Chris Leader, founder and President of one of North America’s top real estate and mortgage training companies, Leader’s Edge Training, is a highly renowned Speaker, Trainer, and Industry Consultant. Chris has always been known for his passion and entrepreneurial spirit and by the age of 24, he was already a distinguished Agent and highly successful Broker Owner. Leader’s Edge Training has been instrumental in improving the careers and livelihoods of thousands of real estate sales and mortgage professionals through helping them reach their full potential and achieve a greater work-life balance.
IXACT Contact recently sat down with Chris for a special Q&A blog post. “From our greatest challenges comes some of our greatest growth. 99% of the time failure is an emotional surrender, but if you remove the failure option from your mindset then surrender is impossible,” he says.
IXACT Contact: You’re known for the phrase “It’s your time to shine!” What would you say are the three biggest keys to success in real estate sales?
Chris Leader: First, I think prospecting is paramount. If you can’t find the business then the rest doesn’t matter. Even people with established careers and lots of marketing had to prospect in the beginning. It all stems from that.
Second, great presentation skills are a must. This doesn’t come naturally for many people, but you have to be a great presenter to face down the challenges consumers are bringing around value and commissions. We have a lot more work to do now to demonstrate our value and, unfortunately, people who are lazy about communicating their worth will get left behind.
Third – and this is what frightens people possibly more than prospecting – are persuasion skills. Selling doesn’t begin until the client says ‘No.’ Persuasion takes determination, dialogues and practicing your delivery. You can never get enough practice at it.
IXACT Contact: You’ve said many times that relationships are the cornerstone of our business. How does technology come into play?
Chris Leader: The big game changer has been advanced CRM systems. Anyone who has been in this business a long time will tell you that it completely changes with the depth of the relationships that are developed.
We’re all inherently good people and we all, on some level, want to be the one with the memory for details who can reference conversations from six months ago. But very few of us have that natural gift.
Technology allows us to be more thoughtful. The busier we get the easier it is to forget important dates and details, but remembering those things and acknowledging them is what cements our relationships. What technology allows us to do is act on those details that the average person forgets when they get too busy.
IXACT Contact: Why is it so important to keep in touch with past clients, prospects, and referral sources? Why do you think Agents find this so challenging?
Chris Leader: Many people who are attracted to real estate have a ‘hunter’ mentality. The high comes from the chase, not from the maintenance. I guess there’s nothing ‘fun’ about just staying in touch with people. Plus it can be a lot easier to make a pitch – closing a sale is a conversation with direction – rather than have a casual conversation which can come across as self-serving.
You’d be surprised by the number of people who ask me how to keep in touch because they just don’t know what to say if there isn’t a sale or a close or a specific part of the transaction to discuss. My advice to them is find something to hang the conversation on – an anniversary, a holiday, a time of the year – and use that as a touch point.
IXACT Contact: Many agents strive for that “by referrals only” type of business. What are your tips for building a referrals-based business?
Chris Leader: Well, I don’t know anyone in real estate who would turn down non-referral business. But I totally recognize the value of building your referral network – when the business comes to you, life becomes much easier.
In practical terms, people need to professionally socialize in the niche market they’re interested in working with. Volunteer, go to the right events, spend time in the right places, and don’t rub your business in their faces. It may sound old school, but nothing really replaces meeting someone in the flesh and developing a rapport.
Then you have to maintain those relationships. It’s no good meeting a fantastic referral source and then losing touch with them. With a great system you can stay in touch and keep track of who is sending you the most valuable business, which makes maintaining referral relationships (and knowing which ones to maintain) much easier.
IXACT Contact: We know you’re a strong supporter of IXACT Contact (thank you very much :)). Why did you select IXACT as the real estate CRM you recommend?
Chris Leader: It’s really simple. You guys offer amazing customer service. You are always willing to help people move their contacts over, get their Smartphone Wireless Sync access set up, and provide training and tutorials to get the most out of the system.
On top of that, IXACT Contact is incredibly easy to use. We’ve looked at a lot of CRM systems that are designed specifically for real estate and yours is by far the easiest. You don’t feel like you need professional training to use it.
I could list more reasons, like the fantastic price and the fact that you’re always working on new features, but the customer service and ease of use were what immediately won us over.
IXACT Contact: Any tips for how Agents can begin to incorporate IXACT Contact into their business?
Chris Leader: Just setting up a real estate CRM system like IXACT Contact is a great start for many people. Getting all of your contacts and all those bits of detail from pieces of paper, spreadsheets, your smartphone, forms, your calendar and remembered conversations into one place is a big first step towards a much more organized life. Just removing the need to think about where the information is will free up a lot of time and mental energy.
IXACT Contact: We know you’re a big advocate of personalization. Can you explain?
Chris Leader: It’s really about making your stuff relevant and increasing your chances of it being noticed.
With the technology that’s available, there’s no reason people should be sending generic emails and letters out there into the world. Put their name on it and they’re more likely to pay attention.
And if you’ve got a system to help you keep track of your contacts’ details – neighbourhoods, price ranges, property types, when they’re looking to buy or sell – then there’s no reason that everyone should get the same information from you. Not only are people a lot more likely to look at what you send them if it’s relevant to them, but they’re left with a much better impression of your knowledge and skills.
IXACT Contact: Any final words of wisdom you’d like to share with our readers?
Chris Leader: Keep prospecting, keep an open mind to new ideas, and always stay humble.
IXACT Contact: Before we sign off, one last question. What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?
Chris Leader: I’d love to say that I spend my weekends riding my motorcycle, but anyone who has seen me speak knows the Harley rarely comes out of the garage (except maybe to stare at it!).
Even though we work together, my wife and I really love to entertain friends and family at our home and we also eat out quite often. It seems like even when we’re not in the office, we’re talking about new ideas and how to improve our business. But I guess that’s because we really enjoy what we do and it doesn’t feel like work.
Apart from that I love to travel, which is a bit odd since I travel quite a lot for work. I love the sun though, so there’s always a trip or two to Mexico on the calendar to keep me motivated.
IXACT Contact: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Chris. We appreciate the insight you’ve shared with us today!
Chris Leader: You’re very welcome. It’s been great.
If you’d like to learn more about Chris Leader or Leader’s Edge Training, please visit http://www.leadersedgetraining.com.