On September 19th, 2013 The Real Estate Marketing Association (RMA) led a discussion with a panel of Brokers at their weekly morning meeting. The conversation was facilitated by Greg Souza in a question and answer forum which included guests speakers (left to right) Jerry Stadtler, Greg Boudreau, Evelyn Walker, Dennis Simkin and Joe Kehrig. These brokers gave insight into current topics affecting the real estate market.
WHAT PRACTICES ARE WORKING TODAY FOR TOP AGENTS?
JERRY: Everything. Those agents who don’t resist change are doing well. They depend on the leadership I provide, feed off that information, take it back to the field and do something with it. The Realtors who embrace change and implement structure are finding success.
GREG: Communication has always been essential to success in the real estate business. My most successful Realtors are an expert in lead generation. They continue to implement the traditional practices such as farming and door-to-door knocking, while utilizing social media as an additional way to communicate with their sphere.
EVELYLN: Resiliency is important. The most successful Realtors have this characteristic and have rock solid prospects all the time. Also, it’s important that you show up! If you say you’re going to do something– do it!
DENNIS: Those who are strong in lead generation are the most successful. It helps when Realtors team up, but above all, a commitment to success is what makes you excel.
JOE: Don’t forget the basics. High tech does not replace high touch. Staying in contact is essential.
JERRY: It’s important that Realtors follow-up with leads. Lead generation takes time to nurture, but unfortunately some Realtors don’t understand that. Lead generation will require some work, but it’s worth it.
GREG: There has to be a system in place. Systems are the incubators that nurture relationships. Each client is different, but remember to put customer service back into business
EVELYN: My most successful agents know how to qualify leads and can find out those who are genuinely interested– so there is no wasted time. This is a quality more people could work to attain.
DENNIS: Databases are the biggest source of lead generation, accounting for nearly 41%. Immerse yourself in the world around you and get involved. Doing so will give you the exposure you need.
JOE: I find that systems and consistency are important. There are little things that you can do everyday to implement lasting change that brings results. The most important part is doing them.
IS THERE ONE SYSTEM YOU FAVOR OVER THE OTHER?
GARY: I say just keep it simple. Real estate is not rocket science so find something that is easy and simple yet effective
GREG: Whatever works for the Realtor is the best system out there!
JOE: It doesn’t really matter the system. Again, I think consistency is the key to seeing any system become effective.
HOW IS SOCIAL MEDIA WORKING FOR YOU AND YOUR AGENTS?
JOE: We all use Facebook, so the questions is how do we use it effectively? Within Facebook is the ability to categorize and create specialized groups for my prospects. When I create these groups, I can focus on their activity without being distracted by other non-essential updates. This helps me to respond effectively to my prospect’s, their life events and also keeps me from wasting time.
GREG: I like to consider Facebook as the biggest cocktail party anyone could ever attend. At a cocktail party you manage what you say, and it’s the same way with Facebook. Listen for those life events that trigger change in a person’s life and respond accordingly.
DENNIS: Don’t waste all your time in front of the screen. It is still important that you go! Whatever you do, social media or not, do it well and put your everything into it.
GARY: I believe as a whole, we have not tapped into what social media could mean and do for our industry.
EVELYN: As Realtors, we are all sales people, so we know how to network. Don’t use Facebook to waste time, but use it as the effective networking tool it is, and do so carefully.
JOE: Everyone should set up a business and a personal page on Facebook. But ultimately, contact people at their level. So if someone calls you, call them back. If they send you a text respond via text, or if they write an email be sure to reply. Be aware of how a client prefers to communicate and respond accordingly.
WHAT OLD-SCHOOL PRACTICES STILL WORK TODAY?
JOE: Hi-tech will never replace hi-touch. All social media tools and traditional practices are about one thing– finding ways to connect with people.
GREG: I think everything works. Door knocking, farming, and all the traditional practices. But the great thing about new technology is that it’s making things easier. The simplicity of sharing with people is as simple as a click. Social media is making it easier for us to reach people.
EVELYN: Because of the emergence of technology of social media, I find that old-fashioned practices such as a phone call or a hand-written letter create enormous impact. I am always amazed at the response I get when I implement these practices. I try to do one of these two things everyday.
DENNIS: Look at your motivation. What lofty goals do you want to achieve? Look at where you want to be and analyze why. If you have the right goals, then it will be easier to experience success.
JERRY: All we have discussed so far are simply tools. But it’s important we go back to the basics. Peoples make deals face-to-face, and they do business with people they trust.
JOE: You’ll never do or be more than the 5 people you hang with.
ARE PERSONAL WEBSITES RELEVANT ANYMORE?
YOUNG AGENTS: ARE THEY COMING INTO THE BUSINESS? WHY OR WHY NOT?
JERRY: I don’t go fishing around for new agents I let them come to me. To me it shows initiative and drive, and it’s one way I can determine whether or not they have what it takes to make it.
GREG: Speaking from experience, yes they are different, but can still be successful if they are committed. I hire attitude, it doesn’t really matter the age, as long as they have the correct mindset.
EVELYN: Younger people can be at a distinct disadvantage unless they are part of a team where someone can come alongside and coach them on do’s and don’ts. I’ve seen a high turnover in younger agents and think being in a team could make a huge difference in their level of success.
JOE: I think newer agents have the advantage of not having baggage. They typically have great energy and buyers today want agents who are upbeat, quick, and knowledgable.
NEXT YEAR WILL THE MARKET GO UP OR DOWN?
EVELYN: I think it will balance out and stay about the same
DENNIS: I believe it will go up
JOE: It will stay the same
GREG: We will see small increase
JERRY: I believe we will see a small increase.