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From Track Suits to Tailored Suits With Rod Williams

Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

This is part two in an ongoing series featuring top producers. Read part one featuring Jen Du Plessis.

What does it take to be a top producer?  There is no magic, work-free formula, but there are habits and principles of top producers that you can “borrow” for your own playbook.

Today’s post features the determined and inspiring Rod Williams. What makes Rod a top producer?  Yes, Rod is ranked number two overall in his brokerage firm, Solid Source Real Estate Companies, out of approximately 1,700 agents (his third consecutive year in the top three).  Yes, Rod is in the top 5 percent for the entire metro Atlanta REALTORS® Association (where real estate is booming). But more importantly, he helps his clients live the American dream of homeownership and real estate wealth-building.

I was able to do a one-on-one Q&A with Rod to ask him about his success. Learn with he had to say and gain some take-aways with my commentary in “Lee’s Coaching Playbook” following each of his answers.

Photo from @rodwilliams_

Q. What does a week in your business look like (i.e. How do you generate leads/how do you nurture/convert them)? 

A. A week in my business usually begins with an hour of preparation on Sunday. Although I like to reserve my weekends for family, I still carve out time to glance at my calendar of appointments for the upcoming week. During the work week, my day usually starts at 7:30 a.m. in my home office making calls and sending or responding to emails. I’ve found lead generating to be most productive from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. A large percentage of my business comes from my sphere of influence and referrals from current and past clients. With that in mind, my lead generation consists of daily communication with 20 to 30 contacts in my database.

Lee’s Coaching Playbook: Whenever I connect with either new or struggling agents, their number of contacts barely reaches 20 to 30 contacts a week, or worse yet, a month. Rod is doing that each day. He is truly a star by making this a daily workday habit.  But don’t feel work shamed. Know that you can and should start building your communication with contacts today. That’s the great thing about each new day you are blessed with in life, you care given the chance to start anew.  Start by considering what time(s) of day works for you to connect and reconnect with 20 to 30 contacts. Rod obviously is a morning person but you may not be and that’s okay. The biggest lesson from Rod’s schedule is his consistency. Create a schedule that allows you to be consistent.

Q. What motivates you each day? 

A. My number one motivation is knowing my son is watching my every move. I’m also motivated by helping my clients achieve their real estate goals.

Lee’s Coaching Playbook: Rod did not hesitate to share his “why” and neither should you ! Why are you in the real estate industry? What motivates you to keep going when things get crazy, hectic, and frustrating? I have asked various real estate professionals this at different stages in their careers and some don’t know. Some of those people soon realize this really is not the career for them. Others have realized that their “why” is more important than momentarily hurdles so they double-down and become stronger in business.Let your “why” anchor and propel you in times of disappointment.

Q. What advice do you have for a real estate pro who is struggling? 

A. First, determine what’s the root cause of the struggle. My advice is to get a mentor or coach who’s proven in the industry. It’s also equally important to have good relationships with other agents. Focus on daily lead generating, attending as much training as possible to present yourself as a knowledgeable agent.

Lee’s Coaching Playbook: In light of these great points from Rod, now it’s time to be real with yourself. Seriously ask yourself:

  1. What was your production over the last 12 months?  
  2. Did you reach your goal? Why or why not? 
  3. What should you have done weekly to improve (i.e. more calls, go to office sales meetings, etc.)? Be realistic based on the other demands on your schedule (e.g. health, family, etc.).  
  4. What did you do weekly that worked?  Keep doing this!
  5. What did you do sporadically that would have worked with more consistency? Find time in your schedule to do this more!
  6. What do you need to giveaway/outsource or collaborate on (i.e. marketing, social media, open houses, mailing, transaction management, etc.)? 
  7. What do you need to learn and from whom?

Q. What are your favorite biz tools/resources/apps? 

A. Believe it or not, my favorite apps are the free iPhone apps most people overlook. The iPhone Calendar, Reminders, and Notes apps are my most frequently used apps. Those basic three apps keep me organized and efficient while managing multiple clients simultaneously.

Lee’s Coaching Playbook: Technology can be our friend when we use it and it works. Whether you use the latest and greatest CRM (customer relationship management) app or the included apps on your phone like Rod, the key is use them. As Rod mentioned earlier, he spends time at the start of each workweek and each workday organizing his tasks. What is the best time for you to plan your next work week or work day? For some it is in the evening, others it’s midday, and others it’s the morning. Do you!

I want to challenge you to not be in “track suit” mode in your business where you spend your time reacting to transactions and referrals by throwing on something quickly. Think about the times when you have planned to wear a tailored suit. Have you noticed that the extra planning had people more readily open doors for you? You may also find that when you plan ahead, you’re not giving as much time to things that don’t benefit your goals. When you suit-up in business with a proactive plan and schedule, then you’re not held hostage to transactions or people. Rod, like you, is busy, but he has learned to give his time (we all have the same 24 hours) to the people and things most important to him and his future.

I would love to hear from you. Give me a shout on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+, or by visiting LearnWithLee.Realtor. Want more of the best practices from our nation’s top producers? Grab your copy of the short read, Profit with Your Personality. And, be sure to tell the real estate agents you know to get a copy of the 5-star rated workbook, Plan to Win!, to transform their real estate sales game plan. Here’s to your success.

Dr. Lee Davenport is an Atlanta-based real estate coach who trains agents, teams, brokerages, and other business organizations on how to use today’s technology to work smarter. Join Lee’s free RE Tech Insider’s Club by visiting www.LearnWithLee.REALTOR.

GDPR and What It Means to You

Anita Clark

By Anita Clark

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the talk of the internet. Attorneys in the European Union and the United States are being bombarded with questions about the GDPR.

Companies and website owners are scrambling as the deadline is fast approaching to have the regulation in effect, which includes your websites and all your systems, such as DocuSign documents, any cloud storage you are using that has any personal data of any citizen of the EU.

I would love to be the bearer of glad tidings and tell you that real estate agents are exempt from the enforcement of this regulation. But that’s just not the case. While GDPR has already been around for a couple of years, it’s the May 25 deadline that has everyone paying attention because this is when the enforcement and fines begin.

The fines are steep, scary, and worthy of attention: $20 million Euros or 4 percent of a company’s annual global income. (Learn more in REALTOR® Magazine’s article and video.)

How in the world would the EU regulatory commission be able to enforce such fines on U.S. citizens, including real estate professions who own websites, real estate companies, REALTOR® organizations, and others? Check out more information about GDPR here. EU regulators can fine U.S. companies for violating GDPR and they will do it with the help of U.S. authorities. They do it by international law, jurisprudence, and authority.

What is this GDPR and what does it have to do with each of us?

It is an EU regulation that governs the privacy and data of EU citizens no matter where they are living and it includes other countries in the European economic area. The regulations require total transparency of what private data is collected. For example, in the United States we consider social security numbers, bank information, and things like that highly private.

GDPR is turning opt-out policy protocols on their head. According to GDPR, websites and other online platforms must now be opt-in. This means, express consent must be given prior by a visitor from the EU on your website through a terms of use page or pop-up window. Private data of EU citizens includes, name, phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, and even IP addresses and cookie identifiers. We have never presumed that IP addresses are private data in the past.

But GDPR goes even further. It includes:

  • Any information pertaining to a person
  • Location data
  • Genetic
  • Mental
  • Economic
  • Social identity
  • Physiological
  • Cultural

Here is a infographic from i-SCOOP:



















What does all this mean to us in the United States who own websites or receive leads from online sources?

If you own a website and have an IDX on your website, or have a newsletter sign up form, a listing alerts sign up from, a contact us form, a what is my home’s value form, or a free offer of any kind, you will need to make some changes to the way you are handling the data of EU citizens. If you track any data on your website with Google analytics, Facebook pixels, any tracking data of any kind, you must get permission to track EU citizens.

I am not an attorney so please seek legal advice on what exactly you need to be adding or deleting from your website and forms, etc.

It is not enough to rely on your IDX vendors or website providers if you have templated websites. You are considered the controller and the IDX company is considered the processor. You, as the controller have the ultimate responsibility over the private data of your website visitors. So it’s not enough to just call your hosting company and IDX provider and CRM companies and then lean on them for their part. You are the sole responsible person for private data including all the ones I listed above on your website, in your CRM, on your personal email list, on your text on your mobile phones.

This includes their “right to be forgotten” which also is included in the GDPR. The right to be forgotten means that any EU citizen can request their private data be deleted completely and fully from all online and offline places and things and files, etc.

Now, what to do with all this information?

If you get buyers from foreign countries in Europe or any country where EU citizens may be, you will need to add changes to your privacy policy and your forms on your websites and any other correspondence on the internet at the point of entry and throughout the process.

  • Make sure that your privacy page is visible from your homepage on your website.
  • Have a pop-up on your homepage that opens when your visitor arrives that lets them know about your cookies and tracking, and asks for express permission.
  • Have your “right to forget” form on your privacy page.
  • Make sure the boxes to check on your opt-in forms is very clear and that the visitor is giving permission.

Those of you who are local real estate agents with no internet traffic from EU citizens would likely fly under the radar. I have heard EU attorneys state that the GDPR governing body will likely give you a change to fix what is wrong if some EU citizen makes a privacy claim against you.

However, it is highly recommended to start making your websites comply now if you have not yet done so. This is the advice of EU attorneys and United States attorneys, included the legal counsel of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Anita Clark is a residential real estate agent with Coldwell Banker SSK, REALTORS®, in Houston County, Ga. She is from Coventry, England, is a retired military spouse, and has been assisting buyers, investors, and sellers in middle Georgia since 2007. Connect with Anita on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or on her Warner Robins GA Real Estate Blog.

Advice From a 2018 30 Under 30 Honoree

Santino Filipelli

By Santino Filipelli

I was recently named a 2018 30 Under 30. Is it crazy that I didn’t know what 30 Under 30 was until early September 2017? No? How about after being in the industry for seven years, owning two brokerages, and managing about 20 agents? The fact is, I only became aware of REALTOR® Magazine’s program just months before the application deadline was due.

At that point in my career, I was sitting back after several years of working in real estate and wondered if this was it. I was wondering if this all real estate had to offer. After digging a little deeper, I realized there was a whole other world that I never knew about or tapped into.

It was in early September that I reached out to my local board asking if there was any way I could get involved. Turns out there was a ton of opportunity and places to serve. Watching the way real estate industry has been trending, I felt as though I could be of some value (being a millennial and all). So, I joined our local YPN.

Our YPN president, Lindsey Culver, explained to me all the different organizations that she is involved in. She explained that there are local, state, and even national opportunities to serve and get involved. It was at this moment I was introduced to the idea of applying for 30 Under 30. She explained that if I was chosen, it could open a lot of doors and help get my name out there. With a genuine desire to get involved in the REALTOR® community, I agreed to give it a shot.

Thus, began the journey. Disclaimer: I will warn you, I’m highly competitive and a slight perfectionist. So, as I explain my journey of applying for 30U30 it may be on the bit extreme side of things. Some, if not a majority of what I did may not at all be necessary to make it into the 30.

Step 1: Learn Everything

The first thing I did was conduct an EXTENSIVE amount of research. I wanted to know EVERYTHING about the process, such as who had been named a 30U30 in the past, why they received the honor, what the criteria is, how many people apply, and what can I could do to set myself apart. My research process consisted of a lot of reading online, watching videos of past honorees, and conducting interviews. One which included a past 30U30 honoree from my area, Alex Phan, who was generous enough to sit down with me and explain what the process is like.

Step 2: Devise a Plan

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I never was much of a wisher. After my research phase I put together a solid plan that consisted a the following categories:

  •      Designations
  •      Video
  •      Essay Questions
  •      Letters of Recommendation
  •      Production
  •      Giving Back
  •      Web Presence
  •      Research & Development
  •      Direct Mail (never utilized this)

I put this into a web diagram with my overall message at the center. This next part is probably the best advice I can give someone who is applying for anything. After the judges read your application, resume, or watch your video, what is the primary message or thought you want them to leave with? The same could be said about your prospects when they read or watch something about you online. If your message isn’t clear, you will be forgotten.

This is what mine read: MENTOR | INNOVATOR | OVERCOMER “people over profit”

Step 3: Leverage People

Build a team. It was 10 p.m. when I had my team of six meet via Skype for the first time to discuss the strategy for trying to win and who was going to do what. Leverage out as much as you can. If you hang around me long enough you will hear me talk about leverage more than anything else. We are all busy professionals.

Although 30U30 was important, so was providing for my family. With that being said, I built a team specifically designated to help me win. I hired a professional videographer to help me produce the video portion of my application. After writing my essay questions, I hired five different professional editors to see which one would edit my work the best (this turned out to be one of the best decisions I made). I had team members assigned to each category in my web diagram.

There is no way I could have done this without the help of my team.

Step 4: Be Real

I’m a pretty private person. I don’t care much for attention, or people feeling bad for me. At the same time, I was willing to be vulnerable if it meant getting my message across. More importantly, I knew I wasn’t alone in the fact that life can deal you a bad hand sometimes. If my story could help inspire just ONE person to keep pushing on who may be going through a rough patch, then it was worth it. What is your story? Why you? Why are you even applying? Be relatable, honest, and authentic.

Step 5: Leave Nothing on the Table

I would argue that regret is one of the worst feelings anyone can experience. I had one shot at winning. This was the last year I could apply (as my 30th birthday falls before the cutoff for next year) and that meant that I was going to give it everything I had. I purchased targeted Facebook and Instagram ads surrounding the two NAR headquarters for my business and used casual pictures of my day-to-day life. I created a landing page with information specifically about me and my accomplishments, I strived for nothing less than everything. I knew at the end of the day I wanted to be able to say I did everything I could possibly do, and didn’t leave anything on the table. At that point, it is what it is.

Right now, it’s all still pretty fresh—the 30U30 profiles were published in the latest issue of REALTOR® Magazine, and I don’t think I have had a chance to see the full effects of what receiving the honor has done. I’m honestly just so grateful to have been considered, and so thankful to those around me. Apart from national recognition and the platform to make a difference, it’s pretty cool knowing that my name will be on that list for years to come.

If you ever want to hear more or have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out. Keep crushing it.

Santino Filipelli is the CEO and broker-owner of Modern Realty, a fast-paced, millennial-driven real estate brokerage in both Oregon and Washington. He is also the owner of several investment properties, a construction company, and a land development company. Connect with Santino at modernrealty.house or on Instagram: @modernrealtynw.

YPN Represents in D.C.

Members of the National Association of REALTORS® Young Professionals Network from across the country convened in Washington, D.C. to advocate for the real estate industry during the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. As part of the week’s events, about 250 people attended the eighth annual YPN networking reception on May 15 at the Park at 14th to meet and mingle after a day of committee meetings and special issues forums.

Earlier in the day, the YPN Advisory Board met to discuss a new YPN website in the works that will debut this summer, and to brainstorm content, events, and education that will bring value to YPN members.

Download images of the networking event or view them below. All photos by Noah Hayes, ©2018 noahhayesphoto.com.

Email Marketing Tips for Commercial Agents

Kyle Malnati

By Kyle Malnati

This is an excerpt from my article that will appear in the 2018 spring issue of Commercial Connections, available in print and online May 28.

Even though the internet, email, and social media allow you to communicate, they do not connect you with your clients. Talking “kneecap-to-kneecap” in a conference room and hammering out details over the telephone are still the most effective ways to negotiate a deal. The foundation of your business is people serving people so it’s vital to view technology as a tool and not as the center of your business. As long as you focus on taking care of people, you will continue to have a successful career.

With that in mind, let’s talk about using tech tools to amplify your real estate business. My first tip is to pick one method to market yourself, such as email marketing.

Strategies and messages that were effective many years ago can still work today, but you should deliver them differently. Email marketing is efficient, inexpensive, and measurable. Gone are the days of spending thousands of dollars on a mailing campaign and wondering who received it. You should still produce postcards and newsletters, but do so digitally.

Proof of this concept was tested by my company recently. We created a survey for our own clients and found that email marketing was still their preferred way of gathering information over Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

Here are my top five types of email marketing campaigns:

@pexels, 2016. pixabay.com

  1. Hyper-local, geographical farming e-newsletters
  2. “Just Listed” and “Sold” digital cards/flyers
  3. Video interviews of clients
  4. Market statistics
  5. Collection of links to relevant articles

My second tip is to avoid chasing after change, which should be a relief to you. If you look at recent innovations and figure out what hasn’t changed, you’ll realize one consistent central theme: your client wants to be assured that you are the expert who can help them. Make sure you are addressing client need in any marketing and communication plans.

Commercial real estate brokers are interested in results, right? My third tip is to effectively execute your email marketing campaigns using four simple steps designed to deliver optimal outcomes.

Step 1: Pick a broadcast email distribution company. A few examples are MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Vertical Response.

Step 2: File email addresses from your CRM database into a spreadsheet that can be uploaded to your email provider’s system. You will want to upload this same list for every marketing campaign category you use. Here’s why: you will lose email followers that unsubscribe every time you send an email. Some of your clients won’t want market statistics while they will want new listings from you.

Step 3: Start sending emails and do it regularly within your campaign categories. You should be emailing once or twice a week to get reliable statistics.

Step 4: Review the statistics after you’ve sent about a dozen emails. You will start to notice behavioral patterns. Use this data to improve your next batch of emails. I track open rate, click through, and subscribers with most opens. You read that last sentence correctly. Your email platform keeps track of who interacted with your email the most, what they clicked, and what time they clicked it.

Now it’s time to go “old-school” with my fourth tip and foster that relationship. Pick up the phone and call the subscribers with the most opens.

Commercial real estate thrives on relationships, after all, and email marketing is a powerful way to deepen your connections. Remember, clients want to hear from us when we make deals happen, so use email campaigns to keep yourself essential to the consumer throughout every transaction.

Kyle Malnati is the CEO and founder of Calibrate Real Estate, a Denver-based commercial real estate company specializing in apartment building brokerage services and investment sales. In 2017, Malnati won the Denver Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award and was featured on the cover of REALTOR® Magazine as a 30 Under 30 in 2012. Malnati has been consistently awarded by the Denver Metro Commercial Association of REALTORS® as a top 10 “Heavy Hitter” since 2007.

Understand the Value of Social Listening

Erica Christoffer

By Erica Christoffer

Social media is likely a key part of your marketing and brand strategy. Many real estate professionals make it the crux of their lead generation, which is why social listening is so important.

There’s a common misconception that social listening and social monitoring are the same thing, according to NetBase, a social media analytics platform. And recognizing the difference may help you build your business online.

Social listening is the tracking of conversations that your friends, followers, and potential clients are having online. This can be drilled down even further by tracking discussions around specific topics or keywords.

@geralt, 2016. pixabay.com

Meanwhile, social monitoring—which is still very essential—is all about monitoring and responding to questions, comments, and mentions targeted at you or your brand online. Essentially, social monitoring is the act of talking to people online at a micro level and social listening is taking a broader view for the purpose of collecting data that will help you to build a more relevant online presence.

Though social listening, you’ll have a better idea of the type of content that your target audience—such as potential home buyers and sellers—will engage with on each social media channel. It will help you identify effective keywords and hashtags, especially on Twitter and Instagram, which are both highly driven by hashtags, according to NetBase. Another use for social listening is to understand how your target audience feels about your competition.

Once you’ve done your research, whether on your own or with the help of social listening tools, you’ll be able to better target your marketing campaigns and run more meaningful social media accounts in general. NetBase recommends identifying influencers to understand how they’re driving conversations—and if it makes sense, create partnerships with them. Information from social listening will also help you understand how to be more effective in your social monitoring, with more meaningful responses in various situations. This may involve appropriate use of humor, more impactful communication of your value, proper acknowledgement of current events, and better reconciliation when problems or complaints arise.

Erica Christoffer is a consulting editor for REALTOR® Magazine and manager of the YPN Lounge. Connect with her at echristoffer@realtors.org.

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