Let’s be honest here. You can’t throw a stick in my town without hitting a real estate agent. Used to be that agents were the only people with access to the MLS and listing information, but now with the advances in real estate websites, the role of the REALTOR has drastically changed. Some folks have rolled with the changes and others have not. What I have come to realize is that my role has become more of guidance than just the keeper of the keys.
This new website is more about giving potential clients an insight as to what makes me tick and hopefully a reason why they should choose me over my competition. In order to do that, you might find it helpful to know my past history.
I moved back to Orlando in 1985, having been a Navy brat for 17 years. My first job here was at Sea World and that eventually lead to jobs at both Universal Studios as an acapella singer and at Walt Disney World in an attractions management role. It was in these jobs that I would say I learned the most. Working in a theme park requires a lot of patience with people. It’s about making sure people have a great experience and that the finer details are not missed. In 1998, I was working as a singing waiter in an Italian restaurant. Yes, another customer service role! The hours were late and my overall career path was not what I had hoped it would be. I had left Disney after a change up in the management structure and was kind of in limbo. Like many others in my career, I didn’t “plan” on becoming a REALTOR. While at the gym, I met a person in timeshare. I figured I could do that while working the waiter shifts and test things out. Upon completing my real estate courses, I soon realized I was not really cut out for hard core timeshare sales and I decided to try out residential reals estate. This proved to be a good fit for me. I was involved in helping folks find homes and also using my finely tuned customer service skills!
One thing I soon discovered was that this job was actually many rolled into one. You needed the legal skills to produce a sales contract from start to finish, you needed marketing skills to find clients, counseling skills to manage client fears and frustrations and financial skills to make sure you didn’t go broke in the process! It took some time, but eventually got the hang of things and started to produce on a more regular basis. Overtime, I was able to re-invest into a solid marketing plan that took business to the next level, all the while keeping my focus on my clients and not the money I would make on sales from them. To me, the attitude of some agents that focus on the personal financial aspects of their deals instead of the clients, is deplorable. yes, we all need to make a living, but many agents fail to see the downfall of their focus on the wrong things. Instead of worrying about how I was going to make, I focused on how could I do things better for my clients and enhance their experience, knowing that if I did right by therm, they would refer me to other clients. I studied with multiple marketing and referral coaches and took a bit from each to develop a strategy for continued success. From databases, personal notes, paid advertising and branding, I developed a solid plan for ongoing business. To this day, I still use some of the systems I first started with. A hand written note to clients is rarely not opened by the receiver.
In 2012, I was asked by the owners of the office to become a partner with the longer term goal of becoming the sole owner once they retired. Since that time, I have continued to look for new and innovative ways to improve all aspects of the business, not just for me, but for my fellow agents. I love teaching others in the business. The technology changes very fast and you have to learn to adapt or get left behind. Nothing makes me happier than to find a way to reach a new client and show them a unique way to work. Those that know me, know that I am not shy about trying out new things. I tell folks that I have tried many good things and some bad. I have spent marketing money wisely and some has been a complete waste. To me though, I feel like if I don’t try, I’ll never know.
If you have ever done a deal with me before, you know that I am very hands on with my clients. I do not believe in huge teams of agents. I find that the end clients feels more like a number than a person. Even when I do a transaction with a team, it’s often the case that I can’t even reach the person I am working the deal with, without going through 5 other people. Not my idea of customer service. I like to be reachable. I provide clients with my personal email and mobile number. I make it my persona policy to return all correspondence, even if I don’t have a full update. I know that customers want to be heard and not forgotten. If a timeline is coming up but the information is not ready yet, I still call to update. It’s important. The same goes for delivering news in a transaction. I am pretty transparent. I do not hold back the truth to spare feelings when it matters. Sometimes I have to deliver bad news. I try to do it personally and not hide behind a keyboard. I offer clients real opinions and not just what they wish to hear. If they are selling and it’s not a good time or the value isn’t there, they get the truth. If a client asks a question, they will get my honest opinion back. to me, there is no other way to be. It’s not easy to be this way when you are first starting out. Many agents fear their clients in the sense of they do not want to upset them for fear of loosing their business. In reality, the opposite is true and once you learn this, your job becomes a lot easier. Dealing way above board not only works, it’s actually easier. Many agents freak out when a deal has a hiccup. They try their best to hold it together without their clients being involved. I have worked with many an agent that has spoken on behalf of their client, only to realize the client was not even part of the dialogue. This happens way too often in this business. Knowing the right questions to ask and how to convey issues is key to a successful transaction.
It may have taken 17+ years to get here, but one thing is certain. I will continue to look for new ways to meet people and improve the business model in place. I will also continue to improve on my mad kitchen skills! Did I mention I love to cook?