One of the best ways to discover fresh ideas for your real estate business is to talk to a successful newbie. Not only is their positive energy contagious, but their fresh approach can put a spark in your business.

In October I moderated the New Agent Realtor Fundamentals Day at the California Association of Realtors EXPO. Steve Clark of Deasy/Penner & Partners and Sofia Chacon of Keller Williams highlighted the afternoon with their personal success stories.

Be who you are

When Steve Clark made the transition from musician to new real estate agent, he shaved off his beard and traded his jeans for a coat and tie. The shift wasn’t a fit. When he decided to go back to being true to who he really was, he attracted clients who were like him: artists and musicians. They would never have been comfortable with the suit-and-tie guy, but were perfectly at home with his jeans and beard.

Unmarketing marketing for your Facebook profile page

Facebook prohibits using your profile page for commercial purposes. Nevertheless, Clark has created a clever way to use his Facebook photo stream to achieve that goal. Clark’s approach is to post multiple pictures daily to his Facebook photo stream. These photos include pictures of his listings, historical landmarks, great food from local restaurants, and local events such as “The Big Parade” up to the Griffith Park Observatory. He peppers these photos with maps of his service area and floor plans. This creative approach illustrates that he is in real estate, as well as what is great about the Silver Lake lifestyle in Los Angeles. Better yet, he’s not bombarding his Facebook friends with unwanted real estate spam. Moreover, he is not violating the Facebook terms of use.

Be unstoppable — Create clients for life!

Sofia “Unstoppable” Chacon, a Realtor in Corona, California, suffered a massive heart attack her second year in the business. She was bedridden and was not expected to recover. Despite her serious health challenges, Chacon created powerful tools and systems that helped her grow her business year over year, despite her health. These tools can help you as well.

Building connection during listing appointments

Chacon’s No. 1 priority on any appointment is to create a client for life. Laughter is one of her most powerful tools. “Did you know that if you make your clients laugh that it brings down their guard by 60 percent?” She also recommends, “If they offer you something to eat or drink, take it!”

Setting realistic seller expectations

Chacon sets expectations early on, including how much she will charge in commission.

“I can see the look of relief on the sellers’ faces when I address the commission at the beginning of the listing appointment,” Chacon said. “My clients are actually embarrassed to bring it up.”

Furthermore, she doesn’t mince words about the property’s condition: “I’m going to be honest. If your house is ugly, I will tell you.”

To handle pricing issues, Chacon brings interior photos of the comparable sales, as well as square footage, price and other pertinent information. She then reviews the information with the sellers and together they choose the list price.

To drive home the importance of setting a realistic asking price, Chacon explains:

“If the property doesn’t sell quickly, there are only two possible explanations: the condition or the price. Houses that have price reductions normally sell for less than those that are priced right from the onset.”

How to cope with unrealistic buyers

Buyers are often unrealistic. Instead of arguing with them, Chacon sits down with her buyers and shows them exactly what is available. She likes the Fidelity and the First American Title apps for doing this.

Once the buyers realize they can’t buy what they want in their price range, she encourages them to get into the market now at a level they can afford. She tells them, “Live in this home for two to three years. I will stay in touch and tell you when it’s time to sell.”

She keeps her word. Her clients typically move up as their children are first starting school, or entering junior high or high school.

Respecting each other’s time off

When she first starts working with a client, Chacon shares her planned vacation dates, who will be handle her business while she takes time off, as well as whether she will be at the appraisal and/or inspection.

Chacon is also extremely sensitive to her clients’ needs. “Every showing is an inconvenience to the family since it disrupts their schedule. To minimize these disruptions, I schedule two specific showing times (one week day and one weekend day). At these times, agents can drop by the property without an appointment. This strategy makes it easier for the seller. The buyers’ agents also appreciate it as well.

Ask for the referral — repeatedly

“Ninety-two percent of my business comes from referrals,” Chacon said. “When I take a listing or an offer comes in, I always ask, ‘Who else do you know that I could help now?’ I want to know everyone who is in your iPhone.”

If you know a newbie who is taking your market by storm, discover what he or she is doing — chances are you’ll walk away with great ideas on how to grow your business.

Bernice Ross, CEO of, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Discover why leading Realtor associations and companies have chosen Bernice’s new and experienced real estate sales training for their agents at and

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