You think it’s bad in Calgary? You won’t believe this!
Yes, Calgary, Alberta has taken a hit. No pipeline, too many employees laid off, real estate transactions down by about 30% over last year, no Olympic bid. Yes, the city suffers.
But while I attended a business conference (Mark LeBlanc’s Achiever’s Circle) I took the opportunity to sit down with the Manager of Coldwell Banker in La Jolla, Jeff Nunn and talked shop.
In the San Diego area, the population is about 1.3 Million (pretty close to Calgary!). Here at home the Calgary Real Estate Board told me that we are hovering at around 5500 licensed real estate agents.
In San Diego, they have around 40,000 agents. What!?
Yes, that is not a typo. Forty thousand.
The numbers down south tell a story that is hard to swallow. The average agent in San Diego is selling 2.2 homes a year. That means, statistically, they would have made more money working full time at a fast food restaurant!
Jeff Nunn, brokerage manager for the top Coldwell Banker in La Jolla, started with 35 agents in 2005 – now they have 4 offices and 130 agents!
But how do all these competing agents make a living? How can they stand out from such a saturated crowd? Jeff knows what works, but he admits there’s always a new tech company trying to sell a new product or a new gadget for lead generating because people buy into, no, get ‘sucked into’ magical thinking.
He says ‘so many agents think they just need the right magic pill and it will be easy’.
But it is not easy and agents need to know it takes hard work to build a successful career. End of story.
He readily shares ideas that help them progress with their own lead generating. One idea that is working is having agents go door-knocking in their farming area and just ask the owners something along these lines, as inventory right now is key!
“Hello, I am in the area doing a little survey for my brokerage. As you might know, real estate inventory is very low, and I am wondering about this neighborhood. Does your family have plans to move this year? Next year? In the next five years?” …. And then they can build relationship based on their findings.
Jeff says that he always feels it’s important to know where you stand with the people in your sphere, farming area and database. Another way to attract potential buyers and sellers that has been working well has been the use of this kind of script (at Open Houses for example):
“Do you have a real estate agent that you love?” If they say no, ask them what would it take for it to be me?
If they say “Well, I know an agent”, then offer to be their “back up agent” and let them know you not interested in interfering in their current relationship but that you are only a phone call away if they can’t get hold of their agent, or if their agent retires etc… If you are not their number one choice right now, then you can still offer to get on their list for future opportunities!
As I always say, you should try your best to get into relationships before you try to get into someone’s wallet.
I hope this gives you some perspective on your own business and perhaps an idea or two that you can use for your benefit. Suddenly, 5500 agents doesn’t seem like an impossible market to work in does it?
And should you be lucky enough to visit San Diego, look up Jeff and say hi! Better yet, if you need a stellar agent in the San Diego area, send him your referrals 😊