Useful Tips from a Rookie Agent
Useful Tips from a Rookie Agent
I don't normally dedicate an entire blog post to a podcast episode, but this one I heard this morning had so much great information I couldn't pass up the opportunity to pass it along. In an interview with The Marketing Genius Podcast, Melissa Boucher, a rookie agent, talks about her journey to listing a $20 million dollar home in the San Juan Islands in Washington State in her first year as an agent.
Melissa explains how she spent the first 6 months as a brand new real estate agent learning from others instead of trying to land listings. She also talks about the importance of marketing in getting those high dollar listings and why talking about how you will marketing a property with the owners will boost their confidence that you can do the job correctly.
Begin with learning
Doing things hands on under the guidance of an experienced role model is priceless.
At the beginning of the interview, Melissa says that hands on learning is great, but hands on learning under the guidance of someone more experienced is even better. She says there are so many new and interesting things you can try when you are working under the watchful eye of a senior agent. She goes on to talk about the benefits of finding a good mentor.
Value of apprenticeship
Melissa found her mentor early on. She was introduced to a senior agent by someone else who thought they would get along. Melissa asked her out to coffee and for a chat and then asked if she could mentor under her. She says her mentor took her under her wing and did everything with her: they went to presentations together, met new clients together, went to photo shoots, etc. This is how Melissa learned the value of relationships in the real estate business.
This really speaks to me. I have always believed that relationships are what drive a successful business. When you are able to make a beneficial relationship with your clients or your colleagues, you will see an unmatched level of growth. I am always trying to find new ways to connect with my clients on a deeper level and find those agents who are a match for my personality.
In order to find a mentor, Melissa says she got lucky by being introduced to someone. I don't so much believe in luck as a random occurrence. Instead, I think that luck is where opportunity and preparation meet. In a sense, you can create your own luck. Opportunity is out there, we just need to be disciplined enough to recognize it and know how to take advantage of it.
Melissa tells her story as if her mentor was the first person she asked to be her mentor. Perhaps it was like that. But I'm willing to take a guess that she had been thinking about a mentor for a long time and was searching for someone who was willing to share a part of themselves and who matched her in personality and work ethic.
When you find someone that is compatible with your goals (however long that takes) you should definitely ask them if they would be willing to mentor you. Not only do I feel this type of organic relationship is stronger than hiring a mentor (which is really a business coach if you are paying them), you will get more out of the relationship in the long run. I've had my experiences with business coaches and the relationships always seem to be so very hollow; they are only willing to help you out as long as you credit card payment comes through (I understand they have a business to run). Maybe I just haven't found the right business coach. I've talked to Realtors who have had great success with paid coaches, which I think is awesome (and I'm a little jealous of them).
In return, 20 years from now, it will be your responsibility to allow someone to be your shadow. It wouldn't serve the eternal scales of justice very well if you took without giving. So remember, when a rookie agent still wet behind the ears reminds you of you, take him or her aside and say, "I can see you are all for this real estate thing. Are you looking for a mentor?" And then pass along your knowledge. It may happen more than once. But remember to freely open your vaults of information.
The $20M listing presentation
Melissa talks about how she got that $20,000,000 listing. The client was referred to her by a financial adviser (see that relationship part of the business working?). This was a very expensive client who had a very expensive home to sell. Melissa did not make the #1 listing presentation mistake that many agents make: she didn't deliver a cookie cutter presentation. She tailored everything to these specific clients.
She first learned as much as she could about them. She asked the financial adviser to tell her more about them, their needs and their wants. She researched the property. She even brought her manager to the listing, someone who had great charisma and was in charge of the luxury division of the brokerage.
They then delivered a hand crafted presentation. She listened to the homeowners. She heard them tell their story about how they've owned the property for years and it was a very difficult decision for them to sell. She empathized (not sympathized, a very important difference) with them about their difficult circumstances. She talked about the marketing plan she was putting together. She showed them the photographer and the videographer she would use to market the property, two people who had experience shooting high expensive homes. She showed them other resources she would use to market their home.
But most importantly, she showed them that she was excited. Of course she was excited, this is big bucks. But she was more excited to be working on such an amazing project than the paycheck she'd get out of it. This kind of passion is what drives people to work with you.
Now I know what you are saying. "Good for her, getting lucky like that. She works for an brokerage that specializes in luxury listings. It's no wonder why she got a listing like that."
Yes, she does work for a luxury broker, and yes it was probably inevitable that she would get a high dollar listing. And yes, it probably had a little to do with just being at the right place at the right time.
HOWEVER...this is nothing you can't do. As I mentioned before, opportunity is out there. She created this opportunity by building relationships with important people. She established herself as a well education and prepared agent. She surrounded herself with people who could help her out. She made things happen for herself and didn't just wait for someone to do it for her. She saw opportunity and took advantage of it. I firmly believe that opportunity exists more often than we recognize it. But because of our personal biases toward or against something, we don't see it as being opportunity. I'm not immune from this either. I'm sure there are tons of opportunities with people that I miss every day.
The point is, Melissa prepared herself from the beginning to be ready to jump when the opportunity came up. And in a sense, she created the opportunity through her relationships.
One mistake I think Melissa is making that we can learn from is that she continues to use a certain piece of marketing (expensive 3D tours) despite it having no obvious return on her listings. She mentions that her 3D tours get almost no hits and she has to tell agents they exist. She even mentions that she gets dizzy or motion sick while navigating the 3D tours because the interface is so terrible. She continues to use them because she believes they are necessary despite the lack of evidence they are providing value. She believe the technology will get better and then she'll be on the forefront of that marketing potential.
In a case like this, I would really recommend looking at the numbers, looking at the trends, and asking for feedback from other agents or previous clients. If there is a piece of marketing you are doing that is getting you no results, then consider focusing your attention on something else. It is important to note that doing something just once then stopping because it didn't get you 3 new clients isn't the right approach. Marketing is like a slow cooker, not a microwave. You'll get the best data to make a decision after trying a marketing idea for 4-6 months. Gary Vaynerchuk said that he did weekly YouTube videos for a year and a half before they started to get traction and really take off. We'll probably talk more later about marketing strategy and what works best in another article.
The lesson to learn here is twofold: A) you either have to give up your personal beliefs when hard data disagrees with you; or B) you have to push and push what you think is valuable until you convince others it is. Or C) (a bonus lesson) is to tweak your marketing to meet what people respond to.
Let's take the 3D tours for example. If the data says no one is watching them but she really likes doing them, maybe she should do 3D tours and video walkthroughs on each of her listings and see which one gets more hits. Or maybe she should have a custom listing website created with both 3D and video and see if that improves her position. Any way you look at it, there are always ways to tweak your marketing. And that is something you should be doing on a regular basis to stay fresh and new.
So remember to work on those relationships. You will not survive without strong and healthy relationships. Take people out for coffee or lunch. Talk to people about them, not just about work. Engage yourself in learning. Prepare yourself for a million dollar listing by preparing a million dollar listing presentation and marketing plan. Learn empathy. And as always, be kind to others. This will help you grow your business faster than anything else.
Keywords: listing, marketing, presentation, real estate agent, relationships, salt lake city real estate photographer
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