Making Safety a Priority

Expert Advice from a Superstar Sales ProfessionalBarb

The topic of safety came up again this month, as I imagine it does all the time for agents all over the globe.  I was hearing a lot of rumblings from agents who were not taking as many precautions as they maybe should be for fear of meeting resistance from their sellers and buyers.  That’s scary!  There are ways to present safety precautions in a professional way, and I wanted to dive a little more into the topic.  Fortunately, I was able to turn to my social media friend Barb Erdmier to look to for some real-world answers.  She’s a powerhouse agent with a track record for excellence – and an eye for what it takes to keep agents – and clients safe in today’s often uncertain world.

We’re grateful for her insights!  Here’s an excerpt from our interview…

Q:  Barb, personal and property safety is paramount for both consumers and agents these days. What would you say are the top four ways that agents keep home sellers and buyers physically SAFE during the listing process and how?

A:  In regards to physical safety for sellers, I would have to say elimination of having open houses is paramount to safety. I explain to my sellers the reason I do not like having homes open is that we have no idea who the people are that are coming in. Nor, what their intentions are. Could be innocent or could be harmful. I inform my sellers to check windows and doors after private showings as well just to be sure all are locked. I also am finding shoppers ringing doorbells to ask sellers to view properties. I inform sellers to ask shoppers to contact me and to not let anyone into their home without an appointment. Sellers need to put all prescription medications and financial documents away during showings as well.

As for the physical safety of buyers? I would have to say top one would be to not visit properties without an appointment. It’s trespassing and they could be arrested. Also, some homeowners have aggressive dogs that must be removed prior to showings that could be wandering around outside. Seeing the property during daylight hours is always a good idea to avoid tripping and falling due to darkness.

Q:  How do they keep buyers and sellers financially safe?

A:  Sellers need to keep financial docs out of sight. Bank statements, pay stubs, checks, credit cards, tax returns, etc. Buyers need to work with a lender they can trust. Either recommended by their agent or family member.

Q:  Do you include that kind of information in your pre-listing and/or listing presentations? 

A:  Most definitely.

Q:  What extra precautions do you share with your colleagues in the industry to help them be safer in today’s world?  

A:  There are a ton of safety apps available for smart phones. Agent Safe, Personal Safety, Safer Showings, Real Agent Guard. Meeting a new client? Always get them in the office first. If that cannot happen, take a spouse, co-worker, or friend with you as an added precaution.

Q:  I spoke with my brother recently who is a retired homicide policeman and he said one of the most important things people can do is to listen to their intuition.  If that have that ‘feeling’ that something is off – to be on high alert or walk away. Developing that extra sense can be a saving grace.  Your thoughts on that?

A:  Oh heavens yes. On more than one occasion I have brought a man with me on a showing for a new client, only to have the buyer not show up. I’m thinking they drove by and saw me with a large male and kept on driving.  If for some reason I am by myself, I take a picture of the license plates of the buyer and send to my husband. I let the buyer know what I have done this as well so they know that they are being “tracked” if I may end up missing. My husband has full access to my showing schedule as does my office and assistant.

Q:  Any last words of advice for either consumers or agents — or both?

A:  The selling/buying of a home is an exciting time for all parties.  Just keep your guard up and be aware of surroundings at all times.

Q:  How can our readers connect with you?  

A:  Sure, I can be reached on my cell at 815-222-8866 or via Email at

barb@rockfordrealestate.com  or my website: rockfordrealestate.com. Also, everything social! Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram. You’ll find the links are on my website.

Thanks so much Barb!  Your insights are awesome.  Bottom line?  Safety is a priority for you and your clients.  Never miss an opportunity to go the extra step or to listen to your gut.  Stay safe friends and let us know your thoughts!

The True Value of Agent-to-Agent Referrals

An Interview with Top Agent Keith GroganKeith Grogan

By Julie Escobar

Networking in our business is a powerful thing – not only to continuously grow as a professional, but for the ability to connect with some very cool people.  I was fortunate in the last week to touch base with one of my favorite agents to follow online Keith Grogan.  He recently shared some valuable tips for agents about the real importance of nurturing those valuable agent-to-agent referral relationships – and how many agents fall short.  It was timely and on-point, and he was gracious enough to sit down for an interview to share his experience.  Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Q:  First of all Keith – thanks so much for taking your time to share with our readers!  Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

A:  I spent twenty-four years in sales management with consumer product companies, managing both regional and national sales forces with a constant focus on team building. When I grew weary of spending all of my time on the road, I sought a second career, one that would require little or no airplane travel.  After serious consideration, I found that real estate would provide the most opportunity and I loved the concept of being in control of my income knowing that the harder that I worked, the more that I would make. What a great concept! Sixteen years ago, I partnered with one of Atlanta’s premier agents, Marsha Sell, who is now in her 43rd year of selling Atlanta real estate. We have a team that support our efforts and we cover Atlanta and the northern suburbs.

Q:  Your recent online advice to agents on why it’s SO important to build a strong referral network was on point — and so timely.  Can you share your thoughts on that with us?

A:  My business partner began building her network throughout the country years ago when most agents were only looking for ways to gain more exposure for their listings. Our referral base has enabled us to avoid the peaks and valleys that many agents experience because we have a good flow of referrals coming in throughout the year.

I see many, many agents who are so focused on the short term and get so wrapped up in each transaction and making sure that they get paid that they simply never consider the referral potential nor are they adept at knowing how and when to ask for referrals.

Q:  Too often agents are unresponsive, or unreliable when it comes to managing referrals and leads that come their way — can you share how you feel they are missing a big component of their business by doing this?  

A:  Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to place more outgoing referrals than in any year in the past ten years and I have been absolutely shocked at how difficult it is to place most of these referrals. In a huge percentage of the cases, it was nearly impossible to even reach the agent. More shocking to me was that, once I did reach the agents, most of them sounded as if they weren’t too sure that they wanted to take a referral at the time. I guess that they just had all the business that they wanted!

Of the referrals that were placed last year, I only received updates throughout the process from two or three agents. If you are trusting a client, a friend, or a family member with an agent in another area, you would think that just common courtesy would dictate that they would at least update the referring agent on date of contact, date of first meeting, time frame for purchase/listing, progress reports, purchase notification, and confirmation of closing. To me, that seems very basic but, sadly, that is not being done.

When I find an agent who is enthusiastic about a referral and who communicates effectively, I look for opportunities to give more referrals to that agent.

Q:  You have a LOT of social media fans for your terrific sense of humor and terrific posts.  You shared with me why you made the shift to humor – can you share that with the readers? 

A:  I had volumes of inspirational and motivational quotes and cartoons that I accumulated and used often during my years in sales management. In my early days on social media, I posted only inspirational, motivational, and informational posts. When the market changed a few years ago, I realized that most of my Realtor friends throughout the country were trying to stay afloat in uncharted waters and nobody was having much fun. I decided to shift the focus of my posts and, since that time, my goal is to bring a smile to at least one Realtor’s face every day.

Q:  I’d say you succeed in that goal every day Keith!  Now, if you had to give your best piece of advice to a new or experienced agent in today’s market – what would it be?

A:  Build your database, maintain your database, and work your database. The longer that you are in this business, the more of your business will come from your database. When you work your database and communicate properly with your database and sphere of influence, you can reach a point where you find that you are getting more clients, more listings, and making more money and you will find that you are working less to secure new business.

Q:  How can readers connect with you? 

A:  Keith Grogan, The Sell Team, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage,

www.facebook.com/KeithGrogan.TheSellTeam, www.twitter.com/SELLTEAMwww.sellteam.com.

Awesome stuff Keith – thank you so much for your insights and ideas.  You are a terrific example of professionalism and high standards in our business – and one heck of a funny guy to follow!  If you haven’t connected yet with Keith, follow his Facebook page today.  He’s always on point!  While you’re at it, be sure to connect with us there as well!

Being a PROFITABLE SALES AGENT means doing things sometimes in unexpected ways.  It means staying in touch.  It means developing those powerful relationships with other agents that will earn you a great reputation – and bottom line referrals.  Want to learn more about being a strong agent?  Stay tuned right here and become a Profitable Agent Member Today! Join in the month of February and take 50% off your membership with the coupon code 50OFF!