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Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Stuart Siegel 

Regardless of the market, a strategic approach to growth is necessary to sustain a real estate business long-term

Following the hottest market in decades, U.S. real estate appears to be normalizing in some markets and cooling in others as we enter the last months of 2022. During these times of market variability, planning for brokerage growth can be challenging. When the market is on fire — as it was in 2020, 2021 and early 2022 — it can be tempting to ride the wave, growing as big as possible and as fast as possible.

Conversely, during times of economic uncertainty, it can feel imprudent to invest in expansion efforts. However, regardless of the market, a strategic approach to growth is necessary to sustain a business long term. Here are three considerations for all brokerage leaders as they approach their growth strategy:

Find the opportunity in every market

Inflation rates reached a four-decade high earlier this year, and remain elevated at 8.5 percent. Economists agree that we are headed toward a recession; however, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to hit pause on growth efforts. When others are hesitant, leaning into this type of opportunistic market can yield growth at a lower cost of investment.

Downsizing or layoffs by a competitor present an opportunity to recruit talent in the market and increase support for your real estate professionals. When others may be giving up office space or delaying on signing leases, the chance for a deal on a new office space in a prime location may present itself.

There is opportunity in every market. Strategic choices to invest when others are pulling back can pay off in the future; however, the ability to make these investments hinges on building reserves and sticking to your growth strategy when business is booming. 

Determine the sweet spot for your business and pursue it relentlessly

Success looks different for every real estate business, and the biggest or fastest-growing doesn’t necessarily mean best. Being the top brokerage in your market in terms of size means nothing if your office is a revolving door of agents ever in pursuit of a higher split. Growing beyond your ability to best service clients and creating a culture of burnout is also not conducive to long term success. 

Rather than focusing on size as the measure of successful growth, a more sustainable approach is determining the sweet spot of what success looks like for your business and creating an expansion strategy supporting that vision. This could mean achieving the highest average commission of real estate professionals in your market, being number one in terms of productivity, zero percent agent turnover or building a team of only full time real estate professionals.

These goals tend to be longer term and as such, lead to more steady, sustainable growth over time. What’s important is adhering to your goals, having a vision that dictates which growth decisions are right for your business, and more strategically taking advantage of market opportunities as they arise.

Retain company culture during growth

Maintaining culture during growth is a delicate balance, and sacrificing culture in the name of quick growth or hiring one “superstar agent” rarely ends well. A much more sustainable path to long-term growth involves a people-first approach. Build your business around the people who most exemplify your brokerage values and can help to achieve your ultimate vision.

In fact, across our network, we’ve found that prioritizing a culture fit within Engel & Völkers’ brand values when recruiting often correlates with better performance and longer, more mutually beneficial relationships. This is the difference between a brokerage “buying” agents versus agents buying into a brand and culture they want to be a part of and with which they would like to grow. 

Retention efforts are also key to retaining culture during periods of growth. Keeping your team engaged, feeling fulfilled, and productive is an ongoing effort, but happy agents will often do the best recruiting by spreading the word to like-minded peers.

Brokerage leaders should view retention efforts as a continuous cycle of re-recruiting current agents. Check in with your team regularly, see where leadership can be providing support or helping to troubleshoot, and perhaps most importantly, celebrate the wins, both big and small, to encourage the drive to keep getting better.  

Growth and longevity are likely goals for every real estate brokerage, but finding the balance in achieving both will look different for every business. Take the time to define your ultimate vision of success. This will help guide strategic growth decisions through any market conditions and help you find and take advantage of the opportunities that exist in every type of market.

During times of growth, don’t let the culture that’s gotten your business this far fall by the wayside. Fiercely protect your ethos and the agents that embody your brand values. While certainly a balancing act, prioritizing these elements can help to propel your business to new levels.  

Stuart Siegel serves as Chief Strategy Officer for Engel & Völkers Americas.
Expanding Your Brokerage: 3 Tips For Sustainable Growth

On November 10, 2022, Governor Baker signed House Bill 5374, “An Act Relating to Economic Growth and Relief for the Commonwealth” after protracted negotiations with the legislature. Enactment of the legislation, often referred to as the economic development bill, contains substantial state funding for housing programs, but it’s being celebrated by REALTORS® even more so for key provisions left out of the final bill.

The economic development bill authorizes $3.76 billion in gross spending including substantial funding to expand housing production in Massachusetts. It invests $300 million in affordable housing creation and homeownership expansion, $153 million to support a variety of businesses in need across the state, and $50 million for the Equitable Developers’ financing program. It also funds hundreds of local economic development projects. 

Notably the economic development bill did not include many of the harmful amendments offered to the bill which GBREB successfully opposed including a sales tax on real estate, tenant right to purchase, snow removal liability, the sealing of eviction records and limiting brokers fees. 

Negotiations on the bill which began in May, stalled after time expired at the end of July and revenue projections triggered a return of funds to taxpayers.  The 62F law requires that when tax revenue collections in a given fiscal year exceed an annual tax revenue cap, the excess revenue is returned to taxpayers.   
Passage of Economic Development Bill a Win for Housing
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Carl Medford

Impulse purchases may come back to haunt you when you are presented with an investment opportunity but have no ability to capitalize due to past financial recklessness

Just in case you have not noticed, we are heading into a tough market. It was OK when we saw real estate companies laying off employees — that made sense. After all, we have come through an incredibly profitable real estate season and many brokerages were staffed for a market that no longer exists.

However, when Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, Twitter, Snapchat, Intel, Lyft and more are announcing layoffs and hiring freezes, where I come from, that is called “a clue.” Important to note, most of the aforementioned companies have billions in cash reserves, yet they are choosing to downsize and slash expenditures to prepare for the impending recession.

In contrast, many Realtors I know have no cash reserves and are still spending like there is no tomorrow.

A history professor at the college I attended was famous for beginning his first lecture with the following words: “The only thing we learn from history … is that we don’t learn from history.” We are at that point now in the real estate market, and those who pay attention to the lessons learned during the last major downturn will make it, while the rest … probably won’t.

Here are 10 guidelines for preparing for the market that lies ahead:

1. Don’t buy something because it’s on sale

Retailers have sales to motivate people to buy things they would not normally buy. Whether the normal price is too high or the specific item is not top-of-mind, sales are used to jolt buyers into buying things they most likely do not need and, in many cases, cannot really afford.

The logic is simple. “I need to buy this now because the price will soon go back up.” Ironically, most people have lived healthy, satisfied lives without the item in question and, if they refuse to get bitten by the “sale” bug, will continue to enjoy a happy life without that 85-inch screen or whatever else they think they “need.”

Bottom line: If you have managed to live without it until now, you can continue to live without it until we get through the current financial crisis.

2. Don’t buy with credit

Credit is a convenient way of buying something now that you most likely do not “need” and pushing the responsibility for paying for it down the road. The assumption is that while you might not be able to pay for it now, you will be able to afford it later. Heading into a recession, let’s call that logic what it really is: stupid.

Bottom line: You will need to maintain your cash reserves over the next number of months to make it through the recession. If you cannot justify paying cash for it now, then don’t buy it.

3. Don’t buy something unless it is critical to your current survival

We often confuse the words “need” and “want.” As I am involved with a charity that provides help to children without hope, I have been to Africa numerous times. I have walked through a dumpsite adjoined by caves where scavengers live, waiting for the next truck to arrive so they can walk, barefoot, in many cases, through the refuse which includes broken glass and animal waste hoping to find anything to make it through the day.

Let’s be totally honest: most of what we think we need is actually a want, and, unless it is critical to your survival, you should plan on living without it until we make it through this next phase.

Bottom line: Unless it is a critical medical need or something similar, you should be able to survive without it.

4. Don’t buy anything new when used will do

I have purchased a few new cars in my life, but the majority have been used. I have discovered a very important fact: Regardless of whether it was new or used, they all got me to my destination just fine. The only thing that suffered by driving a used car was my pride.

While it is totally awesome to be able to order a new vehicle to your exact specifications, the old adage, “It loses a significant amount of its value the moment you drive it off the lot” is absolutely true. When you buy something used you might not get the latest features, but truthfully, in many cases, those features are not critical to the purpose of what you are buying.

Bottom line: Buy used instead of new, and pay cash. If you do not have the cash for the purchase, then it is best to wait until you do.

5. Don’t buy 2 when you need 1

Years ago I heard someone joke about their purchases at Costco by stating, “By buying bulk quantities of everything, I am saving myself into bankruptcy.” Unless you are storing up for another pandemic, you probably do not need a three-year supply of toilet paper.

You also need to watch out for the infamous BOGO offers. If you only need one, buy only one. Look for the item you need at a discounted price. In most cases, BOGO offers are for items at full retail price.

Bottom line: Do not be lured into the trap of buying more than you actually need. If you find yourself giving away things you have purchased or putting them somewhere where they gather dust over the next number of months, then you bought too much and spent money needlessly.

6. Don’t buy the most expensive version

I grew up in the era of Timex watches and Bic pen commercials. They would do crazy things like strap a watch to a boat propeller or shoot a pen through a piece of wood. I can still remember the Timex slogan, “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” In the case of the watch, which was extremely inexpensive, no matter the abuse, it would continue to work.

In the same way, the Bic pen was only 19 cents, and could also stand up to significant mistreatment. The moral here is simple: While it may be nice to own expensive things, unless you are independently wealthy and earn more interest on your investments than you can actually spend, this is not the time to be buying a Rolex or Apple watch when a cheaper version will tell time just as effectively. The same goes for a Montblanc pen.

Again, it comes down to pride. To “keeping up with the Joneses.” If bad financial decisions are going to be made heading into a recession, then let the Joneses be the ones making the stupid choices while you maintain better control over your cash.

Bottom line: Do not fall into the trap of buying a luxury item when you cannot really afford it.

7. Don’t make impulse purchases

An impulse purchase is something you buy on the spur of the moment that you either were not planning on buying or did not include in your budget. For some people, this is a constant litany of small things: candy (any item surrounding a store cash register), clothes, trinkets and so on. For others, it can include cars or other big-ticket items.

Many people own a timeshare because they fell for the line, “This offer is only good today.” People who make snap decisions to buy something frequently regret it later. In fact, impulse buying can be addictive because the immediate rush of serotonin makes you feel good about what you just did. In most cases, impulse buys are things you do not need and require money you cannot afford to spend.

Rachel Cruz on behalf of the Dave Ramsey organization states, “Americans impulsively spend an average of $276 every month. That adds up to an extra $3,312 spent every year and about $198,720 in a lifetime!” She continues, “I had to plug those numbers into our retirement calculator. And listen — if you invested that $276 every month for 10 years at an 11 percent average annual rate of return, you’d have over $59,000! Nothing like the magic of compound growth to put things into perspective.”

Bottom line: Resist the urge. Have a checklist you go through before making any purchase that includes the following questions:
• Do I really need this or just want it?
• Do I need the money for something more important?
• If I wait 24 hours would I still make this purchase?
• Does this purchase fit into my overall financial plan?

8. Don’t continue to pay for things and services you do not need

A great example is the number of entertainment subscriptions available. In the good old days, you turned on the TV and watched your favorite shows and endured the commercials. To avoid this, many have started watching subscription programming including HBO, Netflix, Disney and so on. The list is endless.

Ironically, in order to boost revenue, many subscription channels are starting to display … wait for it … commercials. Since many people do not pay attention to their credit card bills, they never add up all their monthly subscriptions. If they did, in many cases, they would be shocked.

Truth is, even though they are paying for all the channels, they can only watch one at a time. While it might be nice to have all that choice, in a depression, it is not wise. While I am picking on entertainment, there are plenty of other subscriptions out there that have the same effect.

Bottom line: Go through all your subscriptions, and start chopping.

9. Don’t replace, repair

Whether it is the roof on your house or your car, it is better to repair, in most cases, than replace. While replacement may be necessary down the road, this is not the time for large capital expenditures.

Bottom line: Figure out a way to live with what you currently have, and only spend money on true emergencies.

10. Don’t buy bling

Seriously. This is pride at its worst. Some people think they need to show off their “wealth” by hanging stuff out there for all to see. King Solomon had a commentary on this in Proverbs 13:16, “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but the fool flaunts his folly.”

By contrast, some of the wealthiest people in the world drive ordinary cars and live in modest homes. Rather than spending money to bolster their egos, they invest to build a solid financial platform that will support them through tough times. Warren Buffett would be a great example here.

Bottom line: Don’t bust your budget buying bling. Stop showing off, and put your money where it really matters.

While there are many more ways to be financially sensible in the days that lie ahead, these 10 would be a good start. Those who manage their finances wisely in the next year will be the ones who emerge from the recession in good fiscal condition.

In reality, a recession is a great opportunity to build wealth so long as you have money to invest when the opportunities arise. Those impulse purchases may come back to haunt you when you are presented with an awesome investment opportunity but have no ability to capitalize due to past financial recklessness. 
10 Financial Don’ts Heading Into a Recession


Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Bernice Ross

What is the state of the housing market and what can you expect next? Find out from two of the industry's leading economists

Is the housing market in a correction or an economic downturn? Has the Fed already raised interest rates too high? Is inflation coming down any time soon? How will Hurricane Ian impact the economy? What can we expect in 2023?

Leslie Appleton-Young and John Tuccillo, two of real estate’s top economists, draw on their decades of experience to answer the most pressing questions facing our industry today.

While many people believe we are in uncharted waters, the events we’re currently experiencing are following the same patterns as each of the previous downturns that I have experienced. 

During the first part of the cycle, prices continue to rise for another six to 12 months as inventory begins to build and the factors triggering the beginning of the cycle (in this case, the high rate of inflation coupled with a doubling of mortgage interest rates) cause sales to slow down. This ultimately leads to price declines and a buyer’s market, which many economists are predicting we will be experiencing by the end of 2023. 

The big question is where are we in this cycle now and if there is a downturn, how deep will it be? 

Correction or downturn? 

According to Appleton-Young, the Fed’s goal is to slow down the market. For the last six to seven months, sales have been dropping, new listings are below where they were a year ago, and sales are down a few percentage points month-over-month.

The direction is clear. The market is slowing down because mortgage rates went from less than three percent to over six percent. Add that to general inflation that’s impacting people’s budgets and the wealth effect (decline) in the stock market, and that’s a good indicator of what’s going to happen to housing.
The question is this a crash? Is this a downturn? Is this a correction? From my perspective we’re in a correction, (but whether it becomes a downturn) really depends on how long it takes for the numbers to conform to the Fed’s objective of reducing inflation and getting it on the short track headed back towards two percent. 

She went on to add that although job growth is slowing down, it’s still above expectations. 

As long as the job market remains robust, people are paying their mortgages that are at three percent. In fact, 90 percent of the mortgages are below four percent at this point. 

What’s happening with inflation? 

According to Tuccillo, 

If you look at sales, the markets are in a downturn, but if you look at prices, the markets are in a correction, and this is where the Fed wants to hit the housing market. The problem is that the Fed almost always misses the mark.
There are things happening that are not showing up in the numbers yet, but the policy makers are reacting to what they see. The result is we have an overcorrection coming, probably a bit of a recession, and probably a continued housing market downturn, at least in sales. 
Because inflation lags so long (behind), the Fed has probably already stopped inflation. It just hasn’t found out about it yet. It’s going to find out in about six months, but by that time you’ll have two or three more rate increases. The Feds have already blown it by overcorrecting, and sadly, much to our pain, we’re going to find out 6-8 months from now.

Tuccillo did have some good news. The Inflation Expectations Surveys including the ones from the New York Fed and the University of Michigan all suggest that: 

By the end of 2023 inflation will be around 3 percent. 

Inflation may already be declining

A developer I’m working with told me his cost of lumber is currently 80 percent less than it was in 2021 and many of his other building costs have also declined. Furthermore, many developers and builders have slowed down or exited the market for the time being, resulting in a decrease in demand as well. 

Tuccillo shared some additional facts that show inflation may already be declining. 

What recently caught my eye that was during the pandemic and into 2021, the cost of a shipping container to go to China from the West Coast was $20,000. Now it’s slightly north of $2,500. 

Tuccillo also argued that due to the actions currently be taken by Saudi Arabia and Russia, 

We will see gas prices go up in the near future again, but they’ll come down again, because China is going into a recession and they’re a huge consumer of petroleum products. Their demand will fall off and their prices will fall off too. 

Tuccillo also noted, 

We are also seeing a weakening in rent increases. Rents are figured into the CPI, but home prices are not. Because rents are weakening, we will see a softening of that price inflation and that will feed through the CPI. All these straws in the wind suggest that we will see inflation come down over the next 6-12 months. 

What impact do you expect Hurricane Ian to have on the economy?

Appleton-Young and Tuccillo both agreed that the GDP nationally will decrease. As people begin to build, the GDP will recover, but it’s going to take an awfully long time. 

Appleton-Young warned about the ability of the insurance companies to cover the costs. The amount of damage is really daunting. Bloomberg estimates that the costs to US Insurers will be $63 billion.

This doesn’t even begin to address the half the homeowners who did not have flood insurance. An even greater concern, however, is that only ten percent had adequate insurance for wind damage. 

Tuccilo added, 

From an insurance point of view, these are such overwhelming catastrophes that they’re very hard for them to cope with. Yes, the essence of insurance is pooled risk. When a disaster like this happens, that goes out the window. You can’t pool the risk, so they are really behind the eight-ball trying to catch up on this. 
I know they get a lot of criticism, but just the capacity to process a disaster like Florida, or the San Fernando Valley earthquake, or the forest fires, their capacity to process this is very limited, as compared to the scope of the disaster. The process of clearing out the damage, getting the permits, ordering what you need to start building is obviously not an overnight process. We’ve seen this with Katrina, and we’ve seen it elsewhere in the country. 

Will these factors lead to a decline in the number of Realtors in 2023? 

Appleton-Young who conducted membership forecasts during her 33-year tenure with the California Association of Realtors says:

When you look at earlier downturns, membership numbers lag behind the market by two years. So, when the market peaks, two years later membership peaks. When it bottoms, two years later membership bottoms, but in the last 10 years, that relationship has disconnected. Even as we have seen a slowing in sales, it really hasn’t impacted membership. In fact, membership has kept growing. I think that’s due to a couple of things. I think it’s the low barriers to entry to become a Realtor. I also think it’s that hope springs eternal. 

Tuccillo added his research shows that 50 percent of all Realtors did not participate in a single side. 

When markets are down, it doesn’t matter since they’re not making any money anyway. Instead, they pay their fees, they have a place to hang out, they can go to meetings, and get free lunches at broker opens. There’s nothing keeping people in the business on the basis of competence. Sales are not the key. The key is barriers to entry. 

Appleton-Young described the “reverse impact” she has observed in previous downturns.

When we see the labor market crack and start to see the unemployment rate head up, what do people do when their salary is gone? 
“Well, let me become an independent contractor in real estate. At least a few people in my family can help me out.” 
So, it almost works in reverse as to what you may be thinking. 

What can we anticipate for first quarter 2023 and beyond? 

Appleton-Young believes that this housing market depends on how long the rates stay high. If anyone tells you they know what’s going to happen, they don’t know. 

It really depends on what the Fed decides to do. I’m in John’s camp in that I think they’re going to double down, and we’ll see rates going go even higher. That’s going keep the market softening. 

Tuccillo elaborated: 

I think the Feds have at least another full point in them, and maybe a point and half, which is tragic. That will really bring the economy to a stall. I don’t see a deep recession or a long one, but then again, we haven’t grown that much over the last decade. I think we’ll see a mild recession for a few quarters and unemployment will rise. And don’t forget, we’re in an environment where the rest of the world is worse off than we are. Combining the Fed’s interest rate increase with the psychology of inflation, and what’s happening in the rest of the world, I see a very, very sluggish to negative economy in 2023

Appleton-Young added that:

The unemployment rate just dropped from 3.7 to 3.5. That’s where it was in February 2020 before the pandemic and that was at a historic 50-year low. I’m going to be watching the labor market really, really closely to see how it survives the pellets that the Fed is throwing at it and then looking at the inventory.
If people start to get into trouble, you’re not going to see it in the foreclosure numbers. You’re going to see in the listing numbers because people have the equity to ride out until they sell. I agree with John. I think it’s just a question of what is the severity going to be. We just have to see what the Fed does. 

Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and, is a national speaker, author and trainer with more than 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at and her new agent sales training at
What's Next? Top Economists Tackle the Biggest Questions in Real Estate
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Carl Medford

Real estate prospects want to hang up. Follow these 5 steps, and you'll win them over in those first precious seconds

Scripts are the lifeblood of effective business relationships: we are so surrounded by scripts that we often do not recognize them even though we hear them constantly. When they are well-written, practiced and delivered, they can move mountains. If they are poorly conceived, unpracticed and even ignored, the effects can be quite the opposite. 

Practice is a life-saver

A friend recently shared how his father taught him to swim at the tender age of 7. His dad strapped a life jacket on him and threw him into a creek. As you can imagine, the result was a significant amount of trauma that has impacted him to this day.

Although a dramatic example, the effect is the same if you attempt to work with a real estate client without being properly prepared. Unfortunately, some brokerages do this with their new agents: they throw them in the deep end and hope they will swim.

My first broker often recounted the story of his first day on the job as a new agent. He showed up on day one, was led to a desk in the corner, handed a phone book and told to start calling.

In the same way a lot of practice and exposure to swimming techniques keep a person safe in the water; having the right training, along with extensive practice, amplifies an agent’s potential success during encounters with prospective clients.

I was recently at an event where Michael Phelps was interviewed. Without a doubt, the most accomplished swimmer of all time, he shared the experience of diving into the pool for a race and having his goggles instantly fill with water, effectively blinding him. His extensive training kicked in, and because he knew exactly how many strokes he needed for each leg of the race, he was able to swim blind and win the event.

Agents who show up for client appointments without effective training are blindly diving in, hoping things will turn out OK and that they won’t drown in the process. Although they might occasionally succeed, the agents who win time after time are the ones who have rigorously prepared for every eventuality and, no matter which way the interview goes, have the training required to succeed.

For swimmers, the training includes strokes, body position, breathing, mindset and more. For real estate agents, those strokes are scripts. And, just like swimming, the better the execution, the higher the chances of success.

“An amateur rehearses until he gets it right, a professional rehearses until he can’t get it wrong,” originally attributed to music professor Harold Craxton but later quoted by Julie Andrews.

4 truths about scripting

There are a few important facts about scripts that need to be understood:

1. There is no “one-size-fits-all” script: Scripts change depending on the circumstances, who you are talking to, market conditions and more.

2. Everyone uses scripts: They are used by all telemarketers and every customer service organization on the planet. Computer support, your wireless provider, even your doctor’s office — they all use scripts. You can’t order a burger without encountering scripts. “Do you want to supersize that order for an additional 99 cents?”

3. The better rehearsed a script is, the higher the chances of success: We can tell in just a few short seconds, based on delivery, how familiar and comfortable the voice on the other end of the phone is with their script.

4. Scripts need to be tailored to fit the situation and demographic you are targeting: They must address the perceived needs and problems of your target audience, focus on the specific demographic you are talking to, point to a solution and desired outcome, and end with a request for engagement. The more finely you can dial in your scripts to your target audience, the more effective they will be.

5 key components in figuring out what to say

After monitoring their team’s countless hours on calls, Director of Inside Sales for The Davis Team Valencia Brown and team owner Jordan Davis concluded that there are five distinct components to an effective script.
Here are the five components as illustrated by their script for an expired listing.

1. Opener
Extensive marketing data reveals that you have approximately 7 seconds to engage a prospective client: Misuse those first vital moments, and your odds of success diminish dramatically.

Start with a single opening line that addresses the perceived need of the person you are talking to. It should be short, to the point and end with a hook, a question that addresses the client’s issue.

“Hey [prospect’s name] this is [agent’s name]. I’m a real estate agent here in the area, and I noticed that your home came off the market yesterday. I am calling because I am confident that I can sell your home, and I’m just wondering if you are still interested in selling it?”

(optional) “and I’d like to set up a time for us to meet so I can show you exactly how I can do that for you. I have an opening this afternoon at 3 p.m., or would 4 p.m. be better for you?”

2. Motivation
Step 2 involves determining the current motivation of the person to whom you are talking. A few open-ended questions will help you discover the person’s goals, concerns and whether they are actually motivated enough to engage further.

“And if you had sold the home, where would you be moving to?”

 (If appropriate) “What’s waiting for you in [location]? What is your ideal time frame for getting there?

And [prospect’s name], I’m confused. It sounds like you have a great home. Why do you think your home didn’t sell?”

3. Rapport
Google the definition of rapport, and you’ll find that it’s “a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.”

In this step, you are attempting to quickly build a relationship with the prospective client by asking open-ended questions about their previous experiences.

“I’m curious, how did you choose the agent you were listed with?”

 “What kind of weekly feedback did you get from your agent?”

4. Objections
In this step, you are asking probing questions to help uncover the issues the sellers had with their previous experience. Avoid making statements about yourself — this is all about the sellers you are talking to. You are digging deeper, looking for problems you could potentially solve.

“Tell me more about ____________.”    

 “Just curious, what marketing strategies did he/she use to sell your home?”

5. Commitment
In this final step, you are going for a commitment that leads to a potential working relationship. Make a statement about how you can help them, and then ask for the commitment. Once you have asked them to commit, remain silent until they respond.

“[prospect’s name], it sounds like your home could have been more aggressively marketed. Let me stop by for 15-20 minutes and show you what I’m going to do differently to make sure that your home sells this time. We can come by Thursday at 2 p.m., or would 4 p.m. be better for you?”

 “[prospect’s name], I actually specialize in selling homes just like yours that have been on the market and didn’t sell, and I’d like to meet with you for 15-20 minutes and show you exactly how I can do the same thing for you. What would be the best time?”

Although the example used was for an expired listing, it effectively illustrates the five key steps and provides an outline for any situation you encounter.

In reality, you could probably do most of your business with existing scripts readily available from your broker, coaching organizations and so on. However, as you become comfortable using scripts, you will quickly discover the need to write scripts that address your personal style and the specific situations you encounter.

Use these five steps, and you will be able to design dialogues upon which you can effectively build your business. Practice your scripts constantly so that, when situations arise, you will know the correct dialogue by heart and can respond effectively without missing a beat.

You Have Seconds To Win Prospects Over. Here's What to Say
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jimmy Burgess

The more value you add to people on social media, the more connections and influence you will develop

Social media has become a must for agents that want to grow their businesses. It allows us to find our ideal clients by attracting them rather than chasing them, continuing to deepen relationships and making new relationships. This leaves many wondering what they can do to build an engaged following that consistently churns out buyer and listing opportunities.

Here are the seven best social media tips I’ve ever heard and how you can apply them to grow your presence and influence via social media.

1. Master one platform at a time

There is a figure of speech that says a jack of all trades is the master of none. When it comes to social media, one of the most common mistakes agents make is trying to build a presence on every platform. The lack of focus on one social media platform rarely leads to building an engaged audience on any platform.

The most effective agents focus on and master one platform at a time. They build an engaged audience and a systematic, sustainable flow of content on one platform, then move to the next. They layer in their successes on each rather than trying to do them all from the beginning.

Every platform offers opportunities, so which one should you focus on? The answer to this question isn’t about you; it’s about your ideal client. Which platform do they use?

If your ideal client is younger, maybe a first-time homebuyer, then TikTok might make sense. If your focus is on a more mature audience, then Instagram or Facebook might make more sense. If you’re working on second homes or luxury properties, then LinkedIn should be a consideration.

Identify which social media platform your ideal client is on, and focus on growing that platform first. By focusing your attention on one main platform, mastery will come sooner.

2. Have a set of goals

Every activity we do in our business should have a set of goals, so we can understand if we are progressing in the direction we desire.

All goals, including social media goals, should be SMART goals. This acronym encompasses everything the goals should have. They should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

The following are a few examples of social media goals using this format:

• I will add 1,000 friends (followers, connections, etc., depending on the platform) in 2023. This will be done by sending three friend requests per day.
• I will post a minimum of 365 times in 2023. This means I will post at least once per day, every day for the year, and if I miss a day, I will make up for the missed day by posting twice the following day.
• I will comment and add value on five posts per day, five days per week, in local area Facebook groups where people ask questions.

By having a measurable, specific and time-bound goal, your success and building of a following will be systematic.

3. Be authentic

Authenticity is key when it comes to social media. Authenticity acts as a filter that attracts your ideal clients. It also filters out the people that are not your ideal clients.

If you’re a working mom and share your wins and struggles as a mom, you will attract those who can relate to you. In many cases, they will be your ideal clients. If you’re a real estate investor and share your process of buying and remodeling investment properties, you will attract other investors who might be your ideal clients.

Be your authentic self, and social media will connect you with people who share your hobbies, passions and personality.

4. Be consistent

Consistency breeds trust. Consistency keeps you top-of-mind and confirms that you are the resource your connections can trust for all things real estate. But consistency involves two components that must work together to maximize success on social media.
Your consistency must include both quantity and quality of posts. If you post every day, but the quality of your posts is poor, then you will fail. If you post high-quality content but only post once a month, it will be difficult to find success. You must have both if you are going to maximize the opportunity social media presents.

Three main types of content add quality. These posts include your followers in your activities, educate your followers, or entertain your followers. The posts that include your followers are ones where you share what you are doing and involve them in it.
Examples of posts where clients feel included:

• Check out the amazing kitchen in this house!
• I am just leaving a great new listing, and I can’t wait to share all the details!
• Tonight, I attended an event that benefited our local free medical clinic. Check out these photos — this is an event you won’t want to miss in the future!

Examples of educational posts:
• Here are the numbers for the last quarter for our local real estate market.
• I love having lunch with clients; these are my three go-to lunch places in (your city).
• This is how rising interest rates affect your homebuying process.

Examples of entertaining posts:

• Today, I experienced the funniest thing that has ever happened to me in real estate …
• Here are the before and after photos of 123 Main Street. An amazing transformation that is now available for showings …
• This is the story of how (client name) found her ideal home. It started …
Staying consistent with both your quality and quantity of posts will yield results.

5. Document your journey

There is a reason that “reality” TV does so well. People love to watch other people, and social media provides a free way for you to document your journey in business and life creating the opportunity for connection with people before you even meet them in person.
Here are a few examples of how you can document your journey:

•Sharing your thoughts as you head into the office in the morning.
• Sharing the process of launching your listing and everything that goes into it.
• Talking about what excites you about real estate and life.

All these posts contain content that people are interested in. If they are not interested, then they will move on, which, as I mentioned above, is the natural filter when identifying your ideal clients.

Documenting your journey in real estate and in life is a great way to deepen your connection with your followers and find new connections.

6. Respond to every comment

You’ve been authentic, and you’ve been consistent. Finally, if someone comments on your post, please respond to every comment left. Not only does it give you the ability to communicate and interact with them, but it also lets the social media algorithm know that you have a post that is generating engagement.

The more engagement your post generates, the more organic traffic the social media algorithm will reward you with putting it in front of others.

Their comment also opens the door for you to connect with them. Something as simple as “thank you for your feedback” or “I really appreciate your insight” shows them that you care.

It also allows you to send them a direct message to personalize the communication. This could be something as simple as, “thanks for commenting on my post,” “how are you doing?” or “it’s been a while since we spoke. Are you all still loving your house?”

Make sure you respond to every comment. By doing so, your engagement will build deeper relationships and increase the reach of your posts.

7. The $1.80 strategy

The $1.80 strategy was introduced by Gary Vaynerchuk as an outside engagement strategy to connect with new potential followers and to create attention for your profile. The process is relatively simple to understand, but like anything worth doing, it takes time to execute the strategy.

The process involves giving your “2 cents” or commenting on the top nine posts on 10 relevant hashtags each day. In other words, commenting on a total of 90 posts with your “2 cents” equals $1.80 worth of daily activity.

The process starts with identifying 10 relevant hashtags for your market. These could be #atlantahomes, #movingtoatlanta, #livinginatlanta, or any other hashtags that pertain to people in your area. Once you’ve identified the top 10 hashtags for your specific niche or area, leave valuable comments on the top nine posts for each hashtag.

This could be as simple as when someone asks if anyone knows of a plumber in the area, you provide them with a name and personal experience. Or if someone asks about the difference in the school districts, provide info from the school district websites.

The key is to be helpful and to be seen as the resource for the area. You don’t even need to mention that you are a Realtor; the more helpful you are, the more people will check out your profile and follow you. If someone says thank you for your comment, follow them because it will often lead to them following you back.

This systematic approach to building your presence and influence on social media is the best strategy I have seen and personally utilized to grow my connections and a following on all social media platforms in excess of 50,000 people. It works — if you work it.

If you are serious about growing your following, I can’t encourage you to do the $1.80 strategy enough.

Growing your social media following and influence involves a systematic approach to adding value authentically and consistently. The more value you add to people on social media, the more connections and influence you will develop.

Develop your plan, and start executing your plan. By doing so, success will follow.

Jimmy Burgess is the Chief Growth Officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida.
7 Social Media Tips Every Agent Should Live By

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