In this Monday column, Christy Murdock Edgar asks agents across the nation to share the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.
If you’re active on Instagram, you’ve certainly been dazzled by the work of Detroit broker Erica Collica. The Max Broock real estate pro’s @meeterica is the place to be for her thousands of fans and followers.
How did she learn to combine her own signature style with the cool vibe of the Detroit neighborhoods she reps? By learning from the best and taking time to truly listen.
How long have you been in the business?
I’ve been in real estate sales full time for over 12 years now. Before that, I worked for my friend’s father who was a developer as an hourly employee sitting in his model homes.
He put me on a bonus structure, so every customer that I procured from an open house that led to a sales contract netted me a $1,000 bonus. I was 17 years old, and I remember sitting there counting all the homes in the subdivision that were for sale — thousands of dollars in bonuses in my mind.
I went to the book store immediately and drained my little bank account by purchasing books on how to sell real estate.
Every day, I would read and highlight scripts in sales and would test them on the people who walked in. I must have looked ridiculous at my age, but that didn’t stop me.
Next thing I knew, I had one sale, two sales, three — and the rest is history!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
As my local market in Detroit is growing rapidly with new development, I hope to be the exclusive sales agent for a large number of new residential sales projects in the city.
Since starting in new development, it has always been my dream to live in the city (check) and lead a team of people for new projects.
I bring a large value add with my social media following and digital marketing plan. I have all of these ideas, and I cannot wait to execute when the right time comes. I’m just going to go ahead and put that out into the universe right now. Ask, believe and receive, right?
What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate?
Our human instinct is to panic and call, email or text, but ultimately, you will end up negotiating against yourself. Be patient, and listen carefully — it will pay off in spades.
How did you learn it?
I remember in 2008, right when the recession hit: I was 24 years old and was negotiating one of the toughest deals of my two-year-old baby career. I was representing the buyers, and the sellers were a group of well-known estate attorneys along with their very experienced agent — she had 30 years on me.
We had been going back and forth for more than a week, and we were about $10,000 apart on a $450,000 purchase. My buyers where not coming up, and the sellers where not coming down.
I was sitting at my kitchen table after eating dinner, and the phone rang; it was the sellers’ agent asking if I had made any progress with the buyers. I told her we were firm, exactly why we were firm, and I stopped talking.
There was complete silence on the line —I am not kidding you, for probably close to a minute. My heart was racing. Finally, she simply said “OK, I will call the attorneys.” Phew.
Nearly a complete 24 hours went by with no reply. I remember wanting to just touch base to see if she had any update, but I knew I had said and done all I could. There was nothing left to say. So I waited.
Suddenly, at 11 p.m. at night I received an email with a fully executed PA notifying me that we had a deal. I actually cried. I’m laughing now, but it took everything in me to follow that golden rule of negotiations, “Whoever talks first, loses.”
Try it sometime; trust me on this one.
What advice would you give to new agents?
Be collaborative with other agents, especially experienced ones you can learn from. If you get a lead and are not sure how to close it, ask for help, and offer to split the deal with that other agent. The top producing agents are busy, and time is money.
If you offer to split the deal, number one, you are compensating them for their time; two, you’re developing a relationship with that agent that may lead to more opportunity; and three, you can bet on closing that lead. Something is better than nothing, if you get my drift!
There is enough to go around for everyone, and there always will be if you do the right thing. Serve your client to the best of your ability even if that means giving up some of the monetary profit.
Are you an agent with a story everyone can learn something from? Reach out to us (contributors@Inman.com). We look forward to featuring more of our best agents and brokers in a future edition of “Lesson learned.”