It’s the team with weariness.
I'm not weary anymore.
I can tell that because you get to the point where you grow. Number one, we're not meant to be alone. One of my favorite verses that I had at the wedding is Ecclesiastes 4:2. It’s like, “A quarter of three strands is not easily broken.” When you weave together your support network, you can go through 90 million times more stress than you could before. Leanna Horne has one of my favorite quotes. It’s like, “It's not the load that breaks you down. It's the way you carry it.” When you have the right team shouldering alongside you, you can do anything. It's not 1 + 1 = 2. It’s 1 + 2 = 11, 111 or 1,000. It's synergistic.
For leaders out there, we have this great man theory. It’s like, “I was with them, and I'm the one.” Maybe you think that in your 30s and 40s when you're out there lighting the world on fire and burning the candle at both ends. The older you get, the more you realize, “Life is way more tremendous when done in fellowship with other leaders with a shared vision.”
Let's be honest. I turned 52. I had to think about that. I'm like, “We should stop celebrating birthdays.” I realized once you hit 50, we should not celebrate. I realized we have to celebrate so we remember how old we are.
The best years are coming.
I am starting to have a life a little bit again. That's new for me. I’m like, “I can plan something.” For a while, we wouldn't plan a vacation we couldn't drive to because we would miss planes. We weren't making it. The other reality is I'm not getting any younger. The buyers get younger. It doesn't matter how much knowledge I have and how good I am at what I do. I'm smart enough to know that I need to start training other people to have that knowledge and information. Build them up and help them be successful. Hopefully, they'll stay with me. If they don't, then I wish them nothing but the best.
It's about supporting us. Honestly, more agents are properly trained out there, which is why I do help agents from other brokerages because if they're not trained or they don't know, that's not beneficial to me. I'd rather people be educated out there in the field because it reflects on all of us in this industry. We can train people. I said to one of our agents under us, I'm like, “You may only be 21, but you will be me someday. I have no doubt about it.” She has the drive, ambition, and enthusiasm, and I'm like, “I have no problem giving you all of my knowledge and information.”
That's the mark of a true leader. The number of other leaders raise up. You're hitting it. This is about the time in life when you start looking back and saying, “Okay.” What did I always hear? The 20 to 40 is the learning. The 40 to 60 is the earning. The 60 to 80 is the yearning. The 80 to 100 is your blowout, and do the highest level of service. You're in that where you're earning power, but you're also starting. I'm glad you're doing it at 52. That's progressive and evolved, Nicole. Good for you.
You do know that I plan to sell real estate until I die.
I know. You'll be signing the last contract. Go to heaven.
I had a client say to me, “I certainly hope you live a long time because I don't want to have to go find another realtor.”
You're not going to be selling another house for me because, as Mike said, “The only time I'm leaving this house is going to be in a hearse.” I'm like, “Amen, we're in it.” You might find us a second or third.
We had that conversation when you bought it. We wanted to make sure it was your forever home, and it's amazing. I learned so much from our dear Molly Garman, who sold real estate until she passed. I'm not as tough as her, but one of the biggest things I learned from her was she did not give her respect willingly, not unwillingly, but as an agent, I had to earn it and work for it. Once you had it, you had it. God loves her.
I know there's a 50/50 in Carlisle of the love and hate from Molly Garman. She said what she said, what she thought, and that was it. She fought for her clients. She was tough. What an amazing role model for me to have starting out in the business. God rest her soul, but I planned fully to still be selling real estate as she was at that time.
My father spoke up until he lost his voice, but he whispered, “Finish the race strong.” That's what you do. We did loneliness and weariness. The next topic he talked about was abandonment. For us puppy lovers, abandonment has a negative connotation, fear of abandonment, but that's not the abandonment we're talking about.
What my father said was, “We need to stop spending time and hanging out with people and thinking about things we like and want to do and think about in favor of what we ought and need.” It was about pruning out the non-essentials, the things that weren't the highest use of our time, and the things that weren't going to get us to where we wanted to go.
Nicole, with all the different things, people come to you who were like, “Try this. Do this marketing. Do this team. Advertise here.” How do you stay tightly focused on your clientele, what you want to do, and your zone of genius? Somebody told me, “Tracey, don't be a jack of all trades, master of none. The more niche you go, the more you grow. You define that.” How do you stay so tightly focused?
The joke is I'm a squirrel. We have a sign in our office about squirrels. You have to be a squirrel to be successful in real estate because it is constantly changing from minute to minute. You have many plates in the air spinning, and you have to figure out how to focus them all into the same spot and stack them neatly.
My phone rings constantly with the next, latest, greatest, and best things. I don't buy my leads. I don't pay for lead generation. I do a mix of old school and new school. Here's a novel idea. Let's have a personal touch. Send a newsletter quarterly with actual information in it and things people like. Do a customer appreciation event. If I were to sign up for everything that I get a phone call for in a week, I don't know how anybody could keep track of it.
Here's the question. Even if you have somebody in in-house sales who's emailing those people and trying to be in touch with them, are you giving them that personal feeling they need? People forget real estate is personal. If you get married and you have children, you buy a house. Those are huge decisions. Everyone was like, “It's technology. The Millennials are all about the internet. They want to do that.” I'm like, “No.”
I did a class at a convention several years ago about dealing with Millennials. I'm like, “You're missing the boat here. You think that they're only digital. They're not. Yes, we have to text them to tell them that we're calling them and to please answer their phone because they're not going to listen to voicemail and call you back, but they are not as connected as we think.”
I pay attention to what is going on and what the needs are of people. I don't buy into every platform out there that's offering the next latest and greatest thing. I am staying true to what I have done from day one, which is answering the phone, responding to emails, responding to text messages, and sending out newsletters. I hand-sign 1,000 Christmas cards. I start in October, and I hand-sign them.
When it was smaller, I could do hand notes. Now, it's like carpal tunnel. It's a real thing. I at least hand-sign them. Those personal things go a long way because it is personal. With this younger generation, we're seeing that their parents are more involved in house buying. Don't focus on those clients. Focus on the whole family. Make everyone know they're important in this decision. That's probably the key. I don't have to get onto the next, each latest and greatest, because I have the here and now that has been the greatest for many years for me. Why would I change that?
I love that you talk to anybody. Most of our audience is in commission-based real estate, life insurance, financial services, and network marketing. You get it. When you build that book of business, it's all repeats and referrals. Even for speaking in publishing, I don't go out and advertise. So and so heard me or published with me. How'd you hear about me? You get to that point because it's relationship-based.
I'm like you. I love technology. ChatGPT has changed my life, but I'm never going to stop being able to use this mind, connect with people, and hug them. You're unstoppable because you have the resource of technology combined with the personal touch. We're not robots. We're still flushing blood with emotions. We still have needs. You're right. A home is a personal thing and one of the biggest investments most people are going to make in their lives.
This is where I was super smart. When I was looking at the people to partner with, I was smart enough to partner with a few tech-savvy people. That's what we're honing in on a couple of platforms. We don't want to be on every platform. It's too much because people slip through the cracks. People talk about bad experiences more than they talk about good experiences. They're going to remember that more than the good.
We don't want to have too many platforms. We're honing in on which platforms are the best for us to focus on marketing. We have a huge marketing budget that we're like, “Let's do some paper, maybe billboard, and this for digital.” We're blending the old with the new because I don't know about you, but in real estate, realtors were successful a long time ago, before there was the internet.
That's what I tell people. I'm like, “You realized several years ago none of this was around?” It was the dawn of mankind up until several years ago. We have one of our authors who came out with a book in 2022, 94 years young. He is like, “Tracey, I'm going to print off the sheet and mail it to people.” He drove sales through the roof.
Never underestimate. It wasn't his older people. They got it in the mail, and they're like, “Otherwise digital, it's busy.” There are times when I'm not on social media, LinkedIn, or even in my email for days, and it's gone. It's good, especially since tech is another resource. It means enabling, but it's not the answer. It certainly will never eliminate the need for a personal touch.
There is power in print. You see what you touch with what you do. He's an example. Even for our fundraiser coming up, we do an ad in the Pennysaver. Let me tell you. Those bingo people came out of the woodwork. I said, “Let's try this in real estate.” You can tell hardcore bingo people, “I'm going to go for fun.” I'm like, “Go for fun.” Some of them are scary.
I'm like, “This is the power of paper.” Even if it's once or twice a year, the full-page ad. I've had recognition come through from Lebanon of like, “I saw your full-page ad.” Normally, it's nothing in particular, but it's there. They save it. I don't know how often you come across it. I come across it more. I have clients that don't have cell phones and computers.
I have it, too. They'll call me, and they want me to process an order. They don't even pay online. Are you kidding me? A huge portion of our audience is 60-plus. They're like, “Yeah, I’m not doing it.” I'm like, “I'll be here to help you out.” If I didn't have that ability or have a number and let everything bots do it, I'd lose them.
It's being evolved to blending it all.
I have a true bingo story. I'm not going to say what town I was in. I played bingo once at a VFW hall and I made a mistake. It was an honest mistake, but I was never more scared. I said, “I'm never playing bingo again because I'm not savvy enough. They go in there. They're ready.” One of my friends is like, “Go, come play.” I forget what happened. I didn't call something. It's like poker. I'm not going to play poker because if I lose the table, I can go to war, but I can't handle the pressure of poker or bingo.
Your mistake was going to VFW because they do bingo every week. Did you see the people that had their gnomes and their five different daubers?
I should've known right then. They were like, “I went to war with these people. It doesn't matter. This is bingo. This is a whole other thing. Get out.” I was like, “Respect. I'm with you.”
The beautiful thing about this is that we have other brokerages. Some of their agents are sponsoring. From three other brokerages, they have reserved a table for ten. It was funny because, in 2023, some of the Hannas can't come out because I picked a date that they're at a manager's meeting in Ohio. I get it. In 2022, they were there. They were like, “Nicole, I can't believe how many agents you pulled in from other brokerages.” I'm like, “It’s because we can get along. We are competing, but we don't have to not get along.”
That's where people miss the boat because I'll even hear from AJ. Carlisle is small. Everybody knows each other. We compete, but we don't have to be ugly about it. Let's be good human beings. Let's come together for the greater good of the children in our backyard. There have been multiple agents in this region whose children, not Howard Hanna, because it's anyone, have benefited from the money we raise at Hershey or Harrisburg. Let's put all the competition aside and let's have a good time. That's been nice for the area because they're like, “We did it in the spring. We're doing it in the fall. Can we reserve another table? That was great.” They liked seeing these other brokerages there. That's what you want.