Want to Be No. 1? Here's How!

By Deborah Ball Kearns, RE/MAX Times Online Editor Rob Buchan is the RE/MAX network's No. 1 individual producer in the world. How did he do it?
"I embraced REOs early on – as far back as 1982 when I got started in my career," says the Diamond Award winner with RE/MAX Execs in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. "REOs and Short Sales are going to be a part of the market for several years. If you ignore them, you're shutting yourself off from a huge part of the business."
Here are Buchan's top tips for career success:
Remember: It's not about you
The best advice I can give to be successful in this business is this: Put your client first. You cannot let your needs or wants interfere with what is best for the client. It sounds obvious, but all too often real estate agents forget that it's not about them. The client is No. 1.
Work by referral
The most effective marketing method is referrals. Let your reputation speak for itself. It's important to send out promotional materials that show prospects what you're all about, but how you conduct transactions and treat your clients will yield you new business. Although I work REOs, I travel to visit my clients on a regular basis and attend their conferences, as well as industry events. Clients need to see you face-to-face so they can remember you. When I did traditional sales, I always bought clients nice gifts they could use over and over again – and think of me.
Get training early and often
Whether you're a rookie or a veteran agent, you need to attend regular training. Early in my career, I went to all of the Tommy Hopkins sales training seminars. Keep up on certifications, and don't ever think you can have too much training or information.
Adjust your attitude
In today's market you need to think about the big picture outlook for long-term success. This business requires having integrity and dedication. You have to be creative in negotiations to get a sale to the closing table, and never quit until you've explored all possibilities. I once had a condo that couldn't close because the HOA had allowed the insurance to lapse and didn't have the funds to pay it. I explored the options and was able to get the corporate seller to pay six months of the insurance, which not only allowed the first-time buyer to close but also kept the insurance active for the complex until they could get back on their feet. The moral of the story: persevere and keep pushing on.
Embrace distressed properties
Don't try to get your start by criticizing other REO agents. In the end, all REO agents have to work as a team to get results even if they're at competing firms. Most importantly, be dedicated to the REO work and have a strong team in place with members who specialize in certain areas.
Find a mentor
Most of us got into the business because of someone we know. My uncle taught me how to sell real estate and take care of clients. Sandra Sanders, who built the RE/MAX name in my area, has had a huge impact on me. Find successful agents who you respect, and pay attention to what they're doing.
Be tech-savvy
You can't be competitive in today's market unless you're online and using the same technology your clients are using. I have an iPhone and an iPad, which are phenomenal, and I communicate often via e-mail and cell phone. This is a mobile industry; it goes back to serving your clients and putting them first. Having the right technology to stay competitive is essential. © 2011 RE/MAX, LLC. RE/MAX Affiliates may share this article, provided they do not charge for it and this notice is included. All other rights reserved.

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