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Terri Murphy’s Secrets

By Matt Johnson, writer, formerly marketing director with Conley Dew Ltd., REALTORS®, in Honolulu

Terri Murphy’s Listing & Selling Secrets: How to Become a Million $ Producer. Terri Murphy. 168pp. Real Estate Education Co., a division of Dearborn Financial Publishing Inc., 1996. $24.95.

New salespeople looking for proven success strategies will discover valuable fodder in Terri Murphy’s Listing & Selling Secrets: How to Become a Million $ Producer. Veterans will find the book a useful refresher that may jump-start a stalled career.

The title may lead you to believe that this is an in-depth study of sales techniques. However, it’s really a how-to-succeed primer. In fact, the advice presented in the first four chapters–with practical tips on time management, balancing your personal and professional life, and dealing with fear, worry, regret, and procrastination–could lay the groundwork for success in almost any career.

Although these tips rehash many popular success and self-improvement maxims–”Knowledge is power,” ”Make appointments with yourself and keep them”–Murphy tailors them to our industry.

Later chapters on farming strategies and open houses are especially helpful. How many of us have decided to start that new farm, but a few mailings later move on to something else? Murphy drives home the importance of thorough analysis and planning before you ever lick that first stamp. Farm areas, she instructs, should consist of contiguous, similarly priced properties within your office’s market area. The farm should have a reasonable turnover rate, and its properties should have curb appeal, be suitable for mainstream financing, and have no easements or title problems.

Veterans may find Murphy’s advice about open houses especially eye-opening, if not unsettling: ”Never hold an open house to placate a seller. Holding an open shouldn’t–indeed, must not–be in reaction to a pending . . . threat.”

She stresses the importance of opens as a marketing tool but dismisses the all too common put-up-a-sign, put-an-ad-in-the-paper technique. Instead, she offers a step-by-step marketing program for opens, including personally inviting neighbors and FSBOs a few hours before the event, which gives you an excuse to contact them and show them how hard you work for your listings, and advertising the open in the classifieds every day for a week prior to it.

Murphy’s friendly, easy-to-read style will keep you turning pages. The book’s length and layout are just right for today’s busy professional. And anecdotes from her career and that of other top producers help illustrate key points. For example, in discussing challenging markets, she refers to a Colorado salesperson who consistently sold $12 million–$15 million each year during that state’s worst market since the Depression.

By implementing Murphy’s techniques consistently, as she so rightly emphasizes, a salesperson can achieve new heights in personal production, even in extremely challenging situations.

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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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