Profile of a champion real estate agent

Whether you are a novice or experienced “old pro”real estate agent, “The Champion Real Estate Agent” by realty salescoach and former top sales agent Dirk Zeller will alert or remind you of whatmakes a successful real estate agent. The book begins by explaining why sellingreal estate is the best business in the world, primarily because gettingstarted requires minimal cash and the earnings potential is unlimited.

Next, the book focuses on Zeller’s definition of a”champion agent.” Although he discusses buyer’s agents extensively,Zeller says the best agents concentrate on primarily being listing agentsbecause then the agent controls the inventory of homes for sale. “Listingsequal revenue,” he advises.

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There is far more information in this jam-packed book thanmost readers can absorb or remember because the author covers all the bases ofwhat makes for a successful agent. Zeller measures success primarily by netearnings, but he also advises agents to balance their lives by taking at leastone day off each week, working only one or two evenings per week, and allowingplenty of time for family life.

If the book has a secret theme, it is champion agentsconcentrate on the sellers and buyers who are most likely to be profitable, nowand with future referrals, rather than trying to please all prospects. Zellerthen shows how to attract and keep profitable sellers and buyers, bearing inmind that “real estate sales is an odds-based business.”

Heavy emphasis is placed on champion agents devoting timeeach day to prospecting and lead follow-up, even when the agent is faced withfrequent interruptions to serve existing clients. “Everything is hardbefore it becomes easy,” the author advises as he suggests keeping theobjectives in sight.

Finding and following up with prospective client leadsinvolves “dialing for dollars,” Zeller explains. Leads are thelife-blood of real estate sales, the author emphasizes. But he doesn’t likeopen houses to generate new buyers and sellers. “I would rather have myskin eaten off by ants than do open houses,” he comments.

Zeller is a man of strong opinions. For example, he says,”Third-party lead-generation companies are the biggest threat to agents.We need to drive them out of business. These interlopers are, in effect,marketing for your customers and selling them back to you or another agent inthe marketplace.”

Although it is the book’s shortest chapter, “CreatingLeads through Interactive Voice Response Systems” is also the best. Itshows how to use classified ads and mailings to get prospective buyers andsellers to phone a toll-free number to request more information, such as aspecial report. The result is the agent easily captures the prospect’s name,phone number and address for follow-up to see if they are hot or coldprospects.

The section of the book with which I had the least agreementis titled “Champion Sales Presentations,” about seller listings andbuyer agency contracts. In these chapters, Zeller advises not wasting time withsellers and buyers who either aren’t serious or who won’t sign a listing or abuyer agency contract. “Very hard sell” came to my mind as I readthis section.

One ingredient glaringly absent from these chapters is thelack of client references from recent satisfied sellers and buyers. Smartprospective buyers and sellers always ask realty agents for references and thebest agents eagerly provide phone numbers and names of prior clients.

But Zeller totally neglects to even mention the importancefor champion agents to provide such invaluable information as part of thelisting presentation or buyer agency contract negotiation.

Chapter topics include “The Champion Agent’sBusiness”; “What is a Champion Agent?” “Attitude andCommitment Come First”; “Building Credibility and Trust”;”Leads are Your Lifeblood”; “Who Wants Referrals?””It’s Easy Street on the Internet”; “The Champion ListingPresentation”; “Protecting Your Commission”; “HandlingObjections Professionally”; “Making the Case to the Buyer”;”Buyer Counseling Interview”; “Time Management is LifeManagement”; and “Building Your Ideal Business.”

Although I don’t agree with all of Zeller’s advice,especially about never discounting sales commissions even to be competitive ina local market and requiring 90-day buyer agency contracts, the author providesgood reasons for his strong viewpoints used with his coaching students. Thisultra-complete book shows realty agents what it takes to be successful, asmeasured by high earnings and business satisfaction. On my scale of one to 10,this excellent book rates a solid 10.

“The Champion Real Estate Agent,” by Dirk Zeller (McGraw-Hill,New York), 2007, $24.95, 328 pages; available in stock or by special order atlocal bookstores, public libraries and www.Amazon.com.

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

Copyright 2006 Inman News

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