By Julie Escobar
As we head into the New Year sharing tips on how to build your sphere of influence and grow your business, I turned to my good friend and amazing success coach Roberta Ross for her insights on the subject. Fresh off her recent real estate ‘boot camp’ – she’s got a lot to share!
Here’s a little of what I learned…
Q: Roberta, we’ve presented a challenge to agents in 2012 to consistently and effectively nurture their sphere of influence to help them really make a great year ahead. I know helping agents succeed and successfully build their books of business is one of the things you are passionate about in your seminars, and part of what you shared in your recent boot camp – Positioning Power. Tell me a little more why you decided to teach boot camp style and the importance of agents positioning themselves the right way in a market?
A: Thanks Julie – It was a great event and we had tremendous response and feedback from the agents that attended. I’m thrilled to add my two cents – and you’re right – building that book of business is vital to succeeding in any market. You know, when most agents enter this business, they get a heavy dose of information about licensing and fiduciary responsibility, about contracts and fair housing – all important topics, but they receive little training on how to develop a business. Each agent represents a business all their own, and until they position themselves effectively–it is forever an uphill battle to attract the kind of business they want.
If an agent wants to attract more, they first have to change their thinking. For the agent who is dissatisfied with where they are, or just wanting to take it to the next level, know that whatever got you to where you are is not the same set of behaviors or skills that are going to get you where you want to go. To build a business that strengthens and grows over time, it is imperative to position oneself as the go-to agent in the minds of the prospects they want. This is important (often more important) with the Sphere of Influence as well. Show me an agent who has lost business from a friend or family member to another agent and I’ll show you an agent who has not positioned themselves in the minds of their sphere. The boot camp format is so powerful because it symbolizes getting focused, in shape and in command of one’s business.
Q: You’re right on target Roberta! Let’s talk about social media for a minute. It has made a tremendous shift in the way many agents do business today. What’s your best advice for agents in terms of managing and leveraging change — not just in social media but in their careers and life?
A: Great question Julie. There’s probably not a person reading this who has not wasted a bunch of time on social media – the two of us included, right? Social media can send you into a time warp. Like every other opportunity to attract business, there will always be those that say it is a waste of time or that it doesn’t work. I say that’s bunk. Like every other form of prospecting, it doesn’t work for those who don’t use it properly, effectively, or consistently. Social media offers an enormous opportunity for agents who are focused on what matters and who understand how to use it, which is why I invited an expert on this topic to speak at my boot camp. You can’t expect play aimlessly at social media and make money. You’ve got to learn what works – and what doesn’t and commit to using ALL the tools at your disposal, including social media in a way that makes sense for you and your business.
As for managing and leveraging change, it’s critical that agents stop trying to do everything themselves and start treating their business as the business that it is. If every mundane detail of your business relies on you to get it done, there is no opportunity to understand and leverage change, such as in social media. You must outsource and delegate the things you do not need to be doing, the non-revenue-producing activity, so that you have the opportunity to direct your business to succeed, which includes guiding it through and leveraging change.
Q: Great points! For many agents, staying in touch with their sphere is a challenge. I was recently asked by an agent to describe some best practices for follow up. What are your thoughts on this topic?
A: My first recommendation is to put systems in place. You do not need to be sophisticated to have a system. I earned six figures with just a three-ring paper binder with my contacts in it and a basic cell phone. I recently interviewed Kevin Eastman for my Success Series members. Kevin is the assistant coach of the world-champion Boston Celtics. He said shared a lot of great ideas on the making of a champion in business and life. One idea that I’m reminded of here is “success lies in the simplicity, confusion lies in the sophistication.”
The bottom line is, if you are not picking up the phone or connecting in some way with your people in your sphere each day, you are not making money. Most agents find staying in touch with their sphere challenging, simply because they do not make it the priority that it is. If you peel back the layers on why most find it tough, you’ll find that the inner truth is that many are looking for a way around it. As Brian Tracy says, eat that frog. More often than not, you’ll find that it’s not the horror you make it out to be in your mind. Hey, not bad! Ha! It tastes like chicken!
Q: Love it! Roberta, you and I both saw lots of people leave this business in the last few years when the “going got tough.” One of the biggest success tools an agent can have I think is building a solid database of customers and staying in touch with them. It’s not easy for a lot of salespeople to put on that admin hat and make sure they’re putting customers in a follow up system — but it’s necessary. What are you seeing out there and what advice do you have for people in terms of building that book of business?
A: Well Julie, one of the most common short-comings of agents is that they don’t position themselves as experts; especially to the people they know. Most of the people in an agent’s sphere don’t know them in their capacity as real estate agent. They maybe went as far back as thinking of them as little Johnny or Suzie who played in a sandbox. It’s the agent’s job to position themselves in the minds of their prospects as being the right agent. Then, it’s a matter of staying in contact. Keep taking steps to implement daily contact and it will add up over time. The greatest successes are made from the smallest of steps that are actually taken. You don’t need to make contact with everyone all of the sudden, rather incorporate systems and standards for doing some contacting daily. Create a checklist. How many people did you call today? How many did you send a note? How many did you message on Facebook? Track these numbers and in a short while you’ll see at least a part of the reason of why you aren’t attracting the business you desire.
Q: Good advice. Any last thoughts?
A: I’d say my final thought is this: get in the game and stay in the game. Stay focused on what you can do in each moment to create or attract what you want. No amount of worrying about the economy, your bills, what your competition is doing, who is in the white house, or whose house caught fire on the local news is going to produce one transaction for you. Consistent, revenue-producing action will give you traction on generating business! Engage in the process, and detach from the outcome — and enjoy it all along the way!
Thanks Roberta! As always, it was a pleasure sharing ideas with you! We’ve got some terrific systems for every budget to help you stain touch consistently – without headache or hassle that can compliment your GettingListingsSold.com solution. Give our marketing team a call today at 866.405.3638 to learn more or see this month’s specials at http://www.prospectsplus.com/specials.aspx.
Roberta Ross is president of Six Figure Real Estate Coach, Inc. She travels nationwide speaking to real estate professionals on business strategy, lead generation, and mindset for success. Hire her to speak at your next event, visit www.SixFigureRealEstateCoach.com or follow her on Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/6figurerealestatecoach.