How do you become a successful real estate agent? Reach out to the community and market you’re working in. Jen Du Plessis welcomes Jennifer Tucker, a Real Estate Broker Associate at eXp Realty. Jennifer talks with Jen about how the real estate business is built on relationships. Nothing will replace personal interaction. Even during the COVID pandemic, initiating one-on-one meetings still goes a long way. If you want to learn more tips on becoming a successful real estate agent, you wouldn’t want to miss this episode. Tune in!
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Practical Strategies To Be A Successful Real Estate Agent With Jennifer Tucker
Welcome back to the show. I have an exciting guest. One of the things that I love about this particular guest is she is an active real estate agent. It is something that we need to learn on the show, whether you are reading as a real estate agent, a title company and insurance agent, or a mortgage loan officer. What she has to say is important for this particular time of year as we are approaching the end of 2021 for this particular show to do some resetting.
Without further ado, I’d love to introduce you to Jennifer Seeno Tucker. She is the Associate Broker and Vice President of Business Development at EXIT Realty in New York, Long Island. She is the Co-creator of the 7 Saturday’s Training Program, specifically for real estate agents. She is an international best-selling author of the book, Become a Rock Star Real Estate Agent: 7 Steps To Make $100,000 A Year and Awake From the Darkness.
She is a Presidential Club Member of the Sandler Selling System, which is amazing because I introduced this to my coaching group. They never heard of Sandler Selling so we went over to all the Triangles and all the good stuff although I have a very old version of the Triangle so a clean version would be nice if you have one. It is seven generations old. As a thank you to her clients, a portion of her personal commission is donated to a charity and she has contributed over $25,000 since its inception to make a difference in the world.
We welcome you to the show, Jennifer. Thank you so much for joining us.
Thank you so much for inviting me. I’m so happy to be here with you.
I’m excited to talk to you about your path and how you got to where you are in the real estate business. Give us a little background on you and bring us forward to where you are now, and then we will start talking a little bit about some of the strategies you are using to be a successful real estate agent.
I’m born and raised in New York. I have had some stints out West in Illinois and Wyoming but I have always seemed to make it back to where family is. I took a traditional route through high school and college and earned my Master’s degree in Education. I was teaching in the city school districts for a couple of years and realized that this was not working. I wasn’t happy. I’m a real leader and go-getter. Having red Xs next to my reports that I would hand to my administrators was not for me. I needed more checks and stars.
I realized that it was ultimately the time constraint that the 8:00 to 5:00 job held on me that wasn’t making me happy so I needed a little bit more freedom. I went into my own children’s fitness business as my background is in health education. I was playing with prospecting and I wasn’t successful at it. I didn’t know what I was doing.
That was when I started with Sandler and his training program. I had a mentor as well that realized that I needed to push myself even more and find the right fit. Real estate was the way for me to go since my mom was in real estate at that time. I became her right-hand man, did all the running, and became her buyer’s agent. I took off her business to a point where I needed to stretch my wings and go my own route. Here I am training other agents and still being successful and profitable in the business.Stretch your wings and go your route. Click To Tweet
I love hearing the story about how you got into the quicksand. Our son and daughter had both been in the mortgage business. My son is no longer but my daughter is in it with my husband. She fought it tooth and nail, and now she is in it, and she loves it. I said, “You are going to get in.” It is great that you did get in and started. It is amazing because there are so many real estate agents who do come from teaching.
I don’t know why that transition happens because there is a variety of topics that are taught like Math, English, and in your case, Physical Education. I don’t know why that transition tends to happen but I’m glad it does. Let’s talk about some of your trials and tribulations as you were starting and granted you had a mentor right with you. What stumbling blocks did you have that were different from her stumbling blocks?
The stumbling blocks that I had were in 2012 when I came into the industry. When I look back at it now, it was very transitional. Were we staying on paper or moving to the internet and doing more social media in that aspect? That was different where I consider myself more of this hybrid agent where I still do both types of prospecting. That is where I stumbled because I was used to more pen and paper.
I learned better more about pen and paper but my buyers and my clients were already on the internet. I had to do a little bit of catching up to find out who they were, what they were doing, and looking for at that time. That would be the first stumbling block. The second one was time. How do I manage and juggle my time as a single parent with a kid at home? That was one of the biggest struggles as well.
It is interesting because both of those issues are still issues for a lot of real estate agents and loan officers. There is a lot of juggling and priority management. I wonder why that continues to be an issue. I love listening to what Brian Buffini says. He said, “They say get into real estate because the sky is the limit, but they forget to tell you the floor is there too. You could fall through the floor.” We get all of this, “I have all this time.” We hated that 9:00 to 5:00, yet when we get this freedom, we don’t know what to do with it.
It is so ironic because you have all this freedom, and we were used to the 9:00 to 5:00 and what we do. In my situation, it was classes from 9:00 to 9:45 and then you have another one from 9:15 to 9:45. You realize that it is the same thing and what you need to do becomes a matter of prioritizing and figuring out what works best for you in the morning and the afternoon. For me, I’m a morning person. I’m up at 5:00 and I do everything, so to prospect from 8:00 to 10:00 worked for me.
The key is prospecting and making sure that you are sitting back, not leaning into your business, and knowing what to do. Clarity is one of the things. I know you don’t use that word. I use it in my coaching, but you use Premise and Purpose Strategy. It’s knowing, “Why am I getting up every morning? Why am I doing this?” When you think about the market that we were in, so many people had had the best year ever in 2020 and it trickled into 2021 a little bit, but it is starting to get a little stifled, and granted that there are always exceptions.
Generally, there is a little stifling that’s going on, “How do I get more listings and buyers? The sellers have stopped selling. They don’t want to sell as much anymore. How do I be the straw that stirs the market?” Tell us a little bit about that because we have loan officers and real estate agents reading. The loan officers are saying, “How can I help my realtors?” The realtors are saying, “How can I help me?” Give us some strategies on what you think you would be doing and perhaps what you are doing to be the straw that stirs the market as we head into 2022.
My straw is always pretty simple that stirs everything, especially this time during the year. It is all about the community and the market you work in. We need to be reaching out. I know it is a bad thing to say that we were still wearing masks here and there, depending on where you are. I’m still going out shaking hands, kissing babies, and meeting people. That simplistic one-on-one meeting people still goes a long way even through COVID. There is no replacing of personal interaction with someone. Our businesses are built upon relationships, so why are we not going out there and creating more of those?
It is amazing that you say this because I was having a conversation with a mortgage company that I’m going to be speaking at their sales rally. They said, “Our relationship is important because that is how I grew my practice. It is how I still have other businesses that I run.” It is all relationship-driven. I remember way back in ‘95 or ’94. I would say, “It is high-tech, high-touch.” It was a big thing to say. I still think it is high-tech and high-touch.
Why do you think that so many people are leaning towards high-tech and relying on it? There are Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Homebot, and all kinds of social media. Everyone is gravitating to that and using that as an excuse not to have one-to-one conversations. Why do you think that’s happening? Yet, here you are, a top producer. I was a top producer. Everybody I talked to is a top producer. It is still relationships. Why do you think that happens?
It is simpler not to have a connection with someone. You don’t have to be emotionally invested. Even in the Metaverse as we were buying digital real estate. You can sit in your space and have a transaction. To me, that is playing on the not real world that is out there. We still need to be authentic and be true to the people and service. Service takes a lot of energy out of us. To be a companion and an advisor to someone takes a lot of energy. Someone who doesn’t want to be invested makes it simpler by not going out there, building those relationships, and staying on social media. It makes it easier for them.
There are exceptions to the rule. I know loan officers who are killing it with online lead generation and real estate agents doing the same thing. There are exceptions but from a statistical perspective, where is the real win in that? My husband was telling me that a title company is putting together a social media class and I’m like, “I’m so sick of social media classes.” It is not working. I’m not saying that it is not working for exposure, but for the average real estate agent, they are not making a killing being online.
What do you think the statistic is? Where are real estate agents or loan officers going wrong? It is like crawling uphill in the sand where they are constantly saying, “We have to do social media. That is how you are going to make it.” From a statistic perspective, where is the myth in this? It is important, but you are not going to make the money you want to make.
That is hard to say. I would say 1 out of 10 agents, even on my side, are killing it and making it their go-to prospecting method or lead gen. It has to be something that you are comfortable with and I see more 40 to 50-year-olds coming into the business. It is their second job and they think they are going to transition out of their paycheck into real estate to earn more of a passive income, but they realize that it is more active.
They are not on social media because they are in that 9:00 to 5:00 and not paying attention to those things. If you are going to focus on something, you have to do one thing, do it right, and do it the best you can. Do one thing and stop diverting. Everyone is all over the place, “I’m in print. I’m on social media. I’m on YouTube.” Pick one thing, focus on it, grow it, and then you can expand.
I always say that too, “If you market to everybody, you are marketing to nobody.” Niching is important. We have talked about that and I won’t go into all that because that is a big soapbox for me. A lot of people are afraid of niching. They feel like they have to cast a big net and it is so diluted when it happens. What do you think is your greatest strength and gift that is not easy for others?
It is identifying people’s personalities very quickly in the Snapshot. I use the DISC personality profile to identify who they are based upon how they are dressed, what they are wearing, or how they are speaking. A lot of people don’t realize how much psychology is important in sales. It is the quick moment that we have, even if it is on the phone, for you to identify who that person is.Stop diverting. Pick one thing, focus on it, and grow. Click To Tweet
What is your DISC profile?
I’m a high DC.
I was going to say there is definitely a C in you and there might be an S in you.
Maybe it’s because I’m home and around the kids a little bit more. My I and S are almost non-existent.
For the two of us talking here, you are probably going, “She is so overexcited.” It is because my I is off the chart. It is outside of the circle. My I is not that high. It is the new profiling that Tony Robbins is doing. My I is off the circle, and it is okay. That is how I am. My secondary is a D but it is not a high D like it used to be. I used to steamroll over everybody, climb the corporate ladder, and all that.
For those of you that are reading, if you haven’t done your DISC profile, please make sure you do it. I use TonyRobbins.com/DISC. It is $90. You definitely want to pay for it and get the full site. That is a strategy that we use. It is ironic that you said that because everybody on my team didn’t just do a DISC profile to hire somebody and then put it in a drawer. We use it all the time with our clients. We had a big DISC for the spouse and the primary so that everybody knew how to communicate with them. I use emojis because I’m an I but that doesn’t resonate with someone who is a C. They are like, “Where are the facts? Don’t play games with me. Give me the details.” It is important for everybody to know their gift that they can put there. Let’s talk about Become a Rock Star Real Estate Agent: 7 Steps To Make $100,000 A Year. What are those seven steps? Let’s talk about two of them.
As you are thinking through them, which two do you think would be the most prominent that someone could use in this market? I want you to think about the fact that most of the people reading are loan officers. I want you to relate that to how a loan officer could take what you are ready to say and help their real estate agent grow their business.
The first step in any growth is having a vision of your life and what that looks like. I don’t just mean your career, your financials, and what those numbers are. It is having this more of a holistic approach to business and seeing what you want your family, career, financials, and health and fitness life to look like emotionally and spiritually.
In creating this vision plan, I use a vision book. It outlined twelve areas of my life that I wanted to grow and flourish with. How has that helped real estate agents? From a mortgage broker’s perspective, it is asking those questions about your agents like, “How is your family? What have you been doing? Is there anything I can do to support you reach the goal of going on vacation to Hawaii this year? What can I do?” That would be most helpful for the real estate agent and the broker.
You know the FROG and FORD method or Family, Recreation, Occupation, and Goals. If we were having that conversation with anybody, that is important even with clients, “How is your family? Tell us about what you love to do. What are some of the goals you have? What do you do for a living?” That takes us away from the traditional conversation of showing up, throwing up, and telling about products.
Those need to cease and desist and move that into more of that relationship. One good thing is digging into, “What is a realtor wanting to accomplish in their life? How can I support them in that effort?” That is number one. What else would you suggest as part of your seven in helping real estate agents grow their business?
We touched upon it. It is setting out a block plan for your day. For us to meet those financial numbers, we need to know annually what our income wants to look like. We need to break that down into active and passive activities that we were going to be doing on a quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily basis. It is reverse engineering of what your year looks like.
We did that a lot in what we were doing. I was talking with a real estate agent and coached some realtors. We were talking about that and taking it down to every day. How much do you need to make? Reverse engineer that into how many people do you need to pique the interest of? What does that conversion look like to get an opportunity to present to them? How many of those do you close? They are in your system and they are potential clients. How many referral partners are you looking for so you don’t feel like you are on this island out there?
You are creating a dirty dozen of people that you want to be in contact with who can refer your business. How many of those do you want to have in your sphere? I get it. At one point, I was even breaking it down with some of my coaching clients like, “What am I worth per hour?”
We went that far with her. I said, “You add the hourly in here.” This particular person is a broker-owner and she is very involved in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She said, “Everybody wants to pick my brain.” I said, “You need to get a PickYourBrain.com and link that to Calendly. There, it has a $500 fee because that is how much you are worth. If someone doesn’t want to meet with you, then you save $500.” As I was looking at the seven, one of the things that I would like to talk about is removing obstacles for growth. Can you expand on that a little bit in obstacles for growth?
The obstacles for me are people who are not going to help you get to the point or support you in any way. It is starting to pick up on bad or negative energy that you are able to realize that, “This isn’t going to help me. If it makes sense, I might have to fire a client as well.” That is a hard thing to do. In the beginning, as real estate agents who are starting out or within their first two years, that can be difficult because we want to please everyone. Pleasing everyone doesn’t mean sacrificing yourself. By those obstacles, it is taking yourself out of the equation because it is all about the client in front of you. That is where the DISC helps because we were able to camouflage or mirror the person we are in front of.
I call that working with people that complement and not complicate. If they complicate me, my team, or my life, they are out. As you are reading, you are going, “Aren’t you a little stinker?” You do get to a point in your career where you can’t. You don’t have infinite energy and you have to do that. The second piece of that is being on-demand versus being in-demand.
In the early years, and hopefully not forever, you do play that role of being on-demand, “I want to be there to serve people. I’m hungry. I want to make things happen. I want to be there,” but it is hard later on to change the vernacular. Tell us about that. What is the tipping point that realtors need to hear and know that they are at that point where they need to be making those decisions?We want to please everyone, but pleasing everyone doesn't mean sacrificing yourself. Click To Tweet
Those decisions need to be made when you start looking at yourself, not as a realtor but as a business. We are the CEO of our brand so we need to be not always working in it but on it and vice versa. It becomes a timeframe that you are willing to do that where you have to tell people no because for your business to grow, you need to hear yes or no, not a maybe. It might make sense for you to tell others the same.
I’m going to bring up Brian Buffini again. He says, “Don’t sit on the fence with everybody because you will get splinters.” It is either you are a yes or no. Don’t be a maybe.
The wishy-washy words always get in the middle. We were looking for commitments here and always trying to set up these upfront contracts. Be the person who sets the agenda for the contract to be made.
You talked a lot about a farming area. I was surprised when I saw that because I haven’t heard that from realtors because they are focused online. They are not bringing those relationships offline. Tell us a little more about that and how loan officers can help people, as well as how realtors could do something different in farming than the traditional send out a bunch of cards.
I hate those cards. I get them every week from my local realtor. I’m like, “We have to do something different.” I still farm. I’m more of this hybrid agent because it works for me. I chose a neighborhood that I was familiar with, I grew up in, and where I already had existing relationships. Whether you sold a home or helped a buyer find that home, you already have a relationship in that neighborhood.
The difference in my farming is I follow up and go knocking on the door. I still do. It is more specific and it is not random cold calling. It is the neighborhood or I’m knocking on the door of someone who I know has a relationship 2 or 3 times removed and I’m going to go say, “How are things going? Here is this chocolate box.” It seems silly but I can’t tell you how much a $6 chocolate box has landed me a listing.
People will say, “That seems old and antiquated.” It is not. This is for the new real estate agent who says, “I have to farm some area. Let me find a neighborhood I’m comfortable with.” It might be where they live. Help us with a little scripting. What do they say when they knock on the door?
It depends on who it is but it is something like you are introducing yourself, “Were you looking to move anytime soon?” They usually say no. I said, “That’s okay.” I usually come up with 2 to 3 buffer questions to disarm them because you are knocking on the door, especially here in New York. They were like, “What are you doing?”
I have 2 or 3 disarming questions like, “How long have you lived here? Do you have any friends, relatives, or neighborhoods?” I go back like, “If you were to move, where would you move to?” They tell me and usually, it is Florida here in New York nowadays. I will say, “When will that be?” Now, I have a timeframe for me to follow up, “Is it okay if I get your email and we stay connected?” It is something simple as that.
I call that real estate under management. We know statistically from NAR that 87% or 83% of clients said they would use their original real estate agent but only 13% do because they can’t remember their name. They were great and good but they can’t remember the name because real estate agents don’t usually follow up after the closing. It is transactional. It is an opportunity for you to manage their real estate for them and get them timely updates on what trends are and what is happening in the area.
That is where social media comes into play. I come back home, I know who they are, and I might like or follow them and put them in a group on my social media. I’m more of a Facebook fan than anything else because that is where my clients are. The people that I mostly work with are on Facebook as opposed to any other platform. It becomes a relationship, an email follow-up, and a phone call because that can be retrieved if we want to invest in some other programs too.
It sounds like work.
The nice part about it is that the more work you do in the beginning, the less you do as you go on through your real estate career. I will be honest. By year 8, was I working 8 to 12 hours a day? From year 1 to 5, yes. Did it slow down a little bit from year 5 to 8? Yes. Now, I’m coasting where I’m working “two hours a day.”
I said that facetiously because you had said that is the thing and it requires work. I heard someone say to me, “There is no such thing as a discount to success.” People are looking, “Can I get that discount? Can I get that magic bullet to success?” There is no such thing as a discount to success. Even in my succession over my career, it was a lot of work in the beginning. Les Brown says, “If you do what’s hard, your life will be easy, but if you do what’s easy, your life will be hard.” If you want to skim along the water forever, you are going to skim along the water forever, and you are not going to be in the business for the long term. What is left on your bucket list?
I have everything I want, to be honest. Do you want more material? No. The one thing left on my bucket list is to travel in an RV through the country and still be able to work remotely in that sense. I want to be able to take the kids out and us as a family to travel. I should have taken advantage of it during COVID but I was super busy, and it was one of my best years. That seems nearly impossible.
You have coaching for real estate agents. Let’s talk about that a little bit. What does the coaching program look like? Is it a 1-year or an 8-week program? Is it group or private?
It is a nine-week program where we go into details about where someone needs help and assistance. We utilize those 7 steps in 9 weeks for them to build their business. It is a small group, and the largest has been five. It is not conducive for the agent to get more than five in a group.
Is it group calls with homework assignments?
Of course, and then a bi-weekly one-on-one.You already have the skills and tools you need to be prosperous and live a financially free life. Click To Tweet
I use the word homework in my coaching as well, but it is not homework. It is what we should be doing anyway.
That is the work we need to put in.
Is there anything you would like to leave our readers with?
We covered everything, but readers and real estate agents out there know that they already have the skills and tools in place for them to be prosperous and live a financially free life.
It is putting them into action.
That agent, mortgage lender, or broker should be knowing who they are, tapping into that inner person and their why as to the reason they are in the business.
The answer is not money. I hate to say it. Why are you in the business? Is it to make money? If that is, you probably won’t succeed.
I don’t think your best car salespersons are in it for money. There is another alternative reason for them to be in that place.
If you don’t focus on the money and focus on serving people, you will make money. I promise.
The money just comes. To me, when you are doing God’s work, it does take a lot of money. He understands that, so he is going to be able to give you what you need.
Jennifer, thank you so much for joining us and sharing all of this great information. I hope that these loan officers that are reading are taking copious notes and re-reading this again, and the real estate agents that are reading will say, “I want some more information. Tell me a little bit more about how I can help you.” Here is another thing I’m going to give to everybody.
If you are a loan officer and you are reading this, find out more about the coaching program because what you could do is work with Jennifer to bring five people on for her and be the straw that stirs up that market for them. Bring these people on, participate, bring more value to your real estate agents, and go through the class with them so that you have more value. If you are thinking about that, you have got five real estate agents, and you say, “Maybe I can bring them into this class,” then Jennifer would consider doing a separate class for you. How much value you are bringing to that is incredible.
If a mortgage broker came up to me and said, “I want to pick five people on,” I would love and appreciate that as well.
Thank you so much for reading and taking time out of your day. There are so many people that send me texts and emails and say, “I was reading when I was on an airplane and when I was here, there, and yonder.” I appreciate you taking the time to read. I hope that I’m providing as much value as I possibly can in the time that we have together.
I want to remind you to please subscribe to my YouTube channel as well as to this show if you are not subscribed to it. Please take a few minutes to give us a great five-star rating and write a quick review about the show generally and about what you loved on what Jennifer had to say. I want to say thank you again for reading. Jennifer, thank you so much for joining us.
Jen, thanks so much for having me. It was great.
- EXIT Realty
- Become a Rock Star Real Estate Agent: 7 Steps To Make $100,000 A Year
- Sandler Selling System
- Mortgage Lending Mastery – YouTube
About Jennifer Seeno