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The Great Debate

The great debate continues: Open houses, blogging, cold calling, door knocking, postcards, coaching, newsletters, drip email. If you listen to vendors, they have the answer.

Seems to me Realtors will buy anything – including myself. I’m always looking for the magic key and I like to check out new products. If someone has an idea, I want to hear it. RE/MAX has a whole catalogue of stuff to buy. They call it the Approved Supplier Catalogue. I used to think that that meant I should buy what’s in there, it was approved! Oh brother, have I come a long way since then, but I still may not be all the way there – wherever there is.

Some Things We All Need

There are some things that we all need. Business cards – check. Laptop – check. Car – check (there was an agent in my office who didn’t). Cell phone – check. Website – check. Pens – for how often I accidentally/on purpose lose them, they’re worth buying a box. Signs – check. Personalized letterhead – check. Name badge – check – do I wear it? That’s another post. Brand clothing? Um, if the company gives it to me, I’ll wear it. Moving van? Liability, gas, parking – that would be a no. Car wrap? I want to be able to make illegal u-turns, speed and inadvertently get too close to other cars with anonymity – that would be a no. Blog – love it – double check. Camera – not for houses, for the blog – check.

Once you get past the obvious, it gets a little blurry. When the phone solicitors call and say, “If you make ONE DEAL off of our product, it will be worth it.” I came back with: If I made all of my business decisions that way, I’d be out of business. Then I’d get, “It’s not that expensive.” I went to: It’s not in the budget or I’ve already made my budget and that’s not in it. They don’t have a come back for that one – give them time.

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So Then What?

So how do you determine what you need to operate a successful business? That depends. I say get the essentials, make some money then research, research, research.

If you hate doing open houses, don’t. You won’t be good at them. I have a great time. I like to turn them into social events. I invite my friends and clients, have food and music. I typically have another agent or mortgage person there to keep me entertained when there aren’t any visitors or I bring something to do. If no one comes to the open, I try to be satisfied with the fact that hundreds of drivers have seen my name as they pass my signs – I use as many as possible. Do opens work for me? Of course they do. What is the ROI? I have no idea. I like doing them. If I didn’t, they wouldn’t work.

Time Spent Prospecting

That’s not to say you shouldn’t do what you don’t like. I was in a focus group the other day. There was some banter with a struggling agent about how to get business. I said, “70% of your time should be spent prospecting.” He responded, “I don’t like prospecting.” Okay, now, if that’s the case, get another job.

I have to agree with Jonathan; hearing go back to the basics is like the Macarena. It was catchy when it came out. Now it’s just annoying. Any time I read the subject line of an email similar to “the key to selling homes in this down market,” I think here we go again. I’ve got to see what the pill is; but if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Making Millions In Real Estate

The true answer to making millions in real estate: Work your a** off. It’s not pretty, but it’s the truth. Sorry to disappoint any of you get-rich-quickers.

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Written By

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate



  1. Jacksonville Florida Realtor

    February 13, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Real Estate has always been about getting in front of people who want to buy or sell homes.

    This can be done through the use phone calls, networking groups, a blog, etc. I have seen different Realtors succeed with each.

    Just make sure your chose method is something you enjoy and then do it everyday. Because you do have to work you’re a** off in this business.

  2. Athol Kay

    February 13, 2008 at 10:15 am

    I think the great problem with the get rich quickers is that there is a whole industry that exists off of training a bunch of real estate newbies before they quit the business. So there are very few people actually saying real estate is actual work to people before they get into the business.

  3. Mark Harrison

    February 13, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    I’d intended writing about business cards, but having read comment number 3, I feel I have to respond. I’m speaking as someone who runs (UK) training in real estate here.

    I _do_ say that making money is a lot of hard work over a long time. This means that I’ve not had the stellar success of some of my “competitors” who preach a “make money fast” approach.

    Interestingly, 5 years in from starting that business, most of my competitors have vanished, but I’m still around, pretty much entirely working on referral business 🙂

    The best filter question I’ve found for the property trainers:

    – Do you, personally, make more money from rental property, or from running training courses?

    Right – now to business cards – I stopped using them about 2 years ago. Instead, I now COLLECT business cards, or hand out forms inviting people to signup to my free newsletter. In either case, once I have a potential customer’s contact details, I can make sure they get updates about the property market, legal changes and the like. It typically takes 6-12 months before someone is comfortable enough with the way I think for them to buy a book or go on a training course I run. I realise that the Realtor experience is different – when people KNOW they want to buy / sell a house, they know where to go. When people THINK they want to start investing in real estate, they don’t really know where to turn.

  4. Mack in Atlanta

    February 13, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Vicki, your last paragraph sums up this business the best. It is amazing but “The harder I work the luckier I get”. There are no magic pills as we would be led to believe. It blows my mind how many of the telemarketers to the real estate industry start their spill with would you like to do more business or can you stand to sell a few more homes every month.

    What each agent needs to do is select several prospecting techniques that they are comfortable with and utilize them.

  5. Vicki Moore

    February 14, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Thanks for your input, guys. I think there’s a lot more to this topic that needs to be said. I’m going to work on that.

  6. Steve Simon

    September 24, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Nothing real Earth Shattering to add, I just liked reading your post; it must be your style of writing, it was entertaining 🙂
    I have been telling students for over twenty years;
    “Work at the business half ass and you should be OK, because most I see are at about a quarter ass…”

  7. Vicki Moore

    September 24, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks Steve. I think I’m pretty funny – glad you do too. I’ve never heard about the “quarter ass.” That’s a good one.

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