Play to your strengths like these star agents and build a rock-solid reputation
By Amy Reinink
Top RE/MAX Associates know there’s much more to the job than marketing and selling properties. They also serve as trusted guides, offering informed advice and even emotional support. They read personalities, build relationships and share their knowledge. Four standout performers share their tips and winning approaches.
John Keane is…
BRING ABOUT A MEETING OF THE MINDS
Hone your negotiation skills to close more transactions where everyone leaves a winner
John Keane, a Chairman’s Club member with RE/MAX Team in Jackson Heights, N.Y., attributes his success, in part, to being a skilled negotiator. Here’s his best advice on gaining an edge:
Manage emotions. Negotiations are emotional, and it’s our job to keep ego and emotions in check. Sellers can get offended if they hear a buyer make disparaging comments about their home. And buyers might not be willing to pay extra for the seller’s decorating, which they dislike but the seller is very proud of. Our job is to bring about a meeting of the minds where everyone feels that while they may have to give a little, they still get what they want.
Always try to negotiate in person. By doing this, you can use your voice and energy to keep people positive and focused, and can gauge how things are going based on body language. It can be a very positive sign if someone has a lot of questions or even a lot of objections. It means the person is engaged and interested in the property, and wants to know more.
Be strategic with buyers. If you’re working with buyers, the first step should be determining their maximum budget. If they start negotiating at the top of their range, they can’t increase their offer when a seller counters it.
Set expectations with sellers. If you’re working with sellers, help them understand the benefits of a highly qualified buyer, like someone with a mortgage pre-approval letter in hand, versus accepting a higher offer from a less-qualified buyer. Sellers new to the market are sometimes slow to commit because they want to wait for that elusive buyer with a higher offer. The active buyer who’s right in front of them is worth giving full consideration.
Try to protect personal property. It’s crazy when negotiations fall apart over minor details – everything from the old washing machine to the custom-made drapes – but I’ve seen it happen. I advise sellers to remove personal property they’re not willing to part with before they put the house on the market. Invariably, if the buyers see something they want, they’ll have a hard time accepting anything less.
Anthony Gomez is…
The Data Miner
KNOW THE NUMBERS
Earn commercial clients’ trust by becoming a market expert
Investments are what Anthony Gomez knows best. The former investment banker for Salomon Smith Barney and trader for Merrill Lynch earned his real estate license while working in the financial sector to help investors and eventually become an investor himself. He began selling real estate full-time in 2002, and the Platinum Club and Hall of Fame member is now Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Commercial Investment Associates in North Bergen, N.J. He shares his insights into being a trusted guide to commercial buyers:
Q: How are commercial buyers different from residential?
A: The residential purchase is going to be more emotional because it’s focused on family and lifestyle. There may be some emotion in commercial purchases, but for the most part it’s about making a long-term investment driven by numbers.
Q: In light of that, how does customer service differ?
A: In residential, you add value by knowing the area in terms of home values, schools and communities.
In commercial, you have to have more of a financial background to really differentiate yourself. For example, I work with a lot of land developers and have to be able to take current rental values and work backward, factoring in the cost of the land and the cost of construction, to show clients that a project is a good investment and the rents will make a project feasible for the banks.
Q: Any recommended training or designations?
A: RE/MAX University has the ACP (Accredited Commercial Professional) course that will give you a good base knowledge. Later, you can take the CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) intro course, which is also great.
To be honest, the best thing to do is to learn from your clients. Work on seeing why a given property is or isn’t a good investment based on their feedback.
Q: Any other tips for getting started in commercial real estate?
A: You have to be humble and ask for advice. Tap into the RE/MAX network – you’re playing for the same team, so other Commercial Practitioners are usually happy to help.
Melissa Miller is…
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Get to know your clients — and let them come to know you
Melissa Miller of RE/MAX Premier Associates in Weston, Fla., is a RE/MAX 100 Percent Club member and has been featured on HGTV’s “House Hunters.” Here’s how she works to truly get to know her clients:
Start with a sit-down. Miller asks all new clients to fill out a detailed questionnaire about what they’re looking for. She invites them to her office for a consultation, during which she describes every step of the home-buying process. There, she asks even more questions about their needs and preferences.
Focus on lifestyle. She asks about their leisure activities, too. “I want to know whether they spend more time outdoors or indoors, whether they love to entertain, and what they like to do on the weekends,” Miller says. “These things play into many of the housing decisions they’ll make.”
Dig deeper. It’s important to ask follow-up questions. For example, while many parents say they’d like to live in a good school district, Miller has found they often haven’t researched local schools with magnet programs to match their children’s interests and talents, a course she often suggests.
Check in. To get to know them on a deeper and more personal level, Miller takes her clients to lunch or coffee throughout the buying process. These friendly meetings can prevent anxiety and smooth over problems before they arise. “Meeting in a more casual setting helps clients feel more comfortable with me,” Miller says.
Make a connection. Getting to know her clients early in the home-buying process allows Miller to narrow down their options to a few houses that best fit their needs, which saves time on showings. Miller says it also leads clients to stay in touch for years after a sale – and continue to refer business to her. “I’ve been godmother to clients’ children and was even there for the birth of one,” Miller says. “If you make your clients feel important, they will make you their Realtor for life – not just for that one transaction.”
Mark Woehrle is…
SHOW THEM WHAT THEY ARE BUYING
Add value with informative promotional videos
When Mark Woehrle joined RE/MAX Escarpment Realty in Hamilton, Ontario, in 2012, he was a new Realtor with no background in video production. Two years later, more than 11,000 people have viewed Woehrle’s 170 promotional videos on You-Tube. Within his first full year in real estate, Woehrle worked his way into the 100 Percent Club – and he says his videos helped him get there. Whether you’re an experienced videographer or new to production, Woehrle’s tips can help you use video to build your business.
Start small. Woehrle’s first videos were simple, single-take shots on his iPhone. Although he’s since invested in higher-grade gear and now creates high-definition videos, Woehrle still occasionally uses his iPhone or iPad for client testimonials.
“You don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce a video. In reality, it’s as easy as picking up your phone and asking a client about their new home, and then uploading that video to YouTube.”
Add value. Recording a video of a listing walk-through can help differentiate a property in a crowded marketplace, Woehrle says.
“Buyers like that a video can show them the layout and flow of a house in a way that photos can’t, and that it feels more immediate and authentic than photos. Sellers appreciate that it’s a standout way to market their property.”
Build face recognition. While print ads can help establish name recognition among potential clients, videos displaying your face and voice take that to another level.
“I constantly hear, ‘Hey, you’re the guy in that video!’” Woehrle says. “People get to know my personality before they even meet me, which can help them decide if they’d like to work with me.”
To view examples, visit markwoehrle.com.