Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas Quip

Quick joke from a Christmas cracker.

Q - What must someone know to be an Auctioneer ?

A - Lots !

Friday, December 29, 2006

Real Estate Internet Auctions... The Next Big Thing?

By Tom Wood

Before the Internet became popular, real estate agents controlled most of the real estate listing information. During that period, the only way a buyer could find homes for sale was by depending on an agent, looking through the local newspapers or by driving around looking for For-sale signs. All of these methods took time and involved considerable effort.

As the Internet became more popular and MLS (Multiple Listing Services) made their listings available to the public on-line, the information shifted from the agents to the buyers. Now most buyers find their homes on the Internet and then contact their agent to show them the homes they are interested in. On one hand it saves the agent time, but on the other it gives buyers more choices which may result in indecision and more requests for showings.

Everyday the Internet is becoming more common place for finding real estate. Now the technology is taking more of the real estate purchase transaction on-line. One example is the real estate auction.

For years, real estate auctions have been done successfully on the courthouse steps or in the front yard. Then, EBay was introduced and people started to become comfortable buying and selling consumer goods through on-line auctions. A natural progression of that has led to on-line real estate auctions and they are steadily gaining momentum. Its a method where buyers can get details about properties without leaving their home. They can visit properties that interest them and make their offer on-line. And, during the auction, they are able to see the highest bid placed by other buyers. This method puts the buyer in control on how high they go and whether or not they get the property.

For a seller, its a valuable option to quickly sell their home. Bidders at auction are expecting a deal, so, in general, the sellers need to expect to let it go for a discount. Many sellers are willing to do this, in return for a faster sale. Auctions draw attention by implying Im giving a discount. It also puts buyer against buyer so it can minimize the discount the seller ends up giving. In addition, through the use of a reserve, the seller can protect themselves from agreeing to a price that is too low.

Its understandable why Internet real estate auctions are gaining popularity everyday. And, the technology is making it so much easier. But, will they take over the traditional way real estate is bought and sold in the U.S.? In the real estate investor arena, I think they will.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sales Tips to be a Trusted Sales Professional

Came across this post and thought it is relevant to anyone in the sales fields.

Duct Tape Marketing Feed Digest
Sales Tips to be a Trusted Sales Professional

Many sellers like to describe themselves as professionals, but what is it that makes a seller a professional?

Do you want to sell more successfully using an honorable and straightforward approach? Read these thirteen sales tips to help you be perceived as a trusted professional by buyers. Incorporating these sales tips into your selling process will differentiate you from the rest and help you sell more successfully.

1. Attitude can be everything. It is important to remember that your attitudes drive all actions and these actions are perceived by buyers as trust-building or trust-breaking. The most important change you can make to sell more successfully is to adopt and reinforce attitudes that will lead to actions resulting in greater levels of trust. Conversely, it is just as important to "lose the attitudes" that result in actions that are trust-breaking.
2. Truly believe in the product or service and company for which you sell. This is a really difficult hurdle for most sellers who strongly believe in straightforward selling. If you don't believe your products or services will benefit your buyers, then you will constantly be in conflict with yourself during the sales process. If selling using a straightforward platform is truly important to you, it might be necessary for you to find another product or service you will better represent to truly be successful using this approach.
3. Intimately know the product or service and environment in which you sell. Do you need to be an expert? Maybe not. But it can only benefit your customer to know as much as possible so you can identify if your product or service can best meet their needs. A significant aspect of building trust with your buying counterparts is quickly establishing credibility. First and foremost, you should know much more about your products and services - as well as your competitors' products and services - than your prospects. Secondly, you should know your customers' organization and industry and the unique challenges and issues they face better than any of your competitors. Lastly, "I don't know" is a very appropriate answer when that is, indeed, the case. If you're new to a market, letting your potential customers know that up-front will help lower their expectations and make you feel more comfortable when giving "I don't know" as an answer. When you use this response, however, make sure you offer to find out the answer in a specified timeframe, and then be sure to keep that promise.
4. Live within your means. It's simple. Don't force yourself into a position where you "have to make the sale" or you lose something. For one, prospects don't like to feel like you are desperate for business. Secondly, if you want to sell using an honorable approach, it's important to reduce the risk/reward for a given sales situation. If you typically make only three to five sales per year and find yourself in serious debt, don't you think there's a definite likelihood that you might "stretch your value structure" a bit to make sure you win the sale so that your debt can be reduced?
5. Focus on helping the prospect rather than making the sale. If all you're thinking about is making the sale, this will be perceived negatively by your prospect through your actions. It doesn't mean you should never think about the sale, it simply means that you need to focus on the prospect's needs first and foremost.
6. View yourself as an advisor. This is a different mindset that may be foreign to a lot of salespeople. If you adopt the mindset that you're an advisor with the primary goal of identifying and fulfilling your potential customers needs, your attitudes and actions will be perceived very differently by your counterpart(s) than if your view yourself as a sales rep needing to "overcome the obstacles" and "close the sale."
7. Focus on the long-term. Admittedly, this is difficult. Most salespeople are used to the frequent calls from sales managers reminding them that "we've got to make our monthly or quarterly targets." If you can adopt this attitude, though, you will likely see higher sales, both short-term and long-term. Buyers hate to be "closed." If you take a short-term mentality, there's a high likelihood that buyers will perceive you as trying to close them - this is trust-breaking and your sales will likely suffer in the short AND long-term.
8. Some business is not worth pursuing. Most sales managers probably hate this one. It's important, though, to be realistic about each sales opportunity. You're not going to win every sale, so why work under the assumption that you will? Oftentimes, there are many early indicators that will lead you to believe that there's a low probability for making the sale. If that's the case, move on and spend your limited time and energy on opportunities where there's a higher probability for success.
9. Tell the prospect if your product or service will not meet their needs. Once you've had a reasonable opportunity to ask the appropriate questions, you must be willing to let the prospect know, as soon as possible, if your product or service will not meet their needs. This will result in a more efficient buy/sell process and save both you and the prospect valuable time that could be better spent elsewhere. The prospect will respect and probably trust you more for selling in this manner, and very well may purchase or recommend someone else to purchase from you in the future.
10. Ask questions, listen, and take notes. Entire books have been written on this subject. Prior to every prospect meeting, you should already have a list of at least one dozen questions to ask. The prospect's response to each of these questions should oftentimes be followed by one to three additional questions to drill down to the true issues and needs. Always take notes. This will show the prospect that you're truly listening. Also, send your typed notes to the prospect and ask them to review to ensure that you did indeed "get it right."
11. Follow the 80/20 Rule. When meeting with a potential buyer, you should try to talk 20% of the time and allow them to talk 80% of the time - a lot of salespeople and sales managers get this one confused.
12. Be direct. Answer buyer questions directly. Why do you think there is such a loss in the public's trust with politicians? How often do they provide a direct answer to a question? Rarely. Just because most politicians set a poor example, doesn't mean you should.
13. No "closing." One of the worst things you can do as a salesperson is to spend a lot of time and effort building trust with a prospect, only to destroy your "trust factor" towards the end of a complex sales process. No buyer likes to feel they're being manipulated or "closed." Make a recommendation, preferably with several options for the prospect to consider, and ask them to identify the next steps with a timeline. Tell them you'd really appreciate their business and ask what next steps you can take that will be helpful to them.


Rob Reed is president of Terrakon, a sales and marketing consulting firm based in St. Louis. Terrakon specializes in helping clients incorporate trust building sales and marketing strategies and processes to attract and win more customers.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New Blogs worth a look.

Here are a few new info sources I have stumbled upon during the Holiday lull.....

Pacific Auction Exchange
Great new Blog with it's recent post " How to Choose An Auctioneer"
An Interesting Blog with a "focus on business strategy, new business models, technology and innovative real estate marketing for the real estate community."

The Real Estate Bloggers

St Paul Real Estate Blog

Monday, December 25, 2006

Going online boosts auctioneer's business

Going online boosts auctioneer's business
By JENNIFER BARTEN, Staff Reporter
Bob Hergenreder, owner of Bid it Bob, evaluates a coin to see if it is in good enough condition to auction.
To stay up with the times, Bob Hergenreder, owner of Bid it Bob, started live auctions online more than two years ago.
"I knew that's where the future of auctioneering was," Hergenreder said. "It only made sense to go on-line."
According to Hergenreder, Build it Bob was the first auctioneering company to sell coins, antiques and estate live online in the state of Nebraska.
Hergenreder said bidders can go to the Web at least a week in advance to see a catalog with all the items that are going to be sold. Each item has at least one picture and description for bidders.
Potential buyers can start bidding on items at that time, and when the live auction starts the bidding will start at the highest online bid.
Hergenreder has his business at and gets about 25,000 viewings on the catalog, before each auction.
When an auction is going on, Hergenreder also has people on site to bid on the items.
"It's a number game," Hergenreder said. "It always has been. You'll get a higher bid with more bidders, and that's why (the Internet) is such a great thing."
Hergenreder said he runs about 80 items through in an hour during an online auction. Hergenreder does at least four auctions a month - two for jewelry and two for antiques.
Hergenreder has done nine auctions online in one month, which he said is a lot, and said he is willing to auction anything that people bring in. People from all over the country and world buy the items. He mails out about 130 packages per auction. Buyers have to pay for the shipping.
Hergenreder said there are also risks to having auctions online.
"There are crocks on the Internet who will stiff you, just like anywhere else," he said.
Hergenreder said there is no way to prevent people from cheating businesses on the Internet, but he says he's picking up on more of the signs the longer he's in the business.
In the future, Hergenreder said, he'd like to have a farm auction and a car auction. He is still waiting on the license to auction cars but can do a farm auction as soon as someone hires him to sale their farm equipment.
Hergenreder hopes to have his license to sale cars by February.