Welcome to “Letters from,” a column that examines the intimate thoughts of members of the real estate industry.
We will explore why they got into the business, what they wish they would have known when they started, their challenges, who their mentors are and why — and the knowledge they can pass on from their former mistakes.
Learning from our mistakes creates a more powerful version of ourselves moving forward.
Name: Vincent Arcuri
Role: Realtor, full-time dad to three daughters, golfer, office counselor and social butterfly — because we have to be social to meet new prospects
1. Why did you get into this business?
I was a janitor working at Tampa Electric. I sold my home and the closing statement, when I saw the $6,000 broker fee and heard the Realtors talking at closing, I was like, “Wait, they made $3,000 each for selling my house?” And another Realtor was born because I said “this looks like a better job than cleaning toilets.”
2. What is the biggest challenge you face right now in your business?
Finding new clients. We are sales people and lead generators. Everyone is. You can be the best heart surgeon in the world, but if you are not prospecting for clients with bad tickers, you won’t be able to operate and generate income. This is true in every business if you think about it.
3. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started the business?
Not to give up a farm once you start to get business from it. It’s very difficult to go back and re-establish yourself. I’ve seen this so many times in the past 25 years, and I’m guilty of it myself.
4. Who has made the biggest positive impact on your business?
My “coach” of 20 years, Shane Pendley of Parus Solutions Marketing. He changed my world with video. He is so far in front of the curve it’s almost scary — like he has a crystal ball. He has had me focus on video since 1995 when he had me shoot my first video with him — on VHS tape to drop off to my clients.
Now with social media, it’s really paying off because it’s an instant process to expose millions of people to your brand if you have the money.
4. What is one thing someone could do to help you in your business?
Let me know marketing trends before they happen. I’ve seen a few of my fellow agents guess right on marketing trends, and they have made small fortunes. Flip side, I’ve seen financial ruin for those who speculated poorly.
5. What tool has made the biggest positive impact on your business?
Staying in front of trends, like social media ads. I think by the time it’s really mainstream in two more years, the ones who failed to capitalize won’t have the revenue to compete with those who have.
6. What do you think is going to be the biggest change in real estate in the next five years?
I think fee-based services are going to become part of the mainstream real estate landscape. I see Home Depot and Costco are already making strides to offer limited real estate services to their clients.
I think most brokerages in five years will have a degree of this type of offering to consumers. This will lead to a shift or boost to 100 percent concept brokerages. I think the largest brokerage or franchise in the world has not even been born yet.
Those 100-percent concepts will take over when this fee-based services arrives and is accepted. I don’t like it, but if you are an agent, you need to prepare yourself to be in front of that curve.
The National Association of Realtors really created this by allowing our data to be shared. Zillow and realtor.com, for example, are now giant beasts of corporations that started as basic information for consumers.
Now we have to pay them to get the leads from our own clients. I think if consumers understood how agents get leads, they would pay closer attention to whom they hire. Most of our buyer leads come from a company called BrokerAgent360. Three years ago, sign calls were our no. 1. The market is shifting.
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