Go into any real estate office and you will typically see 3 very different types of agents.
First, you will see the social butterflies. You know when these agents arrive at the office. They go around and say hello to everyone. They encourage others and openly share ideas. They aren’t worried about their competition, but they like to help and be a positive example to others. They are energetic and happy - they are confident, but not conceded.
Then you have the worker bees. These are the people who are machines. They come in with minimal interaction with others, and they grind it out day after day. They don’t have time, in their minds, to talk to anyone unless it benefits their purpose. These agents place less value on relationships, and see real estate as more of a numbers game. If they call 40 people and hear 39 no’s, and 1 yes then today that is a good day.
And last, you have the time wasters. At first glance, you might think the social butterflies are time wasters, but they are not. Time wasters are agents who ask others for their advice of how to handle a problem or solution, and then do the exact opposite. They may or may not stop in the office. They certainly don’t cultivate real estate relationships unless it falls right in their lap. They waft through real estate, and are not disciplined in their approach.
In the past, the worker bees have been very successful in real estate. But now as the market has changed, the social butterflies have taken the lead, and here is why. The social butterflies are relationship driven. It is hard for social butterflies to understand the difference between friendships and clients. They kind of melt together. They care about their clients, and have quite the busy calendar. Their clients are raving fans of theirs, and so referrals are a huge part of their business.
Different kind of agents can be successful, however as social media is dominating society it will be harder and harder for someone who is not a social butterfly to be able to be successful in real estate. Worker bees will be grinding it out day after day focusing on prospecting new clients via cold calling and door knocking. However, there is a problem. While the worker bee is concentrating on getting new clients they could be working on getting referrals from existing clients, who are raving fans of theirs. But the worker bees have to care about their clients, they can’t fake it. Their clients will know if they did.
As more and more people gravitate to social media, typically the worker bees are nowhere near those platforms. The social butterflies, however, thrive in that environment. They are liking and commenting on their clients and friends’ pages, and best of all their audience can feel that the social butterfly cares about them and their family. They share their life, and they are transparent.
You see, the worker bees didn’t ebb and flow to the new market and the new society. That is where they went wrong.
So back to my confession. In my previous description of the different types of agents I am sure you have figured out that Mark and I are social butterflies. It is just how we are wired.
However, in 2014 after Mark almost died of a blood clot in his leg, it took a devastating blow on our business. We were a part of a brokerage at the time that was changing due to a nasty divorce between the brokerage owners. Back then we were dealing with Mark getting better and now have to change brokerages, which we did in the end of 2014. It was like our business hit a brick wall, and we had to pick up the pieces and move on.
We trusted our new branch manager who said he would help us “grow our business”, and have an incredible year. The manager was fast talking, and smooth in his approach. He talked a good game. We moved our entire team over and started having monthly meetings with the manager to do business planning.
It was then that the manager told us we should door knock and cold call on a consistent basis. “That is how the agents here get multi-million dollar listings.” He then went on to share with us how an agent he had coached had door knocked a community of a multi-million-dollar community by scaling the wall every day. The seller was so impressed with the agent’s tenacity that he hired him immediately. It didn’t sound right, but hey, this branch manager was looking out for the best interest for The Stevenson Team, right? So, Mark and I set up a time to go door knock a community that our manager had recommended. I wasn’t scaling any walls, I drew the line there.We grabbed another agent on our team and travelled to the community to begin door knocking. We targeted a specific community that was recommended to us by our branch manager, and as we were driving there my hands were literally shaking. I hate when people door knocks my home, and now I am going to do the same to someone else? How is that even close to being right?
As we drove in the community I felt nauseous. I didn’t want to do it. The agent we took with us made a comment that she had never seen me look so nervous before. In the end, it wasn’t so bad but I felt like a huge hypocrite doing it and vowed never to do it again. It was incongruent to my beliefs.
I also discovered something else. The amount of marketing materials from agents on these homes was ridiculous. The worst part was, most of them were from people in our office. Later on, I found out that the branch manager had told all of the agents to go after that same community.
I tried for 6 months to follow the advice of this branch manager, trying to make me into something I am not. In the end, we almost went bankrupt doing something that goes against our core. The problem was the manager was trying to change us to worker bees and not letting us flourish in the social butterfly’s that we are, and will always be.
I also discovered the web of lies the branch manager had sold us during the time we worked at his branch. It turns out that the agent scaling the wall to get a listing, that wasn’t even close to true. The truth was the mother of the agent was friends with the owner and referred him, that is how he gained the listing. Oh yeah, and he never sold the home either. It expired and someone else from a different brokerage sold it.
Then I went to the agents that were targeting the same neighborhoods, in our same brokerage. When I asked them how they had chosen that community, they told me the branch manager had told them to go after it. Why would a branch manager have 6 great, top agents target the same neighborhood? I had to find out why.
At this point the whole relationship between the branch manager and myself deteriorated rapidly. I didn’t trust him, and quite frankly, I saw him as a liar. I convinced Mark to move to a new brokerage and so we met the branch manager one last time to resign from the brokerage and have a candid conversation. I confronted him on his lies, and he admitted to them. His reason was self-serving. He wanted us to go out and dominate the local market, and if we believed his stories then we would execute on them. I went on to ask him why he told me to go after a particular neighborhood when he had already told 5 other agents to do the same?
The branch manager replied, “I knew you knew how to market yourself and that you would spend a lot of money marketing in that community. My brokerage was new and I wanted to get a stronghold on the neighborhood, and would do it through your marketing. While you were marketing yourself, you were also marketing my brokerage.” I think that might have been the most truthful thing he ever said to me. We wished him luck in the future and bid him farewell.
With that we left and headed to our new brokerage, Reliance Real Estate Services. Once we went back to what we knew and what worked for us, our business that was failing started to thrive. We won top awards for our company and ended 2016 and 2017 in the top 10 agents from the company, last year we were #1 for our branch as well. More importantly, we are at a 94% referral rate and have 5 star ratings from our very valued clientele.
A year ago, that same brokerage and branch manager that we worked with previously opened an office in our local area. We received calls and recruitment meetings to rejoin them. While I liked the services, I received from that brokerage, I would never work for someone who openly lies to his agents.
So, my confession is one time I tried to be something I am not, and it took a devastating effect on my business. You can’t make an introvert and extrovert, and you can’t take a social butterfly and make them a worker bee. The two are incongruent with each other.
When it was all said and done, we decided we would begin writing our sales philosophy down in our own book, The Value-Driven Approach to Selling Real Estate. We gave away copies for free, and set about our mission which is to cultivate relationships and help people each and every day. Whether it is our clients, or other agents we help others. It is who we are.
If you haven’t yet received a copy of our book, and would like to have us send one to you free of charge, please contact us at www.Book4FreeHelp4Charity.com. We will pop one in the mail to you.
So, in conclusion, always be true to your character and who you are. If you aren’t people will know, and they won’t trust you. In the end, you will not be successful or fulfilled. That doesn’t sound like much fun now, does it?