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Secrets? What Secrets?

Tep secret

Top secret

I  recently agreed to give a four hour presentation as part of a technology day that is being put on by our local association of Realtors.  When I met with the event coordinator to get the course approved for continuing education she asked a question that I have been asked before.

Why would I teach direct competitors how to create blogs, market properties on the internet and use social media?  Aren’t you worried that by helping them you will lose business?

The Play book

I am not worried at all.  Since 2006 I have been showing other agents how to start a blog and strategies for getting traffic and winning business from it.  To date my blog remains on the first page of the major search engines and continues to bring me buyers and sellers.

There are no secrets in my business.  Except for my web presence I operate from the same play book that many agents use.  There are books and classes on how to run a real estate business.  There are seminars and webinars and DVD’s.  How to run a successful real estate business is not a secret.

Running a business is about systems and following them.  I can give my playbook to other agents but most of them either won’t implement it or if they do they won’t stick with it.

Even if they did I don’t believe that they would be taking business away from me. I check each week and 100’s of homes are listed and sold. There may not be enough business for all of the agents in my market but we all know that 20% of the agents do 80% of the business.  There is more than enough business for the 20%.

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There are no secrets

There are agents in my market who will not share their secrets with other agents because they don’t want to help the competition.  The mind set doesn’t make sense to me.  My database of contacts has been built over a period of many years.

Most agents would consider their database to be an important business asset.  It is a business asset but I suspect that at least half of the people in my database know another Realtor well.  Any agent can call these people or mail to them or run into them at an open house. Yet most of the people in my database will be my clients when they are ready to buy or sell.

I am competitive

Using a blog to generate business is not a new idea and I am not the only agent who is having success with it.  How I do it can be replicated by anyone yet the majority of agents who have blogs don’t get as much business from them as I get from mine and many do not stick with it long enough to get any results at all.

I am competitive.  I suspect that if someone else were to take my place in the search engines I would work very hard to figure out how to beat them.  The process would take my skills to a new level.  As it is the competition keeps me on my toes.  There are a couple of bloggers out there who are nipping at my heals.  . . and have been for a couple of years.

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Written By

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.



  1. Jim Gatos

    March 11, 2009 at 7:53 am

    May I ask, on the average, how many closings do you get every year from blogging?

  2. teresa boardman

    March 11, 2009 at 8:24 am

    two of my current listings, the closing I had last week and the client I was out with yesterday. In my market having a client from any source does not always result in a closing. The blogs and web sites and all the rest are for meeting potential clients. Getting the deal to close is an entirely different matter.

  3. teresa boardman

    March 11, 2009 at 8:26 am

    The offer I wrote on Sunday was for a client that met me through my blog. It was not accepted by the sellers so there will be no closing.

  4. Matthew Hardy

    March 11, 2009 at 10:57 am

    > Most agents would consider their database to be an important business asset.

    I certainly agree with the “business asset” part of this sentence; it’s the “most” part that I’m not so sure about. 😉

  5. Mark Eibner

    March 11, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    we’re at it again Secrets? What secrets?: Get out of your feed reader and comment on this post-..

  6. sheilabragg

    March 11, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Secrets? What secrets?: Get out of your feed reader and comment on this post- we PROMISE that the ShamWow guy wo..

  7. Kathy Drewien

    March 11, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Reading: “@tboard is telling secrets! To anyone who will listen!!” (

  8. Linsey Planeta

    March 11, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    I love your openness. I’ve said before – very little I do is an ‘original’ idea. Whatever successes I’ve had have come from implementing systems given to me by those that were generous enough to share with me. Paying it forward is only natural.

  9. Mike Price

    March 11, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Right on the money once again. The world has changed and along with it the risk/reward of interaction with competition. I can think of no better business than Real Estate to take the approach you have. I recently penned a post at Diverse Solutions that dovetails perfectly with this one. I would love to hear your comments on it. The discussion that spawned it started when someone on Facebook commented to me that he was refusing friend requests from other agents in his market for fear that they would benefit from some sort of SEO backdraft.

  10. KimWood

    March 11, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Competition is good! It keeps us on our toes and ahead of the game….

  11. Mariana

    March 11, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Point 1: No matter WHAT you teach people, you will not really teach your competition. Most people will smile, nod and proceed NOT to do anything differently.

    Point 2: “The blogs and web sites and all the rest are for meeting potential clients. Getting the deal to close is an entirely different matter.” EXACTLY!!

  12. Missy Caulk

    March 12, 2009 at 7:00 am

    I get asked this too, why are you giving away all your secrets.

    99% of them won’t do it. So I share it all.

    I am meeting with a top agent next week, sells way more than me and he usually only coaches folks in other parts of the country. But he wants to know how to use Twitter and I want to know how to hire a listing specialist.

    So it is a even trade.

  13. Craig Barrett

    March 12, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Making “She-Crab soup” by different folks given the same ingredients and using the same “secret” recipe will still produce “She-Crab soup”. But the subtle (or dramatic) differences in presentation (thinking writer’s personality) may rest differently on various palates (readers).

  14. Mike Simonsen

    March 13, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    I always find that you get far more benefit from sharing than you risk. You gain ideas, friends, attention, respect. You risk, what, that someone is going to copy you?

    Same goes in startup land. When we started our company I told everyone who was willing to listen. The more I told, the more I listened and the better the company became.

  15. michael krisa

    March 16, 2009 at 7:20 am


    Excellent points you’ve made.

    What I have found is that the “real” top producers have no problem sharing – you just have to ask.

    That’s the big difference between lack mentality vs. abundance.

    Like the odd saying: A candle loses nothing by sharing its flame.

    All Good Wishes,
    michael krisa

  16. Nicole Boynton

    March 18, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Teresa –
    Thank you for posting this blog and for sharing your knowledge. I work for a company that believes by teaching the individual agents we can strengthen the industry as a whole and then everyone is better off. By sharing your wisdom you are making us all better and I applaud you. Thank you for understanding that hoarding information helps no one and you get much more from life if you share what you know.

  17. Jim Lee

    March 20, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    I have no problem sharing most anything with my fellow Realtors.

    Several years I created and taught a class titled “The Internet for Realtors” and got it approved for 3 hours of CEU credit at the state.

    The more you give the more you get.

  18. calabia property

    March 25, 2009 at 5:46 am

    The truth is there has never been a better time to share “best practice” with your fellow realtor.

    Immaterial of where you are geographically based, the web will allow us to converse and better understand our clients and their needs.

  19. Jenny Kotulak

    April 1, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Hi Teresa,
    I enjoyed listening to you on the blogging panel at NAR in Orlando. Your comment about people going to seminars about Web 2.0 and then doing nothing reminded me of a presentation I went to and when the speaker asked how many bloggers there were in the room only a few hands went up. (and this was a large group at the Canadian Real Estate Conference) I have been blogging for a year now and when I chatted with the speaker afterwards he said only about 8 percent of the room would go home and embrace Web 2.0
    My real estate board has asked me to speak about blogging and social media on a panel about prospecting with 2 other REALTORS.
    Like you said, I also don’t mind sharing the info with the audience, who are all less than 2 years in the business. For me, it’s a work in progress. It takes time and effort, but then all prospecting does and this is more fun.

    Jenny Kotulak Broker
    RE/MAX Aboutowne Realty Corp. Brokerage
    Oakville, Ontario, Canada

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