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The Powerball Meeting Part 1(billion)

Sometimes you just have to use current affairs as a springboard to your next meeting. A few weeks ago I sent out a simple email to the team. It read; “So the news is out. I was the sole winner of last week’s Powerball draw in the US. I’ve decided to start my own country and as a gesture for you NOT to leave I will be giving everyone who attends tomorrow’s meeting $10,000 in Marco Currency ( which is tied to the US dollar). There is one caveat; you must spend it on real estate related things. Have I piqued your interest? Also I will be importing bagels and cream cheese from distant shores (Roncy) for your further enjoyment”.

My message worked. The next day my meeting was packed, thus proving the point that good titles are as important as good content. I learned another interesting lesson too; When you are printing fake currency don’t try to photocopy real money, even if it’s significantly doctored up. Modern printers won’t let you (but that’s a story for another day). So to start my meeting I asked people what they spend their money on in order to promote their business. We came up with about 16 things ranging from website maintenance to client gifts. powerball meeting

I wrote each suggestion on a piece of paper and then handed out $10,000 (in $500 increments) in Marco Money. I asked each agent to “spend” their money as they wanted. There was a bit of mayhem in the office for the next few minutes as agents jockeyed to get their money distributed but their was an added bonus to the madness as I watched some agents explain their logic on why they placed certain amounts on each pile. While at least one agent put the whole $10K on online lead generation, others distributed it more evenly. marcomoney No surprises coming from a bunch of peacocks like us, they spent the most money on entertaining ($34,500), followed by website ($33,500), awesome listing packages ($29,500), online advertising ($24,000), gifts ($22,000), networking events ($19,500), education ($18,500), productivity tools like CRMs ($12,500), sponsorship and community events and seminars ($12,500), flyers ($12,500), direct mail ($11,000), image ($11,000), newsletters ($6,500), bus shelters ($5,000), videos ($4,000) and finally billboards ($2,000).

Why $10,000? Simple math really. Several years ago our firm hired a company to conduct a survey on our agents and verify all their responses. One of the questions was “how much do you spend on marketing?”. The other question was “how much should you spend on marketing?”. Not surprisingly there were two different answers but the message came through loud and clear. 10% of your earnings, at the very least, should be designated towards marketing. Presuming your goal is to earn $100K then $10K seems like a good place to start.

In my next meeting (part 2) I’m going to reveal how much the agents spent on each category and then I’m going to ask them to explain their logic. Stand by for the follow-up.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President of the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.


The Fourth Annual Night Before Christmas

3rd night b4xmas

T’was the night before Christmas, when all through the board
Not a staffer was stirring on screen or keyboard.
MLS was all quiet, scheduled maintenance with care
In hopes that new updates soon would be there.

The agents were nestled all snug in their beds,
While thoughts of new clients danced in their heads.
And me in my jammies taking a well-deserved rest
From meetings, and travel and on-the-air guest.

When out on the street there arose such a clatter
I sprang to my tablet to see what’s the matter.
Another new bill from an rookie backbencher
This one was sick… A real gut wrencher.

This guy had lost out on another fab house
It was this or no sex, it came right from his spouse.
If you thought phantom offers were wack
This bill would stop bullies dead in their track.

The idea would be sound if it weren’t so crazy
And the form to fill out would made our heads dizzy.
Now we would prepare the offer so neat
Way BEFORE the house even hit the street.

Another new twist home energy audits
Just in case buyers had more cash in their pockets.
And something for brokers let’s scrap contractor status
He said under his breath with just a hint of malice.

Right away we knew this bill would be trouble
So we called our pal Von* to craft our rebuttal.
We took to the airwaves with a singular voice
With news like this we had no choice.

On radio, on print, on t.v. And on web
The truth would be heard not from Facebook, but TREB.
As quick as I could I called in the squad
And the plan that we made was focused NOT broad.

We created a buzz, and were fully invested
And on the steps of the hill our committees protested.
Realtors make the process go smoothly
Without us transactions would be completely unruly.

The truth must be heard, I repeated out loud
Home ownership matters it makes people proud.
It’s not just an investment, a place to live in
It’s a forced saving plan, a retirement win.

Buy real estate and wait… that was our stand
You should know this fact, we’re not making more land.
Our city is growing you just need to ask Santa
But please don’t call it Mega, I prefer the term Alpha.

TREB members united with a solitary voice
No matter what model, there’s plenty of choice.
And then in a twinkling we heard on the news
We won, we got out without a scratch or a bruise.

I sprang to my car, with a win and a whistle,
And away I flew like the down of a thistle.
I exclaimed as I left and drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.

Hope you the fourth installment of the RealtyLab Night Before Christmas. This one is a bit special for me. I’m half way through my term as President of the Toronto Real Estate Board. It has been an amazing experience. The support from members and the help from all the TREB staff has been invaluable. We have a team of amazing directors who chair a dozen or more worthwhile committees.
The real estate world is constantly evolving and I am happy to be part of a team that is steering a course through it all. Ultimately, I am the guy that delivers two simple messages to the GTA…buy a home and use a Realtor. You will be happy you did. Real estate is a safe long term investment. It’s tax free savings and an excellent tool to build a nest egg for your retirement.

*Von refers to Von Palmer, Chief Communications and Government Relations Officer.


Mastermind Topic de Jour. Lost the Listing To a Relative

aunts referralProbably one of the most frustrating things a Realtor has to deal with is losing a listing to a relative. The farther removed the more frustrating it gets. This week, at our Wednesday Mastermind session an agent confessed that this had just happened to her. She had spent weeks with the potential sellers, offering advice, helping them make final preparations for listing. Lots of in-depth conversations about the market and strategies. She got a sense that the sellers really loved her. She met them after selling a unit in the same building and achieved the highest price level per square foot. She had sold other units in the building too. She was not a rookie. So on the eve of preparing the listing and doing final adjustments to the CMA to fine tune the listing price, the owners took a sharp left turn. She received an email stating that their aunt, in London, was going to recommend them an agent in Toronto. (Insert swear word here). She responded with kind words and good luck wishes. That was not what she really wanted to say though. This was bad news to bring to a Mastermind meeting but it got us all thinking about strategy in the hopes that we could save the listing. Remember those times when you walked away from an argument and thought, Oh, if I could go back in time I would have said THIS? Well now was the time to come up with the perfect counter attack…and we had lots of brains working the case. This is what we came up with;

“Dear Mr. and Mrs. Seller. Upon reflection I hope that, before it is too late, you discuss with your aunt the qualifications of the person she is going to recommend. I have sold X number of units in the building including the most recent one in which I negotiated the highest price per square foot for the owners. I am very familiar with the building and believe that I am in the best position to maximize your profit. Please ask your aunt how many suites her recommendation has sold as this will be critical information. I am happy to work in conjunction with your aunt and provide her with bi-weekly updates and showing feedback if that would make any difference”.

I loved the bit at the end because it hints at the fact that the aunt is only in it for the referral while our agent is making it about quality of service. In the end however, despite a noble effort, the aunt won out by claiming that her referred agent had more experience with “new families”. I’m not sure what that even means. Simply put, it’s hard to trump the family relationship. A similar thing happened to me many years ago, in a different market. After 90 days on the market the sellers eventually came back to me and my neighbourhood expertise and I got the job done. The fact remains that with as many Realtors as there are in the city, it might be worth having a discussion about family agents early on in the conversation.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President of the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.


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