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Are You a Value-Added Agent?

I’ll bet if I asked ten real estate agents, all ten would answer ‘yes’ to that question. Yet, when I ask agents how they are value-added, they say things like: • I communicate regularly with my clients. • I have a written listing presentation. • I am honest. • I am trustworthy. Are these ‘value-added’ attributes? Or, does the client expect these attributes and services? 4

Are these exceptional services or average services? I’m writing this article at the beginning of a New Year. It’s a perfect time to re-assess your professionalism and master being that ‘value-added’ agent.

Client Expectations are Higher than Ever Unfortunately, too many real estate agents assume they are ‘value-added’ because they are providing the services they want to provide— Top Agent Magazine

the services they think the client values. However, there’s a real client out there, and the client has different expectations. How do I know that? Because so few agents regularly survey their clients. In fact, when I’m speaking to an audience, I survey them, and find that less than 25 percent gather after-sale surveys! So, the majority of agents don’t know if the services they are providing are average or exceptional.

Why Bother Being Exceptional? • Because you want to set yourself apart. • You want to create client loyalty. • You want to create at least 50 percent of your business from client referrals (the latest National Association of Realtors survey Profile of Members found that the average Realtor got only 18 percent of their business from referrals. That’s a hard and expensive way to run a real estate business! • Because you want to run a more pleasant, profitable business.

Four Actions Value-Added Agents Take How can you identify value-added agents? By their actions. Here are four actions I believe show agents that are above just ‘average’. The principle here is:

Watch the actions, not the words. If I were a manager, or a seller or a buyer, and I wanted to find a value-added agent, here’s what I would look for: Top Agent Magazine

1. Has a database and populates it This agent is committed long-term to his clients and to his business. He uses a contact management program (CRM) to manage ‘leads’, so none are lost — and clients do not feel neglected. After all, it takes much longer today to convert a ‘lead’ to a sale than it used to take. Actively using and maintaining a CRM means the agent is committed to forming long-term professional relationships over time. Other demonstrable actions concerning the agent’s CRM are: • Has a rapid-response method to deal with Internet inquiries and other inquiries via email. (The average client expects a response within eight hours—but a recent survey showed the average agent responded in 50 hours!). • Has a method to follow up on all leads until they ‘buy or die’. As a client, that means I won’t get lost. As a seller, it means my agent will follow up with all leads and give it 100 percent to sell my home. 2. Invests in the technology and follow-up pros have This agent makes every decision based on their vision of their career at least three to five years in the future. For example, instead of selling someone a house anywhere just to get a sale, my value-added agent sells only in an area they define as their ‘target area’. That way, they’ll get known, and can build on their reputation. The value-added agent has the ‘guts’ to turn down business! Because they care more about the well-being of the client than getting one grimy commission check, they learn to 5

‘tell the truth attractively’, and work harder to retain the client than to make one commission.

Adding those Client Benefits to your Dialogue

3. Works for referrals, not just sales I said the agent learns to ‘tell the truth attractively’, even if the buyer or seller may not want to hear it. For example, if it’s in the best interests of the seller to list their home at a lower price, the value-added agent has the strategies and the statistics to prove that the seller won’t be well served by pricing higher.

Of course, it’s not enough to actually take these actions. You need to explain to the client why these actions are in their best interests, and how you stand apart from most agents by employing them. Why? Because your client won’t know you run your business so professionally. And, the client probably doesn’t know most agents don’t run their businesses this way!

And, this value-added agent has the intestinal fortitude to walk away if they know the home will not sell at the client’s desired price (but doesn’t have to too many times because they create a stellar reputation amongst their clientele).

TIP: Always show your clients, don’t just tell them. You do have a Professional Portfolio and evidence on your website, don’t you?

4. Keeps the buyers and sellers’ best interests in mind Our value-added agent makes every decision to grow trust, not just to make a fast buck. For example, the agent sits down with a prospective couple and finds out they can’t purchase right away and creates a plan with them to save for their down payment. Then, the agent keeps in touch over a period of months, offering helpful information and market updates.

Put Yourself to the Test

How many of these actions P. S. Managers and team leaders—two tips do you exhibit? What do you want to work on to become a true 1. Call each of your agents’‘value-added’ phone mails. What’s the impr agent? Are they professional? Do they state the company n TIP: represent your culture and image? Managers, give your agents a 2. Create a quick class in phone messaging using the ‘test’ on these four points. In other words, this agent practices seller or buyHow many pass? this blog. er agency representation, not ‘agent agency’!

Copyright ©, 2016 Carla Cro

Carla Cross,CRB, CRB, MA, is theoffounder andSeminars, president Carla Cross Carla Cross, MA, President Carla Cross Inc.,ofand Carla real management and sales. Herspecializing internationally Crossestate Coaching, is an international speaker in realbest-selling estate management and Running business planning for all professionals. agents, Up and in 30 Days, is real nowestate going into its 5thHer edition sevenexperience internationallyas published books, including Up and Running in 30 Days , vast a top-selling agent and award-winning manag and 20 agent and management programs have helped thousands of real sale podium, blending her musical background with her proven estate professionals to the greater productivity and teaches profitability.someone Reach Carla strategies (she uses piano AND even to at play— 425-392-6914 or and practical). Find out more at 6

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ALLISON TRIMBLE Allison Trimble has many talents. She knows property, which you’d expect of a third-generation real estate broker. But she’s also an internationally recognized professional horsewoman, trainer and breeder. She combines both worlds by specializing in horse farms and hobby farms. “We work very hard to make sure all our clients are well cared for,” Allison says, “with a very specific quality of service. We stage, we’re full service, and we work 8 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

hard to maintain relationships all the way through the closing and afterwards. It’s very important in our process to make sure the transaction closes just as strongly as it starts.” Allison’s family owned real estate brokerages in Alaska and her grandmother was a real estate agent in Portland, Oregon, for many years, so it was natural for Allison to join the industry. After earning a degree in animal science from Cal Poly San Luis Top Agent Magazine

Obispo and training horses professionally, she got her real estate license four years ago. The first of this year she opened Coastal Realty, a branch of her parents’ brokerage in Alaska. With four agents who serve all of Washington state and a business that’s about 50 percent repeats and referrals, real estate suits Allison well. To market her listings, Allison leaves no hurdle uncrossed. With numerous estate properties coming her way, she first determines what each individual property needs to give it the best face possible. If staging is necessary, it’s done. Then she has professional photographs taken and shoots drone Top Agent Magazine

video as well, all featured on her YouTube channel and all the online listing sites. She buys newspaper ads as well as full-page spreads in equestrian-specific publications such as Northwest Horse Source magazine, if appropriate, and heavily markets the property on social media. All of this is at no cost to the client, of course. She also uses For Sale signs and direct-mail fliers and hosts showings, particularly to other real estate agents in the area. Clients love that they can always reach Allison or one of the team members. “We designed our process so that clients meet all of us in the beginning. Someone is always Copyright Top Agent Magazine9

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available for anything that needs doing,” she says. Allison builds relationships by making the effort to get to know her clients, reaching out with calls and face time. “We don’t have a cookie-cutter approach,” she says. “Our clients are all different people and different things are important to them. We’re very attentive to individual needs, which is why we get a lot of referral clients.” She loves problem solving and making all the pieces of a transaction fit together so that clients are happy at the end. It’s clear that Allison cares. A Ferndale resident for about 20 years, she’s very involved with issues affecting real estate in the area. For example, as part of a Whatcom County Association of Realtors committee, she recently Top Agent Magazine

put on the Private Property Rights Week, a free, weeklong evening class with speakers. She and her team are also active with their kids’ schools, sponsoring teams and events, and support nonprofits through the Association of Realtors. In her rare free time, she and her husband enjoy traveling, spending time with their children, and caring for and riding their 20 horses. In the future, Allison’s trail is likely to lead to Oregon and possibly California—plans are underway to build brand recognition for the brokerage along the west coast. Meanwhile, she’s continuing to build her business on the real estate principles she believes are important: simplifying the process, educating clients on market conditions and providing the best possible service. Copyright Top Agent Magazine 11

For more information about Allison Trimble of Coastal Realty, Ferndale, WA, please visit, call 360.961.5537 or email Copyright Top Agent Magazine 12

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5 Tips to Get New Clients If you’ve been in the industry for a while, you’ve probably built up a healthy percentage of repeat and referral business. Although it can be tempting to just maintain those relationships rather than generating new business, there’s something to be said for staying on top of Top Agent Magazine

your game by never resting on your laurels. Actively pursuing new clients is not only a way to generate more business, but depending on how you do it, it could even lead to a profitable new niche. Here are just a few ways to build up your new client base. 13


Become a referral partner with industry peers


Cold Call Expired and FSBO Listings

Everyone from mortgage lenders, to financial planners, to insurance agents, can be potentially lucrative referral partners for a Realtor®. You may already have great relationships with some that just need to be more formalized. But, you don’t just want to partner with anyone, make sure these are people you also feel completely comfortable referring your clients to - people who share your values and work ethic.

Another avenue to consider is divorce attorneys – yes, you heard that correctly. Helping people go through this difficult period actually requires a very specific skill set. You need to be able to handle the legal aspects, as well as the emotional ones. There are numerous training courses you can take if you decide to take this route, which could end up being a lucrative and much-needed specialty.

This is a route a lot of agents take when they are just starting out, that usually leads to great success. You probably haven’t cold called since you started out, and this is a great skill to build up again. It will not only sharpen your sales skills, but could generate a lot more business. People with For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) and expired listings, are usually very motivated to sell. This is a great chance for you to really hone in on why they need to hire you. Do you offer innovative marketing plans? Access to a large sphere of influence? Expired listing clients are looking for ways to sell a property that seems impossible to move. With FSBOs, you need to show them how you can get them more money in their pocket, even 14

with paying you a commission. Pursuing both will really engage your mind to think outside of the box, which will not only get you more business, but make you better at what you do. Top Agent Magazine


Partner up with a Relocation Company


Become a Builder’s Realtor® of choice

This is another niche market that you can really capitalize on if you want to pursue a new specialty. But, it is a specialty, so getting educated on the process will help you generate the business you want. It’s a complicated area of real estate, you’ll often

times be helping to facilitate dual transactions, as you try and secure a property at the same time you are helping your relocation client sell their previous home. This specialty is becoming an in-demand skill in areas that have major corporate headquarters.

This can be a real score for any Realtor®. The competition might be fierce to land a client like this, but there are numerous ways to make yourself stand out from the rest. Gain certifications and become knowledgeable about the construction process. Be wellversed on what trendy materials, features, and finishes will add value to a property. Get the builder on board with you by offering to take just a segment of the subdivision then wow them with your marketing skills. Take on properties they haven’t been able to sell. You can even offer to throw an open


house for them. This is another way to show them the level of service they can expect from you. These clients might be harder to land, but the payoff will be enormous.

Create a Website that Offers Real Value to Potential Clients

Perhaps the most useful way of getting contact information for people looking to sell is by adding a home valuation feature to your website. When people are first considering selling their home, finding out how much

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it is worth is one of the first questions they want answered. By becoming a resource to potential clients (and current clients!), you just might be the first person that comes to mind when they’re actually looking to sell. 15

5 Steps to Achieve Long Term Success as a Real Estate Agent Real Estate can have a reputation as an industry with a high turnover as far as agents go. Being a ‘people person’ with an entrepreneurial spirit is a great start, but what some fail to realize when starting out is that this is a business. So if you’re in it for the long haul, you need to treat it that way. Here are some key steps you need to take to have your own successful real estate business.



Once you get your license and hang your sign at a Brokerage, you’ll find that you’re pretty much on your own. That’s why it’s a good idea for new agents to find a large Brokerage that offers in-house training and mentorship or a boutique brokerage that has more seasoned agents who are eager to take a new agent under their wing. Being able to shadow a more experienced agent is invaluable and allows you to mirror what you’ve seen and run through the numerous scenarios that will arise when you are representing a client.



This is a business that is constantly changing, so it’s smart to always stay ahead of the curve when it comes to new technological innovations and systems. There are even numerous online resources, where you can keep up on your trade, such as blogs by top producing agents that are a treasure trove of information. A confident agent with an in-depth knowledge of the business is one that easily earns the trust of their client, leading to repeat and referral business, which will be the bread and butter of your business.

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Yes, referrals are the basis of your business, but building a strong online presence and marketing yourself to new clients is also important, especially before you’ve built up a strong referral base. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media tools are great way to get leads both for your listings and for yourself. It’s even a good idea to buy several domain names when you start, so that when you’re ready to build a website, you can ensure you have the names you want. Obviously the internet is also a great resource to find leads. Before you find a niche for yourself, it’s important to take advantage of every avenue there is. A lot of successful agents started off doing things no one else wanted to take on like foreclosures, expired listings or lower priced homes. But as you’ll find out, helping those who need it most is a great way to build a loyal client base, that will not only come back to you when they are ready to sell or buy again, but will be your biggest cheerleaders when it comes to referring you to friends and family.





One thing you’ll find in this business is that doing a lot of work up top, will lead to a more successful outcome down the road. That goes for marketing plans for your listings, as well as your business as a whole. It might not be the fun part, but it will allow you to one day focus on what you do best, dealing with your clients. Set up your CRM and the other systems you want to use from the get go. Getting these things established before you’re hopefully a busy agent is the best time to really learn them and decide what’s best for you.

Once you build a strong foundation and are establishing your client base, it’s important to continually set goals that help you implement your business strategy. You can even invest in a real estate coach if you need someone to hold you accountable. It’s also important to constantly reevaluate what you’re doing. Set up a monthly audit, where you go over what is and what isn’t working. As we mentioned above, this is a fluid business and things are constantly changing, the same can be said of your business. What worked a year ago, might be losing you money as your business grows.

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How to Create a Business-Winning Plan in One Hour by Bubba Mills

Baloney! That’s what I say to those who think building a business plan should take days, weeks, even months. And I say baloney again to those who think a plan has to have a bunch of pages with graphs and charts. I know for a fact REALTORS® don’t have that kind of time. But I also know every serious REALTOR® needs a good plan. That means if you’re reading this, you’re in the right place. Stick with me and you’ll end up with a plan that can make your year much better. A comprehensive business plan (two pages max) can help you: • Account for what you accomplish • Clarify your life • Keep track of each of your goals • Manage your time Top Agent Magazine

• Determine if you’re heading in the right direction So let’s get right to it. Here are the steps to take to get your plan in place and your year (and rear) in gear: Create a mission statement. This gets right to the heart of your life and addresses why you’re in real estate. It answers why you’re here, what your purpose is and what your business is truly about. Use positive, present tense statements such as “I am,” “I provide,” “I strive” as you define who you are and what you provide your clients. Take 10 minutes now to brainstorm some possible mission statements. Perform a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). For strengths, maybe you’re tech savvy. For weaknesses perhaps you’re unorganized. With opportunities, it could be that a large firm is relocating to your city. And for threats, maybe 19

Every serious REALTOR® needs a good plan. the mid-term, one year; and the long-term, five years. Also, in this same section, write your personal objectives. We can’t be balanced in life if all we focus on is business. So consider what your ideal sitWrite your business objectives. In uation would look like with your this section I’d like you to consider family, your spiritual life and your what you want your business to look social life. Spend 10 minutes now like in the short-term, six months; in on these topics. interest rates are rising. Take 10 minutes now and fill in a few items for each category. If you get stuck, ask a co-worker or friend, who knows you well enough, for suggestions.


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Create a mission statement. This gets right to the heart of your life and addresses why you’re in real estate. It answers why you’re here, what your purpose is and what your business is truly about. Create your sales goals. Here’s where I don’t want you to be afraid to think bigger. Take 15 minutes for this section. As part of this segment here at Corcoran Consulting and Coaching Inc., we include what’s called a goal achievement system that helps you stay on track with your goals. So for each goal, we include a why, excuses for failure, resolve and action items. I believe this is a vital step because it allows you to examine why you might hesitate in completing parts of your business plan. Email me at, and I’ll send you a free worksheet on this system. Develop action items. To wrap up your plan, you need to get specific about how you’ll achieve your goals. So for each goal you should have action items, due dates, who will Top Agent Magazine

complete the items and a step-by-step daily and hourly plan with what has to be done. Take 15 minutes and do it. Tell me what you’re thinking. Do you have a plan? If not, why not? What’s preventing you from creating one? What successes or failures have you had with plans in the past? Bubba Mills is co-owner and executive vice president of Corcoran Consulting and Coaching Inc. (www.corcorancoaching. com/programs, 800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into Real Estate Companies, Mortgage Companies and Small Businesses. Bubba Mills is a nationally recognized inspirational and education speaker, coach and mentor to the top real estate agents and mortgage companies. To find out more about Corcoran Consulting & Coaching, call 1800-957-8353 or visit us at www.Corcoran 21

Daily Habits That Will Increase Your Mental Strength When it comes to building physical strength, the solutions are obvious, but keeping up your mental strength isn’t as easy as going to the gym. Although physical exercise does help clear your head and relieve stress, there are other things you can do daily that will help your mind be as strong and flexible as your body after a workout. Here’s just a few things you can do to help clear your head and make you more productive. 22

DON’T WASTE YOUR BRAIN POWER That might seem obvious, but think about how much mental energy you might use up worrying about negativity or things you have no control over. Instead of focusing on problems, focus on solutions. This actually take a lot of effort, we’re all conditioned to let worry paralyze us sometimes. Try and catch yourself when you’re Top Agent Magazine

wasting time thinking about about past mistakes or current dilemmas you don’t have the power to stop. You really only have so much mental energy, and if you have kids and an especially stressful work situation, that might be even less than normal. Start treating your brain like the precious resource it is. You don’t want to be running on empty when it really matters. BE MORE POSITIVE Eliminating negative thoughts is essential to increasing your mental strength. Carrying around negativity is like swimming with all of your clothes on. You might be okay at first, but eventually you’ll feel like you can barely stay afloat. Don’t drown in negativity, use positive thoughts as a lifesaver. This doesn’t mean you should ignore things you need to improve, just approach them with solutions rather than beating yourself up. Constant monitoring of this is important since it’s really easy to slide back into negative thinking. STEP OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE A lot of mental energy can go to dealing with anxiety. One way to deal with that is by forcing yourself to try new things and take on new challenges, that you might normally avoid because they make you feel unsure or scared. Challenge yourself daily, even with small things. This is definitely something that becomes easier with practice. Start small, and in no time you’ll be taking on things you never Top Agent Magazine

thought were possible. The simple task of trying something new every day will have you feeling energized and put you on the path to self-growth. BE SELF-AWARE Your emotions affect everything you do, even if they’re not at the surface. Recognizing and labeling them is key. A lot of the above exercises require selfreflection. It’s okay to have the emotions you have, understanding why and where those emotions come from allows you to focus on dealing with them rather than just wallowing in them. Being self-aware is also about self-care. Know the things that help relax and rejuvenate you. That way you can handle everyday stresses and remain calm even during the most turbulent times. BE WILLING TO LEARN A lot of people are still hung up on the idea that learning is a boring and tedious process, but you aren’t in junior high anymore. You can find something you’re actually interested in and immerse yourself in it, which engages your mind like nothing else. Whether it’s learning a new technology that will improve your business or something that will make you a more well-rounded person, the learning process keeps you engaged and open to new ideas. A curiosity about the world and new things is something that all mentally strong people have in common. 23


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Washington 7-10-17  


Washington 7-10-17