for stan columnFeeling a little “scratched and dented” these days?

You can usually get a deal on a major appliance that has a few marks or dents on it, but it’s still useable and presentable in your home. Sometimes I get the feeling that even experienced agents feel a bit scratched and dented sometimes. We take a look at what the heck we’re doing because we’re not getting the results we need. We’re still pretty presentable, but have been knocked around a lot by mass rejections to our mailings, cold calling and/or door knocking.  So some of us will flee the business or go to another brokerage because it has fewer fees or whatever.

Or, some of us will actually consult with our brokers about the lack of consistency and the lack of production. The fact is, during the last few years of observing some agents  who bought  into “coaching for a fee,” I see they are very frustrated by the meagre results they get after hours and hours of calling with the same scripts. Or maybe they have new scripts that are suitable for the Canadian market. I actually heard a respected trainer from the U.S. stating that his firm has developed a tailor-made dialogue for our fellow Canucks!

Hmm. Yes I can see that in some respects our market is different because we don’t have the mortgage defaults that we see south of the border.  But really folks, a seller in need of our services isn’t exactly hanging out a Help Wanted sign unless he’s a FSBO or a “mere posting”.

Look, I’m not denigrating whatsoever the merits of coaching for a fee. But what happens to our colleagues is they overlook some other aspects of what’s available to them in the way of marketing and branding themselves as a unique salesperson in any particular neighbourhood.

Over the years of training, I’ve always presented to both new and seasoned agents the following idea: develop a V.I.P List of Service Providers and Specialists in your area. Regulatory bodies usually require that we suggest three of each to be fair. So how many providers can you name, starting with A – accountants, appraisers….and so on.

Make some new friends with say 30 or so categories and guess what you have? A new batch of possible buyers and sellers or renters that have made most of their money in real estate.  Ask those who provide materials along with services, if they’d give a 10 per cent discount if you used their name when referring them.

Think that they’d be good prospects to send MLS listings to in the event that they may know someone who’d be interested, if not themselves?

This is a tried and true system of marketing. Call it a V.I.P. list or a concierge list or whatever.  It will take some time to get it going, but think about doing it after you’ve had umpteen rejections on the phone.

Happy marketing and let me know if you take up my suggestions.

stan cropped web“There’s only one thing better than a referral from a client, and that is a referral from his friends and/or associates!” –  S. Albert

Stan Albert, broker/manager, ABR, ASA at Re/Max Premier in Vaughan, Ont. can be reached for consultation at [email protected]. Stan is now celebrating his 43rd year as an active real estate professional.



  1. Just to add to that great advice:

    And that’s also why the “Tell-20” system works so well (by mail or personal visit, not usually by phone these days). Agents get frustrated with what they refer to as “nosy-neighbour” calls. Those are WONDERFUL calls (turn THEM into business), just as great as neighbours who come to be “nosy” at a neighbour’s open house, knowing the owner likely won’t be home. Roll out the red carpet, completely… treat them like ROYALTY… let them learn to love you (develop rapport) … and more importantly, respect you for how you do your business

    I recently called on a new neighbourhood sign that had not yet appeared on MLS, and two days later the agent returned my call. He told me the list price in his msg, without asking me ANY questions, told me the house had sold promptly, just the sold sign wasn’t up yet, suggested another company’s listing in the area if I would like to see it instead – to call him back, in his reply message to me. The company had not asked when I called, if I were an agent, but I did offer that information up front but left my home phone number. Apparently that part of the msg did not get to the listing agent.

    INVITE the neighbours to come to your open houses. Of course explain to your seller that you WILL be doing that, unless they really forbid it, but you need to explain to your seller, the possible missed opportunities…. let the neighbours choose their new neighbour by telling their friends and family all about the listing.

    In your flyers, leave out, on purpose, some pertinent fact, like how many bedrooms or if the house has c/air… Can’t tell you how many “critical” calls I’ve had over the years, admonishing me for not having that information on the flyer. Love those critical calls… gives me one more opportunity to build rapport with the caller….who perhaps says: does that place have a large yard? Answer: do you want a large yard?… let the conversation turn to a different property if necessary, one that does meet the caller’s needs, but keep on building a helpful and friendly atmosphere – and turn that call also: into more business opportunity.

    Market their listing not just to professional service providers, but to any and all businesses in the area. Some mail routes permit postcards to businesses. If not practical, hand-address your flyer and send it. Address it to the “receptionist,” – marked “personal,” and ask if she will post it in their lunchroom or even in their washroom if such is permitted. Don’t forget to include your business card. Never know who knows whom, where, is one of my favourite expressions.

    Carolyne L

  2. Hi Stan:

    I too heard about that U.S. “Coach-for-a-fee” trainer and his special tailor-made-for-Canadian-Realtors’ scripts. They’re identical to the American scripts, except that every sentence ends with “…EH?”

    Script: noun. The manuscript of a play or motion picture. (Websters).

    Using scripts is all about acting. Becoming a professional Realtor cannot be the end result of an act. Many consumers are savvy enough to know when they are being spun by a recital of canned utterances; they have heard them from others already, and have already shunned those ‘others’ as they will likely shun you.

    Consumers don’t like actors looking for marks. Therefore, you need to remain honest…true to yourself. Stop trying to be all things to all people. You simply dilute yourself down to the level of a garbage hound begging for scraps.

    Stan is bang on with his advice. Imagine how impressed you would be as a consumer if an unknown, but smiling, professionally dressed, well-groomed business-like person introduced himself/herself to you, in person, walking through a mall for instance, hand extended for a handshake (everyone responds automatically in kind…they cannot turn this sign of friendship down), and after having identified himself/herself as a Realtor, gives you an attractive packet of business cards identifying local lawyers, accountants, home inspectors, insurance brokerages, plumbers, electricians, roofers, etc. (with said Realtor’s card being located not at the top, but at the bottom of the collection). Imagine how you would feel when you then brace yourself for the inevitable script, but then the Realtor simply states that he/she recommends those individuals, should you ever need their services, and then bids you good day, graciously allowing you to continue on with your shopping.

    There is only one caveat however; make damn good and sure that your recommendations are as good as you claim they are. Interview many service providers first, to get a feel for their attitudes and mannerisms. This is where doing your own due diligence will pay off. Professionals don’t recommend others just becuse they offer referral kick-backs.

    I was able to develop almost all of my business (as much business as I needed; I’m not greedy) from amongst strangers in a shopping mall by providing valuable information-for-free on a catch-as-catch-can, face-to-face, quick, no-pressure basis. I never used a script. I simply used my brains and let my inherent personality trait of enjoying being of unsolicited assistance to others, emerge.

    Do the above for one full day, every week (because you like helping people) and you will become, over time, a trusted Realtor/advisor to some, and maybe many, of those whom you have touched.

    Forget the expensive cultish spin doctors and their scripts; be yourself.


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