My Next Step With Winning Agent

Update, New Items – Mortgage Lending and Financial Information

Over the last couple of months I’ve added a few services from some great people to the Winning Agent line up.  In case anyone is wondering, everything is happening naturally and without rush.  It’s been fun to see what suggestions people have had about what should and should not be part of my little blog about real estate. The general consensus is,”Keep providing things that are useful, and that will help me be better at what I do.”  For what it’s worth, I only write about and include things that I find useful.

Website and Blog Content ServicesWe added an incredible service for Real Estate professionals to keep their website current with top notch blog content.  It’s unique, with one of a kind articles written on topics you choose that will work with your website. Our goal is to come alongside you and handle all of the content needs for your website.  This will help keep your content fresh and relevant for your clients.

Winning Agent Pro Theme is responsive Working in collaboration with one of the best Genesis WordPress professionals on the planet, Carrie Dils (on Twitter @carriedils), we’ve also added a really simple website solution for Realtors.  One that can work with or without IDX.  Customizable, and with multiple options.  Customize it yourself or have Winning Agent build one for you with IDX service or without.

So what’s coming now?  Two things actually:

1) The ability to change your subscription settings to match what type of content you would like to receive.  This will start April 28th, 2014.  You will be able to choose one or more from the following options (all categories are designed to help you become a more well-rounded professional):

  • Real Estate – The how-to, and what you need to be the top Realtor in your market place.  We are going to teach you how to get clients to want to work with you and stay with you for life.
  • Web and Social Media – How to build a better website and use social media. Yep, it really works when you do it right!
  • Personal Development – If you are not growing, you’re losing ground.  Everyone can use some ways to stay mentally strong and at their best.
  • Mortgage and Financial – What you need to know to be proficient with what’s going on in the lending world; trust me your clients will be asking you about this stuff.
  • Tech – All the code stuff you really never wanted to know about, or maybe you do.  Now you can learn to do the things those techies do.

2) A category that I have had a lot of requests for, and one that fits really close to my skill set.  Mortgage Lending…now don’t roll your eyes; I’m not going to talk about things that won’t help you sell more and be a more well-rounded professional.  Like everything I write about, these articles will be perfect to forward to your clients or fellow professionals.  Things like how credit reports work, why investing in real estate makes sense, and what to look for in a loan officer to just mention a few.

So stick with me, and pass this site along to your friends and coworkers.  Anyone who you think could use a little boost, some new ideas, or just fine tuning.

Got a suggestion?  Let me know…

Three Little Words – Learn to Say and Use Them

I don’t know

No, it’s probably not the three you’re thinking of. Of course “I love you” is a very important phrase to remember, especially on Valentine’s Day. But in everyday business transactions the three most important little words you can say might be “I don’t know.” Yet most people are afraid to say them. Why?

For starters, we all want to appear smart, knowledgeable, in control. You are not going to voluntarily admit that you don’t have all the answers. So you make an educated guess or, worse still, you fake it. Of course, you might get lucky—even a broken watch is right twice a day! But what if you’re wrong? That phony confidence could backfire, big time.

“I don’t know” is actually a very powerful communication tool. Used correctly, it can give you three important advantages when communicating with your clients and colleagues:

  • “I don’t know” gives you credibility
  • “I don’t know” gives you time
  • “I don’t know” gives you room to grow

“I don’t know” gives you credibility. It’s easy to BS your way through certain conversations. When it comes to client communications you are, after all, supposed to be the expert. And your clients naturally have a lot of questions. Which direction is the market going? Where are interest rates headed? What’s a realistic offer for this property? Has this lot been surveyed?  How anxious are these owners to sell? Of course the answers to some of these questions are, at best, educated guesses. But when it comes to property-specific questions, you’re better off to admit that you don’t know the answer. If you make it up and the client comes back to you later saying you were wrong, your credibility can be permanently damaged. It’s much worse to be wrong than to admit not knowing.

“I don’t know” gives you time. Make your “I don’t know” doubly effective with this add-on: “But I’ll find out.” You should always be able to follow up with an answer, and sooner rather than later. Either find the answer yourself or find an expert who knows more about it than you do. That way the client gets an answer to their problem, and you look smart in the process.

When it comes to finding answers, even to tough questions, the Internet is your friend. Learn to love it, if you don’t already. And don’t just refer your client to a well-known web site or suggest they “Google it.” Instead, be hyper-local with your research and make every answer client-specific. They have kids? You know where to find your school district’s graduation rates or how to apply for local scholarship money. They are hikers, bikers, musicians, or dancers. You’ll find just the right special interest group they can join. The Boomer couple has an aging parent who will need specialized care. You’ll find the perfect advocate to guide them through the system.

“I don’t know” gives you room to grow. Every challenging question is an opportunity to add to your knowledge base. Actually, it’s kind of a game to put yourself into a situation where you don’t know the answer. It can be fun to conquer a topic that stumps you. It gives you something new to learn. But before you dive head first into research mode, make sure you understand the question. If the client is asking about utility rates or insurance premiums, focus on their context. If they are used to heating with natural gas and local homes are all-electric, you could be comparing apples to oranges. Instead say “I don’t know, is that similar to x, y, z?” or “I don’t know, can you explain a bit more?” Then you can follow up with a plan for what you’ll do next.

Finally, it’s important to know what you don’t know. Of course none of us can be expected to know everything. That’s why we trust certain things to the experts, like nuclear physics and brain surgery. Personally, I don’t know much about those things and I don’t need to know. In real estate, things like property values and interest rates are important, but so is your credibility and your service mentality. The measure of a Realtor is not so much in the basics you offer—almost anyone can list a property or write up a contract. But how do you respond to unusual challenges? How do you treat your clients when they have special needs?

People who survive in this business are those who understand the lifetime value of their clients and who aren’t afraid to say, “I don’t know.”

Questions For You and Your Clients To Ask Each Other

Choice and decisions: businessman thinking with question marks written on adhesive notes stuck to a

The savvy Realtor will continually evaluate his or her own performance.  How am I doing?  What could I be doing better?  What do I need to learn? Question yourself from the perspective of self-improvement—not self-incrimination.  And when you’re done with those questions, here are ten more that will open up new perspectives and new opportunities: five you should ask your client and five that your client should ask you (and you better have good answers!)

5 Questions to Ask Your Client [Read more...]

Applying Minimalist Thinking To Home Ownership

Minimalist thinking and design

While there are several theories as to why we have become a society obsessed with the need to possess, suffice it to say that whatever we have, we usually want more – or better or newer.  We stuff our houses with furniture and clothes.  We stuff our days with activities and commitments.  We stuff our minds with electronic overload. [Read more...]

Get a Head Start on the Year with Your Personal “SWOT” Analysis

Get a Head Start on the Year with Your Personal “SWOT” Analysis
For years successful companies have used the SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) to evaluate themselves and develop strategies for moving ahead. But this exercise is not just useful for corporations and businesses. You can use it to develop your own strategic growth plan for the year ahead. Here’s how:

The secret is to look at yourself as if you were a company. It’s called “You, Inc.” and a new year is a great time to take an in depth look at yourself, your market, and your competitive environment. The analysis comes in four parts: [Read more...]

Embracing the No! (or How to Stop Worrying and Start Loving Rejection)

how to stop worrying and start loving rejection

In a recent article we told you how to turn “No” into “Yes.” Now we’re going to tell you why you shouldn’t bother.

Face it—we all hate rejection on some level. Nobody likes to hear the “no.” And we’ve all been there. But when you’ve worked hard to land a new listing or had a sale fall through on the way to closing, it can bring back that feeling of failure times ten. Not every “no” can be turned into a “yes.” Here’s how to live and learn with the ones that can’t.

[Read more...]