Do Things Differently As A Realtor In This Time Of Crisis With Leigh Brown

Are you looking for ways to become a successful realtor? If so, but you entered the space treating it as a hobby, then it is time to treat your business as a real job. In this episode, Jen Du Plessis talks with Leigh Brown about starting to do things in your business differently as a realtor. A realtor extraordinaire and bestselling author herself, Leigh shows us the ropes to get your business going, especially during this time of crisis with the Coronavirus Pandemic. She talks about how you can prepare for the worst and highlights the importance of having a mentor. Also, giving us a peek into her book, Seven Deadly Sins of Sales, Leigh names one of the deadly sins that you should fix if you want to put your business on track. Whether you are a realtor or a mortgage lender trying to figure out how to work with one, this conversation is for you!

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I have a wonderful guest here with me, Leigh Brown, who is a realtor extraordinaire. I know that she doesn’t say that about herself, but that’s what I’m going to say. It’s always a delight to have a realtor on the show because as we know, many of our readers are realtors and they’re looking for advice. Many of our readers are mortgage lenders and they’re trying to find out, “How do I get working with realtors? What do I do with this differently?” We’re going to explore all of those things. I want to welcome Leigh to our show. How are you doing, Leigh? 

I’m fantastic. Thank you for having me on the show. It’s an honor to be invited.

I’m happy to have you. Let me do a formal introduction, read a little bit of your bio, and then we’ll get into the good stuff and we’re going to have a lot of fun. Wait to hear what the name of her podcast is as well. She is a highly successful realtor. She’s a bestselling author. She has two books, one is called Outrageous Authenticity and we’ll talk about that and what we’re going to be hearing from her around that. The other is called The Seven Deadly Sins of Sales. We’ll probably explore one of the deadly sins and then ask you to get her book and learn about the others as well. She’s from North Carolina. What she wants to do is leave a mark on the next generation of professionals and help everyone level up. That’s what we’re all about here in the show. Leigh, thank you for joining us. I want to start with your podcast. Let’s talk about your podcast called the Crazy Sh*t In Real Estate. The crazy stuff in real estate. Tell us about your podcast. What prompted you to start your podcast? I’d like also to know what your favorite episode is?

I started the podcast because every realtor that I know has major issues with the public when it comes to HGTV. Our buyer’s thing that they look at three houses, and in 30 minutes you pick one that’s yours and it’s great. You don’t have to have any mortgage preapproval done at all because they all come in with oodles and scads of money. There are never any hiccups. Frankly, in real estate, almost every transaction has some drama that occurs that you never saw coming that nobody expected, you’d warn people about, still didn’t see it. If we get one that is easy as HGTV, we’re all on tenterhooks because we’re like, “This is not normal.” What I wanted to showcase were the wild things that we see. You never expect it.

Nobody told you when you were getting into the business that you might be the professional guiding people through that. In each episode, I try to highlight that this is how professionals pull through this because we’re in an increasingly online world. People think that you can replace the human relationship with an app and you can’t. It’s primarily because every real estate transaction is different because every house is different. It’s got different issues. It’s a different day of the week, different seasons of the year. The lenders involved, the inspectors, different ages and different humans. It is wildly complex when it looks simple on the surface.

The interesting thing about the podcast is that it started primarily consumed by realtors and lenders and affiliated companies. At 3.5 years into the podcast, 70% of my listeners are consumers because as it turns out, they love hearing what we go through in these struggles and the stories because it’s human what real estate is and how it plays out every time. My favorite episode was frankly one of my earliest ones. It’s an interview with my dad who was a realtor for 40 years and he’s retired. It’s also my most downloaded episode that everybody loves listening to my dad because he’s delightful. You have your requisite porn, sex and dead people. There was one agent who got presented with the foreskins of her client. I was like, “I don’t know how you recover from that.” It’s nonstop. Every time I run an episode, I have five more people raise their hands and say, “Yeah, but you won’t hear about what happened to me.” It’s fun and frankly, we need a little more levity in our lives. Real estate and mortgage lending, they give us lots of opportunities to laugh if we will.

We call it a transactional DNA because every single transaction has a different DNA to it. You have these unintended consequences all around the place. Things happen. It’s human. I love that you’re saying that and that you’re talking about the human factor of it. I’m going to talk to you about the competition that’s out there online and how you’ve overcome that. I want to talk about some other things too. My husband and I were going to write a book. He used to be a title agent. He’s still a mortgage lender. I’m retired, but we were going to write a book that is something along the lines of things that happen at the closing table. To share a story about that because we had a restraining order.

There was a restraining order on a husband and wife who were getting divorced and they had to be certain feet apart and this title company wasn’t big enough to have the feet apart. We got a special authorization to allow it, one of them to be in one room and the other to be in the other room even though it wasn’t the distance. She came in, we shut the door and he came in. It was 4 or 5 rooms apart, screaming profanities to her across the office. Other closings were going on and she was trembling and whatever and freaking out. We ended up having to bring the police, do a gag order on him to shut him up. 

In real estate, almost every transaction has some drama that occurs that you never saw coming. Click To Tweet

That’s how we went to closing. Many things happened in the closing table too for us that are funny. Anyway, I wanted to share that with you. I know you’re moving. We’re at the beginning of the Coronavirus. Tell us about your experience in moving because this is something that as professionals in our industry, we don’t do enough to remind ourselves about the stress and the strain and the anticipation that someone has to go through. Tell us about your experience in the marketplace at what has happened with you.

It’s true we don’t go through this enough. I see it with myself. I fall into the trap. I’ve been a realtor for many years and I see my colleagues, you walk into a house and you’re like, “Do this.” We’ll get it sold. We’re low key about how much stress and strain that it’s going to be. Our move was a little less than ordinary. We have 2.5 years to renovate a house because contractors and permits and we have been intimate with the regulatory burden that’s causing much havoc on the markets. Our other house hasn’t yet sold because I’ve got to go in, do the carpet, paint and hardwoods and dress it up for the market and that’s an entirely different project. You realize that in moving, we’re asking people to manage massive-scale projects simultaneously.

When we’re selling one, we forget that the move itself is one of the projects plus the new house has to get organized. As a high control personality, I’m trying to say, “This goes here,” because I don’t like to move multiple times. I want everything done quickly. The amount of dust my stuff has accumulated and I’m a fairly clean housekeeper, but it’s horrifying to pick a book up off the shelf and I’m wiping it off on my pants to get the dust off. I cleaned my China cabinet and I have to wash everything inside the China cabinet. I’m like, “How did it get dirty?” It’s annoying, but it’s time-consuming. I will tell you the most interesting feeling that I had was this enormous amount of guilt. The guilt came from cleaning out my pantry and cleaning out my freezers for things.

When I say out of date, I’m one of those people that believe the expiration dates on items are a marketing ploy to get us to buy more. I found a pound of frozen sausage that expired in 2004 and I was like, “That’s beyond the pale that has got to go.” You feel guilt throwing that food out. Particularly as we’re doing this, we’re all in a shelter in place with the Coronavirus and we’re going to have to be cognizant of the food we have in the house. You realized we don’t think a lot about things and we forget how fortunate we are to have access. I’m cleaning out my books and I have multiple copies of books that I love because I’m a bibliophile. I’ve got books everywhere. I’m going to be taking them to the second-hand bookstore and making some donations. It’s rattling and I don’t know that I remembered how rattling it was because it’s been several years since we moved in. You have your typical mom nostalgia, you look at the kids’ stuff and, “Here are the footprints and here are the baby CDs.”

It takes forever and longer than you think. 

You stop and you have to, “Oh,” over everything that you find. I can’t wait to go to my next appointment. I was on a listing appointment when I was at the house with the seller and I was glad to leave this one because it’s a wreck. We’re staying in her house and my empathy was at an all-time high. This is with anything in life, you’re more empathetic with people dealing with aging parents when you have aging parent issues. You’re more empathetic to somebody with medical issues when you have it or divorce and all the other gigantic traumatic life things.

I’ll tell you one more thing that was striking to me. I was chatting with the movers because as a medium-aged person, I’m not trying to move my stuff by myself anymore. All of our friends are medium-aged, their backs are out. You hire people and they’re packing the house and laughing at some of the stuff that I have and I’m joking back with them and offer them coffee and snacks because I’m Southern, I feed people. That’s what we do. At the end of the move, I’m thanking them for their hard work and appreciative of how much they did.

He was telling us how ugly people are to him. I said, “How in the world are people ugly to movers?” He said, “It’s because they’re stressed out and we’re the working guys.” I was like, “We got a long way to go.” As humans, we’ve almost said we got a long way to go. We’ve got a long way to come back from because we used to be more human to each other before social media, blue holes in our decency. I was horrified. I said, “What part of town is ugliest to you?” He named the part of Charlotte that we affectionately called the bubble. It’s where the Stepford Moms live.

Every real estate transaction is different because every house is different. Click To Tweet

The Real Housewives.

They want a turnkey life. We call them new money. They’ve got $1,000 strollers. This is not your old white money. This is new, loud money. They’re ugly and they’re rude. He said he thinks it’s because they’re stressed out. He’s making excuses for them while he’s carrying their stuff. It’s a lot to process. I’m sure I’ll have some blog posts to write about this.

Some strategies for your clients when you’re going in with your listing appointment, it might be another page of how to be nice and be cordial to people that are serving you. It might be one of the pieces. That’s important because we take it for granted and we talk about that a lot. I’m sure you do as a realtor too is you go through this process several times a month and people go through it several times in their lifetime and we take it for granted. Sometimes we need to slow down to help them out. I want to talk to you about a couple of other things too. Some of these are a little off-topic because there are some things that I want to make sure that we cover. One is in nowadays marketplace and we know it’s competitive for realtors, for loan officers, title companies, everybody. It’s competitive. It doesn’t matter what you do. What is it that you’re doing that sets you apart from everyone else and shines a light on your genius, taking you out of being a commodity?

I think it’s because my primary focus in my business is not my business. I focus on other people first. I learned this a long time, but I’ll be honest, the first few years of my business, I wanted to be number one. I wanted to sell as many houses as possible, take over the Charlotte market and be a queen bee realtor. I got there but that’s a pretty empty goal when you get there. I got there with all the advertising and making phone calls and hard-driving every day. I learned a lot of lessons in the recession, which consisted of asking as many questions as possible to determine if I even could help. During the recessionary period, you couldn’t help everyone. Some people needed to stay put or they weren’t financially able to make a change.

I learned quickly that I had to put other people in the first place, not give lip service to it but do it. On my conference room table, I tell this story a lot. During the recession, we made a lot of short sales and I had a lot of consultations with people considering bankruptcy, foreclosure, divorce and the big giant financial underpinnings that can tear your life apart for years. We know this from the real estate side and the lending side. Those are not small decisions to make. Honestly, it goes back to that whole move analogy again, you don’t do it often enough to realize how impactful it’s going to be.

On my conference room table, I had a bottle of wine, a bottle of Pepto-Bismol, and a box of Kleenex. People would sit down with me and I’d say, “Pick your poison because what we’re about to go through is going to be painful.” I acknowledge that space was not going to be good because as realtors and as lenders, we are known for being super optimistic and positive people who are always looking for the bright side, always a great time to buy or sell a house. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you’re going to and it sucks. Sometimes you don’t want to but you have to. Sometimes it’s the worst process it could be. Learning how to acknowledge that was a big game-changer for my business.

That led me down a whole different set of paths. Once I got out, I’ll call it the greed path and a lot of us have to acknowledge that in our space is that there are people who are driven by the money and driven by greed and they don’t know yet. I’ll say yet because I do believe inherently the people want to do the right thing and be good. At a certain point, the money’s not enough and the success is not enough. You have to be chasing something else and that can’t be what you want. That’s when I started volunteering far more heavily in my community and I became the Board Chair at Habitat and I’ve been on the board of YMCA. I took a hiatus from both of those boards and I’m back on.

I also believe that as a volunteer, you have to be cognizant of the fact that other people’s voices matter in the space where you may have expertise. I’ll serve for a while and then I’ll back out for a while. If I’m invited back in, I’ll come back in. I do not ever want to say this is my chair at the church. It can’t be my pew. I sit somewhere different every Sunday because it’s important to interact with different people in different ways. As I volunteer more, I volunteer heavily with the National Association of Realtors and I find as many ways possible as I can to give back to my community. My community to me is defined by the place where my business is located. That’s Concord, North Carolina, where my physical building is.

Realtor In Crisis: As humans, we always say we’ve got a long way to go when in fact, we’ve got a long way to come back from because we used to be more human to each other before social media.

The market that I serve, which is Charlotte, how can I be an impactful community member? More importantly, how can I be impactful in my profession? Through my volunteer space with the realtors, what am I able to do to bring that knowledge back to my neighbors? For me, that’s political advocacy because many people are completely tuned out to politics. If I say politics, they’re thinking presidential politics. That’s not what impacts your day-to-day life. What impact your day-to-day life is the regulatory burdens that happen on the local and state level. As I’ve volunteered politically, I find information out and I bring it back. One example I give it back that does set me apart in the market is the elections in North Carolina where the first week of March in 2020.

I always put out a video post and say, “I have voted. I like to early vote because I don’t like lines.” Although sometimes I go on Election Day to feel patriotic. It’s up in the air. I made a video and said, “I have voted and if you want suggestions, own the people on this ballot that are good for property rights. I stay out of the places where we tend to be most divisive and go for things that are not sexy but are super important. You need to know which city council people, county commissioners or school board members. I’ll give you names, message me.” I don’t ever go out and say, “Vote for this one.” That to me is creating drama but I want to be a resource.

I’ve become known as a solid, impartial, and fair resource when it comes to those issues, which means people also think of me in real estate. In my earlier years, I wanted them to see real estate and think of Leigh Brown. I want them to say Leigh Brown and think community, “Which by the way, she’s my realtor too.” When I flipped that conversation and script a little bit, it changed everything. People willingly give my name out because they know I’m not going to walk on the river say, “Who do you know to buy or sell a house?” Which is gross and icky and which is what most realtors have been trained to do. I don’t want to be that person.

I know that you have a gift that you’re going to give to our audience that helps realtors do their social content in a way that doesn’t say, “Look at me, I’m a realtor and look at this house I listed and sold it. Let’s walk through a tour,” all of those things. It’s something that differentiates. Thank you for sharing that. I appreciate that. I do think that that comes with tenure in the business, tenure in life that you get out of chasing the corporate ladder and moving into the curiosity in the community and helping others and helping serve others. That also takes you from being a salesperson and what I tell my clients all the time is, “Remember, it’s not a sales call, it’s a service call.”

That is a key difference. I have a couple of other questions. You started as a realtor and you were going to be queen bee, but you also had challenges. What are some of the challenges that you had if you can think of some tipping points? We have new realtors reading the show as well as seasoned realtors. What are some things that you could recommend based on your experience for new realtors to make a difference other than the content that you have in social media? What could they be doing differently outside of social media to get their business going? 

The first thing is you have to treat real estate like it’s a real job.

It’s not a hobby. 

I know that sounds funny, but I came out of the corporate world and I had a boss and I had hours and expectations. I had a company truck and I had sales reports to turn in. You get into real estate, you’re like, “Sit back here on my rocking chair in my yoga pants and relax.” I’ll get on social media, click like on a few people thinks and say, “I worked.” That’s not working. When you look at your trajectory, realtor, lender, inspector, or any of our affiliated businesses around us, you have to have a business plan and treat your business like a business. That means there are starting hours and then there are ending hours. It means that there are expectations of your day as far as how much prospecting you will do. Your most successful realtor’s prospect every single day.

Treat real estate like a real job, not a hobby. Click To Tweet

The way that you do it depends on your style. It depends on your community, your niche market, but you have to do it regularly. What I find with a lot of realtors that can’t get their success level where they want it or they can’t smooth out the curves and they’re living in highs and lows. They don’t work all the time. They sometimes work. I was lucky I came into the business with a mentor. Everybody should have that opportunity to have a mentor who will put you in their back pocket and carry you around and tell you what to do. The thing I never listened to my dad as far as running my business was figuring out how to run my finances because I always found money. I’m a salesperson.

When you’re a salesperson, you find your money, you sell something and I’m going to get my apps. During my first year in the business, I did well. I sold a bunch of houses and I owed the IRS $19,000 in my first tax period. My dad’s response was, “You had a good year.” That’s a sales response. I was like, “What am I supposed to do?” He’s like, “Pay it off.” I had to set up a financial plan. A lot of realtors forget this because they make money and then they spend it to keep making money and forget that you’re going to have to pay taxes, you’re going to have to take care of your business expenses or you will be put out of business. Especially for our newer realtors and I know that the old guard reading, they’re nodding right along because they’d been down this path too.

It’s treating your money as a finite resource because it is. Treat your business like a real job because it is. When you start doing those things in conjunction with each other, it’s going to work out faster and sooner. I will tell you that there are a lot of resources realtors don’t even know about and one of the tools that we’ve built at the National Association, I was on the workforce that built it, is called The Center for Financial Wellness and it’s at It’s got an assessment tool to figure out where you are financially and it’s got planning tools. If you’re figuring out how to fix the mistakes that somebody else has made them use the tools that we have that I wish I’d had.

That’s powerful and we’ve been in the mortgage business for many years. I was introduced to Brian Buffini and I loved what Brian did too. He introduced that whole concept to people is setting up a real paycheck for yourself and not spending your money before you’ve even earned it, the commission. That creates a lot of angst between lenders and realtors in the old days and still to an extent for someone who is scrambling to get that one deal to make the payments because it’s feast or famine for them. Thank you for sharing that with us. I want to talk about the recession that’s pending. The Coronavirus has accelerated the inevitable.

We’ve known for quite some time that a recession was heading our way in the next several months. Unfortunately, it’s going to come sooner. One of the things that I’ve learned is that, aside from market recession from us, and I hope that most people know that we aren’t going to be in a bubble again. It’s a whole different world this time with this recession as far as a bubble of values of homes and things. One of the things that we do have to recognize is that anytime that we have two consecutive quarters of negative income as individuals in our practices that could potentially happen in what we’re seeing with people at great low rates, are people going to want to move and things like that?

We’ll see what comes about that we are in our little recession. If you’re thinking about what’s happening with Coronavirus and what’s happening with the economy, what strategies are you starting to put into play as a top producer? People are going to look to you to say, “What are you doing to help yourself in this changing time that we’re in. Maybe you haven’t even thought about it quite yet, waiting for the dust to settle. What are some things that you would be thinking about to prevent what happened to people that have never been in the business or people that were in the business and didn’t take the right steps and they failed miserably and have come back in?

The first thing is if you came into the business since 2013, you need to find a mentor who was in the business between 2007 and 2013 because those of us that survived that downturn, we know what we learned and we have not forgotten it. I’ll tell you that no matter what happens economically, I won’t be called unawares. I learned that from the first recession because I did not have a lot of reserves. I’m good at this time. I did not have any planning in place, I’m good this time. Honestly, the yield curve has been suppressed for long we’ve been looking at something happening and when the yield curve is suppressed, you’re headed for bad times. That factor is normally reliable and it hasn’t been reliable because you’ve gotten mixed messages in the economic climate.

We knew that something was going to have to happen because you don’t stay in a bull market forever. The Coronavirus piece, a lot of it is politically-driven and we all know that, but we do not know what the long-term implications are going to be of this shelter in place environment. We’re going to lose a lot of our small businesses and anybody that’s been on a commission environment’s going to have a hard time. Any government plan is not going to plan for our people. It plans for large corporate people with benefits and that’s not who this is but you’ll find that if you look at the MLS every day, houses sell every day. It does not matter what the market conditions are. There’s always somebody out there who needs to buy or her needs to sell.

Realtor In Crisis: Everybody should have that opportunity to have a mentor who will put you in their back pocket, carry you around, and tell you what to do.

Investors are investing because this is a clearance sale. I’m buying stock as fast as I can because this is when you make money, you do not make money selling high and buying low. You buy low, sell high. Many buyers reached out to me, “I wish I could make a low offer on the house.” I’m like, “Good. Call me back. In 2011, you missed that chance.” Those days are going to come back. I’ve been telling my clients for some time you should have something liquid so that you can take advantage. As you know, the liquidity in the market is going to be questionable because of our mortgages and our banks, they’re not sure what they’re looking at.

Solvency is going to become an issue because of what the government’s proposing on this legislation. I know I spoke in words that most realtors and lenders don’t speak, but for heaven’s sake, you need to go back and read that basic economic workbook and get familiar with your civics again. Get familiar with yield curves and liquidity and solvency because that’s what gives you the knowledge to talk to people. Our job is to dispel fear, but you don’t dispel fear with faith. You dispel fear with facts and here’s the information that I’ve gotten that’s why I’m not panicking and I refuse to panic. I’ll tell you the side effect of that is the way that you react to an oncoming recession or any economic changes. It’s what’s your kids are going to remember about this.

You know Millennials had a hard time buying primary residence because they watched their parents freak out during the last recession. Don’t freak out. We’ve got to teach our kids some resiliency because this is normal. It’s not normal that we like, but it’s normal, and I will say this for anybody who’s complained about all the new people entering real estate mortgage, “Many new people are getting into our business.” A lot of them are going to fall out and a lot of the old guard is going to fall out. That was the biggest blessing of the last recession. Those who are non-serious about it got out and I say, “Amen and Hallelujah. Let them go.” Those of you all that love the business and love the clientele, get yourself educated. You don’t have any time to wait. If you’re sheltering in place, what better time to take some webinars and some online education, read some classes, get yourself up and running. It’s doable to prepare yourself to survive.

I interviewed Jonathan Slain with Rock The Recession. Ironically, he got I don’t know how he got it, but he did. He’s lucky and he’s had it for a couple of years. I said, “How did you get that?” He goes, “I looked it up and no one had it.” I interviewed him on an episode too. I want to encourage everybody to go back and read Rock The Recession because it’s putting these things in place. It’s looking at your expenses and what as well and being prepared that, God forbid anything happens to your business, God forbid anything happens to your job and you have to reduce expenses. It’s the time to be looking at that and saying, “What can we cut out when the time comes so that we can rock that recession and be able to be prepared for that or being ready for the recession?”

Thank you for sharing all that. I love it when you said about your conference room table and pick your pain point whatever. I remember having tissues for clients that I was talking to during the last recession and then saying, “What do I owe you?” I say, “I wish you could, but you can’t. It’s not what we do in our business, but we do become people that are ready to help others and help them through this process.” We need to be prepared. I love that you’re saying that you’re investing in the stock market. I’m not investing in stock market investing. I’m investing in cash.

I’m about ready to inject money into options, which is what I’ll be doing as soon as the stock market dulls down a little bit more. As far as real estate, I’m an avid real estate investor, always have been. I’m buying 2 or 3 homes a month. Yes, because I do something a little different, but I’m preparing myself as I’m waiting that I’m sitting in the Coronavirus and not traveling. I’m preparing myself and getting ready to start doing more investing in real estate so that I can be prepared to create a path for my family and me down the road. We’re creating that for ourselves. I also wanted to ask you about the competition. It’s still human and I agree with you.

That is something that I am constantly putting on my clients that I’m coaching and my students are that social media is important. It is here to stay. We get that, I get it. Online lending is here to stay and online real estate is here to stay, but there is still that human touch. This is a big purchase. Tell me how you’re feeling about FinTech for lending and also on the side of Zillow coming out with real estate agents and Redfin with real estate agents. Tell us a little bit about how you’re combating that. I know that there are a lot of people reading that might be thinking the sky is falling and they can’t compete with that. What’s your take?

You’re not competing with that. That’s what people need to understand. It’s two different beasts altogether. The way I look at it like this, both of us probably shop at Walmart even though you may not like going there you go there because reasons to go there. We’d probably both shop at Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom because there are things you like there and you go there for a different set of reasons. We enjoy going there but you don’t get everything and it’s they’re both shopping environments and you can buy some of the similar things in both places. You could buy clothing, it’s a different quality, outcome, experiences and different price points.

Treat your business like a real job because it is. Click To Tweet

You’ve got to think about the apps and that the same way the reason buyers go to a buyer and offer pad and open door and any of those that click here to sell is because that consumer values convenience more than they value equity. That’s okay. The biggest thing that professionals need to understand is that it’s okay. I’ve got a seller, she’s not going to sell with me. She’s going to use an app because her husband left. She has no money to fix the house up. The kids have destroyed it. It’s honestly a wreck in there. She got a number she can live with. She hasn’t had any money or time for showings. I know what her life looks like.

She’s going to take the equity and go buy with me, and my job as a professional is not to tell her, “You’re giving up $5,000.” My job as a professional was to say, “That’s what you’ve got to do. I got you. Let’s go by over here. If she wants my input, I’m going to give it to her as a professional, but as a professional, I’m never going to tell her what to do.” When you understand that each consumer has different needs, you understand that the apps help some people, you as realtors and lenders help other people. I don’t like online lending because I find it to be full of false information with the fees messed up and the rates are hyper, not hyper-inflated, hyper deflated. I can’t get a human on the phone when I’ve got a closing hung up. I can tell the consumer, “This is why online lending drives me crazy and here are my favorite local lenders.”

My job is not to pick. My job is to say, “Here are the pros and cons.” The sooner realtors and lenders learn how to do that and let the consumer acknowledge that they have that choice, you’ll be fine. You will lose a small piece of the market. The Head Economist for the National Association of Realtors, Lawrence Yun, estimates it about 5% of the market overall will wind up using one of the apps to sell. That’s not as much of the market as realtors would think. By the way that people fuss on social media, you’d think it’s 95% of the market, the house here and there, and you’ve got to stop. I also know that Zillow is losing great oodles and scads of money on that program.

At some point, their shareholders are going to put a stop on that, particularly in a recessionary environment because hedge funds do not like to buy depreciating assets. As house prices pull back, those will become depreciating assets. It’s the time for us the realtor to say, “Call them and check their numbers and then call me and check mine. I’m glad to talk to you. I know that in the Charlotte market, those services don’t buy houses over $400,000.” If I’m talking to a seller suspect, I need to know that information. I can say, “If you want to check it out, they’re going to kick you out, but give it a shot. Here are my numbers too.” Be available and it’s where you have to take social media with a grain of salt because you’re being talked to in your echo chamber.

Every single one of those networks has built algorithms that talk to you the way you want to be spoken to. You’re only getting bits and pieces of information, you’ll do much better if you see somebody having a need on social and then you pick up the phone and call them and say, “I saw your mamma was sick and I bring soup or something for you to eat.” I will tell you the biggest part of my business is old people. I love old people and not because they’re not going to the apps to shop, but because I love and respect my elders. If I go to a listing appointment and an older person’s house, I bake a loaf of bread to take with me because it’s the human to do. It was there at 8:00 while we list the house and they know that I cared enough to spend that time before I got there. That tells people who you are and that’s where you take that social piece to learn about people and then put it into action in person because the apps won’t do that.

The other thing the apps don’t do is the point I was making regarding my podcast. Where’s my podcast being crazy crap is all these things that happen. Apps can never help you through that. There’s no FAQ on Zillow that tells you what to do if you’ve got fungal growth in your crawl space and a buyer that’s two days away from crashing your contract. That’s where your realtor comes in and your realtor is going to call the lender and say, “What are we dealing with here?” and put a plan together. That’s something an app will never do. You’ve got to be super specific in defining the value that you bring to the transaction. The realtors and lenders who are most at risk, they don’t understand what the value they bring because they’ve devalued themselves and they got to fix that first.

It’s about building that foundation for yourself, not waiting for the market to bring you all of this extra business because the recession will bring extra business differently. It’ll bring this extra business and you may survive it for a while, but it’s creating that foundation. I can say that, from my experience in business, that foundation was key because I never had the highs and lows. We had some hills once in a while, but we never had the highest most because we had that foundation built. Instead of sitting back and saying, “They’re beating me and I can’t get business. My client keeps going there and thinking that it’s much of it is crying.”

It’s like, “Put your big girl panties on and your big boy pants on and get out there and start differentiating yourself.” Be available because people are going to need your advice shortly. They’re going to need your advice on what to do with what’s happened in the economy and with the recession. I love what you’re saying. Thank you for sharing that. As we start to close out here, I do want to ask you one question about your book, The Seven Deadly Sins of Sales. Maybe it’s number one, maybe you listen to them 1 to 7 in that order for that reason but in this economy, what would be one of the deadly sins that you would say, “People, you’ve got to stop?”

Realtor In Crisis: Resiliency has been an underestimated trait that we should all be angling to get back into.

You’ve got to stop ignoring your phone. It’s been driving me crazy for years that we have these amazing little smart devices and their computers and the phone comes into a salesperson. Let’s be honest, realtors and lenders are salespeople. You might do a lot of consulting and advise it, but you’re selling and you’re like, “I don’t know that number. That might be a scammer. Let’s hit a decline and if it’s important, they’ll leave me a voicemail.” There are a lot of people that don’t leave voicemail anymore. They don’t get you. They keep going until they get somebody and you were waiting on them. We have to get out of our way. When the phone rings and this consumer calling, they don’t want to call you.

I can promise you that the last thing they wanted to do was call you to talk to you, but they’ve picked up the phone and they’ve reached out to you. Your job is to answer it and say, “How can I help you? May I ask you a few questions?” You start figuring out how you can help. That’s going to put your business back on track if you answer your phone. It also means that on your phone there’s a contact manager. You should place some outbound calls, click on a name and send the call and if they answer to say, “I was thinking about you.” We have two weeks at home with a house full of kids. Why not call people and ask them how they’re doing?

How are you surviving the shelter in place? Can I bring you anything? Is everybody in your house cool? This is a good time to be human, which has the side effect of building your business because it ran a human business. I do think we forget that. Put them back together to interplay and solve that problem. I will say on the telephone part too. What drives me crazy? You’ve seen this. That call of the professional lender or a realtor every single time, “The voicemail you have reached is full.” You all better fix that because that drives me crazy. Empty your voicemail.

I’m laughing about that because it happened to me with my dance instructor. I don’t feel comfortable dancing unless we’re going to wear rubber gloves. I don’t feel comfortable dancing but your voicemails full. I can’t even leave a voicemail so I have to text. That takes money out of that trust account. It constantly does. It makes you wonder. 

I like that phrase. I’m stealing that. Take money out of the trust account. That’s good. I like it.

It doesn’t mean that you’re withdrawing all the time. That’s it. Leigh, as we finish up, tell us about a quote that motivates you or drives you in your business or your personal life. Tell us about a quote that moves you. 

My favorite quote ever and it’s on the wall in my office. You’ll have to envision it since I’m here at my house because we’re moving. It’s Winston Churchill who was one of the most brilliant people ever to live and one of the best and most resilient leaders we ever had. Resiliency has been an underestimated trait that we should all be angling to get back into. Winston Churchill says, “I am an optimist. I see no purpose in being anything else.” I love that. It reminds me I got to look on my wall. I’m like, “That’s right.” If Winston Churchill can be an optimist when he got booted out of the office and saved his country from the Nazi invasion and had to lift an entire island full of people who are panicked, depressed and ready to give up. I can manage to call one more prospect. I’m good.

It’s funny you said that. We were talking offline before we went on recording here about Les Brown. I posted about the Coronavirus and quoted this with Winston Churchill. 

You don't dispel fear with faith. You dispel fear with facts. Click To Tweet

Is that a quote?


That’s a God moment. That’s crazy.

Isn’t that crazy? That’s divine intervention. It’s wonderful. We have two people, I’m sure I’ll hear a third person quoting Winston Churchill about optimism some time. I want to say thank you. It’s been a delight. I’d love to have you back on again and another time where we’re not talking about this situation, but another opportunity. I want to encourage everyone who’s reading to download your PDF that the gift that you’re giving to us, which is Leigh Brown Social Content List and what to put out there in social content that will differentiate you and why not start in this situation? I want to say thank you for spending time with me.

It was great to meet you. It was great to hear your story. I’m excited. I’ve already gone in and subscribed to your podcast. I’ve already written a review on one of the ones I saw that was fun. Someone who was on my podcast as well, I wanted to hear what they had to say on your podcast. Congratulations on that and I wish you all the best as you’re getting through this period that we’re about to explore both physically as humans and also in our businesses. I wish you all the best and I know that you’re going to be successful through this. Thank you for sharing.

Thank you for having me on the show. For all of my listeners who are going to be reading this episode, don’t fear, I will make sure to get this woman and her power husband tell some more title stories on my podcast because they’ve got stories to tell too. It’s always an honor to be affiliated with another professional woman. Thank you for what you’re doing in this space and for helping lift people up and no matter what the season is bringing us.

Thank you. Everyone, thank you for reading and please be sure to write a review and give us a five-star rating on this show and explore everything that Leigh has to offer as well. I always say stop talking, take action, and get results. Take action as you’re reading this to improve the way that the community sees you so that you become the go-to expert no matter what the market is. Put your blinders on. Don’t look at what everyone else is doing. Focus on what you’re doing for your success. We will catch you next time on Mortgage Lending Mastery. 

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About Leigh Brown

Many know Leigh for her accomplishments as a highly successful REALTOR® and a best-selling author. This just begins to scratch the surface. She is an award-winning educator and influencer. She is an innovative CEO and a must-see keynote speaker. In fact, she has spoken all over the world – from Miami to Dubai! She actively educates professionals in every realm of business leadership and relationships. Leigh is a do-it-all professional.
Leigh has a passion for motivating those around her to want more. She has worked with all ranges of the professional spectrum – from new to the trade rookies to CEOs of massively successful brands. It is her ability to articulate complex concepts in ways that everyone can relate to that makes her leadership so impactful.
Leigh wants to leave her mark on the next generation of professionals. Whatever your field of business is, Leigh has tools that can promote growth and a team-oriented environment. She has the sales techniques; she has the experience; she has the PASSION! Leigh wants to help YOU!

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