How to keep real estate clients for life

Whether you are a new real estate agent, an “oldpro” agent or an individual contemplating becoming a real estate agent,you will enjoy “Success as a Real Estate Agent for Dummies” by realestate success trainer Dirk Zeller. Although the book starts out slow and a bitdisorganized, it picks up speed, and by the conclusion it has covered virtuallyevery topic new and experienced realty agents need to understand.

The introductory chapters, about how to get started sellingreal estate, are a bit weak and unfocused. Frankly, it’s hard for any new agentto make right decisions at this critical time, but the book isn’t much help.But don’t give up. The book gets much better.

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Author Dirk Zeller is a successful residential real estatesales agent who is now CEO of a real estate sales training organization. As aresult, he has clients nationwide who tell him what sales methods are workingand which ones aren’t. Along the way, Zeller might change agent minds abouttraditional sales tactics, such as weekend open houses.

For example, Zeller admits when he was selling homes hedidn’t like holding open houses for his sellers. The reason? He wanted to takeweekends off to spend with his family at their weekend home.

But he recommends open houses, especially for new agents, to(1) make sellers happy because they see some “action” and (2) to meetprospective buyers and sellers. However, the author says only about 5 percentof open houses result in selling that particular home.

The most practical section of the book, and probably themost controversial, deals with agent prospecting for listings and buyers.Zeller says prospecting never ends and the most successful agents set asidetime every day to gain new clients.

His favorite targets are expired listings andfor-sale-by-owners. He explains how to contact them with inoffensive buteffective methods.

Although the book contains a few examples, it could havebenefited from many more of Zeller’s personal experiences and those of hisrealty agent trainees throughout the nation. As experienced authors andteachers know, examples usually illustrate a topic far better than routine explanationswithout application to real-life situations. Hopefully, the book’s next editionwill contain more personal examples.

As the book moves toward its conclusion, it gets better andstronger. The author recommends that realty agents carefully study their localresidential sales market and then gain a competitive advantage in a specific”slice of the market.” In addition, Zeller emphasizes keeping clientsfor life, using periodic update contacts, rather than viewing a sale closing as”the finish line.”

The book’s best chapter emphasizes the importance of usingtime effectively by setting priorities, scheduling in time blocks, and stoppingothers from wasting your time. The author shows techniques for keeping phonecalls short, spending time on important matters, and letting go of the rest.Although Zeller recommends using technology effectively, he’s not a “gungho” techie to the exclusion of personal contacts. But he does provide aninvaluable list of Web sites for realty agents.

Chapter topics include “Discovering the Skills of aSuccessful Agent”; “Residential versus Commercial”; “Pairingwith the Right Agency”; “Prospecting Your Way to Listings and Sales”;”Mining Gold from Referrals”; “Winning Business from Expired andFSBO Listings”; “Planning and Hosting a Successful Open House”; “Presentingand Closing Listing Contracts”; “Determining a Home’s Ideal ListPrice”; “Marketing Yourself and Your Properties Online and in Print”;and “10 Biggest Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.”

Although this book has its ups and downs, overall it is thebest “how to be a successful realty agent” book currently available.The author’s many years of home sales and training experiences result in wiseadvice based on his success. On my scale of one to 10, this outstanding newbook rates a solid 10.

“Success as a Real Estate Agent for Dummies,” byDirk Zeller (Wiley Publishing Co., Indianapolis, IN), 2006, $21.99; 350 pages;Available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public librariesand

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center

Copyright 2006 Inman News

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