Monday, July 14, 2008

Secret#6 Drive a successful looking car.

Do you have dreams of making a lot of money in real estate, so you can drive around in a fancy new car as the envy of the neighborhood? Well, if so, you have it all backwards, because the the most successful agents actually bought their successful looking cars right out of real estate school, before they ever sign a single deal!

Yes, success breeds success, so the more successful you look, the more people will want to do business with you. And there's few definers of success like that of the car you choose to drive.

But before you go to the bank to take out your first business related loan (yes, you can use it as a write off!), what kind of car should you be looking for? Below is a quick guide to the type of car you should look into, depending on your situation.

Hummer: You may have seen a few of these parked at the gym. Why? Because the Hummer is the perfect car for those male agents who have recently found themselves interested in self improvement because of their exciting new return to the single life. With this liberating change in lifestyle, many men are frequenting new establishments in search of a complimentary clientele. If you are recently single, over forty with a core clientele of recently single moms, this is the car for you.

Mercedes: The crem de la crem of luxury cars. This car is particularly admired along warm coastal states where the real estate is especially glamourous. If you are an agent in and around the areas of Boca Raton or Newport Beach, this is the car to look into. Also note, while shopping for a Mercedes, 87.4% of the most successful agents in those areas drive a pearl colored Mercedes E-Class sedan with custom gold trim.

BMW SUV: Perfect for the mom turned recently successful real estate agent who does a lot of her contacting at school group functions, soccer games, or Costco. However, if you find yourself in this category, you must remember that the BMW SUV is the only type of car in this category you are allowed to own. Sedans can quite often come across as too sporty, therefore running the risk of arousing the attention of your potential clientele's husbands. For a less expensive option (i.e. your credit will not allow you to take out a loan that large), try the Acura RDX, or the Infinity EX35.

Toyota Prius: This may seem like the antithesis of a successful realtor car, but with the advent of global warming and Generation X, this is a great alternative. Sure it's small, and you probably don't want to have your clients ride around in the back, but the Toyota Prius is a hybrid vehicle that says you are an intellectual that cares about the environment, technology and text messaging. This is a great option for agents in and around the Portland Oregon area, or agents with clientele that are especially liberal, politically speaking. If you go this rout, it is also recommended to invest in a Thule bike rack.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Secret #5 Throw a networking party.

You can't make money in real estate unless you have clients, and a guaranteed way to get them is to throw a networking party.

But before you begin to look into your savings account to see how much you can spend on alcohol and prime rib, you need to first understand one simple principle. The more successful a real estate agent is, the less money they spend on building their business (possible exceptions are successful looking cars, time shares, and power suits; all of which we will discuss at a later date).

So how can you throw an impressive networking party without spending any money? One word -- potluck. And there's no better way of getting leads than by following these simple steps for a successful potluck networking party:

1. Make a list of everyone you know personally. Start with your family (including cousins, aunts, uncles, etc...) then spread out to friends, neighbors, and co-workers. It is not suggested to invite people you don't know, as they will be less likely to follow through with step no.2.

2. Send out individual invites. The reason you want to send out individual invites is to ensure you can get the food there free, without everyone knowing they are coming to a potluck (careful not to use the word "potluck" in your invitation, as it can make you sound cheap -- i.e. unsuccessful). For instance you can tell your Aunt Tilly that you are throwing a party where you will be taking care of everything, but it just wouldn't be the same without her "famous chili dip". Be sure to let each guest know their respective dishes are held in high public esteem, therefore increasing your chances of having them attend to showcase their contribution.

3. Give a speech at the opening of the party. When all of your guests arrive, you will want to welcome everyone by giving a little speech to thank them for coming to your home. During this speech, you will want to tell everyone how blessed you have been for having them all in your lives, and how much you will miss living so close to them because you will be selling your home.

At this point, you will hear gasps in the crowd as many of your closest friends and family will begin to question each other about your unexpected announcement. It is no doubt that many of them will become quite upset at the news, but this is precisely the reaction you need for step no.4.

4. Announce your business proposition. At this moment, you will need to calm everyone's fears by letting them know that as "a newly licensed real estate professional", you have been amazed to find out how much your home is worth, and how you are excited to move up into something much more comfortable. Next (and this is important), you need to express how indebted you are to everyone in the room because of the love and kindness you have received from them over the years, and that if there is anything you can ever do to help them in the the future, they should not hesitate to ask.

5. Enjoy the referrals. No doubt with your unexpected news and expression of good will you will be flooded with questions about your new career in real estate, how much your home is worth, if your new home is located on a golf course etc... all of which can easily be turned into a lead generating conversation. "Do you know how much your home is worth?", you might say, or, "Who knows, you could be sitting on a gold mine too".

Side note: In following these steps, you should not actually sell your home, as this is just a first step in creating leads. If, in the future, you are questioned about the fact that you have not yet moved, you may want to articulate how "success in real estate" has taught you that true happiness is being close to the ones you love. You should then tell your friend about a home that recently went up for sale near you, and that you would be willing to look into it further for them.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Secret #4 Wear a bluetooth headset.

One of the keys to making money as a successful real estate agent is communication, and there's no better way to communicate than by wearing a bluetooth headset.

But there's more to bluetooth headsets than the ability to communicate with clients and influential people; they can also be worn as a fashion accessory. Guys, don't worry, this is one of the few fashion accessories that are appropriate for you to wear (also bracelets made from precious/therapeutic metals, and tie pins that have been awarded to you for exceptional salesmanship by your brokerage). In addition, it's also a little known secret that the more you wear your bluetooth headset, the more business you will get.

The psychology lies in the principle that the more deals you do as an agent, the more you will have to be on your phone to make those deals happen. People want to be represented by successful agents, therefore they are naturally drawn to agents who talk on their cell phones a lot.

Because of this, it is a good idea to wear your cell phone headset wherever you go. You never know where you may meet potential clients (grocery stores, kid's soccer games, family reunions), so it's always good to be prepared. For instance, if you find yourself in line waiting for a table at PF Chang’s and someone asks what you do for a living, you can begin to tell them about the latest real estate deal you are working on, but then you should stop the conversation with a comment like, "that reminds me, I need to follow up on that". You should then touch your hand to your headset and dial the phone number of a client you are currently working with (or your home phone if you don't have any clients yet), and say something to the effect of, "congratulations, it's looking really good" , or "we should have this wrapped up pretty soon". You can then hang up and mention how much your bluetooth headset comes in handy with as much business as you do. If done right, you will have a new client before you're seated for your lettuce wraps.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Secret #3 Get ready to advertise.

In order to make serious money in real estate, you'll need to do some advertising.

While this may seem overwhelming at first, rest assured that it's not as complicated as you may think. It really all comes down to creating your "personally branded" business card. Yes, in the future you will also be advertising on flyers, yard signs, and bus stop benches, but these will essentially be photocopies of your original business card. For now, all you will need is a compelling business card that includes these 2 essential elements:

1. A professional headshot. It is a fact in the industry that 97.3% of all Americans will not do business with you unless you have a headshot on your business card. The reasons for this are largely unknown, but some industry experts speculate the fact that the average person loves to spend time looking at/thinking about people whom they admire and want to become like. This may also explain why Donald Trump chooses to use his headshot to market the world's purist natural spring water, Trump Ice.

In any case, you need to have a professionally photographed headshot, preferably from a studio that specializes in glamour portraits. To make your picture more appealing, it is also suggested to pose with your hand to your chin, or to request that the camera be tilted for more effect. Also, studies show that if you include your children and/or pets in the photograph, the average consumer is more likely to showcase your business card in a prominent place in their house for family and friends to admire (for more on this, google "refrigerator magnet business cards").

2. A compelling tag-line. For this element, think about the concept of personal branding. Personal branding is how you articulate what makes you unique, and why people should do business with you. Identifying this differentiating factor can be as simple as thinking about what takes up most of your time during the day. For example, ask yourself how many hours you spend blogging about your children, washing/waxing your car/boat, or googling cute pictures of cats with funny messages for your desktop. While these may seem like everyday ordinary activities at first glance, you can spin them to create memorable tag-lines for your business cards that will set you apart from the competition.

For instance, if you love cats, you may want to think about a tag-line like "Looking for the purrrrrrrfect home?", or if you are into cars, you could say something like "Revving up deals in real estate". Really, sky is the limit with this kind of innovative advertising, but just make sure to place your powerful tag-line in bold font where it can be easily seen next to your headshot.

As you can see, by following these simple guidelines, you will soon be "drumming up business" like a pro (also a great tag-line if you are into music). Who knows, with a little creativity, you too could "be on par" (golfing reference) with the most successful realtors in the business.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Secret #2 Start using "Power Words".

One of the quickest ways to become successful in real estate is to use words that will make you sound successful. This is extremely important when interfacing with clients, but will also come in handy when you need to gain the trust/admiration of your professional peers.

Power words, by definition, are words that make everything you say more intelligent, authoritative and/or dramatic. Essentially, they are words you use to ensure you are an expert in whatever you decide to talk about.

Donald Trump is an excellent example of this. If you've ever heard him speak, you will quickly notice how he uses power words to articulate how he has become the "world's most successful businessman". In fact, because of his mastery with power words, he also has "without question, the world's most famous television show" too!

So, how can you use power words to make money as a successful real estate agent? There are a few ways in which you can begin using power words in your vocabulary today:

1. Speak in absolutes: Using words like "everyone", "never" and "fact" are good examples. Use these words whenever you need to make an authoritative statement to ensure it will not be challenged (i.e. "It's a fact, everyone knows there has never been a better time to buy real estate than right now!").

2. Use two adjectives in place of only one: For instance, if you are showing a buyer through a home, you could say, "This price is a fantastic deal", or you can step it up a notch and say, "This price is an unbelievably fantastic deal." Of course the latter is more persuasive, because the deal is not only fantastic, it's so fantastic that you, the agent, can barely believe it. (Also note the use of the word "fantastic" in place of a less powerful word like, "good".)

3. Redefine ordinary words with new power words: As an example, you may have heard the words "flyer", "refrigerator magnet", or "recipe card", but in power speak, you can redefine all of these words as "effective marketing solutions". This works exceptionally well when you need to describe how you plan to sell the listing of a potential client.

4. Combine power words to create powerful phrases: For example, while talking to a fellow agent, try slipping in a phrase like "revenue generating" or "systematized solutions" when discussing the latest trends in marketing and technology.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Secret #1 Get a fast-track real estate license.

If you want to make a lot of money as a real estate agent, first you need to get licensed.

All real estate agents have to go to an accredited real estate school wherein they learn a general overview of how they will be held responsible for specific kinds of paperwork. Luckily, you don't have to waste years of your life attending a formal community college in order to get this degree. The most successful agents take the fast track where you can get a real estate license in as little as two weeks from many reputable institutions. These specialized schools will teach you everything you need to know in order to pass the required real estate certification exams.

After passing your exams, you will be awarded a physical certificate of your newfound expertise that you can frame for your home office. In many states, you will also receive a smaller version that you can carry in your purse or wallet. This smaller card-like certificate is especially useful as a "marketing tool" when checking out at Costco ("Sorry, did I give you my accredited real estate license? I thought it was my membership card.").

There is a catch however. Once you get your license you will still have to do something called "Continuing Education" which is a requirement to attend classes having to do with real estate-ish topics for a certain number of hours per year. But we can talk about how to turn those boring hours into "networking opportunities" near the wet bar later.

For now, you will need to get your two-week degree so you can begin selling real estate. And remember, the less time you spend in the classroom, the more time you will have to sell. So make a goal, and call your local fast-track real estate school today!