It was recently brought to my attention that we have a bit of a streak going on when it comes to top performers. For several years in a row, our company has taken home national ERA Real Estate awards for a top agent, top team, rookie of the year, and office coordinator of the year. Of course, we are all extremely proud of these achievements, but I must confess that there is no secret ingredient or proprietary program at our company that tips the scale in our favor.
The common denominator for all these award winners is simply hard work. I know that probably isn’t what you were hoping to hear. However, I would like to share some insights into how “hard work” plays out for these people.
What it Takes
To begin with, each and every one of our winners sacrifices time with friends and family. They miss parties, get-togethers, and even vacations because they are working. In fact, they work at their craft every single day and are always looking for new ways to improve. They are self-motivated and disciplined. I like to think that we provide a work environment that fosters these characteristics, but I truly believe success starts with the individual.
We do provide a success guide for new agents, which is an intense 12-week program that walks people through a step-by-step process to start their real estate business. The guide includes best practices from our experienced agents – after all, everyone started out as a newbie. A big part of that guide is what we call a shadowing sheet. It’s a list of activities new agents can set up for themselves to learn the business. This includes taking an agent to lunch to talk shop, going on a home inspection with an agent to see what happens, meeting with lenders to learn about the loan process, and more.
This wouldn’t be possible without the highly collaborative culture we have in our company. All of our experienced agents are very used to mentoring the newer agents. In fact, when we tried to formalize a mentoring program, it didn’t get much traction because everyone was more comfortable with the organic way we approached mentoring.
Here's how our company’s philosophies and foundations played with our nationally recognized agents and employees.
Joella Comstock – ERA Rookie of the Year
Joella, the 2022 ERA Rookie of the Year, closely followed the guide, particularly the steps around tapping into your sphere of influence. Prior to starting her real estate career, Joella had worked in corporate America for 30 years and she had a massive network. She leaned into her extensive contact list right out of the gate, consistently met with her office manager for coaching and she did a deep dive into the business. She took advantage of company-generated leads and was able to convert them at a higher rate than her fellow agents.
For Joella, her work ethic plus her commitment to learning, and her passion for real estate was her formula for success. If you think about it, it’s not a difficult equation: what’s hard is actually executing on it.
Cori Zaring – ERA Coordinator of the Year
Cori is another person who exemplifies hard work. She has been with us for five years and she will outwork anyone. As a sales manager, she leads monthly sales meetings, holds lunch and learns, conducts new agent mentoring, and collaborates with her fellow ERA office managers across the country. She’s also a top recruiter for the company as she builds relationships with agents from other brokerages while reinforcing the value of the company, the ERA brand, and herself.
Additionally, Cori is a champion of developing and fostering the company’s collaborative culture and wants to help others be the ones in the spotlight. Her level of commitment to her agents is extraordinary and she has maintained this level of service year after year. I always say agents would follow her into a burning building, that’s how much trust Cori has built with her agents.
The Stiller Group – ERA Top All-Around Team
Troy Stiller leads a large team focused on high-end properties which was recognized as the top-producing team in the entire ERA network this year, ranking second for ERA Top Producing Sales Associate Team in units and third in volume.
But when Troy started out 17 years ago, he had next to nothing. With only a few dollars in his pocket, he launched into his new career as a real estate agent by opening the phone book. He was consistent and plugged away making calls every day. He didn’t stop, and he didn’t make excuses. He was called the “cold call king.” And that’s how he built his business.
Today, Troy would be hard-pressed to go anywhere in the community and not be recognized. That’s how big his sphere of influence has grown. And it was built with roll up your sleeves hard work.
Stephannie Wilson – ERA Brenda W. Casserly Memorial Award for Top All-Around Sales Associate
Stephannie Wilson took home the top all-around agent award from ERA this year, completing more than 200 transactions in 2022. She was the top-ranked ERA agent in units and the fourth-ranked agent in sales volume. With more than 15 years of experience in real estate, she regularly hosts training sessions for her fellow agents, reviewing in detail her own playbook that helped her grow her business.
There isn’t anything special about her playbook – it includes how to grow your sphere of influence, how to leverage your website, how to use Google Analytics to refine digital campaigns, how to cultivate internet leads using the company’s CRM, ideas for pop bys, either in person, email or snail mail. She works at these things every day. She makes no secret about her methods. But the reality is that the majority of agents won’t commit to the process.
A Winning Formula
Hard work and success go hand in hand, but the good news is that there is no monopoly on hard work – it’s within anyone’s grasp. Frank Lloyd Wright, the American architect who revolutionized American home design at the turn of the 20th century, knew that well when he said this:
“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.”
So home in on your vision and make it happen!
Kurt Schuler is broker/owner of Schuler Bauer Real Estate Services ERA Powered in Louisville, KY. As a second-generation broker/owner, Kurt embraced and cherished the real estate business from a young age. He has always had a passion for business, negotiating and reaching goals. Most of his early negotiations took place with his parents and his brothers while playing Monopoly.
By Kurt Schuler, Broker/Owner
Schuler Bauer Real Estate Services ERA Powered