As Marin County, California’s top producer since 2005, Tracy McLaughlin knows what it takes to have a sustainable, fruitful career in real estate. After outdoing herself in 2017 by selling about $165 million in properties—much of which was buoyed by getting involved with marquis properties like 1 Upper Road, the most expensive sale in Ross, Ca., for 2017—McLaughlin is on track to either repeat or even exceed that number this year.
Be willing to make a bed or sweep a floor. Even high-end homes require a little elbow grease before they can be shown, and McLaughlin says she’s never wavered her commitment to “do what has to be done” to get top dollar for her clients’ homes. “If you think that just because you're doing $100+ million a year in sales that you are too big to sit at someone's open house or even make a bed, you need to remember that you are in a service business and you are servicing people for what they need when they need it before that house closes,” says McLaughlin, who still does Sunday open houses on her listings. “No job is too menial.”
Open those lines of communication…and then keep them open. Having previously worked for eight years as a reporter/anchor for various NBC affiliates around the country, McLaughlin credits her background in journalism and communications as an integral part of her ability to effectively present properties and negotiate transactions. “Hone your listening and interviewing skills and actually pay attention to your clients’ wants and needs,” she advises. “Then, use that knowledge to walk into the space and visualize what needs to happen in order to get it sold for the highest possible price.”
Put the clients’ needs first and the sale will come. Real estate is a relationship business, and nowhere is that more obvious than in San Francisco’s luxury home arena. “Even if you lose the business, being honest with people and telling them the truth about their homes, what those properties are really worth, and what they need to do to sell them,” she says, “is way better in the long run for building a sustained business than just trying to sell another house.”
A big believer in branding, McLaughlin reminds agents that there are thousands of agents in the U.S. and that many of them slog along doing the same sales volume year after year. The ones who break out of this mold are usually those that focus on developing their own brands over time, and who make sure clients know what they do, what they stand for, who they are, and why their business models are different than another agent’s. “People need to know who you are and what defines you,” McLaughlin says. “If you don’t have a sustained brand, you don’t have a sustained, long-term business.”
Author Bio: Bridget McCrea is a Clearwater, Florida-based freelance writer.