Success through a positive mindset, focus and determination

Interview with Joy Russell
Realtor in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

How important is prospecting in your business?

Prospecting is incredibly important. As Realtors, we are in the lead generation business. Without leads, there are no clients, no appointments, no closings, and essentially we’ll never make any money. It is crucial for a Realtor to spend two to three hours daily on lead generation.  As for me, I lead-generate two hours a day. I then follow up with clients for about an hour and a half. It’s all about top of mind awareness.

What does your team look like?

I’m an individual agent with three assistants. My executive assistant is in charge of handling all paperwork as well as speaking with lenders, title companies, and home inspectors. My marketing assistant creates all of the marketing pieces. My ISA is in charge of following up with clients.

What type of approach do you use for lead generation?

I’m pretty basic when it comes to lead generation. My main approach of lead generation is calling my database which consists of my sphere of influence and past clients. I also focus heavily on social media. When I first got started as an agent, my approach was door knocking just because I didn’t have any other source of business to call upon. I went out and I created business by knocking on doors every single day. I did this by introducing myself, explaining how I could assist them, and then asking for the business afterwards. I did this the first two years of my business and now it consists of repeat and referral business and as well as social media.

What kind of social media tools do you use?

I use Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn primarily. You will notice on my social media pages that post at least 3 times per day. There is a post at eight o’clock, twelve o’clock and four o’clock every single day. My eight o’clock post is inspirational, to help people start their day. The twelve o’clock post is a reminder that I’m a real estate agent. If someone is looking to buy a home or sell their home I am reminding them that I’m there to assist them and I am also asking for a referral.  The four o’clock post is a credit or financial tip to educate people. The purpose is to help them either become financially sound or make sure that their credit is together. That is how I use social media. My budget is incredibly low because I’m only focusing on people who want to do business with me and don’t spend on advertising. My marketing assistant creates all the content.

What targets do you have for prospecting?

I target my database primarily. I call twenty people per day and as a result, I receive around five to ten leads on a daily basis. I track everything in my CRM and write some things on a piece of paper, to stay on top of it. I also use a system called, Commitment to Excellence’,to track my numbers.It allows me to see exactly what I have in my pipeline, whether or not I’m on track, or if I’m behind. If I’m behind, then I know what I need to do and it’s going to push me to either make more calls that week, or do more marketing on my social media network. It gauges me to where I am and where I need to be.

What would you feel are keys to success in prospecting? Is it attitude, discipline, execution, experience, having a system? 

It’s all of those things. I think that mindset plays a big part. As Realtors we have to stay focused and have determination in order to accomplish our goals. We need to set goals, have a plan, and execute that plan. This is beneficial because it helps in knowing the number of transactions that are needed each year, each month, each week, and each day in order to achieve the goals that we set.

We must always know our numbers and have a positive mindset at all times. As previously mentioned, it is important to stay focused and to time block (manage time better by doing one task at a time). As long as one has those characteristics, he/she can still be successful in this business.

How do you maintain a positive mindset?

Having a positive mindset actually takes time. You have to really be determined. A lot of us say that we have a positive mindset but we allow things to stress and worry us. We also allow negative thoughts to enter and stay in our minds. I decided four years ago to remove all of the negativity in my life and to start living my best life possible. Nothing worries or stresses me because I made the decision to not allow it to.

I took inspiration from (the book) “Think and Grow Rich” which provides principles on training your mind. I say positive affirmation every single day. It is more than just saying it, it’s about having faith and actually believing it.

Those were the things I did in the beginning. I don’t necessarily have to do those things anymore because it’s now a natural part of who I am.

Have you changed anything in your prospecting approach over the last say ten years?

Everything has practically stayed the same for me. I only work on my twenty percent. That’s the reason why I leverage and hire other people to help me in my business. My approach is to lead generate and to focus on my database, past clients, and sphere of influence.

I call to check on them and see how they’re doing. I basically ask about how they’re enjoying their houses, how their family is doing, whether or not they have vacations coming up, and what they’re doing in their pastime for fun. I also remind them that I’m a resource for them if they ever have any questions or need anything.

I do not cold call, I have never called FSBO’s or expireds. It may seem strange but I don’t like calling strangers to ask them for business. I would rather call someone that I know or someone that I’ve done business with in the past and ask them to help me in my business. I also share my goals with my database and ask for referrals. That is my prospecting method.

Do you have to ask existing clients for business or does it automatically come to you?

A combination of both. I always ask for business. On my Facebook page, you always see me saying “Who do you know that’s looking to buy, sell, or invest their real estate? Message me for more information.”. There’s always a call to action on every single thing that I do. If you don’t ask for it, you’re not going to get it. I love the quote, “Closed mouths don’t get fed,” so my mouth is always open.

As a Realtors, we really only have five jobs. I focus on four of those five. Our job is to practice scripts and role play, lead generate, lead follow up, go on appointments, and negotiate contracts. I do all of these things in exception to the scripts and role play. The primary reason for that is because I don’t cold call.

Everything else in my business is leveraged. I don’t write the contract for instance. A lot of agents are still doing this because they feel that they are the only person that can do it the right way. I was like that in the beginning before I hired my assistants, three and a half years ago.

I was working late hours every day because I was trying to get everything done myself. I didn’t feel that anybody could do it better than me. Now I find that my assistants are much better than me in a lot of ways. We have to find other people who can assist us in the business, help it grow, and take it to the next level.

Alot of realtors are also scared to make the commitment to hire another person because of the money that they are going to have to pay for that person. In order to grow one’s business, one has to invest in that business.

What prospecting advice do you have for a starting realtor?

Find what works for you. For me, I’ve never been the one to pick up the phone and just call people and ask for business, especially if I didn’t know the person. Instead I focused on face to face interactions. I door knocked and talked to everyone that I came in contact with on a daily basis. It’s all about finding your niche.

I knew that real estate was a numbers game. I knew that my success was contingent upon the number of people that I came in contact with on a daily basis. I made sure that I knocked on so many doors every single day and I spoke to so many people every day. I handed out numerous business cards every day as well. I did these things consistently and became Rookie of the Year my first year in business.

My advice is to be consistent in whatever you do and protect your schedule at all times.

What targets did you set for yourself to become rookie of the year?

Honestly, my goal was never to become Rookie of the Year. I was more concerned about making money to support myself since I quit my job to pursue a career in Real Estate. I door knocked two hours every single day. I also introduced myself to every person I came in contact with and handed out my business card. That enabled me to accomplish my goals in this business. 

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