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Don’t Just Sell a Home; Market a Lifestyle

Kevin Tengan told attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo to remember that home buyers are looking for "a place for their life to happen."

Kevin Tengan told attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo to remember that home buyers are looking for “a place for their life to happen.”

To help your listing stand out from the competition, focus on the lifestyle the property will help buyers achieve, in addition to common details such as square footage and number of bedrooms.

That’s the advice of visual effects specialist Kevin Tengan, who has turned his experience working on Hollywood productions into the foundation for a real estate business that reflects his love for imagery and storytelling. A buyer might say they want a four-bedroom, three-bath house with a sunny kitchen and a backyard, but what they’re really looking for is “a place for their life to happen,” he said during a session at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago earlier this month.

“A lot of what we communicate is ‘what’ and ‘how,’ but few talk about ‘why,’” said Tengan, CRS, chief operating officer of RE/MAX Prestige in Honolulu. “Start with the why.”

As you develop marketing campaigns, remember that saying a home is in a great neighborhood isn’t as powerful as showing why that is the case, said Tengan. For example, if you produce a video property tour, include footage of nearby attractions such as beaches, museums, shopping districts, and other aspects of a community that can inspire a buyer to want to live in the area—not just in the home. Anything you can do to tie your listing to the lifestyle buyers want will attract more traffic, Tengan said.

One of the keys to developing marketing materials that will resonate with buyers looking for a certain lifestyle is understanding the trends that characterize the people you are trying to reach, said Emily Line, vice president of commercial services for Realtors Property Resource®. As a real estate professional, you have access to an enormous amount of data about what consumers are looking for. There are services that can sift through the information and create reports to help you develop an effective pitch, Line said.

The data can help you tune in to trends that reflect the kind of buyers you want to reach. You can identify people in certain kinds of occupations, where they like to shop, and what they like to do for entertainment, Line said. This information can help you connect with buyers in your area, as well as investors who want to purchase commercial or residential properties that will attract certain types of tenants, she said.

Turn the information you collect into a marketing tool by incorporating it into a story that connects the property to the goals and lifestyle of those who would buy it, Tengan said. “At the end of the day, the story is all that matters. A great story evokes a reaction.”

‘This is Our Moment. Own it.’

“Are you ready to own it with me?”  asked Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation REALTOR® and the sixth woman to become president of the National Association of REALTORS® in the past 110 years. “We absolutely have the power to make a difference.”

Mendenhall was sworn into office by her father Richard Mendenhall, who was 2001 NAR president. “There is nothing more powerful in this journey than sharing it with others,” she said addressing thousands of REALTORS® at the Inaugural gala during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago.

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Mendenhall ended her inaugural festivities with a group rendition of “REALTORS® Own It”—the vibrant tune that she co-wrote for her presidency. The song evokes the pride and power embodied in dedicated real estate pros who strive each day to meet the complex needs of their clients and keep the industry strong.

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Your New Real Estate Motto: ‘Helping Beats Selling’

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Marketing Expert Kelly McDonald offers indispensable advice for connecting with prospects and clients.

Think of the U.S. as a “salad bowl”—rather than a “melting pot”—that integrates many different cultures as you develop marketing strategies to reach a diverse set of prospects and clients. Marketing expert and author Kelly McDonald offered attendees a range of tips to foster strong and meaningful connections in her Monday session, “How to Market and Sell to People Not Like You,” at the REALTORS® Conference and Expo.

  • Be relevant in your marketing. “Identify what people want, and give it to them,” McDonald said. You may have lots of information about the features and attributes of a property to share with buyers, but that matters much less than keying in on “why it benefits them. You have to be able to make sure people understand ‘why I should care’ about what you’re telling them.”
  • Adapt to the needs of your clients and prospects. People need you to understand and relieve their pain, but you need to know what the pain points are,” McDonald said. She cited an example of an auto glass repair company that set up an introduction system so that customers knew which technician would be coming to their home. They sent along a photo in advance, so clients knew who to look out for. “This addressed the strong need women have for a sense of security and great personal service, she said.
  • Keep your communications short. Your clients and customers don’t have enough time in their lives as it is, so present information “in bite-sized portions,” she said. Use white space between paragraphs and bullet points to increase the chance people will read what you send them. “Whenever possible, shorten your voicemail and emails, and use pictures and graphics to make your points.”
  • Cultivate your ‘pilot fish.’ It’s important to know what you’re doing wrong, but you may not learn what that is until you ask someone with whom you’ve done business. “People won’t tell you if you don’t ask them,” she said. “And don’t be afraid of acknowledging the problems. You can’t fix them if you don’t know about them.”
  • Foster a culture of empathy when hiring. “It’s more important to hire the right person than the right resume,” McDonald said. “Don’t be afraid to recruit from new ponds” because you can always get them up to speed on the tasks and skills needed for the job. “Awesome people are awesome no matter where they are working.”
  • Don’t be defensive when you’re wrong. If something is going haywire with a transaction, people only want to hear five words from you: “We’ll take care of it.” The blame game is never productive, so “stop offering excuses when things go wrong. People want to know how you’re going to take care of problems, so unless they ask for a lot of details about how something went amiss, don’t go there,” she said.

The Secrets to Becoming a Better Leader

2017_conf_teaserWhether you’re managing a small team or a large office, your brokerage’s success will depend on how good you are at inspiring and motivating those whom you manage.

“If you don’t get leadership right, everything else will fall apart,” said Alicia Matheson, business coach for Matheson Global Consulting, as she led a crowded session Sunday on “Evolutionary Leadership” during the 2017 REALTOR® Conference & Expo.

The problem is that many leaders may believe they’re better leaders than they actually are, she said, citing a Gallup poll that showed 90 percent of managers rate their leadership as above average. However, a separate Gallup poll found that employees say that the best day on their job is when their boss is out of the office.

“We’re only as great as the people we lead say we are,” Matheson said. Also, “it’s important to not just be a ‘good’ leader but a ‘great’ leader. There is a huge gap between ‘good’ and ‘great.’”

Matheson highlighted several skillsets of a stellar leader: the ability to inspire, be knowledgeable, provide resources and support staff, and be creative in sharing new and innovative ways for agents to conduct their business. “Being a better leader starts with collaborative ideas and pushing the boundaries of human capital with cutting edge technology and innovation,” Matheson said.

It’s important to lead by asking your team questions, she said. For example, what support do they need from you to do their jobs better? How is their business going?

Make sure your agents and staff understands your company’s overall purpose, too. If you get a buy-in from everyone in your office, they’ll feel more motivated, inspired, and loyal to their jobs, Matheson said. The purpose may include a commitment to a charitable cause, or your core mission of helping buyers and sellers achieve their dreams in homeownership. Articulate your vision in a clear, memorable way.

“Show people you care and make people want to be a part of your brand,” Matheson said. “Connect your behaviors to your purpose. We may judge ourselves by intention, but others will judge us by our behaviors.”

Here are Matheson’s 11 key everyday habits of effective leaders:

1. Wake up early every day.

2. Make your bed.

3. Workout. If you don’t have time to exercise, strike a “power pose.” Channel your inner Superman or Wonder Woman, and strike a powerful pose and hold it for 2 minutes. Research shows that workers are 33 percent more productive when they do. Matheson said a brokerage she works with started integrating the power pose in their team meetings, and after a month their sales shot up by 30 percent.

4. Have a healthy breakfast.

5. Review your day and maintain a journal.

6. Create a plan of action for the day. (Consider: Who can I make smile today?)

7. Meditate or visualize your day (e.g. Visualize what a successful day will look like.)

8. Finish the most important or difficult task first.

9. Create an outline for the following day’s activities.

10. Learn or read something inspirational.

11. Go to bed early. (Commit to 7-8 hours of sleep each night; research has shown it can increase your productivity.)

Sal Giunta’s Strive for More

By Lauren Tussey

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Sal Giunta

To kick off the final day of the 2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago, Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta spoke about his journey from 18-year-old Subway employee to a service member earning the highest award available to members of the U.S. military.

“We are all in this world together. We all have opportunities. We all have the ability to do more,” Giunta said. As a soldier, he bravely ran into enemy fire to save American soldiers from the Taliban. His heroism earned him the Medal of Honor in 2010, making him the first living recipient of the award since the Vietnam War. He challenged those at the Sunday session to take his “100 percent challenge” every day.

“It’s taking advantage of the time we have and doing the best we can,” Giunta said. “And if you fail, don’t quit.”

5 Ways to Be a Better Neighbor

From left, Good Neighbors Louise McLean, Bryson Garbett, Howard Hanna, Kay Wilson-Bolton, and Sal Dimiceli.

From left, Good Neighbors Louise McLean, Bryson Garbett, Howard Hanna, Kay Wilson-Bolton, and Sal Dimiceli.

For communities to be strong, neighbors must unite and contribute to the overall well-being of their areas. But you don’t have to lead a charity or be an activist to make a positive impact where you live. REALTOR® Magazine’s 2017 Good Neighbor Award winners are a testament to just how big of an impact you can have in a community. The honorees were celebrated for their philanthropic leadership at a gala during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago on Saturday night. These community advocates imparted some advice on how everyone can be better stewards within their communities.

1. Don’t wait for a crisis before offering to help.

Louise McLean, whose nonprofit provides necessities for more than 2,200 homeless children in Florida’s Brevard County, recalled Hurricane Irma’s recent devastation in her state. “We shouldn’t wait for a storm to hit to be a good neighbor,” McLean said as she accepted her award. “Every day, someone is dealing with a storm in their own lives.”

For McLean, those are the children living in cars and using gas station bathrooms to get ready for school. She spoke of one 18-year-old boy who dropped out of school to care for his terminally ill mother, who had cancer. After her death, he had to get a job to support his family rather than return to school. But when his scoliosis made it difficult to maintain employment, his uncle kicked him out of the house. McLean’s foundation was able to pay for a place for him to live, provide him clothes, and put him back in school. “He’s a good student, and he just wants to graduate,” she said. “It only takes a little bit from a lot of us to make a difference.”

2. Start a chain of good deeds with one small gesture.

Bryson Garbett said even seemingly simple things can lead to long-term dramatic changes in people’s lives. Garnett has helped build 177 classrooms over the last 18 years for nearly 100,000 students in the poorest regions of Mexico. “If I can be part of a student’s lifeline, perhaps I can set off a chain reaction that will change an entire life or a generation,” he said. “Something as simple as a backpack on the door of a shack can represent the most unspeakable beauty of better things to come.”

Garbett’s efforts have helped others like young Anna, who had to make dinner over an open fire every night for her and her grandmother because they didn’t have a stove. Today, Anna is on track to be the first person in her family to graduate from high school. She plans to become an engineer. “The stories of the lives I’m helping to change are what drive me,” Garbett said.

3. Appreciate the people who share your vision.

Howard “Hoddy” Hanna, whose real estate company has raised more than $14 million for children’s hospitals worldwide, thanked his 9,000 agents around the country for buying into his philanthropic vision and helping him achieve his goals. No one achieves their greatest dreams alone, Hanna said. “I owe everything I’ve accomplished to the great people who work for me and my family,” said Hanna, who runs the company with his sisters.

4. Don’t leave it to others to address a pressing need.

Kay Wilson-Bolton said many in her community may be naive to the extent of homelessness in the area. “They’re invisible to my community, but they’re not invisible to God,” Wilson-Bolton said. “But I’ve never met a homeless person who didn’t have a mother, a birthday, a first day at school, or who didn’t once believe in Santa Claus.” Everyone—no matter what walk of life they’re from—deserves to be treated with humanity, she said. Wilson-Bolton’s charity helps to feed up to 600 homeless people a week. 

Wilson-Bolton admitted that at one time, she wasn’t even aware of the extent of the homeless problem in her area either. But she refused to wait for someone else to do something about it. “I’ve learned to never say where I will not go or what I will not do,” she said. “God uses us to change lives. I’ve seen people returned to families and healed from shame and broken hearts.”

5. Show humility when someone asks for help.

Sal Dimiceli, who has helped thousands of poor people out of poverty, said that on a daily basis, he witnesses those who are struggling to afford shelter, food, and utilities. He devotes 10 to 12 hours a day to bring relief to people through his charity, Now Is the Time to Help. “I’ve looked into the eyes of children who are suffering, or senior citizens living in fear that they will be evicted,” Dimiceli said. “When I see the look in their eyes change from desperation to hope, it fills me with joy.”

Dimiceli, who has contributed $5 million of his own money to the charity, recalled growing up poor himself. He said his mother would regularly cry over their family’s disadvantages. It’s the memory of her tears that drives him to help others. “When I see pain, I address it,” he said. “That’s how I treat all of God’s creations.”


Jack McSweeney, CDPE, PVS, e-PRO, SRES
REMAX Estate Properties

63 Malaga Cove Plaza, Palos Verdes Estates, CA., 90274
Phone: 310 346-0391     Lic. #01027223
Email: jack@mcsweeney.com

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