Beverly Sonnier, Broker/Owner of Help-U-Sell Southeast Rita Ranch Realty, has been serving the Tucson, Arizona area with her brokerage office since 2003. She and her husband, Jimmie, received their real estate licenses in the early 90s. What makes Beverly a standout from other Help-U-Sell broker/owners is that she is part of an elite club of people in real estate who have only ever worked within the Help-U-Sell system.
Beverly got her start as a mortgage banker. She met one of our long-term pillars of the Help-U-Sell community, John Powell, back when he was running his own office. It was through John that she became interested in real estate. “I was running a little Cajun restaurant at the time, because I like to try different things. I was already intrigued by the prospect of real estate, but John talked me into it. I decided to close the restaurant and learn something different,” Beverly said. After working with John’s office for a number of years, Beverly wanted to open her own office. Jimmie was a government retiree from both the military and the United States Postal Service. He wanted to stay active, so it was an easy post-retirement transition for him to make.
Beverly’s office appeared on a recent edition of our Top Producers list, noting that she has a goal of 25 to 30 closings for this year. The median price for a home in her market is about $190,000. She shared, “Right now we are experiencing a shortage of inventory. There are roughly 5,000 homes in my market area and as of this minute there are just 26 listings on the MLS. Homes don’t stay on the market very long – about 24 days. I have an advantage over my competitors when the consumer is educated. My goal is to give sellers knowledge of the savings conveyed by selling your home with us.”
When it comes to getting the word out, Beverly has learned diversification is key. “We are lucky to be in a very active market, but I’m always looking for ways to beef up advertising. We’ve tried many methods to find the most effective outcome, and we’ve been taking more risks to find that surprise result that will grab the right attention. My most recent endeavor is handing out the cloth reusable grocery bags, because people now must pay for the plastic bags from the grocery store. We’ve been getting a lot of positive traction off those bags, and of course we add some extra goodies in there to make it interesting for people,” Beverly explained. “I tried advertising on the sanitation station at the grocery store. We advertise in our local newspaper; which has a circulation of about 12,000. I’ve been running ads there for about a year-and-a-half.”
She continued, “We do the ‘Arounds’ postcards once a month. One of the things I learned early on, is that I don’t like postcards with a lot of verbiage on them. White space is valuable, because people don’t have the time to read a lot of fine print. If you can’t get your message across quickly and efficiently, the cumbersome language is a turn-off for them.” Her advertising message centers on: “Stop paying 6% to sell your home. Pay $3,950 instead.”
She added, “Everything has a learning curve in terms of discovering what will or won’t work. We try a little bit of everything and see what takes off. The reusable grocery bags did really well for us, and we got a listing and leads off that. However, the corresponding sanitation station hasn’t done as well for a variety of reasons, primarily poor location and visibility. Our concerns are being addressed and we expect to get the contract extended since it was a substantial investment. It’s all a part of the learning process.”
Being personal gets a lot of mileage for lasting impressions as well. Beverly sends out handwritten cards, but also enjoys cooking and baking. She is known for making candy, especially around the holidays, and makes a habit of handing it out to old and new clients which is always well received.
Jim and Beverly’s strategy for working together starts with collaborating in the morning to get the details of the day in order. “I do all the listing, selling and administrative duties. I send Jim out with buyers because he has a special touch with them. He puts up all of our signage and goes out on inspections. He’s great at filling in the gaps where is necessary,” she said appreciatively.
Beverly is still learning and has no plans on stopping. “I have many friends in this industry, my relationships with them help keep me apprised of how the market is fluctuating. I work to stay on top of our market so that I can provide expertise to our clients. I’m not a person who is driven by money, real estate is my passion. I’ve been doing this for so long now I don’t know anything else. That’s why at 75, I’m still working. I love what I do.”