Rama Mehra can pinpoint the moment when she shifted from showing houses to being a business owner. It was 2010. After working for two different real estate companies, she sensed that her learning opportunities – and consequently her growth – had stalled. She found what she was looking for with Keller Williams Realty: training and education that shifted her mindset from being a real estate agent to being a business owner and operator.
Mehra had emigrated from Nairobi, Kenya, in 1999. After exploring multiple career paths, she started selling real estate on a part-time basis in 2004. Three years later, her hard work was paying off. But increased sales brought unexpected growing pains. A diabetic, Mehra was working around the clock, disregarding her health while trying to be all things to all people. She wanted more for her and her family and decided to hire the best showing agent she could imagine: her husband, Sunil.
Having spent years as a successful CFO for a biotech company, Sunil Mehra was excited about learning a new industry and enjoyed the people part of real estate. He began showing properties exclusively, helping to grow the business until a second showing agent and second assistant were added in quick succession. Today, Rama’s team at the Danville (Calif.) market center consists of a full-time client care manager, a marketing coordinator, a part-time virtual assistant and two showing agents.
“Having great people in place to help me has given me immense leverage and has changed my life,” Rama Mehra says. “This model works. We have established processes that benefit our clients, my team members and me. And our production has increased 50 percent for the last two years.”
With well-defined roles and proven processes, Rama Mehra has built a top reputation and a 93 percent referral rate. Here’s how that process looks on paper:
Q & A with Mehra
Q: There are two keys to showing fewer homes. The first is conducting a thorough buyers consultation. How does your team prequalify buyers during the consultation?
A: My first and most important question is to find out if they are prequalified. If they are not, I refer them to the lender.
We work hard to prequalify with a set of questions to thoroughly understand their goals and requirements. Ninetynine percent of clients come in with false expectations. Disregarding the price temporarily, I show them all the properties that match what they desire and require. Usually, there is a disconnect between what they can afford and what they want. It’s important for them to know that we are not magicians. We outline realistic expectations, help them understand monthly payments, and let them know that we have our own reputation on the line to only bring prequalified buyers to the table. We deal with a lot of Indian clients, so we understand what they are looking for with regard to Feng shui. We ask them to talk first. Then I carefully explain our structure and let them know that they will be assigned to a
dedicated showing agent and that I will oversee the process.
This is the time when I let them know that there won’t be commission rebates. These conversations ensure there are no surprises after the consultation.
Q: The second key to showing fewer homes and having buyers love it is the process of viewing homes. What is the difference between showing homes and selling homes?
A: Our buyer consultation is thorough. We explain everything. Once we understand their budget and requirements, we are very strategic about which homes we show. We send a customized weekly email newsletter called “the Best Buy List”, which features properties that match their criteria and would be of specific interest to them. It contains links, photos, and details for fresh, new properties each week. This has been a very effective way for us to virtually put the right homes in front of our clients to reduce unnecessary showings. Here’s a sample of the text in the Best Buy List.
Dear Client, I scour our local Multiple Listing Service every day, looking for homes for my clients. It’s part of the service that I provide to each and every client. I delight in finding homes that match your criteria. You might enjoy seeing a list of the homes in Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, and Pleasanton that are best buys. They are homes that are listed for under $XXX,XXX. Here’s the list of homes for you.
Another thing we strongly caution against is clients looking at homes without us. This is something we cover well in the consultation. We can’t protect their best interests if they go out looking or to open houses without us. It happens very infrequently, but it has happened, so we arm our clients with a few of our cards to present to other agents should they find themselves without us inside a house on the market.
Q: What challenges have you encountered with the way your team is structured?
A: Thankfully, not many. It’s working!