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By Craig Proctor

RISMEDIA, September 3, 2008-If you have an effective lead generation system in place, your business will grow by leaps and bounds. With so much business coming in, you’ll find it increasingly difficult to manage all aspects of your business by yourself, and you’ll have to make some decisions regarding how you want to handle this growth.

Do you want to go full speed ahead and grow your business exponentially with a team of professionals alongside you helping you support and service this growth? Or do you want to put a cap on the size of your team, perhaps only hiring one, or at most two, assistants. In fact, maybe you don’t want any assistants at all. Maybe you prefer being a one-person show.

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. The only one who can answer it is you. If you’ve got a real grip on effective, direct response marketing, you’ll have something most agents will never have – i.e. control. By simply adjusting your marketing spending up or down (almost like a volume button on the radio), you’ll be able to turn on or off the pipeline of new business. It’s up to you how fast or slow you want the pipeline to flow, and, as a result, how big or small you want your business to grow.

If you do decide to build a real estate team to support the growth of your business, you will almost certainly run up against objections from prospects who misunderstand the nature of your team. A common misperception and prospect fear is that if they deal with an agent who operates with a team, they will get “shuffled” off to some lesser assistant because the agent (i.e. “you”) is too busy to deal with them yourself. It might even be your direct competitors who fuel this objection by planting the notion in your prospects’ psyche.

Don’t wait for this objection to surface. Instead, be proactive and explain to your prospects that it is important for them to understand how different your system is from the way most agents operate and that it is this difference that is responsible for the tremendous success your clients have when using your system to buy or sell a home.

Explain that you have modeled your business after other successful businesses outside of real estate such as lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc. Instead of operating a one-man show as many other agents do, describe how you have hired a whole team of professionals who are specially trained to zero-in on different aspects of the home-selling process.

A great example to use is that of a doctor. If you’re booked for surgery, your doctor doesn’t call you up to make the booking, his or her receptionist does this. Your doctor doesn’t drive you to the hospital, or help you fill out the admitting forms, or prep you for surgery, or wheel you into surgery. He or she doesn’t administer anesthesia, or wash the surgical instruments, or dig through the instruments to select the one he or she wants.

What your doctor does do is perform the actual surgery, and he or she does so with (hopefully) skill and undivided attention. Woe to the patient whose doctor skips out in the middle of surgery to answer their pager and return a phone call or fill out some forms.

So how does the notion of “specialization” translate itself to real estate? Well, here’s an example of how successful agents have their teams organized. There is a customer service manager who is solely dedicated to following up with agents who have shown their clients’ homes in order to gather feedback about what potential buyers are saying about their home when they go through it. This is really important information for your clients to know, and a detailed verbal report should be given to each of your home sellers every week.

You should also have a marketing department (which may or may not be yourself) which specializes in putting together the most extensive and aggressive marketing plan for your clients’ homes.

Many agents with teams have a team of buyers’ agents, and these people are all responsible for finding buyers for your clients’ homes. Your prospects and clients will find it easy to understand how this manpower significantly outweighs what they could find with any single agent.

You may find that some brokerages in your marketplace will play a smoke and mirror game with the word “team.” Specifically, they’ll advertise pictures of all agents in the brokerage and pitch this as their “team.” Clearly, the way they are using the word “team” in this context is stretching the truth a great deal. In reality, while these other companies have lots of agents, they all operate independently of one another — not as a true team. They don’t work together with a group focus on each individual client’s home the way a true team system does.

If a prospect challenges your claim that your team is unique and throws up one of these brokerage “team” ads, help them understand the difference by drawing an analogy to a sports team. Take baseball, for example. When a baseball team is in the outfield, each team member covers a specific and separate responsibility. One team member pitches, another covers first base, still others take responsibility for the infield and the outfield etc. By narrowing the focus of each individual team member, and allowing them to specialize in a specific position, when you put them together as a group, the team literally has all bases covered.

If this division of responsibilities didn’t occur, the team would be far less effective.

If, for example, all players covered first base, there would be many areas of the field left exposed, making it very easy for the opposite team to run home again and again. This, you’ll go on to explain, is what it’s like in these other so called “teams”. In the case of these other companies, all players are trying to play all positions all at the same time. Every single agent is trying to be all things to each of their clients. There is no consistent cooperative effort between them. You could hardly call this a team. It’s more like a herd.

(Note: if you’ve decided not to hire a team, that’s okay, because it probably means that you’ve decided to keep your business small and manageable at this point in time — i.e. for now you can quite easily play all positions. If you decide to more aggressively grow your business, however, you may need to reassess this.)

With a true team approach, the organized efforts of all team members means that there will never be any gaps on the “playing field.” As a result, your clients will never have to worry about whether you take a weekend off or fall ill. Your team coverage should be so well organized and effective that, as a group, you can literally provide 24-hr, 7-day-a-week marketing and back-up for their home.

There will always be someone knowledgeable, competent and experienced handling all inquiries on their home because all the knowledge doesn’t reside only with a single team member. Instead, a team of 5 or 6 is assigned to each new listing (each responsible for a part of the puzzle), and with this manpower, you can market their home in innovative ways that many agents won’t be able to duplicate.

If you still get a head-on objection, say something like this:

“Other agents may tell you that my system will somehow give you less service. I’ve heard some area agents say, “When you list with <>, you don’t really get <>. Instead, s/he’ll send out one of his/her assistants,” — as if somehow you’re not involved in the process. “This is a gross misunderstanding of how my team system works.

“In reality, I’m totally involved in the most important parts of the process: i.e. the overall marketing of your home to find the right buyer – to ensure you get the best results: a fast sale and top dollar for your home.
“You see, my team members work with me (not instead of me) to get your home sold. We market aggressively to find buyers for your home and are currently working with a qualified database of over <<#>> area buyers. Together with my hand-picked team of agents, I ensure that your home receives maximum exposure to this proprietary (and unparalleled) database.”

Bottom line, it’s important to pre-frame your team at first contact. When you list a property, it’s important to explain your team and how each person has a specific role to play in the process. With your explanation, you will stress the benefits in a manner similar to this:

“We have <<#>> full time selling partners that show property. Because of this unique set-up, we are more likely to be available for you when you want to go looking at homes and, of course, when you find the property you like, we work with our selling partners to negotiate the best price and terms for you.

“Essentially, when you work with me, you get me and my entire team for the price of a single agent. Isn’t that a great deal?”

Net, net, you should find that by positioning and reinforcing your team concept as an added benefit, you will be able to satisfy even your toughest client.

“If you have a team, one objection that may come up from time to time when meeting face to face with a home seller is their fear of being just a number if they list with you. Since you have a team, they may feel that they will get passed on from person to person or system to system and end up getting lost in the shuffle with no personal attention. If presented to a seller correctly, your team is a valuable benefit for them – not a liability.

The whole purpose for having a team is to allow the agents to spend more time selling. Otherwise the agents have to spend valuable time processing paperwork, scheduling marketing and working on details that are necessary but do not impact a sale. With a true team concept, you can tout the benefits of how your systems and assistants allow you to spend more time with sellers helping them get their home sold. After all people sell homes, not ads.” – Todd Walters, Marietta, GA

To find out more about how to grow your business with the support of a team, you can visit http://www.hypertracker.com/go/cp/a29a080903/ where you can learn about my 3-day SuperConference where I train agents on how to most effectively leverage themselves with marketing, technology and people to allow them to build a profitable and enjoyable business.

Billion Dollar AgentTM Craig Proctor has been in the top 10 for RE/MAX Worldwide for 15 years. To receive free training from Craig with no obligation, visit: http://www.hypertracker.com/go/cp/a29b080903/.

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