This week I traveled to Miami to attend what turned out to be a better-than-expected conference by Gary Vaynerchuk called Agent 2021. For those who don't know Gary, he is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of VaynerMedia, but I've known about him even before that when he hosted one of the first and most successful shows on social media platforms called Wine Library TV, which helped him grow his family's business into a $50+ million business.
The most important insight that he shared is that it's still very early in the Digital Age and opportunity abounds on all social channels. Newcomers tend to be intimidated by "influencers" who have been in the social sphere for a long time now with an enormous resume of content. Bottom line: there's always room for new quality content and most people lack the discipline to produce on a regular basis. Furthermore, the cost of exposure ranges from free to low cost as major brands have yet to fully enter the arena and drive up the cost!
I am also in agreement with the emphasis that was placed on personal branding. In the pre-Digital Age, you had to spend a lot of money to brand yourself on billboards, T.V., radio and just about every major media outlet just to get your name out there. But in today's world, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn are the Modern Age's equivalent of the major networks such as A.B.C., N.B.C. and C.B.S. The best part is that there are no gatekeepers to get approved by or gigantic budgets required!
Although the access is simple and free to low cost, I do recognize that there's a "content paralysis" where a lot of you get stuck about what type of content to put out. In the real estate context, you already have content. You can talk about how you would take someone through the buying and selling process and supplement that by doing a monthly market summary by simply pulling the statistics from M.L.S. and discussing the trends in your marketplace. In addition, you should be publicly discussing your listings and their features and the lifestyle benefits that they offer. In short, the content is right in front of you! It's all about injecting yourself. Start recording and talk about these topics and push them out into your social platforms.
However, the most important concept I took away from the #Agent2021 was to ensure that you engage with your audience. It's one thing to get content out there and it's another thing to engage people in and around that relevant content. Talk to them and answer their questions because all of these social media platforms are only viable when we engage each other. However, don't push! Be genuine and help people. When you engage in an authentic way, you magnetize people into the conversation where you build meaningful relationships that bear true fruit.
If there was a key word for me this week it was "agency". Although many business models, including real estate, are under great pressure to change, the concept of agency is alive and well. A top-shelf real estate agency owner or real estate agent is more responsible than ever for lifting up agents and consumers by providing effective solutions to Digital Age problems by giving structure and guidance in a new context. When you embrace the concept that we are in the "agency" business, you begin to see yourself as the problem solver that the World needs more than ever.
To summarize the key point: “Go all in on understanding these social platforms. They are not going away."
The greatest challenge that real estate agent's face is time management.
However, before painting this problem with such a broad brush, agents should first determine the core of the problem. Is the challenge that 1. They don't know what to do with their time or 2. They are running out of time trying to keep up with what they have to do.
Quite the dilemma. However, the solution starts by considering which of your mindsets is controlling you.
Simply put, how can you "manage" anything without a manager's mindset. As I contemplate the concept of a manager's mindset, I'm always drawn back to Michael Gerber's E-myth where I first recognized that the Manager was indeed a persona unique from the Technician or Sales persona.
It's natural for a Sales persona to assume that you can manage a better business through the mindset of a Technician where your focus is on the present and performing the hands-on work of the business. However, a manager's mindset is that of a planner who takes the company's strategic vision and plots tactical action plans to accomplish that vision in a certain period of time.
After considering this for many years, I've chunked up what I believe is the manager's modules of concentration: Marketing Module, Conversion Module, Closing Module, and Past Client Module.
Once you consider that these modules are the time managed blocks that produce the outcome of a happy client, only then will you be able to organize the tactics that will properly consume your time. Therefore, for each module, there must be clear, tactical plans that should be put in place in order to effectively manage time.
You must memorialize your tactical plans in your CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) in order to ensure that your time to execute these actions is clearly blocked. For example, when are you actually going to manage your time to make lead, prospect, and client calls?
Once you get into a rhythm of completing task plans within allotted time frames, it's important to measure your results against the plan. You should constantly measure your results to check if your managed time plan is working in order to make refinements along the way to ensure that you reach your financial goal.
To summarize the key point: “Learn how to see time management from a manager's perspective.”
P.S. If you feel like you're getting nowhere, ask me questions, post comments, and I will help you make those "guided missile" adjustments so that your time management plan is always on track.
Learning to speak conversational real estate is very important in the real estate agent business. On our weekly live sales training calls for our Mastermind Members in The Realty Classroom, we have highlighted the importance of the context of the inside sales call.
By focusing on a quick and simple introduction: “Hi I’m Danny Griffin from The Griffin Realty Group” you’ll give the lead an orientation as to who you are and what your business is about, assuming the word real estate or some variation is included.
The next beat is to tell the lead why you’re calling them. There are many examples depending on their context. For example: “I noticed that you expired on the MLS” or “I noticed that you came into our website searching for properties.”
At this point, they know who you are and what you know about them.
The next step is to discuss the struggle they’re facing, also referred to as agitating the pain, which they may or may not realize they’re suffering from. The reason for bringing the tension to the forefront is so that you’re able to more effectively offer your solution.
The final beat of our introduction is what we’ve done, sent or will do immediately to help them. While you might ask permission to do so first, we have found that it’s best practice to send helpful information regardless of their willingness to accept it; unless of course we discover that our help has no relevance. For example, a probate lead, the administrator of an estate, informs us that there is no real estate to sell.
It’s critical to emphasize that there is no need to be confrontational.
As you go through your conversations with leads, you will experience a lot of rejection simply because people as consumers are conditioned to quickly say “NO” because they’re agitated, frustrated or simply hate being sold. Also, the people at the other end of the telephone line don’t know you so they are naturally not willing to open up.
This is precisely where it’s critical to cross over from a more scripted introduction to a conversation and the best way to do so is by asking a question that allows them to vent about their frustration.
For example, when speaking to an expired lead, after telling them we sent our 7 Step Plan in the mail, we ask them, “why do you think it didn’t sell?”
Now, once they open up and enter the conversation, there will be many different emotionally charged responses that won’t follow anybody’s script to the letter. Over time you’ll see a pattern in the types of objections you’ll have to overcome however, the key is to be ready to interject with a strong understanding of the market within which you’re working.
Practice by truly answering the question, “How’s the market?”
By simply studying the market statistics and trends that are readily available in MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and discussing those meaningful specifics during your call, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a true professional and mastering conversational real estate.
To summarize the key point: “Learn To Speak Conversational Real Estate.”
Each week in The Realty Classroom, we conduct a live sales training session for our Mastermind Members and their teams. Although we incessantly practice inside sales role play, we recognize that agents experience a higher level of challenge when dealing with real leads and hearing their aggressive and sometimes negative reactions on the other end of the telephone line.
One of the things we picked up on was the "tone" of one caller and how it could tell us how to behave. The seconds that it takes for a lead to say "hello" can offer a clue as to the mood you're encountering. It's amazing how simply being a good listener can set you up for a greater chance at inside sales success. When you hear the one and match yours, you're demonstrating an act of empathy which helps you navigate your opening script.
I also want to point out that you must have a clean 3 beat script down who you are, why you're calling, and what you're offering. The simple point is that you have seconds to cut to the chase and tell them why you're interrupting their life.
Finishing your opening with a relevant, provocative question will allow them to vent and give you clues as to how you might personalize your solution for them. For example, in the context of an expired lead, it's likely that they are agitated and frustrated and may feel the need to rough you up.
The key point is that when they start to vent or even attack you, you shouldn't pull back, rather lean in a bit by being confident in the strategies that you're offering to help them overcome. By doing so, you'll at least achieve a clear outcome and determine whether or not there will be an opportunity for follow up.
To summarize the key point: “Learn to diffuse the negative emotions of a lead by leaning in to confidently express your plan to help them"
2018 has just begun and I want to share my thoughts on how to plan the new year correctly so that you may actually reach your goals.
The most important point: don't start the year by making the mistake of focusing on what went wrong in 2017. I know it may be difficult, however, I can guarantee that all of us can find some things that definitely went right and you should start your plan for 2018 built upon your current strengths.
It's also a great time of the year to revisit Michael Gerber's "The E-Myth" or "E-Myth Real Estate Brokerage". As you build your plan for the future, you must understand that an entrepreneurial spirit to succeed is not a plan. It's also clear most of us tend to focus only on the technical or sales work and we don't bother to stop and ask ourselves: how does the whole business really work?
When you stop to consider the mechanics of the business, you're allowing for the"manager's point of view." This viewpoint is the critical middle ground between the "entrepreneur/visionary" and the "technician/salesperson." It's the missing link for correct planning and accountability throughout the year.
Setting a clear revenue goal this year is also a must. Rather than worrying about the micro details, just pick a number and write it down. It's amazing how a clear, reasonable revenue goal, when written on a paper, can serve as your inner manager's compass.
Another thing to focus on this year is your commitment to follow-up and conversion. You must build the self-discipline to follow up and clean your list of Prospects consistently and on at least a weekly basis.
Finally, resist the urge to whine and complain. Complaining is often the result of not having a clear plan and it's up to you to follow a strategic plan that bullet-proofs you from getting lost throughout 2018.
To summarize the key point: “Focus on building a manager's point of view and self-discipline to achieve your real estate goals in 2018”