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1.0 = !.0 For Most Agents — What Old School M.O. Works For You?

I used M.O. so once and for all I can say something here in Latin. Modus Operandi — there, I said it. In simple terms it means mode of operation. In real estate parlance, you work one way, the lady down the hall works another. Same results, different M.O.’s.

So, in the 1.0 world of generating business — closed business — what works for you best?

Let’s limit this discussion, for the benefit of those who aren’t doing as well as they’d like, to those agents closing a minimum of 24 deals a year. And remember, 1.0 M.O.’s only. This isn’t about the 2.0 world of electronic wizardry.

Tell us what your M.O. is. What’s generating 24 or more transactions a year for you? How’d you learn it? From whom did you learn it? Have you added your own special sauce? Are you adding other 1.0 M.O.’s to your repertoire? Are you considering increasing your efforts using the same one?

OK — your turn — fire at will.


24 Comments so far

  1. Cheryl Johnson May 31st, 2008 6:22 am

    Don’t know if we’ll close 24 transaction this year, but all prior years for the last two decades have been well over 24.

    Our working 1.0 M.O. is Referral… staying in touch with previous clients, working the “Sphere of Influence”…. 2.0 people might call it “mining the database” or something like that…..

  2. Christina Ethridge May 31st, 2008 6:35 am

    Hey Jeff –
    40% referrals (from friends, family, past clients)
    40% past clients
    20% prospecting via direct mail

    It didn’t take much learning – it’s what every single piece of education teaches – have a consistent contact system in place and stick to it. Don’t assume everyone knows you are in the business, keep telling them. It’s also about networking networking networking. My goal is to meet people and get some sort of relationship going with them – and get them into my contact system.

    I did learn the networking part of this from my Dad, he’s powerful at it. He’s never been one to sit in the office, always out talking to people and he’s still doing that even today.

    My own special sauce is more refined systems and online prospecting/networking (although I have to say, most people I meet OFFLINE first and then they come to my online world).

    I’ll be honest and say that direct mail marketing – specifically our monthly newsletter – is a powerful force in getting that 20% and in retaining the 40% past clients. That’s 60% of our business from which ‘old school’ marketing works best. The other 40% is because of our constant connection with referral sources (usually from our snail mail newsletter).


  3. Hunter Jackson May 31st, 2008 6:59 am

    The 2 cigar shops in town. You could call it SOI, but I own every real estate deal that goes down in the 2 cigar shops in town.

  4. Jeff Brown May 31st, 2008 8:54 am

    OK Hunter, this October is my 39th anniversary as a licensee and this is the first time I’ve heard the two cigar shop M.O.

    This is exactly why I never, ever, no exceptions, say I’ve seen it all. šŸ™‚

  5. Jeff Brown May 31st, 2008 8:56 am

    Christina — since the correction began, how has the drop off in your business/income compared with other agents’ drop off?

  6. Christina Ethridge May 31st, 2008 9:28 am

    Jeff – That’s a very hard comparison – simply because our business model has changed so drastically over the past 3 years (purposeful planning). Our business is down, but stronger at the same time. When comparing to area averages, our business is not down the same % as most agents. It seems somewhat shocking to us that agents are doing so much worse (because in our eyes, our ‘down’ is bad and not acceptable – it’s all about perception). So basically, our drop off in business has been less (significantly) than other agents and our recovery has been swifter and sooner than most. The cycle has been less severe.

  7. Hunter Jackson May 31st, 2008 9:40 am

    @ Jeff, don’t be stealing the idea in my area šŸ™‚

  8. Beth Incorvati May 31st, 2008 10:27 am

    I send Lowe’s gift cards twice a year – Spring ($10, I call it a “project starter”) and at the Holidays ( $20 each then)- to my favorite former clients. They are customized with my head shot and the Lowe’s logo reads “Let’s Build Something Together”. In my case, the something is an on-going relationship. I spent $1000 on them last year, worth every penny! The response is terrific, people think they are clever, and they hold on to them. You can order customized gift cards from a variety of vendors at

    I rely on several people to help me get the job done – my contractors are fantastic and I take care of them. When your painter, landscaper AND cleaning lady send business your way – it feels great. I know I’m not the only agent who uses them, but I go out of my way to show how much I appreciate them. Next month I’m hosting a crab feast for them and their families. A long term relationship with them is good for my business, and makes me feel better about an industry where we see so many people come and go.

    Picked up 3 great leads last weekend at a bridal show. Bought a table like the other vendors and just had a blast talking to the excited young women about their plans. I highly recommend this if can shmooze and connect quickly – it’s fun!

    I try to do things a little differently, and I’ve learned to respect what feels authentic to me…there’s many out there doing the “same old same old”, and that’s fine…but not for me!

  9. Jeff Brown May 31st, 2008 11:05 am

    Hunter — I promise — when I’m there though, I get one of those ‘absolutely from Cuba’ cigars. šŸ™‚

  10. Jeff Brown May 31st, 2008 11:14 am

    Beth — You’re a fabulous illustration of doing what works. I’m willing to wager there are all sorts of ‘experienced’ agents out there who would’ve sneered at buying a table at a bridal show. Meanwhile you’ll be cashing checks and makin’ friends.

    The card idea? They don’t call me the Bawld version of Japan for nothin’. šŸ™‚ Great stuff — and thanks.

  11. Jeff Brown May 31st, 2008 11:21 am

    Christina — You said, When comparing to area averages, our business is not down the same % as most agents.

    Given your model I’m not surprised. Have you been able to speak with any of the agents who’re mainly 2.0? Have they also felt less loss?

  12. Christina Ethridge May 31st, 2008 5:58 pm

    There isn’t a single other agent in the area as active on the web as I am!! It’s insane!! I don’t know of agents (in other areas) who are ‘mostly’ 2.0 that have a large business.

  13. Scott Cowan June 1st, 2008 6:36 am

    I drive for a limo service. I meet at least two potential clients a week. This has turned into two buyers and 6 listings in the past 9 months. I have at least a dozen other active buyers looking for the right properties that I have met by being a driver. Another great benefit of driving is that I get to see a lot of different homes before they go on the market. It has helped me sell homes in developments that I would not normally have been aware of.

  14. Greg Swann June 1st, 2008 9:28 am

    BlueTooth headset. I never found a land-line headset I liked, but I have burned through the ear pieces on two Ericsson HB-608s. When the iPhone goes 3G, we’ll get Jawbones along with the phones. I don’t even want to use the phone without a headset.

  15. Jeff Brown June 1st, 2008 9:39 am

    I’m waiting for someone to help out the hearing aid wearing folks. It’s gotta be a simple design modification, right? Please, someone make me something that doesn’t have to curl around my ear. My aid trumps your design. Help! I’m stuck with wires and can’t get rid of them.

  16. Jeff Brown June 1st, 2008 10:28 am

    Scott — You may have found one of the best ongoing Trojan Horse jobs of all time. On the move, new passengers all the time, seeing the changing market up close. I’m wondering even when you can quit, if you should.

  17. Greg Swann June 1st, 2008 10:47 am

    > Iā€™m waiting for someone to help out the hearing aid wearing folks.

    You should tell this to the Jawbone folks. They might have some ideas, maybe a device that does both functions. You could wear two, Jeff, the Balwdguy with Sideburns.

    As I’ve told you in person, what I really want is a cell phone that is mounted permanently on the base of my skull, working by bone conduction.

  18. Jeff Brown June 1st, 2008 10:57 am

    That’s all I need — 16 hours a day of a cell phone attached to both ears. My use is already 4,500-5,000+ monthly as it is.

    I will contact Jawbone though. Even my 77 year old mom uses bluetooth.

    The whole phone attached to skull thing can’t be that far off.

  19. Scott Cowan June 1st, 2008 6:50 pm

    Jeff Funny you should mention if I should ever quit. I was talking to my wife and she said the same thing. It has become almost all of my marketing. Getting paid to market vs. paying to market is one way to get ahead! I met a potential client yesterday who just moved to our area and was asking questions about what neighborhoods were good. When I told him I was a real estate agent he about flipped and was thrilled to schedule a meeting with me when he returns from his business trip. How can I quit? Why would I?

  20. Jeff Brown June 1st, 2008 6:56 pm

    Scott — You may reconsider when you’ve hit the max production possible using this lone lead generation method. What do you think?

  21. Scott Cowan June 1st, 2008 7:27 pm

    Jeff- I wonder what the maximum production possible from this source will be. Right now I am about as busy as I can handle solo. The challenge is that I’m not consistent enough to bring on an assistance. This is something that I need to work on.

  22. Jeff Brown June 1st, 2008 7:39 pm

    Scott — You’ve run into the age old wall of ‘which comes first’ the income or the assistant? The Catch 22 is, you can’t jump that hurdle ‘cuz you’re already red lined time wise, but feel you can’t afford an assistant. What to do?

    You figure a way, that’s what you do. Most of the things an assistant can do can be done by a high school freshman with a three digit IQ. I’m kidding, but not by much.

    All you really need is the ‘grunt work’ done by others so you can produce more sales/listings whatever.

    You hit on the real problem when you admitted to being inconsistent. The assistant will allow you to use those new free hours prospecting your butt off. Before you know it, your pipeline will remain full, but on both ends — closings and new stuff.

    Simply hiring a local transaction coordinator for a few hundred a deal will make a huge difference. One way or the other though, you’ll never take that jump in volume until that time is created for prospecting in one form or another.

    Make sense?

  23. Beth Incorvati June 2nd, 2008 5:20 am

    I love my Jawbone, it’s awesome!

  24. Sue June 10th, 2008 8:08 pm

    I don’t have a favorite cigar shop, but there is a “gym” that seems to work well for me with networking. Even on the way to the gym one year, I stopped at a home where the guy was putting out a “for sale by owner” sign. He showed me around the house and called me 6 months later. I listed the house, sold it, listed the buyers house, sold that and got 3 additional leads from it. You never know!!