Are You Afraid to Give Your Clients Bad News?

 

When the Truth Hurts: 3 Strategies for Tough Conversations with Real Estate Clients

Guest Post by Karri Flatla

 Park Bench Image

 

Most of us are not very rational when it comes to big decisions in life.  We are imperfect beings with messy emotions and maybe even messier lives.  No one has it all together all of the time.  So why do we expect our real estate clients to be any less human than we are?  Buying or selling a house is a life-altering event.  Our clients deserve some leeway!

No matter how streamlined your systems, no matter how skilled you are at negotiating, every real estate transaction will present a disappointment or two.  This is not a problem.  It is a grand opportunity to shine.

So, how to be a real estate rock (star) when you’re the bearer of bad news?

The first step in being a courageous, eloquent truth teller is to let go.  You can only control your own actions.  You cannot control the other agent, the other buyer or seller, the market, and not even your client.  By letting go of your need to control the entire deal every time, you can simply focus on communicating effectively and with integrity.  This shows respect for your client and in turn, your client will respect YOU.

From this foundation, you can practice and leverage the following 3 strategies for having tough conversations with clients:

  • Manage expectations.  Often we are so excited about working with a new client, we overlook a critical window of opportunity to set expectations.  During the initial consultation, explain scenarios that might unfold and that such situations are normal and expected in real estate.  Also explain that reaching their goal will require some challenging decisions along the way.  Your job is not to predict the future.  Rather you will provide expert guidance at each juncture.
  • Give permission.  Your clients are grown adults who can make their own decisions, but they are naturally afraid of making the wrong decision with their real estate.  You ‘do real estate’ every day.  They do not.  Feelings of fear and vulnerability are paralyzing and will keep your clients stuck.  Be the objective voice of reason.  Validate decisions—and compromises—that will move them toward their goals.
  • Create choice.  When people perceive that they have no choice, they feel cornered and victimized.  Their fight-or-flight response kicks in, and at that point, it’s very tough to ‘find the win.’  If you offer one or two helpful alternatives—or simply a fresh perspective on a seemingly bad situation—your client will feel empowered to make a decision and move forward.  Of course, if the best way forward is to collapse the deal, that’s fine too.  Be upfront about that.  But even then, show your client that by closing one door, another will open, and you will be there to facilitate!

Too many real estate agents operate from a paradigm of fear… fear that their clients will fire them, fear of the deal falling apart, fear of never seeing another commission check, and on and on.  By operating from this fearful place, agents create chaos instead of solutions.

Successful agents are in the solution business.  Real estate clients don’t need any more fair-weather friends.  They need honest agents who will confidently and calmly guide them through the good and the bad.  If you can do this, you will be in your clients’ ‘good books’ for life.

Karri Flatla 2

Karri Flatla has been pioneering her way through the real estate industry since 2012.  Armed with extensive business and marketing chops—and fueled by a passion for excellence—Karri is setting new standards for client care and education.  Determined to ditch the pitch, Karri eschews traditional sales for a more consultative approach.  The result?  Today’s consumer can make smarter decisions about their real estate in a no-pressure, comfortable environment.

Karri is a full-time residential real estate agent with RE/MAX Real Estate – Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.  You can learn more about her services at www.karriflatla.com.   Thinking of buying or selling in Karri’s hometown? Order a copy of her Real Estate Playbook:  Click Here

“Your First Day as a Real Estate Agent” Online Course Available Now for $39.00

 

Share This:

Protect Your Biggest Asset as a Realtor

light bulb

What’s in a Reputation?

Guest Post by Phil Shell

 

When we first get into the Real Estate Business we are “Bright Eyed, and Bushy Tailed” as my old man used to say to me.  We are so excited, we don’t know where to start!  And then we realize – OMG!  I don’t know where to start!

But then we start to get busy.  We get a little experience and knowledge.  We move through our industry with more and more confidence.  The more transactions we do, the better we become.  We get involved with other brokers from other companies.  Some good.  Some not so good.  Sometimes we get into “Pinch Points” with those brokers.  We “size them up.”  We say to ourselves, “You’re a good agent,” or “I love working with that one,” or “not the greatest, but tolerable” or then “What a Jerk” …or worse.  You know what I am talking about here.  You know…

But we forget.  We forget that they are watching and sizing us up too.  When we are greeted with not so kind behavior, our natural instinct is to push back.  So many times, our initial reaction to a situation is counter-intuitive to the proper action.  Our ego is not our friend.

We don’t have to be right.  We need to learn to be effective.  And to be effective, we must hold our ego at bay.

When we can be effective, and loose the “Right to be Right,” we can begin to build a trusting relationship.  We begin to build a great reputation.  Our reputation in this industry is all that we have.

It is all of our desire to have a long and successful career.  We are going to be around “us” much longer that we will be with any one Buyer or Seller.  We need to protect our reputation with strong vigor.  That is not to say that we are not giving great service and great advice to our clients.  It just means we need to learn to be effective.

If my client is getting upset with the other side of the transaction, I have to ask myself ”What am I doing to contribute to or cause this?”  How am I portraying the communication?

It’s the little things in this business.  In the words of my good friend Mary Gedack, “No matter what is going on in the transaction, there is never a time to be unkind.”  We must mind our reputation at all times.  Without that, we have nothing, and a long prosperous career is very much in doubt.

There are many parts to all of this, the least of which is to find a place of non-attachment.  But more on that in a future post.

For now, remember – Right/Wrong, Good/Bad are irrelevant.  Be Effective and mind your reputation!

  • Phil Shell
  • RE/MAX Alliance
  • Website
  • Phil is the Managing Broker of the RE/MAX Alliance Arvada Office.  He’s had a long and productive career in real estate.  One of his passions now is helping Agents with his “Core Values” workshops.

Phil Shell

Share This:

Top 5 Characteristics of Successful Realtors

Pretty woman business

 

Top 5 Characteristics and Traits of Top Producing Realtors

 

1. “Have-To” “Burning Desire” “Failure is Not an Option” These are clichés, I understand. But it’s very simple, the highly successful Realtors expect to succeed. The positive expectation of being successful pulls them forward to their desired results of closing deals and earning well.

2. They start working right away. They don’t make excuses about waiting: I don’t want to host open houses yet because I need to know the inventory better. I don’t want to get in touch with my sphere because I haven’t closed a deal yet. I don’t want to do floor duty for the office until I know my contracts better. All excuses! Top Agents start working right away.

3. Confident. This is one of the most important mindsets you need for success as a Realtor. Your potential clients want to work with a Realtor who is confident in their abilities. You need to have thick skin and a high level of self-esteem to win the daily battles and struggles of real estate. And if you are not ready then do what all new salespeople do—”Fake it until you make it.”

4. Good listener. When you’re new you get anxious and what do you do to compensate? You end up talking all the time. Just shut up when you’re with your clients, especially in the first meeting. Listen. Highly successful Agents listen, they ask good questions, and they let their clients talk and tell their story without interruptions.

5. Constant learning. Top Agents study, they read, they have mentors, they have coaches and they are willing to take direction. Top Agents learn new skills and strategies and then they apply in the field. They don’t just keep learning. They get out there and apply what they have learned in helping their Buyers and Sellers. Don’t just repeat your first year ten times. Get better each year.

Share This:

What is the Best Daily Habit to Guarantee Success?

Sedona Feb 2013 018

 

This is very simple.  Read 30 minutes in the morning everyday before you start your day.  Read a book!  Yes, read a book.

Learn.  Get motivated.  Be inspired.  Read a book which makes you a better person.

A classic Jim Rohn quote:  “Work harder on yourself then you do your job.”

 

Share This:

Are You Looking for a Speaker for an Upcoming Realtor Event?

Looking for a new and fresh Speaker for your upcoming Realtor event?

You’ve come to the right place.   Mario PicMario Jannatpour is available to come speak at your Realtor event.

Available presentations:

Find Your Passion in What You Do

The Competitive Advantage Real Estate Agent 

How to Build Relationships with Consumers Online 

We Become What We Think About

Mario is the author of the top selling book:  “The Honest Real Estate Agent.”  He is the host of the popular podcast of the same name which is available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Request Speaking Availability

Want Mario to Speak at Your Next Event?

Tell us a little bit about your speaking engagement. We’ll be in touch and look forward to working with you.

Share This:

Why Do So Many First Year Real Estate Agents Fail?

Holiday Break 2015 017-1

Why do so many New Real Estate Agents fail and quit the business?  75% of new Realtors don’t make it past their first year.  A pretty daunting statistic for new Realtors.  Here’s a quick list of why I feel so many new Agents fail:

  1. Poor training and mentoring—New Realtors need training on running a small business basically. Major areas include—Real Estate issues such as Contracts and the process—Sales Training—Marketing—Time Management—Finances—Product Knowledge.
  2. Call Reluctance—the fear of trying and waiting for everything to be perfect before doing something.
  3. Not committed to being a Realtor as a full-time career.  I remember when I started out.  I was 41 years old, married one year with a baby on the way.  And I was starting a new career—talk about pressure.  I had to succeed, I had no other options.  I was like Richard Gere in “An Officer and a Gentleman.”  I GOT NOWHERE ELSE TO GO!  I GOT NOWHERE ELSE TO GO!”
  4. You run out of money and can’t wait for the next commission check to come in.  Most Realtors need at least one year of savings for protection or live in a household with dual income.  We don’t get a monthly paycheck.
  5. Choosing the wrong company to work for—you need support, guidance, training, and advice as a new Realtor.  It’s critical you choose a company which will offer you the help you need.  Don’t focus on the split or the money you will make, focus on the training and mentoring you will receive.  The first two years of your career are critical—you need training and mentoring.
  6. Busy work does not equal success.  You have to focus on activities which will help you generate commissions.  Prospecting, marketing, networking face time with clients.  RESULTS!!!   (PUT. THAT COFFEE. DOWN!  COFFEE’S FOR CLOSERS ONLY)
  7. Before you start you need to have a plan in place—your territory, your niche, your marketing strategies, your sphere of influence.  What will be your area of expertise?  You need to focus.
  8. What is driving you?  What is important to you in your life?  You need something to pull you to the future.
  9. I feel to be successful as a Realtor you need to care about your customers.  Honesty and integrity are the foundation of your business.
  10. What is your competitive advantage?  How do you set yourself apart from the competition?  Leverage your past work and life experiences to develop your competitive advantage.
  11. Quit too soon.  Never give up.

Share This:

What Kind of Real Estate Career Do You Want?

 

New Camera 3200 Big Island 175

I believe you can build a long lasting and profitable career in real estate based on the following:  Honesty, Integrity, Empathy, Uniqueness, Fun, and Passion.

I remember when I started my career as a Realtor—I made a promise to myself I would not be like all of the other Realtors I knew or had associated with.  I was going to be my own person.  I had confidence in myself that I would be able to help my Clients because I would truly help them and make a positive difference in their lives.  I remembered how I had been treated when I bought my first home and I wanted to give my customers a better experience.

This is what I believed then and what I still believe today:

Honesty

I am always honest with my customers.  I never misrepresent the facts.   I never mislead.  If my customer wants to know something I will get the information for them.  I am honest with my customer, everyone I work with and most especially I am honest with myself.  I have never been ashamed of my work as a Realtor helping my customers.

Integrity

It’s OK to do the right thing.  I strongly believe in doing business with integrity.  I feel so much better about myself as an individual and my career because I know I always do what is right for my customer.

Empathy

This is one of my foundational beliefs—I help my customers get what they want and need and in return I will get what I want and need.  It’s very simple.  Customers first!  I truly care about my customers and my customers appreciate this—they respect and value our relationship.  This is the only way to be a Realtor in my opinion.

Uniqueness

I believe in being who I am.  I never try to be something I’m not.  I never try to be what I think the customer wants me to be.  I accept my uniqueness and I have confidence in my individuality.  I am genuine and again my customers appreciate this and we develop strong relationships because it is real.

Fun

I am professional yet at the same time I have fun during the process helping my customers.  Who can’t have fun when you see a beautiful brick fireplace has been painted pink?  Ha!  True story.  I enjoy my life.  I enjoy helping my customers.  If I can make them happy and laugh during a stressful time they will appreciate it and remember me.

Passion

My passion is my life.  My passion is what I do.  I love helping my customers.  I make a real difference in their lives.  It’s the best job I have ever had in my life because I am doing something meaningful in this world and helping people.

I wish all of this for you.  You too can enjoy a career in real estate.  And if you’re already a Realtor and it’s not going the way you expected then you can do a reset.  Don’t give up!

 

 

Share This:

What I Learned After Podcasting for One Year

Podcast Microphone

 

Last week I finished up my last podcast for the month of May.  I completed my first year podcasting and it was a big success.  Thanks for all your help and support.  I recorded 56 episodes this past year and by the end I was finally getting the hang of it. I thought it would be helpful to share with you some of the big takeaways I learned after podcasting for one year.

  1. The Magic of Doing.  The more you do, the better you get but you have to start first.
  2. Don’t quit.  Even when it looks grim you have to stick with it because positive results only happen when you stay at it.  Persistence is such an underrated value nowadays.
  3. People Will Surprise You.  In an amazing way, so many people are willing to help and share their story, their secrets and help other people.
  4. Sound quality and excellent editing are the key ingredients of a successful podcast.
  5. When doing interviews it’s best to listen to your guests and ask questions based on the conversation rather than reading prepared questions.
  6. There is no one way to be successful.  Many paths to success.
  7. What do top Real Estate Agents have in common?  What can we learn from them?  Top Agents develop early on a competitive advantage and set themselves apart from the competition based on their previous work experience and/or life experience.
  8. What kind of Agent are you?  Hustle Agent?  Sphere Agent?  Internet Agent?  Farming Agent?
  9. What is the best way for individual Realtors to increase their annual gross commissions?  Figure out a way to increase their average sales price.
  10. Buy vs. Rent on the web?  Do you own your presence on the web?  Or are you renting through Facebook?  LinkedIn?  Twitter?  Buying Leads from a 3rd party?    Advertising on other websites?
  11. Are you building your own email list of potential customers?  Do you own your community?
  12. Proper Training and Mentoring for New Agents is the biggest value a Managing Broker and Trainer can provide to new Agents.
  13. I created a Top 20 List Guaranteed for Success for new Realtors.  Click for Podcast.
  14. My Passion is what I do.  I am not searching for it.  Look within, not without.
  15. Podcasting is a great way to build your brand—a great low cost marketing tool.
  16. Give me feedback on my podcast here:  The Honest Real Estate Agent Podcast Survey.

I enjoy podcasting.  My first year has been a huge success.  I have connected with many amazing people who have been guests on my show.  I have received a lot of great feedback from the listeners and I have created many new relationships with listeners who have emailed me.

Thanks for all your support.  I appreciate it.  Make sure to spread the word to other people in the real estate industry about my podcast—post a rating and review on iTunes as well.  I feel it’s the best podcast out there for new and aspiring Realtors.  “Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”  (Movie?)

Share This:

Your Path to Success as a New Realtor

I have been studying intensely why some Real Estate Agents fail and others succeed.  I am here to help you succeed in your career.

This is the path for your success as a Realtor.

Blog Pics from Old Computer 004

  1. Six months savings in the bank to cover you at a minimum.  Twelve months would be ideal.
  2. Choose the right office to work for—most important criteria is make sure they have a good training and mentoring program for new Agents.  This is absolutely critical and one of the most important requirements for your success in your first two years.
  3. Be Honest.  This is so simple yet so hard for some people.  Be Honest with your customers.  Be Honest with your colleagues.  Be Honest with your manager.  Be Honest with your friends.  Be Honest with your family.  But most importantly, be Honest with yourself.
  4. Care about your customers.  Help your customer get what they want and need and in return you will get what you want and need.  Again, very simple but so hard for some people.  When you truly care about your customers they will know it.  They will value it.   They will share their story of how you helped them.  Be different and make a difference in the lives of your customers in a positive way.
  5. Start working right away.  Don’t be afraid.  Conquer your fear.  Call reluctance has killed many careers.  Don’t keep making excuses for not calling or getting in touch with your sphere, working floor or hosting Open Houses.  Just start doing it.  Make the calls.  Do the sales activities to get you in front of potential customers.  Don’t procrastinate.  Every minute that goes by in the beginning of your career when you’re not doing anything makes it so much harder for you to succeed.
  6. Preview–Preview–Preview:  Learn your inventory.  Local market expertise is a learned skill.
  7. Role play with your Managing Broker, Trainer or Colleagues to practice.  The only way you’re going to build confidence is by practicing.  You can learn from your mistakes with your colleagues so you’re ready once you’re face to face with new Clients.
  8. Identify your Competitive Advantage as a Realtor.  What sets you apart from the competition.
  9. Start hosting Open Houses right away.
  10. Commit to your career as a Realtor.  You are a professional.
  11. Put in the work!  This is a job based on showing up everyday at the office when you’re new.  Go to work at your office–don’t work from home!  Only a small percentage of new Agents do well working from home in their first year.  Dress professionally at the office, look the part.
  12. Start building your internet presence immediately with your blog/website.  Content marketing is a powerful tool to connect with new customers.
  13. Handwrite personal cards to friends and family letting them know about your new job as a Realtor.  Include at least five business cards in each note you send.
  14. Always remember to listen more than you talk when you meet new clients.  The art of listening will help you immensely.  Don’t be the stereotypical Real Estate Agent who is always talking, always pushing and so annoying.  Just shut up and listen.  You will be amazed how this will help you develop strong and lasting relationships with your customers.
  15. Start building your database right away–Direct Mail List of your sphere and farm.  Email list (Mail Chimp free when you have less than 2,000 contacts).  Database of your key contacts and champions with phone numbers so you can call.
  16. For your personal life make sure you prepare your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, close family that succeeding in real estate is going to take time.  It’s going to take you one to two years to build up your business–set the expectation up front before you start.  One of the biggest stresses for a new Agent could be dealing with those closest to you and if they are not supportive or patient this could end your career before it starts.
  17. In your first year start farming a neighborhood or geographic area.
  18. In your first year start building your content marketing engine on your website/blog.
  19. Have fun!  Enjoy your life.  Enjoy your job.  Your enthusiasm will shine through.  Don’t be somebody else.  Be yourself, enjoy helping your clients.  Create a positive and memorable experience so when think of you they have good thoughts.
  20. Don’t Give Up!!  Never give up!  Day always follows night.  The sun always comes up.  Business always turns as long as you stick with it.

Light Bulb Moment!!  As I go through this list I see all of these action items are within your control.  You can do it!  It’s not the market!  It’s not your manager!  It’s not your colleague down the hall!  It’s not your competition!  It’s not the weather!  It’s you!  Your success is all based on you and what you do with the opportunity you are given.  Don’t waste it by playing the blame game!  Look within yourself and be the best Realtor you can be.  You will thank me afterwards.   OK, let’s do it together!

 

Share This:

What is the Most Important Sales Skill?

field of spring grass and sunset

field of spring grass and sunset

OK, let’s talk about the art of listening when it comes to sales or just the skill of listening in general .  I say it’s a skill because it can be learned and improved upon in time.  I feel a lot of Real Estate Agents who don’t do well can be tied to poor listening skills.  One of my strengths in sales my entire career is my ability to listen well and connect on a genuine basis with my prospective customers.  I want to help you listen better because you will see a huge improvement in your customer relations and your sales numbers will go up.

The Negatives of Not Listening

  • Dating—have you ever had a bad date?  Had a friend who went on a bad date?  What do they say?  That guy just talked about himself all night long, his job, his car, his trips—he was so boring.
  • Have you ever been to a party and you end up talking to someone who just talks and talks and never let you say a word?  Pretty frustrating.
  • Bought anything recently?  Car?  Jewelry?  Service?  Some salespeople just talk on and on and it’s annoying.
  • Have you seen the old Woody Allen movie, Take the Money and Run—great scene when Virgil (Woody Allen’s character) is in jail.  He’s in jail quite a bit in the movie.  Rather than being put in solitary confinement for punishment they put Virgil in a room with an insurance salesman.
  • It’s human nature, we want to talk and express ourselves.  Especially when buying or selling a home.  Biggest financial transaction for most people.  My wife and I just bought a car recently.  The salesperson helping us was a professional.  He let my wife talk about what she wanted in a new car.  What was important to her.

 

Benefits of listening—

  • In general people want to be around people who are good listeners.  The art of conversation.  It’s a two way street.  Think about the last time you had lunch or coffee with someone who you enjoyed talking with.  It was a give and take.  You talked about subjects which were interesting to both of you and you were able to share your ideas and express yourself.  We all want to express ourselves.  This is one of the biggest benefits of listening, letting the other people share and be energized during the conversation.
  • In sales, good listening skills gets your customer talking about their situation—you learn what is important to them.
  • Build the relationship—people love to talk and express themselves rather than being “sold.”
  • By letting your customer talk they will tell you everything you need to know rather than you guessing or telling them.  Think of yourself like you’re a lawyer—you’re building the case for why they need to buy or sell their home.
  • It doesn’t matter what you think or feel, it’s up to them.  You can advise them but never make decisions for your clients.  Never do this!!!

 

How to Listen Better—Some Tips

  • Make good eye contact.  Focus on who is talking.  Don’t play on your phone.  Don’t fidget.
  • Don’t interrupt when they’re talking to ask questions or make a point.
  • If you’re at a table then take notes.  Ask permission first.
  • Don’t sell when you see an opening, remain quiet and let them keep talking.
  • Read Body Language
  • If you don’t understand a point they’re making then ask them to clarify.
  • Ask good questions.  Open ended questions to keep the conversation going.
  • Concentrate.  Keep your mind on the conversation.  Don’t daydream.
  • Let Silence be your friend.  If there’s silence don’t feel compelled to fill it.
  • When you do talk, keep it to a minimum.  Don’t blab on and on.  Short and simple.   Don’t put people to sleep while you’re talking.  
  • OK, here’s a big point.  When you’re talking don’t try to show how smart you are.  Some people get too caught up in being right about issues and showing how smart they are.  This is not important when you’re helping your customers.  Help them with the information they need.  Don’t lecture them.
  • Be calm.

Share This: