Taking a time out

A time out is certainly a necessity today. And given that many of us feel that what we need is additional activities to reach their goals, I believe that much of what is being done isn’t what will bring us new opportunities. A time out for objective discovery and reevaluation is what is often missing.

The time out is a time to consider an objective evaluation of our business.

1. Do we have realistic and measureable goals?
2. Are the goals we have set time sensitive?
3. Do our goals call us to achieve successful action?
4. Are we spending valuable time on activities that are time wasters and energy zappers?
5. Are we on track to achieve what we have set out to receive?
6. Do we approach each communication with a goal of achievement and moving us towards our desired goals?

We know that simply taking listings will not bring success in today’s market. Yet, have we set guidelines at which we will or won’t take a listing?

And with buyers, have we set guidelines at which we will or won’t work with a buyer?

From time to time, we all lose site of where we are going and often end up on auto pilot…doing the same thing we’ve done before not because it’s successful but because we know the routine. However, today, we can’t afford to be on auto pilot. We must be diligent and persistent in order to succeed. We must be purposeful and intentional in the activities we choose to spend our time, money & energy in doing.

We can’t afford to just do nothing nor can we afford to do everything and see what sticks.

The power of a detailed plan that is evaluated with objectivity is a success strategy that should not be missed.

Time is all we have and it is a limited commodity…we can not afford to waste in. We must be profitable in order to sustain and thrive in today’s market and that takes purposeful refection and a commitment to action.

It is critical that a trusted & knowledgeable resource review our business plans to be certain they we are on track to continue to succeed and thrive in today’s challenging marketplace.

For a business evaluation, contact me at lori@loricox.com

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When life throws a brick your way be sure you’re wearing a hard hat

Wow! There is so much doom and gloom in the media and although the bad news is certainly a reality for all of us, the one thing that we can control and all need to be is prepared for the next opportunity to make life better for ourselves, our family and our clients.
I believe the very best way that we can accomplish this is first and foremost, being good to ourselves. Take time to take care of yourself…fix that attitude if the attitude isn’t attractive to yourself or to others. You know the saying, “misery loves company” and if you appear to be miserable, trust me, no sane happy buyer will approach…The sane happy buyers will be left for another blog post on the BENEFITS of the ABR Designation and screening buyers…
In these turbulent times, you need to do your best work. Do what you love. Learn new skills…and be sure to be prepared for the next opportunity to succeed… you can’t afford another bad day!

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Be the Agent of Choice

As a former sales associate, I get that the ONLY loyalty commitment that meant anything from sellers or buyers was a firm written commitment to work with me exclusively. And I also realize that when I was listing and selling, the exclusive agreements were predominately used by listing agents and sellers not agents with buyers. I didn’t run my business like most agents…I ran against the “norm”. In fact, I represented many more buyers that sellers throughout my sales career and I worked with exclusive agreements for representation with my buyer clients. I know…I know most of you are thinking that my sales career was so long ago and that today’s buyers are different. Perhaps, I sold real estate a while ago however, I am entrenched in the real estate market as a trainer, educator and life coach. In today’s market, there are some things that are NOT different.
Let’s explore what hasn’t changed…Think about these traits and ask your self if you possess the attractiveness you need in today’s market to bring about that loyalty from buyers and sellers.

1. Today’s buyers and sellers want a realistic agent with an attitude of positive thinking…not irrational exuberance but a healthy state of optimism is appropriate. Think about it, do you want to work with someone who is a negative Nellie or Negative Nate? I don’t and I will choose not to…I will move on to another agent. I was recently asked what motivates me and after considering the question for a bit of time, my response was “pro-activity…MY ability to control the outcome of events.” In today’s market there are things that are out of your control, no doubt, however, your attitude is all about how you choose to look at life and what you do when faced with life’s opportunities and challenges. Approaching life’s challenges and opportunities with energy rather than avoidance and procrastination is what I am talking about. Be proactive…have a plan!

2. Try a shift in your thinking…for me, if I continue to believe something to be a truth, I NEVER look beyond the truth to find new solutions. Maybe the perception of your reality needs to change…instead of trying to solve problems in the same way you have in the past, look to new “out of the box” solutions. For me, I seek out the expertise of others…often times, their perception of reality is vastly different from mine- get out of your box of “this is how it is and this is how I go about dealing with this challenge.” If the challenge continues to reappear, you obviously haven’t found a permanent solution-seek out others. You will begin to approach life and life opportunities and challenges differently with a shift in your thinking…for me, the new thinking is like hitting the refresh button on my computer. I feel re-energized and prepared for the new challenge-often with a new solution! Seek out new professional development courses…seek out those you respect and admire…ask them about how they manage through challenging times.

3. Loose the Nay-Sayers…the Negative Nellie’s and Negative Nate’s are not for me and should not be for you unless you want to be pulled into the negativity as well. Surround yourself with the optimism that will give you the energy to move forward with new thinking not weigh you down with negative thinking. The nay-Sayers in your life are the folks that burst your bubble of enthusiasm and energy…they are the folks that after you engage them in conversation you walk away exhausted and depleted…loose the Nay-Sayers.

4. Life is a gift…handle with extreme care. We all receive bad news from time to time and we all face struggles within our own lives…it is easier to face those struggles and challenges on a full tank of gas rather than to be running on empty. It is important to fill yourself up with goodness…healthy eating, supportive relationships, exercise and restful not fitful sleep make a big difference in how we approach our lives…both on a personal and on a professional level. Renewed energy helps to feel better equipped to manage life’s up & downs.

5. Ask for a commitment. If you are caring for yourself and hold yourself up to consumers with the confidence and thoughtful dialogue of what’s in it for them…I believe your ability to show value and create loyalty with written agreements will increase and you will become the exclusive agent of choice.

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Managing Life on Auto Pilot

How many tasks in the day do you perform based simply on the fact that these are daily habits…not necessarily the most efficient use of your time or the best way to manage to get something done however, it’s the way your manage your life. For today, I’d like to limit my comments on the life or death of your real estate business.

Faced with today’s real estate challenges, the auto pilot mode of “just do-it” doesn’t seem to accomplish desired results. Today’s market demands an agent to re-invent themselves and to market themselves in a consultant role. Today’s buyers and sellers need a professional consultant that specializes in the local real estate market place. A specialist is one that has more than basic knowledge of the real estate marketplace and brings more value to the transaction than simply a conduit to getting into properties.

In today’s market, real estate professionals need the additional knowledge of short sale transactions as well as knowing the process of working with bank owned properties. Without the enhanced knowledge, buyers are at a disadvantage and sellers should ONLY look for an agent that understands the distressed property sales even if they themselves are not in that position as a seller. The seller needs an advocate that can speak knowledgeably about the entire local market and how it affects a non-distressed sale as well as a seller in a distress position.

Now is the time to seek additional expertise and training….learn about HAFA. Take the time to invest in your professional development- seek out the information necessary to compete in today’s market…you owe it to yourself and to your present and future clients!

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In today’s challenging market, I am convinced that to be successful one must be a leader…an empathetic strong leader…wimpy so-called leaders not apply!

As I see it, to be a buyer’s leader…
Consulting with buyers about hiring an agent that actually knows something about their unique market of choice is desirable. The buyer must see the value in the agent’s knowledge and understand that the knowledge the agent possess is not available from the internet. That knowledge is not a commodity. The agent must lead the buyer into making good real estate choices for themselves and I believe a knowledgeable agent with the confidence of a true leader has the ability to get the buy-in of loyalty from the buyer.

The second very important skill the buyer’s leader needs is the ability to negotiate and advocate for the party that hires them. An empowered leader helps their client make empowered choices based upon not only good information but the agent’s ability to raise the bar and question the legitimacy of the negotiation strategy. Is the strategy going to get the desired result of a contract that has a reasonable chance of closing?

If you want to attract a better buyer…look to yourself to be a better agent. Be a leader and an advocate!

Now, onto the Seller’s side…
Sellers need nothing less than what is offered to today’s buyer. Sellers need a leader in the agent that represents them as their listing agent. Leadership as a listing agent is all about:
1. Understanding the competitive market and creating a competitive edge for your client. This is all about the reality of pricing.
2. Negotiating the terms of the contract that will CLOSE. A contract with a reasonable chance of closing is a MUST…not some lame contract because the seller has seen nothing better…

To simply accept what the seller wants & needs is a mistake listing agents frequently make. What truly matters is getting the property sold at market value and the sooner a potential listing agent develops the leadership skills to communicate effectively, the faster that property will sell.

Have you asked yourself lately about your ability to lead in a market like we have today?

It’s easy to be successful when ANYONE can list and successfully sell real estate-best I can tell, that is not today’s market, it won’t be tomorrow’s market or the market for the foreseeable future. Continuing to do what you did today and yesterday will bring the same results you saw today and yesterday…is that what you want? Or, do you need to upgrade your abilities? Are you ready for new opportunities to invest in you?

Leadership skills come from these 3 components: knowledge, understanding (the data & information) and the ability to effectively communicate. Without these 3 components, a potential leader is simply an order-taker…agreeing to go along with whatever plan the buyer or seller wants to employ.

Look to the upcoming opportunities to learn new skills as well as hone what you may already have as potential leadership qualities. Look to your local associations for designation programs that are sure to upgrade your level of knowledge, professionalism and leadership.

Upcoming Fall 2010 Programs for NAR Designations and professional development:
GREEN: September 23 & 24, Libertyville, IL. To register, call Ramona at 847-506-5030
SFR: October 13th, Northbrook, IL. To register, call Rachel at 847-480-7177
SRES: October 14th & 15th in Libertyville, IL. To register, call Ramona at 847-506-5030
ABR: October 20 & 21 in Northbrook, IL. Call Rachel to register at 847-480-7177

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With all the buzz about distress property sales, you must find time in your crazy busy schedules to take advantage of the newest certification from the NAR.  This one-day program will help REALTORS understand the short sale, foreclosure sale and REO sale process from the seller’s view, the buyer’s view and the lender’s view.  To take advantage of the “Right Tools-Right Now”, NAR is waving the administrative processing ees of $175.00 until the end of 2009.  To find a course near to you, visit www.coursecalendar.com and look to SFR.

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Showing Value

In today’s environment, showing value is a great challenge…not necessarly because of who you are but because the consumer is much more demanding of excellence.
To be able to survive in these challenging times, agents must be great. I believe in order to be great, agents must look at additonal training and education. Over the past week, I have had the opportunity to meet with many agents through the SFR Certification and those agents will be able to apply first hand to their transactions very beneficial information that will determine whether they can bring about a successful closed transaction. Today to be a great agent means not wasting time on transactions that at dead on arrival but focusing efforts on a throughout assessment of both the buyer and/or seller before representing either party in a transaction. Walking away from a potential buyer or seller because they don’t have the ability to meet today’s guidelines for either a seller side or a buyer side is smart business. Agents need to ask tough questions of their potential clients to be more certain that working with these folks is a good business decision.
It is diffucult to show value however, the potential for loyality when the client sees value is better and imagine even having your clients sign an exclusive agreement for representaion-it becomes easier when you have shown value. Challenge yourself to greatness…take on some new learning and be able to more clearly define and show your unique value…you will be happy you did!

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The Meaning of Passion

After facilitating the SRES Designation Program at the North Shore Barrington Assocation of REALTORS, I have come away with an increased awareness and gratitude to those REALTORS who have taken the time, energy, patience and passion to spend time and learn more about the uniqueness of each and every elder client that they have the priviledge to serve. 

This was an amazing group of REALTORS coming together as a community in a classroom of competitors-looking for common solutions and strategies to assist in bringing an elder successfully through life’s transistions.  Even though this designation is geared to the 55+ population, the networking and resourses for the elder client that were shared among this group were fantastic!  .  It was my honor and privledge to facilitate this two day program!!

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The Market Recovery & Selling Solutions

Just this week, NAR announced a new certification entitled “Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource (SFR). This program is an opportunity for all REALTORS to have the right tools to service their customers and clients.

Many agents have said “I don’t want to get involved in the listing of a short sale property”…and have avioded the listing end of the transaction by referring the business which is a good thing to do. Having said that, because the marketplace throughout the counrty is struggling with many distressed properties, as the market does recover, there will be many short sale opportunities not only for listing agents but also for the agent that chooses to represent or work with the buyer.

Look at the new program from NAR as a must do in your eduication lineup over the next 8 weeks…this NEW certification comes with the opportunity to learn from the best in the industry with a program that is NOT fluff…NOT sizzle but all steak.

I don’t think you’ll be dissappointed.

Check out the website for more information

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The Necessity of Written Company Policy

I had a wonderful opportunity yesterday to instruct the new Illinois Broker Management Continuing Education 6 hour class. We had many fruitful discussions about managing a real estate office and the necessity of reviewing, revising and sometimes initiating new policy into company manuals. It became very apparant as we spent the day together at the REALTOR Association of Northwest Chicagoland that comminucations are rapid and the opportunity for liability growing as a result, brokers must be aware of education opportunitiies for not only themselves but also for the licensees sponsored by the broker. Look to the local, state and National Association for tips and tools that bring value to the office.

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