Ninja Moms Meeting Notes, September 2009

With the kids back in school our Ninja Moms group got back together for the first time in a few months last week.  It was a great meeting with all sorts of fantastic ideas.  (Note, if you are in the Seattle area and would like to attend it is open to all, just sent me a note and I will make sure that you are on the list for the next one.  You do not need to be a mom and inevitably I always realize that I have forgotten to include someone, but know that you are always welcome!)

Here are some of the great things that were discussed:

~ Agents have been having great success with spreading the word on the First Time Homebuyer tax credit.  Time is getting short, but it is not too late.  Send a postcard or make some phone calls today to buyers that may qualify.  I would NOT count on it being extended.  Don’t forget your Sellers too.  If they are thinking about selling by the end of the year, NOW is the time.

~ We chatted a lot about pricing and what tools agents are using to illustrate the market to their clients.
~ Karen took a great class at the Multiple that shows you how to do a market analysis using the tax records which allows you to include for sale by owners, home sold at auction, etc.  It gives a much fuller picture of where the market is.  It also shows a variable of where sales prices are in comparison to tax assessed values which has been hugely helpful.  You can show what the ratio was a year ago and what it is today in your specific area to see how that market has been affected for that specific seller.  (I tried it with a listing appointment the next day and it was awesome!  It really helped to illustrate where things are today.)
~ Erin uses a lot of visuals when discussing price because she finds the more ways she can show it to her clients, the better.  Graphical Data has some great charts.  She also had some great points about getting it from a Seller’s perspective on where values were and where they are today.  She goes back to show that yes, maybe it was worth $1,000,000 2 years ago, but look at the market statistics.  Things are off 36% now, and walks them down that road.
~ Sandi uses the charts from Case Shiller to show Seller’s how things have been affected in their markets. (The easiest way to find it is google Case Shiller)
~ Vicki loves Pricelines (www.focus1st.com) because it really illustrates where the solds are versus the actives.  They also have a great scattergram pricing graph and neighborhood buying patterns.  All of which are hugely valuable and great ways to illustrate the market to your clients.
~ Vicki has also been tracking in her market market times for homes that did not do any price reductions (43 days) and market times for homes with one or more price reductions (233 days).  It was a huge difference and something a seller needs to think about when they want to ‘try it’ at a higher price.

~ What’s the book of the month?
    ~ I have been thinking about adding a book review to the blog on a regular basis and here is the first one. Recommended by Vicki Fazzini it is The Answer, by John Assaraf.  It is supposed to have some great insights on goal setting, visualization and getting things accomplished in general.  Check out a copy from your local library today!

~ What are agents doing for the holidays with their clients and client parties?
    ~Faline brought up the timely question of, with the holidays coming how are agents connecting with their clients and saying thank you.  Here are some of the great ideas that came up.  Granted we strayed a bit from the holidays but there are all sorts of great ideas here:
~ Stephanie does hand written notes to her clients at Thanksgiving.  She prefers doing this over Christmas cards.  She also had some great insights on bringing intention to everything that you do.  When she is writing the cards out her intention is to truly connect with her client and let them know how much she appreciates them.  They are very well received.
~ Vicki had the fantastic idea of writing letters from Santa to her clients children.  The first week of November she sends a letter to her clients letting them know that if they fill out the attached form with their child’s information such as name, what they want for Christmas, what they have been really good at this year and what they need to work on then their child will receive a hand written note from Santa the first week of December.  She did it for the first time last year and had a phenomenal response.  Note:  They don’t just have to be kids.  Maybe they want a letter sent to their spouse or a friend.  Have some fun with it.
~ Tammie has had great luck delivering chocolate advent calendars to her clients children just after Thanksgiving.
~ We have talked before that for a lot of us, big client parties just don’t seem to be that effective, but smaller gatherings are great.  Vicki did a campfire and smo’res at the back this summer.  It was a 2 hour party and they had a great time.
~ Barb has been doing housewarming parties for her clients and had great success with those.  She is in the process of systematizing it to make it easier, but some of the things that she does include mailing and invitation and then sending an email evite as well.  She lets her clients know that her company does not allow her to provide the alcohol, but she will do the food.  If they are having a really large party, she will do most of the food and the homeowner can supplement.   She takes on the hostess role at the party and is at the door to greet people when they arrive, get them a drink, etc.  This way her clients can relax and she gets to connect with the people there.
~ Kimberly has had success with smaller parties as well and often hires an entertainer of some sort to create common ground and get people out of their shells since they might be from different social groups.
~ Erin has people over for dinner all the time.  She usually does 6 -8 people and invites people that have a common bond, but might not know each other super well.  It is a great way for all of them to connect and then ties them to her even more.
~ We also talked about fun things to do with the Mom’s in our kids classes.  We talked about doing a mimosa party the first day back to school and having all of the Mom’s over after dropping the kids off for a quick brunch and mimosa’s to celebrate the day.

Other great things from the meeting:
~ Vicki and her business partner have a Monday morning meeting each week where they discuss each client and their action plan for the week. They used to do it in the office, but now they meet at various coffee shops in their area in order to be more visible to their clients.  It has allowed them some great, spontaneous meetings. They also decide who they are going to have under contract in the next 7 days and then figure out what they can do to help facilitate that.  It has proven to be very successful for them.
~ Hilary talked about letting go and doing what is right even when it might be hard.  She had a client that she was just not connecting with.  Rather than force her way through a difficult transaction with someone that she was not bonded with she made the decision to let the client go.  A difficult leap of faith in any market, but especially this one.  She had a call from a new client within an hour!  Great evidence that it is only by letting go of what is not working that you make room for something new.

Great stuff ladies!  Thanks so much for sharing.  If you have any questions on the ideas in this post or would like to attend our next Ninja Mom’s meeting send me an email at nicole@theninjamoms.com

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