Stop Buying Leads, Start Building a Business

Apr 24, 2019 by

Agents and brokers today are inundated with online lead options, social media products and predators using real estate data to sell leads back to them. When looking into your P&L and evaluating the value of a client, it’s easy to justify buying leads. When looking into the success of multiple coaching clients, there’s a thread that’s worth our focus.

The best ROI on any lead source is the business that comes as a result of a relationship. Relationships are the key to success in all ventures, especially real estate. The lifetime value of a client is in excess of $ 75,000 in net income to the agent who has a plan, stays in touch and provides value through the life of the client.

Here are seven key steps to elevate your relationships and increase your net profit by focusing on your No. 1 asset.

  1. Make a small investment into your real estate CRM. I recommend Realvolve due to its ability to manage teams and put intelligence into workflows and action plans, all of which separates their technology from the competition.
  1. Categorize your names with intelligence. Options include:
  • Top 50
  • Past Client
  • Buyer
  • Referral
  • Seller
  • Investor
  • Lead Source
  1. Take copious notes on every conversation. This is critical for knowing what you said, as well as protecting yourself when there’s a different perspective on what was said or done.
  1. Focus on the Top 50. Most agents have anywhere from 200 to as many as 10,000 people in their database, so it’s critical to create a special list of the Top 50 who are most likely to send you one referral per year. Set a plan to have at least one personal touch with each of your Top 50 every month.
  1. Build for events. These events can be as simple as a backyard barbecue or as elaborate as renting out a theater and hosting a movie night. When you put on an event, it allows you to stay at the front of the mind of your important relationships without an attempt to sell them something.
  1. Refer business to your Top 50. Zig Ziglar always said that, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” If you want more referrals, then give more referrals.
  1. Focus on the relationship, not on the sale. People do business with people they like and trust. You build trust by being sincerely interested in them and their needs, while also respecting their timing. If someone isn’t ready to move, they’re still valuable to you if you care enough about them to respect that and provide value to them for their current situation.

Relationships are the cure to lack of profitability in any business. If you focus on the relationship, your business will grow, your profit will increase and you will find more joy in your journey.

For a free copy of my eBook “86-50-1: How to Close 86 Transactions Working With 50 People Just One Hour a Day,” visit

Verl Workman is the founder and CEO of Workman Success Systems (385-282-7112), an international speaking, consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and building successful power agents and teams. Contact him at

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Building Your Team’s Vision Board

Apr 22, 2019 by

“You become what you think about.” – Napoleon Hill

I’m always surprised by the effects of focus and clarity in making things happen. Some call this the law of attraction and others call it karma. Either way, there is a powerful connection between clarity of a person’s vision, having it represented visually and reviewing it over time to keep them focused. I still remember my very first vision board, and although I haven’t laid eyes on it in years, I can picture it very clearly. I manifested what I created, including the ability to give back to community, taking a family vacation in a warm location, closing 24 transactions that year and buying a new car.

This workshop came out of a desire to connect with my son who was lost. Being a smart, intelligent person with lots of options made him overwhelmed. I asked him to sit down and really think about what he wanted in life, review what was important to him and then start to plan for his future.

We all know someone, including ourselves, who has started something like a weight loss plan or a new gym membership only to slowly get off task and give up altogether. The purpose of setting the vision board is to start by visualizing your and your team’s success and keep yourself and your team members on track.

Identifying Your ‘Why’

“Working hard for something you don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.” – Simon Sinek

A vision board is a way to visualize your team’s success and keep you in the mindset to achieve it. Its purpose is to be displayed where your team members will look at it daily, so that you all internalize the vision and goals. It is very powerful, as it will remind you of your “why.”

Here is the 12-step process for clarifying your goals and developing your vision board. For the purposes of this exercise, we will use both personal and business goals:

  1. List successes in your life so far.
  1. Identify what you want to stop, start or continue.
  1. On a blank piece of paper, brainstorm thoughts, notes and priorities about your ideal life.
  1. Go through the list and start to circle the ones that resonate most strongly with you.
  1. Start to circle and get specific about the ones most important to you.
  1. Organize your goals into the categories below:
  • Family – How much time do you want to spend with family? What are you going to do while you spend time with them? Can you incorporate your family into some work activities?
  • Fun – Is there something you do just for the sake of doing it, that brings you joy? Have you ever wanted to travel? What are your non-work specific goals?
  • Friends – Are there certain people you want to hang out more with? Are you going to surround yourself with people who lift you up? Where can you find these people? How will you know they can help you? Are there people you have lost touch with and want to connect with more?
  • Fitness – Being successful in business means having a strong mind in a strong body. How will you give your body its best chance to support you? What sort of exercise do you want to stop, start or continue? How will you eat? What will you eat? Do you want to attain a certain fitness level? Are there competitions or specific performance goals you want to attain?
  • Faith and/or Beliefs – What are activities that ground you? What will give you inner peace? Is there a way you can give back to society that represents you?
  1. Review your personal life and your business plan for the upcoming year. Use the S.M.A.R.T. Methodology; in other words, make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

Now comes the fun part…

  1. Use your vision sheets to guide your search for images that represent your vision (there are no rules on how this is done).
  1. Using magazines, Pinterest, Google or other sources, find visuals, graphics, words and quotes that represent your goals and visions.
  1. Cut out the images and put them on the board.
  1. Once you are happy with the format, glue them in place.
  1. Display your vision board above a work area or space that you all look at continuously. When you or team members are feeling a lack of guidance, disoriented or out of sorts, look to the board to re-orient and refocus yourselves.

Jane Johnston is a team leader and top-producing REALTOR® with the Briar Hill Group at RE/MAX Camosun in Victoria, British Columbia. She’s been in real estate since 2006 and moved to RE/MAX in 2013, where she quickly attained Platinum and Chairman’s Club Awards, as well as the RE/MAX Hall of Fame Award. She’s also an MLS Gold Medal Award Winner in her local real estate board. Johnston and her husband have two teenage kids and she can often be found rowing on the water or speed-skating. 

For more information, please visit

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7 Tips for Building Trust With Foreign Clients

Jan 30, 2019 by

The following information is provided by the Center for REALTOR® Development, with assistance from Lauren Hampton and the Podfly editorial team, and recaps the Center for REALTOR® Development Podcast – Episode 12.

As the global economy expands, international real estate transactions are becoming more commonplace. Your global business starts in your local marketplace. As times move forward, it’s going to be hard to avoid global business. It’s important to start proactively incorporating it into your own business and action plan now.

Here in the States, we often make reference to the American Dream, but we sometimes forget that around the world, everybody wants to have a safe place for their family. Homeownership is a dream for people everywhere. Mark Makoto Kitabayashi—who lives in Washington State and teaches classroom courses for NAR’s Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation—joins host Monica Neubauer for Episode 12 of the Center for REALTOR® Development podcast to talk about global real estate transactions.

Kitabayashi has been a REALTOR® in Washington State since 2000. He is part of the management team at Windermere Real Estate Puyallup, has been a top producer for the last 10 years, and is actively involved with REALTOR® Associations at all levels. His extensive international marketing, R&D and sales experience of over 25 years add extra dimensions to his expertise.

Kitabayashi is a first-generation immigrant; his parents came here from Japan when he was 12 years old. He’s been doing real estate for about 17 years, and actually got into international real estate via his first real estate client, who was Vietnamese.

NAR’s CIPS designation is dedicated to teaching about foreign buyers or local buyers who are foreign-born. There are two types of international clients: The first are people local to your market who are foreign-born and probably speak English as a second language, looking for real estate locally; you could also have clients abroad that are looking for property in your area.

In this episode, Kitabayashi shares nuggets of wisdom from his classroom discussions about international transactions:

Understand that building trust is key. When working with foreign clients, the biggest thing you need to know is that they want to work with someone they can trust. Knowing their first language would be helpful, but is not required. “Making an effort to understand other cultures is the biggest part of this global economy,” explains Kitabayashi.

Start small to cultivate local international relationships. For people who want to start serving an international market, begin by incorporating modest international business-building activities into your business and action plan. This could be as simple as attending a local cultural event; it doesn’t necessarily mean you jump right into a foreign transaction. Down the road, once you have a good business model that serves foreigners, you can successfully help more of those same types of clients find a home, and also grow your own business at the same time.

Establish common ground. Kitabayashi shares some ideas of topics you can discuss with your clients to start the conversation. Food is usually a good icebreaker for any culture. You can ask for restaurant recommendations in your area. As an American REALTOR®, you can do some preemptive research about the culture where your client comes from to better understand what processes they’re used to. In addition, there is nothing wrong with asking questions or sharing what you understand to make sure that’s how they understand it, as well. It is better to ask than to assume. If you have friends from other cultures, you can also have an open conversation with them to learn more.

Develop an appreciation for different cultural ‘styles.’ There are two categories of cultural styles: high-context and low-context. In high-context cultures, the relationship is more important and personal space is wide (less physical contact). Low-context cultures are agreement-driven and personal space is limited. In high-context cultures, the relationship usually comes first before negotiations start—unlike low-context, where the start of a negotiation is usually the start of the relationship.

Understand that real estate practices can be different across the globe. In some cultures where back-and-forth negotiation is more common, as a representative of a domestic foreigner, you may find yourself in a situation where you are the go-between and can offer small concessions that function as a symbolic “win” for the negotiation script. As a representative of the seller, understanding our own client as well as the opposite side makes a whole lot of difference. Kitabayashi goes into some great examples in the episode.

Keep Fair Housing compliance in mind. When working within the context of global business, you have to remain Fair Housing compliant. There is a fine line between discrimination and preferences. As a REALTOR®, you have to be neutral and treat everybody equally. You also have to educate your clients about the fair housing laws in the U.S., so they don’t make unethical and unlawful request of you.

Be proficient in the technical aspects of global real estate. There are some technical aspects of foreign real estate to consider as well, such as currency conversion. Arrangements for closing dates, etc., may have to be made to accommodate the time it takes to convert the currency and get it sent to the correct channels. One thing Kitabayashi recommends is having your currency converted and sitting in a U.S. bank before you even begin any transactions. This will allow you to complete the transaction more quickly and can eliminate the exchange rate frustration, as well.

Our monthly podcast focuses on education in the real estate industry. It addresses formal education programs (such as those from NAR) and informal sources of industry knowledge (such as peers and mentors). Its intended audiences include REALTORS®, real estate professionals, allied professions (such as appraisers and lenders), educators, education providers, and consumers. To listen or subscribe, visit

To learn much more about expanding your business internationally, consider taking one of the six individual international online courses developed by the Global Business and Alliances division of NAR. All of these online products can be used towards earning NAR’s Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation and are on special at 25% off this month of January.

For more information, please visit RISMedia’s online learning portal from NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD) and the Learning Library. Here, real estate professionals can sign up for online professional development courses, industry designations, certifications, CE credits, Code of Ethics programs and more. NAR’s CRD also offers monthly specials and important education updates. New users will need to register for an account.

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3 Secrets to Building a Real Estate Team That Won’t Drive You Crazy

Aug 9, 2018 by

Real estate teams are incredible, but they’re not for everyone, according to 18-year real estate veteran Leigh Brown. Brown is a broker/owner of Leigh Brown and Associates with RE/MAX. The 2017 president of CRS, Brown is also a recipient of Lifetime Achievement, Hall of Fame and Circle of Legends recognitions with RE/MAX International.

Building a team will either be a smart idea or a money pit, according to Brown, and you need to know how to make it successful before you start hiring. It’s not just earning big numbers; it’s about the earning the right numbers. The three secrets to building a successful real estate team are:

  • Understand why you’re setting up a team
  • Create a solid foundation (hire the right administrator and agents)
  • Create a true team environment

“I know a team who was doing $ 50 million in volume, but the team leader was only taking home $ 50,000 in sales. That was a money pit situation,” Brown says.

Do your research so you don’t end up in the same situation.

1. Understand Why You’re Setting Up a Team
Is a team the way to go for you? It could be if:

You need better work/life management.
If you feel like you’re going to explode if the phone rings one more time, your work/life balance is probably “out of whack.” You’re burned out. A team can help you restore balance.

You consistently have excess opportunities.
Are you staying busy but still getting calls you can’t get to—or are you so busy you’re not able to give your clients the level of service you want to? A team may help you seize the opportunities you’re missing, and help improve the service to the clients you already have.

Your strength is management, not sales.
You love the field, but what you’re really good at is managing, marketing and lead generation. Part of setting up a team is understanding yourself, your strengths and your skills. As a team leader, you’ll need to be a good manager, or hire one. When you’re putting together a job description for yourself, be honest: What is it you really love to do?

Things to Consider Before Setting Up a Team

Lead Generation
You have to have enough leads coming in to sustain you, as well as your team. As a team leader, you’ll be responsible not only for your income, but the income of others.

Control Freak
Can you control your inner control freak? You need to understand that you’re not going to have a team that does things 100 percent like you do. Understanding that if your team does things “right” 80 percent of the time, you’re ahead of the game. When you allow people to make mistakes, they’ll stop walking on eggshells and start working harder to get things right. Learn to let other people shine and they will.

2. Create a Solid Foundation
Before you hire a team of agents, you need a foundation. That foundation begins with a talented administrator.

However, before you can hire an administrator, you need to run your financial numbers. Look at the number of hours you work per week, including administrative work, email, DocuSign, Dropbox, showing houses and making calls. Now, add up the commission dollars you’ve made and divide that by the hours you’ve worked. What do you earn per hour? What does it cost to hire in your market? How many hours a week will you need them? Five? Ten? Twenty? With those numbers in hand, you’re ready to start building your team, and the first person you need to hire is an assistant.

Before you hire, you must know what you want your assistant to do, so create a detailed job description for the position. Create a checklist of any NRP (non-revenue producing) activities you want your assistant to handle, including paperwork, signs and lockboxes, putting out postcards, inputting people to your CRM and DocuSign requests.

Include “at-bats” (at least one lead generation or referral a month) in the job description. If you don’t ask people to bring you a referral, they won’t. 

Referral Agent
You may not be ready or want to train, hire and manage a buyer agent right away. If so, you can seek out a like-minded agent who is great at closing, but who needs leads.

Expectations are the key here, Brown emphasizes. Know what you will pay them. Have systems in place for tracking leads and closings. Figure out what happens after the closing and what your role with the client is after the closing. Build a relationship on honor and trust with these agents.

Buyer Agent
The job description here is critical. Be very clear when setting and communicating your expectations. You should also take time to figure out what kind of personality you’ll work best with. Look for someone who will balance you, and whom you will balance.

Hiring tips:

  • “Hire the people who are great at what you suck at,” Brown says. “Check with REALTORS® who are not built for sales or who don’t want to put in ‘REALTOR® hours,’ but who want to be in the business.”
  • Pay a little more to get the best people possible. If everyone else is paying $ 10 an hour, you should pay $ 13-$ 15 an hour. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that much more for you, but it will create loyalty in your employee. It also shows others you take care of your people.
  • Hire in your local market, not offshore. By hiring locally, you become known as a local employer, and people you hire can also refer people to you.
  • Hire part-time. You can hire someone for 5-10 hours a week and build. If you hire someone who will hustle and generate leads to increase your business and their hours, all the better.
  • Hire for qualities, not task performance. “Attitude matters more than skills,” Brown explains. “Phone skills, handwriting, personality and people skills matter.”
  • Take the DISC personality profile. Take it yourself first, then have them take the DISC personality profile to ensure you balance each other. Pay the $ 29 for the full test, not the free one. It’s more accurate.
  • Take your time hiring. Make hiring a multi-step process so you get the right person.

3. Create a True Team Environment
Once you’ve built a team, how do you stay the course? Start with the details. This includes meetings, goal-setting, team evaluations and individual reviews. Unless your team is one cohesive unit with excellent communication, specific goals and opportunities for everyone involved, your team won’t work.

In a recent webinar, Brown went into extended details about how to structure payment schedules, training, reviews and team-building. Get tips from Brown and watch the full webinar for more detailed steps to ensure you find, hire, train and retain the right people to get the best team members possible.

For more information, please visit

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark

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