Winning in real estate is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Each successful agent or broker has fine-tuned what works best for them. In the following interview, Kevin Markarian of Marker Real Estate in San Francisco, Calif., offers insight into his recipe for success, so you can move forward and cook up your own.
Marker Real Estate
San Francisco, Calif.
Region served: San Francisco
Years in real estate: 13
Kevin, you went from having a strong team to a single office and then to multiple offices right in the heart of San Francisco. How would you describe your recipe for success?
Prospecting. I like sticking to the basics. Hammering through a large volume of calls is something I enjoy. Regular prospecting via phone calls, email and text seems to work best for me. I don’t do much in terms of farming or mailers. I prefer talking to someone right now as opposed to fishing for a call. It’s really just a numbers game and so every time someone tells me “no,” it just means that I’m one step closer to “yes.” Maintaining a positive attitude and having the will to barrel through lots of rejection is very important.
I use a system that I learned while reading a sales book on an airplane many years ago. It’s the four-point system and it works like this: Every new lead that you create on your own is worth one point, an appointment is worth two points, a signed contract or listing agreement is worth three points and getting paid on a closing is worth four points. My goal is to get four points a day. When first starting out in the business, I would spend most of my days making cold calls for 6 – 8 hours at a time. I wouldn’t stop until I reached my goal of four points a day. Most times I kept going. Now, I use the system for recruiting or when dishing out leads to my team. You can use the four-point system on almost anything. That’s just what works for me.
What about this growth? Can you tell me what’s behind this spurt?
I’ve been fortunate enough to surround myself with some of the smartest and most talented people I’ve ever met in my life. I don’t think my success would be possible without them. Additionally, being able to provide leads to agents on a referral basis has helped tremendously. Providing leads gives people the confidence to join my team. I believe that there are agents who quit the industry because they are unable to drum up enough business to be successful. It’s not because they’re not good salespeople or they’re not likable. I’m able to bridge this gap by providing leads. We also have organized systems in place to be able to manage new leads as they come in and disburse them to the right people. We provide training on our systems, how and when to follow up, what to say and how to say it. It’s just a process and we cater our training to fit each individual based on their needs.
May we assume the leads you’re describing are mostly derived from the Internet? Is it as simple as providing more online leads?
Internet leads have played a big role in our growth by helping me recruit some amazing agents and staff. Anyone can go out and buy Internet leads, but being able to manage and cultivate them using systems is the difference-maker for us.
You mentioned you’ve worked with realtor.com® for many years and have found great success with their products. They share the same parent company as Top Producer Systems and FiveStreet. Can you tell me about your experience with Top Producer and FiveStreet?
FiveStreet has been instrumental in the initial follow-up and response time to online inquiries. It’s helped increase my conversion ratio in a major way. What I like most is the instantaneous email and text component that FiveStreet offers. Response time is very important when dealing with online leads. There’s no way that one person can respond to hundreds or thousands of new leads every month. FiveStreet helps because it responds for me. I also like being able to blast out leads to my team or to certain individuals on the team.
How do FiveStreet and Top Producer fit in with your recruiting proposition?
I talk about FiveStreet and Top Producer with anyone thinking of joining my team. I think people like knowing that they’re working with a company that is organized. [These tools] allow me to provide support to agents when they need it. We maintain notes in Top Producer, which allows me to easily step back into the picture should an agent need help with a client.
How do these systems help you onboard new team members?
FiveStreet has allowed me to disburse leads to my entire team automatically or with the push of a button. It’s given new agents an opportunity to access leads in our database.
Once these leads start to convert, how do your systems continue onward into managing the client relationship?
Prior to using the Top Producer CRM, I would keep track of clients by handwriting notes in a little green booklet. After years of use and a few coffee spills, the book began to fall apart. Needless to say, switching over to a CRM has been huge in being able to follow up and keep track of clients. There are email drip campaigns that we use to follow up with clients depending on where they are in the process. We’ve created custom content for buyers, sellers and past clients in our area.
What I also love about Top Producer is the “follow-up coach” component. It’s a daily reminder to follow up with specific people in your database. The notes are a great way to stay accountable with yourself and with other agents on the team. It really takes the thought process out of prospecting and sort of tells you what to do. In the past, I would have to look through my old notes and think about who to call. Email action plans, note taking, follow-up coach, Market Snapshot and so many other things have helped bolster client relationships in a big way.