Ok, this is all about me! Aren't you excited to read on..Not? Ok, hey, I'm in real estate, there's thick skin on this body..well.too much, gotta hit the gym.
Moving right along with the story about Shirlee, "in the beginning or back in the day." Mom (Jean Carney) founded this family owned boutique real estate agency back in 1983. You already know that part,so let's get to the "juicey stuff".
My fabulous, Greek husband went along with my crazzy plan. Then my daugter's family (Tiffany/Assistant/& Chiropractor with Island family Chiropractic, til she moved to Fairhope), moved here to take care of my mom's husband, Al Carney, and her Poppy. It was definitely a labor of love for my mom and my husband jumped right in, even though he had his own job in Pensacola working with Gooden Homes.
Just an fyi, I didn't get my real estate leads from my mom. Heck, most of my mom's friends/clients/ were either already dead or about to die. No disrespect meant, however, that's the way it was in 2002 for me coming back to the Island and starting up her business.
Back in the day, I worked with my mom and started up a small rental business. So, I didn't realize how hard it was going to be for myself. Raising a teenager. Renting the units, cleaning the units so clean you could eat off the floor (provided you were that hungry), then bringing the dirty linens home to wash for the next cleaning. Of course, that was after I worked with Tifffany on her home work. Some nights there was no sleep. Obviously, I was younger then.
Now, do you want to know how I managed to get business in real estate, after coming back to the Island, when 19 years had passed? Oh, yes you do:)) Odd thing, when prospects call, you answer the phone or better yet, return that call. And, that's how the leads started for me. Along with my famous quote: "folks don't care what you know, til they know that you care." I cared, now I had to know.
So, you ask yourself, how did she get to know the Island and all the area? You are asking yourself that, right? Well, one day,while I was driving along jotting down the names of the condos all the way from West Beach to Perdido, I almost took out some snowbirds while they were taking their daily walk, no disrespect meant.
After I became familiar with all those condos/homes. The most recent listings and sold properties, they were printed and placed in a folder, marked for that property. In the summer time, I'd go to each development and just browse. It's amazing how many vacationers wanted to know what was for sale or what had sold. If they were interested in having a follow up, they would fill out a profile sheet and we would include them in our data base (with their approval of course), Or, better yet, I would set an appointment to show various units while they were vacationing. It's all about building that relationship. So far, how does that sound to you? Well, it wasn't always pleasant. Have you ever experienced being in a sauna fully dressed? Have you ever smelled someone who would have been in a sauna fully dressed? Not a pleasant odor. Therefore, like the ole cartoon character," Peppy La Pue" the skunk...I wasn't always well received. Even with the kids. Now, that's pretty bad.
Another way my business grew? When Thunder on the Gulf (as an example), was running, I'd still be working. You have guessed it by now, I had/have no life. Pretty boring person, cuz I was still working and answering the phones. Other realtors had/have balance, not me. So, when the prospect would call another agency and at times no answers/or returns, they would phone me. Remember those Realtors had balance and they had a life. They would call whomever answered. My problem? I never look at a clock, so there were, and still are times, I'm out showing til 10pm.or later. But, before I worked with them, I would ask, "are you working with another realtor?"Then as long as the client was interested and not just looking to kill some time or write off their trip, we worked together. You don't know anyone who would just wants to kill time or write off their trip, would you? LOL:).
After my mom passed away and I was the only one resposible for keeping the company active, it was time for me to slow down and ask qualifying questions. Are you working with another realtor, etc? Let me share a true story with you. I was working with a prospect, I asked, "are you working with another realtor." They said, "yes." I asked. "Oh, what's their name?" I laughted to myself because I knew how they were going to respond. "Ah, I can't remember." "Agnes, do you know the name of our realtor?" Agnes rolled her eyes, thought a bit, and then said, "you know what George, I don't." Well, to allow them less embarrassement, I said, "that's ok, have your realtor get in touch with me and I'll be glad to give them the properties you selected today." There is not a bone in my body(after moving back to the south, I "used" to consume sweet tea. So finding a bone at this time was a challenge). No, seriously, I would not and will not take another Realtor's client. The reason why: First, that old golden rule "do unto others." Second, this is a small town and we, as realtors, work with each other. They'd kill me and the commission just ain't worth it... Note: I do think "ain't" is in the dictonary, right? Well, humor me, it feels good to say, "ain't". It's like taking a girdle off your mouth. In today's world I suppose you would call it, Spanx! Right, ladies?