Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – September 24, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – September 24, 2004 – I was scheduled to meet a client this morning at eleven for coffee. I was still in my sweats and right in the middle of an evaluation of my business from 1995 to the present, and I really didn’t want to leave. As luck would have it – my phone rang at ten o’clock and my client had to cancel for today.
I still had a meeting at five o’clock but now I had the intervening hours to work on this important review of my business, marketing and financial past – with the aim of creating a solid plan for the future – (or at least tomorrow).
I went through all my old business binders and their contents were extremely revealing. The move I made in March of 1995 to my current real estate company was the best possible thing I could have done. I had worked for eight years with a small, independent company that had the traditional real estate model of remuneration. I was an employee. The company paid for everything and the split of commission started each January at 50/50. During the year, as my sales closed, the split changed to 60/40 – 70/30 and if I was lucky, I finally got to 80/20. But come the new year – there I was – right back at 50/50.
I’ve been involved for years with my own marketing, feature sheet design, offer preparation and planning and printing of presentation materials. I like this aspect of my business, and the variety it offers makes my job more interesting. With this in mind it’s easy to see why I didn’t appreciate leaving half of my commission cheques on the corporate table. The company didn’t do that much work for me. However I liked my broker and it took me awhile to start looking for another real estate company where I could hang my hat. I finally found the right fit in 1994 and made the switch to Sutton in 1995. I haven’t looked back since and my business has grown dramatically.
After studying the details of every deal I’ve done for the last nine years – I know that 91.3% of my business has come from referrals. In that category I include new referral business, repeat clients, friends and business associates. There are other potential sources of business such as door knocking, cold calling, open houses, advertising and direct response marketing, but I’m thinking I should focus on what I seem to do best – and that appears to be “referral business”. The new plan I’m working on (even though I not yet sure of a direction) is going to focus heavily on that aspect of my business and on my WebSites.
When I was going through my old files I came across the notes I’d made when I moved to Sutton in March of 1995. At the time I was going through a love-hate relationship with the industry and still wanted to be a rock star. My lack of singing ability didn’t dampen my ardour, but it appeared that it might lessen my chances of snagging a recording contract. Besides, David Foster was really, really busy at the time – encouraging people like – hummm – I think their names were Babs and Celine.
I decided to keep these “primitive” little scraps of paper and I’ve filed them under “Past Marketing History” – is that redundant? Anyway, the first sheet is fittingly labelled “Goals” – Meet with Larry – 31/3/95 at 10:00 A.M. Underneath in badly scribbled print are the following points:
One step at a time.
Don’t take on too much!
Personal goals – control.
Design plan for $.
Chart time for one week.
Establish time frames for a day.
3 Month goal – (April-May-June).
What client is the hottest? That is where to concentrate.
Big picture plan.
What is effective?
I’m astonished that Larry hired me! He must have seen potential, a slight glimmer in my eye or maybe it was “feel sorry for a wayward agent day”. I went away armed with this information and a plan to chat with Larry again in a couple of weeks, once my business plan was in place. True to form, I worked on it and what follows is the sum total of my endeavours:
Concentrate on referrals + mail list.
Expired (listings) if time.
Plan a mail campaign.
Call (my) mail list.
Work for referrals.
That’s it! You gotta love my naivete. How on earth I thought I could grow a business with this as my plan is totally beyond me – but that’s just what I did! My business has tripled, I have a terrific WebSite and a second one in the works, fabulous marketing materials, great feature sheets, a loyal client base, repeat business and a great reputation in the industry.
I’m doing “something” right, and now I’m on a mission to fine tune my entire professional life. I want to attempt to throw a personal life into the mix as well. This is an exhilarating process and I’m having fun working out the details of the next stage of my business career. I have a vision for this, even though I can’t quite articulate the entire plan yet. Not too bad for a University of Waterloo history graduate – turned fashion buyer – turned computer salesperson – turned real estate agent – who just happens to be a small-town Owen Sound girl to boot.