Featured Agent: Tracey Hall

Featured Agent: Tracey Hall

Fun Facts:

Tracey Hall is a Partner Agent at Rebecca Del Pozo & Co. She chose Keller Williams because a friend of hers recommended the company. She starts her day off with one cup of coffee and is a mom to three kids. If Tracey could open a KW office anywhere in the world, she would open one in Italy.

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5 Realtor Myths

 
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There are a few misconceptions about real estate careers that I'd like to address today. These are by no means the only ones (sadly), but there the one's that come up most often when I talk to people about this career. Okay, here we go...

Misconception #1: It's an easy job.

It's not.

It is a very rewarding career. It's a career that's challenging in some wonderful ways. It's a career in which you have the potential to define and achieve your own success. But it isn't easy. We work hard to earn a license and to stay current on the laws that regulate our industry. We spend time building our reputations and relationships, so that we can have long-lasting careers. I tell the aspiring agents I work with that I use the word "career" and don't use the word "job" deliberately. At my brokerage, agents are essentially building businesses within the company. We set our own goals and make plans for reaching them. As our business grows we can hire our own support staff, transaction coordinators, and listing agents. So, it's definitely not a 9-5 job. But I think that's a good thing!

Misconception #2: It's a cutthroat business and agents will do anything for a sale.

Oh my goodness, does this one bother me! I feel like the agents I work with and have gotten to know over the years are some of the most supportive and encouraging people I've ever met AND incredibly generous with their time and knowledge. Keller Williams really fosters this culture with our new agent coaching program, but there are specific examples that spring to mind. I work with an agent who has the corner on a particularly large market here in the Northwest. When new agents come on staff, he'll let them work his (many) open houses, so that they have the chance to meet prospective clients and gain valuable face-to-face marketing experience.

Secondly, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has a code of ethics and standards of practice to which all of their members commit to honoring. If you'd like to check it out, click here. There are also laws that govern what Realtors can and cannot do and say. At Keller Williams we formalized our own belief system and gave it a name, WI4C2TS. It guides how we treat each other and our clients. It's on my homepage, but here it is again:

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Are there unethical real estate agents? Sure. There are dishonest and unethical people in every profession. But the vast majority of us are honest and ethical and abide by a strict set of rules.

Misconception #3: It's expensive to get started.

It does cost some money for licensing, that's definitely true. But it's a far, far smaller financial investment than say, a 4-year college degree. The cost varies by state, so I can't give you a number that will be accurate. I guess my point would be, don't assume it's financially out of reach. You can easily research the costs in your area. If there's a brokerage you think you might want to work for once you're licensed, they can help you figure out what you need to budget for study materials, licensing exams and other fees.

Misconception #4: If I'm not a natural sales person, I won't be successful.

I would say that you have to be a good communicator and a good teacher, but not necessarily a "sales person," by the traditional definition.  You do need the ability to talk to people; to connect with them; to hear what their needs are and gauge whether your particular skills and expertise are a good fit for them. And then you need the ability to communicate who you are and what you offer in a genuine way. Lots of successful agents don't have a "sales" background. I think I may have said this before on the blog, but I find that teachers, baristas and bartenders are common backgrounds for real estate agents. It's something about the patience, communication skills, service mindset and attention to detail, that makes them successful. I think.

Misconception #5: Real estate careers are a good side gig/part-time job.

I've done a blog post dedicated to just this topic, but I'll give you the shortened version here and then you can go back and read that post by clicking this link.  I think it's impossible to stay up on all of the laws, regulations and details required to represent clients well if you aren't in it full-time. There are just too many moving pieces and the consequences of missing something are too grave to part-time this career. So if you find yourself in a position where you have to straddle the fence of 2 careers at 1 time, you would benefit from joining a team so that you can have the support you need to stay on it and your clients receive the best care possible. Or let's talk about referrals.... This is a great option for people who can't be 100% dedicated to the business. Ask me and we can go over the details together.

Thanks again for reading! I'll be back here with a new post again soon!

6 Things Every New Agent Must Do

 
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This is a quick post with my thoughts on how to establish yourself as a new agent. The term "brand" is thrown around so much now, that it's become a buzzword and something that can be tempting to ignore. But you really do need to be able to communicate who you are and what sets you apart from other agents from the beginning. It's important. So, here are a few of my tips. Hope they help you! Know your strengths. This is a slightly simpler version of knowing your value proposition. I had no idea how to do this when I was starting out. Keller Williams' IGNITE Program does this in the first class session, so if you join us you'll go through our process for answering the questions that will clarify this for you. It's a pretty basic series of questions, really. What are you known for? What are your strengths? How would someone describe you in 3 words? Ask a former employer, co-worker and an employee (if you ever supervised people) how they would describe you in just a few words. This can be a great starting point.

Develop your network. When I started I didn’t know anyone in this area. My family were all up in Canada and my only circle of acquaintances were a handful of co-workers from the airline I'd worked for and the people at my church.  So, I asked myself how I could expand my circle to hundreds of people. I started small with my own neighborhood and held a food drive there to meet my neighbors. Then I thought about all of the places I did business as a customer--my hair dresser, my local coffee shop, mechanic, etc.--and I networked with the people who owned those establishments or worked there. My advice is talk to everyone you know and if you don't know that many people, find ways to meet some. I also offered to work other agents' open houses. I did tons of those as a way to meet people who were looking to buy a home.

Get a coach. I've had a coach since I started at Keller Williams and meet with one weekly. A good coach will help you remember the basics and focus on your goals, which is especially important when you're starting out and everything feels new and overwhelming. Have them coach you on building a brand, on networking and communication skills. These things are important components of reaching your financial goals.

Develop an Authentic and Positive Online Presence. In many ways, being a real estate agent (or any business where you're front and center) is like running for political office. You must be clear and consistent in your messaging and you must be careful with your online image. You are building your tribe of prospective clients with the things you post on your blog, website, Facebook page and Twitter account. Don’t post anything you wrote after a stressful or frustrating day. Don't vent publicly about a bad experience with a client or colleague. Everything you write/tweet/post can influence a prospective client, so be thoughtful about the impression your online communications make. I teach a class for new agents and I tell them that I'm happy to read anything they're thinking about posting and give them my thoughts.

Know Your Story. This is in the same family as knowing your value proposition and is also covered in the IGNITE class I mentioned earlier. But I think of this as the more personal version of your elevator pitch. Know why you're an agent; what it means to you personally to do this work; and the kind of experience you want your clients to have. Know it and be able to articulate it in 30 seconds or less.

Lead with revenue. Inspect what you’re expecting out of the things you pay for. Meaning, I'm not going to invest in advertising or marketing without knowing how it will translate to more money in my pocket. In the first year especially, you need money in the bank and there are loads of free and nearly free ways to network and market. My first year I spent almost nothing and today I don't spend any more than $50 on any one marketing activity. My first year as an agent I paid $20 to join a breakfast networking group. That was really useful, actually. I'm still in touch with some of the professionals I met there and we refer clients to one another. When you do start investing in marketing, think about partnering with someone else (loan officer, insurance agent) and split the cost, if it's more than a $50 investment.

As always, feel free to leave your questions or comments in the Comments section below!

A Sneak Peek...

 
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No matter where you live, we can meet and you can tour the Puyallup, Washington, market center! Through the magic that is iPhone cameras and YouTube, I'm bringing the tour to you. So grab a snack, get comfortable, and spend a few minutes hearing some of my story and the highlights of a career with Keller Williams. Click here to watch!

Can an Introvert Be a Successful Realtor?

 
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(By Guest Blogger: Erin) The title of this post is a bit of a confession. Could you tell? I am totally, unashamedly, proudly an introvert.

Introvert is not the same as shy, although I think you can be both. And I probably am a little shy too. It doesn't mean you don't like people or lack social skills.

The truth is that there are wonderful things about being an introvert and there are loads of successful and influential people who reportedly join me under that introversion umbrella. People like: Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Meryl Streep, JK Rowling, Warren Buffett, Dr. Seuss, and many more.

Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert really speaks to which kinds of activities energize you and which kinds drain you. Introverts find social situations draining, and are energized by quiet, solitary and creative pursuits. That doesn't mean we can't be social and charming (we totally can!). It just means that we'd prefer not to and when we are required to be, we have to plan for lots of quiet downtime afterward to recover.

All of that brings me back to the question posed by the title of this post--is being an introvert at odds with being a Realtor? I think to answer that accurately, we have to bust the myth that as Realtors we are primarily in the sales business. While it's true that we are helping people with the biggest purchase they will ever make, at its core, this business isn't about selling; it's about building relationships and connections. Something, incidentally, that introverts are really good at.

Here's a great example of an introvert in action. If I attend a networking event or a cocktail party, I will tend to have longer conversations with just a few people. Small talk isn't my thing. I'm kind of in awe of people who can work a room, meet everyone and end the party with a big stack of business cards in their pocket. I can't do that. And that's okay. If I tried to do that, my discomfort would show and I wouldn't make a great impression. So my goal generally is to meet five people; have a conversation where I learn something about them that can also be a point of follow-up; and exchange cards.

Hosting an open house is probably the most challenging task I do as an introverted Realtor. Those are the events where I'm most often having to interact with lots of people I don't know and where the amount of time I have to establish rapport is limited. So far what I've found is that having my scripts down pat is the most helpful preparation I can do. And I tell myself that it's okay if I can't make a connection with everyone who comes through. If I can have a nice conversation that leaves some avenues for follow-up with three couples/individuals, I'm thrilled with that outcome.

Introverts tend to be really good listeners and tend to spend more time doing that than they do speaking. Sometimes I think this comes across as aloofness, but it really isn't. We're just internal processors rather than verbal processors. And in a real estate context, where so much of your success depends upon listening and understanding what a client wants, that tendency often comes in handy.

So the short answer to my question is, yes, I think introverts can be great Realtors. And extroverts are too! I just think the strengths that extroverts have are much more celebrated generally, and seen as much more desirable than those of introverts. In an industry like real estate, I think it's important to highlight that introverts strengths are different but can be just as advantageous.

For more information about why it's great to be an introvert, check out Susan Cain's book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. Another book I love that has a business application is Beth Buelow's, The Introvert Entrepreneur. That's been really helpful to me too.

And please leave your comments below! I'd love to hear from introverts and extroverts alike about how they leverage their unique strengths in their real estate careers.

 

 

What It's Like Being a New Agent

 
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I've now been a Realtor and a member of Rebecca's team for just about three months. If you've been reading my studying posts, I guess this is the point where I confess that they aren't being written in real time :-)  Anyway, it seemed like a good time to reflect on what it's like to be new...before I forget! So, if you're an aspiring or newly licensed agent, I hope this post will give you some insight into what to expect during your first weeks. Expect paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork. I think mine took about 30-45 minutes to complete. Not quite as extensive as the paperwork when you buy or sell a house, but the time commitment was almost the same :-)

Expect to be inundated with information. There is simply no way the human brain can take in, process and retain all of the information people will fire at you. No way. Between new agent orientation, emails from your local MLS, your national and regional professional associations, your brokerage and others I'm forgetting at the moment, you will be swimming in due dates, logins, account balances, advice, instructions and names of people to connect with. I'm not sure I have any foolproof strategies for tracking it all, other than take lots of notes, keep a list (I used Excel) and add tasks with any associated due dates and costs to it as you go. Then you can cross off items as you complete them. I also set aside about an hour each week to go back through the notes and paperwork I compiled in the previous 7 days to file things away and to make sure nothing fell through the cracks.

Expect to develop a business plan right away. You need to be clear about why you're working, what your goals are and how you're going to reach them. Otherwise, it's too easy to get overwhelmed. And because for many of us this is the first time we've ever worked for ourselves--ever been in a job where a boss wasn't paying attention to when we clocked in and out or whether we finished our work for the day--it's oh so easy to procrastinate, especially when there's so much to do. Ignite is Keller Williams' signature course for new agents, and you'll come out of it with goals and a plan (literally daily, weekly and monthly activity and outcome goals) for achieving your target income. Ignite is open to all agents, not just KW agents. Contact Rebecca here for more info if you'd like to attend. For me, having that roadmap to follow has been invaluable. Can't say enough good things about it.

Expect to set boundaries. This is tricky for many of us (myself included). This is a career that can and will consume as much of your life as you will allow. And because you're excited about it, and because you're working with people who are excited for you, it is easy to take on too much.  Ignite is actually really helpful in this regard. (Wow, this is the 2nd Ignite plug of this post...they're not paying me to promote it guys, I swear.) But suffice it to say that KW gives you a blue-print for success and it is possible to do it without sacrificing all of your free time and neglecting yourself or your family, or losing all your friends and your sunny disposition.

Expect to feel excited, anxious and overwhelmed all at once. Being new at anything can be all of those things. Some days I felt way more anxious than excited and vice versa. Totally normal.

Expect to have fun. Everything I wrote above was true for me, but it's also true that this is so much fun! I really don't want that point to get lost in all of this. This is a fun job. Keller Williams is a fun company to work for. Rebecca's team is amazing and talented and are the first people to raise their hands to help me when I need it. It's been an amazing experience and I'm trying to enjoy each season of it before the next begins.

Are any of you new agents? What has your experience been like? Any advice for managing the logistics and the emotions involved with being a newbie? Please share below!

 

Who Do We Want to Be?

 
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This week is the week of sharing, apparently, because I'm popping back onto the blog to share another article with you. Click the link below to read it. It's a quick read, but an amazing story. Keller Williams Realty Greater Des Moines RISES ABOVE Unethical Business Practices.

This story represents who Keller Williams is as a company, in more ways than one, so I wanted to make sure as many people read it as possible. Companies draft mission statements and belief systems all the time. But when faced with a choice between living those principles and making a profit--well, there are plenty of stories about companies who choose the latter. I love this story because it's a great example of trusting that by doing the right thing, good things will come to you.

And if you read it and say, "that is the kind of company I want to work for," call or email me today.

 

 

The Story of Strings

 
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Just stopping by the blog quickly today to share something I thought you all would appreciate. It's about the power of sequential mastery, which is a really interesting concept and the focus of Gary Keller's (yep, the "Keller" in Keller Williams) bestselling book, The One Thing. I'd highly recommend you read the book, but in the meantime, you can check out this quick video.

Click the link below to purchase The One Thingthrough Amazon. (In the interest of full disclosure, if you use this link I do receive a small commission on the sale.)