Florida Realtor November/December 2016 : Page 22

COVER STORY / FINDING SUCCESS Find My BY MICHELE LERNER 22 FLORIDA REALTOR / November/December 2016

Finding Success: My A-Ha Moment

Michele Lerner

AT A GLANCE

Even simple changes can have a huge impact.

Don’t let a lack of knowledge stand between you and opportunity.

Good organization is essential to growth.

Learn how these real estate professionals went from good to great by retooling their businesses.

The a-ha moment. It’s the time when something clicks in your career. It’s when something happens that clarifies exactly how much you still need to learn about your business. Or when a marketing idea works and you realize exactly why.

Most successful Realtors® can point to situations like these that have dramatically enhanced their businesses. Here are some a-ha moments to inspire you:

A-HA MOMENT: WHEN YOU REALIZE THAT A COACH CAN HELP YOU GET OVER THE HUMP

Patrick Stracuzzi was struggling to pay medical bills after he was severely injured in an accident caused by an uninsured truck driver. Initially, he attempted to return to his career in construction, but continuing medical and financial crises led him to hire a real estate agent to sell his family home. After that agent failed, Stracuzzi decided to go into real estate himself.

He wasn’t an instant success and struggled during his first few years in the business. In an attempt to ignite his real estate business, Stracuzzi signed up for a seminar organized by Howard Brinton and his Star Power network. Brinton became his personal coach.

“I listened to his tapes, attended his annual seminars and copied the success of other agents,” says Stracuzzi, who now owns the Patrick Stracuzzi Real Estate Team at RE/ MAX Community in Stuart. “My business grew, and I was able to hire a part-time assistant and then a full-time assistant,” he says.

From Brinton, Stracuzzi learned to spend time on the things that are valuable for his own happiness and to build relationships with buyers and sellers.

“He taught me that you need to stand up for yourself and your clients,” says Stracuzzi. Eventually, Brinton asked Stracuzzi to teach his program to others.

“When you teach, you learn,” says Stracuzzi. “I learned to grow my business by hiring people and becoming successful along with them.”

A-HA MOMENT: WHEN YOU REALIZE THAT SYSTEMS WILL MAKE YOU EVEN MORE SUCCESSFUL

Within two years after moving to Florida from Kentucky in 2004, Jesse McGreevy, a sales associate with Domain Realty Group in Estero, was earning a six-figure income—something he credits more to experimentation than inspiration. Because he was new to the market and didn’t have a local sphere of influence, he used trial-and-error and tinkering online to get leads.

“Eventually, I had a team of agents, but we had no organizational capacity—not even a team email account,” says McGreevy.

Finally, he realized he had to become better organized if he wanted to continue to grow. So he started investigating customer relationship management (CRM) software. The first products he considered seemed cumbersome and expensive. Then, McGreevy found software from a local company called Refindly.com that was effective and affordable.

Refindly offers a suite of software tools that sales associates can customize to take them through all the steps of a sale—from lead generation, through engagement, conversion of prospects into customers, the closing and beyond.

Now, McGreevy and his team have used Refindly to develop about 250 lead-generation websites using URLs tied to everything from broad community names to individual condo buildings.

McGreevy trains his sales associates to promote their listings on social media with links directly to their own websites, where they can capture contact information and follow up personally.

Thanks to better technology, McGreevy can control costs and handle leads more effectively. He says his administrative system of tracking progress on every lead has tripled his business.

A-HA MOMENT: WHEN YOU REALIZE THAT YOU CAN NEVER LEARN ENOUGH ABOUT REAL ESTATE

Because he’d invested in real estate in the past, Andrew Duncan thought he knew everything he needed when he started his career as a Realtor®. A year later, he knew better. In that 12 months he’d made just one sale— to his parents—and he’d discovered that finding customers and listings takes time.

Duncan could have walked away from the business. Instead, he increased his efforts to find leads and build his personal brand. And, most important, “I realized I had to work more and rededicate myself to learning the basics,” he says. “I signed up for every free seminar and webinar I could find and read everything I could about how to be a good real estate professional.”

The work paid off. Now Andrew Duncan is CEO and co-owner, with his wife, Angela, of The Duncan Duo & Associates at RE/MAX Dynamic in Tampa, and their business is thriving.

5 Things Successful Sales Associates Do Every Day

Real estate coach Tom Ferry says successful real estate professionals do the following daily:

1 Have a powerful morning routine that includes journal writing around goals, exercise and visualization.

2 Prospect a minimum of one hour per day with the objective of creating appointments.

3 Create a daily action checklist for the day/week/month ahead based on H.B.U.T (highest and best use of your time).

4 Go on one or more new appointments each day.

5 Read or listen to 10 pages of a book every day. (Always be learning!)

For more of Ferry’s insights into the importance of daily habits and time management, watch the following video: http://tomferry.com/blog/tomferryshow-episode- 60/#more-17900

8 TIPS FOR SUCCESS IN REAL ESTATE

1. Hire an assistant for administrative tasks.

2. Partner with other sales associates to share business expenses.

3. Be selective and work only with people who share your values and are trustworthy.

4. Educate yourself on technology and financing.

5. Hire a real estate coach or a life coach.

6. Provide customers with the services they really need, even if doing so doesn’t bring an immediate financial return.

7. Set up a robust database and keep it up to date with personal information.

8. Know your numbers, how your lead generation works and how much each lead costs.

A-HA MOMENT: WHEN YOU STEP UP TO OPPORTUNITY

Geri Westfall, a broker-associate with Adams, Cameron & Co. In Ormond Beach, says a turning point in her career came when the foreclosure crisis hit and a mortgage lender asked her to handle Bank of America’s properties.

“I said yes even though I didn’t know what that meant,” she says. “My assistant and I had to learn quickly how to use the foreclosure software, and then my business grew, adding other banks, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.” That was opportunity No. 1.

Westfall taught herself what she needed to know by asking vendors, contractors and lenders tons of questions.

Then came opportunity No. 2. Westfall quickly understood that the market dynamics of the housing crisis would make it difficult for some homeowners to sell. So she decided to open a property management business to help investors and homeowners generate income in their new role as reluctant landlords.

Today, she says, “Our business offers full-circle services because we can help buyers purchase foreclosures or private sales, provide property management services and then sell the property when they’re ready.

“We’ve built our business by being fair to other agents too, because if someone refers a property to us as a rental, we refer it back to that agent when the owners want to sell.”

A-HA MOMENT: WHEN YOU REALIZE THAT YOU CAN’T DO IT ALONE

For some real estate professionals, the a-ha moment comes when they realize that doing everything themselves is costing money. When Cosmo Spellings, a sales associate with Assurance Realty of NWFL LLC in Crestview, started selling real estate in 2004, the market was hot and he easily handled transactions ranging from $12,000 condos to $1 million homes. Once the housing crisis hit, however, Spellings reached out to banks and quickly became a top seller of foreclosures. He was busier than ever.

There was one big problem: “I was losing thousands of dollars in unreimbursed expenses from banks,” says Spellings. “I had to submit expenses within 30 days for things like utility bills that I had paid myself.” He knew he had to hire someone to help him with that end of his business, but he was reluctant to let go of control.

Finally, acknowledging that he would continue to lose money if he didn’t make a change, Spellings hired a highly organized administrative assistant to handle reimbursements from banks. That move proved successful, and he later brought on a buyer’s agent to ease his workload further.

“The hardest part of hiring help is that I am a workaholic, and it took me awhile to trust someone else to do some of my work,” admits Spellings.

Given the results, it was well worth the move.

Whether it’s learning how to use new software, hiring support staff or working with a coach, real estate professionals can boost their business or rebalance their lives for greater personal happiness.

Michele Lerner is a Virginia-based freelance writer.

Read the full article at http://browndigital.bpc.com/article/Finding+Success%3A+My+A-Ha+Moment/2614819/349218/article.html.

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