Sell me something, please!

Two drops of grapefruit essential oil into my DesrosiersCook branded water bottle had me smiling this morning. My good friend Jen introduced my wife and me to essential oils and how they can enhance our lives. Billy, through his clever network of suppliers, sourced cool white with blue lettering “Swell” style water bottles. We have bought hundreds of essential oils and water bottles. Both items, I like very much. They make my short experience on this planet slightly better.

We purchased these items from friends. And, it’s important to note that we always try to purchase from friends and family. Why? I think it’s part of the meaning of life.

Sure, we could go online and find a slightly cheaper version of each item. And, chances are, they are all made at the same factory in the east somewhere. But to me, the act of supporting a friend is the essence of life.

Your entrepreneurial friends need your support. Those who rely on commissions, contingency sales or who own a retail business need your support to pay their bills. Simple as that.

Often your entrepreneur friends do not have retirement plans and they have taken risks to create a business. Unlike people with “Jay-Oh Bees”, entrepreneurs do not know if they will be able to pay their bills each month. Budgeting when sales are slow can be stressful. Jim Rohn calls it, “too much month at the end of the money.”

How can you help your entrepreneurial friends?

Buy their stuff, drink their Koolaid, ask them what help they need. Avoid their competitors and don’t be a dick. Support your friends and family.

Oh deer, you are not an expert…

Harry Beckwith tells us that “marketing” takes a day to learn but a lifetime to master. After 15 years in biotech and 12 years in years in real estate, I still find the science of marketing fascinating. I have spent millions of dollars trying to find the magic recipe. I can honestly say I have tried nearly everything in marketing and promotion over the years. (well, not blockchain yet). And, I am still looking and learning.

I get a lot of advice from clients about marketing. It’s all very good. Yet, for those of us who research the science of marketing, it’s a lot like asking the deer about how to use a rifle. Just because we are the target, doesn’t mean we are the expert. Yet, as the target, we certainly know when it works.

A day in the life of a real estate agent…

A lot of people ask me about becoming a real estate agent. I could write a book with the answers. A day in the life of an agent is an interesting thing.

This is a typical Wednesday for me.

5:15 am – Awake. Double check schedule for the day, get cleaned up, smell nice, leave the house at 6:25 am.

6:45 am – Arrive at referral breakfast group to meet 35 of the nicest and most committed entrepreneurs in Kelowna. Heckle a little bit, give my one-minute elevator speech, enjoy the 20-minute vendor presentation, finish up breakfast, drink 3 cups of coffee and by 8:30 am I am ready to move on.

9:00 am – Team meeting with Robyn and Luke. We discuss closings, confirm lawyers and details and any keys, lock boxes and client gifts. We also discuss up and coming listings and buyers we need to provide support to. We go through each listing and look at the data, showings, feedback and create an action plan to discuss with the client.

10:30 am – Time to look at emails and make a few outbound calls to clients, lawyers, bankers, home inspectors and to mop up any urgent concerns.

Noon – I usually skip lunch Wednesday because the results of the team meeting will often have me focused on a project. Robyn will often grab me laksa on her mid-day walk. Luke will have adjusted my chair in an attempt to make me fall out of it and lunch will be eaten at the office and sadly, rushed.

2:00 pm – Client showings. This time of year, March, the inventory is often growing so mid-week showings are usually onezy twosy. Often I squeeze in another set of showings at 5:00 pm for clients who work during the week.

3:30 pm – Check listing inventory, confirm emails are going to active clients, finalize any CMA’s (comparative market assessments) that are due for clients. We complete about 4 to 8 CMA’s a week depending on the time of year and often not always for buying and selling, Some clients are curious to know the current value of their property and we are always happy to help.

5:00 pm – Showing of home

6:30 pm – Arrive at my own home. Dinner with Wendy and often rushed.

7:00 pm – Office work at home. Send feedback to agents from showings. Receive feedback from agents who have shown my listings. Confirm interest levels, send emails to agents to see how much buyer or seller interest exists. Today, no offer will be presented or written so I can be done by 8 pm.

8:00 pm – quickly confirm the schedule for Thursday. Toastmasters starts at 6:45 am so I will need to arrive at 6:35 am.

Common Interruptions:

No two days are ever the same but often, significant interruptions will occur.

Dropping off and picking up family, Booking showings for my listings, Writing Offers – requires brain time, receiving offers, sitting down with sellers and buyers on short notice to work through the details.

If it’s a good day, I will have helped at least 3 to 5 clients move their interests forward.

A great day is helping clients and also getting time with Wendy and my kids.

It’s your story to tell.

Real Estate agency relationships are private and confidential. The things you say and do with your agent are… between you and your agent.

By knowing your private thoughts and motivations, your real estate agent is in a careful place to offer advice. A good place. A place to trust.

An ethical agent will hold back from the disclosing anything about your relationship, even it’s existence. Yet, top agents survive by referral. A referral is a recommendation from a past client, friend or associate. So, your referral is needed and vital.

If you liked working with your agent and he or she offered good advice and service please share.

Showing Properties…Simple?

Have you ever called your real estate agent to book a showing? Here is what happens.

  1. Your agent contacts the listing agent to make sure the property is not sold.
  2. Your agent sends a formal request to show the property at a set date and time.
  3. The listing agent receives the message and makes a log entry, contacts the seller and waits for approval. If all is good, the showing is confirmed by the listing agent sending a confirmation message back to the buyer’s agent via email and text message.

You simply meet the agent at the listing and are quickly escorted throughout the home. Simple!

WAIT!

What if the seller cannot accommodate the showing as requested? What if there are tenants who do not respond timely to the listing agent’s request. What if the showing is cancelled or delayed by the seller or tenant? And, what happens when the buyer’s agent has lined up two or three showings and now has a gap in the schedule? What if there is a pending offer? What’s the status of the offer? Is the offer in negotiation? What’s the process now?

Booking a showing may seem simple but there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. In most jurisdictions the timing of offers and showings comes under legal scrutiny should a conflict arise. Agents have specific legal and ethical rules that govern their conduct designed to benefit the public.

Often, these rules and ethics are not crystal clear and agents do their best behind the scenes to ensure fairness. This is one reason why top agents often say such great things about other top agents. A solid transaction always takes two talented agents!

Veteran full-time agents will agree:

  1. Negotiation starts when the showing is booked. Every comment, question and nuance is important should the buyer write an offer later on.
  2. Every showing is important to the seller and to the buyer. If it’s not, don’t book it. Be respectful. You are not buying every house you look at but someone took a lot of time out of their day to prepare the home. Respect.
  3. Feedback is appreciated. What did you like or dislike? This could help the seller in the future. And, more importantly, what did you purchase instead?
  4. Work with a full-time agent. You will notice the difference.

Viewing and screening properties is the most important element in real estate sales. It may seem like a simple appointment but it can lead to a great real estate purchase with the right advice.

D

 

Make it a great day!

My life changed when I finally realized that each day when I awake…

1. It’s a miracle to wake up. Not everyone gets to. I have my wits and my hands, feet and legs all seem to be working just fine. Exercising a grateful attitude rather than angst for the day ahead has helped to shape my mood. Not every day is fluffy and bright but I am truly excited for the day ahead.

2. My day will be filled with challenges. I have replaced, “why is this happening to me?”, with “alright, these are my cards, what’s the best hand I can play?”. I am also getting better with leaving past events in the past. It’s not easy to forget the mistakes, fumbles and times when things don’t go my way but waking up with a fresh slate each day is refreshing.

3. The type, quality and value of my challenges will define my life. Speaking with people who seem to be “stuck” in their lives, it’s often easy to see what they are stuck on is low-value issues. What problems am I helping with today? Am I at 30,000 feet or am I stuck in the weeds of anger, frustration with small issues. Is the work I am doing benefiting me and those people around me? When I am at ground level, am I approaching the work with gratitude?

My only task, therefore, becomes, choosing my challenges wisely.

 

Keeping busy by standing still

People that perform at a high level share the ability to solve “good” problems. Of course, problem solving is essential for getting things done. Few jobs or projects roll out without a hiccup or two. But ask yourself, what type of problems are you solving; self inflicted ones or those presented to you by others? You may feel that you are an excellent problem solver but if you are solving self-inflicted problems too often, your keeping busy by standing still.

Negotiating Leverage

Negotiating the sale of real estate is one of the most dynamic events in business and personal life. Money, emotion, needs, desires, features, timing and more combine to create an interesting storm.

Your real estate agent must be a negotiating expert. And if not an expert, your agent should at least profess to be a student of negotiation strategy and tactics. Your agents skill in this area will serve you: good or bad.

One tactic that is essential to understand is leverage. The FBI* tells us that there are three types. You will see other authors using similar categories with slightly different grammar.

Positive Leverage: Something good will happen if you agree to my terms.

Negative Leverage: Something bad will happen if you don’t agree to my terms.

Normative Leverage: If you agree to my terms, your normative values (the way you see the world) will be satisfied. Interestingly, this requires that the negotiator learns the normative values of his or her counter part. Insert: good communication skills and knowledge of “people”.

In residential real estate negotiations, I have found that positive and normative leverage are most powerful. Continue to read this blog and you will learn more.

*Thanks Chris Voss, Author: “Never Split The Difference”. Highly recommended read or audio book.

 

True Negotiation

A top producing real estate agent is a good negotiator. True or False?

Answer: True and False

Every aspect of real estate has a negotiating element. Consider now selecting a list price. The agent, in effect, negotiates with her or her own client for the list price.

Negotiate a price that’s too high and the home  may not get showings or worse, get showings with poor feedback. Negotiate a price that is too low and the house sells in a day or two. Maybe it was under priced? Maybe it was the “right” price. Which approach is correct?

Under priced homes do not require much negotiation skill. The offers pour in.

Over priced homes do not require any negotiation at all skill because the offer never arrives.

Somewhere in the middle is where your agent shines. A well priced home, marketed properly and with flair attracts offers.

Offers your agent can now apply their true negotiating skill upon.