By Richard Robbins

Richard Robbins uses the latest Toronto sales statistics to explain how to use market intelligence in your conversations with consumers. Use this example in your market so prospects will see tremendous value in you and look to you as their trusted advisor.


  1. I started doing this sort of indulgence the first few months in 1981, using the daily board-provided “hot sheets lists” and one yellow magic marker. The daily hot sheets were printed on 8-1/2 x 14 sheets of paper, same size as APS sheets and we all used legal size file folders, and sticky tab and peel and stick labels. It wasn’t long until I used multiple colour magic markers. And a beautiful picture took shape. I was forever surprised.

    And I built an organized Rolodex system, later a gigantic VisiRecord inventory control system specific to real estate, wherein I had everything (thousands of cards) constantly accessible at my fingertips. This system was used until about twenty years ago in the manufacturing industry. Quite by accident I stumbled across a company getting rid of theirs and decided to put it to good use in my home office with amazing results.

    In no time a picture began taking shape, using my magic market hot sheet process, while I overheard that other agents used “averaging,” to show sellers and buyers about market conditions. For me I saw that averaging easily could be manipulated, and agents bragged that their success was largely the result of conditioning the public to believe their presentations “averaging stats,” based on giant areas, and as supported by media.

    That was not the purpose for which the boards released such information, and newspapers reprinted it, as is still done today. And the proof is seen as while some market areas begin to suffer, others are still vibrant.

    But for me, fine-tuning the specifics became my personal mantra. I narrowed down and concentrated and studied my own finite market. And only presented the huge board statistics in a cursory manner.

    From those humble “hot sheet” beginnings I developed my own “narrowed down” market stats and colour-coded system at my finger tips. I developed charts and graphs, put together instantly, and this was long before computers offered such programs. Truthfully every hour of my day was accounted for, between analyzing and organizing, writing ads and roughing out upcoming promo materials for artists and printers, to help keep my name (and the corp name too) out there. When I look back I have no idea how I managed to move more than 14M product annually in markets with pricings nothing like what we have come to see. (Avg area price board stats said 235k; my avg sale 275k, largely due to double-ending corporate product as well as my own listings.) and no one had asked me to cut commission. They knew I was walking talking proof with results to prove it.

    But regardless of how you choose to put together your stats for instantaneous hands-on use, narrowing down the stats to your own specific trading area will put you on the road to success and help you to create a market dominant position like no other.

    It’s a lot work, but it’s not difficult work. It really isn’t. It’s no different than researching and analyzing results for any purpose. The chief benefit is that you have instant proof-backup for any conversation you choose to have with your buyers and sellers. It’s as simple as flipping a switch.

    Unless you find yourself working with or for engineers and accountants who themselves often over-analyze things, you will find that most buyers and sellers can easily relate to your “pictures.” Those charts and graphs and bell curves, ones that confirm “a picture is always worth a thousand words.”

    My “pictures” (charts and graphs) confirmed that I had a 24% market share, area defined, price defined, product type defined, as a sole operator, that I had built during my years prior, working for a major corporation, and never looked back as I stepped into my own sole operated ltd.corp. in 1991.

    Simple changes can be implemented daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, and annually, showing comparisons year over year. Backed up by your accountant’s report, and reflected in your income statement and your balance sheet. Speaking of which, if agents are to become licenced individual corps, they had best first learn to read such.

    As time passes, you will be able to predict how many listings or buyers you must close in order to keep moving forward, whether your market is moving up, down, or is constant.

    I remember being so totally shocked at a weekly mandatory office meeting the first few weeks in the business when the manager explained to the group of several new agents (they came and went very often), that mostly only 50-60% of all listings taken actually sold, the first time around as listed. I said:”WHAT?” I could not believe it. But he said check for yourself. It’s true. It was, and it is.

    I couldn’t see the point in that stat, and asked myself. “What’s wrong with that stat?” That day painted a picture for me, as a brand new agent. And I never had ten expiries in ten years. I set about to “sell” my listings, right then and there; and I did. Annually 60% of them, year after year after year. No one ever told me I did it all wrong. That the system didn’t want me to “sell” my own listings, merely market them to other agents. The first job, it turns out, re the listing, was to “sell it to other agents” (via the MLS system).

    You will be amazed by your own creativity and enthused when you see your results explode into a pathway to generating a constant pipeline of available new business. Mostly because your competition is doing no such thing.

    Carolyne L 🍁

    • Great comment Carolyne. Coming from a computer programming background I too love to hoard data. I like to have a bunch of information and I’m always surprised when I step back and look at the big picture of all the data I’ve gathered. I would love to see an example of some of your “pictures” sometime if you’re willing to share…from one nerd to another. It’s always nice to see what other people are doing or have seen success with and what they have thought of that you might not have. If you have any nifty samples that you’d like to share I’d love to see them, and if not, great comment anyway. I appreciated your story.

      • Thank you, Tina.

        LOL – definitely not a nerd. Nothing techi about me for sure. I used the charts and graphs program provided in QuickBooks, and my data was easily verified by my accountant, if ever questioned. A few agents questioned and said I could not advertise such without proof. I had plenty of proof.

        I also had a small independent program that came in handy. So long ago I don’t remember what it was called. Functioned on Win 95. But data prep and understanding is food for the soul. That goes way back to the 60’s and mainframes and my prior career, too, as an edu textbook copy editor, dictionary editor, and an indexer.

        There’s no way to post images in the comments on REM. But here are a couple of old links that had a few graphics included, one of which shows area market analysis comparisons in the moment.

        Men often relate well to charts and graphs and stat-collections. When I started including local area info in my promo, I had several area businessmen call and say how much they appreciated that “stats block.” 20,000 copies of “my centre-spread newspaper insert” each time brought hundreds of calls from would-be converts to Carolyne’s (my) “unconventional” way of serving clients.

        I was made to feel like odd-man-out by some colleagues. But whatever I did, all my promo, I created myself, using pencils and coloured markers. Then took it all to the most wonderful artists, and best photographers. I’m not a computer graphics’ person, as such, but I was always full of ideas.

        A tiny example is my red maple leaf signature graphic indicating to international REM readers that I am Canadian. First I visualized it; knew what I had in mind. They said it couldn’t be done in disqus. But I found out how, submitted it and it appears on the iPhone. On my laptop it just appears as an empty little box. I have had readers connect with me from all over the world.

        I spent a half day each week dedicated to “building” my promo for the following week or month. Adding to it, when I could squeeze in a minute. And preparing my ads.

        You might find some helpful ideas at my website, started in late 1997. I wrote everything that is on the site. And as you can see it is copyrighted. But I did none of the web-work.

        Clients sometimes read my site materials for three years or more, till they needed me, and once connected told me they never had in mind to do real estate business with anyone else when needed. Everything they needed was there. That was instant gratification. A wonderful acknowledgement.

        I had to put my life, both business and private, on hold in recent years due to a family cancer situation, so that’s why some things are not up to date. And my only lifeline to the rest of the world has been commenting on REM, and my REM Gourmet Cooking Column. Everyone has to eat… I have more than 800 original recipes in my manuscript.

        No one can predict what the future holds, at 75 or at any age.

        Once again thank you for your comment. It is sincerely appreciated.

        Carolyne L 🍁

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