Top Six Networking Questions

One of the skills that seems to be disappearing rapidly is the art of networking.  We are all too busy typing on our “smart” phones.  What this means is that we are reverting back to talking “at” our customers and clients and are not listening enough.

Bob Burg has written a number of must-read books for anyone in sales let alone Realtors such as The Go-Giver, Go-Givers Sell More and Endless Referrals.  It is this last one which includes some really helpful advice on interacting with people in a business setting and making the most of networking opportunities.  I am only listing six of the ten that he suggests we use.  For the full list, I recommend buying his book  Endless Referrals

  1. How did you get your start in the “widget” business?
  2. What do you enjoy most about your profession?
  3. What separates you and your company from the competition?
  4. What advice would you give someone starting out in the “widget” business?
  5. What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?
  6. What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession through the years?

The added question that he suggests asking once you have established some rapport would be: How can I know if someone I am speaking to is a good prospect for you?

As you can tell, the focus of all of these questions is on the other person and our sole objective is to listen carefully for anything that suggests there might be change in the works that could lead to a real estate requirement.  Listening is not generally a strength as mentioned earlier but is something that brings great rewards!

 

 

The Alabama Process

No, this isn’t some weird type of real estate deal or new way of handling an offer, rather it is all about how one of the most successful US College football coaches achieved consistent top performance from his teams.

Coach Nick Saban was renowned for breaking down the game into “each possession” and how to dominate the opponent.  What we are talking about is the mental side of the athlete, their mindset! “Success doesn’t come from pie-in-the-sky thinking, it’s the result of consciously doing something each day that will add to your overall excellence.”

His approach was to not talk about titles or championships but to concentrate on what you’re doing today and to build on that tomorrow.  A few of his Day-To-Day Goals should be taken to heart in any business: respect and trust your teammates, have a positive impact on someone else, be responsible and act like a champion.

Probably one of the toughest things Realtors have to deal with is the fact that for most of us it is a solitary existence.  That’s why the term “solo-preneur” is so applicable.  But this is even more a reason to embrace Coach Saban’s approach as it deals with the issue of discipline in our day to day rituals.  Which is easier for you, the pain of discipline (it’s not easy to always be disciplined) or the pain of regret (should of, could of etc..)? This is Mental Toughness – persevering when you can do something that you really don’t feel like doing.

As the old saying goes: “If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always gotten. Guaranteed!”

Coach Saban’s Process

Leaders are Readers

There are two books that I am going to highly recommend to you for the month of February.

The first came recommended to me by an acquaintance who happens to be a Marketing Professor at a local college as well as a consultant.  She thought it made a lot of sense to read this given that what we as Realtors are selling is in fact invisible, i.e., our services!  The book is: Selling The Invisible: A Field Guide To Modern Marketing by Harry Beckwith.

Copies of this book can be found on Amazon, used, for a few dollars.  It is an easy read and provides some really excellent advice on how to market your services, in particular, how to explain the “value” you bring to the table.

The second suggestion is a recent publication which is one of the best “how to” books in the real estate brokerage world to date.  Written by Larry Kendall, founder of The Group Inc. and Ninja Selling in Ft. Collins, CO – the title is Ninja Selling: Subtle Skills Big Results.

This book is essentially a comprehensive overview of the Ninja Selling system and if you are struggling with your 2017 business plan, I strongly recommend you purchase this book.  It too can be found on Amazon.

 

 

 

Visual Accountability

Whiteboards?  Really? Seems “old school.”  Well, guess what, they work.  Just like vision boards and any other form of visual accountability, there is a very real and effective emotional connection between having a “picture” that tells you a story versus a report once in a while or the “it’s all in my head” format.

The truth is that every top producer I have had the privilege of working with or discussing their tracking habits, has some form of a visual accountability system. A few of them even display these where their family can see what they are up to and understand the importance of their work.

Monthly commitments like hydro, mortgage payments, loans, business expenses, are all billed with great regularity and you are expected to pay.  Similarly, external accountability of things like Warm or Hot Leads, Listing Prospects, Conditional or Firm Deals makes you take action in a more consistent and urgent manner.

So, how to set these up?  Purchase a couple of white boards: http://www.staples.com/Dry-Erase-Whiteboards/cat_CL166382  and split them into a few distinct sections: Warm/Hot Leads (Buyer or Seller), Active Listings, Conditional Deals, Closed Deals.

Your Leads Board (Warm/Hot) should have the following headings: Name/Source/Motivation.  Of course, the beauty of these systems is that you can make up whatever KPI (Key Performance Indicator) you want but the ones described above are the typical headings that most Realtors use.

The secrets to making this work are; 1) Don’t reinvent the wheel, TSW (This Stuff Works). 2) Make sure they are updated regularly.  The act of putting pen to whiteboard is a big part of embedding your goals and successes into your brain! 3) Mix it up. Use one color for buyers and one for sellers. 4) If you have a team or an assistant, get everyone involved.  If not, share it with your spouse, family.  The more the merrier.

Examples: courtesy of http://www.whiteboard-atoz.com/real-estate-listing-and-sales-board-48-x-96 

 

December 2016 Year End Report

Another record breaking year for the Toronto and area residential resale market. In 2016 113,133 properties were reported sold. This number shattered the previous record of 101,213 properties sold in 2015. That makes two consecutive years in which Toronto and area sales have exceeded 100,000. Prior to 2015 reported sales had not even come close to that number. The previous record was 93,193 properties sold. That was in 2007.

Although the most recent sales results seem remarkable, given Toronto’s population growth throughout the early years of this millennium, they should have been anticipated. The Toronto and area population has been growing by about 100,000 new immigrants annually. Households have been increasing by approximately 30,000 annually. Since 2007, when the then record of 93,193 sales was achieved, at least 300,000 new households have been created in the greater Toronto area. These households need shelter, a place to live, either as homeowners or as tenants. The supply of new housing in the greater Toronto area has not come close to meeting household needs. Consequently, almost everything that has become available for sale has sold, and as the supply dwindles, for higher and higher prices.

Even in December, which until the last few years has historically been a slow sales month, the resale data related to the market is startling. For example: in December 526 detached properties were reported sold in Toronto, a decline of 7.6 percent compared to December 2015. The decline in semi-detached property sales is even more shocking. A decline of 11.5 percent, with only 138 properties reported sold. However, where the surprise and related concern arise, is in the inventory levels available to buyers in these two categories of housing types moving to January 2017. In the case of detached properties only 488 active listings are available to buyers. In the case of semi-detached properties only 77. In both instances the number of properties available to buyers is less than the number of sales that occurred in December. Translated into months of inventory that would equate to 0.9 and 0.6 of inventory respectively.

The only housing type that showed a positive variance at year end was condominium apartments. Condominium apartment sales were up by 19.5 percent in December on a year-over-year basis. But even in this category, there are troubling signs of inventory shortages ahead. In December, in Toronto, 1,238 condominium apartments were reported sold. However, moving into January there are only 1,277 active listings for condominium apartments, or roughly one month of inventory.

Under these circumstances it is not surprising that average sale prices sky-rocketed in 2016. December’s average sale price came in at $730,472 or 20 percent higher than the year-over-year average sale price of 608,714. Can you imagine the shock that one would experience if they had lived abroad since 2014 and had returned to Toronto and were looking for a house or condominium apartment to buy? That same fictitious house they could have bought in 2014 for $566,000 now costs $730,000, an increase of 29 percent, and these numbers include condominium apartments.

In December, the average price of a detached house was$1,286,605. The average price for a semi-detached house, if a buyer could find one for sale, was $808,920. In Toronto’s central districts the numbers are even more dramatic. The average price for a detached house came in at $2,058,876, while the average price for a semi-detached house broke the $1 million mark at $1,058,544, and this was in December.

Overall 5,338 properties were reported sold in December. This number would have been much higher had inventory levels been higher, a 8.6 percent increase compared to the 4,917 properties sold in December 2015. Across the greater Toronto area there are only 1.1 months of inventory, and in some of Toronto’s trading districts there are less than 1 month of inventory. For example, two of Toronto’s eastern districts comprising Riverdale, Leslieville and the Beaches have only 0.7 months of inventory heading in 2017. Overall, across the greater Toronto area, we enter 2017 with 48.1 percent fewer active listings than we had last year. The actual numbers are eye-popping. We enter 2017 with a paltry 4,746 active listings of all property types. To put this number in context it must be remembered that there were 5,338 sales in December, 12 percent more sales than the total available inventory.

Based on the resale data available at the end of 2016, the beginning, and perhaps all of 2017, might be a different market than we witnessed in 2015 and 2016. We may witness negative variance sales numbers as compared to past years. This would be the first time this has occurred since 2008, when the equity markets imploded. The reason for this negative variance can be summed up in one word: supply.

With the supply side of housing being so low, it is inconceivable that sales can outpace 2016, notwithstanding the demand. Unless a plethora of new listings come to market in the early part of this year, and there is no current reason to believe that this will happen, year-over-year sales will decline, even though prices will continue to increase. This may result, in time, in the market stabilizing to some extent. Prices may reach levels that make affordability a problem which in turn may cause properties to remain on the market longer, thereby increasing the supply. Over the longer term that might result in price stabilization.

But where are those 100,000 new immigrants locating to the greater Toronto area annually going to live?