The Downside of Getting Caught Up in the Business of Today

Joan Allen on awkward phone calls and proactive marketing.

As I catch glimpses into the lives of busy Windermere Stellar Real Estate Brokers, I am constantly in awe. Between juggling challenges like tough inspections, weekend buyers, scarce inventory and the latest technology that you must learn now, it’s a wonder how you stay sane! You’re expected to know everything and be everything to everyone.

I vividly remember the feeling of just keeping my head above water to survive the demands of a hot marketplace when I was selling real estate. I fell victim to the practice of spending too much time working in my business rather than on my business. It was hard to think about future opportunities when I was immersed in the activities of the day.

Phone Calls: It’s About the Person on the Other End

But when the storm settled (as it always did) I’d panic. Without any clients in the queue, I wasn’t sure where my next sale was coming from, leading me to pick up the phone. Now, anyone who knows me will understand that this action wasn’t easy for me. I’m a social person, but on a deeper, more real level. I’m more apt to talk about what’s really going on — Are you fully engaged on this career path? Is your current situation bringing out the best in you? — rather than safe topics like the weather and sports. And the idea of reaching out to connect with you for the sole purpose of helping me made it even worse!

However, I’d finally set my nervousness aside and ring up past clients, old college buddies and new moms at my kids’ school. I was pleasantly surprised to hear happy voices on the other end. These people actually liked me as their friend, not just as their real estate agent, and were glad to hear from me!

I never made the conversation about me. That was a secondary topic that I didn’t even need to bring up. After hearing about their news — How is your new house? Do you like your neighbors? Is Tommy catching up in school? — the friend on the other end would eventually steer the conversation to my needs because they were genuinely interested in me. Since I just so happened to sell real estate, the conversations always ended with them remembering a cousin who was buying a house or a neighbor who was listing theirs. I never had to make the bold ask. The person on the other end did all the work for me!  

Business Development Program: Help Us Help You

Although times have definitely changed since I actively sold real estate, the most monumental things remain the same. We’re in an industry that will always rely on human interaction. Without it, our business is in jeopardy. However, we realize that today’s variety of communications options make it harder to pick up the phone and high-volume producers will always be short on time.

That’s why we’ve created Windermere Stellar’s new Business Development Program to encourage proactive marketing. We want to help you with the things that are easy to push off — such as maintaining your database, sending mailers out, and more — so that you’re free to engage with your sphere for future business, while simultaneously handling the many details required by current clients and transactions.

Take a few minutes of proactive time this week to see how our Business Development Specialists can help you. I’m sure that back in the day the thought of “taking a few minutes of time” would have sent me into a fit of laughter. But if I had known that 15 minutes of stolen time here and there could impact my business in such a helpful way, I might have reconsidered. The thought of being able to kiss that daunting feeling goodbye — when I’d realize that my busyness had caused my future pipeline to look dim — would have greatly appealed to me. The relief might have inspired me toward making an extra phone call or two. 

Posted on August 11, 2015 at 8:00 am
Joan Tate Allen | Posted in Real Estate Practices |

Safety Tips from My Friends


Real estate offices are bustling, busy places where a friendly buzz of chatter can be overheard. The hottest new listings, tips on smooth transactions and of course the popular question,“where did you get those shoes?” are all important topics you’ll glean when you work among exciting, helpful real estate pros. But underneath it all, a much more serious conversation about safety constantly exists.


In the wake of the tragic loss of one of our own from Arkansas, we are reminded of how frequently this industry leaves us exposed. We trust that weekends spent with buyers will turn into sales. We believe that cooperating brokers will fairly present our clients’ side of the story. But our nearly naked exposure is most extreme when putting our faith in strangers.


Believe me, I know how it feels to open a door for a stranger. Before the opportunity to lead Windermere Stellar surfaced, I was also in your shoes, pounding the pavement as a real estate broker. Here are some snippets of the safety conversations I’ve had during my 26 years in the industry:


  • Park on the street when showing a house so that you are not blocked into the driveway in case you need to make a quick getaway. This goes for open houses too.‚Äč
  • Keep your cell phone on and in your pocket at all times.
  • Keep your car keys with you. Don’t lay them on the table as you walk in the door. You may be able to hit the red panic button on your key fob if you feel like you want to set off your car alarm.
  • Always let someone know where you are and include the address.
  • Try not to show a house alone to a stranger. Take a buddy! A new real estate broker would love to see you in action. Many of your Principal Brokers have offered to accompany you.
  • If you must show a house to a stranger, make it a rule to have them meet you at your office first and then caravan to the listing. Many of the dangerous people will disappear  after this request because it means that others in the office will have set eyes on this stranger. The rules also show that you are aware and to be taken seriously.
  • In Arkansas the realtors are going to get a photo of potential clients’ driver’s licenses before going out with them. Think about it. Car dealerships make you show your DL before letting you test drive a car. 
  • Make sure to drive your own car when showing a house to a stranger.
  • Some brokers elect to remove their headshots from property marketing. They claim it allows more pictures of the listing to be incorporated, however some safety factors might also be relevant.
  • Most importantly, trust your gut. If you are with clients and you feel uncomfortable, just leave the home. Go outside and get in your car. It is not your job to protect someone’s home at your own peril. I was once showing a home and a pit bull followed me into every room. The owner was there and told me that her pit bull was acting strange lately so she didn’t let her five-year-old grandson play with him anymore. I was so scared I left the house with my buyer in the house and waited for him in the car. When he came out, I told him that if he wanted to buy that house he had to get another realtor because I was never going back in there again. He was fine with what I did and he didn’t buy the house.


Since these tips are from wise industry professionals (maybe one of them is from you!), please chime in and share your tips with us in the comments section or on our private Facebook page:


Look for upcoming classes on safety coming to your office or an office near you.

Posted on October 6, 2014 at 10:59 am
Joan Tate Allen | Posted in Real Estate Practices |