By Lee Davenport
Have you heard the myth that you can’t be productive and successful as both a real estate salesperson and the broker-owner of your company? Teresa Cowart is a myth-breaker. She is one of the owners of the Savannah, Ga., metro area’s RE/MAX Accent (where I have had the privilege of training) and leads a team that closed out last year and began this year in the top five highest performing RE/MAX offices in Georgia.
Teresa was kind enough to do a Q&A with with me in order to help others learn her secret to success while wearing multiple hats. Find out what she had to say and gain some take-aways with my commentary in “Lee’s Coaching Playbook” following each of her answers.
Q. What does a week in your business look like (i.e. How do you generate leads, and how do you nurture and convert them)?
A. I am an early bird. I wake up at 5 a.m. and do my reading, praying, and affirmations; and, usually get to my office around 7:30. I try to stay true to my schedule and I live by my Google calendar. I also time block in order to get the best use of my time. I have a team of 12 agents plus admin staff, including two rentals coordinators, four inside sales agents (ISAs), one marketing manager, one transactions coordinator, an office manager, and a listing coordinator. I try to leave at a reasonable time each day.
I typically spend two hours in the morning three times a week calling my sphere, past clients, and FSBOs. In the afternoons and off mornings, I focus on other aspects of the business. I am always looking for the best/next lead generation systems and programs that are available. I also have to spend time reviewing what we are doing now and what the return on investment (ROI) is in those activities. I am constantly evaluating and changing to meet the needs of our clients and the team.
We generate leads through multiple avenues. I believe in not putting all my eggs in one basket. I have used Boomtown for seven years as a CRM and for lead generation. Zillow is a huge lead generation system for us. I also represent a couple of builders and that a is great source of leads as well. We also get leads through Trulia, Realtor.com, RE/MAX, BombBomb, Facebook ads, and more. I love Facebook Live videos, and I do them regularly. I also have a series of videos featuring local businesses that are published on Facebook and YouTube, which get shared by tons of folks. I’m a regular on a local TV station as a real estate expert, and I run commercials. Billboards seem to work for me in terms of brand recognition. The goal is to diversify and to get the best ROI. If the ROI is not there, I drop it. I track everything!
Every agent on the team is required to spend at least an hour a day on the phone with leads they are not currently working with. The ISA team also calls, texts, and emails leads all day long. The goal to respond to any lead in 2 to 5 minutes, if not immediately.
My other hat is co-owner of three RE/MAX offices and now a Motto Mortgage Coastal. Most of Thursday is spent with activities involving those needs. My partners and I meet in the morning and review our companies and where we are so we can make changes accordingly. So, every week is a little different for me but they are all busy.
Lee’s Coaching Playbook: I have said it before but it bears repeating: Stop being an “army of one”. The “army of one” syndrome develops when we often get started as “solo-preneurs,” likely due inexperience in how to find industry support. I love our collective tenacity because many of us in real estate eventually earn a sustainable income that supersedes anything we made in our previous careers. But, what we don’t realize is that if we want to continue to grow and avoid becoming stagnant, we must no longer be “the army of one.” There is only so much one person can do in 24 hours while still getting some sleep.
Notice that Teresa does not sell real estate alone (she has a team) nor does she lead her businesses alone (she has a partnership). You may not feel the need to form a partnership, but that doesn’t mean you should continue to be a one-(wo)man operation. It is a blessing that in 2018 we have more access to tools, including CRMs, virtual assistants, and other systems that give us the support we need at affordable rates.
Who is currently helping your business move forward? What additions or subtractions do you need to make?
Secondly, notice that Teresa never allows stagnation to set in her process. Since the world and technology is ever-evolving, it is essential to routinely (at least yearly, but ideally quarterly) evaluate what is working, what is not, and what could work down the road.
When was the last time you evaluated your current methods and systems? If you haven’t done it yet this year, set a date on your calendar to evaluate your lead generation, marketing, and systems before another month goes by. Evaluate your effectiveness and areas that need improvement.
Q. What motivates you each day?
A. I start each day at 5 a.m. with a call into a group with other real estate professionals. It’s five minutes at 5 a.m., and it’s all motivational. I also read at least 10 pages of whatever book I am devouring at the time. Everything I read now is designed to help me grow as a real estate professional and person. I am constantly motivated by reminding myself that I am the role model for my three daughters, two of whom are in college and one is now a teacher. I am motivated by helping the agents on my team succeed. Nothing makes me happier than the joy I feel when they reach their goals. We celebrate everything. At this point, growing the business to touch more people is a huge motivator.
Lee’s Coaching Playbook: I know many of you may also find motivation in your family and your agents. But Teresa does something to protect that motivation from burning out—she refuels herself through reading, affirmations (mentioned in the first answer above), and connecting with industry peers every work day. The older I get, the more I realize that if a person does not take time to recharge, that person will eventually have nothing to give.
Do you have a daily ritual to refresh and renew yourself? If you don’t, what can you do for yourself starting today to keep your sanity?
Q. What advice do you have for a real estate professional who is struggling?
A. My advice is to get help: Join a coaching program, get a mentor, read everything, and watch webinars. Don’t compare yourself to others or let your drunk monkey get inside your head. Most importantly, you have to believe in yourself.
Lee’s Coaching Playbook: Do you believe in yourself? I started this article with the myth that I hear so often when I go to conferences and broker summits—the myth that one cannot be good at both managing a firm and selling in the field. Yes, Teresa defies this myth, but so can you!
What other myths have been stifling your motivation and success? What help can you get to overcome these hurdles?
Q. What are your favorite business tools, resources, or apps?
A. We love the Google apps (Calendar, Drive, etc.). I use CTE Biz for tracking. It was designed by a real estate pro and is great for forecasting and tracking. We also just started experimenting with Neskt. I love SLACK as well.
Lee’s Coaching Playbook: Sometimes what’s hindering our success is tied to our systems. How easy is it for you—or anyone else in your firm or on your team—to use your current tech tools? How can you further educate yourself and your agents on productivity systems? Remember, these evaluations should at least be done yearly, but ideally quarterly when possible.
Q. How did you overcome a low point in your business?
A. I had a radical change in my business in 2013. I found myself very heavily involved with one builder and it made me uncomfortable to have it all in one basket. I also had decided to buy our RE/MAX franchise from the previous owners. I was a little overwhelmed and not sure what to do. I also tracked very little. In November 2013, I joined a coaching program and it changed my life. I have a great coach who has helped me learn to treat my business like a business. Now my businesses can survive when I am not here, so I can take a vacation and it still runs seamlessly.
Lee’s Coaching Playbook: What obstacles are you currently facing in your business? Who can you talk with who can offer you impartial, objective advice? Sometimes it is heard to “see the forest for the trees” when you are on the ground working your business. You may need someone who has a bird’s eye view to help you navigate ditches and other bumps along the road. Remember to ditch the “army of one” mentality.
Q. What is your DISC personality type?
A. I am a D, I. I don’t hire that personality type to work for me though.
Lee’s Coaching Playbook: The moment you abandon being the “army of one,” it is vital to connect with people who complement you. Teresa realized this and hires those who are strong in the areas where she may have weaknesses.
DISC is not the only way to measure your personality but it is one of the most popular in business. With peer-reviewed research for almost one hundred years, it’s not a fly-by-night metric. I had the opportunity to use this in my doctorate research while studying the best practices of some of the top 1,000 real estate sales agents in the nation, and DISC was spot-on and easy to understand.
Do you know your DISC personality type? If not, there are many free tests online, so take one and then look for people who will complement and complete your deficiencies.
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.