By Erica Christoffer, Multimedia Web Producer, REALTOR® Magazine
Mario Jannatpour is not a national speaker. He’s not a sales coach, either. He’s simply a real estate practitioner who loves his job.
Now Jannatpour, a sales associate with RE/MAX Alliance in Louisville, Colo., wants to pass on the success and knowledge he’s gained to other agents.
Jannatpour recently published a Kindle and audio book, Must See Inside: An Up Close and Personal Approach to Real Estate (Spoken Books, 2010), in which he outlines methods to set yourself apart in any market.
JANNATPOUR: I was in high tech software sales for nearly 15 years. I was doing very well, but I didn’t see my career building any personal equity. I decided I needed to make a change. I transitioned into housing, first with corporate housing, and then went to work with RE/MAX in 2003. I’ve been able to build a business here in Boulder based on my knowledge of the area, relocation expertise, and my sales experience in the tech field. It all transferred over to be able to help my clients.
What is professional value and how can a real estate professional identify and hone their value?
JANNATPOUR: First, you have to view yourself as the product rather the house as a product. You’re selling your services and your expertise. Clients today are much more educated on the real estate process, so they’re going to look for someone with a higher level of skill and professionalism. I talk to a lot of people and they’re not interested in someone who’s putting out calendars and refrigerator magnets. All those old methods don’t work for clients today because they want someone who knows the area they need help in. For instance, if I was looking for a horse property, I want a REALTOR® who knows something about rural properties, horses, zoning in that area, water rights, etc.
You have to focus on a niche, an area of specialization. Build on that while improving your skills as a REALTOR® in terms of knowledge of your niche, knowledge of the area, sales skills, knowledge of contracts, and everything you offer your clients. You’ll find your relationships will be built off respect for what you bring to the table rather than built on solely your charisma.
What is one skill a real estate practitioner can gain for your book?
JANNATPOUR: People will learn how to build their marketing around an area or niche that’s in demand. You have to start by building an online presence through a personalized Web page, social media, blogging, and videos. I see agents who are struggling because they’re doing the same thing they were doing 10 years ago. I think people have to realize that the market has changed, there’s more competition, and everyone is searching for homes on the internet. You have to change how you do things to generate more business.
Is there an ideal business model?
JANNATPOUR: The book is written mostly for the individual real estate agent. The team model has really been growing, but I feel the individual real estate model is still a very viable model. You can still be profitable as long as you specialize. You can’t be a general agent to everybody. Build your marketing and your brand around the niche you choose. After you have chosen your niche, build up your Web site. Create and post videos about your area. This will help draw traffic to your site and provide a medium where you can demonstrate your expertise to potential clients.
What advice do you have for new agents?
JANNATPOUR: Figure out a way to set yourself apart from the competition. Become an expert in a segment of your market either geographically or by buyer or seller needs. Focus on yourself as the product and build your brand through a personalized Web site, blogging, social media, and informational videos on YouTube. The videos that work well are not sales or promotional type videos. Provide a resource or information in your videos. Build strong relationships with your clients to generate referrals. And don’t give up when times get tough. You are building a business so it takes time and don’t be impatient.
How do you measure success?
JANNATPOUR: For me, I feel I have succeeded when I help someone get what they need and want in a home. Real estate is meaningful work. Everyone needs a home and a home helps define who we are. I’m doing something that’s adding value to my clients’ lives. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. I truly help people and I’m able to make a living doing that.