Monday, October 15, 2007

How to Remain Standing in a Shifting Market: 5 Strategies for Succeeding While Holding Your Ground

by Julie Escobar (RealtyTimes)
Many agents are having trouble finding their footing in today's swiftly changing market. Standing inventory, unrealistic sales prices and a dynamic economy require agents to get organized, adopt a winning mindset, hone their sales skills and provide a sense of realism for both buyers and sellers.
Here are five strategies for doing just that:
Get organized. It's a business -- your business -- and the importance of planning and organizing cannot be understated. Both are vital to your long-term success as well as your short-term sanity!
Do you have a razor-sharp focus on your goal? Have you planned how you're going to accomplish that goal? Have you broken it down into measurable daily, weekly and monthly activities? If so, have you recently recalculated those numbers to reflect market changes? If you have not yet taken any actions like these, you need to as soon as possible.
Begin by knowing what you need to make and what you would like to make to meet this year's financial obligations and accomplish personal or family goals. How many commissions does that represent? How many listings and sales will you need to earn those commissions? Be conservative, allow for fallout, then determine how many prospects you will have to contact daily, weekly and monthly to effectively list and market the necessary inventory.
Next, block out your time accordingly. Your top priorities as a professional salesperson are to prospect, present and close. Commit at least one hour a day to prospecting. You also should contact some people in your sphere of influence every day. We recommend an alphabetical system where you contact all clients whose last name begins with "A" on the first day of the month; everyone whose name starts with "B" on the second day, and so on.
Keep your calendar updated, and schedule time to return phone calls each day to avoid veering off track. Be sure to include downtime in your daily and weekly calendar, as well. All work and no play should not even be an option. Put automated systems in place for direct marketing and ongoing campaigns to provide peace of mind in knowing that you are always contributing to your forward momentum.
Do a reality check. Savvy agents know that effectively pricing homes on the heels of an "automatic" market requires old-school techniques combined with high-tech tools and a strong knowledge base.
Consider a Merchandising Review. This checklist of seller-controlled factors such as owner financing, flexibility, pricing below market value and more gives sellers a heads up on the items they need to commit to in order to enhance the salability of their home.
Many agents use the Pricing Pyramid to illustrate the true impact of pricing property right the first time. Visuals such as this -- combined with testimonials from customers who heeded your advice and achieved the desired results -- are valuable additions to your presentation and priceless resources when you're facing tough objections and unrealistic expectations.
Open new doors. Expanding your client base with a new source of prospects may give you just the production spike you need to stay the course in slower months.
As you build your client base, find a target market that appeals to you, and become that demographic's "go-to" agent in your area. Perhaps you would like to help local renters realize their dream of becoming first-time homeowners. You may want to develop a referral network among small-business owners in your area or work with investors in the luxury home market. Do you especially enjoy working with seniors, medical professionals, educators, accountants or builders? Those are just a few of the demographics that could benefit from your particular brand of spark and skill. Experiment over the next six months to see what you like, and add at least one new market group to your client base as a result.
Commit to extraordinary service. Zig Ziglar once said, "If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want." This simple truth will serve you well throughout your career.
What better way to feel empowered and on top of your game than to surround yourself with people you like, enjoy and appreciate? Do more for your client base than simply put them on a mailing list. Get to know them; think of them as friends, and go out of your way to make sure you provide standout service with genuine compassion.
Did you know that a client's value over 20 years can exceed $93,000? That's according to statistics from the National Association of REALTORS®, which say that the typical seller owns their home for about five years. If you sell that client their first home for $150,000, and they purchase a new home every five years for roughly 25 percent more than the house they are selling, and each house they sell has appreciated approximately 3 percent per year, you will find a total value of $93,611 (at 3 percent commission) in that one client.
Perspective is everything, and with that type of income potentially attached to every "friend" you make and maintain in this business, you are likely to find yourself with a new appreciation for the care and handling of each and every client.
Taking care of the VIPs who will take care of you throughout your career will give you a renewed sense of joy for what you do, an extended network of people eager to help you on your journey and an opportunity to realize your goals while helping others reach theirs.
Stay ahead of the curve. We are truly fortunate to live in an age where we can tap into resources for education, knowledge, skill building and sales tools 24/7. Some of the greatest minds in the industry share their experience and expertise in the form of internet downloads, informative articles, podcasts and video technology -- all searchable at any time of the day or night.
Today's consumers are smart, savvy and well informed. To compete and excel, you have to earn your commission by providing the most accurate, up-to-the-minute data possible. You have to be compelling in your presentation and sure of your marketing plan. Pull statistics and industry facts from . Learn dialogues from Floyd Wickman, systems from Mike Ferry and how market trends affect your bottom line from Bill Barrett.
Pick and choose who you would like to learn from today, this week or this month. Make it part of your business plan to spend several hours each month learning the strategies, tools and techniques you need to help keep your business and your customers' best interests ahead of the curve.

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