I have met so many wonderful agents around the country that are true Ninjas that I thought it would be fun to interview them from time to time and find out what works for them. So welcome to the first Ninja Mom of the month post.
Vicki Fazzini is a real estate agent on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. She has a tremendous amount of positive energy and true a get it done attitude. I just love being around her and always learn something new each time we talk. So here are some of her secrets:
How did you get started in Real Estate?
I am a mom of 4 kids, I decided to wait until my youngest was in kindergarten to start my licensing, and was in full swing by March of that year. (My youngest is now 13) We had absolutely NO spare money, so I got a credit card, and started out my business $5,000 in the hole. I knew that I could not pay it off with our current lean income, so I had no choice but to ‘make it’. The first 12 months I did $100K in gross commissions. I made it!!!
Where did most of your business come from when you first got into the business?
Mainly open houses. They were a great way to get in front of people and connect. I called everyone that came through my open house on Monday morning.
How large is your database now and where does most of your business come from?
Right now I have 151 people in my database, although I am in the process of absorbing another agent’s database that is getting out of the business so it will grow a bit this year. 95% of my business is from referrals of people in my database, and also agents. I think that other agents are an often overlooked source of business. Take the time to build rapport with them and treat them like your A+ clients, FORD calls and all!
What are your Best Practices?
- I use a contact management system that plans my weeks and my year in advance. I couldn’t manage without it. This is perfect for yearly Real Estate Reviews, FORD calls, Birthdays, etc. I just bring up my calendar and it tells me who I am supposed to call/contact and why. No thought process involved! I have it on recurring dates so that birthday and real estate reviews are scheduled 10 years out! If you have mastered Outlook, it will do this and more for you.
- My Zig Ziglar Performance Planner – although I use my contact manager for long-term scheduling, my daily hands-on paper planner keeps me on task for calls, notes, lunches, pop-bys. It is the perfect ninja planner. Each week I have a visual of my ten notes and 25 calls listed down the left side of the planner (there are lines for this). It also has the following:
- Daily priority lists
- Goals for the week
- A daily check-off list for the six areas of concentration (physical, family, mental, career, etc) you can rate yourself daily. It takes about 10 seconds.
- A lengthy “Important Meetings and Projects Journal” in the back for long term or multi-stepped projects
- Yearly calendar in the back
- Address book
- Place to track your “A” clients, those “B” clients that you want to become A’s, etc.
This all comes in a beautiful hardbound book format that stands up to much abuse (I have spilled coffee all over mine, shoved it in and out of my briefcase a thousand times, etc). This is my third year using it and I will continue to keep buying them. They cost about $35 and you can get them at www.zigziglar.com. Look up the PERFORMANCE PLANNER.
- Hire a house cleaner at closing for your clients. It is a bit spendy to have the whole house cleaned for a seller, and they don’t often realize the value initially, but when they go back into their house after everything is packed up and see all of the dust bunnies and other stuff in the house they are SO appreciative that they do not need to deal with any of that.
- In 2008 I tried something new and did Santa letters for our clients and it was a HUGE success and a lot of fun so I will definitely be doing that again. I sent a mailing out to my clients asking them what their child wanted and what manners their parents wanted them to have and then wrote out hand written letters from Santa that were mailed directly to the children.
- I am a firm believer in trying everything. That being said, I have done big client parties for years. Everyone loved them, but I can’t directly tie any referrals or business to these parties. This year I am breaking it up into smaller events that I will be doing quarterly. Some of these include a pub crawl for St. Patrick’s Day, a sail boat ride around the island, and a clam bake on the beach.
- I mail to my clients on a regular basis, but hands down, the best on that I do is the yearly CMA to update clients on the value of their home. I call them first to let them know that I am doing it and are there any changes or upgrades to the home that they would like to have reflected in the numbers and if so can I come by and check them out. I find that if I have a chance to get together with my clients that I receive a referral 50% of the time! Either way, I do the CMA and mail it in a silver mailing tube along with a $100 GRAND bar and then I note the value each year in my database so that I can compare year to year.
- Last but not least, I started a women owned business networking group in 2008. There are about 12 of us right now and we are in the process of voting on some new members. Everyone needs to have been in business a minimum of 2 years to show that they are established and is required to give at least 1 referral to each member of the group at least once during the year. We are still in the new stages of this and working out some of the kinks, but it is turning out to be a lot of fun.
Wow! Thank you so much Vicki for sharing your time and thoughts with all of us. You truly are an inspiration. For any of you that have further questions for Vicki, or better, yet, have a referral for her please feel free to contact Vicki at 206-450-0490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.