A chat with Michelle Spalding about getting started as an independent TC.

TRANSCRIPT

Michelle 

All right, we are recording and it’s, it’s awesome to connect with you. I just kind of want to have you share with me a little bit of the background that you did in that instant message that you sent. I know you were asking about, you know, getting started and having a little experience, but tell me a little bit more about that. And anything else that would help me to help you better today, please.

Guest Speaker 

Okay, I am a stay-at-home mom, I homeschooled my kids. And my last one just got married. And I have been pursuing becoming a Transaction Coordinator….

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Michelle 

All right, we are recording and it’s, it’s awesome to connect with you. I just kind of want to have you share with me a little bit of the background that you did in that instant message that you sent. I know you were asking about, you know, getting started and having a little experience, but tell me a little bit more about that. And anything else that would help me to help you better today, please.

Guest Speaker 

Okay, I am a stay-at-home mom, I homeschooled my kids. And my last one just got married. And I have been pursuing becoming a Transaction Coordinator. A couple years ago, an operations manager at a KW office said that they were hiring to a friend of mine, we go to church together, and would I be interested in the position, and I said, sure. And so I went in, and I did great until I took their KPA assessment. And because mine comes back with leadership, I was told I was not a good fit. And I’ve had that now, probably three different times with three different KW agents. And so I went and got my license, because I saw that a lot of realtors or agents like you to be licensed to be a Transaction Coordinator. And then I’ve taken a couple of Transaction Coordinator courses online, but I had no experience. And so other places that I’ve gone to, to get experience have said, Well, we need someone who’s done high volume.

 

Michelle 

Yeah, yeah. And so you’re applying. Thank you so much, first of all, for sharing all of that. And, you know, honestly, you have way more probably experience than you realize. And I would love to sort of help maybe put a little bit of that together here in our call. So you mentioned though, applying, so your friend mentioned the position to you came in – this was the first time you had heard of even a Transaction Coordinator, Is that correct?

 

Guest Speaker 

It is.

 

Michelle 

Okay. And that was a couple of years ago. And since that time, you’ve gotten a license and applied to a few positions. But everyone says they want experience handling high volume. Is that correct?

 

Guest Speaker 

Yeah.

 

Michelle 

Okay. If I remember correctly, though, in your post, to me, you were looking to do this work from home and looking to have your own business at one point, is that correct?

 

Guest Speaker 

Absolutely. I just thought if I can get in somewhere and get the experience, to know what I’m doing to then start my business because I don’t feel – I’m a very confident person, but I don’t want to mess people’s transactions up, and so I feel like I just need help getting through the first couple.

 

Michelle 

Yeah, yeah. So, and every place that you’ve applied has said, thanks, but no, thanks. You’ve either tested in leadership and they felt, what, that was not a right fit?

 

Guest Speaker 

Yes, actually I was told that I scored too high on the test, and they were looking for someone to score in the low to medium range. Which, I don’t know, is that what you want handling your transactions?

 

Michelle 

Yeah, I don’t know. But what that does say, possibly, and I’m not familiar with that test specifically, although I do know that KW, as an organization utilizes a wide variety of tests, you know, DISC profile and the one that you’re mentioning, and probably countless others. I think it gives us you know, maybe a little glimpse of somebody, but I don’t know that it really tells us the full picture, I sort of look at things a little bit differently, and that’s a whole nother conversation for a whole nother day, but what I will say to you is that leadership I think IS essential in, you know, managing the process from contract to close. As a matter of fact, some of my best team members when I had my company, were very strong in that, you know, being able to take charge of a transaction, but yet not you know, not needing to be the one to shine if you will, right?

 

Guest Speaker 

Right, right.

 

Michelle 

So being the person that you know, owns the process and can manage others but doesn’t need you know, all the praise and the glory if you will, doesn’t have to be the superstar. Those are really essential roles. Now, the other thing is that you know, being a mom, and especially homeschooling and being a stay at home mom, you know, believe it or not, those skills are extremely important in what we do. I have three children. I’ve often hired moms in my organization, and mostly for the reason is that if you can herd a child out the door in the morning and get them home safely from school in the afternoon or any event, extracurricular kind of a thing, like, you’ve already got half of what you need to be able to manage other people. Part of what we have to do as Transaction Coordinators is to be able to, you know, be very proactive, so we’re using those skills, that we have in our parenting, you know, pockets, if you will. And then we’re, you know, convincing others to do things that we need them to do without them feeling like we’ve told them to do it. And I often use, like the cleaning the room thing with our kids, right? Like, if we tell them to do it, sure, sometimes they will. But if it’s their idea to do it, even though we planted that idea for them to do it, like, it happens so much more peacefully. And those skills are so useful in what we do as a Transaction Coordinator. I’m curious if you have knocked on doors of individual agents, either in your sphere of influence, in that, you know, friend of yours from church, or even people in your neighborhood who you know are real estate agents. So I have right now, a couple of agents who said that they will use me, even one on Friday said I have two contracts coming in. But I’ve never done it. And she does not want to hold my hand. She’s not happy with who she’s with, and so she wants to use someone else. We homeschooled our kids together, we’ve been friends for years. So she knows I’m organized, wants to use me, but, she’d have to hold my hand for my first couple. Yeah, yeah. And she doesn’t want to or she is unwilling to?

 

Guest Speaker 

I don’t know that she’s capable. She doesn’t want to because she referred her cousin to me, and her cousin is a new agent and just called and said, I have a new listing, what do you need just their email and their name? And I was like, What? And so I realized she was new, and I was new. And I was like, no, I need the contract, and he wanted me to draft everything for her. And I was like, Oh, I don’t know that I’m, I’m ready to do that, I probably need to start with someone more seasoned.

 

Michelle 

And that’s, I think listening to your instincts there is probably very wise. What I will say to you is that getting started with an agent who will meet with you regularly, is a really good place to get started. Though before you get started with anyone, I would recommend that you create your task list and decide what it is exactly that you’re going to do. And the reason that I mention that is that, are you going to offer listing services? Are you going to offer document prep? Are you going to just work contract to close? And what things will you do in the contract to close process? Having that together, will give you the confidence that you need to have those conversations with people, because you’ll know what you’re going to do. What I would say to you is that then you have that agent who can mentor you on a couple of transactions. And then mentoring you, part of that process – so you know, I had a Transaction Coordinator business for 15 years, and I started in Florida, when that wasn’t even a word that was used in our real estate language. What I would say is that to you the same thing I said to each and every agent that I ever worked with – even with all the experience that we had, it still takes an agent’s willingness to train us on how they want things done for this to be successful.

 

Guest Speaker 

Okay, I’m seeing more of they don’t know what they’re doing, and they expect me to know.

 

Michelle 

Well, in one of my presentations that I’ve given at offices many, many times, I’ve often said that agents have a different way of managing the process. First of all as a Transaction Coordinator we usually can handle, depending on our our goals and so forth, 25 to 30 transactions without losing our minds. That’s a full time gig for most of us, and with automation and experience, that becomes a lot easier but just using that as a base for our conversation. When we are agents, which I have a broker’s license in Florida and was an agent too for a while, If I had more than two or three going at a time, it was a lot to manage. And partly because I’ve often said, Transaction Coordinators are working very productively, we have a checklist, we’re following a checklist, agents are often given a list by their brokerage, but instead of using it to look ahead, they’re managing it from their inbox, their text messages, and honestly, many of them are just praying every day, “please let this go to closing, please let this get to closing” right, like whatever needs to happen. And I don’t mean any, you know, disrespect to agents, I just know that that’s part of what happens. And, you know, as a Transaction Coordinator, you’re very right, they’re not going to train you as a Transaction Coordinator, but they will be able to answer questions on how they would handle that particular process, and then you get to decide, is that something that I would do as a Transaction Coordinator or not? Case in point – many times over the years, we had agents who wanted us to negotiate or to, “Hey, could you ask the buyer’s agent, if they will accept this?” Or, “could you ask the sellers agent, if they’ll reduce the price, based on the fact that the appraisal came in low?” No, I won’t. That’s negotiations. And so knowing upfront that that was negotiations, even with a broker’s license, I didn’t want to offer that. So, an agent needed to do that.

 

Guest Speaker 

Right.

 

Michelle 

But it’s knowing that that was really important. So an agent, of course, would love you to do that. I jest when I say this, but I do mean it as well, they would love you to do everything, including picking up their dry cleaning, if you would, you know? And you know, God bless them, I don’t blame them. If somebody could come to my house and do all the things I needed to be done, in my day, and in my work life, I would you know, that might not be a bad gig. And I don’t think that they mean anything Ill by it, it’s just that they were taught like, delegate, right you’re somebody who they trust, and are there, let me just give you as much as I possibly can. So that task list, which kind of leads back to what I was saying at the top, that task list is essential. Do you have one together that you use, or that you were going to use?

 

Guest Speaker 

I do, I was going to just do contract to close. And I know this one agent that really wants to use me. She wants a listing and I met with another Transaction Coordinator in my area that’s been doing it for 15 years and she does do listing and she charges more. But I as an agent, I only became an agent to become a Transaction Coordinator, and so I haven’t ever sold a house. So I haven’t listed anything in the MLS. I mean, I’ve taken all the KW bootcamp training, and we’ve played around with it, but the actual “Here you go, here’s one. Let’s see what you can do.” I haven’t done that.

 

Michelle 

Yeah, well, let me just tell you what I know about many MLSs and this might also help you be able to have that conversation back with agents. Number one, first of all, if this is your business, and this is what you’re going to do, you get to pick and choose how it’s done, just like we did with our children, right, we got to pick and choose the things we brought into the home and shared with them, etc. So this is your thing, you get to decide. What I will say to you is that in the years that I did my business, I didn’t offer listing services with the exception of a very brief period of time, which then helped me realize, I didn’t want to do that, you know. We had many agents over the years ask us too. It wasn’t where I wanted to spend a lot of time, so I didn’t offer it. What I will say to you on top of that is the MLS rules are really strict about access. And so if you know Joe agent says, you know, “Hey, could you please enter this in the MLS? Here’s my username and password”, and you do use his, he can end up losing his access to the MLS or get fined. You know, they’re very strict. It’s not like our Netflix passwords.

 

Guest Speaker 

Right, right.

 

Michelle 

You know, they go after those kinds of situations. So you have to then get that agent to get you an admin access. And most of them, didn’t want to be bothered, and so, it was a service that I chose not to offer, and we did just fine for years without it. What I will say is that, you know, part of the conversation with an agent is figuring out what it is that they’re missing, what do they need the most. And for most, it’s time, but they haven’t really articulated all that or made it so that they’re really clear on, what’s taking the most of their time. They would, like I said a moment ago, love to delegate all of it, but that’s not what they really need, having someone to stay a few steps ahead of them, that’s in my opinion, where the gold is for them. Entering a new listing into the MLS is maybe 20 minutes, I mean, it’s not hard. I did hundreds of them over the years. It’s a quick process, and uploading photos and so forth. Again, quick, most of it from there is automated, much different than it was, you know, 10-15 years ago. So when an agent said to me, “that’s one of the things, I really need that”, I would ask them to tell me a little bit about their process. And only to discover that was really only something that took them a brief period of time. Now, one listing service that you might think about, is compliance. That’s something different. So that could be having a conversation with them. Is it that, you know, entering things into command and getting the ball rolling there is taking them time, great, I have a compliance service that I offer. I would avoid the MLS, that’s just me personally.

 

Guest Speaker 

No and I – That’s that has been my thinking. And then I met with some other Transaction Coordinators, and they all offer it, but they’ve also been doing it for 10+ years, and because I don’t want to negotiate, and I don’t want to list. That’s been my decision. And I feel like my mind is slowly being changed, as I come into contact with more people who are doing all of it, and some of them are not even charging extra for it, they’re including it in their price.

 

Michelle 

Well, I don’t know that we have the time to really get into all that today. But what I will say is that one of the analogies that I’ve used countless times over the years is that you know, both Walmart and Nordstrom sell black pants, you get to decide where you want to spend your money, how much money you want to spend and the kind of service that you expect when you’re purchasing. You know, when you go into a Walmart, it’s a surly experience in a blue bag at best that your stuff is tossed into. If you go into a dressing room and you need a different size, nobody’s going to come knock on the door and ask you. But if you go into a Nordstrom, it’s a whole other experience. So much so that even after the purchase, they’re like bringing the bag around and handing it to you. So, you know, the idea is to pick which level of service that you want to provide. And not to worry so much about what others are doing, and just talk to those that will appreciate what it is that you’re offering.

 

Guest Speaker 

Right. And then whatever I’m offering, do it at my best.

 

Michelle 

Yeah, of course, of course. And, you’re a part of my Facebook group, so you probably saw my comment the other day, about agents and beliefs in the industry and so forth. I will say to you, part of what we have to do when we’re getting started is to really just knock on a bunch of doors. You know, that’s always my best advice to people, really sort of figure out who it is that you want to work for. Obviously, you mentioned a team, you know, they want somebody with a bajillion years of experience and a team is a high pressured environment, like a very high stress environment. You don’t get to control a lot of the things about what you offer and what you don’t offer. When you’re on your own, obviously now you’re the salesperson and the Transaction Coordinator and all of the other things but when we know exactly who it is that we want to work with, all of our conversations can be in marketing and you know, any one on one conversation can really be about figuring out how to show that person that we most want to work with what we can do to help them accomplish their goals.

 

Guest Speaker 

Yeah, I think my fear is and the reason I – well here because, I mean, I can just go, I can Google and find out who’s hiring for Transaction Coordinator and so that’s why I’ve replied. But and because I don’t have any experience, but it does make sense to just build a relationship with one person who would take the time to work with me and build it from there. I don’t have a problem once I’m comfortable going in and promoting myself, but I want to be able to answer questions, I want to be able to know what I’m doing.

 

Michelle 

Yeah. And like you said a moment ago, once you’ve done a few, that confidence will be raised. And to be honest with you, I feel like, you know, having a license, and all of that you probably have more experience that you can apply to this. It’s just not specific to this role. You’ve probably bought and sold a house over the years.

 

Guest Speaker 

A couple.

 

Michelle 

Yeah, so you’ve done more than some of them some people, even though you were the buyer or seller in the process, you saw that process. I think the other thing is, is to really, you know, decide who that person is that you would most like to support? And then, you know, find as many of those people as you can.

 

Guest Speaker 

That’s a great idea. I didn’t think about the one on one, yeah.

 

Michelle 

Yeah, just one on one conversations. And I would say to you, when people ask about your experience, I wouldn’t say I’ve never done a transaction – I wouldn’t lead with I’ve never done a transaction, let’s put it that way. I would lead with all of the things that you’ve done, to get yourself ready for this, even if you, after you’ve been in it for a few months, and you’ve got a couple of agents, or a agent, and you’re ready to bring on another one, right, I would lead with the experience and the training that you’ve brought to this. You know, “I managed to successfully school my kids and get them out into the world, and I have taken a real estate course. And I’ve taken, you know, training and I’ve read books, and I’ve put this together”, like it’s not something, and I think this is really important here, It’s not something you decided last Friday that you want to do in on Thursday, you’re now putting your hat out as an expert. And I think all of that along the way that you’ve done is something that I would really highlight. And then I would also say to the agent, I’m looking to partner with someone who is not afraid to answer questions. To help me make this a great experience for them, their buyer or seller, and obviously for you.

 

Guest Speaker 

Right. That’s great.

 

Michelle 

There are a lot of those people out there, and then there are a lot of people who will be difficult, just find the ones that you want to work with.

 

Guest Speaker 

Right. That’s great. Thank you.

 

Michelle 

My pleasure. My pleasure. Is there any other questions that I might be able to answer or help you with?

 

Guest Speaker 

No, I think you’ve opened my mind to just looking for a one on one and starting – just starting slow. And getting my foot in the door with someone building a relationship and really figuring out what I want to do, not what anybody else is doing. And if I just want to do contract to close, that’s what I’m gonna do. And yeah, and so I think even my trainer at Keller Williams, maybe just emailing her today and saying, “Do you know anyone who needs help?” Anyone that, you know, I can just say, “Hey, I’m here to help you. Let me let’s see what we can do.”

 

Michelle 

Yeah. And,my advice or my nugget that I want to leave you with there is based on my experience is that it will change and evolve over time. My business, you know, in 2005, when I started looked nothing, a few years in, like what I thought it would look, and over time it was actually way better than I could have imagined. And so, starting with that one agent, figuring some things out, sort of, you know, tweaking and modifying your task list and your process, you know, when you feel more comfortable with that, either adding additional services to that agent, it’s always much easier to sell to those that already know, like, and trust us, or, continue with offering just that core service to other agents. Whichever way works best for you.

 

Guest Speaker 

Yeah, and I can see that evolving, I can see me saying, “all right this is how I’m starting out”, and then, you know, maybe they need more and me opening the door to that, but maybe not starting out with all of that.

 

Michelle 

Yeah, yeah. Last thing I want to say is that, you know, boundaries with agents, and I think you’ve probably seen that posted in that group, are very important. You, when you’re having these conversations, and looking at working with people, make sure that you’re very clear on, again, that task list, what you’re going to offer, how that’s going to look, obviously, growing and moving and evolving within it, but sticking with the core part of it, as well as the times and days that you’re available. Because I’ve had more than a few new people come to me that have shared that, you know, they partnered with someone, and before you know it, they were on call 24/7 and, I don’t think that that’s necessary in our industry, but it’s very easy to be lured into that.

 

Guest Speaker 

I agree. I’ve seen it.

 

Michelle 

So I wish you lots of luck. I want to email you a link, when we’re done, to an audio that I did, it’s on the academy website that might help you with some of those one on one conversations that I mentioned having, you know, knocking on whatever doors that you can, and then having those one on one conversations. And you know, I look at sales a little differently than probably a lot of people do, especially sales calls. It’s all about building rapport and relationships. And I think you’ve already started that, and this might help give you a couple more nuggets to really make that easier. You know, every call that you do doesn’t have to be a sale, it just has to be a connection. And obviously the more connections over time that we make with those people that we most want to work with, the easier it is for us to accomplish whatever goals it is that we have. So I’ll make sure to email you that after our call.

 

Guest Speaker 

Well, I appreciate your generosity. Thank you so much for your help,

 

Michelle 

My pleasure and good luck to you and let me know later on how that goes.

 

Guest Speaker 

I will thank you so much. I appreciate you.

 

Michelle 

Take care, buh-bye.