Have you ever wondered if there is an easy way to determine which real estate agents you should work with and which to avoid? Yes, you read that correctly and it’s not a misprint. There are agents out there you should be avoiding, but more on that in a second.
I recently met with Tracy, a seasoned real estate agent, who attended one of the classes I taught on Boomerang Buyers at her local board of Realtors. After the class, she came up to me and we exchanged business cards. This, in and of itself, is a powerful lesson. She saw me as an expert, not a desperate originator just begging for business.
Tracy called me a week after the class, and honestly I had already forgotten about her other than a note I had made to myself to put her on my contact list. What’s important to realize is that she called me.
This is a critical piece of the puzzle when you are trying to establish a new relationship with a real estate agent, builder or other referral partner. To be clear, your job is to create more demand for your services than you have time for. I hope you have written that one down.
Lunch went well, but it was different than the lunches you may normally have. After some small talk back and forth, Tracy finally opened up and told me the reason she had asked me to lunch. What she didn’t know was that I had already done my homework before ever agreeing to have lunch with her.
I looked her up on her company’s site, and I went to HomeLight.com, Zillow.com and FranklyMLS.com to see what her stats were. Was she doing mostly listings or working with buyers? Was she a rookie, a superstar or a mid-level agent.
It turns out that Tracy was exactly the pro-type agent I search for. The lesson here is that not all agents are or should be on your radar. The agents I prefer are mid-level agents. Top agents always seem to be too hard to get to, but more importantly, they don’t seem to value the relationships. They are way too busy and just want their deals done regardless of how that needs to happen.
Keep in mind I am making generalizations and these may not apply to all cases.
I also don’t spend time trying to attract part-time or total rookie agents. They require a large investment of time, and as we all know, these are the first group to leave whenever there is even the slightest of changes in the marketplace.
So who is the ideal agent ?
My ideal agent is a full-time agent who has been in the business at least three to five years. They are doing well, but they are ready to kick it up and take it to the next level. Generally they are doing seven to 10 transactions or more each year, which puts them solidly in the middle.
They have a very strong desire to take it to the next level and they realize they need help and good partnerships. Compare this with the part-time agent who may not still be in the business in 12 months, or the top agent who will view you as a servant instead of a partner.
You can count on this group of mid-level agents to become partners. They know enough to be closing transactions, but they feel they need more. They need the tools and partners they can count on to be there to get their deals done.
The key is to form a partnership … not beg for business
Think about the agents you are speaking to right now. As humans, we all tend to take the path of least resistance. We gravitate to whomever will listen to us. But generally, that is the person who does the least amount of business. The busy agents don’t have the time or a need unless you can offer them something different. Do you offer a special product that others don’t. Are you able to provide a special tool that is unique? You want to help these mid-level agents. Maybe it’s an ad you can both produce and run. Perhaps you can do a joint marketing campaign online or offline.
But, the best thing you can provide this agent to build loyalty is a pre-approved buyer. There are many ways to generate these buyers, and I cover one of the best ways in the RentersIntoLoans.com program.
At the end of the day, that is truly the only thing an agent wants and needs, but you need to make sure you are providing them to the partners you want to work with.
Back to Tracy and why scripts rarely work
Once the small talk was out of the way, Tracy began to tell me that she had heard good things about me and had been impressed with my seminar. The lender she had been dealing with just dropped the ball on two deals. Her feeling was that he was taking her business for granted and she was upset.
I asked her questions about her business. What she expected and needed in a lender. How did she market herself and her properties. What were her goals for the rest of the year, and the year after?
Tracy talked for about 45 more minutes, and I did not say one single word.
Please re-read that last sentence.
I think it is very important to realize that there are no scripts for speaking with people. There are outcomes you want to see and structures for getting to those outcomes. The issue with scripts are that they make you seem too rehearsed and unnatural. But even worse is the fact that rarely will the other person stick to their end of the script. Just be yourself. It’s always better to be asking questions and learning what the other person’s needs are. They will tell you if you can just keep your mouth shut and listen. In fact they will tell you exactly what they want and how to sell it to them.
It’s often difficult to keep quiet, but it is critical to your success. There are three ways that every human makes a buying decision and you must clearly listen for these cues. Once you know those cues, you are able to offer your services or program using the knowledge you just gained. People need to either Hear, See or Feel.
After Tracy finished talking, I told her that I was very impressed and that she seemed like a great agent with a solid plan. But I also told her that I was at my maximum with the amount of preferred real estate agent partners I was working with and would need to review the list when I got back to my office to see if I could replace one of my partners so I could add her.
She looked like she had been slapped in the face
Like most real estate agents, Tracy truly did not expect that response from me. She was totally used to having loan officers chase her, beg her and jump through hoops to try to earn her business. Most loan officers just start vomiting a list of all the reasons they are great, their company is great and why the real estate agent should use them.
My approach was completely the opposite which is why it is so effective. Tracy is now on my preferred agent list and we are doing business together and closing deals. She is very happy with our services and would not think of using any other lender. That is mostly due to the fact that we do a good job, but more importantly, the entire arrangement was orchestrated from her knowing who I am, to meeting me, to then feeling grateful that I put her on my list of partners.
I know you might find this difficult to implement or even to comprehend, but try it for yourself and let me know your results.
Brian Sacks is a mortgage loan originator with HomeBridge Financial Services Inc. He is a nationally renowned mortgage expert and loan officer trainer who has closed more than 5,900 transactions during his career. He has trained tens of thousands of LOs and company owners over the past 31 years on how to close more loans and make more money—and still have a life. Learn more at TopOriginatorSecrets.com. You can also watch the Top Originator Secrets show on the Mortgage News Network. He may be reached by phone at (443) 324-8424 or e-mail [email protected].
This article originally appeared in the October 2016 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.