Not only does Circa welcome agents and visitors to bring dogs to the office, but Circa even has a resident dog. Loki is our broker’s dog, and he comes to the office most days. He thinks it is his second home and will make you step over him rather than moving out of the way.
He also likes to hang out by the front door, watching for anyone who might show up with food.
Milo, my dog, likes to go to the office too. Loki and Milo are still learning to be friends, but everyone is a good sport when the dogs end up barking because Milo just stole Lucky’s bone.
Karen’s Foster Dogs:
I usually have 1-2 foster dogs living with me while I search for the right family to adopt them. Honestly, it’s not all that different than selling homes. I figure out what the dog needs and who is going to want the dog, and then I market the dog via websites, social media and video.
I also work on socializing the dog so they are comfortable with new people. And that means taking them as many places as I can and having strangers hold them.
Luckily, everyone at Circa loves seeing my foster dogs. Sometimes the dogs even help with closings and attend meetings.
If you are ready to move and you have a dog, you need an agent who understands how the move will impact every member of your family. And that includes the dogs.
Most new real estate agents think that working in real estate is all about selling homes. They quickly learn that before they can sell homes, they need to get hired by home buyers and home sellers.
I’ve been selling homes for 14 years and 75% of my business now comes from former clients or referrals. Anyone in sales knows that referrals are the best new clients you could get. Not only are referred clients great to work with, but having people who hired you in the past or who know you well give your name to others means they know you will take good care of their family and friends.
It is the best business compliment you could receive.
As I’ve thought about different methods I could use to grow my business, I realized that I want to get more referral clients, not more cold internet leads.
So when I was invited to attend an informational meeting for a new BNI chapter forming near my home, I jumped at the opportunity.
What is BNI?
BNI is an international network, but the reason it works well is because each person is in a local chapter.
Most chapters have 20-40 members. The members work together to grow their businesses by referring new business to each other when they can. The group meets every week so you really get to know each other and the quality of work each person does before you start sending your referrals to chapter members.
I recently interviewed Virginia Muzquiz, Director of Business Development for BNI MidAmerica. Yes, it’s a long video (47 minutes), but if you watch it, you will really understand why people like me join BNI.
Join My Chapter:
We need just a few more people to join us, and then we are ready to start focusing on finding business for each other.
My chapter meets in Brentwood for lunch every Wednesday. It’s a great location with easy access from Hwy 64, Hwy 44 and Hwy 170. We have members who come from Clayton, Creve Coeur, St. Charles, South City, South County and more.
The type of people who join BNI work in a wide range of fields. Most members fall into one of these 8 spheres:
real estate (loans, appraisals, inspections, property management….)
insurance/financial (financial advisor, home/auto insurance, health insurance, estate planning…)
business services (payroll, HR, office supplies, business attorney, CPA, bookkeeping…)
marketing (website design, SEO, graphic design, email/social campaigns, video, podcasting…)
Blab is a brand new live steaming social media network.
I’m just getting started there and have only hosted my own discussion once. You see 2 videos in the image above because I accidentally refreshed the screen while recording and had to start a new session. I’ll get better at Blab, I promise.
I am jumping into a lot of discussions about building businesses through social media and video, and how to use live streaming video to sell real estate.
I also plan to start hosting 2 new video series.
The first series will follow the format of the one I did on St. Charles City, discussing a particular part of town from a resident’s point of you. If you are interested in being interviewed on video about where you live, let’s talk!
The 2nd Blab video series will delve into issues that buyers and sellers need to understand about real estate. I’ll be going beyond the basics that you can easily find if you Google “Tips for Home Buyers or Sellers”.
If not, I’m not surprised. Blab just launched a few months ago. It is a live streaming social media network that gives up to 4 users the chance to talk to each other on video while people watching live can ask questions or comment in a simultaneous chat.
Scroll down to watch this interview
It’s a great format for interviews.
Since joining Blab 2 weeks ago, I’ve had two highly respected social media professionals ask me if I would do an interview.
In the interviews, I talk about how I use social media to get hired by clients, my journey into real estate and the principles I live by both professionally and personally.
How to Use Social Media in Real Estate to Get Hired:
Robyn Wright is a lifestyle blogger and social media professional working with major brands like Verizon and Microsoft on their social media campaigns. Robyn asked me to help her launch her new video interview series discussing how social media is used in different industries.
In the video below, I share how to use social media as a real estate agent to connect with local residents and get hired as their real estate agent.
Highlights of the Video Interview:
the importance of connecting with local residents using social media
how to connect with St. Louis or local users in your area on social networks
tips for picking a twitter user name
how to use social media to get hired without asking people to hire you
how to use video on Blab and Instagram as a real estate agent
how to use hashtags on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
challenges of using Pinterest to connect with local users
how to use social media to connect with investors
do you need to be on all of the social networks
tips for using LinkedIn as a real estate agent
the importance of meeting people in person and how video can be a substitute when needed
Bill Conrad is a podcast professional, former home builder and real estate broker in Modesto, California and Reno, Nevada. Bill’s New Timelines Show podcast interviews people about their career journey and the success/life principles.
Highlights of the Video Interview:
my career path from social services to venture capital to real estate
what it is like to work with corporate relocating buyers
real estate is a 100% commission industry
where I find potential clients
DIY vs hiring a website designer
do real estate agents need to have a home search on their website
how to use open houses to get new clients
how real estate agents can find clients if they move to a new city
Starting at 26 minutes into the video, I discuss my business success and life principles:
Integrity comes first
Always do what is best for your clients
Don’t be salesy
Focus on giving
Find my own path
Step outside your industry
Remember to make time for people and activities that bring you joy
My NEW Video Interview Series about St. Louis and Real Estate:
I’m working on 2 new video series that I’ll be producing to educate home buyers and sellers about St. Louis real estate.
Local Residents Talk about Where They Live
I will be interviewing local residents about the part of town where they live. Each video will focus on one part of town with 1-3 people who live there sharing their perspective. We’ll talk about why they like living in their section of the St. Louis area, favorite restaurants, commute time, schools and safety.
It’s easy to find general information about the home buying or selling process online, but there are a lot of important issues that don’t get discussed. I will be interviewing professionals who can elaborate on important issues that buyers and sellers need to understand. One of the early interviews will cover inheritance issues related to how the title is recorded. I also plan to cover a new problem resulting from insurance companies inspecting homes after closing, then requiring expensive repairs from the buyers or canceling the policy.
Ten years ago, St. Louis Magazine started working with Crescendo Business Services to survey St. Louis home buyers, lenders and title company professionals to find the best real estate agents in the region.
9 Year Award Winner:
I recently found out that for the 9th year, I am included in the select group of agents named as a FIVE STAR Real Estate Agent.
Each year, less than 5% of the region’s agents are given the award.
This year, I’m one of only 46 agents out of 17,915 in the St. Louis metro area (including neighboring MO & IL counties) who is an 9 YEAR WINNER of the Five Star Award.
That means less than 1% of the eligible agents have won the FIVE STAR award as often as I have.
I am very proud to be in such an elite group of agents to win this prestigious award year after year, and humbled that my clients continue to take time from their busy schedules each year to fill out the surveys and nominate me for this award.
If you took the time to fill out one of those surveys, THANK YOU!
Almost 6 months ago, I joined Circa Properties and I finally am a part of a real estate brokerage that believes what I believe.
I was reminded that I made the right choice by moving my business to Circa Properties at yesterday’s monthly business meeting.
There isn’t any fluff at our meetings. Everything we discuss is designed to keep the agents informed about the issues affecting the company and to make the agents better at what they do.
Yesterday, we were introduced to the consultant Circa hired to review our contract files. Most companies dread audits. We hired someone to audit us to make sure everything we are doing protects our clients.
We had a lively discussion on several contract issues, discussing what the state of Missouri requires and what is best for our clients, and we learned that just about every company in town is doing some things wrong…and vowed to be better than the rest.
We discussed contractors we refer our clients to…which ones are good and which ones some of us have had problems with in the past.
The meeting reminded me how Circa is different than the other companies where I have worked since I got started in real estate.
Almost every agent attended the meeting yesterday.
Agents at Circa are expected to be full time active agents…actively assisting clients and actively contributing to make the company better. As individuals, we each make the group stronger. Not a single agent does things that forces management to spend their time putting out fires instead of using their time to make us all better.
If there was a problem agent, that agent would be asked to find another brokerage. That just doesn’t happen at real estate companies. Rarely is an agent fired by a brokerage since companies only make money by taking a cut of the agents’ commissions. More agents mean more money.
But not at Circa.
Circa’s aim is that 100% of our agents are top-notch active agents who are on top of their game so they do right by every single client. You won’t find an agent who does one deal a year at Circa, or one who botches half the deals they do.
The company put together these 2 videos to help convey the spirit of Circa Properties. You won’t see my face in either video since they were created before I joined the company…but these videos give you a glimpse in why I knew this was the right company for me and my clients.