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2007-10-31 12:49:00

Your Real Estate Business Is Changing

How do you cope with the rapidly changing real estate environment and continue to grow in productivity?   How can you keep up with so much new information and technology? 

In my teaching courses and workshops, I have the opportunity to speak with thousands of real estate agents. Because they are already taking classes to become more knowledgeable, proficient, and productive agents, I listen carefully to their philosophy about succeeding.  Without any hesitation I can say there is a repetitive chant of, “The future in the real estate business will not allow me to keep on doing what I’ve been doing.  My same business practices will lose their effectiveness.”

They attend training classes and conventions (e.g., National Assn. of REALTORS Mid-Year meetings in Washington, DC, and NAR National Convention), and while there, investigate the latest in technology offerings and different business models to help them to go to the next level of success.  Designation classes give both notoriety and credibility. 

Generation X consumers expect, as well as challenge these real estate professionals, to make the necessary changes in their business practices. Importantly, with all the information agents absorb in those information-packed days, there will be two or three nuggets they take home that effectively change their business practices. One nugget may be an idea about implementing a new web site. Or, for the agent who already has a web site, learning how to market it and combine it with blogging; or scheduling time to respond to inquiries; or to engage in blogging conversations to demonstrate real estate proficiency; or to gain real prospects with pay-per-click Internet advertising. 

For some agents new to the real estate business, learning basic business practices is necessary.  Mastering scripts and dialogues seems to be “old school,” but soon everyone in sales discovers that if they learn things they need to know and have them down pat, it’s much easier to move ahead with the new directions and efforts of today’s REALTOR®.  For example, how do you handle objections a buyer or seller may have? 

Trained salespeople know there are standard objection-handling techniques.  What is the consumer’s real concern?  Here are the steps: 

  1. Repeat the objection. 
  2. Genuinely ask, "What is the reason for the objection?"
  3. Repeat the answer. 
  4. Isolate it: “Is that the only reason …”?
  5. Empathize and tell a story: “I certainly understand how you feel; in a previous sale, M/M __ felt the same way, but what they found out was that when …”.
  6. “M/M buyer, based upon that little story I just told you, what would you like to do?”  Mastering scripts and dialogues helps you reduce loss of sales and helps you list properly priced homes.

The ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) Designation class teaches agents how to properly present the possible business relationships they can have with the consumer. ABR students examine scripts, and learn how to explain why a company chooses the one or two relationships that are available to them.  If buyer or seller agency is one of the selected realtionships and the possibility of dual and/or designated agency exists, students learn how to explain the plusses and minuses of single vs. dual representation, the limitation of fiduciary duties in dual agency, and other choices available to the consumer. 

The course illustrates the "how-to" of setting up the buyer (or seller) counseling session, i.e., an outline of what topics will be covered and the language used in a consultation session.  You learn how to differentiate yourself and your company from others in the industry. 

You learn the benefits of specialization. In the business world today, it’s impossible to be all things to all people. What is your area of specialization? 

  • Are you especially good with first-time buyers? 
  • Are you particularly well-versed on the generational differences among real estate sellers and buyers because you are a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES™)? 
  • Are you particularly fond of working with historic homes? 
  • Do you specialize in new construction? 
  • Are you familiar with the special needs of investors and have you learned about their interests (which are different from typical home buyers)? 

Probe more deeply and ask yourself some additional questions.

  • What is your specialty? 
  • Is it the ability to speak other languages? 
  • How does your specialization demonstrate itself in your marketing?
  •  How is it a value to the consumer? 

It’s always about the consumer, not the agent. How do you market to all of your clients as well as to your sphere of influence? Do you publish a regular e-mail newsletter that also is linked from your blog?  

If you still cling to the “status quo,” you are focused on being comfortable. Change requires energy and the willingness to be uncomfortable.  You can be like “Hem and Haw” in the great little 1998 book Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson and never move from a cell phone to a Treo 700 or a Blackberry, which allows you to text message, receive and make calls, access your multiple listing service (MLS), take pictures, etc. 

You could learn a new customer relationship management system, but it’s cheaper to do it the old way.  Be wary - your competitors are gaining advantages by making the changes.  Author Robert Quinn says the shift to make is to become “results centered.”  With self-confidence and support, you can change.  Remove the negative self-talk in your head that tells you, “I can’t do that.”  Ask your family and your company for support.  Risk has its failures and its rewards. 

(Joseph Marovich is the owner of Marovich Business Institute and regularly facilitates designation courses for the NAR’s affiliates (ABR,GRI,PMN,SRES) as well as teaches workshops and seminars for Boards, Associations, and companies.  Licensed for 35 years, he is a recognized agency expert and often acts as an expert witness in agency, misrepresentation, and other cases.  You can contact him at Joe@MarovichBusinessInstitute.com, or 732 961-9618)

© Joseph Marovich, 2007

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