It’s no secret a career as a real estate agent is an alluring proposition for many young (and seasoned) professionals. After all, you don’t have to sit in an office 8 hours a day, you get lots of interaction with clients, and after you tour them through a few homes you get to collect a hefty paycheque, it’s that easy, right? Ask top Kelowna agent Danielle Grundy and you’ll get a very different perspective about what it takes to be successful within the industry.
After 4 years as a real estate agent, the 34 year-old has shown exactly what it takes to not only succeed, but become one of the top young agents in Canada along the way.
Spoiler alert, she says there’s no secret formula or one size fits all plan. The bottom line is, you have to be willing to work hard and do whatever it takes to get the sale. It’s also important to embrace digital media and marketing in a world that’s becoming increasingly connected online.
“When you become a realtor you have to be willing to give your heart and soul to the job. You have to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and you have to be the first agent to pick up the phone no matter the situation. In the end you have to be willing to work harder than you ever have before and harder than any other agent”, she says.
Danielle currently sits within the top 1% of agents for Century 21 across Canada, was named as a Top 40 Under 40 business person in Kelowna by the Chamber of Commerce in 2017 and was recently recognized as one of the top 100 realtors in Canada under 35 by Real Estate Professional magazine as part of their 2017 young guns report.
As one of only 14 realtors from British Columbia and 2 from Kelowna chosen as part of the yearly report, Danielle was selected not only because of her status as a top agent, but also her success as a digital marketing entrepreneur.
“When I started I noticed a disconnect in the industry between agents and the increasing popularity and success of digital marketing. I saw it as a huge asset and I wanted to not only use it for my own personal growth within the industry but also support others in using it to their advantage”, she says.
After working with a number of businesses to develop an online presence and identity, she felt as though something was missing, her website design and digital assets needed more “impact”. That’s when she decided to take matters into her own hands, forming a boutique website and marketing firm, Realty Labs.
“I was having a hard time finding someone who could bring my vision to life. I did a lot of studying and research into digital marketing and how to leverage it to create a strong brand”, she says, “I had a clear picture in my mind of what would allow me to be successful and eventually I figured out the only person that could bring that to life was me, so I did.”
“I discovered you don’t need to spend a lot of money to create a positive impact”
Armed with the knowledge of how powerful a digital presence can be, Danielle leveraged unique online advertising strategies that steered away from costly print ad campaigns and traditional methods, focusing more on a personal approach of organic online promotion and reach.
“I discovered you don’t need to spend a lot of money to create a positive impact. Running contests on social media, creating fun and unique posts and simply showing a genuine interest in my current and potential clients was huge.” she says
As many home buyers move online to begin their search for a new home, Danielle has accepted this as the new normal, although she feels it’s something the industry as a whole has yet to recognize and embrace. She knew her website had to establish the same connection and emotions that an in person handshake would create. Something she didn’t think was possible through her brokerage site.
“Closing close to 50 deals in each of the past 2 years, she attributes much of her success to her digital presence”
“As a real estate agent, your website has become your storefront, you have one chance to impress that potential client the same way you would if you were meeting in person. I didn’t want my first impression online to look like every other agent in my brokerage office. I wanted something that would stand-out, attract buyers and provide an instant connection similar to meeting on the street”, she says.
Armed with a website she felt extremely proud of, she hit the ground running and her efforts have paid off in a big way. Closing close to 50 deals in each of the past 2 years, she attributes much of her success to her digital presence (aside from being the first agent to answer the phone, which is her number one tip for agents).
“I don’t do any traditional outbound marketing, all of my advertising efforts are focused in the digital world”, she says, “The client experience during the sale is a big part of gaining referrals, but gaining new clients at the beginning and continuing to grow that base has always been 100% from online activity.”
“I want to support other agents and be the one to lead the charge towards showcasing the impact an online presence can have”
As she continues to develop and grow her own digital strategy, she’s focused on transferring that knowledge to Realty Labs and creating the same impact for other real estate agents across North America.
“I want to support other agents and be the one to lead the charge towards showcasing the impact an online presence can have”, she says, “The real estate industry has been slow to embrace the digital age, but with technology at our fingertips 24/7 that’s the first place clients are going and if you ignore that segment of buyers you’re going to get left behind.”
With the success and impact (link to other blog) she’s had within the industry after only 4 years it’s hard to argue with her perspective on the industry. She hopes spreading her knowledge through Realty Labs will help have a positive impact for others who may be struggling to find success within the real estate industry.
Written by Brendan Osborne