Ashburn, VA Experience—14 years
Before Real Estate—Fashion designer and owner of a custom leather boutique
Sales Volume—$70 million
Gross Commission Income—$1.9 million
Sales—Listings specialists, buyer specialist team leader, and nine buyer specialists (with three more candidates pending)
Support—Chief financial officer, closing manager, listing coordinator, executive assistant and marketing director, multimedia specialist, and two runners
Keys to Success—Today my team is composed of specialists who collaborate to make a well-oiled machine. Our product is designed to create excellence in our marketing, sales and service. I applaud the professionalism of each team member and am particularly gratified to be working with my son, who is a successful buyers agent.
The benefits of working with a team of specialists are contact quality and expansion.
Training plays a huge role in the success of our team. When a buyer agent joins the team, they go through CC Boot Camp, a two-to-three-week process. In the boot camp, they are trained how to sell real estate at our level of excellence. We have high standards, and they have to learn to play our way and at our pace. They are required to preview five homes every day and meet with the team leader in weekly accountability sessions.
Lastly, we think and act like a business. From our titles to our organization structure, everything reflects a professional business culture. We track our goal, statistical, and budget numbers on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Because we know precisely what is happening with our team and our marketplace, we can make solid, informed decisions.
Inspiration—My immediate family. We grew up outside of Washington, D.C. My dad was an incredible salesman who sold to the government. So I learned my selling skills at the dinner table. He was always talking about his current sales. My mother worked for the CIA, which was inspiring. My grandmother was an awesome entrepreneur. She started nursery schools in the days of the Depression, when women didn't really work, and she bought investment real estate. Before that, my great-grandmother came over on a boat, an Irish immigrant. She had been a servant but learned to do bookkeeping and went on to grow her business.
To my two daughters, I am passing on a legacy of being a successful entrepreneur in any field they choose.
Lead Generation—Our primary source of business is marketing. Marketing makes my phone ring. We advertise heavily, and the other portion of my business comes from the Internet. Maybe 20 percent comes from referrals. Overall, we budget 8 to 10 percent of our projected gross for marketing. This year, it's $148,000, and we're on budget. The most effective form is newspapers. We do a full-page ad that's mailed to 50,000 houses. We do this every week. We have a quarter-page ad we run in the local paper. The biggie is CC News. We do a custom full-color newspaper with a market review and all our listings. Our circulation is 22,000, and we even sell ad space. The cost is $7,200 per month before ad sales.
Other Business—A founding member of eFROGG, an interactive Internet system for agents, buyers and sellers.
Next Year and the Future—For 2002, we're on track to do $2.4 million in GCI. That's our goal, and we're on track for it. We've got 178 transactions on the books. These are our numbers through July. Our goal is 300 units, and we're at 54 percent of that goal. Our volume is 100 million, so we're 53 percent of the way there as well.
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