Spring Cleaning

Spring Forward: Susan Stynes on the art of silence

Broker-owner of Virginia’s River City Elite Properties outlines what she does every day to grow her business

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One of Susan Stynes’ goals is to bridge the gap between traditional, old-school methods in real estate and the “next generation” of skills necessary to fulfill the changing needs of buyers and sellers in the new paradigm confronting the real estate industry. For her, it’s not just about the bottom line.

Susan makes her home just outside of Midlothian, Virginia, where she resides with her husband, son and her beloved Jack Russell. She has a passion for cooking and food, and she also enjoys reading, attending her church and spending time with her family.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Susan to understand what drives her business, how she overcomes challenges and how she thinks about growth with her clients.

What are the three most effective things you do every day to grow your business?

First, we provide excellent service to our clients by going above and beyond. For example, I have a client who moved to India before her home closed. I am helping to facilitate the moving and selling of her appliances and forwarding her proceeds to India. We offer concierge services like this for all of our clients, which typically results in repeated referrals.

Secondly, our social media connections and networking — we stay in touch with our client base consistently through social media. Clients get to know us on a more personal level which leads to more referrals. I also stay very involved with my community. One of River City Elite Properties’ mission statements is that we love to give back to the community we live in and serve. All of our agents enjoy being involved and volunteering with their favorite charities.

I enjoy being a board member for a local non-profit charitable foundation helping feed hungry children, which keeps me involved and in front of people. The purpose isn’t to gain referrals — it just happens organically because of the connections and relationships we are building.

I also founded a networking group for women entrepreneurs and it’s been great exposure for us, and a wonderful way for me to stay connected and learn from other successful business owners.

Third, I pride myself on being a lifetime learner. I’m always searching for a better way to do things. I live in a constant state of change, always aiming to do something different, better and fresh. I run a motivational meeting twice per month with our business associates, such as our attorneys, lenders, insurance reps, stagers and Realtors within our office.

We read the top best-selling business books, discuss the chapters, implement new methods and stay on the cutting edge of new practices and habits. In addition, I’m on the local multiple listing service (MLS) board, I’m involved in coaching, I go to seminars and I mentor others.

What tactics do you use for driving referrals and winning listings presentations?

In addition to asking for referrals, many of the tactics listed above, like social media, volunteer work, being involved in networking and providing excellent service, help us with referrals. I’m amazed by how many agents forget to actually ask for the referral.

We also send out helpful information to our database, drop gifts off monthly and write personal notes to stay in touch. We attend all of our closings and celebrate with a personalized gift for our clients. They truly appreciate this.

As far as winning listing presentations, our process is very customized. We do not have a standard box listing presentation for everyone. We tailor our listing presentations based on the needs of our sellers. Everyone has different priorities. We call it a “listening presentation,” and we do just that — we listen to their needs and we give them what they want, within reason of course.

How do you handle working with sellers on pricing?

We do a detailed market analysis, we bring the past sale information and we review everything with the seller. We walk them down the path of the ultimate end list price, and before we get to the end of the presentation, they have already determined on their own where the price should logically be in most cases. We explain the value of our services and our detailed marketing plan as well.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever heard?

Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone, because that’s where the magic happens. My favorite quote from Les Brown is: “If you do what’s easy, life will be hard. If you do what’s hard, life will be easy.”

If an agent should stop doing one thing today, what would it be?

They should stop talking so much. Learn the art of silence. Seriously. God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason, and it’s a key factor in the negotiating process. Many agents talk their buyer or seller right out of signing on the dotted line because they don’t understand or they feel uncomfortable with silence. Silence is golden.

Also, just a few for fun: stop saying “Real-i-tor,” stop putting cheesy photos on business cards and stop having “commission breath” … ha ha ha!

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Want to connect with Susan? You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

You can also contact Susan at her office address:

1700 Huguenot Road, North Chesterfield, Bon Air, VA

Email Matthew Shadbolt