What I've Learned about Growing My Business

By
Real Estate Agent with Certified Realty Services BRE# 00572654

What I've Learned about Growing My Business

Bill McFadden's Challenge asks us to tell "what you’ve learned in your real estate career".  Here's what I've learned during my 37-year real estate career in about 745 words:

  • If an agent has the motivation and drive to succeed, they'll figure out what is necessary to achieve that success and they'll do those things.  There are no secret methods to success in real estate sales.

  • They'll discover that having listings is essential to success.  Listings are the: (1) agent's employment contracts, (2) inventory that attracts buyers, and (3) the best way to have some control over their time and scheduling.  Without listings an agent is unemployed. 

  • Agents get paid in direct proportion to their ability to secure listing contracts signed by motivated sellers.  Seller's motivation will fix price, but proper pricing improves an agent's efficiency.

  • Agents can control their business when they learn how to consistently secure listings with motivated sellers.

  • Massive prospecting is the key to finding prospective clients who are more motivated to buy/sell than you are to help them buy/sell them property.

  • A great listing presentation is essential for converting listing leads into signed listing contracts, and that presentation must contain compelling benefits and demonstrate the value of the agent's services.

  • Learn as much as possible because that knowledge plus good judgment add great value to the agent's service.  Never stop learning: read, listen to real estate CDs in the car; attend classes and conferences, preview new listings and study the sales in your market areas, and talk to experienced experts in real estate and related industries.  There is no substitute for knowing all the listings and sales in a neighborhood where you're trying to get listings.

  • Learn something from every failure.  For every failure ask yourself what you could have done to prevent it.  Don't blame or complain about others for failures because most likely there was something you could have done to prevent that failure.

  • Always work with an exclusive employment contract, either a listing or a buyer-broker contract, but be willing to first invest time and energy to demonstrate you're worthy of the client's trust and loyalty.  You must believe that that exclusive contract is in the client's best interest.  If you don't believe that then you must acquire the skills, knowledge and expertise to believe it.

  • Have the self-discipline to do the activities you don't want to do like talking to FSBOs and Expired Listings, or door knocking.  You must chop the wood to get the heat.  Someone (I don't remember who) said and I believe:  "Plan your work and work your plan".  I'd add "daily"-- Plan your work daily.  Be a tough boss of yourself.

  • Invest a portion of every commission into prospecting for more business, and for education and training.

  • Learn to recognize the feeling of greed so you can be vigilant and defend against it, and don't try to double-end transactions.  

  • Don't worry about the money; if you do the work the money will follow.

  • Honesty needs no memory, and all the truth always comes out eventually.

  • Even if it means losing business, specialize.  The client benefits from an agent's specialization. Experts specialize. 

  • To relieve stress don't: (1) promise more than you can deliver; (2) procrastinate giving bad news; (3) succumb to the temptation of telling anxious clients what they want to hear in order to allay their anxiety; and (4) guarantee anything you can't control.

  • Focus listing efforts in a small geographic area, or a niche market. 

  • Many homeowners want to list with the local neighborhood expert so geographic farming works when done consistently with repetitive contacts by mail (newsletters and Just Listed/Just Sold postcards), door knocking, and Open House signs.  (The largest producers in my marketplace are geographic farmers of large areas who use direct mail repeatedly and consistently.)

  • Once you give your opinion about market value the prospective client's mind often shuts down. Therefore, don't give your opinion of market value without first showing, in detail, how you came to your conclusion (I compare each good comp to the subject property with the prospective client's involvement),  and without first presenting how your service benefits a seller and adds value for them.

  • It's easiest to get a well-priced listing when you already have several because you're prepared to walk away if it's not.
  • Develop continuous prospecting system for buyers and sellers which operates on auto-pilot.

Lloyd Binen

Broker/Realtor/BRE 572654

Certified Realty Services

19200 Shubert Drive

Saratoga, CA 95070

Certified Residential Specialist (CRS); Graduate Realtor's Institute (GRI)

(408) 373-4411

Comments (59)

Eric Nelson, III
Silicon Valley Capital Funding - Campbell, CA
Eric O. Nelson, III

Lloyd,

A terrific summary of vital data about our industry! As someone who has been in the lending side of our industry for 26 years, there are many similarities about what we do for our clients and employees.

Thanks for the share!

 

Eric

Sep 23, 2013 02:34 AM
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Such wise advice here, and good reminders to all of us, no matter years in the biz.  That emphasis on continuing ed is an important one, too.

Sep 23, 2013 02:35 AM
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411

Jennifer, thanks.  That's probably the toughest--doing what you don't like doing to achieve a goal.

Maureen, thank you for your kindness.  I wish I was as good at what I do as you are at what you do.

Debbie, thanks.  Yep, prospect, prospect, prospect.

Norma, as I mentioned to Praful, working with a contract--either a buyer-broker or listing contract--is the essential thing.  Sellers are just more accustomed to signing contracts (the listing)  than buyers are.

Thank you, Gita.

Kat, thanks.  If I don't make the same mistake twice, I'm happy.  To be honest, there's a mistake I've made way too many times.  Not with sellers or buyers; with cooperating agents.

Richard, thanks.  I know you already know this stuff.

Ray, thank you.

Jack, "hard work and honesty"--absolutely agreed.

Nina, thanks.  I know you know this stuff.  Another stress-reducer is a couple glasses of good Cabernet, but I intentionally omitted that one.

Michael, I think so too.

Harry, thanks.  So far that has worked and I've been the sole bread-winner.  But I'm also a tough boss of myself.

Thank you, Richie.

Eli, be patient, consistent and persistent.  

Paul, you're welcome.  You and your partners will have lots of reading to do.

Mike, you're welcome and thank you.

John, you're welcome and thanks for reading and commenting.

Mike,  Interesting.  Do you get buyer-broker contracts?  Buyers can be more gratifying and they're easy to find with listings.  Buyers also refer more business since sellers often move out of the area.

Marc, I hope it's helpful.

Ira, you're welcome.

Audrey, thanks for reading and for your comment.

Sep 23, 2013 02:56 AM
Kelly Young
The Platinum Group Realtors - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Real Estate ~ 719-226-0126

Lloyd, your list is definitely from a seasoned veteran and I loved the stay educated, watch for greed and would add be willing to walk away from a listing if it is not right for you or your customer.  

Sep 23, 2013 05:00 AM
Kevin A. Guttman-Author, ReverseMortgageSpecialist
NMLS #384936 - Colorado Springs, CO
877-251-9709

Lloyd,

This is GREAT advice.

Thank you for posting today!

Kevin

 

Sep 23, 2013 05:04 AM
David Nicholson
Coldwell Banker - Saint John, NB
Get Packin!

Lloyd,

It is always good to hear from a REALTOR® who has invested his life in the business - I appreciate your taking the time to share your insights and will strive to refine my own efforts.

As a professional, we must always keep before us the ideal that we are here to serve our clients (both sellers and buyers) and the better we hone our skills, the better we can achieve success for them and ourselves!

Thanks again.

David

Sep 23, 2013 07:06 AM
David Nicholson
Coldwell Banker - Saint John, NB
Get Packin!

Lloyd,

It is always good to hear from a REALTOR® who has invested his life in the business - I appreciate your taking the time to share your insights and will strive to refine my own efforts.

As a professional, we must always keep before us the ideal that we are here to serve our clients (both sellers and buyers) and the better we hone our skills, the better we can achieve success for them and ourselves!

Thanks again.

David

Sep 23, 2013 07:06 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Hi Lloyd,

I appreciate your perspective and observations along the road. And, I must agree, listings are where it's at if you want to make some money, and still have time for a life. Oh, and yes, focus on a niche or small area - I like being a neighborhood specialist, and a green resource. It's finally starting to pay off...

Congrats on the feature too.

Sep 23, 2013 07:23 AM
John Meussner
Mortgages in AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, MD, MT, NC, NJ, NV, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

Wow Lloyd, congrats on the well deserved feature.  That is a great list that any new or experienced agent could benefit from.  Many of your words of wisdom work across many different business ventures.  Thanks for the great post.

Sep 23, 2013 08:10 AM
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease

Lloyd, 

Love your message.  Specializing is a great way to go as well as consistent farming.  The confidence you exude is huge, too!

All the best, Michelle

Sep 23, 2013 08:38 AM
Marti Steele Kilby, CRS
Steele Group Realty - La Mesa, CA
Broker/Owner, San Diego, CA

LLoyd, you nailed it!  I'm bringing several brand new agents onboard and will share your sage advice :) 

Sep 23, 2013 09:31 AM
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Lloyd, thanks for sharing your years of experience. Especially I have followed the "don't" list: I don't say what potential sellers or buyers want to hear, but what I know based on my experience. I was told at the very beginning of my career: "list to last." Listings are employment for a Realtor®.

Sep 23, 2013 11:17 AM
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411

Eric, I'm sure there are lots of similarities.

Li, I'm also a big fan of continuing education and learning as much as possible.

Kelly, Thanks.  I've been lucky to be here in Silicon Valley where we've usually had a strong market so most listings sell.  But certainly there are times it's better to walk.

Kevin, you're welcome and thank you.

Will, so you have family up here!  Sorry, I didn't know your uncle, Hugh Allen, but it's a small town so I wouldn't be surprised if our paths crossed in the Village or at the Safeway.  Thanks.

David, thank you for the kind and thoughtful comment that I most certainly agree with.

Debb, thanks.  If you work your neighborhood I believe it will pay-off big time if you're patient, consistent and tenacious and have a listing presentation that shows the benefits of hiring a pro like you.  I think nieghbors love to see local listings and sales in newsletters or postcards.  

John, you're welcome and thank you.

Michelle, thank you.  The biggest and most consistent producers in my marketplace are geographic farmers.  A few of them door knock, but most mail newsletters and post cards with listings and sales from the MLS plus color post cards with their own new listings and sales.  Then their open house signs for the repetition.

Marti, thank you and good luck with the newbies.

Pamela, thank you.

Sep 23, 2013 01:15 PM
Jennifer Shenbaum
Jennifer Buys Houses - Redondo Beach, CA

Great advice that can applied today.  Thanks for the post!

Sep 23, 2013 09:25 PM
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411

Jennfier, you're welcome and thanks for commenting.

Sep 24, 2013 10:27 AM
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Lloyd-Those thirty-seven (37) years of experience in the  have not been wasted. Great tips, thanks.

Sep 24, 2013 11:51 PM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Lloyd, These are great lessons and would help any newbie getting into the business lay out a business plan. 

Sep 28, 2013 10:03 PM
Jaclyn Erwin
Jackson Erwin Realty, Inc. - Charlotte, NC
ABR,SFR, REALTOR®/BROKER, Charlotte NC.

"Never Stop Learning"----Wonderful Advice. When we stop learning, we are accepting failure. This is such a wonderful profession, where there's always changes and new ways to problem-solve, master systems, and provide our clients with excellent service. 

Sep 30, 2013 01:09 PM
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411

Wayne, you're welcome and thank you for stopping by and commenting.

Debbie,  that would be nice if this helps some newbies.

Jaclyn, that's how I see this profession also; there's always something new and different to keep things fresh and never boring.  It has been like that for 37 years.

Sep 30, 2013 02:11 PM
Paul McFadden
Responsive Pest Control - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Lloyd: Thanks for participating in our contest and sharing so much. I wish you well the rest of this week!

Oct 10, 2013 02:46 AM