By Paige Tepping
Editor’s Note: Blueprint for 100 Deals or More Than $1 Million Per Year in Income: The Exact Systems and Technology to Sell 100+ Homes, Every Year—No Matter the Market, is a new book by leading real estate industry executives Alan Shafran and Rick Bengson that outlines how to build your business as well as make more money, please more customers and improve your overall quality of life, whether you are a novice or climbing the ladder in the real estate business. For the next 10 weeks, RISMedia will be running portions of each chapter every Wednesday, highlighting the in-depth information and invaluable resources the authors have compiled in this exciting, new publication. Alan Shafran sat down with RISMedia for a Q&A about the book to launch the series.
1. Can you provide a brief overview of your and Rick’s history in the real estate industry?
I have over 20 years of residential real estate experience, and my company, The Alan Shafran Group, sells 120-175 homes per year. In addition, I have been ranked as Prudential CA Realty’s No. 1 top producer for over 10 years and am one of the top 10 Prudential agents in North America. I am also President of Showing Suite, Inc., a company that Rick and I developed together. Rick is a 26-year real estate veteran, President of RealPro Real Estate Consultants, Inc. and CEO and co-founder of Showing Suite, Inc.
2. Can you provide a brief overview of what the book is about?
The purpose behind writing “Blueprint for 100 Deals or More Than $1 Million Per Year in Income” was to create a very simple blueprint that would provide any REALTOR® out there to have a skeleton from which they can build a multi-million dollar real estate business. We realize that there is no exact, perfect scenario for every REALTOR® so we wanted to create something that would give real estate professionals an idea as to what their business should look like. The ideas in the book were meant to be tweaked by real estate professionals so that the blueprint fits their own unique needs. By taking the time to understand their own individual market, REALTORS® can adapt the plan that we have laid out in order to go about the business in their own way.
3. Why did you decide to write it and how did you and Rick come together as co-authors?
Rick and I own ShowingSuite.com (an all-in-one real estate productivity software suite) so we have both been exposed to real estate and REALTORS® on every level. In addition to our interaction with real estate professionals through Showing Suite, I have also been coaching real estate professionals for a number of years. This book came about largely in part because of the requests I received to put my thoughts on paper in a simple and easy to understand format as to what it takes to find success in real estate. Rick and I decided to put something together that combines both of our backgrounds—technology and real estate—and deliver something that the public enjoys reading.
4. Why in this particular real estate climate is it important to release this book?
Today’s real estate climate is one of the toughest climates that we’ve experienced in the last couple of decades. The constantly changing marketplace provides numerous challenges for today’s real estate professionals, including what segment of the population they should market to, where they should spend their marketing budget, if they should focus on foreclosures, short sales, etc. In the midst of a challenging market, it is important for real estate professionals to remember what they do every day, and if they continue to do those things, and do them well, they can have a successful business. REALTORS® feel challenged right now and Rick and I strongly believe in doing anything we can to help them along the way. Not only did Rick and I want to produce a book that was simple and straightforward, we wanted to help the industry be more efficient and implement more technology in order to help streamline their day-to-day routines.
5. What are some of the key success factors that real estate professionals need to know today that they will take away from your book?
One thing that real estate professionals must focus on, especially in today’s market, is getting back to strong sales skills that implement today’s technology, mindset and information. In a changing world such as we are in today, real estate professionals need to be able to talk about what is relevant. People are in trouble and real estate professionals have to be educated enough to help consumers solve their issues. In addition to focusing on sales skills, real estate professionals need to have systems in place that will enable them to run a profitable business.
6. How critical to success is the team concept in real estate practice today?
The team concept is absolutely critical in finding real estate success today. The middle of our industry is getting squeezed and will continue to get squeezed, and consumers are becoming more educated, a trend that will continue as well. Today, the world revolves around the desire of being more transparent and consumers want to know what we do as well as what value we will bring to the table. While you can survive as a single REALTOR® today, it’s getting harder to accomplish being transparent when you are working on your own. In addition, you will be limited in the amount of business that you do, which may make it worthwhile to at least think about joining or creating a team.
7. Is it really conceivable in today’s market that agents can do 100 deals a year?
Yes. I believe it is conceivable since it’s what I do. Whether you are doing 5, 10 or 20 deals a year, you need to work like you are doing 100. If you can get to the point where you are completing 100 deals a year, you are running your operation more like a business, and this forces the entire industry to become more professional. Even if you don’t reach 100 deals a year, by striving to get there, you are trying to be the best of the best. While achieving 100 deals a year isn’t for everyone, being part of a team that is trying to attain this goal will not only strengthen your skills as a REALTOR®, it will also help you achieve better results for your clients, benefitting both you and the public.
8. Your book goes into great detail about how good communication and organization are keys to excelling and how to achieve them. Can you briefly give us some insight on why these are such critical components to long-term success?
Being able to effectively communicate with your clients is a huge piece of the puzzle, especially in regard to content and how they want to receive information. As a real estate professional, you need to have the ability to listen to your clients and show them that you hear what they are saying. They need to know that they are making the decision that is best for them, not the decision you want them to make. Good communication and technology go hand in hand when it comes to successfully working with clients. Rick and I created Showing Suite with the intention of taking an area of frustration for sellers and agents and streamlining it. Showing Suite has made the entire process transparent as it allows sellers to see the integrity of the data that is being delivered. Not only has the technology cut down on the amount of work for the listing agent, it allows them to deliver better service to their clients. In addition to streamlining the process, Showing Suite enables real estate professionals to put systems in place that help keep all the parties involved organized throughout the entire transaction.
9. Today’s REALTORS® are inundated with technology. Can you offer your insight into what is the best approach real estate professionals should take when it comes to adopting today’s technology and how not to get overwhelmed?
While technology is an important part of any real estate professional’s business, it is crucial to take the time to do the necessary research and pick companies/technology very carefully. One problem today is that REALTORS® choose a technology company to work with, don’t do any background research, sign up for the technology and then never implement it. Before bringing any new technology into your business, take the time to get committed and get to know the technology, what it will do for your business and how it will help you run your business more effectively. If you want to be successful in real estate, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on technology. Instead, look for the small investments that can make a big difference in your career.
10. Getting the listing and negotiating are two of the most challenging aspects of real estate practice. Can you tell us how your book educates real estate professionals on these subjects?
When it comes to getting the listing, the book educates real estate professionals in regard to the different technology they should invest in as well as some of the different marketing techniques they may want to consider. We also encourage real estate professionals to understand their marketplace when considering what marketing tools to bring into their company.
In terms of negotiating, this is a real estate professional’s job from the moment they wake up to when they are done for the day. Negotiating is a sales skill that can’t be undervalued, no matter what type of market we find ourselves in. Good negotiation skills can be considered more valuable in the real estate industry than technology since they allow real estate professionals to implement and maximize the power of the tools they use in addition to successfully convert prospects into clients. Being able to successfully negotiate is just as important as having a good website and online exposure.
11. What are some helpful tips you can give agents in dealing with today’s specialty transactions, such as foreclosures, short sales, distressed properties, etc.?
When it comes to dealing with today’s specialty transactions, the most important thing is to be educated. Not only do you need to learn all the terms of the trade, you need to take the time to learn what your clients are going through. If you are dealing with foreclosures, you need to be willing to be in it for the long haul as they are a long-term business. Foreclosures aren’t easy, so it is crucial that you be persistent and patient. On the other hand, short sales can be a “now” business since listings are generally easy to get, but you have to be willing to wait for escrow to close, which can sometimes take months. When working with estates, be sure to take them to the best price, be honest with your clientele and don’t take the listing just to take it. When working with any of these specialty transactions, it’s important to be realistic.
12. What is your forecast for the housing industry over the next year?
I predict that we are going to see more of the same over the next year. Not only will banks be releasing more foreclosures than this past year, we are also going to see prices continue to fluctuate. We will continue to see more foreclosures and short sales and I believe that interest rates will stay the same as well.
Watch for the series ‘Blueprint for 100 Deals’ each Wednesday in RISMedia’s Daily e-News. To learn more about “Blueprint for 100 Deals or More Than $1 Million Per Year in Income,” visit: http://www.blueprintfor100deals.com/.
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