We can get better… but only when WE want to.

The older I get, the more I look back.  Sometimes I just laugh, and sometimes I probably should cry.

I remember when the internet was the phone book and a set of World Book Encyclopedias.  If you wanted to know something, you either found it in there…or you asked someone else.

I can also remember life without cell phones, although I will readily admit I was among the first to succumb to the addiction in the early 80’s.  My first was a Motorola hand-held, which was purchased for $2850.  Then the monthly service fee plus every nanosecond that it was used.  But it was cool.

Just a few short years ago, our only means of communicating in business was either face-to-face, a phone call, or by mail.

Fast-Forward to today’s times.  We have the internet, we have “google.”  We have Facebook and Twitter to keep abreast of everyone’s last known move.  We have websites instead of showrooms.  We have remote-control home systems.  And now, everything can be accessed by our own personal cell phone.

It amazes me.  Communication has never been easier, while at the same time it has never been more difficult.  People are simply overwhelmed with information and cannot comprehend, or react to, it all at one time.

Those that are getting the messages across are those that know exactly how to attract someone’s interest.  They know exactly what information people search for.  They know how to make themselves stand out in the crowd.

We all can be one of “those” people.

This Thursday morning, yes TOMORROW, the HBAMT Sales & Marketing Council is proud to have Mike Lyon visit Nashville.  Mike is author of the best-selling book “Browsers to Buyers” and will conduct a workshop on just how the internet can be used to build and improve today’s businesses.

The event is hosted by Piedmont Gas at their corporate offices.  Registration and continental breakfast is from 8-9, with the workshop from 9-12.  CLICK HERE for all of the details!

Folks, new technology and the internet is not going away.  There are no “app” substitutes for being likeable and sincere.  And no “app” can take the place of a personal visit.  However, we can position ourselves better for our message to be heard.

But first, we’ve got to learn how to send it.  See you there!

Trey Lewis is VP Sales & Marketing for Ole South Properties Inc, Tennessee’s largest independent home builder,  615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340 or emailTLewis@olesouth.com.  Specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, Gallatin, and Spring Hill, Tennessee.

Nashville New Homes: The Buyer Representation Dilemna

  In over 11 years of on-site new home sales, I have always had the utmost respect for Realtors serving as Buyer-Agents.  They drive clients around to every home that remotely comes close to meeting their specific needs and also keep a vigilant watch for new listings.  They schedule entire days with their clients to evaluate their many choices.

 And then their home buying clients venture out on their own and in many cases develop an interest in properties that have nothing at all in common with the “need query” their agent is trying to satisfy.  All of a sudden, everything “having to be on one level gives way to all bedrooms upstairs,” simply based on the size of the master bedrom and suite bath.  Go figure.

I know this, and have always made it a practice to discover what Realtor the prospect is working with, and after their visit, calling that Realtor to let them know of their client’s visit, and their level of interest in purchasing one of our new homes.  I truly feel this is the right thing to do. 

If I was their agent, I would certainly appreciate the “heads up.”  Over the years, 99% of the Realtors I have had the pleasure to work with have been very appreciative of our bringing their client a step closer to purchasing!  But that leaves the other 1%.

This year has been very perplexing and has put my thoughts of the “right or wrong” thing to do through the ultimate tests.  

Several weeks ago, a very nice family arrived at one of our model homes.  They had seen our “human sign spinners” and came in to investigate.  They really loved what they found.  After all, where else in Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County can you purchase a brand new 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with a garage for $110,000….. with the seller paying all closing costs?

The family left excited and could not wait to call their Realtor to start the process.  With these homes selling fast, I called their Realtor as soon as I could return to the office to bring their visit to attention. 

(Rather than say it was a him or her, I will say their Realtor was an “it.”)

  I spoke to “it” and gave all the details of my visit with the client.  The immediate, yet sarcastic response was “Oh no, you have no clue what they want or need.  They do not want to be in that neighborhood.”

Hmmm.  I was just with them.  They loved the home.  Their only added desire was a smooth top range and side-by-side refrigerator!  Their best friends live right next door.  What did I miss?   Even more, why did I make that call?  

I made the call because it was the right thing to do, especially for the 99% of Buyer Agents that deserve, and would appreciate that call.   Several weeks passed and no sign of that family.  I did follow up with a personal thank you card to the family, but did not want to interfere with their “representation” by “it.”

Yesterday, the family re-appeared, with checkbook in hand ready to purchase the home they had been so excited about.  I asked if their Realtor would be joining us, and the answer was a resounding NO

They informed me that “it” would only show them listings in a different part of town and was virtually refusing to show them anything, or anywhere else.  They were very clear… “It” would not be representing them in any way.

This family will soon be moving into their brand new home and couldn’t be happier.  Their parents are also moving to Nashville next month and left a deposit on a homesite around the corner.  They are all happy, I am happy, and Ole South is happy.  

“It” probably won’t be too happy.  What would you bet that I get a call from “it” insisting on being added to the contract as Buyer’s Agent?  Procuring cause?  My ass.

Being a Realtor is all about bringing willing sellers and willing buyers together.  Everyone has a different idea of what the “perfect home” should be and we Realtors really have no right to impose our personal objections or desires, when they are different from our client’s. 

Whether “it” was simply trying to limit this family’s selection to a certain listing, or “it” really did not personally like another particular area of town, the buyer’s desires and interest clearly were not being addressed. 

And “it” lost out on not one, but two sales.

If “it” had been attentive to our “courtesy call,”  “it” would be in our Yes Club for Realtors from the first sale, and received 4% commission on the second sale… and all future sales for 2011 & 2012. 

The moral of the story…. when a prospect is interested in a new home, especially one built by Ole South, go with them to look at it.  It will be a deal.  They will be happy, and you will be too.

So much for the 1% and thank goodness for the other 99%.  Perhaps we can create another professional designation for those “its”….CDA.  (Certified Dumb Ass.) 

In the meantime, I’ll continue calling Realtors when their clients show interest in our homes and keep my fingers crossed that they will fall in the 99% category!

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, and Spring Hill, Tennessee

Nashville New Homes: “Yes” Days of Summer – Week #1

For all of us at Ole South, this week was the official start of summer.  It was for all of the thermometers in the Nashville area also!

The “Yes Days of Summer” are officially underway and we will host numerous events throughout the summer for our residents, Realtors, and prospective home buyers.  Join Ole South on Facebook for breaking news of future events.  www.facebook.com/olesouthproperties.

We selected our Preserve at Old Hickory / Old Hickory Commons neighborhood to kick-off this years celebrations.  The residents there had organized a neighborhood yard sale for Saturday, and this weekend was Nationwide Open House Weekend too. 

My day started at Kroger at 7:00 am Saturday, purchasing the food and drink for the event.  I hate shopping and I always forget something.   My rationale for waiting until Saturday morning was that it would be cooler.  It wasn’t.

Shopping finally complete and arrived at Preserve at Old Hickory, where Grand Central Party was waiting to unload and set-up.  If you ever plan an event, you owe it to yourself to check this place out.  They have everything for rent, and it is very affordable.  Not only that, they make it all so easy.  http://www.grandcentralparty.com/

After everything was set up and organized, we fired the grills in the blistering heat.  I then told Wanda Comer, the beloved on-site manager at Preserve, to “shoot me” if I ever agreed to do this again when it was this hot.   She won’t.  And I am certain we’ll do it again, real soon…. because days like this really are fun!   Here, take a look….

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Unlike “general” Real Estate, the best part of building and selling new homes is that we have the opportunity for continued involvment with our home buyers in shaping their community.  We see marriages, we see children grow up, and we have an opportunity, and responsibility to become involved in the community to make a difference in the quality of life experience.   Most of all, we make friends.

Wanda Comer takes these opportunities to make a difference and that is obvious by the admiration, love and respect her residents have for her.   Here is Wanda, presenting the $100 Gift Card drawing to resident Ashanti Chunn, who just happened to be out the door on the way to the store when Wanda called!

 Wanda is not the only one making a difference in the Preserve.  John Donlon and Annette Spicer manage the adjoining Old Hickory Commons neighborhood of maintenance-free townhomes and were on hand all day as well.  Chuck Reed, our Managing Broker, hovered over the grill  to make certain all had plenty to eat.  He also made some tasty snow cones.  Thanks also to our construction staff for making sure the grounds were in order and everything we needed to work with was on-hand.

However, the ones that make the biggest difference are the residents of these two communities!  They are very active in the HOA, have formed “Neighborhood Watch” groups, and are taking great pride in the future of their neighborhood.

We also had a visit from District 32 Councilman, Sam Coleman.  Sam has been a great friend to this community, as well as our entire city.  He has served two successful terms as District Councilman and will be running for Council-at-Large in the upcoming August election.  Sam is worthy of our support and will have my vote for sure.

This was a fun week and a great start to the “Yes Days of Summer!”  Earlier in the week, we hosted Gary Ashton & The Ashton Real Estate Group (TAREG) of Re/Max Elite (http://www.nashvillesmls.com/) for an afternoon on Old Hickory Lake followed by evening dinner at The Black Pearl Restaurant.  www.blackjackcove.com

Especially these days, no one is working harder than Realtors, but we all have to play every once in a while!  The saying about “all work and no play” needs to be revised to “all work and no play makes Jack a miserable person.”   A great time was had by all!

 Here’s to the 2011 Yes Days of Summer!

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, and Spring Hill, Tennessee

Nashville New Homes: Attention Realtors: “Thou shalt have free food and fun”

Let’s face it, the economic times of the past several years has taught us (forced us is more like it) to realize that we can get by on less.  Less business, less money, and sadly…less fun. 

But for those that will pull their head out of the sand, there is still a lot of fun to be had… and a lot of it involves complimentary food and spirits too!  There is absolutely no excuse for being bored or hungry in the Real Estate business.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

This Tuesday, May 17th, all Realtors, Home Builders, and Trade Vendors are invited to a poolside mixer at the Governors Club.  The event is from 4:00 – 7:00 pm and will feature complimentary beer, wine, and appetizers.  (A cash bar will be on hand for those that cannot compromise their distinguished tastes.)  Here is a link to all you need to know about this exciting evening event:

http://www.hbamt.net/smc-mixer-0511.htm

Many thanks to Christina Cunningham and The Governors Club for hosting this fun evening!

Membership in The Sales & Marketing Council of the HBAMT is not limited to Home Builders and their on-site agents.  It is open to all Realtors whose firms are members of the association.  The SMC’s monthly meetings are great networking events where you will learn more about exciting topics, as well as enjoy complimentary breakfast.  Want to know more?  Drop by the Governor’s Club on Tuesday, contact any SMC member, or give me a call at 615.593.6340.

Summer is right around the corner and you can also be assured Ole South will host many events worthy of attending.  Our first “Yes Days of Summer Celebration” for 2011 will be held at our Preserve at Old Hickory neighborhood on Saturday, June 4th.  

Enjoy food, refreshments, games, waterslide, and prizes while you see first hand the exciting new homes that Ole South has to offer!  There will even be a community-wide yard sale.  Mark your calendars and watch the Ole South Facebook page for more updates and events.   www.facebook.com/olesouthproperties.

In the meantime, take a closer look at all the emails you receive from the many different Realtors, builders, and their organizations.  There are a multitude of great networking events happening each week.  Any one of them could change your business plan for the better!  And nothing beats free food, drink, and fun!

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, and Spring Hill, Tennessee