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How I Closed $10M in My First Year

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Success Story: How I Closed $10M in My First Year (and Doubled My Business Every Year Since)

By Katherine Mechling

 

When Bay Area REALTOR® Haley Tone transitioned from commercial to residential real estate in 2017, she hit the ground running. As Vanguard Properties’ Rookie of the Year her first year in the business, she closed $10 million in transactions, and her numbers keep shooting up — she’s now closed more than $50 million in sales. We chatted with Haley about how she built such a successful business and her advice for new REALTORS® seeking to do the same.

 

Schedule Coffee Dates — Lots of Them

“It sounds so simple,” says Tone, “but it really worked for me. In my first two years, I worked hard to have one-on-one get-togethers with people I knew so I could tell them about my work. Anyone who asked me how things were going, I was like: ‘Great! Can I tell you about it over lunch?’”

Tone has made it her goal to have one such meeting per week to build her pipeline. While the practice can take years to bear fruit, taking the time to form those relationships has paid off in a big way for Tone. She attributes a significant portion of the $36 million worth of transactions she closed in 2019 to coffee dates she had prioritized during her first year. “Once people are actually ready [to buy or sell], you don’t have time to lay a foundation with them. I didn’t do as many [coffee dates] this past year, and I can totally feel it with my pipeline this year: It’s not as full. So I’m right back on it now for 2020.”

 

Stay True to Your Brand

Tone sources nearly 100 percent of her clients from her network, whether they be people she knows or referrals. “Since all my business comes from my network,” says Tone, “my brand is really all about me. People choose to work with me because they already know me, or because they know someone who knows me. And working with me is a very high-touch, personalized experience.”

As such, Tone has been careful not to do anything that might dilute her brand — including bringing on additional help. This is something Tone acknowledges she may have to reconsider moving forward, given how fast her business is growing. But as she works out what that might look like, she’s determined to keep the experience for her clients as personalized as ever.

 

Don’t Miss an Opportunity

“You’re not going to get clients by not calling them back,” says Tone. “I definitely missed some transactions early on by not following up within 24 hours when someone expressed interest in someday looking to buy. It can be a little scary, but you have to go for it.”

 

Katherine Mechling is senior editor of California Real Estate magazine.

 

More from the February 2020 Issue:

Pro Tip: Tami Bonnell on Working with the Hyper-Informed Consumer

Marketing You: For Better Branding, Find Your Purpose

Money Corner: Ask These 4 Questions Before Hiring a CPA

Getting Clients: 3 Tips for Top-Notch Referrals

 

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