PAGE 36 SWIPE FILES INSIDE Get the Done-for-You Video Marketing Scripts
JANSON on How the
Viral Video Success
With Kat &
The Smart Guide to Leveraging Transferable Skills Can Easily Boost Your Business PAGE 03
Corwyn Melette on Empowering Communities
How to Identify and Adapt Your Unique Knowledge
DEAR AGENTS, I’m excited to bring you this issue of Smart Agents magazine focused on growth and collaboration. In our feature article, Denver-based Rick Janson shows us how he works with other agents and networks to share knowledge and support. We also break down the process of collaborative listening that Rick employs with his clients to quickly identify their needs. Rick's insights are invaluable for agents who are looking to build strong relationships and achieve growth in their business. This issue’s Smart Guide brings together insights from several agents who have successfully leveraged their transferable skills to gain a competitive edge on the market. From former news anchor Kerri O'Hara to former DJ Eddie Ahearn, these agents share their unique perspectives on how their backgrounds have helped them to build stronger networks, bring authenticity and value, close deals, and build referrals. WELCOME
If you’re looking for quick and easy social media ideas, check out our Swipe Files, including a month's worth of done-for-you video marketing scripts and ideas. Agents who have successfully built video audiences on Youtube and beyond share their tips for being natural on camera. Also in this issue, South Carolina-based Corwyn Melette shares with us how providing education and outreach in partnership with local nonprofits has returned rich rewards for his clients and community. Kat & Darren Leblanc tell us how their first viral video opened a new window of opportunity and transformed their marketing strategy. Inspired by the agents included in this issue, we take a look at the psychology behind the growth mindset of successful entrepreneurs and identify simple strategies for embodying this mindset.
We hope that this issue inspires you with proven strategies for growth and continued success. Keep working smart, SMART AGENTS CHARLES CURRY
DON’T REINVENT THE WHEEL
VIRAL VIDEO SUCCESS Marketing Secrets with Kat & Darren Leblanc
Rick Janson on identifying processes and collaborations that can easily boost your business Collaborative Listening
Kat & Darren’s Top Tips for Being on Camera
HOW SMART AGENTS LEVERAGE
CORWYN MELETTE ON EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES Service, Impact, and Success in the Real Estate Industry 49 HOW TO FOSTER A GROWTH MINDSET Charles Curry 59
Darren Sherburne: A Sommelier on the Nuances of Taste Heidi Bolyard: Using an Architect’s Eye to Close Sales Eddie Ahearn: 23 25 29 31 TRANSFERABLE SKILLS A DJ Leverages His Sphere of Influence Former News Anchor Kerri O’Hara On Being a Community Connector and being comfortable in front of the camera
THE SWIPE FILES A month’s worth of done-for-you video marketing scripts and ideas
RICK JANSON LUXURY PROPERTIES DENVER LIFESTYLE® AT EXP REALTY RICK JANSON
Denver, CO www.RickJanson.com www.linkedin.com/in/rickjanson
Cover & Feature photos by Jeffrey Grounds Photography
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DON’T REINVENT THE WHEEL: HOW TO IDENTIFY PROCESSES & COLLABORATIONS THAT CAN EASILY BOOST YOUR BUSINES S I n a career spanning more than two decades, Denver-based Rick Janson has learned to seek out what is working for fellow agents and identify ways to implement those Smart Agents recently spoke with Rick about a wide range of topics, including how he pinpoints exactly what his buyer clients are looking for in their next home and why he treats every listing as if it were a $10 million luxury property. Ultimately, Rick’s experience underscores the importance of sharing ideas in the real estate industry. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, Rick shows us how we can build on tactics that are already proven to work through collaborations with other agents or groups, and with clients themselves. strategies into his own process. Now in the top 1% influencers group with EXP Realty and having been featured on the cover of the Top 100 in Real Estate , HGTV and Forbe s, Rick is sharing the knowledge he has gained.
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being able to connect them with the resources and the contractors to make their dream a reality is a lot of fun for me. And it’s definitely fun in comparison to being an attorney—billing every six minutes of my day kind of sucked the fun out of life!” You might not guess it from looking at his success today, but when Rick first started in real estate, he learned some lessons the hard way: When I first started in real estate 20 years ago, I screwed up. I screwed up a lot! If I could take back the first 10 years of my career, I would. I was in my thirties. I thought I knew everything, and that I didn't need to be aligned with anybody or learn from anybody. I was going to reinvent the wheel myself. I went down so many black holes and rabbit holes, rather than just doing proven things that work. For instance, I spent a long time learning to code in all sorts of different internet languages, like Drupal and all that. And if I had just done the proven things that work—like work my referrals, build a sphere of influence, get consistent post-client or post-closing contacts with my people, consistently farm a neighborhood—if I had done anything smart, I would've been retired by now!
In our conversation with Rick, he emphasized the importance of understanding the unique needs of his clients. He shared his approach of treating each listing with the same level of dedication and professionalism, regardless of its market value. Rick's philosophy is rooted in the belief that every client deserves an exceptional real estate experience. He also highlighted the value of learning from others in the industry, demonstrating that success often comes from building upon proven strategies rather than starting from scratch. Rick has always had a passion for real estate, but before becoming a real estate agent he received an MBA in marketing, a law degree, and spent time working as a licensed attorney. He prides himself on being able to spot up-and- coming neighborhoods and helping his clients envision what a home could be with just a bit of renovation. “That's kind of one of my gifts,” says Rick, “seeing the potential of a property and then also being able to estimate the costs on the fly….When a buyer walks in, they get that glint in their eye that this is the one, but there still might be something holding them back. So
What's Rick working on now? You don't have to reinvent the wheel, but you can modernize the wheel. The tools with which an agent markets and serves clients are constantly evolving. We are now in an age where we can employ the "free cognitive labor" that is available to us via artificial intelligence (AI). While all output still requires savvy human input and a final human polish, these tools allow a small independent broker or ambitious career agent to compete head-to-head with larger, more established teams by strategically applying new technologies. Rick recently launched Power AiGENT™ Daily, a newsletter created to identify the best AI tools and how to apply them to real estate. Sign up for this free newsletter at tinyurl.com/rick-authorify.
So my advice to newer agents is just to humble yourself.
Don't over-entrepreneur this process. Don't try to reinvent the wheel.
There are only so many ways to do real estate, and yes,
you're gonna do it the best.
So how can agents find their particular recipe for success? How can we identify where our strengths lie? In Rick’s case, some of his success comes from drawing on skills from his previous experience in fields outside of real estate and from his unique educational background. For example, having worked as a licensed attorney for several years, Rick finds that real estate contracts come easily to him. He also draws on lessons from his MBA in marketing. These past experiences in law and marketing allow him to quickly identify strategies that can be applied to real estate. As Rick says, “I'm not creating anything new anymore. I'm just identifying systems and tools that work and plugging them into my business.” YES, YOU'RE GONNA BE AMAZING AND YOU'RE GONNA DO IT LIKE NO ONE ELSE HAS EVER DONE IT BEFORE, BUT BEFORE YOU DO THAT, DO IT LIKE SOMEONE ELSE HAS DONE IT BEFORE.
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KEY COLLABORATION IS
Rick's willingness to share his expertise has not only helped others to succeed, but has also strengthened his own business, as his colleagues often refer clients to him as a result of their positive experiences working with him. Rick also values the importance of building relationships and working together to achieve common goals. "Real estate is a team sport," he explains. "When we work together with a shared purpose, we can accomplish great things. I'm always looking for ways to collaborate with other agents and industry professionals to help our clients achieve their goals." By prioritizing collaboration over competition, Rick has created a positive and supportive environment in which members of the real estate community can thrive.
One of the top processes Rick leverages is a collaborative attitude toward sharing knowledge and information. Rather than guarding his secrets to success, he is open and generous with his insights, which has earned him a reputation as a mentor and leader. That collaboration might take the form of sharing ideas among a group of agents, as in his EXP realty group, or working with a group of agents all dedicated to a niche group of clients, as in the Realm luxury group.
As Rick explains,
I BELIEVE THAT SUCCESS IS NOT A ZERO-SUM GAME. WHEN WE WORK TOGETHER AND SHARE OUR KNOWLEDGE, WE CAN ALL BENEFIT AND ACHIEVE MORE THAN WE EVER COULD ALONE. I'VE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF LEARNING FROM SOME GREAT MENTORS IN MY CAREER, AND I'M HONORED TO BE ABLE TO PASS ON THAT KNOWLEDGE TO OTHERS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT.
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THE COLLABORATIVE MINDSET: There Are No Secrets… The mindset shift toward this collaborative attitude was something that Rick found freeing, like a weight coming off his shoulders:
It's an abundance mindset. And my wife taught me this: it's really hard to receive with clenched fists. As an independent broker, I used to have clenched fists. Nobody could get my stuff. It was my stuff because, to build my independent brokerage, I had to be the best and I had to keep all my trade secrets. Well, there are no secrets, people! It's all real estate, and it's been done before. So when you go to the market with open hands instead of clenched fists, that information can flow freely back and forth. And as you're giving, you're receiving. And what I found at EXP is that I cannot give away as much information as I receive. I'm poured into so much, and I receive so much free coaching and training and collaboration and support and the ability to up my game. I received so much of that that I can't give it away fast enough.
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How to Build COLLABORATIVE Relationships
Rick also discusses his collaboration with the Realm Global Network, a luxury real estate group focused on enhancing personal relationships through technology. As a member of this exclusive network, Rick has access to top-performing agents worldwide, including those who have sold multi-million dollar properties. Rick's approach to luxury real estate sales is rooted in a focus on lifestyle and personal relationships, providing valuable lessons for real estate professionals looking to succeed in the luxury market. Through Realm's technology, Rick can input his listings based on lifestyle attributes, such as fishing or hiking, with off-market sellers. "There's a different lifestyle associated with those properties," Rick notes, "and when you're inputting it into the Realm network and into that software, you can plug a lot of different lifestyle attributes that are all sort of proprietary within the search engine." This approach aligns with the increasing trend of people looking for homes that fit their lifestyle needs, not just their basic living requirements. "They're looking to say, what can I do with my life? How can I connect with my family, my friends? How can I have a life outside of work? And how can my home be a tool that allows me to have the lifestyle I want?" Rick explains.
First, start by networking and building relationships with other realtors in your
community. Attend industry events, participate in online forums, and don't be afraid to reach out to others for advice or to offer your own insights. As Rick says, "the more you interact with others in the industry, the more you learn from them and the more you can help each other.” Secondly, don't be afraid to share your own successes and failures with others. By being open and honest about your experiences, you can help others avoid common pitfalls and find their own path to success. As Rick puts it, "I believe that by sharing what I've learned, I can help others succeed, too.” Finally, always be willing to learn and grow. As Rick points out, "no one knows everything, and there's always more to learn." By staying curious and open to new ideas and perspectives, you can continue to improve your own business and contribute to the success of others in the real estate community.
Watch our interview with Rick on the Smart Agents YouTube channel by scanning below:
Collaborating C LIENTS WITH
Perhaps the most rewarding collaborations Rick discusses, however, are those developed in the relationships with his clients. And, of course, you could consider any client-agent relationship a collaboration, but when we look closely at Rick’s process in connecting with his clients, we see collaboration working on a methodological level. In fact, we might call Rick’s tried-and-true method of identifying and understanding his clients’ needs and lifestyle a type of collaborative listening. “Collaborative listening” is a term used in cognitive studies to characterize communication that facilitates learning and empathy between people and within groups. Originally developed as a pedagogical tool for use in education sectors, collaborative listening practices have been adopted across industries, including sales, design, technology, and marketing. For entrepreneurs, collaborative listening is an especially useful framework for surfacing a client’s expectations and needs and then for identifying solutions that meet those needs.
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How Rick Uses Collaborative Listening Rick's approach to working with his clients is a testament to his commitment to the collaborative mindset. His dialogues with clients are like peeling back the layers of an onion, as he puts it. Rather than asking his clients for a summary of what they’re looking for, Rick delves deeper into their needs and motivations. Many agents have had the experience of showing a home that ticks off all the boxes of what the client has asked for, but the home still just isn’t the one. So how can you get better at identifying it–that indescribable thing the client really wants? As Rick puts it, "you go about seven layers deep on someone's needs and you finally start unpacking what it is." Take a look at these examples from Rick’s process that demonstrate collaborative listening, resulting in a deeper understanding of the client's needs and goals, and a more effective approach to finding the best solution for them.
As a framework, collaborative listening can be broken down to a series of strategies that include the following: joint attention in which 2 or more people (the collaborators) focus their attention on the same question or problem sharing in which the collaborators each share their observations based on the “shared gaze” (literally looking at the same thing) and their intentions or goals in relation to the question or problem listening in which each collaborator names their own understanding of the problem and possible solutions, while the other collaborators take note of the different perspectives perspective taking in which each collaborator analyzes and revises their understanding of the problem based on the new information gained from what their collaborators have shared
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Apples to Apples
During Rick’s “apples-to-apples” tour, Rick and the buyer are focusing their attention on the same question: finding the best neighborhood for the buyer's needs:
When I take a buyer out on a tour, the first thing we do is help them narrow down neighborhoods….So we will go to five different neighborhoods [and compare] apples to apples, looking at the same price point in five different neighborhoods. $500,000 in this neighborhood,
$500,000 in that neighborhood, and so on. But as we're driving home to home in that concierge service, I'm also driving them through the area: here's where you're going to be shopping, here's where you're going to be going to school, here's where you're going to be doing this and that….And as I go through five neighborhoods I say, “let's play a little game of keeping one on top, because you're going to forget everything else that you've seen today.”
By comparing homes at the same price point, Rick eliminates the price variable, which allows him to drill down on what the buyer really wants in terms of neighborhood amenities.
Encouraging the buyer to keep in mind which neighborhood ranks on top as they go through the process allows the discussion to surface more of the buyer’s priorities, which is invaluable information for the agent who’s actively listening.
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Invite Sharing (& Don’t Assume)
When finding the home for a client, Rick reminds us that “It's not the square footage, it's not the yard size, it's what the yard size and the square footage allow them to do.” Rick encourages his clients to share their observations and intentions regarding the space they are looking at. He advises against assuming how someone will use a particular space and instead encourages them to share their perspective. Rick gives the example of the kitchen, a space we might easily make assumptions about:
One of the very simple things I learned from a coach early on…was never assume how someone's going to use space. When you walk into a kitchen, ask “how do you imagine using this space?” And you or I might think, what a stupid question—it's a kitchen, I'm going to cook. But you'd be surprised because some people are going to be like, “wow, this is where I'm gonna lay out my cheese board every night,” or “I invite five friends over for dinner every Thursday,” but someone else might say “I don't cook, so this space is a total waste of time.”
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The Client-Led Tour LISTENING
Rick also suggests letting the buyer lead the tour through the house. The client can then go through the house imagining themselves living in the space, picturing how features would be utilized. This method allows an agent to gain more information about what makes a property truly valuable to the client: I just learned this [strategy] from a brilliant realtor up in New York. When he walks into a home, he starts at the best feature of the home, and he tells the client, “Take me for a tour of your home.” And the buyer walks him through and gives him the tour. This strategy takes the advice to “invite sharing” to another level. By asking the potential buyer to role play as if they are the agent giving the tour, they will inevitably verbalize more of their thought process and reactions to the home throughout the tour. An agent who is really listening can gain a lot of insight in this way.
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Use the Listing Appointment to Gain Perspective PERSPECTIVE TAKING
To effectively practice perspective-taking, real estate agents can ask specific questions that allow them to understand their clients' needs and desires. Rick does this by going beyond the standard listing presentation and "unpacking the needs and wants and desires of the client." This means visiting the client’s current home and asking questions such as "What do you like and what don’t you like?" and "What would you change? What would take [your current home] to a 10?" Instead of the standard powerpoint presentation, Rick says, "I want to spend my hour in your house getting to know your needs and what's going to make this a special experience for you, as well as what makes this home so special that it's going to sell for a higher price per square foot than any other home in the neighborhood." To adopt this strategy, Rick explains, "You spend that time in the home connecting and bonding and building a relationship…. And that's where you add your value." By taking the time to truly understand their clients, real estate agents can provide exceptional service and build long- lasting relationships that lead to success in the current sale and in the industry more broadly.
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Based in Denver, Rick Janson serves a diverse market that he has come to know well over the past 20 years. That local expertise plus the lessons learned during his MBA allow Rick to use this marketing strategy to elevate a home’s perceived value. RICK'S MBA-INSPIRED MARKETING STRATEGY
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I n Denver, we have everything from little single family residences of about 600 to 800 square feet, or duplexes, or all the way up to 14,000-square-foot homes in Greenwood Village. So we have quite the range, but I'd say the sweet spot of doing real estate in Denver is working in the central core—the Washington/ Park Cherry Creek area—where your price points will be 1.5 to 2.5, sometimes 3.5 million. But our median price point right now is around 600,000.
When it comes to pricing, you have to know the neighborhoods really well. You have to know that if you cross this road, what it does, how it impacts the value of the home. Because in Denver, it can literally be as simple as crossing a traffic light. And if you go to the other side, your price drops by a hundred thousand dollars. So you have to know those details. You have to know what schools children would be going into. You have to know where people are going to enjoy their lifestyle from that home, no matter where you service. And sometimes, I don’t know. I'll admit, sometimes I do have to get back to them when a question comes up. But I've been entrenched here for over 20 years, putting the boots on the ground and putting in the legwork and having driven enough through the neighborhoods.
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Realtors often debate which is more important, marketing or price. I say, yes, price is very, very important. You can't overprice. You need to price reasonably. But, unless your marketing shows that that price is of value, the price is irrelevant. If you post one picture from a cell phone with you in the bathroom mirror and poorly backlit, for example, or a picture with a blinding light coming out of a window and dark couches—people won't understand the home’s value, even if you were to price it at rock bottom. If, instead, you do luxury marketing and amazing photography for every property, they're going to see the value in the price that you post, and they're going to want to come tour the home. This is why I bring the same level of quality to every home, regardless of price point. And maybe that just goes back to my marketing degree, where I first learned this lesson. Take as an example a Mercedes Benz, which is not that much different from a Honda in practical terms: you have cooled seats, you have power everything, you have a screen on the dashboard, you have the smooth ride, the distance monitoring when you're on cruise control, and so on. But a Mercedes sells for a lot more than a Honda. And yes, part of it's quality, but part of it's perception. And a big part of that perception is the marketing Mercedes does to elevate themselves, which elevates that car into a different status level. And so even when I'm doing a $300,000 home, I market it like a $2 million home. Because, what I've found is that on a $300,000 home, $5,000 matters a lot more than on a $3 million home.
$5,000 is make or break for someone, even at the $500,000 level. Think about $5,000—if you found it on the street, you’d think that's a lot of money, right? One thousand dollars is a lot of money. So I try to get every thousand dollars for my clients every time I market. We’re doing a 6-page brochure. We're doing videos, we're doing walkthroughs, we're doing flyovers, we're doing 3D models, floor plans, professional photography. We unleash the entire marketing package on every single home. That way, when I send the owner the pictures, they react like “Oh my gosh, my house is beautiful!” That's what I want someone to see online because all we can do is draw people off their screens and into the house. If we create a sufficient surge in demand for the house, then we can get a bidding war going, and then we can get the results we want for our client. In the end, you don't know if the video's going to sell the house or not. You don't know if the single property website is going to sell the house. You don't know if the 3D model is going to sell the house. But what you do know is that in the event that the seller comes to you and says, “why isn't my house moving?”---especially in the context of a shifting market—you can say, “there are only two things we can control. One is the marketing and one is the price. Is there anything that we've left out of our marketing?” I always want them to say “no” at that point because we've turned over every single stone; we've done everything possible from a marketing standpoint. If we’ve done all this, they're not going to be able to find a reason to go to another realtor or brokerage because we've done everything and at the highest possible level. So if there are two things that are going to move a property, marketing and price, now there's just one left: price.
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HOW SMART AGENTS LEVERAGE TRANSFERABLE SKILLS
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T he Smart Agents featured in this section demonstrate how different mindsets or frameworks that come from other fields as diverse as wine tasting, architecture, or even DJing, give a creative edge in how the agents approach their work in real estate. To think about how you might drawn on transferable skills, look beyond your industry and draw on experiences from other fields. For instance, if you have a background in psychology, you can use your knowledge to better understand your clients and their needs. If you have experience in project management, you can apply those skills to managing complex real estate transactions. Even skills in seemingly unrelated fields such as can be leveraged to create more effective marketing materials and outreach strategies in authentically sharing some of your life experience and talents with your audience. Ultimately, transferring skills into real estate requires a willingness to explore new ideas and a commitment to continuous learning. By embracing the diverse experiences and skills you bring to the table, you can enhance your value as a real estate professional and improve your ability to meet the needs of your clients
WHAT ARE TRANSFERABLE SKILLS? Transferable skills are often soft skills, such as communication style, interpersonal skills, or organizational methods and planning tools. However, sometimes technical knowledge, like familiarity with a particular software or digital tools can be transferable. Likewise, experience in sales, negotiation, leadership and public speaking are also transferable across fields. Local knowledge is also a transferable skill that most agents are adapting from their lived experience to inform their sales of homes in that same area.
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COMMUNICATION CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING
DIGITAL LIT TECH-SA
Smart Agents in Action: See page 11 for how Rick Janson uses collaborative listening to really hear the truth of what his client’s are looking for and find them the perfect properties. Communication Smart Agents in Action: See page 25 to learn how Heidi Boylard uses the “SOLD” framework to teach agents to think like an architect. Creative Problem Solving
These stories can inspire you to identify transferable skills that you could leverage from your past work experience, education, hobbies, or other special interests and talents. Think beyond just school and work experience to your creative
pursuits, sports interests, technical know-how, local expertise, and more.
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TERACY & AVVY
Smart Agents in Action: From Darren Sherburne’s technical knowledge of photography to Kerri O’Hara’s experience in front of the camera, Smart Agents are adaptring diverse technical knowledge from other fields to real estate. Maybe you have a hobby or previous work experienced that could help you brng a technical edge to your work. Digital Literacy & Tech-Savvy
Smart Agents in Action: See page 29 for how Eddie Ahearn uses his past as a DJ to inform his method for obtaining referrals and repeat business. Relationship Building Smart Agents in Action: Mentorship and networking are key factors in all of the success stories of the Smart Agents featured here. Team Work
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Sommelier Turned Real Estate Agent & Photographer
R eal estate may not seem like an obvious career choice for someone with a background in hospitality and an expertise in wine, but for Darren Sherburne, it was a necessary and timely transition after the Covid-19 pandemic radically changed the hospitality industry. Fortunately, Darren’s transition to real estate was supported by a trusted mentor, Dale Bromley. “I commonly say that I owe everything I have to [Dale] because he really did hand me a really incredible career,” said Darren. “I've never worked more in my life, but I've never felt more rewarded for my labor and I'm incredibly thankful to him for that.” Darren’s experience in the wine industry provided him with a unique set of skills, and it is his hospitality mindset that he has successfully transferred to his current work in real estate. “I actually was on the hospitality track for 13 years. I went to Johnson Wales down in Providence, Rhode Island, and picked up the sommelier trade.” As a sommelier, Darren learned how to logically deduce key information about a wine, such as its age, its region of origin, and so on—all from the nuances of taste. As he puts it, “wine is pretty cutting edge and it's also a highly intellectual field.” After he passed his exam to become a certified
SIMPLIFIED LIVING ARCHITECTURE Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire www.darrensherburnerealtor.com
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sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers and spent some time working in the industry, Darren found himself ready for a change of pace and turned to real estate. Now Darren applies skills learned in hospitality to his work in real estate, where he helps clients find the perfect home to match their tastes. Darren has also developed technical knowledge as a photographer to help him in his real estate business. After hiring out for a photography session that produced disappointing results, Darren thought he could do it better himself. “I didn't have experience shooting properties; I just knew how cameras worked,” said Darren. “With my knowledge of technology and the price points for consumer-level photography and videography equipment, I believed that I could replicate something better than I had received. And after a number of tries and a number of properties listed with my photos, I was able to succeed.” Influenced by the strict photography guidelines held by his brokerage— “no clutter, no toilets, no magnets, things of that sort”— Darren ultimately curated his own style of real estate photography. He now offers services such as walkthrough videos and drone flyovers to provide clients with a comprehensive view of the property. When asked about what inspires Darren to provide these customized photography and video services to clients, Darren replied that “It's a desire to provide as much as I can. That’s always been my goal. It's what drove me into hospitality and drove me into the wine industry,” Darren explained, “The more service and the more I can offer, the better I feel about myself!” Darren's goal is to offer as much service as possible, which is why he enjoys talking about his home area and providing recommendations to his clients. “I have a lot of love for this town and for these surrounding townships. And so I just thrive on talking about what I know…. And that video tour is all a part of that.” Darren wants potential buyers, especially out-of-town buyers, to feel confident that they really know the area. For example, “some people don't want to see that [the home’s] right on a highway, and maybe some agents won't show that, but you need to know that! If you're gonna work with me…there's no flub, there's no fluff. It's all just, it's what it is. And the more I can give someone a proper demonstration of what a property looks like from afar, the better value I feel I'm offering.” Darren also connects clients with lenders, contractors, and inspectors to make their moving process smoother. Darren's experience as a sommelier taught him that the details matter and it's essential to be a storyteller. He uses these skills to connect his clients with the community and provide a personal touch to the buying and selling experience.
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH DARREN
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SIMPLIFIED LIVING ARCHITECTURE
Dublin, OH www.heidibolyard.com www.instagram.com/heidibolyard
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AN ARCHITECT'S EYE HEIDI’S SOLD framework
S O D
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H eidi Boylard has created a process using her experience as a residential architect to empower real estate agents to build their confidence and knowledge of structural elements and mechanical systems so they sell more homes, receive more referrals, and increase their commissions. “I use my expertise as being a residential architect doing custom homes and host renovation projects to train real estate agents in how to think like an architect,” explained Heidi, who wants to give agents “the same skills that I've used to create people's dream homes.” By training real estate agents how to think like an architect, Heidi teaches agents how they can generate ideas and solutions for almost any home, helping their clients visualize how the spaces can function for their family, and even eliminate client’s frustrations when there is low inventory. Heidi describes what she calls the “SOLD framework,” which “helps real estate agents simplify the process for themselves and for their clients.” And that idea of “simplifying” is the first concept in the framework, the S in SOLD. The O in SOLD stands for “outlining,” which Heidi describes as “really outlining what the goals and the needs and the dreams are for the clients.” The L is the layout of the home. Heidi is quick to point out that “just because it's a dining room now doesn't mean it needs to be a dining room!” Instead, she teaches clients and other agents to look “at all the spaces in the home, finding out which spaces are too large, which are too small and what can be reworked pretty easily so that it can align with the homeowner's lifestyle.” The final D in SOLD stands for the details, Heidi says, like “looking at the structure of the home… and also the other details of mechanical systems, the windows, all of those things.”
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH HEIDI
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How BEING A DJ Helped Me Succeed in Real Estate
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M assachusetts-based Eddie Ahearn credits his DJ business with helping him in real estate because it created a sphere of influence, especially with people whose weddings he had played. This helped him to turn one listing or buyer into exponentially more deals as word-of-mouth and his outreach process spread throughout his sphere. Being top of mind and maintaining relationships is crucial to building a successful real estate business. “I had a big sphere [of influence],” recalls Eddie, “including people that I had done weddings for. My fiance has a huge family. I DJed all her family's weddings. So her cousins were coming to me…And you can turn one listing or one buyer into, you know, 20 deals. If you continue to reach out to them and service them correctly, they're going to come back to you with other referrals.” Eddie's company has a training program for new agents that includes reaching out to people monthly, creating a business page, and sending postcards. He emphasizes how he was able to tap into the value of the sphere he initially built through his DJ business: Indeed, Eddie emphasizes that his ultimate goal is to earn his clients' referrals. He believes that referrals are the best way to grow his business because people are more likely to work with someone who has been recommended by someone they know and trust. He notes that staying in touch with clients and maintaining relationships over time is key to earning referrals by standing out as someone who has been there for his clients and provided them with value. You want to work with people you like, people you get along with. And being a DJ and especially doing weddings, people did get to see my personality. They did get to see how I react to crowds and get the party going. Their first impression of me was, “Hey…we had one of the best nights of our life, and he was running the show.” So that's a good first step to get people to say, “I want him to help me find a house or to sell my house.” It was a good way to get in the door.
Growing Your SOI with Well-timed Outreach
A key takeaway from Eddie’s story is how maintaining contact with his sphere of influence helped him to grow his business. He highlights the importance of being top of mind with clients, through monthly newsletters, postcards, Facebook posts, and other touches, as well as maintaining relationships after the transaction ends: “Every month you're reaching out to your sphere so that whenever they or somebody they know is looking to buy or sell, you're top of mind with them. You're the first person they think of.” In addition to his monthly outreach, Eddie also suggests some other well-timed communications that help build a better relationship with his sphere of influence.
Here are Eddie’s tips on when to reach out to maintain and grow your sphere of influence:
BIRTHDAYS Send a card or a little note letting people know you are thinking of them on their birthday. HOUSE-WARMING GIFT/VISIT Send a gift or arrange a time to pop in for a quick visit with a prior client to check on how they’re doing in their new home. This is an opportunity to create content as well. As Eddie says, “take a little video; throw that out there just to let people know that when the transaction ends, I don't go away. I'm still there for you.” TAX TIME Another great time for agents to reach out is tax time. Eddie suggests sending a copy of the final Closing Disclosure. “You know, whoever who just bought or sold the house may not have that, and they need it for tax time. It's a great way to reach out and say, ‘Hey, I know tax time is coming. Here's the CD, andif you need anything else from me, let me know.’ Just keeping your name out there and letting people know that you're still there even after the transaction's over.”
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH EDDIE
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KERRI O'HARA RELOCATION EXPERT
Boise, Idaho www.relocationboiseidaho.com www.instagram.com/kerriohara
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K erri O'Hara began planning a career in television broadcasting at the age of eight. She recalls that she never considered working outside of the news industry. Then, when her first child was born, Kerri came to the realization her priorities had suddenly shifted. Kerri had recently relocated to Boise, Idaho, and was sure of one thing: she didn’t know what she wanted to do professionally. After some genuine soul searching, Kerri came to the conclusion that she didn’t want to stay in television. At the same time, she knew that a traditional desk job held zero appeal for her. When Kerri made the decision to become a realtor, she jumped in feet first, finishing her last television taping on a Friday night at 11 o’clock and beginning real estate school the following Monday morning. Kerri initially felt a bit out of place as she adapted to her new hometown of Boise. It was Kerri’s former television agent who encouraged Kerri to utilize her on-camera skills to feature Boise as the next big “up-and-coming city" on YouTube. Within a couple of months, Kerri’s phone started ringing and a new flourishing career in real estate was born.
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SET OF TRANSFERABLE SKILLS
Kerri found that the insights her former profession as a television reporter had given her into how to properly create good lighting and deliver a targeted message were valuable transferable skills that served her well as she began marketing herself to prospective home buyers and sellers in the Boise area. While many new realtors pay for leads when they are getting their start, Kerri is an example of how you can use social media to effectively market yourself. By appearing in videos she created using her smartphone, Kerri was able to showcase her personality and knowledge of the area, effectively establishing herself as a community expert. Boise is the other star of Kerri’s YouTube video series. The city routinely makes all the top 10 lists of the best places to live, retire and raise a family. To find topics for her videos, Kerri simply puts herself in the place of her clients and responds to the questions most frequently asked by newcomers to the area. Kerri’s videos are an educational resource that newcomers to the area can turn to for help in navigating all the city and the region has to offer.
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On Being a
I would say your vibe attracts your tribe. By putting my videos out there, I’ve found people call me and say right away, “it already feels like we're friends!” because they've been watching so many of my videos. Usually people who are new to town don't know what they're looking for. They don't know pricing taxes, school districts, why people live in certain areas, why they don't. But they feel like they already know me, and that comfort level allows me to really get to know who they are and identify their why: why are they coming here? What’s most important to them? It turns out a lot of people moving to Boise want a place where they can become very involved and immerse themselves in the community and the city. I love to see the change in someone after they move to a place where everybody says "hi" and is friendly. It feels like people are looking out for you here, and it's really cool to see that transformation in people who are new to town. I think that I'm a big connector. Whether that's connecting a local business to another local business or introducing a client who's an investor who moves to town. Boise is just small enough that you can really enjoy getting to know people and being part of the community. As I’m in my car all day long, going from one appointment to the next, I'll stop at a bar top and sit and chat with the bartender while I get my work done and have lunch. I've found that real estate has actually done so much more for me than I ever thought: To be able to connect me with people in the community and know that I’m playing an integral part for a business owner or for someone new moving to town. It's just a nice feeling.
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Kerri on How to Get Comfortable in Front of the Camera
Kerri acknowledges that most realtors, particularly those just starting out, will not have her professional experience in front of the camera. Still, embracing video is vital to expanding your audience and your real estate business. To keep from feeling overwhelmed, Kerri advises preparation and lots of practice before you set the camera rolling. Use the time spent commuting in your car from appointment to appointment to practice the message you wish to deliver. Repeat words that are difficult to pronounce until they easily roll off your tongue. Kerri goes back to an old adage she remembers hearing often in her days as a broadcaster, “The best news anchor is someone you want to have a beer with.” Your videos don’t have to be perfect, but they must be relatable. Kerri’s advice is to remember that videos are intended to spark a social interaction. Kerri warns that when you sacrifice authenticity for an overly produced “perfect cookie cutter look, you're not allowing for that personal interaction to happen.” WANT TO CONNECT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE USING VIDEO?
PRACTICE You just gotta keep doing it. In television, you start at the lowest market and you go market to market and you get better and better as you go. If you're living in New York City, you're watching the best television talent and news anchors reporters that are in the game. It’s really easy to be intimidated by that and to say, “I can't do this. I'm not that good.” Well, those anchors have been doing it their entire life…. I tell people if you were to go and pull up my very first resume tape (which is a VHS by the way, so I'm not sure we could even find a way to play that!), you’d see it's bad. It hurts to see some of the mistakes. But you just keep doing it. Maybe that means you do it in your car, [outloud] to yourself, for a month until you feel like it's okay, and then you go for it. BE AUTHENTIC It's got to be relatable. You don't have to worry about saying it perfectly or going back on what you said; it doesn't have to be perfect. We're human. So just put it out there! The more and more you do it, the more comfortable it becomes. What's funny is that I have produced videos where I had a videographer and an editor doing them, and then I have my videos I did myself in the car. The ones in the car actually tend to do better than the produced ones! People want real authenticity, just: it is what it is. Act as if you're talking to a friend. You're going to have "ums" and "buts" and different idiosyncrasies; that does not matter at all. The more genuine you are, you’ll see how the videos actually work. BE CONCISE If you're going to do a video series, start thinking about what topic you're going to talk about and then brainstorm in your head. Outline what are the points you've got to make and be concise. If you look at my video analytics to see which videos people watch all the way to the end, you’ll see that If the video's too long, viewers start dropping off. People have no attention for that, so be concise. If you want to talk about one area of the real estate market, then hone it into one city: Here are the numbers. Here's what you need to know. Get in and get out. In television, most of our scripts are 30 seconds long. So when you tell a full story, even if you're talking about a topic that might have both sides of an argument, or you need to interview several people, your whole story is a minute and a half long. You've got to keep that in mind that people don't have time for it, so practice and make sure that your video is very concise.
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Meet TV: Tamara Vesna SMART AGENTS + AUTHORIFY
Tamara Vesna (TV) is Realtor and Real Estate Broker based in Illinois with over 20 years of experience in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Her nickname “TV” is not just her initials but also a reference to her decades of work as a TV producer with a weekly Chicago TV cable show. This in addition to her experience as a professional actress (SAG-AFTRA) has helped her to succeed in real estate, building long-lasting friendships with her clients as well as a successful YouTube channel, where she shares her real estate expertise. Tamara likes Youtube as a marketing platform because “it’s 24-7…and if someone's searching for something, they can find [it].” She uses her Authorify books in a similar way: to provide valuable information that’s available any time a client needs it. “I'm so glad that I got my books because they save me a lot of time and energy! If someone asks me how to buy, how to sell – trying to explain to them all this knowledge and experience in just a few minutes is really impossible.” Instead, Tamara will share one of her Authorify books, a comprehensive guide that fosters a sense of trust in Tamara's abilities as a knowledgeable realtor. Armed with the book, clients gain a deeper understanding of the real estate process and can refer to it at their own pace. When clients reach out with specific questions, Tamara can address their inquiries, leveraging the book as a starting point and building stronger client-agent relationships.
Tamara has found that sharing her Authorify books creates impactful client interactions, establishing her as a reliable resource and empowering clients on their real estate journey. Even with an established following on YouTube, Tamara continues to benefit from the resources included in her Authorify membership, including guidance from the success team at Authorify and the marketing platform and resources. “I really appreciate… all the people on the team that provide resources and training. It really gives peace of mind to know that once a week or so, I can [attend a training and] hear something smart and I can remind myself what to do!” Tamara uses the Authorify’s schedule of training webinars and workshops to help her refocus on her marketing efforts and her goals for her business. “It's so easy with people pulling us left and right, that we kind of lose track. I'm glad that Authorify offers us a system and a place to go back and refresh our memory…so we can really focus.” Even with all of her experience in front and behind the TV camera, Tamara finds that having her Authorify books boosts her confidence and comfort-level as she promotes herself and her business. "The books give me the confidence to deliver valuable information to my clients and leads in a concise and comprehensive manner,” explains Tamara, “I'm helping people, but it doesn't take too much time for me.”
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