In May of 2016, Marianne Kirwan and her husband, Brent, decided to branch out. They had been jointly running a property management business, and as a natural by-product of their business, they were selling about eight to ten properties a year; Sometimes for businesses associated with their business, and sometimes just for close friends and family members.
“In 2015, we were not focused on selling real estate, and our commissions on real estate sales were reflecting that,” Marianne shared. But when Marianne and Brent decided to buy a Help-U-Sell Real Estate franchise, they knew their focus would change heavily to sales. By the end of the first year they increased sales commission by 185 percent. Again in 2017 they continued to grow their business another 88 percent and have set a goal for 2018 to grow another 73 percent. How will they do that? Through a potent mix of marketing, visibility, and coaching.
Many Help-U-Sell franchisees find increased success through one of the several coaching groups available weekly. Marianne told us that she participates in one group that consists of about eight people from around the country. “You get different ideas from people around the country – some in big cities and some in rural America, and while some of those ideas don’t play out in a smaller community like ours, there are still a ton of ideas and concepts that turn out to be universal. We take chances by trying new things that make us stand out. That new thing ends up bringing in a lead. It is an invaluable resource.”
Standing out has been a part of the Help-U-Sell Real Estate legacy from the beginning. “The other agencies in our area, they don’t have an Arounds postcard program. They have agents who are always fighting for leads and we don’t have that,” Brent Kirwan said. “I was involved with another agency for a while, and they were not bringing anything new to the table for owners. There was no marketing, some online training, but nothing that helped you drill down into your local market to help you build your business. They always had their hand out for additional money for these classes, in addition to a desk fee, and the percentage of your commissions they were already receiving. It just didn’t add up to keep doing it.”
Marianne explained, “As soon as we got involved with Help-U-Sell, we jumped right into coaching. They helped us develop goals by asking questions like “What do you want to do? Where do you see yourself in a few years?” They also helped us focus on the marketing side of selling houses. They have a lot in place that helps create awareness and word of mouth advertising: EDDMs, print ads on the homes page of the newspaper, drip emails, Arounds postcards; those things are a pillar of the Help-U-Sell model and have contributed directly to our increased success.”
Starting a new business venture is going to be overwhelming at times for anyone, so being able to stay organized is a good way to keep yourself on track when you’ve feel like there is a lot to do and keep your eye on. “When you are your own boss,” Marianne said about being in business with her husband, “there is no one to be accountable to except one another. Also through coaching, we got into the habit of updating a lead log, rather than trying to keep track via sticky notes. We don’t lose track of people. We know where leads come from, what advertising is working or not, and where we need to focus more of our energy or not.”
Keeping visible helps keep the Kirwans at top-of-mind in their community. Brent spends time out on the street planting signs and moving signs to new locations as they gain new clients. He ensures they have 75 to 85 signs out at any given time. They always have a booth whenever there is a fair or an expo. Brent neatly summarized the impact of Help-U-Sell where they live: “We share the message that there is another option that includes full service and better representation at a direct savings to the home seller. We get a lot of repeat clients and investors who have used us to sell multiple properties. We are out performing our competition, because people trust what we have to offer.”
Reach Marianne and Brent at http://columbiabasin.helpusell.com or 509-855-9839.