Carla Marsh is an agent with Re/Max in Bellevue, Washington that has not only survived the change in the market, but truly thrived. In addition to being a Real Estate agent, Carla is married with two wonderful boys ages 7 and 9. Carla and I had a chance to chat last week and she shared with me some of the secrets to her success.
How long have you been in Real Estate and how did you get started?
I started in Real Estate fresh out of college 22 years ago. I knew that I wanted to run my own business and I just kind of fell into Real Estate on the recommendation of a friend. Needless to say, it has worked out quite well.
How did you do it when you first got started?
I grew up in a very small town in the Mid West so I did not know anyone or have a sphere of influence when I first came to the Seattle area to get started in Real Estate. My father was a farmer, though, and it may sound cliché but I really did inherit a farmers work ethic and I just got out there and worked hard to get it going, I did a lot of cold calling and door knocking. It worked, but it definitely took a lot of focus and determination. I will never remember the feeling of getting my first referral. Just that feeling of joy and excitement. Someone liked me enough to recommend someone else and I didn’t have to work as hard for it. It felt like a ‘freebie’. I appreciate every referral I ever get, but there was something about the first one that sticks with me.
What does your business look like now?
I have been really fortunate throughout my real estate career to follow my hunches on the market and where things are going. When Re/Max first got involved in the relocation market I did a lot with that, but as I was working with the clients being relocated and talking with them about their experience they were all frustrated. The relocation companies were hard to deal with and making things more complicated instead of less for the people moving. I just had a feeling that if the clients were that frustrated that relocation may not be the best place for me to focus my energy and so I started to shift away from that and focus more on my referral business and farming various neighborhoods. Sure enough, the relocation business pretty much dried up, but I was already so focused on farming that it didn’t really matter to me.
What has farming done for your business?
It has been very successful for me and provided a great level of consistency in my income. People like working with the neighborhood expert and once you get your foot in the door, then it takes off from there.
What are your best practices in Real Estate?
~ Take care of people. I come from a small town where everyone knows each other, does what they say they are going to and follows through on things. It may sound overly simplistic, but if you are truly focused on taking care of your clients needs, the rest will take care of itself.
~ Focus on the basics in your business. It really isn’t rocket science and you don’t need the ‘New’ (read insanely expensive and useless) tool that someone is pushing this year to increase your business. Do you follow up calls, send note cards, go the extra mile for your Buyer’s and Seller’s.
~ Be the best you can be. Not just in Real Estate, but every area of your life. As time goes on I have started to take some personal development classes. I have really enjoyed them and also really like that they are non Real Estate classes so I am getting out there and interacting with other people that I might not otherwise. I think that it is good for all of us to get out of our box and make sure that we are doing things outside of Real Estate. It feeds your soul, but also gives you a different perspective on things as you interact with new people.
Thank you so much Carla for sharing all that you did! You are such a great agent and one that I always love interacting with. If you have more questions for Carla, please contact her at 206-264-4455 or firstname.lastname@example.org