To make sales you have to be aggressive, to retain clients you have to be available 24/7 and to differentiate yourself from the competition you have to be cutthroat, right? WRONG!
There are many pre-conceived stereotypes about what a Realtor is like and what qualities are needed to succeed and be memorable. I’m sure you’ve all been accused of being workaholics and maybe even brash at one point or another. Let’s face it, you probably held some of these notions about the professionals in the industry yourself. I know I did (no offence). After all stereotypes exist for a reason, but about a month ago I had the pleasure of talking with one of our long-term clients, Bettina Reid and she proved me wrong.
Not only was she incredibly professional and levelheaded but also really candid about what she initially thought of the Real Estate business. She shared with me the ways in which she has managed to build a successful team while still staying true to herself. No pushy sales tactics or drastic overtime nightmares for this one. Clearly passionate about her career, Bettina spoke about how she incorporates her personal touch into every aspect of the business.
For anyone who might think that motherhood and compassion are not suitable qualities for a Realtor, think again! Bettina is a prime example of how dedication, organization and honesty can bring you a long way. From her sales approach to her relationship with her clients and yes of course her website, Bettina is a prime example that you can be a successful Realtor without adhering to the signature traits a Realtor is “supposed” to have.
Describe your journey into Real Estate?
It wasn’t something that I had originally planned to do. People had always told me that I would be a good Realtor because I had the people skills and the sales experience. My initial preconceptions about the business held me back. The idea of working 365 days a year and being available 24/7 was not appealing to me.
At the time I was studying to be a teacher, it was something that I loved and was passionate about but it would’ve taken me years to complete the process. Next thing you know I was taking the Realtor course and within just over a month I passed the exam and now here I am.
I quickly learned that I had the freedom to run my business how I wanted and without sacrificing the time I needed with my family. I am meticulous about my time and my schedule and make sure I set guidelines for myself. You have to prioritize and manage your time accordingly. I haven’t looked back.
As a mother how do you balance your family life and your career?
Over the past 8+ years as a Realtor I’ve gotten better at managing my work and my family, but it wasn’t always easy. Being a mother is a job on it’s own and it is possible to be good at both if you manage your time properly.
I have to schedule in time for my family and me. If you don’t schedule those things in, time just passes you by. It might sound tedious and unnecessary but if you don’t block things into your agenda you won’t be able to accomplish everything you want in a day.
I’ve done this with my personal life as well as my professional life. Make sure you schedule time for family. They shouldn’t feel left behind. Success and time management go hand in hand.
You mentioned earlier that you’ve had previous sales experience. How has that experience helped you in Real Estate?
I had retail experience but before I moved here from Ontario I ran my own day care center and it was probably there where I attained my most valuable business management skills. I ran my day care center the same way I run my Real Estate business, with the mentality that I will dictate my own life.
As soon as you allow others to dictate your life that is when things get out of control. My day care center was an accomplishment.
Working in retail allowed me to know what kind of sales person I wanted to be. I’m not pushy, I met my quotas and did my job without making people feel like they had to purchase something. In Real Estate no one should be pushed into making such a big decision, they need to feel comfortable and I need to know that my clients feel comfortable.
I speak my mind and offer my opinion when I feel it could influence the final decisions. If it’s not the right home for them I will tell them. You deal with a lot of money and that is not something anyone should be pressured or rushed into.
Could you expand a little bit more on what your sales approach is like?
Not having a pushy sales approach does carry it’s prejudices and that is something that I’ve had to fight with since the start of my career. People who don’t have experience working with me assume that because I’m not pushy and appear soft on the outside that I can’t be hardcore on the inside, meaning that I am not capable of getting aggressive when negotiating.
For me the top priority is that you get what you deserve.
I’ve become very good at reading body language, understanding what the person is about, I act upon what I see, my clients need to love the place from the very beginning. If their body language says otherwise the search continues.
Once you get to know me and understand how I do business you’ll see that I can negotiate and I will fight for you. I do it because I love working with people and making a difference in their lives. No amount of money matters if at the end of the day people aren’t happy with their decision.
You make it a priority to cultivate meaningful relationships with your clients even after the sale. Can you talk a bit more about this?
Before I started in Real Estate I made sure to do some research. I went to open houses and spoke with friends and family. I realized that many people forgot or didn’t even know whom their realtor was. It became apparent that this was one of our downfalls as Realtors, the lack of relationship building.
I decided that I would not be part of this tendency, that was not going to be me.
I make it part of my job to go visit my clients after they’ve moved in and catch up with them. It makes me happy to see them happy. Bottom line, my clients come back to me and returning clients made up 46% of my business in 2014.
Knowing that our clients consider us their Realtor of choice reassures us that we are doing our job right. In order for us to be successful we need to know whom our people are and whom we want to have as our audience. Our clients range from young to old, from small to large budgets. Our ideal clients are loyal and trusting clients, someone who trusts our capabilities and know that we will get them the best home possible.
In this business, what generates the most leads for you?
There are three areas from which our leads come from.
The first of course is referrals from clients.
The second is my website! My website is a big part of my business, Ubertor offers such a great platform to manage my web content. I’m also very happy with the design of my website – it’s simple and user friendly yet customized enough that it stands out and looks professional. My clients appreciate the ease and simplicity. My site generates constant traffic and we manage to get quite a few leads through it.
The third aspect that boosts my leads is the fact that I am active within my community. My “farm” area, is a small community in Cloverdale, where I started my business with a small townhouse complex and then gradually expanded to the rest of the neighbourhood. I created community events, inviting people in the area and knocking on neighbour’s doors. In a tightknit community that was the best way for me to get my business started. Door knocking might seem a bit archaic but for me it works! It’s easy to bring a smile on someone’s face if you’re on their doorstep, they are more receptive. I try to reach out and participate in my community a few times a year. It’s important to let them know that I’m there. I volunteer at the community’s school, it’s a way to give back to the community that saw me get started.
How long have you had your Ubertor website?
I had a website since the very beginning, it started as a template and then in 2010 when I decided to implement a team I decided to move away from the generic website and get something more personalized. Since we are marketing not only ourselves but also our clients and their homes I made the change for them. Our job is to do a service for our clients and we need to provide the essential tools and a platform for it.
My site has become a marketing portal for my clients and has also provided me with the incentive to invest more time to my online presence. I began to use a lot of social media and in 2012 I challenged myself to blog everyday. For 12 months I wrote a blog, this brought in a lot of traction and within the first 6 months we reached as many as 10,000 hits! Through that we get a lot of organic leads and continue to maintain a good ranking on Google.
I try to be as approachable and relatable as possible by keeping my blogs interesting. I shift away from Real Estate from time to time, knowing that, that is not the only thing people want to see. It’s good to show that you are connected and up to date with what is trending in the world around you. You need to differentiate yourself and add content to make people interested in who you are and the communities you work in.
What are some of your long and short-term goals in regards to your career?
Over the years my business has grown a lot, however in the last 3 years it has hovered over the same amount of sales and income. We achieved the most sales in 2014 by just a couple of sales over the previous year. I’d say we’ve hit a plateau, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I want more growth. I decided that we needed to move away from small-scale goals and be more ambitious, maybe that way we’ll have the drive.
I wanted to reach for the stars so-to-speak and set this year’s goal to be double what it was last year. I have time to manage a lot more than before, I block out time on my agenda and do my best to find ways to create more prospects. Other goals include expanding our team to help us reach our lofty goals and we are on our way to doing that. We have to get down to business and make things happen.
No matter where we want our careers to take us, after my conversation with Bettina I believe the take-home message is that we have to stay true to ourselves. Our authenticity and humanity is what will make us successful, and of course love what you do! Thank you Bettina for stepping away from the norm and congratulations on all your success!
Our team at Ubertor would like to thank Bettina for taking the time to meet up with us and share her experiences and advice on Real Estate and what it takes to be successful in the business.
If you would like to share your personal insight or business perspectives (or both) and would like us to feature you in one of our Realtor Spotlight interviews, don’t be shy and let us know – we’d love to meet and learn from you!