Coldwell Banker real estate agent Jeff Wagner shares his transition to real estate and how he connects with homebuyers on a personal level.

For 25 years, Jeff Wagner spent his time zipping across the United States and Canada to oversee building projects for some of the world’s biggest retailers, including Wal-Mart, CVS Pharmacy, and 7-Eleven.

Although Wagner loved being “boots on the ground” with his hardhat and clipboard in tow, his interactions with real estate agents over the years made an indelible impression. Instead of spending his days mapping out the next retail project; he wanted to help buyers map their journey to homeownership.

“I already had a pretty good idea of what the market was like, but I had never done the residential side,” he told Inman. “So I decided at that point in my career to get my [real estate] license and start working more local.”

After getting his license in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Wagner began working with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Easton, Massachusetts, where he quickly became one of the office’s top producers.

“Jeff Wagner is one of the top agents that I work with who is new to real estate yet has closed over 20 leads that we provided him in his second year with the company,” said Coldwell Banker iLeads Director Janet Morano. “Jeff’s success is a result of his consistent approach, leveraging our brand and tools and his tenacious determination to work these leads.”

Wagner quickly found his niche with first-time buyers, who appreciated his consistent updates and construction experience to help them what upgrades could be made to a less-than-perfect home.

“I think a lot of my success has to do with my organization and project manager skills,” he explained. “I manage all of my transactions like I would a [construction] project. I send out weekly updates, I manage the team between the attorneys, the other broker’s office, and the lenders to get the best result for my client.”

“My ability to be out there boots on the ground at construction sites, walking properties, and understanding the condition of properties has been invaluable,” he added.  “I can help my clients fully understand what they’re buying, and what they need to do to the house. So, my construction knowledge really appeals to my clients.”

Wagner and his clients at closing. (Photo provided by Jeff Wagner)

When Wagner isn’t working with clients, he’s mentoring colleagues and leading classes about prospecting and building lifelong relationships with buyers and sellers. In his one-on-one and group courses, Wagner reminds agents one of their most important tools isn’t necessarily a CRM or transaction — it’s a phone.

“It’s about not being afraid to pick up the phone and build relationships,” he said. “The ultimate goal is to get [your clients] to meet you face-to-face.”

Wagner said he realizes face-to-face interactions are currently out of the question, but that doesn’t mean agents can’t build connections with current and potential clients.

“In the last 30 days, things have really changed,” he explained. “Up until then, things were going about the same. I’ve had to change my strategy a little bit because I’ve always been about getting a face-to-face meeting.”

“So, I’ve had to amp up my phone calls,” he added. “I’ve been scheduling conference calls with the buyer, their significant other, or whoever else is involved in the transaction. They appreciate that I’m being sensitive to the current situation, and they appreciate the opportunity to talk.”

For fellow new agents who are trying to navigate a new reality, Wagner has one piece of advice: “You need to get out of your comfort zone and don’t lead with a real estate sales pitch, so to speak.”

“Always try to develop a personal relationship with the clients, make notes about their situation, their family, their job, and bring it up in conversation,” he added. “Get personal and then segue into the real estate stuff. That’s how you let people know you truly care.”

Email Marian McPherson

We’re highlighting agents with extraordinary stories through our feature, Agent Plus. Do you know someone who should be highlighted for their work inside and outside of the office? Send your nominations to AgentPlus@inman.com.

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