The Zebra Blog

The Best Way to Boost Your Credibility

3 Articles

When I was a top-producing agent, I discovered one of the most powerful marketing tools I’ve ever used in my marketing career. No matter what new company or real estate agent or business I find myself involved with, I try to convince them to use it … because it works.

What is it? Articles!

Writing articles—whether in the form of a mailed-out article to your database or for local newspapers, trade journals, websites, or magazines—adds to your credibility because of the implied third-party endorsement. In other words, if you’re expert enough to be in print, the publication is perceived as endorsing you. It’s like getting someone to say, “This person is qualified. Listen to what they have to say.”

People expect you to sell to them, but are much more impressed when you start to solve their problems before they even ask. For example, in one newspaper they may see an ad for “Jane Smith—Realtor” with Jane’s smiling face and a few homes. What do they know about Jane? Not much except she wants to sell you a house.

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Ask Denise: Persistent Clients

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, I would really like to take some time off next week, but I have this one client who won’t stop calling me! She is a buying a high end home with me and she is calling me like three times a day. If I don’t answer, she leaves me a very long message and if I don’t return her call within the hour, there she is calling me again. How do I take this time next week without having to turn my phone off and burying it in my closet?

A:  What you need here are some rules and boundaries. Remember last week’s Zebra Report when I discussed rules? This is a great opportunity for you to practice! If your rule is that you are going to be off next week, then that is your rule and you have to be the one to enforce it by setting the expectation. You can take a look at the “saying no” example from last week’s Ask Denise where I talked about the “no sandwich”. Here is how this might work for this example:

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2015: The Year for Rules in Your Business

Female Agent explaining closing costs

While it is always a good idea to make goals for your business, usually there are – or should be – a set of rules to go along with that. For example, if your goal is to increase the number of referrals you had last year by 10%, you need to establish some rules around what you do for following up with your database in order to stay top of mind to those potential referrers.

But what about rules for your clients? Your rules should also include standards for what you expect of your clients before and during the transaction.


For example, do you have a rule about how you prequalify a buyer? Especially in light of the recent tragedy of real estate agent, Beverly Carter, what rules do you follow to make sure that the potential buyer you are taking out is who they say they are and they don’t have a criminal history? On a lighter note, how do you make sure they are qualified to buy? Some agents have a policy of taking a buyer out once who has not met with a lender yet, but before the second time out, that meeting has to have happened and the buyer must be prequalified. What are your rules about prequalifying a buyer?

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Ask Denise: How to Say “No”

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, you talked in your Safari class about making rules and I have made a few rules. One of them is a rule around how far out I will take the buyers who are looking for homes. I have buyers right now who want to look at homes that are more than an hour outside my designated area, but when I tried to tell them that I wanted to call another agent, they wouldn’t hear of it. What do I do?

A:  I applaud your client care attitude here and your clients are lucky to have you as their agent. Since you are new to making rules, you need a little bit of help saying no to these folks. I like to call this my “no” sandwich where you have two yeses that surround that no. Here is how it could work in this situation:

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Ask Denise: Holiday Card

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, do you think I should send a yearly holiday card to my clients?

A:  That is a question I get all the time during the holidays. I usually do prefer you do send real estate information mailer to your clients rather than a card, but I have a lot of clients who send a card to their clients every year. If this is a system that works for you, you enjoy sending them, and your clients enjoy receiving them, then by all means continue.

However, if you haven’t sent one in the past, as a potential buyer or seller or even just as a homeowner, I would much rather receive real estate information from my real estate agent. Wouldn’t you?

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Connect with Your Clients with an Annual Client Review

agent by house

The holiday season is a great time for people to connect and reconnect with each other. And every year at this time agents ask me what they can do to connect with their clients in a big way during the holidays.

While I do agree that it is nice to get a holiday greeting of some sort, I feel it is much more productive for your business to focus your energies on making a strong impression that pertains to your client’s real estate investment – their home. Therefore, I encourage agents to enjoy the month of December and focus on providing their clients with an Annual Client Review in January.

This review is an in-depth analysis of the neighborhood surrounding their investment. It is personal, it is detailed, it has photography and it has substance…and clients love it. It makes a strong impact long after you have sold them their home. It also helps to keep you connected to both your client and their real estate investment. When they go to sell one day they don’t have to wonder if they should call you to find out the value of their home, they know that you know the value because you have been watching their investment year after year.

The Annual Client Review (ACR) is a snapshot of the market at a moment in time, and provides information to your client about the value of their home based on recent sales activity. Please don’t think this is the same as preparing a traditional comparative market analysis (CMA); the ACR focuses on the relationship that exists between price per square foot and tax assessed values, evaluating sold properties in the surrounding neighborhood over the last year.

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