By Brandon Doyle
When it comes to pioneering a successful real estate business, the power of the open house is not to be underestimated. On one front, staging an open house appeases the seller and stirs up potential buyers. Beyond that, an open house is also a rare marketing opportunity where you and your services enjoy face-to-face time with a host of potential future clients.
Holding a fruitful open house is something of an art form, so below you’ll find a few key methods to make your open house a memorable one.
1. Promote Creatively
In order to make your open house a splash, you must drive traffic to the property. A simple sign posted in the front yard a few days beforehand won’t drum up a meaningful number of visitors. Instead, focus your efforts on cross-promotion, including to online platforms, in order to maximize he number of visitors—and potential clients—who are inclined to visit the property. Identify a few key characteristics that make this property unique, then highlight those in your promotional materials. By doing so, you attract specialized buyers more likely to take a serious interest in the property. Likewise, your open house stands out among the more blandly marketed set.
2. Work a Timeline
Wise real estate agents know that the days leading up to your open house event are just as important as the day of. Use the preceding days to knock on the doors of the homes in the neighborhood. Not only are you being courteous, but you can also spread the word regarding the open house, network within the community, encourage neighbors to invite family and friends, and potentially make a connection with a future client. Also, use this preliminary time to scope out online listings in the area that are throwing their own open houses—posting some of your signs nearby may draw house-hunting traffic your way.
3. Forge a Personal Connection
The day of the open house has finally arrived. How do you prepare? For starters, dressing to impress sends a put-together message to any potential buyers or future clients. Secondly, when engaging with visitors, try to establish a positive narrative that goes beyond the typical sales-pitch: perhaps Google has great restaurants recommendations for this neighborhood, or maybe you’ve researched the local Walk Score or school system. Also remember to provide a means for visitors to get in contact with you, such as an e-mail list, sign-in sheet, or a feedback form. Finally, remember to follow up after the fact. A thank-you note for visiting, or a friendly e-mail summarizing the property’s features is an excellent way to cement a connection between agent and potential client.
Creating an open house that leaves an impression is no small feat. Attention to detail, preparedness, and care are all essential attributes in a successful real estate agent, and they’re just as important when it comes to hosting a noteworthy open house event. Use these tips to your advantage the next time you stage an open house, and in turn, witness your real estate business reap the rewards.
Brandon Doyle, ABR, e-PRO, is a second-generation real estate pro with RE/MAX Results in the Twin Cities. He is also coauthor of the book M3 – Mindset, Methods & Metrics: Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent available now on Amazon. Learn more about Brandon at www.doylerealestateteam.com.
By Nico Hohman
The fourth quarter of 2016 just started, and in my world that means getting ready for a great 2017.
To do that, there is one business activity that I need to practice more than any other: prospecting.
Last year, I wrote a piece titled 8 Ways to Improve Your Daily Prospecting, and it was a smash hit, collecting the highest number of views on the YPN Lounge for 2015. That tells me I’m not alone in believing that daily prospecting is the most important tool for growing your real estate business.
To help you with your goals for the coming year—and to revisit some favorites from last year—here is my list of seven ways you can improve your prospecting in 2017.
1. Leveling Out Leads
The most important information you have as a real estate professional is your database of previous, current, and future clients. Without this list, you will have no leads, and without leads, you can’t expect to close any deals. Over time, you will need to update people’s information in your database. Whether it’s a new phone number, a new job, a new email address, get married, or have a child, all of these bits of information are important to know about your sphere, so be sure to stay on top of these changes. At least once a year, you should level out your lead list —or, as I call it, you should LOL your database. Reach out to your prospects and clients to get any updated or new contact information on them, their jobs, and their families. But don’t just reach out to say hello and get their information; offer something, like an invitation to lunch or a heads up about a cool community event to engage with them.
2. Calendar Checking
As I mentioned last year, most sales professionals rely as heavily on their calendars as their database, if not more so. Why not tap into that treasure trove of information? Most agents get stuck on how they’re going to prospect tomorrow, next week, and next month. To hone your prospecting skills, look back in your calendar a day, a week, or a month in the past and use your past appointments as jumping off points for future conversations. Did you have coffee with a new connection two weeks ago? Email them to say you had a great time, and offer some more details or thoughts about a conversation you had. Did you have a closing in the three months? Call your client to see how he or she is settling into their new home.
3. Thank You Thursdays
In a recent New York Times piece, writer Susanne Craig stresses the importance of checking your snail mail. Why is that? Because the most important bits of news come through the mail, not email. In some of my own research, I’ve found that about one-third of all my emails will be opened. You can almost double that open rate if the email is to someone who knows you. But, if you send a hand-written letter through the mail, you can bet the open rate on that will be at or near 100 percent.
I call Thursday afternoons my “Thank You Thursdays.” I spend the afternoon writing at least 10 hand-written thank you letters to people in my network. It could be to a client who just closed on a deal. It could be to a vendor that got a job done for my client. Or, it could be to someone who shared a useful piece of information. Whatever the case may be, a hand-written letter is a must-do for prospecting.
4. Community Participation
I follow the “Learn. Work. Give.” model when it comes to my efforts in bettering my community. In this model, I am called to give my time, talents, and treasures to those who need it more than I do. To give of my time, I first learn about the opportunities in my community where I can make a difference. I tour the local community resource center for homeless people, I learn about the after-school youth programs at my local public library, and many more. To give your talents and your treasures wisely, you have to learn what’s going on in your community.
Once you decide on the best way to get involved, you then need to get to work for that organization. Be it Little League, Girl Scouts, Parent-Teacher Association, or coastal clean-up organization, you need to put in some people-hours to have the greatest impact on that group.
Finally, you need to give of your treasures. Yes, it’s great to know about community causes and to volunteer for them. But to have the most impact, you need to donate your money to those causes, too.
After you complete the Learn. Work. Give. model, you will start to see a difference not only in your community but also in your business. People will begin to recognize who you are and what you stand for, and that builds trust and loyalty.
5. Social Media Exclusion
In 2016, I made a relatively bold move to par down my social media usage. That doesn’t mean I got rid of my social media profiles completely. I’m still a millennial, after all. But I did delete the Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest apps from my phone.
Social media exclusion simply means better defining your online messaging on fewer, more targeted channels. Unless you have a staff or third party vendor to manage all of your social media pages, it’s best to stick to two or three and make the most out of those platforms. That way you can spend more time posting and engaging with key people instead of simply having a profile on the platform.
Think of social media like a real life party. No one wants to hang out with the person in the middle of the room screaming about government and religion, and no one wants to hang out with the loner in the corner who isn’t doing anything either. The best party guest is the one who brings a bottle of wine, thanks the host, and gets along with the other party guests. Treat social media like that party and you’ll start to see a difference.
Podcasting is one of the fast growing ways for business professionals to share their message with the world. For the cost of a microphone and sound editing software—which, for some people, comes free with their smart phone or laptop—anyone can become a podcast producer.
As more and more people take public transportation to work or cut the cords to the cable company, more alternative media sources will be needed to fill the content voids. What better way to provide free content to your past, present, and future clients than with your very own podcast?
7. Business Resource Guide
Sure, almost everyone has an idea of what real estate agents do, but it’s still important to explain to people in your sphere how you can be a key resource when it comes to various aspects of their personal and business life. Does their house need a new A/C or HVAC system? As an agent, you can send your clients a list of trusted HVAC contractors. Are there cool, upcoming farmers’ markets happening in your town? Mail a flyer with the dates, time, and locations of these events to your sphere-of-influence. Don’t just sell a house, but offer a full suite of lifestyle hacks and tips. Make it part of your prospecting plan to become that trusted guide.
The next time you are sitting in front of your computer and you find yourself scratching your head wondering what it is you should be doing next, try one of these great prospecting tips and you’ll be sure to see the deals come rolling through the door in 2017.
By Alexis Craig
The true test of whether or not you own a real business is if you can go on vacation to a place like Fiji—without your cell phone—for two weeks and continue to see your income grow.
If you need to be working everyday in order for your business to grow, then you’re in a bottleneck. You don’t really own a business, and your position is worse than a job. You have none of the security or benefits that a job offers, but all of the downsides: having to be there everyday, working long hours, and zero flexibility for family and other aspects of life.
I’ll never forget when my mentor taught me this lesson. I was just starting out in my real estate career, and this one lesson helped me look for ways to leverage different assets, such as the internet, other sales agents, and money, so that I could produce more results while focusing on the aspects of my business that I love.
One of the quickest ways to grow your business is by effectively leveraging other agents to sell for you. I’m going to explain how to create and implement a sales process that you don’t have to micromanage. This way, your business can grow even if you leave.Get a Clear Vision
Accomplishing anything starts with clear focus. You have to decide exactly what you want and don’t want out of your business.
Maybe you want to personally sell homes but need someone to handle all of the buyer leads. Maybe you don’t want to sell homes and instead work on other aspects of your business. For me, I don’t want to sell homes. I’d rather work on the marketing and business strategy.
Most agents never take the time to decide what kind of business they want to run. I’m challenging you to think about it. There are no right or wrong answers, but the decision you make will have a huge affect on how you grow your business.
Think about Old Navy vs. Gap. They are different. One is not better than the other, just different with distinct items, pricing, and marketing.Mindset Reset
“Nobody can do it better than I can.” This mindset is the biggest barrier to creating a scalable real estate business.
It’s your business, your reputation, and your money on the line, so of course nobody will be able to do it as good as you, right?
I use to think this way, too. But I soon realized that most of my sales team was doing it better than I was because they focused on following a systematic sales process. I, on the other hand, would get distracted, forget to follow up, and push the sale too aggressively because I had a million other things I needed to do.
If you want to outsource your sales process, you have to believe that you can recruit, develop, and lead other agents to sell. The question to ask yourself is, “How can I show clients the value of working with me without me having to be there?”
For example, we send our leads something we call a “shock and awe package” before we ever sit down them so that they can become educated about our business, how we work, and our pricing. Most of the work is done before a sales agent tries to secure a listing contract.Create a Systematic Sales Plan
Between leads and systems, 99 percent of business problems can be solved.
A sales system will allow you to hire agents and properly incentivize and compensate them even if you don’t have any money because you know exactly what your sales system will generate in revenue and profit.
The problem is that most agents don’t know their sales numbers. They have no idea how many appointments they need, their conversion rates, and their closing rates. You can’t hire a sales agents and expect them to grow your business for you. That’s your job.
Here is the simple seven-step sales process that we follow at Mocha Homes every client.
- Prequalify Every Lead: Before you schedule an appointment, you need to find out if a lead is ready to buy or sell, and if they’re the one who can make the decision. One question you could ask would be, “If we showed you a house today, would you be ready to buy in X days?”—where X is the days on market rate in your market. The answer should be yes.
- Build Rapport: Once you know they’re qualified, begin building a relationship. We do this through our shock and awe package and showing concern for the buyer or home owner.
- Use Discovery Questions: Find out why they’re trying to sell their house. Is it due to a job relocation, a divorce, or retirement? Your solution will depend on the questions you ask.
- Identify Needs: The decision of whether or not to sign a contract with you is made at this stage. It’s about responding and reflecting back what they told you. I call this my “Holding the Mirror Strategy.” You might say, “So, I understand you’re looking to sell your house in the next 30 days because you have to relocate. While you want to sell your house for top-dollar, there is about $5,000 in wiggle room if it’s sold fast enough.”
- Present Solution: At Mocha Homes, we use a standard pre-listing and appointment presentation that can be customized based on the seller’s or buyer’s needs.
- Close the Sale: Simply say something like, “Based on your need to relocate in the next 30 days, I would recommend that we implement a 10-step marketing plan with a video tour, and that we price your home at market-value or slightly below. Does that sound fair? Would you like me to get the contract written up?”
- Objection Handling: A ton of books have been written about this. But if you face objections, it typically means you failed somewhere at the top, particularly in prequalifying your lead.
To make your sales process work, you have to measure everything and collect feedback. This way you can create training programs, create new incentives, or come up with other solutions to improve your sales process.
One of the things I make all of my agents do is fill out a self-assessment sheet after each sales appointment. At the end of the week I look through the self-assessments and our sales number to figure out which direction the business needs to go.
For example, if I notice that conversion are lower, I might look to see if we brought in the wrong leads. If it’s consistently lower, I make look at the sales presentation or a particular sales agent.
There you have it. Remember, the true test of a business is if you can leave for two weeks and it would still grow. Can you do that?
By Nathan Garrett
Did you know that there are more than 2 million blog posts published every single day? That’s almost 1,400 blogs posted every single minute! Some large, nationally syndicated websites alone will push out anywhere from 500 to 1,000 posts in a single day.
So, how do you, as an agent, stand out from all the noise?
- Great Images
- Engaging Titles
- Unique Content
Three Tips to Gain More Traffic to Your Blog Today
Before we get started, you have to realize that writing a good blog post takes time. If you try to shortcut the process just to push out content, you will probably not get rewarded by your lack of effort.
1. Choosing the right image. Let’s take a look at why images are so important. A featured image (otherwise known as an open graph image) plays a very important role. Getting this image just right can be extremely beneficial when it comes time to promote your post.
Just recently, I published a step-by-step guide for first-time home buyers in which I provided tips on buying your first home. For my featured image, I used a very simple image (left) that was going to easily get the message across.
In addition to choosing a compelling image, you also want to focus on the size of the image to make sure it looks good when it’s shared online. If the file is too small, it won’t render well. I’ve included sample dimensions that work well for my posts.
2. The Formula for a successful title. The majority of the time you will be writing informational articles that are related to real estate. So it’s very common to use a question or even an answer in your title. Doing this will help spark curiosity and let the reader to know exactly what they can expect from reading your content.
Let’s take a look at the example above. You will see that the title includes four different ingredients that we hope will boost our click through rate for this article when it is socially shared.
- List Format
3. Publish your best content. This one should be a no-brainer. Don’t hold anything back. If you want to create a post that is going to get thousands of shares, you have to publish your best content.
This might mean putting out a post that may have anywhere from 1,500 words or more. Give the reader quality and unique content that they will be excited to share with their friends online. We have all heard that content is king, but quality content will hold the most weight overtime.
BONUS: We won’t get too far into this because there is a lot to cover but once you publish your content, it’s time to promote it like crazy. Keep in mind, you want to do this with great caution. You do not want to go out and flood every channel. Doing so will make you look like a spammer and make it really hard for to gain creditability.
Final Thoughts on Ramping Up Your Blog
When you are first getting started on a post, try to think of popular questions that you find clients asking the most. For example, when working with buyers who are new to the area and are looking for homes for sale in Louisville, Ky., consider answering their typical questions in a blog post. They may want to know about the neighborhoods and best parks in the area. Answering questions like this can be great topics to write about.
I hope this helps. If you have a questions, comment below or check out our Louisville Real Estate Blog to see some of our articles. Take care!
By Brandon Doyle
When you are pioneering your own real estate business, it’s tempting to get completely wrapped up in the myriad managerial and administrative daily duties. But the foundation of all successful real estate ventures is built upon relationships with people, not just in executing a series of transactions. A personal touch is more than an effective way to keep clients happy and open-minded, it’s also a surefire method to build your referral base.
Keep in mind the following three tips that can transform your connection to clients from run-of-the-mill business transaction to a meaningful and professional relationship that serves you both.
1. Write 5 Handwritten Notes a Day
This may seem like an obvious move, but you’d be surprised at how few real estate professionals bother to keep in touch with past clients after their transaction is complete. Handwritten notes are efficient and effective relationship builders. Checking in with a thoughtful and personally-written note every now and again could lead to repeat business in the future, an opportunity for a referral, or—at the very least—the potential for networking down the line. If you write just five a day, it shouldn’t take longer than half an hour, but you stand to gain a sizable amount of business.
2. The Business Breakfast
Aside from the bonus benefit of getting you dressed and ready to go early in the morning, a business breakfast is a distinct and effectual way to continue to build relationships with former, existing, and potential clients. Since both of you are on your way to work, discussing business isn’t out of context and provides an organic connection. Similarly, the breakfast setting is casual and naturally lends a sense of communality that is sure to deepen your relationship with the client. And, by the time you get to the office, you’ll have already advanced your business while enjoying your morning coffee.
3. Use Social Media as More Than a Marketing Gimmick
Social media is a powerful tool for anyone building a real estate business. But try and imagine using social media as a means of personal connection, not simply a portal in which your only goal is to market. Just 15 to 30 minutes of mindful social media use a day may lead to a notable uptick in your business. Imagine Facebook, or your social media portal of choice, as a real life coffee shop that you frequent. You don’t walk in every morning with a megaphone and sign-up sheet, proclaiming your business acumen, do you? Instead, you engage with people on a genuine and personal level. Apply that same principle to your Facebook interactions and you may be surprised at the warm response you receive and the point of connection you have created.
The bottom line is this: In the real estate industry, people are at the heart of what we do. So, it makes perfect sense to prioritize your client relationships. Take to heart these three methods as a means of growing your real estate business, so that you can build a professional reputation that attracts good, steady clients for years to come.
Brandon Doyle, ABR, e-PRO, is a second-generation real estate pro with RE/MAX Results in the Twin Cities. He is also coauthor of the book M3 – Mindset, Methods & Metrics: Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent available now on Amazon. Learn more about Brandon at www.doylerealestateteam.com.
By Lee Davenport
I am a planner; so much so that I’m already planning for the New Year. But, I get it. You may not be a planner, and my admission may have made you cringe. So, just for you, I have eight questions that will help you win business in the next 12 months.
Some might call this business planning, which invokes panic attacks and procrastination—similar to tax season for many. Let’s avoid all that unpleasantness. Instead, I want you to call it “seeing the win.” Hopefully, that takes the stress out of the “p” word.
So, grab your favorite beverage, and invest the time it takes to watch a rerun of Friends in answering the applicable questions below:
As a new agent, you may not know where to begin when it comes to your strategy over the next year. Your starting point should be using what you already have to as your tools to developing your business.
1. What have you excelled in?
To answer this fully, think about when you were in school, past jobs, sports, clubs, and even volunteer activities. Write down your strengths in these situations. This is for your business growth, so don’t take short-cuts and give half-answers.
2. What are the underlying skills you displayed in each achievement?
Did you have to master working with difficult people, negotiating, or the art of persuasion? Did you have to become a wordsmith on social media, learn how to juggle multiple clients, or manage money? No matter what skills you had to use, list them all.
3. How can each of those skills be used as tools in your real estate business?
Next to your list from number two above, write how those skills can be useful in your real estate business. For example, if you have a knack for graphic design, this can translate into you creating a great website, email campaigns, social media posts, and handouts for your clients that explain the real estate process with images or graphics.
You have made money in real estate sales and you want to keep it that way. That means being willing to make some business adjustments.
4. What activities generated business for you this past year?
Think about every new client and list how you connected with each person. Are you great at drumming up business from networking events? Does your tribe (sphere of influence) send you business every time you ask? Are you a superstar at using social media? Are your ads successful in bring in leads that you can convert? Be very reflective in your answers because herein lies the key to your next several wins.
5. How can you do of those activities in the next 12 months (including hiring help)?
Often times, we “old-timers” chase the latest trend, training, and technique. This can be costly if we ignore or forget to use what we do well and what has worked. Employ your strengths and give away your weaknesses (i.e. hire, refer, or outsource).
Nothing in real estate stays the same. Anticipate changes and “level up” your future steps.
6. With what type of client do you want to specialize (i.e. first time buyers, military, relocation, luxury, etc.)?
If you are a one-person shop, you may kill yourself trying to be all things to all people. That’s not to say you turn business away if it does not fit your “ideal client,” but you need to be strategic in how you spend your time, money, and resources to acquire new leads.
7. What webinars and training opportunities on this subject can you attend this month/quarter/year?
It’s time to do some research on how to up your game with education. My great-grandmother repeatedly emphasized in her 101 years, “Be on time, be prepared, and know your subject.” Despite her being a school teacher, her advice can do wonders for real estate pros. Specifically, do you know your subject (the type of client with whom you want to transact)? A “no” answer should not discourage you. Rather, let it inspire you to learn your subject through classes and webinars. There is a wealth of information available from successful agents, brokers, trainers/coaches and REALTOR® associations—including a plethora of designation and certification.
8. How can you implement what you’ve learned?
I’m sure you have been to wonderful trainings but are still trying to get around to implementation. The secret-sauce to running with what you’ve learned is deciding in advance how to implement it. Will you spend two hours after the training to review and update your calendar with what was learned? Will you spend the weekend visiting the online resources provided by the trainer? Build this into your schedule before the training so that you’ll bring the lessons into play.
I want to close by giving a shout-out to Venngage. I was given a complimentary subscription to try out this fantastic infographic maker, which is how I created the infographic accompanying this post. Infographics are good tools to keep your home buyers, sellers and real estate investors engaged with your emails, social media posts, and handouts. I found Venngage to be easy to use with many templates that I could quickly convert to my own content. Working on a buyer’s guide or tips to selling a home? Create an infographic using Venngage’s free user account and tell me what you think.
Lee Davenport is an Atlanta-based real estate broker and business doctoral candidate who trains agents and brokerages on how to use today’s technology to work smarter. Join Lee’s free RE Tech Insider’s Club by visiting www.LearnWithLee.REALTOR.
By Drew Heasley
As agents, we’ve all been pitched everything from mailers to web leads—but free is better. Below are six of my favorite free (or next-to-free) ways to generate business.
1. Ask your family and friends. And then ask them again. This is pretty simple, and I hope you are exploring this at great lengths already. When I ask people if they know someone who may be interested in buying or selling, and they answer “no,” then I ask them to keep me in mind at the office, out around town, or with their family and friends. Past clients are great for getting business. If you are a newer agent, this doesn’t help much, but use it as motivation knowing that it gets a little easier each year in the business. And, if you take great care of your clients, they’ll refer you often.
2. Host an open house. If it’s your listing, that’s great. But if you’re new to the business and don’t have any listings, host one for an agent at your office. This is a great way to meet buyers. Study up on similar homes for sale in the area. I like to ask questions to get the conversation started. Some agents are very laid back, and some have success being more aggressive. This seems to vary by agent and regional social trends. Do what’s natural for you and what works in your area.
3. Go to meetups and networking events. These are free, easy, and usually pretty fun. Even if you are not a polished salesperson, the conversations start very easily and you can get a lot of contacts in a short time. If you can’t find an existing group, or if the only groups you can find are saturated with other agents, then start your own group. Meetup.com is a good place to start. My group usually meets at local restaurants that are more than welcoming of small to medium sized groups. From my experience, the real estate investing meetups seem to do the best. You can find people who want to invest and are looking for some direction on how to get started. One good connection from an investor can change your career. It’s worth the time and energy.
4. Connect with agents in other specialties or niche markets.
Some agents get a significant portion of their sales from referrals that come from other agents. A basic way to get more referrals is to go to conventions and network with other real estate professionals. If you are spending money going to conventions and seminars but you’re not networking, then you’re are missing a huge opportunity. Places to do this at a convention: hosted networking events, the hotel bar, between sessions, while waiting in line, really anywhere you see agents.
5. Good old fashion door-knocking. If you have some hustle and want to save money on farming, you could knock on doors in a neighborhood or area you want to build business. Consider offering a free home price evaluation and tips for maximizing resale value. If you have a new listing, you can door knock the neighbors to tell them. This could get you both a buyer and a seller.
6. Engage on social media. Facebook, for me, is the best. I recently wrote about it in my last YPN Lounge post. Many agents get business from Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat as well. Twitter is great because people use hashtags, which you can use to search. If you live in a big city, this will be more useful since there will me more people using localized hashtags. Try using services like IFTTT to scan Twitter and email you notifications when someone uses a certain keyword in a tweet. For example if someone tweets, “PA has been great but can’t wait to check out Austin #austin #moving #cyaPA” and you have an alert set up for the hashtag #Austin, you could get notified via email and reply with a tweet welcoming them to Austin and offering to show them around the area. Snapchat is free and it’s great for engaging with your sphere, but the real secret on that platform right now are the custom geofilters. Pinterest and Instagram are just natural fits for real estate due to their photo-centric nature.
I hope these tips on free ways to get business help you out. I think the key is to diversify the platforms you use and be consistent when using them. Let me know if I can help and good luck.
Drew Heasley is an agent with Keller Williams Exton/West Chester in Pennsylvania. Connect with him on Facebook: facebook.com/chestercountyrealtor, or through his website: searchchestercountyhomes.com.
When Elizabeth Mendenhall, 2017 president-elect of the National Association of REALTORS®, visited YPN’s Leadership Retreat today, she didn’t go easy on them. In fact, she told them they needed to step up to leadership positions beyond their young pro networks and become wonks.
Now, Mendenhall didn’t always see the path to leadership in this way. She told a story about her journey to the NAR leadership team, which led through her local and state associations. She remembered being asked to serve on a legislative committee and immediately rejecting the idea: “I was on the professional development side. I was sitting in the strategic planning meetings,” she said. “I don’t like that [legislative] stuff. I could care less who the senator is from the ninth district.”
But the president of the Missouri Association of REALTORS® at the time didn’t let her off the hook. Mendenhall said he told her, “If you ever want to be president of the state association, you need to know this. You need to understand what this means to home ownership and this profession.” So she went for it and never looked back, becoming president of her state’s association in 2010.
Mendenhall, now CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty in Columbia, Mo., said she saw a lot of similarities between her start and the YPNers in the room: “I would venture that a lot of you in this room are not sitting on the legislative committee,” she said. “You’re not sitting on the conventional finance and lending committee.” Mendenhall said she understands the desire to focus on communications, branding, and other association pursuits, but also asked members of YPN to recognize the importance of the political and legal issues surrounding their chosen profession. “None of this matters if we don’t have an industry where people can buy and sell homes… a single piece of legislation can change this industry overnight.”
The annual YPN Leadership Retreat is tailored to incoming leaders of local associations, and Mendenhall acknowledged that the next 18 months would be an exciting whirlwind of activity for attendees who will serve as local YPN chairs. But after that, she said, “It’s time to move on.” She highlighted YPN involvement as a useful entry point to greater responsibility within the organization, but that room must be made for new leaders to enter. “Somebody else sees you there and says, ‘I can do it too.’”
Still, too few YPN leaders are moving up, in Mendenhall’s estimation. “I was disgusted when I went through the applications for vice chair positions,” she said, noting that the lack of young professionals in the group could be attributed to both reluctant applicants and an association that might not be doing enough to encourage them to apply.
But just getting involved isn’t enough. Mendenhall again revisited the need to have more young people on policy-oriented boards. She told attendees that’s where the opportunity for real advancement lies, as she learned when she was a volunteer leader for her state association. “Yeah, it’s scary. Yeah, it’s daunting,” she acknowledged. “It’s a little bit more challenging but it’s absolutely worth it… You definitely get more than you give.”