I think if I were to sum Raylene Lewis into one image, it would be a train… the ever-present, the ever-evolving, powerful, punctual, purposeful, locked-on-its-course mode of transportation. It’s the first impression I get of her when she promptly answers the phone for our scheduled REALLY Agent Spotlight interview. Raylene Lewis began her career over 18 years ago in the Bryan-College Station metropolitan area with Century 21 Real Estate when a fluke illness sent her from a potential law career directly toward real estate where as a first year agent, she sold forty houses. Raylene “loved it so much” that she never looked back.
Curiously, I ask her “How have things changed?”
“Things have changed a lot” Raylene says with a release of breath and tone of humor in her voice reflecting a wealth of knowledge of the industry. “In order to provide the best service possible to reach the target consumer, realtors need to know and understand those changes,” she says. “As agents, we have to stay on top of it… know the good, bad, and the ugly — know how to reach the client, all about the neighborhood, know the product that we’re selling, the pros and cons of certain floor plans…” and she continues to list all of the considerations necessary for the single sale of a property. Raylene likes to be completely in the know when it comes to any property she’s trying to sell, a whistle-stop of an agent. With that comes the challenge of the ever burgeoning list of latest materials and finishes used in construction. Raylene wants to be able to tell her customers about all of it. Additionally challenging, too, is the impact of technology on the way that clients communicate. “People don’t call.” So, in order to stay with it and remain successful, Raylene tells me that realtors, too, must continuously be able to change tracks.
However, Raylene enjoys the challenges of real estate — helping that couple-that-can’t-agree to actually agree, negotiating deals, and being “willing to work,” as hard as she does because she “gets the benefit” in the end. Raylene likes to hold herself to “a higher standard.” She enjoys the productive struggle of personal growth and we, at REALLY, truly love a hard worker.
I guess one could say that real estate is in her blood as Raylene’s grandfather was also in the industry. But Raylene wanted to do it her way. So, as a young twenty-something, she moved to a brand new town with no contacts and started “old school.” She began with Century 21 Real Estate, which is a non-competing broker firm. Raylene is full of positivity when discussing her agency, “the broker looks out for its agents interests and it’s a team environment.” For example, if Raylene is having trouble with a particular listing, agents from her firm will come and “look at the house and help me to see why it’s not moving.” Raylene loves her team and the brand; she plans on staying with her agency for a long while.
It’s completely apparent to us at REALLY that Raylene is a team player. She is an avid poster in our Community section, always adding valuable and helpful information. Raylene tells me she decided to download REALLY while she was looking for a referral source. She was immediately hooked on the Community section. “REALLY is not only a place to send and receive referrals, which is fabulous, but it’s also a place to throw out ideas to other people that are professionals to get feedback. You can post things that are helpful and learn about what other professionals are doing.”
When it comes to her personal philosophy, Raylene says it’s two parts. One, she believes in always being “ready and available.” and, two, she believes in looking at “each client as a client for life.” It’s important to “look at each client as if it was yourself and to give the highest level of customer service 24/7.” You have to show clients that they are “not just another dollar,” but that you “care about them.” Raylene is the type of agent that streamlines all communication for her clients, one who goes out of her way to arrive on time and be fully prepared. Her commitment to her course is evident and enviable. Raylene says emphatically, “once you buy from me, I will always help you.” And with that level of professionalism and continued promise, Raylene is on the right track to continue to have a deeply successful career in real estate.
We were planning a move, a big one, from California to New York. My husband was transferring to an office across the country and while he was busy arranging all those details, I was saddled with the task of looking for another home. Like most people, I sought out the internet. I knew the approximate area I wanted to live in after doing some research and began searching for houses online like any couch-realtor would. I was clicking around, putting in different filters, and was searching for a place that would fit what we wanted and needed.
Some houses needed too much work, some were too expensive, some were too far out of our desired location, some were definitely haunted… well, probably haunted…, and some were just plain ugly.
And then I saw it.
The perfect place. There were enough bedrooms for our family, it had great square footage, it was close to my husband’s new job, it was in a good school district, and it had a decently sized lot. I clicked through all of the images, checked the property taxes, and scrolled to the bottom of that listing page to see who I needed to contact in order to get into this house. Max Miller was the listing agent. So, I called him directly.
We spoke for a bit and set up an appointment for the next week. I was so ecstatic. I booked a flight out to New York to see the house and perhaps a few more in person. Before I left, I made a phone call to Joselyn, the agent that sold us our home. I let her know that we would soon need to list our property due to my husband’s transfer. Joselyn was audibly surprised, but excited to help. I then told her about all the research I had done and how I contacted the listing agent out in New York to show me the Warwick property. Supportive still, but a bit more reserved, Joselyn told me that she could have helped me with all of the steps I had already taken. Additionally, she told me that she is part of a network of realtors where she could have found the right person, not just the person attached to property that interested me, to help me in New York with my home search. I told her that I had no idea that agents did anything like that as well as had no idea that there a network where realtors can connect throughout the United States.
In this day, most buyers are like me: a person that is going to do their own research and home search. However, at the end of the day, I and other clients need someone who has experience to help us through these intensely life affecting processes. As much as we want to think we have expertise from clocking hours of watching HGTV, the common buyer or seller doesn’t have a profound knowledge of the industry with which agents and brokers deeply interact on a daily basis.
3 Things Most Of Your Clients Don’t Know About Referrals:
1. Most clients don’t know that referrals are even a thing. I mean, we know that we can refer friends or family to you on a person-to-person basis, but we don’t know or understand how you make referrals between agents or that it changes things to contact another agent before we speak to you, our past realtor. We don’t understand the nuances of a referral agreement or that you may be overlooked through contacting another agent.
2. Most clients don’t know that agents can refer a buyer to someone else and stand to make a commission. It is probably a hairy thing to mention or talk about at all, but most clients do not understand how the internal, behind-the-scenes work goes between agent to agent. We don’t know that you can stand to make a profit off of the relationship that you have with us. Should that be a positive relationship, we would definitely want to support you.
3. Most clients don’t know that we should even seek you out to help us with a relocation. Clients do not understand that you may have vetted contacts all over the globe or that you may belong to a network like REALLY that allows for you to directly communicate, research, and refer to someone out of your area/region.
3 Ways to Change My Eagerness to Call you FIRST:
1. Maintain a Relationship with Me. Check in. Ask how things are going with our lives or what changes we have made to the house. Send me texts, cards, letters, postcards, etc. Be a strong communicator in all regards. Be responsive and proactive with communication.
2. Convey Your Craft. Explicitly tell me what you need me to know about your responsibilities as an agent, how you want to help me, and what areas you can help me in the present and the future.
3. Be Authentic. All people want to feel as though your interest in them is genuine. Clients want to feel as though your contact and responses are real in terms of your desire to maintain a relationship. Maintain an honest and earnest relationship with your client so when we have times of transition or question, we want to contact you first.
I think if I had to boil it down to one thing, it would be that communication is key. Clients cannot understand your value implicitly if you do not explain to them and remind them of it. So, be sure to maintain those relationships and your clients will be more apt to remember you before reaching out to someone new.
What’s new with REALLY? We’re happy to report that a lot is going on!
First, we offered a way for members to create a favorites list.
If you were to look at another member profile, you might have noticed the heart emblem off to the left of their picture. By tapping the heart, which fills it in, you add that member to your Favorites List. You can access your favorites list by tapping ‘send a referral’ on the profile page. Members now have three categories from which to choose when selecting a candidate to whom to send a referral — from REALLY Contacts, your Favorites List, or Contacts in Your Phone. You may also access these lists in the referral module when submitting a One to One or a One to Many referral. In the referrals module, after entering the referral criteria, you will be prompted to select the candidates to receive it. Here again, you’ll find the three categories to choose candidates from.
Second, we are running a contest for the month of March in the Community section.
We are offering a monetary prize in two different categories: Author of the Month & Collaborator of the Month. For “Author of the Month,” we are offering $100 to the author of a post in the Community section that receives the most replies. Any member may enter this contest by simply creating a post about whatever is on your mind with a goal of eliciting the most replies from your fellow community members. For the “Collaborator of the Month,” we came up with an Editor’s Choice award. We are offering $50 to the author of the most helpful reply to a fellow Community members post. The REALLY marketing team will choose the reply which we find to be the most beneficial to the community. Get involved and join the discussion. Community is such a great opportunity to collaborate with some exceptional, like minded professionals!
Third, we continue to grow our member base organically.
We owe everything to our early adopters who have shared with us their thoughts and ideas, as well as their satisfaction and dissatisfaction with certain elements of the platform. We came up with REALLY to change the way referrals are handled. We set out to create a referral network of real estate professionals, offering a tool that allows you to send and receive referrals, a tool that with a push of a few buttons creates a legally binding referral agreement exchanged between members and is stored on the blockchain, and most importantly, REALLY does not take a cut of the commission exchanged. We listen to and value your input and have lots of great additions on the horizon that we’re sure you’ll love: video tutorials and testimonials, a suggestion box, a help section, frequently asked questions, a more robust profile page, and much more!
Finally, we spoke last month about the progressive web app that’s under construction. It’s almost ready! Our development team is hyper-focused on its completion. They are doing a tremendous job and we remain beyond excited for users to be able to operate on tablets and desktops in addition to finally welcoming our Android users to the REALLY network.
One to One — You have a referral and you know the exact Agent to receive it. Send it through REALLY, a legally binding referral agreement is generated, and you don’t sacrifice any of your commission to REALLY (or any other concierge service for that matter!)
One to Many — You have a referral and it needs to be handled immediately! Send it through REALLY and offer it up to as many as four Agents, first come — first serve; the first Agent to claim it earns it. A legally binding referral agreement is generated and you don’t sacrifice any of your commission to REALLY (or any other concierge service for that matter!) This is a great tool for Brokers who pass referrals to Agents in their office. Don’t play favorites — share the opportunity to handle a referral with several Agents in your office and see who claims it first!
REALLY Easy Referral — You have a client looking to move outside of your market. Send this referral through REALLY and sit back while REALLY presents you outstanding professionals in the industry, in that particular market, that claim it. You are notified each time an Agent claims your referral and are presented all the ways to communicate with that professional. Call them, email them, or research them online. When ready, you select the Agent that you feel most comfortable moving forward with, working with your client. Once a candidate is selected, a legally binding referral agreement is generated, and you don’t sacrifice any of your commission to REALLY (or any other concierge service .. I think you get it!)
It’s REALLY easy and can be completed in three steps: 1. Submit 2. Vet 3. Select
Post in Community — A perfect place to share your ideas, collaborate, and cooperate. Remember, we’re giving away cash prizes for the month of March to the author and collaborator of the month. Get involved, win some cash, buy the REALLY team something nice 🙂
Make Connections with other members — Don’t be shy! Make connections with other professionals on a social media network that is exclusive to the Real Estate industry.
Update the App Often — Go to the App Store — verify you have the latest version.
This month we had the pleasure of introducing you to Laura Marie of Saint Petersburg, Florida. We’ve been waiting, and extremely excited, to speak with Laura. She loves helping people. One cannot help but feel that as she exudes this charisma and excitement. Laura is honest and authentic in her approach to helping serve her clients and isn’t afraid of difficult situations. Take a moment to read about Laura Marie in this months Agent Spotlight.
If you would like to be featured in one of the next Agent spotlights please shoot us a message — firstname.lastname@example.org