New Agent Dilemma: Qualifying Leads

New agent question: is it normal to have so many flaky people?


My answer: The goal isn't to get as many people as you can but learn to eliminate the 80% who will never buy or sell. Will they come to the office for a real consultation, will they talk to a lender to determine their purchasing power ? Good questions are are how I separate out the 20% that really need help (now or in the future).  Many just aren't ready yet, for them you need a system for long term follow up.


I've seen many agents work 90 hours a week and go broke because they run around with every person who calls them, go show every sign call. 


My advice: Work on your scripts and dialogues every day, until they're second nature, and learn the right questions to ask to show value and qualify every lead.

Volunteering at St. Jude's Ranch

This weekend, I had a great experience I wanted to share. I joined with about 35 other REALTORS to volunteer at St. Jude’s Ranch Boulder City for their Santa party. Each child made a wish list and got a visit from Santa (who also happens to sell real estate), and got a traditional holiday dinner, music, and even a piñata.

If you aren’t familiar with it, this is a tremendous organization that bridges the many gaps in our society for kids. From transitional living for teens to emergency placement for kids in crisis and many other services, this is one of the most important non profits we have. We are a big believer in our company in the power of mentoring and spending time with our youth, so I was excited to volunteer this weekend. Many of these kids have been through some tough times that a lot of us can’t even imagine, and the joy of seeing them open their presents and go nuts… I can’t even describe it.

One of the things about volunteer work I always appreciate it, is that it’s not about me. That’s an important distinction, because i means I can show up and chop fruit, set up tables, plates, whatever is needed to make a special day for the kids. At one point, our microwaves went out, and we had to figure out how to cook the food. Turns out frozen been beans and mashed potatoes can be cooked on a grill! Little things like that pop up in events like this, and everyone just pitches in to help, no matter how small the task.

It all lead up to the Santa appearance, the gifts, seeing the kids dance with the volunteer band. It was just a special afternoon. I highly encourage you to look for ways to support St. Jude’s either individually or with your business.


Shawn Cunningham Cunningham Group at RE/MAX Advantage

REALTORS in the Classroom

Corazon was her name, and it means “Heart" in Spanish.  This third grader was the first child I spent working with one on one, and it changed my entire perspective on what we as business people can accomplish. 


My first challenge with her was to find a way to get an her to read more. I volunteered with Spread the Word that year because I loved to read, especially as a kid, and felt I could pass on some of that passion to a child in need of it.  For a few reasons, Cora had struggled to keep up with the other kids, and was well behind the third grade reading level.  She didn’t lack for intelligence, she kept me on my toes from day one and could tell I had no idea what I was doing.  But after a few weeks, I figured out a few things, such as what books would get her excited enough to read (Boxcar Children did the trick), and how I needed to limit on activity to 10-15 minutes to keep her attention.   She got better reading to me every week, and in that one hour a week commitment for the school year, I watched her grow from being below average to being ready for fourth grade.   It was such an accomplishment for her, and immensely fulfilling for me to help her.  


Why did I take all that time to work with her?  Because it occurred to me, education and our kids is the number one cause of all our problems.   Schools are overwhelmed, and children that fall through the cracks at some point leads to dropping out of school, teen pregnancy, poverty, crime, poor health that reverberates through our community.   It also occurred to me that we, as small business owners, have a unique ability to bend our schedules to help them, and provide great perspective.  


I became involved with several organizations including  Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Junior Achievement (JA), NPHY, and others.   JA became the cause of our local chapter of CRS (Council of Residential Specialists), which is a group of top producing REALTORS.   Our group of agents adopted H.P. Fitzgerald elementary school in February 2015 and again in November.  For an entire school day, the kids got to see what real estate agents are about up close and learn valuable information from us.  Many of the kids only knew about doctors, lawyers and athletes as the careers of choice, but with our group they got to see everyday small business owners and realize their options are limitless. We taught them the JA curriculum on subjects like business, finance, jobs, and even a little macroeconomics (at the leemntay level).  It was fun, and I enjoyed seeing dozens of colleagues get the same joy and fulfillment of giving their time to a child.  


I wanted to take this space to tell this quick story and challenge you to give a little bit of your time to one of our local kids.  There are so many ways to do this, and it doesn’t have to be a big commitment.  Can you spare an hour a month to read to a child or visit a shelter or coach a team, or be a guest speaker. CCSD now has a program to bring in members of the community directly to school to mentor kids at high risk for dropping out of high school.  It’s a local pastime to complain about the quality of our schools… take some time and go visit one and offer to help.  The schools, non-profits and the kids need you. 

What an Amazing Few Days in Reno for NVAR Leadership Program

I spent a few days this week in Reno.  Food lover that I am, I took an extra to eat a criminally underrated food city... but then it was time for business. 


The 2nd session/retreat of our NVAR Leadership Program took place downtown.  14 of some of the most incredible people I've ever met in real estate came together as part of a year-long learning and growth program. 


While we don't like to talk too much about the inner workings of the program (preserves the surprise factor for the future), this week focused on the power of storytelling and also giving.  It was an emotional and cathartic couple of days and I learned a lot about myself and how to be more vulnerable (another theme). 


This is not a real estate program but a leadership one, and I can't wait for the final two sessions later this year. If your local board or state board has a leadership program, look into it - I believe building leaders is among the most critical responsibilities for any REALTOR association.