Real Estate Is A Sink Or Swim Business | No Treading Water To Thrive

Services for Real Estate Pros with RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired 104763




It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog post, other than sharing a photo of my great grandchildren.  Thinking about a topic that interests me is a challenge.

I can remember when I joined ActiveRain on Sept. 30, 2009 and was totally intimidated, Lenn Harley told me to write what I know. I think I knew more then than I do now!!

I’m now retired, after 42 years in the real estate business. My last 10+ years have been dedicated to marketing. I made the phone ring. I accomplished most of that by target marketing using direct mail postcards.

The phone is not ring very much right now, but no one is mailing postcards either!  It’s expensive. It must be done consistently. It requires some creativity. Those are the facts!

Having said that mouthful, it seems that this generation of real estate agents think less of “old school” methods than they should!!  Their website is the focus of their marketing.

Driving the general public to your website is a long journey. It’s a task that takes more time than any real estate agent who does not have deep pockets could survive. Websites are an important factor when it comes to consistent sharing of thoughts and information about the market, but there is life beyond the Internet!!

Being found in everyone’s mailbox is a much faster way to “shake that fruit from the tree.”  By the time enough fruit falls on your website to create a steady flow of income, you’ll be out of business.

Both online AND offline marketing are important and necessary to thrive. Surviving is like treading water, and that should never be a goal. Long, strong strokes that result in new business should be the game plan, but one needs to work properly to attain that status.

Do you have a game plan? Does it reflect enough activity to create something better than survival?

Just a simple thought for the moment….

Posted by



Barbara Todaro, Great Grandmother to Caleb, Santino, Aiden and Gianni       

Todaro Team - Retired



             Copyright © 2009 - 2021 Barbara Todaro

                               All Rights Reserved


Comments (66)

Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

To put it in perspective, you’re only going to hustle as much as you need to with how most people interact with their relationship to work, from what I can seem to gauge with most folks.

@ Lynn Friedman

Sep 10, 2020 10:56 PM
Barbara Todaro

I think the "hustle" aspect is as much as you are able to....some can hustle with no end in sight.... 

Sep 11, 2020 09:24 AM
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Well said Barbara! Most of our firm marketing has been nternet driven! It's interesting that our last sales meeting was about farming, and a new mailing piece. We are low on listings, so now we are back to old school!

Sep 11, 2020 05:30 AM
Barbara Todaro

why the hell wait until you're well is dry??????

Sep 11, 2020 09:24 AM
Sharon Miller
RE/MAX Platinum - Crane Hill, AL


Great post! You are spot on when you suggest now is not the time to be "treading water". The real estate industry will experience an exceptional level of change as we wade through the aftermath of the Covid-19 experience/economic shake up which has inudated our society. Studying behavior/routine changes taking place among our society, will help forward-thinking realtors adapt, create and implement techniques which address the new paradigms being established. Enjoy your new "vocation" husband says retirement is great!  

Sep 11, 2020 06:48 AM
Barbara Todaro

work was always great..... retirement will be what I make it to be.... once a real estate participant, always one..... now I don't put deals together, but my head is still in the business.....

Sep 11, 2020 09:26 AM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

There is no one better to listen to than you Barbara Todaro to make the phone ring, to get ahead or thrive. More than once you have inspired me, i could see more than dozens of times actually. When covid hit and i sat in my chair staring waiting for the flowers to come up and grass turn green. I was reading my AR looking back at your old blogs. I was inspired to do something and something you said kept me going. I opted to start a community site on Social media, not just any community site, and not just slap a community name on it. I went city wide (Manchester NH), go big or go home i thought. In five months i am up 2800 followers. I have got 3 listings directly, i have got 2 buyers directly and reminded countless others what i do, posting my Monday market reports to my site, It is not mailing, but it is posting online which takes more time than money. But an effort that paid off and an effort i would not have even tried if it wasnt from reading your blog that day real estate stopped because of covid.  Thank you for sharing what you know

Sep 11, 2020 06:54 AM
Barbara Todaro

that was a nice comment to read.... thank you so much....covid didn't stop you.... and it shouldn't.....  congrats on your success....

Sep 11, 2020 09:28 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Hi Barbara - old school is a good school to attend. I always appreciate your perspective, experience, and advice. Agree with you 100% too.  It must feel good to be retired, I'm sure you're still very disciplined with your schedule though. :) 

Sep 11, 2020 08:07 AM
Barbara Todaro

the way I've worked for the past 20 years, it seems I've been retired for that long!!!!  and "old school" is the school of choice today..... Internet is NOT top dog!!

Sep 11, 2020 09:20 AM
Raymond Denton
Homesmart / Evergreen Realty - Dana Point, CA
Veteran Friendly Realtor®

I learned something from you several years ago, Barbara, and always think of it when I'm considering offline marketing.  I mentioned to you the reason I, and many other Realtors, don't do direct mail or newspapers or other hardcopy, was because it was too expensive.  You said years ago you negotiated lower rates with the folks you do business with, in exchange for regular business.  I didn't know that was possible, but because of you, it's now part of my strategy ... Thank You

Sep 11, 2020 09:09 AM
Barbara Todaro

there's always a way to create business....  congrats on finding yours.... keep that going....

Sep 11, 2020 09:30 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Barbara Todaro  You and a few others are the online GURUS I learned so much from you.I also have not been posting much as it was too difficult. The mailing was not so that I have been doing. Hopefully, soon market reports will be able to post them again. My phone has been ringing with past clients - lucky with the listing  not running buyers --- Love your posts 

Sep 11, 2020 09:16 AM
Barbara Todaro

Hi Hannah Williams when a "top shelf" agent needs business, that business will be there....I'm a firm believer.... you're at the top and your people know it....there will always be business....

Sep 11, 2020 09:32 AM
Linda Metallo DiBenardo
RE/MAX Impact, Lockport, Illinois - Lockport, IL

More words of wisdom from you Barbara.  I am "old school" and it's still working for me.  

Sep 11, 2020 12:42 PM
Barbara Todaro

Linda Metallo DiBenardo I think we will be seeing many more agents using "old school" methods more than online.... although, both are needed.....

Sep 11, 2020 12:45 PM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

You truly are the Queen of Direct Mail!  And it works!!  You have been so gracious to share ideas and campaigns with us all.  Direct Mail right now with so many people stuck at home is brilliant.  People want something in the mail other than bills.  Its so old its new! 

Lenn Harley called me a couple of times!  She  was a force to be reckoned with! Very helpful in an intimidating way... She liked to hear about Alaska and the Iditarod!  

Sep 12, 2020 12:26 AM
Barbara Todaro

you're a gem and gems cannot be intimidated.....  direct mail marketing works no matter what the market conditions might be..... happy you're participating ....

Sep 12, 2020 09:50 AM
Marina Garan
DEZER - Aventura, FL
South Florida Real Estate Agent

Well said Barbara!

Sep 12, 2020 09:40 AM
Barbara Todaro

thanks, Marina....

Sep 12, 2020 09:50 AM
Chris Griffith
Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL - Bonita Springs, FL
Bonita Springs Listing Agent

I too have not posted in a long time.  We sure had a lot of fun on Active Rain during the 'housing crisis'. I do come read every once in a while. I guess I'm a lurker now.

Sep 13, 2020 04:15 AM
Barbara Todaro

jump in and join the fun.... it IS fun....

Sep 13, 2020 08:49 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hi, Barbara!

I included your post in today's Last Week's Favorites post.

Sep 13, 2020 07:25 AM
Barbara Todaro

thank you, Patricia Kennedy 

Sep 13, 2020 08:48 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

I mail out 1,500-2200 postcards/month to a target audience:

500 ever month hit my database keeping in touch and the balance are my Just Listed/Just Solds hitting most likely to sell farms around the listing and also my database. One deal per year covers this entire plan expense.


I'm working a $650,000 deal this week because of one of those postcards received.

Sep 13, 2020 08:46 AM
Barbara Todaro

I'm sure I've said it in the past, but I'll say it again.... you're a Champion in the Real Estate Business.... you know your marketplace and you know how to make the phone ring from that area.... champions do that!! Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets 

Sep 13, 2020 08:48 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Every time I take your advice I get a healthy return on my Investment. Thank you 🤓

Happy Sunday Patriots fan, Barbara Todaro 

Sep 13, 2020 02:03 PM
Barbara Todaro

well, I think that's wonderful Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS congratulations..... 

Sep 13, 2020 03:25 PM
Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation
RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate - Victoria, BC
Accredited Real Estate Consultant

Barbara Todaro thanks from all of us for the kick start, direct mail keeps us top of mind with consumers and yes point people to us and our web sites for evidence we sell real estate.

Sep 14, 2020 06:27 PM
Barbara Todaro

that's wonderful.... glad it's working for you, Fred.....

Sep 15, 2020 02:19 PM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

I credit ActiveRain with providing me so much information ... and introducing me to some wonderful professionals, such as yourself Barbara Todaro.  You are/were an inspiration.  And yes, that includes your marketing prowess.  You've made me a firm believer in postcards.  You'll be happy to know I just did another mailing to my database.  I'm consistent, per your advice ... and that's resulted in real success.  So thank you thank you thank you.  And please, keep on sharing even in your retirement ...

As noted above, your new pic is wonderful!


Sep 15, 2020 02:17 PM
Barbara Todaro

I'll always share what I know.... and I'm very happy that you're having success with your mailing.... old school is the new way.... it's the best way.....especially during a pandemic... everyone reads their mail...

Sep 15, 2020 02:20 PM
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Hi Barbara, you are not the only one that is posting a heck of a lot less.  I have been busy trying to get a few things done and prioritize.  You are right: a physical reminder (card) is more effective than a train of emails or texts.  It shows that the sender has spent a bit of time and money to reach out.  It shows that this person is in a viable business.  And the card showcases your abilities and new listings, etc.  The card can be kept for a longer time than an email.  I think phone calls must be second best.  Possibly at the front is to go in person and talk face to face.  That takes a lot of time though, but still effective. 

I had to chuckle about the websites.  This generation and us older fogies have bought into the magic of the web.  While many have succeeded using its charms exclusively, so much more should be done.  

Thanks for the shot in the arm!

Sep 15, 2020 03:11 PM
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Barbara, this is such a powerful post...every chosen thought, word, phrase, sentence, paragraph is filled with  experience, knowledge and mentoring a major plan on how to succeed in the Real Estate Field.   I would like to reblog as I believe you gave us an excellent recipe on just how to do it.  Thank you, Barbara  I can just hear how your real estate business phones were 'ringing away.'  And like you once wrote in another post, it is the one who has the most listings that get the most calls as they have the most toys to play with.

Apr 08, 2021 09:38 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Barbara loved the Title and I am here because of a reblog from our friend Jane Caulkin-Schott...

My take even-though it is a cut throat business, kindness goes a long way... I am in an office that is well respected and we all get along with a few exceptions.... We are team players in a very competitive field... yes there are other agents who have land listings but when it comes to needing help they reach out to me... just on a side note I have 26 listings and five are in Escrow as we speak... but that can change on a moment's notice and I could be out of Escrow or out of clients... so it is good to be kind and gracious to not only the principals but our coworkers... they might help me out if I am in need, Endre

Apr 08, 2021 10:28 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

You're absolutely right about real estate being a sink or swim business, Barbara.  You can't simply tread water.

Apr 09, 2021 09:28 AM

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?