Does Your Sales Team Help Implement Your Strategy?

Guiding The Sales Process

All too often, the reason a company’s strategy fails is its salespeople focus solely on quotas, targets and bonus levels, ignoring the company’s overarching strategy. If you want your strategy to be implemented by your sales team, you should make sure three things are happening:

  1. Your salespeople are targeting the right people. It’s common for sales teams to chase easy deals, disregarding the ideal client profile. Make sure your sales team is focusing on the organizations/segments you wish to market to, and be assertive about your expectations.
  2. If your strategy changes, your salespeople’s does too. Sales professionals need to break away from old approaches and determine how best to adjust their marketing techniques to the new company strategy.
  3. Your sales team is focusing on client needs. Instead of old-school pitching, sellers need to have deeper conversations with clients about their objectives and provide insight on how the company can help.

Remember, every hour spent developing an opportunity that’s outside your sweet spot is a non-strategic use of time, energy, and resources.

Continue to Scott Edinger’s HBR article…

The Emotions Behind Home Buying

The Psychology of Buying and Selling a House

A home is the biggest investment almost anyone will make, but often emotions get in the way of making the right choice.

It’s a fact of life:  Homes come with far more emotional weight than any other investment we make… writes Matthew Kassel with the Wall Street Journal.

A home is a refuge from the world, a place to raise a family and, for some people, an investment they hope will bring them a good chunk of money down the road. We fall in love with houses in a way that we never fall in love with a portfolio of stocks and bonds.

All too often, though, we don’t realize that how we feel about homes blinds us when it comes time to buy or sell. We let our emotions blind us to cold facts about the market or the realities of ownership. Or we prioritize one set of emotional needs over others that are just are strong but may not be evident at first. And ignoring them can lead us to make bad financial decisions that can affect us for decades to come.

For instance, people might focus on their desire for a house that’s a certain size or style, but ignore the fact that they want to spend as much time as possible with family. So they might buy a “perfect” house that requires them to make a long daily commute to work and keeps them away from home for two extra hours each day.

The home-selling side of the equation brings its own set of thorny issues. Homeowners often have an overly rosy view of their home and expect it to increase in value far beyond reasonable expectations. And when they put it on the market, they often stubbornly cling to their asking price—even if it means leaving it up for sale far longer than they planned, and risking the possibility of not selling it at all.

Here’s a closer look at some psychological missteps that buyers and sellers often make as they wade into the housing market.

Ignoring the big picture
Home buyers are always on the lookout for features—like a longer driveway or bigger backyard—that will make them happier with their home. But people don’t realize that those changes may not make them happier with their life as a whole.

“When people move to a better housing, they think they will be a lot happier overall,” says Shige Oishi, a co-author of a 2010 study on the subject in Social Indicators Research. “When they actually move, however, their overall happiness does not often change because there are many trade-offs in moving.”

One of the biggest trade-offs is commuting. Many move to live in a bigger house, but that bigger house is often farther away from work—so that means more commuting, which tends to add stress and detract from overall happiness. A 2008 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Economics shows that people who had longer commutes reported “lower subjective well-being” than those with shorter commutes. “If you’re moving to a place far away from your friends, but it has nicer stuff, it’s not a great deal for your happiness,” says Elizabeth Dunn, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia.

In another study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Ms. Dunn and her co-authors explored the matter of expectations vs. reality in another way—by looking at Harvard undergraduates who were randomly assigned to different dormitories. The study showed that first-year students incorrectly predicted what would bring them the most satisfaction from their dorms—physical features like location on campus, the attractiveness of the residence, room size and desirability of the dining hall and facilities.

In the initial survey, the students put no weight on social features, such as relationships with roommates and a sense of community in the residence. But when the researchers checked back in with the students after they’d been living in their dorms, the only thing that appeared to matter for their happiness was the quality of the social factors.

“It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing the physical features of the places you’re looking at,” says Ms. Dunn, “but you should really stop to consider how the places you’re considering will shape your social relationships.”

Overlooking big expenses
People who are buying homes tend to compartmentalize their expenses and not add up the total cost of everything needed to fix up and furnish the house, says Alex Tabarrok, a professor of economics at George Mason University. That can lead them to make poor choices about how much to pay for a home. For instance, they may overspend on a down payment for the house itself and leave themselves without enough money to buy the sort of decorations or furniture that they want. “When you’re getting a house, think about furnishing it at the same time,” says Mr. Tabarrok.

Weighing buying vs. renting
The biggest budgeting concern is, of course, whether you should buy a house at all. Research shows there are psychological benefits to taking the plunge—but also to opting out.

Buying a house can give people a psychological boost by making them feel like they’ve “arrived” and are part of the American ideal. Homeowners also may feel as though they have more control over their lives since they’re not dependent on the whims of a fickle landlord.

But while those factors may lead people into buying a house, there are other negative elements that homeowners don’t discover until after they’ve taken the plunge.

Research, for instance, has shown that home ownership can cause undue stress. The amount of work necessary to maintain a home—such as decorating, or mowing the lawn every weekend—may be too much for some people. Others may be overwhelmed by the financial aspect of ownership, such as being tied to a big monthly mortgage, or keeping up with repairs and other unforeseen costs.

Expecting a big return
When it comes to selling a home, most people aren’t in for a huge payday. Yet many are overly optimistic in their home-price expectations, according to Robert J. Shiller.

Dr. Shiller, a professor of economics at Yale University, co-wrote a paper, updated in 2014, that looked at the ways recent home buyers around the country think about the future values of their properties.

Using questionnaire surveys, Mr. Shiller and his co-authors found, among other things, that home buyers have extremely high long-term price expectations. That can lead people to buy homes that aren’t a good fit in terms of location or social scene just because they seem like good investments. Or they may stake their plans—such as retirement—on a certain return and find themselves scrambling when they come up short. On a larger scale, this over-optimism can lead to speculative booms that warp the market.

While it isn’t entirely clear why homeowners are usually so cheerful about the future, the researchers postulate it may result from the “money illusion”—a failure to take inflation into account.

“Imagine that your grandmother dies, and you’re managing her estate,” Mr. Shiller says. “Her house is worth $30,000 now, and you look at what she paid—$5,000. You think, ‘Wow, that’s a lot.’ Now why does it seem so big? Because you’re not reflecting that all prices went up sixfold” and you’re basically not making a profit after taking inflation into account.

Not wanting to come up short
People have many reasons for selling their homes, and for setting the prices they do. But research has found that the most powerful emotional drive at work in a sale is loss aversion—not wanting to sell a home for less than what you paid for it.

In a study in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, researchers found that homeowners latch on to the price they paid for their home with the hope that they can get more when they put it on the market. But that isn’t the soundest idea, says Christopher Mayer, a co-author of the study and a professor of real estate and economics at Columbia Business School, especially if your house has depreciated in value. It’s a fallacy to assume that you’ll be able to recoup losses you’ve already incurred. The current market price has nothing to do with how much a person actually paid for it.

There is a nuance here, though. People who stubbornly stick to an asking price above market value risk not selling their house at all. But sometimes they are rewarded.

Mr. Mayer and a co-author analyzed housing data from downtown Boston in the 1990s, culled from a boom-bust cycle. Condominium owners who put their houses up for sale above the market rate—though still below what they paid for them—sold their homes for more than expected, even as their properties lingered on the market for longer than usual.

Mr. Kassel is a writer in New York. He can be reached at reports@wsj.com 

New Coastal-Craftsman Home In NE St Petersburg

NEW CONSTRUCTION:  JUST COMPLETED

646 34th Avenue N., St Petersburg, FL 33704

646 34th Ave N, St Petersburg, FL 33704

Exciting times… We just completed our 2nd home in Northeast St. Pete.  Our first house (next door) sold during construction to a wonderful young couple buying their very first home.

Both homes were designed by nationally renowned Sharp Design Studio.  This 4 bedroom, 3 bath two-story Coastal-Craftsman style home, comes with a front porch, 10’ ceilings with 8’ doors on the 1st floor and 9’ ceilings on the 2nd floor.

‘BURG 2:  2,920 AC/SF (4,125 SF Total Under Roof)

The 1st floor has a Great Room with an Open Kitchen and Walk-In Butler’s Pantry, Dining Room, Bedroom/Den and Full Bath. The 2nd floor houses an oversized Master Suite, 2 add’l Bedrooms, a Bonus/Flex Room with Balcony, large Laundry Room and Bath with dual vanities. Sound proofing between bedrooms and floors; energy efficient windows; large open kitchen with stainless steel GE ENERGY STAR® appliances; gas 5-burner cooktop; shaker stained cabinetry with 42” uppers; granite countertops throughout; pre-wired for ceiling fixtures, alarm and speakers; HVAC with programmable thermostat and a gas tankless water heater.

646 34th Ave N, St Petersburg, FL 33704The home is connected to a detached 2 ½ car garage with alley access by a covered breezeway leading to the home.
The homesite is sodded and landscaped with a zoned and metered irrigation system.  Located only minutes from downtown and seconds from the shops, grocery stores and restaurants along 4th and 9th Streets N.

Priced at $549,900

For additional photographs and information, please click here or call me at 727-580-4143.

ForeSite Residential Real Estate

 

Marketing a Home to Wealthy 50+ Prospects

Capturing business from an offline generation

An October 2015 report from Forbes Insights, Engaging 50+ Consumers In A Digital World, examines the consumer behaviors of wealthy Americans 50 years old and above, a demographic which holds $3.6 trillion in annual income, or 49% of all after-tax income in U.S. Created in partnership with Wealth Engine, the report asserts that this demographic has wholly unique values and preferences concerning marketing from luxury brands and service providers. (Reprint from Luxury Insights)

1. Emphasize the property’s quality and craftsmanship.
To speak to the values of wealthy 50+ Americans, luxury real estate professionals should highlight the quality and craftsmanship of high-end homes rather than the related prestige of living in the home or community. The Wealth Engine survey shows that this group considers the most vital aspects of a luxury product or service to be quality (82%) and craftsmanship (66%). These values are even more important to baby boomers (51-70) than older generations, so this definition of luxury will be around for a while. In contrast, more traditional conceptions of luxury—prestige of ownership (19%), brand/maker name (17%), price (11%)—are not top-priority with respondents.

Marketing to Wealthy 50+ Prospects

2. Market online and offline.
While the Internet plays a part in their decision making processes, these consumers are tentative about the ever-changing technological landscape and thus unlikely to make buying decisions solely based on information received online. On the other hand, 50+ wealthy consumers are generally more receptive than younger generations to offline interactions, experiences, and marketing. 50+ wealthy consumers prefer to get marketing and advertising messages: (1) by word of mouth, (2) through an online search, (3) by visiting a known brand or retailer website directly, and (4) via print or direct mail.

While it can be challenging to strike the on/offline balance needed to engage these consumers, the Forbes/Wealth Engine report urges that careful, value-oriented marketing can really pay off: “While [wealthy 50+ consumers] might not be as digitally savvy as their children and grandchildren, they still have more discretionary funds to spend.”

3. Avoid email marketing with unknown leads.
Be cautious about how you use email to engage 50+ leads and prospects. The Wealth Engine survey shows that, while 17% of respondents rank “email from known brands” in their top 3 preferred methods of receiving marketing and advertising, only 8% appreciate emails from previously unknown brands. In fact, reflecting on the proliferation of unsolicited direct and email marketing, 21% say it makes them not want to do business with a brand, and 18% think it indicates that the brand doesn’t understand what they want.

4. Utilize data-driven targeted marketing, but don’t get too personal.
The wealthy 50+ demographic is particularly receptive to targeted marketing. Of respondents who decided to buy from a particular brand or service provider after seeing their marketing: 68% say they did so because “the timing of the marketing message matched when I wanted/needed to buy,” and 52% say that the inciting marketing message included a special offer that appealed to them.

On the other hand, Forbes notes that, “while they like the personal touch in real life, they are not as keen on it in marketing messages they receive.” 50+ wealthy Americans are hyper-sensitive to data privacy and liable to be made uncomfortable by over-personalized messaging. They will likely not appreciate messaging that mentions a birthday, recent purchase, or any personal information that indicates data mining practices.

5. Be direct when seeking referrals and reviews.
Wealthy 50+ consumers are comfortable gibing referrals and recommendations by word of mouth, but very unlikely to sing their praises online. The Forbes survey and report shows that, for referring a brand or business, 84% are willing to share by word of mouth, while only 21% are willing to write reviews online. To capture referrals from this demographic, real estate professionals should directly ask whether the client has any friends or family members who are thinking of buying or selling real estate in the near future. In addition, agents should ask for a written review to include in a testimonial book or in the testimonial section of your webpage.

Posted on February 18, 2016 at 09:17 AM in About, In the News, Institute News, Luxury Home Marketing Tips, Partners & Friends, Research & Statistics

5 Real Estate Ads That Will Air During The Super Bowl

Takeaways:

1. Some real estate players are pulling out all the stops to make the major leagues with celebrity cameos and millions of dollars invested into this year’s Super Bowl Commercials.
2. Tech, convenience and change in the industry are common themes throughout the messaging.
3. Both the Super Bowl and the housing industry as we know it are a half-century old.

Which commercial do you like best?

via Inman by Amy Swinderman

How To Sell A Condo… An Introduction.

Helping customers buy a condo requires a lot of information gathering, especially when a property is financed through a lender. First, find out if the buyers are investors or full-time residents.

Will they need a mortgage?

Now compare properties that fit those needs and read the condo association documents. With these answers in place, you can help buyers match financing and investment goals.

Watch this video for more tips.

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NAR releases 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

WASHINGTON – Nov. 5, 2015 – The share of first-time buyers declined for the third consecutive year – to its lowest point in nearly three decades, according to an annual survey released today by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

2015 Profile of Home Buyers and SellersOverall, home sales strengthened, but the uptick was driven more by repeat buyers with dual incomes. The survey also found that nearly 90 percent of buyer-seller respondents worked with a real estate agent to buy or sell a home as for-sale-by-owner transactions dropped to their lowest share ever.

NAR’s 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers evaluates the demographics, preferences, motivations, plans and experiences of recent homebuyers and sellers, and dates back to 1981. Results are representative of owner-occupants and don’t include investors or vacation homes.

In this year’s survey, the share of first-time buyers declined to 32 percent (33 percent a year ago) – the second-lowest share since the survey’s inception (1981) and the lowest since 1987 (30 percent). Historically, first-time homebuyers make up nearly 40 percent of primary purchases.

“There are several reasons why there should be more first-time buyers reaching the market, including persistently low mortgage rates, healthy job prospects for those college-educated, and the fact that renting is becoming more unaffordable in many areas,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Unfortunately, there are just as many high hurdles slowing first-time buyers down. Increasing rents and home prices are impeding their ability to save for a downpayment; there’s scarce inventory for new and existing-homes in their price range; and it’s still too difficult for some to get a mortgage.”

Yun says this year’s survey offers additional clues to why fewer first-time buyers reach the market.

“First–time buyers reported that debt (all forms) delayed saving for a downpayment for a median of three years, and among the 25 percent who said saving was the most difficult task, a majority (58 percent) said student loans delayed saving,” Yun says. “With a median amount of student loan debt for all buyers at $25,000, it’s likely some younger households with even higher levels of debt can’t save for an adequate downpayment or have decided to delay buying until their debt is at more comfortable levels.”

Buyer characteristics

This year’s survey finds a higher share of married couples – 67% (up from 65 percent last year) – with a higher household income than previous years. Married repeat buyers have the highest income among all buyers ($108,600). The share of single-female buyers decreased from 16 percent to 15 percent, and male buyers remained flat at 9 percent.

“Similar to some of the obstacles facing first-time buyers, tighter credit conditions and having less purchasing power than households with dual incomes likely led to the share of single-female buyers declining to its lowest since 2001 (also 15 percent),” adds Yun.

The percent of multi-generational households (adult children, parents and/or grandparents) at 13 percent didn’t change since last year. Eighteen percent of buyers identified as military veterans, 8 percent as an unmarried couple and 3 percent as active-duty service members.

The median age of first-time buyers was 31, unchanged for the last three years, and the median income was $69,400 ($68,300 in 2014). The typical first-time buyer purchased a 1,620-square-foot home (1,570 in 2014) costing $170,000, while the typical repeat buyer was 53 years old and earned $98,700 ($95,000 in 2014). Repeat buyers purchased a median 2,020-square-foot home costing $246,400.

The primary reason for purchasing? More first-time buyers in this year’s survey (64 percent) cited a desire to own their own home as the primary reason compared to a year ago (53 percent). For repeat buyers, desire to own a home of their own and wanting to own a larger home were both the top reason given (each at 13 percent). Nearly half of all buyers (46 percent) said the timing was just right and they were ready to purchase a home.

Most homebuyers (80 percent, up from 79 percent last year) continue to view a home as a good financial investment, and 43 percent believe it’s better than stocks. First-time buyers plan to stay in their home for 10 years, and repeat buyers plan to hold their property for 15 years.

Financing the purchase

An overwhelming majority of recent buyers (86 percent versus 88 percent in 2014) still financed their purchase, despite above-normal activity from all-cash buyers likely pushing the percent share down. Younger buyers were more likely to finance, and the median down payment ranged from 6 percent for first-time buyers to 14 percent for repeat buyers. Almost half (45 percent) of first-time buyers in this year’s survey said the mortgage application and approval process was “much more” or “somewhat more” difficult than expected.

Ninety-one percent of all buyers chose a fixed-rate mortgage, with 23 percent financing with a low-down payment Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-backed mortgage – a decline from 43 percent five years ago; 11 percent financed used the Veterans Affairs (VA) loan program with no downpayment requirements.

In addition to using their own savings for their downpayment (81 percent), first-time buyers used outside resources, including a gift from a friend or relative (27 percent), selling stocks or bonds (8 percent) or tapping into a 401(k) fund (8 percent).

For repeat buyers, the proceeds from the sale of their primary residence (53 percent) was the top source for their downpayment, up from 47 percent last year and 40 percent in 2012.

“With first-time buyers stuck on the sidelines, the majority of sales activity in most parts of the country is coming from pent-up sellers taking advantage of rising home values in their neighborhoods and using their equity to trade up or move down,” says Yun.

The home search process

More homebuyers began their search on the Internet (42 percent) than any other source, but real estate agents remained an integral part of the process: 88 percent of buyers who searched for homes online ended up purchasing through an agent.

The two most popular resources continue to be online websites (89 percent) and real estate agents (87 percent).

“Although buyers between the ages of 18-24 were the most likely to use an agent (90 percent), over 85 percent of buyers in each of the other age categories also used an agent during their home search,” says NAR President Chris Polychron. “With tight inventory conditions leading to stiff competition in several parts of the country, and what’s found online sometimes not entirely accurate, buyers are turning to Realtors for expert advice and assistance in navigating today’s fast-moving housing market.”

The home search resource gaining the most traction is mobile or tablet applications. Their use steadily increased from 45 percent in 2013 to 61 percent this year. However, traditional resources continue to prove popular with buyers, including yard signs (51 percent) and open houses (48 percent).

With tight inventory conditions in many markets, buyers moved faster than in previous years to find the house they purchased, typically taking 10 weeks (for the second consecutive year). From 2009 to 2013, the typical home search process took 12 weeks.

A detached single-family home continues to be the most common type of home bought (83 percent), while purchases of townhouses or row houses remained unchanged from a year ago at 7 percent. Of buyers with children under the age of 18, 89 percent bought a detached single-family home compared to 80 percent of buyers with no children in their home. Overall, the typical home purchased during the survey period was built in 1991 and had three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Slightly more buyers in this year’s survey purchased a home in a suburb or subdivision (52 percent) compared to a year ago (50 percent). The remaining bought in a small town (20 percent), urban area (14 percent), rural area (13 percent) or resort/recreation area (2 percent). Recent buyers also moved further from their previous residence this past year – a median distance of 14 miles (12 miles in 2014).

Similar to previous years, the biggest factors influencing neighborhood choice were quality of the neighborhood (59 percent), convenience to jobs (44 percent) and overall affordability of homes (38 percent). Unmarried couples were the most likely to cite convenience to entertainment and leisure activities (26 percent), and single women were the most likely to cite convenience to friends and family as an influencing factor (43 percent).

Seller characteristics

Eighty-nine percent of sellers sold their home with an agent. Only 8 percent were by for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) sales, down from 9 percent the last three years and the lowest share ever recorded since the survey’s 1981 inception.

“Although the Internet and digital technology have created several channels for sellers to market their listings to a wider cast of potential buyers, the preference to use a Realtor to sell a home has never been stronger,” says Polychron.

Overall, the typical seller over the past year was 54 years old (unchanged from 2014; up from 49 in 2010) and married (77 percent), with a household income of $104,100 ($96,700 in 2014). The seller lived in the home 9 years before selling, which is a bit less than 2014’s all-time high of 10 years. This year, only 14 percent of sellers said they wanted to sell earlier but couldn’t because their home was worth less than their mortgage, compared to 17 percent a year ago.

Sellers realized a median equity gain of $40,000 ($30,100 in 2014) – a 23 percent increase (17 percent last year) over the original purchase price. Sellers who owned their home for one to seven years all reported roughly selling their homes for $30,000 to $35,000 more than they purchased it. Underlining the price swings during the downturn, equity gains fell to $3,000 for owners who bought between eight and 10 years ago. Homes sold after 21 years reported a price gain of $138,000.

The median time on the market for recently sold homes remained at four weeks for the second year in a row, again highlighting the persistently low inventory in several markets. Sellers moved a median distance of 20 miles (70 percent stayed in the same state) and the top reason for selling a home was that it was too small (16 percent).

Two out of three sellers (66 percent) found their real estate agent through a referral from a friend, neighbor or relative, or they used their agent from a previous transaction.

Client referrals and repeat business remain the predominant source of business for real estate agents, with most sellers (84 percent) indicating they would definitely (67 percent) or probably (17 percent) recommend their agent for future services.

NAR mailed a 128-question survey in July 2015 using a random sample weighted to be representative of sales on a geographic basis. All information is characteristic of the 12-month period ending in June 2015 with the exception of income data, which are for 2014.

The 2015 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers can be ordered online or by calling (800) 874-6500. The study costs $19.95 for NAR members and $249.95 for non–members.

© 2015 Florida Realtors®