Reflections on Jake's Success

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

I'm glad so many of you enjoyed the Jake Series. I, myself, have become attached to him, so you'll probably see him around occasionally.

As you may have figured out, Jake is me. Jake's story is my story, although of course that I didn't "discover" SOI on Active Rain back in 1996, and, truth be told, I did struggle with my expenses during my high-production years (although I didn't spend the money on personal marketing; I spent it going WAY above and beyond what was necessary to service my listings which may have contributed somewhat to my SOI success. Got lots of referrals.) But otherwise, his story pretty much follows my own real estate career.

SOI came naturally to me; in fact, it wasn't until I discovered the online real estate community that I realized most agents didn't have a strong SOI business model. I was stunned that agents were beating the streets the way they were, when plenty of business was surely just sitting there, waiting to be plucked! Thus, began my passion for spreading the word.

SOI was natural to me BECAUSE I was/am an introvert, not IN SPITE of that fact. Confused? Well, my fellow Ntros will understand this better than the Extros, probably. We introverts tend to overanalyze everything before we do it. We always look at the situation from the other guy's perspective (it can be paralyzing sometimes, but often it works to our benefit). We ask ourselves "What's in it for HIM?" before asking "What's in it for ME?" Yeah, seriously, we do!

So, therefore, before we implement a marketing strategy or even make a phone call, we ask ourselves how the other person might receive us (our farming postcard or phone call, etc.). For example, my very first broker handed me a stack of Dorky Announcement Cards and told me to mail them out to everyone I knew. I looked at that DAC and was puzzled. It was a glossy, flashy, "professionally" done postcard extolling the virtues of Coldwell Banker and, of course, the professionalism and dedication of the real estate agent whose business card was enclosed.

I thought it was silly. I mean, what would I do if I received this card? Toss it, probably, with barely a second glance. So, I wrote my own announcement letter. Seemed like a no-brainer.

My friend Loreena Yeo wrote to me privately yesterday playing Devil's Advocate. Here's what she asked:

"Is Jake running on a stream of good luck? Say, he started in the mid-90s and had his 5 years into early 2001? I do not deny that Jake probably work very hard. But do you feel that a good momentum for an agent also depends on timing of when he enters into real estate? Would you say that in a down market, that it is probably harder to get the gears rolling? Even for an experienced agent, getting 25 transactions is not easy. What say you?"

Do you have the same question?

I'll answer it, from my perspective anyway... in a little bit. (Don't want to make this blog too long! I tend to do that; trying to quit).

Until then...


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Janie Coffey
First Coast Sotheby’s International Realty - Ponte Vedra, FL
Uniting Extraordinary Homes w/ Extraordinary Lives
Loreena's question is a great one and one that was bothering me as well.  My partner and I started our Real Estate Careers in the end of 05, just as the market started to come to a screeching halt.  We work VERY hard and have a great SOI, but sales have been slow, shaky and hard-won.  When I read Jake's story, it depressed me in a way, as it just seemed so easy, you see, we don't mind hard work, but we would like to have a few more "bones" thrown our way.  Our market right now is tough, as is most.  yesterday i received notice from THREE of our sellers they were finally ready to reduce their asking prices, I was elated.... The sellers who aren't conscious and open to understand today's market are living off of yesterday's dollars and the buyer's want the "steal" the media tells they them should have.  Few are being reasonable at all right now.  I must say business is starting to pick up little by little, and we have some very good prospects in the pipeline, but it is a long hard battle for a new agent.  One that has taken both me and my partner to our emotional and financial and spiritual limits at times.  It is a good thing we have such faith in and love for God, each other and our industry or we wouldn't still be here staring the iight at the end of the tunnel down.  One note: when it finally does really pick up, everything is going to seeem sooooo easy after this start!
Sep 26, 2007 12:31 AM #1
Faith LaRosse
Springer Realty Group - Wyomissing, PA
Serving Berks, Chester & Montgomery Counties
Jennifer...first let me begin by saying that I'm sorry to see the Jake Story has come to it's close--each morning I've been looking forward to seeing how Jake's progressing;)  As for your friends question regarding beginning a real estate career in a market such as we are in now...well, I will stay tuned for that continuing one of those "hungry newbies" I have to say I look at it as initiation...after all, if listings and buyers were falling into my lap, hand over fist (wow that was alot of body part analogies!) I wouldn't be learning about farming, marketing, etc.  I wouldn't have time to further my education...right? Thanks, Jennifer for all your great posts!
Sep 26, 2007 12:32 AM #2
Kelly McDonald
Lagrange, KY
Hi Jennifer, I agree with Loreena and wonder the same thing.  I'm looking forward to hearing your response!
Sep 26, 2007 12:42 AM #3
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents
I am glad I'm not the only person who thought that...... and Jennifer, I didnt want to publicly catch you by surprise hence, I emailed you privately...... Glad you didnt mind at all.
Sep 26, 2007 01:39 AM #4
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Nope, Loreena, I didn't mind. In fact, I'd much rather be asked and offered the opportunity to discuss it rather than for my friends to simply think "Well, good for him/her, but it won't work for ME!"

Yes, it will. Well, maybe. I have my response all drafted up and will post it soon!

Sep 26, 2007 01:51 AM #5
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales
I'm also looking forward to your response to Lorena's question - but I do need to say that even in a slow market, certain agents seem to be kicking butt as always, though maybe not AS much... while others just whine about the poor market.
Sep 26, 2007 01:51 AM #6
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Karen - that's a good point. My very best years were in 2000 and 2001 which were really tough in the Denver market. 9/11 was just the icing on the cake, so to speak. As I've mentioned before, in July of 2000 (when the market tumbled without any warning), I had 27 fully staged listings (that I paid to stage) on the market, not one of them under contract. Most of them eventually withdrew from the market, leaving me with some extremely high marketing bills with no offsetting commission checks. It was painful. But, somehow, that was the year I made over $300,000 (although my expenses were over 50% of that, mostly due to some bad financial decisions I made while the market was still flying high!) 

Believe me, I'm no Smarty Pantz and I made my share of poor decisions. But SOI certainly wasn't one of them!

Sep 26, 2007 01:58 AM #7
Allen C. Wright
RealtyU - Aliso Viejo, CA

There are a lot of ways to earn business in real estate.  The point of Jake's story is to work the ways that work well for you.  Each agent in this industry has a different skill set ... understanding your skill set and finding what activities work best with your skill set is the hardest part of this industry. 

Example:  I have two clients that produce about the same amount of business and are both the "agent" that brokers would kill to have ... one does 2-3 open houses 2-3 weekends every month and gets most of her business from open houses, however, she is horrible on the phone and cannot seem to get a floor-call to convert.  She will do open houses for any agent as well as her own listings.

My other client is fantastic on the phone and can convert calls to appointments at least 50% of the time.  However she is horrible at doing open houses ... she does not enjoy the social chit-chat that she encounters at open-houses ... hence she takes every opportunity to cover floor-call shifts.

Finding your skill set and working that skill set is part of maturing in this industry.

The end note is do what you do well.  Keep doing it and prosper.

Sep 26, 2007 03:59 AM #8
John MacArthur
Century 21 Redwood - Washington, DC
Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes

Jennifer - I look forward to your reply to the question. My personal belief is that relationship marketing will work in any market. The rate of success an agent enjoys will be directly proportionate to their market. The difference between spending money on postcards and other vanity marketing during good times and bad is simply how quickly you notice your expenses. During good times, an agent can be nickled and dimed here and there and never notice the expense or the return on investment. When the market changes and sales become more difficult to achieve, every expense is magnified and every investment is scrutinized for a return.

Those that practice relationship marketing will find their expenses are never excessive. They will struggle to complete sales like everyone else in their market during slow periods. They will experience more sales when the market is up just like everyone else.

People seem to think how you create and work a customer base will automatically impact your production. It does not. Those that use relationship marketing just seem to have more opportunities to accomplish sales. The purpose of this and any other marketing plan is to increase an agents opportunities. There is no market plan that can change market conditions.

That being said, maybe Jake (Jennifer) would not have realized the same sales volumn if the market were different. We will never know, because the results are tied to those market conditions. What we can focus on is that if Jake (Jennifer) had not marketed in this way....the results may not have been the same.

There is no factual "my way is better than your way."  There is only admonition that which ever way you choose to market, you will have a better chance of succeeding if your plan dovetails to your strengths. If you choose to market in that fashion, it will cease to feel like work and you will enjoy each day. Your success will be dependent on your skills as an agent. Your marketing plan will only provide you with the opportunity to succeed or fail. If you choose the right marketing plan, you will increase your opportunities which should result in an increase in production.

Phew............O.K. I will await your next post.

Sep 26, 2007 06:24 AM #9
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul
JMac - you stole some of my thunder and did it gracefully and eloquently. My version is not nearly so well-stated, and I have a few things to add, but yes... in a nutshell.... yes.
Sep 26, 2007 06:59 AM #10
Dena Stevens Coriz
Rocky Mountain Realty - Canon City, CO
Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004
Off the subject as usual, but why are you always referring to the Denver Market? Or is it just an example?
Sep 26, 2007 11:45 AM #11
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul
My real estate experience is in Denver. I sold real estate there for 10 years.
Sep 26, 2007 12:28 PM #12
Rob Baldwin
REALTOR, Santa Clarita
Jennfer, nothing short of a great job. Thank you so much for the motivational message you bring, and the awsome comments. Looking forward to the next issue!
Sep 26, 2007 01:07 PM #13
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Thanks Rob. I enjoyed this one so much, I'm looking forward to the next one as well...

What shall we name her and what's her story? Get me started.

Sep 26, 2007 11:36 PM #14
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