Help-U-Sell for Agents

Real estate agents are a funny lot.  Most don’t make much money.  I know:  with commissions as high as they are, that’s hard to believe; but it’s true.  In fact, most do so poorly that they leave the business within 3 years of entering.  It’s not that agents are generally mediocre that causes so many to fail slowly, though.  The problem lies in how the real estate industry structures the agent job.  Many who struggle along, day after day in ordinary real estate offices could thrive under different circumstances.  Here’s a short video about the alternative.  If you are working for Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Keller Williams, ReMax or any other company, this will be worth your time.

Help-U-Sell Brokers, if you’d like to have a copy of this video to put on your own YouTube Channel, you’ll find it in the Download Library in OMS.

Your Future in Real Estate

It’s time to get serious about your career in real estate.  The market is rebounding, homes are selling and it looks like we are in for another multi-year cycle of appreciation and normalcy in the marketplace.

Now is the time when great careers and great real estate businesses are made.  It is your moment, your time to shine, your best shot at major success . . . IF you are positioned to take advantage of the opportunity.  What does that mean?

If you are an agent working for an ordinary real estate company, be it franchised or independent, you are competing against thousands of other agents just like yourself, with the same tools, same information, same offering, and same pricing.  The only edge you could possibly have in that fishbowl – the only things that might set you apart from the pack – are your personality and your work ethic.  So, let’s assume you really apply yourself next year.  You work harder and smarter and you polish up that smile . . .  and you go from doing 18 deals to doing 25.  That’s very nice, but it’s hardly the stuff of real estate greatness.

This is not the time to increase your production by 30%.  It is the time to increase it by 300%.  And you won’t do it by doing the same things you did last year and the year before, only doing them harder.  It’s time to look for a better way to do the real estate business.

If you are a broker, get ready.  You have been able to rein back outrageous commission splits a little in the past few down years.  But with the market heating up, even your most mediocre agents will be looking for more, and you know if you don’t give it to them, the office down the street will.  You can expect your turnover to move higher in the months to come which means, if you are going to maintain current levels of production, you’re going to have to kick up your recruiting game.

I gotta tell ya:  I don’t envy you at all.  The success of your business is dependent on your ability to get people to come to work for you and then, to get them to stick around; and your only real tool for accomplishing either of those objectives is split.  And what the heck does any of that have to do with helping buyers buy and sellers sell real estate?

Clearly, it is time for a new game, a new model, a new way to do this business.  A way that results in incredibly satisfied clients, busy agents with healthy bank accounts and brokers who are functioning as successful entrepreneurs, not mere support for their sales staffs.

And you know what the way is:  It is Help-U-Sell.  Here’s why:

As a Help-U-Sell broker you will go into the marketplace with a consumer offer that is not only fundamentally different than that of your competitors, but also superior to theirs from a consumer point of view.  You’ll accomplish the same results the pack of ordinary agents and brokers will but you will save people thousands over what they’d pay anyone else!  It is an offer that is so compelling that, once word is out in the marketplace, potential sellers usually want to at least talk with you before making a listing decision.  And we find we get that listing about 90% of the time.

It is a focus on marketing and marketplace intelligence that more closely resembles what Home Depot does than what ABC Realty does. And because Help-U-Sell marketing is systematic and focused, it produces a steady stream of buyer and seller leads into the office.  These are leads the office has created, leads the office owns, leads the office will assign and track.

It is agents who want to come to work for you because you have the one thing nobody else can give them:  leads.  It’s agents who have had a close brush with burn out from the gigantic job description they tried to manage at an ordinary real estate company.  They will see the streamlined, focused job you have for them as an opportunity to do more, make more and have more fun doing it.

It is a smaller, tightly knit office team that is outperforming companies with 10 or 12 times the agents.  It is an team with one goal – yours, with one direction – yours, one purpose – profitability.  It is very different from an ordinary office where the broker begs people to come to work, begs people to stay, begs people to attend sales meeting, begs people to do the prospecting they promised to do and so on.  Aren’t you getting tired of all that begging?

And finally, it is a bottom line that is beyond healthy, that is growing and expanding every month.  This is the great truth ordinary real estate brokers and agents have the most difficulty understanding about Help-U-Sell:

Even though we charge consumers thousands less, we deliver more dollars to the bottom line per transaction than our ordinary competitors who charge much more!

I know you don’t believe me, but go ahead:  call a Help-U-Sell broker – any Help-U-Sell broker – and ask them to explain it to you.  I’m sure you will be surprised at what you hear.

The Help-U-Sell ship is sailing, and it’s going to do more than it did between 1998 and 2006 (the rough dates of the last up cycle in real estate).  And if you are serious about your success, it is time to fly a new flag on your own ship, to find a new and better way to do the real estate business.  For goodness sake!  Do it in a way that is different from what everyone else is doing and that is better for consumers and for you bottom line.  Do it with Help-U-Sell!

*Unlike other franchises who will give you a list of their 12 happiest franchisees to call, I have no problem telling you to talk with any Help-U-Sell franchisee.  We are a multi-year winner of the Franchise Business Review’s franchisee satisfaction survey.  Year after year, our brokers affirm their delight with the business model and the power of the team.  So go ahead:  pick a Help-U-Sell broker – any Help-U-Sell broker – and let them tell you why joining this team is a very smart move.


Flashback Friday: U R Reality TV

(Another oldie-moldie, dusted off from the distant past of January, 2010. I keep thinking about that editor, the one that keeps the action interesting . . . an important job!)

I got home last night with a handful of things to do.  Television is rarely a distraction for me (though I do admit a minor addiction to Survivor and old black and white movies), but last night, dinner was ready just at 8 and I flipped on the mush-box for no good reason as I ate.  What glimmered on the tube was a whole new season of The Biggest Loser.

I’ve seen bits and pieces before and have been surprised at how noble and human all of that exercising seems to be.  Last night, five minutes after I sat down,  as I shovelled a pasta/chicken dish and Brussels sprouts into my mouth, I began to blubber like a little girl.  I finished dinner and reached for a Kleenex.  Next thing I knew it was two hours later and my eyes were all red and puffy.  Is that stupid or what?

Not really.  It’s a tribute to the power of production, direction and editing.  I think it is amazing how this kind of television can elicit such a strong emotional response from viewers.  And it’s accomplished very cleverly.  They do it by being very clear about the objective – which is to get that strong response, get it quickly and sustain it;  by arranging situations where the drama can unfold;  and then by editing, editing, editing until it all comes together in a big sob-fest.

Here’s what I’m thinking today:  Your life is a Reality Show.  There will be a winner at the end of it and at each little challenge that comes along.  Most of us are so busy participating in the action that we ignore the aspects that bring power to the experience.  Put plainly, are you producing, directing and editing your own reality show to get the response you expect and the result you want?

Production occurs at the 30,000 foot level.  It’s where the producer gets clear about what he or she wants to do and maps out a grand schema to get it done.  Producers are rarely involved in the day to day creation of the show:  they define the bulls-eye and delegate the doing to competent others.  If they become involved in the day-t0-day it’s to make the call when decisions are tough.  You are the producer of your show (actually, I’d argue that you share production credits with God, who probably deserves the title, ‘Executive Producer’).  Are you clear about what you’re trying to accomplish?  Have you thought about what you want to see when you flip on the tube to watch the story of your life?  When the tough stuff comes, do you withdraw to 30,000 feet to consult with your Executive Producer about which decision fits best with what you’re trying to accomplish?

Directors craft the look, feel, plot, drama and orchestrate the desired response.  The director tells everyone what to do and how to do it so the producer’s vision can be achieved.  Funny about movies and television:  They almost never put anything on the screen that’s not important in moving the plot forward or creating the desired response.  Are you doing the same?  Are you so clear in your vision that everything that makes it into the movie of your life is relevant? Or are you running in ten directions at once, trying to do a passable job at dozens of things rather than a great job at one or two?   Is there a (self-disciplined) director sitting in the back of your head, guiding you to your goal?

I knew a top producing agent some years ago in Northern California.  He was about 27 and grossed about $300,000 in commissions the previous year (this was 1989 — and that was a lot).  I asked him about getting started so young and if he had to overcome credibility issues at age 22. He said he did for a short period of time.  I asked what he did to overcome that.  ‘I had to make changes in the way I saw myself,’ he answered.  ‘I’d been in college and I was a daring rogue, partying too much and taking stupid risks.  I saw myself as a pirate.  I realized if I wanted to be successful — and I did — I needed people to see me differently.  Nobody wants to buy real estate from a pirate!  So I cleaned up my act.  Got a haircut, started shaving every day and bought some professional looking clothes.  Then I started listening to some good teachers:  Tony Robbins, Tom Hopkins, Danielle Kennedy.’  In essence, what this young man was saying was that the director of his show stepped in and had him adjust his performance.  Smart move.

Finally, there are the editors — who I’d say are the real stars of shows like The Biggest Loser.  They take raw and probably very boring footage and slice it up so that it depicts exactly what the director wants to depict.  It’s like what the cartoon character, Jessica Rabbit said in Who Framed Roger Rabbit:  ‘I’m not really bad — I’m just drawn that way.’  Maybe Survivor’s Russell wasn’t really evil– he was just edited that way.  You have to become your own editor, too.

A couple of years ago I was interviewing people for a job.  One of my candidates was qualified, but she talked more about the trauma of her recent messy divorce than she did about her goals, aspirations, joys and abilities.  Of course I didn’t hire her.  But  it turns out the woman I eventally did hire — bright, energetic, capable — was also embroiled in a nasty divorce.  Nobody had any idea for weeks, and when it finally came out it was nothing she wanted to spend any energy on at work.  Later, after we’d become friends, I asked her about it.

‘You know, I had no idea you were going through a divorce, and certainly not one this messy, when you came in for your interview,’ I said.

‘That’s because I keep that tucked in,’ she replied.  I gave her a questioning look.  ‘I don’t want my life to be about my divorce, so I keep it to myself when I’m doing other things.  You weren’t hiring a soap opera, so I left that part of my life at the kitchen table that day, just as I do every day when I come to work.’

Editors sometimes get Emmys and Oscars . . . and they deserve them.

How Is Your Real Estate Muscle?

I am into Geezer Fitness.  That’s what happens when old people work consistently toward achieving fitness goals.  Geezer Fitness.  I got serious about it 10 years ago, in my early 50s and it has paid big benefits.  I am much stronger, healthier and happier than I was when I began.  I look better too.

Geezer Fitness means 3 things:

Diet – which doesn’t mean denying yourself anything, but rather taking control and making small adjustments.

Mental Conditioning – stretching your brain and pushing it to grow.  For me this takes the form of learning new things:  another language, a new sport, painting.

Physical Exercise – (in order) Stretching – Cardio Exercise – Resistance Training.  I say ‘in order’ because if you haven’t exercised in a long time, that’s how you should start:  consistent stretching every other day until it becomes an anticipated habit;  then adding in a little Cardio, and a little more, and a little more, until it, too, becomes an important routine; then doing the same with Resistance Training.  If you’re just starting out, it will take at least a year to get all three happening in an integrated rotine.

If you are not a little careful, it is possible to ‘strain’ any part of this recipe.  If you go overboard on the diet thing, you can end up craving stuff that will set you back.  If you push too hard in learning, you can become fatigued and muddled.  And when you over-do any part of your exercise program you can end up in pain . . . as I have.

I strained my back late last week.  Believe it or not, I think I did it stretching . . . in a yoga class.  Yes, it’s even possible to over-do when you are doing the most gentle part of your program.

Pain is your body talking to you.  It’s telling you you’ve gone too far, done something wrong, and now need a break.  I’ve had five days of pain – each day a little less severe than the one before – and near complete cessation of physical activity since.  You have to do that when you strain a muscle:  stop, sit down, take a break, give the muscle time to heal.  And while you are recouping, think about how you did this to yourself and make plans about how you’ll avoid it in the future.  In baseball they call this the ’15 Day Disabled List.’

And all of this is true for your real estate career too! (you knew I’d get around to that, didn’t you?)

If you’ve done it right, your real estate career is a set of pleasant routines you’ve developed over time that produce a beneficial outcome. . . just like my Fitness program.  Your routines are probably in several categories:  Marketing, prospecting, lead management, client base development, and so on.  You can ‘strain’ your real estate muscle by being out of balance, by dropping the ball on any one of your routines, by becoming reactive and out of control of your business.

No matter what the cause, Real Estate Muscle Strain always feels the same:  you hate your job.  The thought of talking to one more FSBO contorts your entire face into a frown.  You can’t find the gumption to call the Seller with the unrealistic price to report no new activity and to suggest a price reduction.  You put your phone on d0-not-disturb mode and let it all go to voice mail . . . and then dred all of those calls to return.

Just as with physical muscle strain, there is a prescription for Real Estate Muscle Strain, and it is the same:  Stop.  Rest.  Think about how you got the strain and plan how you will avoid it in the future.

But how do you do that when your business is clicking along?  You can’t just abandon everything and take off to Cabo!  But maybe you could get the flu.  Here’s the cure:

  • Identify your real estate pals:  the one or two people you would trust to cover for you and for whom you’d be willing to cover in return.  Do this NOW, before you strain your muscle.
  • Meet with them and form a pact:  when one of you go down, the other(s) will pick up the slack.

Now, when you discover you’ve strained your Real Estate Muscle:

  • Devote an hour or two to organizing your current business so you can hand it off.
  • Meet with your pal(s) and give them your files.  Plan to talk with them once a day.
  • Contact your active clients – sellers and buyers – and explain that you have the flu or a family emergency or a sick parent or something and that your Pal(s) will be covering for you.  You expect to be back in the saddle within the week.  
  • Go somewhere where you can rest.  This might be home . . . or maybe it really is Cabo!
  • Give your mind and body a break from real estate.  Talk to your Pal(s) once a day and then drop it.  
  • Think about what it was that caused the strain.  What drove you over the edge?  
  • What can you do immediately on your return to put that straining influence in check?
  • And how can you organize yourself and your business so that a strain in this area will be unlikely in the future?  

Need an example?  Here’s one that has ‘strained’ many real estate people:  shifty, rude or obnoxious clients.  Honestly:  if you are working with people you really don’t like, it’s a strain and it can drive you right off the cliff.  So give yourself permission to get the real estate flu, hand your business off and go to . . . Cabo!  But think:  how did  you get yourself into this pickle?

You’ll probably realize that at some point you were so desperate for business that you took whatever business you could find.  That’s usually how we end up with obnoxious clients.  The real problem isn’t the clients, it’s the desperation.  Without the desperation you can be picky about who you work with.  So what caused the desperation?  Oh, lack of leads (perhaps).  So how can you generate enough leads so that you can be picky about the ones you choose to work?  Oh, I know!  Marketing!  Maybe it is time to jump into that great mailbox program from Excel . . . or try this Facebook pay-per-click thing, or buy a zip code from Zillow.  And when you get back to work, is there a listing you want to give back?  A buyer you want to pass off to someone else?

See how it goes?  Strain is a symptom.  First you have to take care of the symptom by stepping back, by stopping.  Continuing to work when you have a strain only makes the strain worse.  You think:  what caused the strain?  What can I do NOW to get control?  And what can I do going forward to ensure that I don’t have this problem in the future?

I’m sure my strain came from forward bends:  downward facing dog, child pose, bent-leg forward bend and so on.  I pushed too hard and, I think, did a lot of bending from the low back, not from the hinge of the hips.  When I go back to yoga next week, I am going to limit my forward bends.  I’m going to use blocks under my hands to ensure that I don’t over-bend.  I’m going to consciously think about my hips and stop when they stop hinging.  It’s taken a week in a chair on muscle relaxers to come to this understanding.

Now:  What’s your plan of attack on your Real Estate Strain?  And where are your muscle relaxers?

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