By Ryan Hodge

I believe that anyone can drop into any real estate market in North America and sell more than 100 homes. The idea may seem unrealistic or perhaps daunting to some, but in the realm of all that is possible, your potential is unlimited if you seek answers and guidance and implement a proven process. You must understand that if you want massive results, you must take massive amounts of action.



Here are seven suggested principles and processes to apply on your way to 100 plus transactions:

1. The Law of Association and Emulation:

Mirror those who have done well before you. Come to investigate the circle you are surrounding yourself with and how that impacts the choices you are currently making. Ask yourself if your personal relationships or work environment are conducive to high productivity.

Contact five salespeople who have the production you want to have and interview them or pay them to discuss their business and how it correlates to where you are and where you want to go in the next calendar year. Consider an accountability partner or a coach to assist with your own growth. The most productive humans on the planet all learn and seek guidance from their own mentors.

2. Examine the opportunities that already exist:

You more than likely know how to prospect, but are you prospecting with the people you already know? Are you connecting the consumer with their community by getting “face to face” or using social media platforms like Facebook to consistently engage with your audience? If you come to understand your social conversions with respect to this form of prospecting, you can reverse engineer your activity.

For example, I have come to understand that one in every 54 private Facebook messages should result in a real estate transaction if I am consistently creating content. Therefore I would need to send 46 private messages per day to reach my goal of 100 transactions. This may be different for you depending on your own average sale price and commission amount. The point is that the possibility exists in this space too.

3. Get back to basics:

If you want to go big, you will need to apply some of the basic forms of prospecting or engagement in your business. If you cannot find the time to do it yourself, consider leveraging others. A prime example of this would be traditional open houses.

If you are targeting properties that are low price point, good curb appeal and new to the market, one in every two opens should yield a buyer transaction. It may seem daunting then to have to do 200 open houses to reach your target, however you can apply the principles here to take action, leverage others and create a consistent lead stream from a traditional sense. It is crucial to master your scripts and conversion techniques and to track and measure your results at all times. As your conversion increases, your requirement for number of opens will decrease. You can compound this with strategic ad strategies for the property, attracting more potential listing clients. Remember…your main role is that of a “lead generator”.

4. Stop giving away all your information:

The consumer can find information on properties on their own and with ease. What is your current website really doing for you if you are not capturing information? Work in “the law of fair exchange” by providing information in exchange for information.

Landing pages, virtual tour registrations and reports are all excellent ways to capture more leads and apply simple follow up techniques to create new clients. These are high quantity and low quality leads. The industry conversion rate is less than three per cent on average. I encourage you to master scripts and source a minimum of 100 Internet leads per month. Once again as your conversion rates increase, the amount of leads you will require to reach your goal will decrease.

5. Work in The Law of Attraction:

We do not attract what we want, we attract what we are. If you want more, you are going to have to be more before more actually happens. If you are determined that you are going to sell 100 homes next year, have you ensured every presentation you have differentiates you from your competition? Are you discussing how you will market properties to today’s Internet empowered consumer in your listing presentations? Are you showing your potential leads how you will use video, multiple social media platforms and the power of low cost Facebook ad campaigns to create the ultimate marketing experience for your potential clients? Your competition will be learning these techniques over time. Make sure you are first in your market to bring forth this level of sophistication.

6. Go to your clients’ core:

Your clients or potential clients do not care if you are the top Realtor in your market. They are not concerned if you sell 100 homes this year or not. They want results and will choose a Realtor based on information that will provide a result. They will not make this selection if they do not like, know or trust you.

Get to their core and build your relationship online and offline. Create content that resonates, showing leadership, service and inspiration and remind them you are a human being first. Go one step further by becoming a connector of all things community. Facebook ad strategies via local business spotlights and community involvement will completely differentiate you in this space.

7. Take action and execute:

You may find other systems and strategies that work for you. If your methods feel good to you and yield results, apply them. You cannot just learn the ideas and principles. Goals are nice in theory but commitment means execution and action. What are you currently implementing and executing? Are you on track? Do you need to revisit your commitments with purpose and intention?

The list above simply shows the following:

  1. Others have reached the 100 plus year before you and you can learn from them.
  2. With the proper social media campaign you can create the “100 plus” result from this strategy alone.
  3. The more systems that you apply will bring you more opportunity for results. Even open houses can be tracked and measured on your way to 100.
  4. Online lead generation is crucial for massive production. The path is in the math.
  5. If you want more, you have to be more. This is universal law.
  6. There are simple strategies to connect you with your audience to create like and trust. Community is crucial. I encourage you to investigate Facebook ad campaigns.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Individual agent branding counts more than many agents realize…

    The agent who has 24-25% (that’s a huge market-specific share and not many ever achieve it) of the business in a farmed area (as noted in another article saying that is a likely maximum) will likely be the agent who brings a buyer for random one-time agent listings (family friend or relative of the seller, as noted in Ross Wilson’s recent article), scattered over the other 75%, (tens of thousands of reps), thus continuing the farming procedure, building future business for his or her farm.

    The buyer, usually within five years will become a seller and the farmer agent will have that listing in the future. It’s called building business for the future. If you are a farmer and another agent has a listing in your farm, for whatever reason – go sell it. Neighbours talk, and soon your name as the dominant area player is bound to come up, once again securing your position.

    Bring them a buyer from your cadre of files containing ad-calls, sign calls, orphaned open house visitors (those who have agreed to have you represent them “when the time comes;” of course pre-qualified, so the listed property will only be technically off the market for a few days to get a home inspection done and an appraisal if the finance provider requires one.

    Although you are not permitted, typically, to say in advertising that you sold it, the MLS system printout shows your name as the co-op and there’s no law saying you cannot put that printout among your comparables when doing nearby listing presentations and that is indeed sufficient proof. The best kind possible, because it’s true and it’s documented, supported by your BOR MLS stats.

    I’ve never been able to figure out why more emphasis isn’t put on farming. But of course the old adage applies: different strokes for different folks. It is quite time-consuming to set up your farming system initially. It’s built on documentable research. But worth every minute over the long term. And once set up, you have all the information at your fingertips, literally; and it isn’t time-consuming to update.

    Farming, granted, is a completely different way of doing business, compared to the norm for most practicing agents. As a dedicated farmer, a good guess is that more than half your organized work week is spent at your desk; not door-knocking or phone canvassing. But the farming process has proven to make your phone ring. There’s no better lead. The caller “wants” to do business with you. You just have to handle the calls well; scripts or no scripts.

    One of the chief criteria for
    success in the industry is that you be “a people person.” Personality has more than a little to do with success. Creativity running a close second. Why creativity? Because you need an MO; you need a raison d’être. And you need a UP. One that’s yours alone. Guard it well, because it’s largely the governor of your future success.

    In one farming instance example: I wanted to expand one of my lesser numbered, older subdivision farms into its contiguous area. I mass-marketed that tied-to subdivision by sending each home one usable open-house sign with my unique coloured (my name) brand logo on, along with a note that said simply if they wanted a dozen or so earth-friendly disposable cardboard open house signs – just call or come by the office.

    This worked in a way I never anticipated; within the next few months I had 14 new listings in that newly dedicated farm area. Incredible: people saw the open house sign as my name (brand) “logo” and nothing else. Although several families did request the colourful open house signs (more subliminal advertising), what was more productive was the leads produced by reinforcing my logo presence.

    That’s all that the home owners remembered, and told me: “you have had so many sales in our immediate area recently (I hadn’t) we just had to call you. Clearly you are the dominant go-to “girl” here.” I was gobsmacked at the results. Just goes to show how target marketing takes on a life of its own.

    Of course they recognized my name and my colours because my signs were in many locations not far away. But those inexpensive cardboard disposable open house signs were still classy. Promo pieces need to speak. And they apparently did. Loud and clear.

    Women carry purses (so do some very masculine men; it’s not just a lady thing), along with attaches and briefcases. Often they use public transit, and take along reading material. They just love custom-logo’d sticky notes to use with their reading materials, business or pleasure.

    And these little packets take up no space or weight at all. And they keep an agent’s name front and centre. The public might not need you at the moment but when they do, guess whose name comes to mind. Not only that, but often they write a sticky note to someone using your personalized sticky. You get around. Talk about subtle marketing. Such a simple thing that made magic happen.

    Later people would actually call when they ran out. (What an opportunity point of contact!) Goodness, they could have bought them at stationery shops galore. But a great lead producer. Let no lead go wasted. Remember that area business binder? Keep it handy. There could be questions you can produce answers to in a flash.

    Networking is a kissing-cousin to farming. Networking your sisterhood or brotherhood corporate branches in other locations providing a subliminal message that you want their referrals and will reciprocate is another way of farming. I did a minimum of 34, 35 transactions annually just from networking across my “Canada-wide” farm, promoting my personal geographical map location.

    Don’t be fooled. All “my” personally paid for promo brought business to the branch as well, to the manager who gave the business I generated to other agents. Colleagues sometimes thought it was a crazy idea. One such agent, (a very top producer in another nearby city) I introduced myself to at a corporate function (I always introduced myself by asking if they had a business card I could have) said: “Oh, you’re the nutty one who sends stuff across the whole country.” (Yessiree, ma’am!). She looked down at me and treated me throughout the function like chopped liver! Pointing me out to her friends, who later told me she was just a very jealous person; jealous of anyone with success even so she herself was successful (unconsciously giving me free advertising was not her intent, but it happened, I’m sure).

    I certainly knew who she was but didn’t know her, and had never met her. I immediately crossed her off my network file. But I had two great referral agents in her office and we did lots of referrals over the years.

    Carolyne L 🍁

    • REM readers: Take heed of Carolyne’s words of wisdom.

      There is a saying that goes something like this: People learn from experience, but smart people learn from others’ experience. The original saying used the words “their mistakes” where I inserted the word “experience”.

      Don’t initially work hard; work smart…right from the get-go. The hard part will be keeping up with the calls and the business in a timely, professional manner.

  2. Wow! This article is the epitome of the “same old story”. Let’s consider the following quotes, from the article: “You must understand that if you want massive results, you must take massive amounts of action.” and “Remember…your main role is that of a “lead generator”. Neither of the aforesaid quotes describe a real Professional.

    The word “service” appears in the entire article only once. A Carpenter who provides a good service by doing good quality work, will likely always be busy because his energy is primarily focused on doing a good job, and consequently people will refer such a Carpenter and his business will grow. Likewise some of the better property Lawyers will turn some clients away because they are just too busy to take on any more new clients — particularly at certain times of the year. REALTOR’s never seem to have the problem of too many clients to service, their problem always seems to be in finding ever more clients to service, and therein lies the heart of the problem!

    In the world of organized real estate, service is secondary to the goal of securing the next client and this reality is the industries cancer. Social media isn’t a way to market Real Estate, it’s a way to market REALTOR’s! Organized Real estate already had the most perfect means of marketing real estate: The Multiple Listing Service! The MLS has been fundamentally eroded by those who thirst for new business, as a result offering commission levels that are not necessarily conducive to procuring a sale for their seller’s. The $1.00 selling commission is the best example of this erosion, plus some of the lessor amounts depending on how close they are to $1.00! Market time can carry a higher cost than some total commission amounts, but this discussion is inconvenient for those who prospect using lower commissions.

    The MLS has also been eroded with the suggestion that Buyer’s and Seller’s are better off being able to do more for themselves. This concept is manifested in the form of VOW’s — which are prospecting machines, as have already been aptly described by accident or design with: “You must understand that if you want massive results, you must take massive amounts of action.” The costs of running these platforms isn’t likely to be conducive to lower commissions, as has been suggested.

    The simple truth of the matter is, that prospecting has never been in the best interests of consumer’s when it’s hurt service, and its hurting service more now, than ever before!

  3. “Master your scripts” is a prime focus of this piece, it seems. Second, “set targets”. Third, “use systems”. Fourth, “create like and trust”. Sounds like a course entitled “How To Become A Politician: 101” directed toward anybody and everybody who cannot (even if one wants to)become an elected politician in reality. With all of the “How To” advice being presented continuously out there, why is the registrant failure rate so high, let alone the reality of the lonely existence of the exceedingly small number of 100 plus deals-per-year crowd?
    Of course a broker/owner wants 100 deals-per-year registrants in his/her office; who wouldn’t? But here is the truth of the matter…as far as the public is concerned: the public does not deal with broker/owners; it deals with registrants, most of whom are amateurs, ‘acting’ both as marketers as well as transaction-advocates. The author is correct when he says that consumers “…are not concerned if you sell 100 homes this year or not”. What ‘are’ they concerned with therefore? They are concerned with whether or not a registrant with whom they come into contact can and will serve to sell their properties for the most dollars within a time frame suitable to them without any hang ups…period. Consumers want effective, trustworthy advocates in their corners. That is the territory of the minority, the professionals, and not the territory of amateurs, which latter category is what the majority of registrants are members of on any given day. All of the advice that is available out there (much of it proven to be somewhat effective when selectively applied by money-mongers) falls on the deaf ears of incompetence. The above noted advice really appeals to the “I wanna get rich” crowd, and not to the “I want to become a professional advocate” future professional mindset which does not believe in one-size-fits-all assembly line real estate sales strategies.
    As usual, it (becoming/being a successful Real Estate “agent”) is all about the money (lots of it) for far too many, and all other considerations of a professional nature take second, third, fourth and last place. I am not a socialist (equality for all at the bottom of the barrel), but I am very respectful of the practice of quiet, knowledgeable, ethical competence that does not have its eye focused on the greed quotient. Lusting after 100 plus deals per year does not equate with making a good honest living doing something in the public sphere that also repays with a satisfied feeling of being a useful contributor to society. Lusting after 100 plus deals per year equates with the pursuit of pure unadulterated greed for greed’s sake. Setting a target such as this puts the consumer as the bull’s eye of the arrow as directed by the “agent”. The word “mecenary” springs to mind.
    RECO: Is this the kind of industry-wide endemic mentality that you want to continue to preside over going forward? Make the practice of operating as a Realtor turn into a proper profession, as it should be. Make the professionals who already exist within the industry (who aren’t in it just for the money) feel appreciated. Make simply wanting to become a good professional advocate earning a decent living thereby whilst enjoying a balanced life not be a bad thing to aspire to. Keep the money mongers out of it, and watch the consumer complaints that you have to deal with subside.
    The old way of hiring and firing wannabes back in the early days when I first entered the business (1980) when brokerages paid on a 50/50 split of the commissions and the brokerages paid for everything else was actually a very good way of controlling and firing registrants.
    RECO: Create a system of compensation based upon a base salary (to be determined yearly) plus bonus for exceptional performance, and watch the numbers of wanna-get-rich-quick wannabes drop off from trying to enter expensive real estate university. Determine and establish a tariff system of payments for procedures performed similar to how lawyers are governed re income generation by the Law Society of Upper Canada, for instance. Make the public realize that becoming a licensed Realtor really is something to be aspired to and ideally something of value worthy to be worked toward by teenagers considering what their life’s work might be. How many youngsters dream of becoming real estate salespeople these days? Did they ever dream such dreams? Of course not. Why not? Because…it is not considered to be a worthy profession…and that is the problem. What we think in-house of our communal selves is of no consequence to the public mind, and that is the main problem that has always faced the real estate sales industry. This is the age-old problem that you face RECO. Put up or shut up (offered respectfully).

  4. Great article Ryan. I agree with your approach. Be the change, dont wait for success to come to you, go out and take it!

    Surround yourself with great examples, and do small things everyday to achieve your goals and most importantly, actually have goals and a plan. It’s very hard to improve if you don’t know where you started and where you want to go.

    Keep up the great work. :)

    • Andrew, there’s room for everybody. As the saying: different strokes for different folks. I was always an anomaly, right from the beginning: wrong career.

      It’s likely true that anyone can do a hundred transactions annually, not unlike an automaton. It just so happened that I was only able to do one a week on average, over the years as I discovered early in my career that quality beat out quantity. For me. Year after year. Even in various local market downturns and recessions, my net to the branch on each trade was shy side of 8k. And no I didn’t only sell million dollar homes.

      Prior to working in real estate, like most in the public arena, I had never learned much about the real estate world inner workings. I had bought and sold several homes as personal residences, between 1962 and 1980,
      Except for one agent, who earned my repeat business in the late 60’s and early 70’s I never met anyone who had left a lasting impression on me by how they had conducted real estate business. And certainly as still today the inner workings are mostly not divulged to the public.

      During my final real estate training segment I did as was suggested: I interviewed with a real estate company and was told: “It’s really very difficult to go from a lengthy career in the world of academe, (that manager I later learned had been a school teacher and never produced much as a sales rep), and I don’t think you have the absolute necessary outgoing salesman type personality (actually he didn’t either, oddly enough). All I could say was: “Oh!, really? Please explain what personality would be required. I might be able to work on mine:) and thank you for sharing that important bit with me.”

      “I don’t think you will make it in real estate. You are far too serious.” Excuse me? “Too serious?” Well, that’s indeed the truth. I was more than a little shocked, and even offended. I left thinking I would never be able to work there, not that I would be invited – lol. There was just a negative feeling in the atmosphere. Not a friendly smile in the place as agents came and went. Too serious?

      Well! Excuse me. His office, reception, and salespeople were not friendly, barely coldly polite, and I still remember feeling like my presence was a threat. Why on earth would that be? I was certainly nobody. Efficient likely, yes, certainly clinical, nothing to scream about but they had a healthy solid market share historically, I had learned, as I studied the market. I always found that odd because when I first arrived at the office, for all intents and purposes, I could have been a buyer or a seller. Cold as ice, clinical intro.

      But in just a couple of years, he became one of my most solid supporters in the town just adjacent to where I ended up working and living. And he could be heard clapping the loudest at the round table of eight behind the table I was seated at when the corp Vice President announced late at night after we had had a long day of celebrating, that among thousands of agents I was Regional number one. No one was more surprised than me. And I wasn’t long in the business when he started directing his agents to send referrals to me, and likewise I couldn’t resist reciprocating. I stayed completely away from his territory. Even so it was only a half hour away.

      I had found myself in a new city and had only lived there a couple of years at the time, and worked long hours in my freelance career, managing to fit in the real estate courses, driving an hour each way, for a long day of in class courses at OREA in Don Mills.

      LOL – he wasn’t impressed that I wrote a weekly gourmet cooking column (he recognized my name) for the city newspaper or that my hobby was teaching gourmet cooking both privately (as many as twenty-six students sometimes, twice a week, in my home), and for the board of education (nights:adults). I didn’t mention it, he did. He had thought me too diverse.

      Of course I had no idea what sort of life-qualifications or personality a real estate office might be looking for. He didn’t think I was a good real estate candidate. I had to understand not everyone made it successfully in the world of real estate.

      During later in-class courses at Humber one day the instructor asked: “in this group, if you were not a real estate agent, just a homeowner, choose who in the class would you select as your agent.” I thought it an odd request. Hands pointing. In a class of about twenty, all but one, selected me. I had no idea why. And unbeknownst to me, that odd one out was hired by the same first company I went to. My first day at the office, she practically attacked me, she was so surprised to find me at the deal-file cabinet (with the manager’s permission), pulling a couple of files to review to see what a file actually looked like, with: “What are YOU doing here? You never said you intended working here!” Followed quickly by: “YOU can’t do that,” as I explained.

      WHAT? I had made a classroom enemy and she was most unhappy to find me a living breathing colleague. A couple of years later she left the business. And told anyone who would listen: “How come SHE is so successful? Everything she touches turns to gold. She is so lucky.” (The manager said: “funny thing about luck; the harder you work, the luckier you get.”) She later got divorced and, oddly, as a single, bought one of my listings through an MLS agent.

      So I finished the courses. Made an inquiry at another large banking real estate corporation, but in an adjacent city where I ultimately lived for for more than twenty-five years, secured an interview appointment, and when I got there, was told I actually had been hired “over the phone.” Hmmm. So that’s how it works, sometimes? Who would have guessed. I accepted by key-card to the office that day, and went to work. I still remember what I wore to the interview appointment. A tailored navy blue lightweight wool pantsuit. It was February, and a really nice springlike day. No coat needed. I wore serious matching business pumps. And I carried an underarm attaché. I guess I looked like I was ready for business. I had no idea where I was, literally. I knew no one in the area. I had no friends or relatives and had no family at home. I had only once been in the city twenty years earlier, just passing through.

      LOL – hot pants dresses were in style and some were very businesslike and attractive. And I had a few, but thought they might be too risqué for the real estate business. I later learned that many in the business wore beach-like tank tops a size too small, no cover up jackets and sometimes actually wore shorts to office meetings, (almost beachwear), after which we toured new listings, representing the (blue suit corporation). There I go; too serious. Too businesslike; lighten up.

      Dress-down Friday (that ultimately took in the whole work-week) hadn’t been created yet. And we were a big city, not beach country. Sometimes they sold my listings and my sellers commented on their attire, vis a vis my business suits. Hmmm… Did that have anything to do with my success? Not much makeup and good carriage. Was that it? Speak well, enunciate clearly, drop your voice projectile an octave, perhaps. Because there were plenty of people in the business much smarter, for sure, I could never make two plus two add up to four as to the reason for my success; once again, I just thought everyone did what I did and I had a lot to learn. For me the real estate business didn’t seem to be terribly serious, from a public perspective.

      I attended a few private instructor training courses right away, and was a sponge absorbing information at breakneck speed. And I applied many things I learned, immediately. One of which was the farming concept, and the tell 20 system. I hadn’t heard anyone use the term so far. Thought maybe it was an American thing, because most trainers visited as Americans.

      I recall thinking that likely everybody farmed, they just didn’t openly talk about it. A big business secret maybe. To this day, nearly four decades later, I still don’t hear anyone in the industry talking about farming.

      Today I would tell everyone to “farm.”
      Although it can take up to three years to develop a secure farm, it pretty much sets you up with business for life. Offices would permit certain protected streets for timelines tied to who had done frequent advertising on those streets or cold-called, door knocking or telephone canvassed. Don’t go near those streets. They belong to … Okay. There was a record book at reception for protected streets. But no one called it farming. Because it wasn’t.

      So immediately, I had begun studying the MLS books and hot sheets religiously. I built charts and graphs and recorded every new listing and sale in “my developing system” (pre computers). I scaled the info and sorted out timelines as to how often there was turnover in certain locations. I went to broker opens and carried copies of those specific listings in a binder with me everywhere I went. I made “elimination” notes and notes to be sure to show certain properties. And often did immediately following. And sold the some of those listings the same day. I stopped to say hello to people putting out their trash and gave my business card. No serious discussion, I just said I was cruising the neighbourhood to familiarize myself with the streets. Some would ask: oh, do you happen to know how much the house around the corner got? (Of course I do. And I just happen to have an MLS copy with me.) HUH?

      But truly I never ever actually “sold” anything in nearly four decades. I wasn’t ever a salesman and disliked the moniker. I saw myself somewhat as a coordinator, a sort of matchmaker. I did so much pre work-up before I ever showed a property to a prospective buyer. I knew who built it, when, how many owners the property had had, what were likely builder upgrades or bought by the owner.

      I understood good millwork and better hardware and what a difference thicker doors made, and when I listed such, I promoted such finite detail. Oddly enough one of my least favourite facets of our business was looking at houses, yet I often overheard new hires saying that was what intrigued them into the business.

      I lost track over the years as to the number of people who told me they would never need to move again. I had found them the perfect place, and sometimes I only showed them three homes, and they would say: “but how did you know this is exactly what we were looking for? What we had in mind?”

      My answer? “Because YOU told me, and I listened.” I had done loads of general homework, kept scrupulous records and when someone would tell me their wants and wishes, I could immediately pull a property up in my mind, mostly in my farm (of mixed product – on purpose how I set it up.)

      I would move a townhouse owner into a small affordable detached, then a few years later into a larger home. And the cycle replicated itself and it often seemed that my listings were like rabbits multiplying.

      But I refused to spread myself too thin. Thus I mostly only sold on average one a week. I had such a lot of listings in the pipe and a load of CMA’s in my files to which an easy marriage could be arranged.

      I have a comment ready to post to show REM readers, agents and the public some of the (supposedly unusual) things I did, making it so I was one who never could have done a hundred sales per year. I learned it’s not so much about salesmanship as it is about: “readin,’ writin,” and ‘rithmatic.” And of course “listenin’.”

      Carolyne L 🍁

    • Maybe this is an excuse, or at least a reason as to why I never could have done a 100 transactions? But as I noted previously, perhaps this lengthy paying it forward comment might be of some use to someone out there in the sometimes not so real world of real estate, whether buying, selling, or helping someone to do so, or just a matter of education as to why some make it and some don’t. There are days when the tall suit, or best education, is learning to have patience. You will need plenty on many days. And if you aren’t of a “always put other people first personality,” perhaps take a desk job in a back office, not even working the phones. Because absolutely every day will present you with a new, sometimes seeming insurmountable, challenge. But if you survive you will have a career, in the end, that you can be proud of.

      “After the Sold Sign…”

      A recent post noted that top producers don’t help one another succeed. That we hold and play our cards close to our chest. In a given competitive local market, that can be true.

      But often mastermind groups gather from distant locations sometimes for the express purpose of sharing. Maybe times have changed but during the nearly four decades of my real estate success, sharing one’s success secrets was often seen as bragging. Maybe that’s why some are reluctant?

      Although again this post is long, it is important to pay it forward, to give back; just sharing some of the things I did for my buyers and sellers, that some newbies might want to incorporate into their own wrap-up’s, as they build their own careers over the coming years.

      Just a recap of, perhaps, what in no small measure contributed to my 38 years of historical success. I wrote all my articles, ads, designed my corporate logo and colours. In prior company affiliation I also prepared all my own private marketing being careful that the corporate ID was bigger and bolder than my own name.

      And I still had time to put my clients first and foremost, largely because I was organized and worked to a very tight time-schedule. I mostly packed lunch and ate at my desk. I didn’t socialize with my clients.

      Does agency end when the Sold Sign goes up? Does it ever end? How do you endeavour to keep each and every agency active for the life of your career?

      What do you do? “after the sold sign” goes up… Do you figure your job is done? Somebody somewhere will process your paycheque? How do you follow up and follow through or close the file?… Or do you? Does your agency responsibility end when you cash your paycheque?

      Being an independent has some different advantages along with some extra work. NOTE: Ettore Carderelli at OREA/MREB just announced the opportunity for the salesperson, as an independent to become personally incorporated just passed second reading. Current MREB msg says: “Yesterday Bill 104, the Tax Fairness for Realtors Act, 2017 passed 2nd reading at Queen’s Park.”

      If passed there will be many new business systems needing put in place perhaps, and once again The REBBA will need updating.

      When you work for a corporation, it is your office’s job to invoice the designated lawyer offices, and make sure the corp trust banking is organized and properly attended to. By the way does the office admin send a copy of the actual specific deposit made at their bank, and copy of back and front of actual client’s deposit cheque, to the related law offices? Or to the person who wrote the deposit cheque, so they know exactly where their money is, physically, until it is dispersed on closing day?

      Back in the beginning of my own incorporated company, I wrote a cover letter to both the buyer and the seller, saying re: the sale of … (Property Address) the contract-called-for purchase deposit (note I didn’t say “the purchaser’s deposit) is now in our specific corporate trust funds account at xxx (name) bank, located at: xxx (bank’s address).
      An individual GIC has been purchased specific to the sale property address, and the interest earned will be disbursed to the buyer as per the contract at closing.

      If no interest was called for in the contract the (historical info) generated interest will revert to our general operating account, and an accumulated charitable donation will be made. (Currently all the interest-bearing rules are different.)

      The law offices for each side of the transaction have been provided copies of the trust deposit and copy of the related receipts.

      Thank you for trusting our company with your business. Signed: President and Broker (Broker of Record/later). And “per” properly noted corp ID. (By the way: a corporation is always legally referred to as “we” even if only one person.)

      When I was totally alone initially as I opened my boutique real estate corp. an agent from a major franchise filed an official board complaint about my use of corp. “we” (I referred him and the board to my corp lawyer); by the way I still have the same corp lawyer after 28 years (initially he and his family were clients in the mid-eighties); and the same agent, separately, complained about my market share stating to the board that it was making it sound like he wasn’t doing any or enough business… Huh?
      He wasn’t. Like that was “my” fault?

      Do “you” keep a copy of the buyer’s deposit for your own file, as a sales rep? It can be a useful tracing or tracking device if ever needed, and certainly the office should have a copy in the property-specific file, for audit purposes, not just in the accounting department.

      Even when working elsewhere before opening my own boutique brokerage 28 years ago when I was already 10 years licensed/registered, I always wrote a cover letter personally to each law office, right away, on corporate letterhead, with corporate permission, but continued the practice as an independent, including not just a duplicate copy of the transaction but a copy of the receipt and deposit cheque, front and back showing a teller stamp date. The bank will make a photocopy for you.

      If you work in an office per se, you won’t have access to the actual visual deposit information personally and the deposit may even be made electronically now, but if you are an independent you will have that control. This is definitely something to consider if the new Bill passes at Queen’s Park.

      Watch carefully when making physical bank deposits. Often the teller’s stamp has little or no ink. You might find you need proof of the deposit date in your actual bank deposit book date at some point, or during an audit. (Deposit books are no longer used in many banking transactions – just a little detail history regarding being organized.)

      If I was processing more than one transaction deposit at a time, I had an office rule that each transaction must have a separate trust account bank deposit proof paper slip. Extra work? Yes. But easier to organize and track backwards if needed. And all related accounting banking photocopies were also kept in the property address transaction file.

      I file “everything” by street address, followed by the street number. Never by client names or office assigned trade record numbers ID. But there is a set of binders housing each trade record sheet duplicate, by sequential numbers, for easy access cross-reference. Super organized and lots of cross-references. Extra work? Absolutely.

      It was often that weeks passed before a law office got agent real estate ‘office’ seller/buyer transaction copies and trust account balance of commission invoices, at corporate office location. Often agents hadn’t yet supplied the admin office with lawyer names and contact info right away. And sometimes no APS copies were included even, just an administration secretary accounting office oversight.

      The law offices need copies of all Schedules, Amendments:addenda, any quantifying and qualifying documents that are relevant to closing the transaction. Lawyers need time to get their own files organized. Be courteous. Think of the workload others have, too.

      In my correspondence I offered that if the law office had any questions, or intended making any changes or adjustments (especially changing the closing date), they were not to hesitate to contact me privately on my personal phone number immediately. I must be kept in the loop. We needed our paperwork to reflect the whole doings in the file also. And of course the law office had my business card.

      Didn’t happen often but on occasion it was necessary to let us know the parties to the APS contract had in fact agreed to make chances through their respective law offices: sometimes sold price, sometimes closing date. Sometimes even a price adjustment that needed reporting to MLS so in fact they, too, had an accurate Sold Price, as registered at LRO. And of course “that” would impact the office invoice, needing the trade record to be adjusted, too. In part why it is so important to be organized. Again, worth noting if the Bill is passed enabling single agents to incorporate. Going to make loads of extra work for RECO. And who exactly will be training single agents in regard to their “personal” liability even when incorporated? Just like many still do not understand “independent contractor” status after all these years.

      And intermittently, I contacted my seller or my buyer following the accepted APS, to see if everything was on queue or to see if they needed my assistance for anything at the moment.

      Of course I included a single marketing promo piece with my law office correspondence, and a business card in my package to the law firm. (REM reference: recent Cheers article: Everybody knew my name.) And in season: a tent desk calendar. I engaged in every opportunity to market my name, my brand.

      In my correspondence I noted that they could expect a personal call to the law office, from me, [diarized in my trigger file] during closing week to check if the called for closing was still on track, and scheduled closing was proceeding according to plan.

      No hiccups. (Really especially helpful in divorce transactions and estate sales.) No time for surprises because people were not on top of their duties. Keep notes, times and dates of all calls in your daybook or computer property reference file.

      If the law office was representing my buyer, I included a copy of my “buyer agency contract” (can you even guess how many law offices had never seen one? And had no idea what to do with it? Or what it meant, in reality? And that still applies after more than twenty years working with buyer agency, and of course I included a copy of my buyer invoice top-up, in addition to the listing office co-op commission noted (full disclosure); you can perhaps imagine I got calls saying there must be a mistake??? NOTING IN PARTICULAR: ***Only the seller pays commission ???*** – as so many REALTORS(r) themselves actually broadcast and tout and still believe today, more than twenty years after buyer agency took hold?

      So I had to explain, courteously that my buyer was paying a portion or even all the commission (according to his “Buyer Agency Contract”). Thus the attached invoice.

      Who decided it wasn’t relevant, important, to let the real estate law offices know REALTORS(r) were using buyer agency contracts? Beginning in the mid 90’s??? And another curiosity…

      Where do appraisers and appraisals fit into buyer agency? As in point: the buyer pays the commission, and the sold price registered and shown at Teranet doesn’t reflect it in the appraiser’s address reference, therefore not a “true” comparable; how that sold price reported isn’t exactly accurate.

      I also enclosed a copy of the MLS listing agreement as one more point of cross-check. (Often a good cross-check as per taxes, that were often incorrectly entered on the MLS listing.)

      Occasionally, when I felt the need, I attached a copy of the MLS listing to an APS as a noted Schedule, if I felt a particular point clarification was needed, (such as wrong taxes or lot size on the MLS form), or there was an uncorrected error on the listing, having such circled or highlighted to draw specific attention to it for anyone needing to know, and initialed by all parties to the APS contract; it served to clarify that the necessaries had been acknowledged by all concerned.

      I cc’d the law office correspondence to our client. Just a secondary confirmation of paperwork and a personal (duplicate) copy of the related deposit receipt, whether buyers or sellers. Sellers often never get to see the actual deposit cheque related to the sale of their property. Or, certainly not the receipt provided to the co-op, mandatory for the transaction.

      Clients were thrilled to receive my follow-up package, and many noted that in their historical real estate transactions no one had kept them in the loop, so to speak. I instructed them to connect with their law office as soon as practical and to take their copies with them, and to use sticky notes with any questions they had for their law office.

      As far as I know I was the only agent ever to do this in detail. Many law offices commented how much they appreciated the follow up and follow through and commented they had never seen such attention to detail by “just a real estate agent.” In the letter was a Table of Contents cover list with tabbed and numbered exhibit points of reference. Just an easy cross-reference, yet again. Some files were quite complicated. Made it easy for everyone.

      And then there was the Piece de Resistance” my really special seller-to-their-buyer touch:

      “AftertheSoldSign:” as in
      AfterTheSoldSign.com (a pointer-site url, where all my old real estate consumer education articles are…)

      “This for a special package for my sellers’ buyers,” (note) left for them “by the property sellers,” on closing day: A PRE-prepared tiny personal note for the sellers to leave on the counter (all they had to do was sign it) in an obvious spot, from them, for their buyers – I put together a complimentary prepaid one-time only, cleaning lady service that their buyer could book any time at their own convenience.

      By the way, my sellers didn’t have to leave their vacant house untidy for their incoming buyer, no matter the weather with movers tracking in and out, because my cleaning crew mopped up the seller’s house a final couple of hours after the movers finished up, a general last minute coordinated tidy-up for toilets, floors, and such, (my compliments to my seller) – the sellers were thrilled; and for their buyers, just a small live fresh flower bouquet in a vase in a bathroom, (out of the way), or a live plant their buyer could put in the garden (often a 18″ inch Alberta Spruce that would grow large over the coming years) – easy to plant and no aftercare required; a six pack of paper towels, a stackable large pack of paper cups for the bathroom, a large package of toilet paper, (a reminder to seller to make sure each washroom had a fresh roll, and a roll of paper towel for drying hands, and paper cups on their exit, moving day), a small pack of emergency dry dog food and cat food and a small toss away dish; and if we knew babies were involved, a package of emergency diapers and a few bottles of baby food and don’t forget – a baby spoon; a carryall pack of emergency water bottles; a small binder with loose pages, and a pen, a list of local service numbers including local babysitting service, and with permission, the phone number of one neighbour in case of emergency, numbers for dry cleaners, doctors, dentists, car dealer service, a local computer repair service I had used for years, appliance repair service number, landscape service and snow removal, furnace and air conditioning service, (seller could fill in some blanks); lots of numbers including a locksmith, alarm service point of contact, if applicable, local fire and police office inquiry numbers; a note saying where extra keys (garage code or keys, post box, etc.) that were left in a special spot, along with copies of seller’s warranties and owner manuals for appliances and such. And, yes a local TV guide channel indicator, appreciated in particular for people new to the area.

      (NOTE: if a property you list has house to house mail delivery, flaunt it! It could be the differentiating factor that causes a buyer to decide to buy your listing.) Seems like a small thing perhaps, but to some people it’s huge.

      Included a small flashlight (with batteries), and a one in all handle basic screwdriver. (Sometimes needed for small assembly pieces), and an x-acto knife, and a can opener. Often packed in a nice new large laundry basket, with a big coloured bow tied on. I never included wine or other spirits (you don’t know who doesn’t drink).

      And last but not least, positioned in a really obvious spot, a brightly coloured card envelope marked: “Gift Certificate Card for new owners inside,” with a generous complimentary Swiss Chalet, delivery or eat-in, gift card or a local pizza gift card to use at the buyer’s convenience, perhaps on moving day. Today I would include a multipurpose portable plug-in small smartphone battery pack charger (about 15$, I bought a dozen at a time). Everyone loves them.
      Total cost complete, under two hundred dollars.

      VERY IMPORTANT:

      All clearly marked ~ ~ ~

      “COMPLIMENTS OF:”
      Jane and Jack Smithfield (fictitious names of the owners)… It’s the only time I didn’t include any of my personal I.D. or marketing materials.

      Seller’s note saying:

      “We hope you enjoy your new home.” (Not from me, but I prepared it as much as doable, personally and prepaid it all), as my gift to my seller, a gift for their buyers. Sellers were always grateful, and surprised, even so I had explained in brief at my listing presentation, mostly they had forgotten about it or hadn’t thought about the detailed effort that I put in.

      Do you suppose neighbours talk? And staff at the law offices talk?
      And he told two friends and she told two friends ~ and the law of reciprocity kicks in, maybe? I didn’t give closing gifts as such but I think this was appreciated more, maybe. And occasionally contributed to forming an actual bond between the seller and the buyer. And then, oddly enough sometimes the background story accidentally came out that their agent was responsible for the nice surprise. Certainly they told their existing friends, some of whom were listed with other agents.

      Also as I noted years ago in a post at REM – if I had a relo husband living alone, in a hotel, temporarily away from home while the family real estate here got sorted, he got an essentials packed laundry basket delivered to his hotel with things only guys might need, or forgot to pack, such as an extra travel toothbrush and small toothpaste, a clothes brush, a travel shoe polish packet, a collapsible umbrella, disposable razor blades, a small emergency pharmacy kit with bandaids, a magazine, a soap on a rope, a little junk food pkgs, among other guy things.

      A disposable camera (pre smartphone days), so he could send or take pictures on return weekend trip to back home. (Ahhh, the old days.) A prepaid phone credit card (50$). And, today, everyone loves those wonderful smartphone battery packs, and a (formatted) USB travel stick. Sometimes a car charging smartphone tether cord.

      (And did HE talk at work!) And his wife was sure to tell her new neighbours when she got settled in.

      Crazy? Too expensive? Not on your life. Years later folks were still telling their friends, family, and business associates. No one thing I did brought in business, but a combination of many little things.

      Hope some newbies can use some of the ideas to build their own success. I occasionally got calls from some annoyed colleagues who thought what I did for my clients made them look less than. Really? We are in an odd business some days.

      One of my sellers moved off to Waterloo and told her buying agent there all what I had done, and the agent called me to say she had never heard of doing such things but was now going to incorporate into her own system. Just paying it forward.

      Something to think about, maybe, and perhaps helps to explain what kept me always in the Top 10 group, and helped make me number one agent in Western Ontario Region and historically in the top five percent of national Canadian earners, not by numbers of transactions, but by treating each client as though they were the only one that mattered.

      Carolyne L 🍁

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