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Starting out in real estate just two years ago, Robert Dye chose to carve his own unique path to success. A broker associate with New ERA Realty in Twin Lakes, Wisc., covering the southeast corner of the state, Dye relies on a back-to-basics strategy to build personal relationships with prospective homebuyers: creating trust, loyalty…and results.

At his self-described “small, hometown” firm, Dye was able to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge possessed by the firm’s veteran agents. This enabled him to learn the real estate business the “old school way.”

“When I got my license, there was a lot to learn as a new agent,” says Dye, who brings a background in construction and masonry to his real estate career. “With all the technology, it’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to learn it all…and easy to lose touch with learning the human aspect of the business.”

According to Dye, clients aren’t always dazzled by the latest technology, especially the 50-plus age bracket. “It’s not always about sending out automatic emails and having the fanciest marketing plan to present,” he explains. “I’ve sold houses to people without email, and half my deals are cash offers. The human aspect is what’s important. People don’t want to be treated as just another email. I like to work with a person throughout the year until they find what they want.”

Of course, building such fruitful relationships begins with finding the right buyers. To do so, Dye relies on quality leads from, with whom he’s been working since February of last year. To start, Dye chose one zip code, a large area comprised of properties on 2 – 5 acres, many of which are high-end homes. His clients are often those seeking refuge from the hustle and bustle of bordering Illinois.

While other programs Dye tried resulted in a decent volume of leads, very few proved worthwhile. “Lots of them had poor credit, and lots of times they had fake phone numbers,” he explains. “The leads have been really solid. One lead was a guy who needed to move right away and paid $365,000 cash at closing. That paid for my whole year with These are buyers who want to buy—they’re not just window shopping.”

Dye immediately reaches out by phone to leads as they come in, and starts building that personal relationship from the get-go. If he’s dealing with a serious buyer, he sends them information on available properties, takes them on showings and garners feedback on what they like and don’t like. He then does the legwork of checking all activity in the area to find them the perfect home.

“My buyers trust me to weed it out for them,” says Dye. “I let them know that I’m checking every single day—they are not going to find the right home any faster.”

Dye explains that buyers in his area are looking for their “forever home.”

“You have to stick with them,” he says. “When they get discouraged, you have to call and give them a pat on the back and make sure they’re keeping up with their paperwork, that their pre-approval is up to date, etc.—it requires a lot of follow-up.”

But this is right in Dye’s wheelhouse. “Starting out as a new agent, it’s not about the money for me,” explains Dye. “I want to be able to sleep at night, satisfied that I’ve helped people be where they want to be. As I gain experience, the money will come.”

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