“I don't see technology as a threat, it helps us be more productive, it helps manage more things. I don't worry about the business going away because it is so relationship based, ” says Windermere Abode owner, Anne Jones.
Here are a few highlights:
Let people discover you and actually build a relationship with you before you ever get to their kitchen table so that first meeting is warm. - Anne Jones
Rather read it? Check out the transcript here:
Mike Schneider: Well thank you for being on for another episode of First Person. We have Anne Jones here the owner of Windermere Abode, thank you for being on.
Anne Jones: Thanks for having me.
Mike Schneider: Well we start with this fun little lightning round.
Anne Jones: Okay.
Mike Schneider: You ready?
Anne Jones: I'm ready.
Mike Schneider: 60 seconds, see how many we can get through.
Mike Schneider: What was your first job?
Anne Jones:I worked in a real estate office updating the MLS book.
Mike Schneider: Whoa, first car?
Anne Jones:Toyota Corolla, stick shift.
Mike Schneider: First listing.
Anne Jones: Gosh that's funny, I have to think about that.
Mike Schneider: It's coming.
Anne Jones: Holy smokes, you know what I can't remember that's tragic.
Mike Schneider: We can skip it.
Mike Schneider: First thing you say when you meet someone new?
Anne Jones: Nice to meet you.
Mike Schneider: First thing you do when you wake up?
Anne Jones: Look at my phone, drink a glass of water and then look at my phone.
Mike Schneider: First pet?
Anne Jones: A dog, Peewee.
Mike Schneider: First album, CD, tape, record?
Anne Jones: Janet Jackson probably.
Mike Schneider: Nice, first computer?
Anne Jones: A PC with a Dot matrix printer that my parents bought.
Mike Schneider: First flight and where did you go?
Anne Jones: DisneyLand.
Mike Schneider: Nice. First home you bought?
Anne Jones: A little Craftsman in Tacoma.
Mike Schneider: Now it gets harder, first phone number?
Anne Jones: 253-858-7032.
Mike Schneider: Oh she got it! First email address or first website domain name?
Anne Jones: I was gonna say first email address I don't think I have ... I still keep the old Hotmail account.
Mike Schneider: We're up on time, that was really impressive. That was good you go through a lot, you got through a lot of them. It's always interesting when it comes up-
Anne Jones: First listing, shit I'm gonna have to go back and look at that.
Mike Schneider: You'll have to figure that one out, that's important.
Anne Jones: Yeah.
Mike Schneider: But I like that it was stick shift because I learned long thrust stick shift.
Anne Jones: I burned the transmission out that summer.
Mike Schneider: Yeah exactly.
Anne Jones: But I remember the first house sold but I can't remember my first listing.
Mike Schneider: Well since your first job was in real estate that's my next question, how'd you get into real estate? I'd love to hear a little bit about the arc of your career in real estate.
Anne Jones: My dad's a retired home builder and so the first job that I had was on the weekends working for a local agent who's still in business at their office and of course lots has changed since then but it was just like a weekend receptionist job. I didn't actually think I'd enter the business as a career like many sort of second generation realtors, I don't think you see yourself going into it but just found my way back. My degree is in communication, spent some time kind of on the publishing side of things but that business was consolidating and changing at the time I was coming out of college and so just found my way back in the construction side and project management and eventually over into real estate.
Mike Schneider: Wow and now you run Abode?
Anne Jones: Yes.
Mike Schneider: Well I'd love to hear more about that but specifically where at first, all about the relationships aspect of the business and it's fascinating to me that despite all the technology and [inaudible 00:02:38] was just on stage talking about this that your relationships are your one frontline defense to all the technology that's coming and that's kind of what we're actually building technology for. I'd love to hear how you view relationships playing into your business or your agent's businesses?
Anne Jones: Well first of all I don't see technology as a threat, I mean I think it's great, it helps us be more productive, it helps manage more things, I love that part of it and I don't worry about the business going away because it is so relationship based. I happen to live and work in the community where I grew up in, where I went to college in, so for me I've got a deep sort of embedded network that I rely on. Then within our agent community even we work in an area where agents know each other, I mean that's an important part of buying and selling houses is to have good relationships with the other agents in your community.
Mike Schneider: You know who's on the other side of the transaction, you know what they're like.
Anne Jones: Yep and hopefully they know you.
Mike Schneider: Sure.
Anne Jones: That's essential and I don't see that changing.
Mike Schneider: Yeah how does it play into winning business? I think we often gloss over the, it's core obviously. What does that look like on a day to day basis?
Anne Jones: For me on the agents side and I still do plenty of selling but it's about letting people discover you and actually building a relationship with you before you ever get to their kitchen table or before they ever come into the office and meet you so that the first meeting is warm. We don't do cold calling, that's not our style, it works for some people and I don't want to discount that in any way but for us it's about you want them to choose you. That's where the marketing's been more successful for me through video, through social media, just letting people get a sense of how you are, it's a seriously overused work in our industry but being authentic. I mean being approachable and then just being that same person in person that you are online so that there's that great just moment that happens when you meet for the first time.
Mike Schneider: And it reinforces what they're been seeing on that. Well you're in communications, can you give us any tips or tricks on that in terms of being real and vulnerable?
Anne Jones: Mostly just doing it and finding a way to do it whether it's with a friend or just some platform that's comfortable to you so that you can come across the more in alignment with your actual personality you are the more effective it will be in my experience unless you're just a total jerk in which case you'll attract other jerks, it'll work great.
Mike Schneider: One of the problems we've identified, it's just a challenge in a relationship driven business is that we work with top agents and teams across the country and they end up with hundreds of past clients and thousands of relationships. I'm very curious how do you, what are some of the sparks, how do you re engage because you can't possibly stay in conversation relationship so how do you, someone you sold a house to three years ago and they haven't reached out, you haven't really connected, how do you re engage with them when you know it's now time to reconnect?
Anne Jones: It's definitely a challenge to stay inflow with clients that are somewhere down the line. Now one of the benefits for me is again I work in a smaller community, I don't work a huge geographic radius, I do think that's helpful. It was an important piece when I came into the business because I looked at it and said I want to live and work and interact, I want the way that I stay in flow with my clients to go out to be trying the new business, to going to the grocery store, to participate in a community event if I'm at it. Like last weekend was pride and the blues festival in our community, I want to go do those things with my family and then bump into people that I know and that is ideal to me because again it's not formulated, it's not something that-.
Mike Schneider: Then it's the serendipitous, "Oh it's so good to see you again."
Anne Jones: Yeah I'm not dropping some random thing off at your porch and thinking you're going to think of me when you throw that crap in the garbage, it's really something that is just you're living your life and they're living their life and you're being positive and you're supporting important things in you community and what a wonderful thing to connect over.
Mike Schneider: Yeah that's great so if you have proximity and you can just have those serendipitously happening.
Anne Jones: Yeah I mean and that's obviously then in combination with visibility on social media, not only posting but also engaging on what they're posting. You know engaging with what's important to them. I will say that's been obviously irreplaceable for me because you cannot come in contact with all of those people at one time.
Mike Schneider: Yeah great. Best pro tip on managing people? You know like your live and work and be in one place, but what's a pro tip that you'd give an agent on how to manage their relationships?
Anne Jones: Oh manage their relationships with their clients?
Mike Schneider: Yeah, you mentioned the word flow I like that how you said flow, do you have a pro tip on ... any tips and tricks you'd share?
Anne Jones: Just it's funny, it all boils down still to the same basic of treating people the way you want to be treated. When I refer people out to agents in our office I'm able to say I would let them work with my best friend, I would have them work with my mom. I mean you've got to treat that person that you're dealing with like you're going to see them over and over again because you're hoping to build this long life cycle of the business relationship and ideally in my mind a personal relationship also that you'll be someone they trust and value.
Anne Jones: Life is short, communities are small, so when you get to be a part of somebodies like most essential transaction, you do all their really intimate relationship you don't anticipate that it's going to lead to a lot of other interactions that have nothing to do with houses you know that are sort of moments and points in life that keep you connected. That's the coolest part of this job that people don't really expect.
Mike Schneider: That's great, I love that mindset of going into it with a long view. You're going to each relationship and conversation thinking my plan is to be in a relationship with this person.
Anne Jones: Well it's hard to anticipate that when you're new in the business, you know your first three years your scratching and clawing and you're trying to stay in and keep your head above water and get some predictability and as you stay in and you start to just sort of crest you come over that hill where it's like people are calling you, repeat business, and they're referring you to their friends or their kids or they want to buy an investment property and you just don't anticipate that part of the cycle, you just need to stay in it and be a good enough practitioner that they will call you again and I think that's when it gets really rewarding. I mean you're not looking ahead to those sales but you're definitely treating every relationship like it's going to be something more than just this transaction.
Mike Schneider: I like the way you framed it at the beginning which is essentially you're setting yourself up to be their advisor for the long term and so it's not just about any individual sales that I want to build that advisor relationship and overtime sales will come through.
Anne Jones: There was a great remark from the stage this morning that discussion and I apologize I can't think of her name, she was the second generation, I hope I get to meet her in person, the long blonde hair, just super smart. She was saying you know I would pay for a personal shopper, I would pay full price-
Mike Schneider: [inaudible 00:09:28]
Anne Jones: Yes, yes I mean she's fantastic.
Mike Schneider: She is.
Anne Jones: But you know talking about really providing that top notch service and you do not need to worry about that being chiseled away by a discount brokerage or somebody that you're competing with because people want the best there's just not enough people offering it.
Mike Schneider: That's right. Well thank you for being on the show, we really appreciate you sharing some pro tips and wisdom and look forward to hearing more about your brokerage.
Anne Jones: Nice to meet you.
Mike Schneider: Thanks a lot.
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