Ask Me Three | Kansas City Realtor Gets Honest About Buying Her First Home


Sometimes you take a job to help others through something you’ve been through yourself: That is exactly how Zondi Krehbiel got into real estate. Her experience buying her first home with her husband was overwhelming, and she felt called to guide others through the process. She’s a natural and was our 2019 Rookie of the Year! Zondi and Mike Frazier, ReeceNichols President & CEO, sat down for a candid but fun conversation about the importance of being a real estate agent, ReeceNichols’s role in helping minority homeownership, and the time Zondi met the Queen of England! 

AGENT TALKS: BEST PRACTICES WITH THE REAL PRO TEAM


There are many different ways to keep in touch with your sphere, including social media, but Brad Gore and Ken Bowmen with The Real Pro Team have discovered great success with Facebook Watch! Here are their best practices for producing videos on that platform.

The Method

Facebook Watch is part of the video service Facebook offers and we found it was a great way to stay in touch with our sphere. We specifically chose to produce these Real Estate Geeks videos in the rolling REALTOR” studio to make it a little more interesting for folks to watch. Plus, when they see our van around town, that added connection will be there as well. You have the option in Facebook videos for these to be part of a series, so that’s what we’ve done – we typically do two seasons a year and six episodes a season. Five are pre-taped and the sixth is usually a live episode.

The Content

Most of our videos are between 10 – 15 minutes long. We give general real estate advice in a very informal setting and we have fun with it! The videos are very easy to send out – we send them to our sphere and current clients through our CRM, but you can send them via VideoFizz or Bombomb. It keeps your face in front of your people and it makes you a little more real to them. They’ll be able to connect with you and see that you’re ready to help them!

The Equipment

We both wear a microphone and record the videos with an iphone! We also have a wide-angle lens we purchased on Amazon that we attach to the iphone to make sure the picture is wide enough for both of us to be in the frame.

The Results

Our average view time is 8 minutes and we’ll get around 5,000 views a week!

To learn more, reach out to The Real Pro Team at bradg@reecenichols.com.

AGENT TALKS: BEST PRACTICES WITH DON BURNS


To win in real estate, especially during the busy home buying and selling season, you must get focused and take charge! Senior Vice President of Brokerage, Don Burns, has a great method you can apply to be successful—he calls it, the 3 A’s.

Have a Mission

The first thing you should do is come up with a mission. For example: “I want to win in real estate by outperforming the competition and exceeding customer expectations.” Coming up with a mission like this is a great place to start. Then, start incorporating the 3 A’s.

Adaptable – It’s important to be able to adapt to any kind of market, whether the economy is sour, the economy is great, or there’s a pandemic. This goes for your clients as well. You may have clients that are fantastic and others that are challenging, so it’s vital that you be able to adapt to their needs to make sure the transaction goes smoothly for everyone involved.

Accountable – First and foremost, you want to be accountable to you and your business. Are you taking the time to make sure that your business is on the right track, that you’re spending money correctly, and that you’re supporting your clients? Are you accountable to your clients? Are you returning their phone calls? It’s also important that you’re accountable to other agents as well as your broker.

Aggressive – When you’re aggressive in a sales environment, it’s going to show. So, you’ll want to take chances and you’ll want to turn over every stone that you can in order to get to where you want to go. The bottom line is, if you’re not aggressive in the real estate market, somebody else will be!

To learn more, reach out to Don atDonBurns@reecenichols.com.

AGENT TALKS: BEST PRACTICES WITH THE #KODYSOLDMYHOME TEAM


Have you had success with a direct mail campaign? The #KodySoldMyHome Team most certainly has! Team leads, Kody Gideon and Victoria Billington, share 10 tips for making a direct mail campaign a huge success.

  1. Identify your prospects, know who you are mailing to and when.
  2. Frequency counts! It is better to mail to a smaller pool of people more frequently than it is to mail to a big group of people one time.
  3. Preplan your campaign. You should know from start to finish how many pieces you’re mailing, what pieces you’ll be mailing, and why.
  4. Brand it up! Make sure you’re consistent with your branding and make it pop.
  5. Keep it simple. Any piece of mail should be easy to look at and should communicate your purpose.
  6. Track your campaign. This is especially important if you have a few different campaigns going at the same time. Make sure you have a system in place to track your campaign before you even begin.
  7. Include something worth keeping. It’s possible the people you’re mailing to may not be ready to buy or sell right now, but if you include something that is difficult to throw away (like a magnetic refrigerator calendar or a magnetic business card), they’ll be much more likely to contact you in the future.
  8. Make it pretty. Make sure your mailers are aesthetically pleasing and support your content.
  9. Use your face. Whatever the mailing is, make sure you have your picture on it. People like you and want to do business with you! Remind them of that.
  10. Have a call to action! On every mailer you should include verbiage that calls a person to do something. You could urge them to text you, email you, or visit your website.

To learn more, email Kody at kody@reecenichols.com.

AGENT TALKS: BEST PRACTICES WITH BETH BENEDICT


As the world returns to some semblance of normalcy, it’s natural that the messaging in your marketing should shift, but how? Beth Benedict Borders, Assistant Broker at the Country Club Plaza office shares her best practices.

Shift marketing back to business

I’m sure you’ve seen various advertisements in the past month talking about how it’s “business as usual.” I saw a Lexus commercial recently that really resonated with me. It said: “This is not a time for business as usual, or is it? “What if business as usual means putting people first and understanding their needs. If that’s your business 365 days of every year, then business as usual is precisely what these times require.” What we do at ReeceNichols is special, we put people first and that hasn’t changed. Therefore, as things begin to look a little more traditional, this is a good time to shift your marketing back to talking about the real estate market. After all, taking care of people and looking out for their needs and wants is how we do business, and that part isn’t changing!

What to discuss

Talk about inventory or average price per square foot. Create marketing materials, do a monthly newsletter or post a video talking about the real estate market. Be clear that you’re still conducting business, but you will do everything you can to keep people safe. You can use VideoFizz, Bombbomb, or even Zoom to record messages. Practice and get comfortable in this new space – there are plenty of people out there that need help navigating their most important investment and that’s what we’re here to do!

To learn more, reach out to Beth atbeth@reecenichols.com.

AGENT TALKS: BEST PRACTICES WITH MAJID GHAVAMI


As you reach out to your past clients and sphere during this time, agent Majid Ghavami suggests utilizing video in unique ways. He shared best practices and methods you can get into the habit of using now and continue to use when the market normalizes a bit.

Providing value through video

Share suggestions for things people can do around their house, like changing their furnace filter! You’ll be providing value to the people in your sphere, plus, it shows folks that you’re a homeowner, too! You could also share some ideas about projects that could have a return on home investment.

Market reports

People are always curious about how the real estate market is doing, but if you decide to share a market report, make sure your video is put into terms people can understand. For example, don’t just say there’s 1.8 months-worth of inventory at the moment, explain what that means! Break it down for them and explain it in detail – this will show them you’re the professional.

Reach out through video

People are bombarded by sad news these days, so this is a great time to reach out to past clients as a friend. Set up a video chat or Zoom call just to talk, you don’t even have to talk about real estate. More than likely, your clients will be happy to hear from you and you’ll be surprised how often the conversation turns to real estate eventually! So, be ready just in case, with some neighborhood stats on hand.

There’s so much you can do video-wise, even on a smart phone. Your videos don’t have to be perfectly polished – just be you! Even when the market “normalizes” a little bit, keep doing those videos – it’s where the future of our business is, and it’ll make you stand out amongst the competition.

To learn more from Majid, reach out to him at Majid@ghavamirealty.com or 913-980-2434.

AGENT TALKS: BEST PRACTICES WITH SHANAN STEERE


There are many things we cannot control right now, but according to Shanan Steere, Owner of Shanan Group, we can control the relationships we have with the people in our sphere! Here are her best practices that have worked wonders for keeping in touch.

Closed Facebook Group

Years ago, we created a closed Facebook group for our sphere and past clients. It’s been a saving grace during this time! Every day we’ll do a fun contest within the group. We’ll give out a gift card to Starbucks and it really helps to keep our folks engaged. By doing this, we’ve gotten a lot of referrals from within our sphere.

BombBomb

We invite people to our closed group via BombBomb videos! We utilize BombBomb because it’s a great video platform, and using videos allows you to incorporate 100% of your communication capacity.*

Reviews

Make sure to get your reviews in order! This is the perfect time to reach out to your entire sphere and all of your past clients to get reviews. If you haven’t done reviews yet, talk to your manager about building your Google Business page. Make sure you’re doing your reviews and recording your sales on Zillow and doing your reviews on realtor.com and your Facebook business page.

To learn more, reach out to Shanan at Shanan@shanangroup.com or 913-972-8599.

*In 1971, Albert Mehrabian published “Silent Messages” where he discussed his research on non-verbal communication. He concluded that 7% of someone’s credibility is attributed to verbal communication, while 38% is attributed to tone of voice and 55% to body language.

PIVOT YOUR BUSINESS STRATEGY


While only May, the old business plan needs to be revamped. Where can you tighten expenses, focus on what your virtual offering looks like and decide how your marketing plan shifts? Assess where your business comes from. If you do a lot of open houses, keep in mind you won’t be able to do nearly as many of those and they’ll have to be virtual. Consider what new prospecting methods you’ll implement to fill your pipeline. How will you meet new people?

Consider your communications. This is a challenging time for many people, and we must be mindful of the messages we are sending.

Remember Pearson’s Law: what you measure will improve. Track the daily activities that will drive your business. Set goals for the next 30 days across:

  • Prospecting and nurturing
  • Marketing and communication
  • Transactions and revenue

AGENT TALKS: BEST PRACTICES WITH CHAD DUMAS


Times are very different right now. The world around us has slowed down, which makes it a perfect time to connect with your sphere. But it’s also important to know exactly how to connect. Senior Vice President of Brokerage, Chad Dumas, explains why we should be communicating with compassion and empathy.

With whom you should connect

You’ve probably heard this a lot, but I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to connect with the people in your sphere. There’s no right or wrong way to approach making these phone calls, but the biggest thing is to be authentic, just be you. The people who are in your sphere are the people you already have a relationship with, so if you were to call a family member or friend, you wouldn’t go off of anything scripted, you’d just have a conversation with them.

How you should connect

Make all communication about them—have a conversation focused solely on the person on the other end of the phone. Make sure to ask them how they’re feeling and how they’re doing. Give them an outlet and a chance to talk with someone other than one of the people they’re quarantined with. Also, approach the conversations with compassion and empathy.

Compassion

Some people in your sphere might be struggling, whether it’s financially or emotionally, and we should approach them with lots of compassion right now. Try to understand what they’re going through. Some folks may have been laid off, some may be working from home and it’s less than ideal or some may be having challenges homeschooling their children. We must approach people with compassion. Make sure that it’s genuine and that you care about them.

Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand what someone else is going through or what their perspective is. Right now, there are two well-defined perspectives out there: the people that feel the stay-at-home orders are the right thing to do, and the people that are ready to get back to a semblance of normal life again. Whether you personally believe that one way or the other is the right course of action, for the sake of your phone calls, don’t press your viewpoint on the other person. What’s more important is that you work to figure out the other person’s viewpoint and understand it, because their perception is what’s important in that moment. Their perception is real to them and could be based on things that are happening in their life. We have to be there for them and try to understand what they’re going through.

Ninja Techniques

Use Ninja techniques in these phone calls. Ninja teaches you to make FORD phone calls: family, occupation, recreation and dreams. Right now, folks are getting plenty of family time and they may not be getting much occupation time or recreation time, but more than likely, they’ve had plenty of opportunity to dream. In these phone conversations, listen for the pain and pleasure points and figure out how to get them to dream. An easy question might simply be, “What’s the first thing you’ll do once the stay-at-home order is lifted?” “What have you missed most over the last 30 days?” “If things remain the same for a while, if you could have one thing back or if you could change one thing, what would it be?” Give them an opportunity to really dream and sometimes that dream will tell you about a real estate need as well. Remember, that’s not the purpose of the phone call, but sometimes that will come up.

A Word of Caution

While this is a great time to build relationships, there’s also potential to destroy a relationship if you’re not careful. Be mindful about becoming too opinionated on social media. Any time we’re in an election year or there’s a crisis, it’s easy to take a hard stance, but being very vocal about that stance can potentially destroy a relationship with someone that just happens to have a different viewpoint. That’s where the empathy comes in, it’s important to attempt to understand what everybody is going through. Bottom line, the agents that make the time to connect with their sphere during this shelter-in-place will come out of it better than ever!

To hear more from Chad Dumas, reach out to him at chad@reecenichols.com.

AGENT TALKS: BEST PRACTICES WITH STEPHANIE BULCOCK & JENNIFER WEAVER


There’s no doubt about it, being in the real estate industry is incredibly different these days and the ability to adapt to this current normal is crucial. We spoke with Stephanie Bulcock and Jennifer Weaver, Founding Partners of The Collective, to get their best practices during these unprecedented times.

Revise the Business Plan

While only April, the old business plan needs to be revamped. Where can you tighten expenses, focus on what your virtual offering looks like and decide how your marketing plan shifts? Assess where your business comes from. If you do a lot of open houses, keep in mind you won’t be able to do nearly as many of those and they’ll have to be virtual. Consider what new prospecting methods you’ll implement to fill your pipeline. How will you meet new people?

Consider your communications. This is a challenging time for many people, and we must be mindful of the messages we are sending.

Remember Pearson’s Law: what you measure will improve. Track the daily activities that will drive your business. Set goals for the next 30 days across:

  • Prospecting and nurturing
  • Marketing and communication
  • Transactions and revenue

Being a Virtual Agent

Workspace and atmosphere:

  • Make sure you have a computer with a built-in camera.
  • Get a Zoom account – either a free account or a paid version for 4.99/month.
  • Do not stop prospecting. Continue filling the pipeline so you can be prepared once the pandemic lifts. We do not want it to feel like January, in June. Continue to make your calls (to new people, your database and follow-ups) and don’t be a secret agent.
  • Find new ways to engage with your sphere virtually. Arrange a Zoom coffee, lunch or happy hour. Amp up your social media or send video messages. This is also a great time to send more handwritten notes.
  • Use this time to get your virtual systems in place. Take note of what’s needed for virtual listing presentations and buyer consults.

Don’t give up. During this time, it’s important to keep working. Make sure to keep a routine and time block.

Take care of yourself and your people. Take care of your mindset; practice gratitude, do affirmations and practice meditation. Try to exercise and maintain a healthy diet.

Be of service. What can you do to help your tribe and your community?

Practice your scripts. We have different objections surfacing now and we need to be prepared to best guide and advise our buyers and sellers on navigating this market.

Contract negotiations are different in this market, too. If you have a buyer, find out what the sellers are really looking for, now more than ever.

Listing Best Practices

During our consultation we discuss the current state of the market, what essential business means and their specific situation to determine whether they need to list now, or if it’s more appropriate to wait.

Reviewing what this “new normal” process looks like is critical from pre-listing prep through the closing table. Even if your clients have listed a house before, they’ve never seen the process look like this. We talk through the fact that although the steps are the same, the execution of the steps, from how we show a house, to how we manage inspections, appraisals and closings, is different.

Create a virtual tour and post to MLS and to the Today Studio (Sellers > Manage My Listings). Record a Zillow Walk-Through.

In your listing verbiage, be sure to direct agents and buyers to the virtual tour as much as possible.

Set expectations for safe showing practices with your sellers. Ensure before all showings that they sanitize, turn on all lights and open as many doors as possible.

Agents should drop off a showing kit that includes booties, gloves, hand sanitizer and wipes.

We crafted a small sign reminding agents and buyers of our showing practices. We place it either on a clipboard by the supply box or tape it to the front door.

Set expectations with the agents that are showing the house. Add special instructions to Agent Remarks in MLS, and to Showing Time.

  • Email sample verbiage:
    1. Thank you so much for your interest in this property and for reviewing the virtual tours. We want you to have an enjoyable showing experience and protecting you, your buyers and our sellers is very important to us. Please be sure to follow our showing guidelines.

Showing Guidelines

  • Please confirm that the buyers and their family are not currently sick, have recently been sick or have been exposed (i.e., coughing, fever or chills and/or if they have been in close contact with anyone that has exhibited these symptoms). If the answer is yes to any of those circumstances, please reschedule the showing.
  • No shoes are allowed inside the home. Please leave them on the front porch. If for some reason the buyers cannot take off their shoes, we will have booties just inside the front door.
  • You’ll find hand sanitizer in a kit at the front of the house. Please sanitize before you walk in and before you leave.
  • Agents should wear gloves and open all doors, closets, cabinets, etc. If a client wants to open something, they should ask the agent to open it for them and not touch any surfaces inside the property (except handrails).
  • Grab some wipes and please sanitize as you tour.
  • Lights will be on and doors will be open. Please leave the lights on.
  • Only the final decision makers should be present. No children—they love touching everything—so we ask that other family members, such as children and extended family members stay at home or in the car.

Upon returning home, sellers should assume the agent forgot to wipe down doorknobs and light switches and should wipe down surfaces.

If a seller is hesitant about having their home shown during this time, we will postpone the listing or change the status until they are comfortable. Doing the right thing for the client is always the best course of action.

Set expectations for what a safe closing looks like during these times. Explain you will not be able to be present for the closing.

Manage expectations. Reiterate that this is a rapidly evolving market where things are changing daily. Emphasize your commitment to open and frequent communication.

Buyer Best Practices

We require that buyers have been pre-approved, a buyer consultation has been done and an exclusive agency is signed up front. This ensures we are only serving serious buyers that need to move.

Make sure they are following mortgage do’s (keeping their job, refraining from large purchases, etc.). If there is a change in their circumstances, they need to notify their lender right away.

During our consultation, we discuss the current state of the market, what essential business means and their specific situation (timing, lease expiration, other factors) to determine whether they need to start their search now, or if it’s more appropriate to wait.

If they need to be looking now, we discuss the “new normal” up-front. If they find a home online that they like, we will send them the seller’s disclosure and any virtual tour/video offerings from the agent. If they’re still interested in the home after viewing the virtual tour, then we’ll discuss a showing.

Gauge their willingness to participate in a real-time virtual showing. Many younger buyers are willing to do this and agents across the country are having great success and selling homes using virtual tours.

Ask the buyers if they or their family are sick, if they’ve recently been sick or if they’ve been exposed. If the answer is yes to any of those circumstances, we will not show them homes at this time to protect all parties.

Review the showing guidelines with the buyers in advance to make sure they understand how serious the situation is:

  • Please confirm that the buyers and their family are not currently sick, have recently been sick or have been exposed (i.e., coughing, fever or chills and/or if they have been in close contact with anyone that has exhibited these symptoms). If the answer is yes to any of those circumstances, please reschedule the showing.
  • No shoes are allowed inside the home. Please leave them on the front porch. If for some reason the buyers cannot take off their shoes, we will have booties just inside the front door.
  • You’ll find hand sanitizer in a kit at the front of the house. Please sanitize before you walk in and before you leave.
  • Agents should wear gloves and open all doors, closets, cabinets, etc. If a client wants to open something, they should ask the agent to open it for them and not touch any surfaces inside the property (except handrails).
  • Grab some wipes and please sanitize as you tour.
  • Lights will be on and doors will be open. Please leave lights on.
  • Only the final decision makers should be present. No children—they love touching everything—so we ask that other family members, such as children and extended family members stay at home or in the car.
  • Stay a minimum of 6 feet apart during showings.

If we do show a buyer a house, we carry showing kits with us including gloves, booties, hand sanitizer and wipes in case the agent or seller doesn’t have anything out.

Lead by example. I make sure to follow my own showing instructions, plus any instructions requested by the listing agent or their sellers.

Once under contract, we practice the same guidelines. Minimize the number of people at inspections. I sit in my car or stand outside and stagger inspectors to minimize the number of people in the house at a time. Ideally, we’d conduct the read-out virtually with the buyer but if they must be there in person, we would practice social distancing if we are inside the home.

Set expectations for what a safe closing looks like during these times. Explain you will not be able to be present for the closing but will celebrate with them later!

For the latest information and best practices regarding your health and safety, visit www.cdc.gov.