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Leveraging the Agent’s Market™

Apr 17, 2019 by

Now is the time to up your real estate game. We’re on the cusp of what should be an amazing time to be an agent. Real estate, like many industries, is cyclical. In the summer of last year, I started paying close attention to the shift we were seeing across North America from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market, so that I could share with my audiences and coaching members the best strategies to effectively communicate how those changes would affect their clients and customers.

Research, experience and history tell us that the centering cycle of the real estate market between a seller’s market and a buyer’s market is one that more equally favors all parties, including real estate professionals. I call it the Agent’s Market™.

Here’s what I mean. A seller’s market obviously favors sellers. Demand is high and inventory is low, so sellers tend to overvalue their property and undervalue an agent’s role in getting their home sold. Many believe they can “sell it themselves” or try the “price-it-high-we-can-always-come-down” approach, which makes listings tougher to get for many agents. There’s also tremendous pressure to cut commissions.

In a buyer’s market, inventory is higher, so buyers are slower to make decisions, want to see everything on the market, and are reluctant to pull the trigger. Sales prices also favor buyers more, so there’s frustration for sellers and sizeable pressure on agents to be tough negotiators.

But in an Agent’s Market™, there’s more inventory, homes are more likely to be priced reasonably at fair market value, and both sellers and buyers see more value in using a real estate professional. That’s a win-win-win.

To truly leverage an Agent’s Market™, agents need to get on board sooner rather than later. That means focusing on building listing inventory. To do that in a changing market, filled to the brim with real estate distractions and disruptors, agents need to effectively communicate value and service. For some, that will mean ditching old sales methods and canned speeches for new communication skills and service mindsets.

Consumers don’t want to be sold anymore. The “find the pain point and offer the answer” presentation skills don’t work, and frankly, for most agents, don’t feel authentic, anyway. It’s uncomfortable to make people uncomfortable. What I teach our Power Agents® is to serve, not sell, and to coach, not close—to have a listing conversation as opposed to a presentation. These are game changers not only in terms of bottom line results (more listings), but also in developing long-term referral relationships (customers for life).

It’s all in the art of communication, which involves asking the right questions, listening on a whole different level, and getting to the heart of a seller’s real commitment, which probably isn’t what you think it is. It’s not just selling a house; it’s about getting to their next level, whatever that goal is. Is it a home closer to the kids or grandkids? Do they need more room for a growing family? Are they downsizing so they can travel? Did they accept a job offer in another area and need to relocate?

That’s where learning to ask the right questions, and, in many cases, learning to really listen, rather than just waiting to jump in with pre-scripted dialogue, matter. When you can create a connection and trust with potential sellers, that can help you get to the root of their commitment and then use smart stories, metaphors and analogies to illustrate your value, tools and solutions to help them realize that next level—that’s where the magic lies.

Stay focused on building that listing inventory and generating now business by prospecting FSBOs and expireds at least three days per week, for at least an hour each day. Commit to the activity, let go of the results and “get in the batting cage and swing” three days per week. I love when agents break through old fears and habits and embrace this strategy. At a recent event, I shared the powerful combination of questions, mindset and skill it takes to list two out of every four of these prospects. During the lunch break, one agent who had been dead-set against calling FSBOs in the past went out to her car and made the calls. She came back in with two appointments. Another agent recently emailed me following a workshop to say that she jumped in and made the calls and got four appointments.

The difference is having the right words—and the right perspective. If you’re calling people because you know, based on industry history, experience, statistics and your gut, that you can honestly help FSBOs get a higher return on their investment, those calls get easier. Scheduling the listing appointment is then just a natural progression of the knowledge and resources you’re able to offer. You’re serving, not selling. You’re coaching, not closing.

We’re just at the front edge of the Agent’s Market™, and it’s too early to tell how long it will last. Agents, do everything in your power to fine-tune your communication and listing skills. Brokers, put the training and coaching in place to help your agents master building inventory.

I’m here to help.

To learn more, visit www.TheAgentsMarket.com.

Darryl Davis has spoken to, trained and coached more than 100,000 real estate professionals around the globe. He is a best-selling author for McGraw-Hill Publishing, and his book, “How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate” tops Amazon’s charts for most sold book to real estate agents. He is the founder of the Next Level™ real estate training system The Power Program®, which has proven to help agents double their production over their previous year. Davis earned the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, held by less than 2 percent of all speakers worldwide. To learn more, visit www.ThePowerProgram.com.

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Here Comes the NINA Again

Apr 17, 2019 by

Here Comes the NINA Again

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3 Keys to Successfully Scaling Your Real Estate Business

Apr 16, 2019 by

If you’re looking to scale your real estate business this year, you may find some comfort in knowing that you’re not alone.

In our recent Voice of the Real Estate Agent Report, over 1,000 real estate professionals from around the U.S. shared insights on the biggest opportunities for growth in the next year. Specifically, we looked at how these opportunities translate into earnings.

Responses to the survey show that the top opportunities to earn more this year focus on three key areas:

  1. Build a Strong Referral Network
    Fifty-six percent of respondents said that referral growth is the most surefire way for agents to realize profitable gains in their business this year. More than 92 percent of top-performing agents in the study attribute their professional success to their strong referral base. These top performers gain most of their business from repeat clients.

Where does that leave those who don’t yet have a portfolio built to rely on repeat business? Two opportunities rise to the top: community involvement and growing your local market knowledge. Those who climbed to top-performing status grow their referral base through community efforts. They engage in volunteer opportunities and network in both professional and community venues. They cultivate referrals by working side-by-side with neighbors.

The second key to growing your client referral base is growing your local market expertise. Focus on becoming the go-to resource in the community by publishing blogs, videos and social media posts that truly help others.

  1. Embrace Digital Marketing and Social Media
    Thirty-two percent of agents recommend increasing online marketing to grow your business. Across every segment measured, agents unanimously warn against ignoring online marketing and social media opportunities. Some responses cross over into a broader concern for the profession’s ability to keep up with evolving technology. Most agents shared that they don’t embrace digital and social media marketing because they don’t have time to invest in the area, they don’t know where to start, or they simply prefer to not have a digital presence.

If you’re not skilled in this area, you can build a mentor relationship or enroll in continuing education and professional development courses to help you gain the skills and comfort you need in this space.

  1. Manage Your Time
    Twelve percent of agents indicate that time management is the most important aspect of earning more this year. Sometimes that’s easier said than done given the competing priorities in the day and the life of an agent. Respondents who are successful in owning their time rely on several habits, including building out their team, automation and taking a “whole lifestyle approach” to their time, which means they plan their real estate schedule into their lifestyle versus the other way around.

You can download the full Voice of the Real Estate Agent Report at realestateexpress.com/agent-insights. The report shares tips and best practices from real estate professionals spanning all markets and specializations.

Alexis Petersen is the director of content at Real Estate Express, a national leader in online learning for pre-licensing, continuing education and professional development. For the last six years, she has been educating real estate professionals on how to successfully launch and advance their career. She’s also a seasoned marketing veteran, with nearly 15 years of experience.

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Prospecting is the Key to the Kingdom

Apr 15, 2019 by

The most important thing for you to master to really succeed in real estate is prospecting. It’s also the one area most agents are likely to get tripped up on. Why? Because they get caught up in misconceptions and misinformation, and in the fear of rejection and sometimes even bad advice from other agents.

Here’s the thing: Prospecting is about communicating with other people. For some agents, that’s scary. “But Darryl, what if they hang up?” Well, then they hang up. It’s not the end of the world! Most agents start by calling For Sale By Owners (FSBOs), then they get rejected. So, they try door-knocking, and that’s not comfortable either. Then they try a few Expireds, and those people are just grumpy! So, what do they do? Quit prospecting and start working with buyers. Buyers are friendly, right? Not as intimidating… “I can always go back to prospecting!”

Please listen to me. Do not get seduced by the Dark Side of the Force, because that’s exactly what it is. First of all, working with buyers does not necessarily mean it’s quick and easy money. It may look like that on the surface, but agents who have been in this business for a while will tell you there are plenty of times when you are working with buyers weekend after weekend and they are not buying anything. They may decide to rent or, worse yet, they buy from another agent, and you may invest a lot of time and energy and have nothing to show for it.

If, instead, you take that same energy, that same tenacity with the buyer, and you apply it to listing real estate, you may get several listings that can equal thousands of dollars. So, here’s my challenge to you: if you are brand new in real estate, before you take any buyer out to show him/her any property, you need to get six sellers to list with you. If you do that, I promise you that you will be one of the best and greatest agents in your market. If you can get past that first hurdle, those first six listings, you won’t even want to take buyers out. Please trust me on this. As I’ve said before, listings are where you should focus your time and energy, as they bring the best returns.

If listings are so important, why don’t most agents spend their time prospecting for them? Even the good agents lose their focus from time to time. Why is that? The key to focusing has to do with two things: excitement and passion. So, you need to have excitement and passion for what you do to stay with it and to have it succeed. Find what engages, fires and inspires you, and run with it.

What I teach my Power Agents® is to take a slightly different approach to prospecting. Most agents are taught from the start to “call until you get one”—and the focus is a win or lose scenario. You get the appointment, or you don’t. When you approach prospecting that way, with a win/fail focus, it’s discouraging. A better approach is to come from a place of service. Every single call you make is simply to move the relationship forward, offer solid resources, and commit to delivering answers and service that you know in your heart and mind will help that seller get the most money for their home in the shortest period of time, and with the least number of headaches. You have to be sold on that before you even pick up the phone.

Statistics, history and industry trends all show clearly that a homeowner is better of working with an agent than going it alone. Focus on your people skills, on listening to what people are saying and responding to them rather than just waiting for your next “dialogue” queue.

The approach that I love the most is calling FSBOs. I’ll be honest, it’s more of a love-hate thing. I really hate to sit down and make that first call. The people I call are usually resistant; they don’t want to work with agents because they want to sell their houses on their own. But I love the part about knowing that if I can push past that feeling of being uncomfortable, then I will become much stronger when it comes to prospecting. There’s nothing that tickles me more than calling a FSBO who’s ready to hang up on me, 20 minutes later getting an appointment, then going to the house and, finally, hours later, leaving with the listing. I just love that! And so will you.

Of all the approaches to prospecting, FSBO is perhaps the best. Why? Because you know they want to sell. Don’t you want quick and “easy” money? Who better to get a listing from than someone who wants to sell? All the other approaches to prospecting can take longer. Despite my recommendations to prospect with FSBOs, you might find that you can’t get passionate about calling FSBOs yourself. If you can’t, then find another approach you can get excited about.

You’ve got this. I’m here to help, with a passionate community of Power Agents® that can be there for you as well. Learn more at www.ThePowerProgram.com/NewAgentSuccess.

Darryl Davis, bestselling author of “How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate and owner of Darryl Davis Seminars, has trained and coached over 100,000 real estate professionals around the globe for more than 27 years. He is the founder of the Next Level® real estate training system, The Power Program®, which has helped agents double their production over their previous year. For more information, and the new agent tools that can help take you to your Next Level®, please contact darryl@darrylspeaks.com or visit www.ThePowerProgram.com/NewAgentSuccess.

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Staged to Sell: A Virtual Transformation

Apr 15, 2019 by

Photo Credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

The real estate professional: Cris Grayson, broker associate at Baird & Warner in Glen Ellyn, Ill.

About the home: The five-bedroom home in Glen Ellyn, Ill., was built in 1975. The home has been meticulously maintained, and the homeowners had recently made some updates to the interior as well. It is listed for $ 569,900. Grayson wanted to make sure the online presentation of the home would appeal to the widest buyer pool.

Grayson’s tips:

  1. Don’t skimp on photography. Grayson places a high value on quality photography for her listings. She uses a professional photographer who is trained specifically on taking real estate photos through VHT Studios, a national real estate photography firm. A good real estate photographer will know how to capture a space from the best angles as well as the flow of the home, Grayson says.
  2. Show off the possibilitiesGrayson also likes to use VHT’s Virtual Redecorate tool, which allows spaces to be virtually changed and staged for photos.

Here’s the kitchen “before” and then virtually staged “after.” See how it changes the look of the table area.

Photo credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios – Chrissy Barrett

Grayson also used virtual staging to change the look of the home’s family room. In its current state, the family room appears comfortable and cozy, but some buyers may be looking for a lighter, more modern look. Through virtual staging, the wall décor and upholstered furniture was presented in a warmer look in the photographs.

Photo Credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios  – Chrissy Barrett

 

  1. Re-cast the room’s purpose. In some cases, you may want to change the purpose of the room to appeal to a wider pool of buyers. In the upstairs of the home, Grayson and her VHT photographer Chrissy Barrett used virtual staging to transform a teen room into a young child’s room with a play space. They also presented it another way too as an office and reading or crafts room. Grayson labeled any pictures as “virtually staged” when they appeared online. The virtually staged photos appeared after a photo of the actual room.

Photo Credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios – Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios – Chrissy Barrett

The Result?

Days after the home was listed with the virtual staging pictures included, Grayson said they received an offer and were in negotiations with an interested buyer. Grayson has found that using virtual staging in her listings doesn’t just show potential buyers the possibilities of a space but also offers buyers a styling guide to use when they move into their new home and make it their own.

Have a home you recently staged that you’d like to show off here at Styled Staged & Sold? Submit your staging photos for consideration, along with three to five of your best spruce-up tips. Contact Melissa Dittmann Tracey at mtracey@realtors.org.


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