‘The Professionals’ By Owen Laukkenan

I read a lot but normally I don’t post about the fiction I read… (unless it’s financial fiction). However, this book was really enjoyable and I wanted to tell you about it because I think the secret to good fiction is that every sentence compels you to read the next one. Or it should anyway. I think this book does a great job of doing that.

The Professionals is about a group of young adults (recent college grads who don’t want to enter the workforce) and they kidnap people for ransom. They’re careful, mobile, small time, and don’t ask for a lot of ransom, which helps to ensure that they don’t attract a lot of attention. But in this story, they kidnap the wrong person and things go awry and they’re pursued by gangsters, by state police, and by the FBI.

What makes this story so good is that the characters are believable and complex. And interestingly, the titular professionals are caught in the middle between the protagonists (the police) and the antagonists (the gangsters). Sometimes you’re rooting for the kidnappers and sometimes you aren’t. Not only that, the book does an excellent job of making you feel the helplessness of the main characters; you just don’t know what they’re going to do (or, what you’d do if you were in the same situation).

But the very best aspect of the book is on page 44 of the hardcover copy I read. This, in my opinion, is the most compelling page of the book and an excellent piece of writing.

Testimonial

“This article got some good traction…- had an 18% open and the clicks were higher too… Good work.”

-Eric D. from American Wealth Builders

It Was A Privilege To Meet Brian Tracy And Mike Michalowicz

Earlier this month I was in New Jersey for a client’s event. My client, Mike Agugliaro, is the owner of two companies — Gold Medal Service and CEO Warrior. He hosts a regular training event a few times a year for business owners.

Mike is one of my biggest clients so I try to get out to his office at least once a year to attend an event or to brainstorm with him.

(Side note: I was a guest on his podcast to discuss the future of copy, in case you want to hear that.)

Earlier this month I was at his event — the Warrior Fast Track Academy — to hear Mike speak, make notes on some projects, and to consult with his team.

As an added bonus, Mike had two special guests, who also happen to be two authors and business experts whose work I admire. I got to hear them speak, had my picture taken with them, and because I’m on Mike’s team, I also got to meet with them outside of the event in a more informal setting.

Brian Tracy shared a lot of wisdom with my the event audience about productivity and business growth. It was really valuable and I took a lot away from his presentation. Here he is, below, after signing a copy of his book, Eat That Frog.
Aaron Hoos and Brian Tracy

Mike Michalowicz is someone I’ve been following for a long time because his work and style matches mine. He founded Toilet Paper Entrepreneur years ago and later moved away from that brand to focus on his personal brand. I followed him at TPE and then was interested in his move away from that brand, which is detailed in this NY Times blog post from 2012. During my client’s event, Mike Michalowicz shared his “Profit First” strategies, which is another concept of his that I’ve been following for a while. Here he is, below, after signing a copy of his book Profit First. (I’d actually met Mike during a conference call I had with him earlier this summer but this is the first time we met in person.)
Aaron Hoos and Mike Michalowicz

7 Ways That Real Estate Agents Can Turn Sellers Into Life-Long Clients

In the work I do as a writer/consultant/strategist, I get to work with a lot of real estate agents to help them grow their businesses. And I just recently sold my house so I got another glimpse into the business from a slightly different angle.

I think real estate agents are missing out some on some key opportunities to get more clients. They may THINK they’re doing everything they can but there are several ways they can do more. If you’re a real estate agent, I want to share with you 7 simple things you can do to turn sellers into life-long clients.

Aaron Hoos

Here’s what I mean…

When a seller signs a contract with you, you get to work to sell their house. In your mind, the home sale is the ultimate measurement of your success. However, your seller needs something more from you if you want to lock them in as a lifetime client and get referrals from them.

Your seller wants you to spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week pouring over lists of potential buyers who might be interested in their house. They want to believe that you are rolling up your sleeves and working ONLY on their unique situation.

While that’s obviously asking more of you than you can realistically give, there are ways that you can appear to be prepared and hard working, which will create a more positive experience for your client, which will lock YOUR NAME in their minds for the future.

7 Ways That Agents Can Turn Sellers Into Life-Long Clients

#1. Give A Clear Timeline.

As a real estate agent, you are the expert, not your client. Clients have weird, broken ideas about how long it will take to sell or buy a house. I think their view is often skewed by unrealistically short timelines on those house-buying TV shows, as well as by optimistic word-of-mouth reports given by family and friends who bought or sold recently.

s the professional, you should come in with a clear timeline that says, “many houses in this price range are on the market for X days.” Yes, you’ll need to include a disclaimer that there’s no guarantee but you should give your clients an idea of what others are experiencing, if only to dampen expectations slightly.

#2. Give Clear Steps.

Again, you’re the expert. When you tell your client “we’re going to list your house and show it and maybe do an open house,” the client doesn’t really know what that means.

Give them a clear breakdown of the expectations, how often you do an open house, when you’ll revisit the price, how they’ll know when you get an offer, etc. These are things you deal with every day so you take them for granted, but your clients have no clue and if you don’t hold their hand, they’ll get worried. But if you do walk them through the process up-front, you’ll put them at ease and give them positive feelings about the service you provide.

#3. Checklists.

I wish my real estate agent gave me some checklists! I could have used some for before he showed up to take pictures, then for what to do before a showing, what to do before an open house, what to do when an offer is made, and what to do if I accept the offer.

These simple checklist documents would have alleviated many questions and reduced the number of times I called or texted my agent with follow-up questions.

#4. Market Analysis.

People who have lived in their house for years, as my wife and I did, are not really dialed into what the local market is like. Is it hot? Is it cold? All I had to go by was what my neighbor sold his house for (more than I thought he would) and how long it took (longer than I thought it would).

If your clients are hiring you to sell their house (or even to help them buy), a short one-page Market Analysis report will help them understand what to expect. For example, mine might have said: “we’ve finished the busy spring season and are entering a slightly slower summer season when many potential buyers are on summer vacation. There are still plenty of buyers and there are not a lot of houses in your price range right now so that’s a plus.” Like the timeline (see #1, above), you don’t have to make any commitments or promises but you can manage expectations and help the client know that you have everything under control.

#5. Regular check-ins.

This was probably my biggest complaint with my real estate agent. He was a good guy and he sold my house so that’s awesome but I occasionally felt like I needed to follow up with him because I hadn’t heard from him in a couple of weeks. We had a lot of showings, so I heard from his assistant a lot as she was setting up the showings, but I want to feel like my agent is working hard for me, and the only way I know he’s doing that is with a quick text that says, “Checking in; hope you’re doing great. We’ve had several showings but no offers this week but keep your chin up… we’ll keep pushing!

#6. Contingencies.

Sellers want to sell now for top dollar (of course). As an agent, you want that too (of course) but you’re also experienced enough to know that it might not always happen that way. When you talk to your client about listing their property, you should assure them that you are prepared for contingencies, such as lowering the selling the price or making some other adjustment to the offer.

Telling your clients this might seem like you are admitting defeat and already thinking of lowering the price but if you do it right you’ll assure them that you are prepared for every eventuality and you understand how important it is to sell the house… plus you’ll also address any skittishness they might feel if they get discouraged after not receiving offers after the first couple of showings. (Guilty as charged.)

#7. Acknowledgement of the significance of the event.

When the property sells, you’ve done your job and you deserve to get paid. Your client is probably relieved and excited as well. But remember: chances are, they’ve just sold their HOME… a place of memories and love that they are now moving away from. This is a significant event with many mixed emotions. If you really want to connect with a client and lock them in long-term, the best thing you can do is acknowledge the significance and experience it with them.

Summary

As a real estate agent, your job is to serve your seller by listing the house and trying to find a buyer for it. But in reality, you have a much bigger responsibility than that: you need to make them feel like they are at the top of your mind and you are doing everything in your power to sell their house. These 7 tips can help you create a loyal, lifetime client from every seller you serve.

Go West, Life Is Peaceful There. Go West, Lots Of Open Air…

Hello again.

Remember me? It’s been exactly 6 months since I posted my last blog post (Thoughts About Life And Business On My 41st Birthday).

And here I am finally writing again.

Here’s the reason for my temporary break from blogging…

My wife and I decided to move… 400 miles west to Regina Saskatchewan, a city we both used to live in (in fact, that’s where we first met exactly 20 years ago).

Relocating may have seemed like a spur-of-the-moment decision to many people but it had been a topic of conversation for a while and circumstances came together to make it a perfect time for us to move.

In July we put the house up for sale, went through the listing process in July and August, sold our house at the end of August, had a moving company move our stuff in the middle of September, and then followed a week later. (That last week was hardest… I’m not cut out to sleep on an air mattress — haha).

(Pictured below) Here we are getting into our car and leaving our beloved Winnipeg house for the last time. We had 12 amazing years in this place. Twelve years ago we said we’d never move but things change, right? (Winnipeg was good to us and we loved it there but it’s time to move on.)
Aaron Hoos

(Pictured below) … And here we are about 4 hours or so into our 6 hour journey, crossing over the border from Manitoba into Saskatchewan.
Aaron Hoos

We pulled into Regina Saskatchewan, and into our new home, to start a new adventure! (I tried taking a picture of that too but we were pretty worn out and 6 hours of driving made us look like crazed serial killers so I deleted the pictures. So just imagine Charles Manson and that’s basically what we looked like.)

What’s next for us in this new chapter?

I’m still writing; in fact, I’m writing more than ever for some pretty amazing clients. (You can see what I do over at Real Estate Investing Copywriter.) I’m hoping to focus a bit more on writing my own books, too. I’m also using the opportunity to evaluate what’s essential in my life and what’s inconsequential — so I can do more of one and less of the other.

It’s an exciting time in our lives… can’t wait to see what this next chapter holds for us!