How are we supposed to know?

Real Estate Agent with Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage

There's a lot of things in business, including real estate, people feel they have to take on faith. But time and again we're told to measure, measure, measure when choosing what, where and how to spend our marketing and capital investment money. Which is a truth not to be trifled with. But if you can't get a good measure on the value of something, does that necessarily mean you don't do it?

One of the things Christine and I have enjoyed doing tremendously, since starting in the real estate, are public seminars for buyers and sellers. They don't always attract big crowds, they don't always lead directly to business - though on occasion we have in time done very well by the people we have had at our seminars. Often in fact, virtually every attendee has met us previously and would have likely worked with us already. So, did we make any more money or improve our business as a result. Not that the numbers would tell us - but I firmly believe we have, yes.

When we hold these seminars we advertise them heavily throughout the region. We are about the only people doing them at this time. We have door prizes and good food available, we bring in experts to speak about a variety of real estate related topics - we aren't just two talking heads with some chairs in a room we rented at the mall. It's a special event to us so we treat it as such and put forward a face of professionalism we want to be recognized for. But sometimes it feels as though it's a waste of time... but we keep doing them anyhow.

Why? Because we hear about them later from other people who didn't go but who heard how good it was from someone who did attend. Or we hear people talking about how they saw the ad in the paper and had clearly noted it in their memory. Holding these seminars separates us from the pack, we are seen as slightly more expert, slightly more professional, just slightly more altogether. Not necessarily true, but that's the perception, and perception is reality in many cases.

So these aren't events designed to get clients signed up at the time, and we even get other Realtor's clients showing up, (which we respect and accommodate as well as plan for to ensure we aren't going to be offering advice that may conflict with their advice - we keep things fact based). But they are very valuable nonetheless, building public profile beyond those who are actively looking at buying or selling right now. They help put us top-of-mind with people when it comes time to become active in the market for them.

Consequently, along with attending local home shows, being highly visible on-line and maintaining less but higher profile advertising than many others, we almost never have to explain to anybody who is looking at buying or selling real estate locally who we are. They've seen our web site, met us at a home show, heard about us through a friend, or attended a seminar. So three years into the business we now get phone calls that, instead of asking for a home evaluation, simply state they'd like us to come and list their house.

That change in initial contact, where we are no longer having to sell ourselves at the front door, is a different kind of measure, anecdotal though it may be, and it's one that makes the growth and success of our business much more likely, smoother and longer term. So we're going to keep up with the seminars even if they do occasionally get poor attendance, or are populated exclusively by people we've already met. Because without knowing the precise mechanics of how they benefit our business and reputation, I do know that they do.


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Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Frisco TX Real Estate Co. - Frisco, TX
Real Estate Agents

I've learnt in this business (recently) that everything that I do is a seed. It may not sprout immediately and it's only natural that we want it to. We're only humans.

Thanks again for the subtle reminder that everything we do today may not necessarily affect us right now, but 90-120days or even years from now.

Jun 15, 2009 06:51 AM #5
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

This is the kind of long-term planting, watering, attending to, etc., that causes for a mighty good harvest eventually.  Makes perfect business sense.

Jun 15, 2009 07:07 AM #6
Xinh Truong
Connect Realty.Com, Inc. - San Leandro, CA

Stephen, thank you for the great post.  After reading your entry, I am inspired to think of ways to seperate myself from the pack.  You seem like a hard worker...keep up the good work.  Good luck to you.

Jun 15, 2009 07:11 AM #7
Becky Brand
Shorewest Realtors - Oconomowoc, WI

Thanks for the post.  I think buyer's seminars are fantastic and have been a little disappointed that we can't get them up and running in my office.  I would love to hear where/how you promote yours!  Also - congratulations on getting referrals in your 3rd year.  That's not an easy feat and it's clear that you have worked hard for it! 

Jun 15, 2009 07:31 AM #8
Sara Goss GMAC Real Estate - League City, TX
Realtor - Houston Bay Area, Texas

"building public profile . . . "

Thanks for the inspiring post and success, you have earned it!

Jun 15, 2009 08:47 AM #9
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

Bully for your and congrats!  This is a good post with a good message.

Thank you!

Patricia Aulson/Portsmouth NH Real Estate

Jun 15, 2009 09:37 AM #10
Rich Cotton
Rich Cotton The Waterfront Specialist EXiT Preferred Realty - Chesapeake City, MD
Waterfront Specialist Cecil and Kent Counties MD

The more you get in front of people the better. Your seminars are a good idea and hard to measure. I say, "Keep up the good work." It will pay off down the line.

Jun 15, 2009 09:51 AM #11
Team Honeycutt
Allen Tate - Concord, NC

Thanks for this post.  It confirms what I know to be true.  The more you give the more you get - business and otherwise.

Jun 15, 2009 09:57 AM #12
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I think you've hit on something really special that most of us just don't do.  I have always thought about doing it with someone else in my office but my big fear was that nobody would show up.  You've just given me lots of reasons why that doesn't really matter. 

Jun 15, 2009 09:57 AM #13
Richard & Janet OBrian
Home Based Realty - Palmdale, CA
Listing Specialist Palmdale, Lancaster CA

Thank YOU...  This is just what I needed to see after a week end I had.  Your proactive approach is what we hear but few are willing to put into action.  Janet and I are working up a public seminar for buyers and sellers and investors too.  Will let you know how it goes...

Thanks again!

Jun 15, 2009 10:37 AM #14
Todd and Danielle Millar
Glenn Simon Inc. - Edmonton, AB
Fifteen years of excellence!

This is a great idea. Talk about speaking to a select audience and of course the law of constant contact. I'm sure it's reflected in your success.

Jun 15, 2009 10:40 AM #15
Stephen Hodge
Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage - Cobourg, ON

Thank you for all the great comments.

One of the things that made an impression on me when I was taking courses was a Chinese classmate who, when offered a second hand calculator for mortgage amortization turned it down. Apparently there is a tradition in Chinese culture that believes if you invest in your business on the cheap you will reap cheap business, but if you invest with quality, quality business will be your reward.

This is how I view seminars in particular. It's more as a public service and offering quality professional advice, in return I have faith that quality business will come to us - even if we aren't sure how. And so far, that's been the case. Not exactly MBA thinking, but I am fond of the idea that good Karma breeds good Karma.

Jun 15, 2009 10:45 AM #16
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Stephen - That's great.  You are getting by giving.... I also  find oddly, that if you work really hard on something and it doesn't work out, you might get an easy one you didn't even lift a finger for!

Jun 15, 2009 11:18 AM #17
Lisa Glowacki
Lisa Glowacki - Rhode Island & Massachusetts - Tiverton, RI
Real Estate Broker - RI & MA

Stephen, I think what you (you guys - can't leave Christine out) are doing is great. I was just talking about this the other day. You effort will definitely be rewarded and best of all you enjoy it.

Jun 15, 2009 11:38 AM #18
Mike Allen

Great post!! I Had a simular blog a few weeks back suggesting this very thing as a way to get brand awareness and letting people know who you are. Keep up the great work.

Jun 15, 2009 12:00 PM #19
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

[So these aren't events designed to get clients signed up at the time . . . valuable nonetheless, building public profile beyond those who are actively looking at buying or selling right now. They help put us top-of-mind with people . . .]

Absolutely and I would imagine also, from being 'front and center', [learning by] teaching and staying current with industry news and changes to share with your audience, it sharpens you as brokers as well as presenters.

Jun 15, 2009 01:38 PM #20
Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239
Real Estate One - Commerce, MI
Michigan homes for sale ~

That is great.  I need to do more public seminars for buyers and sellers.

Jun 15, 2009 01:44 PM #21
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker


I have hosted a number of seminars and always found that they worked quite well. It might not be "instant business", but it pays off in the long run.

Your post reminds me that I should host another one.

So thanks!

Brian Madigan




Jun 15, 2009 01:58 PM #22
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTORĀ® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I am just about to start a series of public seminars on short sales. Out team is highly efficient at this, and this not just another listing. If I get just 3 short sale listings in an hour's time, then that is 3 clinets that we can rescue and create raving fans. Have Powerpoint will travel!

Jun 16, 2009 01:14 AM #23
Toronto, ON

Stephen - Thanks for the great posting.  I have been thinking about hosting seminars.

By the way, I visited Cobourg for the first time last weekend during an evening drive.  Cobourg has a very impressive waterfront park and main street.  It is certainly a destination to visit in the future.


Jun 17, 2009 03:42 PM #24
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