Read more from our conversation here:
Mark Slade: Hi, I’m Mark Slade from Keller Williams.
Molly McKinley: Perfect. All right. So the first thing `I’m curious about is what does the word undisruptable mean to you?
Mark Slade: Being undisruptable means being impervious to the changes that are going around you. Not ignoring them, but working with them and then reinventing yourself to be a continuing relevant business entity.
Molly McKinley: So tell me a little bit about some of the things that did to become undisruptable for your business.
Mark Slade: So we’ve seen a lot of change in the marketplace. We hear a lot of talk and chatter, and we try to put that off to the sides. We try to put ourselves in our clients’ shoes. So we try to find a way to relieve their stress points and make the process, whether they’re listing their home, where they’re buying homes with us that much easier but also more complete. So, it means having the extra knowledge to give them a tour of the property, walk the ins and outs of it, but also let them know that you’re not just buying a house, you’re selling into a community as well. So giving them a tour of the community is really important. Maybe having a cup of coffee with them so they get to see the residents in the town they’re moving into to make sure they’re completely comfortable. So that’s an extra layer of personal touch, which I think can’t go away, and should never go away from the process.
Molly McKinley: So is there a moment or a story that you have where you felt like you’ve gone or you’ve witnessed someone going way above and beyond and it’s like, this is what real estate really looks like and that I wish everybody understood.
Mark Slade: Well, it’s not unheard of for us to be in a position where when we’re helping someone sell their home, we get there moments before the photo shoot even though we’ve given them a full set of instructions. And the next thing you know, we’re rolling up our sleeves, and we’re running around moving furniture and putting toilet seats down and cleaning off counters. My business partner, I love telling this story that we had a closing and the sellers called us and they said we can’t close. We just got too much stuff. We’re never going to get out of the house.And she was ready to go to the gym, and instead she ran over and her sweatpants and spent the next three and a half hours helping unpack boxes, load up the truck. And at 11:15 pm I got a picture from her that we gave to the attorneys to show that we were ready to go. So it’s about getting it done because it’s not so automatic. I mean, especially in the contrast of what’s happening with being close to this disruption is, “Oh, everything is so much easier.” It’s digital this digital that. There’s a lot of physical components that go into the ideas of real estate, the functionality of real estate.
Molly McKinley: That’s awesome. If you’re sitting around a table with people and everybody is sort of feeling heavy about all of this stuff and not quite sure where they fit into the equation, what, do you want to say to them with all of the i-buying and commissions reductions?
Mark Slade: Well, I’ve been a Zillow premier agent for a long time and they tell you that a Zestimate is just a calculation using an algorithm. It doesn’t mean it actually is accurate for that particular property. So letting people know that the experience of an agent, the eyes of an agent make such a huge difference and what can occur. We had a seller that bought a house at the end of November, not with us, and she decided a month later she couldn’t take it. She needed to be back in New York City. And so she called us and we met with her. She had bought a foreclosure, it had a decent kitchen, but other than that, it was an average house. We came in, we met with her several times. We had her spend about 6,500 on staging and painting and some other repairs. And because of everything that we asked her to do, we sold her house for $537,000 when she had paid 449 for it. So we more than made her investment. And how was that going to happen without that kind of guidance? That’s the kind of stuff that’s not…I don’t know how that’s going to be approached with disruption, so to speak, or the disruptors. I don’t know if they really know how to do that. You need someone who’s local to the market, who knows the market, who knows what’s going to work, what’s important, what’s going to get you the best ROI. You just can’t have anybody walk in and necessarily give advice.
Mark Slade: Stop focusing on the worry. Stop looking over your shoulder. Do things productive. One of the things that we’ve done is that we continue to brand ourselves. I have a brand experience from the fashion industry, and to me that’s something we put a lot of time and a lot of money into and our brand is not just about pretty pictures, it’s about what we do. It’s anything from our 1950 classic pickup truck that’s at sponsored events that are supportive of the townships that we’re in. And last year we added a moving truck, which is hard to miss. So it’s like the eyewitness news van going across. People are always seeing it, and that’s a service to make our clients make their jobs easier, getting their houses ready to sell. And also we let the music for local moves. So branding is about a reinforcement of a mission, reinforcement of what you offer, and what you want to do to help people, and relieve their stress points when it comes to the home buying and the home selling process.
Molly McKinley: How important is your reputation in this industry?
Mark Slade: Your reputation should be paramount. Granted there are people that are very prolific and whether they have good reputations or not, that’s not for somebody else to answer. Subscribing to Brian Buffini, obviously your best chance of building business is doing a great job for someone so they can recommend you to other people. My phone has rung since the first of the year, about 11 times from past clients either referring, people are telling me now it’s time for them to do something. It’s not that far into the year and yet that’s what happens when you do the kind of job that you’re proud of, that you are happy to have your brand associated with. And we always subscribed. We pushed to no end to make sure that we make our customers as happy as they possibly can.
Molly McKinley: Any final parting words that you want to share to anybody out there in this industry about what you’ve learned about being undisruptable?
Mark Slade: Yes. The best way to be undisruptable is to continue to persevere, to continue to reinvent yourself, meaning take advantage of what’s out there and what’s evolving to make things easier for you. But also remember to own yourself. Own who you are. Own who your brand is, and be happy doing what you’re doing. So in a certain sense, if you put the P for perseverance, the R for reinvention and the O for ownership, you’re a pro.
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