A Day In The Life of a Rural Agent: Dabbling In Tourism

photographerSometimes this job is weird. Good weird, but still. It’s never just selling houses or preparing contracts. This REALTOR® life is not about houses, it’s about people, so it’s always an adventure. As a rural agent, I get to work with a whole lot of backwoods types. And I love that. I am a bit of a redneck myself. That’s probably why it seemed especially odd when, one day, I felt a little like a diplomat.

The call came to meet a gentleman from China. (he had discovered me online) He wanted to see a piece of our vast prairie that was for sale. I did not expect to sign a new buyer or make money off of the meeting, thinking he was ‘just looking’. I obliged him though, because I love people, and saw it as an opportunity to serve as a representative of Manitoba.

It did feel a bit odd. I was, all at once, a distinguished representative (in my mind anyway), and also a tourist attraction – kind of like a giraffe in a zoo. He excitedly told me of his adventures so far in Canada. He made sure to have his picture taken with me. There we were, talking about purchasing the patch of land he’d only dreamed of, taking photos. Minus the camera around his neck, it was just like in the movies.

Feeling on display like that made me think.  Really, we’re all on display -especially in our digital world. But even offline, people are watching. What we say and do – how we live – we are always representing something or someone. Our family, the company we work for, or the God we serve.

Did you ever think of yourself as a diplomat, your every move a fascinating representation? Ooh. That’s deep. I’m excited for your own dabbling in tourism. So excited in fact, I’d like to take your picture.

Don’t move. I’ll go get my camera…

 

 

 

Rednecks, REALTORS® and Potty Humor

surprised-lookRural people are… different from city folk. They use bathroom fixtures as lawn décor and ratty sofas for fireside furniture. I work with all kinds of people, but have a definite soft spot for good old rednecks. And, as a rural agent, I’ve collected a few stories from the backwoods. 

Once, I showed a rural property in the woods. The owners were out of the country for weeks at a time, and I was showing the place to a local couple. They poked their heads into each room, carefully exploring the house. The wife and I were admiring the master bedroom and discussing features of the house when the husband entered the room looking pretty nervous. We fell silent.

“I… had to go potty” said the grown man sheepishly. I froze in surprise. (What would you say?) I searched for words, finally landing on,
“I’m not your kindergarten teacher.” But I couldn’t say that!
“No…” He leaned forward, eyes widening “I had to GO. I couldn’t wait.”

At that moment an aroma wafted into the room and I realized what he meant.

“Oh.” Again, I searched for words. Then I remembered a critical detail. The homeowners, in their absence from the country, had turned a few things off.

“Oh! The toilet doesn’t flush!” I laughed. I couldn’t help it. I was embarrassed that I had laughed so I said “I thought this only happened in the movies! ”

While the couple exchanged glances and furrowed eyebrows, I phoned for advice. We got the breakers turned on, and all was well.

Maybe it was that we were simply enjoying the sweet, oh-so-fresh country air, but our walk back to the vehicle was … quiet.

 

Why REALTORS® Need Social Media

cloud-computing-11299605484syQMost REALTORS® underestimate the marketing value of social media.  My marketing is social-media heavy, and I’m often asked, “Why bother?” and “what difference does it make?” or “Does it really help?” So I thought I’d answer these questions here. Online.

Did you know that, according to a survey by the California Association of Realtors (CAR) 63% of those who used an agent found them online? Without an online presence, that’s two thirds of a market you don’t have access to! I have met with clients from Alberta, Morden and even from China because they found me online. When I ask them how they discovered me, their answer was “online”. It works. That’s why I’m on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, advertising with MyHouseandHome.ca and have my own blog right here!

Check out these compelling stats every agent should know about buyers (who use an agent):

80%  interview 2 or more agents. This means we are in fierce, close-up competition with other agents, and being actively evaluated by our clients.

68% used Google to research their agent. I wonder how interested they are then, in an unfindable agent?

91% of buyers said they were receptive to receiving information about the home buying process directly from their agent via social media. This is a game changing piece of information. Buyers WANT to hear from us, and they want to hear from us through social media. I have several clients that I connect with almost exclusively through social media!

 

How then, are agents interacting with their clients? 51% of agents prefer telephone as their primary means of communication. There is a huge gap here between what clients want and what agents are doingAnd that’s good news for you and me. We can be the ones to step into that gap and serve clients the way they want to be served. We can literally meet them where they are; in social media.

As consumers, we know the trend is digital, and we expect other businesses to be online. But somehow there is this bizzare disconnect. As REALTORS® – as business people – we seem not to make the leap that WE need to get OUR businesses online. That’s where the clients are. It’s where they shop and live and hire. If we market primarily offline, we’re missing an opportunity to connect with 68-91% of the market!

So how can we meet our clients online? No one article could cover that, but diving into social media would be a tremendous start. Open accounts and start connecting with people. Then get researching about how best to market your business online. (You might be surprised to find the way not to market is to talk about your services all the time. It’s a people thing.)

I Would But…

 

speedy car

 

I would tell  you stories- hilarious tales-

but I am too busy trying to make sales

the phone won’t stop ringing, emails clog my PC

I drive ‘cross the nation ‘till my tank is empty

dishes and laundry piles grow ever higher

‘When will you clean us?” they seem to inquire

‘I’ll get to it later’ I think as I’m leaving

and hope it gets better just by my believing

my husband and I see each other.. not much

when I’m running  and selling and showing and such

“Then where is the money dear Liza?” he’ll croon.

“the sale from five months ago should pay out soon.”

and now I must leave to dash hither and yon

I would tell you stories but… too late

I’m gone

 

 

.

Hear ye, here ye! My public announcement!

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Committing The Big Fat No-No

headache

I once worked with a sweet, young couple who sought the perfect house in which to start their family. I hunted. I searched. For weeks I called and asked around and tapped keys to find that perfect house. We looked at a few. Then I found it –the perfect house for this couple. I called to let them know.

After not hearing back for a few days, I called again to check in. I was shocked. They had made an offer with another agent. After all the time and effort and work, they called another agent to see a listing, and then made an offer. The reason they gave was simple,

“We didn’t want to bother you”

I worked hard for weeks to please ‘my buyer’, and in the end received no commission for the sale… because they didn’t want to bother me. (Does this make sense to anyone??)

What’s worse is that this is a common occurrence. Many people don’t want to ‘bother’ their REALTOR® so, to be of least inconvenience, they require their agent to do loads of legwork and then give the commission to another agent they’ve had nothing to do with.

No.

Seriously.  

If you work hard for that promised promotion at work and then, when the boss promotes someone else – you know, as a favor; so you don’t have to work even harder – would you feel relieved? Would you be glad he didn’t bother you with the very reward you were working for??

No,

no

and no. 

If you only remember one thing from this post, I hope it’s this.

Please let me serve you – all the way.

Let me finish the work I started with you.

Your REALTOR® WANTS to work with you – all the way.

Your REALTOR® rightly hopes to one day be paid for all the work they do for you.

Please. Stop committing the big fat no-no.

Rural Agent Adventures – You Know You’re A Redneck When…

old bus in bush cropped

I meet all kinds of people in this job. Some of the most interesting to me are the backwoods type.

I love rednecks. I AM one! I may not grace my lawn with old sofas or bathroom fixtures, but I secretly enjoy banjo tunes and, for Christmas, our family hauls out rifles to celebrate with some good old target practice. Nothing says party like gunshots ringing out across the sparkling December snow…

Maybe it’s the straightforward simplicity of country folk that I adore. The lack of pretense is so refreshing. Maybe it’s the checked shirts and country music. Either way, I love those backwoods, rough around the edges, say-it-like-it-is bumpkins!

I couldn’t help but smile when I showed this couple a wooded country property once. The house was nestled in the trees and looked great inside and out. But the gem that  caught their eye was a broken down old bus among the trees.
“Does that bus come with the property?” He asked, eyeing it dreamily.

“Do you want it to come with the property?” I asked.

“Yeah!” He pointed a finger to the house, “I’m going to pull it up to the deck and turn it into a bar and use the hood of the bus for a beer cooler!”

Yup, gotta love them bumpkins.