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"Prescription for High-Volume Sales Success"

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Ralph Roberts Photo
6/5/98 Interview with Ralph Roberts

Ralph R. Roberts Real Estate
30521 Schoenherr Road, Suite 200
Warren, MI 48093

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Prescription for High-Volume Success

  1. Roberts was able to sell 587 homes last year because he has a passion for what he sells; he endorses Ted Turner's advice, "Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise," and adds - employ technology.
  2. Roberts aims to be the first to have anything new and keeps abreast of technological developments by perusing magazines; a Realtor should use all the tools available and get them before the competition.
  3. Maximizing use of time is the key to productivity; make calls or dictate from the car; record speeches or interviews to use in a book or article.
The Importance of Delegation

  1. You don't have to do all tasks yourself, but delegate to people who will follow through; Roberts accomplishes his high volume with just a few buying agents, a listing agent and a small support team.
  2. Make use of younger people who are comfortable with technology to handle tech-related activities such as running a Web page, answering email or overseeing an automated 800 number.
Intriguing Use of the Internet

  1. Roberts' Web page opens with a "Realty Connection" box near the top that offers clients an option to establish an Internet Web page to be used for accessing information and for receiving email messages.
  2. Roberts is doing four to five transactions per month right from the Web; some clients don't need or want to have face-to-face or telephone contact.
  3. To access a previously neglected market, Roberts is applying technology to make all of his RE-related businesses deaf-friendly.
  4. The hearing impairment project is an offshoot of his collaboration on a book, Chicken Soup for the Handicapable Soul, a gathering of stories for release in Fall 1998.
The Shadow Program

  1. For a fee of $2500-$3500, you (and optionally an assistant) can spend a day in Roberts' office working alongside the key people performing the jobs related to what you do.
  2. All Roberts' companies cycle business to one another; business grows from repeat sales and from garnering a larger market share as a function of longevity.
How to Use Technology to Leverage Your Efforts

  1. An interactive 800 number can advertise products and services; the call-capture program continuously gathers information and creates a database.
  2. Standard hardware includes pagers, multiple dictaphones, computers and 15 fax machines (at individual desks); fax-on-demand is also a time saver.
  3. Pathmaster software in Roberts' truck guides him to addresses so that his attention can be directed at selling.
  4. The Web page is used as an image builder and also as a tool for gathering information.
  5. Card scanners hooked to the computers automatically add people to Roberts' client follow-up program (Act!).
  6. A dictaphone hooked to the phone line Roberts' uses allows his secretary to enter summary information into client files.
  7. Phone time-savers include automatic dial and a second telephone at the desk; while "on hold," in one conversation, another can be initiated.
  8. Microsoft Outlook is being reviewed for combining email with contact management. [See Peckham's Picks on page 1 about Microsoft's free offer. Check Peckham's subsequent survey results on ListServer.]
  9. Electronic measuring devices and digital cameras are two more tools that make basic RE tasks easier to accomplish.
Internet Business

  1. Roberts values the Internet as a good way to keep his name circulating - Internet presence is necessary to keep up with the competition; the Internet is also effective for selling books and products.
  2. U.S. Web is recommended as a good company to support your Web site.
  3. The Internet has contributed to "For Sale by Owner" competition not seen before in the residential market; Roberts offers services such as title insurance and mortgages to that market.
Embracing Technology and Change

  1. Successful Realtors are enjoying the technology by using it to improve productivity and to free their time.
  2. Use of an assistant is being acknowledged as a way to work smart; applying technology is another way of gaining assistance.
  3. The importance of the Web will grow radically as younger people grow up; both professional and personal business will be conducted via the Net as a matter of course.
  4. Don't be so preoccupied with technology that you become distracted from your work and lose productivity; separate your surfing time from your business time.
Practicalities of Adapting Business to Technology

  1. What you do needs to be workable on paper before you put it into a computerized system; tracking has to be clear in both cases.
  2. Every person or system in your organization should produce four to five times what it costs; an accounting system is capable of measuring exact productivity - dollar volume generated vs cost.
  3. The new "voice to printed word" technology will allow direct generation of letters, but its efficiency may not surpass a good secretary.
  4. Don't get so involved with technical hardware that you overlook personal contact.
  5. Remember that some clients will be intimidated by high-tech approaches; be prepared to adjust your use of technology to the client's comfort level.
Contact Information for Ralph Roberts:

(v) 810-558-5369
(f) 810-751-2177

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

ArchTelecom (source for interactive 800#), 800-882-9155
Pathmaster from Rockwell Automotive, 800-823-2547
U.S. Web (source for Web site support)
QuickBooks by Intuit (effective accounting system)