No Secrets When Top Producers Share Success

“The teacher appears when the student is ready …”

This insightful line, quoted by Bob Webster, Jr. at our Top Producer Panel on November 4, 2021 at Hawk’s View Golf Club, summarizes a wonderful fall event where over 50 members made time to listen to peers Webster, Christine Fox, Margaret Labus and Mac Corey share their “secrets to success” as top producers in the local real estate market.

Perhaps Connie Stewart summarized the feelings of the room best when she enthusiastically commented, “I am like a sponge - soaking up everything you are sharing.”

The four professionals seated on the panel openly and vulnerably shared their authentic selves through candid questions and answers. There was no script, no coaching, and even no reminders about what not to say … It was an excellent representation of what is special about the Lakes Area Realtors® culture. Reminders weren’t necessary. Our members are more collaborative than competitive.

What did you miss if you weren’t able to be there? Lots of mentions of “Ninja Selling,” for one. If you aren’t familiar with the book by Larry Kendall, the advice was to “buy it and read it!” In fact Bob Webster, Jr. is so confident in the principles taught in the book that he told the audience if anyone bought it, read it, and didn’t find it changed their life, he would refund the cost of the book! Mac Corey added that with the busy schedules we have today, the audio version is an excellent option. Both agreed that either medium will provide reminders and new results every time you take time to revisit it.

Assistants, delegation, and time management were key topics. “In real estate you either have an assistant, or you are an assistant,” Webster calls a Bob-ism. He suggests at the busiest time in your work life you pause to ask, “What am I spending time on that requires my real estate license/expertise?” (In other words – what can be delegated to another to allow you to focus on what you should be?) Margaret Labus admitted she took longer to hire an assistant than she wishes she would have. She reminds us all we have to let go and find help where it best fits. When asked how she found the right person she explained that she looked for excellent customer service skills in someone that treated her the way she wanted her clients to be treated. She could teach the real estate skills. She hired for the character traits.

Time management and when the top producers work on their businesses rather than in their businesses was varied. Christine Fox mentioned this may be due to specific markets and how their client schedules vary. I suspect it’s also their own personal lives and how family schedules vary, etc. One thing consistent is they all need to make time to stay in contact with their spheres in addition to working with current clients in a demanding market. When it comes to social media, they may use some automation but focus on authenticity to truly stay in contact with those that know, like and trust them. Corey reminded the audience, “You cannot create controversy and market at the same time!” and keeps all of his social media messaging positive.

Moderator Bernie Weiss asked whether the successful Realtors® had business plans. “Absolutely!” was Christine Fox’s immediate answer. As the team lead for her team of three, she knows which months she needs to push not only herself, but other team members to help everyone achieve their goals. “Yes. Every Year. Religiously,” was Margaret Labus’ response. “I am very methodical,” she added. “I actually know on a daily basis what I need to do to reach my goals.” Labus confessed to formerly feeling like the bottleneck in a busy real estate world. Now that she is leading a team and delegating, she points out that regardless of what system or principles one chooses, execution is everything. Bob Webster, Jr. humbly admitted that he realizes a solid business plan is a key to success, but he gets busy and doesn’t always monitor his plan throughout the year. He highly recommended reading, “The E-Myth – Real Estate Agent – Why Most Real Estate Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It,” by Michael Gerber. When asked about marketing budgets, the group spends about 10% of their gross commissions on marketing in various channels of advertising and promotions.

A known lakefront luxury specialist, Webster commented “In real estate you can specialize in one thing or generalize in everything.” He admitted that he occasionally learns of a close personal contact that uses another agent because their home doesn’t fall into the lakefront luxury category. It’s bittersweet to know he could have helped them successfully sell or buy a home in another category but understands it’s the result of the specialty for which he has become a recognized leader. “It cuts both ways,” he said with his characteristic humble smile. Webster’s advice in closing: “GIVE BACK!” encouraging those present to volunteer, to serve when asked and assured they will benefit from the experiences.

Margaret Labus did a fantastic job of closing the discussions with an explanation of RPAC and how it works to help the profession and property owners. Having been a licensed Realtor® in many states due to her husband’s military career, she commends the Wisconsin Realtors® Association and the Direct Giver conduit program. “We have an amazing level of latitude in Wisconsin,” she shared, adding “I give the WRA credit for that.”

Based on the response of the very engaged audience, we will definitely plan more panels like this in the future. Please e-mail CEO Denise Schultz with ideas for topics and/or speakers you would like to see. To learn more about RPAC, contact Denise, WRA Regional Government Affairs Director Doug Wheaton, LARA RPAC Chair Becky Merwin, or any member you see proudly wearing an RPAC pin.

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