By Julie Escobar
With the second quarter in full swing now, and spring re-energizing agents everywhere, I wanted to turn our attention this month to that most-important business foundation must-have – the sphere of influence. To do that, I turned to a good friend and amazing speaker and coach – Roberta Ross. She’s successfully helping agents not only earn to their highest potential — but doing so with passion and purpose. I asked her if she’d share some of her secrets of success with us this week, and of course, she graciously agreed.
Here’s an inside peek at our interview…
Q: Roberta, first of all thanks so much for your time! You’re always fun and insightful to interview! In a time when our industry is still, in many ways, recovering – I wanted to talk a little about the ways new agents (or RENEWED agents) can take the best practices of top producers and adopt them in their own careers so that they can hopefully avoid the dramatic commission roller coaster that so many agents get on. What are some ways to build your foundation (or re-build in some cases) the right way?
A: Of course, Julie- I’m always happy to share! I would first say that in ANY business it’s critical to always keep the fundamentals in place. I like to use the analogy that your business is like a pot of water – you’ve got to keep it at a boil all the time. You can’t take it off the burner or it gets cold – right? That happens with agents too. They get busy doing other things and they take their eye of their “pot of water” and it cools off, then they have to exert all that energy to get things cooking again. Successful people know they have to always keep that pot simmering, or keep focused on the book of business that is generating the referrals. It’s fine to add new things to the mix—social media comes to mind, but only if you can assimilate those new things into your routine while keeping your eye on the prize which is maintaining those relationships.
Q: Great analogy Roberta – I’m stealing it and making it part of the article title! You and I have talked many times about the role mindset plays in the success or failure of a career – and relationships. Can you share your thoughts on that?
A: Absolutely. We’ve often discussed the Prosperity vs. Scarcity mindset. The difference being that with a scarcity mindset, everything equals fear. “There’s not enough, nothing’s working or there’s no opportunities.” With a prosperity mindset the opposite is true, “opportunities are abundant, what can I do NOW to attract more listings, more customer relationships, and more success?” Remember this: Seeking out what you want will always outperform the fear of not getting enough.” Fear is not the mindset in which to make good business decisions. Open your mind to possibilities and give that fear a rest!
Q: Love that! I know one of the powerful things you teach is the power of niche marketing – can you give us some insights about adding niche markets to your sphere?
A: Sure. One of the first things agents ask is “How am I going to stand OUT?” What’s misguided for many agents though is that they don’t realize that JUST standing out and getting noticed isn’t it. What successful people do is create an IDENTITY that is not about them so much as it is about what resonates with their prospects – what’s meaningful and important to their customers. Some are so busy STANDING OUT that they don’t present themselves with clarity to their customers. (And a confused customer is rarely a happy – or a referring customer!) When your customers see your marketing materials, read your blog, connect with your social media – they should see themselves in what you offer and think – “Yeah – that’s the one for me!”
I’ll give you an example. Most speakers use their names as their identity right? (Most agents do too!) Now imagine if I sent out some direct mail to an area where my name wasn’t as well known and I decided to send three postcards out. The first one I’d send as Roberta Ross, LLC. That wouldn’t mean much to those agents right? So the next one I send out I’m going to send out as Marketing Solutions, Inc. Still – not going to get many raised eyebrows will it? Now the last one I send out I send as Six Figure Real Estate Coach. What resonates more with a real estate agent? My name, a broad term like ‘marketing’ or Six Figure Real Estate? Six figures of course! That’s the kind of clarity you want in your branding as well.
Niche marketing also gives you the ability to go from starter to expert more quickly because by zeroing in on that niche – you have clarity and your customers have clarity. You’re not trying to be all things to all people or an expert at EVERYTHING. You become better, faster because you’re FOCUSED on a specific market – specific segment of people – and hopefully something you’re passionate about.
Q: Clarity is an AMAZING differentiator—for both the agent AND the prospect! Good advice. So where does an agent START?
A: Well, I’d say where any good business starts – building a database of the people you know first. Friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. – get them all into a format you can build on. From there you can build on that foundation and build out from it. You can add in social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN. After all, the fundamentals haven’t changed – you have to continuously CONNECT with the people in your sphere. Social media just gives us new way to reach out and connect one to many, as opposed to just one-to-one. You’ll want to use all the tools in the chest though to make sure you are engaging people in different ways – and especially in the ways that make sense for them.
Remember – you go the distance by doing the two things that agents continuously get paid to do:
- Build relationships
- Provide exceptional service
Get out there and engage – create new opportunities to do those two things over and over again. Some ways to engage…
- Direct mail. It’s not dead, in fact, there’s more opportunity than ever since fewer people are using it.
- Hosting events. For some agents – a great conduit for providing exceptional service and growing their book of business has been to host events or workshops in the niche of their choice. Hosting events for first time home buyers, investors, expireds, FSBOs, — any focused group is a terrific way to differentiate yourself as an expert while making those all-important connections.
- Social media. There’s no denying that these platforms are most definitely extending agents ability to reach out and stay engaged. I would just say be clear in your purpose, be true to yourself and your IDENTITY that we talked about earlier – and don’t use it as a reason not to interact one-on-one with your sphere as well.
Before we move on though, let me be clear about what I mean in terms of “exceptional service.” I do mean staying informed, continuing your education, building your skills, becoming your best in terms of what you do so that you can be the best advocate, resource and agent for your customers. I do not mean however that you should do EVERYTHING they ask, and allow them to own you. Service isn’t always about saying yes – it’s about doing what’s best and necessary in the best interests of your clients.
If you’re going to lead – you’ve always got to be in learning mode. Because when you STOP learning, stop working on getting better, guess what? The water stops boiling…and you have to start starting over.
Q: I agree with that 100%! You know, Roberta, one of the things I appreciate about you and the message you get across from the stage is how important humor and balance is to a healthy career – not to mention healthy person, relationships, and life! What’s the secret?
A: No secret really and I love this question! Whenever I’m speaking or working with my coaching members or involved in any project really, I always take some time to remember NOT to take myself too seriously and I share that advice with the people I work with. When we take ourselves too seriously, we’re filled with ego—and egos are by nature filled with worry about the past and the future. That takes us out of the present and in doing so – creates a situation in which you are less than authentic. Real humor lies in the now, really being present. It allows you to embrace what’s going on and find the good stuff in it. I do take business seriously and I want my audience and coaching members to as well, but with humor, and the ability to laugh and be light at heart. It keeps you on your toes and in the present!
You know, humor is about more than just fun. It’s deeper than that. If we lose humor, it leaves room for that scarcity mindset to creep in. Don’t let that happen! See the humor – and let it into your life both personally and professionally.
Thanks so much Roberta for all your insights. You’ve given people lots of fuel for thought in terms of keeping their sphere of influence simmering and their business flourishing!
If you’d like to learn more about Roberta and Six Figure Real Estate Coaching, you can visit her online at www.SixFigureRealEstateCoach.com or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/6FigureRealEstateCoach. While you’re there, be sure to look us up at www.facebook.com/ProspectsPLUS.
If you’d like to learn more about our powerful, direct response tools for consistently staying in touch with your sphere and keeping your business simmering, contact us today at email@example.com, call us at 866.405.3638 or visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com. Mention or use promo code GROW10 to save 10% off any order this month!