept 4, 1990 Top Agent Magazine
with a passion to serve and clarity on how I was going to ‘stabilize’ my life with a home.” Sam explained. As he looks back now, Sam realizes that joining the service in general, but especially during a conflict does not exactly lead to the definition of stability. As you may have guessed, Sam was not achieve the American dream of home ownership for some time, but finally took the plunge at 23 y.o. when he was permanently stationed in Virginia. THE PROBLEM The milestone was bittersweet, as the ‘support and guidance’ he received from his real estate agent was disappointing to say the least. The agent was all about the money and the deal. There was no effort put into what was “best” for Sam beyond, “how much can we get you qualified for?” “As I began to live in my new home, I realized I was too young to be so far away from services and activities I needed to be close to. I was literally commuting two hours a day to work, an hour away from any college I needed to attend, and an hour away from any social life,” Sam explained. Logistically, it was a nightmare and personified the saying: “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get.” Once Sam settled in and reflected on the advice he received from his realtor, he remembered a lesson taught to all Marines: “If you learn something valuable, you need to share it with your fellow Marines.” “I learned a lot and said to myself, ‘I’m going to get my real estate license, do this better, and save people from the pain I went through.’” The key question was: What had to be done better? After all, the banks approved the loan, the house was structurally sound, and it met all the square footage requirements. What was missing? “My life overlay was missing. No one ever asked me where my job was, what I liked to do in my free time, what my current/future responsibilities were, or what my future goals were? The process was executed purely from budgetary and transactional perspectives, not from a whole life perspective! Agents and lenders assume you have thought this part through for yourself, and to some degree they are right, but the fact remains the agent and lender have a deeper understanding of what it means to live in their area, the time-cost associated with it, and the long term financial consequences. You just can’t sell your home, roll over negative equity like a car, and get on with your life if you don’t like your home. You are stuck for three to five years at a minimum or become a landlord by mistake!” Picking a home you “like” is the easy part! Picking a home to accomplish life in is the hard part.” SOLVING THE PROBLEM “I tackled the hard parts, a client’s understanding and the Agent philosophy,” Sam said with enthusiasm. “I focused our client evaluation on their season of life, responsibilities, and life goals emphasizing to clients that real estate is a life decision, not just a budgetary consideration. Time is your most precious resource, not money. When you make a six-figure housing decision, it had better be rooted in saving you time or improving your quality of life. If not, you work 10 hours a day, sleep for 8, and leave 6 Top Agent Magazine
hours for you to be the person, spouse, parent, friend, and citizen you need to be. It’s about quality of life, not a tax write off, or worse, about the elusive promises of equity.” “My agents had to shift their paradigm from the traditional mindset of marketing, financially qualifying clients, and contractual details to gaining clarity on a client’s life goals. We take more of a coaching approach with keen understanding on how real estate can either positively or negatively affect their objectives. In short you have to cut through all the marketing hype, friends advice, and HGTV euphoria and assist our clients in answering one key question, ‘How will this real estate transaction help you achieve your goals?’” PHILOSOPHY In order to articulate this much needed paradigm shift to Sam’s team he coined the term, “Caremenship™ vice Salesmanship.” “Caremenship™ is catchy for sure, and I get questions on the spelling and the meaning daily. It’s different for clients and agents, but has a central theme for both: Responsibility. “1. Clients Responsibility: For clients, Caremenship™ means taking control over your life, your time, and your future. Why do you expect an agent to care more about your life than you do? I’m amazed at how many clients attempt to turn their financial lives over to us without hesitation. Big dollars equal big fear, and most would rather just “delegate” the burden but the fact remains it is YOUR LIFE, YOUR TIME, and YOUR DIME. Clients taking responsibility for their desired outcome is paramount. The best intentioned agent will fail you if you cannot articulate your future goals and the direction you need to take to accomplish them. 2. Agents Responsibility: A salesperson focuses on their needs. An advocate focuses on another person’s needs. Caremenship™ for my agents serves to remind them they are stewards and their role is to advocate. Humility, selflessness, service and expertise are cornerstones of advocacy and why I expect my agents to work tirelessly in their pursuit to gain an understanding of their client’s purpose. In doing so my agents stabilize clients’ lives, ensure sustainable acquisitions, which in turn stabilizes communities and by design our economies. It is from the heart, pure from the start, and in one word pays homage to Zig Ziglar who taught, “Sales is something you do FOR people, not TO people” and the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As for the spelling, Caremenship™ with an ‘e’ plural versus Caremanship™ with an ‘a’ singular, it was done to drive “home” the point to both clients and agents that by not ensuring they have the ability to sustain their housing decisions, their inability to do so will negatively impact our community and our global economy. “We are all connected, and when you focus on the sale and not the life, the negative outcomes affects us all. If you have any doubt of the impact the client, realtor, and lender relationship can have on the economy, just take a look at how the mortgage crisis several years back impacted our world’s economy,” Sam explains. Copyright Top Agent Magazine9
His mission to ensure people didn’t make the same mistakes he had culminated in Sam’s creation of Reality Realty Professionals, a full-service, award-winning company built around what he now calls his Reality Check Process™. “I built the business on a commitment to guide, protect, and stabilize clients’ lives, focusing on their season of life, current responsibilities, and goals, then working with them to develop courses of action to achieve those goals. Housing is a life decision, not just a budget consideration. Evaluation, education, and empowerment are the cornerstones of our unique Reality Check™ process.” Sam’s process has resulted in a thriving business allowing him to focus on his clients’ responsibilities and goals. “It’s about Caremenship™ versus Salesmanship.” TOOLS “I realized at the outset that I had a daunting task ahead of me; create and develop a customized training course that could be distilled down and executed with our clients to determine the life and fiscal realities, before moving towards a sale. I call it, “Reality Check™” and we can go through it just about an hour.” The Reality Check process is very similar to what is used by financial planners, but it differs from the normal questionnaire in that it focuses on the typical 5 to 7 year holding period of a homeowner and the outlined goals clients would like to achieve during this time frame. “I built the business on a commitment to guide, protect, and stabilize clients’ lives, focusing on their season of life, current responsibilities, and goals, then working with them to develop courses of action to achieve them. Housing is a life decision, not just a budget consideration. Evaluation, Education, and Empowerment are the cornerstones of our unique Reality Check™ process. “In one hour, we are able to achieve life changing results for our clients! It’s hard to quantify how grateful our clients are for their Reality Check™, but I believe it is the reason we receive referrals. It warms our heart when we get referrals citing our Caremenship™ philosophy and our Reality Check™ process. It’s a lot of work up front and may mean we steer a client away from purchasing a home at this time, but the rewards are priceless.” Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 10
TRAINING Sam had to change the way he trained his team as well. “If you want different results, you have to do things different… we train how we are going to fight, so to speak,” Sam said. There are three unique parts of Sam’s team’s training: a published required reading list, Tony Robbins Unleash the Power training events, and Dave Ramsey Financial counselor training. “It all begins with mindset and there is no better way to change the mind than to read! I require them to read Simon Sinek, “Start with Why”; Rabbi Daniel Lapin, “Thou Shall Prosper, The Ten Commandments of Money”; and Daniel H. Pink, “Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” for instance. There is zero emphasis on marketing, selling, or lending and 100 percent focus on purpose, planning, and motivations.” His agents are then encouraged to attend Anthony Robbins Coaching event, Unleash the Power Within, to gain a better understanding of themselves and what drove them to a career in real estate. “Four days of focusing on the science of success, what motivates you, and developing a personal road map for success, has been invaluable for my team. The new concepts presented in the written material, actioned over four days with Tony and his team equal a knockout punch when it all comes together!” Sam emphasized. The final step for Sam’s team is to attend the Dave Ramsey Financial Counseling course. “It is the only course I have found focused on the handling of sensitive life topics and fiscal objectives that also provides tools to facilitate the conversation. Not only do my agents receive premier training on how to conduct an interview, they gain a better understanding of their financial situation, and the tools needed to build a stable financial future. As a result, they lead by example and don’t pressure clients to close,” explains Sam. “It has given my team insight into how to best partner with first time buyers and well-established clients alike. There is no better course on the market to help you guide a first time home buyer or be value added when plugged into an established team of trusted financial advisors, accountants and life coaches.” Top Agent Magazine
Sam also requires his agents to take the Accredited Buyers Representative Course, the Certified Residential Specialist course and to attend a Graduate of Real Estate course. These core courses focus on the service and support side of real estate versus the business side. “My agents are then at the ready to focus their client interviews on responsibilities, goals and timeline discussion, versus an impersonal budget review and approval process.” Sam’s team also leverages the latest technology to service the needs of both his buyers and sellers. He tells his team, “It’s imperative that we move at the speed of life!” “We use the industry leading Dot-loop software, which enables all key players in a transaction to coordinate, communicate, and execute from one platform anywhere in the world. This ensures efficient transparent transactions and compliance actions by all. We also pay for all our clients to have access to the MRIS system so they can have instant access and keep their fingers on the pulse of the market. This puts all parties on the same page with facts, not opinions. Additionally, we leverage apps such as WAZE to assist with commuting decision, as well as, robust mortgage apps to ensure our clients not only know what their mortgage payments will be, but to understand the taxable consequences of their decision.”
process.” Reality Realty participates in events like the National American Veterans Ball, Armed Forces Expos, National Night Out Law Enforcement program, and local events like the Potomac Nationals’ Military Appreciation Night. All of this volunteer work in the community gets Sam and his team in front of hundreds of thousands of people a year. RESULTS Sam’s “Caremenship™” philosophy, Reality Check™ process and his unique training plan all serve to help his agents assist clients in answering his industry changing question, “How will this real estate transaction help achieve your family’s goals?” “Helping to answer this question and tailoring all efforts around achieving clients’ goals ensures their safety, security, and ability to sustain their quality of life. It also allows for maximum flexibility for when life happens and adjustments are needed.” When selling, Sam’s clients are better able to action the next chapters of their life with confidence knowing they have an integrated plan for their next real estate acquisition firmly rooted in their established time line, life plan and their fiscal well-being.
When selling a home, Sam’s team has a professional videographer create video home tours. The videographer uses drones to capture aerial footage of the home and surrounding area. “We put our money where our mouth is, ensuring our client’s home is thoroughly showcased and presented in its most positive light. We then upload this footage to all MRIS sites, third party sites such as Zillow, the national Fine Portfolio Magazine, and we even pay to put it on international marketing platforms to reach potential clients overseas.” Sam explains.
“We’re doing it right!” exclaims Sam. “My elite team of 12 of highly-qualified Caremenship™ trained agents enjoy a 95% rate of repeat and referral clients. When you are selling a family a home for the 3rd or 4th time, you know you’re doing it right” Sam said. “Focusing on the clients ‘why’ versus the ‘how to buy’ is so refreshing for our clients that love to pay it forward.” Helping clients to gain clarity on their true purpose of buying a home is a philosophical departure from the usual real estate focus on marketing and selling, but it works well for Sam and his agents, who believe if you put your purpose first, quality sales will follow.
Sam’s team also participates in several direct marketing events throughout the year to get in front of potential clients. “Real Estate is about people. Technology can be leveraged to serve our clients’ needs, but people buy and sell homes. We work tirelessly to put humanity back into the insanity of the real estate marketing
Sam’s team has been recognized both locally and nationally. His team won the Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 and Military Friendly Business 2012 from the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce. In 2016, the People of Distinction Humanitarian Foundation awarded Sam the People of Distinc-
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tion Humanitarian Award on Capitol Hill. “It’s an interesting and humbling experience” Sam said. He credits his team’s success in large part to the support of his lender Mike Sanchez (Guaranteed Rate Mortgage), the highly flexible and supportive MBH Title company, Adam Bird of Heroes Media Group, The Heroes Alliance Network, The American Veterans Ball, and many others who have embraced his vision. “It is all about service, synergy, and alignment with likeminded individuals. The Purpose with a Profit™ model works! It’s good for our clients, our communities and our country,” Sam explained. COMMUNITY SERVICE Sam’s team is extremely active in his community as well, supporting several non-profits and offering special incentives to community heroes who enable their community to thrive. “I serve on the board of directors for the Heroes Alliance Network for the Dutiful, the American Veterans Ball, Pinups for Patriots and Stafford Junction. My goal is to support my community, our nation’s children and countries Heroes,” Sam said. Sam created a Heroes Realty Program™ within Reality Realty Professionals, donating 20% of their commission to active duty,
retired, reserve, or volunteer military; law enforcement; firefighters; EMS first responders; nurses; educators; and clergy. “We relied on these national and community servants to protect us, keep us healthy and enrich our souls. Ensuring they understand what it means to buy a home from a stability and financial perspective is the least we can do for them. The last thing I want is a community hero taking on extra risk to pay a bill. We need our community heroes focused on soothing our souls and making us whole.” Sam said. Additionally, Sam’s team donates a percentage of their profits to sponsor dozens of local athletic teams, coaches, community hero fundraisers, and numerous charities to sow seeds in his community. “The money part is easy, the time people put into our community and youth is priceless,” Sam said. In his free time, Sam loves to fish, boat, hike, travel and serve his community! Professionally, he remains committed to his vision: “To change the way real estate is conducted on a global scale by committing to the readiness and stability of both our communities and clients, empowering them to make sound real estate decisions, rooted in clearly defined goals, season of life, and fiscal wellbeing.” Now that’s a worthy goal and one his clients appreciate!
To learn more about Sam Cachola, email email@example.com call 703 - 785 - 1158, or visit realityrealtypros.com www.
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Heroes Media Group is proud to congratulate
on being featured for Washington D.C. in Top Agent Magazine! “We are not a surprised Mr. Samuel Cachola’s team is being featured. Sam has put together an amazing team focused on purpose, professionalism, and customer service. “Caremenship™” is the blue print for how clients should be treated and how companies should train!
The Heroes Media Group (HMG) family is honored and blessed to work with Sam and his team. Its been a a privilege to interview and air his vision nationwide. His is a great story, we are excited to help tell it, and get it in front of those who need to hear it! “Profit with a Purpose™” works!
From everyone at Heroes Media Group, Congratulations! Your hard work, dedication and passion to serve is appreciated!
Heroes Media Group is a podcast network and broadcasting platform dedicated to providing a voice for our community heroes and those who support them. HMG is dedicated to providing education, entertainment and empowerment to: Active Duty, Reserve, Veteran and Retired Military, Firefighters, First Responders, Law Enforcement, Educators, Medical Professionals and Clergy. Founded in 2015 To be the voice for all Community Heroes by bridging the gap between hero, citizen and the communities they protect, educate and empower.
Learn how Heroes Media Group can help you grow your brand.
Check out HeroesMediaGroup.com or call 202-656-7859 www.
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Mauriello Enterprises is proud to congratulate
on being featured for the state of Virginia in Top Agent Magazine!
MAURIELLO ENTERPRISES MyTaxFella.com www.
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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. 18
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You can even organize your contacts on Facebook into customized lists such as “past clients,” “industry contacts,” etc. This will help you better manage your Facebook contacts. This will also allow you to view specific news feeds based on these lists and send messages to a particular list of contacts. Don’t forget about the many other social networking sites such as Twitter or LinkedIn either. Utilize this technology to drive personal contact with your clients.
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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Top Agent Tips and Questions for Choosing Your Listing Agent Now that you’ve decided to sell, it’s time to select the professional to help you market your property. Before meeting with agents, however, consider Top Agent Magazine’s tips for preparing yourself. Frist, ask yourself what kind of relationship you’d like to have with your listing agent. Are you seeking a casual, personable relationship and the latest marketing tools or are you interested in a more formal, traditional relationship and approach to marketing techniques? Next, populate your list of agents by attending open houses and asking for recommendations from recent buyers and sellers. Finally, schedule your meetings at your home, where you’ll be able to gauge the chemistry between you and each agent. During your meetings, expect any Top Agent to ask you several questions, but also consider discussing the following: Top Agent Magazine
Will you please describe your sales experience and local network?
Ask your Top Agent to describe recent listings and sales of homes comparable to your own. Ask about the sellers’ priorities, the original list price, market time and number of offers. Top Agents will also describe how well they are connected with other REALTORS® in the region as well as their contacts with relocation companies, local corporations and chambers of commerce. Be sure to ask about each agent’s knowledge of how your market has changed over time and what has influenced change.
You’ll learn a lot by listening to agents’ opinions.
How will you market the property? Each
Top Agent has a unique set of online or local marketing tools at his or her disposal. Some use lead-generation applications and nearly ever luxury agent take advantage of video. Even video marketing tools vary from agent-to-agent, however. You’ll get to decide if you prefer an agent with higher-end video production and 3D Matterport tours or an agent with more intimate techniques featuring walk-and-talk style video tours. What factors influence your list-price recommendation? Before an-
swering this question, most Top Agents will have several questions for you, including whether you’re more focused on a faster sale or a higher list price. They’ll also educate you on how best to balance both market time and list price relative to sales histories your area. Now that you’ve seen the home, what repairs or improvements do you recommend before listing? You’ll learn a lot by listening to agents’
opinions on your home’s sale potential with or without some improvements. Most Top Agents will also recommend a full professional inspection prior to listing to avoid surprises during buyer inspection.
How will you help with staging? Some Top Agents will pay for part or
all of the staging costs. At a minimum, however, a Top Agent will have a staging professional or two in their partner network. While they’re at it, they may provide referrals for carpet cleaning, painting, gardening and other minor finishing touches. 22
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What attributes of the property will you want to highlight? Each Top
Agent will have a somewhat different answer to this question, but that’s a good thing! Even if you have your own ideas about your home’s greatest attributes, you’ll glean insight into the current market by considering different agents’ opinions. In learning their views, you may even change your mind about your home’s most marketable features!
What is your approach to Open Houses? How many agent-only Open
Houses will your Top Agent want to host? How many truly Open Houses? Some Top Agents may even reveal a “swankier” approach to the Open House – such as an evening cocktail party or by-invitation “open” hours to which buyers visit along with the agent representing them.
Who will be our primary point(s) of contact from your office? This
important question will help you understand the scope of your agent’s practice. You’ll get to see if your agent runs a robust team with many hands on deck or if he or she works by close, one-on-one contact with each client. Either approach is wonderful; you get to decide what suits you. Now, let’s list! Top Agent Magazine
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