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25 a Week– Keeps You in Business



Staying in Business

Been teaching a lot. I see the distress on the faces of my students in my classes. Especially those who have been in real estate less than 10 years who never were trained in true sales skills and most specifically prospecting. When I ask how many new leads do you need a week to keep your business growing, NO ONE KNOWS!

Let me quote from REAL ESTATE RAINMAKER® by Dan Gooder. You need 25 prospects in your database for one transaction. 10 transactions equals 250 prospects and 50 transactions equals 1250 prospects. Yes, if you are marketing to your sphere and past customers, that helps, but you need new business all the time.

How can you generate that many?

1.     Wear your name tag. When you are at a store getting a cup o’ joe, and someone asks you how real estate is, what will you say? How about telling them that you would love to get their email address and send them updates on what is going on in the market place. That is at least one a week.

2.   Hold Open Houses – not just Sundays, but Thursday evenings, so people can stop by on the way home from work. Think about holding an open house preview for the neighborhood one hour before the public open house. The neighbors can see how you handle yourself if they ever need to sell. Have lots of statistics of what has been happening with prices, at least for the last 5 to 7 years. Many homeowners have not gotten the memo that their home is not worth what is was a short 6 months ago.

3.   Use your virtual tour product to create Just Moved Buyer videos. Include 8 shots of their new home and one of them in their new home. Send it to them and let them virally send it to their sphere of 100 friends and family. If you use RealEstateShows they will have different ways to contact you and be able to see your other listings.

4.   Mine FSBOS and Expireds. 79% of FSBOS end up working with a REALTOR® it should be YOU! Remember once a FSBO lists their home they become a BUYER. You could refer them or sell them a home as well.

5.   Join networking groups on line and off line.

6.   Create videos of the areas your service and send it to your sphere to remind them why you all love living where you do. A student of mine, Rocky Akins  from Weichert Real Estate Alabama, created one with Photostory. He put to music a poem he had written about why he loves living on the Gulf Coast, complete with his own photos. He sent it to his sphere and past customers  and he received two listings as a result.

7.   Set up a group of vendors who you refer business to. In turn, they will refer business to you. Pili Meyer, a national trainer has a great product called The “Member Service Network Kit”. It provides a step by step method for establishing a network of professionals. If you follow the method, you will not only increase your business with buyers and sellers by providing them with the names of the network members, but you will increase your referrals from the network.
The kit contains the step by step method, sample letters to send the network, and a sample telephone dialog. In addition, the kit contains business card booklets to contain the cards of the network members. Click here for more information from

This is just a short list, I am sure you can think of more, do you mind sharing?

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  1. Brian Brady

    November 1, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    How about the old tried and true method of getting on the phone and asking for referrals from everyone you know?

  2. Chris Shouse

    November 1, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Then there is the one you hear about buying the person behind you at McDonalds or where ever their food along with your card:)

  3. Jonathan Dalton

    November 1, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Name tag argument’s already occurred and I won’t dredge it up. If it works for you, then all’s good. But I wouldn’t count on it for very many of those 25.

    Of course, I also live in an area with 40,000 other agents.

  4. Bob Wilson

    November 1, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    “Of course, I also live in an area with 40,000 other agents.”

    Many of whom hope to have the person in front of them pick up their tab.

  5. teresa boardman

    November 2, 2008 at 8:21 am

    My name tag scares people away and in my market open houses are not the answer. In some neighborhoods they still work. For me my blog helps with prospecting and nothing can beat it. I do talk about my area and how much I like living here and have some neighbors who write posts for me about St. Paul. When business is really slow for me I like getting on the phone and talking to past clients and neighbors and friends, like Brian suggests.

  6. Mariana

    November 2, 2008 at 9:18 am

    (I hate name tags and open houses)

    However, your post rings a very familiar bell:
    Activity breeds activity. Do real estate stuff and real estate stuff will happen to you.

    There is a gal in our office who purposely wears her nametag upside down and gets to chat about real estate with the people who point out that her name tag is upside down… and she gets BUSINESS from that.

  7. Steve Simon

    November 2, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Prospect where you play.If you golf, or motorcycle, or run, or kayak, whatever you do; make sure that those that see you doing the above know that you also do RE. My choice is to hand them two cards, one to hold and one to give (giving out more dilutes your card’s worth). Then I tell them to sign the back of the one they hold for giving. This way I will know who gave it out! I t has worked for over 25 years…

  8. Amy Chorew

    November 2, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Thanks for the great comments. I appreciate the input on the name tag. Works great where I live in Connecticut. I agree the phone is the number one way to reach out to past clients and sphere. I do 2 a day for my prospecting. Bobbie Nelson a REALTOR in California told me that her clients are worried about her when she calls because of all the bad media. She says they tell her they are looking for business for her. COOL.

    I agree with Theresa on her blog. She is one of my top ten blog reads btw. My blog has started generating amazing interest, but that took time, but now works wonderfully.

  9. Michelle DeRepentigny

    November 3, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    I wear my name tag everywhere except church and give at least 1 mini real estate market conference in some section of my favorite grocery store every week because people stop me to talk about real estate. Listings to date thsi year from wearing name tag = 3!

  10. Danilo Bogdanovic

    November 4, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    With all due respect, though I agree with most of your tips, I do not agree with the name tag tip.

    Whenever I have brought up the name tag thing with clients or people in general, the typical response is “cheesy” or a roll-of-the-eyes.

    We’re supposed to be professionals. You don’t see doctors or lawyers or executives walking around with their name tags on in the grocery store, Home Depot, kids soccer games, etc.

    Wearing a name tag that says “REALTOR” around strangers is like walking into a room of people you don’t know and saying “I’m a REALTOR! Wanna buy a house?”

    You wouldn’t do that latter, would you? So just be you, make friends with people and wait for them to ask you, “So what do you do for a living?” That’s the time to say “I’m a REALTOR”.

  11. Greg Staker

    November 5, 2008 at 9:32 am

    “We’re supposed to be professionals. You don’t see doctors or lawyers or executives walking around with their name tags on in the grocery store, Home Depot, kids soccer games, etc.”

    You know I have heard this before and I think I have even said it a time or two in my career. 🙂 We are professionals but the difference as I see it regarding the Realtor vs doctors/lawyers is that we are professional SALES people.

    Sales people brand themselves and their product. Name tags are not for everyone just like driving around in pink cars to sell cosmetics would not be for every cosmetic company.

    I see lots of folks in this industry right now hurting for business but sticking to the marketing and prospecting that makes them feel better about themselves. I would think wearing a name tag has a better chance of getting you one deal vs losing you a deal.

  12. Danilo Bogdanovic

    November 5, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Greg – We *used* to just be sales people for years. And it’s led to us to being trusted more than only one industry: used-car SALES people. What a great accomplishment thanks to being SALES people…

    There’s a fundamental shift going on in the real estate industry including an agent’s/broker’s value proposition. Consumers want a consultant, an advisor, someone to represent their best interests. They don’t want a SALES person.

    I don’t sell real estate. I represent my clients best interests. That’s what consumers want and we have to start acting accodingly in order to remain successful and get some trust and credibility back into the real estate industry.

    There is branding and marketing that currently works, used to work and doesn’t work. In today’s market, you should be branding and marketing your credibility, expertise and knowledge through word-of-mouth, referrals, online presence and social media…not by wearing a pin that says, “I’m someone who pays dues to NAR so I have this REALTOR pin on”.

    But then again…I appreciate the agents who still do cheesy marketing that consumers laugh at because it just makes the rest of us look that much better.

  13. Greg Staker

    November 5, 2008 at 10:44 am

    As long as there are wheels there will be those who look to reinvent it.

    I am not disagreeing that… “you should be branding and marketing your credibility, expertise and knowledge through word-of-mouth, referrals, online presence and social media”…

    My point is a deal is a deal regardless of how it is obtained. If name badges work, consider them the adwords of social face to face media and smile when you deposit the check.

  14. Danilo Bogdanovic

    November 5, 2008 at 10:51 am

    “As long as there are wheels there will be those who look to reinvent it.”

    It’s called “change”. And like the old saying goes, “The only constant is change”.

    Just ask the NY Times, the Washington Post, USA Today and other print media “powerhouses” how the advertising and marketing “wheels” they didn’t want to “reinvent” are doing for their profits and stock prices.

  15. Rocky Akins

    February 5, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Hi Amy. It’s been a couple of years since I met you at a sales rally in Alabama. Once and a while, I do a google search on my name just to see what’s out there. I’ve had a couple of surprises in the past but was honored when I saw that you had put my poem and photo-story on your blog.
    Now about name tags. I agree with you all the way. It’s amazing how many times I have been having dinner or just out in public somewhere and somebody within earshot is talking about selling or buying real estate. I discreetly position myself where they can see my Real Estate name badge and have picked up more than a few clients and customers from that. Thanks again for posting my poem.

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Disputing a property’s value in a short sale: turn a no into a go

During a short sale, there may be various obstacles, with misaligned property values ranking near the top, but it doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker!



magic eight ball

magic eight ball

It’s about getting your way

Were you on the debate team in high school? Were you really effective at convincing your parent or guardian to let you do things that you shouldn’t have been doing? How are your objection-handling skills? Can you flip a no into a go?

When working on short sales, there is one aspect of the process that may require those excellent negotiation or debate skills: disputing the property value. In a short sale, the short sale lender sends an appraiser or broker to the property and this individual conducts a Broker Price Opinion or an appraisal, using special forms provided by the short sale lender.

After this individual completes the Broker Price Opinion or the appraisal, he or she will return it to the short sale lender. Shortly thereafter, the short sale lender will be ready to talk about the purchase price. Will the lender accept the offer on the table or is the lender looking for more? If the lender is seeking an offer for a lot more than the one on the table, mentally prepare for the fact that you will need to conduct a value dispute.

Value Dispute Process

While each of the different short sale lenders (including Fannie Mae) has their own policies and procedures for value dispute, all these procedures have some things in common. Follow the steps below in order to conduct an effective value dispute.

  1. Inquire about forms. Ask your short sale lender if there are specific forms that you need to complete in order to conduct a value dispute. Obtain those forms if necessary.
  2. Gather information. Your goal is to convince the lender to accept the buyer’s offer, so you need to demonstrate that your offer is in line with the value of the property. Collect data that proves this point, such as reports from the MLS, Trulia, Zillow, or your local title company.
  3. Take photos. If there are parts of the property that are substandard and possibly were not revealed to the lender by the individual conducting the BPO, take photos of those items. Perhaps the kitchen has no flooring, or there is a 40-year old roof. Take photos to demonstrate these defects.
  4. Obtain bids. For any defects on the property, obtain a minimum of two bids from licensed contractors. For example, obtain two bids from roofers or structural engineers if necessary
  5. Write a report. Think back to high school English class if necessary. Write a short essay that references your information, photos, and bids, and explains how these items support your buyer’s value. This is not something that you whip up in five minutes. Spend time preparing a compelling appeal.

It is entirely possible that some lenders will not be particularly open-minded when it comes to valuation dispute. However, more times than not, an effective value dispute leads to short sale approval.

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Short sale standoffs: how to avoid getting hit

The short sale process can feel a lot like a wild west standoff, but there are ways to come out victorious, so let’s talk about those methods:



short sales standoff

short sales standoff

What is a short sale standoff?

If you are a short sale listing agent, a short sale processor, or a short sale negotiator then you probably already know about the short sale standoff. That’s when you are processing a short sale with more than one lien holder and neither will agree to the terms offered by the other. Or… better yet, each one will not move any further in the short sale process until they see the short sale approval letter from the other lien holder.

Scenario #1 – You are processing a short sale with two different mortgage-servicing companies. Bank 1 employees tell you that they will proceed with the short sale, and they will offer Bank 2 a certain amount to release their lien. You call Bank 2 and tell them the good news. Unfortunately, the folks at Bank 2 want more money. If Bank 1 and Bank 2 do not agree, then you are in a standoff.

Scenario #2 – You are processing a short sale with two different mortgage-servicing companies. Bank 1 employees tell you that they cannot generate your approval letter until you present them with the approval letter from Bank 2. Bank 2 employees tell you the exact same thing. Clearly, in this situation, you are in a standoff.

How to Avoid the Standoff

If you are in the middle of a standoff, then you are likely very frustrated. You’ve gotten pretty far in the short sale process and you are likely receiving lots of pressure from all of the parties to the transaction. And, the lenders are not helping much by creating the standoff.

Here are some ideas for how to get out of the situation:

  • Go back to the first lien holder and ask them if they are willing to give the second lien holder more money.
  • Go to the second lien holder and tell them that the first lien holder has insisted on a maximum amount and see if they will budge.
  • If no one will budge, find out why. Is this a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan? If so, they have a maximum that they allow the second. And, if you alert the second of that information, they may become more compliant.
  • Worst case: someone will have to pay the difference. Depending on the laws in your state, it could be the buyer, the seller, or the agents (yuck). No matter what, make sure that this contribution is disclosed to all parties and appears on the short sale settlement statement at closing.
  • In Scenario #2, someone’s got to give in. Try explaining to both sides where you are and see if one will agree to generate their approval letter. If not, follow the tips provided in this Agent Genius article and take your complaint to the streets.

One thing about short sales is that the problems that arise can be difficult to resolve merely because of the number of parties involved—and all from remote locations. Imagine how much easier this would be if all parties sat at the same table and broke bread? If we all sat at the same table, then we wouldn’t need armor in order to avoid the flying bullets from the short sale standoff.

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Short sale approval letters don’t arrive in the blink of an eye

Short sale approval letters may look like they’ve been obtained simply by experts, but it takes time and doesn’t just happen with luck.



short sales

short sale approval

Short sale approval: getting prepared, making it happen

People always ask me how it is that I obtain short sale approval letters with such ease. The truth is, that while I have more short sale processing and negotiating experience than most agents and brokers, I don’t just blink my eyes like Jeannie and make those short sale approval letters appear. I often sweat it, just like everyone else.

Despite the fact that I do not have magical powers, I do have something else on my side—education. One of the most important things than can lead to short sale success for any and all agents is education.

Experience dictates that agents that learn about the short sale process
have increased short sale closings.

Short sale education opportunities abound

There are many ways to become educated about the short sale process and make getting short sale approval letters look easy to obtain. These include:

  • Classes at your local board of Realtors®
  • Free short sale webinars and workshops
  • The short sale or foreclosure specialist designations

As the distressed property arena grows and changes, it is important to always stay abreast of policy changes that may impact how you do your job and how you process any short sale that lands on your plate.

The most important thing to do is to read, read, read. Follow short sale specialists and those who blog about short sales on AGBeat, Google+, facebook, and twitter. Set up a Google Alert for the term ‘short sale’ and you will receive Google’s top short sale picks daily in your email inbox. Visit mortgagor websites to read up on their specific policies and procedures.

Don’t take on too much

And, when you get a call from a prospective short sale seller, make sure that you don’t bit off more than you can chew. Agents in most of America right now are clamoring for listings since we are in the midst of a listing shortage. But, if you are going to take on a short sale, be sure that it is a deal that you can close. And, if you have your doubts, why not partner up with a local agent that can mentor your and assist you in getting the job done? After all, half a commission check is better than none!

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