Meet the real estate pros:
Kristan Cole - The Kristan Cole Team
Chris Suarez - Xperience Real Estate
David Hoffman - The David Hoffman Group
Collectively, this group has over 60 years of experience in real estate with $600 million-plus closed in 2018.
They recently sat down with KW agent David Vorhees to reveal secrets of their success on Secrets of the Pros – a new prime-time series on Connect Live where mega agents speak openly about their wins, failures, and business strategies.
It was good, real good! But don’t just take my word for it. See for yourself or catch their secrets below.
SECRET #1: IT'S ALL ABOUT YOUR ACTIVITIES
Jumping into the world of real estate can be overwhelming.
Especially if you are looking at other agents who have built massive databases and you have yet to build your own. If you are new to the industry and are discouraged at your empty database, Suarez has a message for you.
Remember, everyone who has a database now started with an activity (open houses, door knocking, farming). The greatest thing I read early on was on page 142 of The Millionaire Real Estate Agent where Gary Keller explained that the size of your database is dependent on the number of names and relationships you have. You can pick up and move to any city tomorrow and build a big database quickly by selecting an activity.
Activities go further than helping you grow your database; they pave the way for lifelong relationships with your clients, says Hoffman.
The activities that you put in play help you earn the right to have the relationship with your database. We don’t have many people in our database, but we know it’s gold and we’ll go so deep with them that we’ve earned the right to be their friend. It’s an honor to be in real estate.
SECRET #2: CHOOSE ONE LEAD GENERATION METHOD AND DO IT CONSISTENTLY
When Suarez started his real estate career, he took up open houses as his lead generation activity of choice. Here’s why:
Being face-to-face with people isn’t my natural skill set, but I knew it would be the quickest way to add people to my database. I was new to my area and didn’t meet people easily because of my aptitude, but learned that if I added two people to my database every day, I would win.
Related read: Chris Suarez's Quick Guide to Planning the Perfect Open House
If open houses aren’t your thing, don’t worry. There's a LONG list of lead generation methods to choose from. What matters most is that you, "Find one thing you can do consistently every day and stick to it," says Suarez.
SECRET #3: STOP FAKING IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT
You know that phrase, ‘fake it ‘til you make it’?
Hoffman makes a great case for throwing that advice out the window to be a local expert instead.
When I was new in the business, there was no way I could fake it. As I was building relationships with people, their guard would drop once I began sharing my passions and expertise. Then, the opportunities began appearing. Regardless of what you do, you have to be the expert.
Hoffman’s focus on being a local real estate expert added value to his relationships in such a way that people couldn’t wait to be in business with him. Looking to do the same? Familiarize yourself with the market and intricacies of the business so you can speak confidently about your profession.
SECRET #4: FOCUS ON PROSPECTING
Cole, who has been in the real estate industry for 35 years, found tremendous success once she pivoted from being a marketing-based agent to a prospecting-based agent. Essentially, a prospecting-based agent seeks out business instead of waiting for it.
When I came to Keller Williams, I learned that being a marketing-based agent wouldn’t work and pivoted our team into a prospecting-based company. Prospecting activities – like mining our database – propelled our business; they cost less money and offered greater reward.
SECRET #5: HAVE BUSINESS STANDARDS
Bottom line - If you want to win in real estate, you must have standards.
Cole has a great analogy.
Having standards is similar to paying your mortgage. If you don’t pay your mortgage, your home will be foreclosed on. The same goes for real estate. If you don’t hit the minimum standard with lead gen, follow up and training, you won’t be on our team.
Standards are equally important for Hoffman’s team as well.
On our team, you are either on an appointment, connecting with your database, or serving in the community. Why? Because we tell our clients that the relationship doesn’t end at close; it’s just the beginning. You’re getting in front of your database first and lead generating for new people last.
Suarez’s idea of standards tilt toward best practices.
I struggle with the word standard, because people who come to us aren’t held by a standard. They want to know best practices on how to be successful. There are people on our team who are at two, six, eight or even one deal this month. We are less focused on the results they are having now and more focused on if they are implementing best practices. Are they showing up and doing the activity in a way that could be modeled? Are they coaching or collaborating with others?
SECRET #6: HAVE PERSONAL STANDARDS
Hoffman is passionate that standards shouldn’t just exist at the office, but at home as well.
On our team, your standards at home come first. You don’t come into the office until you have agreement with your families. I went eight years without an assistant and my marriage suffered and ended as a result. I wish I would have known about balance and standards earlier.
SECRET #7: ASK MORE QUESTIONS
Every meeting Cole has with buyers/sellers begins with this question:
[Buyer/Seller], There’s no right/wrong answer, do you feel the market is moving toward you or away from you?
Thoughtful questions, like this one, have become a staple of her business repertoire. Here’s why:
I began my real estate [career] shortly after college. Because of my age, I felt compelled to tell clients what I knew about the market, the house, the neighborhood. I learned that telling didn’t work nearly as much as sitting down and asking questions.
Cole's advice to you: Ask more questions. They move people toward you and help you understand what their goals are. I would have found success much faster if I learned this early on.
SECRET #8: TRADE VALUE FOR CONTACT INFORMATION
Since future homeowners are searching for valuable information that you have, and you are searching for future homeowners, Suarez recommends you "trade your value for contact information."
He breaks it down with his go-to open house script:
Find the client’s motivation to assess what value you can offer: Hey, are you out shopping for a home today or do you happen to live in the neighborhood?Encourage them to trade: Would it be of value to you if I [insert value … e.g., let you know how many offers we have?] or offended if I [e.g., followed back up with you?]Close the trade: Great, let me email it to you. What’s a good email address? If for some reason an email doesn’t work, what number could I best reach you at?
SECRET #9: COMMIT TO EDUCATION
At the end of the day, building a BIG business is possible if you’re willing to learn.
“It’s about generating the skills necessary to be a real CEO, business owner and leader. This goes beyond learning scripts. It’s about being willing to commit to coaching, reading and investing," says Suarez.
“Figure out where you want to go in the industry and focus on generating the skills you need to get there.”
SECRET #10: STICK WITH IT
The road may feel long at times, but with a positive mindset and commitment to mastery you will arrive at your destination.