For Help-U-Sell Brokers: Listing Consultation Clarification

In my conversations with you, I’ve noticed an occasional quirk in the way you present the Help-U-Sell program to sellers.  I call it a quirk – but it’s really a misunderstanding, one that can create problems for you.

You don’t have three programs for the seller to choose from.*  You have one; and it is FULL SERVICE, including MLS.

We acknowledge that, even with FULL SERVICE, there are three ways your home could sell and each one comes with a different cost.  We charge the seller at closing based on how the home actually sells.

Your Set Fee is the same no matter how the home sells, so you don’t really care which way it goes (although we love it when there is no outside broker/agent involved because then the seller saves more and leaves the transaction very happy.  Happy sellers are the most powerful part of our marketing).

If a seller is willing to partipate aggressively in the marketing of the property (open houses, outreach to neighbors and co-workers, sharing on social media, etc) they may CHOOSE to stay out of the MLS, thus increasing their chances of saving the most.  But it is a choice they make within your Full Service program.

The message is:  don’t over-complicate your listing consultation by forcing the seller to choose this program over that program over the other program.  Present your program for what it is: Full Service with savings. Show the seller how s/he can save and how they can save the most.  Then be what you are, a consultant, and help them make a good decision (choice).

This is very important because it is one of the things that separates us from most of the new compeitiors who are emerging.  These high tech/low touch offers are not designed for choice, not designed for consultation.  It’s one size fits all and take-it-or- leave- it approach.  The expertise that sellers seek is not there or not available to aid them in decision making.  That’s your edge.  You are HIGH TOUCH with technology.  You bring human interaction to the process, helping home sellers understand what’s going on, and functioning as a trusted consultant.

Today’s sellers have been trained to believe they have only one choice:  go with a percentage based dinosaur who may or may not do the mechanical part of the process and advise them through it – OR – go with one of the new machines that only does the mechanical.  YOU are the logical choice in the middle.  You are the new way to sell your home and save, making ample use of existing technologies to get the job done while maintaining the personal, consulting posture that sellers need and want. Your task is the same as it has always been: Educate home owners in your Target Market that you are HERE, people use you, it works and they save thousands.

*It’s ok to end a sentence with a preposition today.  Look it up.  It’s not my favorite form of syntax but if it aids in clear communication, I’m all for it.

Involvement: Part of being a Help-U-Sell Broker

I’ve been looking at the numbers lately.  The one that keeps coming up is 30.  We have 30 offices in coaching right now.  We usually draw about 30 offices to the Wednesday Power Hour calls.  Our annual Success Summits have drawn about 30 offices each of the last few years. That begs the question:

Where are the other 70?

When you join a franchised organization, you have a choice about how you will interact.  You don’t have to do much more than correctly use the brand and operating system, pay your royalties and don’t break the law. The opportunity to become involved, to learn and grow, is just that: an opportunity.

But, we’ve found that those who take advantage of the opportunity to interact are the ones who grow and thrive in the Help-U-Sell family.  The 30 above – and there are variations in each of those lists – are the offices that show the greatest percentage growth in production year over year.

I’m not going to preach too much here.  Truth is:  there are about 30 regular readers of this blog and they tend to be in the lists above, too.  In other words:  I’m probably preaching to the choir! Still, let me remind you of the opportunities you have to engage with the Help-U-Sell Family, opportunities that have proven to have a positive effect on your bottom line.

Power Hour:  Second and Fourth Wednesday each month at Noon Eastern time (9am Pacific). One hour of strategies, best practices, and what’s new. Really:  not to be missed.  Here is a registration link:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/813923762165244931
Webinar ID: 685-513-379

Help-U-Sell Facebook Family page: our own private conversation.  Only Help-U-Sell people can get access, so we speak freely about our challenges and successes. If you need something or want to share something that’s working, this is the place for you! But you must be a member: request that on this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/helpusellfamily/

Success Summit 2017: December 5 – 7 at the Golden Nugget hotel in downtown Las Vegas. Half Day – Full Day – Half Day.  Get the scoop on new programs and initiatives, automated and predictive marketing as well as best practices, networking, social time and overall excitement! This is always a GREAT MEETING! Register here: https://connect.helpusell.com/help-u-sell-success-summit-registration/

Help-U-Sell Connect: Our internal newsletter.  Meet top producers, get reminded of deadlines and marketing intiatives.  All the news you want to read in a quick and easy format.  https://connect.helpusell.com/

Coaching Groups: Currently we have 7 groups running. Members meet once a week for an hour and help brokers stay focued on what’s most important as they juggle the many commitments that drive their businesses.  These are real, gritty, how-to meetings with lots of interaction between members. We match new members to the appropriate group based on production, stage of growth and goals.  Don’t operate in a vacuum! Join a Coaching Group by contacting James Dingman or John Powell.

There’s more: things like this Blog, support@helpusell.com for quick help with tech issues (or anything else), formal online training classes, one-on-one help and consultation on operational and tech issues, and so on. But I think the most powerful opportunities are above.  You owe it to yourself and your business to PLUG IN. Make the commitment today by clicking on any or all of the links above.

My Real Estate Pet Peeves

Jack Bailey’s Buyer Consultant Training starts today, so I thought I’d share some of what that excellent program will cure:  a few of my Pet Peeves!

  • Real estate professionals who don’t know how to use their calculators and can’t figure (or at least look up) a mortgage payment on the fly.
  • Real estate professionals who don’t know how to measure for and calculate square footage (at least good enough to tell if the tax records are wrong).
  • Real estate professionals who can fill in the blanks of their State approved purchase agreement but can’t walk through it with a buyer or seller explaining each boilerplate paragraph.
  • Real estate professionals who stop at ‘No,’ when trying to get a deal closed or financed.  The answer to ‘No’  is always the same:  ‘What do we need to do/add/change/find to make it work?’ and ‘What can I do turn this around?’
  • Real estate professionals who can’t do basic pre-qualification of a buyer including an initial discussion of finance including an examination of income-to-debt ratios.  (Though important, this is not a substitute for an in-depth discussion with a lender).
  • Real estate professionals who can’t accurately (within a reasonable tolerance) calculate seller net proceeds and buyers’ funds needed to close quickly and on a legal pad if necessary.
  • Real estate professionals who are afraid of the Internet . . . or even uncomfortable with it.
  • Real estate professionals who ‘wing’ their listing presentations.  It’s a job interview, for goodness sake!  You at least need an outline of where you want to go with it!
  • Real estate professionals who don’t spend money on marketing.  Agents should be spending a minimum of 10% -15% of their anticipated 1099 on marketing.  Brokers should be spending more.
  • Real estate professionals who expect the MLS to sell all of their listings.
  • Real estate professionals who organize their companies to appeal to agents rather than to serve consumers.
  • Real estate professionals who celebrate mediocre production.
  • Real estate professionals who don’t constantly question why things are the way they are and how they could be better for the buying and selling public.

These are just some of mine . . . what are yours?

Why Zillow’s ‘Instant Offers’ Pilot Program Doesn’t Matter

Zillow is testing a new program in a couple of markets.  They have a pool of investors who will generate an instant offer on your house, picking it up on the cheap without the time, hassel or expenses usually associated with an ordinary real estate transaction.

There’s nothing new about this. For more than a decade, investor groups have created marketing campaigns to help them identify home owners who will take significantly less for their properties to have a swift and hassel free transaction.  And there are people for whom such an offer has great appeal.

I think about my good friend who, at age 80, wanted to divest himself of a rental condo that was a mess.  He considered the value, and was about to list (with a Help-U-Sell broker!), when an investor group contacted him out of the blue.  They gave him about 80% of fair market value.  He took the offer because he wouldn’t have to clean the place, do extensive repairs, sweat out inspections and appraisals or pay many of the normal costs associated with a sale.  Yes, he lost money . . . or rather he exchanged some money for convenience and quickness.  For him, it made sense.

As the real estate industry continues to scramble and ‘innovate’ to re-establish an identity with consumers, some recent entries to the business have adoped a similar approach.  Open Door, now in Phoenix and a few other markets, is buying houses in much the same way.  They are marketing the program as a new approach to residential real estate, one that relieves many of the ‘pressure points’ that weigh so heavily on home sellers. (Translation:  they are buying low, paying cash, fixing and flipping).

The first time I encountered this kind of program was back in the 1970s, when ERA Real Estate built their whole marketing program around the notion, ‘If we don’t sell your house, we’ll buy it!’  It sounded pretty good.  But after a few years it became very obvious that they weren’t buying many (or any) houses!  The terms of ‘we’ll buy it’ included a sales price based on 70 – 80 % of value, and few sellers were willing to take that kind of hit!

The Zillow program – if it survives the pilot, which it should – will appeal to some home sellers;  but they are the same home sellers who are by-passing brokers to take a quick fix already.  It is competition for HomeVestors (the ‘We Buy Ugly Houses’ guys) and Open Door more than competition for us.

Listen:  we have the best program in the business for home sellers interested in making a move with minimum inconvenience while maximizing their hard earned equity.  While  40+ years old, it still looks wildly innovative compared to current alternatives.  Don’t get distracted!  Remember who you are:  you are in the Equity Preservation business!*  And nobody does it better than you!

*Everyone else is in the Equity Consumption business!  They are into taking as big a bite out of the seller’s equity as possible.  The ‘We’ll buy your house’ people are just taking an even bigger bite!

Who Is Your Customer?

I spent almost 20 years working with Century 21 Real Estate.  I was a salesperson, a broker, owned offices, sold them and then spent a dozen years working for the Franchisor, primarily developing training.

Working in the Century 21 Ivory Tower – International Headquarters, where the rubber meets the clouds – I heard the Executives who ‘ran’ the company say (on many occasions), ‘We’re not in the real estate business;  we’re in the franchising business.’

Being a real estate guy, this really bugged me.  I believed that my job was to help my broker members find more customers and sell as much real estate as possible. But that was an afterthought to the company brass. To them, the Century 21 Broker was the customer – and they wanted to get as many of THEM as possible.  AND they wanted to find as many ways to pull revenue from their existing franchisee base as they could.

It was the ultimate disconnect.  And that attitude of ‘an outlet on every corner,’ and ‘nickle and dime ’em to death’ is how that brand came to mean absolutely nothing in the modern real estate world. Think about it:  what does the brand Century 21 stand for? See, I toldja so:  the powerful identity they crafted 40 years ago is gone.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – but not about Century 21.  I’ve been thinking about Help-U-Sell Real Estate and how subtly but completely different we are.  At franchise headquarters and in the minds of everyone who works for the company, there is no doubt who our customer is.  It is the same customer our franchise brokers have: the buyers and sellers of real estate.

We see the franchisee/franchisor relationship as a partnership.  We are working together to realize a goal we have in common:  to work with ever increasing numbers of buyers and sellers and to grow our presence and marketshare year after year.

At Century 21, questions about what the brokers were getting for all the money they paid the franchisor arose at every meeting. Brokers who entered the system full of hope quickly soured, often realizing they were paying the franchisor more than they were taking home themselves. The relationship became adversarial at its core:  us vs. them.

I’ve been hanging out with Help-U-Sell for 14 years now and in our latest incarnation – the one that began in 2009 – I have rarely heard any of that kind of talk. Because we view our brokers as partners (with corporate as the supporting cast), because we have the same bulls-eye, because we are all real estate people, there is a positive sense of participation and unity in the group.

We don’t look for ways to extract more revenue from our franchisees.  Instead we look for ways to help them do more business.  We don’t sit in a vacuum and dictate how things will be.  We ask our people in the street how they should be and how they could be better and then we go to work together to move in that direction. It is a refreshing approach!

And if you can’t tell it:  I’m proud as punch to be part of this company.  I love who we are, how we operate, what we stand for and how we collaborate.  We are on a mission to not only sell more real estate, but also to change the way real estate is sold; and there ain’t nothin’ better than that!