Being a Realtor with Nancy Willson and Rachel Foster

Pond Roofing

About This Episode

Have you ever considered pursuing a career in Real Estate?  If so, then you don’t want to miss this episode of the GWJS! Get the scoop on what it’s really like to be a realtor from two of the best agents in the industry; Nancy Willson and Rachel Foster. They discuss everything from the best advice for new agents, finding a good work-life balance and setting boundaries that work for both their clients and families!
Nancy’s Website
Rachel’s Website




[00:00:05] Speaker 1 Welcome to another episode of the Go with John Show. I’m very excited to have with us in the studio Nancy Willson. Do you go by Nancy Willson or do you go by Nancy Sorensen?


[00:00:16] Speaker 2 I go by Nancy Willson. The Sorenson is because I’ve grown up in this area and most people know me as Sorensen. So I still get talk. I still get referred to as Nancy Sorenson or Nancy Willson.


[00:00:26] Speaker 1 Makes total sense. But I’m going to call you Nancy Willson.


[00:00:28] Speaker 2 That’s exactly fine.


[00:00:29] Speaker 1 Sounds great. So we’re here today because so many people are asking me all the time, and I’m sure people ask you all the time, what is it like to be a realtor? And I give my perspective and I tell folks what I think. And but I wanted to get a totally different viewpoint from someone else who is a female and has kids and came into the industry in a totally different way than I came into the industry. So how did you. Can you tell us a little bit about how did you get interested in real estate and what were kind of the beginning stages in that?


[00:01:04] Speaker 2 Yes. So I got into the business. My mother was a real estate agent, just like you. Your mom and I really got into it because I wanted to run my own business. I thought real estate was really fascinating and I wanted to help her. I thought she was working too hard. So what that did? I got my license when I was 18, went off to college and then after college, then got into the business full time and full well knowing that that was what I was going to do. So. I did work on Summers. I worked with other agents in the office because I really wanted to see. Was my mom crazy or is it just everybody crazy? And when I say crazy, I don’t mean crazy. It’s just that they work all the time, right? And there was always interrupted vacations, interrupted meals. And I wanted to do things a little differently. So that’s what got me into it. My my husband married a realtor. My kids were born of a realtor. So it’s really all I know. It’s really all they know. This has not been a second career for me. So I know one of the things you asked me was, well, how do I juggle it? All right, I, I it’s balance more than juggling. But my kids, I was a realtor first and built my life around that versus it being a second career or getting into it after I was married, already had kids.


[00:02:18] Speaker 1 So, so but now you when you went to college, you were dipping your toe into the industry during the summer break. So talk a little bit about that. Let’s go to that for a second.


[00:02:28] Speaker 2 Yes. So I would come home from breaks, take summer school, and then back then there weren’t really teams. There weren’t even really assistants. Right. But a lot of these agents obviously knew my mom because we were in this office. And I just said, I just want to kind of see how you’re I want to shadow you. Right. I mean, I’m apprenticing wasn’t the right word. Right. And it was fascinating because I saw how there was no barrier between their personal life and their clients. Clients were friends and friends were clients. And so your databases are always the same. They’re Christmas lists that I was gleaning were they’re their friend list, right? So it was that’s what I did, right?


[00:03:10] Speaker 1 Yeah. It makes total sense. I think when we were talking offline before, you said that your friends thought you were crazy because they were doing other things with their summers.


[00:03:20] Speaker 2 They were, yeah. So out of college they would, they would go out and go to Dewey Beach and on the weekends and, and they were getting signing bonuses with their jobs. And here I was like shelling out checks, building my business. And no, I can’t go I can’t go to Dewey Beach because I work on the weekends. Right. I couldn’t I could go to football games, but I was getting up on Sunday mornings at like six and 7 a.m. because I had to work on Sundays. I wasn’t having a leisurely trip home from Virginia Tech. That’s where.


[00:03:48] Speaker 1 I went. And, you know, you know, we’ll talk about that in a second. But there’s a lot more to being a realtor than like just jumping in your car and running around and looking at houses. So when you say you got to get up on Sunday to get ready for the day, there is a lot of prep work that has to go into, you know, taking a client around and all that. Yes. But let’s talk about. So how do you because how many kids do you have? I have four. And how old are your kids now?


[00:04:11] Speaker 2 Now they are all teenagers. So I’ve got like a 19 year old, an 18 year old, a 16 year old and a newly 13 year old. But I had those four kids in six years. So there was a I call it my ten year period where, I mean, I was just working and having babies. And every time a client saw me, I was pregnant again. Right. So yeah, that was an interesting season or decade.


[00:04:39] Speaker 1 Yeah. Yeah. So how do you or let me let me say instead of how do you do it, what advice would you have for a person who has kids, who wants to go into the real estate industry? How would you counsel them on how to manage the situation between business and and having kids in the industry?


[00:04:59] Speaker 2 Well, I think it’s also I think it’s a lot to do with boundaries. We hear that word a lot. I think balance is a good word, but I think priorities is even more important. Like I said, I, I built my life around already being a real estate agent, so I already knew how to do that. And then all these other things started entering in and I just worked around it. So I, I do my schedule on Sundays. I, and this sounds really weird, but my business comes first, right? But my family is my priority. Right? And the reason that might sound a little weird is that our business changes every day. We could plan on being with a client for 2 hours on a monday morning, and then that gets canceled. For whatever reason, the house sells or the client becomes unavailable. But the rights and the priorities of my family, if I went eat dinner with them that night, that’s going to be my priority. Or if they have a game, that’s not going to change, right? So they are my priority. But my business comes first and they know that.


[00:05:53] Speaker 1 Yeah. And it’s funny, we have the same conversation in our house. You know, I’ve had to, I’ve had to leave a lot of dinners, I’ve had to miss a lot of soccer games, and I really hate that. But I’m the breadwinner in our household and by working I am taking care of my family. The job is putting your family first. So, you know, but you do have to have balance and you do have to have boundaries, which boundaries I think is a relatively new word in our industry in the last really 15, 20 years. I don’t I don’t think, you know, 25 years ago, I didn’t hear a lot about work life balance and having boundaries and. It was just you got to do what you got to do and it is what it is.


[00:06:33] Speaker 2 Know all the time. Yeah. We working all the time, I will say. The other thing, I have the conversation with my kids. I say, listen, I have these things that are priorities that I, I have to be like, I want to be at your game or I want to be at this performance. I said, But if something is so important to you that you need me to be there or you need me, you’re going to have to communicate that with me. That’s actually a life skill you’re going to have to have anyway, but you’re going to have to do that because this is my business and I love it. I go and my husband is just as passionate about his career as I am. So we’ve tried to raise our kids not thinking that our careers and our business are interruptions or burdens, but yet we’re grateful to be able to work and contribute and change people’s lives in what we do. So we try to go with it, go into that and teach our kids that work is work is important. It’s not an interruption. It’s what you’re doing in life.


[00:07:25] Speaker 1 Right.


[00:07:25] Speaker 2 So I’m grateful that he that he has a similar work ethic as well. But it does mean we work a lot.


[00:07:31] Speaker 1 Sure. Sure. You’re passionate about. It’s part of who you are. Yep. Yeah, absolutely. So how do you establish boundaries between your your work and your family? What are the some of the things you do to keep the real estate separate from the family in the family separate from the real estate?


[00:07:49] Speaker 2 Well, I do not talk about my business around my family. I don’t bring I don’t talk about my clients. I don’t talk about my transactions. It’s my clients. Privacy is very important. So I can I can separate that quite easily because if I need to get on a call, I remove myself, get out of earshot and have that conversation. I know if I’m at my kid’s games, they might see me standing with all the other parents, but then at some time they might see me standing off by myself. That’s me working and they understand that I’m there to watch their game. But I’ve also got to be on call and I’d be rather be on call at the field than being in the office or whatever. I think it’s interesting that my husband will run into friends a lot and that now it’s starting to happen with our kids where they’ll say, Oh, you know, Nancy helped us buy our house or helped us sell our house. And he has to just kind of nod and smile and say congratulations. It’s the first time he’s heard of that because, you know, it’s my clients get to spread their news. It’s not coming from me. It’s going to be their story to tell. I’m just grateful that I got to be a part of it. And and I do tell them that, but they don’t. They still think we must talk about it at our house. So I do separate the conversations and transactions. My kids also aren’t allowed if we vacation, which I know is another topic that we talked about, John, is they’re not allowed to post any pictures while we’re on our trip because I can’t let anybody know that we’re gone. Right. So that’s like just separating is just kind of separating. Look, people can’t know certain things because people get anxious. Right. If I’m not available.


[00:09:29] Speaker 1 Right. And it’s funny, I talked about the vacation piece on on my recording part of this conversation that we just released last week. But, you know, you don’t tell people you’re on vacation for a little bit of a different reason. And I don’t tell people that I’m on vacation because it it always seemed like every time I told folks I was going on vacation, all of a sudden everybody needed to talk to me. I used to send out an email blast. I’ll be out of the office next week. If you have an emergency, call me. Well, all of a sudden, everybody had an emergency. And you don’t tell people that you go on vacation because why?


[00:10:01] Speaker 2 I don’t tell them because they have. I realized I had an aha moment when I realized the reason people get anxious when they hear us going out of town is because they’re assimilating it or visualizing it to be how they don’t want to use the vacation or because we don’t really vacation, but they travel, which means they kind of tune out, take a break. They don’t realize and I guess people don’t realize that we so love what we do. And it’s it’s not a job. It’s such our passion that we don’t know how to turn it off. I don’t I don’t know how to take a break from my business, just like I don’t know how to take a break from my family. Right. So, you know, it sounds a little imbalanced, but just like you, we love what we do. We love who we do it for. I often think I can’t imagine a day or even an hour where I’m not kind of thinking about a client, thinking about a transaction or a new business idea. Like it’s just my wheels are constantly turning on that. And oftentimes when you’re on vacation, it gets renewed. Right. Because you can think of different things and you have to tackle your work responsibilities early in the morning before you’re going to do something. But that’s the reason I don’t is is I can’t turn off.


[00:11:08] Speaker 1 But I also think, though, you mentioned to me offline that you also don’t want your clients and or friends to feel like they can’t call you.


[00:11:18] Speaker 2 Right. I want.


[00:11:19] Speaker 1 Them to put off the phone.


[00:11:20] Speaker 2 Call. In the beginning, I used to tell people, like I used to tell people I was going on vacation. And then I kind of kept it from clients, but I would tell friends and then I would hear the Oh, I had this friend that wanted to look at something or we wanted to buy something, but we knew you’re on vacation and we didn’t want to bother you. I’m like, Oh my gosh, my job is not a bother. I, I care more about this than I would have loved to have been a part of that. So that’s why we step I just don’t tell anybody. Right. Sometimes my family doesn’t. Even when I say family, my extended family doesn’t even know going out of town anywhere.


[00:11:52] Speaker 1 Because because you’re because your your work just kind of the problems which we love to solve, because I think all realtors who are successful thrive on problem solving. Absolutely right. So the problems come when they come and they follow us wherever we go. Yep. Yeah.


[00:12:07] Speaker 2 So and we’re excited, like, oh, we got something we can tackle it. It’s not a burden.


[00:12:11] Speaker 1 Right. And I think that’s I think that’s important advice. And I think that’s an important factor to consider. If you want to go into real estate, you know, is that you have to be the type of person and all different types of personalities can be successful in real estate. I say that all the time. You know, you you know, you and I both know engineers who are very serious and very quiet and very focused on what they do. But they have their clients are all like that. And their clients appreciate that approach to the industry. But they have to be problem solvers. Absolutely. They have to be. That’s that’s one thing you have to be. So, Nancy, let’s talk about love, the phone calls and the phone calls at dinner. And how do you kind of handle that? So I remember one time I called you and you were driving in the car and. Tell me. Tell me what? Because because that is one of the most memorable interactions I’ve ever had with you. And for some reason, it just it just stuck with me. So I called you. We’re talking and what.


[00:13:08] Speaker 2 Have you called me? And I always say, don’t answer phone calls in my car when I have passengers. But I knew it was you and I was like, can’t be too private of conversation, right? So I think I was driving my kids to school preschool and I answered the phone and you were asking me something. And I think the kid in the backseat started crying. And I was like, John, just a second. And I thought, I muted you right over me. But clearly I didn’t mute it. And I just, I. I said to the kid, Listen, listen. I know you’re sad. I know you’re crying, I know you’re upset. But please, can you just cry quietly? Yes. So I can finish this call and then I’ll drop you off at school.


[00:13:42] Speaker 1 Oh, it was amazing. It like, I know you need to cry, but you need to cry quite quietly.


[00:13:49] Speaker 2 Which is now why I can’t take calls with people in the car. I’ve tried to do it. Yeah. And then I get a kid sniffling, I get somebody coughing. I’m like, I can’t know what’s happening.


[00:13:57] Speaker 1 And you know what people don’t realize? So when you’re having a conversation about real estate with the client, your brain is all in. Like you don’t need that distraction. And in fact, sometimes distractions happen and you don’t even realize they’re happening because you’re so focused on the on the conversation. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But that was fun. So now what do you do? What do you do at dinner time with the phone calls? Because you and I handle that differently, too.


[00:14:20] Speaker 2 So I cannot stand phones at it in any social environment. Like if I’m out, if I’m with some friends and we’re drinking wine or whatever, I just like to put my phone face down because I’m really trying to work on being present, right? I can’t stand phones at the table. I never liked them as adults. And now I’ve got kids who all have them. So I try not to have my phone at the table unless same, same as you, I think. And probably every agent, if I if we know something’s going on and we’re going to get a call, I keep my phone face up. But typically we don’t have our phones at the table.


[00:14:52] Speaker 1 Right. And that’s good. And me, if I know I have a little problem or if I get a phone call or if I see somebody calling where I can answer it quickly, I want to get the call. I want to answer it because if I call them back after dinner, it may be that I can’t get them, that I’m leaving a voicemail, then we’re playing phone tag, and then all of a sudden it’s 9:00 at night when you finally connect. And yeah, you know, so sometimes for me and I know for Lillian, it’s sometimes easier to just take the call and answer the question. And, you know, if it’s going to be a long conversation, we wouldn’t do it.


[00:15:22] Speaker 2 But right. And the same thing goes when I’m with clients, I tell my clients when and I think my voicemail even says this, leave me a voicemail. I don’t answer my phone when I’m with clients. However, there’s times where you’ve been working on a transaction and I’ll be showing, showing properties or wherever. I’m with my clients. And I say, Listen, I know I don’t usually answer my phone, but I’m waiting for this lender to call me back or this home inspector name, that person that would be calling me because I want them to know that if they call me and I don’t answer, they know I’m giving the same respect to another client that I would be giving them if we were in person. So I guess I guess that’s where the, you know, the boundaries between treating people, your clients and your business. Similarly, the way they’re treating your family like you’re very important to me. But this is time sensitive, right?


[00:16:03] Speaker 1 Right, right.


[00:16:04] Speaker 2 The priority versus the comes first.


[00:16:06] Speaker 1 Absolutely. So last thing I want you to talk about. So if somebody walks up to you, a friend, an acquaintance or whatever, and they say, hey, Nancy, I’m thinking about becoming a realtor, what what advice do you have me? Or can you tell me what it’s like to be a realtor? Is there something we haven’t talked about that you might want to throw into the conversation?


[00:16:25] Speaker 2 Man, I. I always feel like I’m the Debbie Downer because I try to be so realistic about it, where, again, people think that we just go out and look at houses and it’s so fun. But we are problem solvers. We have to really delve into people’s psyche and serve that. And you have to be a killer negotiator, right? But more like a tiger and but like win win. So those are the things I love about this job are being able to help people, right? I love negotiating. That’s my favorite part. But I do love I love seeing how people use and live in their space and then helping them get to the next space. Right. And I think you’ve talked about this in some of your other podcasts where people envision how they’re living in their house. Now we’re launching them to the next.


[00:17:11] Speaker 1 Right.


[00:17:12] Speaker 2 Chapter. Yes. Which could be different. And we get to take all this experience that we have with other clients to help serve them. And I think that’s what is experience and wisdom from doing the business for so long then I know I didn’t have in the very beginning.


[00:17:28] Speaker 1 Right. I totally agree with you. And, you know, she brought up a couple of things that I’ll touch on. So, number one, you and I could be friends on Monday and on Tuesday we could be negotiating contracts on the opposite side of a transaction. And you’re going to represent your client? I’m going to represent my client. We’re still friends. But if we’re in the middle of a transaction or in the middle of a negotiation, we may not be the same. You know, we may put our friendship on pause for a minute. Right, if we’re in the middle of a deal. Right. So you when you say you’ve got to negotiate and you’ve got to be a tiger, you’ve got to also be careful because the person you’re negotiating with on the other side is still your colleague is still in the industry with you, is still part of the fabric of the real estate industry. So it is it does get very complicated for sure. Yep, for sure. And I really like what you said about, you know, helping people get to the next level. So many times I meet people and especially in the new home industry where they’re trying to design a new home for. The next chapter of their life, and they’re designing it with their current life in mind and knocking them out of their comfort zone and saying, Hey, wait a minute, you know, your kids are 15 now. They’re going to be going to college. And then they always say, I hope, yeah, you know, so but yeah, that that’s that’s all good advice. So, Nancy, anything you want to say in closing?


[00:18:50] Speaker 2 I don’t have any. I think I’ve exhausted it all.


[00:18:52] Speaker 1 You did great. Awesome. Allison, thank you for coming in and really appreciate your insight. And I hope people listening to this will not only get some insight to who you are and how you run your business. If people want to get in touch with you, how do they find you?


[00:19:09] Speaker 2 My cell phone is 7038997143. I’m also on Facebook and Instagram, but.


[00:19:15] Speaker 1 You can look up like Nancy Sorensen Willson on the Internet box right now.


[00:19:20] Speaker 2 Yeah, you can find me.


[00:19:23] Speaker 1 All right, Nancy, thanks for coming in. So we’re going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we are going to hear from Rachel Foster and we’re going to get her feedback. And she’s our manager in our office and she works with lots and lots of agents. And Rachel is going to have her insight in what it is like to be invited to be an agent. So hopefully between episode part one where we spoke with Lillian and I gave my feedback and Nancy and Rachel, anybody who wants to be a realtor who listens to these two episodes will have some really, really, really, really good insight on what it is to be a real estate professional. So. Thank you, Nancy.


[00:19:59] Speaker 2 Absolutely. Thanks for having me. Absolutely.


[00:20:04] Speaker 1 All right. Welcome back. Rachel Foster is joining us and she is the broker at the Long and Foster McClain office, and she’s also the niece of our founder, Wes Foster. So, Rachel, thank you so much for coming in today. So Rachel is going to chat with us about her view of what it is like to be a realtor. We’re trying to give folks some some real insight into what the experience is. So, Rachel, can you tell us a little bit about how you got started in real estate and what were your early days like?


[00:20:41] Speaker 3 So I was an assistant superintendent with a school district in Philadelphia when my brother called and asked if I wanted to get into real estate. And my first answer was no. And it didn’t take very long for me to realize that it was something that I did want to get into. It meant moving closer to family. It meant being part of a business that my uncle had given his life to. And, you know, it felt right to get involved. And then early days in real estate for me, I think, was once I made the decision to make the move. It was interesting because I didn’t know anybody in the DMV except my brother, my cousin and my uncle. And they don’t give you business, so you have to figure it out on your own. So it really was a matter for me of figuring out where I fit, figuring out where I could find my people. And now when I train agents, that’s what I say to them. I’m like, Go deeper with fewer people. Find your tribe, for want of a better word, and like really do life with them. And so that’s for a while. I just had to figure out what that might look like for me. And I joined some Meetup groups and joined a church and found my tribe and just really started. I wasn’t salesy. I wasn’t, you know, overtly trying to get them to to use me. I just did life with them, talked to them about it, got to know them as a person, and they knew what I did for a living. And so when they were ready to sell or buy, they just picked up the phone and called me and you know, I was able to to serve them. And that was exactly what I was looking for in a profession, was being able to be of service to other people. And so it just it naturally flowed from that.


[00:22:38] Speaker 1 You seem to have a unique perspective on real estate. You almost let people come to you through forming relationships with the person first. Can you expand on that?


[00:22:49] Speaker 3 It’s not normal the way I approached it and it’s interesting. I was trained when I when I first got into real estate in a program called Ninja Selling that was developed out in Colorado. And it fits perfectly with doing it this way because I don’t like I don’t like the hard sell. I don’t like the idea of always be closing. And so the way I was trained is the way that I train my agents. The woman who runs our education department for the company called me once and she said, Hey, will you do a class on real estate for introverts? And I said, Yeah, I can do that because that’s that’s what I had to do, was figure out as a person who is introverted, how to function in a world of extroverts and salespeople. And this was the way I figured it out, and it worked for me.


[00:23:42] Speaker 1 So even with finding your own way to do real estate, did you come across any challenges that made you say to yourself, This is not what I expected?


[00:23:55] Speaker 3 I can think of several challenging instances and a lot of it I would attribute back to this whole introversion, you know, for me, because, for instance, one way that you can build a database of potential clients is to do open houses. If you don’t know people, you cover open houses for existing agents who have a lot of listings. And I did that. And I will never forget a Sunday that I did that for an agent in this office. And a couple came in and I met them at the door. I greeted them. I, you know, did what you usually do. And they were completely closed off to interacting with me at all. And a friend of mine, who is also a realtor and who was in this office, lived in the neighborhood. And I had called her earlier and said, Hey, why don’t you drop by at some point? So she comes by when this couple has gone upstairs. And when they come downstairs, I introduce them to each other and I say, She lives in the neighborhood. She can probably answer some of your questions and their personality, like their everything about their demeanor changed with her. And I thought, I like it. Just observing it. I thought, Huh. So I think my take away from that and other experiences and open houses is that because I am an introvert, open houses are more difficult. They’re not impossible ways for me to pick up people, but they are more difficult. So that was a challenge. I remember driving home on a Sunday and my brother, who is my boss’s boss’s boss, called me just to check in and he asked me, you know, are you doing this? Are you doing that or are you doing this other thing? And I’m like, Yeah, you know, I’m doing all of those things. But if you’re going to build the business organically, the way I described it just it takes time. And so I think the challenge there is you don’t get paid till you get to the closing table. So it’s, you know, any driving around, you do any marketing, any photographs, all of that comes out of your pocket until you get to the closing table and you actually make money. And so any version of this job that leads with, hey, it’s going to take some time is a difficult thing to do. You have to I don’t think, unless you already have people lined up ready to to buy from you, I don’t think that you should step into this business unless you have 3 to 6 months worth of reserves that you can rely on to get you over the hump.


[00:26:40] Speaker 1 Switching gears a little bit, I wanted to ask you about work life balance. It’s something that everyone I’ve talked to mentions how do you handle it and what do you suggest for other folks out there that may be considering going into real estate? It seems everyone has their own way of going about it.


[00:26:59] Speaker 3 So at this point, I don’t sell any longer. I’ve run three offices and it is vital to me that I do whatever it takes to make sure that my agents have balance in their lives, that they have lives that don’t just exist of doing this business because it leads to burnout. I don’t know that that most people outside of real estate understand exactly how available we’re expected to be 24 seven. But it is so important to me that I help my agents get there as close to their as they can be. And I start by trying to set the example myself. When I was selling and now what what everybody, my clients and my agents know is that there is a certain time in the evening that my phone goes on. Do not disturb. If you have an emergency, there is a way to reach me. And I said this to my clients too, when I was selling you. This is how you reach me. But if it’s not an emergency, I will get back to you at this time in the morning. And I feel like if you set expectations with people and you hold to the things that you say, that is one way that you can get work life balance. But I can tell you that we take calls on Christmas Day. We take calls on, you know, at Thanksgiving. We may be at a funeral or at a wedding or and the phone will hopefully we have been smart enough and wise enough to to turn the ringer off. But the phone is going to continue to go on because it’s not one person or one couple that has expectations of your time. It’s a lot of people and they don’t realize that they’re not the only ones that are trying to get you. And so if they want you at 5 a.m. and some. Who else wants you at midnight? You know, you have to start just to put some boundaries out there to protect your time so that you can have dinner with your family. You can get a decent night’s sleep. And I’ve I’ve said to my agents and to my clients, look, if you want me to be at my best, I have to be able to rest. I have to be able to get away and do things that I enjoy doing. For instance, like I love to be able to hiking trail. So I need I’ll take my phone with me so that I can be available. But there are certain things that each of us needs in order to feel like we have work life balance. And so I try to set the example. I also try to encourage that of my agents. I know that not everybody ascribes to that way of thinking. I think a lot of a lot of realtors just think I’ve signed up for this. I need to be available 24 seven. But. My sense is that being available 24 seven, like I said earlier, leads to burnout and into you not being your absolute best for people.


[00:29:57] Speaker 1 So, you know, Rachel, how do you handle your dinner table time? So if your cell phone rings during dinner and you’re having family time, how do you handle that?


[00:30:08] Speaker 3 Well, I’ll start by saying that if I am working with someone who cannot respect my boundaries, then I don’t want to work with them. Right. There are other people who would be willing to pick up the phone in the middle of dinner. To me, if I am sitting down with my family, my phone’s going to be turned off and probably not with me. You know, sometimes it just happens to be with me. But I think face down and turned off is so important because if we if we’re not looking our family in the eye or, you know, our friends or whomever we’re out with, if we’re not present with them, we’re going to lose the relationships that that allow for work life balance and that make us whole people. So yeah, my, my sense is hopefully you don’t even know that it’s ringing because your phone is off and face down because otherwise even the ringing interrupts the relationship. So I would say, put your phone somewhere else, be present with whomever you’re with, and then you can check your messages later. And again, if someone can’t respect that, I spend an hour eating with my family and actually having a conversation with them, then they’re probably not the right person for me to work with.


[00:31:18] Speaker 1 That makes sense to go off of that. How do you handle vacations? Do you tell your clients that you are going on vacation or do you not tell your clients? How does that work for you?


[00:31:29] Speaker 3 Vacations are an interesting thing in this business, and I’m not sure how valuable this next statement will be to what we’re doing. But I am going on vacation in two weeks for the first time since I started my current position here in McLean. So that’s 11 months into the job and I’m finally going on vacation and the first week I’ve let everybody know I’m totally available to you. It may take me some time to get back to you, but I’m still available even though I’m on vacation. And that has been the way that I’ve done this business. So, you know, I can talk a big, big game about work life balance, but I’ve never taken time away like that where I’m not totally available. But this vacation for the first time at the end of that week, I’m taking four days and I’m turning my phone off, so. I think it’s really hard to pick up your business and hand it to somebody else. I, like I said earlier, I manage offices and I don’t ever want my agents to think that if they have an emergency, they can’t reach me and they can’t get a solution to their problem because I know how miserable it can be too, to be out there and need an answer and not be able to get it. So I want to make sure that every agent that I work with at every client that we have has exactly what they need. But I also recognize that, you know, sometimes it’s okay to go away and and relax. So I need to set a better example for my agents of that as well, because there are plenty of people to cover for us. It is difficult. But, you know, there are other there are other brokers. We have a sales manager that can help cover for me. And then there are other agents and I’ve encouraged agents from the very beginning. When I start working with new people, I say, look, you don’t you don’t fully understand this yet because you don’t have clients yet, but you need to find somebody that you know and trust in this office because and, you know, this is a hard conversation to have, but, you know, you’re going to have you’re going to have reasons to leave town that that means you’re going to have to leave quickly. Maybe someone has passed away. And I just tell them, you know, you’re not going to have time to brief somebody. So you need to have systems in place and you need to be able to communicate very clearly. Who are my people and where are they in the process so that somebody can take over? But if you have done that, then I think you can get away. Whether it’s an emergency like I mentioned, or you’re going on vacation, I don’t think you have to be fully available to every person all the time.


[00:34:14] Speaker 1 I’m going to switch gears again, Rachel, from when you started to the present day, how has real estate changed in your eyes?


[00:34:21] Speaker 3 I feel like the there are two things that have changed in dramatic enough ways that they are worth mentioning. One, you mentioned the pandemic. I think that. Maybe we were moving toward this without the pandemic. But if you look at the research now, everybody everything that we read is saying people aren’t coming back into offices and buildings are sitting empty and commercial real estate is harder and harder to sell as a result of that. And, you know, we’ve been making we’ve been putting a lot of effort into trying to get people back into the offices, because we feel and we have experienced and seen that there’s a lot of synergy when you get when you get everybody together in the same space working toward similar goals and we learn from each other and that sort of thing. But the pandemic, whether it’s it’s the pandemic or it just feels like the pandemic because that that was a distinct stopping place, has definitely affected where people do their business from. And so that seems significant to me. The other thing is that and these two things go hand in hand. The other thing is that we were more mobile because of technology. I remember when I was a brand new agent and I had moved here from New Jersey and I had gone back on a Saturday to see some friends. And I pulled over on the turnpike at one of the exits just to check my email. And I thought to myself, It’s so nice that I can do this job from anywhere. And then I thought, and it’s also really bad that I can do this job from anywhere because it follows you. But being more mobile, I think, makes both me and my agents, I think, better able to do our jobs. I think we have to fully recognize that there are 24 hours in every day and you can only do what you can do in the 24 hours. But I think being more mobile gives us the opportunity to do work no matter where we are, without having to take the time to drive home to your computer or to the office. So those two things are are big to me. And we have a lot of different apps and technology pieces that have come out that have just eased the way we do certain things. So we’re not running all over the place to get papers signed. Now it’s very easy to set up electronic signature and that sort of thing. So I think technology stands out to me most about what has changed. It makes sense. Yeah, but you know what? And I hate to interrupt, but the thing that that stands out to me when I think about how tech, how the business has changed is what is still the same. And the core truth of this business is that it’s about relationships. So no matter what the technology does, no matter what the pandemic does, if if agents focus on relationships with people, like I said earlier, going deeper with fewer people, their business will be stable and be fine.


[00:37:37] Speaker 1 So that makes sense. Rachel So let’s say there’s a new agent coming in tomorrow and they’re fresh. What core advice would you give them when they’re just getting started in their real estate career?


[00:37:48] Speaker 3 The core advice that I give new people all the time is something that I don’t know that they’re necessarily thrilled to hear. And that is this is a relationship business. The people who want to work with you like know and trust you. I think that people and maybe they are thrilled to hear part of that. You know, they come into this and they think that, well, gosh, I can’t work in this neighborhood because this other agent owns it. They have this this concept that that agent is the one who buys and sells everything in that neighborhood. And that is a scarcity mentality that we really try to get out of people’s minds, because the truth is that the business is out there for every single person. When you look at and the numbers aren’t exactly as clean as this, but when you look at all the realtors across the United States, about 20% of them do about 80% of the business. And so what I have learned is if you are working hard and concentrating on your people, the ones who like, know and trust you, you’re going to be part of that 20% doing 80% of the business. And I truly believe that almost every person I have ever met in this business can be successful with their group of people that I’m not going to be the right realtor for every every person that I meet out in the world. But somebody is. So I just need to find people who have similar interests to mine, who, like, know and trust me. And they’re going to want to work with me. And the. The same is true of my new agents. So it really is just a matter of sitting down and thinking about Who do I know? And also what popped into my mind, as I said that last part was, I’ve got to remind them, if I’m a brand new agent, I’ve got to remind the people that I know that I’ve moved into real estate. So for me, it was I’m an educator, I’m an assistant superintendent, you know, and now all of a sudden I’m a realtor. And it can be confusing to people that you made that kind of shift. And they’re not. You have to stay top of mind with with every every person out there who’s potentially going to be a client or a referral source for you. And in order to stay top of mind, you’ve got to remind them repeatedly that you are a realtor. And it can’t just be, you know, I don’t know, three or so reminders over three months because it doesn’t stick. Everybody knows a lot of realtors. So it’s you’ve got to do it in a way that means that you’re providing value to people, that you’re providing meaningful resources and that you’re you’re doing things that that. Maybe it’s through social media, maybe it’s through, you know, a variety of other ways of contacting people, but getting in front of people in a way that keeps you at the top of the list of the ten, 11, 12 realtors that people know.


[00:41:03] Speaker 1 All right, Rachel. Well, listen, I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us again. You’re a repeat guest on our show and we always enjoy having you. And thank you for allowing us to use this wonderful space here at the Long and foster offices in McLean, Virginia. So that concludes another episode of the Go with John Show. Go out there and build something extraordinary.