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How To Easily Increase Your Sales By More Than $2m/yr!!

Real Estate Agent with Lake & City Homes Realty

Think your pipeline is empty? Feeling discouraged about the dreary housing market? Think buyers are scarcer than snow in July?

Guess again, my friends. Your pipeline is full. In fact it is so chock full of buyers (and sellers) right now you have no idea how much you can grow your business!

How am I so sure about this? Let me explain.

Over the past five years I added approximately $12.5m in sales to my bottom line by using a very simple technique that was so successful it has resulted in my cutting ties with my broker at the start of 2009 and launching my own real estate company.

Here's how I did it:

  1. My first client was a guy I met in a park (my then 4 year-old struck up a conversation with his daughter) (two transactions totaling $363K)
  2. I sold a house to the cashier at Ace Hardware ($302K)
  3. I sold a house to the salesgirl at Pottery Barn ($430K)
  4. I sold a house to the part-timer working at my son's after-school program ($195K)
  5. I sold a house to the photographer who took the photo for my business card ($145K)
  6. I sold a house to a guy I met at my son's after school program ($179,900)
  7. I sold a house to the guy who installed the siding on my house (he bought two properties!) ($600K)
  8. I sold a house to a guy I met in Paris 20 years prior for not more than 10 seconds and never saw again until he moved from MN to WI ($415K)
  9. I listed the parents' house of a girl who had played with my older siblings 30+ years ago when I was growing up, who lived out of state, and whom I had never met until she was referred to me by a neighbor ($257K)
  10. I listed a flat-fee MLS listing that I had showed (the owner's Mom and my Mom were friends years ago) and several more listings and sales of unrelated properties over a period of two years (total $2.3m)
  11. My biggest client turned out to be a guy my then 5 year-old met as a result of petting his dog while waiting in line for an ice cream cone (multiple transactions & referrals for Madison real estate over nearly five years totaling $7.12m)

What is the point here? It's that absolutely none of the above business came from my broker whatsoever (in fact, in five years I can count on one hand the number of referrals I got from my broker) and none of it came from direct marketing (in fact I have never done a direct mailing piece in my entire real estate career). All of it came from talking to people and handing out my business card (although most of the time I didn't even offer it unless they asked for it).

So the point is that if you think you don't have any good prospects, my friends, think again! All of the above business came completely naturally as a result of simply interacting with people who came into my life in very normal, mundane ways. As a result of all this extra business I've been in the top few percent of all Realtors in the South Central WI MLS every year for the past five years!

I currently have listed a very cute East Side bungalow belonging to my massage therapist ($150K) and am working on my AT&T customer service rep, three tellers at my bank, an old high school acquaintance, the receptionist at a local title company, and my sign designer! I'd probably have a lot more going on right now but I stopped talking to people for about two months while I was busy working on my new Madison real estate website!

So in these challenging times, folks, stay positive, believe in the value of your services, and don't underestimate how many people you already come into contact with on a regular basis who WILL turn into paying clients if you keep engaging them in an interested, genuine way!

In fact, whether you are feeling discouraged or not, whether you feel your pipeline is full or not, whether or not you're excited about the 2009 housing market, I challenge every single person reading this blog post to go out and ask every single person that you come into contact with on a regular basis for their business. And keep doing it, even if they're not interested at first. Then report back here how your business has grown.

It might take awhile, so go ahead and bookmark this page so you can find it when you're ready to report back later!

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I also welcome hearing from anyone who has already bought or listed a property on behalf of someone they met just going about their daily business like the examples I've shown above.

Thanks in advance everybody - I look forward to reading your success stories!


P.S. Guess what I found when I was helping my seller stage his house the other day? A fridge magnet from the agent who sold him the house!! That is the power of talking to people, folks (I've been talking to this seller on and off about his house for the last two years) rather than relying on marketing gimmicks.

Richard Shuman
The Only B.S. I Have is from the University of Massachusetts - Lake Mary, FL
Real Estate Broker - Orlando Area - Love Referrals

great idea - whatever it takes - It's going to be a great 2009 for all of us!

Feb 08, 2009 02:17 AM
Lynn Grimes
Keller Williams Realty - Garland, TX

Wonderful networking ideas!  Why do we make it so hard when it is right there in front of us?  This is a good swift kick in the pants for those of us who say there are no buyers and sellers out there!  Who feel it is time to retire from real estate!  All we have to do is open our mouths and say hi my name is......

Thank you Jolenta for sharing and kicking!

Feb 08, 2009 02:21 AM
Jolenta Averill
Lake & City Homes Realty - Madison, WI

@Richard: that's the spirit!

@Lynn: thank you for saying that, you are so right!

...I can feel my mojo returning already...!

Feb 08, 2009 02:24 AM
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.

The majority of my business is from past clients and their referrals--connecting with people is so much more important than brokerage affiliation.  I think I'll take my very cute 3-year old granddaughter to the park more often!

Feb 08, 2009 02:27 AM
Jolenta Averill
Lake & City Homes Realty - Madison, WI

@Norma: That's great! The other half (easily that or more) of my business also comes from past clients and their referrals. And yes, my now 9 year-old likes to take a LOT of credit for my success in real estate. ;-)

Feb 08, 2009 02:31 AM
Treva Fox-Christy

Thanks for the encouragement. Somedays you just need a little extra. Thanks for the boost!

Feb 08, 2009 02:35 AM
Dan and Amy Schuman
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Solon, OH
Luxury Home Specialists

You seem to do a great job of simply working your sphere. Nice job.

Feb 08, 2009 04:24 AM
Elizabeth Bolton
RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA
Cambridge MA Realtor

Hi Jolenta, That's an inspiring list. You're clearly doing things right.  And your new website looks great!  I've bookmarked this post for inspiration - network, network, network.


Feb 08, 2009 12:57 PM
Jolenta Averill
Lake & City Homes Realty - Madison, WI

@Dan and Amy: Thanks! It's funny, until I read your message I never really thought I had a sphere!

@Liz: I'm not sure talking to the hairdresser and drycleaner really constitutes "networking" but thank you very much for the vote of confidence!

And thanks for bookmarking my post - that really means a lot to me!

Feb 08, 2009 01:09 PM
Kathie Shandro
Denver Homes For Sale - Denver, CO
RE/MAX Leaders - Denver Real Estate

Hey Jolenta - Love your post! I'm now "following" you on AR, too.

Your post succinctly defines the scope and sequence of Real Estate 101: prospect, qualify, close. If we keep doing that, we're going to have an outrageously fabulous year!

Feb 14, 2009 04:31 AM
Jolenta Averill
Lake & City Homes Realty - Madison, WI

Hi Kathie, Thanks for the great comment! I'm now working on listing my mother's insurance agent's house and buying him and his wife a replacement property. And I did not even think of targeting him - I met him completely randomly and he realized I must be their daughter because we have the same name! Just goes to show you what would happen if we all leveraged every one of our contacts - and contact's contacts - to the max! I could have gotten his business card when I saw him coming down their driveway a few month's prior but didn't. Luckily, someone referred me to him and things turned out this way. He also introduced me to a really great lender the other day who is working on some joint advertising for us now, first-time homebuyer seminars and a lake listing! Talk about hitting the jackpot! -Jolenta

Feb 14, 2009 11:14 AM