Blog Posts From New Site

On Teams and Awards

Open House Styles

Scripts Evoke Defensiveness While Natural Conversations Build Trust

Technology Addiction and Real Estate

The Amazing Opportunities that come with Technology Disruption

The Lost Art of Empathy

The Role of Lead Gen

The Seller’s Perspective – Part Three

The Seller’s Perspective – Part Three
On Pricing and Strategy
“Strategy is best defined as: “Determining how we are going to win” where winning is getting the best outcome for your client. Winning doesn’t mean the other side loses. It means both sides get their needs met.” Suze Cumming in her blog of May 2nd, 2018.

As a seller, I want to know what your plan is to get me the best outcome. The best outcome may be the highest price and it may be something else. For some people, it’s timing. For others, it may be finding the right buyers to take care of the property. For me, it’s a combination of price and a fair process that leaves the buyer fully informed about the nuances of my mountain cabin. I want the buyer to be happy and I want a good price for the property.
Strategy is a combination of pricing, timing, staging, marketing and negotiation style. It’s tricky and it is what great REALTORS® bring to the transaction that is worth the money they charge. In my experience, only a small percentage of REALTORS® are excellent strategists and for me, it was the number one criterion I used when choosing who I wanted to represent me.
Building a strong strategy involves a deep understanding of the market conditions including the subtle nuances that change from day to day. It involves understanding the psychology of the people involved – this includes the sellers, the potential buyers and the buyer’s agents that work in that marketplace. It involves careful timing, acute observation and the ability to pivot when situations change. It involves a thorough understanding of the art of negotiations. A good strategist has to know a lot and have the confidence to use that knowledge to benefit their client. This is what we do that is truly valuable to the seller.
The agent I choose to represent me put forth some great ideas and together we built a strategy that we feel will work. The foundation of that strategy is to ensure that the potential buyers have all of the information they need to make an informed decision. The buyer could be someone who will live in the cabin as it is or it could be someone wanting to build their dream home as my lot has one of the best views in Whistler.
• We have a pre-list home inspection – not because we are expecting multiple offers but because I wanted to take care of any deficiencies before the sale and I want the buyer to know what they are buying. Based on that home inspection, I am having some soffits and eaves repaired and a few minor electrical changes made.
• We will list it on MLS immediately following the Long weekend. (historical by the time this is published) We chose this time because people will be starting to think about skiing and in Whistler, this matters. Also, I am going to be away on a REALTORS® retreat in Northern BC and I won’t interfere with the showings. Buyers can see the property as often and for as long as they need to feel good about the place.
• The final decision of pricing will be made the evening before we go on MLS so that we make that decision based on the most up to date information possible. We will consider recent solds and current properties for sale and set the price to be more attractive than the other properties buyers could pick.
• The property has had all minor repairs made, landscaping done, massive decluttering and professional staging. More on that in next week’s blog.
• The marketing is important, especially in Whistler as some of the potential buyers won’t live here. The pictures, 3D video and drone shots of the view are all of the highest quality so that when people open the listing on their computer in Vancouver, Toronto, Europe or Asia, they can get an accurate concept of the property. Also, the marketing material will not over-represent the property. To satisfy ‘the happy and informed buyer’ part of our strategic objectives, accurate representation and full transparency are crucial.
Seller’s want the best outcome and it’s your strategy that will show them that it’s you who can make that happen. I didn’t choose the agent who gave me the highest price or the one who offered me the most services. I choose the one who I believe has the expertise, the experience, and the confidence to design and execute the best strategy.
See the listing here

The Seller’s Perspective – Part Two

The Seller’s Perspective – Part Two
The Listing Presentation
The Listing presentation is arguably the most important step in the process of selling real estate successfully. I don’t mean getting more clients and selling more real estate. I mean in building a relationship with that particular seller that will lead to the most successful outcome for them.
I’ve written a lot about listing presentations over the past decade and I learned something new from the process of being a seller. A well-executed listing presentation makes the seller feel significantly more confident in the ability of the REALTOR® to get the property sold and to avoid any potential pitfalls. As a seller, I am naturally experiencing fears around selling my home. Not only is it a major financial asset but it is also a part of my personal identity. If things go wrong I stand to lose money, bruise my pride and fail to obtain my dreams. Ok, maybe that’s a little overkill but the fears of the seller do get a little distorted during the process.
Selling a home is emotional and as an agent, it is critically important to prioritize the management of these emotions. Each seller will experience unique feelings and each seller will present these emotions in different ways. In many cases, they will present as stands, defensiveness or difficult attitudes. In some cases, the seller may be quiet or difficult to communicate with. Whatever shows up, the REALTOR® who exercises professional empathy and makes the seller feel heard, understood and cared for will have a significantly better chance of getting invited to represent them. This doesn’t mean being ooey and gooey – it means asking the questions that matter, listening to the answers, accepting the seller’s concerns as real and offering up solutions that satisfy them. This is what builds trust and respect.
Without trust and respect, it doesn’t matter how sleek your presentation material is, how expensive your marketing plan is, what awards you have won or how talented your stager is because the seller won’t really be listening to you at a level that matters.
The agent who I choose to represent me showed me that she cared about my needs, and had the experience, expertise and focus to do the best possible job. Her listing presentation was natural, organic and customized to me. She sat with me in person and together we shared ideas, uncovered worries, considered market information and when she knew she had my trust, she shared with me her thoughts on pricing and strategy.
I’ve written and spoken extensively about email versus phone versus in person. There is a time for each of these means of communication but when it matters; when emotions are involved; when you really want to earn the opportunity to represent someone, make the time to meet with them in person if at all possible. Email is essentially one way – it’s the sender telling the receiver something and if the receiver doesn’t understand or agree with what you are writing, you are unlikely to get invited to represent them.

The Seller’s Perspective – Pt. One

The Seller’s Perspective – Pt. One
I’m preparing to sell my cabin in Whistler and so far, it’s been an emotional roller coaster. I think this is a pretty cool opportunity to observe and reflect on the seller’s perspective to help each of you serve your clients better.
The cabin is decluttered, fully refreshed, landscaped and staged. Pictures are taken and we are just waiting for the smoke in Whistler to clear so we can get good drone shots of the view. So now it’s a waiting game.
What I have learned so far is that professional empathy, emotional intelligence and strategy truly are the most important skills you bring to the seller and they cannot be replaced by technology.
Perhaps there is the occasional person who is selling their property who does not need their emotions handled well but the vast majority are going through a new experience that is big, scary and fraught with potential pitfalls. The biggest fear I have felt so far is that something will go wrong. Our strategy won’t work, the market will change, we have missed an important disclosure that could lead to legal issues, what if people just don’t like my home or what if I’m doing the wrong thing. These things haunt me while I’m sleeping and I’m supposed to be an expert.
The first thing I did was speak to a couple of REALTORS® about selling my place. This is tough for me as I know and like most of the REALTORS in town and have personal relationships with 30 or 40 of them.
The first two I spoke with were really friendly and brought me a few comparable properties but didn’t really offer me much in the way of a strategy or a plan. They didn’t ask a lot of questions about my objectives, motivations or fears. I was left not really knowing how to move forward with them. During this time, I asked a third REALTOR® to come by and she was remarkably different. She asked the questions that mattered and got to the core of my needs quickly. She laid out some options and stepped back gracefully and professionally while I made my decision about the three agents. I definitely would be working with her but needed to process the decision so that I could let the other agents know without damaging my relationships or the sale process as Whistler is a very small town.
The takeaway that I can pass on to you: If someone asks you to come see their home, they are likely interested in selling and possibly very soon. Ask them! What are your timelines for getting the property sold? What are some of the concerns you have about the selling process? What are you looking for in an agent? If you don’t learn what the seller’s needs are you have zero chance of fulfilling them. I’ve written about this many times and now I have felt it first-hand. Make this your first priority.
Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts on The Seller’s Perspective. Coming next is The Listing Presentation, Pricing and Strategy, Staging and then whatever else shows up in the process. Let’s take this amazing opportunity to learn as much as we can so that we can offer our seller’s an amazing experience when they choose us to represent them in the sale of their home.

Think Like an Astronaut

Three Common Misconceptions that Hurt Sellers

Want to Earn Referrals? Quit with the Bunk (aka BS)

We Are All Coaches

What does it Mean to be Good at Real Estate

What I Learned at Harvard #4: The Emotional Dimension of Negotiations

What is the Future of Teams in Real Estate?

Why Realtors Really Matter

You Can impact the Integrity of Real Estate

Calling Your Sphere: The Ethical Approach

Capacity and Change

Contemplation as a Business Strategy

Contemplation as a Business Strategy
I am just back from 9 days on a sailboat on the BC coast with six high level real estate professionals. This was an incredible experience to slow down, disconnect from the frenetic pace of our lives, view amazing wildlife, relax into the deep wilderness and contemplate life.
Take a look at our pictures and plan to attend an evening fundraiser for wilderness conservation with pictures, stories and social connection in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa later this fall and winter.
The greatest takeaway for me was the importance of contemplation as a business strategy. Our world has become a place of 24/7 work where we are pushed to do more, do it faster and fit more in. As a result, people are feeling harried, anxious and frenetic.
Our ability to work smart and build strategic plans is greatly diminished and effectiveness suffers.
Imagine if you took the time to design a brilliant strategy for each of your business goals.
Imagine if you took the time to design a brilliant strategy for each of the clients you serve.
While others are busy ticking things off their never-ending to do list, you could be creating breakthrough ideas that would deliver exceptional results and executing those ideas with clarity and grace.
The strategy that my REALTOR, Sally Warner and I designed for the sale of my cabin in Whistler came through a lot of contemplation on all the variables in this complex market. Sally’s execution was exceptional and the results ideal. It was clean, clear and problem free.
It’s difficult in our culture to find the time for contemplation but it is essential if you want to be a top performer. It requires the discipline to prioritize important work above urgent work, to be good enough to avoid creating fires and to be adaptable enough to pivot when things shift.
Begin by taking five minutes to yourself between clients. Use this time to set aside your never ending podcast of internal dialogue and commit to be present for the next client you meet.

Don’t Sell Yourself

How to Really Qualify Clients

How to Really Qualify Clients
By: Ali Calladine
A financial qualification alone is not enough to assure you of a good client. Just because they can buy or sell a home, it doesn’t mean that they will!
As entrepreneurs, our time is always valuable—time not spent with clients can be devoted to your creative methods of growing your business, so no matter how ‘busy’ you are, it’s a sacrifice to waste time with unqualified buyers.
Financial Qualifications are key—and something we (hopefully) do by default every time.
Beyond this basic tool, here are two other methods to qualify clients: Motivational, and Reasonableness.
A Motivational Qualification is looking at the situation of the potential client that is driving them to look at buying or selling. This is “I’d buy a house if all of the stars aligned at just the right moment” versus “My family is living in my friend’s 100 square foot basement after a transfer from another city.”
A Reasonableness Qualification is more elusive. This is the attempt to qualify whether your potential client is seeing the market, process, and relationship with you, their realtor, in a realistic or at least open-minded way. This can show up as anything from “I will sell my home if I get x” (when x is very far off base from the actual market value) to “I can only look at homes on Sunday nights at 6 PM.”
Reasonableness is the hardest to identify of these three qualifiers, luckily, it is also the easiest to shift with strong communication skills and empathy, giving your client the space to see the situation in a way that better aligns with their interests, and the reality of the variables.

I Care About My Clients

Is Calling Your Sphere Unethical?

So what to do instead?
It takes creativity, legitimate caring, careful thought, and authenticity to have conversations that are about the other person, rather than about us and our business.
It takes a leap of faith to dig deep and create content and community that is based in generosity and providing unique value, trusting that the relationship it builds will come back to serve us.
It takes a nuanced understanding of what we already do that inspires and delights the clients we have to be able to bring that value to people we don’t yet work with.
Our industry has been teaching REALTORS for years now that to be successful, you must call your sphere and database endlessly asking for business. We challenge our own sphere, you, to do something different.
What do you already do that brings value to your community, your clients, and your sphere?

It’s A Race

You can make it a race to the bottom, or you can make it a race to the top.

In a competitive marketplace, there are two ways to win.

One is to do it cheaper; offer lower fees and/or pay for some of the staging and repair costs. Some people will choose cheaper.

The other way is to be better, to offer more expertise, better service, and better results. Some people will choose better.

The first is a race to the bottom and the problem with this race is you might win. There is a hard bottom at zero.  (I’ve actually heard of agents in Vancouver paying sellers to get their listing so they could get the buyers – so it’s theoretically less than zero)

The second is a race to the top and there is no limit on how good you can get. To win the race to the top means continuing to learn and evolve and change and to be deeply committed to the success of your clients.

 

The race to the top is challenging but extremely rewarding.

Let us know if a coach could help you switch races, or start winning.

Making a Bigger Better Pie

And if you end up with 55% of the bigger pie, even better.It’s easy to fall into the trap in negotiations of believing that the only way to get more for your clients is to take it from the other side- but negotiations can be about so much more than that.Opportunities to make a ‘better pie’ in Real Estate negotiations come from understanding what is important to each party so that you can create beneficial compromises on each side.So how do we get back to doing this?1. Pay attention to more than just priceNegotiating on price alone doesn’t leave you much freedom, and misses all of the reasons that price might not be the most important thing to people. There are so many factors that influence people needs and wants when it comes to buying or selling a home, and understanding these gives you the freedom to get to a win-win2. Get beneath the StandIn the CNE courses, we cover the Sam Model. A stand is almost always what shows up first: “I won’t sell my house for less than x”, “My clients need to close on this date” etc. If you can get beneath the stand, by asking questions, you have more information to use in trying to find the balance of what everyone needs.3. Think about both sidesInstead of focusing only on your needs, and the needs of your clients, try to understand what is happening for the other side. Essentially this is Empathy- it’s a big topic, but an important one.To negotiate collaboratively means we’re adding value to the market, rather than just moving it from others to our clients. If you can consistently do this, you will make a great name for yourself. If we can all do this, we can make a great name for the industry, maintaining its relevance in a quickly changing world.Like making an excellent pie, collaborative negotiations take a higher commitment to skill and excellence than fighting over a bad pie. But in both cases, it’s worth it.

Negotiating By Email

Ocean Yacht Racing as a Metaphor for Your Real Estate Business

In two weeks, I set sail for Maui on a 40 foot sailboat called Salient. We will be participating in the 51st International Vic Maui Yacht race. It should take us between 14 and 17 days to reach Maui. Training and preparing for a race like this is substantial. Most of the crew have years of experience, we trained throughout the winter often chipping the ice and snow off the lines and each of us has had a personal journey to prepare physically, mentally and spiritually for the challenge.
Our team coach, Roger Friesen had us read An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earthby Chris Hadfield as part of our preparation. The similarities between a spaceship and a 40 foot sailboat in the middle of the ocean are pretty startling. Both are totally self-contained, both are complicated mechanically and both are out of reach of rescue. Ok, a spaceship is way more complicated but you get the idea. What really hit home reading Hadfield’s book is that astronauts can’t wing it, ever. They need to really know their stuff and have practiced it until it is second nature. They need to be physically, mentally and emotionally rock solid. Reading this book helped build the motivation for each of us to do the preparation work for our race.
It’s a great metaphor for building a successful real estate business. In real estate you are self- contained, either as a solo agent or as a team. No one is going to give you business. Real Estate is complicated. To be excellent at it means having a lot of knowledge and skill in many different areas. And, there is no rescue. No one is going to write you a paycheck. You either make some money or sink.
So, like an astronaut or an ocean sailor, you need to be really prepared. You need to be excellent at what you do. Your knowledge of the market, the economy, human nature, psychology, negotiations, trends, strategic thinking, finance and the list goes on – needs to be exemplary. After all, you are representing people in one of the biggest financial transactions they will ever make not to mention the enormous impact it will have on their quality of life.
Are you equipped to do this? Are you an expert?
I’m seeing a real trend in our industry where agents are getting trained in how to get clients but not in how to serve those clients well. I see a lot of pretense or winging it with regards to the skills that are essential for us to be valuable to our clients.
Chris Hadfield has a great quote in his book, “There is a North American culture of pretense, where watching top chef is the same as being a great cook.”
And this may work for being an armchair chef or an amateur photographer, but if you are sailing the high seas, flying to the moon, or advising people making really important decisions, it’s not nearly enough.
For more on our race and to follow us across the Pacific with our tracker and daily blog posts, see our Facebook page.

On Being a Real Estate Strategist

On Being Engaging vs. Irritating

Alignment: A Proposed Business Strategy

Authenticity Above All Else in Sales