Cool Stuff From Success Summit!


There was so much NEW at this year’s Summit!  The large group of attendees brought an energy that sustained us for three days and made it hard to say goodbye to Las Vegas.  In no particular order here are SOME of the  cool things that happened:

  • Mr. Westman attended!  Head of our parent company, Infinium, Ron Westman tends to stay in the background usually letting his team navigate the important Help-U-Sell meetings that occur from time to time.  Not so this Success Summit! He was present and involved for every minute of meetings and social functions as well.  It was a wonderful opportunity to interact with the man that got us through the worst real estate market in history.  Thank you, Ron Westman!
  • A new CI followup program was unveiled.  Working with Mike Paholke and Excel Print/Mail, Jack Bailey, John Powell and  the home office team developed a series of 8 customizable postcard mailers for staying in touch with past clients and other Centers of Influence.  The program is remarkably inexpensive and provides automatic followup to our most important friends.  Watch your email and attend the weekly Power Hour meetings for details.
  • A partnership with Movement Mortgage was presented.  This rapidly growing mortgage banker comes with an interesting proposition.  Instead of waiting to process a loan application until the closing date is imminent, they process everything immediately, completing the package in 7 – 10 days regardless of closing date.  This enables buyers and sellers to close early if they choose but more importantly, exposes problems EARLY so that there is no last minute panic.  In addition, Movement Mortgage has agreed to undrewrite 25% of the cost of the new CI program mentioned above!  Now it is an even better bargain!
  • Robbie Stevens showcased our new corporate website, slated to go live around the first of the year.  It knocked my socks off!  Really:  clean and sleek, very forward looking and modern, it makes our competitors’ sites look ancient.  And the functionality – rich in video and short on verbiage – is superb.  There is a great new home search function that includes a drawing component where any customized geography can be searched.
  • OMS Lite was presented.  This is a new app available at the Apple Store for Iphone and pad that enables Help-U-Sell brokers to add a new listing on the fly.  It includes the ability to upload photos and even phone-shot video directly into OMS.  An Android version is running through the approval process and should be available soon.
  • Platinum Edge got a dusting off and an update.  This tool for use with luxury properties has a new look:  stunning black and silver.  Guidance on how to use this tool when working with the top of the market will be a feature of future Power Hour meetings.
  • Ron McCoy presented a revamped awards program that recognized top listing offices, top buyer side offices and  top closed side offices as well as a new Don Taylor Award of excellence.  Congratulations to Jack and Cheryl Bailey and Help-U-Sell Greensboro for being tops in Buyer Sides with 59,  and to Richard Cricchio and Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties for being tops in New Listings with 151.  Honolulu Properties was also #1 in total Closed Sides with 167.  The special Don Taylor Award went to Brenda Fischer at Help-U-Sell Options Unlimited in Terre Haute, Indiana. In a smaller market with a lower average sale price Brenda, through some aggressive and very creative marketing has captured a BIG share of the market and shown us all there is more to parades than marching!
  • Maurine Grisso, back from almost two years of illness, delighted the group with her newly published book ‘Before You Sell Your Home.’ Available on and Kindle, it will be on SPECIAL for one day, October 22, for the ridiculous price of $.99.  Mark your calender, buy the book and then give Maurine a favorable review on Amazon.

If there was a theme about this meeting is was that marketing – particularly core marketing to your geographical target market – is supremely important today and that no group deserves more attention than our CIs.  Systems to get those two things done automatically (and others) are key to growth.

Having missed last year’s Summit, I have to tell you I spent many months hungry for the kind of interaction that only comes when Help-U-Sell brokers from across the country come together to share and learn.  I am delighted that I could attend and if I ever miss another – I’ll probably be dead!

Richard Cricchio, Help-U-Sell and the Office Exclusive Listing

We had quite a Roundtable Call today.  Lots of good information flew around, but one item really struck me.

Richard Cricchio from Honolulu started talking about ‘Office Exclusive Listings.’  I asked him to clarify and he responded:

‘When we take a call on a listing, we always ask if the caller is working with an agent.  If they’re not, we send them directly to the seller to arrange a showing.  The seller shows the house and we followup afterward.  That way, if the buyer moves forward on the house, all the seller pays is the Set Fee.  They save the largest amount of money.  We’ve always done that on all of our listings and it’s helped drive the message that we are about savings.’

It sounded like such a radical idea.

But it’s not.

It’s about 35 years old.  It’s a thing called ‘Help-U-Sell’.  That’s how this company was designed by Don Taylor.  That’s why it’s called ‘Help-U-Sell‘.  As we turned the corner on the new millennium, we started adjusting the model here and there.

First, the seller’s phone number came off the for sale sign.  Remember, for 25 years, our listings were ‘For Sale WITH Owner’ and we put the sellers number on the sign so buyers could contact them directly.  We did that for two reasons:  first, it gave the seller the greatest opportunity to save, which is what we wanted so they’d tell everyone they know about us and second because it’s a way of multiplying our efforts, enabling us to more that we’d otherwise be able to do.

Then we started capturing buyers and showing our listings ourselves.  Sellers still could find their own buyers by holding open houses and talking the house up with the neighbors and at work.  But we wanted a relationship with that buyer, so we started handling the showings ourselves.

I’m not saying either of these adjustments was wrong.  But I do think it’s interesting that the guy who is way out ahead of the pack in our currently running Winter Warm Up Contest is still sending buyers directly to his sellers.  How much time are you spending each week running over to show a listing to a new buyer?  If your sellers handled that task for you, what else could you be doing with that time?  Are your followup skills strong enough that you could still build a relationship with that buyer after they’ve seen the listing with the seller?  After all, most of the time they’re not going to buy that house anyway.

In today’s market, where so many sellers have so little equity, I’d think giving them the greatest change of finding their own buyer and saving the largest amount of money would be very appealing.  Think about it.

3 Objectives of Marketing

Visibility – Lead Generation – Client Base Development

In that order.

First rule of Marketing:  Be Visible! Which means to be seen . . . frequently.  In real estate we do that largely with signs: For Sale Signs (listings!), directional signs, open house signs, Blitz Signs, Car Wraps, Billboards, Bus Benches, office signage.  You are visible when you hear the magic words:  ‘I see your signs everywhere.’

However:  Visibility can be accomplished in other ways as well.  Richard Cricchio (whose office is on an ISLAND, which is a pertinent detail) has used a weekly radio show for the past 9 years to boost his visibility.  Maria Powell and Michelle Morgan have become active on local television to be more visible.  Kim Zelena and Kimber Regan have used community involvement and charity events to increase their visibility.  Julie Wright is deeply into her Chamber of Commerce.

Lead Generation is all about Targeting, which means honing in on the people most likely to need your services in the future.  Lead generation might take the form of direct mail or door hanger distribution.  It used to take the form of newspaper and homes magazine advertising (and still may in some cases).  Increasingly, lead generation is about maximizing your web presence . . . essentially being electronically VISIBLE and easily found online.

Many of our folks are generating leads by optimizing their Help-U-Sell websites.  Good News:  if you haven’t done that yet, call Tony – he’ll help you.  Others are pulling them in regularly via premiere agent programs at Zillow, Trulia  and  Robin Rowland is using Facebook to create new business.  Maurine Grisso has 5 websites (and counting), each targeting a different segment of the market.

Client Base Development means we look backward as often as we look forward.  As we move contacts to contracts and closings, we move those clients back into our cache of fans.  We cultivate the relationship with regular meaningful contact.  We seek and get their help in further developing our business.  You are doing client base development right when you have former clients functioning as advocates in the field for your service.

Rather than single out anyone doing a good job of client base development I’d simply congratulate all Help-U-Sell brokers.  Truth is:  nobody is making it through the tough market of the past several years without the help of a strong client base.  No matter how many leads you are developing, the power of a personal referral will almost always be your best option for doing business.

Top Producers at the Help-U-Sell Success Summit

Four of our top five Brokers were in attendance at the Summit, Nov 14-16 in Anaheim this year.  I asked Jack Bailey to facilitate a panel discussion around what they’re doing to grow their businesses in this market.  Here are:

  • Patrick Wood – Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties – Chino Hills, CA
  • Richard Cricchio – Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties – Honolulu, HI
  • Karen Detwiler – Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty – Carlisle, PA
  • John Powell – Help-U-Sell Galleria Realty – Tucson, AZ

Because of time limitations on YouTube, there are four videos here, ranging in length from 12 – 14 minutes.  Sound improves about half way through the first segment, when we miked the group.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Sometimes Being Visible Means Being Heard

Richard Cricchio of Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties has been doing a weekly radio call-in talk show for, literally, years.  Rule one of Marketing is to be visible and he has used this audible medium to do just that!  He and his company are known throughout the island and this radio show is one important piece of the program that caused that to happen.  Here are recordings of a show he did this week, on October 5, 2011.

A Note About Marketing with Radio:  remember Richard is in Honolulu which is on the ISLAND of Oahu.  It’s a perfect location to exploit the power of radio.  His broadcast reaches the island and he’s in pretty good shape to do business anywhere within that ‘reach.’  If your marketplace is also like an ISLAND – which is to say, smaller, more compact, somewhat distinct or isolated – radio advertising might be a good choice for you.  However, if you are in a major metropolitan suburb, think twice.  Your message, whether an ad or a show like Richard’s, will go to the entire area, most often into places that are too far away for you handle.  You will probably discover that the cost to produce the leads you CAN work is greater than the leads are worth.  As always, I’d suggest you talk with someone – me, Ron McCoy, another Help-U-Sell broker or two – before you kick off any new or untried marketing program.

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