Monday, July 25, 2011

Ten Steps to Building A Better Business Plan

Imagine every man, woman, and child you know standing side-by-side, holding hands and behind them everyone they know. On average, 7-10% of these people will have real estate needs over the next 12 months… whether you are their REALTOR or not!

Your task is to influence the thinking of the people you know now (and those you will know in the future), until they become proactive on your behalf leading you directly to everyone they know who has a real estate related issue or a desire to buy/sell property.

Your goal is to have people who care about you and who are enthusiastic enough to refer anyone they may know to you. It becomes “word of mouth” with a mission ... But before word of mouth can become a positive influence on your business, you must first build a reputation of excellence ... A reputation built on solid morals, ethics, and business principals. The goals you set, the customer you strive to create, and the methods you use will either contribute to or detract from your likelihood of success ... Plan Ahead and Plan Well.

Your new business plan needs to answer three fundamental questions:
1) What do I want?
2) When do I want it?
3) What do I need to change to make it happen?

It shouldn't be viewed as  a number crunching exercise but more like an autobiography to be reviewed and revised as you continue to discover what is working and what is not working. Like constructing a building …small little pieces laid one on top of the other with skill and care turns into a strong structure to provide many years of shelter. Your business plan is your foundation to grow on.

Step 1: What is Your Business’s Purpose?
"The Purpose of your business is to create “A” customer." (over and over and over again!)
Your immediate survival and your long term success is dependent on you succeeding in generating a sufficient number of qualified clients. You must commit consistent daily time and energy to creating future customers who are "ready willing and able".

Despite the seeming wisdom of advertising in the local newspaper or “farming” a neighborhood, this method doesn't create enough qualified clients because they don't need you and there is too much clutter for your message to break through. In short ...They don’t perceive any “value” in your message!

Step 2: What is Your Perfect Client?
No client exists until you create them. So, why not improve your chances for long term success by rejecting the notion of "any client, anywhere, anytime" in favor of attracting the perfect client for you...Your Plan should include the answer to this question “What would My Perfect Client Profile Be?”

Step 3: Define Your Business Model
Never lose sight of your ultimate target, LISTINGS! It's just good business to create a strong listing inventory. The faster you build a base of marketable listings, the more likely you are to survive. The old adage of “list to last” will always ring true …look at most successful agents in your area …I will bet they carry a big inventory of listings year round.

Step 4: Create Opportunities
Real estate listings are a natural consequence of predictable life events ... Marriage, birth, career changes, divorce, injury or illness, aging, and death carry with them vitally important decisions and forward planning regarding real estate.

71 percent of home sellers list with an agent that was referred to them by a trusted source. Your purpose is to be your clients' trusted advisor while they are considering the impact of these life events. You want to be “their REALTOR” long before one of the events occur … You don't want to be in the position of competing with other agents, days before the decision.

In today's market I see most REALTORS clamoring for a qualified buyers to sell a house to right now ...TODAY!....You want listings ... Get the listings and then you'll get the buyers as well.

Step 5: Analyze Your Competition
What they are …Who they are …What value do they offer the consumer?

Most consumers are blinded to a REALTORS “value” by the commission they charge…Then once they are committed by contract, and the fog starts to lift, they start to get a clear picture of what skills the agent brings to the transaction.

Become educated to all the alternate business models in your market place and be ready to educated buyers and sellers on why your services are worth every penny ...and then some!

Step 6: Set realistic, specific and measurable goals.
One thing’s a certainty, you'll need to earn money to pay your bills and provide for the things you want in your future. Not all goals are monetary... but those which have a monetary component need to be reflected in your budget. Make sure your business plan incorporates the appropriate amount of activity necessary to achieve them. Goals are the big picture motivators ...An example would be earning the amount of money my budget calls for.

Objectives are the things you must achieve to attain the goal such as take 35 marketable listings per year.

Step 7: Define Your Target Market
Every year, seven out of 100 homeowners sell their homes. If you market to 100 people and are 100% effective in capturing and sell the full 7% ... (highly unlikely), you won't earn enough to afford the median priced home in your area.

If your objective is to list the properties of the family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances in your Book of Business (BoB), if your market is a community of 100’s who will combine to sell 100's of homes every year. By capturing a small percentage of these Buyers and Sellers you'll still be able to generate a healthy income.

Marketing to, and effectively growing your BoB is the most efficient way to increase the number of referrals you receive every month.

Your target market is the combined spheres of influence of every individual for whom you have a name, address and phone number. The foundation of your business will be the relationships you create with-in your BoB.

Step 8: Develop Your Strategy
Meet people. Make friends. Ask for referrals. Give service, and ask for referrals again.
It’s that simple!

Step 9: Your Marketing Plan is to Influence Your BoB
Everything you need to influence the thinking of a few hundred people is readily available to you. Treat each of those few hundred people as potential real estate investors …(because they are) …and teach them about the benefits of planned real estate ownership.

Consistently send them real estate information they find valuable, which in turn makes you appear more valuable. Most consumers won't know what is really happening in real estate unless you tell them …(CNN still can’t get it right!) They will be grateful to you for enlightening them and will sing lofty praises of you to all who will listen.

And even better, if you get a referral …go the extra mile… so when people talk about their events which are occurring (or gossip for short), they will recommend you as a person to talk to. Not a real estate “salesperson” but someone to confide in…a trusted advisor.

Step 10: Launch Your Plan
Just go out and do it!

Don’t forget to Review, Analyze, Re-launch
What gets measured gets done. As a business person you must put in place a measure of accountability. Many large corporations review their progress annually and revise their plans accordingly.

You have an advantage where you can review your progress weekly ...and have fifty two opportunities to correct your course. Let your business plan be your career G.P.S. let it show you the way.

I hope this info helps you when building your business plan. If you have questions about the many advantages of being an associate with The Fonville Morisey Brier Creek Office, please do not hesitate to call…
       Eddie Brown ©2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's In The Details!

Having a willingness to follow a sound business plan is like having a Career G.P.S.  ...When you become lost and off track ...turn it on and find your way home!

Have you ever wondered why achieving your goals can often take much longer than you planned? 

Many of us often set out on a certain objective or goal but, somewhere along the way, we encounter difficulty or challenges which were unforeseen.  Often under-estimate is the time needed to accomplish certain activities or even under-estimate the time needed to acquire the skill needed to excel.

When the progress is not swift or easy, many often just simply give up.  We spend our time looking for a short cut to success, when none exists.  We get impatient for the result to happen now.  This ongoing challenge with success reminds me of a story. 

Several centuries ago, the Emperor of Japan commissioned a Japanese artist to paint a particular species of bird for him.  Months passed and then years.  The Emperor was finally fed up with the delay and went to the artist’s studio to demand an explanation of the delay.

When the Emperor arrived he found the artist staring at a blank canvas on his easel.  The Emperor demanded the artist to begin his painting at once.  The artist began to paint the bird, and within 15 minutes the painting was complete.  The painting was an absolute masterpiece!  The Emperor was extremely pleased with the work but had to ask why such a long delay.

The artist walked over to the cabinets in his studio.  He proceeded to pull out stacks of drawings of feathers, tendons, wings, feet, claws, eyes, and beaks.  He pulled out drawings of every part of the bird from every angle.  He stacked them in a large pile before the Emperor.  The Emperor then knew why it had taken so long to complete the project.  

There are hundreds of small, little, detailed steps in creating a masterpiece.  You must become a master at performing the small details before you can create a masterpiece.  This artist spent a few years perfecting his skill of drawing this bird for 15 minutes of excellence.  Greatness in life is in the consistency and the details.

To achieve excellence in life, one must strive and focus on creating an excellent year.  Within that year, you must strive for an excellent month.  Within that month, you must strive for an excellent day.  To achieve an excellent day, you have to focus on creating an excellent hour.  The accomplishment of an excellent life is created moment by moment.  What is the sum of your excellent moments so far?

Next weeks Blog: Ten Steps to a Perfect Business Plan

Monday, July 18, 2011

How do you SOAR in Real Estate? ...JUMP!

Why does the Thrill of Soaring
Have to begin with the fear of falling?

There are a few times in my life where I can say I was absolutely scared stiff…but I think one of the most memorable was as a young Marine standing on the tailgate exit of a C-130 looking down to the ground below…reciting in my head…"Proper exit, check body position, and count"…. eyes open, chin on chest…elbows tight into the sides….. when the jumpmasters hand tapped my shoulder…it was time to go… the first 5 seconds is terrifying, the C-130’s engine drone immediately disappears and is replaced by the rush of wind which almost sucks the air from your lungs.
Then the fun begins….you are flying!

In learning how to jump from perfectly good airplanes, the jumpmaster only gives you one tap…the next thing you feel will be a boot in your backside…or what they call “THE PUSH”

I often think about this experience when rookie associates join our team, all bright eyed, with vim and vigor to learn the business. But all too often, I see rookie associates fail to realize the importance of “The Push”.  The leap of faith… full bore into the real estate business.

As a coach I see many types of avoidance behavior exhibited with rookie associates, (or what I like to call “Getting ready, to get ready, to get into the real estate business”). Some examples are “I want to start part time and see how it goes”…  “I want to complete my post broker license classes first, this will give me credibility”…”I want to obtain a few designations first, so I will look knowledgeable”…etc.

You obtain “street cred” with hands on experience…which means Listing and Selling Real Estate. Experience is what gives you the knowledge to gain a clients trust… You fear mistakes being made…and  Yes, sometimes they will happen… but that is what your Broker is for…if you are not 100% sure…ask questions….lots of them!

So are you getting ready to get ready? Have you put off prospecting because of the fear of falling? Are you an experienced associate who is standing at the door? Are you in need of the “TAP” or “THE PUSH”? …Jump on out and Soar!

Eddie Brown ©2010

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Working Expired Listings

Working Expired Listings is easier than you think...First because these are HOT Leads! You know for sure the Seller wanted to sell their home...but for some reason it didn't sell.
In today's market we are seeing a lot of homes go withdrawn or expired usually due to incorrect pricing, poor condition ...or both!
Follow these steps to get more conversions of expired listings into new listings for your inventory:
1) Read the daily MLS hot sheets and target the expired listings you want to "re-list"
2) Always treat expired listings as high-probability leads
3) Contact the Seller by voice or in person with-in 48 hours of property expiring
4) With the Seller’s information in hand, you’re ready to proceed.

The Seller has demonstrated a previous desire, or need, to sell ...
There is a reason their goal was not met… it is your job to discover why.
Find the problem...Solve the problem...and Get the Listing!
“The problem”, is usually, (after waiting out the entire listing period), most likely a simple fix.
The perception for most owners’ is the previous Agent didn’t perform.
More than 50% of expired homes go right back on the market with a different Agent …  why not make the different agent YOU?
Engaging an expired listing
  • Working expired listings is an all-or-nothing game. You can’t proceed in a half-hearted, here-today-gone-tomorrow fashion. Either you work expired listings ... every day and on a consistent basis … or you don’t.
  • If you want to capitalize by converting expired listings, be ready to make working expired listings a part of your business plan.
  • Almost half all the listings that expire occur over the last five days of the month and the first five days of the new month. If you are going to work expireds, plan around this time schedule
  • Arrive at the office early and immediately print out the expired listings
  • After you pull your expired listings from MLS and sorted the ones you want to target, research phone numbers and start making calls
  • If you are unable to find a number go knock on some doors
  • Practice dialogues before you start making calls and visits, spending time to anticipate the objections you might hear from the Seller and practice how to overcome them
  • Work hard to secure a face-to-face appointment to find the real reason their home didn’t sell…. “There must be something the other agent missed”
  • Listen… Ask them why they think their home didn't sell, and then give specific examples of what you will do differently. But remember to be positive; don't criticize the other salesperson.
  • Take the homeowner's side. They are anger and humiliated that their home didn't sell. Be empathetic to these concerns and reinforce to them that they have a desirable home
  • Provide value immediately
  • Give Expired Listings a marketing plan demonstrating how you'll promote the property. They have already been to the dance once…Show them it will be different this time around … Promise to call them on the same day each week and update them on your activities.
  • And after all this is they don’t list… don’t give up! Have a follow-up system which allows long term contact with these listing prospects so that when the time is right… you are front of mind.
Also used expireds and withdrawns as a pool for your buyers who are unable to find the “perfect” home… If the property matches what your buyer is searching for…contact the Seller to see if they are still interested in selling, and if they would be willing to let you show your buyer … it then becomes a list and a sell for you!
Eddie Brown ©2011