Working with Buyers, Working with Sellers: How to Grow Your Business and Deliver Great Service

Sep 22, 2013 4:46:29 PM

Mega Camp attendees had the opportunity to hear how some of the fastest-growing Keller Williams teams are expanding their businesses through back-to-back panels focused on buyers and sellers.

Working with Buyers

The buyers panel featured Jillene Snell of Bellingham (Wash.) and Sarita Dua of Portland (Ore.). Snell, who serves as team manager for the Ben Kinney Home4Investement team, recounted the challenges of building a successful organization. Former Southwest Airlines CEO Howard Putnam’s keynote presentation earlier in the week really resonated with her, Snell said: “Whenever there’s turbulence, simplify, simplify, simplify.”


Snell described the four-pronged strategy that keeps the Ben Kinney Home4Investment Team focused:

  1. Say the right thing. They practice scripts and dialogues every morning. “If you’re invested in your success, you start your day early,” she said. “On our team, attendance is not an option. If you don’t attend, you don’t receive any leads. We take scripts from KW MAPS Coaching and KWU (Keller Williams University) and modify them for our market. It’s been transformational for the company and it has helped to bring the team together as one unit.”
  2. Say it enough times. “We ‘Do the 50,’ Snell said. That’s 50 calls every single day, which are tracked through a CRM database. “That’s 50 dials to individuals not under contract. And that’s the number people we can get through in a three-hour block.”
  3. Have enough people to say it to. “When an agent joins, we expect them to bring 50 percent of the leads to the table and for the team to match that.”
  4. Be accountable. Snell leads weekly 411 accountability sessions with all of the team’s buyers agents. They’re only 15 minutes long and focus on the ONE thing that’s most important to focus on that week. At the beginning of each session, she turns over a sand timer to show how time is literally passing away. Snell takes inspiration from 38-year-old Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who advocates “ruthless prioritization.”

The biggest challenges Snell and the team’s buyers agents face are low inventory, staying focused and attracting talent.

Sarita Dua joined Keller Williams Realty three years ago after attending Mega Camp. “I came away from a week of listening to the best of the best and realized it wasn’t the market that was holding me back, it was me,” she said.

She’s increased her units from around 50 transactions a year to more than 100. The ONE thing they did was focus. “It’s a sellers’ market in Portland. We’re excited about working with buyers.” In her team’s model, the showing assistant handles everything up to the contract. They make a point of teeing up clients to expect great service from each member of their team. One of the team’s differentiators is their ability to successfully negotiate multiple offers, such as a recent deal they won over 22 other offers.

Dua praised KW MAPS Coach, Tony DiCello for helping craft their marketing strategy, with messages like, “Are you tired of losing in the market? We have what it takes to win!”

Dau certainly knows what it takes to win; she also knows the important of taking time to herself and her family. Audience members applauded her commitment to time-blocking her vacations: nine weeks a year – or more than two months.

Working with Sellers

Craig Reger of Portland (Ore.) had a breakthrough this year. Through coaching calls with DiCello, he decided it was time to take his business to the next level. And the ONE thing they could do is increase their number of listings.


He challenged his team to increase their listings from an average of five per month to one listing a day for 90 straight days.

They practiced scripts, tracked each other’s success and time-blocked to keep their focus. “The world can begin at 11:01 a.m.,” he explained in reference to the prescribed three-to-four hours of lead generation they do every weekday morning.

They generated a list of 100,000 expireds from several years ago and enticed sellers with a simple script: “You expired at $300,000. We could probably sell your home for $350,000 today and I have 20 buyers looking for exactly this type of property.

They secured five listings in the first five days and never looked back. They were operating with a sense of urgency. “We knew we had a number to hit,” Reger said.

There were challenges, of course, but they were good problems to have, like seven listing appointments a day for two weeks straight.

“We created a culture and habit that will forever be part of this business,” Reger said. For the first time in his career, he has a predictable business. “Out of 400 calls, we’ll get 100 pick-ups, which will generate two-to-three listing appointments.”

A talented new member of their team got her license and used a brilliant Facebook post to great effect: “I’m practicing CMAs. Who wants to know their home value?” The post led to four closed contracts.

Unlike their competitors, Reger and his team took full advantage of yard signs and the opportunity to show that they had sold homes. We found the biggest “SOLD” signs we could and made it a policy to have them up within an hour of closing. It was not uncommon for neighbors to leave in the morning and see the “FOR SALE” sign and arrive home to find it had “SOLD.”

Reger’s 90-day challenge was so successful he’s started a 60-day contest for his buyers.

Josh Pomerleau of Minneapolis (Minn.) was also motivated by a number, in his case 100. He and his wife/business partner wanted to achieve 100 active listings. First, they went after short sales. They started video blogging. They also started hiding from buyers – literally. If a buyer walked into their office, they’d hide in an unmarked suite next door.

Their focus on ONE Thing – listings – has led to great success and they’re reinvesting in the business to make it even more successful. “I wish we had picked 200 for our number,” Pomerleau said.

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